Sometimes it’s good to reflect on one’s past so the path toward the future is a little clearer. We are grateful for the opportunity to share here each week with you. Thank you for the support, friends!
“It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God, but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the Ordinary things in life and holy on the Ordinary streets among Ordinary people, and this is not learned in five minutes.” -Oswald Chambers
How do we live in the Ordinary? Continue on this journey with us; the fellowship is sweet…
Tis the season of Girl Scout cookies and the first blossoms of spring.
Is it just me or does every home improvement store have an over-abundance of shiny lawn mowers on display and flocks of Girl Scouts grinning their gap-toothed smiles, asking if you’d like to buy some cookies?
Although I only had a brief venture into the world of Girl Scouts, I learned a couple important things I tucked into my bag of tricks:
1) The first lesson, of course, was that Thin Mints cookies could pretty much sell themselves and that diehard fans put them in their freezers to “save them for later” (translation: hide them from the kids).
2) The other key thing I learned as a Brownie was the song “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” At the time I thought this meant I would have a treasure trove of sparkly friends to last me all my days. It took a few more years for me to understand that meeting new friends was fun, but maintainingfriendships for the long haul was just as vital and full of its own sweet reward. What a great life lesson for a young pig-tailed girl to carry along with her even though her Girl Scout days were few!
Now as an adult, I have the opportunity to gather up boxes of Thin Mints from bright-eyed eager girls as easy as a brief stop while running errands. The friendship piece, though…that’s even trickier now than it was when I was the new student almost every year in grade school. Then I had the structure of school activities and the dubious recognition of always being the last person in every line since my last name started with a Z.
As busy mommas it’s hard to cultivate friendships anew and hold on to the wisps of friendships past. At the same time we’re trying to build our own network of relationships, we’re also nurturing our children’s friendships, helping negotiate playdates and shepherding our kiddos to make good choices in their interactions with others. Their world is so much different than our school days in which “social media” was passing notes without getting caught by the teacher.
Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and plant a seed of friendship, then patiently wait while the hectic pace of daily life churns on around us. It may take weeks or even months to get a glimpse of that friendship blossoming a little more. We may have to keep being the one to introduce ourselves at parent meetings, join a new Bible study, or volunteer for something that puts us closer to the action. In these awkward situations, I remind myself “baby steps, Dianna” and take encouragement from the fact that my boys have been steadily surging forward in their new relationships, too.
We discovered that little gestures can go a long way. A few months ago, we put a bike rack by our garage and invited boys that lived farther from the bus stop to park their bikes there. My son is now having more contact with neighborhood kids because we made ourselves just a little more accessible — a little more transparent to those around us.
Adults (or at least us introverted ones) seem to have a harder time showing this transparency. It takes courage for us to show our vulnerability, having outgrown that marvelous age where we could simply ask, “Will you be my friend?”
Friendship is a lovely gift from God. Many verses reflect this truth of connectedness.
Are you missing a friend connection? Would you like to have some more friends in your inner circle? Hang tough. There’s more to your friendship song and to mine:
“Silver is precious, Gold is too. I am precious, and so are you. You help me, and I’ll help you and together we will see it through…”
Since I’ve experienced the heartfelt joys of long-term friendships and have been fortunate to have seen best friends from high school and college in the last month, I know it’s worth it to invest in these friends of silver and of gold…and whatever lies between. I cling to the threads of my dear close friends through texts, phone calls, emails and Voxer to hold me over until our next face-to-face gatherings.
In the meantime, I’m tentatively testing the soil of potential friendships in my new surroundings. We just have to keep planting seeds in our interactions and step out of our comfort zones…who knows, we might bump into someone who is seeking the same sweet connection. And, if we get to share Thin Mints in the process?? That’s a win-win in my book!
Sometimes we stumble into a way of doing something that is meaningful to us and think it’s just “our way” of doing something. God may have bigger plans for our little “simple” shortcuts. He may want us to share them with others and let Him grow it bigger. This happened to me last year with my Bible Quilt™ journaling.
Not long after I began this quiet time project, I had a friend struggling in a relationship. I grabbed my Bible Quilt™and immediately turned to my section on Trust. I sent her a picture of a couple verses that seemed applicable to her situation. Although we were long-distance, within a few minutes she had something in my own handwriting. Since I had spent time already reflecting on these verses, steeping in them myself, I felt like I had been able to share with her more deeply than typing the verse into a text or email. Somehow this process personalized the support, highlighting God’s Word as the Spirit had led me in my devotions.
Sharing God’s Truth through the handwriting of a friend is personal and powerful.
As I continued to share with friends, I realized how this simple tool had become a way to minister to others, offering them something personal and grounded in the Word during a time of need.
Sometimes we don’t know what to say to a friend who is hurting. Offering a gentle reminder of God’s truth in your own handwriting is a simple gesture of love.
During the holidays, I shared my Bible Quilt™with a few friends and family. We all agreed that we had a mishmash of verses floating around in a variety of places, so having them all together in a Bible Quilt™ journal seemed to renew our efforts to gather them in a meaningful way.
My simple technique seemed to strike a chord with others. The more I shared, the more collaborative the experiences became. I learned that left-handers might choose to put their tabs on the left side of their journals and may orient their book pocket a different way.
I heard some insightful ways some ladies were going to use their Bible Quilts™ during their quiet time. I’ve enjoyed helping compile kits that can be given as gifts. I had the fun of introducing an older generation to the joys of washi tape.😃
We had a family session during Christmas break. What started out as craft time together quickly became more of a weaving of connections. Mothers and daughters worked side by side, sharing laughter as they fumbled a bit with duct taping their Bible Quilt™ covers.
A young daughter’s face brightened when she realized she would have her own designated page in her mom’s Bible Quilt.™
Favorite verses were swapped as a variety of handwriting styles emerged from different generations.
We experimented with phone apps and online Bible searches yet also cracked open a Bible concordance to show the kiddos how to find a verse that we mostly knew, but wanted to have worded correctly in our journals.
Siblings put their heads together to harvest verses for a page on Kindness.
In a crafty environment with washi tape and markers scattered all around us, we connected in God’s Word and learned a little bit more about each other.
The beauty of this project is that it’s just a beginning. We now have a common ground for sharing. We’ve agreed to text verses to one another to help fill pages according to each individual’s themes they have picked as categories to focus on during this season. A certain teenager may have issued a challenge for us each to have our journals full by next Christmas and be ready to share them. That puts a little fire into our motivation to keep this going!
The more I share this simple journaling technique, the more I’m humbled by God using us in unique ways for His purpose.
He allows us to connect with each other in Him through the use of ordinary supplies in a creative way…gathering together and weaving His Word into our lives in our own style, sharing personal stories along the way. God is indeed in the midst of our ordinary moments, unifying us for eternity.
If you need some motivation to get started, Bible Quilt™ journal kits are now available at Ordinary Threads.
Join us in the Facebook group “Ordinary Threads” to share in the conversation as we exchange ideas about our individual progress in our Bible Quilts.™
I have dabbled with different daily quiet time “routines” throughout the years. As with most things, my success ebbs and flows in different seasons of my life.
Last January I felt like I needed something that would capture my “New Year” motivation yet also survive my typical summer slump and then build steadily through the Fall so that I could enter the busy holidays with a lighter spirit. Lofty resolution? Perhaps. A girl can dream. That’s what “fresh starts” are all about, right?
One of the ways I’ve navigated my personal Quiet Time this year is by journaling in my Bible Quilt.™It is a simple concept, yet one that has blessed my time in God’s Word, prolonging my Quietness a little longer. I’d like to share this idea with you because we can all use a bit more quiet in our noisy-busy lives.
As I read devotionals, listen to podcasts, or take notes in church, certain Bible verses resonate with me. I tend to jot them down on random slips of paper in my car, the back of receipts, church bulletins, or scribble them on post-its and put them on my mirror. I’ve got favorite verses on plaques and rocks throughout my house.
After a while these tidbits of Godly wisdom felt scattered.
In the midst of decluttering after the holidays, I had an urge to collect all of these verses into a single place and categorize them in a way that was meaningful to me. I did a little scavenger hunt to gather them. As I glanced through my collection, I began to see themes emerging.
(lightbulb moment 💡💡) I searched our craft supplies and found a gently-used blank journal that one of my sons had abandoned. I used some decorative duct tape to cover up the blemishes on the front. I divided my journal into sections, adding colorful tabs to use as topic dividers.
Some of my categories included:
Fruits of the Spirit
Grace, Truth, Light
Quiet & Still
I also created sections for my regular prayer requests:
Each of my children
Marriage (plus individual tabs for my husband and me)
Next I began entering verses in the sections that were meaningful to me. I simply wrote down the verses, drew an outline box around them and doodled a fringe box around each one with hash marks.
Sometimes I experimented with lettering styles or doodling. On a few pages I’ve included a picture. I discovered that washi tape covers up mistakes/scribbles while adding a pop of color. You can personalize your journal as much as you want with whatever supplies you have on hand.
As I added more verse boxes with a variety of colorful pens and shaded the background with colored pencils, the combination began to resemble a patchwork quilt– different shapes and colors weaving together into a beautiful pattern resembling a quilt.
I liked this image of a quilt – made by hand, stitching verses together in a meaningful way which transformed my collection of paper scraps into something purposeful.
Sometimes I stand my journal upright on my counter as a reminder of what verses God is stitching into my heart that week or as an added layer for the current season (ex: Love for month of Feb)
A Bible Quilt™ can be used to cover ourselves in focused prayer– layering words of truth in our hearts –and quieting our spirits as we start our frenzied days.
My Bible Quilt™ become an ongoing project that keeps me motivated to pursue my devotions. (psst…it’s October AND I’m still going = it works!) I’ve discovered I’m reading my devotional or Bible more actively as I consider what verses to highlight in my Bible Quilt.™ I hope thisBible Quilt™ blesses you as much as it has me. It’s never too late to get started…think of it as getting a headstart before the rush of the holidays! 🌲
**Want more ideas for incorporating more Quiet into your daily rhythms? Come visit our Pinterest board: Chasing Quiet (di_mills) or join our Facebook Group: Ordinary Threads
Update:Bible Quilt™ kits are now available in our etsy shop, aFrayedKnotStudio. Come browse for yourself or as a gift for someone the Lord places on your heart.