A Friend In Me: Book Review

A Friend In Me: How to Be a Safe Haven for Other Women introduces us to the issues that prevent Christian women from building strong inter-generational friendships. It presents a case for why it’s important for us, as women, to get past our differences and join together for the cause of Christ.


About the Book: 

Young women long for relational connection with women further ahead of them on the journey. Yet, without realizing it, many of us tend to distance ourselves from those in younger generations.

Can we really have close relationships with women who have different thoughts on church, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?

In A Friend in Me, Pam Lau shows you how to be a safe place for the younger women in your life. She offers five patterns women need to internalize and practice for initiating relationships and talking about issues such as faith, forgiveness, sexuality, and vocation. Most significantly, she reminds you that there doesn’t need to be a divide between generations of women. Together, we can have a global impact—and experience a deeper faith than we’ve ever known.

About the Author:slideONE3

Pamela Havey Lau is the author of A Friend in Me, Soul Strength and numerous articles for such publications as Christian Scholar’s Review and Christianity Today. A graduate of Liberty University and Colorado State University, she has taught writing at George Fox University and speaks around the country at conferences and retreats.

After her three daughters were born, Lau began teaching writing at private day schools until 2010 when she started her own business, Real Life Real Image, where she writes, edits and speaks. Lau is married to Dr. Brad Lau, a college administrator. The two make their home near Portland, Oregon, with their three daughters. 

Keep up with Pamela Havey Lau at www.pamelalau.com, on Facebook (pamela.h.lau) or by following her on Twitter(@pamelahaveylau).

My Review:

It is obvious that Pamela has a passion for bringing older women and younger women together in relationship. A Friend In Me addresses and tackles many of the issues that stand in the way of strong Christlike relationships within multiple generations. Basically, the older generations feel that they can’t relate with the younger, and vice versa. However, if we can get past this and take the time to LEARN about each other, we can do a lot to further the kingdom. If the older generations can REMEMBER what it was like to be young, they can offer a lot of experience and help to the younger women. This is a great read for anyone who is involved in women’s ministry… it’s a call for us to have a different, Christ-centered, newer mindset for reaching younger women for Christ. It’s a book that teaches us that ministry is about relationship, not our events.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of A Friend In Me: How to Be a Save Haven for Other Women from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review on my blog. This review expresses my own personal opinions.

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IEW Primary Arts of Language: Reading & Writing – A Review

Because Katherine has continued to struggle with learning to read, I was excited when we got the chance to review The Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Special Needs Curriculum: Primary Arts of Language. We received the Reading Complete Package and the Writing Complete Package for this review.

At first glance, the program can seem overwhelming because of all of the pieces included. However, Jill Pike’s introduction videos walk you straight through the why, how, and what of the entire program. After watching and learning from her laid back and very calming explanations, I was no longer worried. She makes the process simple… and fun!

The Primary Arts of Language: Reading Complete Package uses poetry, letter stories, and daily games to give a well-rounded approach to learning concepts.

Primary%20Arts%20of%20Language%20Reading%20Complete_zps2qlzypqt-2The package includes the following:

There is such a flexibility with how this program is put together. The Teacher’s Manual, Phonetic Games book, and Phonetic Farm folder are all printed materials. However, the student workbooks and readers are included on the DVD-ROM, so you can just print them off as you need them. THIS allows you the option to use them with multiple students. It’s the best of both worlds!

The Primary Arts of Language: Writing Complete Package uses printing, copywork, and composition and fits right together with the Reading lessons.


This package includes:

Again, just like in the reading package, consumables are in PDF form on the DVD-ROM, so you can print out materials as you go along.

The Overall Program:

When you put the reading and writing packages together, it becomes a very holistic approach to learning the art of language. One poem is presented each week, with a different activity being implemented every day. This helps kids to really grasp the concepts in the poem, and helps them learn how to retain what they read. The games reinforce everything and make it tons of fun. The letter stories help to make sounds visual, as opposed to just learning the letters themselves. There are so many beautiful pieces to this curriculum and they all fit together like no other program I’ve seen.

What do we think of IEW’s Primary Arts of Language: Reading & Writing?

After trying MULTIPLE Language Arts/Phonics programs with Katherine, she has continued to struggle with learning to read. All of the programs we’ve tried have been good, and have had a lot of good components within them, but nothing has seemed to click with her. We tried a program similar to this one with many different pieces to it (readers, worksheets, writing, games, etc.), but it all seemed too disjunct and complicated… so I pretty much gave up on that one. PAL, however, flows together flawlessly. We also tried a program that was more simplified, but it was too boring for my artsy, visual girl. After searching (and I feel wasting time) this entire school year, I believe that IEW’s Primary Arts of Language will be the tool that finally develops her confidence. I am personally confident that she will be reading by the end of the summer. I HIGHLY recommend this program!

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/iewriting
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/iewtv
Twitter: https://twitter.com/iew
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/iewtv
Blog: http://iew.com/help-support/blog
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+Iewriting/


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Apologia Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal: A Review


Apologia Educational Ministries produces so many incredible products for homeschooling families, including science textbooks for all different levels, planners, journals, and so much more! When I was given the opportunity to review their Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal, I jumped at the chance! After all, our kiddos love to go on field trips. 😉


Apologia’s Field Trip Journal is divided into several sections:

  • Preparing for a Field Trip;
  • Student and Teacher checklists for the week before, the night before, on the way, and at the “field”;
  • Over 100 Field Trip Ideas;
  • Over 100 suggestions for studying plants, animals, Earth, space, aviation, the human body, history, government, culture, and more;
  • Places I’ve Explored Maps;
  • Three separate sections help you document the date and destination of any field trips exploring your state, the United States, and the world;
  • Field Trip Pages;
  • Specific field trip pages help you plan out your visit, document any books you’ve read about your field trip, create a “must do” list, take personal notes, tell the “Story of my day,” and record “Something I never want to forget”;
  • Special Spot Pages;
  • As I See It Pages.

This beautiful, spiral-bound journal is designed to help your student slow down and notice the fascinating changes that occur from one season to the next.  Four times a year, your student will map out a specific location to see what happens over time, recording things such as color, flowers, leaves, sights, sounds, animal clues such as track or droppings, temperature, average rainfall, and much more. It was created to help your child document thoughts using imagination to capture an experience as only he or she can see it.

Here are a few screenshots of sample pages:

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.04.45 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.04.31 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.04.17 AM







I really wish I would have known about this journal at the beginning of the school year. We would have used it at SciWorks & several other places. We talked through our trip at the Children’s Museum with it, but we could have used it so much more extensively if we had it earlier. If you and your children love field trips, or if it’s hard to get them talking about what they learned on field trips, this is a great tool to help conversation.

We were able to have a conversation about dinosaurs during (and after) our trip to the Dinosaur Exhibition at Broadway at the Beach today, so I’m thankful that the ideas presented in this Field Journal are now just a part of how the kids and I learn.

If you are looking for a notebook/journal to help your kids (and you) to learn more during field trips, I highly recommend that you take a look at Apologia’s Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal. It will help you discuss things in more detail, and will serve as a learning tool that you can keep and look back to for years to come!

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld/timeline
Twitter: https://twitter.com/apologiaworld
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/apologia/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125

Affiliate Program: http://www.apologiaaffiliate.com/

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JazzEdge: PianoWithWillie – A Review

I was SO excited to get an opportunity to personally review JazzEdge‘s piano curriculum, which is called PianoWithWillie. As a musician, and someone who has wanted to learn the piano and more in-depth music theory, this program has given me the opportunity for me to do just that. For this review, I was given a Studio Membership for one year, which includes 3500+ lessons, a 30-day start program, sheet music, audio downloads, unlimited support, and more.

JazzEdge was founded by Willie Myette, a Berklee graduate, who wanted to put all of his jazz education and performance ventures in one place. He has lessons available in jazz, funk, latin, rock, gospel and blues for everyone, including homeschool families. The different programs offered by Willie are: PianoWithWillie, DrumsWithWillie, Homeschool Piano, and Easy Piano Basics.img-home-play-slide1_zpsvfgbjtyp

Willie’s teaching theory includes complete integration between Rhythm, Technique, Reading, Song, Style, and Concept. His idea is to make learning fun.. not just learning the foundations, but to make it fun in the process. By the 4th lesson in his 30-day start program, you are playing a fun little song. This will keep students entertained as they learn. By the 8th lesson, students are already learning about improvisation.

This program is extremely comprehensive. The 30-day start program is great for either a refresher course or a cram course for a newer player. After that, there are a TON of lessons that will teach you how to play a variety of songs in many different genres. Willie’s demeanor is great, very relaxed, and makes you see learning the piano as what it should be… fun.img-home-play-slide2_zpsolv6lwdl

It works on all different types of devices… computer, iPhone, iPad, etc. You basically watch the lesson video of the day and work on the musical piece you’ve been given. All of the sheet music and mp3s are downloadable for you, along with instructions, so you don’t have to worry about something not being explained. The interface shows Willie’s instruction at the bottom of the screen, along with a shot of him playing the keyboard with another virtual keyboard above, showing the notes he’s playing. It’s really, really cool.


