Online Writing Course {Giveaway!}

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Fortuigence Writing Course

Online Writing Course – Fortuigence

This is a sponsored review, which means I was given free access to a writing course from Fortuigence and paid for my time and to share my experience. You can read my full disclosure here.

I am becoming more and more fond of online learning when it’s a high quality, student focused program. Fortuigence is one of those programs. It has allowed my 12-year daughter to work on a writing piece throughout the summer with very little help from me–and when you have seven children, this is super wonderful!

I felt very confident that my daughter was learning well and receiving great feedback and I would periodically check her work and was very pleased with her instructor’s feedback.

For each lesson she would

  • Watch a video which contained the lesson
  • Read the instructions following the video
  • Worked through the assignment
  • Emailed her work to her instructor
  • Received feedback within a week

The instructor, Miss Lily, was very timely in her responses and never faulted my daughter if she had to miss a few weeks, such as during our move or our trip to Ghana when we picked up our adopted daughters. She just picked up where she left off. This is very typical of our homeschool days. We ebb and flow with life as needed.

Miss Lily was very attentive and worked one-on-one with my daughter, to show her areas of improvement and praise her for good work. She couldn’t move on to the next step until the current one was mastered. I loved that. There was no rush, there was no pressure. It allowed my daughter to excel in her writing as well as feel confident in her abilities, despite her needed improvements.

Fortuigence Review 2 Fortuigence review

Improve Writing Skills

As my daughter continues through her middle school years, I want to help her continue to excel in her writing, be challenged, and really hone her writing skills. She already has a love for writing, so getting her to write is not difficult.

Having help with a solid, trusted, online program is truly a gift for busy homeschool moms. We don’t have to do it all and I think that recognizing that fact is truly freeing. In addition, it’s good to allow my children to experience being taught from someone other than myself.

Essay Rock Star Writing Courses

There are several classes offered through Fortuigence. They include:

Essay Rock Star

Essay Rock Star: The Personal Statement

Essay Rock Star: The Persuasive Essay

Essay Rock Star: The Expository Essay

Essay Rock Star: The Textual Analysis

You can learn more about these courses on their website.

My daughter did The Textual Analysis and it has been a wonderful {new} experience for her.

Summer Special


Connect with Fortuigence:

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One winner will receive their choice of an Essay Rock Star short course; you can find the courses here.

Giveaway ends August 22 at 11pm EST.

Entry in the contest means that you agree to be added to the Fortuigence mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Struggles of Moms {Moms in the Word}

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Before I dive into this part of the study, I just want to make this very clear: we are not facing trials anywhere near as harsh as our Christian brothers and sisters are in Iraq. I do not mean to downplay the trials we may be facing personally, but I also want to make sure we keep a fair perspective and remember to pray for our friends in the Middle East. They are in some serious persecution — some of the most horrific seen in years. So, as we go through this study and learn how to cling to God during crisis, please also pray for the people in Iraq, suffering from executions, hangings, and beheadings because of their faith in Christ. They need our prayers now more than ever.

James opens up chapter 1 by encouraging Israel (the 12 tribes) to stand strong during trials, recognizing that it is a testing of faith and produces patience.


Let’s think about that for a moment. Trials test our faith. We will always face trials of various kinds and degree. How are we handling them? Are they strengthening or weakening our faith?

It can be very difficult to trust God through hard circumstances we don’t understand. I think we truly have a knack for blaming God for everything bad that happens, when really, it’s part of a fallen world; it’s part of people’s free will gone bad. God gives us choices and we get to choose how we live. Each choice comes with its own consequences, though.

Trials can range from small, daily trials, to larger scale, tragic trials. I think a lot of it truly depends on our perspective as well as our own personality, experiences, and faith walk.

What may be a trial to one person, may not be to another.

I went through trials in our adoption process, mostly just a heart game of faith.

Sometimes as moms, we face different fears about our children. We worry they will not follow Jesus or will not be successful. Maybe you have a teenager or grown child who has made poor choices or who’s rejected God and you wonder what happened.

In James 1:5 we are invited to ask God for wisdom. What a relief! God is willing to give us wisdom, if we would only ask.  Furthermore, we are required to believe that we will receive that which God has promised — wisdom. Those who doubt are tossed like waves on the sea and such a person is double-minded and unstable. (James 1:6-7)

Those are some pretty strong words. No wisdom of man can surpass the wisdom of God. Which leads us full circle to making certain we are spending time with Him daily, reading His word and praying for understanding from the Holy Spirit.


