January 27, 2020

Can You See Me?

Devotion for the Week...

When Aiden was about 4, we went to the playground one day in the late fall. He wanted to play hide and seek, so I turned my back while he went to find somewhere to hide. Rather than me counting, Paul stood beside me, watching Aiden so he could tell me when Aiden was ready. When Paul laughed and said "Okay," I turned around to see Aiden crouched behind a bush without a single leaf on it. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing at the sight of him "hiding" behind something that didn't hide him at all.

Over the years I've had so many kids ask, "Can you see me?" Invariably, I look at them to find they've covered their eyes with their hands or they're hiding behind something only big enough to cover their face while the rest of their body is perfectly visible. In their toddler minds, as long as they can't see me, then I must not be able to see them.

We may not be toddlers, but we still sometimes forget how easily and completely God sees us. Sometimes that's because we want to do something (or have done something) we prefer God not witness, so we fool ourselves into thinking our actions are hidden from Him. Other times we feel abandoned and wonder if He sees us.

Either way, God always sees us. There is no place we can go that would hide us from His sight, nothing we could do that He wouldn't see and no struggle we endure that He doesn't witness. Psalm 139 is full of references to His omniscience, beginning with "O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away" (vv. 1,2).

Then verses 7-12 say,

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.
God always sees us | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Flower Path
Next time you wonder if God can see you, remember the toddler who can't hide by putting their fingers over their eyes. Just as we can see the child, God can see us. 

January 20, 2020


Devotion for the Week...

The band I Am They has a song called Scars in which they say "I'm thankful for Your scars/ 'Cause without them I wouldn't know Your heart." When I heard the song again recently, I remembered once hearing a pastor point out that Jesus chose to keep His scars from the crucifixion.  God's power brought Him back from the dead, remember, so that same power could certainly have healed the wounds from the nails in his hands and feet and the sword in His side.

We know He still has the scars because Thomas doubted that the others had really seen Jesus and he said, "I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side" (John 20:25). When Jesus appeared again, Thomas was there and Jesus said to him, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!" (v. 27). He couldn't have invited Thomas to touch scars that don't exist, so that means He must have kept them.

Why would He choose to keep reminders of such a painful thing? Wouldn't He have wanted a new, completely whole body? Why choose to have those scars for all eternity? While I obviously can't know for sure, I can think of two possible reasons.

First, maybe it was because He knew Thomas would doubt and would need that proof, which would then be recorded for all of us to read about. It's important to notice that Jesus didn't chastise Thomas for wanting proof. He just showed Thomas what he wanted to see without a word of reproach. That tells me that there's nothing wrong with doubting sometimes or with wanting reassurances. God isn't disappointed with us when we have doubts or when we question Him. He knows us fully and He can still use us to help others come to know Him. Doubts don't disqualify us.

The second possibility for why Jesus chose to keep His scars is that we are His prized possession and it was those scars that paid the price for us. James wrote, "He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession" (James 1:18). Isn't that amazing? Out of all the world, God chooses us as His prized possession and He bears the scars of our purchase even to this day.

Remember, Jesus did all the work for our salvation. The only thing we have to do is accept His offer of salvation, which was made possible when He died on the cross to pay the price of our sins. We don't have to work for it, we don't have to earn it and we don't have to be worthy of it. His scars show that He paid the price for us and He considers our salvation to be worth the price.
Background quilt is my newest pattern release, Hollow Jewels
Like I am They sings, I am thankful for His scars, whatever His reasons for keeping them may be.

January 15, 2020

Hollow Jewels Finish and Pattern Release

I have my first quilt finish and my first pattern release of 2020 to share today! Hollow Jewels was my Island Batik ambassador project for November, but it was only a top when I shared it then. It feels good to have it be a finish now 😊 Go back to the November post to see the sweater that inspired this fabric pull.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Hollow Jewels is paper pieced and I used freezer paper for the first time, which is a total game changer. I have a couple more paper pieced quilts coming up and you can be sure I'll be using freezer paper for them!

