53. Help

Moon Over the Mountain

I went into this next block with a lot of negativity. My inner voice said, “Who do you think you are? You don’t have the skills to execute this curve. You’re not going to have fun with this one. And who do you think you are, putting this out there for others to see? You did a bad job of it, and even had to add extra sashing for some unknown reason. Those fabric choices couldn’t be any uglier. And who do you think you are, that anyone would care to listen to you anyways?”

Gotta love that inner voice, right?

So I remind myself that I’m playing with scraps of cloth, for crying out loud. The outcome isn’t going to cause us to lose the farm. (We don’t even have a farm). Actually, one outcome is that I’m using up scraps of cloth and giving them a place and a purpose. So I have a good time as I take on this block, make mistakes, big ones, and smile as I remind myself that it’ll quilt out.

And the scripture passage reminds me that I need to apply this attitude to all aspects of my life.

I heard somewhere that things would be different if the stars and moon revealed themselves only once a year. People would anticipate that annual event. They would make sure their schedules were cleared so they would be able to go outside and gaze up at the sky in appreciation and wonder. They would make travel plans to insure a nice viewing spot for their families. There would be stargazing parties and special events and souvenir tee shirts and commemorative coffee mugs. Young lovers would declare their love, and some would get down on one knee and propose because one momentous event begs for another.

But the stars and the moon are always there, so we go about our business, like ants in their anthills, noses to our grindstones, while this amazing show sparkles overhead.

I was thinking today about famous people of history. What if they had WordPress back then? I bet Abraham Lincoln would have billions of subscribers. Jane Austen fans would start their days checking their devices to see if she posted or not. And Shakespeare? Can you just imagine?

And God. WOW. What if we could hear directly from our Creator on Blogger? That would be over the top incredible.

Wait . . .

52. Cornerstone

Cornerstone

I can testify to the truth that scriptures, set to music, are remembered. As I continue through the book of Psalms, so many songs pop up out of dusty decades-old files in my brain. They bring the accompanying flood of happy memories spent in fellowship and fun as I grew up in my church and in my faith.

This passage brought me back to a rather catchy song. I learned it at Winter Camp in the piney, snowy mountains. I was a “counselor” for the week, and the girls I was in charge of were a fantastic group. Snow was a unique experience in my Southern California childhood. I remember how it felt crunching under my boots as I trudged in the darkness to the fellowship hall. The warmth from the crowd, the fire, the happy noises, the music – I remember it all.

Did you sing this one in your youth group days?

Listen here

“The building block (building block)

That was rejected

Became the cornerstone of a whole new world.”

What a profound truth is proclaimed in such a silly way. In Psalms, hundreds of years before the arrival of Jesus on the earth, we read that He will be rejected. Despite the rejection, He will become the cornerstone of the new world, His new covenant.

I immediately think, yes, the Israelites, God’s chosen, will reject their Messiah. But more importantly, God Himself will forsake His Son. Jesus will be rejected by His own Father as He dies upon that cross. I cannot think of anything more cruel. But this must happen in order for Jesus to be fully man in order to bear our sins upon His shoulders. And Jesus submitted to that rejection because of His love for us.

51. Let Everything That Has Breath

Rising Sun quilt block

For a season, I participated in my church praise band. I sang and played guitar. My favorite part was finding a vocal harmony to fill out the sound. Reading David’s exuberant praises to the Lord reminded me of those worship songs. In fact, so many of David’s verses have been used in contemporary worship. All those tunes that I thought were forgotten have played through my head as I’ve read through the book of Psalms. Along with those tunes come memories of shared fellowship with other believers. Songs have a powerful way of reaching past your head straight to your heart. So a roomful of believers will join their voices in chorus and sing things like:

“Here we are, gathered together as a family.

Bound as one, lifting up our voices to the King of Kings

We cry ABBA Father, worthy is your name . . .”

(Remember that one from Maranatha Singers?) I imagine if we sat in a circle and chanted those same lyrics, an outsider might fear they’ve joined a sect or something. But putting them to music, we allow ourselves to bare our hearts to each other and express a level of intimacy with our Creator without discomfort.

And what a comfort it has been, remembering those simple old songs. They remind me to be still, to be present in the moment, to breathe in and breathe out in praises to our awesome God. I’m still considering why yoga has become such a huge presence here in the US and abroad. (See yesterday’s post). I find it interesting that people will pay money and spend time to travel to a studio where they will be guided through an hour of relaxation and meditation. Interesting.

Coincidentally, I am at this very moment watching the sun rise as I write this post about a rising sun block. In truth, I haven’t said much about the block. You know how I feel about curves. And the fabric choices don’t thrill me either. But it’s just one of 96 blocks, it’ll get lost in the crowd. I’m fine with that.

I’m not a morning person, so seeing the pink morning skies is a rarity for me. But on this early morning you would find me on a train headed downtown. Unlike so many other citizens, I don’t throw away my jury duty summons. I’ll show up at the federal courthouse and complete my civic duty.

Praise the Lord.

50. In Which We Discuss Tea Rooms and Yoga

Arrowheads quilt block

This Bible passage ends with these words:

“Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place – the Most High, who is my refuge – no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

Wow, that’s quite a promise. It exudes confidence and peace. I’ll take it.

I just returned from a month of travel. We started in England, bounced around the coasts of Guernsey, Ireland, and Scotland, then spent time in London, France, and Germany. My plan was to continue reading through the Bible while traveling, because I peeked ahead in the book. The Bible Sampler quilt blocks almost jump straight from Proverbs to the New Testament. There’s a whole lot of Bible in between, and I wanted to take advantage of the time off the internet to read through those books the old-school way. By the way, I’m happy to report that LOTS of people still read books the old-fashioned way. I saw them in the train stations and subway systems throughout Europe.

But of course I was too busy looking at them, and other amazing things, and meeting amazing people, to keep to my own reading plan. And I couldn’t help but notice the changes since I’d last travelled there forty years ago.

One recurring change kept popping out at me. As I strolled the streets of London, the ornate Victorian buildings were unchanged. The parks, the streets, all still there. The city was as picturesque and grand as I had remembered it to be. I love London. I’d be ready to take a photo of a charming, historic city block, but a huge “YOGA” sign kept me from snapping the photo. Now I wish I would have. A collection of yoga studio photos of London would be – I don’t know – a commentary of sorts? Living in this first world of ease and increased leisure hours due to the advances of technology; yoga studios are flourishing because people need to go somewhere to “breathe”? Hmmm.

Now that I think of it, the last time I was in London there were no yoga studios. However, you could find a quaint little tea room within a minute or two of wishing for a good cream tea. They were tucked into the city blocks, little oases from the hustle and bustle of the work day. And I remember Britain stopping at 11:00 to have their “Elevenses” – a national tea break. I am not making this up. At first it was a cause for frustration, because I was accustomed to the consumer-driven service experience of my Californian upbringing. “You mean I have to WAIT twenty minutes for the person to come back off of their break?” But now, let’s just think about this. Isn’t it true that the richer society is the one that has mastery over its choices when considering the use of time, and therefore the quality of life spent in it? In time, I learned to embrace the elegance of the elevenses.

I also remember from forty years ago, with less fondness, Wimpy Burgers and coffee bars. I didn’t see any of these this time around. No surprise there.

So I guess stretching and posing and breathing has replaced cozy visits with friends while sipping hot beverages and nibbling sweets. My old crotchety soul wanted to use the verb “usurped” rather than “replaced”. Either way, it’s still about connecting with other people. And I will admit that yoga has a healthier result. So I suppose progress is indeed moving us forward, even though I think an hour spent in a tea room is much more appealing to me than enduring a sweaty workout.

Even better, an hour spent in the reading of Psalms would be the best use of my time. Namaste.

Home Sweet Home

I’ve returned from a month away. My Betterhalf and I finally took that European trip we’d been talking about for years. It was amazing, and more on that later. You know what else is amazing? Being home again.

Look what’s happening over here:

Do you see all three? I feel sorry for the little guys, they’ve eaten up the last of the milkweed.

Speaking of little guys:I removed my garden gloves in the kitchen, and he was sitting there when I went back to put them on again. So where exactly was he hiding out before??

