Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Could Do This All Night (Guest Post - Beth Pensinger)

My dog Daisy has a stubborn streak. You can see it in the defiant lift of her head.

Image Credit - B. Pensinger

Within the confines of our backyard fence, I am boss. She is completely obedient. But when we step out into the wide world, Daisy likes to tune me out.

There was a time when I used to walk her around the neighborhood without a leash. I’m not sure what happened, but the hound in her mutt blood must’ve won out and she started chasing anything with four legs and fur. Needless to say, she’s back under leash arrest. This doesn’t make me happy. I like it when she’s obedient so she can trot freely beside me, sniffing recycle bins and cat poop to her hearts content.

Image Credit - Beth Pensinger
If she takes a #2 while I have her on the leash, I make her sit before I bend down to clean it up. Poo patrol is a nasty business made only worse by Daisy potentially jeopardizing my already klutzy center of gravity. So the other night after she took care of business, I told her to sit.


I tried to imitate a man’s deep voice and barked the command a few more times.

Nada. So I grabbed her by the snout and forced her to lock eyes with mine.

“Sit.” I said through clenched teeth.

The only movement she made was to try to wrestle her face out of my iron grip. I was ahead in the staring competition, but that was about it. Suddenly, I laughed. This was a battle of wills, and I was going to win.

“Oh girl,” I said. “I could do this all night.” Thankfully not long after, she waved her white flag.

I was consumed with the showdown for the remainder of our walk. I am often made aware of scary parallels between me and my dog and me and God. Only I’m Daisy and God takes my place.

Image Credit - Beth Pensinger
In this particular parallel, I think God is happy when I’m obedient so I can trot freely beside Him. He takes no pleasure in placing me under leash arrest. But when I consistently tune Him out, what else can I expect? He knows if I chase the cat, I’ll end up at a very busy and dangerous highway that’s not to be trifled with.

Yet I continue to be stubborn once on the leash. He tells me to do something and I refuse. He locks eyes with mine and we engage in a battle of wills. He repeats His command—hopefully not through clenched teeth—and I look away.

“Oh daughter,” He says. “I could do this all night.”

He’s so right.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
                                                                                         - Hebrews 12:5-6
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Image Credit - Beth Pensinger
I am so thankful for Beth's friendship, inspiration, and encouragement since meeting her in May of 2012 at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. 

It was my pleasure to help critique her newly published book, Let Me Fall.  She is certainly no dimwit. The story of her journey with God is an engrossing one. 

She has a passion for young women who will identify with the struggles she unravels in this insightful offering. If you or someone you know loves a good Romance novel, this book is probably for you - and not for the reasons you think!  
To visit her blog: click here.

To find her on Facebook: click here.

You'll find her on Twitter: by clicking here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What if Disaster Came to Visit?

I was going about my complicated life thinking complicated thoughts when the
Courtesy D. Horrocks
Moore, Oklahoma tornado hit. In an instant, my life seemed much less  complicated. How about you?

I cannot wrap my head around recreating life from rubble that looks like a box of spilled matchsticks.

My community of bloggers and I began to wonder what we could do and how. My friend, Tabitha, suggested a campaign to highlight the work of Samaritan’s Purse which quickly moved into the area to assist in recovery.

Samaritan’s Purse is the parent organization for Operation Christmas Child. Many of you have probably packed shoe boxes at Christmas bound for children overseas.

I enjoyed three wonderful years working with OCC training volunteers who were preparing the boxes for overseas shipping. Knowing the organization like I do, I quickly signed on for the suggested campaign. 

The news cycle is shifting. The recovery has only begun. I wonder how quickly I'd feel forgotten after the satellite trucks move on to the next big story.

Today, my blogging community and I would like to invite you to reach out and touch Oklahoma from where ever you are. Every dollar contributed goes to the two organizations linked below. You choose your recipient organization.
Won't you share this post with everyone you know? 

Inspired to Help

The devastation in the United State's Midwest region breaks our hearts, and the Inspired Bloggers Network desires to use our influence and the power of our blogs to make a difference.

How Can We Help?

