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.

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