Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sneak Preview to an Epic Homeschooling Blog Tour!

Summer Blog Hop
Next week....Monday through Friday - August 5-9
My blog will be part of a huge (and I mean HUGE) blog roundup of veteran homeschool moms, with a collective experience of hundreds of years of homeschooling, all writing about a different aspect of homeschooling - something they might consider their 'area of expertise'.
I am thrilled to be a part of this, and can't wait to read the posts. Each morning will open a new series of posts. You can find out which blog topics are of particular interest, and get fresh ideas each morning, as you prepare for the upcoming school year. Be sure to bookmark the anchor post so that you can come back and visit the various blogs as time allows, and gather ideas for your homeschool and family.
Sneak preview....what will I be writing about next week?
I decided to write about something that has been a challenge for our family, and some of the ways we have adapted to overcome that challenge. The topic is.....breakfast!
Breakfast??? know....the 'most important meal of the day'!!
Often I find that mornings are hectic. We are trying to get schoolwork started, get dad out the door, or a number of other chaotic things that might be going on, and if the kids don't get a good breakfast they really struggle mid-morning with their schoolwork. I want them to start their day right with a healthy balance of protein and carbs. I want them to be full so they can get a few good hours of work in before they are 'starving to death'! Healthy fuel in the morning is very important. It can also be very difficult to manage in a short period of time. Compounding the difficulty is the wide range of food allergies in our house, which makes 'easy' food preparation a near impossibility!
That is why I have come up with 5 days of Easy Breakfast Ideas! I hope it will be a help to you, as it has to our family. Each day will have a tried and true recipe to inspire your culinary creativity and hopefully help you feed your family and get them moving in the morning, to start your day off right! An added bonus will be allergy friendly alternatives to each of the daily options.
Be sure to stop back next week!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oriental Trading $500 Gift Card Giveaway

As I was doing some web shopping, I came across this gift card giveaway from Oriental Trading. Each week, until the end of August, Oriental Trading is giving away a $500 gift card to one lucky teacher! The gift card can be used on their website - which includes tons of back to school supplies! Homeschools are eligible as well. In fact, on the entry form there is an option to select that you are a homeschool teacher when entering.

Teachers can enter once per week.

To enter the giveaway, click here.

Review: Gryphon House Global Art

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One aspect of homeschooling that I really love is learning about other cultures from around the world. We regularly have missionaries come in at church to present their works and show slide presentations of their respective fields, and the children just love learning about the differences in food, customs, and languages. I was very excited to review Global Art from Gryphon House through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Global Art is a 190 page book that is divided into seven sections, representing all the continents. Each continent is further subdivided into countries, to make it easy to find a very specific project for the culture or country you are studying.  There are about 130 actual project ideas included. This book is meant as a resource to enhance learning, whether it is history, social studies, geography, current events, art, or cooking. The possibilities really are endless! There is also a bibliography section for each continent, that lists suggested materials to further develop your studies.
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So I want to pick a what? All the continents and their countries are listed in the Table of Contents. It is easy to find the country you are looking for, and turn to that section of the book. Each project has three different sets of icons shown at the top of the page, to help you select the project that is just right for you:
  1. Experience Level - Each project is assigned 1-3 stars to show it's difficulty level.
  2. Art techniques - Each project includes a picture icon to show what it's primary art medium is, including painting, sculpture, construction, drawing, collage, or printing.
  3. Planning & Preparation - Each project is assigned a number value to indicate what type of materials you will need to complete the project. 1 means that you would likely have all the materials already at home, 2 means that the materials required are common art supplies, that you might have, but may need to plan ahead and purchase at an arts and crafts store. 3 indicates materials that are probably familiar but would take some strategic planning to purchase ahead of time (such as a piece of window screen from a hardware store).
Why are these icons a big deal? It allows the children to look through the book and pick out projects that they can easily accomplish on their own. They know that a project with a #1 and 1 star will be something that they can go ahead and do without mom's help, or without needing a special trip to the store for supplies!

What age group is this book targeting? While it is intended for grades K-5, I really think Global Art doesn't really have an age limit. I found myself, as an adult, fascinated by some of the projects. My high schoolers also had fun with the projects in this book.

How much does it cost? Global Art currently sells for $16.95.

How did we use this book? When I first received Global Art, the kids immediately began perusing the pages, and came up with a list of page numbers containing projects that they wanted to try. Since we are on summer break, and don't have regularly scheduled history lessons to match the projects with, the kids were able to explore and creatively pursue the projects that interested them the most. They were most interested in studying about Antarctica, so they chose projects associated with that continent first.

First I will show a sample project page - notice the step by step instructions, the extra "did you know" fact, and the icons at the top of the page.

Here is a photo collage of our igloo building!

And the project went a creative route when one of the girls built an 'ice castle' instead!

This was just one example of a wonderful afternoon spent completing a project from this book. I love it when the kids are having so much fun that they don't realize they are learning!

My recommendation: I am absolutely thrilled by this book. I have so many thoughts and ideas of ways I would like to incorporate it into our studies. It is an excellent and thorough resource that I highly recommend. I am looking forward to using it to enhance our studies of global missions as well.

To see some of the other art projects created by Crew Members who reviewed this book, click this banner below!

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.  
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Family Game Night Link-Up

Always up for a challenge.... I am trying a brand new thing for my blog! One a month, I am going to host a "Family Game Night" link up. I will start by telling you of a favorite game that my family is playing these days, and then invite some of my blogging friends to add on a family favorite of their own. Since this is my first attempt, I am hoping I got all the links and computer things correct. If you would like to link up, please do so at the bottom of this post!

Family Game Night: Ticket To Ride

Our family has been enjoying playing Ticket To Ride - a board game for up to 5 players. Our youngest, who is 8, was able to get the concept down and play the game well. She is probably on the lowest end of what I would recommend for this game.

In Ticket To Ride, you are taken back to the turn of the century when railroad was the easiest way to travel the USA. Each player chooses a color of trains, then receives a selection of routes to complete. As the game progresses, players select and build series of colors to complete routes. Some routes are short, only 1 or 2 trains long, but others are 5 or 6 trains long. Routes connect major US cities and even stretch into southern Canada.

Each route that is completed has a points value, and players compete to have the most routes completed, as well as a bonus for the longest route. At the end of the game, the points value of incomplete routes is deducted from your total. Strategy gets thick when players have overlapping routes and are vying to complete the train lines from city to city first, blocking other players from completing their routes.

A total game lasts about an hour.

This game has a good educational component, because it helps the children to learn the location of major US and Canadian cities. There is also good math skills when adding up points.

Because the game is so popular, the company has recently produced more versions, providing train routes in Europe, Germany, and Nordic countries, as well as expansion card sets with more routes.

This game has been so popular at our house that it doesn't even have a home on the game shelf yet. We just bought it in June and it has stayed on the coffee table ever since, and been played numerous times.

Interested in purchasing? Here's my affiliate code to purchase the game on Amazon:

We highly recommend the 1910 Expansion card set. The cards are bigger, and give many more route choices!

This post is linked with "Blogging Through The Alphabet - T" at "Ben and Me"
Blogging Through the Alphabet

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Please share your family's current favorite game! Here's a button to use on your post.
Be The One

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blogging Through The Alphabet - S

S is for Satire
As Laura finished English 10 this past Spring, one of her final writing assignments was an essay demonstrating satire.
The basic definition of satire is "using ridicule to expose truth".
When the satire essay was complete, we all had a few laughs over it. At that time, I was already well on my way to 'blogging through the alphabet', and Laura asked me to please reserve "S" for her satire essay. So here it is!
* - Disclaimer – all facts in this essay may or may not be true since they were taken from the Internet.
       In the past few months, I have noticed a significant agenda in the U.S. government to make guns illegal. These politicians are using recent events in America to justify this bill. For instance, the shooting in Connecticut, and the Mother’s Day parade shooting, are just two examples of these kinds of events.
Toothpicks courtesy of
       I recently saw a few statistics which called for some popular products to be made illegal. The first statistic I would like to state is that: “A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans.” This stat leads me to believe that toothpicks should not be legal. If thousands of people in America are almost dying from this object, shouldn’t the government ban them?
       I also saw another stat that stated: “More then ten people a year are killed by vending machines.” When I first saw this, I was horrified, because of the fact that vending machines are in almost every public building which increases the rate of possible deaths to hungry Americans. My suggestion would be to ban vending machines in public places so as to keep the general population alive, and just possibly cut down on obesity in the United States.

