Friday, November 29, 2013

Review: My Little Pony Reading App

Over the last three years since I began homeschooling, I have always been on the look out for accompaniments to keep learning fun. So any time I get an opportunity to review a new app that could add some extra excitement to our schedule, I jump at the chance. This time we got the to review a new reading iPad app called, My Little Pony: Party of One  It was created by PlayDate Digital, a developing company in the realm of interactive, mobile educational software for both iOS and Android devices. You can read more about them here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review: A Light for my Path (An ABC Book Based on Psalm 119)

When I signed up to do this review, I admit that I fully expected a simple little child's book of the ABC's using Psalm 119. I have a 4 year old and we are working on our ABC's and thought it would be a great companion to the other things we use. However, A Light for my Path (An ABC Book Based on Psalm 119) that I got was so much more!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Rewards

While this is an older post, with the current election cycle, I felt the need to share once again. We now have six children and despite the ruckus pro-life supporters make, I can't help but wonder why we still get such rude comments and stares. Are we done at six? Maybe. Maybe not. However, I can tell you that I, or I should say we are 100% pro-life. Hope this helps you to truly examine your stance.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: One Minute Reader

When I first began homeschooling, I never thought teaching my child to read would be nearly as hard as it turned out to be. We really struggled as we jumped in to one curriculum after another before finally finding what worked for us. Once we did my daughter took off, however, that battle created a great deal of reluctance from her when it came to reading. That's why when given the opportunity to review One Minute Reader I was more than happy to jump on board.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Classical Historian

History has never been my forté. To be honest, when I was in school, I hated it. That is until a professor in college made it fun! For the first time ever, I couldn't wait to get to history class. His presentation brought history to life. So of course when teaching my children about history I want to make sure not only are they not bored out their mind, but that I'm not either! That's why I was so excited to get the chance to review a product from the Classical Historian.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: How Do We Know God is Really There?

Faith is funny thing...it's simple enough for a child to easily accept, yet difficult enough for an adult to question. However, just because you believe doesn't mean you or your children don't have questions. Helping your children understand the great universe God has created can sometimes be difficult. That's where Apologia comes in. They offer a variety of products to help navigate those sometimes hard to answer questions. One of those is How Do We Know God is Really There? It's the first in a series of adorable picture books to help introduce your child to the concepts of the Christian faith.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Waterproof Bible

This may have been the hardest review I had to do!! Hard...but fun!!! I was given the chance to put the Waterproof Bible produced by Bardin&Marsee Publishing to the test!! Putting the Word of GOD through the ringer...a little tough considering the reverence I have for the Holy Book. However, there wasn't any other way to find out if the company's claims were accurate. So, I took that challenge and was beyond amazed at the unfathomable limits that the Waterproof Bible!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: Ooka Island

When we started homeschooling my daughter was just going in to Kindergarten and had some skills to begin to read, but wasn't really reading. So our adventure began! It took us four curriculum and the summer just before second grade before we actually found what clicked with her (she's my first and unfortunately the guinea pig for all that we try). When the opportunity to review Ooka Island came up, I was a little hesitant to try it, especially since we'd made so much progress in the last year. So I decided I'd use it with my 3 year old instead, but however, his enthusiasm for the program was obviously contagious and before long they were arguing over who's turn it was to play.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Saving Memories Forever


When I first found out I was going to be reviewing the Saving Memories Forever app, I really wasn't that excited. I know most of the other reviewers kept expressing how thrilled they were, but I was rather mundane. Remember my background is in television, so my first thought was, "Why wouldn't you just use your video camera?" Having said this, let me just say...I am absolutely a convert! As I began to use it, I could see so many possibilities for it and I LOVE THIS APP (which is available for iPhone and Android systems)!!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Spanish for You!

I have to admit, when I found out I was going to review Spanish for You! by Debbie Arnett I wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea of adding it to our homeschool curriculum...not because I don't think it's a necessary skill for today, rather we've been so busy during the past month that fitting it in was just one more thing I had to do.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Attending to Faith with Diligence (Part 2)

Cultivating faith isn't a simple task. Just as Jesus taught his disciples...diligence is key to cultivating faith (see part one). So how exactly do you have that diligent faith? There was a disciple who learned this the hard way. Which one? Peter.

