The final event we went to last weekend was a community picnic / fireworks in the park. Just the girls and I went – it was lovely to sit in the park, catchup with friends, nibble and then see a great display of fireworks. But it did highlight to me, how easy it was to grab some nibbles, drinks, chairs and enjoy the sunset in the park. We need to do that again.
Our study week started with a bang – with everyone having a great day. We seem to have a new sense of purpose with our Bible study and with that, finding the hour study actually enjoyable (a lesson to learn in that!). The kids are finding their study schedules helpful to keep them focused as they know what work they’ll have to catch up on if they slacken off, or take a break for any reason. We did have friends drop in for an hour so they did have to catch up a little bit in the afternoon.
One of the things we will be conscious of this week is how we are spending our ‘free’ time. In the past I’ve used the words ‘productive free time’ with the aim to help them see that their whole afternoon isn’t just free to blob, wander and do nothing – but rather they are to use their time purposefully. I’m introducing ‘discretionary time’ to our vocab now as well – it doesn’t really matter what words you use, but the underlying message is that we shouldn’t be wasting our time just because there is no study. On Monday Naomi did some ironing and Daniel is into an exciting book so every moment is spent reading at the moment!
Tuesday was a day that was completely rearranged by talking through stuff with my kids. Though times spent helping my kids sort through stuff is emotionally exhausting, one of the things I take away is that underneath it all we have a relationship with each other; they know my heart, I know theirs and we are in this together. After lunch I took Naomi and Daniel into town to help me with the grocery shop. Naomi then went onto her Girls Bible Study, Daniel went to the library, and I had a quick cuppa with a friend and then met with my prayer partner for 30minutes. I dashed home, gave Josh the groceries to unpack, grabbed the baby car seat and back into town. Picked up our little toddler again, (we have her here again full time for 3 weeks), picked up the girls from Bible study, and headed home.
Jessica has been helping lead the young girls Bible study (grades 6+) but this year the group has grown and the group dynamics were different, limiting the depth of sharing and discussion. So the group has split with Jess taking the younger group. Tuesday was her first day, and she came home happy that the girls threw themselves into the new group, had fun, but most of all participated much better than they had in the larger group.
Wednesday a stay at home day! Jess took Little One (can’t use her name or show photos due to foster care limitations) to daycare, and went onto work herself. Naomi and Daniel had a full study morning. We had to finish off some of the Bible lesson from Monday. It was exciting to see a light-bulb moment for both of them as we discussed the curse (in Genesis) and the promise of Christ. But then as I continued to read I had to pause, and discuss the next bit, not read it word for word, as I didn’t agree with the author’s perspective. I was reminded how good it is that we have an incredible array of resources available to us, but at no time should we just swallow everything we read – our children need to see us reading critically, even as we read aloud.
Wednesday night we had out-of-town friends over for a simple BBQ . These friends are here to lead a parenting retreat/camp for indigenous families over the coming weekend. As a family we’ll be involved with this as well.
Thursday is Little One’s stay at home day but unfortunately I had an appointment in town, which she sat quietly through very well. We dropped the girls off at Mainly Music and headed home for some quiet play. Daniel had cleaned up the kitchen after the night before’s BBQ, and I started cooking bolognaise sauce for Friday night – catering for 50 people! I have been delighted how the Christians of town have pitched in and offered to help in different ways.
Friday started off with a coffee date with my friend, and then it was about cooking, and getting the last minute bits and pieces together for the parenting retreat. Naomi and Daniel studied, but they also took time out from their books to cleanup their bedrooms which had both been a little ‘unattended’ of late! The kids joined in the families at the retreat for the evening.
Naomi and Daniel helped with the kids programme for Saturday and Sunday. It was good for them to have Josh and Jess not doing it (for the first time) leaving them to be the responsible, helpful teens! Josh and Jess, and their friends Jacob and Hayley, helped a lot in the kitchen preparing both morning tea and lunch.
Saturday afternoon Josh and Jess loaded up 2 cars with teens/young adults and headed off for a bit of fun. Jess took a car load for a swim at the river (though a lot of effort was spent trying to convince our out-of-town friends that there were no crocodiles in the water!) – and Josh brought a few home to play a board game at our house. Sunday afternoon they came home to play board games, watch a movie and then late in the afternoon drove up the hill in the middle of town, to watch the sunset before joining the retreat for dinner and the evening programme.
So it has been a great week – lots has happened. This is the beginning of a season of visitors where we will be balancing the joy of being with family and friends, and the need and responsibility to study!