Look after yourself too...


Another week passes by.
Rhythms rise and fall with each new day, and though at times my plans sway in another direction than that which I'd planned, there's almost always a gentle predictability to this gentle domestic life which I cherish and hold close to my heart. 

The first half of the week I gave much needed attention to pattern piecing, subsequent photography of the blocks, and then writing patterns. My sweet daughter, Blossom, was still unwell and not able to catch up as we'd normally do one or two days a week, so I wrote a list of chores, recipes and business tasks to fill the days alone at home which lay before me.

It was wise to productively fill this time with tasks which I'd fallen behind in as admittedly my Mother and Nana heart deeply misses the wonderful hours we usually share, but it was important to keep our distance so her nasty cold could run it's course and not spread. I made chicken bone broth soup, French chicken salad, bread rolls and a feta, tomato and pasta bake which I left at her door.

When I arrived there was a parcel waiting for me. A beautiful framed print by Lore Pemberton. Many years ago I embroidered a cushion for Blossom which featured a little girl holding her mother's hand, and beneath it read "you always held my hand". Blossom treasures that cushion, and when she saw this print she knew I'd love it. So very blessed. 

On Thursday I was able to visit with Rosie and we had a wonderful morning, feasting on a delicious Pumpkin Spice cake she'd baked, and lots of hot tea because the early winter day began a little cool. 

When I came home it was time to tend the garden. It still amazes me how the roses come to life here in the winter, and I especially love the miniature white rose near our back door. This year I've been drawn to white and planted out white marigolds as well. All the white flowers create a striking background to the deep pink petunias and red geraniums...

The morning primrose (below) is a cutting from the large bush in the front garden which has grown beautifully in a pot, but next week it shall be planted in the back garden. The bees adore morning primrose and I can stand for ages watching them buzzing to and fro filling their pollen sacks with a tea cup in my hand.

There's also an abundance of blooms on the blue rose. I was asked in a comment recently if I'd share a photo of it, and here it is...

It's not a blue-blue, but is a deep pink with blue tones and the more it opens the more obvious the blue tones are. When the buds have not yet opened the colour is a much richer pink.

The Hydrangea blanket is coming along nicely, though not a lot was done this week, but as Rosie reminded me, its too hot to crochet blankets across our laps for most of the year in the tropics, so we crochet them through the winter. Suddenly I felt much better and am no longer rushing to complete it, but enjoy crocheting a couple of rows each evening before bed.

We ordered a new mattress about a month ago, and yesterday it arrived. We've returned to a Tempur memory foam as its the only one which helps alleviate some of my husband's physical pain so that he can sleep. We remembered from the last one that when it is removed from all the thick sealed plastic used for delivery (and storage in a warehouse I imagine) there's a very strong chemical odour which takes days to disappear, so we're camping out in the loungeroom on our old mattress in the meantime. 

Hopefully this will only be for a few nights, but for now I'm thinking it may just be a nice resting place mid afternoon to snuggle down with a new book.
I watched the movie of Ballet Shoes on Britbox last weekend and absolutely loved it so I bought the book from Amazon Australia on Monday. It arrived yesterday and my heart leaped at the beautiful cover with it's deep maroon velvet ribbon. I'm discovering that many classic children's books these days have the most artfully exquisite covers, which adds to my delight reading them.

We read many, many such classics when I homeschooled the children, and it's one of those pastimes I've really missed, so this year I began to purchase titles which we'd not read but had always wanted to. 
It's been a bit of a revelation for me to acknowledge my love for good children's literature, and that it wasn't just for reading to my family because there's an abiding love in my own heart even now for them. 
I'm still an Agatha Christie fan and am gradually listening to all her books through Scribd, but again, it's that classic style which draws me in. Good literature from simpler times. I used to use Audible but it became cost prohibitive. 

(NOTE: With Scribd I pay one low monthly fee (half that of audible) and can download as many audio books as I like to listen to. They rotate them often so each month I have a few more Christie audios to choose from as well as thousands of other books to read or listen to if I like. The difference is that with Audible you own the book you download, but with Scribd you are borrowing it, and this suits me better as I rarely re-listen or re-read a book.)

After finishing a slow and deep study of Mark's gospel, this past week I've been reading through 1 Thessalonians, and will move on to 2 Thessalonians tomorrow. The verse highlighted below became quite pivotal to the way I viewed homemaking a few years back and I thank the Lord always that He used it to bring clarity upon an area I'd not fully taken to heart previously.

Also in my week...
A new design in the making.

An abundance of herbs throughout the garden being added to many recipes and teas.
I've also popped some rosemary in my favourite (unusable) tea pot with a few baby chrysanthemums and a gerbera (which was attached to the wrapping of my gift from Blossom) and the fragrance through our kitchen is wonderful!

Making our own yoghurt for breakfast is back in my routine again, and it's so easy in the Easiyo container. 

Baking as self-care.
My dearly beloved is not a fan of cake, much preferring biscuits (cookies) or a slice (bar), so they are what I predominantly bake, but something he says to me every day when he leaves for work in response to my question, "Is there anything I can do for you today?" got me thinking yesterday.
You see, he always answers the same way, "Look after Jennifer."
It matters to him that I look after myself and not overdo things or take unnecessary risks, so that he doesn't have to worry as much when he's away from home for such long hours. And truly, I am more intentional, and more thoughtful, about all my activities at home since he made me promise this when beginning his current employment last December.

Yesterday when he drove off, I thought about ways I may not be looking after myself and after scrubbing out both fridges, sorting through the entire pantry for out-of-date ingredients or packages, and watering the vegetable garden, it occurred to me that I rarely bake a cake anymore, and friends, I love cake. Give me cake over a cookie or slice any day.

So I prepared dinner and while it was simmering on the stove I baked one of my favourite cakes, Blueberry Crumble. 

Cooling on the kitchen bench, I planned to enjoy a thick slice for morning tea the next day (which is today), and that's exactly what happened. Served with fresh strawberries and Cherry Splice tea, I luxuriated in spoiling myself for twenty minutes. 

I think perhaps, that we can sometimes spend so much time doing for others, or cooking what our loved ones enjoy, that we overlook making moments to treat ourselves. My quiet and delicious mid-morning treat today revived my tired mind and wearied body, and you know, it was such a small thing really, yet to me this was some needed self-care. 

I don't go in for a lot of that because there's an element of selfishness which can step in and I've seen a lot of evidence for that in social media, books and articles...but the occasional treat, that's what I shall pursue. For when a treat is occasional, it means much more than if it became an everyday thing. I hope I'm explaining myself here, as I realise sometimes what I write can be misconstrued. 

Morning or afternoon tea is a regular break for me each day,  and I need it so I can stop what I'm doing, get off my feet, and just relax for twenty minutes in a comfy chair with a nice cup of tea and perhaps a biscuit or scone. But taking time to bake a special cake, for myself, well, that was making an occasion and doing something for myself that otherwise wouldn't happen. 

I've divided the cake into quarters now, and there are two wrapped and stored in the freezer for the next time I need a little self-care treat. A third quarter is going to my elderly neighbour, and there's still plenty of the fourth quarter left for me to enjoy over the weekend. 

If you're after the recipe I'll share it inside the next issue of The Homemakers Heart magazine which I'm hoping to have written by the beginning of July. 

So tell me, how long since you made an occasion of treating yourself to some self-care? What did you do? Is it time to treat yourself again?

May the Father, from whom all blessings flow, be your strength, hope, shield and comfort in the days and weeks ahead.


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