Welcome

I’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. :)

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

“Homeschool Planet” Review

planet97I’m a homeschooler, and creator of the Facebook group, “Schoolin’ Swag”. This past Monday, we hosted a huge giveaway event called the “Planner Palooza”, featuring over 25 prizes. It was a great event!

Well, I’ve been investigating planners for at least 3 years, and in preparation for the Palooza, I did research all over the web, looking for the best products I could find to offer. I thought I’d seen it all.  Then I got an email from the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op and my life took a new turn!

The Co-Op offers “Homeschool Planet” (click <– that link to see a video!) exclusively. Right now there is an offer to check it out for free for 30 days. It looked interesting, and was totally non-risk (they didn’t even ask for a credit card), so I thought I’d take a peek. I’m sure glad I did!

Now, prepare yourself…because I took a lot of screen shots so you can see what this looks like instead of just reading my descriptions. Ready? Click the images to enlarge:

I love all of these features (and there is SO much more)! I’ve only been using “Homeschool Planet” for a short time. I was going to wait a few weeks to do a review, assuming I’d need to figure things out first.  There was very, very little “break in” time for me, so I decided to do the review now so folks could see it in July, before the planning crunch hits!  I’ve decided it is definitely a keeper for me!

This planner is pretty much a no-brainer…extremely easy to use and navigate. I do like the fact that there are pretty theme options…if I’m going to look at something as much as I do a planner, I love for it to have visual appeal!

The widgets and different organizational options help me to have my “whole life” in one place…I can schedule classes, appointments, reminders, as well as a to-do list, shopping lists, search options and more via the optional widgets.

I really like that my students can access this via their own logins, and I can choose what they are able to view, and also what they are allowed to edit. They can check off assignments as they complete them, and attendance will be kept.

The data you enter can be shared with smart phones and tablets, using the mobile version.

I especially like that you get *real* people, and prompt replies when you have questions. I saw another blog post in which the writer sent these folks a message about something she wished to see as a practical feature…an improvement…and within a day or so it had been added!

I encourage you to check out this planner while the 30-day free trial is still available! Run! Better yet, grab a friend or two or twenty to come along!

Note:  I received a free 1-year subscription to Homeschool Planet in exchange for an honest review of the software. All opinions expressed above are my own.

 

More Abundantly

toomuchstuffI think we have a misconception about this verse:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

The same way that people interpret Psalm 37:4 to mean that if I try to like God, He will give me what I want, or that Romans 8:28 means that if I love God, everything will go my way.  We read our circumstances into the context, instead of looking at the context. How badly we misunderstand God’s love. It is not the if-then kind. His love gives without looking for anything in return.

The “abundantly” that Jesus is talking about is not more stuff, newer stuff, more impressive stuff. It isn’t stuff at all. It is the abundance of our very lives. The abundance of God’s grace in every moment. What that means is that we don’t view each trial or circumstance as a dead end street, a hopeless situation, some kind of “karma” coming down upon our heads. It is all purposeful, even when we don’t see it.

Because first we know that God is love. If we are His children (that is, in the John 1:12 sense…having received Him personally as Savior), then He has an obligation to look out for us, as it were. He will never leave us, or forsake us. We can trust that He knows what we need before we ask. He will be with us, to the end of the world.

Because He is God, we can trust Him to keep these promises, for He cannot lie. We can know that He makes no mistakes, because He knows everything, He never changes, He is perfection itself, and His ways are perfect. Nothing is “for nothing”.

This, my friends, is abundant life…even if you don’t have two nickels to rub together in your pocket today. Regardless of what challenges we may encounter.  We can KNOW these things. You’ve heard of looking at the world through “rose colored glasses”? Well, this knowledge helps us to view everything in our lives different than those who do not know Him.

Like a river, glorious
Is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious
In its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth
Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
Deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest;
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

Mary knew what the abundant life looked like. I’m sure she didn’t have much in the way of belongings, but what she had in God, she had in abundance, and it could never be taken from her. It would only “appreciate in value” in Heaven. That’s a good thought.

