Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A special treat plus another postcard...

 


How lovely it was to have my husband home from work for four days during the Passover/Resurrection holiday. He caught up on many things around the garden and also pulled down the smaller shed out back, something he'd planned to do when we moved here more than two years ago. 

We spent time with Blossom, Ross and the girls; ate simply; went for drives along the beach with decaf oat-milk iced-lattes as a treat; watched some documentaries and wonderful sermons; discovered more calming music to play in the background as we went about the daily tasks inside; transported a huge load of garden waste and the old shed pieces to the local tip; pruned many of our larger trees and put the branches through the wood chipper; and generally pottered around doing what needed to be done. 

Hubby relocated my beautiful potted rose from in front of the bedroom window to out back where it now sits under the flourishing Poinciana tree. We could admire it through the bedroom window the first year, but then the Syzygium bushes which we'd planted in front of the window as a privacy screen grew so large over the past twelve months that they completely covered the window. 

As this is almost mid-autumn (not that you'd know it by the ghastly heat right now) I decided to prune it right back for its winter rest and add fertiliser to the soil, but left two last buds to open first. That night it rained and by next morning one of the buds had begun to open. Don't you just love raindrops on roses?


I think this beautiful, almost blue-pink colour is becoming a favourite in the garden as I can see it in the hibiscus tree by the front door, the newly invigorated geraniums which did not like the summer, and the abundant cosmos blooms which have come alive with much vigour after summer as well.


Our garden has many little sections now, and as time goes by more will be created. I showed you the newly fenced raised beds under the pepper tree a couple of weeks ago, they are just to the left of our back door. I planted them out a few days later with many assorted herbs, kale and flowers - and next week I'll add more greens once my seeds arrive. Things are beginning to thrive now.

(see the small shed at the back left of the photo? That's the one hubby pulled down this weekend)








Today I thought I'd show you another little section of the garden, which is on the other side of the back door, next to the olive tree.


The two small raised planters were made by my beloved last autumn from recycled wooden pallets. In last winter's growing season they gave us an abundant supply of capsicums and dwarf beans for many months, but this season I've changed things up as we're not growing capsicums anymore (discovered they were one of my migraine triggers), and we'll grow pole beans in the garden instead.

Here's what grows in this small little space now - quite a lot! I've never grown elderflower before but really wanted to try for its medicinal properties and also to make cordial one day. I have spring onions (scallions) growing in three areas of the garden now because we use them every day, and chives are scattered around in other places too. The cosmos brings the bees, as do the seaside daisies, and the lemongrass leaves help keep mosquitoes at bay when you break a few leaves each morning as well as smelling lovely floating in the oil burner. The olive tree may not produce any fruit in our climate, but did you know you can make a very healthy tea from the leaves? More about that another day.


Little by little we are creating a series of smaller garden areas throughout the front and back yards. This makes them easier for me to manage as my dear man is rarely home in daylight hours much of the week; he does all the big stuff for me on Sundays, bless him!



I decided to do some baking on Monday and freeze quite a bit of it for unexpected guests, or days when we're busy with other things but still want to enjoy a sweet treat. Banana Parkinson was made twice actually - some for Blossom (she and the girls love it) and some for us; then currant scones because we all love them so much and you know, scones taste like 'home' to me as Nana would make them every Sunday afternoon for our tea. Perhaps that's why I bake them so often. 

I don't usually egg wash the tops of scones but as I had a little egg and milk mixture left over, I did this time, and they came out lovely and golden - of course our hen's eggs have brilliant orange yolks so I should not have been surprised. 



Now about that special treat mentioned in my post title. Quite a few years ago I did a week long series of posts about TEA. It was a huge hit with everyone and as I simply love my afternoon cuppa time, and the tea parties with Blossom and the girls when they visit, plus relaxing morning teas with my friend Rosie, I decided to do another TEA series later this month when the Postcards are finished. 

I'm enjoying doing more research and gathering fresh ideas at the moment, with a cuppa of course.


As well as the few lovely books you can see I have a large basket of articles, recipes and quotes to sift through as well because there's a number of tea related things within.

Actually this basket holds an abundance of various homemaking resources I've torn from lots of very old home-hearted magazines which were collected over a dozen or more years, and shall be helpful in writing and compiling future issues of the The Homemakers Heart ezines. 


I'm also working on a new pattern for the Week of Tea. Here's a tiny peek...


I hope you're excited about Tea Week too! It's such a universal beverage and enjoyed in many different ways - black tea, green tea, herbals - with so many different flavours, varieties and health benefits, depending on your choice.



This week's postcard actually became a mini quilt. One of the very first verses which resonated within my heart when I became a practicing Christian in July 1991 was Jeremiah 29:11...and I think it's a favourite for many of you as well. 

I said 'practicing' Christian, so let me explain. Nana believed in God and was raised Baptist. She had a large floral painted tin just inside the bedroom door filled with hundreds of Bible promises, each one rolled like a little scroll, and before I went off to school each day she'd have me pull one out and read it. I was to take this in to my heart and believe God means everything He says and all His promises are true.

So I never stopped believing in God and as a young mother of 18 began taking my baby boy to church playgroups so I could feel closer to Him. My life once I'd left home held minimal Christian values and as the years passed by and more babies arrived I drifted further away. I did not stop believing, but I wasn't living what I knew to be true. In fact there was great darkness, violence and fear in my life and the only thing that kept me going day after day was pulling the covers close each night and praying the Lord's prayer in quiet desperation. 

As a divorced single mother, I met Mr E in 1991. He asked me out and that first date was a Sunday night service at the church he attended with his brother and that first night I discovered Jesus, not the baby in a crib I'd always known of, but the Saviour who would turn my life over and change me from the inside out. 

Over the following weeks I would see visions of Scripture verses, they looked like a telegram print-out, appear often before my eyes, and I'd run to the Bible to see what the verse said. Every time it was a promise and the very first one was Jeremiah 29:11. 

Five months later Mr E and I were married in that church (sadly, many of the congregation did not approve because I am seven years older than him) and by May 1994 another two babies had arrived to fill my arms. 

Life was not a bed of roses as three of my older children had been taken away by their father and I was not to see them again for many, many years...but through it ALL, God stood with me, held me up, caught my tears, gave me hope, and filled my heart anew each day with joy. 


I haven't shared this part of my story before and I may never again. Why? Because every one of us has a story of loss, grief, trial and tribulation. There is a lot more to my story of sorrow and rejection, and losses which still impact me today because they have never been restored, but there is a bigger story of HOPE which triumphs over it all.

Those hard experiences are not easy to talk about, and to be honest, the rest is very private...but I think most of you have deep griefs in your heart, sorrows which are hard to bear day after day. The only way I have managed to stay the course of this life, this plan the Father has always had for me, is by clinging to His Word, falling daily into the arms of Jesus, and taking my eyes off myself to see how I can encourage others. For when we take our eyes off our own circumstances, it's far easier to accept that there is much in this world which hurts individuals and families, but looking out from within, we just might be able to impart a little love and kindness to others - as Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." 

I had no intention of sharing this much with you today, but the Holy Spirit had other ideas and I've learned to let Him have His way. Perhaps you needed to hear it?

Use the link below to download this week's postcard and let the Father speak into your heart as you stitch.

DOWNLOAD the week 5 "Postcards From Heaven" pattern.



Bless your dear, dear, hearts my friends!

May you walk upright in life, eyes ahead, shoulders back, and with hope in your heart always.

Love

 

Other links in this post -
The Homemakers Heart free digital magazine (two issues available currently) HERE
Scone Recipe HERE

42 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story!! It is amazing that you were comforted by more children after the loss of the others. My daughter here struggles greatly in keeping her children primarily with her and we keep praying GOD will remove the pedo sperm donor (that is about all he was worth). Life holds some huge sad places for some of us anyway. We are not close to our older grandkids, either in physical distance or emotionally. We have done all we can...but have to accept this very unwelcome place we are in and acknowledge that we may never see any of them again...for many reasons including our age and inability to travel now. But the next life will arrive one day and there we will I believe, be somehow restored to what the locusts stole from us here!! I enjoy your crafts and sharing!!

