Summer time and the living is easy…

The sound of children’s laughter fills the summer evening (and the occasional shout from a parent of ‘Cut that out right now!’). Babies cry and chortle. Bird song chirps in harmony with the joy of new life and plentiful food. Evening meals cooked on the BBQ arouse the taste-buds. The garden is thirsty for rain, but thankfully water is on tap from the lakes filled through the winter.

The colours of the sky captivate the mind and the incessant internal chatter eases for a moment as the beauty of nature takes hold and calms the senses. The body feels revived with sunshine and walks on the beach. The sound of the waves and the feel of the sand on bare feet connects the rhythm of the heart with the beat of the Universe.

Christmas is around the corner and the Pohutukawa trees are beginning to blossom to herald in a summer of warmth and light evenings. We have so much to be thankful for in our little patch of paradise amongst so much sadness and turmoil in other parts of the world. Our prayers and thoughts are forever with those who are suffering. At this point in time my heart goes out to all those families affected by the evil terrorist attack in Mumbai – dear Sara of ‘Cricket Family‘ has a very poignant first-hand account of what happened there, which is simply unimaginable.

It’s so easy to feel helpless against the tide of destruction, poverty and environmental damage around the world, but I truly believe we can all do our part in helping. Small gestures combined making a big impact (see ‘Operation Nice‘ for inspiration). Christmas cards sold to raise funds for charities, gifts that grow for those in Africa and donations of clothes and toys to local groups like the Women’s Refuge or The Salvation Army. The supermarkets have donation boxes for people to drop off food. There are so many people spending the festive season giving and helping those in need. They are truly living the message, ‘Tis the season of goodwill’.

For our contribution we are busy washing, sorting and boxing out-grown clothes to donate to those who need them most, are sponsoring a little girl in Africa and are giving food donations to the Wellington City Mission. Our young ones in New Zealand are surrounded my marketing, consumerism and a culture of ‘want’ and it can be a tough job as parents to educate them on the difference of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Thankfully, we have the best gift of all, nature. With an appreciation of the outdoors and a true love of the simple things in life they’ll go far.