In Creativity, Friends, Quilts, Thoughts by Brenda12 Comments

Inspiration.  An ounce of inspiration is worth more than a pound of scolding and finger pointing to motivate me.  How about you? You can tell me I need to clean my house and try to shame me into it, but the best way to make me WANT to clean it is for me to visit my friend Robyn (or some other friends who have equally pristine homes) to INSPIRE me to WANT my home to be clean (…organized…or beautifully decorated).

Inspiration doesn’t stop there.  From being inspired to live out my Christian faith, to finishing my projects, to balancing my checkbook, these are all better executed when I am inspired by a wonderful example. The list is much longer for the things I’d like inspired to do.  I’d like to share a story of Debbi Cline who not only inspired me to make my most recent project, a “mini-twister” miniature quilt (see next blog) but has inspired me to move forward with grace with what life offers.


(Debbi and I hitting a quilt shop in Holmes County 2015 on a Black Sheep outing. Group shot.)

I met my friend Debbi Cline when she started dating her now husband Brent over three decades ago.

(Brent and Debbi’s wedding.)

(Brent and Debbi doing my favorite…their imitation of Fozzie and Kermit smiling…as Muppets can’t smile, but only open their mouths!)

(The Black Sheep on a riverboat cruise on the Ohio River…in the early days.)

(Me and Debbi…young and goofy.)

We have gone through life together. The things that have bonded us started with our husbands, the “Black Sheep” buddies, and continued with our many shared creative interests, child rearing, friendship, and simple enjoyment of laughing together.  So here we are, decades later.  Our boys (we each have two) are all grown; our husbands are turning gray (as am I, but NOT Debbi!); we’ve tried various creative pursuits (yes, we are renaissance women!), and while I was becoming a grandmother, she was encountering some difficult diagnoses.

You see, six years ago, Debbi was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  She was 51, about the same age my dad was when he was diagnosed with the same.  This diagnosis brought us commonality on one more count.  I remember many questions from Debbi and Brent about Dad’s Parkinson’s journey to help them understand her journey.  I was sad to observe that Debbi’s decline went much faster than Dad’s.  Last summer she found out she had been misdiagnosed.  Her proper diagnosis was Multiple Systems Atrophy.   This diagnosis was harder than Parkinson’s but explained a lot.  This made us stop, take stock, and grieve, then eventually move forward, now with a different perspective and differing goals.

You see, after Debbi’s initial diagnosis, she moved forward with her career as a math teacher, her roles as wife and mother, her hobbies, her life.  She put me to shame with the number of projects she completed with her quilting.  Eventually, her health caused her to leave her job, and later, her husband’s retirement made him available to care for her needs as needed.  I observed (and I’m sure he would tell you) that she was the ideal patient.  “Patient” is the best description I can come up with.  Calm, humble…accepting of help with many thanks and the frequent apology for any way she was not able to do this or that.  If I were in her shoes, I could imagine my hubby seeing my “IMpatience” along with many unattractive traits I won’t go into (if he had to care for me, doing things that I would prefer to do for myself). Brent has been amazing in his attention to detail in her care.  They both gave it their all.  In recent months, soon before her 57th birthday, Debbi made the necessary move to the nursing home.  This has been a positive move in many ways, one that she has taken in stride, with patience, humility, and grace.

One of the things Debbi and I have enjoyed sharing recently (before her move to the rest home) was going through her craft and sewing room with the goal of purging, organizing, and finishing her projects.  (Help from the Towne Squares Quilt Guild was invaluable!) It was fun to giggle as we quickly learned that Debbi had the same “crap” in her craft closet that I have in mine! I was inspired by how organized her projects were laid out.  It made my job easy of sharing them with the quilt guild for their help in completing.  I’ve been inspired to be more organized, plan ahead better, and to work towards completing what I’ve planned rather than my usual path of diversion to another project.

Another fun thing we have enjoyed sharing when she was at home was “cooking day” with our friend Robyn (yes the one with the “house” and she also is married to a Black Sheep!)  Robyn and I would go to Debbi’s and cook.  We’ve made many things from cinnamon rolls to Mexican Wedding cookies, to soup!  Whatever sounded good.  We had fun taking pictures, saying it was easy as “one, two, three!”

So after enjoying a visit with Debbi today, I wanted to share her with you.  She has been an inspiration to me to learn new things, to DO my projects, not just pin them on Pinterest, and I also hope her inspiration will help me to accept what life brings my way with grace and patience, and to accept with thankfulness whatever help I may need in life.

Thank you, Debbi, for the lessons that your quiet life teaches those who love you.  And I can’t wait for our next giggle session, our next deep talk, and our next fun memory… you know there have to be more hijinks in our future…being married to Black Sheep!

(Now that you know Debbi, in my next blog, I hope to share some of Debbi’s quilting projects, and some of mine!)


  1. What a wonderful tribute to your friend, Debbi. I am sure your friendship is a blessing to her as well.

  2. She sounds like a wonderful friend! Thanks for sharing about her and your friendship!

  3. I know Debbi. She was my Pre-algebra teacher in 8th grade! Her inspiration for her students was amazing. I wish I would have had the honor of having her a couple more years. I wish I would have paid attention and focused more in her class. I love her and her inspiration. So if you see this Debbi, know that I think about you all the time!

  4. What a wonderful way to honor your friend and friendship! Beautiful!!

    1. Author

      Jenny, did you notice the picture of me and Debbi that you took at your house? (“Your folks’ house” that is, way back when.)

    2. Such a loving tribute to Debbi. Sorry for the loss of your friend. 🙏🏻

  5. I did not know Debbi had passed away. I got to know her better during the years our sons were in band together. She was always a kind thoughtful woman. So sorry to hear this. I enjoyed your memories and pictures of her.

    1. Author

      Yes, it’s still fresh. She was a dear, sweet friend. God was good to provide me the opportunity to share my heart with her last night. <3

  6. What a beautiful story of long and lasting friendship. I agree that good examples are the best inspirations. I’m sure you inspired each other in many ways. The works you created together were beautiful, as was the relationship. What a blessing you have been to each other! Thanks for sharing.

  7. My oldest son had Deb. I was a little unnerved one day when he came home with a note from “Mrs Cline”. She knew who I was and had heard I quilted. We became fast friends and I am the one who introduced her to Towne Squares Quilt Club. She will be missed terribly!

  8. What a true honor for a long lasting friendship. The pictures show nothing but happiness and fun. You should write a book.😊.

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