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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Last Call of Trades of Hope!

My party ends today.  Here's one more message from my friend Melissa:


JOIN - You can join Trades of Hope like I did and become a Compassionate Entrepreneur. You too can be in the business of employing women in impoverished situations while earning an income for yourself. The online training is excellent, and the sisterhood of women, local and online through Facebook is fabulous! Please comment or private message me if you would like more information.

HOST - Hostesses are the lifeblood of this missional business! As a party plan company, our hostesses allow this business to continue - providing continued employment for impoverished women and employment for women here in the US - a ripple effect of women helping women, helping women. Hosting can take on many forms - a home party, a Facebook party, a few women gathering in a cafe, a fund-raising event, etc. If this business has touched your heart, please say "yes" to hosting. We will discuss the details and determine what type of party would be best for you. It's my job to make it as easy for you as possible.

SHOP - Well,, that is easy! Amy's shopping link is : 

If you want more information about hosting or becoming a Compassionate  Entrepreneur, leave a comment below (it will be sent to me even if it doesn't show up immediately), and I will put you in touch with Melissa.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trades of Hope

Have you heard of Trades of Hope?  If not, here's the scoop:

Trades of Hope was founded in 2010 by 4 incredible women, mother/daughter duos Holly & Chelsie and Gretchen & Elisabeth, who believe that all women should be empowered and have a chance to create a better life for themselves and their families regardless of their circumstances. By creating jobs and sustainable, income-generating businesses, our artisans are able break the cycle of poverty, feed and take care of their families, and send their children to school.

This is not a charity—this is an opportunity to help women (and men) earn a living and also earn dignity and respect in their community!

The artisans, who hand craft our jewelry, scarves and home d├ęcor items are paid FIRST, at their FULL ASKING price. YES, 100% of what they need to earn a LIVING WAGE in their country. Through Fair Trade principles, they make an average of 4-6 times more selling their products through us than they would in their own country.

Trades of Hope products are sold as a home-show business, allowing them to provide self-employment for women in the U.S. as well.  Here's what my dear friend Melissa, a Trades of Hope Compassion Entrepreneur, has to say:

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this missional business. I employ women in impoverished circumstances, and they employ me!

When you Shop, Host, or Join, YOU are a part of TOH, too!

That's Melissa above wearing the Kayla ToH necklace and the Inverted Capiz earrings.

So, I'm doing a Trades of Hope online party until August 30th-you only have a few days!!!  Please, take a look at their gifts with a purpose.  Even if you aren't a big accessory person, they have some decor goods (and holiday items) AND their wares make beautiful, unique, meaningful gifts that benefit the receiver and the one who made them as well.  The link to my party is:

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

August! How'd We Get to August?

Oy!  I had intended to blog every day this month, but then life happened.  I'm not sure where to start, so I think this will be very stream of consciousness sort of stuff.

1)  This is our first week back to school.  Sari's in 5th grade, TJ's in 9th, and Mimi's in 10th.  He got a bump up when we moved to NC because they drew the "cut off date line" in a different place the year he was born than FL did, so we'll see how it goes as the year goes by, but I think he'll be fine.

2) Mimi has her learner's permit, but has spent about 20 minutes behind the wheel of my car total because the van intimidates her...that has to change.  We live in the car, by now, she should have enough hours logged to drive to the moon and back!    Where is good, positive peer pressure when you need it?

3)  Scott has a job coach who is meant to be helping him find a job, but that's a super-slow process.  They have filled out a few applications, but apparently I flubbed the first call for an interview by not understanding how the whole process was supposed to work, so he has no leads yet.  That's okay, because to be frank, they are barking up the wrong tree with the jobs they applied to.  His old job coach is currently in grad school, and the new one is still figuring things out, so in the process, we're in the weeds a bit (which is how I didn't know what to do when they called and how the interview got flubbed, but since it's for a job that wouldn't be a good fit for him anyway, I'm not too worried).

