Monday, February 19, 2024


 Life as we age - whether that be from teens to marriage and motherhood, from raising a young family to waving them goodbye as they move on in a life of their own making, or from middle age to the years of really slowing because your body needs the blessings of more rest than we were previously used to - is always changing, like the seasons.

(my husband and our Molly-dog on a quiet early morning walk along the shoreline recently)

Hubby and I feel this with each passing year, and especially over the last twelve months. We are learning new lessons about our abilities in this stage of life, and becoming more aware of what our bodies need, and what they don't. We consider what can be done comfortably, but then we must count the cost of recovery if we choose to pursue a bigger task. 

(the last of our sweet potato harvest)

Decisions need to be made that will allow us to enjoy our days, something we struggle with during the very long tropical summers here. Heat exhaustion takes a toll year after year trying to keep the gardens going, and then in the winter (very mild and tepid days and nights) when most of the world settles in to rest and enjoy warming soups and hot chocolate, there is no rest for us. That's the time of year when its cool enough to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini...and many other vegetables. In winter we grow summer food. And still no rest. It's twelve continuous months of planting, tending, growing, weeding, clearing, soil building and preserving. 

(my gorgeous $3 lined basket from the op shop)

We are so tired. So very tired. 

Both of us have some ongoing health issues with our shared auto-immune disease, issues which become a bit more of a challenge as we age, so we have made the decision not to grow anything but herbs this year, alongside our young fruit trees. We need, we want, to look after our health, to take time to rest and be still in the short winter months. We must use the common-sense and wisdom which God has graciously given us, so that we may say near the end, as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

(lovely colours for a new crochet rug)

My interests are changing too, in craft, home decor, reading, meals, music - even in what I am ready to pack up and give away as I declutter (things I imagined holding on to for always). It was lovely this past weekend to pull out the yarn basket and choose colours for a new lap rug, something I can use as I rest this coming winter. Every rug I have crocheted in the past was gifted to a grandchild, but this one is for me. 

(such a pretty piece of Liberty for a slow stitching project)

And after having a small bag of 9 tiny pieces of Liberty fabric on my shelf for about nine years, unused because I did not like them, I am finding a wonderful slow stitching project bringing me such joy as I discover they are prints which now I truly like. 

Not rushing, not pushing to achieve a long list of accomplishments each day, not assessing my personal value by how much I can do...all of these changes have brought me a deep peace within my soul. And time. Time to talk more with God, time to enjoy gentle music, time to read old classics, time to listen, time to pray, time to see what is right before me, time to appreciate the very gift of living. 

(small slow stitches, imperfect and quietly satisfying)

In a world where 'rush rush rush' is almost a constant background beat which brings anxiety to increasingly hurried lives, I am relishing the quiet of my own thoughts, and the stillness which so beautifully accompanies it. 

I love the softness of candles after dark, something I discovered during and after the loss of power from last month's cyclone. Reading a few pages from a gentle book before bed is soothing, as is a warm mug of herbal tea instead of the coffee we no longer drink. We sold the coffee machine which ground the beans and brewed a strong rich brew or made cappuccinos, and used the money to buy groceries to increase our preparedness pantry. 

I have always sung that little hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, in my sewing room...for some reason, it always came to mind when I was in there tidying up, sewing, or designing. One line says "...and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of Your glory and grace." I reflected on this today and realised that as I sang it those hundreds of times, that it was prayer...and God is answering it.

More and more, the things of this world are growing dimmer, and they are becoming less important as I go about my day to day ordinary life. I am seeking the eternal things of God, and that's probably why I am looking with changed eyes at all I have, and feeling the need to release 'things', just keeping what we need, what we can use, what we enjoy, what we love, and what brings life to our home. 

Yes, I am changing...and it's good. 

Have you found yourself making changes or adjustments in your own season of life? 

Dear Lord, I pray for every dear woman reading this today, that You would direct her away from unnecessary pursuits or desires or burdens, and rest her eyes and ears and thoughts on what You want for her in this very season of life she finds herself travelling along. May she know Your presence, experience Your loving hand guiding her each day, and be filled with joy in the very ordinary and beautiful moments of her life. Cover her with your grace, Father, and soften the pain of grief and loss. Put a new song in her heart, and surround her with songs of deliverance for Your Name's sake. May she rest in the knowledge that Your Word is her armour, and through Your Holy Spirit, may the Scriptures come alive as never before when she opens her Bible. Provide for every precious woman who has need, Lord, and lead her in the way the wonderful name of Jesus, Amen.

Love and hugs

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Angela said...

I have been a helper or leader at a children's holiday bible club since 1968.This week will mark my 57th year. But Bob and I have told the church that this is the last year we will be in charge. Planning everything and then running the sessions is just too much for us now, we simply don't have the energy. We are passing the baton on to younger church members. Maybe we will help next year, but definitely stepping back from being responsible for it all. It felt odd to say it out loud, but we both feel it is the right decision. God has different ways for us to serve him, and he will reveal them in his time.

Lin said...

Thank you Jennifer. xx

Donna P. said...

What a beautiful way to start the week. Thank you Jennifer for such wise, God-given words. I have actually been going through many of my things slowly finding what I need and don't need and won't be using. Giving the items away to someone who will use them instead of sitting on the shelf gathering dust or in a storage box. It's a big weight of the shoulders, isn't it?
Blessings to you and yours, Donna

Miriam said...

Thanks for your words and for your prayer of today to our Father.
Big hug,

Carol said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for your wise words. For me, it's hard to slow down, but so very necessary. And, like you, my body is telling me it's time also. Since the recent death of my husband, I've been cleaning out the things in our home that are no longer needed or wanted. I'm still holding on to the memories, but everything else is finding a new home. Thank you for your thoughts and your much needed prayers.

Julie said...

Thank you again for this timely post my dear friend. My body is telling me it cannot do what it once did also. Things take so much longer now.
I am thinking perhaps you might enjoy having one tomato plant in a bucket, as I grew this summer dear Jennifer? If you are giving up your veggies? I actually grew 2 in buckets, right beside my hose so it was not hard to keep them watered & they have provided me with so much bounty. Of course yours would be in the winter months.
I love that Liberty fabric you are working on. 💗
This period of life feels like a kind of Limbo for me. I am adjusting (still) to not having Mum in my life & although that brings more "freedom" to me I am not sure I want to fill it up with other things. Its a period of adjustment thats all. I know you will understand what I am trying to say here. Wishing you a lovely week my friend x0x0

Betty said...

Is there a pattern for your new lap rug? I like it very much. The colors are very soft and pretty. I enjoy your blog posts very much.

Anonymous said...

Amen.... Blessings from Texas

Anonymous said...

Well my husband and I in our early 70’s had started slowing down after helping get our third grandchild to age 8 and were surprised and blessed with a fourth one that we keep everyday. Keeps us up and moving.

Remembrances said...

I find myself in the very same spot with the same outlook as you. I have found that at age 75 I no longer have to be the one who always has it all together, the one who arranges everything and volunteers for everything and does everything. My husband and I still are healthy thanks to the grace of God, but we are now also realizing that we don't need all the "stuff" all of the things that the Bible says will be destroyed by moths and rust and we are working on seriously downsizing and donating or gifting all of the things we thought we would never part with. Thank you so much for your affirmation - it's good to know there are others out there who feel the same!

Phi. 4:13

Sharmayne said...

It might be from Attic 24 blog

Judith from Illinois, USA said...

Your gentle words today really touched my heart as I read them. They also have inspired me to take a hard look at my Rush, Rush, Rush, busy, busy, busy life and decide what is really important as I near 70. Dear Jennifer, thank you so much for your words that I know come from God as he continues to use you to spread his message to us, the women who follow your blog

Ondrea said...

Yes, age does tend to catch up with us but we are blessed to be here and watch our families grow. I never thought I would be as limited as I am but age is not the only factor for me, just an additional one lol. Slowing down can be a good thing for many yet I feel my life is a bit too slow as I watch the days turn into weeks , months and years without having done much at all. Time is precious but not to be wasted so I do plan to change things. Your crochet is looking lovely and I hope you are enjoying the gentle rhythm of hook and yarn. Keep well. X

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer ,
That's great to hear/read about your changes to gardening :) First word that popped in to my head when I read this was " finally " :) How you kept gardening through out all these years in the tropics is amazing. Enjoying a few potted herbs is super. Australia has amazing seasonal produce.
We have really changed our garden as well. The shovel came in last month to remove a few cubic meters of top soil to be replaced by a layer of sand then artificial turf. Yes, that's right :) It's time for a change in gardening. The grass looks great ! If you would have asked me 10 years ago I would have laughed :) But now, there are so many different types once you go searching on line ! The new fence has been built last weekend. No more hedges to trim and the climbing hortensia is gone. We want to enjoy time sitting and relaxing. The hostas in pots have become fewer and there will be a few pots for Summer blooms. Now I'll just have to wait until June to " re decorate" :)
I've picked up cross stitch once again and that is wonderful :) I haven't done that for a while.
We have a small filter coffee machine at hme so when we go out we really enjoy a cappucino !
hugs, take care,
Enjoy your new found rhythms and changes.

kiwimeskreations said...

