Of Sunflowers and Yorkshire Tea…. “Now is Good”

This blog is an attempt to win back a few moments from each frantic 24 hours that seems to whizz by….Primarily it is to savour, reflect and enjoy the fleeting moments of beauty that are sprinkled throughout the day. Too often they get lost in the whirlwind of chores, cooking, cleaning, budgets, admin, wiping noses and bottoms and all that goes into keeping everything ticking over in a family of five. I tend to count it a good day if we’ve gotten to the end of it and everyone is fed, dressed, generally happy and more importantly, still in one piece! Secondly, this blog is so that I can share our lives more freely and openly with friends and family, most importantly, the kids’ grandparents, who live so far away – so often I feel lost without having these kindred spirits to look in on our little world. And thirdly this is an opportunity to claw back some creative time as I dedicate a little sliver of my week to writing.

Of sunflowers…I love them! Of all the flowers they seem most vibrant and full of life. They are so unashamedly big, bold and bright, almost as though they revel in the fact that they are ALIVE. Sunflowers are also a symbol of beauty that only lasts for a short while – there are three sunflowers outside my kitchen window that remind me of this. A lot of work went into planting the seeds, watering the seedlings for weeks and weeks, tying up the stems and protecting them from slugs and snails. I had almost given up hope that these big stems would produce anything when finally some glorious burnt-orange heads started appearing. Big, vibrant splashes of colour that I could admire through the window whenever I chose.

But, it was a whole spring and summer’s work to enjoy these three big blooms, and now, just a few weeks later, they are sadly wilting – it seems quite disproportionate. I think raising kids can sometimes feel a bit like that…a whole lot of work for perhaps just a few, fleeting, glorious moments. But those moments are so precious and meaningful that you have to catch them and savour them and be present in that moment for all its worth. Like Evie’s cuddles at church on Sunday – I could so easily have missed it because I was tired and grouchy. Or catching a glimpse of Isaac playing so happily in his school playground as I was walking Evie to her music class. The sun shines so brightly in those moments.

Another thing that helps me to enjoy the NOW (and keeps me sane) is a good strong cuppa of Yorkshire Tea. Preferably in my strawberry mug. With plenty of milk and a guilty sprinkle of sugar. Ahhh…. Speaking of which, I should probably pause to make myself one right now **. The thing with tea is, you have to drink it NOW – it is unacceptable and, frankly, just plain disappointing if you warm it up later. Drinking tea is a ritual, an opportunity to relax for a second, regain your strength (and sense of humour). A great reminder to pause and gain perspective. Even if just for a second, taking some sips while gazing out the window (look at those gorgeous sunflowers!) or, a real treat, sitting down on the couch with my bible or a magazine for a quick read. It is such a simple pleasure, and cannot be underestimated in the daily battle for joy and sanity in life’s challenges. 

I love, really love, the life that I am leading at the moment. I consider myself most blessed to have three such wonderful children, and a supportive and encouraging husband (who has one of the world’s hardest jobs I think). It is somewhat of a roller-coaster ride… a roller-coaster with a few wheels missing and quite a bit of track – most days I am so tired I can hardly see straight and just getting everyone out the door in the morning feels like a major victory. BUT, I am learning to appreciate every moment, every bright, sunny, good moment, and taking lots of mental sips along the way of that piece of wisdom which really keeps me strong: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Sunflowers and Yorkshire Tea remind me that now is good.