Love Letters – A Simple Ministry of Encouragement

I enjoy making and sending out cards, and whenever I do, the happy response humbles and convicts me. If I can brighten someone’s day with a few minutes of my time and a 49 cent stamp, why am I not doing that more often? The world is full of people who need a happy spot in their day – not only those who are lonely, ill or elderly, but also young moms, college students, military members and families, distant family members and others who don’t outwardly appear to “need” encouragement. Getting a real letter in the mailbox is always a treat! I’ve decided to be more intentional about blessing others in this easy way, and I hope you will join me. If you sign up, you’ll get a reminder each Saturday, but there are no rules. Send notes when you can, whether it’s once a week, biweekly or monthly. Write long letters, short notes, or postcards. If you have children, this would be a good activity for you to do together! If you’d like to be a part of this valuable ministry, sign up HERE to receive the weekly email – just a gentle reminder with a few ideas and Read More

Re-light the Candles of Good Cheer

I have a little book of George W. Truett’s Christmas sermons from 1928-1944… I don’t remember where it came from, but I keep it because I like seasonal books. His style was simple and conversational, light on Scripture but full of truth and kindness.  The imagery of “re-lighting the candles of good cheer” has a poignant appeal. This passage from his 1932 Christmas sermon is as applicable today as it was then: At this Season for accentuated emphasis upon home reunions, and upon friendships both old and new, let us worthily re-light the candles of good cheer and cooperative helpfulness, for those who are experiencing privations and restrictions which lay a heavy toll upon their homes and hearts. May we so voice our understanding sympathy and good will, as to give them new heart and hope, for all the days and duties ahead. Let us especially voice our best cheer for the little children and the aged; for the orphan and the underprivileged; for the poor and the needy; for the afflicted and the unfortunate; for the lonely and the discouraged; for the derelict and the unfriended. May we be experts in doing good to all, and in giving hurt Read More

Life in the Castle

My family and I have always lived in rural – some remote – places,  but we made the difficult decision to move to town ten years ago, when the two youngest boys were finishing high school, in college, working and active in our church and community. My husband was working in the city, too. When we did the math, we realized that the four of us were driving a combined total of 1000 miles per week. We moved to town. They dragged me, kicking and screaming and sulking, away from the farm with my chickens and goats to a lovely Victorian farmhouse in a very nice part of Burlington. There was no space outside; it was on a corner lot, and there was a parking lot on the other two sides of it, but it was a beautiful place, big enough for our ever-changing family and frequent houseguests. I hosted a ladies’ Bible study, and there was room for all of their little ones to run around and play while we studied.  I had a large sewing studio and office, four bedrooms, a living room and dining room, a sitting room off the master bedroom, a large attic and basement, Read More

Do what you love – as long as you love doing it

I recently published an article – Quitting Quilting – on my GloryQuilts blog, explaining why I was restructuring my business. It explained the quitting part, but it didn’t really address the “art as career” aspect of the change. Through this experience, I am persuaded that if I am ever forced to support myself financially, I must not do it by making a career from the things I love doing. It sounds good, but it can end up sucking the joy from the creative heart and leaving only resentment. For more than 20 years, I have been teaching quiltmaking as well as sewing and quilting professionally as GloryQuilts.  At first, I sold class samples and pattern prototypes as well as some things I made just for fun. I did some juried art shows, and then some that were less selective. I had to make quantities of items for the shows, on a strict deadline, and be ready to set up displays and manage sales. I started selling things on eBay and then Etsy.  Instead of selling unique and creative quilts, I began creating quilts specifically to sell, in trendy fabrics and styles. As my reputation grew, I was offered and accepted Read More

My Happy Valentine Quilt

The observant reader will realize this isn’t actually a quilt; it’s a quilt top. I will not have time for quilting before Valentines Day, but I want to enjoy it, so I pinned it to the front of another quilt and hung it up over my fireplace.  My goal is to get it quilted by next year. In the meantime, it makes me happy to look at it. The picture makes me feel a little sentimental for another reason. Most of the items shown are special because of their personal associations – my husband made the fireplace for me, the framed Scripture is a gift from a friend, my granddaughter created a few of the items, my mother decoupaged and painted the birdhouse, and I was shopping with her when I found all those little sisal birds and the hedgehog, too! On top of the piano I have pictures of family members, a cross-stitched sampler from a niece, and a beautiful box I purchased while shopping with an old friend – our one visit in over ten years, and we spent much of it at JoAnn Fabrics! I don’t collect a lot of things that don’t have that kind of Read More

One Word

(Martin Luther said that!) I quickly found a word to focus on for 2015:  Glorify.  Then I realized that I had done that one a few years ago. I even have a beautiful piece of art for my bedroom, made by my daughter-in-law, with that word on it, surrounded by the Bible verse I use for my GloryQuilts business: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (God said that!) While I am always committed to glorifying God, I have a new word for this year. Kindness When I was a military wife in my twenties, my husband was stationed at Whiteman AFB, in a rural community in Missouri. There, I was oh-my-goodness-so-incredibly-blessed to be a member of an Extension Homemakers Club. I can never be grateful enough for the fellowship and mentoring of those older women in my life. They were mostly farm wives, borderline southern, and gracious to their fingertips. At the beginning of each meeting, there was a reading of the minutes, a  couple songs to sing, maybe a poem or simple devotional, and then we recited the club collect. Keep us, oh God, from pettiness; Let Read More