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.
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.
Bless your dear, dear, hearts my friends!
May you walk upright in life, eyes ahead, shoulders back, and with hope in your heart always.