Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

I have a new author to add to my “Watch for New Titles” list. Karen Witemeyer is wonderful to read!

The Short Straw Bride is an endearing book of the type that is hard to put down until you read the very last page.

Meridith Hayes has always held a torch for Travis Archer, the head of the reclusive Archer family of men. Travis is the oldest of four brothers and has been protecting his younger brothers from the outside world since he was a young teenager. Meridith finds herself face to face with Travis as a young girl and again as an adult when she and he have a scheming logging company owner trying to obtain their land by any means possible.

While trying to warn Travis of what is happening, Meridith is injured and “compromised” by being an unchaperoned female in the Archer home while Travis works to help her recover.

The rest is the story of how the plot is finally foiled as the two discover that they are in love with each other. The fun part of the story is the personalities of all the characters and how they interact and how they learn from each other. A strong faith in God on the part of both Travis and Meridith is what makes the story so appealing to me.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House to review. I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are my own. This book is a keeper and worth the read!

An Invitation to the Supernatural Life by Michele Perry

I feel honored to get to write this review of Michele Perry’s new book, “An Invitation to the Supernatural Life.” I received a copy of this book free of charge from the author for the purpose of reviewing it. I had the privilege of also reviewing her previous book. Michele Perry’s life has been difficult in many ways but she sees only the glorious parts where Jesus sustained her through the rough times. At the present time she is a missionary in the very dangerous rural Sudan. She ministers to over 100 orphans there and they all call her Mama.

This extraordinary book is a call to the reader to draw closer in their walk with Jesus and deepen their relationship with Him. After reading this book I am even more determined to do just that. And I am awestruck at the prospect of where that may lead me. Michele has a very vibrant way of describing these things, but she also has very practical advice on dealing with heavenly beings – demons: don’t give them so much attention. Leave your attention focused on Jesus; angels – look to them for help, converse with them, but do not in any way worship them. And encounters with angels are very real when you are plugged in to the Source. These are not the New Age angels (demons) that are so popular in today’s culture. These are the warrior /helpers Jesus sends to our aid.

There is much more to this book than what I state above. It is an encouragement to live like Enoch who was so close to God that one day he just walked on into Heaven with God. I would very much like to be that close to Him, too. I will leave the rest to you. Don’t miss this book. It will radically change the way you look at yourself and at God.

I would recommend reading Michele’s first book, “Love Has a Face,” and getting familiar with her and her incredible story. It will help you deal with the reality presented in this book. For some it may seem surreal and fantastic but read your owner’s manual (The Bible) and see if these things are not true. Test it against the Truth of the scriptures. And then dare to step out and pursue that closer walk with your Savior.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I love our Constitution. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. It has been under massive assault lately. I would really hate to lose my right to express myself accordingly to my own beliefs. The beauty of it is that others can accept or reject my views according to their own beliefs and convictions. While I have it I intend to exercise it. In fact, I am compelled to express my beliefs by a directive from my “owner’s manual.” The Creator of the Universe, Jehovah, has told everyone who believes in Him to tell everyone around them about Him.

I love Him even more than I love this country, the Constitution, or anything else. He is the whole package. Nothing else matters without Him. To not tell about Him would be unthinkable.

He offers grace to all who will accept it. He explains it all in His Word (the Holy Bible). And He waits patiently for every person to respond but it is entirely their choice and decision.

I cannot imagine life without God. He is my Protector, my Provider, my Comfort, my constant Help, my Friend, my Lord, my Abba (Daddy), my Beloved, my all in all. The big God shaped void in my life was filled when I invited Him in to occupy. I have an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment since that day and not much about this crazy world can rattle it.

I hope everyone reading this will consider asking Him into your life too if you haven’t already. If you are doubtful or skeptical, just ask Him. If you don’t hear from Him then no pain, no foul. But when He does answer then it’s your decision but it is the most important one of your life.

There is no question in my mind any more. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He is real, what He says is Truth and that He is my best friend. I pray for that for you. Those of you I know as family or friends I pray for constantly by name. But even those who are strangers to me I am praying for this relationship to form between you and God.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Christians, Please Think on These Things

In the world we are surrounded by the profane, the ugly and a lot of just plain evil. The Bible tells us that as Christians we need to be vigilant against even the appearance of evil. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:22)

I am troubled by unthinking or untaught Christians posting things on Facebook that say, “repost this and an angel will bring you an unexpected blessing today,” or words to that effect. Beloved, that is witchcraft. By the same token the postings that say, “repost this or something terrible will happen” are also blatant witchcraft and in this case invoking Satan.

For some detailed instruction on this see: http://www.acts17-11.com/witchcraft.html
“Witchcraft starts with a heart of rebellion and works by focusing on a distracter, a lie, which is some technique purported to release power. It is important to have "faith", to trust in the technique and not God. Believing in lies is an "acceptable sacrifice" to Satan, the father of lies, who honors his children with real power. The irony is, that due to the inherent deceptive basis of witchcraft, the practitioners of it often think they are serving God, while accessing a power from below (earth)--not from above. For the purpose of this study, we are defining witchcraft as a desire to be a spiritual free agent without submission to God or regard for His word.”

By promising some act from God or one of His angels without a direct word from Him on the subject you are just passing on a lie and dishonoring God. It is witchcraft.

Another thing that troubles me is people loosely throwing around the words, “oh my god” or OMG. It is blasphemy! It does not honor Him in any way shape or form. Unless you are truly crying out to Him in earnest petition, those words should never pass your lips in that combination. Google defines blasphemy as “The act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things, profane talk.” James 5:12 NIV says: “Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.” Matthew 5:34-36 NIV says: “But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.” It makes my heart hurt every time I hear or see its profane use.

Our God is an awesome God, worthy of all honor and praise. Let’s not misuse His name or make unauthorized proclamations about his future actions. Let’s just spend our time and energies on pursuing our relationship with Him and telling others about Him.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Christians Are Just A Bunch of Hypocrites

Yes! Christians are hypocrites at times because Christians are just regular human beings all the time. Most Christians are not serial killers or mass-murderers but many are prone to gossip, anger, bitterness, etc., just by virtue of their humanity. The thing is, if we hang around non-Christians for any length of time we find that they too have these human tendencies. The difference is the true Christian is in active pursuit of God. He is looking for relationship and in order to have that relationship he is actively moving away from those negative characteristics.

A familiar bumper sticker says, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." What it does not go on to explain is that Christians are forgiven because they have repented. Repent means to actively turn away from sin.". That isn't easy and sometimes it is short lived,and many times a Christian’s slip ups are noticed and judged by everybody. But God is gracious and forgives over and over if we continue to repent and pursue Him. Everybody on this earth is a work in progress. Everybody wants love and acceptance. The only place to consistently receive that is in the embrace of our loving Heavenly Father.

God loves us just the way are and like any parent He desires for us to improve. And He is there to assist us every step of the way. All you have to do is believe in Him, repent, and pursue a relationship. Other peoples' hypocrisy will cease to be an issue and your own integrity in your walk with God will be the focus.


Monday, July 16, 2012




PRICE http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/TimeMaps-Collection.html
Price: $44.95 for all 7 (can be purchased separately for $9.95 each)


This set contains 7 titles,
The Rise of the Roman Empire
The Rise of Islam
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Black Death
The Atlantic Slave Trade
European Exploration and Discovery
Ancient China

This includes the interactive maps for each section and a PDF file of Teachers Notes for each section.

Because we are on summer schedule and working 2 days instead of 5 for the summer, we chose to just work on the Rise of the Roman Empire. We look forward to including the others with our World History text next semester.

My granddaughter loves the interactive maps. As you click on the maps they transition from time period to time period so you can see the growth and expansion of the Roman Empire over time. You can also print out hard copies of these maps from the teachers section so the student can mark significant things on the map and increase their understanding. Questions are provided both on the interactive part and on the teacher’s notes to ensure that the material is being processed by the student. The company’s TimeMaps of World History website’s Atlas of World History is also accessible. Since we have traveled in Europe extensively, we were able to see what countries were part of the Roman Empire and discuss how that background influenced the way those countries are today. I look forward to continuing that discussion when we get to The Fall of the Roman Empire.

The part we enjoyed most was printing out the Timeline and filling it in. I think this provided the most opportunity for learning.

We also went to our local library to find more resources on the Romans to flesh out the study.

This set of TimeMaps will make any World History course more interesting and enhance the learning experience. It is a small price to pay for so much good material to make your text book come alive alive. I highly recommend these to add to any history curriculum.

