A New Blog for Authors and Wannabe Authors

20 Feb

A wgile back I did a review of the book Surviving in America by Paul Andrulis. Today he contacted me to ask me to share his new blog with authors and would be authors.

The blog is a place where he is linking to all the free or inexpensive resources he has come across to help authors in their journey of self-publishing.

Independent Author Resources is Paul’s new blog. He already has some links up on the site and will be adding more as he gets them all together.

Why has he started this blog?

His explanation in his own words:

“I want to help prevent as many indies from making the same mistakes I have, and find the stuff it took me weeks to locate. Some of the free programs out there will thoroughly trash a file, for instance. I am not selling anything, nor do any of the sources that I link. This is literally free stuff.”

 

If you are looking to self-publish, then you should go take a look. The links to the different pages are towards the bottom. If he doesn’t have a link in one of the pages, he will soon, so this is a site you will probably want to visit frequently.

Self-Doubt: A Choice Battle Ground for Satan

16 Feb

So often, we all fall into the trap of doubting our abilities and our influence. If we wallow in these doubts long enough, we may even begin to doubt our motivations. Nowhere does this self-doubt play out more than in our Christian walks. We become scared to talk to people about Jesus or to correct a brother or sister in their sin. We become scared to speak out against evil or to become too involved in things.

Satan loves it when we buy into these doubts. As long as we are scared, we are more likely to stand still and do nothing. This state of non-action gives Satan more and more freedom to exhert his will on the world and eventually in our own hearts. So how does this self-doubt look in our lives?

 

#1- No one will listen to me

First of all, you are going to encounter people who will not listen; that is just a fact. If you speak out though, you have a better chance of getting someone’s attention. Not speaking up because you might not be heard is like a baby who will not try to walk because they might fall down; neither one will get very far. You may be rejected a dozen times, but you may also be planting the seed for the next person who comes along, or even for the next time you speak to that person.

When we refuse to tell others about Jesus we are still expressing something. Staying quiet expresses our shame of the gospel, and Paul tells us not to be ashamed (Romans 1: 16-17). When we don’t speak out against sin, we are expressing our acceptance of those sins, which is just as bad as participating in them ourselves (Romans 1:32).

As Christians we cannot keep silent about things such as fornication or the murder of countless innocent lives. We cannot keep silent about unrighteousness or God will turn us and those who practice such things over to our unrighteousness. * Read Romans 1

 

#2- I am only one person, what can I do?

You can do plenty. If you refuse to fight past your doubt, you can become one that denies Christ and forfeit your soul. If you allow those you love to continue in sin and wickedness, you can forfeit their souls. If you do nothing, you can continue to call God a liar since God tells us we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).

Or, you can stand up and speak out. You can teach others and fulfill your role of spreading the gospel to all nations (Luke 24:47; Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:19-20). You can be a voice of reason, bringing the wisdom of God, into a world full of wickedness and foolishness (Romans 1: 20-25).

 

#3- I can’t really do much, how can God use me?

It is amazing to me how many people forget what gifts they have when it comes to living the Christian life. We seem to want to separate our Christianity from everything else. That is how you get people who know they have a gift for something like organization, saying they have nothing to bring to the table for God.

Where do you think you got that gift in the first place? And, what purpose do you think He meant that gift for?

1 Corinthians 12 tells us that God gave us each different gifts to be used to help the body of Christ. We each have our own unique way that we can help spread the gospel, and most of us know what we are good at. If you know this, then you know what you can bring to the table. You cannot separate your life into compartments.

You are either a Christian, or you are not. If you are a Christian, use the gifts you use every day for the work of God. All aspects of your life are His. And remember that God gives us His Holy Spirit who will give us the words to say when needed. We don’t have to rely on ourselves, but on God (Romans 5:1-5).

 

#4- Isn’t it the preacher’s job to teach others about God anyway?

Yes. It is also your job. Romans 8:30 tells us that He has called us. He desires us to take action. What action? to declare Jesus who was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. To declare Jesus whom we were buried with in our baptism so we could die to sin and receive eternal life in heaven (Romans 6:1-6). Knowing how great this is, why should we be quiet?

When you receive good news in your life, don’t you want to share it with everyone you can? Likewise, when you know someone may harm themselves, don’t you want to warn them? What greater news can you share with someone than the gospel of Christ, and what greater harm can people do to themselves than deny the full truth of salvation?

 

When we don’t share the truth we are denying it to others. Is our fear really worth our eternal souls and those of our loved ones? We use our mouths for so many things in our daily lives. Why not push our self-doubt aside and use our mouths to glorify God, to condemn wickedness in ourselves and others, and to bring others to salvation?

Asylum by Ashley Hodges Bazer

11 Feb

This is a book that is a little out of my normal interest zone, but the description caught my interest, so I decided to give it a try. This is a Christian based science fiction story pitting the Ghosts, members of Logia and other followers of the Crown, against the Legacy who are determined to terminate everyone who is associated with the Logia. The Legacy has spent an abundance of energy and resources in coming up with cruel tortures for all Ghosts they capture, and when they capture the wife of one of the gifted captains of the Ghosts, they experiment with one of their newest torture devices, wiping out all her memories.

***

_140_245_Book_740_cover

 

The story follows Chase, the Ghost captain whose wife has been captured, as he searches for his wife and looks for a way to rescue her. This book is about Chase learning to trust the Crown as he goes on his search, but the underlying theme seems to be the love he has for his wife, as well as the love she retains for him despite all the Legacy’s efforts to remove it. While I did feel that there were some areas of the story that were forced, such as how readily Chase gives up on the idea of vengeance after he has set his heart on it, all in all this was a good book. The book is definitely a page turner, and I was caught up in hoping that Chase would be able to succeed in his mission to get his wife back throughout. This book deals with some gruesome things at times, as you read about the torture that the Legacy inflicts on others, but it is a book I would recommend to my friends or blog readers.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

HMJ- Limping Across the Finish Line

8 Feb

HSMJ-wideIHN

  • In my life this week…

This week I started working out again. I have a friend that is acting as my accountability partner, and we went to the gym three nights this week. I hope to eventually get it up to 4 nights a week, but for now that is the time I can allocate for it. I decided I needed to get back to working out when I realized how close I was to the magic number I promised myself I would never allow to show on the scale.

As to the rest of my week, I actually got a lot accomplished. Danger Girl and I are going to start working on our garden this weekend, so I got all the items purchased to get that done. I also got some basic school supplies we were running low on.

Today I had a workshop to help with the math and science portions of the TEAS test. I did okay through math, but during the science portion I started getting a migraine, so I can’t guarantee I will retain any of that. I guess I will see as I start doing the practice tests.

  • In our homeschool this week…

This was not our best week for homeschool. Chatterbox did well Monday and Tuesday, then she had a complete meltdown on Wednesday, which Danger Girl decided to join in on. I had two children unwilling to work, and this lead to one very frustrated teacher.

Thursday I ended up spending a good portion of our school time on hold trying to get a company who had double charged me to give me my money back, but luckily Danger Girl willingly worked on her own through a lot of her work, and Chatterbox entertained herself by practicing drawing numbers and letters. I guess they had the meltdown out of their system.

Friday we had no school since I spent the whole day in the workshops, but Danger Girl got to go over and see some of her friends, so I think she had a good day.

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

My best advice this week is to avoid meltdowns at all cost. They make for a very long day.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This weekend my husband and I are having our date-iversary supper. Each year we go out to celebrate our first date. It started out as a joke, but it has now become a tradition. Danger Girl will go stay with my friend and her husband. They always have a good time.

  • My favorite thing this week was…

I would have to say my favorite thing is this moment when I am getting to sit relatively still and quiet for a while.

  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Danger Girl’s favorite part of the week was probably spending the day with her friends.

  • Things I’m working on…

I need to start making sure I am caught up with my science from 8th grade up so I can do well on my test.

I am also working on making a meal plan and workout schedule so I can lose the weight I need to lose.

  • I’m cooking…

I don’t know yet. I have to come up with some meals that are healthier, but that my husband will still eat. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this for a man who likes fried foods and won’t eat vegetables?

  • I’m grateful for…

I am really grateful for my friend who is encouraging me right now with school and with getting healthy. She is a great encourager.

  • I’m praying for…

I am realizing that there are places where I still need to forgive people. I am praying that I will get there soon.

  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

I took Danger Girl out to Chili’s on Thursday for doing so well on her own while I fought to maintain my patience on the phone. That reminds me, I am also grateful for the people who were praying for me to be able to maintain that composure. Yes, I did ask for prayers after spending an hour and a half on hold before speaking to the rudest person ever.

  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

I am still looking at getting a new vacuum. Any suggestions?

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
Here is Danger Girl helping Chatterbox with her alphabet.

Here is Danger Girl helping Chatterbox with her alphabet.

My Journey to the Charlotte Mason Approach Part III

6 Feb

I have already explained what drew me towards unschooling and classical approaches, but that was only the gateway that led to our chosen path. As I continued my research, wanting to be more prepared when I went to my husband again, I came across an article (I have no idea where to find it now as I have had a computer crash since then)comparing the classical method with the Charlotte Mason approach.

This was the first time I had ever heard the name Charlotte Mason, and my interest was piqued. The name Susan Schaeffer Macauley was mentioned, so I decided to check out the book “For the Child’s Sake”. This intro into Charlotte Mason appealed to me, and I read more, eventually buying my own copy of the Charlotte Mason Series (You can currently get this in Kindle format for 0.99).

For More Info:

Simply Charlotte Mason – You can find basic info about the CM method, as well as a couple of free books to download for more info. There is also a free curriculum guide on this site.

Anbleside Online – You can read the Charlotte Mason series on this site, and there are also links to some articles from the Parent’s Review magazine.

Moments With Mother Culture – This is Karen Andreola’s blog. She is the author of “Pocketful of Pinecones”, which is a book I recommend for more info as well.

The idea of short (15-20 minute) intervals for each subject seemed great for Danger Girl. The focus on reading “living” books was equal to what I had seen in the classical method. What really sold me on CM though, was nature study. Regular time for Danger Girl to be outside coupled with the structure of the subjects was a great compromise for my husband and me, in my opinion.

I once again took my plans to my husband, a little less sure of myself this time, and presented the strength of this new method. This time we came to an agreement, so now we are in our second year of a Charlotte Mason education.

 

As I stated before, we do have some eclectic tendencies. I call our school a CM school, but I must admit I will sometimes let us follow “rabbit trails” so to speak when Danger Girl is particularly interested in something. As far as foreign language goes, I stick to the approach in “Teaching the Trivium”.

Overcoming Abuse God’s Way by Janet Marie Napper and Brenda Branson

3 Feb

It is hard to write a bad review because I know this woman overcame a lot, but I felt the book was lacking. This was supposed to be about bringing Godly wisdom to help in an abusive situation, and while there were reflections on God’s word at the end of each chapter, the book came across as more of an emotional
release of all her past hurts. There were places where she took responsibility, but much of it came across as look at what this person did to me. I was looking for a way that women could become conquerors, but felt I found a plea for empathy.

_140_245_Book_738_cover  **

It is good to see that she managed to use her experiences, and I hope this book can prove more useful to others than it did for me. It is obvious she does strive to trust in God, and my only other comment would be that she should search the Word more diligently for God’s full salvation, as should anyone who reads this book.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Note: I do feel for the woman in this book. I understand that abuse is painful, and I hate that it happens to anyone. Had this book been written strictly as a memoir, I may have reviewed it differently, but since it was advertised as a book to help women deal with abuse, I could not say that it met that standard. Perhaps someone who is dealing with abuse currently will feel differently.

Broken Glasses and Funny Days- HMJ Week in Review

1 Feb

HSMJ-wideIHN

 

  • In my life this week…

This week had us going all over the place. We went to see my step-daughter in the play “Little Shop of Horrors”, and took some friends with us. I had never seen the movie before, but my husband had already told me what would happen, so I wasn’t surprised. My friend had seen another version, so she was surprised by the ending.

The night was an interesting one. We went to our favorite Chinese place before the play, then afterwards, since my step-daughter had not eaten yet, we took her to Denny’s where my friend’s husband began singing about blueberry pancakes. This of course caught the attention of the manager who came over and began talking to us about the play. My step-daughter gave her autograph afterwards on the play schedule, which will end up on their wall. That was a fun, but long night, since my step-daughters live about 2 hours away.

Later in the week my husband managed to break his glasses and called to have me bring his spares. He works in the next town over, so I got to make a half-hour trip to take him the spare glasses, then drive home to start school an hour late that day. Afterwards we took his glasses and got them repaired. I went ahead and got him a new pair as well, since his spares were pretty scratched and fogged.

I ended the week with a request from Chatterbox’s mom to come over. They have been having some problems, and she wanted me to come clear up a few things. Chatterbox has a tendency to tell stories to other people about her family, and the last one she told me I did not feel I could, in good conscience, keep from her mom. I hated to say anything, but if they plan on putting her in public school next year they will need to make sure she doesn’t go tell some of these stories to her teachers.

  • In our homeschool this week…

Our homeschool week was a fun one. We just finished learning about Turkey, so we got to do some fun activities this week. We had Turkish tea, and colored Turkish tiles. We also listened to some traditional music from the country, which Danger Girl liked. Then we listened to some Turkish dance music, and when I asked Danger Girl her opinion she responded, “Was someone stepping on a dog’s tail?”

We ended with a video of the Whirling Dervishes which interested my daughter greatly. She is amazed that they can do all that spinning without getting dizzy.

Danger Girl is supposed to wear glasses during school, but I have not forced her recently. This week I told her I will insist on it from now on after it took her three tries to read the word “bank” because she kept adding letters to it. Other than this, her reading is improving as is her writing which makes me very happy. She still has a couple of letters that she constantly writes backwards, so I am including some copywork which will have her writing those letters more often. I hope this will help.

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

If you are interested in seeing how we came to do the Charlotte Mason method (very eclecticly), check out my Journey to the Charlotte Mason series. You can find parts 1 & 2 under the Clark Cottage School page.

It’s not necessarily advice, but I do give links to more information about different methods of homeschooling.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This weekend, we plan on having my niece over for a sleepover. You never know how things will go with her, but I’m sure she will bring some amusement for me to share.

  • My favorite thing this week was…

I think my favorite thing this week would have to be all the free Kindle and Ibooks I found to download. I found a bunch of great stories to read during nature study, as well as some “living” books for geography, history and math. I will have to put these to use very soon.

  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

I think Danger Girl’s favorite thing was getting to go to singing this week. She loves singing, and therefore loves to go to 5th Wednesday singing with Daddy.

  • Things I’m working on…

I am a planner. I love to organize and make plans for everything. With this in mind, I have begun working on our school plans for next year. ( I say begun, I’ve been working on it for a while). This week I have set up my plan for paying for the things we cannot find for free.

  • I’m cooking…

I think as one last Turkey activity, Danger Girl and I are going to make Turkish Delight this weekend.

I also made spaghetti and meatballs earlier in the week and plan to make salt & pepper wings tonight.

  • I’m grateful for…

My mother-in-law has been sick for some time, but she is starting to get better, and I am grateful for that.

I am also grateful that I have friends that enjoy Danger Girl’s company and are willing to take her when I have to do something where she can’t come with me.

  • I’m praying for…

My husband has had some issues at work, and I am praying about these things. I am also praying for my mother-in-law because while she is getting better, she is having some issues after a fall she had and is having to get an MRI done.

  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

Because Danger Girl did so well this week, I plan to take her to the book store to get some new books this weekend.

  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

This is not really homeschool related, but I want to get a new vacuum cleaner. There is not really anything wrong with the one I have, but it is an older model and it is hard to find bags for it. I want to get one I can more easily keep maintainance on.

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

http://youtu.be/JsE05nXQPwo

This is a link to the Turkish music that Danger Girl really enjoyed.

Journey to the Charlotte Mason Approach Part II

30 Jan

Continuing with my previous post, I would like to continue to take you on my journey to the Charlotte Mason method. As I previously stated, my husband was not as much on board with the unschooling approach as I was. I needed a new plan, so I went back into research mode, armed with the knowledge that my husband desired structure (this is still funny to me). During this second round of research I stumbled across the book “Teaching the Trivium” by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, which led to my second method of choice, the classical approach.

This method offered the structures atmosphere my husband wanted, and was based on one of my favorite activities, reading. I figured I could place some activity, such as drawing or coloring, in front of Danger Girl as I read. That would keep her occupied enough to pay attention. In fact, the Bluedorns encouraged giving children hands on activities in the book.

 

More Info about Classical Education:

Memoria Press has an article about what the Classical Method is here

There is also information about the history of education at Classical Christian Homeschooling

You can also find Q & A’s and other articles about this method at Trivium Pursuit

 

As I read about the three stages of learning, I began to embrace the classical method as a viable option. I could read the classics to Danger Girl, and give her leave to play in the afternoon where, knowing her, she would incorporate these stories into her games.

(There is obviously more to the classical method than my brief review can do justice. If you would like to learn more, I would recommend reading “Teaching the  Trivium”)

Not wanting to make my decision on the basis of just one book, I decided to do a little more research on the classical method of teaching. I scoured the internet for articles or blogs. From these searches I learned the name Susan Wise Bauer and became interested in her books. The classical method did not offer as much of the freedom that had attracted me to unschooling, but I felt it would lend itself to some flexibility, and I could hopefully instill a love of reading in my topsy-turvy child. I was almost ready to go to my husband once again.

 

 

*** I would provide a link to find out more about Susan Wise Bauer, but for whatever reason, I cannot get the sites to come up. I do not want to provide a link to a site that will not open.***

HMJ- Getting Organized Again

25 Jan

HSMJ-wideIHN

 

  • In my life this week…

After a little unplanned break from planned blogging, I am getting back to organizing my blogging efforts. I have several book reviews planned for the near future, and I am also sharing my story of how my family came to use the Charlotte Mason method. The first part of this story can be found here.

This week I also got my transcripts sent to three colleges I am applying to. I also looked into the community college I just got my Associate’s degree from about getting my ADN. I am now taking time once again to pray about this decision and decide which choice will be the best one for me and my family. If you are willing, I ask for prayers to help me make these decisions.

  • In our homeschool this week…

art

I have started adding more notebooking to our school day this week. I had been eyeing the Notebooking Success book from Jimmie at the Notebooking Fairy for some time, and I finally broke down and bought it. I was not disappointed.

There is a lot of great information in this book, and I was encouraged by her suggestions. I am even toying with the idea of making my own notebooking pages to use so I can specify them for our needs. Until then, I am making use of the notebooking resources that can be found online (there is tons of stuff out there).

artist writing

We are continuing along steadily right now in the rest of our endeavors. Danger Girl has been more pleasant, and actually seems to be enjoying school more than she had been. This has made my job much easier.

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

I have been taking advantage of Pinterest more lately in collecting information for our homeschool use. I am learning that this is a great tool for collecting printables and curriculum ideas, and I hope to use this as another organization tool in our homeschool.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Friday we are travelling to go see my step-daughter in a play. Some friends are going with us as they have wanted to see one of her plays for a while.

I am also toying with the idea of taking Danger Girl on a field trip to a Jewish synagogue to learn more about Jewish culture since we are studying Israel right now. I have found a couple of synagogues near us, so I will be making calls next week to see where we might get a better reception for this trip. Has anyone else done something like that before?

  • My favorite thing this week was…

My favorite thing was a display of Danger Girl’s humor. During math I asked “what do you take 7 away from to equal 7?”

Her response: “Nothing, it already equals 7.”

She knew the answer, but I love her sense of humor sometime.

  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

We have been talking about Solomon in our history lessons this week. Danger Girl is very interested in the things that Solomon has done, so I think history has been her favorite thing this week. She was particularly interested in the story of Solomon and the two mothers fighting over the child. Danger Girl has decided the mother that rolled over on her child must have been drunk. I don’t know where this idea came from but she’s sticking to it.

  • Things I’m working on…

I have downloaded several free books on web publishing and on using WordPress more effectively, so I hope to start making my blog more useful in the coming weeks. I have decided I want to make more resources available, and in order to do that I thought it would be worthwhile to get a better understanding of what I am doing.

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

from mom

I found this on Facebook, and thought others might get a good laugh out of it.

My Journey to the Charlotte Mason Approach Part 1

23 Jan

As a fairly newbie homeschooler (this is our second official year), I continue to learn and grow as I go along. I am always looking for new information that can help me make informed decisions about such things as methods, curriculum, planning etc. With that in mind, I thought I would share the journey that led my family down the Charlotte Mason path (with eclectic tendencies). My hope is that my story can help newbies such as myself evaluate their homeschool needs, or even encourage veteran homeschoolers in their decisions. Today is part one of my journey. Just to be clear before I go on, I am not advocating Charlotte Mason as the only choice for any homeschooler. Her methods seem to be the best fit for my family, but another family may have different needs than mine.

When I began to seriously consider homeschooling, there were three methods that I was really leaning towards. Keeping in mind that I have an active child with an equally active imagination, I found myself gravitating towards unschooling (delight directed), the classical approach, and Charlotte Mason. My original first choice was actually the delight directed approach.

Unschooling appealed to me because, as I have mentioned, I have a very active child. One of my original reasons for wanting to homeschool is that Danger Girl cannot sit still for very long. She has to be moving around or she will not stay focused. I felt unschooling offered the best approach for her as we could pursue activities that offered movement and look for teachable moments in these activities.

I firmly believe that children learn more readily when a subject particularly interests them, and this is another reason I originally leaned towards unschooling. My thought was that I could present subjects/activities, and if they caught Danger Girl’s attention we would continue. If she showed no interest we would put it away until another time.

My other big reason for leaning towards unschooling was that I felt it would offer the most frugal option, and since I was leaving work to teach my child this was very appealing to me. Another, smaller, thought was that I did not want to stay with the same system of teaching that Danger Girl would get in a public school setting. I figured why not go to the other side of the spectrum if we were doing this.

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For more info about unschooling:

John Holt’s Unschooling site

Home Education Magazine Unschooling Site

So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler did a series in the summer on the different homeschooling approaches. You can check that out here.

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Armed with my well thought out intentions, I approached my husband with the method I had already decided I wanted to use, thinking he would love the idea as much as I did. I held this delusion because of the two of us, I am the planner of the family. When we go on vacation I am likely to have our fun scheduled out and pre-paid where possible. I figured if miss has-to-have-a-plan-for-everything was coming to Mr. go-with-the-flow with the idea he would have no qualms. I was wrong. He was not at all comfortable with an “unstructured” setting, and I was not going to convince him. When he so easily rejected my plan, it was time to take a detour and start the journey over.