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MrsBadger's quilt, basted for quilting.  The handstitching of the binding is about to begin.  We should be shipping the finished quilt on Wednesday.

TrueBlueMajority has been suffering for some years now of an abiding grief after the death of her mother.  She has written about this very touchingly in The Grieving Room many times.  After one quilt diary, the beautiful, supportive messages that came in were very healing for our friend -- and although we have 56 messages (certainly enough to make a quilt) I just know that if I did not post a follow up, there would be people who would regret not participating.  For our TrueBlueMajority is very beloved...  And this is working, dear community.  The emotional support of your kind and loving words is helping this beautiful woman.

UPDATE:  For the number of messages we have, we are caught up on donations.  I will keep this updated!

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I've had a miserable couple of days -- I caught the bug that has been going around and was bedridden all day yesterday.  And I didn't feel much better when I learned that my governor, Oregon Governor Kitzhaber, is resigning.

He is popular.  He's done a great job.  I, for one, think the great health care we are getting in Oregon is to this governor's credit.  But sometimes a good public servant has a blind spot when it comes to relationships.  And this resignation is happening because Gov. Kitzhaber's fiancee is perceived to have crossed some ethical lines.  Not Kitzhaber himself -- his fiancee.

And to think, this love story gone bad (for the public, that is) is happening right before Valentine's Day.

So many things have gone right in our fair State, this is kind of hard to stomach.

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Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 05:06 PM PST

Community Quilt for TrueBlueMajority

by Sara R

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Detail from Yasuragi's quilt

UPDATE: We are doing well on messages but are behind $261 for the number we currently have.

If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting TrueBlueMajority in person, you know that she has about her a vibrant aura of pure, unconditional love.  Her smile has the warmth of a beautiful summer day, and her voice is soft and sweet, drawing you in to listen.  She is a minister by profession, a perfect vocation for someone who projects such nurturing love along with humility and grace.  Immediately upon meeting her, one is struck with the fact that she is a radiantly beautiful human being.  Knowing this is how she is, it seems so sad, so wrong, so upside-down and in-side-out that TrueBlueMajority carries within her a deep, abiding grief that has held her in a tight grip for over eight years, ever since her mother died.  And it hurts her terribly, this grief, to the point of sobbing.  She writes about this pain often in The Grieving Room on Monday nights.  This past Monday, she wrote this:

I have been struggling mightily.  After going quite a while without one, I have had three crying spells in the last nine days.  I know that's not very often compared to the people whose grief is new.  But I was honestly beginning to feel like I was getting past the gut-wrenching tears stage, so this feels like a real backslide.  I am embarrassed to still be crying like this after this many years.  Even though I would never say this to anyone else about their grief, I feel like mine being so stretched out is a sign of my essential brokenness.

I fear my whole life is being defined by grief.  By what I lost.  By what I don't have.  By what I only had for a short time before illness took her from me.  By all the years of estrangement from my mom that I still blame myself for, even though my reasons at the time made sense.

In recent days my heart has been feeling very tender.  Triggers I used to be able to brush off are cutting more deeply all of a sudden.  A casual word.  A song on the radio.  A scene from a movie.  Glimpsing my face in a mirror.

People talk a lot about their immune systems during cold and flu season.  I wonder if there is an emotional immune system, and I have depleted it by shutting myself up in my apartment during this string of cold and stormy days.

If we, as a community, put our arms around this remarkable woman and tell her how much we love her, it cannot but help her heal.  Part of the pain she suffers is a feeling of being alone in this persistent grief.  Perhaps we can beef up her "emotional immune system" and give her heart the space and support it needs to heal.  We can put our loving words in a community quilt that will be a constant reminder of how much TBM is loved and appreciated.  Any time she wraps up in it, she will know we care deeply about her and wish her deep comfort and inner peace.
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Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 03:48 PM PST

1/30/15 Koscadia Meet Up Photos

by Sara R

Event banner for Koscadia Kossacks
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Clockwise from front, War4Sale (back of head), Sheila, slampros, watercarrier4diogenes, llbear, ozsea1, loggersbrat, quill, pdxteacher

We had a lovely meal together yesterday.  The mood was a bit somber as we thought of our absent friend, Cedwyn.  The news of Cedwyn's death did not come until afterwards.

At our lunch, I received a special gift from ericlewis0 intended for both me and Ann, wrapped and framed by llbear.  It was the original artwork for the Animal Nuz cartoon of Catwyn receiving her quilt.  You can see it in the background of this picture, of me, watercarrier4diogenes (framed art is right by his shoulder), and llbear. (The photo is by quill.)

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Poll

Is Saturday or Sunday afternoon better for the February Meet Up?

26%4 votes
13%2 votes
60%9 votes

| 15 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 05:00 PM PST

Kitchen Table Kibitzing, 1/30/15

by Sara R

What would you like to talk about this evening?

Let us open the floor for anything...

I was going to write about some favorite mystery series on Internet TV, but somehow do not have the heart for it.  Like many of you, my thoughts are with our friend, Cedwyn.  It is good to know that she is comfortable now, in a medicated sleep, and not in pain. The most physically painful part of her journey is done, thanks to hospice's care.  

I've been thinking about all the gifts Cedwyn has given us...among them generous helpings of laughter, smiles, hugs, and permission to all to enjoy one another's company.  Now, as she lies in her last bed, she is still giving us that gift of community good will  Look at what has happened -- friends traveling to see her from all parts of the country, some friends meeting for the first time, a land speed record for a community quilt (start to finish), and now plans for a community gift to Cedwyn's family (more on that from MsSpentyouth very soon).  We are still coming together because of Cedwyn and her example to us all.

Let's never stop.  Never.  We can do this for her.

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Cedwyn's quilt, "Butterfly Woman"

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Tue Jan 27, 2015 at 05:05 PM PST

Community Quilt for MrsBadger, round 2

by Sara R

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Cedwyn's quilt -- it is a big one!

MrsBadger is the widow of badger, a longtime kossack and member of the Monday Night Cancer Club.  Cancer stole him from her side in July and her grief has been bottomless ever since.  We are here tonight to gather the last messages and funds for a community quilt for her, something she can gather around herself to remind her that she has community support, all over this country, something she can cry into, something that will provide her with some rest for her hurting heart.

We are short 3 messages for this quilt.

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Tue Jan 20, 2015 at 05:22 PM PST

Koscadia 1/31 meet up

by Sara R

Event banner for Koscadia Kossacks
WHEN: Saturday, 1/31, 1pm
WHERE: Siri Thai, 5234 SE Powell Blvd., Portland, OR 97206
WHO:  We hope you!  Please let me know in the comments if you can come -- or send me a Kos Mail.
Attending
1.  Sara R
2.  also mom of 5
3.  llbear
4.   loggersbrat
5.  Angie in WA State
6.  ozsea1
7.  pdxteacher
8.  quill
9.  Kit RMP
10.  Ozawa
11. slampros
12. slampros' spouse
13. War4Sale

Maybees
watercarrier4diogenes
Drewid
justiceputnam

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Betty

As you all probably know, Ann and I had a rough day yesterday.  We had our lovely little Basement Cat, Betty, put down.  I tell you, we just cried and cried.

And the early part of the week was a physical and emotional challenge, as well, as we turned out a large community quilt for Cedwyn in record time.  We were so glad to have accomplished that task!  But we are both still catching up on sleep and fending off a cold.  And while making Cedwyn's quilt, we missed the memorial service for another dear friend, Mark Lewis, who died suddenly in early December from a blood clot after a minor surgery.  Here, the fickle finger of fate had a little synchronicity going on for us, for Mark was one of the emcees of the Faerieworld festivals that Cedwyn adores attending -- and she knew him, too.  We knew that Mark would have wanted us to get her quilt done -- that was a no brainer -- but still, all the connections seemed to be kind of numinous in feeling, if you know what I mean.

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Mark Lewis as the emcee of the Pirate Festival in Portland, OR

That leads me to a general topic for conversation for tonight -- how do you take care of yourself when fate hands you things that can make you blue or stressed?  All of us can use tips in that department, I am sure.  Life is what it is and challenges will always be there.  Where we can improve things is not in avoiding challenges (they will always find you!) but in finding some inner equilibrium to ride them out with better balance.

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Thu Jan 15, 2015 at 04:36 PM PST

Catnip Manor is in Mourning

by Sara R

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Betty, in better days, not so long ago

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Betty, recently.  Her kidneys had been failing and she was not comfortable anymore.

Rest in peace, my darling girl.  We will miss you so much.  It is a day for crying.

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From L to R, watercarrier4diogenes, BOHICA, Ojibwa -- photo by navajo

The last Sunday in December, we had a potluck meetup with Ojibwa and navajo as special guests.  It was held at my home and was catered by -- all of us!  This was a special event for us because Ojibwa held a pipe ceremony and blessed several community quilts.  More pics below the orange squiggle-doo...  All photos are by navajo.

Poll

Venue for 1/31 meet up, would you prefer:

77%7 votes
11%1 votes
11%1 votes

| 9 votes | Vote | Results

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Table with yellow teapot and cloth embroidered with blue flowers

It is a whole new year!  I don't know about you, but Ann and I have determined that 2015 is going to be much, MUCH better than last year.  We're envisioning good fortune -- and a big part of inviting good fortune into one's life is:

GRATITUDE

Yup, expressing thankfulness tells our ever-loving Universe that you liked its gifts and would love to have more, please!  Also, it puts you in a better, more receptive frame of mind.

Personally, I like to think of a few things I am thankful for each night, before I fall asleep.  But there are other approaches.  I saw a New Year's thing on Facebook that looked like a nice practice, so I will share it here.

1.  Find a nice, big jar or box.
2.  Label it "2015 - Gratitude".
3.  When you have something to be grateful for, whether it be something beautiful you saw, a kindness from a friend, a fun experience, whatever!...write it on a slip of paper and put it in the jar.
4.  On New Year's Eve, open the jar and regale yourself with all the good things, large and small, that happened in 2015.

Sometimes we forget the little things that make us happy -- but they are always there to be found, even in the worst of times.  Good fortune, everyone!  All year long!

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Thu Jan 01, 2015 at 05:02 PM PST

Community Quilt for Cedwyn

by Sara R

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PerfectStormer's quilt

I have some very sad news.  Our friend, Cedwyn, has an illness with a poor prognosis.  She's been through a couple rounds of treatment and is now resting with family.  Needless to say, the whole experience has been devastating for her and she has been shy about letting people know because when they ask questions, she finds it very upsetting.  Please don't call her with questions -- just give her your love -- it is what she really needs to get through this.  Tonight, we are going to put our focus on sending Cedwyn lots of love and support and visualizing her in the bloom of health.  She has, at her core, that effervescent, vital energy that makes any gathering of which she is a part sparkle -- and no illness is going to change that.  So let's make a quilt of bright colors and loving words for Cedwyn and celebrate this bright and beautiful woman.  In this way, we can be a big help as she fights for her health.

UPDATE: We have 86 messages and are $15 ahead on donations, thank you!!

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