Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and Contentment


I have always struggled with worry about what other people think of me.  Perhaps it comes from a childhood filled with teasing and bullying.  Perhaps it results from knowing in my head that I’m a child of God, but not feeling it in my heart.  Either  way, I’m sick of it.   Sick of not feeling worthy.  Sick of feeling less valuable than everyone else.  Sick of worrying about how to instill self esteem into my girls when I don’t have it myself.  Those feelings of inadequacy color my entire world.  Of course I’ve prayed for God to help me get over this.  So far, nothing doing.  I know “no” is an answer, so I know even my feelings of misery will have usefulness at some point.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

Recently a dear friend had surgery.  As I delivered a meal to her family one evening, the spirit of discontent overtook me.  She lives in a neighborhood that my family could never even dream of affording.  My family lives in an older part of town, in a simple home – one that needs many repairs and improvements.  Somehow I connect the size/appearance/location of my home with my worthiness.  I believe Satan uses those feelings to prevent me from  playing hostess to friends/family – I can’t remember the last time we had anyone over, and my girls have never had friends sleep over.  I’m just too embarrassed.  I know it’s not rational, but…those feelings of inadequacy rear their ugly head again.

I began to pray q familiar prayer as I drove out of my friend’s neighborhood – Lord, please make me content with what I have and not embarrassed to be a hostess and share.

(But with a postscript – “but please, Lord, help us find a way to re-do our kitchen – we really need a new one – I don’t want to be embarrassed anymore”.)

Sometimes answers to prayer come in unexpected ways.

Recently our church had a Reach 360 campaign.  Church leadership chose three of our mission churches within a 360 degree radius of our church.  Church members donated bags of food, and members were asked to volunteer to deliver them to residents surrounding the three mission churches on a Saturday morning.  I seek  opportunities to expose the girls to missions activities and evangelism in action – so we signed up.

The appointed Saturday dawned chilly yet beautiful.  We drove toward our appointed mission church to join the other volunteers.  We exited the freeway, and the further we drove the poorer and more neglected the neighborhoods became.  Once at the church, we determined teams and logistics and areas, and off we went. 

Reach 360

Our assigned street had small rental homes, boards covering windows that were obviously broken.  Our team approached several houses and knocked, without getting an answer. 

The girls were happy to be there.

delivering bags

Eventually I spoke with an older gentleman, who was taking care of his 5 children along with his sister and her two children.  Several windows in his home were boarded up, and the front door had no doorknob.    We blessed him with a bag of food and blankets, asked for his prayer requests, and walked away.

As we walked down the sidewalk, on the outside it appeared I was continuing with my team to the next house.  On the inside, I was listening to God speak to me.

Do you see, Becky?  You prayed for contentment – do you see how blessed you are? Do you see that if these people drove through your neighborhood they might think the same as you did when you drove through your friend’s neighborhood?

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank You for reminding me.

Do you see how grateful they are just for a simple bag of food?  You have a full pantry and a full freezer.

Yes,  Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank You for reminding me.

While your home may need repairs, it is a home with solid doors and windows and a secure roof.  It protects you and your loved ones.

Yes,  Lord.  I am blessed.   Thank You for reminding me.

Your family is happy and healthy.  Your home is filled with love, both for each  other and for Me.

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed. Thank You for reminding me.

You are blessed.  Remember that, and share it.  Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank you for reminding me.

Fast forward to today.  Thanksgiving.  God’s reminders fresh in my mind,  I prepared Thanksgiving dinner for my sweet family.  The oven that needs a little longer to bake than what the recipe calls for didn’t annoy me quite as much.   The large burner on my cooktop that doesn’t work was only slightly annoying.

This evening my sweet family sat down in our not-so-beautiful kitchen – the one that needs new countertops and new appliances – and celebrated Thanksgiving with our version of a feast.


The papers on the plates are homemade place cards that the girls made to make our table fancy.

My sweet Hannah said the blessing as we all sat around our little table and held hands.

Yes, Lord.  I am blessed.  Thank you for reminding me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Math Mammoth – Make It Real Learning(TOS Review)


It seems I am perpetually looking  for math help for my girls.  We have a curriculum that we like, but they always seem to need a little extra practice.  Okay, sometimes they need a lot of extra practice.

