December 05, 2016

Advent 2016 - Joseph

Devotion for the Week...

Christmas season is in full swing around here now. We had breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning 😊 It's an annual fundraiser for our local fire department and there's always a good turnout, with lots of little ones running around. Have you enjoyed any Christmas traditions this week?

This is now the second week of Advent. Last week we considered Elizabeth and her role in the Christmas story, as well as what her story might have to teach us about our own lives. This week we're going to look at Joseph.

Once again, the Biblical account is pretty sparse on details about Joseph. In Matthew 1:19 we are told that Joseph "was faithful to the law." In Luke 1:4 we learn that he "belonged to the house and line of David" and in Matthew 13:55 Jesus is referred to as "the carpenter’s son" so we know Joseph's occupation. That's about all we know about him as a person, but let's take a look at his part in the Christmas story.

"This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins...When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus" (Matthew 1:18-21, 24,25).

So here's Joseph, ready to get married. He's a good man, faithful to the law and expecting a wife who would also be faithful to the law. Then he finds out his betrothed in pregnant! He knows full well the child isn't his, (can't possibly be his!), so it would seem that Mary is not the woman Joseph was expecting her to be. And even though they weren't actually married yet, they were betrothed, which was a binding arrangement and would require a divorce to be undone.

Joseph decided to divorce her quietly, to spare her the public disgrace of him making a big deal about the unexpected pregnancy. It's hard to say how he felt about this change of plans. Marriages at that time were mostly arranged, not based on love and choice as our marriages are, so we don't know how Joseph felt about Mary. 

Regardless, Joseph figured out how he would handle the situation, and then, after he had come up with a solution that he was comfortable with, an angel came to him in the night and completely changed things again! The angel told him to marry her after all, that everything would be okay and that the child Mary carried was the Messiah that had been promised.

I can only imagine how that set Joseph's head spinning! I mean, any man would feel the weight of responsibility when bringing a new baby into their home, a baby they now have to clothe and feed and house...but to bring the Son of God into his home? To be responsible for raising God's son? How overwhelming must that have felt to Joseph? And yet, Joseph didn't hesitate. We're told that when he woke up, Joseph did what the angel commanded him and married Mary.

The biggest thing that strikes me in this part of the story is that God used the plans that were already in place, but He changed them slightly to accommodate His plan. Joseph and Mary planned to get married. Eventually children would follow. God just stepped in and shifted the plan a little. The marriage would still take place, but now the first Child would be God's, followed by other children who were naturally born to Mary and Joseph (see Matthew 13:55-56).

The other thing that strikes me is Joseph's willingness to accept God's changes to his plans. Joseph could have refused to marry Mary. He could have doubted the story about the baby's conception, or he could have decided it wasn't worth the scorn he probably endured from townsfolk who thought the baby was his. He could have decided he didn't want to raise a child not his own. There were any number of reasons Joseph could have turned away from the plans God had for him, but he didn't. He accepted what God wanted him to do and just went ahead with the revised plan.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Do we share Joseph's willingness to accept changes to our plans? How do we react when God steps in and alters our plans to better suit His bigger plan? Do we sulk and mope, whining about how we intended things to go? Or do we roll with it, accepting the changes and moving forward in what God has planned for us? Obviously, sulking and moping isn't the right response, though I have to admit that sometimes I'm tempted to choose that attitude. 

Hopefully from now on we'll think of Joseph whenever we're tempted to whine about changes to our plans.

December 01, 2016

TGIFF - Wind Farm Quilt Top

Welcome to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday! I'm glad you're here and I'm looking forward to seeing all the finishes you have to share 😊

I have a quick finish to share this week...well, a finished quilt top, at least. The quilting part will have to wait until sometime in the new year. The top itself took me about a week to finish, which I'm pretty sure is a record for me.
Wind Farm quilt top | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I had a terrible time trying to get pictures of this one, for some reason. The colours are much more vibrant and pretty in real life than they seem to be here. Obviously I need to make a serious effort to learn more about photography, which is going to be one of my goals for 2017.

I'm not sure what to name this quilt. I had been calling it Strippy Pinwheels, which didn't really inspire me, but I needed to call it something. Then a friend said it reminded her of windmills and when I looked at it after that all I could see was wind turbines arranged in rows, which gave me the name Wind Farm. I'm still not sure it's right, though. Any thoughts? Let me know if you have a suggestion for a better name, or if you think I should go with Wind Farm or Strippy Pinwheels. I need all the help I can get with naming this one!

This will be a free pattern for all subscribers to my newsletter, The Bulletin, so be sure to sign up to get your copy when it's available. I've sent the pattern out to be tested, but with the Christmas season upon us, I'm not asking for a fast turnaround. The pattern will hopefully be available before the end of January. In the meantime, each issue of the Bulletin is published on the 16th of every month and has a family favourite recipe (I love to cook and bake almost as much as I love to sew 😊) and a themed roundup of fun things to make along with news from here at Devoted Quilter.

I must not have been paying close attention when I was cutting out my strips because one fat quarter was cut with the selvedges included in the length. I didn't realize it until I started piecing blocks, at which point I decided to just use those strips anyway. You can see a couple of them peeking out in this picture. It was a very pretty selvedge, so I didn't mind it sneaking into the quilt.
Four blocks together create the wind turbine effect with the gold fabric, but I also love the dark blue pinwheel.
Wind Farm Quilt top | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Now it's your turn! What have you finished this week? Link it up here, then pop over to visit some of the other links and leave some comments and encouragement.