4) My garden is totally a bust (again) this year.  We got 2 meals worth of dragon's tongue beans, and maybe 3 pea pods before the heat just burned them up, but my tomatoes may or may not ever yield anything worth eating.  Sigh.  I think until we are out of this house, a garden is just a dream.  The only area in the back yard that is flat enough for a garden just doesn't get enough light to allow plants to mature at any sort of normal rate.

5)  I had a kidney stone.  They seem quite (un)popular right now among people I know. Mine took 3 weeks to pass, and so I lost 3 weeks of my summer to lying around in pain.  On the plus side, I did get some pleasure reading done ;).   Two weeks in, during a period of intense pain (I had 4 kids naturally-one at home- I'm talking serious pain here) I went to the ER just to be sure it really WAS a kidney stone and it was the size that could indeed come out on its own and that I wasn't just putting on a brave face for nothing.  SOOOO glad that is over.  I think I got it from taking Airborne on my trip to Scotland.  I read high doses of Vitamin C can cause them, especially if you aren't drinking enough.  I drink more water than most elephants, but while traveling it's hard to stay hydrated, so I think it was a one-two punch.  Lesson learned!

6)  Scotland was fabulous and I do have pictures to post, I promise.

7)  For the first time ever, about half of what my older kids are learning this year I will not be teaching them.  It will be a HUGE adjustment for them, but good for them and for me, I think.  I need to work more with Sari one on one.

8) Sari has some sort of learning issue.  Her evaluator thinks it's an eye tracking issue.  Either way, though she's made huge strides in reading, she still reads below grade level, and fluency-wise (speed wise) is equal to a kindergartner.  That has to change, so this year we will focus on some intensive therapies for her...I'm just not sure what that looks like yet.  First up is an eye appt.

9)  Em is playing volleyball right now.  She has practice 3-4 times a week.  Right at dinner time :).  Tonight is 5:30-8.  But really 5:15-8 because they need to get there early to set up.  So that's another reason she needs to get cracking on this driving thing.

10)  TJ's soccer will start soon too.  Just to add to the crazy.

I have other things I'm sure, but I'll stop there.  This listing thing makes everything seem kind of like a downer, but it's not really.  It's just busy, and crazy, and, I think, pretty normal for just about everyone I know.  I'll leave you with two pictures from last week's service project at church.  We were packing bags (care packages) for our missions team to take to India with them.  Mimi and TJ are at the far left below, and Scott is in the bottom picture making a card.  Each bag had a personal card that said something like, "You are special" or "God loves you" or something like that.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Patterns of Exidence-Exodus (A FlyBy Review and Giveaway)

I'm a total history nerd.  And a Bible nerd.  So combine history and the Bible?  I'm in.  ALL in.  Patterns of Evidence Exodus was everything I love and more.

About Patterns of Evidence Exodus:
For more than 50 years, the vast majority of the world's most prominent archaeologists and historians have proclaimed that there is no hard evidence to support the Exodus story found in the Bible.  In fact, they say that the archaeological record is completely opposed to the Bible's account.  This view of extreme skepticism has spread from academia to the world.  The case against the Exodus appears to be so strong that even some religious leaders are labeling this ancient account as historical fiction.  Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney begins with the questions, "Is the Bible just a myth, or did the archaeologists get it wrong?"  He decides to tackle this issue wit a deliberate scientific approach.   After examining the details in the biblical text, he journeys across the globe to search for patterns of evidence firsthand.  The result is the most in-depth archaeological investigation into the Exodus from Egypt ever captured on film.   This scientific documentary's goal is to communicate the TRUTH of the Bible and help equip believers with defending their faith and the Bible.
 The DVD features stunning animations and a cast including narrator, Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), interviews with leading archaeologists including Israel Finkelstein, Kent Weeks, and David Rohl, and guest appearances by Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres

I enjoyed this DVD immensely, although it's not the kind of movie young children would enjoy.  It's more of a documentary that explains the evidence that exists for the proof of the Exodus as a real historical occurrence. My kids and I are going through Genesis right now and when we get to Exodus, I'm looking forward to watching this with them.  I want them to understand that while we take the Bible as truth on faith, there is real evidence that supports Biblical truth as well, and they can use that truth to defend their faith when it is challenged.

Patterns of Evidence Exodus was released today, and is available from the Patterns of Evidence website.  It's 119 minutes long and not rated (although there was no objectionable material that I remember).

If you'd like a chance to win a copy, and you live in the U.S. or Canada, please enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, July 31, 2015

Discover Education Streaming Plus- FREE until the end of August

Just a reminder about the free offer from the Homeschool Buyer's co-op.  Until the end of August, everyone can signup and get Discovery Education Streaming Plus for FREE.  I did a full blog post about it here, but below is a brief recap.

Bring Your Homeschool Lessons to Life

It's easy to see why homeschoolers rave about Discovery Education Streaming Plus. It's probably the most extensive and feature-rich educational video streaming service in the world.
It's much like having the entire DVD selection of your local public library available to you from the convenience of your home, 24/7/365.
But it's not just a collection of videos that you can watch from beginning to end. This library has been organized into useable video clips, organized and categorized, close-captioned, and supplemented with lesson plans, teaching guides, interactive simulations, images, audio resources, and other resources and materials that you can incorporate into virtually every aspect of your homeschool curriculum.
Discovery Education Streaming Plus features:
  • Thousands of full-length videos from scores of producers, segmented into tens of thousands of content-specific clips tied directly to state and national standards.
  • Supplemental resources such as Assignment Builder, Quiz Center, Writing Prompt Generator, lesson plans, and more
  • Fast and accurate search functionality and dynamic navigation menus
  • The ability to customize and personalize lessons to different subjects, grades, and learning styles
  • Comprehensive K-12 curriculum coverage in six core subject areas.
  • Thousands of images
  • Membership in the Discovery Educator Network (DEN)
  • Interactive self-paced training
  • Exclusive Discovery programming such as Frozen PlanetHuman PlanetLIFEInto the UniverseMythbusters, and Curiosity
  • Video series from trusted content providers such as BBC Worldwide, CBS News, Channel 4, Discovery Studios, Scholastic, TV Ontario, and Westin Woods
  • Hundreds of games, skill builders, and body atlas interactives
  • Thousands of self-paced math tutorials spanning concepts from basic addition to calculus
  • Thousands of audio files including podcasts, classic literature audiobooks, children's literature audiobooks from Scholastic, and numerous supplemental study aids for auditory learners

Don't miss out!!!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Living Hope CD Review

Who is in the mood for some great music? 
 And maybe a pizza?

Or maybe both?

When I got the opportunity for this review, I was intrigued.  I'd never heard of Pizza Ranch, and the idea of a pizza place that was as focused on giving God glory as they were on making great pizza is definitely a place I would love to try...if only they were closer.

Here's a little about Pizza Ranch in case you don't know much about them:
Adrie Groeneweg had a dream that started in Hull, IA, in 1981, when he was just 19 years old.  It was simple.  Why does everyone have to drive out of town to get a pizza?  With just six specialty and single topping pizza recipes developed by Adrie's mother, Lorraine, Pizza Ranch was born.  Pizza Ranch's vision and mission is to glorify God by positively impacting the world and to give every guest a legendary experience.  They have 190+ locations across 13 states including Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. 
And about Living Hope:
On June 2, 2015, Pizza Ranch released a CD called Living Hope containing twelve songs from many of their favorite Christian artists.  Most of the songs are brand-new and written exclusively for this CD around the theme of Hope.  Artists include Colton Dixon, Francesca Batistelli, Ellie Holcomb, Sidewalk Prophets, Kevin Max, Bart Millard, Passion Band featuring Kristian Stanfill, Michael W. Smith, and Mark Schultz.  

The CD will be available to purchase for $5 plus tax exclusively in Pizza Ranch restaurants or for download at through August 31.  

From Adrie Groeneweg, President & CEO of Pizza Ranch, Inc.:   
"This album has a very special meaning for Pizza Ranch.  Although Pizza Ranch is not in the music business, many things have been happening, conversations have been taking place and doors have been opening for this album.  Through these events, I believe it was obvious that God has been behind this for His specific purpose and putting it on our hearts to collectively create this project.  As such, we call this our miracle album, Living Hope."

Wow!  A pizza place that wants to give people hope, not just sell pizzas. It makes me want to drive to Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, Wyoming, or Colorado just to visit one!  In lieu of that though, you can buy a downloadable Living Hope CD.  I especially liked the upbeat tempo of the songs "Overcome the World" by Mark Schultz and "Panic Button" by Kevin Max, but the whole album is great, original music (except an acoustic version of  "Day One" by Matthew West, which obviously is not an original-to-this-album song).  But hurry, because the album is only available through August 31st!

If you'd like the chance to win a copy, and you live in the U.S. or Canada, just enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Old Fashioned Novelization and Devotional Review and Prize Pack Giveaway!

If you remember just a few weeks ago, I had a review of the movie Old Fashioned.  Now, it's my privilege to bring you this review of the novelization and an accompanying devotional as well as a giveaway prize pack for ALL THREE!!!

The Novelization:

Turning his back on his reckless lifestyle, former frat boy Clay Walsh has settled down to turn an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town....and to purse lofty and outdated theories on love and romance.  But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can't help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life.  Amber also finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay, but his ideas about relationships are unusual to say the least, and they bring to light her own deep wounds and fears about love.  They say opposites attract, but can Clay and Amber move beyond their differences and their pasts to attempt an "old fashioned" courtship?
OBM says:  303 pages; Softcover
I enjoyed the book even more than the movie.  It explains a little more what the characters are thinking and feeling, but also, it does away with the distracting flashback scenes and yet still manages to get across the idea that Clay is plagued by his past.  I feel far fewer reservations about allowing my teens to read the book than I do about watching the movie because the imagery from Clay's past isn't presented "in living color" in the book the way a movie has to do it.  I would whole-heartedly recommend the book, and was pleasantly surprised, since it was a novelization of a movie, and not the other way around.

The Devotional:

Contrary to popular opinion, being "old fashioned" doesn't mean you're dull or unromantic.  In fact, a true old fashioned relationship can be more exciting and romantic than anything you've ever experienced!  So what does it mean to do things the old fashioned way?  Sure, it means opening doors, holding out chairs, and taking things slow.  But a true old fashioned romance goes much, much deeper than that.  Inspired by the motion picture Old Fashioned, this book will show you how to reclaim the lost art of romance by introducing you to romantic love as God intended it.  Regardless of your past mistakes, where you've been, what you've done, or where you are now, you can find and create a love that will last a lifetime!  As you work your way through this forty-day journey of inspiring readings and questions for reflection, you'll discover all the unique and amazing benefits of doing things the old fashioned way.  And before you know it, you'll be well on your way to creating a love story for the ages.
OBM says:  222 pages; Softcover
This devotional strikes me as having more appeal and practical use to single people than married couples, and that makes sense since that is the status of the main characters of the movie the devotional is based upon.  But it certainly has great value to the demographic it is geared toward.  This devotional seeks to change your heart in 40 days toward how you view dating and romance and how to define them well in a God honoring way without going to extremes.  It's got great advice that really makes you think,  Each lesson is short, but has a devotional message followed by some type of application- a quiz, journal entry, "Consider This" questions, or "Put it into Practice" exercises.  Any single or unwed couple would be lucky to have this resource.

Both resources can be purchased from CBD or you can enter The Giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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