I actually am going through the curriculum myself, as my kids have never had any real music training so they’re not to the point that this program would work for them. I would recommend that anyone who uses this curriculum is already a musician and has a basic understanding of the piano and reading music. If you are a true beginner, Willie’s Homeschool Piano may be a better fit for you. There is also a program for young beginners called Easy Piano Basics that you may want to check into.

I highly recommend that you check out all of Willie’s programs for your homeschool music lessons. Your kids will get a good foundation of music theory and practice no matter which program you choose. It’s an incredibly rich and comprehensive curriculum that shows he has put a ton of time, effort, and love of music into it.

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PianoWithWillie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PianoWithWillie
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jazzedge
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JazzEDge
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/jazzedge

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Never Say No: Book Review

Never Say No: Raising Big-Picture Kids is a parenting book like none I’ve read before. It is an invitation to grace-filled parenting that helps our kids explore who they are created to be individually. Mark and Jan very intentionally raised their kids to fulfill their greater purposes in this life.


About the Book: 

The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?

Never Say No takes you on a personal journey to learn first-hand how they raised Jon and Tim of Switchfoot. They share practical advice for instilling wonder in a media-saturated culture, cultivating specific gifts, and balancing structure with individual choice. Our purpose as parents is the same as our child’s: to live creatively beyond ourselves, bringing the love, beauty and nature of God to this world. Let the adventure begin.

Mark & Jan Foreman live in the San Diego area, where Mark is lead pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, California. Mark is the author of Wholly Jesus, and holds advanced degrees in Theology, Education, and a Ph.D. in Counseling & Pastoral Care.

Jan is a gifted teacher and artist, and also facilitates partnerships with underprivileged women and children both locally and in developing countries.

Together, they love surfing, sailing, travel and especially being with their family.

My Review:

This book opened my eyes to a different way of looking at parenthood. Well, maybe not really different, but it opened my eyes to things I’m doing which are contrary to what I believe I SHOULD be doing. Never Say No is basically an invitation to lead your children to become the best they can be… to truly become who God is calling them to be. In essence, we need to spend more time saying “yes” to them than we spend saying “no.” It’s not saying that we don’t need to discipline and correct… it’s saying that we need to spend more time WITH our children. Understanding them. Guiding them. Letting them be free to find themselves. We need to help our kids understand that there is a greater purpose behind every choice they make, which develops character and strength. It is not a rules-oriented way of parenting. Instead it is a way to help them learn to make choices with integrity, and it is also a beautiful way for the family to be a closer unit. This is a must-read, in my opinion, for every parent or every future parent!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review on my blog. This review expresses my own personal opinions.

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FishFlix.com: Privileged Species – A Review

logo_zpswsrc2mmkFishFlix.com offers a huge variety of Christian movies from every genre and for every age group. The company that eventually became FishFlix.com started more than 10 years ago when Dr. Enis Sakirgil, a Turkish Christian, started producing Christian films. When he immigrated to the United States, Dr. Sakirgil started online sales of his movies: Apostle Paul and the Earliest Churches film. This developed into selling other Christian films online, which became FishFlix.com. This Christian-led company is now based in Mora, Minnesota and exists to glorify God in all that they do. They still have ties with Turkey through a partnership with a radio ministry there.

privileged species_zps2bekzkpdI received a DVD of Privileged Species: How the Cosmos Is Designed for Human Life to review. Throughout the film, featuring geneticist and author Michael Denton, we learn about various elements and how they all come together perfectly to support human life.

The film opens with Bill Nye, the Science Guy basically rambling about how he is a “speck” in the universe… a speck on a speck on another speck, etc. It really hit me just how depressing life would be if it really was just us. If there really was no God. It made me sad for the Science Guy, who was making light of the fact that his perspective offers no hope.

After the opening clip, Michael Denton explores carbon compounds, water, oxygen, and just the overall way the universe is aligned in order to create a perfect living environment for humans on earth. He presents the evidence in a way that is simple to understand and incredibly eye-opening. There are so many puzzle pieces that came together to support human life.

As a need-to-see-it kind of person, I love to learn about scientific evidence for creation. This movie points directly to an intelligent design to the universe. The proof presented in Privileged Species strengthened my faith quite a bit. Most of us, whether we admit it or not, have wondered about the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere. It just seems like with all that space, it would be a waste for there not to be life on other planets… in other galaxies. But I’ve never really thought about it the way I do after watching this film. No matter how much space there is in the universe, it literally was all put there to create perfect balance for us. God put all of the elements together… for us. Even the supernovae carry the exact energy needed to help keep everything in balance. This was such a revelation for me.

