The first story we'd like to share with you is about a woman who found 3 flowers of similar size to hang together as a tryptich. Here are 2 of them (we don't have a picture of the 3rd):
The reason? There is a brand new mental health clinic that just opened in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. The walls have just been painted; they are blank slates - no artwork - until now! Three of our pieces are now hanging in this new facility, and who knows how or when someone may be encouraged! What an honor - it blows us away!
The next story is about the woman who bought this piece:
She quietly purchased this "Be Brave" piece while moving one arm gingerly due to the PICC line in her forearm. She probably never would have said more, except that she was with her friend who leaned over to tell us why she was buying it. The following Monday - 2 days from then (now over a week ago!) she was having a heart transplant. Yes. A heart transplant. The brave woman joked around about how she needed something encouraging to look at in her 'suite' because she was going to be staring at the same hospital walls for quite awhile. God has brought this nameless woman to mind many times this past week: wondering where she is, how she's doing, hoping she's being loved and cared for well by those around her. We are praying for God's healing hand to be upon her and that she'd be comforted through God's people and His peace.
***UPDATE!!! Emily, the woman mentioned above, e-mailed us with an update when she saw this blogpost! In my ignorance, I just thought you go in, you have your transplant. duh. I don't think sometimes! Emily explained that she's met all of the criteria to get moved up to the top level of the waiting list for her heart and lungs transplants. And now she is waiting. She is not allowed to leave the unit because of the monitoring. There are 4 patients in her unit awaiting transplants. One has been waiting 7.5 MONTHS for a liver and heart. Another's been waiting a month. So they all wait, trying to avoid getting sick or anything that would set them back. She says,
"so that is what I am doing. Waiting...I so appreciate the kinds things you wrote, that was just so neat. I have been told through out my life I have been an inspiration and touched other people's lives but until I read your post I hadn’t quite felt/believed it. If there is anything I can ask for besides prayers is that we help people understand the need for organ donation, that in the event of a death, what a miraculous way to honor the deceased life by giving new life to another. Up to 7 people actually."
Sometimes it's the waiting that takes the most courage. Thank you so much for the update, Emily. Our prayers are definitely with you as you be brave in your waiting.
Then there's the story of this woman named Sarah who bought a different "Be Brave" this past weekend. Here she is:
She heard that we were gathering stories to share and so sent us this email to share with all of you. Read on in her own words:
My husband and I purchased a few of your pieces a couple years ago when we were decorating our daughter's nursery. They're my favorites out of the artwork in her room. One of them has a line from my favorite Wordsworth poem - they're so special. My husband died a few months ago - a very young 36 years old - after a long struggle with a traumatic brain injury. We spent 6-7 months in and out of numerous hospitals and rehabilitation hospitals - and finally spent our last week together back in the Quad Cities at a hospice facility. This idea of "home" expanded in our lives. We made home wherever we were. A few weeks ago I realized that I had mentioned this concept of home to my husband in our wedding vows - and had the latin word for home, "domus", tattooed on the inside of my wrist as a reminder. So I was bowled over when I saw a piece of yours that mentioned home being wherever we are (I'm paraphrasing and butchering it, I apologize). While I couldn't bring myself to buy that one,
|(we're guessing that this is the piece that Sarah saw.)|
I did find another one that I love, "Be Brave". I started a blog http://www.mrsbsbrain.com/1/post/2011/09/a-fall-approaching.html in the aftermath of my husband's death and have a picture of me holding it.
So just in the two nights since buying it, my 2 1/2 year old daughter is talking to me about being brave and what that means. Thank you so much for the pieces you create - they're lovely and touching beyond what you can imagine.
Our situations may be different than Sarah's on the surface, but going deeper, our hearts are all needing the same reminders to be brave. It's precious and humbling to be a witness to the way art is connecting us. It's hard to describe, but blows us away. We are praying that Sarah would have much peace and bravery as she and her sweet baby girl begin to find their new normal.
The last sweet story we have to share with you is about a cute little elderly woman (probably in her 70s) who bought a piece with this message on it:
She and her husband are NEWLYWEDS! Yes, really! Been married 7 months! Again: blown away! They purchased this piece for their home. Who knows what kind of journey they've been on all these years and what events led them to finally finding each other. Our guess is that it was anything BUT boring!!! How sweet that they now have each other! This message is perfect for them, and we wish them much joy and happiness together!!!!
We don't know why, but lately it seems like more stories than usual are coming our way: people are going through all kinds of hard, crazy and fabulous things. It just feels like we're supposed to share them with you - so you can be blown away too by how God is working! Many of you reading this are going through some major stuff too. Do you know that you are not alone?! Sometimes we get a glimpse into your stories, often we don't. Either way, we are going to keep on this path that God's got us on, while giving Him the glory.