Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A quiet life...



For quite a while my mind has pondered the choices which need to be made in order to live a quiet life, and also what that would look like in our home and marriage. Over time I also considered how differently the perception of what makes up a quiet life would be to each of us in our individual and unique lives.
These 'quiet life' thoughts intensified in March when our state went in to lockdown and the longing within my heart to step back even further than I already had the past six or seven years came to be more profoundly important than before.




I'll tell you truthfully, I enjoyed being confined to home during the months of lockdown.
I enjoyed not having to leave home, relieved at not needing to shop so much, inspired to use what was in my pantry, garden and freezer. I slept better and got more done than is usual around the house and yard even though life was being lived at a slower pace.
A sweet and unexpected bonus was that I found myself more fully present in the moments each day offered and the knots in my neck were disappearing as my body naturally relaxed.

Within those moments a fresh stirring of my heart's desire for a quieter life came forth by God's still small voice, so in the background of these past months I have sought to understand what can be put aside and what can be given more space in the gentle daily rhythms of an ordinary life like mine.




Being a homemaker means the world to me.  But being a calm, joy-filled, peaceful and productive homemaker means even more because when I have those attributes determining my daily actions and plans the atmosphere of our home environment reaps the benefits.

I asked myself last week, "Why do you need a lockdown in order to live a quieter life? Why can't you simply choose to continue with that gentler rhythm?"

It may seem an easy question to answer but it's not because I need first to write down the comings and goings, the responsibilities and expenditures of this ordinary life, the expectations and the over-commitments. Which is what I'm beginning to do...praying all the while for wisdom, understanding, and a knowledge of what to let go of and what to keep (and not just things, but habits, routines etc).




You know, having the desire for 'a quiet life' so deeply etched upon my heart the inspiration for a project to share with you came to mind. I was tidying the sewing room last week and whilst stacking my smaller pieces of fabric into colour piles I put the soft blues and whites aside. Their humble and subdued shades and patterns looked so calm and safe that my thoughts began to fill with peaceful pictures of home. Soon I had pencil and paper on the cutting table which now stands right in front of the sewing room window and by the fading light of our late afternoon sun I had two simple designs drawn and couldn't wait for the next morning to begin preparing nine blocks which would hopefully become a small wall quilt.

Next week I'm going to share my free "A Quiet Life" pattern with you...




Each night I stitch a bit more, but mostly my creative time has been taken up completing Rafaella's cardigan as we near mid-winter already. The final stitches were knitted on Sunday evening and everything sewn together on Monday. Yesterday I took it over to Blossom's and Raf's little arms lifted high when I showed it to her and immediately her 2yo body was wrapped in warmth and Nana's love. She is always cuddly but during my visit she constantly came and curled herself up on my lap and insisted we share her jam tarts. Bliss. Blessed.




I'll write more about living a quiet life over the remainder of this year as I journey along this lovely path, weeding the unnecessary and planting what matters. In fact it will be my focus - just as the lessons of gentle domesticity and embracing a homemaker heart undergirded the blog for many years. 
You see, when a lesson is learned I've come to appreciate that God wants me to use it like a step to stand on before calling me to climb higher in this quite privileged 'keeper of the home' calling.

Are you living a quiet life already? What can you share of it?

Perhaps some of you are weary from busyness and too many responsibilities? What would you like to change in order to usher in a quieter life?

Do you look at how much others seem to achieve, feel like a failure, and then try too hard to emulate them? Social media can magnify this and many beautiful souls fall into the trap of comparing their lives and (perceived lack of) achievements to others. You dear heart, need to turn your eyes away and discover the beauty of where God has you this day, the people He's put in your life, and the very unique-to-you calling He created you to walk in.




God bless your precious hearts! Each of you reading my blog mean a great deal to me and to quote Paul in his letter to the Philippian church - I thank my God in all remembrance of you.

You bless me often and the encouragement you offer through your comments many times will pick me up when the day has been hard or my body has been given over to pain. I cannot thank you enough for the kindness I so often receive from you, it is a gentle balm from one woman to another.

Before signing off today I thought I'd share something lovely to watch. I came across it the other day when I was delving further afield for aspects of living a quiet life. The wife and her husband live in Ireland and though just a short video I found it soothing, gentle and exactly what I needed.




Tomorrow Blossom and the girls will be here and the new/old cubby house will come alive again with the hustle and bustle of little women playing house. There is much joy in sitting outside with a large mug of coffee or a cup of tea watching the simplicity of children at play. Much joy indeed.

