GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Dance class


My daughter’s have been doing dance since they were young, but this year we changed studios.  Thankfully, we found a Christian studio, called Fueled and Aflame Studio.  The owner is wonderful and all the teachers are caring and really want the students to succeed.

Hannah takes Christian Worship Dance I.  I was able to sit in on her class last week for parent viewing week.  Her class, yes it’s only two girls (small class size is another plus) prepared a Christmas dance:

Christian Worship Dance I 12/15/11

On Tuesday I got to watch Bethanne’s  Ballet I class – her class is larger but still small compared to her last studio.  They didn’t prepare a piece but it was still great to watch.  She is the cute, small blonde one.

Ballet I 12/16/11

You will have to click on the links to view them – as I can’t figure out how to embed YouTube videos yet.

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(in)spired review: Love Came Down – Celebrating Christ’s birth (giveaway)


It’s Christmas.
Santa, presents, “I wants”.
How do we keep the focus on why WE celebrate Christmas?
Is it the tree decorated with family heirloom ornaments?  No
Is it the presents that circle the tree and threaten to overwhelm my children?  No.
It’s about realizing that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Lord and Saviour.  As a friend recently said, it’s not so much His birth, but His coming we should celebrate.
His coming paved the way that we no longer need animal sacrifices.  We no longer have to abide by a Law that cannot be held to 100%.  So we can be made perfect under His blood – no questions asked, call on His name and you’ll be Saved.
Covered by His blood.  Love came down not just for me but for you and especially for the person who doesn’t know Him or who mocks Him.
When I sit at my table and see my star tea light holder and drink my coffee from my latte mug – I can remember that He loves me.
I can celebrate Love coming down every day.
I can relish the knowledge that He is the Messiah the One that the prophets foretold would come from Heaven to Save us.
When my friend receives the Love mug, I hope and pray that she remembers there is One who loves her more than me.
That I will fail.  But there is One who won’t.
I’ll be a friend.   There is One who is better than a friend.
So when Love Came Down over 2,000 years ago it wasn’t just the presents from the wise men, it wasn’t the manger, it was the fact that one day He would be sacrificed……..
His blood shed………………
for us.
How much more love can we ask for this Christmas season?
Giveaway!
If you’d like to win a $20 gift code to Dayspring (you must spend a maximum of $20 the gift code DOES NOT cover shipping) leave me a comment answering the question below. Optional entries are optional!  I will draw a winner on 12/28/11 at noon EST.  You must be 18 years or older.  Void where prohibited.  Make sure to leave a way to contact you!
What does Jesus coming down to earth mean to you?
Optional Entries:
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Add me to your Google+
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Aldi’s Blog tour


I enjoy our local Aldi’s store, it allows me to feed my family for less than other groceries so when I had the chance to participate in the Mom Central Aldi’s Tour to try out their foods and award winning wines like Walker Napa Valley Red Wine, Landshut Sweet Red, Landshut Riesling and others I gladly applied and was accepted.

My local Aldi is very clean and customer friendly with wide aisles, prices clearly marked and there are even some name brand items occasionally thrown in at prices lower than the leading grocery store.  The wine area is easy to find and very tastefully done and like the rest of the items in the store it’s very easy to tell what the price is going to be – I found out that Ohio has higher prices for alcohol.

It’s been awhile since I have had alcohol, almost 11 years to be exact, so while I enjoyed the taste of the wine I couldn’t drink a lot of it!  We also tried the brie which I topped with brown sugar and sliced almonds (instead of cranberries as I would be the only one eating that) – I will have to revisit the brie because while it was high quality, I had never served it before so it didn’t turn out as soft as I would have liked – not Aldi’s fault, mine.

Overall, my experience with Aldi’s food and wine was superb and I recommend them to anyone who wants fine food and wine at low cost.  Their seasonal selections of food is right up there with a high end grocery without the high end store prices.  I look forward to visiting Aldi again for all my family’s grocery needs.

**“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of ALDI and received a gift certificate to facilitate my review.”

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12 Pearls of Christmas – Day 7


Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from some of today’s most beloved writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun … there’s also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 – 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***

Family Traditions: A Glimpse into Christmas Future

by Tricia Goyer

Have you ever thought about family traditions? As I helped my 1-year-old place ornaments on the Christmas tree this year I imagined her doing the same thing with her children—and maybe even grandchildren—one day. Traditions are beliefs and customs handed down through generations. By sharing meaningful moments with your kids you’re sending yourself into the future. How amazing is that?

Sharing family traditions cause us to slow down from the busy, adult world for a while. We ignore the laundry to set out the nativity set with our kids. We set aside time in our schedules to drive around and look at Christmas lights.

Holiday traditions aren’t only fun, they also help strength family bonds. Through traditions kids trust in the security of family unit. They think, “This is our family and this is what I do.” Of course, the most important thing to share isn’t just what we do … but why. Why do we put out a nativity? To remind us the real meaning of the season—Jesus coming to earth. What do the Christmas lights represent displayed on homes and on trees? They represent the Light of the World, Jesus.

Using traditions to bond our families and share our faith isn’t new. I love these two Scriptures that talk about that very thing.

Exodus 12:25 says, “When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.”

Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

What are you’re traditions? Here are a few of ours:

Baking a Birthday cake for Jesus

Buying a new ornament every year for each child

Acting out the Christmas story (with props!)

Praying together before opening presents

What are your traditions? Write a list and appreciate them in a new way this year. Then ask, “If I could add one new tradition this holiday season, what would it be?” I’d love to hear what you choose! It also makes me smile to think of your children’s grandchildren doing the same.

***

Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights). She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Also a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas. www.triciagoyer.com

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More handmade Christmas **DO NOT look if you are family or my inlaws!**


As I’ve said before we are striving to be as debt free this Christmas and we’ve done that by making more presents.  So far my SIL’s and my 7 year old have a homemade gift under the tree.  We had to figure out something for my dad and step-mom, my mom, my BIL and his wife and my brother and SIL.

I know you’re dying to know……but first if you don’t like wine, the mention of wine, hillbillies please stop reading as I don’t need any nasty comments.  Thank you!

My brother and SIL and my BIL and his wife will be getting………

a beautiful set of handmade hillbilly wine glasses complete with a classy marble in the stem – we also threw in a sparkling wild berry juice.

Now what will my dad and step-mom and my MIL and FIL be getting – we actually have something else but I haven’t take a picture yet so that will be another post!

These are glass blocks that light up with the OSU logo.  My husband, being the talented man he is, did the bows!  (He told me to make sure I give him credit for the bows)

So that is what we’ve done so far.  I’ll be posting on another gift that the children made for the grandparents and was Pinterest inspired!

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“School is Where the Home Is: 180 Devotionals for Parents” by Anita Mellott


 

I had the pleasure of receiving an e-copy of School is Where the Home Is by Anita Mellott and this unassuming book is packed with lots of encouragement for the homeschooling mom and even dads.  It’s chock full of 180 devotions (one for each day of school?) that will help you get your day off right and be a positive teacher to your children.  We all know that some days don’t go as planned, our lesson plans fall to the wayside and we feel like failures – beginning your day reading this devtional by veteran homeschooling mom, Anita Mellott, will help in getting your day off to a positive start.

The devotions are divided and categorized as follows:

  • A Faith of Their Own – devotions that aid the parent in making sure they instill a love of God in their children
  • And A Child Will Lead Them -benefits of homeschooling and seeing life through our children’s view
  • Gifts We Give Our Children – the untouchable gifts that will help us disciple our children and bring them up according to the Lord
  • Homeschool basics – practical help
  • Homeschool Foundations – Biblical reasons why we homeschool
  • Homeschool and Family- Help and practical encouragement to keep school, life, home and relationships balanced
  • Homeschool and You – for the primary educator how to deal with children who won’t listen, those who are against homeschooling, and more.
  • Spiritual Vitamins – encouragement for parents from the Bible

As with other devotionals there is a main theme involved for that day’s reading but it is geared specifically to the homeschooling parent(s) along with a short Scripture verse and reading to go along with that theme.  I love how Anita has incorporated Scripture in her writings for the day and relates them back to God’s providence and provision which helps the homeschooling parent really relate the reading and Scripture to their daily life.

With the digging deeper feature you’ll have a chance to reflect on what you’ve read both in Scripture and in the devotional itself which will allow God to guide you in what He wants you to accomplish that minute, that day in your life.  Keeping yourself centered through reading a daily devotional can make your day go smoother and your reactions when things don’t go as planned will hopefully be more Christ-like.

You can learn more about Anita Mellott by visiting her website and you can find her book available to purchase at Judson Press and Amazon.

**I was provided an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

 

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“Heart of Ice” by Lis Wiehl with April Henry


About the Book from BookSneeze:

The Triple Threat Club novels follow three fiercely intelligent women—a TV reporter, a Federal prosecutor and an FBI agent—as they investigate crimes as current as today’s headlines.

The Triple Threat women have faced intense situations before…but never such a cunningly cold-blooded murderer.

Elizabeth Avery is a stunningly beautiful woman. But her perfectly managed exterior hides the ice cold heart of a killer. She ingeniously manipulates everyone who crosses her path to do exactly as she wishes–from crime reporter Cassidy Shaw, who thinks Elizabeth is her new best friend, to a shy young man Elizabeth persuades to kill for her.

As Elizabeth leaves a trail of bodies in her wake, Federal prosecutor Allison Pierce and FBI agent Nicole Hedges must piece together clues from seemingly unrelated crimes. Can they stop her before she reaches her unthinkable, ultimate end-game?

My Opinion:

I really, really enjoyed this book even though it wasn’t at all what I expected for the typical Christian suspense novel – the authors did a great job in keeping me turning the pages for the entire book.  I say it’s not your typical Christian suspense as there isn’t a lot of talk about God – there is a brief conversation between husband and wife about letting go and letting God and brief mentions of prayer, but your not going to find the Gospel message in this book.  At first I was turned off by that but by the time I reached the end I think it was a good move, since the book deals with a sociopath and murder for hire.

