Lately I've thought daily about the need for women to rally behind each other, encouraging one another in our homemaker journey, whether that be full-time homemaking or a balancing act between outside employment/commitments and home life.
In a world where there appears to be less and less enthusiasm for women to nurture their homes in the old ways, the tried and true ways, the roll up your sleeves and get to work ways, many of us are pushing back in order to assert our deep desire for the delight of creating a beautiful, welcoming sanctuary within our own walls. Many of us are choosing to live fulfilling lives of gentle domesticity once again.
So just as I did back in 2015 when I first launched A Year of Gentle Domesticity, I am once more going to rally behind each of you precious home-hearted women, and embark on a new year of living the gentle domestic life in 2023...
And just because the calendar has not yet turned a page into the coming new year, doesn't mean we can't dust ourselves off right now, reflect on what has been missing in our homes, and plan for bringing renewed and refreshing life into our living spaces right now.
In my last post I wrote about sharing with you my plans for 2023, and the first and most important desire is to lift high the role of homemaker, to extol the blessings of what it means to be the woman of the house, and to look for as many ways as possible to encourage all of you who are journeying this path, whether it has been for many decades, or just a few months.
I have two brand new block of the month quilts, one of them a paid membership program, and the other a month-by-month free pattern which will also include a bible study (shared here on the blog).
Today I shall give you a peek at The Virtuous Wife, as this will be the free BOM, and the very first block will start on November 1st this year. Each block will be free for the entire 14-months of the project. x
Here's a peek...
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Do you think you'll be joining in with The Virtuous Wife BOM? There's a lot of blocks so it will run either 14 or 16 months, and I encourage you to gather your favourite fabric scraps to sew along. I chose four fabrics for the entire quilt. Each bordered block measures 10.5" square, and I've used the Bright Hopes patchwork pattern for them. I'll have more instructions, photos, and the 1st block for you to download, on Tuesday November 1st.
Now, let's catch up on what happened this week around home, shall we?
I tend to make a few salads every Sunday afternoon, the kind that will serve me well for lunches when hubby's at work, or can be served on the side of a main meal in the evenings. This week I made a Burgul salad with roasted carrots and tomatoes, cranberries, pine nuts, and various other salad vegetables.
I find with slowing down our lives that meals especially need to be simplified, and that's why we use the same salad dressing for most things...besides, it is delicious! I shake together 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and 1/3 cup olive oil in a jar and store it in the fridge, only mixing it into a salad when I'm ready to serve it. This amount will do us all week long, often longer, as we don't like too much dressing on our salads, but as long as you keep equal measures of the three ingredients you can make as much or as little as you need.
Our washing machine died a painful death this week so my husband quickly sourced another of the same brand we've always used (LG) and within 48 hours I was reading through the paperwork while waiting for the delivery man to install it.
And of course, as I now have a new washing machine, one which we're praying will last the rest of our life here on earth, it was time to finally sew a new peg apron as my old one was beginning to perish from multiple everyday use. This pretty pink tulip fabric is linen, and I bought it about eight or nine years ago on sale, knowing that one day it had the potential to become something lovely and useful...and now it is.
Truth be told, I do not use these wooden pegs when hanging up the washing each day as I'm gradually moving on to stainless steel ones from the plastic type I've used for many years. I am just buying a pack every so often in my grocery order and soon I'll be able to ditch the plastic pegs, which constantly crumble in out extremely hot tropical climate anyhow - but the old wooden pegs, such as nana always used, really did look lovely photographed with my apron.
Two new books arrived. This one is a reference for using my garden produce and herbs to make medicines and salves, a needful skill indeed.
The other book is simply a delight. Dorcas Smucker was raised Amish, and then married a Mennonite minister. She has written a number of books, taken mostly from her blog posts over many, many years, and they are thoughtful, hilarious, and very down to earth. This book is a trilogy of her first three books...and I love it!
My book budget is emptied now, so no more buying for quite a while, and that's fine because every book I have purchased this year has been purposefully considered, and not once have I regretted any of them.
The rains came, two afternoons in a row, with thunder and lightning, and joy for my part as it meant God was watering the parched gardens for me.
Harry-dog and Sophie-cat did what many pets do in thunderstorms, running inside to whine and meow and declare their protests. Sophie went and hid under our bed, whilst Harry had a cuddle and then escaped to his bed for a nice long nap.
Whilst the rain brought relief to the garden, I had time to begin work on the pattern instructions and graphs for my other new block of the month. As I said earlier, there'll be a whole blog post with photos of this project next week, and you may enjoy the story behind it...
The roses love the rain, far more than water from the tap, and my vases are always full to bring beauty and colour to our home...
As I was taking these photos during the week, my heart really bubbled over with thankfulness to God for all we have, for all He has provided, whether in valleys or upon the mountain tops of life - and He does all this because of love, even when sometimes our own attitudes aren't as loving as they should be.
Just near my desk, perched above the quilt stand, is this little pillow I designed years ago, with the gentle and true words of Mother Teresa...
It reminded once again that this is what homemaking is all about. The small things, the often overlooked and insignificant-to-others tasks, the quiet day to day rhythms we follow within our homes that don't seem, even to us, to be significantly important, and yet they are...when done with love.
Precious woman, dear friend, even when nobody can see you tending, washing, baking, scrubbing...your Father watches, and His heart is overjoyed when you go about your day doing what needs to be done with a loving and willing heart. God is our 'audience of One', our constant companion, our help in times of trouble, the lifter of our weary heads, the provider of all our needs, and the ear which hears every prayer and answers in the way He alone knows is best.
If you'd like to stitch your own little "Great Love" pillow, the pattern is my free gift to you. Use the link below to download it.
DOWNLOAD the "Great Love" pillow pattern
Until next week, be blessed, and perhaps pray and ponder the things you would like to pursue in the next year of Gentle Domesticity. If you have some thoughts or ideas to share, I'd love to read them...pop them in the comments below. You never know how your own thoughts may resonate with, or help someone else. Just like Terri did for me, writing this in the comments of my previous post...
"I too am thinking of 2023 already. I do this about this time each year. I always wondered why I felt compelled to think of the New Year ahead so early. It's because the Jewish calendar New Year occurs around this time! I am in sync with my Christian roots is all. You must be as well."
We'd only just been celebrating the Jewish new year (hubby and I), and her comment made me realise that's exactly why I was already preparing for a new year ahead! Thank for that Terri. x
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Jennifer- You have me so excited about the new year! I remember the year of domesticity. That was such an encouragement to me. The new patterns look amazing and I really can't wait to see the first one next week! You are truly a blessing in my life and I so enjoy reading your words of encouragement and even challenge at times to be who Jesus has made me to be. We had lovely rain today and it just calms my soul. Thank you for your heart of love that overflows to us and thank you for setting the example of encouragement and mentoring others. We are blessed and I am truly content right now tending to our apartment and waiting on what Jesus has for us next. Have a lovely weekend. K- email@example.com
October just flew by ! All appointments went well, including the dentist :)
November on Tuesday ! Lots of sewing and stitching fun to come !
Your new block of the month series always give me and energy boost and joy just by reading them :) I'm looking forward to many stitches in 2023 :)
You really did capture the amount of rain falling and pouring out the drain pipe in one photo ! Could almost here it from here !
How did the chive blossom flavoured vinegar turn out that you mentioned in the October 6th 2022 blog post ?
Your " 2023 a new year of gentle domesticity "encouragement will be passed on :)
As a kid we used to turn those old wooden pegs in to dolls by using bits of wool and scraps of fabric. Let the show begin !
Do small things with great love - I'll make a new one in new colours !
THugs, take care,
Such a pretty BOM Jennifer - definitely no more big projects for me but I may well be tempted to a few blocks for a wall hanging. Seems odd to me that you are thinking of the New Year in the middle of summer - it always seems so right to be in the middle of winter as we look forward to spring and new beginnings. I have not seen any dolly pegs for years - I have wooden ones with a spring, like you I have always found that plastic ones soon break. xx
Another lovely post, Jennifer! I need to try your salad dressing, as all 3 ingredients are at the ready in my home. Never thought to use maple syrup in my dressing so far. Thank you for this recipe. Your quotes and quilt blocks are always so special. Looking forward to your reveal and progress. Enjoy the rain, and stay safe, dear friend!
How timely! Just this morning I made myself a "Get My Act Together" list of things that need more focused attention - schedule my retirement days better, better organizing/decluttering of prioritized areas, better diet and exercise, better budgetting & saving... So your encouragement (again) to prioritize my calling as a homemaker goes hand-in-hand with my thoughts this morning.
And then, the Proverbs 31 embroideries will be so nice for me to gift to two young moms with whom I plan to do a book study of Sally Clarson's Dancing With My Father. Thanks again for being that big sister to help me pass along big sisterness (yes, I frequently make up words).
I also enjoy seeing your beautiful flowers while mine are closing up shop for the winter.
Also, I immediately went to our interlibrary loan online system and ordered those two books. I'm a bookaholic, what can I say?! :) (And in the previous comment, it should read "Sally Clarkson."
Another beautiful post my dear friend. I adore the new quilts & I am more than happy to follow/share with you another year of gentle domesticity. The new books look wonderful - I am especially drawn to the Dusty Windows one. I might have to put that on my book dream list. We are getting good rain here today too dear Jennifer & the garden is lapping it up. Enjoy the week my lovely friend. Xxx
A beautiful post, Mrs. Jennifer. Thank you so much for the pillow pattern. That's long been one of my favorite quotes. Your food pictures always look so delicious, and that dressing sounds like something I might have to try. I would never have thought of adding the maple syrup. Do maple trees grow in Australia? I never thought about that, either! My roses are probably bloomed out after our overnight lows last week, but the yellow one gave me a couple of last sweet smelling blooms anyway. I love that bush! Yes, really love it. =)
I didn't realize bulgur was so easy to make. I plan to try a bulgur salad soon!
Greetings Mrs.Jennifer from USA😁 I am SO blessed by your blog!! I am definitely a domestic woman…living that out only recently by Fathers Great Mercy of my very rough worldly work experience of 21 years….Hubby and I are extremely Thankful! Your blog has been such an encouragement spiritually and domestically. I hope to try the embroidery…I am like a lot of women trying various crafts skills…so I definitely have the supplies already and hope to try. I’ve also experienced limited exposure to the seasons of The Lord and would love to know how you and your hubby celebrated the new year? Thank you again and look forward to your answer and your blog. Have a blessed week!
So sorry I forgot to state my name 😁 on the Anonymous post…..Sandra
I'm so happy that I gave you pause for thought on the New Year feeling.
We are definitely thinking the same these days. These posts have resonated with me so much and mirrored my own thinking.
I'm still refining my thoughts. We've been busy with some major things these past two months but I think we may have a brief reprieve so I can journal and think in the next couple of weeks ahead.
It was so nice to read your newsletter. I’m going to have to go back and read more.
You will remember me from years ago as Ms Hillbilly Tonya or Hillbillyhandiworks.
I had to walk away and sometimes it’s still hard… the very reason I had to go was because of posts just like this one.. so that figures!
Not that there is anything wrong with your posts and your work… it’s beautiful. But often they are about a life that I just can’t have. After 8 years of caretaking, then losing everything, and rebuilding without my husband, the single parenting and the working two jobs to get by is so hard. Reading? Sewing? Cooking? Past life.
Now it’s just go from job to job. My a friend messaged me out of the blue tonight and asked me if we should embroider like we did years ago. We don’t even live in the same country but I guess she knew I needed it.
So where was the first place I came?
To you. My favorite.
I need to see what you’ve come up with the last few years. I’m not sure I’m ready for domestic as sometimes I struggle with bitter that I work so much. But you always have the best designs so I’m back, re subscribing and off to find something to soothe my soul.
Dear Jennifer, Your collective writings in this post are altogether inspiring! Thanks for assembling your ideas to share with us ladies. The upcoming block of the month & bible study project would be such a lasting blessing for many. An associate, loosely connected via my job, last week shared with me an old photo I'd showed her of the Psalm 23, Verse 1 stitchery from a few years ago! The message was right on time. It is so like the good Lord to use something I'd forgotten and bring it to me through someone to minister to my spirit when I needed it. I don't know if the woman knew just how meaningful and timely it was. Similarly, I had no idea that she would have kept the photo all this time and known where to retrieve it. Thanks Jennifer! P.S. I really like the photo of the rainy outdoors with the beautiful branches over the fence and outpouring pitcher of water for your plants. Thanks also for the book reference. I'm noting the one by D. Smucker (new to me). Alexine in Maryland
Oh look at the beautiful rain!!! Rainy here too, and foggy - love this time of year. Love too the new BOM, so gorgeous and WHAT a blessing! Love you!
Thanks Jennifer really enjoyed this Mary-Lou
Hi Sandra :-) You asked - I’ve also experienced limited exposure to the seasons of The Lord and would love to know how you and your hubby celebrated the new year?
It's called the Feast of Trumpets and we read the Scriptures about it given in the Bible, plus as it includes the Day of Atonement we examine our hearts and lives before God to 'remove' the sins He shows us (the yeast, as this also includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread)...we're not Jewish and we do not do everything they do, but we acknowledge the symbolism and take the need for repentance seriously. :-)
Happy to hear from you again, Tonya!! Bless you heaps.
Alexine, how like our God to use someone else to draw our attention to something we had forgotten about, or overlooked...and always at the right time. :-)
Once again you are reminding us of our true calling as woman of God. Your encouragement is such a blessing to us. It is almost like you are giving us permission to live out our God-given role with grace and dignity rather than the message the world is sending us to be more and do more and have more even if it is at the expense of our family and home life. Recently a women who has a (self-appointed) high position or perhaps I should say she has a lot of influence in my church has been speaking out so much on how women can and should be doing all the same things men are doing in the church and beyond. Which is fine except what suffers as a result. She has been ranting how we should never let men 'suppress' us or hold us back for being strong, dominant and powerful leaders. I have no problems with women leading and showing other women how to live godly lives but I do have a problem with women expecting us all to drop our roles as wives and mothers at home and even our servant roles within the fellowship of Christ in order to lead and control how things are done. I have been praying that the women in my church have strong convictions on living what God is calling them to not just what one woman wants to achieve for her own glory at the expense of her own family. Sorry for the rant and I really don't want to speak badly of somebody but this kind of attitude can be so damaging, especially to those of us just starting out on our homemaking journey. I just really appreciate that you always bring it back to the heart of things. We are called to serve Christ and His Body. To love and serve each other starting with our family in our home. Thank you for your unswerving encouragement in this area. This new stitchery set of Proverbs 31 is the perfect reminder of this! Thank you for yet another beautiful gift straight from the Heart of God! May God Bless you, Love Em xox
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