January Linus finish

I recently read a post from a blogger who said that she never speaks of her donation quilts, because doing so would mean that she’s doing the donation work for her own glory and not for the glory of charity.  She learned this from her Grandmother, who gave selflessly and silently. 

I couldn’t help but pause and think about my own donation work and me banging on and on about it.  And, was I drawing the glory of the donation to myself?  Was that wrong?

I realized that’s not why I talk about what I donate, quilts or cash.   I had to think about why I talk about it and whether what I say about it is wrong. 

First, I had to realize that when I talk about my Linus quilts, I’m not saying, hey, look at me, I’m a really great guy, I make Linus quilts.  When I talk about my Linus quilts, I talk about what I’m working on, which is what I always do on my blog, and what I happen to be working on a lot this year is a group of Linus quilts.  Ten of them.  My commitment to me.   

And, second, I talk about my Linus quilts to find other people that are also making donation quilts, so we can share that special feeling that comes from doing so.  And, I talk about them to bring attention to Linus. 

And, third, I don’t think that whoever is judging whether good works are good enough or done in the right spirit actually cares whether I bragged about a quilt or not.  I think that judge cares about that warm child that wraps up in one of my donation quilts, and that’s all.  Period.  My willingness to reach out and give a comfort to someone I’ll never see or know.

I realized that what she does is right for her.  And, what I do is right for me.  And, we don’t have to feel the same about it to both continue to do good works.

So, with that said, here is January; the fish quilt.


For me, this quilt really went south in a hurry.  I’m not loving the layout.  It’s nice, but it’s not my usual work.  There’s not enough variety.  This was the first pattern I started making for Linus; large blocks of color coordinated fabric that I could finish quick.  But, these blocks just don’t turn me on anymore.  I think it’s time to ramp up my patterns for Linus.  I certainly enjoyed piecing the more complex I Spy quilt than I did this quilt.  And, the next quilt, in the planning stages now, is a more complex design built from a need to use up some orphan blocks and change them from something ugly to something wonderful.

The fish also didn’t turn out as wonderful as I thought they would.


The whole quilt is quilted with columns of fish, all swimming in the same direction.  I think the thing I don’t like about them is that they barely show up, but they were a lot more work than I wanted them to be.  That much work should show. 

Anyway, there’s me, going on and on about how this quilt doesn’t pass muster for me.  But, I tried new things and that’s how I learn and while I would like it to have turned out better, I still managed to make a pretty cool teen sized quilt. 


Another thing I’m always banging on about is how normal my family is.  You guys have gotta understand.  Nobody is more surprised about this than me.  All my life, being gay was abnormal, or so I was told, so finding that a steady and strong relationship that includes a child when the couple is gay is just like a steady and strong relationship that includes a child when the couple is straight is always a bit of a surprise for me.

You may remember that last Friday was parent’s night at the game.  And, you’ll likely remember that I was nervous about it.  But, the night turned out so normal, it could have been right out of a TV sitcom.

All the parents and their girls lined up in order and we all paraded onto the court in a very long curved line.  We were about 6th in line.  The coach went down the line and called each girl and her parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle or older sibling, or whoever that girl was grateful to for making basketball happen for them this year.  As she called the name, the group was supposed to step out and as she called the next name, they were supposed to step back.  She called Sydney’s name and said that “Sydney is accompanied by her two dad’s…”  Okay, maybe it was just me and my nerves, but I’d swear that there was more applause for us than for anyone before us in that line and more than for most of the girls later in the line.  Why?  I don’t know.  But, many of the parents in the stands were from the opposing team.  They didn’t know us from Adam and Steve.  Maybe it didn’t even happen.  But, it felt like a real acknowledgment of the courage it took to step out there.

And, then it happened.  That embarrassing TV moment.

Rob and Sydney stepped back and I was left out in front of the crowd alone, looking around in amazement at what I was feeling.  And, then I felt a gentle tug on my shirt as Sydney pulled me back in line. 

And, everyone laughed. 

It was one of those surreal moments that you’d think would have to be planned and staged.  But it wasn’t.  It was our real life. 

And, it was great.  I was not being laughed at.  I was being laughed with.  Laughed with because it was funny.  Not because it was wrong or embarrassing.  But, because it was funny.  And, people will remember how normal and funny it was somewhere way back in the back of their mind.  Maybe it will soften a prejudice.  Maybe it will just be a funny story to tell at a dinner one night.  Or maybe it will just be stored as a normal, routine event in the life of parents everywhere.  I know I’ll never forget.

