March 29, 2021

Just the Facts

 Devotion for the Week...

While looking through old blog posts last week, I found this devotion from 2018 that I had completely forgotten about. It seemed perfect to share it again today as we approach Good Friday.

I read one morning last week about a fellow quilter who lost her grown step daughter suddenly a few weeks ago. I can't even imagine that pain. That family stayed in my mind all day as I grappled with the enormity of losing a child.

Somewhere along the way, it made me think of my grandparents, who lost their firstborn in infancy. I can just barely remember when I learned that the 13 siblings in Dad's family actually had another brother who had died as a baby, but I can't say I've ever thought about him much. I certainly never thought before that day last week about how it must have been for the young Eileen and Michael to lose their son, probably because I never heard anything about what it was like for them. By the time I learned about the child who died, both of my grandparents were gone as well.

I know I've said this before, but one of the things I find hardest about reading the Bible is that it gives us all the facts, but very few of the details. It is so easy to skim over really hard, painful stuff without taking in how hard and painful it was because there are no details to help us make that connection.

Just look at the moment when Pilate "ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified" (Matthew 27:26). That comma between ordering that Jesus be whipped and giving Him to the soldiers to be crucified, that comma is all that represents the actual whipping. If that were written in a modern-day novel, that one comma would be rendered as a full paragraph or more. Readers would be given details about the man who did the whipping, the sound of the whip through the air, the sound of it hitting Jesus' back, the sounds Jesus made as lash after lash landed.

It's not easy to think about, is it? And so, often, we don't. We read the facts as they are written in the Bible, but we don't slow down enough to consider the details that would have gone along with those facts. Along the way, we lose the emotional connection we could have with the facts.

It's not only the hard, painful things that we miss because of the lack of details. Think about the moment when the thief crucified next to Jesus said to Him, "'Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.'  And Jesus replied, 'I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise'" (Luke 23:42, 43).

What did Jesus' face look like in that moment, when He looked at this man who believed and so would spend eternity in heaven because of the agony Jesus was feeling at that exact moment? I picture a smile through the pain as He saw a glimpse of just how worth it that agony would prove to be. Did He close His eyes for a moment as a feeling of victory washed over Him? Did He choke up a little as He spoke, overwhelmed with love for this sinner who had come home?

Everything Jesus would have felt in that moment, for that thief, is what He also feels for every other sinner who believes in Him. It's what He feels for you and for me. Without the details, though, it's all too easy to read the story without ever thinking about what Jesus was feeling.
Everything Jesus felt for the thief who believed, He feels for us, too |
Obviously, the Bible couldn't possibly contain all the details a novel would include. If it did, the Bible would be large enough to fill a room! But there's no reason we can't slow down and imagine those details and so allow ourselves to feel that emotional connection with the facts we read.

My challenge for you this week is just that - when you read the Bible this week, read slowly. Imagine the details that aren't written and allow those details to connect you more deeply with the facts.

March 22, 2021

Old Childishness

 Devotion for the Week...

Whatever your views of President Trump were, there was no denying that he didn't like when people spoke negatively about him. He came to mind, and I actually laughed out loud, recently when I read 1 Kings 22 and 'heard' how King Ahab responded to someone who spoke negatively about him. Let's set the scene: King Ahab (king of Israel) asked King Jehosaphat (king of Judah) to go to battle with him to recover the town of Ramoth-gilead from the king of Aram. Ahab didn't follow God at all, but Jehosaphat did. So Jehosaphat said he would go to war with Ahab, but "then Jehoshaphat added, "But first let’s find out what the Lord says'" (v. 5). Ahab summoned all of his 'prophets,' who were very good at telling the king exactly what he wanted to hear, and they told him "Yes, go right ahead! The Lord will give the king victory" (v. 6). 

Jehosaphat, of course, knew Ahab's reputation and that of his prophets, so he asked, "Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question" (v. 7).

Ahab replied, "There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me!" (v. 8). That was where I laughed out loud. Can't you just see Ahab scrunching up his face in distaste and shaking his head? He had no interest in what this man, Micaiah, had to say because he never had anything good to say about Ahab. Never mind that Micaiah was only speaking the truth from God - the fact that it didn't make Ahab feel good about himself was the only thing that mattered. Man, that childishness is OLD!

None of us like it when people speak negatively about us. We can write them off completely, as Ahab did, declaring they are horrible people and never even considering any truth there might be in their words. Or we can pause for a moment to see if we could learn something from what has been said. Sometimes there's nothing to be gained from the negative feedback and we can then cross that person off the list of people we listen to. But sometimes there will be nuggets of truth in the negative feedback. 

No, it's not easy to listen to people talking negatively about us. No, we don't want to do it. It would be much easier to simply insist they're terrible people and we should ignore them. While that might be easier or more comfortable, it's not very helpful. 

If I'm being honest with myself, I know that I'm not always right in everything I say and do, which means that sometimes people need to correct me. I'm willing to guess you would say the same about yourself. If we just ignore the people who correct us, we'll keep repeating those same mistakes. Who knows what damage that will do to our relationships, our reputations, our finances or our health. If, instead, we choose to consider what has been said, we could grow into better people for having listened to the hard things. 
While we may hate the experience of being corrected, we can't automatically discount it |
Proverbs 12:1 says it pretty plainly: "To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction." Most of us like to think we're not stupid. While we may hate the experience of being corrected, we can't automatically discount it.

March 15, 2021

Stronger Together

 Devotion for the Week...

When my husband comes home from work, he generally doesn't hang out with me and the littles I babysit. He'll come and talk with me for a few minutes and then he goes for his run or goes to read somewhere quieter than where a crowd of toddlers are playing. There have been times over the years, though, when he has come home to find me at my wit's end because of behavioral issues with one of the kids, so he has stayed with me until the parents have all picked up their kids. Just having him in the room helps to get me through the last bit of the day.

Those days, and his support, were what I thought of when I read 1 Kings 19 last week. Elijah had just defeated the prophets of Baal and then, in retribution for killing her prophets, Queen Jezebel "sent this message to Elijah: 'May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them'" (v. 2). Yikes! She was a real winner of a queen, let me tell you. Understandably, "Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died'" (vv. 3-4). Later, he also says, "I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too" (v. 10).

Elijah was done. He had nothing left. Dealing with a toddler who has been hitting the other kids all day doesn't really compare to running for your life, but I still feel that I can relate to that feeling of just being done and not able to deal with the situation anymore. Have you felt that way? Those are the times when it's good to have someone else there to support you, even if they don't do anything except stay in the room with you.

In his moment of despair, Elijah gets a visit from God, who comes to him as a still, small voice (v. 12). God tells him to go anoint a couple of men to be future kings and then to "anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet" (v. 16). This wasn't a demotion for Elijah. God wasn't upset with him for feeling overwhelmed, alone and unable to cope. God knows we need other people, so he provides that support for us. In this case, He provided Elisha as an assistant who would one day take over for Elijah, which I imagine was a relief in the moment since Elijah was no longer alone, but also a mental relief since Elijah could stop worrying about who would lead the people after he was gone. The burden wasn't only his anymore.

Over the course of our lives, we'll probably have times when we are like Elijah - in despair and unable to cope. We'll need someone to come and hang out with us and help us get through the situation. Other times, we'll be like Elisha, providing that support to someone else. Whichever side of the equation we are on, we can rest assured that we are stronger together. 
We are stronger together |
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."

March 14, 2021

Grace in the Meadow QAL Progress

We are now a little past the halfway point of the Grace in the Meadow quilt along 😊 I have discovered that running a quilt along with daily emails makes for a lot of extra computer work that doesn't leave much time for writing blog posts. Today, though, I thought I'd share the blocks I've made so far during the QAL. You can also see my first version of the quilt top here.

We started out with these Clay's Choice blocks. I love these Shimmer fabrics from Northcott! The metallic accents don't show up well in the picture, but they're beautiful in person.
Clay's Choice quilt blocks |
Then I fell behind on the second block, the Diamond Flower block, since I was still waiting on my box of thread from Aurifil. I haven't gotten back to these blocks yet, so I'm still behind. I do have them all traced and ready for stitching, thanks to my fancy-pants lightbox 😄 
Window lightbox |
The box of thread was worth the wait, though! Just look at these beautiful colours! These ones are all 50 wt, to be used for both versions I'm making.
Aurifil thread |
And these are all 12 wt, to use for the embroidered flowers on my second version.
Aurifil thread |
With the thread finally in hand, I was ready to dive into embroidering the Small Snowball Flower blocks. So far I've finished 4 of the 8 blocks. I'm using Aurifil 12 wt in 2545 and  2535 for the flower petals and 2135 for the flower centers. 
Small Snowball Flower blocks |
I intentionally chose bold colours for all of the 12 wt threads. I didn't want the flowers to be faint and these certainly aren't! That's the same reason I chose to use chain stitch rather than backstitch, since chain stitch makes a thicker line. That helps the flowers stand out, too. I'm so pleased with how they're looking!
Embroidered flower block |
Next up were the Turnstile blocks. These ones come together so quickly I was able to finish them all up in one evening.
Turnstile blocks |
Now we're working on the 8 Teardrop Flower blocks. So far I've finished the first one. The flower center is 2535, the darker petals are 4093 and the lighter ones are 2810. 
Teardrop flower block |
Here are all of the blocks I've finished so far. I love how they're looking together!
Grace in the Meadow QAL blocks |
Along with making my own blocks, I've really enjoyed seeing the blocks made by the other participants. It's amazing to see how others use my patterns to create their own special quilts! If you want to see, there are a few blocks shared using #graceinthemeadowqal on Instagram 😊
Grace in the Meadow QAL blocks |

March 08, 2021

Because I Want It

 Devotion for the Week...

For the past few months, Zach has been getting up early a few mornings a week to do a strength workout before he gets ready for school. He doesn't have a coach telling him to do it or anyone checking in to make sure he's keeping to a schedule. He's doing it because he wants to, even though it's hard to drag himself out of bed most mornings. I'm impressed by his dedication. You can be sure that I was not getting up early to do a workout when I was in high school! 

Pursuing something just to make someone else happy doesn't usually result in success. But pursuing something because I want it makes all the difference. We'll worker harder and cling tighter to something when the motivation comes from within.

Consider the example of King Joash, who ruled in Jerusalem. Joash was raised by Jehoiada the priest and his wife, Jehosheba, after Joash's grandmother Athaliah went on a murderous rampage, killing her own family members so she could make herself queen. (Side note - What kind of grandmother is that??) Joash was smuggled out by Jehosheba and raised in secret in the Temple (2 Chronicles 22:10-12). Joash was about a year old when Jehosheba took him to the Temple, so the priest and his wife were really the only parents he knew.

Six years later, Jehoiada arranged a revolt against Athaliah that ended her reign and put 7 year old Joash on the throne (see 2 Chronicles 23). The next chapter tells us that "Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest" (2 Chronicles 24:2). Unfortunately, "after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem" (vv. 17-18). 

Then God sent Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada and Jehosheba (essentially Joash's adopted brother), as a prophet to condemn what Joash and the leaders were doing, so "the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s Temple (v. 21). Talk about doing a 180° turn!

This is the story of someone who served God only because of an external motivating force. In this case, it was Jehoiada's influence that kept Joash focused on God. Joash had no relationship of his own with God, so when Jehoiada's influence was gone, so was Joash's interest in God.

I wonder if Joash realized that he was only doing things God's way to make Jehoiada happy, or if he thought he was serving God for himself. This is why it's important to look at our own motivation for serving God. Do we go to church only because people expect us to be there? Do we read the Bible only when someone will see us with it in our hands? Or are we pursuing a relationship with Him because we want it?
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him |
If our motivation to serve God is rooted in making some other person happy, or making them proud of us, or not hurting their feelings, what will happen to our relationship with God when that person is no longer around? It will likely vanish just as easily as Joash's did.

What a difference it makes if, on the other hand, we pursue a relationship with Him because we want it! Then we will be strong and rooted in Him, not blown about by the winds of changing circumstances.

"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong" (Ephesians 3:17).

March 05, 2021

Let's Get to Know...Bernie Kringel!

 Before we get into today's interview, just a reminder that my Anniversary Sale is going on this week. Visit my Etsy shop to save 25% off all patterns, no coupon code needed.

Now it's time for another installment of Let's Get to Know...This time we're getting to know Bernie Kringel, a quilter, blogger and online quilt shop owner with a big heart.  😊 Bernie makes quilts (and accepts donations) for Mercyful Quilts, giving quilts to people in palliative care at her local hospital, Mercy Hospital in Sacramento. She also introduced me to A Doll Like Me when she started making for the super special dolls. 

You can find Bernie at her blog, Needle & Foot and her shop is here. All of the pictures in this post are courtesy of Bernie.

Now, let's get to know Bernie a little better!
Let's Get to Know Bernie Kringel |

Tell us about your first quilt. Do you still have it?

I made my first quilt when I was 17 years old. It was a log cabin pattern and was queen size. This was in 1977 and I certainly didn’t have a rotary cutter! So lots of time was spent cutting strips. I didn’t have a way to quilt it (that I could figure out!) so I yarn tied it. I used that quilt for so many years until it started to fall apart. About two years ago I took it apart and now have the quilt top separated and ready for me to repair. It needs a great deal of work. Hopefully I will get to this someday!
Baby on a quilt |
Here is a picture of my first quilt.  This was taken in 1987 so it had been in use ten years already.  Note how my son is face down on the quilt sleeping - not allowed anymore!!!

