GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Glaen by Fred Lybrand


About the book

Author Fred Lybrand takes an in-depth look into relationships and dating, plus a little common sense for the real day-to-day world, in his latest book, Glaen. Lybrand has chosen a unique and effective way to present his knowledge of human relationships and romance by creating a storyline that allows readers to walk alongside believable characters as they discover and explore an exciting and more effective way to relate to those with whom they will share life’s most intimate relationships.
 
The life changing principles found in Glaen are the gems Lybrand wants readers to take from the story and experience in their own lives and relationships. This book will serve as a great teaching tool for parents to use with their children as well as for church leaders guiding couples who are seeking a more satisfying marriage relationship. 

My Opinion:

I read this book in one day, yes, one day!  This wasn’t hard since it was easy to read and since I wasn’t feeling well my husband let me read the day away.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I’m married but I also know that marriages can always be improved plus I have three children which will have to learn about relationships when the Lord gives them the right person to marry.

This book had lots of ideas that I high lighted so I could come back to them one day.  Regardless if you are married, single or engaged this book will have something for you.  It could just be a help that you need to save your marriage or make it stronger (ultimately, God is the only one who can save a marriage) and it could help a young person decide if the person they are courting or dating isn’t the one God really had planned.

I’m on the side of courting when it comes to my children, but we are a few years off from that as my oldest is only 8, however I still lean towards courting.  Thankfully the author looks at both courting and dating and while he doesn’t take sides he does give the pros and cons associated with each.  

If you’d like more information regarding Glaen you can visit http://www.glaen.wordpress.com/    You can also become a Facebook fan where you can download the first chapter for free  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/GLAEN-A-Novel-Message-on-Romance-Love-and-Relating/296838056638?ref=search&sid=mzvsrXHnCjwirzxpl2VfiQ.2794735957..1 

**I was given a copy of this book from the B&B Media Group in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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Home School Portfolio


If you wonder what a home school portfolio is or how to put together one to use for an assessment then here it is.  My first year I was a bit overwhelmed since I wasn’t sure if I’d included enough or if I included too much, now I know that some work samples from the beginning, middle and end of the school year is enough.  With some pictures and art work and awards thrown in you’ve got a portfolio! 

I use the principal at the school my brothers and I used to go to and it’s a private school and the principal is accepting of homeschooling plus she doesn’t charge me – which works out great for our family.  So for now, even though some have disagreed with me for using her, this is what works for our family and I feel we get a thorough assessment.

Along with the portfolio (which by the way is a 3 ring binder) I bring other work that I feel is instrumental in displaying the work that my child (soon to be children) has done over the course of the school year.  Any lapbooks, notebooking,  etc will go with me.  So for the 2009-2010 year I’m bringing Hannah’s big lapper lapbook, her Apologia astronomy lapnote, her Ohio history binder from CHECC and her cursive workbook. 

This is the cover of my daughter’s portfolio. I include a picture of her and some clip art and sometimes I let her use stickers to decorate it.

The following are: excuse letter from school, my letter of intent w/delivery confirmation card, last years assessment, form with information, intended curriculum outline and brief outline.  I put these all in page protectors so they stay safe through the year and I know where they are.  I also keep a copy of the excused letter in our van.

This is the 2nd page of the brief outline – I have no idea why photobucket didn’t get the 1st page uploaded but I don’t have time right now to do another picture 😀

Next comes the fun parts.  I opened a Word document and took pictures that I had taken over our school year and inserted them and re-sized them so I could fit about 9 pictures to each page and under each picture I wrote a caption about what my daughter was doing – I included pictures to show her with other children, siblings and friends.

I then use divider things to seperate certain subjects – I don’t and can’t include every subject.  I do include math, language arts and art.  Her science is in another binder.  I go through her papers once a week and decide what to keep then at the end of the year I do even more pruning.

Then I add various art projects.  Those that are sculpture in nature like her paper mache, fabric, etc I take a picture and include it in the picture pages.  Again I insert these into page protectors.

Then the certificates.  These are anything that she has done in co-op or wherever, if it’s a certificate it goes in, also utilizing page protectors.

Another neat item to include are any brochures or maps that you pick up at field trips.  I try to keep these in the same page protector to save space, but I do try to make it presentable. 

So this is what my oldest daughter’s portfolio looks like.  My middle daughter’s will also look like this next year as she’ll be doing first grade.  I hope this has helped someone is wondering what you can, should or might want to put into a portfolio – even if you don’t use it for a written narrative (assessment) it’s nice to keep a record of what your child(ren) has done over the years.  At the end I usually prune it even more – keeping the awards, pictures, outlines, letters and maybe some worksheets and writing but not keeping it all – I simply don’t have room.

God bless.

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FIRST tour: A Woman’s Walk in Grace by Catherine Martin


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Catherine Martin

and the book:

A Woman’s Walk in Grace

Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Catherine Martin is a graduate of Bethel Theological Seminary, the founder of Quiet Time Ministries, the director of her church’s women’s ministries, and an adjunct faculty member of Biola University. Her many books include Six Secrets to a Powerful Quiet Time, Set My Heart on Fire, and A Woman’s Heart That Dances.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736923802
ISBN-13: 978-0736923804

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

In the Garden of Grace

She stood behind the open door, her eyes fixed on the English missionaries who had come to visit her in-laws. Hidden from view, she stared at their gentle faces and felt deep sobs welling up from a place inside she did not care to reveal, not even to herself. No, I can’t entertain the hope I see in these people. How could I have possibly arrived at such a despicable life, with no way of escape? Trapped in this house, forever doomed. At 19, she was already a widow with a child—a most desperate position for any woman in India in the late 1800s.

Buried in her memories were earlier years of tender love from parents who regarded her as their greatest treasure, naming her Ponnamal, meaning “gold.” Her parents showered her with every possible advantage, blessing their bright young daughter with a good education. Then, as was the custom, she was given in marriage to an older man. Clothed in silk, decorated with beautiful jewelry, high-spirited and gentle Ponnamal left the warmth of her father’s house to marry a professor at the mission college. Her marriage brought disillusionment, but the birth of a child brought her joy. And then came the sudden, shocking death of her husband only a year after their wedding. Ponnamal had journeyed from safety to sorrow and now to despair. Widows were outcasts in India. What would she do? Where would she go?

“We’ll take you in,” responded her in-laws with disdain and resignation ringing in their voices. Ponnamal realized her place in their home. They never let her forget. “You’re only here because of the child. No, you can’t change your clothes. You’re a widow. Only soiled things become you. No, you can’t have a comb. You are no good. You’re a burden on us. Even if you work all day, it won’t be enough to repay all we have done for you.”

At first Ponnamal thought, Surely they don’t know me. When they see how hard I work and how much I want to help, they’ll be kind. They’ll change. But the more she tried, the worse her situation became. Sinking into despair, she began to believe their lies.

One night she thought, I cannot endure my lot in life. I hear the well calling me as it has called others in the past. I can end my suffering with death. She waited for her mother-in-law to fall asleep and then grasped the door’s iron bolts and slipped out into the darkness of the night. She felt relieved to escape as the open air and vast starry sky soothed her heart. She stood by the well, ready to throw herself over the edge.

But then she remembered something she had read long ago. Wasn’t there an Indian widow who actually accomplished a great deed for her country? I know I read that somewhere. If she could accomplish something worthwhile, then why can’t I do the same? Maybe there is hope for me yet. Fleeting excitement simmered within and drove her back to her bed, where she lay for hours, thinking wishful thoughts until dawn.

The next morning her eyes sparkled with anticipation of unknown adventure. And now, only days later, standing behind a door, invisible to all but God, she listened intently to Mr. and Mrs. Walker, missionaries committed to sharing Jesus with others in India. They asked about the wild-eyed young girl they had noticed. “Who is the young woman living with you?”

“She is the widow of our son,” replied Ponnamal’s in-laws.

“We’d like to invite all of you to attend church,” replied the Walkers.

Surprisingly, Ponnamal was allowed to attend church on Sundays. The preacher gave deep, vibrant, Spirit-filled messages with rapid sentences in the complicated Tamil language. He may have thought only the men were understanding and hearing the message. But Ponnamal discerned the meaning of those words better than all others in attendance. This Jesus is the one I have been longing for all my life. I never have to feel alone again. Transformed, Ponnamal entered into new life in Christ and was filled with a supernatural joy and peace. Outwardly, she endured the same trapped, hopeless existence, but with newfound serenity, she performed the drudgery of duties in a strength and triumph no amount of reproach could weaken.

One day, Mrs. Walker, with characteristic gentleness, asked, “Could Ponnamal stay an extra hour after the Sunday service to teach Sunday school?”

Again, surprisingly, her father-in-law responded, “Yes, she may.”

Ponnamal excitedly thought, I can hardly believe I have this open door. But I will walk through it. And walk through it she did, teaching women of all ages.

Ponnamal was teaching one Sunday when she noticed a slight, gentle-faced, dark-haired English woman watching her. I wonder who she is? She seems like someone with whom I could pour out my soul.

The English woman watched Ponnamal teach and thought, What strikes me is her power over them. There is something quite unusual about her. Ponnamal is a woman set apart. Later that morning, the woman walked up to her and said, “I’m Amy Carmichael.” Ponnamal could have never guessed how one meeting would alter the course of her life.

Amy intently watched Ponnamal’s in-laws at church. One Sunday, she saw the father-in-law crush a butterfly against the church wall during the service. She thought with disgust, How symbolic the crushing of that insect seems. The only one he has within his power to crush is Ponnamal. Amy began wondering, What can I do? and then What must I do?

Amy knocked on the in-laws’ door, determined in her purpose. Winsomely, knowingly, she approached in the way God had shown her, finally asking permission for Ponammal to come with her for just one afternoon. “I would like Ponnamal to accompany me on visits out on the mission field.”

The father-in-law assured her, “Name the afternoon, and she may go.”

Ponnamal, on hearing those words, felt the prison doors open. This is the day of Jubilee for me. Life will never be the same. And she was right.

When Amy arrived at the in-laws’ house, she scanned Ponnamal’s face, looking into eager yet powerfully controlled eyes intent on answering God’s call. Amy thought, Yes, Ponnamal, we will serve the Lord together in His love and power. Together they walked out of that oppressive house into an afternoon of service for the Lord.

Some time later, Amy boldly asked the in-laws, “I would like Ponnamal to join me in ministry and travel throughout India, serving the Lord.” Miraculously, they agreed. Thus began the adventures of Amy Carmichael and Ponnamal, coworkers in the missionary work of Dohnavur Fellowship in India.

In Ponnamal’s story we see a tremendous rescue and restoration of a soul. What made her rescue possible? Grace—God’s pure and powerful grace. Ponnamal was helpless, unable to save herself in her life situation. She seemed to be doomed to a life of drudgery and despair. Then, amazingly, she experienced spiritual transformation. She was given a life of ministry with one of the greatest missionaries of all time. Grace benefits the least likely and showers the unfortunate with unimaginable gifts, producing results that are almost too good to be true. God, because of His grace, finds invisible people and pours out His gifts of grace: new identity, beauty, strength, provision, new life, forgiveness of sins, and more. Ponnamal received the touch of God’s grace and lived forever after in its warm embrace. And you and I must do the same.

Grace is seemingly a mystery. To many, grace is a theological term, not an experiential reality. When asked to define it, most cannot find adequate words. But you and I need the grace of God. Without God’s grace we cannot be saved, thrive, grow, or live. We depend on God’s grace every waking moment. More often than we care to admit, we don’t realize the miraculous work and wonder of God’s grace.

A number of years ago, during a busy time of ministry, I remarked to myself, I want to grow deeper in my relationship with God. I wonder what God wants to do in my life? A phrase came to mind then that I could not stop thinking about: Grow in the grace… I thought, That must be part of a verse in the Bible, but I have no idea where it is. Finally, when I dimly began to wonder if God might be trying to speak to my heart, I pulled out my trusty concordance to see if I could find it. Sure enough, I found 2 Peter 3:18: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” I read that verse as though for the first time. Although I had not yet plumbed the depths of it, I felt I had discovered one of God’s secrets in the Bible, a truth reserved for those who will open the pages of His Word and regard seriously what He says. I knew the secret was related to grace, but I also knew I couldn’t give a good definition beyond what I’d heard others say about it.

Since my college years, I’ve known grace as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. This acronym helps me remember part of what God’s grace does for me, but I wanted to know more. What is grace, really? And more importantly, how relevant is grace to me? Why do I need grace, and how can I get it? So I began living in this one simple verse, thinking about its meaning for my own life with the Lord.

The lessons I’ve been learning about growing in the garden of grace and receiving God’s gifts of grace form the substance of this book. Grace grabbed my heart and enlarged it, enabling me to powerfully experience more of the presence and person of God Himself. The more I realized the truth about grace, the more I experienced true freedom in life. What Jesus says is true—the truth will make you free (John 8:32). More than anything, we need to know the truth about grace, for grace unlocks the door to blessed freedom in Christ.

Grace is the free, unmerited favor of God. You can’t earn it. You don’t deserve it. Grace is at the heart of all God does toward you, for you, and in you. Grace finds you, saves you, and keeps you. Grace gives you everything you need, more than you could ever want, and places you in an eternal, secure, favorable position forever. You stand in grace, according to Paul the apostle (Romans 5:2).

A.W. Tozer writes in The Knowledge of the Holy that grace is the “good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving.” Chuck Swindoll, in his book The Grace Awakening, points out that “God helps the helpless, the undeserving, those who don’t measure up, those who fail to achieve the standard.” 

The foundation of grace is the New Covenant, an unchanging, binding agreement made by God, ratified by the blood of Christ, and guaranteed by promises that can never be broken (Hebrews 8:7-13). The Old Covenant was based on the law, which could be broken (James 2:10). When we receive Christ, we are forever under grace (Romans 6:14), and our future is secure, for the covenant can never be broken because Christ guarantees its fulfillment. The fulfillment of the New Covenant of grace never depends on us, only on God.

The apostle Paul is the perfect New Testament expositor of the grace (Greek, charis) of God, for he knew grace perhaps better than most in the first-century church. He was a Pharisee and knew the finer points of God’s law. He hated the church and persecuted those who loved and followed Christ. And yet Jesus met him on the Damascus road, loved him, saved him, forgave him, and gave him everlasting life. Paul knew he did not deserve salvation, yet he could not deny his experience on the road to Damascus that day. He met Jesus. He personally knew the manifold grace of God. Grace became one of Paul’s favorite words. In fact, he loved describing grace with additional words like much more grace, abundant grace, superabundant grace, abounding grace, reigning grace, exceeding grace, exceeding abundant grace, glorious grace, and sufficient grace.

John Newton, the slave trader turned preacher, joined in Paul’s practice of elaborating on God’s grace gift. For Newton, the free, unmerited favor of God was “Amazing Grace.” And grace is amazing! Here’s why. Paul explained that salvation is not possible any other way but by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Again, you can’t earn what God freely gives. You can only receive God’s grace-filled gift. Paul referred to “the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). Throughout the New Testament, Paul constantly attached grace to every aspect of our experience with God.

The effects of God’s grace in our lives are endless. Joseph Cooke, in his book Celebration of Grace, describes grace as “nothing more or less than the face that love wears when it meets imperfection, weakness, failure, sin. Grace is what love is and does when it meets the sinful and the undeserving.”  Donald Grey Barnhouse, a twentieth-century expositor and preacher, explained the relationship between God’s unmerited favor and love when he said, “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

I like to think of grace as God’s love in action. When you think of grace, think of God’s arms open wide to you, regardless of what you have done. Grace opens the floodgates and allows God’s endless love to pour into our lives, moment by moment, on into eternity. You have grace for today, grace for tomorrow, and grace forever. Now that’s an extravagant, outrageous grace. Cathleen Falsani, in her book Sin Boldly, describes grace as “audacious, unwarranted, and unlimited.” 

At the heart of grace is a gift. I recently read a friend’s Facebook page, and he mentioned his own thankfulness for his son’s recent university scholarship. He wrote, “We are thankful to God, for it is a gift of grace.” My friend earned a doctoral degree in theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, so his words are highly credible. He understands, in the deepest theological sense from God’s Word, that everything we receive from God is a gift of His grace. God gives and gives and gives some more. His gifts are the overflow of His grace because giving is what grace does. In understanding grace, we need to imagine a huge box wrapped in a big beautiful bow. And when we pull the bow off and unwrap the gift, we find infinite, unending riches from God.

The greatest gift the God of all grace gave you is Christ, who is full of grace. Brian Edwards says, “Grace is not merely God’s attitude towards undeserving rebels, it is ultimately and above all God giving himself to us and for us—as the Man on a cross.” Christ’s death on the cross opens the floodgates of grace in your life. He died in your place, paid the penalty for your sin, and cleared the way for you to live with Him forever. In Christ, you are given manifold grace, riches, and an eternal inheritance. When you believe and receive God’s grace, you realize the best news imaginable is true—you are no longer alienated from God, but accepted and loved by Him forever.

The power of grace in our lives is seen in Peter’s words, “Grow in the grace…” That little word in points to the place where we truly live once we enter into a life-changing relationship with Jesus. It’s one thing to believe grace or even receive grace. But it is quite another thing to live in grace. Living in grace means being planted in the environment, breathing in the air, and thriving in the atmosphere of grace. Grace is like a beautiful garden where we may grow and flourish.

When I was a little girl, I enjoyed walking in my grandmother’s garden. My grandmother would spend many hours in her garden, caring for the flowers and vegetables she had planted. And so it is in the garden of grace. There in God’s wondrous garden, we meet with the Lord Himself and receive from Him everything we need for renewal and restoration. The garden of God’s grace is a place of security, abundance, provision, joy, and hope. Grace gives you what you need when you need it. Grace can make you grow into the woman God wants you to be.

God is the God of all grace. He wants to shower you with every grace-filled gift you need to grow—His provision for your needs, His perspective for your circumstances, and His presence for your journey from time to eternity. And so the most important aspect of grace is learning to receive all the gifts God’s grace-filled heart gives you. In fact, we are actually stewards of grace, which means we are entrusted with the responsibility of receiving and sharing God’s gracious gifts (1 Peter 4:10).

We often struggle to believe God’s grace is really extended toward us. We think, No, God can’t really love me. Not after all I’ve done. I think about the day I first surrendered my life to the Lord. I immediately remarked to my college roommate, “How can God possibly forgive me?” God’s grace is usually a surprise for the sinner, an undeserved gift waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed.

We are trained to earn what we have. And if an undeserved, unmerited gift is given to us, we often turn it down, reeling from the sting of our own guilt and pain. Many spend their lifetimes trying to earn or pay for what God has already given by His manifold grace. Many are pursuing something they believe is elusive, trying desperately to find God. What an eye-opening day when we discover that God is the initiator who seeks us out and extends the gift of His grace.

In God’s land of grace, we discover grace is received, not earned. David Jeremiah describes the discovery of the intoxicating light of grace as “finding a knothole in the high gates of heaven.”  Grace washes away our guilt and shame and gives us forgiveness and eternal life. Eventually, God’s grace opens our eyes to our future and a blessed hope. Most importantly, we experience God’s plan and purpose in our lives when we recognize, receive, and enjoy the gifts God gives us out of His heart of grace. And so, let’s resolve together that we will no longer try to earn or work for God’s grace. Instead, believe it, knowing that what God says is truer than what we feel. Receive it, daily unwrapping God’s abundant gifts of grace. And live it—growing deep and thriving in God’s garden of grace.

A young man grew tired of living at home. When would his father die so he could receive his inheritance? All he could think about was the money he would receive and the freedom such wealth would afford. Finally, he could wait no longer. “Father, give me my share of what will come to me at your death,” he demanded.

Such a request was insulting, and the father could rightly have chosen out of anger to disown the son. But then he would have no hope of reconciliation. And so the father, with a broken heart, said, “Here is your portion.” His older brother clearly resented his brother’s actions and responded with silence.

Normally the eldest son would step in and plead with a rebellious brother on behalf of the father. He would remind the young man of the father’s love. But in this case, the older brother could say nothing, for he was in rebellion of another kind. And so the father’s heart ached for two lost sons. They both rejected their father’s grace, mercy, and love.

The younger son took his inheritance and left town in a hurry, not wishing to face the scorn of the entire community because of his actions. I’m out of here. Now I’m free to do what I want! he may have thought. He left his own country for a foreign land.

In a short time, he squandered all his money. Now what will I do? I can’t go home. My brother hates me. And I cannot endure the reproach of the people in my village because of what I’ve done to my father. And I have insulted my father, so he has surely disowned me. The young man’s bad situation worsened, and he became desperate because of the famine in the land. I’m starving. I’ve got to find something to eat! I’ll see if I can hire on with one of the wealthy landowners here in this country.

The landowner looked at this beggar asking for work. Who does this young man think he is? I know how to get rid of him—I’ll offer him a job he would never even consider. I’ll let him feed the pigs.

“I’ll take it!” replied the desperate young man. As he offered the food to the pigs, he thought, I wish I could stomach what these swine are eating. I’m so hungry. Even the pigs eat better than me. There is no mercy for me. Not a drop of kindness from anyone. Only disgust.

Suddenly, in his weakened state, he came to his senses with a new thought. What am I doing? Even my father’s hired hands eat better than this. I can earn my way and eat enough by hiring on with my own father as one of his hired hands. He planned his words carefully. I’ll say, “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” Yes, that will work, he thought as he began the long journey home.

The young man fully expected reproach from the community and a long wait before he would be granted an audience with an angry, estranged father. What the young man had not counted on was his father’s heart. He thought his father was like all people. He didn’t yet know his father was unlike all others in the world. His father did outrageous, out-of-this-world things because of one quality—extravagant grace.

Walking on the dusty road, approaching town, the young son grew more fearful, dreading the impending confrontation. What will happen when I enter the village? he thought. His head was down, his eyes on his feet as he trudged along.

But then he looked up. What is this? Who are these people running toward me? And then his heart lifted. What he saw was more than he could bring himself to believe. Could it be? No way—but it is! My father! Running toward me with his arms wide open!

The father, setting aside the cultural rights of estrangement and throwing himself into one act of humiliation, left the comfort of his home and raced out to receive the young man, not as a hired hand, but as his beloved son. The father would have nothing less than the very best for his recovered child. He paid the price of humiliation and loss of face and raced out to his son, thus settling forever in front of the entire town the nature of their relationship and full reconciliation.

Stunned by the outpouring of his father’s love, the young son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Now he knew, as never before, what he had in his father—the relationship, the love, the grace, and the greatness of his father. How could I have been so ignorant of my father’s great love for me?

The father gave him no time for further thought. “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.” The father restored their relationship in the presence of all. The robe signified restoration to sonship, the ring entrusted him with power, and the shoes symbolized his rank as a son, not a servant. Only the father could restore these things through his own gracious favor. The result of extravagant grace was reconciliation between father and son and the fulfillment of the father’s steadfast, unchanging desire.

But the father had yet another son who needed his grace. This son had troubles of a different kind. He did not know his father’s love any better than the son who left home. The older son had rejected the father in perhaps a deeper way, having refused intimate fellowship while living in the same house. Equally estranged, he was aloof and distant from the father. He didn’t understand that he had broken his father’s heart as much as the younger son had. Standing outside the house, the older son asked one of the young servants, “What is going on? Why is there music and dancing?”

The servant quickly responded with excitement. “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.”

“Of course! Typical. My father throws a party for a worthless son but has never thrown one celebration for me. What has he ever done for me? I have done everything right and yet received nothing for it. I’m infuriated that my father wouldn’t make such a terrible son pay for all he has done against the family.”

Standing outside the house, the older son’s anger rose to a boiling point. He refused to enter the house or engage in the celebration. In their culture, his aloofness and absence from the party would have been considered an insult to the father and the guests. Once again, the father could have chosen to reject and disown a rebellious son. But again, he responded with extravagant and outrageous grace.

Just as the son was thinking about the celebration, he looked up to find himself face-to-face with his father. Not afraid to lose face with his guests and suffer the humiliation of lowering himself to quell unjust rebellion, the father left the party to reach out to his son.

When the older son saw the father, he became more obstinate. “Look! I’ve been serving you for a long time, and I’ve done everything you told me to. It’s not fair. Your younger son doesn’t deserve the party—I do. But you’ve never thrown a party for me!”

The father loved this son and wanted him for his own, not estranged, but in fellowship. And so he did what no other would do. He did not walk away, but reached out in grace-filled love. “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live and was lost and has been found.”

How did the older son respond? What did he say to such grace offered in the face of callous hatred?

A hush most likely moved across the crowd of listeners, and palpable tension may have filled the air when Jesus told this story. Through the windows and rooms of every detail and character, hard-hearted Pharisees were encouraged to see themselves and others anew—with eyes of grace. Jesus invited them to enter into a relationship with God and share His heart of love expressed in grace-covered actions. When He heard them say, “This man receives sinners and eats with them,” He was compelled to show them God’s magnificent grace through the art of a pointed, passionate story. He gave them this parable of the prodigal son, a beloved tale of hope for every sinner saved by grace.

But really, this grace story encompasses two sons who desperately needed God’s unconditional love and unmerited favor. Both were in a hopeless state, unable to help themselves in any way, completely reliant on their father’s mercy. We know the rest of the story for the younger son. But what about the end result for the older son? That part of the story is unfinished. God seems to leave all who listen, including the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, with a question: “Will you set aside your prejudices, resentments, sins, despair, and despondency, and step into the garden of My grace? Live here in My grace and share in My heart of love.”

The highlight of Jesus’ story, looming larger than any of the details, is the father’s heart. His actions were unexpected, nothing like human responses to sin and rebellion. And that was His point. God seemingly says to us at every turn, “Know Me. Understand My heart. I love you and want you in close relationship with Me.” He wants us to know Him not as we think He is or want Him to be, but as He really is. He is always more than we think He is and more than we know Him to be. There is always more to know of God and His infinite, eternal, magnificent grace.

God’s grace is outrageous and a huge surprise for all who receive it. We can relate to the younger son, who squandered opportunities and needed forgiveness for willful sin. Sometimes we are like the older son, caught up in pride and arrogance, stepping out of the grateful appreciation of God’s grace-covered gifts in our lives. Often, we don’t even realize God’s grace and mercy acting on our behalf because we are so focused on ourselves. Through a poignant word-woven picture, Jesus extends the invitation to enter into the land of grace and enjoy an intimate relationship with the Father.

Jesus shows us the Father’s heart. If you want to know what God is like, just look at Jesus, for He explains God (John 1:18). The more you watch Jesus in relationship with others in the Gospels, the greater you will realize, experience, and understand His grace.

Jesus, in telling the parable of the prodigal son, confronts legalism with love and grace. We can know by looking at Jesus that we cannot earn favor; we can only receive His grace. We can receive God’s grace because Jesus died in our place on the cross, receiving the full penalty for every one of our sins. His death was enough for every sin.

Legalism places the burden of performance on man, not God. But if we could do anything to earn God’s love and acceptance, then Jesus died needlessly on the cross. Bill Bright used to say that legalism is the greatest heresy of Christianity. You can’t earn God’s favor or love, but you can receive it. Stepping off of the performance treadmill is a challenge for any child of God. And sometimes, even in the church, grace is a missing element. There are always those who pull you into a legalistic way of approaching God. Philip Yancey says, “Oddly, I sometimes find a shortage of grace within the church, an institution founded to proclaim, in Paul’s phrase, ‘the gospel of grace.’ ”

I grew up wanting desperately to be accepted by my classmates in grade school. Without a doubt, I was one of the great people pleasers of all time. I would often think, If only I have the right clothes and get the best grades, I will be part of the in crowd. Meeting Jesus changed my whole approach to life because I became assured of His love and acceptance. He pulled me into a whole new environment with Him—the garden of grace. And living in the grace garden, breathing its atmosphere, walking and talking with Him, I realized God loves to bestow gifts of grace on undeserving sinners. His love changes us as He transforms us on the inside, makes us beautiful, provides for our needs, and sets us free to love, worship, and serve Him. In the garden of grace, we find ourselves in the perfect environment to thrive and grow.

Have you ever traveled to another country? I remember my first trip to Europe. My husband chose Italy for our destination. I thought, Oh, I can’t wait to get off the plane and visit this new place I’ve heard about but never seen! I studied books about Italy and learned about various tourist attractions. But nothing prepared me for that first moment when we boarded the vaporetto (a boat) and traveled on the water to the Hotel Danieli in Venice. I had never been to a place where people traveled by boat to reach their destination. With time in Italy, I grew familiar with the ways of the people and their customs, and I even learned some of their language.

The garden of grace is like a new country, a place unlike any you have known before. We need to learn the ways and language of grace because grace has a unique vocabulary unlike what you will hear in the world. Here’s how Joseph Cooke describes it:

Grace is not the kind of thing that you can study once, and then conclude that you have it nailed down…Grace needs to permeate deeper and deeper and deeper into our minds, attitudes, feelings, relationships, behavior, service for God and others. It needs to go on and on changing us. It needs to become an ever more vital, motivating force in our lives.

You can always spot those who know life in the garden of grace, for they act with unusual mercy and love, and they speak out of kindness and compassion rather than resentment and vengeance. They are selfless and are filled with loving, compassionate actions. And those who have never known grace are touched and moved by it. And if their hearts are open, they are changed forever.

One day while D.L. Moody was preaching, a homeless man, starving and bitterly cold, wandered into the meeting room. Moody’s message that day encompassed the grace of God. Afterward, the man walked up to Moody and said, “I didn’t come to hear you. I came to get warm. But my heart is broken. Do you think the grace of God can save me—a poor, miserable, vile wretch like me?”

Moody assured him, “Yes, definitely!” Moody later remarked, “It was refreshing to preach the gospel of the Son of God to that poor man.”

Moody prayed with the man and found him a place to stay for the night. But Moody didn’t stop there, for grace gives and gives and then gives some more. The next day, Moody arranged for someone to retrieve the man’s coat from the pawnshop. This man, without a hope in the world, wandered into a warm meeting hall for protection and found the secure love of Jesus in the garden of God’s grace.

Moody, one of the greatest evangelists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, influenced thousands of men and women and understood grace better than most people. He used to tell his audiences, “I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I’ve met.”

Ponnamal certainly discovered the power of God’s grace when God found her tucked away in a far corner of India. Who could have guessed that God would give her the gift of ministry with Amy Carmichael? And the story of God’s grace continues through your life and mine.

Friend, as I write these words, I wonder if you have discovered the magnificence of life in the garden of God’s grace? Do you hear God’s invitation to come and live in His garden? Do you know His love and acceptance as a reality in your own life? Do you realize you can do nothing to earn His favor? If so, it’s time to throw a party for those who are lost have been found. And the adventure has only just begun. Let’s step into the garden and discover the lifelong, always-new, incredible experience of growing in God’s amazing grace.

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Download and Go Davy Crockett – Litfuse tour


Introducing the newest title in the Download N Go™ in the biography theme . . . DAVY CROCKETT!

Davy Crockett will delightedly bring plenty of interesting stories to your family and encourage lively discussion in your household!

Students will travel with Davy from his early frontier life in Tennessee through his heroic efforts at the Alamo, investigating these daily objectives filled with high-interest fun in an interactive format:

· Day 1: Who Was Davy Crockett?
· Day 2: People and Places in Davy Crockett’s Life
· Day 3: Science Secrets of the Frontier
· Day 4: Lessons to Learn From Davy Crockett
· Day 5: Remembering Davy Crockett

There’s an additional Learning Links page, and all lapbook components are ready to print and go! There’s even a Davy Crockett timeline!

Integrated studies include: History, Spelling, Geography, Vocabulary, Literature, Writing, Science and Art!

Want to read more about Davy Crockett? Go to www.downloadngo.com/DavyCrockett.

My Opinion:

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for some time you’ll know that I love The Old Schoolhouse magazine and I also enjoy using the Download n Go series from Amanda Bennett with my children.  These provide so many activities, we can’t usually do them all, which also gives the ability to spread it over more than 5 days if you so choose.

This Davy Crockett study is no different, full of ideas for studying the man behind the legend.  Intended for use for grades K through 4th it can be easily adapted for an older preschooler or those children above 4th grade, especially if you want to teach all your children at the same time to save time.

These studies are affordable and if you have more than one child then they are even more affordable!  I will say one way I cut down on cost is by not printing every page, with three children it isn’t possible.  I know moms who do print every page and others who don’t – it’s up to you.  That’s what is so great about these studies – the freedom to choose how you use it for your family.

Do you want to try these out?  Well here is a code for you to use to get 20% off of a value pack of Download and Go studies!  The code is: DNG20PKS – just use that code at check out and receive 20% off any multiple pack purchase!

 

The Adventure Begins Giveaway!

THE PRIZE:

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and Amanda Bennett Unit Studies have teamed up to celebrate the successful launch of Download N Go™ with a Sweet Treat Prize Package in The Adventure Begins … Giveaway!

They’re offering one lucky winner the SWEET chance to go EXPLORING this FALL!
The entire FALL curriculum lineup of Download N Go™ (Wow! That’s 19 studies!).
A $25 gift certificate to Baskin-Robbins (yummy ice cream).
A $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com (for those back-to-school supplies).
A $15 gift certificate to Starbucks Coffee (a special treat just for the teacher).
A full year’s subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (encouragement and resources all year long).
A “sweet” blue and brown Homeschooling With Heart tote bag (THE must-have accessory for FALL!).

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The Last Christian by David Gregory


About The Last Christian:

After her remote village is annihilated by disease, a cryptic message from her grandfather launches Abby Caldwell into the seemingly impossible task of re-introducing the Christian faith in a late twenty first century, secular, trans-human America.

About the author, David Gregory:

David Gregory,the author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, A Day with a Perfect Stranger, The Next Level, and the coauthor of the nonfiction The Rest of the Gospel. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning Master’s degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and the University of North Texas. A native of Texas, he now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

My Opinion:

WOW!  Suspenseful but with a great faith woven in that you won’t forget you’re reading a book in the Christian genre.  From the begining David Gregory pulls the reader in to this story,  you can almost feel the heat of the jungle and the confusion of  Abby who after spending her entire life in a jungle village comes to America.

Do you wonder what will happen to Christianity as we become more reliant on technology even extending that to the human race?  What if humans no longer had thier own brains but relied on a computer one?  What if one woman could restart a rebirth of pure Christianity?  This is what this book delves in to, keeping in mind this is a work of fiction – it could very well be the future.

There were some things in this book that does stretch your faith and I’ll have to leave it up to each reader to reach thier own conclusion, since I haven’t reached my own.  But as with any work of  fiction you’ll need to do your own research in conjunction with prayer to see where it is that God leads you.

**I was provided a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher’s Blogging for Books in exchance for my honest review, no other compensation was given.
 

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The History of Christianity – New DVD series


513 DVD cover-Ambrose

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Yearsis a six-part series co-produced by the BBC, the Open University, and Jerusalem Productions and presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the world’s leading historians and Professor of History of the Church and Fellow at St. Cross College, Oxford. As MacCulloch reveals the true history of Christianity, he explores the question, “What does it really mean to be a Christian?”

While most Christian histories start with St. Paul’s mission to Rome, MacCulloch asserts that the Christianity stayed much closer to its Middle-Eastern roots and that, in fact, the first Christians actually took the eastern road from Jerusalem, spreading their faith across Asia, even to parts of China.

“Today, Christianity is seen as a Western faith. Indeed, many in the Muslim world would see Western lifestyles as Christian lifestyles. But Christianity is not by origin a Western religion,” MacCulloch says. “Its beginnings are in the Middle East, where there still exist churches which have been Eastern since the earliest Christian era. The story of the first Christianity tells us the Christian faith is, in fact, hugely diverse with many identities.”

MacCulloch is one of the most widely traveled Christian historians, and A History of Christianity is the first retelling of the Christian story that is truly global in scope. Filmed in high definition, A History of Christianity takes viewers on a 2,000-year odyssey that reaches the farthest corners of the world, from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century, and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth.

A scholar whose fascination with Christian history was cultivated at an early age, Diarmaid MacCulloch is the last in three generations of Anglican clergy. That personal connection enriches the storytelling, as he describes not only the main ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organization, and spirituality, but how it has changed our views on politics, sex, and human society.

“Religious belief can transform us for good or ill. It has brought human beings to acts of criminal folly as well as the highest achievements of goodness and creativity. I tell the story of both extremes,” MacCulloch says.

The twentieth century brought what many perceive to be the greatest threat to Christianity—skepticism and spiritual apathy. Still, MacCulloch contends that the future of Christianity is filled with possibilities.

The DVD set will arrive in stores, including Sam’s Club, in time for the Easter Season. The series will also be available on Amazon.com.

My Opinion

I was given the 1st DVD in the series to watch and I must say I am impressed with this.  If you enjoy history, are a Christian or both then this DVD series will be right up your alley.  I felt like I was on location in the places that Jesus walked – all with a very knowledgable tour guide who didn’t give a secular look at the history of Christianity.

There were a lot of facts given, so at times the watcher could feel overwhelmed but at the same time with the richness that is Christian faith, it’s hard to not give too much information.  The history we have is a rich one and brevity would simply not do it justice and for the history buff this is all one smorgasboard of historical facts and places.

I do think this would be a good investment for a Christian who wants to learn more about thier faith as it started as well as for those who aren’t Christians but want to understand us and maybe even end up giving thier life to Christ.  I could see great use for this in Christian churches and in home schools for the richness of historical accuracies this presents.

**I was given a copy of the 1st DVD in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST tour: Making Money From Home by Donna Partow


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Donna Partow

and the book:

Making Money from Home

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 4, 2010)

***Special thanks to Maggie Rowe of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Donna Partow is a bestselling Christian author whose books have sold almost a million copies. She has travelled in ministry on six continents and has been featured on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including the Focus on the Family daily broadcast. Donna has operated her own home-based business since being laid off as an investment banker in 1988, routinely generating a six-figure annual sales volume. She has spoken nationwide on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship, including two engagements at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Donna also appeared three years in a row at Senator John McCain’s conference for Arizona women. She attended the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts & Sciences, and Wharton Business School. She holds a B.A. in English from Rutgers University. Donna and her family live in Arizona.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589976088
ISBN-13: 978-1589976085

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Part I

Foundations for a

Home-Based Business

Seven years ago, Kimber King was a busy stay-at-home mom with three boys, ages six, four, and two. She wasn’t looking for a way to make money from home, but when she began using a line of products that dramatically impacted her health; she couldn’t help telling everyone she knew about it. Kimber recalls, “The products were sold through a network marketing company and I actually had a very negative view of the industry. But the results I had with my own health far outweighed all the negative things I felt about the business.” So she quickly signed up enough family and friends to reach the top rank level in her company in the first six weeks. Within ninety days, her monthly earnings matched the full-time income she had previously been paid in the corporate world.

Kimber soon began reaching beyond her immediate circle of contacts through social networking on the Internet. She recalls, “One night I stumbled upon a site on the Internet that described itself as a business networking site. It was free and on the site you had the opportunity to create a profile page for yourself. I dove right in and started connecting with a ton of people. I did some things very naturally that literally launched my business on the Internet and to this day, from this one site I have an organization of six thousand plus members. Then I started branching out onto other sites like message boards and forums. I began cultivating online relationships mostly focusing on other stay-at-home moms.”

Another of Kimber’s success secrets is working with a personal business coach. Although she was earning a great income from home, she was working long hours on the computer and her income had remained the same for nearly two and a half years. “It was a very lucrative income for a stay-at-home mom of three,” she says, “But I began to have great goals for my family and helping others, and I was frankly stuck.”

Within eight weeks of working with the network marketing coach, Kimber was earning a monthly five-figure income and an annual six figure income while reducing her workload to less than twenty hours per week.

Kimber also credits her parents for much of her success. “My dad instilled a spirit of excellence in me. By watching my mother work in her own hair salon, I learned how to treat customers.” Kimber says the key is focusing on others. “It’s always about them and not me! What are their needs? What are their goals? What are their strengths? What are their desires? It’s never been about me and my income goals or rank advancements. If you focus on others, all that will come! One of my mentors says it like this: ‘If you focus on the mission, you get the commission!’ ”

Trust in God is also central to her business approach. As she explains, “When I start a dialogue with someone, my main intention is to discover how I can bless them. It might not be about business at all. It’s all about relationships first and then anything that flows out of it from there I leave up to God! I trust Him completely with my business and that He will also put those in front of me that I am supposed to serve. When people ask what I do to create success in my home business, I tell them two simple things: Pray and take action. I pray for those who are looking for me and for those I can serve. Then I pick up that phone

or connect with someone. “Faith without works is dead!” I have faith in my heavenly Father to provide the way but I also know that I have to step out on that path in faith.”

Kimber has stepped out in faith knowing that God is the provider in her home business and that’s made all the difference. Now seven years later, she earns a six-figure income from home, working part-time, raising her sons, and modeling the same entrepreneurial spirit she saw in her own mother.

1

Discover the

Advantages of

Working from Home

Let me begin with a brief look at the “why ” of running a home-based business to show you the benefits, because your motivation and belief in the benefits are what keep you going when the going gets tough. But then we’ll quickly shift gears to the more essential and practical how-to suggestions on the following pages.

Like any job, working at home offers both advantages and disadvantages. In the days and months ahead, times of discouragement will come. You may struggle with prioritization and time management. In addition to those burdens, the physical and emotional demands of promoting your business can drain you. You may begin to wonder if all your hard work is worthwhile, and you may even be tempted to give up your plans. In those moments, turn back to this chapter, reexamine the many benefits of working at home, and redouble your efforts to succeed. Remember, anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Your Home Can Be the Center of Your Life

There’s no place like home. I believe that with all my heart. Home can be the center of our lives, not just the place we come to recover from our lives. We can create an environment that fosters creativity and launch not just one narrow home business but a broad range of income-generating activities.

My first home-based business was in marketing communications: writing press releases, brochures, and ad campaigns. It was hard to get people to take me seriously as I tried to compete with the big-city advertising agencies. But I had a talent for writing and was absolutely determined to be a stay-at-home mother. I landed my largest client when I walked into his office wearing a dark pinstriped business suit and pushing my newborn in her stroller. Thisman said he was impressed with my motivation and touched by my priorities.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve launched countless different moneymaking enterprises. Some were dismal failures; others were wildly successful. Most were somewhere in between. As of this writing, I have a dozen income sources. Granted, some provide only $20 here and there. But hey, $20 is $20!

Let me illustrate. While away on a recent missions trip to Mozambique, I received checks from three businesses, totaling $800.The amazing part is that it was all passive income from businesses I had set up on autopilot on the Internet.

How would you like to earn $800 a week? Would you be thrilled with $800 a month? Maybe you plan to become a business tycoon and earn $800 a day. It’s up to you! But whatever your financial goals, I’m here to tell you that anyone can make extra money or have a full-time career from home if he or she is willing to work smart.

For almost twenty years, I’ve been a leader in promoting home-based businesses for women. I have spoken around the country on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship, including two events at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and three conferences hosted by Senator John McCain. I have loudly proclaimed my firm conviction that every man and woman in America should develop some creative way to make extra money from home. And, under appropriate learning conditions, children, too, should develop those skills.

You Can Be Available for Your Children and Others

By working from home, you can avoid the hassles and costs of day care (which are far more substantial than most people realize) and enjoy spending time with your children. Even if you have to hire a babysitter to watch your kids in your home while you work, you’ll be available at a moment’s notice if needed. And you can keep a watchful eye on all that

goes on throughout the day rather than sitting at a desk wondering if your children are okay.

My older daughter, Leah, is now in college. She was homeschooled much of her life, and I was a stay-at-home mom throughout her entire childhood. Although I was often extremely busy working forty hours a week, and even more on my businesses, I was always available when she truly needed me. Won’t it be nice, when your children reach adulthood, to look back and say the same?

Perhaps you have a disabled family member or are caring for elderly parents. Maybe someone in your home has a chronic illness, and you need to be available for doctor and other appointments. Working from home allows you to be there to care for them and gives you the flexibility to take time off during the day, setting your own schedule.

You Can Be a Positive Role Model for Your Children

Some would argue, “I’m too busy raising my children to run a home business.”

I counter, “Don’t you think it just makes sense to include your children in your business so they learn to be entrepreneurial and self sufficient under God’s sufficiency? Don’t you think that training them to run their own businesses might prove to be more significant than running them around to various afterschool activities?”

Fortunately neither of my daughters has the mind-set that some corporation is going to give her a paycheck and job security for the rest of her life. That is an absolute delusion. We need to train our children for the real world, where wise people use the gifts God has given them to mind their own businesses—even if they also have careers. Both of my daughters, who are now nineteen and thirteen, have already had many moneymaking businesses. They’ve done everything from making bookmarks and jewelry to running my book table and processing credit-card orders from my Web site.

When my oldest daughter was fifteen, she organized a teen missions conference that attracted seven hundred people. I had very little involvement. How did she know how to do that? She’s been working at Christian conferences since she was two years old! Leah has also raised thousands of dollars for her various missions trips by making and selling

crystal bracelets

In addition to being able to watch my children grow while I worked from home, they also watched me grow as a businesswoman. By observing me model entrepreneurship, both ofmy daughters learned valuable business skills.

You Can Help Shoulder the Financial Load

Not only can you work from home; you should. With few exceptions, it’s unwise to rely solely on one income source in today’s unstable economy. Now more than ever, I thank God that I have multiple streams of income from my various home-based enterprises. All over the world, mothers not only nurture their families, but they also play a vital role in ensuring the economic survival of their families. I’ve seen this with my own eyes as I’ve traveled worldwide—from the subsistence farmer in Africa bent over her crops with a baby slung on her back to the Asian mother selling items in the local market while children sit nearby, often working as well.

Women throughout history have contributed to the economic survival of their families. We can do the same, and if we exercise wisdom, we can do so in a way that won’t detract from our role as nurturers. In fact, working from home will enhance all of the roles we play and increase our stature in the eyes of our family members. My children not only love me, but they also openly admire me. How can you put a price tag on that?

You Can Enjoy a Sense of Accomplishment

One of the most important things I hope my children have learned from observing me making money from home is that productive work is not a punishment; in fact, it’s inherently rewarding. Many of us have experienced that exhilarating feeling of working hard to complete a project or the joy of beholding something we’ve made with our own hands. A home business will provide abundant opportunities for you to enjoy that exhilaration.

As the old saying goes, “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s equally true that when Mamma is happily enjoying a sense of accomplishment, everyone around her benefits. I think I’ve modeled a wonderful lifestyle for my daughters. It’s a lifestyle I’m quite certain they’ll choose to replicate.

You Can Be Your Own Boss

Many people fear dependence on a corporation because they have had the rug pulled out from under them or have seen it happen to so many of their colleagues. The days when you could rely on a company to look out for your best interests are long gone. While you’re working diligently for XYZ Corporation, it’s entirely possible they’re filling out your pink slip. Once you establish your own home-based business, you’ll have the pleasure of signing your own paycheck. And when you think you deserve a raise, you can give yourself one.

When you work for an employer, you’re required to work when, where, and how they choose. When you have your own home business, you have more control over when, where, and how you work. Of course, you’re still responsible to your customers, and there will be crunch times when you don’t have a choice about how many hours you put in. But there is usually much more time flexibility when you are your own boss.

Once in a while when I’m struggling with some aspect of my home business, one of my relatives will joke, “Donna, you should go back to banking.” But we all know I’m completely unemployable! I’ve been my own boss for too long, and I don’t think I could ever go back to having someone else tell me what to do with my time.

You Can Continue Your Career

Many women spend years training for a career before their children arrive on the scene. Teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and many other professionals can quite easily transfer their hard-earned skills to a home-based business. Knowing that your career isn’t on hold will give you satisfaction, even though the majority of your time may be spent with family. This is especially important if you want to resume your before children career after the children have grown.

The amazing thing about the Internet is how easy it now is for a woman to stay current and relevant in her field while mothering and earning money from home. These types of opportunities were hard to come by when I wrote my first home-based business book. Now they abound. Let’s hear it for technology!

There Are Opportunities for Tremendous Success

When you work nine to five for someone else’s company, to a large extent your boss controls how well you do. But when you work for yourself, only your ability and determination set the limits, assuming you start with a great product or service people want. Maybe there’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing. Now is your chance to do it! You

may aspire only to make a little extra money, but there’s always the chance that your “silly idea” will catch on, and you’ll find yourself transformed into a very successful entrepreneur. Someone has to think up those great ideas. Why not you?

I know a number of Christian women who earn six-figure incomes thanks to their home businesses. Yes, you read that right. Six figures! I even know women who’ve earned more than a million dollars, and one woman who has earned several million. With few exceptions, these women did not set out to achieve such tremendous success. They were just doing what they loved, and the success followed. Put another way, they were walking in obedience, and God’s blessings chased them down the street and overtook them. It could happen to you!

The Top Ten Ways to Avoid Scams

1. Surf with caution. Understand that the mainstreaming of the Internet has created both good news and bad news for aspiring home-based business entrepreneurs. Good news: Opportunities abound. Bad news: Scams abound.

2. Beware advertisements. No legitimate company on the planet will advertise to hire an employee to work from home. Not gonna happen. Never. No, not ever. Why? Very simple: If a company had a legitimate interest in hiring employees to work from home, there would be an instantaneous pileup of current employees and their circles of influence. The very fact that a company is advertising work from home is your first clue that it’s a scam.

3. Never buy a list or directory of companies that supposedly hire people to work from home. These are phony! Once and for all: The answer to the question of who will hire you, keep you secure, pay you lots of money, and grant you the freedom to set your own hours from home is no one. You don’t need a list or directory of no one.

4. Choose freedom or security. I constantly hear from people who want the freedom of working from home as well as the perceived security of a job. Freedom and security are always a trade. Will you give up some of your freedom for security? Or will you give up some of your security in return for freedom? You’ll never have both in full measure. Accept reality: You cannot ha e your cake and eat it too.

5. Understand the role of oDesk and similar outsourcing Web sites. In the introduction, I mentioned the emergence of Web sites like oDesk and, in one sense, this is an example of companies looking for people to work from home. And yes, many Americans are trying to capitalize on this new trend. Some are e en succeeding. Howe er, for the most part, companies who post on oDesk aren’t “hiring”; they’re simply outsourcing on a project-by-project basis for the express purpose of not hiring employees. So although some opportunities exist, I belie e sites like oDesk are actually bad news for any North American woman who wants to work from home and is hoping she might find someone to hire her. If you thought the competition was fierce when millions of Americans were looking to work from home, now millions more people around the globe are in the mix. You’ll ha e to compete with people who are willing to work for a few dollars an hour, and it’s nearly impossible to build a successful North American business like that. Now, if you’re willing to move overseas, that’s a whole new ball game, and oDesk can become your very best friend. That’s well beyond the scope of this book, but if it’s something you’re interested in pursuing, read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss.

6. Know the code. As soon as you hear phrases like “more work than I can handle” or “looking to train someone” or “just want to help others duplicate my success,” run for the door. Or click the mouse. It’s a scam. If these people really had more work than they could handle, their relatives and friends would be beating down the door to get in on it. But since it’s a scam and they’ e already driven away all their friends and relatives, they’re on the Internet trying to scam you. Don’t be fooled. . Beware whirlwind friendships. There are some unethical people whose entire marketing strategy consists of befriending people just to recruit them for this, that, or the other “business opportunity.” Over the years a number of people have swept into my life with a friendship that felt more like a whirlwind romance. In every instance it turned out they were in a network marketing business. As soon as they discovered I wasn’t interested, the whirlwind friendship ended, and they moved on to the next person.

8. Check it out. Don’t rely on information provided by the person trying to sell you. Turn to Google, the Better Business Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to verify the claims and promises.

9. Take your time. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision on the spot. If it’s a great opportunity today, it will be a great opportunity a week from today.

10 . Big dollars should raise a big red flag. It shouldn’t cost more than $500 to $1,000 to launch a business from home.

My Opinion:

Coming soon!

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A Family Bible Story Book: Mighty Acts of God by Starr Meade


From Crossway:

Each story in Mighty Acts of God is retold in lively, modern-day language from a Reformed perspective, and is followed by an application section with several discussion-sparking questions and prayer points. By moving chronologically through both the Old and New Testaments, parents and children glimpse the person of God as one of consistency, vibrancy, passion, and love.

My Opinion:

This is a beautifully done hardcover Bible story book that each family will enjoy reading for daily devotions or just to let thier children learn more about the stories that are still pertinent to us today. While I’m not sure what historic Reformed Christianity is, and it’s not something I want to delve into theologically, I will say I found nothing that would diminish what we believe.

Done in chronological order, we read about the Creation all the way to the book in Revelation all in an easy to read and understand way but also not dumbed down for the older children. This is unusual for some authors as not everyone can write a book and include a large age range from 4 to 10 years old. All three of my children ages 8, almost 4 and almost 6 have enjoyed looking at, reading or being read from this beautiful book.

The book is illustrated by Tim O’Connor and the pictures are just beautiful which adds to the overall effect of the hardcover book. It is definitely worth the price for this book which would will be used over and over to bring home Biblical truths to all the children in your family and it will enable them one day to learn more and be able to defend thier faith.

I was provided a copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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Lisa's Jewlery – independent review


If you’re looking for a unique gift for a woman in your life who likes jewelry, necklaces and ear rings, then have I found a great young lady to help you out.  She makes beautiful, hand crafted jewelry out of used glass items.  She uses old glass bottles to make beautiful pendants and ear rings, then adds the findings to them and they are ready to wear!

You can also order a custom made piece through her etsy store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/lisasglassjewelry  and you can contact her through her Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisas-Jewelry/282664882407?ref=ts#!/pages/Lisas-Jewelry/282664882407

The procedure that  Lisa uses for making this unique, one of a kind jewelry is called dichroic glass.  I learned that this process uses multiple micro-layers of metal oxides which gives the glass dichroic optical properties.  Some of her jewelry has pictures of flowers, leaves and butterflies which add a beautiful, natural aspect to the jewelry.

Since Lisa is re-using materials that would normally be thrown out this jewelry is an Eco-responsible form of something that would normally use mining and other earth (gold, silver, diamonds, etc) destroying manufacturing.  If you aren’t ‘green’ but do want to use items that are earth friendly then Lisa’s jewelry is a good choice and at reasonable prices, she has a definite talent.  Her prices range from $10.00 and up and I have looked at other sellers whose prices are much higher so you’ll definitely be getting a great deal plus Lisa’s has great workmanship put into each piece of jewelry.

** Lisa provided a pedant for me to review in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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Freezing…..


I’m not LOL it’s finally warming up here but I was in the mood for strawberry jelly (preserves) and since my plants aren’t and won’t produce enough until next year I bought some that were on sale at a certain merchandiser and with a friend who was coming by yesterday we made freezer jam.  No cooking involved – very nice.  4 cups of strawberries or 2 pounds made 5 1/2  –  8 ounce cups of jam!  4 were frozen, 1 was put in the fridge and a 1/2 was given to my friend.   Ball makes freezer containers which are perfect for preserving foods the freezer way – these stack on top of each other to save space as well.  I also found these in packs of 5 (my only complaint is Ball should sell them in packs of 6 LOL) at the local merchandiser that I bought my berries at.

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