May 20, 2024

Pulling Weeds

Devotion for the week...

I use a paper planner to keep track of all the things that need to get done. It's my daily to-do list, my meal planner, my appointment diary, and my deadline tracker. I'd be lost without it! One day last week I wrote 'weed flower bed' in the box for one day, followed by 'devotion writing' right below it and the two tasks immediately connected in my mind for today's devotion. That's how most of these devotions come about; God shows me the craziest, most random connections between ordinary things and His word, and I just follow His leading.

Because Newfoundland is so far north, we're still in the very early stages of spring. Leaves aren't open yet on the trees and the plants in my flower bed are growing, but they're barely more than shoots yet. The weeds, though, are coming up like crazy! I spent a little over an hour last Monday pulling weeds from half of the bed, but didn't have time to finish the second half. The difference is amazing. On the left side, you can clearly see the daylilies, black-eyed Susans and Asiatic lilies coming up. On the right hand side, they're hidden amongst the bits of grass, clover, and who knows what else that are coming up around them.

You might think I'm going to the parable of the farmer sowing seeds, but that's not the connection God showed me. Instead, He pointed me to Philippians 2:14-15, which says, "Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you." In my mind, I saw our complaints as the weeds hiding all the good things in our lives.

I'm putting extra emphasis on our complaints, because I know just how often complaining rears its ugly head in my own life. The complaints may not always get spoken out loud, but they sure do run on repeat in my mind. Do you have that problem, too?

It doesn't matter how many good things are in my life, or how wonderful they are, the little things that bug me seem to be the things that take up the most space in my head. They crowd out thoughts of all those good things, putting my focus on the negative rather than the positive. They're weeds, for sure, and they need to go!
Complaints are like weeds, hiding all the good things in our lives |
There's no avoiding minor irritations and frustrations, but we don't need to give them extra attention and make them grow even bigger. I saw a meme once that said, "Life may give you a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it." It made me laugh out loud, but the message hit home. Complaining about the irritations of life is like sitting on the cactus; it only makes the situation worse.

Pulling weeds from a garden is a constant chore. Pulling the weeds of complaints will be, too. So how do we do it? The first step is being aware of the complaints when they pop up. Then we'll have to consciously choose to put the complaint out of our minds. Easier said than done, I know, but the effort will be worth it. 

It may help to replace the complaint with a different thought, in which case Philippians 4:9 has plenty of suggestions: "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Those are thoughts worth cultivating!

May 16, 2024

Ticker Tape Heart Block Challenge

You're invited to join a 3 day block challenge! From May 31-June 2, dig into your favourite scraps to make a Ticker Tape Heart block with the free pattern and daily emails to walk you through each step. These blocks are so much fun to make!
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |

Register here for the challenge

The Ticker Tape Heart block is a combination of piecing and applique. The piecing goes together pretty quickly (that's day one!), then comes the fun of playing with your scraps to find the perfect pieces to applique to fill in the heart (day two) and stitching them down to secure them (day three).

I couldn't decide what colour heart to make while preparing for the block challenge, so I made a rainbow of them! These 9 blocks are perfect for a baby quilt, with the addition of some 2" sashing and a 4" border.
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |
My Mother's Day flowers made good photo props!

Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |

To fussy cut, or not to fussy cut, that is the question!

Once the hearts were pieced, I started digging through my various scrap boxes to cut the applique pieces. It was fun to see what scraps I had that could be fussy cut to add an extra element of surprise to the block.

I particularly like this little snowflake.
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |
And these flowers.
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |

Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |
And these clouds.
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |
Fussy cutting isn't usually my thing, but it was fun to do just a little of it for these blocks. If it's not your thing, either, you can totally skip it. Most of my pieces aren't fussy cut, as you can tell from the other pieces in these pictures.
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |

What can you do with your Ticker Tape Heart block?

The first time I made Ticker Tape Heart blocks, in January 2022, I added a border to one block, to make a mini quilt. The instructions for this mini quilt are included in the pattern you'll receive on day one of the challenge.
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |
I also made a table runner with three blocks, and those instructions are included in the pattern, too.
Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |
And as I've already mentioned, this time around I've made 9 blocks for a baby quilt. You decide if you want to make just one block so you can join in the fun or if you really want to play with your scraps and make enough for a throw quilt, or anything in between. Whatever you decide, I can't wait to see your Ticker Tape Heart block(s)!

Join the challenge here

Ticker Tape Heart block challenge |

May 13, 2024

To Him

Devotion for the week...

I mentioned last week that I'm reading the book of Acts during my morning devotions lately, and today's devotion comes from that book again. Last week I read about Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, which I had also read several times while preparing the devotions for the Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey. That story led to two devotions during the QAL, and even still I hadn't noticed what I noticed when I read it again last week. Isn't it amazing that God's word always has something new for us?

We know the apostle Paul as one of the great men of the Bible, but the beginning of his conversion story paints him in a very different light. "Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains" (Acts 9:1-2). Yikes! Not only was Saul, later to be known as Paul, not a believer, he was trying to kill or imprison as many believers as he could! Eliminating the believers in Jerusalem wasn't good enough for him, either; he had to take his persecution on the road and see who he could capture in Damascus, too.

"As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?'

"'Who are you, lord?' Saul asked.

"And the voice replied, 'I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do" (vv. 3-6).

From that moment on, Saul served Jesus and taught everyone he could that Jesus was the Messiah. His conversion isn't the focus for today, though. Instead, I want us to really see what Jesus said to Saul: 'Why are you persecuting me?' And then, 'I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!'

Jesus didn't ask why Saul was persecuting the people who believed in Him, He asked why Saul was persecuting Him, as if it was Jesus Himself that Saul was hauling out of homes and into prison.

Whenever I've thought about that in the past, I thought about it kind of like, 'Saul is hurting believers, which makes Jesus sad.' This time, though, I thought of Matthew 25:37-40, where He says, "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

"'And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" That story about our eventual judgement says that whenever we help people, Jesus counts it as if it had been done unto Him.
Whatever harm we do to others, Jesus sees that as if it had been done unto Him |
Jesus' words to Saul on the road to Damascus show the flip side of that; whatever harm we do to others, Jesus sees that as if it had been done unto Him, too. That's a sobering thought, isn't it?