As promised, here are some snapshots from the past month in Montana. We are enjoying gorgeous weather, fun with new friends, and hundreds of adorable baby goats running around!
Because our time at the ranch this past Spring got away from us (this was helped largely in part by being down and out for almost 2 weeks with a nasty flu), we finally had a birthday party for Thing 1. He turned 10 a few months ago and wanted to have a party with his new Montana friend. His party included an awesome scavenger hunt, marshmallow fight, and of course video games!
Although we are spending most of our midweek time at the ranch, we are still out ministering at churches every weekend. (btw, I am sooo proud of this handsome man and so blessed that he's MY hubby!)
It is kidding season at the ranch, and it is so fun seeing all of the adorable baby goats running around. I tried to get a close up of this mama and her brand new baby, but this was the best I could do. I thought it was fun for you too see the dog too. These dogs are sooo good at their job of protecting the goats. This particular dog was way at the back of the field, but when she saw me getting close to this nanny and her kid, she came running barking at me, warning me to stay back! (thankfully, the dogs know us well now so as soon as she got close she saw it was me and stopped barking her threat! She still kept her position between me and the goat, though!)
More goat babies and their mamas! Btw, if you look close you can see a VERY pregnant nanny sitting down in the center. She is black and is next to a standing brown goat. About 20 minutes after I took this picture, I got to watch her give birth! Sooo cool! She had adorable little twins! :)
The beauty of this place never gets old!
Our romantic Father's Day drive (through the fields in the mule (ATV)! :)
The view on our Father's Day drive
This one is also from Father's Day. Our house is behind those trees on the right side of the picture.
Josh and the boys built this Death Star a few weeks ago. Then a few days ago, Josh and I went for a walk and when we came back there was a worship CD blasting in the house and the Death Star was one giant, LEGO praise fest! :) The boys were so excited! They said, "It's a LEGO worship service!" - I love that praising God is such an important part of my boys' life that it even comes out in their pretend play!
The boys have turned the loft in the stable into their clubhouse. Josh helped them put up safety rails.
So there you have it. A picture of our summer on the ranch! I'll write more soon! Blessings!
I have spent a lot of time over the past 6 months, praying, thinking, and talking to Josh about priorities.
I tend to struggle with priorities - figuring out what is most important (you know, the urgent versus the important), how to organize my time, when to say "Yes, I can" and when to say "No, I really just can't".
It's a battle, isn't it?! I mean, there are only 24 hours in a day, no matter how much we fight that reality, and we are going to have to sleep for at least a few of them.
But I think most of us tend to feel like those 24 hours, are just not enough!
"There just isn't enough time in my day!"
Then again, Genesis 1 says that there was evening and there was morning the first day . . . so, it has ALWAYS been this way. A day has been a day, since the very beginning.
The dilemma then, is what SHOULD be done in this 24 hours, and what SHOULDN'T? I have heard it said that if there appears to be too much on your schedule for today, then there is something on your "to do" list that God didn't intend to be there.
God designed our day to be exactly what it is, and if it's not enough . . . well, then the problem is ours, not the day's, after all - Genesis chapter one also says "it was good".
And so I have found myself examining my "to do" lists. As I find myself, almost every day, feeling overwhelmed at the end of the day - feeling as if I have worked sooo hard and yet have not accomplished most of what was on my list!
Side Note - I am no longer in the endless diaper changing, bottle feeding, laundry doing, sleep deprived stage of infants & toddlers. If that is where you are right now - Girl, give yourself a break! Right now is all about survival! So, clear your "to do" list of anything besides your hubby and your littles! Use paper plates, freezer dinners, and disposable diapers; snuggle your babies; take a nap! And whatever you do, DON'T VOLUNTEER FOR ANYTHING!
I promise, it won't always be this way! Someday your kids will back talk and grumble about homework, but they'll also shower themselves and pour their own cereal! You WILL eventually get to choose what's on your "to do" list again, and that's really what this blog post is about. Hugs to you and your precious little ones!
Ok, now that, that's been said . . .
While it is easy to state that my priorities should be God first, Josh next, followed by Thing 1 and Thing 2, and then others - what that looks like practically (how my "to do" list is to arranged and my schedule organized) is just not so clear!
So, I evaluate and re-evaluate.
I print off a schedule for the boys and I . . . and then I amend it and print a new one.
I wake up early in the morning to spend time in the Word and get some exercise done before the kiddos are up (and sometimes I do get to the exercise ;).
I try to cook my boys breakfast so they're getting some protein and not just cereal (but let's face it, sometimes it's just going to be Frosted Mini Wheats!) and then we start homeschooling.
I sit at the table with the boys, so that my attention is not divided while they're doing schoolwork (but sometimes I try to squeeze in a load of laundry or clean a bathroom).
My desire is to spend my afternoons either blogging or preparing for my Bible Study/Speaking (but then again, I'm taking an online class right now and I often have to do homework instead of blog).
In the evening, I try to spend time having fun with the boys or relaxing with Josh and Netflix (but often, I catch up on ministry emails, chat with a friend on the phone, or do the dishes I never got to earlier.)
As you can see, I am a work in progress. But I am learning. I'm learning to seek God first, to love my husband most, and to serve my children with patience. I am learning to blog & write when I can as God leads, but not stress if it's been (what? like 3 weeks since I've written!). I am grateful for a new morning every day, another chance to listen well and follow closely in the footsteps of Jesus. Because, ultimately, He knows EXACTLY what I should do each moment of each day, and that's what really matters, isn't it?! :)
So, there you have it. My effort and my struggles with priorities. I hope you can relate to some part of all of that! Surely I'm not alone in this!?!
