Just As I Am

Just As I Am

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you look at what is reflected or do you try to see yourself as God sees you?

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

God loves and welcomes us just the way we are, sin and all. He knows but that does not deter his love for us. In fact, that is a big part of the reason He is waiting for us – so that He can redeem us. That is the message behind this hymn. God is waiting for you and for me. Just As I Am. Will you come?

Just As I Am

     words by Charlotte Elliott (w. 1834)
     music by William Bradbury (w. 1849)

Just as I am! without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am! and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am! Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am! Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

words by Charlotte Elliott (w. 1834)
music by William Bradbury (w. 1849)


Through The Eyes of a Lion – FC review & giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of this book through Family Christian
in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive 
review and the opinions expressed here are my own. 
This disclosure is in accordance with FTC regulations.

What if the worst happened? How would you handle it? What would you do? Where would you turn?

I’ll venture to say we don’t know until we are in the situation.

I’ll also venture to say that the better we know our God, the better prepared we are to be able to stand under the pressure of whatever the burden may be and to light the way to God for those we encounter during the struggle.

Through The Eyes of a Lion

That is the point of Through The Eyes Of A Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power by Levi Lusko. This is a pep talk from one who has been through the worst and uses it to shine a light on God’s majesty and power. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

I would love to highlight just a couple of places from the book for you. But, I can’t. Because there weren’t just a couple of places that made me go “Oh, yea! I get that!” or “Wow! What a great way to word that.” Nope. They were all over the place. Everywhere.

Once I started the book, it was difficult to put down. The encouragement and challenge is amazing and wonderful and frightening. A couple of phrases that come up over and over highlight the energy with which we should view out lives.

  • You are destined for impact.
  • As long as you have breath in your lungs, you have a microphone in your hands.
  • There is a wild and wonderful calling on your life.
  • Suffering isn’t an obstacle to being used by God. It is an opportunity to be used like never before.

Filled with quotes from God’s word, this encouragement doesn’t stop until you hit the last page. Even when I was reading with tears streaming down my face (yes, there are some terribly sad, sad parts that bring great hope so have a tissue close by when reading), I was able to feel the hope and encouragement that Mr. Lusko wants us to see and feel from God.

A beautiful, encouraging, hope-filled book, this is one you don’t want to miss. In fact, you can win a copy of it by entering through this link: (open to U.S. only)


Or you can pick up a copy at your local Family Christian Store or in their online store. This inspirational book is not one you want to miss out on.

At Home.

Please visit Family Christian, the sponsor of this post, at any of their social media sites.

O Heart Bowed Down With Sorrow

There have been a number of things in the past few days that could easily give me a terribly heavy heart. I choose to take them to God. I trust God’s peace. I know that God will not solve problems for us or take away struggles just because. Those are things that make us stronger, increase our faith, and help us see Him more clearly. O Heart Bowed Down With Sorrow

The words of this song are for those who have a heavy heart that is bowed down with sorrow tonight. Seek God – in His word, in prayer, in song, in praise. Come to God and allow His peace to flow over you and strengthen you through these sorrows. If you would like to listen to it, you can find a recording on Great Songs Chapel.


O Heart Bowed Down With Sorrow (Come Unto Me)

Words & Music: Franklin E. Belden
v. 1 O heart bowed down with sorrow!
O eyes that long for sight!
There’s gladness in believing;
In Jesus there is light.

Come unto me, all ye that labor
And are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me;
For I am meek and lowly in heart
And ye shall find rest unto your souls.

v. 2 Earth’s fleeting gain and pleasure
Can never satisfy:
‘Tis love our joy doth measure
For love can never die.


v. 3 His peace is like a river,
His love is like a song;
His yoke’s a burden never;
‘Tis easy all day long.



