In a dazzling career that spans more than two decades, Reba McEntire has established herself as one of the hardest-working and most successful entertainers of our time. She is a country music superstar who has sold more than 40 million records, one of the highest-grossing concert performers of the decade, and a trailblazing businesswoman who established her own multimedia entertainment corporation.
Yet Reba has still managed to become one of the rare celebrities who is also beloved by her millions of fans for the way she lives her life, for successfully balancing the demands of career and family, for competing in show business without sacrificing her values, and for managing to "keep it country" while keeping up with the times. She has done so, in large part, by drawing wisdom and strength from the precious traditions of her country past, finding inspiring new relevance in old-fashioned values.
Now, in a deeply personal, "back-porch conversation," Reba shares a generous helping of her life experiences. "I hope some of the things I've gone through can make it just a little easier for the next person, because life is supposed to be about making the path a little gentler for the people traveling behind you."
Reba talks about the roles a modern country woman tries to fulfill, roles as many and varied as the fabric pieces of an heirloom quilt. Facing the challenges of being a wife, mother, stepmother, daughter, sister, performer, executive, community member, and Christian, Reba shows how she has coped by carrying forward lessons and a guiding spirit from her roots as a ranch girl growing up in Chockie, Oklahoma, as well as from the powerful heritage of classic country music. Rather than proving quaint and stale, Reba demonstrates again and again the ways that you can make traditional values remain fresh and vital in your search for a fulfilling life today.
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Through down-home storytelling, Reba McEntire offers her fans a glimpse into her personal life, as well as a healthy dose of traditional, God-lovin' values. Like a quilt, McEntire's book of country comfort is stitched from real-life material--little scraps of wisdom that miraculously piece together into a heartfelt mosaic.
Right from the start McEntire establishes herself as a "modern country woman," able to explore a spider's web with her son as deftly as she can explore the World Wide Web. Herein lies the strength of McEntire's writing, her ability to apply the old, country traditions to the more contemporary values that her readers are likely to identify with. Chapter titles such as "Tougher Than You Think," "A Mama's Way," and "Let a Smile be Your Umbrella ... but Don't Forget Your Raincoat" all allude to the grit and honey texture of this loving book of back porch inspiration. --Gail HudsonExcerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Comfort From a Country Quilt
Have you ever made a quilt? I have. It's one of the most therapeutic and calming things I've ever done. And I had a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished.
Both of my grandmothers made quilts, my mama did, and my aunt Jeannie did. I loved to open that big box at Christmastime knowing it was a quilt that one of them had made. I was so flattered that after all the time and energy they had spent on that quilt, they had selected me to receive it. Even as a young girl, I knew a quilt was a gift I would cherish always.
Back when I was living at home, I remember during the winter months Mama would set up her sewing machine in the living room over by the window. At night when we'd all be in there watching TV after supper, Mama would be over at her sewing machine, making another quilt from the scraps left over from a dress or blouse she had made for one of us earlier.
Then, when she had all the squares sewn together, she'd lay the batting on the living room floor, lay the quilted piece on top of that, and then start tacking it down. When that was completed, she'd sew the border around it. Then it was finished. All that remained was for Mama to decide who would be the proud recipient of her precious handiwork which represented so many hours of love.
I feel very blessed to have received one of Mama's quilts. I sleep under it every night I'm home. It doesn't match the fancy comforter we bought in Los Angeles, but it feels better than anything you can imagine. Just because I know my mama made it just for me.
When Daddy's mother died in 1950, one year before my sister Alice was born, Mama got the trunk that held all of the quilts, china, crystal, silverware, and knickknacks that Grandma had collected during her lifetime. Mama discovered that Grandma's trunk also included a few quilt pieces that she had started but had never finished. My sister Susie eventually wound up with those quilt pieces and we all figured she would finish them out and keep them for herself.
But as only Susie would do, she cut the makings of the quilt into four squares, had them quilted, put a picture of Grandma McEntire and a description of the quilt together, and had them framed for Alice's, my brother Pake's, and my Christmas present.
That's how thoughtful Susie is. She could have kept the quilt for herself, but, instead, she shared with her brother and sisters something so special, which had belonged to a woman none of us had ever met. That's part of Susie's charm.
That's also the charm of a quilt. Like a mother, it wraps its arms around you--so soft, yet so sturdy, and so comforting. In my grandma's time the sewing of a quilt would bring friends and neighbors together, and in quilting circles today that lovely tradition continues. Now we live in a time when so many women do not even have a sewing machine in their home and when country quilts hang in the fanciest boutiques and galleries selling as "decorative art." That would sure give my grandma and her circle a good laugh and more than a few shakes of the head.
Can you just imagine the visiting, the stories, and the fellowship that have gone on during the making of all the wonderful quilts through the years? And can you imagine all the children who have been tucked in securely underneath them in their beds night after night? And us adults too?
That's what you call "comfort from a country quilt." I hope this book is as comforting to you as my mama's quilt has always been to me. Like a quilt, this book is made up of small pieces of material--some of my favorite stories, memorable experiences, and more than a few opinions--written, rather than sewn, from the stuff of my life. I have stitched these pieces together with my sincere hope that you will find this "quilt" of a book friendly, warm, and enjoyable, something you can turn to for comfort and entertainment and for sharing with friends and family.
So grab your favorite quilt, wrap up, get comfortable, and enjoy.
From me to you.
From the Hardcover edition.
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