Friday, August 13, 2021

Simple and slow...

 A few of you have wondered lately whether I've stopped blogging (after thirteen years of it being a regular part of my life) as even after returning on August 1st from my first 'real' break' through most of July, I've barely been seen or heard from. Not even emails. I haven't even answered comments. In fact my email inbox is so overflowing that I don't even know where to start.

So I decided it was best to not start, but tell everyone here today who has left comments and sent private emails "thank you for caring" as I have read them all and sometimes shed a tear from the kindness offered, and to those who were sharing their struggles know that I prayed immediately, trusting the Father who hears when we cry out to Him for help or strength, and knowing He will surely respond. 

Now my inbox is almost empty, a weight has lifted from my mind, and like the entrance to my home when I open the door at dawn, all is clean and tidy, ready for a fresh start.

The word "simple" has taken on a very clear meaning of late, one which is encouraging me to plan those easy, ordinary meals which Nana made; recipes with few ingredients, yet so very tasty and comforting; made not with a list of expensive or numerous ingredients, and not requiring special equipment or many hours standing at the kitchen bench working through a long list of steps. 

I've swung back to this style of meal planning in the past but then been enticed to follow recipes full of 'superfoods' and found my days over-full due to the time needed for this lifestyle. But after this time of intentional slowing at home and being away from the computer and blog, I've considered the days of old when we were only able to eat locally, and could not walk into a supermarket to buy food items from all across the globe. I do believe there was much more contentment in those days when using what was readily available and not having to shop very often. 

Once a week Rosie and I get together for morning tea and sewing, though to be honest not much sewing gets done because we linger over a second cup of tea, a second slice of cake or another passionfruit melting moment biscuit (she makes the best ones you ever tried!), and we talk about so many things that the time passes before we know it and it's time for one of us to go home. But these weekly catch-ups have been almost medicinal for the soul, and it's not just the sweet treats and tea, but the slowing...the lingering...the sharing of life, hearts and hopes; the remembering together of simpler times and a desire to step back in our own lives to recapture some of what we knew growing up and as young mothers - before the hustle and bustle of a global connection became normal.  

We've reflected on the lack of manners these days, especially online and even with regards to online businesses; and made decisions not to maintain relationships or purchase from certain places for that very reason.

I'm so glad I left Facebook six months ago. It was a life-changer for me and not once have I regretted that decision. I rarely even look at Pinterest these days unless I'm specifically after something I cannot find elsewhere (such as a free pattern to make children's aprons or for a particular tutorial). Instagram is hit or miss and I am usually missing, but I do check there every few days to see what my daughters or friends are up to, and to share a little encouragement or glimpses of the garden, new patterns, or life in general...but even that has lost it's glow lately. 

You know what I have loved about slowing, especially slowing far more than I have in the past?

There's time to breathe. 

There's time to value what I have right before me.

There's time to sit in the quiet and hear myself think. 

I have more creativity and am able to make things unhurried. 

There's not as many distractions, just a rhythm of routine which I follow as the week progresses, and if something doesn't get done I don't worry about it because there's always tomorrow.

There's time to listen, and far more time to pray. 

I sleep better.

You know how cooking a meal in a crock pot (slow cooker) all through the day, gives the ingredients time to come together and merge into a wonderfully tasty dinner later that night? That's how I see this slowing of a simpler life. Everything I do, each conversation, every meal, all my ideas, come together slowly and intentionally, and this always proves beneficial to my life and the lives of those around me. 

(hand painted glass water bottle, a surprise gift made by a beautiful young friend of Blossom's for me)

I'll be honest, there was a day spent pondering and praying about whether to draw to a close the Elefantz blog, but the Lord and common sense stepped in, so I'm not going anywhere just yet, probably not for a couple of years...but I do believe the way I write, or the frequency of my writing, will shift slightly...after all, having taken time to reacquaint myself with genuine slower living and simpler ideals, why go backwards?

Above is a little peek at one block from my 2022 free block of the month, "Roses and Books". The idea came one afternoon when I cut a rosebud from the garden and placed it in a small vase beside a pile of homemaking books. That one pretty little scene inspired the first six of twelve blocks and I'm really enjoying bringing them to life with needle and thread each afternoon as I sip my cup of tea and listen to the next chapter of an audio book.

Over the past six weeks I've studied the book of Hebrews twice, and done an expanded study of Ruth as well. What a joyous thing to sit in my armchair after hubby leaves for work and read, ponder, pray...and most importantly to not think about time, but to stay there in the Word until my cup overflows with His wisdom and grace. Only then do I begin the days chores and surprisingly more is done in these slower days than when I use to hurry, working my way through a long list. 

The strawberries are coming along very well, and this was our very first ripe and ready to pick. I cut it in half for my beloved and I to share after dinner the other night. So sweet - the berry and my man. It's very satisfying after all the care I've given to the garden this winter, to eat what we've grown, no matter how small. 

Being there. Not watching the clock because I need to answer emails, shop for groceries, work on the business or any number of a hundred other 'commitments' which have tended to quietly rule my life for many years. 
Being there for the little ones, for Blossom, for friends, for my husband, for God - being right there to live a good life at home and be content.
These are the old ways, the good ways. 

I still run a business, still design, still have a mortgage to help my husband pay off so we can retire on time and not have to work until the grave. Having bought our first home just three years ago, we came to the mortgage/home-owner party very late in life, and we accepted that we'd need to work hard and consistently to pay it off, but this doesn't mean we can't live a slower, simpler, more contented life. 

It means we appreciate the blessings our Father brings our way, we seek to be generous in order to share blessings, and we live well today with grateful hearts, seeking the Lord's will in all we pursue and not trying to run ahead in our own steam. Like that crock pot meal, living slow and steady, that we may have something lovely to offer Him and others at the right time and in the right season.

For those who would like to know what's coming in the next set of Let's Stitch Again patterns, the theme is herbs, flowers and simple ways.

If you'd like to receive these patterns the information for joining my 12-month pattern club is HERE.

I'll sign off now as my dearly beloved is on his way home from work and I'd like to freshen up a bit before he arrives. I remember Nana would brush her curls, pop on some lipstick and a fresh apron about 15 minutes before Pop was due home from work. I love that memory. 

God bless you and keep you in His loving care!


Lin said...

Always lovely to hear from you Jennifer but as they say 'less is more' and I would far rather hear from you once a fortnight than have you constantly popping into my inbox! Enjoyed your post very much - thank you. xx

Tania said...

Hello Jennifer,

I hear where you are coming from. I have been withdrawing more and more from social media. I do check in from time to time, but only when time allows.

I lost my dearest Mum recently and have a whole new perspective on life. I spent the last seven months helping my dad care for Mum and it was during this time that I found new meaning with connection to family and close friends. I am now trying to find my way back to living my life, and it is hard. I was very close to my Mum and I will miss her terribly. I know time will heal the hurt though.

At the moment it is the simplest things that mean the most, whether it be connecting or spending time with family, staying home, baking and preparing meals, keeping house, gardening, sewing, crocheting, knitting, listening to nature sounds or silence. It all adds some peace to my life.

Enjoy your simple and slow life, and make the most of every precious moment.

Tania xxx

Farm Quilter said...

I am glad you are finding contentment and balance in life - so important to do. I'm glad you aren't giving up blogging altogether because, selfishly, I would miss hearing from you and learning everything you have to teach. Thank you for not walking away completely...I'm still learning and thirsty for more! However, you need to do what is right for you and your family. I'm still hoping to meet you in person when I next come to Australia (and only the Lord knows when that will be)!

Patty McDonald said...

Always a pleasure to read your blog. Posting every now and then definitely makes it more special to read. At 70 and a devoted follower of Jesus (Christian), I find so much pleasure in you prospective on living life slower. I've always been a highly driven, productive, and get it done fast and plenty type of person. I'm really trying to slow down and appreciate every thing God has blessed me with and a huge part of that is my hubby of 50 years. I'd say our lives are filled with more love for each other than ever before. All praise goes to Jesus for helping us appreciate one another despite our differences. Life is more peaceful not rushing. Also, I like to cook with what I grow and what is in season. If the recipe has 'odd' things that I don't normally buy, I go for the simple ingredients. Love reading all your encouraging ways of cleaning, cooking, and caring for family. So nice to reinforce what I already know. Jennifer,your grands are getting so big. How blessed you and they are that you spend time with them.

Little Quiltsong said...

We often say - "What did we do before cell phones", and they are extremely handy for calling and checking in when on the road - especially in the winter months here, but I agree, Jennifer, they can be a big time waster. I love to share on IG and keep in touch with all my friends there, but I also really try to limit my time. So happy you enjoy weekly visits with Rosie, and your daughter is better again. Time with your grandchildren is so precious. They grow up so fast. Stay safe, and enjoy your winter produce :)!

Christine M said...

I'm glad to hear you are doing well Jennifer. It is another lovely post. Those little grandchildren of yours are just gorgeous. Hugs, Christine xxx

Julie said...

Another lovely post Jennifer - I always put the kettle on when I see you have posted - I like to make reading your posts a bit of a treat. I am pleased to read you are doing okay my friend - that photo of wee Charlie David melted my heart - my how he is growing. Take care my dear friend xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
A nice Saturday morning surprise with your newsletter in the inbox and a blog post from you today :)
I'm enjoying your blogs new spontaneity style :) It's the quality, not the quantity.
You share so much in the most caring, photo filled way. So well as your etsy shop !

hugs, take care,

Winifred said...

Lovely to find your email in the box this morning Jennifer.
It's lovely to hear how much you enjoyed your break and are slowing your life down. I always wonder how you manage to get through so much especially after your illness. Hope you and Blossom are keeping well now.

Take care & God bless

Patti said...

What beautiful, life-giving words you have shared today. This has been my heart for many years. I live a slow life---to many, a boring, purposeless life. But it is a life that brings me joy and allows me to be there for others when they need me. It is a life that allows me time to seek the Lord and to create a warm and peaceful home. On the rare occasions when I don't practice simple but am out and about too many days in a row, my body reminds me that slow and simple is best for me.
As for Facebook, I deactivated my account a couple years ago, and I honestly don't miss it at all. The ugly, argumentative, name-calling comments when people don't agree with one another was a huge stressor for me. I honestly think FB does more damage than good---I know 3 women who recently reconnected with high school flames through FB, and then left their husbands of 30+ years.
Anyhow, I enjoy your sweet blog, so I am glad you will still be around, even if on a scaled-back basis.

Patti @ Leaving a Legacy

Kay said...

What a simply lovely post. x

Susan said...

It's good to know where your heart and mind are now. 100% support from here.

Allie said...

Beautiful post, dear heart - slowing down is a good thing. It reminds me of the days when my grandma was alive, and we'd sit at her kitchen table for hours, enjoying coffee and each other. The time before social media and the constant attention we give it.....when we could really listen to each other. Love the pics of the kids, my gosh they're getting so big!!!! I'm so glad you're slowing down to enjoy them.

Susan said...

Pls don't stop blogging, you are an inspiration to many people. The Lord is using your blog for us to listen to Him. Huge hugs!

Sherry said...

Thank you for this post. It was a great reminder of things I know to be true.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Life has seasons, and we have to learn to adapt to them. As we age, that means slowing down, and not doing as much. Blog when you have something to say, not because someone expects you to blog every day/week. Besides, you need more time for those cute grandkids.

Emily Michael said...

Dear Jennifer,
I've said this to you before but I will say it again: thank you for the example you set in your words and deeds. You really are a blessing and it is so good to be reminded to slow down and focus on what really matters in this life. Praying you are blessed as the Lord strengthens you to continue to serve Him in whatever what He needs.
God Bless, Em xox