The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Do the next thing.

I first heard "do the next thing" from Elizabeth Elliot. Mum and I used to listen to Elizabeth Elliot tapes in the car.  From memory they were encouragement on daily life, life managing with young children and so on. They were lovely.

Ever since whenever I am overwhelmed or in a crisis I think to myself "do the next thing".  And how simple is that? It's right up there with the blog I love "If you do stuff, stuff gets done" somehow these simple phrases are just fabulous to me!

It's like pointing out the obvious. But the obvious can totally elude us in a crisis.

We have not had anything serious go wrong really just a few smaller things.  One constitutes a lesson learned and the sort of thing where you feel so upset but you know it's all fine and probably is going to do you good in the end. The other is Andy's work van died yesterday. I thought it was a break down and maybe a few days off the road (which is a few days of no income plus a repair bill) but it is not going to be fixed. Nope it's curtains.

I guess you would never say there was going to be a good time for this but this was a bad time. We have no way to replace this van just now unless insurance might cover what has gone wrong. So we are waiting to see.

I was in the supermarket and the lady in front of me looked just worn out. I blamed the heat for a minute. The check out girl asked her if she was ok? And the lady said she was but she was having a hard day... her husband was home sick and he has a disability and her young daughter is home with him and she has epileptic seizures and a brain tumour. I could have wept.

Then last night I read Pasti's blog A Working Pantry. Her blog is just a wonderful encouragement on building up your pantry. And it had turned out her own life had just become a testimony to WHY we should have a good pantry. My heart felt a bit broken really and our own problems settled into perspective.

Today I woke up thinking what will I do? I know. I'll do the next thing.

So I got stuck into a long list of things. Not one of them was really anything exciting, just jobs that needed doing. But you know how when you have achieved lots and things look and feel better because of it, you feel better. It is a good day. So I thought I would do that.

From Laines Letters I learned that keeping track of all the things you did in a day is a good thing. She would show her husband all the stuff she had been doing. She would show him how she had planted things in the garden etc. So I often track what I have done. Do you know the feeling when someone says "what have you been doing?" and despite the fact you have been flat out you can't think of anything to say?!  Well, this is my cure for that.

I open up my planner and leave it out. Then during the day write in everything I did. Somehow seeing the list grow is satisfying. Tonight I have a huge list! So many things were done today. And some of them were really lovely.

Some of my achievements were...

Unpacking the last of the beautiful dinner set my Mum gave me for Christmas. It is gorgeous. It also has a large serving platter.  I love the detail on it.

It was beautiful putting this away into my cupboard and having a re arrange.

Since I have all white everything looks beautiful together. Playing with china is always lovely.

Now it is all stacked and put away and so is everything that was still around from Christmas.

I did the floors, dusted and had a putting away stray items blitz.
I washed the bed linen and the thick woollen underlay from our bed. I washed it in wool wash and added eucalyptus oil to the wash. It came up beautifully and today was the day to do it as it was 38 degrees (100.4) so it dried in no time. Now it is fresh and fluffy and smells lovely.

I made a large rice salad as we hare eating cold meals while the weather is hot.
Andy installed shelves for me in the cellar.
I wrote a heap of emails and letters, sorted my crochet projects and made the dining room table look nice.

It was hot and I used recycled water to give the whole front yard a big drink. My hydrangeas are the thirstiest plants I have ever had. They wilt very quickly. But they are lovely and worth it.

By the end of the day even the budgie (Chippy) had a clean cage and benefitted from my housekeeping!

Well, conquering lots of things did make me feel better. And that made a happy day. Doing the next thing is a good thing.

I wanted to show you the gorgeous gift I got from Helen It is a t towel (kitchen towel) from Sweet Magnolia Farm. I have always loved that website and their beautiful country style things. Helen left the packaging it came in as it was just beautiful. Too good to unwrap. But look at what was inside! It even has a little bell so at Christmas every time you use it the bell jingles. It is honestly adorable. I can't put it away yet so it is still out. I feel cheery every time I look at it!

I am behind in my blog. I wanted to have my pantry post up but I am going to have to accept that the schedule I had planned has had to change a little bit this week.

It is awfully late but I thought turning the day around and making it productive was a good thing to post about. I can go to sleep feeling happy with the day. We all have times when we just don't know what to do. Just do the next thing. xxx


  1. I love Elizabeth Elliot! She came and spoke at chapel when I attended Westomont College many years ago. I went to many chapels the 4 years I attended Westmont and she is the only speaker I remember and I remember her telling us that if we were to make a list of all of our blessings, if we were raised in a godly home, it should be the very first thing on our list. I use "do the next thing" many times in mentoring young women!

    1. Lori this shows how things stick in our minds and hearts. I would have listened to those tapes at least 25 years ago. And her words stuck with me. This is the same for me with Laines Letters. So your mentoring is such an important thing you never know the fruit of it. Some things are immediate some things might yield fruit in 25 years! Many thanks! xx

  2. Yes yes YES to this post, dear Annabel!

    First, let me say how sorry I am about the van. I know that you know that God will provide, he always does. Perspective brings us to a place of true encouragement, and it already sounds like you are there but I must share my tale of vehicle woes with you immediately :). November 2013, within 24 hours of one another, my husband's 15-year-old-car and my 14-year-old-van...both died. Done. gone. curtains as you said, on a Saturday and Sunday respectively. A major stressor to say the least but you will pull through. Yes to E.E. and we the next thing.
    This post had me in so many places: "What have you been doing?"...... Well this is my cure for that! I laughed out loud, completely priceless.
    ~***SWOON***~ over the dishes your Mum gave you. I literally drew a breath as I saw them. They could have a post all their own. The hydrangeas, the beautiful t towel Helen gifted you, all just beautiful. Out of your tough moments you've encouraged me for sure and have brightened my day, I'm sure all the other sweet ladies will agree. I have to look on your sight for your email. I thought of you yesterday and took photos of my neighbor's lemon tree to send you!! I thought that would make you smile :). Have a perfectly beautiful day Annabel, and to all the others who read and comment as well.
    Life gets hard, we all need this beauty and encouragement xxx

    1. Thank you Colette! I would love to see your neighbours lemon tree! You can post it on the fb page or email it to me and I will put it up for everyone to see. I love lemon trees as you know.
      I can't imagine both cars kicking the bucket on the one weekend. They must have planned it!
      Truly getting things done and displaying my beautiful presents made me feel so much better. And today is better too because so much is done I feel ahead.
      Have a good day to you too. Many thanks

  3. Hello Annabel, I am so sorry about your husbands work vehicle, I don't know how its going to work out but I know it will. It is out of your control but your home is what you can manage and you are doing the right things.

    It is so different that you talk about it being so hot when up here in the northern hemisphere it is so wintery and we in a very cold long stretch of days.

    1. Hi Rhonda, Thank you. To add to our weather differences we have bush fires here too but we are not in danger, they are 30ks away from us or so. But still terrible for many.
      The thing in common is I think when there is extreme weather we have to pretty much stay inside most of the time and do indoor things. Later evenings can be ok but not during the day. Plus now here it is sunny until 9 pm and you can still get burned at 7 pm! It is funny to have such differences. I could do with a chunk of snow today :) xxx

  4. I loved Elisabeth Elliott's quote, too. She did the next thing: She changed her baby's diaper.

    Not only did you do the next thing, Annabel, you did the right thing. Chuck Swindoll says, "It's never too late to do the right thing."

    Hugs and happy week to you,

    1. Thanks Kelley. I got your other message too, thank you!
      So many people have been touched by Elizabeth Elliot! I am going to find her today on the internet and see if I can have an update.
      Have a lovely

  5. Annabel I have added your van to my prayer-list for this month. I find affirmative prayer such a comfort and a source of strength, especially in times of adversity. Your dinner set is surely a thing of beauty. What a clever choice you mum made! When I make rice salad my husband heats his serving in the microwave and refers to it as a side dish. LOL. He does not like mixed salads in any form.

    1. Thank you Sherri I appreciate that and will let you know what happens.
      It is funny, I think it is tough to make salads that dont mix or tough each other but I know so many people who feel that way. I am a blended flavours kind of person! I think my dinner set is just gorgeous. Mum knew Id love it, its from a shop here called Provincial Living and everything is lovely. Plus Andy gave me my angel. So I was very blessed! Thanks

  6. Annabel, so sorry to hear about Andy's work van dying. What a gorgeous gift your Mum gave you for Christmas and the teapot, cup and saucer are so ornate. Yes, that is good advice to 'Do the next thing'. It must be hard to want to do anything in that heat you are having but I pray that rain will be on the way soon.

  7. Sorry to hear about your week Annabel, I do hope things work out for you, I am sure God has a plan. I get right into my housework jobs too when I am stressed, I always achieve wonders :)

    The dinner set your mum bought you is so you! Absolutely gorgeous!

    I had not heard of Elisabeth Elliot so I looked her up on the internet. She sounds like an amazing Christian lady. Wish I had known about her earlier, oh well never too late to start and learn.

    Those fires are awful and by the end of today it could be worse, I hope not. The heat is dreadful here, it is so muggy and we only have an evaporative air-conditioner to get by. No good in muggy weather...Bring on all the rain they are promising.

    Sending you big hugs my friend,

    God Bless,
    Tania xoxo

    1. Tania it rained a bit tonight. I saw you are on the edge of what could be massive rains! I hope you get plenty! What a difference that would make for the garden.
      When things go wrong I also often bake! As long as I am busy...
      I hope the temperature has come down and you can hear rain on the roof! xxx

  8. Dear Annabel, sorry to hear about the van's demise. However I am sure you have a lovely long list of useful things for Andy to do at home. Wonderful that you have the shelves up in your cellar. Sounds like a nice cool job in this heat. Imagine, it is even hot in Tasmania! I am starting to hear your repeated emphasis on planning. I need to plan. This year I WILL be planning, meals, jobs, finances, everything. I will be coming back often for help:) xx

    1. Thanks Jo. Yes I really do swear by planning. if I dont plant it, it doesnt really happen. Yesterday I added a lovely free printable planner to the fb page.. but there are some beautiful printable ones. I love A Bowl Full of Lemons for help with my planning too. I hope I can help along the way. Just encouragement makes a difference to each other I think! xxx

  9. Annabel, so sorry to hear about the van's demise! How is Andy feeling? It is hard on men when they are the provider. We have lived on one income 25 years now, and I know how difficult some years can be. God cares and provides for us in ways we can't even imagine. Andy is blessed with a clever, resourceful and intentional wife in you. I'm praying for you both and the situation you are currently in. xoxoxo

    1. Kaye you are exactly right. This is devastating to Andy. He always works hard and long hours and the money is always depleted by costs and past commitments and things (as you know) and it is hard for men especially good ones that want to provide everything. Thanks for the prayers. I appreciate them a lot! xxx

  10. Gosh just lost a long comment because I couldn't remember my Google password!!
    I hope a solution to Andy's van problems presents itself soon. Is hiring a van for a few days a worthwhile option? Would your insurance cover this?
    Your dinner set is lovely and is "you!"
    I love those stores and while I have bought some things I also browse there occasionally for a free dose of loveliness and some inspiration.
    I must get on to my next thing, a price book and also refine my food tracking book. Perhaps I could use that to track what I do as even after being busy some days it isn't always obvious.

  11. Annabel I am very saddened to hear of your van's untimely end. It has been a hard week for you and Andy, you will both be in my prayers tonight. Thank you for introducing me to Elisabeth Elliot I have been looking her up since I read your post and I am sure she will be an intricate part of my learning curve now.

    Doing the next thing...such a wonderful life code. I too am trying to just take the next step each day and I have been adopting the phrase "fake it until you make it" each morning I tell myself "this will be a good day" and it certainly puts a new light on things, as I try to find the hidden gems in my life. My diary now has two headings each day HEART and HOME. I list all the things that lift my heart and all the things I do to keep the home running, it is good to reflect each night and give thanks for what I have achieved.

    Your dinner set is literally breathtaking. Last year my Dear Mother gave me her Mother's Ainsley Tea Set, it is in shades of yellow which is my Mother's favourite colour. I think of her every time I see it and it gives me such joy, I know your dinner set will bring you many warm memories over the years.

    God Bless Annabel I will be thinking and Andy of you this week

    1. Hi Mel! I am so glad to see you here! Thank you so much for commenting.
      You will like Elisabeth Elliot I think.
      Mel I have found you to be very good at finding the hidden gems and making the best of things too. I hope your air conditioner has been working these past few days.
      Thank you re Andys van. These things happen, these times happen and I appreciate your prayers very much.
      I hope you are well and things are going in the right direction for you...
      Heart and home are great titles! I love that!
      I hope you got some rain tonight. We got a bit, enough to improve things and water the garden. Many thanks! xxx

  12. OH! Laine's Letters! I miss them so much! Busy as a Backward Bee! I remember making my lists, too. It felt like I was getting credit every time I stopped a task to change a diaper or whatever. Maybe I need to try that again. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful things. I like the "If you do stuff" blog, too.

    Please drop by!

    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Dear Laura, Thank you! Now I have found your blog. I liked you on FB too. Thank you for the suggestion of the movie, I love Ashley Judd and nice movies! Many thanks. Annabel.xx

    2. Lovely blog Laura! Your daughter also has a very sweet blog. I will also look out for that Ashley Judd movie.

  13. Hello Annabel and Friends,
    I never knew that quote came from Elizabeth Elliot! I have said it to myself so many times over the years. When you are a woman at home with your thoughts, saying this moves us from feeling overwhelmed to changing something....even if it's just a diaper.
    I love the tea towel Annabel. I didn't actually see it in person, but the message reminds us all that Jesus came into the world to be with us TODAY. Your dinner set is swoon worthy, and the angel that Andy gave you is simply beautiful. I can imagine how he feels with his van broken. He is a good man, and the fact that this worries him shows how he wants to provide for your needs. I will be praying as well. God knows where a vehicle is for your needs.
    I'm off to visit Patti's blog " A Working Pantry". Thanks to you and the other ladies here, I am thinking about my pantry each day. A beautiful, beautiful blog post, and comments from everyone. Thank you for making my day. Love Helen xxx

    1. Helen the tea towel couldnt be nicer. It is also made of the most divine soft fabric. It is like voile but much thicker. I just love it!
      I really appreciate your prayers. This is really distressing for Andy.
      I know you will like Patttis blog it is right up your alley. With love..xxxx

  14. Dearest,
    I get it! We will all be praying for provision for a vehicle. A few years ago we thought we were going to lose our was very frightening with four children, a stay at home Mother, husband was laid off and we live in one of the most expensive areas of our country. In the eleventh hour my sweet Husband was offered an incredible job that saved us from bankruptcy! We were very humbled.And grateful.
    Just keep praising, Sister, and keep up the lovely work you are doing encouraging all the rest of us! Much LOVE to you...Marybeth

  15. I am angry. I am cross. I am stressed. I feel so ..... whatever, cant find a word and need to calm down. So I looked at my computer and I thought Annabel can fix it. And you did, bless you. I'm very sorry about Andy's van and your new worries, but seeing your blog and reading your words I feel much better. You are a very calming person. Thank you.

