Friday, February 2, 2024

Joy in the Ordinary - block 2...


It's a new day, and a new month, so I'm ready to move right on past the challenges of January and look forward in this year's blog theme of "Joy in the Ordinary". I hope you are too!
Today I'm sharing the second block of this year's free BOM, and the focus of the little stitchery is something we love, a place where we can rest from the busyness and chaos of the world around us, somewhere our creative skills can bloom, a sanctuary for those within to lay down their burdens and breathe in the heart restoring welcome of HOME.
Home should be our safe environment to grieve, to pray, to rejoice, to plan, to feed, to create, to hope, to bake, to plant, to harvest, to enjoy. 

This past month, well, actually since before Christmas, life in our home has been challenging, sometimes topsy turvy, and other times requiring more energy than we thought we'd be able to muster...but all along it has been HOME. 
It's walls surround us, offering refuge from the hard times, bouncing laughter from room to room, comfort from pain or loneliness, contentment with our lot in life, and stillness when we need to separate our minds (and ears) to hear God, and to ponder our own thoughts. 
What is it that you love about your home? 

Use the link below to download this month's free pattern

Missed block 1? Go HERE

I have a pile of books beside me at the moment, all with an emphasis on home, though in varying aspects. Each afternoon, and often in the evening, I read slowly from one or two, underlining thoughts  which resonate with my homemaker heart, and occasionally making notes in the margins. This brings me peace, grows my confidence in the life choices being made, educates me in new skills, and inspires me to expand further my love for all things home and family. 

(The books I am reading or studying at the moment, with one missing which was given to Blossom - I'm awaiting delivery of another copy for myself.)

I've also been making a lot of notes from a few good videos on natural health, assessing our dietary needs and making a few changes (which have brought about marvellous results already), and continuing to work on the recipe book I promised to share with you. The cyclone (before, during and after) put a stop to that for now, but as life has almost slipped back into normality I shall return to it next week.   

Most afternoons I can be found in the kitchen, especially Sunday and Monday afternoons when I prepare things for the week ahead. This week I needed to make almond milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, almond biscuits, mayonnaise, hummus, pesto and satay sauce to use in or with meals. I'll have all these recipes for you later this month, if you're interested. 

It is stone fruit season in Australia at the moment, so we are enjoying them immensely as snacks, in salads, baking, and soon as chutneys, jams  and relishes - I just need to get everything prepared the night before and then spend a whole day on preserving them. Most exciting prospect! Stone fruit is very cheap right now, so the perfect time to buy up and get preserving. 

The FEBRUARY theme...

Each month of this 'Joy in the Ordinary' year, I have chosen a sub-theme for the blog. January was 'gratitude', and it helped me enormously to focus on that mindset for a whole month, especially with a cyclone and heart trouble. What about you?

For February the theme will be 'Stillness'...

My friends, we shall chat quite a bit about this through February, but today I'll just share a quote from Emilie Barnes in her book Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home, who 32 years ago - when life was not as chaotic, not stitched into social media, and when many women still had mothers, aunts, or older mentors to guide them - recognised the need for all women to have moments of stillness.  

"Stillness is not a word than many of us even use anymore, let alone experience. Yet women today, perhaps more than at any other time in history, desperately need moments of stillness." Emilie Barnes 1992

This week, on Monday, Blossom came with the children after their swimming lessons for our regular brunch gathering. With a feast set before them all, we ate, laughed, heard the children's stories of the cyclone, and drank a pot of tea between us. Afterwards, I tidied the table and brought out some crafts for the children to work on, and sent my sweet exhausted daughter up to our pool for some calming, alone-time, 'stillness', in the water...for she never has time away from the children unless they are asleep. 
About 40 minutes later she returned, refreshment evident in her eyes..."Mum, it was so quiet, so still. I didn't know how badly I needed this break."
That's when I knew the Lord was tapping on my heart to talk about stillness in all our lives during February. You know, later that day Blossom had some very difficult hours, but she told me that having her quiet time in the pool all alone with God in the stillness had prepared her for the trials afterwards. We have decided she will escape to the pool every Monday after brunch, and I shall have crafty things prepared for the children. 

Dear one, do not underestimate the need for stillness in your life. Today, pray and consider how you can make time to be in the quiet stillness, and then let the presence of the Holy Spirit wash over you as you rest from every toil or trouble, just for a while. 

"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10 

I'm working on a new embroidery pattern for you, a gift, which I shall share next week...for there's nothing better for stitching a message into your heart, than slowly and thoughtfully with needle and thread and prayer. 

I also have an older pattern in my shop HERE if you'd like to stitch it as well. 

God bless, and we shall chat again soon...

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Mrs. White said...

This is such an encouraging post, full of homemaking wisdom. God bless you!

Lin said...

Thank you Jennifer. Lovely post, great design and sounds like some yummy recipes coming our way. xx

Patty said...

Hello Jennifer. So much wisdom in this post. Stillness is not something we here about today. Every aspect of life pushes us to hurry, be productive, cook, clean, shop, compete with others etc. etc.. Hubby had 2 strokes last year. His mental ability isn't what it use to be and everything has fallen on me to maintain our life.....including yard work and all driving. Many days I feel on the verge of tears. I'm not unhappy but I am overloaded with doing everything with never a thank you or acknowledgement of living for someone else and putting myself last. That sounds so selfish but it's how I feel. I know without a doubt the Lord has called me to take care of 'us'. An hour each day to myself is something I need for my own mental health. I don't want to go anywhere.....just be left to work in my yard and talk to Jesus about life. Thank you for your wise words and encouragement in our Lord.

