Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Other Bodies, by Joel Ohman- A Review

I had the opportunity to read and review the book, Other Bodies, by Joel Ohman. Upon closing the book after reading, it took me awhile to decide how I felt. Captivated, most definitely. At 252 pages, this is no short story, and yet I seemed to fly through the pages. The first page threw me into the fray of the story, and I like when that happens. My attention captured, as I begin piecing the bits and pieces together, attempting to complete the picture.

Hattie is a young woman, on her own after the death of her beloved grandfather. The setting is some dystopian time in future Philadelphia. Struggling to keep a roof over her head, she is happy to have secured a new job. That job happens to be at the local abortion clinic, Managed Motherhood. 

Hattie quickly gains the sympathy of her supervisor, and begins to orient herself to the company. The story takes a turn when Hattie discovers that she is pregnant. Having always considered herself a sort of feminist, she is a little confused to find herself questioning all of the rhetoric that she had previously embraced. What if the protesters that kept vigil outside of the clinic, were right? What if the body inside her body, was not her body? 

This book is part of the Metropolis series, and it will have you gripping the chair that you're in, from page 1 to page 252. Without question, and without apology, you will be faced with the realities of abortion. Prepare to be challenged, and even heartbroken. 

With a heavy topic, this is not a light read, and parents should consider the age and maturity of their kids before they read it. Having said that, I will let my daughters read it when I think they can emotionally handle it. It is a good story, and necessary to get out to the current and next generation. I am grateful for the bravery of the author in taking on this subject. Are we speaking out for the lives for the unborn? Are we teaching our kids to do the same? 

Some links where you can find more information:

Buy the book!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Drive Thru History® - "Acts to Revelation" - A Crew Review

Homeschooling has an endless list of benefits for families. I love the opportunities that we have to pursue all manner of interests and activities. Even with the flexibility though, we don't have the option to jump in a plane, and travel the world for our history and geography studies. We have had a couple of history programs that we studied out of a book, and in all honesty, we loved them. Then... along came Drive Thru History® . This company provided our family with a DVD set of their series, "Acts to Revelation" to review, and well, now we are ruined for other programs. (No offense, other history programs, we still like you.) But, this is NOT the history class that you took as a student! 

What makes this stand out from other history studies? Well, I could just say, EVERYTHING, but I'm guessing that you would appreciate a few more details. Dave Stotts is the host and tour guide of his self proclaimed "Adventure Learning". For about 15 years, and probably more than that at this point, he has traveled the world, filming historical sites both large and small, while teaching about the events that took place there. Recognizing that we are in a culture war, Stotts is coming alongside other Christian families, and helping them in their education, while hopefully, encouraging them to delve in more deeply to the Word of God.

This set comes in a sturdy, cardboard case, with three DVD's, and a study guide. The study guide is attached to the case, so you won't need to worry about misplacing it. "Acts to Revelation" picks up from where we left off in "The Gospels" series, but if this program is new to you, you won't have a problem tracking, as Stotts provides a summary of previous events before moving ahead. The episodes will pick up with the accounts of the first Christians. You will get a close look at the destinations where Peter, James, Stephen, and Paul traveled and ministered, wrapping up with the island of Patmos with the apostle John.

Who remembers their history classes? I know that when I was a student, the curriculum consisted of a textbook, and taking lots of notes from the blackboard. Classes were often rather dry. It is wonderful that educational resources have taken such a creative route, and that Drive Thru History specifically has provided an engaging way to learn today! Even as an adult, this series has helped me tremendously to see the actual countries and sites with my own eyes. I am a visual learner, so seeing these landmarks has put so much previous information that I had learned, in context.

As a teacher, I would bet you dollars to donuts, that Dave Stotts will become a fast favorite. I don't know how he does it, but he teaches with a beautiful blend of knowledge, humor, and reverence. He always manages to strike the perfect tone for the lesson. He will also take you off the beaten path every so often, to lesser known sites, providing interesting background and details that aid in the total understanding of the culture that is being studied. My daughters and I often quote his funny quips to each other throughout the day.

Lessons in this series:

Disc 1

1. The Gospel Shared at Pentecost
2. The Church Grows in Jerusalem
3. The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles
4. Saul of Tarsus & the Road to Damascus
5. Paul's First Missionary Journey-The Island of Cyprus
6. The Journey Continues-Pamphylia, Galatia & Asia Minor

Disc 2

7. The Jerusalem Council & Paul's Second Missionary Journey
8. The Second Journey Continues-Philippi and Thessalonica
9. A Road Trip to Athens
10. Ancient Corinth
11. Paul's Third Missionary Journey-Ephesus
12. Paul's Final Trip to Jerusalem & Caesarea

Disc 3

13. Adventures at Sea-The Island of Malta
14. A Final Journey to Rome
15. The Martyrdom of Paul & Peter
16. John and the Island of Patmos
17. The Seven Churches of Revelation
18. The Book Closes on the New Testament Period

The Study Guide included in this set is beautiful. Filled with colorful photos, everyone will enjoy flipping through it. It begins with an introduction from Dave, and the list of episodes. There is a guide for every episode, and it follows the same outline, a summary of the video, five discussion questions, a Bible reading schedule, and a side road, which is an extra fact or two that relates to the time, setting, or lesson. Answers to the discussion questions are at the back of the guide, so don't worry if you aren't sure of the correct response.
There are various ways that you might choose to use this set. You can simply watch the videos. You can use the enclosed  guide as you watch, or after you watch. You might even memorize the verses that are provided. There is a suggested reading plan at the bottom of each guide, that can be used for your Bible Study. We did a bit of a blend. We looked through the study guide before the episodes, and then discussed the questions and side roads afterwards. That put our average lesson time at roughly 45 minutes to an hour, and worked well for us.

Our whole family has and is enjoying this set. My husband (who has a degree from a Bible college) is very impressed with Dave Stotts and Drive Thru History. We've watched a few of the episodes as a family, and he has absolutely loved them. He's commented on the amazing production, and the amount of knowledge that each lesson offers. He's glad that we have such a fantastic resource for learning history from a Biblical perspective. I agree completely. This is a great option for anyone, but when speaking specifically of homeschoolers, this is perfect for families that span several grades. There is something for everyone. Younger children will enjoy the beautiful scenery, and humor. Older students can go deeper with the study guide. All will benefit from reading the Scripture verses. I love how each episode ends with this statement:

Oh, by the way Mr. Stotts, my youngest has a query for you..

Read more Crew reviews about "Acts to Revelation" from Drive Thru History® by clicking the banner below!

Drive Thru History®

Sunday, March 17, 2019

B is for Birthday!!

I'm behind on my Blogging Through the Alphabet, but I'm back with letter B. B is for Birthday! Today we celebrate my oldest daughter's birthday!! We've spent a low key, and very pleasant day. She is my easy going child, and it doesn't take much to make her happy. My youngest is the party planner, and she had a blast wrapping the gifts, making and decorating a birthday cake in the Birthday Girl's favorite band's colors. We had a phenomenal dinner at a local burger place, and came back for cake- although I can't believe we had any more room for dessert! Now...we are parked in front of the tv, and I think that's where we'll remain for the evening. Happy Birthday Baby!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mack Brock - Covered

Hello! Are you familiar with the name Mack Brock? Well, whether you are or are not, you'll want to check out this musical artist. He has a new album coming out, and this is your opportunity to have a listen, and even pre-order a copy.

Some information about Mack Brock:

Mack Brock's greatest passion is to lead people into a heightened awareness of the presence of God and to see individuals experience the breakthrough God has for them through worship. 

He has been a worship leader for over 15 years and co-wrote "O Come To The Altar", "Resurrecting", "Here As In Heaven", and "Do It Again" - each have had a significant impact on the church worldwide. Three of Mack's songs have landed in the top 50 on the CCLI, and four in the Top 100 CCLI songs.

Mack served as the music producer and a key worship leader with Elevation Worship for a decade, and has led thousands in worship in arenas and auditoriums all across the United States. Mack is married with 2 children and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Coming Up:

* I Am Loved - digital single releasing 3/8 with pre-order launch for Covered EP
* Covered EP releasing 3/22
* 5 brand new studio recordings
* 32 Date USA arena tour supporting Hillsong UNITED Summer 2019
* Full length 14 track physical album releasing 4/12


* 9 song studio project Greater Things available now!
* Over 10K in global consumption with 9.6 M streams

* Touring
* Joining Hillsong UNITED on their USA summer arena tour
* Joined Levi Lusko and Lysa TerKeurst on the Encounter tour
* Joined Mosaic MSC and Cody Carnes on the Heaven tour
* Toured with Rend Collective 2018 - over 30 dates
* First single "Greater Things" released 2/23
* 37 K in consumption with over 4.6 M streams
* Live performance video has over 491 K views on YouTube
* Worship Together New Song Café video for "Greater Things" - over 82 K views and 30 K song page views
* Featured in Capitol CMG, MultiTracks, Worship Together, and Premier Production emails reaching over 670 K subscribers
* Second single "Heart Wide Open" released 4/27
* 12 K in consumption with over 1.6 M streams
* Live performance video has over 259 K views on YouTube
* Third single "Into Dust" released 6/8
* 10 K in consumption with over 1.3 M streams
* Song inspired by New York Times Best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst's upcoming book It's Not Supposed To Be This Way.

A list of the songs you'll find on this EP:

1.) I Am Loved
2.) After Me
3.) Still In Control
4.) Covered
5.) King Of Heaven

Check out the I Am Loved lyric video:

When you pre-order the EP, you'll also get the single "I Am Loved." What are you waiting for? Check it out!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing the product/product information. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did/will receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

How to Stand Up For Your Principles.

Hello everyone! My name is CeCe Gauger, and I will be starting a new column on my mom's blog, School Days. First thing's first, I think that I should tell you a bit about me before we continue. I am 13, I love crafting, baking, cooking, reading, and organizing. In this column, I'll be posting things on many different subjects, including things on the subjects listed above, as well as a few other things. Today, I will be teaching you  how to stand up for your principles.

 Being homeschoolers, my sister and I take some classes with a few homeschool groups. One class that we currently take has about 8 people in our class, and some of them aren't the nicest people. This past week, me and my sister were doing our own thing, and we were chatting with another girl while we worked. The subject came around to music, so my sister was telling this girl about a song that she liked, but that it had a suggestive part that she wasn't wild about. Then she was talking about another song that she liked, so this girl offered to pull it up on Spotify. Now, we are not allowed to go on Spotify, because there is always the possibility that a nasty, explicit song will crop up, even if we change the settings. This girl accepted that, and didn't challenge our answer. As it turns out, another girl was listening to our conversation. "You don't go on Spotify?! But there's so much good music on there! So many good songs!", this girl said. " I'm not allowed on Spotify, actually", I told her. " Why not?", she asked. " Because there's always a chance that a nasty song will come up", I answered.  "But you can always change th-", Look, we're not allowed on Spotify. I accept that. That's that."

 Some people won't accept your principles, but that's okay! Not everyone is a nice person, and not everyone will be nice to you. But the most important thing to remember when someone is pressuring you to do something you know to be wrong, is to remember your PRINCIPLES!! I have had many experiences when I have had to make a simple choice; right or wrong. Some of these times I haven't made the right choice, and afterwards, I felt bad. It's important that you call on the Lord when you feel tempted, because He'll help you make the right choice. But it's also about sticking to your Mom and Dad's rule's, and respecting their decisions, because their rules are there to protect you. Remember, they've been where you are now. They've been a kid before, and they might have made the mistakes that they're trying to protect you from.

 The next thing to do is to repent if you've made the wrong choice. First, you need to pray to God, and ask Him to forgive you. The next thing you need to is tell your parents what you've done, and ask for their forgiveness. They'll appreciate that you've told the truth, but know that you have broken the rules, and that there still may be consequences. I know that there have been many times when I have broken rules, and they have shown me grace. I have a very sensitive conscience, and can't stand it when I have a secret, so I tell my mom whenever I've broken a rule.

The final thing to remember: learn from your mistakes. When you make a mistake and tell your parents, you shouldn't just do the same thing all over again! When trust is broken, it can take a while to earn it back again.

Thanks for reading this passage!


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Victus Study Skills System - A Crew Review

I wonder who can identify with this scenario:
Your son or daughter has just done poorly on an assignment, a paper or test perhaps. You, the parent, are frustrated. They aren't working up to their potential you think, and might even tell them so. You feel that they aren't trying hard enough. In this situation, what do you say to your child? There's a good chance that the words that come out of your mouth are the same ones that many before you have uttered -"You need to study harder!". Is that really the problem though? Could it be that the heart of the issue is actually the way that we, parents, students, teachers, approach the subject of study habits?

I'll raise my hand and be the first to admit that there have been plenty of times that I have told my daughters that if they would apply themselves a little more, they would get that higher grade. The question is, apply themselves to what? We focus on the outcome, but often don't teach our children how to get there. *Lightbulb!* I didn't even fully realize this was an issue until we had the opportunity to review the Level 3 (grades 5/6 - 10/11) workbook from Victus Skills Study System. I'll come back around to our level shortly, but first, an overview of the entire system...

If I may speak for homeschoolers in general, we love a resource that can be used over several grade levels, and this study system does just that. Four different levels are available:

* Level 1 - Primary - Grades K - 2/3 - Includes  Teacher Supplement and Student Workbook.                                                                           Teacher led, this is a shortened version of the later materials,                                                                 with 6 lessons.

* Level 2 - Elementary - Grades 2/3 - 4/5 - Includes Teacher Supplement and Student Workbook.                                                                             Teacher led, with 10 lessons to learn the three                                                                                         foundational cornerstones of learning, and apply them.

* Level 3 - Grades 5/6 - 10/11 - Includes Teacher Edition and Student Workbook. Ten lessons in a                                                         more in depth level than earlier grades teach the necessary skills for                                                       effective studying. Also Teacher led.

* Level 4 - Grades 10/11 - College - Includes Student Workbook. Uses the principles of the Victus                                                                Study Skills System. Presents the syllabus and how to use it,                                                                  taking notes in college, and other higher level study habits/skills.

"For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain."  - Dorothy Sayers

Alright, let's make our way back around to the level that we used. I found that Level 3 was the right one for my 13 year old. As an 8th grader, she fits right smack in the middle for the suggested ages/grades. There are two resources available for students on this level, the Student Workbook, and the Student Planner. My girl loves pretty much anything having to do with organization, so she was loving these resources. 

How it works:

This is a short course. There are ten lessons that can be taught in as little as 5 hours, so there are a variety of ways that parents and teachers might go about teaching this material. We went through the lessons in a couple of school weeks, but you can combine 2 lessons at a time and complete it in 5 days.You should find this to be simple to present, as you have the dialogue right in the Teacher Edition to walk you through it. Preparation is not difficult, but it does require that you take the time to read through the lessons prior to teaching, to get acquainted with the material. A few sections suggest light preparation, like simple research of a topic, or preparing questions for students, but really, there is little that needs to be gathered by the parent or teacher.

Victus Study Skills Systems poses three questions:

1.) Where Are You Now?
2.) Where Do You Want To Be?
3.) How Do You Get There?

The concepts taught in this course:

1.) Zeal without knowledge is not good, but zeal with knowledge bears fruit.
2.) Results come from the process.
3.) Any system with all of its components must have aim, or purpose.
4.) A unique and effective system of study has the greatest likelihood of aiding in success.

So very simple, and yet how often has it been the case that I've sent my kids off to "study more", without teaching them how. Ugh. This course is as valuable for me as it is for my girls. 


You are teaching concepts that students will apply to academics and to life.

There are a few self evaluations and quizzes that students will take to get a look at their current study habits. They will have the opportunity to compare where they were 5 years ago, currently, and where they wish to be 5 and 10 years from now. After looking over those, there will be another page to set personal goals, and the steps needed to get there. After completing her assessment, my daughter determined that she wants to raise her Math grade from a low B up to an A. She figured that she needs to go back and spend more time in review and practice to strengthen the areas of weakness. She even chose to work on her Math for a bit on weekends. I was pleased to see her determination and focus even so early on. She is pleased with the structure that this new schedule provides.

After filling in objectives for a monthly schedule plan, they will learn the PQRST process. This stands for:

P - Preview
Q - Question
R - Read
S - State
T - Test

These steps will teach students how to make the most of their study time, as they learn how to efficiently interpret what is being learned. They are then encouraged to come up with their personal shorthand, as they learn to take effective notes. There are good ideas for sorting out the main ideas from  general lectures. Skills are practiced through exercises presented in the Student workbook, for example, the teacher reads an excerpt and students take notes, pulling out the most important concepts.

As the lessons move forward, students will glean tips on strategies for test taking, and how to proceed when presented with various test types, whether essay, fill in the blank, or multiple choice. These are really good, and excellent help, particularly for those who find that nerves take over when being tested.

There is plenty of review that occurs throughout the lessons, so you can make sure that the concept is retained. The Teacher Edition includes a helpful Appendix with organization tips, assessments, mnemonic helps, and flashcards. A larger Student Planner, separate from the Workbook is available for long term planning across the year, and my daughter loves it. It is set up as a weekly calendar with space to write in the dates, pages for notes, and a grade log in the back for record keeping. My daughter likes that it has "Odd But True" facts at the bottom of each page.

Thoughts from my 13 year old:

"The Victus Study Skills System is great for learning how to study harder, and more efficiently. Interesting fact sheets and quizzes make it fun to use, and easy to follow. I like that it has shorter lessons, because it helps me to retain more information in a shorter time period. There are a few challenges for me in the shorthand section. It suggests not worrying about spelling and neatness as I take notes. That's hard, because I prefer to be neat and correct. All in all, I think that this is a great system."

  "A goal without a plan is just a wish." 
My opinion aligns with my daughters'. This is a solid, effective, course that will serve your students well in school, as well as life in general. This is a great tool for schools, whether public or private, or homeschool, co-op's and anywhere else you can come up with. Visit their website for further details.

Find Victus Study Skills System on social media:
Read more reviews from other Crew members, including those that used other levels, by clicking on the banner below!
K through College Study Skills {Victus Study Skills System Reviews}

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Who else is thrilled that we made it to the month of March? What a winter, but the end is in sight! The season isn't quite ready to release its grip on us here though, as we're dealing with temps in the teens. Oh well, we'll get there.

This weekend has us dealing with the everyday, ordinary things of life. Errands, getting our taxes done consumed the day yesterday. Today, we've all been slightly down with a cold, so our time was largely spent laying low on the couch, and watching movies. Cold or not, sometimes it's nice to slow the pace and relax. We'll have another busy week, as usual, so I'm going to grab my spot in the recliner, and enjoy the evening. Have a great Sunday!