November 27, 2019

Hollow Jewels - November Island Batik Quilt

Note, the fabrics for this project were given to me by Island Batik as part of the Island Batik ambassador program.

For November, the Island Batik ambassadors were asked to find a tool to use in the creation of their quilts and after a lot of time spent considering different tools, I chose freezer paper. I've had a roll of it for ages, but hardly ever use it. You can read my post about the magic that is paper piecing with freezer paper here. Spoiler alert...I loved it 😊 I have a feeling I'll be going through the roll of freezer paper a lot faster from now on.

Here is the quilt I made with those paper pieced blocks. Unfortunately, it's still only a quilt top, though I did get it basted after I took this picture. I really thought I'd be on track to have a finished quilt before the end of the month, but that's not going to happen. Where do the days go???
Dragon Eyes quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I had a crazy hard time coming up with a name for this quilt. Thankfully, the quilt pattern designers group on FB has some wonderfully creative people who suggested a lot of fun names. Dragon Eyes was one of my favourites, mostly because I've always loved dragons, but in the end I decided to go with Hollow Jewels instead. I love that it references both the coloured jewel shape and the black diamond in the center of the jewels. I hadn't really considered how that diamond makes the jewel look hollow, but now it really stands out to me.

The colours I chose were inspired by a sweater Silas, the 4 year old I babysit, wore one day. His parents went to Peru over the summer and brought back this sweater for him. I loved the colours and couldn't wait to translate them into a quilt.
Sweater inspiration | DevotedQuilter.com
I think this teal is my favourite Island Batik fabric. I've used it in at least three quilts now and I'm very happy to still have some left.
Dragon Eyes quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I love all of the other fabrics, too!
Dragon Eyes quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Dragon Eyes quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Dragon Eyes quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Dragon Eyes quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
While assembling the quilt top, I was also thinking about what I would use for the backing. I honestly tried to convince myself to use the leftover yardage to piece a back, but I couldn't muster much enthusiasm for the idea. I didn't want to do the math to figure out if I had enough of these fabrics to make a back that would be big enough. Plus I didn't want to put in the work to sew that many seams. Now, this makes no sense whatsoever because I'm perfectly happy to sew quilt tops with a bazillion seams, but anything more than two seams for a backing feels like too much work. Go figure! I've decided that, as much as I admire pieced backs when other quilters make them, they're not my style. I had enough Island Batik solid grey to make a backing with only one seam, so that's what I did. As a bonus, the quilting, which will be in thread to match the fabrics on the front, will really show up on the solid grey 😊

This quilt will be a wedding gift for Paul's nephew Brandan next summer. Brandan was born in 1998, when I was just learning to quilt and my second ever quilt was a baby quilt for him. Strangely enough, that quilt also had bright colours on a black background. I messaged my sister-in-law a while back to see if she still had the quilt and she sent me this picture. Obviously, bright colours on a black background works with very different styles!
Brandan's baby quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I am working on the pattern for Hollow Jewels and I hope to have it ready to release by the time I have the quilt finished. We'll see which one I end up finishing first!

Have you ever made a quilt with a black (or really dark) background? On another note, what's the strangest thing you've used as inspiration for a quilt design or colour scheme?

November 25, 2019

Faith Endurance

Devotion for the Week...

I have written about endurance before, based on Paul's words in Romans 5:3, but today I want to look at it again, in a slightly different way. James wrote "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" (James 1:2-4).

I tend to think of endurance as being either a physical thing, like when we do some kind of hard activity and our bodies are able to continue doing it, or an emotional thing, like when we have the patience to get through some hard circumstances. James' words, though, seem to be addressing a different kind of endurance. He writes about our faith being tested and endurance growing, which sounds to me like it is the endurance of our faith that needs to grow. Our faith in God is our firm belief that God not only exists, but that He cares for us and is in control of everything, which certainly sounds like something we should have in abundance.

The hard-to-face truth is that endurance only grows when it is used and practiced. We can't will or wish it into being and no one can gift it to us. My running endurance grows the more I run. Our patience grows the more we deal patiently with difficult people or situations. Our faith grows when we trust God through hard things.

