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.

 

 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind


Almost two years ago I took my daughter-in-commonlaw to the local quilt store to select fabric.  She chose batiks, not my favourite, and quite dark colours.  It took some searching to find a pattern that I thought would showcase the fabric nicely.  The quilt was completed some time ago, but I held off on posting pictures until I had the opportunity to give it.

DSC_0270The pattern is called ‘Keyhole’.  It basically is a nine patch alternated with a solid square set on point.  I backed it with a caramel flannel.  The Quilty Guilt quilted it.  J*** commented she had forgotten what the fabric was, but was pleased with the finished quilt.  I was pleased that a couple days later she posted the following on her fb page.

“The beautiful quilt B’s mom made for me! I chose the fabrics when I was pregnant with A. and sort of forgot what they looked like. I was also caught off guard by my choice to go completely outside my comfort zone (blue, black, grey, but mostly blue). This turned out beautifully and obviously B. saw my vision because it’s absolutely perfect! :)”

I’m so glad she liked it.

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Isaiah 22:22

I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.

 

Mystery Quilt #2


I’ve been sewing, and cutting, and quilting, and imagining.  I did finish the Lenten stole in time for worship last Sunday.  Another quilt made as a farewell gift for a couple who moved to the other side of the mountains is being bound by W. who offered to complete it.  Two down, two more up.

One is an accumulation of fabric at this point.  There has been a request I design banners for Pentecost.  I have collected scraps and pieces of fabric from yellow through orange to red.  I want it to be very textural.

The other quilt is a Mystery Quilt.  About a month prior to the first step being posted there was a 2 1/2″ strip exchange in the group.  Each person sent off 20 width of fabric (WoF) pieces and got back a lovely selection of fabrics.  There were three pink/burgandy ones.  Not my favourite colour.  Naturally, my only logical decision was to use them as the foundation for the MQ colour palette, since this may be another one of those quilts I may give away.  The coloured strips are now cut.  Next – the background fabric, which is a very pale pink with a barely darker peach pink geometric pattern.

DSC_0334Isaiah 23:18  Her merchandise and her wages will be dedicated to the Lord; her profits will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who live in the presence of the Lord.

Christmas/Easter/Communion/All Saints’/Transfiguration/Baptism Banners


48" x60"

48″ x60″

This is how far behind I am.  We did manage to get ten banners completed in time for Christmas.  We hung and dedicated them the first Sunday following the celebration of Christ’s birth.  That would be January 29th!  They have been hanging in the sanctuary up until last Sunday when they were replaced with the Lent banners.  I know it was a week past the beginning of Lent but we celebrated Holy Communion on March 9th, white and gold being appropriate in that case.

They were all a variation of log cabin blocks done in yellow and set in white.

DSC_0332DSC_0326DSC_0324Eight of them were 36″ x 48″ and two were 48″x 60″.  Each quilter could place the star and quilt their banner as they pleased.  When it came time to switch them out I finally got out the camera to take and post the pictures as I promised I would.

Of course for at least one of my banners I had to do something entirely different.  I wanted a project with more of a modern feel.  I absolutely love it.  There are a few people in the congregation that aren’t as impressed with it as I am.  After all, breaking with tradition is a difficult thing to do in the church. ;)  Resistance to change seems to be a defining characteristic of Christians.  There are lots of jokes about it.

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb? — We don’t change!

Although, my favourite is, because I am — How many Calvinists does it take to change a lightbulb? — None, the lights will go on and off at predestined times.

And my second favourite, because I am — How many Presbyterians does it take to change a lightbulb? — Well, it requires a least five committees to study and review the need and procedure behind changing the lightbulb, each committee represented by at least half a dozen people, so — 30?

I wonder when the Christ returns and there is a new heaven and a new earth if any one will want to be part of it because they have never ‘done’ it that way before …

The ‘modern’ banner is still my favourite.

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Isaiah 43:19  I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.