My eight day blog absence was not a planned retreat, but happened naturally after deciding this past week to allow the rhythm of days to dictate the ebb and flow of activities, and you know, it was lovely.
I do have a housework routine which is easily and joyfully followed day to day, but over the past few days I was able to catch up on a few unfinished tasks, visit with a friend, menu plan and cook ahead, tend my garden and feel that leap of joy every gardener knows when the newly planted seeds broke through the soil, go for an evening drive along the beach with my beloved, read interesting books, crochet more of the Hydrangea blanket, re-arrange the lounge/dining area, and spend relaxed time with Blossom and the children.
Some days were busier than others, but overall there was a balance of rhythms which stoked the fires of my homemaker heart. I doubt whether I shall ever be a woman who can just sit and do nothing, but you know, I have made my peace with that now. My productiveness is God-gifted so why fight it?
Having said that, I really am slowing down this year and being far more observant and intentional with all I put my mind to do. The benefits have been remarkable, with an ever deepening sense of satisfaction at day's end.
The difference between Jennifer today and a year ago is how I approach each task, each new day, every relationship, and each opportunity which presents itself. With intentionality, counting the cost, and considering the value (both today and eternally) of what choices are made.
The results have been life-changing and mind-changing, in fact I wish I'd done this years ago. Peace like a river, despite whatever circumstances arise, flows daily through my thoughts and I am finding the deepest contentment just in 'being' who God made me to be - not looking at others and wishing I were more like them, but taking stock of my character, likes and dislikes, changing what should be changed, removing that which is not needed (or not good for me), and gradually increasing more of the good things.
I'm also listening more and talking less, choosing to watch or read only that which inspires and encourages me to improve my character, practicing the habit of good posture (no more slouching, though this is still something I need to remind myself of numerous times each day), studying the Bible for longer each morning, embracing cleaning with a grateful heart for what we have, being even more mindful of my role in preparing a healthy nutritious diet every day for hubby and I, and assessing the most functional (and lovely) way to re-organise our home for better use of space and storage.
The other day I pulled the entire lounge/dining area apart for a deep clean, and once I began there was no holding back. Playing my favourite relaxation music in the background, everything was dusted, washed, polished and moved until by mid-afternoon it shone and sparkled, and a few things had been moved around.
Scrub, scrub, scrub...
My husband suggested a few months back that I should put my desk on the opposite side of the window underneath the air conditioning unit. It was too hot in summer for the dining table to be beside the window, though, so I had waited to try this.
Once the new layout took shape I was really happy he'd made that suggestion as it works well for me, but I especially love the dining table over by the light and it shall stay there all through winter and hopefully until late spring.
After all that work I brewed a cup of vanilla tea and enjoyed a very late lunch of leftover pasta, cashew parmesan, salad and a delicious drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Another thing has changed, especially the deeper I go into the art of homemaking - I used to think becoming a minimalist would be wonderful, but not anymore. When you choose to keep what you like, the things which hold value or simply bring joy to your surroundings, they are not clutter, they are emblems of home, evidence of a life lived, and hopefully lived with people you treasure and who treasure you.
I still love order, space and beauty within my walls (and in my yard, though men can think quite differently, LOL!) and regularly donate what's not being used or is excess to our needs, but you will never be able to call me minimalist. Thank goodness I finally got over that idea, especially as I was failing in it.
Hubby will be home from work soon so it's a late lunch for us, then he'll potter in the garden while I start a re-organisation plan of my sewing room, before settling down to re-read an old favourite and perhaps bake scones for tea.
God bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
May your weekend be a rhythm of peace, joy, laughter, refreshment and satisfaction.
PS: I shall do that Q&A post next week.