Unearthing Scraps of Hope


in Happiness,Personal Growth

At one point in my life, I thought I wanted to be a quilter.

I pictured myself piecing together bits of fabric to create a stunningly designed quilt and then being covered in its loveliness each night as I slept.

Slowly, I gathered material – flannels, cottons, silks, velvets – soft to the touch and enrapturing to the eye. As I savored the rich colors and sweet patterns of each little piece, I imagined what a wondrous quilt I would sew into being.

Oh the possibilities!

Painstakingly, I sewed my little squares of possibility together, trying to make sure the tiny stitches were reasonably straight and even. Then, I looked at my work.

Instead of being greeted with a profound object of beauty, I was met with a rag-tag, slightly crooked and crumpled assortment of … well, odds and ends. Not quite what I had envisioned.

My love affair with quilting was over. I was nine.

But the scraps of fabric remained.

Small ambassadors of possibility tossed in the recesses of a dusty drawer where I would stumble upon them occasionally, let my fingers feel their softness, and my eyes enjoy their beauty.

Possibilities are like that. They never really leave us even if our first efforts at capturing them seem to elude us. They lurk. They whisper. They wait to be rediscovered – maybe not in the original form they arrived, but in some iteration.

They have a name.


Hope of having something.

Hope of creating something.

Hope of doing something.

Hope of being something.

As I walk from room to room in my home, I unearth the scraps that make up my life – little pieces of possibility in which hope resides.

The magazine that calls me to destinations I would like to know. The book I have carted around for the past twenty years that promises adventures in my garden. The basket holding wool waiting to be transformed into a soft cuddly something. The skirt holding out for just the right party with just the right someone.

And that possibility she kept in her mind, tucked away among other scraps of hope of the sort that we go through life with, not thinking about them very much but unwilling to let them fade away altogether. ~Alexander McCall Smith

Scraps of hope.

I am not willing to let them fade away.

It is enough to acknowledge them. To see them and remember. To know they make up the quilt that is my life.

I can piece them together as I choose. When the time is right. In a design of my own making. Not perfect. A little ragged. Sewn with uneven stitches. But stunning nonetheless.

And so can you.

Unearth those little scraps of hope. It is simply a matter of seeing. Of remembering.

What scraps of hope live with you? Within you? Have you acknowledged them lately? Worked them into the design of your life?

I'd love to pop into your inbox. Subscribe to get blog posts, an occasional newsletter, and other good things.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa@Luxuria August 17, 2011 at

Great article Andrea. Gosh! I have scraps of possibilities/hope all over my house; folders filled with all the travel destinations I want to visit, books, clothes, wool, material for that stunning dress I was going to make in 199…! The list goes on! But that’s our “patchwork quilt”; the quilt that depicts periods in our personal history. Each square, however faded, representing a time in our lives. The best kind of quilt ;-)


Andrea Olson August 17, 2011 at

Amazing, isn’t it? The possibilities are all around us … and we get to choose which ones to add to the quilt. The ultimate creation. :)


Ronna August 17, 2011 at

I actually went a number of years as an actual quilter. I took classes. I went to quilting groups. And I created elaborate designs. Some I even completed.

I no longer quilt, but there was something about that process that calmed me. Maybe, as you’ve so eloquently stated, it’s because I was sitting in the midst of pieces, shapes, design that did come together…cleanly, mathematically even. Unlike life.

But in both, yes, hope. Hope that the finished quilt will be worth the work. Hope that even the unfinished, unraveled, and unorganized pieces will one day form themselves into a gorgeous life.

Thanks, Andrea. ‘Love this.
Ronna recently posted..Lao Tzu, a Bible verse, and heavy-duty resistance (why the hardest truths to swallow are the ones that provide the richest nourishment)


Andrea Olson August 18, 2011 at

As always, your words are so beautiful … “Hope that even the unfinished, unraveled, and unorganized pieces will one day form themselves into a gorgeous life.” Yes, they will.


Garrett August 18, 2011 at

Gorgeous piece of writing, Andrea, thank you.I love your description of what motivated you when young to make a quilt, what you envisioned, how different the reality turned out to be, and what it means for you today. A beautiful metaphor and encouragement. Thank you.
Garrett recently posted..A regular guy


Andrea Olson August 18, 2011 at

Many thanks, Garrett. As I look back – as with most things I undertake – I love the visioning and creative process. So beautiful. So hopeful.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: