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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Homeschooling With Joy

My friends over at

have a new 3 part series of free videos about homeschooling with JOY.  The first one was about Protecting Your Schedule/Priorities, and it's available to view now.  I *think* (because I'm not very tech savvy) that if you click on the button that says Knowledge Quest it will take you to the sign-up link for the video series.  These videos are getting great reviews.  As I was asked just last night to consider leading a daytime Bible study every week, I'm thinking I might appreciate wisdom of protecting my schedule too.

***I am an affiliate for Knowledge Quest.  These videos are free, but I want to share my full relationship with KQ because I love and use their products in our homeschool year after year.***
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Less than 12 hours left!

The Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition is ending soon!  Sale Ends at 11:59PM EST on 7-28-14!

The Build Your Bundle sale ends at 11:59EST tonight.  Don't let it get away from you!  I got my bundle, and then went back to get more thanks to a surprise bonus.  I *think* I'm actually getting excited about school starting!

***Affiliate links used.***
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Three Things Thursday- The Friday Edition 7-/25/2014

1)  I HATE planning.  Especially school planning.  So I've been creatively avoiding it for weeks now, under the guise of doing it, but really just spinning my wheels more than getting anything done.  Well, today I starting setting stuff done.  Yuck!  This high school thing for my daughter-it has me headed in a whole new direction and it's taking TONS of time to figure out. I'm fairly certain she's going to hate it on top of all that, but I'm also pretty sure it's the best way to accomplish what I desire in terms of goals for her with homeschooling.  So I press on...

2)  I'm also not generally an anxious person, but our FL house is scheduled to close at the end of the first week of August.  We have to let the rental company here know if we are renewing our lease (for another year) the first day of September.  That's a short turn around.  I know God will lead us to the right place, but it's definitely an exercise in trust.  We are looking at all our options-renting here another year, buying an existing house, buying a new house, building a's a lot to process, and makes for a lot of uncertainty as I try to plan school activities.

3)  I'm doing this bundle sale, which really is a great deal, but I stink as a sales person, and I feel SO pushy telling people about it all the time.  On the flip side, if you need even one or two resources in the bundles, they make the whole bundle worth it.  For example, Easy Peasy Chores sells for $15.99, but the bundle that includes it is only $10.  So you do the math, but you can get Easy Peasy Chores for $5.99 less than its regular price AND get everything else in the bundle for FREE, if that product is something that you are interested in.   So I will continue to plug the Build Your Bundle Sale, because it can really bless people who are looking for the products in those bundles.  

Want to link up?  Just visit Heidi's blog.

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!
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Friday, July 18, 2014


The question is not IF attempts will be made to limit religious freedoms, but when.  And when that day comes, will you stay silent?

PERSECUTED, a Daniel Lusko film, is being released today nationwide.  I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to read the novelization of the film.  Here the official "blurb" about the story.

The most popular evangelist of his day, John Luther, simply wants to share the Gospel and enjoy a quiet life with his family. He never asked to be at the center of a political controversy, but an ill wind has been blowing through the halls of Congress, and supporters of a new religious-equality bill see Luther's endorsement as critical. But when Luther refuses to lend his support, he unknowingly sets in motion an explosive plan bent on destroying his reputation and undermining everything for which he stands. His once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive left with only one dangerous option--putting everything he holds most dear at risk while he fights to expose the truth. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that could threaten the very fabric of our nation's freedoms.

OBM says:  I literally read this book in a day.  It's a shame it's a novelization of a movie and not the other way around because there is SO much farther the story could be taken.  I hope the author will continue the story line and delve into "what comes next".  But with that being said, I have to say this is a gripping story that, while fiction today, may be fact in the not-too-distant-future.  We need to understand this, and we need to know what we stand for...what we will speak up for...what we are willing to lay down our lives for.  In this story, you see how easy it is to destroy a man's reputation, and how quickly even those who know you well can be persuaded that you have fallen.  But you also see that one man's unwillingness to compromise CAN be all it takes.  God can use one lone voice standing up for what is right even when all the others cry out that the ways of the world really aren't that bad.  We in America really have no idea what it's like to be persecuted for our faith.  Not yet.  But the day may come, and soon, when we all have to make a choice.  When we all have to say, "I will not be silent."

 I imagine it makes a powerful movie, and I'd encourage you to check it out, although it's PG-13 and for good reason.  In fact, I'd probably urge even more caution than that, as the the way they destroy the reputation Luther is sexual in nature, and I'm not sure how that's portrayed in the movie.  But if you are interested in the book, I have good news for you!  I'm giving away a copy!  Just enter below (open to U.S. and Canada residents only, I'm afraid).

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Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Three Things Thursday- 7/17/2014

How can it be Thursday already?  The older I get, the faster time flies.


This cracks me up.  Almost enough to make up for my frustration at seeing it ALL.  DAY.  LONG.  TODAY.  But really, this is TOTALLY me when it comes to the internet not working, just waving my little T-rex arms around in frustration.  That's one of those questions for God someday...those little stick arms on T-rex, what exactly is the story there?  

2)  For the handful of you that read this week after week, let me say we had the best 4 day vacation ever.   Fay's was amazing.  My sister-in-law surprised us all and she and her family did indeed come, so my kids got to see their cousin and aunt and uncle.  We actually got to spend lots more time with Nana and Pop Pop than I had expected as we ended up inviting them all to "the farm" to spend the day with us on Saturday.  The highlight for my kids, and for me, was the creek running next to the house and the pond and the 4-wheelers and golf cart.  It kept them outdoors dawn to dusk and then some.  For four days, they had the childhood I had (minus maybe the 4 wheelers and golf cart) and it was priceless.

3) I always mean to blog about the little God moments and forget, so I'm going to now.  TJ came home from camp feeling like his haircut is too "little boy-ish".  The thing is, he's had the same haircut forever, and we tried a different look once before and hated it, so we aren't sure what to do, but I got a bee in my bonnet to take him to get his hair cut and get mine cut at the same time (I haven't had mine cut in about a year).  I even trolled the 'net for pictures of teen boy hairstyles that might work with his hair type and current style. But suddenly, he wasn't interested.  I couldn't convinced him, no matter what I tried.  So I didn't get mine cut either.  
    Fast-forward to the mountains of NC, and my car AC suddenly dying.  If I had gotten my haircut, it would not have been long enough to reach into the ponytail that became a necessity for every car ride we took, especially given I was the one driving.  See?  God is good, and He cares about even the little details.  Oh, and the AC problem?  It was a blown fuse, so we are rolling again as good as new.

Want to link up with Three Things Thursday?  Just visit Heidi's blog.

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Choosing the Right Curriculum for Your Homeschool

**The following is a slightly updated version of a post from 2012 that I wanted to "bump" since I had someone ask me just today about how to chose a curriculum when you are just starting out homeschooling. The original post, part of a back to school blog hop, contains a linky list at the bottom with about 90 of my fellow bloggers' thoughts on curriculum as well.**

Unless you are a complete, radical unschooler or you literally have a homeschool budget of $0 and and only use what someone else gives you, you have found yourself having to make some choices about which homeschool curriculum is best.  And given the wide array of choices out there, the decision can be daunting for even seasoned homeschoolers, and downright mind-numbing for homeschoolers who are just starting out!  So how, and what, do you choose?

Yesterday, I blogged about how to choose the right homeschool method for you and your family, and I think you can't begin to know what curriculum(s) are right for you until you know what methods appeal to you, so please, read that first!  You also need to consider the same three things I talked about yesterday-why you are homeschooling, your personality,inclinations, and learning styles, and your child's personality, inclinations, and learning styles.  You'll see why as we dig into curriculum choices a little deeper.

To organize this a bit, I'm going to list some curriculum options as they relate to the methods they go most naturally with.

