Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Battle Over a Holiday

The Christmas tree has begun to go up at our house.
I take my time and decorate it over several days.

Christmas time.  What a jumble of emotions this time of year can be for me.  My childhood memories are of large family gatherings at my grandparents.  This year it is just the four of us, and as the boys begin lives of their own I imagine soon it may be just the two of us.  I miss the large family gatherings.  I miss all those who have left this life, my parents, my younger brother, grandparents, some aunts and uncles- holidays are not the same and those songs on the radio can make me cry.  I get pretty nostalgic this time of year.
ornament my youngest son brought back for me
from his trip to Germany this summer

I love Christmas time.  I love to set up the tree, I love to look out at the lights at night, to see the Christmas decorations come out in all the little towns, and homemade fudge, a tradition of my dad's that I have kept up with.  

But there is something that has started to bother me about Christmas.  Somehow it has become a battlefield.  When did we begin to take offense at being wished Happy Holidays?  I remember this greeting as a child and it was never taken as an insult, something to fight about.  I read Romans 2:24 this morning, "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."  Paul was saying this to those who claimed faith but did not live out that faith, rather doing the very thing they condemned in others.  I wonder what all of our calls for boycotts, letters to the editor, the arrogance with which we throw happy holidays wishes back at those who offered them, are doing to the name of God in society's eyes.  What kind of god are we showing to the world?  The One who loved us and came to die for us while we were sinners and enemies of God?  I keep hearing arguments these days that we are losing the meaning of Christmas, and as Christians we need to speak up.  The meaning of Christmas- I cannot find a biblical call to celebrate it the way we do, or any other way.  What I do find is a call to live at peace in the world.  To "give no offense either to the Jew or to the Greek or to the church of God." (1 Cor. 10:32, NKJV)  I find Scripture urging us to "increase more and more in brotherly love; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing." (1 Thess. 4:10b-12, NKJV)  This one hit me particularly hard when I read it last week.  I was giving a lot of thought to how we should live so as to influence the world and this seems to fly in the face of what I keep hearing we need to do.  
I have had this little nativity since I was a child

I like to use Christmas as a time to focus on the birth of the Lord.  As a believer the fact that Jesus gave up His place in heaven to become a man and die for me is central to my faith.  But we do not live in a world where everyone believes that. I would even venture to guess that we are in the minority.  If I am going to pattern myself after Jesus then I have got to love those people, not alienate them.  Why should it be a threat to me when someone believes differently?  They cannot take my faith away; nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.  It should move me to show more compassion, to love on that person, and pray for them.  What do I gain by picking a fight with them?  Didn't Jesus say something about loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us?  
There is much about our country that makes me sad.  One of my own sons is living the prodigal life these days.  I pray everyday that my words and actions would lead people to see how much the God of the universe loves them.  And I pray even more that my words and actions would not be a cause for them to reject God's gift of grace.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Everything Done With Love

Where has the time gone?  When I saw the date of my last post I could not believe a month has flown by.  I have been busy and not so busy, working on some quilt gifts, devoting myself to prayer, and honestly, wasting a lot of time too.

During the Thanksgiving break my dear husband let me choose a quilt shop to visit.  We had a very nice drive through the country in our Mini Cooper and arrived in Waxahachie, Texas by the afternoon.  I fell in love with this town, it's shops and most especially, the gingerbread houses it is known for.
This one is for sale and what a bargain at only 600,000 dollars!

Another example:

I did not take this one, but they have a candlelight tour of homes every year and this is an example.  It is on my bucket list now.

This morning I was finishing up 1 Corinthians when I read this:  "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Cor. 16:13-14, NKJV)  I have done a lot of watching lately.  Watching some who are standing fast, being strong, being brave.  A family who learned their young son had a brain tumor.  A family who learned the dad had a virus in his brain and was given no hope.  A young couple whose newborn daughter is in the hospital struggling for breath from a heart condition. My list could go on and on.  I have been watching as these families shared how they trust God in all circumstances.  I have been watching as God has answered the prayers of His people in miraculous ways.  A tumor successfully removed and looking to be benign.  A little boy who is improving everyday as he fights to regain the use of his whole body after brain surgery.  A dad whose viral counts is almost down to zero and the doctor is now optimistic.  A couple who is still watching and waiting to see how the Lord rescues their precious little baby.  I read another selection this morning. 2 Corinthians 1:9-11, "Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many."  I could not help thinking of these families and all who have labored with them in prayer.  We have all been granted such a great gift.

But that line, "Let all you do be done in love" is cutting to my heart.  Here I am looking around me at the mess my guys seem to leave behind each day.  As I put the food back where it goes.  As I hang coats back up in the closet.  As I pick up the dirty socks left lying around- it is not love that is running through my heart.  I am in need of an attitude adjustment.  What a great gift I have been given, a warm house, cupboards bursting with food, a family to share my life with, a body that is able to pick up and put away without even having to think about how to get my fingers to grasp or my feet to walk.  I sit here convicted about my attitude and determined to make an effort to let ALL that I do be done with love.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do I Really Believe?

Reading chronologically this year has become interesting as I get to the four Gospel accounts.  There are days when it feels like God is trying to hammer some truth into me as I read because I read it two or three times in one sitting.  It feels like He is saying, "Did you get that?  Here let me say it again.  How about now?  Let's try it one more time."  Very familiar passages are hitting harder than ever.

On Friday I wrote in my journal:

  • Matt. 19:26b- With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
  • Mark 10:27-But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.
  • Luke 18:27-The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Now I had something very much on my mind that morning.  I was hoping for some direction in how to pray and it seemed like God was leading me to pray for that which is not possible with men.  I shared that with a few people over the weekend and was so discouraged by the response. 

Monday found me wondering if I was being foolish with my request.  Here is what I wrote down in my journal on Monday:
  • Matt. 20:31- Then the multitude warned them (two blind men crying out to Jesus) that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more.
  • Mark 10:48- Then they warned him (blind Bartemaeus) to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me."
  • Luke 18:39- Those who led the way were sternly telling him (a blind man calling out to Jesus) to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more.
These people were asking for the impossible, to receive their sight.  The people all around them were telling them to stop, but they persisted and Jesus heard them and gave them what they asked for telling them their faith had made them well.  I felt like God was saying to me, do not get discouraged in your prayers-keep the faith.

This morning I still struggle with doubts.  This is what I wrote in my journal today:
  • Matt. 21:21-22- So Jesus answered them and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.  And whatever you things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
  • Mark 11:22- So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
It brings me back to my question from yesterday.  Have I become like Nazareth, where Jesus could not do many miracles because of their lack of faith?  Do I really believe that God still works this way--even through my prayers?

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Question of Faith

My thoughts are very brief this morning.
The following verse is very much on my mind right now, "And He (Jesus) could do no miracle there (Nazareth) except that He laid His hands on few sick people and healed them.  And He wondered at their unbelief."  Mark 6:5-6, NASB.
It simply has me asking the question, "How much could God accomplish if we only had more faith?"  It has me praying for an increase in my own faith because I do not want to live in a Nazareth of my own.  I want to believe and not doubt.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Delights of Discipline

I just cannot escape that word-discipline.  I need it to stick with my morning quiet time.  I need it to stick with my get fit plan.  I need it to make progress on my UFO's.  I even need it to stay on top of the laundry.    But it's not a dirty word if I focus on the benefits, the joy that results in being disciplined.

