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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's Time Again for the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge!

Women Living Well

I'm so excited that the time has come for the 5th Annual "Making Your Home a Haven" Fall Challenge! I've been waiting for Courtney Joseph's announcement over at Women Living Well, and yesterday was the big day!

Whether you're new to this challenge, or like me, will be joining Courtney again this year - you can find out all of the details about this year's "Making Your Home a Haven" Fall Challenge here on Courtney's post.

I believe we can create a physical environment, as well as a spiritual environment, that can bring peace, harmony and a sense of calmness to our homes if we are willing to be intentional. -Courtney Joseph

During the month of October, join me here every Monday to see how I'm doing with Courtney's tips - one practical and one spiritual - as I seek to make my home a haven for those I love. If you're doing this challenge too, I'd love for you to leave me your comments each week on how things are going with you! :)

We'll be starting Week 1 of this challenge on Monday, October 6 with the lighting of our candle. I'm going to be keeping my candle in the kitchen. We have an open floor plan so it will be within sight at all times. Every time the flame catches my eye, I will be saying a prayer for peace in our home.

I'm thrilled that Courtney will be helping us to focus on the fruits of the Spirit during this "Making Your Home a Haven" Fall Challenge. During our first week, we'll be working on having peace and patience within our hearts.

I am convinced it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us - and as we surrender to Him - that we will be changed and transformed into all that God desires for us to be and to live our lives as He calls us to live them.


My Heart for the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge

Haven is defined in dictionaries as any place of shelter or safety. This is what I desire for my home to be for my husband, my children, and anyone else who enters our home. I want my home to be a haven for my husband when he walks in the door from his job. I want my home to be a haven for my children where they feel loved and protected, and where special memories are made. I want my home to be a haven to all of our family members and friends where life and love are shared over meals at our table and fun times together. Most of all, I want Jesus to be at the center of everything that takes place inside the Messer home and for His sweet presence to be felt by everyone within these walls.

I love the season of Fall and all that comes with it. The "Making Your Home A Haven" Fall Challenge is right at the top of my list of things I love about Fall! This is going to be fun!

So how about you...are you joining in on the "Making Your Home a Haven" Fall Challenge? If so, I would love to know and you can leave me a comment below. Let's keep in touch with how we're doing with the challenge too! Meet me here every Monday in October to share about how it's going.

Now, let's go purchase our wonderful smelling candle so we'll be ready to start with Courtney on Monday, October 6. :)

Walking in His Grace, 

Fix It! Grammar from Institute for Excellence in Writing

Do you have a child who is struggling in language arts with grammar and writing? I do, and that's why I was so excited to be chosen to participate in a TOS review of Fix It! Grammar from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)!

I chose to review The Nose Tree (Book 1) and received the following items to use in my homeschool for this review:

Fix It! Grammar Review
Cost: $19


Cost: $15

Both the teacher's manual and the student book are soft covered and are spiral-bound. There is a list included in the teacher's manual of items that you will need for your student such as a dictionary so that your student can look up the vocabulary word each day.

Geared for students in the third grade and up, Fix It! Grammar teaches grammar in "bite-size" pieces. Then students are given the opportunity to take that newly attained knowledge and apply it to their daily passage as they look for and correct errors in sentences that build up into paragraphs to form well-written passages that tell a story. This, to me, is a genius way to teach grammar and writing!

You can connect with the Institute for Excellence in Writing on the following social media outlets:

Fix It! Grammar Review


Here's How We Use Fix It! Grammar

We use Fix It! Grammar four days a week in our homeschool. Each day, I read the lesson introduction and demonstrate on our whiteboard the grammar concept that was introduced in our lesson. My son will then look up the vocabulary word in the dictionary and give me the definition which I write as well on the whiteboard. We then move into "fixing" our sentence for the day. This includes finding the nouns, articles, applying the correct punctuation at then end of the sentence, etc. - whatever grammar concept we've studied - and my son "fixing" the sentence with these markings.

Once we have "fixed" the sentence, my son then copies the sentence into his writing notebook. He is getting very good at looking up his vocabulary words in the dictionary and marking his "fixes" in his student book.


My Opinion of Fix It! Grammar

My son still doesn't necessarily "love" grammar and writing, BUT he will do Fix It! Grammar without fussing and complaining. I think it's because Fix It! Grammar takes an easy approach to both of these subjects. The "bite-size" pieces - as I like to refer to it - does not overwhelm my son and the repetition helps to cement grammar concepts for him.

The daily structure that is provided and repeated each day gives my son a feeling of confidence because he knows exactly what he will be doing each day for grammar and writing. It's been a wonderful addition to our homeschool! I've been looking for something to use for grammar and writing for my son that would not bore him or overwhelm him - I've found it with Fix It! Grammar from the Institute for Excellence in Writing! If you're looking for a complete grammar program, you'll definitely want to give this one a try! Take a look at their webinar to learn more about Fix It! Grammar. They also have a placement test you can use to determine which of the 5 Fix It! Grammar books to begin using with your child.

To read more TOS Reviews of the other books included in Fix It! Grammar, please click on the image below.

Walking in His Grace, 

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New Beginnings in the Book of Genesis (Blogging Through the Bible)


Have you fallen behind in our daily Bible reading? Are you ready for a new beginning?

Today is your day for a new beginning

as we begin reading the book of Genesis.

Don't look back...

His mercies are new every morning!

Get your printable bookmark for Genesis at Women Living Well, home of Good Morning Girls.

If you've been with me since the beginning of this Blogging Through the Bible journey you're now familiar with the S.O.A.P. method of Bible study that I've been using. If you've discovered this method is not working out for you, that's what works best for you. If that means you just share a few thoughts about what you've read, that is absolutely fine! If there is one particular verse that just jumps off the page at you and that's what you choose to talk about - that's great too!

I want to hear from you and encourage you to simply open up the Word of God every day and let Him speak to you. He is there - on - waiting to meet with you!

Here's our reading plan for this week. Please meet with me here again on Wednesday as we share our thoughts.


So, are you ready for your new beginning? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment to let me know if you are with me for one chapter a day in the book of Genesis. You're in my thoughts and prayers!

Walking in His Grace, 

Want to take a look at my posts in this #BloggingThroughtheBible series? Simply click on the image below.

Friday, September 26, 2014

V is for Vashti (Women of the Bible)

Blogging through the Alphabet

V is for Vashti. 

Scripture Reference:

Esther 1; 2:1-4

Meaning of Name:

Beautiful woman.

Family Connections:

Wife of King Ahasuerus and Queen

Interesting Facts about Vashti:

  • Vashti, the Queen, was ordered by the drunken King Ahasuerus to appear before his assembled guests (drunk as well) at the conclusion of his seven day banquet.
  • Vashti, the Queen, was a beautiful woman and the King wanted to display her beauty in a prideful manner as he had displayed his other kingdom treasures.
  • Some believe Vashti, the Queen, was ordered to come into the presence of this drunken group of men wearing only her royal crown. 
  • Vashti, the Queen, refused her husband/the King's request risking both her crown and her life.
  • Vashti was removed as Queen and never allowed to enter the King's presence again.

What We Can Learn from Vashti:

  • Courage in taking a stand for what is right.
  • Choose virtue and modesty over worldly admiration.
  • God will protect us when we choose what is right in His eyes over what seems right in this world.
  • Honor God above all.

Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

This Blogging through the Alphabet challenge has been hosted by my friend, Marcy at Ben and Me. Thanks, Marcy! If you would like to read more #abcblogging posts, simply click on the image below.

Walking in His Grace, 
Ben and Me

Planted and Watered by the Word (Blogging Through the Bible)


Hooray, we have read the book of Jude! Today and tomorrow we are in Psalm 1 and Psalm 2. At the end of this post you will read about where we are headed next in our reading through the Bible adventure!

Here are my S.O.A.P.s since my post on Wednesday. I love Psalm 1 - there is so much truth in it! When we take time to slow down and plant ourselves in the Word of God and let His Living Waters quench the thirsting of our souls, we can be better equipped to respond to the noises of this world that tempt us to find our satisfaction in them. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2014

Jude 1

Scripture: Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Observations: Jude is writing this letter to warn believers to contend (fight) for the faith of the truth of Jesus Christ. He originally was going to write about the salvation they shared, but then felt led of the Holy Spirit to warn them against false teachers who had infiltrated the church and their need to earnestly fight for the truth of Christian faith.

Application: We have to be in the Word of God and know what it says to be able to recognize lies from false teachers.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for my fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Christ as well as for myself when I ask that You would give us all a hunger and a thirst for the truth that is only found in Your Word. Help us to arm ourselves with Your truth so that we can recognize false teachers who would try to deceive us with their lies. In the mighty and powerful name of Jesus I pray. Amen!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Scripture: Psalm 1
1Blessed is the man (Blessed: having a sacred nature; connected with God)
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, (Counsel: advice)
    Nor stands in the path of sinners, (stands/sits: to participate with)
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, (Delight: having a high degree of satisfaction)
    And in His law he meditates day and night. (Meditates: to spend time in quiet thought)
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water, (Planted: to put a seed, flower, or plant in the ground to grow)
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither; (Wither: become dry and weak)
And whatever he does shall prosper. (Prosper: to become very active, healthy, and strong)
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. (the chaff is the seed coverings and other debris separated from the seed in threshing grain; something comparatively worthless.)
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Observations (additional): Seeds have protective coatings on them that unless softened (by water) will not allow the plant inside to spring forth and grow. Ezekiel 36:26 says God will “give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Jesus Christ is our Living Water (John 7:38, John 4:13-15) and His Word is what we need to penetrate our hearts of stone and turn them into hearts of flesh that can be molded and shaped by His truths.

Application: As believers we are not to find our satisfaction from the things of this world, but from our personal relationship with the Lord. When we slow down and spend quiet time – away from the noises of this world – in the Word of God, we are planting His truth deep within our hearts that will spring forth into fruit that is healthy and strong. When we neglect to spend time in the Word of God, we become like dry leaves that are thirsting for Living Water – we become dry and weak instead of having the wells of Living Water springing forth from the depths of healthy and strong souls. Dry and weak, we are more susceptible to walk as the ungodly in this world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for turning my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Please continue to mold and shape my heart for Your glory as You use the truths of Your Word to penetrate it. I pray for a continual thirst for Your Word that drives me to sit at Your feet every single day soaking up the Living Water that can only truly satisfy the thirsting of my soul. In the satisfying name of Jesus I pray. Amen!

Today we are reading Psalm 1 and tomorrow we will read Psalm 2. Starting this Sunday, September 28, we will begin reading in Genesis. To get your reading plan that you can print off and keep in your Bible, please go to this post at Women Living Well. Courtney's plan is to use the Psalms as fill in throughout our time of reading through the Bible. :)

Starting this Sunday!

***How are you doing? Feel free to share any of your thoughts so far from our reading in the comments below!

Walking in His Grace, 

To read all of my posts in this #BloggingThroughtheBible series, please click on the image below.

It's Friday, so that mean's it's time to link-up this #bloggingthroughthebible post with Courtney Joseph at Women Living Well home of Good Morning Girls! Please click on the image below to read others posts for Blogging Through the Bible.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Overcoming, Learning to Love, and Living in Truth (Blogging Through the Bible)

How's your reading going? We have finished 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John as of today...hooray!!

Five books down and 61 more to go!

I found so much encouragement in these three small books of the Bible written by the apostle John - the disciple whom "Jesus loved" - and boy does he ever have lots to say about overcoming, learning to love, and living in Truth.

Here are my S.O.A.P.s for the Scripture verses that stood out to me in my daily reading. I hope you'll share your thoughts in the comments at the end of this post. :)


Monday, September 22, 2014

1 John 5

Scripture: 1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Observations: Love this commentary from Matthew Henry: “The real Christian overcomes the world by faith; he sees, in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth, that this world is to be renounced and overcome. He cannot be satisfied with this world, but looks beyond it, and is still tending, striving, and pressing toward heaven. We must all, after Christ's example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin.”

Application: This world with Satan roaming it seeking to steal, kill and destroy has been overcome by the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross. As a child of God, my faith in Jesus gives me the victory in the opposition I face in this world – namely Satan and his attacks.

The shield of faith is one of the pieces of the Armor of God that is mine as a child of God and with it I am able to extinguish the fiery darts of Satan (Ephesians 6:16).

Walk by faith, not by sight. This world and its troubles are only temporary. I am a child of God and my Heavenly home awaits me. Put on the whole Armor of God

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the victory that is mine already as I walk by faith in the victorious name of Jesus Christ. He has already overcome Satan and this world by His death on the cross and by His resurrection from the grave. Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus as I walk through the valleys of this world. Help me to remember that this world and its struggles are only temporary. Help me to take up my shield of faith every day so that I can extinguish the fiery darts of Satan as he tries to come against me. I pray and ask this all in the victorious name of Jesus. Amen!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2 John 1

Scripture: 2 John 1:1-3 The Elder, to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Observation: Love and truth bind Christians together. God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is truth (John 14:6; 1 John 5:6). God abides in us and will be with us forever. The Christian blessings of grace, mercy, and peace will always be with us from God and from Jesus.

Application: It is because of the Spirit of God that lives within me that I have been empowered to know the truth of God and to love others as I have been commanded to do. I have His grace (His empowering presence, divine favor and good-will), His mercy (free pardon and forgiveness), and His peace (tranquility of spirit and serenity of conscience, in an assured reconciliation with God). Since I have received these Christian blessings from God, I should willingly extend them to others in my life. This is how I should love others: with the same grace, mercy, and peace that I have received in my own life from God and from Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love, Your truth, Your grace, Your mercy, and Your peace that are all mine as Your child. Thank You for the Holy Spirit that lives inside me. Help me to surrender daily to Your power at work within me so that I can extend all these blessings in the lives of those you have placed in my life. Thank You for Your presence in my life that is with me forever. Help me to be a forever presence to those You have placed in my life so that they will feel well loved. Lord, when we love this way, we can truly show the world that we belong to You. We can shine forth Your love to people who are blindly walking in this world feeling unloved and by doing so are getting trapped in counterfeits that will only destroy them. I pray that the cycle of counterfeit loves this world offers will be stopped as Your Church steps up and truly loves others as You have called us to. In the powerful and loving name of Jesus I pray. Amen!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3 John 1:4

Scripture: 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Observations: John spoke these words in verse 4 after receiving word of the faithfulness of Gaius, a fellow believer who was continuing to walk in the truth of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Gaius was living in obedience to the commandments of God to love Him and love others. This brought the apostle John great joy.

Application: I love my children and it is my great joy to know that they walk in the truth of who Jesus Christ is and that He died for the forgiveness of their sins. My prayer for them is that they would continually walk in obedience to the commandments of God to love Him and to love others as He has so lavishly loved them.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for my daughter and for my son. I pray that they would continue to walk in a close personal relationship with You all the days of their lives. I pray that they would love others as You have loved them and walk in obedience to all that is in Your Word. Help me to live a Godly example in front of them and when I mess up I pray that they will see perseverance on my part to never give up. I pray that through me they will see that they can depend on You and on Your strength and forgiveness. I ask this all in the life-changing name of Jesus. Amen!

***It's your turn...I would love to read your thoughts about these chapters in the comments section below! I'll see you back here on Friday!

Just as a quick reminder, here is our reading plan for the rest of this week.


To read all of my posts in this #BloggingThroughtheBible series, please click on the image below.

Walking in His Grace,