the christmas blessing

Blessing.jpgWhen she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby’s father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant’s paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don’t know that she–or their grandson–exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

The Christmas Blessing was a book I read with mixed feelings…..and I am still not so very sure about it. I was looking forward to reading it, especially after reading Three Days, also written by Melody Carlson. From that book, I knew I enjoyed her writing style, her use of words, and the way she pulled you into a story.When I saw that I could review this one, I was excited, and waited — rather impatiently — for the book to arrive.

Well……not so very far into the story, I realized this was a strange book, and kept hoping for the repentance that should follow what actually happened in this story. I knew that there was a baby, already in this world. So I assumed there would be a background of a war marriage, a fatherless boy, and unknowing parents.

I happened to be right about everything but the marriage part.

Now, to be fair to the author, there was absolutely nothing inappropriate mentioned. There was barely any romance in the book, which is strange, knowing what happened. Several minutes into the book, you discover Amelia was not married, and you are told why through a conversation she has with a friend: because her fiance was called overseas the night before their marriage. Right after they have filled out the marriage certificate. And he never even knew about the baby. In a nutshell, that is how she tells it. No adjectives, no descriptions, just bare facts. And the remainder of the book is about how Amelia survives a harsh winter with a little infant.

Now, I had no issue with the writing of the book. I actually enjoyed it, looking towards the end when I just knew the main character would repent. I was drawn into her struggles, I enjoyed the flow of the words and the style of writing. The characters were well developed and fun to read about. But the main character, that Amelia…..well, she is the reason I rated this book only two stars.

See, I didn’t take issue with the way Melody Carlson revealed the truth about the baby. As much as some would like to believe it, I am not sheltered when it comes to certain social issues. I am actually quite well researched and opinionated. I’ve had a friend even state in wonder after a particularly intense discussion about unborn babies rights that she didn’t know I had that in me. I understand that in society — even in times past — there was sin in the world. Sin that resulted in children being born. I didn’t take issue with the language, or the writing.

I just couldn’t get over the fact that this was a Christian book, written by a Christian author, and that Amelia Richards never once was upset about what she had done. I couldn’t come to grips with it.

I kept reading because I was sure there would be repentance in the book somehow. That she would see what she had done, and cry out to the Lord for forgiveness. I couldn’t fathom that a book written by a Christian may actually condone such a decision in a positive light.

But it didn’t appear like Amelia even considered it a sin. She was happy about the baby, happy she had something to remember her fiance by, and the way the book ended — which was good — still didn’t make anything that had happened previously right.

I am a girl who believes very strongly in total abstinence before marriage. My first kiss will be on my wedding day. (fun fact: I have dreamed up ways to hide this and make it more private, just so ya know……) Consider this: We are told in Ephesians to put on the armour of God, to stand against the wiles and attacks of the devils. But we are told to flee youthful lusts. Flee. Run away from. Run at get-outta-there-as-quick-as-possible speed.

I understand the temptation as much as I can, for a man to love a woman and make much of her. But this is the way in which we girls have been sheltered — our father has protected us from the overtures of any young man who might be “bothering” us, or have impure intentions. We actually have standards that we are expected to uphold with young men, and if a guy crosses that line…..well, we know Dad will have our backs. These standards have not been forced on us — at twenty-one years old, I am technically and legally old enough to make my own decisions. I choose to put myself under the direction of my father in this matter. Because I see the long lasting implications of compromise in this area of life in general, and I know how complicated and muddy the water would quickly become if I chose to navigate this portion of life by myself, without guidance.

And it was only this reason that I didn’t care for this book. I wouldn’t recommend the book to others because I wouldn’t want to think that reading this book had somehow justified their sin.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return or a review.
All thoughts are my own.
I was not required to give a positive review, merely an honest one.



The Hand of God in History — The Reformation Period

Last year, our church hosted a conference highlighting the hand of God throughout our nations history. It was a two day event, and I learned so much! It was amazing what each speaker brought out that had gone unnoticed before.

Well, this year our pastor is putting this together again, along with several other local churches. The speakers that will be teaching…..I am ecstatic about it. You know I enjoy history anyways, but this. This, guys, is huge. This is five. whole. days. Of nothing but history. This is an immense learning opportunity from some men who are highly gifted and skilled and can communicate well. This is worth traveling to, and the best part is that there is absolutely no charge for the conference!

