Meet me in Iowa!

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Hi, Friends!

Just a wee update to let you know that I’ll be speaking at the Homeschool Iowa Conference next week!

Here are the topics I’ll be covering:

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Technology and Your Homeschool

Is technology really all that important? How should you use it in your homeschool? When should you not use it? Learn some creative ways to integrate technology in your homeschool and have your eyes opened about dangerous technological advances you and your family needs to know about.

autism

Homeschooling Children with Autism

Has God called you to teach your child with autism at home? Do you wonder what the most important skills are to teach? Get practical tips on coping with tantrums, learning social skills, and leading your child to God. As children with autism grow up, what life skills are important to teach them? What can a parent do about aggressive, oppositional behavior? Learn how Karla taught her own sons with autism. What were the most valuable lessons of all? Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers.

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Homeschooling Typical Children and Children with Special Needs Using the Same Curriculum

Do you ever feel as if you’re in over your head? Worried that you aren’t qualified to teach your special needs child? Learn why you’re the expert on your child and their condition. Get practical tips on helping them succeed through finding the right resources, building a supportive network, and accessing the right therapies. Learn what therapies worked and didn’t when Karla taught her own children with autism, ADHD, intellectual disabilities, speech disabilities and dyslexia. Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers.

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Creative Writing in the Homeschool

Have a gifted writer in the family? Learn from published author, Karla Akins, how to foster that gift with practical tips and creative writing ideas. She will also share the climate of publishing today, and a brief introduction to self-publishing in today’s market.

I can’t wait to meet you!

By the way I’m giving away goodies in a drawing while there, too!

  • O Canada Her Story (print) — Autographed
  • Sacagawea (ebook) – Autographed coupon
  • Jacques Cartier (ebook) – Autographed coupon
  • What Really Happened in the Middle Ages (print) — Autographed
  • What Really Happened in Colonial Times (print)– Autographed
  • Scented wax warmer
  • The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots (print) — Autographed

And those are the just the goodies I’m giving away in the overall conference. My table will also have a beautiful gift package drawing you can enter, too.

See you in Iowa!

If I were coming to your state, what would you like me to speak on?  Check here for a list of topics! And let me know in the comments below!

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Writer Wednesday with Award-Winning Author, Bob Hostetler

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I met Bob Hostetler at a recent ACFW-Indiana meeting. I had no idea how much I admired his work until I saw his book table. And there it was. A book that had a huge influence on my life as a youth minister and teen Sunday School teacher:

I raised my kids and a whole passel of other kids on this book. It’s an excellent apologetic in layman’s terms. I think I’ve quoted most of it for the past 20 years over and over again. The title itself is one of my favorite phrases.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Bob during our luncheon that day and he was nice enough to agree to an interview!

Grab your cuppa (I’ve got my iced tea ready!) and get ready to glean wisdom from an award-winning, best-selling author. 

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Bob! I’m really looking forward to your next book! And I don’t care if I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl. Its delicious purple cover (purple is my FAVE) and delectable content has me salivating already!

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Click to tweet please!

Bob says, “Don’t check your brains at the door!”

Ruminations on the “F” word

fbombWhen I was growing up the F word was the one forbidden word that no cussing heathen ever said in the presence of a lady. And a lady certainly never used such language.

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Today, F bombs are used as casually by the youthful masses as toothpaste. Their vocabularies have become so limited that it’s the most accessible word on the tips of their tongues. In casual day to day conversation it can be heard a myriad of times. Movies, music and other media have certainly contributed to this.

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Call me old-fashioned, but I still find it offensive. The only word I find more offensive is taking the Lord’s Name in vain.

I’m not better than someone who uses the F word or the Lord’s Name as a curse, but I do hope I never become so accustomed to such language that I don’t cringe the way I do now when I hear it. I stray from movies that use those words because they cause a visceral reaction in my gut. I. Do. Not. Like. Them. Call me an old fuddy-duddy but that’s where I am on the matter.

