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Beloved: 365 Devotions For Young Women from Zondervan ~ a Crew review

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is just that – a devotional book created just for those young ladies who are going through their pre-teen and teenage years, as they strive to grow into women of integrity, women of God. Published by the well-known company Zondervan, this is a lovely book that will visually appeal to just about any young lady. 

Hardbacked with a foil-enhanced image of flowers on the front, this is a comfortable size. It is not a heavy book, even with the number of pages it contains to have one page per day of the year. The ribbon bookmark is secured in the binding and matches the lovely flowers just perfectly.

The beautiful pages follow the same color scheme and floral motif throughout. This devotion had me singing Mary’s song. 

Each page has a motif that matches the cover, only without the foil enhancements. The day is a fancy font and it is a day (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) rather than a date (January 1, January 2, etc.) so that this devotional series can be picked up and begun at any time of the year. The Bible verse for the day is printed in pink (which is a tad hard to read for these old eyes) but complements the colors perfectly. The devotion thought is printed in black, making it stand out well. The end of the page has four lines for whatever the young lady would like to use it for: journaling, doodling, adding reference verses, etc. It is a visually beautiful book. 

Let’s talk a bit about each devotion. As I mentioned there is a scripture followed by a few short paragraphs regarding something from the verse. These are fairly simple, without any challenging language or difficult sentence structures. Each devotion takes less than 10 minutes to read, think about, and discuss. My oldest would do each in about five minutes, which is a bit short for devotion times, in my opinion. Most of the devotions end with a real-life application of some sort, such a failing a test, dealing with someone who is unkind, or being afraid. Some of the devotions end with a challenge of some kind, such as the devotion regarding Naboth being killed by Jezebel that challenges the girls to not feel overwhelmed but to pick ONE thing and try to do it. (Day 264)

One thing I really like about this set of devotions is the number of women that are discussed. Your normal heroines are most decidedly included – Ruth, Esther, Mary, Naomi, Hannah and Sarah. However, there are some not so commonly thought about women included as well and that makes this an over-the-top good book, because even bad women can be good examples (of what not to be). Take Jezebel, Hagar, and the mother of Jephthah (the book uses her to reinforce that God can use any circumstance for His plan). While these women might not be ones that you would think of to say “be like her”, you definitely can use their lives to discuss what TO be and that is what this devotion does. Other women in this study include Zelophehad’s daughters, Manoah’s wife, Caleb’s daughter Aksah, and the woman Jesus healed from 12 years of bleeding. There are many, many role models here. 

Our stack of morning time studies that we do as a family. 

Our Use As A Family –
We used this devotion book daily as part of our morning time. I would read the verse from the book and then the devotional thoughts. We would discuss the things that the girls caught in the reading and then address any thoughts or questions they would have. We would do 2 or 3 of these each day. An example of some of the discussion we had involved Noah and his family. The girls wondered about other family members that would not have been on the ark – any other children, any daughters, his wife’s family, his daughters-in-law’s families, any grandchildren. It sparked some interesting thoughts and ideas. We pulled out the Bible to read more of the account and discuss what it really entailed for Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law to be on that boat. Heartache must have been a part of it yet these women were there. 

Another family discussion we had was in regards to Hagar and Sarai. We talked about trying to take control of something away from God and how difficult it can be to wait on the Lord’s time. We also talked about how in the process of taking control of the situation, something came between Hagar and Sarai. So we talked some more about friendships and how to mend hurts. Day 23 talks about Hagar being ugly to Sarai after Hagar became pregnant and how that affects both of them. 

Discussion together at night about submission after reading about God telling Hagar to return to Sarai.

Our Use As A Mother-Daughter Time –
Miss J and I were also reading this at our bed time readings. We had the book of Charlotte’s Web going so we just added a couple of these devotions to our time together each night. It was easy and only added a few minutes but it added a lot in terms of discussions and bonding. Miss J always had a comment to make about the reading (contrary to what it looks like with her quote below!). She often asked to read the passage from the Bible or to continue telling the story from the Bible. Some days, when she didn’t have much to say we might read three of the devotions. Other days, we would only get through one. This time allowed me to tailor the thoughts a bit more to her 9-almost-10-year-old-thinking. And it worked well. 

A Heads-Up! Day 237 is a discussion of sex. No anatomy discussion or anything like that but it does talk a bit about the difference between martial relationships and extra-marital ones. The context is David and Bathsheba. For some this might be a deal breaker; for others, they just want the heads-up. So here it is. . . I have not read every single devotion so I cannot tell you for sure if there are other days that may have topics your young lady is not ready for. 

The recommended age for this is 13-18. Middle school and high school girls could easily use this independently but I think it is appropriate for younger girls as well, just pre-read if you are concerned about content. 

Thoughts from Miss E:
I think this is a really good book but I would enjoy it more if the devotions were a little bit longer. It felt like there wasn’t enough space for there to be a fully-formed thought on some of them. It felt like it didn’t go deep enough to really be a devotional and I would enjoy it more like that. Also, I like the fact that they included lots of lessons on good role models. Ruth and Naomi had a number of lessons each. Even though Ruth only has 4 chapter in the Bible, the devotions captured different characteristics of each woman and had a single devotion for each of those characteristics. I really liked that. I would really like to have seen this include an index that grouped the devotions by topic such as getting married, choosing your career, handling disappointment, and others. That would make this useful in more ways. 

Thoughts from Miss L:
The ones we have done as a family have been good. I have enjoyed them. It doesn’t take a long time for each devo to get to the point so each one doesn’t take a long time. 

Thoughts from Miss J:
I liked it. The flowers were very pretty. It was nice to read together.

Blessings,
At Home.

To find out what other Homeschool Review Crew families thought about Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women, please click on the banner below to read their reviews. 

The Great American Steam Locomotive Museum ~ Mega Field Trip

Along the way (in Ohio), we saw a sign pointing us towards a house that was part of the Underground Railroad. I was fascinated and so we followed the signs. Turned out we could only look at the front of the house but we saw additional signs that brought us to this interesting little museum. Located in the back of the gentleman’s wooden toy workshop, this was a fascinating museum.

The toy shop was named the Cambridge Wooden Toy Co. He hand made all of the toys in the shop. There were lots of them, many of which were railroad related, as Cambridge was a railroad town and the railroad was this man’s passion. We bought an old-fashioned cup and ball game, a pyramid and tee game, and a couple of other items. There was a unique sound tree, airplanes, and rocking horses. Each item was handmade and an item to be treasured. They were beautiful and well made. But, truly, the fascinating part of the stop was the museum.

There was a large model train setup that was fun to watch with several different trains running and a well-decked-out display. The gentleman told us a lot about the train display and how he set it up. Then, we moved on to the display cases. These had all sorts of interesting original pieces of railroad memorabilia. Some was from his own childhood and time with the railroads. From dining car menus to a bell and a seat from a caboose. There was a uniform, dining service pieces, and original photos. He knew each of his pieces well and shared the story behind them all.

Even with all this, there is still more. The stars of his railroad museum are the hand-carved, scale models of famous engines from history. Each engine had been created in stunning detail, with amazing attention paid to the fine points. Each of the engines are made from walnut with various other materials (metal and such) to provide the details that make the viewer speechless. 

While you are viewing each of these special engine, the gentleman takes the time to fill you in on the history of each engine and the stories behind them. He discusses how he went about choosing the plan, carrying it out, creating some of the special details, and the stories that make history come alive. They were, truly, a special sight to behold.

If you are even passing through the area around Cambridge, OH, this is a fabulous little place to stop. Know that it is in a neighborhood and the shop is just off to the side of homes. Parking is on the street or in a very small drive. But this was a fun stop that we are glad we stumbled upon.

I would share a website with you except that it is not showing up for me as a live site. A search for this company and museum will give you some directions to it, which is how we ended up actually finding it. An educational and interesting stop.

Blessings,
At Home.

