Why I believe in IBOL

People generally ask me one of two things – how IBOL came to be, or why I am doing this.

How IBOL came to be, well, that’s a long story, and maybe the stuff from which legends are made. But as for why I’m doing this, well, that’s simple.

I believe in IBOL.

I believe in IBOL because I spent many a day in my youth, crawling around under the tables and bins at Joann Fabric while my mom searched for that perfect deal, or that perfect piece of fabric. She made clothes, she made costumes, she made quilts. It seems to be a common theme in maternal nurturing, wanting to provide and seeing textiles as a piece of that. And just how many Iraqi women feel the same? Bunches, I am guessing.

I believe in IBOL because I have yet to meet anyone who sews, knits, or quilts who does it only for themselves. Knitters make hats and gloves and sweaters for anyone and everyone. Every seamstress seems willing to hem a skirt, fix a button, follow a pattern, clothe a kid. And ask a quilter how many years it took before they made a quilt for their own actual bed, and how many other quilts they gave away first. It isn’t just about making things for others or that sense of nurturing, it’s the idea that this stuff is meant to be given away. Baby quilts are gifts, not purchases. If you knit or quilt or sew, you’re probably generous and giving by design. It’s a quality to be grown and developed.

I believe in IBOL because I was taught and shown to leave things better than I found them. And I am pretty sure that’s not just a lesson I learned, but that many learn. That I need to show and teach my own kids.

And I believe in IBOL because my dad use to say all the time, “it’s better to light a candle than to curse at the darkness.” I believe that things like IBOL just make sense, and that most anyone in my shoes would have done the exact same thing. How could they not?

I believe in IBOL because I am a marathoner. I’ve stopped accepting societal norms and have embraced hard work, sacrifice, and a willingness to pursue crazy dreams. Just because it’s uncommon doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Just because it’s uncommon doesn’t make it not worth the effort or the sacrifice. And just because my life is already busy doesn’t mean I should take the easy out and skip this one. Effort to emphasis — if it’s that important, it deserves that much effort, too.

So, I believe in IBOL for a lot of reasons. What about you?

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25 Responses to “Why I believe in IBOL”

  1. Kathleen Says:

    I believe in IBOL because it’s the women who nurture the little boys in every society – the little boys who grow up to either feel love or feel anger. IBOL sends a message to all those mothers and wives – a message that says we care about you, and we want you to know that we’d rather quilt with you than war with you.

  2. Linda F. Says:

    The IBOL said it so well, I can only say DITTO.

  3. Magpie Sue Says:

    I agree with what you’ve said and with what Kathleen said. I also believe in IBOL because I believe that the average Iraqi (or Afghan or any other citizen of an impoverished, war-torn nation) wants simply to live out their lives peacefully, providing as best they can for their own families.

  4. MsMauri Says:

    I believe in IBOL because I am not American. I was born in Cape Town South Africa of British parents. In late 1946 the family returned to England as my dad’s 15 years service in the British Navy were over.

    This was early post World War II England – shattered still – and everything was stringently rationed. We lived among bomb craters and burned out houses and were warned about the dangers of unexploded ordinance.

    My South African grandmother arranged for a care package to be shipped to us, once a month – and they continued for several years. I remember those packages and my mother’s tears when they arrived, and for the love and the hope they brought with them.

    I remember the generosity of the people of America and the millions of “care packages” that arrived in war-ravaged countries during those post war years.

    Now my family and I have the opportunity to be “senders” – and to do so in profound thankfulness for all the opportunities America has given this British working class girl, her parents, and her children.

    Dr. Mauri

  5. Nanci Moy Says:

    I believe in IBOL because of what you have all said and this is just what as Americans we have been taught. These mothers/women in Iraq want to do the same things for their families that we all do they just don’t have the money or means without our help. They can’t just go quilt fabric shopping like we do and have “stashes” of fabric at their whim to just “keep for viewing”. This is what Teddy Kennedy was all about, helping out all those in need and looking beyond ourselves.

    “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Teddy Kennedy

    Mr. IBOL you dreamed the impossible dream and it is coming true….

  6. Donna in VA Says:

    I believe because what you say is true. Also please send me the mailing address. Thanks!

  7. Donna in VA Says:

    Oh, rats, the email address in the previous comment is incorrect. Please send the mailing address to this one. Thanks again.

  8. SuzAnn Says:

    I believe in IBOL because we are all human.

  9. Krystal of Solsisters Says:

    I believe in IBOL because it is a “pebble in the pond.” A small gesture on the part of many that can start a wave of change in attitude. The so-called “war on terror” is not one that can be won with force of arms (although that is an important component). It has to be won with a change in ideas. As I told Capt. T in the note in my last I.B.O.L., it is the mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts who will raise the next generation of Iraqi children. If they have a more open attitude towards Americans and the western world, perhaps the ideas of hatred and intolerance that breed fanatics willing to set car bombs and I.E.Ds to kill strangers might finally die the death they so richly deserve.