Vending Machine fail courtesy of
       The last most terrifying fact that I read is as follows (get ready for this): “Each year, there are more then 40,000 toilet related injuries in the U.S.” Although I do not want to know how people are injured by their toilets, I am terrified that “I might be next!” What if toilets were invented on Mars by an alien to destroy the good citizens of America? I daresay that toilets are more dangerous then guns, and that the only way to stop the evil inventor of toilets from taking over the world is to ban toilets from an American’s everyday life. I mean “Who really needs a toilet anyways?”

"field of toilets" courtesy
       These are the products that I think should be banned in our lives instead of guns.
       In all seriousness, drunk drivers kill thousands more Americans then guns ever have, so shouldn’t we ban cars? Or better yet, ban alcohol form being consumed? I suppose that my main point in writing this essay is to get the reader to use his God given common sense, and to think. Just because the government says something is detrimental to society, does not actually mean that it is. We just need to think.

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

This post is linked with "Blogging Through The Alphabet" at "Ben and Me".

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: Homeschool Programming

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 photo TC-JP_MED_zps53521e2c.pngThrough The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew we were given the opportunity to review a computer science and programming curriculum called TeenCoder Java Series from Homeschool Programming.

Homeschool Programming is a company started by two homeschool parents with degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. They found a serious lack of good computer training in the homeschool realm, so with their backgrounds and experience they decided to create their own!

The company has a wide range of products available for children and teens to learn programming, web design, and game design.

For this review, we chose TeenCoder Java, mainly because the second semester contains Android programming, and Laura was interested in learning how to design her own apps!

We received two semesters worth of Computer Science curriculum bundled together. The first semester teaches Java programming, and is a pre-requisite to the second semester, which teaches Android programming, and how to write programs for Android devices. We received the instructional student book as a download, and we also received instructional videos that help to explain the student text.

Check out a Demo Video here!
For a detailed list of what is covered in the Java Instruction, read the Table of Contents here.
For a detailed list of what is covered in the Android Instruction, read the Table of Contents here.
To use this program, students learn how to install Java Development Kit (JDK) and Eclipse. Both are free programs that are compatible with both PC and MAC.
Each program covers one semester, or roughly half the year, if the student follows a typical pace. The coursework is in-depth enough that it could be adequate preparation for a student to take the AP Computer Science A exam. The Android programming curriculum utilizes a free software emulator so an Android device is not necessary to complete the course.
The course is designed to be 'self study'. It's target students are in grades 9-12, who have some basic working knowledge of finding their way around a computer, and downloading and installing software. No previous programming experience is necessary. Parents who do not have computer science experience need not fear this program. It is set up so that a high school student can work through everything right from lesson one.
How we used this program:  Laura began working through the Java Programming, and after about 8 weeks, she has gotten through nine chapters. (There are 16 total chapters in the first semester). It has been slow going. At first she mostly watched the videos, but as she worked through the student book, she found that although they complimented each other nicely, she preferred reading the manual over watching the videos. She downloaded the necessary software and has been working on the student activities assigned to each chapter.
Here are some screen shots of some of her work:
Downloading the Eclipse program
 First Student Activity


 Fixing A Run Time Error
 Special Insights given throughout the program
The 'workbench' explained
In Laura's words, here are the pros and cons of what she has experienced so far:
Pros of Java Programming:
  • The program gives an excellent foundation in the 'vocabulary' of computer science and programming.
  • It is very explanatory and in-depth.
  • It has excellent training in how to fix and debug programs.
Cons of Java Programming:
  • There was not enough explanation in how to complete the activities.
  • The lessons were very long, without breaks in the information, which made it difficult to know when would be a convenient spot to stop, and be able to comfortably pick it up the next day. This made me want to complete a whole lesson in one sitting, which really was just too much information at one time.
  • It was not easy for me to download and find the necessary things I needed in the program itself and in the software programs I had to use. (This was not a problem with the program itself, but more reflective on Laura's lack of experience with those activities - have to say she did pick up quite a bit of experience in this by completing the lessons so far!)
  • I would have liked learning more through "hands on" activities, rather than doing so much reading with only an activity at the end of the chapter to demonstrate the objective. By the time I got to the activity part, I found it difficult to apply what I just read, and had to keep going back and re-reading to find out what to do. (This may be more reflective of a learning style, and not necessarily the program itself)
Where do we go from here?: As you might be able to tell, this program has been very challenging for Laura. She has hung in there with the hopes of getting to "the fun stuff" after learning all the preliminaries and laying a good foundation. She was really looking forward to learning how to program apps, so I think that (and a computer science credit on her high school transcript) will be enough motivation for her to continue this program beyond the review period, even though it is not her most favorite thing in the world. We only briefly glanced through the Android Programming instructional book for the purpose of writing the review, but she doesn't understand enough yet to be able to dabble with it. I have to say, from my reading, that the Android programming looks to be very similar - read a chapter, then complete an activity. The activities range from gaming options to locators, and creating widgets for websites. While Laura is looking forward to creating an app, she really needs to get the basics down better before she will be ready to do so.
Who would this program be a good fit for?: Laura and I both would recommend this program to a high schooler who is very interested in computer programming, perhaps has a little experience already that they are looking to add to, and might even be considering a career in computer science or programming. Yes, the program is that intense! Someone who is not real computer savvy, or is just interested in learning basic things, might find this program a little too intense for them, but someone who is serious about learning Java and Android programming will likely be very happy with this program.
How to order: At the Homeschool Programming website, Java and Android programming can be purchased in several different options: Teen Coder Java Programming course only is $75. With the videos, it is $90. If you purchase the videos only, it is $20. If you bundle the Java and Android courses together to make a complete year of Computer Science, then the prices are as follows: Courses only are $130. Courses with videos are $155. and videos only are $30. Perhaps some people could get away with just the videos only, but most people would definitely want to purchase the course, which gives you the student manual. I think it would be difficult to work your way through this course without it.
Members of the crew reviewed a wide variety of courses from Homeschool Programming. To see what they thought, click here or the banner below:  

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

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Rejoicing - Part 2

Last week I wrote a post about rejoicing - what it is, when we should do it, and why. I thought about the post a lot this week, as I had many opportunities to practice 'rejoicing' in my life. I decided to write a follow up post to it, with some suggestions for "How to Rejoice," because some days, rejoicing just doesn't come naturally.

First of all, I would like to point out that the Bible does command us to rejoice. I find that a lot of times, commands are given for things that we might find challenging. Or sometimes they are given because it wouldn't really make sense to do it unless it was a command from God. Like rejoicing. Let's say you had a day where everything went wrong....your natural response might be stress, anger, depression, or despair. It takes faith to believe the promises in God's Word, that we truly can rejoice and be at peace during the hard times. Some days, we must truly just 'let go' and rejoice because God told us to. I have found that rejoicing begets rejoicing. In the middle of a bad day, taking a few minutes to rehearse the good things God has done for you - to find that 'silver lining' in the clouds - will bring about rejoicing and peace in your heart if you are a child of God.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but here is a short list of ideas to help you rejoice:
  • Keep a journal of blessings and answered prayers. When I write down answered prayers, I am always amazed at how quickly that list grows in length, and what a blessing it is to keep reading it over and over and being reminded of God's love and grace.
  • Make a list of God's attributes and praise Him for Who He is! A fun and challenging way to do this is to go through the alphabet and write one characteristic of God for each letter.
  • Set quiet time aside to meditate and reflect on the goodness of God in your life. Even a few minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time can do wonders!
  • Listen to inspiring music that will draw your heart to God. Keep it playing continuously on those days that are particularly hard.
  • Rejoice on purpose! Set your mind to it that you are going to do it, and not allow yourself to wallow in despair. Let your mind decide how your spirit and attitude will be.
  • Memorize uplifting Scripture verses - ones that will remind you how much your Heavenly Father loves and cares for you. Keep those verses in the forefront of your thoughts.
  • Know for sure that you are saved, and develop a deep and meaningful daily relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • When you are weak, get around strong people.
  • Get a good night's sleep! It can be hard to have a joyful spirit when your body and mind are exhausted.
  • Don't make big decisions at night when you are tired. You will typically always have a better outlook on things in the morning after you have renewed your strength, and had a fresh time of daily devotions.
  • Go do something for someone! The list of possibilities are endless, but I have found that it really takes my mind off my own difficulties if I set them aside and give of myself for the needs of another.
  • Smile! Look around you and notice the little things in your life, and be grateful for them.
  • Laugh! Step back and soak in life. It's pretty funny!

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Picaboo Yearbooks

 photo picabooyearbook_zps0e1af50a.jpgOne of my favorite things to do is capture memories in pictures. I am the one who is always walking around family or youth group events with a camera in my hand. My computer holds thousands of pictures!! I am a firm believer that my children should not miss out on a school yearbook just because we homeschool, so I have tried to make them a photo memory book every school year. When I got the opportunity to review a 20 page softcover yearbook through Picaboo Yearbooks for The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew I was delighted!

