Monday, July 9, 2018


I think one of the events we shall enjoy not repeating when we buy a home of our own will be quarterly house inspections by the estate agents who manage this property.
Though I do believe it's an important service on behalf of the owners to check and see that their investment house is being looked after and maintained, it sorely wears on me to have people coming through taking photos four times a year. Perhaps it's the introvert in me, my need for privacy and a sense of security within these walls? Whatever, I shall be gleeful when we turn the key in our very own front door and know that none shall pass it's threshold without an invitation to do so. 

This morning's rental inspection was a bit harder than usual due to these past three weeks of ill health and the subsequent housework, which is normally up to date, lagging behind. Still, between us, Mr E and I were able to catch up yesterday afternoon and it was a nice feeling to have things put away,  garden tended, floors sparkling and life back 'as it should be'.

It's his final week of a fortnight's school holiday break so we're taking life slow before term 3 begins and the work pace picks up again. One of the things we had both noticed recently was the dwindling grocery bill, and not just because we had barely an appetite during the flu and pneumonia weeks.
Even when our hunger returned it was for very simple fare and not a lot of it. Soup and toasted sandwiches have hit the number one spot as my husband's nightly dinner request, and a hearty beef stew I made in the slow cooker last week has been served twice with mashed potato and greens, and will become meat pies further into this week. With all the bits and pieces that stew has cost a grand total of $5 per double serve. No wonder the grocery bill is reducing. 

Scones make an appearance some days for lunch and then carry over the next day as breakfast. Normally I make them with buttermilk but having not been to the supermarket lately I soured the last of the milk with lemon juice instead and the scones tasted just as good.

Knowing the lease shall be up at this house in about ten weeks and we will need to leave, a slow progression through the pantry and freezer to use what we have is underway.  I don't like taking a lot of food with us when moving house so those last weeks always require a bit of extra creativity to pair ingredients which had previously not had the pleasure of an introduction, and of course there's quite a bit of baking happening to empty the flour barrels.

Blossom will be moving in four or five weeks too and I think her plan is the same as mine. 
Actually, I think a good pantry, fridge and freezer empty-out every so often is good sense as not many foodstuffs have an indefinite shelf or freezer life and it's very easy to forget what you have when your pantry cupboard is deep and dark (like mine). 

Bob and Sophie spend much of the day lazing in the sun by the dining room window, or out on the deck in their beds lazing in the sun, or snuggled close to Mr E and I during a late afternoon nap.

I've been re-reading A Year of Slow Food (now out of print) each night before bed. It's broken up into a year of week by week chapters written in conversational manner about daily life growing food, tending to animals, and cooking your own produce on a small farmlet. It's been years since I first read it and remember at the time I could not put the book down. 
This time however, I'm savouring the journey, researching further about beekeeping, honey, greenhouses, crop rotations, cheese making, cows and chickens. I sincerely doubt we shall ever take on the kind of commitment the authors did, but it's in our mind to become partially self sufficient should we find a home with enough garden space for raised vegetable beds, fruit trees and chickens. 

One house in particular tugged on our heartstrings the other day when we attended the open viewing.
It's old, loads of character, a wonderful cook's kitchen and pantry, plenty of shade and garden, in a quiet leafy green area...but it has an asbestos roof. This is a big red flag for my husband and would require removal by certified professionals at some stage and a new roof installed, probably costing around twenty thousand dollars which we'd need to save for.
I doubt we'll follow through with this one, but my oh my, we certainly do know what we want now. 

The rain a week ago has given the bottle brush down by the side of my sewing room a rare burst of winter colour, but it wasn't enough to stir the frangipani into bloom.
Still, the bottle brush has attracted birds and as I potter in my sewing room around dawn each morning, sipping a fresh cup of coffee, their song is joyful and welcoming.  

One of my new designs was created with welcome in mind. 
A welcome for a new home actually.

As I do not know the colour scheme our new house will have, stitching with a fairly neutral palette seemed wise and I'm so glad I chose these colours because they really have a soothing, calming appearance...just what is needed when you enter a home for the first time, yes?

The cream frame has a lovely weathered appearance and the variegated green spot fabric was perfect to border the design without closing it in. No idea why I stitched 476 as the house number but I'm sure it has no relevance whatsoever to the number we shall have eventually. Perhaps I will scour the Bible and see if there is a good 4:76 or 47:6 verse to compliment my 'welcome' embroidery.

Did you notice the key? More importantly did you notice the key fob? It may look like just a piece of lace to you but to me it is a treasure from the past. When Blossom was just 12 years old she learned to do bobbin lace and this was the first practice piece she made. Now you know why I hold it dear to my heart and why it shall hang with a key over the framed design.

This slow time, this season of recuperation, is still teaching me, drawing my thoughts deeper so that I find myself examining experiences, motivations, purposes and the things that need to go.

One such change this past week has been acquainting myself with the 'unsubscribe' button found at the very bottom of numerous emails and newsletters I have subscribed to over the years.
Have you found yourself offering your email address in order to obtain a free recipe book, free patterns, preview viewings of documentaries, special offers from shops and businesses. etc etc? 
Me too.
In fact I realised after being off the computer for a few days during the worst of the pneumonia that my inbox flooded over with emails which I subsequently deleted one by one as I had no interest in what they were selling or offering. 

Emails flowing over can be wearying enough to clear when they are valid and pertaining to my own family, business, blog and friendships, but add to them even more which have no bearing at all on life or distract me with purchase temptations and there's an extra  mental weight bearing down that should not be there. 

Every morning these past eight or nine days I go through each email not associated with family, friends, blog or work, block the few obvious spam emails which always trickle through, and unsubscribe from everything else. Now I no longer groan when opening Outlook on my laptop and after initially unsubscribing from about 15-20 per day, this morning there was only one. 
Aah, the satisfaction, and the removal of temptations (craft shops, book shops...)

You know, there is a deep knowing in my heart that God has been using this time of rest and recovery to address many hidden issues in my life, to draw my eyes upon them and consider each one carefully. Some have surprised me, causing me to declare out loud "How did I not see that before?", and yet others, which I'd previously chosen to ignore and sweep under the carpet for another time, were like neon lights that would not quit until they were dealt with. 

Attitudes and habits have risen up to greet me head on, a tsunami of emotions following closely behind, and to be honest if I'd been given the choice I'd not have opened the door to them, but God knew what was needed, He allowed me to be laid low in order to raise me out of the pit I'd dug for myself. Such love. Such deep abiding love. Exactly what I'd wanted to do as a parent for the betterment of my own children, yet was often too fearful to follow through with. 

I feel quite blessed today, lightened of many loads and with fresh clarity of purpose and hope, and so very grateful for the faithful prayers of daughter Blossom, my beloved husband, and dear friends like AllieAnnabel and Margaret. Never underestimate prayers.

May your week be rich in kindness, slow in pace, overflowing with goodness and generous in love.



Delight in Nature said...

Good morning Jenny from a very hot and clammy Yorkshire in the UK. Your blog posts are a breath of fresh air.

I'm so pleased you are now both on the road to recovery and looking forward to having your own home . I well remember, after years of renting, walking through my new home and thanking God in each room for His gift of generosity. I never thought that we would own such a beautiful home. Many years later and living in a different house my thanks to God now include moving me to the countryside from the city and so many new and lovely friends. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that God enriches our lives in so many ways and He knew I needed the security of having my own home in the autumn years of my life. It's not about the material gain of bricks and mortar but about safety and security and a place to belong. My prayer for you is that you soon find such a place. God bless you dear sister. ❤

Kay said...

This is a beautiful post. We all need to slow down sometimes and appreciate what we have. I do hope you find a lovely house soon. x

Allie-oops Designs said...

I'm so very glad to read that you're on the mend!!! Ugh the chore of having to keep up the house for inspections - I would dearly hate that! The house you fell in love with sounds so ideal, except for the roof, that's scary. The ceiling tiles in my sewing room are asbestos - they'd been painted - so we keep our mind off them until the time comes to get someone to replace them. Not looking forward to that. I adore your new stitchery and the meaning behind it - and the addition of the extra-special lace and key. So very beautiful, and I can see it with a red door!!! I'll be stitching that one for sure. Love you sweetheart, continue to get well, you are always in my prayers!!!

diana said...

So glad to hear you are both feeling better. I do hope you soon find your new home so that you can be settled in and of course so I can enjoy watching you make it yours. Did you put sugar in the plain scones? Have a wonderful week. I am always so happy when I look at your blog and see a new post.

Tammy Lyons said...

Praying for you and Mr. E and Blossom often my friend. Praying you will find the perfect home and that Blossom will have a easy move and more room for the girls . Today's post is beautiful. I dread inspections of any kind ....Although it has been many many years since we lived in Military housing and had to suffer through home inspections. I think whats worse was selling the previous 2 homes we owned and suffering through strangers coming into our homes to view them and then listening at the things they would say. Like they wanted us to move the back door to be visible from the front door in a straight line so if evil entered their new home it would exit out the back in a straight line....I kid you not...My reply guess you need to build that home the way you want it not buy a preexisting home. Love your welcome home design. Love Blossom needle lace also...It will one day soon grace the halls to your beautiful new home. I can see it in my mind the perfect home for Mr. And Mrs. Elefantz.....

gracie said...

As always visiting with you is inspiring. Keeping good thoughts that you will soon find just the right home.

Nanna Chel said...

Jenny, so pleased you and your hubby are recovering. My son is just getting over a doozer of a flu and thankfully nobody else has caught it. It really floored him. I pray you will find just the right home to buy in the very near future.

pat demharter said...

I think of an illness as a warnig to heed. Our body lets us know when enough is enough. I understand there are responsibilities we have to keep up. If there is an hour, or just a few minutes to sit breathe and reflect, then take that time for yourself. Any smaall period of recovery during any day is benificial.
I love the inspiring messages you send out. Please use them fir your well being also.

Diane Garton said...

I have missed reading your posts these last two weeks as I have been oh, so busy .......moving home! I am so sorry to learn that you have both been so poorly, but happy to hear you are beginning to make a good recovery. PTL !! Thank you for you post today, it really spoke to my heart. God has given us the desire of our hearts: A new place to love and make our own, with a garden where we can grow our own veg and enough space inside the property that we can make small adjustments where we need to, to make it 'just right' for us. A (longish) stroll to the beach in a most beautiful part of the UK. I am so blessed. Now I am praying that God will provide you with your 'forever' home, just as you desire, because He is a generous God and loves to lavish us, his children, with wonderful gifts. I'm also praying that you will 'know' the 'one' when you see it. He is keeping it safe for you! (just like He did for us, through a quite bizarre - but effective - set of circumstances completely out of our control). You are in one hemisphere & I in the other, but our God knows no boundaries and is not tied by time or distance. He is awesome & He will do it!! I love your 'Welcome' design - it will fit right in our new porch, thank you. May God continue to bless and heal you and may these coming few months be exciting, filled with His perfect peace for you & Blossom xx

Beverly. said...

Jenny, more wise words from you. It has been very hot here in the South Midlands of england, although I think the temperatures are what you expect during your autumn / winter. I too have been unsubscribing from emails etc, we have had new data protection laws come into place in Britain this year, many companies have had to contact their data lists and ask for our approval.
I am using this time to review the way I live, I know my future will be a lot different to my past, but I know our wonderful God will guide me through these changes.
I hope your forever home will come along soon, where you can take root and grow.
Blessings to you and your family. xxx

cat said...

Hi there, glad to hear you two are on the mend. I rarely comment anymore on any blog, life! :) But I wanted to mention, if that home with the roof that needs replacing, couldn't you make offer to include all costs for roof replacement? Just wondering. Sometimes, inspections will find issues, the Seller might say I will give you x amount of dollars deducted off the price, and you fix it rather than fix themselves. Just wondered if that might be a possibility for you in your country? Good luck, you will find the right place and all will be well! :) blessings.................good luck

Janice said...

