GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

9 Reasons I Don’t Regret Being a Homemaker or Stay At Home Mom #grow4christ


 

Growing up I never wanted children, never, my brothers and I fought a lot and well being a mom just didn’t seem like a good thing to me so, instead after reading John Grisham novels, I focused on a career.  Yes, I would be a career minded woman – I wanted to be a high profile attorney and take some pro-bono work on the side to make it all look good.  Maybe I’d get married to a man who also had high ambitions for his career too – but children?  Nope, no way.  I still felt this way when I met my husband in 2000 but since he wanted children I told him I’d have 1.  Laughable!  After being pregnant and losing that baby, we aimed to try again – on the day I graduated college with what I thought would be my first of many degrees, I found out we were pregnant again!

 

About two months into my pregnancy we discussed what we would do as far as me working.  I now had considerable student debt and wanted to still pursue law school so I began online courses to become a paralegal.  Then as I started to realize I didn’t want to leave this little one in the care of someone else, who we didn’t know – I told my husband after the baby was born I’d be staying home.  He was fine with that, I was working full time as a house manager for a MR/DD facility and that was proving stressful and I ended up resigning about a month before I was due with what we now knew would be our first daughter.  About the same time the decision was made for me to stay home we also decided we would be homeschooling.  BIG decisions in a short amount of time.

 

With that said, after I had our first daughter – I knew something was missing – the Lord.  I re-dedicated myself to Him and we began to establish our marriage and our family built on God and His Word.  He changed my mind and I’ve since had two more children and am praying for more.  I read a sad blog post from a woman who regretted staying home with her children, and that made me sad and with  that said I have 9 reasons why I’ll never regret being a homemaker or as is more PC today, stay at home mom:

 

1.  I know the women before me are happy.  Why?  I still remember when my Grandma told me I didn’t need to go into the military and instead get married and have children.  I looked at her like she had three heads – and saw disappointment in her eyes.  I regret that.  I basically told her the life she’d chosen and lived with my Grandpa, where she raised my dad and my aunts and uncle sometimes single handily because of my Grandpa’s job – wasn’t worth anything, that she had wasted her life.  Now, knowing what is involved with being a mom, one who is there all the time I know it’s not a waste that there isn’t anything more rewarding than being home with my children, whom the Lord blessed my husband and I with.  I grew up with a feminist mind set that told me I could do anything I wanted, anything that is, except be a wife and mother.  The feminists wanted me, all women, to believe that we couldn’t reach our full potential unless we entered the workforce, if we had children put them in daycare and schools, and our husbands still had to come home and do the dishes!  Now, I know the lies that the feminists want women to believe, you can be anything, as long it’s what they want you to be.  If that includes being a mother and a wife – then forget it, you must not want to reach your full potential, you must want to be lazy, stupid and uneducated – because anything to them doesn’t mean raising your children and being a helpmeet to your husband.

 

2.  At one point I thought, wait a minute I will never use the education I have if I stay home – how wrong I was.  For me my degree is in social work – believe me I use that in my role as mother.  I know engineers who are at home moms.  I know nurses who are at home moms.  Educators who are at home moms.  The skills I learned in college gave me skills to be a great mom – including some of the early childhood education classes I had to take.  Now, I don’t use it every day and some of things I was taught I’ve thrown out the door because they don’t align with my faith and are completely ridiculous but I do use my degree to a degree.  I also now caution my daughters, if they want to go to college and that is what the Lord wants for them, that is great but by all means apply for any grants and scholarships and don’t rely on student loans, which one day must be paid back and can be a hardship to their future husband (the same goes for my son in regards to his future wife).

 

3.  I have the love and respect of my children and husband.  When I put a great meal or even just a frozen pizza on the table for dinner – I get told “thank you”, or “mom that was great, thank you for making dinner”.  I get hugs and kisses from little people and husband alike!  While they may not thank me for washing their laundry (unless I let it go and they have no undies) they do see me working.  Traveling to field trips.  Running back and forth to dance or martial arts.  Reading to them.  Sweeping.  Yes, my children recognize that what I do day in and day out is work and they respect that and are thankful for what I do.

 

4.  When I worked, the only people I saw were those I worked with – whether it was the line at Dole, coring lettuce to pay for college or talking to those who worked in the homes I managed, that was it.  Unless I went to the bars on the weekend, and we can all attest to how well conversations go between drunk people – not great for socializing or long term friendships.  When I became a mom and a homeschool mom – my world expanded – I got to meet other moms, at home moms, working moms, adoptive moms, and more!  I got to meet other parents who were homeschooling and helped me out in our first years when I had questions or issues.  As some assume, just because you’re a at home mom doesn’t mean you’re at home all the time.  My children and I have met and have a wide range of experiences that I never got when I was working or even going to school!

 

5.  I get to serve others, through my time as a 4-H adviser I got to serve my community through 4-H and help children in learning new skill sets and as my children outgrew what 4-H could provide I get to serve through being an American Heritage Girl leader and my girls and I and even sometimes my son help out in serving the larger community around us (see #4).  The Lord told us to be His hands and feet, what better way to do that than to get the children involved and teaching them as a family how to serve others – it’s not just about them.  Yes, there is a time to say no.  When I was approached one year to do VBS I had to say no as there were other commitments I had to attend to first.  As my girls enter into their dance company this year, we’ll get to serve others by spreading the love and Gospel of Christ through their ability to dance.  I hope I’ll get to either become a volunteer with the Boy Scouts or Trail Life (if a troop ever comes near our city) and I’ll be serving with my husband and son.  Serving and volunteering is not a bad thing.

 

6.  I worry less because I know that I’m raising my children in the ways of the Lord and know that they will make good decisions and if they don’t they will be the ones to face the consequences.  “Don’t climb so high”, then he does – he is the one who must deal with the pain of a break and the misery of a cast.  I’m not saying I don’t worry.  I don’t let them outside by themselves because of the rate of pedophiles in the area and the way people drive I can see someone coming up the sidewalk and hitting them.  But I hover less – they go to dance classes without me sitting out in the hall, I drop off my son to his karate and go to the library for an hour, all three participate in college for kids through the local college and I don’t stay for the 2 hours classes.  If you train your child in the way they should go they shall not depart from it, while it may seem like the do for awhile, usually and prayerfully they’ll come back.

 

7.  My husband and I have traditional roles within our marriage. I am the wife and he is the husband. I am female and he is male.  I used to try to fool myself into thinking I can do anything a man can do, the Navy had a way of dispelling that myth.  My husband cannot birth babies.  I cannot use the restroom standing up.  We are different.  God made each gender, male and female, with a distinct set of innate traits.  We are both equal in the eyes of each other, me staying home is not less than him working 40+ hours a week at his career.  We are equal in the eyes of God.  Yes, I am the primary one responsible for laundry, dishes, schooling the children, etc but he also pitches in where he can and when he can – he’ll load the dishwasher and even hand wash dishes if the need arises (we did this for 14 years before moving to our new home), he’ll do laundry, he cleans the house better than I do most days.  There is nothing wrong with traditional roles, it’s when those roles get distorted and warped that there becomes an issue.

 

8.  I am still relevant in today’s world – I am up to date on technology, terminology (so much so that the children know what ‘hip’ terms aren’t allowed), social media and more.  I can talk Doctor Who with my oldest and we share books.  I can talk karate and Legos with my son.  I can talk Barbies and fashion with my middle daughter.  I know I’m not as cool as I think I am – my oldest reminds me of that sometimes :D but my children know they can talk to me about issues that arise whether it’s why did so and so do that to so and so to discussing the mundane.  My children don’t write me off as some old fogy who doesn’t know anything but instead see me as their mom, one who they can go to when they need a shoulder to cry on or celebrate with them or just to listen.

 

9.  My awareness is so much more alert than it used to be – I no longer think of myself – I’m no longer the selfish young woman I used to be, thankfully.  I look towards the future knowing I’m raising three wonderful children who will, prayerfully, be wonderful, godly adults who will go out to serve their community, their world and spread the love of Christ whether they are a trash man, doctor or missionary to a third world country.  I’m not longer focused on what I want – I see others through the eyes of my children and that often times allows me to see something in someone that I otherwise would have ignored.  The image I have of myself is better, I used to be so focused on my looks, my weight, my clothing and now I see myself as a mom and wife – one who gets love and gives love.  My children don’t see the overweight mom, they see a mom who loves them and cares for them.  My self esteem is so much better than it was in high school when it was based on what boy thought I was cute or which girl hated me because I had a new shirt.

 

Granted, my children are ages 12, 9 and 8 so I’m still parenting and I hope I’ll be available when needed when and if the Lord blesses my children with children.  Being at home isn’t easy, it’s not fun all the time and it’s not glamorous.  Would I do anything differently?  Yes.  I would quit worrying so much, sooner – I worried so much over stupid, trivial things when my 1st was a baby, that I didn’t worry about when the other two came along – it didn’t kill her did it?  so it’s okay.  I would also not make yelling a habit – it’s one I’m still working on.  I will never regret not having to say ‘oh, I wish I could go back to work’ or ‘oh, I wished I could drop my baby off at daycare’.  I will never regret nursing my babies on demand, being the one to hear their first words, being the one to see their first smile, hear them read their first book, take their first steps.  I will never regret being the one who there 24-7 for my children.  My glory isn’t here and I know my reward isn’t here, even if I didn’t hear a thank you after a dinner or for clean clothes – that isn’t what I’m being a mom for – I don’t seek glory for myself and I hope that my children and my husband can see God’s glory through me as long as I live.

 

I in no way mean to disparage moms – working or no – being a mom is hard.  I know those who’d love to be at home with their children but can’t.  I know those who’d love to homeschool, but can’t.  My post is to say that yes, we can focus on things that will get us down – that is no way to live life – regrets will weigh us down and make our lives miserable.  Even the regrets of things I’ve said and done can weigh me down but I’ve learned there is nothing I can do and I have to give it to the Lord and let Him take those regrets.  I’m sure I could find somethings I regret about being a homemaker – maybe, it’s hard to figure out how to pay for dance company fees without a second income – but if I start dwelling on that regret then I’ll miss out on the blessings of being home, such as being the one to take my daughters to their classes and rehearsals.  I know I’m also writing from a Christian worldview so my way of looking at things are different than say someone who is not Christian – so if you’re not Christian then you likely won’t agree with me and that is fine and I’m sure there may be Christians who don’t agree with me.  If you’re an at home mom but feel trapped, I urge you to seek the Lord – pray and give your feelings over to Him and ask Him to give you the peace that only He can give.  Talk with your husband and discuss your feelings with him.  Seek out your friends.  But first, always make sure you’re seeking the Lord’s will and His Word for direction.

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

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BookLook Review: Life Behind the Walll; Candy Bombers, Beetle Bunker, and Smuggler’s Treasure by Robert Elmer #grow4christ #bookreview


**This post may contain affiliate links**

 

About the Book:

Marking the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Berlin Wall, this epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, 3-books-in-one features teens and their family’s struggle living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, from its creation after WWII, to life behind the wall during the Cold War, to the Wall’s ultimate and final destruction.

Both educational and exciting, Life Behind the Wall is a great choice for middle readers at home or school.

 

You can purchase your copy at Zondervan or on Amazon.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

I wasn’t really sure what to think when I requested this book, as sometimes books geared towards older children that are based in history seem to have a lot of things lacking – such as historical accuracy among other issues – and I’m happy to say that that wasn’t the case in this 3-in-1 book.  My oldest daughter has a fascination about the culture and history of WWII and so that was my main impetus to request Life Behind the Wall – because I knew it’d be something that she would more than likely enjoy reading and now that I’ve read it I know she will if she can hang on through the first couple of chapters.  I say that because it took me the first few chapters of Candy Bombers to get really into the book, at first it was a little boring but as the reason for the title emerged things really began picking up – while I knew that most people in Europe really didn’t care for the Americans I didn’t know how deeply that was felt nor did I realize how divided Berlin was.  This book gave a startling look into how life was for those in Berlin after the War and then as the Wall went up and then came down again – having family trapped on side and not being able to see them unless you went through an extensive border crossing process, that made me nervous just reading about the one the characters had to go through.

 

At the end of each book there are some historical facts, such as what was really true – the author wove the fictional characters into the story while keeping with historical accuracy and not trying to make things worse (of course I’m not sure how things could have gotten much worse) or seem better than they were.  I don’t want to give too much away but the story of the candy bombs, which were little parachutes tied to candy, which American pilots would then drop so that the children below could have a little taste of something sweet.  The stories follow on family over the course of the years Erich’s mother marries an American pilot against the advice of her mother in law of her 1st, killed, husband and then anger and hatred tears the family apart.  Beetle Bunker, follows Sabine, Erich’s (who is now trying to become a Dr in Communist Berlin) half sister, who wants to help with the escapes that seem to be happening but no one wants to talk about since your neighbor could turn you in.  Finally, in Smuggler’s Treasure, Liesl who is Sabine’s daughter, helps in smuggling Bibles across the border to her uncle Erich but then as startling information comes to light as she writes a paper for school she finds something about her family.

 

As the stories carry on and flow together it’s like watching one time in history flow seemlessly into the other – which is what I liked about this book and I didn’t have to wait for the next one to come out while I forget how each character is related to the other.  With the historical facts also comes discussion questions which can lead to not just more digging and researching into history (great for the homeschool student) but also the use of Scripture will have the reader who goes through the questions delving in Scripture as well.  This was an eye opening read – as in school I learned about the Berlin Wall but not much more and I’ve even seen a piece of it at our local Air Force Museum, but to read about what really went on – the persecution of Christians, the starvation, the horrible medical care and more – makes it all come alive and the author, Robert Elmer, did so with skill.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Birthday boy in the house!!!! #grow4christ


 

Another year has passed and my son is now 8 years old!  Where have the years gone?  They’ve flown by – most new parents hate when people tell them, “enjoy it they’ll be gone soon” and that they will.  While it’s a cringe worth saying, it’s also so true – enjoy it because before you know it, you’ll be seeing your baby turn into an 8 year old (I’m not thinking about him being any older than that right now).  He’s such a boy!  He likes to be loud!  I’m not sure if his voice is changing yet but his seems to be very screech-y especially when he screams.  He’s a character.  I can only pray that he turns into a godly man one day, and for that I can only give credit to the Lord, because some days He is the only one who gets me through being a mom of a boy.

 

Son with my dad – at his baby dedication. Proud Grandpa.

 

My oldest giving her brother a big kiss.

 

A group shot!

 

Today, he and his cousin playing in the drinking fountain.

 

c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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New playground and a Free Little Library #grow4christ


We’ve had some great weather this July – very cool like in the mid 70’s – usually we are in the high 90’s to low 100’s with high humidity but so far it’s been a mild summer and I’m loving it!  As are my children.  Recently a civic group in our city installed brand new playground equipment at a local park (this park used to be beautiful but it’s become run down in the last few years) as a way to encourage both handicapped and non-handicapped children to interact with each other and also clean up the area.  I must admit I do miss the concrete train that I used to play on in this park but it is and has been time to clean up the park and try to bring it back to what it once was – a great place in the city for families to come and get the drugs and other illegal behaviors out!

 

It’s usually fairly crowded so I told the children if we go early it won’t be busy and we can enjoy ourselves.  Sure enough, the only people there were the volunteers who were finishing up some landscaping stuff – of course we got there around 8:30a.m. so we were the only crazies there!  It was fun though, as they had the run of the park and I didn’t have to worry.  I should have taken pictures of the beautiful flower/plant gardens the civic group installed – very pretty.  They will be adding in a splash pad which mine are excited about – since cities around us have them but we haven’t and the city pool is very expensive it’s not something families can readily afford – this has been an area of contention in our city since they built the new pool and removed it to the country instead of inside city limits.

 

The rare picture of the oldest.

 

Going up the slide – since we were the only ones there I allowed it.

 

My son, posing.

 

A view of the park. Lots of shade.

 

 

Another great addition to the park is that of a Free Little Library, we’ve been eager to actually get one in the city and we were there when they installed it – it pays to be early birds!  When I realized what it was I was on cloud nine and we rushed home to get some our donate books we had set aside for Goodwill to go put in the box.

 

My son, standing in front of the Free Little Library – the sun was right in his eyes.

 

I love the theme!

 

Putting some books in and choosing a book – they also organized the library as all the books that were there when we got back were thrown in haphazardly :(

 

We visited another Free Little Library the other day in another county and were so excited, until we pulled up – it was falling apart and the books were all water damaged and smelled of mildew.  That was quite a downer.  My oldest wants to now use this idea for our American Heritage Girls troop, she’d like her and the other Pi/Pas to help build two FLL and put them in two other villages in our county – and then our troop will do the upkeep, making sure the books aren’t getting watered damages, making sure the FLL stays in good repair, removing trash, etc.  It’s a great idea and I’m hoping we can run with that!

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Super Stitches Sewing: A Complete Guide to Machine-Sewing and Hand-Stitching Techniques by Nicole Vasbinder #grow4christ #bookreview


About the Book:

Does your sewing machine come with lots of fancy stitches that you’ve never thought to try? This essential guide to machine and hand stitches will teach you how to use any and every stitch for professional-looking seams, hems, gathers, darts, and more. Unlock your full sewing potential with 57 machine stitches, 18 hand stitches, and tips to choose the correct needles, threads, and sewing machine accessories, complete with detailed step-by-step tutorials and illustrations.

This comprehensive stitch dictionary is a must-have companion for any sewer, whether you just bought your first sewing machine or you’re a seasoned expert looking to polish your skills. If your passion is dressmaking, tailoring, or simply mending your own clothes, Super Stitches Sewing gives you all of the information you need to make every project a success.

 

You can look inside the book and purchase it at Random House.

 

My Opinion:

 

I’m not a great seamtress – I’ve sewn a couple shirts, with a lot of help from a friend, and I sew on karate and American Heritage Girl patches – but I long to improve on my sewing skills so my mom bought me a lovely computerized sewing machine about 1 1/2 years ago and it has a TON of stitches on it, that I don’t know how to use.  So when I saw the book, Super Stitches Sewing, I thought this could be the book that tells me how to make more use out of my machine as well as some hand sewing techniques.  The author herself has been sewing for 30 years and teaches classes so she knows a thing or two about sewing and how different machines work, this book is like having a really great sewing friend sitting next to you as you work on your newest sewing creation – whether it’s a pillow, a quilt or a shirt – there are stitches for every type of fabric, or so it seems.  The book is divided into three sections, the first covering 50 stitches for the sewing machine, the second devotes it’s time to 18 hand stitches and section three is all about the tools of the trade such as hand needles, machine needles, feet and also the different machines.

 

What I liked about this book is it’s not just a text it’s also very visual – so it’s great for all types of learning styles, I prefer to have someone next to me showing me how to do things – that’s just how I learn best especially with sewing (but when you’ve sewn through your thumb and have to have the medics come it does tend to make one fearful).  There are pictures as Nicole guides you step by step through using that stitch, complete with ideas if your machine doesn’t have the stitch she tells you what can be used in place of it or if there isn’t a replacement, what type of fabric is best to use, thread to use, needle type and more.  Some of the machines stitches covered are the automatic buttonhole, ric rac stitch, feather stitch, quilt stitch, honeycomb stitch and that is just the beginning.  As for hand stitching techniques she covers the back stitch, whip stitch, darning stitch, tailor’s tack and more – which gives a good overview of stitches you’ll need if you’d rather hand sew your project instead of machine sewing it.

 

If you’re like me your machine came with many stitches and the machine’s book just doesn’t do much in helping with understanding the stitches or even all the feet that came with the machine – so this book will help you make sense of all of that and have you sewing in no time!  I must say that even as I’ve read through this I’m still not sure what I’ll do with all 50 of these machine stitches or of the even more stitches that came on my machine – but it’s nice knowing how to use the stitch and what fabric to use, so if I ever become able to experiment I’ll be able to figure out how to use a different stitch besides the plain old straight stitch.  I’d have to say I do recommend this book for the sewer who isn’t in the know – Nicole does a great job in denoting what is a basic/beginner stitch and which are for the more advanced sewer – so it’s easy to know where one should start in their sewing journey.  I’ll definitely be keeping this one near my machine and I may not need to call a friend every 5 minutes while sewing!

 

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

 

 

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#3ThingsThursday (a link-up) #grow4christ


Three Things Thursday

Trying this again – the last time it took me almost a whole day to figure up what I wanted to write, but I also had three children who needed my attention and weather that was allowing me to go in and out to hang clothes on the line, that isn’t happening this week as there seems to be a chance of rain all this week – but at least the weather is cooler the next couple of days.

1.  I’ve been reading a lot!  I made my 2014 reading goal 200 books and I’m at 120 books right now on Goodreads (feel free to add me as a friend or follow my reviews).  I can’t help passing up good deals on books, like the other day when we went to a branch library and they had some paperbacks for sale: 6 for $1.00 or $0.25 a piece – well…….if you force me……I found the Four Seasons series (books 1-4) by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman, two Robin Jones Gunn books, 1 Linda Lee Chaikin book (there were two but I’d never read her before but I may go back and see if they still have the 2nd book – hey, it’s only a quarter!) , 1 Robin Lee Hatcher book, 4 Melody Carlson books plus a book on iguanas for my son = $2.50.  I also finished the Tyndale Summer Reading Program today, well as soon as my newest links are approved – then I can choose a free book!  I can keep reading and for every 5 books that I submit a review to in three places I can get a free reward book.  There is still time to join in just click on that link above in the last sentence.

The stack of books we found at the library (some are for my oldest DD to read)

 

2.  I’m going to begin planning a book swap with my daughters at one of the library’s we use, this will help them with service hours for American Heritage Girls as well as help us unload our old books and get some ‘new’ books into the house, not that we need help with that but these will be free.  We’re going to plan it on the same day that the village has their farmer’s market so hopefully we’ll get a good turn out – for every book a person brings in they’ll get to chose that many new books to take home.  Depending on the turn out we may have to limit the number people get to take but I’m hoping we’ll have enough that everyone will get a ‘new’ book for every one they bring in.  The girls will help set up the tables, which I hope to do by genre or maybe not!  As people come in the girls will count their books and hand them a slip of paper with that number written on it – so if they bring 5 their paper will say 5 – one daughter will man the door while the other daughter will put the books brought in on the tables.  Any books not swapped out at the end will be donated to the library for them to either shelf or to sell at their twice yearly Friends of the Library book sale.  I’m really hoping we’ll have a good turn out!

