Sewing reveals my imperfections. You see, nothing I make is exactly perfect. Sometimes I do the hard work of taking my stitches out and redoing the sewing. Other times, I let it go. Recently, my greatest imperfection is my inability to measure correctly. I get it all ready to do the final sewing and my pieces are not the same size.

In life, I am not perfect. My ears probably aren’t level, my nose might be off center, my hair is thin, and I sniffle when I am concentrating on something. But that’s part of being handmade. The beauty is in the slight variation from one person to another.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in …’your’ hand.”

Zechariah 4:10

Where do you see your imperfections? They aren’t bad – they are just the slight variations in coloring that make the fabric of your life interesting! Grab the plumb line and go to it!

When I sew, I use special feet on my machine to ensure the desired results. My 1/4 inch foot helps me keep my seam exactly at 1/4 inch width. The button hole foot delivers a perfect button hole every time. The button foot enables me to sew a button on in exactly the right place with ease.

What do you have in your life that helps keep you on track, ensuring a good outcome every time?

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

Psalm 1:1-3

I think this might be the safeguard we are looking for…don’t make fools your closest advisors, surround yourself with wise people and delight in the Word of the Lord.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.

Proverbs 4:23-27

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Sewing requires a certain amount of precision. I piece quite a few quilt tops. If you wonder what I do with all of them, I do too. Maybe they will become wedding gifts…who knows.

Piecing requires a great deal of precision. Generally, a one quarter inch seam allowance is required for accurate piecing. Actually, though, it doesn’t matter what seam allowance you use, you just need to be consistent. If you sew all the seams the same width, your piecing will match exactly.

If you vary the seam by even 1/16th of an inch, it matters. It doesn’ t seem like much, but after 16 blocks that are varied by 1/16th of an inch, you will be off an entire inch. And that is very noticeable. But it happens so easily!

I have a helper when I sew. It is a foot for my machine with a 1/4 inch guide built right in. It helps me to stay on track and gives me a consistent seam width every time. It is possible to stray a bit, even with the specialized foot. But for the most part, it keeps me on the right track.

The importance of the small decisions is not lost on me in life. Just like wavering just a tiny bit over many seams causes me to be way off on my project, wavering in life over a long period of time also gets me way off where I want to be.

Read: 2 Samuel 11:1-5

David was the king of Israel and a man after God’s heart. He wanted to do the right thing. But this time, he wandered just a little at a time until he was a long way from where he wanted to be. If you have never read the story of David’s failure, it is well worth your time. Read 2 Samuel 11-12 for the full story.

David’s wandering resulted in adultery, murder and the death of his child. There were opportunities all along the way to correct his trajectory, but he didn’t do it.

Kings normally go to war in the spring. David stayed home.

David napped while his men defended the kingdom.

He noticed a beautiful woman who was not his wife. He could have looked the other way. He didn’t. He sent his people to find out who she was.

He learned she was another man’s wife. He could have stopped with that information. He didn’t. He brought her to his home.

David didn’t just fall into adultery and murder. He took small steps that led to a big downfall.

No one crumbles in a day. Are you making small compromises that take you away from where you want to be? Are the small choices leading you to big consequences?

Today we are getting the first real snow of the season. I admit, it isn’t really pretty yet. The snow is fine and wet, just beginning to cover the ground. The grass still peaks through and the concrete is warmer than the snow, so it melts off pretty fast. Today it isn’t giving me warm fuzzies.

My granddaughter, on the other hand, is thrilled. She FaceTimed me this morning while she ate her breakfast. She immediately informed me that it was snowing at her house and wanted to show me. And then she wondered if it was snowing at my house. “Yes, it is,” I said and showed her. She squealed with delight.

While she ate, she plotted her first moves of the day. She would put her boots and hat and mittens on and go outside into the snow. Her delight was contagious.

I didn’t run to put my boots on to wander out into the snow, but I desired the wide-eyed wonder of a child at the first snow of the season. How often have I missed the wonder of the moment because my perspective needed adjusting?

But back to my thoughts for today. I sew. And while I sew, I learn. I learn about sewing, of course. But I learn about life.

Years ago, I was asked to take part in a wedding. The bride wanted me to wear not only a particular color, but a particular fabric that she purchased for me. Unless I was going to wrap myself in a sari, I would need to make something with this piece of fabric.

I purchased a pattern, thread, buttons, elastic and a zipper and sat down to make this dress. I pulled the pattern and instructions out of the packet and started reading. It wasn’t long until I was overwhelmed with the project. There were so many steps and techniques I did not understand. Tucks and darts, button holes and zippers. My heart sank. This was too complicated and I wanted to throw it all in a bag and lock it away in my closet.

And then I heard a gentle reminder to take it one step at a time. Just do step one. Step two will make more sense after step one is finished.

I can get ahead of myself in life. I look ahead to what might be and where I want to be and the steps to get there are many. They twist and turn, I think of all the mistakes I might make along the way, I ponder what might go wrong, I fear I might not be able to finish. What if I look stupid? And I am paralyzed by the process.

But what if I stop and take it one step at a time. I don’t have to eat the whole elephant at one time. Just one bite at a time.

When my oldest daughter was sixteen, she was diagnosed insulin resistant. This was totally new territory for us and it looked completely overwhelming. She needed to change her diet drastically, including packing her lunch every day for school. We both felt a bit intimidated by all of it.

One evening we talked about the “foreverness” of this diagnosis. Neither of us thought we could do this forever. So we agreed that we would just do today. We didn’t need to do it for tomorrow because it is today. So we did today. We did the first step.

Are you overwhelmed by the process? Do the steps to where you want to go seem many, varied and complicated?

Just do the next right thing.

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” In other words, do the first step and step two will make more sense.

Until tomorrow…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Today is a memorable day. Veterans Day: the day our nation sets aside to honor the men and women who served in the Armed Forces. So to the many who have served, I say “Thank you for your service!”

In addition to remembering our veterans, I also remember the day my son was born. Happy Birthday, Ryan! I am honored to call you my son!

Last week I sewed crazily. I wanted to finish some gifts for the weekend, so I spent a lot of time in front of my machines. As I did, I thought about all that sewing and crafting with my hands has taught me.

I learn so much from the every day things that I do. A year or so ago, I was mowing lawn. It was after a storm so there were lots of sticks in my yard. I thought about the sticks and how they got to the ground; I thought about the wind that blew them from the trees; I thought about the condition of the stick that it so easily fell from the tree.

You see, the sticks on the ground were dead sticks. The wind blew out dead branches, that no longer provided beauty and health to the tree.

There are times when the wind blows through my life and the dead things I keep around are dislodged and fall to the ground. The things that no longer bring beauty and health to my life fall away.

God spoke to my heart that day. He was in the process of removing some dead branches and it wasn’t feeling very good. But this lawn mowing experience gave me some clarity.

Read: Psalms 19:1-4

What do you learn from the natural world around you? What does God want to teach you in the things you do every day with your hands?

Together we are better. When one is weak, others can help him up. Two strands are good, but three is better for three is not easily broken. See Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 for more wisdom regarding life together!

Going to church will not make me more acceptable to God nor more successful in life. But it will help me make vital connections to other Jesus followers. Together we can be a force for good in our community.

Just this week I was talking with friends about the abuses in church. Things quickly get political, not like government, but as it relates to intrigue and strategy to obtain positions of power and control. I hate that and it makes me want to stay away.

But I do love the opportunity to love and be loved by other who want to serve Jesus, even if it is a little wobbly at times. I know I am, so I appreciate being with others who are just doing their best.

Even if you aren’t able to attend a community worship service, spend time listening to the Father. Sit quietly in his presence. Ask him what he wants to say to you. I bet it will be different than you think!

Blessings on this day of Rest!

“It’s your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise ….” (Casting Crowns song “Great is our God”)

Today use your breath to pour out your praise to God! Anxiety creeps in and steals our joy, our hope and our courage. Pouring our praise out to the One who gives our breath sends anxiety fleeing!

Read: Philippians 4:8

May your Saturday be filled with unexpected blessing and joy!

Many situations cause anxiety. It seems to me they all point to our core longings. If we long to belong, we will be anxious that others will reject us. If we long for unconditional love, we will worry about being a disappointment. If we long for safety, we will worry where our provisions come from. Lack of feeling understood causes us to be anxious about our performance at work or the email we sent coworkers. If purpose and significance is lacking, we will be anxious that our lives are a waste of time.

Read: Matthew 6:24-27

As I examined this scripture again, I pondered verse 24. It says that anxiety over provisions is worship of money and we can’t worship both God and money. When we trust ourselves for daily necessities, we cease to trust God. I know when I am anxious about what I wear and what I will eat, it isn’t because I don’t have basic necessities. It is because I’m looking at the people around me and what they wear and eat and drive and do. And that isn’t trusting God.

Anxiety can be relieved by an honest evaluation of my heart’s desires. Perhaps my desires need to be adjusted and then I can enjoy today. As Matthew says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Read: Genesis 2:7, John 20:22

Our breath is a gift from God. He breathed on Adam and Eve and filled them with the breath of life. As long as I keep breathing, I know I have the breath of God in me.

Jesus breathed on the disciples before he ascended into heaven and filled them with the Holy Spirit. As long as I am breathing, I know I have the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When I am anxious, one of the first thing that happens is changes in my breath cycle. Breaths become shorter and faster resulting in other physical changes such as elevated blood pressure, muscle tension and disruption in digestion.

Sometimes it is difficult to slow my breathing on my own. With today’s technology, there is an app for everything, right?! Including breathing. A breathing app is an inexpensive (some are free) and highly effective way to restore a normal breath cycle.

Studies show that deep breathing helps reverse the physical changes brought on by anxiety. It restores a sense of calm, lowers blood pressure, reduces heart rate and improves digestion.

It might be helpful to explore breathing app options to assist you when anxiety knocks on your door.