A long time ago in a galaxy far away, in another time and life, I began a quillow fabric stash because I was raising a pair of adopted special needs kids with futon beds they loved piling high with quillows.
The best part of their individual quillow collections was I could easily bribe them into making their beds each day because it was so easy for them to fold up the mini quilts and tuck them inside the pillow pockets.
Then, as all fairy tales do, the happy story came to an early end. Both kids took permanent unauthorized field trips and set out to find a different way of life. One hopped across the country to find birth parents and discover why he was better off in an adoptive home. A painful lesson for him, but a satisfying phone call for me to hear regret for choices made and gratitude for the life that was saved. The other took off because the older one did, and she always had to do whatever he did. She didn't have a family to find across the country, so she explored housing options that required no commitment. An adventure for sure until the first winter set in, when she decided maybe a home wasn't such a bad thing after all.
The kids' quillows were carefully cleaned and donated to family services. The beds were donated to missionaries and a family facing the eminent loss of a parent to cancer.
Many unused cheater quilt panels lurked in the dark corners of my closet until they were packed away in boxes and moved to a smaller abode, where they were not taken out from hiding for many years. It was just too painful to look at them, much less decide what to do with them.
Then tragedy struck in another community, and Project Linus needed quilts, particularly quilts for children. Fires had ravaged the hillsides of a city on the other side of the United States, and one of the tiny tots I had babysat when I was but a teen myself was among the families evacuated. She had a family of her own now, and they lost everything. I had no second thoughts whatsoever sending quilts once intended for my own little ones to a community of strangers. I felt emotionally invested in the burned-out homes I'd never visited or seen thanks to a chance connection.
Out came the quilt panels, and in two nights, I pieced 18 quilt tops. I provided coordinating backing for many of the 18 flimsies. Women at church tied the quilts during the next two Saturdays, and off the finished quilts went with the prayerful hope of brightening the darkened lives of others.
My often overwhelming stash shrunk quite a bit that year. I've never regretted giving up something that once spurred such pleasant memories, then morphed into heartbreaking tears. Memories of those quilt tops bring great joy and satisfaction now.
Sometimes, things happen for a reason. I believe clearance fabric that fell so easily into my budget-strained path while my eyes were bigger than my sewing schedule was destined to be used to help someone in need. Not necessarily the children I thought they would go to, but children who might need and appreciate them just the same.