How Quilting Evokes Military Life

When piecing together the bits and pieces of an unpredictable life, it can still be warm and colorful and well made.

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Posted in , Apr 16, 2018

Quilting and military life.

I come from a long line of quilters—not the artistic kind—the make-do-and-keep-you-warm kind. I have quilts from grandmothers, great grandmothers, aunts and numerous others further up the ancestor line. My family tree is dotted with pioneering individuals who left a patchwork legacy that warms my heart even today.

The quilts I have are beautiful, but not the prize-winning kind you’d see in books or at competitions. While the stitches are strong and neat and the colors pleasing, it’s the end product that inspires me most. Even with the focus of practicality, there’s individuality and creativity in the placement and pattern choices. These amazing women found a way to use old clothing and scraps of fabric to bring warmth and color to bleak winter nights. And their legacy is still affecting family generations removed.

It occurred to me that these precious heirlooms are a lot like a military family’s life. 

We often find ourselves in less than ideal situations, but when we pull together, everyone around us benefits. And the results are often unexpectedly positive.

There’s always a choice when it comes to piecing together our lives. We can throw things together and hope they come out right. Or we can carefully examine the patterns and colors and use them to create something practical—and beautiful.

According to family legend, many of those quilts were pieced while the seamstress whispered prayers of protection and hope. Occasionally I’ll pull one of the old quilts down and wrap myself in it. I can almost imagine the strength in those prayers—just like the stitches—enfolding me in God’s warmth.

Military families don’t always get to choose what happens next. But we can choose how we use the different bits and pieces in our lives. When we choose to bring beauty and color to our family, the legacy can spread warmth in ways we never imagined.

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