Tag Archives: Christian Faith

Weekly Wrap Up . . . Family Crusade Time!

This has been a VERY busy week, but a good one, as well. Our church held a Family crusade, beginning this past Sunday morning with OUR version of balloon Sunday. It was the last day of this year’s International balloon Fiesta, and on that morning, we release helium balloons with our names, and the plan of salvation on an attached card. It was quite windy, and I could not get a photo before they were too far away, sadly, but it was fun! πŸ™‚

From Sunday evening through Thursday evening, we had the wonderful Ed Dunlop as our speaker, and dare I say, entertainer? Everyone, children, teens and adults alike all just loved his ventriloquism with his little buddy Andy, and loved watching the kids participate in different Bible games.

I tried to get a video during the last evening, but looking at it on the computer, I can see that I really messed it up . . . it’s sideways! So instead, let me share a photo of Bro. Ed, Andy, my boys, and several of their friends who were also still at the church after everyone else had left . . . 1016142044e One of my boys, “The Batman”, specifically asked if Andy could come out and be in the picture with them, lol!

My boys tried so hard to get visitors to come with them, but they were not successful. This is the first time we have lived where there were other kids right next door that they play with (since moving to NM), and they asked them every day, with no results. They were disappointed, but we explained to them that they did their job by asking, and that God knows this.

I think this was a WONDERFUL alternative to the traditional summer VBS. I liked it a lot better. VBS has always tended (in my opinion) to get kids so very revved up and make it hard for them to be self-controlled, especially kids like mine, with special needs, yet, I hate to deny them VBS. Therefore, I was so very happy that our church chose to do this instead this year. We had a great time! πŸ™‚

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Apologia Educational Ministries (iWitness) . . . A T.O.S. Review

Our family has really loved using material from Apologia Educational Ministries ever since first being introduced to one of the science resources after a friend had used one and told me my boys would love it. They did, too!

This particular set of books which I am writing about today though, is different. As a member of the Review Crew, I received three books in the iWitness series:

1. iWitness Biblical Archaeology

iWitness Biblical Archaeology gives an awesome look at archaeological finds which prove many things that we as believers already knew (by faith) to be true. Many people and places which are referred to in the Bible, were not really shown in “historical” texts, because there was no “proof”, but many finds over time have more than proven the truth of their having existed.

2. New Testament iWitness

New Testament iWitness takes the reader along as it investigates things such as “Who wrote the New Testament?” “How do we know?” “How was it handed down?”, among other fascinating things. This book follows the history of and formation of the canon, while the reader sorts through the information given.

3. Old Testament iWitness

Old Testament iWitness goes into discussion of the differences between the Old Testament and the Hebrew Bible. It asks questions such as “Who wrote these ancient books?” “how were they collected?” “Is it mythology or history?” As with the other two books mentioned above, the reader is led through looking at evidence for him or herself, and gaining a great deal of knowledge in the process!

These books are written and designed by Doug Powell, who purposely does not write from his own opinion. He gives facts, actual photos, archaeological proof, and then we are expected to think for ourselves and come to our own belief. While they are very well put together for all ages, the suggested reading level is age 11 and up.

The first thing I want to tell you about is my initial impression when the books arrived. These are extremely sturdy paperback size books, but there the similarity ends. these books have very thick and sturdy pages, which means they will last, and continue to be a good resource on our shelf for many years to come. The other thing that caught my eye immediately was the layout of the pages. As an avid scrap-booker and paper crafter, the scrap-book style layout of all the pages was really pleasing to my eye. There is a nicely done combination of pictures and text. The text is all arranged on separate pieces which look like pieces of scroll or parchment. Over all, the look and feel of each of these books is, in my opinion, of very high quality.

Both “The Artist” and I have been reading through them, beginning with iWitness Biblical Archaeology. I must tell you that this is the book which turned out to be a favorite, although we enjoy all of them. πŸ™‚ However, I have always wanted to learn more about archaeological finds which prove the things I know to be true because of my faith in God’s Word.

“The Artist” and I had different “favorite” parts, though. He says his favorite was when the archaeology book gave information about the Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone. It discusses how one group attempted to destroy it, rather than have the Turks get it, but that the original discoverers managed to find enough of it to reconstruct much of the stone, giving valuable information regarding people and places within the Old Testament.

“My” favorite part was the recounting of the story of the flood of Noah’s time, as related by different cultures throughout time. I had always heard that different cultures had their own passed down stories of the flood, and iWitness Biblical Archaeology talks about several of them. It then also shows the similarities and differences between Genesis and these stories. For me, it is just one more reason that I believe there is no real excuse for claiming God does not exist.

In Old Testament iWitness, I was interested in the sections about the manuscripts and how they were copied, along with how the books were arranged and included.

In New Testament iWitness, I was again interested in the methods of copying, along with differences in copies, and why certain books were rejected.

The bottom line is that we really enjoyed these books, and we definitely recommend them. They can be purchased at the cost of $14.00 each from Apologia, and I must say that I feel they are well worth the cost.

You may also check out Apologia Educational Ministries via social media:

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99 other crew members also reviewed these iWitness books. Please click the banner below to read about what they thought!
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Under Drake’s Flag (Heirloom Audio Productions) . . . A T. O. S. Review

Growing up, I often heard my dad telling us children about my grandmother listening to the original soap operas on the radio, and about programs on the radio that appealed to the children and families of that time. I had never listened to an audio drama, so I thought this would be an interesting review, especially since my own children have always had the visual along with the audio (what with watching their movies, as opposed to listening, you know). In fact, they are SO used to looking at the screen, I wasn’t sure how well this would be received, but I knew *I* wanted to hear it, so I went for it, LOL! This audio production is written to ages 6 – adult, and I thought that to be pretty accurate.

Heirloom Audio Productions is where you may purchase this wonderful 2 CD boxed set of the Audio Drama “Under Drake’s Flag“. It is available as an “instant access” mp3 version for $20.00, which also includes the following bonuses:

1. The complete Under Drake’s Flag eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter.

2. A beautiful, printable copy of Drake’s Prayer.

If you prefer, you may purchase the 2 CD boxed set at $29.95 plus $6.95, which includes the following bonuses:

1. The “instant access” download of Under Drake’s Flag valued at $20.00.

2. The complete Under Drake’s Flag E-Study Guide and Discussion Starter. 30 pages of Under Drake’s Flag discussion points, history-learning guides and story-related Bible study, valued at $20.00.

3. The Under Drake’s Flag Soundtrack MP3 download, valued at $20.00.

4. A beautiful, printable copy of Drake’s Prayer, valued at $10.00.

The add on bonuses in the CD boxed set add up to $70.00, making this a very good deal, in my opinion!

Now, down to the review! We ended up choosing to listen to the complete story, rather than breaking it up into chapters. After all, when we watch movies, we don’t break them up, either! Plus, to be honest, I was concerned about losing their interest. I didn’t need to worry though, because they listened pretty well! “The Artist” and “Mr. Loquacious” really paid more attention that “The Batman” and “The Puzzler”, and were much better able to answer the comprehension questions in the mini study guide which is included in the boxed set. There is a much expanded study guide as a download, but at this time, it wasn’t a good fit for my boys.

Both guides have comprehension questions for each chapter: “Listening well”, “Thinking Further” questions, and “defining words”. There is also a Bible study section with sections such as “Godly Character”, “True Manhood”, and “Confessing Christ”, each of which is related to parts of the story, and has corresponding Bible verses to use in your study. Drake’s prayer is also printed inside the CD holder, and it is a beautiful prayer.

After explaining to the boys that this would be like “listening” to a movie instead of “watching” a movie, we popped the first CD into our DVD player and settled in. I had told them they could either draw pictures relating to the story while listening, or write down interesting things they heard, but surprisingly, none of them did, they just flopped onto the floor and listened! Even their dad and I enjoyed it, although we were both very tired and not feeling at our best, and so we dozed off a couple of times.

I liked the way the audio drama was written. It begins with two boys, Ned and Gerald, who are British boys in school, working on a report about Sir Francis Drake. Gerald is CLEARLY more interested in the history, while Ned just wants to skip doing it and go to a cricket match. They happen upon a man they are invited to call “Mr. George”, who offers to tell them a story about Sir Francis Drake, in which there just happen to be two boys named Ned and Gerald. We are to understand that Mr. George is G. A. Henty, who lived and wrote about history, writing 122 books which became essential reading in English schools. He promises that if the boys become bored, he will stop if they tell him, so they may go to the cricket match. In the end, they become so caught up in the adventures of the Ned and Gerald in the story, and how they adventured the seas with and without Sir Francis Drake, that they don’t ever ask him to stop telling them the story!

