Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Saying Goodbye In Celebration!

Our last day of our Classical Conversations fall semester was overflowing with celebration, joy, and lots of forever memories.

Christa leading worship

Morning assembly time!  Giving the Lord the floor, the honor, and the day each week helps all of us to remember that it is never about us, it's all about HIM!  He is the vine and we are the branch apart from Him we can do NOTHING! (And aren't you thankful)

We had amazing family presentations.  The Sheppard family did a great job of letting us getting to know them.  They closed by sharing one of their favorite hobbies...singing together.  They chose the song, Hey Jude, from the Beatles.  It was so precious to hear those little voices joining mom and dad.    

The Shore Family did a great job following the Sheppards.  Mr. Shore (aka; Brandon) began by singing Hey Jude;-)   First of all, I have come to personally love this great group of people.  Stacy's heart for the Lord and tender mercy minister to me.  Their families claim to fame was that their wedding was featured on, "A Wedding Story".  TLC thought it would be interesting to show a couple who waited for the wedding day to kiss.  How blessed we are that the Lord has sent them to us.  

A wonderful surprise!  We were so honored to have Kim Simrell's parents with us.  They are full time missionaries from South America visiting through Thanksgiving.  My personal prayer for this special couple is that God will use their time here in the states to refuel their hearts to go back out and to continue pouring into the lives of those precious ones HE brings into their lives. 

Celebrating the birth of our newest CC member, baby Mitchell.  Please pray for our sweet Sarah and her family as they prepare to welcome their newest baby boy over our break.  We eagerly anticipate getting to love on and spoil baby Mitchell when we come back!

This was also a time to say goodbye to a very special forever friend....Jennifer Martin.  How blessed we were to have her with us this past 12 weeks.  Her love for Him and for others is her legacy.  We will never forget her or her five children. 

Please pray for their family of 7 as they prepare for the big move home.  

I am so grateful for the hands that worked behind the scenes to make everything possible today.  How honored we are to walk with women with the heart of Christ.  My heart was overwhelmed by the many times I saw beautiful heads huddled in prayer throughout the day.  We really are Better TOGETHER! 

Cards for the homeless!  

When I approached our host church at the beginning of this year to ask how we could best serve and honor them as a way of saying thank you for their gracious hospitality they asked us to do something WONDERFUL!  Their request was to have our students make cards for hurting homeless families.  Faith Covenant works with The Salvation Army.  

Classical Conversations mission is To Know God And To Make Him Known.  I cannot think of a better opportunity to help walk that out.

Keeping the focus on our Savior

As I gaze upon these homemade cards I can't help but imagine how deeply appreciated they will be by those receiving them.  Thank you, Faith Covenant for letting us share in this wonderful ministry.   e a card with deep personal thought invested.

Honoring Faith Covenant!

At the end of our morning program all of our classes gathered together in the sanctuary to help present our cards and a check to our church.  It was so much FUN to have the students play, "Mary had a little lamb" on their tin whistles.  

Pastor Jim was so deeply appreciative of all the cards the students gave him for the Salvation Army gathering. 

Finally, thank you to all our moms who participated in the Jesse tree advent project.  You are so gifted and creative.  As I gazed upon your handiwork I couldn't help but think of what a blessing this will be for your family as you celebrate the risen King this Christmas season.  To GOD be the GLORY!

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 love 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. 
-- Ephesians 3:16-18


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Planner Pad Follow-Up Review!

This post is a follow-up.  To read my first review of the planner pad you can click HERE.  I knew that I would love this planner as soon as I began reading about it.  I became a bit obsessed with researching how it works, who uses it, who loves it, who doesn't, what color, what kind, etc.,

So here we are three months later and I just have to tell you that I LOVE this planner even more than when I first started using it.  It has helped keep me organized in the midst of a very busy life.  It's easy to use so I can be consistent. 

There is one change I am prayerfully considering when it's time to order my new planner pad.  I am thinking of moving to the loose-leaf version.  My hesitancy is that I love the size and feel of the spiral bound book, but I don't like that I have no control over adding notes, journals, or extra pages.  The loose-leaf planner pad comes with a hole-punch so that I can use it for everything.  

What types of things would I like to add?

  • Notes from business trainings and meetings
  • Notes from Essentials (Language and writing program)
  • Notes from my quiet time

If you are looking for a paper planner check out PlannerPad.  I do not work for this company in any way.  I just LOVE their product.  If you are an electronic kinda person stay tuned.  Apparently, they are releasing an electronic system in January.  I hope this helps anyone looking for a new planning system as we spiral into the new year!


Chosen, Cherished...I'm HIS!

Even before He made the world.  God loved me and chose me IN CHRIST to be holy and without fault in His eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt me into His own family by bringing me to Himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what He wanted to do and it gave Him great pleasure.  So I praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on me because I belong to His dear son.  He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased my freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave my sins. 
--Ephesians 1:4-8  (personalized)

This week is an exciting one! It's a time of reflection, celebration, and glorious goal setting. (I love dreaming and goals let me do that)  It's my birthday week and I want to spend time asking the Lord to show me where I've grown this past year and where I still need to grow.  I don't ever want to become complacent or comfortable.    I deeply desire to live my life with purpose for HIS Kingdom.  This world is not my home.  One day I will take my last breath and stand before my Savior.  Oh to hear Him say....well done, my daughter.  

This morning as I linger in Ephesians I see his holy hand in my life.  He adopted me, called me by name, wrote my name in His book!  In that moment I became HIS.  

My life is not my own.....

Because I am united with Christ, I have received an inheritance from God, for He chose me in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.--Ephesians 1:11

Lord, let me spend my inheritance serving you and loving others in your name.  Teach me how to be courageous enough to share your gospel with those who are perishing.  Give me wisdom as a wife and a mother that my actions and words might draw my beloved's closer to you.  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you for choosing me.

You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered.  I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  

-- Psalm 139:16-18

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Oh how I love my Job!

Mary with her beautiful Largo Foundations Director, Christi Panek

As you know from an earlier post, one of my most treasured roles as the Pinellas County Support Manager for Classical Conversations is that I get to visit all the campuses twice a year.  It's amazing to see the consistency of our programs being brought to life by different families.  No matter where you go you feel at home when you walk through the doors of a Classical Conversations community. 

Two beautiful Largo moms

My purpose is to stay connected to the moms, directors, and tutors.  I get to watch what they are doing well and to celebrate all their hard work!


Every Classical Conversations Campus starts their Foundations program off with a weekly Assembly.  It begins at 9:15. (Whether you live in Florida, Arizona, or Alaska)  This is true across the world.

During assembly we walk out three "P's". 
  • Prayer
  • Pledge
  • Presentations

Family presentations are an excellent way to build community, fellowship, and strong relationships.  We are honored when husbands are able to join us when it's their families turn.  Each member simply shares what they love to do and then together they will share a favorite verse or song.  It's precious and the perfect way to kick off the day.


After assembly the students and moms find their classes and it's time to begin our 5 Crisp Components.

  1. New Grammar
  2. Science Experiments
  3. Fine Arts
  4. Presentations
  5. Review

They are called "crisp" components because each one last for 30 minutes exactly. 

Sweet Stacy Fox drilling the phases of the moon (New Grammar) with her Masters Class

Stacy using large muscle movement while drilling grammar.  It's a great tool to help the brain retain important information.

Jennifer Russo, drilling the New Grammar history sentence with her Journeymen class.

I loved how this tutor helped her students learn the different phases of the moon through this fun drill:  


The students were not just moving but saying each phase of the moon to help their brains retain this wonderful, rich, information.

One of my favorite "catches" of the day was what you see in this picture.  Jennifer constantly smiles as she drills the new information with her students.  It was contagious.

Mrs. Cullum and her precious Challenge B class.

After visiting the Foundations program which is for Pre-K through 6th grade, I went to see our older students in action!  We call these older classes the Challenge program. 

It was such a JOY to watch them in action.

Michelle does an excellent job of creating and allowing dialectic discussion to take place.  In our younger years the goal is to drill information and lay the foundation.
Parsing the Latin sentences

In our older programs we take all the wonderful information and begin to flesh it out with dialectic discussion.  In Challenge A & B we have three main skill sets we work on:

  • Research
  • Contrasting & Comparing Information
  • Arguing Respectfully 

"To Know God And Make Him Known"

Classical Conversations mission statement!


Mr. Sackett with his all boys Challenge II Class

One of the things that makes Classical Conversations Challenge program different is this:

We use our class time to have the Challenge I-IV students lead their class by doing problems up on the board they've either struggled with and need help from their tutor and classmates OR problems they've mastered and now will teach to others to demonstrate their mastery.  

Noah Sain humbly walked through making sure he understood the above concept from algebra II.  

Mr. Sackett lovingly and gently walked him through questions so that he could come to his own conclusion.  It was a sight to behold.  What an incredible moment it was to witness these boys walk through the higher level maths humbly together for the purpose of truly understanding the how AND the why!

Classical Conversations believes that learning happens within relationship.  Our tutors are not teachers (That's the parents privileged role and responsibility) they are mentors.  A tutor walks alongside a parent and a student to help them achieve their academic goals.  You never have to walk alone when you're a part of Classical Conversations.


In the afternoon our older Foundations students 9-12 yr olds meet for our Essentials program.  The afternoon is broken up into three strands:
  1. EEL (Essentials Of The English Language)

Largo's beautiful Jesus-loving tutor Kim Trujillo lovingly guides moms and students through the concepts of grammar.

She does an excellent job of making sure all of the students are engaged as she works on two different skill sets:
  1. Drill
  2. Dialectic Discussion

It was wonderful watching Kim drill the sentence patterns through fun exercises!

Since it is the afternoon program we are able to enjoy a nice cup of coffee while we linger over the rich, wonderful, content contained within Classical Conversations curriculum.  

One of my personal favorite aspects of Classical Conversations is how God is redeeming my own education along with thousands upon thousands of other families across the nation.  The first time through school I learned how, but oh how much better it is to understand why.  I thank the Lord for His faithfulness. 

They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago.  They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.
--Isaiah 61:4-5