I'm pleased to hear that you are both on the road to recovery from the lurgy. Like you, I've been unsubscribing to lots of email over the last few days. They waste so much time and unnecessary effort. Your simple food looks and sounds delicious. Here's hoping the right home to hang your new stitchery turns up soon.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Diana :-)
No, I don't put sugar in any scones.
Have a lovely week! x

Jenny of Elefantz said...

(((thank you))) Praise God for your new home!!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

"I know my future will be a lot different to my past, but I know our wonderful God will guide me through these changes."
AMEN....thank you, Beverly. xx

Jenny of Elefantz said...

The housing market here is already a 'buyers market' as prices are dropping and most offers are considered. However, these sellers have a few homes to sell and are moving overseas in August so they just want the properties gone and not add extra work to their lives.
The hard bit for us is that the bank only loan what the house sells for (minus our deposit) so regardless of what the house costs we still have to save that 20K for the new roof.

Susie said...

Thankfully you are on the mend - clearly a lovely time of reflection for you. Good luck with the house hunting. We once owned a little flat(apartment - we sold it and used the money to renovate this home for our growing family) and we never inspected it. I know it sounds strange but we only had it for about 2 years and the guy was lovely, I just couldn't bring myself to invade his privacy! Nor did we ever change the rent and it was very cheap for him (and surrounding flats that were charging almost double).
I adore this little stitchery - despite leaving the stitchery club I knew there would be many little ones I won't be able to resist purchasing from your Craftsy shop - especially designs involving a home/house/front door. Take care of yourself.

Susan said...

I'm so glad you are feeling better, and I hope you soon find the wonderful house with garden space and a lovely country kitchen. There is something so delightful about growing something and then eating it. I'm waiting impatiently for my first tomatoes to ripen, hoping nothing happens to them in the meantime. The anticipation is sweet, watching for rains so there's no need to water, or watering when there's no rain. It's all a lovely balance of nature. That's a wonderful design and the key fob is very special. Lots of moving in your family this winter/spring, and I hope it all goes well.

Ondrea said...

Love your 'welcome' stitchery. Old homes are beautiful but come wuth many problems sometimes...wiring, plumbing etc. Self sustained living was our ideal and we are both permaculturists. We find raised garden beds easier and now mainly have vegies growing in large pots or half wine barrels. We also have miniture fruit trees. Goid to hear you are well on the mend now. Angel hugs.

Barbara said...

Jenny, your blog is absolutely beautiful in every respect. I have been away for quite some time with a major relocation across the country; but have today re-subscribed to your blog as I'm ready to start hand embroidery again. I enjoy the lovely way you express yourself, so kind and womanly, and drawing us gently into our Lord's ways.

Carla said...

I can't imagine people coming into the rent we live in now 4 times a year to take pictures and inspect but then maybe I wouldn't mind so I can show them in person a couple things that need fixing. I keep telling myself just 5 more months and our new home in the country will be finished.
Those scones looked yum. Right now everything looks good. I've turned to the Keto Diet to lose some weight. I miss chocolate. LOL Glad to hear you're feeling better. Take care.

Angie in SoCal said...

I, too, have been removing myself from emails of all sorts. Life gets cluttered so easily. Saying prayers of thanks for your recovery. Blessings,

Lin said...

Having just been 'offline' for a week following a storm it is amazing how many email accumulate and yes, just like you, most of them get deleted! I am going to be more diligent with the unsubscribe button in future. So glad that you are feeling better Jenny and am sure that the right home for you will be found soon. Moving is always such a fraught time and I know from experience that the 'perfect' home that slips through your fingers will always be surpassed by the 'right' one. Love and prayers as always. xx

Winifred said...

Those scones look scrumptious.
My inbox has been flooded through the new GDPR legislation from the EU where you have to give your permission for companies to keep in touch. At first I kept reading the information from ones like you have where you wanted a pattern then I realised if I didn't respond then they couldn't either!

I love your Welcome embroidery & lovely you still have Blossom's lace.

It must be awful having folks inspecting your house. If they came to mine at the moment they would throw us out!

God bless.

KingsailK said...

Hi Jenny,good to hear from you!.I am delighted you have found your new home!♥🌼🌿.I also love your photos and have downloaded a few to use as background for my Bible App verses.Thank you!πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ™πŸ™