I truly find it hard to believe that December is here already and my Year of Gentle Domesticity is drawing to a close.
2015 held much more than I ever imagined; yet I did not achieve all the plans on my list nor learn each of the skills I'd hoped to master.
Instead, my understanding of who I am widened and lessons were received that were totally unexpected.
On reflection I can say that my nature has softened and my general demeanor has quietened, but most importantly an intentional thoughtfulness and sense of gratitude have emerged from the shadows of sadness and discontent which held my mind captive in years past.
Please understand I'm still a work in progress, but that's the beautiful thing - I'm progressing, moving forward into a state of mind and heart that is embracing this beautiful and gentle domestic life my womanhood craves.
Over the past month or two I've been stitching secretly to create a very special set of twelve inspiring designs to share with you each month throughout 2016.
The Stitchery Club is my 'work hard for a living' business, but I believe 'freely giving' is a very important principal to live by too, so "Gentle Domesticity" will be my gift to you next year.
Here's a little peek at one of the blocks you'll be receiving...
Drawing closer to like minded friends through this journey into Gentle Domesticity has helped me grow, allowed me a sounding board to verbalise my pondering, and given me more inspiration than a library of homemaking books ever could.
Each of these girls fill a space in my heart (and head), always inspiring and encouraging me and allowing me to reciprocate. They are homemakers and women of integrity who love their families, honour their husbands, are generous in nature, and embrace a gentle domestic life.
Very important when you're on a journey like this are like minded friends or family to walk the cobbled path alongside you. Come rain or shine (and there will be storms, okay?) you're not alone. You have your arms linked with women you admire, women who love you enough that they don't hide the ugly but open the gate to beauty when you've lost your way.
Wouldn't it be lovely to have a network of small "Gentle Domesticity" groups across the world? Groups filled with arms to help, ears to hear, and hearts to encourage, and not a single drop of envy or competition to be found.
Next year my theme will be "Living a Life of Gentle Domesticity" because I'll be walking out the things my heart learned this year. In fact, it's already beginning. The sense of shedding a tightly wrapped cloak of dissatisfaction became evident recently, and deep wonder at the depth of gratitude for what I have now in my life is growing.
More and more it's the simple things which I long to give my time to each day and there's a mix of tears, laughter, frustration, acceptance, and bliss all the time. Honestly, if you were watching my day on camera you may indeed conclude I'm a bit of a split personality! But, it's all good, you know?
Day by day I'm learning about acceptance of life and self, about letting go and holding tight - day by day the tears are less, the laughter more, the quiet moments increasing, joy taking over as I embrace the ordinary.
Think about who to gather close in your gentle domestic journey.
Here are three of my closest friends...
Heather and I have been friends for three years and see each other every couple of weeks at one of our homes where we share our domestic thoughts, drink coffee, eat freshly baked wares, laugh ever so loud and sew pretty things while we chat. We see each other's lives being lived out and always come away inspired. I trust this woman because what she shows me is indeed who she truly is.
Heather works part-time outside the home, and we never chat via phone.
Fee and I have been friends for 7 years and because we live on opposite ends of the country our relationship building required a long-distance plan. We talk on the phone every week and often send photos and texts via our mobiles; these are encouraging and often very funny, but more importantly the time we invest in each other pays dividends of mutual respect and inspiration.
Fee runs her own small business from home and we've only met face to face once.
Ruth and I have been friends for about 15 years. She lives in another state so we stay in touch via occasional emails more than anything else, with a yearly phone chat and the blessing on my part of receiving wonderfully chatty letters from her every few months. I would trust this woman with my life, such is the depth of relationship we have built, and I would trust her with the lives of my children. She lives domesticity every day and astounds me with her willingness (and joy!) to extend hospitality as a natural extension of her Christian character. I have learned much from her over the years, and a few of those lessons are only just now becoming 'real' in my life.
Ruth is a home-maker/ homeschooler and we have only met face to face twice.
I need to write return letters to her.
If you've read this far, bless you. You're probably already on this journey or preparing for it.
Let's imagine this is my letter to you dear girl, and now it's your turn to write to me.
Leave a comment, no matter how long, sharing your journey or your hope for the journey - together we 'women of the gentle domestic life' can encourage and inspire each other the way women were meant to.
Taking a break...
I'm taking a week off blogging.
A few days will be spent 'out and about' on a road trip with Mr E and the rest of the time I'll be baking and packing for the trip, wrapping presents to post away in time for a pre-Christmas delivery, sewing gifts, and sorting through Christmas decorations with Blossom. As she has a home of her own now I'm handing on a few of our family heirloom decorations to her.
You know, everything we are and all we have will be 'handed along' to the next generation at some point.
I pray I'm handing over more than a few Christmas heirlooms, much more.