We Are Works In Progress (Our Creativity Center/Main Homeschool Room)

Welcome to our Homeschool Room for the 8th grade. This room serves as a general Creativity Center. Home Office. Scrapbook Room. Blogging Station. You name it and it probably happens here. All kinds of good stuff happens in this room. FYI, it never stays this neat. I mean really, creativity is a messy process. But, I am aiming to organize our paperwork from child to adult this year so here's hoping! We are also preparing to paint this room this month and am looking forward to seeing the color transformation. I will post a follow up when it is finished. Here are a few pics of where we are starting. We spend a lot of time reading together on the Living Room Couch as well. We are not rigid, but it is nice to have a place for everything and everything in a place. Trust me, it is the returning everything to the one place we are working on! Meanwhile consider these to be "Before" Pictures. We are works in progress, as is our Homeschooling Journey! Well, we start school this coming week (September 2-6) and look forward to seeing God's good and perfect will unfold as we walk by faith in Him. One day at a time. 

This is the left side of the closet where most of the formal curriculum is stored (at this time- see us in a month or two). 

I can be a little obsessive with pens, and pencils.
Actually all writing utensils.
At least my Hubby and Daughter say so. Hmf. 

Still organizing and decluttering the craft supplies.  

Teacher's Desk, Blog Writing Spot and of course Student Computer Lab.
Although my Girl does have her own laptop and we do love the Library. 

This World Map is actually going on the wall once we have painted. 
But glad we have room on the desk as well.

Here are a few of the Post Paint Wall Accessories.  

Happy September and Happy New School Year! 

More Homeschool Posts:
A Call Out To Homeschooling Mamas!
Linking with iHomeschool  for the School Room Week-a few weeks late, but better late than never.

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Chase - A DVD Based Study by Jennie Allen (Review)


"God is invisible, and yet He is the only thing we can chase that won't leave us feeling more empty."

What comes to your mind when you hear the name David? Chase DVD-Based Study
by Jennie Allen is an attempt to draw the lessons of the life of the man whom God called "a man after my own heart.". I want to be a woman who God would say the same about, how about you?

I have done a number of Bible Study Lessons about the Life of David, and I have to admit, this one life continues to deepen my faith and trust in God like no other. So let me tell you how this DVD-Based Study is unique.

This beautifully boxed DVD study set, comes complete with an Leader's guide, Student (Study) Guide, 80 minute DVD, and Conversation Cards. Additional Study Guides can be purchased separately. It has all you need to hold a Bible Study group in your home or church, although I am thinking that it lends itself well to comfortable, cozy gatherings of women in  relaxed environments. If you have never led a Bible Study before, Jennie gives enough instruction, coaching and advice to allow for a great start. 

The Leader's Guide offers a section on preparing to lead a group, tips on leading and things to watch out for. The rest of the guide directs each of the 8 lessons in a concise manner. There is also a section on the different types of learners and how best to encourage them in this study.

The Study Book states clearly instructions and expectations supported by those in the Leader's Guide. Since this study is highly interactive (more on that in a minute), there is no getting around there has to be some clear guidelines set in place for everyone to adhere and refer to in print. 

The DVD is segmented into 10 minute sessions to use at each of the get togethers. I loved the unique and beautiful way Jennie appears in these video clips. They are sure to draw out and inspire deep sharing among women. I absolutely felt moved to tears a couple of times while listening to her speaking. 

Discussion time comes in various ways for each meeting but one of the unique features offered with this study are the Conversation Cards. These small cards have questions printed on them for each of the weekly themes. The leader spreads the cards out and allows the group to choose the question they are willing to discuss. Here are a couple of examples: "Do you feel pressure from God to obey or measure up? How is that pressure affecting you?" and What do you most fear losing? Is God enough to fill the space of what you might lose?".  These cards are meant to encourage authentic reflecting and sharing within the safety of the group. I also think they would make great journal prompts! 

 The Chase study follows themed in this way : 
Getting Started: Chase
Lesson 1: Identity- 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Lesson 2: Courage- 1 Samuel 17:1-51
Lesson 3: Obedience- 1 Samuel 15:1-31
Lesson 4: Belief- 2 Samuel 7:1-17
Lesson 5: Repentance-2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12:1-14
Lesson 6: Surrender- 2 Samuel 13; 2 Samuel 18:13-33
Lesson 7: Chased Down- Ephesians 1:3-14

I have listed the specific study scripture to give an idea of the chapters covered on David's life but additional scripture is used and referenced throughout the study as well, including Psalms. 

