Mighty Reader Workbook Grade 1 – Book Review

Author Heidi Cooley takes 13 stories from the Bible, Both in the Old and New Testament and simplifies them in such a way as to make them easily understandable to young students.
Each story is broken down into lessons over a 6 day time period, with one per day. These lessons not only target reading strategies but also reading skills. She also manages to include activities that highlight writing with reading comprehension.
Overall, I think that this is a well-written and designed series. Parents are encouraged to participate in the lessons, which also help in building the child’s character.
Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and fell that it is worth the investment, including in a Sunday School setting.

You may purchase the book at the link below.

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/mighty-reader-workbook-grade-1-P005803242

 

I was given a free copy of this book for an unbiased review

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Cornerstones – A Book Review

Brian Dembowczyk has written a book that reviews 200 basic questions about God, Jesus, the Church and pretty much any basic theological question you can imagine.  He starts of with a letter to parents about why he wrote the book and how to use it to develop a spiritual nature in their children.

The book is colorful and interesting in its format It is broken into 7 sections.  The sections are listed below:

  1. God
  2. Creation
  3. Sin
  4. Jesus
  5. Salvation
  6. The Bible
  7. Discipleship
  8. The Church and Last Things

Even though the questions and answers are a simple format and are geared towards children; I feel that this book would work well with anyone who is new to the faith or would like to renew the knowledge they have.

I found the answers simple, correct and to the point, and since I prefer books that are straight to the point I enjoyed this one.

Keep in mind this book is to be used as a family unit, you are not to give the book to someone and walk away, it is an interactive study to expand and deepen the knowledge a person has of their spiritual walk.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it as required family reading.

 

I was given a free copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.

Kids Today

Anyone that has teenagers or younger kids probably knows that phones (as it were) are a big part of life. Back in my day . . . our phones were just that, phones. And they weren’t very portable. In fact a lot of them still mounted to the wall. And then there were those that sat on the counter. Still you were limited to the distance of the cord.

But I acquiesce, now its different. There is a world of information at your fingertips. Some good, some bad. Lately I’ve noticed a good trend, a musical one. Many of the games are based on a music. And the music that plays is largely classical. As they tap on the screen in time with the tune they’re immersed in wordless melodies. I think its a wonderful way to re-introduce our next generation to something besides glamour based hip hop. (Not that I haven’t indulged myself on  occasion.) But there is study after study that shows how classical music in particular, has various benefits to our human brains.

Do I know the science of it? Absolutely not. But I know that when I listen to music, something happens. There’s always at least an emotional reaction, and often if it hits home, I get literal chills. Y’all know what I mean right? Everybody has felt it. Everybody has that one song. That has to be God given.

And we may never know why exactly, but God seems to have given us this beautiful gift not solely for entertainment, but in part at least to inspire, and heal. In fact music is so important to God, He created Psalms. A large collection of music mostly written by a beloved warrior king. (I’d love to be able to go back in time to hear how they were originally meant to be heard.)

So while kids today have it pretty good, and technology is scary, God will always want to share His wonders with His children. And that’s pretty cool.

God Moments in Ecclesiastes

As I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, the sun just starting to rise above the tree line, I can’t help but to chuckle and stand in awestruck wonder. I know God has a sense of humor. He shows it to me all the time and right now is one of those moments.

I am not a morning person, far from it by any sense of the phrase and yet I sit here @ 5:45 am writing today’s next blog post in the Ecclesiastes study we have been going through. I have just gotten back from a trip to the E.R. with my 7 month pregnant daughter, Kimberly. (If you have been reading our blog, I talked about her a few posts ago) She has had very severe heartburn with this pregnancy, severe anemia, and started swelling recently so when she woke me up @ 3 in the morning in severe pain, I followed the doctors orders and took her in, worried that she might be developing pre-eclampsia because it runs in my family. As we were running out the door, something told me to grab a book off of my bookshelf and bring it with us.

You see, this was not just any book. It was my second copy of Erma Bombeck’s book Forever Erma. I have two copies of this book for a special reason. The first copy I have was given to me by my mother-in-law, Mary. (Who became my mom when I was 17, when my husband and I started dating a year after my own mother had passed away of cancer) When I went into preterm labor with our younger daughter Kirsten, she had brought the book with her to the hospital and read it to me from my bedside to help take the focus off of the pain and direct it in a positive way. I went into preterm labor a total of 9 times during my third trimester, and each time she would bring the book and read it. We would laugh, we would cry, and she would tell me stories of experiences she had with being a mother, just like the journal entries Erma Bombeck wrote down and recorded for the world to read in this book. Inside the back cover are written all the important phone numbers and notes Mom needed just in case, scribbled in her handwriting. I will never part with this book. It means the world to me, I cherish it. So when I came across a copy at Half Price Books one day for $2, I bought it, for such a time as this.

So, in keeping with tradition, I took it along with us to the hospital tonight and read it to my daughter, to help take her mind off of the pain she was experiencing and turn it into something positive. As I sped up to the emergency room, got her into the nurse’s hands, who just so happened to be outside the door bringing a wheelchair in, I quickly parked the car. As I got out, I paused for a moment and the tears started to flow. I stood there, in the silence of night, and prayed to God that my child and my unborn grandchild would be alright. I quickly wiped away my tears and headed in to join her. As we sat in the labor and delivery room, I read to her. We laughed, she shared her worry, we talked about motherhood, and when the nurse came in and heard me reading to her, she couldn’t help but smile. I was reading Erma’s journal entry from May 12, 1974 (which was written 1 month after I was born). It was titled When God Created Mothers. (If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend it) When Kimberly noticed the smile on the nurse’s face she immediately said, “It’s a tradition in our family.” and I explained why.

As we came home, and I helped get her settled, I told her I loved her, and off to bed she went. I felt the Holy Spirit nudging to me to just stay up and write my blog post now. Because I am not a morning person, I hesitated, but obediently came back to sit down at my computer. (along with a cup of coffee!) As I read the verse I had planned to do for today’s blog post, I started to cry and laugh all at the same time. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says this…

A time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance.

Tonight, God showed me that this verse is certainly true. We can even go through it all in a short time frame, even in the span of a few hours, sitting in hospital room.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

 

photo courtesy of umcrp.org

 

A Time For Everything Under Heaven

Hello! I am glad you have decided to embark on this journey of discovery with me, planted in chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Over the next 14 days I will be writing blog posts on the verses King Solomon writes to us in this chapter of this great book. At the end of this post I will include a study map of which verses I will be covering each day. That way, you can read them ahead of time and if you have questions or want to start a discussion on things that stood out to you, we can do that! I want this study to be interactive and I encourage you to keep a journal handy for writing down your thoughts and observations. I also encourage you to write ways that you can apply these verses to your life. A lot of people tell me that in no way is the Bible relevant to today…to that I say, YES WAY! BIBLE stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth! All you have to do is open your heart and mind for what God wants to reveal to you while you are reading His Word and I guarantee you He will! If you haven’t already read the blog post to introduce this bible study, please do so, you can find it here on our blog titled… A Time for Everything!  by livingwaterdesigns

So, are you ready? Here we go! Today we are going to dive into verse 1…

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Eccl. 3:1

God is the keeper of time. As hard as it may be to think about sometimes, we are only limited in how much control we have over our time. We can control it, to a point, what we do with the 24 hours God gives us each day but we are not promised an hour from now, sleeping through the night, or even tomorrow. God controls when it is our time to leave our earthly bodies. But until then, God gives us a time and place for everything under the sun, everything under the heavens.

This verse reminds me of the Disney movie, The Lion King. This movie has a special place in my heart because it was the first animated movie my husband George took me to see, and I was pregnant with our first daughter, Kimberly. My favorite part is when Mufasa is doing his morning lessons with Simba about the circles of life. The scene starts by Simba waking his dad Mufasa in the wee hours of the morning. Like any parent, Mufasa wakes groggy, not wanting to get up, but Simba looks at him with that look kids give their parents and says, “You promised!” So Mufasa gets up, yawning, and sets out at sunrise to teach his son valuable lessons about life.

He starts out his lesson by telling Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom. A King’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day Simba, the sun will set on my time here and will rise with you as the new king.” Simba looks at his father, and the beautiful landscape, in amazement and says, “And this will all be mine?” Mufasa replies, “Everything”, and Simba ponders… “Everything the light touches”. Then comes the questioning that all of us parents get from our children… “What about that shadowy place?”. And Mufasa tries to teach him about boundaries, those dark places that are off limits. “That’s beyond our borders. You must never go there Simba.”, and the questioning continues…”I thought a king can do whatever he wants?” Mufasa replies, “There’s more to being king than getting your way all the time.” Simba, still in awe says, “There’s more?”

Then Mufasa explains the circle of life to him. “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.” More questioning… “But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?” “Yes Simba, but let me explain. When we die our bodies become the grass and the antelope eat the grass, and so, we are all connected in the great circle of life.”

The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, are my two favorite Disney movies. So much life lessons if you really pay attention. Here, Mufasa is teaching his son important truths about life, just like King Solomon is teaching us those same truths about life in this chapter of Ecclesiastes… God has a plan for each of our lives and each season has its time. Each part of our lives is connected in the great circle of life, and in each part we have different tasks to carry out for the glory of the kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

As we move along through these truths, I want you to think about the truths God has revealed to you as you have read and studied His Word. I also want you to think about the season of life you are in NOW… not the one you were in last year, or the one you will be in 5 years from now, but today, this very moment in time. In your prayers, thank God for this season you are in, no matter whether it is difficult or a piece of cake. Humble yourself before the throne of Grace and believe that God is giving you opportunities to discover more of Him and His plan for your life…because apart from God we can do nothing. It is in His timing, His control…we just have to be childlike, with an open heart and mind, to hear His whispers.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

P.S. Link to the study map is below. Feel free to print it out…

LLC- Ecclesiastes Study Map

Photo courtesy of seasonsoflifeproject.tumblr.com

 

 

Who’s watching?

That is a more loaded question than I’d like to admit. And it leads to other questions. Like why and with what motives would a person be observing anyone else’s behavior? I mean, are they looking to catch you in the act of doing something wrong because you’re not well liked? Or are they looking to catch you in the act of doing something right? Because, well I don’t know why. Of course, this line of questioning comes from an admitted self-proclaimed observer.

As a parent I am all too aware that my children, at least, are watching me most, if not All, of the time. I was probably more aware of it when they were smaller, when they repeat not only what is said, but what is done. No cursing without thinking, no being a little to obnoxious or rude. And heaven forbid you roll your eyes. Cuz, it’s not so cute when they roll their eyes back at you.  Cause and effect. And the cause and effect of that . . . is that one watches one’s behavior much closer. It part because now you’re aware, and in part because you want to do and be better. For their sake’s. Of course failure is indeed an option, that will occur on regular basis at various levels.

Then the funniest thing happens, you end up watching them. As a parent we fall in love with our children from the moment they are in idea put in our brains. And as women we get the special privilege of falling in love with every bump, squirm and wiggle that we are fortunate enough to feel while pregnant. Then BAM! Before you know it, they’ve arrived in this world and the watching takes on a whole new level. We watch them yawn, move, sleep, and grow as if they’ve been injected with miracle grow from the start. We watch them learn, laugh, cry and get angry. We see how they play and imagine, most of the time with the box that the expensive toy you just bought them came in.

So, really who’s watching who? Both I’d say, yet, as human beings grow older we realize more, see more, understand more . . . hopefully. And if that is the case, then wouldn’t it stand to reason, that as adults, we can glean a wealth of information from the children God blesses us with? What could we learn from the way they love us when we sometimes don’t deserve it. Or from the way they seem to bounce back from sickness, eager to play again. Or even from the way they imitate behaviors of our own and others that we wish they wouldn’t.

Society might benefit greatly from talking less and looking more. Society would certainly also benefit from pausing on occasion and paying closer attention to their surroundings. To take a break and watch is a fruitful endeavor in it’s own way. Really watching is another word for learning. And in it’s biblical use watching is also about record keeping, we are tasked with paying attention and truthfully re-telling what is seen. There’s real importance in that.

What I see.

When it comes to witnessing, I’m thinking some wise, much-older-than-me person passionately and articulately explaining to those who don’t know, just what Jesus Christ is all about. And almost magically channeling God Himself as a crowd gathers round’ in awe. Over to the side in a dark corner, I watch, and I just know I could never be that guy, (Or girl). But witnessing can be evangelizing in the literal sense of the word. I’m begging to learn that I don’t have to be a savant genius christian that knows everything all the time to share God’s love.

“ . . . for My strength is made perfect in weakness,”

Literally through watching, observing, learning, and growing in faith, then sharing my experiences, and adhering to God’s word in action, I can be evangelizing without knowing it. Not that I don’t mess up. I do. A LOT. Still, I know that the same God that created the universe in six days can certainly use me if that’s what he wishes to do.

Now in full disclosure, I’m an adult who’s led a fairly ‘sheltered’ life and not had it all that hard; relatively. My parents loved and provided for me and my siblings to the best of their ability, and I cannot rightly complain about them.

At the same time, I have seen things that have shaped me as human being. I have heard stories and testimonies of others that, sometime later on, I may share with all of you. Terrible things. And I remind my children (in part because of these experiences) that they need to guard against what they see and hear. Those things cannot be unseen and unheard.

One of the things that I’ve seen I think I need to share now. It’s glued itself to my psyche. Bonded with my soul and vividly shows itself like a brightly preserved image painfully reminding me that this world needs good people and simultaneously echoing the anguish of a child that deserved better.  I see a child staring at his adult authoritative figure, as innocent looking as a Norman Rockwell painting. Yet, he had just caused a huge ruckus on my bus which was now parked on the side of a dirt road.

He had just lashed out violently at anyone unlucky enough to be in his path. Pushing, hitting, kicking his way around. I had managed to keep him away from the others now that I was parked. I didn’t hurt him. I didn’t yell at him. I simply put my body between his and the others. I let him climb over the top of the bus seat a couple of times. I even let him hit me. I told him he could hit me all he wanted, but no one else. (He was small it didn’t hurt.) Soon, the school security guard arrived. Who was quite stern. And then my boss, also stern. And my boss is the taller-than-I female he was guiltily staring at. She told him she’d be taking him off the bus. And then I believe God guided me to inform him of something. “She’s not going to hurt you.” I said.

Here is where yet another image was burned into me leaving a permanent mark. I saw a frustrated, broken child break into tears, and put his small arms around my boss’s neck as if he was simply giving her a hug because he was glad to see her. His face now buried into her shoulder, she carried him off and drove him away.

I drove him to school one more time. This time in a suburban with no other passengers. We spoke as if nothing happened. And something I remember him saying, that I can’t unhear, was that, I wasn’t as angry as his mom. I didn’t understand, so wanting to encourage a relationship I told him that all moms got angry sometimes. After that he was silent. And I’ll never forget his thoughtful little face looking out the window.

I went back to his house one other time. They said he had an appointment so I didn’t get to drive him to school. Then, when asking my boss about picking him up again, I learned that I would not be doing that anymore. His parents were now in jail, and he and his brother were now in his grandmother’s custody. He and his brother were victims of physical abuse. I think about him almost daily. And he is the only student I’ve ever shed a tear for.

Yet here this memory stands, as a witness to me, and now you. And I believe my boss and I gave that boy a glimpse of what it meant to be loved. For a moment in time he saw kindness when my boss carried him like mother would. And he was witness to our patience and gentle examples. I pray that those things are what sticks with him. And even though I can’t tell you his name, I think sharing his story may cause someone else to have just a little more patience with that ‘difficult’ child in their life.

I don’t know how God is planning to use me. And I still say I’m not very good at witnessing in the traditional sense. But I do know I can type a little better than I can speak, and I can share in this way what I’ve seen as I try and set a good example.