Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Sewing and Family Thanks

Today I’m thankful for my sewing machine.

It allows me to make quilts for friends and family. I can sew on other projects that enter my little brain. The sewing machine helps me retain my sanity.

Any sewing machine could do that though. This machine is special, not special enough for a name, I don’t name inanimate objects. I guess I could call it Bernie? J

This sewing machine is special because it was a gift from my husband. Money was always tight for us, and a new sewing machine seemed like an extravagance to me.

I’d had a couple of used ones over the years. Then mom gave me a department store special. It worked well for several years. Finally, it was on its last stitches. In fact it was skipping stitches.

David told me to find a sewing machine. Yikes! Good new sewing machines were expensive! Prices started in the triple digit range, for a “cheap” one. One day in the local sewing store I noticed a machine on discount because that line had been discontinued. The price was still in that triple digit range, but at least it was a good quality machine, which made it an amount I could justify to myself.

I had no money with me that day. The owner agreed to hold the machine for me if I sent her a deposit the next day. I did. A couple of days later my daughter-in-law and I were shopping in another town and the store owner called.

She told my husband the price of the machine wasn’t what she’d quoted me, but three hundred dollars more. David said I still wanted the machine.

In the meantime, while shopping I had second, and third, thoughts about spending so much money on a sewing machine. I decided to try to get my deposit back and buy another cheap machine from the department store.

David had other thoughts. When I told him my decision, especially in light of the fact the new machine was now creeping toward the four digit area he said, “no, get the good machine.”

It’s not even a fancy machine. It sews fabric together. It does do a buttonhole, and it does have a limited zigzag stitches, but mostly it sews. It doesn’t embroider, it doesn’t sew by itself, it doesn’t come close to washing the dishes. There are machines that seem to do everything except the dishes you know, mine isn’t one of them. It stitches fabric together. That’s it, nothing special.

“But, honey,” I countered “It’ll cost almost $1000 by the time tax and everything is added.”

“Do you like that machine?”

“Well, yeah. But…”

“If you like it buy it. We spend money on other things, you should have it.”

The look on his face, more than the words from his mouth convinced me. I went to town a few days later and purchased the machine. I even splurged and bought a walking foot at the same time. It did cost slightly over $1000.

I know, I know. I can hear you all going, “What?” Especially those of you who don’t sew, and are thinking “that’s a lot of money for a sewing machine.”

Maybe, but it’s not too much money for a cherished memory. And now, I can sew quilts, clothes (sometimes), and other projects.

 

train postcard for one of the grandboys.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m grateful for both the machine and the memory.

 

 

On the blog here, I listed my children and family on my list for Nov. 1.

Part of my family.

They keep me going and make me smile. Every day I’m thankful for every one of them.

My three children call and share their lives with me. They call to see how I’m doing and to invite me to events in their lives.

My six grandchildren give me lots of opportunities to sew for them. They make me laugh. They add color to my life.

My sister and brother keep in touch, and visit. Often siblings lose touch with each other after the parents are gone. Not us, we still call and check in with each other, we still add to each others’ lives.

Aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family members all add to the mosaic of my life, making it more beautiful.

However someone we are related, I’m grateful for everyone in my family and hope I add to their lives as much as they add to mine.

 

Busy Hands/Idle Hands

I don’t really just have one hand, but it’s a bit difficult to take a picture of both hands and hold the camera with one hand. That takes three hands, of which I don’t have. One of my blogging friends posted a picture of her hands recently and asked her fellow bloggers to post pictures of their hands. When I remember who she is, I’ll come back here and post a link to her blog. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures of mine torn fingernails and all:

Resting on a blanket.

Trying to hand quilt.

Ecclesiastes 10:18 (KJV)  “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” Sounds a lot like my grandmother’s phrase, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Keeping busy, also keeps unwelcome thoughts at bay. 🙂

Here is my favorite picture of one of my hands.

It’s a wall hanging. A tracing of mine and my husband’s hands embroidered by my sister on the day of his death. It hangs next to my front door and gives me comfort every day.

When I look at it I think of my sis, sitting in our living room, diligently working on the piece while friends came and went offering their assistance and love in our time of pain.

I also think of the day the original tracings were made.

It was hot, Oklahoma hot. We had a mini-family reunion with my uncle and his wife who were visiting from California. We were all gathered in their hotel room telling stories when Keren suddenly pulled out her sketch book and asked us to trace our hands, my uncle, aunt, David and I. She already had the hands of everyone else traced.

Her plan was/is to someday make a quilt using the hand tracings. The quilt hasn’t been made yet, and several of our family has left us, but their hands are still here, in Keren’s book.

She made a copy of David’s tracings for me also. It hangs in a frame over my desk. People ask why I have a piece of paper framed, it’s hard to see the hands, especially from a distance. When I take the picture down and hand it to them they can see the tracings that weren’t visible before.

It doesn’t matter to me, I know the tracing is there, just as I always know God has me in his hands.

Psalm 4:8 (KJV) I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Silent Sunday- Some of God’s Handiwork and an Encouragement

Lake in the hills of Colorado.

These are from last year, it's a little early, but given the warm temps expect to find the tree in full bloom any day.

Peach tree 2011

My driveway

The road home

Twitter Tips

“Experts” tell us to use Twitter as another selling tool for our books. Except, we aren’t supposed to just promote our books. What? Sounds a little  backward, use it to sell, but don’t sell.

Twitter is like a party where we can network, but really, we are there to socialize. Some people are more social and have 1,000 or more followers, friends, social contacts. Others of us are less outgoing, and have far fewer. When this month started I had 325 after a month of ‘working’ Twitter I’m up to 445, the goal was 500 and, do the math, you’ll see, I’m still 55 people short. However, an increase of 110 people in less than 30 days sounds like success to me, plus I still have three days.

Why did I want more followers if I can’t ‘sell’ my book to them? Because, I can ‘sell’ myself to them, they’ll eventually buy the book because of my tweets, or they’ll tell someone else about my book. Also, more followers mean, more interesting people for me to meet.

I’ve met some quilters who are generous with their tips and talents, often sharing tutorials, many of which I’ve included on my blog. More followers, mean more information for me to use when blogging. The blog, of course, is another way of selling books. There are too many quilters to mention, but recently I learned about I Spy bags from Lorelei.

I’ve met writers who encourage, and entertain me. Writers I’d never meet except online. Writers like Mariam Kobras, German author of THE DISTANT SHORE.  Mariam is  author who wrote her first book while overseeing detention at the local school. Now, how could I NOT like her? I love sharing tweets with her, and she in turns introduces me to some of her friends.

Since my book, DEVOTED TO QUILTING, is essentially a devotional, following fellow christen writers seemed a no-brainer. I’ve met some great uplifting people that way. People like Lyn Smith, a minister, speaker, writer, and just plain fun person. Then there’s LisaJo at  who combines family, ministry, and writing. LisaJo’s Five Minute Friday is not only a good way for me to have a Friday post, but introduces me to some fabulous people each week.

So, how do I find these people? How have I increased my friends at the twitter social? I adopted the following strategy:

1. Reply to other tweets-If someone tweets something you find amusing, helpful, or just fun, comment. When I don’t know something, I tweet a question. Twitters are friendly people, they will usually respond, either as a reply or as a direct message.

2. Retweet other tweets. When someone posts a tweet I agree with, or enjoy I retweet it. It only takes a second, and you never know where it will lead.

A few days ago I retweeted a tweet about the future of obtaining a college degree for Agriculture jobs. I live in a rural area, and all of my children have, college education that led to jobs in agriculture. My husband and his brother both taught agriculture. It was a subject dear to me, so I shared it.

A few days later, that retweet, with my twitter feed was mentioned in the Agriculture Blog Daily. http://paper.li/AR_ranchhand/1327775386 His tweet which mentioned me, went out to 2888 followers. Will all of those 2888 people check out my tweets? No. Will any? Maybe. And it’s likely I’ll get new followers, which will eventually translate into more sales.

I didn’t know my little tweet would be spread so far. I didn’t do it for the exposure; I did it because I believed in the original tweet and wanted to share.

The tweets I retweet don’t always result in such exposure, but that doesn’t matter, that’s not the reason I do it. Sometimes I retweet for friends to help get them more exposure; others do the same for me. We help each other.

4. Post links to other blogs or websites you find interesting. I often have trouble thinking of something to tweet, I don’t want to be advertising my book all the time, and I don’t want to be too personal. That’s when sharing links to other blogs or websites comes in handy. Some of my writer friends aren’t on Twitter, or if they are I haven’t found them.  But I can tweet the link to their blog or website for them. This often gets them new readers and shows other twitter people some of my interests.

5.  Answer if someone replies or retweets you. It’s just polite to thank someone for retweeting one of your tweets. If possible, respond to their replies. It gets the conversation going, which helps them to know you and hopefully will sell more books.

Twitter is just one little road that leads others to you, and your books. Enjoy your twittering.

These are some of my Twitter tips. I’m still learning, I’m sure there will be another Twitter post in the future. Do you have others; is there something you do on Twitter that has helped you?

Freedom of Speech Threatened?

Romans 8:13-14 – 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

As many of you know I’m working through Romans 8. I had a very different post planned, however, I’ve learned the US Congress is soon voting on a bill that could censor what we view online. The bill may have been drafted with good intentions, websites and blogs can be blocked. Free speech one of the fundamentals of our constitution can be stilled.

At first I agreed with the petitioners just on general principle, I don’t want any more of my rights eroded away. I thought, my little blog is safe, I don’t write on controversial topics. But, who decides what is controversial? I write about Hope, God, Faith, and Jesus. Could that be considered controversial? If someone in power doesn’t want God’s word spread could my little blog be stopped? What about all the other inspirational bloggers? What about the Bible websites? Could they all be blocked?

On a business level, I write about quilts and quilting. However, I don’t necessarily promote new fabrics or companies selling designer fabrics. I like the designers. I like the fabric they create. I don’t usually buy it, doesn’t mean I don’t buy, it’s just not always my first stop. Will the fabric manufactures stop my little blog because I advocate recycling, up-cycling, reusing fabrics? If I do spotlight one designer, will other manufacturers (who don’t carry that line) want to shut me down for promoting something outside their sales line?

Will our fabric designers websites and blogs be closed because someone doesn’t like the fabric they design? Will writers’ blogs be closed because they write about something “unapproved”?

Tomorrow, in response to this bill many blogs and websites will go black, including this one. Please check out the bill here and make your choice, http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/

As I said, this started out to be a very different post. However, this is important to me. I hope your freedom to read what you want, where you want (online, in a newspaper, in a book, etc.), when you want is important to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Holiday Debt

 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. Romans 8:11-12 KJV

It’s Wednesday’s word, and I’m back to memorizing Romans 8. I joined up with Do Not Depart several weeks ago in this endeavor.

We just celebrated Jesus’ arrival on this earth. A gift from God. A gift of life everlasting. A gift we can’t pay for. A gift we couldn’t afford if there was a price tag attached. There is no money amount on this precious gift from God.

Instead, we are to accept the gift. We accept Jesus and allow Him to dwell in our hearts.

We accept God’s gift of life. We don’t chase after material items and wants.

This doesn’t mean we can’t have things we desire, but they come after God, after time with the family.  We don’t spend so much time earning money to buy ‘things’ that we don’t spend time with our families and with God. God does not want us to debtors to the flesh.

Oh, some things must be bought on time. We will have to owe the bank, or lending institution for some items. Few people can buy a home outright. Medical expenses often are paid out over time. There are other monetary debts that are necessary, each person and family must make that decision as to what is a worthwhile debt.

The important thing is to not let the debt control our lives. Not let the debt rule us. Not let the debt take the place of God in our lives and hearts.

The New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) translates verse 12:

 12 Brothers and sisters, we have a duty. Our duty is not to live under the control of our sinful nature.

For the quilter in me, that means not living under the control of fabric. Oh sure, I have fabric in every room in my house. And, yes, I’m working on getting a sewing room for both creating, and storing fabric. However, new fabric, patterns, sewing gizmos, and the sewing room are not to take the place of God. It’s one reason I don’t sew on Sunday. For me, not sewing on that day allows me to keep God in first place in my life. It keeps the fabric and the sewing projects from being all-important.  Not to say I’m perfect in any other area, this is just how I attempt to control this area of my life.

 

No, this isn’t my fabric collection. I don’t have this much fabric – yet. No room, remember? Just thought it’d be fun to show you a large collection of fabric. This is from Fave Crafts Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do to help avoid living under control of our sinful nature? Share with us.