Monday, April 24, 2017

Finding Purpose

One thing I've really been struggling with is finding purpose, and my place, in life. I've felt like I really need to know what defines me, as if I need my answer to be on some big billboard for all the world to see. (It sounds dumb saying that out loud, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not the only one that feels something along these lines. I think there are a lot of us who want to be noticed, want to feel special, and want to know that we are making a difference in the world and the lives of those around us. Not necessarily for the whole world to see, but at least in our own little place of the world. And sometimes it's hard to not have the appreciation or acknowledgment splattered right in front of our face.) The funny thing is, is that I hate getting acknowledged for the things I do. I hate the attention, and being singled out. It makes me so uncomfortable. (Humans are such complicated beings. lol.)

This morning I woke up thinking, "if I didn't feel like I had purpose before, now I really don't feel like I have purpose. What am I going to do?"

Yesterday at church our lesson in Relief Society (the women's organization, and is also the third hour of the day for all women 18 years and older) was from the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley, The Whisperings of the Spirit.

In the lesson he quotes Elijah,
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11–12).
Gordon B. Hinckley goes on to say,
Such almost invariably has been the word of God as it has come to us, not with trumpets, not from the council halls of the learned, but in the still small voice of revelation. Listening to those who seek in vain to find wisdom and who declaim loudly their nostrums [or cures] for the ills of the world, one is prone to reply with the Psalmist, “Be still, and know that I am God: …” (Ps. 46:10) and with the Savior, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 11:15.)

Another thing I've been thinking about this morning, and for the past few months, is how I really can't do anything without Christ. I definitely learned that lesson last year with all of my health problems. It was a very humbling and spiritual experience to begin to see just how much the Lord helps us every moment of every day of our lives. Every breathe I take every day is a blessing, and I'm grateful for this life that I have been granted to live.

But on the flip side of that, I've since been struggling with, "well, if I can do nothing without Him, then what/who am I?" I've felt very worthless and lost. It's been rather discouraging.


This morning as I've thought about these things, yesterdays lesson combined with my other thoughts,  I was reminded that we are the offspring of our Heavenly Father, and as such, we have the same attributes and characteristics as He does.

Here's what I realized,

If the Lord is not in the large and boisterous world, with fame and glam, and riches and glory, but is instead in the still small voice, then that must be my place also.  I don't need fame and recognition and glory. I can find joy and purpose in the quiet, mundane, and simple acts of service that often get overlooked and unnoticed. Because isn't that exactly what the Lord does every single day? How often do His works and miracles get overlooked, unnoticed, and even demeaned and rejected? Am I in bad company if I seek to keep my place among what the world would call the "nobodies"?!

I found that in all of our moving, and with all the people we've met, and in all my observations, that the cream of the crop is really among the quiet and simple, those who don't shout for attention, but rather live their lives the best they can and focus their attention on the doing what good they can - not on getting the attention of everyone else.

Ramble: Which for me, this is also a reminder that the whole idea of "getting more followers" or more subscribers, or more whatever, has never been something that's made me happy or fulfilled. It can be exciting, definitely! And humbling, and mind boggling. lol. But that is also not where I want my focus to get caught up in. Counting numbers is not joy. The people are joy. not numbers. and I feel like in my business, I've really lost that connection with the awesome people that I've been blessed to meet - who I wouldn't have met without my business, but I also haven't been able to foster those relationships. Anyway...

I have also experienced in my own life, that as I do the little things like washing the dishes or cleaning my home, or doing the laundry, that it is in those simple acts of service in creating an atmosphere of love and comfort for my family, that I do find great joy and satisfaction in doing those things. Granted they are not on the top of my list of things I want to do. And they often get neglected. And now that I am not focusing my attention on my business, my husband better not get the idea that I'm now going to spend 100% of my time cleaning and organizing and I will suddenly become the *perfect* housewife. lol. But it's still hard to feel satisfied with that sometimes. And I still find myself wanting to do more.

Anyway, I also realized this morning that with my struggle of feeling like I can't do anything on my own, that perhaps that doesn't have to be a bad thing! Perhaps that is the BEST thing I could learn and utilize. And that perhaps instead of feeling of little or no worth because of it, instead I can find the greatest possibilities as I team up with the one who overcame all things and can do all things!

I love the scripture,
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philipians 4:13)

 Isn't that such a glorious statement?! Oh how easy I forget...

So here's to throwing out all of the business standards expectations that I slowly adopted over the years (you know, like you can't write a blog post if you don't have perfect photos, or any phtos at all, oops I just broke that one!) ;) All of which are in fact very good rules, and I'm not dissing them. (For a long time I thought it was the rules or guidelines that were restricting me, but then I realized today that it was the self-imposed expectations that I placed on myself. Expectations of what my business should look like, things I should post or shouldn't post (posts like this one), etc.) But for me they became restrictive - a list of don't do's, and I felt like the more I followed *the rules* the more I lost myself and who I was, and the less I shared the exact things that I have to offer that make me who I am. It's not a bad thing, it's just now who I am.


After all my thinking this morning, I have decided to not try and figure out who I am. I'm not going to try and find my purpose or my role in this life. I'm not going to try and define myself or what I want to do.

Instead I'm going to  take each moment as it comes. I'm going to find what I can give and give it. I'm going to focus on Christ, and live with Him. I'm going to show up and see what happens! I can do nothing on my own, but I can't wait to see what I can do with Him by my side! After all, our weaknesses are not bad, they are possibilities and potential just waiting to happen,

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)

 Let the adventure begin!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hello! and goodbye...

I looked at my blog the other day and realized that I haven't posted anything since December.

"Oh, oops." Maybe I should fix that.

First let me fill you in on all the happenings around here...

First of all, we moved. From northern Idaho to North Dakota. We found out right around Christmas time, started packing the first of January, and left Idaho on the 14th. We arrived in North Dakota and stayed in a hotel for a week and then moved in to our new place.

We absolutely LOVE it here! We missed the really cold weather, and by now it's actually starting to warm up, so weather wise, it's been great! And definitely not as bad as we had thought it would be. Though I'm going to wait until next winter before I make any set-in-stone judgements about the weather. ;)

The Mr loves his job! Like sersiously, it's a really really great job! I feel too lucky for him to be so blessed, I'm afraid I'm going to jinx it if I start telling everyone we're staying for ever! Though I really hope we do. At least for now. ;)

The kids LOVE school! I LOVE their school! When I first got them registered they had me meet with the principle which I thought was strange. But as I sat with her and she told me all about the school and their programs and schedules and well, everything, I literally started crying. "How in the world did we ever get so lucky to get in a school this amazing?!! I didn't even know this existed!" Those were my exact thoughts. What a blessing! Over the last few months, they still love it and we love it, and it's a great experience! Yay! Tommy even started speech therapy there and he LOVES it! And his teacher loves him! It seriously couldn't get any better than this.

I am really loving it here too... though with everything so good, I'm feeling rather out of place.

We have moved a LOT since we've been married. This is our 8th move in the 10 years we've been married. So we've got the moving thing down. And this isn't just like around the corner moves. I think only one move was in the same town, and one other move was still at the same job but different city. We've been all over Utah, Iowa, Florida, Northern Idaho, and now North Dakota. But with all those moves, while they've all been an adjustment, this one has thrown me off my rocker.

All the other moves were a change in location and in our place of residence, but my role was the same, my stress and pressures were fairly the same, the needs of me were the same. I knew who I was, and what I did, and what I needed to do to contribute. But this place is different. Suddenly my stress is gone, my burdens and baggage are gone, I've gone through a lot of healing of my past over the last year or so, and I feel like I'm in a really really good place emotionally and mentally and spiritually. I'm getting back into eating better and exercising, so physically I'm doing better as well. I've even started taking anxiety medicine, which has taken the edge off and it feels awesome! I really don't know what could be better....

Except despite all of this I feel completely lost. I don't have the pressure and stress that I had before to work and run my business. For the first time since I started my business, I don't have to. We aren't in a crunch or a need for that extra income - which really was my driving factor behind running it. And now that that's gone, I'm not sure what to think. about my business. about me. about anything.

About a month after we got settled in I went through this period where I absolutely hated my job and I hated quilting. I hated it. I resented it. and I was just so mad. While I've enjoyed the journey, I've also gone through a lot of trials and struggles, dealing with issues from my past, dealing with current issues at the time, dealing with my fabric addiction, stress, being a tired mom, life in general, and lots of health problems. It's been a really hard and exhausting 6 years.