As I said last week, we all want the hard things to happen to other people - preferably ones we don't know. We don't want to have to deal with anything that will test our faith, but those things will happen whether we want them or not. James tells us that when hard things do happen, we should consider it 'an opportunity for great joy' because they will make our faith endurance grow. Not because the circumstances themselves are cause for joy, but because the growth of our endurance is cause for joy.
Our faith grows when we trust God through hard things | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Divided
Jesus said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). When things are going well we can forget to look for Him, to notice the evidence of His provision for us and to rely on Him. When things aren't going well we are reminded that our own strength is not enough and that He is always there.

Is your faith being tested by hard things right now? If it is, take comfort in knowing that, whatever you're dealing with, God is with you through it all. One day (hopefully soon!) the trouble you face will be over and your faith will be stronger because of it.

November 23, 2019

Tiny Shirts

Is there anything cuter than baby clothes?
handmade baby shirts | DevotedQuilter.com
It turns out that baby clothes you've made yourself are even cuter than clothes you might buy at a store. Or maybe they're just more satisfying 😊

I used the free Wee Lap Tee pattern from Patterns for Pirates for these shirts that are a shower gift for a friend. There's also a free pattern for pants and a beanie hat, so you could make a complete outfit for baby if you wanted. I made the three month size and loved the adorable-ness of all the small pieces even before they were sewn together.

The bonus in making baby clothes is that they're so small you don't need much fabric. These two shirts are actually made from three old shirts of mine. The shirts had a couple of small stains, but most of the fabric was still perfectly good and I hated the thought of just throwing them out. A little careful cutting later and the fabric can become something new.

Just look, the board book is almost as big as the shirt! As a side note, Hippos Go Berserk is still my favourite baby book to read. This is my third copy after we wore one out and the replacement vanished after a couple of years 😊 Nathan was very amused to discover I can recite it from memory. We won't discuss how many baby books I could recite...or how quickly I forget things I'm supposed to do if I don't write them down.
handmade baby shirts | DevotedQuilter.com
I used my serger for these, even though it still kind of scares me. I sewed the seams on my regular sewing machine, then finished the seams on the serger, being careful to keep the seam allowance just to the left of the cutting blade so none of it was actually cut off, since that's the part that scares me, lol. What if I make a mistake and the seam allowance has already been trimmed? How do I fix it then?? That being said, I think that if I make these again I will actually trim the seam allowance a little, especially the shoulder seam, since serging them made them feel a little stiffer and I think that would be less noticeable if the seam allowance were smaller. Maybe. We'll see if I'm right whenever I try it out.

The edge of the seam allowance does look nicer when it's finished, even if my serging skills could still use work.
handmade baby shirts | DevotedQuilter.com
The shirts aren't perfect, but I'm guessing the new baby won't mind the small imperfections. The most noticeable is the small pleats I had to make in the neck bindings because the raw edge of the binding wasn't caught in the seam. Rather then pick out the whole seam, re-pin and sew again I opted to just pick out a little right at the binding, then push it into the seam and stitch it up. Imperfect, certainly, but it worked!
handmade baby shirts | DevotedQuilter.com
I'm really having a lot of fun playing around with sewing clothes 😊 As a bonus, clothes are generally very fast to finish, especially when compared to quilts! Sewing these took one evening, though I had all the pieces cut out prior to that. Had I been familiar with the steps of the pattern, it would have been even faster.

If you're interested in learning to make clothes, but scared to start, check out my post Quilters Can Learn to Sew Clothes!

I have quilts I can't wait to finish (and more I haven't even started yet!), but I'll also be planning what my next garment sewing project will be. What will you be sewing next?

November 18, 2019

Why Not Me?

Devotion for the Week...

There is a woman in our church whose son had spina bifida. Shortly after we moved here, I heard her talking about when he was a baby and she was having a "why me?" moment. She said that the "why me?" was quickly followed by the thought, "why not me?" After all, she said, she had strong family support around her, to help with caring for him. Thanks to that family support, they were able to make it so her son could do things that might have seemed impossible to others, like hunting in the woods with his father and grandfather, despite being in a wheelchair. Her "why not me?" has always stayed with me because it recognizes that hard things are going to come to us all.

We desperately want the hard things in life to happen to other people, while we experience nothing but the good and easy things. That's not the way it happens, though. There is no trouble free life track. None of us are immune and we shouldn't be surprised when the hard things come at us.

Being a good person isn't insurance against trouble in life. Neither is being a Christian. In fact, the Bible shows us plenty of examples of people who were good and still suffered, people who believed in Jesus and served Him to the best of their ability and still suffered.

Think of Joseph, who was a slave in Potiphar's house, in charge of everything Potiphar owned. He refused to sleep with Potiphar's wife, leaving the house so fast "he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house" (Genesis 39:12). Realizing she couldn't have him, she screamed and told the servants that he tried to rape her and then ran when she screamed. This landed Joseph in jail, where he languished for years, even though he had done nothing wrong.

Then there's Paul, who traveled around teaching people about Jesus and starting churches. Locals often didn't like his teachings, whether because they were Jews who didn't want him teaching about Jesus or because their own livelihoods were threatened since people who worship Jesus wouldn't be worship the local goddess (as was the case in Ephesus). Riots happened at times because people got so stirred up in opposition to Paul's teaching. Then, when Paul returned to Jerusalem, another riot broke out, which resulted in him being taken to prison while the commander of the Roman regiment tried to figure out what was going on (beginning in Acts 21). To make a long story short, Paul spent the rest of his years in prison. Like Joseph, though, Paul had done nothing wrong!

It would likely have been easy for Joseph and Paul to wallow in self-pity, crying, "why me," but I get the feeling that they were more inclined to think, "why not me?" They chose to continue to serve God in whatever circumstances they found themselves, just as the mom in my church chose to work to give her son the best she could despite the health challenges they faced.
Jesus has overcome every trouble we will face | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Pinwheel Garden
Jesus told us, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Hard things will come, no matter how much we wish to avoid them, because they are simply part of life. We have the choice, though, to cling to an attitude of self-pity and "why me?" or to recognize and accept that trouble will come. When it does, we also have the assurance that Jesus has overcome every trouble we may face. We have His support through it all and nothing is stronger than that.

November 15, 2019

Freezer Paper Magic

The Island Batik ambassadors are divided in half for the November challenge. Half are participating in the A Piece Of blog hop, showcasing gorgeous new fabric collections that will be shipping to shops soon. Visit the Island Batik blog for the full schedule for the blog hop. There are lots of amazing projects being shared, plus great giveaways.

Those of us who aren't part of the blog hop have a different challenge - to use one of the many tools in our sewing rooms in the creation of our quilt. This is my fabric pull for my quilt.
Fabric pull of Island Batik fabrics | DevotedQuilter.com
After A LOT of pondering, I decided to use freezer paper as my tool. Have you ever heard of using freezer paper rather than paper for paper piecing? I had heard that it meant not having to remove all those bits of paper afterwards and, since that was always my least favourite part of paper piecing, I figured it was time to give it a try.

I followed this tutorial from Bryan House Quilts and it's like magic!! Just watch this...
I have almost all of the blocks made for this quilt now and I am amazed by how easy this version of foundation piecing is. This is definitely a game changer for me.
foundation piecing with freezer paper | DevotedQuilter.com
I hope to have the quilt top finished this weekend. I have less than a dozen blocks to make, so it won't take long to get them done. What are your sewing plans for the weekend?

November 13, 2019

Quilters Can Learn to Sew Clothes!

Back near the beginning of the year, Michelle of From Bolt to Beauty wrote a post explaining all the reasons why she's certain quilters can learn to sew bags, too. She started off by mentioning that she has noticed that many quilters avoid making anything 3D, even if they are accomplished quilters.

Like Michelle, I have heard/read quilters saying they they're scared of 3D sewing. And as much as I wanted to learn garment sewing, I was terrified because clothes have to not only look well made, they also have to FIT. Add in the fact that knit fabrics stretch and I was stuck for years, wanting to sew clothes, but scared to try.

Well, I know for sure that quilters can learn to sew garments, too, even garments made from knit fabric. How do I know? Because I've done it! I've sewn quite a few garments now and I love wearing my me-mades. I started out by using woven fabrics, like quilting cotton, denim and poplin (no stretch!), but I've since made the leap into using knit fabrics.
Quilters can learn to sew clothes | DevotedQuilter.com
Are my garments perfect? Not at all, but I can still wear them in public and I see improvement with each garment I finish 😊 To be honest, I've been surprised by just how much I've enjoyed being a beginner again.
Everyday Skirt | DevotedQuilter.com
An Everyday Skirt made in Island Batik rayon
Are you interested in learning to sew garments, too? You can do it! As a quilter, you've already mastered using your sewing machine, so that's one big hurdle taken care of. You don't need to invest in a serger. I have one that I was given years ago, and I have used it for some things, but not everything. I didn't use it for the Summer Basics dresses at all.  As long as you have a regular sewing machine that can sew a zig zag stitch, you're good to go.

