The Blanket Maker’s Quilt: A Lesson in Quality Control


Some days I am amazed at myself! No hubris intended. I look at my life and wonder to myself, “Exactly…how did I get here?  Really?”

There is absolutely no reason why I should have the wherewithal to raise sons.  I come primarily from a matriarchal family.  And let me tell you…the matriarchs on the dominant side of my family tree were very interesting.  Strong women on the surface, these brilliant, creative characters had some super-lethal self destruct buttons.  I mean, when these things went off, they destroyed everything and everybody around them for miles.  I was trained to keep secrets; trust no man; never let the left hand know what the right hand is doing; remember blood is thicker than water; what goes on in this family STAYS in this family.  I honestly don’t know HOW the men in my family felt about anything…there was no valid opinion that was not first approved of by the women-folk.

By all rights, I should have been the LAST human being with a womb that God would trust with men children. And yet, here I am with two fantastic sons.  These are young men full of vision and purpose, protective and caring; strong, clear identities that do not suffer fools lightly. They are fiercely individual yet, like twins, have their own personal short-hand complete with a library of inside jokes. It blesses me to see them so devoted to one another and to me. They have all the makings of good men.

Top that off with the array of brothers, sons, cousins and nephews I have, virtually none of whom are related to me by blood.  They honor me and I honor them.  I am blessed to have so many good, REAL men in my life.

Now, how did that happen?

I tell you, God is pretty clever.  He has a plan for each one of us.  And he will protect and prepare you for who you are destined to be, regardless of the circumstances of your birth.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND…I know that only a man can make a man. But what I CAN do is point sons and brothers toward examples of what a man looks like, based on my experience. And I can bring a word of loving correction, encouragement or insight when their ends began to fray. For every season in my life, where the enemy would set me up to be exposed, God placed a few good men to cover me – like the swatches that make up a patchwork quilt – leaving sets of standard for me to pull together, ensuring I could identify quality ‘coverers’ and I could assist in making and keeping them strong and reliable.

These swatches of fabric have covered me for a time or two, here and there. Men who have given me inklings of how it feels to be truly covered in a world that left me laid bare and at the mercy of the elements.

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I have three cousins; Eric Derrick and Eddie.  They were some of the first to let me know that it’s okay for a lady to catch a football, dig for worms and go fishing.  They taught me that life is a dance and a lady needs a man to lead confidently without being overbearing.

Another cousin, William, taught me that a lady does not have to throw herself at the object of her affections, but that when love comes, it extends firm arm for her to grab hold of, a friendly smile and walks with her at a comfortable pace through whatever the road ahead may bring.

One of my ‘brothers’, Jerome, taught me a lady is never afraid of what she has to offer. Love will always give her room to be herself.  Real love will always find the fair exchange of melody and harmony to the sound of her song as long as she keeps playing her own tune.

My Pastor/Father, Dan Willis, taught me that love is the same, every day.  Good days, bad days, clear or cloudy skies; love should not change.  The consistency of a man is the mark of His relationship to God and his ability to relate to the woman he covers.

This last swatch is a little tough to talk about and was, at one time, the most sturdy and lush of materials.  My husband, Tracy, covered me as well as he was able, through extraordinary wear and tear.  From the time I was 13, he taught me that both the heart and the body of a lady are precious and she has every right to preserve them. He taught me when the sum of a person’s actions does not equal the sum of their words, it may be best to remove one’s self from the equation.  He taught me that chivalry must be taught and a lady must be taught to expect it or she will never understand why she always feels wanting.

Some of these men have come and gone more than once in my life, sometimes at the same time but mostly in shifts. They’ve always given more than they’ve taken. And anything they did not cover that I have learned to share, I attribute to the covering of Father God through the example of Jesus Christ and revelation through the Holy Ghost.  There will always be warmth and protection in my life because of them. And because of my “Quilt of Many Colors,” I have a wealth of observations to impart to my brothers, sons, nephews and cousins.

I don’t think it strange when I find myself at the café table with a few of the brothers in the choir, holding court.  When I ask them questions and offer up insights, they seem to listen with rapt attention. I am grateful to have something worth imparting, helping to make them covers that others can count on.

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