Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

2009-2010 School year goals

June 1st begins our kick off for the 2009-2010 school year of which my oldest daughter will be finishing 2nd grade and begining 3rd!  We will be doing a modified school year until August at which time we will begin full force in covering every subject area.  So for now we are concentrating on math, reading, Bible, art, grammar/reading/spelling/literature.  I am mainly writing this for my own accountability so I can see if I am meeting the goals for Hannah’s school year.

Math:  Our goals for math is to finish Saxon Math 2 by the second week of September and go right into Saxon Math 3.  Hannah will learn measuring (inches, pounds, centimeters, etc), money, multiplication, algorithm, division, angles, finding points on a coordinate graph.  More will be added as we begin our adventure into Math 3. 

Art:  Our goals for art are to learn about famous artists as well as what artists do and see and also where we find art, such as caves, floors, pyramids, castles, windows, etc.  Making corresponding art projects.  Also be able to identify different art styles such as realism, pointilism, etc.

Bible:  Work on memorizing more verses and being able to find verses on her own in the Bible and relating verses to life today.  Using free Bible devotionals that we recieve through the mail.

Grammar:  Have an understanding of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, punctuation and using it correctly.  Also understand how to write complete sentences, use contractions, past, present, future, possession, adverbs, quotation marks, commas, subjects and predicates, singular and plural nouns, proper and improper, conjunctions, and superlative adjectives.  This may sound ambitious but Hannah enjoys the grammar we do and best of all it’s free I just have to print it off.

Reading/Literature/Spelling:  Fortunately, Hannah loves to read, and she is contstantly reading something.  We will be using unit studies such as FIAR, Beyond FIAR and Portraits of American Girlhood (these will also fall under history, geography, etc)  I will be adding some classics on her level as well as other books she will be reading for our unit studies.  She spells how the word sounds, which is fine but I want her to be able to spell by sounding out the word and recognizing differences in words.  We will be continuing on with Alphabet Island level 2 which will help in spelling.

Science:  I will be using various thematic units and going with what Hannah wants to learn about in regards to science.  We will be using some Apologia and of course some of our unit studies contain science as well.

History/Geography:  This will be mostly included in our unit studies I mentioned above but I will be delving more into her memorizing States and Capitols and work on memorizing Presidents.  Continuing work on Ohio history (although the public schools don’t do this until 4th grade) and adding to her lapbook.  Working on learning countries and where they are in relation to north, south, east, west. 

Handwriting:  Hannah has requested she learn cursive so we will begin that adventure as well, I want to give her a few more months of practicing her printing and then we will move on to cursive.

I think this covers most.  I will be adding to this or making new posts as I feel the need.  I will also begin work with my 2nd child begining in September when she turns 5 doing basic phonics and Math K with her.  I’d like to see Hannah continue with the Latin program we recieved in the TOS review Crew.  I am excited to get started with our new school year!



1 Comment »

Cindy Woodsmall on Nightline

Amish Love
What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?
Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here ( about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.
And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.

Comments Off on Cindy Woodsmall on Nightline

One Lovely Blog Award

Imagine my surprise when I got home and saw in my email that I was given the One Lovely Blog award!  Sara at Ebracing Destiny has awarded me the One Lovely Blog award!  So now I need to award it to 15 other blogs that I read and notify them too – so if I tell you I am giving you the award make sure to leave it for 15 of your favorite Lovely Blogs too 🙂  Also if you recieve it make sure to accept it and post it on your blog along with the person’s blog who gave it to you 😀  I don’t have 15 off the top of my head but you are allowed to add more as you come across them.


