When I began working at the main office at Cookson Hills, I noticed an office mate had quilts stacked up in her office. Intrigued by the sight, I asked what all these quilts were for. She told me that a group of women make quilts for each of our kids! The quilts were so beautiful and took hours upon hours to make; I knew I needed to meet the woman in charge of such a thoughtful project!
Well, I finally got to meet Mickey and her husband and hear their story. Although they do not want to be applauded for their good, they allowed me to share their story in hopes that it can inspire others.
It is incredible how many lives have been touched since Mickey started giving the quilts to the kids. Some kids come with nothing but the clothes on their backs, but they are given a quilt that is theirs. It might be the first thing that they can call their own. Most kids want to know if they can keep their quilt after leaving Cookson Hills, and the answer is Yes. It is theirs. Each piece of fabric is stitched with prayers for the one who receives it. Not only does this quilt wrap the wearer with cloth and warmth but also in prayer and heavenly comfort. Not only for the days they are within our homes but for many years to come.
My mother quilted, and as a little girl, I told my mother never in this world would I buy material to cut it up into a million pieces just to sew it back together. That was the dumbest thing to me.
As an adult, my husband and I worked as hard as possible, raising two kids and taking care of ourselves. But I had an accident that left me unable to work, and it was challenging. I felt like I had lost all my value as a person and was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I lost my job, and they were telling me I would be in a wheelchair and that I was never going to be out of the horrific pain I was in.
A LIFE CHANGED
I feel quilting saved my life. After my accident, my husband took me to my parents’ house. My mother came into the room and threw a pile of quilt blocks on the table. She said, “We are going to have a quilt made out of this before you go home.” We made a twin-size quilt that day. I’ve been hooked ever since. That one quilt turned into a project that resulted in over 100 quilts being made by my mom and me. Quilting became my medicine.
When we moved for a better job for my husband, I only had a shoebox of fabric to my name. So I took shirts out of the closets and cut them up to make quilts, and I did that until we could afford to buy material.
It was a dream of mine to have a sewing group. I was finally able to get one together at our church. We started making some needed items for the church. After that, we decided to see if we could bless someone else. The church supported Cookson Hills and had a delivery of food to make, so I joined along on the trip; we had a good time. I asked if there was anything that Cookson Hills needed, and the Executive Assistant told us they would love table cloths and runners for the giant tables in the childcare homes. Our sewing group got on it right away.
When I returned with this delivery, that’s when I learned that kids needed blankets for their new beds. And that’s how it all began. I had an outstanding group of women at the church who dove in head-first and worked hard to make quilts for these kids. The first delivery was 65 quilts. We needed to make sure every child was able to pick one out!
I am picky about who I give quilts to. I want to give them to organizations doing good things to change a child’s life, not just hand them a quilt and walk away. Cookson Hills fit the bill of everything I was looking for in an organization to give to. The kids live and go to school there, graduate, and some come back to serve later. I genuinely believe the Lord is in the work here.
We aren’t made of money, and quilting is expensive. But the Lord blesses us in many other ways, like connections and friendships. We know that the Lord wants me to continue because his hand is providing so much for it all to continue- from friends and family who donate fabric. To experiences of purchasing fabric where the seller gave it to us at a ridiculously reduced price. Thousands of dollars of material have been given so these kids can have a warm blanket at the end of a long day. The Lord has been working through this project, and I believe he has directed us here.
There is nothing that’s going to stop me. It’s my project, and it will never end. I have shocked myself when I think back on all the quilts I’ve made, I just love it. I no longer feel sorry for myself. Even though my husband has a new job and is busy all the time, I still have all these kids that need help, and I just consider that quilting saved my life and put me on a new track of thinking. I don’t have to have a “job-job” and make tons of money; there are things I can do that change others’ lives.
This is a never-ending project in my heart. As long as Cookson Hills exists, they will need more quilts. As long as my health and ability permit, I will keep doing it. I know that the kids need us more than they know. This is one way I can help them see that they are loved. If the kids could see that somebody cared for them, maybe they could feel a little more comfortable in their new situation. These quilts saved me; maybe, just maybe, they can save the kids too.
Mickey has delivered over 130 quilts currently and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. If you have the desire to fulfill a need in these kids’ lives and this ministry, pray that God would reveal to you how you can help. It could be that you spread the word about Cookson Hills or gather fabric and thread for quilters like Mickey.