Sunday, April 11, 2021

Why are you mopping so fast?


I love this quote; it resonates deep within my heart, becoming yet another confirmation that my desire and delight for homemaking, matters far more than I will ever realise this side of heaven. 

With each passing week since drawing back from full time designing, home's light has shone that touch brighter; my steps no longer rush to and fro in order to achieve a never ending list of chores and deadlines.

I've not shared this before, though my dear Blossom knows because soon after it happened I rang to tell her, so profound a moment was it! - but a few months back when I was madly trying to mop the tiled floors through our home, pushing the mop back and forth at a rate of knots and audibly groaning with annoyance the entire time (I used to hate mopping), the Lord broke through my aggrieved mood and asked very softly, "Why are you mopping so fast?"

Truly, it was like a bolt of lightning, so immediate did He catch my attention and cause me to stop right where I was, unable to answer. Because I did not have an answer to give. 

Why was I mopping so fast? 

A natural tendency, all my life, has been to fill every moment with something to do. I'm not sure if I ever just sat and watched television or a movie, unless at a theatre. In my memory there was always something in my lap, something for my hands to do; knitting, stitching, folding, ironing...even preparing vegetables balancing a chopping board on my knees while I rocked the baby in the bouncer with my foot (which I would not do now because I am renowned for cutting myself and the family watch me like a hawk if I pick up a knife so I tend to chop when they're not around, though Rafaella is quick to notice the Band-Aids on  my fingers and lectures me with "Nana, you got to be careful").

Many of you have asked over the years, "How do you get so much done?" and that's probably the answer. I'm just always doing something. 

I was doing Family Day Care in my home back in the 80's and here's one funny story for you to show how this tendency to stay busy has always been in me. I was pregnant with baby number four (two oldest children were in school, and I had a 2 yo at home with me) and I cared for three day care children Monday-Friday. They ranged in age from 12 months to 3 years old. 

One Friday evening in April 1985, after all the parents had picked up their kids, and my own children had been bathed and fed and were settling down with stories before bedtime, I had a little niggle in my tummy. The baby wasn't due for three more weeks so I ignored it, and after the children fell asleep I got to work folding washing, doing the ironing, and getting a head start on breakfast prep for the next day. Just before 11pm my waters broke and after an anxious drive to the hospital, my little girl was born at 12.20am - my shortest labour and the only one where my water broke. 

Sunday morning I arrived home with the baby, and Monday morning I greeted all my day care parents at the door with a newborn in my arms. And you know, even though they were shocked, it all seemed so normal to me and I got on with life that same way for the next 35 years.

As an empty nester I worked on Elefantz Designs and the busy life rolled on. When we decided we were getting on enough in years that we had to buy a house fairly quickly I just worked harder to save for the deposit. And after that goal was realised late in 2018, my mind was fixed on getting the mortgage paid off fast because I was already 59 and the bank would only give us a short mortgage.

My Nana was always busy and I grew up with her as my homemaker example so I suppose it's no surprise that I was never lazy in keeping house, but she'd more than likely have chided me about adding a self-run business on top of everything else. For Nana, running a home was her employment, and whilst busy at it, she never rushed. Things were done methodically, calmly, always in tune with the rhythm of her day to day life. It was a joy to watch her go about her tasks, just as it was a joy to her to have those tasks in her very modest little flat. She appreciated home and made it her delight to fill it with love, cleanliness, good simple food, and the best hugs anyone ever gave.

So that's a little background. Now to that afternoon of brisk mopping.

When I stopped to consider what God had asked me, and told Blossom, and prayed for understanding, I got a very clear picture of what needed to change. Or should I say, how "I" needed to change. 

Being settled in your mind, calm in your spirit, relaxed in your manner, unhurried in your tasks, gentle in your attitude and happy in your home - that's an ideal for those of us who love being homemakers. But to achieve an ideal you need to act on that desire, and correct your course, in order to bring those wonderful results to pass. 

That is what God was really saying to me. "Jennifer, you hurry everything so you can get to the next task, so you can cross things off your to-do list and feel accomplished. But then tomorrow you will repeat the same pattern and over time you have come to realise that you're not very content, calm or happy - you just get a lot done and don't reap much joy."

So what did I do with this epiphany, or "loving correction"?

I have never mopped fast since that day. I even bought a steam mop to make the task more enjoyable, which it is. But that's just a small thing, really. In the big picture I have turned my life around and given my love for home a fresh dose of JOY - joy that bubbles over from within each and every day. 

Elefantz Designs is now the sideline, homemaking is the headliner. And my, oh, my, how I do LOVE the ever widening realm it brings to life! I actually get dismayed at having to attend to the business because I'd rather be wiping down the inside of the fridge, cleaning the bathroom or mopping the floors. And even as I write this it sounds quite bizarre, yet it is the truth! I feel pure delight within our home, tending it with unabashed love, and each day offering gratitude to our Father in heaven for his gentle question, a question which turned my life over until it was right-side up, the way it always should be.

I wish I could let you into my head and heart right now so you could genuinely feel what I am sharing today. I call it a miracle, because I have always loved homemaking and thought I was living that out with integrity and care...but now I see much of that was simply 'doing' to achieve satisfaction for a job well done, even to receive admiration from my loved ones. 

In such a short time, I have become more content than I can remember. As though I've found my place at last and it's not about who will see what I have done (hardly anyone) but Who sees my heart attitude and Who helped to expand my view of the high calling this wonderful role of homemaker truly is. 

Tell me, are you mopping too fast?

The photos above were taken yesterday when I decided to make an Apple and Passionfruit Crumble. Our passionfruit vine was literally dripping with fruit so I needed to use a lot of them up. This is the best crumble ever, but it's the first time I made it with fresh passionfruit instead of the usual canned. So that we can continue to enjoy this after the harvest is over I have been freezing passionfruit pulp in ice cube trays.

It's almost sundown on Sunday, and as we had roast lamb, vegetables and gravy for lunch (we've started having a Sunday roast each weekend like when I was a child with Nana) I'm just about to brew a cuppa and butter some currant scones for our supper. There's still some of the homemade plum & cinnamon jam left and it tastes delicious on scones so I'll sign off now and go bless my hubby.

No matter what your life holds, or how many responsibilities you have, try to mop slowly...whether that be with a real mop or with tasks in general. Stop to smell the roses, my friend. You'll never regret it...



Angela said...

Today is our final Sunday in Ministry - Bob retires and we move tomorrow morning. A whole new adventure awaits - and different "ministries" too. But this post resonates...we can slow down and make our new home there (in a lovely country village, near friends and family, a place where we already have roots) God has blessed us and we are thankful. And I will mop slowly

Andrea said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post today. I slow down with the ironing. And yes, that is when I take the time to slow down and reflect. Mind you, I do this with the washing up as well. I am still working full time, but in this slightly peculiar worldwide event, I have the luxury of working from home. So instead of putting clothes in the dryer because I was time poor, I get the joy of hanging it on the line, and smelling the sunshine when I take it all off the line. A simple thing, but a joy none the less.

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
I totally get it. " Why do you grocery shop so fast ?" someone once asked me.
It's all very different now. I'm better for it :)
Homegrown passionfruit ! Together with apples in a crumble ! That is a treat :)
hugs, take care,

Gabrielle said...

You are so right! Life is more pleasant if we stop to smell the roses.
Your passionfruit reminded me of a wonderful juice blend my Oma and Opa would often make: orange and passionfruit together. It was so delicious!

Linda said...

What a lovely post! That voice of God certainly does pierce through our thoughts, doesn’t it. Your crumble looks delicious.

FlourishingPalms said...

This is an insightful, self-reflecting blog post that each of us would like to experience... a tap, a pause, a thought from God through the Holy Spirit is something I certainly long for. How wonderful for you to know you're on the right path. Some of us are waiting for a nudge like that. Thank you for sharing, and for being a joyful light cast upon homemaking, a way of life that (it seems) few people are drawn to or devote themselves to these days.

Louca por porcelana said...

Adorable post...Thank you.

Jeanneke said...

Thanks for this gem of a post.
"Stop to smell the roses".....

Winifred said...

I'm so glad you've slowed down to smell the roses! I wondered whether you ever managed to get time to sleep!
Have to say I never mop fast, like you I got a steamer but I must admit I really don't enjoy housework now I'm older. I used to love to decorate I always seemed to be painting and I loved listening to the pop music on Radio 1 as it was then while I was working. Must be old age creeping in!

A housewife writes said...

This is a very inspiring, thought-provoking post! You describe me to a T...never at a standstill, always accomplishing a lot, but I'm never sure to what end. It's a lesson I need to learn over and over. :)
Homegrown passionfruit in a homemade crumble...I can't even imagine! Sounds heavenly!

Lana said...

Many years ago God blessed me with a prayer partner. One day when we were praying together she prayed that I would learn to rest. Bam! I was shocked. How did she know? It took a long time but I have learned to rest and I am thankful for her prayer that brought me t my senses.

Jenny said...

God has used this past year at home to really coax me into homemaking. I was always a homemaker but before covid I was drawn too much to other things. All good things....mostly church things but also social & community things. But they took so much time & energy that I resented housework & cooking. Now I never want to go back.