Amy @ Tiny Blessings

Pam @  Stillearning

Light Bearer @ On The Path

Laraba @ Laraba’s Homeschool Blog

50’s Housewife @ 50’s Housewife




Veiled Freedom by J.M. Windle

Excellent! Riveting! Great writing! Suspense! Well all these words would do a great job in succintly telling about a book I just read published by Tyndale and written by J.M. Windle titled Veiled Freedom. I had never heard of the author but am glad that I gave this book the chance it deserved, because if I hadn’t I would have missed out on an excellent book.
The book takes us to Kabul in 2001 after American forces have ‘freed’ Afghanistan from the Taliban. We have no idea just how much the Afghan people are still in prison though by their new, corrupt government. Eight years pass as Special Forces veteran, Steve Wilson, returns as a security chief. Aboard the same plane to Afghanistan is relief worker, Amy Mallory, who wants to change the entire world. Imagine the challenges she faces being a young, single, Christian woman in Afghanistan but love can conquer all. This is not a romance between a male and female but a romance between a woman’s greater love for a country in need, a love for her Savior and their love in return.
The first two chapters were slow moving but I am so glad that I kept going because after I hit chapter 3 it was hard to put down! The historical accurance of this book will have you feeling as if you are really standing in the streets of Afghanistan, feeling the stuffiness in the burqas, the dirt that you breathe in. The fast past doesn’t detract from the story, in fact adding to it, as I can’t imagine anything going at a slow rate in Afghanistan. I felt like I shared in Amy Mallory’s decisions and how to come to grips of not being able to save the world. I too one time have been idealistic in wanting to change the world and it’s a rude awakening when you realize all too well it’s a job that no one can do, but One.
I would ask you to please check out this book, you can find a way to purchase it through Tyndale and see if you enjoy it as much as I did. I will say that the day I began reading this book I recieved word that my cousin and his unit will be deployed to Afghanistan, he is more than likely already there, so to say reading this book hit home somewhat is an understatement. Being a veteran and coming from a long line of veterans, it makes me proud.
1 Comment »

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions by James A. Beverly

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions by James A. Beverly is a voluminous tome that takes time to digest but is an excellent source of well researched material on religions of the world. Mr. Beverly does admit that he is not all knowing and any negative opinions are not done in malice or in any hating of any individual or religion.

In the Introduction Mr. Beverly ten things that he feels are a Christian way to respond to different religions that are not Christian and outlining the basics of the Christian Faith. He also gives ten tests for truth in religion:

  1. The God Test
  2. The Christological Test
  3. The Biblical Test
  4. The Love Test
  5. The Spirit Test
  6. The Freedom Test
  7. The Psychological Test
  8. The Social/Political Test
  9. The Prophetic Test
  10. The Rational Test

I won’t go into much detail about each test, suffice to say this provides a good starting ground in determining wether a religion is truly Christian grounded in the Truth. He also describes cults and what constitutes a cult – sometimes the lines are not so clearly drawn in regards to some.

The religions discussed in this book are Baha’i, Branch Davidians, Buddhism, Christian Science, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, The New Age, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Satanism, Sikhism, Unification Church and Witchcraft. Within each religion such as Protestantism there are subdivisions discussed like Adventism, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Baptists, Charismatics, Church of Christ, Emergent Church, Florida Outpouring, Fundamentalism, Kansas City Prophets, Seventh-Day Adventist, Methodists and other denomations within the Protestantism belief system.

Within each is given time lines of that particular religion, websites for further research and learning and other recommended reading. The full colored pictures are accompanied with short descriptions of the picture of the place or person the picture is of. The pictures are a wondeful addition to a book that would feel extra large without them. There are four appendices as well which provide more information:

  1. Religions as Family Traditions
  2. Taoism and Taoism Chart
  3. Introduction to Brainwashing and Deprogramming
  4. Resources on World and New Religions.

This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys theology, study of other religions or just to know why other religions think the way they do. While I am sure this is not all encompassing, as religions constantly shift and change the information contained in this book will enable the Christian to see other religions and understand even if not in agreement with them. I do suggest young children not see this book as there other dieties and images dealing with Satanism which could be scary to some children.

You can find out how to purchase this book by visiting Thomas Nelson’s product page.

Comments Off on Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions by James A. Beverly

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir **blog tour**

I am pleased to announce my first ever, Waterbrook/Multnomah blog tour!  I am happy to bring you the tour for The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir.


Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted homicide detective in love with his partner, Trisha Willis. She gives Ray something to live for—something to hope in. Until a barrage of bullets leaves Trisha murdered and Ray crippled.
Struggling with his new physical disability and severe depression, Quinn turns to whiskey, scorn, and a job as a night watchman to numb the pain. But when a pastor and dancer are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, the pastor’s sister approaches Quinn for help.
Reluctantly, Quinn takes the case and is plunged into the perilous Orlando. Soon he discovers that, not only was the pastor murdered, but the case may be linked to his and Trisha’s ambush. Torn between seeking revenge or responsibility, Quinn is thrust into the case of his life.
Author Mark Mynheir gives readers his most profound police thriller to date with The Night Watchman (first book in The Night Watchman Private Detective Agency Series). Readers of all ages will devour this gripping murder mystery that bristles with tension and intrigue. In a taut cop-style all his own, Mynheir delivers an inside look at the thoughts, feelings, fears, and challenges police officers experience while investigating violent crimes and the lost souls who commit them. 

Author Bio:

A detective with the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Palm Bay Police Department, Mark Mynheir investigates violent crimes and writes riveting Christian fiction. A U.S. Marine with a passion for martial arts and firearms training, Mark has worked on narcotics units, SWAT teams, and myriad high-risk situations. His four novels offer a realistic glimpse into the gritty world of law enforcement and the rarely seen raw emotions behind the badge. Mark lives in Florida with his wife and three children.

My opinion:

I really enjoyed this book, usually I am unsure of new-to-me authors but I was wonderfully suprised.  Mr. Mynheir did a great job in creating characters that come alive and don’t just lay flat on a page – they have feelings and failings and that comes across loud and clear.  I read this book in two days and wether that was because the action kept me reading, or the fact I had to know if Ray Quinn would accept Jesus I had to keep reading.  This book gave me a way to read about law and order without all the cussing and other immoral going ons.

If you’d like to purchase this yourself you can visit Random House’s catalog for three easy ways to order this book from your own home!

The Contest/Giveaway:

I have an extra copy to give away to one of my readers, so if you want to enter follow the following:

  1. leave a comment AND a way to get ahold of you if you win.
  2. follow me on twitter (SarahJoBailey) and leave a comment AND with a way to contact you.
  3. leave another comment telling me your favorite praise and/or worship song AND a way to contact you. 

You can enter each way one time a day until May 29th, when I will draw a winner and be in contact with you as soon as I can to get an address.

And if you’d like to be a part of other great blog tours visit Blogging For Books. 

Comments Off on The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir **blog tour**

Classic Bible Storybook by Kenneth N. Taylor

The Classic Bible Storybook by Kenneth N. Taylor and published by Tyndale is a hard covered book with more than 120 stories from the Bible. The beautiful illustrations one finds in this storybook are done by Richard and Franci Hook. Kenneth Taylor was a dad to 10 children and wanted his children to be able to understand Biblical truths and sought to find a way to make that a reality. He has written many other books for children and is also responsible for what later became the New Living Translation of the Bible.

This storybook of Bible stories has beautiful illustrations done both in color and black and white. The drawings are realistic in nature and add the ability for children to feel connected to the Biblical characters they read about. The illustrations will impress even the oldest of adults down the youngest of children – I know my husband and I were impressed as was my youngest who is 2! The care taken by the illustrators really can be felt to come through the pages as you read the stories.

There are 68 Old Testament Bible stories and 53 New Testament Bible stories. Each story gives the Scripture that relates back to the Bible as well as one or two illustrations to go along with that story. The stories are engaging, as all Bible stories should be, and are simple enough the young will understand but detailed enough that the older children will not be bored by simplistic language. Following each story are comprehension questions that the parent can go over with their child(ren) to ensure a good understanding of the Bible story they were just read. The questions can have simple answers for the young child but also give a chance for an older child to give more detailed answers as they grow in the Word.

Overall, this is a wonderful children’s storybook full of Truth and Wisdom and will enable children to grasp Biblical truths on their level until they can move on to a regular Bible for more intense study. My oldest enjoys pulling this off the shelf and reading and answering the questions by herself. This could also be used for family devotions or to teach Biblical history for the homeschooling family. There are so many ways to use this Classic Bible Storybook and your family will enjoy it and as well as it’s made it could very well became a treasured family heirloom.

Comments Off on Classic Bible Storybook by Kenneth N. Taylor

Blog Tour: I Would Die for You

About the Book:
(Tulsa, OK) – "It’s an honor just to be nominated": familiar words for Emmy and Grammy nominees. Still, Brent and Deanna Higgins never believed the phrase would pertain to their family. Outreach magazine has recently honored the Higgins’ book, I Would Die for You, with a nomination as Outreach Resource of the Year.
That nomination, however, came with a great cost. I Would Die for You chronicles the life and death of their young son, BJ Higgins; along with his faith; his passion for missions and his love for God. Compelling excerpts from personal notes, blog entries school assignments and journals reveal his clear calling and enthusiasm for sharing the gospel of Christ. BJ’s challenging words and example combine to inspire readers of all ages.
After returning from his second short-term international mission trip at the age of 15, BJ became seriously ill. Six days before his sixteenth birthday, he died. His story lives on throughout the pages of his parents’ book.
In spite of the inevitable grief , Brent and Deanna share their son’s message of selfless sacrifice through both I Would Die for You and Awe Star Ministries, the nonprofit ministry that coordinated his mission trips. Their prayer? That countless others will embrace BJ’s vision and give their all for the cause of Christ.

About the Authors:
As an ordained minister and youth pastor, Brent Higgins continues the faith journey his son, BJ, began a few years ago. He currently serves as Vice President of International Operations for Awe Star Ministries, a Christian nonprofit organization committed to equipping believers for life, speaking to more than 25,000 people each year.
As an accomplished musician and elementary school music teacher, Deanna Higgins opens the next chapter of BJ’s missionary work by serving alongside her husband to lead mission trips for Awe Star Ministries. Brent and Deanna now reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

What Teenagers are Saying:
BJ was just a year younger than me, and in his short life he had such a full life and could die with no regrets. He had a sense of urgency in telling the story of the gospel and its transforming power to others. He didn’t worry about what they thought or if he would be rejected.
–T. Buse

Blog Tour Questions:
1. Describe how BJ became involved in short-term mission trips. How did these trips impact BJ’s faith?
    BJ watched other members of our family participate in church mission trips. He couldn’t wait for his turn! When Brent led a team to Kentucky to serve in a school, BJ went along. At age fourteen, he learned of an opportunity to minister in Peru. He served there with Awe Star Ministries two consecutive summers and his heart broke over the world’s lostness. His mission service ignited a passion to see the Gospel reach the nations.
2. Even as a young boy BJ’s passion for God shone through in his life. How did you see that passion then and as he grew?
   In his childhood, his passion sometimes came across as judgmental. When he learned to share out of love, his witness became much more effective. He was bold and unafraid to share the Gospel in any way possible. After his mission trips, his heightened passion led him to spend more time in the Word, in prayer, in fellowship, and worship. BJ could turn almost any conversation to the things of God because he genuinely loved others.
 3. Share the story of BJ’s illness and the time when God called him home.
   Three weeks after his 2005 Peru trip, BJ became critically ill. On the way to the hospital, he told Brent, “Dad, I know you’re scared. I believe the Lord will deliver me through this. But if he doesn’t, I’m going home to be with him, and that’s okay with me.” Friends began a blog we still maintain, It received thousands of hits as people across the world prayed for our son. After a six-week battle with a mysterious infection, BJ went to heaven days before his sixteenth birthday.
 4. How did BJ’s faith journey become the inspiration for the song, “I Would Die For You” written by MercyMe’s lead singer, Bart Millard?
   Within a week of BJ’s hospitalization Bart (a friend from the band’s early years) called Brent. Our oldest daughter had posted some of BJ’s journal entries on our blog and Bart was amazed at his spiritual depth. He emailed fans encouraging them to pray. MercyMe grieved deeply when BJ died. Our son’s life and writings inspired Bart to put words to a tune he already had, now the final song on the “Coming Up to Breathe” CD.
5. BJ’s life and death have touched many people. Which of his qualities and/or experiences seems to impact others the most?
   People didn’t realize it was possible to live a life as sold out to Christ as BJ’s. They’re amazed at the boldness he showed when God told him to witness to four Peruvian policemen carrying uzis. As he wrote, he was “mucho scardios,” but all four accepted Christ. His passionate declaration, “I will not be satisfied. I will not let my passion be hid in a bottle” still touches people in deep ways.
 6. As you both continue to partner with Awe Star Ministries, what are your hopes and dreams for this ministry? For this book?
   We hope to impact students’ lives, discipling and partnering with them in missions. We long for them to realize that surrender to Christ can occur without crossing borders. God calls us to live a missionary lifestyle within our own culture. Our hope for the book is not that our son be glorified but that God multiply his message. We pray that God draws those who read it to embrace their Savior and live for Him as never before.
 7. Where can readers learn more about BJ and I Would Die For You? Where can they learn more about Awe Star Ministries? contains devotionals, complete archives, pictures, and BJ’s own words. Recently, we posted a video of his life at You’ll find I Would Die for You anywhere Christian books are sold. contains a link for a free companion Bible study. Friend us on Facebook: Brent A. Higgins; Deanna Tucker Higgins. 
 Visit to learn more about international missions opportunities. May God use you to extend BJ’s passion to reach the nations and “raise a revolution” in Him.  
Parenting Tips from the Higgins
▪ Stay in the Word and in prayer if you expect your children to do so. Too many times, parents expect that the youth pastor is going to grow their children. You can’t expect your kids to live a lifestyle you’re not.
▪ Be sure you have a firm answer from God before you respond to your child about a request. For example, when BJ first wanted to serve overseas, our initial answer was “no,” but that was a knee-jerk reaction. Parents must be careful to hear from the Holy Spirit and not respond out of pure protectiveness or emotion.
▪ If at all possible, have a regular devotional time with your family. This should include prayer, not just rote prayer but significant time with God. This teaches kids how to pray and encourages them in their walk with the Lord
▪ Arrange to have dinner together as a family as often as you can. This gives you an opportunity to share as a family and also allows you to listen to your children. Kids won’t spill unless parents are willing to listen. 
▪ Don’t be afraid to let your children fail. Sometimes kids need to try things and learn that failure is a part of life. They need all kinds of experiences as they move into adulthood.
▪ Encourage your children to be bold in their faith. Do activities as a family—mission trips and other projects—that require boldness. Encourage them to be involved in opportunities to share their faith.
▪ Listen, listen, and listen to your children. We say this humbly because we learned from our mistakes. Often your kids are telling you things by what they don’t tell you. (See the note about having dinner together above).
▪ When discouraging things happen, don’t remove your child’s opportunities to obey God. Your child’s relationship with God should never be used as a weapon. Opportunities for fellowship(youth group, etc.) shouldn’t be contingent on “good” behavior.
▪ If you make a commitment, follow through. If your child makes a commitment, help him or her follow through on it, too. The lesson here: your faithfulness sets an example for others.
▪ Practice what you preach to your children. Demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit through your love, kindness, etc. Although we weren’t (and aren’t) perfect parents, we tried to follow through in our lives with the things we taught our kids.


Okay once again I will draw a name on June 22nd and that person will go into the drawing to win a prize book package from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications.  Here is what the prize basket has for this book tour:

 Would Die for You
Gift Basket
I Would Die for You book – autographed

Rite of Passage Parenting book – autographed  (Rite of Passage Parenting by Walker Moore, Thomas Nelson, 2007)

Global Passage Creed sticker 

Not Home…Gone Global for Jesus sticker

Awe Star blue ink pen

Red Awe Star luggage tag

Green Global Passage bandana

2 Awe Star drink containers

Blue size L Awe Star 2009 trip T-shirt

Orange size L God’s Global Roadie T-shirt


The Simple Woman's Daybook – May 18th edition

For Today…

Outside my window… sunny, trees blowing in a slight breeze, just enough coolness to enjoy it.

I am thinking… of all the things I need to do or complete.  And where are my quilt blocks?

From the learning rooms… nothing but some planning.  Starting up again on June 1st

I am thankful for… for the freedom to homeschool and great friends

From the kitchen… homemade buttermilk pancakes w/ turkey bacon for breakfast, remake sourdough starter, mac and cheese for the little’s lunch and salad night for dinner?

I am wearing… jean skirt, blouse, and brown crocs.  My frumpy day, don’t have to go anywhere outift.

I am reading… The Secret by Beverly Lewis, Helping Those Who Hurt by Barbara M. Roberts, Veiled Freedom by J.M. Windle and Having a Matha Heart in a Mary World by Joanna Weaver

I am hoping… to get to more sewing

I am creating… I still need to work on more dresses, several quilts, shorts for Christian, book reviews and some aprons.

I am praying… for my cousin who is on his way to Afghanistan.  We aren’t close but I still pray for his safety and one day his Salvation.

Around the house… reading and sewing.

One of my favorite things… a cool spring day, a great book and a cup of hot cocoa

A few plans for the rest of the week… today run to Joann’s to exchange wrong bias tape for correct bias tape, Tuesday may be ballet, Wednesday is the 2nd to last AWANA meeting, Thursday may be ballet, Friday there is nothing scheduled.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…

1 Comment »

The American Patriot’s Bible NKJV

The American Patriot’s Bible is a wonderful, hard back New King James Version of the Bible. This Bible is “The Word of God and the Shaping of America”. Thomas Nelson has put out a Bible that is great reading neither taking away or adding to Scripture.

In the front of the Bible are beautiful, full color pages for a marriage record between a man and wife, areas for the husband’s family and the wife’s family, children, grandchildren, church records, family history, ancestor’s of interest, map of the United States of America, the fifty states and dates when they became a state, military and public service and deaths of family members.

Also in the front are The Seven Principles of the Judeo-Christian Ethic:

  • Principle 1: The Dignity of Human Life (all human life not just the born but the pre-born and elderly, everyone)
  • Principle 2: The Traditional Monogamous Family
  • Principle 3: A National Work Ethic
  • Principle 4: The Right to a God-Centered Education
  • Principle 5: The Abrahamic Covenant
  • Principle 6: Common Decency
  • Principle 7: Our Personal Accountability to God

This Bible is NOT saying that Jesus is only for Americans. This Bible is NOT saying that God’s Word is only for Americans. In fact this Bible states that the Bible is for everyone who will receive it. What makes this Bible nice is that it includes American HIStory within His Word to drive home facts. While some things I did learn in my mediocre public school education – there were gaping holes when it came to things like why the Pilgrims really came to America or the fact that our founding fathers were in fact Christians although there were some deists as well. This could very well be written for the British, Africans, Indians, any nationality that wants to incorporate their nations history with God’s written Word.

I will say I don’t think that every Christian is called to vote. While this Bible has a full page of quotes on why American Christians should vote there also seems to be an unwritten understanding that Christians who don’t vote aren’t doing their duty to God and country. I beg to disagree. While I do vote, I haven’t been convicted by God to not vote, but if I ever do it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Not voting doesn’t mean you don’t care about your country, those who don’t vote can do other things to direct how laws are made without getting involved in politics – like praying.

The other aspect of this Bible is the picture of Obama in it. He is quoted saying how change has come to America. I don’t believe a picture of our current President belongs in a Bible although I know the editor and publisher were making a point about equality for the races, but I think it could have been done in a better way. I must add as well, I don’t think that God is behind wars. men start wars and then seek God’s guidance, rarely have I seen or heard of a war started with a man first seeking God’s will. I mean no disrespect to anyone in the Armed Forces (I myself am a Navy veteran) and while God can be with those serving I hesitate to say that He supports the act of war.

Overall, The American Patriot’s Bible, is a great Bible for those desiring to add a little more history to the readings of Scripture. You can view a YouTube video about this new Bible published by Thomas Nelson. I would say give it a chance and take a look at it, you may be genuinely surprised.


%d bloggers like this: