We always think there are better days ahead. We look forward to the days the kids are grown and can take care of themselves. We dream of the days a bill  comes through the door and we can pay it straightaway. 

We look ahead to the time we no longer have to go out to work and plan what we’ll do when we retire. 

When times are tough it’s natural to look forward to the storm passing, to want to glimpse calmer seas on the horizon. 

In the days of keeping up with the Joneses  (who incidentally buy most things on credit) we’ve become a dissatisfied people. We want better things, better technology, the latest gadget, to see the latest films etc. 

It has become unfashionable to live in the moment and that’s a great pity because that’s where the treasure is. 

I know from personal experience that it’s difficult to know contentment sometimes. Everyone else’s grass always looks greener but it isn’t. 

They have dissatisfaction and discontent also. You just don’t realise it because you’re looking at their highlight reel on social media. 

A picture came up on Facebook today. It was of my youngest daughter standing outside our house shortly after we moved in here. 

I couldn’t help but notice how much she’s grown. Her face has lost its baby chubbiness. She’s grown taller. She’s in her penultimate year of Primary school and I just don’t know where that time has flown to. 

But I can say this. An awful lot of it I spent waiting for better days, for easier days, for lovelier days .

Jim Elliott, the missionary said “Wherever you are be all there”. 

It’s one of the biggest things I struggle with yet it’s so important. 

Learn to live your life in the now. It takes practice but it can be done and it’s necessary because while we’re waiting on a bigger and better ship to come along laden with everything we think we possibly need we’re missing out on valuable memories now. 
Till next time. 
This post was written in response to the Daily Prompt -better.


When I tell you that I love you. A love letter to my husband on our anniversary.

When I tell you that I love you I mean I love you for you, that funny,irrepressible you that hides sometimes behind layers of flippancy or Dad jokes.

I don’t just love you for the way you look, although of course that’s always been a part of it, that cute smile that drew you to my gaze.

I don’t just love you for what you can do for me although you do countless things for me every day and every week, month in and month out. Some things I take notice of and some I regret to say I probably take for granted.

I love you because you’re kind, to me and to other people. I love the way you go out of your way to help others sometimes. I love the way you father our children, the way you make them laugh or teach them to swim or read them Lord of the Rings endlessly.

You are a good man. You have been a good husband and I am proud to be your wife.

When we first began, even when we first married I was full of fear because I knew from childhood experience that love is not always enough to keep people together.

I came from a broken home. You did not. At times I worried for us. Who would teach us to navigate the difficult areas of life?

When we would first argue I would fall back on old habits and tell you to go. You would clear your head but resolutely stick by me.

We have weathered our storms. No more and no less than others perhaps but the things that might have broken us have not.

We have 5 wonderful children. It’s just that one lives in Heaven for now. And I want to tell you honestly despite our hard times I have always been glad you are mine.

I am so proud of you and the man you are, have been and are becoming.

I pray that God will continue to knit our married lives together because I have to say you are still my favourite person to be with and spend time with.

I love you honeybun.

Suzi xoxo

Hands on or hands off?

It’s always hard as a parent to see your children struggling. You want to remove them from their stressful moments or live those moments for them, to save them pain.

And it doesn’t get easier when they get older and are struggling with different things. How do you stand back as a parent and let your child grow without a little pain or struggle or strife?
The simple answer is of course you can’t. You only have to hope that you’ve raised them with the skills that will equip them to navigate life’s difficult paths.

When my children were younger I could heal their struggles or woes with a kiss or a cuddle or something to distract their minds. But what do you do when Band-Aids and ice pops don’t work any more? When they’ve outgrown them?

The hard answer is you take a step back, you take your hands off a little, you try to find the balance between respecting their privacy and over parenting them.

But, as I know from experience it’s a veritable minefield and it’s all too easy to strike the wrong note and get it wrong.

This morning I opened my mouth and the wrong voice came out.
What I originally meant as encouraging came out harsh and judgemental and unfeeling and uncaring.

I couldn’t bite the words back before they were uttered, much though I wish I could. All I could think of were the times I’d needed encouragement as a child and it was not forthcoming.
Of course I apologised immediately but what do you do when you know you’ve slipped up and you can’t correct it?

To be honest once you’ve apologised and sought reconciliation there is not much you can do. You have to forgive yourself and try to remember the times you did not slip up, the times you said the right word in the right season. The times you were there to extend the hug, the kiss, the Band-Aids, the encouragement.

But it’s never easy. Why is it we can extend forgiveness to others but find it so hard to forgive ourselves? I’ll never know for sure. I think it’s because we expect so much more from ourselves. We beat ourselves up when we get it wrong. I know there are many nights I’ve wept for the times I’ve got it wrong.

One of the greatest joys in my life are my children and the relationship I have with each of them. I would not trade that for anything.

In times like this and I don’t mean this as an excuse or get out clause, we need to extend ourselves some grace, and some compassion. I’ve never found that easy.

We are human. We are imperfect and we will always make mistakes.

We can only wait for the lull in our kids difficulties, raise them up in prayer and hope against hope we can help them next time they struggle.

Till next time.

Finding a new normal.

A few months ago a troublesome family situation I’ve alluded to previously came to an end. It didn’t end to my satisfaction. It didn’t even end in a way I could have anticipated when I’d lain awake at night worrying.

I don’t think I realised how worn down and bent out of shape I have felt the last 2 years. Like the hamster on its wheel or treading water whilst trying to stay afloat I have been intent. Intent on keeping it together. Intent on letting nothing slide. Intent on keeping things normal for the children. Intent on not crying. Intent on supporting my family and husband.

Someone once told us as a family “You’re always struggling with something”.  It was true but it stung. Are there any other families that don’t struggle or are they merely better at hiding it?

I thought once all this was over I would feel relieved, as if that huge weight had been taken from our shoulders, but I don’t.

What I do feel is caught in limbo, trapped in the detritus of decisions made when we were not thinking straight.  I feel trapped, unable to go backwards but scared to go forwards. Scared of making wrong choices and mired by indecision so instead I do nothing, caught in old ways and bad habits.

Before Christmas our car gave up the ghost and it will be a few months more before it can be fixed. Sunday morning lay ins that were attractive initially, have palled. We miss going to church. We miss our friends. The sensible thing to do it seems would be to find an interim church in the meantime but even that feels fraught with difficulty.

I feel hugely resentful. I feel mournful. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next.

I would just like a rest. Rest from the worry of unpaid bills, rest from worrying about jobs and work, rest from trying to make the right decisions all the time, rest from constantly second guessing myself.

This has been a largely self indulgent rant. I have always said that I write my blog for myself, to make sense of my feelings, although of course I appreciate other people reading it.

What I do know is I am tired and unwell and not firing on all cylinders at the moment so excuse my indulgence and I hope tomorrow is a better day for all.

Till next time.


Pictorial update.

This is the view from my window at work. I had to capture this the other day. It was such a lovely day and the contrasting colours gave me that glad to be alive feeling.


And this is a picture of my son. In the last few years he’s gone from a scared boy suffering school phobia and scared to leave my side to a brave young man willing to try almost anything.


Spot my other little ones too.

Happy weekend.

Life- Slow down!!

I feel like I’m living somewhat of a paradox at the moment. There are things happening in my life I’m anxious to hasten and be at an end and other parts of my life I wish I could slow down.
My 13 year old son popped his head around the door this morning and asked me something in a noticeably deeper voice. When did that happen? Overnight it seems. He’s not my little boy anymore. I have to look up at him now to talk to him when I’m in my slippers with no advantage to my height.
My eldest daughter is making plans to go to college to study her A levels. Where did my little tousled hair baby go with her incessant need to ask why?

Don’t mistake me. I love them being older and having friendships with them and coffee dates and giggles about silly things. But the slow, longdrawn out process of letting them go is tough. I know it’s a natural part of life that begins the second we behold them for the first time. We spend our lives as parents preparing them to stand on their own 2 feet and not to need us so much but it pangs ……

My youngest daughter will be 8 in a few weeks time. This thought almost makes me breathless. I could swear it was only a week ago she was a babe in arms. She’s a lovely placid little girl and she continually makes me laugh at the little witticisms she comes out with but I’d be lieing if I didn’t admit to a twinge of sadness that none of my 4 are babies anymore.

I know I’m so blessed to be a parent, let alone a Mother of 4 but I wish I could hit the rewind button occasionally….

Joy in the Season.

It was wonderful today to watch my youngest Isabella being a shepherd in her school nativity play. She is 7 now and the last year she has changed so much in terms of her confidence. Whereas a few years ago she cried the entire length of her play and was thoroughly overwhelmed, today she was happy and smiley and full of joy. She only had a small role but and I know I’m obviously biased here she gave it her all. I’m so proud of her and so blessed with all my children.



Gifts of God. (Weekly photo prompt-Endurance)

My husband and I have been married for over 17 years. In that time we’ve been blessed with 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy. Like any marriage we’ve experienced our share of hard times, but these years have also been blessed with many happy family times I wouldn’t trade for anything. This picture stands as testament to that. Ironically they’re not smiling much as they were shattered but I still love this picture of them all.


An enduring appeal.

Yesterday was the last Nativity event one of our children were involved in this year. It was our youngest child’s turn. It was great to be able to go with my husband this time as he is usually at work.

She is 6 and she didn’t have a main part. She was one of several villagers but she did have one line which she delivered with great aplomb. It’s so lovely seeing her have the confidence to do this because last year she found it overwhelming and cried all the way through. I was at the back of the hall not able to get to her to comfort her. It was heartbreaking. I did manage to see her after although even that almost involved an argument with the head mistress!

So anyway, what a difference a year makes. She was happy and composed and sang and danced with gusto. A joyful little soul. Thinking about it all of the children are happy and doing well at the moment. Despite Daddy being out of work and the implications involved they seem to have benefited from all the extra family time we’ve had so that’s been a wonderful by product.

When I was watching her Nativity it led me to reflect on why are we still performing this play 2000 years later?

There are many different reasons I’m sure but I think it’s got something to do with the story itself. It has all the makings of a good tale. Adventure, danger, love, miraculous events and exciting characters.

I know some of the children involved yesterday won’t be Christians or religious as mine are but I’m sure for them it’s just as exciting because it marks the beginning of Christmas. It’s about a baby, that’s appealing to most children.

To me, the Christmas story brings hope because it shows God stretching out His hand to the world to lead them back to Him.

So, how about you? Does the Christmas story inspire you or do you celebrate Christmas as a non religious family time?