3.  My son is going to be turning 8 this weekend (won’t say too much as I’ll have a special post for him) and wow!  I still him as a baby but even though some days he can be a hand-full, he’s all boy, he has my heart.  He still loves to sit on my lap and be held, be read too, and he still gives some great, sticky kisses!  We’re really going to be focusing on reading with him this year – as I’d love to have him reading by the end of the year.  Our assessor said there may be some audio disconnect as he knows his letters, their sounds and can write his letters but reading – sounding out the word and putting it together is proving to be a frustrating concept to him.  She gave me some ideas to try so we’ll be trying those this school year, which starts on Monday.  I can’t believe that 8 years ago I never knew what I’d do with a boy and now I love being a mom to a son – he truly brings great joy into my life – even on those days that he cries over the injustices of a video game!

 

Son in our old backyard digging with a stick.

Leave me some comment love – what book are you reading this week?  Or what’s on your night stand?  I’m always looking for more great book recommendations!

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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CWA Review: So Much the Better by Megan Means #grow4christ #cwareviewcrew


About the Book:

So Much The Better is a chapter book for upper elementary but has also touched the hearts of all ages. The feedback the author received on her book, inspired her to get this message out to the world. So, she took the challenge and created a website and social media links to help get the book’s message out to the world on-line. She also created a Curriculum Companion to the book which is offered for free on her website. It includes 21 lessons on character building that are taken directly from the book to help children become their best selves and inspire them to be great leaders.

The story is about a small lion named Ari. As a small cub, Ari’s life is secure and safe. He plays and rests in the warm sunshine wit h his pride. One day this peaceful existence changes abruptly. Ari is taken far away from the other lions finding he is alone in unfamiliar surroundings. Ari is lost and without hope until he encounters help from Eliezer, a golden eagle who befriends him. Together they begin the long journey back to his homeland with many challenges to overcome. Upon his return Ari thought his quest had come to an end, but he realizes now, it has only just begun.

 

You may purchase So Much the Better on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

 

 

 

About the Author:

Megan Means has a passion for children’s literacy and wants every child to have a love for books and reading. Megan desires to inspire children to become their best selves and to be leaders who make a positive difference in the lives of those around them. Megan’s fondest memories are of the years when she home-schooled her children and the many adventures they had along the way. Today, she continues to write and would like to create a sequel to her story So Much The Better.

Learn more about Megan at Smashwords, her website, Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

Having read Megan Means’ first book, So Much the Better, has left me wanting more – this is a beautiful story filled with an allegorical story of being lost, going through the darkness and all that that entails, and then finding yourself in the light surrounded by love.  While not a story of Salvation, this story does lend itself to resisting evil temptations from those things that seek to devour us and to destroy us and this is a great way to show children how if they stay on the right path, with Christ, they too can find the light and that all things do eventually work out for the best.  This chapter book is short, just 80 pages, and after reading it myself I’d have to say I’d feel it was best for an older child who can look for the meanings behind the words, if I were to read this to my younger children I’d have to stop and do explaining as I read and I think then some of the story would be lost.  That being said the book isn’t distinctly Christian – but as a Christian I read the book through that lens and was able to see what lessons my children would gain from this book used beside the Bible to instill character that God wants from us all.

 

Megan has also created a character companion curricula to go along with the book, which is free on her website simply by signing up for it via your email – at this time I’m having trouble getting it to open on my Windows8 computer.  If you’d like to learn more about the curricula visit her website – the curricula does include Scripture verses for memorization, which is a great way to tie in the Bible to the book and I appreciate that.  The book could be used by any parent though, no matter their religious or non-religious preference, as I think we can all agree we want our children to grow up with strong character and be able to go out into the world and change it for the better – for me that includes making the Lord part of our lives.  The chapters are short, two to three pages at the most – which is great for both a strong reader and for the struggling reader – and since it’s short it won’t feel like it’s taking forever to finish, it took me about 2 hours and that includes frequent stops to the calls of “mom”.

 

As the story begins Ari is just a little lion cub still under the care of his mother and the lionesses when a storm comes blowing Ari into another area, far away, he meets friends along the way – an old badger, a colorful bird whose song is often stifled by the ‘bad’ birds, an eagle and others.  Eventually, making it back to his pride, he finds his mother gone and the pride a pitiful pack of skinny, fearful lions whose land is being overtaken by the leopards, until Ari finds his courage and strength and seeks to make an alliance with the leopards.  Filled with character through out the book including how much we all need relationships, children will enjoy the many animals that fill the book and while there are no illustrations even the youngest child should be able to make up pictures in their minds with the vivid details that Megan incorporates into the story.  This will be a book I’ll be using in conjunction with the curricula during our upcoming school year and beyond with all three of my children.

