Happy New Year

New year happens differently for each of us, in unique ways. September always feels like the beginning of the new year because a new school year begins, and our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate then. Late October feels like the beginning of the new year because Fall Quilt Market and new commitments that happen there, setting the pace for the next year. January is the beginning of the new calendar year, and so new year begins.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the new year in the Church. Happy New Year! We begin a new cycle of readings, year A which means we begin in the Gospel Matthew.

My Sweetie and I attended the Vigil Mass last night as the snow predictions for today are a bit weird leaving us uncertain as to the state of the weather tonight when we normally go. We try to get to the Church a bit early to have some quiet time, praying before the Celebration begins. Last night while journaling (it’s one of the ways I pray) the word I kept hearing over and again is unsettled. There’s a strong experience of being unsettled, and it’s and oddly/gratefully peaceful one.

It is a good day to begin again.

Here at the beginning I share: One of the most difficult things about the work as a traveling sales rep is being away from my sewing room. Actually it is the opportunity to create, to be creative. Quilting, for me, is an opportunity to enter into the Creative Life of God. To get lost, caught up, surrounded by the beauty of God. Oh how those moments fill me, even now, with such great joy. And inspire a longing to create that next quilt to share, to compete with.

While preparing for a recent road trip I packed up my sewing machine, rotary cutter, mat, a few rulers and fabric for a quilt due at the beginning of December. What I didn’t pack, a snow brush, or boots, or gloves. You might guess that it snowed.

A funny aside. You know how on our computers we have 30 tabs open in different browsers for different things? Well I have six books on my kindle that I’m reading as well as four paperback books. I flit back and forth between them all depending on what is speaking to me that day. I’m going to create a reading list.

I got to work on the quilt at the end of each day, what an refreshing delight. The piecing is long done, and the quilting is 77% done as of this writing. I have a tight turnaround time on several projects at once. I’ll travel more with the machine and a big project in mind. This quilt has a series of blocks that bring me back to the beginning of quilting. When I’m struggling, feeling creatively dry I will cut and piece with no particular quilt in mind. The act of doing quilting primes the creative pump. It reconnects to a moment of joy, and learning as quilter. As a good friend says frequently, we don’t need new teaching, we need reminders.

For me this quilt is a reminder of several things:
the beginning of any learning process is hard. The learning curve in in quilt making is steep, something akin to a bezier curve, weird and wild.
there is always something new to learn. Thank goodness I don’t know everything, this makes quilting alive and flexible.
there’s more than one way to get from here to there. Just among the quilting people I know we all have a slightly different approach to how we make quilts and our experience of using different tools.
creativity feeds the other things we do. I decided to bring the quilting supplies on the road because I realized I needed to feed the creativity to be able to do the other work with joy. This feeds that, gives life to it. Okay the hard due date helps, however having access to my machine and some focused quilting made a difference.
it’s okay to feel lost sometimes. And when I do I’ve found going back to the foundation helps reorient me in the quilting work. I don’t necessarily need to finish the basic project, I simply need the creative pump primed.
ask for help. This is the hardest, because this is where we are most vulnerable. It’s hard being vulnerable. We’ve been trained to be tough,to set aside our feelings, to figure it out “all by myself”. There are reasons why many of us are teachers, listeners, and caring it’s part of who we are to help. Ask more than one person, as someone else might hold the quilt making answer that works for you.
if you’re stuck, it’s good to take a detour. anytime I struggle I’ll take out fabric, and start cutting and piecing with no plan in mind. Oftentimes this allows the creativity to start flowing again

be the light in dark places
look for the light in dark places

These same things go to the Faith Life as well. When I’m struggling in prayer I go back to the basics
Petition. Lord, so and so needs this. I think I need this.
Our Father. Jesus taught us this prayer, it’s like saying Daddy I give myself over to Your Will.
Intercessions. Aligning myself with the big needs, standing with, standing for.
Journaling. This has always primed the act of prayer for me.
Reading the Faith Related books. Hence the kindle and the paperback books.
Listening. This is the hardest as sometimes I’m so busy talking that hearing what the Lord is saying is difficult. Conversations are never one-way.
Talking with a good friend. A good way to grow, encourage, and be encouraged.

Today is a good day to begin again.

Happy New Year quilt friends. May this new year bring you ever closer to our God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God bless,

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