Saturday, March 26, 2022

Inspiring your homemaker heart...

 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.  

Let's pray...

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 -

Annabel @ The Bluebirds are Nesting on the Farm

Jes @ Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

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...



Lin said...

Lovely post Jennifer. Prices here are rising rapidly so we are all going to have to learn to live more simply and cheaply. I love your book recommendations and have found some gems. Thank you. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
So true ! Thanks for a beautiful post to begin the weekend :)
Solar panels, switched to an induction cook top and installing a small electric water boiler by the kitchen sink cut down the amout of natural gas that we use.
I'm having a good week :)
hugs, take care,

Jenny said...

Jennifer I'm trying to make a list of these books you've pictured. Can you tell me if these are the same ones you have but with a different cover?

Good old days good old ways

And I couldn't find 'The art of the natural home' anywhere. Can you tell me the author?

I have a few of these already. I bought the Gentle Art of Domesticity when you went through it in 2019. It was such a sweet gift from God. I'd added it to my list & stumbled upon it in a used book store just before you started your series! It truely was a blessing to find it for $6!

I think I'll pull out my homemaking books & set them on my coffee table to enjoy them more.

Sharm said...

Wonderful post Jennifer and a wonderful prayer for all of us - thankyou! My homemaking skills are on high duty here with the move to this new home (although a little more weary having had 4 big moves since mid 2018!) It is a slow process with having Dad down here as well and needing alot more assistance than we were prepared for. It was lovely to see your books and I note that I have many of the same authors but different books which is also interesting. I learnt much from the Amish many years ago which has certainly assisted my homemakers heart and things I am able to do. Sending you big hugs and prayers my dear friend xo

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Have emailed you. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Pink Rose said...

Hi Jenny beautiful inspiring post ,yes worrying times the cost of living and prices at the supermarket are getting higher all the time . I love learning about all things home and cooking and need to do some more reading ,see you later in the week ,take care my friend ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’•

Lori said...

I am having trouble finding those above as well! Could you post here, Jennifer, the titles and authors? Bless you, wonderful post!

Shelley said...

Oh Jennifer!❤ The Lord has certainly inspired you with this blessed post and whizzed it around the world to for my heart to see and read here in Canada! He has certainly spoken to me and my Mr. thru you and the message resonates to our core as we have recently been led to start another journey down a new path. And,the message brings affirmation for us. God is so generous❤ Thank you Jennifer! Big HUGS๐Ÿค—

Jill at emeraldcottage said...

Thankyou for all the book recommendations!

http://thankfullga447 said...

Thank you again for that lovely prayer - it is so meaningful. I went for my walk this morning and thank God for me to be able to walk through a nature trail. I am so fortunate to be a homemaker for the last 10 years and thankful every day.

Machelle said...

Lovely post Jenny. I so enjoy reading of your adventures and your faith. You've made me feel better about my frustration with my wrist arthritis! ( without even knowing it) if I slow down I can still do some handwork and bind quilts.Although I am reluctantly getting better at machine bindings.

knitster said...

I loved doing the year of the book review. I have since gifted this book to many of my friends who have enjoyed it as well. Might we do a book study again sometime?

Debby in Kansas USA said...

Thank you for the prayer. I get cranky over my bad knee and it being a hinderance. I needed to see this post!