I am not sure how many sessions my family and I will be able to attend, but I know there will most likely be several days of back-to-back blog posts coming in the near future, based on what I have learned. Maybe even multiple posts on multiple days…..since, of course, I am the person who processes everything by reading it myself or writing it down. Or doing both. You should see the amount of notes I end up taking each Lord’s Day. Or on my music scores in the choirs =) And since there is a nice, long break for lunch and dinner each day, and we have quite a drive home each evening……well, that is ample opportunity to write, don’t ya think? ;-)

“The Hand of God in History – The Reformation Period”
November 5th-9th 2017
     Conference is Free of Charge – Please RSVP at
Let us know how many are coming and if you plan on eating lunch with us Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Thursday! (205.587.0925)
Glen Iris Baptist Church
1137 10th Place South
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
Sunday Services
10:00 Sunday morning – Pastor Mark Liddle — The providence of God in the life of John Wycliffe 1330-1384
11:00 Sunday morning – Pastor Chris Lamb — Justification by Faith Alone in Christ Alone
6:00  Sunday Evening – Pastor Ben Gardner — John Huss 1369-1415
 Monday Evening Service (Book Tables open at 6:00 PM in the School Library)
7:00 Monday evening– Pastor Ben GardnerThe Scriptures as the catalyst of the Reformation
Tuesday Services (book tables open at 8:30 AM)
9:00-10:15 Tuesday morningColonel John EidsmoeMartin Luther and American Constitutionalism     
10:30-11:45 Tuesday morningPastor Renato GiulianiThe Theology of the Waldensians during the Middle-ages (1180-1517)
///11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Break///
1:15-2:30 Tuesday afternoonHistorian Bill Potter The Spiritual Condition of Scotland in the Middle Ages and the Reformation Ministries of George Wishart and Patrick Hamilton
 2:45-4:00 Tuesday afternoon Dr. Ron RumburgWilliam Tyndale and the English Reformation
///4:00 – 6:45  Dinner Break///
7:00 Tuesday Evening serviceDr. Joe Morecraft, IIICalvin on the Worship of God
Wednesday Services (book tables open at 8:30 AM)
9:00-10:15 Wednesday morningColonel John Eidsmoe Martin Luther, the Word, and the Priesthood of All Believers
10:30-11:45 Wednesday morningPastor Renato Giuliani  The Theology of the Waldensians during the Reformation (1517-1700)
 ///11:45 – 1:00  Lunch Break///
1:15-2:30 Wednesday afternoonHistorian Bill Potter —  John Knox, Andrew Melville and the Conversion of Scotland
 2:45-4:00 Wednesday afternoonDr. Ron RumburgWilliam Tyndale and the English Reformation
 ///4:00 – 6:45 Dinner Break///  
7:00 Wednesday Evening serviceDr. Joe Morecraft, lllCalvin, Evangelism, and World Missions
Thursday Services (book tables open at 8:30)
9:00-10:15 Thursday morningColonel John EidsmoeMartin Luther, Interposition, and the Peasants’ Revolt  
10:30-11:45 Thursday morningPastor Renato GiulianiThe Theology of the Waldensians during the Modern Era (1700-2017)
/// 11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Break///
1:15-2:30   Thursday afternoon – Dr. Joe Morecraft, IIICalvin and LeFevre
2:45-4:00   Thursday afternoon – Dr. Ron RumburgWilhelmus à Brakel and the Dutch Reformation
///4:00 – 6:45 Dinner Break///  
7:00 Thursday Evening serviceHistorian Bill PotterAlexander Henderson, Samuel Rutherford and James Guthrie of the Second Reformation
***Book Tables will be available in the School Library***
(And, as a side note, you will want to visit them. Multiple times, you will want to visit them. Trust me on this one :D)

History Conference Specials at Country Inn and Suites – 205.451.4000 (Full Breakfast)
Two Queens – $99   King Suite and Standard King – $95.00 (Ask for History Conf. special)
If you are able to attend, I would love for you to let me know — I would enjoy meeting each and every one of you =)

loving luther

Germany, 1505

Loving Luther - By: Allison Pittman

In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows—a choice more practical than pious—but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

Loving Luther was a book that I was looking forward to reading with a bit of trepidation. I was looking forward to it because I was looking forward to a unique perspective on the reformation, and I hadn’t seen a book told from Katharina’s perspective before. The trepidation came in because I am sure someone could take a story like Martin Luther’s and Katharina von Bora’s and turn it into something that is way too…..descriptive in it’s romance. I don’t need all the details, thank you very much.

I was surprised — the romance aspect was certainly not the highlight of the book, which was nice. I learned quite a bit about convent life in the 1500’s, which I had never really delved into before. But, I was also disappointed, in that there wasn’t much I learned about Luther or the reformation period through reading it. It was mostly about the life of Katharina von Bora, a young nun who escaped the convent.

The story line was marvelous, especially knowing it was a tale based on true events. I was moved by the transformation of the nuns who left the convent, how they were willing to escape all most of them had known to face an unknown world and have more freedom to worship Christ. As an historical fiction book, it was quite accurate. I do feel it could have used more detail about the reformation period and all that went on during that time, but otherwise it was an enjoyable read. It was definitely not my favourite book about the 1500’s, but it wasn’t my least favourite, either.

So the big question: will I read this again or recommend it to anybody else? Yes, I probably will read it again, and if someone mentioned an interest in Katharina von Bora I would absolutely loan it out to them.

**I recieved a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for posting this review.
I did not have to enjoy or endorse the book.**
There are affiliate links in this post — I will only recommend products that I enjoyed =)

in love with korea

1866 was a busy year for many around the world. In America, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the War Between the States to be over. The North was victorious; the South was temporarily defeated. It was decimated, and we were picking up the pieces of our old lives and finding a niche to fit into in this “new” South that was created. We were in the middle of the Reconstruction Era, a nightmare for the beloved southland.

Up North the bureaucrats were busy passing amendments — the thirteenth,  fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, to be precise. The Civil Rights amendments.

In Tennessee, Fisk University opened it’s doors. This is the university that would train the Jubilee Singers that would soon cause the title “Music City” to be bestowed upon Nashville, after they sang for Queen Victoria in England.

Internationally, the Royal Aeronautical Society was formed in London, becoming the oldest aeronautical society in the world. Johann Strauss, the ‘Waltz King’ of Austria was born.

And in the midst of all this excitement and change, a man would change the course of a nation. Very quietly, behind the scenes, without a lot of fanfare. He would end up giving his life for his Master, in fulfilling the dream he had held for a long while.

A welsh missionary to China, Robert J. Thomas was a man who was in love with Korea. But Korea had closed its doors to foreigners. It wanted none of them, after seeing what had happened in Korea. But this man couldn’t just leave this country in its ignorance — it had been engraved upon his heart and he knew Christ would have him to do something.

Now, Mr. Thomas didn’t speak Korean. September 13, 1865, he ‘slipped’ onto the coast of Korea, to learn all he could about the unfriendly neighbor of the country he had been living in. He passed out tracts and materials written in Chinese, since he didn’t have access to ones in the Korean language, praying that they would be beneficial to those who would receive them. He studied the Korean language until he could understand it enough to create material in these peoples language. He was, in effect, the fist protestant missionary in that land of darkness. He couldn’t stay over there forever, and he soon slipped away and back into China. Soon after arriving there his wife died, and he was plunged into a state of mourning for several months.

In August of 1866, Robert Thomas heard of a ship, the General Sherman that was going to attempt to establish trade relations with Korea. Having no wife, he decided to be a part of this mission, offering to go as an interpreter for the ship. As the ship headed toward Pyongyang he tossed out tracts on the river banks, for the natives to find later.

The government of Korea soon heard of the boat coming up the Taedong River throwing out paper, and ordered it to leave. The American traders defied the warning. We don’t know if Robert Thomas agreed or disagreed with their decision to continue, but we know that the traders paid for their decision with their lives.

The ship ran aground and stuck in the muddy bottom. Pak Kyu Su, the governor of the province, decided this would be an opportune time to take a stand. He rallied the inhabitants and attacked the ship. For two weeks the Americans held them back, killing twenty people and injuring several others.

On September 3, 1866, the Koreans had more than enough. The ship had continued to defy their orders, the traders had killed their people, and they were getting no where. So they made a decision to take decisive action, and prepared a boat to be burned. They set it afire and sent it floating towards the General Sherman. Now the traders had a decision — stay on the boat and be burned, or flee for their lives. As they fled, the Koreans cut them down with machetes.

Robert J. Thomas, the man in love with Korea, fled the boat with the rest. He saw the others die. And, true to the mission God had given him to the last, he ran towards the attackers, a Bible printed in Korean in his outstretched hand. He called out to them “Jesus! Jesus!” in their language…but it was seemingly in vain. Here the account gets muddy — he either had his head removed by a machete, or was beaten to death. However he did, it is clear that he died for the God he served, the country he loved, and the Lord he wanted them to know.

One of the men who killed Mr. Thomas believed that he had killed a good man because he had a nice face. A face that remained nice in the face of death. He kept the Bible that had been offered to them. He saw it was important to this white man, and he brought it home. He used its pages to wall paper his home.

The strangely wall papered home became the center of the work Christ was doing in Korea. People came from all over to read the walls, copy the walls, and memorize the walls. A house church was established there, and the nephew of the man who killed Mr. Thomas became a pastor.

Today 40% of South Koreans are followers of Christ, even through intense persecution. While North Korea is mostly closed to the gospel, many large congregations are scattered all over South Korea. Truly God did a work in the nation when the Robert J. Thomas died with an outstretched Bible in his hand.

“We have heard the joyful sound:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land,
Climb the mountains, cross the waves;
Onward! ’tis our Lord’s command;
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!”

Learn more about Robert Thomas by reading
Jesus Freaks by Voice of the Martyrs

and the winner is……

So…..I was supposed to make this announcement yesterday…..but life got in the way and I ran out of daytime to make the announcement. Please forgive me!

BUT — I am here today to announce the winner of this lovely printable my sister drew especially for the first hymn study =)

And the winner is…….
Congratulations!!! If you would email I (or my sister :P) will send you the information for retrieving it =)

To everyone who participated in the study — thank you! I do pray that you enjoyed it! As you’ve figured out by now, we are going on in the study of another hymn — just this time there’s not as much being posted on the blog. If you would like to participate in the study with us, here’s what you need to do:

If you are a reader who is not subscribed to the blog and you want to participate, enter your email address in the sidebar on the right.

Once you are subscribed, send an email to and let me know that you want to participate. If you are already a subscriber, just send an email =)

Once you have emailed me, you will be sent an email three times a week, filled with ideas and inspiration for studying each hymn. You can easily learn about each hymn by simply reading what I post on this blog, but the email will contain more information, more lessons not posted here, and some (hopefully) fun hands-on activities. If the study has already started — no problem! I will happily send you all the emails that have been sent to date, and you can look over them and play catch up.

Periodically during a study I may have fun more fun giveaways… just never know what I have up my sleeve ;-)

If you know others who would enjoy participating in this study, feel free to invite them along for the ride too. The more the merrier, right?

afraid — of that?

He was laying in the small village church, grateful for the rest for his wearied body. He had walked thirty miles that day, and his body was screaming for repose. He smiled as he thought back to his reception at  Yan-Chia-Chi, how the people who had chosen to forsake all and follow Christ had embraced him, greeting him as a brother. They had been overjoyed to see him — up and walking, nonetheless — after his bout with appendicitis. Last they heard, he was recovering from the necessary operation in a small village near the coast.

He shivered as he remembered the journey to the country, the long walk, for endless miles. All because he heard that bandits had descended upon the village. His village. The village where the Lord had graciously brought many people to Himself, the village he had baptized so many of the inhabitants. He knew he had to go check on them. Had to go and provide comfort, had to go and provide support. It didn’t matter that he was weak and recovering — the Lord had called him to serve these people, and no surgical procedure was going to hinder that call of the Lord upon his life. And to find them well, to see them and know that they were fine, to hear them call him “Uncle Jack”….it was more than a relief. He was overjoyed when they suggested he lead the services the following morning, for it was always a blessing to his soul to worship with these people.

He settled back against his pillows, nestling under the warm covers; listening to the evening silence that was composed of more noise than quiet. The night time noises, the cool night time breeze rustling the leaves, the babies crying…it was all so peaceful.

Until that dreadful moment. The moment when the peaceful evenings silence was shattered. The yelling; the noises; the wailing of terrified human beings. The sounds of houses being torn apart, the shattering of glass, the ripping of paper, the crackling of flames, the loud report of guns, the sound of knives being used…..the sound of utter chaos. Pandemonium. Everyone struggling for their very lives.

Six hundred bandits burned, pillaged, killed and wounded in that tiny village. When they left the village, they left behind destruction. And took with them one hundred and fifty souls. One hundred and fifty people who were tied together with rope; men, women, and children. One hundred and fifty people who were ordered to start walking. And in their midst was their greatest prize: an American missionary. The one they called “Uncle Jack” — Jack Vinson.

He winced in pain as he was ordered to walk along. He stumbled as he tried to keep up with everyone else. He kept his thoughts stayed upon Christ, perhaps he talked of Him with those around him, urging them to keep up their strength. To hope in the ever living God for rescue.

Government troops overtook them at Lianyungang, and began to besiege the city. The bandits took refuge behind the village walls, and the head bandit called for the missionary. “Do you want to go free?” he asked. “Write a letter to the commanding officer of these soldiers to withdraw his troops and we will let you go.”

Perhaps Jack Vinson’s heart leapt within him. Go free. To liberty. To a nice soft bed instead of the hard ground. To rest his weary legs, to rest his weary body that was aching with every step. To allow himself to attend to the aching incision that was not yet completely healed. Of course, he wanted to go free. And then he remembered — his village. His people, that were still very much in danger.

“Will you also free all these Chinese prisoners?” the missionary asked.
“Certainly not,” replied the bandit chief.

The people the Lord had called him to forsake everything for, even his life, if need be, to minister the truth of the Gospel to them. To preach it, live it out, and be an example worthy of emulation. Perhaps he knew they needed someone to keep up their courage, someone to turn to when doubts assailed them as to why this was happening to them. Could he accept his freedom and leave the very people he was supposed to be ministering to in a state of bondage?

“Then I, too, refuse to go free,” he said.

The bandits threatened him. They argued with him, and finally, in desperation, a plan was formed to sneak by the government troops that evening, when the darkness should cover their movements. Jack Vinson looked on as the plan the bandits had formulated failed. Perhaps he reminded those around him that man may make plans, but God directs their footsteps. He saw many of the bandits killed, and he saw “his people” break free, rejoicing over the fact that one hundred and twenty five people were able to escape into the night during all the confusion. Escape away form the bandits, away from the danger, back to begin rebuilding their village.

Suddenly the bandits were surrounding the remaining people in their grasp, urging them to get up, urging them to run. demanding that they run fast enough to get away from the government officials who would bring them to justice for the crimes they had committed. The missionary tried his hardest to keep up; his legs were aching; his incision pounded with each throbbing of his heart. He was trying. He was running. As fast as he could. But it wasn’t enough. he was falling behind, stumbling over each impediment in his way, over his own feet. He heard a bandit come up behind him, felt the cold metal of a pistol being pressed against his head.

“I’m going to kill you.” he spat out. Enraged by the way the missionary looked at him, so calmly and quietly with such assurance, he pushed the tip of the gun deeper into the missionaries flesh. “Aren’t you afraid?”

The missionary looked at the bandit pressing the gun into his head. Was he afraid? Afraid to die there, in the wilderness? He had consecrated his life to Christ, he had lived for Him, forsaking all that he had. Would he withhold his life from his Creator if it was asked of him, even in this brutal fashion? What was there to be afraid of really? All he had was Christ’s, for Him to do with as He pleased. If he could serve his Lord now, by dying, then so be it.

“No, I am not afraid,” he replied, with a breath. “If you kill me I will go right to God.”

A gun shot rang out, and a limp body fell to the ground. A soul was brought before the Lord, ushered into the heavenly gates.


A man walked to a railroad station, on his way to the place he called home in the heart of China. He heard the news on the train, and was deep in thought during the walk to house from the station.

When he arrived home, he read the full account of his fellow missionary’s marvelous testimony, of his death, and of his ultimate homecoming. Perhaps he wondered if he would be such a witness to others, if called upon to give his life for the cause of Christ. Those words wouldn’t leave his head, “No, I am not afraid.”

Could he be so strong?
Could he be so brave?
Would he leave such an indelible testimony behind him?

He went to his study and sat for a few minutes, gathering his thoughts. Those words “I am not afraid.” Over and over they ran through his mind, becoming a sort of chant.

He picked up his pen, and began to write. He wrote for fifteen minutes, and emerged having written a beautiful eulogy of those last minutes of his friend’s life. The words came easily and quickly flowed onto the paper:

Afraid — of what?
To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace?
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid — of that?

Afraid — of what?
Afraid to see the Savior’s face?
To hear His welcome and to trace
the glory, gleams
from wounds of grace?
Afraid — of that?

Afraid — of what?
A flash — a crash — a pierced heart;
Brief darkness — light — O heaven’s art!
A wound of His a counterpart!
Afraid — of that?

Afraid — of what?
To enter into heaven’s rest,
And yet to serve the Master blessed?
From service good to service best?
Afraid — of that?

Afraid — of what?
To do by death what life could not —
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid — of that?

Perhaps as he wrote he prayed that the Lord would bring forth fruit from the life of his friend. And he was blessed to see the prayer answered. To hear the Gospel given to others at his funeral, to hear of his friend’s Master spoken of as a man who also gave His life for sinners, far less deserving. He saw the churches his friend had ministered in go from being cold to gaining a zeal for Christ.

And E. H. Hamilton continued in His labours for Christ, remembering the sacrifice his friend had made for the Chinese Christians.

“Sing above the battle strife:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Sing it softly through the gloom,
When the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!”

“The bandit told the missionary, ‘I’m going to kill you. Aren’t you afraid?’
Jack Vinson replied simply, ‘Kill me, if you wish. I will go straight to God.'”
Kiangsu Province, Mainland China 1931
~”Jesus Freaks” by D.C. Talk and Voice of the Martyrs~

For more information:
Real Manhood the Life and Martyrdom of Uncle Jack

spanish lessons, anybody?

I have a sweet friend at my church that is interested in teaching a private Spanish class for home schooled children in Alabama. She picked up the language EXTREMELY fast, and is very gifted in using it. I know if you had this young lady for a teacher you would find it easy to learn this mysterious (to me!) language =)

Here is all the details and information:

Private Spanish Lessons

  • A little about me and the class I am offering:

My name is Christiana Liddle and I am excited to be offering private Spanish lessons this fall for 6th—12th grade students! I am in my senior year of college at Pensacola Christian College. I have taken 6 semesters of college Spanish; I tutored one college student in Spanish and another in Phonics. I have taken education classes in which I had the opportunity to teach lessons. I love being able to help others learn and would love to teach your child! Details are below:

  • Course Level:
    This is a beginning Spanish course. This course assumes that the student has no experience in Spanish. This course of 24 lessons may be considered ½ high school credit.
  • Objectives:
    By the end of this class your child(ren) will:
  • Know approximately 500 Spanish words
  • Be able to read in Spanish at a beginning level
  • Be able to put together basic sentences in Spanish using nouns, subject pronouns, articles, conjunctions, verbs, adjectives, and possessive adjectives.
  • Books:
  • Title: Por todo el mundo Spanish 1, Book 1A
    Author: Steven A. Guémann
    Publisher: Abeka
  • Title: Vocabulary Manual for Por todo el mundo
    Author: Steven A. Guémann
    Publisher: Abeka
  • Title: Vox Spanish and English Student Dictionary
  •  Where to buy books:
  • Buy Abeka books new
  • Buy Vox Dictionary new at or elsewhere
  • Or buy books and dictionary used online on Amazon or Ebay
  • *Note: Siblings taking the class, may share one set of books if preferred. They will never be required to write in the book for an assignment; however, because the book will be used in class, no more than 2 should share one set of books. *The Spanish dictionary may be shared by any number of siblings.
  • Scheduling Classes:
    Your child(ren) will receive…
  • Two lessons per week (1 hour per lesson) Mondays – Saturdays (scheduling flexible)
  • Total of 24 lessons
  • May be completed in 12 weeks; however, in order to give you flexibility for vacations and other activities, you will have 16 weeks to complete all 24 lessons. Lesson dates are available from October 2 – January 18
  • Location of Lessons:
    Optional for your convenience
  • Cost:
  • Lessons for one student: $10 per lesson, $240 total
  • *Note: If the lessons are held in your home, an extra charge of $5 will be added to each lesson ($120 extra for the whole semester) for gas expenses.
  • Payments may be made by check or cash.
  • Payments are due: by the last day of each month in which classes are taken. The amount due is according to the number of classes taken each month. If the whole semester is paid for in advance, the due date is the last day of the first month.

Feel free to call, text, or email me if you would like to reserve a spot for your child(ren) or if you have further questions. I would be happy to meet you if you would like to discuss the class in person.

scripture journaling

I have been wanting to do a post on Scripture journaling for awhile now — but it never seemed like a “good” time. But, with the hymn study I am doing with my younger siblings, I figured it would be a right time to post about it now.

Several years ago — we’re talking back in 2010 — Mom woke us up with a strangely interesting statement: “I think  we’re Mormons.” It was one of those years when we older girls were getting older (of course), and the younger children were starting lessons, and it was getting harder and harder to incorporate the unit study type lessons we had always done into the school day with so many various ages.

So, having just recently gotten the convenience of the internet into our home — and by recently I mean within the past year. Yes, we survived ’til then without the internet :D — my mother ran a search, looking for fun school lessons for us to do. And apparently the Mormon’s do a lot of crafty-type things with their children. Things my mother would do. They create fun lunches with their children, do a lot of scrap-booking type things, and they put a lot of emphasis on family, which has always been important to my parents. Hence the statement of “We’re Mormons” — though a joke, it did render us all wide awake to hear that statement made in our house =)

One thing we were all amazed by was the dedication of the Mormons to study their Bibles and the Book of Mormon. And it was truly studying — not simply reading a portion in the morning and the evening and calling it done. The studies we looked at posed deep and interesting questions. The amount of time that was dedicated was immense, much more than most Christians dedicate. And they would do fun things to help them remember what they learned — things like scripture journaling.

So we adopted it in the following years. It became a part of our lessons each day, and something many of us continue as we have graduated. I’ll admit, while I like the idea, and while it will be an amazing heritage to pass onto my children one day, it isn’t my very favourite thing to do. I prefer to write about what I have learned. But my sisters who have been blessed with extremely creative minds — meaning everyone younger than me — do enjoy it. And I like doing it…..I just wish my mind worked like the other girls :D

So what is Scripture journaling? Or, as my Mom phrases it “Scripture-Scraps”? It is simply a way to journal what you have learned throughout Scripture. Whether word studies, topical studies, parables, verses, even catechism… is a way to creatively express what you are learning without writing a report on it. We have used scrap booking supplies — papers, stamps, stickers, embellishments — pictures, quotes from books, word art printables, and a myriad of other things.

I asked the girls if I could take pictures of their journals and share some of them with you all, so you could have a visual of what I am talking about. I must say, I have never sat down to look through them. Though not as personal as a writing journal, they are personal. I was awed to see what the Lord had been teaching each of the girls as I flipped through and snapped pictures.

Some of us decorated the outside of our journals to make them unique and special — they are only plain sketch books which we bought at Hobby Lobby years ago.

As you look through the pictures remember that we were all much younger in the beginning of the books — Respectively I was 14, and the next three were 12, 11, and 8. These weren’t something Mom went through to correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. She would check to see that we had done it, and left it at that.

Prayerfully this gives you some ideas of your own, to start such a precious work of art….and trust me, if I can do this, anyone can. Especially since my whole family inherited the all the creative genes between them and I was left out of that one. Cooking for a party — have that one handled. Decorating…..well, best to leave that to someone else’s doing =)

AND — since this is the last installment of the hymn study for this go-round, we are celebrating with a giveaway.

My sister, Bethaney, is a wonderful artist, and she offered her talent to me — a beautiful printable for someone to win. If you have time, hop on over to Chocolate Ink Designs and see what all she has created :P

Entering the giveaway is easy — simply leave a comment on this post of what the Lord has taught you through this study of consecration. The giveaway will close Wednesday, September 13 — next week. I will announce the winner next Friday =)


For the last couple of weeks we have been talking about consecration — do we fully understand what the word means? The Student Bible Dictionary defines “consecration” as “Devote, separate, set aside for worship or service to God. A person or a thing can be consecrated.” 1 In both the Old Testament and the New Testament this concept of consecration is often translated as sanctify, or to make holy. 2

Charles Spurgeon says in his sermon, Consecration to God: “For a man to be thoroughly sanctified to the Master’s service, he must first realize the almightiness and all-sufficiency and glory of God. True holiness is a walking before God. The saint feels that he must not, dare not, transgress, because he is before the very face of God.”3

Andrew Murray described consecration in this way: “If God gives all and I receive all, then…..I must give all back again, What a privilege that for the sake of having me in loving, grateful intercourse with Him, and giving me the happiness of pleasing and serving Him, the Everlasting God should say, “Come now, and bring Me back all that I give.””4

As the hymn that Frances Havergal called her Consecration Hymn lays out, consecration is merely and in it’s most basic form a giving back to God of what He already gave to us. He blessed us with feet — we determine to use them for His glory. He gave us a voice; let’s sing only for Him. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:20 that “ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  As Christians we should do this with our whole life, always seeking out ways to honour God. Consecration isn’t just a mere attempt to not sin, or to make our sin appear to be less than others. We can’t just sit around and applaud ourselves for being less sinful than our neighbors — or more holy than them. We must strive to make everything we do an act of consecration to God.

As I once read somewhere, anyone can wipe a dish dry. Anyone can iron a shirt. Anyone can take out the trash for the umpteenth time. But someone who is living a life consecrated to Christ will be able to do this with joy in their hearts, a smile in their voice, and gentle, tender hands. If we are just doing it  “just because,” or “because Mom told me to,” than we are apt to do it with impatience, with words of complaint, with a heart of hatred towards the task at hand.

“The consecration of earthly vessels, then, is a picture of the complete consecration of the heart now; for we are to be fully the Lord’s for all time, not giving a portion of our time and affection to the world and sin, and to the following of selfish purposes. Every act of life, every thought of the heart, every affection of the soul, all for God and done in the glory of God.”5 This author understood well that even our hearts, minds, time, and thoughts must be consecrated for Christ’s use. Does this mean that we can never do anything recreational? Never do anything entertaining? Never sing anything but hymns, or read anything but theology? Absolutely not, by any stretch of the imagination! Rather, that all we do is to be done to the glory of God. I agree with the author who wrote: “…our religion is too often rendered useless by being dissevered from our week-day business and our recreations.”6

To me, this means I need to be able to have a good attitude if a younger sibling comes in for help and interrupts me while I am reading. Putting down handwork when a meal needs cooking or a baby needs changing. Each of us should strive to bring Christ into every area of our lives — whether we are taking out the trash, or talking with friends at church. At the movie theater, or have our noses buried in a book. It’s not enough for us to simply know about the doctrine of Christ — we must apply it to our lives and our hearts.

John Flavel writes: “O that all who profess faith in Christ, could subscribe cordially to that profession, Rom. 14:8. “None of us liveth to himself, and no man dies to himself; but whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord; so then whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” This is to be a Christian indeed. What is a Christian, but an holy dedicated thing to the Lord? And what greater evidence can there be, that Christ set himself apart for you, than your setting yourselves apart for him?”7

So the question is, how can we be “an holy dedicated thing to the Lord” today? I there anything I need to give up? Is there anything I need to change in my habits? Are there any attitudes I need to change?

Speaking from personal knowledge, this isn’t easy. I am still learning and struggling with many of these concepts. Still learning to have a good attitude when I am elbows-deep in a sink of dirty dishes and there are more piled up, and a little brother needs help with his math. When I am trying to fold a massive load of laundry and the baby needs a clean diaper. Speaking as a young adult, I think it is a process of a lifetime to continually consecrate your days to Christ. But I also think it becomes a habit, something you do because you would never dream of not doing it.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:”  Shouldn’t this be the whole goal of our lives? To be, in a world filled with darkness, a vessel of light to others? To live a life so that others see your consecration to the Most High God?

O Lord of Heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all thing on earth or in heaven.8

– AW Tozer –


1 The Student Bible Dictionary by Karen Dockery, Johnny Godwin, and Phyllis Godwin
2 The Student Bible Dictionary by Karen Dockery, Johnny Godwin, and Phyllis Godwin
3 Charles Spurgeon’s sermon Consecration to God —
4 The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
5 Beautiful Girlhood by M. Hale; revised by Karen Andreola
6 In My Father’s House by Tamara and Naomi Valine
7 The Fountain of Life Opened Up by John Flavel

take my life — hymn study part lll

Many of the hymns we sing were written after certain things happened in the lives of the authors, and many of the authors documented it, so we can learn about it. Today, we are going to learn about a story of consecration and dedication. We learned about Frances Ridley Havergal’s  life earlier this week — now let’s learn about this hymn she wrote, and how it affected her life.

Frances Havergal wrote to a friend:
“Perhaps you will be interested to know the origin of the Consecration hymn ‘Take my life.’ I went for a little visit of five days [to Areley House]. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer ‘Lord, give me all in this house!’ And He just did! Before I left the house everyone had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, and then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with ‘Ever, ONLY, ALL for Thee!'”

She made this song her life’s anthem, constantly finding new ways to dedicate herself and all she was to Christ. She called this song her “Consecration Hymn”, and had copies made of it, which she would hand out to others. She always asked that if someone truly meant it, they would sign their name at the bottom of the hymn when alone on their knees before God.

In August, 1878, she wrote to a friend: “The Lord has shown me another little step, and of course I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold,’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary House (including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess), where all will be accepted and disposed of for me. I retain a brooch or two for daily wear, which are memorials of my dear parents, also a locket containing a portrait of my dear niece in Heaven, my Evelyn, and her two rings; but these I redeem, so that the whole value goes to the Church Missionary Society. Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”

She had been trained as a concert soloist, but one day the Lord convicted her using the line in the hymn, “Take my voice and let me sing, only always for my King.” She had an unusually pleasant voice, and her talent could have brought her much fame. However, she determined to only sing for her Lord, wherever she sang, and to spread the gospel through her singing.

How can you consecrate your life to the King today?

I will be posting some of each study on this blog…..if you are interested in joining this study with me, here’s what you need to do:

If you are a reader who is not subscribed to the blog and you want to participate, enter your email address in the sidebar on the right.

Once you are subscribed, send an email to and let me know that you want to participate.(If you are a current subscriber just send me an email stating you’d like to join in)

Once you have emailed me, you will be sent an email three times a week, filled with ideas and inspiration for studying each hymn. You can easily learn about each hymn by simply reading what I post on this blog, but the email will contain more information, more lessons not posted here, and some (hopefully) fun hands-on activities. If the study has already started — no problem! I will happily send you all the emails that have been sent to date, and you can look over them and play catch up.

And, to celebrate the first such study, there will be a fun give-away at the end of these first three weeks…..which I will have more details about later =)

If you know others who would enjoy participating in this study, feel free to invite them along for the ride too. The more the merrier, right?