When Life Hands You Scraps Make a Quilt

When Life Hands You Scraps, Make a Quilt

When Life Hands You Scraps, Make a Quilt.

My friend and I chuckled at this quote hand-painted on a wall in a Chesapeake, VA sewing shop. I love the twist on the cliché, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

While I like the idea of incorporating fresh lemons in my cooking, rather than the usual lemon concentrate, I often forget to purchase them at the grocery store.

However, as a mother of two and a novice quilter, I always have scraps. Scraps of fabric from previous projects, quilts, or curtains stuffed into bags. Once in a rare whim or craft room organization, I color-coded my scraps into bags.

I quilted this square using the paper-piecing technique. A technique taught to me by my friend Robin. Positioned on a prime piece of real estate in my home, this quilted square serves as my coffee coaster. Every morning, this scrap piece turned quilt square reminds me of our friendship and the decades of struggles we have each faced.

This quilt square sewed from fabric scraps is my visual reminder of the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.(Romans 8:28)

No matter how unraveled I might feel from unexpected hardship, I know: You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.(Psalm 139:5) and I can never escape God’s presence (Psalm 139:7)

This quilted square is a cheerful reminder that one day; God will use all my scraps to create a beautiful quilted tapestry for His glory.

So, when life hands you scraps, make a quilt. 

~April Dawn White,

© 2016, 2021 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

When Your Heart Needs a Friend

Where do you turn when your heart needs a friend? I’m not talking about the gym friend or the book club friend. Instead, a friend who’s walked through hell and still has a hallelujah in their heart.

When your heart needs a friend, you need someone who’s been where you are, fought similar battles, and survived with joy? Do you have such a friend?

I Woke Up in the Land of Oz in Need of a Friend

I know what it’s like to wake up in an unknown place or circumstance. Like, Dorothy, I also woke up in the Land of Oz. One day, in 2015, I woke up totally paralyzed. Sporadic muscle weakness, which occurred for months, one day led to paralysis. What’s happening to me? How long will I be here? An explosion of unknown experiences surrounded me, like Dorothy in a Technicolor™ new and confusing land.  

Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis

Thirteen months after experiencing debilitating symptoms, doctors renamed the Land of Oz, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis affects one per 100,000 people. [1] It is lonely to possess a rare disease. Daily, I battle emotional isolation. No one around me understands the random paralysis, fluctuating weakness, daily pain, and embarrassing impaired cognitive functioning.

My Heart Needed a Friend

My heart needed a friend who shared the same rare illness. God sent Nancy. Mutual friends introduced us via email and we formed an instant connection. (Only God could arrange mutual friends to know two people with our odd illness.) You could imagine my delight when I discovered she had a meeting near my town. Prior to her return flight, we shared a table at Panera. I sat across the table from someone with my illness. I sought comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only Dorothy in the Land of Oz. For the first time, I knew someone truly understood me.

I peppered her with questions about the illness, her treatment, knowledge of doctors, counseling, etc. But most importantly, her friendship filled me with hope. Hope that I’m not alone on this journey. Hope that I have another person who understands this chronic illness. Better than an aromatherapy (which I use) she infused me with hope through prayer and power in Christ’s name. Nancy’s friendship penetrated my weary heart and helped me renew my faith in God.

God doesn’t call us to fix other people’s problems but to walk with them.

A true friend is someone who will listen without jumping in with a “fix-it” mentality. But rather, someone who is “quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19).

We are relational people, not created to live in isolation. This was on Paul’s mind when he wrote, “that you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12).

You Are Not Alone on this Journey

Friend, whatever battle you are facing, know you are not alone. God sees you and He cares for you. Seek refuge in Him and find comfort in the words penned by David (perhaps when he was in the desert), “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

Singer, songwriter Cody Carnes wrote a beautiful song that captures the essence of this message. I suggest you listen to “Run to the Father” and allow the words and melody to saturate your soul.

If your heart needs a friend, please allow me to be that friend to you. You can reach out to me on my website, subscribe to AprilDawnWhite.com, on Instagram @ aprildawnwhite_author, or on Facebook @AprilDawnWhiteAuthor. Thank you for your patience if I take a few days to respond.

~April Dawn White

© 2016, 2021 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Photos by Tom Wheatley, Gabor Szuts, & Takahiro Sakamo Unsplash.com

[1] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1171678-overview#a6

The Joyful Table

The clink and clunk of hammering ricocheted around the Joyful Table at Bonsack Methodist Church gymnasium. Approximately fifty women gathered in November for The Joyful Table’s monthly craft party hosted by Jennifer Houf.  Jennifer is a momtrepreneur (mom + entrepreneur) of a craft business called The Joyful Table. Jennifer and her husband Jeremy use their creativity and profits of The Joyful Table to foster children into their home.

As soon as Jennifer and Jeremy Houf tied the knot, seven-years ago, they wanted to adopt from Russia. “However, eight days before our marriage, Russia closed the door to outside adoptions, and have remained closed since,” remarked Jennifer. God’s plan for a family took the traditional path and shortly after the wedding, Jennifer became pregnant.

Birth of The Joyful Table

Jennifer desired a side job that allowed her to work from home and contribute to the student loan payoff. Inspired by an idea from a home décor magazine, Jennifer created her own version of a huge wall growth chart.  “I sold over 300 growth charts in my first year. I worked as much as I could with babies at home and had a full-time employee and we could never stay ahead of orders.” Back then, Jennifer and Jeremy lived in Texas. Looking back on the early years of their marriage Jennifer reflects, “I know God had us in Houston, in the greatest grossing zip code in Texas, so we could be blessed to make enough to pay off our $35,000 debt in one year.”

 

Foster Parenting

Two years into their marriage, the burden to adopt never left their hearts. “We felt led to foster as it would cost less than straight adopting, so we opened our home to children almost five years ago,” reminisced Jennifer.

Since then, Jennifer and her husband moved to Virginia for a full-time position and we could turn the focus of The Joyful Table income onto our foster children. “We have spent thousands of dollars on beds, mattresses, and home decor as our rooms for kids have changed and changed over the years with each placement. We purchased a 12-passenger van that we needed in order to transport our large crew. We have taken our foster children on big trips including three trips to the beach, trips on planes, and trips to NFL and NBA games in different states. The income that I make allows us to continue fostering without the added stress of finances that having extra kids in the house can bring.”

The Houf’s have a large crew including, five biological children and have welcomed 13 children into their home over the course of the last five years. “We have had up to ten children at a time and currently have eight (five biological and three foster children).

As if being a mom of five, and a foster of three, and a business owner isn’t enough, Jennifer and Jeremy flip the homes they live in.  Jennifer says, “Our kids have enjoyed the chaos of knocking down walls, removing kitchens, and putting them back together. I try to allow these new experiences to challenge our kids and give them confidence that they can do anything. All of our older children know how to do vinyl work, how to build signs, and how to use most hand tools.”

     

    Craft Parties

    Jennifer hosts The Joyful Table craft parties every month. Over the past five years, she has hosted over 120 parties in Virginia and Texas. Jennifer loves combining her love for teaching, crafting, and spending a night out among other women.

    “All of our kids fight over who “gets to work” when I have a party. They all love crafting with me, seeing all the ladies, and getting messy with the paint. The older kids really love getting to help make the actual signs and assist with the classes. So many of our older foster children have never earned and saved their very own money, so it is very rewarding allowing them to work by my side.”

    The next party will be December 10, 6 pm-9 pm at Bonsack Methodist Church. The feature project will be a 42-inch wooden sled. Don’t worry, it does not require craft skills at these classes. Jennifer offers step-by-step instruction with a plethora of supplies and assistants to lend a hand or advice.

     

    Foster Kids Need Families

    “These kids need families,” says Houf.  “They may need a family for one month or for two years, but nothing happening to them is their fault. They are just kids, and kids need families to keep them safe until they can return home. I pray the church will rise up and do what we are called to do; to love on these kids in their distress.”

    “I hope our story shows people there is no such thing as ‘the perfect time to start fostering.’ I have been pregnant, given birth to kids, moved, redone houses, and so much more, all while fostering these kids. We have five young kids of our own and a very small home, but our hearts and our table are never full. We are so humbled and grateful to be a small part of the story for all the children we have had the pleasure of fostering.”

    November is National Foster Care Month. Please consider your role in supporting area foster children or foster families.

    You can follow The Joyful Table on Facebook or shop online at The Joyful Table’s Etsy site. 

    ~April Dawn White

    © 2019 April Dawn White| Images courtesy of The Joyful Table

    15 Awesome Friendship Quotes

     

    August is a month of friendships. Students return to school forming new friendships and renewing others.  Today, August 15, 2019, is my friend Nicki’s fortieth birthday. Our friendship spans over a decade of hills and valleys, all of which God has shown Himself faithful. In honor of our friendship, here is a list of my fifteen favorite quotes on friendship.

     

    15 Quotes on Friendship

    A friend is someone who knows all about you & still loves you.

    Elbert Hubbard

    True friends are families which you select.

    Audrey Hepburn

    A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. 

    Proverbs 27:9

    Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

    Henry David Thoreau

    Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    I have learned that the friends who hold your hand through tough times and watch your soul twirl during the best, are the ones you should spend your lifetime dancing with. 

    Stacie Martin

    Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend.

    Charles Spurgeon

    Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.

    Tennessee Williams

    A friend is like a good bra; hard to find, supportive, comfortable, always lifts you up, makes you look better, and close to your heart.

    Unknown

    A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.

    Donna Roberts

    Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. 

    Aristotle

     It takes a long time to grow an old friend.

    John Leonard

    ~April Dawn White

    © 2019 Red Chair Moments |

     

    Photo by Alexis Chloe on Unsplash 

    Photo by Dan Bøțan on Unsplash 

    Photo by Vincent Chin on Unsplash 

    We Never Walk Alone

    This year, I told my kids if they missed the bus they would walk to school. Situated on the outskirts of our neighborhood the middle and high school buildings are a twenty-minute walk from our home.

    Today, Rachel missed the bus. Because it is picture day, I offered to drive her to school.  Visibly relieved, she sighed and her shoulders relaxed.  As I pulled out of the driveway, Rachel chattered about being caught up in the bus traffic, late to school, and possibly sent to the principle’s office.

    I sipped the dark brew of liquid mercy and smiled to myself. She did not know I was taking her on a different route. Dropping her off at the front of the school would require me sitting in traffic and the carpool line for over thirty minutes.  Instead, I pulled over at the walking trail that meanders behind the school.

    Rachel turned in her seat, “Hey, there’s Marcus.”

    “Oh good, you know him?”

    “Yeah.”

    Turning back to Rachel, I offered my confident parental grin. “Good. Now you don’t have to walk alone.”

    “What? You’re not driving me to school?” She questioned.

    “This is the trail behind the school. Go ahead and get out and walk with Marcus.”

    She was stunned.  I drove her to school as promised, but I didn’t drop her off at the front door. I dropped her off behind the school. She would have to walk between the softball and soccer fields and around to the side of the building. But, she would not walk alone.

    We never walk alone.

    Sometimes God will interrupt your progress in order to get your attention. Sometimes he does that as an act of grace because he sees you expending effort in the wrong direction.  What you are calling progress is actually paralysis from heaven’s perspective.

    Steven Furtick

    Pastor , Elevation Church

    In the course of life, we all find ourselves walking an unexpected path. Yet, we never walk alone.

    When the path we planned shuts down, God provides another way. We set goals to move from point A to point B, with a straight and logical plan of action. But God prefers the scenic route.

    When I think back over my unexpected journey of illness, job loss, move, and betrayal of friends, I can point to precise moments along the path when God provided a friend when I needed one the most. Sometimes the companions who linked arms with me were cherished old friends. Other times, they were new friends who understood the isolation and struggle of suffering.

    However, in the dark moments, when my brokenness overwhelms me, I cry alone. These are the days when my social media activity and text messages are silent.  I cry for myself and I cry out for God to help. God is the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3). His Word reminds me He will never leave us nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6).

    Friend, have you found yourself on an unexpected path? If so, you can rest assured, you will never walk alone. 

    ~April White

    P.S. In the seven-plus years, I’ve been writing Red Chair Moments, this is the first time there has been over a month between posts.  While I’ve been absent on-screen, I’ve been present before the Lord. God is cultivating in me a renewed mind and spirit of contentment. He is teaching me accepting my circumstances is not the same as contentment. As the band, Rascal Flats sings, God is teaching me He blesses and walks with me on the broken road. Dear friend, I’ve broken my on-screen silence to remind myself and all of us, we never walk alone. Hugs & Hope ~April

    ©2018 April White| Images courtesy of Pixabay

     

    Summer Goals

    The campfire curled and crackled sending dancing warm gusts around the teens and leaders encircled around the fire.  This was the final Wednesday night youth gathering before everyone separated for the summer.  A buzz of excitement and anticipation rippled through the crowd as several seniors were preparing to graduate and move on to college. The youth pastor asked, “What summer goals do you have this year?” 

    A stray voice behind me hollered, “Help with vacation Bible school. Another teen evoked roars of laughter when he grumbled, “My parents are making me get a job.”

    I pondered the youth pastor’s question. Like the students, some of us will have ten weeks with a lighter, less rigid schedule this summer. Ten weeks without the burden of packing school lunches, chauffeuring kids to music lessons, and sporting events.  If we’re not careful, our summer will erode away with nothing to show for it but a sunburn.  Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar coined the phrase, “If you aim at nothing you hit it every time.”

    Why is having a goal important?

    Goals keep an endpoint in mind, allowing us to determine our progress toward the goal. Goals provide direction and purpose and prevent aimless wandering.

    How can I apply a summer goal?

    Unlike the tedious chore of saving decades for retirement, a summer goal is possible to accomplish in a short season.  What summer goals do you desire?  Do you want to shed those stubborn five pounds? Is there a concert you’d like to see, or a new area in your city you’d like to explore? If so, make it a goal, grab a friend, and go!

    Is there a book you desire to read or a new skill you’re eager to learn? Check out your local library. Many area offer classes for adults who want to learn to quilt, sew, or throw pottery.  Maybe your goal is to spray paint the patio furniture or power wash the house. Whatever you’ve wanted to do, but never make the time, do it this summer!

    Here are a few of my summer goals:

    • Reconnect with an old friend once a week either by phone or face to face.
    • Drop off the items I’ve stored for months to rescue mission donation center.
    • Finish the three partially read books I’m reading.
    • Drop (for good) five pounds.

    What goals do you have in mind? List a few reasonable goals in a place that you will view daily, such as the bathroom mirror or kitchen, and get started.

    I’d love to hear from you. What goals do you have this summer?

    ~April 

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