Tag Archives: Faith

Casting Stones

“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Said by the wisest man who ever lived.

He is the living word of God, and his name is JESUS.

casting-stones

(photo source: Morning Star Ministries)

Over the years, I have heard many Christians say mean things about other Christians.  It is sometimes heart breaking to hear their judgmental reasons for choosing leaders, churches, politicians, based on who they think is a better Christian.  But the Savior himself said we are not to judge others, instead we are to forgive them.

I read an article about a young Christian man who made a serious mistake when he was young. At the time he made the mistake, he came forward and repented of his mistake and sought forgiveness and help from his church and family.  However his life and the lives of those he hurt was deeply scared by his actions.  Though several years had passed, and because his family is famous, he experienced more than his share of haters from the Christian community who had no understanding of the situation when they found out about his past.  The pressure on his life is intense due to their fame.  Even though he is surrounded by his family and many loving people of the Christian faith, his life will never be the same, and the public is ruthless, mocking, and unforgiving.  The crazyist thing about the whole “scandal” is the ungodly response of the Christians is worse than how the un-churched public treat him.  They do not act like Jesus Christ.  He had a problem, he confessed and was forgiven, yet the Christians accuse him of his past sin and of practicing fake Christianity.

Was Peter a fake Christian because he denied Christ 3 times?

Peter fell down in his faith and committed a terrible sin.  He denied the one and only son of God who had shown himself to him, his closest disciple.  If Peter, who was with Christ 24 hours a day for three years and saw everything he did from the beginning to the end, could sin and deny him, isn’t anyone capable of doing the same?  Jesus said to his followers: “If you deny me to others, I will deny you before my Father”.  Was Peter denied entry into heaven?  No.  Because when he repented of his sin, he was forgiven.  Peter was a true Christian, even though he made the same mistake three times, and Jesus Christ chose to build his Church upon the work Peter would do in sharing the gospel,

Let me ask you Christian…are you without sin?  Are there sins you have committed over and over?   Are you a closet sinner and hide the truth?   What is going on in your home?  Is there divorce, stealing, fighting, adultery, lust, pornography, lies, drug abuse, gluttony, hatred, cursing?  If Christians are divorcing at the same rate as the rest of America, and only 1 out of 20 Christian kids remain in their Christian faith after they grow up, then I believe this indicates a basic fact that there is a whole lot of ungodly sin going on in the lives of Christians today.

How many Christian families in church don’t even establish any boundaries at all for their teens?  From the article: “By 17 years old, 48% of teenagers have had sex. One out of every three teenage girls gets pregnant before the age of 20.  And it doesn’t count as consent just because you’re both under 18.  Another 26.5% of 15-19 year old girls are giving birth to kids – and those are just the ones that aren’t having abortions.”   Many of these kids live in Christian homes. Don’t tell me you don’t know. There are kids in your church right now that are sexually active and some are getting pregnant.   Let us take it a step further. How many teachers, leaders, and even pastors were sexually active before marriage? How many are guilty of other sins we overlook because they are in a position of authority, yet we don’t give each other grace for a similar offense?

Are you without sin?  Jesus said “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”.  No one is without sin, and no one should cast a stone at others.

Let us be careful how we judge.  Christians need to be mindful, because the same measure of grace and forgiveness we extend others, will be extended to us. God is not mocked.  Christians need to be mindful and careful of judging (stoning) others.  Jesus told us to say “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” when we pray to Father God.  He also told us to forgive 70 x 7 even when a person does the same thing wrong over and over.  He said we are to turn the other cheek and forgive them.  He also told us to pull the log out of our own eye before we remove the speck from our brother’s eye.  He wanted us to practice forgiveness in our daily lives and not let the sun go down before we had forgiven and let go of resentment and anger.

It is interesting that several spiritual heroes who sinned are listed in Hebrews 11. These people certainly wouldn’t get to speak at Christian conferences today, and they probably wouldn’t fit in at any of the local churches.  They would be seen a backsliders.  In fact, most of them would probably be straight up kicked out of church.

Abraham lied and sold out his wife twice.  He also committed adultery with his employee and got her pregnant.

Sarah scoffed in unbelief when God said she would have a son.

Jacob was a schemer and deceiver who completely ripped off his brother of his inheritance.

Moses was a murderer and was easily frustrated.  His unbelief kept him out of the Promised Land, though he helped free the Hebrew people from Egypt and did many mighty miracles for the Lord.  He still got angry and doubted God at times.

Rahab was a prostitute who slept around.  Yet she became the grandmother of King David.

Gideon was power hungry, and he built many idols of worship and led the kingdom of Israel astray after God helped him succeed in battles and free the Hebrew people from the Philistines.

Samson was a sex-addict and couldn’t control his anger against the Philistines and caused innocent people to die as well as his own imprisonment.

David was an adulterer and a murderer,

Eli completely failed to parent his sons and they became evil in the sight of the Lord and abused people.

And yet the author of Hebrews tells us to consider all of these people and imitate their faith.  To follow after God just as they did. To walk the same path they did.  Why?

Not one person is any better than the other.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.   Not one person is any better than this young man or Eli, or Sarah, even Peter, Jesus favorite disciple. They were just people.  They sinned.  Yet they asked for forgiveness from God, and God in his grace and mercy, used their lives in a mighty way to be a blessing, to strengthen our faith, and further the message of God’s Kingdom.

Be blessed!

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Before Anything Else

We took a ride late one afternoon and treated our kids to some fun playtime at the park.

on the road

While driving home from the park, two of the kids had a squabble on the back seat.  As we were trying to talk them through it and get them to settle down, I noticed there was a man walking along the side of the highway.  As we approached him, I felt a nudge in my heart to pay attention to him.  But the squabble in the back continued and I felt distracted.

Mathew 6:23

“But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.”

I caught just a quick glimpse of him as we passed him. I wasn’t sure, but I thought his side profile looked elderly, and he was carrying two packs, maybe duffel bags or back packs, in his hands.  He looked tired and as if he could barely carry them, and as if his strength was giving out.  He was walking very slowly.  He was in the middle of a rural area of farms and at least 15 miles from town.   He was headed in the same direction as us, but it would take him a long time to get there and it was starting to get dark.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.”

I don’t know how far up ahead we had drove before we slowed down and turned around and headed back to pick him up. By the time we made it back to him, another vehicle was stopping to give him a ride.

My heart sank.

I felt that the squabbling in the van had been a distraction from what was really important.  I was distracted from hearing what the Lord wanted us to do.  We had missed God’s divine appointment to help this elderly man get to his destination.

I knew without a doubt that God had a timing for this man to be picked up. It was as if he had been issued a “bus or taxi pass” for such and such a time at such and such a location.  He had caused us to be at the exact time and location to pick him up.  But I wasn’t listening close enough to hear that God wanted me to stop and get him and fulfill the “get a free ride pass” the Lord had issued him.  I was the taxi the Lord had sent him, and I missed the call.

Even though I realized the message moments later, I missed the divine appointment.   However, this man did not miss the appointment. God sent another laborer in my place.

Hebrews 13:21

“I pray that God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen.”

May we always listen to the nudges God puts on our heart before we listen to anything else, and may we always be ready to do His good will.

May you be blessed!

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Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

We took a day trip last week and enjoyed listening to the newest audio drama release from  Brinkman Adventures.

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The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3

5 Hours of Adventures

Recorded on 4 CD’s.

12 Episodes

Each episode is approximately 25+ minutes long.