Be well.  Have a great Wednesday.  Yesterday was Sydney’s MRI.  We’ll get the results tomorrow.  That’s when the fun begins.



Tracey in CT said...

I have had the same thoughts about the donation quilts I make, too. I've finally decided for myself that I will continue to talk about them because then maybe I can inspire someone else to experience the satisfaction of making a quilt and giving it to someone who needs the comfort that the quilt will provide.
As to your parents night, I'm glad you got to enjoy the moment, even if it was a tiny bit weird for you.

Auntie Em said...

Two very good subjects in your post today, Lane.
Regarding donation quilts, I never get the feeling that you are bragging about making them. It's more like "look how easy it is to add such comfort to someone else's life.", and makes me want to do it too.
Regarding the parent's night, I'm so very glad you had a good experience. I would be applauding heartily for you and your family.

Hazel said...

I'm with you on the donation quilts ,I don't know how many times I've read your post and it encouraged me to put a quilt together .We post about them in hope more people will decide to help someone in need and also to do a craft we love .
I had someone ask why I spend all that time to make a quilt then donate it to the fire or police department ,let me tell you if one person gets a moment of peace while laying on the road or being rescued from a fire while wrapped in one of my quilts ,I've accomplished
what I set out to do .Please continue to post ,in Canada we call them cuddle quilts.Your quilts have cuddle many children in need .

Kath said...

I just enjoy reading about your quilts Lane, whomever they were made for.
I liked your little story, I have immense respect for you and how you made a family and I'm sure all the other parents do too.

Elizabeth said...

Lane, how I admire your family. You and Rob were thrown into parenthood, and not only that, difficult parenthood. You were given a "new born" teen, whose accompanying trials are far more difficult than an actual newborn. With a baby, you get to grow with them and the really hard stuff comes after you get to know your child. You two have done an absolutely amazing job at providing her a stable, loving home and for that you should be applauded. I applaud you.

Thank you for sharing your struggles and weaknesses and also your successes. You keep it real and that's what makes your blog interesting to read.

The trick to life is finding common ground. You can find a friend anywhere if you can find common ground. But that doesn't mean everyone has to be the same, because it is the differences that make this world beautiful.

And I never thought for one second that you talking about your Linus quilts was you wanting all the glory for yourself. As you said, it's what you're working on and you talk about what you're working on and that is perfectly OK.

I also admire that you give money to people who are in need. I donate on a regular basis to my church to a fund specific for assistance to those in need of food and shelter. I wonder if I can do more? I always feel guilty when I leave the Wal-Mart parking lot and see the pan-handlers with their signs asking for money. But I'm never sure if they're honest about their needs.

One day, a few weeks ago, as I was pulling into work, I noticed a homeless man huddled up against the building in the driveway. It was oh, so cold outside, well below freezing and I felt bad for this man. I went into the office, rummaged through my purse and pulled out all the cash I had, which was a meager $3, and took it to him. I felt badly about giving him so little, but I hoped he could at least get a burger or something with it. He smiled a very kind smile and offered a heart-felt thank you for my meager offering and I felt good. Perhaps, I'll make those kinds of donations more often as well.

Lane, thanks for being you. I look forward to your posts and I'm glad we're friends. No matter what anyone says, you are a truly wonderful, kind, amazing person. And don't you forget it.

xo -E

Andra Gayle said...

I love to see quilts no matter what their purpose. If quilters never showed their donation quilts, think of how many beauties we would never get a chance to admire. Looking at quilts makes my heart soar and I would miss seeing them!

Samantha said...

Lovely post Lane. I love seeing the donation quilts and Project Linus is an awesome organization!

I like how you are amazed by how normal your family is. I hope that someday soon ALL families no matter what their composition will be considered normal.

Now "We Are Family" is stuck in my head!

Laura said...

I like to see all quilts, whether or not they are for donation to Project Linus. I think seeing how many people are involved in this charity will encourage others to join.

MQuilter said...

I learned about Project Linus and Quilts Valor from folks blogging about their projects. I look at those posts as a planting of a seed. I enjoy seeing all quilts since they are used to warm someone's soul.

ga447 said...

I love my charity quilts and these quilts is what makes me happy happy and I learn with each one, even if it is just basic. I am going to join another charity "Helping Hands" to make quilts - they meet almost once a week. This charity uses different patterns.

Congrats on the applause, how proud you must feel.

Marei said...

I was very interested in the discussion regarding donation quilts. I understand where that woman was coming from....it's a very old-fashioned feeling that charity is an act that is done and not talked about. But, I think in this day, talking about charity empowers others to think about what THEY can do for something they believe in. BLOGGING about something is not the same (to me)as BRAGGING. I was also struck by your comment about the need to "ramp up" your patterns for Linus quilts. As someone who makes donations quilts (over 20 last year...and I'm saying that for reference, not brag) I just make quilts that I love. I can honestly say I've wanted to keep every quilt I've donated. But then, for me, that's the point. I wanted to donate something that I feel is "worthy". Does that make sense??? Here's a true story. I went to one of my LQSs one day and the owner was telling her employees that from now on she was just going to buy a yard of one fabric and a yard of another and stitch them together for Linus quilts. "It's not like THOSE PEOPLE can tell the difference between a blanket and a quilt anyway," she said. I was so angered by this comment that I decided right then and there to never patronize her business again.....and I haven't. True charity comes from the heart.

Piece by Piece said...

Two great subjects on your post Lane.
The quilting guild I belong to makes quilts for adult chemo patients at our local hospital. At our meeting this month we were paired up, and given a month of the year and also asked to choose a colour combination for the block for that month. My partner and I were given Feb. and we chose black, white and red for the block. Each member (16 of us) is now required to make a block, their choice, in those colours for our Feb meeting. And, so it goes through the months and our paired up members. Partners then get together to put the blocks together, it is then quilted and bound. During the process we get to know our partner a bit more, and also see some great blocks, which amazingly all seem to go together perfectly, no matter the shade or pattern on the fabric. It must be the love and caring that goes into each one. The www, is a way of us showing how random blocks and fabric can come together to make a beautifful quilts,for people that need a lot of comfort during a difficult time in their life.
In my dictionary - "family" - a group of closely related people, as parents and their children.


Stephanie in AR said...

If no one talked about the groups they work with how could anyone know they exist or if they are really doing good work. I read about your Linus quilts, looked and group up and passed the info on to a good friend of mine. Her daughter has neurological disabilities and cannot hold a "real" job. She loves to sew and makes baby quilts for anyone who is having a baby. She has been overwhelmed with gifts from aging friends of partial quilt tops, cut blocks and fabric but there are not that many friends having babies. Now she can make larger quilts & help someone too. We would have never know the group existed without you.

Anonymous said...

When you show your charity or cuddle quilts, I like to see the different patterns used. It also reminds me that I need/should do more. Thanks for sharing stories of your quilts and your family.

Patricia said...

Oh, baloney on that person who made a negative comment. I do not think when you are talking about the Linus quilts you are seeking glory. I love to hear about the quilts, all the quilts. If you have never mentioned it, I'd not even know about the Linus project. Please continue to share the way you always have.

And as for parents night, well, everyone knows prejudice still exists, but for the huge, great majority of us, we wish it did not and want to support you and want you to know you are supported. I'm sure that was what the huge applause was all about. Folks want you to know they have your back.

I love hearing about your daughter and your wonderful family life. Thank you for sharing.

Sharon said...

Think it is great that you give us all inspiration for donation quilts. I do cuddle quilts an quilts of valor .. I take photos of most and yours give me ideas and encouragement.. Sometimes it is like why do I put myself though this.. But then you know there is a child or vet that has gotten a hug.. The sad part is recently we actually had a quilt of valor and an OKC quilt stolen from a guilt meeting.. But, not a reason to stop making donation quilts.. Glad you did so well with two dads.. More children should be so lucky..

Anonymous said...

I think that being laughed with is a fine indication of warm acceptance and affection. Our world is changing for the better! Elle

Megan said...

I think it's good to talk about donation quilts - it helps spread the word and ecnourages others to get involved. It's never occurred to me that you were boasting.

Parents' night: yaaay for you. I suspect that you might be right about there being a bit more applause for your family because it probably took more courage for your family to stand up in front of everyone and I think many people in the audience probably wanted to acknowledge that.

Change is happening: that you have the strength to do that after being told for so many years that being gay was abnormal is remarkable. I salute you.

Sydney, Australia