Changing my Story: I’m Ready for Christmas

I hear it every year, busy women asking each other, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  The big question is followed by many responses.  Almost.  I haven’t started shopping.  I just have a few more things to do.  I’m not even close.  What is your answer to the question?  I’ve probably given almost all of them over the years, but this year that conversation is bothering me a little.  So I’ve made a decision and I’m changing my story:  I’m ready for Christmas.

My kids are ready for Christmas.  They’re ready for all of it:  Christmas movies, twinkling lights, the first snowfall, Christmas music on the radio, hot chocolate, Christmas stories.  No matter their age, their hearts are open to the magic of Christmas.  My college student has been watching Hallmark Christmas movies since October – that’s how ready she is.

What it really means is that they’re ready for the feeling of Christmas.  Their hearts are open to the beauty of it all.  The lights went up on the house and it was magic for them.  We chose a tree and it was magic again.  They came home from school to find the stockings hung:  magic.  Oh yes, they’re ready.

For me, and for many adults, the question of being ready for Christmas has become a discussion of our to-do lists instead of a state of being.  It’s about our tasks instead of our hearts, because I think it reveals a tendency to act like the holiday is something we provide.  In truth it’s a gift for our taking as much as for our children.

I turned toward November and December with a heart in need of nourishing and a little healing.  There’s no way to overstate the miraculous and generous ways in which my family has been blessed this year, but there are wounds that came before the miracles and they need binding up.  In many ways, I’ve never needed Christmas more, so I’m coming to the stable with a yearning heart.

As I pondered this difference between myself and my kids, I realized it’s my choice.  The bell can still ring for me at Christmas, the magic is mine for the savoring.  I AM NOT THE GIVER OF CHRISTMAS.  It’s a gift from God himself, in the form of his Son.  To quote Jeffrey R. Holland, “But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or tinsel, with a baby, that’s how Christmas began.”  And that’s where the power of Christmas really comes from.  The lights and the tinsel won’t bind up my heart.  Christ will.

This is why I’m changing my story,  I’m ready for Christmas.  I’m ready for His love, ready to adore Him, most importantly I’m ready to celebrate what He has done for me.  That feeling, that celebration, is free for the taking, regardless of my to-do list.  My new story starts now, because I’m ready for Christmas in the only place that matters, my heart.  Won’t you join me?

 

 

Holiday Quilts: Giant Hunter’s Star

Last month’s quick holiday quilt tops are now finished and in use.  I waited for our first real snowfall to photograph them, and it was worth it.  I enjoyed making these quilts!  When I wrote my Giant Hunter’s Star pattern, I wrote it with an option for using fat quarters, but I hadn’t made one for myself.

I split a fat quarter bundle of the Alison Glass Holiday collection into two different colorways and made a Giant Hunter’s Star from each stack.

The blue/green/gold colorway is such a pretty combination.  I love the festive feel of both quilts, without them being strictly red and green.

Each quilt is quilted with straight lines in a diagonal crosshatch pattern.  I followed seam lines where I could and used my hera marker to make crease lines for all the others.  It was a relatively fast and simple way to quilt them.

I have two favorite prints in this collection, the Kitschy print (left) and the Crossed print (right), so I chose one of each to use on the backs.

For my binding I used the same print on both quilts because I like the stripe.  It’s called Stripe (surprise, surprise!) and works great as a binding.

Now I’m two quilts closer to my goal of having a Christmas quilt at the foot of every bed this holiday season.  It feels great to finish them up, and they were fast, fun projects.

If you’re looking for a quick quilt to make, this pattern is fast and fun, and available here.

 

Flight II Quilt – to celebrate friendship and unity

This week I’m highlighting a couple of quilts I made a while ago, but failed to share here.  They still matter to me so I want a record of them.  This one matters because of what it meant while I was sewing it, and also who I gave it to.  I finished my My Flight II Quilt top back in 2015, made with the still-gorgeous Winged fabrics by Bonnie Christine.

This quilt is my Circling Swallows block doubled in size.  I want to revisit this beautiful design – watch for more in 2020.

As I pieced this quilt top I thought about women I know.  On the outside, we sometimes seem SO different, but when we open up and see beneath the surface, we have more in common than not.  I pondered unity, the power of working together, the importance of love and acceptance.

I quilted it in a spiral and hung it on my wall, a reminder of the kind of person I hope to be.

Then a family from Nigeria walked into church one day.  We met, introduced our kids, and started spending time together.  They come to the US every year or two for about six weeks.  Our friendship grew, and they became like family before they went home.

When it was time to say goodbye, I was uncertain we’d ever see each other again.  I needed to send her home with a gift, something to remember our connection by, and it needed to be a gift of self.  I went to my wall and took my precious Flight II quilt down, added a label and sent it to Nigeria with her.

Gratefully, we’ve kept in touch.  Now we spend time together every time they come. Somehow the timing has allowed us to share precious family milestones with each other.  This year I got to attend her birthday party, where I heard her grown children stand and offer tributes to their mother that made me cry.  I hope my children will speak so positively of me someday.  Franka is an amazing woman who leads her family in powerful ways.  She’s not ashamed to say what really matters, or to encourage people around her to be their best selves.  I find myself striving to be like her.

So these photos make me smile as I think of a quilt, and a dear friend – far away and yet not so far at all.

 

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