Homeschooling

Seasons of Joy

What a glorious week it has been weather wise. I was up at dawn on Monday and was fully dressed before I looked out of the window to see this:

What an unusual gift from God midway through April! I had checked the weather on the BBC website the night before and absolutely no mention was made of snow. I had planned on going out in the garden for an hour before everyone else was up. Instead, I grinned to myself and quietly thanked God for his gift and headed out for a wander in the woods:

I prayed, enjoying the uninterrupted silence of being out in the snow early morning. I was walking for well over an hour and only saw two dog walkers and a jogger. It truly was a gift:

As I wandered past our local pond, I thanked God. At a time when anxiety threatens to overtake us, God sent me a reminder of His sovereignty. The Peace of the morning gently settled my soul.

I felt completely in the moment. The worry about Charlotte’s health, the concerns regarding its effects on Lillie and the two youngest girls and the future of us all, melted away. The dawn chorus reminded me that God looks after us all and meets the immediate needs of each and every one of us:

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  (Matthew 6:26-34)

I arrived back home over an hour later, completely soaked through but renewed and full of Joy. I had realised on this unusual April morning that I needed to carve out more moments like this. Moments for God to minister to my soul and strengthen me for the fight ahead. Because our family is walking through the fire right now. But God is Good all the time. And all the time God is Good. It does not depend on our circumstances. It does not depend on how we feel. It depends on the goodness of God. And He is completely dependable. My soul, at last, was at Peace. God had gifted me an uninterrupted hour with Him, where the world looked sparkling clean, and was in total silence…apart from those birds, who were there to teach me a very special lesson ❤️

I made a frothy, strong cup of coffee and took it back to bed to read my Bible. Turning to the next devotion in my book, I grinned…

Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother (Psalm 131:2)

God has this. He always had.
This week began shrouded in the Peace and Love that only He can offer.

The next day, God woke me just as the sun was coming up. Now I am not a morning person at all! No siree! I like warmth…and sleep. But God had other plans:

So I kind of went with it. I got dressed quickly (actually, not very, I dressed under my duvet. Because I like warmth), and drank a long glass of chilly water and went outside. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. Another walk? Some gardening perhaps? I grinned again. God’s got a great sense of humour! I am useless at gardening, one time getting so excited over what I thought was a never-before-discovered fungi, only to discover it was a sponge ball.

Okay God, what shall I do?

I heard no discernible answer so I took some photos:

I filled my buckets with wheat and oat groats, enjoying the cool air, and realising that I had picked the most un-gardening chore to do. 🤪

On my way back into the kitchen, I noticed that the climbing plant just outside the kitchen was dead. Feeling encouraged that it was already dead and therefore I could not contribute to its demise, I decided that clearing this plant pot was my goal for the morning. I mean, how difficult could it be?

Approximately forty minutes later, having got almost nowhere, and completely unable to remove the root ball of said climbing plant, I grinned again. This was fun! I had no clue what I was doing, and absolutely no clue why this was so darned hard, but I was having an enormous amount of fun. I couldn’t wait to show everyone what I had done (almost nothing, it turned out!), but I was ridiculously proud of myself, and couldn’t wait to do the same (pretty much nothing) the next morning.

I decided not to set an alarm, and just allow God (or my body) to have the final say as to what time I got up the next day. I went to bed, mentally planning all the ‘gardening’ I was to do the next morning. Gary had been surprisingly impressed by what I had done (really, and I can’t emphasise this enough, very little) which made me even more determined to do a bit more. The next day dawned. This time, I had gone to sleep with my clothes under the duvet, hoping to keep them warm for the whole dressing process the next day.

I practically jumped out of bed, wondering if I would be quite so enthusiastic if it was raining. I pushed down that thought. I was a gardener, after all. And gardeners garden. No matter the weather.

I had company, with animals arriving left, right and centre, clearly as bemused as I was to see me outside at this time of the morning:

Some even offered their services:

And some just stood, waiting for some food, any food…

With their help, I managed to actually remove the root ball as well as empty the dead mint out of the pots and prepare those same pots for receiving some new, living herbs at the weekend:

I was getting the hang of this gardening lark! Deciding to strike whilst the iron was hot (so to speak), I lugged the small table and chairs set we’d been given to in front of the kitchen window. The sun is on this area almost all day long, and I thought it might be a relaxing place to have a coffee:

I have some cream spray paint, which I will use to paint the set with, and then I’ll make some cushions for comfort:

My last task before going in for a coffee and Bible time was to tie in the climber plant that was still alive. With no small amount of trepidation, I approached the plant (let’s call her Jasmine  (More formally known as Trachelospermum jasminoides) – but I’m on first name basis with her, so Jasmine it is). Bearing in mind this is the first living plant I have even gone near this week, I half expected her to die on arrival. She didn’t. Not knowing what I was doing, but understanding the vague reason for tying a plant in (to encourage it to grow where you want it too – at least that was my vague reason – there may be a far more important and gardening related reason that I know nothing of…) I began gingerly moving the shoots around. I managed to yank the actual trellis off the wall whilst trying to shove poke gently one of the shooty things behind said trellis. I quickly pushed it back in the wall and furtively looked around me. Phew, no-one saw anything. I patted the plant, shushing her and telling her that nobody needed to know. This was our secret. Nodding to myself, I stood back to survey my work:

Now, bearing in mind I had nothing with which to compare my work, I was pretty impressed. I mean, it looked tidier, all the shoots were shooting in the right direction (up) and most importantly the trellis was still attached to the wall (and, perhaps even more importantly Jasmine was still alive…yay me!) I watered her before heading inside, quietly patting myself on the back for a good job jobbed!

Next day, and I was up and dressed and eager to get outside. Whoa now! Who am I and what have I done with the real Claire?

I can not get enough of this early morning sunlight. It has a completely different intensity to day sunlight. Although it is chilly in the morning, I keep myself warm with layers and a pair of gardening gloves, which I hijacked off my son.

Today I focussed on collecting lots of plant containers from around the garden and filling them with compost, as well as filling up the two huge containers I have in front of the kitchen windows:

When I showed Gary the photo above he looked at me with such tenderness in his eyes. Then he informed me that I had been using the gardening fork without its handle (so that tenderness may well have been a rather condescending ‘ah, bless her’ look). He then suggested that adding the handle might make my digging endeavours slightly easier. I had to laugh. I mean, back in the day, when I gardened regularly (okay, so never) the forks came with handles! I mean who would sell a fork without a handle? More to the point, who would buy a fork without a handle? Apparently, it’s a thing. Gary said he’d teach me to add the handle next week. I still don’t get why on earth a gardening fork would come without its, arguably, most important part…

Anyway, I managed my gardening just fine with my handle-less fork, thank you very much!

Friday came and it was exactly the same. I got up enthusiastically. I couldn’t wait to get outside and make my mark on the world. I knew what I was going to focus on today, and that was the birds.

We had noticed a pair of collared doves looking for food at our bird feeding station. Not really remembering the last time I checked it, but knowing it was a loooong time, I got to work:

It turned out the seed was hard and stuck in the seed feeder (which I proceeded to break trying to get the seed out), the whatever it was on the table was not pleasant looking and the fat balls were not the colour they should be. I gave everything a clean, was told on good authority by my mother that bird feeders should be washed once a week, and then refilled each container with water, seeds, fat balls, meal worms and some old stale home made bread, which the dog was desperate for me to share:

I was pretty pleased by all I’d got done this week.

We were off to the garden centre at the weekend to purchase some herbs to go in all my prepared pots next week. This gardening lark is so much fun.

I ❤️ Gardening

Who’da thunk?





2 comments on “Seasons of Joy

  1. Claire, you are so funny! I love early mornings, but by about 2:00 I am ready for bed. Everything looks beautiful. Can’t wait to see what you do this week. Yay for a picture of the pond.

    P.S. When you get finished, come to my house. We lost lots of plants during our March freeze including my Carolina Jessamine. So sad. I love those yellow blooms. 🙁

  2. Now I kind of wish I had your outlook… we got snow this week and I was less than thankful for it! LOL. Luckily it was all gone by the next morning.

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