 

If you’d like to read what other bloggers had to say please visit the CWA Review Crew Page.

 

 

 (c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: Penny Wise (Book 3 in the Windy City Neighbors series) by Neta and Dave Jackson #grow4christ #bookreview


**This post may contain affiliate links**

 

About the Book:

PENNY WISE (Book 3 in the Windy City Neighbors series) introduces us to yet another family in “the neighborhood”-the Jaspers, busy with demanding jobs, busy with church, busy volunteering, parents of three active teenagers, juggling sometimes crazy schedules. All good things. Until all those “good things” feed into a series of crises that affects the whole family. Something’s gotta change! PENNY WISE is a contemporary peek at an urban family wrestling with the spiritual and practical challenges of real life. The series employs the innovating storytelling technique of “parallel novels,” each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters’ lives become intertwined with their neighbors and affect one another. Welcome to Beecham Street-a typical, isolated American neighborhood that is beginning to come out of its shell . . . for better or worse.

 

 

 

You can purchase a copy at Amazon or by visiting Dave and Neta’s site.

 

About the Authors:

 

Neta and Dave Jackson, husband and wife writing team, are the authors or coauthors of more than 120 books that have sold over 2.5 million copies. They are best known for Neta’s award-winning Yada Yada Prayer Group series and their forty-volume Trailblazer series. They live in the Chicago area, where this novel is set.

 

You can connect with them at their website and on Facebook.

 

My Opinion:

If there ever were authors that I’d recommend that doesn’t revolve around Amish fiction, Dave and Neta Jackson are who I’d tell you to read, seriously, they are that good.  I’ve read all the Yada Yada series, SouledOut Sisters (Stand By Me and Come To The Table), Lucy Come Home and The Windy City Neighbors series with that being said next to read is the Harry Bentley and the House of Hope series (as of this review I have also completed the Harry Bentley and the House of Hope series too).  The Jackson’s write what are called ‘parallel novels’ meaning that all the books interrelate to one another on some level so Yada Yada feeds into the House of Hope series and Harry Bentley (see their website for which order to read this in) – just like our real lives run parallel to others, at the same time you’re doing dishes another friend may be out feeding her goats while another is reading a book to a child – and at some point our lives intersect with one another.  Before I began Penny Wise, I ran to the library and grabbed books 1 and 2 that I hadn’t read yet and I’m glad I did, while they could stand alone it helped to read these in order – while these are Christian fiction books I will mention that there were two instances that I counted the use of the word p**sed, when one of the characters were angry, so just a warning.

 

I sort of knew what was going to happen before Michelle figured it out, what with the extreme fatigue, sensitivities to smells and aversion to food – anyone who has been pregnant before will be like DUH! you’re pregnant – but not Michelle, there is one scene that she and her husband are having marital relations and she uses her protection, so they are actively trying not to get pregnant.  Their lives are running full steam ahead and stress is the norm with both working different shifts, volunteer, school stuff for their children then summer activities, and church obligations so it’s just stress related, until Michelle goes to the dr.  This is the part of the book that angered me, Michelle, a volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center contemplates having an abortion, no one will know since she hasn’t told anyone!  I can understand the feelings of being overwhelmed, in her 40’s she and her husband are ships passing in the night and she has teenagers, but the thought of aborting your child.  These feelings may have been very strong for me right now as I’m struggling with figuring out why God would give someone a child who doesn’t want one but yet I’ve yet to have another after almost 8 years!

 

With that being said, the Jackson’s books aren’t ones that one can read and then put aside and forget, they make the reader think and they may even uncover some feelings that may not feel so good.  Like me, being angry with Michelle – of course when tragedy strikes their family she realizes then just how precious life is (even working as a post abortion group leader, doesn’t truly hit home) and she finally tells her husband who is shocked at first but happy.  I must say despite my feelings I really enjoyed this book and read it through in 2 days, would have been quicker but I wasn’t feeling good and I would definitely recommend it but be sure to read the series in order so you know what is going on!  I’m really looking forward to book 4, Pound Foolish, which is about a homeschool mom and her husband and two children.

 

If you want to read what others thought, please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Illuminate – Junior Dance Company….. #dance #grow4christ


 

 

My girls who have been dancing since they were both around 5 years old, have always wanted to do something BIG with their dancing – my oldest is waiting for the day she can join YWAM’s (Youth With A Mission) Performing Arts team so she can use dance to spread the Gospel.  My middle just wants to “do mission work” – so it seems she’ll go wherever there is a need.  That said – when we found out this year that the dance studio we’ve been going to these last several years were going to begin a junior dance company, both girls were ecstatic!   Saturday was the day – they woke bright and early to be at the studio by 8:50a.m. to try out until 11a.m. then the waiting began……

 

Saturday night…….

 

 

Sunday………..

 

Monday morning around 6:30a.m. I checked my email and hurried to wake the girls up……

 

 

They are part of the Illuminate – Junior Dance Company which will run through May 2015.  My son is now eager to try out next year – he’s going to be taking the boys hip-hop class on top of karate!!

 

 

I’ll be setting up some fundraising to help offset the cost of the fees, there will be performance fees for both girls, costume expenses, travel costs and such.  If you help during our fundraising please know you’ll be helping my girls in doing their part through the dance company to spread the love of Christ to those who watch them.

 

Our first fundraiser will be Scentsy!  You can find the event on Facebook or ForeverYoung (click on the drop down menu and select shop for Bailey Dance Fundraiser)

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: Mary (Get to Know Series) by Nancy I. Sanders #grow4christ #bookreview


**This post may contain affiliate links**

 

About the Book:

Chosen by God, Mary was more than the mother of Jesus. She was a hero of the Bible. She said “Yes!” to God. Learn about Mary and her exciting place in history. Discover what it was like to grow up in Israel and be a part of Jesus’ life on earth. Mary – part of the Get to Know series – will teach you everything you need to know about this young woman whom God used to do great things!

You can purchase a copy at Zondervan or on Amazon.

 

My Opinion:

I’ve been enjoying reading and reviewing the new Get to Know series from Nancy I. Sanders, you can see my Jesus and my Apostle Paul reviews, and recently I received Mary as well.  Mary is probably one of the most well- known women in the Bible, she carried the Lord in her womb, is called blessed among women but yet much remains a mystery about the young girl who carried the Christ child.  How old was she really?  Some speculate 13 to a little younger to even a little older.  We don’t know.  What happened to Joseph, her earthly husband, after Jesus is found in the Temple?  Was she a widow?  Could Joseph be an invalid and no longer able to travel about.  Much speculation revolves around Mary – including how much we should or should not revere her.  Obviously, she was very blessed but she is not the way to Heaven or our Salvation or even our mediator – all these titles belong to Christ alone.  So I wanted to see what Nancy I. Sanders had to say about Mary and her life as a Jewish woman, who was betrothed to Joseph but found herself a virgin pregnant by the Holy Spirit carrying the Messiah BEFORE her official marriage!  Whew!  Not sure I could handle the stress but Mary is so sure, so seemingly calm that she is like okay, let’s do this!  I have to wonder did Mary know while still pregnant that in just a few short years what would happen to her Son?  As a mom, I’d have to think that God wouldn’t give that much detail to her, although it does seem that she recognizes how important this boy is.

 

Nancy begins by describing Mary’s familial line, that of the house of Jacob and goes up through Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension – all with beautiful, full colored illustrations that bring that time period to life. Most of us have been taught that the wise men appeared in the ‘barn’ where Jesus is freshly wrapped in linen and bring Him gifts – although if you read further in Scripture it states that Jesus was a child, probably old enough to walk, and thankfully that is what Nancy presents to her readers, an older Christ child when the wise men visit Him with their gifts.  I think the only real issue I had with the book is the mention of Jesus having brothers and sisters – whether He did or didn’t doesn’t negate His Salvation – but there is nothing in Scripture that supports the brothers or sisters mentioned as being biological siblings – my interpretation is that they are Brothers and Sisters in belief and why if He did have siblings why did He put Mary’s care into the hands of another man?  However, this doesn’t make or break the book – as the mom I was able to discuss our family’s personal belief in relation to what we read in Scripture – but again if Mary did have more children, I’m perfectly okay with that but we have to be careful when we start saying Scripture says she had more children – I think it’s quiet as to whether the brothers and sisters are biological or spiritual – it’s not something the Lord wants us hung up on.

 

Like the other two in this series it’s a short and fast read, at 110 pages – I read it in about an hour – but it has quite a bit of information on the culture around Mary as she was living as a Jewish woman under Roman rule – which had to be fraught with some trepidation.  Good for a younger child, I’d say around 5 and up through adults (I learned some neat information too) would enjoy this book.  The illustrations keep the younger child’s attentions and it may have the older child or the adult seeking questions and finding their answers in the Bible.  This one is also aligned with the Common Core Standards – so it could be used for the public or private school child who needs to watch out for these things now.  As with all books written by man or woman as the case may be, weigh it against Scripture and you’ll know what is truth and what is chafe and be able to sift those apart – this is a great little book to introduce one of the important women in Jesus’ life and in the Bible.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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