Welcome!

Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Adventures in Odyssey Club: Camp Adventure!


Last year I was Grace's counselor at camp and one of the things my co-counselor and I did as a fun treat a couple of nights was listen to Adventures in Odyssey! Since we have the Adventures in Odyssey Club it's easy to take anywhere with you, even camp! Wifi and cell service there is pretty spotty, so I was really glad we have the opportunity to download episodes! This year I led worship for the elementary campers which meant I wasn't in the same cabin as Grace. Instead we opted to make little goodie bags with some awesome stuff the folks at Adventures in Odyssey sent our way! 


Each of the goodie bags included a signed poster, a frisbee, and this really awesome post-camp devotion! We also made sure to include information on how to sign up for the free trial of the Adventures in Odyssey Club. Several of the girls were familiar with this wonderful radio drama, but not all were. 


Before we left for camp Grace created the goodie bags. It was a neat way for her to go ahead and start thinking about her new friends and how much fun they would have worshiping and having fun. 


These 10 precious girls and their 2 counselors had a wonderful time. Grace gave them their gifts on the last night of camp. She was especially excited to share her love of Adventures in Odyssey with her new friends. 

Make sure to share the adventure with your friends and family as well! 


Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The World's Story 3 Set: A NLPG Book Review Crew Review


My favorite part about homeschooling is just how rich our history and literature studies are. My love of these two subjects comes from my parents. They read aloud to me from before I can remember and dad would tell me stories of the people from history. Knowing I wanted these two subjects at the heart of all we learned, I chose a curriculum which focused on this. It has a Charlotte Mason feeling and I love almost everything about it! The one exception was the elementary world history book. Although a classic within the homeschool community, it does not have what I consider a Christian worldview. I used it twice before with Rose and Beth. My husband would hear me correcting some of the language (such as savages or negro) and questioned me as to why I used it. I told him I hadn't yet found a comprehensive replacement. I wanted something Christian, readable for a 3rd grader, and covering the span of Creation to modern-day, but had not yet found a good substitution. 



Rather than the older text Grace has been using the World's Story this year for her history spine. This is intended to be used for middle school, but we use the text portion only have have found it to be thoroughly wonderful for 3rd grade! Grace is a bit advanced in her reading level, so she reads much of the text on her own, but the conversational nature of this text would make this an ideal read-aloud for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Living books are at the core of this methodology and this text fits right into our way of learning. 

This text covers what is the modern age from European exploration to present day. That is a lot to cover in a year, but I'm very pleased with how it is laid out. It is full of beautiful pictures, artwork, maps, diagrams, and illustrations to help children see a full breadth of history, why it matters to us, and how it fits into God's plan. I appreciate the thoughtful way history is presented. Not everything is positive, but those topics which are harder to deal with are not dealt with so deeply as to trouble younger students. 

There are wonderful questions in the student book to help guide your student with narration, a wonderful practice which helps children learn how to summarize what they have read. The teacher guide has a layout of what to complete each day for a year. In addition it also includes activity pages, review sheets, research work pages, and... answer keys! Yay! Answer keys really do make homeschooling multiple ages at the same time so much easier. I appreciate that the worksheets are brief, but with high quality, thoughtful questions. There is no busy work here!  

If you are looking for a readable world history text that will engage your kids, this is a great choice! Elementary students will gain much from the text and your middle schoolers will thrive with the added learning materials. 

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Healing Every Day: A Review of Mary DeMuth's New Book

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It was April. I was  24-year-old newlywed (married just under 2 years) when we joyfully celebrated expecting our first little baby. Just two short months later we mourned the loss of this little one. Not only that, it was determined I had carried this baby for over a month after the miscarriage occurred without realizing it because my body did not react as expected. This was the first really devastating blow in my life. Other pain had happened, but nothing as deep as this. Since then I've experienced other pain and heartache and I've grown closer to the Lord in the process. I've read some books on pain and seeking the Lord, but many were difficult to digest and hard to get through for me. If you are looking for a bite-sized guide to healing through emotional pain, Mary DeMuth's new title, Healing Every Day, is worth a read. I highly recommend everything about it.

It is worth noting that Mary speaks from experience. While many may have wise words on healing, she speak as one who has walked a broken path and yearns to share what the Lord has and still is teaching her through the process. You can read more about her story here. The pain I walked with was from a very different source, but the Source of my healing is the same as hers, Jesus Christ. Every page of this 90-day-devotional points the reader back to Jesus and reminds us of His healing and redemptive power. That is the first thing I look for when I read a book by a Christian author and Mary does not disappoint.

I appreciate her expository teaching from both the Old and New Testaments. Not once have I read verses taken out of context or meaning changed to fit the narrative. Rather, Mary seeks Scripture and teaches her readers truth directly from its pages. The devotionals are sequenced in order through the Scripture so you see the Lord as Healer throughout.

Fear is an unavoidable side effect of the painful experiences of our lives. Sometimes fear overwhelmed me, especially the next 3 times I was expecting. Each of those pregnancies went to full term, and I have 3 beautiful daughters ages 13, 11, and 9. I falsely assumed that with each pregnancy the fear of miscarriage would lessen. Instead it became worse. I think is because while I accepted God's sovereignty, I didn't realize I still had deep emotional wounds I had not worked through yet. A daily journey with the Lord such as this one would have been an incredible help for me and even now as I read through it I am experiencing emotional healing from more recent difficulties.

Whether you have experienced loss, abuse, a chronic diagnosis, abandonment, or so much more the words in these pages will help you find healing. You will not learn how to push through the pain. You will not learn to be strong. You will not find a to-do checklist that promises a magical way forward. No, you will rather find something so much better: Healing through intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of Healing Every Day as a part of the launch team for this title. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Week in Review: April 1-5

We had school this week, but was an unusual week. My husband's Gram went to be with her Savior on Saturday, March 30. We loved her dearly and will miss her, but am so glad she is no longer suffering on this earth. So this week was partially school and partially getting ready to leave for Florida for her memorial service. There were many arrangements and things to get done ahead of time, so no school pictures. The girls completed their Heart of Dakota history portions of their guides and math each day to stay on track. 

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” - Charles Spurgeon

I spent some time getting some pictures ready for the family of Gram. She was such a faithful example of a Christ follower. Her Bible is falling apart to the point we cannot even read some of the passages. She had it since she was in college and has written all in it. Many are notes from sermons and personal times with the Lord, but much is also her own personal journaling with personal notes and memories included. We celebrated her life, cried, laughed, and spent time with family. It was emotionally exhausting, but a time of good memories. 

Here are some pictures from her life. She faithfully raised 5 kids in the Lord and passed on the heritage of faith for generations. 






 










Sunday, March 31, 2019

Bringing Comfort, Answering Questions with Adventures in Odyssey Club


Life can be hard sometimes. This week we are both sad and full of joy. My husband's grandmother has gone to be with Jesus. While it is sad to not have her here, she was suffering with dementia for many years and the last several months have been very difficult. And so we rejoice in knowing she has seen her Savior face to face and is having a wonderful reunion with her husband and others who have gone before her. Our last visit with Gram was beautiful and full of sweet memories for all of us, especially the girls. 

June 2016
Still, the concept of heaven and dealing with loss is not always easy for children. One of the blessings of a program like Adventures in Odyssey is they have dealt with a wide range of hard topics including death. While the follow episodes are not ones I would list among my go-to favorites, they are incredibly valuable in facing loss. I've also included 2 which deal with mental illness in this list. They have been excellent springboards for conversation with my children about some very hard things. 




Whit creates and Imagination Station adventure about death. The results are unexpected, and everyone has to deal with the unforeseen aftermath.



Karen, a friend of Donna Barclay's, battles cancer and both Donna and Connie learn how faith makes a difference. 



While Whit and the gang are still trying to keep Novacom at bay, Connie deals with the loss of someone very dear to her. 



Connie's grandmother, a Christian, dies and her family finds out what it means to deal with death as a Christian. Her father must find a way to cope as a non-Christian. 



The story of how Tom Riley's son, Timmy, died is recounted by the person whose life he saved in the process. 


A Lesson from Mike

Julie finds herself unexpectedly affected by the sudden and tragic death of a classmate she did not know very well. 



Danny struggles with the idea of death and eternity after his mother has a miscarriage. 



Connie receives devastating news and, with her friend's support, learns how to trust God in the midst of deep grief. 

Another hard topic Adventures in Odyssey covers is mental illness. This isn't something we like to talk with our kids about, but it is a reality we must sometimes face. I appreciate the delicate way in which has led to some excellent conversations with our kids about depression and other mental illnesses. 



We learn that Tom Riley's wife, Agnes, has been struggling with mental illness for several years. 
(I particularly appreciate this episode and the conversation Whit and Eugene have at the end about this very difficult topic.) 



Tom Riley and Mandy try to decipher what is upsetting Agnes, Tom's wife.



Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.