“I long to be wrapped in the arms of a friend, where my soul can rest and my heart can mend.  Lord, thank you for knowing just who to send.”

More than twenty years ago, I was invited to join a few women who got together to quilt on a Sunday afternoon.  I had no idea what to expect, I just remember how sincere and sweet the invitation was and I longed for creativity, longed for the fellowship.  Barbara and Linda – two very different women but with arms outstretched and hearts so big, I couldn’t resist.

Too many days have passed to remember each detail of the more than twenty years we’ve been quilting together…but that’s okay because my heart is full with memories that have blurred together and have created a sea of joy that I can submerge into when I need to be refreshed.

Through the years, I have been blessed beyond measure by this sweet group of women.  Their unique personalities, generous spirit, creativity and friendship has lifted me and often carried me through the highs and lows of life.  We’ve held each other up as we raised our families, prayed for our children, our husbands, our parents and moved gracefully from one life stage to another.  I’ve learned about living…about sacrifice…about beauty…about unconditional love!

These women, my dear friends, have been a reliable and comforting source of refuge where I have come for rest…guidance…wisdom…to cry and to laugh…knowing I’m accepted for who I am when I’m at my best and when I’m at my worst.

And now as I face this new journey, they are right here by my side.  Steadfast and constant. With notes to lift me, packages of good cheer, hugs to comfort and love to share.

This does not surprise me…but they are still able to surprise me!  And they did so this week by blessing me with an absolutely fabulous quilt.

I feel the love that went into every detail…the bold color I’m craving now…bright orange and blue fish organized in an artistic and charming design…perfect rows of interesting blocks and fabulous fabric…teensy ½ inch half square triangles pieced perfectly into the blocks…hand stitched binding… “love and hope” quilted into the design.

I hear it was quite a collaboration…sneaking into my fabric stash for some “fighting, ferocious, fish”… cutting, packaging and coordinating the design details…stitching it all together on our retreat without letting on…and without me catching on…all this makes it even more special to me!

I have been wrapped in it from the moment I was given it!  It makes me smile, keeps me warm and will be a source of comfort and cheer as I journey through the difficult days ahead.

To the remarkable women in my life…you are a blessing to me…and I love you…thank you for being my friends!