Where the red one grows…

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Where the red one grows…

As we entered the church doors, they ushered my son into the pastor’s office.  The rest of our family found a seat in the sanctuary.  This time, I wasn’t the preacher’s wife, I was the preacher’s mom.  My son was about to preach his first youth rally. The sanctuary was packed.  The praise and worship began and I frantically kept looking behind to see if my son had entered the sanctuary.  Was he nervous?  Where was he?  I know I’M NERVOUS…wait, I’m feeling sick.  Is he ok?  Should I run to check on him?  No, he’s grown up and about to preach, that’s silly.  So, I waited…eventually in one of my many glances back; I see him sitting a few rows behind me.  I sighed a small sigh of relief, but the main part was still yet to come.

There had been so much drama leading up to this event, was he too stressed for this?  Is this too much for a seventeen-year-old?  We had left early in hopes that we wouldn’t be rushed, but then there was traffic.  Then, we got lost. He had fasted, was he going to pass out from hunger?  I knew God had opened this door, but I’m a mom and worrying is just what I do in situations like this.

The time is here and now.  The pastor introduced my son and then he confidently took the pulpit.  What does a Bible Quizzer do when they are nervous?  They quote scripture.  He exhorted a bit and then powerfully quoted all of Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…”  With each verse, he became more passionate and calmer.  It was his sedative before he went into his message.  The Word of God was his ‘go to’ in this time of need.  The Book of Psalms was what he had studied a couple of years ago, but yet today it was as fresh as it was the ten months that he quoted it every day.

Is this really the little boy that Bro. Jesse Nash harassed over every quotation question when he was seven years old?  Is this really the young boy who grew up behind the buzzer…determined to either quiz out or error out?  Is this the little guy who worked out his resilience, sportsmanship, character, discipline, tenacity, and submission to authority behind red one?  Is this the little quizzer who felt relief and safety when he entered his licensing board interview with his quizmaster, Bro. Clay Strawn?  And then more relief when his junior quiz master, Bro. Mark Green, was another familiar face on that district board? Yep, this is that boy.

Friends, this is why we Bible Quiz.  I would not trade one minute or dollar spent quoting, practicing, or quizzing.

I have seen the Word of God be all three of my son’s frame of reference in their daily decision making on more occasions than I can count.  I often hear all three boys praying scripture in their prayer time.  I have seen my oldest, as he emcees a church service, quote from a reservoir of scripture that he has learned over the past ten years.

Yes, it takes hours a day to quote three experienced quizzers.  Yes, it costs quite a bit to travel to tournaments.  Yes, we have many other things vying for our time. But, I have no regrets.  As I approach the finish line to my years as a quiz mom, I applaud all of the other quizzing moms who are willing to invest in their babies and take the baton.

Quizzing is the best decision that this family has ever made.

 

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How my kids earned nine college credits in three months…

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“Bachelor’s degree required”. If you peruse through any job board or decide to crinkle through the classified employment section of your daily newspaper, then you have seen these three words more times than you can count. If you have your bachelor’s degree then you feel confident. But if you don’t, then you feel harshly eliminated.

As a wife of a church planter, I can attest that I have never once regretted having my bachelor’s degree, nor has my husband. In fact, our degrees have opened the doors for many jobs that have put food on the table. Now, as a mother of three boys, who are future providers for their families, I feel compelled to set them up to win. I know many successful businessmen who have provided well for their families with only a high school diploma. However, that seems to be more of an anomaly than the norm anymore. So, this post is not to convince you about the importance of a college education. That is your personal choice. However, if you are wanting to find the best option for you or your family to pursue a college education, then read on…psychology-bachelors-degree-large

The past few years, I have researched methods of obtaining college credit as well as various universities. My number one goal was to find an affordable Christian college education. I spent a year and countless hours familiarizing myself with all of the options.

First, I discovered that the accredited Christian colleges that I had my oldest son enrolled in used secular textbooks. The only thing that made them Christian was their name and statement of faith. I was under the impression that the material would be from a Christian worldview similar to Christian homeschool curriculum…. not the case. Then I thought, well maybe the teacher is Christian and teaching the secular book from a Christian worldview…. not the case. I received the syllabi from three different Christian universities and all three used secular books. A majority of the coursework was just reading the secular book; some did reference YouTube videos which we do not allow our children to access unsupervised. One university told me that my son would have access to a forum where he could discuss his beliefs with other students and the students have the liberty to discuss what they believe…. uhh, no thank you.

So, after this exhausting process, I decided to look into credit by examination. You have probably heard of Advanced Placement exams (AP), CLEP, Dantes, or DSST exams. Many universities accept these exams for credit and then the student does not have to take the actual course. Each university has their own requirement and guidelines for accepting these credits and you can generally locate this info on their website.

CLEP Exams

Many people have achieved college credit through CLEP exams. If you want to go that route, I am not your contact for that. I purchased a program that outlined a method for obtaining credit primarily through CLEP exams. It gave a reading list for each exam and it also included an online flash card system. We actually never tried it, but I have a friend that tried it and they found that you were needing to read an undefined number of textbooks to achieve a passing score of 50%. The process involved reading NUMEROUS textbooks, working through 500 flashcards, and taking multiple practice exams (all for a fee) in hopes to increase your score.

The timeframe for one course was about 2 months. The reason that I never used that trusty program that I purchased was that there was no clear indication of what would be covered on the actual exam and so your studies may be in vain. When I attended Baylor University and McNeese University, you studied a textbook, attended lectures, and it was material that was on the exams. In CLEP, you are basically guessing at what will be covered and may be studying unnecessary information. Ain’t nobody got time for that!!! Besides, my boys will not sit down for hours and read textbook after textbook.

The Pros of CLEP:
• You can use Christian textbooks, but that material may not be what is covered on the actual exam
• It is self paced
• It is widely accepted at many universities
• It is less expensive than traditional college

The Cons of CLEP:
• It can get expensive with the purchase of the plan of how to do it (as much as $1000 depending on which one you buy)
• the textbooks are $30 – $50 each on average
• the online monthly flashcard system you have to buy for each child is $20 per child
• the various practice exams are approximately $20 each
• the final exam is $80
• You have to schedule the exam at a testing center which can be intimidating and inconvenient
• If you fail, you have to wait three months to retest

ACE Credit

According to ACE’s website, The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) was established in 1974 to connect workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping students gain access to academic credit for formal training taken outside traditional degree programs. With over 35,000 programs reviewed, CREDIT is the national leader in the evaluation process for education and training obtained outside the classroom including courses, exams, apprenticeships, and other types of nontraditional forms of training.

For 40 years, colleges and universities have trusted ACE to provide reliable course equivalency information to facilitate credit award decisions.

Basically, ACE credit works very similar to CLEP credit. You can take a course through a third party company that has received ACE accreditation and then submit that credit to a university for credit.

Within the realm of ACE credit there are numerous choices and as you probably already know, I have researched them all. Our family is beyond thrilled to have found a company called Study.com.

How Study.com works

Originally, this company set up videos to help those who were preparing for CLEP exams. They had no way of knowing the success rate except from those who submitted their results, which was most likely skewed because who wants to submit that you failed? So, Study.com began submitting their courses for ACE accreditation and the rest is history. They currently offer 46 ACE accredited courses and hope to add more.

Although the content is not Christian per say, the content has been family friendly. In fact, my middle son said that he could see the Hand of God all throughout history while taking U.S. History through Study.com. I spoke with someone at Study.com and they said if I ever see anything not appropriate, then to alert them and they would remove it. We have not taken any Science courses through them, but I am assuming it probably contains evolution and we will pass on those.

Each course has highly engaging videos, an accompanying transcript that you can read for reinforcement, online quizzes for every video, chapter exams, and a practice final exam. After completing the coursework, then you can schedule a proctored final at any time of day or night. They video you while you take the exam and then review it within a few days and you find out if you passed or not. Your will receive either a pass or fail for the course. This is based solely on your score on your final exam. You must score a 70% or higher on your final to pass and receive credit.

I could not be more thrilled with the opportunity that Study.com provides. My boys are learning so much and they love the format! With an annual college accelerator subscription, you are allowed to take up to two exams per month. You can slow the learning down for your student, but even one course a month would be a tremendous value.

Where is the transfer guide for my college/university?

If you scroll down on this link https://study.com/academy/try/earn-college-credit.html, in the blue section where it says transfer credit to over 2,000 institutions, you can type in your university of choice. In some cases, you can even see a pre-approved transfer guide of courses that will be accepted and what credit will be granted. They have a team working on adding more partner schools to this feature so you can find out more readily what your specific university accepts. If a transfer guide to your university of choice does not populate in the search window, then you may need to submit the request directly to the Admissions department at that university.

The pros:
College Courses for $41…Exclusive price for Fervent Family Members (no hidden costs and no other materials needed)
• The videos are highly engaging.
• It includes online quizzes and testing to check mastery.
• The format is awesome.
• You do not have to take any type of college entrance exam to get started.
• Self-paced
• The content that is in the videos and reading is EXACTLY what is on the final exam.
• If you fail your final, then you can retake it in 3 days.
• You can test at any day or time, in the convenience of your home. (But, sorry not in your jammies, they do require you to get dressed.)

