Lazy Labour Day


DSC_0420It is a holiday in Manitoba.  All the government offices, banks, shopping centres, car dealerships and almost all the grocery stores are closed.  All day!  After a day of persistent rain, the day dawned cool, with sun and few clouds.  Glorious 1st of September.  Hubby and I headed out late this morning.  We headed north to Lockport and had a World Famous Hotdog at Skinners.  The hot dog was okay, the ambiance was fun – sodas in the bottle, 50’s diner decor, antiques, a good variety of hard ice cream (blue licorice), jukeboxes, candy from my childhood at the counter and hand made fries.

After we drove down to the locks and the north end of Duff’s DitchDSC_0427There were a flotilla of boats on the water trying for catfish.  We watch one quartet haul in a large one, take their trophy picture and release it back into the turbulence.

The road meanders along Red River to Selkirk.  Beautiful properties, heritage and estate homes, groves of oak trees, fabulous views.  Backtracking west we went to Stonewall to find Knox Presbyterian Church built in 1883.  We speculated on what it might serve as a residence as it will soon be up for sale, the Presbytery having voted to close it at their last meeting.

Knox Presbyterian Church

The skies are so beautiful in Manitoba on a beautiful end of summer day.

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Job 26:7  He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.

Quilty Little S(ins)ecrets


A number of the quilting blogs I follow have revealed their 10 quilty little secrets.  Such fun!  Sew I thought I would jump on the band wagon and tell you mine.

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Click on the image to go to 13 spools blog for the 10 quilty secrets of other bloggers

1)  I always iron, pressing is for flowers.

2)  I save EVERY scrap.

3)  I love, love, love binding by hand.

4)  My enabler thought Best Press was meant to put IN the iron.  It took me a whole day to steam the crud out.  It was black, and gross.  I ruined a white towel.

5)  I have more ideas/plans than time (I’ve downloaded a couple hundred pictures of quilts I hope to use as inspiration at some point).  I have more fabric than ideas/plans (this is obscene if you’ve read the previous comment in parentheses).

6)  I sew a double seam 1/2″ apart when sewing small squares onto larger squares to make triangles on the corners, cut between the seams and save the trimmed off triangles as even smaller HSTs (see #2).

7)  My enabler has a long arm Gammill.  I’d rather quilt my projects on my sewing machine.  It hurts his feelings.

8)  I love, love, love William Morris and civil war reproduction fabrics (Barbara Brackman is my hero) and prefer traditional quilts.

9)  The smaller the pieces the better, one day I’m going to attempt Primitive Gatherings “9”.

10)  It was tradition in my previous congregation to give a quilt to people moving away.  When I was called to a new congregation, they said they weren’t giving me one because I quilt.  I protested “Not Fair!” and asked for (demanded) one anyway. 

Job 11:5-6

Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
    that he would open his lips against you
and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
    for true wisdom has two sides.
    Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.

A Fist Full of Flowers


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Wild Chickweed and Violets

I’ve always loved flowers.  Always.  Earlier this summer I was reminded of some of my first childhood memories of flowers.  As a very young child I soon learned as my father’s shadow, what flowers were in season.  We would go to the poplar forest as the leaves were just emerging from winter rest, the sun having warmed last autumn’s carpet, coaxing hepaticas to speckle the brown and gray with white, blue and mauve.  Usually that was consistently around Mother’s Day so we would return, fists full of tiny flowers, stems barely crossing the width of a palm.  Mom would find a shot glass to hold the crushed bouquets.  We never picked enough to fill it, our efforts always seemed so diminished by the empty spaces. I learned early that for flowers were best displayed and stayed fresh longer the longer the stems were.

The next offering of spring would be the marsh marigolds, then violets blue and white, followed by lilacs, buttercups, bluebells, wild anemone, something Dad labeled Kentucky Bluegrass, red clover, brown eyed susans, asters and goldenrods.  A bouquet would be barely wilted and I would be bringing Mom another from the fields and the woods.  Before I was taught to know better, I would bring bunches of daisies.  Dad held them in low regard because they were a weed, spoiling the hay harvest.  Plus they stunk, and brought tiny crawly bugs with them into the house that fell and littered any surface the vase holding those sunny faces set off with pure white petals sat on.  He loves me, he loves me not.  I spent hours trying to teach myself the art of daisy chains and consistently unsatisfying attempts at flower crowns to set on my white blond head.

Dad would take us to the spruce forests to search for Calypso Ladyslippers and the blueberry hills for Pink Moccasins and Indian Pipe.  There were excursions into the bog to seek out swamp laurel and pitcher plants.  We observed trout lilies, mayflowers, and never picked wood lilies, or irises.  Dad recalls seeing trilliums blooming just over the crest of the hill, on the east side of the field where we entered the bush to look for hepaticas weeks earlier, but I never managed to locate any on our place.  I enjoyed watching the bees visit the blueberry and raspberry and strawberry and chokecherry blossoms, leaving them alone in anticipation of sweet fruit and berries.  We would beg Dad to guide the boat into the lily pads to collect brilliant white water lilies and butter yellow spatterdock.

I was intoxicated by the scents of twin lilies and lilacs and goldenrods.  I’d search out Canada Thistle and whittle it down with my pocket knife because I had heard once that if you were ever lost in the woods you could survive on its pithy stems.

Flowers are perfect.

Luke 12:27  “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Thwarted Thursday


verb
past tense: thwarted; past participle: thwarted
  1. prevent (someone) from accomplishing something.

I am prevented from quilting.  I am going through withdrawal.  I miss my stuff.  If you have been following along, you will know that I have a new job in a new city.  Our house in British Columbia has not sold.  God willing it will soon.  We packed most of our belongings and put them into storage.  All that remains in the house are the largest pieces of furniture so it will show well.  We just brought what we thought we might need until Advent.  At some point soon we will return to move everything here since I have no inclination to drive across the country with a moving truck in the winter.  Yes, you may have guess it, my sewing machine, my stash, all my notions are 1800 kilometres away, waiting, while I am here, missing them.

Before we moved, I managed to complete the top I introducted to you here.  I didn’t care for the layout provided.  Here is my spin.

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Job 5:12  He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.

The Why of Coincidence


Yesterday I started reading Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber.  I only read the first chapter, mulling and reflecting over her words, thinking about my call and whether it is different in any way from when I started, through the last five years in Northeastern BC, to now at a big city church on the edge of the urban reserve.

“In 1992, when I started hanging out with the “rowing team,” as I began to call them, I was working at a downtown club as a standup comic.  I was broken and trying to become fixed and only a few months sober.  I couldn’t afford therapy, so being paid to be caustic and cynical on stage seemed the next best thing.  Plus, I’m funny when I’m miserable.”

“It isn’t exactly uncommon.  If you were to gather up all the world’s comics and then remove all the alcoholics, cocaine addicts, and manic depressives you’d have left … well … Carrot Top, basically.  There’s something about courting the darkness that makes people see the truth in raw, twisted ways, as though they were shining a black light on life to illuminate the absurdity of it all.  Comics tell a truth you can see only from the underside of the psyche.  At its best, comedy is prophesy and societal dream interpretation.  At its worst it’s just dick jokes.”

I am not the only one who sees the underside and God at the same time.  There are lots of us, and we are at home in the biblical stories of antiheros and people who don’t get it; beloved prostitutes and rough fishermen.  How different from that cast of characters could a manic-depressive alcoholic comic be?  It was here in the midst of my own community of underside dwellers that I couldn’t help but begin to see the Gospel, the life-changing reality that God is not far off, but here among the brokenness of our lives. … “

The words lay heavy in my head.  I reflected on mental illness, at least a couple within the family, even more in my congregations, countless in the community beyond the doors of this city church.  I thought back to the time I glanced over the edge of it almost a year ago.  I questioned how I, as a minister who pastors, could be the instrument of God’s light and peace in those moments of encountering those in despair.  Bolz-Weber’s book/words hold the promise of hope and help for me as servant to others labouring along life’s paths.

25 Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?

    Was not my soul grieved for the poor?

26 But when I looked for good, evil came;

    and when I waited for light, darkness came.  Job 30:25-26

PS – Coincidences can be a blessing and a curse.  Not an hour after closing the pages of  Pastrix on the first chapter, sitting down to a meal with family, comes the heartbreaking news of the suicide of Robin Williams.   Heartbreakingly weird, I just read about comics, and addicts, and depression in a search to be a better servant to the people I am called to serve.  It was a punctuation mark that drenched me in sadness.  Robin Williams, no less and none greater – A genius dwelling in darkness who brought light and laughter to millions.  A father who read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to his children.  An actor who could be chaos and compassion in a shining super nova of brilliance.

“You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars.” – August Rush, 2007

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”  – Good Will Hunting

“Death is nature’s way of say ‘Your table is ready.'” 

What an eschatological thing to say Mr. Williams, welcome to the banquet.  God’s love and peace bless and keep you now forever.

On the Move


It has been a long time in the making.  At least two years in the praying and the asking.  I have been called to a new congregation.  It was finalized by Presbytery in May, the next day the house went on the market and we began packing it up in earnest.

The new church is much closer to family, in a city, no less!  That is amazing to me.   I always expected to remain in rural ministry.  Even though women have been ordained as Ministers of Word and Sacrament in this denomination for over fifty years, there is still an old boys’ club and patriarchal mentality that firmly hold the glass ceiling in place.  I am not sure if I am now above or below the glass, but I am thrilled to be here.  God is good.  There are so many opportunities for great things to be done, I am blessed to be in this place and looking into the future with excitement and enthusiasm.

Leaving my previous congregation was bittersweet.  There are a number of people I will dearly miss.  As a gift of leave taking for myself, I quilted a string quilt and asked everyone to sign it.  It lies draped over the back of a chair in my new office.

DSC_0362It reminds me of things accomplished, that people are not all cut from the same cloth, that united we are beautiful and serve a purpose, that even scraps and odd and ends are useful, and that errors and mistakes can only be seen with extremely close inspection (and in the larger scheme of things, don’t matter in the slightest bit).

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Isaiah 42:9  See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Jelly Roll Race


Sometimes it’s a colour that catches the attention.  Sometimes it’s a fabric print.  Other times it is a technique that just begs to be tried.  Once in awhile it is a convergence of them all.  Such a convergence happened when I happened upon the fabric palette used in this project.  I always wanted to sew a jelly roll race quilt.  Jelly rolls are pre-cut strips of fabric 2 1/2″ wide and WOF (width of fabric 42-44″)  There is usually 40 strips in a roll.  A race is joining all the pieces together end to end.  Next fold the the long strip in half, right sides together and sew along one edge.  Cut at the fold, press open.  Fold in half, right sides together and repeat.  This is the finished project.  DSC_0336

I had been keeping my eye open for the perfect fabric.  Almost perfect, the polka dots don’t quite fit, but I love the rest.  I’ve decided to name it “Raindrops on Glass.”

This quilt is for my husband’s sister in-law who recently underwent surgery for ovarian cancer.  I really like the way the border and the back co-ordinated with the top.  I quilted it with a varigated thread that has all similar colours in wavy contoured lines.

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DSC_03411 Corinthians 9:24  Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.