Do you come from a family of quilters or crafters?

No one in my family quilted but my mom sewed a lot of clothes for me and my five sisters when we were younger. Mom taught me to sew when I was about 11 years old. I remember I made a baby doll
nightgown with matching panties. It was a tiny rosebud print in lavender on white. When I was a girl, my father owned a fabric shop. This meant we sisters had easy access to a lot fabric. I also had the opportunity to work in the shop on Saturdays and during the summer which was a lot of fun. Dad is also a great woodworker. He has made so many wonderful items for me and my sisters. One of the favorites is a wooden cradle that most of the grand babies have used when newborn. He also made a hutch for me and a rocking horse that the grand children passed around as well as lots of other items. One of the most popular posts on my blog is titled Four Weddings and Four Dresses and it tells the story of the wedding dresses my sisters and I made for our weddings.

Do you have any sewing related collections (other than fabric and thread, lol)?

I can’t say I have a collection per say but I do have my grandma’s wooden sewing box and I treasure it. I also have a jar of wooden spools from her sewing box.

What sewing notions could you not live without?

Of course there are a lot of notions I love - my Hera marker and Chaco-Liner are great for marking quilts. My seam ripper is used all too frequently. As for one notion I would not quilt without, that has to be the rotary cutter. It got all of us away from tracing templates and scissor cutting pieces. Using a rotary cutter and ruler piecing is so much more accurate! Recently I was given an AccuQuilt Go and have a few dies for it in various size squares. This is a huge help to me. I have stacks of squares now ready to be used. I am thrilled to have it.
Twister quilt |
My favorite quilt I have made thus far is my version of Twisted (a popular pattern by Dorie Javier).  I donated it to Mercyful Quilts.

Would you rather cut the pieces for a quilt or stitch a binding?

Without question, I would rather stitch a binding. Honestly, I dislike cutting all the pieces for a quilt. I can’t say for sure why this is but I it is the least favorite part of quilting for me. But binding a quilt - I love it. It is the final step so there is that satisfaction of a finish. Also, it is meditative to just sit and stitch. I think it is a very pleasant way to spend time in the evenings. So much so that I have been hand quilting a lap quilt and finding it has the same soothing qualities.

What do you wish you had known when you started quilting?

Well, that is a tough one. I feel like I started quilting twice. With the first quilts I made in the 1970’s (3 queen size quilts), I was totally self taught. I didn’t know how to bind them so I did it ‘envelope style’ - just sewing front to back and then trying to stuff batting in between the layers!! This was quite awkward and not entirely successful. But it was just me figuring things out.

The second time I began quilting was in 2011. But now there was the internet, YouTube and blogs. I learned so much with these resources. I would say for the second time I started, I didn’t truly understand how critical it was to be accurate. Accurate when cutting pieces and again when stitching the ever important 1/4” seam. If these two bits are accurate, the resulting piecing is much prettier.

What made you decide to open an online quilt shop?

In 2012, I took an early retirement from my job due to chronic migraine. After a while I felt I wanted to be able to work and it seemed that working from home was the best fit for me. Opening an on-line shop
was the perfect solution as I could work around my health issues. On the days I wasn’t feeling well I could work minimally, or not at all. I wasn’t tied to actually going in to a shop as I would have been with a brick and mortar store. Plus with an on-line shop, I don’t have the over head expenses that are involved with a brick & mortar. This makes it possible for me to work part-time. Meaning I can invest less and sell less because I don’t have to make a minimum amount to cover rent, salaries and utilities. This has been such a nice way for me to work. As I mentioned earlier, my father owned a fabric shop so I was somewhat familiar with all that was involved.
Needle & Foot quilt shop |
View of the Needle & Foot shop

What is your favourite part about being a quilt shop owner? And what is the hardest part?

I love choosing new fabrics to bring into the shop. Because I am a small shop, I don’t buy an entire line. Instead I pick and choose one or two focal prints and some of the coordinates. I love that process of browsing the new lines and selecting bolts. At first this was a bit tricky but I have a good feel for it now. I also love communicating with my customers. I want them to feel like they are receiving full service, as they would in a local quilt shop. So I try to be very responsive to their questions, help in matching colors (which is tricky when shopping online) and mailing swatches out if they need one.

As for the hardest part? Well, at first it was learning how to be a successful seller on the Etsy platform. There is a lot to learn about how search engines work, tagging each listing appropriately so that your items are found by people shopping online. Second to that, it was the business side of things. Learning how much fabric to buy, how often to buy, tracking open purchase orders so you know what is coming in and when and doing the bookkeeping that is needed are all important factors. There is a lot of time spent on these tasks and it is not the fun part!
Needle & Foot quilt shop |
Another view of the shop

Do you have any advice to anyone wanting to start their own quilt shop?

Hmmm, I will speak to opening an online shop since that I what I have the most experience with. First of all, be sure you study the way search engines work. You can have lots of wonderful fabrics to sell but the customers have to find your shop online. So the way the listings for each bolt or precut are written and put online is critical. Without the correct tag words and descriptions your shop can be lost in the myriad of other listings out there. You need Google to find your shop and push it up toward the top so the person searching for fabric finds it. There are so many blogs and articles out there explaining “search engine optimization” and I would advise studying this topic. It doesn’t sound like the fun part of opening a shop and that is because it isn’t the fun part! But without this, it is tough to be successful. Etsy has been a great platform for my business and there is an abundance of information in their seller’s manual to help a new shop owner with all of this. Also, it doesn’t happen overnight. Sales will be slow at first. It takes time to build up your customer base. So try to be patient.

This one’s not quilting related, though it could be if you listen or watch while you quilt 😊 Do you have a book, movie or show recommendation to share?

This is a fun question! I would recommend The Queen’s Gambit for a really interesting show on Netflix. My husband and I loved it and we are not chess players. It was fantastic. I also enjoy watching The Call of the Midwife. Books I have recently enjoyed are Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns and One For the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker. Both of these are excellent books.

Thanks, Bernie! It was great getting to know you better!

March 02, 2021

Double Flower - Quilt Block Mania

 Before we jump into today's post, did you know that today is my 8 year blogging anniversary? I'm having a pattern sale to celebrate 😊 All of the patterns in my shop are 25% off, no coupon code needed, now through March 7th.

Shop the sale!

And now, on to regularly scheduled programming...😊

It's time for Quilt Block Mania again and this month the theme is Flowers. I love designing quilts with flowers, so this theme just made me smile. I already have Flower Box (my first ever published pattern), Flower Path, Pinwheel Garden and New Life, but there's always room for another flower design.

I hadn't yet settled on a design for this block when we went into lockdown a couple of weeks ago and I found myself needing some fabric therapy. I ended up making 10 flower mini quilts that were 6" square. When my friend (and fellow QBM designer) Laura saw my IG post with the flowers cut out, she thought I was already working on the block for today and was impressed with how ahead of the game I was. Well, I wasn't...until she said that and I realized those double flowers would be perfect for today's block!

I reprinted the templates, this time for a 12" block and made myself a flower. This teal beauty is made with three different Island Batik fabrics and the background is from Northcott. 
Double flower quilt block |
It's too bad I didn't make a 6" mini flower quilt to keep myself, to compare the sizes, but here's a thread spool for scale, at least.
Double flower quilt block |
I stitched around the layers of the flower with Aurifil 50 wt thread in three different colours: 5005 for the outer flower, ____ for the inner flower and 2024 for the center.
Double flower quilt block |
There was a time I resisted doing zig zag stitching around appliques, though I can't remember why. Now it's one of my favourite ways to finish applique shapes. Go figure!
Double flower quilt block |
Though it won't be seen once this is finished into a quilt, I do love how the stitching around the applique looks from the back.
Double flower quilt block |
Want to make your own Double Flower block? Enter your email address here to download the pattern. Doing so will also subscribe you to The Bulletin, which I hope you will enjoy reading 😊 

There are lots of other great flower themed blocks this month for Quilt Block Mania, so hop around and collect them all.

Rose Garden by Slice of Pi Quilts
Happy Flowers by Carolyn Burgess
Double Flower by Devoted Quilter
Faux Flowers by Blockofthemodotcom
Mod Tulip
Enchanting Echinacea
Rosebud Wreath at Patti's Patchwork
Flower Power - Cotton Street Commons
Dottie's Garden by Heidi Pridemore
Poppies by Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Pretty Posies at Perkins Dry Goods
Mittens Smells the Roses at Puppy Girl Designs
Wildflowers by Studio R Quilts
Sweetheart Rose by QuiltFabrication
Flower Patch at Orange Blossom Quilt Design Studio
Scattered Petals by Snowy Days Quilting
Scrappy Tulip by Katie Mae Quilts
Happy Bloom Block by Oh Kaye Quilting
Buzz along
Everything's Coming Up Roses by Inquiring Quilter
Spring Posies by Blue Bear Quilts
Four Roses
Pieceful Crocus Focus
Improv Bloom by Love to Color My World
Sue's Field of Flowers by The Quilted Diary

It's My Blogging Anniversary!

Devoted Quilter is 8 years old today! When I first started this blog, I was so clueless, I had to have my husband teach me how to get a picture from our camera onto the computer. I've come a long way since then, lol.

I had no idea how blogging would change me, to be honest. I wasn't a quilt pattern designer before I started blogging. I wasn't a business owner (and never thought I would be!) and I certainly wasn't teaching quilting classes online to groups in other parts of the country. I wasn't sewing clothes, either. I also wasn't writing much at all. Even though I'd start the occasional piece, I hardly ever finished them.

Mostly, though, I didn't have friends who shared my passion for making quilts from beautiful fabric. Starting this blog, and then joining Instagram a year or so later, allowed me to find this amazing community of quilters that I now get to call friends. I hope to one day meet more of you in person (so far it has been only two), but even if I don't, I love having you in my computer and my phone, lol.

To celebrate my 8 years, I'm having my annual Anniversary Sale 😊 From now through March 7th, all patterns in my Etsy shop are 25% off, no coupon code needed. Free shipping still applies to all printed patterns, too, anywhere in the world. 

Shop the sale!

Thank you for being part of my quilting community! Thank you for reading, commenting, liking IG or FB posts, buying patterns, taking workshops and sharing my love of fabric and thread and the beautiful things we can make with them 💗 Thank you for sharing your finished quilts and your works in progress, too. It's a wonderful, never ending parade of inspiration and joy!

March 01, 2021

Learning it for Ourselves

Devotion for the Week...

When I teach my Paper Piecing with Freezer Paper workshop through Zoom, there's one point where I make sure to mention that the piece of fabric we're adding next has to extend past the point on the template. I always touch the part of the template that has to be inside the edge of the fabric and I explain that if the template extends past the fabric then the corner of the unit won't be covered. Despite this, there's almost always one person who positions their fabric so that the point of the template extends past the fabric and their corner is not covered. It's not that they're stupid or even that they're not paying attention. It's just that sometimes we have to make a mistake for ourselves before we really get it. Needing to get out the seam ripper to fix the mistake has a way of cementing that lesson, doesn't it?

We have all done the same thing at some point in the past. We've been told how to avoid making mistakes or causing more work/trouble for ourselves or others, but the lesson just didn't stick until we had to deal with the consequences of doing the wrong thing. The Israelites were no different than we are, in this regard. I just shook my head when I read 1 Kings 12:26-28 recently: 

"Jeroboam thought to himself, 'Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David. When these people go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Temple of the Lord, they will again give their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and make him their king instead.'

So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, 'It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!'"

He set up gold calves for the people to worship!? Didn't Jeroboam know his history? Moses' brother Aaron did the same thing when the people got nervous after Moses was gone too long meeting with God in Exodus 32, though he made one gold calf instead of two. The people worshipped the calf Aaron made, resulting in the death of 3,000 people, "Then the Lord sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made" (Exodus 32:35). 

Jeroboam would have heard the story in his history lessons, but obviously this was one lesson he had to learn for himself. Unfortunately, the people of his kingdom didn't pay attention to their history, either, and so "this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there" (1 Kings 12:30).

Are we making the same mistakes they did? Are we ignoring the lessons we could learn from the people of the Bible? Writing about the mistakes of the Israelites, Paul said, "These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did...They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age" (1 Corinthians 10: 6-7, 11).

We're not likely to have a gold calf set up in the backyard, but that doesn't mean we don't crave evil things at times. We might be like Jeroboam and looking to preserve our own advantage, rather than seeking what God wants. Or we might be like the people of his kingdom, who agreed when he said that going to the temple was too much trouble. They decided to save themselves some time and effort by worshipping the gold calves, since they were closer. 
Are we wise enough to learn from the mistakes of others? |

Of course, instead of saving themselves anything, they doomed themselves to face the consequences of their faithlessness. While our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, we do often still have to face the consequences of our sins, whether they're relationship problems, financial problems, health problems or other problems. There are plenty of ways not heeding the lessons found in the Bible can impact our lives. Are we wise enough to learn from their mistakes rather than needing to learn it for ourselves?