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given this curriculum free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Filling the Void

As I was reminded this morning in our church service, God is the only constant in my life. And since that is VERY true, then I am compelled to honor Him in the way that He expects.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20 (The Message)

Since I have been so commissioned, I must pursue this task that is set before me. I have been wondering how to accomplish this since I have so little contact with other people other than at church. I work from home and because of my arthritis I do not get out much. But I feel like I heard the voice of the Lord very clearly today telling me to put my thoughts on my blog. At first I was reluctant to put something so personal out in cyberspace for anyone to see, but that is the whole point isn’t it? God wants everyone to see. Am I ashamed of the Gospel of Christ? Assuredly not. He is ALL to me and my relationship with Him more important than any other. What can the world do to me? They can condemn me. I will be in excellent company. They can kill me. Instant transport to my Beloved.

So I want to share my journey. I hope it helps someone. I grew up knowing God was there and trying to communicate with Him. I prayed a lot. I felt His presence and I heard directly from Him. But I was raised in a mainline denomination and I didn’t get any real instruction or any answers from anyone despite my many years of perfect attendance in Sunday School (I had the little pin with all the little bars under it to prove it.)

And I never take anything on face value. I have to know why and I have to analyze it and ask a whole bunch of questions. As I grew older, I still knew God was there, I just didn’t have the simple faith anymore that let me communicate with Him so easily. I started searching for answers to my questions. The search took me into some interesting places. Eventually I realized that the main place I needed to search for my answers was in The Owner’s Manual (the Bible). Many people write many things but if they don’t line up with God’s Word they are worthless. I eventually said, “God, please show me the truth. It is either all true or it is not true. There is no middle ground here. If it isn’t 100% true then it is worthless to me.” And He has revealed more and more to me the more I have searched. And I do believe it is 100% true. The Bible is literally true – every bit of it – inspired by God. It is an amazing work. It is every bit as amazing as His Creation. Great Scholars try to explain both away but they always fall short. The Bible is infallible.

Human beings were created by God. Only He can fill the needs and longings of our hearts. Until we embrace Him we are constantly searching and not happy with the answers or lack thereof. Every human has this longing in them and every human tries to fill that void in a number of ingenious ways, none of which works but inviting Jesus into our hearts.

I have the assurance of relationship with Him but I long to ease others’ burdens and give each one their own assurance of that relationship with their Heavenly Father. God longs for that relationship even more intensely than we do. His whole plan for mankind was to have relationship with Him.

If you are reading this and you are relating to that feeling of needing to fill a big void in your life, just do one simple thing. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to tell you if what I am telling you is the truth. And if He gives you that affirmation, then ask Him to come into your heart and have relationship with you. It’s not my job to convince you, it is His job and He is way better at it than I would ever be.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Keyboarding for the Christian School – Elementary Version
Price: $12.95

P O Box 34183
Fort Worth, TX 76162


This is just an old-fashioned typing book like I used to learn my keyboard and how to type in High School but it is an e-book and spiffed up for use by elementary aged children. There is not all the fuss and busyness of some of the “game-style” typing software -- no blasting rockets and spaceships, just the get down to business of learning. This is perfect for my style of teaching and my youngest student’s style of learning.

My first grader is still struggling with reading and this seems to be more of a chore for her than it ought to but she is warming up to it and I know as her reading progresses, her enthusiasm for learning the keyboard will increase as well. At the moment this course is a work in progress for her.
I love that the typing exercises are Bible verses after the basics are learned. I find that much more interesting than random phrases and sentences.

I highly recommend this course and applaud its back to basics “nuts and bolts” approach to the subject.

20 percent off code for blog readers: SUMMER2012
Expiration: 8-29-12

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Reivew Crew, I was given this curriculum free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Who is My Neighbor (What We Believe – Vol. 3)
Price: $39

Who is My Neighbor Notebooking Journal
Price: $24

Who is My Neighbor Coloring Book
Price: $8

Apologia Educational Ministries
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016 US
Phone: (888)524-4724


These books constitute part 3 of a 4 part curriculum series entitled “What We Believe.” The first set in the series is “Who is God?” Set 2 is “Who Am I?” Part 4 is “What on Earth Can I Do?” I was not previously acquainted with this curriculum so I have not looked at the other three sets, but I am very impressed by the one I received.