Wright Brothers stop ~ Mega Field Trip

One of the things we wanted for this mega field trip was to not be too rushed with stops and to stop at several things along the way that caught our eye. Well, I had totally not looked ahead to see that we would be going through Dayton, Ohio, and thus could make a stop at the place where the Wright Brothers got their start. We realized it as we drove across and saw a marker for the birthplace of one of the brothers. We were unable to get to that museum – the road was out and we had no idea how to go around AND it was a day the birthplace was closed. BUT, we did note that we could go to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park was in Dayton and we were going right through. So, we stopped.

It was quite rainy and that really interrupted the stop, as the park is in several locations and partially outdoors, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We visited the main location where the indoor museum is, as well as taking a quick peek at the bicycle shop and a stop by where their home had been located.

The museum focused on the lives of Orville and Wilbur but also Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was a writer and about the same age as the brothers. They all sort of strengthened each other and helped their own creativity grow. Working together was a boon for all of them. The museum talked about all three men and we learned a lot. There were a good number of hands-on options to help learn a bit about the way flight works. There was also a very good movie that taught us a lot about the lives of the Wright Brothers.

Printing presses, airplanes, bicycles, attempts, failures, business, and more – all of these things run through the museum and the lives of the Wright Brothers. The home life of the Wright Brothers strongly influenced their ability to move forward and to see the benefit of each failure or restart they had to make. They were persistent and many people admired that. It was a good trait for them to have.

One thing that I learned about them is just how scientific they were about their models. I knew they had tried things out in a bunch of different ways but I was fascinated to read and see how they worked on things in an extremely regimented and scientific manner – carefully observing and changing little things to see how they affected the project they were working on. Then adding up those little changes to make a working airplane.

It was truly a fascinating stop. There was a temporary exhibit there on parachutes, as well. So we spent some time learning about how parachutes work, some of the people who worked on parachutes, some of the most famous parachuters, and a bit more. There were some interesting hands-on activities to help them think about concepts necessary to a successful launch and use of a parachute.

We did not go out to the airstrip where the Wright Brothers did their test runs because the rain was getting heavier. I wish we could have but we had to move on. A stop for another time, right? Keep that wish list running. 🙂

Blessings,
At Home.

3 beautiful Ellie Claire Art Journals ~ a review

Art journals, you say? What are they? Glad you asked. An art journal is just a book that includes different types of pages, ideas, and prompts to get you not just writing but being creative and artistic as well. Your quiet time is ideal for focusing on God’s word and what He has said. These art journals can help focus that time even more, on a passage, a word, or an idea. Creating visual images with colored pencils, pen and ink, or markers can help you really zone in on what God is saying to you. Each of these journals are lovely, really beautiful, and they feel comfortable in the hand. They are all very different in content, though, so let’s take a look at each one.

 The Illustrated Word: An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal

The Illustrated Word is a hard-cover journal that is about 6″x9″. There are about 150 pages (unnumbered) that are filled with opportunities – to create, to learn, to write, to copy, to color. The pages of this book are nice and thick, somewhat rough like construction paper. 

In the old handwritten Bibles, the scribes would often illuminate the pages. Many examples of this are included in this journal as inspiration, generally one per two-page spread. The pages with these examples are lined. Every few pages, there is a full-page image to color. Many of these are Bible verses but a good number are examples from old manuscripts recreated for you to color. These manuscripts are cited, which also gives a nice historical connotation to the illumination. 

This is one I am claiming as my own. It is beautiful and the line drawing recreations of the ancient illustrations are a joy to color and fill in. It allows for meditation and time spent thinking. It will be a wonderful journal to use for sermon note taking each week in worship time. And I will be able to think on the notes over and over as I color in the images. 

THE ILLUSTRATED WORD
Amazon: http://bit.ly/Illustrated-Amazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Illustrated-BN

Faith & Lettering Journal

Focusing on the scripture that tells us that God’s Word does not return void is where this journal had its beginning. Krystal Whitten is a graphic designer and professional letterer. She had combined her faith and lettering to further enhance her own understanding of God’s word. In the introduction to the journal, she talks about how she came to combine faith and meditation time with lettering and journaling. She designed this journal to inspire one to “reignite your devotional time, to imprint Scripture upon your heart, and to help you dig deep into the Word of God through the art of lettering.”

Included in this journal are the basics of hand-lettering, Bible journaling, sermon sketch note-taking, and space to write about using these in your devotion time. Some pages contain a full-page, full-color Bible verse that has been hand-lettered. The pages accompanying those are lined for journaling. There are several scriptures that are lettered in a vertical column for you to see it done, trace it, and then practice it yourself. These are two -page spreads. There are a number of lettering styles that are shown with space to practice. These are done with graph pages so that there is a way to make sure your spacing and sizing stay consistent. There are some other pages for you to do your own work on that are pages with dots in a grid. Many of these have small images of quotes or verses, as well. There are pages to practice flourishes and banners and other things. 

This hard cover book is 160 pages (unnumbered) and about 7″x8″. The pages are smooth and thick, making it ideal for a variety of writing tools. The cover is beautifully decorated with different images and words to encourage. It is embossed and contains some beautiful gold accents. There is a pen loop on the spine of the journal to be able to keep a pen or pencil close at hand. This journal would be great for someone new to the idea of hand-lettering for Bible study and figuring out how to get started. It gives some great letter styles and decorative ideas to get someone started. And it is just overall beautiful.

FAITH & LETTERING
Amazon: http://amzn.to/FaithAndLettering-Amazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/FaithAndLettering-BN

Illuminate Your Story Journal

Once again, this journal has its origins in the illuminated texts of times page. The illuminated pages gave color and beauty and significance to the texts. For someone just starting to learn how to created these lovely illuminated letters, it can be overwhelming. This journal is a great start, though. Illuminate Your Story Journal includes a number of things to help instruct one new to this type of artistic expression.

Inspired by this history of illuminated letters, the journal begins with a written history of them. It talks about the different regions and peoples to use these and gives lovely examples. There is instruction in the process of illuminated letters and then help for creating your own, including a list of suggested supplies. Then the journal really begins, for you start to do your own work. 

The journal has step-by-step instructions, both visual and written, to guide you through drawing and creating the entire alphabet in illuminated letters. There are two styles for each letter with steps for creating each. There is a Bible verse or quote to go along with almost every letter. (I did notice K, Q, V, and X did not have one.) Along the way there are also visual and written instructions for creating other flourishes, animals, flowers, and the like. Quite a variety of ideas and inspiration. The pages with the instructions all are on dot grids to help with size and space. The pages with the quotes and verses are lines for written reflection or whatever practice you might desire. 

This lovely hardcover journal is about 6″ x 8″. The 160 pages are thick and smooth, allowing for beautiful layers of color and smooth writing. It includes a woven ribbon bookmark sewn into the binding. The blue cloth spine includes a matching pen loop, both of which coordinate lovely with the cover image. The embossed cover is simple yet elegant and there is a keepsakes pocket on the inside of the back cover. And, to keep from losing anything, the book is held closed by an attached elastic band that goes around the whole book. All in all, this will make a lovely gift for one of our girls who enjoys doing hand-lettering but isn’t very far along with the skill yet.

ILLUMINATE YOUR STORY
Amazon: http://bit.ly/Illuminate-Amazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Illuminate-BN

Overall Thoughts –

Y’all, these are all three just lovely art journals. Ellie Claire has created beautiful works of art to help you create your own beautiful works of art. There was another campaign for other Ellie Claire journals and oh how I wish I could have seen those journals since these are so lovely and high quality. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get my name in on that one early enough!) But these, I highly recommend these for anyone in your life starting on the path of hand-lettering or creating Bible artwork, whether they are new to it or looking for new inspiration.

Blessings,
At Home.

Preparing for Christmas ~ book reviews

Both of these books are available from New Growth Press.

A Better December: Proverbs to Brighten Christmas by Steven Estes

Many of us know just how insightful the book of Proverbs in the Bible is to our daily lives. But have you ever thought about how much it applies to the holiday season? to Christmas time? 

Me, either. But Steven Estes did. And his humorous application of the Proverbs to the holidays is a joyous read. This is a short 80-ish page read and is broken into chapters focusing on things like gifts, children, longings, others, and disappointment. Each of the chapters seems to be right on target for so many of us as the holidays can 

If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the holidays, the commercialism, and the “stuff”, take a peek at this book. The insights will help you grab hold of what is important, what is necessary, and the joy that should be fueling our holidays. As we are brought into “Someone greater than Solomon is here”, the beauty of the plan of God is revealed and Jesus is introduced. This easy to understand transition is the perfect way to introduce Jesus to those who don’t yet know him. 

The pen-and-ink drawings that add whimsicality to the book. This neat little book would be a great one to share with others this holiday season.

Prepare Him Room by Marty Machowski

Are you looking for a series of family devotionals to guide you through the season approaching Christmas? Some folks call this time Advent. I didn’t grow up using that term and we don’t use it with the girls but the time approaching Christmas is still a time that hearts tend to be open to hearing more about our Savior. This book is a series of family devotionals for the 4 weeks of Advent to celebrate the birth of Jesus. 

Broken into 4 weeks, this series of studies looks at the prophecies the foretold Christ’s coming and the fulfillment of those prophecies. Each week has three family devotionals and a chapter of a Bartimaeus story that unfolds one week at a time, concluding in week 4. Each family devotional includes a list of supplies needed (so you can be prepared ahead of time), a warm-up activity, reading the prophecy scripture, and a written out series of thoughts about the prophecy. Another section is titled Talk About It and it related to the scripture read. There is at least one carol included in each devotional for some singing and you can get a companion CD if you wish. Then there is a family activity to close the devotional. 

The time required for each devotional will vary depending on if you choose to use all of the activities and how much discussion you include. You may even wish to include a significant amount more scripture to really bring the impact of the message home to your family. In this case, you will need to go digging and that will take some additional time but I find that when we open up that kind of discussion with the girls, we all learn a whole lot more and can understand scripture more. 

This is a simple way to add some meaningful Bible time to you holidays.

Blessings,
At Home.

Evacuated ~ book review

Sometimes I stumble across a fascinating book that is very unusual and I just have to share it with you. This is one of those. There is no sponsor on this and honestly, I don’t know where to buy this book. (Note – found it on Amazon.UK) My MIL loaned me this book the other night when we were discussing another book about a child evacuated during WWII. This brought this story to mind for her and so she went and found the book for me.

Evacuated is by Joan Davidson. As the cover states, it is “a remarkable story of two sisters” who were evacuated from Guernsey at the start of the war. It is a true story told from Joan’s point of view. She is five years old at the start of the story. She comes home at the end of the book when she is 10. 

The island of Guernsey decided to evacuate their children because they were the first place where Germany would attack. In order to protect their children, the parents made a decision that was full of heart-ache and pain – to send their children away to protect them from the Germans. It was an important decision they made as their island was invaded.

Many of the children had wonderful experiences. Some had a mixed bag. Joan and her sister Brenda had a bit of both, being forced to move a number of times before ending up on a farm. Their story is one of hope and change, struggle and adaptation.

The story of Joan and Brenda did not take long to read. Maybe 2 hours? It was enjoyable and interesting to read a first hand account of what the children went through. This is another of those unique books that really bring to life the difficulties regular people faced in WWII.

Blessings,
At Home.

Blessed Be The Name of the Lord ~ hymn

Blessed Be The Name of the Lord

We started our worship this morning with this lovely hymn. The joy, the hope, the recognition that not everything will be easy

YET

I will choose to say “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

It is a choice. Job is a great example of one who chose to praise the name of the Lord through it all. Paul is another; suffering all sorts of difficulties, Paul still chose to bless the name of the Lord. David wrote many psalms that praised the Lord through difficulties. What about Naomi? Or Mary? We can find many, many examples in the Bible of those who praised the name of the Lord through it all.

These sets of lines:

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out I’ll
Turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name.
I hope this song will bring you encouragement through the sunshine and the rain that will fall in your life. There is nothing that can provide comfort except Jesus.
Blessings,
At Home.
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