I highly recommend this short 33-minute film for everyone to watch, especially for those in your life who may not believe in creationism or intelligent design of our universe.

FishFlix.com is a great Christian-led company that offers Christian and family-friendly movies in all categories, including: Children’s Christian movies, Apologetics, Educational, Christian History, Biblical movies, Dramas, Romance, Action, Biographies, Comedies, Sports films, Christmas movies, and many other types of films. They offer free shipping for all orders over $35.

Social Media: 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fishflix
Twitter: https://twitter.com/christiandvd
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fishflix/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Fishflix/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/familychristianmovie

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A Love Like Ours: Book Review

ALLOcoverA Love Like Ours is the third book in the Porter family series by Becky Wade. However, even if you have not read the first two, you will have no problem jumping into the storyline of this one. It is a stand-alone story!

About the Book: Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

Authors34About Becky Wade: Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Carol Award and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, Meant to Be Mine, and A Love Like Ours.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.beckywade.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorbeckywade
Twitter: http://twitter.com/beckywadewriter
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5298259.Becky_Wade
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/beckywadewriter/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/beckywadewriter

My Review:

I absolutely adored this book! Jake’s story of healing and redemption brings so much hope to those who are living with deep pain. God uses Lyndie, the only one who could get through to him, to bring Jake truly back to life. It is a beautiful story of friendship, unconditional love, purity, and grace. When I got about halfway through the book, I had trouble putting it down. 🙂 After reading this one, I plan to go back and read the first two Porter family books. Highly recommended!

To celebrate the release of her new book, Becky is giving away a $100 cash card and a book-inspired prize pack!

lovelikeours-400One grand prize winner will receive:
A $100 cash card
A copy of A Love Like Ours
A copy of the Secretariat DVD
A scarf
A dog-tag/cross keychain
A pair of earrings
A Texas-shaped cutting board
A Jake Porter mug
love like ours - prize pack
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 26th. Winner will be announced May 27th on Becky’s site.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Halo Found Hope from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review on my blog. This review expresses my own personal opinions.

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Successful Homeschooling Made Easy – A Review

75600856-432e-4555-b3b4-8f4b2a3a0741_zpsb9t1zefmThis is the course I wish I would have found when I FIRST decided to homeschool. The Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course is a 26-week online course for new homeschoolers, and is full of all of the wonderful information that I pieced together last summer. As a new homeschooler this year, there were so many areas where I didn’t know exactly what to do and felt inadequate. Stephanie Walmsley walks through everything you need to get off to a great start in your homeschooling journey. The information taught is better and more comprehensive material than anything I read through before our year started.

I also love the format. Stephanie emails you the lessons one week at a time, which means you can’t skip ahead. Each week, you have instructions and assignments, and you have time to actually do everything and see how it works with your family before moving on to the next lesson.

Here are some of the areas covered throughout the course:

• Step by step instructions on how to work out your vision and plan your goals.• Step by step instructions on how to make a schedule and develop it as you go along.• How to handle obstacles and keep going when things get tough.

• How to write a lesson plan.

• How to teach subjects like music appreciation and arts and crafts.

• How to fireproof your homeschool and never ever suffer from burnout.

• How to plan curriculum.

• How to get your housework done while homeschooling.

• How to keep your household organized and tidy while homeschooling.

• How to keep records.

• Hear from experienced homeschoolers about what makes them successful.

• How to avoid common pitfalls of homeschooling.

• How to be more efficient in homeschooling.

• How to bring your child out of school and deal with the special challenges that entails.

• What to do instead of school reports.

• How to really ENJOY homeschooling.

So far, I’ve gotten through 9 weeks of the program and have learned so much about myself and about how to set myself up for success in homeschooling. I’ve learned how to piece together courses slowly, how to find our family’s vision for homeschooling, how to balance housework and get the kids involved, how to figure out the right amount of outside activities for our family, and so many other things that I really never thought through.

During the course, Stephanie walks step-by-step through making sure you take care of yourself so that you can be fresh and prepared for homeschooling days. It is also designed to use WHILE you are doing school. You start with only a couple of subjects and add in something new each week, while you’re learning. It’s a very easy-to-follow format and not overwhelming in the least.

If you’re thinking about homeschooling or getting ready to start your first year, I highly recommend that you check into Successful Homeschooling Made Easy. It will be a great investment and you’ll find it easier to get started off on the right foot. Stephanie is so sure you will love it that she offers a 30-day money back guarantee. You can download a free preview here: Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Preview.

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