For the "recreate school at home" method, you probably want a "canned curriculum".  That is, you want a curriculum that covers "2nd grade" or "10th grade" and includes all the subjects.  Using a curriculum like that will keep you on track with a scope and sequence that tends to reflect national standards for what a child of that grade level should study and know.  Here, knowing why you homeschool is important, because you have a choice to make regarding whether your curriculum will be religious in nature or not.  I have personally never used a "canned curriculum", but some that I hear good things about and know people who use them are Bob Jones, ABeka, Alpha Omega LifePaks, A.C.E. PACES, and Rod and Staff.  All of those are Christian, but I am sure there are some non-Christian choices.  To find them, you'd want to look to the major textbook manufacturers like Harcourt, etc.  In some locations, you may even have the option of getting the same books your public school district is using from the school itself.  Or another option that is becoming increasingly popular is virtual education. and are both nationally available options for that.

If Unit Studies intrigue you, there are many, many different options out there.  Valerie Bendt has a great resource out there that explains all the basics.  The thing about Unit Studies is that you can really make your own and never buy anything, because in essence, you are just studying topically about whatever you choose.  But if you are looking for some help, here are a few resources I'd recommend:
CurrClick offers tons of e-products, and many of them are Unit Studies.  In fact, I think all my favorite vendors can be found there.  Simple Schooling makes GREAT unit studies.  Unit Studies often go hand in hand with lapbooking/notebooking, and some of my favorite vendors for that are Knowledge Box CentralLive and Learn PressHands of a Child, and A Journey Through Learning.  And I can't forget The Old Schoolhouse, whose Curiosity Files were co-written by many of my friends.

For the classical approach, The Well Trained Mind is probably the best known company, and they map out what a classical education looks like here.  The Bluedorn's have a slightly different take on it at Trivium Pursuit.  Classical Academic Press is one company that offers some of the staples for a classical education like Latin and Logic.  (On that note though, my hands down favorite for Latin is Visual Latin.)  Memoria Press is another very reputable company that offers Latin, Logic, and full Classical curriculum.

Charlotte Mason is another popular method.  Ambleside Online is one of the biggest names in the CM world.   They offer a free Charlotte Mason curriculum whose only cost is the cost of any books you want to use and can't get for free.

The Montessori method is one most associated with schools, but can certainly be done at home.  This blog has lots and lots of ideas for homeschooling Montessori on a Budget.  (Of all the standard curriculums out there, the only one I've ever heard of make a specific Montessori claim is Shiller Math.)

The very basis for delayed academics is delaying, well, academics.  That means until your child is older, you really aren't looking for much formal curriculum.  But Excellence in Education has a handy schedule of educational games that you can play at each grade level that introduce some educational ideas in a fun way.

Child directed/delight directed learning both can make use of Unit Studies, as can unschooling.  Other than that, they really don't have "curriculum" per se.

And then there are the things that just don't fit into just one catagory.  If you have decided that you aren't trying to keep up with the "normal" scope and sequence, but like different elements from several other methods, you might enjoy one of the many literature based multi-subject curriculums.  Some of the big names are SonlightTapestry of GraceMy Father's World, and Illuminations.  In essence, they each use chronological history in a classical education cycle as the framework for many other subjects to branch out from.  Living books, or at least high quality books, (a la Charlotte Mason) provide additional information about each time period (like a Unit Study) and also make up the literature component of the curriculum.  Sometimes science topics are woven in with the learning too , other times science is scheduled for you but not connected to the topics in history.  Typically, geography will be interwoven, as will creative writing assignments, and in all the above examples, Bible is a component as well.  Spelling and vocabulary come from the lessons in some cases, and in other cases are recommended via books by other vendors.  Math will be the one subject that you must chose and integrate on your own.  The beauty of these curriculum is that you can pick and chose what components work for you.  Take it all or just use a little- it's up to you.

Your final choice is the more eclectic approach.  You can piece meal together a curriculum using the best, or most appealing, components from all of the above.  In all my years of homeschooling, I've done a little of almost everything, and I've found the piece meal approach allows me to use my favorite vendors for each subject.

So, what are some of those favorites?  Well, before I tell you that, let me caution you that some of the WORST curriculum choices I've made were things I bought because my friends used them and loved them, or things that other people used and spoke highly of.  So before you rush out and buy everything I mention, DON'T!  At least not until you read further.  For the past 4 1/2 years, I have been a reviewer for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  You can read all of my reviews (over 150) via the side bar on my blog on the left of your screen.  For almost every product I will mention, I and about 99 other people with the Schoolhouse Review Crew have written detailed reviews outlining how they work, and why they did or didn't work for us.  Do your research before you spend your hard earned homeschool dollars!

RightStart- I believe in them so passionately, I work for them at our state conference.
Math Mammoth- great and inexpensive for an entire grade level or just for topical help
Teaching Textbooks- Honestly, I think this runs a grade level or two behind other curriculums, BUT it works for SO many people, and it has personally worked for my autism spectrum child and for my other kids during a year when I was not as available to help them with math, so the fact that it's self-teaching and self-grading is a plus.
Pearson-  It's the Algebra 1 curriculum my AS child used.  It's well explained, and we loved it.

Mystery of History- a Christian chronological history of the world
Truth Quest- same idea, but with less "text" and more suggested supplemental books.  I love them both.

Apologia- We've used all the elementary and General and Physical Science so far

Creative Writing:
IEW- LOVE this!
Write with the Best- I haven't used this in a long time, but I reviewed it years ago and it left a lasting impression.  I intend to get back to it.

Handwriting Without Tears

*I tend to be in the delayed learning camp on this one so what we do, we do later than most.
First Language Lessons Level 3/4
A Sentence a Day- This seriously is the best thing I've ever done.  Each day you post a sentence that has numerous grammatical, punctuation, or spelling mistakes.  My kids race to be the first to find and correct all the errors.  They've learned more this way than through any traditional lessons.

All About Spelling-The best spelling program I'm aware of, and the one we use.  I'm an affiliate for them and for the companion All About Reading because I think their products are so great.

Learning to Read:
All About Reading- Their readers are beautiful!
Reading Eggs online site

Early Childhood Ed:
Five in a Row- one of my favorites for elementary aged children.  It's a literature based unit study approach.  Very simple to do, covers most subjects, and is fun.
Comprehensive Curriculum books- you can find these at any major book store or on Amazon.  I've used a bunch of different ones.  I really think that the bulk of "work" any child under, say, 4th grade can be found in these for pennies a school year.

My Favorite Curriculum that didn't work for us:
The Weaver- A Biblical unit study/multi subject curriculum.  Not nearly as well known, but its users are passionate about it.  I LOVED the Weaver, I just couldn't keep up with scheduling it AND even if I could, that approach was not the best for my oldest child, even though it's where my heart was.

So what are we using this year?  I blogged about that HERE.  But after you know HOW you are schooling and WHAT you are using, you still have planning to do, and that's what we'll talk about tomorrow.

*A few affiliate links were used in the post above.  I only become an affiliate for companies I really believe in and whose products we really use on a daily basis.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Three Things Thursday- 7/10/14

It's time for Three Things Thursday.  I had every intention of "playing along" last week, but it got away from me, so I'm determined to do it first thing this morning before I lose my chance (more on that below).

1)  Last Thursday I was in Florida with the slowest internet connection since dial-up.  I don't know HOW my mother survives, but them they don't really do anything but check e-mail and Facebook, pay bills online, and her husband plays some sort of low tech virtual slots or something (not for money, for fun).  Anyway, I had daily commitments social media wise, of course, and it was torture, so extras like blogging for fun just didn't happen since I was loosing my mind a tad impatient with the swirly "I'm trying to connect to the internet, really I am" thing my computer kept giving me.  It was a blessing to have a place to stay, and nice to spend time with family, and the view from Mom and Tom's house is amazing, so that totally made up for the challenges with the internet.
This is the view behind their house.  They are on a canal that leads to a large lake.  My Kiwi girlfriend and I sat out here and talks for a few hours one morning (they have a covered deck).  It's gorgeous, and frequented by lots of wildlife, like this guy below.

2)  I have to blog early in the day because later we head west toward the mountains...kind of.  Not the full blown mountains, just the "you won't have phone or internet service" mountains.  Tomorrow is my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.  There was much hoopla about what to do for it.  Really, I think my mother-in-law is the one who cares.  First they were having it at the Mission Inn (renting out rooms for them and us and The Hubs's sister's family and maybe part of my family), 30 minutes away from our old house in FL, but they made those plans even after we had moved to NC and we weren't anywhere near there anymore.  Why, we asked?  We aren't there.  They don't live there.  (They live 3 1/2 hours south of there.)  My husband's only sibling doesn't live there.  (She lives about 2 hours west of there.)  My mom, who is close to there, would be a whole country away in NY state for her 50th high school reunion that same day.  MY sister lives near there but....So we suggested they do it where they live, where all their friends are.  We could drive down, The Hubs's sister could come, my sister could come if she would, well, MAKE SENSE.  They seemed lukewarm.  We suggested a destination celebration.  Let's go to Savannah (or somewhere).  Rent a large house.  We can all stay together.  They said they'd think it over.  They decided all our ideas were stinky.  So their plan was this. "Let's go to a town in Western NC where a friend of ours lives that we didn't get to visit when we came up to see you guys at Easter because we both got sick."
But they rented themselves a cute little room at a B&B and told us we were on our own (we are still paying the mortgage, power, and water bills on our FL house as well as our NC rental, so a vacation in the mountains just isn't in the budget :-(. )  So we are staying with the wife of one of my husband's former employers.  He and Bob were super close, and Bob and Faye were like parents to him.  They always told my husband that we had an open invitation to come stay at the farm (there are two houses on the property) and now with Bob having passed away Faye will have to sell it soon, so the timing is good anyway.  But it's ironic that we will likely see more of Faye than we will of my husband's parents.  Oy!  My husband's sister has apparently decided she can't be bothered and they aren't coming at all.  It's going to be a fun weekend.  Y'all pray for me :-).

3)  Okay, that last one was long and tedious and kudos to you if you read it.  So here's a short one you can laugh at me for.  I'm taking an "aqua fitness" class.  Every Monday and Wednesday night I go to the pool for an hour with a bunch of other ladies and we work out for an hour.  This is my kind of class.  No sweating, no high impact.  But it's still a workout, and I still feel it in the morning.  My FL friends will get a kick out of the fact that the class is led by Laurel A's doppelganger.  I now know exactly what she would be like if she was into fitness and not horses.

That's it for today.  If you want to link up, just check out Heidi's blog.
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ragamuffin- Based on the Life of Rich Mullins- A Movie Review

If those "Most likely to..." awards that are so popular in high school year books were awarded today, I would win the "Most likely to not have a clue about current events or pop culture, Christian or otherwise."  So let me be honest with you.  Rich Mullins name was vaguely familiar,but I knew nothing about him.  Nothing.  Well, except for the information below that they sent me about the DVD.  And I was intrigued.  A Christian musician who leaves it all behind and goes to live on a Navajo reservation?  That's not your typical farm-boy-turned-successful-musician story to be sure.  So I wanted to learn more.  Just in case you are as in the dark as I was, here is the "official" information about the movie and about Rich Mullins:

RAGAMUFFIN is based on the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy who rose to Christianmusic fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. Anartistic genius, raised on a tree farm in Indiana by a callous father, Richwrestled all of his life with the brokenness and crippling insecurity born ofhis childhood. A lover of Jesus and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to lethis struggles with his own darkness tear him away from a God he was determinedto love. As he struggled with success in Nashville and depression in Wichita,Rich desired most of all to live a life of honest and reckless faith amidst aculture of religion and conformity.
Singer and songwriter Richard Wayne “Rich” Mullins was best known for his worship song “Awesome God” which has been embraced as modern classics by many Christians.His music has been covered by many artists, including Caedmon’s Call, AmyGrant, Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, John Tesh, and HillsongUnited. Mullins’ musical career formally began with Zion Ministries in the late1970s, where he wrote music and performed with a band called Zion. Mullins first solo hit, “Awesome God,” appeared on his third album andbrought his music to a wider audience. Rich Mullins was inducted into the Hallof Fame by the Gospel Music Association (GMA) on April 29, 2014.
OBM's thoughts:  This isn't the type of movie you "enjoy" for its entertainment value.  It's tough.  It's gritty.  His faith is so real, but so are his demons.  His father is terribly unkind to him, never approving of him, no matter how successful.  He handles major problems with an excess of liquor and he smokes.  In short, he's real.  He's a sinner saved by grace, and he is never really comfortable trying to be anything but the real him.  Fame didn't appeal to him, and he never gave up being true to himself and God by preaching from the microphone during his concerts even if it might mean loosing that fame by not pleasing the masses and telling them what they wanted to hear.  There is no happy ending to this movie.  The back of the box expresses it well, "His life was a whirlwind.  His music was honest.  His faith was reckless."  Though it's not rated, I'd put it in the category of PG13 because it's more of a mental movie than an action flick and it does have some intense topics and drinking.  But it's also got some wonderful one-liners about faith and God, and I'd really love my older kids to sit down and watch it.  Rich Mullins was a ragamuffin, but he was deeply and passionately in love with Jesus, and we could all stand to be a little bit more like that.

To buy Ragamuffin, you can go to Ragamuffin-The Movie.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Adventures Under the Mango Tree Review

A Story of Hope in War-Torn Sudan.

Here's the official "blurb" about this book:

A Matter of TrustA Wisconsin Couple Steps Out in Faith, Bringing Hope and Change to South Sudan 
DALLAS-FORT WORTH—If you were to ask God how to best be of service in a troubled world and the answer you received was to “Sell all you have and give it to the poor”, could you – would you – do it? Could you really sell everything you own, leave your home and well-established life behind, and travel halfway around the world to live in a country best known for its civil wars and extreme poverty?  Most of us, in all probability, could or would not. But that wasn’t the case for Dennis and Lillian Klepp, a Wisconsin couple who asked the question, received the answer and then stepped out in faith to do exactly what they felt God was asking them to do.

Their massive step of faith began in 1999, after Lillian heard a speaker talk about the plight of orphans and widows in Sudan.  A short two years later, the couple said goodbye to friends and family and headed to the war-torn African nation to devote their lives to serving God.  They have been there ever since, establishing orphanages, schools and health care centers and bringing hope to those who need it most.  In her new book, Adventures Under the Mango Tree: A Story of Hope in War Torn Sudan, (Creative Enterprises Studio, June 2014) Lillian, or, as she is more affectionately known, Mama Lilly, chronicles the couple’s amazing story of faith, sacrifice and obedience as they endeavor to follow Christ­­­­­.

In sharing their story, Lillian explains not only the early motivation that prompted the couple to make such a massive life change,  but also shares how their faith and trust  was strengthened prior to the move by numerous situations in which they had nowhere­­ else to turn but God.  Recalling one day in particular when one of their children was suffering from a severe asthma attack, Lillian details her thoughts and fears, writing, “I immediately prayed to God asking, ‘What do I do?’ I then proceeded to pray over Lance the words of Mark 10:14, ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ And while I read this, I realized in that moment that I needed to trust God for healing, medicine or no medicine. I needed to have full trust in the Lord.”

It was during times such as those, Lillian writes, that she realized “God was working in our lives to help us come to trust and rely on Him for everything. And as it turned out, He was preparing us for what was to come.”

That complete trust has been repeatedly tested in the years since their move to Sudan. From Lillian’s initial fear of sleeping in a rat-infested room her first night in her new Sudanese home; to frantic moments spent trying to keep the orphans in their care quiet during the wee hours of the night as war raged around them; and fear that the flight needed to take Dennis back to America after suffering a heart attack might come too late, Lillian has placed her trust in her Heavenly Father repeatedly and, each time, that trust has seen them through. Together she and Dennis have worked tirelessly, building their non-profit Christ-based organization, Harvesters Reaching the Nations, from its humble beginnings to a burgeoning outreach serving more than 190 orphans in two locations in what is now South Sudan and providing a Christian education to over 500 students including more than 400 children from surrounding villages.

Lillian’s forthright, honest and often humorous accounting of their experience gives readers a firsthand look at what it takes to leave a life of relative ease behind and travel to the ends of the earth to spread the gospel. While it is a  must read for every person contemplating work in the mission field,  Adventures Under the Mango Tree offers all readers an insightful glimpse into a world few can even fathom. More importantly, through Lillian’s humbling and unique story, we are shown the extraordinary power of a loving God who enables his faithful servants to shine a light in one of the darkest corners of the world.

For more information about Pastor Dennis and Mama Lilly Klepp and Harvesters Reaching the Nations, the Christ-centered organization the couple began in 2001 to provide discipleship, education and health care to vulnerable women and children living in remote regions of the world, please visit their website at

Adventures Under the Mango Tree
 by Lillian Ann Klepp
Creative Enterprises Studio/ June 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9890521-7-7/Soft Cover/ 128 Pages

 What OBM thought:  I LOVED this book.  It really challenged me.  This, on the heels of another review where I said I think largely God doesn't call us to radical, crazy things, but to a quiet faith of following Him in the mundane things.  But here, in this case He did call this couple out of their comfort zone and to Sudan, and these people were so faithful in how they followed Him.  In the face of cancer the followed Him.  In the face of war, they followed Him, in heart attacks and deaths and miraculous healings, they followed and trusted Him.  It's exactly the kind of real-life story I want my kids to read. It's exactly the kind of story that leaves you changed for having read it.  I wholeheartedly recommend it.  You can get a copy by clicking this link to HRTN's website.  All proceeds benefit their work in South Sudan.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Experience History Through Music Review

I love history.  I love music.  Experiencing history through music?  Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.  It did to Diana Waring and some of her friends too. In fact, this project started many years ago, and one of the best things about being on the launch team for these books was getting to hear all of Diana's stories about how the books and CDs came to be (more on that later).  For now, let me be one of the first to share with you about Experience History Through Music.

Experience History Through Music contains 3 book/CD sets:

America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation for $18.99
Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West for $18.99
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder  for $18.99

As the name of this series implies, these book and CD sets allow you to Experience History Through Music. Each title contains one book and one CD. The pages of the books hold dozens of historical pictures; bright and interesting stories connecting each of the songs to its moment in history, even sheet music and chord charts! The CDs are rousing , professional recordings that draw in all listeners. The two combine for fond memories and a grand, knee-slapping good time. 

Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West
America's westward expansion is amazingly rich in stories and songs.  In Westward Ho!, you will find the pioneer spirit that stirred the hearts of thousands of Americans to leave the safety and comfort of home expressed in folk songs of or about that time.  Now you can experience the pioneers' adventures, dangers, joys, sorrows and hopes as you join in and sing along.

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder 
The well-loved stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder will come to life all over again as you listen to the songs that were a part of life for the Ingalls and thousands of other pioneering families.  Written by William Anderson, noted Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer, the book also includes beautiful photos by internationally known Little House photographer, Leslie A. Kelly.

America – Heart of a New Nation
From the French and Indian War to the first transcontinental railroad, America is a chronological tour of American history through its music. Enjoy the songs and stories of our past that have been shared from generation to generation—songs that make you laugh, make you cry, and make your patriotic spirit soar.

OBM says:  Diana had really wonderful stories to share about this series, which was really years in the making.  If you want to read part of the tale, you can follow this link to Diana's blog where she shares the story of restoration.  And the books are full of great tales too.  Tales of how music really is woven into our national history.  Tales of some hymns and folk songs you know and love, and others that may be new to you entirely, but were inspired by circumstances like the Boll Weevil song or Little Old Sod Shanty.  The music professionally recorded in a very believable style relative to the days gone by.  And sheet music is included in each book so that you can sing along if you are so inclined, or perhaps even play along if you are able.  
The timing of these books for us could not have been better.  We are spending our summer reading through the Little House books, so we focused on Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  We would our Little House book, then read about either a song the book mentioned or another song from the Musical Memories book and then listen to the song.  Sweet By and By is my favorite.  My daughter liked Pop! Goes the Weasel.  It was way more fun to be able to sing the songs as they came up in the books instead of just reading the lyrics!  From there we branched into the other books.  Gooey Duck has a great story!  I can't wait for my children get back to American History because I know these books will add a nice addition to our normal work.  

Experience History Through Music books are available from Diana Waring Presents.  Each book and CD combination is $18.99.  But right now, through the end of July, you can get all three Experience History Through Music books/CDs for $50.  If I were you, I'd definitely check them out!

Here are all of Diana's social media contacts (She has amazing stories, I'd definitely follow her!):
Twitter: @DianaWaring

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