Thursday, March 30, 2017

And Then Life Changes Again {Severe Anemia Awareness} {Thoughts From Me}

I've been busy and haven't updated.  I know I'm terrible to just leave you all hanging.  So what's happened?

Well, I had my doctor's appointment and ultrasound on Monday to prepare for surgery.  Do you know what my ultrasound showed?  Not a darned thing!  There were no cysts on my ovaries which is awesome because I've never had cysts on them.  There was no fibroids or damage showing to my uterus  Scar tissue seen on camera was normal.  My uterus was normal.  Everything was NORMAL.  My uterine lining was slightly thickened in the middle which can simply be caused by my time of the month and did not worry my doctor.

So with all this new knowledge in my mind, I asked the doctor was surgery my ONLY option.  He replied that to stop the bleeding completely, yes it would be but if the bleeding was controlled by the med he had given me and it continued to remain controlled we could wait on surgery.  He said we can do the meds for a few months and see if they help.  Then I can come off of them and see if the bleeding has stopped.  I was more than joyous at this.

He decided to do an uterine/endometrial biopsy to make sure that I don't have cancer.  After he did it, he took a look at the sample and said it looks normal for a women of my age who is still in child bearing years.  But the sample will tell the story, if I do have cancer or not.

If I have Cancer, then of course the uterus comes out immediately.  If not, we discuss the options at a later time.  My instinct tells me I am fine and that my insides are healthy.  If they are healthy, I wish to find other options for my treatment and have them remain where they are at.

So for now, the surgery is NOT HAPPENING!  Meds are happening and I'm totally ok with that.  I've had no bleeding since starting the meds except mildly after the biopsy was done.  And yall this is the mildest period I've had in a long time now, so I'm very happy!

My thought is that maybe I am indeed in perimenopause or even menopause and that's the cause of the bleeding.  But only time and testing will tell.

Monday, I also saw my regular doctor and we discussed my constant tightness and pain in my back.  She felt it and said I was definitely tense more than I should be so she issues a mild pain med and muscle relaxer for me to try for a month to see how that works for me.  If it's not worked well then she will issue xrays for me to see what's going on back there.

At this point, the pain is so intense that any time I do physical activity I'm left in so much pain I can barely move.  This is not normal for a 37 year old and I told the doctor I just want to know what's wrong.  I don't wish to take tons of medication I don't need.  I truly just want to know why I feel as I do.  So hopefully, we can find those answers by working together.

On a joyous note, Donald and I got married last Thursday.  Today makes it an official week!  We told very few people and decided spur of the moment to get it all done and over with.  We do plan to have a wedding later but we wanted the legal and stressful part done for ourselves. We are so happy to know that we are following what God has planned for us together and for our family!  The kids were excited to know Mommy and Daddy are married as well.

Don also bought himself a little truck this week for a small price.  It's a great vehicle for him to work with and carry off our trash.  I'm really proud of all he's done to change his life and ours as well to make it better.  We're only headed upwards from here.

Him getting a new truck means we can find seats for the van for me and the kids so we can officially have a family car again.  This is another great thing!  I miss our family adventures and can hardly wait to begin them all again soon!

So this is our end of March update.  This is where we are in our life.  Looking forward to the future and our love and life together as we continue on this journey.

God bless,

Manhood Journey from City On A Hill {Crew Review}

What We Received for Review:

For this review, Manhood Journey & City On A Hill Studio sent us their Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit.  This kit comes packaged in a box of it's own that is filled with great stuff to be shared between young men between ages 8-17 and the older generation of men mentoring them.  Manhood Journey celebrates the young man's journey into manhood.

What We Were Sent In Our Package:

Included in our Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit were the following things:
-A DVD that includes all the necessary videos for each of the modules.
-A complete set of Maprochures to use with your child or in a group setting of young men.
-The One On One Guide Book for Embarking on your journey in a single, one on one setting
-The Group Guide Book for Embarking on this journey in a group setting.
-Wise Guys, Unlocking Hidden Wisdom From The Men Around You by Kent Evans with Rob Suggs

All these materials work together to complete this study on journeying into manhood.

How It's Used:

This set can be used in either a group or an individual, one on one setting with young men between the ages of 8 and 17.  It should be directed by a Father or a Father figure, leader of the church, or someone similar.  If a Father isn't available then of course a Mother could manage to put this to use with their son.

You start the journey by reading up on the journey material in the guidebook.  It explains who can use this set and how to make it work for you and your sons.  The entire guide gives you a walk-through of what to expect as well as what to say, share and do together to bond through this journey with one another.  The goal is to guide your son into becoming a better man, possibly even growing in your own Faith along the way.

The Maprochure works as a visual aid to show your sons where they are headed next.  It shows the main topics of the journey and is just a good way to "see" where you're heading.  It's a great little handout to keep up with group times or expectations for the journey.

The DVD has a video to present each module and help you build upon the lessons it teaches.  It's a great content bonus to keep kids interested in what's going on.  It leads you further into the guidebook, helping you to expand on what you're teaching and learning together.

The guidebook itself gives you an exact walk through of what to do and say with the program.  There is no right or wrong way to do this as long as you are sticking to the word, sharing the word and helping these young men dive deeper into the word with your help.  It's a great way to grow in the Lord together.

Additional the book Wise Guys by Kent Evans was included in the kit.  Wise Guys shares how to find the best for the men in life around you.  How to really learn from the Wise Men that God sometime place into your life.  And how to share that wisdom with others.

How We Used It:

I must admit, I didn't use this program myself as I'm the Mom but I did hand it over to Don to use with our 16 year old son, Winston.  Don is Winston's stepfather but this is for all Fathers so he was able to use it as well.  It was great for them.  Great for Don because he was able to dive deeper in the Word provided in the guide.  Great for Win because it allowed him to learn more about God and his plan for his life through the program.  It was great for them together because it allowed them bonding time together that they don't always get.  It was something just for them, that got them talking, sharing and learning together and the best part is that God was in the forefront leading the way!

They worked through one module at a time when they were able to find time.  You could do one a week in a group setting.  The modules aren't long but they are full of info to help you grow and learn about God and his plans for life.

Where You Can Purchase This Kit:

Manhood Journey & City On A Hill Studio has the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit available to purchase on their website for $29.99.  This includes everything mentioned above.  You can order additional materials separate as well.

Where You Can Find Them Online:

Manhood Journey
Twitter:  @manhoodjourney

City on a Hill

Read More Reviews Of This Product:

Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit {Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bessie's Pillow {Crew Review}

What We Reviewed:

For this review, Strong Learning, Inc. sent us a copy of Linda Bress Silbert's first novel, Bessie's Pillow.  Bessie's Pillow is the story of Linda's Grandmother who came over to America as an Immigrant in the early 1900's.  Bessie's Pillow shows us how life was in that era, what life was like for Bessie and her friends and family, and the challenges of life as an immigrant woman living in a New World.

What We Received:

Strong Learning, Inc. sent us a full copy of the Bessie's Pillow book.  It's a paperback book with 280 pages of both story, and historical information and pictures.  The front of the book features a picture of Bessie and a ship similar to the one Bessie came to America on.  There are many more pictures within the book for your enjoyment as well.

Bessie's Story and What We Thought:

This book came up on the vendor list right after the new president was sworn into office and talk was exceptionally heavy about immigration, including discussion of his beautiful, immigrant wife.  My first thought was what perfect timing to discuss these things with my children by reading this story of one woman's journey to America in the midst of so many questions in the very country she came to live in out of both necessity and love.

My second reason for choosing this story to review is that I, too, come from ancestors who immigrated to America much like Bessie did.  My family were not Jewish but they were German, coming to a New World to start a better life for their families and themselves.  I was interested in reading Bessie's story to have insight on what my Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandparents must have felt when they headed on their journey to this country and when they first stepped on to Ellis Island to be brought into the United States.

Let me begin by saying, Bessie's Pillow is a beautifully written book.  The story flows and keeps the reader interested which was something I was worried about as sometimes novels written based on true stories can be a little dry and boring.  But Bessie's story was completely the opposite.  Her life was amazing.  The experiences she had were both amazing and astonishing.  The description of those who were not as lucky in life as she was were equally shocking.  There was no overly written description of anything but just enough to let you know of the true tragedy and triumph of being an immigrant, of being an immigrant in America and of overcoming the stigma of being an immigrant to have a beautiful life in a new country.  And overall from what I've read in Bessie's Pillow, Bessie or Boshka, as was her given name by her parents, lived a beautiful life with her friends and her husband, children and family.

I must make mention of this one particular part that stood out to me and it wasn't actually in the story of Bessie but it was written in the back of the book where extra information on Bessie's life is shared.  Beautiful Bessie with her sweet soul went on her final journey exactly one day after my own mother was born.  My Mother was born on February 11, 1951 and Bessie passed away on February 12, 1951.  Because of the date that truly stood out to me.  Bessie was 63, 3 years younger than my Mother is at this very minute.

Extra Extra:

Bessie's Pillow is filled with historically accurate information on immigration in the 1900's.  It's a wonderful book to read with your family both for reading and as an extra for your curriculum.  There are lots of book extra's included in the book: pictures, information, and the story itself.  But there's also lots of extra information available on the Bessie's Pillow website at Strong Learning's website.

There's a gallery of photographs for you to view with your family to see actual pictures of the time period depicting what life was like at the time.  There's also a selection of General Topics to help you expand this book further.  Topics like Famous People, the Presidency, Radio and more.  Each of these topics are full of information for you to share with your students or help you build more knowledge of the time period for yourself.

How Can You Get Bessie's Pillow For Yourself:

Bessie's Pillow written by Linda Bress Silbert and published by Strong Learning, Inc. is available to purchase on their website for $15.  It is also offered as an Kindle eBook on Amazon.

Other Places to Find This Vendor:

Twitter:  @BessiesPillow

Read More Reviews of Bessie's Pillow:

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece {Crew Review}

What We Reviewed:

For this review, we were given access to Creating a Masterpiece's Monthly Plan subscription.  Creating a Masterpiece is a wonderful art program that teaches art in an innovative and encouraging manner.  Creating a Masterpiece really helps you to create art masterpieces of your own.

What We Received:

We received a monthly membership for the online website, Creating a Masterpiece.  This gave us full access to the website for a small payment fee of $39.99.  There are other payment options for this program as well which I will mention later on in this review.

About the Program:

Creating a Masterpiece is a program that can be used by multiple grade or art levels.  You don't have to know a thing about Art to use this program.  You can simply gather your necessary equipment and jump right on in.

Creating a Masterpiece offers art pieces to create from Beginners Level to Level 5 and also offers Art History lessons for your student or yourself to complete.  Each level offers multiple projects to choose from in different art media forms.  Each level increases in difficultly to challenge your student (or yourself) to become more developed as an artist.

In the Beginners Level, there are lessons in Watercolor, Ink, Charcoal, Oil Pastel, Mixed Media and even Alcohol Ink.  These masterpieces are easily completely and gorgeous when done.  This level is for those who haven't had a lot of art instruction and wish to begin the program to learn more about how to use these media forms in Art.

Each increasing Level contains different lessons each using different types of media, leaving your student learning a well-rounded ideal through their art mediums. No activity is the same though many use similar materials.  These are not necessarily things you will have on hand but they are easily purchased through an Arts or Craft store or ordered online.

The program is linked to an outside source for purchase of necessary materials to make gathering the materials necessary for your projects easier.  The prices of these materials is fair.  I chose to work on one project at a time so we weren't spending too much to complete our review and luckily since I have an artist in the house, we already had a great deal of the necessary tools needed for many of these projects.  Still we did find some projects where we had to purchase a new brush we didn't own or some other object but nothing too expensive.  This review also fell into the time frame of my artist birthday so I was able to gift some of these expenses to her for her enjoyment of both Art and this program as well.

Each lesson in the program shares a series of videos walking you through each step of the art process for the media chosen.  Lessons also show a color swatch palate to help you prepare ahead the colors you will need for the lesson itself.  A list of tips for working on the project or with the art median follows sharing helpful things for using that type of art media for your project.

There is a highlight section which shows you glimpses of the project you're working on as you work your way through the program so you can visually see where you are at what level of the lesson.  This is followed by a download section which includes a high resolution image for the project, a downloadable shopping list to prepare for the project and the ability to purchase supplies online through the connected vendor.  This section is followed by the final section of the lesson which shows encouraging reference art for you or your student to view in the same art form that you are using for the lesson you are working on.

The lessons are well prepared.  The videos are concise and easy to follow.  The exercises are easy to complete.

How We Used This:

Emma is my resident artist.  She really took to this program and completed the projects quickly and with little help from me.  She really liked the videos.  When she was stuck, she could reverse the video and try again until she got it the way she wanted.

The program was perfect for Emmalee but it was a bit advanced for my younger two children.  They just weren't ready for the lessons or the time it took to complete their projects.  Emma, on the other hand, found the projects challenging and didn't mind the time it took her to complete the projects she chose to work on.

I allowed Emma to pick and choose from various lessons.  She particularly enjoyed the Watercolor lessons and the Ink lessons.  I found she knew a lot more than I realized about the different types of art media in these projects.  Some things I didn't even know so she taught me what they were as well.

Membership Information:

Creating a Masterpiece is an online program for learning Art.  It is available by Monthly Plan subscription for $39.99.  This is for unlimited family access to all projects.  The program has over 144 projects listed at this time.  Even though this program didn't work well for my young students, it can still be used for young or old students who wish to learn more about Art.

You can also access this program for a yearly fee of $349 per year or purchase access to single levels for $119 a year.

Other Places to Find this Vendor Online:

Read More Reviews of Creating a Masterpiece:

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

One Week To Go {Severe Anemia Awareness}

One week to go...

In one week my life will change.  My ability to go forth and multiply will be gone.  My heart will never be the same.

I'm trying to remain positive but it's hard.  Monday we go for my ultrasound to see what's causing my bleeding.  My doctor feels uterine fibroids but won't know for sure until the ultrasound.

Having my children has been a blessing.  I never imagined I would be sitting here waiting for my uterus to be removed.  I never imagined there would not be a chance to have "just one more" baby.

I know I'm blessed to have four beautiful children.  I know many women aren't as lucky as me.  Still this is part of me that I don't wish to let go of.  And yet, I know to continue to enjoy my life with my children and family, I need to have this hysterectomy done.

I look forward to playing with my kids, to camping, to learning, to enjoying our day to day life again.  I look forward to not having to worry about having extra clothes "just in case" or how much blood am I going to lose before it stops again.  I look forward to not having worry, to just being able to enjoy life and worry about the little things, like paying a bill or buying the kids that new movie they've been wanting to see.

In one week, I will be coming out of surgery and stuck in a bed for 12 hours or more.  I will no longer have my uterus and may not have a cervix or ovaries depending on what they find.  In one week, I will barely be able to move from the pain of losing an important part of my body.  In one week, my life will be forever changed, hopefully for the better.

Wordless Wednesday: Together March 22, 2017 {Wordless Wednesday}

Wordless Wednesday
March 22, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Meet Andi: Circle C Stepping Stones {Crew Review}

What We Received for Review:

We have reviewed for Susan K. Marlow and Kregel Publications in the past and LOVED the books we received from them about Andi's adventures.  This time we were gifted books from the newest Andi Carter series: Circle C Stepping Stones.  Book #1 was Andi Saddles Up and Book #2 was Andi Under The Big Top.

I knew because of our past experience with Susan K. Marlow books through Kregel Publications that these books were going to be wonderful for Laycie and Jackson.  They did not disappoint.  These became our bedtime story read-alouds for the last month.  Laycie especially enjoyed them but I think Jack is a little young yet because his attention was not captured by the stories like I had hoped.  Still we will hang on to these for when he's old enough to appreciate them. 

About The Books:

Circle C Stepping Stones takes you back to when Andi Carter was a young girl, just 9 years old.  My Laycie is 8, turning 9 in April so she was very excited by this. This series is intended for kids ages 7-10.

  Andi loves her life on the Circle C Ranch and she absolutely loves her horse, Taffy.  Taffy is now three so that means Andi can finally ride her.  That's her birthday wish.  In Andi Saddles Up you'll learn all about Andi, Taffy, their family, friends and their life on the ranch.

Then in Andi Under The Big Top, the circus rolls into town and becomes the center of attention for the whole town.  Andi and her family attend, making new friends and helping a young boy find his way home.  There's even an attempt made by the Circus to steal Taffy for one of the acts.  You'll have to read to see how this one turns out.

Study Guides As Well:

Due to my recent health issues, we did not use the accompanying study guides for these books but I did take a long look at them and found them to be wonderfully creative.  Each title of the series has it's own study guide to help you educationally build upon the story itself.  They are around 25+ pages in length and filled with information, puzzles, new words and other fun activities to encourage learning with your student.  I will definitely be going back to these in the future when we read the rest of the book series as it's released.  You can download these guides on the website when you purchase the titles in this series.

How We Used These:

Laycie absolutely LOVED these stories.  We read them at her bedtime, snuggled together on the couch.  We chose to read one chapter per night but sometimes we read two when she could not wait to see what happened next!  She was excited for the next night to see what Andi was up to next.  She loved that Andi had a horse and was able to ride her horse alone.  She also wants to see the Circus now because she loved the description provided in the book.  She cannot wait for us to purchase the rest of the titles in this series so she can read more about Andi and Taffy's adventures.

Where You Can Purchase the Series:

Each book within the Circle C Stepping Stones series is priced at $7.99.  They are well worth every penny.  The Study Guides are free on the website and go along with each book in the series.

You Can Also Find Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Here:

Twitter (Kregel Books):  
Twitter (Susan K Marlow):
Facebook (Kregel Books):
Facebook (Susan K Marlow):

Read More Reviews:

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Embrace Grace {Frontgate Media Review}

Embrace Grace provides a safe place for girls and women with unplanned pregnancies.  Every day finds another young girl or woman wondering what their future holds because today brought news of an unexpected child.  Embrace Grace helps women find love, comfort and a safe place to embrace their pregnancy without condemnation or judging.

Embrace Grace is a beautiful community resource that you can bring to your local church to help support these women in need.  Embrace Grace provides curriculum to teach those in your church community how to truly help these women spiritually, emotionally and practically to encourage them to not give up and keep their heads high in situations that have been previously known to bring shame.

Unplanned Pregnancy should not be a shameful thing for women to deal with.  Every child is a blessing and a gift.  To many times women are taught that having a child out of wedlock is a shameful thing, leading them to take drastic measures to see that the problem is corrected.  Embrace Grace is helping to change this stigma attached to unplanned pregnancy by giving the Church a way to help and showing support to these women who truly need to be lifted up in Christ's Love.

Embrace Grace provides women with unplanned pregnancies with a Love Box entitled Love In A Box.  This gift box is filled with items to encourage the Mother and show support and love to her during this difficult time.  It is a wonderful way to who support of these women.

The box includes:
  • Branded Box
  • "Special Gift" Postcard
  • "Dear Brave Girl" Love Letter
  • "A Bump in the Life" Book
  • "Best Gift Ever" Onesie
  • Brave Journal
  • A free gift offer if the Mother reaches out to Embrace Grace

For this review, we were gifted the Pro-Love necklace and the Brave Journal.  The necklace is a simple bar shape with the words Pro-Love stamped on, connected by a chain to the enclosure.  It's adorable and a great way to be supportive of Embrace Grace.

The Brave Journal is a great place to write what you are feeling, a letter to your unborn baby, take notes for your next steps.  The cover was colorful and inspiring.  It's small to fit inside a purse or diaper bag as well.

These were only two small samples of the wonderful gifts that Embrace Grace provides to these beautiful women and soon-to-be Mothers in support of them.  Embrace Grace is a wonderful program, one that every church should participate in to support these women who need our love the most.  You can find out how you can support this program and start your own Embrace Grace program within your local church by visiting the Embrace Grace website online.

There is also a giveaway you can join in to WIN a journal and necklace of your own.  Here is the LINK for it:

Here are several ways you can help support Embrace Grace:

  1. Start an Embrace Grace at your local church so young women with unplanned pregnancies have a support group. 
  2. Partner with the national organization through prayer and support at 
  3. Download and print our brave girl letter ( and mail to address below for us to place inside a Love in a Box. 

You can mail your Brave Girl letter to:

Embrace Grace, Inc.
Attn: Love in a Box
700 W. Bedford Euless Rd., Ste. G
Hurst, TX 76053

Dear Brave Girl,

I know times are hard right now and you may not know where to turn, but don't give up.  And don't give in to the temptation to just end your child's life as I know may have crossed your mind.   Media makes that seem like the easy solution but it isn't.  Your heart still has to live with the decision long after that choice is made.

There are other options.  Adoption if you truly cannot afford the child.  There is always someone who is near to you who wishes for the very child you are carrying right now.  Someone who would be blessed by your decision to keep this child alive.

And then there is the fact that this baby, though it may not seem like it today, is a true blessing from God. One you may not realize you need in your life.  Children change our lives for the better.

God is with you, Dear One.  Do not be disheartened and do not give up.  He holds your hand when it seems there is no one around.  He will carry you, love you, support you every step if you just allow him to do so.

With God's love you will overcome and you will find Love through your child that you never imagined possible.

God bless and many prayers for you,


To find support in a church near you, contact Embrace Grace today!


I received these items in exchange for my honest review of this program.  This post is a part of the Frontgate Blogger Network.  No money was exchanged for this review.  I am including this in accordance with the FTC rules.  All opinions are my own.

Dana Lambert, Owner and Blogger at Luv'N Lambert Life


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