Monday, June 27, 2016

Bible Belles: Esther The Belle of Patience {Propeller Review}

Written by Erin Weidemann

Bible Belles is a wonderful book series written to speak to the hearts of young girls and teach them about magnificent women of the Bible.  This series reaches out to teach your children the struggles these women went through, showing their strengths and the gifts they carried to get them through their trials.  Bible Belles shows young girls how to persevere and become triumphant simply by following God's direction.

In Esther The Belle of Patience, Rooney Cruz is upset when one of her teammates places an I in TEAM.  This particular teammate seems to be all about herself, not thinking of the team that works hard to play together.  Rooney wants to talk with her coach about it but she's not sure how to approach the subject at hand.  

Mari, Rooney's gaurdian angel who teaches her all about God's provisions and wisdom, shows up just in time to help Rooney work through her anguish in expressing her feelings about her teammate.  Mari shows Rooney the story of Esther, the Queen who faced the serious challenge of saving her people and herself from death.  Through this story, Rooney learns patience and to find the right timing when she has something important to get through.  In the end, Rooney finds the right time to talk with her coach about her teammate and when she does, she feels a lot better about herself and helping her team become a team again.

I read this story with my youngest daughter several times and she really enjoyed hearing all about Rooney, Mari and Esther.  She learned a lot about being patient and listening for God's guidance in things she needs to make happen.  This is definitely a book we will be reading again and again.  I will also be adding more Bible Belle stories to our book list as soon as I can.

This series of books is wonderful.  I often try to add in books about strong biblical woman for my daughters into our reading curriculum and Bible Belles has made that easy for me to do.  I look forward to teaching my girls more through this series as we go.

You can purchase Bible Belles: Esther The Belle of Patience online through the Bible Belles website!  The price for Esther The Belle of Patience is listed at $14.99.  It's well worth the price!

Don't forget to check out the wonderful Freebies section of the website as well for bonus materials to use with the books!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin {A Propeller Review}

None Like Him

By Jen Wilkin

Jen Wilkin is an every day woman, just like all of us. She's a Mom, a wife, a writer and so much more. Jen never thought she'd be writing a book about the Lord but she has and oh what a book it is!

None Like Him: 10Ways God is Different From Us (and why that's a good thing) explains to the reader how wonderful God is in so many ways. Jen explains how God is so different than us yet we are still created to be like Him in so many aspects. She shows how God is everything good in life and how we should be thankful to be His children.

Throughout the chapters of None Like Him, Jen shows us how to be more like God. She shows us how mighty, how loving, how merciful and gracious God truly is. She brings forth an abundance of joy through her writing and helps to rekindle a flame that sometimes dims as we go through our day to day life. 

Each chapter of this book discusses a different attribute of God and teaches you how to learn from that attribute to become more like Him in your own life. Jen focuses on the particular elements of God and teaches us how to bring them out of ourselves to better us personally. She teaches how to use these attributes for the best of our well-being.

None Like Him contains 10 chapters and is 163 pages in length. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote from various authors who inspire like Jen herself. There are various subheadings throughout the chapters to focus on each attribute in more detail. Related scriptures are also shared throughout the text.

The end of every chapter contains related Bible verses for meditating. There are also questions to reflect upon the readings for the chapter. Each chapter also ends with a prayer that helps us to strengthen and build a better relationship with God.

None Like Him would make a great personal devotional. It would also make a great study for a women's group at church. The book is small but packed with valuable lessons that anyone could grow from.

None Like Him: 10 Ways God IsDifferent From Us (and why that's a good thing) by Jen Wilkins is available for $11.69 in paperback or $8.57 on Kindle. You can find this book online at Amazon

This is a Crossway Books publication.  You can find more information about this and other Crossway Books on Facebook!

Propeller/FlyBy Promotions has graciously agreed to provide one lucky winner with their own copy of None Like Him.  Enter to win this wonderful book simply by commenting on this blog post.   Tell me why you feel you need this book and I will choose one lucky person to share a copy with.  This giveaway will end on Monday, May 16, 2016!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

New Adventures

Another month has passed by quickly. With the new found Spring, we find adventure outdoors together as a family. This is something completely new to us all and the kids are absolutely loving it! Well, we ALL are!

The weather has warmed up tremendously – though we currently have a bit of a cold front upon us as I type this – and it has brought the kids, and us adults, out of winter hiding. There's been a bit of rain but there's been a lot of sunshine as well. We look forward to this time of new beginning, both inside our home and outside.


It's a completely new adventure for me that began last August before we up and moved to NC. It began with new hope and love, with meeting Donald. Camping is something he loves to do. He's spent most of his life exploring outdoors.

Camping is something I never in a million years thought I would do. Not unless it involved a shiny RV. But Don encouraged me to give it a shot and y'all, I love it! There's nothing better than connecting with nature or sleeping out in a tent under the stars.

The kids are loving it, too – well, Winston and Laycie at least. Emma isn't so sure she's ready until we have a bigger tent for the family to share. Grandma swears she has never liked camping and doesn't think she'll like it now. And Jack has been up and down in his health this Winter with mild tummy bugs and colds, so we haven't yet taken him along with us. They are slowly being convinced to join us though and hopefully, in a few more weeks, they'll be willing to take that plunge. For now though, Laycie and Winston are loving the fun with Don and I.

It's good for Winston to be out and about. He's learning a lot about nature, first hand. Don's been teaching him to fish as well. Hopefully, they'll be out canoeing soon. He and Don have a lot in common which is great for both Donald and for Winston. It's amazing to see the transformation in them both. God's blessing shines through.

Win's growing up fast and his years left at home are limited. I'm so thankful he finally has a man in his life to teach him all about being a real man and I'm glad that Don is up for the task, enjoying it right along with him. It's a beautiful thing to see them both growing and gleaning wisdom from each other.

Laycie's right along with those guys. Every time, DaDa Don (as she calls him) takes out the fishing pole, she wants to go, too. He's taken her several times already and she's caught a couple of good-sized fish. She's learning to be patient and a little bit quieter so she can one day catch that monster bass. She's also getting pretty good at her owl calls with her DaDa Don's help.

So this is life for us now. A lot of out of the house, sleeping in tents in the great wild yonder. ReWilding. Getting back to nature and learning to love this life God has blessed us with as well as the many people in it. Bringing home close again so these kids of mine have the love, security and life they deserve to have. Life is a beautiful thing and I'm so blessed every day with my family and my little loves.   

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Healing and Moving Forward...

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3 verses 1-8

The first time I can remember hearing these verses was in a song but the words stuck with me through time. To everything there is a season and a purpose for us all. There is a reason for all that we go through. All the hurt, the anguish, the pain has a reason in the end times though we may never realize why while we are living this life.

Abuse is a real thing. It hurts through to your soul. You know it's wrong, you realize it's happening to you but when you are in it, you don't know what to do. You don't know how to begin to escape, to get out, to move on. Fear freezes you into place and action becomes so far away that you don't know how to find it.

For most of my life, I've lived in one abusive situation after another. I want to share them with you, to free myself from the secrets I've kept hidden all my life, but I cannot. Fear controls me. The fear that if I speak out against my abusers, somehow I will suffer from their retaliation, eventually. The fear of knowing that even though I am no longer in their possession, they still control my life.

Fear is a hard thing to let go of. It controls your life and leaves you debilitated. It takes away your ability to speak out, to move on, to stop others from affecting your life.

I am afraid of my past abusers. I'm afraid of the actions they can still take against me. I'm afraid of them controlling my life and with my fear I allow them that control still. They know it and so do I.

My abusers have moved on with their lives. They don't fear me because they know they have me where they want me. They have moved on to new loves and new things while I still suffer from their hurt and their actions towards me in our past life. This is what those who are the ones that abuse others do, while those they hurt spend a lifetime suffering. I pray for their spouses, their children, their family that they may never know the life I experienced with them and if they do, they see it and find a way to get out.

I have been hit, screamed at, convinced I was the problem, told I was nothing, useless, hated. I have been told I'm ugly, hateful, disgraceful, unwanted. I have screamed back, begged, pleaded, allowed myself to be disgraced, been laughed at and harrassed. These things are the least of what has happened in my life.

Every day it's a struggle to simply get out of bed without fear of which one of them is coming at me next. I'm in therapy because of their actions. I'm finding my strength again and creating a new life for myself and my children. I'm healing myself and I'm healing my children from the hurt they've experienced. Rebuilding our lives for the best and showing my children their Mother is stronger than the Evil she's endured.

Because abuse is just that: Evil in it's purest form.

In this season, our lives are starting over. There is so much that you don't know but the past is the past and the future is yet to come. Pray for me, as I pray for you and we shall all come through as God intends, stronger for His Purpose and Glory than we could have ever imagined in the end.

In this season, I have chosen to start fresh. I will be changing our blog name and setting it up to redirect to our new URL. We have a new home, a new hope and new challenges coming our way. And yes, there is a new love abloom, one like my children and I have never experienced.

Please continue to join us as we grow in Love, our Faith and Graciousness during this season of our life. We look forward to sharing our lives and experiences with you as we continue upon this path.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July Update {Epilepsy Awareness}

It's been a while since I updated.  Life gets busy and there is just no time for getting on here right now.  I would love to change that but I'm not sure how to make that happen.

There's a lot that I don't post, that I don't talk about.  I do my best to focus on the positive and to avoid the negative.  But sometimes that's hard to do.  We all want that perfect life, to put on the front that everything in our lives is glorious and amazing but when it comes down to it, we're just putting on a face that is not real.  That's the face I've had plastered on for a while.

It's hard being a Mom of four kids, even harder being a Mom of kids with Special Needs with 3 of the 4 having Epilepsy.  It's hard to wake up praying that this morning, on this day, your child will not have a seizure.  It's hard holding your breath when your son begins to cry, to rush to console him and meet his needs so he doesn't drop into an Involuntary Breath Holding Spell and have the accompanying seizure.  And when it does happen, you simply pray for it to be done and over with so that as a parent you can return to breathing again.

Yea, I hold my breath a lot.

You cannot understand my life.  You cannot understand what it's like to watch your child lay lifeless.  You will never understand what it is like to see your child lost in a seizure that lasts 13 hours straight, wondering if the medical team is going to get it to stop with the multiple medications they've injected.  You will never understand what it's like to wonder if your child's seizure will ever stop, if it will cause brain damage or other irreparable damage.  The only ones who do understand the truth of this are those who love and care daily for someone with Epilepsy.

The real truth is that any day I could have a seizure that leaves me laying in a vegetative state, or dead.  Any day my children can have a seizure that leaves them the same way.  I hold my breath with every seizure that hits us.  I patiently wait for them to end.  I wait to see what damage is done and I'm praising God every time it's over with no issues.

As a family, we've been extremely lucky.  There are others who aren't as lucky as us.  There are many who don't make it through.  I don't know why God blesses me to because any day that family that loses their loved one to a seizure could be us.

My biggest fear is losing my children.  My biggest fear is having to bury one of them and never being able to love and hold them again.  I know one day I will see them in Heaven but it doesn't ease the missing of them here on Earth.  Every day I pray I never see this fear come true in my life.

This is my day to day.  At this point, the kids are well.  Laycie is controlled on her Lamictal with no rashes and her appetite has returned.  Except for her ADHD being aggravated a little and her 7 going on 27 attitude, she's doing wonderfully.

Jackson is currently off medication.  His doctor was hoping he had outgrown his IBHS but he hasn't.  With the stopping of medication, his IBHS has returned along with the seizures.  We are waiting for a repeat EEG next month before attempting medication again.  I'm praying he does well until then.

Winston and Emmalee are doing very well.  I wish time would slow down because they are definitely not babies anymore.  Kids grow up too fast.

Laycie's genetic results came back.  She has four possible abnormalities but one particular that the geneticists believes may be our familial culprit for Epilepsy: gene PRRT2 which is known to trigger seizures in children.  It is now being tested against my blood sample to see if it's a viable choice.  Determining this gene allows for us to have better treatment options for now and also future generations and that truly makes me excited.

Well that is the update for now.  Not much else has been happening.  Until next time...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


So there comes a point in life when you just cannot breathe anymore.  Life becomes too much.  The drama is overwhelming.  Day to day is too routine and you feel like you're stuck in a rut.

There comes a point in life where you become tired.  Tired of the lies.  Tired of pretending things are not as they are.  Tired of putting on that fake smile just to make the world happy.

There comes a point in life where you stop.  You think, analyze, pray, plead, think some more and you realize the only way it's going to change is if you make the conscience effort to see that it does.

There is only so much forgiveness that one can give before they figure out it's not worth it.  There is only so much one person can take.  No one if perfect, and that is completely understandable but sometimes you just have to admit that it's not changing and it's not working for you.

Life should be enjoyed.  Life should be shared.  Life should be created through love, laughter and experiences shared by those who make us happiest.

Life should not be filled with remorse, pain, dislike, unhappiness and lack of joy.  Life should not be routine and miserable to live.  Life should not bring us down more than it brings us up.

Each of us has our own struggles and strife.  We are unique among ourselves.  We must each figure out the right and the wrong for us, for our own lives and learn to live, to enjoy every moment like it's our last.

I look back on my life and I see so many of the joyous moments but lately those have been outweighed and outnumbered by all of the unhappy moments.  I was lost.  I couldn't find my way out of the darkness that was consuming my soul.  I found myself praying daily for God to ease the pain that I was feeling. I found myself wishing at times that my time in this world was done with.

Yet I don't.  I have my children to watch grow and theirs to come.  I wish for happiness in my life, to be able to live out my days basking in the glory of their beautiful smiles, wrapped in the laughter and joy.

One day I hope to find the man that was made to love me and to be able to share our lives together, along with our children.  As many days as I give up hope, I still have my mustard seed of Faith to carry me through.  I know the things I want in my life and I wish, hope and pray for it all to happen.

Life changes are already in the process but it's a long road before I am where I need to be.  It's a long road to find myself again after so much pain has consumed my life for so long.  But I know I will overcome it all to become the best Mom, best friend, best person that I can be.  At this point in time, that's all I can do and hope for.

God bless,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Visual Learning Systems: Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition

Visual Learning Systems Review
Visual Learning Systems is Digital Science Online for both Elementary and Secondary school levels.  For this review, we used the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition with my 6 year old, Laycie.  The program has been great for our family.  Laycie has absolutely LOVED it!  Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition is also available to use with older students.

Visual Learning Systems Review
Digital Science Online is the all in one place to access Elementary science lessons.  I like this program because it's interactive, allowing Laycie to work at her own pace and it's informative which allows her to learn as much as possible in the time she works online.  This program fits both her and our family well.

Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition is an annual subscription allowing you access to the program for one year.  There are more than 135 units of study covering grades K-5.  Each of these units are visual in design, drawing the students interest to the lesson and keeping the mind intrigued.

Parents, students and teachers also have 24/7 access to the program so learning can happen at any time.  It's easy to use and allows many options for lessons.  This makes for a great program to learn by.  There are videos, images, and animations available throughout the program, along with access to student and teacher content.

Some of the primary subjects we covered have been measuring length, exploring sound, using electricity, observing weather changes, learning about seasons, and so much more.  Subjects covered through the program for Elementary are Physical, Earth, Life and Health science.  We learned so much for these wonderful lessons.

Laycie and all the kids have enjoyed using Visual Learning Systems: Digital Science Online.  It's been a great program for our family and has fit well with our learning style.  I look forward to using the program throughout this year with my children.

I also love the fact that the lessons are laid out so thoroughly.  The videos are easy to access along with the animations.  There are worksheets available to use with students to ensure they are learning the information provided to them in each lesson.  Learning objectives are also provided which are great to show just what is being taught by each lesson covered.

Laycie enjoys the lesson videos the most.  The simple things she learns intrigues her and leaves her wanting to learn more.  Since the lessons are thorough though, we don't have to outsource a lot to teach her more.  It's all provided right on the website, easy for her to see and learn.

Visual Learning Systems: Digital Science Online is available for $99 a year for either Elementary Science or Secondary Science access.  Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition is for students in grades K-5.  Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition is for students in grades 6-12.

Visual Learning Systems can be found online in the following places:

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To read more reviews of Visual Learning Systems, click on the banner below!
Visual Learning Systems Review

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Egglo Entertainment: An Egghunt Experience Like No Other {Schoolhouse Review}

Last year we were given the opportunity to review Egglo Eggs and other products for Egglo Entertainment.  We loved the company's products to much that we agreed to use them all over again this year!  Egglo Entertainment creates products that are exceptionally fun to use.

In our family, we're always looking for fun new items to use with our children.  We love having celebrations and gatherings that allow the kids to play and enjoy childhood.  We also love finding things that teach along with having fun.  

For this review, we were given a full set of Egglo Glow In The Dark Easter Eggs.  There are a dozen eggs per set.  These eggs are wonderful.  Made like regular Easter eggs, they come apart in the middle and are easy to open and close so you can fill them with treats and fun things.  Best thing though is these eggs GLOW in the dark!  That's right - you can hide them and see them at night.  You can even play hide and seek egg hunt inside with the lights out.  

These eggs also come with beautiful designs etched on the plastic, which shows as they glow.  They are charged through light like most glow in the dark products.  The colors are shine beautifully as they are used.  

In addition to the eggs, we received a copy of The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure.  This is a 40 page, full-color book all about Easter by Darcie Cobos.  It's illustrated by Golden Street Animations.  The illustrations are eye-catching and gorgeous!  We have read this book over and over because it is such a great story to read and share.

The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure helps connect the use of Easter eggs to the story of Jesus by sharing the Gospel in an easy to understand and simple manner.  Following Hardy, Anastasia, Pascal and even Zeke the dog around as they search to find these glowing Easter eggs.  Each egg they find shares a bit of Jesus's story throughout the book.  Children learn from the adventures of these three children as they read the story. 

We also received a set of Egglo Treasure Scripture Scrolls.  These tiny little mini scrolls share the story of Jesus and provide some extra fun for children.  We stuck them inside the eggs to allow the kids to look over them and enjoy as we did our hunt.  

In addition to all of the above materials is the Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide.  This is a one time download of all the curriculum necessary to use with the Egg-cellent Easter Adventure program.  This includes coloring pages, extra scrolls to share, mini paper Easter eggs, activities to complete, recipes for themed snacks, and so much more!  There are 60 pages in this curriculum set.

My children have truly loved playing with these eggs over the past year.  We haven't just used them at Easter but at several events.  They were so excited to receive a new set of eggs for this review because that allows us to have more eggs for them to find.  And at a $9.99 value, you can't beat the price!  We look forward to continue using these eggs and the other wonderful products that go along with them over the next  year.

You can purchase a set of Egglo Glow In The Dark Easter Eggs for $9.99.  The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure is a full-color book and is available for $9.99 as well. You can purchase Egglo Treasure Scripture Scrolls for $4.50.  The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide/Curriculum is available for purchase for $9.99.  The entire Egglo Kit with curriculum all together can be purchased for $50.00.  Egglo products are for children of all ages!

You can find Egglo Entertainment in the following places online:

To read more reviews on Egglo Entertainment, please click the banner below.

Egglo Entertainment Review

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