Sounds like a good time, welcome to the addiction.
As someone said keep your hand on the mainsheet. When sailing in gusty conditions keep the mainsheet uncleated and ease in a gust. In a gust you can ease the mainsheet a foot or two and head up a little (point the bow into the wind), this is done by pushing the tiller away from you.
You can do this in small doses just enough to stay upright. In a big puff, you shove the tiller away from you and dump the main sail (let it all the way out). As you get more experience you will find out the difference using this technique to accelerate in puffs and when you need to dump the main and shove the tiller over hard.
Where do you live? I bet there is another sailor nearby that would go out with you or take you out on their boat to help you learn. Check out the Mutineer site for rigging suggestions. http://www.mutineer15.org/index.html