Saturday, June 12, 2021

Look after yourself too...


Another week passes by.
Rhythms rise and fall with each new day, and though at times my plans sway in another direction than that which I'd planned, there's almost always a gentle predictability to this gentle domestic life which I cherish and hold close to my heart. 

The first half of the week I gave much needed attention to pattern piecing, subsequent photography of the blocks, and then writing patterns. My sweet daughter, Blossom, was still unwell and not able to catch up as we'd normally do one or two days a week, so I wrote a list of chores, recipes and business tasks to fill the days alone at home which lay before me.

It was wise to productively fill this time with tasks which I'd fallen behind in as admittedly my Mother and Nana heart deeply misses the wonderful hours we usually share, but it was important to keep our distance so her nasty cold could run it's course and not spread. I made chicken bone broth soup, French chicken salad, bread rolls and a feta, tomato and pasta bake which I left at her door.

When I arrived there was a parcel waiting for me. A beautiful framed print by Lore Pemberton. Many years ago I embroidered a cushion for Blossom which featured a little girl holding her mother's hand, and beneath it read "you always held my hand". Blossom treasures that cushion, and when she saw this print she knew I'd love it. So very blessed. 

On Thursday I was able to visit with Rosie and we had a wonderful morning, feasting on a delicious Pumpkin Spice cake she'd baked, and lots of hot tea because the early winter day began a little cool. 

When I came home it was time to tend the garden. It still amazes me how the roses come to life here in the winter, and I especially love the miniature white rose near our back door. This year I've been drawn to white and planted out white marigolds as well. All the white flowers create a striking background to the deep pink petunias and red geraniums...

The morning primrose (below) is a cutting from the large bush in the front garden which has grown beautifully in a pot, but next week it shall be planted in the back garden. The bees adore morning primrose and I can stand for ages watching them buzzing to and fro filling their pollen sacks with a tea cup in my hand.

There's also an abundance of blooms on the blue rose. I was asked in a comment recently if I'd share a photo of it, and here it is...

It's not a blue-blue, but is a deep pink with blue tones and the more it opens the more obvious the blue tones are. When the buds have not yet opened the colour is a much richer pink.

The Hydrangea blanket is coming along nicely, though not a lot was done this week, but as Rosie reminded me, its too hot to crochet blankets across our laps for most of the year in the tropics, so we crochet them through the winter. Suddenly I felt much better and am no longer rushing to complete it, but enjoy crocheting a couple of rows each evening before bed.

We ordered a new mattress about a month ago, and yesterday it arrived. We've returned to a Tempur memory foam as its the only one which helps alleviate some of my husband's physical pain so that he can sleep. We remembered from the last one that when it is removed from all the thick sealed plastic used for delivery (and storage in a warehouse I imagine) there's a very strong chemical odour which takes days to disappear, so we're camping out in the loungeroom on our old mattress in the meantime. 

Hopefully this will only be for a few nights, but for now I'm thinking it may just be a nice resting place mid afternoon to snuggle down with a new book.
I watched the movie of Ballet Shoes on Britbox last weekend and absolutely loved it so I bought the book from Amazon Australia on Monday. It arrived yesterday and my heart leaped at the beautiful cover with it's deep maroon velvet ribbon. I'm discovering that many classic children's books these days have the most artfully exquisite covers, which adds to my delight reading them.

We read many, many such classics when I homeschooled the children, and it's one of those pastimes I've really missed, so this year I began to purchase titles which we'd not read but had always wanted to. 
It's been a bit of a revelation for me to acknowledge my love for good children's literature, and that it wasn't just for reading to my family because there's an abiding love in my own heart even now for them. 
I'm still an Agatha Christie fan and am gradually listening to all her books through Scribd, but again, it's that classic style which draws me in. Good literature from simpler times. I used to use Audible but it became cost prohibitive. 

(NOTE: With Scribd I pay one low monthly fee (half that of audible) and can download as many audio books as I like to listen to. They rotate them often so each month I have a few more Christie audios to choose from as well as thousands of other books to read or listen to if I like. The difference is that with Audible you own the book you download, but with Scribd you are borrowing it, and this suits me better as I rarely re-listen or re-read a book.)

After finishing a slow and deep study of Mark's gospel, this past week I've been reading through 1 Thessalonians, and will move on to 2 Thessalonians tomorrow. The verse highlighted below became quite pivotal to the way I viewed homemaking a few years back and I thank the Lord always that He used it to bring clarity upon an area I'd not fully taken to heart previously.

Also in my week...
A new design in the making.

An abundance of herbs throughout the garden being added to many recipes and teas.
I've also popped some rosemary in my favourite (unusable) tea pot with a few baby chrysanthemums and a gerbera (which was attached to the wrapping of my gift from Blossom) and the fragrance through our kitchen is wonderful!

Making our own yoghurt for breakfast is back in my routine again, and it's so easy in the Easiyo container. 

Baking as self-care.
My dearly beloved is not a fan of cake, much preferring biscuits (cookies) or a slice (bar), so they are what I predominantly bake, but something he says to me every day when he leaves for work in response to my question, "Is there anything I can do for you today?" got me thinking yesterday.
You see, he always answers the same way, "Look after Jennifer."
It matters to him that I look after myself and not overdo things or take unnecessary risks, so that he doesn't have to worry as much when he's away from home for such long hours. And truly, I am more intentional, and more thoughtful, about all my activities at home since he made me promise this when beginning his current employment last December.

Yesterday when he drove off, I thought about ways I may not be looking after myself and after scrubbing out both fridges, sorting through the entire pantry for out-of-date ingredients or packages, and watering the vegetable garden, it occurred to me that I rarely bake a cake anymore, and friends, I love cake. Give me cake over a cookie or slice any day.

So I prepared dinner and while it was simmering on the stove I baked one of my favourite cakes, Blueberry Crumble. 

Cooling on the kitchen bench, I planned to enjoy a thick slice for morning tea the next day (which is today), and that's exactly what happened. Served with fresh strawberries and Cherry Splice tea, I luxuriated in spoiling myself for twenty minutes. 

I think perhaps, that we can sometimes spend so much time doing for others, or cooking what our loved ones enjoy, that we overlook making moments to treat ourselves. My quiet and delicious mid-morning treat today revived my tired mind and wearied body, and you know, it was such a small thing really, yet to me this was some needed self-care. 

I don't go in for a lot of that because there's an element of selfishness which can step in and I've seen a lot of evidence for that in social media, books and articles...but the occasional treat, that's what I shall pursue. For when a treat is occasional, it means much more than if it became an everyday thing. I hope I'm explaining myself here, as I realise sometimes what I write can be misconstrued. 

Morning or afternoon tea is a regular break for me each day,  and I need it so I can stop what I'm doing, get off my feet, and just relax for twenty minutes in a comfy chair with a nice cup of tea and perhaps a biscuit or scone. But taking time to bake a special cake, for myself, well, that was making an occasion and doing something for myself that otherwise wouldn't happen. 

I've divided the cake into quarters now, and there are two wrapped and stored in the freezer for the next time I need a little self-care treat. A third quarter is going to my elderly neighbour, and there's still plenty of the fourth quarter left for me to enjoy over the weekend. 

If you're after the recipe I'll share it inside the next issue of The Homemakers Heart magazine which I'm hoping to have written by the beginning of July. 

So tell me, how long since you made an occasion of treating yourself to some self-care? What did you do? Is it time to treat yourself again?

May the Father, from whom all blessings flow, be your strength, hope, shield and comfort in the days and weeks ahead.



gail said...

Thank you Jennifer for another lovely post. I also have a pretty teapot which I can’t use because it dribbles tea everywhere when I try to pour from it. I might borrow your idea and place some flowers in it. Your cake looks so nice and I’ll look forward to your next magazine. I guess I treat myself with a little cross stitch each evening and the other treat, I occasionally have a little rest in the afternoon. Just for 1/2 hour or so but it really refreshes me.
Have a lovely weekend .
Blessings Gail.

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
The weeks pass quickly with lots of creative things to do inside and outside.
The grandkids would love that bed in the livingroom :)
Good to see your designs in progress :)
hugs, take care,

Kay said...

So many lovely parts to your blog post today, Jennifer. I especially like the print that Blossom bought you, it is so pretty and has a lovely memory attached to it. The baking a cake really resonated with me. My daughters have left home and my son rarely eats anything sweet, my husband and I try to eat less sweet food these days but I realised that I missed baking so much. I used to love baking with my Gran and her pantry was always full of home baked treats. When I had my family I used to have two baking mornings a week to fill the cake tins with lovely food. Baking brings me a lot of happiness and I decided recently that I still need to have a baking session every week just because of the joy it gives me. We eat some, some goes in the freezer, I take some to my daughter, and also the family of my son's girlfriend gets some too. There are plenty of people who appreciate home made cake and it keeps me happy at the same time. x

Jenny said...

I know you've missed your sweet littles while they're all sick. I make lists & clip them on a clipboard on my kitchen wall to refer to when my mind & heart are not motivated. It seems to help if I choose something simple, get it done, mark it off then I find steam to keep going. I sometimes wonder how I would do if I wasn't able to spend so much time with my grandchild. I already struggle on the days he doesn't spend with me.

I think I'm doing better with my weight & health because I'm not socializing so much. I've finally lost my covid weight gain & a little more besides. But oh I do miss the fun meals with friends.

I've never heard of white marigold? I need to look for seeds.

I agree with Rosie. Now that it's hot here I've set a side alot of handwork for cooler activities.

We just signed up for Britbox so I'll have to look for this movie! And as I said on IG (@jennylovescharlie), I haven't read the book. I really want to now. I collect children's picture books & read them often. It cheers me to read the sweet stories to myself but I read them with my grandson too. I'll start adding chapter books to hopefully read with him as he grows.

I have the verses from Thess. displayed above my work desk. I 'discovered' them about three years ago now & they have so encouraged me in my choice to work at home when the peer pressure is strong.

I've discovered cooking for one recipes so I can indulge myself a little without all the leftover. My husband can't eat the sweet desserts as he is a type 1 I almost never bake. But making a single muffin or scone is my treat, or buying one from a local bakery.

I am sorry for such a long comment but sometimes I just want to sit & visit back & forth as I read your posts. I know your time is very precious so I try not to do this often but today...either I needed it more or the post was just full of things I love! Thanks so much for sharing.

Jenny said...

And yes...please do share the recipe!

Águeda said...

There really is a new calm, a new slow and meaty rhythm to your words.
I hope that Blossom and her husband recover very soon.
Thanks for your nice post. A hug.

Winifred said...

That's lovely what you say to each other in the morning Jennifer. Hoping Blossom & Ross are recovering especially with that lovely food you made for them.
I love listening to the e audio books I get from the library, I think they're Australian Bolinda Audio Books. They don't have everything I'd like to read, too many American crime books which I don't like but they have a lot of books that I've really enjoyed. It makes the more mundane housework tasks more enjoyable.

Glad you're enjoying a little cooler weather ours is quite hot for us (probably cooler than your weather) but very pleasant. Forecast tomorrow is 23C sunny and some cloud with a moderate breeze, just perfect.

Sad now that Call the Midwife has finished I absolutely love it even though I need a couple of hankies but there will be another season next winter. Another of my long running favourites is Death in Paradise, the setting is gorgoeus especially as it usually runs in our winter and it's great, so funny. I've started watching it from the beginning again on iPlayer. Luckily two more series are planned. It's my youngest granddaughter's favourite programme, she's 11! They even called their new puppy Selwyn after the Commissioner!

Looking forward to your cake recipe!

Lilian said...

Hi Jenny, I'm a first-time responder to your blog, which I've been following since the middle of last year.
Thank you for taking the time to share your faith-journey. It is a wonderful gift you have, and does inspire and bring more people to a closer relationship to God than you think.
God bless you for freely sharing your talents, too. As I've been looking (supposed to be sorting) through the (old) magazines at the craft group I go to, I find I'm recognising your work before I look for a name!
Love your idea for the teapot - amazing how many there are that don't pour properly - I think I have two or three here that will be re-purposed!
Till next time, big hug...

GeneGribouille03 said...

Très agréable de lire cet article j'espère que Blossom ira mieux bientôt oui il faut prendre le temps de sentir les fleurs prendre un peu soin de soi belle fin de semaine amitiés de France Geneviève

Tammy said...

Good Morning/ Night Jennifer. What a beautiful post from you on the Blog...Your cake/ slice looks delicious. Looking forward to the recipe in the next Edition of the Homemakers Heart Magazine. Which I adore this magazine and look forward to each and every edition to read and reread time and again. Now those roses you have are divine. Such rich beautiful deep colors...I will be so happy to hear when Blossom and family and healed of this nasty lingering cold.........Our weather has been super hot and humid with lots of thunder and rain storms the past couple weeks.... My flowers are loving the rain though as everything is green and thriving...The herbs are all doing beautiful. Thank you for always inspiring me to be a better person, mother, wife, daughter & friend

Dots said...

Hi Jennifer, It's so nice to read your blog. It is as if I am sitting at your table listening to you. A cozy feeling as I read this morning.
I'm with you on cake! I love cake, too. Just something comforting about the cake experience for me. I guess it is from childhood when cake baking was a common thing to do then. My mother and aunts baked cakes. Funny how things are so different today in households. In the States it seems people really don't bake much. Fast foods or take out have over taken life to a large degree. It no longer is just a treat. It is breakfast, lunch, and dinner for many people. I love a home cooked meal.
I agree. We all should take care of ourselves. I believe it is a right thing to do.
Be well, Jennifer.

Christine M said...

The print from Blossom is lovely. So is your crocheted blanket. The colours are so pretty. Have a lovely week, Jennifer. Hugs, Christine xx

Susan said...

What a lovely visit, Miss Jennifer! I feel I've had a lovely walk around the garden, a bit of cake myself, and we've chatted about all kinds of things! Blossom does know her mother! I have planned an ice cream treat with a friend, just as soon as I know when I'll feel well enough after some treatments. Everything is on hold for that right now, which makes your wonderful post even more wonderful as I could sit here and read it with peace.

Kim said...

Thank you for another beautiful and inspiring post. It's always good to be in the company of a fellow-beauty-seeking-homemaker. I so often just want to go make something beautiful and/or tasty after reading your posts. Today, I think I'll make some apple crisp for my tired family (vacation travels are often exciting, but tiring).

Robin in New Jersey said...

Here's hoping that Blosdom is doing better now. How sweet of you to take her some food. Not many people do that anymore.

Your garden is lovely. Such pretty flowers.

Somewhere recently I read that you had to get rid of your chickens. I was so sorry to see that.

Thank you for your encouraging words, Jennifer. 💞

Karencg said...

We women tend to care for our friends and family, and think of ourselves last.
I carve out a hour a day to sew, for my relaxation and pleasure.
I usually bake with hubby in mind. Once in a while I bake for myself. I enjoy coffee cake style bakes with fruit in them.

Nice to hear your hubby reminds you to care for yourself. That is sweet.

SusyQ said...

Its always a pleasure to read what you have been up to Jenny. When it pops up I will make a cuppa & sit down to enjoy your writings & lovely pictures. Our state library has free downloadable ebooks & audio books available which I used while unwell & housebound over the last 6 months. Maybe your library has something similar? Love to you & yours

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Our library does have audio books but they are not of a genre that I read.

Susan said...

Mid morning here and a nice cool sunny at the moment day here! Now l need some tea! I was craving for something sweet yesterday, something l love and can't eat much of and that's fudge. Well l made a batch and am going to try and resist having another. Love roses too but here at the coast it seems like its not suitable for them. Don't see many rose bushes around town. Love your blue rose also white roses make such special displays. I love audiobooks but its a problem for me as l can't seem to stop mid book. So l have earphones on and cell in pocket and go about my day listening. (Which reminds me l need to make an over the body bag for my cell to hang in. My denim jeans pocket is too small for cell)Poor hubby has to call to get my attention sometimes. Anyway take care of yourself and lots of daily blessings!