Blogging through the Alphabet

Blogging Through the Alphabet {The Letter D}

God is my Dwelling Place.

 

As I learn about the power of warfare prayer, I see the purpose and presence of God all the more, as I pray His names.

Dwelling Place – Where do I dwell? In Him.

Lord let me dwell in Him.  Be my dwelling place.

 

 

 

The scriptures reveal a God who dwells with His people. In the beginning He was in a tent in the wilderness, then in the temple in Jerusalem and  today? God seeks to dwell within His people.

He is our dwelling place, or Maon. A place of refuge, where we go for safety and security.

Just as Israel had cities of refuge to run to, so is He our place of refuse, or miqlat. 

 

 

 

In times of trouble, when we feel defeated, beat down and left behind let us run to Him who is our dwelling place.

What a blessing it is to know our God, not only to be His chosen people but to be called to, to be sheltered and protected by His great love.

 

 

 

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TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” {Review}

Last year we were given the opportunity to explore The Gospels, with Dave Stotts in Drive Thru History Adventures; this time around we had the pleasure of reviewing Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” from Drive Thru History.

The Book of Acts is one of my favorite books (okay, so every book is one of my favorites) because I just love experiencing through God’s Word the birth and plan for the church. There is something so powerful there. In fact, when I first came into the church, my Pastor at the time, encouraged me to read it, all the way through, a couple times. If that didn’t breathe some life and passion into me for God and for HIs plan. Hallelujah!

This one arrived just in time for one of those weekends – lots of driving for a hockey tournament and a Bible Quiz tournament – It sure is nice to be able to use that DVD player in the van for something so good.

The DVD set comes with three discs which contain 18 30-minute episodes. Know what I think is really fun? It even looks like a book. I “lost” it amidst other books because it looks just like one. I love that! There is also a very handy study guide included. Full color images, lots of great food for thought and interesting pieces of information as it relates to each lesson.

As we watch and learn we travel through Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Rome and so many other places that we have only read about. As we travel along, we also learn about those early heroes of the faith; experiencing their journeys as this book just comes to life! I don’t know how many times as we watched this, I just wept because it was so powerful. I could feel the power and the presence of God as we watched. We spent an entire year studying the Book of Acts, as a Bible Quiz group – How eyes were opened in that time!

There are just so many amazing lessons and revelations for us within this particular book, I was so excited for this to come! I mean, we know and have experienced the power of baptism in Jesus name, we have experienced the power and presence that comes from speaking in tongues as the spirit gives the utterance. Tools that were given to build us up in our faith; to connect us to God all the more and allow us to truly go out, with His power, and preach the Gospel to all nations.

I love materials like this that encourage and educate but also cause you to consider what you know and what it all means. From the moment we began with that first episode, all we heard was, “Play the next one mom…Why did it stop…What’s next?” My boys are not historians – my husband and I love history – they are only recently beginning to really see and understand why it matters. And have an interest in it for themselves. But my boys love Peter and Paul and Stephan and having the opportunity to learn more of them and experience their missionary work – it really lights that fire within you and causes you to go forth! As we watched each episode, I also encouraged my kids to dig in a bit deeper using the questions in the study guide. I love study guides! These helped them to recall what they learned in some cases:

  • Who wrote the Book of Acts?
  • What was The Way?
  • Who first preached in Samaria?
  • What special skill did Saul learn in Tarsus
  • Who were the Praetorians
  • What was “bema” at Corinth?
  • Why trust the historical accuracy of this book?

As we read through some of these questions, we got into some pretty interesting discussions. Imagining what it must have been like to be in that room on the day of Pentecost. Our Pastor tells stories of when he had the opportunity to stand in that very room himself – I believe him when he says that you can still feel a power and presence in that place. As the church grows – find yourself on that road to Damascus with Saul. In each episode, I do believe we found ourselves drawn into the event – we were there. Standing (okay mostly sitting) in awe of all these great works that God did so long ago and how alive it all still is today. We even learned the proper way to hear preaching, sans the Bereans! For my oldest son, who has recently joined us in the pew, I think this is a lesson he will be chewing on for some time.

My boys love the humor woven into these episodes; they also love how visual they are. As you learn you also see. On the scene. It really makes you think of things in a different light/ For our children I think it means so much more for them to see- these places are real – this is the road where Saul walked. There is Thessalonica where the mob ran them off. See the island where John wrote the pages of Revelation. Can you imagine driving all this way? That’s exactly what Dave Stotts does and since so many of us will likely never have this opportunity, it is so great to be able to join him like this. For some crazy fun? Check out the throat singing – my oldest son has actually been looking up videos on how to throat sing himself. ha-ha

Through this we really got to know Paul, Peter, Stephan and Luke – This is so much more than I can begin to express. How shall we live? I think we may sometimes forget how meaningful every word within the pages of the Bible really is. It can be easy to get lost in all that “old stuff” thinking that this was then, imagining that what we read is nothing like what we experience today. Yet these words were all written for our instruction and admonition, to help us to become that righteous and perfect man of God. His Spirit living in us allows us, enables us, to walk in victory. Just as the Apostles did so long ago. What they had then, it is absolutely for us today. I love how Dave Stotts draws us in and helps us to see this beautiful and life changing truth! what an amazing God we serve that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. When we know the truth it will set us free.

Read what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say:

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TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. {Review}

We love art in our house, in whatever form it may take. Yet I confess I am anything but artistic. My sun looks like a square, my pony looks like a blob…So I really appreciate a company like ARTistic Pursuits Inc. that can help encourage and inspire my children at every stage of their artistic journey.  Last year we had so much fun reviewing Art of the Ancients, Volume 3, this year we were very excited about reviewing Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8.

These are just two of the eight volumes that comprise the K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8, each one focusing on a specific period of history as it relates to art, helping our children learn what to look for and how to really see and draw from direct observation.

This hardcover book came with both DVD and Blu-ray discs. This is recommended for grade 3 and above but all four of my children really enjoyed this one. There are 18 projects in all; 12 text lessons and six video lessons. My youngest is 3, my oldest is 13, and these lessons were full of opportunities for every one of them. While there are lessons to be learned and techniques to be practiced in each lesson, this program really knows how to do it in a way that allows our children to also express themselves as they learn and create their own works of art.

 

 

My girls love to sit and draw; they never enjoyed coloring but they can sit like this for hours. I love how they work together and help other each make shapes and decide which colors to use; they even challenge each other to drawing contests. Since every page in this book is so full of color, they could not get enough of this book. It was such fun for them both to look and then draw what they could see. My oldest daughter is enjoying her new skills in portrait drawing.  Maybe not an exact sketch of her little sister but still such fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was surprised that my younger son was so excited by this one. He has been very interested in woodworking; he learns towards needing to have a purpose in all that he does. So this was a real lesson for him in purpose in art. He is very tentative when it comes to drawing, a bit of a perfectionist. As you might imagine, this can make things a bit complicated. It can also bring out some amazing creations when he is willing. He loved the video lessons! I think he watched and completed every one of them in just one afternoon! Being able to go forward and back and pause as needed really motivated him and I think grew a new appreciation for drawing. He also learned that drawing animals isn’s as hard as he thought it was. He did a pretty nice ram if I say so myself. Then he moved on to the ship – designing his as a pirate ship.

 

This volume featured artists and art work from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Using colored pencils and graphite too, we learned a variety of ways American artists use line and color. Each lesson focuses on a particular objective ranging from drawing an object, to an animal, a vehicle, patterns, light and shadow. If we didn’t learn too about some very talented artists along the way too!  So many artists that we enjoyed exploring and learning more about. The fine artist in the American colonies, John Singleton Copley, who painted portraits of colonists, which became prized possessions of the wealthy. Or John Frederick Peto who was the master of trompe l’oei (fooling the eye).  There is so much we can learn from these artists and from observing the works they created so long ago. There are even questions throughout the book to help guide you, and your children, as you learn how to see.

 

 

Throughout these lessons my children each had the chance to practice various techniques. It wasn’t overwhelming, the lessons were the perfect length for all of my children. And often what we were drawing as related to light or shadow, colors or position, was something right in front of us. We read the lesson and then would search out our very own item to practice with. Perhaps a chunk of cheese, or a bit of fruit. Maybe daddy’s hat or the folding fan. We drew buildings, leaves, flowers and birds – Having so much fun with every one of them!

 

 

My oldest son sketched his sister’s stuffed lion. My younger son drew a image of his model tank built with Dad last winter. My girls drew each other and cupcakes. My younger son also decided to do a self portrait; his first year as a goalie and he has really found something he loves, so have to draw that!

 

I love materials of this sort, ARTistic Pursuits really is THE curriculum for creativity!  This is such a fun way to learn a bit of history while also enjoying a bit of art. I know for my kids when they can do, they learn so much more. There is a lot less struggle involved too. These are very affordable and it doesn’t just encourage us to learn and create but also to come together and do together. It can be hard to find things that all four of my children want to do, together, without endless fighting. But this is something they all get so very excited for! With eight volumes in all you are sure to learn so much too!

 

 

Be sure to read what other members of the Crew had to say about the ones they reviewed:

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Instagram: @artisticpursuitsinc

Blogging through the Alphabet

Blogging Through the Alphabet {The Letter C}

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

 

This week (well this last one anyway) I have been studying how he is our Chief Cornerstone.
In Hebrew it is translated from the word: ro’sh

A prophetic name of Jesus pictured in the Hebrew text: Chief Cornerstone (Rosh pinna) in Psalm 118:22.

A name of Jesus pictured in the Greek text: Chief Cornerstone in 1 Peter 2:7.

 

Did you know, that in ancient times, when building, the cornerstone was the principle stone. That means that is was the most solid; it was the most carefully crafted. This stone was the most important stone of all in the building. Believe  it or not this one stone could ensure that the building was level; that it had a firm and certain strength so as to not be moved. A sure foundation matters so much more than we sometimes realize (Have you ever lived in one of those homes where there is a bit of an angle to a room? that cornerstone may not be present, or may not be as it ought to be). These cornerstones, before being laid, had to be tested to ensure that it could support the weight that was to be placed upon it.

 

 

Just so Jesus is our Chief Cornerstone. Throughout the Old and New Testament we can read how He is to be the foundation, the cornerstone, of our faith. Just as those builders tested that stone for strength, so Jesus was tested and tried repeatedly during his time walking on this earth.

 

 

Isaiah 28:16
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. 

 

 

 

If we are truly living for Christ we are to build upon that cornerstone. We are to build upon His Word. Our lives should be an image of His goodness. He is the beginning and the end. When we are firmly rooted and built upon in Him, we too can have that sure foundation. And not just our lives but our homes, our places of business perhaps. When all that we have and all that we are is rooted and grounded in Him, we shall not fail.

 

The question I ask is this: Is He truly the Chief Cornerstone in your life? ❤

 

 

Each week we link up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Be sure to visit these great blogs to travel through all kinds of fun stuff. What a great way to learn something new. 🙂

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Ramblings

What Overflows

I tend to be a glass-half-empty kind of person. I don’t think of this perspective as negative so much as realistic. Yet lately in so many ways I have been reminded again and again how important our perspective is.

Training our mind to see the blessings in every situation. Looking for those opportunities, those God moments….

I was thinking of my dear Aunt who passed away a little over a year ago. She was always such a sweet and gentle woman. When I think of her, I think of a glass that is overflowing.

No matter how difficult things were for her the glass was never half empty. She’s always had faith that things were going to work out for good.

Her granddaughter riddled with drugs and alcohol, two pregnancies, still lost and struggling in every way yet she believed Jesus was using this for good.

As her Alzheimer’s and cancer worsened, she continued to love others. To tell others how much God loves them. She determined o finish her race. She touched so many lives. That is overflow.

She believed very much the value of enduring to the end. In every storm she saw the rainbow that was to come. She knew God was with her and would finish His work in her.

She never had a doubt. Child like faith. Are we not told we need to be as a child if we wish to enter into the Kingdom?

 

I want that kind of faith. To have a heart so fixed on Jesus that I have no doubt. That my heart and my life are overflowing with Jesus.

I pray that I will grow such great faith that I will not be shaken; that no matter the situation I will stand firm and sure on the rock, Jesus Christ.

I imagine all that can be reached; all the lives that can be changed, if we, every one of us, lived a life that was overflowing with HIs goodness and love.

 

Let us pray that He will work in us, through us, so that all that He will would flow out of us to every one we meet.

TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Homeschool Complete {Second Grade Review}

Not long ago we took the dive into unschooling – Jumping right in. To me, I saw this as a time to throw curriculum out the door – My daughter disagreed though. Turns out she really likes all of those worksheets and books. Unlike my boys, she has a need to follow a certain path (at least for now). Needless to say that had me on the hunt for something that we would both enjoy. When I saw Homeschool Complete for review, I was more than happy to explore their Second Grade Complete program. We received this material as a digital download and the moment it arrived we were hooked.

Being that we love to read, this being both a Biblical and literature based program, I was pretty excited. My daughter too. I love all inclusive stuff because, if I can be totally honest, right now I am anything but organized. With an older son who is a very reluctant, sometimes rebellious spirit, and a younger son who is all about tools and building and creating, they alone keep me super busy. We have spent most of this very cold Wisconsin winter, hiding in our house and just trying to work on better relationships, greater character. And working in a place of rest. I worried that this could upset that initially but, so thankful, I was wrong! I especially love that their goal is more than just facts and figures; they desire for our children to learn problem solving skills, to gain higher level thinking abilities and especially to grow a love of learning. I( am reminded that this is what it is all about.

