Brought up in a Roman Catholic family, I knew, as a teenager that its teachings were not for me - but when my father died and we wanted to celebrate his life we needed a ceremony. We were lucky to find a lovely humanist celebrant , who created a perfect, alternative, farewell ceremony .
And then when my daughter wanted to celebrate her wedding in France we knew that we wanted to go the same route and create a ceremony that was unique and meaningful for her and her husband.
So now it seems to me that 'normal' services are just a bit boring and we must celebrate - the naming of a baby, a wedding, a renewal of vows, a life - a humanist or civil celebrant can help to create that celebration.
A ceremony can be profound without prayer - it can be fun but meaningful. It can be joyful and spiritual, but decidedly secular.
My original blog came before my website when someone actually referred to me as that 'celebrant in the sunflowers' when she couldn't remember my name - and it was irresistible...
So - to continue reading my blog, go to celebrantinsunflowers here _ and see more of my wanderings and wonderings...
After living a busy life - a mother of three, working variously as a writer, an events organiser, a teacher - and thinking maybe there was more to life than starting the day, while it was still dark, on the M25 and finishing it , in the dark, on the M25 - I was thrilled when it turned out that my husband felt exactly the same.
We were fortunate enough to be able to take early retirement, and knew that with a bit of belt-tightening and a bit of land to grow vegetables and have hens , we could live happily.
And so we bought an old barn in the Lot et Garonne - one that was cheap because it needed everything done ...but we were happy to regard it as a glorified tent - for a while.
Now, it is habitable and we live, in sunflowers and vines, with a menagerie of, mostly rescued creatures - donkeys from a friend who had to return home to the UK, a dog we took in when our farmer neighbour died suddenly - and then found, inexplicably, that we had agreed to house his hens, his cats - and, nearly, his hunting pack of beagles. We avoided the last...
For a long time swallows swooped in through the big barn doors into what is now the kitchen - and for many years nested. When the young fledged and flew about the barn, guests were invited to wear wide-brimmed hats - or put up umbrellas - against the inevitable...
Sadly, with cats now sitting beneath the nests with their mouths open, the swallows have moved next door.