Starting my day in the word and prayer is such a blessing.  This morning I spent some time wrestling with those verses about "if two of you on earth agree concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19-NKJV)  Well, I have had a whopper on my mind since last night, and I know that there are even more than two of us who are in agreement.  But when word comes that cancer has taken over someone's body...I pray but do I really believe?  Wrapped up in all of this is the will of God, and I sometimes use that to whimp out when I bring my requests before the Lord.  This morning I came asking for help with my unbelief, for Him to reveal anything that might hinder my prayers, and that I would have wisdom to know if I am asking amiss.  I know He can do incredible things when His people pray and I want to be a part of that.  More than that however is that when I wrestle with these things I am drawn closer to the Lord, I get to know Him even more as I seek to be serious about my prayers.  I also read in Luke the parable of the widow who keeps coming to the judge about her case.  Jesus told this parable to teach "that men (and women) always ought to pray and not lose heart." (Luke 18:1, NKJV)  So I press on.

This week was the beginning of Leslie Sansone's 21 day walk at home challenge.  Discipline.  So far so good.  My body tried to be a little rebellious yesterday but was feeling good after the end of a two mile walk.  It surprises me how energizing this step is to my whole day.  And if you are not familiar with the Walk at Home method--it is not your ordinary walk, which makes it a whole lot more fun than hopping on the treadmill.

As for my quilting- I love the encouragement I am getting from a special group of women to tackle those UFO's.  It feels wonderful to be able to share the accomplishments.

This is my version of a Rail Fence.  I have a couple of borders to add and then it will be ready for quilting.

Today I am setting up my machine for quilting and will start with the Debbie Fields chickadee table runner.  I picked up this great Maywood Studios fabric on sale and it will be perfect for the back of my Harvest Time quilt.
purple with pumpkins!

So I am off to walk and quilt, and looking forward to the results of being disciplined about it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Because We Never Know What the Day Will Bring

I hesitate to say I learned a valuable lesson last week.  I have the feeling that it is one that will need repeating in the future just because of the way I am about my prayer life.  I found myself making lots of excuses last week for not journaling through my prayer time.  When I did actually continue in my journal, after my daily Bible reading plan, one person came immediately to mind.  This is not someone I know particularly well, but she was on my mind as well as some specifics to pray.  As I went about the rest of my morning I checked in on FB and there she was, and her status was a prayer that said exactly what I had been praying for her- I tell you I got chillbumps.  I have had similar things happen in the past.  This was different in that it was so specific.  This one really hit home to me the importance of not growing weary in intercessory prayer.  It was a double blessing for both of us that day, we were both encouraged by how the Holy Spirit moves us as we pray, and the joy that only comes from being obedient to those gentle proddings.

In my own life the Lord really used it to emphasize to me how important that time with Him is each morning because I do not know what lies ahead.  What if I had not prayed that morning?  I would not have been able to share how much the Lord cares for this friend and has caused others to be in prayer for her very specific needs.  (and how cool is that- He can direct someone to pray so specifically!)  Sometimes we just need to know that we are not alone in our battles.  Sometimes we are just crying out for the Lord to show us somehow that He cares about us.  What if I had not prayed?

The day before I had come to my prayer time and just asked if it would be okay not to journal.  I was so tired.  I was soooo not motivated.  I was just not in the mood.  In my mind I heard that it was okay- I could go on with my day.  Everything seemed to go wrong that day- I could not even sew a simple seam without having to rip it out.  All afternoon I had that niggling thought, "you should have taken time for the Lord this morning."  But then I kept thinking that God really does not work that way.  However, that is why I was willing to sit quietly and pray the next morning before I got my day going.  I was still tired.  I was still not particularly motivated. I just chose to be obedient.
The two days were like night and day.  It does not always happen like that for me.  Spending my quiet time has never guaranteed a smooth sailing kind of day.  This day though, as I sat and reflected while sewing a quilt, everything coming together very well once again,  I kept thinking, "what if my friend had posted her prayer yesterday?"  I would not have prayed for her.  I would have had no encouragement to give when it was needed.  I actually think I had the kind of off day I had so that I would not miss the opportunity to pray when I needed to, because I was not having the kind of week where I was seeking first the Kingdom.  It all reminded me of how important it is to come each day for my time with the Lord, to sit at His feet and listen to His word, to seek His will, to share my heart, to know Him more...because He knows what each day will bring.

Monday, November 1, 2010

This and That

Yesterday I had a wonderful time with our Sunday School class.  We do a breakfast potluck once a year.  Good friends, good food, good fellowship-what more could you ask for.
I had the opportunity to visit with nearly everybody as I had a lot of photos to take to update our class directory.    Miss Shy One got to be the social butterfly, and had a wonderful time doing it too.

some tracing and cutting to do
This morning it is back to work on some UFO's.  Netflix is keeping me company as I trace some applique pieces for the McKenna Ryan BOM I am working on.  When I need a break I am moving to my machine to do a little applique work on a baby quilt I have going.  On Friday I was able to complete the top for the Harvest Time quilt.
Completed Harvest Time top
Applique blocks for baby quilt
Today is the first day of Leslie Sansone's 21 day walking challenge which I am taking part in.  I am having to split up my three miles into two segments during the day- but am enjoying the way she has us move our bodies.  Hoping that having some others as accountability partners will encourage me to stick with it this month.

Break time is over and it is time to get back to work.  Tomorrow I hope to share some lessons I learned last week about seeking first the Kingdom.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Learning Curves

I am committed to getting this quilt done before Thanksgiving.  I originally had planned on the end of this month, but with everyone home for fall break and catching a bug I just don't see it happening by Sunday.  This has been an interesting one for me.  I met some new designers and quilters during a quilt blog hop and this pattern belongs to one of them: Heather Mulder Peterson.
Harvest Time quilt in progress
 This was a stretch for me out of my ordinary color schemes.  I think it is the first time I have ever been bold with purples and oranges.  These are the fabrics I ended up choosing after a couple of days of deliberations, the colors show up so much better here.  From the photos it is hard to see that the background fabric is covered with tan flowers and vines so does not appear as white as it does here.  That actually was one of the harder choices-the background.  I had a more tan overall piece but the pumpkin seemed kind of lost on it so I ended up going with the lighter background.
I am really focusing on using up some of my fabric stash and am pleased that the only thing I had to purchase for this one was the backing- Go Me!
My new pressing table is giving me a space that I love as I can lay everything out as I get ready to sew.
The piecing has gone very well.  One of the designers on the blog had a special offer on her Clearly Perfect Angles.  I had something similar that I had to tape down to my machine every time I wanted to use it and this one was made out of that plastic that clings, which totally intrigued me and I decided to give it a try.  I love it.
It not only works for piecing half square triangles but gives me a nice long line for accurate seams too.
(I think my Dh did a very good job of cutting the plexiglass to fit around my machine so that I could drop it down in the table we made and have a nice big smooth surface for sewing quilts.

Yesterday it was on to machine applique.  This was only my third attempt and with some tips from Pat Sloan's techniques book I think I made some real improvement.   I am having to learn how to do curves on this one, the pumpkin that goes in the middle has a nice big curve but the oak leaves, lots of action there and it was a bit of a challenge for this newbie to applique.
Buttonhole stitch on my first oak leaf
Overall I am pretty pleased with how evenly the stitches are coming out, even on all those little curves.  I have one more oak leaf block to do and then it is on to the pumpkin in the middle and a couple of borders.  Looks like I will succeed in getting the top completely done by the end of the week.

Our dear mail lady came by yesterday- she truly is one of my best friends- bringing the new BOM I signed up for.  Another new designer for me, Terri Degenkolb, and another new technique to learn: needle turn applique.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fear Not

This is a photo I snapped while camping at one of my favorite places along the Rogue River in Oregon.  It is a foggy day here in Texas this morning too. I actually love foggy mornings, except when they last throughout the day and then into the next and the next.  The problem with fog is it hides things that we need to see.
It has not been long enough since I wrote about a mother's loss and once again my heart has been burdened for another mom who has lost her child.  At the same time there is rejoicing with a mom whose prodigal has returned.  What a roller coaster.  As I wept on Sunday night, God saw me.  He heard me.  As I rejoiced on Tuesday night, God saw me.  He heard me.  He is always there for me, even when all I can manage is a cry of weakness.  Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. -Luke 12:32, NKJ.  That is a lot easier to accept when the news is good.  Another verse hit me this morning, Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life...Matthew 7:14a.  Difficult is the way.  Isn't it supposed to be easy once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior?  I am back to the song that was on my heart a couple of weeks ago- Held-and this line in particular: Who told us we'd be rescued?  What is changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?  We're asking why this happens to us who have died to live, it's unfair.
I know that some of my nightmares have been my own doing.  Others have been the result of evil in the world around  me.  The only thing that has not changed for me is that God still sees me.  He still hears me.  At my best, He has been there.  At my worst, He has remained faithful.
My world is full of questions that I don't have good answers to.  This is one thing I do know- I don't have to live in fear.  By nature I am a very fearful person.  I jotted one more verse down in my notebook today:  But why do you call Me "Lord, Lord" and not do the things which I say? Honestly when I wrote that one down I was thinking it was for someone else.   But, how many times has He told me not to fear?  How many times did I read today in the Gospels that I should not worry about anything?  My life is a witness to God's faithfulness and yet I still struggle in this area.  O Father God, help me to trust You and not fear-lift the fog that hides what I need to see today.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On a Mission to Find UFO's

Pat Sloan's blog today challenged us to a mission involving UFO's.  Not the kind that fly around in the sky, but those unfinished objects in our quilting rooms.  This morning I gathered and sorted my UFO's into piles--at Pat's suggestion as she guides us in this process.

Here are three of my piles.  The first pile just needs to have bindings finished.  One is soooo close, just ten inches left to stitch.  The middle pile is ready to be quilted or in the process of being quilted..  The final pile is waiting on borders.

Now these are the projects in various stages of piecing, not including the one on my design wall currently and the wildflower applique I have going- oh and did I mention I started a small fall quilt yesterday inspired by some quilting gals in a quilt bloghop last week.  A couple of these are for a class I am taking, and another two are block of the months.  But the others...I think I need to work on finishing one before getting pulled in by another, so I am very thankful for Pat's encouragement in this area.

A huge blessing that came yesterday is the result of the benefits of being a college professor's wife- free stuff when the college is upgrading.  My dear hubby came home with a drafting table.  If I had the space I would have taken two, one for drafting patterns and the other for the purpose I had in mind.

The drafting table
After a few hours work the hardware is removed from the top, two layers of batting and a layer of muslin are applied and voila...

a pressing table is born.  Finally I can iron a yard of fabric without all the repositioning.   The height adjusts and it folds up when I need it out of the way.  I love it!

Now back to those UFO's that are waiting in my studio.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lot's of Work to Do

If we say we trust God but are not willing to wait--if we say we trust God and then come up with plans to "help Him along"--if we say we trust God and are still stressed by situations or relationships--then we really need to ask ourselves if what we say is true.  Do we really trust God?  Those are the thoughts I pulled out of my reading time this morning.  So very convicting.  I cannot go back and change my past but I can change how I proceed in the future.  He has a lot of work left to do in me.

I wish I could see the progress He is making as clearly as I see the progress in my quilts.  I completed two more blocks in the Petals of my Heart quilt.  There are a lot of details in some of these blocks.  I love how I look at the fabric and try to decide the best place to cut out the shapes, and then to see how they all fit together to create a picture.  It is kind of like how I see God working on me.  It involves a lot of patience and careful attention to detail.  Taking a little bit of this and that and putting it together in the form of me.

California Poppies
even a little chipmunk

I hope that I will more and more resemble Christ so that when people look at me they think of Him just as when I look at these quilt blocks I think about the real flowers (and critters) they represent.  We both have a lot of work left to do.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Children of the King

Last week our zoo provided us with our first look at lion cubs.  I filled my camera's memory with photos of them on Friday.  These adorable cubs are children of the king of the jungle.  I am a child of the King of the universe.  But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ) to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.  -John 1:12 NKJV

I have been thinking a lot lately about what this means.  To be a child of God.  A daughter of the King.  Wondering how I am doing as a representative of his household when I step out the door.  One thing is very clear, He has a lot of work yet to do on this child.  Rebellious, forgetful, reluctant to submit, selfish, and full of pride--one who finds herself listening to the voice of the enemy far too often.  And what is that voice trying to tell me?  That I am worthless.

This morning I am listening to that other voice.  The One who loves me and has lavished His grace upon me.  I am of such supreme value to Him that He sent His Son to earth to die in my place.  To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. -Luke 1:74-75  That voice that says I am worthless- that is from the enemy and God has delivered me from out of his hand.  I can serve the Lord without fear- which for someone like me is an incredible thing.

I find myself wanting to make Mary's response to God when she was told she would carry the Savior my daily prayer.   "Behold the maidservant of the LORD!  Let it be to me according to Your word."   The angel had just told her that nothing will be impossible for God.  That has not changed.  He can take a girl like me and make me a child who will bring honor to His name.  He can take a girl who is frightfully shy and cause her to come boldly before His throne.  He can take all of my sin and shame and replace them with grace and truth.  I am a child of the King!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crown Jewels

I love this time of year in Texas.  The days are finally cooling off enough to turn off the air conditioner and fling open the windows.  The nights are cold enough that the leaves are starting to turn and the pecans are starting to drop.  I love this time of year.

The mornings are perfect for a cup of tea and a slice of friendship bread.  

I have started adding white whole wheat flour to the starter in an attempt to make it a little healthier, and yesterday I replaced the oil with applesauce.  It must have been a hit because there was only one loaf left this morning.

As I opened up God's word to let Him speak to me this morning I came across Zechariah 9:16-The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people.  For they shall be like the jewels of  a crown, lifted like a banner over His land--Like the jewels of a crown....  I really don't think of myself as a crown jewel.  Do you?  I think a lot of things about myself but they tend to be rather negative.  The idea of being a crown jewel has me considering who I belong to.  I am a daughter of the King.  Am I living like a daughter of the King?
My Father has a lot of work left to do in me.  I hope each moment finds me more willing to be changed by Him into the woman He wants me to be.  I have a lot of letting go to do of the woman I think I am in order for that to happen.
I recently heard a young woman say something to the effect of: "Don't mess with me because my Father rules the world."  I admire her boldness, but more than that, she seems to have a very clear understanding of who she is in Christ. I need that knowledge to move from my head to my heart.  To be more than words but the way I live my life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


So I walked in to clean Matthew's bathroom and there it was.  He had warned me that the bug on the counter was something he was keeping.  Ewww, right?  Well, that is what one gets with an entomologist in the house.  (that is the official name of the field of biology he is into...BUGS.)  So as I clean around this thing I find that it really isn't dead.  I am not sure how high I jumped when it's little legs grabbed a hold of my finger. but it took a while to regain my composure and finish the job.  That was yesterday.  Today the counter is clear, but then I went to get something out of the freezer and there he was again.  My son keeps me on my toes.

Yesterday was a rather slow one, I think the events of the night left me feeling tired and a bit melancholy.  I needed to do something fun and take charge of something so I had a good time in my quilt studio today. 