I too am having to slow down, and God is getting my attention through health issues!
I have downsized considerably over the last few years as I sold my house, rented a smaller one, and then was able to occupy a purpose built 'granny flat' attached to my daughter's house. I am still sorting, but oh the 'stuff' that has left my possession!
I am responsible for the vegetable garden, but that is not onerous, and SIL does the heavy work.
Thank you for your wise words

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jennifer, I need to hear these words. I am the same age as you, and am frustrated by the things I can no longer do. I have always been too busy, I think, but slowing down is causing great anxiety. It's so hard for me to relinquish the tight controlling grasp I have on all the little (and not so little) day to day tasks I've always considered necessary. So now, God, and my very patient husband, and I are working on this. Slowing down. Being still and at peace. Spending more time on those things that are important and eternal. Thank you for sharing the wisdom God has given you, and thank you for your sweet prayer. I pray for God's blessings on you and your family.
Love to you from Lisa in Texas (I truly understand the exhaustion of unrelenting heat!)

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your posts in my email so much! Your words are such a reminder of the life I need to let go of and the life I need to embrace. You show us the beauty in slowing down, and remind us so much of God's grace. I am currently stitching your pattern- Be still and Know That I am God - my favorite psalm and a beautiful reminder that God holds us in the palm of His hand. Thank You!

gail said...

Hello Jennifer,
We also are in this season in our lives. It can be a challenging time. The key is certainly to discuss things with your spouse or perhaps a trusted family member if you are on your own and then pray about what you feel the Lord is directing you in this. You seem to do things gently and with little fuss and I believe that’s the way to go. Just slowly ease into this. Thank you Jennifer for this lovely post and your prayer. May you be equally blessed and may your new way of doing things transition smoothly.
Blessings Gail.

Bikegirl said...

Dear Jennifer
I find so much comfort in reading your blog posts, they are so gentle and soothing and I really look forward to them! I understand how living in tropical Queensland would be very draining, especially in 'winter' when it's not really a winter. I struggle in winter here in New Zealand, the freezing cold mornings at -3 or 4 degrees isn't pleasant since I get up early to go to work.
I hope the transition goes easily and embrace the change, it's so easy to want to resist change but sometimes we have to trust the process.

Love and blessings

Sharm said...

Well I tried to reply yesterday to answer somebody wanting to know your crochet pattern - hence the Attic 24 blog reference which I notice came up totally different. ……..

Anyhow ….. I hear you Jennifer- and I especially understand the continual seasons in norther QLD - the humid weather brings on many more chores for sure ..even when we lived in Maryborough in Qld, it was evident that it would be a constant year round chore and part of the reason we decided move back down south where the winters, although cold … allow for that season of recovery for the body. Especially before Spring when the days are soooooo full!!!! Now being in my 60s I’ve noticed my body just doesn’t cope with all it used to be able to do in a day ….and there are aches and pain’s that didn’t used be there either lol ……. We are now Decluttering to remove things which will allow for easier cleaning, less dusting ect ect. And I’m definitely finding I need moments off stillness . I’m only working 2 days a week now - this allows Pete to get a part pension and we get the pension discounts so this will continue until I can either no longer manage it or I get to pension age!!!

Allie said...

What a blessing you are, sweet girl - so very glad to share these seasons of life with you. Love you always.

gracie said...

Dearest Jennifer, this post has spoken to me... your words are so meaningful. This month I aged to 77 and I need/want to make changes to make days easier and less stressful. I wish to spend more time doing my sewing and makes me happy. This world has become quite crazy. Thank you for always inspiring me. Sending a great big hug!

Beth Milliken said...

What an inspiration you are, Jennifer. I am nearing 78 and have far too many stressful things in my life. I appreciate your post and especially the lovely prayer. God bless you from Alberta, Canada

Águeda said...

Changes are the only sure in my life nowadays. Thank you so much for sharing your inpiring words. A big hug.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed your post and especially the prayer at the end. I lost my dad last week and found your prayer to be a blessing. I was wondering if you could share your dishwashing soap recipe from your last post. Hope you have a wonderful day and I look forward to your next post.

Anonymous said...

I truly felt what you said because, I, too have an auto immune disease and am no longer young. We bought a house few a very small yard two years ago that we truly love. We gave away so many belongings then. I look back and cannot miss anything we gave up. Our needs are much smaller now and I do not miss a thing! I plant only two tomato plants a year now and one or two basils. I still sew many quilts that I mostly donate.

I find that if I do not nap that my body naps later just when I sit down to read or watch TV. I simply need to laugh at this. I have given most of my cares and stress away to the winds because I cannot care about them any longer. I pray for those with problems but I refuse to worry about things I cannot change.

I pray several times a day because I know God is in the details of my very happy life. I am so very richly blessed right where I am, doing what I attempt to do right now.

Thank you for your goodness and great example!