Friday, November 8, 2013

the things that have come alongside of me...


I've rebounded from my less than stellar week last week.  I've been slowing my pace down, stealing away quiet moments to read, write thank you notes, and be present with the boys.  

I completed week two of radiation with just one more week to go.  I will also see Dr. Panwalkar next week and we will see if he wants me to go back to Tykerb, or begin a new treatment choice.  We've talked over a couple of options, including Taxol which would mean losing my hair again.  But I am not focusing on that right now, knowing other options exist too.  


This lovely lady came into my infusion room on Tuesday and introduced herself as Donna, the artist in residence.  She is working on a quilt and was wondering if I would like to contribute a square for it.  

This was her prompt for guiding my thinking about the multitude of material scraps I could choose from.  

"What has come along side of you during your journey through cancer?"  

Wow.  My head sort of started to whirl with too many thoughts and had she asked me to write it down?  I would have instantly known what to do.

But how do you let a big question such as that one, lead you in picking fabric pieces that will somehow share a part of your journey?

Plus, let's face it, I've never considered myself an artist.



But Donna was a great mentor.  She started talking about bold colors versus muted ones.  And did any of her samples speak to some of the things I've noticed along my journey?

So I simply started to picking samples that spoke to me.  I loved one piece that had such whimsy and color to it, I could have used the whole thing.  Instead I cut two strips and- one wavy one, and one bold jagged edge strip.  She asked if they "framed" my square perhaps?

Yes, I told her- they reminded me of gratitude which has been my frame for the whole experience.

I then found a subtler green piece that tucked right underneath the borders.  Its felt like it "grounded" the piece, and to me it was like the earth and how I feel grounded lying prone so often.

But I wasn't quite finished.  I heard the drops of chemo dripping through the lines, coursing through my port into my body.  I then stumbled across a piece of fabric, bright red, filled with dots of all colors and sizes.  It spoke of "clarity" to me.  Those brief moments or interludes in which a bubble of perspective appears, a tiny window of hope floats by, mirroring the grace, or strength, or hope I need to grasp onto and carry off into the days of all my tomorrows. 





She pinned my pieces together and this is what my quilt square will look like, in the sea of all the others  walking this journey with their "things" that have come along side them.

We're all on a journey.  Have you ever considered what has come alongside of your journey?  











29 comments:

  1. Love the artistry of your choices.

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  2. You ARE an artist and a poet. LOVE!!! Your ability to express yourself makes think about how I would express myself. INSPIRATION!!! So blessed to have found you Vicky Westra. You are never far from my thoughts and prayers.
    XOXO,
    Deb

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    1. Gosh- thank you Deb- so fun to have you here and I am the one who feels so blessed by you! Love and blessings to you Deb!

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  3. What a beautiful concept, the things that have come beside you. I can imagine your feeling overwhelmed at first. I would have been too. But then...it came together so beautifully, so organically it seems. It's beautiful, Vicky. Colorful, wavy, straight, dotted, lined, all the things you are. Thanks for sharing your square with us. Now I have to try to come up with my own. I know that it will have the color red in it. That's a given. :)

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    1. It is such a thought provoking concept and I was drawn into the activity immediately. My chemo time flew by and I was so engaged. It works on so many levels- I told her I hoped I'd get to see her and do another project in the future! Would love to hear about yours if you do one!

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  4. Replies
    1. It was a fun project that made chemo time fly by :)

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  5. Not only are you an artist with your color and pattern choices, but look how you wove the words together in this blog to paint them plainly for me to see your journey (even before the photo.) You are so gifted.
    I am blessed to know you.
    Love you, my friend.
    Jackie

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    1. You are too kind Jackie- thank you- and I just know you'd do an equally wonderful job yourself! Blessed to know you and call you friend! xxoo

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  6. Yes, you are an artist. The keyboard and camera are your tools of comfort, but the quilt block is great, too! Glad that you are feeling a bit better. You have been on my mind all week. What has come alongside me? I can think of "who's," but will have to think about the "what's."

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    1. Marcy- will have to check and see if you've come up with anything yet :) Need to catch up with you as soon as I am finished here :)

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  7. You? Not an artist?? You are kidding, right? First your words - always, deeply, feeling, painting pictures of what I want my heart to be like - accepting. Then your incredible photos that capture so much soul and essence and emotion. Your quilt square? All colors I love and that it came together like this surprises me not at all. She has a dear face and I think she read you well. Please post a picture when it's done.