    I also told Captain T that she and Art were serving their country, not only with distinction, but with IMAGINATION. Imagination is harder to come by and so much more valuable in this battle for hearts and minds.

    I also believe in the power of a good leader to inspire people to find their own way to do what they can, within their means, to make the change they want to see in the world. I.B.O.L. is one of the most vibrant, living, breathing, growing examples of the power of the real value of the right kind of leader to “infect” the masses, but this case is ALL for good.

    I am not sure if the US Army understands what has been started here, but I and thousands of ladies like me are watching and cheering. It’s almost loud enough to be heard in Iraq 🙂

  10. Sharon Says:

    I’d love the address please. Thanks for providing this opportunity for giving, for positivity, for sharing a love of creating, for shortening the distance.

  11. quiltdivajulie Says:

    When I was packing my first three bundles (which appear in the back row of today’s photo), there were so many emotions coursing through me ~ joy for being able to share some of my stash, awe at the power of the Internet allowing so many of us all over the world to communicate and cooperate, and sadness that my three boxes seemed so very small in the face of such overwhelming need.

    Art, you’ve captured the essential essence of “why” with your I Believe statements ~ they are marvelously and genuinely written ~ words that resonate long and deep.

    Mother Teresa said “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is but a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

    So here’s to each and every bundle, each one a drop in this incredible project.

    And thank YOU for being who you are!!!!!

  12. Stacy Says:

    I believe in IBOL because it is a way to reach across the world, across language barriers, and share with another mother. I hope that the message comes through clearly: I care about you, and your family. Take care.

  13. Kelsey Says:

    I love what you are doing! It hits even closer to home to me because my husband just recently got out of the military. It is so great to hear that you are enriching the lives of people over there. I have gone through my stash and already have three bundles waiting to be shipped. Could you please send me your address so I can send them out? Thanks!

  14. Katie Says:

    Yesterday I shared with someone about the IBOL. He said you had better check to make sure the women they went to weren’t wives or mothers of men who killed our soldiers. I was so shocked. That idea had never crossed my mind. A gift is a gift – no strings attached. It is not a reward for doing something or not doing something. And certainly not for being associated with someone. Withholding a gift is not a punishment. A gift is simply sharing. It is seeing a need and filling it. It is wanting someone else to share something you enjoy. IBOL is just an extension of the long-held American tradition of generosity. I am so pleased to be adding my drop into the ocean.

  15. Mary Says:

    I believe in IBOL because every person has dignity and deserves to be treated well. I believe because to whom much is given much is expected. I believe in IBOL because the way to peace is through building up, not tearing down. I believe because I am so blessed that I can’t contain it all, I just didn’t realize what the avenue for sharing would be. I believe because when given the opportunity to do something that is certainly within the realms of possibility to make the world better, I have to embrace it, or accept that we are powerless to change anything–and that I don’t and won’t accept.

  16. Shawn Says:

    I would love to send a bundle if it’s not to late.

  17. laura in alameda Says:

    I believe because my life, as an American woman, is wonderful indeed. I have two kids who get to go to school, I have hospitals, roads, stores to buy stuff in and money from a meaningful job to buy it with. I want everyone in the world to have what I have- peace and freedom. I want regular Iraqi women to know that their sisters in the US are thinking of them, and wish them and their families well.

    John F. Kennedy said it best- “ONe person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

  18. Cathy Schneider Says:

    My son and I would like to make up a bundle to send. Thanks!!

  19. baumg Says:

    Need an address please!

  20. Kristina Wilberg Says:

    what a great idea:) Looking forward to packing a box!

  21. Lee W- The Way I See It Says:

    OK- I still have 7 days to get this done. Pls. send me an email- already getting stuff ready.

  22. Mimi Says:

    If I may send Red Heart acrylic yarn (still in skeins, good condition, but acrylic), please send me the information. Thank you.

  23. Jennifer Says:

    well said art!! well said!! pretty much every word you wrote applies to me in some way. we are giving people and we give to those around us before we give to ourselves. i’m just now starting to piece together a quilt for myself after 6 1/2 years of quilting (although the top is in my closet and i’m working on another Quilt of Valor first).

    i believe in IBOL because everyone deserves a chance to have happiness and something caring/loving in their daily life. IBOL gives that opportunity to have a smile on a person or family’s face just because they are here. no other reason. just because they live and breathe and there are caring people in the world to help bring that smile to them.

  24. Susan Says:

    I keep thinking of the prayer of St. Francis:

    Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    and where there is sadness, joy.

    I believe in IBOL because it can do those things. I sent two bundles to help.

  25. notablogger Says:

    I’m making a gift for a friend right now and thinking about this post. I’m going to have to disagree with the idea that crafters are generous. I’m a terribly selfish sewer. I sew gifts to have an excuse to sew more! Terribly selfish, really…. Congratulations on IBOL, by the way. Wonderful project and what a success! Your energy and enthusiasm shines in every post.

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