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.
Oh wow...if the preview is any indication, I can tell I'm going to love the new BOM. Sounds like you've had a good year. I've always been a domestic. My grandmother's life would have suited me well, and I've always believed I was born a couple of generations too late. Ten years retired, I now live the gentle domestic life I yearned for when I was working. It takes a while to sink into a routine, I think, but it's a life worth cultivating.
Enjoy you week off blogging, it is a good thing. This month I think is going to go fast.
Have a wonderful, relaxing week. I so enjoyed doing the vintage kitchen project with you! I have it hanging in my kitchen and it just makes me smile! (Feels like I have a cup of tea with you too at times!) Next years monthly project looks wonderful and warms the heart! Have fun with your family and friends this week!
I have been reading your blog for awhile and have enjoyed your year of gentle domesticity. I was a homeschooling mom, and then worked outside the home for 10 years to help pay the bills. Now I am able to be home again and I love it! I am going to enjoy reading all you have to say during the next year too, as it speaks to my heart:) Thank you for your wise words and beautiful stitcheries!
Hope your time off is Wonderful! I know it will be. Can't wait to hear all about it.
A beautiful blog post from the heart. We certainly are true soul sisters with the same wishes, hopes and dreams. Here's to a wonderful 2016 together as we journey along our paths of domestic bliss. xxxxxxx Fee xxxxxxx
You are a blessing to me Jenny, I can only imagine what a gift you are to those you touch in real life. We do need each other. I have struggled with finding other women who enjoy the things I do. Many women work outside of the home, I have been a stay at home mom for much of my married life. Thank you for sharing your journey. Janita
Wow. It is lovely.
Becoming a blogging friend with you Jenny - albeit a cyberspace one - has made me feel so good about being happy at home with my domesticated life that I lead. Thank you for making me feel happy & content with it all ( well, most days ... am only human after all!!!) I so look forward to next years journey with you as we all do from reading the lovely comments. Enjoy your week off & take some time for YOU dear girl. x x x x
Your words and stitchery touch a special place in my heart and soul. I look forward to hearing about your journey into gentle domesticity in the new year. Have a wonderful break.
Bless you for such a beautiful heart felt post. All our lives are a work in progress from the moment we are born . Some of us learn life lessons and some of us stumble along the way repeating the same mistakes over and over before we have that light bulb moment. Others never learn , just complain and fall back on the "it isn't fair" syndrome. It is great that you have attracted many like minded people as being a domestic goddess isn't often recognised as being a very worthy and satisfying life. So sad that people really feel that way. So, once again, I would like to thank you for sharing your life with us , creating such beautiful designs and also being such a generous, loving and caring person. Have a fantastic safe trip. I shall miss your blogging but am pleased that you are taking some time out with Mr E. Angel Hugs.
Te agradezco tanta generosidad. Y sinceridad. Yo siento a veces que soy dos personas encerradas en un solo cuerpo: Una es feliz de ser ama de casa a tiempo completo, la otra se siente frustrada muchas veces. Tú has logrado muchas veces, con tu blog, que esas dos personalidades se junten por fin, dejen de discutir, y convivan en paz. Este año he aprendido de ti que hay que esforzarse en ser generosos siempre, pero más en el hogar, y que ello trae consigo felicidad. He aprendido a apreciar el honrado y humilde trabajo que hacemos, y a sentirme orgullosa de ello. En esos momentos de frustración que una no puede evitar, siempre he tenido a mano un bonito proyecto de Jenny para calmar mi mente, ocupar mis manos, y embellecer mi hogar. Muchas, muchas gracias. Disfruta de tu descanso. Bless you.
What a lovely post Jenny and some beautiful projects to look forward to next year! I hope you have a lovely break and a wonderful Christmas! Christine x
Well spoken! You are an inspiration to ME! I can't wait to continue my journey with you!!
I hope you have a wonderful 'holiday' and I am looking forward to following on with the domesticity again next year. xx
Jenny you are such a blessing. I'm not sewing much anymore, but will be following your journey. Gratitude and Peace are my goals this year and on. My biggest challenge is always to live in the moment and not to drift back to the past. Sounds simply....yeah right...giggle.
Enjoy your trip and have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.
I hope your trip with Mr. E is wonderful and you relax to enjoy every moment. Refresh yourself, dear friend.
I have spent my life in a high pressure work office environment, I enjoyed the challenges and wasn't looking for anything different until I had a hiccup on health, nothing serious but it was like a light came on and questioned everything which was important?
I am now living without work ( office work, by choice) as I am now retired and moved to the countryside with a big vegetable garden. I have changed but find my role still a little strange and tricky at times. I enjoy reading your blog and am looking forward to your 2016 plans as I think this will help me in my path to a new future.
Thank you for your blessings and I wish you a happy trip and future
Jenny. I have never met you face to face, but I love all that I have learned from you this year. I am in another country (USA) and yet I sometimes feel we are neighbors.
The path you are on is so encouraging. I do not hand stitch but wish I did. Carpal tunnel took the ability to hold a needle and thread away several years ago. I do sew on a little machine and try to sell the items on etsy.(EverestRanchCreation).
But your attitude is contagious and I am all about domestic living, gently.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas season. Looking forward to your new years posts. Huggs from a distance, Judith.
I'm looking forward to this stitchery BOM. Your pieces are always beautiful. I don't know if I will keep up though. I'm taking on a challenge, albeit a loving one, of taking care of my first and only grandbaby, starting in a couple weeks, while my daughter goes back to work full time. Day care is so expensive; she and her husband would be working hard and saving little if they enrolled her. So in my early 60s, I will pretty much be raising a child again. But I will love it! And your posts will be a relaxing moment in my days.
May God richly bless you and your family. You have such a loving way of speaking God's truth, and of all the blogs I visit, yours is one that feeds my soul both visually and spiritually. I, too, am a work-in-progress and so blessed to have such a wonderful Father who chastens me when I need it and reassures me continually of His love.
Have a wonderful Christmas with your family. Here's to 2016 being a heart changing year for us all!
Jenny, I'd LOVE to join you in being 'women of the gentle domestic life'. I need a "Heather" in my life. I have distant, call once in awhile, text now & again friends. I want a "Heather". Thank you for your blog post today. It helped focus me.
Love & blessings to you & your family. Have a wonderful time with Mr. E next week!
BTW, I am looking forward to our 2016 BOM!! :-)
Have a wonderful time with Mr. E! I'm still struggling behind you a way. My path isn't entirely parallel to yours, because I'm not even roughly domestic. =) But some of the same principles apply to me - simplify more, slow down, love more, share more, fret less, worry less, spend less ... I feel the Lord's hand on my shoulder, and being a work in progress is comfortable now that I've learned that's what I am. =)
Jenny, I hope that you and Mr. E have an amazing time together! You have accomplished so much just while I have been reading your blog, in my opinion, but it is always a grand adventure to continue to reach out and achieve new goals. I know that from reading your posts that I have grown as a Christian and as a wife and as a person. You do deserve to have this special time away and it warms my heart knowing that you have all of these special people in your life to lean on and for them to lean on you also. Thank you for sharing every thing that you do and I know I look forward to each and every project that you share because they are from you and they are from your heart. Have an extra special time. Brenda
thank you so much for your blogs and newsletters this year, especially the Year of Gentle domesticity. I had hoped, that now I am living on my own, I could follow along with your stitching, sadly, this has not been the case so far. Although I have done quite a lot of sewing and knitting, but exactly what I was wanting to make. Next year, I will be following the BOM and sewing each month. I also have other BOM's from the past year to complete, so I can walk *my* path of gentle domesticity.
I wish you and your family a wonderful celebration of Our Lord's birth and a joyful and more content 2016.
have a good time out & about with mr e, you both deserve it
i'm only just learning about the homemaking & am very slow with it (my house isn't homely yet)
love your blog & your journey, it's very inspiring & am looking forward to nest years journey too
thanx for sharing
I've followed your special journey through 2015 and always feel inspired by what you set out for yourself to achieve both spiritually and creatively. Your posts are beautifully written and I like how you share your downs as well as ups. Reading your blog is always a treat.
Admiro seu trabalho há algum tempo e hoje, após ler seu texto, descobri que temos muito mais em comum.
Este ano me descobri de uma forma diferente, valorizando muito mais a vida e o que realmente importa , tentando não julgar as outras pessoas nem suas escolhas!!!
Consegui viajar do Brasil para a Austrália para visitar meus filhos, superando um antigo medo de avião e de um problema de saúde que me acompanha há 20 anos.
Estou amando a Austrália e essa minha superação e também sinto alegria por minhas novas descobertas e realizações.
Sou mãe e dona de casa há 27 anos, tenho 30 de casada e sou artista textil por opção e por hobby.
Sempre me senti feliz por minhas escolhas e acho que fiz um bom trabalho, apesar de muito desvalorizado nos dias de hoje.
Vou seguir seus desenhos, que sempre gostei e fazer um trabalho que me lembre toda essa conquista de uma vida.
Boas férias e abraços!!!
Hi Jenny, I have always known my role in the home is to be the homemaker, As my childhood was filled with dread I knew my own family would have a home filled with love and safe ,didn't have a lot of money like our friends but homemaker was more important. I was always there to make sure Ian and my children and grandchildren had fun happy and loved . Then two years ago my life turned 360 degrees I went to the doctor for lower back pain by two o clock I was in hospital had Mir and result was I was six months away from paralized neck down so 7 hour opp and I thought after the opp all back to normal but no the Lord has placed his hand on me for me to find me ,I was so happy to give out but never understood how to receive . whilst in the Mir is kept hearing be still and know I am the Lord and I will never leave you or forsake you. I have had time to watch my beautiful family blossom , it has taken me two years to learn how to be still and accept the love from others I am still learning and it we have become so aware of a word of encouragement is gold a hug time to sit and listen time for me to hear your blog and understand you. Some things will never be the same again but I see things diff. Love gentleness joy happiness all those things have become strong ,so bless you for your story and I hope next year I am going to learn a new craft your work is beautiful .God bless you Jenny xxx. Nita
Delightful post Jenny. Loved reading it. Enjoy your break - have fun with Mr E. Looking forward with you to 2016 and all it brings.
Hi, I could feel the peace from your own life decending on me even as I read this post. You are giving a very good example to follow. The idea of purposely living out the life you have discovered is right for you is encouraging. If you have not read the book Emma's Journal, I think you would like it. Have a slow and wonderful week. J.
Thank you for another wonderful post. Although you and I have never met and live on opposite sides of this big world, your words make me feel like you know my heart and that we have been friends forever. God Bless you and enjoy your time with Mr. E!
Jenny Dear as is so often for me I am late to read this post. Truth be told I was saving it for when I had the proper time to really absorb the wisdom you share. I have enjoyed your year of "Gentle Domesticity" and find I am embracing homemaking more than ever before. I am also enjoyng slow mindful time to embroider...something I used to do in the 1970's. As for 2016 I am hoping for lots of calm. This year was nonstop and hectic. I, too, am passing along Christmas decorations to my family members. Life is what we make of it and I am very happy to share my journey with your journey. Creative Bliss Dear...
What a beautiful blog you have here. I am certainly glad to have stumbled upon it, and look forward to reading more posts. :)
Blessings in Christ,
You are an inspiration to ME! I can't wait to continue my journey with you!!
From Spain whith love
Oh mi querida Yenny!
Soy parte del club y estoy tan agradecida por ello.
Alegra mis días!
Es un placer leerla y una inspiración!
Gracias por tanto!
"Gentle Domesticity" I have wondered what it would be like to have that peace in my life. My life is hectic. I turned in my resignation today from my part time job. I have been watching my 7 grandchildren, taking care of a home, husband and whatever else come up and holding down a part time job. Something had to give. I am praying that I made the right decision to just let one thing go at a time and see how things go. I am going to try and make more time for me if that is possible. I still have a full plate but we will see. Thank you for your inspiring posts.
Love your heart, dear girl. And I hope you're having a wonderful time. I'm looking forward to following along on your journey for 2016!
Jenny, I thank God for bringing you into my life, even though it is through this thing we call the Internet. You are such an inspiration to me and I will be following you through 2016 in hopes I can learn just a little of what you have learned in 2015.
God bless you and yours,
Bom descanso querida, aproveite e amizades é isso que você descreveu, a pessoa pode estar muito longe mas quando se e verdadeira a amizade permanece. Adoro seu blog mesmo morando do outro lado de oceanos, me permito a te visitar e saber mais da sua vida doméstica, assim como você estou passando por mudanças e ficando mais calma, e regando amizades para que elas estejam sempre floridas, foi um grande ano de reflexões, e o próximo promete, poque afinal de contas temos que manter a fé, espero que você me entenda, e saiba que tenho um carinho muito especial por você. Beijos e ótimo final de ano. Com carinho Juliana Torres
Desde o ano passado estou num processo de auto-conhecimento com ajuda de terapia, uma vez por semana. Compreendo bem o que diz e me serve de inspiração e força! Há alguns anos precisei mudar completamente de vida, de trabalho e a vida doméstica ganhou força e a cada dia percebo que preciso me dedicar a ela com mais amor e carinho. Também tenho trabalho que não é doméstico, então meus dias são completamente cheios de tarefas e por isso mesmo pouco tempo tenho para dedicar-me à costura! Amo seu Stitchery Club, recebo todos os meses os padrões, mas realizei muito poucos! Preciso encontrar mais tempo para esses pequenos prazeres que proporcionam grande alegria e descanso mental!
Quero te acompanhar em 2016, com a graça de Deus e sou muito grata por sua generosidade em compartilhar conosco seu talento!
Vamos sim, juntas, mesmo que eu esteja do outro lado do mundo, mas meu coração está pertinho de você, acredite!
Desejo um feliz Natal e muitas bênçãos para você e sua família!
(((((Jenny))))) Hugs to you. You are such a dear, special woman. I am so blessed to know you. Keep the faith!
Looking forward to joining you in this BOM next year - I just know it will be so pretty!
Yes i will be joining you in the BOM. I love your work,and you sure have a kind heart.
This is the first time I've stumbled onto your Blog but enjoy reading your letters to us all. I am retired now living my sweet life of domestication and have decided to learning embroidery. I love your free patterns and look forward to hearing from you again upon your return. Thank you.
Happy to be back again reading your blog, Jenny. I do love your works and your pictures are so relaxing to me. What a lovely post! Let me tell you about my experience.
I've been working for 17 years in the same office. Last december my last work contract expired and I was told to remain at home. That's not such a bad thing for me: I do adore being a mom, a wife, so I don't feel like a tragedy being a domestic woman. I've so many things to do: crochet, stitching, sewing, cooking.....
But........ they still has to pay me 8 months and today I received a ph call to tell me that, if I want my money (what they HAVE to give me as the contract says), I have to go and accept an extra to ratify that that's all and nothing else to pretend.........
I feel disgusted....... after 17 years!!!!! I don't want to have anything to do with them anymore!
At 52, I prefer being at home, with my family and my passions.
I'd love to be part of this lovely group and thank you in advance for the BOM. Waiting for your news, Clara (from Sicily).
I love reading your blog, it really speaks to me.
I am a new mum to a 3 month old baby girl named Charlotte and a wife who is still working part-time. I love stitching, sewing, crochet, knitting and being a homemaker.
I am looking forward to stitching your domesticity bom this year.
Thank you for all you do.
JENNY, YOUR SITE IS ALWAYS A BLESSING TO ME... I'M SO EXCITED FOR YOU WITH YOUR NEW BABIES COMING HOW FUN. I HAVE 11 GRAND KIDS AND 10 GREAT GRANDKIDS AND I FEEL VERY BLESSED TO BE RAISING A 3 YEAR OLD RIGHT NOW..GRAND CHILDREN ARE SUCH BLESSING SO YOU ENJOY EVERYDAY AS I'M SURE YOU KNOW THEY GROW SO FAST. GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR SITE
JUDE SOUTHERN CALIF
I found my way here by the Splendid Sampler. Love your work. I am totally new to embroidery, though I have done crosstitch knitting, quilting, spinning. Your designs make we want to curl up in a Sunny window with a cu of tea and smell the roses! Thank you for sharing your talent.
I found my way here day through another blog. What a lovely inspiration you are!
What an inspiration you are.
I have always quoted " Do all work for the Glory of God " to my now grown girls..
it made even cleaning the bathroom worthy of respect :-)
I am a 54 yr old, wife, mom & Grandmom .. we homeschooled our youngest & so being home for the past , almost 20 yrs has been a blessing.
being raised on an Iowa farm with a Mom that did it all was a great inspiration for my life . :-)
This year my daughters & I are participating in our local weekly market with our seen , knitted & crocheted items.. Great fun ! so many wonderful people .
thank You for taking the time out of your day / week to inspire us all..
Blessings to you & yours.
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