Thursday, October 29, 2020

Finding contentment...

 This new week began so cheery (especially after last week's run of awful migraines) with many things ticked off my to-do list, new designs stitched, more designs sketched and a much clearer vision of how to balance my family/home/work life. 

I was out of balance you see. Perhaps it's my nature that I try to be all-in with every area of responsibility, but slowly this year that mental attitude has been changing - it's been gradually slowing, gradually sifting through a maze of too much or the idea of doing more than I'm personally able. 

An early morning half-hour with God, sitting in the old brown leather recliner which is tucked into a corner of my sewing room, with Bible, cup of tea and usually Sophie-cat at my feet, has increasingly brought about lessons in the gentle art of balancing what is most important, then choosing to attend to those things first before pondering (counting the cost - Luke 14:28-30) of all my other ideas or pursuits, and making prayerfully wise decisions about whether to pursue them or let them go.  

As I mentioned recently, a huge lesson learned this year has been that if I am going to add something into my life then I need to take something else out. Being weighed down by too many projects, responsibilities, ideals, relationships and plans leads to an unbalanced overwhelmed life and at 61 that's not good at all. 

Whilst the Lord has me here, he has work for me to do. And it is that work above all else which must hold my attention and my heart. 

My life verse for 2020 is Ephesians 2:10 and right before last New Year I stitched these two designs as a personal reminder, a reinforcement I suppose you'd say, of what the Lord had very clearly written across my heart for the year ahead. 

I know many of us have the best of intentions when we do certain things, and those things of themselves are not bad at all, but how easy it is to be pulled away by the 'good' when the Lord is waiting to direct us differently - towards the 'better'.

Being content at home, being content to do what I'm able and to let go of that which would tax what was left of my precious time and energy is a lesson which ran into, and was illuminated by, frequent pondering on Ephesians 2:10.

Yesterday was a day of focusing on the home, on the chores that are too often overlooked and even forgotten - like washing windows. How lovely it was after a good scrub to see clearly through the kitchen window into the side garden, and to see most of the back garden through the glass sliding doors. I thought afterwards that this is a bit like life...over time so many things build up and we can't see or think as clearly as we would if the 'clutter' was removed and life was simpler. 

Making conscious choices with regards to day to day life now, and also into the future, the view overall is much clearer than before and my clarity of thought is being refined. How wise is our Lord to remind us to live a quiet life, to be about our own business, to live in the land and befriend faithfulness. All of these directions resonate deeply within me and as I go about my days now they echo upon my thoughts.

Here at home...

This week I've been able to accompany Blossom and the little ones on a final shopping trip before she settles down at home to 'nest' before the baby arrives. Our weather is fiercely hot now and late pregnancy swelling is upon my girl, so with all things considered it's best for her to rest up and just do what needs to be done and not much more. 

Our three chickens are settled in the new coop which is safely housed within the chicken enclosure beneath the large shady Guava tree. We got Penny a few weeks ago and she's a wonderful layer (she's around 2 years old) but the other two we got 11 days ago. They are almost 17 weeks old and growing fast. Such gentle girls, but sadly Penny is a real bully and we've had to watch her carefully. She's gone beyond hen pecking and can be quite savage if they even walk by her. One of our newbies has decided to fly to the top of the red hibiscus and sleep there of a night, perhaps to avoid her. We're considering rehoming Penny. She's been an only chicken most of her life and just can't seem to get accustomed to having friends live with her. If you have any suggestions please share them. 

With the ghastly heat back with full force meals are mostly cold salads or laden with a side of salad. I made a big batch of cous cous salad on Sunday for lunches during the week, along with more French chicken salad to have on sandwiches during the in between days or for easy dinners. 

We picked another garden bed of radishes on Monday and I decided to use the radish tops to make pesto.

I found this recipe in a library book about preserving vegetables. It made two large jars so I froze one and we're using the other, though I did make a few changes to the recipe as it was a little bit bitter. 

I ended up doubling the parmesan and adding a large handful of fresh basil from the garden. In the end it was very tasty and tonight we shall have it with ravioli and salad.

One of our plans when we first moved into our home two years ago was to tear down the small shed and, as we're at the point now of needing more garden space for future vegetable beds, hubby began clearing the inside shelving and contents of the shed last week. 

Yesterday he was about to begin dismantling the outside of the shed when he fell and badly sprained his ankle as well as injuring his knee in the process. The ankle swelled up like a balloon and he was in a lot of pain, wrapping it in ice for hours. Fortunately it's not broken but will take a while to mend. This morning I went and got him a walking cane so at least he can hobble from one room to the other a little easier now. 

It's one of those things you really notice the older you get - healing is slower. And of course this frustrates him as he's quite active and prefers to be 'doing something' than just sitting, but time (and the Lord) is the healer and rest he must for now. 


I've finished all the blocks for my free Christmas stitch-along and had intended sewing them together today and tomorrow in order to start the four-part project with you next week, but I shall delay it until the end of next week when hopefully Mr E will be recovered and back at work. 

A little peek...

My next set of Faith In Hand patterns will be emailed to all club members on October 31st. I had meant to share photos with you on the blog this month but time and life redirected those plans - and that's okay. Truth is I often forget to show you, but as I'm so happy with the November designs, especially the Ephesians 2:10 sewing companion project (full pattern included with the November patterns) I'll leave you today with those pics...

If you're interested in joining just pop over HERE before Saturday.
There is no set length of membership - join and leave whenever you like. 

There's also a free gift pattern for new members and I'll send that off to you via email within 12 hours of joining. 

Okay, I must be away as it's nearing lunch time and sandwiches are to be made, along with a nice cool drink and a sweet treat. I baked Raspberry Coconut Slice yesterday as Rosie was coming to visit today but after Mr E had his fall that catch-up had to be postponed so hubby will have a sweetly contented tummy this afternoon and more for dessert tonight. 

God bless you all so very much, and may His generous provision, grace, mercy, hope and love be abundantly poured over your life in the days and weeks ahead.


PS: If you don't want to miss anything from the blog, or the free Christmas stitch-along, pop along HERE to sign up for my free newsletter. It only goes out two or three times a month and I never share your information. 


Unknown said...

My daughter has chickens. She gets a few new ones every spring. We have found that each group keeps to themselves. She has 3 groups of hens. That way she always has a few layers while the next group is growing up. They do all share the same hen house but otherwise when they free range during the day they stay in their little groups. Your Penny being an only might never get along with the other 2. It's good to keep an eye on her.

Bailey said...

Sorry to hear about Mr. E. My hubby has injured his ankle (same one each time) twice in our 40 years together and had to have it in a cast both times. Doctors never figured out why his ankle swelled up but they put it in a cast and he was on crutches. I hope Mr. E is up and about very soon. I know how hard it is for men to not be able to get up and do things. Shame on Penny for picking on her "sisters." Maybe she will quiet done and you will be able to keep her. Can't wait to see the new BOM. Hugs to you and Digby sends a big sloppy kiss to Mr. E. He thinks they are magical kisses and I don't want to hurt his feelings by telling him different!

Allie-oops Designs said...

Oh no - praying for Mr. E!!!! I broke a toe this morning, yes there's nothing like an injury to remind us of the passing of time. Praying about Penny as well. Be blessed lovely girl.

Angie in SoCal said...

So sorry to hear of Mr. E's fall. Does he like puzzles? Maybe reading from the library? My hubby is the same way - has to be doing something. Fortunately, he's a reader and when the weather isn't cooperating or it's too hot, that's what he does. Mi abuela would wring Penny's neck and we'd have her for Sunday dinner. She didn't like bullying. Blessings, so happy the migraines have abated for now.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

No, he doesn't read novels unfortunately...only school stuff (he's a teacher). And doesn't do puzzles either.
He's a hands on guy...always working around the house and yard. Praying it heals soon! x

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Pesto ! What a magical mix of ingredients. Did you know that ground elder can also be used? Never tried it myself but it grows here, known as a garden weed that takes over if not kept in check.
Amazing how the days fill themselves as we try to find balance, contentment and joy while living the quiet life. How did we plan it all in before ? Definitely a change for the better. Thank you for sharing this topic this year. It resinates here.
That is warm in Townsville and humid! googled townsville weather :)
Looking forward to stitching along :)
hugs,take care,

Beth said...

I know what you mean about finding a balance. I have been missing the slower pace of working from home and being able to focus on just one task at a time since being back at work for this school term. I have to keep reminding myself not to try to do 5 things at once. I get flustered and can't always remember which thing I was doing and so can end up wandering back and forth between them. I love being back at work and seeing my colleagues and the kids in person again, but it can be hard not to get so caught up in all the doing that I get stressed out.

krislovesfabric said...

I am sorry to agree with the first comment but we've had chickens for close to 20 years, adding to the flock each year but also culling as needed so our flock is around fifteen or maybe up to 20 depending on how well they are laying and whether or not they are egg peckers as we have had trouble with that as well. Our experience is that there is an alpha hen in the older flock that can be relentless with the younger ladies newly joined, it also can be the lowest rank hen reveling in her new station as not the the bottom rung- they certainly have personalities. Those are the ones we usually have to cull from the flock. I think I mentioned to you sneaking the new young ladies in at night when they are roosting helping to settle the conflicts but I would guess that works better with a larger flock. It's nice you have the option of re-homing but you will have a bit of a wait for eggs if your new girls are only 17 weeks?! If it's an option, just give them extra space to get away from each other but I wouldn't expect them to change based on my experience...hopefully someone else has a better idea than I?

Lilac Joan said...

Thank you for your closing prayer. I am borrowing it and praying for an acquaintance who is not a Christian. She is very angry and shuns any mention of God.

Lilac Joan in Arkansas,U.S.A.

Tammy said...

Oh Jenny Mr. E"s sprained ankle sounds really painful. I do hope that will heal up very quickly before he turns into a caged bear from being unable to be out and about doing stuff. Happy to hear the migraines have settled off. I have never owned chickens as an adult and only have vague memories of them from my early childhood on my parents small farm. I do hope you will be able to get her to not bully the others. Mr. E might have to build a separate enclosure for her or as you say sell her or trade her off to someone else. And add some other young ones in her place

Farm Quilter said...

Praying for Mr. E and Blossom as she nests!! Glad you are currently free of migraines - that certainly helps!! Such beautiful stitching and patterns...reading your blog is always refreshing!

BJ said...

Jennie, having a similar problem with our 4 new comet hems that look like yours. We thought we could replace the 4 that we lost over the spring to a racoon family (we got them on an outdoor camera). The older 5 are not happy at all with the new girls. So much so that 3 of the old girls are now molting and none have laid eggs for about a month. They're only about 1 1/2 years old so really should be laying. Prayers for Blossom and Mr. E. I was on crutches this summer and know how frustrating waiting for healing can be. Your post is a ray of sunshine I needed on this rainy gloomy day, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Christine M said...

What a cheeky chicken! We've just got 4 new chickens after a fox took ours 8 1/2 years ago. Thinking of you all up there. Take care. Hugs, Christine xx

Lin said...

So sorry to read about Mr E's injuries - hope he is being good and resting, it is the only way. xx

Ondrea said...

Glad you are feeling better but sorry that hubby has injured himself so badly. He will be cross not being able to do much. I am concerned about Blossom...shall be in touch. Keeo stitching and smiling.

Carla said...

Hope Mr E is doing better everyday. I don't want to think about my windows. Living in the country they're always dusty but the last really good rain came under the porch cover and splotched them up and the dogs have nose prints on the inside. But they'll have to wait until I can use my left arm more. About 2 more weeks. We planted radishes for a fall crop. Hope they do okay. We'll see. I love the Ephesians 2:10 verses you stitched. Y'all take care