    1. Dear Fiona,
      I am really sorry someone has upset you and please feel free to email me as I only have a clue about what has happened... and I can understand you being upset.
      Someone wonderful let me know what you posted elsewhere about me today! (Angel is disguise....) thank you so much and in a sort of reply... you can leave messages about anything anytime and I will reply. Like on Fridays its Feather your Nest Friday... that is a good day to talk about anything home or life related... ask anything, unload, chat. Because often other people want to know the same things anyhow! And I love chat as you have probably realised... ! Love Annabel.xxxx

  16. forgot to say, the dinner set is so you Annabel. It's exquisite, but then again who should know you as dearly as your own mum.
    Yesterday I called into Masters as I needed some space invader foam to keep a pesky mouse and his friends on the other side of the brick walls, anyway Masters had just that hour marked down their christmas stock, I purchased nine rolls of the most cute organza ribbons. Cost was 50c per roll. Some are gold and silver obvious christmas prints, others are more flamboyant, but gorgeous nonetheless. I didn't really need nine but when I got to the checkout there they were. The ladyat the register said they were 3.99 a roll prior which i found a bit steep, but a bargain anyway. Also got three sturdy plastic boxes that each held 9 large red or silver bells. 27 gorgeous bells for six dollars. I will go and have a look at the blogs you mentioned in your post too. Have a good afternoon.

  17. Hi Annabel,
    I tried to post yesterday from the ipad and it disappeared both times!! Still what is a disappearing post when there are other more important things to worry about.
    I am sorry about Andy's van. Is it possible that insurance would cover a hire vehicle for a few days. I will keep my fingers crossed that a solution appears.
    As to the other worry, consign it to the past too. You have more important things to occupy your thoughts.

    I love your dinner set and I do browse through that store when I need a free dose of loveliness. I have just been doing the next thing in spite of the heat and am noting down my daily tasks. I always felt that the best way out of a low mood was to work my way out and I used to tell my children when they complained about a teacher that that was the subject they needed to work hardest at and see if that changed things. I am working my way through the bits and pieces in the fridge at the moment as I want to reign in our food spending. Take care. Barb

  18. Hang in there Hun {{{hugz}}}

    Will be praying. Come on over to and join the Good Morning Girls Online Bible Study for some Encouragement. They are on FB, too.

    I have always told myself that if I just look around me I can always find someone worse off than myself. I may have multiple intensely painful physical conditions and illnesses, but I am still breathing on my own, I can barely walk, but I still have my creative outlet, Our van is on borrowed time, but God has been good and has kept it going for the last year when it started dying last year. CVC Joints are getting ready to break.

    Sometimes hun, you have to go make your own Sunshine. Place this all in God's very capable hands. He will take care of you {{{hugz}}}

    1. Thank you Karen! I just found your own blog and am about to have a read. Also I went and joined The Good Morning Girls on FB and I will be following and participating! I didnt know about this so thank you very much!
      I am sorry you suffer so much pain. You are absolutely right there are people much worse off and we have to count our blessings. Thanks so much for this lovely comment xxx

  19. Hi Annabel, I went to Laura's Blog, Harvest Lane Cottage, and it's really lovely. I have just put your recipe Laura called Simple Potato Soup on to cook. I'm looking forward to exploring more of your thrifty recipes.
    I also went and looked at Patsies blog about keeping a pantry. It was excellent reading. I'm still praying about Andy's van. Love Helen xxx

  20. Wonderful advice! Thank you for sharing your homemaking schedule and encouragement with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. You have a nice blog here :)

  21. I've just come over from the Coffee Tea and Me, I love your blog already!! 😊. Praying for you all and your vehicle troubles.

    1. Thank you and welcome! I love Coffee Tea and Me. Thank you and have a wonderful week!

  22. Oh, how I love Elisabeth Elliot! Her transcribed radio broadcasts helped me so much as a new mom. And I use her quote, "Do the next thing" all the time over here. Great word, Annabel!


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