Friday, November 13, 2020

My new life decisions and more Joy to the World blocks...

 Let's begin today with the next two blocks in my free Joy to the World stitch-along.

If you missed the first two blocks they are HERE

We began this nativity story with the angel and Mary. Today we'll take the road to Bethlehem where this young mother will bring forth her first child, the Son of God, in a lowly manger...

Located in the hilly country of Judah I imagined the view as Mary, heavy with child and in the early stages of labour, and Joseph her betrothed husband leading the donkey, came closer to the small town...

Nowhere respectable or comfortable available, the inn keeper offers them an animal stall with manger for the night, and in that seemingly inhospitable birthing suite she brought forth her baby boy...

One of the many names or references made to Jesus over the centuries is the Rose of Sharon and that's why throughout this set of small stitcheries I've included roses. Also because despite the setting of a smelly unadorned manger for His birth, His very entry as a man into this world is beauty at it's most magnificent...and roses encapsulate just a glimpse of God's creative beauty.

Use the link below to download blocks 3 and 4.


There has been a growing sense of the need for change in my heart of late. 

When we consider that there are only 24 hours in a given day, and one person alone can only do so much without burning themselves out, being found in a situation such as I am right now with that feeling of being stretched like 'butter spread across too much bread' (as Bilbo Baggins described) I knew that changes needed to be made. Prayerful changes, the kind of changes where (as the Lord instructed me recently) I needed to firstly count the cost. 

It truly is a blessed gift to have had Him direct me to that passage of Scripture last month because more and more I'm applying it to my day by day choices and decisions and now I must apply it to what comes next year and how to make changes that still allow me to create and write and design, but without monthly deadlines to follow. 

You see I'm about to enter a time of free flow, where I 'do' as I am able with only the occasional time restraint. God willing (and I think this is His idea to be honest) next year will allow me to be myself, all in, all there, in the moment or occupation or conversation as it presents itself, and not constrained with deadlines or business commitments.

As much as I love designing for my stitchery clubs, they have always required a great time and creative commitment, consuming much of my month for years on end. But now, having come to understand that I can no longer keep up that monthly and yearly momentum without sacrificing time needed for our expanding family and this ever evolving home and garden, I have decided to close Faith In Hand after the January 2021 issue. 

The December and January issues (three patterns each) which are still to be published have already been stitched and most patterns are written. Once that door is closed (and what a wonderful time it has been designing so many faith based embroideries for my members!) I shall be 'free' to pursue a few other creative paths which have no set time frame per se but which I'll be able to bring to life in my sewing room, in writing and and here on the blog slowly and purposefully.

I did have plans for them anyway, but I realise now that they will not come to pass until I let go of what I'm currently holding on to - and that was very surely me 'counting the cost' of whether to be buried by a very time consuming locked-in commitment (a monthly stitchery club) and having no ability to 'drop everything' in order to be there for my family in times of need; or to let it go and just create and write when the time availed itself.

Having made this decision I can already feel a load off my shoulders. 

(this pattern will be in the December set of Faith in Hand - here)

You know, months ago I designed and stitched all the blocks for a new BOM but have had no free time to put them together or even consider a quilt layout for I'll be able to do that, at my leisure. And that is a joyful thought. 

Something else I'd like to do, something which resonates strongly within my nature and which I've written about here for many years, is a return to gentle domesticity blog posts. Next year, and maybe even next week, I'll slip right back in to my apron and extoll once more the virtues of homemaking, family and faith all rolled into one marvellous simply lived ordinary life. Would you like that?

Bless you my friends, and thanks for being here, being a listening ear when I need to chat...that's a precious gift you give me. 

Now tell me, what do you think needs to change in your own life as this year draws to a close? And what would you like to focus on in 2021? I'm all ears...

Loving hugs


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I have enjoyed following along for several years. I am also in a time of transition. My husband is a pastor--more specifically a missionary pastor. Due to some health issues, we are retiring a few months sooner than we had originally planned. We are moving 1000 miles from where we currently live and will be closer to family. The joys of setting up our own home again, and the new adventure of find a church to worship in will take much of our time in the upcoming months. I look forward to seeing your posts about homekeeping. Cindy Fraher

  3. Good for you! It is sometimes hard to make a decision that is just for you. I have gotten myself into "hot water" for taking on more than I should. Now I wish I could just take up one project and work on it. But I have lost that drive and I try day after day to get it back. I'm so glad that you still want to create and will share with us when the mood hits. In between those times, it will be great to hear what is going on at The Elefantz Estate.

  4. DARLING blocks!!!! Oh those wee this so much, dear Jenny-girl.
    And I am so so excited for you. May God richly bless you as you share His love. And yes, I know that feeling of relief....not as profoundly as you, but my commitments were much less! Love you my dear, dear friend!!!

  5. Whilst I am sorry to read that Faith in Hand will end soon, I totally understand why. I was put on the spot a few weeks ago and made Secretary to a new group that is forming in Tassie. I was so stressed about it all, I have not done anything similar before, and I was so worried I would fail and let a lot of people down. My DH could see I was stressed beyond normal, and he went to see the man trying to set this Group in motion and told him I was withdrawing. When he came home and told me what he had done, I was sad about letting these people down, but also so relieved that he had taken this step for me. Sometimes we just need to listen and we will hear the answer loud and clear! I am looking forward to reading more of your adventures with your home and family xx

  6. Hi Jenny,
    Looks like the new computer set up is working well :)
    Back in June, June 22nd you wrote " to seek a freash plan that is uplifting, encouraging, inspiring, joyous, productive, hopeful and life renewing " and later " it's so important to asses the problems, but plan for positive action or change in order to keep moving forward. Weeding the unnecessary, planting what matters."
    I copied this in to my Thougth and Ideas journal.
    There comes a time when that light bulb moment really shines :) That big "ah ha"(?) moment hits.
    Family, Gentle domesticity, your 1/4 acre,finding balance ...takes a while to find out what really works, brings happiness.
    Looks like 2020 is winding down, heating up there temperature wise, with a fresh, life renewing plan for 2021 :)

  7. I know your decision will benefit you and your family greatly Jenny. In 2021 My daughter will graduate college and will most likely be setting up a home and moving away from us; depending on where she gets a teaching job at. I will try to concentrate more on my sewing and crafts and getting back into gardening yet again. And spending time with family. And maybe baking more as I haven't been able to nor had the time for that much this year. So looking forward to the upcoming year in many ways but will be sad when My daughter makes the transition to having her own home. Hugs to you Dear Jenny

  8. We all have to do what is right for us in our lives at different times, good for you making these wise decisions. I look forward to seeing whatever you do with the blog. x

  9. Good Morning.
    I also feel like stretched butter. I feel in my mind the warning to stop and lead a more peaceful life. But under the laws of my country, I still have five years to retire. I'm afraid I can't. And I get discouraged at times, for not fulfilling my heart's desire to lead a life only for my home and handiwork.
    I would love you to talk about domesticity. I followed and always follow all the posts!
    Sorry for English, because I use the translator. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  10. "Next year, and maybe even next week, I'll slip right back in to my apron and extoll once more the virtues of homemaking, family and faith all rolled into one marvelous simply lived ordinary life. Would you like that?"

    Oh YES please!!

  11. I am happy to hear that you are moving forward on the path right for you. Thank you for your words this week, it has helped direct me into 2 Cor. when I was spending most of my time in Habakkuk. May you be richly blessed as God uses you to bless all of us.

  12. Two more lovely designs. Sounds like this is just what you need Jenny, slowing down and concentrating on something you really enjoy without any pressure. I am looking forward to your domesticity posts next year! xx

  13. Decisions, decisions, in our minds and in our hearts I strongly feel that we know, long before the decision has been confirmed, what our direction will take. Your work is beautiful but if the schedule becomes a burden, it loses its value for you. It becomes a strain and indeed the price is too high. With the joy of family at hand, that, in and of itself, is where your heart lies. The creative part of our souls is the bonus. Bravo. Sounds like a great path awaits.

  14. I am glad you know the path God has set before you and are following it. God will bless you for it.

  15. Wonderful decision! So long as you are going in the direction the Holy Spirit is leading you, you and your family will benefit greatly from this decision. I am having to rethink where I am as well. I also have been overextending myself without even realizing it until I came to the, "I just can't get it all done." moment. Lots of love and thank you for being an important part of my life. And thank you for the sweet patterns.

  16. I am still puzzling about what to change and what to focus on in 2021, I find that there is usually something. I love the sharing of your thoughts on faith; honestly, whatever you write and design always touches my heart in some way so, yes!, please continue. And thank you for the 'Joy to the World" stitchery. I hope my embroidery is half as lovely as yours!

  17. More and more I find my time is taken with family and home and writing time is squeezed in. My writing has suffered. I've been far less spontaneous than I'd like to be (which is a stretch to be sure, lol, I'm a planner)with my spontaneous minded husband who retired this year. I think it's also time to stop and contemplate the changes I need to make in 2021. Thank you for the inspiration to study upon it and listen.

  18. Bless you, Jenny, for seeking the Lord's will and then stepping out in faith. It is what He truly desires from us! I look forward to any posts from you!

    We are planning to move in 2021. At the beginning of 2020, the Lord impressed on me to "prepare." We have worked hard all summer on the outside of the house, and will go through room-by-room over the winter. We had wanted to move earlier this year, but because of Covid, our son could not finish out his college courses as planned in August, but will graduate in December instead. That still small voice said, "You can sell in the spring." So, we are on His timetable and there is no other place I would rather be.
    God bless you, Jenny, and your sweet family who are so very blessed to have you!

  19. I thought what I needed was more time to finish all the craft projects I have in my head and for which I had already bought tons of materials. This year has taught that it was not time I needed. What I need is purpose. Reading your post I realize I had already steps towards arriving at this state. I started bible reading classes. Thanks, Jenny, for this post. This is very relevant to my class.

  20. Good to hear that you are slowing down. No sense burning out. Our committments to ourselves, home and family are most important. If we focus on them first we can then do other things when the time arises and our energy is better spread around. Love your stitcheries as always. Be kind to yourself. Xx

  21. I am looking forward to read from you what you will be doing. Due to health issues I have to reduce my working hrs. It is not always easy to let go. But sometimes it is necessary so we can let new things emerge. Love your designs, plans and Heike

  22. You sound relieved and that's a wonderful feeling. Follow your heart - always. I will always look forward to your blog posts and I do especially enjoy your 'home' and cooking ones. As for myself, I've no idea about next year. I'm getting through each day at the moment. Attempting to prepare for Christmas. I have one child heading into her last years of high school, one beginning high school and one just beating his own drum. I'm very much looking forward to spending my first easter with my 83 yr old Aunt in Cairns. We postponed our trip in January in case we weren't allowed in to you beautiful state and hopefully everythings is Ok to spend that precious day with my Aunt.

  23. Jenny, I would like to share in whatever it is you decide to do, simply because I know Christ will be a large part of it, and your sharing about your learning will lift me up, too. I love the domesticity posts, and the chicken posts, and the children posts and the stitching posts, and every other post. You do what you do, and I'll still be here, whatever it is. =) Bless you, my friend, for being strong enough to figure these things out and to go where you are guided.

  24. Jenny, I just looked out the window and saw a double rainbow. That to me could be God telling me 2021 brings hope for a better year. I know you should enjoy family and thank you for sharing yourself with all readers. Do what feels right and "hugs" to you and your family. Until next time, I will continue to work on my Faith In Hand blocks. Love, Carol

  25. I so understand your decision, we all must do what is best for ourselves. I have had so many times when I've told myself that I cannot do it all; trust me I've tried! Thank you for the Christmas sew along, I love the sweet little village of Bethlehem! God bless you dear Jenny.

  26. God is your light and your guide—May He hold you in the palm of His hand and bless you r each step. I’m sure you will find time to share your life with us as you have such a talent for it! Love you and pray for all that is Gods will in your life. Love, Molly


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