I am Cathy, I run the online group Love Quilts.  If you have been a part of Love Quilts for a while I know what you are thinking, "Wow, I now have a face with all the emails!".  I know how nice it is to finally see a picture of someone I have been corresponding with for a while, but they never look like I thought... I am sure it is the same with me!  :-) 

I am creating this page because so many have asked about me and how Love Quilts began.  I thought this would be a good way for everyone to get to know me a little better.

First I will start with a bit about me.  My name is Cathy, I am 41 and I have been married for 20 years to Jeff.  We have two children, Curt is 19 and Kayte is 16.  We live in Michigan and for 3 1/2 years we lived in the house my husband grew up in, we bought the house in October 1999.  We moved into our brand
new home in June 2003 and we just love it!  Both my husband and I are Christians and have been since we were children.  We attend a wonderful church in our area and we just love it!  I am a stay at home mom and the full time coordinator for Love Quilts.  I enjoy cross stitch (obviously! LOL), crocheting,  genealogy, history, lighthouses, my computer, cats, camping and more!  We also enjoying having exchange students.  In 2007 we had Marlene from Mexico and Jenny (Eun-A) from S. Korea.  Marlene was with us for 10 months, Jenny for 5.  In August 2007 we were joined by Pia from Norway, but she only stayed 2 months and moved back home.  This year we had Tabea from Germany for 4 months and we had a welcome student, Sophie from Belgium.  Sophie was with us for 2 weeks before she went to her permanent home.  This past summer (2008) Marlene came back for a visit for 5 weeks and it was wonderful!!  We miss her so much!  The organization we used for our exchange students is PAX - http://www.pax.org/.  We have enjoyed going through this organization.

Well, lots of people want to know how and why Love Quilts began.  LQ began in February 1999 and was started because of some things that had happened in my family.  In April of 1998 my first cousin's daughter, Kelsey, was diagnosed with a massive brain tumor.  She was a very sick little girl and they didn't know if she would live through the operation.  The sad thing is her mom had been taking her to her family doctor since she was about 3 (she was 5 by then) with complaints of headaches that made her throw up. The doctor said she had allergies at first and then said she was faking it!  Finally her mom had had enough and took her to another doctor and was immediately diagnosed with a massive brain tumor that was wrapped around her optic nerve.  They did the surgery in the middle of April (1998) and she had another surgery in July of the same year to remove the remaining tumor missed in the first surgery.   These surgery's left her with a number of problems including the fact she has lost all of the hormone part of her brain.  Your hormones control so much, including your sleep, the hormones tell you to go to sleep and when to wake up and she couldn't do that.  There was the risk that she would go to sleep and never wake up because her brain wouldn't tell her too.  She is now 16 years old and she is doing ok, but the effects of the tumor will last her a lifetime.

In May/June of 1998, 2 months after Kelsey's diagnosis, my nephew Justin (my oldest sisters second child) was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left leg at the age of 16.  He had been doing cross country racing in high school and during a race his calf area of his left leg began to hurt.  It hurt for a couple of weeks and they finally took him in to a walk in clinic and they did x-rays.  The determined that he had broken the small non weight bearing bone in his leg.  Because there wasn't any major trauma and he was young and healthy they looked into it more.  The cancer in the bone had weakened the bone causing it to break and allowing the cancer to spread out.  He started chemo right away but the leg grew bigger and bigger and he could no longer walk on it.  Chemo was hard on Justin and he suffered a lot because of it.  Just 2 months after he turned 17, on September 30, 1998, they removed his left leg above the knee.  They tried to continue chemo, he was scheduled for about 2 years more, but his bone marrow was failing and they felt the chemo was killing him.  He is continually checked and scanned for cancer, but so far is doing great and he married his long time girlfriend Becky on March 4, 2005!

When Kelsey was first diagnosed I started a prayer page for her to keep everyone updated on her progress.  An online cross stitch group got in contact with me and they wanted to make a quilt for her.  She received her quilt in July of 1998, see this link to view her beautiful quilt - Kelsey's Quilt - isn't it great?!   When this group found out about Justin as well they decided to make a quilt for him too (our grandfather/greatgrandfather also had cancer at the time, sadly my grandfather passed away on April 30, 2003).  Click here to see his wonderful quilt - Justin's Quilt - I know you will love his as well!  My aunt Sharon was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2004 and sadly, she passed away on September 10, 2005.  This is the daughter of my grandfather that passed in 2003.  She was the youngest sister of my father Harlin, Justin's grandfather, and of my uncle Don who is Kelsey's grandfather. 