As per my usual, I couldn't really decide how I wanted to quilt it. I thought first that I'd quilt something dot-to-dot style in the diamonds in the middle of each jewel shape, but then I realized that if the jewels are hollow, then we'd be seeing right through them to the background. That made me want to quilt all of the black with the same design and I spent a lot of time thinking about what design to use. In the meantime, I quilted back and forth lines in each of the jewels, with matching Aurifil 50 wt thread.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
As you can see, I finally decided on randomly spaced straight (ish) lines through the background, in Aurifil 2692. I started out in one section, just randomly quilting lines. Then I realized that if I wanted it to look like the jewels were on top of the background, the lines would have to be relatively straight from the top of the quilt to the bottom and there was no way I could just wing it and have that look right. So out came my long ruler and my Hera marker so I could mark the lines from section to section and keep them looking somewhat the way I had envisioned. It's by no means perfect, but it looks way better than it would have if I hadn't taken the time to mark the lines.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I rarely quilt straight lines with my walking foot, which is one reason they're only straight-ish. Using my free motion foot allowed me to go back and forth, traveling along the stitches around each shape, without needing to turn the quilt eleventy-billion times or stopping and starting for each line. I'm willing to embrace the wonkiness of my free motion quilted straight-ish lines in exchange for simplifying the quilting process.

I chose Island Batik's solid grey for the backing and the quilting looks so cool on the back! I'm not sure it really looks like you're seeing through hollow jewels to the background, but I'm still pleased with it.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
When I finished the quilt top, I wondered if I'd have the pattern or the quilt finished first. Well, it was the pattern by a long shot! Thankfully, the quilt is finally finished and Aiden and Zachary were willing to strap on their snowshoes for a quick photography session a few days ago. There isn't much fancy quilt styling happening when it's -6 C (21 F) and I don't think we were even outside for 10 minutes for this session.

This quilt will be a wedding gift for Paul's nephew and the wedding isn't until August, so I'm way ahead of the game for once!

Hollow Jewels is perfect for confident beginners (and more advanced quilters) who want to create a jewel-studded quilt using foundation paper piecing. The pattern includes instructions for baby (45" x 54"), throw (54" x 72") and queen size (90" x 90") quilts. It is available at the introductory price now through January 24th.

Click here to buy your copy now

It would be a great help if you would pin this image so other quilters might find it, too. Every little bit helps when you're a small business! Thank you so much for your support!
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern (includes baby, throw and queen size options) | DevotedQuilter.com

I'm linking up to celebrate this finish with TGIFF, NTT, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and the Beauties Pageant.

January 13, 2020

Deeply Disturbed

Devotion for the Week...

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "happy wife, happy life" before. There's also "when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Both are true, aren't they? Not necessarily just about wives or mothers, either. When one person in a home or relationship is unhappy, that emotion tends to spill over into the lives of everyone around them.

Strangely enough, those phrases were what I thought of when I read about King Herod and the wise men a few days ago. The wise men arrived in Jerusalem and asked King Herod about the newborn king, whose star they had seen, and "King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem" (Matthew 2:3).

Now, most of the people in Jerusalem didn't talk with the wise men. They probably had no idea who the men were, where they came from or why they were in the city. The people probably didn't care, either. But they likely cared a whole lot about their king being 'deeply disturbed' about something.

I would imagine that when the king is the sort who might order the murder of all the baby boys in an entire town, as Herod would later do (see Matthew 2:16), everyone probably subscribed to the "happy king, happy life" philosophy. Word would likely spread quickly when the king was in a foul mood about something and that would cause unease among the people.

We may not be royalty, with an entire populace dependent on our moods, but there are certainly people around us who feel the effects. That doesn't mean we should hide or ignore our feelings, though. Neither of those are healthy options. We want to allow for proper expression of our feelings, without negative effects on others.

James wrote, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry" (James 1:19).  If Herod had been slow to get angry, do you think the whole of Jerusalem would have been disturbed along with him at the news the wise men brought?
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Sparkler
The question we must ask ourselves is, do the people around us get deeply disturbed every time we hear bad news or when something doesn't go our way? If people have to walk on eggshells around us, we need to take a look at our responses to situations. After all, King Herod isn't much of a role model!

January 12, 2020

Quilt Block Drive Article in Make Modern

I have an article in issue 32 of Make Modern magazine, which is now available. It feels strange to type article rather than quilt in that sentence! This is the 5th issue in a row that features something of mine, which makes me very happy. I do love working with Kristy, Jane and Lara at Make Modern and I'm thrilled that they have included my contributions in so many issues.

The article is about the quilt block drive I organized when the senior's home across the road from us burned down in 2017 and it includes my tips for organizing your own quilt drive to help people in need near you. I hope you'll check it out!
You can pick up issue 32 here, but subscriptions are definitely the better deal, especially since each issue has so much to enjoy. Choose from 6 month, 12 month and the amazing all-access subscription.
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