I passed the Chase Box along to my Women's Ministry Leader who kindly shared her input on this study as well. Here are her thoughts: "The videos will make participants feel as though they are having a one on one discussion with Jennie - the material is thought provoking. Chase would be excellent for small group study. The Chase cards would give the women the opportunity to know each other on a deeper level." 

I am hoping to lead this study in my home this Winter. I think it would definitely rock my world, and those who join in the journey! All the tools you need need to enjoy a small gathering study are available in this one box. 

"This is not a study for people who want to play it safe. This study will mess with you., just as it messed with me, because we are all chasing things other than Go, and when you look into the life of someone chasing God Himself, God alone, you start craving Him too. I want a life like David's, brave dependent and full of worship. He had a relationship with God unlike any other I've ever seen. I want to know God like he did. I want to trust God like he did. "
~ Jennie Allen

Here is a clip of Jennie (click to see video clip if you are viewing through e-mail)

For more, check out Jennie Allen's Chase  at Thomas Nelson.

I received this Product through Shelton Interactive. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Worshipping in the Throng (5 Minute Friday: Worship)

Sometimes it is hard for me to worship with a roomful of Believers. Maybe it's my ADHD, maybe it's my flesh, maybe it's the enemy (I'm sure) but maybe it's just harder to hear Him where there is so much commotion. Yet, because I know it is His will, I push back the distraction of the slim hips standing in front of me (how can her hips be so compact?) and the cute baby eyes, staring at me from over the daddy's shoulder, to the right. And then there is M., I want to go stand with her and hug her, just because she always is there raising her hands and praising Him. And I know she could probably use a hug.

So, I close my eyes and try to focus on worshipping in the congregation despite these wild distractions. And I think of the times I feel closest to Him...solitude morning walks along the beach, for instance and I wonder. How is it that I came to this place just a heartbeat from the coast. How I used to steal away early when I felt I needed to really commune with Him, the hour drive, and how He met me and comforted me, and led me here. Both my home and my church currently within walking distance from the beach. How He knows me! How He loves me!

So I push back all those distractions, and thank God for each one of those precious peeps, with their slim hips, drools, and needs- and I stand in the throng praising Him, knowing He loves me, knows me and accepts me. Despite my crazy, wild mind. Yeah, even He loves my wildness. Loves me wildly with all of that wild within. It makes me grin. He's not mad at me, or you. He just loves us. Knowing it is worship. Believing it is His glory. Maybe all of it is worship, after all.

Five Minute Friday

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Nevertheless (Thoughts on The Will of God)


There is a drum beat in my head as of late, tapping out the words, "The Will of God, The Will of God, The Will of God." There has been a theme pursuing me, calling after me, causing me to pause and turn my gaze from my  current path. To question my direction, and be sure I travel the way that matters. There is a voice I hear, and it tells me to look up. 

My flesh has been drumming up some of it's own beats, they sound like this: "What about me?", That's not fair!", "But, they are are wrong.". My fleshly objections to the will of God always start with "But" and end with me. Actually, capitalize that: Me. To be more precise, and I quote directly, "But, what about me?"

I have a suspicion God's Will and my will are so diametrically opposed that it will take a miracle for them to merge into the one. Fortunately, I need not be reminded, that has already been provided. That supernatural, flesh killing, miraculous transformation is painfully and joyfully underway. It started the day I said, Yes to Jesus. It started despite my doubts that anything had actually happened. It began even though I did not understand all of the theology behind the belief. It happened with my teeny, tiny, mustard seed wretchedness. Because spiritual birth occurs not through the will of man, but because of the mercy and miraculous power of God. With a teeny tiny, doubting, kicking and screaming seed, sinners are made saints. Some come more willingly, some come more readily, some are just knocked right off their high horses. Some make the journey more smoothly than others, and some are rebellious even in the safety of the Father's loving eternal arms. 

Most come to this place thinking they know the Will of God. It usually looks a lot like their top three wishes. But in the hands of a God who molds, and forms souls for eternal purposes, these desires must be laid at the feet of the One who knows now and forever. As for some (myself included) some things must be taken from clenched tight hands, like dangerous toys in the hands of a child. Transformation is a painful process. Knowing God is not like finding a Genie in a bottle. He is not here to grant all of our wishes. God is not our Magic Wand. Although, I am convinced, more than ever, some believe that is what He is, exactly. 

When I first became a Christian, my biggest desire was right in front of me. Two "perfect"candidates. I believed that since I was now a Christian, this must mean I have hit the My Way or the Highway Jackpot. I assumed God must want me married to one of these perfect candidates, of course, because I was consumed with the desire to be married and get on with the happily ever after I assumed marriage was going to be. Um, no. Not so much. It would be about ten years later before God revealed who my husband would be, and when He did, it was the least likely person I would have expected. Besides that, I thought I misunderstood Him or (gasp) He had it wrong. But He made it clear. After my first round of Assuming God's Will for Christians 101, I went on to do the same, again and again with different aspects of my life. 