    What has come alongside me through pain, health, and life issues? Twins. Always twins....holding hands....forever together. Impatience and patience. Desperation and hope. Depression and laughter. Acceptance and battle. Faithful friends and the Benedicts. Surprise and predictability. Lessons learned and stubborn resistance. The unbearable and the reality of it being borne. Fear, blackness, looming, stalking, shadowing.....and then a shepherd and light and a rod and a staff to guide and nudge and prod me back to himself, to myself, to leaning into what I cannot do, but do. Even when I tell him over and over, "Just so you know, I can't do this." And when he knows I truly can't, the twins are there - always - "I can't, I can't, I can't," holding hands with green pastures and still waters of rest and soul restoration.

    I love you, Vicky.

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    1. Robynn,
      Oh my goodness...your words touch my soul. You too are an artist with words. How true...twins. Thank you for teaching me an important lesson today.
      God Bless!
      Linda

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    2. Robynn- your gift with words is unparalleled and I pray it means you are soon back blogging with us again! Love the "twins" concept- and I think you just blogged an entire post worthy of standing on its own right here. Linda obviously picked right up on that :) Blessed and honored to call you both friends!

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    3. I thank both you and Linda, Vicky, and your words are so kind and encouraging. I did save that comment. Did you ever write something and then say, "Wow, that's exactly how I feel," but it seems as if someone else wrote it? I think I will post it on my blog and tell them why - that it was because of your beautiful and thoughtful question and I wouldn't have considered it but for your journey and your prompting. As always, you bring us deep introspection and growth. <3

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  8. I am nodding my head with those above - YOU. are an Artist.

    Have you heard of this new book by Emily Freeman? "A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live" I have downloaded it recently to my Kindle and intend to begin reading soon. But your words reminded me of the message of this book. That we were all born to make art. And your words and photos - like the posts from your readers above state so beautifully - they are wonderful proof that the message in Emily's book is true.

    BTW, I love your block. And Donna looks pretty nice, too!

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    1. I have the book!!!! I started reading it this weekend and wow, if it doesn't tie in perfectly with this idea!! I think you will love the book too and I will be anxious to hear your thoughts!

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  9. My dear sweet Vicky,
    You paint pictures in my heart with your words that resonate love, hope, authenticity, and grace.
    Your photographs, filled with so much soul, remind me that God is alive and well, bigger than I so often remember, The light through the trees, the faces of your boys..you capture life with your camera. You remind me with each picture to stop, look, listen and breathe. All is well.
    All is well.

    And now a quilt square with waves and drops, grace and healing, grounded,
    moving...alive. You remind me that in the moments of the unbearable, that He has never left me, will never leave me.

    What a gift you give sweet Vicky, and it comes with the Masters paint brush.
    I am grateful to call you friend.
    Love you to the moon and back.
    Linda



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    1. So much depth and wisdom to your responses Linda- I just take my time- soaking in all of your words and feeling the love they convey. You also have a gift, like Robynn, with words that ring of wisdom, and truth and love. Thank you for sharing YOUR gifts here with me, and the rest of us!

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  10. The piece you made looks lovely. I am glad you are feeling better.
    xoxoxox

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    1. Thank you Vic- I am feeling better :) xxoo

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  11. oh, you're an artist alright....we all are in our own special way...and what a gift Donna is to show those who don't think they are, what they can do....xo

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    1. So true Beth- I think back to art class in school and I never felt like I could produce anything artistic whatsoever. I can't tell you the number of times I had the teacher intercede and re-work my piece. I have some of those pieces now and they're cute- but not my work.

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  12. I've arrived here via Hilary's blog, Crazy as a Loom. This is a beautiful post and I wish you well. We had several different volunteers in the infusion room at Johns Hopkins (I was there with my husband) but never anything like this. How wonderful to make a quilt using these methods. It is nothing short of beautiful ~
    Peace to you, Vicky.

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    1. Thank you Country Girl- how lovely to have you drop by. Thank you for sharing your experiences and for your well wishes! Peace to you!

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  13. I'd have to say Donna is an amazing person and you were just meant to meet her. Your artistry gift Vicky is your beautiful writing style that has captured many blogger's heart....certainly mine. Working with fabric? How fun...I love your fabric choices.

    Alongside my journey? Connecting with my blog friends throughout the week. Everyone of my virtual friends teaches me something about life. I read, I listen and I thank God for all of my blogger friends. Good luck next week with Dr. P

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    1. Thank you Lisa- love your thoughtful and reflective answers! Hugs to you friend!

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  14. And you're not an artist?!!! Such a powerful post. Everyone is on a journey. We are blessed when we realize there are gracious people like this dear woman who come alongside us...just at the right time.

    You?? Not an artist?? Look at your blog. WOWOWOWOWO.

    Love your color choices. Most of all, I love your gentle spirit. The way you give of yourself.

    XOXO

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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