Ideas for a Letter of Encouragement

In my tween and early teen years, I loved collecting pen pals. I would introduce myself to girls my age at homeschool conferences and camp grounds and ask if they would like to be my pen pal. Many of those girls never responded to my letters, but a few became friends I’ll love for life. We used letter writing to learn about each other. We used letter writing to encourage each other in the Lord. We used letter writing to love each other well.

Letter of Encouragement

Letter writing has become less needed and less practical as digital communication continues to develop, but it still holds a special place in my heart. Opening an email doesn’t hold the same excitement as opening the mailbox to find a note from a friend. Reading words on a screen lacks the personal, heart touching warmth of handwritten words on paper.

Who in your life would benefit from a letter of encouragement right now?

Continue reading “Ideas for a Letter of Encouragement”

5 Things I Loved This February

Several email lists that I subscribe to do a monthly list of things they’re enjoying. Those emails are my favorites. Often I delete similar emails without reading them. There’s just not enough time to keep up with them all. But the “things I’m loving” emails get saved until I have some time to comb through them.

5 Things I Loved this February

With so much content available online, I find it helpful and enjoyable to receive a curated list of podcasts, blog posts, books, recipes, etc. that someone else has already vetted and enjoyed.

Since I don’t plow through books quite as fast these days, I will be experimenting with mixing in other types of content as I try to get back into the blogging game. A “what I’m loving” list seemed like a good place to start since it’s the type of content I enjoy receiving.

Continue reading “5 Things I Loved This February”

The Secret is Out! The Quote Variation Winner Is…

The QV Winner

Having the quote variation contest these past two weeks has been a blast! You all are so creative and so much fun. 🙂 Thanks to each one of you for participating through entering a quote, voting, or both! The quote variation that received the most votes is quite appropriate for this blog.

The Winner Is…

#7 | Variation Bookworm


Congratulations Lina-Ruth! You’re the winner of some new-to-you reading material! I’ll be emailing you with more details by the end of the day. The runners up were #5 | Variation Salvation and #2 | Variation Superhero which tied for second place. Awesome jobs Spencer R and proverbs31teen! 🙂

Thanks again to all who participated. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something like it soon. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Quote Variation Contest Voting

Watching entries for the Pride and Prejudice Quote Variation contest role in was so much fun. You all came up with some creative ideas! Now you get to see them all in one spot. Scroll through, pick your favorite, and use the voting form to cast your vote. You can ask people to vote for your quote or support your favorite quote by using the sharing links below each image. (Note: If you use the Facebook share links, be sure to add a note telling your friends which quote you want to support. Facebook does not fill the description in for you.)

#1 | Variation CLEP

#1 | Variation CLEP

Support this quote on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

#2 | Variation Superhero

#2 | Variation Superhero

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#3 | Variation Fishing


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#4 | Variation Hitchhiker


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#5 | Variation Salvation


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#6 | Variation Artsy


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#7 | Variation Bookworm


Support this quote on Twitter | Facebook | Pintverest

#8 | Variation Fangirl


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#9 | Variation Hunger Games


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#10 | Variation Hobbit


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#11 | Variation Author


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And now for the drumroll please. It’s time to vote.

Can’t wait to see who will win! I’ll announce the results next Tuesday. 🙂

Movie Review: Stuck

StuckI know, I know. Fridays are for book reviews, not movie reviews. I didn’t have enough time to read a new orphan/adoption book this week, though, so a movie review it is. If you want a book review check out Saving Levi, A Horse to Love, or Bridge Called Hope. But for now…

All of these kids have families. All of these kids have homes in the US, and they have for years. And ye here they’re sitting, waiting, suffering.

International adoption is known for it’s hefty price tag and frequently long duration. Why does it take so long when so many children around the world wait for forever families? This documentary follows three families through their international adoptions, and provides a very personal look at the joys and heartaches of the process. It also provides a glimpse at international laws and treaties that cause adoptions to be held up for years with very little reason.

Yes, it’s true, I cried my way through this film not once, but twice. It’s heartbreaking to watch parents struggle against a convoluted system while loving children they can’t be with or take care of. And it’s wonderful (in a tearful sort of way ;)) to see these parents finally united with the children they have fought for. You can rent it for a week on Amazon or buy the DVD off the Both Ends Burning website. Want to know more? Read my friend Marli Renee’s blog post or watch the Stuck trailer over on the Teens Interceding for Orphans.

What do you know about the cost and time involved in international adoption? What are your opinions on the subject?

Care about orphans? Check out my new website, Teens Interceding for Orphans.

Youth, Homeschooling, the Past and the Future


He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.

Do you know who said this? Keep reading and I’ll tell you.

A few days ago I made a post titled Support the Romeikes. The Romeike’s are a German family who came to the states to escape persecution in their homeland. Several of you clicked through to the petition started on their behalf. Thank you. Today HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) published a video about the Romeikes. I’m embedding it here if you want to watch it.

As soon as Mr. Romeike said, “The government wants the right to impose what they think children should learn.” I knew I’d heard that sentiment before. You read it in the quote posted above. Those words were spoken by a government leader in Germany. Have you guessed who? It was Adolf Hitler.

That’s right. A lot of people don’t know that governmental control of the German youth was a huge part of Hitler’s devastating plan for the Third Reich. And now the German people are fighting this war again. What’s even scarier is that we here in the United States need to fight it too because our government wants the same power. And Hitler was right, whoever controls the education of the children controls the future of the country.

To quote Hitler again:

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.

We need to think. English statesman Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He also stated that, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” He was right. On both counts.

Whether or not you support homeschooling, it’s important to recognize that absolute control over education should not be handed over to any government. It led to disaster in Germany and it can easily do the same again. Except this time it could be the downfall of our “bastion of freedom,” the US. Let’s not make the same mistake made by so many people before and during WWII. The mistake of silence. To close, consider this quote from another English statesman, William Wilberforce.

You may chose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.

Why Do College From Home?

CollegeLast week I made a post about CollegePlus, and that gave me the idea to do more posts doing college from home. One of the most common phrases writer’s hear is, “write what you know.” Well, this is something I know.

I love CollegePlus and being a distance learning student. I enjoy “living life on purpose” and knowing what I’m pursuing, the timeline I’m pursuing it on, and why I’m doing college the way I am.

So, why do I think staying home for college is a good thing? There are many reasons. Here’s a few.

  • Staying Out Of Debt.
      This is a huge reason to do college from home. A little research told me that a popular, brick-and-mortar college in our area charges $5,621 per semester for tuition and tuition related costs. If you live on campus, total costs amount to approximately $13,281 per semester (

see cost sheet

      ). Those numbers make my head spin. Getting a degree from a college like this will cost more than $100,000 dollars! In contrast, my degree will end up costing around $11,304. That’s only 11% the cost of a degree from a normal school! Doing college from home makes it a lot easier to graduate debt free. And graduating debt free is a very (very, very, very, very) good thing. 😉
  • It Takes Less Time.

This one is very important to me. I love being homeschooled and am thrilled to do college from home, but I am looking forward to having college in my past. After I graduate, I’ll be able to focus on writing, serving, getting a part time job and who knows what else. You might have noticed that I said I’ve been doing college from home for five years and now you’re wondering why I’m saying it’s faster. You have to understand that, for three and a half of those years, I was still in high school. The first two years of college are devoted to “core courses”. These are fundamental classes like English, History, Literature, etc. Most of these classes are covered in high school and the college classes simply add a little bit more to what you learned in high school. To increase efficiency, it’s not that hard to study the “little bit more” after finishing a high school class and then take a CLEP test. When I graduated from high school, I had two years of college under my belt.

  • Missing The College Experience.

Yes, I count this as a positive factor. I shudder when I hear about the long class hours necessary in “normal” college. My parents spent thirteen years homeschooling me in order to save me from peer pressure and the falsehoods taught in most schools. I sincerely appreciate that, and I know that my faith and character are stronger because of the way I was raised and taught. If the homeschool model worked so well for the past thirteen years, why would I want to abandon it just because I’m in college?

There’s a lot more to be said on this topic, but I’ve already written a much longer post than usual. I hope you’ll chime in with your thoughts.

I know there are distance learners among my readers. Is there anything you would add to what I’ve said? For those who have not experienced distance learning for themselves, what do you think of the idea? Any questions?