Volunteer One of the charities we are choosing to feature, Samaritan's Purse, is currently enlisting volunteers. So, if you are close to the areas affected, please visit the Samaritan's Purse website to see how you can serve those in need. (Click here to see an on the ground report.)
“Our prayers are with all of those who are suffering because of this massive storm. We are going to stand by them and do everything we can to help them recover physically, emotionally and spiritually.” - Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham
Volunteers are already in action and more help is needed. Please consider donating your time to Samaritan's Purse and if you are not available to serve physically, keep those who are working in your prayers. Contribute If you are Inspired to Help, please make a donation to either Samaritan's Purse or the American Red Cross to support their relief efforts in Texas and Oklahoma and help us track our impact by marking the amount you donated in the form below. If you would like, you can let us know you joined our effort by commenting on one of our blogs listed below.
samaritans purse donation button american red cross donate button
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The following bloggers are all participating in the Inspired to Help campaign by posting a call to give on their blogs on Memorial Day... Monday, May 27th.
Please visit one or all of these blogs for their personal thoughts on the Inspired to Help campaign.

What is the Inspired Bloggers Network?

The Inspired Bloggers Network is a group of over 250 women bloggers of various niches, backgrounds, and experiences but all are united as they seek to support and encourage one another while growing their blogs in order to impact the world in a positive way.

How to join the InspiredBN

To join the Inspired Bloggers Network, you must be 1) female and 2) a blogger. Ask to join our Facebook group HERE. For questions or media inquiries, please contact Tabitha.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Homeschool Conferences: What's in it for You?

Are you are pumped over the early arrival of next year’s curriculum? Maybe you are wondering if you’ll finish this year’s work in time to start again next fall.

Homeschool conventions are an invaluable resource for both the confident and struggling homeschool family. The return on investment of time, energy, and cost to attend a conference is exponential.

Wondering what a conference has to offer?

1) Conventions are like huge family reunions. Whether your family is large with lots of littles or small with only a couple of teens, you will know you’ve found your tribe. Everyone gets you. There is nothing to explain. It’s fun to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.

2) Vendor halls provide direct communication with curriculum experts. There’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation with curriculum providers while you peruse their products. You’ll have the chance to talk to other families who’ve used what you’re salivating over. Between the two, you will feel empowered to make better curriculum decisions for the year ahead.

3) Workshops offer a variety of topics meaning you will be encouraged and reassured in a variety of ways. Conferences release schedules ahead of time. Take the time to look them over, and define the types of workshops offered. Map out a preliminary plan of the ones that seem to resonate with you. Be flexible as sessions sometimes fill up, or speaker line ups change at the last minute.

4) Sessions topics vary widely but typically include information about the following subjects: vendor product lines, parenting/marriage enrichment, special needs concerns, practical ‘how to’ ideas, entrepreneurial opportunities, budgeting/financial support, time management, transcript prep, College Board testing, and tracks specifically for teens and children.

In addition to mapping out your session interest list, there are other things you can do to prepare for a successful conference.

1) Expect to be overwhelmed if it is your first conference. Plan    crockpot or make ahead casserole meals for your return home.    Make two days before and after the conference teacher work    days. Use the ones before to get your house in order. Use the    ones after to rest up, refocus, regroup and, of course, do    laundry.

2) Invite a few friends to go along. We always feel less    overwhelmed if we know there will be a friendly face in the    crowd. 

3) Check the website for food/snack policies and providers before you go. Some conferences are more flexible than others about   bringing outside food in to the venue. Knowing the policies and  vendors represented, you can make a plan that works for your  family.

4) Check the website vendor list and research curriculum you    want to see when you arrive. Have your list of questions ready   because reps will be eager to answer them. 

5) Don’t be shy. Speak to strangers. The mom next to you at the vendor booth may have the information you need. The mom seated next to you may live in your community and have children the same ages as yours. Can you say, “Park day!”

6) It’s o.k. to take a breather when information overload hits.   Most conferences record sessions and offer copies for a minimal fee.

7) If you travel, plan your packing to include room for purchases   made while at the convention.  Plan your budget before you   arrive lest you get carried away and overspend. After all, homeschoolers never meet a book they didn’t love, right?

8) Expect to return home energized and equipped for new challenges ahead. Don’t forget to share your new found enthusiasm with friends who didn’t get to attend.

9) Consult your state’s homeschool organization for a list of conferences in your area. Most states have multiple listings of local and state wide conferences and book sales, and many will take place in the next couple of months.

If you are looking for a great regional conference, consider Teach
Source: Kathy Ulrich Balman
Them Diligently. In addition to conferences in Nashville and Omaha, TTD is hosting a variety of upcoming ‘marketplace’ place events. There is sure to be one near you. 

To check out TTD’s upcoming conferences, click the link below. 

To check out the TTD market place events, click the following link:

To find TTD on Facebook, click here: