Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Bonnie Hunter Girlfriend Bonding Weekend

Momcat got home this evening just after our dinnertime. Fortunately, our man servant, Philip, was able to feed us while Momcat was away. I don't understand "away." The only time I ever leave the house, I'm in a tiny little mobile prison that takes me to the bad smelly place where people in white coats stick me with sharp things and squeeze me too hard. I have been on the patio once or twice, but other than that, I'm content to stay in my cozy home.

So when Momcat goes away, it's hard for me to understand some of the things she tells me. I don't get why she needs other people in her life. I don't need other cats in mine, even though I'm stuck with four siblings.

Since Momcat was gone all weekend to a thing called a workshop, I think I should let her be my guest blogger over the next few days to fill you in.

Take it away, Momcat!

Momcat: Thank you, Pi. What a privilege to be able to post on your blog. I hope you know that even when I'm gone, I think of you. As well as Logan, Trouble, Butch, Sundance and Maggie.

Pi: I don't know why you felt the need to mention them. But do go on.

Momcat: The weekend was a dream come true from start to finish. I feel so nourished, creative, and filled with the spirit.

In the words of Brenda Hunter (no relation to Bonnie) in her book In the Company of Women,

"I have just come from a gathering of women. For three hours this morning the four of us sat in a local restaurant, sharing our needs, our concerns, our unanswered questions - - our hearts. Two of us cried after deep confessionals; all of us laughed...When it was time to go - - as other commitments called - - we ran outside into the spring rain, light-hearted as children out for recess."

I tend to view things through the lens of a spiritual journey. God speaks to me always, it's just that I can hear Him more clearly at one time versus another. This weekend I heard him so often that my cheeks hurt from smiling and my shoulders released some of the burdens I've been carrying.

Since Piwacket usually writes this blog, there are aspects of my life that Pi's readers don't know. Now is the time to share and get to know the lady behind the kitty.

In February of 2009 my husband moved out. Next week is our 30th anniversary. Truthfully, we've been trying for several years to resurrect our marriage in spite of life taking us in different directions. My husband is not a Christian. He is a good and loving man, and wonderful father to our two grown sons. As I've grown older the divide between my wanting to share my deep faith with my spouse and his more carnal needs have been a difficult challenge.

When we separated I was under the impression that there was still a possibility of reconciliation after some time apart and individual counseling. Whether that was a miscommunication on my husband's part or some denial of the facts on mine is no longer a claim worth mining. The fact is that for whatever reason, I still had hope.

About three weeks ago my husband asked for a divorce. I've since found out that he's been seeing someone since April. Although I love him and want him to be happy whether we're with each other or not, I certainly didn't want him to find that happiness quite so soon! I'm feeling like the smelly hamburger that's been sitting around in the fridge for too long, and finally someone decided to throw me away.

Enter my friends, my faith, Bonnie Hunter and a sense of humor.

At the age of almost 52, I'm discovering who I am without the labels of wife or mother (although I'll always be a loving mom to my two sons and my precious DIL, they are all adults and my role has changed accordingly.) What do I enjoy doing when I don't have to think about what someone else thinks? What meals do I like? What do I want to cook for myself, or do I prefer just a bowl of cereal at dinner? Do I still have value? Am I capable of relationship outside of marriage? How can a Christian woman go through divorce and serve God? So many questions.

The invitation to this retreat came through Jennifer, who is a member of the Quilters Guild of Indianapolis, Indiana. First Jill decided to go. Then I asked if there was room for me. Next thing you knew, Becca and Cathy signed up as well. We're all friends who live within a 2 hour radius of one another. Although we began as quilting friends, we've become sisters in so many ways, because that's what women do.

Cathy and I drove together. Cathy and I have a lot in common. Each of us is dealing with some very big life challenges, and we have bonded together through our faith. Cathy doesn't say a lot, but what she does say is worth listening to. We shared a hotel room (which I booked through Priceline at the crazy low rate of $45/night when it's usually triple that!).

We got to the meeting on Thursday. Jill was there front row center ready for Bonnie.

The guild meeting was held at a beautiful Presbyterian church. Just look at the chandeliers and stained glass!

The meeting went through its regular business stuff and then came Bonnie. What a delight!

Here she is showing an overflowing basket of scraps as she led into her Scrap User's System.

Some of the great lessons I took from the meeting's presentation:

  • What you throw away costs $9.50 per yard just the way all the other stuff did. You're throwing your money into the garbage if you don't use those pieces.
  • To convert any quilt pattern to a scrap quilt, instead of looking at the full yardage requirements, dig down into the pattern and look for the smallest cuts and units used.
  • Value is more important than color in scrap quilts, because you're using such small pieces.
  • The rules don't matter.
There is so much more to share with you, and I'll try to do so over the next couple of days. The Starstruck Workshop was on Friday, and the Crumbs Workshop was today.

If any of you ever get a chance to take a workshop from Bonnie, please do so. She is one of us. Down to earth, funny, smart and joyful.

In closing this post, I just want to say how grateful I am for the women in my life. God did not give me sisters by birth. But I have been given sisters of the heart. A very wise counselor told me that since women are the caretakers of the family's emotions, we psychologically re-enact family dynamics when we get together. There are sisters, aunts, moms, children, and grandparents present whether they're physically in that room or not.

My sisters of the heart are part of that life journey. Jill and Becca are the younger sisters I never had. I love their energy, their enthusiasm, their silliness, and there are times that I'd like to strangle them for being so annoying! (In this same scenario, if I'm their psychological big sister, you can only imagine what a know-it-all b**ch they might consider me at times!) Cathy is my twin. I feel what she feels, I just tend to express it more. Jennifer is wise beyond her years. I love seeing her with her children and am amazed at all that she can accomplish. I love these women.

Bonnie became one of those sisters this weekend. The sister who encourages you. The one who takes the training wheels off your bike and then watches proudly as you wobble along on just two wheels. She's the one who laughs with you when you fall down because she knows that you will get back up, try again, and stay in balance this time.

Here's a group picture of my weekend sisters.

That's me on the far left, then Cathy, Becca, Bonnie, Jill and Jennifer. We're holding Bonnie's wonderful crumb quilt. The words around the border are True Friends are the Brightest Scraps in the Patchwork of Life.

There's more to come. Right now I have some animals to cuddle. Thanks to all of you for supporting Piwacket in her endeavors to express herself.

Yours truly,
Linda (Momcat)


Quiltluver said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful, much-needed retreat from your every-day life. I can't imagine what you've had to go through lately. I admire the way you are facing it with courage and determination to see the positive and grow as a person. Hang in there, you deserve to be happy. Kiss those furbabies for me.

animal lover, quilt lover said...

What a wonderful time you had with the girls!! Sometimes we just meed that bonding! Honey you needed that! I am so glad for you! You will get through this better than you have ever been! Tell Pi I have been missing her and you Momcat.
Love from a girl, Fern

Patchwork Penguin said...

I can only imagine what you have been through this year.... but it sounds like your faith and friends have given you the beginnings of the strength you will need to move ahead and find yourself.

Bonnie is an incredible lady, and like you we've made her a member of our little quilt group here in PA. She reminds me to take each day as it comes, and remember what is really important.

Quilty Hugs!!


Chris@Cats On My Quilts said...

What a beautiful post! I have read it and re-read it. It really touched me. I know the women in my life are my lifeline and I don't know what I'd do without them. Sounds like you are on the right healing path so continue on.

Regina said...

What a wonderful post - thanks Pi for allowing this great guest poster to share with us!! Such a great family picture!!!

Jennifer said...

I had no idea what a great weekend this was for you - I knew you had fun, but didn't know it had so much other meaning for you. So glad you could make it!