Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Hey y'all,

I think I give up on getting anything done on the blog this week. Too much happening surrounding Thanksgiving so I'll take a moment or two right quick to wish you all the BEST THANKSGIVING! I hope it's a fantastic one in which you find yourself relaxing with the people you love.

My list of things which I am thankful for is long and numerous but I'll leave it at this for the moment:

1. A God who loves me, has called me, and given me purpose in life.
2. Friends who are family.

These are just two of the many things I'm grateful for, but which are at the top of my list at the present.

Have a blessed week/end and I'll see you next Monday.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Book of Dragons, by E. Nesbit

I read The Book of Dragons with Bookworm1 back in 2013 (linked to review). Our current science studies have been focused on dinosaurs and dragons so, to coincide with that, I pulled out our copy of this title to read it again with all of the kids.

As mentioned previously, The Book of Dragons is a collection of 8 short stories about dragons. When I say short I mean "Nesbit in length" which means that a chapter could vary between 15-20 pages minus illustrations. Do be aware of that but also rest assured that Nesbit is so engaging a writer that even my four year old sat mesmerized by the stories contained herein.

All of our kids loved this book which contains the following individual tales:

  • The Book of Beasts
  • Uncle James, or the Purple Stranger 
  • The Deliverers of their Country
  • The Ice Dragon, or do as you are Told
  • The Island of the Nine Whirlpools
  • The Dragon Tamers
  • The Fiery Dragon or the Heart of Stone and the Heart of Gold
  • Kind Little Edmund, or the Caves and the Cockatrice

We read one chapter/story a day. At the end of each chapter you'd hear a chorus of phrases along the lines of, "I love this book." or "That was a great story!" Each of the kids had moments where they laughed and some where they were tense. Nesbit tells fantastic stories full of hard vocabulary words which stretch children and delight adults. Nesbit had quite the imagination and her stories take twists and turns that you don't always expect and which are intelligent in design. If you have a chance to read Nesbit aloud to your children, do! If you want to start out small, then we'd definitely recommend this collection.

My favorite in this collection is The Dragon Tamers and I was amused when I went back to read my 2013 review and discovered I had quoted the exact same passage which stood out to me this time as well. Coincidentally, it's also the passage which made the four year old laugh!

The other passage I marked down during this current read is from The Island of Nine Whirlpools. Apparently that was the second passage which made a mark on me during the last reading. I guess I just found those two stories rather clever and amusing!

The Book of Dragons is a delightful read no matter how many times you read it. It's magical and fun. What other reasons do you need? I'm glad we re-read it. I suspect we'll do so again in another couple of years.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Led Me to You, by Carrie Dahlin

This past weekend I attended the Called to Love retreat for adoptive/foster mothers here in Oregon. It was the first time I had ever attended a women's retreat, let alone one focused on this subject matter. There are reasons for this, one of which I'll explain in a minute. When it comes to the topic of adoption, I find myself shrinking back a bit, truth be told. Sometimes it's because I'm not sure how the subject matter will be handled and sometimes its for more personal reasons. We have adopted three times now and there are some areas where I've really started to feel like I could use some input from people who are ahead of me on this journey. I thought perhaps that this was a good year to set aside the weekend and go check out this conference. Jonathan agreed and so off I went. Double bonus points: one of my good friends went with me so it was guaranteed to be fun no matter what we encountered at the retreat.

The only thing I had really paid much attention to prior to arriving at the conference was the fact that Stephanie Fast was going to be the main speaker on Friday night. I totally love Stephanie and was excited to hear her speak again. I will never, ever, ever get tired of hearing from her. Whenever she talks I want to jump up and down and run around the room. She has a most dynamic faith. She's genuine and real, with a deep faith that challenges and encourages all around her. I find it amazing the ways that God has chosen to use her to share Him with others. But I digress (a little). If I had any further hesitations about attending Called to Love, they vanished upon walking through the doors. Instantly I knew that the weekend was going to be so good. And it was! It was just stunning (and still is blowing me away) to be in a room full of women who know your story because they are living your story. Yes, our names and faces might look different but a great many aspects of our stories look and sound exactly the same. When you meet people and you say, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." then you know you can be friends. Knowing that the emotions you feel, the struggles you endure, and the victories you cherish are understood by others is one of the greatest blessings in the entire world. 'Phenomenal' doesn't begin to describe it.

