Sunday, December 1, 2013

College Prep Genius: Gabby Moms Review

I cannot tell you how excited I was to be able to review the College Prep Genius DVD SET  through Gabby Moms!  I have a daughter who is in tenth grade and is at the beginning of the process of preparing for college, studying for her PSAT/SAT tests, and researching scholarships.

This resource couldn't have come at a better time!

My daughter has already expressed her worries about knowing how to prepare for this test and wants to earn the highest test scores possible as early as possible.   How awesome to know that this program exists  - and not only exists, but promises to help high school students prepare for the test to have the best chances of earning enough scholarships to attend college for free!

What a tremendous resource!

I liked the fact that this DVD/workbook set was set up in a very organized fashion.  The DVD hostess even outlines how to study for these tests and breaks it down into how to prepare by grade.  After watching the DVD, I thought back to my time of taking the SAT MANY YEARS AGO and I couldn't help but wish this resource had existed then!  It really is that helpful!

I learned a lot by watching this DVD series.  I didn't realize that you aren't required to answer every test on the SAT - that the PSAT is used for deciding who is qualified to be a National Merit Scholar - and that you can approach the tests with logic and strategy to earn the highest score!

I loved the fact that the DVD teaches students to approach different parts of the tests with different strategies, easily remembered through the use of ACRONYMS.  How many of us still remember the colors of the rainbow or the notes on the musical staff because of the acronyms we were taught to remember that information?  I learned some effortlessly by only watching a section of the DVD ONE time; how much more will a student retain by really studying this material!

This DVD set also teaches to each type of learner:  
  • The visual learners like me can watch the DVD and follow along in the workbooks as the hostess teaches each section.  The DVD mirrors the books exactly and even includes visual lists and helps.
  • The auditory learners can listen to the DVD narration as they review the concepts.
  • Lastly, the kinesthetic learners can take breaks and move around as they "attend this DVD seminar" - and - once the hostess reviews the material for each section, the student is encouraged to do a practice test to practice the new concepts.

I am blown away by how much information I learned in such a short amount of time.  My daughter is also excited to know that just by watching these DVD's, practicing the tests, and following the advice of the materials and using the lists, she will have everything she needs to prepare to do her best on the PSAT/SAT.

I highly recommend this product to every high school student to use as they prepare to take this test.  After considering the price, I am convinced that it is more than fair for the amount of material presented, the completeness of the set in fully preparing a person to take the tests,  and the fact that the DVD's  can be used again and again for multiple students.  

* Disclaimer:  I received this DVD/workbook for free 
in exchange for my honest review. *

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review of Chivalry by Zach Hunter

Click here to see the book on Amazon

Just seeing the title of this book made me want to read it right away.  All of my life I have been attracted to the era when Chivalry was the code of honor embraced by brave gentlemen knights.  These men above men would strive to be more than common; embracing this honor code enabled them to develop character and live a life dedicated to serving others and fighting evil.

Such a romantic proposition:  an army of men who are united by a common goal and calling of self-sacrifice to take care of and save others in the line of danger.  Fighting a dragon to save a damsel in distress is a common theme in many stories from that era in history.  I love reading books like that! ;-)

A common question asked today is, "Is Chivalry dead?"  Most would say a resounding yes, as our society isn't populated with many knights dashing around fighting the evil with swords and shields - - -  but as you will soon learn, Zach Hunter calls upon the men AND women of our world to rise together as one, united by a common calling, to fight the spiritual battle against evil, with the Universal Code of Chivalry as our guide.

I do believe that God calls us to follow His Code and have a heart for the lost in our society; Zach's book was a wake-up call for me as I started to realize that I have also been called to be a Warrior for the LORD in the battle for lost souls.  My words can be a vehicle and His Word can be my personal weapon to fight the lies of the enemy and protect the Ones who are loved by our God.

All of us are called to embrace this Call and choose to govern our behavior with the virtuous Code of Chivalry.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book - and plan to read it again to saturate myself in the Truth of Zach's message and testimony.  To learn more about this book, please be sure to watch this video and click on the link below* to read his Q&A with Tyndale House Publishing.