After Justin received his quilt I decided I wanted to give back to another child what these wonderful stitchers had given to the children in my family.  I decided to coordinate a quilt for a child from the Make A Child Smile page, Kelsey had been featured on this site and I knew how thoroughly Alex (the founder of MACS) checks to make sure the child is legit and really sick.  That is so sad, but these days you can never be too sure.  I picked Katy, a child she had featured the month I began, February 1999.  It was the only time I went to the Cross Stitch Pals for help, I posted all over their message board that I was looking for stitchers, it was the only way I knew to get stitchers.  Well, stitchers I did get, more than I needed.  So, I decided to do a second quilt with the extra stitchers, Emily's quilt and they kept coming and coming.  By the end of 1999 we had made 8 quilts for the MACS kids!  I was stunned and happy it was going so well, but a bit overwhelmed too.

In 1999 a really great stitcher, Vicki, approached me with help.  She and I had been corresponding a lot and she knew I was very stressed with all that was going on, we were moving at the time too.  She offered to help and continues to finish off many of the quilts for Love Quilts.  She was receiving the finished tops (and in 2001 she even helped make every other quilt top too!) from me and she would put the batting and backing on, what a help that was!  Love Quilts now has 10 finishers all over the US helping finish the quilts for our beautiful children!

The squares are first sent to Joan and she posts the scans on a site called Fotki.  Joan then distributes the squares to where they need to go to be finished.  Click on Fotki to see these squares!

Love Quilts has been published in two newspapers, one in Georgia and one in South Carolina and it was also listed in the Crafts 'N Things November 2001 issue and The Cross Stitcher February 2002 issue and in an article in the June 25, 2002 issue of Women's Day and in the cross stitch magazine Stoney Creek Collections in December 2005!

Love Quilts continues to grow.  We have had stitchers from 33 different countries! (want to see the list?  See the bottom of this page).  We are now approaching 300 quilts made, amazing!!  But I couldn't have done all of this without all of you out there and I will always be thankful for the wonderful stitchers who take their time to stitch for these children, you are all wonderful!

Well, on to other things about me, since this is an "about me" page :-)  Thank you all for taking the time to read this long post about me and Love Quilts!

Cathy ~ Love Quilts Founder/Coordinator
The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake it is said never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore 26,000 tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
comin' back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland
and later that night when the ship's bell rang
could it be the north wind they'd bin feelin'

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
and a wave broke over the railing
and every man knew as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the gales of November came slashin'
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck
sayin' "fellas it's too rough to feed ya"
At seven p.m. a main hatchway caved in
he said "fellas it's bin good to know ya"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril
and the later that night when 'is lights went out of sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er
They might have split up or they might have capsized
they may have broke deep and took water
and all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters

Lake Huron rolls  Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams
the island and bays are for sportsmen
and farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her
and the Iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the gales of November remembered

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
in the maritime sailor's cathedral
the church bell chimed 'til it rang 29 times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake the called Gitche Gumee
Superior they said never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early
Get a line my line explanation of this song
S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Online
Sinking of the Fitzgerald
The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - great site with links to articles  (if you go down to the MIDI files in the middle of this page and click on file 3 you will hear the music I used to have on this page!)
Edmund Fitzgerald Shipwreck Information and Memorabilia
Well, on to other things "about me".  The music you hear is a MIDI file of the song the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot.  The Edmund Fitzgerald was an iron ore freighter on the Great Lakes of Michigan.  The Fitzgerald sank in lake Superior on November 10, 1975.  I remember this happening and I remember being really sad about it. I also found out recently that the father of a friend of ours was working on this ship a few weeks before it sank and was lucky to not be on it that night.  Here are the words that go with the music, a very powerful account of what happened to this huge freighter.
I think that I like this song so much for several reasons.  I grew up in Michigan and the Fitzgerald was a Michigan great lakes ship and it sank in Lake Superior.  Superior is the deepest and the coldest of the Great Lakes.  When storms cross this lake they can be very violent.  The waves can grow larger than in a hurricane due to the fact it is a fresh water lake and the water is lighter.  I am very much into Lighthouses also and it goes along with the lakes.  The Fitzgerald had lost all their radar and were relying on the radar of the Arthur M. Anderson, another freighter they were traveling with because of the storm.  From what I read the nearest lighthouse was also not working making the Fitzgerald basically traveling blind.  Lighthouses play such an important roll on our Great Lakes and they are very needed.  They are usually old, majestic and beautiful!  A little later in this page I will put some pictures of some lighthouses that I have taken!  First, here are some links to some really great webpages on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
On to a little bit about Lighthouses.  I have been really into lighthouses for about 6 years now.  I love the history of them (I am a history buff), they are so beautiful and noble, standing there to guide the path of the people on our water.  It also goes along with my faith... Jesus said in John 3:21 "But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."  Another verse is John 1:4-5 - Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind.  His life is the light that shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.  Jesus also said in John 8:12b "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  Great verses and they fit perfectly with how I feel about lighthouses, they find those that are lost!