In the 'old days', scrapbooking was much more involved and time consuming. As much as I loved doing it, it was always very hard for me to find the time to make scrapbooks just the way I wanted, with photos and creative pages. Several years ago I 'discovered' digital scrapbooking, and have never looked back! I have used multiple sites, and made lots of books. None of them ever quite fit the 'yearbook' idea I was trying to create, but I made it work, and the kids really do enjoy looking back at our past school years and reliving some of the experiences.

It was a real treat to actually try out a web site where the sole purpose and layout is to create a yearbook! Everything in the Picaboo Yearbooks program is set up for the purpose of making it easy to create a yearbook. There are hundreds of layouts, coordinated themes, fun 'digital stickers', and easy photo uploading.

The Picaboo Workspace: page on the left shows a background, and other options are on the right.

 There are sets of coordinated background themes, if you would like your pages to "match".
The bookshelf on your account where all saved and current projects are stored.
Picaboo Yearbooks is set up for multiple users to work on one book. When a user first creates an account, they can specify the sections that will be included in the book and assign a number of pages to each section. Photos can be uploaded to each section, and the process of creating the pages is begun. The site is designed for groups to easily work together on a book, and access their work from multiple locations at various times. That makes it very conducive to school yearbook committees or small groups that want to work together on a book.
Once the pages are laid out, it is easy to go in and edit the work. Photos can be cropped, sizes changed, and they are easily dragged and dropped onto the pages, or turned and placed at different angles. Basic photo editing is also available. The program frequently saves completed work.
Photos can also be used as page backgrounds, wrap-arounds for the cover, or collages. I noticed options to upload groups of photos at once, and group them into classes, which would be helpful if the project were a yearbook for a school with many students and classes.
How much does it cost?: There are a number of options available, such as soft cover or hard cover, size, or even a free e-yearbook which is included with each order. The cost is based on which option is selected, as well as how many pages are included. Hardcover books start at $18.99, softcover books start at $8.49, additional pages can be added for $.22 each, and shipping is $8.99 for the first book, with additional copies shipping for $.99 each. For schools, there is free shipping if over 50 books are purchased, and the company will also work with schools to set up yearbook sales as a fundraiser.
Who could benefit from this program?: While schools are the first group that comes to mind when yearbooks are mentioned, because of the affordability and ease of creating a book, this program would be great for any small groups, not just schools or homeschools. What makes Picaboo yearbooks really inviting is that there is no minimum purchase. If a homeschool family wants to make a yearbook and order just one copy, then Picaboo Yearbooks makes that possible.
What if I run into trouble and can't figure out how to finish my yearbook?: Another plus of the program is the support that is offered, which includes a free live chat if the yearbook artists run into trouble. The customer service is very quick and helpful.
Once a section of the yearbook is finished and the overseer approves (if multiple users are creating layouts) then the overseer (or in our case, mom) can lock the section, and no more changes can be made. Ordering is a very simple process.
How we used this program: Typically my homeschool yearbooks are longer than 20 pages, so I decided to use this review to design a "Class of 2013" special yearbook for my senior who was graduating this June. I chose pictures from all her school years, as well as pictures of family, friends, senior portraits, trips, sports, favorite things, and graduation night, and made special pages for each. Here is a birds-eye view of my final project.

A word about Birds-eye view: This is a spot on the website where you can "look down" on your pages and make sure the layout is how you want it to be. It helps to see your whole project all at once to decide what needs to be changed or edited.

Quality control: I was concerned that the softcover edition would be flimsy, but the cover is glossy and tough, and the pages are 100 weight paper. These books are high quality and very sturdy.

How long does it take?: It took me about a week of working steadily, a few hours here and there, to sort, select, and upload the pictures, and create my yearbook. After placing my order, the company promised a three week turnaround for delivery, but I received my finished project in the mail in about one week.

My overall opinion on the product itself: I was very happy with my finished product! I gave it as a gift to my oldest daughter to celebrate her graduation and 18th birthday, and she was very pleased as well. Everyone who has seen the book has complimented it, and enjoyed looking through it.  I also think it is very affordable and a great value for the price! For less than $20 you can receive a high-quality, professional looking photo book!

