All Saints ~ Book Review

All Saints by Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle 
All Saints by Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle
The True Story Behind the Powerful Film ALL SAINTS

About the Book....
Newly ordained, Michael Spurlock's first assignment is to pastor All Saints, a struggling church with twenty-five devoted members and a mortgage well beyond its means. The best option may be to close the church rather than watch it wither any further. But when All Saints hesitantly risks welcoming a community of Karen refugees from Burma--former farmers scrambling for a fresh start in America--Michael feels they may be called to an improbable new mission.
Michael must choose between closing the church and selling the property--or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community. Together, they risk everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.
Discover the true story that inspired the film while also diving deeper into the background of the Karen people, the church, and how a community of believers rally to reach out to those in need, yet receive far more than they dared imagine.

So, what did I think of this book..... I enjoyed reading it, I normally do not go for this type of book when looking for something to read.  But, I was surprised at how after the first few chapters I was desperate to get to the end to see what happened next.  I too know what it's like to hear a small voice inside, not sure if it's God or something I should push away from.  Sometimes by not playing it safe you give God the platform to do some pretty amazing things.  I have not seen the movie, but I t]old my husband we have to see it now.  If you believe in Miracles and the mightiness of God's potential then you will enjoy reading this Powerful story.

About the Authors.....
The Reverend Michael Spurlock served All Saints Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee, for three years. He is currently on the clergy staff at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City. Michael, his wife, Aimee, and their two children live in New York City.
Award-winning author and investigative journalist Jeanette Windle has lived in six countries, authored nineteen books, and mentors writers on five continents. To learn more, visit her at www.jeanettewindle.com.

I received this Book for Free from Bethany House in exchange for my Honest Review.


The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls~ REVIEW

I'm so careful what my children read...it's important to me that they not only read and understand the Bible, but that what they read for school and in their personal time is worth reading.  Is it going to uplift, inspire and encourage them as they grow into young adults?  We read a lot in our home and I'm so pleased to have found this Brand New Series from WorthyKids/Ideas called The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls.  We received Book one and two, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book 1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book 2).

My Gardening Buddy

I never was one to garden, I couldn't even keep cactus alive.  I loved the idea of planting and having a garden, but it wasn't really in me.  Or so I thought...to be honest the problem was that I didn't take the time to slow down and actually have a garden.  You can't just throw seeds in the ground and boom be done.  It takes care, tending, hoping, loving and protecting. 


Captain Bayley's Heir ~ REVIEW

We have another audio drama Review for you from Heirloom Audio Productions, Captain Bayley's Heir.  I appreciate their constant commitment to bringing Christian history to life.  And I can finally say this one is my favorite of all of them we have listened to so far.  Maybe it's because we have been watching old western movies lately or the fact that we live in Northern California.  But, at any rate this adventure of G.A. Henty is fabulous.  This audio drama is a 2 disc CD set or you can get it as a digital download.  Along with a downloadable Study Guide that offers questions along the way to determine their comprehension.  As with all their other productions, they are family approved.


New Children's Books and Craft Activities ~ REVIEW

Children's books.....who doesn't Love them?  I sure do and you can often find me curled up with Kaden or Mahala switching off reading through the newest to our shelves most afternoons or evenings.  The two I have to share with you today are Smoot The Rebelious Shadow and The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole.


Let's Go Geography ~ REVIEW

I am bouncing up and down in my chair right now...thankfully you are being spared that visual.  But, I am that excited about this next Review.  The past few weeks we have been using Let's Go Geography with Kaden.  I have been improvising and doing a Geography curriculum for both Mahala and Kaden, but it has required a lot of tweaking for Kaden to be able to join.  And this has made a lot of extra work for Mom. :(  But, let me tell you how we have been using this new curriculum from Let's Go Geography.


Can't Handle Autism

Just had the most intense afternoon with Kaden.  It was worse then usual...in these moments I have to ask myself How? Why? Will it ever get better, Am I honestly going to make it?  I know this has no end, that's one of the things that stinks the most...I know there is no end.  
So, today started at 5am...I don't even get up for Disneyland at that hour.  It's gross and icky, but he could not get back to sleep so we welcomed the morning early.  I thought it was going to be ok, he stayed busy, cooked breakfast for the whole family, and then boom.  I was doing school work with him at my desk and knocked my glass of water over.  It went everywhere and he started getting overwhelmed as I was rushing to clean it up.  I had to make the decision to save my laptop from drowning in water or console him.  I verbally checked in with him at the same time the phone rang....of course.  He ran out the back door as I threw some towels down onto the water.  
Our yard is fenced in but, I needed to make eye contact.  I found him huddled behind our garbage cans.  I could tell he was safe to leave and go clean up my mess.  By the time I was done, he was on the trampoline and after a few minutes looking at the flowers in the garden he was good to go.  He came back in and we started back with school.   After watching a short video and starting our lesson he lashed out and me and started screaming.  After correcting the behavior he stood up and flung the chair at me running to the other room as he pounded his face with his fists.  All the while screaming at the top of his lungs.  He rammed his head into the wall twice before Mahala could get him on the ground. 
We were trained on how to restrain Kaden when he self harms.  We used to do this 6-8 times a day, now we can go a few weeks,  But, not a day goes by for the past 8 years has this child not had a meltdown of some kind.  It is exhausting....and so lonely.  Who would understand this mess.  On social media I post him gardening, cooking, doing school work, playing, creating.That is such a small part of our lives, honestly people can't handle what we deal with unless you are a special needs parent.  He has so many wonderful qualities about him.  I love that child with all my heart, I wish he could lead a typical life.  

That child of mine came to me after a 2 hour meltdown of him thrashing around, kicking his sister in the stomach and saying some pretty hurtful things to himself with his head low.  "I am sorry... I wish I did not feel this way.  Forgive me, I can do better."  He held me for almost 10 minutes, that's a big deal...he's not a hugger.  We talked and tried to figure out what happened, why did he just flip like a light switch?  
It's been over an hour now, he has apologized, ate lunch and now laughing and playing basketball with his sister.  And you know what?  I was about to go and take a picture and post it on instagram.   Nobody would ever believe what has unfolded here in our home in between pictures.  They just wouldn't be able to handle it...sometimes I wonder if I can even handle it.  
Lord give me strength, guide my hands to help him and guard my mouth so my words are encouraging.  Please fill my heart so I can love him like you do.

Imagine...The Great Flood ~ REVIEW

We have been through the Bible backwards and forwards and lingering in the middle for many many hours.  Kaden enjoys the word of God and there are a few stories and people that he is reminded of often.  One being Noah, Kaden has always felt a special connection to Noah's story.  At first I thought it was because of the cool ark or the animals, but he said it was the lesson he learned about having the willingness to obey without questioning the Lord's request.  Noah wasn't a perfect man and God still used him.  We are all here to build our own ark willingly no matter what the world says about it.  


But You Don't Look Sick...

This is kind of long, but if you truly want to know what my life is like with Lupus then read.

By Christine Miserandino www.butyoudontlooksick.com

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.
As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

Unauthorized ~ REVIEW

Who doesn't Love a Game Night with Friends and Family?  It's one of my Favorite moments in my week for sure.  We always incorporate games into our daily homeschooling, but at least once a week we like to gather everyone around the table to play or read.  Several months ago we were introduced to Chara Games and we loved that they are Built by a Family for Families.  Not to mention that they all have a Christian Theme. In the past I have Reviewed two of their other games in the past... Commissioned and 3 Seeds.  But, today I get to share with you their newest game Unauthorized.

All's Faire in Middle School Blog Tour

We have been reading the newest book that was just released by Victoria Jamieson, All's Faire in Middle School.  It's like a comic book on steroids, over 250 pages of Renaissance fun.  Kaden and I took turns reading and I have to say it was a highlight of our most recent camping trip.  Bringing books along with you on car rides makes the time go by fast.  It's like the adventure before the adventures.  


Chilredn's Books from Carole P. Roman ~ REVIEW

I have said many times how much I love supplementing and pulling together different types of learning materials to drive home what we are learning about, from Math all the way to History and everywhere in-between.  Our Favorite way to do this is by using Games and Living Books through out our studies.  We were so thrilled to hear we would be able to read and implement 4 new books into our Family's studies this year that would put us in the Lives of some of the most fascinating eras in History.  From Carole P. Roman we received Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, If You were Me and Lived in... Viking EuropeIf You were Me and Lived in... Ancient China and finally If You were Me and Lived in... The Mayan EmpireCarole P. Roman has become one of our favorite Authors, I have yet to get a book of hers that I haven't fallen in love with.  With so many titles you simply must head to her Blog or Amazon to look at all the adventures that awaits not only your children, but you too.


Progeny Press ~ REVIEW

As you probably remember this is Mahala's last year and I have not introduced her to Shakespeare.  I know, it's crazy town over here.  But, have no fear...I have been able to rectify my lack of time management and she has been going through the Macbeth E-Guide ( grades 9-12th ) from Progeny Press the last several weeks. 
Progeny Press is a company that provides Study Guides for Literature, from a Christian Perspective.  We have used several of their study guides in the past and have loved absolutely every single one.  Even after the Review period is over my kiddos always completely finish the guides without any nagging from me...they just enjoy them and like the learning process that happens with using them.


New Territory in the Parenting World

There are books galore out there to tell you what to expect while you are expecting and how to get through the toddler years.  Even magazines dedicated to parenting the lives of tweens and younger.  It gets a little muddled in the teen years, rows of drama prevention, stealth bedroom shake down 101, talking so they listen and other typical teen woes fill book stores and libraries.  But, then what?  Parenting doesn't stop when they turn 18.  I have been wading through uncharted waters.  I mean give me a teething baby, 5th grade math, even a teary teenager....I can handle.  But, when you see your adult child living life, making decisions, working full time, moving into their own place.... it's hard.  It's difficult to just turn off the overly abundance of wisdom from flowing out of your mouth all the time.  To not have an answer for everything, even questions unasked.  You can't swoop down and make everything better and easier to understand.  And you know what, they don't really even want that.  So, what can I do?  What is my role now? 

What I've been learning is that my parenting "in the flesh" is over...it's time to parent him in the Spirit.  Now I must Pray for my son and trust God to do what I simply cannot do.  It's a process, one day at a time, hand in hand with the Lord walking every step of the way. :)


Let The Little Children Come ~ REVIEW

I've never been a big Halloween person, if I want some candy, I'll just go hit up Target and pick up a bag.  Funny thing is out of my 3 kiddos, my youngest said to me last year...why don't you buy me a huge bag of sour gummies, one of those big kitkats and a pack of bubble gum and we can skip trick or treating.  Then you don't have to buy or make me a costume or hand out candy to strangers, I get the exact candy I want and nobody has to eat peppermints and tootsie rolls till Easter.  Yeah, I think he may have picked that up from my good strong DNA, but, what about the other kiddos.  I am that house that hands out stickers, pencils, rulers and little notepads.  But, this year I have found something I can totally get on board with and even Kaden is super excited!!  We were given  Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract  from Let the Little Children Come
You get 20 per pack and the Price varies based on how many Packs you order:
$15.95 (1 - 10 packs)
$14.95 (11 - 20 packs)
$13.95 (21 packs or more)

Apologia Educational Ministries ~ REVIEW

Do you ever have a moment in your homeschool when you think oh my goodness I have everything organized, figured out and ahead of schedule????  Yeah....no, I didn't think so, me neither.  Which brings me to Senior year for Mahala, I can hardly even believe it is here.  Why didn't anyone tell me it went this fast, this thing called life?  Oh wait, someone did once, actually a few have I just didn't believe them.  Gosh I wish I could rewind, but I can't and we must march on forward.  Which happily brings me to my next Review.  Entering into my Senior's life like a knight in shiny armor... Apologia Educational Ministries and their Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set and Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD.  I promise this was on our list to do, she has always been an animal lover and up until about a year ago she was planning to study Marine Science and attend the Vet program in Florida.  But, like I said one minute she was sorting teddy bear counters for Math the next we are filling out applications for college.  So, this was a pleasant Review blessing and I look forward to sharing how we used it towards the end of her summer.