Issue 2, The Homemakers Heart. A simple digital magazine written and compiled to encourage and inspire the beautiful homemaker inside *you*.
No matter how long we've been keeping a home, we all need a dose of encouragement. Some of my readers are young, still living at home with their parents, patiently awaiting their own season of building a nest for a family to grow; some readers are retired and for the first time in many years able to step away from the 9-5 life and embrace the call of their heart to create a sanctuary within their own walls.
There are others who still need to work outside home, whether that be full or part time, yet long for those hours when they can relax within their own abode to potter around and bring beauty, nourishment and a welcome embrace to those they love.
Then there are those like me who have always been at home, who know the blessing of always being that smiling face who answers the door when loved ones arrive home hungry, weary, in need of an ear to hear and a cookie to nibble.
Though I do have a home-business, and that can bring challenges with regards to 'never being away from work', I find reasons each day to thank God for being where I am; for the comfort of working in well worn pyjamas in the winter; tending the garden and chickens between emails and spreadsheets; sketching a design while a load of sheets and towels tumbles amid soap suds in the washing machine and fresh bread bakes in the oven; tracing a pattern onto fabric for stitching that night while the freshly mopped floors dry under the circulating ceiling fans...I really have so much to be thankful for.
But one thing I have noticed over the past two years, since the flood actually, is a sense of feeling like "butter spread over too much toast" as Bilbo Baggins puts it. There's been an increase in the home-load since we stopped renting and bought our first home, and that increase happened again late last year when my beloved began his new employment and must work long hours six days a week.
In my mind it was important to keep up with everything, just as I always had, for being a very adrenaline driven woman it's hard for me to just sit and do nothing...and of course working from home as well as being a homemaker at home meant my eyes could always find some task to alert my time. I think for the longest time I wore this as a badge of honour, and then one day my opinion changed and as the months rolled on I came to see that 'this' was not the life God had for me.
You see, by balancing it all (or should I say juggling?) I was giving both aspects of my life equal importance. Home and business were level pegging for my time and attention. Given that I love being a homemaker and creating a beautifully calm and welcoming space within our quarter acre, as well as aiming to run my pattern design business with integrity, generosity and professionalism, I was using every ounce of energy I could to achieve the very best in all my endeavours.
Since December, with the extra responsibilities which needed to be carried now my husband was away so long, I found myself wearying more and more. I've said it often, when you add something into your life, you need to remove something at the same time for we are only allotted a set number of hours in the day, and a set portion of energy to achieve what should be done.
When I prayed over my life, my attitude, my requirements, and my abilities, what struck me loud and clear was that I needed to re-prioritise. You cannot serve two masters and for me this had become home and business. I was CEO of our home and of Elefantz Designs. Two positions which require a lot of hours and energy. And which one was suffering the most, my Father asked?
Home, I answered. Things are done, and I loved doing them, but they had become rushed and not enjoyed as they once were, because I had so much to cram into the hours available each day, running from here to there and back again.
Getting sick from various things this year and falling further behind due to days of covalescence, I could see an avalanche of 'catch-up' approaching which threatened to swallow me whole. I even stopped my daily swim in the pool, something which until Christmas last year was as regular as breathing, but was now 'more time' I did not have.
Over the past week or so I have sought to hear God, to invite His correction and direction for the years left to me that I may live them well and to His glory. I've shared and prayed with Blossom, and together we have discussed our lives in the reflection of God's Word, both of us becoming more intuitively aware of the changes needed in our hearts, lives and homes. Our hearts are open, our ears primed for that still small Voice, and a depth of humility and gratitude continues to grow deeply within our God-crafted lives.
For my life this means lifting my primary role of Homemaker to that high position it deserves, and to downsizing my business to part-time only. And friends, I have to tell you that getting on my knees and handing all this over to God, fully embracing the role I LOVE so much as wife, mother and nana, and not concerning myself with the extra income anymore because God always makes a way when there's a need, has been like a home swept of cobwebs and dust - the sun shines bright and the fresh air invigorates the soul.
I'm fortunate that things like the Simple Days BOM, Posies BOM and Let's Stitch Again 12-month stitchery club were already completed before I launched them this year - I'm only needing to manage them now (which is not too time consuming) and write a few more of the Simple Days patterns.
Apart from this I don't have to design if I don't want to or if I don't have time, nor even do the social media circus anymore. If I do design it will be from pure joy and this normal Jenny-desire to create, not for business deadlines or commitments.
My days from now will be home focused. Life focused. LIVING focused. God focused.
The home I imagined we'd create when we bought this house never really eventuated the way I'd dreamed, but part of that has been due to my time being pulled in two directions. Just lately, with these changes made, I've been doing a little each day to bring those practical dreams alive again, and the autumn wind of change this March in my corner of Australia is nurturing my desire to deep clean, refresh, relinquish what's not needed, and retain what matters. In the practical and the spiritual.
I'm beginning a new season of life and welcoming it with open arms.
After all that, which I had not really intended to elaborate so widely on, you may want to download Issue 2 of The Homemakers Heart magazine at last!? Use the link below and download the magazine to your computer or ipad/tablet. I showed how to do that here with the issue one blog post if you missed it.
Back to normality....
Yesterday I tackled my stationary/papercraft/filing/postage cupboard which stands near the back door. I honestly don't think it's been done since the flood in February 2019, but I began one shelf at a time and after emptying everything out I wiped down the shelves with a lovely natural lemon myrtle cleaning spray Blossom put me on to recently.
You know, when you just keep adding to a cupboard and then one day decide to clean it out you may be very surprised at how much stuff can be tossed - and let me assure you that my paper shredder earned a gold medal because it had an Olympic workout from destroying the files I no longer needed. Now all those shredded files are lining the chicken coop.
Below is the 'before' photo with the top shelf contents emptied and on the table ready for me to sort through everything piece by piece.
It took about 90 minutes with all the shredding and sorting, but in the end I have only what is needed. Everything is organised in the right place and the clutter is gone. Bliss!
I re-discovered all my card-making bits and pieces, more Sellotape than I could use in five years (I keep buying it because I think we've run out), five new ink cartridges for the printer (I just bought a new one thinking I had none left), lots and lots of papercrafting treats I saved for Cully May when she was only two (she's five in August), and many more 'lost' items. All this from one cupboard.
This week I've also been pruning the trees inside the chicken coop, building a border for the small side garden where the lemon and lime trees are, and giving the girls' cubby house (the poppy house as they call it) a good scrub before they arrive tomorrow for Rafaella's 3rd birthday morning tea.
And that is a jolly good reason for me to sign off now, as I have a chocolate and strawberry cake to make for our little Miss.
Dear hearts, be brave in your own lives to address the things which overwhelm and to cut back on the 'too much'. Consider your first and most important role in life if you've lost your way, then pray to find a way you can bring it back to the top. Live your best life, embrace your calling, trust God with the details.