Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am ready . . for quilting

Ladies, I am ready!!!

I started my quilting course last night and it was great. First class was all about drafting our own patterns. In the course we learn how to make 9 different blocks (traditional) and these 9 blocks will become a 2 metre square (almost 2 yards) throw. I have gone for shades of purple.

And to get me going, I have created my very own quilting folder which I will use for ideas, patterns/designs, projects, fabrics ordered etc.. There are so many great ideas hidden away in blogs, Pinterest and in library books, that I don't want to loose them - this way I can copying and placing them in my folder

I have borrowed a heaps of books from the library, started a Pinterest folder on quilting and one on favourite fabric, bought some quilting magazines from the news agency and a box to put my new fabric in.  I have most of the tools I need but I am sure I will gather more as time goes by.

Last week I ordered fabric from Hawthorne Threads in the USA (this is an excellent website and so user friendly) and waiting with great excitement for their arrival. This fabric will be used to make a runner for our coffee table and a throw for the study. Afterwards (once I am more confident) I will make a throw for my daughter-in-law.

I will keep you posted on my quilting adventure. And like most adventures, I am sure it will have its highs and lows!! 

Fabric ready to make a throw (for the study) and a runner (for the coffee table)

Gorgeous elephants

This is for quilting class

Check out my Facebook page: Finding joy in the everyday

Monday, July 21, 2014

Teaching self-control

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls. Proverbs 25:28

As a child, every Sunday my family and I went to our uncle's home for Sunday morning meeting. When my grandfather was alive, we would gather at his home. We didn't attend a main stream church, rather our family gathered together for hymns, bible reading and pray.  Between hymns there were periods of silent which, for any child, felt like forever. It was tough going at times. As children we were expected to sit quietly, no talking, no fidgeting, no walking about and we certainly weren't allow to have any toys to play with or books to read. As the youngest I sat next to my parents and if I did anything wrong I was given "that look" which I knew meant trouble. 

From memory, I can't remember any of us getting into major trouble, we knew what was expected of us from an early age and we did as we were told - otherwise it meant trouble and perhaps the wooden spoon on our bottom once we got home.  I think fear kept us generally well behaved.

We also had to sit quietly when visiting friends (something we did occasionally on Sunday afternoons).  This wasn't as strict as Sunday morning meeting, but we were expected to be polite,  well mannered and to behave as children should - not loud or noisy and certainly not talking over  adults when they were talking. 

The need to sit quietly (which requires self control) is a skill we are loosing all too quickly. Most children at church are no longer required to sit still and keep quiet. Many children go to Sunday school where they can make as much noise as they like. Children now take toys, books and even electronic devices with them to church to keep them occupied, however I am not sure if this is really a good thing in the long term.

Children do need to learn to sit still and quiet, even for short periods of time.  Not only do they need to sit quietly, they need to learn to listen and concentrate on what is being said and that is difficult to do when playing with devices or reading books. Learning to sit still and listen teaches a child self-control, something I think is lacking in many children (and certainly some adults) these days.

There is something like 52 verses in the bible regarding self-control, which tells me this is really important for Christians. We also have examples, such as Eve, where self-control wasn't used and the consequences were not pretty at all. We need to have self-control and we need to instil it into our children from an early age.

A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back. (Proverbs 29:11)

Sadly, we live in a world without self-control which is evident in the increase in violence, stealing, gambling, drunkenness, pornography, lying, cheating etc... making it even harder for Christians to maintain strong self-control. For Christians who do say "no" to temptation are often ridiculed and mocked for "not joining in" making the struggle even more difficult.  No wonder some Christians backslide.  However this should not come as any surprise to us, as it is clearly written in 2 Timothy 3:1-5

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Self control is not just about learning to sit quietly in church, it involves all aspects of our lives:

  • being able to control ones emotions e.g. anger
  • being able to control what one says to another
  • being about to control lust the wandering eye and staying away from pornography
  • being able to control the amount one eats and drinks (gluttony)
  • being able to control the household budget
  • being able to control how we behave at work, at church etc.
  • being able to stick at a task that isn't very enjoyable 
  • being able to say no to sinful desires
  • being able to go to bed on time and getting up in the morning
  • being able to control time spent on the computer/TV and other electronic devices

Self control isn't always fun and in fact it can be very painful and result in suffering. This is best illustrated in a marriage. A husband is ranting at his wife, saying very hurtful words and she just wants to respond angrily, however it is in this instant that she needs to use self-control and look to the Lord Jesus Christ as her example  her words and behaviour need to be biblical. However, this is incredibly hard in the heat of an argument where there is so much pain.

Whilst 2 Timothy 3:1-5 shows us what happens to those lacking self-control,  Titus Chapter 2 shows us how we need to behave - a long list of things that relate to self control for both men and women, young and old:

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

I am certainly still working on my self-control and struggle at times to do what is right. However through much pray and bible reading, it does become easier in time (and with age). However it is important not to turn "self-control" into a pride issue e.g. "I can do it better than you". This is no better than not having self-control.

So lets work on our self-control this week and perhaps see if we can make improvements in those areas we struggle with most.

So then, my beloved brethren, 
let every man be swift to hear, 
slow to speak, 
slow to wrath. 

James 1:19


Sunday, July 20, 2014

A day of rest

Six days may work be done; 
but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest,
 holy to the LORD.
Exodus 31:15


We live in a 24/7 world. 

A frantic lifestyle that has now become our norm. 

No one is willing (or perhaps able) to stop for just one day a week to rest and recharge the batteries. 

We need to "unplug" and make the Lord's Day a day of rest and a time for family. 

There are so many wonderful things you can do to unwind -- sitting in the sunshine with a book (perhaps your bible), going for a gentle stroll and talking, inviting friends or family over for afternoon tea (don't make it complicated and lots of work), writing letters to loved ones or perhaps listening to hymns on a winters day.  It shouldn't be a day that you need to rush to the shops for groceries or for cleaning the house, even dinner can be a simple meal that doesn't involve to much work. Children need to learn that one day a week is special and should be set aside to "unplug" from the world and connect with the Lord.

Sadly, even Christians have lost the importances of the Lord's Day.  

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
Psalm 37:7


Friday, July 18, 2014

Art Friday: Are they real (Part 1)

Are they real?

Today's Art Friday is all about realism and the incredible skill some people have with a lead pencil. None of these are photos, they are all hand-drawn and they are amazing. 

I plan to do another one of these as there is so many examples to share. 

I hope you have all had a lovely week and may the weekend be enjoyable:)

I hope I have inspired you to sharpen your pencils are start drawing!!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hello sunshine

Even on a cold wet grey old day, there is still plenty of sunshine to be found - you just need to look for it. Sadly so many people grumble on a days like this, rather than looking for the joy, the simple things that can create so much sunshine into one's life.

Here are  some to my favourite activities on a cold wet day:

Watching a heartwarming film
Listening to beautiful music
Enjoying a hot chocolate with friends
Visit the library
Make a jigsaw
Make some birthday cards
Creating a gift to surprise someone with
Call a friend you have spoken to in years
Build a photo album
Write a letter
Listen to an audio story
Playing a board game

What do you do to bring sunshine into your life on a grey day?

We live in a world full of people who complain - they complain about everything and anything. We need to be different. Instead of complaining we need to look up and say Thankyou for all the Lord has provided, including grey days.  The Lord doesn't want us to grumble - He wants to make the best of any situation, including ones that we don't like.

We need to look to the Lord Jesus Christ as our example - He doesn't grumble at any time and He died on the cross for our sins and not a word of negativeness or whining.

He wants us to find sunshine on a grey day. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A moment in time

I wanted to share a small moment in time, one evening a few days ago. This is where I relax in the evenings, you can see my comfortable chair with its cushions and rug (to keep me warm) and Ruby's favourite place, right next to me. She is a very faithful cat. Also sharing my couch is Mr Basil Bear. A special gift for this years birthday (still someway off) and on his red jumper it reads "Praying 4U, Lots of Love". He keeps me company every evening and is much loved. To the little family who sent me Mr B Bear - thankyou, he means a lot to me.  

Ruby likes to keep my books warm, it does make it difficult to read them!! She can't see the problem, because when I am not reading I can focus 100% on her!!

Mr Basil Bear, very soft and cuddly and perfect for hugging. 
Don't know about you, but I find yellow roses to be so joyful and cheery. And these look lovely with the contrasting purple daisies. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Understanding Proverbs 31:16

A field of vines in the Barossa Valley - this region of South Australia is famous for its grape growing thanks to the early German settlers. My ancestors settle close by. Photography by Joluise. 

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: 
with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Proverbs 31:16 is an fascinating verse however it is also controversial for many Christian women. I have seen many and varied interpretations of this verse which has led me to have a closer look at it to see it I can understand it any better. There are those that strongly believe that this has nothing to do with a business savvy woman running her own business (usually those who have very strong views about women working outside the home) all the way through to those who see this verse as legitimizing their decision to work outside the home or running their own business. 

What does the verse say? 

On face value the verse says:

1. "She considered a field" - to me, this means that before rushing in and making a rash decision, she took her time to carefully consider the purchase. This involved doing her homework, perhaps looking at the price of other fields, its long term potential, yield,  possible return on her money etc..

2. After her research she "buyeth it". She now owns a piece land. How big, we simply do not know. 

3. "From the the fruits of her hands she planteth a vineyard". This meant she used money from her own earnings to buy the necessary tools and crop to create her new vineyard. Money she had put aside until the right opportunity came along. And we know about the source of these earnings from verse 24 "She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant".  

Nothing more is said about this verse. We no nothing more. In some ways it raises more questions. 
How big was the field - a small field would yield enough grapes just her family, a large field would yield enough to sell and make a profit.  We simply do not no these facts. We can guess, but we may wrong. And the problem is, many are guessing this next step (filling in the blanks) and that is never a wise thing to do - particularly if you are guessing to simply support your argument about women working. 

What we do know is that she was an entrepreneur, a savvy business woman (one her husband trusted). No only did she have one venture - the selling of fine linen, we know she started a second venture. I don't think it is important to guess how much money she made or what it was used for - what is important is that it illustrates that she was an intelligent woman who looked to the future for the benefit of her family.  Everything she did was for her family and she always put them first. 

A vineyard near where my dad lives. Taken one very cold July morning. Photography by Joluise

Whatever the answer, this particular woman was hard-working, shrewd, prudent, wise in her words and talented with her hands, intelligent, diligent and dignified, knew how to provide for her family and her servants, a skilful manager of her household, careful in her decision making and handling of finances. She was not idle or lazy in any way, in fact she was an incredibly strong woman. Her husband had full confidences in her (and her decision making) and considered her invaluable, likewise her children. 

She was one very capable woman that didn’t have time for sitting around relaxing or having cups of tea. She was far too busy.  

For us, she is the perfect example of a good and faithful wife and mother. And whether she ran a number of ventures (making garments for selling or running her vineyard), her main focus was on providing for her family and those around her first and foremost. She wasn't concerned about what others thought of her and her activities. And we need to do likewise. 

If you are a woman running your own business from home or one that needs to work, what is fundamental about Proverbs 31 is not whether she ran a business - but where her heart and commitment was - on her husband, her children, her home and most importantly with the Lord. 

This is not a verse to quarrel over. 

A field of vines not far from where I grew up. Photography by Joluise


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