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Working on a new page... hope to maybe get it up soon, so if you see random things on here... they're just random things. :)

Submissive Art

December 19, 2011

Well, here we go again. Christmas is coming soon, it’s finally cold outside, and I’ve tried probably ten different recipes for apple cider. (I had the best one last night at one of my pastor’s house) A time when all we want to do is snuggle up with a nice warm quilt and read a book straight through. Maybe Lord of the Rings. Or Great Expectations.

I do enjoy other pursuits then quilting. If you’ve read more then this post you know that I do needlepoint, but in addition to that I cross-stitch, tat, and knit.

Well, on these cold rainy days, I’ve spent more time knitting then quilting recently.  I do have something to show you, though.

I have finished all of the blocks for my quilt!  All I have to do now is sew the sashing and put it all together!

Well, I guess that’s all for now, right?

Oh!  You want to see a picture?  Well, if you insist…

This one wasn’t sewn yet, although I do assure you… It is done now!

I thought this was a really cool picture. :)

Our God is so big!  And He’s so good to me! I consider what my hands have made, and remember the One who made my hands from such worthless clay! I’ve taken some theology classes recently, and one of the units was on the Holy Spirit’s working in our life.  When you consider all that He has equipped us to do, it’s staggering.

My customary signature “Because of Him” shows this truth. I am who I am because of Him. He has brought people into my life and taken them out of my life for the purpose of molding my clay-like existence into a beautiful work of art that brings glory to the Master Craftsman. Without Him, all I would be is a lump of dirt. I’m humbled that He would take the time to notice me, an unworthy handmaid, humbled that He is choosing to mold me, that He wants me to be a beautiful piece of art.

Look at my quilt. All it is is pieces of cotton fabric, stitched together in (mostly) straight lines. I can attest to how long it takes inanimate objects to submit to my will to become beautiful. God consistently is working on this stubborn, headstrong lump of clay. I look at my life now, and see a tangled smouosh of what I think are good things and bad things. But I can also see His hand everywhere.  It’ll take a lifetime of being squished  and stretched in His hands.

I wonder what I’ll look like when the Potter declares me done and calls me home.

Because of Him,

Melissa

P.S. Congratulations to my big sister and soon to be big brother on their engagement this weekend!  :)

Piece of mind

September 22, 2011

I admit it… I detest rotary cutting.

Actually I think I detest cutting in general… But rotary cutting in particular freaks me out.

There is so much pressure!!! You go to the fabric store, spend $50-$75 on the “perfect” fabric for the quilt you’re making, and since it’s so expensive, you only buy exactly what you need.  There enters the pressure. You have one chance… all it takes is the ruler slipping once, incorrectly measuring once, your little brother sneaking up behind you ONCE! and it’s all over… either your fabric bites the dust or your finger does. Or maybe even your headphone cords (well how else would little brother be able to sneak up on you?).

Yes, pressure enough to make your hands shake when you take a break. I’ve actually had nightmares about messing up my quilt. There is no “close enough” in quilting. In making a skirt, if you have to shorten it an inch or two because you don’t have enough fabric, chances are it won’t kill you.  If you’re off an inch or two in quilting, it skews the entire thing, or makes it impossible to complete the pattern.

So, after cutting 1,141 separate pieces… I have finished all the cutting for the new quilt. I’ll post more pictures with the color palate and pattern later.

But that brings to my mind a different topic. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with quilting. Consider the following verse:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Isaiah 26:3

For me, I gained a temporal peace of mind when I finished cutting out a piece of fabric. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous how anxious I got over something so (eternally) inconsequential? But what do other people get that worked up about? A job? A school bill? A child? A boyfriend? A house? A TV show? Yes, some of these issues are genuinely valid and I’m not promoting the idea that we should simply stop caring about things, but I wonder how many problems get worked into a position of obsession in our minds. If we are so focused on having everything perfectly worked out, then can we really say we have time to focus and mediate on God’s word? “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”  (What a Friend We Have In Jesus).  It is only through trusting in Him and keeping our mind stayed on Him that we can have true peace of mind.  Yes, things are going to happen.  But keeping your mind stayed on Him keeps those things from becoming all-consuming in your mind.

 

Because of Him,

Melissa

The Musings of a Tenderized Sheep

September 7, 2011

I have been meditating on some things lately. I don’t know what brought these particular verses to mind… Maybe it was my college president talking about desiring ministry being a good thing, maybe my pastor quoted them in a sermon, maybe someone said something similar and it triggered my memory… Maybe it was all three. I don’t know, but I do know I have woken up every morning thinking about it and spent hours in the privacy of my own thoughts chewing through it.

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”  (Matthew 9:36-38) and “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” ( John 4:35)

Have you ever wondered what Jesus could know just by looking at a person? He was God, and as such He had divine foreknowledge and omniscience.  If He knew everything, when He looked at a crowd of people, not only could He see the expressions of wonder, anger, acceptance, contentment, happiness, sadness as we in our human faculties can, but He could also see the intentions behind the faces. He knew if someone was faking listening to Him, He knew if someone was criticizing Him non-verbally, He knew if they were baffled by His words, He knew if they were truly believing what He said.

But He also knew exactly which ones would/already had accepted Him as their Messiah and Savior. Imagine going through life, looking at people and instantly knowing all the hurt they’ve gone through and knowing that they would never accept Christ as Savior unless someone told them. The New Testament speaks often of Christ being moved with compassion when He looked at people. Maybe I can’t get close to conceiving what He went through, but this view of people is life-altering. If you look at people not as the person who makes your coffee at Starbucks, not as the kid who rings up your groceries, not as the weirdo with the pink spiked hair and chains on their clothes, not as the annoying co-worker who is always slacking off, but as someone who needs Jesus. If you see them as people who are hurt and empty, as “Sheep without a shepherd…”

Who are we to decide that that person is not worth the effort to talk to? Who are we to get so busy, that we can’t take 10 minutes a day to pray for missionaries? Who are we to remain silent when given an opportunity?

I’ve recently spent a good deal of time in which I had opportunities by the dozens to present the gospel. It’s much harder now that I’m home, but this sheep has been so tenderized, I want more opportunities and I pray that they come soon.

 

Because of Him,

Melissa

Like a rubber ball

August 2, 2011

Wow! I’ve been away so long! Since I wrote my last post, all I can say is God is good.

It’s strange to look back on all the things I thought of as trials.God tends to bring us situations that make us look through different glasses at our life.

For the past 10 weeks, I’ve been living and working at a children’s camp. When I got here, I really didn’t expect to be stretched that much. I didn’t expect to learn. I didn’t expect to grow. I expected to coast through a summer of working in the kitchen in the hopes of next year being able to be a counselor.

I feel like a piece of rubber. I have been stretched. I have been slammed to the ground with bad news. I have been bounced up to the highest heights by being able to be a part of God’s work here. And I learned that God can use me in spite of how my day/week/year has been going.

During the first two weeks in staff training, our group got to experience an evening chapel in the style of the three different camps – Broken I (Juniors), Ikes Roost (Junior High), and Rivertown (Teens). The messages were aimed toward the staff with the goal of teaching and encouraging us. The Broken I message was on how big is our God.

He is so big. Tonight, find a spot to look at the stars. You can’t see them all, but God created everything you can see and everything you can’t. In Isaiah 40 it talk about God measuring the heavens with the span of His hand. My God is so big! . . . and He cares to look down to see the littlest problem you can bring before Him. He cares about the things that bring you joy. He cares enough to send His Son to die for you. Such great and marvelous condescension. I’ve never felt more small then when I’m working here. Christ died for me before I was born. The Great and Mighty God died for me. “How can I do less then give Him my best and live for Him completely?”

Praise the Lord that over 100 people have come to know Him as savior this summer. And praise Him for the life-altering decisions that have been made. There is still a week and a half left here. Pray that God will continue to use all the imperfect people who have the opportunity to serve here this summer to work His perfect plan.

 

Because of Him,

Melissa

When There Are Things I Can’t Understand.

April 10, 2011

Today is going to be a little different from my usual Sunday posts.  I’ve, quite honestly, been having one of the longest weeks in a long time.  I’ll tell you about that in  a little bit.  To begin with, I’ll start with another Ron Hamilton song.

Rejoice in the Lord

Ron Hamilton

God never moves without purpose or plan

When trying His servant and molding a man

Give thanks to the LORD, though your testing seems long,

In darkness, He giveth a song.

~

Oh rejoice in the Lord

He makes no mistakes

He knoweth the end of each path that I take.

For when I am tried

And purified

I shall come forth as gold

~

I could not see through the shadows ahead,

So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.

I bowed to the will of the Master that day

Then peace came, and tears fled away.

~

Oh rejoice in the Lord

He makes no mistakes

He knoweth the end of each path that I take.

For when I am tried

And purified

I shall come forth as gold

~

Now I can see testing comes from above,

God strengthens His children, and purges in love.

My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;

Through purging more fruit I will bear.

~

Oh rejoice in the Lord

He makes no mistakes

He knoweth the end of each path that I take.

For when I am tried

And purified

I shall come forth as gold

I’ve posted a few times lately about God’s supremacy. But in all fairness, it seems like I’ve been having a pretty peachy keen life.  I guess God thought so too. Well, one thing I’ve been praying to learn this year is that God would teach me to depend on Him more. I didn’t really realize that that would mean loosing some very close friendships.  This week I spent a lot of time counseling and praying for my best friend. I’ve always been afraid of counseling. What if I say the wrong words? What if they get mad at me? What if I get so nervous, I can’t even talk?  Well, that was my whole problem…I, me my.  When the time came for me to talk to this friend, I couldn’t talk.  I can only say that God gave me the words to say.  That might sound like a cliche, or something only a pastor can say in his prayer, but if you’ve ever experienced it, it’s the coolest thing ever!  Now it didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. I did loose a friend because I decided to take a stand.  That has been really hard to deal with.  Even though I can now look back and know I said what I needed to say, I still sometimes struggle with the doubt.  I’m also loosing another friendship for a similar reason, though it hasn’t been so completely cut off.  I’ve discovered that two people who are very close to me lied to me, one admitted it and the other denied it.  I think that this, perhaps, is the most hurtful of all experiences I’ve been through this week.  But, you know what?  2 Corinthians 12:9 says “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  I don’t know or understand why all this has happened to me, but I know that His plan is better for me than anything else I can want.

