I, Saul by Jerry Jenkins & James MacDonald Review

cover29070-small

I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins and James S. MacDonald:

“Told from the point of view of the disciple Luke, the apostle Paul and "Augie," a modern day scholar, I, Saul is a fast-paced story of intrigue and mystery. Readers will be reminded of Indiana Jones and the DaVinci Code as they become absorbed in this page-turner by a master storyteller. Along the way, they will learn of the fictionalized but plausible story of the life of Saul who relentlessly persecuted Christ’s followers prior to his conversion when he became known as Paul.”

My Review:

I really really enjoyed this book. I love historical fiction and a good mystery. This book contains both. It’s almost like reading two stories in one. You go back and forth between Luke and Paul’s story to modern day following “Augie’s” side of things. Things become clearer as the story progresses and I was delighted that it was written well enough where you can keep all the information of each time frame separate without it being overwhelming.

Because it grabs your attention right away it’s easy to get caught up in the story and not want to put the book down. I read it fairly quickly and hated to see the story end. It is written very well but I would expect nothing less from one of the author’s of the Left Behind series. I found it intriguing and interesting. I highly recommend this book to both men and women alike. There is no “mushy” love story so for those men who don’t like that fear not this book is safe. lol

This one was released this week so its available anywhere books are sold. You can click the image to order a copy (this is an affiliate link).

Greater by Steven Furtick Review

423250_w185

Greater By Steven Furtick:

In Greater, Pastor Steven Furtick draws on the riveting biblical story of Elisha to empower readers to transform their God-given dreams into blessed realities. To do this, Furtick shows how to draw on resources and abilities you didn’t believe you had in you and how to use them to overcome past mistakes all for the purpose of making significant advancement in your own life while contributing to others’ lives.
If you’re tired of being ordinary, it’s time to dream bigger. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about where to begin, it’s time start smaller. It’s time to ignite God’s Greater vision for your life.

 

My Review:

This book is a quick read. I really enjoyed it. It is an encouragement to those who seek the “greater” life of a Christian. I believe this is something we should all strive for since we are ultimately striving to become more Christ like in our faith walks. I will say that I don’t agree with everything as far as doctrinal beliefs but I do agree with the straight up Biblical aspect to living the “greater” life. I believe each of us are meant for greater things and many times we tend to settle for less than what God wants for us. I feel that this book is a great encouragement that would help you to strive for living a greater life for Christ. It’s a great starting point and a lot of good Biblical information.

It is well written and Steven writes openly and honestly about his life, which I like. He is funny and easy to understand. I really recommend reading this book and digging into the scripture as it will help to encourage you to strive for something greater, the greater life that God has for you. For those of you Lysa TerKeurst fans out there Steven is her pastor and friend.

Overall I think this is a good book. It will definitely encourage and push you towards wanting to live a Greater life. It might just be that push you need to get you out of your comfort zone and into what God has planned for your life.

How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

I saw this on another blog (Adoptive Mom Homeschooling an Only Child) and thought I would share this here as well. It’s pretty interesting yet no surprise to me. Homeschooling was the first way to educate children up until about 150 years ago when the states started making public school’s mandatory. Kids were safer, happier and grew up to be well adjusted adults. The parents taught their kids responsibility and how to take care of their families. Men taught their sons how to be good husbands and father’s and to take responsibility for their actions and women taught their daughters how to take care of a home, husband and kids. We are lacking that in this day and age or else we wouldn’t be hearing all about the men who ran off leaving behind their pregnant women or whole families or women who abandon their children and homes because they don’t “feel” like being a mom anymore. Okay I’m hopping off my soapbox now enjoy the info graph. Open-mouthed smile 

 Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com

What?? An Update?? Finally.

It feels like forever since I wrote a post just to let you all know what is going on in life. Those of you that follow my blog page on Facebook then you know that I am now working part time outside the home in the evenings. I figure that if I am going to be working then I would hope that I would enjoy my job so the Lord opened a door where I am working for Christian people. They understand my scheduling needs since I am a homeschool mom and are working with me on that. The past few weeks I have been training and apparently I’ve been doing so well that the “young” (as in younger than me) girls that I work with in the main location want me to stay there instead of the location that is closer to my home. Right now, time wise its just not feasible, but later on maybe. I already love the job itself and look forward to being in my “permanent” location so I can get used to the people and location. I am surrounded by books, music and even homeschool materials there and so I feel right at home. lol IMG_20130716_181408

Sunday, Sept. 2nd will be 3 months since daddy passed away. It still seems so unreal and I still don’t understand it all. I miss hearing his voice and his laugh. I think that is what I miss the most, hearing dad laugh.  I look forward to the day when we are all together again.

