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!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Flood of Noah: A Moms of Master Books Review

I know I say this every month, but I'm so excited about this month's book to review for the Moms of Master Books! I'm so fascinated by the many cultures which have flood stories. The Flood of Noah from Master Books, an imprint of New Leaf Publishing, is an interactive book that makes researching this topic incredibly interesting.

This book is beyond cool. Think of it like a pop up book for grown ups. The illustrations are amazing and the interaction is a fun way to explore the various flood legends from cultures around the world. As with everything from Master Books I love how everything points back to our true Creator. It is so important to learn the history of the world and learning doing so with resources which I can trust will not contradict the Word of God is a great blessing.

Rose has especially liked this book. I can't give this girl enough stuff to satisfy her itch for knowledge. I can't tell you how many sentences she begins with, "Mommy, why....?" Books like this encourage her own exploration and fill up her desire to learn more and more. She really likes how each page has something to do to help aid in the learning process.

This is one of my favorite parts. It is at the beginning of the book and includes a list of facts from the historical account of the flood in Genesis and how they correlate with different parts of the flood legends from around the world. There is a rotating circle with images of the flood for a fun visual.

This is a great shot to show the amazing and colorful illustrations. I really like how each pages is sectioned off so kids can read a small portion and not feel overwhelmed. My younger girls have really liked the pictures even though they haven't been as interested in reading it. That will come!

Bodie Hodge and Laura Welch co-authored this amazingly fun book. It is clear they took careful consideration as they compiled this collection of stories. Another of my favorite features is the list of the names of Noah and his wife from the various legends. I found this to be so interesting, especially the cultures which seemed to borrow so clearly from Scripture. Since the division of languages at the tower of Babel misinformation about the flood appears to have run rampant. Even now there are those who produce their own legends claiming the flood was merely a local even rather than a world-wide catastrophe as Scripture indicates. Even the writer of the movie Noah admitted he took liberties to make the story more interesting from his perspective. As we live in a world full of lies and myths I'm so grateful for the truth of Scripture and resources like this one to help us continually filter out the false.

Check out this awesome book trailer! 

Disclaimer: I received The Flood of Noah  as part of the Moms of Master Books Team. I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Family, Community, and a Free Episode of Adventures in Odyssey

I'm really excited that those of us in the OAC are getting to hear the newest saga from Adventures in Odyssey before anyone else! And you are invited to hear the first episode from this album!!!! There are several story arcs within this I am loving the Comic-Connellsville part so much. Wooton is one of our favorite characters. This is going to be so much fun...

Oh! And I almost forgot that the deal has been extended to join the OAC for only $5 the first month! Check out that deal below.

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 For a limited time, you can listen to a new episode of Adventures in Odyssey for FREE! Album 58, The Ties that Bind, will be available this fall for digital download and CD purchase, but if you join the Odyssey Adventures Club, you can listen to the full album now! Guess what? The $5 special held last month was extended through the end of July, too, so you can join in the fun for only $5! Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):
It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.
Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive. One way families can carry out God's design for families is by serving their community—right where God has planted them, being His hands and feet together. Want to serve your community with your family, maybe make a day of out it? Here are some fantastic ideas from some Adventures in Odyssey bloggers and club members:
  • Make scarves through the year and deliver them to your local homeless shelter at the start of winter, or regularly donate food to your local food bank. —Shirley 
  • Our family likes to help with Meals on Wheels. We also do reenactments of the Civil War and WWII to help educate people on history. I like to show my kids that we should be servers and givers by taking meals to people who need them (i.e. baby just born, someone died, someone had surgery, etc.). —Erin 
  • We have been visiting a nursing home with friends once a month. The kids just sing and then we fellowship, but the ladies love it! —Lisa 
  • We make lap blankets for nursing home residents and take the time to visit with them. We also collect food for the local food pantry. —Donna 
  • We make blessing bags to give to the homeless when we encounter them. We also donate clothes and food to a local shelter. —Amy 
  • Our MOPs (Mothers of Prechoolers) group supports our local Pregnancy Support Services with donations, gifts, and notes. We also supports the Durham Rescue Mission, which helps people break free from addictions and restore families. —Melissa 
  • We live in a very rural area. Our church serves two of the poorest zip codes in the state, and about a decade ago, they started operating a food pantry out of a closet. It has expanded since then, so we now use the closet for storage, but the pantry is basically a classroom. The kids and I serve over there a lot. My 17-year-old and I go to Care & Share (50 miles away) to get food to bring back to the pantry. All of us help unload and stock shelves. On pantry days, everyone can get involved with helping people go through the line, playing with the kids, carrying boxes out to cars, etc. There are so many hungry folks, especially in the summer when school breakfasts and lunches aren't available, and helping a bit to put food on some tables is such a blessing for us all. —Debra 
  • We pack food bags each month for the homeless and needy through a thrift store that offers an outreach to the community. We also help clean our church and our Sunday school. —Michele 
  • We work through our AHG troop to do several service activities a year. My girls just recently made bracelets they are selling, which 100% of the profits goes to Hope House in Africa to help young girls. —Sarah 
  • Our church works with a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. We cook food ahead of time, and when our schedules allow we ride down with the group to serve the food. My son always reminds me when we haven't been for awhile, so it's something he looks forward to. —Maria 
  • We do lots of random acts of kindnesses within our community: pay for others' meals, leave change at a vending machine, hand out Gatorade/granola bars to people on the side of the road asking for food. We also love to support Mobile Loaves and Fishes. —Kathryn
Did that provide some ideas to give your family service activity the kick-start it needs? What other ideas do you have for serving your community? Share in the comments!

Disclaimer: As one of the OAC bloggers I have received a membership to the OAC for purposes of review and other Adventures in Odyssey resources from Focus on the Family. These opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week in Review: June 16-20

Summer is so wonderful and free of restrictions...and sometimes summer drives me absolutely loopy! I do well with structure and so do my girls, but we all like the freedom of summer. As we move forward through our third year of summer vacation while homeschooling I'm trying to figure this entire thing out and here is what I've come up with:

1. Keep a plan, but keep it loose. I want to have time to say, "Yes!!!!" when a good friend invites me to the museum or invite them to the pool. I want to say, "Yes!" to playing Dutch Blitz for the thousandth time. So far this is working.

2. Remember morning is best for outside time.  It gets crazy hot sometimes here in the south in the afternoon, not to mention our rather predictable mid-summer thunderstorms! I'm still working on this, although I forget sometimes. 

3. It's the time to try new things! I get some great ideas during the school-year, but can't always figure out if they will work practically. Summer is the perfect time to try them out. This is going really well!

So we're doing some math...

Reading some literature...

Learning from God's Word...

And trying out some new pastimes...

And we've been learning some Greek! The dollies are joining us too. You can read my full review here!

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Not Greek to Me!: Moms of Master Books Review

I have been so excited about reviewing this new DVD from Master Books! It's Not Greek to Me by Todd Friel came in the mail when my girls were right in the middle of a horrible summer fever, so we didn't get to start it right away, but even in her feverish state Rose perked up when she saw it. 

My eight-year-old Roe has been pestering me for a while to learn biblical Greek. I'm not at all opposed to this, but I didn't want to get into a full curriculum at her age and really didn't know where to begin. Her interest came when she realized this was one of the classes her grandfather teaches at seminary. In 2nd grade he taught her to write her name in Greek and she does this all the time! This is a great course for beginners. Todd Friel explains that this is perfect for the everyday layman in the church as well as those who will be going on to study biblical Greek in a scholastic setting. While this is geared towards a slightly older age bracket, my daughter has really enjoyed it so far. We're just taking it slow and repeating lessons before moving on.

So here is Rose, completely natural, I promise! She is wholeheartedly focused and genuinely enjoys these lessons. Friel is quite humorous, but I wasn't certain she would catch all he said. Her favorite line in the introductory lesson was when he was talking about the benefits of learning biblical Greek and stated, "You'll learn English gooder!" She really got a kick out of that. You can see she is intent. She was so intent in fact she didn't even realize I was taking pictures.

We had some other students join our class as well. The dollies were actually already seated here, but Rose asked if they could stay while she watched when she realize I was starting to pick them up. These sweet little girls were also very studious although they didn't want to take any notes.

Rose uses the note pages from the separately available Intro to Biblical Greek Parent Lesson Planner. This is excellent and well worth the price. Included is not only plans for how often to work through the DVDs, but also note pages and practice sheets to ensure retention. I strongly recommend purchasing this guide along with the DVD in order to get the maximum usefulness and benefit.

I honestly wasn't sure how well this would go over with Rose. She was so very excited to have the chance to learn Greek, but as I stated before, this is geared for students a little older. However, Friel's manner is very engaging and he is as clear at teaching as he is entertaining. She begs me to do more lessons, but I'm trying not to go too quickly with her. I'm surprised just how much she is really enjoying this. I appreciate that Friel expresses this is a beginners course, something to precede full-on Greek training. I have no idea if she'll want to go further with this language, but it is an excellent place to start and to see if it is something that interested your student.

I also think this is excellent for anyone who simply wants to know more about the Greek language for your own personal study. After seeing the first few lessons with Rose I'm planning on joining her in these lessons. I said before that my dad teaches Greek. I remember having the same desire to learn as Rose when I was younger, but just felt too overwhelmed with all. I believe we will both enjoy our toe-dip into this ancient biblical language.

Disclaimer: I received It's Not Greek to Me as well as the Parent Lesson Planner as part of the Moms of Master Books Team. I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Four Weddings & a Kiss: A Book Look Blogger Review

This was such a fun book to read! I usually don't enjoy books very much with stories be four different authors, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to review this one. What made this compilation of books unique from others I have read was the frame story surrounding it. I really liked that there was a back-story to the stories leaving me wanting to see how the back story ended up!

Each of the four stories was written by different authors, but the book did not have a disjointed feel at all. Each had unique characters who developed and grew from beginning to end. For me, that's what makes a good book. I love reading a novel where the characters travel on an emotional or spiritual journey. Each story had unexpected moments which is something else I like. I love historical fiction and many times they can be quite predictable, so I like when I'm taken by surprise.

The story frame was what interested me the most. I loved how it opened with 5 traveling preachers finishing up evangelistic meetings. Four of the ministers are seasoned while the fifth is new to ministry and has preconceived notions about what his life and his wife should be like. It is clear he is distraught and after discovering the issue has to do with a young woman he has felt the need to distance himself from because he is a minister the other four proceed to share some stories with him. The stories are all about other couples who they have had the privilege to know and marry. I really loved that the frame story was revisited at the end and we were given a resolution to that as well.

I can't pick a favorite of the four stories. Most of the authors were new to me, but Robin Lee Hatcher is an author I'm very familiar with and I was not a bit disappointed with this novel! Her characters as always were well developed and interesting. What pleased me most was that the other stories were equally well developed and captivating. I'm pleased to say I've found 3 new authors to follow!

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook.com® <http://BookLook.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.