Sunday, August 30, 2015

Calm in the storm - Matthew 8:26...

Walking and living with Jesus for almost a quarter century has given me daily opportunity for His Word to teach, correct, chastise, encourage and direct me.
"alive and living" (Hebrews 4:12) this Word is a constant and faithful guide into spiritual truth and revelation, so I know that during past seasons when I was not as earnest to study it as I am now I missed out on answers which would have helped me avoid bad decisions and dispelled my fears.

About six weeks ago I was studying the Gospel of Matthew, and even as I progressed through each chapter over my morning coffee I would keep turning back to chapter 8:26 and repeat it over and over before continuing on. 

My heart was drawn to it like a bee to honey - you see, there was a sweetness in that passage which changed my life.

This passage tells us of the great storm which whipped up on the sea as Jesus slept at the back of the boat. I studied each verse in my concordance and discovered that the great 'tempest' (verse 24) was like an earthquake! Immediately I got a deeper understanding of the fear the disciples experienced faced with a storm of this magnitude and why they hurried to wake Jesus and beg him to save them.

Imagine what was going through their minds? 
A simple wooden boat caught in wild weather they could not control. Perhaps they had seen or heard of other boats destroyed in such conditions? Friends who had perished at sea in a storm such as this?
Their fear was palpable and Jesus felt it.

Before he does anything to calm the tempest He looks at them all and says, "Why are you fearful?"

My instant response would probably have been - "Lord, can't you SEE the storm?! Can't you FEEL the winds?! Aren't you soaked to the bone from the waves crashing over the boat?!" 

And Jesus did see the storm, did feel the wind, and probably was a bit wet.
But He was not fearful.

"Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?"

Day after day I read this, letting it soak deep into my thoughts like rain soaks through me in the wet season, and one day I got it.

Jesus knew that storm would not harm them. He knew it because they were with Him.

Storms come in many disguises. There's severe weather events like the disciples were caught in, but there's also emotional storms that catch us off guard and tip our lives about scattering debris of pain and confusion, grief and anger, shock and loss - everywhere. 

If you were like me you'd be praying, pleading,  with God to calm the storm and remove you from the tempest it had created. I used to long for Him to 'beam me up' and out of the situation or wake me and let it all be a bad dream. 
But you know, that rarely happened.

Matthew 8:26 taught me that I'm going to face tempests all my life on this earth. Some I will see coming, while others will catch me off guard and threaten to tip me over the edge.


 ...I need not fear for He is with me, and if I am in the boat with Him I have His protection though the storm rages around me. In HIS presence I shall not fear the evil or the storm, but I shall stay beside Him and rest in His eternal protection. I will feel and see the effects of the tempest, but it shall not take my peace because my beloved Saviour is my Protector and my safe haven.

I am changed by this revelation.
I now realise the need to daily choose to be in His presence. I must seek Him out and not avoid Him to pursue other 'priorities'. I must be as close to Him as I possibly can. He will not leave me, but I must make the decision to not leave Him.

"Why are you fearful, Jenny?" 
"Lord, now I am not."

Download the free printable Scripture card HERE.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Something pretty...

Most of what I make requires pen and paper and lots of note taking because I will need to write a pattern afterwards, so it's incredibly relaxing when I can just make something 'off the top of my head' with no need for shared instructions.

The freedom to play-as-I-sew usually happens when my 'to-do' list is up to date and I'm in need of some creative down time and that's what happened last weekend when I took up Fee's challenge to members of her Facebook "Tilda Lovers Club" to create anything we like from our personal stashes of pretty Tilda fabric.

I gathered all my small Tilda scraps leftover from other projects and made little 4-patch squares and borders to randomly piece a pillow front which I then backed with some cotton quilt wadding, also leftover from past projects.

Before I began the free-hand quilting with Perle #12 thread I added four paper pieced hexies and the prettiest pink vintage button centres...

After the hand quilting was done I sewed the backing to my pillow, stuffed it, and ladder stitched the opening closed. 
The final step was making two long narrow ties which I then wrapped around the pillow and tied in bows...

It reminded me of a large pincushion hay-bale style!

It always surprises me what can be made from the contents of a scrap box!
Are you inspired to find a use for some of your own scraps?

I might make another scrappy project this idea what it will be, but that's part of the fun.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

You are beautiful...

...just as you are.

The theme behind my designs for the Stitchery Club in September is "inspire".

Whether that be to inspire others, or to be inspired, we all need a healthy dose of truth to lift us when life has brought a burden to bear in our heart or on our shoulders. 

Harsh or cruel words spoken over us as children, teens or adults, can leave deep ridged scars that distort the way we see ourselves and who we are. Dear one, you are PRECIOUS. 
I had harsh things thrown at me when I was growing up and right into my young adult years and I did not know until many years later how deeply etched they had driven themselves into the fabric of my emotions and my personal view of 'self'. 
To be frank, I loathed myself. The mirror was my nemesis, reflecting an image that made me want to hide from the (imagined) horror I saw myself to be; an ugly and tainted shell of a human not having any value that I could see or hope for. 

God had to dig deep over decades to expose the gnarled and hateful roots that were the cause of my personal abhorrence but the more I allowed Him to excavate in my darkness, the more His light shone bright to dispel it.
I still have the occasional dark day, usually when I've run myself too hard with work or overcommitments and my emotions are weak and depleted, but most of the time I find joy in being me.

There was a release from the chains of the past when I embraced this delight in being the beautiful me HE made me to be. 
Just as I am. Just as He envisioned me when He made me in my mother's womb. 

Dearest one, take this to heart. 
People can be cruel with their words and opinions for many reasons, and you may be wearing the scars of that, but it doesn't make it true. Can you honestly trust the judgement of that person? Were they speaking in your  best interests? I doubt it.
So why believe the lies they spoke over you? Don't walk under a cloud of lies anymore. 

Walk free because YOU are beautiful, just as you are. Just as He made you. 

You may need a special hug and a prayer today so please know I'm sending both to you, beautiful lady.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

An end of winter morn...

I love the pre-dawn hour.
The stillness, the cool air, the rare quiet of our suburban street. 
Just me in my pajamas, barefoot, with camera slung over my shoulder and the space we call our home to observe through not-quite-awake-eyes.

Join G-nome and me in the yard?
Mangoes are almost ripe, the flowers I planted last month are blooming and the herbs are flourishing. 
Mr E is taking me to the garden shop on Saturday for more pots, but there's still a few I can transplant later today...

Mr E's bonsai 'hot houses' are working a treat and his tiny bonsai azaleas are almost ready to be potted out...

His other bonsai trees are progressing wonderfully too...

Back inside the sun has risen and it's sharp orange hues fill the big window in the living room. Looking through the window and down onto the ground below you would almost think it was autumn...

Time to prepare the breakfast table before I wake my beloved.

Last night I baked buttermilk scones with sultanas from spelt flour, and ground a fresh supply of coffee beans...

 Spread with real butter and my homemade strawberry and apple jam... was time to begin a new day with the one I love.

May your day bring you calm and delight in the simple things that bless your own gently domestic heart,


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Just being myself...

Slowly I am working my way through 'stuff' that can be donated or embraced by my kids, but it's very time consuming and I tend to get so involved that I forget to do the things I'm supposed to have done.

Sorry to all those lovely people who have patiently been waiting for a few of the new stitchery patterns to appear on my shop shelf.

I've spent the morning here at my desk with a large blueberry, cacao, coconut & maca smoothie for sustenance while my fingers danced wildly across the laptop keyboard to get that job done, thus fulfilling my promise. 

I know "Snow Pear Man" especially has had a fan club so he's HERE now, no more patient waiting (honest, so sorry he's more than a week late!), along with Christmas Hearts and block 5 of the BOM.

There's a number of other patterns there too, including "Just Be Yourself" which is becoming my own personal yardstick this year. It's the perfect stitchery to make for *you*, or a friend who needs a reminder of how 'just right' they are just as they are...

I've also included the Blessed Christmas set of six patterns...

...and the full Holly Bird set of six stitcheries with projects.

The Daisy Days quilt pattern is NO longer available, however, I'm starting to add one block at a time from that set of eight stitcheries into the shop as they are very cute little individuals and would be sweet stitched up on kitchen towels or other favoured domestic cloths.
Monday's Daisies is the first one ready for you...

All of these 'new' patterns are HERE right now and over the next few days I'll be adding a few more.

But for now, I'm going to make myself a hearty lunch and settle in with some stitching and a Miss Marple for company.
Have a wonderfully relaxed day, won't you?


Monday, August 24, 2015

Three UFO finishes...

Now that we have signed a lease on this house for another year there's some re-organising to be done.
I am fully committed to bringing visual peace and order into each of the rooms, but at the moment there's so much Elefantz 'work stuff' spilling over into each room that it's hard for me to see my home as a sanctuary, and I am a person who needs a sanctuary.

Over the weekend I began sorting through everything and writing lists - strategic plans really -  to downsize my supplies during the next month. I also decided to complete some long overdue UFOs, a few each week, which will mean one empty box of guilt removed from the sewing room.

Here's what was completed on Friday night and Saturday.

The 'spots and dots' block I pieced inside a churn dash is now a very sweet pillow which will be posted to one of my toddler granddaughters next week. The back was made from vintage Tilda, in an envelope style with no buttons as this little girl is still at the 'chewing' stage, and the raw side edges are hidden safely inside a French seam.

Second finish was the quilt top I made last year which I'd planned to hang on my office door. At last, the bright and tropical genuine 1960's print has come alive with machine quilting and binding. It beautifully brightens my office entrance!

 The third UFO finish over the weekend was using Blossom's "Freebird" block she designed and stitched back in 2010 to make a small table runner.
Blossom stitched this block twice. The first was used in a charity quilt a group of friends and I designed and stitched for the Fresh Hope organisation in 2010. This copy has been safely stored at my place as a gift from Blossom until I could think of how best to display it.

These are the two blocks that Blossom and I made for the "Springtime" quilt...

...and this is the sweet table runner which now frames her precious redwork design. I used some old French General fabric as that's what the donated Springtime quilt was made from.

It's a wonderful feeling to make use of what has already been partially made, and especially when you're delighted with how they finished. 

Maybe you have a box of UFOs that may need airing??
I imagine you'll be re-inspired to finish them if you brew a cuppa and gently pull each one out for a look-see today. You never know...