Friday, March 30, 2018

Settle

It's been a while since I've had the privilege of joining the Five Minute Friday free-write. I've missed the community! 
In my defense, I was busy reading Kate's new book, and working. You can read my review of A Place to Land, but mostly, I want to encourage you to get your own copy and let God speak to you through Kate's words. 
If you're new to the Five Minute Friday idea, here's how it works: Kate gives us a word prompt late Thursday night and we all write for five unedited minutes. Then we share and encourage one another. It is great fun! You should join us!

This week's word is: settle

settle, belonging, five minute friday

Far too often we think of the word settle as a negative word. Settle for less, or settle a new colony. These themes make us think that someone has done something wrong or controversial. It is time we take back our thinking and realize that God does mighty things in our lives. 

Settle can be a wonderful word. You can settle into a comfy couch or settle into a relationship with a new friend. It denotes a feeling of belonging, or comfort or joy. We all could use a little more joy in our lives! 

Right now I am settled on the couch in a patch of sunshine. I suppose I could be out picking up trash in the yard, but instead, for this one afternoon, I am going to settle into the knowledge that God is enough. I have no need of striving to earn grace, I have been given grace abundantly. I am not going to try to earn favor from other people by trying to meet their needs instead of listening to where God wants my focus to be.

Today, I choose to settle into the contentment that comes form knowing I am a child of the One True King. Knowing that Sunday is the celebration of Jesus' resurrection fills me with hope and joy. 
That's the kind of settling I'm doing.

How about you?


A Place to Land ~ book review


A Place to Land, Kate Motaung, home, belonging


In her new memoir, A Place to Land, Kate Motaung tackles the tough topic of what our home really is, and why we long for one. After growing up in North America, then spending 10 years in Africa, Kate continued to wrestle with the great desire to be able to call one place home even while her heart and mind were divided. Does a desire to land in one place preclude us from loving the other? Is our definition of home skewed? Come along on a heart-rending story of life, love, loss and healing as Kate shares her journey to find home.

Throughout the story of Kate's life she struggled to find a home that felt safe and secure. Life has a way of hitting us with disappointments that can sometimes overwhelm. As I read Kate's story of growing up, I identified with several of the emotional struggles she encountered because I had either lived through them, or had friends that did during my own adolescence. If home is supposed to evoke feelings of safety and love, why do we so often hear the term "they come from a broken home"? How do we work through the struggles of our past to become adults who trust in a Heavenly Father to provide for us an Eternal Home? Should we be looking to create a home here on earth, or are we supposed to feel displaced or adrift during this life? These struggles and more faced Kate not only in her teen years, but as a young adult as she was obedient to leave her childhood home and follow God's call on her life to missionary work in Africa.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kate's memoir. I laughed, and cried. When she shared her joy at being in love I cheered her on. As she shared about her mom's battle with cancer I wept alongside her. This is a book that points us to think about our lives and our circumstances in light of eternity. Each struggle that we face and each battle that is won or lost is a step towards our eternal home. 

Why is this memoir a must-read? Because in it Kate reminds us that this world is our temporary home. We make the best of the challenges we face, and we trust the end results to God and His unfailing love. I particularly identified with Kate's anguish over her mom's cancer battle. Last year one of my dear friends battled cancer. God granted her the victory of an eternity with Him instead of a longer earthly life. The grieving process is real, and often painful, for those of us left behind. It is though the love shown by others who remain that God reaches out and begins the healing of our broken hearts. 

As Christians we will never truly be home until we arrive in Heaven, but the joy of friendship and the love of family can make this life an wonderfully fulfilling place to land along the journey!

Connect with Kate:
Blog
Twitter
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A Place to Land, Heading Home, Kate Motaung

Purchase a Place to Land from Discovery House or on Amazon


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from Discovery House in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to writ e positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.



Matthew 5:9



Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Matthew 5:9, Holy Week




Thursday, March 29, 2018

Prepare your heart for Easter


Are you feeling overwhelmed today by the pace of life? Do you wish you had time to slow down and meditate on the things of God right now before Easter arrives?  If you said yes to either of those questions, don't beat yourself up, choose to do something about it! 

On the liturgical calendar today is Maundy Thursday. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it is the day/ evening that many churches set aside to remember the Last Supper when Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples before His trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. 