We have been in school for a month now. It’s going pretty well. The girls are jumping into a more of a full work load now instead of the lighter load that they had at the beginning of the year. We’ve got a few more reviews that we have been working on that will be coming out over the next couple months. I can’t believe its almost the end of the TOS Review Crew Year. I keep debating whether or not to continue with the crew. Not because I didn’t enjoy it but because I’m not sure I will have the time to do it.

We ended up taking 2 sick days this week due to severe allergies. Boo had a low grade fever yesterday along with congestion and stuff and so we did some mommy/boo cuddle time. Of course I haven’t slept in a couple nights because of all the congestion but I am finally starting to feel much better. This afternoon I felt like I had been hit by a truck and my voice was so funny sounding but I think I’m on the upswing now. I’m praying that I will wake up in the morning feeling normal. Of course I really don’t know what normal is. lol

Oh did I tell you that I took my belt test in Taekwondo and got my yellow belt? That was so awesome. I am rather proud of myself. I am going to try to continue it even with working.

The mornings have started feeling cooler when we get up so I am thinking we may end up with an early autumn. I love autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year. I the crispness of the air and the colors of the leaves. Maybe if we get some good color in the mountains this year I can take the family and get some new family pics done this year. Maybe we will head up to the lake. I don’t know. But just thinking about it gets me excited. lol

I’m trying to find a good writing time. Everything has been so out of whack that I am having a hard time adjusting to work and everything as far as scheduling but I am totally enjoying getting out of the house for a few hours in the evenings and interact with other adults.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a great week. Keep watching for my continuation of the 5 Lessons I Learned from My Dad coming soon.

Doorposts Beauty in the Heart Review

 photo doorpostlogo_zpsa7a5d5e4.jpg  photo BeautyCover_zpsd1ccc789.jpg

Doorposts sent me their Bible study called Beauty in the Heart for me and my daughters to review. This comes in either as a softcover study or you can get it as a PDF download. We received it in softcover format. It’s priced at $14 and is geared for girls ages 12 and up.

In Beauty in the Heart your children will learn what God’s word says about beauty. What attitudes can actually detract from Godly beauty. Also in this study you will learn fundamental Bible study skills like: how to use a concordance, how to perform a character study, how use marginal study notes and much more. There are ten in depth studies on different women of the Bible like: Ruth and Esther as well as modesty and what the Bible says about adornment, etc.

My girls (Geek Girl age 13 and Princess age 12) and I are using this as our main Bible curriculum this year. We have been working through this together a little every day in order to glean together what Godly beauty is. As each of us answers questions and listen to the portion of scripture over and over again we have gained more and more insight into the Word of God. We have learned not only how important it is to look at not just that verse but at the time period the scripture was written, who wrote it and what was it that motivated the writer to put those words on paper. We also look at who it was written to. What is going on around the time it was written and so much more. All of that can have an effect on what is written and why.

The girls seem to be enjoying this study. I know I certainly am. I would be interested in checking at more of Doorposts products and possibly purchasing more in the future for us in our home. I believe teaching children how to study the scripture is important and it’s the MOST important skill in any Christians education. I like the simplicity of the study where it guides you into deeper knowledge rather than leading you to “their” point of view like I have seen some studies that I have done in the past. It’s all based on scripture not doctrinal beliefs and that is important to me. This is a product I do recommend.

You can click below to see what other TOS reviewers are saying about Doorposts:

Photobucket

Reading Kingdom Review

Reading Kingdom logo photo readingkingdomlogo_zps9012735a.jpg

We had the opportunity to try Reading Kingdom’s online program to review. This program is for kids ages 4-10 improve their reading skills. It’s an easy to use program and teaches a child to read up to a third grade level. When you sign up for Reading Kingdom online you get your first 30 days free after that it’s $19.99 a month or $199.99 a year (which is a 20% discount). This program teaches six skills that are needed to teach proper reading and writing skills. Phonics programs only teach sounds and Whole Language programs only teach comprehension but Reading Kingdom teaches not only those but also sequencing, motor skills, meaning and grammar as well as sounds and comprehension. To find out more information about how they teach here is a link to a pdf download to How the Reading Kingdom is different from other reading programs.  Below is a few screenshots from the program to show you the fun images and “game like” lessons.

