The Way I See It

How’s your sheltering in place going? I’m finishing more border blocks for the Bible Sampler quilt:

I’m also spending lots of time in the garden. Today I’m gathering nopal paddles.

I find it interesting that I am at this section of the Bible, the books of the prophets, at the same time as the Coronavirus pandemic. These days sure put the end of days on one’s mind.

I’ve mentioned before that I came of age right in the middle of the Jesus Movement. The outcome of the Six Day War fulfilled a biggie on the list of end times prophecies. Israel had gotten its promised land back, so the last days must be coming soon, right? Did you read Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” too? I don’t think I knew anyone who didn’t read that book. And Bible teachers were watching the signs, doing the math, and predicting the day of the second coming. It didn’t hurt to try to figure it out, even though we read in Matthew that no one would know the day or hour of His coming.

Our youth group was singing Larry Norman’s “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”.

https://youtu.be/aPJpZdEOILQ

And here’s my favorite verse of Pat Terry’s “I Can’t Wait to See Jesus”:

“I can’t wait to see heaven,

And to walk those streets of gold,

I can’t wait to check into my mansion,

Get my sleeping bag unrolled. . .

(Chorus)

Tell me how it’s gonna be

Read it from the Bible again

I can’t wait to see Jesus

‘Cause Jesus is coming again.”

Funny how lyrics are stuck in a brain file, intact, word for word, after all this time. But my point is that the Christian world was buzzing about the end times back then.

Out of curiosity, this morning I googled: “Coronavirus end times” just to see what the internet had to say in these days. I didn’t spend much time poking around the conversation, but just caught the gist. One messianic Jew assured us that we are not in the last days, reason being that the temple has not yet been rebuilt in Jerusalem.

Hold up a minute. I’m no scholar, but I’ve recently read Ezekiel, where God gave him a vision of the heavenly kingdom. In chapters 43-44, Ezekiel was shown the Most Holy Place. There was no ornate room protected by a thick veil. Instead of the ark of the covenant, there was a throne. This seems plain as day to me. Jesus came to fulfill the law, and He did just that, completely. No longer did we need a place to keep the scrolls. So I would say that an actual temple erected in Jerusalem is no longer a requirement of the second coming.

And Jesus himself said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”. Jesus Himself was the temple: Diety in the flesh, the Incarnate Word. In answering the Jewish leaders about his authority to clear the temple, Jesus foretold of his own death and resurrection that would fulfill the old covenant, and usher in the new.

So that third and final temple has been built, built without hands, and He is in Jerusalem, in Asia, in Europe, in the Americas, in our hearts.

So that final prophetic requirement has been completed, in my humble opinion. Where does that put us now?

I would answer that we are in the place we’ve always been. We live in the age of grace. The history of Jesus’ life and the events of the church are in the books. And we’ve got The Book, the Holy Bible, all written, canonized, and translated into our native tongue. We all have the opportunity to pray to God, through the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, and ask Him to dwell in our hearts, our minds, our souls, and to be our strength. Because Jesus did it all, the day we receive Him as our Lord and Savior is the day of our reckoning, the day of our salvation, the day of His second coming in our own lives.

I’ve finished reading the book of Daniel. It ends with these words in Chapter 12:

Verses 8: “I heard but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.”

The final verse in the book of Daniel is a good way to end this post:

“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

Roll up that sleeping bag, Daniel.

What the World Needs Now . . .

Big Star Quilt from MSQC.
The goal was to bind it and bury threads. Done and Done!

Here’s my March finish for the Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal Challenge:

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2020/03/one-monthly-goal-march-finish-link-up.html

And what a month it has been. One for the history books. I keep thinking about FDR’s famous wartime words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. I’ve always been puzzled by this. I think there are lots of things to fear, especially now in these epic days of March. So many of us lack a safety net, so prolonged periods of unemployment, sickness, isolation, etc. can throw us into a tailspin of anxiety and raw fear.