I thank the Lord for a wonderful Pastor who preaches straight from the Word. Recently his sermons have been about faith. You can listen to these sermons here.  http://www.tricityministries.org/tcbc/sermons/archive.jsp?view=series&seriesId=80

 

 

Because of Him,

Melissa

God’s little blessings

March 17, 2011

It seems funny to me, how we can spend days or weeks or months or even years thinking that God doesn’t bless us. I often have days like that. Today, I was looking back over the past week, which isn’t even close to being over, and I’m so flabbergasted by what God has done in my life. Sometimes when God does something in your life, it doesn’t mean that you made a life-altering decision or that you learned some profound truth. God can work in your life by little things just to send a reminder that He is there.

This week was one I was not looking forward to. My best friend is out of town, and they’re going to miss my birthday because of it. I’m tired of getting up early for work, even though I’m supposed to be on spring break. I woke up on Sunday, wishing I could think of an excuse to sleep in an extra 5 minutes… Yeah, it certainly looked like a bad start to a bad week.

But it didn’t end there. I thank the Lord for the blessing of a particularly faithful pastor at my church. His wife recently passed away, and yet he is still leading songs and standing at the pulpit. When I asked him a question after the evening service, he didn’t give me the short answer and brush me off. He took the time to explain to me exactly what I wanted to know. This is the first of this week’s little blessings.

But it didn’t end there either. Monday, my parents surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of Daffodils, which I showed you a picture of in my previous post. I thank God for loving parents who knew how much I love those flowers, and bought them for me “just because”. This is the second of this week’s little blessings.

And again, it didn’t end there. Tuesday was a particularly trying day at work. I had lots of naughty children and absolutely no help the entire time. At one point, several moms arrived at the same moment to pick up their children. One of the visiting moms, who I will probably never see again, took me by surprise by handing me five dollars. In the eight months I’ve had my job, never has anyone given me a tip. And there have been times I’ve wondered if the other moms even notice me. About half of them ignore me when I say hello or goodbye. This is one of Gods gifts to me. As it says in 1 Corinthians 15 ” forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. ”

But the week is still not over! At home that same day, I found a beautiful bouquet of roses. :) Honestly, smiling is the only way I can think of to express how those flowers make me feel. This is the fourth blessing.

Is our God not a God of blessings? The week didn’t end there! Last night, I found out that I had aced a midterm that I was really worried about. This is His fifth blessing of the week.

I didn’t write all this to brag on myself, but there are so many things that God has blessed me with recently when I didn’t expect it. If you’ve ever wondered as I sometimes do, whether God is even there or cares, remember those days that it seemed as though everything went your way and realize that God had as much control then as He does every day of your life.

Because of Him,
Melissa

Spring is on it’s way!

March 15, 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again… Lots of birds, lots of beautiful spring flowers, lots time during SPRING BREAK!!!!! :)

Who would’ve known that Joanns would pick this time of month to have a sale on quilting fabric? I really love shopping for just the right combination of colors and prints.  I just get so excited! But first you have to pick a pattern… One thing I love to do is visit the local library.  Most libraries nowadays have a little used book shop; and that’s where the treasures are.  There is a particular lady who lives near me who has donated an entire collection of quilting magazines – at the price of two for a quarter. Most of them are as old as me, but honestly, quilt patterns never go out of style. Techniques might fade in and out of favor (puff quilting seems to be almost non-existent right now), but classic patterns like Bears claw, or Ohio Star will always be around.  And I think that lesser know, but classic looking patterns will be just as popular in twenty years as they are now.  It was one of these patterns I picked.  It doesn’t have the 3d visual look as my previous quilt, and it’s mostly made of squares and triangles, something I’ve only worked with once.  But allow me to show you a picture, and you may decide for yourself whether it is a worthy goal or not. :)

The pattern is called “Duette” (I like the musically themed name. :) )

Taa-Daa! Now I need to use a magic wand to poof my fabric into perfect points and straight lines…

Speaking of fabric….  :)

*Sigh* I just love daffodils! :)

And the fabric’s nice too. ;)

Seriously, Daffodils are my favorite flowers. I love how they’re the first notice that Spring is on it’s way. They always start pushing their way up around the second week of March, but sadly, they never last longer then a few weeks.  I look forward to seeing them every year! Maybe someday I’ll live in a more mountainy enviroment where they last longer.

I suppose I should tell you about the other quilt I was making – the rose colored one. The top is finished, but I’m so terrified of actually quilting it, that I have set it aside for the time being. Maybe soon, I’ll pull it out and put it under the needle, but until I get over my fear of hurting it, it’ll sit quite nicely where it’s at.

Consider the lilies how they grow:

they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you,

that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field,

and to morrow is cast into the oven;

how much more [will he clothe] you, O ye of little faith?

~ Luke 12:27, 28 ~

Because of Him,

Melissa