Enter: What Led Me To You. At the conference there were a smattering of tables with goods and wares to purchase. If you know me, you know I was looking for the books! And there weren't many which was somewhat distressing. (I do have to say that. The conference needed more books!!) At one table I noticed a friendly looking lady standing beside a pile of friendly looking books. I approached her and discovered that we share the same name, spelled the same way. (Which is, of course, the right way.) I asked her if she wouldn't mind telling me a little bit about her book and she happily obliged.

Carrie Dahlin said that she had a hard time finding books about fostering parenting that were honest about the struggles and real hardships and so she decided to write one herself and the fruit of that decision lies within the pages of What Led Me To You. She and her husband began foster parenting a few years ago and have had an interesting journey which has culminated in a few adoptions as well. Carrie writes about what led them to begin this journey and is quite open about the different hurdles and obstacles they've faced in the midst of everything. She shares their story with gut-wrenching honesty regarding her own emotions at various stages of the journey, a fact which makes this book particularly approachable. If you are looking for a how-to as relates to foster care then this is not your book. If you want to hear someone's heart on the matter, and get an idea of the struggles and the joy mixed up in the process, then this book is a don't miss. She speaks from her heart.

Now, as is the case when someone is writing from their heart, it also reads off more like a conversation than anything else. Reading this book very much feels like a sit-down conversation with Carrie. I feel I can attest to this as in our two brief conversations I found that she spoke very much as she writes. As a result, sometimes you read a passage that is more a stream of consciousness than anything else, but it's not too distracting. If you are thinking about engaging in foster care you likely won't mind her written voice because you'll want to hear how she was feeling at various points in time as it will help to give you a clue of what to expect.

As mentioned, Jonathan and I have adopted three times. We do not feel called to fostering and likely will not do so. However, the door is open for future adoptions if God makes a way for it. I read this book because I was curious about her experiences, because I knew that she had adopted as well as fostered, and because many of the emotions overlap between the two. I stayed up late Friday night in my hotel room reading the first half of her story. The next morning I was able to connect with her over the first of many experiences she had as a foster parent. With this slight introduction, I'm going to make something public which I have never done before but which I feel like I can talk about for the first time ever. Carrie and I had an unfortunate shared experienced upon entering into the foster/adoption world in that we were both falsely accused of harming, or endangering, a child. The details between us differ a bit, but the ultimate reality was that false accusations affected our experience and instilled a certain fear about continuing on our individual journeys. It is a hard thing (understatement) to be falsely accused and to have professionals examining your life to see if the accusations hold water. In both of our cases, we were found altogether 100%  innocent but the memory burns. It is not something that you forget. It affects your decisions and choices long after being declared innocent. There is a death of vision when a situation like this occurs and you feel very scared of what people will say and angry about what people have said. False accusations interject confusion. In these half dozen years since, I've not mention it publicly to people because when a person is put "in the know" they tend to speculate whether or not the thing was true. The phrase "grain of truth" is tossed out with raised eyebrows and these statements can be just as damaging as the original accusation. It feeds into doubt and discouragement like nobody's business and continues the hurt. Fear becomes the second weapon used against you and it is almost more effective than the accusation itself.

But here's the ultimate situation: both Carrie and myself are innocent of the accusations. We both understand the pile of ugly feelings. We both know the real source of the accusations and understand that there is one who stands opposed to the idea of adoption just as we know that there is One who models it for us. What matters most is not what people see and think, but what God has called us to. Is it an easy road? We both know the answer to that question is, "No!" It is not easy and yet it is God's good plan for our lives and the lives of the children in our home.

Carrie admits in her book to finding it hard at times to want to please people and have their good opinion. Despite whatever you might think, the same is true of me. It is hard to go against the tide and live a life that most people wouldn't choose because they think it too hard or too risky. It's life on the edge. But here's the thing: the edge is the most exciting place to be!! 'Living to the hilt' is the general idea of all of life!! Is adoption and foster care hard? Yes. On oh so many levels. Is it worth it? Beyond anything you could ask or imagine! Being content in the knowledge that you are walking in the will of God makes all of the hardships, bumps and hiccups ultimately appear as nothing. It's a death to self in some many ways, yes, but that's a good thing! Following hard after Christ is all I ever want to do. Even if and when it hurts.