November 28, 2016

Advent 2016 - Elizabeth

Devotion for the Week...

It's kind of amazing that it's time for Advent already, isn't it? How does a year pass so quickly?

For the past three years, I've posted Advent devotions focused on the traditional Advent words hope, love, joy and peace, but this year I want to approach the season a bit differently. For these four weeks, I want to look at the people involved in the Christmas story and look at what their part in that story can tell us about God's plan for His people, including us. We will begin this week by looking at Elizabeth.

We don't know much about Elizabeth herself. Luke tells us that "In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old" (Luke 1:5-7).

From this, we know that Elizabeth and her husband were good people, who lived according to God's law, and had for a long time, since we are told they are very old. We also know the most important thing about Elizabeth, which is that she could not conceive a child. 

At that time, and throughout all of history until recently, having a child was a woman's main goal. Being a mother was considered a woman's greatest accomplishment, while not having a child was a cause of shame. Women who can't conceive today still suffer terrible heartache, just as Elizabeth would have, longing for a child to hold in their arms. Elizabeth would have had the added burden of being considered a failure by her entire society.

Can you imagine being considered a complete failure as a person for something that was entirely out of your control? How hard it must have been for Elizabeth when she got so old it was considered impossible for her to have a baby. How heartbroken she must have been to have to give up that hope.

But God had a plan. He hadn't forgotten her.

One day, when Elizabeth's husband Zechariah was serving in the Temple, an angel came to him and said, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (vv. 13-17).

What was Elizabeth's response, after she finally became pregnant? "The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people" (v. 25). Can you feel her relief, her sense of vindication from the judgement of the people who thought her barrenness a sign of God's disapproval? 

Not only was God not disapproving of her, He had chosen her for something special. She was to carry the child who would go before Jesus, getting people ready for Him.

So, what does Elizabeth's story mean for us?

Well, when we want something really badly, we want it right away. Like, yesterday, right? But sometimes God's plan is for us to wait. And wait. And sometimes we have to wait even longer.

God didn't make Elizabeth wait until old age to have a baby to be mean to her. He had her wait until then because that was the right time for her part in His plan. That was when everything was set for Jesus to be born, which meant that Elizabeth's very special child needed to be born then too. He would get the people thinking about God again, get them ready to hear Jesus' message about the kingdom of Heaven. And being an old woman, past the age of childbearing, made it obvious that God had done exactly what the angel told Zechariah would happen. Had they been young, Zechariah and Elizabeth might have doubted that their child truly came from God. They might not have bothered to follow the rules God laid out for John, or maybe they wouldn't have taught him about the special job God had planned for him.

But because they were so old, Zechariah and Elizabeth had no doubt that their child had been given to them by God, exactly as the angel explained would happen. Only God could have made it possible for Elizabeth's body to bear a child at her age.

Weekly Devotions on Christian Living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

We don't like waiting, especially if we can't see any good reason why we can't have what we want now. Sometimes, though, God's plan requires that we wait for His timing.

November 25, 2016

Catching Up and Looking Ahead

I really love the blocks that Amy Gibson, of Stitchery Dickory Dock, shares each month for her Sugar Block Club, but I've spent almost the whole year behind by a few blocks. So, here I am posting the blocks for July and August. Maybe I'll get caught up before the year is over?? For now, let's just enjoy how gorgeous these blocks are 😊

I think July's block, Lady Liberty, may be my favourite of the entire year. I just love those crisp points and the stars.
Sugar Block Club Blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
And August's block, Shenandoah, is another beautiful star. I love the simplicity of this block.
Sugar Block Club Blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

So, now I'm only three months behind (for another few days, at least). I'll get caught up eventually! Then it will be time to figure out how to turn these blocks, along with the blocks from the 2013 Sugar Block club, into a quilt rather than a pile of blocks in a container under my bed 😉


In other news, I got my 2017 Quilter's Planner on Monday!
Quilter's Planner | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Quilter's Planner | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Quilter's Planner | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Isn't it beautiful?

I've enjoyed flipping through it and reading the quotes about creativity and art, looking at the gorgeous quilts and checking out the weekly blocks.

Now I feel like I can start making plans for next year, lol. If you want a copy for yourself, visit Stephanie at Late Night Quilter to get all the details.

November 23, 2016

Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle

With Christmas quickly approaching, many of us quilters are trying to fit in a couple more handmade gifts. Mini quilts make great gifts and they're much faster than making a full-size quilt 😊

I've combined 4 of my mini quilt patterns into one bundle, so if you're stuck on what to make for a couple of special people, you're sure to find the perfect patterns here.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle includes X Marks the Spot, which finishes at 26" x 26" and features circles made with machine applique.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Twirling Star finishes at 19 1/2" x 19 1/2" and is made with traditional piecing and foundation paper piecing.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Flower Box finishes at 24" x 24" and uses traditional piecing and machine applique. As you can see, there's lots of room around the flowers for fun free motion quilting. The pattern also includes instructions for finishing one block as a cushion.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The fourth pattern in the bundle is my Friendship Galaxy baby quilt pattern, which includes four different size options. This skinny mini, which would be great as a table runner or as a wall quilt, is one of two mini quilt layouts.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Get your Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle in my Etsy and Payhip shops for $21. That's all 4 patterns for the price of 3!

Happy Making!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...