Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Homemakers Heart and a new free pattern...

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. 

Loving hugs


Beth said...

When I was putting up my Christmas decorations last year, I chose to pack away some of the decor that have been on my shelves for a while. It's been nice to choose some fresh things, spread some other knickknacks out and make some new things to enjoy. Your brooch is beautiful.
This week I'm working from home, then I'll have the 2 weeks of school holidays to do other things. After that ... only God knows so I'll leave it up to Him. It has been hard the last couple of weeks not to feel overwhelmed, but having decisions made rather than just waiting has been good for my peace of mind.
Thank you for being such a blessing.

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
What a lovely blog post! Full of Sunshine and good things! A nice way to start the day...along with coffee :) Thanks Jenny!
Always something to do at home! And now, staying put at home until June 1st, I don't mind at all :)
Make do and mend...make do and create!

Nanna Chel said...

Jenny, I am so pleased you are feeling better. How I would love to nip down to the beach to breathe in the sea air. That's one of the benefits of living in Townsville. I like going out to meet my friends so having to be housebound so much will take some getting used to I think. That little brooch is just lovely. I can see some of these arriving in letter boxes very soon. Have a wonderful week.

Annabel said...

Jenny going to the beach where it is deserted is perfect. The garden is perfect too. Being at home is a joy for me and I am pottering, sewing, gardening and cleaning cupboards and drawers and lining them with fresh paper. This is so satisfying! From many times putting herbs to infuse in olive oil I learned that you can only do this for a short time or botulism can breed so I think the same with garlic. However if you freeze it or do it for less than a week then strain it you will have two beautiful products! I think now garlic is a good thing to be including. We need to be looking after ourselves and be fighting fit. You re sounding well and wonderful. xxx

Debby said...

Thank you for the reminder of these verses Jenny. I read them through several times this morning and then shared them on my Facebook page for others.

Cotton Blossom said...

I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. Thank you so much for the verses you shared. I will pass them on as I am certain someone else could also use the vitamins.

RBrown said...

Thank you for a wonderful blog this morning in the US, Tennessee. It the beginning of Spring here and everything in the yard is coming alive. So encouraging. We too have been isolating but are able to walk in our neighborhood when it isn't raining. I have started my 3rd Psalms 23. I download all your freebies but have also purchased some. I love doing handembroidery! Thank you so much for these beautiful pieces. I also wake up at 3am many times. it is a wonderful time for me to pray for all that the Lord brings to my mind. I also repeat the 23rd Psalms as I lay there in the quiet. Sometimes the Lord speaks to my mind during these quiet moments for which I am most grateful. I love the things you cook. If it were up to me I would love being a Vegitarian. May our Lord bless and keep you.

gracie said...

Wonderful to read that you are feeling better. You are always a bright light to my day with your calling words. Thank you.

Lesley Gilbert said...

I was doing something the other day and for some reason you popped into my head - hope you are all well and staying safe x

albirginia said...

Gracias! En España llevamos 10 días confinados, solo sale una persona para comprar alimentos o al médico. La cifra de contagiados y muertos cada día es mayor. Cuídense y no salgan de sus casas. #stayathome #yomequedoencasa

Farm Quilter said...

The past week, I have been on the one bagel a day with lots of water diet. Hard to prepare anything and eat anything when you just aren't hungry. The world, my world, has certainly changed, but I've been basically self-isolating for months, so I'm hoping not to get sick. Thank you for the words of our Lord you recommend today...I needed to hear them again!

Lorraine Barnett said...

"Choosing Christ over others, choosing Him over the world, believing His word over man's. . . therein lies my confidence, hope, assurance, strength and direction." That quote is now hanging over my desk. I plan to share it with my sisters in Christ. Thank you for that! What a blessed reminder!!
And BTW...my husband and I went vegan (whole food plant based) one year ago. He has lost 50 pounds, feels wonderful, I have lost 20 pounds and feel amazing. I no longer have gastric issues all the time. We are so happy to have found this new way of living. I'm so glad that you have had so much positive happen with your migraines, too! Blessings to you!

profumo di lavanda said...

ciao Jenny, abito in Italia, e da me, è arrivata la pandemia di corona-virus. Dopo la Cina, è toccata a noi, neppure lontanamente pensavamo potesse succedere a noi. La Cina è distante, sono tanti, rimarrà confinata lì l'epidemia...ed invece no, in un battito di ali l'abbiamo trovata nel nostro paese, totalmente impreparati ad affrontarla. Anche perché tutti ci dicevano che non dovevamo preoccuparci, perché non era nulla, ed avevamo i migliori ospedali. E' solo una semplice influenza! ed invece sono tante le persone morte, che non possiamo più neppure seppellire, perchè i nostri cimiteri sono troppo piccoli per accogliere così tante salme....le bare vengono portate via di notte dai mezzi dell'esercito,affinchè possano portarle dove ci sono le possibilità per fare la cremazione.
Le persone muoiono in ospedale, da sole, senza nessun conforto religioso, senza la mano di un parente che ti sostiene nel tuo ultimo attimo, perché è proibito, perché il contagio si diffonderebbe ancora di più.
Siamo isolati in casa e possiamo uscire solo per motivi di salute, andare in farmacia e fare la spesa e solo nel nostro comune. Ci è vietato anche andare dal dottore, dobbiamo telefonargli se abbiamo bisogno di farmaci o un consiglio perchè ci sentiamo male.
tutto è diventato così irreale, successo da un giorno all'altro che non abbiamo avuto neppure il tempo di prepararci. Niente mascherine, perchè non se ne trovano più nelle farmacie, il nostro governo le ha ordinate ai Paesi che le producono, ma sono state bloccate le spedizioni... ed io sono qui a farmele da sola, perché anche se servono a poco, forse potrebbero proteggermi un pò, ma manca l'elastico per finirle, mancano i tessuti filtranti da mettere all'interno, mancano tante cose, perché non eravamo preparati e non ne avevamo in casa. E nei pochi negozi ancora aperti queste cose non si trovano. Vendono solo provviste alimentari e sono aperte le farmacie. Tutto qui. Soli ed isolati.
Sai, Jenny, cosa riesce a farmi svegliare ogni giorno? la presenza di Dio vicino a me, una presenza che ho sempre avuto accanto, ma che non sempre ho saputo riconoscere. Sono cattolica e la mattina mi alzo preso per ascoltare la Santa Messa del Papa al computer. E si! perché hanno proibito anche di andare in chiesa, non è possibile neppure pregare in chiesa, ma solo in casa nostra.
Ho ripreso in mano la Bibbia, che era da tanto in un cassetto, ed ho iniziato a leggerla di nuovo. Noi ci siamo abituate a pregare diversamente, la lettura della Bibbia la facciamo la domenica a Messa. Invece ora mi sono resa conto che è più importante del pane quotidiano leggerla.
non so perché questo stia succedendo, ma spero che Nostro Signore ascolti le nostre preghiere e suppliche, e ci salvi.
Che Dio salvi tutto il mondo
un caro abbraccio Jenny, ti leggevo spesso nel tuo gruppo delle gentili Signore, ma non so cosa sia successo, perché non mi permette più di accedervi.

Kristen said...

This is just what I need-I am going to start on it right now! Thank you Jenny. Try to enjoy your homemaking and crafting as much as possible during these crazy days. I am also focusing on keeping my house extra clean to make my family feel safer. We are in Seattle and have been in quarantine for about a month-the virus has hit us all at my home at the beginning of the spread here. We are all coming to the end of it and my energy is returning. Stay safe.

Dots said...

Hi Jenny, I always look forward to your newsletter. The broach is cute. I think I may make some of those.
I am happy to hear your health is improving. It is really great news that those migraines have decreased so much! That surely would make your days better, and easier for you.
Unusual times we are living in. Hopefully this virus will die out soon. It has surely changed lives for so many people around the world. Heartbreaking news of so many deaths. We are praying God stays this plague very soon. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the LORD will raise up a standard against him. So we know God is at work on this situation.
Be well, Jenny. This is the day which the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Sweet girl, I translated your comment...so much you are facing, so much more than we here at the moment. Yes, the world was unprepared. (((((((hugs)))))))
The group of gentle ladies was deleted early this month. I had to step back from FB and needed to close the group. If the Lord leads me I'll begin another one, but he is not doing that right now.
Keep reading your Bible, draw close to Jesus...be safe. I am praying for you. xxx

Caroline said...

Thank you for the lovely design. I am so happy to read your Migraines have lessened, they are awful things. Keep well x

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Thank you, Annabel, I have put the garlic into the fridge now. Once I read what your wrote there was an aha moment, followed by 'of course'...I really appreciate your advice! xx

Carrie Ando said...

I have been hanging out for an email from you dear Jenny.
I thought my faith was strong but the fear for my teacher husband and those around us in our "baby boomer" community has at times felt overwhelming.
2 neighbours on our tiny island have been taken to hospital with Corona Virus.
Your love and support is strong, real and practical both physically and spiritually most importantly.
I am going to make a cuppa and start sewing several of these love gifts you have bestowed on us today.
Bless you and yours abundantly.

Sarah @ In Pleasant Places said...

I have just discovered your blog and I am in love. I noticed your blueberry packet - are you in Australia or NZ? I am in NZ here, and I bought the exact same packet this week from Countdown.

Anyway, I so appreciate your words and writing style, as well as the beautiful pdf patterns. Thank you x

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Sarah, I live in the far north tropics of Australia. Bless you heaps.

Sherry said...

Thank you again for all you do to encourage and inspire others.

Lin said...

Thank you Jenny - such a long but thoughtful post. And thank you so much for the sweet stitchery - I have a few people in mind for this! I have long been a fan of dishwashers - no cloths or teatowels to harbour germs and the dishes get such a lovely hot wash and come out sparkling. Mine goes on every night to take advantage of our cheaper electricity. So glad the vegan life is helping you - hugs and prayers for you and all your family. xx

the warmfireplace said...

Hi Jenny, thank you for your wonderful post and so timely, we are in lockdown to some degree here in the uk, it is a strange and worrying time, and I like you have felt that fear and prayed for comfort. All my children work in the NHS, and our youngest son has had to cancel his wedding for the 16th May, it is exceptional times. It is lovely to find your post in my e mail and find words of comfort and cheer. Sue

Helen L said...

Isn't it amazing how God puts scriptures in our way, as answers to our concerns, exactly when we need them! Thank you for sharing your experience with that, and the beautiful stitchery. I know I won't have time for that, as my sewing time will be sewing masks. We've received a call for about 4-5,000 from someone's sister who is a nurse in Oregon. But your thoughts on trusting in the Lord are sooo needed today!!! And as a side note, put the garlic in oil inside your refrigerator or the garlic will mold over time, and that wouldn't be an asset to your health! :-) I can't remember if I wrote and told you that when my daughter went vegetarian, her menstrual cramps went away, so I'm not surprised that your migraines have abated! You are blessed that your hubbie will go along with going vegetarian: mine would think I'd asked him to starve to death! :-D Bless you, and stay well. Hugs, H

Sherry said...

Thank you so much for the pattern! Glad that you are feeling better. I need to start doing some quilting and stitching as I just found out we are going on lockdown. I keep praying that all this craziness ends soon. Take care of yourself.

Alison Ryan said...

Thank you Jenny, your calming words are much appreciated. I hope that you and your family stay safe and well. Alison

Margaret Vernon said...

Thank you for the lovely blog post, Jenny. Love the little brooch pattern. This is something I will have to stitch. Have not been doing any sewing for a few weeks now (apart from the face masks!). Glad to hear that you are feeling better and also enjoying your new health regime. Virtual hugs. xxx

Yesy said...

Estoy feliz, de poder leerte, encontré la opción en español y puedo dejar tu enlace fijo en m o pantalla de inicio.

Águeda said...

Dear Jenny, I hope you and your family are fine. God Bless you. Best wises.

Susan said...

Things are going well here. My longarm arrived more than a week before I expected it, Paul got it together overnight so I could start practicing yesterday, and things are starting to come back to me. I'm doing a lot of cleaning because the living room is becoming the quilt studio, and the quilt room is becoming the living room! What a lot of moving and re-doing! So I won't be cleaning my bedroom this week, but it's been on the list for a little while, so it will wind up being done. I loved reading about your trip to the beach and your blueberry crumble. I'm not big on cooking, but I do like baking, and I've been cooking more than I ever imagined I would, anyway. Blessings on you, Jenny, I've never thought you cold or distant at any time. I know how a mother's heart can ache and yet keep beating as we move forward, because what else is there to do? Love you, love your encouraging posts, and love what you are doing to keep the girls as healthy as you can.

BJK said...

Thank you for the beautiful little pin!

profumo di lavanda said...

grazie Jenny

Simply Ann said...

I am so glad you are feeling better! I think I will make a few of those pins for my kids, but will make them refrigerator magnets instead.

I have been thinking of giving my bedroom a good clean. I bought a cute little county cupboard last summer when I was out thrifting that I plan to paint. I am going to put it in my bedroom, in my sewing corner. I no longer have a sewing room, but a sewing corner. The side affects of downsizing. I found the sweetest sewing related print to put above the cabinet.

My husband has been working on our new pantry for the last few months. Lots of wonderful shelves!! He finished painting a few days ago so I have been busy getting things out and organizing. So wonderful to see what I actually have. I love how home canned jars of fruits and vegetables look all lined up on the shelves.

I store most of my patterns and recipes in binders. This year I made a binder just for my Jenny patterns and it is full!!!

I signed up to get your posts in my email, but they don't seem to be going through. I did receive a confirmation. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the free pattern and God bless!
Frankie Ann

Julie @ My Wee Abode said...

So happy to have you join the party at Tuesday Turn About, Jenny. Love this pattern, and all the tidbits you share about your life and relationship with the Lord. I delighted to let you know I will be featuring you tomorrow at TTA! Hope to see you there! Pinned!