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Why? Because without Jesus' death on the cross in our place, there would be no forgiveness of our sins. I do not know about you, but I sure need that atoning sacrifice to cover up all the times when I have failed. Good because Jesus paid my penalty. If you are a Christian, then He paid your penalty on that day too. If you are not a Christian, I encourage you to attend church this weekend and hear more about the grace and forgiveness that Jesus offers to each one of us.




If you are looking for a resource to help you explain Easter to your children, your friends, or even just to have a better understanding of what Jesus did for you, I have two suggestions. The first is that you watch the Bible History course from Drive Thru History Adventures. You may remember we talked about the new Adventures TV option in our review back in February. 


The Bible History course is the expanded version of The Gospels that we reviewed in April of last year. I've been watching several of the episodes again this week as I focus on Easter and what Jesus did for me. If you are one of those people feeling crunched for time, might I suggest you sign up for the one-month subscription option and begin your watching at Episode 14: The Last Supper. Watching episodes 14-18 will take you less than 3 hours, and they will really get your heart prepared for the amazing joy of Easter morning! 



The one-month option will cost you $12.99. It is totally worth it to have access to these amazing videos for this weekend. If you are a binge-watching family, or the weather where you are is going to be rainy all weekend, you could start with episode 1, just remember that at 30 minutes each, the 18 episodes are going to take you 9 hours to get through. If they move your hearts as much as they did ours, you can spend the rest of your month going through the curriculum for the Bible History course. Of course, you can always purchase the annual subscription, but I'm reminding you today that it is ok to choose what resource serves you best right now.



If you're looking for some videos or activities geared for younger children, you might want to take a look at the Easter Resources page on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. The page links you to several Easter videos for Children, Easter videos for Parents, and all sorts of lessons related to Easter in art, music, literature, and Bible. For only $5 you can check out SchoolhouseTeachers.com for one month.

I hope that with these two resource options, and some time spent reading God's Word and praying, you will feel much less rushed and much more thankful by Easter morning. Have a wonderful, Christ-filled weekend!

Happy Easter!



Matthew 5:8



Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Matthew 5:8, Holy Week




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Scarcity or Abundance?



scarcity versus abundance, choosing your mindset, trusting God



Do you operate from a mindset of scarcity or abundance?


Which mindset you operate from tells a lot about your overall view of the world, of God, and of your ability to trust others. I've been thinking about this scarcity versus abundance attitude for a couple of days and yesterday I was really struck again by how much of our view of the world is dependent upon our view of God and His provision.


Let me give you an example...


Right now I have $15 in my wallet. 

If that was you, would you be worrying about having enough (a scarcity mindset) or would you be thankful for the $15 (abundance mindset)? 

Regardless of what else I told you about my day, or my week to come, can I choose to trust God that $15 is more than enough to meet all my needs? Can you?



There are so many places all over the world where people would be dancing with joy to have the equivalent of $15 in their hands. Places where scarcity of food or resources is a reality, but people do not spend their time in worry because they trust that God will supply their needs. Here in America way too often we are filled with dread at how little money we have because we are relying upon ourselves to provide for all of our needs. 

How do we learn to let go of the scarcity mindset? Only through prayer and learning to trust that God will indeed provide what we need. It can be hard to learn to walk by faith, but I'll let you in on a secret I've learned: it is much easier to keep walking by faith with very little in your hands than to waver back and forth between walking by faith and walking by sight dependent on what's in your wallet!

On this week leading up to Easter, look at all the blessings God has already showered upon us. He gave us His Son to save us from our sin! Surely a God with that much love will continue to supply our earthly needs as well. 

Take a look around you, you are blessed beyond measure. The little that you do have (in money, food, or faith) can be used by God to meet your needs and the needs of others as well. Choose to live from an abundance mindset - one that trusts God to supply - whatever the need.

Hunger and thirst for righteousness, not the things of this world. 
God stands waiting to fill your open arms with His love!


Matthew 5:6



Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Matthew 5:6, Holy Week




Monday, March 26, 2018

Books With Bean ~ The Hobbit



Books With Bean, The Hobbit, book reviews by teens


Title: The Hobbit or There and Back Again 

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Published: 21 September, 1937

Genre: High Fantasy, Children’s, Adventure

Summary: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Bilbo lives a peaceful life in Hobbiton, at least it is peaceful until the wandering Wizard Gandalf shows up. On that day Bilbo finds his life turned upside-down and he is now at the beginning of what will become the greatest adventure of his life. But adventures are not usually had on one's own. Add in 13 wandering dwarves on a quest to fight a dragon and take back their homeland and you have the perfect recipe for adventure and fun with lots of action along the way. So out Bilbo goes with the dwarves away from his happy little home. Across the wilderness, through a pleasant stop at the Last Homely House east of the sea, into some very nasty goblin infested mountains, and through the dark forest of Mirkwood. Yes, Bilbo finds life a lot more interesting then it was back home, he find friends in unexpected places and learns that not all that looks good is good. But there is one thing for certain if he makes it back he won’t be the same Hobbit he was before!