But then I realized that it's not the quilting that I hate. But rather that quilting really was my therapy, my relief, my escape, my distraction, my solution. It was woven into everything I did and everything I dealt with so tightly, that I feel like I am now having a hard time separating those experiences from the activity of quilting and designing.

It also makes me sad, because while it's helped me, I also feel like because of it (but really because of everything else that happened in life) I missed out on a lot of life. I feel like I missed out on my kids being little. I feel like I missed out on friendships and relationships. I definitely missed out on sleep and being healthy and taking care of myself.

But now, for the first time, I feel free from this. I feel free from everything. It's a miracle and a blessing, and I find that I am really really tired. and as much as I want to enjoy it, and where I'm going and all the opportunities that are presenting themselves to me since we've moved here, which really are so awesome. I'm not excited about them. It's cool, and I'm grateful. But I don't have the passion that I once did.

I've wrestled a lot with what I should do and where I should go next. I definitely want to focus more on my family and taking care of myself. I want to take time to do the things in life that I've always wanted to do. I don't want to over commit myself and be run by deadlines and work - controlling my life and limiting the things I can do and enjoy. Over the past however many years, I've been tied to my work. A prisioner in my home because I had too much work to do that I couldn't go have fun, or even just relax (which I really didn't want to do at the time anyway, and with my little kids, I couldn't really go anywhere anyway - a huge part of the reason why I started quilting in the first place. Because I was stuck at home with my kids and quilting gave me something to do.)

Anyway... as much as I've thought about it, I can't figure out what to do. I could keep designing patterns, but I'm really struggling to find the purpose in that. How would that better the world? How am I bettering people's lives by designing patterns? What difference does that make? I want to do something meaningful, and I can't see how what I do as a pattern designer and running my business matters to anyone else.

So then what???

I'm writing this post for a few reasons. One, because maybe if I put this out there and share my struggle with the world, then just maybe I'll find my purpose or an answer, or at least a point in the right direction.

Two, because I want to test the waters and see what it would be like to quit my job and just walk away. So, with this post, that's what I'm going to do. I am going to say goodbye to my job and to quilting. I'm not sure for how long. It might only be a month, or a week, but maybe it'll be a few months, a few years or forever. I don't know! I do have some things I'll be sticking around for, but I want to cut the ropes 100% at least for a bit to see what it feels like. I've tried to continue to write and design patterns, and now I need to try quitting, so I can compare the two and know which is the right answer for me at this point in my life.

So that's it! I'm done! I know that I have a few things that I said I'd be doing, like the extra sashing patterns for the Zodiac BOM, but I'm not going to be doing them. I apologize for setting up that expectation, but that really was over my head to begin with. I bit off more than I could chew with that. I did finish the Simple Sashing pattern, and that was really all I was going to provide anyway when I initially said I'd do the sashing pattern. If you're mad at me, I'm sorry. But I need to walk away from this right now.

Otherwise, I don't think there is anything else out there that I still have left hanging commitment wise (unless I've chatted with you today, Marian if you happen to read this. I'm still on for that.)

But otherwise I'm checking out! I'm not even going to say I'm on vacation, because a vacation for me is more work than not being on vacation, so I'm not even going to try to complicate it.

And now I don't even know how to end this... I don't know how to walk away from something. especially this. lol. This has been my life, constantly in the back of my head every day. But I'm kind of excited! Maybe I'll start posting on Instagram again. And maybe I'll start being more social again. Maybe I'll come up with some really cool thing to start doing... or maybe I'll just sleep a lot and go to bed early, and spend a lot of time cooking really healthy meals, and working out, and next time you see me I'll be all muscly and fit. haha!

I don't know. But I'm sure whatever it is, will be awesome!

Thanks for hanging out with me! I obviously still love ya! and hope to see all the cool things you'll be doing and making. (and I guess I should say, that I'm keeping my shop open. And I'll still have my patterns for sale... and you can still tag me and such. But I'm going to stop playing the role of this business woman, and just be me again. No more marketing, no more selling, no more newsletters for now. And like I said, maybe I'll be back sooner than later. I don't know.)

