Sunday, November 12, 2023

Slowing the everyday...

I always find the weekly rhythm of homemaking to be a constant source of peace and calm, satisfaction, gratitude, and productivity in my everyday life. It also provides a sense of purpose, something many of us look for, yet too often a thing we can doubt. 

Knowing your unique purpose removes a lot of self doubt from the mind. When we become aware it, usually from a very young age or later when the Lord places it right in the centre of our hearts as a desire waiting to be fulfilled, we can choose to follow where it leads, or, as many do, choose a different path. I have done both in different seasons of life...and the paths I chose were both 'good', but as the years progressed, one path shone far more brightly than the other. That bright path, over time, was to expand my love for God, family and home. It caused me to see the very real need for a revival in homemakers, and homemaking. 

Friday's prep for the weekend: 2 litres of almond milk, bread from freshly ground grain, cranberry rock cakes.

 As with many things in life, I have a tendency 'at times' to push myself too hard, and then as the months pass, one day I'll find myself collapsing in a worn-out mess for a while, unable to do a lot until my energy (and health) recovers a week or two later - but I do believe in the past year especially, that I have finally learned to balance the everyday tasks and interactions of a homemaker life. 

Today my daily homemaker rhythms are kinder, slower and gentler than ever, each task bringing simple delights, gratitude and smiles. If I cannot complete the tasks on my list by the end of the day or the week, it causes me no regret or feelings of failure; I simply move those tasks to another day in order of importance...and not many are very important anyhow. For example, I like to regularly pull everything out of the linen cupboard and give it a clean, replacing each item neatly and in order, and placing anything no longer needed into the charity box which is kept in the boot of my car - but this is not a task of importance. It's a task to do when I have time, or when I'm in the mood for a deep clean of cupboards through the house (usually once per season). 

(as there are only two of us at home now, I bake the bread so that it's easy to pull into two halves, one for now and one for the freezer)

It was quite an epiphany this year to grasp a certain truth about age - more specifically, about what is expected of us as we age. How can I at 64 expect to keep moving at the same pace as I did at 34, 44 or 54? Well, unless I am on some ego trip to keep up with the younger generation, at this time of life I need to allow myself to pull back and slow down more, resting a while each afternoon with a book, some crochet, or an episode of The Waltons (currently watching my way through the entire series); perhaps reading some blogs or writing cards, continuing with my Bible study from that morning, having a short nap or praying for my loved ones. 

(I'm currently crocheting the edges of some new thick cotton tea towels)

Living a slower life does not mean living an easier life. I still need to keep the floors vacuumed and mopped, the washing hung on the line, the ironing done, meals prepared, bathrooms scrubbed, gardens weeded and watered...but those tasks are not raced through, or burdensome anymore. They are very important tasks, and when completed with a gentle and joyful attitude, unhurried but done with diligence and care, they bring a great deal of satisfaction to my homemaker heart. I no longer think about what I'll do when I finish them, because that is the main reason I used to rush. My mind is on the privilege of having a home to maintain, someone to care for, and the gift of another day of life with a body that still has working limbs. I even appreciate the migraines which the Lord has never seen a need to heal me of, because they also remind me to slow things down. 

(I recently used four orphan applique blocks in the corners of a new topper for my kitchen island and finished it with crochet edging...yes, I am addicted to this craft)

Sometimes we read articles or blogs where the writer has done so much around the home that our heads are spinning wondering how they do it, and that can cause feelings of failure or disappointment in our own achievements. Let me gently remind you that they are living a different life to you. They will have completely different life circumstances - such as where they live, size of their home and property, their age, their finances, hands on help, climate, health, and responsibilities. If you are content with your day-to-day tasks, and can keep up with the important things such as looking after your family, your home, your health and your relationship with Jesus, then cheer them on in the comments, whilst cheering yourself for living a life that brings joy and satisfaction within the home sanctuary you have created.

**Admittedly, many emails and comments have been left here on my blog over the years asking "how do you get so much done?!"...and I can confess that I used to be a bit of whirlwind around the house, garden and in the design studio, because I am a true introvert and spend almost every day at home alone, so I had time to do those things back then. Now I enjoy the slower rhythms of each day.**

(the last of our tomatoes and snow peas picked from the garden)

How you live your life is also unique to your circumstances. We may face seasons that stretch us further than we thought we could endure, times when the grace of God is the only thing that keeps us going, so especially in those seasons do not compare yourself to another. I don't believe we should compare ourselves to others at any time, yet even unconsciously to some extent we probably will...but if that happens, stop and consider the very real differences between your life and what you know of the other's life. Don't be disheartened if you're not as well off, as healthy, as seemingly happy, as creative, as beautiful, or as organised as they appear to be...just be YOU, wonderful YOU, a unique and lovely woman crafted by our God, a God who has a mighty heart which stamped the full depth of His love on a cross. For YOU. 

We have six foot high sunflowers across the front of the house. No amount of sun or extreme heat can thwart their natural tendency to look up at the sun and follow it across the sky. 

Dear one, let us be like the sunflower and let nothing turn us away from the true Son. Let our hearts look up to Him and follow His example in how we live our lives, treat others, and bear witness to His Word. 

Precious girl, if your purpose seems clouded and elusive right now, if you are just not sure what you're meant to be doing (and how) with the rest of your earthly life, know I am praying this coming week that the fullness of the knowledge of His purpose for you becomes radiantly clear, and that His peace which surpasses all understanding will fill your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. 



Lin said...

Very well put Jennifer, thank you. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jenifer,
Beautiful !
Those sunflowers must look gorgeous !
hugs, take care,

Anonymous said...

Thank you, dear Jenny, for your "lessons" and your prayers. I pray for you too. With love, Ann

Anonymous said...

Dear Friend,
Thank you for just being YOU. Thank you for sharing your life so openly with us. Thank you for loving what and who is important. Thank you ….
❤️ Becki

Remembrances said...

Amen and Amen! Well put my friend!

Rosalie said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for you thoughts so eloquently expressed. I am 70 and certainly can’t do what I could even 5 years ago. I
My husband died last year and I’ve been making bread and the loaves are too big but I don’t want to use a mini loaf pan….so I was excited to see how you form your bread. I will try it this week.

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Dear Jennifer, thank you, so very well said. I am67! On Wed! And I have Joy, Joy! In My heart cause my Saviour loves me so! XX

Julie said...

Such a beautiful heartfelt post dear Jennifer. That sunflower ... OH MY!!! I have planted a packet of seeds but I think only a few have come up. I will transfer them to the garden soon & hope for the best. I think seeing that sunflower of yours everyday would surely bring joy to your heart 💛. I am just adoring the crochet edgings you are doing & can see why they would be so addictive. I might have to look up a YouTube video & try & teach myself. Take care my dear friend - wishing you a blessed week x0x

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your beautiful words of encouragement.. My children are all chronically ill, the days can get difficult and today my heart was encouraged by your words.
-A mother In the US

Grammy D said...

Your crochet reminds me of my mom. Everything had crocheted edges. I still have some pillow cases she made 60 years ago and treasure. So true, we have to set a pace that is right for us and not think we must keep up with someone else. We are all unique with our own talents, strengths and talent levels.

Carol said...

I always enjoy and look forward to your posts. I'm a crocheter too and would like to add some edging to projects. Is there a book or other material you would recommend to get patterns for these?

Allie said...

Oh yes - I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not living at the frantic pace that I kept up all last year, taking care of mum, that the Lord is giving me rest right now and it's ok to do it. The energy may come back, or it may not, but I'm enjoying the lack of demands right now....although I would give anything to have her back.
I think it's easy to make too many demands on ourselves, especially as we age and realize the toll they take if we overdo. I'm glad for you that the Lord is giving you so much grace, to share and to live in a gentler way. Love you dear one, praying for you always.

Carol in Texas said...

Jennifer, what a lovely blog entry today. I will try to take it to heart. As our Thanksgiving approaches and I anticipate feeding a group of 10 rather than the two that I usually feed, I will try to remember to be mindful and not always be looking to the next task. It seems there is so much that needs to be done, especially if I’ve been lax about chores around the house. I need to focus on the blessing of family and their willingness to come her and be together, crowded though we’ll be! We are blessed to live in the country where I can look out and see fields and cows and deer and turkey and the big open Texas sky.

Our priest gave a wonderful sermon on the parable of the 10 bridesmaids and their lamps. He emphasized that they had ONE JOB, to light the way for the bridegroom with their lamps. ONE JOB. Five did not do that. I’d never looked at that story in that same way. We have one job….to love the Lord with all our hearts and love our neighbors as ourselves. Am I doing that job? Certainly not every day! But it should be my daily goal.

Your blog always helps me see the quieter, calmer road. Thank you for your lovely words.

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer,
Thank you for such a beautiful post . Beautiful message you have shared with us . So much encouragement . I dearly love your beautiful crocheted edgings. I wish I was that talented. But sadly I can no longer crochet. My brain no longer remembers how to and each time I try. I end up making a mess. praying for you and your family Dear.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Always , always need encouragement. So, back to you my friend, be encouraged, our God is returning soon!

Mirjam said...

Dear Jennifer,
I’m glad to hear that your husband and your son in law both found a new job! And thank you very much for your encouraging blog post. I’m a little bit low at the moment because of the Israel Gaza situation and especially because of the rising antisemitism in Europe.
Hartelijke groeten,
Mirjam from Holland

Annabel said...

You have got me back on to crochet edges Jennifer! I love them so much. I feel I NEED to crochet and sew as this is when I slow down and it soothes me. I know both Nan did and Mum has the afternoon break which is a sit down and some knitting or as you say write a note or some other more restful thing. I have started to do this. My evenings are very quiet and peaceful. I need to find ways going forward as the garden and animals are a lot. It is a fine line between me wanting to have fellowship and being out or too busy and then having to catch up. Your posts are very peaceful and

Sandi said...

Sometimes when I am folding towels or doing some other mundane housework I ask the Lord what I am supposed to be doing. He says, "This." 💕

Carla said...

Nicely said. Now that I'm retired I have much more me time. I have no clue how I did it when I worked.
Take care.