What I liked about it: What didn’t I like about it? I can remember watching the Lord of the Rings movies when I was really little, always hiding when the Orcs came and loving the Elves. I remember knowing they were based off of books and waiting for the day mom said I was finally old enough to be aloud to read them. I don’t remember if I actually read the Hobbit before the Lord of the Rings but now I have read them all dozens of times. I love Bilbo he is so much like us, theoretically if you were asked if you wanted to go on a grand daring adventure you would probably say yes that sounds like fun but if it was sprung on you out of the blue would you really be so keen to go? I know I probably wouldn’t, this fact makes Bilbo very relatable. He gets the chance of a lifetime but is uncertain if he wants to leave home, but in the end he does and has the time of his life. It makes me wonder as I read it now that I’m a bit older what opportunities I might be offered and of the ones I turned down. What might happen if I just said yes and let the road take me along? Friendships are made when you meet new people and try new things. Experiencing new things is important and helps you to learn and grow. There and Back Again is a long way and the only thing known is when we do get back we (like Bilbo) will never be the same again.

Language: None

Romance: None

Violence: There are battles and fighting but it is not graphic.

Magic: Hobbits have no magic except the everyday sort that helps them hide when people like us come by. Dwarves of course were made from the earth and have magic in their hands and minds allowing them to craft amazing armor, jewelry, cities and more, Elves of course are beings of magic. Gandalf is of course a Wizard who’s specialty is fire. Magic is everywhere in Middle Earth it is neither nor good or evil, it is there and used in different ways by the different peoples. Elves use it for good and so do the five wizards. Dragons and Sauron use it for evil but that is for another book. 

Recommended Age: The Hobbit was written as a children's book, but it was written as a children’s book for children of a different time. This is not to say don’t let you child read it, but for the first time through if the child is young I would recommend reading it out loud or at least reading it together. Tolkien was a scholar and a professor in mid 1900s England and his work was on the Anglo-Saxons and as such his stories are not written like fantasy today but written as if they were from that long ago age. Because if this it may be hard for some younger children to understand the way his books are written, make sure to tell them if they say this that it is not because they are stupid or silly, many adults have a hard time following along with the writing style of the book and most of Tolkien’s later works like the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. 
So for a recommended age I would say 9 or 10 if you read it with them or 12 or 13 if they want to read it themselves.





Matthew 5:5



Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Matthew 5:5, Holy Week




Saturday, March 24, 2018

Matthew 5:3



Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Matthew 5:3, Holy Week

For this last week leading up to Easter, I wanted to focus on Jesus' instructions on how we are to live as Christians. He told His disciples that the world would know us by our love one for another. (John 13:35)

In a world that struggles to understand loving one another or showing love and respect to others, we as Christians should be easy to find because of our love for other people. Unfortunately, too often, we blend into the crowd. So for this week, let's meditate on how Christ's love can be shown through our lives and how we treat others. Along the way, let's look at the beatitudes from Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5. These are not just random words, but guidance to live by. They remind us that this is not our home, but that we should be looking ahead with joy to our eternal home in heaven. 

Jesus taught His disciples that perfect love casts out fear. John told us about this lesson he learned from Jesus in 1 John 4:18. Though we are not yet made perfect, may our love for Christ and others be the bridge that casts out fear, so that others would be drawn to Christ and the peace only He can offer. 

Each day for the next 8 days, I challenge you to memorize a verse from Matthew with me and ask God to show you how to live it our for His glory! 

So for today, let's work on Matthew 5:3 together.



Friday, March 23, 2018

The difference between a mistake and a regret


mistake versus regret, regret free homeschooling, parenting tips, God's grace



Dear discouraged Mama,

There is a huge difference between a mistake and a regret. 


Today I'm going to share just a few of the mistakes we made while homeschooling, and how we learned from them. What I really want you to know that this idea of mistake versus regret not limited to education, as it applies to all of parenting. When we learn to differentiate between a mistake and a regret we can learn from our experiences, and become better parents, instead of dwelling on our mistakes, and becoming bitter. 

To begin, let me share a little with you in case you are a new-to-us reader. My name is Carol and my husband Kurt and I have been educating our daughters at home for 15 years. From Kindergarten all the way through high school graduation. Our oldest is finishing her first year of college, and our younger daughter is about half-way through her senior year of high school. Home education has become a way of life for our family. Yet, soon, that will all change, as Arlene reaches her graduation day later this year. I say this to let you know we have been in it for the long haul. Some families homeschool for a year or two, for a few years, or for the elementary grades. Whatever your situation, you might be tempted to have regrets about something you chose along the way. Do not give in to the feelings of regret, but rather, choose to learn from your mistakes. Allow God to heal the brokenness you have experienced, however big or small it might have been. He IS the great physician!


I'll share some of our story

When Emily was not even a year old, we were on vacation and walked into a little bookstore in the middle of amish-country Pennsylvania. After looking around for a while, the man running the store that day asked if we wanted to see the other half of the bookstore. Curious, we asked some questions and he showed us the back room where they sold homeschool curriculum. His comment was something to the effect of "you seem quite discerning in the books you were looking at around the store, and I see you've got a little one's future to think about, maybe you should consider homeschooling."

Along this journey there have been plenty of up days, and a lot of down days too. We have made mistakes, but thankfully, God's grace has carried us through them all, and taught us how to be better parents, and better learners. 


What were some of the mistakes we made?

In no particular order...

Well... there was that one year when we decided to try a more structured program for the year. We jumped into a rather rigid schedule with a group we were learning with. I won't tell you all about it, but let's just say that we learned that year that we were not enamored with the classical style of education or the structured style of schedule that being in a group setting required. It could have easily turned into a year filled with regrets. I could have needlessly beat myself up because of choosing this path for the year that was so vastly different from the gentle style of Charlotte Mason education we had used with the girls for so many years. Fortunately for all of us, God intervened and showed us all much grace.  Before the school year had even ended we had ALL decided that we wanted to go back to the short lessons and living books we had always enjoyed. We wanted the freedom of our own schedule to work around, and we wanted more time spent outside each week.

Another year I made the mistake of letting the girls have too much freedom in how they talked and how well they responded to me and the things they were instructed to do. Have you ever had a year when you feel like it is just too hard to keep going? A year when everyone is snarky and rude, where no one gets along, and the children are disrespectful? Yeah, we had one of those years, two of them actually. I might mention right now that each of those years coincided with a daughter hitting puberty. Yeah, those were rough years. Been there, done that, I feel your struggle - it is real! I yelled a lot more than any one person should. We fought a mental war against apathy and disrespect. It was hard. If I had let regret stay, it would have taken us down an even darker path. But God showed me that my mistakes in parenting, my times of being lazy or unkind did not have to define the relationships I had with our daughters. By choosing to own my mistakes and ask both God and our daughters for forgiveness, I was able to learn how to be firm without being callous, how to be loving without being a pushover. As the girls got older, those were valuable lessons to remind myself of. Moments of grace to look back at and remember that God has been strong enough and wise enough to help us through those years, and He will be strong and wise enough to help us through anything.

One of the biggest mistakes I have made over and over again along this journey is falling into the dangerous comparison trap. Have you fallen in that pit before? I think we all struggle with this one mistake. We look at what other families are doing and wonder if it would be better for us than what we are doing now, we wonder if our children are learning enough with us as their teachers, and we wonder if the nay-sayers are right in that we cannot offer them an education comparable to the one offered in the local schools. Let me tell you that I have seen so many families make this comparison mistake and then turn it into regret. They listen to the world around them about how their children should be raised or how many activities they should be involved in or which books to use for homeschooling. Too often then I have seen the families stop homeschooling, send their children off to public school for the wrong reasons, and suffer the loss of the closeness the family had when the children were younger.

Is there ever a time when you should stop homeschooling and consider sending your child to a public of private school? 

Yes- but only when God tells you to do it! 

There are some families where God has not called them to home educate for the long haul. But these are fewer than you think, so don't jump up and down and think you're now off the hook and can sit and eat bonbons all day while your child boards the big yellow bus. If God is calling you to change your child's education, you'd better ask Him for some real specific details. And you had better be in prayer, both about your decision, and with your child about their future. Having our girls at home for high school has been one of the best experiences we have ever chosen! It is not easy, but none of parenting is easy. It has not really been any more difficult than all those other years of educating at home have been, it just presents new challenges. I will tell you that we have not offered an education that compares to the local schools, we have offered our girls so much more than they could have gotten at a school building! Tailor-made education allows for daily hands-on learning, for relaxed learning, for following your passions while still covering the basics needed for graduation. Our girls have not just been educated so they can receive a diploma, they have learned how to live real life!

The biggest mistake I have made (many times over the years) was in not trusting God to do the work. Too often I have doubted His goodness and His provision for our family. Thankfully, He has given us much grace, and this mistake of not trusting has been turned into a blessing of learning to trust, and being able to let go of the worldly visions of what educations should look like.

Do you know what I have enjoyed the most about homeschooling? That our journey does not need to look like anyone else's! I have found freedom in knowing that for every family and whatever their reason for choosing home education, God has a plan to work His will in their lives. 

Some of my friends love having textbooks for very subject, having tests or quizzes every week, or worksheets for each child, or even for their children to take dual-credit classes during high school. Guess what? None of those appealed to us, and we did not need them, because they were not a part of God's plan for our family. Knowing that His grace is sufficient  to supply all of our needs has been the best lesson I have learned dover these fifteen years!

Fifteen years is a really long time. I am thankful to say that I have no regrets about our homeschooling journey. I have ad mistakes, just as we all do, but by allowing God to use them to teach me along the way, we have grown closer.

Mistakes? Yes.
Regrets? No.

May you be encouraged to rely upon God's grace and not your own strength for this journey!



Want more encouragement for the journey? Check out the other posts in this round up by clicking the graphic below!




Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to Be a Friend Through the Chaos ~ Guest post by Kimberly Dewberry

Today we welcome Kimberly Dewberry who graciously wrote this guest post. 
I asked Kimberly if she would share from her heart about how to be a true friend in challenging times. 
Be encouraged! 
Carol :)


Christian Friendship, challenging times, Encouragement


I have a friend in my life I can turn to no matter what I am struggling with. She is there for me to spout my anger to, cry on her shoulder, and share laughter. It is so important to have that one person in your life that you know in the core of your being would—drive through pouring down rain, over thirty miles, at midnight—just to be there for you because you are hurting.
So how do you know if you are being that friend in the midst of your friend’s chaotic moments of life? We all have them. Those times when your nerve endings are on fire and you are about to pull your hair out. Those times when your husband has betrayed you or your children are going down a path of destruction and there is nothing you can do.
God addresses this topic in several places of the Bible. Here are a few that help guide us in being that friend that will help through the chaos.

Encouragement

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:11 CSB. In this passage, Paul is addressing the church of Thessalonica. Paul wrote this letter out of his concern for the new believers and the paths some of them were going down. Paul was emphasizing the importance of encouragement of each other. Some of the Thessalonians were being attacked spiritually by Satan and as a result, their friendships with one another were strained. I believe God is telling us if our friends come to us with a great need, we are to encourage them and build them up with Scripture. Point them back to what the Word says regarding whatever they are facing in the middle of their storm. Let your friend know she is being prayed for. I don’t know about you, but when I know I have people praying for me, I feel loved.

Christian Friendship, challenging times, Encouragement

Kindness

“Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.” - Proverbs 27:9 CSB. Sometimes all we really need is kindness from a friend. There is a time and place for truth in love, but depending on the wound your friend may already have, maybe just mere kind words is all she needs in that moment. Then again, maybe its just a listening ear. Hearing and listening are often confused. Effective listening starts with undivided attention, has no words in between, and often ends with a good cry. This can be the deepest form of kindness to a friend in need.


Companionship

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 CSB. I have many friends, but only one in my life right now I would call a companion. I don’t see her every day, but I don’t have to. I know she is only a phone call away and she knows the same thing. This is the companionship the author of Ecclesiastes is speaking of. When one falls, the other lifts her up. I view this as both literal and figurative lifting up. As I mentioned before, lifting up prayer for your friend in need can be the most powerful and impactful thing that can be done. The power of prayer is undeniable. God moves mountains at the mere sound of His voice. He pulled David from the den of lions by divine protection. He is powerful and when we pray, those prayers are heard.

Just like marriage, friendship also comes with its challenges. We are busy people and we cannot be everything to everyone, BUT it is important to have that one friend and BE that one friend. The one who can encourage, show kindness, and be a companion for life.

As Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” - Matthew 18:20


transforming normal blog, Christian Friendship, challenging times, Encouragement

Kimberly Dewberry struggled for 25 years to cope with the pain, hurt, guilt, regret, unworthiness, and shame caused by her addicted father. As her life devolved into a predictable pattern of poor choices caused by the dysfunctional thinking of an alcoholic household, Kimberly’s image of God was skewed with an inner turmoil that only he could heal. Through the loving grace of Jesus Christ, she has broken free from the shackles of rebellion and anger and has made it her life’s mission to openly share her journey through courageous prose. Her heart’s desire is to help other adult children of alcoholics identify and overcome unhealthy cycles of destructive living that the spectre of alcoholism leaves behind. Kimberly often speaks at recovery meetings about how the serenity and peace of God’s redemption are keys to personal wholeness. She also shares biblical insights to everyday problems through her blog, Transforming Normal. Kimberly has two grown children. She and her husband Patrick live in the Dallas area with their two furry friends. Kimberly enjoys writing, reading, Bible art journaling, participating in Bible studies, and dating her husband.

Connect with Kimberly





Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Reading and Writing March discounted bundle from The Old Schoolhouse


Reading and writing, two things our children are prone to struggle with for a while. 

Sometimes a long while. 

I remember when Arlene was first learning how to read, she could sound out the words, but reading did not come easily to her like it did for her big sister. 

Arlene loved when other people read to her, but she was struggling with reading by herself. I distinctly remember one day when we were at the library and she told her favorite librarian, Miss Toni, "I can't read." 

Of course Miss Toni, being the great librarian she was, encouraged Arlene like we had at home that she could read, it just took her a little longer than it took some other people. She reminded Arlene about the book she had read the week before. It was a simple book, but it showed Arlene that she was making progress.

Do you have a child like that? One who struggles a bit that you wish you could find just the right encouragement for? If you answered yes, you should check out the March bundle special from The Old Schoolhouse. It is titled: Building Readers and Writers from Preschoolers to Teens. It is a combination of 13 eBooks about reading, writing, encouraging readers, and more, plus four print issues of The Old Schoolhouse magazine. Though March 31st, 2018 it is on sale for $29. You can find all the details by clicking the picture below.




For those of you who know that Arlene now loves to read, thus her Books With Bean weekly column on the blog, you may wonder how she got through her struggles. 

Garfield. 

Yes, Garfield, the lively and lovable lasagna-eating cat drawn by Jim Davis. Our library has the collection books where you can read an entire series of the comics strips. Emily and Arlene found them on the shelf and checked them out to take home. They would sprawl on the floor of their room and Emily would read them to Arlene. Eventually Emily got tired of reading to Arlene, but the books weren't finished. Arlene could look at the pictures, but struggled to read well enough to understand the punchline in the last frame of the comic. Her desire to know why the Garfield comics were funny inspired her to work harder at sounding out words she did not know. Soon she was reading Garfield by herself.  

Every child has a motivation factor that will help them work through the learning struggle. As parents, it falls upon us to help them find that key.

Hoping you find the key to unlock your child's desire to work through and succeed!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Books With Bean ~ The Mysterious Benedict Society



Books with bean, book reviews by teens, The Mysterious Benedict Society



Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society 

Author: Trenton Lee Stewart 

Published: March 7, 2007

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure, Science Fiction

Summary: When orphan Reynie Muldoon sees an advertisement looking for gifted children he immediately wants to find out what it is about. When he goes to find out he ends up completing a series of tests. After completing two tests he is joined by two other children, Kate and Sticky, and after going through two physical tests they are taken to meet a man named Mr. Benedict. There they are joined by another girl named Constance. Mr. Benedict tells the children that they are in grave danger and that they only way to figure out how to stop it is to undercover as students at an island boarding school called the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened where the source of the trouble is coming from. The children all agree to go but when they get there they find that things are even more complicated then they thought and they may be too late to stop what is coming.

What I liked about it: The characters are all unique and fun and because of this almost anyone can relate to them. They story is so interesting and I know as a kid when I first read it (Goodness, was it really almost a decade ago? Now I feel old and grown up! Not really, but still) I loved reading a book about kids my age solving problems and doing puzzles and word games which have always interested me. They are friends but it shows that you don’t always get along even with your best friends but you still stick together because together with friends you can do anything. I also love that it shows that family is important even if you aren't flesh and blood family. All the kids at the beginning of the book are alone but by the end they all have families and are loved and taken care of. 


Language: None

Romance: None

Violence: None

Magic: None


Recommended Age: It is a good book and while it will keep even older kids interested it is simple enough that I think 9 or 10 is plenty old enough to read it!


Books with Bean, book reviews by teens, Mysterious Benedict Society