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Families Again
Friday, 15 January 2010
Thursday's Child is going to be a day late!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Compassion International


Because of some internet issues yesterday, and because of my TOS Homeschool Crew obligations, I am going to wait until tomorrow to post my Thursday's Child - Compassion International post. I've been thinking about how we can donate to help the folks in Haiti. I'll give you more on this tomorrow.

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:12 AM CST
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Thursday, 14 January 2010
Got a Guitar Anyone? - Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class Vol. 1
Mood:  happy
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


One of the great things about being on the TOS Homeschool Crew is that everything is prayed over. Since The Old Schoolhouse is a Christian company, the TOS Crew leaders pray over the vendors, the reviewers, the children using the products, the people that read the reviews, they pray for it all. They even pray that we who are doing the reviews will get just the products that God knows that we need. Sometimes we get products that stretch us. Sometimes we recieve an item that we would have never picked on our own, but God knew that we needed. Sometimes a package will come with a product that we have always wanted, but we would never buy since we are on a limited budget. This is one of those products.

John Allen has always wanted to learn how to play the guitar but we knew that at this time we couldn't afford the lessons or, for that matter, even a guitar. When I heard that we were on the list to receive Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class Vol. 1, both John Allen and I were ecstatic! Now the problem was to find a guitar. Sarah and I debated about buying, renting, or borrowing a guitar, but didn't know which way to go. After prayer and a little asking around, we found a good friend who had a guitar that we could borrow. Now all we were waiting for was the DVD to arrive. When it came, we were not disappointed. 

We love, love, love this product.  These lessons are geared toward older children and adults, and by the time you get done with this seven lesson course, you will have learned around nine different chords, seven different songs, and six different strumming techniques. The really neat thing about it is that it is all Christian. Jean Welles begins the video with her testimony of how she began playing the guitar, and in particular Christian music. She goes on by encouraging all students to pray before each lesson and practice, and to play as if playing for the Lord. 

Another really great thing about these lessons is that you are playing a song on the very first day. She begins by teaching you the parts of the guitar and how to hold the guitar. She then progresses to how to tune your guitar. Finally, she begins teaching you chords and strumming techniques. Since Jean Welles has a degree in music and has extensive classical guitar and professional guitar experience, she is very qualified to teach. You might think that this course would be very heavy and perhaps difficult, but Ms. Welles explains everything clearly and she has such a demeanor about her that learning is not difficult at all. The close up shots of her hands and how to position them for each chord and strumming technique were also very helpful. John Allen and I were both playing a song the first time that we looked at a lesson. One great thing about a DVD (and Ms. Welles even encourages this) is that you can stop and rewind when you want to listen to something over again, or just stop to practice a while before going back. But, don't just take my word for it, here is a short clip telling about this great series. Quick note before you watch, since this video was made, Vol. 4 has been added, and they no longer carry the VHS format. The quality on the real video will also be much better. This is just a streamed YouTube video. All else is the same.




The DVD comes with an accompanying book that has everything that the teacher is teaching down in black and white for those who may be more visual learners. It even has diagrams of the things that she is talking about, and the songs with the chord charts above them. 

The Worship Guitar Class Vol. 1 is the first volume in a four volume series. Volume 1 takes you from being a beginner to an intermediate proficiency level, Vol. 2 is for intermediate and advanced players, and Vol. 3 has lessons that cover intermediate, advanced and expert songs.  In Vol. 4, you will be learning chord families, how to find a chord in various places on the fretboard, and even how to make instrumental arrangements. By the end of all four volumes, you will have learned over 60 chords, 30 strumming and fingerpicking patterns, and 28 praise and worship songs! Although the books are only in English, each DVD has a choice of hearing the lessons in either English or Spanish. The website offers various kits and packages with the prices as follows:

  • DVD 1 + 1 Book - $29.95
  • DVD 2 + 1 Book - $29.95
  • DVD 3 + 1 Book - $29.95
  • DVD 4 + 1 Book - $29.95
  • All 4 DVD's plus bonus DVD's $99.80
  • All 4 DVD's plus bonus DVD's and Books $119.80
  • Books alone are $5.95 a piece per volume, or you can order 10 for $59.50 and get two free for a total of 12 books. This is handy if you want to teach a class with many students. One DVD is needed to teach the class, then the students can each have a book to take home and practice with.
  • Various package deals listed on her website include guitars, guitar stands, tuners, all DVD's and books, + more and range in price from $197.58 - $299.00 depending on the size and quality of the guitar.
There are many, many other music lessons that you can purchase on her website including piano, drum, and voice. To go to the website, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To read what the other TOS Crew members have to say about this product, click here. Ms. Welles also has a series of guitar lessons for young children that are going to be reviewed soon by some of the other crew members, so keep checking back often for those reviews. This is another one of those products that can be used by homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike, so I won't say "happy homeschooling", but, remember what I always tell you? "We may not all be home schoolers, but we are all home educators". So, this time I'll say "Happy Home Educating".

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:22 PM CST
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Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Reality Slaps Me in the Face
Mood:  down
Topic: General

It's been a busy day. I've been busy unpacking from our long trip; evaluating what needs to be done around the house and mission (too much); trying to get homeschool back in full swing; and to top it off I've been having internet problems. If you know me, that is the worst of the worst. I've been on the phone with technicians, reading manuals, trying to figure out modems and routers, it's been aggravating. I've more than once today thought about throwing my computer out the door. I have glanced at the TV, but not much. I've known about the earthquake in Haiti, but haven't paid too much attention. The internet thing has consumed me...until a few minutes ago.

I've just now been able to access my email and saw a message from Mission Network News. Mission Network News is a small organization that broadcasts information and news from and about all of the mission organizations that serve around the world. Their focus today was on the earthquake. They interviewed several representatives from missions that serve in Haiti.

One of the interviews that caught my eye was one with Kathy Redmond who serves with Compassion International. I won't divulge the whole 7 min. segment, but will tell you that it was quite emotional. Kathy not only fears for the safety of the children that Compassion works with, but also the Compassion missionaries that serve in Haiti. It really got me to thinking.

Although BCM works in Haiti, I don't personally know any of the missionaries. But, what if a natural disaster hit where some of my friends work? How would I feel?

What if a tornado destroyed most of the homes of the people that I minister to everyday? Folks that I know and love. What would I do?

What if an earthquake hit the city that Marcelo, our Compassion child lives in? Would I want to catch the first flight to Bolivia to try to find the boy that our family has grown to love?

Reality really slapped me in the face. I may still have some annoying internet problems, but they can be fixed tomorrow. The lives of the workers, children and people of Haiti are marred forever. They will never be the same.

I'm awaiting word from my mission's, (BCM International), head office to see what if anything other than praying we can do to help. In the meantime, click here to go to the Mission Network News website to listen to some of the interviews that I mentioned. But, whatever you do, pray for the people of Haiti.


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Posted by tink38570 at 11:51 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 14 January 2010 1:30 PM CST
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Tuesday, 12 January 2010
New Thru 30 - Day 2 - Matthew 13:1 - 23:39
Mood:  happy
Topic: Bible Reading & Devotions
Hi all, I just posted my thoughts from today's New Thru 30 reading on my Families Again blogspot blog. Here's the address - http://bit.ly/7ARcXD. Thanks for following along. If you are participating, leave me a message on either one of my blogs so that I can be praying for you. Please continue praying for me as I continue on my journey to read through the New Testament in 30 days!

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:47 PM CST
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Tuesday's Toolbox - This Week's Item - The Kitchen Sink
Mood:  happy
Topic: Blog Carnivals!



Many of you know that my wife Sarah and I met while we were both counselors at Cedar Lake Christian Camp in Livingston, TN. We ended up dating (a very interesting long distance relationship), got married and had our reception at the camp, had our first child during one summer at camp (another interesting story) and then, later serving at the camp full time for three years. Although we now work full time running a mission for low income folks, we still have very fond memories of working at Cedar Lake. In fact, an incident that happened one summer there is the insperation for today's Tuesday's Toolbox item.

After spending a few summers as a counselor, Sarah was chosen to be the head of the girl Counselors in Training (CIT's) that worked in the kitchen. She enjoyed directing these neat young ladies while they set tables, served food, and cleaned up, but bemoaned the fact that the only time that she came into contact with the campers was when their individual cabins were chosen to help wash dishes. One day, though, something happened to help her understand that God uses all those who are faithful in special ways.

One day she noticed one young boy who looked sad and forlorn while he worked rinsing some dishes so she sidled up beside him to help, and to find out what was wrong. After some discussion she found that he was troubled by some of the camp fire talks and Bible studies. She came to find out that he was unsure that he would go to heaven when he died. She kindly explained once again how Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life but then was punished by being put to death on a cross. But, He wasn't punished for anything that He did, He was punished for the sins that we commit every day. He took our punishment, so that we wouldn't have to punished by dying and spending eternity in hell. He did this as a free gift to us, and all we had to do was accept His free gift.

She told this little boy that when we accept this free gift, Jesus will wash all of our sins away and we will be as clean inside as these dishes are after they are thoroughly washed. But, the decision had to made by the little boy. Only he could choose to accept the free gift or not. She explained it so simply, that all of his doubts were removed and his questions were answered. He eagerly said that he was ready to accept Jesus' free gift right now. So, right by the sink of dirty and washed clean dishes, the little camper prayed with Sarah, thanking Jesus for giving him eternal life. The brightness on his face was proof that the decision he had made was the right one. No longer was this young boy sad and forlorn, but he was overjoyed and full of hope. And, the change was made while working over the kitchen sink.

I'm sure that many of your children have accepted the free gift that Jesus offered them, but this story proves that God can use any object or chore for His glory. Perhaps your children are already saved, or maybe they don't wash dishes, but they all desire and need our attention. The next time they are looking sad or even when they appear happy, sidle up beside them while they are cleaning their room. Join them while they are taking out the trash. Help them as they fold the clothes. Take some time to spend with your kids starting today. Use the teachable moments. Notice when they are feeling down. Allow God to use you just as Sarah allowed God to use her. You never know. It could be a life changing experience. 

PS. Don't forget to head on over to Tuesday's Toolbox host page to check out all of the other tools for this week. Just click here.


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:12 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 12 January 2010 9:22 PM CST
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