Maybe some of us are tailspinning right now. My heart goes out to you. I fear for the healthcare workers who are serving our sick and wounded. I fear for the homeless, the elderly, the poor. This wartime quote from across the pond seems more realistic to me than FDR’s: “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

Because, really, what else can you do? When it comes right down to it, we don’t have quite the control of our universe that we maybe thought we had. I’m glad we’ve come so far with scientific progress, but my faith is in God. He gives me the strength to stay calm in this storm.

One final quote from Martin Luther, (who endured a deadly plague), often comes to mind:

Even if I knew certainly the world would end tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today”.

Let’s keep on keeping on.

Take a minute to watch this. I’m not a fan of Burt Bacharach, but I do agree that what the world needs now is love. God is love. He’s got what we need.

https://youtu.be/QagzdvzzHBQ

Food For Thought

The sun came out this morning, after many days of rain. So I went outside, picked some weeds, and gathered two baskets of dropped fruit.Next, I brought it inside to be washed and juiced. While I worked, I thought about all of the Springs I’ve spent bending over the kitchen sink, processing my citrus fruit. It suddenly dawned on me that citrus ripens in both Fall and Spring, which just happens to coincide with the two flu seasons.

Which then made me think about the theories that fruits and vegetables are shaped like the body parts they are meant to serve. For example, walnuts = brain, celery = bones, and so on. I hadn’t considered that the timing of seasonal fruits and vegetables could work with our bodies as well, ripening and becoming available when they are most needed.

Oranges are great immunity boosters, but a matching body part that needed lots of Vitamin C didn’t come quickly to my mind. Maybe the eyeballs? Nah. Then I thought about the round image of the Coronavirus that we’ve seen all over the internet. Are all viruses shaped like balls? I looked at some google images, and yes, they mostly are.

In today’s press conference, our president said, “It is genius”. He was referring to the virus, how it keeps coming back despite man’s best efforts to get control.

I would say that the Creator of all things is the genius.

I live in California, so we’ve been in “Shelter in Place” mode for awhile now. Besides gardening, I’ve gotten this done:

Another border piece for the Bible Sampler quilt.

And I’ve been reading through the book of Daniel. Do you remember the “Daniel Fast”? I attempted it in the late seventies. The idea was to eat only vegetables and drink only water for ten days, just like Daniel and his fellow Hebrew students did when they refused the rich foods served in King Nebudchadnezzar’s court. I remember getting a sore throat after about the third day, and abandoning the project. Looking back, it was probably due to all the raw carrot sticks I was munching on.

Today, I’ll raise a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and give thanks. Cheers!

Random Anecdotes of Antidotes in my Dotage

I have my own sewing room, which allows me to keep my messes projects out at all times. So I can snatch bits of time throughout the day to pop in and work on whatever suits my fancy. The minutes here and there spent sewing add up to about an hour, maybe two at the most. All this to say, it took the entire day today of my snatches of time to complete this one triangle:

Another border triangle for my Bible Sampler quilt

I had the dickens of a time trying to expand it to fit my measurements. As I ripped out multiple tries, I thought about my creative flow. I “dote” on one task which requires concentration, then follow up with an “antidote” on another that can be assembled carelessly. For example, these courthouse steps came together in between that one very fiddly paper pieced triangle. These blocks are using up unwanted strips sewn onto telephone book paper. They’re mindless and grow quickly. Fun!

I know the real definition of “dote” is to show extreme fondness and attention to another. I use “dote” as in, “takes all my attention because it’s complicated, and uses more time than it should”. The real definition of “antidote” is a substance that counteracts poison. I use it to mean, a safety valve that prevents burn-out.

All this to say, I realize that I always imbed a safety valve, which is to pace myself, whether the project be in the kitchen, the garden, or the sewing room. I want to enjoy my pasttimes for a long time, so measures must be taken to make sure I don’t wear out the fun factor on any one project.

In the garden, I jump from pulling weeds, to planting seeds, to trimming up and picking vegetation. It may look like I have an attention deficit, but it’s my way of keeping it fresh.

So if you’re struggling in the motivation department, maybe this antidote would work for you too.

Now to complete my wordplay. Where would we be without anecdotes? People love hearing personal testimonies. Biblical accounts originate mostly from anecdotal evidence. As I continue reading the book of Daniel, the stories grower wilder. They tell of him surviving threats of death by execution, only to be thrown into a fiery furnace and survive, only to be dropped into a lion’s den, and so on. These stories cannot be supported by hard historical fact. What’s a believer to think?

Well, that’s where a crucial requirement of personal salvation kicks in: surrender. We can only receive our faith when we take a leap of faith. Leaving our own limited powers behind, we rely instead on the trustworthy power of the Almighty God to give us new life in Him.

I had to memorize and recite Martin Luther’s third article in front of my entire church congregation when I was in eighth grade. It was terrifying at the time, but now I appreciate knowing these words so well:

“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him: but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day, He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.

This is most certainly true.”

What a relief! It’s not what I do, but what He does, that grows my faith. He sanctifies me by daily forgiving me, not by measuring my own attempts to grow towards holiness.

This reminds me to start with prayer when I crack open the Bible and start reading; Prayer that the Holy Spirit would reveal His truth through His Word as He means it to be understood.

Yesss!

Visualize me doing a mental fist pump. Wait, that would be hard to observe. The reason? This proof of a win, I had enough red scraps to make this block.

Never mind that it looks like a candy cane. Or a barbershop pole. See that little piece on the mat? That’s all I had left. Now that’s what I call using it up.

I’m not sure why I get such a kick out of this. It seems much more fun to quilt this way rather than to plan out and purchase all of the fabric for each project up front. Maybe there’s the thrill of just going for it without measuring ahead, followed by the suspense of not knowing if you have enough until the last piece is sewn. The funny thing about this is that the risk is non-existent. If I had come up short, so what? I would’ve just chucked it and started over with new scraps. After all, I’ve acquired my scraps from second-hand resources, so they’re practically free of cost.

I’m still piecing my border triangles:

They’re slowly but surely adding up.

I came by quilting thinking it was borne of frugality. I grew up reading the hard times stories of Little Women, The Long Winter, and so on. Remember when the March sisters took apart and re-sewed their dresses inside-out to refresh their wardrobes? Now that’s frugal.

I’ve always been intrigued by frugality. I remember a little paperback I bought in the summer of 1969 entitled How To Live On Nothing. I read it while riding in a motor home with four siblings and a dog. Mom and Dad drove us up one coast, across Canada, and down the other coast. We made a 6,000 mile-long rectangular loop through the continent in six weeks. It was the Summer of Love and people were throwing caution to the wind and boldly going where no one had gone before. I wasn’t one of those people, but rather a compliant adolescent who really wanted to understand how to live on nothing. The book gave great “hacks” regarding squatting in abandoned buildings, frying eggs on radiators, foraging for food, and so on. I saw this up close and personal on that trip. People really did have flowers in their hair in San Francisco. Barefoot hitchhikers were everywhere, gathered alongside the highways. I vividly remember being surprised to see all the American young men living on the streets right over the border in British Columbia. Draft dodgers living on nothing.

If I read that book now through my responsible adult citizen lens, I’d probably “tsk tsk” my way through the chapters. There is always a cost to living, whether the person living it incurs the expense, or puts it on others.

Which reminds me of a song:

https://youtu.be/FFqb1I-hiHE

I hope you’ll allow me my trips down my personal memory lanes.

This song, like so many songs of the sixties, alluded to Biblical themes, and evoked deeper interpretations than what the songwriter probably intended. I think it’s just about people leaning on others to do them a favor, and how that can add up to frustration. This song reminds me of a trait of those times. People were exploring, discovering, self-realizing, blah blah blah. But along with those countercultural experiences came consequences, which meant that ultimately somebody had to pay. Those burdens were most often unwittingly carried by their loved ones.

