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!

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.

Week in Review: March 25-29 (Off Routine)

My kids asked me when our spring break was going to be. I told them I hadn't really planned one because we typically school for 6 weeks and then take a break. They were super sweet and didn't ask again, but then I began to wonder if maybe we weren't due for a break. So I checked the calendar only to realize we had not take a full break except for the week we all had the stomach bug, so I decided Monday morning last minute to hold off on the lesson plans and take a break! 

So this week was a last-minute decision and it was a lovely break. We had a chance to sneak away to Carowinds for an evening which was really fun! Besides that, we didn't go anywhere else. The girls spent a lot of time outside as it is finally warming up and drying out a bit down south. I, on the other hand, had an allergy explosion! 

I did try a new thing: Hymnal Journaling

It's kind of like Bible journaling trend, but in a hymnal. Look for a post soon about the book which is inspiring me! It's a little odd to try at first, but I found it really fun and look forward to creating some more! 

My daughters were also feeling creative with lots of coloring, painting, and drawing. Here are some pieces my 13-year-old completed on slices of a tree trunk! 

They also worked on puzzles and played games...oh and watched TONS of basketball! Our team was knocked out today, but it's been so fun watching all of the close games of the NCAA tournament! 

What was your week like? 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Week in Review: March 18-22

Spring has arrived...more or less...in the South! There is a ton of pollen running rampant at the moment. I use a variety of things to help (various medications and essential oils), but I still have to limit my time outside or I have a major reaction. My girls were sweet enough to work for me in our raised beds at the end of the week! I was pleasantly surprised to find my herb garden has revived after what felt like incessant rain over the winter. 

Rose (8th grade) - Missions to Modern Marvels Unit 11
Rose is always studious and has learned to be even more so this fall and spring with a more competitive basketball team. Now that basketball is over, she's continuing to keep this mindset and gets done with work very quickly. She's become an avid reader in her time off from school.

Algebra is going incredibly well. I just want to encourage anyone who is struggling in any area of school alongside their children, just be steady. Speed doesn't matter. I've always felt that way, but actually seeing the results of this mindset has been a blessing! 

Beth (6th grade) - Resurrection to Reformation Unit 13
Beth has settled well into this guide. CTC was a little challenging as she transitioned to more independent work. Now it is a piece of cake. Transition is always hard, but it is worth the struggle! She particularly is growing in her artistic skills while using Draw and Write through History in her notebook pages. 

Beth is also doing really well with Pre-Algebra. I wasn't intending for her to move into this math yet, but we thought we should give it a try, and she was clearly ready. She's also becoming a fan of logic puzzles which is a great tool for increasing thoughtful problem solving! 

Grace (3rd) - Preparing Hearts for His Glory Unit 14
Grace has become increasingly independent in her schoolwork. I wasn't expecting this at 3rd grade, but she's excelling. She is definitely on the young-end for grade with this guide, but age-wise she is right in the center at 9. She has an October birthday, so we placed her at grade-level as she would be in a traditional school, but in reality she is working a full grade-level above this without any trouble.

She is still using Math Mammoth, but we have switched from the longer lessons from the light-blue series to the yellow series. My husband or I give the instruction and she completes 1 page a day. This has been much better for her because she doesn't need quite as much practice as is given in the light blue series. Math was lasting a good 45 minutes a day for her and she had no trouble with the concepts. It just took that long for her to get through all the pages because it was spread out and she felt a little overwhelmed by it I think. She almost always has perfect math papers each day! 

Friday Learning
Each Friday the girls choose something to work on that is learning related. They have full freedom to choose anything as long as it involves engaging their minds. They are required to spend about an hour on this. They love this freedom. Here are today's choices:

Beth - Logic Puzzles
Rose - Coding and Logic Puzzles 
Grace - Doctor Academy

So that was our week. Things are different this year for me as they become more and more independent. It's good, but an adjustment for certain from the early days. I was always led to believe that these years would be harder for schooling. The reality is they infinitely easier as I never could have imagined.