Friday, April 29, 2011

Greek 'n' Stuff... a TOS Crew review

Looking back over this school year, I have had the privilege of writing 18 reviews for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review Crew.  And, today's review is the one I have been most looking forward to!

In September, I received a copy of Hey Andrew!  Teach Me Some Greek level 3.  I'm very grateful to author Karen Mohs and the rest of the staff at Greek 'n' Stuff for giving me the better part of this school year to use this curriculum and to review it.

We have had fun with Greek!  Last fall, all four of us (because Eric was still at home) would gather around the table and study our Bible lesson and then our do our Greek lesson.

Amazingly, seven year old, Ellen, kept up well.  However, when Eric went to public school in January, I opted to shelve Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!  until next fall to give Ellen a little more time to improve her reading and comprehension skills.  I am very much looking forward to completing our Greek book next year with the girls.  

Hey Andrew!  Teach Me Some Greek! is a comprehensive curriculum.  Greek 'n' Stuff offers worktexts, answer keys, pronunciation CDs and cassettes, and other helps to assist home school parents and teachers teach students "koine" or common Greek. The cost for the worktext for level 3 is $21.95.  Click  here to see other prices for Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! level 3.  

I liked Hey Andrew!  Teach Me Some Greek!  so much that I am considering purchasing Latin's Not So Tough for Emily, who wants to pursue a career in medicine.

Click here to read other crew member's thoughts on Greek 'n' Stuff.

**disclaimer... I was sent this curriculum for my honest review because of my affiliation with TOS Review Crew.  I received no other compensation. 

Craving Grace... a Tyndale Review

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. (from the cover jacket)

Lisa Velthouse's book Craving Grace is a memoir and reads as such.  She shares her struggles, shortcomings and heartache as she journey's through life as a 20-something searching for God's favor.  And, for Lisa, it is in the search that she finds what it was she was craving... grace.  God's grace.

It's seems as if discovering grace is one of the buzz words in Christian bookstores these days.  Seemingly endless titles exist written by one who discovered, sometimes by accident, the depth of God's grace in their own life and have written their story for others to read.  It also seems that most of these works have been written by women who have always been "good" but find themselves missing a loving relationship with their Savior.  

Lisa Velthouse's Craving Grace is raw.  It is honest.  In fact, some may say there is way too much TMI (too much information) revealed in the pages of her book.   Honestly, I might agree with that.  While this isn't my favorite book on grace, Lisa does share a short, sweet story in her second chapter that, in my opinion, sets her book apart.   

Lisa shares of a rabbi in a Jewish classroom who, on the very first day of school, passes out brand-new copies of the Torah to his 5-year old students.  As the students watch, the rabbi places a small square of wax paper on top of each copy of the Torah.  After he finishes covering each copy of the Torah, he drops a small amount of honey on top of the wax paper.  When all the students have a copy of the Torah in front of them topped with wax paper and honey, he tells them to taste the honey and says, "Never! Forget! What God! Tastes Like!" (paraphrased  from Craving Grace pages 13-18). 

It is this sweet story that becomes the backbone of Velthouse's book and her journey to taste grace... to taste God.   She finds that keeping rules and being a good girl are unsatisfying without the sweet taste of God in her everyday.  And, that in tasting God, she sees that He is good and loving in her life.

Tyndale House Publishers will release Lisa Velthouse's book Craving Grace in May 2011.  Craving Grace will be available in both hardcover and ebook form.

Lisa Velthouse also blogs at

**disclaimer... I was sent a copy of this book because of my affiliation with Tyndale Blog Network.  I received no other compensation.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

transitioning... a few final thoughts

I've blogged our family's experience of transitioning from 8th grade home school to 8th grade public school in an ongoing blog series.  Here are the previous posts...

This will be the final post in this series.  We have become a family that is somewhat comfortably straddling the educational fence.  Eric has completely transitioned to public school and is doing amazingly well.  He's running hurdles and relay teams for track, is getting ready to do the all-school mini-triathalon in May, is on the honor roll and was citizen of the month for March.  The girls continue to be home schooled and Emily's home school opportunities took her out of the country this month.  It's all been good... all by the grace of God!

Grace.  Undeserved merit or favor.  God is grace.  It's His very essence.  He graces us with Himself.  He graces us with salvation for those who choose Jesus.  He graces us with forgiveness.  He graces me over and over and over again.  He's graced me and given me grace, how much more should I grace and give grace to my brothers and sisters in Christ?

"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required..."
Jesus Christ, quoted in Luke 12:48

Within an hour last night, two different friends at two different places both commented to me on education.  More specifically, educational choices either they have made for their own children or for educational choices that Chad and I have made for our children.  It's funny... something as simple as teaching our children has become a very hot topic.  Not only a hot topic, but one that sometimes causes us to be insensitive, defensive and ungraceful.

Grace isn't an easy thing to give.  If it were, it wouldn't have as much value.  Sometimes grace is letting people say hurtful things and having the grace to love them anyway.  Sometimes grace is walking away.  And, sometimes grace is agreeing that there is no perfect educational system in this sinful world and that we are all doing what we feel God requires of us.  And, always, grace is recognizing that we all see but through a glass dimly and God gives each of us more grace that we ever will deserve.

Falling asleep last night, I was reminded anew that so often the enemy uses us to tear each other down in the name of what is "right".  I think he finds easy topics, such as education, to use because we allow it.  We jump on our bandwagons to defend our stance and in our defense we tear each other down.  We develop a false sense of pride and self-righteousness and surround ourselves with likeminded people to build on our false pretenses.  He must seriously enjoy watching all of this.  Our enemy wants us to be self-righteous and arrogant in our personal views because when we are, he can uses us to wound one another.  When we are busy wounding each other, we are less effective in Kingdom work.  

I want to be a giver of grace.  I want to be used by my King for eternal work... things that last.  I've wasted too much time defending my home school decisions and arguing about which was is right, when really it doesn't matter.  What matters?  That I am obeying my God's direction in my life.   I love serving a God that I can not understand.  I love serving a God who directs His children differently.  I love serving a God of grace who graces me unconditionally and without end.  

And, this is the kind of grace giver I want to be.

Monday, April 25, 2011

on the day after...

On the day after our Resurrection Sunday celebrations, my gratitude list continues... counting again with friends at Ann's blog on this Multitude Monday.

... for His resurrection which sealed my eternity
... the gift of new life
... an annual celebration to remember
... knowing my children have all placed their faith in Him
... celebrating together as a family

... knowing that the Resurrection wasn't the end of the story
... anticipating His return for me
... learning to dress myself in His white
... preparing myself to be His bride
... His grace and mercy that change me

... family traditions that haven't been outgrown
... recognizing that my children are growing up fast
... worship and celebration with church family
... pretty new dresses
... the joy of  answering "He is risen indeed!"

... sunshine and warm air
... the promise of May flowers after all of these April showers
... fun puddles to splash in 
... a warm bonfire and even warmer fellowship with friends
... the first 'dogs and s'mores of the season

Friday, April 22, 2011

See the Light... TOS Crew Review

Very few homeschool parents feel competent or even comfortable when it comes to teaching fine arts in their own home school.  

While we seem to be able to teach math, spelling and literature without too much of a struggle, we seldom know the correct way to teach children how to draw or even the different ways to hold a pencil to achieve different art techniques.

Thankfully, See the Light is here to help!  See the Light, Drawing Children to Him is an excellent resource that teaches children how to create as well as teaching them about their Creator.  

Meet Master Artist, Pat Knepley.  In a gentle and non-threatening way, Pat uses short video lessons to teach children how to draw.  She introduces them to basic tools of the trade and encourages children to gather simple art tools such as a kneaded eraser, a #2 pencil, colored pencils, paper, a white eraser, a soft pencil and crayons.  

Using these fundamental tools, each DVD lesson builds on the previous lesson to give students a well-rounded  elementary drawing education.

The See the Light DVD curriculum is a 9 DVD set that includes 36 individual art lessons such as It All Starts With A Line, Scale, and The Bug Jar.  

For $99, See the Light brings the art teacher into your home, thus taking the away the fear and insecurity of teaching fine arts in your home school.  

See the Light offers a free trial of their art lessons either through a DVD or through an internet video on their website at

Years ago, I realized my own inadequacies in trying to teach my children the fundamentals of drawing and art.  At that time, the Lord blessed us with our beloved, Mrs. Baker, who has taught my kids art for six years.  If it were not for Mrs. Baker, I would seriously consider purchasing this DVD set to use with my own kids and with our homeschool cooperative.  I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Pat Knepley patiently teach basic drawing technique. 

Click here to see what other TOS Crew members think of See the Light.

**disclaimer... I was given See the Light for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oh the places you will go...a Gabby Mom review

Oh the places you will go
and the things you will see,
if you are my Eternal Encouragement
magazine along with me!

We'll travel together, you and I;
you are such a great size!
You fit so nicely in my purse
this issue... Time Flies.

I can take you to track meets 
while passing time in the bleachers.
I can take you to shoe stores
while the 14 year old looks for new sneakers.

Snippets of wisdom
and essays of God's grace
 make it easy to read you
in line... saving my place.

These dear homemaking writers
and moms who walk the path ahead
I read their lessons and insight
until late, snuggled in my bed.

My favorite article on page 38
tells of "A Mother Who Takes Time."
Donna Venning's words cause me to ponder..
I can take time and move outside to dine!

I'm so very thankful for
and for The Gabby Moms too
and for the opportunity they have given me
to do this review!

Oh the places you will go 
and the things you will see
If you are my Eternal Encouragement
magazine blogging next to me!

This product was given 
free of charge to me
for my own thoughts and honest review...
Dr. Seuss I do not claim to be!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

coffee? not until today...

I've mentioned before that I'm not a coffee fan... or at least, I didn't think I was.  I've always thought coffee was bitter.  It didn't seem to matter what yummy things I added to hide the taste... it was still bitter.  Until today...

guatemalan coffee, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: La Antigua Guatemala Fast Facts

I've joined in with Amy for {virtual coffee} a couple of times this year.  I usually start out by saying "I'm joining in drinking chai or hot cocoa".  Until today...

So, if we were having coffee together I would tell you that today is the first day in my 42 years of life that I have liked coffee.  In fact, it's 1:30 p.m. and I'm on my 3rd cup of it!  My man and my girl brought home some Guatemalan coffee and boy o' boy is it amazing!!  Seriously!  I think I'm in loooovvveee!  I even had to invite my friend, Rachelle, over to share in the yumminess with us.  

I would also tell you that last week was a loooooooooooong week for me.  I missed them both desperately.  When I hugged them my thought was "phew! So glad that's done!"  until they both said, "I want to go back!"  I was less than thrilled with that thought.  Until today...

Maybe it's selfish... maybe it's a wrong motive... but, I think I could be okay with them going back if they bring back more of this silky smooth stuff called Guatemalan coffee!

Monday, April 18, 2011

an opportunity to tell my story...

One of the things I love most about blogging is clicking through links that take me different places in this great thing called "blogosphere".  I've "met" follow sisters in Christ... found new recipes... and, generally just learned much though the wisdom and stories of other bloggers.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Elisabeth's blog and learned that she and I had something in common... a diagnosis of endometriosis.  Through emails we've shared some of our own stories with each other and prayed for one another.

Elisabeth has started a blog for endometriosis sufferers called Diagnosis Endometriosis.  Fifteen years ago when I began my search for more information, I wish I would have found a resource like this!  

Elisabeth has graciously posted my story today... perhaps in the sharing of my journey, someone will be encouraged and God will be glorified.

the return of routine...

Up early... another rainy Monday morning in April... and, in my opinion, rainy mornings do not make for easy awakening.  

However, today, there is something enticing, for me, about the return to routine... knowing who needs to be where and when.  While life is constantly fluid... ebbing and flowing with minute changes on most days and life altering changes that blessedly don't come often... I find a sense of security in routine.... Even the routine of driving my man to work and our man-cub to school felt good and right on this early, rainy Monday morning.

My mind knows what my heart finds hard to accept... that is, life has no routine and routine has no security.  My God has ordained my days... He controls them, not I.  He knows who needs to be where and when and how and why.  His Divine wisdom answers those questions. I am simply a vessel to be used for His glory... even in the daily routine.

These two loves of my life... my man and my almost 12 year old, just spent 7 days in Guatemala and 2 days traveling.  Nine days.  And, now that they are home, our family feels complete again.  We are returning to routine... and the routine feels good and right.

They spent 6 days working in this rural clinic with a team of doctors, nurse anesthetists, nurses and a few volunteers.  Thirty-seven surgeries were completed... and one was observed by my 11 year old.  Thirty-seven patients were treated in pre-op and post-op, some cared for by my Emme.  Many children waited for family members or to be seen by a doctor, most entertained by Emily while they waited.

Life is fluid... ebbing and flowing... and while we are returning to the routine of our family life... we are not returning the same people, especially Emily.  She experienced another country... another culture.  She worked harder last week than she ever has in her life.  She saw things that she had never seen and touched people's lives in a way she didn't know she could.  She no longer says "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up."... instead... her words are now, "When I'm a nurse...".  

As I count on this Multitude Monday my gifts of grace... my list of ongoing gratitude to the One from whom all blessings flow... I am acutely reminded that the security of routine is a mirage built on the shifting sands of time... and though the return of routine is a gift today, my hope and trust is in the One who has no beginning and no end... the One who is my solid Rock... the One who never ebbs, never flows, never changes.

for these things and more, I am grateful... journeying
...a trip of a lifetime
...changed hearts
...the privilege to be used
...sweet reunions

...the excited hugs of sisters 11 yr old BFF who came out at 10 p.m. to welcome Emme home
...words of encouragement from doctors and nurses who fell in love with my girl last week
...all 5 of us sleeping under the same roof

...stories, stories and more stories man who shares the details with me
...not sleeping alone in a bed built for two
...warmth and closeness

...knowing the One who is not capable of change
...trusting in Him
...the gift of routine on this Multitude Monday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Speekee TV... Review

Meet Speekee... an endearing bilingual puppet whose purpose in life seems to be to teach little ones Spanish.  Speekee lives in Spain and uses Spanish children in various environments such as a park, a classroom or the beach to teach Spanish using repetition, songs and visual aids.

Speekee TV is an online Spanish course for young children starring none other than Speekee himself!  Speekee stars in 10 episodes that are approximately 15 minutes in length. Each episode shows real children speaking Spanish along with animation and puppets.  As well as speaking Spanish, children who can read will see the Spanish words on the screen with the English equivalent underneath.

When Speekee TV contacted me for a review, I was thrilled to accept.  I love opportunities that provide my kids with chances to learn other languages.  After starting the first episode with Speekee in the park, my kids were less than excited.  Speekee TV is written for and targeted for young children.  The writers and producers have done a terrific job targeting a young audience.  However, Speekee TV didn't seem to translate well to older students in my home.

Other than the age difference, I like Speekee TV.  Five to ten years ago, I would have embraced it as an easy and effortless way to teach my kids some Spanish.  Speekee TV is offered for only $7.50/month and depending on how quickly your children learn, you could go through the 10 episodes in a month or so.

If you have unlimited internet access and are looking for a Spanish curriculum for your preschoolers or early elementary students, check out Speekee TV.  

Speekee also offers DVD curriculum on their website...

**disclaimer... I was given a free trial of Speekee TV for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

keeping busy...

Things that have kept me busy this week...

play dates at the park

track meets


seeing this on display

I like keeping busy this way!

Monday, April 11, 2011

on a rainy Monday morning...

On a slow, rainy Monday morning, I'm counting again... counting gifts of grace with Ann.  It's in the seeing the gifts and counting the grace that a rainy Monday becomes a Multitude Monday overflowing with gratitude.

...  a safe trip to Guatemala for my man and my 11-yr old
... texts while they were driving to OHare and flying from OHare to Miami
... email that keeps us connected internationally
... His hands that are big enough to hold them there as well as holding us here
... the peace that comes in that knowledge

... friends who have invited us to their home to keep us busy
... many play dates for the 7 year old this week
... coupons for free lunch
... an incredible 14 year old who has stepped into a role of responsibility remarkably well
... his first 2 track meets this week

... learning, again, that when my man is gone, I am lost without him
... finding peace in the fact that he is my go-to guy
... the gift of time apart 
... knowing that he and Em are having the time of their lives
... the privilege of walking alongside when God given gifts are used for His glory

... a weekend full of sunshine
... spring green
... warm air
... the sound of a spring thunderstorm while we are sleeping
... dirty, tired kids at night

... recognizing the fragility of life
... offering the gift of prayer for hurting friends
... realizing, anew, that not everyone finds peace and joy in the journey
... clinging to the One who gives that peace and joy
... looking forward to the day when there is no more pain, no more tears

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thursday's randomness...

Is "randomness" a word... not sure on that one but my brain is on random overdrive today.  So many thoughts... so little cohesiveness....

...tomorrow... TOMORROW NIGHT!!!  my man and almost 12-year old leave for 8 days in Guatemala!!  Including travel time... 9 days away.  My heart is so divided.  I'm thrilled for the opportunity for them... thrilled that I don't have to go (it's the whole "motion sickness" thing... suffice it to say, I don't do motion well)... and terrified at the thought of how much I will miss both of them!  Terrified is probably slightly strong but I am thinking I will miss them terribly!!

... ellipsis and exclamation points!!  I use both of them all.the.time.  I like them.  However, most editors would agree... these things should be used sparingly.  I guess if I want to be serious about writing the ellipsis and exclamation points need to go.  

Which means I have some serious editing to do on the Bible studies that are floating around in cyberspace...

... Bible studies... and what to do with them?!  A continual question in my mind but now that has changed their policy and require membership and payment, I need to think of another way to offer these either free or at a very limited cost.  Any suggestions???

... Dutch Blitz... there is a rousing game of Dutch Blitz happening at my feet.  However, the two players are each trying to change the rules... makes me laugh!

Just as I promised... randomness...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

the making of a Passion tree...

I've never had a Passion Tree before...
honestly, if not for the prompting from Ann
I wouldn't have ever thought of creating one

but creating is something I LOVE to do
and so I filled an old Mason jar
with beans... 
and we talk about Jesus' parable of the 
farmer who sowed his seed...
Matthew 13

and we add 5 branches
because, of course, there are 5 of us
and we talk about John 15...
He is the vine, we are the branches

and we embellish with
$1 glittery foam eggs...
because it brings us joy
and makes us smile
and because of grace
we can

we bring it in and add some left over
Advent tree lights
and we put it in the same place the Advent tree goes
because the lessons from the Passion tree
are just as important 
as the lessons from the Advent tree

and we add Ann's pictures
the ones done by masters of long ago
...those ones we don't know much about
so off we go to learn
about the ones who created art
to glorify the Artist

we take our Passion tree with us
to share with others as we learn
to identify the art on our tree

our Passion tree 
becomes an art history lesson
and a fun day searching and researching
at the library with friends

and after our jaunt
our Passion tree
safely arrives back home
placed back in its prominent place

and from here we look forward 
to learning more..
to studying of the passion of our Savior
whose death, burial and resurrection
gives us new life in Him!

Monday, April 04, 2011 I just have to share...

... in response to my last post... the one that shows some of my messy, ugly, stuff... I just had to share this...

Waking up with a self-inflicted wounded heart this morning caused me to pray this..
"LORD, show me the other side... show me his side so that I can see more clearly.  I don't want this to be all about me and how hurt I am.  I don't want to dwell on my needs not being met.  Please show me what I need to work on to meet his needs... to love him better... to respect and treasure the one that has lived with me all these many years."... or something very close to that...

Know what?  My God is a God even of the internet!  I love that He finds me surfing around and uses godly women to point me to Him.  He is THAT amazing!

Check out what He had me read today...

my real life friend, Kari, must have had a bird's eye view of my heart this morning...

my sister's gratitude list ... reading her words, her godly words reminding me that my hope is in One bigger than all of this and that I can lean wholly on Jesus' name.  It also does my heart good to know that I am not alone in my struggles.

my favorite learn much from one wiser than I blogger, Lysa, whose post today made me laugh and cry... laughing at her day yesterday with her dogs... crying because I so often am the one that "tee-tees" on my man all because of my own selfishness. I just had to share...

the stuff life's made of... hard eucharisteo

It's so easy to talk about giving thanks... to give out copies of Ann's book... to encourage friends to start counting the ways God loves... to look for gifts of grace.... to talk about a life of eucharisteo...

What about the hard stuff of life?  The messy?  The ugly?  Is there eucharisteo there?  Is there eucharisteo in the days when marriage is nothing more than hard work?  Can I see beyond the hurt... the pain... the accusations my heart makes to see the gift of grace?  Can I go one step further and not only see that gift of grace but choose to be God's gift of grace to the one who has wounded me... again?

Is there eucharisteo in the volcano experiment?  Not the home school science baking soda and vinegar variety of volcano but the hot, bubbling, emotional explosion of a wife and mother who has had more than enough.  The kind of volcanic eruption that burns long after the magma hits the fan... cuts deep and wounds deeper.  Can I dig through the hardened lava to find forgiveness... grace... acceptance... joy... love?

What is it about counting gifts... living eucharisteo that leads me back to my own hard heart... messy self... ugly stuff?  Is this what grace really is?  Seeing what grace has done in my life and willingly... lovingly... generously giving grace... not because it's deserved but because it's never deserved.  And, doing this over and over... all the way to 70x7 (Matthew 18:22) because He never stops gracing me. this journey toward a life of eucharisteo (Greek... means to be grateful, feel thankful, to give thanks) I keep counting...

... for almost 17 years of this thing called marriage
... for the joy and the pain because in the end, I wouldn't trade it
... realizing that for as much as I feel wounded... I have wounded more
... thankful that he hasn't left... though I'm sure he's been tempted a time or two
... steadfast love

... lessons in life that change me
... knowing that the tractor started because I was willing to say "thank you"
... forgiveness... again and again and again and again... to infinity
... family fun working together
... laughter after tears

... letting go of the ugly... messy... painful and clinging to all that is good... right... lovely
... seeking Him and seeking him
... working toward continual eucharisteo
... finding Ann and her words
... knowing that His timing is perfect

joining in the community to count on this Multitude Monday...

Friday, April 01, 2011

a bit about ME...

I'm joining in for the second year with 5 Minutes for Mom's annual Ultimate Blog Party and the party just gets bigger and bigger every year!  Join in!!

I often blog reviews that I do for Gabby Moms, TOS Crew and Tyndale.  Other times I post about my life as a wife, homeschool mom, children's ministry leader, friend, etc.  Most of my posts, though, fall under the category of sojourner... one who is seeking peace and joy as I journey through life with my Jesus.  

Though I often blog in these categories, I've realized that I rarely talk about myself... those things about me that make me... well, me.  For instance, I have discovered that there is no where on the face of my blog, right now, that tells you my name.  So, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

~my name is Heidi... not my favorite name in all the world, but it's worked for the past 42 years and it doesn't seem worn out yet.  

~this is my BFF.  His name is Chad and almost 17 years ago, he made me his wife.  I am so very grateful that he did.  Our life together has been a great adventure!  This picture was taken on one of our amazing camping vacations.  Yep, I love to camp... well, as long as it's in my 5th wheel and not a tent!

In this picture, we were on a boat in the Straights of Mackinac.  I love, Love, LOVE the Upper Peninsula area of Michigan!  One of my "bucket list" things is to live in the UP for an entire year and experience all 4 season up there.  Good thing I love snow!

~these are our 3 E's... Eric, Emily and Ellen.  We are finishing our 9th year of home school this spring.  This winter we did something new (to us, anyway) and put Eric in second semester 8th grade in our local public middle school.  He's athletic and loves football.... kinda hard to find a homeschool football team... Anyway, he's done well and loves school.  Emily will finish 6th grade this spring and our plan is to continue homeschool in the fall for 7th.  She has an amazing opportunity to go to Guatemala in a week with her dad on a medical missions trip (Chad is an RN) for 8 days.  I can't wait to hear all about it when they return!  Ellen finished 1st grade and started 2nd grade this winter.  She has a September birthday and so if she were in conventional school, she would be in first grade.

~I love bookstores.  Especially old, musty, dusty used bookstores!  Another "bucket list" item is to own a old bookstore/coffee house some day.  I keep thinking I should probably get a job at our local coffee house soon so that I can learn how to be a great barista! ... especially considering I don't drink coffee.  I hate the taste of it but love the smell, go figure!

~I also am in a life-long love affair with the Great Lakes... especially Lake Superior and Lake Michigan (in that order).  I think this love affair began when I was 12 and my parents took up on a camping trip that included stops along Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Huron.  Since we're talking about my "bucket list" I will also add that someday I want to live on the shores of either Lake Michigan or Lake Superior.  

So, I guess I will have to live on the shores of Lake Superior in the UP and run a bookstore/coffee house for a year to compete my bucket list.

~I would guess that the most important thing that makes me... ME is that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  My love affair with Him has been along longer than my love affair with the Great Lakes or with my BFF.  I strive to be like Him and live my life for Him daily and fail miserably.  But, His great love lifts me up and His death, burial and resurrection cover my multitude of sins.  I am so grateful for His love, His grace, His mercy and can't believe that I get to spend all of eternity praising Him! there you have it... a bit about me.  Care to join in the Ultimate Blogging Party and share a bit about yourself?