Some of your quilting skills will transfer nicely to garment sewing, too. The one that surprised me the most was how similar attaching a sleeve is to sewing a curved block like drunkard's path. Now you just need to expand your skills!

Learn the Basics


Start by finding a good resource that explains terms and techniques. I started out with the book, Love at First Stitch, which is a beginner's guide to making clothes with woven fabrics. It walks you through a series of projects that build your skills as you go. There's now also a companion book for sewing with knit fabrics, but I haven't actually looked through that one. Your local library may have a good book or two, so check there as well.
Summer Basics dress | DevotedQuilter.com

Buying Fabric


Buying knit fabric online can be tough when you're starting out because it's so hard to tell what the quality of the fabric will be like. Plus, if you're anything like me, you don't want to spend a ton of money on the best quality fabric, only to make a hash of sewing the garment. On the other hand, though, using good quality fabric makes for a better experience all around. So, look for fabric that's on sale! I also find that solid fabrics tend to be cheaper than prints, so when I was making my Summer Basics dresses I started with a solid fabric to test the fit and then used the more expensive fabric for the second dress (shown above). If you're lucky enough to live near a fabric shop where you can actually touch the fabric and talk to people, use that resource! I can't do that unless we're in a city 7 hours away, so it doesn't happen often. Online is my go-to. So far I've been very happy with what I've bought from L'Oiseaux Fabrics and Black Rabbit Fabrics.

What to Make?


There are loads of independent designers who sell PDF patterns, so you should have no problem finding something you like. I highly recommend Love Notions patterns. They have a lot of different patterns, in different styles, for women, men and children and some of their patterns include up to 5X sizes. The patterns are clearly written and make it easy to sew each step even if you don't know what you're doing (yet!). They also have a big facebook group where the members are helpful and supportive and I've always had answers to my questions very quickly. I'm not associated with Love Notions in any way, just a very happy customer, with a growing wardrobe of LN garments 😊 So far I've made the Constellation, three Summer Basics dresses, a Laundry Day Tee dress and a Terra Tunic. I have several other patterns I just haven't had time to make yet.

I've also made two Slim Fit Raglans from Patterns for Pirates and I have plans to make more. I'm wearing one of them as I finish up this post 😊 Patterns for Pirates has patterns for the whole family, too. They even have some free patterns for sewing for baby. I've printed out the Wee Lap Tee to make for some babies that are due in the next few months.

Give it a Try!


Are you convinced to try sewing clothes yet? Give it a try and I'm sure you'll agree that quilters can learn to sew clothes, too!

Pin this so other quilters will see it and maybe be inspired to try, too 😊
Quilters can learn to sew clothes, too | DevotedQuilter.com

November 11, 2019

Rules

Devotion for the Week...

My husband's grandparents were devout people and, as was common in their time, were strict about observing a day of rest on Sunday. She would prepare the food for the day ahead of time, often working late on Saturday night to have everything ready. I was amused to learn that sometimes she would set the kitchen clock back a little bit so that when her husband would call out around midnight to say that it was now Sunday, she would reply, "It's still Saturday in the kitchen" and keep working. 😊 It makes me smile whenever I think of it. She followed the rule of not working on Sundays, but she could be a little flexible about it when needed, too.

Over the years there have been plenty of rules for believers, and those rules have sometimes varied wildly depending on denomination or geography. I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll of Insight for Living talk once about an international conference of pastors he attended, where the American pastors were surprised by the German pastors, all of whom drank beer with their meals. The American rules say pastors don't drink beer, but apparently that's not part of the German rules.

Paul wrote to the believers in Colosse, "You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires" (Colossians 2:20-23).

I love that he calls out the rules that are only designed to make people look religious. These man-made rules have nothing to do with the state of a person's heart, but only with how they act. The two can (and should!) be the same, but they aren't always. A person can put on a good show of following all the right rules, while at the same time their heart is far from God. The Pharisees were a perfect example of this. They had an incredibly long list of rules they followed, yet Jesus spoke most harshly to them, calling them hypocrites, white washed tombs and vipers (Matthew 23:1-36).
It's not the rules we follow that matter, it's our relationship with Jesus | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Flower Path
It's not the rules we follow that matter, it's our relationship with Jesus. If our relationship with Him is what it should be, then our actions will naturally reflect that. If it's not, then no adherence to man-made rules will make any difference.

November 05, 2019

Flower Path in Make Modern

Flower Path quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I am excited to finally get to share another quilt with you! Flower Path is in issue 31 of Make Modern magazine, which is now available. Use code '31for6' by November 10th to get it for $6 AUD.
Flower Path quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The design for this one came about through playing around with an orange peel block in EQ8. I wanted to see what I could come up with if I put the orange peel in some blocks, but not others. I can't remember how long I spent moving those blocks around, but eventually I hit upon this arrangement and I loved it, which of course meant it had to get made 😊

I used Island Batik Foundations fabrics in Cherry and Taxi for the orange peels. The background is called Storm and I love the depth in the different blues.

I used a glue stick to attach the orange peels to the background, then stitched around them with a zig zag stitch in matching Aurifil thread. I used 1135 for the yellow and 2270 for the red. I find I really like using a glue stick rather than fusible web for these simple shapes.

Warm and Natural batting and more Storm for the backing and I had a quilt sandwich ready for quilting. I've been basting all my bigger quilts on the foyer floor at our church when there's nothing going on there and it's so convenient. Lots of space and I'm not in anyone's way like when I baste on our kitchen floor. And, since I'm also the church janitor, I have inside knowledge of when the floor has been freshly mopped 😉

I had a lot of fun quilting the yellow flowers created where the orange peels cross. First, I quilted a circle at the end where they meet, going around a couple of times, before stitching arcs back and forth to the other end of the orange peel.
Flower Path quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The red orange peels got wishbones, which are one of my favourite designs to stitch. Quick and simple, plus it's easy to fit them into any size shape.
Flower Path quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Then it was time to quilt the background. First I went around each orange peel, then echoed around them all again. Then I quilted a meander and flower design all over. I tried to quilt big, I really did, but it never seems to work for me, lol.
Flower Path quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The Aurifil 1135 really shows up on the back! You can just barely make out the 2270, too.
Flower Path quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Flower Path quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Pick up your Make Modern issue 31 today. Don't forget that until Sunday, November 10th, you can use code '31for6' to get the issue for only $6 AUD.

November 04, 2019

Let it Snow Table Runner - October Island Batik Ambassador Project

Note, the fabric and other materials used for this project were given to me by Island Batik and their industry partners as part of the Island Batik ambassador program.

I'm a couple of days late with this project, but the Island Batik ambassador challenge for October was to make a seasonal table runner or table topper that featured applique. Here is my Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging (since I don't use table runners at all 😊)
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
I started by cutting 55 3 ½" squares from the gorgeous blue fabric I had left over after making Paul's blue Sparkler quilt. Sewn together in a 5 x 11 layout, they make a background that is 15" x 33".
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
Then I raided my kitchen for applique templates. Since I wanted simple circles, there were plenty of options so I could find the right sizes for my snowman. I ended up choosing a small plate, a plastic container and a small mug.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
I cut my three circles from Island Batik's Almond fabric, which is one of their Foundations fabrics. I love the small purple dots that remind me of falling snow. I also cut one of each circle from solid white, to put behind the Almond so the blue background wouldn't show through. I then used a glue stick to glue the circles to the background, carefully stacking the white and Almond together. I could have used fusible web, but I didn't have enough and didn't want to bother waiting to get out to buy some.

All of the stitching is done using Aurifil 50 wt thread. I stitched a zig zag around each circle with white (2024). Then, using my free motion foot, I used black (2692) to stitch eyes, a mouth and some buttons. I don't have a bright orange, so I used caramel (2210) for the nose. I used the black to stitch the arms, too, stitching back and forth several times to make them thick enough. In hindsight they would have been more noticeable if I had used brown, but I wasn't about to pick out that mess of stitches to change the colour.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
Then it was time for the letters, which are also Almond with a layer of solid white underneath. I used the Harrington font, which is included with Microsoft Word. I really love this font (it's also what I use for the titles on my pattern covers), but it wasn't a great choice for the applique. Something a little chunkier would have been better as I could have stitched a little farther in from the edge.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
As it was, I stitched very, very close to the edge and it made those edges fray quite a bit, even though Island Batik fabrics don't generally fray much. I guess when the needle is only a few threads from the edge, the edge can't hold up as well as usual. Lesson learned 😊 I did use the last bits of my Heat 'n' Bond fusible web for the letters as I knew I wasn't up for trying to glue all those fiddly, skinny letters.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
Once the applique was finished, I used a scrap of Hobb's 100% cotton batting and an Island Batik print as the backing and basted the runner. Basting something small like a runner goes so fast, lol!

