Thursday, August 5, 2010

Focusing ...

Ever feel like things are a little fuzzy? out of focus? not sure of direction? discouraged? confused?out of control? anxious? fearful?

Fear. It's a funny little thing. Creeps up sometimes out of no where. I'm not talking about the good fear - the fight or flight fear that gets the adrenaline flowing that can possibly save your life, I'm thinking more about the fear that cripples your action.

Remember as a kid how you were sometimes afraid of the dark? The twilight hours are breathtaking but the fear of the approaching night would take your breath away in a negative way. Most of us have out grown that fear, unless you are caught out in the dark in a dangerous place, but then the good fear kicks in and you realize you need to get out of that situation.

No, I'm talking about the fear that sneaks in camouflaged and catches you unaware. Say for example the fear of failure, thoughts that can leave you afraid to try something new because you don't know if it will be successful or not - what will others think if you goof? Or on the flip side, the fear of success and that causes you subconsciously to sabotage yourself perhaps by not trying, not giving it your best, or just procrastinating long enough that the opportunity pasts because the potential resulting change scares you.

What about the fear of being hurt? for example earlier this week my shoulder and arm started hurting very similar to several years ago when it froze up on me... I became fearful of the potential pain to the point of not wanting to exercise for fear I would make it worst and lose my ability to use my arm in my chosen profession of quilting, I allowed my negative thinking of being hurt physically to keep me from a workout that potentially would strengthen this area ... or the fear of being hurt emotionally - relationships are risky business, but if you guard your heart to the point of not letting anyone in then you miss out on some of the beautiful moments in life...Fear can be so isolating.

Fears of growing older, fears of being alone, fears of losing a job or other material possessions. Fear of not being able to "make it" or pay the bills. That's usually when fear turns to worry. Fear has lots of second cousins like worry, stress, giving up, being defeated, downcast, depressed...

In pondering these thoughts I turned to my Bible for my comfort . "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid" Psalm 27:1 The verse could have just as easily said "of WHAT shall I be afraid" - fear is a lack of focus. Focusing on God to work things out in His timing.

I was also reminded of something my dad always said "Can't never could, I'll try always would"

So why not try something new? Why not risk a little? If you fall, then just get up again. What's the worst thing that can happen? They can't take your birthday away from you!

Speaking of birthday... (grin)...Don't you just love my birthday cake? My youngest son's girlfriend spent literally days making this, and it tasted ever'bit as good as it looks!

Okay, so I decided that I wasn't going to be afraid to try something different in my quilting. I've always loved bright bold colors and I dearly love scrap quilts...yet sometimes they seem to flop. I'm trying to get over that fear of 'what if I make an ugly quilt' Well, I've made some! I'm sure we all have at one point or another if we're honest. But it's only fabric right? and the quilt police can talk all they want but they can't take my birthday away!!

So I played in my stash. I pulled out my new AccuQuilt Go! cutter and started cutting out parts and pieces. I was inspired by two fabulous books, Collaborative Quilting by Freddie Moran & Gwen Marston and Adventures with Leaders & Enders by Bonnie Hunter. The first one helped me overcome some fear of color combining and the second one showed me how to maximize my time and sneak in a little piecing of my own personal quilts while working on customer quilts.

Here's the result of my fearless attempts - I call it Bodacious Birthday Kaboodle

And the fun thing, I quilted it ON my birthday! In fact, if you double click on the photo below to make it larger you can see some of my doodles in the quilting to document this. July 23 in the sunrise fabric, 50 in the fireworks fabric, and in the binding it says "today is the first day of the rest of my life"
I had complete freedom in the piecing, didn't matter to me what fabrics were next to the others, I figured they'd lived together long enough in my stash that they knew how to play nice (grin)

So I took that same freedom in my quilting. Butterfly logo here and there, feather puffs, swirls, whatevers

and little hearts to represent loved ones and the joy in my heart that today was my birthday!

Birthday's are a time of family celebration. And this was the big one! I celebrated with a backyard cookout! I've always thought that we had these birthday celebrations backwards, we should be giving gifts to our mothers for actually birthing us as well as all their love and sacrifice in raising us...

That's my side of the family above and hubby's side of the family below (with the nephews and niece missing - 3 out of 4 were either out of state or out of country)

And here's our sons with their lovely ladies. And Pixxie (grin)

Yep, family is a good thing to focus on. I John 4:18 says There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Below is one of the quilts I was working on as I practiced the Leaders and Enders technique for the pieces of my birthday quilt - this t-shirt quilt is for one of my nephews, it's a belated graduation gift. I made another one for a customer in the past weeks also - so between the two of them I had all my parts and pieces for my bodaciously bold creation (grin)

I've worked on a few other personal projects recently. I've always liked the hunter star pattern and found a ruler to assist with the process, Rapid Fire Hunter's Star On a Sunday afternoon I whipped out this little quilt, it's really easy the ruler and pattern - but Pixxie has convinced me that it's just not big enough. I have enough fabric to make it larger so it's going in the UFO pile until I can get a round to it. Hard to tell but those are purple butterflies in the darker fabric...

I've also finally added the bottom row and border treatment to the lone stars class project I started this past it's waiting to be quilted! I think I'm overcoming my fears of color (grin)

Yep, I've done a lot of thinkin' as I've been quiltin' And I think my focus has gotten a little better concerning not letting fear cripple matter what this life will throw at'cha, whether it be things out of your control like illness, loss of a job or things in your thinking - the solution is to realize that God is the one in control ...

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

Looks a little better focused doesn't it? Living surely is an adventure! Embrace the journey my friend!


SewCalGal said...

Happy Birthday! Amazing cake. Yummy. Beautiful cakes. And very cute four legged child on beautiful Hunter's Star quilt (I so want to make one).


Vicki said...

Happy Birthday. love the quilt. right up my alley. LOL. for real. your birthday was much more fun that mine..which was on the 28th. I spent it getting my yearly check up and mamogram. which is a good thing to do, but not fun. wont do that next year. LOL. all test came back negative. yeah. just love the quilt.