Saturday, June 26, 2021

Washing and flowers and beauty...


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. 

(a reorganised kitchen drawer)

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. 

(pasta for dinner with fresh basil and cashew parmesan)

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...

(Charlie David 6 months)

...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.

(photo from Kobomo shop website)

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.


Kay said...

Hello Jennifer. I am a dress lover too, in fact that dress you showed is perfect for me style wise. I am always happier in a dress, especially in the summer. When I go into a clothing shop dresses have always been the first things that I looked at. I am also an apron lover, I have different aprons for what I am doing; one for cleaning, one for washing up, one for cooking, and one for baking. We recently had a couple of days away and went to an outlet mall of discount shops and I was thrilled to get a Cath Kidston one at half price, it is really long and has an adjustable neckline too so this has become my new cooking apron and I get s thrill every time I take it out of the drawer. x

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Roses lasting more that 2 weeks is a great find !
That's a super idea to add an Etsy shop suggestion with link at the end of your post :) Love how the border turned out this one:)
Enjoy the weekend !
hugs, take care,

Lin said...

Lovely post Jennifer. xx

Tammy said...

Good Morning Jennifer . So lovely to read your beautiful post today. I love that beautiful dress...I can see why its your favorite. I too am rather shirt at 5 foot 2 inches....... Have a beautiful Blessed day.

Jenny said...

Thank you for another encouraging post.

My grandmother was such a wonderful homemaker & kept her home spotless even though she stayed busy in her church or babysitting for friends. I never had an opportunity to be with her doing everyday things so I never learned her methods, sadly. My own mother was not a very good housekeeper. She often seemed overwhelmed. I fall somewhere in the middle of the two though I've longed to be like my grandmother since I was a young girl. To hear you talk about your grandmother reminds me of my own even though I didn't know her very well. I want my home to feel like her house...a safe, welcoming place.

Your comment on I Tim. 5:13-14 & social media....this has never occurred to me before. I do struggle with time online. It's my favorite thing to do with my free time & probably time I should be doing other things as well. It's my social time because I'm fairly isolated. Thankfully I don't have gossipy friends on my social media & I've blocked or hidden anyone who wants to debate. I'll be evaluating this habit to see how to find a better balance.

UmaKathy said...

I love your posts. I agree that beauty is in everything. I love looking at my cherished treasures an my Granny, who mad do with little, has always been an inspiration to me. Every penny I find on the ground is always a special kiss from her in heaven. I loved your sweet dress.

Jacqueline said...

You always calm my mind and soul.

Jan said...

II love your posts. They are gentle and soothing to my soul.

Ondrea said...

It is years since I have worn a dress apart from my daughter's wedding in 2015. I used to wear long Indian skirts for decades and long winter skirts with tights. However, I have always felt more comfortable in pants and so that is what I wear. I also find that my thighs rub together when I wear skirts in summer thus the reason I always wear pants lol. Love the pic of Charlie. I do love hanging washing on the clothesline but seldom get the chance with bad weather or burn offs. Housework, ah, not so enjoyable for me. I enjoy knowing things are clean and tidy but get a little sick of doing everything around the house myself. I need elves lol.

Karen said...

That dress is beautiful.❤️. I love it.
I looked it up. It's called Sunday Best. How wonderful is that! Aroha

Winifred said...

Another lovely post Jennifer. Can't believe that gorgeous boy is 6 months old. Hope Blossom is feeling better now.

I love your dress I used to make all of mine but when the cost of fabrics rose like you I stopped. I do like dresses but I live in trousers now. Two reasons, the climate in the UK is more conducive to wearing trousers but the main reason is my ankles have been badly swollen since my heart condition. I do have a couple of maxi dresses which are nice & hide the problem but they're only for high days & holidays.
I'm not a mad fan of housework but I do like hanging the washing out on lovely blowy days. The smell is gorgeous. I don't mind ironing as I watch telly or listen to an audio book. Looking forward to the next edition of the Homemaker's Heart. God bless xxx

Susan said...

I finally had enough concentration to make it through this beautiful post. Thank you so much, Jennifer, for endorsing dresses! I've always had a few for church, but I love the same styles you do, apparently, and will search for a similar shop here, though America seems intent on exposing everything no matter one's age. Right now, because of radiation, I'm wearing a lot of sweat pants and t-shirts, but that isn't where I want to stay, so I appreciate the source you use. I love the red roses toward the end of the post, and look forward to the blues of the magazine. Love you!

JES said...

This was a lovely read… every bit of it. Thank you 🤍

KingsailK said...

ThanksJennifer that was a beautiful read I like to find things in charity shops or even dye them a different colour xxMaryLou

KingsailK said...

ThanksJennifer that was a beautiful read I like to find things in charity shops or even dye them a different colour xxMaryLou

Debby said...

Hi Jenny, I can so relate to your writing today. I too wear dresses most of the time. I find them comfortable, cool, and feminine. Of all the household chores, I like laundry the best, especially the hanging of the clothes on the line and then folding the fresh smelling fabric to await its next use. I love to watch the bed linens flap in a gentle breeze. Memories of my grandmother hearken as well - she wearing a "house dress" and full apron, hanging clothes on the line as I ran through the "hidden" passage they made.