Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quilt is seeking name.....

I have completed the top of the 2013 Warrior Quilt. Now I need everyone to help me add the magic.

In 2011, I got the idea to pull out my old, worn out quilting skills and make a quilt and give it to someone battling Cancer. I didn't know at the time just how important this quilt would be, not only to me, but to the people and families that received it.

What I didn't know at the time was that I would meet and come to love the a special little girl and her family. Olivia was two and a half and her family of Mom and Dad and two brothers were looking for a house to buy. So I came to know them as a Realtor first. Meanwhile on the mission to make a quilt, I made my trip to one of my old haunts "The Quilted Angel" and selected a pattern and some materials. A couple of hundred dollars later (if you have made any clothes lately you know how expensive fabrics can be, if you have bought them at a quilting shop them you are nodding your head right now or moaning.... I have since found online fabrics at more affordable prices...) I headed home and started my project.  It was a pink field on which flowers stood. I decided to name it Hope Blooms.

One day I was calling Olivia's Mom Leslie to let he know about a deadline we had on an escrow we were in at the time. She said "I really can't talk right now, we are headed to the hospital, Olivia has had a seizure." Obviously this family's life had changed, and mine had too. Olivia was diagnosed with a rare Brain Cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.  I had no doubt who would get this quilt.

I took the quilt to be machine quilted after I had pieced and appliqued the top. I had tears in my eyes thinking about Olivia and  what her family was going through. But part of me felt better because I knew what this quilt represented, and the love it had in its fiber and thread would wrap this little girl in a healing warmth that would keep her safe.

When I picked up the quilt my heart soared - it was beautiful. I started thinking about what the quilt meant and I knew it should be shared. I asked for people at our annual 3 day party to donate money to end Cancer and do so in the names of  people they knew who had fought Cancer. That evening we gathered around $500 in donations. There was one person who donated $250 who had tears in her eyes as she gave a voice to three angels she had lost to Cancer. I saw then just what this quilt could really be - it could be a way to combine the spirits of those who have been touched by Cancer. It gave a voice to those who were lost, those who fought, those who are fighting and those who love them.

When we came by and gave Olivia the quilt she was tired and weak but her face was full of delight. She has slept under the quilt ever since. Today she is four going to pre-school and is the most remarkable, perfectly perfect warrior you have ever met. Olivia (if you have followed this blog you know) trained with her mother and I for the 3 day last year running most of the way with a joy that would take your heart burst.

Last year I started earlier and spread the word more about the quilt. I decided the pattern I'd follow was one with several circles, that all lead to one center circle. I made the center bolder and brighter than the rest. This quilt I titled Circle of Hope.

Online I asked again for people to donate in the names of people they wanted to honor. I got a few donations and then it leveled off, our event was not well attended. It was a tough year in many respects for fundraising. So after it was obvious I would not have very many names, I opened it up to people who wanted to honor someone just by having me put their names on the card.

In the meantime I had selected a girl to get the quilt on the recommendation of a woman who has a local Cancer Support group.  Ivy had leukemia and had been battling hard. She had lost the use of her legs as a result of the treatment.

By the time we delivered this quilt to Ivy I had over 600 names on the card. The family was touched, Ivy was delighted and I sat back and wondered what would happen to the quilt and this little girl. A while ago the mother sent me an email to let me know, Ivy goes to sleep with her hand on the power point ( the place with the circles join ). When they say their prayers at night she thanks a couple of people each night for her quilt.

And now this year...
I have become a part of the 3 day family. This happens when you give your heart to this cause, ending Breast Cancer. You come to know people across the country who share the same passion. This year there is a 6 year old girl, her name in McKenzie who is battling Brain Cancer. She is the niece of one of my 3 day friends. There was a group started by my friend Kristina called "Packages of Love for McKenzie". Since McKenzie will be getting treatments for the next year, the idea was to gather gifts to give her and her little brother TJ to ease the fear and pain they would be going through. I knew immediately who I wanted to receive the quilt.

After hearing about McKenzie and the kind of a big sister she is to her brother TJ, I wanted to gather as much power as I could to pack into this quilt. I read that she liked purple. Her favorite star is Justin Beiber. She loves to draw. I returned again to my favorite quilt shop to look for patterns. (I was also buying a pattern for my first grand baby's quilt and had my daughter and son in law in tow). I picked a pattern for the number of pieces and the brightness I felt it gave and decided to change the pink to pink and purples. I brought the pattern home and selected my online materials (slightly under $200 worth) and began my marathon sewing session to finish the quilt top.

 I created an online group 2103 Warrior Quilt, and invited around 400 people to help me add the power. So far we have had a few donations, I hope many more follow. But I really want to load the card with names. So I have favors to ask of you.

1. Spread the word. Invite people to join the group on Facebook - or simply respond to this post.

2. Donate in the name/s of your warriors (survivors, fighters and angels) - The money goes to my two 2013 walks to end Breast Cancer in SF and Atlanta. or donate via PayPal to or a check by mail written to Susan G Komen 3 Day. sent to Cathy Youngling 32 Miller Ave. Mill Valley CA 94941

3. HELP me name the quilt!

Make sure you give me names. First names are fine or full names are fine. The first two names on my list are Olivia and Ivy. Let's make this quilt a powerful purple passionate piece of love.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Report on 2012 and looking ahead to 2013

Last year around this time, I set myself a three word goal for the new year. 1. Grow 2. Mentor 3. Thrive

I am pleased to report I think I had a modicum of success in all three categories. Of course as these things go, not always as I expected. There were surprises at every turn.

