I’m an unlikely candidate for a homemade life. Perhaps that’s why I feel compelled to share mine. I’m actually surprised each time I make bread from scratch or see my kids wear a hand-knit scarf.
I would have never slowed down by choice. But faith allows me to believe that it was God’s intention to have me do precisely that when I struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of my second son. It shook me to my core. As I emerged from its depths, I had no choice but to take life slowly and with intention. It was as if God was telling me I needed to recalibrate in order to find a sustainable pace for taking care of myself and my family.
Recovery may have been the catalyst to a slower pace, but it’s the rich, sensory experience of making more things with love that continues to motivate our lifestyle choices. Gratitude is the well from which my efforts flow; I honour and connect with life in a more meaningful way when I am intentional about where my energy goes.
Last summer, as we piled our baskets high with blackberries and came home with purple stained fingers, I noticed a shift in the environment of our home that came with savouring the simple things. For my young boys especially, it has allowed wonder and joy to shine through day-to-day activities. It’s delightful and a bit mysterious to dye an Easter egg with purple cabbage and have them turn a vibrant indigo. These little miracles of nature have created a beautiful bridge for big questions of our faith and the miracles of Jesus.
When you have small kids, it may seem an inopportune time to make things from scratch, yet it is precisely their intuitive and inquisitive spirit that latches on to the process. Using our hands and making something together, whether that be play dough or a bath fizzy, offers a physical, tactile element to our memories. It need not be perfect. In fact, less attachment to the outcome and more focus on the experience is wonderfully freeing.
I’ve made a few pairs of uneven pajama pants and a lopsided hat for my kids, and they watched as I tried again. We both learned about perseverance. When I did finally make a pair of pants worthy of public wear, it was a source of joy for maker and wearer. Did you know a four-year-old can tell when something was made with love?
Yes, it does take longer to grow your own snap peas or make jam with summer’s abundance. But finding time for these activities prompts intentionality. Taking stock of ways to cultivate simplicity has meant fewer scheduled activities, less frequent meals out, fewer toys and less busyness – purely for the sake of doing and using less. While that means saying no to some things, it allows us to say yes wholeheartedly to others.
Aligning with the rhythms of nature has deepened our appreciation of each season. Our oldest son spends two days a week at an outdoor pre-school on a local farm, rain or shine. In the fall they gather leaves and dip them into beeswax, in the winter they walk in the forest and observe what has gone to sleep, in the spring they have a festival welcoming back the flowers and plant a garden. Every Tuesday, children bring a vegetable to contribute to a soup lunch. As the ingredients change seasonally, the children are further immersed in the subtle rhythm of life. My son is often covered with dirt from head to toe when I pick him up, and is happy as a lark. I like to think it’s teaching him a reverence for nature that will last a lifetime. His is also learning to find pride in his work and appreciate things that are handmade. He’s begun to whittle and is more delicate with watercolours. It inspires me to carry that feeling into our home.
Perhaps more unexpected than our culinary pursuits or simplifying our schedules, learning how to sew still surprises me. I’ve found it therapeutic to learn something new and also to create something with my own hands. Guiding fabric through the sewing machine and watching it transform into a new favourite dress-up crown or a gift for a friend’s baby is humbling. Imbuing each stitch with love feels like sending a piece of yourself to those who may be too far away to hug.
When you slow down to pick your own berries, feel the softness of wool slipping through your fingers as you knit, smell the scent of freshly baked bread or watch your kids immersed in nature, it isn’t hard to find God in the everyday.
Perhaps you don’t find pleasure in creating things with your hands or learning a craft, and that’s okay! Creating a homemade life is most importantly about intentionality. We can all be intentional about our day-to-day home life based on our individual God-given talents and interests. The trick is slowing down enough to listen to what that is and then making space for the magic of finding God in those experiences.
Try two of Megan’s favourite recipes!
Homemade Bath Fizzy
Mix all ingredients together in a glass bowl and add water a drop at a time until the mixture begins to just stick together. At this point, press the mixture into your desired mould. I had my boys crumble some dried lavender we had left over into the bottom of the mould so they had pretty purple speckles! Let dry for 24 hours and enjoy in your next warm bath.
Apple and Oat Muffins
1. Preheat oven to 375F; line a 12-cup muffin tin.
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