Friday, July 20, 2018

In the Sewing Room ~ Kim Diehl Wall Quilt

I had an email earlier this week from my local quilt shop back home in West Virginia, reminding me about their upcoming shop hop across the state--WV Mountain Quest. It brought back some good memories of the shop and classes I took that were taught by my neighbor and good friend.

I was reminded about a quilt top that I pieced in one of the classes right before we moved, so I brought it out today to finish up with the quilting. It's 20" x 20", and as you can see by the quarter that's lying toward the bottom left of the center section, the pieces are pretty small.

That means lots of seams, which can be a bit tedious to hand quilt. I'm mostly stitching in the ditch since there's enough interest going on with the piecing, so if I stay on the downhill side, I should be okay. I like to do lap quilting. The rhythm of the stitching is relaxing, so I'll see how it's going this evening.

If you're a quilter, you might recognize Kim Diehl's pattern "Laundry Day." One of the things I like about Kim's fabric is that whatever she designs coordinates with anything she had designed in the past. This quilt pattern is part of her Simple Whatnots Club Collection 1. I think I've made a half dozen or so of her quilts and posted a few of them here. But look here at some images of Kim's quilts if you really want to see some quilted inspiration! And here's a brief bio about her.

I hope you're having some time to express some creativity in your home, too. Of course, it doesn't have to be sewing or anything "crafty" at all. It's just anything that shows a new idea, even just a new way of expressing something that has inspired your own imagination. There's nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of ideas to tweak for our own "creation."

It's one of the ways we're created in the image of God. Creativity!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Simple, Solitary Act of Worship

You've probably had the experience when God often uses simple, solitary moments to encourage us in some aspect of our walk with Him. He did that for me yesterday when we were out for supper where we routinely stop for fish.

As we were waiting for our food, I noticed a man over My Beloved's shoulder who was also waiting for his meal. I shouldn't have been surprised, but when it arrived, the gentleman folded his hands, bowed his head, and I'm sure he was thanking God for it.

Here was a man eating dinner alone, yet who took a moment to acknowledge where this provision really came from. My Beloved and I had done the same a few minutes previous to that, but this gentleman's prayer got me to thinking....

Is my prayer at mealtimes just a habit? If I had to eat alone in a restaurant, would I pray as intentionally as this man did? I know that I would thank God for the food, but would I talk to Him just in my mind and get on with the meal?

Or would I be reverent enough to offer my gratitude for God's provision as a moment of worship, as I felt I was viewing that very moment? This gentleman had no one's hand to hold, no one to share the moment with, no one expecting him to bow his head and pray.

That spoke volumes to me. God used that moment to speak into my heart about this simple, solitary act of worship that expresses gratitude for our daily provision.

Image ~ Grace, Eric Enstrom, 1918

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Deepen Our Home Affections,_Child_at_Prayer,_circa_1873.jpg

We thank You for this our earthly home. 
We thank You for the love that binds us together, 
For the refuge we find here from this world's enmities. 
Here we can trust each other, and are sure of each other's love
Deepen our home affections. 
Draw us closer together as a family. 
Make our home-life sweeter. 
Enable us to be more helpful to each other. 
Teach us patience in our family and in all our mingling together. 
Help us to find the best things in each other, 
And to give one to the other the best things of love we have in our hearts.

 ~ J. R. Miller, in Family Prayers for Thirteen Weeks

Image ~ Child at Prayer, Eastman Johnson 1873
public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Do You Really Know America's History?

Many of us who have some years behind us know that America today is not what it was even fifty years ago, and is far from where it was at its founding. Most children and young adults in the present generation haven't heard the true history of America, unless their parents or teachers have made a special effort to instruct them.

History is being rewritten by those who want to eradicate our Christian heritage. As George Orwell noted in his novel 1984, "Those who control the present control the past, and those who control the past control the future."

Many present-day writers are re-writing America's history, framing it as they want it presented. Books are now being written through their biased lens on history, extracting the Christian influence that America was founded upon. By controlling what people learn about America's past, re-writers are presenting a version of history that is shaping our future. They have an agenda that is playing out in America's falling away from truth, values and morality.

Older American history books will be of great value to those who want to know the true history. I think it would be prudent to scout out used book stores to find them. We have several from our homeschooling years, as well as our daughter's Civil War interest. That's another era that is being re-shaped. We'll surely hold on to the books we have for the next generation.

