Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Walk through the Garden

My husband and I have this habit that is both good and bad. We love to stay up at night talking to each other. From the first night we met, we would stay up until almost 4 a.m. most nights just talking about nothing and everything. We were in college at the time, and I did not mind staying up so late because my classes were later in the day so I would just sleep in. He had 8:00 a.m. classes; so, he must have really loved me to stay up chatting with me so many nights. Well, fast forward to over a decade later, and we still do this! 

Last night, my head hit the pillow around 11:00 p.m., and I turned to him to pray with him and say good night. Well, before I knew it, it was late, very late, and we were talking about our relationship before marriage, and how we came together. The ups, the downs, the friends, and everything in between. The conversation was so sweet to me because it reminded me of the journey and the time it took for us to both realize we could not live without each other. This journey had so many beautiful moments (and heartbreaking moments) that were shaded by the people we were maturing to be. 

And, now for my latest quilt....


When I initially drew the design for my "A Walk through the Garden" quilt, I was overtaken by the thoughts of the places and moments we have in life, and how our perspective changes as we go through this journey. So, I drew flying geese that changed through the color spectrum as they encountered different images of my favorite fabric. Since most of my favorite fabrics are floral in nature, this walk became a walk through a Garden.

This morning, while I thought over my conversation with hubby last night, I could not stop thinking of this quilt. The meandering colors spoke to me about the journey through life we have had together and that despite where we have been and what we have been doing, God never left us. He was always there. And, in that moment, comfort hit me like a wave. I felt comfort in knowing that when I was at my worst, he helped me, and loved me even more by helping me out of it. My relationship with God took time, and my relationship with my hubby took time. You do not get to know someone's character in two weeks.

One of the things I enjoy about quilting is that it takes time. Yes! It is slow and methodical, and often mindless. You come up with a plan, pattern, or idea, and then, you find the most beautiful way to carry it out. And, this my friend, is my approach to life. (1) Find out God's will/plan/desire. (2) Believe He is able to do it. and (3) Have patience. The bible says in Hebrews 10:35, 36 says "So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised." 

Here is the back:


So, I want to briefly chat about how to enjoy the journey. You know, that patience part. When you know the dreams God has in your heart, and you just want them all NOW. Patience seems like a dirty word to some because, frankly, waiting can be frustrating. And, technology has made waiting unnecessary in so many ways so we lack practice in our attitude while waiting skills. How did people raise children before google and YouTube? Seriously! Patience is not waiting, though. Patience is how you wait. Google tells me that patience is "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset." Patience is about how you wait. It is about attitude and choice. Apply patience to your every day life. Refuse to let the worries over every day things cause anger and frustration to you, and it will make patience easier with the bigger things. Start small. Start with watching a 2 year old complete a task you have asked them to do thirty times that day. Ok, maybe that is not small, but start somewhere because you get good at what you practice. Oh, and look at Luke cooperating. Two year-olds cooperate so well with food in hand!


Another key to practicing patience is to remember that life is not all about having everything finished because everything in life will NEVER be finished. As long as you have breath, something will need to cleaned, a meal will need to be prepared, a butt will need to be wiped, the laundry will need to be put away, and a project will be on the table. I think our attitude about wanting everything finished comes from our desire to rest. It takes faith to rest. Faith that life will still be manageable if you stop for one day. I hear the word "hurry" so much that it has become like a curse word to me. I even despise it more when it comes out of my mouth to my children when I am lacking time. God help me slow down and enjoy all the moments I have with my children while they are small, medium size, and big. I don't want to wish away my life by looking forward to the completion of the things I am working on.














Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Time

Ten months ago, I started this pretty simple plus quilt. I finished the top rather quickly, and then, since it was huge (king size), I set it aside to quilt later. Well, fast forward to a few weeks ago, and I finally picked it back up and finished it! Despite being so massive, finishing it was not nearly as much work as I had imagined. With this quilt, I would love to tell a story about time. Time is the one thing that it seems everyone want to have added to them. So, today, we will chat about adding time to our lives. For now, here is that top when I finished it ten months ago:


I love to listen to podcasts while I sew. Last week, I was listening to one where the speaker made a statement that has been stuck in my head ever since. He said, "I want to be rich with time."Since then, I've thought a lot about the pursuits most people have. From my Western perspective, it appears that the majority of people's days and thoughts are focused on money and the pursuit of it. Most people want more time so they can either make more money or spend the money they have. Now, don't get me wrong. Money is good. It's what you do with money and the relationship you have with it that matters. The Bible does not say money is evil. Rather, it says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:10) Furthermore, Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." The amount of money a person has really has nothing to do with their relationship with money. Poor people can love money, despite having none of it. Rich people can love money and use it to by stupid things. On the other hand, rich people can see money as a tool to help others.  How much money you have is not the focus or point of these scriptures. You see, money is an amplifier. It shows the condition of one's heart. It amplifies what you really care about and love. It is good for a kind and giving person to have money. "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done." (Proverbs 19:17)



So, back to the podcast. The reason the speaker wanted more time was to spend more time in prayer and pursuing the things he believes God has for him to do in his life. What a noble cause! He did not want more time to finish projects or more time to work harder to make more money. You see, he understood that the most important thing he could do is spend time with God, find God's will for him, and do God's will for his life.

Several days after listening to his message, I had an acquaintance tell me that she did not have time for "people like me." Gasp. That hurt. A little back story to this person: She is very high up in an MLM company and makes six figures a year off of selling stuff to people. Upon realizing I did not share similar goals as her, she informed me I was wasting her time. WOW. I am so glad she got right to the point and did not waste any more of either of our time. Most people, however, are not as blunt as she is.

So I want more time with God, my family, my friends, and doing all the things God would have me to do in this life. Everyday that you wake up is a day that you have a set amount of time and energy. God is not unjust that he gave some people 25 hours and others 23. To add time to your day, think about what takes your energy. Think about those "time eaters." Here are a few that have stood out to me lately.

(1) Dread and regret. Brooding over the past. Memories of failure and pain can be paralyzing. One of my favorite passages in Ecclesiastes says, "Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." (Ecclesiastes 5:19, 20) One version of this passage says "for he will not brood much over the days of his life" I love this passage because (a) it acknowledges that God gives wealth and contentment and (b) God can cause life to be such a joy, that the pains of this life do not dominate us. This is my prayer, and I pray it would be yours too.  

(2) Doing things for the wrong reason. If you say yes to every opportunity (whether good or bad) that comes your way, you will have little time to do what you are supposed to be doing. Take time to pray and consider before saying yes to everything. Don't do things to impress people. Don't let people make decisions for you. Trust God and trust what he has told you to do with your life. 

(3) Technology. This is a hard one. I pick up my phone to look up something, and then, after reading many fun articles, liking ten Facebook posts, reading some very fun drama in a mom's group, and checking my email, I cannot even remember why I picked up my phone in the first place. Then, I look up to find one kid in the sandbox, one in front of the tv without any clothes, one going through the trash, and the other on an Ipad. That just set me back thirty minutes. I have had to train myself to put my phone far away while homeschooling my daughter. So, I am sure I am not alone in my love/hate relationship with technology. We all have our vices, but hey, when you are done reading my blog post, just comment and then take a walk around the block with your kids, okay? 

Oh, and, here are some more pictures of my fun plus quilt. I just did straight-line quilting on my home machine. It was too huge to free motion quilt! Sewing and quilting take up a lot of time, but it is time where I am still right there with my family and where I am letting the creative part of me come out. It feels so good to put dreams onto paper and watch them come to life. Abby helped me hold the quilt for this photo. She is just a bit shorter than me (but not much!)



The back is a widescreen by Carolyn Friedlander. I love how the pink binding looks next to it! 


And here are my precious little ones that wanted pictures on my quilt. (Aaron would not sit for this yet!)
Tabitha wanted to show that she is not missing any teeth yet. 

So, now that I have mentioned a few of my personal time drains, tell me about yours. What takes a way your energy? BUT, more importantly, talk to me about how you are letting the Holy Spirit change you and make you into the person you were created to be. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13)

 "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered--how fleeting my life is." (Psalm 39:4) As parents, we always talk about how fast the time goes by with our kids. I pray that my moments with them are rich and my memories are many.