The Blessing of a Staycation (BLESSING JAR WEEK 15)

I’m just at the end of a week and a half’s leave with that familiar ‘wish I didn’t have to go back to work ‘ feeling. I haven’t been away anywhere (except to chauffeur sons back north) but it has felt like a proper holiday – I guess that’s what’s meant by a staycation.

So why have I felt so relaxed?

There have been a few holiday-ish activities like meals out, family get togethers, lie ins. And I’ve deliberately avoided doing (or thinking about) work, both paid and voluntary. But there’s been a comfortable rhythm about the past ten days that I think has played a key part.

I’ve still woken up at my usual 7.00am, or earlier, but no brash alarm clock has forced me up and no deadline for leaving the house chased me out. Instead I’ve had plenty of time to spend the first part of my day with God, praying and studying my Bible over a leisurely cup of coffee or two. Don’t get me wrong, I try to make this the first task of every day (I’ve promised my husband and boys that I’ll pray for them daily just like my mother did for me) but time constraints change the nature of the encounter, sometimes making it feel like a task on a To Do List rather than precious time with my Heavenly Dad.

Then there’s been a balance of physical and mental activities. I’ve read books and started planning our Silver Wedding celebration as well as walked and gardened regularly.

In fact, the garden has been a major factor in the feeling of refreshment this week. Again, it’s something I try to do weekly. It’s one of my sanity restorers – my family refer to gardening as ‘Mum’s therapy’. So it’s been great to do get outside almost every day. Even better has been working on a joint project with my husband.

We’ve talked about it for a year or two but this week we finally found the perfect raised vegetable trug. As we put it together from the flat pack it came in (and by that, I mean that he got to flex his muscles and power tools while I held pieces together – we’re a good team and it proved satisfying for both of us), I was reminded of our early days of marriage when we similarly put together nursery furniture. Happy memories – it was a warm feeling building something together again.

Today we filled the trug with earth, careful to sift out any stones, and sowed its first seeds. “I know a parable about this,” grinned my husband as we did so. On one side, in a large pot, we planted broad beans, joking about pantomimes, and on the other, in the ground, two miniature apple trees, hanging on to the last of their blossom.

By the afternoon little dots of promise that we hope will transform into radishes, spring onions, and lettuces lay safely hidden under dampened compost whilst the first of the pea seedlings had already started to curl one tiny tendril around its support. The excitement we felt at this early miracle of growth!

I’ve loved gardening for a long time, was given my own flowerbed to care for as a child, but the experience is so much better shared. It’s not as if my other half stays indoors but lawn mowing and pressure washing the patio tend to be solo tasks. It gave me so much joy to be working alongside him on the same project.

And it isn’t over. There’s space for more in our designated vegetable corner. Potatoes in bags (after they’ve been chitted of course) will be next. And something else to be found for the troughs we’ve inherited.

It’s not been a perfect, worry free break – I’m not a perfect, worry free person. But it has been a welcome change in pace and time for what/who matters most me. It has given me hope for the future. It has been a blessing.

(Special thanks to R for the photos for this post)


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