Chivalry is NOT dead - and I thank God for young men warriors like Zach Hunter who are standing up boldly, proclaiming God's Truth to this new generation.

To GOD be the GLORY!

Strive to be a man or woman of Honor - 
to the Glory of God!

*To read Zach's interview with Tyndale House, click here!

My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cassie and Caleb Book Review (Moody Publishers)

Cassie and Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design was written to "teach the beauty of God’s design to boys and girls" through short, realistic stories with cute characters. This book of 20 stories is meant for children between the ages of 5 and 8, but I know that children who aren't in this age group will still relate to these characters and learn something from them. 

Parents are encouraged by the LORD to be intentional about teaching their children about God and His Truth; I wholeheartedly recommend this book to parents who want to spend time learning with and leading their children to God's Word about the following topics:  
  1. “God created man in His own image…male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). 
  2. Jesus is present in all of Scripture and that God's plan to redeem mankind is the uniting theme of the Bible.
  3. The Bible is our guide for living and loving God.
  4. We exist to worship and glorify God.
  5. We are part of His church - the Family of God!
  This book is bound to be a good foundation for parents to start teaching their children about God in a format and manner than children can grasp and then put into practice.  Each short story has colorful, eye-catching illustrations and begins with a verse (NIV or ESV) that presents the theme -the Truth - the story will illustrate. 

Each individual story is followed by discussion questions on the level of the child, suggestions for more Bible reading, a guide to praying together using Scripture, and some stories even include a section where parents can choose to go over the questions - and answers - of the First Catechism from Great Commission Publications ( {Reformed Faith Doctrine}. 

 All in all, I was very impressed with the layout, material, and resources that this book provides.  The size of the book doesn't make it intimidating; once I looked through the book I felt ready to  start reading it with my three children right away.  I have no doubt that others will have the same reaction! 

My favorite part of this book was the fact that it provides a real-world example in a certain chapter of how the Church, God's family, can be a blessing and an extended family and support to the overlooked ones in our congregations: the father-less, the widow, and the single mom.   

 Whether you use this book as a springboard for deeper study or used as a stand-alone resource, once you finish this book, your child will have a deeper grasp of the following topics, just as a start:  
  1. They will be able to share why God made men and women differently and how they complement each other;
  2. They will be able to explain why it's important to have a good attitude; and
  3. They will know why it's important to make Godly decisions in life.
 * There is also a bonus page with a "family" recipe for Snickerdoodles
that you can make WITH your child . . .  
just like the ones that the main characters eat in the book! * 

  *This book is part of the Plants and Pillars Series at Moody, inspiration for the name taken from the following verses: *  
Psalm 144:12
English Standard Version (ESV)
12 May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown,our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace

Moody Publishers offered this book to me for free 
in exchange for my honest review -
and then to be a giveaway* for blog readers!

You can order your own hard copy 
of this book here and e-book here!

This book was offered as a giveaway 
on my other blog in this post!


To God be the GLORY!

Gina Marie 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist: learning to be free" by Amanda Jenkins (Tyndale Book Review)

From the moment I received this book in the mail, I was hooked!  As a (former/current/future) woman who deals with the bondage of self-imposed perfectionism, each word spoke to the deepest part of my soul, the part of me that I thought that nobody else understands, the part of me that I try to forget and ignore.

There is a secret part of me that is afraid of looking like I do not have it together - - - the part of me that needs God's strength and power to overcome my pride and fears - the part that longs for the stability of "perfectionism" to rule and keep my life in line.

After reading this book, I have been able to learn that Amanda knows those fears and has also looked through the bars of her own self-inflicted prison of perfectionistic thinking: thoughts about being a people pleaser, of trying to impress others, of not losing control over our lives.

The amazing thing is that we are not meant to be perfect; our imperfections are places where Grace can make it's home and do a work in our lives for God's Glory.  I was so touched to read of her experiences and learn of the Hope that comes from God's Truth - His Word - that she includes in each reflection.

I really enjoyed this book.  I am grateful that Amanda's blog posts were collected and put together for me to discover and enjoy reading again and again.  I have read the book once, but this time I mean to read it again, with a highlighter, and really devour it.


I welcome you to read the first chapter for yourself, free, at this link:  First Chapter


Amanda has also been so gracious and has given an author interview to Tyndale Publishing.

I am including it in it's entirety below.  (Found here)

About the Author . . . 

Amanda Jenkins attended Northwestern Bible College 
and graduated with a degree in biblical studies and communications. She has 
worked in sales and marketing for a number of Christian retailers, as well as 
in visual communications and advertising. For the past 14 years she has 
taught Bible studies for women of all ages and is passionate about 
communicating truth in a culturally relevant and humorous way. She lives just 
outside of Chicago with her husband, Dallas, and their four young children, 
including their newly adopted son.

1. What is your hope for this book, Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist?

That my transparency would get readers one step closer to freedom from their own impossible 
goals; that it would open their eyes to the strangleholds we sometimes don’t even see, but 
shape the way we think and spend our time; that it would get us laughing at the stuff we hide; 
that when brought into the open, things like vanity, materialism and desire for recognition 
would lose their power/hold on our minds and hearts.

2. In your book, you talk about your addiction to perfection. What were the signs that this was 
an issue for you?

Little things. For a long time, I didn’t let my husband see me without makeup. I got really 
upset/frazzled when people dropped by unexpectedly. I got easily embarrassed when I messed 
up, and I wouldn’t admit to struggling. And I thought I had life pretty together—that I actually 
didn’t struggle/mess up/sin as much as other people did. 

3. You talk about God speaking into your life, waking you up to the true cost of your addiction to 
perfection. Can you tell me about that?

Praying and listening to God have changed my life because they’ve changed the way I think. But 
in the beginning, it just good old-fashioned conviction. He’d been in my ear for a while, pointing 
out when I was being ruled by perfectionism—more accurately, by my insecurity and fear of 
being outed for NOT being perfect. After an embarrassing moment, He said to me very clearly, 
“You can fight the process, but this is happening. You’re taking off the mask. I suggest you get on 

4. Tell me about the journey of letting go of subtle yet destructive idols of perfectionism and 
replacing them with God’s truth. What did that look like for you? 

Simply put, I talk about my sin and the things I’m struggling with, to God and to others. It’s 
amazing how many opportunities there are in a day to be honest. And it’s amazing how being 
honest diminishes the power certain strangleholds have.

5. What advice might you give someone in your same situation so that God can release her from 
her obsession and accept the true freedom that comes through the love of Christ? 

Get specific with God first. Ask Him to show you not just what the strangleholds in your life are,
but all the ways they’re manifesting. Perfectionism was a stranglehold that was showing itself in 
all kinds of destructive ways in my life. And God dealt with them one by one, and being honest 
with and accountable to others was a part of that process for me. 

6. When did you realize that you had to share this story? What message do you hope will 
resonate with your readers?

As I started to share a little of my own struggles, I quickly realized I wasn’t the only one 
drowning; that my issues were common, and that being open and honest diminished their hold 
on my heart.

7. What encouragement would you provide to those who feel overwhelmed by their own 
perfectionist expectations? 

God doesn’t allow His kids to stay trapped when they don’t want to be. He baby-steps us, one
vice/chapter at a time. 

8. In your book, you talk about the “tragic irony” for Christian women of basing our self-worth 
on what we can and cannot get accomplished. Can you talk about that a bit?

The whole point of being rescued from our sin by Jesus is that we didn’t earn it. But then 
somewhere along the way, we start trying to deserve it—which means we’re prideful when 
we’re doing “well” (meeting our own expectations) and insecure when we’re not. The tragic 
irony is that we lose sight of the grace that saved us in the first place, for ourselves and 
everyone else. 

9. Is this something that is an ongoing struggle, or do you feel as if your perfectionist days are 
behind you?

I’m experiencing freedom I’ve never known before, but my perfectionism continues to rear its 
head. My standards for myself are still too high, but I’m aware of them and their 
destructiveness. I’m allowing God total access, and I’m working hard to surrender to the 
changes He’s making in my heart/mind. I’d say that God has my perfectionism on the run.

10. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?

Start talking and keep talking. Satan wants us to be quiet—to hide our sin from ourselves and 
everyone else. But sin gets bigger and more powerful in the dark, which is why God wants us to 
live in the light. So we need to talk. We need the encouragement and accountability that comes 
in numbers. And we need to share the stories of how God is rescuing us. Again

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tyndale Blog Network

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review of Healing Hearts with Helping Hands

So many times, we as Christian women, desire to be the Hands and Feet of God in the lives of other people when they are going through a time of crisis or loss of a loved one.

We desire to be able to offer a tangible gesture of love and care; we want to be able to ease their pain and lessen their loss.  We want to be a support and encouragement to them in a positive way.

We worry about doing or saying the wrong thing.  Sometimes that fear keeps us from reaching out at all.

Lorrie Flem, from Eternal Encouragement, has written a book that addresses these concerns and desires to help and heal the pain in the hearts of our family members or friends.  It is called, Healing Hearts with Helping Hands.

As a member of the Gabby Moms, I was given a copy of this book to review - - and I found it to be full of ideas to use to reach out to others in a meaningful way when they need support.

The book starts out with reminding us of how we can minister to others through our presence and attitudes.  We should listen to and pray for our loved ones who are hurting.  The greatest gift we can given them is a supportive shoulder and listening ear, the gift of our time.

We can also be a blessing in taking part of preparing and providing meals for a family when they are in crisis.   I loved how Lorrie included some recipes in the book too!  (I actually got very hungry when reading them and had to make myself a snack!)

We can also minster to others without food - through our acts of service such as offering to run errands, pick up some groceries, and taking the kids of the family on an outing for a while.  We need to be mindful that someone who is grieving may find it hard to ask for this type of help and it may be something that is needed but hard to ask someone to do for them.

In being mindful of their needs, we can anticipate and seek out special ways to meet them.  We can be a blessing to them in their time of loss and grief.

Probably the most important tip I will remember from this book is the importance of offering and giving a short-term gesture of care, along with remembering to be considerate of their needs and the grieving process over the long-term.  After all of the meals are eaten, the extra dishes are taken away, the flowers are dead, and the sympathy cards are put aside, that's when the person in grief is still in a huge need of someone to be aware of the loss and reach out to them.

This book is going to prove to be a wonderful resource for me as I refer to it when I mean to reach out to a loved one in pain.  I know that you will gain insight and appreciate the resources inside it as well.

You can order it on Amazon or from the Eternal Encouragement site here.

*Between May 1-3, you can get a copy of this book for only $.99 on Amazon!*

You can buy and read Kindle books, even if you don't have a Kindle! To download the free app needed to read Kindle books, go here.

If you want to learn more about Eternal Encouragement and be able to benefit from a free subscription to Lorrie's articles, go here to learn more!

 Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the e-book in exchange for an honest review. *

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Reading Thing - Hosted by The Musings of a Book Addict

The Musings of a Book Addict

Books I hope to read between now and June 20, 2013:


Unglued Devotional - Lysa TerKeurst
As Silver Refined - Kay Arthur
Girls With Swords - Lisa Bevere
Made to Crave - Lysa Terkeurst
Calm my Anxious Heart: A woman's guide to finding contentment - Linda Dillow
Desperate:  Hope for the mom who needs to breathe - Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
The Virgin Diet - JJ Virgin
Live Like You Mean It - Kathy Troccoli
The Bible Cure for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia - Don Colbert, MD
Whirlybirds and Ordinary Times - Katie Savage
Spaghetti for the Soul - Kathy Troccoli
Raising Maidens of Virtue - Stacy McDonald
Give it All to Him - Max Lucado
Kisses from Katie - Katie Davis
Chronicles of Downton Abbey - Julian Fellowes


From a Distance - Tamera Alexander
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Penny - Joyce Meyer
Any Minute - Joyce Meyer

I plan to update this list as I finish these books - and - add more :-)

Happy reading!