Now to return to the purpose of this blog, I will report that I’m halfway through the book of Daniel. Talk about putting a load on another person; King Nebudchadnezzar does this a lot. Not only does he demand interpretation of his dreams from his palace cadre of magicians and soothsayers, he also demands that they tell him what he dreamt in the first place. And if they cannot fulfill this impossible request, they will be put to death. Thankfully, but not surprisingly, God imparts all knowledge of those dreams to Daniel, which puts a stay on the executions. More than once, Daniel carries the weight for the whole team. And even as the king showers Daniel with power and wealth, Daniel always gives credit where credit is due. He acknowledges every time that it is the one true God whom he serves, not himself, who takes the load and does the heavy lifting.

Of course I must finish my post by pointing to our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who says:

Matthew 11:28, 30: “Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . . . For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”.

Lamentations

As I was reading the book of Jeremiah, I kept thinking how awful the punishment was for God’s chosen, yet rebellious, children. And the book that follows, Lamentations, took me through that place of profound suffering. It spared nothing in describing the horrible events of their Babylonian captivity. I was thankful it was a short book, and despite the deep despair, messages of hope and mercy flashed brightly throughout the book. I had forgotten, or more likely, never knew that this passage came from Lamentations:

3:22 – The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.

This passage triggered the ole memory banks to recall this song:

https://youtu.be/96wFybfgspM

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in the Southern California “Jesus People” movement of the early seventies. We used to sing this song All. The. Time. How wonderful to be reminded of it again now.

Some people think this saying comes from the Bible, “God will never give you more than you can handle”. It makes you squirm a little, doesn’t it? Because there are a great many things too big for us to handle. This makes us question: “Does that mean I’m not quite up to snuff in the strength department, or my reliance on and faith in God?”

Not at all.

If I could tweak that well-known non-scripture, it would instead say: “There is nothing you will face that is greater than what God can handle”. There, that puts the power in the right place. And God’s got this.

Because there’s no Bible Sampler Quilt block that accompanies Lamentations, or in fact, the rest of the Old Testament books, I’m going to share instead some blocks I’ve been working on behind the blog scene as I’ve been reading through the books of the major prophets.

I’ve decided to go all in with the Jane Stickles quilt look. I’m going to make those icicle blocks all around the border, which is, in my opinion, the element that makes her quilt so unique. And I really want to use up all the fabric I’ve gathered from this era. I want to use it up and move forward to brighter palettes. As much as I love these Civil War era reproductions; they have the curious effect of reminding me of my age.

But sewing is ageless. Do you feel like a kid again when you let yourself go with an idea, make creative chaos, and play in your stash?

I do. I started paper piecing the triangle border blocks. First I made up my own:Will they fit?

Then I found Susan Gatewood on the internet.

See the difference? I do believe I’m going to love them. Her blocks aren’t the right size for my quilt, so I’m stretching them out a bit. And the blocks with curves and appliqué? Forget about it. They will be replaced with those very simple blocks that were done pre-Susan Gatewood.

I’m excited to see that a few new subscribers have found my “secret blog” (as my husband refers to this. I’m slowly growing more comfortable with social media). I hope it’s inspiring you to consider making your own Bible Sampler quilt, and reading along with me. Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear what you’re up to. What are your thoughts on the book of Lamentations?

One Monthly Goal

Just dropping in to post a link to a UFO Challenge,

https://www.elmstreetquilts.com/2020/02/one-monthly-goal-march-link-up.html

Since I’ve decided to finish at least twelve projects anyways, I thought I’d join this challenge. Who would turn down a fun source of motivation and inspiration?

So, to review, my January finish was a needlepointed pillow top. In February, I put the finishing touches on the Good Fortune, which was Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt last year. I’m progressing very well on Frolic, this year’s mystery, but I’ve chosen my snowflake quilt for the month of March UFO challenge. I’ve got three snowflake tops in various stages of assemblage.

Goal: get one of the three tops quilted, bound, and threads buried.