Math Mammoth to the rescue.  We have several of their workbook series and they have been really helpful.  (Well, they were until I somehow lost the downloads from my iPad - guess I should find those links!)

But this review is about a different product.  When Math Mammoth was announced as one of the products up for review by the TOS Homeschool Review crew, I was excited to find the Make it Real Learning workbooks.  These workbooks focus on answering the question “WHEN AM I EVER GOING TO USE THIS?” – a familiar inquiry heard occasionally by those of us who teach math to our children!


None of the answers we provide to that question seem to appease our children if they’re struggling to understand a concept.   The Make It Real Learning workbooks each provide examples of a concept’s use as an answer to the question.  Each workbook has a mathematical theme so that you can find materials on the appropriate level for your students.  The available themes are:

Arithmetic I - for grades 3-6
Fractions, Percents, and Decimals I - for grades 4-8
Fractions, Percents, and Decimals II - for grades 6-11
Sets, Probability, and Statistics I - for grades 6-10
Linear Functions I - for algebra 1 and algebra 2
Linear Functions II - for algebra 1 and algebra 2
Quadratic Functions I - for algebra 1 and algebra 2/precalculus
Exponential and Logarithmic Functions I - for algebra 2/precalculus
Periodic and Piecewise Functions I - for algebra 2/precalculus
Polynomial, Power, Logistic, & Rational Functions I - for algebra 2/precalculus
Calculus I - for grade 12

Click on each of the links for more info on that particular workbook, and an option to download a sample.

The workbooks contain problems and questions based on real-life situations – something you might encounter in everyday life. Each activity-lesson in the book contains several questions about the situation, and the questions/problems become increasingly in-depth.  Written by an experienced math teacher (Frank Wilson), the problems are matched to the learning objectives of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).  They are available as .pdf downloads and are $4.99 each, or you can purchase the set of 11 titles listed above for $39.99.

Also offered in the Make it Real Learning series are States by the Numbers workbooks, which contain problems based on data from the Census Bureau's 2008 Statistical Abstract of the United States.  Students will also learn and practice place values, rounding, estimation, fractions and percentages.  There is a workbook for each state, and each one includes basic instruction and 80 practice problems. The problems can be used on grades 3-7; probably the best fit is for grades 4-6.  A .pdf download is $2.99 – a bargain! 

We received five workbooks to use for this review - Arithmetic I, Fractions, Percents, and Decimals I, Fractions, Percents, and Decimals II, Sets, Probability, and Statistics I, and States by the Numbers (Texas). 

Since we’re having a bit of trouble with fractions, I chose to focus on Fractions, Percents, and Decimals I and States by the Numbers (Texas) (which also contains a fractions section). 

States by the Numbers

To say the girls were thrilled when I told them we’d be working on fractions would be…ahem…an exaggeration.  We started with some of the simple rounding and place value problems in the States workbook.  The more problems we worked on, the more interested they became – so by the time we got to the fractions section they didn’t want to stop whenever it was time to stop.  I think the format of the problems intimidated them at first, but the more we worked, they gained confidence.

When we started the Fractions book, they were hooked right away because of the problem topics – cooking!  They were thrilled to find the very first problem was about baking a cake.   I made the mistake of not having baking supplies on hand, or they would have loved it even more. 

With the States book, they saw the practicality and application of math problems in real life.  With the Fractions book, they saw the fun of math problems in real life.


Maria Miller, author of the Math Mammoth curriculum (and provider of the Make it Real Learning workbooks), is a dream homeschooling vendor.  She truly cares that you get the right curriculum, and that it fits your child’s needs.  Maria is wiling to help via e-mail or phone.  I love personal service!

The workbooks are “fillable” – the student can fill it in on the computer, using the typewriter and drawing tools in Acrobat Reader version 9 or greater.

The “What’s the big idea?” pages – we like narration, and this was a way for the girls to “narrate” back to me what they had learned.

The explanations of the solutions of the problems in the Make it Real Learning  workbooks are great!


I wish the answers to the “Try It” problems in the States by the Numbers workbook weren’t at the bottom of each page.  I’d like to be able to give the pages to the girls to work on, but having the solution so readily accessible is too tempting!


The Make it Real Learning workbooks have pages with the problems, then pages with the problems and the solutions following directly afterward – so don’t just hand the workbook  to your kids!


Read about Maria Miller, the creator of Math Mammoth, HERE.

Check  out Maria’s blog HERE.

Download free math worksheets HERE and HERE, together with an opportunity to sign up for teaching e-mails and virtual e-mail tour.

Check out samples of the Make it real Learning workbooks HERE and a sample of the States by the Numbers workbooks HERE.

Check out FAQ about Math Mammoth HERE.

Math Mammoth has a YouTube channel HERE.

Review the information for parents HERE.

Be sure to check out the other math offerings!


You can contact Math Mammoth via email HERE.


We really enjoyed these workbooks.  I think the girls were surprised how much fun they had working word problems! 


To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received downloads of the five workbooks referenced in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vocab Cafe (by College Prep Genius) (TOS Review)

I realize the importance of an advanced vocabulary repertoire when taking college placement exams. You'd think with that information I'd have an organized plan for studying vocabulary, but normally we're "hit or miss" on that subject.  When I was offered the opportunity to review a series of fiction books incorporating numerous vocabulary words, I jumped at the chance - what better way for my book-loving girls to learn vocabulary than through reading!


Vocab Cafe books introduces the reader to 300 vocabulary words specifically chosen to develop language skills. Each vocabulary word is used in the context of the story, and appears in italicized and bold type for easy reference. Rather than requiring use of a dictionary, the definition of each word appears at the bottom of the page on which it is used. A review list is included at the end of each chapter.

Currently there are four books in the series.  You can purchase all four books as a set from College Prep Genius HERE for $38.85 (regularly $51.80, or $12.95 each).  The books are targeted to junior high/high school and some middle schoolers.  Each book contains an original story, but does not contain foul language, illicit sexual themes, or sorcery (however in my opinion the story lines are not appropriate for middle school grades and, in our house, would  not be considered wholesome even for junior high/high school).


Title: Operation High School
Author: Judah Burk
209 pages
High school life isn't as boring as it appears...
Emma is a new student at Providence High School who was invisible to almost everyone. A mysterious invitation appears in her textbook which leads to cold nights, shadowy figures, and even threats to national security. Through her adventure she discovers self-reliance, personal strength, and the value of friendship.

Title: I.M. for Murder
Author: Josh Burk
158 pages
A world wide web of lies, danger, and intrigue...
Will, the star tennis player for Lee High School, has no worries other than homework and his boss at Coffee Town - and winning the heart of his co-worker, Christa. A seemingly innocent Internet prank leads to a dangerous game of life and death with a serial killer.

Title: The $ummer of $t. Nick
Author: Josh Burk
155 pages
When a loser lucks out...
Nick is in love with the coolest girl in school, but as an ordinary high school student doesn't feel cool enough to talk to her. During summer vacation he discovers a small fortune and wonders if buying cool things will help his chances with the girl - or if there's a better use for the money.

Title: Planet Exile
Author: Josh Burk
119 pages
6 billion light-years away, adventure is a way of life...
Earlmont Astrofleet Academy for Boys, a military school orbiting the galaxy, is the destination of Maleck after pulling a prank. Maleck's roommate at the Academy is another prankster and together they wreak havoc on the ship. When the ship crash lands on the Planet Exile, they begin a quest to stop a rebellion, overthrow a dictator and rescue a princess.



I love the concept.  Love it.

I really appreciate that the reader doesn't need a dictionary, since the pronunciation and meaning of each vocabulary word is included at the bottom of the page on which it appears.

Like that each vocabulary word is shown in bold/italics.


I wish I could say that my 6th grader enjoyed the books. Unfortunately, after pre-reading them (as is my habit for books from unfamiliar sources), I felt a couple of them were inappropriate for her age group, despite the despite the given age range that includes middle schoolers .   Now I'll admit I've been accused of being overprotective, but the longer my children can retain their innocence, the better I like it - they'll have their whole lives to hear about and have to cope with the evils of the world.  I.M. for Murder deals with a serial killer - not something I feel compelled to expose an 11-yo to. It also contains a scene where a cat is killed, which I know would upset my daughter.  Since the book clearly states it discusses a serial killer, I read it first – and perhaps it tainted my opinion of the other books, but I I was leery of allowing her to read any of them.  I also did not appreciate the initial concept of The $ummer of $t. Nick. On the back of this book, it states “When a loser lucks out…”.  The concept of “loser” brings to mind someone making an "L” shape and holding it to their forehead – that is not an attitude that I want to foster in my home.   Taking these and other similar instances (deceitful children, for example), I’m not sure I agree with the “wholesome” label that has been given to these books – at least they are not considered wholesome in my home.

I hope in the next printing the typos and grammatical errors will be corrected.

I wish the concept would be applied to books for younger children (including middle-schoolers).  I think the age range for these books should be changed to late junior high and high school.

Sometimes the usage of the words seemed stiff. 


Pre-read the books if your children are younger than high school or if you have sensitive children.

Explore the entire College Prep Genius website, as it contains great info regarding college entrance tests and scholarships.

View other College Prep Genius products HERE.

You can learn more about these books and their authors at the Vocab Cafe website HERE.


College Prep Genius
P.O. Box 398
Hurst, TX  76053
81-SAT-2-PREP (817-282-7737)


Again, I love this concept and think a lot of great things could be done with it – and I applaud the Burks for attempting it.   I can’t, however, recommend these books to anyone with middle-school age children, and would hesitate to recommend them to anyone who has a conservative Christian home, as my main objection to them is content.


To see other reviews of this product (and College Prep Genius’ SAT prep course), click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the four books in the Vocab Cafe series at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.



Repurposing Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins was on our list to do for the fall holidays.   

The girls had a great time carving, and did most of the work themselves except for gutting the pumpkins – that was a bit too icky for them, so that job fell to me.


They turned out great – unfortunately, we left them on the front porch a bit too long.  For some unexplained reason, the pumpkin on the right started decaying much more rapidly than the one on the left.

And then we left them a little longer. 

The left one was showing obvious signs of decay – the right one finally just gave up and collapsed.  An awful smell had begun emanating from the one on the right, so I decided it was high time that I threw them away.

But wait – I asked myself, “What kind of homeschool mom just chunks a rotten pumpkin with extremely cool hairy stuff growing all over it?”

Not this homeschool mom.  :)  So, out comes the microscope.

Bravely, I gathered the necessary supplies to harvest part of the pumpkin.  I was a tad wary, but the harvesting wasn’t as gross as I suspected it would be.  At least, my gag reflex was never triggered.

Next was making a slide for the microscope.  Left to right on the slide:  completely hairy moldy stuff, slightly hair moldy stuff with orange pumpkin still visible, rotting orange pumpkin, and a papery piece of the pumpkin skin that was peeling off.

Then the fun began - note the held noses.

Reactions?  “Cool!” on most of the specimens; “Gross!” on the hairy moldy specimen, but it was still expressed with a smile, plus they took a second (and third) look.

Even daddy wanted in on the fun.

And now, pumpkins, you have served us well – but we must bid you a fond farewell.  Thanks for feeding (so to speak!) my girls’ science fascination!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keyboard Town Pals (TOS Review)

I learned to type way back when there was no such thing as a computer or laptop (at least not in my tiny school). The keys were blank, which forced me to really learn the location of the keys.

My typing class lasted an entire year, so when I received Keyboard Town Pals and read the claim that the program would teach kids to type in an hour, I'll admit to being skeptical.

Product info

The website says it best:

Keyboard Town PALS™ is a computer keyboard program that teaches elementary school children the letters and symbols on a Qwerty keyboard in an hour using proper technique. It is fast and efficient as well as enjoyable and easy to learn. Keyboard Town PALS™ accomplishes this through the PALS system. PALS stands for PURPOSEFUL ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING SYSTEM.

The PALS system works on the classic principle that two objects seen or heard together will often become linked in our minds. In addition to utilizing association and numerous memory techniques to improve retention, we incorporate different cues throughout the video to stimulate the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses.

The KTP program uses puppets, music and humor to create a playful relaxed atmosphere and taps into a child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn new things.

One of our most radical features is the de-activating of the delete and backspace buttons. A functioning delete button causes children to lift their right hand off of the keyboard clicking the mouse to erase errors. This interruption in typing requires a re-orientation back to the keyboard. The starting and stopping motion interrupts the learning process and misdirects the student’s focus. Therefore, we have eliminated the delete button and backspace button and the desire to constantly correct mistakes. Mistakes and forgetfulness are part of the learning process.

A sunny puppet aptly named Sunny serves as the child’s guide through Keyboard Town, which consists of Home Key Street (the middle line of keys on a QWERTY keyboard), Uptown (the upper line of keys) and Downtown (the lower line of keys).

Other puppets (with names that help the kids remember the keys) help Sunny with the tour.  All letters plus four special characters are covered in eight short lessons.  At the end of the lesson the letters/special characters studied in that lesson are dictated for the child to type into a box in the screen.

Targeted to kids ages 6-12 plus those with learning differences, Keyboard Town Pals is available in CD format and as a web-based program for $30.00 HERE.

What I like

It teaches finger placement in a fun way. 

The lessons are short, so it kept the girls’ attention.

I wish

I wish the program would address typing numbers.

I wish a couple of the examples in the lessons would be changed.  In Lesson 3, for the letter E the puppet (not sure what it represents) has an emergency and vomits.  I thought the vomiting part was gross, and so did both of my daughters.  Surely another visual/audio hint for “emergency” could be used other than vomiting.  Also, in Lesson 5, “Emma and Nina” make fun of another “girl”.  I know they’re just puppets, but it gives a bad example.  My girls have been told the consequences they will face if they are ever caught teasing another person and, unfortunately, they know how it feels to be on the receiving end.   The teasing sequence in this lesson really bothered my girls, especially my oldest. 

I wish there were practice exercises available, with an option to track errors at a certain point.  I see the point in disabling the backspace and delete keys.  However, the ability to have the program beep (or a similar attention-getter) when an error is made would extend the life of the program. Without the ability to practice and a feature to track errors, the program has limited use possibilities, and I feel the purchase of an additional program is necessary for truly learning to type efficiently.

Be sure to

Watch demo videos HERE.

Check out the companion products HERE.

Take advantage of free shipping on all orders through December 31, 2011.

Check out writing samples HERE from kids  who used this program.

View parent questions HERE.

Watch various media coverage videos and interviews with kids using the program HERE, and read print articles HERE.

Visit the Keyboard Town Pals blog HERE.

Company contact info

Phone:   1-866-200-8881

Fax:         412.521.0106

Email them HERE.

Final thoughts

One of the biggest hurdles in typing in my opinion is finger placement. While I'm not sure this program teaches "typing in an hour", it sure teaches finger placement and letter location in a way that kids remember.  I think a more appropriate  description would be a phrase I saw on one of the photos on the website:  “An introduction to basic keyboarding concepts for the very young child.”  While I’m not completely sold on this program, it does teaching keyboard placement which, to me, is the hardest part of teaching kids to type.

Thoughts of my crew mates

To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a six-week subscription to the web version of the product in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Person I Marry (Bower Books) (TOS Review)

There are many books that move me to tears – some of them are children’s books which hold sweet memories. New additions to my list of tear-jerker books are always welcome.

Recently I was given the opportunity to review an electronic copy of The Person I Marry by Bower Books (written by Gary Bower and using the beautiful oil paintings of Jan Bower as illustrations).   As a mom of two young girls who are growing up entirely too quickly, this book struck a nerve.  I have already begun praying for their future husbands (I hope all you moms do this too – it’s never too early to start), but I’ll admit I haven’t taken a focused path of educating my girls on what to look for in a husband.  This book to the rescue!


The Person I Marry is part of Bower Books’ "Bright Future Series" which shares Biblical principles for families in beautiful and down-to-earth ways.  From the website:
They tackle important life topics in a powerful way that young children, teens, and grown-ups find relevant, non-threatening, and inspiring.  Each book is a wonderful discussion starter for families, crossing all generational boundaries. 
The book is subtitled Things I’ll Think About Before (and After) Saying “I Do”.  This is not just for children – we should all do this.  This book would make a great gift for many occasions – birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers, etc.  I can’t help but wonder how this could affect marriages if it was required reading before the wedding or, preferably, the engagement!

The hardcover book of 32 pages retails for $11.99 and can be purchased at Bower Books.   

To see a little more of the book, plus hear the Bowers’ point of view while writing it, watch this video:


*Awards and endorsements - It has been endorsed by people such as Gary Smalley, Eric & Leslie Ludy, and the Duggar Family.   Good, strong Christian families whose morals and beliefs I share.

*Jan Bower’s oil paintings  just give me the warm fuzzies.  As I was reading this with my girls, there were many exclamations of “Awwww!!!”.  Sweet, sweet illustrations.  Together with Gary Bower’s poetry, it’s truly a lovely book.

*Love a statement that Gary Bower used in his e-mail when he sent the link for the electronic version: 
We created this book the year of our 30th anniversary as a tool for tenderizing the hearts of our own 12 children, and sparking comfortable conversation about marriage amongst ourselves. 
May I be as mindful of the important conversations as the Bowers.

*I like that the book reinforces character traits that, in addition to looking for in a future spouse, we should focus on ourselves.


Check out the rest of the books in the Bright Future Series – There’s a Party in Heaven, The Jingle in my Pocket, and What Do Heroes Wear.   

Explore the entire Bower Family Books website.  It is a wealth of beauty and inspiration.  Don’t miss Our Blessing Song.

Read Gary and Jan Bower’s story HERE.


Address:   Bower Books & Fine Art
                    A Division of Storybook Meadow Publishing Co.
                    7700 Timbers Trail
                    Traverse City, MI 49685

Phones:      231-941-0899
                     888-898-3207 (orders)
                     231-590-0077 (cell)
                     231-947-8903 (fax)


The electronic version of this book was lovely, but I look forward to owning a hard copy as I feel that a book like this needs to be read to children while snuggling.  Somehow something was lost by having to sit at the computer with the electronic version we received for the review.  But this review is about the book itself and its contents, not the format of the book received for the review.  

So,  with that in mind, I love this book.  My girls love it too.  I’ll likely be purchasing the set of four books in hardback form.


To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a link to an electronic version of the product in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Only at the State Fair

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

2011 Gratitude Challenge - November 2

I'm grateful for my husband. He makes me laugh. He makes our kids laugh. He's a good daddy to our kids. He's a good son to his mother. He's a tech guru.

He's the long-awaited love of my life. We both made mistakes before we met (two marriages for him, several bad relationships for me), but after 12 years of marriage I think this one is going to work. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Gratitude Challenge – November 1

A friend of mine (she’s an online friend and part of our TOS homeschool review crew leadership,  but I wish she was a friend in “real life”) is hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge through her blog at Garden of Learning.   For each day during November (or as many days as you can), post about something you’re thankful for, then link up your post for that day with that day’s post at Garden of Learning.   With Thanksgiving and Christmas swiftly approaching, I think this is a great idea to get our minds focused on the blessings we’ve received.
When I decided to participate, my first thoughts of gratitude were for earthly things – my family, a roof over my head, food on the table, income, our activities, etc.
I quickly realized that without one other thing, I’d likely have none of those things.
Over two thousand years ago, three crosses stood on a hill called Golgotha.  On the center cross, my Savior died to save me.  He gave His life to atone for my sins (and yours too) so that I could live forever in Heaven. 
I have seen the “place of the skull”.  I have stood beside it singing The Old Rugged Cross.  It is sobering to stand on the place that determined my future, the place where Jesus died.  Holy ground indeed.
Without His sacrifice I would have nothing, be worth nothing.
Thank you, Father, for sending Your Son to die on the cross for me.  Thank you, Jesus, for giving your life for me.  
I’m grateful today and every day for Jesus’ sacrifice, for God’s love, for Jesus’ resurrection, and for the assurance that after my earthly days are finished, I’ll spend eternity in Heaven.
I pray that everyone who reads this post has that same assurance.  (If you don’t, and you’d like to know how to have the thing that I’m most grateful for, please e-mail me.)
Please hop on the Gratitude Challenge!  Click HERE to link your November 1 gratitude post.

You know you're a homeschooler when... (#1)

Your kids make bar graphs with their halloween candy...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad