Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meet Linda!

Meet Linda!

Linda was nominated by her dear sister, Diane, who we had the pleasure of introducing here. As we all know, October is breast cancer awareness month, so it is the perfect time to meet this inspiring mama.

Linda is a mama to two very different, but equally fantastic boys. They aren't really boys anymore- Josh is 29 and married to his terrific wife, Liz. Ben is 26. But, they will probably always be boys to mama Linda!

Five years ago, Linda retired after 34 years of sales with General Foods and Kraft. She has since taken up bicycle riding, which is her husband, Tom's, passion. We're not talking bike around the neighborhood biking. We're talking bike 20+ miles at a time biking! Whew!

Linda spends 7 months of the year in Phoenix and 5 months at a house about an hour west of Colorado Springs on the back side of Pike's Peak. It is truly quiet and beautiful at 9,300 feet! Linda aptly describes it as "breath-taking!" Lucky for Linda and her family she enjoys cooking and baking since they are 30 minutes from restaurants and a grocery store. In addition to biking, Linda also enjoys watching the wildlife and hiking in the woods.

Linda shares her story best:

"In the spring of 2009 I was doing my routine ob/gyn annual physical and mammogram, when a spot that "they" had been watching indicated some changes. Of course, I was never told about this spot until then. At some level, I knew that we were on a path that would not be short and I prayed that God would carry me through this experience. As each test was completed, we went farther down this path until it was confirmed with a biopsy that I indeed had breast cancer. For the longest time I couldn't say 'I have breast cancer.' It was 'They found breast cancer.' Funny how it takes so long to take ownership of cancer as your own. Although my area of cancer was relatively small, I chose to have a double mastectomy to take the surest route to insure my long term health. This decision is an extremely difficult one to make and it has a variety of factors that are different for each woman. (By the way, men can develop this too.) There is no history of cancer in my family, but I had taken birth control pills for a few years and had been on hormone replacement therapy for many years. I was truly blessed when I was able to move on without having to do chemo or radiation. I will begin reconstruction this fall.

This spring we learned that a friend of mine, Kathy, who is quite a bit younger than I am, was going through the same exact experience with her routine exams. Unfortunately, her cancer had spread into her lymph nodes and she has been doing chemo therapy here in Phoenix all summer and has started her radiation treatments. She is starting to feel much better and 'seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.' Her optimism inspires us all!"

Linda inspires us all!

Linda started down the "quilt path" by making her boys blankets from old Bicycle Race t-shirts. Her sister, Diane, was making quilts and the beauty of them compelled Linda to get more into quilting. Diane helped Linda start on a small, simple log cabin pattern in red, white, and blue. As Diane couldn't be with her during Linda's hospital stay, the blanket served as a warm reminder of her loving sister.

Linda made the following quilt in a class. During the middle of the class, she learned she had cancer and didn't think she'd be there for the last two class sessions, but was afraid to tell the teachers (just like you're a kid again!). But, God had other plans for Linda. She finished the class and the quilt before her surgery!

When she found out Kathy was going to have surgery, Linda made her sweet friend a quilt and pillow out of the brightest, cheeriest colors she could find that also highlighted her favorite color, purple.

Linda wanted to practice her quilting before venturing into too many large quilts, so she started making small quilts for her Aunt Melba who is 91. The first "quilt" she made for Aunt Melba was a place mat for her 90th birthday. But, Aunt Melba refuses to use it as Linda intended and has turned all of Linda's place mats into wall hangings!
(I think Aunt Melba knows a beautiful thing when she sees it!)

Linda tries to make wall hangings for Aunt Melba that match the seasons so she can rotate them out. But, Aunt Melba loves them all so much that she doesn't take them down and is now running out of wall space!

These are some place mats and potholders Linda made.

This quilt was a kit that Linda's husband bought her for Christmas (don't we love a husband that buys quilting supplies!). It's a perfect match for their Colorado home!

Linda is achieving one of her goals by reading the Bible cover to cover. She his almost there! Her favorite verses (especially since retirement) are James 4:14-15:

Yet you do not know what you life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.

Linda's kind enough to share her latest favorite recipe with us. Perfect for fall days with a little artichoke dip! As she says, "If I can make cookies, I should be able to make crackers!"

Mix: 3 cups oatmeal, 1 cup wheat germ, 2 cups flour (1/2 white/ 1/2 whole wheat), 3 T sugar, 1 tsp salt
Add: 1 cup olive oil, 1 cup warm water, about 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 T caraway seeds
Mix well.
Roll out 1/4 to 1/3 of the mixture at a time into a thin rectangle using plenty of flour to keep it from sticking.
Sprinkle sea salt over the dough and, using your rolling pin, roll the salt into the dough.
Cut into desired shapes (leaves anyone?). Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (Linda recommends using parchment paper) at 300 degrees for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Remember how this works? Please leave a comment for sweet Linda! What an incredible woman! We feel very fortunate to be able to introduce her to you all. We hope she has the best week ever!


  1. Hi Linda,
    I am Diane's Wind Cave Nat'l Park/freshman college friend, now living in Willow Lake. Love your little quilts! I'm sure Melba does too! I have walked the same Cancer journey, about 3.5 years ago, but didn't have reconstructive surgery. All is well at this time, just taking the little pill, Femara.
    So neat to see first Diane's story and now yours! Wish I lived closer to all of you to share the love of quilting......... Have a great day, Lucille

  2. Linda, I loved reading your story and learning more about you. Your quilting is beautiful! I think my favorite are the Neapolitan place mats... or the leaves... or the green quilt... okay, can't pick a favorite. They are all so pretty! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Linda has inspired so many people and quilting is just another way to do so. Anyone starting to quilt can look at the variety of designs and know that many looks are possible! I love sharing quilting with Linda and am proud to have her as a part of my life.

  4. What a great story! Thank you for sharing, Linda. You've been in my prayers and will stay there. Your quilts are beautiful - you had a good teacher : ) Keep up the good work!

  5. Hey Cuz!
    You outdid yourself with the latest two "placemats" for Mom! She loves them! Much to her dismay, we did have to take something down in order to get them both up. Thank You for being so giving!

  6. What a great story about my friend Linda and her beautiful quilts. It was the first time I saw the quilts she made other than the one she made for me. Thank you, Linda for tackling cancer with such grace and ease so I wouldn't be so scared when I was diagnosed.

  7. Great story! Thanks for sharing and beautiful quilts!

  8. It's Rachel Giles... I was happy to read your story myself. Josh is not the most forthcoming with details. :) I myself had two surgeries to remove my cancerous thyroid gland in spring of 2007. Luckily avoided chemo/radiation like you. Cancer club is "fun", huh?
    Your quilts look warm and so beautiful, just like yourself. I especially love the muted-toned rainbow one at the very bottom. I don't know if I've ever thanked you for all the kindness you always showed my teenage self, but you were understanding and welcoming to a stupid young sick person and it made a difference in my life. Thank you for being one of the truest Christians I've ever known, and raising someone I still consider one of my best friends. You rock, lady Linda. thanksies

  9. VERY VERY COOL! Thank You for sharing Linda's story!

  10. Very nice Linda! Yet another talented lady!


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