Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Plans for the New Year

My article, Rainy Days Can Be Productive,  is posted on Home & School Mosaics here.

This is a followup:

Just hours after Rainy Days was posted, I got word that John came off the waiting list for Lions Gate Co-op. He is now registered for three classes: Algebra II, Composition/Literature and Debate Club. I've heard positive feedback about the Math instructor and I personally know the English/Debate club instructor. Unfortunately Biology was not offered and we decided to study Spanish at home.

Theresa is going to also study Spanish at home, we have decided upon American History (just debating between two texts) and Lightning Literature along with Essentials in Writing. She was not interested in any electives that were being offered.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hope Runs

Cover Art

She went to Kenya to climb a mountain. But God had other plans.

     When Claire Díaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mount Kenya, and then head back home. She entered an orphanage, seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek.
     Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to illness, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with several other children and very little food. He entered an orphanage, seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.
     Hope Runs is the emotional story of one American tourist, one Kenyan orphan, and how one day became one year that would change the course of both of their lives forever. It's about opening your heart to outrageous possibilities. It's about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see.
     It's about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.

Claire Díaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker, and technology innovator who has been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. Claire was an early employee at Twitter, where she still works, and over the years has been called everything from "a mover and shaker" (Mashable) to a "force for good" (Forbes). She is the author of several books, includingTwitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. She is a frequent international speaker and writes a popular business blog at www.clairediazortiz.com.
Claire holds an MBA from Oxford University and a BA and an MA from Stanford University. She is the cofounder of Hope Runs, a nonprofit organization operating in AIDS orphanages in Kenya. She has appeared widely in major television and print news sources such as CNN, BBC,Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Wired, and many others. Find her on Twitter @claire.

Samuel Ikua Gachagua was born in rural Kenya in 1992. After losing his parents at a young age, he struggled to survive until he was placed in an orphanage in Nyeri, Kenya. In 2009, he received a full-ride scholarship to Maine Central Institute, granting him a rare US visa and the chance to begin his sophomore year of high school under the guardianship of Claire Díaz-Ortiz. After graduating from high school, he spent a year serving in Ecuador as a fellow for Global Citizen Year. He is an up-and-coming motivational speaker and can be found on Twitter @sammyikua.

My Thoughts:
     Hope Runs is one of those books that restores one's faith in mankind. It's always heartwarming to know that there are folks out there that truly do make a significant difference in someone's life. Mother Teresa said "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Claire is an example of someone doing those great things and is an inspiration to me to keep doing small things with great love.Hope Runs was a page turner that was difficult to put down when life called; I hope that Samuel (or Claire) will write another book as he does great things in his life.

This book was provided to me by  Baker Publishing Group; I received no monetary compensation for my honest review

Monday, March 31, 2014

St. Peter's Bones

     In 2006 the author, Thomas Craughwell, went on a tour of the excavations below St. Peter's Basilica in Rome where he saw the bones of St. Peter through a glass door. This lead him to his research for St. Peter's Bones. He didn't have to go far to begin in that several works by the excavation archaeologists were available as English translations at a university library just 30 minutes from his home.
     I found St. Peter's Bones to be a fascinating and fairly easy book to read. It was written for the common man in the pew to understand the history behind what has happened over the past 2000 years to the remains of our first Pope - St. Peter. In addition, we learn Roman history, Church history and enjoy a real life mystery.
    I suggest you read the first chapter for yourself. I will be adding this one to my library as I believe my young adult children will find it fascinating as they too have been to Rome.

About the Book:
   In this fascinating account of the search for the remains of the world's first pope, none other than Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus, Thomas J. Craughwell takes us on one of the most exciting archaeological finds of the twentieth century.
   In 1448 a team of architects and engineers brought Pope Nicholas V unhappy news: the 1,100-year-old Basilica of St. Peter suffered from so many structural defects that it was beyond repair. The only solution was to pull down the old church--one of the most venerable churches in all of Christiandom--and erect a new basilica on the site. Incredibly, one of the tombs the builders paved over was the resting place of St. Peter.
   Then in 1939, while reconstructing the grottoes below St. Peter's Basilica, a workman's shovel struck not dirt or rock but open air. After inspecting what could be seen through the hole they'd made in the mausoleum's roof, Pope Pius XII secretly authorized a full-scale excavation. What lay beneath? The answer and the adventure await. In this riveting history, facts, traditions, and faith collide to reveal the investigation, betrayals, and mystery behind St. Peter's burial place.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pine Bros Softish Throat Drops

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I was excited to receive three different flavors of Pine Bros as I remember these from my youth. I'm not thrilled with the bag packaging as the lozenges are not individually wrapped and the bag then needs a clip to keep fresh. I do like the round plastic 'tins' as it's more convenient to throw in one's purse as well as being easy to close to keep the product fresh.

I tried the Licorice flavor first and found that it was not a very strong flavor. I suppose for some folks that would be a positive but I would prefer a strong black licorice flavor. Next I tried the Natural Honey. The scent was strong when I opened the bag but the honey flavor was quite subtle. Wild Cherry was probably my favorite; the flavor was stronger and was the most soothing.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.