See the fact is Jesus did not say to the Father, on that fateful night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, "By the way, I have a better idea for this whole eternal salvation thing, hear me out, Dad. Plus, I don't have to die that brutal death on the cross. I am having some second thoughts about that whole deal, let's have a little win-win, shall we?" No friends, He said “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

Nevertheless. The power of one word to change the direction of humanity. God's Will is not like a slow curve on the road. It is like a sharp veering off the road. Make that a cliff. It is a radical departure from your cozy, comfy presumptions about how your life should be, and all that you should have, and all of your happily ever after dreams. Beyond that it is more painfully, beautifully, graciously better than anything you can imagine. In ways you cannot fathom-Not because it is perfect. It won't be. But perfect is coming, down the road anyway. In His time. 

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10

Linking with Tracy for Winsome Wednesday:

and these fine communities:

Christian Mommy Blogger 

Wholehearted Home (for the first time!)

Blog Post Hop

Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot

Missional Women

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Prayers for a Woman's Soul Online Study with Julie Gillies

Join the "Prayers for a Woman's Soul" Online Study! For DETAILS click here.

I have some great news just in the nick of time, Ladies- Julie Gillies, author of Prayers for a Woman's Soul is offering an online study September 9th through October 28! I reviewed this excellent book after winning my very own copy at my sweet friend, Jen's place ( Finding Heaven ) at the beginning of the year. It is absolutely a great devotional read and prayer help. I have decided to join in with this wonderful online opportunity and wanted to make sure and let my friends know about this wonderful opportunity! Also if you want a chance to win a copy of the book, go on over to this post at Julie's place:  "I've Been Praying for You...{And a Giveaway!}" 

Click link below for all the details about the online study:

Let me know if you will be joining in. Check out my review (linked above).

"Because praying for yourself is not selfish, it's absolutely vital."
Hope to see you then and there. 


She Fancied Herself a Reader (alas it was just a dream)

My head is spinning and I have been having a hard time focusing on reading with preparing for Home School, last minute Summer excursions and general randomness. Oh, did I mention we have had a huge decluttering going on in the house?  I still refuse to part with but a few books, despite Saturday yard sales for most of August! 

I did start a couple of books, but due to my focus factor have relegated them to the "to read" list!

They include:
Paris in Love by Eloisa James - I do love a good memoir- and picked up this book one wonderful night at Barnes & Noble. I sipped Starbucks, enjoyed my Rice Krispie Treat (standard order) while reading this little gem. Timing is everything and focus, as well.
  Borrowed Names by Jeannine Atkins- how can I resist poems about Laura Ingalls WIlder, Madam C. J. Walker and Marie Curie AND their daughters? Resisting due to timing again... this looks like a great winter curl up with tea read!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- My daughter read this and insists I read it. She made me read The Hunger Games, which I really could not put down. Fact is my daughter can read five times as fast as me. Anyhoo...

Meanwhile, I have a Giveaway for this sweet devotional going on: 1000 Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp. What more can I say than, it's divine. But if you want to know more check out the Review and Giveaway.

Of course I did not read this whole book, but I am going to use it for my daily reading starting September 1. I reviewed the NIV Homeschool Mom's Bible, so if you are in the market for a fresh start for the school year with a new Bible just right for you as a Homeschool mom- Here it is! 

Another devotional I read is Jesus Today by Sara Young. My thoughts are available at the link, but I am a fan of this faithful woman. I find her writing is spiritually rich and truly ministers grace. This one is great for anyone facing a long trial with health or discouraging circumstances. 

hand in Hand - A True Life Story by Holly Otten is a beautiful journey of faith from an incest survivor's own first hand experience. I happen to know Holly as she is a local author and friend. This is a life changing book and presents some challenging, faith busting truth- by that I mean, it will push against denominational boundaries in a beautiful way...oh, goodness just read the review, and check out my interview!

One book I recently received for review was Board Book called Jesus Invites Me. It turned out to be such a pleasant surprise. Written for 0-7 year olds (and for kid at heart types like me) it takes Matthew 11:38, lays it beside beautiful photographs and matching explanation appropriate for young ones. I am looking forward to sharing this with my 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School class! 

How about you? What have you been reading over the Summer?
What is your favorite type of book?
I think I need to stretch my Fiction Reading Muscles over the Fall- any recommendations? 

What's On Your Nightstand

Reading List: Cozy Book Hop

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Dear Captain...

It's not your failures that bind us together but your faithfulness...

Your faithful love.

Dear Captain, 
You think you need to be perfect,
that couldn't be further from the truth.

See, even in your flaws and imperfections-
the ones you believe are the overriding issues,
God yet weaves a beautiful tapestry of grace.

We travel this sea of life,
You, our Captain-
a small ship
on a vast sea.
Storms whip up tumultuously
and you remain...
though inside you quiver.

When seas are calm 
you question yourself
and ship direction.
Still your presence is known
in small services and pleasantries.
Serving your crew while
doubting yourself,
but recall this:
your Captain, though unseen
is for you.

Dear Captain,
He stands at the helm always present.
Don' be afraid to trust Him.

He silences the rage of storms,
even those that carry on
are not beyond the reach of His arm.

So carry on, dear Captain-
Your gaze, keep straight ahead,
lead well, guard your ship.
Remember by whom you're led.

He will keep you faithful,
He will keep you strong,
He will carry you and yours 
through each and every storm.

Linking with some amazing poets with Brian Miller hosting at dVerse tonight !

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Jesus Invites Me by Callie Grant (Book Review)

As one who loves all books and also teaches Sunday School class to 1st and 2nd graders, I was happy to get my hands on a beautiful hard copy of Jesus Invites Me which is part of the Knowing My God series by Graham Blanchard Publishing.

This series is an excellent resource for sharing God's word and will, right at home during read times. Beautiful full color photographs make on sturdy pages make this enjoyable for inquisitive eyes as well as curious, busy hands. There is something for everybody on these beautiful pages, based on Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. God's words of scripture and photos invite children to come to Jesus and learn what it means to walk with Him. I love the way the book simply explains what a "yoke" is and what Jesus means when He uses these words. It helps that there is a picture, along with scripture and a simple but clear explanation.
Click to see the actual first pages here:
  Take a Peek.

I have to say these books would make a perfect gift for little ones from Infant to age 7.
I also had a sneak peek through PDF versions of both Jesus Saves Me and Jesus Shows Me.
I think the quality and content in all of these books is excellent and useful in the home as well as in a number of children's settings. I would have loved to get these for my Girl when she was younger!

This Board Book publishing date is October 1, 2013.
Just in time for Fall Birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I highly recommend you also check out this faith based company and the other books available.
A very impressive endeavor and quality products that seek to make a difference.
Check out Author/Publisher Callie Grant and her team at Graham Blanchard (Children's Books for Growing Up in God)

About the Publisher (from the website):
Graham Blanchard is based out of Austin, Texas and works with a growing team of writers, editors, 
illustrators, parents and pastors. The company is passionate about providing the highest quality books and resources to promote a love of learning about God, in addition to supporting families with prayer and the shared experiences of other parents. Graham Blanchard books are distributed by STL, Spring Arbor and Anchor Distributors. For more information please visit www.grahamblanchard.com.

I received this book from Shelton Interactive in return for a review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot

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When Your Real Life Bestie Writes Her First Blog Post (Birthday Blessings)

It was ONE year ago that I sat with my dear friend on her Living Room couch, sharing a cup of tea while she explored creating her own blog.You know I shared that in one of my Miscellany Monday posts. Today I have the honor of sharing her first blog post, right here and am bursting like a silly, crazy proud mama because I know her heart, her struggles and her faithful friendship. She prays for my writing and this blog, friends. She has stood by me through adversity and is a faithful friend. When I think of her friendship, this is the verse that comes to my mind:

A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
 Proverbs 17:17.

My sweet friend brought me a  coffee and Rice Crispie Treat from Starbucks and sat with me during my weekend Yard Sale. This is how I look when I roll out of bed and have a Yard Sale. But she looks fabulous, right? 

Saturday, I celebrated my 49th year of living. Forty - Nine years of walking on this planet. I purposed to count my blessings and the way He loves me from Sunup to Sundown. But you know, somehow it didn't all happen the way I thought. Yet it was still Good. From morning to evening I counted it all joy, confessing along the way, when I started to grumble or complain...sorry- it really is my default. But He gives more grace and gives me faithful friends and family. I realize I am both needy and grateful because He does provide, not always the way I expect or even want, at times. But He knows me better than I know myself. He loves me, gives me good things, and some things I reckon not so good BUT I can still thank Him, IN and through ALL. 

