I’ve struggled to find time to write over the last few weeks. The garden is blooming and planting out seedlings, weeding, watering and using up the veg has taken up much of my time. The house is being dismantled day by day as the plans for the house are coming to fruition. The builders are here most days and the children have the constant entertainment of diggers and workmen. Katie has the entertainment of dirt heaps and gravel piles. I have the task of keeping her and Sherlock safe from the building site, which they both find hugely interesting.

Jonathan has been undertaking a building project of his own and has built a fantastic play area for the younger children. This area will come into its own once the extension and patio are complete. The play area will be perfectly situated in our newly formed, enclosed back garden, allowing us to eat and drink without fear that a small child will find their way to the ponds.

As there is little I can do to contribute to the building, I have been focusing on decluttering the house in preparation for the internal work taking hold over the main rooms. Phil’s really helped recently, in my pursuit of organisation. My airing cupboard was looking quite messy and it was a job on my list to sort it, Phil must have known because I came in one day to discover the entire contents of the airing cupboard upturned on Katie’s bedroom floor! The bathroom man had needed to access the pipes in the airing cupboard and so my sheets needed moving in a hurry. Anyway, the airing cupboard is looking a lot neater, for now 😉.

Yesterday Phil motivated me to organise the shoes. The builder decided that yesterday was the day to take our hallway to pieces, which required the removal of all shoes and clutter.

I came back from our home ed group to a giant pile of shoes to sort through. Today was largely spent organising the shoes, but still, that’s another job done.

Katie’s growing quickly and that’s freeing me up to do more of the driving to take the children to their activities, as she no longer needs me quite so much and Phil can sometimes do bedtime. Although we have been here quite a while, with lockdowns and a baby, I have left Phil to do much of the driving, leaving me slightly confused as to the location of places. Driving is proving to be a new and interesting experience, because navigating my way around a new area is something I am still adjusting to. I stubbornly don’t use SatNav because I prefer to find my own way, but we also haven’t got round to buying a paper road map, so it is more guess work than accuracy. This is leading to some long, but beautiful drives around the Shropshire countryside 🙂. I think I’m starting to get to grips with the area now, it’s certainly more relaxing getting lost down country lanes, than in the middle of suburbia.

I hope to find time to write a bit more over the next few weeks, but we’ll see how things go. If you want to receive an email when a new post is added, please subscribe to the blog, by clicking on subscribe in the top section of the home page and following the instructions.

Our garden is chock-full of weeds, nettles, dandelions and numerous other green plants that I don’t want there and seem to be prolific. We have grass that seems to grow more happily in the veg and flower beds than on the lawn and carrots that are fighting for breathe around the weeds that are hiding their leaves.

Some of the weeds are useful and some are even beautiful but many are just in getting in the way of our vegetables and flowers and taking over the beds!

Last winter we put cow muck on most of the beds and then covered them in black plastic, this really helps with the weeds issue, but we didn’t get round to doing it with every bed. The difference is stark and the uncovered beds now look more like a wildlife garden than a potential home for my potatoes.

We are trying to keep the garden child and dog safe, and we want our vegetables to grow without chemical residue in the soil and so harsh weed killers are not an option. We have put straw around the strawberries which should help to keep the weeds at bay, and we’re planning on getting bark chips for the flower beds. The berries are peaking their way through the holes we cut in the black plastic, with the hope of depriving the weeds of sunlight. There are still nettles and thistles that have found their way through, but many less than otherwise would have done.

The paths have weeds that grow between the paving slabs, or in between the stones. Every time I go outside, I spot weeds. It’s like dust in the house, it just keeps growing. This is definitely not a tidy National Trust Garden, but maybe I’m setting my sights a bit high!

Our greenhouse has weeds in the borders where the tomatoes are growing. Unfortunately I have a tendency to look at the work still to do, rather on the work we’ve achieved, which leaves me feeling inadequate and somewhat aware of my weaknesses. I really need to accept the weeds and just do my best, I could also do with encouraging the children to help a bit more.

On the plus side, our garden is a haven for wildlife and the bees are having a wonderful time! Even if we find a way to keep on top of the weeds, we plan on always having a wildlife area, which we will leave well alone for the birds and bees to enjoy.

At the moment my yearly dose of Hayfever is putting my gardening on hold and so I am mostly only going out in the cool of the evening. This pause has given me time to reflect on the weeds and how they might relate to the sins in our lives.

The Parable of the Sower has helped me to understand how the ‘weeds’ of sin and worry can hamper my Christian growth, and prevent me from fully revealing the beauty of God in my life. It got me thinking, what are these ‘weeds’, that prevent me from growing fully as a Christian? Each person will have different areas of their life that need to change in order to give God’s Word the maximum space to grow. How can we make our lives more fertile soil to grow God’s Word in our hearts? I think it has to start with prayer, allowing God to convict us of the sins which hold us back from growing fully and then asking for his help to overcome those sins.

We really need to ‘weed’ our lives regularly, just like the flower beds, in order for our lives to truly reflect God in our lives. As I pick my weeds this week, I will be praying for him to help me with my weaknesses.

I love how God speaks through nature. I am beginning to understand a little more why so many of Jesus’ parables were centred around nature. Does God’s creation help you to understand more about Him and to draw closer to Him?

Wow! It’s been a very busy week and thus my lack of posting.

The builders have arrived 😀. Cue noise and chaos!

Last week we managed to get a lot of the seedlings in the ground and so our vegetable garden is looking more like a real veg garden, although the weeds are still threatening to take over!

The next challenge is getting used to going to the garden for our food, rather than the fridge. The lettuces, spinach and herbs are all ready to eat and so we are making the effort to remember to go out and pick the leaves for meals. Spinach isn’t overly popular with some of the children, but hidden in a fruit smoothie they gobble it up, well the younger children do, the older ones are not fooled!

Last weekend we had such a lovely time, we had friends to visit, who stayed in the courtyard, in their camper van. We ate barbecues and sat outside in the evenings sipping wine. With the wisteria growing up the barn walls, the camper van in the courtyard and the balmy evenings, there was a definite French holiday feel about the weekend.

Monday soon came round and I took the children to a gymnastics session. It was a free family fun day and so the whole tribe, minus Christopher, who was working, came along. Jonathan was having a blast and throwing himself (literally) into the activities. Sadly he rather overdid it and threw himself into a springboard and broke 3 toes! Bless him, he’s been very stoical and cheerful throughout, despite it being extremely painful. One of the challenges of living in the country is that it takes 30 minutes to get to the hospital, instead of the 5 minutes it took, when we lived in the town. He’s getting very good at hopping and is not nearly good enough at sitting still, will he ever learn?!

Tuesday was a very different sort of day. A dear friend has recently passed away and so I returned to London for her funeral. It’s the first time I’ve been back down south since we moved here, nearly 2 years ago. The day was full of emotions. I arrived for lunch and enjoyed catching up with a few old friends, what a joy it was to see them! The funeral was the first I’d ever been to that I could actually say had joy woven throughout. Our dear friend loved the Lord with all her heart and walked in faith, service and humility and so we were all full of joy, knowing that she is now resting in the arms of her Saviour. She will be missed hugely, but there was more of a thankfulness for the time God had given us with her, than a sadness of the future without her. We were all privileged to know her.

The journey home was a trip down memory lane, the M25 did its best to remind me of one of the reasons why I love living in the sticks. By the time I’d arrived at Oxford services I was pooped and needed to pause, to gather myself. I’m clearly not very good anymore at handling London traffic, I’ve got used to only being delayed by cows crossing the road and slow tractors 😊.

Yesterday we visited the local lake and made the most of the glorious sunshine. The children swam and built sandcastles, it was the perfect antidote to the M25.