My overall opinion on the program: I found a bit of a learning curve when I started using Picaboo Yearbooks. I have used the regular Picaboo site for several years now, and enjoy it very much. My mistake was in thinking that the yearbook site would function just like the regular photo site, and it doesn't. Instead, it is set up for multiple users on one project. This is very helpful for a group that is creating a yearbook, but I found it to be a little too cumbersome, and too many steps for just a single author. I also did not like having to choose and name my sections in the beginning, and assign the number of pages to them, because when I was first starting, I was not quite sure what I wanted my finished product to look like just yet. I prefer more flexibility and freestyling in creating photo books.  I ended up having to redo several sections because the pages didn't fit, or were split where I did not want them to be.  I also am a big fan of the discount codes that Picaboo frequently sends out, and was disappointed to learn that they are not available for use on their yearbook website.

I was very thrilled to be able to try out the Picaboo Yearbooks website, and will definitely recommend it to groups or schools that are interested in a low cost yearbook alternative. For my future homeschool yearbooks, I lean towards sticking with the flexibility of the regular Picaboo website instead. I had a wonderful time looking at all the yearbook projects that other Crew Members created, and I'm sure you will enjoy them check them out!

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Random 5 on Friday

This is my first time participating in the Random 5 blog party....

Laura and I sat down and wrote the first 5 random things that came across our minds.....

kinda crazy and fun.....

1) The NHL players get to play in the winter Olympics this year. Laura thinks its great, but mom misses the days when pros stayed in the NHL and the amateurs played in the Olympics. Think Miracle on Ice in 1980. Speaking of Miracle on Ice....this is a cute video of a random 4 year old kid re-enacting Coach Herb Brooks speech to the team before they played the Russians. (We don't know him - found on youtube)

2) 92 degrees and a heat index over 100 is really hot if you are from New York!

3) Painting the basement is a lot of work....(especially when the heat index is over 100!) And if you paint the basement, you will get a lot of paint on yourself.... and having paint on yourself (in 90 degree weather) is SO not cool.

4) US Soccer is celebrating its Centennial Year this season! Go Women's National Team - one of the most underrated teams in sports!

5) Hummingbirds are really cute! But bees are not. And if you hang a feeder outside your will get both visiting it. Not so good if you are allergic to bee stings....
So that's all folks! A random sampling of our thoughts today!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blogging Through The Alphabet - R

R is for Rejoicing!


Psalm 105:3 "Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD."

Rejoicing is something that doesn't always come naturally to us. Often, our default setting is to complain, mope, feel bad, wallow in self-pity, or think about how much better things could be, rather than take inventory of all the blessings we have. If rejoicing were not so vital to our mental health, I don't think God would have mentioned it 183 times in the Bible!! Can you imagine? If God said it once, it's important....but 183 times??

Many of those verses are direct commands to rejoice, such as:
  • Deuteronomy 26:11a "And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee,"
  • Psalm 5:11 "But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee"
  • Psalm 33:1  "Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright."
Some verses are records of God's people rejoicing, while others actually give specific times when we should rejoice:
  • When God helps us through a trial: Psalm 63:7  "Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice"
  • All day long: Psalm 89:16 "In thy name shall they rejoice all the day:"
  • All our life: Psalm 90:14 "O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days."
  • Today!: Psalm 118:24 "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
  • When reading our Bible (daily devotions): Psalm 119:162 "I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil."
  • When our children do right: Proverbs 23:15 "My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine." and Proverbs 23:24 "The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him."
  • When we have righteous leaders: Proverbs 29:2a "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice:"
  • Look forward to rejoicing in our older years: Proverbs 31:25 "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."
  • When we're young: Ecclesiastes 11:9 "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth;"
  • When we see God do great things in our life: Luke 19:37b "the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;"
  • When those around us are blessed and rejoicing: Romans 12:15a "Rejoice with them that do rejoice"
  • At the end of our life: Philippians 2:16 "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."
  • When all is said and done: Philippians 3:1 "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord."
  • Always: Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
  • From this day forward: 1Thesalonians 5:16 "Rejoice evermore."
  • In suffering: 1Peter 4:13 "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
  • When we see Jesus: Revelation 19:7 "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
One particular instance that we don't usually think about rejoicing is during trials. How can one rejoice during a trial? Sometimes life beats us up and shows no mercy. Knowing that God is present and helping through the trial is a great cause for rejoicing.

