Where do I begin? I've been so busy between Hailey's 3rd birthday (future post), gardening, soccer, homeschooling, working, making cheese and cooking most things from scratch, I feel like I've been in over my head all summer. This last weekend changed all that. I had the opportunity to go with my twin sister to visit one of her dear friends, Catherine. Click here to see her blog "Cat's Tale Productions". I've known her mostly through the blogging world, but last weekend I felt like I really got to know her on a personal level. I feel privileged to welcome another Titus 2 woman into my life. The good Lord used her significantly last weekend to speak into my life in a way that even stunned her. She didn't realize God would use her that weekend in such an amazing way. Here is a picture of me, Catherine and Stacie in her living room. I feel so tall when I'm around Catherine. She is adorable inside and out. It was a nice long trip to the little out-of-the-way town in Idaho where she lives, so Stacie and I were able to have plenty of sister time on the way to and from. It is always such a treat to talk with my sister without the constant (many times unintentional) interruptions going on because of the kids. Believe me, we treasure these moments!
One of the things I learned this last weekend was how to really relax. I always equated relaxing to going and doing some fun activity. I discovered that simply sitting around talking for two days straight was extremely relaxing. Especially when I was being edified and taught. The pain in my shoulders and neck where completely gone by Sunday.
God had been laying on my heart my need for a tighter schedule so that I could live more intentionally. Ever since having my second child, I've been struggling to find a regular bible study time. I knew God also wanted to add regular devotional times with my kids. I didn't know how to fit these things into my life with all the other things I'm "required" to do. Unbeknownst to me, Catherine just happens to be a scheduling expert. I'm mean, she goes around and gives talks on it. God is soooo good! He knows just what we need, when we need it the most. As we talked and brainstormed, I literally felt the most awesome peace come over me. She helped me plan out my basic week, day by day, in half hour increments. I can't believe how well this is working. I'm finding time to actually do some deep cleaning around the house, play with my kids more, as well as discovering some free time I didn't know I possessed. She helped me fit in four days of homeschooling (2 hours each day), bible study/devotion times, all the cooking from scratch I need to do (for us to survive on basically one income), and even helped me squeeze in 6 hrs a week to do soil database work (from home). She encouraged me to guard my time better. I've been terrible about answering the phone during homeschooling hours or work time, which just makes everything drag out even longer. Before I know it, the day is shot and I hadn't got enough done. My efficiency has improved tremendously. I'm getting the kids to bed earlier, too. Most of all I'm living guilt-free! I was always feeling guilty about not getting it all done because of my inefficiency. I'm now making sure the most important things are done first and the rest is gravy.
Catherine also happens to be a homeschool tutor. Hello! So of course, I told her some of my struggles I've been having with homeschooling my son and she had all kinds of great ideas that I'm already implementing. Basically, what I need to really focus on at his age is encouraging his LOVE of reading and math, everything else will come later. These are the foundations for those other subjects to be more formally taught when he is older. I can't keep pressing on when he gets distracted while reading. Instead, when I can tell he is getting distracted, we take a 10 minute break and do some math instead, then we go back to reading, then math. This is working much better. It is keeping both of us less frustrated. Thank you, Catherine! She really helped my sis, too, with some of her homeschooling woes. She emphasized keeping things fun and switching up the routine. She taught us how to make paper balloons, something I would have never done on my own. My kids loved them. The other wonderful thing about going to Catherine's house is the fabulous food! Five years ago, I went to visit her. I was there a total of three hours before I fell down her stairs in the dark and broke the tip of my collarbone off. As I recovered on her couch the rest of that weekend, she fed me delicious, nutritious meals, totally foreign to me. I was fascinated. You mean healthy stuff can taste good? It was a new concept to me. It took me another year, and more education, before I got brave enough to begin using whole grains and unrefined sugar. Now that is all I cook with. One of the meals we made this time was Thai rolls. Oh my gosh, these are the most amazing summer meal. Just so fresh and light. Yum! Click here for the recipe on my sister's blog. She's got step by step instructions. You'll love these!Aren't they beautiful?
Now, that soccer is over, I can breathe even more. Incidently, Josiah, got a medal for sportsmanship. This is a miracle as he had the worst sportsmanship ever at the beginning of the season. I was ready to pull him after his first game. So glad I didn't. Through prayer, devotions on self control, role playing and threatening, he did a complete turn around in the sportsmanship department. He also did well playing soccer. He got several goals.
Just have one more birthday coming up. Josiah's will be celebrated at my sister's house this year. We're doing a Revolutionary War themed birthday party for Josiah and his two oldest cousins. We're going to do high tea and have a "scone cake" instead of the traditional cupcake cake. Should be fun! I'll be posting Hailey's Luau birthday party picture next.
Sorry this was such a long post. My blogging time is extremely limited right now, so I wanted to get a lot in since I actually had time to post tonight. I just wanted to share with you what God has been doing in my life. I'm so grateful to His precious Word and people He puts in my path to keep pointing me in the right direction. I can't imagine living life without my Savior and Friend to guide and direct my path. All I can say is Praise Him!!!