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It occurred to me that people who use the F word may not realize there are other options. So I’m writing this post to solve that problem. I propose that society replace the current F word with the following:

“What the floccinaucinihilipilification were you thinking?” (floccinaucinihilipilification: setting at little or no value ).

I mean, isn’t that a lot more impressive? It has 28 letters! And surely our counterparts would be dazzled. Their word has only 4  measly characters!

Untitled design-7Okay, so maybe the meaning isn’t all that great. How about this one then:

“Oh, fadoodle!” (fadoodle: nonsense). This one may not appeal to the younger masses because it sounds exactly like something an old granny like me would say. I like it. I’m going to adopt it.

Let’s consider these instead:

“Fiddle-faddle!” (An oldie but goodie; means trifling talk. It’s also some really great popcorn! My favorite is butter toffee. What’s yours?)

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“Fiddlededee!” (Scarlet O’Hara used this. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me. Means nonsense.)

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“Flapdoodle!” (Means gross flattery; nonsense.)

“Flexiloquent!” (Speaking ambiguously or using words of doubtful meaning. This one is rather appropriate, I think.)

“Futtock!” (This one sounds way too similar to the offensive word. Besides, it means the rib of a ship, and in context of swearing would be a little silly.)

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As for me, I’m sticking with floccinaucinihilipilification ?/fläks??nôs??n??hil??pil?fi?k?SH?n/. The next time one of my younger counterparts uses their F word, I’m going to use mine. By the time I get done saying it, they’ll nod off.

And my ears will be singed no more.

(For more impressive F words check out The Phrontistery.)

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“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” Colossians 4:6

Pinterest Cooking Sleepover Recipes

The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop!

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop.

Then add your recipe post to mine with the linky codes at the end of this post.

Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe!

Pinterest Cooking Sleepover Recipes

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It’s been a long cold winter in NE Indiana. The kind of winter that calls for lots of comfort food. (Thank goodness for baggy sweaters!)

Last Friday I invited all the girls at our church, ages K-12 grade, to a Pinterest cooking sleepover. It was a total blast and I can’t wait to share the recipes we tried! I’ve been collecting Pinterest recipes for a long time on my Pinterest board. I will never find enough time to make all of them, but having a cooking sleepover allowed us to make and try six different fattening and  delicious recipes! Some were a hit and others were so-so. All were kid-friendly and fun.

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Before we started our cooking activities, I reminded the girls how God made us with His hands and how special we are to Him. I asked them to remember as we worked with our hands, how God loves what He made just as we love what we make. I reminded them that they are royalty–the daughters of the King of Kings.

Recipe 1:

Pepperoni Roll-ups

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Bing free-use image. I forgot to take pics of our finished products but this is exactly how we served them up!

This was so easy and the kids loved doing it. They were delicious, too.

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I spread parchment paper all along the table and after the girls washed their hands, gave them each two crescent roll doughs, five pepperonis and a handful of mozzarella cheese. Most recipes call for a stick of string cheese, but using grated cheese was less expensive.

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I had the help of three other adults and the older girls pitched in and helped the younger girls. This activity worked for all ages and all abilities. One of our teens has autism and an intellectual disability and she had no trouble participating like everyone else. We all had fun eating the pepperoni and cheese, too, as we worked!

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We used cupcake paper to put the spaghetti sauce in for dipping when we served them. The girls loved them. They were surprisingly filling, too! (Uh, the roll-ups, not the girls!)

Since we have a western theme going on for our Children’s ministry, while the roll-ups were cooking, I read them a cute little book about a little cowboy and a very bossy cowgirl who’s a know-it-all: Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door. We talked about how to be a good friend and the difference between being bossy and being a leader. The book also emphasizes forgiveness, so we were able to discuss that as well. (And yes, the teen girls were just as engaged. I find that teens love story books.)

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door

The next thing we made were loaded nachos! I modified a very spicy recipe for little girl palates so it wasn’t so hot. We used Scoops brand Tostitos for the girls to put the filling in themselves. (Adults mixed the filling.)

Recipe 2

Loaded Nachos (for kids)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cans refried beans
  • 2 cans whole kernel sweet corn drained (I think you could easily use frozen as long as it’s thawed and drained first)
  • 1 can nacho cheese sauce
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (2 could be used if your kids like spicier foods)
  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese

Instructions:

Mix together and put in Sccops shells (you could spread this over a pan of chips, too)

Other recipes include beef or chicken, jalapenos and avocados. Any mix like this can be modified to your family’s preferences.

After the shells are filled, sprinkle Mexican mix cheese (Colby and cheddar) over top. Put in oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted on the top. Serve.

NOM! Just typing this makes me hungry!

This recipe made two full cookie sheet pans. The picture above doesn’t do justice to how delicious this was! And all the adults agreed these would make great little hors d’ourves for a party!

Recipe 3

“Gourmet” Hot Cocoa

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Again, I modified a Pinterest recipe. If you do a search on Pinterest for “Crock-pot Hot Cocoa” you’ll find lots of variations. Here’s what I put in our 8 quart crock-pot (this is not diet-friendly by any means but it’s delicious!)

  • 2 bags chocolate chips (you can use any kind, we used bittersweet)
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups heavy whipped cream
  • 12 cups milk (almost a gallon — we used 2%)

Heat in crock-pot on low being careful not to scald it. Stir often as the chips melt. When I served it to the little girls I added cold milk to their cups to cool it off. I served the adults straight up and hot. We didn’t have any marshmallows but I think that would have ruined it, actually. It was so good!

Recipe 4

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

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We had beautiful red, juicy strawberries but my method of making dipping chocolate bombed. I’d read a blog from Pinterest that said you could just melt chocolate chips. Don’t believe it. I knew better because I’ve helped my friend make candy before and she’s super picky about “tempering the chocolate.” But, I thought I’d try it.

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If you’re going to dip chocolate, get a dipping chocolate. That’s my number one recommendation. It really is a science. Bakers has a great dipping chocolate for the microwave that is super easy to use.  I’ve used it in a special education class before and you really can’t ruin it.

Next time I’ll use a chocolate fountain. I’ve successfully used those before without failure.

So what happened? I must have gotten the chocolate chips too hot and they hardened in the bowl. So I added butter and it helped some, but still it wasn’t thin enough for dipping. So I gave each girl a spoonful of chocolate in their own little bowl and plopped their strawberries on them. And, as it often does when you cook a flop, those strawberries and chocolate were the most popular treat of the night!  Everyone begged for more.

Recipe 5

Cherry Pizza

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Who doesn’t love cherry pizza? The teen girls made this easy-peasy treat and we served it for breakfast:

Ingredients:

  • Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
  • Can of cherry filling
  • Cream cheese frosting (we made ours from scratch; recipe here)
  • Butter
  • Granola

Instructions:

Roll out the pie crusts (we used two pie crust to make two pizzas) and slather with butter. Bake until browned. Remove from oven and spread 1 can of cherries on each pie crust. Drizzle with cream cheese frosting and granola. Serve.

We didn’t put the frosting and granola on the pizzas until the next morning. (We re-heated the pizzas first.) They disappeared fast! Nothing was left!

Recipe 6

Cheesecake Cake Batter Dip

The girls’ favorites were the strawberries. But my favorite was this dip. I was exhausted by the time we got to this point and it felt so good to settle in with my hot cocoa and this dip with graham crackers. The teen girls mixed this one up themselves. It was sooo good! Instead of serving it dip-like, we frosted graham crackers with it for the little ones. Us older girls dipped to our heart’s content.

I found this recipe on Pinterest but the pin was taken straight IWashYouDry.com (see URL on the picture caption above). There are other variations on this recipe on Pinterest using Funfetti cake mix, so check those out, too. I chose this one because I love the tang of cream cheese and sour cream. Our first batch tasted “funny” and I think it was the vanilla. I think we got a bad bottle. So we threw that batch out and made another without the vanilla and it was scrumptious.

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup white cake mix
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sprinkles
  • Graham Crackers for dipping
Instructions:
  1. Place cream cheese in your mixing bowl and beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes, or until it becomes light and whipped.
  2. Bring speed down to medium and add the sour cream and vanilla, mix until incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar and cake mix to the bowl and mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then gently fold in the sprinkles.
  3. Serve cold with graham crackers, pretzels, or fresh fruit slices. Enjoy!

I can hear the Mommies of the Year yelling at me about how unhealthy these treats were. This is not something I recommend serving on a regular basis. These were party foods. One night of supreme, delectable indulgence.  And because there were so many of us, there was little chance of over-indulging.

Besides, I’ve promised the girls that at our next sleepover in the summer, we’ll have a pool party and consume copious amounts of fruits and vegetables to make up for it! I see lots of smoothies in my future.

If you have any cute raw fruit and veggie recipes, send them my way!

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Emissary by Thomas Locke — 4 out of 5 stars

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I know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover, but really, what’s not to like about this gorgeous work of art? It’s the perfect marquee for this new fantasy series by Thomas Locke. It depicts the flavor and mood of this story perfectly.

I don’t read fantasy as a rule, but because it’s such a popular genre for the younger set, including Millennials, I wanted to read it as a way get to know why they love this type of story. Walk into any bookstore these days and the shelves overflow with novels featuring wizardry and witchcraft. These books appeal to those who cut their teeth on Harry Potter and fantasy role-playing and video games.  They crave more stories that take them into the land of fairy tales and magic.

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Map of The Realm

I am one of the few who hasn’t read Harry Potter due to my own personal convictions. And I will admit being wary of this book. However, I do believe Locke has tapped into a market that desires a less dark fantasy experience. There is no overt Christian message, but there is definitely a main character to admire and a quest to be fought for. The thing to remember when reading fiction, Dear Reader, is that it is Fantasy.

Locke himself stated on his blog that he wants to take his readers on a story journey similar to what he loved reading while growing up:

“During our formative years – up until around age 30 – we are reinforcing our world view when we read for entertainment. But much of the fantasy that’s being published today doesn’t offer that sense of courage and inspiration that used to be prevalent in fantasy and science fiction novels.

Of course, not all of the “classic” authors wrote uplifting work. Ray Bradbury is one example. But even Bradbury’s writing gave me a sense of mind-bending escape and the opportunity to dream and envision more than what was available in world around me.

The books I loved most offered hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for growing into someone who could have these sorts of adventures. I want to infuse that hopefulness into my characters, and not give in to the temptation of creating characters who are only bitter and cynical.

In Emissary, key themes include courage in the face of fear, travel to unknown destinations, and new personal avenues of growth and development. I’ve tried to bring each of these into a story structure that’s applicable to today’s culture.”

I was quite surprised how quickly I was drawn into the story. Usually I read historical or political suspense, but I found myself smiling and turning page after page, eager to learn what Hyam, the main character, would face next.

Since I cut my  own teeth on Catherine Marshall and Janette Oke novels (as well as classics such as Little Women and The Yearling), it was a stretch for me to keep track of the visible and invisible in this story. It was also a stretch to “believe” the fantasy (which is a very strange oxymoronic thing to experience and explain). But Locke does a brilliant job of clarifying and describing his made-up world. His writing is seamless, and I found myself actually lost in the story instead of paying attention to his craft. Only good writing can do that. Occasionally there was a word or two I’d need to Google, but not often, and I only Googled them because I’m the curious sort, and I don’t mind learning new turns of phrase and words. Again, had I cut my teeth on such books, perhaps I’d have known what they meant.

This story is about a young man named Hyam who is able to speak several languages. He has the gift of magic which is forbidden in the realm. As a young child he was trained by wizards at a Long Hall, a place which he hated.

Due to a series of unexpected events, he is called to turn away from everything he has ever known in order to save those who may not even have his best interest at heart.

