Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Half Square Triangles

I'm making blocks for a block swap and they require eight half-square triangles (1/2 sq tri). Rather than do them two at a time by cutting 3 7/8" squares, I figured out how to make eight at a time. This is not something new, many others have demonstrated this technique. I just wanted to write my own instructions to refer to.

First, you need to know what size 1/2 sq tri you will be using. My block calls for a 3" square finished. Add 7/8" to that measurement equalling 3 7/8". Now multiply that by two, equalling 7 3/4".

I cut a 7 3/4" square from my light and one from my dark. On the wrong side of the light with a pencil, mark a vertical and horizontal line at the center. Then mark both diagonal lines.

Stitch 1/4" on both sides of the diagonal lines. Cut on all the drawn lines, taking care not to move the pieces until all lines are cut.

Press seam to the dark side and you have eight half-square triangles!

Suffering in the Will of God

I know it’s not near Christmas yet, but believe it or not, we are already practicing Christmas music in choir. We actually began in July! It takes months to prepare and develop a book of music into a complete program.

This year, there is a song, “A Baby Changes Everything.” It talks about Mary and her fear and possible shame in her pregnancy. How telling Joseph will be difficult and no one will believe that she has not been with another man.

This touches me personally in a place that is healed but always still tender. You know how a scar is still sensitive, years after healing? Mary’s situation was special for she was in the will of God, but not so different from a young girl outside of the will of God, unmarried, pregnant wondering what to do next.

Now, Mary was willing, “I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said,” Luke 1:38. And Mary found joy in the situation, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” Luke 1:46. But, Mary was concerned, “How will this be…since I am a virgin?”

At that time, in fact not so long ago in our own time, a woman who bore a child out of wedlock was shunned and called all sorts of unpleasant names. People would even call her child names and treat him like dirt.

I feel Mary’s private suffering, even though she was in the will of God. She may have cried herself to sleep. She probably didn’t sleep well anyway. She crossed the street with her eyes to the ground when certain people were nearby. What would her parents say? What if she tearfully told Joseph of the angel’s visit and he bowed his head and walked away. What would she do? Even if Joseph took her home to be his wife, there would certainly be gossip and sideways glances thrown at her.

It goes to show you how being square in the middle of God’s will is not always the easiest or most comfortable spot.

Many people in the Bible suffered for being in the will of God: Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Jesus’ disciples and the list goes on. Even Jesus himself endured suffering while living as a man.

The angel who brought the news to Mary was reassuring. He said, “For nothing is impossible with God,” Luke 1:37. She also took strength from Elizabeth’s words to her, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45, and she exulted in what God would accomplish through her:

And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
Luke 1:46-55

Mary realized that humbly accepting the will of God was most glorifying to Him and that serving Him would bring her the most satisfaction. She trusted Him to help her through whatever lay ahead.

I need to have the same mind. Accepting God’s will for my life and living as He requires is not always easy, but it is satisfying. Best of all, it is joyful!

Heavenly Father, I bow humbly before you, for I am nothing without you. Help me to know your will and to accept it, no matter what. Give me strength to meet each day and let me see how you are glorified through me and my circumstances.