Friday, June 29, 2012

In the Sewing Room: Pillows!

My friend and quilting buddy, R., gave me another bag of remmnants.  R. also gave me the bag that made the children's blankets that were sent north to be auctioned at the family reunion.

This second bag is full of larger pieces and I've already found another quilt pattern I want to use them for, a Raw Edge Circle pattern. 

Quilt As You Go

On the same blog as the Raw Edge Circle quilt pattern there was this great pillow pattern.  While D. was in Alaska on a business trip I was working on my Quilt-As-You-Go with every intention of having it done by the time he got home.  All good intentions, I ran into a problem with my machine and decided it needed a tune-up.  With my machine in the shop the window of opportunity opened  to whip up a pillow using the serger.
The bag of remmants was like a treasure chest.  The pieces were cut on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  The pillow went together in an evening.  A quilt with a couple of these pillows in the same fabric would make a wonderful gift.


Bag of remmants
'Nuff said, get sewing!

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Raw Expression of Faith - Book of Eli

The Book of Eli is a 2010 movie staring Denzel Washington.  It is on the TNT carousel of movies that air regularly.  Some may have passed this movie by because of it's post-apocalyptic setting and the trailers that, accurately, indicate the harsh language and violent action.

We saw the movie when it first made it to 'video' (which now means a downstreaming medium) because of Denzel Washington.  I watch most of it every time I'm flicking through channels and find it on, and each time I'm struck by the depth and truth of the faith storyline.

The mark of a good movie is reaching the end and realizing there was so much more going on that you have to watch it again within the new context. The Book of Eli had that 'aha' moment.

If you can get past the edginess of the language and action there is a story here I recommend you see.  For those who won't watch this movie read on...others, be aware of the **SPOILER** to follow.

The 'flash' that brought the world to the end-as-we-know-it is at least 25 years past.  Small enclaves of settlements grouped for protection against marauders, all searching for food and water, is the setting. 

Our hero (Eli) is traveling with a mission along the dangerous highways deftly capable of protecting himself. 

The antagonist (Carnegie) rules the village and the water source with a quick, strong fist.  He is searching for a book with an evil urgency. 

We learn, as the story unfolds,that religions were blamed for the flash and subsequently all books were destroyed in the melee.  Carnegie is old enough to know before the flash and the power the Holy Bible and faith had over people. He is certain if he possesses these scriptures he can bring all people that are left under his rule.

Eli stops in the village to trade, his prowess as a fighter is noticed, Carnegie tries to persuade Eli to join him, forcing Eli to stay the night while providing food and entertainment.  Eli says grace over his meal and Carnegie learns Eli has 'the book.'

The remainder of the story is the chase.  Eli loses the book but escapes to finish his journey to Alcatraz where a group has managed to rescue 'items that were'.  They have a large selection of books and are close to restoring a printing press.  They do not have a Holy Bible. 

Eli says he has a copy and needs the curator to get a lot of paper and to write everything he says, exactly as he says it.  As Eli begins to recite the scriptures we discover that the copy of the book Eli was carrying was a braille copy of the Holy Bible that he, as a blind man, has memorized.

Eli is a flawed hero that is convinced he has been called to a higher purpose.  His character is an excellent example of the remanent, promised to survive in an evil world where consequences must be lived and the promised road is fraught with danger and temptations.

Carnegie is a chilling example of those who understand the power of God and faith then twist it to their own purpose.

We so often want a pristine religious experience where we meet people, just like us, in a bright and shining environment, wearing masks of piety, waving our hands in praise then locking the door and leaving God in His building until the next Sunday. 

The Book of Eli takes a rough look at where our true religious experiences manifest, in the gritty day to day.  The confusion of the masses, the calling of the few to minister amidst curiosity and fear, the evil that morphs and twists the Word, providing fake answers and offering false hope.

The message (intended or not by the producers) is one believers cling to.  Within the darkness of filth and volence God's light will shine.  His work will be accomplished and no matter what manner of horror the world can produce He will be victorious. 

Pictures from:

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm Sorry. . .

Pinterest is a clearing house of neat 'sayings' that can be found across the internet.  Before Pinterest, at the advent of email, the FORWARD was the vehicle for passing interesting ancedotes and phrases.  I rarely 'forward' a forward but this one caught my eye.  Read through and see if it catches yours as well.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence..

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, 'You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. But It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.  Please forgive me if I have ever left a 'hole' in your fence.

The person I received this from opened their message with, I truly want to be forgiven if I have ever left a hole in your fence!!!  Their emphatic declaration led me into the story as a wave of forgiveness washed through me.

I have no grudge with the sender nor harbor any ill will towards them and yet the words alone "I want to be forgiven", just like the words "I'm sorry" has the effect of cool water over burning embers. 

Requesting, offering and bestowing forgiveness is the key to healing; hearts, ruptured relationships, broken families and tattered souls for all parties involved.  Forgiveness breaks up the bitter, disolves the hatred and begins the healing process when it is sincerely requested, offered and given.

Louis Zamperini, a POW from WWII has a powerful testamony about his choice to forgive, "(he) felt total forgiveness towards all who had hurt and tortured him in the prison camps. One of his favorite themes is "forgiveness," and he has visited many of the guards from his POW days to let them know that he has forgiven them." 

We have to humble ourselves and often give up our 'right' to be hurt or offended in order to say, "I forgive you" or "I'm sorry", or "Please forgive me."  It is the first, and many times the most difficult step toward laying down a burden and accepting the joy that comes from that release.

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Pictures from:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Love Expressed: Traditional and Modern

Our lives have been busy these past few weeks traveling and preparing to travel.

Memorial Weekend we celebrated a family wedding.  Weddings are special for the gathering of family and friends overflowing with expressions of love.  Within all the preparations, on that special day, no matter what problems came up, which ones were solved or caused changes the bride and groom saw only each other. Under the loving gaze of all who care about them the happy couple shone with matrimonial love.

On our way home we stopped for gas and a bite to eat.  As is the norm, these days, sitting in a public place it is quite easy to overhear cell phone conversations.  I began to pick up on the number of people who sign off their conversations with, "love you." 

Media tends to highlight the tragic, the sorrowful and the down trodden.  The proliferation of reality shows would indicate that dramatic confrontation is our emotional choice which we then reflect onto those who cross our path in the day to day.  And yet, the real world beyond the camera appears to belie this idea.
Individuals want light, laughter and love in their life.   Casual observation would offer proof, more often than not, they are ready and willing to be, extend or give all three. 

The wedding tradition builds my hope for love and family.  Love expressed in the modern, technological methods is just as reassuring.

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 
John 13:34-36

Baby picture from: