Isn’t This a Blog About Quilts?

I turned off the alarm ahead of the buzzer. Saturday morning, 6 a.m. I was already awake and there was no need to disturb my sleeping husband. I lingered in my warm bed, spellbound by the story coming through the earphones connected to my iPod. When I have trouble sleeping, I listen to audiobooks.

The audiobook I was enjoying was part of a series by Jennifer Chiaverini. Jennifer is a quilter for sure. Not only has she published quilt pattern books, she writes novels with complete understanding about the quilting process and insights into those who quilt. The characters in her Elm Creek series do an excellent job of showing different facets of quilting — an individual pursuit that, though beautiful in its own right, is enhanced when being part of a community.

In Round Robin (book 2 in the series), the main character, Sylvia, and her group are at odds over which quilt to hang in an entryway. Both quilts have significant meaning to the makers. The solution is to hang them both. It’s not about whether they match, coordinate, or even share a common visual theme. It goes much deeper than that. It’s about what the quilts represent — in this case, survival and friendship. If you haven’t read Jennifer’s books, I hope you’ll check them out. I’m ready for book 3 now.

I haven’t quilted for a few years. Life was difficult for a while, and my creative self shut down. But during those quiet years I saw my life through a quilter’s eyes. Somehow it helped me cope. I could see the pieces and knew where they needed to be stitched back together. This blog was a big part of doing that. It took a long time. But then so does making a quilt. And like a quilt, you never know for sure what it’s going to actually look like until it’s finished.

A few years ago I participated in an online writing activity. I wrote “Shadow and Light” based on a quote that pertains to this blog post. I hope you’ll take a moment to read my short essay.

Here’s a quilt for you, one I made that has a very big story. I’ll share it again some day. Meanwhile, God bless you!

thegift

I Am Second Book Review

In this day of filtered conversation, we have to be so careful what we harmlessly say. I see this in the Christian community lately. Instead of standing straight up for beliefs, I see Christians saying, “Well, I don’t want to offend anyone, and I am not going to talk about it much, but, yeah, we are a Christian family.” Now I’m no judge, but I can ask, “is this really what Christians should be doing?”

It isn’t easy to be bold these days. Even something uttered 30 years ago can destroy careers. That’s one of many reasons why I am so moved by the transparent honesty put forth by the subjects of Dave Sterrett’s and Doug Bender’s new book, I Am Second. We all are human and can make bad choices. But, we bury those experiences and certainly don’t broadcast them for the public to judge us.

I Am Second is a collection of testimonies of real people, beautiful people, famous people. People who should have had it all together. People who have been role models to us. All fell hard, some publicly, and found that the only rescue is God’s love and saving grace. People who boldly share their stories so others can know there is hope and restoration, no matter how deeply tangled in the muck of life.

As a person who is blessed to have known God’s love and grace my whole life, I can only imagine how much courage it takes to declare, “I was deep into…..” Insert words like drugs. Pornography. Hatred. Prostitution. There is no holding back in these stories. The tellers submit themselves to our judgment, baring the weakest parts of their past in contrast to their profoundly changed lives today.

Though they failed in different ways, at their lowest points of despair, they realized who God is and how much He loves them. They found that God is the only one who can release them from their demons and provide strength to overcome. They all have changed lives because they chose to become second. They learned that putting God first was the way to peace and a productive, fruitful life. That is not to say that they are perfect. We all have our battles, and we do get weak. But even in our slip-ups, God is there to provide help and to restore.

This book is an inspiration to any who will read it. Some of the themes are mature, so I recommend caution in giving to teenagers. However, these testimonies will impact lives by showing how quickly bad decisions can lead to wrecked lives. The book is available for purchase on Amazon in ebook, audiobook, and paperback format. The previous hardcopy edition is also available. However, the paperback includes even more stories. Individual chapters don’t take long to read, so the book is ideal for reading on the go.

If your life is need of repair, restoration, or even simple satisfaction, your life too can be changed. This book shows how to know the God of the Ages. May God speak directly to the souls of readers through the experiences of the beautifully saved people featured in this book.

And yes, I boldly say it. I. Am. Second.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” Proverbs 4:23 (HCSB)

Bits and pieces of my life quilt, held together by the Master Designer