Psalm 31:7 "I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;"

When I look back at some of the lowest valleys in my life, I can plainly see that those were the times that I drew nearest to God and He was a help. Those spots on my journeys are markers of the grace of God in my life. While rejoicing was not my greatest character trait during those times, I can say that I do rejoice that I have been able to experience the closeness and presence of God, and that I can look back and see His hand on me.

May we continue to grow in the grace of God, and may rejoicing always be in my heart and on the tip of my tongue!

Psalm 13:5 "But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation."

Read Part 2 - How To Rejoice

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

This post is linked with "Blogging Through The Alphabet"  at "Ben and Me" and with "Titus 2sDays" at Time Warp Wife.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Ed Douglas Publications (25 Truths)

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Character training is a huge priority in my family, and in my homeschool. Since I am always on the lookout for effective help in that area, I was happy to review the book "25 Truths" written and published by Ed Douglas Publications.

"25 Truths" is a small, 150 page paperback book that sells for $12.50 plus $3.00 shipping. With the purchase of a book from the website, buyers will receive their choice of a free extra book, either The Book of John or Four Spiritual Laws.

The author, Ed Douglas, has gleaned much experience from a wide array of accomplishments in his life. He has been president and CEO of a bank, an author who regularly gives seminars on financial freedom, and a high school tennis coach. He has been appointed to several statewide government positions in his home state of Missouri, as well as serving on a number of college and civic boards.

The idea for this book started with a list of 25 principles that Ed wrote down and aspired to live by in his own life. As time went on, and his influence grew, he used this list to train those around him to be successful in life as well. Finally, he expanded on them and compiled them into this book, with the goal of changing society one person at a time. In fact, the subtitle of the book is "Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us."

The list of 25 principles is very comprehensive and covers just about every aspect of moral life and character that I could think of. Each principle is covered in one chapter, and each chapter is about three pages long, with a small 'workshop' at the end of the chapter, giving discussion questions. It is very easy and pleasant reading, drawing from a lot of relevant real life illustrations.

Some of my favorite chapters were:
  • Protect Your Reputation
  • Remember, Little Things Can Make A Big Difference
  • Make Every Day Your Best Day
  • Never Surrender
  • Make A Difference In the World
What I liked about the book: As I stated before, I love character training products. I also enjoy gleaning from the experience of successful people. What I like most about this book is the practical way it is set up, so that it is easy to sit down and read a chapter and discuss it. I have many teaching opportunities in my life, and picking up a book like this where everything is already laid out sure does make my life easier. I think there is a very good variety of topics covered in this book, and I appreciate all the practical advice and coaching.

What I would improve: I have a strong conviction that we should have a Biblical purpose for everything in our life. If I make decisions based on my opinions, or on moral values alone, then there is potential for error when those opinions or values change. Since the Bible does not change, I feel it is very important to have a Scriptural purpose for the values that I teach my children. While this book did include many Scriptures that were applicable to the principles being taught, I definitely feel there was room for a much more Biblically based teaching than what was presented. Each chapter started off with a quote that represented the principle taught in that chapter. While many of them were Scriptures, there was also a lot of secular quotes as well.

Who could benefit from this book?: The book is recommended for students in grades 6-12, as well as adults. I think anyone who cares about having a strong, moral character would find this book to be helpful. Also, it is a good tool for parents to open up discussions with their teenagers about important character issues.

How we used "25 Truths": As a family, we would sit together and I would read the chapter (about 3 short pages) to the girls. Then we would go over the discussion questions at the end. I added another component. After we were done discussing the principle, I would ask the girls to think of a Scripture verse that illustrated that principle, and we would write it down on the page with the discussion questions, just to emphasize the point that not only was the principle a good moral way to live, but there was also a Biblical purpose to incorporating it into their lives as well. Most of the verses they came up with were verses they have committed to memory along the way, but I would not hesitate to add a memory verse to the chapter as well. Perhaps I might make them a little chart to keep in their Bible with the chapter titles and corresponding verses that we chose, just to keep it before them as a reminder. My 11, 15, and 18 year olds found the topics very relevant. Some of it was "over the head" of my 8 year old, which I expected, but she still was interested in the discussion, and I feel that hearing the opinions of her older sisters was helpful to her.

My recommendation: I think this book could be an effective tool as part of character training in the home. With young people today being so heavily involved in social media, there is a great need for the training found in this book, especially the chapter called "Watch What You Say, Do, and Write". The chapters in the book make excellent discussion starters for youth ministry events as well.

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Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

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