Ok, enough rambling.

Have a good night! and I'll see you around!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Expiring SOON!!

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season!! Christmas definitely snuck up on me, but the past few days have been absolutely fabulous! I hope they have been for you as well!!

I have been bombarded with promotional emails over the last week, and I don't want to add to the overwhelming mass marketing going on right now, but I DO want to let you know that there are only a few days left to grab the Zodiac BOM pattern!!  

It is expiring on December 31st at midnight!

All of the patterns have been released and are now available! I also updated the Aquarius pattern a little, and I hope it goes together a little more smoothly. (I didn't get any complaints about it, but it didn't meet my own expectations, so hopefully this is better!)

What are others making?!

Be sure to join the Facebook group to see the amazing creations that everyone is making!

You can also check out all the hashtags on Instagram to see the blocks being shared on there as well!

I am seriously so impressed!! Everyone is so creative and talented! and these quilts will be gorgeous!! And look close! Because these aren't just being made into quilts! I love the creativity!

Here's what I'm making!

I have been working on hand quilting my Aquarius mini quilt all year long! I've been working on it every Thursday night while I wait for my oldest at cub scouts. It's been a slow process, but I am ALMOST done! If I can I'm going to do whatever it takes to finish it before the year is over! I think I can make it! :)

I don't have a design wall, so I haven't been able to hang up all my blocks together. Instead, I've been using Photoshop to put all my blocks together. It's not perfect, but it's been a fun way to see the quilt grow. I'm ready to sew it all together.... except now I don't know if I want to add sashing. too many decisions.

I am also going to make this Gemini/Taurus quilt. I have all the templates printed and cut out, and my fabric assigned. So hopefully this will be a quick finish this year, well, next year. 

I'm going to use fabrics by 1canoe2.  I can't wait to get this pieced together!

AND.... I have a long list of quilts that I want to make with these patterns! There are just so many possibilities! I love it!

What's still to come!

Hosting this block of the month has been a huge learning curve for me, and unfortunately due to unexpected life events, some of the things I had hoped to do didn't happen. BUT that doesn't mean they won't happen. I still have them on my to-do list, and I have a few other things I'm adding as well!

A quick overview of what you get:
  • 12 patterns in 3 sizes each (9 inch, 12 inch, and 18 inch finished block sizes)
  • lots of coloring pages
  • cutting templates
  • assembly instructions
  • fabric requirements
  • access to a video tutorial that includes all of my tips and tricks for using cutting template
  • coming soon: video tutorial for my techniques and tips for paper piecing
What I'm adding:
  • sashing ideas, sashing ideas, and more awesome sashing ideas!
Originally I was going to only include some very basic sashing ideas. But then I started writing up the instructions for them, and came up with some pretty awesome design ideas! For everyone who purchases the Zodiac BOM pattern before the end of the year, will receive ALL of the new sashing instructions and patterns. They will really be a great way to expand the pattern possibilities!! Just check these ones out!

 Here are two examples of sashing ideas that will work with the Aquarius pattern! (as well as a few of the other blocks). I whited out the actual block so you can see exactly where the sashing is! On the left, the design is one sashing thick, while the design on the right is two sashing thick (and a different pattern). It's a fun way to expand the block design as well as grow the size of your quilt!

 Here's the Aries block with the sashing. This one shows the sashing two thick between the blocks. This creates an amazing weave pattern!

I'll be creating sashing patterns like this for all of the blocks! And these will be sent out for free to everyone who purchases the Zodiac pattern by Saturday night!

What happens on January 1st?!?

On January 1st, each of the 12 Zodiac patterns will be sold as individual patterns. That means you will be able to purchase only 1 pattern, or any combination of patterns, without having to get all of the patterns. (Each pattern will still include all 3 sizes).

Each individual pattern will still include:
  • The individual pattern in 3 sizes (9 inch, 12 inch, and 18 inch finished block sizes)
  • coloring pages
  • cutting templates
  • assembly instructions
  • fabric requirements for the individual block
  • access to a video tutorial that includes all of my tips and tricks for using cutting template*
  • coming soon: video tutorial for my techniques and tips for paper piecing*
*videos will become public whether you purchase the pattern or not.

 What will be different:
  • Patterns will be priced as individual patterns, not at the bundled price
  • Sashing pattern swill be an inexpensive add on, you can pick and choose which ones you want. You'll even be able to use these as individual patterns independent of the Zodiac patterns!

Anyway, I just want to let you know of the changes! If you've been wanting to grab all of these patterns, now's the time to do so!!

And if you happened to fall behind with your blocks this year, don't fret!! There is no deadline. And I know that a few people are just starting now! So you're not alone if you want to start up again. I'm hoping to make at least a few more projects with them as well this year! So we can still quilt them together! And of course I'm always here if you have any questions!

As always, Happy Quilting! & Happy Creating!!

And I hope you have a happy and safe new year!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast

Happy Monday!! Well, I hope it is! That always seems like an oxymoron to say that. ;)

Anyway... I wanted to share with you my exciting news and invite you to come join me!

Have you ever listened to the American Patchwork and Quilting podcast with Pat Sloan? If you haven't you should! It's really fun to listen to and *meet* a wide variety of quilters and people from all over! At least for me, I like getting an inside glimpse of peoples personalities besides what they edit and share on social media. And Pat Sloan is absolutely great! It would be hard for me to talk to totally random people on the spot and keep it interesting and not awkward, so what she is able to do is absolutely fantastic and really enjoyable!

So if you wanted to check it out, you should definitely come listen to it TODAY! Because guess who's going to be on??? ME!

I'm really excited!! and a bit nervous, but I think it will be fun!

The show starts at 4 pm EST
Here is a time converter for your time zone.

or you can subscribe on iTunes.

I hope you'll come cheer me on! And that you enjoy it!! ;)

Have a great day!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Phew! I've never been more grateful for Monday!

What??? You might be wondering how I suddenly lost my mind. Who loves Mondays?

Well, after last week, I'm more than anxious to wipe the slate clean and get on with my life.

Now, before you start screaming inside with thoughts like, "but our future..." or "how can you not be angry." or "ggggrrrrrr!" Let me explain.

In my renewed commitment to care for myself so I am then ABLE to care for others, and my desire to create an environment for myself and my family that is healthy, uplifting, and empowering, I have come up with a list of things that I can do, and actually succeed at, in doing my part to keep my future going in a direction that I am happy with.

And because the world is flooded with negativity and hate, I decided that perhaps I could add some positivity and hope, and hopefully empower others to make their own lists of powerful actions that will help contribute to the future we all WANT, and not the future we all FEAR. Because as I just heard someone say,

"Fear NEVER leads you where you want to go."
- Elice Grice (I totally changed the words around, but the meaning is still the same).

Isn't that powerful?!!! So true!

So here's my list of faith based actions that I am going to focus on in my life. (Because faith is the opposite of fear.)

Always be positive. In my speech, in my actions, AND in my thoughts. Because if I'm thinking negatively, when I hit my limit of tolerance and patience, those negative thoughts are going to blow out of my like a volcano that just lots it top! I must make sure that when I've reached my limit, that what's inside isn't going to be damaging.

I have found that at least for me, a clean home = a happy home. I get agitated when I'm surrounded by garbage (not that we have garbage lying around, but things like old homework that can be recycled, etc), clutter, toys and clothes everywhere. Basically when things are not where they belong. A messy house, kitchen (unwashed dishes, dirty counter tops, etc) it all adds up and adds to one more thing that isn't as good or nice as it could be. It just feels negative to me.

I'm not striving for perfection here, or the perfect model home, but it does help me tremendously! (and involving my kids with chores is awesome too!!)

I recently went to a meeting, and one of the speakers talked about how we can help others find their way: We can speak the language of the Spirit.

Think of this, if we are all English speakers, but then never speak English, how can our children learn English? It is not something that comes naturally. And if you have learned another language, or have studied the rules of the English language, you know just how much of it is learned through hearing and being immersed in it. How often have you said, "that doesn't sound right".

Anyway, the same is true with the language of the Spirit. This language is the ultimate language of love, peace, hope, and faith. It is the language of everything good. You cannot speak the language of the Spirit and speak with hate. They are NOT the same language.

Thinking about this I realized that this is one thing that I can do. Now don't go assume that I'm going to start being all religious or preachy. Because I'm not. This isn't a "the world needs to be converted" type thing. This is simply re-familiarizing ourselves with something I personally believe we all have a piece of in our hearts and in our beings. It's about returning to love and kindness. It's about having courage to love without bounds (because that can be scary!)

The language of the Spirit is powerful, and as I seek to further understand this language, I want to be sure to practice it and use it, so 1. I don't loose it/forget it, and 2. so others can also become familiar with it, and like I wrote in the first sentence, to help them find their way.

Find their way from hate to love, from confusion to purpose, from doubt to faith, discouragement to hope. I can honestly say I have never met anyone whose life goal was to be discouraged and angry. Though sometimes our actions lead us there without even realizing where we are actually going.

Teach my children to be kind. Teach them to love everyone. Teach them to use kind words. To SEE the people around them for who they are, children of God.

Recently I have really begun to learn just how much we can live our lives without SEEing anything that is around us. Yes, we see the grass, the sky, our home, the people we live with and work with. The people at the store, the clerk that we give our money too. But are we really looking at them? Do we really SEE them? Or do these things and these people simply blend into the background of the virtual reality we are living in our own thoughts and minds?

To REALLY SEE the world around us, we must be willing to step outside of ourselves. Be uncomfortable. Put ourselves out there, and REACH towards others to also help them step outside of themselves, and to step into who they are to understand where they are coming from. Get out from behind the screens. Get out from behind the fear, anger, pain. Be vulnerable and LIVE.

Seeing goes hand in hand with FEELING. Sometimes the feels are scary. But what we need to remember is that they are beautiful! Even the sad and painful feels are beautiful, because only with them can we also experience the highs of the joy and peace and love!

I want to teach this to my children. I want to teach them to live outside of their own realities and share and experience this world with the people we have been placed here with. And to do so in a positive manner.

I don't want to each anything, think anything, do anything, without also living it AND experiencing it for myself. How can I talk about love, if I do not know love. How can I teach another to love, if I haven't walked down that path and found my own answers. How can I comfort and mourn and understand, if I haven't already experienced that pain and the relief that comes through experience.

I'm not perfect. And I'm not going to understand everything. But I am going to give it my everything to live as close to what I feel is right as I can.

I really think that all of these things on my list go hand-in-hand and that for the most part, they all have a large overlap. When I do one, I'll most likely be doing one or more of the other things as well.

Forgiveness, forgiving, being willing to forgive. While all the things on my list are great and are all means to reach the same end goal, I really truly believe that NONE of them are possible if not combined with forgiveness.

Forgiving is hard. It's hard when we don't do it. I think there are so many misconceptions about forgiveness though that make us believe that forgiving is the last thing we want to do. But those misconceptions are a lie! We think that, "if I forgive the offender is 'let off the hook'", "I want to make them pay", "justice is denied if I forgive", "but I'm still angry!", "what they did is wrong and unforgivable!" And the reasons go on and on!!!

But all of these excuses are lies! Not that they are lies in and of themselves. You might still be angry. What they did might be absolutely evil. But that's not where the lie is, and that's why it's tricky. The lie is in that all of those "excuses" are reason to not forgive. They are NOT. Forgiveness is ALWAYS the best and first solution to every problem!

Here's why: Ultimately, in the end, forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person and EVERYTHING to do with YOU!

Trust me. I know what I'm talking about. I have had loads and loads of experiences in my own life that have given me ample opportunities for forgiveness. I have been wronged, betrayed. I have been the victim others others evil actions as well as the victim of neglect. I have caused pain and problems for myself (yes! Forgiving ourselves is also included here and just as important as the rest of it!), I have been hurt, sad, angry. I have been offended, rejected, and on and on.... even just being annoyed gives us an opportunity to forgive.

That brings up how to tell if you need to forgive. Are you angry? annoyed? hateful? Do you have resentment? Are you withholding: anything from love, kindness, even words in general? Are you scared? Hurt? Alone? Do you struggle to feel love or give love? Are you jealous? envious? Do you have pride: think you're better than someone else? or feel like someone is better than you? Do you feel like you are in competition with someone? or everyone? Do you see something, anything, and it triggers a range of negative emotions that tend to motivate you to act in unkind or unproductive ways? These and more, are many of the personal feelings I have found that let me know that it's time to forgive. 

Last year I spent about an entire year forgiving.
It ranged from my parents and my resentment for the life they gave me verses the life they should have given me if they had only x, y, and z. To people who have judged and criticized me. It included people who have physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually hurt me. As well as people who I have felt inferior to, or excluded by. And it included MYSELF in so many ways from so many angles. Forgiving myself for not loving myself, for not believing in myself, for not being "good enough"; for the many stupid mistakes I have made; for being too scared, too weak, or too lazy. For holding myself to a standard of perfection that I'll never reach. I forgave my pride and the pride of others. I forgave anything and everything I could find to forgive.

And MOST IMPORTANTLY I forgave God. This can be the hardest and scariest of all, but by far it is the most important one!

You see, forgiving isn't about the other person. Forgiving is ALL about YOU and only you! When you forgive someone, it breaks down YOUR walls, not theirs. It allows for healing in YOUR heart, which can then influence healing in their heart... but there that is one of the many consequences of forgiveness. But it is not the first and foremost result. We are not responsible for other people and the consequences they will have for their actions. God is the only one in charge of justice and mercy. But we are the ones commanded to always forgive. Forgive 70 times 7. That's a lot.

And that's a lot because we need it a lot. Not for anyone else. But we need it for ourselves. Every time we don't forgive, we place a brick in our wall. And as that wall grows our hearts harden. The sun is blocked from our view and we start to wither and die. There are no windows in this wall of unforgiveness. And eventually it suffocates us.

BUT when we do forgive, we break down that wall like Chip on Fixer Upper! (I don't know if I've ever seen someone get so much pleasure from tearing down a wall. Makes me want to try it!) It's exhilarating! It's freeing! and it allows for the greatest healing of all!

When we forgive, we are made free. We are released from anger, hate, and resentment. Our burdens are lightened. We let go of the triggers of pride. We are at peace. And when we forgive God - because when we are angry about our lives or the aspects of our lives, we are angry with God, because He has given us this life with all the goods and bads. And when we forgive Him, He is no longer on one side with us on the other. But just like He is waiting to do, we now allow Him to do, and that is LOVE us. His love is perfect. I cannot explain with words the full encompassing feelings of that love. But I have felt it. I think forgiving God is the most powerful thing we can do in our lives! Even if you don't believe in God. Try it. Tell the air that you do. (and when you mean it... commence crying now. It is something that I need to do on a continual basis.)

Anyway... I don't want to get all quirky and weird. But my point is, is that there is a lot of hate in this world right now... and oozing over from last week. But we need to FORGIVE!

Now before you refuse to and tell me all your reasons again of why you can't, let me tell you some truths of forgiveness that might help change your mind.

Forgiveness does not mean that you are ok with the wrong actions you are forgiving.
Forgiveness does not give the go ahead for the person to repeat the bad actions.
Forgiveness does not mean that you stay in harmful situations, or that you tolerate a certain behavior.
Forgiveness does not release the person from being accountable for their actions.
Forgiveness does mean you now sit back and do nothing.
Forgiveness is not weak.
Forgiveness is not accepting someones views or behaviors.
Forgiveness is NOT about the other person. It is about taking care of yourself.

Forgiveness does hopefully lead to repaired relationships, happier and healthier lifestyles.
When you forgive someone, you still act towards a desired result. You don't go burn down their home. But if needs be, you report them to the police, you stay active in your local politics to ensure that your voice is continually being heard. You stand up for truth and fight bigotry - but you don't pick sides. If you find yourself picking sides, you might need to forgive again.

But the thing is, is that IF YOU CAN FIRST FORGIVE, you can fight your battles in appropriate ways. You can do so with love and respect. You can do so in a productive manner that will actually produce the results you want!

Anyway, this one turned out to be really long. But I think it's so important.

Taking last week as an example. There were a lot of people who were/still are angry. But I did not read one comment from an angry person that was kind OR productive. Rather, what was coming from these unforgiving people was leading to the exact results that they were "fighting" against. They became the exact thing they hated to begin with. That's the damage and danger of not being willing to forgive. Just like the Language of the Spirit, love and hate cannot coexist together. The translator between the two languages is forgiveness.

So anyway. Forgive. By the end of last week I found myself picking sides, and I knew that I had had enough. So my last think is to not drink the poison. If I immerse myself in what everyone else is doing, there is no way I can keep my hands out of the mud too.

So I'm going to stay off social media, except for my fun business stuff. Or to be positive and happy. No more Facebook for a while! Less time on Instagram. I need less time drinking the poison, and more time doing the things on my list. What is that saying, you are what you eat?! Well, what I fill my time with, is what my life becomes. I can't spend my life on Facebook and then in 40 years say that I explored the world. Nope. I can say that I spent 40 years on Facebook. Wow. Is that ever a depressing thought if I ever heard one! 


So there is my list. What do you think? Is there anything that especially stood out to you? What would you/are you going to put on your list?

    Over the weekend I realized just how much last week affected me.  I feel like it put my life and my goals on hold. So in the end, yes, 


    Now I think I'm going to go finish up my Locked in Spots pattern finally, and maybe have time to quilt! It's the important things, right?!

    Happy Monday!

    Thursday, November 3, 2016

    Exploring Creativity: 70's Geese Wrap Up!

    This post is a part of the Exploring Creativity series. You can read all about it HERE. And HERE is the post sharing the pattern for this month, 70's Geese.   

    Whoa! Did you see that?! October just fly by... I hope life doesn't keep going at this speed or I'll be 80 by Monday! ;)

    I feel like I didn't spend as much time on social media sharing the 70's Geese pattern, but I did spend a LOT of time making 70's Geese blocks! Do you want to see what I made?

    First I made this 6 inch rainbow block! I love how this turned out!

    I really enjoy blending colors, and although doing so is a lot harder with fabric than it is with paint, I still like rummaging through my stash trying to find the perfect blends. I admit, this is not perfect (especially the bottom center section) if I were wanting the perfect color wheel, but it's the best I could come up with using my stash on hand.

    Do you want to know what I made next??? 3 more of the exact same block! Call me crazy.
     From left to right, 12 inch, 9 inch, and 6 inch.

    I'm actually going to be sending these all away, so only the 12 inch block will be mine to keep (I wanted one for myself too). I'm trying to catch up on all my past commitments... some of which have been years in the waiting ;) (but in my defense, we have lived in 4 states and had 2 more babies since the very oldest commitment was made... so it's not that I'm a complete slacker. lol.) Anyway, I made them all the same because I liked this design the best, and I wanted to send everyone the best design! so I had to make them all the same. 

    Looking at the different sizes together, I do think it would be awesome to make a bunch of different sized blocks and combine them into one quilt! 

    I did also make this 70's Geese block, which I already shared but I'll share again.

    Another 6 inch block, that I'm also sending away. It is the month of giving! oh wait, that's next month. ;)

    I did have a lot of fun with this design! I love how joining just a few sections can really change up the look and feel of a block! Sometimes the possibilities can be overwhelming. ;)

    I already announced the winner of the Exploring Creativity event in my newsletter! (It wasn't very hard to pick... but I'm so glad I had someone to share the prize with!!) Anyway, I want to do a shout out to Tanyia and share her gorgeous 6 inch mini too!!

    Isn't this gorgeous?!!! With these colors I can't help but think that this would make a pretty tree skirt!

    Congrats Tanyia!! And thanks!

    If you wanted to pick up the 70's Geese pattern and make your own awesome projects, you can find it below!

    As for the rest of the year... I am going to put the Exploring Creativity on hold for a little bit. I have some really fabulous things in store for 2017, and I am going to spend the next two months getting it all ready for you to enjoy right at the beginning of the month! I'd rather have awesomeness for you, instead of spreading myself too thin and just having coolness. ;)

    I do have some other fantastic things in the works for you, so stay tuned! You won't want to miss what's coming out next!

    And of course, the best way to stay updated with all the changes and upcoming things (patterns and events, and exclusive sales) is to get on my newsletter list! You can sign up HERE.

    In the meantime, will you hope over and share your input!! I'm working on my Block of the Month pattern for 2017, but I have too many ideas and need some help narrowing it down! It will only take 2 seconds!! Thank you SOOO much!

    You can find the survey HERE.