Friday, August 26, 2016

Weekly snapshots and encouragement from our week...

Yes, Oh Lord! LOVE like JESUS!
Some hi-lites of our week, mostly ramblings, and God moments:
This week we finished week 5 at Raising Arrows!! Homeschooling does rock, and this week my daughter reminded me of another reason why, with a sweet little note she left in her math workbook. Yes some moments are a struggle, when we rather be doing something else, or mama like some quiet time, or learning something that is challenging, but we always get through it and learn a great lesson from it. This week my hubs with the help from the kids finished the outside landscaping project in the front of our house, which was due to result of small leak that needed to be fixed, but now all is good and it looks better than before! Aidan started soccer practice, first time playing, he is loving it. He has a hard time sitting still, so this is perfect for him. We all got our hair done last Friday, long over due! I don't know why I wait so long, because it always looks ten times better, but I think it is a time thing, I just rather be doing something else then sitting getting my hair done, though I do love my hair stylist! Anyhow, time is pressing and the sun is shining, time to get moving! Remember there are times we all struggle, times when we like to run away, throw in the towel, and then there are glorious moments, God moments and connections, that makes everything worth it. Plus those lessons you learn in those hard times too are worth it. Take the time to sit, listen to God, and count your blessings, you will see God's beauty all around, even in the everyday ordinary living. Be blessed and fight the good fight, keep focused on things above and the gifts HE has given you! Shine for HIM!! Be BRAVE!

Be sure if you have not already, enter in for a give-away at my blog post here:

I’m excited to be on the launch team for #IAmBreathingEden by @jenniferjcamp - Releases Oct 4, go to to read more about this book!! So watch for future review and encouraging quotes!

Encouraging Reads: 
Se7en Sanity Savers for HomeSchoolers and A Surprising Truth…
The power of educational innovation rests in the hands of every homeschool parent on this planet.
We all need sympathy, love, help, and encouraging words. We all feel inadequate at times, and just knowing we are not alone is so important. I have also realized lately that all of us moms who are believers have the Holy Spirit working in us, and He drives us to want to be involved in ministry.  What we can tend to forget is that the ministry of being God's voice, words, hands, touch, and help to those who are in our personal lives could be the ministry He wants to use us in today!
You need to run your own race, no matter how crooked the trail appears to be. God will send you the people and resources you need. You’re not building the dream, your responding to a call. The success or failure of the vision you carry is not dependent on your skills, assets, or gifting, but on your obedience to keep going….but friend, If God has given you a dream, it is enough.
God is not looking for perfect examples. He is looking for ordinary people willing to just love one another. He is calling the messy, the broken and the incomplete. This is good news for all of us. It means our role is not to show off; it’s just to show up. He will give to us and then He’ll give through us. We’re simply asked to be willing and brave enough to do it as we are and not as we’d like to be.
Yes…Education should help children develop their gifts and equip them to do whatever God calls them to do to further His Kingdom.

Snapshots of our week:

Fresh haircuts for the three of us!
My hubs 5 year bonus with the CN Railroad looks good on me ;) ha!
It was a cool night and fun watching these two run around kicking a soccer ball!
A man and his dog, love him!! Oh Zeke!
Another gorgeous sunset, God painting the sky, counting blessings, country living!
Having fun doing some art!
One of my favorite things to do everyday is walk to the mailbox, some days the kids join and we turn it into a nature walk!

Love this view at the end of our driveway, country living!
Little man had fun at his first night of soccer practice!

Socks has made himself at home and taken over Peter cat's chair!
Passion flower picked by my daughter, she found it in our yard, so unique looking!
I have the best husband and principal for Raising Arrows, fuel for school!!
Love coming across these little notes from my student aka daughter while grading!
This was a project, but it turned out great, thanks to my hubs and kids for their hard work!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Biggest Story~CD and DVD review with give-away

A year ago I reviewed The Biggest Story book, which you can read the about here The other day, I received in the mail from FlyBy a review for The Biggest Story DVD and CD! Perfect timing since we had to drive into town for grocery shopping and errands, so we listened to the CD on our drive. The kids and I enjoyed listening to the story being read to us. If you don't know what story I am talking about it is the story about God's glorious plan to redeem us, the story of Jesus! Then that night we watched the DVD. Both are just 30 minutes, they are exactly like the book, so they all go together. My children can follow along in the book while listening to it, or watch the story on TV. This is great for children of all ages. I love the vibrant illustrations and how they made them come more alive on the TV.  The author did a great job of connecting the journey of redemption from Genesis to Revelations in a short time. My son said it was "Awesome!" My daughter said, "It is a great story about Jesus~the snake crusher!"

For one of my blessed readers I have one set of the CD and DVD to give-away. Please be sure to leave a comment to be entered no later than September 1, 2016. I will draw a name from the entry's and notify winner shortly after. FlyBy will mail the CD and DVD to you directly.

From our Promotions company:

The Animated Short Film: Featuring beautifully animated illustrations adapted from the book, The Biggest Story: The Animated Short Film will captivate children and parents alike as they see how all the classic stories in the Bible connect to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s glorious plan to redeem his rebellious people.

The Audio Book: This audio book of The Biggest Story—written and narrated also by the best-selling author Kevin DeYoung—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ's death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.

Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI, husband to Trisha, and father to seven children.

Social Corner:

 #TheBiggestStory  #FlyBy


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Moments & Days~How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith~Book review

I finished reading this beautiful book Moments and Days~How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith by Michelle Van Loon, I so love the cover of this book! There is a part of me that is drawn to rituals and traditions, and I so believe in celebrations, especially the small ordinary moments are so worth celebrating! These moments at times give me a feeling of sacredness, connection to the Holy One. I can't imagine what it would be like, to be participate in a pilgrimage or Shabbat observance, etc... Can you imagine journeying together with other believers or sitting with your family in quiet observance, while places are closed down doing the same with their families? Sometimes it is hard to find quiet in this world we live in with all the busyness, beeping noises, etc...but I know that is something that I can control. I live by my calendar, I need it to keep me organized and to help get things done. I need to remember Time is a gift, given to us (Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom). This book left me wanting to do that more often then just a couple moments I get here and there. The author wrote this book to share the biblical heritage of holy days, along with practical inspirations and suggestions, with questions to ask yourself. She shares the history of the Jewish holidays and Christian holidays, and how the calendar was created. The holy days are not something you add on to do, but instead to give you intentionality in a way to live for God and to share in HIS glory.

"It's not the formality of the ritual that is most important when it comes to forming a Sabbath habit in your life; it's the commitment to rest with God." 

"The Jewish calendar was countercultural, a way for the Chosen People to live a different story than their pagan neighbors were living. It was one obvious way in which they reflected and magnified God's light to the nations. The building blocks of the Christian calendar came from the same place, but as Christianity had become mainstream across Europe, the Middle East, western Asian, and parts of northern Africa, its calendar became less counterculture, more a mere timekeeper for the culture. Its prophetic purpose was diluted by its popularity." 

So I too wonder like the author, if we are forgetting the holiness and sacredness of Christ and worship? Look at the world, we start seeing Christmas items in stores in July and many times it appears the only time churches are full is at Christmas and Easter services. Some churches look more like rock music concerts (no I am not judging rock music, I do like some, but in a church I think it might lose the focus of why you are there), slides for baptism (yes I saw that on a post someone shared), etc.. Have we as a people let things of non-importance get in the way of our worship, have we been left to dining on crumbs and become a slave to the world? I know I am guilty of this at times. I just think if we used these holy days and times to help us remember we are in fact living eternity every day and take a hold of the rhythms of Christian year and hold to our heritage and the ONE who holds us, we will live as we were made to live.

 At the end of this book, she concludes with suggestions if we want to incorporate these holy days in our calendar, with our families, communities, and churches. Along with some yummy recipes to go with them.
Sorry no give away of this book but you can find out more at links I shared or buy this book at Christian book stores or online, and you know my favorite place to shop is Amazon!

The author's web-page
Michelle Van Loon helps us treasure our time as a gift and a spiritual responsibility, and God as faithfully present in all our moments and days.
People rarely slow down to experience their days, and so they feel rushed through life even as they begin to suspect that life lacks significance. By introducing (and reintroducing) us to the feasts and festivals of the Bible, as well as the special celebrations of the Christian calendar, Moments and Days restores a sacred sense of time throughout our year, enriching our experience of each “holy day” and enlivening our experience of even the most “ordinary time.”

Product Details

Published:September 1, 2016
Binding: Softcover
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.25 in.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale House Publishers book. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday weekly update, snapshots encouragement from week 4!!

Great reminder, count your blessings!
Another week in the books at Raising Arrows, we have completed a month of school already!! In a few weeks we will take a late summer break, this is so I can plan for our next 6-8 weeks of school and it will be time to celebrate someone's birthday with a little get-away to Chattanooga, which could also double as an educational field trip, whoohoo!! So any recommendations on places to eat at or places to go to, please send me those!!

Saturday I attended a Titus 2 luncheon, many know my passion for mom/women's ministry and encouraging one another! It was so good, oh I have notes, so if anyone is interested I love to share and I may share them in a blog post soon!! Then Wednesday in my memories an old post popped up, wow God!! I so have loved my mentoring relationship and yes we still chat! I don't know what God has planned next, but I am so blessed by the people He has surrounded me with!

Wednesday was our first-date anniversary, it was 13 years ago that I went on a blind date with my husband, you can read our story here it is the best story~I love our story, wouldn't change a thing. I am so thankful to the Lord for bringing us together and the life we share! We didn't really get to celebrate, though I did make us a yummy meal and dessert for the occasion. Lately he has been putting in many hours at work, which means more time away from home and then also trying to finish up on a project at our house when he is home (just thankful to have it fixed and soon a pretty front yard and someday a completely finished basement). Of course there will always be projects, that is what home ownership is all about, ha! Our kids have been having fun helping, so it is a learning experience for them, so an added benefit you could say!

This week I found out I get to be a part of the street team for Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting, an upcoming Advent devotional. Advent season is one of my favorite seasons. Can't wait to share more, so stay tuned! I also have a couple upcoming book reviews and give-aways that will be happening in the near future that I am also a part of! I am blessed to be a book nerd, but one of my favorite things is being able to offer the free give-aways to my readers!

Encouraging reads:
Homeschool parents have some unique advantages when it comes to educational innovation. 
It is not information that will save the world, but grace; and grace comes in the story of an image-restoring Son. 
The better world and making a difference is a conversation we should refuse to engage: it does not belong to us. Speak the truth. Keep the commandments. Let God make all the difference in the world. 
Great recommendation list for homeschoolers…As we approach a new school year, I hope this is encouraging to you. Try to ignore the doomsday voices of our age, remembering that God chose you to parent your children and equipped you in just the right way. 
Yes, this… the podcast is a must listen, take the time to hear some much needed truth and encouragement in this journey and growing in faith. May we be Christians that are "Regardless of what is happening around me, I will be the best I can be, work the hardest I am able, pursue the highest standards--especially for my personal life where no one but God sees--because I have been bought with a price and have His Holy Spirit residing within. So my worship of Him requires that I pursue the standard of His Holiness as an affirmation of His reality in my life." 
I agree…I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.

Weekly Snapshots:

Celebrating Friday with some yummy donuts!
This boy read his first book all by himself, proud mama, proud teacher!
Love watching big sis help little bro follow along during read aloud time!
Sometimes more comfortable to do school work on the floor.
Such focus!
Caught herself a little fish, while fishing with daddy in our pond!
Peter cat is so patient with Socks, we could learn a lot from him!
Little man was up early, dressed himself and was ready for church before I had my coffee on Sunday!
He is ready to work, helping daddy with some landscaping!
My men, love them!!
The kids and I enjoyed seeing God at work, beautiful sunset after church! Reminder of God's power and beauty!

Love listening to these two. Abigail sure is blessed with a wonderful piano teacher!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Happy Friday,sharing some favs, encouragement and snapshots of our week!

Sweet flowers picked by my kiddos, simple things!
Whoohoo, today we finish up week three of school already, the weeks seem to be going by fast, though there have been some long days.The hubs has been working way too much, the railroad keeps calling him out shortly after he has rested, so it leaves me to tend to the household management and schooling. I am not complaining, just miss having my hubs here to provide adult conversation and making me laugh and keeping me sane, because he is good at that!! He gets me like know one else and that is such a big plus.

This year we have taken a more Charlotte Mason approach with our learning. I consider ourselves a mix of classical and Charlotte Mason. We use mostly Sonlight, first because all the books and they have  the year laid out, so that does save me some planning time. I just don't follow the planned schedule as they have it laid it out and that is OK, they actually recommend you do what works best for you and your family. So I rearrange it a bit to fit our family and learning style, love that! I have learned, it is better for us to sit around first thing in the morning, go through our Bible, History, and Science together instead of trying to do it separate, it is more fun to discuss what we are reading together. We do poetry reading and art once a week, instead of trying to fit it in every day, that just got to be too much for us. Mid morning, we start our independent learning, math, language arts, and latin. We still are usually done by lunch time, which is great, that way the afternoon is spent: working together doing chores, taking care of animals, errands, going back over individual studies they are working on learning or following up on something they struggled with or didn't finish, individual reading time, nature time, swim, piano, karate lessons, and of course play time.

What makes homeschooling so great is that no one family I know of homeschools alike, why is that, because our kids are individuals, each created uniquely with different learning styles, gifts, personalities. It is how God made us! I know moms using Abeka, Ambleside, Heart of Dakota, My Father's World, Sonlight, a mix-mosh, etc... Friends with different learning styles and education styles; classic, Charlotte Mason, electric, unit study, or traditional. So I share this with you as encouragement for your journey, do what is right for your family and listen to God's will for your life, HE will never leave you astray. I am so thankful for the women that have gone before me in this journey, to share with me and provide encouragement when I need it! 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

First before I share my encouraging reads this week, I thought I share some good books for the homeschooling moms:

OK so I literally read Mere Motherhood in two evenings, it is that good. Her life stories and failures of a mom that she writes about left me feeling encouraged not shamed.
"There are three things that cover a multitude of sins: reading, reading aloud,and written narration." Few schools can duplicate the home when we moms and dads understand true education. When we speak idealistically about "true" education, the home cannon be beaten" "We do not write our own stories; we just think we do. My story belongs to Jesus, so I already know that it has a happy ending."Our children cannot live in our time. They live in their own time, but the more tied to the past they are in their mind, the safer they will be; the more wisdom they will have. You can have grammar,logic, and rhetoric without having wisdom-but why would you want to?" Cindy Rollins~Mere Motherhood~ CiRCE Institute
"Perhaps most importantly, put relationships above everything else. God made a true, beautiful, and good world to relish. Don't get so distracted by thirty-six weeks of carefully plotted lesson plans that you miss the glory that is already yours for the taking." "Take a deep breath, mama. This isn't as dependent on you as you think it is. Give GOD your "Here I am. Use me." Let HIM carry the burden." Read-Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie~Teaching from Rest 
"The goal of education is not to raise a child who does well on the tests of secular educators; rather it is to raise a child who does well on the tests of real life. When they need to research an issue, they will have the discipline and ability to find and analyze relevant information. When they need to present an argument, they will know how to use language persuasively. When mediating a problem at church, they will know how to apply wisdom and find a creative solution." Sally Clarkson~ Educating the WholeHearted Child 
"There should be no barrier between our intellectual knowledge and our spiritual understanding. Because all knowledge and truth have their source in God, everything we learn brings us closer to HIM, and HE is our best and wisest teacher. ~Karen Glass ~ Consider This  

We would do well as homeschooling mothers to make “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” a motto we live by day by day, moment by moment, math meltdown by math meltdown.
God gives you time for what is important, all is intertwined
When we remember that planning is guessing, we keep our plans in their place. We remember that curriculum and lesson plans are only meant to be tools, wielded by us but not to rule over us.
Crucial Questions: 25 Free eBooks from R.C. Sproul
There is no such thing as “just a mom.” Mothers are literally shaping the hearts and minds of an entire generation of children. Moms matter, and the devil knows it. This is why he works overtime to discourage Christian moms from taking an active part in the spiritual nurturing of their children.
When you read a book, your brain experiences the reading as if it were happening to you. So all the emotion you feel as you read gets transferred to your memory.

Snapshots of our week:

Love this sweet boy, happy face, having fun learning!

Singing and learning about the Middle East through song, this makes geography fun!

So focused, watching fun math videos!

The best learning environment, love my little helper!
This cutie taking care of the girls!
Getting around the yard!
A little nature walk to our mailbox and we spotted 5 different kinds of butterflies!
And these mushrooms!
Spoiled Socks, is breaking the no house rule!
Beautiful night for a little fishing on our pond with my man, love him!
He found one of his daddy's hat from his childhood, oh my too cute!
Love this book cover and excited to starting reading this book review for Tyndale!!