2019 Best Year Ever, Current Worldview, Personal Quilts, Scrap Quilt Creations

Staying Alive Choosing Joy

In a few short hours, as they say, 2019 will be in the history books. A few days ago a friend posted this on Facebook, and I took it to heart…

“I know we are in the yearly recap phase on social media and everyone is announcing their biggest wins, but please don’t compare yourself and your progress to others. If your biggest achievement was just staying alive, then that’s a win too.” (Katy F)

The following day this verse was in my morning email. Okay Lord, I’m listening.

Both of these hit home. I’m always judging myself. Did I do things the right way in my business?Have I completed enough on the to do list to call it a day? Why can’t I seem to come up with a meal plan that doesn’t include pizza so often? How can I design those wow quilts like my peers? Why can’t I seem to find time to keep up with the website, blog, social media and still find time to keep up with the laundry?

Quite frankly, I haven’t accomplished it all. Some days my biggest achievement is just getting out of bed…seriously.

Needless to say, it’s been an interesting few years as we end out this decade. As I like to say, “the good, the bad, the ugly.” I know I’m not unique (came as a shock when I actually realized this – grin) as we all have different ups and downs in life. And I guess I’ve been sorta dwelling on this lately (as evidenced by a few Facebook posts that were really blog length), maybe it’s the time of year – my husband would say so – he knows I don’t deal well with the lack of sunshine (if you’ll recall we’ve also had record rain these past few years)…whatever the reason, if there has to be one, there are days that I have a failure to launch…

Upon wakening I try to sort out all the things on my to do list…and some days that list is depressing – a reminder of things that keep getting pushed off for whatever reason or those tasks that seem insurmountable. Waking up feeling like you’re already behind can either get your engines revved up eager to tackle things, or make you want to pull the covers back over your head wishing the world would just go away….

Time Out

Lest you think that I’ve been hiding my Eeyore side which now seems to have taken over, I need to share some of my “glass half full” side…which in comparison is really overflowing but Eeyore just sees the puddle of the overflow (grin).

I really am living my dream. I am blessed with a husband who reminded me that Christmas 2019 was the 40th one we have celebrated together. April 2020 is our 40th Anniversary, he should get some sort of reward just for sticking around (my mom warned him about me ~  “she’s moody”). We have been blessed with two wonderful sons, one beautiful daughter-in-law (equally beautiful on the inside and she can cook!) who of course is the mother of our sweet Reagan. Currently our extended family are all well…this alone is reason to celebrate!

However, I am moody. Seems in all the push to get the house back in order and to launch a “new” business (transitioning from longarm quilter for hire to full time teacher and pattern designer) I have found myself looking more  at the glass half empty as in all the “failures” of things not checked off the to do list, pushing myself to do more and more, to somehow wear all the hats and expect things to all be accomplished…at the expense of no time for myself, developing a short fuse when things don’t work out, like a glitch in the website that is still yelling at me, or the frustration when a pattern doesn’t come together as it should and I have a two year old tantrum…too stressed to notice how blessed.

A Little Time to Play

Hence my justification for taking a few days off to just play, and trying not to feel guilty that the to do list is still yelling for attention, that the end of the year is fast approaching with some serious deadlines I should be working on…hence the making of Blue Blue Christmas last week.

Well….Sunday morning during worship I had an inspiration…a continued thought actually from something I wrote on Facebook the day before…the words came to me (again) “Choose Joy”…and right then I knew I needed a visual reminder of those simple yet profound words to greet me upon waking and remind me that indeed my mood was up to me – I have a choice to be Eeyore or Pollyanna – or me, who I’m created to be.

Rescuing a Failed Design

In order to go forward I need to back up a bit to the first part of December when I was attempting to design a new quilt using a 10” square precut stack in my stash (of course it’s Island Batik, and of course I’m using one of my tools from Studio 180 Design). I figured out the math to get the most cuts from my squares and started sewing together random colors to make three sizes of flying geese that were mathematically compatible – I worked a good 12 hour day in the studio sewing and trimming more than one flock of geese (see why we eat so much pizza) only to realize that very few would buy a pattern that used over four hundred  1” x 2” flying geese. Okay. Into a project box they went, to be filed as a failed attempt. I moved on to another design (or two – future secret sewing).

Moving Forward

The colorful flying geese were brought to mind, as I said previously, during worship on Sunday. I should go home and pull out a bunch of orphan blocks to make a quilt to remind me to choose joy. That settled I rejoined in the singing (having not missed a beat during my inspiration, I can walk and chew gum at the same time, thank you very much, besides one thing I love is singing praise and worship).

Design Time

In my excitement, upon returning home, I pulled out my colorful geese as well as a huge amount of Lemoyne Star blocks I’ve made at various time for demos. I also found a file box of units from my Certified Instructor (CI) trainings such as migrating geese. Trust me, I have an abundance of orphan blocks – enough for a full-size bed quilt. But! My design idea had to fit on the wall space between my closet and bedroom doors – directly across from my bed so I’d see it first thing…

Then the fun began. Tetris was never my game, but those who enjoy it will better understand my puzzle piecing together of said orphan blocks….it was time consuming to choose, with several not making the cut (pun intended). I knew that it would be random, or perhaps “jumbled” as that would represent my mind upon wakening. I knew it needed to use the bright colors, as that is my fabric love language, but I also recognized it needed a few unrelated units that perhaps “didn’t match” to break up the color explosion, add a little interest, and perhaps give the eye a place to rest before continued exploration of the abstracted construction. 

Choose Joy

Choose Joy, designed by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler

A quilt that only its maker understands… I can’t wait to quilt it, but it will have to wait! In the meantime, it is pinned to the wall and has already accomplished its mission as I woke up with a smile this morning (kinda hard to do at 0430, but I speak the truth). That smile has continued as I have been propped up in bed typing this narrative on my iPad (grin).


And sew it begins – a new day today as I have chosen joy, and a new year tomorrow. A new decade. I just hope it doesn’t go as fast as the last two – goodness I remember 1999 New Year’s Eve like it was yesterday – hoping for the best, prepared for the worst (Y2K) …. 

Thank you for allowing this rambler to have an audience! You seriously have no idea what it means to me to be able to share my journey.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share a few highlights of things coming in 2020….in no particular order…I’m beyond excited about the Onboard Quilting Excursion! ™ November 2020 cruise – “as we speak” Brian is on holiday in the Florida Keys making his class samples (I will start this week on mine, I promise)…I’m equally excited about the new workshop series TnT (Techniques and Tools) with The Quilt Rambler that begins next Monday locally as well as a few Landlocked Quilting Cruise ™ events planned  with a little Rambler Road Trips thrown in the mix.   (my to do list includes updating the website schedule as well as fixing the glitch in the banner on my website if you are reading this directly online – so sorry I haven’t gotten a round tuit yet).

and I guess this is as good of time as any to announce ….

More secret sewing!!! Lots more! In a few short weeks Island Batik will be shipping me an entire collection of fabric that will debut in their Fall/Winter catalog as well as Fall Market 2020 ~ AND its my own signature line!!! Yep, designed by Kathy Engle for The Quilt Rambler. So many new designs are in the works to showcase this beautiful collection, I can hardly wait!

But Wait, There’s More!

Always!  Here’s the leftover geese… “Joy Too” potential table topper perhaps? Happy New Year!!

Lots to look forward to in this new decade! Remember to choose joy and enjoy the Journey 💕

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler – see you in 2020 – What’s your vision? (pun intended!)

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6 thoughts on “Staying Alive Choosing Joy”

  1. I love this quilt. A few weeks ago in my daily devotion I was encouraged to choose a fruit of the spirit and make that the them of my. Guess what? Back in November I chose JOY! Since then I have been choosing Joy.

  2. Yes…Counting Blessings!
    Challenges created by others…
    Challenges self inflicted…
    There is always a Blessing in the mix…
    Even when the sun is behind the clouds…
    Even when we have to dig to find it…
    Yes…choosing Joy leads to Counting Blessings!
    Or…counting Blessings leads us to choose Joy!
    <3 <3

  3. It is constantly amazing to me how my attitude and outlook totally colors how I see my world! I can choose to be joyful, regardless of what is going on around me, or I can choose to be bought down into the depths of the abyss by the world. I’ll take to joy of the Lord…but sometimes I need a reminder. I love your joyful quilt…the colors are perfectly uplifting!!

  4. It’s so easy to get swamped and forget JOY. We should all have that gorgeous wall hanging near our beds! Joyful fabric and inspirational to all of us. Happy New Year!

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