Time Has Flown By

Here it is the middle of February and I’ve only written one post in 2017.  So much for my goal to blog more!

On second thought, maybe I need to move the goal a little further down the list.  I’ve always been one to write when I feel the Lord has something I really need to share and not to write just to be writing.  That’s a better goal, right?

Today I felt like I needed to get a few thoughts down.  So here goes…

January was full!  My one post in the new year was to declare my “word of the year.”

I’ve thought a lot about this word and yes, I’ve “marveled” at many things thus far.

We began 2017 on a family vacation joining my side of the family in Florida for a week.  We hit the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and both sides of Universal while we were there.  It’s not the first time to Disney parks for me, however, it was the first time to Universal.  Anyway, there really is a lot to “marvel” at in an amusement park.  Here are a few that caught my attention:

  • The people – both employees and visitors.  Disney really does it well.  They know how to handle crowds and  their staff are courteous and helpful.  And those playing a character…well, it’s just really fascinating to me.
  • The rides – I don’t think explanation is necessary; however, I will say that although I don’t understand the technology and mechanics of it all, it’s absolutely amazes me!
  • The lights – there is something about Cinderella’s Castle covered in lights.  Not to mention all the other lights all over the parks.  It really is a wonderland.
  • The landscaping – I just had to mention this one because, well, I just love the Mickey head made of flowers or the bushes trimmed into the shaped of our favorite characters.

We were treated to a character breakfast.  That was a new experience for me!  Both of my children and my sister had birthdays that week so birthday cupcakes came with breakfast.

character-breakfastAs mentioned, the first two weeks of the month also came with birthday celebrations.  Our daughter turned 13 and our son turned 18 within the first 10 days of January. Those two days, more than many other things, cause me to “marvel.”  I am so proud of my kids.

Shortly after our FL trip, we took our church youth group to Gatlinburg, TN to a youth conference called Winter Crossroads. The conference is put on by Clayton King Ministries.  It was a wonderful time of worship and teaching.  I saw the Lord working in the lives of the kids, and adults, in our group.  What a MARVELous blessing.  Lives were changed.  To God be the glory!  A side note is that I ran into a long time friend, who lives in another state and was at the conference with her church.  What a sweet reunion!

While in Gatlinburg, we took the opportunity to drive through the areas that had been devastated by the fires in late 2016.  I promise we weren’t just out to gawk at the severe devastation and loss that those who live and work there had experienced.  We actually prayed for the people as we drove.  It’s was something I will not soon forget.  If you think of it, please continue to pray for them.  Some will be able to rebuild.  Some have lost pretty much everything.  All of them need prayers as they move forward with their lives.

As if we hadn’t traveled enough, my hubby and I had the opportunity to go to a retreat for pastors and their wives at the end of January.  It was a time of refreshment and encouragement in ministry.  Such a blesssing to be with so many other pastors and wives from across the state!

I have been reminded at just how good the Lord is to us.  I have, for sometime now, had a desire to try my hand at becoming a Virtual Assistant.  Yep, it’s really a thing!  Anyway, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work for two wonderful ladies for a few months now.  I’m learning so much and enjoying it too!  At some point I may go into more detail but for now, the opportunity to assist these ladies with their businesses AND be at home to continue on our homeschool journey…well, I just MARVEL at the Lord’s care for me.

But that’s the thing about God.  He does care for us.  I am so thankful for the truth of Scripture that I see working in my life and the lives of those I care about.  As I continue on this year, I’m looking for things to MARVEL at.

How about you?  I’d love to know what the is doing to catch your attention.

Until next time!

Joy to You!



Five: A Five Minute Friday Post

It’s Friday! And that means that I get to sit down and join with many other precious ladies, and a few men, that blog about one word, for five minutes.  It’s called Five Minute Friday and is hosted by Kate Motaung.   If you’d like to know more about it, click here.

Today’s word seemed a bit challenging when I learned of this week’s prompt.  I had to give it some thought.  I mean how do you write about the word FIVEBut now, I know.  FIVE has always been a part of my life.  It’s tied to a few significant, and random things. So here goes:


I’m a May baby.  That is the 5th month.  That means that every form I have filled out, my entire life – that asked for my birthday, I’ve had to write the number 5.

My daughter was born on the 5th.  Of January.  Again with the forms for her.  I have to write 5 every time her birthday is requested. And I actually found out I was pregnant in May with both kids.  Just another cool thing about May, the 5th month.  {smile}

Every so often, I read through the book of Psalms in a month.  When I do this, I read FIVE Psalms a day.  So if I wanted to read 5 Psalms today, I’d read Psalm 23, 53, 83, 113, and 143.

This time FIVE years ago, we were settling into a new town.  A new home.  A new church.  With new friends, who are more like family now.  We began homeschooling which was also new.  I never expected, FIVE years later, to be once again settling into a new town, home, church, meeting new people.  But God moved us so we’re experiencing new things again.  I’ve learned some lessons from this move and will be blogging about those in October as part of a 31 Write Challenge.

One of my favorite things that involves the number FIVE is this Five-Minute-Friday community.  I began linking up to this community in November last year.  And, as a matter of fact, this post on FIVE will be my 5th Five-Minute-Friday post.  So even though I haven’t linked up that often, it’s still kind of a cool little coincidence!


its-a-five-minute-fridaybook1-1Before I go, I wanted to share something pretty exciting – at least it is to me.  This coming Monday, September 26th, a collection of Five-Minute-Friday stories is being released in book form.  Susan Shipe from Hope Heart Home compiled 150 posts into this book.  The really exciting, one I am thrilled to share, is that I have a post published in the book.  If you’re interested in purchasing, please come back Monday for a link.

I hope your weekend is full of blessings!

Joy to You!

History through Music…A Review

A few days ago, I mentioned that the release of  Diana and Friends Experience History through Music was coming soon.  It’s here and I am so excited to be part of the review team for these incredible books.  The difficulty is condensing what I want to share. It’s all just so good!!

I also mentioned that around our house, we love – and I do mean LOVE – music.   This automatically gave me a connection to Diana Waring, contributor to the series both in writing and performance of the music on the CD’s that are included with the books. When asked what her life was like musically growing up, Diana says, “I ALWAYS loved music. . . I was always singing”.  That’s how it is around our house too.  My kids are ALWAYS singing!!

Diana began playing instruments in the 4th grade and hasn’t stopped.  She plays clarinet, oboe, guitar, mountain dulcimer, recorder, and banjo but says that her “real instrument” is her voice.  This is evident when you hear her sing on the CD’s that go along with all three books.  She also loves history.  She says that her “favorite period of history is the one that I am currently studying”.  As the author of homeschool curriculum, she has always made history come alive through music.  The Experiencing History through Music set is not exception.

The 3 Book/CD set includes:

  • America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation
  • Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
  • Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

I admit History was not my favorite subject growing up.  I tried to learn the facts.  I tried to learn the dates.  And I do have memories of the events that formed our great nation, but oh to have had a resource like Experiencing History through Music to help in making connections to these great happenings.


America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation just might be my favorite of the three books.  With songs like “Yankee Doodle”, the “Star-Spangled Banner”, “Oh! Susanna”, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, and “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain” I found myself singing along and feeling rather nostalgic.  What I loved most about this book in the series is learning the history of the songs and music styles.  How cool to learn that the British originally wrote “Yankee Doodle” to poke fun at the American soldiers and that Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore.  I especially like that this book goes in chronological order.  It begins with the French and Indian War and goes all the way to the transcontinental railroad.   Maybe it’s because I seem to remember the lessons from this time period more than others that this book is already a favorite.

westward ho

The musical journey in Westward Ho! takes us on quite a ride.  It’s full of firsts for our nation too.  The first apple seeds brought to the West, the first missionaries to the Native Americas of the Oregon Territory, the first man to find gold in California, and much more. We learn about the fur trading business, the boll weevil that reeked havoc on the Texas cotton crop, the invention of barbed wire and it’s effect on the range, the expansion of the railroad, and geoducks (this was a lesson for me)!!  In every story, and through the song that goes with it, you get a feel for what life must have been like for the people who pioneered the West.  It must have been quite a journey.

laura ingalls wilder

I, like many little girls, grew up wishing I could run down that hill with the Ingalls girls.  I thought it would be so cool to live on the prairie.  I remember when I realized that the Ingalls were real — that theirs was not just a made up story for TV!!!  The things on the show, and in the books, really happened.  It was quite a revelation for me!!  Laura, Mary, Nellie, Almanzo, Ma and Pa really had those joys and sorrows.  Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a treasure.  To read about the life of the Ingalls family and to learn just how much music meant to them.   I enjoyed the music in this book as much as the photos that show their homes through the years.   I also loved reading about their faith, the things that were important to them.  After reading through this book, and listening to the songs that were important to them, I feel like I have visited with an old friend.

While these books are not meant to be a stand alone curriculum, they are certainly an addition to American History that can not be matched.  I highly recommend the set to supplement in your homeschool classroom.   I love how Diana describes the set.  She says, “You might describe it as a sort of “stealth academics,” meaning that your kids will be having so much fun singing the songs, they won’t even realize they are learning”.  And of course, you will learn right along with them.  One of the GREAT benefits and blessings of homeschooling, right?!  My only regret in this post is that  I couldn’t have the music playing in the background for you so you could “experience” this great resource too.  Unfortunately, I’m just not that tech savvy.

These books are regularly priced at $18.99.  Each book includes a CD and has sheet music for all the songs.  Isn’t that a treat!   For the month of July, the 3 book/CD set is on sale for $50.  You can purchase that at DianaWaring.com.

now available

You can learn more about Diana Waring here. I invite you to hop over and take a look. Get to know her.  You will love her passion for history and for learning!

Joy to You!









Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway — $700+ Value!

Around our house, we love – and I do mean LOVE – music.  And we think history is pretty cool too.  I will admit that I wish I had paid more attention in history class.  Now I have the chance and I just love our history lessons.  My favorite way to study history with my kids is to have resources that will bring history to life.  This gives us all something to hold onto….a remembrance of sorts.   That is why I am so excited to be part of the launch team for the soon to be released Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring.  I can think of no better way to remember history than through music. A full review will be coming the week of June 30th.
To celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music, I am joining members of the Diana Waring Launch Team for an amazing giveaway. Friends of Diana have joined in and as you can see, someone’s homeschool is going to be greatly blessed!
Here’s what you could win!

Diana and Friends Giveaway


From Diana Waring Presents

american history -- never this funExperience History Through Music – set of 3 books with CDs ($50/set) Diana Waring Presents is about to bring back into print the BEST folk music you have ever heard, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history!   The Experience Music Through Historyseries includes: America – Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West  and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The musicians are amazing, every instrument is real, lots of great vocalists, and more toe-tapping music than you can imagine! The books tell the stories behind the songs.  Together, they bring American history to life through it’s music!!With fascinating history books and toe-tapping folk music CDs, American history has NEVER been this fun!


EncouragementCollage2Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection ($25) Every mom needs that word of encouragement from someone who has been there, who has grownup children and can speak with assurance about the journey. Homeschool moms have an extra portion of the journey to navigate, and often wish for an extra voice that will offer direction but without nagging or prodding. Diana Waring has that voice.


From A Journey Through Learning

Logo New 300 trans$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.

     From Homeschool Legacy

westward ho I 300x400Westward Ho! Part I ($19.95) Load up your wagon! Discover the extraordinary times of adventurous frontiersmen and brave pioneers as you travel cross-country along the Erie Canal,  Oregon Trail, and even “remember the Alamo” in Westward Ho Part I.

Westward Ho! Part II ($19.95) Continue the exciting saga begun in Westward Ho! Part I as you journey with the forty-niners, ride the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad, experience life on the prairie, and discover the exciting era of cowboys and cattle drives in Westward Ho! Part II.


      From Knowledge Quest Maps

HardcoverCD_ecover_croppedMap Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History ($55) Map Trek is a historical atlas plus outline maps that allow you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any homeschool parent can use with brilliant success, even if you don’t remember a thing from your history or geography classes in public school.

From Home School Adventure Co.

PAPS-R-96dpi shadowPhilosophy Adventure™ Digital Download ($39.95) Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.


   From Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom and Real Life Press)

fpf3-bundle-covers-180x180Firmly Planted Family Devotional Digital Volume 3 ($39) The Firmly Planted Family Series is divided into ten-week studies and is your key to making sense of the Bible—even if you’re learning right along with your children. Each lesson provides a core idea, a simple narrative, memory verses and discussion questions for children of all ages. And the companion student workbook is filled with age-appropriate, full-color, reproducible activities for children of any age!


From Raising Real Men

RRM-Mom-Dad-300x295Free Registration to Boyhood Boot Camp or Boot Camp 9-12 LIVE webinar series (winner’s choice) plus Mom & Dad Special Raising Real Men (Book for Mom to read in the bathroom + AudioBook for Dad to listen to on the commute) ($62-69)

My-Beloved-and-My-Friend-Cover-Border-201x300Free Registration for Marriage Retreat Online plus His & Hers Special of My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses (book + audiobook), ($65)


From Institute for Excellence in Writing

logo$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the IEW store, applicable toward any purchase.


From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

ST-Affiliate-300x300_zpsb38aa8aeSchoolhouseTeachers.com ($139) A one year membership to the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Nearly 100 classes for Pre-K to High School, taught by expert teachers, and lots of extras including the Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse Expos, monthly free ebook downloads and more.

Big-Book-14-Cover-113013-e1392516063206The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 2014 Print Book ($15) Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the all new 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.You’ll get a year’s worth of homeschool support in almost 300 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. This is a magazine you’ll refer to again and again.


From Writing with Sharon Watson

the-power-in-your-hands-front-coverThe Power in Your Hands ($53.96) With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing.

69276_1454187188126914_157492202_nWriting Fiction [in High School] ($35) Are you raising the next C. S. Lewis or Jane Austen? Help your students develop their fiction-writing talents with Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life.



To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter link below. Residents of the U.S., age 18 and older only. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Joy to You!


Devotions from Genesis ~ A Review

I have had the privilege of working my way through Devotions from Genesis the first book in a wonderful series by Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn.  I typically do not gravitate towards the Old Testament for devotional material, however, I am relishing the first book of God’s Word as I read Genesis along with this devotional book.  I am looking forward to continuing in Exodus with Nicole’s book Devotions from Exodus: part 1.
From the acknowledgement page of Devotions from Genesis, Nicole points us to the Lord.  She encourages the reader to be in the Word and to fellowship with other believers. 
This first book in the Devotions from the Torah series is divided into three sections:
  • Discovering the Character of God and Man through the Creation, the Fall, and the Flood
  • Discovering Faith and Obedience through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • Discovering the Comings of Christ and Trust in the Midst of Trial through the Life of Joseph
There is so much more than just the discoveries listed as the section headings.  We are pointed to the Trinity, to the God-ordained roles in marriage, to the covenant that God made with Abraham but is still relevant for us today.  We are shown patience, humility, the effects of sin, and the blessing of obedience.  Each entry in this devotional, although brief in length, is full of wisdom and insight into the heart of our God.   We are reminded that every little detail matters to God.  And each entry gives opportunity for further study through scripture references that connect the Old and the New Testaments.   This is absolutely refreshing.  This walk through Genesis takes the events of scripture and weaves them together with today’s culture and circumstances reminding us that God has a solution.  Reminding us that He is, and always has been, in control.
 As beautiful and insightful as the devotional material is in Devotions from Genesis, I have been greatly affected by the prayers that Nicole has written at the end of every section.  She has let us see into her heart and given us a beautiful picture of how our relationship with God can and should be.  Through her prayers, we are reminded of how we are to approach God. And more importantly, we are reminded that God knows us, cares about us, and listens to us.
I would be amiss if I did not tell you just a little bit about Nicole.  She is the Children’s Ministry Director at Shiloh Baptist Church in Somerville, AL. She is the co-administrator of CrossRoads Christian Academy and is the founder of Proven Path Ministries. She has also lead inductive Precept Upon Precept studies, has served as an advocate for her local crisis pregnancy center and has shared the testimony of Christ throughout her community and abroad. Nicole is a woman who is dedicated in her faith, devoted to her family, and driven to share the truth of God with others. She and her husband, Patrick, currently reside in Decatur, AL with their two youngest children.
Finally, I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway to three of my readers here in my little corner of the blogging world.  Three copies, in E-book format, of the Devotions from the Torah series are being provided for me to share.  All you have to do is click on the link below and enter your email address.  Three winners will be chosen after 12 pm on Wednesday, December 10th.    


Joy to you!

Last chance to enter ………..

Today is the last day to enter the very special giveaway of incredible books — a $160 value — announced here back on November 15th.  The giveaway is to celebrate the launch of Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn’s first two books in her Devotions from the Torah Series: Devotions from Genesis and Devotions from Exodus Part One
This giveaway is hosted by The Devotions from the Torah Launch Team.  Once again, I would like to extend thanks, on behalf of the launch team, to the generous sponsors of this giveaway.  Be sure to stop by their websites to say thank you!
To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. One winner will be selected and announced by noon ET on December 5, 2013. U.S. residents age 18 and older only please. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.
For a recap of exactly what you could win, click here.

And here’s the Rafflecopter : 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Thanks for joining me and I do hope that you win!
Joy to You!



Devotions from the Torah ~ A Giveaway

It’s always exciting to find a new devotion that allows us to dig deeper into the Word of God.  Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn’s series Devotions from the Torah do just that.  Studying God’s Word from the beginning, from Day 1, is a wonderful way to learn more about God — who He is and how He loves us.  I am currently working through Devotions from Genesis:  It’s Not Just Ancient History (review coming in December) and am looking forward to moving on to Devotions from Exodus (part one): Learning to Live in Freedom.  From the acknowledgement page of Devotions from Genesis we are pointed to Jesus.
The Devotions from the Torah Launch Team is excited to help Nicole celebrate the release of the first 2 books in this series — Devotions from Genesis and Devotions from Exodus Part One — with a special giveaway of incredible books, several of which will enhance your study of the Torah! This giveaway is a $160 value!
We would like to thank the following companies for their generous sponsorship of this giveaway! Be sure to stop by their websites to say thank you!
To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. One winner will be selected and announced by noon ET on December 5, 2013. U.S. residents age 18 and older only please. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.
Here’s what you could win!
Devotions from Genesis by Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn
See for yourself how Genesis, the book of beginnings, is not just ancient history and that the Word of God is still alive and timeless. Nicole Vaughn’s Devotions from Genesis will take you on a journey from the garden of Eden to the courts of Pharaoh in Egypt, allowing you to see your own hurts, struggles, and joys through the lives of patriarchs from Adam to Joseph. You will gain insight into your heart and more importantly, insight into the very heart of God. One day at a time, you will be reminded that you are not alone with these Devotions from Genesis.
Devotions from Exodus Part One by Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn
Devotions From Exodus Part One will take you from the bondage of the children of Israel to their freedom. The children of Israel were set free from their bondage in Egypt, and they had to learn how to live in this new freedom. As you study through these first twenty chapters of Exodus, you will see that after God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, he still had to get Egypt out of them. Our deliverance in Christ is no different. God delivers us from the world, but he still has to get the world out of us. We, like the Israelites, are learning to live in this freedom.
Philosophy Adventure: Pre-Socratics (digital download) by Stacy Farrell
Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.
Philippians in 28 Weeks (digital download) by Stacy Farrell
The Bible is banned in many countries. Countless believers have sacrificed their freedom—and many, their lives—to spread the message of God’s love and salvation contained within its pages. Are we exercising our freedom responsibly. Memorize the entire book of Philippians in 28 weeks!

A Child’s Geography: Explore the Holy Land by Ann VoskampIraq, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey…your family probably hears or reads about these names frequently. In an increasingly complex world, it is vitally important that children learn to see the world through their Creator’s eyes. As we explore the Holy Land you and your family will delight in incredible, mysterious landscapes, hidden wonders and beautiful peoples – all created in God’s image.
A Cry from Egypt by Hope Auer
Have you ever wondered what life was like in ancient Egypt? As an Israelite? And a slave? Want your children to understand the Bible is history? Adventure, excitement, love, and faith come together when Jarah and her family fi nd themselves at the culmination of four hundred years of history.
Purposeful Planning by Phyllis Sather
Do you need a plan to keep your family moving in the direction the Lord is leading you? Perhaps you don’t know where the Lord is leading you. Phyllis takes you step-by-step through the process of planning a time together for your family to help determine the path the Lord is choosing for each area of your life. Her family has followed this format for over 12 years and has found that it provides the compass they’ve needed to plan and stay on course.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for joining me and I do hope that you win!
Joy to You!