A Wasted Season Redeemed {Easter Thoughts}

You could argue that Utah’s weather cycled through all four seasons in a week, including two rounds of snow and freezing temperatures.  We need the moisture desperately, but the timing…. is hard.  A week ago I took a little walk around my beloved cherry tree to see the buds beginning to bloom.  But now, when we should have a show of lovely white blossoms, the tree already looks brown.  A wasted season, it seems.

I was sick last week.  A wasted week.

But today is Easter and we’re back to spring, so with the sun shining and blue skies overhead I wandered outside to see what survived the cold.  My peonies are coming in well, most of the tulips survived.  My honeysuckle looks dead, and the weeds are thriving as usual.  Honestly, my yard suffers from neglect and dearly needs my attention.  A wasted yard, perhaps.  But while my walk prompted plenty of guilt, I also had to admit that there are some beautiful things happening there.  Beauty I don’t deserve, but which is there for my enjoyment.  A gift.

I had the thought that I should return to the cherry tree in spite of its color.  To my surprise, a sound I’ve not heard for years greeted me:  the hum of hundreds of bees.

In spite of brown blossoms that froze, others had boomed after the storm.  And where the blossoms seemed lost, the bees were at work.  Undeterred by the wilting brown, they even seemed to prefer the “wasted” blooms over the fresh white ones.

I circled the tree with tears in my eyes.  My own little Easter miracle, it seems, with a beautiful lesson for me: a wasted season redeemed.  The scriptures teach that all things testify of Christ.  Today I witnessed that testimony in the form of bees and cherry blossoms.  Because of Him, our brown, frozen, spent blossoms can still bring fruit.

So many parts of my life are barren of the fruit I expected years ago.  Yet, haply, looking back today, I see Jesus Christ at work.  I see brown useless blossoms that have yielded good things:  humility, compassion, patience, and faith.  I am better for it.  The fruit has been years in coming, and even now isn’t ready to harvest.  But my wasted season is being redeemed.

This is my Easter witness to you:  whatever is broken, frozen, wasted in your life can be healed and used for good through Jesus Christ.  Just as the bees find my brown blossoms worth pollinating, so He finds you worth saving.  Such a lovely message, delivered by bees and cherry blossoms.

Happy Easter!

More Practice

My sister shared this quote by Kurt Vonnegut with me recently:  “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.  So do it.”   Don’t you love that?  I can attest to it’s truth.   I got more practice at my art recently while teaching a few classes at Sew Simply Stitched , a quilt retreat in Vernal Utah.  More practice, specifically, with my favorite quilt block of all time:  the lone star.
lone star block with pink background
This star is my Lone Star Tree Skirt pattern .  I added triangles to four corners to square it up and frame the octagon, and a simple border.  It’s not finished; I will add more to this one eventually.   This lone star was in bits and pieces to use as samples in class and I didn’t want to leave it sitting, so I sewed it together and now I can look at it while I decide what direction it needs to go.

Lots of practice has made the lone star a simple make for me, but I try to do something slightly different every time so that element of MORE practice, more soul-growing and creativity-stretching experience can come from it.  My emotional connection to my quilts, their color, design, EVERYTHING, is what keeps me quilting.  Exploring this world of textiles, or practicing the art, is my favorite part of the experience.  I love it more than the quilts themselves.  And I love encouraging others to engage more purposefully in the process.

“To practice any art”.  Those are great words, because ultimately that’s what we do.  We practice, improve, and practice some  more.  It’s not about the perfection of a project; after all, the word “perfect” has little or nothing to do with art.  But it’s in the practicing that we grow, come alive a little more, learn new things about ourselves, our tools, the world around us.  I’m thinking it’s excellent advice for life, too.  This week I’m going to practice the art of living and creating more thoughtfully.

Ever Slowly, They Multiply

A flock of geese flew over my house as I sat for my morning study.  In spite of dropping temperatures, a couple of windows happened to be open an inch or two and I heard them coming.  It might be my favorite sound of fall: honking geese flying in v-formation across autumn’s blue sky.  I always stop to watch and listen, take a deep breath, and smile.  It’s the season when things change slowly, then quite abruptly in flashes of tumult.  But mostly, it all comes about so gently.  The leaves change color, then fall.  Lace-like first layers of snow creep lower down the mountains. I hear the first crunch of brittle leaf beneath my foot.  And like my hand stitches, ever slowly, they multiply.
blue and teal orange peel quilt draped over tree branch
Denyse Schmidt published her book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration , in 2012.  A long time ago!  Studying it prompted this post about “slow middles” a few months later.  About a year after that I noticed a happy accident on my sewing table.  The adventure began when two scraps of fabric next to each other by chance sent me hunting for more.  I tracked down the print, and a friend helped me match the solid.  Squares were cut, hundreds of orange peel pieces traced and cut by hand.  A slow process, yet “ever slowly, they multiply”.
close up of applique orange peel quilt top
The Orange Peel pattern in Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration, is a hand applique pattern.  I’ve grown to love hand work and this looked like a great two-color pattern.  Naturally I had to increase the size!  All the pieces went into a plastic box complete with needles, two thread colors, and a pair of scissors.  It began.
blue and teal orange peel quilt top hanging from fence
That was YEARS ago.  At times I thought I’d never finish.  I would count the remaining blocks and groan, then remind myself, “ever slowly, they multiply”.  Yet today I have a finished quilt top because I stitched those thousands of stitches, all while waiting in my car.    How often does time in the car yield a quilt top?
full view of hand appliqued orange peel quilt top on porch
A gentle breeze just lifted a handful leaves and dropped them beneath my cherry tree.  Most, still green, hang tightly to the tree.  But ever slowly, they multiply.  In 2021 my personal goals have been built around the attribute of diligence.  I’m learning the power of small and simple actions bringing great results.  And I love quilting as a metaphor for life.  One kind word, one item put away, one act of faith…. each of them repeated consistently yields powerful results.  Acting on this principle in so many areas makes the hand stitches in my quilt top a more joyful finish:  every slowly, they multiply.  

So keep stitching.  And keep trying.  Keep smiling.  Ever slowly.  Don’t quit.  


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