4 of the Hardest Lessons that go beyond LongArm Quilting

hardest lessons titleHere they are. The Final 4.

The Big Ones.

The hardest lessons of all.

These represent where I am now. The in-between space of better than I was but not where I want to be in life AND in my Quilting.

I look at work produced by award-winning quilters and think, “I will NEVER be that good!”

I spend hours frustrated over what I’ve achieved vs what was in my head.

I give up without even starting because I don’t want to be disappointed in having it turn out poorly.

(Should I be lying down on a couch while typing this?)

I have to remind myself of these 4 lessons every time I step up to my machine.

1.Break Bad Habits

Break bad habits BEFORE they become a natural response.


I box myself into a tight space because I’m not paying attention, I swirl left instead of right, or I rush because I’m anxious to move on.

I also eat Peanut M&M’s until my tummy hurts. (Did I overshare?)

I tend to talk myself through my bad habits in quilting. (And occasionally before I eat the WHOLE bag of Peanut M&M’s)

If you walk upstairs to my studio you may hear me saying,  “Squiggle squiggle, squiggle THEN swirl” or “Echo, Echo, down and around”.

It’s like I’m calling out my own Square Dancing moves. (Did you have square dancing in school for PE? That was my FAVORITE!!)

I haven’t tried it in the candy aisle of the grocery store, though.

2. Try Something New

When I started quilting, I had no idea how many “rules” there were.

When people look at my “Deployment quilt” they say, “You did THIS for your first quilt?”

I didn’t KNOW about sewing with a consistent quarter-inch or pressing vs ironing the blocks. (The Quilt Police would have had a field day with me!)

Yada Yada Yada and Blah Blah Blah.

I saw it, loved it, wanted to make it, and did it.

Did I do it well???

Probably not.

Do I care?

Definitely NOT!

Every time I see that quilt I remember sitting at the dining room table sewing the pieces together. I remember spending a whole evening folding and refolding fabric squares to figure out what in the HECK a Prairie Point was. (Back in MY day there was no Googling it).

If I was advising someone on what to make for their first project I would say, “Find something you Love and Go for it!”

Who cares if you do it “right”.

The Kid recently took up Rowing. (Guess how hard it is for me NOT to sing “floating down the Delaware chewing on his underwear”)

His coach said something that struck me.

He said, “Everyone is terrible the first time they go out. When the kids come back they’ll say- That was terrible. I never want to do that again- OR- That was terrible BUT when can we do that again.”

I’m going to be terrible at things. The difference is whether I want to do it again AFTER being terrible.

That brings me to Number 3.

3. Be OK with Imperfection


Me neither…shall we move on?

It PAINS me when I mess up. Especially if I “know better.” I need to get better at this. Not only in my quilting but in my life.

I extend MUCH more grace, forgiveness, and understanding to other people than I give to myself.

Maybe I should lay down…or is it lie down??( Oh boy…THAT’S  going to bother me!)

Moving on…

The last L.A.L.L. (LongArm Life Lesson) I am learning is…

4. Seek Wisdom

I wouldn’t know my quilting is better when I loosen my grip, how to choose a design based on it’s intended purpose, or find new things to try without learning from quilters that have more experience.

It seems the older I get, the more help I need.

Do you remember when you knew it all?

Sharing great places for diaper deals, breastfeeding tips, and having The Great Pacifier Debate.

(Best invention ever OR will it ruin your child and their children…and even their children’s children?)

Now that I’m older and The Kid DID survive a pacifier (and all God’s people said AMEN!) finding community has become a challenge.

Is it because those of us with teenagers are curled up in our bathrooms murmuring, “It’s gonna be ok…They WILL become human soon…Dear Jesus let this be true!!” and moms on the other side of it are still talking things through with their therapist?

Where are my Peeps???

I need to know I’ll make it through Driver’s Ed, Geometry, ACT testing, curfew, phone privileges, “Don’t take that tone with me Mister”, ask your father, do you need money,” I can’t read your mind, Mom”, what’s for dinner, what’s for dessert, what can I have for a snack even though its midnight life.

(Yup…definitely should be laying/lying down on the couch for THIS blog post!)

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

But seek first the Kingdom of God, and HIS righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.

This is the lesson I need to learn the most.

What Life Lessons are you learning?






4 thoughts on “4 of the Hardest Lessons that go beyond LongArm Quilting

  • Sarah August 9, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Finding girlfriends you can walk through the different stages of life is tough. As a mom of 13, 11, 4 and 3 yr old boys, I find myself in limbo between stages oftentimes. Trying to balance the needs/wants of two different seasons. But God is faithful and we are fumbling our way through.
    Here’s the thing that jumped off the page at me the most….when you said “my quilting is better when I loosen my grip.” I find that to be so true of life, as well. The tighter I hold on and want to control everything, the harder/ more tense everything seems. It’s only when I loosen my grip and let Him have the reins that I find rest and peace. That’s so hard for control-freak me. Thank you for sharing your heart and your great sense of humor with us. You are such a blessing.??

  • Anna Scates August 9, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I know I have said this before, but this may be my favorite post of yours. You made me examine a few things, and I love Number 3. I struggle with that daily. I am so happy you started posting again. It’s wonderful to see the direction you are taking. I love the quilting lessons. Keep it up! You are a blessing.

  • Lou Ann Holt August 9, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I enjoyed this so much. You are wonderfully talented in so many ways. Love you.

  • Peter Matheny August 23, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    As Christians, we should expect trials, exult in trials, examine ourselves in trials, and entrust ourselves to God in trials, knowing that they are according to His will.

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