Great Lighthouse Websites!

Michigan Lighthouse Map
Upper Peninsula Lighthouses on Lake Superior open to the public
usalights.com - Home Page Of Lighthouses All Around The United States
New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide
Lighthouses - Harbour Lights Lighthouses - Leftonit
My favorite lighthouses to purchase (I collect them!) are by Geo. Lefton, the mini lighthouses! Harbour Lights have great lighthouses as well!
PhotoCopyright by Cathy Strzyinski July 2000
PhotoCopyright by Cathy Strzyinski July 2000
PhotoCopyright by Cathy Strzyinski June 2001
Edmund Fitzgerald
I also love genealogy!  I have traced one part of my family back to the 1600!!  Someday I will sit down and re-do my genealogy pages with Homestead!  I had pages built through AOL but AOL removed their site builder site.

Ancestry.com ­ The most popular genealogy and family history site
FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service
GenForum - Home
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Treasure Maps - the How-to Genealogy Site - Main Menu
ROOTS-L: The Internet's First Genealogy Mailing List
A Complete Mayflower Passenger List
Well, that is about it for now.  I will probably be adding more to this page as time goes on.  I want to add more fun links here when I get the time.  I hope you enjoyed this page and have learned a little more about me.  If you have never stitched for Love Quilts before we would love to have you stitch.  If you have stitched THANK YOU!!  Love Quilts wouldn't be here without you!!  Thanks!! 
Cathy ~ Love Quilts founder/coordinator

The following countries (other than the USA) have had
stitchers participate in Love Quilts:
Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands (Holland), Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Gibraltar, Norfolk Island (South Pacific), Singapore, South Africa, Israel, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, France, Guam, S. Korea and Hong Kong!
A Few Other Things!
On March 16, 1996, just after I came online for the first time, I started my first online group called Palslist.  Palslist is a Christian Women's Penpal Group.  The group was started small with the same idea as Love Quilts, "I'll do just a little bit and that will be it"... but just as with Love Quilts later, Palslist took off and within a few months I was emailing over 100 people with small group, a nightly prayer list, a weekly newsletter and more!  I ran this group for 3 1/2 years, giving it up in July 1999, about 5 months after I started Love Quilts.  At the time I left Palslist we had over 600 members!  I gave this group over to some wonderful ladies and it is still running and doing great! 
Left to Right
Cathy, Alex and Lin
This picture was taken in Boco Raton Florida on April 3, 2002.  Alex is the founder of Make A Child Smile and Lin is the mother of Jimmy.  Jimmy received a quilt in 1999.  It was so great to meet them both!!
The following pictures were taken by me:

Point Aux Barques (pronounced Point Au Barks) in the thumb of Michigan on Lake Huron - July 2000
Seul Choix (pronounced Sis Sh-wah) in the U.P. of Michigan on Lake Michigan - June 2007
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City Michigan.  Mackinac is pronounced with a hard w sound on the end.  This lighthouse was built in 1892 - September 2001
PhotoCopyright by Cathy Strzyinski September 2001
Cathy - 12/25/06
Curt, Kayte, Cathy and Jeff - April 3, 2008
Curt and Kayte were in the play "Aladdin".  Curtis played a villager and Kayte was Princess Jasmine.
Cathy, Kayte, Curt and Jeff - January 6, 2009
Kayte, Nicole (Niece), Ed (Kayte's boyfriend), Daniel (Nephew) and Sara (Curt's girlfriend) - February 10, 2009
Kayte - May 31, 2009
Curtis - September 2007 (Senior Picture)
Kayte and Marlene (our forever daughter from Mexico) - August 2006 just after Marlene arrived here for 10 months!
Whitefish Point Lightstation - Michigan - July 27, 2009
PhotoCopyright by Cathy Strzyinski July 2008
Point Betsie Lighthouse - Michigan - April 9, 2009
Grand Traverse Lighthouse - Michigan - April 11, 2009
PhotoCopyright by Cathy Strzyinski April 2009
PhotoCopyright by Cathy Strzyinski April 2009
I love to take pictures!  Kayte loves to model so we have fun!  Here are some pictures of our modeling trips as well as some random family pictures.  I hope you enjoy them!