Saturday, 30 November 2013

Are the Dead Really Dead?

This past week, one of my colleagues at work was relating how, in their newly built house, they have been having weird things happen, such as the car radio coming on all by itself to the exact same song every time they drive into the garage. This stirred up a conversation amongst my coworkers, several of whom shared similar experiences. Being all alone in the home and hearing footsteps in the hall or seeing a shadow passing the bedroom door. Arriving home from work, when no one has been in the house all day, and finding all of the kitchen cupboard doors and drawers open. Having music suddenly start playing on a radio that isn't even plugged in. Balloons fluttering in the room of a dying man where there is no window or door open, no breeze from any source. And they stopped fluttering as soon as the man died... I know my colleagues. They're nurses: trustworthy and reliable, not subject to "vivid flights of fancy" or "overactive imaginations." If they say these things happened, then I believe that they did. And some of you reading this may have had similar experiences. But what or who is causing them? Could it be the dead coming back to visit us? Does some supernatural part of us live on after our bodies are gone? 
As I pointed out in The Source, I believe the Bible is the ultimate guide to wisdom and knowledge, so I want to find out:
What says the Bible, the blessed Bible?
This my only question be.
The teachings of men so often mislead us.
What says the Bible to me?
Let's start by finding out what the Bible says about the soul. Genesis 2:7 says, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Interesting that is says that man became a living soul, he didn't receive a living soul. If you're fortunate enough to own a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, you can look up the word "soul" in this verse and find its reference number, 5315. You can also look up the word "creature" in Genesis 1:20, 21, 24 & 2:19 and find that the same number - in other words, the same Hebrew word as that used for soul - is used for "creature" in these verses. Turning to the Hebrew dictionary at the back, you will find that the basic definition for 5315 is "a breathing creature." That makes sense. We are breathing creatures and so are animals.  Ezekiel 18:4,20 tells us that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." The soul can die??? In Matthew 10:28, Jesus instructs us, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." More on hell later, but for now, let's focus on the fact that Jesus says the soul can be destroyed. He doesn't use the word tormented or tortured. He says destroyed. Turning once again to Strong's, I find that destroy is number 622, which in the Greek dictionary says "to destroy fully; destroy, die, lose, mar, perish." It sounds to me like a final end, nothing about being tortured forever, which is the popular belief about what's supposed to happen to the "immortal" soul in hell. But is the soul immortal? Try searching for "immortal soul" in Strong's and you won't find a single reference. Look up the words "immortal" or "immortality" and you will find 6 references in the whole Bible, four of which refer to God. One of these, 1 Timothy 6:16 says that only God has immortality. Only God. In other words, we human beings don't. As a matter of fact the remaining two references, found in 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54, refers to us as "mortals" that must "put on immortality." Verse 52 makes it clear that this happens when Jesus comes again. If we already had an "immortal soul," why would we need to "put on immortality." Wouldn't that be kind of like putting on your clothes when you're already dressed? It is apparent that immortality is a gift that Jesus bestows on His followers when He returns. That's when He raises the dead to life.  Verse 52 says, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed," the "we" meaning those who are alive when Jesus comes again. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
So, if the dead are not raised until Jesus comes again, where are they in the meantime? Ecclesiastes 9:5 tells us that "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing."  Psalm 146:4 says, "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." "The dead praise not the Lord." Psalm 115:17. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he had been dead for 4 days, but there is no record of Lazarus ever telling about his experiences in heaven for those 4 days (see John 11). There are numerous accounts of people being raised from the dead in the Bible, but nowhere do any of them speak of the glories of heaven. In Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, he states that "David (speaking of King David from the Old Testament) is both dead and buried." Acts 2:29. If Peter believed that God's people go to heaven directly after death, that would be a pretty faithless statement. Why didn't he say, "David is in heaven?"  Because David isn't in heaven. Further on Peter stated that "David is not ascended into the heavens." v. 34. Clearly then, the dead are not in heaven. So where are they? When Jesus spoke of Lazarus' death, He said that Lazarus was "sleeping." Another time, when Jesus raised a young girl to life, He referred to her as "sleeping" (Matt. 9:24). When the Apostle Paul is speaking about the fact that not all Christians will die, some will be alive to see Jesus return, he said that "we shall not all sleep." 1 Corinthians 15:51. In the Bible, death is portrayed as a dreamless sleep and we will awaken in the resurrection when Jesus comes again. 
So, if there are no immortal souls, no one goes to heaven at death and all the dead "sleep" in the grave until Jesus returns, what or who is causing those unexplained phenomena that my colleagues and others have experienced? The Bible tells us of the existence of angels. There are good angels or "ministering spirits" (Hebrews 1:14). And there are the bad angels, "evil spirits" (Luke 8:2) or "spirits of devils" (Rev. 16:14). God sends good angels to guide us on the road to heaven and, as part of that, to protect us from harm. They do not engage in hauntings, random acts of creepiness or appearing as dead people. These acts are the work of evil spirits. No matter how harmless or even friendly they may seem, it is the work of demons. Isaiah 8:19 warns us "When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?" (NIV). And God instructs us, "Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:31, NIV). He gave us these warnings because He knows that these kind of supernatural phenomena are the work of evil spirits, whose ultimate goal is our destruction.
Finally, on the subject of hell, I just want to point out two texts. The first is probably the best known verse in the Bible: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. And the second is also well known: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. Both of these texts make it clear that the opposite of eternal life, the reward for those who follow Jesus, is death. Those who refuse Jesus' offer of salvation will perish, not suffer eternal torment. The Bible calls it the "second death" (Rev. 20:6), the death from which there will be no resurrection.
I know I have covered a lot of territory and none of it in great depth. If you would like to know more, here are some resources:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Making Progress...

This is my version of the Dreamweaver quilt from Craftsy's Quick Strip Paper Piecing Class. I'm really happy with the way the quilt top is turning out. I don't always know what a finished product will look like, based on the fabrics I've selected, until I actually put it together. And I'm quite pleased. I think the woven sashing adds a very nice accent.
I just need to add the border and it will be done. The instructions call for a different fabric for the border, but I have enough of the "Space" fabric that I will probably use that. 
It's always a good feeling to be in the "homestretch" with a quilt. This will be my third quilt finished this year - if I get it finished. The top itself won't take much longer, but I won't have the opportunity to get to Sparrow Studioz to "longarm" it until the week after Christmas. Meanwhile I have received my order from Longarm Supplies. I ordered three pantos, one of which is Stars &Clouds, which I intend to use for this quilt. Longarm Supplies is a Canadian vendor right here in Alberta.
I just heard from my nephew Billy and he loves his quilt. He needed some directions on folding it back into a quillow, however. LOL! I remember the first time I "met" a quillow and had to get the owner to fold it back up because it defeated me. Obviously my nephew takes after his aunt in this regard.
There's a black Friday sale at Fabricland this weekend. I'm hoping they sell Insul-Bright as I'd like to make some pot-holders for Christmas gifts.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Assuming We're Okay

