What do washing and flowers have in common? They are both beautiful in their own way, and each brings delight to my homemaker heart.
As a young girl I would sit quietly in the soft green grass of our small back yard and watch my Nana carry her wicker basket of freshly laundered washing out to the clothesline, a peg apron wrapped securely around her cuddly waist with a large bow, and an expression on her plump cheeks of sweet serenity.
That vision has stayed with me ever since, and I'm sure that's why I enjoy the task of washing even today after so many decades. I feel almost meditative drawing damp sheets from the basket, carefully laying them over the worn lines of our ancient Hills Hoist, pegging in place and then standing back to admire the view, especially when the wind blows.
Unlike Nana who washed just one day a week, my line flaps in the breeze most weekdays. In the late afternoon I take everything off, filling my basket, and carry it in to the bedroom where I once again enter that calm meditative, prayerful state, as I lovingly fold each towel, pillowcase, shirt, tea towel, clothing and cleaning cloths...yes, lovingly, giving thanks to God for all we have, for all He has given us, for having a husband to care for, a home to tend, hands to work, and an eager heart to create a sanctuary of love and care within our walls.
There is much beauty in the repetitive tasks of a homemaker, and for many years I did not realise this. Having always kept my home ordered, clean and tidy, even with many children under my feet, my attention to detail was motivated by a sense of needing approval and not falling behind. That's why over the past few years, as I reflected more deeply on the example of my Nana as a homemaker, there's been a complete change of heart in why I tend home the way I do.
The missing ingredients were calm contentment for what I have already been blessed with, and a deeper appreciation for the high calling of a homemaker. It wasn't about looking around at what others did or needing to have my home spotless; it was about the atmosphere this simple woman (me) could create within her home by just loving all she does and knowing who she was doing it for - God and family.
The older I am, the more I seek out beauty.
Beauty in how I go about my day with the tasks at hand, beauty in what I read, watch or listen to, and beauty in how I decorate each living space. I try to add special touches to each meal, often just a scattering of fresh herbs from the garden, as this to me is another aspect of beauty.
Fresh flowers, purchased each week when marked down at our supermarket, grace the dining table, my desk and often a few displayed in small vases or milk jugs around the home.
The roses below are entering their third week and still look fresh and beautiful! These were a $10 investment which have added to my homemaker joy and brought beauty to our table.
Chrysanthemums are always economical to purchase and this was huge bunch which I split between my desk and the kitchen cookbook shelves.
In the light of these past couple of years, I believe we need to look for, and create, beauty in our environment and in our hearts more than ever. There is joy, often pure delight, when our eyes rest upon something beautiful...
...but we can also become part of the beauty around us, by accepting and walking in the loveliness of simple everyday tasks, allowing them to be joyous expressions of love for home, family and the Lord.
The more I invest my heart in the tending of our home, the less time I have for wasted occupations and pursuits, and this recently brought 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 more vividly to mind.
"and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one."
Another passage which I feel comes alive when you seek to be about the business of your own home is the advice given to young widows (though I believe much of this can be applied to all women) in 1 Timothy 5:13-14.
"At the same time they will also learn to be idle, going from house to house and not only being idle, but also gossips and busybodies, discussing things they should not mention. So I advise the younger widows to marry, have children, and manage their households, denying the adversary occasion for slander..."
Today, this is not only going from house to house in person, but the time spent online, and as most of us know, places like Facebook are a hive of gossip, slander, time wasting and untruths. Any beauty found there is fleeting, but the beauty you create in your home from the attitude and desires of a homemaker heart, are lasting, life giving, joyous and pure.
I cannot say that I have arrived at where I desire to be as a homemaker, but the path before me is a good one and I intend to follow it, refining my character, habits, thoughts and plans along the way.
I was asked recently about a comment I made on a blog post where I mentioned my decision to only wear dresses now. The reader was interested to know if I make my own dresses, and the answer is no. The cost of fabric is quite prohibitive, and my skills are not at a level where I can justify such a financial outlay for a garment which may or many not fit or last.
I have a special shop online in Australia where I purchase suitable dresses from last season's clearance catalogue. They are beautifully made and soooooo feminine and flattering to my 5'1" frame, especially as they are flowing, floral and cool for the tropics. I also have a few dresses from local stores, also purchased on clearance. My apron collection is building too, as I need to cover my lovely dresses whilst doing the chores and cooking, but I am able to make them myself.
This is my favourite dress, and I loved it so much that I purchased two. Something I learned many years ago is that when you find something to wear that you truly love and wear a lot, buy two.
It's been many months now that I have only worn dresses and I can only say that they have been the most comfortable months I can remember. This is not for everyone, I know, but I'm seeking beauty in my own life and dresses have become a delightful part of that.
I had more to chat about but that can wait for another day. I am still working on the next issue of The Homemakers Heart and there's definitely a pretty blue-theme in there, especially this lovely embroidery set I have for you...
So for today I shall sign off and pray as I go...
"Now the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Biggest blessings and hugs,
PS: I've added a brand new pattern to my Etsy Shop, "The Homemakers Heart", and Block 6 of "Simple Days" is there as well. Use THIS link.