more than just a blanket

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by , 07-22-2013 at 09:52 PM (855 Views)
hi- i had to copy this - the man in this story Scott was trimming a tre for some elderly people as a friend adn had a terrible accident adn now has another address, , he taought at our local collage, was a involved in any of the activities there, including drama, adn he was a young man i beleive 46, he has a wife and 2 sons, a pillar of the community, but this is something i just had to share

So much more than just a blanket

July 22, 2013:

This weekend I went through all of the drawers, closet shelving, and even work bench spaces that contained the large collection of Scott’s t-shirts. I wasn’t clearing space or making room for anything new. As a matter of a fact, I haven’t changed anything in our house since Scott “changed addresses” (an address change is how my oldest son often refers to Scott’s current location) nor do I intend to rearrange anything for a very long time. We simply needed Scott’s t-shirts for a very special project.

A few weeks ago, when I finally found some time to make a dent in the continually growing dirty laundry pile, I discovered that there were still a few items of Scott’s clothing that needed to be washed and put away. As I was folding his laundry, the idea of t-shirt quilts materialized in my mind. I told the boys that we would go through their dad’s shirts and pick the ones that were the most meaningful to each of us, and then we would find someone to make us t-shirt quilts. The quilts would signify Scott’s love draped around us. Later I shared this idea with Scott’s mother and she likewise expressed that she would appreciate such an item herself. I knew that we had more than enough shirts; I just didn’t know who I could ask for the favor of making the quilts.

I’ve discovered recently that there are LOTS of things that I don’t know, and even more that I cannot understand. Although it is incredibly difficult, I have resolved to the fact that I don’t have to understand, I only have to trust. Sometimes trusting requires great effort on my part, other times it wraps itself around me tightly, like a blanket.

The week after I discussed the t-shirt quilts with my children, I received an email from a dear friend Cindy Call, that I taught with in Cedar Vale several years ago. Cindy and I had not seen or spoken to each other in quite some time. She asked if she could visit me and told me that she had something she wanted to talk to me about. A few days later Cindy showed up at my doorstep. She had an offer that I could not refuse. After we talked for several minutes, she said “Rhoda, I have been praying that God would reveal to me something that I could do for you and the boys, and I feel like He laid it on my heart to offer to make each one of you a quilt out of Scott’s shirts.” She proceeded to tell me that she didn’t mean just one quilt, she meant one for me, one for Britton, one for Spencer, and even one for Jan and Denny if they wanted one. I could not believe … that just days earlier I had expressed a desire, and suddenly my desire was being answered in such an obvious manner. I was then, and still am, in awe of God’s concern for his children, and Cindy’s willingness to provide such a precious (and time consuming) gift to me.

After Cindy left, I couldn’t wait to tell the boys that our t-shirt quilts were really going to happen. Beyond the beautiful meaning the quilts will give to us, I also wanted to make sure that they understood what was happening. I expressed a need, then God planted a seed in Cindy’s mind, and she was gracious enough to listen and follow-through. This was a concrete, undeniable example of how God cares for us down to the finest detail. And if He cares about the smallest of details, He obviously cares even more about the greater ones. I reminded them (and myself) that although we don’t like the situation we are currently in, God is still in control, and still taking care of us.

Like the pieces of fabric that will be woven together to create the quilt, this story too has many different parts that have unfolded. Throughout this entire ordeal, I have felt an obligation to share much of what I am experiencing with others. As a general rule, I’m a pretty reserved, private person. So posting my emotional journey stretches far outside of my comfort zone. However, I have felt that many of the blessings that we have received should be shared with others and not just kept to myself. Scott was loved by so many, so how can I not let others know that his spirit lives on? I also feel that if I proclaim it, it can’t be taken away from me by fear or doubt or anything else that chips away at the human soul.

Immediately after Cindy offered to make the quilts, I considered posting about it on facebook. Then I decided to wait, maybe until after the quilts were created, and then make the post. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for, but I waited none-the-less. In the meantime I focused on finding just the right fabrics and choosing which shirts would go on which quilt. Neither of those decisions was easy for me. Britton and Spencer chose their fabric without much hesitation. Britton selected camouflage (of course) and Spencer went with a baseball fabric. Both materials exemplified a relationship that each shared with their father. Scott and Britton spent many hours together in a tree stand, or duck blind, or prairie field. Scott and Spencer were constantly out in the yard playing catch, or on the ball field as father and son/coach and player. I on the other hand stood in the middle of JoAnne’s Fabric Store and bawled like a baby, because I couldn’t find the right material that signified our relationship. I wasn’t even sure that one existed, so I went home red faced and empty handed.

A couple of weeks later, after thinking about several different options, I came up with a design. For the past few years, Scott and several of his South Haven buddies put together a Redneck Throw Down on Labor Day. Scott always looked forward to this event. Every year we went as a family, and on this day, I would usually don the apparel of camo and pink, at his request or at the very least his pleasure. He had bought me a couple of ladies’ camo hats and shirts for this “special” occasion. This was the inspiration for my quilt. I chose camo fabric for the back of the quilt, to represent the blending and concealment that our union made. Our lives blended as our love concealed each other’s shortcomings and personal insecurities. Then I chose pink, not just any pink, but blushing pink to surround each of Scott’s t-shirts. Scott loved to tease, and would usually try his hardest to make me blush, which was usually pretty easy. To encase the pink, I selected chestnut brown, as we resided on Chesnut Ave, which is where most of our married life and my blushing took place. I placed the order online and waited for the shipment to be delivered. The day before the package arrived at my doorstep, I received a card in the mail that referenced James 5:11 from The Message version of the Bible which says “…God cares, cares right down to the last detail.” The New International Version of this same verse reads as “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” I decided it was almost time to make my post.

When Scott grew tired of certain t-shirts he would gather them up and take them out to the garage where he stored them for use as future shop rags. One of these shirts had made its way from the work bench pile and onto a shelf right near our entry way door. Perhaps Scott was going to use it to clean something up when he returned home from the cabin, I’m not really sure how it got there, but it had been sitting in a crumpled heap near the door, untouched now for weeks. Last weekend as I made the three-hour drive from Great Bend (after state baseball) back to Arkansas City, the picture of that shirt popped into my mind, and I suddenly had a memory attached to it. That night, around 11:30pm, I frantically dug through old photographs until I found the one I was looking for. Sure enough, that soon-to-be shop rag t-shirt was the very shirt that Scott wore on the day Britton was born almost 12 years ago. I grabbed the photo and the shirt, and showed them to Britton. “This shirt” I said “will go on your quilt!”

I knew going through all of Scott’s shirts would be very emotional for me. And I was right. I had a memory associated with almost every piece of clothing. I tried to prepare myself for that in advance. What I didn’t prepare myself for was finding numerous cards and notes that I had written to Scott throughout the years that he had saved and tucked away in his chest of drawers and closet shelves. I have been battling with the thought of “I hope he knew, really knew, how much I loved him!” Because when someone is gone you suddenly dwell on the things that you wished you would have done rather than on those that you did do. Finding those notes, gave me the comfort that he did know and treasured my expressions of love, just as much as I did his. Not that I really doubted this, but in my weakness, I just needed the reassurance.

Prayers For Scott MacLaughlin

So much more than just a blanket

July 22, 2013:

This weekend I went through all of the drawers, closet shelving, and even work bench spaces that contained the large collection of Scott’s t-shirts. I wasn’t clearing space or making room for anything new. As a matter of a fact, I haven’t changed anything in our house since Scott “changed addresses” (an address change is how my oldest son often refers to Scott’s current location) nor do I intend to rearrange anything for a very long time. We simply needed Scott’s t-shirts for a very special project.

It is these divine happenings that allow me to truthfully answer the questions of my children when they ask “Mom – how do you know it is really real?” When things like this happen, I have to ask “How can it NOT be real?” Faith is about being sure. It is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (This scripture by the way, was on my July 18 devotional reading, one day after my son asked the question about really knowing and believing). How coincidental!

I knew from the beginning that the t-shirt quilts would be meaningful to us, but I had no idea how much more significance they would provide along the way.

Thank you Cindy Call, Bonnie Givens, Karen Bauer, Susan Aldridge, and Todd Ray for being an important piece of this part of the journey (most of you probably didn’t even know that you shared in this part of it. Thank you Cindy for making the quilts for us, Bonnie, Karen, and Susan for the cards/books that spoke just the right words at the right times, and Todd & buddies for the Redneck Throwdown)!
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  1. quiltingloulou's Avatar
    I ended up in tears after reading this. It sounds like you are emerging from the difficult time and will have some wonderful memories when your quilts are completed. Hugs from me and keep your chin up.
  2. Gladys's Avatar
    I don't know how I got here to read this story but it's so heartwarming. God bless all and give them strength.
  3. NanaBass's Avatar
    Wow, what a fantastic way to remember your love and the kids love of their father! And you are right , God spoke to Cindy and others along your journey of healing. I pray that all is going well and thank you so so much for sharing your story.

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