I used very dark navy (2785) for the quilting and started by going around the snowman. I stitched a smidge away from his arms, too, hoping to make them stand out a little more.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
Then I quilted the background with intersecting wavy lines and left the snowman unquilted. This Island Batik fabric that I used for the back makes me think of Christmas for some reason, even though there's nothing particularly Christmassy about it. It makes the perfect back for my snowman quilt.
When I came to the letters, I stitched carefully around each one, then continued the wavy lines between them. In order to have the lines intersect, I found myself stitching them much closer together between the letters than I had everywhere else, but I wasn't about to go back and fill in the whole background with even more lines. The quilt still lies flat, even with the somewhat uneven quilting, so that's good enough.

I love how the quilting, plus the two layers of applique, makes the letters really stand out.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
Because I don't use table runners, I used some of the backing fabric to make hanging triangles at the top so I can hang the quilt.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
Unlike quite a few other places, we haven't had any snow yet. I'm happy to now have a new winter decoration for when the snow does start to fly.
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com
If you'd like to make your own Let it Snow table runner or wall hanging, pin this for later 😊
Let it Snow table runner/wall hanging | DevotedQuilter.com

Too Important?

Devotion for the Week...

In my first few university classes, I was shocked to see how many people were writing in their books. Whether they were underlining key points, making notes in the margins or highlighting entire passages, I looked on in horror. Writing in books feels sacriligious, like a purposeful act of destruction. I have only ever written in a couple of books and they're all cookbooks, where I made a note of how much of each ingredient to use to double the recipe so I don't have to work it out each time. Even making myself do that takes a bit of convincing, lol.*

One of the reasons I don't like writing in books is that I find the next time I read the book I emphasize whatever is underlined or noted. It changes how I read the passage and removes the possibility of me finding new meaning or new understanding. Whatever is underlined becomes the focus and the only possible way of interpreting what is written. That's why my Bible, especially, will never be marked up.

I often read familiar Bible passages and find a new meaning or angle I had never noticed before. It's not because the meaning changes, but because I notice different parts of the story or passage that make me realize something new. And sometimes it's just that a phrase I usually skim over without really noticing it suddenly jumps out at me. We have the Holy Spirit to thank when that happens. Jesus said "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).

Over the summer I had this happen with Galatians 6:3, which says, "If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." I know I've read them many times before, but this time those last five words made me stop completely. You are not that important. I love the bluntness of it. No matter what position we hold in society, no matter how much money we have or how many responsibilities we have, we are never so important that we no longer have the obligation to help other people.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Jesus is our role model in all things. He certainly never considered Himself too important to help people...not even when it meant leaving Heaven to come to earth or when it was time to face death on a cross for sins He had not committed. He even said explicitly that we are to be servants, just as He was.

When we see a need, we probably never consciously think "I'm too important to help that person." How often, though, do we think something like 'I'm too busy' or 'I need a break right now. Someone else can deal with that'? Both are signs of a feeling of our own importance relative to the importance of the person who needs help.

Now, obviously no one person can help everyone in need around them. There are plenty of times when we legitimately have to take care of our own responsibilities and when we have to take time out to rest and take care of ourselves. But what about the times when we just can't be bothered? Helping someone doesn't need to mean a big commitment of time or money. We probably have little bits of both that we could use to help someone, if only we paid attention to others enough to see the needs.
As God's people, we must remember that we are never so important that we no longer have the obligation to help others | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is my Flower Box mini quilt
The question we have to ask is, are we so focused on our own importance (in our own eyes) that we aren't looking around to really see other people? As I said, Jesus is our role model, and He invariably saw the people He encountered and paused to help them. How closely are we modeling our lives after Him?


*This is not meant as a judgement of you if you mark in your books! It's just my own preference 😊 I know plenty of people find great value in making notes in their books, and especially in their Bibles and I certainly don't think less of them for it.
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