Temptations are another thing all together. We may not be in control of what we are tempted by, but we can control, to some degree, how we respond. Sometimes the temptations are overwhelming and absolutely need God’s intervention to help us overcome them.

I can tell you, as a mom, I have many, many temptations every single day.

One of the biggest temptations I face is believing the lie that my children will grow up loving Jesus without much direction from me — they can just watch me and learn by example. But that’s not always true.  Not to mention that’s rather egotistical.

They only see half the story. They cannot see what’s in my heart; what I believe about God; what God is teaching me. No, those things need to be brought up in conversations and teaching and training.

Temptations will face us at every turn; some are easy to resist others are more difficult.

Moms often have the temptation to compare themselves, their children, and their families with others. This brings about envy and discontent.

Did you know our temptations are based on our own desires? So those things that we desire will entice us and we can choose to reject them and receive the crown of life, or fall to their lure and give birth to sin, which brings death.

This week, focus on asking God for wisdom in those situations you need help, whether trials or temptations. There is no limit and you can ask as often as you need help.

What are you learning this week?

Come follow the Moms in the Word board on Pinterest. I pin my favorites from the link up each week!

Follow Christin’s board Moms in the Word on Pinterest.

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Read what others are learning through their Bible study time and link up your own post below! Please do not use this link up to promote your products. This is reserved for sharing what we are learning in the Word in our daily Bible time with the Lord. Any promos will be removed. Thank you.

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The Disciplined Homeschool Mom

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Colored pencils pointing in circle. Shallow depth of field.

I haven’t been as disciplined as I should be in our homeschooling. I created paths of bad habits throughout our adoption process due to the stress levels. Too often I have allowed free days, and while I don’t think it’s tragic to get away with when my children are young, they are getting older. My eldest is 12 and adding our two daughters has boosted the need for order and discipline.

One thing I need to remember is how privileged we are to be able to homeschool in this country, and the last thing I want to do is take it for granted.

It’s important for homeschool moms to be disciplined so they get the most from their time and offer the most to their children. I know some people don’t do well on schedules, but even a loose one is better than nothing. And to some degree, we all follow a routine of sorts.

A schedule doesn’t need to be wound so tight that it makes everyone cranky. It simply needs to offer direction and help you get things done, everyday.

I am really looking forward to the upcoming year, and have 3 weeks before we begin to plan out our first quarter (squee!).

So, what disciplines are good to brush up on? Maybe you can relate?

The Disciplined Homeschool Mom:

  1. Has a Vision
    If I do not know where we are headed, I will get nowhere–and neither will my children. It’s really important for a family to know why they are headed somewhere and how they are going to get there. What does God want for your children? Above all else, it is to trust in Him and follow Him. How can we accomplish that through homeschooling? How does God want academics used for His glory?
  2. Plans and Prepares
    In addition to having that vision, I need to plan and prepare my way there. I also need to leave some wiggle room for flexibility. All of this planning is in vain, however, if it is not done with much prayer and direction from God. What is the best way for my family to reach its destination? Furthermore, each homeschool week and day needs to be well planned and prepared ahead of time. The last thing I want to do is be fumbling for supplies or making copies in the middle of a lesson.
  3. Prays Regularly
    Praying is a non-negotiable. I don’t have room for excuses on why I am not meeting with God in prayer daily, especially in the morning hours, before our day begins. I absolutely need His strength, His direction, and His wisdom every single day and the only way to receive those is if I go to Him and ask for them. Each day offers new challenges and new horizons that will need new direction, wisdom, and certainly strength.
  4. Follows a Routine and Schedule
    It is vital my children are in a routine and know what to expect. It offers them a sense of security and direction, just as it does me. It also ensures we are accomplishing certain things every single day. A routine solidifies our eating and sleeping schedule. But our schedule keeps us on track doing such things as daily, weekly, and monthly chores as well as regular lessons. Everyone knows when we do what and knows where they should be and what they should be doing.
  5. Avoids Detours and Distractions
    This is a huge one for me — especially when it comes to the Internet and social media! Laptop needs to be shut, social media and email notifications turned off and my attention needs to be fully on my children as we go through our lessons. One distraction could literally disrupt an entire day! And if I consistently allow that to happen, we will never complete a full day of lessons. That is definitely a problem and cannot be allowed.

What about you? What discipline do you most need to work on? What can you add to this list? It’s definitely not exhaustive, and each mom will have her own need.

On a side note, today is the LAST day to get this full, pre-school curriculum for just $3.50.

The Preschool Journey

Called to Serve {Moms in the Word}

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As moms, we are called to serve. As Christians, we are called to serve. Sometimes, though, that can seem an overwhelming task.

James offers us a wonderful example of what a servant looks like. As we dive into this fantastic study, I encourage you to look at it very personally. How can we learn to be better servants for our families? There are dozens of ways we can serve, but for the sake of this study and our current season as moms, we are going to focus on serving as wives and mothers. Of course, any of these principals can be applied to anyone and their season of life. I will simply be honing in on the home and our role in it.

James 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Of course, the first thing I draw out here is that James was a servant. He had a specific task. His letter to the Jewish Christians was to encourage them to work their faith through their trials. 

A servant is someone who is under the control of his master. As Christians, we are servants of Christ. What has He asked of us? When life gets challenging, what are we to do? How are we to think? These are things to think about as we further dig into this study.

We may meet here only once per week, but our study continues daily. Our walk with Christ is continuous.

Pick out one thing you can truly focus on as you read to pray and work through.

This week, I will be focusing on the fact that I am a servant and my life is not my own.

Truth be told, Christians throw this phrase around, but do we truly believe it? Do we truly surrender to Him?

I can say honestly that I don’t. And He gives His authority in several places; it’s not just sitting up in heaven.

God’s Authority

I see His authority is in my husband and I need to learn to heed that authority better.

Now, do not misunderstand. I am not talking about an extreme patriarchal system–because I have seen the many dangers of that.  I am simply referring to the roles God has given each of us and learning to respect them. I can be confident that my husband is under the authority of Christ because I see him walk out his daily life in Him — even through the battles.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; Colossians 3:23

My husband is far from overbearing, but sometimes I find myself outwardly expressing my disapproval of some of his decisions. If I cannot respect the authority of my husband, even when I don’t agree with his decisions (as long as they are not outright sinful), how can I take authority from God, who is not even seen?

I cannot assume that God is going to lead the way I think He is; the way I want Him to.  I must take cues from His Word and remain in tune with His Spirit so I know His voice as well. I also cannot assume that God is going to make life easy and when it gets hard it must not be what God wanted. (I am not talking about any particular situation here). He may not cause the hardships, but He will certainly use them.

We can start with the little things in our days. Since we’re on the subject of husbands today, let’s expound on that.

My husband is much more than simply an authority; he is a leader who loves and cares for his family. And sure, he has struggles. But I have two choices here:

I can either choose to build up walls because my husband doesn’t live up to my expectations. Or I can recognize that my husband is in need of my support and serve him in love and with understanding. 

Maybe I don’t understand exactly what he’s going through at times, but I do know I have struggles of my own. How would I want to be treated while going through these struggles? Furthermore, I must remember I am not above struggles–and neither is my husband. I shouldn’t pretend that I have it all together by also expecting him to.

Serving is much more than making meals and cleaning house. It is loving in ways that are hard; through patience, grace and understanding.

Single Moms

I want to address those who are single and single moms. Just because you do not have a husband, does not mean you are not under Authority. In this case, God may use a Pastor or very close friend or mentor (or parent!) as your authority. Often, these people are meant to help you and guide you into wisdom.

I’m not talking about someone who is strong-arming you. I am talking about someone who clearly has wisdom from God and cares about you, your children, and your walk with the Lord. And God will give you discernment on who this is, you only need to ask.

This week, I challenge and encourage you to consider your role as a servant of Christ. What does that mean? How does this effect your role as wife, mother, and keeper of your home?

What are you learning this week?


Come follow the Moms in the Word board on Pinterest. I pin my favorites from the link up each week!

Follow Christin’s board Moms in the Word on Pinterest.

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Read what others are learning through their Bible study time and link up your own post below! Please do not use this link up to promote your products. This is reserved for sharing what we are learning in the Word in our daily Bible time with the Lord. Any promos will be removed. Thank you.



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August Prayer Calendar for Moms

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The August Prayer Calendar is ready to go!

I am just putting the finishing touches on my weekly Newsletter and it will go out. If you are interested in getting this months calendar, you can subscribe here.

You will also have the opportunity to download past calendars and receive future calendars. If you’re already subscribed, go to the bottom of the email to find the special link. If you subscribe after my newsletter goes out today, the link will be available in the next email you receive from me.

I hope you find these helpful as you grow in your walk with the Lord.

Free Prayer Calendar for Moms

A Preschool Journey Curriculum on Sale – Just $3.50

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I just wanted to quickly let you know about this wonderful sale going on. I got this preschool curriculum, The Preschool Journey, last year and it is a full curriculum, including :

* Detailed explanation of what should be covered in preschool

* Ideas on how to set up and organize your preschool at home, as well as how to schedule your day

* Curriculum for an entire preschool year (for ages 2.5-5)

* 26 weeks of lesson plans centered around alphabet letters. The plans include an alphabet letter craft, games, hands-on activities, and a list of books to read with each letter

* 50 pages of printables to use with these play-based learning activities.

This sale is only good through August 11 so snag this steal while you can. Be sure to use code: SUMMER14

Why Blog Thru a Bible Study {Moms in the Word}

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Why Blog through a Bible Study

Today I want to share a few reasons why I think it is a good idea to blog through a Bible study.

Before I share, though, I want to make it very clear that it is certainly not a requirement to have a successful Bible study. Obviously reading and studying the Bible was plenty successful before the Internet and blogs came around. But we have such a unique opportunity to share across the globe in community. It’s not quite the same as a flesh-and-blood community but it is unique in its own way.

3 Reasons to Blog Through a Bible Study

1. Accountability

Sometimes it’s the only way to be accountable with someone, even if it’s only ourselves. Making the decision to blog about what we are learning helps solidify the discipline in our minds and let’s be honest…there is some discipline required to be in God’s Word regularly. That doesn’t mean we have less of an authentic relationship with Christ because we need to be intentional. Would we say that of our families because we need to make a dinner menu? Does that mean our love for them is less genuine. No way! We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12).

2. Community

The community might look different, but its function to work as iron sharpening iron still applies (Proverbs 27:17). We can help each other learn as we share what we are learning and our experiences. Our stories. Our goal is to grow in Christ — never to remain complacent. But our growth will be in different places and paces. The goal is simply to put one foot in front of the other. Some may be walking slow while others are jogging. Regardless, we all need encouragement daily so we are not hardened by the deceit of sin (Hebrews 3:13). This provides us an opportunity for daily encouragement…simply visit one or more of the links below and leave a comment.

3. Understanding

Often, writing things out helps me better understand them. I don’t know if this is just the brain of a writer but if you have ever journaled before, this is not any different. You simply journal online what the Bible is speaking to you, share present or past experiences and often, the Holy Spirit will speak as you write. It’s a wonderful phenomenon and God can use your writing to sharpen and bless others.

James Study

We are beginning our study on the book of James Tuesday. The first post will also go live next Tuesday. You can find the schedule here.

If you’re interested in having the study guide by Elizabeth George, there’s still time to grab the Kindle copy.

What are you learning this week?

Come follow the Moms in the Word board on Pinterest. I pin my favorites from the link up each week!

Follow Christin’s board Moms in the Word on Pinterest.

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For His Glory

Read what others are learning through their Bible study time and link up your own post below! Please do not use this link up to promote your products. This is reserved for sharing what we are learning in the Word in our daily Bible time with the Lord. Any promos will be removed. Thank you.

Reading in an email? Click here to add you link.

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Back to School Survival Guide

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Back to School Survival Guide

I know not everyone homeschools and although I do, this guide can still be adapted to me as a homeschool mom. And let me tell you, it’s already giving me some very clear direction for our upcoming year.

There are parts of our days that are devoted to formal lessons, just like they have in public schools. Some discipline in learning is required, in my opinion and in my home.  I promise that if I didn’t set aside a time for my children to learn math, they would never learn it!

Back to School Survival Guide

Back to School Survival Guide

Here are the items included in the Back 2 School Survival Guide:

  • Back 2 School Survival Guide eBook
  • Student Planner
  • Master Family Planner
  • Routines
  • School Information Sheet
  • Schedule Adjustment Worksheet
  • Countdown Maze
  • My Favorite Worksheet
  • Grocery Planner
  • Family Fun Worksheet
  • Family Meeting Agenda
  • School Goals Worksheet
  • Classmate Contact Sheet
  • Important Dates At-A-Glance
  • Lunchbox Notes
  • Note to Teacher

Each of these are explained in the packs’ Introduction & Instructions.

Back to School Survival Guide


Here’s a sneak peek into some of the goodies included in this survival guide:



 Use code BACK14  to save $2 until 8-15-2014!

Why I’m Cutting Back the Online Media {Coffee Break}

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office desk with blank screen laptop computer

I haven’t written a Coffee Break since February! Wow! I think stress has been so high with the move and finalizing the adoption, I just felt like I couldn’t exhale. Boy do I find it SO much easier to breathe these days! The whole reason I created the Coffee Breaks was so I could write without worrying about all the blogging rules. It seems my lack of writing Coffee Breaks has stifled my freedom and I was trapped again by the weight of being a blogger.

So, I’m working through reevaluating my time and purpose online. It’s a tough balance sometimes, especially when you’re listening to all the voices and they are drowning out God’s.

The Weight of Blogging

You see, the message to bloggers by other {successful} bloggers is almost always about numbers..growing through numbers by doing a million different things. (And mind you, not all successful bloggers do this. But many do). And many successful bloggers have turned their blogging into a full time job. I am not capable of devoting that much time to blogging at this very busy season of my life.

But, in all this teaching, rarely have I found someone who has taught bloggers to grow in maturity, in any respect, and then teach or share with their readers how to do the same. Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins would be the exceptions here. Michael teaches people how to be great leaders and Jeff teaches people how to be great writers. They both teach people how to develop and mature and sprinkle in posts about how they became successful bloggers.

However, the overall message is confusing because you have to have quality content to get the quantity of numbers. But how often is that quality authentic?

My goal here isn’t to come down on bloggers and what they’re teaching, but to examine, as a blogger, what it is I’m really gaining by listening to advice that focuses mainly on numbers. I need to decide if this information is truly relevant to me in this season of my life. For a blogger who is looking to turn their blog into a full time business, this information may prove very useful.

But for me? A full-time, homeschooling mom of seven who has a heart for mainly writing my thoughts out in case someone else can glean from them? I don’t think being a slave to social media is in the cards for me. Social media is such a time sucker and over-saturated with information. I don’t want to be part of the problem yet I do want to share things I find to be excellent in quality and helpful to others.

Quite honestly, it’s exhausting to keep up with all the rules and requirements of bloggers to gain those numbers. And although it has never been my goal to focus on numbers, as a blogger, one is always susceptible to the temptation and sometimes even falls into it.

Sometimes it’s hard not to fall into the trap of envying the successful blogger, but it has forced me to stop and think about what I’m really willing to sacrifice.

I don’t want to sacrifice my message and authenticity. I don’t want to sacrifice the trust I’ve gained from my readers. I don’t want to sacrifice time with my family. And when I find myself growing frustrated with my children or my household duties because there are things I need want to do online, it’s time to step back.

Online Media

I wrote on this not too long ago. But I think it requires revisiting, sometimes often, in order to get it to really sink in. And a few months ago I felt lost…I don’t feel that today. In fact, I feel overwhelmingly fulfilled in my role because my family is together now. I am brimming with blessing and I want to soak it up, not be a slave to social media for the sake of my blog.

Going from five to seven children has definitely proved busier in our household — and I wouldn’t change it for anything. With that, I am required to view my time online. I will continue blogging, yes. But I need to learn to leave a lot of the other stuff behind.

Even pleasure browsing through Facebook has left me overstimulated. I find it hard to concentrate as well as turn my thoughts quiet. Our lives have become so busy with constant input, we don’t even know how to rest anymore.

I read an amazing article yesterday over at Time-Warp Wife, written by Jennifer Ebenhack. It’s called When Homemaking is a Hassle: 3 Reasons to Reevaluate “Mommy Media”

Jennifer did an excellent job putting into words what I’ve been feeling but simply failed to write. I encourage you to read it and see if your own media consumption needs some evaluation.

Coffee Break with Christin

Early Reader Chapter Books

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Early Reader Chapter Books

Our daughters arrived home from Ghana two weeks ago and I have been trying to gauge their reading levels and see where they can best jump in. Since they know quite a bit of English, they read at a greater level than I expected. However, I am still trying to feel out their reading comprehension.

I decided to compile a list of early reader chapter books to help me get started. These range from very early readers to your middle-of-the-road readers–if I had to put a grade level on the list, I’d say first to fourth grade. But these books range in age anywhere from 5 years old to 12 years old.

These books are great for having your child read aloud to you and reading aloud to your child. So, even if your child reads at a first grade level, you can still read them a book listed in the third or fourth grade level. This will help build vocabulary and offer some great mom-child time! I don’t think children at home can ever be too old to be read aloud to, especially in a family setting.

Early Reader Chapter Books

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Magic Tree House {Series} – There are dozens of books in this series. They teach all kinds of history and science.

Amelia Bedelia {Series}

Fancy Nancy {Series}

Ling and Ting {Series}

The {Original} Boxcar Children {Series}

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Trumpet of the Swan

The Cricket in Time Square

The Little House in the Big Woods {Series}

The Hardy Boys {Series}

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

American Girl {Series} There are dozens of these books. The older ones are the best!

The Indian in the Cupboard {Series}

Pippi Longstocking {Series}

Charlotte’s Web

Stuart Little

So, if you’re in need of a starting point for early reader chapter books, hopefully this list will point you in the right direction!

What books would you add to this list? Leave a comment below.