Saturday, November 25, 2023

The subtle slide into laziness and a free pattern...

November has been a real challenge with migraines most days due to our weather. The cloud cover is almost constant, but though just a few kilometres up the road rain has fallen on nearby suburbs, or further north, the clouds refuse to drop the water from heaven on our area. 

Barometric migraines are the worst ones for me because I cannot control them by eliminating the food, light or weariness triggers of my other migraines. That blanket of cloud feels like a vice I am trapped in, and the only relief is when they burst forth with rain - and when that happens the pain just disappears in minutes. So we are praying for rain even more than usual. This time of year in our tropics is the wet season, but so far it's started around us but not on us. Never mind, all challenges teach us something, and this recent challenge has taught me to examine how easily a bad habit can be formed during these longer than usual seasons of migraine. What is that habit you ask? Laziness.

After seven babies (with migraine through all of them) my pain tolerance is quite high, so I am still able to function at a slower, quieter pace around the home when the pain is severe. During this current bout of migraine I began crochet edging, firstly on runners for the home, and then on to new tea towels for Christmas gifts and to restock my own supply in the New Year as is my custom. 

It is such a calming, simple pastime, and as I crocheted I would listen to sermons, watch episodes of The Waltons, or historical documentaries on YouTube. I did still need to water the gardens but resorted to the sprinkler most afternoons as being outside just made my head worse. I still did the washing, prepared meals (especially a very healthy breakfast for my husband and I) and did a general tidy...but the regular afternoon rest time I've always adhered to became longer and longer. On days when I was free of pain you'd think that I would get in and do a jolly good scrub around the home, but I found myself having fallen into the distraction of spending long hours at crochet each afternoon just as on the days of pain, until it was time to begin our evening meal and fold the washing.

Well, that new 'habit' continued for about twelve days, and then I listened to a young mother of six in her mid-30's, and she spoke straight out of God's Word and into my heart. Older ladies, never turn your ears from listening to younger homemakers, for often they will point out things we may have missed or have 'slipped' away from. 

Obviously I'm not proud of my subtle slide into laziness, but I felt impressed to share it with you because so often, especially in times of illness or prolonged pain, we can slide into routines and habits that are not productive in the long term. On my really bad days I shall still sit quietly, but on the not so bad ones and the days when I am pain free, it's back to living my wonderfully gentle domestic life, embracing all the Lord has put before me, for they are great blessings!

Once I had woken up to the subtleness of my slide into long lazy afternoons, I wrote down a list of things which needed to be done around home, and depending on how I felt each day, I completed those tasks over the course of this past week. The linen cupboard was a dreadful mess. It's not on my list of important tasks, but on the seasonal list - and being that we are about to welcome summer in a few days, this big seasonal task had to be tackled. I thoroughly enjoyed bringing everything out in to the living room and going through it! I was able to donate about one quarter of what was in there, mostly items kept for the grandchildren, but which they no longer use or had grown out of. We do not have much storage in our modest home so their spare clothes, toys and games are kept there, you see. Plus there were old ratty towels and similar items which my husband can use for rags in his workshop out back. 

Grain was milled, fresh flour baked into delicious bread. Before and after...

Nutritious evening meals, like this yummy lentil curry with brown rice, were made...

Treats were baked for the grandchildren...

...and both fridges were given a thorough clean out. I also rearranged the living/dining area and scrubbed everything there as well. 

Fresh roses picked from the garden are popped here and there in vases around the house and add the most delightful scent. 

On my list of tasks to accomplish, I included fun things too, like putting aside some of the crochet and getting back to work on Blossom's 30th birthday quilt (she will be 30 next May). Now that I've returned to my hour of handwork after lunch each day (a little longer if it's a migraine day), I'm enjoying the making of Dresden fan blocks in her requested 1930's style fabric prints. I need sixteen blocks and have completed seven so far since June, the last two this past week. 

It's very relaxing to make the individual fans in the evening when my husband is home and we're sitting together watching a good sermon, or a documentary. I stitch slow because there's no rush, and because I do most things slowly these days out of choice. Why rush, rush, through the day when it is such a precious gift to be savoured? 

I have spent most of my life powering through the days God gave me, but since about 2015 I have gradually (very gradually) retrained my mind to slow, to notice what's around me, to be fully present in the day as it is given. Jesus told us to focus on today, not to faint over what tomorrow may hold because it may come with troubles, and worrying about the 'what ifs' robs us of His peace today. 

So what I have learned through November is to be watchful of subtle lazy habits which are easy to fall into, especially when pain is dominating my days. Getting up and moving through my normal gentle homemaker rhythms and routines as best I can, with a bit more gusto on really good days, is very important, more that I first imagined, because its the reason I love this gentle domestic life. Within the pain and the long lazy afternoons (there were some lazy morning too, and my floors could attest to that) I began to feel something wasn't right, like a loss of something meaningful, but I was so absorbed in the crochet distraction (even on days when pain wasn't bad) that I was blind to the new problem I had created. Praise God this only lasted a couple of weeks! Imagine if I'd kept going along that path? 

This home my husband and I share is our sanctuary, it is a God-gifted anchor to our life, a place where we are always welcome, always able to relax and unwind from the chaos of the world around us. But a sanctuary must be cultivated, loved, and thoughtfully maintained to reflect the lives of those who dwell within. It is made beautiful when purposefully crafted with generosity, compassion, kindness, hospitality and time - and it is doubly blessed by the precious voices of praise and prayer which fill each room.

As we move closer to year's end, I plan on recommitting my homemaker intentions to the Lord, to seek His will moving forward, and to let go of those habits or pursuits which He sees as a hindrance to the higher calling He has put on my life. That calling? Loving wife, mother, grandmother...devoted homemaker. Praise Him for opening my eyes quickly to that slide down Lazy Lane. May He open my eyes to every path which draws me away from His best in my life. 

FREE pattern...

I love this prayer, and think it's really worthwhile to have it hanging in our homes as a reminder that those daily chores which sometimes seem endless and boring and exhausting, are evidence of great blessings.

Use the link below to download this free pattern. 

God bless you, keep you safe, fill your heart with hope and joy, and gently direct you along the blessed path He created for your precious and very unique life. 

Till next time, hugs...

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Jane said...

Thank you for the free pattern. I also live in Nth Qld, Townsville, and yes we are waiting, not so patiently, for rain. I love the simplicity of your life and now that I have found your blog I look forward to reading more of your daily adventures.

Cassiescuddles said...

Thank you for another lovely design.

Kay said...

A subtle shift, these words resonated with me. I think that many times things happen slowly, unconsciously in our lives. Your post has made me take stock of my life. Thank you.
I really like the Dresden blocks. When I very first first started sewing some years back a hand pieced dresden black was the first thing I did and I appliquéd it to a tote bag. EPP is still my favourite form of sewing. X

Mary-Louise Parker said...

What a lovely Blog and so true! Joy in the Simple things of life, I have been creating some jewellery for Fund raising for Nepal to help raise funds to educate children in the Mt's high up. I can only do a little as a nerve gets trapped in my back. So can't do as much so I shall change to something else. I love your rw make in your house, I do tend to move furniture around! You have reminded me to do a bit more clearing out and cleaning. I love listening to Tak Bhana on u Tube RUNNING WITH FIRE!. MANY BLESSINGS Mary-Lou

Lin said...

Lovely prayer Jennifer. Much to think on in your post, oh so easy to fall into bad habits. Thank you. xx

Winifred said...

Another lovely thoughtful post Jennifer thank you.

I wish I could send you some of our rain to help get rid of your migraines and water your roses. We've had more than our fair share for months and months now and would gratefully share it.

Your bread looks delicious and so does that curry.

At least with your slow afternoons you were still achieveing some lovely crochet work so don't be too hard on yourself Jennifer. Perhaps that change wasn't so much a slide into laziness but part of a healing break a process your body & soul really needed to help get you back on track again.

Thanks for that lovely prayer and I love that Dresden plate pattern you're making for Blossom. You see you're back into your days full to the brim with activity. Just don't push yourself too hard. God bless! xxx

Melissa said...

Thank you for the pattern—and the reminder. I will be stitching that next, once I finish the Proverbs embroidery (I’m on the final block). My grandmother had a plaque in her kitchen with the “thank God for dirty dishes” poem on it so it will remind me of Grandma every time I see it!
Thank you for your encouraging words and for the wonderful patterns—beautiful and thought-provoking too.

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for such a bright and colourful blog post today :)
Always fun and uplifting to see your style :)
hugs, take care, Have a great weekend :)

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, thank you for this post. It was the perfect reminder we need to step back and re-access our lives to ensure we are listening to the Lord! Thank you for the Kitchen Prayer pattern! It will proudly be hung in my kitchen! Hugs!💝

Carol O said...

This is sew Lovely! Thank you sew much!!

Kim @ Purring Cottagee said...

Thank you again for good words, inspiration, and encouragement. I, too, have kind of neglected housekeeping in my endeavors to get Christmas gifts done so we could deliver them while on our travels to see our kids. When I get back from the travels I will use this inspiration to get back in the routine and beauty of homemaking.

terricheney said...

Just this week, I had a realization that I'd let an activity slide that had centered my days. It happened so subtly, just as you described. I quickly reinstated it this week and the days went much better.

Johanna said...

Hi Jenny,
I love your emails, love your many words of wisdom, encouragement and whats happening in your life.
Also love your embroidery. I have done a few, and love your ideas, creativity and your many works.
If you don’t mind, I would love to know how you start the crocheting on your tea towels etc.
Do you do a blanket stitch first, then rows of crochet???
My mum who is no longer with us would know, she taught me much. But I’m nowhere near her standard.
Hoping you can help me, please.

May God Bless you and keep you well.
You are an amazing women of God, and a big Thank you for all your encouragement and words of wisom.

Love Johanna

Hilde said...

Thank you for this post, it was just what I needed. I have had surgery a week ago and my husband makes sure now that I don´t do too much - but I notice that I actually do not enough. I get lazier by the day, just reading and watching TV, not even starting a new knitting project I had planned. Just sitting and not moving isn´t even good for healing. So, I will make a list and start working through it, of course rith enough resting in between.
Hilde in Germany

Nancy from Maine said...

Thank you for being so open and honest. And thank you Heavenly Father for your continued faithfulness in our slips and slides. Another encouraging post, Jennifer. Love to you and yours.

Donna P. said...

Jennifer, I have read this post all the way through a couple of times - needed to have it sink in. I too have been through this and am climbing out of that slide. I have recently fallen a couple of times and so had to slow down and even not do my daily chores. Now that I am improving, I saw myself continuing that slide. Thank you for being so open, honest, and following God's lead on this.

kupton52 said...

Dearest Jenny....I'm praying right now for rain to come to you and yours in Australia. Thank you for the lovely pattern and for the insightful post. I've neglected my house due to severe pain and am simply overwhelmed at how fast it has gone downhill. If you have time, please say a prayer for me as well. Blessings from WV, USA!

AbbyLane said...

Jennifer it is Linda from MN. I have shared with SC and they love your work and prayers as we all do. You keep going sister. Your words are wonderful and your hands express what your soul feels.

Thank you for all you do and always in our prayers.

Michelle B said...

I feel God prompted you to write this post just for me. I have found myself in the lazy mode also but not from any particular reason, just spending too much time on the computer. I am making a concerted effort to limit my time. I've read that God will take a strict accounting of how we spent our time,

I always enjoy your posts. I love visiting other parts of the world, even if it's only via the internet!

I know you did a tutorial years ago on how to achieve nice clean letters. I struggle with letters. Could you possibly repost, or rewrite that info? Or is it somewhere on the web page?
Thank you!