Sunday, June 15, 2014

ZAMBIA: grateful for giving hearts and hands.

I am leaving for Zambia in just a matter of hours, and wanted to share a few pictures from my first Zambian experience, and just how grateful I am for those who have donated time, money, and means to help me make it back to these beautiful African children. 

One of the greatest experiences I've had in my life has been the opportunity to travel to Africa, to Zambia in 2009. I went with an amazing organization Mothers Without Borders. It was an experience that shaped and changed my heart in ways that guided many of the choices that I have made, the way I see and view the world,  and also how to truly love and be loved in return.

I will never forget the very important things that I learned as I was able to be surrounded by the Zambian people.  I remember vividly the night during our evening devotional where I was told that my heart could hold every single person. Of course God created our hearts, thus they are extremely capable of loving everyone. It is a beautiful expectation to have of ourselves that I have since tried to accomplish since that most sacred night in Lusaka. 

I re-read some of my journal entries over the past few days some of the things that I learned while there:

  • Live a life where I can always give to others
  • Hold those people in your life close, for you never know how long they will be there to touch you
  • Africa is full of love and welcoming hugs, smiles, and praises
  • Be Present in the moments in your life, we don't have control over the past or future
  • You are never given anything situation that you can't handle "You can Manage"
  • Love Love Love

So as I have been preparing to travel to Zambia once again, I have been overwhelmed by the love and support that has been shown to me.  I found out from my team leader a little over a month ago that we were in need of sewing donations.  A list was compiled of needed items and I took it to my favorite quilt shop!  Quilted Works came through for me!  As they have so many times in the past.  I worked at Quilted Works for about 5 years and have so appreciated the wonderful Management there that has truly given me opportunity, a passion for quilting/sewing and so many dreams. They have supported me and loved me, and to them I will always, forever be grateful.  

The women of Chongway Village after tie-dying 

So within a week and a half, the money was raised to purchase 2 treadle sewing machines in Zambia for a sewing club there. More fabric then I could pack into my bags, a garbage back full of thread.  60 beautiful t-shirt dresses, needles, scissors, pins, zippers, buttons, and everything else you can imagine came flooding in. I stopped by the quilt shop every couple days for a few weeks, and every time I was overcome with emotion of gratitude and love.  How wonderful are so many that have given of their heart for such a beautiful cause.  

Thank you, thank you.

It is quite a wonderful experience to be apart of something so much greater than yourself.  I have wanted to get back to the Zambian people ever since I returned in 2009.  Now is the time, I have felt once again called to go.  It's a unique experience going to Africa, once you go, AFRICA stays in your heart forever.   

 These last few pictures share some of the most special faces from Africa.  Dalious is a boy that because he shared his heart with me, changed mine forever.  I think and pray for him often. 

Last of all is the sweetest Carol Zulu who lost her life to a battle of HIV/AIDS shortly after I returned in 2009. She is one of the dearest spirits I have ever met, her love flowed so naturally from her being.   She truly "knew how to see optimism when there was none." Spend your life in Love to honor this sweet Zambian Carol Zulu.

"I am African, not because I was born in Africa, but because Africa is born in ME." 
-Kwame Nkrumah

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I had the opportunity to attend International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago.  What a great city!  I have loved Pennsylvania for a while now, and loved having the experience to be in the city with so much culture, energy, and life.  Walking around by the convention center after the show each night, finding new places to eat and enjoying the surrounding of Pittsburgh was my favorite part. Pittsburgh has more bridge that any city in the United States, and some pretty beautiful church buildings.

I love attending Quilt Market because it really is a time to be inspired by the creativity of so many people in the industry.  I am always in awe of the talent that exists in each of our minds and hearts.

I loved seeing and connecting with some of my favorite designers and friends!  People I look up and appreciate. The lovely Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life at her book signing in the Moda booth!

Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness in her very first booth at quilt market debuting her first line of fabric called Jungle Avenue. (Isn't she adorable)

And my Quilt Market friend Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew  who is someone I have always loved and admired.  I look forward to connecting with her every market!

I was able to capture pictures of a few things I sewed all around the show.  The green bag is one of Annie's patterns. the Carry On Travel Bag sewn out of Joel Dewberry's new line.  

I was able to sew a quilt for Chelsea Andersen's new line of fabric Floriography, in the Riley Blake booth (left picture, top quilt).  Also the bag on the right is another of Annie's patterns!  One of her newest Get Out of Town Duffle.  I was sewing for weeks straight, it was great to prepare and enjoy seeing them presented so nicely.  

Here are just a few more favorites:

And all of this was possible because I work for an amazinly talented lady!  Annie has been one of the greatest mentors around.  She shares her talents and love so freely.  I feel so blessed, and so grateful to be able to be apart of the ByAnnie team!

I did end up taking a little detour at the end of this wonderful trip and headed east a few hours!  My mom and I took the MEGABUS from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. (It was quite an adventure) But we enjoyed spending time together.  I feel blessed that my mom and I get to share our passion for quilting together and get to travel to shows together everyone once in a while.  I was able to take her around to one of my favorite places in the whole world.  Philadelphia and New Jersey! We visited with just a few of my most favorite people.  

These wonderful people I was able to meet because of the wonderful opportunity to serve my Savior Jesus Christ and be his representative for His Church.  One of the last stops:  

17th and Vine, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 

The future home of the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Temple.