Since making the decision to step away from much of my design business in coming months, there has been a noticeable shift in my ability to do more around the home, but the loveliest change has been the degree of flourishing renewal within my homemaker heart.
Love for homemaking and a gentle domestic life, tending and caring for loved ones, creating a welcome sanctuary, preparing nourishing meals, living a homemaker life which is glorifying to God - these are all things which have stoked the embers of my heart for many years.
Yet over time, despite best intentions, the busyness of working a home business creeps in more and more to take precious hours away each day...and I find myself too many times having only the crumbs of a homemaker heart left to offer by day's end.
It's not surprising that many of you have experienced something similar as so often over the years my email inbox or blog comments overflow with the struggles other homemakers face...and I have come to realise that some of those struggles stem from lack of encouragement, inspiration, and hands on help.
For a few years I hosted a "Gentle Domesticity" Facebook group with over three thousand members, and more than any other medium, this gave me a far deeper perspective on the average everyday homemaker, and what life is like for them, than my blog or emails ever could.
The level of comradery, and I use this word specifically because homemakers are indeed like troops on the front line defending and caring for the home, was life changing for some of our lovely members, and being world wide there was someone sitting at our virtual kitchen table all hours of the day and night ready to listen, pray or offer some form of assistance.
You may wonder why I closed the group? Time. We'd bought our first ever home the year before and I was feeling overwhelmed with the taming of our land, the home, small grandchildren, and a demanding design business. It was not an easy decision to make, but at the time it was the right one.
In 2019 I hosted a year long book study of Jane Brocket's "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" and if you'd like to slowly read your way through them HERE is a link with the posts numbered in order.
What I loved most about Jane's book was the JOY she found in homemaking, and her pure delight spilled over bountifully through 2019 as we studied and shared about each of the different sections and themes. It's still my favourite homemaking book!
But it's only one of many books I have collected on homemaking, and this is something I'd like to encourage every woman with a homemaker heart to do.
Friends, gather good books about being a homemaker, decorating, sewing for the home, creating natural products, skills our grandmothers and great grandmothers knew, handmade gifts, recycling and repurposing, cleaning, cooking, daily rhythms and routines, planning ahead, seasonal life...and any other subject that you'd like more encouragement, inspiration or skills from.
Scour charity shops, garage sales, book sales...or ask friends if they have any books on these subjects that they're wanting to give away. Browse the shelves of your local library, in fact, browse your own shelves in case you have hidden gems which you've forgotten about.
Over time I have gathered many wonderful treasures which are perfect to open and read during an afternoon tea break, or in my comfy bedroom chair in the evening as I wind down from the day.
Some of the books I collected turned out to be a disappointment and I felt no hardship donating them to the local Salvos or Vinnies store. Don't be afraid to keep only that which inspires and teaches good things and discard the rest, because when we love a book we will read that book - a bit like reading God's Word. I love reading my Bible each and every day and this is evident because it's very battered with all my loving!
Ask friends for recommendations on good homemaking books, perhaps borrow their copy first to see if it is suitable for your needs. We won't all enjoy or gain from the same books because we are unique women, just as we have unique homes and families and responsibilities, however, cherish the books which lift your heart and inspire you to create an atmosphere of harmony, joy, function and order within your walls.
What about the attitude of a Homemaker...take some time to consider the attitude you display within the home.
Are you too weary at the end of the day to be kind or gracious? Has the workload become so great that you are struggling to find the joy in homemaking? Did you grow up without many responsibilities within the family home and are frustrated from still learning as an adult how to maintain your living area? Are there health restrictions which make the everyday chores more difficult these days but you push through whilst allowing bitterness to creep over your heart?
No matter what our struggles, if we work to our abilities and limitations (physical, financial, family or living arrangements), without lamenting the things we are unable to do, then we should find delight in those achievements no matter how small or large they are. Dear girl, we really can only do what we are able. One woman may be high energy and busy working around home all day long, whereas another woman may need to attend to chores at a slower pace or take breaks between each task.
Now even though each woman will achieve a different measure of completed tasks, it's not a competition to see how much we can do in a day. What matters is that you did what you could and you have a sense of personal satisfaction and pleasure in your work. Homemaking is not drudgery. Yes, it is hard work much of the time, but if we approach our homemaking tasks with an attitude of gratitude for having a home, for having a family...then it becomes a privilege.
I think this attitude should be magnified even more today, given the situation in Europe with so many women and children homeless and living through war. We who have a home, a safe roof over our heads, food on the table, warmth and provisions, need to be reminded just how privileged we are.
I look forward to us living on less as Elefantz Designs shrinks, because I know full well who our real Provider is - God.
We will need to live even more simply than before, and I shall have to gain skills my Nana had but which I neglected to learn when given the chance, plus study afresh the art of homemaking with all it's nuances so that I may be well equipped for the years ahead, for I believe harder times are coming and we must prepare for them.
You may have many skills which could help those around you, just as they may have skills you would like to learn. Why not get together with some like minded friends and pool your resources (books, talents, ideas) to learn new things, and most importantly, to encourage and inspire each other. This is something I love about the Amish. They are not alone, they have community, common goals and SKILLS to teach one another and pass along to the next generation.
Would you say you are a Mary or Martha?
I describe myself as being Martha with a Mary heart because both sisters had great strengths which I want to increase in, and we should not overlook this. Read about their attitudes and see how both women knew truths that we can be encouraged by today. There's nothing wrong with being busy, and there's nothing wrong with stopping to sit at the feet of Jesus. The wise homemaker knows how to balance both.
Mary - Luke 10: 38 - 42
Martha - John 11: 17-27
How are YOU these days? Is your homemaker heart filled with delight? Are you finding joy in the ordinary moments of life? Over time I hope to keep encouraging you right where you are, gently in love, for I know that's what I need in my own life and I believe it's something sorely lacking in this world today.
Heavenly Father, I come before you on behalf of every precious woman reading this post. A call to homemaking is a gift for each of us, though various seasons of life can drain the joy from such a high calling and we can find ourselves worn out and depleted and perhaps even bitter and resentful.
Lord, may Your Holy Spirit lift the weary and heaving heart with hidden delights she has overlooked, stoke the flame of a flickering mind with fresh enthusiasm for bringing life into her surroundings, open the beautiful eyes of the downcast with a new vision for her home as a sanctuary and place of welcome.
Father, I ask that you provide resources, community, friendships and inspiration for each of us, that we may walk with grace and confidence in our high calling, doing what we are able and not pushing beyond our means. If we are slacking in any area, press your truth upon our hearts and correct our attitude that we may shine Your light into all areas of our home with diligence to each task and gratitude for your mercies which are new every morning.
When we are weak, may You be our strength. When we have lack, may You be our provider. When we lack faith, help our unbelief. When we are confused, bring clarity to our mind. When we are overburdened, show us clearly what to walk away from. When we are bitter, sweeten us with merciful correction. When we cannot see the way forward, shine Your Light at our feet and guide our path. When we fail, forgive us. In all things Lord, and in every circumstance, we shall praise you and exalt your Holy name! Thank you for being here, for listening, for loving, for growing us to be more and more like our precious Saviour, Jesus. Amen.
Bless you dear ones! If you'd like some more homemaking inspiration I have two friends with wonderful blogs that you might enjoy -
And if you'd like to watch a lovely gentle homemaking video, here's AbbyJo from Forgotten Way Farms.
I follow a few people who have the same homemaking philosophy as me, and though we are similar in many ways, we each have unique things to share so I am always learning from them. I hope they inspire you too.
Until next time...