Till next time,
loving hugs


34 comments:

  1. That verse in Thessalonians has long been a favorite of mine. It along with 1 Timothy 2:2b (NASB). I, too, am enjoying this "forced" time of quietness although truth be told, it's my usual way. Home is truly where my heart is. I was blessed to be able to be home while my children grew up, then I was blessed to be able to teach at an elementary school for sixteen years, and now I'm blessed to be home again with my sweetheart of 48 plus years. Your lovely posts are a reminder of all that is precious to me and I thank you.

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  2. I too enjoyed the Lockdown Jenny for exactly the same reasons as you. I felt so much at peace & got so much more done & slept better & felt so much less pressured. Our road was quiet from traffic & I could hear the birds again in my garden. I feel guilty when I say that I enjoyed it because I know so many were affected, including my youngest son who just today has found out he will be losing his job. I have felt immense pressure again since our restrictions were lifted - pressure in every direction & today I have begun to write myself a list of changes I wish & need to make. I am determined to implement these changes for my physical & my mental health. Your post today was such a timely reminder. I do not envy those that choose to live a fast paced life where so much is achieved & packed into each day one single bit. They are most welcome to it. Give me peace & quiet & slow pace anyday. xxx

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  3. Dear Jenny, How did we all get soo far removed from a simple life? Things happen gradually I guess... not even over a lifetime but maybe over several generations. Anyway it is all madness and from high school I felt pressured that I needed to have ambitions of a career when I just saw ways of making money the means to an end of being able to live in my home and raise babies! I am thinking on a few things. There is plenty of Scripture that tells us to be busy at home. It is over and over. If we are older we are meant to encourage the young women to be busy at home. The flip side is portrayals of not so good women whose feet are never at home. Now I notice many women literally cannot have their feet in their own home. Anywhere but. Mum has always had people say to her how does she get so much done? Now I get this question, mainly due to blogging, (about homemaking and staying at home lol) how do I get so much done? Well, by staying at home. And not watching tv might be answer number two. I try to be mainly at home or not much gets done at all. My second thought is the Holy Family. You would think God chose the family He wanted Jesus to be loved and cared for in. He chose a young Mary with a pure heart and Joseph a carpenter. Presumably they lived a very simple and humble life. I cannot imagine it was fancy! This is what God chose. Until his public life this quite life was how Jesus lived. So such simplicity and goodness. Good enough for them. Again how did we get so far from this!!! My day today was a perfect day of sunshine and been at home. After collecting the eggs I used the lemons I had picked to make lemon curd. It is cooling now. I am putting a log on the fire and going to watch the sun set. By the way your white and palest washed out blue is actually heavenly. Love Annabel.xxx

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  4. I love living a quiet life. And I do work outside the home, part-time. It is a small business and I spend many happy hours working away quietly at my desk moving from one project to the next. I listen to worship music on the drive home which leaves me so uplifted. I often spend the whole drive to work in prayer and pray often during the day. I lean heavily on God during my work day because some of my work is very challenging and I work mostly independently so there is no one at work who can help me when I lack information or knowledge, but God is always present and ready to help.

    At home I move quietly from one task/activity to another. I play and joke with my husband (who is retired) during the day. I spend time watching my dogs play the cows over the back fence and the ducks on the dam. A quiet life but very satisfying.

    I am very blessed, and I am happy to pursue the ambition of living a quiet life.

    I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

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  5. Hi Jenny,
    the quiet life...a warm loving home, needle and thread, a garden, good food, and your quote "weeding the unnecessary, planting what matters" resonates within here as well. There must come a time as one grows older and wiser to be able to can sort it all out.
    Looking forward to the new A quiet life pattern !
    The video is one of those that is too good if you watch it just before grocery shopping on an empty stomach :)
    hugs,
    Joanne

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  6. My greatest wish in life! We moved here nearly three years ago as my husband had enough of cold New Zealand winters and wanted to come home. I was reluctant because although with me being a nurse and always being able to find work I knew it would not be easy for him to find work at then age 58 and indeed it has proved to be the case. In order for us to buy a house I will have to continue working until at least age 67 (now 59) and am not really looking forward to it. However I also thank the Lord for the work that I have and am truly grateful. I just have to remind myself that I can enjoy the quiet life at home on my days off. Quarantine has been good in that respect as it has stopped me from going to the shops unless it was for groceries. Looking forward to my time at home in the future!

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  7. Lovely cardigan for Rafaella - and so happy she too now has one along with her sister. Those little hearts!! I've also enjoyed the more simpler life and less hussle and bussle since the lockdown. As things get busier again, I would love to keep it quiet and restful. We've especially enjoyed home cooked meals 'every' day of the week - and feel much better for it. Our area is entering Stage 3, so that means restaurants can now open for indoor service too, not just outdoor patios. It used to be such a treat going out for Birthdays etc., but now we enjoy staying in :) - funny how quickly things can change.

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  8. I totally agree! The lockdown has made my normal lifestyle socially acceptable these days! 😂

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  9. I really enjoyed the lockdown...So many appointments were canceled.yippee!!! I was able to stay home each day and had time to plat a larger garden. I had lots of time home with my baby girl, husband and son. My daughters college dismissed in March instead of May. So we have had a lovely Sporing and summer together. This will be her last year in College before she gets her teaching degree and moves away from home. So it has been extra nice having this time together. Husband has been working from home ever since the lockdown. He has been lucky being able to work from home. The only drawback is having to cook and do so much more laundry and cooking. The drawback is I have had like practically no time at for sewing or crafting. But my family and I have been blessed with this time together as a family before our dynamics change with the upcoming Senior year of University with daughter and her final year long teaching internship. And her not being able to come home as often for breaks. Everything has opened up here and has been open for some time now. We only go out to pharmacy, and groceries and medical appointments. Want to keep things as simple as possible here for as long as possible. Love you Dear Jenny. I am blessed to have you in my life...

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  10. Such lovely sentiments that warm my heart ❤️

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  11. The circumstances vor the lockdown were a it unnerving, but the benefit of staying home for all but a day of shopping and errands was wonderful. I am also learning the art of doing nothing. We are always so busy doing, that it really does us much good to just sit, reflect, rest. Looking forward to downsizing as i spend time going through my belongings and disposing of things that are tKing up space and no longer needed. Looking for to more posts on this subject and the new design. Thsnk you in advance for sharing it.

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  12. I think those of us who are truly happy and fulfilled living a quiet life at home are among the most fortunate. I'm fortunate to have a lovely home with lots of trees, plants and flowers that is filled with books, fabric, music...and most important to me ...my dogs! :) During the lockdown I just could not bring myself to complain. I've lived this way for many, many years because I have MS and do not have great mobility so I know that having a peaceful life is a true gift.

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  13. I enjoyed lockdown too. I shopped once a week and that was it. More time to spend in the garden (lucky the weather was good) and appreciate our garden rather than be rushed off our feet trying to keep it together. But I do appreciate the fact that as pensioners we had no money worries, we have a large garden which gave us somewhere to excercise and something to do and we had no health worries. Had I been cooped up in a tiny flat with a couple of boistrous children I might not think the same way! Pretty cardigan Jenny and your 'A Quiet Life' looks interesting. Have fun with the girls. xx

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  14. I have tried to send you a mail, but something is wrong with your email address, I don’t know but i cant send.
    Ciao,
    Miriam from Italy

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    Replies
    1. Try the email address here - http://www.elefantz.com/p/contact-me.html

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    2. This is the address that I put, but it doesn’t work :-(( Sorry.
      Have a nice day with the little girls,
      Miriam

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  15. I Thessalonians 4:11 has been my chosen verse for the past few years. It is something I yearn for.

    The quiet life is out of my reach as this stage though. I am at home but I watch my 2 yr old grandson 5 days a week...being with him at 5 AM on three of those days. I'm well past the age of easily keeping up with a toddler so if I can keep my kitchen clean & cook healthy meals I feel I've done all I can do before crashing into bed well before the sun sets each evening.

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  16. My mother did not work outside the home. I feel as if the world has slipped back to a time where I once used to live a quiet life as I am seeing today. It threw many people because they did not remember what it once felt like to be at a very slow pace. No mall shopping, not running the kids to their weekly appointments, no having a 'list of have to do's'. No running to keep up, or feeling so tired from being unable to keep ahead. All of a sudden there came a hush upon the land. A lull, and quiet never felt so loud. We were, "OH Lord, what is this?!" It took a minute to get our bearings. But the choice was to accept what we have, or try to fight against it. I embraced it. I saw intimacy with God in this quiet place was renewing. I am seeing we are not alone, even when we are alone. God is right beside us. All the noise has stopped. All is right with my world today. I would not change a thing. I'm where I need to be at this moment.Can you feel God reigning? Can you sense Him as He walks in our midst? The wonder of Him!
    Be well, Jenny.

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  17. Thank you Jenny! I feel like I am breathing easier after reading this lovely post. My life has not really changed very much during this time.

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  18. Dear kindred spirit,
    Your email has reached me at a perfect time in my life. I have suffered a life changing illness that saps much of my strength, pride, and self reliance. I was worried about what life was going to look like from now on. Your email offered me encouragement and an outline to help me determine what is useful and good, what is necessary, and what is futile, frustrating, and unnecessary. Dear one, I have taken pen to paper and I'm am starting to evaluate everything in my life. Thank you so much, peace and joy on your journey to a quiet life. I will update you periodically through out the year. May our heavenly Father bless you for all you do for your readers. Hugs and blessings!

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  19. Hello Jenny, thank you so much for this post. It was beautiful. My life changed radically over 12 years ago and with the move to the UK, and the culture shock that was. I had a major breakdown, I've found I've been fighting against so much. Thank you for your faith and the sharing of your thoughts on our Christian life, it makes a big difference believe me, not just in my life but in others that read your blog, it's vital. May God bless you and Mr E and the family always. Love Mandy xx

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  20. Thanks for the video. It was quite lovely and peaceful. You can have your own all-girls picnic outside by the cubby house. =) Yes, I'm always working to slow down, not to take on doing too much simply because I can. Leave something for others to do, because they can, too. Thanks for a lovely post, and the beautiful promise of your house wall hanging.

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  21. Been thinking a lot about more simple. Did some big tidy ups in lockdown and gave away a pile of stuff afterwards. Such value in the simple, ordinary things we have in our lives without the rushing around. I like it. Arohanui Karen

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  22. I love the quiet life and your statements are so true. I didn't feel that quiet life for the first 3 months as I was a homeschooling grandma of 2 while their mom was working online. I was very busy. For the past month we've gotten back to using our regular dinner plates, I've sit out on the porch to read, gardened, and I've sown masks! Things are getting back in order now.
    Fall will come soon here and we wonder will they go back to school? I think I'm more prepared now to be a homeschooling grandma ...I hope to incorporate more of your quiet life into everyone's schedule.

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  23. What a beautiful, uplifting post, dear Jenny! I did notice my life didn't change much when the lockdown happened, except I didn't take mum shopping once a week and we now get our groceries delivered. Truth to tell, I miss it. I have a gypsy heart and love to get out and roam. I'm praying God will change my heart - somehow doing dishes, laundry and vacuuming doesn't feel "useful" and I long to feel useful. I just spent a week at my son's house and I don't think the guys missed me, lol. We don't have a garden or chickens, so really not much to do at home, and the hours can get very long. Most days I just feel unused....like I'm sitting on a shelf, unopened. Praying the Lord will find a way for me to be a blessing somehow, to someone!

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  24. Loving the Aunt Jane of Kentucky podcasts! Thank you!

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  25. That video was lovely and so calming. Yes, slowly I will move toward a simple life - thank you for nudging us that way.
    Blessings,

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  26. Dear Jenny. I too have enjoyed the lockdown and the slow pace that has allowed me to indulged in my sewing and creative writing. I have finished old projects and begun and finished new for gifts. The handmade gifts have so warmly been received and this has encouraged me to make more. I do hope that as the restrictions ease that I can retain this quieter pace and spend my time in my home loving and creating. xx

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  27. Lockdown has not been much different for me as I seldom leave my home apart from shopping or seeing family. I had already given up the 3 patchwork groups I was in and just had a once a month little sewing group. I do miss the family celebrations we always had and now we won't be able to celebrate my grandson's first birthday next month. I love the cardigan! Gorgeous colour. Your Quiet Life project is looking beautiful so far.

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  29. Ah, Jenny, that filled me with longing. A simple life is what I want and have always dreamed of. I have had discussions with my husband about how technology has been our downfall. We, as a society, lost the ability to survive without it even years before I was even born, and I just turned 61 today! How much more so even now. And I think people were even happier when life was more simple. They may have worked harder, but hard work is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives us purpose,

    In this post, you talk about how some of the comments cheer you up, but do you realize how much your posts help us? Your words are so powerful that they can evoke so many emotions in me. Much love to you, my sister in Christ.

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  30. I just got a chance to sit down and read this today and my heart was uplifted by your words. We here in the States are still in lockdown and the pushback from people who won’t wear masks is driving us further down the rabbit hole. Reading about your search for quiet shows me that I too need to look for the quiet. I am feeling guilty as I feel that the gospel need to be spread in these times but volunteer work for a 67 year old is not going to happen right now as I do not feel safe leaving home for long. But I’m looking for ways to serve at home and one of the things I’m doing is making pillows with your bible quotes for several friends who are having health issues right now. Hopefully that will give some hunting hearts a little peace as we all seek the quiet.

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It's always nice to receive feedback on a blog post, so *thank you* for taking time to comment!
I will try to reply via email unless you are a 'no reply blogger' which means you'll have to check for my reply in the comments. Of course, life is a rather hazardous activity, isn't it? So if I don't respond to your comment that's the reason why - life simply stepped in...
hugs
Jenny
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