As I've been stitching and sewing this very gentle, very quiet and simple pattern my mind has had much time to ponder the significance of what Paul meant in writing those wonderful words -
"...and to make it your ambition to live a quiet life; you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
In my last post I asked for your own thoughts on a quiet life and my heart was enriched by the responses as I was given (gifted) a small glimpse inside your unique day to day living and felt encouraged by many who shared similar thoughts to my own.
When I was a child and young adult, leisure time, social gatherings and the like were not common everyday things as they are now. Nana, being my example of a homemaker, taught me the importance of caring for home and family by being attentive to the responsibilities and blessings we had in our tiny one-bedroom flat and showing diligence to maintain a good life there by completing daily chores, planning and shopping for nourishing meals that used what was in season or on hand, and being mindful about unnecessary waste.
By today's standards her daily rhythm of sweeping the flat, mopping the kitchen, polishing the sink, hanging the washing (some of it hand washed), airing the bed, beating her small rugs with a broom outside (she did one rug a day so that all had a good beating once a week) and starting dinner early in the day before she stopped for our mid-morning cuppa was completely normal. Just as it was for most of the women in our neighbourhood.
I clearly remember her as a woman who worked hard and did not complain about it, for she'd been born during the first world war, raised a family during the great depression, and taken on me as a 3yo to raise when well into her 50's.
I learned through her example the absolute bliss of a day well spent, the delight of relaxing after the final dishes were washed and dried at night, the satisfaction of watching a good western on the telly knowing the day's doings were complete and all she needed to do was perhaps brew a cup of tea when the ad was on or share a glass of beer with Pop.
It was indeed a quiet life, yet not solitary.
The friends she had would gather together every second Saturday afternoon in the Lady's Parlour at the local pub for a couple of hours while the husbands met in the Gentleman's Bar.
This was their time to take off their aprons and dress up! Nana always taught me that a lady should wear lipstick and earrings when she was to be socialising and I think that's what all the ladies believed as well because my young eyes marvelled at these women I knew who normally wore simple house dresses and aprons (plus curlers in their hair after hair washing morning and scarves over the curlers when they headed off to the butcher or grocer) all bright and cheery with red or dark pink lips which left big 'kiss' stains on the rim of their shandy glasses.
So many hints and tips were shared back and forth, laughter and sorrows shared between each other, kindnesses offered and amidst it all was me, loved on by everyone present. That in itself was true kindness.
But then they would say their goodbyes and not see each other again for a couple of weeks unless for a passing hello and perhaps a short chat going to and from the grocer or butcher, or a wave and comment about the weather as the ladies came to their front doors to collect bottles of milk left before dawn by the milkman and saw each other from across the road or the front fence.
There were odd occasions when we made a visit to someone during the week, or someone came to us, but these times were rare and treated as very special.
Each woman took pride in her home, whether a tiny flat like ours or a two bedroom cottage (which to me was a mansion), and day to day went about her business not intruding in the lives of others...unless...
Unless there was a need.
In a time of need or sorrow or sickness, Nana and her friends would gather what was required plus a little extra, taking turns to offer their time and provisions to clean, cook and care for neighbours.
And this is what I have been pondering as I stitched the little houses, appliqued the double hearts, sewed on my machine and hand quilted with white thread.
Growing up I saw what it meant to keep yourself busy at home, to show respect for another's privacy, to take time and not rush your chores because the true satisfaction comes from a task well done, and to be ready with a full and kind and generous heart when someone had a need.
I did not see gossip, nor busybody intrusions, and I never saw my grandparents dishonour each other.
We were very poor with regards to finance but we were very rich in the things that mattered.
Sadly, I have not followed so closely the example of my Nana through my adult life, the ways of the world nudging its foot further into my life than it should have been allowed...but the older I am, the easier it is becoming to slip into her example and see the great wealth of joy and gentleness and peace and quiet a life can offer when we fully appreciate what is right beneath our roof and within our walls - and who resides there with us.
The pattern above is my gift to you and I am hopeful as you stitch and sew that God will infuse your thoughts and fill your heart with a gentleness that brings you tremendous peace and delight.
Instructions for how I put the mini quilt together is included with the pattern, but you may choose to make this very differently...maybe a simple nine-patch display using the house blocks alone, or perhaps the hearts.
I'm working on a single block at the moment for a very small little hanger and have simply added 'a quiet life' underneath and chosen to applique the door and change the flower petals to lazy daisy stitch. The wording for this is also included in your pattern.
Next time I'm going to chat about other ways of embracing a simpler, quieter life.
If you have thoughts to share, please do. I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments as do the many thousands of visitors to my blog each day - and I say that to encourage you because often we think we do not have a voice or anything interesting to share. But we do, all of us.
Bless you ever so much!