How do you balance going to church with homemaking? My husband & I will be getting our firs covid shot this week. He has juvenile diabetes so we've stayed away from church. Our area just dropped the mask mandate April first but we've decided we've been away too long.....I can't tell if that's pressure from church friends telling me that, the Holy Spirit telling me or my own guilt? Not sure why but I do feel guilty at times for enjoying homemaking so much. I'm rambling...anyway I'd love to know what you think.

Lisa McCoy said...

Okay, I'm starting to wonder what's happening here, I will be 64 tomorrow and haven't really mopped slowly or with enjoyment yet. Again, tears are streaming as I finish reading today, because you have basically described my life. I just wish I was as smart as you several years ago!! Love and blessings

Rosie said...

Well said, but I always do my stuff slow and with deliberation, because it gives me great satisfaction to sit back and know how clean my floors are, how sparkly the sink is and crisp the sheets are! Others may not know it but my heart beams with the knowledge. Neither do I stand still but have learned along the way to have a break and not feel guilty!

Janni Harlick said...

I love reading your post, they always speak to my heart. Being a homemaker is my hearts desire but stuff gets in the way. As I enter my 69th year it’s time to step back from other things and focus on my home more. Thank you Jennifer for insights and your encouragement to follow my heart.

Janni Harlick said...

Oops that should be 60th year 😂😂

Tricia said...

Jennifer, I so appreciate your posts. Isn't amazing (although I shouldn't be amazed at our great God!) how God is so gracious to pull back layers of self - even in areas where we think we have been living with "integrity and care"? I've experienced it and it truly IS a miracle. I am so thankful for you. Your honesty is a blessing to me and your transparency is a gift from God to me, showing me little glimpses of how His promptings in my heart look in real life.

Dots said...

Jennifer, everything you are saying here is the truth. I have been reading your blog for several years, and often I would marvel at the PACE you were moving in each DAY!! Made me almost dizzy at times. Had me wondering...HOW does she do it?! I guess it was just easier to observe another person's activities. You certainly got plenty done. I'm glad you came to realization of, "Why are you mopping so fast?" The Lord is so good to speak to us. Just as He spoke to Martha that day. Martha was actually 'mopping fast', too.
We need to slow down and enjoy our time here. I started doing that in 2015. I enjoy most of my days now. I look for ways to slow down, not moving like the wind to get more done. It is adjustment for me. I've been working on it for six years. Relaxed, calmer and not jumping so fast, taking my time. Just so much more in doing that. I sometimes feel closer to the Spirit of God, more in tune, I think.
So happy for you Jennifer. Be well.

Tammy said...

Jennifer. So good to read your post....I often feel like I can barely accomplish the smallest of things with my health ..AKA ...Cancer issues.... It is hard trying to do so much inside of a home and outdoors as well. But I try to do only 1 or 2 of the most important things each day and every now and then when I do get energy I will try to do as much as I can on those days then take a rest day the day after that..

Anita said...

Thank you Jennifer for your spiritual insight and devotion to God. You have been and remain an inspiration to me throughout my days. Bless you.

JES said...

Beautiful message Jenny ❤️ Thank you 😊

Allie said...

Oh girl you know this post resonates with me, lol! I do everything fast - I hate feeling behind in anything - yet, I'll be doing it all again tomorrow. The rat race isn't just for those who work outside the home, we can create our own! A very good timely reminder to enjoy the journey. I know my guys don't care if the laundry is folded, the floors aren't mopped, although they care very much about dinner, you sweetie!

QuiltGranma said...

Yes so many of us aare in the Hurry Up and Wait mode! I love playing with fabric, and am slow to finish things. My older sis wonders why it takes so long. "Why didn't you continue?" when visiting at her home with my machine and fabrics. "I forgot something at home, I need... to continue." She has always been a hurrier, I have not. She lives in a busy city, that I could not tolerate for long, I live out in the country where there is little traffic. We all have our own pace. Take the time to pause, appreciate, and pray a big Thank You to our Heavenly Father for the gifts He has given us. Some tasks do NOT have to be done EVERY day. I used to live where we could walk along the creek on a trail, and I would go alone at my own pace, observing nature and praising God for each new growth, bunny or deer I sighted, teh Blue Herons or smaller water birds... It it was a hot day and God sent a small cloud to shade me I would thank Him for the relief the cloud gave me. Praise him for the wild flowers, for the fresh breeze to cool my brow, the lovely cast shadows on the undulating hills...

KingsailK said...

Thank you as I get older,64!,I love taking time to be in Our Saviour presence.It is a real present! XXMary-Lou