I’m enjoying a crisp fall morning weeding, pruning, and picking.The lacy ground cherry is charming, don’t you think?

I’m keeping this post short because I want to get back outside to see what else is happening out there.

I’ve just been to Ireland, Scotland, England, Guernsey Island, France, and Germany, but I have to say that there’s no place like home.

I Don’t Know Why You Say Good bye, I say Hello

Do you think on the person for whom you are sewing as you stitch away the hours? Then when the quilt takes shape and is finished, do you enjoy its presence because you know its days in your home are numbered? These two quilts have been hanging on hangers in my guest bedroom closet for quite awhile, but their hour has finally come. Today’s the day. I made them for my daughter who is reaching a certain age where birthdays need to be acknowledged in a big way. I needed to give my sweet girl a real labor of love. So I will part with these self-created connections to my dearly loved one when she comes over later today.

My first Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt experience was 2017’s On Ringo Lake. Still a novice, I messed up early on – I think it was the second clue. I flipped the colors on the flying geese. So my version is probably not even recognizable when compared to the original. I also added more blocks to grow it to a queen size. But I know my daughter will love it.

The Elizabeth Hartman little bitty Fancy Fox quilt is for Audrey, her inseparable sidekick.

I started quilting mostly because of my mom. She’s still of sound body, but not of mind. Her memories are wiped clean, and she doesn’t recognize me. Although I’ve still got her physical presence with me, the good bye has already happened. I miss her very much. I admire her in so many ways. She had spunk and initiative, and was always ready for some fun. I followed in her footsteps with my career, my parenting, and my hobbies. She jumped into quilting in a big way when she retired from teaching, and so did I. She made my daughters, her much-loved granddaughters, quilts when they graduated from high school. I am carrying on her tradition by commemorating benchmark birthdays with quilts for my children. It would make my mom happy to know this. It makes me happy to feel close to her, in this small way.

I had two aunts, sisters, who lived states apart and only got to see each other two or three times a year. They were two peas in a pod, so very close, and ending those visits was just too hard. So they came up with a way to ease their sorrow. Instead of saying “Good bye”, they would part with the words, “Hello”, as in, there will be a next time.

So I say “Hello” to my mom, because there will be a next time. And I also say “Hello” to my daughter. True, she’s leaving a decade behind her, but she’s greeting the new one ahead. I made sure she’s got a big new quilt to help her embrace her big new future.

P.S. Quilts received. They like them!

49. Take a Chill Pill

Fly Away Block

I love how this block turned out. I broke my “rule” of keeping to one fabric, or at the most, two, besides the white neutral, for each block. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Personally speaking, that’s a hard pill for me to take. I was the rule-following, timid child who probably didn’t have as much fun as my peers. Think prodigal son’s brother. But I didn’t cause any trouble for my hard working parents, so that’s something.

I named my blog with intention. It is to remind myself to chill out, and not let the intimidation of the unknown audience keep me from sharing. It reminds me to throw unnecessary caution aside, and run with those scissors. Also, I am literally only using scissors on this project, no rotary cutters. A commenter (hi, Ruth!) asked about my scissors. I have discovered that they are from Toledo, Spain. This quaint historic town is known for its medieval swords and modern sharp cutlery. If my blades could talk, they’d tell me that a tourist picked them up and brought them to me via a yard sale.

My other intention with this whole project is to slow down, enjoy the process, and meditate on the scriptures, rather than race to the finish. I’m almost to the halfway point in the quilt blocks, and it has been a rewarding experience. I highly recommend slowing down and being in the moment. It’s a gift, that’s why it’s called “the present”.

Like David says in verse 10: “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.”

So if I have the luck of good genes, I’ll have eighty years to labor down here below. If I’m unlucky, I might live longer than that. Actually, if I’m still of sound body and mind, I hopefully won’t resent the bonus time here on earth at all.

Here’s a final nod to the Fly Away Quilt block:

https://youtu.be/vGTOXtJt_2E

That movie is one of our family’s favorites, have you seen it? If so, what’s your favorite quote? Mine is:

“I’ve spoken my peace and I’ve counted to three.”