The cons:
• I wish I had known about this two years ago…

Save almost 60% on college credits!

In an effort to try out a new marketing strategy, Study.com graciously agreed to offer my readers a 59% discount if you buy an annual subscription to their college accelerator plan. It is normally $200/month or $2400 per year and for a limited time you can get it for $984! You are allowed to take two college courses per MONTH. That would be 72 college credits in a year! There is no dual credit option or college option cheaper…ANYWHERE!

If you decide to enroll.
1. Sign up the student for a free trial under the MONTHLY COLLEGE ACCELERATOR plan.
2. Forward the emails that you set each account up under to me at findmore@morethanchurch.org along with your request to transfer to the ANNUAL COLLEGE ACCELERATOR plan at least 24 hours before your 5-day trial expires for 59% off a total of $984/year per student.
3. They will apply the discount and charge you the reduced total. You can view this within each study.com account at anytime. Here is their website so you can check it out: http://study.com

Manners 101, Lesson 1

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As we approach Thanksgiving and having an attitude of gratitude…

This is a time of year that we want to build bridges and stronger relationships- not insult people. I’ve noticed that some people may not have ever been taught and I am certainly no Emily Post, but there are some things that are good ole common sense with a dash of Southern Hospitality. If someone buys you dinner at a restaurant or if you attend a party/wedding/event to eat, do not say ANYTHING negative about the food or the restaurant. PERIOD. Mom’s old rule applies here. If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. Some may feel it necessary to verbalize their opinions freely in such environments. However, I have never seen any good come out of that. It is not like they can whip something up that will please your palate at that point anyway. In fact, it hurts people. Can you imagine if you were paying the bill, or had spent a fortune on the perfect wedding cake, or slaved away in the kitchen all day only to overhear your family member, friend, or ‘sister in The Lord’ criticizing your efforts or even worse the work of a new member? It really isn’t about if you can eat onions or not, it is about the celebration and more importantly THE PEOPLE behind that celebration! So, smile, be grateful for their offering, and enjoy! Oh, and if you are in a restaurant setting, then make sure you thank the person that paid the bill. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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What is ‘ME’ time?

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I recently overheard someone referring to ‘me’ time.  I thought to myself, “What in the world is ‘me’ time?

My days are spent running from one place to the next for my boys or my church. Weekdays, weekends, all filled with LIFE and activities. Other than taking a shower, getting dressed, and my prayer time, I can’t really recall time that I spend that benefits me alone and I am not really sure I desire that.  I really love doing for the amazing people in my life and I really think if I scheduled ‘me’ time that I would not enjoy it because I would be feeling guilty on what I really should be doing.  However, in reviewing the calendar, which is the means by which we manage the craziness…. I noticed that the calendar is full, very full.  I find myself in those rare moments of downtime, reading or trying to find tools to help me be more productive.  Are you kidding me?  How much more productive can I be?

I’ve realized that I am VERY productive and so are my kids, maybe TOO productive in fact.

Last Saturday, I went to Costco for the first time. I was in love from the moment I started seeing all of the organic selections. I must have been the talk of Costco as I went through the aisles of store with excitement, saying out loud, “Wow, look at this!” (Yes, I was alone.) However, as I turned the corner by the frozen section, I spotted this craft gift set for children to make their own pottery. I literally felt a whiplash of emotions as I gazed at the craft set. You see, I am not a crafter. In all honesty, as a homeschool mom, I disposed of every ABeka art project from Kindergarten on up… No turkeys made out of your hand, no Popsicle stick houses… Core subjects and Bible quizzing were our top priorities, but somehow things like arts and crafts never made the list.  But now, it has hit me like a ton of bricks, right in the middle of Costco. My babies are grown up. While we have not left one stone unturned on the important stuff, I feel a mad rush to do crafts, goof off, and make as many more precious memories as possible. Every time my mom calls me, in her soft spoken southern drawl. she asks, “Honey, are y’all having any fun?” I always redirect to all of the meaningful things we are doing.  Not anymore… I know she is proud of her grandkids and their accomplishments, but today her question drives me, because I realize that SHE KNOWS. She knows when it is all said and done that it is truly important what you put into your kids, but you also need happy times and silly memories to attach to those nuts and bolts. So, today is a new day!!    I can’t say that I am going to plan any ME time, but I definitely see more US time in my future.  We will keep doing all of the important stuff, but this momma is planning some FUN….yes, even crafts. Just like the important stuff, if we don’t plan it, then we won’t do it. You younger moms, learn from me. It is all important…seek balance, be diligent, and have some FUN.  “Me’ time can come when your kids are grown!

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Is your dog food KILLING your doggie?

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It was her last day. The time had come to where she was really suffering. We had to make some decisions, but we are Apostolic. We were believing and trusting God for a miracle. Goldie was our family member and we wouldn’t euthanize any other family members, so why would we do that to her? Besides, what if God was going to answer with our miracle. She had not been able to eat for 8 days. She had to be carried to the yard to do her business, as she was too weak to walk. She had distanced her self for the past week in preparation for an eternal separation. But, today was different and we all knew it. Our family decided to push back the plate until 3pm that Monday as we waited on divine direction. We all gathered in the middle of the living room floor that morning and prayed specifically that God would either heal or take Goldie by 6pm, no wait 7pm…let’s give God an extra hour to work. If neither of the above occurred, then we would take her to the vet and let them put her to rest. This is absolutely the last thing that we wanted to do, because questions would have always lingered in our mind. However, she was pitiful and in pain. There was no treatment that we hadn’t already tried that could help her.
At around 2pm, we were all sitting on the back porch. My father-in-law just happened to be there too. This was ironic because he had been on life support and at death’s door the week or so prior. In fact, while I was receiving the news at the vet, my husband was receiving a call from the hospital in Kansas City that they were calling in the family. Goldie typically traveled with us, but Papa would help take care of Goldie when we were out of town and we could not bring her with us. She even went with us to see Papa at the hospital in Kansas City. Thankfully, Papa made it and now here we were on our back porch just visiting. Goldie, with her last bit of strength, she stepped down from the swing and began making her way to each person in our family. She let each person pet her and love on her as if to say good-bye to us individually. She had moved very little in the past 8 days, so this was highly atypical behavior. In silence, we all just took our turns loving on our furry friend. Well, Goldie went back on the swing and Papa went home. At 3pm, our scheduled time for our little fast to end came and then at 3:13 pm, our Goldie passed. It wasn’t the answer we wanted, but at least we didn’t have to take matters into our own hands and her pain finally ended. She was buried with her favorite pink ball and a pack of her favorite candy, Sour Patch, except this time she didn’t just get the green ones, she got the whole box.
Yes, she is just a dog. However, to our family, she was the one who chose us over the neighbors in our old neighborhood. She is the one who would not leave my husband’s side when he was injured. She was a sorry excuse for a guard dog, but taught us the true definition of loyalty. She chewed so many plastic water bottles that her teeth were barely nubs. She loved Rudi’s organic bread and there were many a loafs that went missing under her watch.

It has been 99 days since our beloved Goldie Girl Szumanski left this earth.
Even though we had a dog, I use to be one of those people that would think to myself…it is only a dog, give me a break! However, until you lose a pet that is such a vital part of your family, it is hard to comprehend how much you really do love them.
In hindsight, I wish I would have done a few things differently. I put so much effort into what I feed my children, it really shocked me that I just kept giving Goldie that Science Diet dog food the vet recommended 9 years ago. I should have known better. I am convinced that Goldie’s death could have been prevented if I had known then what I know now.
As we plan to open our hearts and our home to a new pup, I decided that I am going to be a better dog parent.
I spent approximately 19 hours last week on researching dog food. Yes, I know that I’m crazy, but that is nothing new. I was amazed at all that I learned through my research, TRULY AMAZED or should I say SHOCKED. Just like humans, what your dog consumes is vitally important to their health. I feel strongly that feeding your dog the appropriate things could literally add years to their life as well as improve the quality of their life. Even if your dog seems fine on a subpar food, sometimes the damage is being done slowly…literally bowl by bowl.
There is a list of specific foods that are harmful to dogs. You can access that list here: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/foods-are-hazardous-dogs
People that know me, know that I am a passionate person….sometimes too passionate for some. However, I feel sort of like a puppy crusader in my new dog food discoveries. If just one family decides to make a change in their dog’s food, then that is worth the 30 minutes this has taken me to write.
I kept thinking that my post would need to be about all of the best and worst dog foods out there with specific ingredients that were toxic, but suffice it to say those posts are already on the net. Here is more of a bottom-line approach to my findings, from friend to friend so to speak.
I found great info from a website called Dog Food Advisor. I researched their entire list of 5 star rating foods, which can be accessed here: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/5-star/. There is also very good information, especially as to the various varieties of food (grain free, etc.) and the different types (raw, canned, etc.) here: http://www.reviews.com/dog-food/
Here is one popular website that has some dog food comparisons, but honestly many of the top foods on this list still did not make MY LIST. I found the info on Dog Food Advisor and several other blogs to be more consistent and higher quality. I was looking for the BEST option for our new pup and my definition of best meant ZERO toxins, no cheap fillers, ingredients sourced in the US or New Zealand (those with ingredients sourced from Mexico have been known fight contamination issues), and reasonably priced. I also preferred free-range proteins and organic ingredients.
When I had my final choices narrowed down, I then tried to look for reviews from pet owners on Amazon, which is where I weeded out several excellent choices because so many pets had digestive issues with them. I also spoke with owners at two of the local boutique type pet stores that carry the higher quality foods.
My final conclusion is that I really feel that feeding your dog RAW food is the absolute best option. You can find so much supporting evidence from veterinarians on this topic. However, it can be very costly. There are several raw companies that earned a 5 star rating, but I will only mention a few. Ones that did not receive a 5 star rating or that cost over $5/lb were eliminated off of my list. Although FreshPet products are readily available in most of the refrigerated section of your local pet store or grocery store, ALL of their foods contain a known toxin called CARRAGEENAN, so I do NOT recommend anyone feed this to their pet. My first choice for raw is a placed called Darwin’s Pet. Many raw food companies have had recalls. This makes sense because it is RAW after all. However, this company is one of the few that has NEVER had a recall. They also are more affordable than most raw food providers averaging about $4.30/lb. To my knowledge, you can only buy from their website at : http://www.darwinspet.com We will not personally use this because we are buying a larger breed dog, but for those where money is no option or with smaller dogs, this may be a feasible option for you.
Sadly, there were only a handful of dog foods across all types that contained no toxins. Some of those were very costly freeze-dried options, which were immediately deleted off of my list.
Canned food is deemed to be better than dry kibble. However, EVERY canned food contained either GUAR GUM or XANTHAM GUM. So, delete, delete, delete on those. Those are not desirable ingredients.
Trying to find a TOXIN FREE dry food was like trying to find a needle in a haystack! I found two that were not sold in the U.S. and you could not purchase online. There are a few that contain ingredients that aren’t toxic, but not necessarily ideal.
I finally decided on this food for our pup on the way. It is by Honest Kitchen and is called Embark Grain Free Turkey Recipe. It is dehydrated and you have to add water, which is better for canines as it is less processed than dry food. This particular food contains NO harmful chemicals or additives. It is pretty reasonably priced when you purchase the 10lb box through Subscribe & Save on Amazon. Keep in mind that 10 pounds will make 40 pounds of food, which brings this option to $1.78 a pound. It also has great reviews, is derived from cage free proteins, contains some omegas, and even includes some organic ingredients.
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I would be happy to help you determine the quality of what you are currently feeding your dog or maybe help with a recommendation if neither of these works for you.
People die and pets die, it is the circle of life. However, it does not have to be because of something we did or did not do. So, the next time you get joy from your furry pal, do them a favor and fill their bowl with nutritious FOOD and not fillers and poison.
Paws up!

To order Honest Kitchen Embark Turkey Recipe at the best price, click the link below. 🙂

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My future daughter-in-law – PART 1

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It is a steamy hot summer day at church camp and here I sit on the sidelines as approximately 700 teenagers worship God and make loads of memories. The week has been filled with sports, church services, and the notorious boy/girl discussions of who likes who, etc.…you know how it goes…

After all, these teenagers are all on the brink of adulthood…

After their education is complete and that initial career choice is made, many will consider one of the most important decisions of their life. Who will they spend the remainder of this earthly life with? Who will they build a family and possibly even a ministry with?

I could not help but ask myself, “Who will one day be my son’s wife?” Does she sit among the hundreds of campers that stand before me?

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Is she going to be a Bible quizzer who will one day coach and train my grand babies in the Word, even if they cry and whine?

I’ve spent my life training my boy to LEAD. Will she let him lead? Or will she spend a lifetime trying to tear that down? Will she be a leader? Will they learn how to complement one another?

With her, is it all about getting a boy or is it about finding THE BOY? You know, the one, that God has especially for her…my son.

He is purpose driven. He is working on advancing his education and his ministry so he will really have something to offer his family when the time comes. He is not really into dating. He doesn’t want to have unnecessary broken friendships and broken hearts. He really wants someone who feels he is special enough to be worth the wait… How many people will she be emotionally attached to before she finds him? Or will she wait and save her heart for him?

If he’s praying and worshipping at the altar, will he find her there?
He’s been taught to look below the surface. Surely, she knows it takes more than a fancy hairdo and a pretty dress to attract his attention?

He has strong convictions. Does she have convictions?

He has a prayer life. Does she pray?

He’s been homeschooled and he says he wants his children homeschooled. I wonder if she will ever consider it and more importantly if it will bring her great joy?

We are a close family. Does she come from a close family? Will our family divide when they marry or will it grow even bigger? I hope it grows and we have that daughter that we always wanted.

Just some of the questions that go through this momma’s mind…to be continued…

Science from a Christian Worldview…Priceless

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One of the benefits of homeschooling is the fact that you are able to control what is put into your child. Reinforcing Biblical truths into the very fabric of your homeschool curriculum, including science, is very powerful.

With every curriculum decision, you have a choice. Look at this information taken from Renewanation’s website below. They contrast a Christian and Secular Worldview.
Christian Worldview
▪ God exists. God is the center of all things.
▪ God created the world and all that is in it. One cannot fully understand the created without some understanding of the Creator.
▪ God created mankind in His image. Every person has intrinsic value and a divine purpose in life.
▪ All morality comes from the nature of God and is revealed to us in the Bible. The Bible is the absolute standard of right and wrong.
▪ God loves every person and cares deeply for humanity.
▪ Man is responsible and will be held accountable for himself and his stewardship of all God’s creation.
▪ God has given every person a never-dying soul that will one day stand before God and receive its just reward.
Secular Humanism Worldview
▪ God does not exist. Man is the center of all things.
▪ The universe and life came into existence through random chance. There is no designer.
▪ There is no ultimate purpose for man’s existence. We create our own destiny.
▪ Morality is relative and changes according to man’s needs and desires. There is no absolute standard of right and wrong.
▪ Human beings are on their own. Life is sustained by survival of the fittest. The strong live. The weak die.
▪ Man will not be held accountable by a higher power at the end of life.
▪ Death is simply the end of existence.

Which one do you choose? I am excited about trying Apologia’s Biology with their new DVD to accompany the textbook. Apologia has been voted the #1 Science curriculum in more forums than you can imagine. It has always been the clear leader in Christian Worldview Science curriculum. However, for my boys, just reading a textbook can be super boring. So, I am excited about their new DVD that will hopefully bring this awesome curriculum to life.

Here is a promo for the DVD.

I am working diligently to bring members of The Fervent Family curriculum discounts and also provide rewards for my family. So, if you decide to try Apologia, please use this link. Thanks!
http://shop.apologia.com/?ref=15706

Have the inmates taken over?

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I was twenty something and a sales manager at a leading business journal. It was a long time ago, but I am pretty sure I was the youngest member of the management team. My Publisher was a very distinguished gentleman who didn’t communicate with me often and when he did, I either felt great or not so great. There really wasn’t any in between. He had a beard and he was always fiddling with it. I think he was super revved up on nicotine most of the time. If you needed him, you would have to locate him on the smoke deck of our mid rise building on 610 Loop. He was a global thinker, a strategist of sorts, and didn’t really have time to discuss minor details. He was a veteran in the publishing business and his experience and success leered over me like a dark cloud of intimidation. Sometimes when I was feeling really smart and vocalizing my ideas, he would pat me on the head. Yes, you heard me right. I am a grown woman, not a puppy, and you are patting me on the head?? It was very humiliating to say the least. I would ponder, “Why did I leave sales where I was a selling machine?” My worth was so definable back then? You sell the most, you earn the most and you are the most respected. PERIOD. Now, I am responsible for the sales of a group. Some of my sales people are motivated and some are not. Those were days where I learned many lessons, even a parenting lesson. I don’t remember exactly what spurred the response, but Mr. K’s reply to me was, “Have the inmates taken over?” He had a way of making you think about things. Had I lost all control over my department? Had I failed as a leader? I decided to take the bull by the horns and LEAD. I was no quitter and they were paying me to run this department.

Since I have been a parent, I have been reminded of that statement often. I remember one time when I had a young girl helping me homeschool the boys a few days a week. She came to me downtrodden one day and said, “Sister Mindi, I don’t know what to do because Dylan will not do his work and keeps telling me to make him snacks.” In other words, the inmate had taken over. LOL. Sure, I could have taken over and disciplined Dylan. However, she would have never been able to lead him, which was my ultimate goal for that season. She needed to take the authority she had been given and not bow down to a six year old. It may seem silly, but how many parents do you see that have no control over their kids? They chalk it up to them being strong willed or wanting them to be a free thinker.

My kids were not born behaving. They were all strong willed in their own way, but that was no license to rebel or act like a fool.

I was in Ross over a year ago. A toddler boy was screaming his lungs out and totally disrespecting his mother. He wanted a toy. This went on for what seemed like an eternity, but in all actuality it was probably twenty minutes. By the time I was at the checkout, I saw the lady and the boy in line. She was buying him a toy… EPIC FAIL!!! It took everything I had not to go take that toy from that boy and say when you learn to behave then you will receive a reward. This mom just made a major mistake. Crying + Fit = Toy. Not in my house….

This may sound harsh to some, but my thought is that God gave you children to mold. Until they are grown, they need ongoing molding and He has trusted you to do it. In the terms of Mr. K, they are your inmates and you should not let them take over. You have to take over and control what they do when they are little. You wouldn’t let them play in traffic, so don’t let them do other things that are harmful to their character. My kids are not in control of our household, of me, or my husband. Children appreciate clearly defined rules. You are not being mean by disciplining them or even spanking them, you are doing them a HUGE favor. They need to learn how to behave as they were not born knowing this. It is not something that will just happen at a magical age. You have to teach, teach, teach and then teach some more! Early on, you must establish respect and authority for both you and your spouse. Never undermine your spouse’s authority in front of your children. We don’t abuse or ask too much, but they do what we ask them to do and it is not up for negotiation.

They must have consequences for their actions, both good and bad. The first few years of parenthood was intense with three little boys, but I have found that if you will be consistent and not give in when they are toddlers then you will mainly just be reinforcing in the years to come and it will make your life so much easier.  Look at this diagram at how a parenting style can affect a child.  I’m not advocating being an authoritarian by any means, but I do believe in being authoritative and supportive. There is a difference.

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As for behaving in church, I remember a time where I was taking the boys out to discipline them and then staying with them in the foyer so that they didn’t continue to disrupt the service. However, the pastor said that the kids wanted to get in trouble so they could go play in the foyer. So, I began either disciplining them right there in the pew or taking them out and then immediately bringing them right back into service. I believe in my kids, so I have always expected a lot out of them. As toddlers, I believed they could learn to sit still in church, be quiet and even learn to praise the Lord. I wasn’t just motivated by making them not disturb other people, but I was training up the next generation of Apostolics and teaching them that we are in the sanctuary of the Most High God.

Want an accredited high school diploma for your homeschooler?

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Have you imagined that moment? The moment when the Pomp and Circumstance march plays loud overhead and reality hits you like a brick wall. The doors open and all eyes are focused on your baby boy or baby girl, all gussied up in their cap and gown, as they march down the aisle. They entered the room as your prime pupil whom you spearheaded their education, but from this point forward, your role in their education will shift as they move to the next chapter of life.graduation

Aside from feeling like your guts have just been ripped out because your baby is growing up, you want to feel good about this moment. You want to feel like you’ve had all of your ducks in a row so to speak. Every ‘t’ has been crossed and every ‘I’ has been dotted. You did your best and now your little homeschooled darling is the beneficiary.

In homeschooling, there are always a myriad of options, and many of them are based on pure preference. The bottom line is that I am an avid, almost borderline psycho researcher. The purpose behind my sharing is to justify my craziness by saying that I help others as well as my little party of five.

As with anything in life, it is important to have a plan and work the plan. You should be mindful of your education goals for your children from the beginning, of course allowing flexibility for the Lord’s leading along the way. As your student approaches high school or maybe they are already in high school, you may want to consider your options regarding their diploma.

A homeschool parent has every right to create their child’s transcript based on work completed and submit that when they apply for college. I know families who have done this and it has worked fine for them. They took standardized tests such as the ACT or the SAT and they experienced a smooth transition to colleges, such as Texas A & M University. So, by no means should you feel obligated to pursue anything else.

However, if the idea of flying solo on such a major milestone seems scary, then listen up and your family may benefit from choosing the same option as our family.

My quick synopsis of the situation is that in the arena of accredited high school diplomas there are more options than you can envision. We have tried many and researched even more. One option is an online high school that you enroll in and you must use their entire curriculum and the delivery of that curriculum may not be the best. It may be costly and the options for curriculum from a Christian Worldview in a highly engaging format are certainly few if they exist at all. There are also programs like Veritas’ Scholars program that allows you to do a certain number of classes on your own with curriculum approved by Veritas, but you must also take a certain number of required courses through Veritas Press online. Their live online courses, not self-paced, average around $700 per course. In some cases, this is more costly than a college course at an online Christian University. If it is in your budget, then they certainly offer a fine education. Finally, there is this little jewel of a place that I found called Central Christian Academy out of Winterpark, Florida.

Central Christian Academy (CCA) is an accredited member of the Florida Council of Private Schools since 1995. Central Christian Academy offers two main programs. One is where you purchase curriculum through them that has already been pre-approved, or they also offer a program where you can select the curriculum of your choice and submit it to them for pre-approval. I absolutely LOVE the fact that I can choose my favorite curriculum and all I have to do is send them an email with my plan and they email me back approval. It is very easy submitting your work and tests to them. They have been a pleasure to work with and I have found no other program that offers the same credibility and flexibility. For students in high school, they charge $365 per year to keep your child’s official records. It is less for lower grades, but we didn’t feel it was necessary to use such a service for the lower grades. Also, if you refer a friend, then they will credit your family $100. If you would like to sign up for next fall, please use the referral form that I have added to the files section of our Facebook group or you can email me and I will be happy to send it to you. Since my husband is in full-time ministry now, this will be a blessing to our family and I greatly appreciate it! Then feel free to modify this form and pass it on to your friends so you can earn $100 towards your child’s enrollment.

I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Also, here is a link to the school’s website if you need more detailed information:

http://acces-inc.com/cca/

Are you putting ‘clean’ food in toxic cookware?

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Have you been trying to eat healthier…or maybe even convert to organic? Have you heard so much about the toxicity of food that it seems the only safe thing to eat is from your own garden or farm? Well, this post is to let you know that not only is it important what you eat, but you need to consider the actual cookware you are using to prepare your food. In other words, putting your ‘clean’ food in a dirty, toxic pot is defeating the purpose of your efforts.

Our journey to be healthier and more conscious about what we ingest began a few years ago. From food to household cleaners and even personal hygiene items, EVERYTHING in our household came under review.   However, it never dawned on me to evaluate our cookware. I tend to gravitate to shoes and not cookware, so most of our cookware dated back to when my husband and I first married 18 years ago or maybe even from my college days. So, I’m not sure what prompted my research about six months ago, but I was not a happy camper when I discovered all of the toxic chemicals the cookware that I was using contained. It felt like my efforts to find the best deals on the healthiest foods for the past few years had been a waste.

I am not interested in cancer causing, hormone affecting chemicals being leached into my family’s food.

So, my new quest was to find non-toxic cookware that met the following criteria:

  • It must be dishwasher safe (Hand washing on a long-term basis is not an option for OCD or CDO folk. LOL)
  • It must NOT be so heavy that I need two people to drain the water out of my noodles. (You know where you are trying to save on dishwashing and don’t want to bother with using a colander, so you just prop the lid over the pot and lean over with it.)
  • It must be affordable.
  • It must be easy to clean.
  • It must not be a surface that everything sticks to.
  • It must not chip or damage easily.

If this post peaks your interest, feel free to scan the web for more research. There are other non-toxic options out there. The other two that I strongly considered before my purchase were Le Creuset coated cast iron and Ceramcor. Le Creuset states that it is dishwasher safe, but it is not recommended. It will fade the color of the pot and the cost of one pot in this collection is more than what I spent on my entire set. Le Creuset is also EXTREMELY heavy. I actually tried an Xtrema Ceramcor saucepot that I bought on a Black Friday deal, but the lid chipped the first day that I used it and it took a very long time to heat up. It did retain its temperature, but it was a noticeable difference in cooking time.

My final choice was a product that you probably remember from the 1980s, called Visions by Corning. Based on my web searches, many said that Visions Cookware was no longer being produced, but I was thrilled when I found it brand new at this website, https://www.shopworldkitchen.com. They also had a buy 2 save 40% off offer on all Vision pieces, plus I signed up to receive their email newsletter and they instantly emailed me a promo code that you can stack on top of the current sale. I just checked today and they still have this promotion going on as of now.

Plastic, aluminum, Teflon and the list goes on….these are things that you really do not want in your kitchen.

Most glass is very safe and Pyrex is a very good option for bakeware. Also, Hartstone Pottery makes cookie sheets and muffin pans that are somewhat heavy but are dishwasher safe, which is rare for baking stones. You can purchase these from Bed, Bath & Beyond and use their famous 20% off coupons.

Some silicone is safe, but it has to be the right kind of silicone and I’m not sure how you can prove that.

Join me in going vintage and let’s rock that Visions Cookware.