Reading Kingdom screenshot photo readingkingdom4screenshot_zps4c5404a8.jpg Reading Kingdom screenshot photo readingkingdom3screenshot_zpsc60cb6fc.jpg Reading Kingdom screenshot photo readingkingdom1screenshot_zps12d9dd06.jpg Reading Kingdom screenshot photo readingkingdom2screenshot_zps523e6256.jpg

I’ve been using this with Boo my 8 year old (third grade) who, although doesn’t really have any issues that prevent her from reading, doesn’t like to take the time to sit down and read. With this program she not only loves her lessons she is at the computer before I am waiting for me to start the program. I’ve already noticed great improvement in her reading. As I would ask her how she felt about this program she said “this is more like a game than school.” Which is a huge compliment coming from her.
 
We used this program for several weeks (so far) at least 5 days a week. Because of the improvement and success I have seen we will continue to use it until she has completed it. I feel it is an important part of our schooling. This is an aspect that is important to any child’s education. If a child struggles in reading it can affect every area of their education. Yet if a child can read, they can learn anything.
 
The lessons are really short compared to other programs yet they are perfect for the attention span of younger users. I like that at the end of a lesson you have the option to either review a previous lesson, go to the next lesson or quit for the day. Depending on how quickly your child comprehends the lessons is how quickly you can move through the program.  Also I just want to make a note that if you have a struggling reader over the age of 10 it can actually be beneficial to them as well.
 
You can choose to use either an onscreen keyboard, like in the 2nd screenshot above, or use your computers actual keyboard. Depending on your child depends on which one you should use. Boo uses the regular keyboard. She started out with the onscreen keyboard but because she was used to the computer keyboard we switched over to that instead. Which you choose depends on what you/your child is comfortable with.
 
We highly recommend this product.
IMG_20130815_100104

 Photobucket 

5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad Part 3

When I think about my dad, I think about all the lessons he taught me over time. And believe me between he and my mother I’ve learned a lot of lessons. But there a few that stand out more than others. In this series I am going to share some of those lessons that he taught me either directly or indirectly. I hope you will join me each week over the next 5 weeks as I share 5 lessons that I learned from my dad. To read Part 1 Click Here and to read Part 2 click here.

Lesson #3 Laugh

It’s so easy for me to say that my dad taught me to laugh. He was such a fun person. He loved to tease you and if he liked you, you would know because he did tease you. He has a great sense of humor and always tried to make things fun. My mom recently said “your dad could make me laugh like no one else.” That was so true. I guess that is why I love my husband so much, because in this aspect he is a lot like my dad. He can make me laugh like no one else.

Even when things would get difficult in life Dad would not let the situation steal his joy for life. He would find the good in people or the situation. He would find the positives because he told me once “life is to short to live it depressed”. I’ve really remembered it. It’s something that stuck with me for years. I do try to remember this but at times I forget. I have to remind myself that we need to laugh when things get tough. We need to find something to be thankful for and something to find joy in.

Every now and then if I feel like depression coming on I will try to watch something funny or read something funny to make myself laugh because when I do the depression goes and I’m left with a joy filled heart because I have been laughing so much. Proverbs says that laughter is like good medicine. Scientists and doctors have done studies on laughter and people who live a joyful life and found that those who laugh more often and are joyful live longer and have healthier lives. I believe that was one of the reasons my dad never got sick.

I know it seems like such a simple lesson but it’s a very important one. Learn to laugh. You will feel so much better when you do.

Thank you again for joining me even through my break. I hope you will continue to join me as I continue this series.

Join me again next week for part 4 of “5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad”.

5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad Part 1

5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad Part 2

5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad Part 3

5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad Part 4

5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad Part 5

Ignite Bible for Teens Review

 

_225_350_Book.906.coverBible Description:

Make the Bible relevant to your life! How can a book that was written thousands of years ago help teens with the challenges they face every day? Ignite is an interactive Bible that will introduce today’s teens to the Word of God in a fresh and unique way with features that introduce parts of the scriptures that are often overlooked or ignored. Ignite will deepen both understanding and devotion.

