Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book Review: Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Everything has been taken from Alanah by the Hebrews, so she decides to join the battle against them in order to kill as many as possible before she is killed, too.  Unfortunately for her, she is not killed on the battlefield; rather one of the hated Hebrews notices that she is a woman and rescues her.  Not only that, but he even marries her!  What is she to do now that she is married to a Hebrew on the cusp of their invading her homeland of Canaan?

The romance between Tobiah and Alanah was sweet as he honors the law of the Torah and tries to win her heart.  Alanah changes from hating the Hebrews to appreciating their way of life and their God, and then He becomes her God as well.  The adventures that Alanah goes through in the second part of the book seem a little farfetched, but we serve a God who can use "coincidences" and arrange things to happen that seem unlikely.  So it was a neat way to bring Rahab into the story.

I loved this book!  When authors are able to tell about things that happened in the Bible and help their readers feel what it may have been like, well, that's a gift!  I especially enjoyed how the author contrasted the order and morality of the Hebrews with the chaos, filth, and immorality of the Canaanites.  But my favorite scene in the book was when Alanah tasted manna for the first time, and asks, "What is it?"  Because that was what the Hebrews called it!

I want to thank Bethany House for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy Eleventh Birthday, Sarah Beth!

Eleven.  How did that happen?  When did that happen?

Sarah Beth enjoys all kinds of crafts, especially the needle arts.

She also appreciates spending time outdoors, camping or fishing with her daddy.

This year was Sarah Beth's first to play soccer, and she LOVED it!

I've started teaching her how to bake which she enjoys and I find helpful.  :)

Not quite "two peas in a pod," but they do enjoy spending time together.

Don't forget that she is also a voracious reader!  She wants to go to Half Price Books for her special day!

It's crazy to think that I have an eleven year old, but it's true, and it's wonderful!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What I've Enjoyed This Week: Being Home!

Hannah loved playing with Sparky at my parents' house -- once she got used to her!

After being gone for almost two weeks to visit family and learn more about the Atlanta campaign during the Civil War, it was lovely to have a quiet week at home.  I checked my to-do list everyday and was surprised to see so little on it.  We didn't have to prepare for CC or go to soccer practice.  Sarah Beth does have swim team practice, but it's so late in the evening that John is able to take her and stay with her until she finishes which leaves me free to stay home.  :)

Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:
  • a rainy Monday.  We've needed the rain badly.
  • finishing school.  I didn't expect to finish this week and certainly not yesterday, but it's just the way it happened.  I'm not going to complain about being done with school for the summer!
  • an invitation for Sarah Beth to go to the beach with a friend today.  I hope they're having fun!
  • webinars.  Tracey asked me to let her know which ones I've enjoyed from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle:  the Temper Toolkit -- which had some great information about keeping one's temper -- and Raising Siblings to Be Best Friends from the Mom Conference which had some useful information but wasn't from a Christian point of view.  
  • I've also enjoyed several sessions from the Homeschool Curriculum Online Summit.  If you'd like to know which ones specifically, let me know.
One thing that I did not enjoy this week was dropping a set of children's books on my foot Tuesday.  Ouch!  Although it's very bruised and swollen, it's not broken, and I can walk, so I'm not complaining -- too much.  ;)  Actually, I was amazed at how much better it was yesterday morning.

Today we plan to get half-price milkshakes from Sonic.  Yum!  Tomorrow we're going to look at vans because my vehicle is getting old, and we have a quiet weekend scheduled.  Yea!  Maybe I can get caught up on my blog reading; I'm so behind!

What have you enjoyed this week?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Where We've Been: Two Weeks with Family and Learning about the Civil War in Atlanta

Doesn't Mary look fierce with her upside-down musket?  :)  What about Daniel right behind her?

Two weeks ago, I left with my children to visit my family in Georgia.  On the way, we stopped in Atlanta to participate in the Civil War tour with Landmark Events.  I was amazed at how much I learned, even though I grew up in Georgia and had taken a Georgia history class in school.  Of course, much of what I learned on this tour were things that you won't read in history books.  For example, Confederate General Lowery called a temporary ceasefire to save wounded Union soldiers who were being burned alive because they were unable to move themselves from the woods which had been set on fire by the cannons.  A Confederate general concerned with the lives of Union soldiers?  Yes, he was a Christian.  :)

A memorial to the unknown Confederate dead in the Oakland Cemetery.

The tour ended on Thursday, and my parents took my children home with them while I stayed in Atlanta for the Teach Them Diligently Conference.  I was able to attend Thursday evening and Friday morning, and I enjoyed the meetings I attended.  Boy, the convention hall was jam-packed!  I was glad that I had already decided on most of our curricula for next year because it was a little overwhelming!

 Three of my children at the base of John B. Gordon memorial at the Georgia Capitol.

Over the weekend, we spent some time with my brothers and, of course, my parents.  My younger brother, his wife, and children dropped by a couple of times to see us.  And my older brother came over Saturday night.  Then we had supper with my sister the next Wednesday, and I finally got to meet her fiancee!  

 The John B. Gordon Memorial.

As much as I could, I rested up over the weekend because I had a busy week planned, spending time with friends.  I met one friend for breakfast; we've been friends for more than thirty years!  My children and I went to visit other friends for lunch, and there were four women and twenty-two children!  So much fun!  Lastly but definitely not unimportantly, I met Tracey from Girls to Grow in person!  She is no longer a blogging friend, but she is now a real live friend!

 The only picture I have of Sarah Beth.  :(

We had such a good time spending time with friends and family and learning new things that we almost didn't want to come back home.  Almost.  :)  But we missed our husband and daddy, so we got back in the car for the drive home.  And he was waiting outside when we arrived.  :)

It was a whirlwind two weeks, but it sure was an amazing time!

Friday, May 5, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A New Camera and Bullet Journaling

We had a nice quiet week scheduled for which I am so very glad because several of us were "under the weather."  It started Saturday with Rachel, then I caught it on Sunday.  Finally, on Wednesday when we started feeling better, it was Mary's turn.  Ugh!

On Sunday when I had to stay home from church, I watched a webinar about bullet journaling, and my attention was immediately piqued.  Apparently, you can use bullet journaling for all kinds of things, even as a daily planner, but I'm using it as a place to keep collections of ideas.  For example, I now have a running list of movies to watch, fun books to read, and things to do with my children.  And it's all contained in one journal, so it's all together; I know where it is when I need an idea or when I want to add something else.  I'm very excited about this.  Knowing me, however, I hope I keep up with it because I really think it could help declutter my mind.  :)

Also, Daniel earned some money, and since he's a spender, I tried to help him come up with a good way to spend it instead of on a bunch of junk.  I remembered that he loves taking pictures.  He used to always ask to take pictures with our camera, but I guess he stopped because we always told him "no."  I suggested a camera to him, and I wish you could have seen how his face lit up.  When we mentioned it to John, he remembered that we have an old camera that just need a charger.  So Daniel now has a new-to-him camera for the cost of a charger.  And he has been taking pictures up a storm!  He's taken some good ones, too, and I plan to share some with you soon.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:

  • feeling well enough to do school.  I was afraid we might have to cancel some school, and I really didn't want to do that because we're so close to finishing for the year.
  • watching my children put puzzles together.  For some reason, puzzles have been popular this week, and I think it's wonderful when they work on them.
  • the Homeschool Online Curriculum Summit.  An online homeschool conference?  That's free?  Yes, please!  I've only watched a couple of webinars so far, but I've enjoyed them.  
  • finishing up school.  We only have nine more days!
Tomorrow is Sarah Beth's last soccer game.  Sadly, soccer will be over for our family until the fall.  Other than that, we have a relatively free weekend which will be nice.  Maybe I can get some errands run since we've been stuck at home all week.  :)

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

We are going to be very, very busy for the next couple of weeks, so I may not be online much.  I just wanted to let you know ahead of time.  :)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

April Reading and Goals Review

Mary was thrilled with her soccer trophy!

April was full of Memory Masters.  It seemed to be all I could think about, and I'm sure you noticed that here on my blog.  :)  I'm so glad that Sarah Beth and Daniel decided to take on that project, but I'm also very glad that it's over.

I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I did not get much read in April.  Of the four books I have listed here, I didn't even finish one of them.  :)  Here's  what I read:
  • To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey.  While this book is fiction, it reads like non-fiction.  As Colonel Allen Forrester explores the interior of Alaska for the army during the 1880s, he has to leave his new wife behind in Vancouver.  His journal entries are interspersed with hers, showing what each went through during their separation.   He survived dangers and hardships while exploring, and she had to navigate the social scene of the fort while learning a new hobby:  photography.  I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would.
  • Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray.  This book was recommended when I attended the Winter Summit, and I thought I might learn a few things.  But I had to stop reading it halfway through because I felt like the author was trying to say that we women have to accept our men just as they are.  We can never ask them to change, certainly not expect them to.  Basically, we have to walk on eggshells all the time.  I'm sure there is some truth in that, but it made me mad every time I read it.  The author is not a Christian so there was no hope that God might change one's husband, that as Christians we should expect our husbands to become more Christ-like -- as we wives also work to become more Christ-like.  This message would have been much better with that influence and truth.
  • The Harbingers Cycle One:  Invitation.  You can read read my review here.
  • The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan.  You can read my review here.
Here's how I did with my yearly goals:
  • I want to run two 5Ks.  I ran the first one in March, so one down, one to go!  I jog on the treadmill four times a week almost every week, so I'll be ready for the next one.
  • Fun School Days.  I planned to celebrate Jelly Bean Day (the 22nd), but it just didn't happen.
  • Hospitality:  having other mothers and children over for games and such.  We were so busy with Memory Masters that I couldn't even think about it. 
  • Hospitality:  we also used to have families over for supper one night each month, and we need to get back into doing this again, too.  We were too busy this month -- and probably will be again next month.
  • Date night.  It didn't happen.
  • Get comfortable enough with my handgun to go shoot by myself.  Getting there.
    My goals are:
    • Review and test for Memory Masters.  Done and done!  Sarah Beth and Daniel did great and achieved Memory Masters for CC!
    • Increase my speed on the treadmill to work toward running my next 5K a little more quickly.  I did speed up a little bit.  It's hard!
    • Get as much school as possible done, so our summer break can get here faster!  :)  Yes!
    May looks to be very busy, so I'm not going to make any goals other than working hard to finish up our school year -- when we can.  We actually have about twelve more days, but I'm not exactly sure when that last day will happen.

    What have you read lately?  How are you doing with your goals?

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    Book Review: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

    During World War II, most of the men in Britain left to fight, leaving the women behind to run things as well as they could.  This book tells the fictional stories of several women in the town of Chilbury who band together to form a women's choir.  Told through journal entries and letters, the reader gets an inside look at why these women do what they do, how they feel, and their justifications.  Teenage sisters Kitty and Venetia go through their own love stories, but they mature as they learn to appreciate each other.  Timid Mrs. Tilling develops a backbone as she deals with an unwanted boarder and other problems in the village.

    This book was an interesting look into the home front during the War.  I'm sure women had to deal with experiences similar to those portrayed in this book.  Newcomers to the village who aren't quite what they seem:  are they spies or just black marketeers?  What happens when the local lord loses his only son in battle, and he needs another son to inherit the estate?  How do women cope with overbearing men living with them as part of the war effort?

    Yes, I enjoyed this book, and I recommend it.  While it dealt with some hard issues, it was also encouraging to read about how women banded together to deal with the harsh realities of war.

    I want to thank Blogging for Books for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.