Saturday, May 2, 2020

Noticing the small things and block 5 of my BOM...

I think when life has a number of anxieties our minds tend to look at the landscape of real or perceived troubles, and that's when a sense of overwhelm can almost sweep you off your feet into a mental state of panic or fear.

When we look far and wide or spend too much time focused of the enormity of a problem, such as many are doing with the worldwide pandemic right now, we soon begin to miss the small things that our hearts need to ground us in the here and now, the gentle everyday things which display beauty to the eyes and plant seeds of calm in the soul.

I've truly been exhausted of late, unable to sleep, arthritis pain pushing itself to the forefront of my days, migraines returning suddenly due to overcast and humid skies - and none of these had anything to do with the pandemic. It's been an accumulation of many things and probably stems from doing too much too soon (in the garden) after the heart issues found in January. 

The past couple of days I've slowed right down, considering the need to be intentional with all I do and not just ploughing on regardless as is my natural tendency.
I walked around the garden with my camera in the morning and focused on the little things which can so easily be missed as I gaze over the quarter acre we call home.
There is truly so much beauty in the small things; those individual elements which thrive alone and yet together within their surroundings.

I'm blessed to have birds of all kinds dwell in and around our trees and gardens, and though I daily welcome them and feed some, yesterday I really looked at them to examine these perfectly designed creatures who choose to spend time in our environ. The first photo above is a female yellow breasted Sunbird who drank from the Geisha Girl leaves as I watered it and the tomatoes underneath. I thought she would take to flight when I ran inside to get my camera but she did not...she continued to drink and I continued to water, both appreciating each other - her for the water I offered, and I for the beauty and companionship she gave in return.

I looked under the pumpkin vine in the front garden and imagined it a shady respite for lizards and the many green tree frogs we have around the house...

...then marvelled at how many pumpkins are growing from just one seed. I found six established and many more just starting out.

In the raised bed my husband set up a few weekends back the rocket and radishes and coriander and beetroot are all waving in the breeze and lifting their leafy coats to the very warm late autumn sun.

And nearby some of the many zinnias we've planted bloom happily to welcome more bees and hopefully ladybugs.

Even the Thai basil which has gone to seed is flourishing a pretty purple dress.

After a harsh summer and early to mid autumn the lavender really struggled, but after time in the shade, more water than usual and some worm tea its recovering and shows signs of offering fragrant stems in winter.

And it is the lavender which has made me understand that once again the sheer length and harshness of our tropical seven-month-long summer has taken more energy than I have to spare these days and that here, in our final weeks of autumn as we await winter's appearance, it is time to slow down in some areas of life in order to rest, refresh, restore, heal and also appreciate the small things around me that too often are missed by scanning life as a panorama of days and not focusing, not letting my eyes rest, on those precious moments which ebb and flow around me.

What small things have you missed recently?
Can I encourage you to take some time this coming week and look with fresh eyes and open heart at the little things?
Something I'm enjoying more than I imagined is knitting a cardigan for Cully May. I began one cardigan a few weeks back, and as it was my first return to knitting in over a decade or more I chose what I thought was a simple basic pattern...but I was not aware until I purchased it and began knitting that the whole thing is knitted in one piece and with US terms.
Truthfully, I was fine until it came to knitting in the sleeves and then it got too much. Double pointed needles (which I have never liked), circular needles (which I also do not like) and instructions that made no sense at all...well, I began to feel that awful overwhelm and as I was already very weary it seemed I was tumbling into a black hole of sadness and uselessness. 

You know, when I knitted garments for my children it was sheer joy from start to finish. 
I loved the little designs within the pattern, and I loved sewing the fronts and back and arms and necks in place, piece by piece. And not having that sense of peaceful 'rhythm and ordinary ways' as I knitted Cully May's cardigan just made me sad. I wanted to love every stitch to the end.
But it was not to be.
So I unravelled the lot.
And I searched online for those wonderful ordinary patterns of the old days written with Australia/UK terms and found a lovely Etsy Shop who sells them.

I've now completed both fronts and am working on the back. 
Every piece knitted separately the way I remember, the way I enjoyed.
And you know, Blossom loves this pattern much more than the original. In truth, we're both happier with the old ways in many things so instead of pushing to do something new that isn't really necessary and certainly doesn't fill our contentment tanks, we'll just enjoy what makes us happy.
I'll never knit a top-down cardigan, sweater or four-double-pointed-needle socks and that's okay.
Life is a gift from God and along with occasional trials comes many joys, and as someone said to me recently, "don't bring a time of trouble on to yourself before the time of trouble". With regards to knitting this means don't make something that causes you sadness with feelings of failure and distress. It's only a cardigan. Knit the one that makes you content and happy with every stitch.

Does this ring true in your life or are you happier to pursue new things?


