February Beyond The Block

It’s another month in The Sugar Block Club, and throughout the year, we’re stitching up pretty vintage blocks, cooking up tasty treats, and taking some time to go “beyond the block” to explore some ways in which we can challenge ourselves in a personal way.

February Block 01 lower res

February’s block is called “Mercy”

As I sat down to ponder the monthly personal challenges that I wanted to include in this year’s series, a few extra special ones immediately rose to the top.  This is one of them, because I feel like it’s been tugging at my heart for ages.  So believe me when I say that this challenge is for myself, more than anyone.  If I get into sensitive territory (which, to be honest, I hope I do), know that these challenges are not borne out of any judgement, but only sincere self-examination.

Be Merciful

There have been many times when God has tried to teach me to be more merciful.  But the hardest lessons, though perhaps the most effective, have been the ones where I find that I’m the one in need of mercy.

I was a brand new mother- taking care of a new baby, and had just gone back to work full time after maternity leave, when out of nowhere, my husband was laid off from his job.  Suddenly, what had been a frustrating but manageable scheduling situation, quickly turned into a full on “life crisis.”  We fell behind on payments, and ended up losing our first home- the home we’d purchased together to begin raising our family in, and had spent 2 years remodeling.  It was a low, low time.  I remember coming home from work, feeling thoroughly exhausted and guilty for having been away (you working moms know what I mean), to a husband neck deep in want-ads, feeding the baby and wondering when we should start packing.

Moving day had finally come, in fact it had come and gone.  Our once-cozy home was now vacant and dark.  We’d sold most of our furniture and what we had kept was moved to a modest rental apartment.  Maybe it would turn out to be an exciting adventure, challenging all of our spoiled middle class notions about necessity and survival.  A fresh start was right around the corner…almost.  On my last day in our house, I was alone- baby in tow- and rushing to get all of the final cleaning done before the sun went down and I lost my light (our power had been turned off by that point).  I feverishly swept up debris, wiped the counters, took down that last curtain rod, and patched the holes.  I remember it like it was yesterday- it was dusk, the perennials that I had lovingly planted and nurtured were in full bloom along the driveway.  I locked the front door, sweating in the summer evening heat, and loaded my baby into the car, followed by several bags of stinky garbage.  Darn it if I hadn’t cancelled the trash service a few days too early.

Be Merciful 1

What happened next was, for all intents and purposes, one of the scariest, and most transformative experiences I’ve ever been through.  I drove away from that house, and the stench of shame was overwhelming.  I thought I was holding it together…thinking about how pretty the sunset was that night and what to grab for dinner after I got rid of that awful garbage.  But as I gripped the steering wheel with both hands, I suddenly began to feel my left fingers get tingly…then it moved up my entire arm all the way to my shoulder.  My heart started racing.  I was out of breath.  I literally thought I was having a heart attack, 28 years old, right there in the car.  I’d never heard of a panic attack before.  I didn’t know what anxiety was.  All I knew was that I felt like I was going to die.  I hastily pulled over into the 2-lane entrance of an apartment complex, threw the car in park, and called 911.  As I waited for the ambulance to arrive, for what couldn’t have been longer than a couple of minutes, it was as if the world was caving in all around me.  By then my baby was crying from the backseat, and I was completely overcome with terror, struggling to take deep breathes and praying the medics would arrive soon.  At that moment, I heard a loud car horn, then looked out my window just in time to see the driver flip me off and barrel off into the parking lot.

I shook with uncontrollable sobs.  If only that person had known.

But we can’t know.  We can’t possibly know if the person who just mindlessly cut us off in traffic, just happens to be rushing to visit someone in hospice, for perhaps the very last time.  We can’t possibly know if that snippy clerk at the grocery store just found out on her lunch break that their third round of in vitro has failed and they aren’t pregnant, again.  We can’t possibly know if that neighbor who can’t seem to keep his annoying dog off our lawn, is consumed with worry over a child addicted to drugs.

Now I’m not trying to make excuses for rude, thoughtless people.  And I’m not saying that everyone is a victim.  But what I am saying is this:  Can we not give the benefit of the doubt?  Must we always assume the worst of people?  Mercy, I beg, sweet mercy.

I had a business meeting with a woman once, and perfect me was right on time.  But when I arrived at her office, the door was locked and no one answered the bell.  I called her cell- no answer.  I waited 20 minutes and called again- no answer.  By this time I was SO furious, literally fuming that this woman would have the gall waste my precious time and no-show for this important meeting.  After all, MY time is valuable!  I decided that there was NO excuse- no reason not to at least call.  I called once more and left a cold message asking that she PLEASE call me to reschedule.  Sure enough, the next day she called- her voice was meek.  She had accidentally locked her entire purse in her car- phone, keys, and all.  No way to call me or get to the meeting, and even if she could find a phone, my number was locked in her car.

