Don Berry-Graham

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Preaching, Biking, Cancer and Quilting
I am a preacher by profession. What most people don’t know about preachers is that they are frustrated by the fact that their jobs are never done. No sermon is ever good enough, no visit is ever timely enough, no volunteer is ever trained well enough. We live with this huge feeling of never being finished in any thing that we do or say.
I have been a jock all my life. I played every sport there was in school and was named the best Athlete in the school. My passion was running especially long distance. I was a miler as a young person and then discovered marathons. For over 38 years I ran 2000 miles a year. Then the knees gave out and I was bored and lost. I gained weight and was miserable.
Then someone introduced me to cycling. I at first hated it but then as I got more involved I feel in love with it. I also learned that you could go for ride of 100 to 200 miles at a time and I was hooked. I would go riding for 5-6 hours and when I got back my wife Gail would say “Are you back already?” You see she was the quilter. The longer the ride the more she would work on her projects or go to a stitch out day with the local guild. We had found a nice rhythm in life. Or so we thought!
Then last Christmas I was told that I had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was fit and active and was the last person in the world that you would have thought would get cancer. The next few months are a blur.
One month before that we had bought for Gail an HQ18 Avante with HQ Pro-Stitcher. It was so that when I was working out she could finish her projects. Now, I could not work out because I was way too tired. Something that I was totally not used to as the teens would say.
Gail suggested that I play with the HQ (big mistake on her part). I loved the computer part I suck at free hand but love the challenge of programing a quilt. Now she can’t get on the machine and she can’t make enough quilts to satisfy me. We are beginning to take in outside quilts.
Remember that I said I was a preacher who realized that all his work was never finished. Not only did quilting help me through cancer it became good therapy for my soul. I would long arm a top and realized that it was finished. I could say that I had completed a task.
I could not say that about anything in life. I would always work harder on the bike, or on a sermon. A quilt could be finished. I find that it is good to see something to the end.
I am now biking again but have got the quilting bug. I now am working on my first baby quilt. I love long arming and if any of my friends knew they would not believe it at all. I can’t wait until they get my first gift to them.

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