This month's block is the second half of Psalm 23:4...

Ladybugs, flowers and words of truth and certainty from the Father -

"For Thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

Psalm 23 is certainly the perfect chapter for us to hold close to our hearts this year.
I pray that as you stitch you will feel the Holy Spirit's presence and the assurance of God holding you close.

I will leave you today with something else that is small and yet vast beyond measure with what it offers. 
One verse in God's Word can change a moment, a day, a life. Don't be overwhelmed reading chapter after chapter each day because you think you should...there are seasons for that, but more often there are seasons for soaking in small sections and letting the Holy Spirit bring it to life with the Light of Christ, shining it upon our hearts with understanding of how that verse or passage applies to us personally. 

I'm very slowly going through Psalms at the moment and there are days when I read and re-read the same Psalm over and over, highlighting sections or one verse and then writing it in my journal. Oh I cannot tell you how many lessons the Lord is teaching me right now, but they go deep and are rich with His love and right with His correction.

This coming week...this month of May...look for the small things, choose the ways which bring you joy, and let the beauty and love within God's Word breathe refreshment and peace to your heart.

Loving hugs


Beth said...

This morning my sister found a whole lot of tiny mushrooms/toadstools popping up on the south side of our house, so she called me out to have a look. The more we looked, the more we found. All sorts of different shapes. Some in clumps and some on their own. It was one of those "stop and smell the roses" moments.

Becki said...

What amazing pictures you've taken in the garden. Thank you for the inspiration and wise words, Jenny.

Anneb said...

Thank you Jenny. I am also used to be a "go on person". I had a knee operation recently. The thought came to me that all this rush ect. Why? The Lord works with me. Stop. Look after yourselve. Look at the small things in live again and here you post this lovely description of it. Be blessed dear Jenny

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Take time to smell the roses, mindfulness, appreciate the little things in life. Do what you love, love what you do...all great words put together but until one has a light bulb moment we all seem to keep going, letting things pass us by too quickly. I read your blog and get inspired too !
What a lovely post to go with this mornings cup of coffee ! Great picture of the chicken! and all the birds, bees and garden things!

Down the Avenue said...

Good morning from Yorkshire Jenny, your blog posts are blessed and help keep me grounded. Like you I've seen many knitting cardigans from top down or socks with dpn or 4 needles and know that this is something I will not manage. To read that someone else also finds joy in the 'old fashioned' way of knitting each panel and then joining them brings me a sense of calm and removes that self-imposed pressure to perform to someone elses expectation. The yarn is beautiful and I'm sure that your gorgeous grand daughter will feel loved every time she wears it.

GeneGribouille03 said...

Merci pour ce beau post Jenny ces moments sont difficiles et vous avez raison de vous émerveiller des choses simples de la vie, il faut écouter son corps et son cœur et faire les choses à notre manière pour notre plaisir belle journée amitiés Geneviève de France

Tonya said...

Funny , as I’ve been teaching myself to knit I find that I like the patterns like you speak about . In fact , I’ve never gotten far in my self taught journey as there are so many styles and ways to do things . So I gave up and am knitting shawls . That works as I can use the needles I want and there are no joints .
I’m glad you keep finding your balky place.

A Notion to Sew said...

It is good to take pleasure in the simple. I too have a fondness for the less complicated patterns. I learned to cross stitch as a child and continued into early adulthood. I'm now a sewer, but find I enjoy cross stitch in the evenings when watching a program with my husband. I am now in my 50's and after 20+ years of not cross stitching , I've found the patterns and materials have changed substantially. More complicated, more expensive, more involved, less enjoyable. If we are weary in doing what is to be relaxing and joyful, then we end up stressed, which is the opposite of what we set out to accomplish. I love that you recognized it would be better to unravel and start over. That is a good lesson for me. Thank you for your inspiring blog posts and your lovely embroideries. Pam

Dots said...

I have always loved small things. From my childhood, I'm the kid that put things in my pocket. By fact, I still have a little group of a collection of small items from childhood. Details and such, always got my attention, and still does. Scripture says, " For who has despised the day of small things?" This Scripture caught my eye years ago. Often things start from a very small thing and become something beyond what we can dream. Like your garden started from small beginnings, and look at it now. Lovely, going to bare fruit shortly. You can always see the Lord in the world we live in. Often in the smallest of things.
I'm with you on the joy or lack of it in a project. It can give you contentment or frustration. And I choose not to fight through a project. A lesson I think, that comes by experience. We are older and wiser. We no longer let ourselves be trapped into completing something that just does not work for us, be it a recipe, a pattern, or a color and such. Like you, I pay attention to the country a pattern is written by. Because I know UK terms are different than my US terms. I always look to see if they have my terms. Like Attic 21 and her CAL. I made her afghan-blanket which is beautiful! My kids love it,too. But she had copies in both terms. So I know what you are saying. Although I am a total novice at knitting.
We do not deny the reality of what is happening in our world today. But we trust in the Lord for how He will handle it all. We find great comfort knowing 'God has this'. We are less stressed knowing that God protects us, or He holds our hand going through the trial. Either way, it will work for our good.
I enjoyed your post today. Very timely and thought provoking. Beautiful pictures, too.
Be well, Jenny. God bless.

Farm Quilter said...

Your garden, with your beautiful birds, is refreshing to my soul. I love gardens but dislike gardening...being allergic to it all takes the joy right out of working in it. When I get home, I'll be planting a garden of vegetables for us to eat, and maybe I'll put in more bulbs for flowers around the house. Only annuals will give blooms all summer long in our climate. Cully May will love her jumper! The colors are perfect for her and she'll be surrounded by your love every time she wears it.

Caroline said...

Your garden is beautiful, thank you for the next block. Take it easy xx

Ondrea said...

Nature does bring us much joy if we take the time to look at it. It restores our souls. Sorry to hear that you have been so unwell. Weather has a lot to do with many ailments. We have had a really cold and wet few days and my FMS has acted up again, Still no sleep, just cat naps from around 4am until 11am. Hope you are on the mend. The cardigan looks beautiful.

Lin said...

Lovely post Jenny and lots of beautiful photographs. xx

Tania said...

Your photos of the simple small things in life are beautiful Jenny! I like to take a walk around and notice the little things, and often think that their lives seem so simple compared to how complicated we make ours...Watching the chooks go about their business is especially entertaining and grounding at the same time.

I have the same issues with knitting. I cant use double pointed or circular needles, and only today I have been going through some pattern books I have here, but I think tomorrow, I will look through some vintage ones, and like you, knit the old fashioned way.

Take good care of yourself dear Jenny xxx

Allie said...

I think you and I both go and go and go, then pay for it later - good to slow down and look around. Your pictures are wonderful. The cardigan is coming along quite lovely! Do what makes you comfortable, dear heart - I think I'd prefer to give something made with joy rather than frustration! Thank you for Block Five, it's just as gorgeous as the rest of them, I cannot wait to start this!!!!

Maren T. said...

I so enjoy your posts. They are encouraging and point me to the Lord. It is also so interesting to learn about life in a different country and climate. I am amazed by the birds you get at your feeders! Since you are sharing free project ideas and have a new grandchild on the way, you might like this free "Baby's favorite caterpilar" crochet pattern designed by my sister--link to it on Instagram.

Reyes ♥El telar de mi abuela♥ said...

Guauuu...qué maravilla.

Águeda said...

Your garden is a paradise. I think little things are really important nowadays. Many little things together make a big happy one. Thank you for sharing your photos. Take care of yourself. A bif hug.

Rosie said...

Nothing beats sitting in the garden and observing the flow of life. So soothing. Your pumpkins are looking good!

Su said...

I can and do knit using dpn's and circulars but I prefer using straight needles. Even though sewing up knitting isn't my favourite task, it's preferable to throwing around something knit in one piece. I also dislike the fit of garments knitted in one piece, they just aren't right. Etsy is a great source of out of copyright knitting patterns at a reasonable price.

belra said...

Greetings from Barcelona, Spain. I am having a difficult time, the covid-19 has taken a great friend, musician, worship leader and (above all) man dedicated to serving and praising the Lord. My heart is sad and joyous at the same time. Sad because Josep will no longer accompany me and encourage me to praise God or incite me to even discuss with myself what I believe and to reread the Bible to confirm or modify it. But I am joyful because I know that Josep is now praising in the presence of the Lord. We have not been able to fire our beloved brother as he deserves due to the restrictions due to the pandemic, when we can meet we will give him the tribute he deserves.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and your beautiful photos that help those of us who are locked up to protect ourselves and others in this terrible pandemic. Hopefully we learn to appreciate what we have and not want things that really do not enrich us at all. A hug.

Susan said...

Thank you for another part of the Psalm. You are so right about the scriptures! Sometimes just a verse or two provides so much thought-provoking pondering. Sometimes just to understand it, but even more often to think through to all the things one verse leads to. There is depth in the scriptures, not just breadth. I appreciate your voice in these matters, Jenny. The cardigans are going to be so pretty. I, too, often like the old ways of doing things better than the new. I'm all for learning short cuts and faster things, but there's a lot to be said for doing things without some short cuts and sometimes going slower. I actually find that older ways are sometimes faster ways, too!

Linda Kay said...

I absolutely love this series of embroidery. I understand what you're going through with your heart problems as I'm struggling to! May the Good Lord bless all those in need of his healing power!