Writing A Letter for Young Ones

Dear Sofia 3I have a fun thing for you guys today. We stumbled across a way for your little girls, or your bigger girls, or whoever enjoys Sofia The First to be able to write a letter to her. It was in the September 2015 issue of Family Fun that came yesterday. The fine print says that if you include your return address on the envelope, Sofia will write your child back. There is the disclaimer on it that says not every letter can be guaranteed a reply should any errors occur with the mailing process and letters should be received by 12/31/15. But, still, its worth a chance, right?

Dear Sofia
J cut it out right away and wrote the letter. It is finished and she’ll be mailing it off at the first chance.

Dear Sofia 2

Here’s the address:
Dear Sofia
244 Madison Avenue Box #411
New York, NY  10016

Any chance to get them writing that they are excited about has me excited too. Do you have anyone in your home who is going to want to write to Sofia?

At Home.

**Disclaimer: The name Sofia the First and all of these images are not mine. I copied them directly off the pages from the magazine so that you all would know that this was not a random thing I dreamed up. The name Sofia the First is, of course, a Disney name and so copyrighted, protected, and all that other legal stuff. Family Fun is also, I am sure, copyrighted and protected and trade marked.

20th Century Music Appreciation review

Music is what keeps me going. Even if you can’t tell it on the outside, I am seldom without music running through my head. Everything brings up a song for me it seems. So when Gena Mayo, who blogs at I Choose Joy, asked me to review her new music appreciation course, I was thrilled to do so.

21 lessons page

Gena wrote and taught 21 Lessons for 20th Century American Music Appreciation to a group of homeschooled students at a co-op class. It was designed to be done in 21 lessons that run about 20 minutes each. That is a nice, short, manageable time period if you are at all apprehensive about teaching music appreciation.

As a quick overview, 20th century music runs from the tail end of the 1800s through the 1900s. You’ll experience the development of some distinctly American styles such as ragtime and jazz, as well as some of the more world-wide styles like minimalism and big band, though America developed her own version of those styles as well. You will run across names you know such as Louis Armstrong, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Elvis Presley, and more. You will also come across composers and performers that you are less likely to know such as Philip Glass and Ferde Grofe.

One of the very unique aspects of Gena’s curriculum is that it contains a large number of musical examples that are easily accessible. You wouldn’t think that was unusual for music curriculum but, really, it is. 21 Lessons is a download that you access online. It is a PDF file that opens with clickable links. Those links will take you to YouTube videos and other resources to be able to hear the music being studied. That is a huge bonus when you are talking and discussing the development of style and the differences in such styles as jazz, cool, bebop, and the early rock. Or when you are looking for the differences between stride and rag.

At the end of the curriculum, Gena has included blank copies of the notebooking and listening pages that she developed to help the students focus on what they are learning. She also discussed how she modified the lessons to work from young elementary ages all the way through high school. This is a comprehensive study.

Gena did a good job with the curriculum, in my opinion. Yes, there are things that I would have done differently were I to have written it but that comes from the difference in my musical background and Gena’s. I am an instrumental and folk music person; that is what my degrees are in. I am probably a bit more familiar with definitions and performance of some of the instrumental pieces so I might have tackled them differently. Gena has a much better grasp on the vocal aspects of the music of the 20th century than I ever could. Her knowledge and experience shows in the creation of this music appreciation curriculum.

I think this curriculum will be a huge bonus for home schoolers or co-op classes that have a desire to incorporate music into their study. It doesn’t require a large amount of time or preparation since Gena planned it to be done in 20 minute segments and has included all the links you would need if you are connected to the internet. Please visit Gena’s site to find out more about this curriculum. If you purchase before August 31, 2015, you can receive 50% off the cost of the curriculum. Just enter coupon code: August50.

At Home.

**Disclaimer Notice: I received a free copy of this curriculum for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. These relationships help provide support for our family and homeschool. Thank you for your support through the use of these links.**

Art Tree

We have been doing a unit on The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I have created the unit and will share that with you after we have finished and I have refined a couple of ideas that I wrote down. We have had a lot of fun and learning.

