70. Lesson Learned

Next block in the Bible Sampler Quilt project:

Carpenter’s Square block

Instead of the Bible passage, I want to write about what everyone’s talking about lately: Socialism. It’s a word to be feared, it’s unAmerican. But it’s taking hold, and I could go on about this alarming fact. I will share a memory instead.

I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. My best friend, Carrie*, lived behind me and we’d walk through our back yards and knock on kitchen doors to ask moms if we could come out and play.

Mothers used this leverage to get a chore or two done before allowing us to go, so there was some waiting involved. But then there’d be hours of freedom, making clubhouses and holding club meetings. We both had a younger sister, which completed the membership.

One Saturday, Carrie came outside with a plan. Summer was coming, so it was time to buy swimsuits. She had asked her mother if she could get a bikini, and was flatly refused her request. This made Carrie want a two piece with even more longing. Her plan was to raise the money by selling lemonade and buying the bikini herself. She proposed that we do this all together, and the three of us agreed with enthusiasm.

My naive childhood mind filled in the blank: We will be splitting the proceeds evenly so everyone will come out with a new bikini. I didn’t really want a bikini; the thought hadn’t occurred to me that it was an important thing to want until Carrie brought it up. Any ways, my mother would probably buy me one if one was requested. But in the spirit of the corps, I threw myself into the day. We assembled koolaid pitchers and Dixie cups and ice from both our kitchens, and worked under a hot sun all day long.

The front of Carrie’s house faced a busy street, so business was good. As I worked, I tried to imagine the bikini I’d be getting, tried to build enthusiasm. Or maybe I’d spend my money on something else. At the end of the day, I seem to remember that we made around fourteen dollars, which Carrie quickly took and pocketed, thanking us for helping her get her bikini.

I was in shock. I can’t remember my reaction. Knowing my childhood self like I do, I’m pretty sure I was stunned into silence. I think I just let her walk back into her house with all the cash. I do remember that she didn’t get a bikini. Eight year olds don’t realize that they still need their mothers to drive them to the store to complete the transaction, so she probably couldn’t overcome that obstacle.

But the lesson I learned was long remembered. It was more valuable than the lost funds which may or may not have been rebalanced if I had complained to my mother, who may or may not have made a phone call to her mother.

It was my first experience with socialism.

I had experienced sacrificial giving before then. Mom had us five kids purge our clothes and toys on a regular basis. Living in a very small house with grandma too, I can understand why space was at a premium. She was a member of the Junior Women’s League, and they were always holding events for the less fortunate. One year before Christmas she had my sister and I give away our matching favorite dolls which were nearly new. It was a hard thing to do, but it was good for our hearts to be squeezed a bit so that our generosity meant something to us.

(Maybe that’s why I wasn’t a “doll person”. I learned that I couldn’t grow attached. But I digress.)

Back to socialism.

It is a good thing to be giving of your time, talent, and treasures. But there’s a crucial difference. This generosity comes from your own volition, and you have the power of choice in your giving. God loves a cheerful giver.

Socialism takes that power of choice away from you. And to add insult to injury, it may choose to give to entities that oppose your own moral code. The money you worked so hard for may be spent to further agendas that are antithetical to your biblical values.

And it saps the esprit des corps right out of you.

When you’ve felt that deflation, that betrayal, that shame for your shortsightness, you learn. You learn that, whenever possible, the power to keep control of your time, talent, and treasure is important to your mental well being. The attitude of gratitude and all that.

Lesson learned: Be generous, be kind, but be smart. You don’t owe anyone anything, but you can give from a place of altruism and good will. That feels so much better than a place of guilt and shame.

Bonus lesson: Let it go. But should one’s reaction be “stunned into silence?“

The refrain from “The Gambler” popped into my head. “But it’s alright now, I learned my lesson well. Seems you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”

*I changed the name to protect the “innocent”. She moved away shortly after that, so we are no longer best friends. We wrote a few letters, then lost touch. And remember, choosing best friends had a lot to do with ease of access. Friendships tended to be created with regard to walking distance between houses.

One Monthly Goal

It’s time to decide on the next unfinished project to participate in the One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street quilts. I’ve chosen this one:

Frolic, Bonnie Hunter’s 2019 mystery quilt

Since I went easy on myself with last month’s goal, I’m going to beef up the challenge for November. My goal is to quilt and bind my Frolic top by Black Friday. That’s when Bonnie releases the first clue for this year’s mystery. This seems like such a natural deadline, doesn’t it? Frolic is 84 inches square, so it’s a challenging challenge for me.

This will be my fourth mystery.

My first was 2017 On Ringo Lake. I made a mistake early on, and chose to not rip apart 200+ seams, so mine looks very different. I wasn’t ready to tackle her borders, either.

It was given to my daughter, along with one for her pup.

2018 was Good Fortune.

I participate in the mysteries for three reasons. First, it gives me much-needed practice in giving over control to somebody else. Next, it pushes me way out of my comfort zone because the colors aren’t what I would choose. Last, it uses up lots of scraps. I also use up ugly fabrics that somehow transform themselves when they’re cut into small pieces. (This is a Bonnie saying: if the fabric is still ugly, you haven’t cut it small enough. Honestly, it works!) There’s another reason, too. The element of surprise, and excitement shared in the huge online group is fun. It helps the holidays feel festive, especially for those of us who don’t have young children around to add those elements to the season.

The new Bonnie Hunter Mystery, Grassy Creek, uses the reds, oranges, and golds of autumn. For the first time, I think I’m going to take control of the color choices. Bonnie chose the palette from the view outside her home, since 2020 has been the year of staying home. I’d like to change it up and choose the colors near mine; colors of waves and water and sand.

Photo from free image gallery.

With a touch of coral

Don’t look at the dust on my shelf.

And maybe even a hint of sea glass. Can I pull this off?

69. Oh Death, Where is Thy Sting?

The next block in the Bible Sampler quilt brings us to another event where Jesus brought someone from death to life.

Little Girl’s Star. Funny how you don’t notice things until you post a photo. I think the off colored piece will quilt out, don’t you?

This time it’s the daughter of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue. Verse 36 says, “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, (that she had died), He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Don’t you just love that? Even if you’re a powerful ruler, you are still powerless against death. So just take Jesus’ advice, rein in the fear, and believe. That’s all He requires of you.

Especially these days, we realize it is true that we are helpless in the face of penultimate death and dying. We used to not think about death very much as a culture pre-COVID19. We’d avoid it by keeping busy and distracting ourselves with other things. But this year we’re socially shut down, so we spend more time than we did before looking at news media, where death is constantly in our faces. But we are not to be afraid, only to believe. Which is really the only response we have any power over: our choice to believe the word of God. Jump to Romans 10:16 with me where it says: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. If we believe that the Bible is wholly true, then we receive the gift of faith through the Holy Spirit: Faith that the ultimate outcome, eternal life, lies ahead for those who believe.

Today is Halloween, All Hallows’ Evening. Tomorrow is All Saints Day. Our church used to have a tradition on All Saints Sunday which I miss. During the service, the pastor would take time to say the names of the faithful members who had passed away since the last All Saints Day. We would be able to pause, take a moment, and remember them. In the silence between each name, I’d wonder how they were doing, living it up in their mansions set back from those streets of gold.

For those who believe, death has no sting. I’m truly happy for those who have left this world for their eternal home in Paradise. I’m sad because I miss them, but that will pass, after all, I know we will see each other again.

Here’s another trip down my own personal memory lane shared for your listening pleasure. I miss those simple, forthright worship songs of the seventies. I still have this album, and I could probably sing along with every word of every song if I still had a record player.

Together Again by Limpic and Rayburn

I wasn’t going to blog today, too much to do, but then I learned that Sean Connery died today. That news made me sad. It also started my brain thinking about what you’re reading now. Thanks for visiting.

And Another One Down

Another month bites the dust soon, and another UFO has met its maker, so to speak. Here it is, going out the door and into the car to be gifted to my son.

Heidi is confused, I don’t usually give away my quilts.

One Monthly Goal

Here’s the link to the finish party over at Elm Street Quilts. The goal I set and met for the month of October was to bind it up and pull loose threads (I tend to create a lot of them). September’s goal had been to quilt it, so I went easy on myself this time. I didn’t know it would be immediately given away when I chose it for the finish; a great fringe benefit of participating in this OMG Challenge. My son was visiting, the weather was turning, he needed it, and it was done. It’s soft and warm, and I’m tickled to know that it’s being used rather than stored. I’ve starting piling up more quilts around here than we will ever need, which may be generating a little guilt. I’m looking into donation possibilities these days.

This quilt was a fun, slow project. The idea started with this blogpost I found years ago, and saved to my phone:

I started making the blocks, and when the pile got big enough I joined them two by two, then four by four. Alternating the muslin blocks in between wasn’t using up my huge stack quickly enough, so I changed the layout. I like the way my version looks, rich and vibrant.

My plan was to make the backing like the photo, and have two quilts in one. I changed my mind about that when the top grew to be so thick and heavy by the time it was queen sized. I never would’ve been able to quilt through all those seams.

The backside view (both quilt and dog)

I predict I’ll use up my leftovers to make another one, this time like the photo inspiration that started it all. After all, I have enough blocks and the muslin squares are already cut. I’m not tired of the process yet, and I do want to see how it turns out differently than the first. Besides, I do have another son as well.

Yep, I’m seeing this happening in my future

P.S. I fixed it. You knew I would. Hand block

68. Storm at Sea

Storm at Sea Block

The Bible passage is about the time Jesus and His disciples took a boat out on the Sea of Galilee. He must have been exhausted, because He kept sleeping even when a storm kicked up. I can imagine the panicked disciples looking at each other. “Should we wake Him up?” “You wake Him up.” “No, you.” “It was your idea”. Well, they all did, and He calmed the storm with a rebuke to the wind and sea.

This makes me think of my husband. It took 35 years of marriage, and 38 years since the day we met, for me to figure him out.
Nah, I don’t have him all figured out; never will. That’s what keeps it interesting.
I knew I was getting an energetic, active man when I signed on for life. He surfed, he fished, he camped, he made stuff with his hands, so many things I liked about him. I knew I wouldn’t get bored. But silly me, I thought he’d CHANGE when he settled into the domestic life. The restless activity would be replaced with restful lounges together: by our pool, or in our patio chairs, or in our hammock, or . . .
But the man does not sit still. There is always something that must be done before he can sit and rest awhile with me. If we’re at the beach, he’s surfing. At the lake, he’s fishing. At the mountains, he’s building the fire. So it just doesn’t happen.
I just recently discovered that he can actually lounge – as long as he is next to something else that is moving. I realized this when we were on our Panama Canal cruise. There were many days at sea, and he would spend hours out on that deck.
That’s it. He has to move if he is surrounded by stillness. But if there’s an ocean swirling and swelling, give my man a deck chair on the port side of a ship, and he will sit and rest.

This was a rare sighting, not to be repeated once we returned to our home on land. Unfortunately, we don’t live right next to a large body of water. And I don’t think a lake would work with my theory, unless the wind blew up some choppy waves on the surface.
That’s the thing about the ocean. It is constantly moving, yet it stays in one place.
What a fit description for my husband.

I know you don’t care one whit about my aha moment regarding my better half. But I write it down because I secretly think that someday my kids will read this. It will humor them and they’ll remember their hardworking dad with affection. And I think you skim and skip over my words to find the things that interest you, my readers, so thanks for this.

67. Good Answer

Coffin Star. Interesting choice when naming a quilt block.

This next block brings me to the account of Jesus raising a young man from death to life. He performed this amazing miracle right out on the street, while his coffin was being carried enroute to his grave. Talk about your close calls.

If you add them up, Jesus brought dead people back to life three times that we know of, not counting His own resurrection and all the people that rose the moment He died on the cross. Talk about your miracles.

If I was to be asked, “Why is Christianity the only way to salvation? Isn’t that narrow minded? How can you be so exclusionary in this day and age?”

I’d answer with, “Show me another religion that provides a god who came down from his throne to rescue us all. Not to reveal a path, a ladder, a labyrinth to Heaven, but to die. To lose His own life in order to save us from ourselves. God became man and gave His own life in order that we might live. But that’s not all. He raised Himself from His own death, which was the death of all the sins of all the world. Show me a Savior that did all that in your faith tradition, and I’ll consider it as an option.”

Worth watching: “A Man Fell in a Hole”

https://youtu.be/gEftDn-OOUY

I like the part where Jesus asks the man if he wants to be saved before He offers rescue. He will do all the heavy lifting. We only need answer “yes”.

66. Just Do It

It took me a few minutes, but I think I figured out why Laurie Aaron Hird chose this next block, “Hand”, to accompany the Bible passage.

Hand. Yes, I did see my mistake after posting. Not sure if I’ll go back and fix it. Most likely I will.

The passage relates how the voice from Heaven, along with the Spirit descending like a dove, completed the Trinity’s attendance at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. So, hand?

The passage continues with how Jesus went on to forty days of temptation, and John the Baptist went on to be imprisoned. After which, Jesus began His public ministry with these words in verse 15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel”.

There it is, the “hand” reference. In this case, “at hand” means “near”, or more accurately, “here” as in, “You’re looking at Him right now”.

The “time” that is “fulfilled”? That’s all the words of the prophets that have foretold the work and person of Jesus Christ, Who is the first, the last, and everything in between.

What does that mean for us? It means the time is now. It’s time to just do it. Do what? Do what Jesus said, “Repent and believe in the gospel”. He did an amazing thing, the most amazing feat of all, overcoming sin, death, and the power of the devil. Why? So that nothing could stand between us and God ever again. That’s the gospel. What are we waiting for?

65. Typical

Now where was I? I’m excited to be back to the Bible Sampler quilt blocks, but I’m so confused. This is supposed to be the 65th block in the quilt, but I already had a number 65 post. Oh well. This is what happens when I’m put in charge. When I started this blog, staying in chronological order was supremely important to me. I wonder why that was? I think I was too concerned about how I would appear to my readers. I planned to number the posts that included the blocks for organization’s sake. Now that’s gone out the window, and frankly, I’m okay with it. My readers turned out to be kind and supportive. I’m even quite certain that you don’t even care. I might add here that Laurie Aaron Hird herself is skipping around amongst the gospels as she unfolds the life of Christ. So I’m in very good company here.

I think I remember now that I zipped through those last few short books of the Old Testament in order to be in Luke 2 for Christmas. Ah yes, that was it. In January, I enjoyed the holiday scripture passages and the block that went with them. Then, good student that I am, I made myself go back and reread those Old Testament minor prophets in order to give this Bible readthrough justice. I’m glad I did, and I finished piecing the border triangles along the way.

2020 has been a very long year, wouldn’t you agree? Here’s block number 65, for reals.

Sunrise. Please don’t look too closely

Now for the OMG challenge over on Elm Street Quilts:

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2020/10/one-monthly-goal-october.html

For October, I’m going to extend a little grace to myself by setting a very small goal. This month, my days will be spent in the garden harvesting, and leaning over the kitchen sink processing, summer fruits and vegetables. This week it’s been squash and tomatoes. Next week it’ll be pomegranates and guavas, and so on. I juice, freeze, can, and dehydrate as much as I am able. It’s time consuming and rewarding. I don’t normally take food photos, but last night our homegrown, homemade tomato soup was so yummy, I had to snap a photo. (I’m really taking liberties now with skipping all over the place, aren’t I?)

Bringing it back, here’s my plan: I’ll finish what I quilted for last month’s OMG. I need to pull threads, make binding, and handstitch the binding down. I foresee this happening while relaxing in front of the TV after those long hours of kitchen work. Doesn’t that sound nice? Happy October!

Emma

Once upon a time, there was a third grade teacher with a great class. One student really shone, not only because he was intelligent; he was exceptionally kind, generous, and humble about it as well. And for an added bonus, his mom stepped up to be an incredible room mother. That family had a beautiful golden retriever named Lucy. This teacher knew she was beautiful because her student had brought Lucy to show the class for his Star of the Week sharing. Now this was a risky thing to do, because a pet sharing event had gone badly in a different classroom, and this teacher wasn’t sure if dogs were still allowed on campus. So after several conversations about it, she arranged to have this sharing on the playground right at the dismissal bell, when children could choose to either leave or stay for the presentation. The teacher quickly relaxed after seeing how gentle and calm Lucy was with all of the children. We loved Lucy.

Soon afterwards, Lucy accidentally found herself with child(ren) from a neighborhood purebred professional stud who had broken down the garage door opener in order to make her that way. Because the stud’s owner did not want to pay for repairs to the garage door, he denied paternity. So the amazing room mom was free to find homes for the eight puppies that arrived six weeks later. She asked me if I wanted a purebred golden retriever puppy without papers. I had always been a mutt/pound rescue kind of dog owner, so this threw me off. But when she persisted, and I went to visit her brood, how could I not? I had over an acre of fenced yard, an elderly dog who could take a puppy under wing, and two boys still at home to help civilize a new little wild thing.

I chose Emma.

From the 2008 scrapbook. Remember scrapbooking?

But she was already gentle, calm, and dare I even say, sedate, from day one. She needed no training, because she always lived to love us, and to be loved by us. That was all.

Now as I write, with tears streaming, I can find contentment in knowing that we had the best: being loved by, and loving our Emma these twelve years we’ve had together, which ended yesterday. I miss her so.

September Finish

One Monthly Goal accomplished: straight lines all the way

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

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.