There are no regrets (foolish to ask this of me) and no wishes for a "do over." There is a great contentment knowing that the children God has given to us were given and placed with a specific reason and purpose in mind. There is a joy in their presence and their company. Sharing family with one another is a blessing I really cannot describe with words. God has used them to change me and used me to change them and we are all on this journey together. The journey continues to improve and become sweeter. Yes, there will be the naysayers and the people who speak words of death but Christ has only words of life and so we focus on Him. If you feel led to pursuing foster care or adoption, educate yourself, seek out (good) advice and, above all, make sure that God has called you to it. If He has - prepare for one of the more wild, fantastic rides of your entire life. It's a good ride.

Christ is front and central of Carrie Dahlin's life and of What Led Me To You and I so appreciated that. If you are thinking about this topic at all, I wouldn't hesitate recommending this read.

If you are an adoptive mom or foster mom, I also can't recommend the annual Called to Love retreat more highly. My faith was strengthened, my soul encouraged and, remarkably to me, I dropped some baggage I had been carrying around unnecessarily. I don't know what the future holds but I do know that there are a great group of women out there engaging in the same battle as myself. Knowing that they exist adds fuel to my fire.

I'll end with a song that we sang at the conference which I cannot get out of my head. It ministered to me deeply as its messages spreads itself out over our entire family history and story.

You were reaching through the storm,
walking on the water
Even when I could not see.
In the middle of it all,
when I thought You were a thousand miles away
Not for a moment did You forsake me,
Not for a moment did You forsake me

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Anne, the adult (who is also probably finding herself short on time)

Life lately has just been busy and crazy. I know I keep saying that, but it's true! It's not crazy in an unpleasant way but in such a way that no matter how many books I manage to squeeze in here and there, there doesn't seem to be time for writing about them. This bothers me because I find that if I do not write out my full thoughts on the books I read I tend to forget what the story was all about. Take for example Anne, my long time friend, and literary favorite.

Today I just wanted to take a few minutes to document the fact that I have been making progress on the Anne series. This past summer I started reading the Anne books again in preparation for our visit to Prince Edward Island back in June. I finished Anne of the Island as our plane was landing on the Island which was perfection itself, if I do say so myself. Looking back at the ol' blog though, it would appear that I never wrote up my thoughts on that re-read. I meant to. Oh well.

I took Anne of Windy Poplars with me on our trip to England and read it over there. That and Robin Hood were my books of choice for that trip. (I've gotten halfway through Robin Hood but Anne was finished.) Again, I wrote nothing about the read, but moved along to Anne's House of Dreams. It's like a bad pattern or something!

I've really been enjoying spending time with the adult Anne again. It's been awhile since that happened and there were so many characters and situations I had forgotten. It was lovely visiting with Captain Jim again, in particular. What a fine friend and admirable creature is he! It was fun to see Anne and Gilbert adjust to married life, although it did seem a bit idealistic. I'd forgotten that they decided to spend their honeymoon in their own house of dreams. Jonathan and I sort of did that too. We were scheduled to spend our honeymoon at a hotel on the Oregon coast but it was rainy and cold and rather miserable and so we decided to spend time at our new home which was much more relaxing and enjoyable. When you finally get to start your life together it's really nice to be able to do it in the place where you intend to actually live your life, I think. Plus there's just less pressure to live up to some romantic idea of what a perfect honeymoon might look like if you keep it low key. We're huge proponents of starting a marriage off "quietly" and then taking a trip after you've had time to adjust to and get to know one another a little better. This allows you to pick a vacation out together that suits you both much more than what society seems to expect of you. That's a side bunny trail, I do realize. (Heh.) Lots of people go off and have perfectly lovely, fun getaways. Ours just mirrored Anne and Gilbert's a little bit more closely and was idea for us at that time.

It's also interesting to see Anne mature as an adult as she experiences more of life's sorrows and joys. Particularly in Anne's House of Dreams I enjoyed her interactions with the sad Leslie Moore. Leslie's life has consistently been one of immeasurable hardships while Anne's journey looks a bit different. Anne's life might have started out rough but it became more calm and joyful post-Green Gables. Anne has enough understanding of pain to be able to sympathize with Leslie but Leslie keeps Anne at bay because she resents Anne her present joys. It isn't until Anne experiences a deep sorrow of her own that Leslie feels like she can begin to relate to Anne. Isn't that just life? The relationship between these two young women totally epitomizes what we all do to one another. If we think another person has a more joy-filled existence than we do, we keep them at arm's length. If we think their problems are too big for us, we keep them at arm's length. If we don't want them to see our problems, we keep them at arm's length. We Christians (yes, let's get specific) have a terrible time obeying the verse that says we are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. (Romans 12:15) We act like that's just a suggestion to us. But it is not; it's a command. Perhaps if we didn't spend all of our time avoiding that verse and instead focused on obeying it, we would have better relationships with one another. I know that the times I've made a conscious decision to set aside my feelings (which are transient) and focus instead on obeying that verse (which is a firm, unwavering command) I find I enjoy life with my brothers and sisters more. Also, I know the blessing of being a recipient of the supportive emotions of a friend even when I know it's a struggle for them to be happy and/or to weep with or for me. I know there have been times when it puts people out to rejoice with me, or to understand my weeping. But when another Christian takes the time to do that it's an immense and immeasurable blessing. Likewise, when Leslie and Anne finally got on board with each other's lives in a more holistic way, their friendship blossomed and bloomed. Theirs is a friendship that screams Romans 12:15 at me and I'd forgotten what a perfect illustration that they are to that.

Ok, so maybe this isn't a normal review and mostly it's just a note to say that I read the above two titles. I guess this will have to work for now. I'll try not to be a broken record about this crazy stage of life. It's not all that crazy, it's mostly just an adjustment period. Eventually it will be normal and I'll quit saying "I don't have time to write this up!" I promise that I'm aware that I'm gathering perspective and just needing to figure out how to adjust my priorities. If you see a few sloppy, patchwork reviews in the meantime, at least you'll understand why.

Friday, November 13, 2015

We Recommend...

The assignment I gave the kids was to go and choose their favorite picture book off of our shelves. The book had to be one that they really, really enjoyed and one which they would encourage other people to read. Beyond that, I gave no directions and waited to see what they would bring to me. Here were their choices:

Bookworm1 (age 9)

Bookworm1 picked out Little Pea.

It is about a little pea who liked rolling down hills and he liked it when Mama Pea told him stories about herself before bedtime. He liked it when Papa Pea would come home from work and fling little Pea up into the air. But there was one thing that Little Pea did not like. He did not like Candy. Every day for dinner he had to eat candy. He hated all of it. His parents told him that if he would eat all of his candy then he could have dessert . . . spinach!

Everyone should read this book because it is very funny and because I think it is cute.

The following picture was found on Jokeroo. We think it's adorably cute and funny:

Bookworm2 (age 6)

Bookworm2 picked out Can I Play Too?

A little snake comes up to Elephant and Piggie and asks if he can play catch. He cannot play catch because he is a snake. He tries to catch the ball but it just bonks on his head. Then Elephant says, "Let's have more balls!" And Piggie yells out, "More balls!" The snake says, "Oh boy" and got all bonked up.

I think everyone should read this book because it is very funny.

Bookworm3 (age 4)

Bookworm3 picked out A Big Guy Took My Ball!.

The big guy in this book is very big. He took Piggie's ball. Piggie cried. Elephant decides he's going to take the ball from the big guy. Elephant finds out that the big guy is very big.

People should read this book because its very funny. I like it because they end up playing Whale Ball.

Bookworm4 (age 3)

Bookworm4 picked out Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy Town.

He can't explain why. He points to the hippopotamus when asked. Mostly he likes having the family's attention in talking about a book that he is holding in his hand.

He is enjoying sitting and looking at it.

When looking this title up online we discovered that there is a Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy Town (Korea Edition) which we are currently now drooling over. When we go to Korea next, we're going to have to snatch that up!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Midori Spring Matcha Green Tea

I was asked if I'd like to review Midori Spring Organic Ceremonial Matcha - Gold Class - Premium 1st Harvest Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder tea and I said yes because, well, I like tea. (This particular tin has a rather long name for itself, no? It almost promotes itself!)

Now my regular readers around here know that I do enjoy tea but I can't claim that green tea is necessarily my favorite. It's the kind I drink when I feel a cold coming on (or if I already have a cold) but it's not usually something I seek out for its own sake. Also, I am a huge fan of tea bags and haven't dabbled much with blending and seeping and whatnot. I'm interested in doing so, but I haven't yet worked up the courage. (I understand it doesn't take that much courage but on some things I move in baby steps.) That explained, tea is tea and if ever I'm given a chance to try a new kind I find it hard to pass the opportunity by.

The tea arrived and I asked one of my kids if they'd like to give it a try with me. Before giving it a go we watched this instructional video:

Now, I did not have all of the special equipment listed in this video. I do not own a bamboo whisk, for example. However, I did put the power through a strainer to break up any clumps. (There weren't many clumps, by the way. This is a beautifully blended powder as-is.) I whisked in the "m" motion as prescribed until my tea was nice and foamy. My boy and I sat down to taste test and, sure enough, it tasted like a brilliant green tea. It definitely has a stronger more natural green tea flavor than you'll find when using ye olde tea bag. I began to believe the word "premium" on the label. This tea is most definitely green and shares an appearance with green foods powder. As I raised the cup to my mouth I speculated that was what I was going to be tasting, but not so. I tasted green tea - just in its more pure form.

I looked up the benefits of drinking Matcha Green Tea and among the many things it claims to do for you (increased memory, weight loss, etc.), I discovered that Samurai, (the noble warriors of medieval and early-modern Japan), drank Matcha Green Tea before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. I suppose what's good for the Samurai is good for the stay-at-home mom. Except that this stay-at-home mom has a few more modern conveniences to make life easier and so felt justified in adding a little honey to her cuppa. I don't know that Samurai would approve but no matter. The honey took the edge off of the strong green tea flavor which, as I've said, is not necessarily my favorite but which I do have now and again. By the time I was near the end of my cup I found myself adjusting to the stronger flavor and really enjoyed it (with my dollop of honey).

If you love green tea for medicinal purposes or just for an energizing drink, you might wish to consider this Midori Spring Organic Ceremonial Matcha - Gold Class - Premium 1st Harvest Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder. It won't be my go-to but it will be enjoyed every now and again.

I received a sample of the above tea from Life and Food Pro. through their Amazon program. I received no additional compensation and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling, by Karen Campbell (Giveaway)

I wish to confess straight up to having duel motives in reading The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling. I ran across Amy's review and was intrigued by the sound of it. I read her review on a day that was a. day. if you know what I mean. This book sounded like it could have some answers for questions and some encouragement for weariness. I was into my reading of Desperate (linked to review) at the time but that wasn't quite hitting the spot so I thought I'd try this one by Karen Campbell.

Karen Campbell......boy did that name start ringing some very loud bells! I knew that I knew that name. Amy linked over to Campbell's blog, That Mom, and I hastily clicked over and began to scroll through her posts in an effort to confirm that she was who I thought she was. Yup. She was! And I laughed. (I have to confess that part too.) I went to school with one of her sons. Any of my fellow students reading this review will likely understand my enormous curiosity to read a book written by Karen Campbell about homeschooling and parenting. The want-to instantaneously changed into a had-to. Let me be quick to say that the "had to" comes as a result of her son having a rather memorable personality (heh heh heh) and because I know him to have a solid head on his shoulders, a fantastic family, and a faith which has at times ministered to me deeply. But I'll tell you more about that in a minute. First, I ordered the book. Then I read it. Then I spent several days trying to figure out what I was going to say about it. Wish me luck, guys. Wish me luck.

I speculate that reading The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling feels very much like having a sit-down conversation with Mrs. Campbell. I think that a sit-down conversation would be incredibly enjoyable and very encouraging. When you want to ask the question, "Is this homeschooling thing worth it?" she's there assure you that it is and to inspire you in pressing on towards the goal. There is benefit in this book, to be sure. Mrs. Campbell is quite passionate about home schooling, feeling very much that this is the best possible choice you could make in raising and educating your child(ren). Due to her passion I wouldn't say that I would feel comfortable recommending this book to anyone who wasn't serious about homeschooling because, if the reader was hesitant, this book could read off as something of an indictment. I don't think that's what Mrs. Campbell would intend to communicate. However, as someone who reviews books frequently, I have a habit of reading them through the eyes of my friends who sometimes take different stances than I do and as I read through The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling I read it with certain people in mind who I know would disagree with some of Mrs. Campbell's positions. I confess to even seeing a bit of flawed logic in some of her statements. As a result, there are a choosey few I would hand this book over and expect it to encourage them. Mostly I think it would frustrate parents who don't necessarily feel so very strongly that home schooling is the only answer. (Even I don't think that, but I do think out of all of the options it is the ultimate best for our family and I would not willingly choose another option, even on days of discouragement.)

The only real complaint I have towards this book is the amount of "insider knowledge" that I think is required to understand exactly what Campbell is saying and what kind of stands she is hoping to make. A hot topic among many of my raised-in-conservative-homes friends is the new antagonistic feelings towards Bill Gothard and his Advanced Training Institute (ATI). Mrs. Campbell lobs many complaints, both veiled and otherwise, towards ATI throughout the book even though she doesn't always name the organization specifically. It is clear that she does not care for it and rejects the legalistic approach to life and "godliness" which is strongly supported in ATI circles. And here's my side note, bunny trail thoughts on ATI:

I really hate talking about it.

My position is that every age in history has had some heretical teaching which has risen up and distracted God's elect from following after Him. I believe ATI is one of these organizations where one man presented himself as God's prophet (more or less, but pretty much more) and convinced well-meaning Christians that they needed to obey his every directive. Gothard's message as to what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is was simply screwy. Whenever you follow false teachers and bad doctrine you're guaranteed to make some pretty bad decisions and choices with your life and in your family. Bad decisions and bad doctrine have and always will have horrific consequences and this is why scriptures teach us to be wary of wolves in sheep clothing. We must always set all the teaching from man up against the Word of God and judge it. (Yes. I said "judge" and my big and bad, mean-y self actually meant "judge.") If a teacher or teaching is found wanting, discard it. Walk away from them. Avoid anything which draws you away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is true for all ages, all seasons, all generations, and all believers in all centuries until the second coming of Christ. Until He comes again, there will be hoards of false teachers claiming to know truth when they are doing nothing but tying millstones around their own necks. Beware. Be on guard. If you fall prey, turn away as soon as you realize the truth. Be grateful to know truth. Be thankful for salvation. Be enthralled with grace. Be repentant. Be forgiven. Be set free.

Then? Move on. With gratefulness.

I know ATI is a hot topic but the fall out from those "recovering grace" seems to be more painful than it has to be. I do realize that grace now needs to be rightly understood by those who followed Gothard, but at the same time it doesn't seem to be acknowledged that grace was there all along. Yes, Gothard's teachings did do damage. As expected. As is always the case. But the Victor in it all is still Christ. Always Christ. He cannot lose and nothing that anyone has been through is wasted in the eyes of the Redeemer. So my sympathies towards beating the dead Gothard horse (because I do think its rather dead now...) are at a low ebb. Hating Gothard was definitely the thing to be doing in 2014, at the time when Mrs. Campbell's book came out, so I understand the frequent interjections. But it still rankled and it dates the book in the sense that Gothard is trapped in the list of false teachers in the 1980's and 90's. Do be aware of him because someone else will rise up to take his place. But let's not fixate on him to the point of distraction towards the future or the ultimate Victor.  If I were to be more succinct: stay vigilant but keep. moving. along. Whether you were or were not in Gothard's "cult" you could have been wounded by false teaching some place else. I wasn't in ATI but I have scars of different natures. I don't feel like hashing and re-hashing them because my problems are but "light, momentary afflictions" and I believe they are useful in making more more like Christ. I see Gothard in the same light. In the hands of the Redeemer, nothing is wasted.