For ALL Ages

Retails for $27.99  (purchase by donation only, whatever amount you feel led to give)

MP3 download version also available.   See web site for more details.

What is included:

These are short stories told in audio drama style of mission trips taken by real missionaries. They are full of suspense, daring escapes, and total reliance on God for provision and safety and making a way where there is no way.   They are inspiring and faith building.   They challenge you to believe and share your faith in Jesus Christ, to believe in the God of the impossible, Jehovah, and his love for mankind.

These stories are full of the kind of exciting adventures my kids loved!

This set contains 4 Disks.  Stories on each disk include:

Disk 1

  • Ep. 01 – God’s Mule.
  • Ep. 02 – Mountain Mover.
  • Ep. 03 – Silent Ambassador

Disk 2

  • Ep. 04 – Translating Trouble
  • Ep. 05 – Man-Up
  • Ep. 06 – Acorns & Oaks

Disk 3

  • Ep. 07 – A Saint’s Story Pt 1
  • Ep. 08 – A Saint Story pt 2
  • Ep. 08 – A Saint Story pt 2 (2)
  • Ep. 09 – Untouched

Disk 4

  • Ep. 10 – Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
  • Ep. 11 – Missionary Tourist Pt 1
  • Ep. 12 – Missionary Tourist Pt 2

How We Used The Brinkman Adventures, Episode 3:

We enjoyed these CD’s so much!  We took it with us on a day trip to enjoy the beauty of the fall and listen to amazing stories (testimonies) of God working in peoples lives. The kids were on the edge of their seat the whole time we listened to these stories on our trip.  They wouldn’t let a moment go by when one disk ended, they immediately wanted me to put the next disk into the player.

Fall Afternoon

I know we will listen to these audio drama’s again and again.   We have been audio drama fans for many many years.   When our children were very little we first began listening to christian missionary CDs and audio bible dramas for kids.  It is such a fun way to learn to listen and go on an adventure by listening and imagining all the places and people and events being described.

Here are a few examples of the fun stories we listened to:

In the first story, Ep. 1- God’s Mule, the missionary Tomas, secretly transports bibles to closed countries and has to rely on God to help in big and small ways to accomplish this impossible task that could land him in prison or even killed.

In the second story, Ep. 2 – Mountain Mover, another story about Tomas, he secretly smuggled 4,000 bibles in 14 years, then 5,000 bibles in one trip, and 10,000 bibles in another trip in 100 suitcases that the authorities never opened and their machines broke just as he and his team approached the lines to be inspected.  God showed his power in mighty ways to protect Tomas and make a way for the impossible.

In the third story, Ep 3 – Silent Ambassador, a young girl named Evyline becomes a kid with a mission.  She puts a kids club together and organizes the collection and filling of 200 shoeboxes of supplies for Operation Christmas Child.  When they learn about what she has done, she gets to become an Ambassador for the charity and travel around the country speaking on their behalf and also travel to the Dominican Republic to deliver the charity’s 100 millionth shoebox.

Story after story, 12 stories in all, each one will inspire you and your kids to live bigger and bolder and more outrageous for God.  They will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and trust God to do the impossible to help you spread the news of his kingdom.

Further the Learning:

Play It Out:  One of the best parts of being a kid is getting to play.  Role play, active play, imaginative play, you name it and play is just fun and a great way to learn.  My kids were so inspired by the stories, they wanted to act out some of the adventures at the park.  We had been on the road for several hours and were headed back home but decided to stop and let them stretch their legs and their imaginations.  This was a great opportunity for them to imagine crossing bridges, climbing mountains, escaping dangers, and reaching areas of the world with the gospel.

Fall at Park

Map It:  Print out or draw out a world map.  Have the kids locate where in the world the mission assignment takes place.  Then have them learn more about that country and the culture of the people who live there.  If it is known what country or state the missionary came from, have them mark that too.  They can then find out what it cost to travel to that country, live there, and what kind of finances a missionary would need to complete the assignment. Perhaps this will inspire them to help raise money for missions.  At the bare minimum it will expand their understanding of the geographic locations of different peoples around the world.

Art It: Draw It/Color It/Paint It.  This activity does so much to help a person’s mind understand and remember the story.  We have found this activity to be very inspirational.  You can start with a blank page and let the kids draw the story, or give them a printed coloring page (many free ones available online) and have them color either during or after the story.

Unit Study: We loved these CD’s so much that we are going to go around the world in 12 weeks with them. We are going to create 12 mini unit studies and take 1 audio drama a week and listen and study the country the missionary went to and the people who live there.  We will fill in a map, make a timeline of events, make a recipe, a craft, and pray for the missionary and people they are reaching every day that week.  We will start on a small scale and do this for 12 weeks, one missionary story a week,  starting in January.

Curriculum:  There are so many areas you could incorporate these stories on CD with your curriculum: Bible, Language Arts, Culture Studies, Geography, History, Travel, Politics, Religion, Public Speaking, etc.  I would like to create some lesson plans and put something together for next year for a year long missions focused curriculum.  Perhaps we can turn Brinkman Adventures into a year long missions unit study, or keep it to the 12 weeks and fill in the rest of the year with their other audio volumes 1 and 2.  I found some great resources online for kids to learn about missions including worksheets, crafts, and lots of activities.  Also on their website are short written stories about each missionary and more information about their real life experience.  Brinkman Adventures also offers a curriculum called Ignite for ages 8-12 for $49 suggested donation.  This looks really good and may be an option for folks who don’t have time or feel comfortable to make their own lesson plans.

Invite Friends: I could really see this as a 12 month course and do this with a homeschool coop either in a local area or online with other families.  It would also be great to do with a bible study and with a youth group.   If doing with a bible study or youth group, I would definately check into Brinkman Adventures pre-made curriculum.  I am considering putting an online coop together and get several other homeschool families together on this with us, each family getting their own CD’s, and then we can follow some lesson plans to further the learning and put our faith in action, and finally do a blog hop online where all the families can share our experiences together. Let me know if you want to participate in this project.

Stay tuned for a future updates on this project.  Perhaps we can get missionary companies to offer a give away here or perhaps we can even help them raise funds for their missions outreach and needs.  Let me know if you want to participate in this adventure.  I think this has the potential to be life transforming if we can catch the vision for it!

Social Media

Be sure to follow Brinkman Adventures on their social media links for all the latest news and product updates.  They currently offer three volumes on CD sets with amazing missionary stories.  They also have a pre-made curriculum with lesson plans called Ignite that looks great.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Brinkman-Adventures-152895116079/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrinkmanAdventures/videos/

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

Check out what other homeschool families on the TOS Review Crew had to say about using Brinkman Adventures in their home.

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Faith Of Our Fathers Movie Review

I have an great movie to tell you about called Faith of Our Fathers from FishFlix.com.

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Fish Flix is a wonderful family friendly company on a mission to bring you the greatest movies that inspire your faith at affordable prices.  They have hundreds of great movies to choose from.  Most of their movies are very affordable and priced between $5 and $20.   They have movies that appeal to everyone of all ages: Family movies, Kids movies, Action, Romance, Feature Films, Dramas, Christian History, Apologetics,  and more.  They offer free shipping on orders over $35 and they also offer a 10% off coupon for signing up for their newsletter.

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Faith Of Our Fathers

Full Length Feature Film

Star Cast Starring:  Stephen Baldwin, Si Robertson, Kevin Downs, Robert AR White

$9.99 on sale ($14.99 retail price)

The movie takes place in both the past in Vietnam and the present in America, and connects them with a common thread as two sons try to find out what happened to their dads who were soldiers during the war.

Three men meet in the Vietnam War 50 years ago.  Two of the men had kids and a wife waiting back home for them and they wrote letters to their families.  Over the course of time, the two men formed a friendship on the battle field.   One man loved God and took his bible with him everywhere during battles.   Others on the squad were annoyed by his faith.   The other soldier was a strong fighter and didn’t know God and didn’t want to know God.   Both men formed a bond and in the end as one led the other to Jesus, they gave their lives for each other on the battle field.

25 years later, their grown sons, named Wayne (Robert AR White) and John Paul (Kevin Downs), are searching for answers.  Their paths cross when John Paul locates Wayne’s number in the phone book and calls him.  But Wayne refuses to talk to him.  John Paul travels across the country to meet Wayne who doesn’t want to meet, but finally gives in to the encounter by agreeing to share the letters for $500 a piece if John Paul will travel to the Vietnam Wall Memorial with him.  He had started on the journey to see the wall years earlier but was forced to stop because of a traffic accident that killed his mom and he had been to devastated to complete the journey.

On their journey, they have several problems and while John Paul turns to God regularly to solve his problems, Wayne doesn’t want anything to do with God and keeps screwing up his life. The dynamics between the two sons is very similar to the relationships of their fathers.  Along the journey they read the letters one at a time and the scene goes back and forth between Vietnam and the battle field, and the roads of America and problems / stresses they face in our culture.

They both eventually find peace and healing after meeting the third man, played by Stephen Baldwin, who was their dads’ Sargent in Vietnam.  He served with and was in charge of their dads.  He knew both men and saw their death.  He put in the missing pieces for them and encouraged them to complete the journey. He gave them a gift and his message of grace, and his kindness melted Wayne’s heart to receive the gospel.

All along it was John Paul planting the seeds of faith as he lived out his struggles in front of Wayne, but it was the third man who had known both their fathers that watered the seed with love and honor of their father’s memories, and as he shared his faith with them his message brought healing and caused that seed of faith to sprout in Wayne’s heart.  This is an awesome story of healing wounded relationships, faith in God, hope for a better tomorrow, and loving each other as we face battles both in war time and in our day to day living.

Movie Trailer

We absolutely loved this movie!  There are eight of us in our family and as you can see everyone took a spot on the couches or floor with blankets and popcorn for an evening of inspiring entertainment.

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The older four children loved the movie.  The two youngest kids sat next to daddy and they fell asleep about half way through the movie as it was past their normal bedtime.

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I can also see how this would be a great addition to American History studies, Cultural studies, and bible studies too.  We are Duck Dynasty fans and it was fun to see Si Robertson being his usual silly self acting as a store clerk in this movie too. Our whole family enjoyed this film and would recommend it for everyone.

Social Media

Be sure to follow Fish Flix on their social media sites for all the latest news and updates.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fishflix
Twitter: https://twitter.com/christiandvd
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fishflix/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Fishflix/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/familychristianmovie

FishFlix.com Review No 2

Check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using movies from Fish Flix in their homes.

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Stand Up, Stand Out, and Shine Bright

Have you ever come under attack because you stand up for something?  Have you been critisized because your talents and skills cause you to stand out?  Be encouraged today, because God has placed talents and gifts inside you that are meant for you to stand up and shine brightly with them, expanding the light of his Kingdom, illuminating a dark world, and bring Him glory through it all.

shine

As I listened to the words of Jesus this morning in my bible study, I realized he is saying he wants you and me to Stand Up, Stand Out, and Shine Bright.   He wants you to do good and stand out so others can see his light shining from you. That is not boastful. That is not prideful. Those are the words of Christ Jesus.

Jesus told us to “DO” and to  “STAND” and to “SHINE”.

To “do”, to “stand”, and to “shine” are ACTION words.   They are the opposite of “take a seat”, “stay seated” and “you may be seated” words we hear spoken today.   I don’t think Jesus would have defined his followers the way they appear today, seated and asleep.

If you asked the average person today how they would define a Christian, most would say something like:  “A Christian is a person who follows a religious teacher named Jesus by going to a building with four walls on Sunday to sing about him, pray, and hear a bible story”.  Jesus NEVER ever said for his followers to live like that.   Jesus gave his followers an assignment to stand out, to do good, and to shine and illuminate the darkness.  He told them to go out two by two to heal the sick, cast out demons, feed the hungry, set captives free and preach the Kingdom of God in all the earth. Yet sadly, the “Christian life” amounts to sitting in a pew on Sunday for most believers of Jesus today.

If a person, or group of people, are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, then they will do what he did and obey what he said.  The churches who are doing, standing, and shining, are the churches we see growing exponentially today, just as the early church that Jesus created did. Miracles are happening as those believers pray for others, cast out demons, heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, raise the dead, and set the captives free, and thousands of lives are being fed, clothed, and transformed, and the Christian believer is a bright light in that city.

Christians, and their churches, that shine the brightest in a city, also take the most criticism from other Christians that don’t choose to shine.  They have let their lamps grow dark outside of their four walls of their buildings, and they criticize those who stand out and shine bright.

This happens constantly, but I will use this one recent example to illustrate this point.  I recently heard a pastor of a small church in a decaying city criticizing pastors of larger churches.  He often points fingers at them and puts them down in discussions with his congregation.   He says that these larger churches are not truly following God or else they wouldn’t have such large congregations of people.  He says that they are prideful to have musical instruments and singers on stage and putting on a show.  He says these pastors are misappropriating funds to have large budgets for their church to fly around the US and the World and put money into these large outreach efforts.  He says they are showing off and worldly to draw in large crowds.

Yet while he critisizes others,  his own church’s light is dying.  He has no impact in his decaying city.  Even though he stays busy going here or there doing this or that, he and his congregation contain no new life and no change or growth.   In the community and even within the four walls of his building, there is no opportunity for the followers of Jesus to shine, even though he states weekly that they are in the midst of “revival”.   They host revivals (evening sermon meetings that last from anywhere from 3 days to 7 days) monthly through out the year.  I have attend several at that church and other local churches, I have spoken to these pastors and their guest evangelists, and from what I can tell, these churches are not really in revival.    It is just a word that label their meetings that they host that are different than Sunday service.

Revival is basically spiritual CPR.  To revive is to breathe new life into a dying or dead situation. Their church and their city continues to die despite their efforts at “revival”.  It is not effective. There is no spiritual CPR happening in the revival meetings that I have seen for many years.  Many years ago in the 1970’s and mid 1980’s I did witness true revivals that changed cities. But after that, except for a few dynamic on fire churches, what I witnessed across this nation was a sleeping church who’s light grew dim in their communities.

Christians speak about revival, but many have become lukewarm in allowing God to be Lord in every decision.  They trade out God’s word about living: eating, raising children, marriage, healing and raising the dead, casting out demons, etc. instead for an acceptance of government guidance in regards to daily living, education of children, health care, jobs, morals, etc.  They enjoy a “tax exempt” status and follow the social / political rules.  They may get a pat on the back or their name in the paper if they do a good event, but sadly most churches, don’t bring positive change to their communities.  Though God is honored during the service on Sunday or Wednesday, God is not the Lord of their daily living decisions 24/7.   Instead the congregation often seems to hide behind the four walls of the church building, hides their gifts and talents that were purposed to expand the Kingdom within their cities, and wait…wait…wait…asleep…until Jesus returns…all the while they never realize their lamps ran out of oil and they no longer were effective to shine God’s light into a dark world.

I just want to shout from the rooftops “WAKE UP O CHURCH!  WAKE UP O BRIDE OF CHRIST WHO HAS FALLEN ASLEEP.  YOUR LAMPS NEED TENDING.  KEEP SHINING BRIGHT AND STAND UP AND STAND OUT”.

“Your eyes are like a window for your body.
When they are good, you have all the light you need.
But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark.
If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark.”
Mathew 6:22-23

How do we keep our lamps supernaturally full and shining bright?  Jesus is returning for a Bride who is awake and her lamp is full of spiritual oil and she is shinning bright and doing good, obeying the commands of Isaiah 58 while she loves God with her whole heart and loves her neighbor.

Jesus said to becareful because you will fail at shining if your light goes dark.  That seems obvious.  But he made it very clear as if it were not obvious or like we might forget if not reminded.  As if we are like the man who looks in the mirror and steps away and forgets what he looked like in that mirror.  He is right.  We easily forget that we must not let our light go dark. Jesus said if your eyes are bad, and you let darkness into your life, you can not shine.   How can your eyes bring darkness into your life?  The eyes are the door that Satan uses to tempt you. When you follow through with that temptation you bring darkness into your life.  So it is key to remove the darkness and temptations from in front of your eyes and look upon Jesus and obey him.

Jesus said if you love him, you will obey him.  He said to shine bright, stand out, and beam as brightly as you can like a lighted city on a hill, and a lamp on a high stand in your house.   Think about that for just a minute.  Has your power in the house ever gone out and you had to light a candle or use a lamp for light?  I have had this happen many times in my life, and I put that candle or lamp on the highest table in the center of the room so that the room is lit up and I can see where to go and what I am doing.  That candle or lamp can shine so bright that we can even cook a simple meal, or play games by it’s light.   However, if I placed that light in a corner of a room, it would not light up the room well enough for us to see.

When we stand out and shine, we send forth HIS light that is in us so that God will be glorified. Others will give God praise when they see you doing good and shining bright. Christians who stand out, who shine bright, often come under attack from both other Christians and non-Christians.  It can be a hard and lonely choice to stand out, and would be much easier to hide, or sit on a pew and let others do the shining.  But to obey Jesus (not your denomination, not your pastor, not religious rules or traditions),  as a child of God, you must be placed on a high place and stand out so that everyone around you can see what is around them with the light that you are shining forth.  The darkness of their situation is transformed and lit up by the light you shine.  You are the lamp that must shine bright while you are doing good. Don’t get burned out doing good, don’t fall asleep, and don’t hide your light or let it go out.

Think about it.  If every Christian obeyed the words of Jesus and stood out on a high place and shined forth God’s light while doing good, surely this world would experience true revival.  It would look a whole lot different. Surely multitudes of people would come to Jesus and give God praise for the good they see you do and the church would truly experience a spiritual CPR revival and grow exponentially.

“You are like light for the whole world.
A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden,
and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot.
A lamp is placed on a lampstand,
where it can give light to everyone in the house.
Make your light shine,
so that others will see the good that you do
and will praise your Father in heaven.”
Mathew 5:14-15

 

O Church!

Wake up, stand up, and be the light of the world, giving light to everyone while we stand out and shine bright while doing good.

Be blessed!

 

This post will be linked up with:

Raising Homemakers

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Stay Hydrated

It is sure easy to get dehydrated!  Whew!

I am trying to stay healthy and I set a goal to drink one half of my estimated pounds I weight in ounces.  This sounds easy, but for some reason, I have a hard time getting it all in.  It is about the equivalent of 3 quart jars of water.   For example, a 200 lb person would try to drink 100 ml of water per day.  Water is necessary for all functions of the body.

You can add flavor and healthy nutrients to your daily water intake by adding fresh fruit, herbs (tea), pink sea salt, extracts or a drop of a food safe essential oil. For a delicious treat, I like to add one drop of lemon essential oil to an 8 ounce glass of water for flavor and health benefits.

 

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Tales from the Circle C Ranch Review

We have been having so much fun reading Tales from the Circle C Ranch.  We love these books! This is the second book by Susan Marlow from Circle C Adventures we have had the privilege to review.

Circle C Adventures

What We Received:

We received the Tales from the Circle C Ranch book, and also a PDF download of the corresponding Andrea Carter’s Tales From The Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook and Study Guide for the purpose of this review.

Tales from the Circle C Ranch

Tales from the Circle C Ranch

by Susan Marlow
Historical /Christian / Fiction /
160 pages
Paperback Book
For ages 9-14
Retails for $7.99

Lapbook

A Journey Through Learning: Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch, Learning Lapbook and Study Guide.

E-book PDF digital download.
39 pages
Instructions, study guide pages tying each chapter of the book with historical facts, and printout activities to create fun learning lapbooks.
Retails for $7.00

Tales from the Circle C Ranch is a book about a young girl named Andi (Andrea Carter) who lived in the late 1800’s.  The book is a collection of short stories about her life between 1874 to 1881 (about ages 6-13) and relates to the other Circle C series of books.  The author wrote this book to answer questions about Andi’s life sent in by her fans who read one or more of the other books.  Andi has a lot of fans!

How We Used This In Our Home.

We are having a blast with this book and study guide-lapbook combination.   Lapbooks and unit studies are some of our favorite ways to study.

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I received the reading book in the mail, and the lapbook PDF came in an email link.

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When I received the link to the PDF download, I printed it and put it into a three ring binder.

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The Lapbook is 39 pages, and is made up of a little less than 1/2 study guide (17 pages), and 1/2 activities (22 pages).   I printed off a copy of each of the activity pages for the kids, but did not print the study guide pages for them.  I have 6 kids and 22 pages a piece is a whole lot of printing!!!  I also glued two folders together for each child, that will hold their activity pages and eventually become their lapbooks.

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Instead of each of the kids having their own copy of the study guide, we read from the study guide pages from the main copy I put into the binder.  That way each child only had to keep track of their own activity pages, and I kept track of the main copy (study guide, instructions, activity pages) in the binder.   This method worked out well for our family and helped me save a lot of ink and paper!

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I also opted to save more money and printed the lapbook activity pages in black and white and let the kids color them while they listened to the book being read aloud, in instead of printing them in full color.   By having to color the activity pages instead of choosing them pre-colored, it helped them be even more involved in the learning process, and personalize their lapbooks so each one looks a little different from their siblings.

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For this review, each day I gathered all of the children together at the table to learn as a group.  One of the reasons we love lapbooks and the unit study approach to learning is the fun we have learning together.

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Our oldest son read the book aloud to the kids.  He read one short story a day to them, but he also enjoyed reading ahead on his own too.  Several times I found him reading after we were all finished at the table.  He couldn’t wait to get to the next story in the book.

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While he read the book, the younger children colored the corresponding lapbook worksheets.

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They loved coloring while listening to the story.

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After he read the chapter, he would then read the corresponding page about a related history subject in the study guide.  Then I would give the children instructions (cutting, stapling, and arranging the booklet position, and gluing it into their folders) to complete their lapbook assignment.

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The older boys preferred to just listen during the story read aloud, and then work on their lapbook worksheets afterwards while the study guide was being read.

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After completing the lapbook pages for each chapter, the children glued the finished activity into their lapbooks.

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The kids really enjoyed reading this book and creating their lapbooks. They have several things in common with Andi (Andrea Carter).  They could relate to her even though she lived during the late 1880’s.    This made it really fun for them to follow along in the story.  For example:

  • She has several siblings and we have a lot of siblings.
  • She lives on a ranch and has chores and we live on a homestead farm and have chores too.
  • She has horses and we have goats, chickens, rabbits, cats, and dogs as well as a big garden and several acres to play and run on our homestead.
  • Andi is a Christian and grows her faith through the experiences she lives out, and we do the same.  The kids can identify with her trust in the Lord.
  • In the book she buys a gift for her mom for her birthday, and we did something special for dad for Father’s Day and celebrated 2 birthdays during this review.  We celebrated each of these with gifts, cheesecake, and vanilla cake  and chocolate cake.

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There are several things I would like to do before we finish this fun learning adventure.   I hope I can schedule a field trip to take the kids to see some other things relevant to Andi’s life and the experiences shared in the book.

A few additional things I would like to add to this learning project is:

  • take the kids to see some horses, learn about different kinds of saddles and tack used to care for horses, get to feed the horses, maybe find a stables where we can ride horses on a trail, or take a carriage ride.
  •  I hope to find a good youtube video of a recent horse race for the kids to watch.
  • Visit the ocean.  Find a crab and clam shells.  Taste the salty ocean water.
  • Visit a nature center and hold a snake.
  • Attend a ball game.
  • Create some fake snow to play in since it is not winter here, but if you read this book in the winter, be sure to include some snow activities.
  • Visit a photography studio and learn how they process photos.
  • It would be awesome to be able to take a trip out west to see California, Oregon, and Washington where the story takes place.  I visited these states in my youth and those are awesome memories.  But I don’t really see a cross country trip to the west coast happening anytime soon though.
  • Cook food from the 1800’s that Andi mentions in the story, like Molasses Cookies, Crab, Flapjacks, Peppermint Sticks, Apple Pie, Roast Beef Sandwiches, Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Cake,

I hope round out this book, lapbook, and our own unit study of this time in history by planning a field trip to a pioneer village from the 1800’s,  an outing at county or state fair, and to visit a horse ranch, as well as cook a couple of recipes like the ones mentioned in the book that were served for dinner, to enhance our learning even more with this study.

You will enjoy this book by itself or with the additional lapbook.  You don’t need anything other than a desire to read and learn to use either.  But you can also really enjoy this time period in history by including a few fun projects to enhance your child’s learning too.  Either way, this book is a winner and goes into a permanant place on our family book shelves to read again and again for years to come.

About the Author:

We fell in love with the books when we read Thick as Thieves earlier in the school year.   We couldn’t wait to get a hold of more books by Susan K Marlow !   Susan is a homeschool mom who has dedicated her life to her family and to writing wholesome Christian fiction books for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Susan Marlow

Susan Marlow has authored over 17 books and workbooks for children. She offers several free study guides to enhance the learning too.   The sequel to the Thick as Thieves  book we read earlier this year for the 12 and older age group is called Heartbreak Trail and is coming out later this summer.  My older sons are begging for me to get it for them.  I don’t know of too many boys who beg their mom for more books, (especially books that center around a girl character), but these books are a winner!!!

Susan Marlow Books

Each skill level / age level has it’s own series of books to read about Andi’s life as she grows up. To access the various levels of books, from the Susan Marlow web site, you will see this info-graph I have posted above.  Once you click “enter” on the picture of the series or learning level you are interested in, a whole web site for that specific learning level appears with books, study guides, lapbooks, more articles, and fun photos about Andi.  Susan Marlow has done a wonderful job organizing her website into an easy to navigate, and user friendly resource for families.

Susan Marlow lives on a homestead in the state of Washington.   She also teaches writing workshops, and hosts a writing contests for youth too. Her connection with homeschool life and homesteading really comes through in her books and my kids can relate so easily to Andi and the other characters even though the stories are written about a girl and her friends and family who lived in a previous time in history.

I haven’t yet told my kids that Susan also wrote a series of books about a 12 year old boy named Jem who grew up gem mining during the Gold Rush in California.  We enjoyed gem mining and gold panning few times while we lived in North Carolina where the Gold Rush began.  My kids have fond memories of those fun times.  I just know they are going to want every book Susan Marlow has ever published about Andi and Jem as these stories are so exciting for kids to read.

Social Media:

Be sure to follow the social media links for Susan Marlow to find out updates and more about the adventures of Andi’s life in all the wonderful series of Circle C books, study guides, lapbooks, coloring pages, and more.

Andi’s Blog: Circle C Adventures   http://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CircleCAdventures
Twitter http://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/susankmarlow/
Writing Contests
(enter 9/1- 1/10) http://www.circlecadventures.com/Writing-Contest.html

Dynamic Literacy Review

Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the TOS Review Crew had to say about using this product with their kids.

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Food Is Fuel and Medicine

This man inspires me.

He is extrodinary.

He lives life with passion and determination to overcome.

Check out this short video, you will be inspired too, by this man’s passion to live life to the fullest no matter his physical and mental challenges.

He also eats whole food nutrition to help fuel his body for athletic competition that seems impossible for a person to do, and completely crazy for a man in his condition to do.

I believe that you never know what you are capable of doing until you give it your best, do it with passion, use wisdom that comes from the Lord, and never give up.

Truly inspiring!

3 John 1:2 “dear friend, and I pray that all goes well for you. I hope that you are as strong in body, as I know you are in spirit.”

I am so happy that I listened to wisdom and became a part of this movement towards better health too.  I want to live extrodinary.   I have lived with determination to overcome great obstacles, and I have lived with passion, doing my best at everything I put my energy into while sharing and caring for others needs, but I also want to live with wisdom and purpose.

You can do this too!  You can over come health challenges and live an extrodinary life.  No matter how big or small, with whole food nutrition to fuel your body and help it recover, there is you can push the limits of what you think you can do and you can overcome.

God created our bodies, an engineering marvel, that science and pharmacuticals can not duplicate or fix.    Pharmacuticals can only mask the symptoms, but it doesn’t fix the problem. Who can fix our bodies then?  If science can’t do it, and doctors with meds can’t do it, who can help us heal? God can.  How?  He created the perfect fuel (whole food) to energize our body, and the perfect medicine (whole food (fruits, leaves, spices, seeds, honey, etc) and oils (olive oil, and fragrant essential oils) to heal it, as well as prayer, praise, faith, joy, forgiveness, and acceptance of the cuts and bruises Jesus suffered for our healing.  He desires for us to live in health and has made a way for us to do so.

Gods ways are not man’s ways. Science is only beginning to look at whole food’s ability to heal and they are finding is that whole foods contain micro-nutrients that are stronger and more effective than any pharmacutical.  No kidding!  And not only that, to work effectively the micro nutrients need the other micro nutrients in that plant to do the job.  So you can’t just remove vitamin C for example, and have it work as effectively in large quantities, as it can in smaller quantities if left in tact with it’s other nutrient co-factors in that food.  Things like blueberries, lemons, apples, pomagrannats, turmeric, raw honey, raw milk, grapes, clove oil, garlic,  frankensense oil, rosemary oil, cilantro, oregano oil, etc, are more bio available and stronger than any chemo drug or antibiotic that man has created. Why don’t doctors, hospitals, dieticians, pharmacuticals, etc tell you about this?  Because they can not patten and make money from selling you God’s creation, nature, natural, organic, symbiotic.  Pharmacutical companies can only make their billions from man’s creations, synthisized  nutrients and pharmacuticals that they can take credit for and prevent others from copying. Who knows your body better? Of course your creator, the guy who built it, the architect, the engineer, He knows best how to take care of it.

Listen to what God says about healing:
Revelation 22:2 “… On each side of the river are trees that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations.”
AND
Ezekiel 47:12 “Fruit trees will grow all along this river and produce fresh fruit every month. The leaves will never dry out, because they will always have water from the stream that flows from the temple, and they will be used for healing people.”
AND
Psalm 104:15 “wine to cheer us up, olive oil for our skin, and grain for our health.”
AND
Psalm 107:20 “By the power of his own word, he healed you and saved you from destruction.”
AND
1 Peter 2:24 “Christ carried the burden of our sins. He was nailed to the cross, so that we would stop sinning and start living right. By his cuts and bruises you are healed.”
AND
Mark 5:34  Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”
AND
Malachi 4:2 “But for you that honor my name, victory will shine like the sun with healing in its rays, and you will jump around like calves at play.”

I believe that if a person follows God’s plan for health, no matter what health challenges / crisis may arise in their life, they can recover from injuries and illness, overcome chronic disease and debilitaion, and be the best that they can be no matter how old they are.  Acknowledging God’s authority in our life, and reverencing him, honoring him, and obeying him is truly wise and will lead us all to better health and wellness.

Be blessed!

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IndoctriNation Review

We were recently sent the IndoctriNation DVD by Great Commission Films to review in our home.

IndoctriNation

IndoctiNation
For Christian Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, Church Leaders
DVD retails $19.99
102 Minute DVD
Other versions available (book, download, English, Spanish, other languages available soon, etc) check out the web site for more information.

This film is for every Christian parent. Not every Christian parent is going to want to watch it. The scriptures, interviews, and facts presented will challenge your faith. I watched this movie with my husband. We were both quite shocked at how much has changed since we attended public school in our youth in the 1970’s – 1980’s, yet also how much has stayed the same. This movie has helped to strengthen our convictions about why we chose to homeschool. We plan to watch this movie again with our older children at a later date. There are several mature topics discussed in the movie that require pre-screening and open discussions you may need to be prepared for when sharing it with your children.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie at first. The cover shows a guy driving a school bus, and the caption reads: “A family field trip exposes the shocking truth behind your child’s public school!”. Since we homeschool, and have personal convictions why we choose to do so, I wasn’t really sure if we needed to know more about the public school system. But after seeing this film, I am convinced everyone needs to see it.

I was quite pleased to see a homeschool dad of seven kids (now 8) from Texas driving the bus and leading the way to help Christian parents take back the control of their children’s education. Colin Gunn, is a homeschool dad, and a film maker. More about him is posted at the bottom of this story. He made this film to document his journey with his family riding in a yellow school bus around the country to interview country leaders, law makers, church leaders, teachers, parents, students, and many more to understand the moral decay of the American public education system.

interview

I am a Christian. I am in the minority in this country. My family and I choose to homeschool. I am thankful that I live in America and have the freedom to choose and practice my faith to be a Christian. I am able to raise my children according to my faith. However, if I were to place my children in the government ran public education system, my children would not be free to learn or practice their faith during school hours. They would be indoctrinated to believe to question and doubt their faith, and trained to accept the government’s moral or immoral values.

Though we choose to homeschool, 90% of Christian families in America choose to public school. WHY? Do they know they are making a choice? Do they believe they have a choice? The question poised by this movie to every Christian parent and Christian pastor, Christian teacher, and Christian community leader is “WHY” choose public government education for your children when it clearly goes against the very foundation of being a Christian? Why send them to gain a pagan worldview?

The scriptures clearly instruct parents to raise children in the way of the Lord. If that is true, then why do so many Christian parents put the lives of their children into the hands of the “godless government” vaccume to train them for 8 hours a day? How can you expect them to remain Christian?

The answer is complicated, but there are at least five reasons I have heard my Christian friends say why they choose public education instead of homeschool education:

One: Cultural Assimilation. Parents don’t want to be singled out as different. They want their kids to be “normal” and accepted by the main culture. They think by sending their kids to school they will be socialized by their peers and fit in. This is even more expressed by families who immigrated to this country. By sending their children to school, they believe they can become Americanized.

Two: Parents trust the government. Parents no longer play the leading role in their kids lives. They trust the government and government trained teachers to make wise decisions for the child’s education, and also for the family. However, the government’s recommendations go far beyond the classroom and are implemented in the homes (as well as after-school programs, health care centers and agendas, and local community classes) across the nation. This is a huge error to trust the government system to make these kinds of decisions. Government will make decisions based on its agenda, in every area, not based on what is best for families.

Three: Lack of an intimate support system to help raise their children in the way of the Lord. So many families feel alone and do not have a close connection to other Godly families in their local community who can support one another and help meet each other’s needs. Many churches do not understand this need and do not offer this support because most churches in America, support the idea of Public Government Education.

Four: Economics. The movie points out that families are required to pay $12,000-$13,000 a year in education taxes, regardless if they choose public school or not. Since they have already paid for it with their tax dollars, most families choose this option rather than having to come up with extra money to educate their children a different way.

Five: For many families, allowing the school to educate their children allows them lifestyle freedoms and personal gain they do not think they could have if they homeschooled them. It allows them their career of choice. I have heard this time and time again. I have even heard pastors and pastor’s wives state these things. With having their kids in school, they have the time to pursue their own interests, perhaps have dual incomes, many families can afford to live in just the right subdivision, or the perfect house, own two and three vehicles, have extra program activities and sports their kids can participate in, and other extras they want that they would not be able to have if one parent stayed home to raise the kids. I heard a pastor’s wife not long ago say, “someday we hope to homeschool, but just not right now. Our life is so busy.” While saying this, she also said how her daughter is bullied daily and comes home from school crying, and the many ungodly things they see and experience at the school.

IndoctriNation points out the root cause of the moral and social decay of society is the American Public Education System. It is guiding the American culture. The second half of the movie takes you on a journey through time from the 1600’s to today to understand how Godly education came to be and how it was lost. The majority of great leaders in America up till the mid 1800’s were homeschooled. The bible was the origional moral foundation of this country. The movie take us along the time frame of educational change and who the players involved were in it’s moral and social decay over the past 200 years with the implementation of government run schools that teach socialism, humanism, paganism to our kids. It is important for Christian families to know who is creating and who is teaching the curriculum, what their agenda is, and how this is impacting our youth and our culture. The state run government education is a socialist system. As the government indoctrinates each generation, we are becoming more and more a socialist nation.

school

During one interview in the movie, the term “Indoctrination Academy” is used. Children in the public school are being educated with a curriculum called Value Clarification. This curriculum teaches them it is ok to choose their own right and wrong despite what their parents believe or what the bible says. It teaches them to choose a life style and personal choices that are against God. It teaches them relativism and humanism and its own moral code that is anti-Christ. A direct question is asked for parents: Do you want your children to belong to you and respect your faith, your culture, your history? Or do you want them to belong to the state?

I think if more families knew the truth about what is taught in public school, that their kids were being indoctrinatated to become dependent on the state, and the outcome of learning in this environment, they would not choose to place their children in public school. According to the film, 88% of kids will leave the Christian faith forever after graduating from public highschool. Matthew 10:32-33: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in Heaven.” How will we as Christian Parents answer the Lord?
How will we answer the Lord when we stand before him on judgement day? Will having had a dual income lifestyle really be so important when we weigh that decision with sending our kids out into the world to be indoctrinated by godless schools who teach them to turn away from God and God’s principles? Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Fathers and mothers are charged with the responsibility of teaching of their children. Neither schools, churches, tutors, etc, no one else is mentioned in Scripture as having that role other than the parents.

I encourage all Christian parents to watch this video. It’s not to late to turn things around. Pray and ask God to help you educate your kids for his glory. I hope you will also take a minute to review the Christian Education Manifesto sponsored by the IndorctiNation movie and pray for God to help you reach these biblical standards in your family’s life. There is also a place on the web site to upload your two minute personal story about education or education of your kids. In exchange for sharing your story with IndoctriNation, they will share with you some great perks and a back stage pass downloadable package with regards to the making of the film and all of the research and full length interviews.

Check out a short clip of the movie.
Video Trailer:

Follow on Social Media for the latest product news and updates:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IndoctriNationMovie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/indocmovie
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/indoctrination
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/IndoctriNationMovie

Colin Dunn

More about Homeschool Dad Colin Dunn: Colin is an award-winning screen writer, director, producer and animator. In addition to “IndoctriNation”, some of his film productions include “Shaky Town”, “The Monstrous Regiment of Women”, “Captivated”, and “Act Like Men”. He working on an upcoming movie called “Wait Till It’s Free!” He is originally from Hamilton, Scotland and immigrated to the USA. He lives in Waco, Texas, with his wife and eight children, and his family homeschools.

IndoctriNation DVD Review

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Week 6 Update On The 90 Day Challenge

Well I don’t have big changes to report this week. The past two weeks feel like they flew by, and I am sure I didn’t accomplish as much as I could have. I can’t believe I am half way through the 90 Day Challenge to better my health and wellness in 2015. But thankfully I didn’t lose ground in the past two weeks in the progress I have made so far since the start of the year.

My weight has barely changed over the past two weeks and this was a little discouraging as one of my main goals in this challenge is to reach a healthier weight for my body. I lost and re-gained the same pound or two nearly every other day and I’ve definitely been at a stale mate with my weight loss goals over these two weeks. It has been frustrating going up and back down a pound on the scale and not seeing any real progress in my weight loss goals. Yes, I wish I would have lost more, but I choose to remain positive and see the little the scale did move as a good sign that I didn’t go backwards. My total weight loss as of week 6 on my 90 day get healthy challenge is 15 lbs so far! YEAH! I truly hope I can continue to achieve at least this much more or do even better with weight loss as I complete the second half of the 90 days.

Weight Loss as of February 8

I’m maintaining the healthy changes I have made since the start of the year, including positive dietary changes in my meal plans inspired by FMD (Fast Metabolism Diet) and THM (Trim Healthy Mama), I’m drinking more water, choosing nutrient dense foods including daily sources of low glycemic foods like greens and fresh vegetables, fruits, fermented foods (raw apple cider vinegar, kombucha, Kevita, etc.), coconut oil, eggs, sprouted bread, broth, lean meats, etc. I try to get the most nutrition I can from my food sources, but I also see the need for vitamins and superfood supplements too, so I try to take supplements daily to support my nutrition.

I try to remember to take my vitamins and superfood supplements each day, but some days I forget to take them. Some days I just don’t want to take them. I don’t like swallowing pills. I don’t like things getting stuck in my throat which tablets sometimes do. They have a rough edge and it bothers me if it turns the wrong way. I don’t have any problem swallowing capsules, as they are smooth, I just don’t like taking tablets. I compromise sometimes by using nutrient dense smoothies to boost nutrition. I also sometimes take half a dose of some of my vitamins and supplements, especially the tablets and also the more expensive ones. For example, if a whole dose of Spirulina is 6 tablets, I usually only take 3. Cutting back like this allows my body to use as much as it can from the whole foods I eat first, and then it hopefully gets what else it needs from the supplements and hopefully also avoids flushing the ones not used down the toilet. It also helps to stretch the dollar in the budget, because lets face it, vitamin supplements are expensive.

Daily Vitamins and Supplements

I am trying to heal Thyroid and Adrenal fatigue, and heal my reproductive organs after multiple pregnancies, in addition to supporting my daily nutritional needs while I lose weight. It is a huge task! I’m 45 years old, and I have had 9 pregnancies in 14 years since the age of 30, which resulted in 6 live births all of which I nursed, and 3 miscarriages around the 4th month of pregnancy. Though a woman’s body is designed for this amazing task of childbirth, I got started late, and my body is tired. In addition, the last birth was an emergency C-section and that has also taken its toll. I have had some trouble with my energy level in the afternoons since that surgery, and notice my lack of energy is worse if I skip my supplements. But the past few weeks, I have been extra tired, perhaps from surviving the flu last month, and also because of the ongoing lack of sunshine during this long Indiana winter. What ever the reason, the low energy level is taking its toll on me.

Modern farming practices and food manufacturing, have resulted in foods that are deficient of the right balance of nutrition the human body needs. That is why superfood supplements can be an important factor in our overall health, recovery from illness, prevention of disease, etc and bridge the gap left by nutrient deficient modern foods. I hope that by combining nutrient dense foods and superfood supplements, and eating healthy, I can achieve the healing balance my body needs. This week after talking with a knowledgable natural health guru, I decided to put Mito 2 Max and Zendocrine supplements on my wish list, a few additional essential oils on my wish list, implement using some essential oils that I have on hand to boost energy levels, and then I also changed up my supplements by increasing my Vitamin D3 and also added several of doTerra’s vitamin supplement products.

doTerra Supplements

I hope to add doTerra’s MITO2 MAX and Zendocrine as soon as I can to promote cellular health and oxygen to the cells and further support my Thyroid and Adrenal glands. There are some simple remedies I want to implement to help support the adrenal glands too. One remedy is adding lemon to drinking water, and another is rubbing basil essential oil on the skin around the area of the adrenal glands. I don’t have basil oil yet, so that is going on my wish list. Another suggestion was to diffuse specific essential oils in the house that help promote energy. Hopefully adding these changes to my routine will resolve my thyroid and adrenal fatigue in the afternoons.

My current vitamins and superfood supplements include: Water mixed with Vitamin C powder, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, Kelp, Spirulina, chlorophyl, acidophilus, TerraZyme (multi-enzyme blend by doTerra), Microplex VMz (multivitamin plus superfood supplement by doTerra), xEO MEGA (Omega Oils plus Essentail Oils by doTerra), 3 B’s (bee pollen, bee propolis, royal jelly), bilberry extract, red wine complex, turmeric, fiber. I have used a psylium fiber capsule at night a few times a week since starting this challenge, but plan to add a glucomonnan fiber capsule daily earlier in the day. Glucomonnan fiber has a lot of health benefits, including helping to regulate blood sugar, but it is not recommended to take it at night. Many times I forget to take my supplements until night-time, and then I can’t take this one. But I want to change that, and set a new goal to get my supplements taken in the morning.

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A wonderful improvement in my life over the past three months has been doTerra Essential Oils. I was blessed with an amazing kit of oils and superfood supplements, a wholesale membership, and an opportunity to learn and teach others about using essential oils by an incredibly generous person. She is a natural health expert, and so are her three sisters as well as one is a naturopathic doctor too. She has an amazing background of knowledge and has taken me under her wing to teach me. She will never know the true impact this blessing has had on my life. I used to sell essential oils in my healthy foods store for several years. During that time, I had several customers who diligently used them in their personal health care and often had me special order special ones in addition to a shelf I kept stocked all the time. Several customers also used them as a raw ingredient in their own brand of soap and lotion making that they turned around and re-sold the finished products at local markets. I occasionally used a few of the oils myself for crafts and baths, and body massage. But I did not take the time to educate myself on their many healthy uses in everyday life to keep my family healthy. I don’t know why I let that opportunity pass me by. BUT now I am studying! I am applying every opportunity I can to learn and implement using essential oils in my life. This has far-reaching effects in every area of my health and wellness.

My Essential Oil Tool Chest.  An essential oil tool chest is a "must have" in every home.

My Essential Oil Tool Chest. An essential oil tool chest is a “must have” in every home.

For example, to boost my energy level, I was encouraged to diffuse Peppermint and Wild Orange throughout the house, and also to rub it between my hands and inhale as needed. I put Wild Orange on my wish list as it is not one that I had on hand yet. So I improvised and used the oil I had on hand called Citrus Bliss in which Wild Orange is the first ingredient as well has a few other citrus fruits and vanilla. It smells so good. I combined Citrus Bliss with Peppermint every day for week six and I have been amazed at the improvement in how I feel, and how much more alert I am, but also in how my children are feeling too. They are more alert and motivated to complete their school work. I also noticed my husband seems more alert and less tired when he returns from work in the evening. He doesn’t know about the oil in the diffuser, he is just reaping the benefits. I am so grateful to have started using this as a daily remedy for the whole family. This is an amazing energizing combination!

doTerra Essential Oil

I am drinking more water, but still not enough. I find it a challenge to stay hydrated as I don’t like the taste and smell of our iron rich well water. I can unintentionally go most of the day without drinking water if I don’t constantly remind myself to drink something. I just don’t notice that I am thirsty until the end of the day. That is a very bad habit that I have tried to change during this challenge. To help with intentionally hydrating myself, I make a fancy strawberry lemonade called Good Girl Moon Shine that was inspired by the THM (Trim Healthy Mama) diet plan.

Strawberry Good Girl Moon Shine

I need to implement the GGMS everyday again as I did in the summer, but it is a cold drink and I am in a cold farmhouse house in the cold Indiana winter and sometimes I just want to drink hot mocha lattes all day instead. I was drinking a smoothie everyday, but again, I get so cold. One smoothie I love as a snack on FMD is a recipe I created called the Mango Orange Julius. OH YUM, it is soooo good! I have also been using the GREENS by It Works in my Berry Green Smoothies some times at breakfast on Phase 3 days. The It Works Greens are not exactly on plan for the FMD, because of the protein source, but it is full of amazing nutrients that really give you a boost and I like it in this smoothie. I have whey protein powder at home, but it is not approved for the FMD either, but is approved on THM. The only protein powders approved on the FMD are either egg white protein or pea protein. I created a Cinnamon Chocolate Frosty treat I can use on Phase 2 days and I can up the nutrients if I purchase an approved egg white protein powder, so that powder will go on my wish list too. There is also another drink called the Singing Canary by THM you can make at home that is very high in Vitamin C and supports the adrenal glands. I love making bulletproof coffee lattes and also occasionally a special protein shake THM style. I know I still need to drink more fluids though, and it would be a good goal for me to drink a quart each of GGMS and Singing Canary everyday (some women drink two quarts of each of these a day, as well as a special THM tea and additional water too. Their bladders must work overtime, but I can’t handle that much liquid in a day). I will try to get re-organized and make more of these drinks this week.

THE BAD NEWS

I am NOT YET getting regular exercise worked into my routine since I started the challenge. I need to establish a daily exercise routine, but I honestly lack motivation right now to do it. Is it laziness? Is it winter blah’s? Is it related to Thyroid issues? Is it due to recovering from another lost pregnancy? I don’t know! We have been in a winter lockdown here, as it is too cold to do anything out side. The kids and I have spent most of the winter finding fun ways to play inside after our school work is done. We all long to get back outside on a daily basis. The overall lack of sunshine this winter just makes me feel BLAH! I have access to a few indoor exercise videos as well as YouTube on the computer where lots of these things are posted for free too. Two years ago, I used Ttapp DVD videos that really helped me and want to start doing them again. I also went to a zumba class at the Y, but that is not really an option now, so I need to try the Ttapp and free online videos and make a plan for daily use of some physical activity. The Fast Metabolism Diet suggestions for the week include an aerobic activity during Phase 1 (Monday or Tuesday), a strength training activity during Phase 2 (Wednesday or Thursday), and a relaxing activity during Phase 3 (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday). I just need motivation to get started and energy to carry it through.

One thing NOT WORKING in my favor to help me with exercise, physical activity, and weight loss is the time I spend SITTING at the computer. And I am about to get even busier with the computer writing more product reviews again. I have been on “break” for two months from writing reviews, but the new season has begun and it’s time to start writing curriculum reviews for the 2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew year. I think this will be my fifth or maybe sixth year writing for them.

We started several new curriculum products over the past several weeks. I feel busier than ever as we have adjusted our schedule and are trying out these new items to tell our readers about in the upcoming weeks. I feel like my to do list is growing instead of getting smaller. I’m getting organized and have my calendars hanging on the board, notes, and drafts, etc. But when I evaluate why I may have lost less weight the past two weeks compared to what I was loosing before, I realize it is partly because I am adding too many other priorities to my daily routine. Suddenly it feels like my hopes to work on weight loss and a healthier me are taking a back seat to my other really important goals and responsibilities like raising my family, building my marriage, and writing reviews and working at the computer. I am thankful for the opportunity to write reviews. It is a wonderful opportunity to receive amazing curriculums to try out with my kids, but I need to find a good balance between all of my goals including: healthy physical activity, spiritual activity, family activity, friendships too, homesteading, ministry, writing, etc. to have a balanced life. Otherwise the increased time it takes to sit and write at the computer could potentially take a negative toll on my health. I really need to be diligent and not allow that to happen.

GOALS NEXT WEEK

My steps for reaching my smaller goals for the upcoming week as I continue to work on my 90 Day Challenge to better health and wellness:

-Set aside time daily to take my vitamin supplements, even though I dread swallowing pills.
-Set aside time daily to sing and praise the Lord.
-Set aside time daily to study my bible and pray.
-Set aside time daily to build relationships with my husband and kids.
-Set aside time daily to journal and update my daily planner.
-Work with the kids daily on school work.
-Continue to make healthy foods from scratch following my meal plan strategy posted before. Post pictures of foods to Instagram and or Facebook to help others on the 90 Day Challenge with meal ideas.
-Log foods consumed, vitamins and supplements, physical activities, weight changes, etc. onto My Fitness Pal account to help me reach my weight loss goals and monitor where I need to make changes.
-Continue to drink a lot of water and other fluids. Make several quarts of GGMS and a quart of Singing Canary this week.
-Start exercising according to the FMD plan with the different phases listed. My goal is to Ttapp once or twice a week (high intensity on Monday and low intensity on Friday). I would like to strength train once a week (simple repetitive lifting of items I have around the house on Wednesday). I’m not sure yet what other activities to add, but if I can do 20 to 30 minutes in these areas, this will be a good enough place to start this coming week, I just need to get motivated.
-Get to bed by 11:30pm
-BIG GOAL AND BIG CHANGE: Set aside “office hours” time each day when I can write blog stories and product reviews, and then officially close my office at a decent hour rather than stay up late and harm my health by lack of sleep. I want to get the younger kids to bed by 8:30, then write from 8:30 to 11:00. Then get my teenage son to bed (he never goes to bed before 11), get husband’s lunch ready for the following day for work. Update my to do list for the next day and have breakfast planned for the kids. Then hopefully I can get to bed by 11:30.
-Maintain Balance

I hope you have a blessed week!

What are you doing to reach your goals on your 90 Day Challenge to better health?

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