Gina Marie

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stepping out of my comfort zone - baby steps at a time!

  Over the last year, I have noticed that God has challenged me to act immediately when He starts prompting me to do or say something, rather than putting it off until I can "fit" it in.  I think my human nature - the part of me that loves planning, organizing, and attending to the details -  tries to understand the beginning, middle, and ending of something before I jump into it.

 I am not a spontaneous and outgoing person as a general rule - - oh, but the LORD is definitely stretching me and encouraging me to go out of my comfort zone step-by-baby-step... and the experiences He gives me when I am faithful to listen to Him and walk by faith really take my breath away!


Today, I feel led to share that God is stretching me and pushing me to the edge of the nest.  He knows that my life up until this point has prepared me to take my first flight with my wings of faith; I am just peering over the edge of the nest and feeling the wind lifting my wings.  I am just about to jump  - -- how about you?


 Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, God is growing me, stretching me, and making me get really close to the edge of the nest as He is bring me to the end of myself and to the beginning of me living and moving each moment through His strength and faith.  

One of the biggest areas that God is challenging me in is being able to let go of perfectionism and live in the moment.  

Can anyone else relate?  It's hard to even admit that, but God is reminding me that His Grace is all sufficient and able to cover where I come up short.  

Just like a mother bird watches over her precious hatchlings, the LORD watches over me and is ready to swoop down and lift me up on His strong wings of Deliverance.

Praise you Father - just like the birds don't worry, neither will I be worried about tomorrow as you have each day in your Hand and YOU will provide for my needs and keep me safe..

Matthew 6:24-34 24 
 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  
26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 
27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  
29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  
30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 
 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  
33 Seek the Kingdom of God[d] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rest

I don't think that the word rest has been a word I've known and used much for the first 35+ years of my life.  It was literally a "four-letter word" and I don't think I ever chose to put that word into practice by my own free will.

I wasn't a hyper child, but I was busy.  I wasn't a hyper teen-ager, but I was driven.  I wasn't a hyper adult, but I was always setting goals and making plans - - - and then exceeding them and making more.

It's interesting for me to look back and see that over this last year this word has taken on a new meaning.  I have encountered many health struggles and challenges that have taken my abilities away and have made me have to adjust to limitations for the first time in my life.

That has been very hard and painful for me.

At the same time, I have been learning the meaning of what it means to rest in the peace and promises of the LORD in a way I have never had to before.

Before hitting this physical wall, I was always able to put off the need for a balanced life; I was addicted to accomplishment and achievement.  Rest seemed like something you would do in retirement, when you had time to kill or a body that wasn't functioning at high levels anymore.

I will always wonder if me avoiding rest for the beginning of my life has been a huge factor in the health problems I have developed now as a late 30-something.  I will never know.

What I do know is that rest is considered a blessing from the LORD - and I am grateful for His lessons and Grace as I learn how to embrace a more balanced life and the rejuvenation that comes from resting in Him.

Psalm 16

miktam[a] of David.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 62[a]

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Psalm 116:7

New International Version (NIV)
Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

Review of: "Mr. Science Teacher"

I had the opportunity to connect online with Mr. Matthew Poston, a.k.a. Mr. Science Teacher, a few weeks ago where I was asked to step into the role of a student meeting him for a tutoring session for the purpose of this review.   It was a very enjoyable experience and one I would highly recommend to others without reservation.

It's been over 20 years since I was in high school chemistry -  and I still remember some of what I learned way back then - but after meeting with him, I can honestly say that I learned something new and had fun at the same time. Because of his methods in teaching this concept, I don't think I will forget what I learned in our session either.  Talk about a win-win!

I want to point out from the start that I was very impressed with the professionalism of this teacher and his website and materials; I have also taught in an online environment (4+ years).  Because of that, I was able to go into this session with the background knowledge of what it takes to engage a student through the Internet while going in to this session "playing" a student.