Peter was quite possibly the most ardent (which means to have enthusiasm or passion) of Christ's disciples. It wasn't by chance he was chosen to learn from the Master of the universe. When we look at Peter's character, it's easy to see he was a bit of hothead. Always quick to jump the gun...cutting the soldier's ear off, swearing he would never deny Jesus as the Christ, etc. You will always find Peter at the forefront of every situation. Peter desperately sought to know how to cultivate his faith and once he learned...he attended to it with diligence and left us the blueprint on how to do the same.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Attending to Faith with Diligence (Part 1)


One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Abigail Adams. It's the first sentence I used on my resume when I was in the workforce, because it says so much in such few words. She once stated, "Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."

Diligence is an area of my life that is in constant need of attention. I start lots of projects that far too often take me weeks, months or even years to finish. It’s not that I don’t want to be diligent, because I do, but diligence is hard work. It takes a lot time and a great deal of effort.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: Time 4 Learning

As I've expanded my blog and began doing reviews, I've been blessed with some amazing opportunities to review truly incredible products. So far I can honestly say there hasn't been on that I have not loved. We Choose Virtues has transformed my 3 year old in so many ways! The Apologia Planner has simplified my homeschool plan and made me feel more at ease with getting everything in. Recently, we've had to opportunity to benefit from some digital programs that are available and today I'm going to tell you a little about the first one...Time4Learning

There are so many reasons why I loved the Time4Learning program. I wish with all we had going on in the month of March (personally and sickness setting up camp) that we could've even had more time to explore this curriculum, but we got in the time we could and LOVED it! Both of my kids dove right in and loved playing the games and watching the various videos.

It's ease of use for the kids made it a dream come true for me, because I had so little to do. I could literally set a time limit and let them go. They explored various subjects...everything from science to simple phonetics. Not only was it easy to let them explore, but the parent membership gave me the opportunity to set an actual curriculum for them to follow, so I could make sure they were on track with what I as their teacher am actually teaching them as well. It could quite possibly be used as a curriculum, however, I myself am not keen on doing all digital, but others may be.

Without a doubt, I would recommend this program to any mom looking for some fun learning activities and I absolutely will be purchasing a membership when we have the finances available. From now until the end of April you can sign up as many children as want for only $9.98 for the first month.


***I received a free trial of the above mentioned program to help facilitate a review for the company. The opinion is entirely my own from using the program and was not influenced by Time4Learning in any way.***




Thursday, April 11, 2013

About Me

Our family (Earl, Raquel, Genesis, Asher & Canaan)
I'm a small town girl, whose big city dreams propelled me to leave my hometown of Coeburn, Virginia in pursuit of a career in television news. After five years in the newsroom, the humdrum of needing bad things to happen to have an exciting day at work led me to expand my horizons. It was then that I made the move to a more creative position and became a producer for The 700 Club. After just two years there, I stepped down as God called my husband, Earl, and I back to his hometown of Knoxville, TN. In seeking God's will for us, we were led to his first pastorate at Forest Grove Free Will Baptist Church in South Knoxville.

I traded the lights, camera and action of telling other people's stories for being a stay at home/homeschooling mom writing my own story with the three adorable blessings God has given me so far.  Since writing has always been a job, I'm excited to see where God takes me as I return to it as a hobby. To see some of the amazing ways God has worked in my life, be sure to read our love story. It's the whole reason I started blogging to begin with. Thanks for stopping and sharing in on my journey to serve the Creator of all.

Review: Apologia Planner

About a month ago, I posted my very first review. It was a blog planner, which has helped me stay on track and given direction to my blog on a weekly basis (with the exception of when we were hit with nonstop sickness for a few weeks and then traveling for a couple of weeks...it's already on my planner to get some guest bloggers to fill those times in the future). I'm still using it, which is a HUGE feat for me! As I've told you in the past, I'm organizationally challenged which is why anytime I can find something that helps my family's life become a little less chaotic it's wonderful.

Now, since I've been homeschooling the past three years, I've always had a plan and I've tried everything from fancy paper planners to just simply putting it on iCal. They've all fell by the wayside, which means, I'm still looking...or at least I was until I received The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (it's really working for me at the moment)! Everything about this book makes it practical. I'm not even sure I can list all the reasons why I love it, but my favorite is because it is undated. That may seem silly to some, but when you're a free spirit who changes with the wind, it's wonderful! It means if I forget to write in my planner for a month, it isn't useless! It means if I fall by the wayside, I can pick up in whatever month we are in! If I want to start planning in October, I can...or February I can...it makes your planning regimen so flexible! And free spirits love flexibility, so for me it really is the best feature. Now on to all the other awesome features.

Let me start by saying, even though I've been homeschooling for three years, I'm still learning as I'm sure most homeschooling moms will attest to. Every year has a new challenge and especially when you are homeschooling your first child, which is sort of the guinea pig in this adventure. Having said that, this planner lays out so many things I never thought of to plan for (free spirit here).

The planner starts with a yearly planning retreat. Sure I sit down and sort of map out our homeschool every July, but I've always just focused on the academic side of it. I never thought what are the characters goals I have for my children...when I say that I mean sure I want them to be well behaved and following Christ, however, pinpointing the exact attribute they needed to work on never occurred to me (or at least not until We Choose Virtues). It also provides an area for family goals. Again, I never sat and mapped out what we as a family need to accomplish and with family being the first institution God created, it's an absolute must! How could I have overlooked these simple things? It's so easy to get wrapped up in the academics of homeschooling by trying to meet other people's standards of what your children should be learning (i.e. state, grandma  photo 77448590-63d3-4a20-9ef0-03d0d8fc7286.jpg) that you stop focusing on the real reason you decided to homeschool in the first place and this planner reminds you of that.


The next awesome thing about this planner....the monthly planning sessions. Every homeschool family already does this to some degree, but add in the family goals you are now focusing on and it gives you better idea of how to accomplish those goals each month. You can see how you've progressed at the end of each month and readjust family priorities and other commitments you have made if necessary because they are there in black and white (or pencil which is what I'm using).

Next, you have weekly planning breaks. My favorite part about this section was that there were so many areas that I'd never thought of like a battle plan, or even making a list of the weeks memorable moments and the best...evidences of grace...honestly, how often as a homeschool mom do we need to remember those moments when God's grace was present to keep us going...for me that is definitely weekly!!!!

There are also two sections called Monday Morning Tutorials and Friday Afternoon Reviews, which are designed to help you raise an independent learner (yes, please). You use the first to give your student their lesson plans for the week and then on Friday they check in and you get to see how they are managing their time and completing tasks. This it is set up to work with The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students, which I also received, but since my daughter is only in 2nd grade she struggled a little with it and we weren't really ready to dive in and use. Another year or two and it will be a perfect companion for us to this planner!

My overall take on this product is it is wonderful!!! The ease of the layout makes it simple to tweak anything in the planner! Users guides are included in it with thorough explanations on how to use each and ever section, so I wasn't overwhelmed at all like I am with most planners this size! Both The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students come chalked full of encouraging and motivational quotes and scripture as well as other extras. In The Ultimate Homeschool Planner you'll find teaching tips and a year-end review section. I can honestly say that I expect to use this for years to come. I would really love to see a digital version available too so I could see which I would prefer using. I wholeheartedly recommend purchasing this planner (which costs $28 but is so worth it) for your next homeschool year!

Need a second opinion, check out other reviews from Mosaic Reviews team members here.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: We Choose Virtues

When I started doing reviews for Mosaic Reviews, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Then, when the first assignment came out, it was a blog planner. Instantly, I relegated myself to being a failure. You see as I've mentioned before (and I'm sure I'll mention again) I'm what I like to call a simple organizer or perhaps you could also call it organized chaos, but if you're a type A personality you'd probably just grab a paper bag hyperventilate and leave my house as fast as you could. Despite my condition...and my lack of confidence in completing that review, I managed to succeed and a month later, I'm still putting that planner to use! It worked! No more writing everyday and then going five months without touching it! There is order to my blog now and I love that. So when I got the second assignment, I had a little more faith in myself. 

When the We Choose Virtues (WCV) package arrived, I was very excited to see what was in store. I can honestly say, that I don't think any other product I review in the future will affect me personally the way this one did. WCV is a character program designed to help you instill biblical/moral virtues into your children with catch phrases and colorful artwork. Not only did it begin to expose the areas I'd failed in teaching my children, but the areas within my own life that needed attending to. 

We received the Virtue flash cards ($14.99) and access to a few of the downloads (prices vary from $3 to $9.99) on the WCV site. With appealing catchphrases and colorful characters adorning the cards, they easily captured my children's attention. They are high quality cardstock and seem very durable, however with my sweet Asher nothing is safe, so we laminated them so that they will last until Canaan gets older.

As we dove in, we decided to each chose a virtue to pursue improving each week, focusing on getting control of that area before moving on to the next. We made a poster with each family member's name and slot to place their virtue for the week. While we initially set out to do a virtue a week, we found sometimes we needed a virtue for two weeks or longer. As the company states, the key in establishing those virtues as part of your character is to practice using them daily. In our attempt to do so, we found ourselves examining every thing from cartoon characters to heroines in a story, asking "Are they being obedient/content/kind/etc.?" 

Not only did we have the flash cards, but we were given access to coloring pages to help reinforce the idea. The coloring pages were useless with my 3-year old son, who could care less about being crafty and creative, yet they were invaluable with my 7-year old daughter, who is a self-proclaimed artist. So this particular resource in the WCV kit is one I would definitely leave up to a parent's discretion. 

The other products that were made available for me to use were the Butterfly Award, the Memory Verses, and a Bible Heroes and Truths sheet. All three are great tools in reinforcing the virtues. First, the Memory Verses and Bible Heroes and Truths (one my favorite part of the curriculum) help establish a biblical basis for each virtue that you are concentrating on (verses are also located on the back of the flash cards as well) and give life to it through a character in the Bible that demonstrated this virtue (I didn't always agree with the one chosen and picked my own). Kid's love being rewarded for their endeavors and that's exactly what the Butterfly Award does. It is a simple way of reinforcing a child's accomplishment as they transform their character. 

I can say without a doubt, using WCV has been an eye-opening experience for us as a family. We are each digging deep to examine our character issues and setting out to improve them! However, I would recommend using the teacher or parent cards as opposed to just the flash card that I received. They have more instructions on them and would be much easier to implement into your homeschool, especially if you are not up for creating your own ways to make this part of your everyday curriculum. There is even a Homeschool Kit available for $98.99! This could definitely be used as a stand alone Bible curriculum with several age groups or even in a church setting (it's $199 for the Kids Church Kit). If you are a public school teacher, they also offer a secular set that would work in a classroom setting. If you decide to buy, just for being one of my awesome readers you can use the code VIRTUE15 to get 15% off your order FOREVER (yay)! Or if you purchase a homeschool kit, you can use HOME20 through the month of April! Enjoy!

(If you're interested in reading other reviews on this product go here.)



Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Real Me

I see it on church bill boards all the time. It's kind of a catchphrase for churches right now. "Real Faith. Real People." (Any churches that use this...I am not bashing you for it!!!) That got me to thinking what is real? So today, I'm going to be real. As real as I can be about who I am and who I am in Jesus.

I am a pastor's wife, therefore I don't gamble, lie or cheat, but that doesn't make me good. Swear words are not even in my vocabulary...I never picked them up as kid, so I've never struggled to get them out. I don't drink, not because it makes me a better person than you but rather because I see it as a gateway to evil. I don't gossip because I've seen too many lives destroyed by it. To the world around me, I'm a perfect in the box kind of Christian that most people are watching and waiting to see mess up.

So here it is...while all of that is real...so is this...

I'm a dirty rotten sinner. My best will never be good, according to the Word of GOD. I don't pray enough. Read enough. Love enough. Give enough. Serve enough. I'm selfish, judgmental, even contentious at times (just ask my husband). I get angry and while I try not to sin, I don't always accomplish this. I could be a better wife. A better mother. A better keep of my home. A better homeschooler. I struggle with being diligent in all that I do (that post coming soon)! I lack in so many areas it's shameful really. None of these are things I'm proud of...yet, they are me...the real me...and it is nothing more than a shadow of who I want to be. That's real.

However, so is this...

In Christ, I am reborn! I am ALIVE!!! I am a NEW creature. My heart is HIS home! I am an overcomer. I am a joint heir to the throne of the Living GOD! I am pure! I am holy! I am loved! I am shown mercy each day I wake up with breath in my body! I can because HE can! I am exactly who HE created me to be...everyday I try my very best to be better than the day before! I am forgiven and I try to forgive as just as HE forgave me. I come short on so many levels, yet it is not I, but Christ my Heavenly Father sees when He looks at me.

What about you and your struggles? Who is the real you?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Apologies


It's been a crazy couple of weeks here in our household!! Sickness is running rampant at our house and won't seem to leave us! Is anyone else experiencing that right now? I've been on laundry patrol at warp speed. First, it was the tummy bug and then my two oldest ones seem to keep passing something back and forth!! One of my them will get sluggish and even run with a slight fever overnight or in the morning with no signs of anything else. Then,  suddenly the other one will come down with it just as the first one is getting over it. Every time I think we are done with it...we cycle through it again. I even had a slighty tummy ache for a few days...and I NEVER get sick (praise Jesus). However, all the sickness has obviously set me back and I feel terrible about that especially after promising to post regularly. So, in order to keep my word, I just wanted to let you know I'm still here and I have lots of great posts coming at you over the next few weeks! 

God has given me some great thoughts and while my time in the Bible hasn't been sufficient lately, I know we are about to get over this hump and everyone will be back to 100% and thus I can resume having my java with my Jesus! I'm also thrilled about an upcoming guest post I have planned from one of my very best friends and sisters in Christ, Audra Haney! She and I worked together for a period of time and GOD absolutely knew we needed each other!! I can always count on her to be a prayer warrior when I need one!! So I can't wait to introduce you to her...while you are waiting on her amazing post, you can check her out at Manna and Mustard Seeds! It's her new blog that will help change your life and give you the encouragement you need to overcome any obstacles you may be facing!!


Plus I have several reviews coming up too. One of which I'm really excited about (well, actually I'm excited about them all)...so I'll spill the beans on it...I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review! Obviously, my opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience near the end of April!! Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. So please bear with me...I promise we will get back on track next week!






Friday, March 1, 2013

Mommy Mania: How Mater's Bath Almost Ruined My Wood Table

As I said in my last post...I'm reinventing the blog...sort of anyway. I will leave the love story up for those that haven't had a chance to be blessed by it because it shows the awesomeness of GOD (which they may or may not know). I'll also continue writing the devotions that I call life lessons because it's in those moments that GOD teaches me how to change who I am into who HE needs me to be...and it's a good reminder for me when I may attitude shows I may have forgotten a lesson.

However, I'm going to add a couple of other categories as well. The first being Homeschool Adventures. We are a homeschooling family. I do not claim to have a clue as to what I'm doing, but we chose this path to honor GOD (see Deuteronomy 6). So I'm inviting you along on our journey...if you don't have clue either, then maybe you'll garner something from it and if you're a seasoned homeschooler then maybe you can leave comment teaching me along the way (see Titus 2). This lead to another category...Reviews. From time to time I will be blessed to receive a product to use in our homeschool or otherwise and give you my honest opinion on it. Then there will be Giveaways...I can't keep everything I get..plus I know some pretty talented people that I think you need to know...so they and I want to share the love with you!! Finally, there's Mommy Mania...what is that you may ask...well here we go.

ma·ni·a 
/mānēə/
Noun

  1. Mental illness marked by periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions, and overactivity.

Let's be real...being a mommy can drive you to moments of mental illness!! You know those moments...the ones where you express great excitement (anger, shock, screaming)...they are moments of madness really...basically you have to laugh or cry...then you take a deep breath and pray in Jesus's name...otherwise your kids will be locked in a dungeon never to see the light of day again...you get the point.

That deep breath and prayer I send up in Jesus's name always gives me a moment of clarity about what's really important...and it's not the lamp they just broke, or the family heirloom they just painted or in this case the table they decided to give Mater a bath on.

Asher & Mater
It was winter afternoon and my daughter and I were working on one of her school lessons. When we do this, my son (2 1/2 at this time) often joins us but his attention spans runs short and he usually heads off to build a fort or get a toy to occupy himself with. This day was no different, after he lost interest, he headed into his room and emerged with a toy he'd just received for Christmas...Mater from the movie Cars.

I noticed my son had a washcloth and was wiping Mater, but didn't think much about it until we finished our lesson and I walked across the room. That's when Mommy Mania set in. I just began to cry...and I snapped, loudly I might add, "What are you doing?!?!" Looking at me with those innocent green eyes and the biggest grin you can imagine, he happily and proudly explained, "I'm giving Mater a bath."

 Why would giving Mater a bath be an issue????

        Because this...              
Hand Sanitizer












+ this...
Lovely wooden table

                                                                                                                             = this...
Mommy Mania













Yes hand sanitizer and wood...not a good mixture!!! I got a rag and began trying to wipe it away...BUT it doesn't wipe away...no matter how hard you press...

NO AMOUNT OF WIPING WILL MAKE IT DISAPPEAR!!!!!!

Quickly, I grabbed my phone and googled...surely there's a remedy. And there was...plenty of them actually. They ranged from baby oil, to Vasoline, to cigarette ashes, to wax paper with a hot iron over it, as well as a few others. Unfortunately, everything I found claiming to fix the problem did not work on my wood table. So I decided to try combining some of the remedies and see what happened...after all it's not like I could make it any worse really...look at it!!!

Toward the end of my rubbing
Since it was winter time, I had some ashes in my fireplace...not the cigarette ashes it called for, but since I don't smoke it was the best I could do. I mixed it with some baby oil from a shower gift making it into a sort of paste. I then took a rag and dipped it into my mixture and began rubbing it in. I used a circular motion, like you would use waxing a car. Slowly but surely it began to work!

This Mommy Mania moment courtesy of
Now, I had to rub long and hard, but my table began to like a wood table again! So crisis adverted and all is well in our home again...well at least until the Mommy Mania moment!!

Our table today


Friday, February 22, 2013

Blogging Regularly...Here I Come

I wish I could post pictures of a perfectly decorated home where all the laundry is always neatly folded and put away, and the floors are clean enough to eat off of, but I'm not that mom (trust me I read lots of articles on how to be that mom and even have a Pintrest board designated to getting me there)! I tell my kids, "everything has a place" yet even I struggle with getting everything to its place...I'm just not naturally organized! I want to be, but I'm not.

Piles of paper litter most every room of my home, but I prefer to call it organized chaos. Why would I even use the word organized if I just admitted that I'm completely unorganized...well just because there's a pile of papers on my kitchen counter doesn't mean I can't find things. On the contrary...I can tell you which stack my receipt from a shopping trip to Walmart three weeks ago is in and how far down to look. I like to call that a simple organizer. Do I love that my brain works this way? Not so much (and trust me my husband doesn't either...it drives him crazy), but it doesn't mean I stop trying to be a better version of me.

Now when I started this blog almost two years ago, my main goal was to share our love story, because it is such an awesome story (if you haven't read it I promise it's worth taking the time)! Then I finished that (well most of it...you'll have to wait for the book to get it all). Afterward, I began dabbling in writing whatever God laid on my heart...or life lessons as I like to call them.

So, after our chaotic summer, a new baby and several other crazy transitions, I started thinking about what to do with my blog now. After all, I spent 8 years getting paid for my writing skills, and if they're that good...then why not put them to use again. However, I still wanted to be able to homeschool my children and help my husband be the pastor that GOD has called him to be. That's where Mosaic Reviews came in. When I stumbled upon them, I knew this was exactly what I needed to get me on the right track for blogging regularly and I was right!

Our first assignment...reviewing a blog planner. Obviously, as I told you earlier, I'm not the most organized person. However, you cannot spend 8 years in TV without knowing how to do some planning and obviously meeting deadlines on a consistent basis, so I decided to suck it up and find something to work with. When I first began looking at the options, many of them overwhelmed (who knew there was so much to blogging???) the simple organizer in me and I was thinking, I'm going to fail miserable on my very first assignment...that is until I got toward the end of the list...that's when I found it...the blog planner that was perfect for me!


There's one line per day and you write in the week you are working on. There's a section for notes, images to make, future post ideas, a to do list and where to promote your blog. It's all combined on a single page and I didn't have to spend a fortune in ink just to print it! I printed a couple weeks in advance, added it to a binder with sheet protectors and volià! Suddenly, my organized chaos becomes something even easier to work with than the scraps of paper I scratch things down on from time to time!!! I really cannot express how much I loved the simplicity of this!!!! You can formulate a quick plan right away and best of all it's FREE! Now, if you are über organized and like to plan every last detail before you start...then this planner most likely isn't for you, but if you're a simple organizer (or live in organized chaos like me) who just wants some general guidelines to follow and place to jot down a few notes, then by all means go and snatch this blog planner up!







And don't forget there's still time to enter to win some amazing prizes from Unique Boutique by Lauren! Click the link to head over there or visit the Giveaways tab to find out more!






Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Uniquie Boutique by Lauren Giveaway

I'm really excited about all that's going on with My Java for Jesus! GOD is using it in so many ways...recently I received several messages and e-mails about how the words GOD has given me have encouraged some people and brought them hope...that's more than I even dreamed of when I started this blog (see why here). For me these messages are confirmation that I'm doing exactly what GOD wants me to do. So in order to try to reach more people for HIM, I'm reinventing the blog in...well sort of.

I'm adding a section for reviews that I get the pleasure of doing; there will be a section on different homeschool adventures we encounter from time to time; also there will be a section I'm calling mommy mania tips (that's when you catch them doing something that you're ready to kill them for...yet you stop yourself in the name of JESUS); and of course all great blogs have some phenomenal giveaways. Have said all that, if there's something else you'd like to see, please leave me a comment either here or on Facebook and I'll do my best to accommodate! In doing this, my hope is that more and more people will read our love story or the devotions and be inspired by what GOD can do for them! So without further ado, here is our very first spectacular giveaway!

I met Lauren not long after Earl and I were married. Earl attended The Crown of the Bible. While there we joined the church that housed the college Temple Baptist in Powell, TN. He began teaching a Sunday School group and Lauren and her husband Daniel ended up under him. I was working over nights, so I didn't get to know everyone in the group as well as Earl did, but Lauren and I both had our first children within few months of each other, so as first time moms I was able to get to know her more than a few of the others.

When we left and went to Nashville for me to take a job with The 700 Club we lost touch. However, after almost 3 years there, GOD called us back to Knoxville and shortly following our return called Earl into the pastorate at Forest Grove Free Will Baptist Church. Since then we have reconnected with Daniel and Lauren and her talents have been such a blessing to me. I'm not as crafty outwardly as I am in my head...so that's why I employ her ingenuity to make awesome things for my kids. Here's a couple pictures of a few of the things I've requested she create so far.

Hair bow holder for Genesis
 For Asher after the new baby

 Party dress for Genesis
And here's something I stumbled upon when she was a vendor at a consignment sale a friend mine and I hosted.
Coffee Cozy (I didn't have an actual Starbucks cup to use so I resorted to a kids cup)



This one is reversible!
Other side
 So I got to thinking, since the blog's name is My Java with Jesus, why not see if she would make some coffee cozies to giveaway and Lauren so graciously agreed. Now, I know some of you (heaven forbid) may not like coffee, so we didn't want to exclude you from entering for a chance to win...Lauren has decided to give away a boy/girl outfit as the Grand Prize. So we will have a total of four winners. The boy outfit consists of suspenders and bow tie and the girls is a shirt/skirt combo!



So good luck and spread the word about My Java with Jesus so we can reach as many people as possible for the Kingdom (yes we...because you play a part in sowing seeds when you send them here)! And don't forget to drop by Unique Boutique by Lauren and show her some love and appreciation for her amazing talents and gifts!