In “Mr. George’s story, we hear about how Ned first comes to Drake’s attention by saving a man who is in the water, Drake promises that should he ever return to Ned’s village, he will offer him a place on his ship, something Ned wants very much, even though his mother is opposed, having lost her husband to the sea. Eventually, though, Drake does return, and offers Ned a position. His mother, knowing what is right for him, gives him his father’s dagger and her blessing.

Ned and Gerald have many adventures, helping to fight against the Spanish Armada, saving a Spanish young lady from drowning, facing the Spanish Inquisition, and more, all the while learning from Drake about being good men with Christian principles. We are hopeful that heirloom Audio Productions will soon release even more wonderful audio dramas such as this one, as we thoroughly enjoyed it!

I highly recommend this audio production!

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Weekly Wrap-Up . . . When I Actually Got Stuff Done!

So, this week was a LITTLE more productive . . . we managed to work on some educational review products nearly every day. I was also able to get “The Batman” and “The Artist” to get on their piano practice every day except for one.

Yesterday, I got up early and got a review completed (there will be a few more in upcoming weeks), worked on some review products with the boys, and prepared (mostly) supper. My husband came home and whipped up potatoes and corn, as I was very wiped out by then.

Today, I managed to get almost all of the laundry done, for the first time in weeks! πŸ™‚

In preparation for our upcoming move, my husband and the boys did a bunch of yard work last Saturday, and will be doing more tomorrow, as we’re supposed to leave it looking good. While he and 2 of the boys do that, I’ll be taking the 2 older boys out shopping for clothing items they need for summer camp, which is fast approaching! I never thought the day would come when we would feel OK about them going, but I’ll tell you, they have such a wonderful youth pastor at our church, along with his wife. They are so great with all of the kids, and have really helped a lot with our boys, working to understand their limitations. His wife is also our piano teacher, and a very good one, too! We’ll be in our first recital since leaving MI this coming August. I’m hoping my husband will be able to record us so you all can see what we’re doing!

Well, that about wraps up our week!

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”. Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! If you DO enjoy “My Journeys”, please, go to our Facebook page and give it a “like”. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! πŸ™‚

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We Choose Virtues: A T. O. S. Review

I was asked recently to review a product from the company We Choose Virtues.

The product I received was the set of NIrV version of the Parenting
Cards
, which arrived as 13 double-sided cards, printed on high quality card stock, size 8.5′ x 5.5′, which retail for $38.49. They also come with a free downloadable Family Character Assessment.

I was also given the We Choose Virtues Download Bundle, priced at $7.99. This bundle includes the following:

β€’Teacher’s Handbook
β€’Family Character Assessment
β€’Coloring Pages
β€’Butterfly Award
β€’Sing-along-Song sheets

I really like this set of cards, it covers several virtues which are good not just for our children to learn, but parents as well, believe it or not! For example, there is a card that has us working on being content. Now, children are certainly NOT the only ones with a problem in this area. I’ll admit to it, and I think most adults should, though, as we sometimes do NOT have our “WANTER” under control . . . do we?

Here is the front of the contentment card . . .

And here is the reverse side . . .

I came into this review a little bit late, so I don’t have quite as much information for you as I usually do, but I do believe these cards will be a benefit to our family. Virtues that will be worked on during our time with the cards are:

  • Contentment
  • Gentleness
  • Attentiveness
  • Obedience
  • Forgiving
  • Self Control
  • Kindness
  • Perseverance
  • Patience
  • Diligence
  • Honesty
  • Helpfulness

We will make very good use of the cards, although we will continue looking the Bible verses up in our King James Version Bibles, as that is all we use. We Choose Virtues DOES sell a set with King James Version verses, which they developed for their Jewish customers who prefer to only use the Old Testament. However, There are many Christians who will use only the King James Version too, including Messianic Jews. Therefore, I would love it if the set I received also came in KJV, including New Testament verses.

With regards to the download package, we will use all of, with the possible exception of the teacher manual. To me, it seems much more geared toward a school or Sunday School setting than to a homeschool setting.

