Galatians 5:22 & 23 “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law”

Often when I think I’m going in one direction, with clarity and purpose I generally find something else happens.  I asked one of my contributors to write about “time and talent”.  As we’ve talked she’s been encouraging me to make use of systems that will make it easier to manage my time better.  I admit I’m being drawn in.  It’ll take a little bit to get into the habit of the system however in the end it’ll be worth it.  The conversation didn’t start out about time and talent, it started out with me being irritated about something and needing to process it.  I also admit to being somewhat startled by parts of the conversation because it was NOT where I expected this conversation to go.  Okay, okay I must admit that many of our conversations take a turn where I’m delightfully surprised by where it ends up in part because I’ve learned, discovered, realized and listened.

So while surprise certainly played a huge role, the fact that I was open to listening to the fact that something else might be going on made a major impact on my heart tonight.  As the personal processing continued the phrase “still small voice” entered into my thoughts.  Hmmn, where are You going here?  I started searching through the USCCB to see what I could find…nothing.  The reference in I Kings 19 has changed, clarified.  OK.  Not what I’m looking for however I like the change.  So off to one of my favorite search engines and poke here, nope still not right, poke there still not right then I find this guy.  And I smile because once again it’s not what I’m expecting to find.  But, whatever.  God has his way, I need to listen and so I read.

I’m reminded that things are not always what they seem.  On the surface a situation can seem really not so much fun, oh I’ll admit it, down right painful.  Once the situation is examined there might be something deeper going on here that upon realization brings a startling clarity.  It’s like opening a gift that has profound and deep meaning.  The gift seems a bit strange, perhaps making me scratch my head wondering what this gift is all about.  This gift does have a profound and deep meaning, to me.  This gift is changing how “I” deal with a situation rather than trying to change someone else.  This is priceless.

Quilt Festival 1450And then there is the parable of the talents.  While the “talent” here clearly refers to money and not doing a blessed thing to earn a bit more over time “talent” has come to refer to “spiritual gifts” or some kind of artistry, skill or gift.  It’s clear that we’re to use these talents wisely, investing time developing them, to produce some kind of return on the investment.  No matter how you look at it, it takes some kind of work.  It requires that we focus on developing our skill.  It requires that we appreciate our own gift(s) and therefore appreciate the gifts of others, recognizing in that gift a complementarity to our own.  This requires that we assist others in developing their gifts and not covet or be jealous of those gifts.

I love the Dale Chihuly piece that lives its life as a chandelier at the Hilton in Houston.  I appreciate the skill and hard work that brought Dale to the moment where this piece came together.  Dale is a master at working glass.  As evidenced by the above picture. Having visited Corning Museum of Glass, toured the facility and watched the glass blowers working and apprenticing, it’s hard work, hot work and it takes time to learn the process.  Then to work glass like that…oh my goodness.  Glass is fragile all along the process so the skill set has to at some point become intuitive, 2nd nature just like breathing.  I greatly admire his work, his skill.

quilting Serendipity gone huge 081There are many quilters in the quilt world that I admire for their mastery of this craft.  There are too many to name.  Quilters who have, whether they know or not, have influenced my quilting world over the last 20 years.  Years ago I experienced pangs of jealousy.  Oh for Pete’s sake it was just full blown.  I wanted my quilting to look like and be like so many quilters.  I was jealous of other things too.  I could easily be jealous of the skill of Dale Chihuly.  Over time I learned that jealousy prevents me from appreciating the skill of others. Jealousy keeps me from enjoying the company of others because I spend time whining about what I don’t have, that I’m not good enough, that my skill will never be up to par.  In coming to this understanding of what jealousy does I began to make a conscious effort to change this as I didn’t particularly like this about myself.  Jealousy robs me of appreciating the beauty of what I see around me, good healthy relationships with others and seeing that to get my quilting to the level where I wanted it I had to WORK for it.  I had to put in the time, effort, energy, thread, batting, fabric and time.  Did I mention time.

Not being jealous, actively not being jealous has allowed me a deeper appreciation for the effort others have put into their work.  Go quilt your – our world!


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