Friday, March 5, 2010

"Miracle" - New Embroidery Design and the Inspiration Behind It.

At one time or another, everyone hopes for a miracle. We hope for that which sometimes feels impossible...unknown...perhaps unrealistic. Yet we still hope and we believe that it can come to pass. Sometimes the heavens answer with a miracle, and sometimes we are left without the miracle we originally desired, but instead, a myriad of tiny other miracles we hadn't even considered. Sometimes we can't easily recognize the gifts and blessings given to us in times of trial, and it is only with our 20/20 hindsight vision that we can see they were, in reality, miracles.

About 14 years ago, my oldest sister Ronda was diagnosed with a brain tumor; A mother of six children, her youngest a teenager; lots of life to still live. She was granted a miracle then, and after surgery and radiation, she was deemed cancer-free. About two years ago, the cancer sneaked up on her again, finding her with yet another brain tumor. She needed another miracle.

After more surgery and more treatments, she is not considered completely cancer-free this time, but feels as though she has been given another miracle still. The cancer is being held at bay, she feels well, is leading a productive life, and is enjoying her children and grandchildren. Her mantra and strength through this new trial has been "Fear not: Believe only," (Luke 8:50, King James Version)

Another sister of mine stumbled upon the movie, "The Blue Butterfly," the true story of a young boy with terminal cancer who desires to capture a Blue Morpho Butterfly from the rainforests of South America. This particular butterfly is revered as a symbol of healing and hope by those inhabitants.

When my sister saw this movie, she immediately wanted to give Ronda something to represent that same hope. She requested me to design something along those same lines. This is the story behind my latest design and pattern.

Last November, we five sisters got together for a sister's weekend and had such a great time together.

We made quilt blocks and hot pads from our mother's stash of fabric, we got pedicures, went to lunch, stayed up late, and laughed the whole time.

We also got to present Ronda with an embroidered dish towel that my sister had stitched with the design I had created. (Being the practical gal that Ronda is, we figured that she'd probably appreciate the usefulness of a dishtowel rather than one more framed piece of art to find a spot for in her house. We were right!) Every time she dries the dishes she can be reminded of our love for her and the miracles she has been blessed with.

This design is a message of faith and optimism for anyone needing a miracle, or needing to recognize a miracle. Although this design was inspired by my sister's situation, it has come to have great meaning for myself. I am learning that for me, part of "believing" is not necessarily believing only in the miracles I hope for, but believing that God knows me, loves me, and will bless me with what I need most. That, in and of itself, is truly a miracle. To "capture" a miracle may be as simple as "noticing" all my blessings and capturing the memory of them in my heart. And when I when I think of life in that way, my eyesight improves and I soon find that tiny miracles occur every day.

This design is available in machine embroidery format here at SWAK Embroidery. The hand-embroidery pattern is available here at You Can Make This.


  1. Shelli, this may be one of my favorite stories you have shared yet. Which brings me to one of the many reasons why I just love you!!!! :) Thanks for always teaching (you are the BEST teacher) and for always giving a part of yourself in everything you do! I feel so blessed to have you a part of my life here! I I thought I would share one of my favorite quotes below. It made me think of it when you said your sister would find a dishtowel more useful than something she would hang on a wall. (I think a dish towel represents someone who works and gives a part of herself to so many). So I will share it below. Just know I love you and think the world of you! :) Infact I just adore you!!! Love Ya, Dana Day... "I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon (or minivan in our case) that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenek's lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived." Sister Hinckley :)

  2. Dana, how blessed I am to have friends like you!! Thank you for your sweet words! I absolutely love the quote from Marjorie Hinckley. What a powerful reminder of what we are really here for. Thank you so much! I love you too!

  3. That IS a fabulous quote (above!). Shelli -this is a really sweet post. Of course, tender for me because it's about my Mom. I didn't realize you created the design with her in mind. That is so special. I think I want one too! She really has been a light to us when it comes to understanding the workings of faith. And I loved your own perspective on miracles. Beautiful. Thanks Shelli!

  4. Thanks for the sweet comment, Cath. Your mom has definitely been an amazing example of courage and undying faith. We almost forget all that she has gone through because she is so positive and living her life so fully. Thank you, Cath!!

  5. wow...that was an awesome post...i enjoyed reading it..i love the pattern too.

  6. And don't forget about the real blue morpho butterfly that we gave Ronda. I must remind you that it was Gary who started the whole "butterfly" idea. He told me about the movie and wanted to give the butterfly gift. He was one who could actually understand what Ronda's fears and thoughts could be. Your embroidery design is extra special and I love it! What a great family we have!


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