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  2. God bless you Jennifer. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  3. Dearest Jennifer, only good can come from following The Holy Spirit’s promptings. I must admit I did often wonder about your back story. You are brave to tell your story and also we see the many blessings in your life through your writings. Thank you for your honesty and sharing. You Nana and your Muma would be so proud of you.
    Blessings Gail.

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  4. Hi Jennifer,
    Iced lattes, drives along the beach, garden photos...smaller garden areas are more doable and enjoyable. Thanks for labeling the garden plants :) Cosmos ! Your blog is a beautiful start to the day :)
    Tea week ! Great idea ! And a link back to an earlier post with a recipe and lots to read is a super thing to do :) It's like reading it again for the first time. Quite a lot to re read and explore at Elefantz :)
    Thanks for sharing, keeping it real. It may help more people than you think.
    hugs, take care,
    Joanne

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  5. It is lovely watching your garden grow and change. When we moved here 26 years ago you could soo from one end of our garden to the other (well, almost, as it does curve!) as everything was mowed and trimmed. It was 10 years later that I really appreciated how Philip had planted and allowed things to mature. We had sections of garden that were private and no longer could we be seen everywhere from the road. Thanks for sharing your story and it sounds like you had a lovely weekend. xx

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  6. Thank you for sharing, you are an inspiration to so many. You are spreading God's word in a humble and real way.Carol.

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  7. I am so happy for another postcard, and I thank you for them!! The flowers in your garden are like kisses from God to me...I love them!

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  8. Oh my, Jennifer, my heart is filled with love for you and our Saviour. Thank you for sharing your story, it just shows how much people can hide behind their smiles. I love baking too and scones were something that always remind me of my gran as they are something that we made a lot at her home from our trusted Be-Ro cookery book. x

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  9. God's Word never comes back void as you know Jennifer .Our testimonies are very powerful. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable, I pray that your sharing will bring others to know our wonderful Lord and Saviour. He is using your life experiences, your talents and your open heart to reach those in a desperate and dark place. He has Blessed you with a wonderful man, and family. xxx

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  10. Yes, I needed to hear it. Thank you. I commented over on IG on your postcard, and then God led me here to read your story and I understood why it resonated so deeply with me. I also have a back story that I may never be able to share, and even though I have lingering physical and mental issues, praise God, He delivered me from my chronic depression on Palm Sunday. I wish I could tell you what an encouragement this post is. As the light is filtering through the shadows of my past, God is showing me that I can go forward and encourage others who are hurting. In simple ways for now - a note, a set of stamped cards, a comment, a crocheted shawl... and it's ok to be simple. May God bless you today, Jennifer. May He hold you close and show you He loves you in unique tangible ways that make you know it could only be Him. I count you a friend, even though we haven't met. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your talents, life experiences, and even the vulnerable parts. I am amazed at the depth of your faith and eagerly await your next post because the prayers your share are the most eloquent, heartfelt, sincere words and draw me closer to the Father. Bless you!

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  12. We all have a back story and you sharing yours will shine a light of hope for so many. It makes our pain a little less when we can share our story to help another, almost like understanding that there is a reason for us having to walk that particular path. Dear Jenny, may the healing balm from our Lord soothe your tender heart, knowing you are helping so many by revealing your story...you made it through your pain and they can as well. No matter what happens, God is in control and He loves us, wanting only the best for us.

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  13. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
    ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    These verses were fulfilled today as they have been living and actively bringing hope through the centuries!
    Hugs from Alaska

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  14. I love your perfectly timed post Jennifer! Last night my husband & I were listening online, studying Hebrews. Your post of family, tea, gardening, & sharing from your heart encourages me! Hebrews 10:23-25 reminds us to "hold fast' to the Hope we have, considering how to stimulate each other to love & do good deeds, not forgetting to gather together, encouraging each other.. everything in this post of yours has done that for me, all because of Jesus. You write letters to us gals, sharing your love for the Lord Jesus Christ, & everything He has made. Thank you! Even though we don't get to sip tea together & visit (though I wish we could), you inspire us to do so in our homes, with others close to us. What a gift you are. >>Hugs<<

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  15. Thank you for sharing, Jennifer, and for once again drawing me into a peaceful moment. We all have backstories, but it's amazing how God makes it work for our good. God bless and keep you!

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing, Jennifer. Yes, we all have those stories, and yet, God...
    I'm enjoying the postcards and am saving them for when we are back on the road.
    I love a cup of tea in the afternoon - dh says I must have some British in me. ;-)
    Blessings, to you and yours.

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  17. My heart breaks for you as a Mother not having access to your 3 kids. I raised my 2 kids on my own for 7 years 24/7 after finally being able to get my ex to leave. 7 years later he came back and then had access to them week about [even though he had left town for 2.5 years without telling us or made any contact so the kids didn't really know him]. Being without them was like a death and I cried the whole time they were not with me. I wouldn't have coped if I had not seen them for years...big hugs and thank you for sharing such personal circumstances. Have a good week.

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  18. I love your idea for the Tea series. I have a few tea books, as that is something I really enjoy. An 'Invitation to Tea' by Emilie Barnes and 'Tea at Glenbrooke' by Robin Jones Gunn are just a couple of them. I also have a mystery series of books by Ron and Janet Benry with the focus being a tea museum.
    It can be hard sometimes to see that all the things that happen to us are plans for good. I find it helpful to pair this verse with Romans 8:28.

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  19. Jenny, thank you for such an inspirational post and God Bless You for all you have suffered. I love the postcard and will start on it tonight, I also downloaded your scone recipe and will make that tomorrow as I need buttermilk. Again, God Bless you for all you share and all the blessings you bestow upon us (your followers).

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  20. Your garden is the dream of my life. I know it needs a lot of work, but you and your husband have a great capacity, you are very hardworkers, so, your garden looks like a paradise.
    I love tea. In my country alwais the cofee was the king, bust, lately, tea has win protagonisme.
    I love the person, Jennifer. I don't have any problem with your noum. If you prefer Jennifer, is correct for me, of course. If you tomorrow will decide one other possibility, is correct for me too. In my brain you are dear friend from Australia. Dear friend sister in Jesus. Dear friend and admired designer, blogger, grandmother, mother, wife , housemaker...I am always in your debt. Thankyou very much, Jennifer. Hugs.

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  21. As you said, many people have sorrowful stories. You explaining part of your background helps all of us through challenging times. Thank you for sharing. I really admire how Mr. E does all the heavy lifting for you, to help get your garden set for more growth. It's wonderful to see the variety of flowers and vegetation you grow. And eggs! I can't imagine. Those scones look fantastic, and as much as I would drool over eating one or three, they would certainly be disadvantageous to losing the pandemic pounds I'm struggling with. You're most fortunate to have grandchildren who won't have a bit of problem appreciating your baked goods!

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  22. Sharing our back stories makes us vulnerable and that's always difficult. Bless you, Jenny, for sharing yours.

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  23. Darling girl. You are such an inspiration, always - you give of yourself so freely, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, sprinkling blessings in all you do. I am praying for you, my dearest Jennifer.....

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  24. Your garden is an abundance of culinary delights and colour. It must be so nice wandering around the yard seeing your hard work come to fruition. Tea Week sounds fun but don't over stretch yourself. Thankyou for sharing some very personal things about the hard road you have travelled as well as the positive things that it lead to. You are an exceptionally strong woman with unwavering faith that feeds your soul. Truly an inspiration for us all.

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  25. Not all things have been healed YET. The promises are there, and they will be fulfilled. Something I have learned about trials and tribulations is that they are the doors opening on opportunities. When we look for the blessings, at the worst of times, we find them. All things are for our good, and not at any time will that change, in all of eternity. You've had rough times, a lot of them, but you find joy in the small things and hope in the scriptures and the promises of Christ. All will be well, in God's own time. I know I'm saying this to someone who already knows it. =) Love you, Miss Jennifer.

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  26. Jennifer, Your post today touched me like no other. Thank you.

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  27. Dearest Jennifer, I have had a full week and just skimmed over your post from Wednesday, but today I read all of it. Tears are streaming because God had a purpose for me not reading about all that you've had to endure in your life until today. I have been in a cocoon feeling sorry for myself and you have opened my eyes. I have a long story and now have hope that the ending is going to be blessed ten-fold. Thank you so much you don't realized how you have saved me.

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    1. Darling girl, know that I am holding you before the Father today, and I pray you experience a fresh washing in His love, that you will know without a doubt He is walking with you now and always. xx

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  28. A beautiful post Miss Jennifer. You have always been brave, courageous and a beacon of hope. This post proves it. Much love my dear friend xx

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  29. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story. You truly are a brave and extremely generous and loving person. Thank you for all you share. Glenise

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  30. Thank you, Jennifer! I so needed to hear your testimony today. Thank you for hearing from the Holy Spirit and being obedient to His leading. You will never know, this side of heaven, how many of us you have encouraged to a deeper relationship with the Lord. Sweetest blessings upon you and all of yours.

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  31. Jennifer Sending love and prayers your way always my friend. I accept you as you are and have for numerous years now. The Lord has brought you through many a trial to get you to where you are today so that you could minister to this huge amazing bunch of women from all over the world via your posts. And your garden by the way is absolutely gorgeous. I love the planter boxes you made from the pallet wood. I keep begging my husband to acquire some pallet wood for this purpose. But to no avail. So wish you were my neighbor. I am also looking very forward to the study on Tea that you have planed. Sending hugs for you my friend...

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  32. Oh Jennifer

    Your sharing is so encouraging.
    Your raw honesty is always so refreshing.

    Thank you for sharing with us and for us.

    God bless.
    Debra

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  33. I thank you for being brave and sharing part of your past Jennifer. I agree it is very difficult to share our personal testimony (I do not share all in my past either - God knows it and I have poured it out to Him as I need to). You have likely encouraged many by what you have shared today. I know I benefit from your sharing of His word when I find time to read your sweet wisdom. Many prayers for you... Sharon in Indiana

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  34. Scones mom would make them on Wednesday & Sunday , I can't seen to get it right, She never used a recipe with anything she cooked. Your garden is amazing. watch out for that Lemon grass ( lemon balm ) if it seeds you will find it everywhere, I keep a small plant I let it flower for a day then cut the flowers off, Thank you for the postcard it's Lovely. Ann.

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  35. I hope and pray that your first children were not listening to any bad mouthing their father may have said about you. When hubby divorced and married me, 11 years younger than him the first wife soon married a man about my age at that time. He was rough with the children. I do not know if their personal selfishness came from this or her. It took years for me to help heal my sweet man from both her bad mouthing during their marriage, and his mother's as well. His mother had 6 children very fast and overwhelmed her emotionally! Long after they were all married did she become more of a true mother to them. She spent many summers with us, reading canning and baking. I grew to love ehr as well. May Our Loving Lord Bless you as you and your children grow together.

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  36. Thanks ☺️ Jenny again I hope you got my postxxMary Lou

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  37. My best friend was divorced (lots of abuse) with 2 little boys when she met her now husband. Her new husband is 8 years younger than her. They have a daughter, but he treats the boys as if they were his own. When everyone saw the way her new husband treats her, no one noticed the age difference anymore (he treats her like a queen). So glad you got a keeper this time.

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It's always nice to receive feedback on a blog post, so *thank you* for taking time to comment!
I will try to reply via email unless you are a 'no reply blogger' which means you'll have to check for my reply in the comments. Of course, life is a rather hazardous activity, isn't it? So if I don't respond to your comment that's the reason why - life simply stepped in...
hugs
Jennifer
x