Sunday, April 4, 2021

Changes come slowly, but they are worth the wait...

 


Hello dear friends, I'm Jennifer. 

When I was growing up everyone called me Jennifer, and all my life I've loved my name. I used to think that was because my Mum named me and it must have been very special to her. 

She died in a car accident, aged 21, just one month after my 3rd birthday, so holding on to the name she gave me was special, and that's how I'd always thought of it - special, a gift of love from her that no-one could take away. 


Then in high school all my new friends called me Jenny, and I let them because it sounded much nicer than when the teachers addressed me as Jennifer in their gruff and serious voices. I wasn't a naughty student, but I had chronic migraines and needed to spend a lot of time in sick bay if I wasn't already home at Nana's resting quietly. The teachers thought I was pretending and labelled me as such so their tone with me was never all that pleasant.

The years passed by and 'Jenny' stuck, except that my husband always introduced me as Jennifer and when he said my name I felt that special love again. 

Lately this has been on my mind a lot, or perhaps it's been simmering in my thoughts for longer...time is an odd thing these days, it flows past like a running stream and weeks become months before you realise. Yet, this longing within me to go back, back to my full love-gifted name, has become so important that I decided to change how I address myself here and elsewhere. 

(honeyeater cooling down under the sprinkler, beside the raised garden beds)


When I made this decision to use my full name again, another aspect of who I am was magnified in my thoughts. The homemaker. 

For twelve years I've been designing, beginning just after my 50th birthday - who would have imagined a homeschool mum would embark on a career such as this when she's had no lessons or training, when she'd only picked up a needed and rotary cutter at age 46? Only God can do things like that; so unexpected, and not a path I had ever for-seen in my future.

(this green tree frog lives in my oregano pot, high off the ground where the cane toads can't hurt him)


As I shared a couple of months ago, I've begun to wind back my business to far less that what it was last year, leaving social media and spending more time immersed in the joys of homemaking again. My days are quieter now, there's a calm and peace in my soul which I've never quite experienced before. I still work on Elefantz Designs but its only an hour or two a day, and some days barely at all.

Home calls my heart when I open my eyes each morning and my heart really lifts with joy as I go about the chores, following natural rhythms, becoming more productive and alive with each passing week. I never really thought about 'enjoying' the previously disliked chores like scrubbing the shower or cleaning the oven, but now I do. I smile as I vacuum, sing when I'm dusting, and feel the deepest pleasure ironing my husband's work clothes. It seems as though a veil has been lifted from my homemaker heart.

(little Honey Cakes cooling as I make sage and onion stuffing for the Sunday roast chicken dinner with Blossom, Ross and the children today)


Don't misunderstand me, I was born to be a homemaker, wife and mother, and though I thrived in that environment, I don't think I felt the depth of gratitude or delight that I do today. Those emotions have magnified considerably this year, and continue to abound in both mental attitude and physical ability. It surprises me constantly how the more I work around home and in the garden, the less pain I feel in my body and the better I sleep at night. 

(a large linen dress found on the clearance rack for a few dollars became a beautifully soft bed cushion and apron on Saturday)


I'm swimming again every afternoon in the pool, and where this used to exhaust me, now it invigorates my body and gives me a second wind of energy to prepare a nourishing dinner before my husband arrives home.

If only I could express to you the change of mindset all this has brought about, and the numerous benefits mentally, physically and spiritually, but also in self discipline, attitude and self-assessment. 

(the finished cushion also used recycled buttons; perfect addition to the autumnal coverlet)




There's also been another change. I've started a new Instagram account, but this time it's not business. Now it's all about home life; in fact I've called it Home Life With Jennifer. 

I did begin an anonymous account to stay in the loop with my daughter Blossom, and my husband, and did not imagine doing any more than that with it. However, when you remove the business aspect, the professional need to 'grow' your followers, and just enjoy the opportunity to encourage homemaking as a joy, a privilege and a delight - well, it takes on a lovely tone, one it never had before. You can follow along HERE if you like.

I shan't be returning to Facebook though. After I left them both, it was not having a FB personal and business page that really made the difference to my time and stress. What a wonderful thing it has been to only receive messages via email or my Etsy Shop. So, please, if you do follow along on IG, don't message me about patterns or any business matters, okay? That's for email or Etsy only. Thank you. 

(the apron made from the linen, which I'll show more of soon)


Do you like the new blog header? It's very much 'me', as I am today, the woman I have grown into, the woman God has been slowly and patiently changing me into.

Sweet one, if there's one thing I really want to say to you today, it's this - pray and ask the Father to show you who you truly are. Let Him peel away the habits of time and reveal to you that precious and most beautiful YOU underneath. 

I have found contentment in a new way, and I believe that's probably the most important gift God has given me because the striving has ceased, and though I live with a dear husband who is always glass-half-empty and naturally very stressed in his nature, I can nurture peace and sanctuary within my own home and show heartfelt softness and kindness in my words, attitude and manner - and his response is to relax almost immediately. You see, we are most blessed when we give the blessing first.

I shall leave you now and return to my beloved who waits with soft music and a cuppa...

God bless you always,


34 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    A change of mindset can work wonders :) I totally agree :)
    Jennifer, thanks for all the encouragement. Looking forward te reading more on your blog :)
    Posies block 4 was a fun stitchery to do. Just waiting for sun and or snow, that's tomorrows weather forecast, to take a photo.
    hugs take care,
    Joanne

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  2. Thank you for your writing. It calms me and guides me.

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  3. Happy Easter Jenny,
    Miriam

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  4. Happy Easter to you and your family my dear. Thank you for your most precious writings. Sending warm wishes and God's blessings to the Elefantz family

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  5. Lovely girl - you are a rose by ANY name. Since stopping designing, I too am rediscovering joy, especially in creating, although it's taking awhile to get out of the mindset that everything I do has to be for profit! Your writing brings me such joy and comfort, and I know I'm not the only one. Love you dear Jennifer!!!!

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  6. I have not been able to let go of my FB because it's my main connection with people outside my family. I'm so isolated now & I have many friends that message me through FB. If I could close my account but keep FB messenger I'd try that.

    I'm enjoying your shorter posts & posting a little more so much. Thanks for sharing encouragement with us.

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  7. I don't use my full name, it reminds me of being told off as a child, and like yours, it was spoken in a stern voice, so I'm much more relaxed about using a short form. I've always known I was a homemaker but it's only since i've been retired that i've been able to embracevut. So I have time to read my Bible every morning, to go back to sewing which I previously did only when on maternity leave or holiday, and organise my day to suit my husband and myself only. I feel truly blessed and wanted to say thank you Jennifer for your words of encouragment as I adjust to this new season of life.

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    1. May the days and weeks ahead bring even more contentment and happiness, Gill. x

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  8. Lovely name, 'Jennifer'. I have always liked it. I had a good friend with that same name. Maturity makes such a difference with how we view ourselves,life,and even God. Changes are so much a part of everyday life, aren't they? I think Jennifer suites you nicely and that, it is much nicer sounding. I go by Dots, because I like dotted paper, fabric, and other things. But my name is Donna. Be well, Jennifer.

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  9. Jennifer - Love the new header and of course the name. Not sure if I ever mentioned that my first name is Jennifer, but after mickey taking when I was younger I decided to use my 2nd name Lesley (I also have 3rd Alexis!) but I loved the name and gave it to my Daughter :)

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  10. In 1997 I began a writing venture with a newsletter on Yahoo called Penny Ann Poundwise. In 1996 I took it to Xanga and I had some success (not monetary but large following) and then I moved platforms to Blogger because Xanga's ads were objectional to me. But something else changed after 15 years. Penny Ann Poundwise was a terrific persona to hide behind but I wanted to be more real. So I changed everything and began blogging as myself not a fictional character. I wanted to share my faith, my warts and struggles and painful things as well as my homemaking and money saving sides. I lost followers but I feel I've done some of my better writing in these 10 years and I've never regretted becoming "me" once more. I hope you find the very same peace in this era of your work. So even though I've been following you for quite a while I'll take time to say this: Hi, Jennifer....My name is Terri. It's so nice to meet you!

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  11. Dear Jennifer, isn’t it funny how we think of ourselves by the name/s we use. I’ve always been “Janice”, never even considering shortening it. It doesn’t sounds quite right when someone addresses me as “Jan”. However, if I’m talking to myself, I’m “Jannimary”, as my middle name is Mary. Everyone addresses my husband as “Mick”, except his mum and I. To us he is “Michael”. I don’t know why I always called him that, as he would have been introduced to me as “Mick”. I suppose it is because he is so special to me.
    I’m pleased that your most recent changes to your social media are making a positive difference to your life. Family, home and your well-being must always come first.

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  12. Dearest Jennifer,
    That might take a little getting used to as I’ve thought of you as Jenny, however, it’s lovely that you have shared your desire with us. I did always wonder how it came about that you grew up with your grandparents. So sad for a little one to loose a parent.
    I’ve loved what you have written today and will embrace your suggestion to pray about finding my true self. I believe one actually knows that instinctively but life gets in the way and often we try to live up to others expectations. Praying about this is certainly a wise thing to do. Thank you for your wise words.Blessings Gail.

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  13. How wonderful for you to have found your true self, even after age 60. I don't mean that in a disparaging way, but only point out that God has plans for us who are old. - They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. Psalm 92: 14. - It sounds as thought you are doing exactly that. Bearing fruit, and staying fresh. Continue to find peace in being yourself. Happy Easter! He is risen!

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  14. Jennifer, I love your New Header and what a lovely story about your dear mother so sad that she had to leave so soon. I don't do Instagram but will meet you here to visit. Thank you for everything you do. Happy Easter!
    Carol O

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  15. Your Mother was beautiful! My Mother lost her Mum at age 5, it surely affected her even though her step-mother (the only grandmother I knew) was a lovely woman. I am happy for you, happy that you have found the balance you needed and the peace that has stabilized your health. I continue to seek some calm in certain areas, some successfully, some not but I have accepted that as my cross to bear. Your posts provide a calming effect to my heart, knowing that a peaceful home is a goal that we all seek.

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  16. Yes, your header is lovely . That photo of your dear mother is absolutely beautiful. I completely understand how you have reclaimed your name, as I did a similar thing a few years ago. In my case, my parents spelled my name a certain way which resulted in everyone mis pronouncing my name so I changed the spelling . May you continue to find joy and peace with your homemaker heart.

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  17. Jennifer is a beautiful name, well done for taking this step to reclaim yourself and become the woman you want to be. Your mother was beautiful, this is such a special photo. Happy easter. x

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  18. Found you on Instagram this morning Jennifer - nice to see you back and I hope that you enjoy it more now. Lovely new header and that linen looks gorgeous. xx

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  19. Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for all the encouragement you give us homemakers. It is very refreshing to have a friend who loves God Almighty and lets us be free to love caring for our homes. I too have recently started using my first given name instead of my middle name my siblings preferred. I think my mom in heaven must smile every time my children call me Vivian. God bless you my dear.
    Vivankay

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  20. LOVE your new graphics! The roses are beautiful as was your post today. I too have cut back on so much after realizing nothing was getting finished. So many things were started from crafts and patterns to cleaning and gardening, but I couldn't seem to finish anything. Thanks to reading your posts I have come to realize that it's time to stop starting new projects and complete what really needs done. I think using a name you like is very important. It makes you happier with yourself. I never really liked mine
    (Billie) but with all the various nicknames I've had it's what I use now. Looking forward to your next post :)

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  21. Oh, I love it absolutely! It warms my heart when someone makes the decision you made regarding your name. Your mother was beautiful! It is only natural you would want to hold on to the name she gave you. My daughter-in-law who happens to be Chinese had taken the name Christine when she moved to the states. I asked her if she wanted me to call her Christine or Hua. She told me I could call her whichever I wanted. I told her I would prefer calling her the name her parents gave her.

    I have seen you grow so much through the years I've been following your blog. Thank you for being bold enough to share your life with us to be an encouragement for all of us.

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  22. Good for you, Jennifer! I like that name better than Jenny or Jen....

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  23. Your new header is lovely Jennifer. That is such a lovely photo of your mother. As for names, I will always say my name is Christine but my friends call me Chris or Chrissie. I don't really mind. My family always call me Christine though! I have a oousin called Christine. Her family always calls her Christine and we call her Chris. Her family always call me Chris. When we would be together (they live in Perth) and someone called out Christine, we would either both answer or neither of us would! xxx

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  24. I almost immediately relax, shoulders down, breathing slowed, when I read your blog. I have gone over to follow your instagram account....thank you.

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  25. This is absolutely beautiful. I teach home on Facebook but you describe what I want to share. You have a beautiful way to share with your writings. I’m so glad you are still blogging. I’m glad I didn’t miss this email! I’m trying to get in to Instagram but can’t find my password. Imagine thst. I stopped Instagram a while back and now because of you, I want to get back in. I’ll figure it out. Thank you fir all you do.

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  26. Thank you for the prayer. I simply love it. I am going to send it to my older granddaughters. I am going to pray this everyday. My husband likes to call me by my real name, Rebecca. I felt encouraged today from reading your blog. Thank you again.

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  27. Thank you Jennifer! A lovely accounting of your changes. As I near the end of my time here on earth I find that a lessening of that feeling of “should be doing” helps one’s appreciation of that part of existence.

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  28. Jennifer, so glad to hear you left facebook, for whatever reason. I too left facebook and won't be returning, it's just too time consuming for me. I enjoy reading your stories about your home life, they are so uplifting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing your life with us. Blessings to you and yours!

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  29. Dear Jennifer, once again your writing has touched my heart. I have recently begun to understand that I feel so very fragmented. I am a follower of Jesus, wife, mom of an adult son, pre-kindergarten teacher, sister, and friend. During Covid so much interaction has been on technology and I find it exhausts me. My mother-in-law has a failing memory and I am learning as much as I can and working daily to understand and support her new needs. I need to pray about how to let go of feeling responsible for nurturing all the people in my life though I love them dearly. Jesus has the answers. Thank you for helping me ask Him the question. God bless you - I am thrilled for your new peace and joy and health!

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  30. Bonjour Jenny

    J'aime beaucoup vos articles , ici en France il y a très peu de femmes au foyer , j'en fus une quand mes enfants étaient petits je n'ai jamais regretté ce temps là .mais j'ai dû travailler , j'ai donc choisi l'aide à la personne ce qui correspond un peu à la femme au foyer ! oui j'aime les travaux d'intérieur ( ménage , couture ..) j'ai l'impression de faire du bien autour de moi , cela a un sens .
    Merci pour tout Jenny

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  31. Peace be unto you, Jennifer. I have a granddaughter named Jennifer as well, born to a young mother, who gave birth to her first child at 14! Jennifer is her 4th child. Unfortunately it was a broken home and all the children struggled with choices. We pray that they will come to Jesus, turn thier lives around and follow HIM. I do not do instagram either, I hope you continue to post here. Blessings to you!

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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