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‘Tis The Set o’ the Sails – or – One Ship Sails East

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part of a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1916

Another small project completed tonight! Yayyy!  Back sometime in the 1990’s I found this embroidery project and fell in love with it.    I embroidered it way back then but with all the changes in my life at that time, I never got around to getting it framed and it ended up in a box of unfinished projects.  I came across it a few days ago while looking for something and decided to frame it in fabric instead of a regular old picture frame.  A very simple project to complete and I was able to do it this evening.

For your reading pleasure I will copy the whole poem into this post and explain why I like it so much, though I think that is easy to figure out if you have known me for very long.

But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
‘Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Though she is not a well-remembered poet and was often criticized for being “too romantic” etc, there is a line from another poem of hers that is very well-known actually.  I was surprised as I was writing this tonight and reading a little about her  when I came across this line from her poem Solitude–“”Laugh and the world laughs with you;  Weep, and you weep alone.”  I dare say there are very few who are not familiar with that line!
I’ve always been charmed by some philosophical poetry and writings throughout my life, though I won’t claim to understand much of what I read.  There are those times, however, when something I read just grabs me and it stays with me forever.  The poem says a lot about our self-esteem and how good or bad, it will determine the goals we set for ourselves.  As she says in the last line, not the calm or the strife of our lives.  We will have those times when trials come our way and times when life is just going along very nicely for a while.   But how do we feel about ourselves?

Self-esteem has always been something i have struggled with my whole life, not believing in myself or in my abilities to succeed at many things.  Sometimes I had help with that self-esteem being even lower due to unfair criticism by another person, but I allowed that to happen to a certain extent so I can’t totally lay the blame elsewhere.  This poem is a great reminder for me that I control how I feel about myself.  I can set those goals and make them!  Not alone, but with God’s help and guidance.

As I have grown older  and developed a closer walk with the Lord, I have seen that become more evident in my life and my self-esteem has actually improved to a better state than it ever was.  Having a better self-esteem also leads to a better attitude about things as well–a more positive attitude that I CAN carry out some of my goals.  I am NOT a failure at life.  As it says in my life verse from the Bible, I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength  (Phil 4:13) .   Silly though it may seem finishing a small sewing project tonight that involved a philosophical piece of poetry that I love pushed home that point to me once again.  The Lord works in many ways to get our attention and send us encouraging messages, doesn’t He?

Addition for the quilt gallery

Christmas quilt I made for my Sis.  She sent me the picture

My sister very kindly sent me this picture of a quilt I made for her quite a while ago so I could add it to the gallery of quilt pictures.   Tried to update the original story and add this but it wouldn’t work for some reason for me but I did want to share it since she took the time to send it.    This was a fun and easy quilt called Easy Breezy that I made a few times with different center fabrics.   I made this I believe in 2002 but I’m not sure exactly.

When life gives you scraps…..

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 just make quilts!  or another version of the quote is when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!  I’m sure we all could come up with a lot of similar positive quotes to encourage someone when life brings its trials and tribulations.   Because I like quilting, I have, of course, managed to collect a lot of scraps from previous quilts and small and large pieces of fabric that I’ve collected through fabric swaps years ago and fabric that has caught my eye that “I might use it someday” and so my mind always thinks of making quilts out of the scraps of life that come my way.

Now thinking about making them and actually making them, or finishing them is another whole story.  So, just as I have collected fabric scraps, I have collected many UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) in various stages of construction.   The picture above was one of those UFO’s until tonight when I finally finished it!  Yay!!!

As I finished sewing the binding on the quilt this evening, I got to thinking about how the unfinished projects in our lives can relate to the unfinished business in our lives –those trials and tribulations that happen to everyone.   How do we deal with them?  Or an even more obvious question perhaps, DO we deal with them or do we set them aside like the fabric scraps and the unfinished objects and tell ourselves we will deal with those things at a later date?

Some trials are not so bad and we can usually manage to resolve them easily; but what about the more difficult ones?  I don’t believe I am alone when I say that I am one of those people who will often set those problems aside to deal with later. How easy it is to tell myself that I just don’t have the desire, the time, the energy to deal with that now.  Not a good idea!  The longer we put off dealing with problems, the more they can grow into other problems in our lives.  The issues keep adding up and eventually we can find ourselves in a lot of distress–depression probably, or even physical ailments caused by stress.  I know this has been true throughout my life.   Just as I accumulated UFOs and just gave up on trying to complete the projects,  I allowed my trials and tribulations to accumulate also and “gave up”, so to speak,   for a while.

So what to do to change that habit, to deal with the things that trouble me?  Take them to God in prayer.  Stop ignoring Him or thinking He was ignoring me and didn’t care.  There are many verses in the Bible that remind us  that He does care and He wants to help us to deal with things.     One of them I found when I got into His word is:  Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

He wants us to ask Him, to come to Him with our problems.  He wants to help us pick up the pieces of our lives.  When I finally began to get closer to Him, spending more time in His word, in prayer, in closer fellowship with Him, changes began to happen.   I was better able to deal with those problems I had hidden away, some of which were not as much of an issue that I told myself they were.   I stopped giving up.   I look at the quilt I finished tonight and a couple of other small projects that I finished in the past couple of days as a message to myself that yes I CAN deal with the things I stored away and that I have dealt with many and begun to deal with others.   Praise the Lord, I have my life back!

One of my granddaughters suggested a while ago that it might be fun for me to share some of the quilts I have made on my blog, so you just may see some more pictures shared soon.  There is another little mini-quilt that I will share that I was reminded of as I wrote this post tonight.   “Picking up the Pieces”     I made 4 of these little quilts for me and my 3 sisters several years ago because it reminded me something my sisters tease me about from our childhood–how I would try to convince them to let me slack off on doing dishes if I had something better to do.

dishesquiltI’ll wash, you dry and little sister can pick up the pieces.