Click here to find out.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dollars and blankets and quilts, oh MY!

Look what my boys did today:

They wrote a note to Matthew Blanchard on their own hand made cards and slipped him $1. Even Lulu did it, cept she slipped him a $5.

Even my twin's friend, who was here at the time, pulled a $1 out of his pocket and said, "Can I do it too?"

How sweet it was.

And then I sent him a magic blanket.

So excited. Just can't hide it.

You can still join the dollar drive and send $1 to Matthew at 8444 Brody Marsh Ave/Las Vegas, Nevada/89143. Just think, if 1,000 people send a dollar, Matthew will have smiled 1,ooo times. And I've heard somewhere that 1,ooo smiles are as powerful as pixie dust.

Click here if you want to find out more about Matthew.

If you read my post yesterday on my CTD Diaries, you'll also know that I made and delivered three more magic blankets to three little boys who have a very sick daddy. You can read all about it and see photographic evidence here.

And you can read about the sick daddy here.

If you are interested in banging out some magic blankets yourself, let me just say it's SOOO dang easy. All you need is 1 yard of fleece, preferably no-pill because it's so forgiving, and 1/4 yard of a coordinating solid color to tie up the loose ends.

Lay the fleece out flat and on both ends cut strips--1 inch wide and 5 inches long--all the way across each end of the blanket.

Next cut 1 inch wide, 5 inch long strips out of the solid coordinating color.

Tie a solid strip around each strip (aka loose end) on the blanket.

Viola! You're done!

And finally, guess what? Kritta's done it again. She made another Magic Quilt with all the original fabric contributed by the people. And for the people. And of the people.

Ain't it gorgeous!? Mahalo, Kritta.

I'll be back to expound very soon, so don't touch that dial.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Magical Money for Matthew

I need to spew forth a Magic Quilt update before I explode into a thousand tiny pieces. So many, many things to share, which I have neglected to share because I've been pounding the pavement trying to win myself a job.

Win or lose, this job race helped refuel my Magic Quilt fire. Plus I've made a few new friends and reconnected with a few old friends who have turned out to be Magic Quilt muses.

One of them is Dana. I only recently met her but she's been a huge supporter of my SAM-e Good Mood Blogger gig efforts and organized a voting tree with 60 of her most amazing friends.

Turns out she also makes fleece quilts. For friends. In need. (That's probably why she has so many amazing friends.) She has made 45 quilts within the last two years.

Her son made 100 fleece lap blankets for his Eagle project and donated them to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. (Apples don't fall far from their trees.)

(Hmmm . . . my son needs a great idea for his Eagle project too . . .)

Dana got her inspiration for the fleece blankets when her own world was tipped by a medical condition.

After years of medical challenges her husband was diagnosed with Amyloidosis. It's not cancer, but he had to go through Chemotherapy in 2008, plus undergo a stem cell transplant. While in the hospital Dana was given a little fleece blanket, which she and her husband kept on their laps for a month as they went through one of the most difficult challenges of their lives.

Since then Dana has been spreading comfort and cheer to friends in need in the form of what I like to call magic fleece quilts. The quilts are a little different than the blankets. They are twice the size of the blankets and have two layers of fleece, plus batting.

I went to her house last week to go shopping for fleece and learn how to make the quilts and guess what? She surprised me with a quilt of my very own. Me!

And guess what else? My fleece quilt has a twin.

These hands belong to Dana's friend and neighbor who is just like me. A mom. A wife. A daughter. A friend. The only difference is she has a brain tumor and she is almost done with her mission here on earth.

I've always wanted a twin and am deeply honored to share her magic fleece quilt. I will do my best to live up to the responsibility I feel to create a place of refuge and bring comfort to those who are suffering, sad and scared.

And GOSH DARNIT, there are too too many.

We have a lot of work to do.

So Dana took me shopping for fleece at Joann's Fabric. We filled two carts.

I've always said that addiction is BAD, unless you're addicted to oatmeal or IKEA furniture, but fleece is SUPER addicting. If you HAVE to get addicted to something, fleece is a good choice.

We picked out this fabric for a little boy named Matthew Blanchard.

He loves sports, but he can't play them anymore because he contracted a virus which led to chronic Lymphocytic Myocarditis.

Don't you hate big words that make you sick? It's just wrong. And it's just wrong that a 12-year-old boy can't play sports. I have two 12-year-old boys who love sports so I know what I'm talking about.

DeNae Handy, over at My Real Life was Backordered created a foundation for Matthew because not only can big words make you sick, they can make you poor too.

If you click on this button, you can grab a button of your own and post it on your blog. And so on and so on and so on. Plus you can read all about Matthew and make a donation on his behalf. (Don't tell my husband, but I made one when I only had $75 in my bank account.)


Dana gave me another good idea--something she did a few years ago for a friend who's little boy, Spencer got cancer. Yes, she made him a magic fleece quilt . . .

but she also started a dollar drive for him--she told all of her friends to slip $1 into an envelope and send it to Spencer.

Imagine a young, sick boy getting all of these letters in the mail.

And then imagine him opening each envelope and finding a $1 bill. It would be just like Harry Potter. (I bet that's where J.K. Rowlings got the idea.)

They would be like magic dollars.

I was thinking we could do that for Matthew.

It would be like magical money. For Matthew. I bet that would really brighten his Christmas season.

Okay, so you know how you're busy stuffing envelopes with Christmas cards right now? Would you mind adding Matthew Blanchard to your list? It will only take a sec to slip a $1 bill into it.

And tell all of your friends, okay.

His address is:

Matthew Blanchard
8444 Brody Marsh Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89143


By the way, Spencer is completely cancer free now. He's been cured!

Just sayin'.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A moment of silence, and the 2nd magic quilt

Sometimes I think the most magical thing about The Magic Quilt are the relationships forged through the suffering and the compassion. The reaching in and the reaching out. I feel so thankful to be making new magic connections on a regular basis, and it only strenghtens my resolve to reach further and dig deeper. One thing I've learned from this is that EVERYONE has a story. And everyone needs a story. Please share yours and help us heal the world, one quilt at at time.

When I first started this project I wanted the magic to save people. Make them all better. Now I see that people don't need to be saved. They need to be comforted. We cannot decide who lives or dies, but we can decide to lend a hand in carrying the burdens and easing the suffering of those who live and die.

The magic quilt has exceeded my expectations by every stretch of my imagination. I never dreamed it would come to mean so much to so many so quickly. If you're new to this blog and don't know the story of Stan and Lila, this post and this post will help you understand them better.

I am deeply honored that I was allowed to be a small part of their journey. MAHALO!

Allow me to share an email I received after Stan's passing from a girl named Corinne, who knows Stan and Lila.


I need you to know how much that quilt meant to Lila and Stan. When I first arrived at their home, Stan had passed about an hour earlier. The quilt was still on him, then, and was on him until the funeral home came and my husband and Tom helped them carry him to the car. Lila showed me different parts of it, told the stories and showed me, in quiet whispers, the names that had been sewn into it. OH the spirit was there. I am telling you. THANK YOU for the balm you handed to my friends.



I also found this beautiful poem/post on Corrine's blog
Littlest Bird.

in the home where someone has passed away

after a long illness,

there is a blanket of peace.

it is made by the weight of an amazing life lived,

and by the strength of the people who

stood by bedsides

held hands

stroked foreheads

administered relief

pulled up blankets

taped cheerfully drawn pictures on the wall

told stories

and remembered.

remembered and remembered about life

before cancer.

hugs are tighter, then, in that home,

where the loved one is lying still on his bed,

his spirit released from the prison of his

ailing body.

it's as spiritual as the feeling in the temple, or the most

sacred place you can imagine.

feelings are raw but that rawness is absorbed

in a love that chimes with selflessness.

and when you look into the eyes of the woman who has lost

her companion of thirty-five years,

you KNOW

you KNOW

that God was watching over her

as she helped her husband

pass from this life

to the next

and that He will continue to be with her

as she waits to be with him



And finally I want to show you the 2nd magic quilt, thanks to April from Springrose Journals. She made a mini magic quilt for a young girl named Riley who was recently diagnosed with stage four spinal cancer. I really love this quilt because it is so happy. So very happy. And cheery. Springrose, did you put Mighty Man Adam's fuzzy blanket on the back?

Springrose! This whole design made my eyeballs completely sweaty! MAHALO Springrose! BIG HUGS! Look at me surrounded by Don and Stan and Lila and Mighty Man Adam. That's the closest I've ever felt to being queen for a day. ;)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Aloha Oe

Yesterday, October 7th, our first Magic Quilt recipient, Stan completed his journey here on earth and returned home.

The day before he passed Amanda sent me an email that poured chicken soup all over my soul. I printed it and shared with all of my kids before they went to bed. I have shared it below. When I awoke the next morning there was another email waiting for me from Amanda. This time telling me that Stan was done with his suffering.

I can't really describe how I feel to have been apart of this process in some small way. I feel completely honored that the Magic Quilt led me to Stan and Lila. They are two of the most beautiful people I have ever met.

Aloha Oe Stan, safe passage.

And please remember your promise to say hello to my dad for me.

Email from Amanda:

I just wanted to take a minute and share something with you. I had a prompting to stop in to see Stan and Lila today, then I ignored it. I drove right past their street and my chest felt like someone just sat on me and I felt as if I were nearly possessed, as I didn't feel like myself. I promptly made a u-turn at the very next light, just a few hundred yards past their street. I instantly felt calm and knew that I shouldn't have talked myself out of following that initial prompting.

When I knocked on the door, Lila greeted me with the most welcoming smile. She is so beautiful and sweet and precious and there are not enough adjectives to begin to describe how amazing she is. She explained that her sister came to stay with her and how grateful she was that she arrived on Monday because Stan fell Tuesday night and she could not get him up alone. She then asked me to go see Stan. I declined, the 4 kids were screaming in the car. She said, "Just go hold his hand." How could I refuse?

I knew immediately that things weren't good, I mean, we've known the cancer was terminal, we've known he would get to each of these stages, but reading it, thinking it, even hearing it doesn't prepare you for seeing it. I couldn't help the tears that filled my eyes and my heart wept, also. Lila stood over him so lovingly, smiling constantly and adoring another opportunity to gaze upon him. I called his name, placed my hand upon his hand and looked into his peaceful eyes.

