Fill My Cup Lord

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This past weekend our church had a ladies’ retreat, which I was privileged to attend.  The theme for the weekend was “Fill My Cup Lord”.  I truly needed to have my cup filled.  I am a wife and homeschooling mother, so the majority of the time, I dedicate my time to my children.  This was only the second women’s retreat I have attended.

The retreat was held at a Catholic Retreat Center.  The setting was beautiful and the words touched my heart and soul.  I was so glad I was able to attend.  The messages, the worship music, the meditation stations and the speakers blessed me tremendously.  Furthermore, the time with like-minded ladies was important.  I came back refreshed and ready to help fill the cups of those around me – including our family.  I pray you have been blessed recently.

Review for Focus on the Family’s “Captain Absolutely”

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My children have enjoyed reading comic books for a while now, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to Captain Absolutely from Focus on the Family.  For this particular review, I decided to have our 16-year-old son read the book.  He was excited to begin reading it.  This comic book has action and deals with the issue of ethics.

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Here is his summary of the book.  In Metropolitanville, ownership of a Bible is illegal.  Josiah King was working at the library when his friend, Darren Gray (who also works at the library). dropped a sunflower seed, his favorite snack, into the main computer.  This computer ran on nuclear power from the city’s main reactor.  Josiah gets flung into a room full of Bibles, which he reads while radioactive fumes fill the room.  Josiah is transformed into a superhero, Captain Absolutely, with the help of Hana, a teenage girl who owns a fire suit, he must battle evil villans and defend God’s truth.

My son felt the story was good, but the pacing seemed off in places.  He would have liked to have been told more background on some of the characters.  However, the background information that was provided he felt was done very well.  He also liked most of the characters.  The puns/jokes in the story were well-executed in his opinion.  He was impressed that the story was not too cliched.

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His favorite character was Hana because she comes in around one-third of the way through the book.  She serves as Captain Absolutely‘s sidekick.  He felt like she was one of the most realistic characters in the book.  He also felt that Hana’s mom was a very likeable character.  When Hana’s mom went against Captain Absolutely, it was for understandable reasons, so you still liked her.

While he liked Captain Absolutely, my son felt he was almost “too good”.  But from listening to my older sons talk and watching some movies made from other comic books, I think that just goes with being a super hero.  After all, super heros as in comic books do not exist in our real world.  My son also declared there were times when Captain Absolutely felt real.

He felt that most of the villans felt fake with a few exceptions.  Again, I feel like this goes along with the comic book genre and the villans portrayed in them.  Since comic books are imaginary to begin with, a lot of leeway is found in these characters.  The two villans he liked the most were Fear Chemist and to a certain extent Dr. Relative.  He also liked Nurse Grudge, even though she was not a real nurse.  She seemed to really try to help people in trouble until real help could arrive.

One of the features I really liked about Captain Absolutely was found at the back of the book.  A list of many of the characters is provided with information about them.  This allows the reader to find out things about characters if they want to read a short blurb about them.

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When I asked my son who he would recommend this book to, he listed several groups.  He felt this book would be good for either girls or guys.  He felt it suited pre-teens and teenagers.  He also felt it might be a good fit for someone who was strugglign with their faith.  He also felt it would be good for anyone who likes comic books.

All in all, I feel this is a book worth reading.  As fans of Focus on the Family, I am glad to see them introduce a comic book for those that like and connect with that format.

If you would like to read more reviews of Captain Absolutely by Focus on the Family, click here or on the image below.

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You can find Focus on the Family on social media at

 

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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.

Almost Christmas

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So it is hard to believe it is almost Christmas.  For the past several years, we lived in the state of Pennsylvania.  First, in the western part and then in the central part.  Both places we were surrounded by mountains.  We were almost guaranteed to have a white Christmas – even if it was just because there was still snow on the ground.  It is hard to believe it has been 8 years since we left eastern North Carolina courtesy of the Army Reserves.  Now we are on our third station since then.  For the second time, in his tour of active duty reserves, we are at the company level.  This means more soldiers to care for and more work with being the Family Readiness Group leader.

Our children are now eight years older.  It is hard to believe that in June our oldest will be turning twenty-one.  Time seems to just fly by and I am not sure where it has flown to.  Before I know it, all of our children will be grown and gone making their own  way in the world.  But at least for now, I still have several years of knowing they are at home with me.

Here are some pictures of snow from our time in Pennsylvania.  This picture is from our first rental in central Pennsylvania.

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This picture was taken in February as we were driving through Pennsylvania on our way to Texas to see if we could find some place to live.

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Finally, this is a picture from our last home in Pennsylvania, with the snow.

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Now we live in Texas on the gulf coast side of the state, and it will take a miracle for us to see snow.  It is going to be hard to adjust to warm temperatures – especially in December.  But when I take the time to stop and think, I realize that for half of the earth, Christmas comes in the midst of their summer, so what do I have to complain about.  This morning I was reading a blog post by a friend of mine and she talked about perspective and how it can change our views basically.  It reminds me I need to focus on the positive things rather than the negative ones.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of expecting what I want, when I want it and how I want it; rather than being thankful for all the blessings we have. After all, there are not too many places in February where this could happen:

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Even though the water was somewhat cold in February, they really enjoyed themselves in the pool.  So we are trying to find a new normal and new traditions in our new town.  But it still takes some time to adjust and adapt.

So how are holiday preparations going where you are?  I would love to hear from you.

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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.

Creating and Connecting

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So in the past 12 months, I have been trying to strengthen on my faith and my involvement with my faith.  Some of the things that I have been doing include: participating in Online Bible Studies, being a Facebook Small Group leader for an Online Bible Study, spending more time in prayer and in the Word, plus I have started to become involved in Bible Journaling.  Here is a piece I did earlier this year.

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I went on Amazon and found quite a few books on Art Journaling and Bible journaling to assist me in my journey.  I also have found quite a few blogs and Facebook groups to participate in as well.  Moreover,  I am making wonderful connections with people who are able to inspire me and give me ideas.

So I invite you to come on this journey with me.  I will be sharing my endeavors here.

So how do you express, show, demonstrate or enrich your faith?  I would love to hear from you.

How We Do Church at Our Home

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So for the last several months we have been having church in our home.  Being a military family living away from our home church presents some unique challenges.  My husband is an ordained Primitive Baptist preacher and has been preaching for over 23 years.  We are used to being actively involved in whatever church we attend.  So we look for churches that will permit us to do so.  While we had found one to attend in our current duty station, we discovered that ultimately it was not the right fit for our family.  With homeschooling and everything else going on in our lives, we made the decision to hold church services in our home.

So here are some photos of what it looked like during today’s service.

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Our message for today centered on Matthew 5:13.  It was interesting to hear the remarks regarding salt and its various uses in Biblical times and current days.  Because of the situation, our services tend to turn more into discussions and thoughts rather than a typical sermon.

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In addition to a message, we also sing songs from the Lloyd Hymnal (used by many Primitive Baptist Churches).  We sang “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, “Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings”, “Alas and did my Savior Bleed” in addition to a couple of other songs.

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So that is how we had church services today,  How did you spend your Sunday?

“C” is for ……

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Today is day 3 of the “Blogging A to Z” challenge, NaBloPoMo Challenge for April,  and the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  So today, “C” stands first for Christian Homeschooling materials.  We are blessed to have an abundance of Christian Homeschooling suppliers for materials.  One of my favorite books for finding Homeschooling materials is , 102 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy.  This is a wonderful resource for finding material.  She does a wonderful job of leading the readers through developing a philosophy of education,  determining teaching styles and the children’s learning styles before going into various homeschooling materials.  She even includes a detailed chart saying what teaching and learning styles each item tends to work best with that item.  She does an excellent job with this.  I was blessed to be introduced to this book shortly after beginning our homeschooling journey.

“C” is also for crocheting.  One of the first things I learned from the women in my husband’s family was how to crochet.  Through the years, I have made a number of blankets.  These blankets have been for my immediate family as well as gifts for friends or other family members.  I enjoy crocheting as a way of relaxing.

“C” is also for #Create, one of the words I have chosen for the year.  My Bible verse to go along with this is the one that is at the beginning of this post.  I truly want God to create in me a “clean heart”

So these are some things that come to mind for the letter “C” for me.  What comes to mind for you?

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“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!