An Update on Our Family – Hurricane Harvey Part 1

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Two weeks ago today, we began a journey thanks to Hurricane Harvey.  We live approximately an hour and a half north of Corpus Christi and about two hours south of Houston in Texas.  We have lived here for around a year and a half.  We are no strangers to hurricanes having our home of record in eastern North Carolina.  In a Facebook group, I am part of, a discussion began about what those of in Texas were going to do.  Another lady and I both stated we did not know what we would do.  Finances or other circumstances did not give us many options.

Our week started off normally.  On the 22nd, my husband and I celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  We knew there was a tropical storm named Harvey who might decide to visit our community.  Wednesday was a normal day.  Thursday we decided to get some supplies in for the incoming storm.  While we were out, we found out the storm had been upgraded and would potentially come in as a category 3 or higher.  The “or higher” part is what got our attention.  We have several large trees in front and behind the home, we are living in now.  So we were paying attention.

Later Thursday evening, a friend sent me a message to say our community was under a mandatory evacuation order.  So my husband and I discussed what we wanted to do.  I am on the book launch team for Erin Odom’s book “More Than Just Making It” and someone on the launch team offered our family shelter.  So we began packing up and tried to figure out what we needed and/or could take with us in our 12-passenger van.

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Friday morning shortly after 6:30 am, we started towards Dallas.  We were surprised at how light traffic was on our route, at least until we got to Waco.  Then, we arrived in Dallas around 12:30 or so where we would be staying.  Until Monday morning, our hostess was absolutely amazing.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 where I will share what happened while we were in Dallas and what we found once we returned home.

 

Review of the Mapelle Films’ Movie – Trust Fund

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Today I want to introduce you to the faith-based movie Trust Fund from Mapelle Films.  Our family is always on the lookout for wonderful family films, so I was really excited for our family to review this family drama. I also received a copy of Love Was Near, a book written to be read after watching the movie.  This is a perfect movie for a family movie night.

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The story tells the tale of Reese Donahue, a young aspiring writer, and the struggles and adventures she has.  Jessica Rothe plays the role of Reese and does an incredible job.  Reese is the youngest daughter of parents who own a publishing company.  Reese has her father, Grayson and her older sister Audrey.  Reese is surrounded by people who love her and only want the best for her. However, she becomes involved with a man named Milo, who is not good for her.   She is unable to recognize this fact, unfortunately.

Reese is one of those people who is struggling to find her place in the world.  Her father has his publishing company, and her sister has a job at the publishing firm along with a fiance she apparently loves.  When the movie opens, Reese has just returned from a trip to Italy for a writing conference her father encouraged her to attend.  Unfortunately, while in Italy, Reese becomes involved with a man named Milo she thinks is the love of her life. She spent more time with him and very little time attending the conference that her father meant to help her with the book she was supposed to be completing.

The movie chronicles Reese’s involvement with Milo, her family, a former male friend from her childhood,her publisher from another publishing house, her girlfriend she shares an apartment with along with her father’s secretary and other characters.  It demonstrates the strength of a father’s love and how facing life’s difficulties with people who love you and forgive unconditionally brings resolution.  The movie is a spin on the story of the Prodigal Son told in the Bible.

Issac Alongi produced and was the cinematographer for the film, and was homeschooled himself back in the 1980’s.   He has over 20 years experience in the film industry.  I always love seeing or reading things created by former or current homeschoolers.  The sets and scenery in the movie were incredible.  Here is an excellent article you can read about Issac Alongi.

Sandra L Martin is the writer, director, and producer for the film.  She also wrote the book Love Was Near to be read after watching the movie.  It is meant for those over twelve years old.  The book offers a more in-depth view of what Reese was feeling and thinking.  It seems to be a way help Reese move forward in her life.  I felt the script of the movie was well-executed.

I chose to read the book for the purposes of this review.  The book is written in journal form.   I found the book to be captivating.  It was easy to read.  The book contains portions of text, pictures, quotes, and portions that were done as though they were handwritten in a journal.  Each chapter concludes with questions to be answered.  I loved the fonts used and the attention to detail in the book.

Here are some pictures I took of pages in the book.

 

 

In addition to the film and the book, a study guide is available from the site to be downloaded for use in small groups. You can view the study guide here.  The study guide includes information about the characters in the movie, Bible verses, questions to think about, and sections called “Deep Thoughts”.  These deep thoughts include information about Christianity, comparisons of Reese and the younger brother in the story of the Prodigal Son and more.  There are also photos from the movie.  I found the study guide to be a worthwhile addition to the film and book.

Here are some screenshots I took of some pages from the study guide.

 

If you would like to read more reviews about Mapelle Films‘ movie Trust Fund or the book Love Was Near, click here or on the graphic below.

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#BloggingAtoZchallenge – F is for

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So here is another installment in my #BloggingAtoZchallenge.  The letter is “F”, which for me represents family, freedom, flexibility, faith and fascination.

First, “F” represents family.  Our family is a lot closer than we were before homeschooling. My children enjoy spending time with each other and with us, their parents.  Before we began homeschooling our oldest son was in the fifth grade and 10 years old.  His friends preferred avoiding their own family at all costs it appeared; so they certainly did not want to be around our family either.  Within about a month of beginning to homeschool, our oldest was becoming closer to his siblings – and especially his 4-year-old sister.  It was an amazing transformation to watch.

Second, “f” is for freedom.  We have the freedom to decide what curriculum to use.  We also decide how often certain subjects need to be done.  We can change curriculum when we see it absolutely is not working.  If the day is too beautiful to stay inside or we just need a “mental health” day, I have the freedom to change the calendar.  If we want to take off and go somewhere, we can.  We can take a vacation when public school students are still in session.  So ultimately, homeschooling provides all kinds of freedom.

We also have flexibility.  We have the flexibility to set our start and end times based on our family’s own preferences or even a specific child’s preferences. If one of the children want to do a week’s worth of a particular subject in one day, he or she can do that.  We also have the flexibility to decide when a child has mastered a particular concept.

Next, “f’ is for faith.  In everything we do, everywhere we go and everything we study, our faith provides a key component in what we do.  Our children know what we believe and have the ability to ask questions to see our faith put into practice.  We pick textbooks that illustrate our faith and values.

Finally, when our children find something that fascinates them, they can choose to study that subject until they find out what they wanted to know.  If something they read about fascinates them, we can choose to build a unit study about it.  Also, the children have some flexibility to pick textbooks that capture their interest, imagination, or otherwise inspire them to complete the subject.

So what comes to mind for you when you see the letter “F”?  I would love to hear from you.

Preparing for 2016

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  So 2015 is quickly winding down and 2016 is fast approaching.  Last year, I read all over the Internet about picking a word for the year.  So I picked “Create” and I still plan on using that as one of my words and verses for the year.

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I want to continue “creating” in 2016.  I wat to create memories, dreams and new adventures with our family as we transition from life in central Pennsylvania to life in Texas.  I want to “delight” in where we are being placed by God.  I want to find the desires of my heart and work towards reaching those dreams.  I want to look to God as the source of my strenght and delight.  Even though I may not understand His plan for my life, I can choose to bloom where He has and is planting me.

In 2016, I want to strive to help my children reach towards these ideas ass well – especially in our homeschooling adventure.  Some many opportunities and doors will be opening with this move even though some doors are closing.  All my life I have lived on the East Coast, so this is a new adventure.  May God bless our steps and lead our paths in the ways He would have us go.

I also want to work on my Bible Journaling more.  I want to spend more time in meaningful interaction with my heavenly Father.  I also want to spend more time on creative pursuits – including crocheting, quilting,  and learning other artisitic pursuits.

I pray for your Christmas or holidays to be blessed.  Enjoy your time with your family and friends.

“B” is for Babies, Boys, Bibles and Books and Blogging

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So today is Day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for April along with the Blogging A to Z challenge.  The letter of the day is “B”, which for me is for babies, Bibles and books.  We have four children who are 18, 16, 14 and 12 respectively right now.  While I miss them being babies to a certain extent, I enjoy seeing the people they are becoming.  Three of our children are boys and they truly are a handful.  Our youngest is our only girl and she is quite the princess.  My boys keep life interesting and one never knows what might be discussed when we sit down to meals or what they will attempt to do.

Bibles play a critical role in our family.  My husband became an ordained minister the same year we were married.  So we have worked to bring up our children in the word of God.  As we search for homeschooling materials, Biblical companies are the main one we use.  It is important to us to have a Biblical worldview and for our children to back up what they believe with Scripture references.  So we have quite the collection of Bibles, concordances, Biblical commentaries and dictionaries around our home.

The other thing our home is full of is books.  I grew up believing that books were my best friend.  I was never bored or lacked things to do because I always had books to read.  I have tried to instill the same love of reading in my children.  They have not all grabbed hold of the idea as I would wish, but we are still working on it.  It is fun when we prepare for a move to see all the books loaded into boxes.  We have Biblical books, Language Arts and Literature books, books on writing, books for Math, books for Science, books for History and books for the Arts.  On top of those books, we have books on homeschooling,  books to read for pleasure and various other books.  Each member of the family has at least one bookcase in their room.  Plus we have other bookcases scattered around the house.  Books make homeschooling much easier.  Even if I never bought any more curriculum for our children, I could homeschool from the books we have.  With seven people living in our home the books really add up.

“B” is also for blogging and Bible Journaling.   I started blogging as a way of keeping our extended family aware of what was going on in our lives along with providing a record for our children.  Writing makes things more real somehow and easier to remember.  Utilizing photographs helps keep those memories as well.

Bible Journaling has become a new pastime for me.  I especially love getting on Pinterest and Facebook to see what others are creating. Here is a sample of one of works.

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So what does the letter “B” represent or bring to mind for you and your family?  I welcome comments!

Another Round of the Ultimate Blog Challenge

Well the first quarter of 2015 has flown by quickly.  We have spent the time working on school, beginning to hold church services at our home and making a relatively quick trip to North Carolina to see my husband’s side of the family.

With the start of the second quarter of 2015 beginning, I am pleased to be participating in the next round of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  My plan for this blog for 2015 is to increase traffic to the blog and begin offering some freebies as well.  I am also going to learn how to use Photoshop and work more with PicMonkey to create my own graphics.

In April, the next Proverbs 31 Ministries Bible Study for Lysa Terkeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith” will begin.  Once again I will be serving as one of the Facebook Small Group leaders.

I am also participating in a Bible Study for Kay Arthur’s book “How to Study Your Bible” in order to learn more about the Inductive Bible Study method.  I am also going through the book, “Writing in the Margins”.  One of my goals for 2015 is to grow in Bible Journaling activities.  My one word for 2015 is “Create” and that is my focus for the year.

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In the realm of homeschooling, we are preparing for our oldest son’s graduation.  With that we will enter a new realm of parenting.  We are planning on him walking across the stage at the CHAP convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania the weekend of Mother’s Day.  Our next graduation will possibly take place as early as the next school year.

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So what is going on where you are

The Last Day of March

It is hard to believe that it is already the last day of March.  We have had a couple of nice days in the last few weeks.  But we are getting some snow today.  Right now, we are under a Winter Weather Advisory for several inches of snow, but we will see what happens.

Yesterday was a bittersweet day in some ways.  We turned in the last 2 instruments to the Salvation Army.   We are not quitting music, but instead are going to rent instruments ourselves and pursue lessons for the children.  While we were out, we went into the Salvation Army thrift store.  I found three skirts and two tops for Rebecca.  It was one of the few times, I have seen her genuinely excited about clothes.  So that was fantastic.  Now it is just a matter of finding some more clothes that fit her properly.  I plan to go back before the week is over to see if I can find a few more things for her.  Apparently my daughter likes shopping in 2nd hand stores.

Here are the items we found:

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And another picture:

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It was really nice to see her excited about clothes.

I am also just beginning a couple of new Bible Studies.  These include:

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With these Bible Studies, I am trying to create my own graphics using PicMonkey or the Image Feature on YouVersion.  Here are some that I created using the Image Feature on the YouVersion Bible app.

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On top of all of this, we are working to get things together for Jacob’s graduation.  He will be walking across the stage at the CHAP Homeschool Convention graduation in May.  There is lots to do to make sure he is ready for this.  It is hard o believe that my oldest is actually graduating this year and the others are coming fast behind.

Well I pray you have enjoyed this update.  I would love to hear what is going on in your world today.