Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Voices of The Faithful Book Review

Book Review of Voices of the Faithful, by Beth Moore
"Inspiring stories of courage from Christians serving around the world."

I'm still in wonder over the pages of this treasured and timeless devotional. Beth Moore has teamed up with Kim Davis to compile a devotional completely written by missionaries from around the globe. Three hundred and sixty-six days are covered, each with a Bible verse, a commentary or story and a short prayer. Immediately upon opening the book I skipped ahead to my birthday. Of course, right there was a perfect story that I needed to hear right then and there. Each page is filled with love and commitment to evangelism. God and missions are the entire focus of this book. Each section is opened with a word from Beth Moore that is always filled with intrigue and power. The end of the book is complete with a salvation plan all the way to what to do if you'd like to become a missionary. I'm extremely pleased with this mission-minded book, and can't wait to begin it in it's entirety on January 1. This is a true work of art, from the people that serve with their whole lives right to our own humble existence.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Celebrating The Season Book Review

Book Review of Celebrating The Season, by Maggie Bokros
An Advent Study

I love those moments when you find exactly what you are looking for.  This is it!  If you are looking for an Advent Study to do with your family (all ages) over December, look no further.  Ms. Bokros has written an E-book that will take your family on an in depth study of the Christmas season, from Creation to Resurrection.  She has included family Bible reading, activities spanning multiple ages and family, prayer, additional reading books, recipes, and much much more.  Each study takes on average 15 minutes a day.  You can stay as simple or as engaging as you choose - that's the beauty of the book.  To top it all off, she's offering it at a astounding price! This is a MUST HAVE resource for your library.  Don't miss out.  It’s absolutely phenomenal! A great work of God’s creativity and love! Click here to see the book, read more about it, and purchase it today.

Photos of our family's Jesse Tree to come.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Trip To Norway

This month we are studying different countries and cultures of Europe.  Last week we took a quick stop off at Norway.  One of the great perks of the homeschool life is the ability to completely submerse your child into a whole other place without being there.  Make sense?  Without uncomfortable chairs, school schedules and limitations, we can totally jump in to any subject and explore deeper any of the parts that are of interest to the learner.  What a shame that most children will never have the opportunity to travel to Norway and any other map point in their minds and bodies like we can.  I don't take that for granted for even a moment.  The best part of our cultural study is a little book called Window on the World.  It's an outstanding, mission-minded book on countries and places you may have never even heard of.  Most of the countries within the pages are plagued with either dictators, disease, poverty or a mix of it all.  Not only does the book show in full color pictures the people and places, but also shares a story of what a child may be going through that very day.  Persecution is EVERYWHERE!  Most of the places discussed we can't get to because there are a million roadblocks by the dictators of the countries.  They don't want us to reach out to these people, especially with Bibles and the Gospel.  But we can!  Right from our own homeschool rooms.  The best part of the book is that each and every country showcased has a list of immediate prayer requests.  We all know that prayer blasts through any wall, over any ocean, against any strong hold, and straight to God's throne that never sleeps.  I challenge you to add this book to your daily classes; and see your child's face and hear their heart as they lift up children that are held captive in so many places.  We can begin to change lives right now.  It's not about us at all, is it?

Working on authentic Norweigan Rosemaling on a wooden purse


Cooking homemade Lefse and Gjetost (which I  have to say was one of the best meals we've ever eaten)

Read of the Week:
Tortured For Christ by
Richard Wurmbrand - "After years of imprisonment and solitary confinement, enduring inhumane torture, Richard Wurmbrand emerges with a powerful testimony of courageous faith. Even today, believers are suffering and dying for Christ, yet their faith will not falter under the most unthinkable persecutions. In this stirring account, Wurmbrand (founder of The Voice of the Martyrs) encourages us to remember those in chains and equips us to help our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world." I tend to pick this book up and put it down again within a few days.  The book is beautiful, but I find it that my soul can only withstand so much of the persecution suffered by so many today that I can't go very far with it at one time.  I suggest it as the most factual and aware book of our time.  NOTE: It will affect you in every single way; and you will be changed forever by the marks it leaves. 
Find of the Week:

Scripture of the Week: 
"The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever."
- Isaiah 40:8

"Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone." - David Livingston

Monday, November 8, 2010

Same Kind Of Different As Me Review

Book Review of Same Kind Of Different As Me, by Denver Moore and Ron Hall 
A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together

I'm still in awe after closing the last pages of this book last night. I'm truly inspired by Denver, Ron and Debbie. Forgiveness, Love, Kindness, Patience and Virtue seep out of each and every page. I will be passing this book in over and over to friends and family. It draws you in from the very first page and keeps you turning until the last words. I cried many tears over Ron's unconditional love for Debbie. And my heart thrilled as Denver was taken from a cast-off to a man of God with will and empowerment. The pictures in the back of the book brought us directly into their lives. I will read again and again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ole! A Mexican Fiesta

For the last two weeks we have been studying Mexico and Central America.  We finished off our study with a Mexican Fiesta.  This included a homemade pinata, Mexico Flamenco flowers, yarn art and handmade tortillas.  El tiempo era excelente.  Quiero hacerlo otra vez.

Read of the Week:
Tortured For Christ by
Richard Wurmbrand - "After years of imprisonment and solitary confinement, enduring inhumane torture, Richard Wurmbrand emerges with a powerful testimony of courageous faith. Even today, believers are suffering and dying for Christ, yet their faith will not falter under the most unthinkable persecutions. In this stirring account, Wurmbrand (founder of The Voice of the Martyrs) encourages us to remember those in chains and equips us to help our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world."
Find of the Week:
- Amazing Historical Videos on a huge array of subjects.  These are great for young and old. 

Scripture of the Week: 
"Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant."
- Galatians 1:10

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."  ~Ben Sweetland

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recycled Colors Project

We did a recycling project today.  It can be done with kiddos of any age, and it only takes a short amount of time with no prep work.  Also, there is no cost, as everything you need is right at your fingertips.  These are perfect for all ages; and make really cool swirling colors as you sweep them across paper.  Get started recycling your crayons today!  Simple recipe follows below...

Broken Crayons (broken up into small pieces, with the wrapper off)
Baking Oil Spray
Muffin Tin

Spray the muffin tin with baking oil spray.  Place one layer of crayons in each muffin cup.  Bake at 275 F for 8 minutes.  Let them completely cool.  Pop them out (literally pop the bottoms) and enjoy them for coloring time. 

Read of the Week:
 2010 Class Trip Directory for Texas
- "Day, overnight and travel trips for school, scout and youth groups.  Trips that support learning and merit badge achievements.  Explore America and it's neighbors.  Educational and fun travel trip itineraries."

Scripture of the Week: 
"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care."
Psalm 95:6-7 - NIV

"Orange is the happiest color."
 - Frank Sinatra

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Exploring Culture Locally

Last week we made the hour long trek into Houston to explore.  Our first stop was the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.  We journeyed through the antiquities to the modern works.  Lauryl was really intrigued by the early American Indian gallery.  She also loved all of the African jewelry.  

When we left we decided to ride the MetroRail from end to end, stopping at the downtown Tunnels for lunch.  It's interesting how the people change from one end of town to the other.  We saw everything from doctors, nurses and business people, to drug addicts, homeless and the blue collar.  We talked with people that sat next to us, and they all were going somewhere.  I think there were more life-lessons to be learned on the hour and a half we rode that rail, then in a week of classroom teaching.  Get your kids out of the house - show them all the sorts of people around them.  Teach them that God is the Creator of everyone.  And, the same Jesus that came for them, came for the person in rags or a suit sitting next to them.  If we are to be mission-minded, then we are to reach and touch everyone. 

Read of the Week:
Revolution In World Missions by
K. P. Yohannon - "He was barefoot until the age of 16. In this exciting and fast-moving narrative, Yohannan shares how God brought him from his remote jungle village to become the founder of Gospel for Asia, which now supports 7,000 native missionaries in ten Asian countries. He challenges Western Christians from his unique Third World perspective--to examine and change their life-styles in view of the millions who have never heard the gospel. This book could change your thinking and your life."
Find of the Week:
-Reading Units / Book Units.  Great resources for kiddos reading a milieu of novels.  Check it out!

Scripture of the Week: 
"So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us."
- II Corinthians 5:20

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Right Under Your Nose

I'm always surprised about the things that are right around the corner that you don't know about.  Apparently, since the late 80's the Montgomery County Heritage Museum has been dishing out some fantastic local history.  We were pleasantly greeted by a hostess offering us headphones for a full on tour of the little establishment.  We could see and touch parts of our county's history starting with the Native American's all the way to our present day.  You'll find out why Tamina Road is called Tamina Road; and that Willis used to be a huge tobacco plantation called Little Cuba.  There is even a totally hands on room that even the littlest of curious hands can touch.  That room is filled with actual pieces from history, set up as a general store.  There's a gift shop and friendly staff that are willing to answer questions and show you around.  It's a free tour, and I suggest that when you are passing by Candy Cane Park, that you take an hour and pull in to the museum instead.  Great things are truly right under our noses.

Read of the Week:
The Power of A Man by
Rick Johnson - "Using your influence as a man of character". Great insight into how your man thinks and ticks.  Must read for men and women
Finds of the Week:
-Free printable maps of the USA, States, and much more. 

Scripture of the Week: 
"Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures."
Psalm 119:90 - NIV

"Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."
 - Sam Houston

Around The World In Eighty Bites

This week entailed learning and reviewing the seven continents and five oceans. Our days included a compass rose, scales, keys and atlases.  Lauryl also learned to say "hello" in nine different languages, as we sailed around our desktop globe. I wrapped the week up spending a total of $2.29 on cake supplies, and a free world map from Google.  Lauryl loved creating this cake mostly from memory of her newly discovered continents.

Finds of the Week: - Montgomery County Heritage Museum in Conroe, Texas.  Interesting local facts that will surprise you.  Like - where the names Grogans Mill and Cochrans Crossing came from. 

Scripture of the Week: 
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - NIV

"The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes."
Leo Nikolaevich

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Apple Pie Days

Nothing says Summer in Texas like an Apple Pie.  Nothing says wonderfulness like something out of the oven that was homemade by small ten year old hands.  This week marked Lauryl's first week of fifth grade.  We started out our year-long Geography study with a look at maps, a compass, a globe and the world.  What better way to get into the spirit of world-travel than "How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World" by Marjorie Priceman.  It's definitely on our list of fun books with big, colorful pictures.  As we closed our first week of school, Lauryl commenced to make her first pie with only onlooking supervision from Grandma.  Lauryl mixed, rolled, sliced, peeled and baked this magnificent apple pie all by herself.  (Recipe found at the end of the book.)  If I may say so myself, it's fabulous!  Tomorrow, it's on to making organic Guacamole as a way to eat healthy brain foods.  (NOTE: We are studying the brain in Health this week.)  Thank you to our Lord for a smooth week.  It couldn't have produced such fruit without His everlasting graciousness and help. 


Read of the Week:
Story Craft by
John R. Erickson- "Reflections on faith, culture, and writing from the author of Hank The Cowdog"
Finds of the Week: - Check out the Picture Smart Bible.  We've used it for two days and are already deeply in love with all of it.  Worth each and every Mom-saved penny.

Scripture of the Week: 
"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

"There is more to life than increasing it's speed."
 - Ghandi

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some Like It Free

I love when I come upon things that are free.  After all, the best things in life (ie. SALVATION) are free....  I stumbled on a new group called New Beginnings for homeschool parents that either are new to this profession or are feeling the burn out.  I added them (like button) to my Facebook and I found out that each week they have a FREE DAY!  They post all sorts of homeschool goodies that are completely free, except for the price of printing things out.  There are lap books, unit studies, supplements, planners, etc.  I downloaded things like The Book of Virtue Project Pack, Constitution Study Guide and a Inside My Body Unit Study.  You could completely teach your kids for a year with these things at no cost.  It's amazing that generous people are willing to share what they have.  There must be an understanding somewhere that we are all making this voyage together and sharing is part of what makes us great.  If you find other FREE places, let us all know.  Share the "wealth!"

Read of the Week:
The Lie: EVOLUTION, by
Ken Ham- “Genesis - The Key to Defending Your Faith” five stars
Finds of the Week: -To which my dear friend Maggie is a contributing author.  Find encouragement and love here!

 -What a great place to find help when you need it most.  Add them to your Facebook and get the great FREE posts!

Scripture of the Week: 
"Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.  Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:29-32-The Message

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."

- Thomas Jefferson

"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came. " 

- John F. Kennedy 

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Girl's Guide To Life Review

Book Review of A Girl's Guide To Life, by Katie Meier
 "The truth on growing up, being true, and making your teen years fabulous."

Katie Meier’s talks straight to girls about real life issues.   She touches on a plethora of areas concerning girls, such as - romance, self esteem, eating disorders, sex, fashion, religion and family.  Though her book is marketed as a “guide”, it is more like a book of facts.  The book does make girls feel as though Meier’s has the answers to some big questions and a place to go as a resource.  The book has a definite Christian flair, but does not reference the Bible to back up all of her answers and guiding insight.  Meier’s book is not an “all answers” book for your tween or teen girl.   The book should be used a resource to some tough issues, with the help of parental guidance.  This book is aimed at ages 14-17 girls, as she gets into some of the hard-hitting issues like STD’s, depression, self-mutilation and masturbation.  Meier’s book has moderate views, some leaning toward a more conservative stance, and some much more liberal.  If you are searching this book because you are looking for an additional stratagem (second to yourself as the ultimate resource) to instill purity and Christ-like character into your daughter, than this book will come close to what you are looking for.  This book does not expand on or promote courtship or some of the more conservative mind-sets.  The book, although is interactive with quizzes and fill in the blanks.  Meier’s style of writing and verbiage will enchant any young reader.  She speaks on the teenage girl level; and doesn’t shy away from the realities of being a girl.  Her spirit of enthusiasm and bounce comes across on each page.  Your daughter will find encouragement and detailed information pertaining to her whole self within the pages. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Am Hutterite Book Review

Book Review of I Am Hutterite, by Mary-Ann Kirkby
 "The fascinating true story of a young woman's journey to reclaim her heritage."

This book will immediately envelop the reader.  It's poignant, moving and also joyous.  The author will bring you to tears over her path to forgiveness.  She will bring a smile to your face by the simplicity in her words.  You will learn more about the Hutterite people within these pages, than you will in any text.  Kirkby not only gives you the details of the Hutterite ways, she also brings to life their emotions, thoughts and strict religious attributes.  You will fall in love with all three generations that are chronicled in Kirkby's book.  You will remember the names, the German Hutterisch language and the love and unity that tied these people together.  From births to deaths, love and hate, freedom and inner-slavery, this book is sure to please.  


Monday, May 24, 2010

The Way of Words

What about the words we speak in our home?  I'm under the impression that we feel freedom and security in our homes, and we tend to say words that aren't useful.  Today I word vomited on my husband.  I think it was more unpleasant for me, than it was for him.  The remorse I feel for the things says is still burning in my chest hours later.  The words that I used showed a lack of respect, class or honor.  The darnedest things about words, is that we can't take them back.  Incorporating words into our vocabulary that are for building up is a place to start to bring peace to our souls and homes. 

Kathy Koch has written and recorded so much on this very topic.  She encourages us to not just tell our spouses and children that they are good, but why that is.  "I know you are smart, because your report on caterpillars is top notch."  "I know you are obedient, because you picked up your room without complaining."  "I know you are special, because God said so in the Bible."

So what have we said today that made our families know they are smart, special, kind, and one of a kind in our lives?  Our families are completely worth our words.  Our words of love and encouragement that is. 

Let's incorporate some of these words in our homes this week - best, finest, great, good, quality, high, number one, optimum, premium, top notch, superior, excellent, superb, outstanding, magnificent, exceptional, marvelous, wonderful, first-rate, first-class, sterling, satisfactory, not bad, all right;  terrific, fantastic, fabulous.

Read of the Week:
The Big Talk Book  by Bruce Cook, "10 steps to empower your teen to choose the best - abstinence until marriage." 
Find of the Week:
SETHSA Homeschool Conference,  We will be there, will you?

Scripture of the Week:

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.  And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.  In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.  But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.   Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!  Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?  Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
James 3:2-12-NLT

"There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun."

Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting Ready

This week I have begun to prepare for the 2010-2011 school year.  You've got it - lesson plans, books, curriculum, projects, activities, field trips, etc.  Being a "Perfect Paula" I find the need to get everything in order and be proactive for my own sanity.  I'm gearing up for the big Arlington Book Fair and Homeschoolers Conference this weekend.  A structured list is my very best friend.  I have a list of curriculum to look at, and prices to compare.  Always be prepared!

I'm enthusiastic about the classes offered this year.  I'm thinking that there will be a lot to learn.  I'm sitting in on the following lectures....

  • Seven Tools For Culitvating Your Child's Potential (Zan Tyler!! WOHOO!)
  • Home Schooling One Student? (Donna Conner)
  • Give Your Children An Advantage In Science (Patty Myers)
  • Ready, Set,....Now What? (Lyndsay Lambert!!  Awesome!)
  • The Bible Explains Dinosaurs (Ken Ham, this guy knows his stuff!)

I'm currently searching for ways to keep away from burnout.  I'm aiming at success!  But what does success mean?  Does it mean that we get the whole book done and push to extremes? Nope!  It means that we use the materials to  cultivate and nurture the talents and strengths that our children already possess.  That's the beauty of Home Education - to go beyond the school house and slate, and move out into creation, and explore even to the ends of the universe.

Keeping burnout in mind, see what The Moore Formula is all about.  Great ideas!

1) Study from a few minutes to several hours a day, depending on the child's maturity.
2) Manual work at least as much as study.
3) Home and/or community service an hour or so a day. Focus on kids' interests and needs; be an example in consistency, curiosity, and patience. Live with them! Worry less about tests!

I love how this formula keeps it simple.  I tend the get very caught up in the traditional and mundane.  Of course, God didn't give me a "traditional" child.  Goodness, He has an incredible sense of humor when creating our quintessential children.  Slow down, keep it simple, pay attention to the little moments, and feel okay about going off on a tangere.  What if we put all of our focus toward creating good citizens, strong Christians and explorers?  Limitless possibilities.

Reads of the Week:
If You Want To Write, by
Brenda Ueland- “a book about Art, Independence and Spirit.” a jillion stars
Nutrition 101: Choose Life!, by Debra Raybern, and other authors- “a family nutrition and health program” 5 stars

More on Nutrition 101....This book has so many facets that it can almost seem overwhelming when you dive in.  It totally covers all of the many dimensions of the human body, but also deals with emotional health as well.  It is backed with Scripture and has a Creationists point of view.  There are countless recipes that are good!  There are discussion questions, activities and additional resources (broken down for elementary and secondary levels), not to mention a plethora of Appendixes.  You can use this in multiple approaches....full human anatomy science curriculum, health curriculum, resource book to go along with other science, even just as a bookshelf resource for your family's health.  We are incorporating it this year as a health elective three to four days a week.  It will take us almost two school years to complete at the pace we are using it.  You can totally do it in one year if you use it as a sole science curriculum.  I highly recommend this book for EVERY home.  It is very much worth the price, as I can't really find an appropriate price tag for a gem this great.   Get it today.... at Growing Healthy Homes.  (10% off, as I hear it, at the THSC Convention this summer.)
Finds of the Week: - "get a free book, read it, review it on your blog, get another free one."  RAD!

I review for BookSneeze

Scripture of the Week:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Mark 12:30-NIV

"Two men look out through the same bars, one sees the mud, and one sees the stars".

Frederick Langbridge