I believe that while there was mention of reading tea leaves and one of  the main characters partook in intimate relationships that a mature (and married) Christian could easily look at the characters as lost and know that such behavior is how some that don’t know Christ act like.  I will say the ending was excellent, but I won’t spoil it, however I love how this book ended and I would recommend it to anyone, Believer or not, who enjoys a great suspense book because this book does it’s job in keeping your attention from the first page.

**I received an e-copy of this book through Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze blogger program in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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12 Pearls of Christmas – Day 6


Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from some of today’s most beloved writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun … there’s also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 – 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***

Let The Baby Grow Up This Christmas

By Shellie Tomlinson

When I was a little girl, Christmas seemed to take forever to make its way back to our little house on the end of a dirt road called Bull Run in northeast Louisiana. We kids started counting down the days before the leaves ever began turning. Sure, the adults said it came once a year but I wasn’t so sure. Once Santa Claus left our humble abode it seemed like light years before he found his way back to the Delta.

That was a child’s perspective. I imagine it hasn’t changed all that much for today’s kids. On the other hand, I’m operating under a completely different time frame these days. It seems like it was just yesterday when I pulled the boxes down from the attic and began pulling out the nativity scene, the miniature lights, and the keepsake ornaments. And now, just that fast– Christmas Day is right around the corner. Soon the tree will be striped naked and the piled up presents will all be distributed. After a few more day it’ll be hard to remember who got what from whom, and once again, I’ll start packing all the decorations away for another year.

I was thinking about how bare and cold the house always looks after the holidays when I realized that, sadly, this  scene would play itself out in many hearts as well. A lot of people will have had expectations that weren’t filled and many of those same souls will be left with hurts that don’t seem to heal. Unless this year is remarkably different from past seasons, my bet is, the New Year will bring magazines full of articles on combating depression and the talk shows will have experts on offering ways to fill the long days ahead and cure the winter blues.

I’m no expert, dear readers, but I’d like to offer you a suggestion that will go far beyond the creature comforts of a nice warm bath or a delicious bowl of hot soup. Your heart doesn’t have to be bare and naked after the holidays. Do you want to know the real secret? It’s simple, really. Don’t pack up Christ with Christmas! As beautiful and special as the Christmas story is, it’s only a part of heaven’s miracle. The Christ child grew into a man and the man became a Savior.

This year, may we be determined to let the babe from Bethlehem live on in our hearts. If we’ll allow Him to become the Messiah He was born to be, the joy of Christmas can be ours all year long.

***

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is an author, speaker, and radio host from Louisiana. Her latest release Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy was endorsed by Jeff Foxworthy as “laugh out loud funny!” You can find Shellie’s weekly southern features, podcasts, video chats and more at http://www.allthingssouthern.com/ Make sure to get by the blog  and read about the Super Christmas Giveaway Shellie is hosting for her readers and secure your chance to win a Mort Kunstler print valued between $700 and $1400. www.allthingssouthern.com

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Christmas tree art, Christmas party, Gingerbread houses


Bethanne and Christian made some cute Christmas trees at Awana, using glitter glue, M&M’s and cardstock.

We had our Christmas party at my friend’s house along with her three children and exchanged gifts and made gingerbread houses.  Lots of fun!

Hannah’s gingerbread house:

Bethanne’s:

Christian’s:

And because I can’t forget Sadie:

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TOS Crew Review: The World’s Greatest Stories


Vendor Name: The World’s Greatest Stories

Vendor ContactEmail Contact

Name of ProductThe Prophets

Price:  $7.95 CD or cassette  NIV or KJV

Age Range: all ages

Step back in time with me for a moment and let’s meet Daniel of Lion’s Den fame, Jonah, Elijah and other prophets of old…… You say that’s not possible?  Well believe me it is and you’ll enjoy the trip.  With the World’s Greatest Stories you and your children will be transported directly into the Word of God and hear word for word the words that were told from the Lord and spread by the prophets.

Actor, George W. Sarris, reads directly from the version of the Bible you chose – either NIV (New International Version) or KJV (King James Version) – and neither takes away or adds to the already great stories of history from the Bible.  You can’t merely sit back and think just your children will enjoy this word for word telling of the Prophets stories, because you to will be caught up in the enthralling history.

I received Volume I: The Prophets and when it was over my children were very,very disappointed and had me promising them to buy the rest.  I too was extremely caught up and found myself wanting the disc to continue on and on and on.  It was so awesome to listen to since we’ve studied the prophets this year and this made the stories come alive like I couldn’t do myself.  You’ll hear The Blazing Furnace, The Handwriting on the Wall, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Elijah and the Prophets of Baal and The Prophecy of Jonah.

There are a total of 18 stories on 5 CD’s or cassettes totaling an hour each – almost over 5 hours of Bible stories that will keep children’s attention as well as the adults in their life.  If you order 6 or more items you get free shipping as well.  The other volumes are:

  • The Life of Christ
  • Beginnings
  • Joshua and Esther
  • Joseph and his Brothers
  • Defeating Giants

**This is a TOS Crew review.  I received The Prophets KJV CD from The World’s Greatest Stories in exchange for posting my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

**If you’d like to see what other homeschooling families thought please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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