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
This blog post is such a beautiful surprise for the weekend !
Glad to read you have rebounded from all what January threw at you !
Home is a special place. How I cherish where we live .
Stillness , is it something we appriciate the older we get ? Couldn't figure out my parents until I reached a certain age :) Just sitting in stillness is something I can appriciate.
Have a great weekend,
hugs, take care,

Candis said...

Hi Jennifer!
Thank you so much for writing about stillness. I love to read your words ~ they encourage me, and also calm my soul.
You and your hubby are in my prayers, as well as Blossom and her family. Take care.
Patty, I am praying for the Lord to give you rest in Him, and that He will bless you with some stillness each day.

Remembrances said...

Your posts always uplift and encourage me and each one seems to arrive at just the time I needed it. God is good and I am sure He is guiding and directing you. You and your family are in my prayers.

Phi. 4:13

Mary-Louise Parker said...

I will be praying for you! It must be very difficult for you. God knows our every needXX

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Dear Jennifer, Thank you, it was a lovely surprise to hear from you. Thank you! Yes Stillness before our Saviour is such a Blessing! Xx

Jenny said...

My heart goes out to you, a heavy load for sure, may the Lord give you strength for your daily work and load .
“ Your sandals shall be iron and bronze;
As your days, so shall your strength be.
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;”
Deut 33:25-27

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Patty, I am holding you in prayer today, dear one. You have a great responsibility, one which blesses your husband in so many ways. I pray that you can take time every day, God-gifted time, to do as Jesus did and be separate from the world and be still, to be restores and refreshed, to know that God is right there with you.

Jenny said...

Thank you for this encouraging post!

Patty said...

Candis and Jennifer thank you for your prayers!! I treasure them and I'm blessed to know you are lifting me in prayer to our Lord. Patty

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Hang in there, Jennifer. Changing your diet and using "food as medicine" is so important to all of us! I am glad to hear it is making a positive change for you. Your "home" quilt square may be simple...but it is absolutely beautiful and the thought behind it so very true. Thanks for a beautiful post.

Synders said...

Love your heart and what you do, Jennifer, thanks for speaking into all our lives. Gratitude.

Kay said...

Stillness is very important to me, in fact, I find that I am becoming more and more distracted by noise. I have always been someone who relished solitude, peace, quiet, rather than the hurly burly of the world. Sometimes we forget to slow down and take a moment to be calm. Thank you for your kindness and love which you write into your blog posts. X

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer,

Thank you so much for the beautiful block 2. I am so sorry about the damages and things you all had/ have to do for storm cleanup & repairs. Praying for it all to settle down and you to both be able to get lots of rest. And for Mrs. Patty I will be praying for you Dear for your load to lighten and for you to have some down time just for you to rest a little and not have so much on you. I remember what all my mom went through when her husband had a bad stroke and she became his 24 hour care taker. around the clock she about lost her sanity. It was so difficult. She was finally able to get a older lady to sit with him a few hours a week and it helped her tremendously. Just to have a couple hours to herself. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness. WE are human not a robot. We need down time Dear. I'm also sending you a Big virtual hug. And one for you too Jennifer.

Sherry said...

Thank you for all you do to encourage others. I appreciate you more than you could ever know.

Ondrea said...

Another pretty block. Good to know that things have settled down for you now. You truly are a wonderful homemaker and I doubt if you need any further information lol. Your time with Blossom and the children is so precious and it is good that you have given Blossom a way to wind down each week. Life's challenges are so much easier to cope with when we are rested. Your blog is so enjoyable to read and always brings me a sense of calmness . So I am sure you bring peace and joy to many without even knowing it.

Sherry said...

Dear Jennifer, I'm so glad that the storm didn't cause as much damage as predicted. Home to me is my sanctuary from the noise of the world. It is my place to read, to stitch and to love and care for my small family. Praying for you and your family for better health and stillness to connect with the Lord.
Prayers also for Patty, for rest and stillness, and for better health for her husband.

titti said...

Dear Jennifer
I'm afraid for the storm!!!
Many thanks for your beautiful blocks.
I hope to do them : I'm retired from the work so I have much time!!
Hugs and kisses
Titti from Italy

Anonymous said...

Dear Jenny, I have never commented here before, although I've been reading your blog for a few months now. I found your site from the "Coffee,Tea,Books and Me" blog which I've followed for years and I'm grateful to Brenda for having you listed there,and just want you to know what a blessing you have been to me. These past five years have been a non-stop time of stress and anxiety as my 88 year old mother, my husband and myself have been dealing with many health issues, surgeries and resulting financial difficulties. We are Christians and know the Lord, but life can still be overwhelming at times. Visiting here is one of my "quiet" places and I appreciate your heart for God and your taking the time to minister to us. I know we'll never meet this side of heaven, but I look forward to meeting you there one day. You and your family are in my prayers. Warmest regards from the Gulf South US, Marsha

Allie said...

LOVE block 2, thank you! Praying for you all, sweetheart....

Beth said...

Thank you for this!