Our story so far….June 2019…Hello!

Our story at the moment is that we moved from a terraced house in Derbyshire, England to a dormer style cottage in Southern Leitrim in the Republic of Ireland at the beginning of December 2018. The cottage is in a rural area and we have approximately 3 acres to play with as well as the cottage. We are in the process of doing the cottage up and although stressful at times, it is going well so far! You’ll have to read back over old posts for the details if you are interested. It’s changed a lot so far! It’s now dry for a start….

This is where we now live – a little bit different to a terraced house..

‘We’ consists of myself (Cathy), my husband Chris, and two of our children who are almost 2 and 4 (at the moment obviously). We have two other grown up children as well who are still in the UK.

We are Jesus followers who try to listen to Him and follow Him constantly. We feel that He did bring us here, but I get that a lot of people will think that’s not a real thing..(it is).

I do talk about God quite a bit and what we think He is doing in our lives and I will try and persuade you to seek Him for yourself and ask Him if He is there. The reason I do this is because as far as I’m concerned he is the cure for us all. He is who we all need and it would be very selfish of me to not to try and tell you about Him. Also, our lives are completely entwined with Him and it would be impossible to do a blog without talking about Him to be honest.

Jesus saved my life, He saved my husband’s life, He saved a lot of my friend’s lives and He can save your life…give Him a try.

I do also have a sense of humour and it is quite interesting stuff πŸ˜€

Mowing the runway.

Welcome, please read, enjoy, ask questions or whatever, I love doing this blog and I do try to be very honest and open. There were various aims of doing it, to give a realistic view of relocating to a different place/country, specifically a small holding, to tell people about Jesus, to give me an outlet (I love writing) and to keep friends and family updated. I’m hoping some people may also just find it plain old interesting!

Toodle pip…

My Foot.

Hello people who read this and some who don’t but just see the opening lines. HI!!!

Anyway, today I thought I’d write about my foot, you see I broke my heel (official name calcaneum) years ago, I’m not sure exactly when, but more than 13 years ago, probably more like 14 years maybe. It was a horrible break, I came off my horse and tried to land on my feet and just went straight through my left foot and landed facing the other way, on my back. The break went into surrounding bones too (intra articular :)) and had to be repaired by pinning and plating it. There, my medical bit is done, I enjoyed that… So although it was repaired in a way and the surgeon was brilliant, it and the joint to the ankle often gets very stiff and painful, particularly if I’ve been very active then sat down for a while, or when I first get up. It loosens off, but I think I do limp a bit, although I try not to.

What I’ve realised this week is that since we’ve been here, my balance and strength in that particular leg/foot has improved vastly. I can now balance on that leg and take weight much more than before, I am much less likely to trip up and am not as anxious about it. What I can only put it down to is that since being here, it’s been quite a physical life. What I mean by that is, fetching and chopping wood, fetching coal, crossing over a very rough drive with large stones that cause my foot to adjust and bend more than it would normally. Also, taking bags of weeds etc when I’ve been gardening right round to the compost heap round the back – it consists of going over the rough stones and up a little incline. Because we have been doing the house up too, you sometimes (usually, at the moment) have to be quite nimble around the house, because otherwise you fall over stuff which seems to make its way into the way of where you walk, no matter how many times you move it.

It was a real moment of ‘wow’ when I realised this. Because it was weird as well, if I couldn’t see where I was going very well or when it was dark, my balance went right off. I suddenly realised as I was carrying a very large bag of mud and weeds up a bank and thought it’s got stronger!

So, difficult times or at least challenging times, are or can be good. They strengthen you and cause you to persevere, they change you. Yes, I am comparing my foot to life in general. If we persevere, if we carry on, we get stronger and eventually can walk properly, or at least with some balance.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Yes that verse is talking about our walk with God and the effect that trials have upon us providing we keep our faith in God and trust Him. The way I see it, it’s a bit like my foot, we have trials, we have tests, like the rocky ground, the walking up the bank/incline, the lugging everything around and walking back and forth to the barn in the pouring rain and howling wind, but it’s all worth it and produces far more than we even realise.

God has far more for us than we realise, it also says this in the bible. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20). God is the power at work in us, providing we know Him. We need to trust Him, walk with Him, trust He is working in our lives, partner with Him. He will build us up, we don’t build ourselves up, God does.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10-11).

I love Psalm 46, when I first got to know Jesus I wrote down a whole host of scriptures about fear that I carried around with me and the beginning of Psalm 46 was included and goes like this:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3).

Isn’t that beautiful? I know I always seem to say that, but it is. Say it out loud, think it, believe it. He is wonderful. No matter how I/you are feeling, no matter what is going on, no matter what anyone else says or thinks or does, no matter anything! Those words are true. He also has a place prepared for you in which you will be far longer than you or I am here on this earth, it’s called Heaven and is far more than any of us can imagine. There is a condition though, you have to come to God through Jesus.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9).

Oh it’s a lovely day…

Warning: contains details of killing a quail, so do not read on if you don’t want to read about it.

So, we’ve had a couple of gorgeous days of weather, it’s lovely, but cold today, yesterday was even a bit warm! So we went outside instead of doing anything else. It was lovely, we’ve been mowing and weeding and running about and the boys have just been playing.

Ireland brought new measures into place yesterday, which means Chris is now off work for at least 2 weeks. The new measures mean the car testing (NCT) place has also shut down, but no one actually informed the customers (including Chris who had an appointment for the car’s retest this morning), so he came home again. I’m presuming they’re going to extend the test periods so people can actually still drive legally.

The quail raising thing hasn’t worked at all… we only have one left and he’s a male and was plucking all feathers from the other one we had left. I’ve had to kill the other one as it had splayed legs and couldn’t move properly. It’s the first time I’ve had to do this to a quail.. the rest died naturally quite a while ago. It was ok as far as killing any animal goes.. You use very sharp scissors and basically cut their head off from behind, over a bucket. I went down to the barn to do it, away from the kids. I was hovering for a bit, should I? shouldn’t I? then I decided to do it, my heart was hammering. Thankfully, the scissors were extremely sharp and it was done without any problems. This is part of what we intended our life to be (but it was supposed to be animals for food, mind, not because there was something wrong with them), so probably good to get experience, but it was still hard to do. I’ve learnt a lot from raising them though, so if we ever decide to do it again, we’ve got a lot better idea about what’s involved… we’ll see though, I think I’d rather have chickens, having tried both. I’ll probably have to do the other quail too this weekend, seeing how he’s on his own and is a feather plucker. So, steep learning curve there from the whole experience… unfortunately! in a lot of ways, but it’s been useful in others. Sorry if it makes you cringe, it is what it is I’m afraid!

I’ve just sent a message to someone to see if we can get some chicken eggs to hatch (sent in the post), so we’ll start again and try to do a little better this time! I’m going for a dual purpose chicken, so we can have them for either eggs or meat in the future. Hopefully, it’ll go well and there’ll be a good hatch rate and healthy birds.

Advice.

I’m in two minds today, I don’t particularly want to offend people, but I’m getting a bit narky about certain things, it’s not just now, it’s something that’s bothered me for a while now…

Children, more specifically, our attitudes towards them. I have lost count, over the years, of the times people have said to me things like ‘don’t worry, they’ll be in nursery/preschool/school soon’ or ‘they’ll calm down once they’re in school’ or many other remarks. I am a stay at home mum, or to put it very un PC like – a housewife. I am not ashamed of this, I count myself as very privileged to be in the position where I can do this. I also very much dislike the attitude that they ‘hamper you’ or ‘get in the way’. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had dreadful times (as well as lovely) over the years, whilst learning to do this whole stay at home thing, but I have found that attitude counts for a lot and also that a lot of the problems when they occur, happen because I’ve just been thinking of myself, rather than anyone else.

I also disagree with the whole premise a lot of people seem to have had over recent years (including people I’ve encountered when I had post natal depression), which is of ‘love yourself’, but that ‘love yourself’ seems to encompass – it’s ok to stay in your pyjamas all day, it’s ok to not do any housework or chores ever, it’s ok to watch TV all day every day… and indeed it is…ok….but it’s not good for you.

What I have found in my personal experience, is that if you do all that, it actually makes things a whole lot worse, not better. I am talking life on the whole here, not the odd day or two, or if you are so bad that you literally can’t move. Get up, have breakfast, get dressed, do the basic chores, do the washing, sort the clothes, plan your meals, then you are able to function because the clutter is gone, the stuff you need to do is gone, Then you can actually focus on other things and people, like your kids. If you don’t like this, I’m sorry, but it’s the truth of what I’ve found to be true.

My personal experience is that I have a grown up daughter of nearly 25, and two sons of 5 and 2. When my girl was little, I did my nurse training and she therefore did spend a lot of time in nurseries, with family members etc, then I qualified as a nurse and ditto, it got better when I chose to become a District Nurse. Since then she has obviously grown up and is independent. With the boys, I gave up nursing just before the 5 year old was born and stayed off, we’ve then obviously moved to Ireland. We’ve been in Ireland about 15 months now I think and we’ve been pretty isolated in a lot of ways. It takes a while to make friends and get to know anyone, especially since it’s a very rural area. I’ve thought about homeschooling ever since the eldest boy was born and then finally decided on it at the beginning of this year, before we even had in inkling that the schools would be closed. The main reason being, I thought and still think it is better for my eldest than going to a ‘proper’ school. I did not particularly think he would flourish at a school and am still of that opinion.

On the whole, we have loved it, I had a very brief period where I almost felt grief that I wouldn’t have any time to myself, so to speak, but that feeling soon left. I actually found it a lot less pressured and very exciting! you don’t have to get ready for a certain time, pack anything up, physically get in the car to take them anywhere. You can have your day how you want it. I also found that the boys seemed to benefit and seemed to be spending more time independently playing and that they got more creative, so I did and do get moments alone and time to do other things I need to do.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I chose to actually do some teaching for approximately a couple of hours a day to give us some structure. Some home school families do not do it this way. This tends to be about 10-12 ish, but it’s moveable. J (eldest) seems to love learning now, he’s started writing numbers, doing his own puzzles, trying to understand words and writing random letters, he’s writing his name all of a sudden. I’ve varied between a structured ‘package’ approach to just informal and playing games, he particularly likes matching games, matching numbers up with dice spots for example or whatever we can think of really. I like thinking of different, interesting ways to involve numbers and letters and just doing life together seems to mean they both just learn, almost without trying sometimes.

So, it’s good, but it’s also hard, I’ve found it’s very good for me in a lot of ways, it exposes a lot of ways in myself which aren’t that great and enables me to bring them to God. So I get it’s hard, I get no one with the school closures chose to do this, but my main advice is (as I have heard quoted by Elizabeth Elliot) is ‘refuse self pity’ and I would add onto that, stop moaning. Then, start from there… I really do want to reiterate, I have learned this from experience and there are days when I am shattered and have just sat in a chair and have cried. But try and just take it day by day, try to have some fun and try to see them for the wonderful and complex little beings they are.

This life, that some are moaning about is actually the life (in some ways) that I have been living for the past 15 months. This is the life that people have said they wish they could have, remarked things like ‘what a wonderful life your children are having’ and other things. So try not to worry, let them let off steam and have some exercise, movement is incredibly important to young children, and spend time with them as well as leaving them to it sometimes. I’m sure you’re doing a good job and that you do love your kids, and that being caged in the house isn’t exactly ideal, it’s just easier when we don’t see it so much as a burden.

Cathy

Deep…

So, I want to talk about something, but only very briefly today, bit weird to some maybe, but it’s been on my mind.

I’ve been thinking.. what if we used at least a little of this time to go deep, by ourselves! in our private time with God. What if we went all out to have an absolutely, rock and roll prayer/worship/anything goes (even silence) type time with Him. It would definitely be better than Netflix.

We could have an absolutely amazing time, just God and ourselves, just getting to know Him more, being one with Him, seeing what He does and says, just being. I need to do it.

If anyone is thinking, ‘I don’t have time’. you do. I do. I just haven’t done it to that extent recently. I’ve found other distractions. Floor us Lord.

End of today’s bloggedy blog… good bye!

Insurance, technology and creativity, all separately of course, I'm not that intellectual…

I’ve just been trying to renew our car insurance, it’s slightly complicated (and expensive compared to the UK). Because we’ve only had insurance in Ireland for a year and we’ve full Irish licenses, but they were again only issued again about a year ago, we don’t fit into the right categories and I can’t answer the questions properly on the online application forms. I’m waiting for somebody to get back to me to check, because we have been given 75% no claims, whatever that means, for accrued driving experience etc but it isn’t given in years. The prices are also approximately double the UK prices. It’s swings and roundabouts in a way, because our property tax is very cheap. But the motoring costs over here are unreal! Tax on the Jimny for the year is about 500 euros and the insurance is about double what it is in the UK. Just some bits of info there, in case you’re thinking of moving here!

J is currently outside, he asked if he could go out and I readily said yes. I’m realising at the moment how good it is to have the garden and land we have and the freedom for the kids to be outside.

Feeling slightly removed from the majority of people who don’t have this. It’s weird, because 5/6 years ago, I’d have been on the frontline with the nurses and doctors and was living in a terrace, right up close to people (I miss you though) and now we’re out in the Irish Countryside. I’m praying this morning for the workers obviously, but also for people with addictions who may be facing isolation and temptation due to this. It’s so easy when you’re worried and alone to just get drunk or whatever your particular struggle is… I’m also thinking, I’m so glad about all this technology at this time! Aren’t you? I’m presuming the apps like zoom mean that AA meetings and support work can still go on in a way and it is definitely better than nothing. Personally, I am also loving that you can see and potentially take part in loads of different church services and meetings because of this technology. I’ve found it very interesting, to watch different meetings and worship times online as well. Rend Collective did one the other night and it was lovely. All accessible to everyone, as well! you don’t even have to venture forth into the scary world of church buildings and people. Brilliant. (It isn’t scary really, but I certainly thought it was when I first went).

Lastly, for now, if you’re creatively inclined and like writing, start a blog or at least journal! It is awesome. You can let out all your thoughts and feelings and it can cause you to examine them as well and see what you really do think and feel and believe! Even if no one reads it, it is a good thing to do. For me, it’s a real outlet and also helps with my tendency to worry about what people think. It focuses me on God and what is important. Think of it as a sort of psalm, let it all go and out and then come back to God and his goodness, majesty and sovereignty. If you don’t know Him, seek him. The bible says if you turn your face towards him, he will lift the veil. In other words, you will see Him. He’s there and He loves you with an unfailing love, real love. The love we all seek and don’t find without Him.

Now go be creative. Write letters, write blogs, draw, play drawing games with the kids, paint, get messy, cuddle up, cut things out, make crowns and masks, act out stories, do silly voices and silly dances, go outside if you can, sit in stillness and listen. Just enjoy the time together. And let them play, without interference too. We don’t have to be involved in every minute of each other’s days. Amen! Right, hope that wasn’t lecturey, don’t want to lecture, but I’ve been on a huge learning curve over the past year or two, so I do have something to add.

Also, I do feel there is really something in learning to be still, to listen, to just be, to seek and see God, to talk to Him and this is the ideal opportunity really.

(Ooh. Ooh, one more thing to add. Play music, learn to play that instrument you’ve got hanging around (in my case a mouth organ and potentially a key board) or just play anyway. It is so much fun. Christians – worship 😊. )

God bless you one and all.

Cathy.

I don’t know who needs to hear this but…. (I hate those statements, don’t you?)

So, not sure anyone wants to hear from anyone else on any subject at all at the moment, but hi anyway :).

I’ve said this on our facebook page and I’ll say it here too, if anyone needs/would like prayer for anything at all, we would love to pray for you. When I say we, I mean my husband and myself. Feel free! or a chat!

It feels bizarre here at the moment (Republic of Ireland), I suppose it must do in most places really. I haven’t really been anywhere since Monday (shopping) and that was in Northern Ireland, so apart from some empty shelves it was fairly normal. Chris has been going to work and went to a car parts shop last night for a bulb. Apparently he could go straight in because no one else was there, but there was someone on the door, opening the door for you and I suppose only letting people in one at a time and you had to stand back behind a marker. If it’s necessary, it’s necessary, still bizarre though. I daren’t go shopping with the kids because from what I’ve read on facebook I’ll be shamed and stoned (that’s a little exaggerated, but only a little). I’ll have to go today or tomorrow while Chris is off.

Anyway, these little things are just that, little things, compared to what those who are ill and their families are going through, so I’ll keep praying for them and keeping things in perspective, helping where I can. Also, the repercussions that all this will have on people too, the loss of revenue, being thrown together with people when they’re not used to it, I suppose they’re probably huge too. Praying for protection over those who are vulnerable too.

Thought it’d be funny yesterday to monitor our day (it actually turned out to not be a typical day, it was Friday, I was tired and hadn’t planned properly). So here it is (it’s a bit tongue in cheek):

6:30 alarm for Chris

6:40 alarm for Chris – light on, gets up.

6:45 J – is it morning yet? jumps on our bed (I’m still in it). get up, get up, get up.

7am breakfast

7.40 am – J – ‘can I go outside’ ‘can I go outside’ goes outside to dig holes. Ira starts crying because I won’t let him. I let him.

7:45 Chris goes. I reluctantly get dressed and drag the bins up the drive. Coffee goes cold.

Front of the house. It’s very beautiful!

8:45 kids still outside (I daren’t look, they’ve been digging holes), time to wash up, instead I sit on chair, look round and sigh. look around a bit more. Boil kettle, make another coffee. Can hear letterbox, that’s usually littlest. Goes quiet. Feel a little smug because I actually managed to listen to the Lectio app whilst we had breakfast (doesn’t usually happen). Right wash up.

8:53 J appears with a big stick, freaks out when I say, no I’m not going up the field with him, slams door, gets stick stuck in door. Littlest cries, I wait, he stops.

8:55 Right, wash up. Play worship music whilst doing so in attempt to connect with God.

8:58 Littlest crying at door saying ‘cold’, he’s in. Right, wash up.

9:02 J appears again with a stick and muddy wellies ‘What you doing?’, ‘washing up’. ‘Can I do it?’. We’re now having an argument over washing up (he wouldn’t wash up, he would just play with the water, which is fine, but I really need to do this washing up). I get to do it.

9:06 J asking ‘can I draw’, littlest holding on to the back of my leg throughout the washing up process.

9:09 J calling from living room ‘I wrote my name, I wrote my name’. He did! I’m so proud of him.

Littlest is sat in the shoe box tipping it over, then starts dragging the high chair about. Definitely wants attention – I’m meant to be sorting car insurance – will do that later. Worship music still on, not really adding to the ambiance at this time.

09:14 Littlest crying, turns out he’s thirsty. Give him drink. J is drawing. I try to get a coffee I will drink.

09:16 look at weather, not raining today, oh good I can hoover car out (test tomorrow).

09:18 call from living room ‘I’s on the computer’ – that is never good news, he is only 2.

09:19 crying from living room, J had taken the computer off the littlest. I take it further away.

now listening to ‘turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face’ aaaaaah. nice.

09:33 littlest colouring, J doing mazes that I’d printed off. I’m printing, just realised we missed the body coach PE youtube thing at 9. Never mind.

09:55 did littlest nappy (bit late), received prayer request, prayed. Printed out a free pack from something called illustrated ministry to look at, go back in living room, littlest is on settee with scissors…whoops.

10:23 trying to explain word search to J

10:28 move on to something else, drawing the kind of leader God wants. J drew David and Goliath. Littlest playing with magnet toys.

10:35 Light fire. Littlest has a cold, how? we haven’t been anywhere??

10:40 kids not yet dressed, fire lit.

10:50 Fire nearly gone out, sorted out, mayhem in living room. Boys having a mad half hour. Tea??

11:20 fire blasting away, I’ve ignored the mayhem and practiced my flute. Boys decide they need yogurt, I go off to the barn to fill the coal bucket and let dog out. J going on word eggs for an hour. I decide to listen to Lauren Daigle for ten minutes with ear plugs in. Laughing coming from boys, that’s always good.

Realise it’s the first day of spring on the trip to the barn.

11:38 dusting upstairs, screaming downstairs briefly. Littlest touched J’s chair.

11:45 putting clothes away whilst they’re occupied.

11:50 Littlest is dressed.

11:55 Tea – didn’t get it last time. Secret bag of crisps in kitchen.

12:05 look at germinating seeds in window. Lovely.

12:08 Fight. Littlest threw himself across the computer.

12:09 Fight over.

12:20 attempt to tell J it’s time to come off computer. HUGE wobbler. AAGH. then dinner (get dressed..) etc.

1:30 pm hoover car and put all the rubbish in the bin. Kids outside with me, playing.

2pm venture into caravan and decide to hoover and clean it. Boys still playing.

2:55 J lets dog out. but 5 minutes later….

3pm littlest decides to come back inside. J soon follows, dog too. Snack.

3:25 decide on film to watch together.

3:30 decide! not bad…

3:50 kids not watching, wrestling on top of me, try to find something else. decide on Garfield film.

4:11 kids now watching, I’m scrolling phone…stop!

Haven’t we got the most gorgeous boys??!! πŸ™‚

4:26 scrolling again.. stop!

4:30 realise it’s cold, go to fetch washing from drier (it’s in the barn and we have to run an electrical extension lead through the kitchen window) and close window.

4:39 realise I’m really tired and lie down on sofa, immediately get climbed on :).

5:06 film finishes, boys dancing round, I’m still lying down. Ah put something else on.

I’m going to leave it there…that is not quite typical, I actually try to spend time with them and play for at least a while and do other stuff like read and get them dressed πŸ˜†. Jobs took over a little yesterday, and tiredness. It’s funny monitoring what you do versus what you think you do.

Anyway, God bless you one and all. For the super spiritual amongst you (of whom I am obviously one, am I??), I tend to do my praying when I wake up. Chris would maintain he’s always the first one awake and up (he isn’t). I generally wake up fairly early and pray as I’m laid there, when it’s quiet and lovely.

Bye!

Days at home.

Seems apt to talk about the fact that we’ve been stopping at home for a while now, since we decided to home school. I’m probably not typical, most people who homeschool or who are at home with the kids temporarily due to school closures probably haven’t moved to a strange country, where they don’t have family. I don’t mean that to say ‘feel sorry for me’, it’s just the truth of the matter. We’ve moved abroad, I haven’t really been able to get to know many people yet and we’re home schooling which means we spend most of our time around each other and at home.

So, what have I found? I’ve found that J in particular needs routine. If I lapse and let him watch tv in the morning (and I still do sometimes) and let it get late with them still in PJ’s, it just doesn’t work. He gets irritable and upset easily and tries to get me to keep the tv on all day. I have found the J (the elder boy) does seem particularly sensitive to adverse TV effects so I’ve had to limit it. What I find when I do limit it is that they become more creative and inventive and actually keep themselves occupied better. We still watch, but it tends to be an hour prior to tea in the evening rather than other times. We also subscribe to something called ‘reading eggs’ and ‘maths seeds’ so that is also screen time and I have to monitor the time spent on that too.

This is not an advice post to people at home, from what I’ve seen and read, everyone has to develop their own day, style and schedule. Ours tends to be get up, breakfast, play for a short while, get dressed, do some ‘work’ for a couple of hours, such as numbers, letters, sometimes the computer as part of it, interspersed with activity like dancing or singing or playing instruments – something (hopefully fun) that lets off some energy. We then have dinner, I try to have a bit of ‘quiet time’ (so called) after dinner, maybe read and if they’re playing, let them do that for a bit. Then in the afternoon, depending on what we need to do/the weather/what we or they want to do, we may play out, or go out, to parks, the play centre, shopping once a week. I’ve joined quite a few homeschooling groups on face book. The funny part is I’d only just decided to make the effort to try to get to know some of the others (I don’t think there’s normally as many here as there were in Derbyshire) and had booked onto a sports afternoon, when everything was cancelled. So onwards!

What I have found, personally speaking, is the hardest part for me is settling my brain so I’m not constantly trying to rush and think of what I need to be doing/planning next, actually also worrying about what I think I ‘should be’ doing, rather than what we are doing. If I’m always thinking like that, I get really stressed and I can get a bit shouty.. which isn’t good. Just being with the kids whilst we’re doing the ‘work’ seems to be the most important. I call it work, but it’s usually quite fun. What I’ve found also is, if I can give them my full attention during the couple of hours in the morning/early afternoon, it tends to work well for all of us and is better for their behaviour. With the focused attention on J, he has started getting really interested in letters and numbers and drawing mazes and ‘drawing songs’ (see below).

I’ve also recently discovered the kids exercise videos on youtube, they’re great, there’s a 5 minute one which we’ve done and its brilliant to break up the morning. We also do baking some afternoons, we also planted some seeds and just generally hang around each other whilst getting stuff done.

I’ve found the key to getting ‘stuff’ done, like housework etc, is actually planning, but a basic outline of the day, so I’ve got an idea of what I need to do but it means I’m not stressing when I’m doing what I’m doing with them. Also! weekly meal planning, makes life so much easier for us. I’ve also found it’s so easy to be present, but not present when I’m with them and the thing is, they know it! It’s getting easier, but there’s been some horrible days interwined with gorgeous days. The worst days are usually caused by my stressing and my reactions, not so much the kids. The best days are when I relax and just enjoy the time with them.

I obviously get in some bible and talk about Jesus with them, today, we did the story of Jesus and the storm. Basically he gets into the boat with the disciples and falls asleep and there’s a massive storm, huge waves, wind, scary stuff. The disciples wake him up saying ‘save us’ and he tells the storm to pipe down and it does. He then asks the men why they were so afraid? Anyway, we acted it out, J decided he was the boat, so there was a lot of running about and turning round, it was quite loud and quite funny. I’ve also found, if I do a very bad rap to some psalms they’re actually easier to remember :D. No I’m not doing it in public.

It will change, as we go along, life always does and that’s fine, or good even! Keeps us on our toes.

God is the one who keeps me, He keeps me sane, He directs my paths, Jesus is our peace. Sure, you can do it without Him, or rather without knowing Him, but it’s a lot better with Him. What’s been on my mind this week is ‘what is His will in our lives?’and are we living it? Always interesting!

Bye.