On Being Responsible

rock in burr grinder“We need reminders, not new teaching” to quote a long time friend. The reminder came the other day, I’m grateful.

This reminder started me thinking that I’m holding some things that aren’t mine. Hearing this is like drinking water, refreshing my soul. As this drinking water continues the creative energy that has laid dormant for a while is drinking deeply, being renewed. Letting go of things that aren’t mine to care for the responsibility is then placed (in my mind and heart) with those to whom it rightfully belongs.

With this there is movement in places where I’ve longed to have more of a role and I see right now that pulling back is a great option. Simply because I’m seeing that I’m trying to take on responsibility for things that aren’t mine. And in this particular area doing my own homework, talking to the right person to ask the questions giving me the clarity I needed.

gazanias 003

A friend on fb reminded me that this week is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the great season of Lent. A time of penance and renewal, of giving to God that which rightfully belongs to Him – my whole person. Part of today will be giving consideration to adding something to my daily routine that will renew and refresh my relationship with God. Ideas are already floating around my head. Including meditating on a few passages of scripture including one of my favorites, Philippians 4. For ages I’ve wanted to embrace the gift of joy and kindness, and develop a deeper experience of Trust. It doesn’t always work because tired, hangry, frustrated, hurt, longing. It is in those moments of tired, hangry, frustrated, etc that live the moments of trusting the Father ever more deeply. This takes practice. The same kind of practice that I encourage the people I’m privileged to teach machine quilting to do. I share that we get better stitch by stitch, the more we practice well, and learn how to problem solve the better we become in our quilt work.

img_20170221_214936_839

When I started piecing and quilting my work did not look like this. I’m okay with it, new and inexperienced, and needing guidance is a good thing. This gives the more experienced person, whether a friend or paid teacher, the opportunity to pass on the things that work in their quilt making from cutting well, to choosing needles and thread that make the work easier, and gives the new person the opportunity to improve their work. The more we piece and quilt the better we get. I remember the machine quilting class I took, learning a few things that would work for me, a few things that, while I tried them, don’t work. Like faith, the more I put into learning and growing, the more the understanding will grow, deepen, mature.

Quilting and faith. Faith and quilting.

God bless,

Teri

Posted in faith, reflections, thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yellow Roses

IMG_0406

This is such a lovely memory, more than likely from the New York Botanical Garden not far from home. Shortly after we moved here one of our friends gave me a yellow rose bush. Lean in friends, I’m going to tell you a secret, I love plants however caring for them is not my forte. At some point I trimmed the bush back. So far back I cut below the graft, leaving the bush with no yellow roses. The bush still lives some 18 years later. The other rose bush has started going wild, my sweetie is actively working on keeping that from happening. It’s a process.

Try as I might I tried to convince myself that weeding was a good idea, that it led to some serious spiritual insight. Bah! All it led to was a sunburn and an irritated quilter. Surprised? Yeah, me neither.

botanical gardens with Misty 087I was going to start writing about how one of my long-time prayers was answered. “Rejoice with me Quilters” held strong consideration for the title. Then I stopped. Started thinking about pruning, growing, and waiting. I thought about how this faith is a journey. Then I started thinking, again surprising no one, that “Not yet” and “No” are perfectly legitimate answers. Whoa.

hyacinth blooms
I’d love for the answer to be, “I have something better in mind for you.” That would be great, though it would be what I want.
I’d love for the answer to be something I’d consider to be good. I have some clear thoughts on that, on what that would look like. Oh the places I’d go, the people I’d meet, the lives I’d change, and in changing their lives, other lives would be changed. If only the world was as wonderful as I am…

In the meantime, I’m going to keep praying. Because in and through it all, Trusting God is way more important to me than anything I want.

God is so very good.

God bless,

Teri

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hope

 

In ten short days we will celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the great season of Lent, the color of the season is purple. Lent is one season that has always appealed to this quilter, as it’s not simply about giving up habits, things that bring great pleasure, adding spiritual reading, making sacrifices for others. Lent is that moment when we are reminded of our earthly mortality, and our spiritual mortality. It is that call to conversion, making changes in our earthly, and spiritual life that bring us closer to God. For us, in the northern hemisphere, the earth moves from winter to spring.

At this moment we’re living in Ordinary Time, symbolized by the the color green. A lighter, brighter green symbolizes hope, kind of like the color of the year. And the faith word of the year that I chose, Hope.

Whirling through my head are several recent conversations that have all reminded me that it’s time to hold onto this faith word, hold on to Hope. Hope is active, not passive. It is more than a longing of the heart, a yearning for something more. Hope is willing to let God’s plan unfold, trusting that there is something more going on here. As these conversations whirled through my brain I started chiding myself for not living in Hope that the situations I’m worried about at the moment will work out.

While thinking about all of this, while reminding my self to trust, and hope I realized that, remembered that God is in the middle of all of this. That letting go of the fear will help, this is giving over to active Hope. That it’s okay to pray the prayers I’ve been praying, because praying them is shedding light on those fears.

It’s also a letting go of what I think that I want, how I’ve viewed what a successful quilting career looks like, and being open to where God is leading instead of whining at Him. Honesty moment here: I’ve been whining at God, He’s given me this gift, but it seems like he doesn’t want me to use it. Honestly I know that’s not true, it currently does not look like what I thought it would. That’s okay. This feeling a bit lost is fine.

I’m heading to the sewing room to do some piecing so I can quilt. I have three quilts to finish. And a few blog posts to write.

God bless,

Teri

Posted in hope, Journey, prayer | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m going to stop saying that

rainy days and mondays 003or “Well, I didn’t expect to get that out of it.” There is a life long, ingrained habit that it’s time to let go of, in order to do that new habits will need to be formed. The realization came from two separate conversations. Why these two conversations offered me the opportunity to see is beyond me when a conversation with my sweetie, sobbing and all, didn’t I’m not sure. It may be that in this moment as the journey through Cravings continues I’m much more open to hearing and making a change.

This is going to be a change that takes time, with experiences that set me right back to this place. In the long term though, it’ll be a good change.

For now I’m leaving this as it is, with deep gratitude for the conversations, for Mary de Turris Poust for writing, and for a heart that in this moment is open to change, eyes open to see, hands ready to work, and feet ready to travel. And friends ready to speak truth without knowing how deeply healing it is.

God bless!

Teri

 

Posted in Cravings Tribe, faith | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Noticing a Difference

2653Over the last week or so reading Cravings has been a little bit low on the priority list as the need to do some writing for the magazine, and make a quilt bubbled urgently to the surface.  Like the urgency of the work needing doing some memories, profound ones have bubbled up as well. As the memories bubbled up seeking attention, spending time with them seemed obvious. This time the spending of time was shared with a few close people, thus giving me the ability to see them differently.
Then last night I noticed two things happening over the last week or so. Rather than seeking comfort in food, or wine it’s there for nourishment and pleasure. Over the last few evenings I’ve enjoyed a glass of wine over several hours, as part of the meal and beyond that. What a gift.

I’m going to keep working through Cravings, taking this one step at a time. Later this week I’ll have time to read, and do a little writing. Me, a journal, and a fountain pen. .

God bless!

Teri

 

Posted in Cravings Tribe, Journey, prayer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m at a loss for words, and the funny thing

is, it’s okay. – Mercy Me Word of God Speak

901Perhaps being at a loss for words is not so much a problem, as an opportunity to listen, be still, reconnect.

Enjoy the beauty

step back

seek

let things speak

like the moon and NY City

like the patterns that need words

???????????????????????????????I woke up thinking about a conversation I had with my dad just a few days before I got married. This is one of those moments where the memory is so very present I can tell you where I was, how the sun shone through the windows bathing the room in glorious light, as I sat near the piano having this heart to heart with my dad. There was a long period of time that our home life was not good and that, as you may know or have experienced, can spill over affecting so much more than just home. Dad wished for me that he could have changed all of that. I remember telling him that these are the things that brought me to where I am, doing what I’m doing. He was certainly right about parts of the conversation and perhaps now it’s time to explore that.

In this moment I’m appreciative of the gift of the conversation in that moment, for the memory of that conversation and the quiet that brought it to mind.

May your day be filled with peace,

Teri

Posted in Cravings Tribe, reflections, thoughts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Imperfection Rocks!

the perfect berry crumble – Lisa Leonard

perfectionQuilty, political, faith words run though my head at this moment. Lisa’s honest post opened the gates for words to gather round with great joy seeking attention, letting me know they’re here.

Quilty words because so much I long for quilters to understand that “perfection is a lie”. Especially new quilters. PERFECTION is a lie.

political words because I will do my best to be friends with you even though our political ideals don’t align. I see the beauty in you, I see the pain in you, I love you for who you are. I see our common ground and want to meet you there.

Kelly Ann 001

Faith because I’m not perfect. I don’t even know what a perfect me would look like. I’m not sure that I’d even like that person.

Quilty/faith because I long for each quilter to know their value, that their quilts will improve over time, because their quilts are made with love, care, and concern. Because beauty is contained in the character.

My sweetie tells me that I’m the love of his life all the time. And the doubts that live between my ears telling me this can’t possibly be true. And yet, I know he loves me. All of me. Quirks. Flaws. Long hair. Short hair. Fat. Thin. In shape. Out of shape. Whatever.

He loves me, for me.

I love quilters for who they are, where they are, this is our common ground.

God bless,

Teri

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The gift of knowing

Moon SetThere are words stuck in between the ears waiting to spill out from the brain to the keyboard. As I read a blog on perspective so many thoughts wanting to spill out onto the page.

Thoughts of a friend who is no longer part of the quilting world.

Thoughts of newly minted quilters who judge their work by comparison.

Thoughts of judging myself by comparison. And in my ears I hear a long time, well known quilter saying, “but are they?”

And perspective sets in. Perspective seeps in like a gentle rain into dry ground, giving the ground moisture in a slow, steady way so that the ground can absorb the water. As the ground absorbs the water plants, and trees can absorb the water.

Perspective is being kind to ourselves where we are, not judging our quilts by the work of other quilters. Perspective is not judging ourselves by the (quilting) journey of another person. Because, “are they?”

Perspective is realizing that some things are not exactly what they seem. That there is more to the story, more to the quilter, more to the quilt than what we may see on the surface.

Perspective is realizing that my journey in quilting brought me here to what I do now. It’s not where I thought I’d be but it’s a beautiful place and I’m honored to be here. Honored to know you. Honored to spend time with you.

Perspective allows this teacher, this quilter, this person to offer the wisdom of recognizing that we’re in different places and it’s good. We nurture each other along. Perspective helps to focus in other areas as well.

Perspective allows.

God bless,

Teri

Posted in creativity, faith, hope, Journey, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring the Creative Zone

Wherein Beauty is Rediscovered

20161204_093615My posts lately have been a bit more than I usually post. I’ve known for a long time that exploring the food, faith, and their relationship. As I read Cravings the language of this discussion is clarifying, allowing me to explore some life stuff that needs some exploration. Oddly enough, I have the time at this moment to explore this and the food/faith relationship is demanding attention. A long time ago I learned to be comfortable with my body shape. It took a while to just own it. I must admit to shocking people with how I owned it in saying, “I’m a short, fat, quilter.” Each one of these things is true. I’m short, five feet tall since 9th grade. It’s a family trait on both sides. I’m also blessed with longer feet. I’m fat. I got to a point with the weight going up and down that I was just done. I’d get so far, plateau, and no matter what I did to help reduce the weight and tone the body nothing happened. For a number of reasons I believed that there might be some thyroid dysfunction the tests always returned “within normal range.” And still that nagging intuition. And I’m a quilter, while that’s kind of obvious it’s a descriptor that helps me focus on the beauty that resides within.

Did you read that? The the descriptor helps me focus on the beauty that resides within. Beauty beyond the outward appearance of this body. The beauty that resides on my face when I’m quilting, talking with a student, helping a customer choose the fabrics that will work for their quilt, selling a sewing machine, looking at my sweetie’s eyes. And sometimes when I look in the mirror I see the youthful appearance inherited from genetic traits from both sides of the family, and the distinct lack of gray hair. I see curls! now that I know how to bring them out. I see the dimples, another family trait. I like my dimples.

I also see a quilter who continues to work hard to hone her skills – won with blood, sweat, tears; with hour upon hour of sitting at the machine stitching, until my mind gave way to the creative zone. Going there is the coolest thing ever. It is the happy place. The one where creative ideas pour forth in unceasing, gentle, sometimes powerful waves. This space is a place of renewal. I’ve been there once in the last few weeks, it was glorious!

img_0710This place I’m in right now is a place of healing. I’ll explore this as long as God leads down this path. There are signs of spring.

You know I’ve had a love affair with the moon forever. I love the moon. I love how she waxes and wanes. I love how she shows us fully her bright side; and how sometimes she fully shows us her not so bright side. Tonight on the way home the moon is a wee sliver. Sometimes the wee littlest bit of light shines so brightly giving hope, leading the way.

Every now and again the quilt we’re working on leads the way, showing us a different way to go. As we go down that path, as we explore something beautiful happens.

God bless,

Teri

Posted in Cravings Tribe, creativity, faith, grace mercy love, hope | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Longing

Longing.
Yearning.
Wanting.
Desiring.
Seeking.
Searching.
Guiding.
Learning.
Leading.
Teaching.
Praying.
Thinking.
Contemplating.
Considering.
Accepting.
Rejecting.
Recognizing.
Listening.
Caring.
Changing.
Hoping.

I don’t quite remember how I started reading Beauty Beyond Bones, Caralyn writes profoundly about her relationship with her body, with food, and her relationship with God. Her blog post Eat Pretty rattled around between the auditory canals, asking me to listen to the words. Particularly over the last few days as I’ve baked,  the spiritual relationship with food, the nourishment of body and soul lived at the forefront of thoughts and prayers. In light of reading Cravings this makes a lot of sense.

This morning the thoughts placed themselves in the right order to make sense enough to write about. (And rest assured this will be a quilt/creativity related post.) Going back to Genesis we read and hear the story of the fall in the Garden, how Adam and Eve ate the apple, forever changing their relationship with God. In that moment our relationship with God and, our bodies, and food and work are forever changed. There is now something misordered, and burdensome about all of these things, at least potentially. I can imagine before the fall Eve looking deeply at her reflection in a pool of water and enjoying the gift of her own beauty, not vainly, but appreciatively, seeing the good the Lord has done. I can imagine Adam and Eve being loving and caring with one another, offering themselves to one another with great awe and admiration. I can imagine the enjoyment of food both for nourishment and the joy of eating. And then, in one fell swoop, with whatever happened, it was gone. Gone. Adam and Eve both lied. Adam and Eve both listened to the evil, believed it, and took action on that lie. That lie misordered so much.

The truth is, we all buy the lie, at great cost. We all buy the lie that we’re not good enough. We’re not smart enough, we can’t do the very thing that we’re setting out to do.We buy the lie that our bodies aren’t right if they do not conform to current social norms. If our faces have acne, if our booty is bigger than a size zero. If our eyes aren’t bright blue and our hair blond, we’re not pretty. It’s a lie.

We buy the lie when we believe deeply that the work of our hands is not worth the price we’re asking. We buy the lie when we listen to the “it’s not good enough for prime time” when we hold back. We buy the lie when we hold back our talents, we hold back from promoting our work, for getting paid what our labor is worth.

What happens for some of us? We seek comfort in food, alcohol and many other things. We seek to hide behind a bigger body, or a thinner body. We seek comfort, consolation and find it in ways that betray us. Because the only words that matter are the ones from our Father who says, “I love you and you are mine” and “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” and “it is finished”.

This week using my own hands to make bread has been cathartic. I’ve been struggling greatly with so many things but my identity most of all. My true identity is as a well-loved child of God who is has, through God’s prompting, become a good quilter, a decent teacher, a mentor who asks good questions, a well-loved wife, and so much more. And yet these roles: quilter, teacher, mentor, and wife make no difference in the dignity of the human person. These are gifts, good gifts, to be explored and learned, and opportunities to discover and more fully participate in the relationship with God and other human beings I’m privileged to meet and interact with.

Our identity is as His well-loved kid.
Our identity does not change if our quilts win awards.
Our identity does not change if our bread rises perfectly.
Our identity does not change if our quilts are imperfect.
Our identity does not change if our bread falls flat.
Our identity does not change if our garlic knots are garlicky enough.
Our identity does not change if our booties are tiny.
Our identity does not change if we have …oh you get it.
We are His. We are loved.

The only thing that changes is my response to that love. The only thing I can do is trust His Love and Mercy. Cling to Hope. And just be.

May our longing to dwell in that love reach fulfillment.

God bless,

Teri

Posted in grace mercy love, reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment