I first began my earnest journey towards gentle domestic living around the middle of 2014 after a few years of being unsettled within myself, feeling I’d somehow lost part of my identity when the children grew up and left home.
In 2015 I shared the idea of following ‘a year of gentle domesticity’ on my blog, suggesting others might like to revive the gentle and oft-forgotten arts of embracing home-life and all this entails. A loud cry was heard from all corners of the globe, women everywhere were hungry to have their home-centred-hearts refreshed and validated. I was stunned at the response for I had imagined this was perhaps my own crisis, a journey for one. Yet, beautiful notes and comments flowed forth about a similar longing.
It seemed that for too long the simple and precious delight of being a homemaker had been made to appear trite and lowly, yet I believed the woman who loves her home and family and finds joy in the everyday living of a domestic life had value far beyond measure.
Walking this path over the last few years I have come to appreciate that you never quite ‘get there’. Intentionally living a gentle domestic life is a morning by morning choice and the fruit of our labours may not be evident for weeks, months or perhaps years – but it’s always worth the effort.
As the months pass by the softness of a grateful and gracious heart begins to shine and others will notice. A new depth of appreciation for the people in our lives and what we’ve been blessed to have will richly increase our capacity for kindness, compassion, love and generosity.
We discover new skills, return to old ones, and along the way find more women who share a desire to ‘feather their nests’ and create a wonderful home sanctuary where crossing the doorstep is always accompanied by a sense of belonging, hospitality and welcome.
Living the gentle domestic life is not solely for the woman who spends each day at home, it’s for all women who embrace homemaking, whether they work at outside employment, are caregivers for relatives, volunteer a few days a week, work beside their husband on the farm, or like me are working from a home office.
The heart of a homemaker is ‘for’ her family and home, no matter her circumstances.
One example - for the busy working mother a simple act of throwing a fresh tablecloth over the dinner table and popping a few flowers from the garden into a glass jar between the salt and pepper shaker suddenly causes her heart to swell with satisfaction and the meal of BBQ chicken and salad from the supermarket suddenly doesn’t seem so bad because she’s changed the atmosphere of the meal and made the place where it’s going to be eaten one of warmth and care where the family can laugh and share about their day.
It’s really about doing what you can in the time you have with a gentle homemaker spirit.
Next year we shall once again celebrate this wonderful vocation of gentle domesticity through my blog and in the Gentle Domesticity Facebook group.
Join me in 2018 for a year of discovering what our homes reflect about our hearts and how to nourish the atmosphere in ways that will bring blessing and joy and comfort to any who pass over its threshold and also to our own lives.
Personally I shall be confronting the hangover of over-consumption within our home, budget and personal purchases by choosing to live on less, using what we have first and learning new skills which I hope will be useful now and into the future. I have no high expectations to put upon my efforts, just a willing heart to embrace the small things that matter and remove the things that don’t.
I was raised by my Nana and Pop in a tiny one bedroom walk-through with outside bathroom and flower strewn front garden barely the size of a bathtub, so I’ll be drawing much of my own inspiration from the memories of that time, years where love was generously given, gentleness, laughter and gratitude were normal, hard work was accepted as everybody’s responsibility in life and housewives took pride in their homes whether modest or grand.
I remember there wasn’t much money but my grandparents provided well through the industry of their combined creative skills, but many of those skills I never bothered to learn or have long forgotten...for now. After all, it’s never too late to learn and life really can be an adventure.
Shall we journey this gentle domestic year together?
My friend Fee will join us in 2018 and share some wonderful homemaker ideas on her blog, so between us we hope to cover many different aspects of the gentle domestic life to encourage you and to encourage each other.
Through the month of December I'm offering the original Gentle Domesticity pattern as a free gift which you can download here from my shop.
It would be perfect as the cover of a homemaker's binder, stitched onto a vintage linen or framed as I did with the blue version...
In 2018 I will also be offering a free Block of the Month.
The twelve designs were originally offered through my Stitchery Club a couple of years ago and by the end of next year you'll be able to piece them together as a quilt.
"A Year in the Garden" will kick off January 1st and I can't wait!
So there you have it, 2018 will be all about home, family and the garden.
I do hope you'll join in the fun!