I hope you have had a lovely Christmas break, despite lockdowns, limited guests around your table and all the other disturbances which may have taken the shine off what should be a truly beautiful day of giving thanks for our God-gift of Jesus.
Every year we have a small Christmas gathering at Blossom's home with simple food - just her, Ross and the children, Ross's parents and us. This year was no different, though we had one extra family member to love on and cuddle close. Little Charlie David.
He's the most calm and gentle baby who slept through the present unwrapping, shrieks of delight from his two big sisters, a chatty dinner, one father and two grandfathers putting together 360 pieces of a princess castle and all the additional laughter men building things without reading the instructions brings about.
In fact so relaxed were we all that everyone forgot to take photos. Phones were not in sight and therefore out of mind so it wasn't until Blossom and I went out shopping yesterday that we realised no-one had even thought to take a photo. Never mind. There's always tomorrow.
I made our traditional cinnamon scrolls for Blossom, tiropita for Ross (he is Greek), rocky road for the girls and marinated beans with almonds just because we all love them. Ross's step mum made chicken and a potato bake and Blossom provided the rest. There was a lot of food left over and our bellies were full though we all found some space for rocky road.
Monday was our wedding anniversary, twenty-nine years. How blessed we are to have listened to the Lord and made that commitment to each other almost three decades ago. We were married just five months after we met and have never regretted it.
Blossom and Ross gifted us dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant and we thoroughly enjoyed the Chilli Paneer, Lamb Madras, Lemon Rice and Dal Makhani. Once again our bellies were full but this time we waited a while before indulging in our sweets.
Hubby has resigned from teaching and as of yesterday returned to selling cars. Thank you for the prayers over his health and new employment - already he is improving. This past month we have been very busy tying up loose ends, working in the garden while waiting for the very delayed wet season, planning forward for next year, and seriously readjusting our budget due to the drop in income - and all this was good for us because we had time to talk about what really mattered, reaffirming to each other that the path God has us on is the best one for us so no looking back, just hold fast to His strong hand and move forward. There's a lot more peace within our walls since making these hard decisions and choosing to make the most of every day the Lord gives us.
Walking away from something that just isn't good for you can be difficult. Giving up a good income for a not so stable one can give bring about grave doubts. But when that decision is made with the right intent, a fullness of heart and a steadfast trust in our God to carry us through the other side of the valley, a weight slips off your shoulders, breathing slows, and that still small voice is heard with more clarity.
Boxing Day brought the wet season and my goodness, it's been beautiful to see the rain, to watch the parched garden come alive again. We went walking along the beach the other day to watch the storm roll in...the air was breezy and a bit cooler at last, though still sticky with familiar tropical humidity.
So calm and beautiful. Another perfect moment to ponder the greatness of our Creator and give thanks for His loving care and provision which has never left us wanting.
...but what I will show you today is the result of Monday's studio/sewing room clean, declutter and reorganisation. Oh how I LOVE doing this at the beginning of a new year (and a few smaller makeovers with each season) because it inspires me to create fresh new designs. I hate clutter, I really do, and finding the balance between owning stuff and not being owned by the stuff can be a challenge, yet I do enjoy that kind of challenge and will be approaching every area of our small home with that mindset during the early months of 2021.
My studio/sewing room is just 12' square, which in itself is a challenge when you run a design business and work from home, however, with forethought and organisation I'm very pleased with the space I've created to work from next year...
Yesterday my dear Blossom bought me a beautiful new mug to use in this room as I have been able to clear space in there to create a small desk area for sketching ideas, planning monthly Homemakers Heart magazine articles and projects, and other bookwork that must be done.
In the photo above you can just see the corner of a mug rug I made for the sewing room a couple of years ago, but with a new rosey mug and a freshly made-over room to work in I decided to make myself a new mug rug, similar to the last one, but a bit prettier...
Very simple, and just right for me.
What are you doing to create a fresh state of mind for 2021?
What I did in the studio/sewing room was small really, it just took some time and elbow grease - and to be honest it helped to lift away the remaining tentacles of that nasty depression I'd been struggling to overcome. I have always found rather than lamenting the trials in life it is better to get up and do something, even what might appear mundane, like scrubbing the kitchen top to bottom (which I did), scrubbing the bathroom top to bottom (which I did), reorganising the pantry (which I need to do), changing all the table-runners and cushion covers (which I'm about to do), baking for a neighbour (which I did) or playing with some fabrics to make yourself a gift (which I did when I made that quick little mug rug).
I'm a thinker, a writer, and if I'm not careful too much time can be spent pondering life rather than getting up and living it. And that's not what I want for this life, do you? Life is a God-given privilege and when Jesus said "I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) He meant it, and I'm sorry to say that too often I get caught up in the busyness and business of living instead of slowing mindfully to just enjoy the days we are given.
Work will always be with us, and yes, God expects us to work (Six days you shall labour...Exodus 20:9), but He also wants us to enjoy life and to help others enjoy it too. When I am too focused on work there's a tendency to neglect the opportunity to spend time relaxing with my husband, and that's a priority for me next year - to seek more time with him. He'll be gone at work from 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday now, as well as Saturdays till 1.30pm...so time together will be more precious than before. I want to dignify that, I want to give him the best of me and show him just how proud I am to be his wife. And that means choosing JOY at every opportunity and giving our relationship the honour and time it deserves to keep on flourishing for another 29 years or until Jesus comes to take us home.
Goodness, this has been a mighty long post, but my heart is on my sleeve before you and I do hope and pray it has encouraged you even a little.
I'll be back on Friday with the launch of my new "POSIES" 2021 block of the month. This is a FREE project which runs for twelve months.
If you'd like the materials list and preparation guide you can download it using the link below.
God bless your lovely hearts!
PS: I have a limited number of Posies pincushion kits (the free pattern I shared before Christmas) in my Etsy Shop if you're interested. Go HERE to have a peek.