He can no longer talk and it's been 3 or 4 days since he's had any type of nourishment. His time left here is short, the veil is certainly thin. However sad that reality may seem to us, he is between two worlds and has the comfort of sight beyond ours. He is okay, he is at peace. Stan and Lila's sons were planning to come in for the weekend, but Lila had encouraged them to change their plans as Stan may not make it to the weekend. Lila is doing better than I could ever hope to be in a situation such as hers. She continues to tell people how graceful Stan has gone through all of this, but really she has shown tremendous grace, as well. And the love she showers him with and the attention she pours into him allows him to be so graceful during this truly difficult time.

Let me step back a few paces to when Lila introduced me to her sister. She said, "This is Amanda, you know Amanda...." Her sister teared up and rushed to my side to hug me and through all the tears and arms she said, "Thank you." She was thanking me for the Magic Quilt project. The quilt has made a tremendous impact on this family. Lila went on to explain to me that Stan always has the quilt with him. When he was able to sit in his chair, the quilt came with him. When he went to bed, the quilt traveled there, too. I know the quilt is seeing the beginning of its innumerable days of comforting others. And as this first chapter of the quilt's life is coming to a close, I believe the second chapter may open while being wrapped around Lila's shoulders in the weeks to come. There is love in every square of fabric and blessings in every stitch of its magical seams. Once again, I cannot thank you enough for birthing this project and allowing so many of us to share in your dream of sending magical love around the world. I wish everyone could feel the magic quilt in action, it is a beautiful thing!

With Love,


Friday, September 24, 2010


I've been reading Lila's blog with updates on Stan today, and sweet Springrose wrote a beautiful comment of comfort in reply to yesterday's post. You must go read it.

Springrose is making two magic quilts, one for a child and one for an adult. The child is a four year old girl in her ward who was diagnosed with stage 4 spinal cancer last night.

Let us all keep her family in our prayers. What devastating news.

She immediately started on the quilt and will finish it and deliver it to the hospital today.

I stand all amazed.

I love this magic quilt project and feel so grateful for all of you who have donated fabric, time, stories and support to it. I can feel the comfort growing and I hope someday it will bring comfort to many many many more.


LY everyone!


P.S There are more stories on the way.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Super Grover and Mighty Man Adam

Aloha my magic quilt peeps. I am so excited (and touched) today because Stan and Lila, the first recipients of the first magic quilt, sent fabric to Springrose to include in the second magic quilt.

Doesn't it just give you chicken skin?

The blue fabric represents their four sons and the striped fabric is cut from one of Stan's shirts. Stan turned 6o years old last week. Read this short and simple, but sweet post about how Lila celebrated with him.

I'm also extremely excited (and extremely touched) by our next contribution. It's from Janna of Mighty Man Adam and Susan, from Susan's Scribble. I met Susan through Melanie J. at the LDS Storymaker's Conference last May. We sat by each other at dinner and instantly connected because she's a darling, and, if I'm not mistaken, she is a soon-to-be-published-author.

Meet Adam, Susan's nephew:

Susan wrote a post about him entitled Mighty Man Adam. I asked her if I could share the story with my magic quilt peeps and she immediately said YES and then asked her sister-in-law, Janna about donating some fabric for our 2nd magic quilt. I received the following email from Janna yesterday:

I'm touched by what you are doing. It was these acts of kindness that really helped us not feel so alone. The fact that you are creating a gift with meaning is really something special. I'm excited to be apart of it. I told Adam that we had to send part of (one of the three) his blanket and I asked him to choose which one it would be. I told him we are going to send it to a lady who is going to use it to make a nice, warm blanket for sick kiddos or grown-ups. He is really excited to send it to you!

Here's some of the story. Adam was Dx'd with Leukemia in March 2008. I won't go in to much detail simply because Susan covered it very well. We were in treatment for 5 1/2 months, having received five rounds of chemotherapy. Because of the nature of his illness, Adam was not able to go home right after he received his chemo. He could not get shots that would help him regenerate white blood cells (other kids were able to do that and them go home within a few days) because his cancer was his white blood cells. Anyway, we were there for what seemed like forever. Finally, we were discharged for good in September 2008 and sent home with a follow-up plan. When we left, I knew we had not seen the last of the leukemia and he was most likely going to relapse. At first, I tried to dismiss it as paranoia, but the feeling never went away. So when he developed a fever with no other symptoms in June of 2009, I immediately took him to the doc for a CBC. They called me that night with a white blood cell count of 57,000. I knew he had relapsed.

Between the first and second cycles of treatment, I took Adam to Target one day to find a blanket of his own. He had been bugging his older brother a lot by stealing his all the time. As we were walking through the bedding aisle, Adam pointed to the red fuzzy blanket and said, "Super Grover covers" (he was just barely two). I guess it looked like the cape that Super Grover wears and he liked that. So we bought it. When he relapsed and we were back in the hospital, I quickly learned that one blanket was not enough. He would throw up on it or get it messy when changing his diaper, etc. So I went back to target and bought two more red ones and a green one. Every time my husband and I would switch places, I would bring in the clean ones, and would take the dirty ones home when I left. During the second course of treatment, Adam was never without his "Super Grover covers". They went everywhere with him–to surgery, to the cafeteria, to the playroom... Next to myself, these blankets were his one consolation.

I decided to send you a part of one as our contribution. Hopefully, it will be what you need. I am also including a picture of Adam with his "Super Grover covers" at the beginning of the second course of treatment. I thought this one was appropriate because it shows the blanket "in action", so to speak.


I am also including Susan's Story below. Mahalo Susan and Janna. And much love and aloha to Adam.

When my brother and sister-in-law brought Adam down to the farm for the first time, when he was tiny and brand new, I remember thinking what an adorable baby he was. He had a dimple and was so goodnatured. I wanted to hold him lots, and I did. As he grew he was still enchanting and darling. But then things changed. He wasn't so good natured anymore--he cried and whined and kept them up at night, and I think his mom wondered what had happened to her angel. Months passed and it got worse. And worse. And worse and worse. The weekend before their world was flipped upside down, my whole family was down at the farm. I can't remember much about the weekend. I don't even know why we were there. I only remember that Adam was miserable. His mom said he wouldn't walk, and he'd been that way for a few weeks. She or my brother had to carry him everywhere. He didn't want any of us to hold him, only her. And he was washed out, lethargic and running a low grade fever. Something was definitely wrong. His mom had been taking him to specialists for months, trying to figure this thing out, but no one could.

I think my sister-in-law decided she'd had enough, and she took matters into her own hands. Something had been nagging at her for so long, but she was feeling helpless, I think. So she turned to the internet. One by one she googled his symptoms (brilliant girl) and slowly her nagging turned to panic. Every search had one scenario in common. Leukemia. And then she knew.

She calls my brother on the phone to tell him. Adam is flown by helicopter to the hospital.

I'm sitting at home, making dinner and the phone rings. It's brother Number Three. Usually he's so cheery when he calls and sings out one of his usual greetings like "Hey, Suzie Boozie." But this time he was solemn. He cuts right to the point. "They found out what's wrong with Adam. He has leukemia."

A big gasp and then "No," escapes my lungs. And then I'm crying because I know. I know what's coming. Fear. Fear like they've never experienced. This is not the first time I've seen cancer first hand. The last time, it took my brother in law who wasn't yet thirty, leaving my sister in law widowed with three kids. Number 3 tells me that Brother Number 1 met them at the hospital (I've never been so glad they live kind of close) and he said they were not doing well. I can picture them crumbling, terrified. I'll be honest--I wonder what they'll do if Adam doesn't make it, and then I shove that thought out of my head. I can't even think it. I know how much they love him, because I'm a mom, and I can't stand to even think what that would be like for them. I can't stand to think of my brother and his wife sobbing in that hospital while I stand there and cook for my three healthy kids. And I'm too far away to help them. And I hope they know how much I love them. It's not fair.

I gather my kids and my husband and I tell them the news. My kids prayed everyday for their cousin-probably five times a day. When we visited Adam a few months back my second son is asked to give the blessing on the food. He's only six so his prayers are pretty much the same every time. He has a list he's ticking off in his head. Please help Dad to graduate. Help mom to get her book published. Help us to be a forever family. And in this case, please bless the food. He opens his mouth to say one last thing and I hold my breath. Please don't let Adam die. My son doesn't even blink. He doesn't realize he just said that in front of Adam and his family. My eyes fly open and flash to my sister in law. Her eyes are glistening and she thanks Cole. She is touched. I exhale.

Back to the story.

Adam went through chemo. His older brother was tested as a bone marrow donor, and we all prayed he would be a match since he had the best chance. He wasn't a match. We all volunteered to be tested and my sister in law said we could, but the chances of any of us being a match were very slim. They move into the Ronald McDonald house next to the hospital (with a four year old in tow) for six months, switching off to be with Adam every couple of days. Can you even imagine what it would be like to not leave the hospital for more than a handful of days in that entire time? But then it's finally over and they return home. But the fear doesn't leave and less than a year later, the leukemia returns.

I believe I was making dinner again when I got that call. My mom called that time. She was steady as always, not crying, because she almost never cries in public. All her crying is done in private. But not me. I burst into tears. This time all my kids are out riding bikes in the neighborhood, except for my baby who's somewhere near my feet.

We get off the phone and I'm wondering why I don't feel a crazy amount of panic. Leukemia returning for the second time is a terrible scenario. I squat down and my head falls to my hands. Addy crawls into my lap and I hug her, and then I pray long and hard and fervently. I'm comforted knowing the rest of my family has to be on their knees at that same moment.