You threw off my groove!

Getting back into the groove…maybe…perhaps…by next week? Any other home schoolers who took a Spring Break feelin’ this? Ugh. Slow as molasses starting today, and each subject for the little girlie was backwards. Just so you know, homeschooling life is not perfect, even for those who have been doing it in excess of a decade.

katiegoof

Love her.

Today, we forgot what direction our numbers go in. Today in handwriting, we decided to make up our own cursive letters…in orange marker. Today, we were helpless in all ways in navigating on the computer. Today in grammar, the knowledge that any such thing as “opposites” might exist mysteriously vaporized. Today, in an assessment, we felt the need to become a mime, and do all answers without words…except when we needed to ask when we would be done. Today, we ran around the house like a banshee, in our continuing role as “Sooper Katherine”, providing profuse narrative for every action, thought, gesture, and facial expression.

I ask for prayer in our schooling, and people just don’t seem to get that I’m serious. They see these snippets of this spirited, clever little girl, and think it is entertaining, engaging. They have never tried to teach her.

So, no…things aren’t perfect. We had more to do, but we’re done, because I’m done. Any more effort to persevere I think will cause brain cells to selectively begin to wave their little white flags…for both of us. The synapses are twitching.

And no, I’d never consider sending her to school. She’d never be able to be herself there…it is simply too time consuming for a group setting. Secondly, she’d end up being sent home as a disciplinary problem more often than not, so why not just keep her here in the first place? ;)  Third, I can give her patience (most days) and the scriptural instruction that she needs to hone all of this quirkiness into the woman God wants her to be one day. They’re not allowed to do that at school.

School is not about getting done. It’s about getting US done. Not just the students, but the Mom, too.

Katie’s orange handwriting page today said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  We are learning Psalm 23 by memory now that she’s done with her A to Z verses. I shall not want. He has all the grace, patience, creativity, ingenuity, organizational skills, ability to interpret and discern, prioritize and triage…He has all I need.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isa. 40:28-31

I’m getting my ducks in a row for tomorrow. I want to remember to ask Him for all I need. I dare not do this on my own. The Mom, with God’s grace, will prevail!

 

 

Passing by on Easter

Last Sunday we attended a performance of “Master Mender” in Salt Lake. It is what is more commonly known as a Passion Play, depicting the life of Christ. The play was thought provoking, and by all indications there were some who responded for salvation afterwards. But it isn’t the play that has been reverberating in my mind, as much as I love to tell the story of the power of the Resurrection.

mastermenderpic

A couple of the young people from the church group with “Jesus”.

After the performance, we made our way with hundreds of others to the lobby. There, we passed by the leper who had been made whole. We passed by Jairus’ daughter…out of costume, in jeans and pigtails, no doubt looking for her parents. We passed by a centurion or two, still formidable in size, even without their Roman armor.  And there, by the main doors, in the center of the lobby, was Jesus.

The man they cast as Jesus has been playing the role for a number of years, I understand. He did well in portraying the balance between passion, love, righteous indignation, and even the grief and pleading in the Garden of Gethsemane. His smile was engaging and warm. His demeanor inviting.

As we approached, our 8 year old daughter said she wanted to meet him. I took her hand and proceeded in the direction of where he was, posing for photo ops with those who had attended. She stopped. No. She changed her mind.  Wait. Yes, she wanted to meet him. Then again, no. She was too shy.

In the end, we passed by “Jesus” in the lobby that night. I smiled at him as we made our way to the door.  And now I am thinking of this:

“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.” Lamentations 1:12

There are many who will walk by the Savior all their lives. They do not even turn to look in His direction.

The old prophet Jeremiah was weeping
As he sat by the side of the way
He had cried, he had preached, he was broken
Though he tried they ignored him that day

Oh is it nothing to you that Jesus loves you
Is it nothing to you that He would die
Is it nothing that He offers salvation
Is it nothing to you who pass by ?

Though the years pass people still shun the message
Then God sent them His beloved Son
On a cross Jesus died to redeem them
They rejected God’s love one by one.

Still ignored by many hearts is the Savior
Jesus died He left heaven for you
Turn aside, hear the Lord, He will save you
Trust the Savior His word is still true.

Our little girl was intimidated to meet this “celebrity” (who in real life is an eye doctor). But she has met the Savior. She made a profession of faith two summers ago, and by all appearances it seems to be the real thing. I suspect on that day, whenever it may be, when she truly meets Him face to face, she’ll revel in the “luster of His kindly beaming eye” instead of shying away. Instead of debating whether or not she’d like to see Him up close, she (with the rest of us) will be bursting with eagerness to hug Him, look into His face, and tell the story, “Saved by Grace!”

How about you today? Is Jesus nothing to you on this Good Friday? Do you go a step further, as I did in my teens, and mock those who choose to celebrate the risen Christ over the Easter bunny? Come to Him today. His arms were spread wide for you that day on the cross, and they remain so today…to welcome you, just as you are.  Find out more by clicking here. If you have questions, please message me.

 

Triage

“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Prov. 23:26

Our second grader has been learning a Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. Above is her verse for M. She writes it a few times a day, and recites the whole set every day, adding on the new one for the week.

I’ve been thinking about this one.  For a while. It does not say, “give me your music standards” or “give me your clothing preferences”. It says “give me your heart”.

Out of our hearts (our innermost beings, what makes us tick) everything issues.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Prov. 4:23

The word “keep” is a military term, and it means to guard. Protect it. My kids will tell you that I often admonish them to guard their hearts when it comes to friends, music, viewing, reading, and thinking habits.

What do I want from our kids? Three young people who have given me their outward standards and appear “good”? Children whom everyone praises for their conformity?

Nope.

It’s a messy business, but I want their hearts.  It’s sort of a triage. That means that there may be some things people observe in our kids, about which they may shake their heads and “tsk, tsk”.  But, you know what? I’m starting to be okay with that.  Because I know that although not everything observable is perfect, I am aiming at a deeper target. A higher priority which will govern it all, in time. What do I want for our kids?

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8

I refuse to play the “you’re a pastor’s kid” card. Their accountability transcends far beyond what people may expect of them. I want them to know it. I want them first to consider God’s opinion. He looks beyond the outward appearance, and into the heart. He sees it all.

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Heb. 4:13

This is what I want them to pay the most attention to…El Roi, “thou God seest me” (which is another of Katie’s memory verses).

So, you’ll see our kids behave imperfectly. They are sinners, just like you and me. They are individuals who have to learn to discern. We are attempting to teach them. :) We are triaging.

Facebook Groups for Homeschool Buy/Sell/Trade

Using this blog (which also includes a bunch of homeschooling posts) as a means to pin some Facebook links to our Pinterest page for the Facebook group Schoolin’ Swag.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way! :)

Here are the links:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeschoolFreecycle/ Homeschool Freecycle

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hsucs/ Homeschool Used Curriculum Swap

https://www.facebook.com/groups/239853779482578/ Used Homeschool Books and Curriculum for Sale or Free

https://www.facebook.com/HomeschoolBargainsAndMore Homeschool Bargains and More

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hscurriculumswap/ Homeschool Curriculum Swap

https://www.facebook.com/groups/158947230864513/ Homeschool Swap: Canada

https://www.facebook.com/TheHomeschoolSWAP The Homeschool SWAP

https://www.facebook.com/groups/138629366323079/ Homeschool penpals/postcard exchange/geo-cac/book exchange/activity bagswap

https://www.facebook.com/groups/222126747798926/ Homeschool Curriculum Marketplace

https://www.facebook.com/groups/215568998597147/ Used Homeschool Curriculum Sale

https://www.facebook.com/groups/381228548592799/Homeschool Buy and Sell USA