January 30, 2017

Becoming - Part 1

Devotion for the Week...

When I'm sewing together the blocks for a quilt, I often stop to put the pieces I've sewn side by side on the table so I can get an idea of how the block will look when finished. Once the blocks are finished, I lay at least some of them out together to get a feel for how the whole quilt will look. And then, even though I previewed the blocks, once I start sewing the rows together I lay them out too. There's something satisfying about seeing the seam allowances disappear with each step and with seeing it come closer and closer to how it will look in the end.

Even though I have a pattern that tells me what the quilt will look like, it's still exciting to see the pieces I've cut become what I intended for them to be.

Putting a jigsaw puzzle together feels kind of the same. You (usually) have a picture on the box that shows you exactly what the finished puzzle will look like, but it's still exciting to actually put the pieces together and see the image emerge on the table. Paul and Zach are currently working on a mystery puzzle, one that has clues in the picture to help solve a mystery in a story that came with it so they don't have the picture on the box to guide them. That makes it even more interesting to see the pieces come together to create the image.

The apostle John wrote, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). What we will be has not yet been made known. I find that interesting.

If we believe in Jesus as Savior, then we are children on God. We are saved. That is what we are. And yet what we will be is still something of a mystery to us. I see two ways of looking at that mystery. First, there is the mystery of who we will become in this lifetime and then there is the mystery of who we will be after death. I tried looking at both in one post, but it was getting monstrously long, so we'll look at in this lifetime today and leave what we will become after death for next week.

I firmly believe that God designed each one of us with a plan and that we all have special abilities that He gave to us specifically for that plan. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul wrote about the different gifts in the church, about how members of the church are all part of the body and about how all of the members of the body are important even though they serve different functions. God's plan for you is different than His plan for me, which is why we have different abilities and interests.

What we do with those interests and abilities will determine who we become. Do we pursue those interests, fulfilling His plan for us or do we shy away from them, thinking we're not good enough in some way to be able to succeed at what we want to do? Do we spend our time wishing we had different abilities, ones that maybe we value more or that we think the world values more? The truth is that the more we embrace the gifts He gave us, whatever they are, the more we can become who He wants us to be.

For example, I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Mom says I was 4 when I announced I would be a writer and my brother would be my publisher because then I wouldn't have to bother finding one 😀 As a teenager I devoured books on writing well and spent hours writing in my journal and starting stories. I also read voraciously and developed a real love for fantasy novels. By the time I went to university, I wanted to write fantasy novels along the lines of Terry Brooks, David Eddings and Robert Jordan. By the end of university, I had scaled back that desire a little, to writing fantasy novels for children, not because writing for kids is easier, but because the story lines tend to be much less complex than adult fantasy, which suited my writing. But that didn't work out either.

I could have given up, but the desire to write was in my bones. Even though I spent years writing little more than the odd journal entry, the longing to be a writer wouldn't go away. Then I started this blog and set myself the goal or writing a devotion for every Monday. I love writing these devotions! Thinking constantly about what I'll write next has me noticing connections between the Bible and everyday life in ways I never did before and it has me thinking more deeply about what I read in the Bible. I also love hearing from you about what I write here and seeing which devotions resonate with you.

Where will my writing go from here? I honestly don't know, but I believe God has a plan for it. He's the one who gave it to me, after all. What abilities has He given you? How are you using them? Has that changed over time?
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
God knows who He wants us to become. He knows how He wants to use us and the gifts He has given us. The question is, are we working with Him and allowing Him to shape us into who He wants us to be?

January 25, 2017

Making Lots of Slow Progress

I'm doing a lot of secret sewing right now, which I always find hard. Sneak peeks are fun, but it's even more fun to share the full project!

Around all the secret sewing, though, I have been making small progress on some other projects, so I thought I'd share some of that.

One of my goals for 2017 was to finally start quilting my hexie flowers quilt. I say finally because the top has been finished since 2014. Well, I guess I can mark that goal as complete as I got it basted (thread basting seemed to take ten times as long as pin basting!) and so far I've spent part of one evening hand quilting. Right now I'm thinking I'll go around each flower twice, but I think it's going to need more than that. I just don't know what the more will be. Since there are a lot of flowers, I figure I have a lot of time to figure that out 😊 I'm guessing that this will be a multiple-year task, but I'm good with that. Jasmine, at Quilt Kisses, talks about having a WISP (work in slow progress) and I guess this is mine.
Hand quilting detail | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The blue thread shows up much better on the cream backing fabric.
Hand quilting detail | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

I now have 120 diamond epp stars for my Scattered Stars quilt, up from 90-some the last time I counted. I'm thinking I'll soon be finished making stars, but I want a few more yellow and orange stars first. Then I'll move on to making the diamonds for the background. I want the quilt to have a fair bit of negative space, so there are still a lot of diamonds to baste. I guess I actually have two WISPs.
EPP Stars | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

I've also been basting hexies for my rainbow hexie quilt. I need 1661 and so far I have... 56 😊 Good thing I was planning for this to be a long-term project! I'm just basting these as I come across scraps in rainbow colours or black and most of the actual basting is happening when we're driving somewhere, so progress will remain slow. I would like to make an effort to find more red scraps to baste enough red hexies that I could actually sew the middle of the hexie rainbow together, but we'll see when I get to that...Umm, three WISPs?
Hexies | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

As for the secret sewing, here's a little peek at the flow quilting I've been spending hours and hours at lately. I tried to convince myself to do something simpler (I am on a deadline, after all), but the quilt insisted it needed this flow quilting. Of course, that was what I envisioned on it when I designed it with a big expanse of negative space, so I'm not really surprised I couldn't talk myself into something else 😉
Flow Quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

That's what I'm up to lately. What are you making progress on?

January 23, 2017

Content with That

Devotion for the Week...

One Thursday evening I went to the grocery store for a few things for Friday night's supper. We live in a small town and it can be hit or miss whether or not the grocery store has exactly what you want, but I had two possible meals in mind, so I figured I'd be okay. Not so. I wanted ground chicken for one recipe or chicken breasts (boneless or bone-in, it didn't matter) for the other, but the store had none of it. I was irritated, to say the least.

I wandered the store for a few minutes, trying to remember what ingredients I had at home, what recipes I could use them for and what I needed to buy. Eventually I figured something out and bought what I needed, but the irritation was still there.

It's annoying to go to the store and not be able to get what you want, right?

As I pulled into our driveway I kind of laughed at myself and thought, "Well, that's a first world problem, for sure." There were tons of food at that store. I could have bought roasts, pork chops, fish, eggs, pasta, produce, cereal, bread...you get the picture. Yes, the couple of things I went looking for specifically weren't there, but there wasn't an actual shortage of food. How many people in the world would be amazed at the sheer abundance of food in just my one grocery store?

Then, that evening during devotions with the boys, I read "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" (1 Timothy 6:8). I almost laughed out loud when I read it, to be honest. Could it have been any more on point for me that night?

The truth is, I didn't even really need to buy anything that night. There was enough food at home to have come up with something to feed everyone. Because we have enough money to buy food whenever we want, we have the luxury of leaving that turkey in the freezer for another day. There are people right here in our town who don't have that luxury, and who have to rely on the food bank to feed their families. My irritation seems like a petty thing compared to that.

It can be hard to be content with what we have when we have the means to buy more. And it can be hard to be content with what we have when there is always more available. Irritation over not being able to buy the kind of meat I wanted doesn't really look like contentment, does it? Irritation and contentment can't exist together. They cancel each other out.

I am, in general, a content person. But there is no denying that there is some part of me that thinks often about the things I would like to have, ranging from new fabric or a new book to new living room furniture or a sewing room or a new vehicle. More, more, more! Do you have a list like that, of things you don't have but want?

I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting new things, or with wanting nice things. The problem is when not having those things takes away our contentment, and that is a matter of attitude. Do we dwell on the things we don't have? Do we let what we lack take away our enjoyment of the things (tangible and non-tangible) that we do have? Are we irritated by what we don't have? Or have we learned to be content, even without the things we would like to have?
 Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Paul wrote, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want" (Philippians 4:11,12). I would guess that when Paul was hungry he wanted bread. That's perfectly natural, but the lack of bread did not steal his contentment. He had learned to be content whatever his circumstances.

Judging by how easily irritation replaced my contentment at the grocery store, I still have work to do in this area. How about you?

January 19, 2017

30 Design Challenge 2017

When Rachel at Stitched in Color did her 30 quilt designs challenge, I had a lot of fun and created some fun designs that I can't wait to make. You can see some of those designs in this post and more in this post. I've actually already made one of the designs, which I'll be able to share in the spring.

I found it really helpful to be designing most days and I found that spending so much time designing really kept me thinking about possibilities even when I wasn't actually sitting at my computer. So, when Sandra (Musings of a Menopausal Melon) and Lisa (Sunlight in Winter Quilts) decided to start a second challenge based on the first one, I jumped right in again. You can get all the details in Sandra's introductory post.

So far I've created 7 designs and they're all very different. My first design was based on origami ninja stars that Nathan was making over and over and over again.
Ninja Stars quilt design | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This design was inspired by the tracks left by vehicles driving on the snowy highway. I think it would be a lot of fun made with an abundance of scraps.
Tracks Quilt Design | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I find the interactions between the fabrics in this next design very interesting. Each colour is used in two rows (one right above the other) and they seem very different depending on the colour they are paired with. Ignore the one white triangle...it's coloured on EQ7, but for some reason when I exported the picture it turned white.
Triangle Quilt Design | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I really love this last design, Cross-stitch Heart. I wish I had time to make it before Valentine's Day. Maybe for next year...
Cross-stitch heart quilt design | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
As an unexpected bonus, I've also won a prize from the challenge's sponsor, The Red Hen Shop! Now to decide how to spend my winnings 😊

Have you ever participated in a design challenge? Or a challenge of any kind? Did you enjoy it?

January 16, 2017

Easy, right?

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever come across the same verse so many times really close together that you start to think maybe God is trying to get your attention? That has been happening to me lately, with a verse I am sure every one of you has read/heard many, many times. In fact, it's one that most kids learn at school, even if they don't know it comes from the Bible.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That's how I learned it and I can't remember a time when I didn't know this phrase. How do you want to be treated? Well, then treat other people that way.

Easy, right?

Absolutely! If I've had a good night's sleep and if Nathan has had a good night's sleep and if I'm not hungry and if the kids I'm looking after aren't sick or overtired or fighting over toys and if my own boys aren't arguing and if the neighbor kid isn't calling Nathan names and if my hormones are all on an even keel and if...

Wait, that's an awful lot of ifs. Am I the only one who finds those perfect days when everything goes my way don't exist?

The truth is, treating others the way I want to be treated isn't always easy. Sometimes the kids I look after bring out the worst of my frustration and impatience, especially when we've been dealing with the same thing over and over and over all day. When I'm tired, I'm even more impatient. And when Nathan and I are both tired...well, let's just say that's not a good combination.

I don't want to be treated with impatience. I know no one else wants to be treated that way, either. And yet there are times when I know that I am being anything but patient.

You may say, "No one is patient all the time" or "We all get frustrated sometimes" and you would be right. And yet, the Bible says that we are to treat others the way we want to be treated. And it says 'in everything'. There are no qualifiers there that say this only applies when other people are treating us well, or when toddlers are being properly obedient or when we haven't stayed up too late the night before to finish a good book.

I don't think we should beat ourselves up over not being perfect (because we're not!), but I also don't think we should give ourselves a pass on this one. The truth is, treating everyone the way we want to be treated, all the time, is the goal. It's the standard we should use to measure our behavior. Yes, we'll miss the mark sometimes, but we're guaranteed to miss it even more if we're not even aiming for it.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

And while I'm working on this, I'm grateful for a God who doesn't condemn me when I get it wrong, but instead sends me gentle reminders that say, "You can do better."

January 14, 2017

Free Wind Farm Quilt Pattern

My Wind Farm quilt pattern is finished, tested and ready for release!
Wind Farm Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Anja, of Anja Quilts, did a great job with her version of the pattern and you can see it in this post.

Wind Farm finishes at 64" x 76" and comes together very quickly. The appliqued yellow rectangles remind me of wind turbines, which gave the quilt its name 😊

The pattern is exclusively available as a free PDF download for all subscribers to my newsletter, The Bulletin. I send The Bulletin out on the 16th of every month and it includes news from here on my blog along with a themed round up of fun things to make and a family favourite recipe (I love to cook and bake almost as much as I love to quilt!). Sign up for The Bulletin and you'll recieve a link to download your copy of Wind Farm.

As always, I'd love to see your version of Wind Farm, so if you make it please tag me on Instagram (@devotedquilter) or Facebook (@devotedquilterdesigns) or email me pictures or a blog post link (devotedquilter at gmail dot com).

Happy sewing and have a great weekend!

January 12, 2017

Finally Finished - My Just the Basics Quilt and TGIFF

Welcome to TGIFF! I am excited to share this finish (which has been a long time coming) and to see all of your finishes 😊
Just the Basics Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Starting in March last year and ending in August, I shared instructions for the Just the Basics mystery quilt. Then, in October, I shared the finish parade of all the finished quilts or tops that people had sent to me. And my poor top, which was finished sometime back in January or February, was still not finished. I was working on the quilting, but it wasn't done. Nothing like being really, really late for your own finish party 😒

But now it's finished!!
Just the Basics Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Actually, I finished it back in December, but I couldn't get decent pictures of it until recently.

So, why did this quilt take me so long to finish? Put simply...I did a lot of quilting.
Just the Basics Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Having just finished quilting my Love Birds quilt, which I quilted loosely so it would stay nice and soft, I wanted to really go to town with the quilting on this one. As usual, I love how the quilting shows from the back.
Just the Basics Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

It was fun coming up with different flowers for each of the three square sections of the piecing. Emphasizing one of the flowers by using gold thread on the grey fabric (on the front) felt a little scary, but I'm so pleased with how those gold flowers add to both the front and the back of the quilt. The flowers are all rather irregular and the petals are sometimes quite wonky, but I still like them.
Just the Basics Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I think this black quilting might be my favourite part of the whole thing, though. I love how lacy it looks! None of the loops are quilting the same, but that's okay too. Nobody said quilting has to be perfect to look good 😊
Just the Basics Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Before I turn it over to you...did you know Craftsy is having a Buy one, get one sale on classes this weekend? Here are the official details (including affiliate links):
 
Purchase one Craftsy class and get another Craftsy class of equal or lesser value for free! Excludes classes from our Mastering in Minutes series and classes from our partner, The Great Courses. Limit one per user. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Expires January 15, 2017.

Now it's your turn. What have you finished recently? I can't wait to see, so link it up here and then pop on over to visit a few of the other links and leave some encouragement.





January 09, 2017

His Handiwork

Devotion for the Week...

It should come as no surprise that I love making things. There's something wonderful about creating something with my own hands, about having a vision in my head of what that something new should look like and then seeing it become a tangible thing. If you make anything, then you know what I mean.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading devotions with the boys and came across this verse that has stuck in my mind ever since. "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10). We are His handiwork. Isn't that an amazing thought?

Okay, so I've known for a long time that we were created by God, but somehow thinking of myself as His handiwork feels different. Maybe it's because of the time I spend working on my quilts, or the time I know Dad spends on his carvings, or the time I see people on Instagram spending on their cross-stitching, knitting or crocheting. Making something by hand takes time and dedication. It takes a great love for the thing you are making.

 God made me. He made you, too.

In the larger context, these verses are talking about how we have been saved by grace, meaning that we don't have eternal life because of the good things we have done, but because of the work God has done, through Jesus, to redeem us from our sins. In Christ we are made new, with a new purpose - "to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

We are all different, with different talents, abilities and interests. While I think there are things that God wants all of us to do (sharing the gospel and caring for others), I also think there are as many different ways of doing those things as there are believers. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that we are all part of the body of Christ, but we are all different parts of it, just as the eye and ear and foot are different parts of our physical body. Each of those parts is created to serve a particular purpose. In the same way, you and I have been created to serve a particular purpose in the body of Christ.

When I give someone a quilt, I love knowing that they are using it for its intended purpose. Sometimes that means they hang it on a wall. Other times they cover themselves with it while watching TV or reading. And other times it means they lay their baby on it and it gets covered in spit-up on a regular basis. Whether it was meant to decorate, keep them warm or give the baby some cushioning from the bare floor, it's great when the quilt is fulfilling its purpose. A quilt really isn't doing anyone any good if it's always shoved in a closet somewhere and ignored.

As believers, we are each God's handiwork, created especially for a particular purpose. If that is true, as this verse says it is, then the question we must each answer is: are we fulfilling that purpose?
 Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Are we using how He made us to do good works in the world? Those good works will look different for you than for me, but this verse leaves no doubt that there should be good works of some sort evident in the life of every believer. We are not meant to take our talents, abilities and interests and shove them aside, never to be brought out and used for the good of His kingdom.

January 06, 2017

Love Birds Pattern Release!

I'm excited to release another pattern today, but let me start off by saying these pictures were all taken back in June. It looks nothing like this outside now!
Love Birds Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Love Birds was first published in Make Modern magazine and is now available for individual sale. It is a full size quilt, finishing at 84" x 96". It fits our double bed with exactly the right amount of overhang 😊

Get your copy of the pattern through either my Etsy or Payhip shops.
Love Birds Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The quilt is based off of this simple block, so there are no tricky parts to sew. Lots of HSTs, but nothing difficult, lol.
Love Birds Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

The fun design comes from rotating every other block and careful colour placement.
Love Birds Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Don't the big flying geese look like they're kissing? That's what gave the quilt its name 😊
Love Birds Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

I'm sharing this picture again because I think it's my favourite quilt picture I've ever taken 😊
Love Birds Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Don't forget to get your pattern through Etsy or Payhip. As always, I'd love to see your version, so if you make a Love Birds quilt be sure to tag me on Instagram (@devotedquilter) or on Facebook (@devotedquilterdesigns), or email me a picture or blog post link (devotedquilter at gmail dot com). I love seeing new interpretations of my designs!

January 04, 2017

Isaac's Friendship Galaxy Quilt


I have a fun baby quilt finish to share this week, my first finish of the year. In fact, the year was only 10 1/2 hours old when I finished stitching on the binding 😊 Hopefully that means I'll have a productive year with lots of finishes!

This Friendship Galaxy quilt is for little baby Isaac, our great-nephew. (Want to suddenly feel really old? Just realize you are a great-aunt and poof, there you go, suddenly old!) I had hoped to have pictures of Isaac on his quilt, since I was supposed to get to meet him on Monday, but sickness and bad weather prevented it, so I'll have to share those pictures another time.
Friendship Galaxy Baby Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This is the second Friendship Galaxy quilt I've made (you can see the one I made for Judah here). I wanted to make it a second time because a) it's a fun quilt and b) the background fabric I chose for Judah's quilt was quite busy and I wanted to see how the quilt would look with a simpler background. I really like the simpler background, and now I want to try making it with a light background and darker stars...so many possibilities!

If you'd like to explore the possibilities too, the pattern is available in my Etsy and Payhip shops, and includes three other size options.

I made one giant friendship star to put on the back of the quilt.
Friendship Galaxy Baby Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I love how the simple stippling with stars looks on the back. The thread I used really blended in with the background fabric on the front, but it stands out better on the mottled grey backing fabric.
Stippling and starts free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
When I went to make the binding, I searched for the piece of background fabric I *know* I have and that I had set aside for the binding, but I couldn't find it. Since I thought I'd soon be gifting the quilt, I really wanted to get it finished, so I went with solid black instead. Turns out, I really like the solid black!
Friendship Galaxy Baby Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Fun fact - we have a lot of snow already this year. So much snow that walking across my backyard for these pictures was nearly impossible as I was sinking to my knees with every step. It's hard to pick out the depth, but here's one of my footprints.
Snowy footprint | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
What's a quilt blogger to do? I needed pictures and there's snow everywhere, so I headed back to the house and got my snowshoes 😊 I'm sure the neighbors thought I was crazy, snowshoeing back and forth across the yard, stringing a rope between trees and hanging up quilts, but hey, I got my pictures!
Snowshoes | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
As some of you may know, I struggle with photography sometimes and I had already tried taking pictures of another quilt in the snow and the pictures were horrible. Really grey and dingy looking and not at all what I wanted. After a little reading about taking pictures in snow I discovered that using the flash setting on your camera for the white balance (not actually using the flash) can fix some of the dinginess in snow pictures. I gave it a try and the pictures in this post are the result. Still not perfect, especially because it was around 3 in the afternoon when I took the pictures, so there were lots of shadows, but they are much brighter than before. The snow and the quilt both look less awful than in my other pictures, so I'm pleased with the progress. Since this looks like it will be a very snowy winter, it's good to know I can still get decent quilt pictures...so long as I wear my snowshoes, of course!

Here's the quilt, one more time 😊
Friendship Galaxy Baby Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Have you finished anything yet this year? If you have a blog post about it, let me know in the comments so I can check it out 😊 And don't forget to get your copy of the Friendship Galaxy quilt pattern from my Etsy or Payhip shop!

January 02, 2017

Blaming Others

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever noticed how people tend to put the blame on other people, or even things, when something goes wrong? "This tool is no good," or "She did this, so I had to do that," or simply, "It's not my fault!"

Sometimes the fault does lie with the other person, or with the tool we're using. Lots of times, though, the fault is really our own and we're just trying to put the blame somewhere else, anywhere else.

