We’re currently away on a Christian home education holiday. There are hundreds of us here, all forging our own paths in a world going in the opposite direction. I’ve been speaking to many new home educating mums this week and their questions often remind me of questions I asked many years ago, when we began this journey.

I thought I’d answer these questions on the blog, so that the answers are here for me to point anyone to, should they ask. I’ve started at the beginning…

What led you to home educate?

First and foremost it was a God led decision. I was always somewhat alternative in my thinking and having trained at Norland I could see that play was indeed the very best way for young children to learn. I passionately believe that children don’t need to start formal education until around 6, which is when they start in many European countries, with excellent long term results. I also feel that children are all unique and their education should ideally reflect this.

With all these high ideals in mind I posed the home education question to Phil. He cut me down at the first hurdle, telling me, in no uncertain terms, to leave the subject alone. So I committed to not speaking about home education to Phil, but praying fervently for God to put us on the same page.

Phil put up several hurdles, which he only told me about months later, God knocked each and every one down. Hurdle one was about his working hours. He was very concerned that I wouldn’t have time to teach Maths adequately and he would want to have an input into this subject, as it’s his area of expertise. He therefore would want to work at home a couple of days a week. Within a few weeks of my prayer mission his boss asked him, out of the blue, if he would like to work part time from home!

Hurdle two was money. Phil was aware that resources for home education would come with a cost and he would need a pay rise to cover that. Again within a few weeks he had been given a very generous pay rise, and this occurred around the time of the 2008 financial crisis, another miracle.

Hurdle three was university. He wanted our children to have the opportunity to go to university, should they be academically inclined. Phil was, at the time travelling frequently to America, he happened on this occasion to be in Boston and met up with a friend who worked at Harvard. He posed a home education question to his friend, this question was about what universities thought of home educated students. The answer he received was not what he expected. He was told that the university loves home educators because they are self motivated thinkers who ask great questions. From his friend’s perspective the unique home based environment had better prepared these students for university than elitist schools! God was certainly on the move, not that I, as yet, knew anything about this.

I had asked God not only to change Phil’s heart, if home education was the right path for us, but I had also laid one more fleece. I was determined that this decision must be mutual, for we would come across difficulties and I never wanted to have Phil say, “this was your decision, you deal with it”. So I asked God to get Phil to ask me if we could home educate, then I would know for sure that this was God’s will.

Well….two months after our initial conversation, I experienced one of our first amazing answers to prayer. Phil sat me down and asked me if we could home educate the children, just like that! Well you could have knocked me down with a feather. I’d prayed with just a mustard seed of faith, but God had answered and had shown Phil his heart for us on this matter.

Now everyday that we have a struggle I can look back on that evening knowing that God chose this path for us and I can move forward without doubt, safe in the knowledge that this is God’s best plan for our children.

Long before the days of social media, and LGBTQ rights taught to infants, long before lockdowns were even a thought, God called us to home educate. Long before these challenges came along he protected our children, he knew what would be best for them. In many ways we were just following God, unsure of of the path ahead, but simply trusting that he promises good things for those who trust him. He hasn’t let us down. He has good plans for us and good plans for you. What’s he calling you to today?

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Sending blessings to you all, Vicki

I’ve never really thought about the concept of frugality and creativity being bedfellows until today, but it’s a thought that’s been banging on the door of my mind and today I let it in.

I often think about the gifts God has blessed people with, but rarely give thought to the gifts he’s given me. I find myself frequently feeling inadequate as I line myself up against people who are better educators or more organised, but God didn’t give us all, all the gifts, but we’re all good at something.

I’m going to have a shot at being honest, without bragging, I think I’m quite good at creative frugality. So what is it?

It’s the basic idea that the less you have to work with, the more creative you have to be.

This plays out in every part of my life and it’s so instinctive that I never realised it was a gift.

Let’s take cooking as an example. I love to be creative with the contents of the fridge. I take no delight in buying food for a specific recipe, but I find it immensely satisfying to take some slightly worn out vegetables, slowly caramelise them with potatoes and onions, add milk to near the top add some stock and cream and blend…mmm, everyone gobbles it up and I know it’s cost us pennies and is full of home cooked goodness. I love to add croutons on the side, using left over bread and then maybe add in some cheese scones (to make the most of the oven) as they only take up regular store cupboard/fridge ingredients.

I take no pleasure in buying anything I can make, but I am aware that time sometimes insists upon it. During pregnancy and early baby days I’ve bought more and created less, due to exhaustion, but that was the season and that was a compromise well worth making.

Now Timothy is walking and starting to sleep better I am finding windows of time where I am prioritising more home cooking. I’ve begun to realise that my creative outlet doesn’t need to begin when the children go to bed, but it is intertwined into every hour of my day.

Cooking can take up hours each day, but I can often delight in those hours, if I’m making use of leftovers and creating something from practically nothing. Muffins are one of my favourite ways to use left over fruit and they make a great breakfast. Sometimes I make them the night before if we have to rush out in the morning.

Outside of cooking I love sourcing clothes or furniture off Facebook marketplace. I’ve just bought a bundle of clothes for Timothy for £5, they would have cost nearer £80, if I’d bought them new.

I love making fancy dress costumes instead of buying them off the internet. My favourite memory about costumes was the day of a nativity play and our little ‘angel’ was running to the car and fell splat in the mud, her white costume now more suited to being a donkey. What was I to do, we had no time to dither? I sent up an arrow prayer, grabbed a white pillow case, folded it in half and cut a semi circle for the head, the same for arms and we were off, newly dressed white angel in tow! We may not have the costumes that all the other kids have, but we have unique outfits made with love (thankfully the children never seem to mind my creations 😉).

I even enjoy folding Terry square nappies, as opposed to disposables, it’s like origami for bottoms 😂.

Here are some of the other things I have done to add frugality and creativity into our lives: homemade pizza,

nuggets and burgers instead of their frozen counterparts, homemade cakes, especially celebration cakes.

I’ve made a few pieces of clothes, headscarves, a modest boy leg swimsuit (think Minnie Mouse colours with floaty sleeves) and a christening gown, I would love to make more, as time allows.

I love to repurpose old worn out clothes and sheets, turning them into dressing up costumes, dolls clothes or skirts. We also love to make presents and cards.

I’m really excited to be growing more of our own food and learning how to use and preserve it. I think this will keep me going for years, creating new ways to use it all and developing new skills in gardening, cooking and preserving.

I’m not a modern eco zealot, but before it became a ‘thing’ I was a person who wanted to live lightly. I want to leave a positive impact on this world, not a negative one. I know I have high ideals and it’s not always possible to achieve them, but it’s an aim and we won’t get anywhere if we don’t aim somewhere.

The thing that I most enjoy is creating under constraints. For example when we’ve forgotten someone’s birthday and I don’t have time to buy anything, or when we have unexpected guests and I need to multiply the meal. I just find it fun to think on my feet and come up with a plan.

I feel so blessed that I get to use the skills God’s given me everyday in my role as mum and homemaker. I’m not sure if my skills would be useful in many other settings, but I know that God created me for this job and gave me the skills to do it, if I lean on him.

What’s your thing, what do you love to do?

Sending blessings to you all, Vicki

Unpeel the silken layers of perceived serenity, the contented smile, the calm responses to whining children, just beneath the surface can lie a churning whirlpool of fear.

Stomach churning, chest so tight that breathing comes in only short breaths and mind clouded, all sense hidden by the fear of something which doesn’t even exist.

Anxiety, the foe which follows me around, hiding in corners, awaiting his moment to pounce and steal my peace. I knew he was there, I’ve felt his eyes boring into me for weeks, watching my every move, seeing the chinks in my armour. He’s an evil genius, he knows just where to strike to cause me maximum damage.

This week he went for it, he found my Achilles’ heel and took me down, almost drowning me in a sea of fear.

For a few days I wrestled with him and he seemed to be winning. I tried to pray, but to no avail, I was consumed with fear, irrational fear.

I’ve spent weeks transferring my anxieties from one thing to the next, a sure sign that it was anxiety that gripped me and not genuine concerns. I suspect my hormones are struggling as Timothy weans, as it’s not the first time I’ve felt this terror.

Why would I be afraid? My God loves me, I have nothing to fear.

