Thursday, February 27, 2014

What Makes a Marriage Authentically Christian

More great listening from KDCR's Finding Your Way and my favorite psychologist:

What Makes Marriage Authentically Christian

February 27, 2014Listen
February 26, 2014Listen
February 25, 2014Listen
February 24, 2014Listen
February 21, 2014Listen
February 20, 2014Listen
February 19, 2014Listen
February 18, 2014Listen
February 17, 2014Listen
February 14, 2014Listen
February 13, 2014Listen
February 12, 2014Listen
February 11, 2014Listen
February 10, 2014Listen
February 7, 2014Listen
February 6, 2014Listen
February 5, 2014Listen
February 4, 2014Listen
February 3, 2014Listen

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

And the Learn Math Fast Winners Are.....

Two winners were randomly chosen to receive Learn Math Fast. One winner will be gifted LMF books I-VI.  and one winner will be gifted LMF books V-VI. 

And the winners are...

Entry #488Michele P.
Entry #232Sharon

Congratulations, Michele and Sharon!

Cub (8th grade) is currently working through LMF book VI- Applications of Algebra. This is a great program that will insure math success. Between now and June 1, use the code, "golden" and receive $5 off your purchase at Learn Math Fast.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Romantic Practicality

"Hello, Beautiful."
30 year dating anniversary.
1 dozen long stemmed red roses.
Beautiful, sweet, romantic card.
Dinner out, alone.
One large screen, loaded, super lap-top. 
My middle aged eyes are singing the Hallelujah chorus!
Grateful for 3 decades with someone who is smart, funny, Godly, kind, romantic and thoughtful.
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Nitty Gritty Monday- When Your Life Collides with Pain

I'd like to introduce you to my sweet blogger buddy, Wren. She has an amazing testimony that almost didn't make it to this blog! I think God just wanted her testimony to His love published today for some reason, instead of a few months ago! Wren's words touched my heart and I pray that they touch yours. God loves you, even in midst of pain and suffering!
What do you do when pain collides with your life?  I’m speaking here about life circumstances that bring you pain:  pain that hits your spirit, that takes your breath away, that connects on some level with a deep pain from your past that you’ve maybe even forgotten about.  The difficult experiences you’ve had with jobs, family members or friends, or losses that impacted your life and left you unsure and uncertain about how to proceed.  (Do you want to stop reading now?  If you do, I get it…I’ve been there myself! J)
I’ve been on a journey for the past 18 months that started with some ignored physical pain.  Eventually, that physical pain sent me to the hospital and resulted in two VERY unexpected and unplanned-for surgeries….followed by months of healing and recovery.  I’m truly thankful for God’s great healing in my physical body; but I’m also so appreciative for something unexpected He did during that time.  He gently and lovingly showed me some heart issues that I’d really been completely unaware of, that were impacting my daily abilities to live life and to love others and God.  But suddenly, when I could do so little besides rest and heal, there was time and space for me to see; to hear; and to take action in new ways.

I discovered that I was relatively inexperienced in dealing with pain, to my utter and complete surprise!  (I’d thought that I was extremely responsible and adult in all my dealings.  Not!)

Have you ever noticed that the habits we pick up in childhood can carry over quite completely into our adult lives?  Perhaps this is true for you, and perhaps not; but what I’ve seen in myself and in my dealings with God is that He carefully pulls me aside, shows me some wrong thinking or doing that often comes from a hurt or decision made in my younger years, and He reveals “the path of life” for me that is better:  HIS path of life. 

One of the crucial things I learned this year is that I used things and actions to deaden emotional pain I was feeling.  I dearly loved to read as a child, and I still do.  Now, certainly, there is nothing inherently wrong with the activity of reading!  However, as I look back over my life, I can see that when I was cut to the heart with pain as a little girl, I sought escape from that pain by diving into imaginary stories of other people.  And you know, those lovely stories DID deaden that pain!  They made me forget what I was feeling.  They helped me to move on and to regain my footing, so to speak. 

What they did NOT do was help me heal.  Instead, the painful experiences got buried deep in my heart and covered over until, as I grew, they were simply forgotten and unrecognizable to me.  But, they were still there…and unbeknownst to me, they still influenced my thoughts, my behavior and my beliefs. 

As I grew to adulthood, I still loved to read, but I also discovered that I absolutely loved leadership, teaching and serving.  Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these activities!  And obviously each one can be an outworking of a spiritual gift that God has lovingly planted inside us.  What I found, though, was that the more I served in some way, the better I felt about myself; and as a side benefit, the less time or energy I had to think about painful or difficult things.  In many ways I spent years skipping from activity to activity, loving what I was doing….but wearing myself out in the process and never really having time to think, to hear or to heal.

When the Lord permitted me to be sidelined for a time due to those surgeries, He gave me an incredible gift.  Suddenly I was unable to DO anything.  No serving.  No outside teaching (although by His great grace and enabling, I was able continue to homeschool our son).  No leadership.  Nothing but time to sit, ponder, wonder, and be.  With God and with my family.  I quoted a portion of Psalm 16:11 above, and here’s what that entire verse says:

“You make known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”

As I had time and room to do little else besides be at home with my family, God created a place in my life where I could hear His still, small voice…and we began to look at those deep places of pain together, as He set me out on a new path.  I was able to process some of these in prayer with a beloved pastor, and others with my husband; still others on my own with the Lord in journaling or in prayer.  He also sent some wonderful books that helped me along in my process:  Margaret Becker’s Coming Up for Air; and Denise Hildreth Jones’ fiction book Secrets Over Sweet Tea and her nonfiction Reclaiming Your Heart.  These last two were especially crucial, because I learned that my strategies of coping via books and activities in the end didn’t heal the pain my heart was experiencing, they shut the pain, and consequently, my heart, down.  And I believe God’s desire is for us to experience life with hearts fully alive to Him and to others.  How else are we to love our God with ALL our heart, if parts of our hearts are deadened or shut down?

I have not mastered the art, completely, of fully living.  Yet I am on a journey with the God who loves me of finding that new path of His, that path containing fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.  Each time I experience a new difficulty, pain or problem, I have a choice.  Will I bring it to Him and seek the truth about it?  Will I feel the pain, even though it’s not particularly pleasant?  Or will I return to my old ways of deadening the pain through ignoring it by busying myself in other activities?

I certainly have that choice.  God isn’t going to force me to feel or do anything.  Yet He so desires to lead me in His way, and to enable me to walk through my difficulties wearing the easy and gentle yoke of Christ.  To help me not to lean on my own understanding, but to acknowledge Him in all my ways and allow Him to direct my paths.

My prayer these days when I hit a difficult patch, when I’m feeling pain myself or experiencing a troubling circumstance, is this:  “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths.  Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and in You is my hope all day long.”  (Psalm 25:4-5)  I ask God what He wants to show me; what is the truth about the situation or my feelings; and if there might be a lie I’m believing.  I haven’t mastered this yet, and sometimes I revert to my old ways without even noticing.  But freedom comes when I choose to walk through the difficulties with God….and on the other side of the struggles and even IN them, there is hope.

If any of this resonates with you, let me encourage you.  Get away to a quiet place, if you can.  Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see the things He’d desire to heal in you.  He will be so gentle and tender with you, but He will definitely lead you in truth.  Ask Him to connect you with faithful believing friends who will pray for you, who can counsel you.   Write down Scriptures that resonate, or thoughts He has that show you new things.  It may be difficult to walk it through….but remember the outcome:  “In Your presence is fullness of joy!”

Wren Reynolds seeks to live in God’s fullness of joy.  She is married to the best man ever, whom she met on the mission field, and they have one amazing son whom they’ve homeschooled from the beginning.  They love playing games together, eating good food, Marvel Superheroes and Lego.  You can find Wren at
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, February 14, 2014

What a Week

2 Winners for this one- One winner will win books 1-4 and one winner will win books 5-6. 
Go HERE to enter to win!

Co-op Art. 
Happy Valentine's Day!

These 2 Yahoos have spent hours listening to the History of the Medieval World- total love- thank-you SWB, for turning it into audio!- along with Flying Creatures of the 5th Day. The chapter on "Bats" was a big hit, with lots of pleas to get one as a pet. Righto. We have plenty of pet bats, they live in our barn, they are happy there, and you are all welcome to visit them any time you like!
Between the crazy weather and coughs that are hanging on, these are actual action photos from our week!

The Minecraft bug has bitten hard here. When they aren't actually on-line creating, they are building like crazy with actual Legos. I am loving the detail and the constant chatter about how they are adding on and thinking about this and have you tried that. Great skill building on so very many levels. And total fun.
When You Rise Up offers some amazing sounding Minecraft classes. 

BarnCat Rescue 911. 
Here's the skinny. Anyone who knows me knows I loathe love tolerate animals. Rodents don't even count; this includes all "cute" hamster thing-ishes, rats, mice, chinchillas, et al. Cats make me sick- literally. Enclose me in a house with a cat and, I testify, I will have a near death experience every time (allergies, dontch'a know- as in, SEVERE). Howevah. Animals love me. I'm the first person in the room they rub against, beg to be petted by and am always the one in a crowd whose lap is jumped in. My reactions vary, but should probably not be publicized as I might lose animal loving readers. This does not mean we don't have animals. We've had many, including but not limited to Guinnea Pigs (the only acceptable rodent, imho), to fowl-feathered friends, cast, dogs, sheep, goats, a horse and I'm sure other things that I've blocked from memory forgotten. 
That being said, Miss Baghera got terminally ill this week. We took her in and decided to do the very expensive Vet inspired treatment instead of the very cheap bullet inspired treatment. Homestead fail, right? But happy, happy kiddos with their sweet kitten. I call that a win, even if it entails a cat.

Cub and I found ourselves alone in the house for a whole day yesterday. I worked, he read. Then we watched sci-fi together. Love this kid, even though he is in perpetual locust-mode (i.e. eating everything in site) and yaps spoilers during whatever we're watching or reading that he's made it through and I haven't. Plus, he loves some of my fav authors and has introduced me to some new ones. He's a speed reader, like me, too, so I am always on the look-out for great books to throw his way. It was great to be plastered against each other on the couch all alone for a few hours, just chilin'. Happy sigh. He asked me if we'd ever been alone in the house together before. Actually, maybe not.

This is in the school, attached to the church where the kids do co-op. 
Love it. 
Feeche has taken over my Geography class. He is a natural; a globe carrying, Risk-winning, map-studying, high-energy, histor- loving, pied-piper type. So yeah, I think the kids love him more than me. Miss my little class of cuties, but glad they are in good hands.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Air Soft Buddies

Guns, Masks, Friends and 10 acres, regardless of sub-zero weather.
Baboom, baby! 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Learn Math Fast Review and Give-Away

Original Learn Math Fast Review
My first encounter with Learn Math Fast was two years ago. I'll be honest, the review copies that we received post-fire/funerals, from rocking Math Author J.K. Mergens, was a god-send. You can read all about it here: Original Review.
The Learn Math Fast system teaches grades 1-8th math in four books. Volume 1 is the thickest because it is foundational, setting the stage for further math victory. When we started this program, I had Cub (aged 12 at the time) and Flower (age 9 at the time) start at the beginning of the program. They did not feel put down by this. They felt like math was do-able and that they understood it well. Don't be afraid to go back and start at the beginning. Mastery is important. Your kids knowing what they know and that they know it is highly valuable.
Volume I covers first to third grade math.
Volume II covers fourth to sixth grade math.
Volume III covers Pre Algebra
Volume IV covers Basic Geometry
Volume V covers Algebra I

Volume VI covers Applications of Algebra

HIVE Update
I did an update for the Hive last year, because the word is getting out that this is a great curriculum, written by a former homeschooler, which JK Mergens is. You can read a short update of our math journey with Learn Math Fast here: Learn Math Fast Update.
LMF Discount Code
And as some of you know, since before Christmas, I've offered GG readers a discount code for any LMF purchase. Use the code, "golden" and get $5 off your LMF order. I've debated about monetizing this blog and doing tons of affiliate links, but I don't have the time, don't want this blog to be about pushing stuff down my readers throats and, reality check I stick with the same old curriculum suppliers that I LOVE and that WORK (with a few new amazing finds every now and then). So, you know, if I'm working with a company, it's not because I'm working my readers for a few dollars, it's because I BELIEVE in the product and want to share it with YOU. This code is good through June 2014 so order your math for fall now!
Here's where we're at with MATH now
Cub (a freshly minted 14 yo 8th grader) JUST finished Learn Math Fast Algebra - book V. WOOHOO. Why is this such a victory? After our house-fire, as I've said before, it's like the math stuffing just fell out of his head. We've had some incredibly stressful years and he is my linguistic, visual first, auditory second, learner. He is a good student, but very deliberate (read slow as molasses). Also, like I've said before, he'll take one look at some of the more popular publishers lessons, see 2 pages filled with numbers, symbols and figures and short out. It's visually overwhelming to him, written in a language (symbolic) that does not speak to his inner hard wiring- which is linguistic -words, baby, all the way- he is so my child..

Which is why Learn Math Fast has been just the ticket. He is ready for the concepts. He is a get-er'done kinda guy. He likes the simplicity of the pages in Learn Math Fast. He likes the straightforward, here's the deal, explanation and the 5-20 exercises that focus on the concepts being taught. He likes the logical, sequential skill upon skill building that is integral to the program.
So, he finished Algebra in January -the middle of 8th grade. We have Learn Math Fast Volume VI. And Cub is begging to get going on it. I've been crazy busy and Algebra is, well, Algebra; demanding abstract thinking. Cub does appreciate me going over explanations with him, and frankly I just haven't had the time this month. So, he's had to go back to a math book we had previously, which includes lots of practice of stuff he's already learned. My goal at this point is just to keep his math brain cells lubricated. He hates it. And he tells me how much every day. My mentioning math cues this loud exclamation:
"MOM! Can't I just start the next Learn Math Fast book?!" 

Look, if you have a non-mathy kid, like Cub, who is begging for the next math book in a series, you KNOW you have a winner. Especially when it is upper level math. My only complaint about Algebra I (book V of LMF system) is that it was a stretch towards the end for Cub and he would have to go back and reference previous lessons. He totally understood the concepts but he had a hard time always knowing how to apply it towards the end. To address that, I hope Mergens writes "1/2" books for practice (Like Explode the Code presents the concepts in the series 1-4 and the "1/2" books give extra practice of the concepts for those who need it- we didn't with ETC, not everyone will, but for those who do, it would be a welcome addition). Until then, there are extra practice pages on the Learn Math Fast web-site to drill pesky problem areas. Barring that I continue to L.O.V.E this program. It is simple, straightforward, inexpensive, easily understood.

And listen. I made it to Trig in high school, I have 2 Master's degrees, I know how to learn and how to study, but teaching upper level math programs makes me feel about as dumb as a box of rocks. With LMF I remember what I knew so much that I can actually help my kids when the concepts need a bit more explanation. Love that. Any curriculum that helps me, or my kids, feel empowered, well, I'm all about it!

Geometry, Cub cruised right through. Now, be advised, the Geometry book that we used was for Jr. High. Mergens is currently writing the high school geometry book and we'll be using that as soon as it's ready to be used! So, to be clear: Volume 4 is up to 8th grade geometry, volume 5 (Learn Algebra Fast) cover Algebra I and volume 6 covers Algebra II concepts. Mergens is currently writing Volume VII- High School Geometry.

Don't know where to start? There is a free math placement test on the Learn Math Fast web-site, here, along with math games and extra practice for those using the workbooks.
I've been promising a give-away and guess what? This is going to be an awesome give-away!! There will be two winners! One blessed GG reader will be shipped Vol 1-4 of Learn Math Fast and one winner will be shipped Volumes 5 and 6. Woohoo!

Go HERE to enter to win!

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! <a href=">Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Etc. Etc. Etc.

marraige has the first in a series on Marriage by my very favorite psychologist: 

Audio, visual and tech featured heavily in our homeschool this week: Great Courses Mental Math, History of the Medieval World by SWB, Flying Creatures of the 5th day; Mango Languages and Rosetta Stone, along with Vocabulary/Spelling City. Throw in some math and tons of reading and it was a pretty good week. 

So gotta get us some of these....

I received tons of curriculum in the mail this week from some of my favorite places: Roman Road Media and Bridgeway Academy.  And tomorrow I'll be posting my review of Learn Math Fast, along with the Rafflecopter for not 1, but 2 awesome LMF give-aways! 

Best healthy breakfast of the week: Organic eggs served with sliced avocados with lots of sea salt. Organo Gold coffee with a hint of honey. Delish. 

Front Cover
Watching the King and I with my newly turned 11 year old and friends. Flower's infatuation with this flick caused Cub to get out Ana and the King and read it this week. A beautiful love story and book. Not to mention fantastic choreography in the movie.
We also watched The Butler. Blech and double blech. Dark and depressing. I kept waiting for the redemptive punch line, but the left that part out and replaced it with a campaign speech. Honestly wished I hadn't wasted the $1. 39 to rent it.

I never made it through the book, but the movie was fascinating, despite the syncretism.
'Cause everyone needs an inner Hobbes. 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Stay tuned ~reviews coming soon~
with another amazing Learn Math Fast Give-away!
Look what came in the mail today! Nerd thrill! And yes, you see that right- that's the Grammar of Poetry, all spruced and grown up in to a DVD.
Read my previous review here and stay tuned for the new and improved one! 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!