Friday, November 29, 2013

Businesses I Would Highly Recommend...

Welcome back and Happy belated Thanksgiving, readers! I hope that you all enjoyed your time with family and friends yesterday, and that you will continue in the heart of being thankful for the Lord's goodness.....everyday!

This post is a bit different, and only because I would like to share a few companies that I continue to support throughout the year, not only during this time. Our family is on an extremely tight budget, to put it mildly, so we make sure that any dollars we have to spend on necessities will support good companies who operate with integrity and Godly conviction. Some of my favorites below (post includes some affiliate links) are also taking part in this sale weekend for the holidays, so please visit them for some really great deals!

Deborah & Co.:
My daughters and I have been wearing and enjoying Caroline Allen's beautiful skirts for over 2 years now, and the quality is excellent! She is having a great sale on several items this weekend, so be sure to strike while the iron is hot!

Bright Ideas Press:
BIP is the wonderful publishing company that publishes a few of our favorite homeschooling curricula: The Mystery of History, Christian Kids Explore Science series, Wondermaps, and Illuminations. They are hosting an amazing sale today through Monday 12/2! Just use the sale code fantasticday to receive 20% off on your order, as many times as you'd like throughout the sale period (All American History bundles are excluded from this sale).

Biblioplan for Families:
I recently discovered this wonderful family History curricula while searching for something that would take our children through high school. We were already using the Mystery of History (see link above), and wanted to add more living books to make our History and Literature studies more well-rounded. Biblioplan saved the day! Not only does it include what we were searching for, but it also includes lesson plans for using Mystery of History along with it. How cool is that? What completely sold it for us was the amazingly graceful customer service I received from Julia Nalle, one of the creators of this fine curricula. They are also hosting a sale from now until Sunday 12/1. Just use the code BlackFriday15off for 15% off any order. This would be a great time to check out Biblioplan! (p.s. I will also be posting something very soon on why we changed to this curricula...watch your inbox!)

Teach Them Diligently Conference:
We first attended this family conference here in Nashville, TN last May, and to say that we were blessed is a tad-bit of an understatement! I will be sharing our experience here with another post soon, but will say that if you're even considering attending this new year, please register today! TTD is hosting a sale on registration that ends tonight 11/29, so please use the promo code SAVE7THANKS to receive $7 off the regular admission price. The time and small amount of money invested will be worth it for you and your family, seriously!

Home Educating Family Association:
I have subscribed to this very encouraging magazine for almost 3 years now (since we began this journey), and I cannot say enough great things about this family company! Not only do they publish this great magazine, but they also sell the infamous Well Planned Day Homeschool Planners that are an excellent tool in keeping our homeschool family organized. They are hosting some great deals on their online store as well, so please feel free to visit today. They are local to me here in TN, and this is also important to me.

Wildtree:
My sweet friend over at A Mama's Story, Sara Elizabeth, is a consultant with Wildtree. They offer some wonderful organic seasonings for your family, and have numerous easy-to-make recipes on their website. Visit the link above to see all of the great items she has to share with you! I will be hosting a catalog show with Sara Elizabeth soon and will post the link here as well.

I pray that you find my suggestions helpful, and also hope you will share them with your friends. I am also an affiliate for some of the above businesses, and purchasing directly through my links above helps my family earn a bit of income with every sale. Thank you for your support of these family and Christ-supporting businesses. God bless you and your families this new season of Joy in Christ Jesus!

Blessings, Jackie B.
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Truly's Natural Deodorant Giveaway @ Raising Mighty Arrows!!!

I am so excited to be sharing with you all once again, after being silent for a couple of months. Thanks for hanging on! This post is quick, since I am sharing that Heather over at Raising Mighty Arrows is hosting a great giveaway of our favorite natural deodorant, Truly's Natural Deodorant! We have been using Truly's for about 6 months now, and love it! I have tried a few different natural-type deodorants over the past couple of years, and this by far is the best. Not only is it enough for me, but it is super-safe and great for my children! Please take a few minutes and learn all about Truly's with Heather at Raising Mighty Arrows, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Blessings,

Jackie

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Daily Focus: Encouragement for the homeschooling family

It was a sunny day in Southern California on September 11, 2001. As we were getting breakfast ready while watching the morning news, our then 7-year old eldest child was preparing his backpack before the school bus came. Then came the breaking news that has since changed America. I grabbed our son and 2 infant daughters, held them so tight, and swore that I would never let them go.

The idea of homeschooling had only entered my mind once before this date, and only because I came across a magazine with an article on homeschooling at my OB/GYN office right before giving birth to our 2nd daughter the month prior. In panic mode, I immediately paged my husband (yes, there were pagers used before cell phones) and told him that we were going to home school our children the next year. There was no way I was going to continue allowing our children to be subject to unsafe conditions while in public school, especially after what was unfolding right before our eyes! Therein was the problem: my heart was not in the right place, and I certainly had the wrong impression of why I should even consider homeschooling our family. Instead of listening to what the Lord was leading me to do, I was operating in fear and anxiety.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  ~ Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

Fast-forward 7 years, another precious little baby boy, and a move across the country from California to Tennessee. Here we were, our children attending public school and me working 40+ hours a week away from my family. The Lord started to plant another homeschooling seed in my heart, but this time was different. I wasn't operating in fear and anxiety, but more like conviction. He was calling us to lay down our own fleshly desires by bringing our children back home to personally disciple them. Wow, what a concept! I'd read so many verses in God's Word that spoke of our responsibility to disciple our families, but didn't get the revelation until that day. God's grace was on us, and we knew that we needed to be in His obedience by doing what He said for us to do. That was 2 years ago, and we have enjoyed every minute since. Yes, we still operate on His grace daily, because we know that we are broken vessels in need of Jesus Christ. Our responsibility does come with it's challenges, but we believe that the Lord uses those challenges to keep us accountable and totally dependent on HIM.

As we look to Him daily for guidance, I am also blessed by the numerous blogs (please visit My Blogging Favorites!) and testimonies I read on a weekly basis that encourage and challenge me to seek Him in all things. One of my favorite daily devotional books is Daily Focus: A Devotional for Homeschoolers by Homeschoolers. After reading God's Word, I take a few minutes to read the encouragement found in this precious book. Just to read the stories of those who have traveled this homeschooling journey before me gives me hope for those times when I want to throw in the towel.

I'd love to hear from you! What have you used that is a daily source of encouragement; homeschooling or otherwise?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Our curriculum 2013/2014


UPDATE: Things have changed recently, and I will be updating my post this week. Stay tuned....

(This post contains links to items I endorse and use with my homeschooling family.)

Happy Summer!
As we prepare to get our engines going for our new school year, I am excited to share what we'll be doing this time around. After much consideration and prayer, we've decided to do a more year-round approach to our school year. Although we still go with our grade reporting time frame required by our umbrella school, we will be schooling throughout the year to keep our learning more consistent. I have found that after 2 years of homeschooling (and 3 we did previously with our eldest child several years back), taking too long of a summer break meant frustration and stress once school came around again in August. We will be doing a more "Sabbath" type of schedule, which basically means 6 weeks on, 1 week off. This still leaves plenty of time for Fall break, Christmas break, and whatever other break you need to take when life happens. In all honesty, we all know that life happens more than not, so we're not keeping rigidly to this schedule so much that we're not flexible.

"Depend on the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." (Proverbs 16:3, NCV)

God is so good and I'm so glad that He guides us with His direction and grace. I can make all the plans I like, but without Him, they are scattered to the wind. I cannot do anything without Him, and that's for sure! With that in mind, we will be starting this week with a few subjects, then full force next Monday. Our children will be in the following grades: DD 9th, DD 7th, and DS 4th. Our eldest graduated in June 2012, and he was home schooled during his earlier years, then again for his senior year. I definitely couldn't have done that without the Lord leading me to! Here is what we've been lead to use for our family this new year:

~ My Father's World: Rome to the Reformation
My Father's World: Ancient History & Literature
The Mystery of History II
Teaching Textbooks
Rod & Staff Spelling
~ IEW: Ancient History Writing Lessons
Apologia: Astronomy & Chemistry/Physics
~ Conceptual Physics (9th)
~ All-in-One English
~ English from the Roots Up 
~ A Child's Geography, volume 3
BJU Press Spanish I (high school)

We will also be adding a couple of reading assignments using the Progeny Press study guides, which we've used for my DD the last 2 years. We actually used MFW our first year of homeschooling and loved it, but decided to take a shot at piecing together curriculum on my own, which was not easy for me to say the least. After swimming those waters this past year, we are so happy to be back to MFW 100%, along with implementing what we did enjoy this past year, The Mystery of History! We will be using MOH to further incorporate our love of Biblical History along with MFW, which is already a sound and sturdy Bible-based study. That is one of the true beauties of homeschooling: we get to disciple our children on a daily basis!

I will be posting and sharing how we are going to organize our home school using our planners soon, so be sure to sign up to have my posts sent directly to your inbox. I will also be taking part in the My Father's World Blogroll over at Little Natural Cottage, so be sure to check it out and link up if you're also a MFW family. There will be lots of great sharing going on this year! What are you using this year? I'd love to hear what's working for you!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Encourage one another...

"Careless words stab like a sword, but wise words bring healing." (Proverbs 12:18, NCV)

"Worry is a heavy load, but a kind word cheers you up. Good people take advice from their friends,
  but an evil person is easily led to do wrong." (Proverbs 12:25-26, NCV)

As I read these verses to our children during our morning time in God's Word, I reflected on how our very words can encourage one another........or break our spirits. We are constantly reminding each other to use our words wisely, especially when we are frustrated about something. We may say something in a silly way to "joke around," but it always ends up hurting the other person somehow.
It's easy to use this example when we disciple our children daily, but what about us adults? Who is keeping US accountable to the words that are coming forth from our mouths?

Just last Sunday, we were spending time at a Bible study at a dear family's home and truly enjoyed the conversations we were having. While the men were outside ministering to one another, the women and young girls were inside sharing our hearts (and a delicious cup of blueberry tea, I might add). This might sound like a typical Sunday with the ladies at your church, but not for me. You see, I was in corporate America for most of my adult life, even long after having babies. Although I had given my life to the Lord several years prior, I still had to endure the daily grind of working in a very feminist environment. Our board meetings did not consist of homemaking skill training, or how to deal with a fussy, teething baby at 2 a.m. We didn't talk about the joys of motherhood, or why some bake homemade bread with yeast while others use a sourdough starter. Nope, that wasn't on our daily agenda and quite frankly, it had no place to be there at all. Neither did I. After much prayer and truly laying my life at the feet of Jesus, He changed my heart. Correction: He is changing my heart....daily. I've now been home for almost a year, and I can promise you that He isn't done with me yet!

So, as I sat there on Sunday, eagerly listening to mommies sharing their best recipes for homemade toothpaste and where they get the best deals on organic produce, I was giddy with encouragement. Not because I'm going to be a better mother by making everything from scratch (which isn't a bad thing, by the way), but because of where my heart is headed. Gossip didn't rule our conversations; not one person complained about their husband leaving a soiled pair of socks on the floor. There was no mention of how frustrating it sometimes gets when we are raising our children in the ways of the Lord. Yes, it does get overwhelming at times, but the Lord never said for us to do this on our own! We are to lay everything at His feet and let Him guide and direct us. Even when I'm kneading our bread dough by hand and my shoulder is aching with pain, I can do this because I love my heavenly Father and know that He is pleased with me as I care for my family. I learned recently (by default), that obedience is better than sacrifice. So instead of me always thinking,"..well, I am sacrificing my career or my 'me' time to raise our family," I can rest assured that what He has called me to do as a women is answered through my obedience.

What words of encouragement do you have for others today? Is it a verse of scripture that the Lord placed in your heart? Maybe it's that pretty awesome whole wheat recipe you tried last week and can share with another mom who is trying to help her family eat in a more healthy way? Whatever it is, always know that what comes forth from you mouth is flowing directly from you heart. I'd love to hear from you today!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Welcome to Homeward Blessings!

Welcome to my newest adventure, Homeward Blessings!
This new venture has been quite a journey for me, as I’ve sought the Lord in how I should share my love for Him and for my family. My hope is to share what He places in my heart to encourage, reveal, and guide families towards our homes. My belief is that we are here to disciple our families, and encourage others to do so as well. It’s going to be a little of this and that, including homeschooling encouragement and life in general. I am looking forward to sharing our adventures with you, as well as how the Lord is working in our lives. Please feel free to share your thoughts and blog websites with me, as I myself enjoy learning from fellow sisters in Christ. God bless, and welcome!

Blessings today,
Jackie B.