The Giving Tree

One of our projects was an art tree. We have talked about the seasons – winter, spring, summer, and fall/autumn. In The Giving Tree, the tree is an apple tree so we discussed what each season of an apple tree would resemble. Then, each of the girls and myself took a season and created a piece of an apple tree for that season. When we were all completed, we had a complete tree that depicted all four seasons.

Art Tree

Our canvases were approximately 5″x7″. We got them at Michael’s with a coupon and teacher’s discount. (See my post on teacher discounts for more places where you can get a discount.) I think it was about $6 for them. They were already primed and we had acrylic paints at home. We painted them in layers, letting each layer dry completely in between. We then finished them with Mod Podge to protect them and make them easier to clean off from the dust that will undoubtedly gather over time.

I wish I could take credit for this idea but I can’t. I don’t know who came up with it but I had seen it a while back on Pinterest and knew it would be perfect for something. This was that thing. It fit our study perfect. The girls have loved having them up. It has been about 24 hours since they went up and I have heard a bundle of comments. This was a success!

At Home.

Horizon 1st Grade Phonics & Reading ~ a TOS review

Last year, J enjoying having Alpha Omega Publications Horizons Kindergarten math. She would often ask to complete more than one lesson at a time. Needless to say, we are using their math program again this year. When the opportunity came up to review an additional component of their curriculum, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to review Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set. So far, so good with it!

Horizons box

Alpha Omega Publications, or AOP, is a company who has made it their mission to change education for the glory of God, educating and inspiring others. Their range of products is pretty broad and includes print, online, and computer-based products. They have curriculum choices, games, family entertainment, and distance learning programs. They have a lot to offer.

This review is focusing on Horizons 1st Grade Phonics and Reading Set. We have been working with it for several weeks now and J has been enjoying it, for the most part. This set comes with a Teacher’s Guide, two student workbooks, and two student reading books.

whole set

The Teacher’s Guide has the following features:

  • Introduction – helps familiarize the teacher with the format of the program and suggestions for pacing
  • Reading: The First Chapter in Education – an article to help understand the importance of reading
  • Lessons – Each lesson includes an overview, materials & supplies, teaching tips/instructions, and answer keys which are copies of the student pages with answers
  • Resources – alphabet cards and phonics rules cards

working in workbookThe student workbook is a comfortable book to work in but it also has perforated pages if you would like to remove them from the book for working. J prefers to keep the book intact. We work on one lesson a day and do this most days in a week, though summertime was a bit slower than our pace is now that was have gotten back into the swing of things. These lessons, if J works without distraction, take us about 20 minutes. This does not include the reading book. The activities run from copying words, to writing letter combinations and then reading the created words, to marking sounds, to matching words and pictures. The sound ladders early on were a really good review of phonics sounds and uses. There is a test every 10 lessons to check for comprehension of concepts.

The reading books are designed to go along with the lessons. There is one story to read for each lesson. It reinforces the practice or the rule that was introduced in the lesson. J is a fairly good reader and is able to read these almost independently. It is noted in the teacher’s guide, however, that this is not to be expected and that the first 40 or so stories are probably not going to be able to be read independently by the student.

Some Notes:

  • These are comfortably paced and thorough workbooks that have a good combination of color illustrations and activities.
  • The Teacher’s Guide has enough information to help me through things I might not understand well but doesn’t give so much information that it is overwhelming or make me feel incapable.
  • It is easy to break the lesson up into more than one session, which is actually suggested for the longer lessons, if your student needs the break in focus.
  • The reading stories are not very interesting but they do a very good job of reinforcing the concept from the lesson. We did struggle a bit with attention span during the stories which is somewhat uncommon for J.
  • While this is a Christian company, I have not seen anything in this particular set that indicates anything Christian or secular. It is fairly straightforward phonics learning.


Visit the AOP site for more information, including a scope and sequence and current pricing. The Horizons program has a lot of options for subject and level so be sure to check them all out.

At Home.

Catch up with AOP on social media.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aophomeschooling
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View additional reviews of K-2 curriculum, including phonics/reading, math, health, penmanship, and PE, as well as a pre-school option by clicking on the banner below.

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