Mr. Science Teacher has what it takes to be a successful teacher and tutor online because the presentation is simple, charming, and engaging.   He is a great conversationalist and I felt comfortable talking with him and hearing his background and passion about engaging students and helping them become successful in Science and Math, his other subject of expertise.

The format that Mr. Science Teacher uses covers all of the learning styles, and that makes it a wonderful resource for every student and their needs.  He talks to you one-on-one in real time (auditory learner) while he writes on an online whiteboard and includes colorful images and graphics to support the learning process (visual learner) .  In addition to that, the student is encouraged to write on the whiteboard along with the teacher, showing the real-time evidence that they have learned the material.

Since I am a visual learner, I enjoyed getting to see what I was learning as I heard the Teacher explain the concepts to me.  It was fun to write on the whiteboard and hear from the Teacher that I was doing such a great job in learning a special concept in Chemistry centering on the Periodic Table of Elements.

I wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Science Teacher and his services through Mr. Science  I enjoyed getting to sample his tutoring and teaching abilities online and I know that investing in his services for your student needing Science and Math tutoring will be an enjoyable experience and a worthwhile investment.

I wish Mr. Matthew Poston and Mr. Science Teacher all of God's best and much success in teaching many students in the future to love learning about Math and Science!

Find his website here
Find him on Facebook here 
He will be at a homeschooling convention this year, maybe near you!  Learn more here

* I was given a tutoring session online for free in exchange for my honest review *

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Creating Contentment Seminar: Gabby Moms Review

I was so blessed to have been given an opportunity to review this seminar for Lorrie Flem and her website, Eternal Encouragement.  I t has been a joy to become a part of the Gabby Moms and the the review team; this month's resource is quite a special treat!

The Creating Contentment Seminar is definitely worth the $3.00 investment; the visuals matched with the pictures alone are worth that much to me as a study resource for learning how to create contentment in my personal life.  

Lorrie's voice in the audio is so calming and each word from her mouth is so positive; she makes my heart feel like I am sitting at the couch with her in her home, just soaking in the encouragement that she is sharing from her heart.

One of the things I will remember from this resource is that contentment is a choice; it's all a matter of perspective and choosing to be a peace with God and His plans and Will for my life.  Even if I am in an uncomfortable place, I know that God's love for me and His care will always be enough, more than enough, and better than being anywhere else.

Creating Contentment is an active choice, not a passive mindset.  Lorrie summarizes the process to Creating Contentment in 14 Steps (Actions) in this seminar; when followed and implemented, and supported by the Work and Leadership of the LORD in our lives, we can experience the joy and peace that come from living in blessed contentment, no matter what our particular situation.

I can attest to the fact that true contentment isn't dependent on gaining more money or losing weight; it's in resting in the promises and love of God for you. If you decide to invest in obtaining this seminar for your personal library, I know you won't be disappointed.

BY THE WAY - there will be another Seminar entitled:  "True Womanhood is Not for Wimpy Women" - and it will be available on the website on March 1st!  Sounds like one that you don't want to miss!  Learn more about it here.


** This was a Gabby Mom Review opportunity and will be posted on their Facebook Page**
**This product was provided in exchange for my review, I was not compensated in any other manner **

Math Made Simple: Review

Over the past month, I was given the opportunity to review the Math Made Simple videos that have been created for Algebra 1 instruction and review.   It is a series of 13 videos that provide "one-on-one" instruction for the advanced/struggling math student.  With the instant download complete, at the click of the button, your student gains the access to have a tutor in their own home - but they are given the opportunity to decide where, when, and how they receive the instruction!

 The website states that, "The Algebra I category of math lessons covers the beginning Algebra skills including the language and symbols of algebra. Tutorials start with basic algebra terminology. Lessons follow on exponents, multiplication & long division of polynomials, solving linear equations, solving word problems, solving linear inequalities, operations with radicals, zero, negative & rational exponents, factoring polynomial and working with rational expressions. These lessons cover the fundamentals to prepare for Algebra II."

I would have to agree.  When watching through the videos with my kids, I was impressed with how organized and detailed they are in explaining the math concepts and working through different math problems to illustrate that specific concept.  I enjoyed seeing the teacher/tutor writing on the "board" with a real writing implement; it brought back memories of me being in math class many years ago!  The speaker's voice is soothing and calm, which is a huge bonus to keeping "math tension and fear" to a minimum!

Since the instruction is presented through a video format, the student has the ability to go at their own individual pace.  I know that there were times I needed to pause the video for a moment and then start it again.  If a student is having a really hard time with a particular concept, you are able to start it from the beginning and review it over and over again until they are able to grasp the information.

Another thing I found helpful is that once you purchase and download the videos in the series, you can use it again and again with your students.  It will become a part of your individual student/teacher/homeschooling-help library!  I am always looking for help in teaching math to my kids; this is one resource that I will be using at least three times considering I am homeschooling three kids!

Because it is so simple and the presentation isn't flashy, one of my kids was a little bit disappointed that she wasn't getting "entertained" as she was learning, but for a child with ADD/ADHD, any extra stimulation would probably be distracting.  I for one find the amount of information adequate and organized and geared towards a left-brain and visual learner.

You can order the series I reviewed here and learn more about the Math Made Simple by going here.


** This was a Gabby Mom Review opportunity and will be posted on their Facebook Page**
**This product was provided in exchange for my review, I was not compensated in any other manner **

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review of Helping Hands at Home - Lorrie Flem

Joyful Hearts and Helping Hands

I was blessed to be able to become a reviewer for Lorrie Flem and her website Eternal Encouragement at the beginning of this year.  In addition to being a book reviewer, I will now be a "Gabby Mom" for E.E. and have the opportunity to share reviews on products and services that will be helpful to a homeschooling momma.

Helping Hands at Home is the first item I was given to review - - - and I have been blessed by the impact it has had on my family after only one run through.  I rounded up my nine year old and six year old and the cleaning supplies ... and we were off! 

These two kids have been begging me to let them do chores to help momma; it was no issue to get them motivated to clean together, as a team, following the process in the e-book.  In addition to that, taking this time to teach them how to do these tasks has helped me hand off the responsibility of these chores to them.  They woke up this morning asking to clean the bathroom and kitchen!  

In this e-book, Lorrie is very organized and detailed in her presentation of the steps involved in coaching our children to learn how to efficiently and completely clean the bathroom and the kitchen - two main areas of the home that need daily attention. I love that the book includes lists to post and follow and it also includes tips and encouragement for the mom throughout the process.

On a personal note, I was the oldest of five kids - - - and had to take on lots of responsibility at a young age for cleaning, childcare, and cooking.  I never had my mom teach me or show me how to do any of it; I figured it out along the way.  In following Lorrie's procedures in teaching these steps to my own kids, I will be honest and admit that I even learned a thing or two that will help me be a better homemaker.

I know that my experience isn't unique; I have a feeling that when others take the time to follow the outline and steps in this e-book, they will also get to see first-hand the joy of teaching their kids to take on more responsibility and the ability to complete their chores and take care of their home. 

My expectations were exceeded in putting this e-book into practice with my own kids: I didn't think that I would see this level of excitement on the faces of my kids and the cheers that came from working hard to beat the timer and seeing a job well done!  

My son, in particular, was very self-motivating and encouraging to his sister as he kept saying over and over that he was doing a "smoking job" and could hear things getting squeaky clean!  Too bad I missed getting a clip of these moments on video, complete with the aprons!

Considering that  it is available for Kindle for only $.99, I know you will find it to be a worth-while investment for your family and homemaking library.  It's worth every penny!

Let me know what you think!
*  Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the e-book in exchange for an honest review. *

Monday, January 21, 2013

More thoughts on the Love and Respect Cycle

Ephesians 5:25-32 - The Love and Respect Cycle
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Starting out:  "The Honeymoon Years"

 Every traditional wedding ceremony ends with a prayer of blessing before the long-awaited kiss of the new couple and the joyful announcement of the new Mr. and Mrs!  Many Christian couples start out their marriages building on the habits of their courtship of desiring quality time.  They seem to connect on a daily basis physically, emotionally, and even spiritually with joy and focus.  Distractions are minimal, and once they leave work, they rush home to be with each other.  They take the time to pray together, share their hearts with one another, and many even are able to have time of reading the Bible or completing a Bible study together.  


  The Second Stage of Marriage:  The Busy Years!

 Time passes - too quickly as they years go by - and the husband and wife start getting busier and busier.  Outside commitments begin and couples start running around just to keep up.  The blessing of children expands their family and now man and wife become dad and mom.  Over the top of an infant's downy head mom catches dad's eye; he gives her a kiss and a hug as he leaves for the carpool. Laundry,dishes, work, schedules, budgeting, and problem solving take lots of time and energy.  As they fall into bed each night exhausted, they exhale a prayer of thankfulness for God blessing them and helping them get through that day together.  

The Third Stage: The Twilight Years

 The kids have moved out, perhaps husband and wife have retired, and now they have the time to be together and pursue passions and interests that have been put aside for the "future" all those years.  The old routines are set aside and they have all the time they desire to finally be together and travel, take up hobbies, and wake up each morning without a set plan in place.  As they continue to age, one spouse usually starts to take on a caretaker role as their health declines.  Hand in wrinkled hand, they can sit in the quiet and know what the other is thinking.


 In sharing my thoughts on these three stages of marriage, I just wanted to set the stage for the rest of what I want to share with you in this article. Each marriage is unique and not all of them will follow this pattern exactly; mine has not!   A little over 11 years ago, Randy and I started our marriage with a little one in our midst: my three year old daughter  from my previous marriage.  Her little sister followed before our second anniversary, and, by the time we celebrated our fifth anniversary, the girls had a little brother.  It has been a wonderful whirlwind of blessings and the years have really gone by too fast.  We are thick in the midst of the second stage right now.  Randy works full-time and I am a full time homemaker and homeschooling momma.  I know what it's like to feel like you can't get it all done and keep those priorities straight all the time.  

I was was sharing my heart with a friend a few days ago.  I wanted her to pray for me as I wanted to bring something up with my husband but I needed to walk the fine line between sharing my heart and making him feel like he was failing me.  (For the record:  my husband is a hard-working, loving, moral, and self-sacrificing husband and father who strives to be our spiritual leader and guide.)  My heart was just missing the days when we were able to connect spiritually on a more regular basis. I wanted to carve out this quality time with him again, but I didn't want to be his conviction or use manipulation to win him over to doing this with me.  I desired to be honest and respectful.   So, what is a wife to do?  This is what I did to share my heart with my husband  - - and I share it with you, praying someone reading this can find it to be helpful:      
  1. Come before God and pray for the right words to say, the right time to talk, and the right attitude to cover both of you at that time.
  2. Keep in mind that the #1 need of your husband, no matter the stage of marriage, his level of spiritual maturity, or his current focus is for him to know that you RESPECT him as a man, husband, and father.
  3. If you can honestly let him know what you need (quality time, for him to pray for you, to share what God is doing in his life), keep in mind that your tone of voice speaks volumes.  Focus on taking a team approach with the topic; let him know that you want to feel closer to him and that this is something he can do to bless you.
I highlighted the verses from Ephesians 5 in starting out this article - and I hope you notice that in those verses, God reminds us of the #1 needs of the husband and wife:  he desires respect and she needs to feel loved.  When this need is met in the husband, he reacts with love; when the wife is cherished, she has no problem respecting her husband's leadership.  It is truly a beautiful picture of mutual surrendering to each other, under God. No matter where you find yourself in your relationship with your husband, once you set out to meet these basic desires in one another, your marriage will flourish.  You can't and shouldn't wait for him to invest in you before you invest in him; you can start the cycle of  blessings by choosing to start today, loving and respecting your husband in word and deed as unto the Lord. I pray for you as you read this today; may God use the concept of the Love and Respect Cycle in your marriage to  give you opportunities to bless each other daily.