I was ashamed.  What if I had been her?  How would I feel?  Horrified?  Embarrassed?  Wouldn’t it have been such a relief  if the person I’d stood up had shown me some mercy?  After all, we’re all human.  Whether we look it or not, we are all fighting off demons.  We are all battling something.  We are all just trying to survive in this crazy world and sometimes we go through crap.  Sometimes we make bad decisions.  And if WE can be forgiven, truly forgiven, by our Creator, of every horrible and nasty thing we’ve ever done or said or even thought, shouldn’t we have mercy on one another?  I love this line from a song in the new Disney movie, Frozen, “People make bad choices when they’re mad or scared or stressed, but throw a little love their way, and you’ll bring out their best.”

I challenge myself, and all of us, this chilly February 2014, to throw a little more love out into the world.  When someone cuts you off in line, or speaks to you rudely- show them love.  When the teenager at the drive through carelessly screws up your order- show them love.  When a blogger doesn’t reply to your comment or makes a tutorial that looks similar to yours- show them love.  When someone rudely stops their car in the entrance to your apartment complex, take a deep breath, think about the half of the story you might be missing, and show them love.  You never know, they might just need it.

Buuuuut what if they don’t deserve it?  Do it anyway.  What if it doesn’t change their behavior and they continue to screw up or mistreat you?  Do it anyway.  The fact of the matter is, it really doesn’t matter why someone wrongs you or whether they are deserving of our mercy or not.  We are called to forgive and be merciful, no matter what, end of story.  In fact, think about how truly powerful it is to show mercy to someone who definitely doesn’t deserve it.  Now THAT is a challenge.  I hope you’ll join me in choosing to spend some time this month, as you’re piecing a pretty block, or driving to work, or sitting around the dinner table with your family, to think, discuss, and pray about this challenge and how you might grow in this area.  And if you have any *lightbulb* moments, or cool stories, please share in a comment, so we can all share this journey!

Until next time….



  1. Hi Amy, thanks for your words. I am happy to be SBC member. As my motherlanguage is German i do not understand all words, but i understand the message. Mercy is a good Motto for february. I just started a blog in germany – still with many bugs – BUT for me it was important to start. the january block result i posted and i recommended your online-class and the SBC for persons that would Love to learn quilting. just telling, so that you can get my message. :-) Thanks for the selfexplaining Tutorials. Best wishes Sandra

  2. Amy, I don’t know why but I felt you were a fellow believer. Especially your patience in dealing with my computer illiteracy. Thank you for sharing. It is being open and others centered that we grow and are opened to the opportunities of sharing His love, patience and mercy. Touched by your humbleness; have from the beginning. Thank for this journey.

  3. Out of the blue, I landed at your blog today, and I want to say thank you for a great poke! My son and his wife separated a few months ago and I have been very bitter towards my daughter-in-law. Maybe I need to be merciful! I know the demons she is struggling with and showing her mercy would be better than showing her this horrible anger.

    Just needed to tell you, your post touched me…

  4. What the world needs now is love, pure love. Our is it true love? Not for sure of the song lyrics..either way if we really study and learn the real definition of love it includes mercy! I am making a conscious effort to be more merciful in my thinking towards the stresses at work. For sure negativity breeds and encourages negativity. So one starts complaining then its contagious! But a merciful, kind non assuming, merciful attitude can be contagious too. That’s where I am going to work on my merciful attitude..at work. He extends mercy beyond my mistakes, beyond what I deserve. I want to show that as well. And btw…for my January intentional block I have decided to become intentional with using fabric I have in my stash. Hopefully all year long. Planning on knocking out both blocks today as we are in midst of winter storm once again.

  5. As a fellow believer, I admit I don’t always remember to show mercy, to show the love of Christ to others in my comments, attitude or doings. Thank you for the reminder. I needed to hear that today.May the Lord bless you Amy!

  6. What a wonderful reminder and beautifully written. Thank you Amy! Oh, and I can’t stop staring at the block – it is SO beautiful!! I can’t wait to make my own.

  7. Thanks for this post. You have such a gift for writing and for quilting. I am joining you in trying to be less critical and more loving to everyone. What a beautiful block this month. I am so glad I joined this club!

  8. Hello dear Amy and all of your big heart readers! I’m glad I could read this message full of truths that for sure we struggle with. I also have some stories to tell, unfortunately some of them I’d tell with shame. God is the Only One that can heal our unsteady hearts and give us a new chance. It’s time to be merciful. I’ll keep that in mind and ask Him for a humble heart that can be merciful.
    I also posted about the Sugar Block Club, did finish my first block (hooray!) and I’m so excited for the second block! Very pretty!

  9. Whenever I’m faced with the opportunity to get cranky about someone’s slight of me or perceived (on my part) incompetence, I try to say to myself, “Self, you have a choice: You can be right, or you can be kind.” I wish “kind” won every time; it doesn’t. But I’m getting better – which is pretty good for a person who loves to be “right!”

    • Thanks for bringing this up – that showing mercy will often be the result of choosing to be kind instead of right. Very convicting. I needed that.

    • Becky Thompson says:

      Guilty. I have a sign in my cube which reads: “Bear with one another…” Colossians 3:13 Maybe I need to update the sign to include the rest of the verse “…and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” In addition to reading the verse when I’m dealing with people I believe to be inept, I’ll remember your words. Thanks.

  10. Amy you are always an inspiration. Mercy is something I learned in a difficult way. I used to go to emergency rooms with my daughter when an extreme illness would strike and I would see these people who didn’t look sick.. they were simply staring, drinking coffee, texting.. and I would think “how dare you take up the doctors time? My baby is sick!”. That was before I lost a pregnancy and I did not look sick sitting for hours in a hospital while doctors insisted it was “natures way of weeding out the sick”. I was just sitting in that emergency room, nurses coming and going, and watching other mothers scowl as I would get the doctor first, before their baby. Fertility struggles do not show on the outside, and when I see people who do not look sick or hurt in the doctors office, taking up hours of the time while my three year old waits with some raging ear infection, I wait, patiently, and remember how my worst medical emergency wasn’t visible either. It may just be the same for all these other people. It is so important to show mercy.

    When we show mercy to others, it inspires them to try their hardest to show mercy, the cycle of kindness begins. Just think of all the kindness your Sugar Block club is beginning.

  11. That was beautifully said and I thank you for it. I’m going to post the word ‘Merciful’ and a few other lines from your post where I see it every day. I know how much I always want to be loved and understood – I really need to practice this more towards others.

  12. Dottie's Daughter says:

    Well said, and so true.

  13. Janet Green says:

    I am quite a few years older than you,but I wanted to let you know I was about your age when this realization happened to me. It’s not hard to over react when we are overwhelmed. I was alone in a foreign country with no close family but my husband. At a point where we had nothing but each other I was on my way to get my oldest from her friends with 2 babies in the back when my panic attack hit. I reacted badly I floored it! I thought I could make it to a doctors. I finally slammed on my brakes and fell out of my car. In the middle of a very busy road. My children were screaming and I was crying and trying to breathe. I knew I was dying. Someone drove around me honking. Then someone touched my shoulder and said everyone is ok just breathe. I didn’t even see them! When I looked up the person wasn’t there. There were plenty staring at me though. My thoughts were chaotic but I knew that eventually I’d be ok. And that I need to express my feelings to my partner and share the burdens. I no longer snap at people and I try to be gracious, I hope other people are soothed when I am at my best. I want to be a better mom husband and person. And I hope to be better to myself.

  14. annabelle says:

    Well said.
    How we judge others will be how we are judged. I need mercy so I must give mercy.
    Thank you Amy.

  15. Kerrie Seymour says:

    Wow. Thank you for your vulnerable, honest and open post. I subscribed to your blog as I’m a beginning quilter and your stuff is so helpful and inspirational, craft-wise. Little did I know that I would also be enriched as a human being. This post is just what I needed to read this morning. A million thank yous!

  16. Oh Amy, what a wonderful thought to begin the day. You brought me to tears with your eloquent writing. I’m so touched by your sharing of a very heartbreaking time in your life, and by the way you have turned that experience into a positive motivation toward kindness and mercy. Life can throw us tremendous curves, and it takes a great deal of strength sometimes to maintain a positive and kind outlook. Thank you for reminding us of what we can be.
    And that we have to take time to count our blessings.

  17. Amy – Thank you – God has been dealing with me on this same thing, and your post is further confirmation that I need to keep giving mercy no matter what is done to me. I need to do my part, and hopefully by be walking in love, it will show them a light that points to Jesus. Thanks, I loved your post, so so much.

    • Amen, Lynn. Well said. The Light of the World has shown mercy to us first, and we must let that Light shine so others can see Him! Your post encouraged me, thank you.

  18. maclibLibby says:

    I’ve only read your blog twice but both times it spoke to my heart. Thanks for this post, we all need to extend mercy and love to those who aren’t kind to us. God bless you.

  19. Thank you ~ As I make this block, I’ll be reminded of the precious undeserved mercy shown to me.

  20. Amy,
    I love x1000 that you shared this piece of your story with us today! I am familiar with the beast that is a panic attack – one of the worst feelings in the world!
    Thank you for the reminder on mercy! Good words! As I approach what is probably going to be a stressful week, I will prayerfully keep these good words in mind. Mercy for all!
    Blessings to you and your family,

  21. Amy, I too, love your blog on mercy! It is very important that we show mercy because we do receive what we give. We all fail at times to show mercy but I do try to be kind to others. I too, have had enough “problems” to know how nice it is to be SHOWN mercy. But on a lighter note, my late husband ( a devout Christian!) always smiled and spoke to one of our neighbors that was ALWAYS hateful and nasty. One day I asked him why he was always so nice to her and he said “Because now she will wonder what I am up to!” :)

  22. What a beautiful post. It’s funny how things turn out. I followed the path through two other blogs to get to your BOM for 2014. I’m signed up and ready to go, but more importantly… I found you and your profound post today! Thank you, Amy!

  23. Wonderful post Amy. Being the grandmother of special needs children (one who is just a couple months older than your twins) I have seen both sides of people with my grandsons. I thank the Lord for the merciful ones and pray for the ones who are not.

  24. Kathy Fair says:

    Oh Amy, Bless you and your family. I personally have prescribed to the idea of “killing them with kindness”. We had a couple people at work that portrayed themselves as being ‘better’ than everyone else and were kinda of snobby about it. Lots of kind words to them daily, making sure they always had what they needed, etc was my way of dealing with it, and of course prayers. I have always taught my kids in times when someone is treating them in a way that makes them feel bad to ‘make sure they don’t treat people like that’ because they know how it makes them feel and as you indicate in you post, we never know how things are for them and it never hurts to be nice even if it doesn’t change anything. Thanks again Amy for reminding us to think before we act and give a little more love.

  25. beautiful block, beautiful challenge. mercy is a perfect challenge for the month celebrating love! what if we all showed more real love and focused less on the romantic side of valentine’s. that would be lovely, indeed. thank you!

  26. Jo Ann Kennedy says:

    Thanks Amy I so needed to hear this today.

  27. Bless you, Amy! Thanks for sharing – I need to hear this today.

  28. Amy, your writing has such grace and clarity. I have really enjoyed reading these very thoughtful and thought-provoking posts. Thank you for sharing such a personal story! I know from my own experience that mercy is also not just for the person you are giving the benefit of the doubt. Acting more compassionately, more gently towards others is a gift that we give ourself as well. By not getting hooked into anger, frustration, and resentment we save ourselves from having to be bogged down in negativity.

  29. What a beautiful post. A great reminder that we rarely know the whole story. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

  30. Tears! Thank you for such a wonderful gift! (Oh, and I love the block too!)

  31. jennifer meddock says:

    Best thing I have read in a long time. thanks so much.

  32. Jennifer Hoeting. says:

    Excellent post! Let’s remember our families too. So often I’m quick to judge my husband or kids not realizing what has happened at work or school that day.

  33. One of the greatest things Jesus has been teaching me is found in Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36. Jesus tells us to be merciful just as our Father is merciful. My brother has made some decisions lately that are very difficult for me to understand, and has even openly renounced His faith in Jesus Christ. His stepdaughter had a child in December and I have been planning to make her a quilt for her son. I got so frustrated with my brother that I nearly decided not to bother with the quilt. Yet I kept hearing the sweet Holy Spirit of Jesus saying, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Love those who are hardest to love.” Yesterday I began that quilt top. It’s one of the few ways I can reach out to my brother and his family right now. I am praying for them as I make it and praying they will turn their hearts and minds to Him.

    Yes, just in everyday life, I need to be reminded that we show the love of Christ to others when we love them with our attitudes, words, and actions. Thank you for being likeminded. Thank you for reminding me today and helping bring this to mind.

  34. Thanks for reminding us to be the bigger person. I always say this to my students and my children, but I don’t always remember to do it myself. Thanks again!

  35. Thanks so much for ur blog post amy, you most definitely have a way with words and you always reach each and every one of us. It’s so wonderful to know how very “human” you are, even tho you are an amazing quilter, you still face the very same bumps in the road like we all do. You are so right tho, too many times have I jumped the gun and thought the worst of others only to find out the whole story later and feel awful. Thank you once again, and i will definitely be working on my mercy skills :-)

  36. Your story reminded me of this quote I read somewhere recently: “The ones who are hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.” And I figure that can apply to the rude clerk or whoever is not behaving very charitably.
    thanks for sharing…we all need reminders like that from time to time :)

  37. Yeasterday I waited 30 min in a department store for help. When help FINALLY arrived she looked frazzled and so I decided to ask the lady how she was doing. In that instance both of us took a breath and decided to smile. It does make a difference to show mercy!

  38. I live in south FL and there are a lot of elderly people who are awful drivers, sometimes cranky and rude. But I have been trying to smile, pray for them (and me) and those that care for them. Your story resonates, as we went through a lot of employment layoffs and job changes and had to move 4 times and start over. Each and every move brought at least one wonderful Christian friend into my life. And the blessings have been many even though it didn’t seem like we would ever reach financial security. While God’s mercy is so far more than we imagine, as we show mercy to those around us, you don’t know how much it can change the day for them.

  39. Machelle Smith says:

    Convicted. Humbled.And Inspired! Great Block Too!

  40. Charlene Bateman says:

    Amy, love your blog and all I can say is AMEN!!! By the way, I don’t think I am receiving my Sugar Block emails. Am I doing something wrong? Thank you!!

  41. Charlene Bateman says:

    No worries, Amy….I just found it!! Sorry and thanks!!! Charlene

  42. Cindy Burke says:

    Great blog post Amy! I always enjoy reading your blog. Cant wait to see you in March!

  43. Amy, Thank you for such a wonderful post. The other day a friend sent a group email saying something very hurtful in a round about way. Instead of immediately replying and saying something I might regret, I prayed about it that evening. The next morning, God gave me the peace to overlook it and response with kindness. Thanks goodness we do have a merciful God!

  44. Sheryl Matteson says:

    Dear Amy, We all learn from our struggles. and I am so glad you told your story. Yes we all could use more love to one an other. God is really my rock in life. Love the block and recipe . Hope things will get better for your family soon. Best regards Sheryl

  45. That is the best reminder to be merciful that I have ever read – thank you so much. Most of the time when we think we’re at the end, God is at the beginning!

  46. Mary Pauza says:

    Micah 6:8…..what does the lord require of you but to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. One of my most favorite verses, because it fits into nearly all of life’s most difficult situations. God has been reminding me of the ‘love mercy’ part of this verse over and over again the last several months. Your blog was another good reminder! Thanks.

  47. beautiful post. thank you so much. christ was always merciful.

  48. I appreciate your honest words, and feel that many of them can be my own! I’ve dealt with panic attacks myself, and job changes for me and my husband at the worst (and best) times. So thankful for your honesty, because it allows so many others to open up and admit their own fears. Hugs!

  49. Thank you!!! Another great blog and challenge!!!

  50. Well said Amy! This is a rule I do try to live by but I often forget. Thanks for the reminder.

  51. Once again, Amy, I feel my shoulder being tapped. There is a reason I love coming to your blog – yes, I love the blocks and quilting, but I always get much, much more than that, and always something I need. God bless you and peace. L. xo

  52. Kathy M Boice says:

    Thank you for your post about being merciful!! My life has been followed by one tragedy after another. I have many illnesses, Diabetic, RA, Fibromyalgia, etc. but I don’t have time to allow myself to heal. My son has been ill with a brain tumor for 22 years and has so many set backs. He needs 24/7 care. My Mother is 87 and needs help, and now my husband has cirrhosis of the liver with complications. He never drank and they are in the preliminary stages of finding out why he has this condition. People tend to steer away from people who repeatedly have issues. We are not contagious, just unlucky I guess. We have our ups and downs just like anyone else. My faith n God is strong or else I could not have gotten this far. My heart wants to make quilts but it is hard to find time and energy to sew. It is my only outlet. My son recently started having seizures so going to sew is out of the question. We try to take him out to eat because he enjoys it so much, but people stare at the scars on his head from brain surgery and get impatient when he is having trouble ordering his food. They don’t understand that he needs to do what he can by himself for as long as he can. It is his “independence” of sorts. God extends mercy to us every day! I wish people would understand mercy goes a long way for those who are hurting, trapped in a troubled world, set apart from others, and are not able to “have a life” because they are too busy caring for their loved ones. A smile, a kind word, and extended hand, words of encouragement,….YOU can make a difference in someone’s day!!

  53. Amy, you are an amazing person- full of light. Thank you for this message and reminder. The encouragement is wonderful. I am so sorry you and your family had such a rough time to go through- it seems to have certainly made you stronger and shaped the kind, grateful person you are today. Big hugs my friend. xo

  54. Becky Thompson says:

    Blogging is certainly your calling. What a great message! Your writing brought tears to my eyes…I’ve felt that desolation and loss – not the same circumstances of course, but I was lost nonetheless, and your description was heart-wrenching. Amy, I’ve been though a LOT – near bankruptcy, divorce (twice – once from his infidelity), death, complete upheaval, etc. And it’s funny, but everything I’ve been through…all the trials and tribulations, as time passes, I’m able to share with others going through the same thing. I’m a fairly strong person – very Type A personality – and if the things I went through were devastating for me, I can only imagine what someone else might go through. But it’s amazing that if someone going through hell hears from another that they understand, been there-done that, and the sun does come up in the morning it gives the person a not-so-desolate look on life. That’s exactly what your post has done for anyone who has lost their home, been on the job market for months, or thinks all is lost. The sun does come up and God makes you stronger to deal with life’s moments in the future.

  55. Such heart wrenching and lovely words ~ how awful for you and your family and what grace you’ve experienced. Like you, I’ve been on both sides.
    Something I’ve been thinking about lately is loving kindness and how I can be that more in my life. Your post shows me I’m headed in the right direction with like minded people ~ I love when that happens. You never know what someone is going through in their life and having my attention on kindness changes how I react to someone, be they rude or whatever.
    Thank you for another reminder.

  56. Terry Speno says:

    I received the e-mail with pic of the block but how do I get the written directions?

  57. Thank you for posting this. Perfect timing. Sometimes it’s us holding all the cards, and other times we’re on the down and outs. Sometimes we are our own harshest critic, and it becomes our turn to be merciful to oneself. Your post is a good reminder that empathy and mercy go a long way.

  58. Amy, this is the most heart rending and REAL story that I have read about how the astronomically high unemployment in our country affects every day Americans. I thank you for being brave enough to share it, but I wish it had a wider readership. I wish everyone in America could read this, and especially our politicians who seem to have no idea what it’s like to carry on day after day in the real world they have created. They certainly don’t live in it! We are all suffering from an economy gone wild. But it’s much worse for families with young children. You are courageous, and I hope that life is better now, though I know it takes years to really recover from such a set back. Blessings to you and your family!

  59. Amy, I Love what you wrote today. Thank you. Your words are so true. You made me think of that old song “What The World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love” because everybody needs it no matter who they are. One of my favorite songs is Stand by Me, Playing For Change by Grandpa Elliot playing his washboard and singing along with other street musicians around the world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiPzU75P9FA

    My friends and family lovingly tease me because I’ll talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime about just about anything. Everyone has a story. One day many years ago I had lunch with my Dad and our favorite restaurant. At 1st we were the only ones there. A couple came in and were seated at a table right next to us. I struck up a conversation and we talked the whole time. If you didn’t know it and observed us you would have thought we were old friends. When they left the lady said “Thank you, I was having a very bad morning and feel better now.”

    This past summer we moved to a little country town. I was “warned” by some of the neighbors about a grumpy older man and not to talk to him. Nobody talks to him. I walk in the mornings and sometimes would see him as I walk by his house when he is working in his yard. From day one I waived and smiled. He didn’t waive, just glared at me. That’s OK he has his reasons. I do not judge. Every time I walked by I waived and smiled after that. Four months later one morning when I waived he smiled and waived back. :) My husband says I just wore the poor guy down. LOL! In December when I was walking one morning he drove by and stopped to say hello and we chatted for a while. No, this isn’t earth shattering news but it goes to show what kindness, love and not judging does for all of us.

  60. Linda Weaver says:

    Simply Amazing Grace! Wonderfully written and once again, ‘Thank You, Amy’!!

  61. Vickie Lewis says:

    Words to live by, thank you!

  62. Thank you so much Amy for the beautiful post today. Though I don’t share your belief in God, I do believe to be merciful is a behavior we should all strive for. Your post today is particularly pertinent to a current situation in my life and I have to tell you after I read it I felt a certain calm. I will set aside all judgment, criticism and, yes anger, and I will show mercy toward my 21 year old daughter who is at the moment driving me crazy! Forgiveness and mercy will start at home today :-). Thank you Amy!

  63. Profound message, Amy. Thank you.

  64. Thank you Amy… as we begin 2014, may we all show mercy… this would be such a better place. These past 2 months, I have so very much enjoyed and felt ministered to, in the monthly posts.
    God bless you abundantly Amy.

  65. Amy thanks again for your words of wisdom. I need most to show mercy to my self. I often do so much for others that I have no time for my own basic needs, so my health suffers. Oh to find a balance. I do need to care for me to care for others better. .

  66. Amy, thank you for those precious words. I appreciate your honesty and transparency. It’s always refreshing to see someone share their faith in such a way. I enjoy your blog and all the fun “quiltiness!”

  67. Thanks for these words. You brought me to tears. Maybe I am feeling vulnerable this year, this month, this day. I need this challenge!!! Please Lord, help me to show mercy to others.

  68. farmquilter says:

    This is a very well written, timely post, Amy. In as much as we are called to show mercy to others, do we also show it to ourselves?

  69. Elita @ Busy Needle Quilting says:

    Beautifully written and touching the hearts of many. It’s the way you roll! :-) Well done & looking forward to the next instalment. Big hug from Switzerland.

  70. Chickybeth says:

    Hi Amy,
    I am in the Sugar Block club but did not receive February’s email. I did get January’s and the welcome letter, but nothing this month. What should I do? Thank you, Beth

  71. Thank you Amy – what a wonderful sentiment for February – and every month. You are an inspiration – in many ways! – and I will truly try to remember your words when I start to think badly of someone. Sometimes we get so absorbed in our own little worlds of troubles that we forget that others may be worse off than us. I try to remember the saying “if everyone’s troubles were hung out for our choosing we’d always pick our own”! Thanks again for sharing that with us. Debby ;)

  72. A while back I had a ring stolen. I was so upset and angry and assumed my hubby should be angry, as well, since, as the family breadwinner, it was his hard work that bought me that ring. He surprised me when he shrugged and said, “let’s just assume someone on the universe needs it more than we do.” What a lesson in forgiveness and mercy for me to learn.

  73. Karengcg89 says:

    I read your post and felt for you and your family. Financial burdens are quite the test in life. I have yet to meet a person in this economy that has not been effected, me included. Starting over is more humbling than unreachable. You have found an apartment, hopefully are getting settled into your new home.
    Make a list of short term goals while you are finding your footings, make sure to put hugs and love family on the list, post them on the fridge. Then remind yourself that you will get thru this and this experience will help you appreciate everything you achieve from now on. Panic attacks will lesson when you talk to your spouse more.
    Best to you and your family.

  74. By the time I was nearing the end of your blog today I was in tears. You struck a cord with me. The last 10 years have not been so great for me either and it seems to continue to get worse. Went through divorce to a very nasty mentally abusive control freak of an ex husband. We had 5 children together and after a few years and many, many battles in family court he ended up making up so many lies (he was also a very good lier) and took my 5 children away from me. My new husband and I ended up moving away after that because he continued to taunt me. After a little while we started to try and have a baby together (he didn’t have any of his own and mine were gone) but nothing was happening. After seeing specilists we ended up doing IVF. We have been trying to have a baby for 7 years and been doing IVF for about 5 of those. We have done 10 rounds of IVF and so far only one miscarriage to show for all the money we have spent. We have 2 more frozen embryo’s left on ice which we might transfer towards the end of the year. (hopefully). On top of that we are now so broke that we are looking into debt consolidation or else we have to do bankruptcy. And to make matters worse on the 2nd of January I Severly sprained one ankle and then the week later I snapped a ligament in my other foot and have been out of work since then. (I work in retal and if I don’t work I don’t get paid). I am hoping to be back at work in the next few weeks and once I’m back at work I can’t wait to pay to join in the fun of doing your sugar block club once again. I did it last year and had an absolute blast. Doing my patchwork keeps me sane and is what keeps me going through the bad times and I love your blog post. Sorry for the LONG,LONG comment.

    Hope your family are doing well

  75. Karenc aswell says:

    Amy, thank you for your post today.i had such difficulty getting through the post because of my flowing tears. 10 years ago, I was in the same situation, except I was a single mom. It was horrifying. The details do not need repeating. Some family and friends treated me like a leper. I had barely a place to turn to for encoragement and emotional support. I wish i had this post back then. You are so very right. Even today I do find it hard to give mercy. I am so scarred by that time as I know you must understand. I promise you I will take your words today very seriously. To take an extra moment to think about what another person is going through and give mercy, give forgiveness. It will ultimarely help me heel. I want to hug you for all you went through. You stood ground and today your blessings are ten fold and well deserved. I too am finally doing better and find myself in a place to make all my future happy. Thank you again. Karen

  76. So true. We all need to show a little more kindness and mercy.

  77. Thank you for this reminder! I have too ben known to jump the gun on people and say things without really thinking. My son has a teacher that he thinks is mean to him. While he is complaining about this class and the teacher I mentioned that he doesn’t really know what is going on in her life. This is her second year of teaching and we don’t know how her home life is. He is now nicer to her himself and is noticing a little more respect from her. I am truly going to work on my mercy skills also. We never do stop learning and growing do we?
    I love reading your blog! Keep up the great work. So thankful for you!

  78. When you hit bottom, we need to remember there’s only one way out and that’s to go up. It could be a long struggle but when you believe in God and the strength he’s given us, the struggle isn’t really a struggle after all. It’s just a life event that took a different turn then we had planned on. in short…we don’t always get everything exactly the way we planned in life. But we get a life worth living no matter what the event.

  79. A couple days before I got my February Sugar block post I had read this: http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2013/09/25/you-are-not-my-competition/ and thought it was on the same idea. We all need to learn to love like HE loves, so we can know how to express HIS mercifulness. Not an easy task, but “HE who has began a good work in ‘us’ will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 1:6)
    xo, S.

  80. Thank you for a wonderful post. I call it to mind every time I am challenged during the day. Sometimes I can pull it off, sometimes it’s fake it ’til you make it. I hope to get there.

  81. Now I realize it was a good decision to join this year’s Sugar Block Club. I knew it was not just for the patterns…I really don’t need more tasks, challenges or commitments to do. But I love your way of writing, the wonderful thoughts and life experiences that you share with us, and wanted to be in. Great experience! This post is deep touching, make us meditate about how many times we’ve been rude with other people, not knowing their feelings or needs. Thanks for make me think again, that everyone is sensible to Love! May God bless you and your family!

  82. I have heard it said that true mercy rises up from terrible suffering. I do believe that as we ourselves are able to endure the worst of times and rise up again. We more clearly may see the pain. The fear and the struggles others are facing. The simple act of showing compassion may change or save a life. It may be that smallest gesture that gives the most comfort. The most hope.. What a beautiful message Amy. I have been there too. A few times. Blessings to you.

  83. Susan in OK says:

    Thank you for this post – you never know what someone endures and they don’t know your blight. We just had a death in our Sunday school class. The class is doing lunch for the family after the service on Thursday. So, naturally I volunteered. I was asked if I would do a side or a dessert. I said I would do one or both. Then I was asked to bring a green leafy salad for 10 with dressing. That’s my least favorite thing to do. So, I just asked, “Lord, what are You trying to teach me?” Thursday would have been my second husband’s 63rd birthday, so I thought it might make me feel better to do something for someone else that day. Then this evening a note came out that so many people had volunteered that not everyone was asked to contribute. It went on to say that’s what church people do – bring food. Well, my husband and I had been divorced seven months when he was found dead in his apartment. His family lived out of state and wanted to assume zero responsibility. I thought I was going to have to go to court to claim the body. They had no service for him. I did all that finally. I received one sympathy card. My class offered to do nothing for me. Most of the people haven’t even spoken to me since I went back to church. I am disabled (and don’t look it). I think most people assume that I don’t make it to church because of lack of interest not lack of ability to get there. I was homebound from eye surgery for over 2 months (yes, I announced that I was having eye surgery on both my eyes at church) and no one ever checked on me or asked if I needed a thing. I am not a loud out going person. I think you have to be to be noticed there in that big church and our big class. But your point is well taken – you don’t know what others’ struggles are. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted.

  84. I first read this post from my phone, so I didn’t want to try to comment from there. It really moved me and made me think of some things. One was a song my brother used to listen to. The chorus went like this:
    “Mercy, mercy, God’s love and mercy,
    Mercy that save both you and me.
    If we had gotten justice, we would surely be lost,
    But we found mercy when we knelt at the cross.”

    Also a couple verses came to mind:

    Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

    James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  85. Dearest Amy, I have admired your blog for quite a while. Thank you for the mercy reminder. We are all struggling in some way on this journey called Life. Being kind, considerate and loving is a worthy goal for all of us. One of my favorite Bible verse is “A gentle word turns away wrath.”
    Being merciful is aways the best practice.

  86. Amy Eppell says:

    I so appreciate all your talents ! Couldn’t we all use and extend a little blessing of grace and goodwill. Splendid job of reminding us! Maybe in the coming months we may complete a “karma” square….Haha

  87. Thank you, Amy, for your beautiful message and for teaching me a good lesson about mercy. I am reading this on Ash Wednesday and it is a very meaningful message to begin Lent.

    Yesterday a store clerk was really rude, tossed my items (literally) into the bag, threw my change across the counter without eye-contact or a thanks. I had the sales receipt right here by my computer to reply to the questionnaire today about my shopping experience; ready to unload my feelings about the discourteous service. As soon as I finished reading your blog, I threw the receipt in the garbage. You’re right – I don’t know what kind of day that clerk was having and I have no right to potentially damage her reputation or job.

    Thank you for showing me that mercy is a blessing to be shared.

  88. God Bless you richly for showing your vulnerable side, Amy. Many of us think this, but are afraid to share these things, or even share that we are Christians. Your post has touched so many including myself, as I, too have gone through my share of issues in my lifetime! This was a beautiful message attesting to your love of God and your love of mankind and in your shadows…


    Blessings to you and your family,
    Jodi Connors

  89. Powerful and beautifully written. xoxo


  1. […] after last month’s emotional rollercoaster over the Mercy Challenge post (so many tears writing that one!), I decided that this month’s challenge would be much […]

  2. […] also made up February’s block for the Sugar Block Club. I tried to be very meticulous with each unit, but some still ended up a […]

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