See? Gothard conversations have a bad tendency to digress from all others. This post is only one more thing to evidence such a thing. Let's move on, shall we? (Yes, you can go ahead and holler into the comment section if you like.)

The main argument that Mrs. Campbell hopes to make with her book is that parents should practice "one another-ing" their kids, using the Sermon on the Mount as her main argument. She goes about making the case that just because our children are our children doesn't mean that we aren't required to treat them with the same love and respect that we give to our fellow adults. Children are valuable and are given to us to raise, yes, but that we need to keep in mind that they are also our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the crux of her message. Although I may not have always agreed with the way she suggests "one anothering" your kids, I do agree with her in general. I do wholeheartedly agree that my children are my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are future adults and, I hope, future friends of mine. But at the present moment, they are also still children who need to be trained up. I think perhaps Mrs. Campbell and I disagree on training methods but, then again, I could be wrong about that! I do understand (and agree!) that ultimately my children belong to God and not to me. My job is to teach them of this and remind them of this as they grow. My job is not to tell them what I want them to do from now and for all time.

Really, I have to say that I wrestled with this book to a large extent. I agreed with her and disagreed and tried to track with her sometimes when I felt like I was failing to do so. I probably agree with her more often than not. I can't at all dismiss the arguments she makes in this book being relevant and/or right because of what happened in our family in 2009. My brother-in-law had just died in a car accident and we were having the memorial service. The time of life immediately following his death was a rocky one and we were in a very loosey-goosey "church" at that moment (which did us absolutely NO favors -- see above comments about false doctrine!). My brother-in-law's memorial service was not at all typical and, looking back on it, I see very little with which I agree with theologically in the manner which his death was handled. At any rate, many of my classmates and friends (who were also at that time friends with my brother-in-law) came to the funeral to show their support. (A fact I now acknowledge to be most generous, all things considered!)

At one point during the memorial service, attendees were asked if they would like to stand up and share something with our family. Various persons stood up and spoke some sweet nothings, all of which I've forgotten. Towards the end of the sharing time though, Karen Campbell's son stood up and addressed the family. He was the only one in the entire room who had an open Bible in his hand as he spoke. I remember thinking this. I remember that he spoke from the Psalms and he offered true words of life and hope and peace. Which passage he read I can't exactly remember but I'll tell you this: the fact that he stood up and addressed us with scripture was deeply impacting and meaningful and provided an anchor for my soul which was being tossed about by severely troubled waters. The scriptures being delivered to me were the only things that matter in that moment. All the well wishers in the world truly don't mean a thing without Christ as the cornerstone.

I thought on this event throughout the second half of reading The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling and despite whatever else I might say or not say about the book itself, I can, without a doubt, confirm that Mr. and Mrs. Campbell have striven to apply themselves to the Word of God on the matter of raising and homeschooling their six children. The proof is in what I have witnessed of their son and, that said, I have a great deal of respect for Mrs. and Mr. Campbell both. I would be a fool not to have this respect.

One another-ing one's own kids is really hard to do. Especially when you are around them 24/7 and in several roles (some of which many families choose to assign to other people). A homeschooling mom is always "on" and seldom off. I appreciated this book because it reminded me to cut myself some slack, give myself a break now and then (without guilt!), and to press into scripture and prayer to do this most important work. Sometimes you just need a pat on the back and a good laugh to get you going again and I felt very much like that was what Mrs. Campbell offered. For that I am grateful.

Now, if you made it through this review then I owe you a pat on the back. I ordered this book off of Amazon which, as you can see, is a little pricey. I could turn around and resell it but truly I'd rather pass it along to another homeschooling mom who might be feeling a bit parched. If that's you, and you think you could glean from this book, then leave a comment below and I'll mail it off to the first person who speaks up for it.

(If you are a classmate and feel the "have to" pull towards the book, I do understand. Ha!! However, unless you are a homeschooling parent then I'll refer you to the Amazon link.)

This book might not exactly scratch your whole back, but it could help with the itch. If you think it might then please do allow me to send it your direction.

P.S. If the parents of a few other of my classmates ever write books, I'll read theirs too. And you've gotta know who they are. ;)
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