The latest church we have tried has been working out well. Occasionally MM will decide she doesn't want to go anymore - like two Sundays ago when I picked her up and she was just coming down with the stomach bug. She thought it was the church's fault as she felt fine when she got there. Try arguing that point with a single minded five year old. Geesh.
Anyway. We have spent more time at this new church than any of the others. The youth group really is too small in my opinion - but everything else is just stacking up so nicely. And the youth pastor seems like a great guy....but even he is a shock as we are used to younger youth pastors. The youth pastor at this church is older than Hubs and I. And that really isn't a problem or anything....but it is a whole different energy/focus than what we are used to. Both have their plus and minus category.
One of the things I love about this church is the ladies charity quilt group. They meet once a month during the school year and put together quilts for several nursing homes and the Childrens Hospital.
The older I get the more interested I am in helping those in the community I am in. I have always liked to help and still send things to MM's orphanage and other such stuff...but it was almost always NOT in the community I was living in. Then, one morning while reading in the Bible, it struck me that we are supposed to be taking care of our own homes and communities first. Not that we have to be exclusive to our own community - but that we do need to serve our own communities(OUTSIDE the church walls) as well as other communities that need extra help. Like where it tells preachers they need to make sure they are taking care of their own household before serving others. Same principle.
Of course God calls some to foreign mission fields. But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the way I used to be. I'd be right there to jump on the latest foreign need....and yet didn't even know where my communities Food Bank was, nor had I ever donated to it (outside of the scouting food drives or classroom food drives - things brought to our attention by the usual organizations). I'm talking about how I would send blankets to foreign orphanages...and not donate things to the local foster care system (Yes there is ALWAYS a need for things like diapers and even just volunteering once a month to babysit in the house of a set of foster parents so they can have a breather.)
Why was my giving so far from home? I think it was because it was so much easier to write that check or to shop and ship. Plus, these are the things that are advertised to us - they don't require searching out on our part. I never had to roll up my sleeves and work for another. It was majorly convenient and required no true time commitment. This wasn't really an active thought or decision...but it was so easy to have minimal contact.
Again - I am NOT saying we should not help out others outside our immediate community. But we can write a check to our own organizations in need as easily as the other. And it just might put food in the belly of the little girl that sits next to my daughter in school. Or you might provide brush/comb/mirror/toothpaste/toothbrush to a senior in a home...who doesn't get family visits to take care of these things as that family lives across the states...and pays the bills but only gets into town 2x a year.
There are so many very little things we can do right in our own town also. (And I'm well aware that there are hundreds of thousands of people that do this -- I just happen to be most often in crowds of international adopters that focus on other countries. I was one of these for awhile.)
Anyways - I am so far off course. But if you've been reading my blog any time at all you know that's just the way I roll. Hah!
Back to quilting ladies.
I decided I would like to check them out. After all, I had just started doing the Quilts for Kids - which is great - but it requires shipping (burning fossil fuels) and you don't know what community it benefits (not that that matters really). So, I made a call the night before the March date to ask a few questions. I let the lady know I am not experienced but I am willing. She gave me the info and I decided I was going to at least check it out.
I pulled into a spot out front of the annex at the same time as another lady. A beautiful elder lady. And when I got out of my car, she looked at me and said: "Well Honey, are you sure you are in the right place? "
I replied that I hoped so, I was looking for the quilting group.
And she told me that I was in the right spot then.
To make a long story short, I had the best three hours ever. I was also the most..er...junior?...member there. (That is actually a very dangerous statement because sometimes I am not very good at guessing age.) The ladies were all so quick to show me how to do something and include me. There were probably at least 15 of us there. They have it down to a science depending on what you like to do. Almost never does a single person do a whole quilt on their own. It's quick and very efficient.
And I got to learn about the places in the community where the quilts go. I was also shocked to find out how they cannot keep up with the demands of the community....there are always requests and needs. I don't know why that shocked me. It also made me want to keep coming back and helping out for sure.
And no, I don't only help out in my community now. I do both. They are both very important. I just no longer tell myself the need is greater somewhere else because even our poor are better off than the others....blah, blah, blah. You tell me the reason for focusing more on other countries and I can pretty much guarantee I've used it and believed it at one time or another. Even if God did lay a specific country on my heart.....did He then remove my obligation to my own community? I think not.
That's crap. I don't think God would have us overlook one to help the other. He'd ask us to do both.
And as a side - I'm talking about those that CAN do these things. Not everybody can. We also all have different gifts and callings and its important we pay attention to those in the way we give. The gift of teaching is the gift of giving in my opinion. Giving/helping takes on so many different faces. I've had to point out to some how they are actually giving even though it doesn't look the same as writing a check or sending a box. Please do not take this post as me saying everyone needs to give/help in the way I do. This is a post about MY growth and what I'm learning about my own gifts and responsibilities. This is NOT telling others how to use there own gifts or resources. Its totally personal.
I want to expand on this a little better in a different post.
Back to quilts.
So, the ladies actually let me take two kits home to complete and bring back in April. I was rather impressed with that as it was the first time I had met any of them except maybe one.
And it has provided me with more practice and allowed me to have something to share next time. (They have a show and tell time in the beginning on their own projects.)
And here are the two finished quilts for a nursing home in town.
All the materials are donated so it can be rather challenging to come up with pleasing combination. I added both outside borders/bindings from my own stash as I haven't really learned how to use the back to bind also. It's probably easier than adding that binding.
The lighter quilt is actually made with a sheet (the lighter material). It was a rather high grade sheet but a donation. I was curious how it would work out but it sewed up like a dream and is very pretty. It will wash very well also.
The darker one I got to rummage through the donation fabrics and pulled together. I'm not real good at combining so this is good practice for me also...as I had a coach working with me. LOL!
So. That's the last of the quilts you will probably see for awhile unless its more of these. I have several I am working on but they are gifts for various people and times so I have to wait until they are gifted to share. It will be hard!
For any of my friends that have been more exclusive givers than not.....I'd like to ask you to think about how you can do a little something close to home also. I don't want the largest majority of the giving my daughter sees me doing to be all about the overseas needs. I want her to roll up her sleeves beside me and help out right here at home....as well as what we do for her orphanage or disasters like Haiti.
I want to teach my daughter to give in all areas of her life.
Not just the obvious and easy ones.