As I get older my mornings tend to begin earlier, and at least once a week that early is around 3am.
No matter what time I go to bed, these 'middle of the night' wake ups (as my husband refers to them) have become a regular rhythm to my week.
At first it used to bother me, but then over time I began to embrace the dark quiet hours before dawn and after filling a glass of cool water I'd slip into the sewing room with my Bible and close the door before turning on the light. This is a small home and a light on in any room will shed it's glow far and wide, disturbing the one who sleeps - my beloved husband in this case.
Early Sunday morning, after a rather restless night, I sat down and opened my Bible. I had not chosen any particular passage to read, just allowed the pages to fall open where they may and at the very top of the left hand page this is what I read...
"So we do not lose heart."
I'm not the most emotional person, and due to some deep tragedies, challenges and griefs over the decades I have learned to push through and move forward when new trials come upon me. It can at times seem as though I'm a little cold or distanced, that perhaps I should weep or show some outward expression of anxiety, but more and more as the years pass I can easily keep all that emotion under wraps and keep going - mostly because I have such faith in God carrying all situations in His care and in His overall plan, but also because wallowing in self pity or embracing fear does nothing more than exacerbate difficult times of trial.
To have HOPE in the Lord is to trust that the plan He has for my life and the lives of my loved ones will be the best plan, and shedding off fear or anxiety when trouble comes frees me up to look forward and not be immobilised by circumstances.
Sometimes this can challenge me, especially my mother heart when it involves the children, but only for a short while. Choosing Christ over others, choosing Him over the world, believing His word over man's...therein lies my confidence, hope, assurance, strength and direction.
But Sunday night there was a restlessness in my spirit, a different discomfort, one which made me seek the Lord as I lay in the dark bedroom, only the sound of the whirring ceiling fan above me breaking through the otherwise quiet pre-dawn hours.
Father God showed me that even though on the surface I was very cool, calm and collected while this worldwide pandemic spread, continuing to affect more and more precious lives, underneath there was fear. It was subconscious, pushed down because I do not allow myself to entertain anxiety or fear anymore...but it was indeed there. And He made me face it. He made me bring it up to the surface and actually think about it...to deeply ponder the 'what ifs', the changes, the possible ramifications of this new normal most residents of our globe are already, or about to, experience.
I found this quite sobering, quite heavy, and then eventually quite a relief to have allowed myself to acknowledge the feelings deep inside which I'd been burying.
You know, our Lord is incredible...He took me through those emotions for more than my own sake, but to give me a glimpse at what many of you are feeling right now. And if I could, my arms would reach through this screen and I would hug you so tight and pray His love would envelop you like a thick woolly cardigan and keep you safe and comforted and assured in the weeks and months ahead.
So when I opened my Bible and saw that verse it was God speaking directly to my acknowledged fear and bringing calm and assurance to my heart...and within minutes my fear was all gone. Still is.
Blessed assurance indeed.
That's when I drew up this little stitchery for you. I knew exactly what it should be, a brooch that you can pin to your shirt, or cardie or dress each morning to remind you that we should not lose heart.
The design is 2" x 3" and I sewed a little safety pin at the back for pinning on each day. Quick, simple and exactly what we need to hold fast to.
You can download the free pattern at the link below:
As most of us will be home isolated these days I wonder if you have a friend who might benefit from having this little brooch as well? It would fit in an envelope (if you're still able to post) and be a blessing of love.
Can I encourage you to read the entire passage from 2 Corinthians 4:16 to 5:9?
May you find strength, hope, comfort and assurance.
I have self isolated at home, and of course this means separation from my precious Blossom, Cully May and Rafaella. Because my husband is a high school teacher and schools in our state are not closing, we know that life is unpredictable and he could possibly bring the virus home at some stage and we must protect our daughter, her husband and family, especially as Ross now works solely from home.
We chat every day and Cully May tells me 'everything' she has done; keeps me laughing that's for sure. Blossom and I are focused on honing our homemaker hearts during the months ahead and learning the art of doing with less, making do and mending, being extra creative with less ingredients, and bringing a new order to our daily lives.
We stocked up on fruit and veg last week, our pantry will see us through for a while, and though one fridge died this morning and the hot water system broke down last Friday, life is humming along productively.
I haven't tried this before but it occurred to me that storing peeled garlic cloves in olive oil would be wise as I've seen it done (on Pinterest) but never felt the need to try it. Until yesterday.
As we're vegan I spend a lot of time each day preparing meals and treats which are healthy and look for ways to tweak regular recipes to suit our needs.
I found this wonderful recipe for a blueberry crumble cake on Saturday and all I had to substitute was frozen blueberries for fresh, almond milk for dairy milk, and spelt flour for wholemeal (and I did not serve it with cream).
I enjoy my hours in the kitchen! Especially now that I use the dishwasher.
Ha ha!! Confession time - I hated dishwashers, always believing it was best to wash by hand.
But then we had the plumber out a few months back and he was telling us that homes where a dishwasher is used have less problems with blocked pipes because the water from the dishwasher is boiling and clears the pipes.
So I begrudgingly decided to use the dishwasher twice a week. Then I discovered how much more fun it was to create in the kitchen when I did not have to wash all the equipment afterwards so now I fill the machine throughout the day and set it to wash after dinner.
I tend to do a lot of food preparation and baking all at once now which in the overall scheme of things gives us better meal variety and helps with time management.
This cake was sooooo delicious that it will be made again and again. I've never been a real fan of pecans but I do keep some in the freezer, however this recipe has changed my mind about them and now I love pecans.
I wondered how long it would take my husband to like lentils after we went vegan in mid January. They've been a staple of mine for decades, but he was not a fan so I'd always make him something else. Surprise! He really loves dhal nowadays so we have it once a fortnight and I make enough to serve leftovers for lunch a couple of days later.
On Sunday morning we went for a drive down to Pallarenda, a fairly deserted beach on the edge of town. Looking for somewhere we'd not be bumping in to people but could breathe the sea air and walk along the sand freely, this beach was perfect. Apart from a small family much further along the shore we were all alone, collecting sea shells....
...and cuttle fish skeletons for the wild birds who visit our feeder each day. It was a glorious hour in the sunshine, not too hot (finally), and we came home refreshed and invigorated.
Did you stitch the free Homemakers Heart pattern I shared in early March? I used it on the cover of my current home project, the Homemakers Binder. You'll find it here
On Monday and today I began gathering together all the things which I want to store inside the Binder so there's a great mass of ideas and printouts across the dining table at the moment as I fine tune what to use, what to discard and what to sit in the 'still thinking about it' pile.
I am hopeful of getting it all finished tomorrow...I do say hopeful but one never knows.
On the other side of the dining table is my desk and it is quite serene at the moment after a jolly good clean and tidy on Friday.
Friday is the most intensive cleaning day of the week as I prepare for a restful sabbath and I usually have a list to work through so that I stay on track.
Last Friday's to-do list included scrubbing the bathroom, the toilet, the front of the kitchen cabinets, inside the oven door, pulling the entire bedroom apart to vacuum, dust and polish, sheets were changed, four loads of washing hung and dried and folded, meals prepared and floors vacuumed and mopped.
I was so tired on Friday night that I was falling asleep in the middle of stitching a new design so Mr E sent me off to bed where I fell into a wonderfully deep and restful slumber. Next morning I ached all over and realised my Friday to-do list was longer than it should be and this coming Friday I shall be a bit more restrained.
With regards to my health, I'm feeling really good. I chose not to find out what was wrong with my heart and just give this vegan lifestyle a chance to heal things naturally. What has amazed me most is the lack of migraines - I have gone from 16 to 20 a month, down to one a month.
And my energy has returned, I no longer struggle to breath easily, I'm not easily fatigued (unless I put my wonder woman cape on and do too much) and my digestive system is the best it has ever been.
Thanks for all those prayers...they DO make a difference.
This week's Homemakers Heart Task:
How long since you pulled the bedroom furniture away from the walls and vacuumed under and behind it?
This week your task, should you choose to accept it (yes, I know, there's a definite Mission Impossible vibe here but let's call it Mission Possible), is to go through your bedroom and clean it top to bottom. Don't worry about inside the wardrobes or drawers this week, focus on the actual room itself - the window sills, curtains, floors, ceiling fans, lights and doors.
Change up the decor if you can for a fresh feel - add some flowers, candles, indoor plants, change the bedspread, make a new cushion for the bed, switch lamp shades, switch photos or pictures on the wall...in general, walk in the room with new eyes and see what you can do to give the room a makeover from what you already have on hand.
Our room is so much nicer now! It just took a bit of thought and a rummage through what we already had stored in the linen cupboard as well as some swapping of things from one room to another.
For those who asked about Miracle Spray you'll find the recipe HERE
God bless you all, precious friends and readers across the globe.
May you be wise and diligent to follow the health guidelines in your country and remember to pray often...God hears.