IMG_1639It is as if life has slowed right down this week. It’s not as though I don’t have a long list of things to do but with the school summer holidays starting and the weather turning warm, if I had a hammock, I’d be tempted to lie on it all day and watch the clouds.

With our older son away at camp, I’ve been spending most of my time with our 7 year old. This, too, has had a slowing, focusing effect and has helped me notice things that I might have otherwise missed.

We’ve spent some time with a few baby friends over the last few days. It feels a blessing even to spend a few minutes with a baby, such a sign of grace. You don’t have to do anything but just receive their smile or bask in their tininess. After meeting a newborn, our son said, ‘He isn’t just cute. You might call him lovely. But really he is wonderful.’

A Frisbee game in the park with some fantastic young people spoke of family in the way they equally included a 7 year old and a 45 year old. We could just enjoy being alive together without any pretence (and with lots of fun).

We don’t have any pets of our own but we are looking after a guinea pig and two gerbils this week. They might not be exotic but I’ve been struck by how sociable and beautiful they are. There is a simple joy in watching and caring for them that I never really knew before.

We discovered what must be the friendliest street in our town this week when we went to a friend’s barbecue. Most of the other guests were their neighbours and clearly knew and cared for one another well. I noticed that because they were so at ease with each other, they were brilliant at making us feel welcome. It was a joy to be in their company.

Jesus described God’s kingdom using lots of different pictures like: yeast spreading through dough, finding a precious pearl, a tiny seed growing into a tree, an extravagant catch of fish. This week these pictures are also in my mind: a newborn baby, a game of Frisbee, a friendly street and some pets.