My husband is an amazing man who loves me with all his heart, supports this ministry and works very hard to provide for our family. He is also an analytical and does not like surprises sprung on him.
I on the other hand, forget that at times and go about planning trips to deliver quilts without thinking about weather, the drive, my health and told him last evening I was going to Chelan on Thursday.
Lets say, he was not happy to hear I was going up alone and wanted to know when I planned on telling him. Probably Weds. I said and he told me, I had to let him know before then if I wanted him to go.
I agreed, but told him I was driving on my own. NOT through the passes alone you aren't.
Our passes are unpredictable, they can be clear now and in a few hours closed with snow piled on them. Our lands have been burned two summers in a row making flooding and landslides unpredictable as well and he told me he was going with me.
Then, he sat me down and with gentleness told me, 'this needs to stop' (pointing to the piles of quilts around my sewing machine and quilting table).
'You are NOT a non-profit....and you are so amazing that you do this for everyone, but look at your sewing table and machine. When was the last time you sat down and quilted? It brings me joy to see you quilting for 911 dispatchers and showing me the results. I am proud of what you have done for this ministry. I know you rarely ask for my help, but any more you rarely quilt and it breaks my heart!'
He wasn't done yet. 'You are one person and only one person and once in awhile the grands will help you, but you take quilts in, you inventory them, you take pictures, you post pictures, you go over each quilt for stains, rips, tears, you contact agencies, you box up the quilts, mail them out AND you no longer quilt and that breaks my heart!'
Wow! 'I thought you didn't like my quilting,' I told him. He came over and hugged me and stated, 'I am so incredibly proud of you and what you do, I love seeing you quilt and create something for others, I love that other quilters reach out and trust you to do what you say, however, I know you don't quilt when you are collecting for large disasters.'
I have been so blessed to do this ministry for those that lose their homes in our state and at times he is right, I am overwhelmed, but I have met incredible quilters, shop owners, families that have endured tragedy and are still thankful and smiling and it so amazing.
However, in the past two years, while the number of quilts that are needed has increased, our funding has not and while I am fond of saying I do not collect money due to the bookkeeping end of it, taxes, etc. one cannot operate a business, a household, a vehicle, eat, etc. without bringing money in.
This year as last I will be sitting down and doing the accounting at the end of the year and I know it will show us once again in the red.
I have always felt this ministry was God led and He would let me know when the time came to scale back was here.
Sadly, I believe that time is going to be 2016.
Our slogan is; 'Love For Our Unseen Heroes,' those heroes are the 911 dispatchers who do their job without accolades from organizations like the 100 Club that is there with a check to help an officers family when they pass, but no one helps the 911 dispatcher and that is why I started this organization in the first place.
When I look around my living room and I have over $100 worth of postage to go out and I have to wait to see each month if my personal budget will allow me to mail quilts out. When I receive promises from people they will sent me money for postage and it never arrives but the quilts were sent out. It does get to me at times, but then I remember, this is a love ministry.
I remember opening my mail box and getting a card from someone I sent a quilt to last year, or even three years ago, I get a Facebook message from someone whose co-worker I helped, I find fabric at my door, I find books of stamps to help me with Christmas cards in the mail, I find a hand written note from a small child for their quilt and I think I can't quit. I can't let these unseen heroes down.
I didn't sleep last night. I tossed and turned and thought of what my husband said and I prayed. I asked for guidance in any decision I make for it to be the right one. For me not to base my decision on a whim, but to wait for an answer.
I believe my answer is going to be to return to our roots, the very core of why I began doing this, for the 911 dispatcher and return to that. This morning, checking for those in need, there are 3 families of 911 operators in need since Friday. These are the people I need to concentrate on.
We are making our trip together on Thursday. My community has come out in a huge way and donated plastic totes to us so when we take hubbies truck the quilts don't get wet, my community quilting guild has donated quilts and afghans, purchased key chains and all of you have supported this ministry in some way and I am so humbled and grateful.
I also know in my heart, my husband is right. I have NOT sat down and quilted since at least early September. I am still working on my sons birthday (August) quilt for Christmas because I am a giver, a doer, a volunteer, I hate seeing people in need, cold, losing everything and I want to help.
But the words keep echoing in my ears from my husband. 'You are only one person, you are not a non-profit, you aren't even a business, you are a charity and as much as I love you, as much as I am proud of you and what you do...charity begins at home, go back to your roots.'
Friday morning I will wake up, my living room will be clean, I will be able to finish a few quilts this week-end and with every stitch I will pray for God to show me what to do. I have faith He will.
Please, join with me in prayer for me to make the right decision. I truly love helping others, but I know my wonderful husband is right, I cannot continue to clog our living room, my grandson's bedroom, the girls closet and just decide to tootle off on my own journeys.
I will keep you posted and thank you all for your blessings, the quilts, the positive thoughts. I know God will show me what to do!
**I want to give a HUGE thank you to my dear friend Wendy over at Sugarlane-designs quilts for this post on her blog about busy addicts, I think I heard God whisper in my ear!