 I realized this weekend, that it is the presence of those I love I long for so much more than anything they give. And realize that this is the will of God, to know His desire. His presence. He so longs for us to dwell in His presence. Aware. Not the gifts we bring, the sacrifices of toil. But our sitting, walking, moving all the day knowing He is with us. Yes, as close as our very breath. In all of the joy, pain, sorrow, struggle and blessing. He, sitting with us, in our husbands, sons, daughters, mothers,fathers, friends. It's miraculous but He is with us.

#471. This post birthday present: seeing my BFF brave sharing her heart and words here in the blogosphere.

The rest of my multitudes will be shared in later post. Meanwhile would you click on over and send some encouragement Lauree's way. I know you will be blessed by her brave sharing. 

Read her very first published post called "Waiting to be First" over at Tea Dreams and Sleepless Nights- I promise, you will be blessed!

Linking with Ann for Multitudes on Monday and Carissa for Miscellany Monday.

Linking Thursday for the Cozy Reading Book Hop w/Marissa and Imperfect Prose w/Emily:


1000 Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp (Book Review/Giveaway)

I read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Life Fully Right Where You Are, about a year and a half ago. This best seller introduces readers to a word, Eucharisteo and a philosophy of living in light of the grace of God, as it says, right where you are. This idea of giving thanks always and living in the awareness of the brevity and fragility of life with joy is the theme of One Thousand Gifts. It inspired me to start counting along with a whole community of others who were counting their gifts to 1000 and more. When I was contacted about receiving the devotional One Thousand Gifts: Reflections On Finding Every Day Graces, which is based on the book, I was thrilled to have the daily refresher from this humble, much loved author. If you are not familiar with Ann Voskamp's writing, she shares her child filled, Canadian farmer's wife life at her blog called A Holy Experience. Considered one of the most influential Christian women of our day, Ann writes about giving thanks in the sometimes harsh realities of daily life.

What I love most about this book is that the length of the 60 individual devotional readings are not to short or long but just the right amount. Ann has a writing style that takes a bit of grasping. Tender and beautiful, it can be like catching glimpses of deep truths while gasping for air. She does not always follow straightforward sentence structure, which can leave you feeling, at times inspired and deeply moved, but at other times slightly exasperated! Her heart is poured out on paper and her courage shared is powerful. She shares with a gentle graciousness, and honesty that is hard to describe unless you read her for yourself.

Each devotion begins with a scripture, continues in Ann's unique, in the moment, voice which brings you up close to the grace of God: "Gratitude is not only the memories of our heart; gratitude is a memory of God's heart and to thank is to remember God."
"This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo."
These are very much like her blog posts (possibly some portions are from posts?) but edited down to a very manageable daily portion. Each devotion is titled for a different grace: Humble Grace, Dark Grace, Small Grace, Wedded Grace, Standing Grace. As she herself believes, ALL is grace. Each devotional thought ends with a brief, heartfelt prayer, and a few lines for you to add your own thoughts, prayers of graces.
The first part of the book is reserved for these devotions but the second half (pages 205-245) are for you to personalize and begin counting "1000 Ways He Loves You..." Included are some quotes and the numbering of 1 to 1000. This makes this devotional/journal a great launching pad for you if you have not started listing your "gifts", but also makes for a great gift. The book itself is beautifully covered with a bird in hand pictured and includes a pretty blue ribbon to keep your place.

A gift for you or a friend. For those who enjoy Ann's Blog and book already, you won' be disappointed, but thoroughly blessed with this treasure. This is a lovely devotional.

I received a copy of this book through Shelton Interactive in return for a review.
All opinions are my own.

Shelton Interactive has offered to give one winner a copy of Ann Voskamp's book.

Giveaway Directory

Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot

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Resolution Solution

I have been clearing the paper clutter and came across this little ditty I wrote, apparently on December 29, 2005. It made me smile and I decided to share this instead of my original poem share today. 
To new beginnings and fresh starts, any time of the year.
Even today.

Here it is:

Smile more,
laugh more,
worry less-
focus on blessedness.

These are my solutions
to stress and strife
and woes of life.

Add this:
end talk pollution!

Linking with dVerse and Emily for Imperfect Prose- smiling at my old 
scribbled words found today!


How To Satisfy Your Thirst (5 Minutes for Faith)

In a recent attempt to draw closer to the Lord in prayer through fasting, 
I pondered the most basic of all needs.

Our need for water.

It seems obvious that we need water, of course. And who can argue with the reality that our body is made up of 60-75% water. Roughly 70% of the Earth's surface is covered with water. Water is vital to every living form of life.Water is needful for our survival. Take away water completely and you have roughly 3 days to live, because the physiological functions of your organs will fail.

Continue reading "How To Satisfy Your Thirst", over at 5 Minutes for Faith today. I have turned comments off here, and hope to see you there! 


lowercase letters

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