Apr 202016
 

As a homeschool mom of 5 who works part-time from home, I have a lot to manage. Between working, keeping up with my teenagers’ schedules, teaching my younger children, and managing my home, free time is rare. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my lack of close friends. I’ve tried to analyze the reason. I realize I don’t often write personal posts here (OK, so I don’t often write at all), so bear with me as I share.

Why don’t I have close mom friends?

Part of my situation can be explained by moving. I had a couple of very close friends as a young wife and mother. I made those friends at a time when it’s easy to make friends. My husband and I were newly married, and we had no children. Our friends also had no children at the beginning of our friendships. We were free to do lots of things with our friends and spend many late nights, talking, laughing, and playing games. We continued to do so after we had babies. What are portacribs for, right?

Then we moved to a different state. We joined a church 30 minutes from our home. It was hard to invite people over. With young children it seemed harder to build friendships. Being new, everybody already had friends. But I tried, and in that season I made some pretty good friends. I went to women’s Bible study at church and developed some friends there. I was no one’s best friend, but I did have a few ladies that I could talk to. During this time I also had a neighbor that I used to chat with a lot.

Then we moved again, closer to the church. Ironically at the same time that we moved closer, we left that church and joined a much smaller church. I had begun homeschooling a couple of years earlier and it had gotten to the point where attending a weekly daytime women’s Bible study was difficult because we basically lost an entire day of school. Around that time I went through a very difficult time after being rejected by a friend whom I had been meeting with for prayer and fellowship. Desperate to feel like I belonged, I asked to join a group of ladies (from the former church) who had been meeting for a regular evening Bible study. They let me join, and for a while I felt like one of the group. However, after the birth of my 4th child, I needed to host the group in my home because my husband was working a second job in the evenings and I had no childcare. The leader rejected my request, so that was the end of my involvement in that group.

That was over 9 years ago. The sting of that rejection is still there. That group of women still meet and go on weekend getaways. I’ve fought against the sadness that rises up when their pictures show up in my Facebook feed. I’ve wondered for years, what is so wrong with me?

Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone

Better Together Cover Mom Friends

I was recently given the opportunity to review the book Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone. Since I had already been pondering the topic, I thought it might be a good read.

Jill Savage and her adult daughter, Anne McClane. do a great job analyzing the different levels of friendship and the various types of friends. The book has helpful tips for meeting new people and getting to know people. There is a mothering personality inventory and a variety of creative ideas for ways that friends can share each others’ burdens in the busy seasons of life. These include swapping baby sitting or having freezer cooking get togethers. One that I had never  thought of was working with a group of friends taking turns meeting at a different house to do a project with the friend that needs help.

Better Together is a useful resource, especially for those in women’s ministry leadership. It helped me to think through the hurts of my past and admit that one of the reasons that I haven’t made close friends is a fear of rejection and bitterness over past hurts. I also realized that another reason is that I am a bit selfish. I don’t often offer to help others and I’ve failed to invite people over because I’m too busy with my own family.

Important Reminders

Even though I can identify reasons in my own behavior to explain why I may have been in this season of lacking close friends, I  also remind myself that God is sovereign. He knows that I’ve been going through this, and He could have sent a close friend in spite of my friendship flaws. Instead, I have learned more about contentment. In my loneliness, God has been faithful to draw me closer to Himself.

I’m reminded of a quote by Elisabeth Elliot,

“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.”

So while I agree that friends are good for moms, I can’t fully agree with the subtitle of this book. No, we’re not meant to mom alone, we’re meant to mom alongside a dad. Having close friends is a bonus.

Jun 092015
 

Homeschool moms are busy. We have a lot to manage with educating children, laundry, cooking, housework, and even jobs. I’ve seen homeschoolers proudly announce that they have mountains of laundry to fold piled on the couch, or if someone comes to their house they have to run through the house wildly hiding piles of books and other clutter. But then they justify their lack of housekeeping by the fact that their children are more important than a neat and tidy home.

It’s not that I don’t agree with that. Our children are definitely more important than temporal things. No argument there, but sometimes I almost feel guilty for desiring a neat home because that means I’m spending less time on valuable pursuits, and I’m wasting my time cleaning and organizing.

And yet decluttering and organizing is a hugely popular topic on-line. (Just look at Pinterest if you don’t believe me.) It seems that people do crave organization, but want to justify their lack of it.

