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.
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,