And at the end of the day, although you and I may have very little in common when it comes to what our priorities are and what our lives look like, we do have one very important thing in common.
We both have exactly 24 hours today.
P.S. I promise there will be pictures next time! ;)
Hello! The sun is shining! There are bluebirds in my birdhouse and the ranch is full of baby goats! (pics coming soon) I am a happy lady! :)
We are all settled at the ranch again and getting back into our "non-touring" routine. As I said in my last post, we homeschool year round, so we will still be doing school work most weeks this summer. We will also be doing some unique "school" activities!
Next week, there will be three extra "little" boys hanging out at the ranch, so Tuesday - Thursday, Mrs. S (our "landlord"), one of the other moms and I have organized a little camp for the boys. We have a few games, crafts, and science projects as well as a couple little ministry activities for them! Then we'll end Thursday with a campfire, hotdogs, and s'mores! :)
In July, we'll spend a couple weeks at Josh's parents house. While we're there I'm sure we'll do some fishing, hiking, and swimming!
Our August is very full! My parents are coming here to visit at the beginning of the month. Then we have VBS in town and a trip to Washington! :)
At the beginning of September, we'll have a Promotion Party for the boys as they "officially" move up to the next grade and then will have a little bit of down time before we head back out on the road in October.
Of course, in the midst of all of this, we have 2-3 church services/concerts every weekend. Some of them are close to the ranch, but many of them will require a weekend away. As always, we appreciate your prayers for fruitful ministry as we seek to spread the Gospel and encourage the church!
Well, there you have it. Nothing too exciting to share - just wanted to get you up-to-date on our family happenings!
I will write again soon! Blessings!
If you've chatted with me before about homeschooling, you know that we homeschool year round. There are several reasons for this. A few of the reasons are a direct result of our touring ministry, I'll list those first. However, you should know that I followed a year round homeschool plan even before we knew we were going to be traveling most of the year. I'll share those reasons as well.
* Because our touring ministry has us here, there, and everywhere, it is important for our family to be able to take advantage of time with friends and family when it is available to us. We are usually only near friends and family for a week or so a couple times a year. That means that when we are in Seattle near my family and our friends or when we are in Billings near Josh's family, we aren't going to spend much (if any) of that time homeschooling! We spend that time soaking up every moment possible with the people we love!
* In addition, our ministry schedule has us traveling a lot throughout the year, so some days/weeks are just not conducive to homeschooling. On days when we spend hours in the car, we may do some schoolwork, but overall we often let the boys pass the time with videogames and "for fun" reading.
* Our ministry schedule also can be somewhat unpredictable, but there are certain things that we've come to expect. Some of these are -
Thanksgiving to Christmas our schedule is always VERY, VERY full and we spend a lot of time driving from one city to the next and have about 5 church services a week. So, we take all of that time off from homeschooling. Any moment that is not filled by a ministry event, we try to enjoy fun Christmas activities.
On the other hand, the summer tends to be a little light on ministry events, so while we do still take advantage of the good weather and fun summer activities, summer is also a good time to for us to get some consistent homeschooling in.
We also have a few more reasons for our year round homeschooling, that have nothing to do with our touring ministry.
* I am not a fan of wasting time reviewing things simply because it's been three months since the boys have thought about them. I don't take long breaks because I want all of the information my kiddos are learning to remain fresh so they can continue to build on those lessons as they progress in school. Then if we are reviewing it can simply be to help solidify things in their minds and strengthen concepts they may struggle with.
* It is very important to me that I prioritize my boys education and that I am giving them the time and attention needed for their academics. That being said, I do NOT like the idea of having our family life dictated by the fact that it is a "school day" or "we can't afford any more absences." So, while I do track our attendance, I never have any trouble getting enough school days in AND I can decide that we're going to take next week off, just because Josh and I want to! SWEET FREEDOM!
* I mentioned in my post Homeschool Renovations that Thing 1 is a lot like me in his need for predictability and routine in our schedules. Although our life is far from consistent month to month, we do plan our ministry schedule well in advance. That means we CAN have some routines each week. This need for predictability and routine also means that if we were to take weeks off for a typical "summer vacation", both Thing 1 and I would find ourselves stressed out, grumpy, and overall unhappy!
So there you have it! This is why we homeschool year round. :)
That all being said, there are still elements of our homeschooling that fit the traditional school year. T1 and T2 still have to have their annual testing according to Washington state law, so we'll be doing that in August. (We use a non-test assessment rather than a starndardized test. Maybe I'll share more about that later this summer) Also, both boys are still looking forward to "moving up" to the next grade in September. I'm planning a "promotion" party the first week in September.
If you're a homeschooler, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the whole "year round" vs. "traditional school year" topic as well as any other ideas, tips, tricks that have worked for your homeschooling adventures!
Hi! I'm Sarah
I'm so glad you stopped by! I pray you find encouragement and a reason to smile while you're visiting! If this is your first time on my blog, be sure to START HERE.
“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
(Jeremiah 33:2-3 NIV)
Leviticus & Mark
(the Bible in a year)
Five Children and It
(family read aloud by E. Nesbit)
Middle School: The Inside Story
(by Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna)
All Things Gardening, Soil, & Chickens
(not a title, just a list of my current library search topics)