MENTOR: Business wise well, it was a good year. Myriam and I for the year were the #1 team/agent in Mill Valley. That is largely due to Myriam, who I have had the privilege of working with in a "senior" realtor type role. The goal was always to be equal partners in due time. Well, Myriam is kicking serious Real Estate butt. She is the main reason why I was able to walk 2 walks last year and stalk the DC walk. Without her at the helm while I was away, I wouldn't have been able to afford to do much of it. She has been there when I spent time with my father (who is ill). I am very proud of the Realtor she has become. I am hoping the next year will continue with the excellent partnership and some solid business.

For the 3 day I hope I helped shepherd the way for a couple of new 3 day walkers. Leslie and Patty Williamson were walking for the first time. The brave new world of the 3 day can seem quite intimidating. Just thinking of 60 miles in 3 days can make some sane people break out in sweat and dread. I know I had a great time walking with them. Leslie and I share a bond of being survivors and I felt it was a gift to help her embrace her own survival.

GROW:  Each and every new experience calls on us to examine ourselves and go a little further than we ever expected. For me 2012 held many lessons. Lessons in patience and tenacity. Lessons in trust in myself and others. This year showed me that each of us has a story to tell and in telling that story we can make a difference. The gift of being able to speak at the SF 3 day this year will be one that I will treasure not just for the voice it gave me, but the message I wanted to share. If that message made a difference in one life, I am beyond thrilled. I am fulfilled. I was truly blessed to be able to test myself this way.

I've tested myself to explore sewing and made a ton of things that became auction items or gifts. It made me remember high school when I got a D in sewing (so horrible a seamstress I was). I taught myself how to piece together a slide show with music that lasted over 45 minutes for our event. I taught myself that sometimes being able to do it all doesn't mean you should do it all, as this year wore out a lot of people not just me at our movie event (not very well attended).

I learned that when you are faced with the mortality of a parent, it doesn't matter much whether you fought with that parent your whole life, you feel unnerved. I was reminded again why being married to Glenn was one of the smartest moves of my life, as he supported me through all the family crisis and my 3 day adventures.

THRIVE: I definitely did that this year. I lived a bountiful life full of friends and little Purchase kids. I was able to celebrate our youngest daughter's birthday and meet the man in her life. I spoke at Adobe and the 3 day. I walked 120 miles during 2 events and over 585 in training walks. I was blessed to find out I will be a grand mother in 2013. We were able to celebrate the news with family and friends this Christmas. I was able to walk on a beach with the love of my life and watch a sunset disappear behind a vast ocean. My doctor told me I have the lungs of a 24 year old and there is no sign of Cancer ever knocking on my door again. I have thrived. I am blessed.


What three things do I want to find in 2013.
HEALTH : My father's illness and Glenn's father's illness and age has made me think more about my own health. I am proud I have been able to incorporate walking into my life, but I am not as healthy as I would want to be. I find myself anxious at times about that. As with most of the things we are not content with in our lives I realize I can change some if not all of this anxiousness by taking action. I am also well aware that weight for me has been a struggle since I was young. (My Mother, bless her heart, took me to a weight doctor the first time when I was 6 years old.  I have a love hate relationship with food (and drink for that matter).

I worry at times that I am getting forgetful. I am told this is pretty common as we age, but it does worry me, perhaps because my father is showing signs of dementia. I want to in the new year explore ways to keep myself sharp and "with it" as I age.

JOY: As I look at the approaching birth of our granddaughter I want to be able to fully embrace the joy that comes with this blessed event. My own mother was able to hold only one of her grandchildren in her arms before she died from Cancer in 1977. I know how lucky I am to have lived as long as I have, because I will have this incredible moment to live when Allison and Chris' daughter is born. I want in the New Year to be able to spend time with them while I can.

I want to spend time with my husband and enjoy life. Together we have an incredible marriage, but more than that we have a deep and treasured friendship as well. In 2013 we both will be turning 60 years old. I think it is time we celebrate all year long with enormous smiles on our faces.

PROSPERITY: I am well aware that in order to do anything else, our financial lives need to be on firm ground. For me to spend time away with my family or walking in 2 more 3 days, I need to spend time nurturing our business. It helps after so many years to be someone people think about calling when they are selling a home. The years I spent and the success I've had should certainly make this goal easier to attain. I love Real Estate when I work with great people (99% have been GREAT people). It makes me truly happy to find a home for someone they have always dreamt of. It gives me satisfaction to help them sell it when it is time. Referrals are the return for the investment in time I have made in the past. I hope you will remember I SELL REAL ESTATE in MARIN COUNTY! You can refer anyone to me you think I could help. But also remember I know great agents everywhere so be sure to ask if you are looking for someone out of my area.

So my friends if you have any ideas of how to help me reach these goals - give me a holler. I know 2013 is going to be a remarkable year for all of us.

On New Years Day I did spend time with my friends and hsuband on our boat Hazardous Waste. We drank Champagne and sailed under the Golden Gate to toast the New Year. Here are a few pictures of our first outting of 2013!

On Board were, Chuck and Stefanie, Wren and Tim, Glenn and me and Patti and John. It was a chilly sparkly clear day - A great way to kick off the year.