In the meantime, people like David Barton of Wallbuilders is "presenting America's forgotten history and heroes with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage." We recently watched several videos in a series entitled The American Heritage Series on Amazon Prime Video. There are 25 videos in the series (we haven't watched them all yet!) that run about 25 minutes. They would be an excellent teaching resource for those of you with high schoolers or young adults still at home, particularly. If they're in the public schools, colleges or universities, they'll probably not learn the true story of America's founding and Christian heritage.

That's a very sad thought, not to know the facts of your own nation's history, to have it censored and hidden from you. Is that how it is with your children? Do you yourself really know the true story of America? The American Heritage Series just might be enlightening to the whole family.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hardly a Romance Story

Continuing my study in the Book of  Esther and reflecting today on King Ahasuerus' advisors' counsel to
"let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she." 
The statement begs the question, what were the qualifications to be "more worthy" than Vashti? Her offense was refusing to come when the king beckoned. While this was an issue of compliance that put the king in a bad light, the basis for choosing a new queen was youth, virginity, and beauty. Hardly reflective of Vashti's offense.

How would the king know if he was getting a more compliant queen? Perhaps he conducted interviews in that regard prior to the night's activities, but I highly doubt it. Ahasuerus lived in excess and power, and the way he chose a new queen was the way he conducted his life and his empire. He took whatever he wanted, just as he took the young girls for his own harem (history tells us 400 of them). His passions were insatiable. If the next queen didn't suit him, she, too, was dispensable.

I suspect a question that continually lingered in Esther's mind was what is it that suits the king at the moment? Hardly a romance story, as it's typically depicted.

Image ~ Esther haram, Edwin Long 1829-1891
public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Slow Down and Rest

Sharing a thought with you on this Lord's Day from a devotional reading this week that reminded me why I like to rest on Sundays, my chosen Sabbath. While we aren't under the OT laws, it's still a good idea to stop for awhile. God thought so, too, and He didn't even need the rest.
Slow down and rest: God commands it. In fact, resting is so important that it is the fourth of the Ten Commandments. The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word for "ceasing" or "stopping." Have you ever wondered why God thinks that having a day of "stopping" is so important? The first instance of Sabbath features God himself resting. In the opening chapter of Genesis, God creates everything that exists in six days. And "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done" (Gen. 2:3). In some ways this seems natural enough; after all, God had just created everything! But every act of creation required nothing more of God than a spoken word. God isn't toiling in sweat and anguish--just the opposite. Every creative act began with a word and ended with the pronouncement, "And God saw that it was good." God effortlessly creates and orders all things to be beautiful reflections of his glory and power. His day of rest is a demonstration of his absolute mastery and the happy obedience of his creation. God's rest isn't a picture of tiredness, but a display of his absolute sovereignty.
Winston T. Smith, in Matters of the Heart
June 13 entry

Image ~ Girl in the Hammock, Winslow Homer, 1873 
public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, July 14, 2018

In the Sewing Room ~ Dolly and Me Dresses

When our little Anna (age 5 then) was visiting with us a few months ago, she came out of the sewing room with two pieces of fabric and asked me to make her a dress. She had chosen the fabric she wanted for the top and the one she wanted for the skirt. How could I resist?

Of course there's not much time for serious sewing while the grands are visiting, but I told Anna that I would have the dress ready for her when she visited the next time. So in anticipation of their expected visit next week, I made her dress adding a third fabric for the lining and at the waist to visually tie her two chosen fabrics together. Added a little embellishment and made a matching dolly dress. Just need to hem it when I see how much she's grown between visits. The kiddos are always inches taller with each visit!

Even though we have to postpone getting the grands for a few weeks now (distance is no friend to families), I know Anna will love the dress when she comes in a few weeks. Anna has dress love. Can't wait to see her in it!

Friday, July 13, 2018

How Does the Musician Read the Rest?

I'm slowed down for awhile. I could feel it coming on for about a month and finally decided last weekend that I should go to the ER for the pain in my leg. Confirmed blood clot. The good news is that with a newer medication, I'm not as immobilized as I was ten years ago when I had a clot. The bad news is that we can't meet up and get our grands for a 10-day stay that we were all looking forward to next week. Bummer. :-(

None of us are exempt from trials and tribulations. My mother is having radiation treatment for a cancer on her ankle. Three appointments per week for six weeks. And a friend just had cancer surgery on her hand. If I took a few moments to think about it, I could go through the pews of our church and name many more friends who have toil and trouble in one form or another. Adam's Fall has brought suffering to us all.

As I was writing a card this morning to my friend who just had surgery, I tucked a little tract written by Elisabeth Elliot into the card. A long-time friend back home had sent it to me many moons ago, and God used it to speak encouragement into my heart. So much so that I had ordered a hundred copies to tuck into cards over the years.

I'd like to share its thought with you in hopes that God may use it to encourage you today as well. Elisabeth quotes the painter John Ruskin:
There is no music in a rest, but there is making of music in it. In our whole life-melody, the music is broken off here and there by 'rests,' and we foolishly think we have come to the end of time. God sends a time of forced leisuresickness, disappointed plans, frustrated effortsand makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. How does the musician read the rest? See him beat time with unvarying count and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between. Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the time and not be dismayed at the 'rests.' They are not to be slurred over, nor to be omitted, nor to destroy the melody, nor to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat time for us. With the eye on Him we shall strike the next note full and clear.
Disappointed, yes. Dismayed, no.
My music measure for now is a 'rest,' and the Master Musician will catch up the next note true and steady.

Image ~ Mrs. Meigs at the Piano Organ
Chase William Merritt, 1849-1916
public domain via WikiMedia Commons

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mighty to Save, Out of the Cave or On the Field

As with many of you, I watched the ongoing rescue of the Thai boys soccer team and prayed each day for their safety from the flooded cave. As days went by and the boys began to be carried out and reports told of the miraculous undertaking, it was evident that God was intervening on their behalf.

A news caption read, "A miracle or science, or what?" It was certainly a miracle that everyone got out of the cave when they did, as the water pump failed. It reminded me of the crossing of the Red Sea. When the Israelites had crossed safely to the other side, the water rushed back. But either way, by miracle or the use of science, it was God's doing, by whatever means He chose to save the team.

There were also people praying to the Buddhist rain god, imploring him to "keep showing us mercy," yet the rain itself was the cause of the calamity. Such a god is impotent to help as the ongoing rain kept coming down. No, there needed to be a higher power who could, indeed, have mercy and provide a way of escape. His name is Jehovah, and He worked mightily to rescue and save those twelve boys and their coach.

While Thailand is a land of Buddhism, Jehovah has raised up a Christian witness of His love and Redemptive plan in the locality where the boys live. One of the articles that I read included a poster image showing pictures of the boys and the admonition to "Stay Safe." The caption noted that a local Christian church of relatives and friends had made the poster and were praying for them. Another article mentioned that one of the soccer boys had been taken under the care of the church when he came from Myanmar when he was seven years old.

I googled the church and found Mesai Grace Church in the northern province of Chiang Mai, Thailand, a Christian congregation that is powerfully on the move to rescue Thai boys, not only to save them from the perils of the cave, but to save them from a life of degradation--and using soccer to do it. It's a compelling story of rescue.

How their cave ordeal will affect the boys will be seen as time passes. Surely, Jehovah is calling them to Himself. It is the kindness of God that leads to salvation (Rom. 2:4), and their rescue was certainly by His kindness, His mercy and His grace. I pray that He will continue His work in their hearts and through the Acts of Grace Church there in the city of Chiag Mai.

Jehovah is mighty to save, whether out of the cave or out on the field.

Image via Freepik

Friday, June 29, 2018

Mealtime Conversations

Friday is pizza day for me, and while we were out this evening at our favorite place, we overheard delightful conversation from across the way. A family with a teenaged boy and girl truly seemed to be enjoying have an evening out for pizza themselves. While most often we see families busy with their iphones when we're in a restaurant, this family was having a lively, loving conversation as they discussed the happenings of the day.

I stopped for a brief chat with them as we were leaving, offering a word of commendation. The daughter was quite a chatterbox, although all were adding to the conversation and heartily laughing. The dad commented that when she's around there's always conversation. I commented that they were also actively engaged in listening while she was talking, which is just as rare these days. They were truly a blessing.

They reminded me so much of our own mealtime conversations with our daughters when they were living at home. Such good memories. Mealtime is a favorable time for re-connecting and learning what's going on in each other's lives, opportune moments for discipling.

It was easy to see that these parents know what's going on in their children's lives. Do you?

Painting ~ One of the Family, Frederick George Cotman
1850-1920, public domain via Wikimedia Commons


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