We are still on holidays in sunny Queensland and loving it. Most days are spent at the beach in the morning, body boarding, surf swimming, building sand castles etc and then the afternoon we spend in the pool and spa. Monday we had close friends visit who live 2 hours away from where we were holidaying and it was great to reconnect with them. They are the sort of friends who we only get to see once per year but each time it is like we only saw them yesterday. The relationship is great and we really love and appreciate them. We know each other so well and they have been so supportive of us over the years. They know how to be true friends. I loved the fact that we could connect once again.
We have also had an opportunity to connect with one of our relatives. This person has made an amazing difference to other people’s lives. He has become a Christian and both him and his wife have a fantastic ministry of mentoring younger folk, & also older guys, especially through difficult times in those people’s lives. This person has experienced an extremely tough life. He shared with us this week the details of his growing up. I had no idea of the harshness and the horrific upbringing he went through. The harshness of life continued and continued. He never once experienced a stable, loving family. I am constantly amazed, when I meet people like this, how they can turn their life around and bring such goodness out of it and impact others. The pattern of instability, rejection, abandonment, wanting to rescue his own kids from life’s issues, continued up until after he became a Christian and began to deal with some of his issues. Becoming a Christian doesn’t just fix everything. You still need to work though the issues. Usually the issues that caused you to consider Christianity are the very things you really need to deal with through prayer ministry with help from people further down the track. Hubby’s relative is going well, but there are a couple of things that keep coming up in his life that he finds challenging. I encouraged him to contact Bethel SOZO, a prayer ministry that started at Bethel Church in Redding, California and is now here in Australia. I was involved with it at our local church last year until I realised that my first priority was to my kids and their homeschooling and this was cutting into my homeschooling schedule by 20% of my schooling week. Bethel SOZO has a great method of looking at the lies you believe & incorporate into your life from childhood and what the truth really is.
There are over 650 chaplains from schools in this state staying here & at a resort close by for their annual conference. Having talked with a number of them, most are doing it tough and when I ask them what I can pray for them, they all say encouragement. I love that our family can be used by God to encourage, pray for and prophesy over as many as possible just by connecting casually at the beach, pool, spa, skate park etc. The conversations we have are fantastic. I find it great having the kids with me whist I strike up conversations with people. Modelling how to start a conversation with a complete stranger is important (within limits of course!). I believe that it is also important for our children to see us modelling praying for people from all walks of life.
One morning it was sunny but not as warm as usual. Hubby had a breakfast meeting with a friend, so after cooking pancakes for everyone, he left for a couple of hours. I realised that the kids had not had much opportunity to just chill and play by themselves. We had been swimming so much and always busy and active doing stuff and Matey in particular just needed time to play by himself and use his imagination. I realised this after he had tied his action men to string and parachuted them from the loft down to pillows stacked on the floor. He then lined them all up in their groups and took “family photos” followed by separating out the grandfathers. He then selected a few to be escaped slaves and some others to be the staff on the ‘Christina’, the paddle steamer from the book we read last week. I love how he often plays out with his toys different scenarios from our life in the past few weeks.
This week, five nearly full days have been spent catching up with family and friends. They were great times of connecting. It is a case of “iron sharpening iron” as these families all have great stuff they can teach our family. Have realised that all of our family are introverts ie we re-energise by spending time alone. No wonder we are all a little bit tired and wanting some space to just chill.
Homeschooling seems to be more common and accepted in Queensland than in our home state. We have chatted with a number of teachers we have met at the park and they have all been so encouraging, even suggesting reading programs and book series for us to check out with Matey.
I find it so much easier to continue having Matey read to us most weekdays than to let it go over holidays. If I let it go, even for a week, then it is like his brain reverts to ‘go slow’ mode for those common words he knows. I have been really impressed with how he is really improving over the last few weeks in his reading. We have all loved just having a different library to look through with a different range of books. Hubby and the kids spent over an hour in their magazine section alone. It has an impressive array of magazines from both Australia and overseas.
Have found a great way for Matey to practice spelling words. He has no trouble writing his full name but to practice writing other words, both him and Princess have been writing in the sand at the beach and then Matey reading the words out to me. Little by little, every bit helps.
Went shopping today for several things. Matey lost his goggles in the sea and Princess needed new bathers for swim squad, plus she has a birthday party to go to as soon as we return home and wanted to get a gift voucher for the girl plus new thongs/flip flops were needed. I now let them do the shopping, talk with the shop assistant and find out all the details and then I pay when I am satisfied with what they have selected. I love watching them approach the sales assistant and discuss their requirements. We went into one shop today and the sales assistant didn’t even look up from the computer screen. There was no-one else in the shop. We stayed in the shop for about 10 minutes and there was no communication between him and us. As soon as we walked out, Princess commented on the lack of service and explained what she would have said to potential customers. Loved that as a girl of 10 years old, she already knows customer service and the implications in a sale. There is also a great kiosk at the beach attached to the surf life saving club and I always let the kids order what we have decided upon, pay, return money if given too much change etc.
We have also taken Matey a lot to the park to play on the various play equipment, plus there are a number of large rocks on the beach we have walked over in bare feet. I believe that this is great for his brain and its functioning. Gross motor skills at the play ground, whirling motions, climbing rope structures, plus different sensory sensations on the soles of his feet all impact different areas of the brain. Our local G.P. had encouraged this as she has seen incredible results this last year with the rock walking with her 21 year old daughter and her brain functioning and physical ability.