Picking Sunflowers: Going Out of Our Way and Embracing the Journey

Ever since we came back to the beautiful South, I’ve made it my mission to experience the quaint local U-Pick farms as often as possible. We have picked blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and grapes whenever they have been in season. At one of these farms, as well as several produce stands, we also savor homemade fruit ice cream after picking in the hot Georgia sun. The other day I saw that one of our favorite farms was offering U-Pick Sunflowers and I knew we had to try it. I’m glad we took a little time for this experience because it was worth more than a bucket of sunflowers.

Southern Grace Farms is about 40 minutes from where we live, way out in the country. We drive for miles without hardly seeing a gas station or shop along the way. It’s not a long trip, but it’s good to be prepared (especially with little ones that can get hangry). The farm has the quintessential country store with a few snacks and drinks but it’s still good to have something on hand you KNOW your party will eat if you know what I mean.

The farm would open to the public at 10am and I wanted to be there as early as possible on this dog day of summer. Well we had some delays. My husband had a need at work and I had our car so there was some back tracking before we were finally on our way. My daughter become anxious as our 40 minute drive was turning into an hour and a half; but what kept me in an optimistic state of mind was a story I heard from another momma the other day. Build-A-Bear was having “pay your age day” and a mommy of 8 blessings thought it would be a good opportunity to be able to afford bears for all her children. She arrived early with snacks, drinks, games, and movies in case there was a wait. Little did she know the line to Build-A-Bear would wrap around the mall. She had a discussion with her kids to see if they were prepared to wait. They were! So they made up their minds that they’d make friends in line, entertain themselves, LEARN TO WAIT, and have a lesson in enjoying the journey. Four hours into this journey she told them, “it’s just a bear. Are you still willing to continue to enjoy this journey getting there or would you rather be doing something else?” They agreed to continue. Nine hours later they all finally happily left the mall with their bears. Her conclusion was this: these bears alone were NOT worth 9 hours of their day. But the lesson on how to wait gracefully and enjoy the journey was totally worth it.

I remembered her story as we were driving out to the farm and I knew that by the time we would arrive it was going to feel like 100 degrees. I also knew our time at the playground would be short, we weren’t going to last long picking flowers, and we’d be getting our ice cream when we should’ve been getting lunch. Then my little one would fall asleep on the drive back and wake up hungry. By then more than half the day would be absorbed and all we would’ve accomplished was picking sunflowers. None of that mattered too much though. We love seeing farm animals on the drive, we love the experience we have at this farm, and I cherish the photos I take long after the experience has come and gone. So I’d say, yes. It is worth it when we embrace the journey. This message about the journey has been a theme all week in my personal study, through words from friends, and in streamed sermons. For example, I came to the last chapter in a delightful book from a fellow blogger called The Better Mom * the message was about enjoying the journey of motherhood even in the messy phases. Nothing lasts forever but each season holds opportunity to grow in grace and become better. Embracing the refining process that life challenges or parenting brings (loving discipline) is so freeing.

It’s interesting to me when I read Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Gardeners know all about “proper time” when certain crops produce and others don’t. But there still needs to be care for all the plants while waiting for each crop to come into season. We have to endure the journey to see our work come to fruition.

Going out of our way for sunflowers was an opportunity for me to practice patience, and model patience for my daughter. It was a chance to admire how creation grows, while doing some growing ourselves. We love our handpicked flower arrangement, our pictures, and the memory made. It was worth a little journey.

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