I go back to finish dinner and somewhere between serving and eating, I get the craziest good feeling inside. He's going to be okay! And not just okay. He's going to live. He's going to make it! I just knew it. Somehow this kid was going to beat this thing. So I call my sis-in-law and I say, "I hope this doesn't make you mad (you know, since I don't like to tell people I just got revelation for them. I don't make a practice of that kind of thing and can't stand it when other people do that to me) but I have this really good feeling that he's going to be okay." I don't know what I thought--that maybe she would collapse with relief, as if my words were gospel truth. But that's not what happened. I could hear her choking up and she says, "Well, I wish I had that feeling but I don't. Right now I'm just really, really mad at Heavenly Father." And can you blame her? Not only was this child sick and let's face it, dying, but they had also recently found out that their oldest son had Aspergers, a form of high functioning Autism. I can only imagine how picked on she was feeling. I mean that--I could only imagine. I couldn't possibly begin to understand. But I knew the Savior could, and I was praying she'd let Him help her.

Adam starts chemo and they are back at the routine. The doctor has told my brother and sis-in-law that there is no possibility that they could be matches for Adam for the bone marrow transplant he needs to have, but on a whim they decide to be tested anyway.

Here's the Miracle.

His mom is a 100% perfect match in every single way. I can't get into all the ways that this is just complete and total craziness, but it is. The doctor said is was higher odds than winning the Super ball lottery. Maybe they can comment below and explain the coolness of it because I don't think I can get you to grasp just what a miracle that is. Basically, this had to have been worked out generations ago, for my brother and the girl he was going to marry someday to have just the right genetics that she would be this match.

A light bulb goes off in my brain, and I know that that feeling I had was because of this. It was Heavenly Father showing us that his hand is in everything, and over everyone. How can I ever question that He is there? He is watching. He loves us so much and cares for us so much.

Just minutes ago, I found out that Adam got his one year bone marrow aspiration results back, and guess what? His bone marrow is 100% donor cells and 0% cancer. One year was the time limit the doctor gave for him to be considered cured. I'm sure Brother and Sister-in-law are afraid to let the word 'cured' squeak out of their lips lest they jinx him, and I don't blame them. But I'm hoping you'll join with me the next time you kneel down to pray and just send Him a little thank you for this blessing.

I didn't tell you this to make you think that I believe my family deserves some special miracle when others haven't received such a blessing. We are just normal people who make mistakes, just like everyone else. People die from cancer, heart disease, car accidents and thousands of other things every single day. I'm also aware that some trials are worse than death. And that some just plain hurt. Dealing with addictions of any kind, or not being able to get pregnant when you so desperately want a baby, or getting pregnant but then losing that baby or a thousand other ways that our hearts ache for our plans unraveled. I'm very aware of that, and I ache for my friends and family when these things happen. We've had some of our own pains. I only shared this with you because sometimes it's hard to see past all the hurt and sorrow and trials and exhaustion that can accompany this trial we call Life. And when we feel our lowest I hope we can all remember that He is there. He has a plan. Sometimes His plan intertwines with our own wishes, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes someone else can stick their foot out and trip up that plan, and wreck something that was supposed to be beautiful and perfect. But sometimes. Sometimes, He gives us a little glimmer of His power and His love and we are reminded that there is more to all of this than what we can see right now.

It may not feel like it sometimes, but God really is over All.

Adam, you are a Mighty, Mighty Man. And you will forever be my hero.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Magic and Aloha

I'm excited to announce another contribution to our 2nd magic quilt. This one is from the soon-to-be author, Donald J. Cary whose first book, Bumpy Landings is coming out in January. Don grew up in Laie, Hawaii (WOOHOO)! He should be one of my homies from the hood but I didn't really know him in Hawaii, I only knew of him. Now, thanks to blogging, I'm proud to call him a friend.

MUCH MAHALO Don, for sharing.


Given the circumstances, a trip to Hawaii seemed like a very selfish move. My wife was living half a continent away so she could get medical treatment, and my two young girls were finishing their last year of school in Utah before we were to sell the house and move away from our vital support network of family and friends.

Yet given the circumstances, a touch of selfishness was just what I needed. And twentieth high school reunions only come once in a lifetime. So with assurances from both heaven and earth that my loved ones would be well taken care of in my absence, I boarded a plane for Honolulu.

Near the top of my list was the task to find an Aloha shirt or two – a classy one like the kind I’d grown up with. After searching high and low, I found two.

My contribution to the Magic Quilt is one of them.

The months that followed this short, personal vacation were by far the toughest of my life. With any luck the future won’t hold any even remotely that hard.

My wife was sick, and had been for years. We didn’t know what was wrong, other than she had a list of symptoms as long as all of our arms, and the doctors couldn’t find anything in her battery of tests. Headaches, tremors, neuropathy, and brain fog joined fatigue, sensitivity to everyday chemicals, and drastic, unexplained weight loss. The best we could do was find costly, time-consuming band-aids that would slow the symptoms, but solid answers were few and far between.

My role in this adventure was to be Superman. Hold down a job, take care of two small children, help my wife find answers, and keep the family afloat. The only way I could see to do this was to sell our dream home, pay off our six-digit medical debt, and move our family to a Texas where my wife had found some promising treatments.

I wore this shirt as I packed the house, loaded the moving truck, and drove to Texas. I wore it to hundreds of appointments with dozens of different doctors. I wore it while trying desperately to provide two little girls a normal life amidst utterly insane circumstances. I wore it to writing conferences where I tried to find a little bit of normal for myself.

I wore it to the hospital where my wife lay dying of malnutrition, despite bottle after bottle of nutrients being pumped into her veins. I wore this shirt as I pleaded with heaven to spare her life – if not for me, then for our children.

And I wore it when those prayers were answered.

I wore it to the doctor who figured out why my wife couldn’t digest her food, and found the one enzyme that would work for her. I wore it to the doctor who diagnosed our whole family as having Lyme disease.

I wore it as I watched my wife gain dozens of pounds. I wore it as I helped her move home, and later join us on our first family vacation in years.

I wore it until the edges tattered and the seams ripped out and I couldn’t wear it any more.

I wore it until only the magic was left. The magic, and the Aloha.

And now I’m sending it to you, so the magic can help someone else.

God bless you.

Don Carey

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Magic Wand

I posted this on my Crash Test Dummy blog last week and I wanted to re-post it here for my Magic Quilt supporters.

I also wanted to post a link to a powerful story From Susan Scribble. She said we could include it in our Magic Quilt book and she's going to send fabric. YAY! I will post the story in full as soon as I get photos of the fabric. If you want a sneak peak click on the following link: Mighty Man Adam

Okay, on the my re-post:

Last Sunday I laid in the room in the house where my great grandmother Constance was born over 100 years ago. I read the beautiful history her daughter, my grandmother, wrote about her and her family and I got choked up. These are my people, I thought.

I have people.

Constance is one of my people. She has a mysteriously tragic story, which I will tell sometime. She did something that caused deep shame to her family and had an indelible effect on her posterity. But she is mine. I come from her. And I am honored to have her as my people.

I wish I could hug her right now and tell her that all love is a blessing, even if it's short lived. And that no love is wasted, even if it's ill-timed.

I hope she saw it that way when she was alive, but I'll never know.

This post is not about my great grandmother. This post is about April from Springrose Journals, who is making the 2nd magic quilt. She needs our help.

Springrose didn't do anything shameful, but I wish I could hug her too and tell her that all love is a blessing, even if it's short lived. And that no love is wasted, even if it's ill-timed.

Springrose just lost a baby. It's the second pregnancy that has ended in a miscarriage in the past year and a half. I was hoping the magic quilt would miraculously keep her baby growing, but it was not to be. So now she needs our magic more than ever. She needs more fabric to finish the quilt because she is anxious to work and get her mind off her grief.

Stan and Lila (the recipients of the first magic quilt) are sending her fabric as we speak. My MIL is donating fabric as well, and I brought home a quilted shower curtain from my aunt and pillow cases from my grandmother.

Please, if you have a story of healing or faith or inspiration or comfort or joy, (and who doesn't) and you have a piece of fabric which either represents that story or which you actually wore or used, please send it to April so she can make some magic and experience comfort from you.

Please, please, pretty please. Dummies with stone cold hearts don't usually beg but here I am on hands and knees, because not only is one of our friends in need of a little magic, but there is a whole world in need of a little magic.

Let's be the wand.

Here's a poignant comment on my Magic Quilt blog from Aunt Claudia:

Isn't this what God does with our lives? Takes all the scraps in our journey and sews them together with strength, love and healing.

Did I already say let's be the wand?

I know my great grandmother Constance would give Springrose a hug too. There was no written record of her life, but at her funeral her bishop said, "Whenever I had to call upon the Relief Society to aid me in giving service to those in need of help, Sister Connie was always the first one to come forth."

See why I'm so honored to have her as my people?

In her scrapbook two words, "my favorite" were written next to this poem:

The Holy Supper is kept, indeed
In whatso we share with another's need;
Not what we give, but what we share,--
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
Himself, his hungering neighbor and me.

(From The Vision of Sir Launfal).

If you want to send fabric, email me for the address. MAHALO!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Today was a very humbling day for me because I got to meet the first recipient of the magic quilt, Stan Tolman and his wife, Lila.

It was amazing.

I was already verklempt before I met them because I had read their latest blog update and seen this photo of Stan with his grand kids snuggled up in the magic quilt.


That's how I would describe the sensation--the charge of emotion that blew through me. Let's just say my eyes started sweating at the sight of it.

After all of our dreaming and planning and sharing and sewing . . . and now the quilt is REAL. It's REALLY REAL. And it's traveling around doing what it was made to do, spreading love and bringing comfort to those in need.

Does anyone else feel like a group hug is in order?

Stan has gall bladder cancer. It's rare. And it's hard to treat. In fact, none of the treatments have worked and Stan and his family have decided to stop with the medical procedures and enjoy life. After they decided to quit treatment they began traveling across the country to visit their family. They see it not as the end, but as a new beginning.


So Stan received the magic quilt the night before they embarked on their final journey together, and he has been taking it with him and sharing it's message. Lila says on her blog:

I would like everyone who was involved in this magic to know how much it has touched our lives and the lives of all of those who love Stan.

GET THIS! After stopping in Nauvoo and Mt. Rushmore, they were driving past Martin's Cove on Friday morning and decided to stop. Lila says:

It was too early for the buildings to be open so we started the two-mile walk to the cove. We took it slow and stopped at the benches to admire the view and rest. Stan was getting very tired but we could see a little cabin ahead and pushed on. The cabin was manned by 3 senior missionaries. Stan sat on the bench and asked them if this was the cove. When they said that it was a mile farther up the trail you could see the pain on his face because he wanted so much to see the cove, but he knew he could go no father. I explained to the missionaries his condition and his desire. One of the sisters went into the cabin. She used a walk-e-talkie to ask them to send a rover up to pick up Stan. A wonderful missionary drove us up to the cove. At the cove he explained what happened there and told us we could take all the time we wanted. The spirit was so strong as we held onto each other and looked at the spot where so many had given so much. I couldn’t stop crying. Their faith was so strong and even though their trials were great, they were never alone. As we drove back down I looked out across the mountains and saw a handcart company coming in. It was about a mile long of youth and leaders experiencing their own faith promoting experiences.

Okay that mile-long handcart company having their own faith promoting experiences . . . that was ME and MY stake! Lila saw MY handcart company, and she was right, there were several faith promoting experiences going on.

How crazy cool is that?

Lila goes on to say:

Friday night we were in the arms of our sweet little grandchildren. Stan wanted them all to see the 'magic quilt'. As I told them the story of the quilt I could see Stan lovingly rub his hand over the quilt. This is when I knew how much the quilt meant to him.

This alone makes it worth all the effort, but I know this is just the beginning. I can feel the momentum. I know that the more people the magic quilt touches and comforts the more power and comfort it will be able to bring to those who need it.

You get me?

So today, not only did I get to meet Stan and Lila . . .

I also got to meet two of their sons, one daughter-in-law, and three of their grand kids.

Did I already say it was amazing? Because it WAS amazing.

First of all, they are all gorgeous--the whole lot of them. Seriously, the look good in their photos, but double that in real life. Stan is so dang handsome. And Lila is muy bonita. (Their offspring were kinda easy on the eyes as well.)

Second of all, they are shiny people. As Lenny Kravitz would say, their eyes could light the world on fire.

We talked for a while and got acquainted and I told them how the magic quilt got started and told them about some of the quilt blocks and about Kritta finally being able to get pregnant after she started the quilt and how she felt the quilt really was magic because it got her through her high risk pregnancy safe and sound.

But I forgot to tell him why I also gave him a Mozart CD along with the quilt. I haven't told you guys that yet either. I promise to tell that story soon.

Lila told me that once they accepted Stan's condition she began praying that he wouldn't have to suffer. She prayed it over and over, but then one day she received an answer in the form of a voice in her head saying in effect, "why would want to take these learning lessons away from him?"

That made me cry because, darnit, isn't it just the truth? Since I've been playing pioneer woman as of late, I've been thinking a lot about the lessons that come from our struggles.

One of my favorite parts of the trek was the hardest part of the trek--the woman's pull, where the women had to push/pull their handcarts up a steep, sandy hill without any help from the men. It was super tough, but I felt close to the other four girls in my handcart family in a way you only feel close to people you go through struggles with. I loved them. Whole heartedly.

And isn't love all you really need?

Love is the magic.

While we were pulling our handcarts up the hill, the men had to stand in silence, lined up along the trail with their hats over their hearts. My husband said later how much he wanted to step in and push our handcart, but he wasn't allowed.

I guess sometimes we just have to stand by and watch those we love receive their lessons.

But you know what? When I started up the hill and saw all the men standing in silence on either side of the trail I just knew I could do it. Their energy! It was powerful! To me they represented all those who have passed on before us, who are silently cheering us on along the sidelines. Wanting us to make it to the top of our own challenges.

I wish I had told Stan about the day my twins were born. About how I was panicking because one of the twins had dropped into the birth canal way too soon, at only 29 weeks. My husband laid his hands on me and gave me a blessing and I was instantly calm.

"It's okay," I told him. "They aren't going to be born today."

But I had mistaken my instant peace for the answer I wanted to hear. While I didn't get what I wanted, and what I thought was best at the time, I got something better. I got a glimpse into the world beyond and while I was being rushed into an emergency c-section I could see that the room was completely full of angels, excited and cheering me on, so to speak. Two of them, a man and a woman, were physically touching me and helping me through each contraction.

I know there will be a room full of angels waiting to greet Stan when he takes his journey back. I feel so sad that he has to leave early, and yet there is a little tiny part of me that is excited for him. I told him so when I hugged him goodbye and wished him aloha oe. I didn't mean to tell him, it just slipped right out of my mouth. I hope it didn't make him feel bad.

And then I asked him to please say hello to my dad for me when he gets there. And to tell him I miss him. I didn't mean to say that either, but Stan nodded and said he would.

And then we hugged aloha oe again.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where in the world is the Magic Quilt?

The Magic Quilt is finally in the hands of the first recipient, Stan (thanks to Amanda, who nominated him.)

Here they are being granted our quilt full of . . . well, full of us. In a way that quilt is our way of wrapping our arms around another human being who is suffering.  May he and Lila feel comfort, and love, and peace, every time they look at it. I know it will bring them good luck

Here is a picture of Amanda with her sister-in-laws, Emily and Laura (my neighbor in Hawaii, who was visiting her home in Maryland).

Here's what Amanda wrote about the night she brought the quilt to Stan:

Stan had been briefed of the magic quilt she did not tell him we were coming over to deliver it today so he was surprised to see us coming through the door. I explained the premise of the magic quilt and your vision for spreading hope, love and inspiration. Stan, in his quiet, stoic manner just listened and smiled. I presented the quilt to him and he said, "thank you" with some slightly sweaty eyes. Lila and I were close to waterworks, sniffling and wiping away our tears. Lila hesitated to be in the picture but I explained that she was a part of this and without her the quilt would not be in Stan's hands. Brian Blum (Swirl's hub) was able to impart some Bishopy comments about a talk President Monson gave at last conference on eternal families and encouraged them to read it. We had a lovely discussion about eternal families and the difficulty of hearing and accepting what comes along with the words "terminal cancer" but that there are blessings in everything and knowing that an earthly death does not separate us forever but brings such comfort during these times. 

Stan has chosen to stop all treatment, at this time, due to the rare cancer he has there is little hope that he will benefit from further treatment. Stan and his lovely wife will spend the next three weeks driving cross-country to visit family and enjoying special moments with one another. These two have a magic of their own, but I am hopeful the magic quilt will add a little something extra.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this.  I can't think of anything else that I could have done to help Stan and Lila, even though my heart ached for a chance to show them how much I love and care for them.  This quilt has meaning beyond words and the magic is not limited to the person possessing it.

Lots of love,

Thank you Amanda.  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jack Johnson give-oh-give-away

Last month I took my Laurels to the singles ward. They didn't love looking that far forward, but I loved looking that far back. Young people are so darn fresh and optimistic. In sacrament meeting the speaker quoted from Elder Uchtdorf's last conference talk, You Are My Hands where he referenced a statue of Christ which was severely damaged during a World War II bombing. Most of the statue has been restored, but the hands remain missing so the people of the city added on the base of the statue these words: “You are my hands.”

The speaker quoted Uchtdorf saying, "When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched; reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love."

In Relief Society the teacher drew a hand on the chalkboard and explained that the hand is only as good as it's working fingers, and then she said that we are all the fingers on the hands of the Lord and as we work together we can reach out to heal, comfort, bless and love.

Ain't that just the truth. Especially when it comes to quilting. Many hands make many quilts.

And many quilts make many magic.

Or something like that.

You get my drift.

Soooooo, the first magic quilt is on the road. WOOHOO!

In other words, it's traveling, which is exactly what magic quilts do. The more they travel, the more magic they generate.

First it went to April from Springrose Journals, who is making the next magic quilt, and now it's on it's way to our first official recipient, Stan in Washington D.C.

Photographic evidence coming soon.

Kritta, who made the 1st quilt, has enough leftover fabric to make a 2nd magic quilt. Springrose will make a 3rd magic quilt and, I, the Crash Test Dummy, am making a magic t-shirt quilt.

But I need more fabric and t-shirts nd inspirational stories to keep healing the world, which is why I'm having a Jack Johnson give-away. (I'm not actually giving Jack Johnson away, just two tickets to his concert in Salt Lake City on August 13th.)

I chose Jack Johnson because everyone knows he's my favorite Hawaii surf-dude-turned-rock-star from Kahuku high school.

Plus I have photographic evidence of him with his arm around me.

Have I ever showed you that picture?

Oh yeah, we're tight.

I also chose Jack Johnson because he is big on reducing, reusing and recycling. I'm not that good at reducing, but reusing and recycling fabric for healing quilts is right up my alley.

So here's how to enter the give-away:

Put the magic quilt button on your sidebar and you get one entry.

Mention the magic quilt project and Jack Johnson give-away in a post and you get one entry.

Become a follower, one entry.

Contribute fabric or a signed t-shirt for the next quilts and get three entries.

Contribute an inspirational story and get three entries.

Make sure you post a comment letting me know which of these things you've done. I will check up on you. Don't think I won't.

Deadline for the give-away is July 31st. All entries will be placed in a hat and the winner will be drawn and announced on August 1st.

If you send a t-shirt, please sign your name in permanent marker somewhere near the middle. Also, please chose a t-shirt that you've worn and that represents you somehow.

All inspirational stories will be published here on The Magic Quilt blog and will also be eligible to be published in the first Sisterhood of the Magic Traveling Quilt book.

Fabric donations are more meaningful if they are meaningful. You get me? In other words, if the fabric somehow represents you or your story. For instance I recently bought swatches of bright Hawaiian fabric from Walmart and sent them to Springrose.

They didn't cost much.

The fabric can also be scraps of fabric you've had for years or fabric you wanted to make a quilt into a quilt someday. Tauna, from The Egan Garden donated this fabric and these quilt blocks she's been making (with love) over the years.

T-shirts would be great too. Cubworld already donated the shirt off his back.

Okay, it's time to get started. Let's put our fingers together. Get it? fingers?

hee hee

But seriously, please help me (and Jack Johnson) spread the magic!

Much Mahalo!