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