Monday, October 24, 2016

Meet my new girl...iPad Pro 9.7


Meet my new little girl!  My laptop is quickly slowing down after years of use.  I am an Apple fan and have a love/hate relationship when it's time to purchase a new devise.  Picking just one is hard,  I have to weigh my needs and my finances and always have to just choose one.  This time I really felt like the iPad Pro 9.7 was the right choice.  It takes iPads to a whole new level.  The CEO of Apple chooses to carry just his Pro and iPhone with him when he travels.


This Pro has two new features that are game changers.  

1-The new smart keyboard.  It is not a bluetooth, but an extension that attaches and fires up immediately when attached.  There is no charging or pairing involved.  It types like a real keyboard and is super thin.

2-The Apple Pencil.  This pencil is like using the real deal.  There is no lag and it writes exactly like the font you choose.  I love using it for my morning scripture memes.  




I still use my laptop for things like working with my documents for work, but almost everything else is done with my iPad.  I will do a follow-up post after several weeks to update discoveries as I go along.  I still do not know whether I made the perfect choice, BUT I do know I made a good one.  You cannot go wrong with iPad.

Monday, October 17, 2016


STAY ALERT! WATCH OUT for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. STAND FIRM against him, and BE STRONG in your faith. REMEMBER that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.--1 Peter 5:8-9

  • STAY ALERT: be Intentional.  Don't get carried about by your emotions and how you're feeling in the moment.  
  • WATCH OUT: that you do not drift away from that first love and begin to listen and engage the voice of the enemy.  
  • STAND FIRM:  against him and keep having conversations with your Savior. (Come To Me)  
  • BE STRONG and know your position, own your position, walk in humble confidence.  
  • REMEMBER that you are not the only one who is in the same kind of Bootcamp.  As I clean you up, remember to stop and pray for those struggling too.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.--2 Peter 1:3

The lion's den is NOT Daniels death chamber, it's his pulpit!

One of my favorite assignments this week was when we read through Daniel 6 and noted the character of the three main players.  

DANIEL:  Chosen, Appointed, Hard worker, Wise, Faithful, Responsible, Trustworthy, Honored God & King

ADMINISTRATORS:  Jealous, Petty, Vindictive, Deceitful, Deceptive, Wise in their own understanding, strife stirrers

KING DARIUS:  King, Loved Daniel, Loved how Daniel loved His God, Lost

Such a fun activity to pick apart verses for fuller understanding and depth.  

"Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death.  But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind there is life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.  It never did obey God's laws, and it never will.  The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, LIVES IN YOU! -- Romans 8:5-7&11

Each Table has someone represent them up front.

One of our assignments/activities last night was to rewrite Romans 8:12-14 with opposite meaning.  

TRUTH: So dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature is urging you to do.  For if you keep on following it, you will perish, but if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and it's evil deeds you will live.


LIE:  So dear brothers and sisters, you have every obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you keep on following it you will prosper.  But if through the power of your own self you turn to what your sinful nature wants to do, you will DIE.

Who's voice are you listening to?

It felt wrong, but it had a good purpose.  As each table team had someone read their re-written version of the verse it allowed us to intentionally hear and recognize that voice that wants to lure us away.   (Fascinate and then assassinate)  It was POWERFUL.  

I pray that each of us (Starting with me) will think about this as we are purposeful in making sure we are staying connected to the Lord through His Word and listening ONLY to His voice.  


"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."--1 Peter 5:7

Yolanda shared how the Lord used her husband's fishing trip for our youth to bring scripture to LIFE! I will always see this cast net in my mind when I think about casting my care on the Lord!

CAST...Fling, Throw, Thrust, Sling, Toss, Pitch

AWESOME SHARE:  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.--1 Peter 4:10

God has given each of us purpose until we take our last breath.  We are never too young or too old to be of use and to be used by the Lord.

KNOWING OUR POSITION:  Jane has a Holy Bootcamp with one of her patients this week.  He talked about her being religious and how he believed in a "force".  In that moment, God allowed Jane to remember her position in Christ and she shared the gospel in a very short time period.  Let's pray that God's word would WOO this mans heart.  


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL BERNICE!  (And Erika...we missed you)  You were both wonderfully and fearfully made in HIS image.  You are HIS MASTERPIECE.  You were created to do the good things He called you too long ago!  

Please remember that we are off next week so that we can attend the congregational meeting.  Please stay connected to your group and stay consistent with your memory verses and heart work!  Taking this workshop will not change your life.  We need HIS Word to transform and change the way we think!  

Have a great 2 weeks everyone!  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Freedom Workshop--Knowing Your Position

I am sending this letter to those who have been selected and destined by God the Father and made holy by God the Spirit that you may be obedient to Jesus the Anointed and purified by the sprinkling of His blood.  May the grace and peace beyond all reckoning be yours. 
--- 1 Peter 1:2


Last night our whole conversation was about KNOWING OUR POSITION IN CHRIST.  As we spend time in the Word our confidence grows.  As our confidence grows we stand stronger when the winds of this world try to stir up strife.  We bounce back faster.  Knowing our position in Christ can bring LIFE to our life.  

Think about the 92 year old woman held at gunpoint.  She turned tragedy into opportunity and that young mans life was changed forever.   


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  A beautiful example of knowing our position was when Anna shared how God's Spirit moved on her heart to get moving when all she wanted to do was sleep.  The voice of the enemy wanted her to feel down, sad, disconnected from her new season of life.  I love the scripture that God gave her later:  "Now GET UP and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”--Acts 9:6


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  Another beautiful example of how we can always know our position came from Joy.  Keeping our eyes on what's to come.  My heart was moved to tears as Joy shared how God used Colossians 3:1-2 to remind her of what's to come:  "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth."

I am praying that the Lord would move on our hearts today to remember the realities of heaven


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  We don't have to work for victory in our life.  We are working FROM the victory.  God has already given us everything we need.  We are locking NOTHING!

"By His Divine Power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence." -- 2 Peter 1:3


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  My favorite part of the night was going through Daniel 3 and noticing how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew their position.  Here is a reminder of what we as a group noticed about these three men:

  • Prepared & focused for the task
  • Firm in their trust of the Lord
  • Listening to God while everything was going crazy around them
  • Knew God was their leader and protector
  • Respected & Honored the King, but served God
  • Courageous and Unintimidated
  • Stood Firm
  • Stood in Faith
  • They were a Cord of 3 (Better together)


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  We know our position when we know the character and characteristics of who God is.  Last night we went through Psalm 139 as a group and had GREAT discoveries in our discussion!  We compared and contrasted who God is and who the enemy is: (WHOA)

  • Ever-present Help/Steals, kills, and destroys
  • Walks before us and after us/Trips us, wants us to stumble
  • Knows our thoughts before they are spoken/Knows only what is spoken
  • He is our Hiding Place/He wants us to have unrest
  • He was intimate and personal/He fascinates and then assassinates
  • Omniscient (is everywhere)/Ubiquitous (appears to be everywhere)
  • Will never abandon us/Will lure us and then leave us
  • Awesome/Evil
  • Light Always/Darkness


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  We are made right with God by placing our Faith IN HIM-- Romans 3:22

When we understand that we are made right by faith and not by our own actions/works we begin to own and walk confidently in our position.  


Congratulations Karen Vander Ploeg!  I'm so excited that you were our winner.  Thank you to Susie Marcin for providing last nights door prize.  You are such a sweet blessing. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week Three---Holy Bootcamps

WHOA!  What a great night of sharing how the Lord is applying God's Word in our lives.  I'm so grateful for each precious woman the Lord has brought together.  Thank you for tenderly sharing your testimonies and stories.  We really are better together!  

I love this action shot!  This is where Kingdom work is being applied.  As we are learning to read the bible relationally, He faithfully speaks to us!  It's intimate and personal!  We get to learn from Him FIRST and then from each other.  P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L.!!!


I shared how I messed up last week while trying to fast and gave into my flesh.  There was a feeding frenzy taking place in my brain and it was being fueled by condemnation.  

  • COME TO ME:  I cried out to the Lord. 
  • THROW IT UP:  I shared with Him how frustrated I was with my lack of self-control 
  • LET HIM FILL YOU UP:  He immediately spoke into my heart..."Mary, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are my Masterpiece."  
  • REST & INTERCEDE:  As I laid my head on my pillow that night I began praying that God would continue to speak to my heart and praying for others who struggle with this too. 

Over the next 7 Days the Lord continued to speak intimately to my heart through His Word:

  • If you live your life animated by the flesh--namely, your fallen, corrupt nature--then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh.  But if you live your life animated by the Spirit--namely, God's indwelling presence--then your focus is on the work of His Spirit. -- Romans 8:5-7
  • How much longer will you sit on the fence refusing to make a decision between the Lord and Baal?  If you believe the Eternal is the One True God, then devote yourself entirely to Him.  If you believe Baal is your master then devote yourself entirely to Him. --1 Kings 18:21
  • Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own?  No one--for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself--Romans 8:33
  • Yet in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us. -- Romans 8:37
  • But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, BEARING FRUIT each season.  Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do.--Psalm 1:1-2


  • Feelings Are Indicators:  Feelings should get us to God.  They are real, but that does not make them TRUE!
  • We have to be self-feeding Christians reading the Word if we want to hear HIS voice.
  • What happens when I forget to remember and engage that voice that leads me away from the cross?  Romans 8:12-14....Through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT I turn away from it!
  • I do not have to go on fox hunts to look for my sin.  I have to let the Lord bring it to me..."Search me Oh God and know my heart...point out anything in me that offends you."

These groups are so precious!  I love how close you all are becoming to one another.  

I'm praying for all of us this week.  May we have a fervor and hunger to sit and soak in HIS presence while He speaks to us through His Word!

Loving this new friend, Tammy!

THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE:  "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but LET GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is." -- Romans 12:2

One of the highlights of my night was getting to sit with this great group and participate in table time discussion.  

THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE:  "Can anything happen without the Lord's permission?" -- Lamentations 3:37


Friday, September 30, 2016

Being Made Complete...

"I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.  YOUR ROOTS WILL GROW DOWN INTO GOD'S ❤️ AND KEEP YOU STRONG. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be MADE COMPLETE with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."--Ephesians 3:16-19

What a precious gift God's Word is to my life!  Last Sunday our pastor shared about an unsettling experience he had on a small plane many years ago.  He said that he remembers flying for a business trip he needed to take.  As they soared over the water a fog began rolling in causing an unsettling feeling of being disoriented.  As he looked out at the storm he asked the pilot where they were.  The pilot shared that he had no idea, but he pointed to the aircrafts panel and told him not to worry.  

He said the Lord gave him two truths to hang onto from that experience:
  • We must fly by the panel
  • We must fly by what we know, not by how we feel


  • My bible is my panel
  • My feelings are real, but that doesn't make them true

The question then do we find truth in the midst of our storms or even on the best of days?


Going to church, being plugged into programs, listening to christian music, and doing good deeds will not save my soul or assure me that I am hearing God's voice.

Psalm 51:6 says, our hearts our hearts deceitful above all things. I cannot trust how I feel.  

When I get busy and begin doing, doing, doing, or going, going, going and don't read my bible I can easily mistake how I'm feeling as God speaking to me.

This morning as I sit in the presence of TRUTH I am reminded of the power of my panel:

Ephesians 1:18:  "I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the CONFIDENT HOPE He has given to those He called."

Just as that pilot learned to trust the panel when the world around him was in chaos, I must also do the same....

"The Word of God is ALIVE and POWERFUL.  It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, joint and marrow.  It exposes are innermost thoughts and desires." --- Hebrews 4:12

"ALL SCRIPTURE is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is TRUE and makes us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." --- II Timothy 3:16

"HIS Word is a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet" --- Psalm 119:105

So Mary, come BOLDLY to the throne of our gracious God.  There you will receive His mercy, and find grace to help you when you need it most!  ---Hebrews 4:16


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Classical Conversations--Community Visit--Tampa Campus


CC MISSION:  To Know God And Make Him Known

CC METHOD:  Community -- We're Better Together

CC MODEL:  Classical Christian Education


As a homeschooler I have been blessed to try different educational philosophies over the past 18 years.  I landed in Classical Conversations in 2010 after graduating my oldest son.  Little did I know that God was using this educational organization to transform my own education and how I homeschool my children.  I am so grateful for the Lord's faithfulness in my life. 

I love my job!  Laurie Curtis is a HOOT!  As a Support Representative I get to contract, love on, and walk with directors as they drill, tutor, and cultivate conversations with our children once a week.  One of my very favorite responsibilities is to do campus visits.  It is FUN to watch tutors and directors SHINE for HIS glory as they run their race.  They inspire my heart!  


Today I got to visit my Tampa community and they were AWESOME!  I just love how much this group of families love each other.  This is the Tampa Foundations director, Liz and her beautiful Essentials tutor.  

 I truly enjoyed observing the Abecedarian class.  The tutor was a beautiful example of beauty and grace.  She focused on skill set verses content.  She made drill FUN!   I looked at those little faces light up in the midst of their learning.

One of my favorite aspects of our Foundations program (Pre-K4-6th grade) is that our homeschoolers do Presentations each week.   It starts with a simple show-and-tell when they are young and turns students into amazing orators as they gain skill and confidence.  This precious little girl shared with us about her pet pigs her grandpa bought her when she was tiny and how she cares for them.

I was very impressed with the level of organization that went on while managing a large campus.  Liz had these handy dandy science bins put together perfectly with tutors names, science times, and materials.  

Challenge A

Mrs.Wallace and her class.

In Challenge A our students are learning how to draw the entire world by heart.  Amy (aka: Mrs.Wallace) uses a shower curtain of the U.S. as her big map.  

Their focus this week was South America

Challenge B
Mrs.Wiggins and Mrs.Stayte's class

We missed Ruth (aka: Mrs.Stayte) as she and her family are traveling to say goodbye to her beloved father-in-law.  It was such a blessing to see her sister directors rally around her to take care of her class while she's gone.  We love you, Ruth.  

Beth (aka: Mrs.Wiggin's did a PHENOMENAL job with Latin!  They worked on finding Stems, declensions, gender, and number.  

Challenge III

Mrs.Curtis's class was incredibly interactive and full of ideas.  It was a joy to watch them in action.

The students did a great job diagramming difficult sentences.


 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

--- 1 Corinthians 9:23-25