My kids always enjoy the coloring pages, and the printable awards, though. The Family Character Assessment is a terrific tool. As I said above, I think the whole family should do this program. We parents need to be a Biblical example to our kids, and often we forget that! I’m not sure yet how my boys feel about the sing a long sheets, they’re a bit balky in that area. πŸ™‚

The only downside I have is the price of the cards. It is a fairly high price point for many homeschool families, especially given that if they want the cards to last, they will probably need to go and have them laminated at their own cost. $38.49 seems to me to be too much for 13 cards.

Check out We Choose Virtues via their social media contacts:

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Blog — http://www.wechoosevirtuesblog.com/

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What On Earth Can I Do? A T.O.S. Review

In our homeschooling family, we have really loved all things from Apologia Educational Ministries, so I was very excited to be given the chance to review for you the fourth volume in their “What We Believe” series, which is designed to aid you as you teach a Biblical world view to your children.

Volume 4 is titled “What On Earth Can I Do?“, and teaches a Biblical worldview of stewardship. We received the entire set in our review package, as listed and pictured below:

The main text “What On Earth Can I Do?” which is a very nice hard bound book, with just under 300 pages, and retails for $39.00

The Notebooking Journal, spiral bound, 236 pages, which retails at $24.00

The Jr. Notebooking Journal, also spiral bound, 184 pages, which retails for $24.00.

and the “What On Earth Can I Do?” Coloring Book, which is softcover, 64 pages, and retails for $8.00.

This curriculum technically has eight lessons within it, but they are broken up into small chunks, so if your family is like mine, you can really take your time with it. The eight lessons are titled with the following:

Your Story Or God’s Story?

Who Put You In Charge?

Will You Be Found Faithful?

Where Is Your Treasure?

Where Does Your Time Go?

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Why Isn’t It Easy Being Green?

What Will Happen When The Master Returns?

Each of these eight lessons is, as I mentioned above, broken up into several segments. You can either quickly complete each one within a couple of weeks, or you can take your time, allowing yourselves to really dig in deep with questions, discussion, and following rabbit trails.

The first half of the book follows a family during World War 2, and we are really seeing it mostly from the view of the children. At first, I thought it might be too heavy for my children, but it wasn’t. They were very saddened by what was happening in the story, and in the true, historical things we read about, but it did spark really good discussion and questions. For example, in our church, we have close friends who are Messianic Jews, and “Mr. Loquacious” asked me “if L. and E. and Miss S. were alive then, would they have been in danger like that too?” So we discussed what kinds of changes World War 2 made in the world.

The second half of the study follows another set of siblings, this time in Africa. We have not gotten to that part yet, but we look forward to it!

Each lesson contains several important components:

The Big Idea (introduction and brief overview of what has already been learned)
What You Will Do (learning objectives)
Short Story (this is where we read more about the children featured in this section)
Think About It (comprehension questions)
Words You Need To Know (vocabulary words from that lesson)
Hide It In Your Heart (memorization verses)
Integrated Learning (articles related to an element in the short story or tied to the lesson)
What Should I Do? highlights a godly character trait that the child should demonstrate as the right response to what they have learned.)
Prayer (conclude the lesson with a prayer to thank God for the gifts He has given, and all He has done.)
Parables of Jesus (a retelling of a parable of Jesus, imagined from the perspective of one of the characters in the parable, giving cultural details to better help the child understand what is happening.)
Going Deeper (discussion questions to encourage children to think about the parables of Christ and what they may mean for us now)
House Of Truth (Beginning in the first book of this series, the student is given instructions on building a “house of truth”, with one section being built in each book.)

We are very much enjoying “What On Earth Can I Do?”, and really looking forward to completing it. We like very much that it is written to children, and that the stories about the siblings featured are written from their perspective.

While my kids, with their delays, vastly prefer the Jr. Notebooking Journal, I will tell you that the Notebooking Journal is quite nice! For the older child, there is more writing, the puzzles are a bit more difficult, and it does not have the coloring pages that the Jr. Notebooking Journal has. It does have the mini books to make, which are then glued to specific pages to keep.

In the Jr. Notebooking Journal, the puzzles are easier, there is a lot less writing, there are plenty of coloring pages, and it also has the mini books to make and keep.

The coloring book has many of the same coloring pages as the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and would be a wonderful addition to use with the very young child who would then have something related to do while the older ones are reading out loud, and working on the lessons in the curriculum.

What I chose to do was to have “The Batman” take turns reading with me, and we would all discuss the questions in the text. “The Artist” was chosen to work in the Notebooking Journal, “The Puzzler” worked in the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and by his own request, “Mr. Loquacious” worked in the coloring book. He doesn’t like to read or write, even though he can do so.

We will be continuing on with “What On Earth Can I Do”. I am extremely impressed with it. The only “con” for me is the usual one, that the Bible verses are never from the King James Bible, something I find very frustrating, given that it is the one version that you do not have to pay for the right to copy. At the same time, it did give my kids more practice looking up verses, as I prefer them to read them from the King James Version! However, when the Bible verse is a clue to a word in a puzzle, it’s harder for the kids if the puzzle uses a different version. With this one exception, I really love this curriculum, and highly recommend Apologia Educational Ministries!

Check out Apologia on social media:

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Feeling Sad and Nostalgic Today . . .

Two years ago, I left my very best friend “Annie’s” house for the last time, because we were getting ready to move from Michigan to New Mexico, for my husband’s job. At the time, she and her children lived about two and a half hours west of us, having moved to be near her family about a year after the death of her husband. We had for years, spent our kids’ birthdays together, either at her house or at our house. It was the best thing, too, because she and her children love my kids, no matter what their differences and difficulties have been, and always treated them the same as any other kids, even though they aren’t. That has not always been the case in the lives of my children. Kids can be so mean, once they realize another kid is different, you know?

So anyway, we realized that there was no way we would be able to go there in June for the birthdays of her two oldest, which are two days apart, and since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” share a birthday in May (being twins, you know), we decided to go and spend a few days at our friends’ home in May, and just do all four of the kids’ birthdays over a couple of days! Over the years, we were often able to visit for 3 or 4 days at a time because we both homeschool.

We did my boys birthdays on Tuesday, the 15th.

My friend is really awesome at making themed cakes. This is what she did for “Mr. Loquacious”, who really wanted a Lego themed party . . .
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For “The Puzzler”, who loves all things Thomas The Train, this is what she made . . .
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Here I am with the kids, waiting for the candles to be lit . . .
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And here is my dear friend, getting the candles ready for the birthday boys. The picture is a little blurry, though!
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My boys, very happy with their the cakes . . .
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Later, after presents, because we ALWAYS do “Pin the something on something”, I had ordered a pin the Lego shark in the water kit and a pin the smokestack onto Thomas set. Here are all the kids with the Lego mask blindfolds on, trying to hit the right spot.

“Mr. Loquacious”
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“The Puzzler”
056
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“The Batman”
045
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“The Artist”
052
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Next up, we have my Friend’s children . . .

“J. L.” . . .
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049

“L. E.”
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039

“L. A. ”
040
044

Here’s how they all looked in the Thomas blindfolds . . .

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089
085
086
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082
078
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075
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070
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As always, I had ordered goodie boxes with themed favors, so each kid got a Thomas one and a Lego one!
094
095
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So, that was the party for my twins, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the 16th, we had a birthday for “J. L.”, and his sister “L. E.”, whose birthdays are two days apart. Their birthday was chocolate theme. You can’t go wrong there, right? πŸ™‚
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Everyone loved their parties, and their presents!

Wednesday evening, we went to my friend’s church, Midland Baptist Church. While we were there, we got somebody to take one final picture of “Annie” and me.
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The next day, the 17th of May, 2012, we had to leave and go back to Port Huron, so I could get to work on packing and readying for our moving sale. I had done absolutely fine the whole time we were there, but when it was time to leave, the hardest thing was to not cry. And I didn’t, until we were out of sight of the house, then the sobbing started, so I pulled over and sat for about 30 minutes until I was OK to drive.

I miss my friend “Annie” so much. For years, we had been each other’s support system, we both have been raising challenging children, although the challenges were and are different. We always knew we could call on each other if we needed someone to keep our kids when we had to do something. In fact, she kept mine for 4 days when I went for my bariatric surgery in 2011.

We began as unlikely friends, who became very close. “Annie” has been my confidante, my Titus 2 woman in my life. I will always love her, and all of her children, so much, and will never stop missing them.

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