I remember a time when I was a fairly new driver and, driving my first car (a Plymouth Duster), I took a couple of friends to the mall. The lights in the city were bright and it wasn't until we got to the mall that I realized that I had driven there without my lights on. The vehicle I drive now has an auto setting for the lights. When it gets dark, they come on automatically. When it's light, they stay off. However, I do have to make a point of remembering to manually turn the lights on when it's foggy or snowing heavily during the day. The sensor doesn't recognize those as "dark" so the lights don't come on automatically. And taillights don't come on with daytime running lights. This can make a vehicle virtually invisible from behind in poor visibility conditions (fog, snow, rain, dark). For that reason, my niece's husband, who is a truck driver, says that he hates daytime running lights. They make a driver think he's "okay" because he can see better, but he is definitely not "okay" from behind. 
Last evening, I left the city just around sunset. Ahead of me on the highway, one of the vehicles didn't have his full lights on and hence no taillights. Even though it was not yet fully dark, I couldn't help but notice that the lack of taillights just made his vehicle blend into the surroundings. Further - and darker - into the trip, I saw another vehicle ahead of me also with no taillights. This was getting dangerous and I really wasn't sure if there was anything I could do. He was driving slower than me and as I got closer to him, I was driving in the passing lane, and flashed my brights. Within moments, he had his headlights/taillights on, which I was glad to see. 
People are placing themselves in jeopardy by assuming that they are okay. And the results could be fatal.
I think there are a couple of spiritual lessons to be learned from this. The first is that if you see an opportunity to help someone, you should. Your help may be rejected, but it's still worth it to try. You may save a life.
The second is that we should never assume that we are "okay" spiritually. I've heard statements like, "I'm a good person, so I believe I'll go to heaven." Or even, "God isn't going to keep anyone out of heaven." These are concerning because they're not Biblical. And the Bible makes the way to heaven very clear and it's not by us being good. Nor is everyone going to make it. There is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (NIV). And John 17:3 tells us, "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (NIV). We must accept Jesus' death on our behalf so that He can give us the life He has planned for us. And we must walk with Him - live for Him. We should never leave it to chance. We must not assume that we're "okay." We need to make sure that we're okay. The Bible tells us that we can know, not just assume, that we have eternal life. "The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have God’s Son does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of God’s Son so that you can know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:12,13 CEB. 

If you need help, getting to know Jesus, here are some resources:
Steps to Christ - free audio book download
Steps to Christ - free text version download 
Free Online Bible School 
Or you can contact me. There's a contact form on the bottom of the sidebar on the right.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Show & Tell - 24/11/13

Have you heard of Aurifil's Hey Girl Slogan Game? You'd better check it out because you can win some Aurifil thread and Moda fabric. Apparently there was an internet meme of Ryan Gosling photos with various "Hey Girl" slogans. I'm so far out of the loop that not only had I not heard of this meme, I didn't even know who Ryan Gosling was. Is that Kate Gosling's ex-husband? No, wait a minute that's Gosselin, and her husband's name is Jon. Hmm, you really don't have to know who Ryan Gosling is to enter the contest. Instead of Ryan Gosling, Aurifil took pictures of Alex Veronelli, to which we can add our own "Hey Girl" slogans to enter the contest. Who is Alex Veronelli? He is the Product Manager and Brand Jedi for Aurifil, but I suspect he gets paid to flirt with female quilters and seamstresses so that they will buy more thread. I follow him on Google+ and he has a good sense of humour and is a lover of the beautiful. Probably women as well as quilts.
I was actually quite surprised by how tall Alex is, looking at the pictures on Aurifil's website. Either that or he hangs out with some very short women. Somehow I had gotten the impression that he was a short, little guy. Perhaps I based that on the one and only time I went out with an Italian. He was shorter than me. He was also short on personality. But I won't hold that against Alex. Or Aurifil.
But back to thread: Sorry, Alex, but I'm just not ready to settle down. I'm still playing the field, exploring all the wonders and delights of the various brands. I've known Coats & Clark all of my life and we went steady for a long time. Then I met a couple of Germans: Gutermann and Mettler, and they really broadened my horizons. Coats & Clark introduced me to a cousin, Koban and I flirted with him for awhile. I'm discovering that there are so many threads on the market, that I don't know if I can be exclusive with just one. Maybe when I get more experience, I'll be ready to settle down. But you know, Alex, if you had come to the Creative Stitches show in Edmonton, you might have been able to charm me into making a commitment. <big grin>
I've been warned about Italians, though. And I'm really not sure I can trust them. But maybe, just maybe, if I had the opportunity to get to know one better, something beautiful might blossom, and I might... just... fall in love.
So really Alex, I need to win that thread so Aurifil can win my heart. 
Now, all joking aside, it's time for Show & Tell, although I think I already started that by "telling" you about the Aurifil giveaway. As for what I'm going to "show" this week, I've decided on photography. The photo at the beginning of this post was inspired by the Aurifil contest. Honestly, I am not a photographer. I've never taken a photography class and I've never really considered it a hobby, but every once in awhile I decide I want to make a statement with a picture. This one started by wanting to write down a slogan I thought of until I had the chance to post it online. Don't you think my "Gone Quilting" sticky notes from APQS is the perfect spot? I just added my only two spools of Aurifil thread (and Alex, my LQS doesn't sell Aurifil, so I really think I should win this contest), and put it on my mini cutting mat. 
Next, I decided to pursue some more "thread art." Unfortunately, I really don't have the props for the kind of pictures I would like to take. I wish I had my antique sewing cabinet, but it's in the repair shop. However, I did my best and used my vintage silverware case as the background for the sepia and black and white shots. I also threw in an older pair of my glasses.
A friend had found a bunch of old velvet fan blocks and passed them on to me as she figured I would know better what to do with them than she would. That's what I used for this shot. Some day I will actually make them into some kind of quilt. And yes, those are vintage wooden spools of thread.
In this shot I have vintage fabric, some older plastic thread spools and a pin cushion made by someone in my family (it was in my mother's sewing stuff) from a piece of an old sheet. I think I like this shot the best, though it seems a little fuzzy.  Gotta work on that...
Some of my modern spools on a background of a block I did for the Craftsy 2013 BOM. The fluorescent orange and green threads were being sold at Fabricland prior to Halloween. I couldn't resist them because I just love these vibrant colours. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, however. Sorry, no Aurifil in this picture. 

Now it's your turn. Here's my button:

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Show & Tell

I'm writing this Saturday night and I just got in from snowblowing. That's hard work! But you didn't come here to talk about the weather. You came to see what I have to share and then share your projects. I've got a lot of pictures to share this week, so I'll try not to "talk" so much.
As promised, here is my nephew Billy's quilt:
If you're interested in the pattern, it can be found here: Blue and White Pinwheel Quilt. I wanted a larger quilt (this one's 60" x 60"), so I made the centre 6 blocks by 6 blocks instead of 5 x 5 and added an extra border. If I had to do it over again, I would have definitely pressed the seams open in the pinwheel blocks because I ended up with too much bulk by pressing them to the side. Oh well, live and learn. I deliberately used alternating fabric for the binding.
Here I am doing the longarm quilting at Sparrow Studioz. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!
I would love to have one of these, but being able to rent one is the next best thing. In case you're wondering, I'm at the back of the machine because I'm using a pantograph. 
And here's my imperfect quilting. Not bad for a beginner.
Did I say how much fun it was? Here's the back of the quilt.
Okay, I admit it: that's a bizarre backing for this quilt, but I absolutely love this southwest pattern. And besides, it was 50% off. :-)
I can't fail to acknowledge the assistance of my highly qualified Quilt Inspectors (QIs).

You will remember in my post William, Bill, Billy that I made a duplicate of the block I made in memory of my brother. I turned Billy's quilt into a quillow and this block become the pillow front.
Borders added
The Finished Quillow
You can refer to the above link for an explanation of the emblems on this block. 

I said I wasn't going to talk much, so you can refer to this link to know How to Fold a Quillow. Here are my pictures, with Mystery's able assistance:

I couldn't have done it without him.
Let me warn you about quillows. If you don't make the pillow front big enough, it can be really tough getting the quilt folded into it... and the corners can tear. The instructions on the link on folding a quillow say to reinforce the corners, but don't say how. I also find cotton batting is stiff and bulky and hard to fold into a quillow. Not sure if I'll make another one, but this one had a special purpose because it's a tribute to my brother gifted to his son. 
Now that I'm done that quilt, I'll share some recent purchases.

I bought these on eBay. They are for my sister Cindy's quilt, which I hope to start early in the New Year.
Sorry, the picture's sideways, but I'm too lazy to change it. I haven't figured out if I can turn pictures directly in Blogger. Otherwise I have to do it on my computer and then upload it again. More trouble than it's worth. This yarn is for a crocheted Christmas tree skirt. No, it won't be done for this Christmas, but maybe next...

I predict a horse quilt in my future. And I strongly suspect it will include more of the southwest fabric from the backing in Billy's quilt.
Now it's your turn. Don't forget to include a link or button for my blog somewhere in your post or sidebar. I'm going to make it easy for you. If you really don't want to add my button, just add the link in a comment on your post. i.e. "I shared this post on Cat's Crossing:"
Here's my button:
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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Knowing His Voice

"The sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." John 10:4,5

Most of you have probably had the experience of having your voice mistaken for someone else's or not being recognized, especially on the phone. When I was still living at home with my parents, and my next oldest sister was engaged to be married, occasionally her fiance would mistake my voice for hers when he called and I answered. Yes, that could have given me license to do some serious leg-pulling, but I'm not the type of person to lead someone on that way. Then it was my youngest sister who used to get mistaken for me when someone called to talk to me, much to her annoyance. Finally, when my daughter entered her teens and her voice matured, she would occasionally have callers think she was me. Voices can be funny that way, but if you saw any of us together, or all of us, while you might see a family resemblance, you could definitely tell us apart. And in character, we're all different as well. Certainly, again. there would be similarities, but we are all individuals, personality-wise.
And that brings me to the actual definition of the word voice. There are two definitions. The first, of course, is the most commonly recognized one:
the sound produced in a person's larynx and uttered through the mouth, as speech or song
The second one we don't use as familiarly:
a particular opinion or attitude expressed (definitions courtesy of google). 
In this respect, we might say "the dissenting voice". And along this line, there is a writer's "voice", the individual writing style of an author. This second definition is more an expression of the person's character. And I think the Bible text that I opened with is using voice more in this second aspect. I believe it is using the literal voice as symbolic of the character. We need to get to know Jesus in order to recognize His "voice."
There was a time when I was the home care nurse responsible for a certain seniors housing facility. While I was there, I got to know both the staff and the residents quite well and developed a strong positive working relationship with the staff, mostly Health Care Aides. Then the level of care for that facility changed and hence the staffing structure changed as well.  LPNs were added that neither the staff nor I knew, and a new manager was introduced. This manager was responsible for a number of facilities spread over a fairly large geographic area, so was not consistently in any one facility. It was, therefore, difficult for her to get to know the residents or the staff well. This ended up creating a lot of resentment and animosity when this unknown and mostly absentee manager tried to change things and tell the staff what to do. They were much more prepared to cooperate with me, than her. Why? Because they knew my "voice," my character. They knew that I cared about them as well as the residents and that I would listen to their concerns. And stand up for them if need be. To them, she was just a stranger, like in the Bible verse above.  And there was no trust there. Just as the staff knew and trusted me, we need to know and develop this kind of trusting relationship with Jesus.
On the other hand, if we don't learn to know Jesus' voice, we could be deceived by the voice of a stranger. Followers of Jim Jones and David Koresh were very sincere in thinking they had found the right "voice." "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12.
Relatively few people in this world's history have ever actually heard Jesus' literal speaking voice, but we can get to know His character. Through His word, through our daily walk with Him and His dealings with us, we can hear His voice and learn to trust Him. But we really need to spend the time getting to know Him in order to recognize His "voice." We need to spend time studying His word, the Bible, and in prayer. Otherwise, we could be led astray by the voice of a stranger. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

We Will Remember Them

This is my father. He served in the Air Force during World War II. Both of my grandfathers were veterans of World War I. My paternal grandfather died of complications of Trench Disease contracted during the war, when my father was only 9 years old. 
Remembrance Day has special meaning to me, so I want to take this opportunity to honour those who served, those who died, and those who continue to serve.
I'd like to share some videos in tribute to our veterans and those currently serving. These all bring tears to my eyes.
A Pittance of Time by Terry Kelly. Please don't forget to observe 2 minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. wherever you are in honour of our veterans.
This is Highway of Heroes by the Trews. Even if you're not Canadian, I'm sure you can appreciate this one. This is how we honour our fallen heroes.
This is a series of photographs of the Highway of Heroes by Sun Media photographer Pete Fisher, accompanied by the ever-tear-inducing Amazing Grace on bagpipes.
For whatever reason, I cannot embed or insert the next video, so I'll link to it:
Bringing Buddy Home by John McDermott.This is a very poignant tribute to those who die in the line of duty.
Finally, one more series of photos of the Highway of Heroes, featuring a song by Lee Greenwood that pays tribute to those who died so that we can live free in this great country of ours.
Poppy & Remembrance
Image from
Lest we forget.

Show & Tell

A brand new day, a brand new week & unfortunately, in Alberta, there's snow on the ground. I already paid someone to shovel for me last Sunday and last night I ran the snowblower. That's snow removal twice already and it's not even Remembrance Day! Remind me again why I live in an almost Arctic climate... <sigh> It could be worse - we've had snow for Thanksgiving before. Canadian Thanksgiving, that is, which is the second Monday in October. And there have been times in winters past when it's been colder here than in Alaska. But it's Show & Tell time, time for all of us to share our projects again. I love getting comments/compliments and I'm sure you do, too. So share your links in order that more people can see your work.
First, it's my turn. I wasn't sure what I was going to share this week. Quiltwise, it's been a pretty productive week for me. I finished the quilt top for my nephew Billy's quilt, but I'm not going to share that yet. Today, I am going into Edmonton to take a class in Long Arm Quilting at Sparrow Studioz, so I'll be taking Billy's quilt to work on. Yay, I'm so excited! Once I take the class, I can then rent time on their machines to finish all my quilts. Anyway, I won't show Billy's quilt until I'm finished it, hopefully next Show & Tell. 
However, I was able to finish another block for my daughter's quilt and here it is:
This is the Dreamweaver block from Craftsy's  Quick Strip Paper Piecing Class . I really didn't think I was ever going to try paper piecing, but decided to give this class a try. It's easier than I thought and it does actually work up quite quickly. I've just got so many other projects on the go that this one has taken a backseat. This is only my second block. Here are both of the completed blocks:
Excuse the ragged appearance of the second block. I haven't trimmed it yet. I had folded up my cutting table to use the floor for cutting and trimming backings and it wasn't convenient to set it up again. 
I just love the background fabric I'm using in this quilt. It's called "Space." I don't recall the designer, but I thought it was perfect for these stars. 
I'm hoping to have the Dreamweaver quilt done by Christmas time. We'll see...
While I was at my local quilt shop this past week, I found this fabric at 50% off:
It's called Apple Basket. Here's a closeup, so you can see the detail better:
I bought what was left on the bolt - less than 2 metres, I think. I'm hoping to use it in my Crop Circles quilt, but I'm not sure. It might be too large a print. Even so, I will find a use for it as I think it's an awesome fabric. 
While I was perusing Windham Fabrics, I found a new fabric line called Farm Stand that will be available 01/01/14. Check these out:

Aren't they delightful? That last one, with the produce in the baskets, would make a wonderful backing for my Crop Circles quilt. I wonder if my Local Quilt Shop will bring it in. 
Now it's your turn. Don't forget to either add my link 
or my button to your blog.

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Saturday, 9 November 2013

This Morning's Frustrations

I really was planning on attending church this morning. However, I frequently like to sneak in a little extra rest on Sabbath mornings. Not a whole lot, however, as I have an hour's drive to get to church, so I still have to rise pretty early. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of overdoing it with the extra rest and I was running late. And then things kept happening to make me later... Fighting with the dress I was planning on wearing - one of those 2-layered things where the outer dress is only attached to the lining at the neck and shoulders - I had it inside out and upside down and still couldn't seem to get my head and arms into the right openings. I finally got frustrated and gave up and decided to attend online Sabbath School here:
The Day of Atonement | Amazing Facts
They're singing one of my favourite hymns, A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
After, (10:40 MST) I'll attend church at: 
Sacramento Central 
Come and join me.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Reunion Day!

Recently I returned from vacationing in Ontario, my home province. I had a wonderful time with family and friends. There's nothing to compare with being with your loved ones "in the flesh." I was able to reunite with Wendy, an LPN that I worked with here in Alberta. She retired over a year ago and moved back to Ontario. Even though her home isn't near where I was staying, she made a special trip by train so that we could spend time together. 
An even more impressive reunion was getting together with Deb, an old high school friend that I hadn't seen in something like 38 years. We had reconnected on facebook and when I decided to vacation in Ontario, we made arrangements to get together. Amazingly, it wasn't awkward or uncomfortable after all these years and we could still relate on an emotional level. 
As the day of my departure drew closer, I felt a cloud of gloom settling over me. I really didn't want to return to Alberta. It's truly challenging living so far from the people that mean the most to me. And who care about me the most. But my job is here, my house is here, and my cats were eagerly awaiting my return. 
I had a difficult time saying goodbye. I could barely keep from crying on my flight home. And I have shed tears since then. Life is too short. We've already lost my brother and who knows how much longer any of us have with each other? I think maybe it's time to move back to Ontario.
I don't know if I'm being ridiculous or realistic. I had one job interview already and the starting salary would be about $20,000 less per year than I'm making now. I did not continue to pursue that opportunity... And it's a lot of work and hassle to move across the country. I'll need to sell my house. Packing - ugh! And I'll have to figure out how to transport my cats from here to there with the least amount of trauma. Do I need the added stress of a major move at this point in my life? It's not an easy decision to make. There are a lot of things that need to come together: a job with a salary I can live on, sell my house here, buy a new home there, how to move everything, what to take with me and what to sell. It gives me a headache just thinking about it. I get to the point where I'm almost ready to say, "It's just too much trouble." But then I remember how much it hurt to say goodbye. I think of how awesome it would be to be able to just drop in and visit one of my sisters. And even the ones that don't live in Ontario - I will see them more frequently living there than living in Alberta. I miss them. And I miss Ontario. I miss the fall colours, the milder climate, the Great Lakes, lots of fresh produce at farmers' markets, being able to purchase
apples direct from the orchard and lots more... It's an awesome place. 
Don't get me wrong - I'm not faulting Alberta. Alberta's been good to me. I have an awesome job, a beautiful house... I just miss home and the people there. So, will I go back? I don't know yet. Only time will tell. I'm certainly praying about it. 
Sometimes I do worry if moving back home will live up to my expectations. Will it be everything I've hoped and dreamed? I don't expect it to be perfect, but I don't want to be disappointed either. Would it be possible that, after moving home, I would long for Alberta? I can't even begin to imagine that being possible. 
A few years ago, my nephew, James, and his wife moved back. They don't harbour the slightest regret about the move. My friend Wendy is happy to be home and she lived in Alberta much longer than I did. The only reluctance I heard expressed was by my nephew Andrew, who moved back a few months ago. He has yet to find a full-time job, so that's probably a factor. Me? I might feel some slight regret in the middle of a hot, humid July day. :-) But as I head into another long and severe Alberta winter, Ontario's humidity doesn't seem so terrible after all.
But there are a lot of hurdles ahead of me and my hopes may never come to fruition. 
However, I have a more certain hope, known in the Bible as the blessed hope: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13. Jesus promised - repeatedly - that He would come again. And it will happen, because He "cannot lie." Titus 1:2. Then He will raise to life His faithful people who have died - my Mom and Dad and brother - and together with his living followers, He will take us all to heaven. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. What a grand reunion day that will be! Oh, how I long for that day when I never have to say goodbye again! "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4. 
My dreams to return to Ontario may never materialize. I may have to continue the long distance visits with the painful goodbyes. Things just don't always work out the way we'd hoped. But only my personal choice will keep me from realizing the Blessed Hope of going home with Jesus and never having to part from my loved ones again. And heaven will be much better than Ontario! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9. It's going to be awesome!
Will you join me in getting ready for that day?
It's Headed Straight Towards You!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Show & Tell

Hey everybody, I decided to try my very first Linky party and I hope you'll join in. Because I have a broad range of hobbies and interests, I'm not limiting it to just quilting or crocheting or whatever. Just share your project. If you're not sure if it "fits" in this party, just contact me & ask. Scroll along to the bottom on my sidebar and there's a contact form.
It's my party and I figured I'd better have something to share, so decided on a couple of projects.
I just finished the quilt top for the Hockey Print Nine Patch quilt last night. I think that's a rather boring title, so I'm going to call it Bearly Hockey.
 Look closely at the print and you'll see why I call it that. I also considered calling it Bearly Leafs. It came in a kit that I bought at Len's Mill in London, Ontario. It's a very easy quilt and works up quite quickly. That's why the quilt top is already done. :-)

 I love the colours in this charm pack I bought on eBay. It's called Rose Arbour or something like that. I wasn't sure what I would do with it, but finally settled on a table runner. Using a charm pack like this, the points on the edge don't work out perfectly because you don't have bigger squares to make the half-square triangles. However, I still think it looks nice. I bought the border, backing and binding fabric at my local quilt shop.
I still need to master machine quilting before I can tackle quilting these projects. Straight line quilting gets a little boring. But practicing machine quilting until I get it right also seems boring. I'm more of a plunge in and learn as I go type. And I hate to waste all that thread, batting and fabric on practicing. And the time - when I work full time and have limited time to devote to hobbies, it hurts to spend it practicing and not have a pretty final project. However, what must be done, must be done. I would really like to take a live class on machine quilting. I have enrolled in several online classes, and normally I can learn that way with no problems. After all, I got my degree through distance education. But I just would feel more comfortable having the instructor "right there" with me so I can have ongoing guidance.
Enough palaver from me... Now it's your turn to share.
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Friday, 1 November 2013

7 Layers of Management

Seven layers of management. That's what my supervisor said is the new mandate from the powers that be in the organization I work for: no more than seven layers of management. And we have 8. That means one layer has to be redeployed somewhere, somehow. 
I work for a huge health care organization, but still - is even 7 layers of management necessary? What on earth do that many layers of management actually do to contribute to the health care of our clients? How can managers in the upper levels - so far removed from the front lines - make effective decisions impacting the lives of everyday people when they really have no idea how those decisions will work when they are implemented. And if frontline staff disagree with the decisions made by management, how are they to know who even made the decision in the first place, let alone to whom they can take their concerns? It's just not workable. There's too much anonymity and not enough accountability. How can an organization expect to have an "engaged workforce" when no one even seems to know who they're "engaging" with? The opinions and ideas of frontline workers are neither solicited nor appreicated. We, the ones actually doing what health care is supposed to be about, end up feeling frustrated and devalued. And angry with the implementation of policies that adversely impact our daily worklife without improving the quality of our clients' care and into which we were allowed no input. 
It's aggravating. It's frustrating. But it also reminds me how glad I am that God is not like the average corporation. With Him, I know who is in charge. And if I have a concern, a question, a suggestion, I am invited to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that (I) may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16). I don't need to go through 7 layers before I get to the top because "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is my direct link to the CEO. And I know that, just as someone who has been a frontline worker like me is more likely to understand my position and my concerns in my work environment, so, too,  because Jesus actually lived life on this earth as a human being, He understands everything that frustrates, annoys and tempts me (see Hebrews 4:15). And though I often wonder if the individuals in positions of authority in my place of employment actually care about the wellbeing of my clients or are just interested in maintaining their position in the organization, I never have to wonder about God. He loves each one of us so much that He sent His Son to die that we might live (see John 3:16). 
Not so long ago, there were some individuals in the top levels of the organization I work for that were found guilty of misusing their expense accounts. In a huge way. God, on the other hand, is more willing to give than to take (Matthew 7:11). 
Right now, we are working without a contract and our union is negotiating for a new one. But the organization is trying to take away much of the hard-fought ground we won in previous negotiations. How wonderful it is to have a God we don't have to negotiate with to gain a favourable contract. He came to us, offering a contract that was out of this world for all its benefits.
Ever been in trouble with your employer? That can be a rather frightening experience. And that's where a union can come in handy. With God, even when we are guilty, "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1).
This is a sinful world we live in and, as long as time as we know it lasts, there will be people in power in any organization that will make immoral, unethical, selftish decisions. God never will. When I retire, I'll have my pension though even that privilege is currently under attack. But when I'm finished my earthly life, I am promised eternal life and that is not dependent on the whims of a capricious employer or government, but on the word of God, who cannot lie. (Titus 1:2).