Hey, It's Jade! and family

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Lifegiving Table, a book review...

The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith Through Feasting, One Meal at a Time is chock full of wisdom, inspiration, scripture and yummy recipes, all stemming from Sally Clarkson's 30+ years of experience as a wife, mother and ministry leader.  A beautiful follow up to her book, The Lifegiving Home, you'll want to add this to your ever-growing Clarkson collection.  Sally weaves personal stories, scripture and practical tips - from how to set the mood to detailed recipes for specific tasty treats -  to slow down that hurried dinner and make something quality out of it, finding those moments to celebrate life around the table, create memories and draw nearer to one another and the LORD.  I appreciate that while she makes it seem so effortless, she acknowledges that it's not... it takes work and lots of prayer to make the dinner table more than a quick pit stop in our day.  She touches on how to make simple meals to elaborate feasts mean something, how to celebrate milestones, find the joy in the holiday rush, and getting your week started right around your table!  I think we could all use these reminders of taking the time to enjoy our meals together, rather than seeing them as an obligation or a rushed, chaotic pause in our day.  Once again, Sally knocks it out of the ballpark - and brings home her message of love, faith and family in this inspiring book!

Tyndale Blog Network provided me with this complimentary title in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Becoming MomStrong, a book review...

Becoming MomStrong: How to Fight With All That's In You For Your Family & Your Faith was exactly the type of book I needed to read at the moment.  While Heidi St. John is a popular conference speaker, author and blogger at The Busy Mom, honestly, I had never heard of her... but you can bet I'll be following  her work from now on!  As soon as I started reading, I felt a great connection with her, as a homeschool mom myself, often feeling that I am failing in being the mom I should be.  Heidi seems to hit every doubt, question, concern or feeling squarely on the head, and, beautifully, points the way back to Jesus as the answer.  Sometimes we just need that reminder instead of a new idea or training protocol.  I appreciate her use of current events, Bible teaching and her own unique story of raising 7 kids in bringing home message after message, and showing that she truly does know what we're going through and we are not alone out there.  It is possible for us to become MomStrong!  I highly recommend this book to any mom that doubts herself, which... c'mon, is most of us, right?  While she does touch on the fact she is a homeschool mom often (and for me, that's a plus), this book is going to help encourage moms from all walks of life who strive to do what's best for their children, so definitely check it out!

Tyndale House Publishers provided me a complimentary copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Year Has Officially Begun...

I have not blogged about our homeschool adventures in a long, long time.  So, how about some catching up?

We started this year on July 10th, with Preston doing 7th grade and Callen doing 3rd.

What the boys do together:  We are still using My Father's World - this time going through 1850 to Modern Times as our core. That includes our Bible devotions, verse memorization, hymn study, history, science and read alouds. I recently discovered Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool, so we are using that for Art, Music and PE/Health.  We are continuing Etiquette Factory Intermediate and Spelling Power.
Math on computer
Preston only: This year we are trying out Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra. He is also continuing IEW U.S. History, Fix-It Grammar Robin Hood and Spanish for Children. Twice a year he will also do a Progeny Press Book Study (he already finished the first one during summer!).

Callen only: Callen is doing Mammoth Math Grade 3 and Easy Peasy Language Arts for Grade 3.

Josie is still not quite two years old, so the main goal with her is keeping her from being a distraction to the boys.  Good luck!
Josie is in pre-pre-pre school.
We are still a part of ECCHO, and enjoy doing field trips and Enrichment Classes will start back up in September.  Also, I am looking into getting Preston enrolled in 4H Arts (Callen isn't quite old enough for this group yet).
Waxahachie Courthouse 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer 2017 Recap with an Announcement...

Our official summer vacation was pretty short.  The boys finished school mid-May and started back up on July 10th.  In that little window we managed to squeeze in quite a few fun summer activities...

The boys participated in two different Vacation Bible Schools, they went to MRBC's Sports Camp again this year, and had Swim Lessons.  We took part in free Slurpee Day and Cow Appreciation Day.  They played tons of video games and watched way too much Netflix.
Who can say no to a free slurpee?
Entirely FREE meals for looking silly, we're in!
We also were able to sell our Saturn Vue, which lacked A/C, and buy a new-to-us Dodge Grand Caravan!  Which is good, because... turns out, we also need the extra room.  Read on...
Our first ride to church in our van!
It's so pretty!!!
Yep...we are expecting Baby Clark #4 due early December!  Back in April I had been feeling crummy from a cold, but on Easter I realized that I was feeling strange and all of my clothes fit a little funny.  I took a test, and WOW - can you say shocked?!  It took quite a while to get over that feeling (and honestly, we're still a little blown away by it!).  We told our parents that evening.  And announced to the "world" when I was about 9 weeks along - we kept letting it slip, so figured we might as well just tell everyone.  We're not good at secrets.  The exciting thing is several friends are due around the same time as us!  And most of those are complete surprises, too!  Haha.  I had morning (all-day) sickness up until about 16 weeks, and will find out if we're having a boy/girl in just a few days!  So exciting!
Silly Easter Bunny left us a surprise!
Facebook announcement photo.
Her shirt says Little Sis, haha!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Under the Cover of Light, a book review

Under the Cover of Light: The Extraordinary Story of USAF COL Thomas "Jerry" Curtis's 7 1/2-Year Captivity in North Vietnam by Carole Engle Avriett is a riveting true story of courage, determination and faith.  When his helicopter was shot down over North Vietnam, Curtis endured it all - torture, both physical and psychological, extreme temperatures, solitary confinement, and things the average person could not even imagine.  And yet, he wasn't broken thanks for his, and fellow soldiers', continuing faith and hope. The men found ingenious ways to communicate with one another despite being separated and they were able to encourage each other with memorized scriptures, stories and jokes.

While I don't normally read war stories, as it's just not my true interest... I was so intrigued by this man's story.  It is amazing what a human can endure when their hope lies beyond this earth. Curtis shares so many amazing stories of how these men clung to life and faith and overcame the wretched conditions and treatment.  I am truly amazed at their system of communicating through walls, and that they were able to continue teaching this approach to new inmates as they arrived. They encouraged each other, warned each other and were able to keep their wits simply knowing they were not truly alone.  Brave, strong, faithful men survived this horrible situation year after year ( 7 1/2 for Curtis!) and were able to come home eventually.  It is truly remarkable!

I was given a free copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bible Sleuth: New Testament, a book review

Bible Sleuth: New Testament, illustrated by Jose Perez Montero, is a seek and find book (a la Where's Waldo?) filled with interesting stories from Bible-times, including the birth of Jesus, the Wedding at Cana, The Beatitudes, meeting Zacchaeus and so many more. Each two-page spread is filled with wonderful hand-drawn characters either involved in the story or going about their business in the scene.  You also meet "Mike," a little boy in yellow overalls, who takes you through the stories.  Believe it or not, for us, he was the most difficult to find despite his clothing being completely different than everyone else's.

I have 7-year-old avid fan of seek and find books, and he quickly sat down and got to work.  Some of the pages were more difficult than others, but he always enjoys a challenge.  Even my 35-year-old brother-in-law sat with it for a while and spent some brain power on finding that "Mike kid."  While the drawings are seemingly sketched a bit rough, I believe this helps to make it more interesting, and there is a lot of detail involved in each scene.  You obviously don't want the characters to be too easy to find!  This book is great for kids 5-12, who enjoy a good hunt along with some Bible knowledge.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Lord, Have Mercy, a book review

Lord, Have Mercy: Help and hope for moms on their last nerve, written by Ellen Miller is a 90-Day devotional broken into 5 topical sections: Renew My Spirit, On My Soul, Get Me Out of this Mess, Help Me Be Good and As I Raise These Kids.  Each of these sections offers daily readings spanning just two or three-pages (perfect for moms of littles and/or working moms), plus Scripture Readings and a thoughtful prayer from the author over the reader.  The pages of this book offer insight and encouragement from Ellen's own experiences as a busy, working mom of two now-grown children. 

What I enjoyed about the book is that it was designed in such a way that I truly could read it quickly, get the "meat" of her topic, attach it to a scripture focus (not just a nice sentiment) and continue with my day feeling better about my job as mom.  She doesn't overly story-tell, if you know what I mean... she gets to the point, and I'm all for that in a daily reader! Her experiences and anecdotes are relatable to most moms, be it stay-at-home, working, single, divorced, remarried, having littles or grandchildren - she covers it all. I would recommend this to pretty much any mom who is able to scrape just a few minutes out of her day to spend being encouraged and reassured that she can make it through this season of motherhood, one day at a time.

Read the first chapter of this book here.
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Waking Up Slowly, a book review

Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual lessons from my dog, my kids, critters, and other unexpected places, written by Dave Burchett, is a down-to-earth, extremely relatable look at the amazing things surrounding us that point us to God.  The trouble is, for most of us, we are took busy, too distracted and too self-involved to even notice these things exist, let alone are trying to tell us something.  Dave challenges us (and himself) to disconnect from our ever-constant digital devices and look around, spend some time soaking in, and waking up to, those glimpses of God's pure love and grace. In his delightful story-telling, Dave offers us anecdotes from his own experiences and challenges, ranging from working in a mostly secular career field to the trials and joys of being a grandpa. By the way, fellow Texans and baseball enthusiasts... Dave Burchett is the television coverage director for the Texas Rangers!

What I really enjoyed about this book was the way Dave feels like a friend, not someone lecturing or pointing the finger.  He cheerfully admits that unplugging is hard for him, too (and that technology is necessary, so you can't just give it up completely).  He offers scripture, biblical advice, real-life application and encouragement in each chapter, revolving around a variety of topics.

This book helped motivate me to log off of Facebook, put down the phone and step away from my computer more often in order to be more present with my kids.  They are always vying for my attention, not just against each other, but also against my devices.  They deserve my full and undivided attention, and not to have to compete with a piece technology.  I see them growing before my eyes, developing and maturing into amazing people... I'd hate to miss that because of a glowing screen.  Thanks for the gentle reminder, Dave!

I received a free copy of this title from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Beautiful Garden of Eden, a book review

The Beautiful Garden of Eden was written by Gary Bower and illustrated by Barbara Chotliner.  Part of the Faith that God Built series, this lovely hardback book was crafted in the rhyming style of the popular poem "The House That Jack Built."  It tells the story of a tree and it's forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve, a serpent and the curse that occurred as a result of disobedience.  As it is made for children (targeted to 4-7 year olds), it is simple and not preachy, however the language is not dumbed down.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I found myself having to define the words "upheaval" and "calamitous" to my 6-year-old. I appreciate that in a children's book!  

The illustrations are bright, bold and truly draw in the children... my 17-month-old couldn't keep her hands off of it!  While dealing with a difficult concept (the original sin), the rhyming scheme brings it across in a whimsical approach that kids will enjoy.  

This is a great book for those kiddos who are well past the easy-reading versions of Bible Stories and ready for a little bit more of a challenge or simply something different on their bookshelf.  Mr. Bower has just released another in this series, with two more expected in May 2017!  See you more on those here.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for my honest opinion.  This review is written in my own words.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Different, a book review

I will be honest and admit that about up until 6 months ago, I had only heard the name Sally Clarkson before.  I had no idea who she was or what she was about.  I recently joined a group of homeschool moms that meet together to discuss books, and found out that it was mostly books written or inspired by Sally Clarkson.  Now, I am hooked and want to devour all of her work.  What a delightful, insightful, inspiring woman!  And so, when I heard she wrote a book with her son Nathan about growing up "outside-the-box," I knew this would be a great read for me.  While my children are still young and not officially diagnosed with any of the labels heaped upon Nathan's sweet head, I relate so much to Sally's story of trying to figure out her son's ways as a youngster.  Is it simply because he is energetic and opinionated?  Is it something more?  Is he being defiant or is he truly unable to control his impulses?  I was bawling just a few pages into this book, hearing from both Nathan and Sally as they told their perspectives on always feeling different from their peers.

Nathan offers a wonderful insight that we often don't hear, the "troubled" child's side of the story.  He paints a picture of what it's like to HAVE to wash your hands a specific amount of times before being able to sit down to dinner and not being able to sit through a church sermon while it seems everything inside you is going ninety-miles-an-hour in different directions.  And Nathan's message is followed up by Sally's motherly tone, as she offers her experience in finding what works and what didn't work, what it was like dealing with these issues before they even had a common name and allowing grace in admitting that worked for them, may not work for all.  As she says, it's not a how-to book, but merely a story that Nathan wanted to tell to help others who feel different.  And that works on so many levels, from clinically diagnosed to those that just have an interesting 'quirk' or two.  This book is a wonderful resource for parents or loved ones of those who are considered "outside-the-box."

I received a free digital copy of this book for review purposes through the Tyndale Blog Network.  All opinions are my own.