Sunday, April 23, 2017

The tooting of a horn...

Every few months I re-read the book of Matthew, paying specific attention to the Sermon on the Mount, and just as with all my Bible studies I like copying the Scriptures which stop and make me think into my journal.

This past week I was struck by three things Jesus tells us to do in secret (chapter 6) - He said we should GIVE in secret, PRAY in secret, and FAST in secret - each time closing that directive with these words, "And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

I'm pretty sure it was the Holy Spirit who drew my attention to this because the day before reading this portion of the sermon on the mount I had told someone about a series of 'giving' incidences from a year or two ago, gifts which up until this week only my husband, myself and the recipient knew about. 

As soon as I told my friend I wished I hadn't. But there they were, the words were spoken, the 'secret' let out, and it wasn't for holy and righteous reasons because there are none and I had only achieved the tooting of my own horn.. 

This social media age we live and participate in challenges me on a daily basis with the perception I gain of people I know well, people who are just an acquaintance, and others I know only through my work or reputation.
I am actually shocked at what some women write on their Facebook page, the language they use, the bitterness or accusatory attitudes they feel a desire to express, even using guilt to gain sympathy. It's as though they can't see beyond their own reflection and simply want all attention to come their way. They want to tell us how great they are, and usually by tearing down others or dropping hints that they're upset with someone.

Thankfully I can move passed their posts, unfriend them and stop to read encouraging words, join in celebrations, learn something educational and see what my family have been up to with their young ones...but this passage in Matthew made me ponder what I truly show in my own life to those looking in from the outside. How do they  view me?

Promoting my 'giving' the other day was all about shining a halo over mine and my husband's character, and a little bit of bitterness even seeped in because I didn't feel the recipient had honestly appreciated the gifts, so what does that truly reveal about me? No wonder the Holy Spirit didn't let that incident slide.

As a designer I find it difficult to promote my patterns, something a few designers I know also struggle with, yet this is our occupation, our 'bread and butter' income, so shining light on what we have created for our customer base is necessary. Our Lord Jesus was a carpenter and even He was paid for His work and would have needed to show his customers the quality of His workmanship. 

Our public business is different from the private women we are, it's something we cannot do in secret nor avoid, but it does put us in the public eye and therefore (I believe) we are held to higher account with regards to character.

As a Christian in business for herself I feel that weight often, so my lack of humility the other day was deserving of a talking to by God and I'm more aware than ever that I need to heed Jesus and keep such things in secret 'forever', to not allow a loose tongue to rob me of the Father's reward nor draw an unwholesome stain on my character.

Why am I telling you this today?

I think God wants me to keep these Sunday blog posts real and to have enough courage that I can honestly admit some of the pits which have tripped me up in this walk to the finish line whilst also declaring His faithfulness to gently correct and forgive.

Maybe you've fallen into the same trap as me and made a show of your good deeds for others to see or hear about? Confess it to our Father, repent and be washed clean and free. He doesn't hold a grudge, when He forgives us our sin is so far removed that He doesn't remember it ever again. Cool huh?

You know what I also wondered when I studied Matthew 6? 
How many of the Father's rewards have I missed in my Christian walk because I didn't keep particular actions secret?

Thank you Holy Spirit for not letting me get away with this one, for loving me so much that You want me to change for the better and receive rewards far greater than man's praise can ever offer.

Your sister in Christ,

Friday, April 21, 2017

A work in progress...

When we arrived home from our few days away, and after I caught up on all the washing, re-stocked the pantry and fridge, and went through hundreds and hundreds of emails...I turned the downstairs spare room into my very own workout room.

Now before you get visions of an exercise bike and treadmill, let me assure you I am a no-frills girl and my 'gym' is without any of that equipment. 

But it does have carpet on the floor (the rest of the house has hardwood), a television, DVD/VCR player, air conditioner and pedestal fan, a nice stack of toning, walking and aerobic DVDs, and one treasured exercise video I loved working out to fifteen years ago that has lost a bit of visual clarity but is still usable enough for my needs.

Since we moved to Townsville just over five years ago I have gained 14 kg (31 pounds) and I feel it ever so much on my 5'1" frame, especially as I was 8 kg overweight before that. My clothes are three sizes larger and being short they look ridiculous with shoulder seams dropping down my arms, necklines wider than my chest and ever so long hemlines. I may be exaggerating slightly, but it feels like I'm wearing a tent....

As I am an apple shape the weight is predominantly around my tummy and upper body, so my knees and ankles take a hammering in this 'lots of stairs' house and I get breathless easily, especially when I'm bending over and trying to paint my toenails. And I love having painted toenails.

I'm also post menopausal and have Hashimoto's Disease, both contributing to weight gain but more importantly they make it very difficult to lose the weight. However, the real villain has been my sedentary life and lack of planning with regards to daily exercise. It's way too hot here to go out walking in daylight for about 8 months of the year and I used that as an excuse...but not any more.

I've spring cleaned my mind, spring cleaned the spare room, and as of today (Friday) I have done five wonderful workout sessions in my 'gym', pushing myself a little further each day - and loving it. 

I did have a rest day on Sunday and today because my body was very clear about needing it, so I am learning to listen to my body and plan on being wise, not reckless, with this new routine. 

One very wonderful result we noticed after my first two workout days was the lifting of depression - swoosh, out the door, out of my brain, gone. My daughter told me, "Mum, you're flooding your body with endorphins now and it's already making a positive impact! I'm so happy for you!" Isn't that lovely? Two of my girls are urging me on and cheering from the sidelines, exactly what I needed from them.

SO...I'm a work in progress, just like the next block in my free BOM, "The Love of Home". 

Today I drew up the design, chose linen and fabric, threads and embellishments, prepared everything for stitching, and sat down to watch season 1 of The Great British Sewing Bee again.

I chose this precious little doily for the stitchery background, and some beautiful Paperie fabric (by Amy Sinibaldi) to fuse behind the doily...

The May block is sweet and simple, and will be quick to stitch because we all need a few patterns in our stash that can be completed in an afternoon or evening...

My little doily is very old and has a generous amount of fraying, but I'll be framing the design when it's finished so that should preserve it for a long time to come...

Satin stitch...

Chain stitch....

Lazy daisies and Colonial Knots...

Little cross stitches and a touch of beading to come...

...but that's all I can show you until May 1st when you'll be able to download the free pattern and stitch your own version.

Back to my other work in progress.

Here's my starting photo, the one I emailed my daughters when I dressed for Tuesday's workout.
 Just keeping it real...

I'll update in a month because this is a long term goal, a habit I'm returning to, not a quick fix. 

It's about health, quality of life, and CHERISHING the woman, wife, mother and Nana this Jenny is.
It's about scheduling time for myself, doing this for me and no-one else, and honoring this body God gave me with the help it needs.

Do you know what I mean? Are you on a similar journey?

Have a wonderful weekend, sweet friend, and try to do something positive for yourself as well as for others. Everyone benefits when you do. xx


Thursday, April 20, 2017

New designs and more vintage linen...

Stitching the new designs for May has been a delight because they are all very different and I really enjoying using different textures with both stitches and lace...

The theme for May is *beauty* because each of the embroideries convey beauty in a unique way.

From the layers of lace in the "Linen & Lace" vase to the little bee embellished hexies in "The Summer House" each of the five designs has something of beauty to display.

Would you like to stitch them?

To receive all these patterns sent directly to your email inbox next month just visit The Stitchery Club webpage here.

It's really that easy.

Now that I've finished stitching the May designs I can take a little break to play in my sewing room with these vintage napkins.

My plan is to centre two over the top of plain quilted squares of fabric to make new beside table toppers...

...and perhaps use the other two in a bag? They'd be gorgeous as pockets,

I also have these sweet little coasters which could become lovely pincushions...

...but I still have my thinking cap on at the moment so that plan could alter as the days go by. 

What would YOU make with these lovely vintage linens?


Monday, April 17, 2017

The lake, and a first Easter for Cully May...

Our time away was beautiful.
We stayed high atop the tablelands at Lake Tinaroo where the air is cool and crisp, mobile phone reception is virtually non-existant, peace and calm are normal, and the view makes you wish you never had to leave.

Our home for three days was a beautiful town house set amidst lush greenery, overlooking the lake...

Some of the townhouses are owner occupied (I was so envious) whilst the rest of are let out for tourists like us to come and find refreshment away from the city.

The grounds were lush, green and beautiful, with a rolling sway of lakefront grasslands and gardens surrounding us on all sides.
I could have taken a thousand photos, beauty was everywhere...

From our upstairs balcony we watched the moon rise each night over the lake, then just before dawn I'd leave Mr E to sleep while I tiptoed downstairs to brew a coffee and settle myself outside on the verandah with my Bible to greet the sunrise...

Our time away was short, but it was a lovely time of refreshing.
When we visit here again we shall plan to stay much longer.

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and after taking Cully May to her first Easter church service, Blossom and Ross brought their little Miss over to our house for a visit.

As she is just 8 months old there were no chocolates for her this year but I did make her a little bunny pillow, long and narrow so she can cuddle it easily...

For Blossom and Ross I took an idea from Annabel's blog and wrapped blocks of exquisite Lindt chocolate in pretty paper...

The marbled papers were a gift from my friend Margaret, and Blossom loved them as much as the chocolate so she carefully smoothed them flat again to take home with her!

Cully May kept us all laughing and on our toes.
She pulls herself up on the furniture now and takes little steps along the edges.

When I brought the camera out she pushed her face towards it and made the cutest faces for me. We were all laughing so hard...

"I can clap, Nana!"

"Watch me climb over the couch before daddy gets me!

"Isn't my mummy beautiful?"

"I love watching Nana with the camera..."

"I have two teeth."

What a day, a very special Resurrection Sunday for our family.

I hope yours was wonderful too,

Saturday, April 15, 2017

An Easter gift for you...

God bless you this Easter as we celebrate the greatest gift we could ever receive through the death and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

To Him be all glory, honour and praise forevermore.