Shifting the blame isn't new, of course. In fact, I found it interesting that the Isrealites complained to Moses, putting the blame on him, in Numbers 20 when their problems weren't at all his fault, as you'll see.

Here's a recap of what had happened leading up to that point...the Isrealites had been living in Egypt as slaves and then God sent Moses to lead them out to the land God had promised to their ancestors. The people followed Moses, but they did more than a little complaining along the way. Finally, they arrived at the edge of the Promised Land and Moses sent in spies to check out the land.

When they returned, most of the spies said the land was amazing, but the people who lived there were so intimidating that there was no way the Isrealites would be able to defeat them. Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, disagreed, saying that with God's help they could certainly prevail, but the people would not listen. Their complete lack of faith angered God, who condemned them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, which is what they were doing in Numbers 20, when they arrived in a place where there was no water for them to drink.

They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink" (vv.3-5)

Whine, whine, whine. Would they really have preferred to still be slaves in Egypt?

And why exactly are they still wandering in the wilderness rather than settling into their new homes (with perfectly good wells) in the Promised Land? Oh, right, because they wouldn't trust God. 

Moses wasn't responsible for their time in the wilderness. He hadn't been the one to turn against God and doubt God's power. The blame rested entirely on their own shoulders. But it was easier to blame Moses than to accept responsibility themselves.

Of course, putting the blame on someone else wasn't new, even then. Adam and Eve both shifted the blame way back in the Garden of Eden. When confronted by God about their disobedience, Adam said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it" (Genesis 3:12) and Eve said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" (v. 13).

It's not my fault!

How much easier life feels when everything that goes wrong is someone else's fault. It is much harder to admit we've done wrong, or that blame for our problem rests with no one but ourselves. But it is only when we can admit the wrong we've done that we begin to escape the 'wilderness' it has put us in.

First, we can only ask for forgiveness (from God, from others and even from ourselves) if we are able to admit that we were wrong. If we're still trying to justify ourselves, we won't see that we have done anything that requires forgiveness.
Weekly Christian Devotions | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Then, it is only when we acknowledge that our actions or attitude were wrong that we can keep from repeating the wrong over and over again. I don't know about you, but I do enough new things wrong that I don't need to be repeating the old wrongs!

Next time we're tempted to blame someone else for our problems, maybe we should pause and take a good hard look at our own actions first.

January 01, 2017

2016 Ornaments

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great Christmas. We certainly did; it was a picture perfect white Christmas, with powdery snow that was at least knee deep. We even got to go snowshoeing with Mom and Dad while they were here 😊

Every year for Christmas I make my boys personalized ornaments that have something to do with their interests or special events of the year. Other than my free motion quilted ornaments, these were my only stitched gifts this year.

Back in the spring, Nathan wanted money to buy a few toys, so he decided to hold an art sale. He drew some pictures, then took them down by the main road through town and sold them. He only charged 10¢ per picture, but most people gave him more than that (some considerably more!). When the first batch of pictures sold, he promptly drew more, then more and then more again. And then more again...In the end, over the course of the summer, he made well over $100 and a good portion of the residents of our town now own Nathan Parsons originals 😊 A professional artist in town even bought one of Nathan's pictures, then gave Nathan a print of one of his own paintings. The ornament is a cross-stitch version of Nathan's sign that he held up while "art selling" as he called it.
Christmas Ornaments | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Zachary's ornament was suggested by Paul this year. When one of our boys turns 12, Paul takes him on a weekend camping trip, just the two of them. This year it was Zach's turn and the two of them went to Gros Morne National Park, where they completed a geocache challenge, finding 5 caches hidden around the park and doing a fair bit of hiking to find them (all before getting rained out of their last day). The compass cross stitch was designed by Angee of October's Morning and it was perfect.
Christmas Ornaments | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Aiden's was a little harder to come up with...He's still all about music, but I've already given him drum and guitar ornaments, so I wasn't sure what to do this year. Then Paul suggested the word music, but with the c unfinished and a pencil poised as if writing, to symbolize both Aiden's passion for music and the fact that he started writing his own music recently.
Christmas Ornaments | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

If you'd like to see their previous ornaments, you can see the 2015 ones here, 2014 here and the ones before then are all in this post.

This is one of my favourite Christmas traditions, and I love how much the boys speculate about what their ornaments will be each year.

Do you have any special handmade Christmas traditions?
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