Final Words

I have finished reading the Old Testament with the final book of Malachi, and have some of my own words to share about God’s final words.

Before I embark on the New Testament, which gets me back to making the quilt blocks in the Bible Sampler quilt, here’s some more border pieces I’ve completed:

First of all, “Malachi” isn’t a name, it’s a word that means “My messenger”. So, an anonymous messenger delivered the last downloads from God to His chosen people: He is serious about the covenant He made. He doesn’t blur lines regarding the purity of His law. He says what He means and He means what He says. There is no such thing as “gray areas” when it comes to being part of a covenant with the Lord Almighty.

This message was timely, because the Jewish nation was getting lazy. The temple was up and running, but the priests were cutting corners and showing partiality when the Law didn’t conveniently fit their narrative. They were picking and choosing what parts they wanted to observe. The messenger warned them that the Lord Almighty will be coming, and He will be judging, and it’s not gonna be pretty.

But the message didn’t end there. There’s a shiny nugget in chapter three. “Behold, I am going to send you my messenger, who will prepare the way before Me.”

https://youtu.be/kuUl522_8jQ

(Did this happen inside anybody else’s head? Does anyone else know the whole soundtrack by heart?)

Could this future messenger be John the Baptist? New Testament John, cousin of Jesus, who ushers in a new covenant between God and man? Chapter three goes on to say that through repentance and reformation, His people will be spared from His holy judgment. So, yes, Bingo!

So, 400 years Before Christ, even though the message is of inevitable condemnation because of the Law, God is offering hope and salvation that will come with a future messenger. Isn’t that just like Him to throw out a life line in the midst of desperate times? And because we live in 2020 A.D., having the gift of hindsight, we know how that story ends. Once again, God has strung his pearls of prophecy in perfect order, with all the puzzle pieces fitting neatly into their places.

But this message is still timely for us today. We can also prepare the way of the Lord. We have the golden opportunity to be His messengers of the good news. It’s our time to shine His light in the darkness that is certainly revealing itself in this epic year 2020.

Today is National Voter Registration Day. Are you registered to vote? This upcoming election is a golden opportunity to cast a vote, your voice, for issues of life, liberty, and justice.

Dream a Little Dream With Me

So I mentioned in my last post that, unlike my pre-2020 self, I’ve been indulging in the watching of social media. This is because it has become peculiarly entertaining, and if I hadn’t seen some of these events with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe them myself as I retell them to my future grandchildren when they ask, “Gramma, what was it like to live through that weird year, was it 2020?”

So I check out what the government is saying, and what the protesters are screaming, and what the religious are preaching.

The self-proclaimed “prophets” appear to be doing a lot of dreaming these days, to which they ascribe “vision” status. These dreams seem to follow a common theme, which include the election, the president, and sometimes cataclysmic weather events and Israel are thrown in as well.

This got me to thinking about the dream I had last night. You may already know that teachers have dreams that run along common themes as well. We know this because we have regaled each other with them in the teacher’s lounge during recess. Maybe there’s been a study done about this phenomenon, which I’m sure is a universal one.

My dream went like this: It was my first day back in the classroom, with a brand new batch of students, and wouldn’t you know it, the Superintendent and other district office personnel are touring the school in support, and to check on student engagement. My eyes dart around my room, only to discover that I’ve still got that huge pile of old curriculum that I burped up out of a cupboard sitting out in plain view. No time now to stow it away, because the mucky mucks are already strolling around my room, stopping now and then to chat with a student, which disengages him from his task at hand. The student is confused by this stranger asking him questions, so his answers are less than stellar, which of course is a reflection on my professional abilities to engage my students in robust learning experiences. I’m relieved they haven’t noticed the pile of junk, or perhaps they are politely ignoring it. I begin to hope that I’ve pulled it off, if only they would proceed to the next classroom. But no, they linger, they’ve found a chatty student who will explain the activity to them in great detail, and I continue to hold my breath …..

I know, that wasn’t half as exciting as you thought it might be, but at least you know I didn’t make this up. And the interesting thing is that the characters, setting, plot, and events play out in other teachers’ dreams with surprising similarities. I know my retired friends still get them, too. I wonder if this will continue for the rest of our lives?

In all seriousness, and speaking of a dream, I wish our nation would take Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech at its word. If we would do the part where people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin, then maybe we could make our way forward. It could work if we, the people, would honestly examine the content of our character. How about we start with the Golden Rule and ask ourselves: “Am I treating others the way I want to be treated?”

Can it be possible that everything we needed to know to get along we really did learn in Kindergarten?

I Can Only Imagine

As I was unpacking the groceries, I kept seeing things like this:

Box of dog food cans

Funny, it is hard to imagine life beyond 2020. Am I alone here?

Maybe it’s because I’ve watched what the media is pushing out. It’s been quite entertaining. Before 2020, I was too busy to pay attention. I’d ask my husband to fill me in on the pertinent news, and that was enough for me. This year, both religious and political newstreams proclaim that we are in the most profoundly important and epic of times, bar none. End times prophesies are everywhere, with even bigger pronouncements than those that came from the eighties. Whether due to the wrong president getting elected, or the second coming of Jesus Christ, it’s the end of the world they say. It makes us feel that we are closing in on the cultural breaking point. Even local news agencies are reporting record breaking this and thats about earthquakes, storms, and fires. Yesterday we broke the heat wave record here. And we have no air conditioning, which only adds to this otherworldly feeling.

But if I could imagine looking back at this year from a safe distance of a couple of years, what would I remember? What will you remember?

I hope I remember that reading through the Bible was an incredible source of balance, comfort, and joy. It was my rock in the world of shifting sand.

I hope I remember that I gardened more seriously, and I Swedish death cleaned, and I finally processed pesky paperwork tasks. I cooked from scratch, and basically gained control over the little things that add up to big savings.

Most of all, I hope I use this year to push the busy-ness reset button. If anything, 2020 gave me the gift of not being busy. Moving forward, I have the unique opportunity to change up my social obligations. The choices I make to give of myself to others can be re-prioritized to match my personal investment goals. Some people are good at doing this, and don’t need a statewide lockdown that never ends (California), but I did.

I remember being surprised when I spent one college year abroad decades ago. The post offices and banks were always closing down for various holidays. I supposed with more history under their belts, they had more events and kings and queens to observe than we did. And I was fascinated when I saw the flow of business stop every workday at precisely eleven a.m. It was Elevensies, of course! Everyone worked through their 10:00 coffee break back home, but in England, the savoring of a leisurely cup of tea (with milk) with a biscuit or two was observed with national zeal. Maybe productivity didn’t match up with the States, but I think they were on to something there.

Here in the U.S.A., we’ve been given the business reset button. I’m glad our stores have cut their hours and days of operation. I’m glad that people get to work remotely from their homes. This translates into more free time to spend with family, and cook from scratch, and get control of all the pesky little details that eat up the hours. It’s time much better spent than sitting in traffic. (I used to lose 1.5 hours every day on my commute. The day became so much longer when I retired!)

I hope this change is something that I will still see happening on August 19, 2022.

Today is Labor Day. If you’re American, I hope you are enjoying your one day off. I hope you take time to play.

Bonnie Hunter’s Blossom Time blocks

I’m going to play with these happy little blocks today.

Circle of Friends

Hello, Blog. I say this greeting with affection, and a surprising realization that I view my blog as …. well, how do I view this exactly? I don’t personally know you, excepting maybe one or two. So I’ve created in my head a blogcircle of friends, true blue friends who lend sympathetic ears and encouragement to my heart. Thank you for being there. Here. Actually I don’t know quite where. I do know that we all have our struggles, and I hope I can lend you encouragement too.

I want so badly to return to the Bible Sampler quilt blocks. I’m finishing up reading the book of Zechariah, and I’m finding it to be so comforting. Funny that, because it describes all sorts of trials and tribulations (in other words, our present-day reality), but those struggles will make way for the Day of the Lord. In THAT day, our reality will turn right side up. Good will be good, and evil will be evil, and crimes will be punished, and the followers of Christ will rejoice and be glad.

But first, I’m going to write a blogpost in order to announce my OMG choice for the month of September. Tomorrow is the deadline.

I wasn’t going to join in this month, because my dog will be my priority and my focus in these last days we get to have with her. But I’ve faithfully finished up projects every single month since January. If I persevere, I’ll have twelve things done in this epic year otherwise known as 2020. I want to see this through.

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2020/09/one-monthly-goal-september-link-up.html

So, for September, I’m going to quilt up this top.

I’m just going to run straight lines across the squares. That’s all I can handle this month.

Christmas in July

It’s that time of the month, time to join the July OMG over on Elm Street Quilts.

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2020/07/one-monthly-goal-july-link-up.html

This monthly UFO challenge has really been working out for me. I joined in January, Now halfway through this epic year that is 2020, I’ve completed six UFOs. Six! I think the “holding myself accountable to a public group” is the piece that motivates me. And that there is a chance to win great prizes helps too.

I still have quite a few UFOs to pick from. They don’t excite me when I think about working on them. Using this challenge to keep me focused, I’m going to finish quilting up the last of the three snowflake quilts by the end of July. Then they’ll get stowed away until Christmas, when hopefully they’ll feel fresh and festive again.

I’ve already begun. Can anyone please explain why mess-ups ALWAYS happen in the darker sections where it shows up more?

August UFO Challenge, Check

Hello. I don’t know if this is the right thing to blog about, but I learned yesterday that my dog has lymphoma, my dear, sweet, eleven year old golden retriever Emma. No words.

So I’ll briefly post my finish so that I can join the linkup party over at Elm Street Quilts.

Jacob’s Ladder blocks

I chose a dense pattern which took lots of thread, and I like it very much. Backside:

I’m spending evenings binding and pulling threads, so it’ll most likely be all the way finished by August’s end. But the goal I had set was to just get it quilted, so, mission accomplished.

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2020/08/one-monthly-goal-august-finishes-link-up.html

Matters of Life and Death

I haven’t forgotten that I’m supposed to be reading through the Bible and showing my sampler quilt blocks along the way. I’m interrupting that plan because I’ve finally succumbed to the rabbit hole of the news streams. I couldn’t help myself. The unfolding events of this extraordinary year 2020 are just too fascinating to ignore. And of course I have my own opinion about everything, which I will restrain myself from sharing here.

Except when it pertains to lives that matter, with all the range of skin colors, (which are simply due to the quantities of melanin), included.

I listened to a podcast this morning, which I’m sharing below as a follow up to my previous post about Snowflake Babies :

https://soundcloud.com/user-10515874

As I was listening, I was thinking about how abortion is getting media attention in this election cycle. The pro-abortion side of the political spectrum is doing its best to drown out the issue with loud and violent protestations about other lives that matter. But awareness is growing just the same.

I don’t remember the issue of abortion being part of the conversation four years ago. Back then, many of my pro-life friends refused to vote for Trump because they just couldn’t get past his personality. So, to put it bluntly, they were okay with a leader who would promote the killing of innocent lives. But I suppose she would do so with a pleasant personality, so there’s that. How frustrating that the dots weren’t connecting with my friends. To me, it was crystal clear: presidents appoint Supreme Court justices, who then rule on matters of life and death.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”.

Now, four years later, dots are connecting. I hope my fellow believers realize that they are once again being given an opportunity to choose. Speaking for myself, I must choose leaders who choose life.

Now on to the quilty stuff: As an antidote to the angst of 2020, my friend and I started a cheerful, happy-making project. She bought Lori Holt’s books, and we’ve joined our 30’s fabric stash to make these together. Here are my blocks so far:

You Guys!

You guys! I won! I won a fabric prize on yesterday’s Quiltfiction Club book club bingo. It’s a long story, and I’m under the wire here on posting my UFO Challenge for the month of August, so ….

Maybe I’ll fill you in on all the deets next post, but I’m pretty certain that you couldn’t care less, so let’s just get on with this blogpost, shall we?

My UFO for the month of August is Floribunda (insert link to free pattern on Bonnie Hunter’s “Quiltville” website here)

https://quiltville.com/pdf/floribundapdf.pdf

You see it patiently folded and waiting on my frame here

I’m declaring to the quilt world here and now, my goal is to load it on the frame, figure out the pantograph I will employ to quilt it, and then to quilt it for the August UFO challenge, as the internet is my witness.

OK Boomer

I do not like that phrase. It’s kinda funny, but at my expense. It’s also kind of dismissive, and being marginalized by society is scary when you are of a certain age where all you see is physical decline and frailty as you look to your future. And falling victim to the “cancel culture” seems to be growing at an alarming rate. Wow, that just came out of me. I intended to write something light about some new word usages I’ve been noticing lately. I don’t mean to be a downer or show how easily I can be offended. Sorry! Perhaps I’m allowing words to carry more power than they actually do. I can only hope they don’t reveal an underlying contempt that might really be festering out there.

Another border piece finished for the Bible Sampler Quilt project, (which is a bespoke* project, by the way.)

Words. Aren’t they fascinating? When I was growing up and discovering them for the first time, I assumed they were static things. I could go to our heavy Websters Dictionary and read page after page of words. I did spend lots of time doing just that, studying their definitions and noting how they were used in sentences.

Life was more simple then, or at least, that part of life. There was wordplay, of course. I remember when new words were adopted, like “groovy” and “copacetic”. But words like “woke” and “bespoke”* were verbs that were understood by all.

Somehow they have recently morphed into nouns. And how about this noun, “systemic”? I thought it was a medical condition, as in “systemic disease”. Now it is used to describe the condition of society. How about that word, “disease”? Break it down, and it means “not easy”.

I would say that we are feeling “not easy” as the pandemic continues to interrupt our normal lives. But believers expect the unease, and we can share hope because we live in two kingdoms. Luther describes them as the left hand and the right hand. As in: the left hand kingdom is where we are living now, as citizens of our countries. The right hand kingdom is the spiritual realm that God rules. We are also living in that eternal kingdom now, saved by His grace.

The left hand kingdom has the systemic disease problem. We will never cure it, because we are born into sin, and sinners can’t achieve perfection. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to do our part in building stable societies in which to nurture future generations. But try as we might, looking to ourselves and the government to fix the systemic problems once and for all just isn’t gonna happen.

The World Needs Jesus. He is the only way out of our diseased condition. When we are born again into His right hand kingdom, we are given the power of the Holy Spirit to live out our days in this left hand kingdom, come what may.

Because it is in the right hand kingdom where we find peace. Cured of our diseases by imputed righteousness (Thank you, Jesus), we find that we can truly rejoice in all situations. The right hand kingdom frees us from the law, although it does have one requirement: The commandment to love one another as Christ loved us.

This would be my definition of “woke”.

Time to Party

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2020/07/one-monthly-goal-july-finish-link-up.html

… at a link up, that is.

Three is a magic number, and here’s my trio of Snowflake quilts all ready for Christmas.

The July UFO finish is the one on top. I was going to stop at two (for my two daughters), but I just had to use up the bonus triangles they created, along with the leftover scraps. So the final one on top is a bit smaller, and it’s staying with me. It’ll be perfect thrown over the couch, ready to warm us up as we watch holiday movies. Done, done, and DONE!

I’m sure I’m not alone in this: fabric loses its charm the longer I work with it. By the end of the project, in this case, three, it has definitely grown stale: A perfect example of “Familiarity breeds contempt”. So I wanted to keep slogging through until this shiny, detestable fabric was all the way gone. I made this, and now it’s gone, gone, gone.

It’ll make a great pillow.