Sadly I know all too well that he allows his children to suffer. My childhood was peppered with pain, death, financial crises, walking on egg shells, feeling invisible after Mum died, as Dad threw himself into his own life, his own grief, and I just felt like a giant inconvenience.

God’s allowed me to suffer before, so he could allow it again.

Is that it then, is that why I’m afraid, is the inner child in me still frightened? Maybe. Perhaps it’s just hormones, or my highly sensitive personality, after all God’s healed me of my pain from the past, hasn’t he?

I often feel guilty when I’m afraid. I shouldn’t feel this way, I’m a child of God. Where’s my faith? Perfect love drives out fear, doesn’t it?

I feel guilty because I feel, at that moment, unable to be full of joy and yet, as Christians, aren’t we supposed to have joy in all circumstances?

You see, I was wrestling. Satan wanted to bring me down, to whisper these doubts into my ear, to whisper fears and gradually turn up the volume until the noise of my fears drowned out the voice of God. God’s still small voice was always calling me, but FEAR and DOUBT were shouting.

Finally it came to a head on Wednesday, tears choked my voice as I pushed them back, I was broken, but then God intervened.

Wednesday was my prayer night with my ever faithful prayer partner, Jennifer. I shared the emotional horrors of my week and she prayed, bringing me before God’s throne and petitioning him on my behalf.

It was like the mist cleared, my senses sharpened, my mind became still. The wind and the waves of fear listened to God and obeyed him, the storm in my mind subsided.

God gave me a new perspective on the problem that I’d blown out of all proportion, the one which appeared unsolvable. God cleared the confusion from my thoughts and showed me the way forward. It was so simple, why hadn’t I thought of it already? Panic is no friend of clear thinking.

The battle for my peace is over, as if it had never occurred, except for the immense gratitude I feel towards God for saving me once again.

I know Anxiety is waiting just around the corner, he’s been forced into retreat, for now, but he’ll have another go, next time I need to be better prepared.

I’d best put on the full armour of God to defeat this enemy, he’s a wily one and determined too, he knows anxiety is the sin which so easily trips me up.

‘Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.’ Hebrews 12:1

‘Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.’ Ephesians 6:11.

I have learnt through this that prayer may not change the situation but it can change our perspective and that, for me, changed everything.

Sending blessings to you all, Vicki

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Summer days bring hours of time missing from the daily grind. Time, that illustrious gift we all desire. Days of running in summer meadows, picking blackberries. Days of building forts and making dams. Hours of fun playing hide and seek among the leafy trees.

Summer is also full of insect bits, hay fever and sibling squabbles, but nothing’s perfect this side of Heaven, so I guess we’ll roll with the seasons and embrace the good bits.

What are the Goldby family up to during these heady summer days? The oldest two boys have ventured north to undertake the NC500, driving the northern tip of Scotland with friends in tow. They’ve eaten and slept under the stars, swam in waterfalls and embraced the exhilaration of youth.

And what of the others? Still more adventures awaited them. Madeleine has ventured forth to the rainy, but very beautiful coast of Wales. She’s been given an amazing opportunity to work and train at a stables where they train horses in liberty work and dressage, think horses doing tricks on film sets. She’s learnt to cook for herself and is thoroughly devouring her first foray into independence.

Elizabeth has thrived at school, where she has been attending for the last two terms. She’s now ready to tackle GCSES and is revelling in her last summer of freedom before the work sets in.

Matthew has built, with Stephen and Hannah’s help, this rather cool fort in the garden. With hand sewn flags, hand carved shields and a super powerful catapult from which they have fired windfall apples. I’ve been as delighted in the team work as I have with the construction, this joint venture seems to have bonded this little team together.

Michael often joins in with these exciting games with his older siblings, but sometimes is content to ride around on his bike with Katie, or build furniture out of logs, cut down from the storms last winter.

Timothy has undertaken the challenge of walking and is delighting us all with his wobbly but determined steps.

Phil continues to juggle small holding life, fatherhood and holding down a full time job, working with folks in the UK, Asia and the U.S., which often means late night meetings and more recently a couple of trips to the Big Smoke. He’s recently being laying cables for the new solar panels we’re fitting, ready to increase our energy independence and hopefully save some money as well.

I’m gaining head space, something I deeply crave. With schoolwork off the summer menu I can consume the delights of time. Time alone and time with less pressure. Space to garden and potter in the greenhouse. I’m loving the weather this summer, warm enough to work outside and cool enough to work in the kitchen…perfect.

Today we’ve picked French beans and covered some unused beds with sheeting, hoping to avoid an invasion of weeds. A friend visited and the children played with her children whilst we chatted and prayed together. What a gift fellowship is, so much more than friendship, a connection on a spiritual level, true sisters.

I’m just thankful for these everyday activities, our life filled with gifts from God. Some days I struggle to focus on the positive and get dragged down into negativity, dwelling on the grumbles, squabbles and plain hard work; but then I pull myself up by my bootstraps and reframe my thoughts. When I put my challenges in perspective I can see them from further off, I can see the patience God is trying to grow in me, the tolerance the children develop for people who push their buttons(their siblings) and I see so much to be thankful for. When I give thanks in everything my mood changes and I see the beauty in the everyday moments.

What are you all up to this summer? Sending you all blessings, Vicki

It’s taken me a while to pluck up the courage to write this blog post. It’s not that I have anything particularly shocking to say, it’s just…well it’s been quite a while since I last wrote and it’s kind of hard to get back in the saddle. I’ve written posts in my head a hundred times and then second guessed myself and thought better of it. I see the outcome of my words and dwell on how they will be received.

My problem is largely perfectionism. A fear of getting something wrong. A fear of offending. A fear of letting my family down.

I think, to an extent I was born this way, but perhaps there was some nurturing involved in the formation of my fears? I see perfectionism in Elizabeth and Jonathan, who are both, in many ways, quite like me. It’s strange seeing aspects of my own personality from the other side.

I see perfectionism can lead to procrastination and can be something of a disability. The reality is that nothing will be perfect this side of Heaven and trying to create perfection will only lead to frustration or pride.

So, instead of perfection, I will have to satisfy myself with good enough. By the Grace of God I pray that something I say will be of use to someone.

I’ve been learning a lot about personalities recently. I have a great interest in the workings of the human mind, what makes us tick. Each of us are unique, but within a family we see overlaps in personality and understanding a little more about why we think or behave the way we do helps us to be the best version of ourselves.

It is my aim to honour God in my thinking and not to overly secularise this topic. God has created each of us and I see that for every weakness there is a strength. For example, Jonathan is a very skilled craftsman and makes beautiful things, but oh my, he is slow. He’ll get the job done, but timing isn’t his specialist subject. Christopher, on the other hand, will have a job done before you’ve even thought of it! It won’t be perfect, but it will be done. The amazing thing is when these two young men work together. The job gets done with efficiency and beauty.

I’ve learnt that I’m a highly sensitive INFP. For those who need that translated, it means I’m an introverted mediator, sensitive to bright lights, sounds and emotional stimuli. I feel all of these things on a deeper level than most people, apparently 20% of people are made this way. Without thinking about I’ve learnt to deal with this by, among other things, having dimmer switches on all our lights, avoiding using the bathroom fan and opening the window instead and avoiding background music. I can’t eliminate all stressful noises (I have ten children😜) but I can recharge regularly by sneeking off for 5 minutes alone. I’ve found having emotional teenagers to be really draining, as I absorb all their feelings, but knowledge is power and so I’m learning to set boundaries to help them and preserve my sanity.

The flip side to this is that I’m deeply empathetic. For example, during the lockdowns, when everyone was clapping on doorsteps and baking banana bread, I was churning inside, thinking about children living with abusive parents, unable to escape. I prayed for children with alcoholic parents, children who took responsibility for caring for their siblings in the absence of parents who had to work.

Carrying around so many feelings is often exhausting and yet it means I have to draw so close to God, to hand over everything that weighs me down, to trust that he watches over everyone and he hears my prayers.

But God created us to be part of a body and no one part is better than the other, we need each other in order to thrive.

In our marriage I see that Phil is a doer, not a feeler and I’m so grateful for this. Whilst I’m busy dwelling on the problems of the world, he’s busy fixing them. I share my concerns with him and he’s the first to ask what can be done. When I had the vision of living on this smallholding, Phil was busy working out the finances and practicalities.

Recently Phil has been laying cables ready to install some solar panels, enabling us to rely less on the grid and preparing our family for the days ahead.

Marriage and family can be a beautiful picture of God’s body, the key is perspective. We need to look at situations from a distance, see the bigger picture and in everything give thanks.

I’m still working on this…I’ll let you know how it goes.

What about you? Have you done a Myers Briggs personality test, this one is free https://www.16personalities.com/?

Are any of you highly sensitive? Here’s a test https://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/

I’d love to hear from you if any of this resonates with you.

Sending blessings to you all, Vicki

He was sitting with a Gin and Tonic in hand, relaxing back in his chair, watching the celebrations unfolding, unaware of the tornado of fun spinning his way, ready to sweep into his life and turn it upside down. His sensible and predictable life was about to change forever.

As the music played, a young girl came spinning in his direction, losing her balance she fell into his lap, looking up into his eyes she declared, “you’re lovely!” And the rest, as they say, is history.

That was me, twenty-five years ago today. Admittedly I’d had a more than my fair share of Malibu (what was I thinking) and may have not been entirely sober, but God orchestrated my steps and allowed me to fall into the safest pair of arms.

In three days time we’ll celebrate our twenty-second wedding anniversary, but there’s something about the anniversary of the day we met which brings me particular joy. Our wedding day was organised by us, but I feel like our meeting was entirely organised by God. It was a meeting made in Heaven and I think the angels were smiling that day.

Many of you have been asking us when the revisit will be on TV, well, we finally have a date. It will air this Friday, 28th April at 8pm on Channel 5. It was filmed February 2021, so it will be somewhat out of date, but it will be interesting to look back. It was filmed during a winter lockdown and so it was a very strange time.

I am curious to see how they edit it, as we have no idea how it will turn out. I remember that during the interview we were keen to be real, hopefully that will come across in the right way. We don’t want anyone to think that moving to the country is all roses around the door. If you want to know more about why we moved to the country, this blog post tells all, https://www.lifeinallitsfullness.blog/blog/farmlife/learning-to-trust-our-house-moving-testimony/

When thinking about the final edit, I pondered what the TV programme will miss….the less than beautiful vision of me first thing in a morning, in my PJs with builders all over the house and a small child yelling that they’d finished on the loo and could I please come. They never filmed me dealing with said child as I then tried to wash my hands and realised that the plumber has just turned off the water. The TV won’t reveal the layers of plaster dust. They never filmed me running back and forth to the utility from our makeshift kitchen to get water, with Katie and Michael glued to my leg, or the stress of me trying to cook a daily meal for 11 with no dishwasher, and the sink at the other end of the house, with a wet concrete floor in the middle of the house. Thankfully they didn’t catch me stealing a quiet moment in the store room, sitting on a huge bag of flour eating my favourite dark chocolate.

The TV programme was really fun to do and a great memory, but real life is messy and ours is no different. I’m not sure if people want to see reality though, or do they prefer inspirational television showing a glossy version of a real life?

I’m real though and I’m determined to not hide behind a TV facade. I would never want someone to see our programme and believe that their life will be wonderful if only they live in the country. I think it’s important for each of us to ‘bloom where we are planted’. Whether we live in the town or the country, this is only our temporary home, our real home is Heaven and until we get there, no location will truly scratch the itch that longs for something better.

We got a country life for half the price, but the cost of living in Heaven is free, the price has been paid for us, all we have to do is accept the gift. By believing that the real person Jesus Christ, died to pay the price for the wrong things we’ve done, we can get so much more than a good life here on earth, we will get eternal life in a place more beautiful, more peaceful and more joyful than we can ever dream of.

If you’re curious about how I made the leap of faith and put my total trust in God, this post covers it, https://www.lifeinallitsfullness.blog/blog/faith/hope-in-suffering/

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Sending God’s richest blessings to all our readers.

Time, the gift I crave. Time to think, to process my thoughts. Time to sit in silence. Time to allow my mind to wander, to cogitate, to digest the day.

I’ve found my old friend Time, just a glimpse, the hours just after dawn whilst the house is sleeping. I took Timothy, now 6 months old, to bed as early as I dared, hoping to shift his body clock, in preparation for the clocks changing. He slept like a baby, as in waking frequently! I think he just needs his own room so that he can roll around as much as he wants without disturbing his light-sleeping mother. Phil, of course, sleeps deeply and hears nothing, not even the cries of an overtired baby, his ears close off to all outside noise as soon as his head touches the pillow. I’m really grateful Phil sleeps well because at least half of the team is fully rested and alert, rather than us both being beaten up by sleep deprivation. We are planning on Timothy getting his own room very soon, as we are finishing off the decoration on a new bedroom downstairs and then Jonathan will move down there and that will free up a room upstairs for Timothy.

I’ve had this blog post on my mind for weeks, waiting for a free hour in which to write it. God has been frequently drawing together a theme which he is using to give me daily encouragement and which I thought would be an encouragement to others as well.

God first dropped the idea into my mind during a church sermon many weeks ago. We were learning about Hudson Taylor, the missionary who served in China. His salvation was brought about during a time of intense prayer by his mother. She went away with the specific aim of not returning until she was assured of his salvation. It was indeed during this time of prayer that he came to know Christ as his Saviour. We also learnt of Hannah in the Bible who prayed for a son and was then blessed with Samuel, who served the Lord all his days.

I was then reminded of St Augustine. He was a rebellious character but he said that his mother ‘was in greater labor to ensure my salvation than she had been at my birth’. There was the example of Jochebed, the mother of Moses, who saved her baby son from certain death at the hands of the Egyptians. John Newton, the writer of ‘Amazing Grace’ tells that his mother “stored my memory, which was then very retentive, with many valuable pieces, chapters and portions of scripture, catechisms, hymns, and poems.” We may may not have ‘Amazing Grace’ if it were not for a faithful mother. Another famous hymn writer and his brother, the founder of Methodism, were brought up by a Godly mother. John and Charles Wesley were home educated at the knee of their mother Susanna, who famously hid under her apron many times a day, using it as a tabernacle for prayer. I often feel her need, as she was, like me, a busy mum of many. I prefer to hide and pray in the store cupboard, with the chocolate!

There are many, many more mothers who had a huge influence on their children, perhaps Timothy in the Bible is worth a mention, as he is our baby son’s namesake. Timothy speaks of the faith of his mother and grandmother. The same can be said of King David, who writes, ‘because I serve you just as my mother did’, Psalm 86:16.

Mothers, we have such a quiet and yet enormous role in the lives of our children, our influence can last for generations. We can be so encouraged by these godly examples, encouraged to hold on when our teenagers are exhausting us with their petulant behaviour, when our toddlers are persisting with every kind of mischief or when our babies seem to have given up on sleeping. We can continue to be encouraged if our adult children go astray, for we must not ‘grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we faint not’, Galatians 6:9.

Hold on for the ride of parenthood, it’s sometimes eye-wateringly difficult, but like the harnesses on the wild rides at a theme park, if we trust in the One who is holding us, we can enjoy the ups and downs it brings. Our job is to teach, to pray, to love and trust the Lord with the rest.

Do you have a difficult boss? Do you work for yourself? Are you retired? Maybe like me you’re a full time parent. Whatever your situation, we all have the potential to be employed. Even those who can’t move from their beds can be workers. Even our children can work.

I may be starting to sound a little crazy, so what am I talking about? Those of us who are Christians have a boss who is above all earthly employers, one who we all work for whatever our daily circumstances. You see when we become Christians we are employed in the services of our Master to carry out his will here on earth. Each day he has a work day planned out for us. It’s not an onerous one, because he say, ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light,’ Matthew 11:30.

So what are our responsibilities? There are some specific tasks, for specific people and some generalised tasks for each Christian. For example, all Christians are called to obey God, love each other and tell others about Jesus. As mother’s we have more specific instructions.

Women are told to, ‘love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.‘ Titus 2 3-5.

Does that mean we are to be chained to the kitchen sink? Not at all! It’s a joy to work for Jesus, he is a gentle leader, ‘He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.’ Isaiah 40:11.

I think the heart of the matter is our heart. ‘For where your treasure is, your heart will be also,’ Matthew 6:21. What is it we treasure? Do we treasure selfish pursuits, or servant pursuits? Do we want to please ourselves, or please our Master? What is most important to us? Some people work for money, some for prestige, some for job satisfaction, what motivates you? Some people are unable to go out to work due to ill health, does that mean they are useless to God? Absolutely not, some of God’s best workers are immobile elderly people who simply pray. If that’s God’s calling to you today then you will be a faithful worker if you just do that.

So how can we work faithfully for God? For me it begins when I wake. I ask him how I may serve him today and ask him to strengthen me for the tasks ahead. As a mother my day is full, but it needs the organisation the Lord brings to show me how to prioritise my tasks. So much to do each day and only 24 hours to do it in. I don’t think God asks us to to everything though, but to do everything we do for him, in his strength and for his glory.

So how does this practically work out? By working this way I have complete peace that God will give me enough hours to complete the essential tasks and that anything not done was not meant for today. With prayer, he will help me get round to it tomorrow. Some tasks he helps me do, some he asks me to ditch and some to delegate, but with his wisdom it all gets done.

I have written this post as much as a reminder to me as to anyone that, ‘whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,’. Colossians 3:23. Work is a gift, for even Adam and Eve worked before the fall, it’s our attitude to it that transforms it into something holy.

I pray that all of you can find joy in your work today, whatever it is God is calling you to do. Sending blessings to each and every one of you.

So I haven’t written a blog post for weeks, there’s a good reason for this. Timothy doesn’t sleep in the evenings and the other children don’t leave me alone all. day. long. I love looking after them all, but it can get quite intense when you don’t have a minute to yourself.

Anyway I’ve managed to carve out a few minutes and so I thought I’d squeeze in a quick update.

Last week Phil, Timothy and I went down to London to support Jonathan who, along with his team mates, had got through to the finals of a Dragon’s Den style competition. The finals took place at Mansion House in the City of London (The Lord Mayor’s House). We were invited to support him and so Super Nana and Super Papa looked after the other children whilst Phil and I were away.

I was unsure whether Timothy would be allowed to join us and so I emailed ahead, asking whether I could bring him. They welcomed him with open arms and he was a bit of a star. He had a mention in the speeches, and the Lady Mayoress came up specifically to meet him. He was a great conversation starter, and Phil and I got quite adept at holding a baby, a glass of wine whilst feeding each other canapés!

One lady commented that I was being very brave and inclusive bringing my breastfed baby. I think I ticked their inclusivity box for the night 😁. People were just so delighted to see a baby and it made me think that perhaps we hide babies away?

A breastfeeding baby, carried in a sling can be so easy to take out, depending on their personality. Timothy is just the right age to travel with, as he’s old enough to not be exhausting, but young enough to not be crawling. Anyway, it was a wonderful night away and Phil and I had chance to talk and eat out without chatter from the older children. Four hours each way in the car, with a sleeping baby, was a huge luxury in terms of quiet time together.

This week we’ve got a couple of birthdays coming up and so I’m busy planning parties and presents. We make a fuss of the children on their birthdays, making them each feel really special. They choose all their meals and they can choose how they want to celebrate. We have a birthday budget for a party and a present, and then they decide what they want to do. They often choose to take a couple of friends to a trampoline park or the younger ones might go to soft play. They each have a meal in the evening with just Phil and I, which is always very special.

Elizabeth has recently started at school, in year 9, as she would like to take GCSEs at school, as a couple of her older siblings have done. She is thankfully settling in very well. It’s always a bit nerve racking sending them into school, having home educated them, as we want to ensure we have prepared them sufficiently to slot into their year group. It appears that Phil and I have so far passed muster!

In all seriousness though I think it’s a shame that our education system rates success by academic grades, as people are so much richer than that. Human beings have such a variety of skills and many of these can’t be graded, but all are valuable. We hope that, with home education, we are giving each of our children the foundations of faith and the opportunities to discover their gifts. We then send them out when they need experts to further their learning in specific areas.

Sorry this update is somewhat lacking in depth, but hopefully I will be able to find more time to blog as Timothy grows and settles in the evenings. In the meantime my ramblings will at least remind you all we are still here and that I haven’t forgotten to post updates.

Sending blessings to you all.