 This is one of the Petals of My Heart blocks designed by McKenna Ryan.  I have several more yet to do before the quilt is ready to put together.  Certainly a much better way to spend my day than in the bathroom with "mostly dead" bugs.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What it Means to be Held

I snapped this shot at Yosemite in May.  The clouds were moving in, rain was starting to fall, and it was a very peaceful spot.  I had one of those nights where I awoke many times feeling the need to pray for a mother facing what no mother should have to face.  Letting go of her two week old son.  Praying with all of my heart that the Lord would grant healing even now.
My morning started with a heavy heart.  So many burdens yesterday--learning another friend has been diagnosed with cancer.  So I opened up my Bible when the house got quiet again and I began to read out of Isaiah.  My heart stopped when I came to Is. 65:17-20.  For behold I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness...the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.  No more shall an infant from there live but a few days....In the midst of my heavy heart there is a peace, not because things are any better in the here and now, but because the Lord truly knows and understands this kind of grief and is right here in the midst of it holding us every step of the way.  He gets that things here are not as they should be and He has a plan in place for that day when all shall be made right at last.
The last verse I made note of in my journal this morning was Is. 66:2b-But on this one I will look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.  I trembled at His word today.  How can it be that something written thousands of years ago would speak so precisely to my heart's cry this morning?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Prasie the Lord, O My Soul!

You've heard the saying, "What a difference a day makes?" Well, what a difference a morning quiet time makes. It is hard to believe that last week found me moping around not able to get anything done. So tired I struggled to get up in the morning, not caring a hoot about how I looked, how the house looked. The end of the day would come and I had not really gotten anything done and now sleep would allude me too.

This week, I am up just before the sun, with a smile on my face. I just finished up the Psalms in my quiet time. This God who will not let me go is simply amazing. Many little tidbits about Him today in my reading of Psalms 145-150. He is the one who made heaven and earth, who keeps the truth forever,who executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, gives freedom to prisoners, opens the eyes of the blind, raises those who are bowed down, loves the righteous, watches over the strangers, relieves the fatherless and the widow, and shall reign forever.
He is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. He is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works. The LORD is righteous in all His ways, near to those who call upon Him and preserves ALL who love Him for the LORD takes pleasure in His people.
He takes pleasure in us beloved. What more is there to say than, Praise the LORD, O my soul who rescued me from the dark place I was in.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Here we go...

So here I go jumping into this blog thing...  I am trying to get several things back on track:  my quiet time with the Lord, moving my body on a regular basis, eating well, and quilting.  So far so good on all fronts this week.
Today my Bible readings were from the Psalms.  today's theme seemed to be, "For His mercy endures forever."  I started with Ps. 117- Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles!  Laud Him all you peoples!  For His merciful kindness is great towards us, and the truth of the LORD endures forever.  Praise the LORD!

Ps. 118:29  reminds me to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  For His mercy endures forever.  And then there is Psalm 136 where this little phrase is repeated in nearly every line and ends with, O give thanks to the God of heaven!  For His mercy endures forever.  I have often found the repetition of that line bothersome.  You can't even finish one complete thought and there it is intruding again in the flow.  Today it was not a bother.  Today I read each line with relish.  This has been one of those weeks when I have reveled in His mercy, so grateful that it endures forever.

Moving on to my other goals.  My living room is clean- thanks Flylady.  I know where my laundry is- again thanks Flylady.  I put in sometime with my Turbo Jam dvd and  moved my body.  I know it had an impact because my upper arms werecomplaining when I was cutting out some quilt squares this afternoon.  Which brings me to my quilt studio. Things are starting to look promising in there.  This month I started working through Harriet and Carrie Hargreaves' Quilter's Academy Vol. 1.  Figured it was high time I honed my skills as I have never even taken a class.  Today was spent working on lesson seven using Carrie's Cowboy Corral quilt as inspiration for a fussy cut quilt.  

Here it is in the first stages on the design wall.

My beautiful, perfect strip sets of blue, green and gold.  These are the best I have ever achieved.

Starting to see the pattern now.

And by the end of the afternoon I have the main part of the quilt planned out.  I will probably play around with exact placement of the fussy cut squares some more before sewing it all together.  Then it will sit for awhile until I get to the lesson on adding borders.