I kept looking for an allegorical message since it is classified as Christian Fiction, and I didn’t really find a consistent one. However, the protagonist is noble, and the values are clearly upright. Loyalty, courage and honesty are visible in the protagonist’s imperfect character.
Here’s the trailer for the book:

For other personal reasons, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not because it’s not beautifully written because it is. And if you like fantasy, and you’d like to find something uplifting and heroic to read without all the gory darkness, this book is definitely for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

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Reaching for the moon

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Dear Young, Strong Girls, things weren’t always as they are today.

Used to be, strong women such as Jerrie Cobb, Bernice Steadman, Janey Hart, Jerri Truhill, Rhea Woltman, Sarah Ratley, Jan and Marion Dietrich, Myrtle Cagle, Irene Leverton, Gene Nora Jessen, Jean Hixson, and Wally Funk, who passed the same tests as other astronauts competing for a spot on a trip to the moon, would be denied the chance simply because they were female.

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Because strong women such as these never gave up on pursuing the dreams God placed in their heart–the dreams they were born to do–we now have many more choices in the United States and allowed to compete for the same jobs as men. Gender has no role.

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I know some people think there’s a war against us in the United States, but trust me, it’s nothing like it used to be and the war is with a very different enemy. Satan hates women and he’ll do everything he can to suppress them. He delights in seeing your dreams squashed because you are powerful and influential. He’s scared of you.

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I’m always encouraged when I see strong women go after a dream. In some way it strengthens me and gives me courage to keep working toward the dreams in my own heart.

Surround yourself with other strong girls and women. Take courage from their persistence and tenacity. Learn about all the strong women you can. I believe it will encourage you to go forth and conquer!

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To learn more about the remarkable women who reached for the moon during the Mercury space program check out these links:

Women in Space.

She Should Have Gone to the Moon

Women of the Mercury Era

And enjoy the following videos (embedding for the first one has been disabled, but it’s very good, so please check it out!):

Click here:    Mercury 13 – The Secret Astronauts (Part-1)

Part 2:


The Mercury 13:

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Psalm 8

 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

What dream is in your heart? How does the enemy try to stop it? What will you do to win? Share with others in the comments below. We need to encourage one another!

Strong Girls aren’t Mean Girls part III

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A few weeks ago I wrote to you, dear Strong Girls, about standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

Today I want to share a great Strong Girl story with you.

Last night, in front of thousands of people, Anahi Alvarez gave her Homecoming Queen crown to her friend, Lillian Skinner.

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Lillian, described as sweet and innocent, was targeted by mean girls and told she’d been nominated as Homecoming Queen, which wasn’t true. When her friends, Anahi Alvarez, and Naomi Martinez, who were nominated as Homecoming Queen, found out, they vowed that if they won the crown, they’d give it to Lillian.

Watch the amazing report here:

 

Today, I’m happy to award the first Strong Girl Commendation Award to Strong Girls Anahi Alvarez, Namoi Martinez and Lillian Skinner.

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Do you know a Strong Girl who should receive this award? Let me know and I’ll honor her here.

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Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door by Denette Fretz: 5/5 stars

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I chose to review Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door for BookLook Bloggers because we use a western theme in our children’s department. Every child has their own cowboy hat and a bandana that says “Giddyup with God.”

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(I’d love to post a picture of the kids reading this book, but do not have parental permission.)

I plan to use this book in our super church (children’s church) services and later during our fall festival which will also have a western theme.

I was more than delighted with this story about a child greenhorn named Conrad who goes to a ranch to learn how to be a cowboy. Once there, he meets a know-it-all cowgirl named Imogene Louise Lanthrup who makes learning the ropes a real challenge.

The illustrations, by Gene Barretta  are delightful. Barretta has illustrated 25 books, six of which he wrote. His illustrations and animations have appeared on Sesame Street and Between the Lions. He’s also designed characters for The Jim Henson Company.

Author Denette Fretz is a vetern elementary teacher and the author of Pirates on the Farm, book one of The Next Door Series.

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From the publisher:

It’s a good thing Conrad brought his Mega Ultimate Extreme First Aid Kit to Uncle Clint’s ranch because learning how to be a cowboy turns out to be a lot harder—and more painful—than he thought. Conrad has a lot to learn – including don’t squat with spurs on and never wave your red sweatshirt at a bull. But the biggest challenge of all is dealing with Imogene Louise Lathrup, the know-it-all-cowgirl next door. When Imogene shows up, she is all too happy to point out Conrad’s shortcomings. In this follow-up to their debut hit Pirates on the Farm, author Denette Fretz and illustrator Gene Barretta team up once again to tell a humorous tale about what it means to love your neighbor.

From the author’s own hand:

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I give this delightful book five out of five stars for its message of forgiveness and perseverance. I can hardly wait to share it with the children at my church.

5 star review

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I review for BookLook Bloggers

Lies Strong Girls refuse to believe

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There are a lot of lies out there. But just because they exist doesn’t mean we have to believe them. From the beginning of time the enemy, Satan, has been lying to women, twisting God’s Words and causing them to doubt Truth.

Here are some lies that flow through today’s culture. Lies you don’t have to believe.

Lies a Strong Girl stands up to and dares to defy:

  1. It doesn’t matter who your friends are.
  2. It doesn’t matter how you dress–fashion is more important than modesty.
  3. It’s okay to talk trash about people behind their backs.
  4. It’s okay to use profanity.
  5. Pretty girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not pretty enough.”
  6. Skinny girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not skinny enough.”
  7. Only girls/women who have a boyfriend are worthy.
  8. Your value is based upon how many friends you have on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram (you get the picture…)
  9. It doesn’t matter what music I listen to or movies I watch.
  10. It doesn’t matter what I post online.
  11. It doesn’t matter what I text.
  12. It’s okay to experiment with sex as long as it’s not intercourse.
  13. You can hate your parents or other family members and friends and still be a Christian.
  14. The most important thing in life is to have fun.
  15. Being sexy is more important than being modest.
  16. Education isn’t important or “I’m not smart enough.”
  17. It doesn’t matter how you earn your money just as long as you have the latest gadget or fad.
  18. You’ll never keep a boyfriend unless you have sex with him.
  19. I’m stuck and the only way out is to do something against what I believe.
  20. I’ll never have a friend I can trust.

Through the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing these lies and what our response should be to them.

What lies have you been told?

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Strong Girl: Malala Yousafzai

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Imagine riding the bus home from school and being ambushed by the taliban because you blog about girls getting an education.

This is what happened to Malala Yousafzai on a Tuesday, October 9, 2012.

The young militants opened fire on the bus, shot Malala in the head and neck, wounded two others, and left them for dead.

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They thought they’d silenced Malala forever but they were wrong. She survived and has continued to spread her message that a girls’ education benefits everyone. It reduces mortality rates, increases lifetime wage earnings, and strengthens democracy.

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Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. She is the youngest person to have ever been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Malala’s father sounds a lot like my dad. My dad never limited me because I was a girl. He always told me I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. Malala’s dad owned a school and encouraged his daughter to write and go to school even though he lived in a society that prized sons more than daughters.

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In July 2013, on her 16th birthday, Malala addressed the United Nations General Assembly:

“We must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance.  We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools.  We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.  So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.”

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Malala reminds us that some girls face death for going to school. Terrorist groups in Afghanistan and other oppressed areas of the world continue to threaten and attack female students and teachers. Things were improving in some places but with limited presence of the United States in these oppressed areas, girls lives are in danger if they read books and go to school.

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Clearly, Malala is a strong girl with big dreams. The next time you’re tempted to skip school, think of the price other girls in the world pay for the right to learn. Strong girls are readers. Strong girls are educated. Strong girls, like Malala, have the courage to stand up and not sit down for what is right.

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How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16

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