Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

BookLook Review: Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary edited by: Ronald F. Youngblood

About the Book:

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Bible dictionary available. With a fresh new look and updated photographs, this new and enhanced edition is a wealth of basic study information with more than 7,000 entries plus more than 500 full-color photographs, maps, and pronunciation guides.

Features include:

Cross-references to major translations
More than 7,000 up-to-date entries
More than 500 full-color photographs and maps
Enlarged type size for easier reading
Visual Survey of the Bible from The Open Bible

You can purchase your copy at Thomas Nelson website.

My Opinion:

When I received this dictionary in the mail I was surprised by the weight as it weighs in at 5.1 pounds and the huge size – 2 1/2 inches thick with it’s hardcover and it’s 1,280 pages, it’s a mammoth resource to have on hand when studying.  If you recall the NKJV Study Bible I reviewed a couple weeks ago, this is a companion resource to that Bible although it doesn’t have to be used with just that Bible.  While it’s called a dictionary, the entries are almost like an encyclopedia of sorts as they aren’t just short definitions but in depth analysis of the people, places and cultures contained within the Bible itself – such as “Jerusalem Council, The” takes up almost 1 1/2 columns in telling what the council was.  There are many charts, I like the visual survey of the Bible, as well as maps and photographs all in vivid, full-color to hold your interest and really show what images and scenery looks like.

As I said it doesn’t have to be used with just the NKJV Study Bible I mentioned above as the dictionary is cross referenced with most major translations, so whether you use KJV or the ESV, you’ll find this a helpful study resource.  I’m not sure if I’d use it for Bible study while laying in bed as it’s a hefty book but if that is where you study God’s Word best then by all means – I can see myself in front of a large desk with my Bibles open and this dictionary studying the people and times of Christ in vivid words and pictures.  Included are five easy steps in using your Bible in conjunction with this dictionary to get the most out of your study, whether you’re a pastor or a lay person who just wants to learn more the five easy steps will have you delving more into the Bible.

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

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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Wizzy Gizmo (review and giveaway!)

**This post may contain affiliate links – meaning if you use the links and purchase something I will get a bit of the profits from the sale to help our family out**
Who is Wizzy Gizmo?


I had the opportunity to receive a great Bible study tool to use in our home and school from Wizzy Gizmo in exchange for sharing my honest opinion with my readers.  I was given the New Testament Fast Track Bible Pack and these wonderful cards are fun to use with my children anytime of the day, we don’t use them just for school – as Bible study should be part of our entire day.  The set of cards I received sell for $14.99 and this is a wonderful price considering the high quality of the paper, very heavy card-stock and the 27 cards plus a cover card measure 9 X 6 X 0.2 inches so they can easily fit into a purse or Bible case to easy of transport on the go.



The cover card lists all 27 Books of the New Testament in order as well as the theme of that book, date it was written, the author and how many chapters.  I really like that feature so if I desired to have one of my older children read a whole book of the New Testament I could pick one that she could easily read in a day, such as the book of Jude which has only 1 chapter.  The rest of the cards covers 1 book of the Bible – the front gives a description of what is going on in that book and some interesting facts, such as for Matthew it shares that “the phrase ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ appears 32 time in Matthew and nowhere else in the Bible”, it also has a small time line depicting the time period the book was written, a small fact about the author, how many chapters as well as the theme of the book running along the bottom.  Each card is numbered and labeled so that they can easily be put back into order, should someone drop them or otherwise mix them up.




On the back of the cards you’ll find the book title, theme, what the author or book is trying to convey, an outline of the chapters – for Matthew it states that the first 10 chapters is the “presentation of the King”, key chapters, key passages, key doctrines, and important people.  The front and back is very colorful and each of the features on the back is color coded so if like me, you want to study just the key doctrines with your children, you just look at the light blue area.  For older children (and this idea just came to me while I was writing the review) the key people area could be used to have them make a timeline showing where each was born and died or even to do more in depth study of each person’s life.  There are many ways to use these cards – your only limit would be your ingenuity and imagination.



If you desire to give your children a Christian education or want a homeschool resource to making studying the Bible, easy and fun then Wizzy Gizmo provides that.  The cards are laid out in an orderly fashion and are easy to just pick up and go – pick a favorite book or have your children pick and just roll with it.  Wizzy Gizmo also offers other products like Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?, and Wizzy Gizmo Books so be sure to check out their other items that can be used in your homeschool or even if you don’t but want to emphasize your family’s faith to your child in the hours they are with you, Bible study is great for everyone no matter how your child is educated.  I think the only thing that would have made these cards even better is if they had come with a way to store them, either in some type of study bag or a large rubber band – once the wrap is removed there really is no way to store them unless you have something on hand otherwise they just splay out.  I used a large zipping plastic bag to store our cards in and then I can just remove them as needed or the one I need.


If you’d like to read what others thought about the Fast Track Bible Pack and other Wizzy Gizmo products then visit Home & School Mosaics.





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BookLook Review: The NKJV Study Bible (Full-Color Edition) published by Thomas Nelson

About the Bible:

The NKJV Study Bible, the most comprehensive study Bible available, now in a full-color edition with added features! The acclaimed NKJV Study Bible is the most complete study system for all who desire accurate study in God’s Word. The Second Edition includes more features to make it the best all-purpose study Bible. Using the trusted New King James Version, The NKJV Study Bible has “the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor.” Nelson’s skilled team of scholars has produced the system to reach for when study in God’s Word is the goal.

Features include:

NEW attractive full-color page design
NEW stunning Bible-land photos and graphics
NEW in-text maps and charts
Full cross-references with textual notes
Word studies and indexes
Bible Times and Culture Notes
Book introductions, outlines, and timelines
Reader-friendly notes and articles ideal for extended study
Deluxe NKJV Concordance including proper names

You can purchase a copy at Thomas Nelson.  Regular price $49.99 but if you pre-order the sale price is $39.99

My Opinion:

I’ve wanted a full color study Bible for some time but with a hefty price tag it just isn’t in our budget so when I had the chance to review this one through the BookLook review program I knew this would be my chance and I wasn’t disappointed.  This is a study Bible, so isn’t one I’d carry with me to church on Sundays as it’s large and heavy, of course you can if you want but for me it serves me better by having it home to use to study.  The beautiful images of places the Bible talks about makes the whole experience lovely and come to life from the pages and make the history of what you’re studying seem more real than if it was just a black and white photo or no photo at all.  The book introductions and outline make it easy to understand the overall gist of what the book is about and the author, date written, historical setting, purpose as well as Christ in the Scriptures, and the timeline tells what is going on in certain years such as in the Book of Joel in 835 B.C. Joash becomes king of Judah.

This Bible is one that will be great to have alongside personal Bible study allowing one to really dig into the Scriptures more with the footnotes, cultural notes and in text maps and charts.  The full color page spreads make studying the Bible interesting while the study features make it so it’s easy for both the trained clergy and the regular Christian who just wants to know more about the Word of their Lord and Savior.  I used it after I finished a book recently that used the story of Ezra to more fully understand who the man was and what happened surrounding his life and times.  This NKJV Study Bible really helped me delve even more into that historical fiction book and made it a bit easier to understand why the events that happened did happen, even if I didn’t agree with it at first (who can know God’s ultimate plan especially with a human heart and eyes).  This is definitely going to get a lot of use in this house as it makes studying the Scriptures really come to life and in easy to understand ways.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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TOS Crew Review: God’s Great Covenant New Testament 1


Vendor Name: Classical Academic Press

Vendor ContactCAP Contact Page

Name of ProductGod’s Great Covenant New Testament 1

Price:  $26.95 for the student book; $29.95 for the teacher’s edition; $9.95 audio files; $56.95 for the bundle

Age Range:  4th grade and up (adaptable)

Bible study, it should be at the forefront of our school day but usually it’s relegated to ‘if we have time’ or even forgotten all together since our other subjects cover certain Bible aspects but all that has changed since receiving God’s Great Covenant  from Classical Academic Press – Bible study has become easy to include and even fun!  Some would probably ask can the classical form of study be fun?  The answer is yes, with this great new curricula that introduces the Jesus as He is born and fulfills God’s promises from the Old Testament (there is an Old Testament curricula as well).

For those who do school four days a week then it will be easy to incorporate the thirty six weekly chapters that are further broken down into 4 themed units.  Each chapter has a theme, Scripture, memory passage, key facts and what prophecy was fulfilled.  We would spend the first three days doing the readings, such as Scripture, the readings in the book, going over the memory work and on day four working on the worksheets.  For those who have more than one child working on this the student text is consumable so copies are not permitted but this could be done orally or the answers written on a separate sheet of paper.

While it is geared for grades 4th and up it can be adaptable for younger students who want to work along side their siblings.  As we being a new year, I plan on reworking this back into our schedule and including both my 1st and 3rd grader.  For those who aren’t writing yet or for who writing is a struggle the answers can be done orally or the memory work could be the sole purpose for them as they work up to going through it again at a later date adding in more work.  I especially like the ‘think about it’ questions which helps the child relate what they’ve learned about the Lord to their own lives.

The Teacher’s Edition is the student text in miniature but with answers and guidance along the way.  For the parent who may not be comfortable or familiar in teaching the Bible there is more Scripture throughout that makes it easy to reference the Bible.  The NIV and NKJV Bibles are both used however you can use whatever translation of the Bible you are most comfortable with and it will work with this program – as I prefer the KJV and the ESV.   Also in the teacher’s edition are spaces available to make your own notes – which is handy if something comes to you from your own Bible study or an exciting insight that your child shares that you want to remember.

My children prefer to have me read them their lessons, which is fine if we are working on something at the same time, however there are times when we aren’t working at the same pace and one can move on or where mom can’t read aloud for whatever reason and that is why I’m glad to have the audio files.  The audio files are in MP3 format so they can be burned to a CD or as I like to do – put them on my iPod so it’s easier to transport if we will be in the van for a long time or if one of my children wants to listen on their own time.  These are not your boring audio files of old – these are the text of the book read by Christopher Perrin that keeps child and adult attention with his exciting style of reading.  The audio files are the icing on the cake, so to speak, and really help out when reading aloud can’t be done at the time it’s needed.

This would also be a great way for an older child who can work independently to do their Bible study and then go over it together once they’ve completed the assigned work.  In depth and doctrinally sound from what I seen and completed so far, this is a great Bible curricula for the Christian homeschooling family or the family who wants to make sure their child is learning a Christian worldview from the Bible.  If you’d like to see what other homeschooling parents have to say about God’s Great Covenant check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

**Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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Study of I Peter: I Peter 2:11-25


This week’s lesson was probably easier than the other weeks’ but no less thought provoking.  It’s titled “Shadow the Servant” and Peter is speaking to a church of Believers and encouraging them in the fact that they are strangers in the world and how they should be living.

I’ll never forget being a newly married woman and caring not for the things of the Lord.  My husband was raised Catholic but left the church, so he was more than okay in letting me have my way.  He could have his God, but I was going to live life on my terms, my way.

Fast forward to the birth of our first child, our daughter.  After having her I started feeling this pull, to come back to church.  Not to God mind you.  Just get back in church.  Little did I know that God would begin showing me things – things I would have rather ignored.

He wanted me to be a godly wife.  Okay, easy.  Not!  Submission?  Not me Lord, I’m liberated.

Well then I started reading the Bible – although I must say that I really didn’t come around until I started reading a series of books that softened my heart for God’s Word.

Homeschooling.  Dressing like a woman.  Covering.  Staying home.  There were just some of things that the Lord had  has been teaching me.

I’m in the world though.


It’s been a struggle to adopt God’s standards when living in the world – I don’t know who had it easier the early church or Christian’s today?

I’m put down.  “Oh, you’re just a mom”  “You let your husband control you”

I’m mocked.

I’m made fun of.

It’s a struggle but one day, upon my arrival in my Heavenly mansion that God has promised all His children, that I will hear well done!

When I think of those martyrs who have died for the faith.  Christians, fellow Brothers and Sisters who are in prisons and being tortured for His Kingdom.  I can only think that my suffering is not enough.


**I am participating in the I Peter blog tour and I was provided a copy of the Inductive Bible Study in exchange for posting about my experiences with the study for nine weeks, no other compensation was given.


Study of I Peter: I Peter 2:4-10

In this week’s study I read about the royal priesthood that we are all a part of, if we are Believers in Christ.  For me, being a priest conjures up men behind pulpits lovingly directing their flocks so that they can better enable us to understand His Word and live it.

The definition of Priest is one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God; specifically : an Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic clergyman ranking below a bishop and above a deacon (from Merriam Webster)

If we look at the definition that focuses on a person who can perform sacred rites and can act as a mediator between us and God then I can better see myself as part of this royal priest hood that Peter speaks of.  Does that mean I need to run out and start my own church?  No, God does speak of this and women’s role in the church, so how can women be priests?

Now before anyone starts getting their hackles up – I’m not saying that I think women should preach over men (this will probably get me in trouble too) or that we should have our own church, but we can still be priests.

I struggled with writing this post but as I worked my way through the study this week I realized that the Bible wasn’t meaning just priests who guide their churches but anyone who shares the Gospel.  As a woman I can share the Gospel.

I can share with other women.

I can share with my children and other children.

I can point men to the place or person they need to speak with.

I can give my testimony.

I can be a mediator – praying for those who need prayer and going before the Throne of Christ and interceding on their behalf.

I have a ministry in my house – I’m the priest while my husband is gone, and sometimes while he is here but I try to make sure I don’t usurp his position as leader.  I’m to teach my children the ways of the Lord – how better to do that than having them with me 24 hours a day and homeschooling?

Right now my ministry is my house, my children, my husband.  This has caused issues for me when I’m in a church (which we aren’t right now).  Everyone thinks I should be involved with the children’s ministry (even if we don’t use the children’s ministry), the women’s Bible study, the Wednesday night prayer meeting – they forget I’m a mom and wife.

God didn’t tell me that I have to join every ministry in the church and then sacrifice my family upon that altar.  My ministry right now is the ministry of being a mom and a wife.  One of these days my children will be grown and beginning their own ministries as spouses and parents.  One of these days I’ll be able to do more, but for now, my calling, my ministry, my God ordained priest hood is in the home.

I’m to guide the flock that He has blessed me with.

I’m not saying that we should always turn down ministries within the church, by all means if God is laying it on your heart to teach your child’s Sunday School class so you can ensure His Word is being taught then by all means BUT if that ministry comes to the detriment of my ministry of being mom and wife then it’s not of God.

My heart longs for foreign mission work.  Until the time comes that the Lord makes it feasible for us to do so as a family and the Lord makes the way clear – I’ll be content with my ministry to my family.  Of course our family can also minister to those who need it, but for now my main ministry is to raise my children.

**I am participating in the I Peter blog tour and I was provided a copy of the Inductive Bible Study in exchange for posting about my experiences with the study for nine weeks, no other compensation was given.

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Study of I Peter – I Peter 1:13 – 2:3


In studying I Peter 1:13 through 2:3 this week and thinking about the topics to write on the one that jumps out at me is love and the craving and savoring of things.  Since they go together, or maybe it’s just me, I’m going to wax eloquent for a moment on how studying God’s Word makes me love others and what things I savor and crave and how do I learn to crave and savor what truly matters?

If you’ve been reading my blog you’ve probably noticed I’ve been working on loving my children and husband more.  Not only am I called to love them but I’m also called to love others, my neighbors that blare their rap music at 2 a.m., the rude woman who walks in front of me while I’m comparing prices at the grocery, the man who doesn’t hold the door open for me even though my hands are full and I’m trying to coral my three children.  I need to love them.  UGH!

Really?  Lord?  Can’t you see that…….?

Yes, He can see and oh my heart is convicted.  He would love them, He wouldn’t rudely say “oh, excuse me“, He wouldn’t slam the front door close to make a point about the music, He wouldn’t huff at the man in a hurry.

Nope.  He would love them.  Like He loved those who put Him to death.  These people don’t want to kill me, sure they made me mad but in the end, their transgressions against me are no less than mine toward the Lord.

Love.  Love.  Love.

So that brings me to craving and savoring.  I love food.  I enjoy a good pizza.  I frequently crave Greek food – feta cheese, pita bread, lamb, okay I better stop.  Don’t even get me started about chocolate and coffee!  I shouldn’t crave these things, the Lord gave me food to live, not live to eat.  Lately as I read more of the Bible I crave the Word – I want to know what comes next.

The Bible equates the reading of God’s Word to the baby who needs it’s mother’s milk.  You know, you hold a baby and even if you aren’t the mom, if the baby is breastfed the baby will, however embarrassing it is, will start rooting on you.  That’s how it is with Christians, we should crave God’s Word, we should want to nourish ourselves on it.

Grow on it.  Savor it.  Crave it.

It’s not that we shouldn’t enjoy our food.  God gave us our taste buds.  But we should crave and savor the Word of God even more.

Are you wondering how in the world I managed to see how love and the craving and savoring are connected?  Well…….(be warned, it’s not an earth shattering revelation)

If we learn to savor and crave the reading of God’s Word – I mean really savor and crave it – like can’t wait to get up and read the Word as soon as we roll out of bed save and crave it, then we will also learn to love.  So they are connected.

Craving and savoring God’s Word = Love

Love those that are the hardest to love.

Love leads to forgiveness.

So crave God’s Word.

Savor the Words of the Lord.

Learn to love, love the Lord, and ultimately how to love those around us.

**I am participating in the I Peter blog tour and I was provided a copy of the Inductive Bible Study in exchange for posting about my experiences with the study for nine weeks, no other compensation was given.

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Study of I Peter – I Peter 1:1-12


As you’ve noticed from my post below I’ve aimed to read through the Bible in 90 days but I’ve also taken on a 9 week study of I Peter using Sue Edwards Inductive Study along with some fellow women through Kregel Publications.  For the next 9 weeks I’ll be posting about what I’ve learned by using this study, with the inductive study there are 3 levels of study – the core, digging deeper and the summit.  Since I have other obligations, namely being a wife and mom, I’ve chosen to concentrate on the core questions.  The digging deeper require more in depth study and the summit are more theological in nature – the nice thing is I can always go back and do these another time.

I really like the focus of I Peter 1:3-5 that shows the blessings that are bestowed upon us, as Believers, by the Lord.

“May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed!  On account of his vast mercy, he has given us new birth.  You have been born anew into a living hope through the resresurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish — an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you.  Through his faithfulness, you are guarded by God’s power so that you can receive the salvation that he is ready to reveal in the last time.” (CEB)

I think what most affected me when reading these Scriptures is that once I’ve been born again I have the hope and promise of eternal life with the Lord Jesus once I die – if I continue living for Him and always live my life for Him then I’ll have my inheritance, my mansion in Heaven.  God is protecting this for me and for all of His children who continue to live for Him.  The other thing that stood out to me was that I am guarded by the power of God, to me that doesn’t mean that I’ll never experience hard ship or trials but simply that He will make sure that I am given only what He knows I can handle.  That may sound cliche but it’s the truth.

As I’ve shared below we are getting ready to enter into a journey that will mirror what we’ve gone through with our first daughter.  However, while I know it will be a hardship – especially for her – I can share with her the hope I have that through it all God is keeping us safe, He is guarding us from the depression, the anger, the fear that could easily overwhelm us if we let it – if we let Satan win, but thankfully I can rest that God will be forever watching and keeping His eye out for me and keep me under His wings of protection.

**I am participating in the I Peter blog tour and I was provided a copy of the Inductive Bible Study in exchange for posting about my experiences with the study for nine weeks, no other compensation was given.

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Read Through the Bible in 90 Days

I’m busy and usually I’m too busy to find myself reading God’s Word so this year I have challenged myself to read through the Bible in 90 days.  Why?  Well 6 months just didn’t seem challenging enough LOL

I’ve been learning some great things that I never thought of before or just took the Pastor’s word on.  I love learning on my own – I’m on Day 8 today and I’m staring the book of Leviticus – this book is somewhat daunting to me as I know it’s the book of Laws however I did make it through the Book of Exodus which has a ton of Laws regarding the making of the Tabernacle, priestly garments, etc.

While I knew the people of the Old Testament lived a long, long time – it still amazes me how long they actually lived.  Adam was 930 years old!  Methuselah (the oldest man in the Bible) died at 969 years, how cool would it have been for him to see 1,000 years old!?  Noah was 500 years old.  I have no idea what I’d do if I lived that long.  It seems to me that while today, we would think they’d be decrepit and worthy of a nursing home – I think maybe back 5,000 years ago that may not have been the case.  They worked hard, ate little in the ways of refined sugar and flours, ate lots of fish and healthy meats and fats and if Noah was building an Ark into his 400 year then I’m thinking they may not have looked like our elderly do today.  Just thinking out loud.

Another thing that struck me was how much they trusted God.  If God told me to give my son as a sacrifice I’d have to admit there would be some hem-hawing on my part.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t love God but he’s my only son and so far the last child I’m going to have – would I have enough trust in my Lord to sacrifice my son?  I know that Abraham didn’t actually have to go through it, and God did provide a ram for the actual sacrifice, but can you see the terror in Issac’s eyes?  The questioning look of why is my dad doing this?  I think we can all learn a little something from Abraham.

Another striking thought is how much God loves us.  I mean you have drinkers and liars and still He loves us – loved them.  They built a golden calf and worshiped it – He still loved.  They lied and laid with women they shouldn’t have.  They lied and let their husbands lie with other women so they could get children.  Still God loved them.  WOW!  God loves us, He loves me, He loves you.  The sinner, the prodigal son or daughter, the wayward child, He continues to love us.  As a mom I know how badly my heart aches when my children do something wrong or get hurt, how much more does my Father’s heart ache when He sees me, His child, His princess, His Bride doing things to hurt myself and keep myself from Him?  Let that sink in a moment……..

It’s overwhelming.  It’s enough to bring you to your knees.  To make you rend your clothing.  Why does it seem that today, we don’t take our sins nearly as serious as the Israelite’s did in their wanderings?  Is it because God no longer shows Himself in a burning bush?  Is it because we don’t have His prophets telling us what to do?  Or is it because we chose not to listen?  We want to follow the world, with one foot in His world.  We think it’s okay.  If we realize, fully realize how much the Lord, El Olam (the eternal God), loves us then we could live like those in the Old Testament, fearful of a loving God who will punish our sins, but who oh so much more wants us to live with Him in Eternity.

I’ve learned a lot and I can’t wait to delve into even more Scriptures as I continue reading.  If you could pray for me as I know there will be some books that will be slow moving, I’ve already been warned about Numbers, so prayers for stamina that the Lord will continue to challenge and press me on would be much appreciated.


How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids – Introduction

How To Have a HEART for Your Kids
You may have read that I was joining in the book club for this awesome book on this post.  I’m so glad that I’ve joined in – I yell – and I hate yelling at my children not only because I know how it feels to be yelled at by mom and dad (it doesn’t feel good) but because it’s sin and that sin tears my children’s hearts.  Some would think “oh, she’s got to have a lot of patience because she homeschools”, or “only supermom would homeschool and WANT to be around her children 24 hours a day 7 days a week”.
Well dispel those myths now!  I do not have patience, I was never taught patience, when your son spills milk on the couch twice in 5 minutes, when your daughter says mom for the umpteenth time while you’re trying to finish one sentence in a book, it’s hard to have patience.  Yes, I ask myself what would Jesus do?  How should I respond?  I know a loving mom would quietly put aside her lunch and cheerfully clean up the mess, she would put aside her book and answer “yes dear?”.  That’s what I should do.  Some days I win the battle, other times I lose.
Am I still a loving mom?  Yes, I love my children with all my heart, body and soul.  I’d lay down my life for one of them.
Do I always show them love?  Most definitely and unfortunately no.
I dread what this will do in the future – will they come to me with their issues, questions, hurts?  Yes, but only if I change now.
The first time I read the book was to review it and while I found it great, now that I’m having time to reflect on things that are written by a very real mom it’s hitting home more.
We were asked on the Blog:   How did you start homeschooling?  What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make as a mom or for your children?  Other reflections on the introduction?
We’ve been homeschooling since well since we brought Hannah home from the hospital beginning with right and wrong, God’s Word and moving on to reading, writing and arithmetic (LOL).  My husband and I discussed it as he didn’t want the children in parochial schools since he knew first hand how bad they are, I didn’t want them going to public school since I knew first hand how bad they are, and with private schools not being much better and of course with one income tuition would be too expensive.  We’ve lost friends and even some family in ways – our beliefs, our convictions, our lifestyle is not favored and so while some pretend others are outspoken in their hostility to our Christian beliefs and how terrible homeschooling is.  Our sacrifice hasn’t been monetary as we always knew we wouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars on our children our sacrifice has been more in the way of friends and family – and sometimes that can be the highest cost of all.
For this week I was supposed to read the Introduction and while I read I jotted some notes and here are some things that jumped out at me:
“What I lacked was a real, growing, intimate relationship with God.” (page 9)  I know growing up I went through the motions, yes I loved God but once I hit middle school it didn’t matter as much.  Some days I still wonder if my faith one of Saving Grace but I’m growing and that’s an improvement.
“I think it should be noted here that we were planning only one child, maybe two.” (page 11)  Oh my!  Yes!  That was me, actually MY plan was to never have children, I wanted a career as a high profile attorney – maybe marriage, but no children.  I got married and got pregnant right away, then we lost that baby.  Within months I was pregnant again, had graduated with my associates degree and it was decided that I would stay home.  WHAT??? Yes, I wanted to stay home with my baby, I quit working a month or so before our first was born.  I went on birth control as all responsible women do after the birth of a child and then we decided it was time for another, but that was it!  While pregnant with #2 I began to feel strongly that birth control was wrong and as I read more and learned more my heart became convicted and husband was in agreement – no more birth control after baby #2.  I became pregnant with #3 about 2 years after #2, which seemed to be my pattern even with the birth control.  We let go and let God.  Now I’m dealing with what my OB calls secondary infertility (regardless of how many children it’s referred to as secondary).  God knows my heart.  He knows.  We still use no birth control but when you let go and let God, that could mean you end up with 7 children or loving the 3 you already have.
“….but I had not considered what God’s plan might be for their lives.” (page 24)  Some days I forget that it’s not what I want for my children but what God has in store that is important.  I need to show my girls that I enjoy being at home, being a homemaker, being a mom and how to be a mom and pray that the Lord’s will is that they be home for their husband, their children, their home.  I need to show my son what a good wife is, what a godly wife is – so that when he marries (if that is God’s will) he will know what qualities should be present in a godly wife for himself and a mother for his children.

“You can recover your heart.  It may be lost, but it can be found.  Your heart might be wounded, but it can be healed.  ……” (page 28)  I think this says it all.  You may have closed off your heart because of the way you were raised.  Because of the way some guy treated you.  Because of a friend who back stabbed you.  I’m learning to let my heart be softened – as I read about the Patriarchs of the Old Testament and the love for their sons when they failed, how much God love us when we fail, my heart becomes softer toward my children, my heart heals, my heart is found, my heart is renewed by the reading of God’s Word and fellowship toward my God, my children, my husband, my self.

I’m looking forward to the next several weeks of this study and if you’d like to join in please visit The Pelsers to find out how you can still join in to learn how to have H.E.A.R.T. for your children.

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