May 20, 2019

A Little Thing

Devotion for the Week...

Are you prone to worry? Generally, I'm not, but there are a couple of situations that trigger it for me. One of them is when I have a new child about to start coming to me for child care, especially if I know that child doesn't go to sleep on their own (I can't leave the older kids who don't nap unsupervised to rock another child to sleep). I stress when I know that I'm going to deal with a child who probably won't nap because they can't drift off on their own, which means a sleepy, cranky child who is also unaccustomed to being away from mom for so long. I dread the first day, especially, and it plays on my mind for weeks before it happens.

The thing about worry, though, is that it doesn't change the outcome of that first day at all. The child is either going to deal well with the transition or she's going to scream in my ear for hours or, more likely, something in the middle. Whichever way it goes, the worrying I did for days ahead of time doesn't change our day.

Jesus warned us not to waste our time worrying. He asked, "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" (Luke 12:25). Obviously, the answer to that is a resounding no. No amount of worrying can do something as monumental as adding even an extra second to our lives. If we could, we'd probably all set a goal of worrying enough to add years to our lives.

The interesting thing is that Jesus goes on to say, "And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?" (v. 26).  A little thing like that?? Talk about a difference in persepective. To Jesus, who knows intimately the full power of God, adding a moment to our lives looks like a small task, easily accomplished, whereas for us it is a complete impossibility.

Since we can't do something as little as adding time to our lives by worrying, why do we think that worrying will make a difference in other things?  We would be much better off if we turned our worries over to God, who, unlike us, actually has the power to do something about them. 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."
Whatever worries us is well within the power of God | DevotedQuilter.com
It's hard to remember to do that, though, isn't it? Maybe it would be easier if we remember that to God, adding time to our lives is just a little thing, so whatever is worrying us is well within His power, too.

May 15, 2019

Medallion Magic QAL - Part 5

Welcome to the next installment of the Medlallion Magic QAL!
I'm aiming for this to be a slow, relaxed quilt along, with not so much to do each month that you can't keep up. We're all too busy to be stressing over keeping up with a QAL! Here's the schedule of events:

January 15th - Gather fabrics and pattern
February 15th - Cutting
March 15th - Center star
April 15th - Borders 1 and 2
May 15th - Borders 3 and 4 - we're here!
June 15th - Borders 5, 6 and 7
August 15th - Finish party link up opens

If you don't have your pattern yet, you can pick up your copy from my Etsy shop in either PDF or printed versions.

I know that adding two (or even three) borders in one month sounds like a lot, but one of my favourite things about this medallion quilt design is that 4 of the 7 borders are just plain fabric, which gives the pieced borders room to breathe. I've always found most medallion quilts are so busy it's hard to focus on anything and I intentionally designed Medallion Magic to allow the pieced borders to shine.

Here's my original Medallion Magic, made in Northcott fabrics:
Medallion Magic QAL | DevotedQuilter.com
Now I have a confession. You know how when you're having a party, you like to have everything ready before the guests arrive? Well, that's what I've been doing each month with this QAL so that each month I could share my version of what your quilt will look like when you finish. Except that I'm not done for this month yet. In fact, I've hardly had time to start. Whomp, whomp, whomp.

This month we're adding a plain border, just like last month, and then adding the flying geese border. The flying geese are paper pieced and this is how far I've gotten. They've been sitting like this since sometime last week, just waiting for me to get back to them. Finishing my MIL's placemats and then some secret sewing crowded out piecing these flying geese, but those things are done now and I hope to get my borders finished up quickly. When I do, I'll be sure to add a picture here!
foundation pieced flying geese prep | DevotedQuilter.com
On the bright side, that Island Batik purple is gorgeous 😊 I bet it will look even better when it's made into flying geese, though!

One tip I have to share for when you're foundation piecing a bunch of identical units - assembly line sew them! Sew a seam on all of them, press them all at once, trim them all at once, then sew the next seam the same way. It's faster than piecing one whole unit, then the next whole unit, then the next one, etc.

So, how are your Medallion Magic quilts coming along? Link up a picture so we can see!



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May 13, 2019

The Trophy

Devotion for the Week...

One thing is for certain, providing childcare for a living ensures I will never run out of devotion ideas 😊 Lately they've been all about races. Going down the stairs? Whoever hits the bottom first yells, "I win!" Driving trucks from one end of the kitchen to the other? Whoever stops first yells, "I win! I get the trophy!"

Depending on the day, the trophy declaration can cause two possible reactions. Either the rest of the kids triumphantly yell, "I get the trophy, too!" or they start to cry and whine because they're not getting the trophy. In fact, the very first day Silas claimed he won a trophy, one of the girls immediately started screaming because she wasn't getting one.

Keep in mind, there is no trophy. I don't have a stash of trophies I hand out to the self proclaimed winners of all these races every single day. Whatever trophies they are claiming are entirely imaginary. Which means, of course, that there are more than enough to go around, lol.

Some days (usually the ones where there's crying and whining) I find the whole winning and getting trophies to be super annoying, but most of the time I'm just amazed at how ingrained it is for us to want to win and be given awards. Before they turn three, kids have definitely begun to understand that being first is better than losing and that if there's a trophy to be had they want to get it. Even if it's only the right to claim the imaginary trophy, they want to have that.

This is nothing new, of course. Right from the beginning of society, humans have tried to be ahead of the other humans around them. To control more land, or better land. To have more money, more servants, more power. If it's possible to have more of it, then humans have tried to position themselves so that they come out ahead.

Even Jesus' disciples weren't immune to this. In Matthew 20:21, the mother of James and John comes to Jesus and asks Him a favor, "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left." We could say this was just a mother looking out for her boys, but those boys were standing right there, ready to answer enthusiastically when Jesus asked if they could drink from the bitter cup He was about to drink. They eagerly wanted the honour their mother was trying to arrange for them.

When the other disciples heard that James and John were asking to be given places of honour, they were indignant, probably because they too harboured the desire for a place of honour. So Jesus sat them all down for a little talking to: "You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many" (vv. 25-28).

The Bible doesn't tell us what the disciples said to that, or what they thought. I would imagine they were a little confused, a little frustrated that Jesus wasn't talking about all the power and glory they'd have one day. Whatever their reaction was, they didn't really understand what Jesus was trying to teach them.

At the Last Supper, after Jesus announced that one of them would betray Him, they "began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing" (Luke 22:23). And then, as proof that they didn't understand the concept at all, "they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them" (v. 24). They just didn't get it, did they? So, again, He taught them, "among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves" (vv. 26, 27).

It's natural to want to win a race and get the trophy, even if it's all pretend. When I play a game, I aim to win, even if all I win is the right to brag for two minutes before we set up for the next round. It's fun to win! There's nothing wrong with that and Jesus wasn't talking about races or games.

He was talking about how we live our lives and how we treat others. The world around us teaches that in order to be successful, we have to win at everything and everyone else should have to serve us because of our greatness. Jesus says that's not how we should be at all. We're supposed to be like Him, aiming to serve others and make their lives better rather than constantly looking for other people to serve us and make our lives better.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
And, in the end, if we live His way, then we will hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!" Now there's a trophy worth having! And the best part is, there are plenty of them to go around.

May 10, 2019

Multiplication in Make Modern

Waiting to share quilts can be so hard sometimes! Today I finally get to share my Multiplication quilt 😊 It's in issue 28 of Make Modern, which is available now.
Multiplication quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
At 96" x 96", this is the largest quilt I've ever made. Before I started, Dad asked how big it was going to be and when I told him, he nodded and said, "So, 8 feet." That stunned me. Somehow an 8' square quilt feels so much bigger than a 96" square one!
Multiplication quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Because it's so big, getting pictures was really hard, especially since the weather was awful the week I finished and needed to send the pictures to Make Modern. We finally ended up taking it to our church and moving chairs out of the way to get a space big enough to hold it up that also had plenty of natural light. Zach and Paul are standing on chairs behind the quilt to get it all the way up off the floor 😊

Whether you describe the quilt in feet or inches, Multiplication fits our queen size bed with plenty to drape down on the sides. Doesn't it look nice with my Infinity pillow?
Multiplication quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Multiplication quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I used gorgeous Island Batik Foundations fabrics for the top. I love the beautiful, rich colours in these blender fabrics and I really wish I had the whole Foundations line stashed somewhere.
Multiplication quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I used this Island Batik fabric for the backing. Isn't it fun? It has the colours of the fabrics on the front, but in a totally different look.
Island Batik backing fabric | DevotedQuilter.com
The batting is Warm and Natural and I used Aurifil thread for all of the quilting. I used 2692 to quilt meandering loops and flowers in the black and blue Xs.
free motion quilting flowers | DevotedQuilter.com
Then I used 5005, 1231, 2530 and 2210 to quilt these teardrop shapes in all of the bright coloured triangles. Do you know the proper name for this quilting design? I never know what to call it!
free motion quilting in triangles | DevotedQuilter.com
I bought my Janome 6700 when I was about halfway through quilting the Xs, so it was half quilted on my Kenmore machine and half on the Janome. The difference in the throat space was incredible. I went from 5" on the Kenmore to 11" on the Janome. When I put the needle in the exact middle of the quilt, I still had more throat space available on the Janome than the Kenmore had to begin with!
Multiplication quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
There are books and bookshelves everywhere in our house, lol. Paul and Zach built this bookshelf, using a church pew 😊 It houses our Brandon Sanderson collection (we have almost everything he has written, Skyward being the most recent addition) and many of our other favourite books.
Multiplication quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I highly recommend Make Modern magazine (and not only because they include my quilts, lol). You can get 6 month and 12 month subscriptions. They have also created an All Access Subscription, which allows you to access all 27 of their previous issues with an annual subscription. That's a lot of fabulous quilty content! Click the link to check it out. Or, get issue 28 here.

I'm just finishing up another quilt for Make Modern, which I'll get to share in a couple of months. I love being a small part of such a wonderful publication 😊

May 06, 2019

Endurance

Devotion for the Week...

Paul and I have registered to run the Tely10 at the end of July. The Tely10 is a 10 mile, or 16 km, road race that we've been considering for a couple of years and this is the first time we're going to run it. I've never run 16 km at once before, but I'm really looking forward to the race.

To get ready, I'm using TrainAsOne, which is an app that creates individualized training plans that sync with my Garmin Forerunner 235 running watch. The app sets the duration and pace of each workout, then uses the data from the Garmin to analyze my performance and adjust my future runs as needed. I love the program, especially for the different types of runs it sets for me. There are interval runs (intervals of very fast with recovery periods in between), repetition runs (very short bursts of what I call 'crazy fast' with periods of recovery in between) and economy runs (steady runs at what the app has determined as my natural pace) among others.

The length of each run varies, with most of mine falling in the 25-60 minute range at this stage of my training. Sometimes, though, the app schedules an 11 minute economy run, which hardly feels worth the effort of changing into my running clothes. On one of those really short runs a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how 11 minutes just feels silly and then I thought about how, for someone who doesn't run, 11 minutes would feel like an impossibility. If you're not in the habit of running, doing so for 11 minutes straight just isn't going to happen.

Over the weekend we were talking with my sister-in-law, Kim, about when she used to run a couple of years ago. She said that when she first started she'd walk from one light pole to the next one, then run to the next, walk to the one after that and then run to the next one. By slowly increasing the distance she ran, she eventually got to where she could run for 30 minutes straight. It was hard, but it was good, too.

That conversation, plus my own thoughts during that last short run, made me think of this verse from Romans: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance" (Romans 5:3). That's from the NLT translation. In place of 'endurance' the NIV uses the word perseverance and the KJV uses patience.

Whether we call it endurance, perseverance or patience, most of us want to have it for dealing with life. We don't particularly want to go through the process of developing it, though. We just want it to spring forth, fully formed and functioning, so we can deal with the things life throws at us. Instead, it is those very things life throws at us, especially the hardest things, that cause us to develop the endurance.

Building up physical endurance is hard and it takes time and there's no substitute for doing the work. We can want endurance for years, but if we don't work to develop it then it will never happen. The same is true for spiritual and emotional endurance. Those difficult people in your life, the ones you have to be pleasant to even though you hate dealing with them all the time? They're helping to build your endurance. The financial situation you wish you could escape? Endurance. The chronic illness that has invaded your life? Endurance.
The hard things in life help to develop our endurance | DevotedQuilter.com
We all deal with things we wish had been indefinitely postponed, but whatever the situations, they're working to develop our endurance. Eventually, as we work through various hard situations, we will come to the place where things that used to bother us, don't bother us anymore, just as an 11 minute run can become so easy as to be laughable. It's hard, but it's good, too.
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