Doesn’t Ellie Melt You?

Well, maybe Ellie doesn’t, since she’s not your dog, but she completely melts me. She’s so adorable!

Here are some random pictures.


In the morning, she loves to be on someone's lap for Bible time. She's growing so quickly, I'm not sure how this is going to work when she's full grown!
In the morning, she loves to be on someone’s lap for Bible time. She’s growing so quickly, I’m not sure how this is going to work when she’s full grown!




This is the life!
This is the life!




“I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy …”
Psalm 31:7

Mary Shares on Her Operation Christmas Child Packing Experience

Joseph and my time at Operation Christmas Child was so exciting. I loved to think about how those boxes would bring HUGE smiles to the children receiving them. It was great to see boxes with notes. There were many “Ahh, look at this note!” moments to show the rest of the team an adorable note. Each was written with a lot of love. My other favorite was to see the boxes that were stuffed full.

I really enjoyed working with Joseph all the days too. When the brothers get married, it’s rare to get to spend that much time one on one with them like that! We both had fun getting acquainted with each step of the process. I think my favorite part was packing the shoeboxes into the box they’d ship in. It was a fun challenge for me to see how many boxes we could fit in. Fifteen had to fit in each one, but the more the better. The older kids tended to get bigger boxes, which took some creativity to get all 15 packed in there.

If you are considering doing shoeboxes this year, I would recommend doing either the older children or younger children. They have roughly double the middle age group. You might also consider doing older boys. They seemed to get the very least, and when I was looking through the boxes, I noticed theirs were often quite empty. Some ideas for their boxes would be tools, soccer ball and pump, fishing supplies, hat, shirt, flip flops, toothbrush and soap, candy, and certainly school supplies.

I hope you will share some of Christ’s love to these kids this year through Operation Christmas Child.

Thank you, Joseph and Elissa, for such an amazing trip that I will always remember.

Serving Jesus,

If you look hard, you’ll find me in this picture!
Here I’m fitting boxes into a large box.
Joseph and Elissa blessed me so much by taking me to OCC!


“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
James 1:27

Sarah Takes a Trip

Life has been a whirlwind lately, with work, Ellie, and then preparing for a short trip. It’s been 5+ years since I’ve flown, and Thursday morning, I boarded a plane to visit a friend. The flight was short and sweet, although 5 years had erased my memory of how small each seat is. Coupled with a completely full flight: I abandoned the idea of getting out my laptop!

I’ll have more pictures later, but here are a few. And yes, I actually did leave Ellie. I had this trip planned pre-Ellie! She has become my little buddy, and I wasn’t sure how she was going to do, but she’s done very well with the family taking care of her. I’ll be back Tuesday, so it’s a short trip.

Tiffany and her family came to a conference many years ago, and we’ve been friends since.



Doing some shopping after arriving in town.


Tiffany and a little sister.
Tiffany and a little sister.

“Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his,
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”
Psalm 30:4

A Child’s Favorite Family: The Moodys!

What I’m going to share below is the sort of thing that makes my day. Six-year-old Olivia drew a picture of the Moodys to help her four-year-old brother keep track of the characters. It’s a pretty amazing picture, and this young lady is only 6! If you don’t have a set of the Moody books, grab your copy now!



“The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him;
and all the upright in heart shall glory.”
Psalm 64:5

The Number One Puppy Training Tool

Or at least, so we think! Let me introduce you to Stewart’s Beef Liver Treats. We buy a large 21 ounce container from Amazon, which supposedly has about 475 pieces. (The Amazon links in this post are affiliate. Read our disclosure/privacy policy here.) Then, because the pieces are large, and we’re using them frequently to train, we cut each piece into 4-8 bites. I put those into a container, and I keep a sandwich-size bag stocked with them in my pocket for when I train Ellie.


You can see how large the chunks are on the right. I cut them into smaller pieces as you can see slightly to the left.
You can see how large the chunks are on the right. I cut them into smaller pieces as you can see slightly to the left.

Right now, Ellie is learning several commands, but her best so far is “Off.” I can hold a treat in my open hand, and she will sit there and watch. As soon as I say “Yes,” she will take it. I’ve tried the standard dog biscuit types of treats, and while those are so-so to her, liver is hands-down her favorite. I think you’ll find, as we have, that your dog will respond enthusiastically to liver treats.

So, need something to help with your dog training? Check out Stewart’s Beef Liver Treats.


Ellie's amazing with learning "off."
Ellie’s amazing with learning “off.”


“Blessed be the LORD,
who daily loadeth us with benefits,
even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
Psalm 68:19

Homeschool Report Cards

sunflower-fill-in-report-cardAs homeschoolers, you may not have thought twice (or even once!) at the idea of giving your children report cards. Why would they be necessary? I suggest you read my mom’s article (January Mom’s Corner) called Seven Important Reasons Why Homeschoolers Should Give Report Cards. After that, stop by our report card page and pick out what report card you want to use. We have customizable options!

Here’s the beginning of her article, but then please go to the link to finish reading.

Do you remember being in school and having your report card handed to you? How did you feel as you looked at it? Were you excited? Anxious? Did you open it then or wait until you were alone? What was it like taking it home and showing it to your parents? Did you want to hide it, or were you proud of it?

When I was growing up, report card day was a momentous event at home. We received a quarter for each “B” and a dollar for each “A.” If the report cards were good, we had a special family dessert – chocolate sauce over pound cake. I only remember my sister and me bringing home good report cards. Yay!

As homeschool families are there any reasons why we would give report cards to our children? They place an added burden on Mom to create extra time and effort to track the information that would be needed to compile report cards. Sometimes as homeschoolers we feel like we want to leave behind what we saw as the institutionalized part of education. Do report cards fall into that category? As a homeschool family for 30 years, we would encourage you that report cards play an important role in home education.


It is necessary for homeschool moms to be diligent about accomplishing homeschooling. The education of their children falls squarely on their shoulders. Planning to give quarterly report cards should motivate Mom to make sure daily and weekly school is happening so that she has data from her students to be entered into the report card. It is very difficult to generate a report card if school time has been lacking.

Continue Reading.

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser:
teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
Proverbs 9:9