 

 

 

Features include:

  • Find It Fast—A table of contents and topical index on the inside cover so it’s easy to find what you need
  • Spotlight—In depth features about the big story of God and His people
  • White Hot Topics—Articles that deal with major issues that teens face today
  • Flashpoint—Smaller articles that introduce teens to topics and stories they don’t know are in the Bible
  • Sparks—Highlights of Bible promises to deepen faith
  • Soul Fuel—Relevant verses pulled out for memorization

My Review:

I was really excited to get this Bible. I had been hearing about it for months and to finally hold it in my hands was greatly anticipated. My teen daughter, GeekGirl, helped me by reading from this Bible and using it in place of her old Bible. We love all the special features and study notes and it being a NKJV version made it much easier to read than the KJV. One of my all time favorite things about this Bible is the book name and chapter numbers are posted on the side of the pages so that as you thumb through it its much easier to find the verses that you are looking for. 

This is a paperback Bible and it has a nice heavy duty cover. The pages are thin but not onion paper thin. The color is easy on the eyes and appeals to both girls and boys. I love the orange color on the pages to highlight the specials features. My favorite feature would have to be the Spotlight and GeekGirl’s favorite feature is the White Hot Topics and the Flashpoint.

This Bible also has maps in the back with an index to Key Bible Words. Not only does it have a normal content page it also has a page of the books of the Bible listed in alphabetical order (I guess its for all us OCD people lol).  Overall I believe that this Bible has a great layout and design. It’s easy to use and I would recommend it to everyone. My daughter has replaced her old Bible with this one.ignite

Notgrass Company Review

 photo notgrass_logo_zps18b23376.jpg

I recently got to use and review Notgrass Company’s America the Beautiful Curriculum Package. We used both the America the Beautiful Student Workbook and the America the Beautiful Lesson Review .  The complete curriculum package is priced at: $99.95. This is for ages 10-14 (grades 5-8). You are not required to use photo Untitled-1_zps4833bafe.jpg  the student workbook and lesson review book and these are purchased separately, but since I have more than one student in this age range I decided to use both. My girls enjoy workbook pages especially short ones. The workbook is fun and the lesson review only has 5 questions per lesson. There are also weekly tests to see what your children have remembered for each unit. The curriculum package contains the following items: America the Beautiful Part 1, America the Beautiful Part 2, Maps of America the Beautiful, Timeline of America the Beautiful, America the Beautiful Answer Key, and We the People. The America the Beautiful Student Workbook is priced at: $11.95 and the America the Beautiful Lesson Review is priced at: $9.95.

We used this curriculum everyday for the past month and we all have enjoyed it. We have not only found this interesting but also fun with the weekly projects that you can do at the end of each unit. Each unit is divided into 5 daily lessons with a list of options at the end of each lesson that you can choose to do. The great thing about this curriculum is it is pretty much laid out for you. There is minimal work that must be done ahead, which is super nice when you are busy. It is suggested to do a unit a week but you can easily do a unit over a couple weeks if you do not do history daily. This is a one year curriculum but again can be adjusted to go longer if you prefer. The units each have a “family project” that can be done each week. I recommend you look ahead and gather the materials ahead of time for it. We did the first week project but due to time did not do the others. Which is, again, a great thing about this curriculum. You can adjust it to your family’s learning style and schedule.

A lot of history books start out with the pilgrims landing at Plymouth and do not go back to the earlier times when the native’s where the only people living here. This curriculum starts early in American history starting with the natives and the countries that discovered and visited our great nation before the landing of the Pilgrims. My girls and I were very interested in the Native American history because it is in our ancestry. I am 1/16th Cherokee that traces back through my mother’s lineage. So to learn more about our ancestors we were all very thrilled.

In my opinion this has been my favorite History curriculum to date. We are continuing to use this in our homeschool this year and I will also be using this with my youngest daughter in a couple years. I highly recommend Notgrass Company’s America the Beautiful curriculum. I am also looking into using some of their other curriculum as well.

 Notgrass

This is the longhouse project done from Unit 1. Everyone got into the act including dad.

 

Photobucket