I absolutely love how organized and detailed this program is! Perfect for this season when I feel like such a mess of a mom! Every subject we need is covered; all in fun themed units too! This even covers art and music; I especially love that there is poetry writing too. I am the first to admit how easy it is for me to get overwhelmed at times, so this was refreshing and encouraging to me. The Teacher’s Manual was quite the blessing! Full of guidance, reminders to encourage and stay positive, it did not just act as a how-to manual for the program but also an inspiring, helpful reminder of being gentle, staying positive. Every day is a listing of exactly what you need to do for every subject. There direction is so clear – In fact, I was just using this program as an example to another mom who was expressing her concern about not doing enough. When we are not sure what they should know, we can always go back to the handy skills list that shows us by subject area, the skills being practiced. Trust me, with this program, you definitely have more than enough. 🙂

Doesn’t this all look so very fun? These are designed for a five day week of learning with the program being completed in about 36 weeks. We are very relaxed in our learning so and kind with our young learners. Walking with them; helping them see clearly. I admit, there were times we went a bit slower. However there was also a lot of enthusiasm on the part of my daughter and so there were other days that we really had fun with this! Each day we would print off the pages that needed to be completed, we would head to a special place (a time I am reminded of the value and power of just my daughter and I) and we would begin. Since she loves to write and draw, I think she really appreciated all the different ways that she was able to “work.” The fact that she really looked forward to this and saw it as “fun” was a great relief to me because, I really want to see my children enjoy and love their learning experiences. I had no idea what a cinquain was before we began this program. Moments like this also cause me to gain a greater love for whatever program we are using. I mean if I can learn from it too, that says a lot.

So how do I explain how really amazing this program is? I mean, I do not think I have really enjoyed a curriculum in a very long time. Any preparation that is required is simply getting ahold of books for the unit, and basic materials that we all have or can easily access anyway. With this, there really is no need for other materials (I am a recovering curriculum hoarder so I appreciate it all being in one place, covering all things). Some of the things they cover are so simple (but we can easily overlook them, at least I can) with daily calendar work. What month is it, what day is it? I sometimes joke that “we homeschool, it doesn’t matter.” But then we find times when it really does and while I believe that our children will grow into understanding, perhaps when they have their very own calendar (my daughter likes to have her own) there is value as she identifies each day, and can see the fun times, experiences and explorations to come. Journal writing also became something that we really enjoyed together; she would often write about her dog or her best friend and maybe draw a picture here and there. At times she would ask me to spell a word or help her with a letter, but more often it was a great opportunity to practice letter sounds and “think on paper” as she says. I think part of her enthusiasm came from me showing her some of my old journals. How fun can it be at times to read and see your journey?

This is relationship based. Sometimes we forget about the value of relationships; we become the teacher. We become the task master. A lot of programs we have used have caused me to feel this way. But this one really is such an adventure; math and reading, writing and Bible time. These all are designed in such a way that you can truly enjoy what you are doing. For my daughter, I see her grow in her confidence most of all, with this. As we read Flat Stanley we also create our own adventure – my daughter loves this stuff – of course she couldn’t be Flat Stanley, call her Flat Cora – she would float straight to the Canary Islands to visit her “sister” we hosted some years ago. She learned about symmetry as she designed her very own butterfly (she has a small butterfly garden she plants every spring). One of her reading lessons even included the name of her brother. Another story she read in this had her daddy’s name. It’s simple, little things but her sweet little heart loves to see and connect things like this. She amazes me as we work through these pages; I love how she snuggles up close as we read all these great books. I am not holding my breath, I can breath again and even though this is a curriculum, I can still feel relaxed and free. As we work, we walk in faith. We imagine and create and explore from habitats and migration to bats and tall tales and rivers. We even had so much fun with tangrams and great songs that helped us learn the states, the continents, the basics of economics. Did I mention there are even some amazing, delicious, recipes to enjoy together? I mean, isn’t this program just amazing?

Being such a bookworm, I just love literature based programs; so many great stories we have experienced. Many we even had in our little home library. Other times we enjoy spending the day at our local library, or on the especially cold days, watching and listening to stories through Librivox , Audible, or on YouTube. I am always amazed at all the great discussions and the rabbit trails we end up following as we enjoy so many different books. It can be easy to forget all of the great lessons that can be learned even when we are “just” learning about rocks or eyes or cowboys. Since our children are all unique, fearfully and wonderfully made, there are activities designed for every learning style included in this program. Having four children who are so different from one another in so many ways, I see so much value in programs like this one that allow and encourage our children, however they best learn. Granted, I did use this solely with my seven year old daughter but the way this is designed I really could use this with any of my children and I believe they would do well. I really wish they had this program for middle and high school levels? This is one of those things that I think is a requirement for anyone who says “I can’t homeschool my kids.” It could not be simpler; it could not be more fun.

Want to learn more about Homeschool Complete’s unit studies & complete curriculum for additional grades? For those of you who are as excited as I am about this one, use the code CREW2019 and get 10% off your order until 3/31/2019. What a great deal! Still not sure? Click on the banner below and read lots of other reviews by our homeschool review crew!

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