A dear reader emailed me the other day and said, "you stitch so fast".
It was the first time it occurred to me that this is what many of you believe about me.
I don't stitch quickly.
I stitch with a slow, and thoughtful rhythm...no rush, just enjoying the process and delighting in how a drawing can become something so lovely with the addition of simple and inexpensive coloured cotton threads. In my sketchbook it holds promise. On my lap, with a needle in hand, it takes on a life of its own and transforms into sweetness.
I don't like to rush that process.
Many emails come through to me, asking "How do you keep your stitches so neat and small?"
I stitch slowly. I let it matter.
Yes, I do release a lot of new designs each month - for my e-zine, and for Jesus' glory.
That's why it 'seems' I stitch quickly.
The truth is that my days are rather full. I begin with my dawn quiet hour with the Lord, and then after my housework chores and breakfast, I work.
You see, my stitching and designing are my occupation.
Migraines have been a constant companion of mine since I was thirteen.
I dare say there is not a treatment I have not pursued; but to no avail - they continue to cloud my days.
Because of this, and due to much prayer, the Lord opened a door for me to start stitching, and within a few years, to design - all from home.
So, each day, I work at my designing and stitching - which culminates in pattern writing, and magazine writing - and if my migraines take hold I can slip away and rest.
My work takes time. About 50 hours every week, in fact.
So you see, behind the blog, I work to provide an income through design and stitching.
It blesses my family, and I praise God my Father who made it possible for me to work around my migraines.
The hardest part about my work is the lack of time for making gifts.
I don't have many spare hours, and to be honest, I like to spend much of that time doing other things that have nothing to do with sewing - like studying the Bible; health education; rides on Mr E's motorbike; cooking.
But small gifts, made with love, do bring me joy...
One lesson I learned these last couple of years resulted in me no long making many gifts for people outside of my family.
When I was involved with swaps, it seemed I was always making items for people I'd never met, and precious time was taken away from what should have been time spent making for my own family.
That broke my heart.
I realised that I had chosen an email acquaintance, and sometimes a perfect stranger, over one of my loved ones. So I stepped away from swaps, and even changed the manner in which I gave gifts to friends.
I reminded myself that it is okay to purchase a small pre-made gift for friends instead of making one, and I prayed they understood that.
There are a lot of funny photos and posters that circulate around the internet and social media saying things that encourage us to buy as much fabric as we can, and to wear those purchases as a badge of honour. I've even shared a few myself.
When I sat down recently and pondered how I'd allowed my craft to steer me away from what really matters, I saw that it wasn't just in time spent making gifts for swaps or acquaintances. It was also in purchasing things I'd probably never have time to use, and spending money that could have helped reduce a debt or changed the life of someone in need.
Slowing down as I stitch gives me time to think about the 'whys' of what I do, and if I let them, those quiet ponderings change my outlook for the better by clearing away perceived expectations of what I thought was 'good', and letting me look through to that which is better.
Not sure why I've shared all this today, but maybe you are like I was, and you need someone to give you permission to stop the rush, reduce the endless making, or hold back from constant purchases?
My friends, take time and really think about what is important in your life.
'Breathe', as my darling husband would suggest.
Take a weight off your shoulders, and only do what you can with what you have, and most importantly, with JOY in your heart and not overwhelming expectations.
In fact, I want to step out here and say that if you are one of my Elefantz Home e-zine subscribers and you haven't known how to unsubscribe, but you want to, (some of you tell me you would feel guilty if you did - please do not feel that way), then you can go HERE and do it. It's very easy, and I will never be offended.
In fact, I hope you find the courage to cut out of your life all the unnecessary things that weigh you down, and that you find true peace flooding your hearts as you make those changes.
I pray for all of you,