Giving Your Children WingsI was recently given the opportunity to review Giving Your Children Wings Without Losing Yours by Tami Fox. I was happy to discover that Tami and I agree that having a neat and organized home (at least relatively) is important. In her book Tami explains how we can have a neat house WHILE spending time with our children.

Messes and disorganization cause stress. Every person is different and the level of neatness that some require is going to be different. And that’s OK! We’re actually helping our children by having routines in our home and by including them in these routines. It’s also less stressful to us if we teach our children to share in the housework because when they get older, that will actually mean less work for us! (Sometimes in the middle of training a young child, it does seem like it would be easier to just do it yourself. And in the short run it often is. But the long term benefits outweigh the short term trouble of training children.)

In Giving Your Children Wings Without Losing Yours, Tami shares how she personally uses the Flylady system to keep her home clean and clutter free. I wouldn’t consider it a how-to book on setting up a system, but more of an encouragement to find a system that works for you and your family and to stick to it. Tami is open and honest with many of her personal trials and how she has overcome them.

My favorite quote from the book is this –

“We have all heard the saying, ‘If Mama ain’t happy, no one is happy.’ You can turn this around to, ‘If Mama is happy, everyone around her is happy, too’ A positive mood is contagious.”

I am guilty of feeling discouraged about everyone’s attitudes and being grumpy about it. That really makes no sense! My mood can, and often does, set the tone of the whole house.

If you’re looking for encouragement and ideas for cleaning and organizing your home while homeschooling, you should read Giving Your Children Wings Without Losing Yours. You can find it on Amazon.com.

Disclosure: I received a free electronic version of this book in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review and the link to Amazon.com is not an affiliate link.

 

Oct 282011
 


The world is on the brink of disaster and the clock is ticking. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as “the Twelfth Imam”—has just arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike.

Last Christmas I received a copy of The Twelfth Imam. I was admittedly skeptical at first. It’s quite a long book, and although I am interested in prophecy, I think that the End-times Christian fiction genre is a bit overdone. But it was a gift, so I started reading it. It didn’t really hook me until after I had completed the first 50 pages or more. But after that, the book suddenly didn’t seem so long.

I knew it was the first of a trilogy, so I wasn’t too surprised when the ending was left wide open. But I knew I’d have to read the next book, and I jumped at the chance to review The Tehran Initiative. It picks up right where the first book left off and is even more action-packed and fast-paced. The “good guys” are likable, well-developed characters. The book, while most definitely fiction, contains great information about Islam and the Islamic view of the end-times. Reading fiction like this should give the reader a desire to learn more about the issues from other sources, and The Tehran Initiative has definitely sparked my interest in Middle Eastern affairs.

Below is a link to a brief video by the author, Joel C. Rosenberg. Following that is a more in-depth interview.

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Post contains an affiliate link.

 

An interview with Joel C. Rosenbergauthor of The Tehran Initiative

1) This is the second book with CIA operative David Shirazi. Where does the story pick up from your previous bestseller The Twelfth Imam?

A: The Tehran Initiative begins about sixty seconds after The Twelfth Imam leaves off. I’ve tried to create a near seamless connection between the two. And there’s another book coming, The Damascus Countdown.

2) You started writing The Tehran Initiative when the Arab Spring began earlier this year. Did events impact your writing or the storyline?

A: Actually, I was well into writing The Tehran Initiative when the “Arab Spring” began and it was a little eerie because the novel opens with the assassination of the President Egypt and Egypt descending into chaos after the leader’s fall. Fortunately, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wasn’t killed, but he certainly fell quickly and somewhat unexpectedly and Egypt is still reeling from the aftermath. The novel really focuses a great deal on the intense desire amongst many Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa to build a global Islamic empire, or a “caliphate.” And that’s certainly a growing theme among the Islamists in the region this year.Perhaps what struck me most curious since the publication of The Twelfth Imam and while I was researching and writing The Tehran Initiative is that the so-called Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has began speaking more publicly about the coming of the Twelfth Imam. He used to be silent, or nearly so, on this subject. He let President Ahmadinejad do all the public talking about Shia End Times theology. But Khamenei has become more bold over the past year or so. He has told people that he has met personally with the Twelfth Imam, though we don’t know what he meant. Did he meet with a flesh and blood person? Did he see a dream? Or a vision? We don’t know. But Khamenei has also asserted that he is the personal representative on earth of the Twelfth Imam, as well as the so-called Prophet Muhammad. These developments – along with his support for Iran’s aggressive nuclear development program – suggest Khamenei senses the time is very short before some claiming to be the Twelfth Imam emerges publicly. In part, that’s why the Iranian government released the pseudo-documentary film in early 2011 called, “The Coming Is Near,” about all the geopolitical signs that they believe are indicators that the Mahdi’s arrival is increasingly close at hand. Whether it will really happen or not remains to be seen. But the Iranian leadership is certainly convinced. Most of them, anyway. And, of course, the Bible tells us in Matthew chapter twenty-four to expect false prophets and false messiahs in the last days. So we can’t rule out the possibility that we’ll actually as false messiah emerge from the Shia world.

3) You’ve earned a reputation of writing stories that seemed ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. What is going on in The Tehran Initiative that we can see unfolding in the news?

A: I think the biggest parallel between The Tehran Initiative and current events is the growing sense amongst Shia Muslim leaders – particularly in Iran – that the Twelfth Imam is coming any moment, coupled with Iran’s feverish efforts to build nuclear weapons, and the Israelis’ growing isolation in the world and feeling that they may have to hit Iran all by themselves.Did you see Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic address at the U.N. in September, or read the full text? You should. It’s instructive. Ahmadinejad is not a world leader worthy of the world stage. He is the evil leader of an Iranian death cult. A recent U.N. report indicates he is making progress in building nuclear weapons. He is calling for the arrival of the Twelfth Imam and wiping Israel “off the map.” He aspires to be a mass murderer beyond the scale of Adolf Hitler. He deserves to be in prison, or an insane asylum. His U.N. speech was further proof, if more was needed.Like Hitler’s speeches in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, Ahmadinejad isn’t hiding what he believes. He’s pretty clear. He denied the Holocaust. He blasted the U.S. for bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice. He blamed the terrorist attacks 9/11 on the U.S. government. He insisted that his so-called messiah known as “Imam al-Mahdi” or the Twelfth Imam is coming soon. He insisted Jesus Christ will come with the Mahdi to take over the world. He called for a one-world government when he called for “the shared and collective management of the world.”Consider these excerpts: “This movement is certainly on its rightful path of creation, ensuring a promising future for humanity. A future that will be built when humanity initiates to trend the path of the divine prophets and the righteous under the leadership of Imam al-Mahdi, the Ultimate Savior of mankind and the inheritor to all divine messengers and leaders and to the pure generation of our great Prophet. The creation of a supreme and ideal society with the arrival of a perfect human being who is a true and sincere lover of all human beings, is the guaranteed promise of Allah. He will come alongside with Jesus Christ to lead the freedom and justice lovers to eradicate tyranny and discrimination, and promote knowledge, peace, justice freedom and love across the world. He will present to every single individual all the beauties of the world and all good things which bring happiness for humankind.”Though most world leaders do not appear to understand what Ahmadinejad is really saying, students of Shia Islamic eschatology or End Times theology do. The Iranian leader believes the end of the world as we have known it is increasingly close at hand. He believes the time for establishing an Islamic caliphate or global government ruled by the Mahdi is rapidly approaching. What’s more, he believes that the way to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam is to acquire nuclear weapons and use them to annihilate the United States, which he calls the “Great Satan” and Israel, which he calls the “Little Satan.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands what Ahmadinejad means. So do some of his top military advisors. That’s why they believe Iran is in the eye of a gathering storm in the Middle East, and that the chance of a major war is growing.“Iran has not abandoned its nuclear program. The opposite is true; it continues full steam ahead,” warned Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command Chief Major General Eyal Eisenberg in a speech earlier this month. Also noting recent uprisings in the Arab world and growing tensions with Turkey, Eisenberg said, “This leads us to the conclusion that…the likelihood of an all-out war is increasingly growing.”To me, all this feels ripped from the pages of The Tehran Initiative. Unfortunately, it’s all true.

4) Readers seem to get very attached to your characters. What goes into creating the characters in your novels?

A: It’s the Colonel’s secret recipe of seven herbs and spices. I could tell you, but then I’d have to….well, never mind….no comment to that one.

5) What experiences in your real life do you draw from to piece together these novels that incorporate geo-politics, espionage, romance, and Bible prophecy?

A: Someone once told me, “Write where you live in your head.” For some reason, that advice resonated with me and stuck. I’m fascinated with politics, prophecy and the Middle East. Living in Washington, D.C. and working in and around the political world for the past two decades has certainly helped provide context for me to write political thrillers. I think traveling extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa has been helpful, too. Somehow, it’s all worked together in a way some people find as interesting as I do.

6) You often incorporate Old Testament prophecy in your books. What scriptures do you draw from for this book and why?

A: There’s no question that I am absolutely intrigued by Bible prophecy, and I like to start with an End Times prophecy – or a group of last days prophecies – and ask, “What if these were to happen in my lifetime? What would it look like? What would it feel like? How might such prophecies realistically be set into motion, and what might be the implications of their fulfillment?” That’s how I approach writing these books. But I don’t think of it like writing a fantasy novel or science fiction. I’m genuinely trying to imagine how it could really play out? I’m not saying these prophecies will necessarily come to pass the way I envision them, but they are interest to war game and see what happens. And given what’s happening in the real world today, I think readers are as curious as I am, and somehow my plots don’t feel that far-fetched.

7) You’ve been successful with your non-fiction books Epicenter and Inside the Revolution and you have a large following reading your analysis of Middle East events on your blog and e-newsletter “Flash Traffic.” Why do you continue to choose writing novels about the Middle East?

A: What could be more interesting? Presidents and presidential candidates constantly focus on the Middle East. Prime Ministers do. Kings do. Generals do. The media does. The economists do. The fact is, the eyes of the nations are riveted on Israel and her neighbors, the epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future. The stakes are very high. There is lots of uncertainty. It’s mysterious and dangerous and complex – it has all the elements of riveting political thrillers. And the Bible says the Middle East will become even more dramatic until the very return of Jesus Christ. Why write about anything else?

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Aug 312011
 

Academics are an important part of our homeschool. We have high standards and I make no apologies for that. But as we work hard, we try to remember 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

God’s glory and serving God have always been the #1 priority of our homeschool and our lives.

At least that is our highest priority on paper.

I confess that it hasn’t always been my highest priority in practice. And there is a word for saying one thing and acting in a different way. It’s called hypocrite.

It’s not hard for kids to recognize. They can see it much easier than I could see it in myself.  And it’s so very dangerous.

But I am thankful that God is so gracious and merciful to me. He nudges me gently. (And sometimes not so gently.)

There were several things that I was “required” to read in the last month that God used mightily in showing me what my true priorities are.

One of them is this little book: How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman. Rachael begins the book with her own story of how she began homeschooling, and shares very openly the mistakes she made in trying to homeschool in her own power. She then begins to share 5 simple steps that will change your thinking about how your homeschool. She uses the acronym H.E.A.R.T.

H- Have a heart for the things of God
E- Enrich your marriage
A- Accept your kids
R-Release them to God
T-Teach them the Truth

I learned so much from this book. Well, learned is maybe not the right word. I have heard much of this before. I just wasn’t doing it. I was failing at the very first priority. I have to have a heart for the things of God! No wonder my kids weren’t having a heart for the things of God. I have to be a living, breathing example to them. I have to be more transparent with them. I have to demonstrate walking with God to them in a real way. I have to be faithful to Him. If I preach that to my children and fail to do it myself, I am a hypocrite!

I do not mean I have to be perfect. I also do not need to make my kids think I’m perfect. (That would be an impossible task anyway.) But I need to let them see my heart. And my heart needs to be focused on the things of God.

I have read the whole book and the other letters are just as powerful as the H. But H really spoke to me as I read the book the first time. I will be reading this again! (And in case you can’t tell, I highly recommend it to all homeschool moms.)

You can purchase this book from Apologia for $13.00.(Rachael and her husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.) There is also a sample chapter available for free on the website.

 

You can read more reviews of How To Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids on the Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jun 102011
 

 

Everyone knows that dinosaurs lived millions of years before humans, right?

If humans and dinosaurs had lived at the same time there should be some evidence and there isn’t…or is there?

What exactly are dragons?

Are they a mythical creature that never really existed? Or could they be (or have been) real?

Dragons – Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs published by Master Books, seeks to answer these questions. This book describes various dragon legends from around the world and historical eyewitness accounts. It also shows where dragons are mentioned in the Bible as well as in several Biblical commentaries.

From that description alone, I would be interested in reading this book, but I haven’t mentioned the best part.

The sturdy, over-sized book is filled with flaps to open, envelopes containing removable documents, and miniature books. It is completely irresistible for a child! (I highly recommend keeping it out of young children’s reach for that reason. You’re not going to want this book damaged.) The illustrations are beautiful, and the text is full of interesting facts about both dragons and dinosaurs.  My photo doesn’t do it justice, but does at least show some of the features of the inside of the book. The left flap is opened in the picture. In the upper right corner is a miniature book labeled Eyewitness Accounts and Encounters.

It is a fantastic resource and I highly recommend purchasing it for your home library. It is available for purchase from New Leaf Publishing Group, from on-line retailers like ChristianBook.com, or your local Christian book store. The retail price is $17.99.

 

Disclosure: I received a copy of Dragons – Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs to review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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May 072011
 

For Lisa Velthouse’s whole life, Christianity had been about getting things right. Obeying her parents. Not drinking. Not cursing. Not having premarital sex. Vowing to save her first kiss until she got engaged, even writing a book called . . . well, Saving My First Kiss. (This, it turns out, does not actually help a girl get a date.) Yet after two decades of trying to earn God’s okay, she found her faith was lonely, empty, and unsatisfying. So she turned to more discipline, of course: fasting! By giving up her favorite foods—sweets—Lisa hoped to somehow discover true sweetness and meaning in her relationship with God. Until, one night at a wedding, she denied herself the cake but failed in such a different, unexpected, and world-rocking way that it challenged everything she thought she knew about God and herself. Craving Grace is the true story of a faith dramatically changed: how in one woman’s life God used a bitter heart, a broken promise, and the sweetness of honey to reveal the stunning wonder that is grace.

What is grace?

The Sunday School definition is undeserved favor.

Or God’s Richness at Christ’s Expense.

Those are both okay definitions, but you can understand those definitions and still not fully grasp God’s grace. Actually, I’m not sure we can ever fully grasp God’s grace.

Lisa Velthouse thought she had to earn God’s favor. I did too. So I felt a certain kinship with her as I was reading the book. Unlike the author’s, my testimony is not one of thinking I had done almost everything right, and that God was not giving me what I deserved. My struggle was with truly accepting God’s forgiveness for my sins. We both had a false view of God’s grace. The peace of realizing that there is nothing that I can do to earn His forgiveness is freeing. I finally understand that my salvation doesn’t depend on my ability to say the right words in a prayer or my ability to not sin, but on Christ’s atoning sacrifice that completely and totally paid for my sins. He’s the one that’s doing the saving. He’s powerful enough. What a relief! What a wonderful Savior!

I enjoyed reading this book. The author was transparent in sharing her struggles. I liked the way she told the story by going back and forth between two different periods of her life. However, it might be confusing to someone who is extremely sequential.

But I can’t neglect to mention one concern I did have about this book. The author previously served on the staff at Mars Hill Bible Church. That wouldn’t have meant a thing to me until about a month ago. However, the founding pastor of that church, Rob Bell, just published an extremely controversial book entitled Love Wins. I have not read the book, but it has been accused of espousing the universalist view that a loving God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. So I read Craving Grace looking for any evidence that Lisa Velthouse believes that. I didn’t find any. But I didn’t find any evidence that she isn’t a universalist either. However, it’s not a theology book. Craving Grace is a memoir, and it does what a memoir should–tells the story of a life.

***The author has contacted me and assured me she is most certainly NOT a universalist. ****

I Review For The Tyndale Blog NetworkDisclosures: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

This is the 13th book I have completed in 2011. This is week 18 of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. I’m 5 books behind!

 

May 042011
 

Books.

I love them. Some might say too much. But among homeschoolers, I’m pretty normal. Actually our home library is a bit smaller than many others I’ve heard about.

I love to read. I want my kids to love to read, and I don’t want a lack of good books available to be used as an excuse to not read. So I collect books, I go to used book sales, I check out tons of library books, and I ask for and give books for gifts.

But I’m running into a couple of problems. One is I’m running out of space. I have bookcases in almost every room of the house. Our house isn’t huge to start with, when you add in 7 people and their stuff, well, things get tight. The other problem is money. I think just about every family is facing at least a little bit of tightening in their budgets. And once again, with 7 people and an income that gets effectively smaller all the time, the book budget has to shrink.

I got an iPod Touch last Mother’s Day and my husband got one for Christmas. We discovered that we liked them. A lot. And we discovered that we could actually read on them! In the past, I had sort of turned my nose up at e-books. But my opinion has gradually shifted. I’ve even been considering buying a Kindle, parting with some of my physical books, and replacing them in e-format only!

That’s where things stood when I got the opportunity to review a HUGE collection of e-books from Yesterday’s Classics. By HUGE, I mean enormous. Seriously, this is their complete collection of 225 classic children’s books. These books were published between 1880 and 1920, so many have been out of print for decades. I was already familiar with Yesterday’s Classics, because Tapestry of Grace uses many of their books. Our Island Story and This Country of Ours are just 2 of the ones we’ve been reading this year.

Yesterday’s Classics has done an excellent job of categorizing the books in genres. The collection includes 22 different genres such as world history, poetry, science, nature, and biography. The e-books include the illustrations and are well-formatted with clean, properly-aligned pages, and a table of contents that are linked to the chapters. That is an extremely helpful feature in an e-book!

The books are available in both Kindle and EPUB formats. The download instructions provided by Yesterday’s Classics were both clear and thorough. I was able to download all the books in the EPUB format. I then copied the files into my book folder in iTunes. After syncing my iPod Touch with my computer, all the books are available in the iBooks app. I also downloaded the files in the Kindle format in the hope that I will be purchasing a Kindle soon. I can read them on the Kindle reader on my laptop while I’m waiting too. There are no restrictions on the files, so you can put them on all your e-reading devices. And if you have different types of e-readers, they will even send you the second file type for free after you order!

From now until May 31, 2011, this entire package is available from Yesterday’s Classics for only $99.95. This is an excellent deal! The paperback versions of all these books would cost $2495.75! And the e-books purchased individually are $648.80. Please visit the special offer page to see the list and description of every book in this collection. There is also a free sample book you can download. I am thrilled to have these books and highly recommend them if you have an e-reader or other device to read them. I’m not sure I would recommend them to read on the computer alone, unless you already know that you like to read from the computer monitor or laptop screen.

You can visit the Homeschool Crew blog to find links to other reviews of this collection.

Disclosure: I received these book from Yesterday’s Classics free to review as a member of the Homeschool Crew. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Apr 132011
 

(Cincinnati, OH) With unemployment rates high, the teen population is finding it harder and harder to find work. Adults are competing for the same minimum wage jobs. But there’s an alternative—starting a micro business. What is a micro business? It is a very small, one-person business that you can start easily and quickly with what you already know or own. No money needed, low risk and no debt! Students can spend as much time running a micro business as they wish and can even close it down during busy times. The best advantage for teens to own a micro business is that it not only brings in extra cash (often more than imagined), but students end up learning a great deal about business, money and themselves. It may lead to an entrepreneurial life or at the very least, prepare students for higher learning opportunities.

Starting a Micro Business will help teenagers earn money while learning how to start their own business. A micro business is simple to start, usually home-based, low risk, educational and easy for a busy student to run. This book offers ideas, a business plan, starting with no debt, pitfalls to avoid and resources to get a teenager started making money running their own micro business.

Carol Topp, CPA advises teenage business owners though her Micro Business for Teens book series. Carol’s day job is accountant to business owners, and she enjoys teaching teenagers to succeed beyond their dreams. Students appreciate how she shares what they need to know in clear and helpful lessons. Her website is MicroBusinessForTeens.com

Spring Cleaning: A Time For a Teenager to Make Money

by Carol Topp

Here are some ideas for a micro business a teenager can start this spring:

  • House cleaning: Offer to tackle large jobs like washing windows, moving furniture, etc. Many people are grateful for a young, strong teenager to help them with heavy lifting. What is easy for you might be very difficult for them, especially if they are an older person.
  • Routine house cleaning: Some customers need regular house cleaning and may hire you on a weekly or monthly basis. Don’t wait for them to ask: offer to come weekly or twice a month and see what they say.
  • Attic cleaning: Offer to help people do a job that they put off, such as cleaning an attic.
  • Garage cleaning: A big job that can earn you big bucks!
  • Yard cleanup: Offer to trim bushes, pull weeds, plant flowers and spread mulch to spruce up a yard.
  • Car and van cleaning: People spend a lot of time in their automobiles and their cars and vans need frequent cleaning. Melissa gladly paid to get her van cleaned inside and out every week because her four children could really make a mess in it. You can make some cash by offering to clean a van inside and out.
  • Organize. Organize a house, playroom or garage. Charge the customer for any bins, tubs and labels that you purchase for them and then add on the value of your time. Take before and after photos to use on your advertising fliers.
  • Declutter: Do you love HGTV shows on organization? You might be able to find someone to hire you to declutter their house like you see on TV.
  • Garage sales: Advertise, organize and run a garage sale for your neighbors. Get several neighbors to participate together and really earn the bucks!
  • eBay sales: Offer to sell your neighbors’ stuff on eBay and take a cut for yourself. Combine the decluttering, garage sale and eBay tasks into a full package to help your customers profit from their excess stuff.

(This is an excerpt from Carol’s article. Full article available at docstoc.com)

After I received this book, I tried something sneaky. I just left it sitting out. I’ve heard of doing that with books you want your children to read. And it worked! My son picked it up and read it cover to cover. He thought it had a lot of helpful information and now he’s trying to decide if he should start a micro-business.

Sound interesting? Please leave a comment and you will be entered to win all 4 books in the Micro-Business for Teens series.

Mar 242011
 

I’m participating in the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge again this year, but I have done a terrible job of posting updates. (That means I haven’t posted any.) It’s not because I haven’t been reading, but my personal blogging time has definitely been affected by Baby Boy. And I am a bit behind on my reading too. However, Code of Justice by Liz Johnson is one of the books that I have enjoyed reading this year.

About Code of Justice:

Heather Sloan is an FBI agent on a mission. She’s on a mission to figure out what caused the helicopter crash that killed her sister. Only her mission would be a lot easier if she hadn’t been injured in the same crash. And if she were actually assigned to the case.  But those small details don’t stop Heather. She convinces Jeremy Latham, the Sheriff’s Deputy who is assigned to the case, to let her help him. In the process, they both learn about trusting God because He is just and because He is sovereign.

My thoughts:

This is another book in the Love Inspired Suspense collection. I also enjoyed Vanishing Act, the previous book by the same author. There are several reasons I like these books. They are mysteries, but not too intense or violent. There is romance, but they are clean. (There is some kissing, but that’s as far as it goes.) They are very quick to read, but that’s partly because I can’t put them down once I start. The characters are real and the book is not preachy. I do not like Christian fiction where it feels like religion is tacked on to the story after it was written just so it would fit the genre. If the character’s faith is not an integral part of the story, then please leave it out. If you’re looking for an exciting book that doesn’t keep you awake at night from fear, and with romance that doesn’t make you blush, I recommend Code of Justice. Visit www.lizjohnsonbooks.com for purchasing information and to read the first chapter.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author to review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

 

Mar 022011
 

Elements of Faith: Faith Facts and Learning Lessons from the Periodic Table Vol. 1

by Richard D. Duncan

Elements of Faith Vol. 1 discusses the first 50 elements of the periodic table. For each element the author has included the following sections: Data, Analysis, Reaction, Quick Quiz, and Response. The Data section contains several facts about the elements. Analysis typically contains a bit of the history of the discovery or uses of the element. It often relates the element to the Bible in some way. The Reaction section always includes scripture and is related back to the Analysis section. This is followed by a multiple choice Quick Quiz which covers mainly facts about the element. The final section is a Response to the Reaction section and includes a prayer. Also included in the book are several experiments, a glossary, the answers to the Quick Quizzes and a Periodic Table.

But what do the elements have to do with Biblical topics? That is what makes this book unique. The author has done a spectacular job of weaving these topics together. For example, Bromine is the “smelly” gas. The Analysis discusses the sense of smell and the sense of taste and their respective roles in chemical identification. The Reaction section is about the raising of Lazarus. This is related because Martha warned Jesus that “by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39). The Quick Quiz includes questions on the origin of the word bromine, where bromine is found, what type of element it is, and who is the brother of Mary and Martha. Finally, the Response takes the Reaction section further and brings out that it was at dinner after the raising of Lazarus that Mary annointed Jesus’ feet and the perfume she used also had a smell – but this time a pleasant one.

I requested this book to review from New Leaf Publishing Group. I was interested in the book partly because of the educational background of the author. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and spent most of his career working in water treatment and environmental engineering. I also have a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and my husband has worked in the environmental field with a specialty in water supply. He currently teaches chemistry. Chemistry is definitely a topic of interest to us!

Although this is not a complete science course, I think it would make an excellent supplement for chemistry. It also would be suitable as Bible supplement for a science-minded student or could even be used in family devotions. (Especially in a chemistry loving family like ours!)

Disclosure: I received this book to review as a member of the Book Reviewers for New Leaf Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.