The hardback text book is Who is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me? By John Hay and David Webb. It contains about 276 pages and is a school quality textbook. The Notebooking Journal is a spiral-bound paperback of about 239 pages. The Coloring Book is a paperback and contains 64 coloring pages.

My girls have really enjoyed this series. Lesson 1 starts off discussing the fact that God created us to be in relationships with other people and with Him. Following is a story of a family fleeing China in the midst of Mao Tse-Tung’s communist revolution in China. It continues on with the theme of needing others and talks about the Buddy System and why others need us too and the concept of Servanthood. Another story follows of the Wedding Feast where Jesus turned the water into wine. Lesson 2 is How Can I Make A Difference? :Lesson 3: Who is My Neighbor? Lesson 4: Why Did God Make Families? Lesson 5: What Can I Do For My Country? Lesson 6: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? Lesson 7: Who is God’s Family? Lesson 8: Why Does the Church Need Me?

The Notebooking Journal has the lesson plans in the front of it. Apologia has broken the book down into 48 sessions which is approximately 10 weeks of study for the 8 Lessons contained in the books. Lesson 1 pages include 2 pages of questions about the China story, a “Words to Know” section, a page called “Hide it in my Heart” for Galatians 5:13. The student writes their favorite translation of the verse on the page and then memorizes it. There is a page with questions to think about regarding the Buddy System. There is an “I Spy” page where the student can journal where you have seen God during this lesson. Next is a Mini Book page. The pattern for the mini book is at the back of the journal and you attach it to this page when you complete it. The next page is a Word Search. Following is a “My Prayer” page where the student can write a prayer. Then another journaling page to discuss loneliness and why we are better together. Then another scripture memorization page (Psalm 278:3-4 NLT). Then a full page for a “Praise Report,” a “Group Think” page where the student draws a picture or writes something about a group they would like to be a part of, another journaling page “Living Out Loud” to write about things the student is doing to help others, a couple of pages of questions to answer, a crossword puzzle, two pages of questions about The Wedding Feast and another page to record your favorite part of the story. The last page of Lesson 1 is a resource list of books and songs that relate to Lesson 1.

The Coloring Book has coloring pages that correspond with the various sections of the Lesson. My first grader enjoyed coloring a picture to help remember the information she was given or the story.

We are thoroughly enjoying this study. The girls look forward to the stories but they also provide very thoughtful insight in answering the questions and I can tell they are understanding the point of the lessons and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ as a result. I would like to explore the other parts of this series over the next year or so and let them get the full impact of this study. This is the sort of teaching God expects of us when he tells us to bring up a child in the way that he should go. All homeschooling families and others as well should consider working through these studies with their children.

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Reivew Crew, I was given these books free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hewitt Homeschooling Resources

Lightning Literature and Composition
British Early-Mid 19th Century Student Guide
Price: $29.95
British Early-Mid 19th Century Teacher’s Guide
Price: $2.95

HTML - Photobucket

PO Box 9
Washougal, WA 98671


I received the student and teacher’s guides. The student’s guide is a paperback book of about 235 pages. The teacher’s guide is loose pages conveniently punched for a 3-ring binder and is about 88 pages long.

This study includes poetry from various writers and also goes in-depth on the following novels: Pride and Prejudice, Ivanhoe, Frankenstein and Jane Eyre. These books were not included but can be purchased separately at a very modest price or you can download a Kindle version free from Amazon.com (with a free Kindle reader for PC) or you can check them out of your local library.
My granddaughter and I are on a laid back summer schedule and she is pursuing a lot of outside activities so we have had less classroom time than usual and our enjoyment of this curriculum has slowed us down as well. We have spent more time than normal picking over all the ins and outs of the various writings. We are still perusing Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice and trying to get everything from it that we can. We are discussing Characterization and Romanticism and working our way through the writing exercises provided with the text. This curriculum is designed for a whole semester and I have a feeling it will take us all the rest of the summer and the entire fall semester to complete this book as we are enjoying pulling every detail and nuance from it that we can.

If you are educating a high school student, please consider this course. It is delicious!

To read what others on the TOS Crew had to say, please click here: TOS CREW

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Reivew Crew, I was given these two books free of charge to review. However, I did not receive any compensation. All opinions are my own.