Book Review – More Than Just Making It

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I was really thrilled to be a part of the launch team for Erin Odom’s book – “More Than Just Making It”. This is one of those books I picked up and had a hard time putting back down.  This is a down-to-earth, heart-warming book that examines realistically finances, public assistance and more.

I love Erin Odom’s conversational style in the book.  I felt like I was sitting with her in one of her homes while having a real conversation.  This book touched my heart as well as provided inspiration and memories of what our lives where like when our children were younger.

And while I planned on writing today about this book.  I felt like I needed to talk more about my own #kissesfromJesus as a result of being part of this launch team.  About a year and a half ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas thanks to the United States military.  We have no real family to speak of in the state.  So when Hurricane Harvey decided to come calling, we were in a dilemma about where to evacuate to for the storm.

Initially, we planned on hunkering down in our home.  But when the storm was upgraded to making landfall as a Category 3 “or higher”, I knew we needed to find somewhere to evacuate to for safety.  Somehow the topic of the storm came up on the book launch Facebook page.  A generous lady offered to open her home to our family in the event we needed to evacuate.  I filed the information away for future consideration.  Once we found out we were under a mandatory evacuation order, I sent a message to this amazing lady and asked if she was serious about allowing our family to evacuate to her home.  She quickly replied that we were more than welcome to come.  So that evening, I had our four children and my mother who all live with my husband and I pack in preparations to leave.

Another giant blessing was when we found out her husband was lactose-intolerant like our oldest son.  On Friday morning as Hurricane Harvey was preparing to making landfall in Texas, our family took to the highways to go to Dallas.  We were blessed with reasonable traffic and reasonably good weather for our travels.

Once in Dallas we were welcomed like honored guests.  Truly our family was blessed to meet Dominique and her husband.  She cooked amazing meals and had wonderful touches that made us feel incredibly welcomed.  We received #KissesfromJesus with this act of kindness.

So if you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend this book.  Trust me, if you read it, you will be blessed.

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.

 

Our Area’s Homeschool Activity Fair – Part 1

 

So we are now in our second year of living in Texas.  This week I became aware that our local homeschool organization was holding an activity fair.  So I informed my youngest two and my husband the four of us would be attending.  As we drove into the parking lot and started to get out of the vehicle, I stated I was not sure how much we would find if anything.

So imagine my surprise when we entered the room the fair was in and found a number of booths that interested my children.  I am going to break this up into two parts.  Today I am going to write about the activities our 16 (getting ready to turn 17 in October) son found at the fair.

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The first activity which really interested him was the area homeschool band.  The benefit of this is that I can also play in it as a parent.  Furthermore, our second son can play as well.  After talking with the representatives a few minutes, I picked up a flyer, added our names to the list and checked one activity to add to our schedule.  So this should be fun for us.

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The next table to catch Nathan’s interest was one for an area Junior High/High School choir.  Nathan has a love of music and of singing, so again I knew this would be a good fit.  So I grabbed the flyer, noted the date of the informational meeting and then we moved on again.

My son then became distracted for a few minutes when one of his friends from church handed him a flyer for the group’s yearbook staff.  Involvement in that is still under consideration.  Then he was distracted by seeing the mother of that same friend.  So, of course, he had to go over and speak to her.

Then we stopped at a table where another one of my children’s friends was sitting.  We spoke to her for a few minutes before moving on to see what else we could find.

The next table to truly interest our son was the one for tennis lessons.  One of the moms we met when we first moved to Texas was on duty there.  We received the information, chatted for a few minutes and caught up a little bit.  I gave a sigh of relief when I realized they provided all the necessary equipment.  So that is one expense I do not have to worry about right away.

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Finally, he asked if we could stop by the table for the area athletic teams – including basketball – something he has wanted to play for years.  Unfortunately, that activity is not a possibility because it will conflict with the homeschool band.  I was glad to see my son was more interested in the band instead of basketball.

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So that is a summary of the activities our son is interested in for the new year.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I will discuss the activities our daughter is interested in for this year.

Homeschooling Year Round

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I love the summertime (well except the heat and humidity in Texas) because we get to relax our schedule.  This summer has offered a lot of opportunities.  First, my youngest two have had numerous opportunities to go swimming with the youth group at our church at the home of one of our members.

Our entire family attending a swimming party/cook-out at the same home of our members.  During that cookout, my second son took the time to work on a crossword puzzle book, which is shown in the picture above.  My oldest son spent his time socializing, while the youngest two enjoyed swimming with some of their friends.

The younger two also participated in a Service camp held at our church.  They did some things around the church including painting, cleaning and visiting members of the church and working at a local charity.  All in all, they had a great time.

Now we are about to enter August, which means we will take two weeks off (mainly because my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary) before gearing back up for the new year.

It is hard to believe my youngest three will all be doing high school work.  I have some great resources we will be using this year, and I look forward to sharing them with you in some future posts.

So what is going on in your world?  I would love to hear from you.

Review of “Raising Leaders Not Followers by Kerry Beck

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“Raising Leaders Not Followers” by Kerry Beck is a thought-provoking book about stepping out of the traditional thoughts on education and raising children. She encourages parents to raise leaders rather than followers by focusing on God, developing character and stepping out into an education model that focuses on God, a parent’s goals for his/her child and the gifts and talents a particular child has.

The book was easy to read and captured my interest. I would definitely recommend this book to any homeschooling parents who want some new ideas for homeschooling. I loved her use of Scriptures from the Bible, quotes and other visual methods of displaying information. There is a study guide available along with a remarkable list of resources to refer to if a reader desires. I definitely needed the reminder to focus on God and character rather than checking off boxes to match what public school students are doing.

Kerry Beck brings a wealth of knowledge, experiences, and insights on how to raise students who can think for themselves and be visionaries rather than just regurgitating answers that have been fed to them by classroom teachers.
Once again I definitely recommend this book highly.

You can purchase the book here or click on the picture below.

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If you buy the book today, you will receive $180 in free resources.

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Also, you can register for a free workshop on starting homeschooling right.

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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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One of My Favorite Things about Homeschooling

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One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that my children get to spend time doing things they love.  For our daughter, that means she gets to spend time on her artwork.

For my sons, they get to spend time online with cousins and friends in other states (and even another country).  I love hearing them interact with one another as they play games and talk with each other.

Another thing I love is that it gives us a chance to spend time as a family.  Sometimes this means we might go some place, like the trips we used to take each year to Busch Gardens.  Other times, it may mean we go shopping or perhaps just watch a movie at home together. All in all, homeschooling has been a blessing for our family.

So what does your family like to do?