Two punnets of strawberries had been waiting patiently in the fridge for a week to be made into jam.
For various reasons I'd not made time to follow through on that plan until Wednesday evening. With a chicken curry simmering away on the stove top, rice steaming and chapati bread being cooked one by one on the piping hot griddle, I thought to myself this would be the perfect time to get that strawberry jam going.
Oh silly, overconfident me.
I did finely chop the strawberries, did put berries, sugar, lemon and dab of pectin in the saucepan, did bring it to the boil, did lower the gas flame to a simmer...and did walk away forgetting to remove the lid from the saucepan.
Too many things happening at once, and then I was distracted by a text from Blossom which triggered a series of back and forth messages. Oblivious to what was happening on the stove top we discussed the pros and cons of a rental home she and Ross had gone to see that day.
Then the smell of burning sweetness wafted past my nose and a light bulb came on in my head - the jam!!
Cleaning a gas stove top is not my favourite chore but it's also not a hard one and can be done quickly every day or so. But a gas stove top which now holds a soup of bubbled over strawberry jam is not quite so easily brought back to it's shimmering stainless steel glory.
Serving dinner, intent on ignoring the jam which was gradually cooling to a sticky red gel under the gas jets, I thought "this is like my life".
Too many distractions, no clear cut plan most days, too many ideas often put into play at not the right time, and then everything bubbles over and becomes a mess which takes even more of my time to clean up and put back in order.
I called this the strawberry jam lesson on life.
Fortunately I salvaged the jam which remained in the saucepan, a mere half pot, but jam nonetheless and though it's not as thick as I'd normally make it, it tastes good. Especially when it drips off your toast and you need to catch it on your tongue before it hits your blouse.
Earlier that day a parcel had arrived with my new day planner. I really like the one I began in January and it has truly helped to keep my business and some household things ticking over nicely, at least until the "house hunting in earnest" began and the pneumonia set in. Since then it has barely been opened.
So I ordered another one, but this time it's an 18 month planner which runs through to the end of 2019, and I'm keeping it open on my desk all the time. Regardless of this season of life with it's distractions and all the comings and goings from open houses or private viewings, if I want to avoid a bubbling over mess from too many distractions and hands that are over-full, it is vitally important that I look at each day as having 24 precious hours, and allow those hours to be considerately filled with sleep, homemaking, design work, book work, relationships, God and free time.
I'm a visual learner, hands on, who writes a lot of lists, but my lists would too often be on scraps of paper that got lost or put somewhere I later forgot. Slowly this year I had been training myself not to do that. Slowly I had learned to keep one 'to do' list on the kitchen bench and one in my planner.
But then the house thing, ill health, and a few other family matters which took time and energy.
And then the jam mess.
I was off track again and it was obvious, so unpacking the new planner I set it out on my desk, replaced the to-do list on my kitchen bench and bought myself a pot of lavender because lavender never causes stress...
The table on our enclosed verandah is now my permanent space for quiet Bible study, prayer, tea and cake and I've even made sure that time is written in my planner...
A new book is speaking to my heart during afternoon rest time...
...and Honey Murcott mandarins are my simple go-to snack.
Slowing down, pulling back, not over-planning, removing physical and mental clutter, simplifying - this could be a recipe for avoiding the mess of a bubbling over life, I think?
On another note, with great rejoicing and a little push from God, I have closed my 'Jenny of Elefantz' Facebook business page. It was a romping success, but I don't much like the way Facebook is going and the insistent push for business pages to buy advertising or be punished by your posts barely being seen by about ten percent of followers.
Nope, don't need that. Mental clutter gone. Burden gone. Stressful manipulation gone.
I still have the Gentle Domesticity Group on FB but may also make changes with that later in the year to a message board format. For now that's an idea, but it needs a lot of prayer and some time to create. God will guide me if it's the way to go.
How are you going with de-cluttering your life?
What have you let go of recently?
What do you find difficult to let go of?
I'd love to hear from you, to know this bubbling over life isn't just exclusive to me, and also to hear how you've been able to make changes for the better.
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