Thursday, March 7, 2024



March has made itself welcome in the tropics of Northern Australia, bringing with it loads more rain, lengthening autumn nights, and early morning kitchen tasks that begin in the dark before the heat of the sun spreads over the mountain in front of me. 
I love March, not because it's the start of autumn as it is always very hot here in March, but because it signals the end of another uncomfortable summer and the promise of winter just three months away. It thrills me to know that in another six to eight weeks, around the end of April or beginning of May, the heat will finally subside and we can open wide all the windows and doors until October. What lies ahead is a favourite season of life in our tropics with tepid days and nights, months of enjoying every moment in the outdoors, drinking in the embrace of temperate days, the hope of cool nights and pots of steaming soup or hearty casseroles if the temperatures drop below 24 C (75 F). Some years our winter is too warm for anything more than t-shirts and jeans, or a long flowing dress...but other years we will have a month tucked somewhere into winter where we can pull on socks and wrap a cardigan around our shoulders - those are the winters I adore! 

(rainbow lorikeets are daily visitors to the feeder, often sitting in the shady branches of the Poinciana for hours)

Just as natural seasons bring change with them, so do personal seasons. Rosie came to visit yesterday and as is our custom, we spend a lot of time chatting about life over a cup of tea and something sweet and delicious. I am often surprised by how parallel our thoughts are, the ones we have individually pondered between our last catch-up and this one...for we both long for simpler times, simple joys, and more time for physical and mental refreshment.

When I was praying through February about what the blog's theme should be for March, the word 'simplicity' resonated within my heart over and over. It seemed that wherever I looked, a verse or quote about the need for simplicity in our day to day lives would pass before my eyes, or I'd hear of such things through what I had watched or listened to that day. It was clear that the Lord was focussing my attention on simplifying every area of my life...and girls, that made me joyous. 

In our conversation Rosie and I talked about childhood memories, and those who raised us - Rosie had parents, and I had grandparents. We reminisced about the simpler times and lives lived without hustle, amongst people who helped each other, where kindness, laughter, humility, and a good night's rest were normal. Meals were ordinary, the kind women had been cooking for years, made from simple fresh ingredients - meals that children and grandchildren remembered all their lives as 'comfort food' because it brought back memories of love, security, familiarity and happiness.

But Simplicity isn't just about food.
It can be how we dress, the plans we make in our day, what we grow and how we tend our gardens, how we decorate our homes, what we sew, the routines and rhythms of homemaking in all its aspects...even the conversations we have with others. Whilst pondering the various aspects of our life we can highlight the joys we experience, stirring happiness and perhaps contentment in our hearts - but what about the things in our life that overwhelm and weary and leave us at times not knowing where to start or what to do next - our minds are a blur and we feel somewhat frozen in one place. 
Excesses, the burdens or stressors we carry day to day, the unnecessary commitments that take away time and energy, even the overabundance of things we own, or the compulsion to buy more (often to fill an emotional need) - these can cause our lives to be and feel complicated, stressful, and not at all simpler. 

(Rosie and I enjoyed working on our individual crochet blankets this morning - I am repairing Rafaella's old blanket)

There's also a difference between individuals on how they would describe simplicity in their own life. What I may see as simple, another would think too much, and vice versa. For me it is wonderfully and satisfyingly simple to mix and knead and bake a loaf of bread - but for another, simplicity would be to buy a loaf. And that is fine. How we each choose to simplify our lives will depend on our individual circumstances, such as responsibilities, health, finances, lifestyle choices, hobbies  - and if you are married, if will include what both husband and wife agree needs to be simplified. 

(I made another little slow stitched pouch last week from checked linen. It will hold my crochet hooks)

Minimalism is becoming more popular with each passing year, and this too stems from a desire to simplify life. Those who have chosen to embrace minimalism have usually done so in order to rid themselves of excess stuff and excess responsibility (for everything we own comes with responsibility to look after and maintain it), to reduce their financial expenditure, to remove visual clutter, and to eliminate too many choices which then helps with decision making. For example, the ten item wardrobe is another popular choice, especially with women. How much simpler it is to choose your seasonal clothing from such a reduced number of items. No wonder there's a growing movement towards this trend. 
Personally I am not minimalist inclined, but I also do not hoard things, but declutter every season. As the years pass I own less and less, choosing to have only what is or will be used, emergency items, or what I find brings a gentle ambience to my home. 
I prefer my  home to feel warm, welcoming and interesting, so having a relatively bare home would leave me lonely and uninspired...but once again, what is simple to me, will not be to someone else, and the other way around. 

(I made Oleysa's Cottage Cheese biscuits at the weekend and they were yummy)

If you need to simplify your life, perhaps it may be achieved by stepping away from, or reducing, activities, hobbies, committees, and unnecessary commitments. Going here and going there leaves us weary when we return home, and may cause stress when we subsequently fall behind in our daily household tasks, or discover we're neglecting relationships within the family. I'm sad to say that I have seen many women so often 'out and about' that their marriages, finances, home and family suffer over time...even to the point of separation. Keeping the family core solid, the home fires burning, and our hearts in their right place - that's a high priority for all of us to consider. 

(Rosie's crochet blanket in progress, so lovely.)

Our new habit of simplifying...
Apart from reducing the amount of produce we grow (due to health and energy reasons) my husband and I have decided to drop our meals from three per day, to just two. We enjoy a good breakfast, a hearty lunch, and then a small afternoon tea around 2:30pm...after that we don't eat again until breakfast the following day. You may call this intermittent fasting, but we have no dietary rules involved - we're doing this because we have noticed over the past six months or so that we're not really very hungry at the evening meal. I make it out of habit, and we eat it out of habit...but it's become a burden for my husband because he feels obligated to eat that meal I have lovingly prepared. 
When we had the conversation about this last week, we laughed so hard! Each of us wanting to do what we felt was right for the other - and yet neither one of us is hungry at tea time. 
So now I'm preparing even more nutritious breakfasts and lunches (hubby takes his lunch to work) plus a good snack to have around 2:30. It's been a few days now and we are not missing that evening meal at all. We have simplified, and in the process, we're saving money at the grocery store. 

(I am currently repairing the blanket I made Rafaella five years ago, using the leftover yarn I still had. Her dog ripped the centre right out of this blanket.)

How would you like to simplify your life, dear one? I'm ready to hear new ideas, and read of your own never know who you will inspire. 

God bless you, and may He give you more and more of His wisdom as you seek to follow a simpler life. I pray His Holy Spirit will steer you and I away from anything unnecessary, and shine a Light on the areas of our life which need the most attention. May His blessing be upon you, dear heart. 

Till next time, love and hugs,

Don't miss out on any Elefantz news or free patterns. 

Subscribe to my blog posts HERE and receive them direct to your email inbox.  

Or sign up HERE for my free newsletter which often has extra benefits, freebies & tutorials!


Angela said...

For years we had our main meal in the evening, because that fitted best with our working day. Now we often have the big meal at lunchtume and a light meal in the evening. It definitely suits our digestion better. One joy of retirement is that my husband had more time to cook - and he's very good at it. Win-win (except for my waistline, he does use lots of butter!)

Lin said...

Thank you Jennifer, lots to think about there. xx

Belinda said...

God bless you and your family. Love your words of wisdom as they so help with me everyday. Belinda

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Have you heard ?
The small French village of Seine-Port has voted to ban adults and children from scrolling on their smartphones in public. The ban applies in shops, cafés, restaurants, parks, to parents waiting at the school gates… even if you're just walking down the street!14 Feb 2024
Such a great initiative !
We have had a few sunny dry days :)
Thanks for todays blog post with great photos :)
hugs, take care,

Tammy said...

We have done the same meal wise instead of 3 meals it is a big early breakfast of fruit and or cereal. And a small snack midday if anyone want's anything and a much smaller meal for dinner about 4 pm here. We are eating lighter and healthier . And much less clean up. And less food going to waste. I'm glad your mealtimes change is working well for you too.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, do you have a pattern for that pouch? Why is it called slow stitch?

Anonymous said...

If you look at Jennifer’s previous post, she explains there how she made the pouch.

Gail L. said...

Hello Jennifer, I’ve enjoyed your posts and to learn about a different part of the world. Could you possibly please share the recipe for the cookies? I went to the highlighted YouTube and I couldn’t locate the recipe. Thank you, Gail

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Dear Anonymous,
There's no actual pattern but I hope to share a quick tutorial next week. Slow stitching is slow hand sewing, rather than using a's taking time with what we make, sewing with a gentle rhythm, and no time frame to finish anything. It's pure pleasure.
Bless you

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Gail, if you go to the 14 minute mark of that video she takes you through the recipe.

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Lovely Jennifer thank you much. I totally agree. We now eat 2 meals a day, as we get older. Love the u tube video of odessa and have subscribed yo herchannel. I love my audio Bible

Ondrea said...

I hope the cooler months do arrive for you. The seasons are all messed up here with summer finally arriving yesterday! I don't think hubby could do without an evening meal most nights but he has sometimes chosen to just eat fruit. I sometimes choose a light snack . Mostly I still need to cook for him. There is no way we can put clothes away after each season because we have 4 seasons in one day down here lol. I don't have many clothes anyway...mainly because I am home a lot and can't find anything I like even when I need more clothes ( like now). We are only growing tomatoes, lettuce, beans and cucumber, and the cucumber has just finished. I love Rosie's crochet! Nice colours and pattern. Keep cool and well. X

Allie said...

Oh gosh what a gorgeous post. I love what you and Rosie are both working on. I don't think I could ever do minimalism - smacks of new world order to me, "you will own nothing and you will be happy". I enjoy having my things around me, and some of mom's things, and my grandmother's. I only like minimalism when it comes to hotel rooms, lol. But having a place for everything, and everything in its place, brings me joy.
Love you!

Anonymous said...

I very much enjoyed your post. Resonated with me. You ate right to cut back on what you try to do on the garden. We have had to do the same. First thing we did was to get rid of a wide border which the length of the garden, covering it by extending the lawn. Then I reduced the number pots I had and put in two smaller raised beds for herbs and salad items. We also had a huge pruning job done recently so the garden is loomong very tidy and pretty with the spring flowers. We now have a garde er to keep on top of it all.