Posted by: Laurene Wells | November 18, 2013

Someone else’s blog about infant sleep and nursing

I’ve been through some really difficult stuff with my family the last 3 weeks. I can’t talk about it right now. But pray for us if you think of us please. And that doesn’t even have anything to do with NaNoWriMo, which yes I am participating again but due to aforementioned stress I’m lagging way behind and really struggling. So who knows if I will win this year or not.

Meanwhile however I just read this awesome article by someone I don’t know that really resonated with me. My babies are not babies any more so it isn’t about my current phase in life. But for everyone who does have babies right now, or might have babies in the future, this is a really encouraging article. I hope you will take a few minutes to read it.

http://sweetmadeleine.ca/2013/10/14/here-are-some-lies-people-tell-you-about-infant-sleep/

And after reading that article it reminded me of another article that I read once upon a time that was sort of along the same line of thinking. I hope you will read it too. I found it to be tremendously encouraging. And that’s what I want to do here today, I want to encourage you.

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/claire_niala.html

I don’t know these people. And to the best of my knowledge they don’t know me either.  But they have some of the best advice on babies that I could ever think of offering, so if you’re in that baby stage of life I encourage you to read it.

God bless you.

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Posted by: Laurene Wells | October 25, 2013

Pro Life in a Culture of Death

I woke up this morning with this topic heavy on my mind. I tried to push it back into the shadows of my mind, but it just won’t stay there. I’m sure that I’ll step on toes on both sides of the “the Pro Life debate” by posting this and probably make some enemies of people who have been my friends. But I just can’t keep quiet about this any more. It’s making me sick to my stomach and giving me a headache and if no one else will speak out then I will. We can’t ignore it any longer. There is a sticky, putrid, ugly, blackness in our culture that is infecting our society across the globe. I don’t think it’s limited to America, I think it’s everywhere. Maybe there are some locations less effected by it than others, but I’m pretty sure it’s a global infection, and it’s killing us. Quite literally.  I call it the Culture of Death. I didn’t coin this phrase, but when I’ve heard it mentioned it seems like the people in hearing range try to sweep it under the proverbial rug and pretend it isn’t there. We can all smell it. We have seen it. We know it’s there. The ooze is staining the carpet even as we try to pretend it doesn’t exist. And the stench is befouling the air in all our lives. We can lay roses over it, hang pictures on the wall to distract our attention from it, or try to turn our backs on it, but there is no mistaking the lingering presence of death.

Some of us who are profoundly Pro Life in our stance on abortion see the culture of death in the pro-abortion argument and identify “pro choicers” as being Pro Death. Because really, that is what they are choosing, they are choosing death for unborn children everywhere. There isn’t a middle ground on this issue. It is a life or death issue. Either the child lives or the child dies. There is no middle ground for the child. There is no, “It’s true for you but not for me” in the life of the child. If the mother chooses life then it is life for the child. If the mother chooses abortion then it is death for the child. Nothing more, nothing less.  A seven year old can figure this out, it isn’t rocket science. All the “But what if….” arguments Pro Death people come up with, they are justifications for choosing murder, for choosing death for an innocent baby.  Most of us understand that concept. It isn’t really the main issue that is bothering me this morning, but it’s at the core of the ideology that has infected our culture so it needed to be stated. There was a time when I might have conceded to some of the “what if” scenarios, but no longer. I know absolutely and with crystal clarity that children are children from conception, and they have an inherent right to be born and live the life that God gave them. It isn’t a right granted them by the United States Constitution, though it is listed there. It is a right given them by God. To take away that right to life, is to sin against God himself.

That is the key point that so many people miss in this argument, and in all issues surrounding the creation and perpetuation of life, is that God is the life-giver. When humans step in and take away the life that God has given to a person or animal, we are committing an act against God. Yes, I include animals in that statement as well. This whole idea extends so far beyond humanity, that it truly is corrupting all of life on the planet. Human infants are being killed. Elderly are being killed. Puppies, kittens, and mice are being killed. Horses are being killed. It’s everywhere. Our entire species is bathed in blood. And it stinks.

I read a comment from someone on FaceBook today that was pointing out the problems of offering a hand-out instead of a hand-up. I happened to agree with the person’s views on financial assistance, but the conclusions the person arrived at were disturbing to me. The argument was that people would naturally prevent (possibly even abort?) the birth of what they viewed as excessive children as evidence of proper financial management, or healthy work ethics. This staggers my mind. The Bible, the word of God, tells us that children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. (Ps. 127:3) And yet people who call themselves Christians view children as burdens, not blessings. How can this be? How did Christiandom get to this point that Christians fear and even despise the addition of more children to their family, rather than embracing them? Do people no longer believe God’s own word when He says children are a blessing, a reward? It seems so. Anyone with more than 1.8 children is considered to have a “large” family, when just 100 years ago a family with four children was considered normal or maybe even small. It goes deeper than this too. There is this idea that God can’t possibly know how many children are the right number of children for any given family, therefore people must take matters into their own hands to prevent God from giving them “too many” children. And anyone who does not go to such measures is considered irresponsible for producing “too many” offspring. The government and even the insurance companies take this a step further even. They are trying to control world population through medical and surgical interventions! They will pay for abortions, birth control and surgical sterilizations out of tax dollars, but they will not pay for fertility treatments, or surgical reversals that would allow a couple to have more children. The unspoken message here is, “We will help you kill your children, and we will prevent you from obtaining God’s blessings, but we sure won’t help you grow your family or seek blessings from God!” And what’s worse, is that a huge percentage of the American population, possibly the world over, applauds and endorses this sentiment. This is the culture of death, and people love it!

An estimated 40% to 60% of women who undergo tubal ligation sterilization surgery experience a debilitating condition called Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome, or PTLS, which creates a myriad of symptoms including (but not limited to) migraines, severe fatigue, erratic mood swings, cramping, and even early onset of osteoporosis and arthritis. The treatment for this condition is a reversal of the tubal ligation, to reconnect the fallopian tubes. But insurance won’t pay for this procedure because it MIGHT produce a baby.  They don’t care how much a person suffers, they don’t care that it completely destroys their life (indeed I’m beginning to think they celebrate the destruction of people’s lives!), they don’t care if it causes permanent disability, as long as it doesn’t produce a new human being they are fine with the suffering of women. I have this condition, and can not get the surgery because it costs $10,000 that we absolutely can not afford, and can not get insurance to cover it. Yes. I am a victim of the culture of death, because 12 years ago I bought into the lie that it was the responsible thing to do, to prevent the creation of “too many” children. I deeply regret that decision now, in more ways than I can begin to describe in a single blog post. This is the culture of death, it is destroying lives, and governments and insurance companies are perpetuating the spread of it.

Another area that I have seen the culture of death permeate society is through our pets. Our culture tells us that spaying and neutering our pets is the right thing to do. I knew a Christian lady once who even had her pregnant dog spayed, knowingly killing the puppies in the process, under the belief that dead puppies are better than “too many” puppies.  An atheist I know killed a litter of the family pet’s newborn kittens while his little daughter watched, and then tried to justify his action as the most humane thing to do in the situation.  The culture of death teaches us that killing innocent babies is better than letting them live.  Pets teach us about unconditional love, about trust, about loyalty, about devotion, about compassion, about comfort, and about a loving Creator who gives us pets to enrich our lives. Apartment dwellers are not allowed to have any pets, or if they do they are fined heavily for caring for these small creatures and enjoying the blessings that animal friends give. The culture of death says “too many pets” is a burden on the planet.

This year I’ve become involved with horse rescue. I always knew there were slaughter houses but I didn’t actually know the details about what happens there, and I also felt like I was powerless to do anything about it. I still live in town, in a small house, with a tiny yard, and no possibility of owning my own horse. But I have been introduced to a group of people who rescue horses from these kill pens to place them in loving homes where they will live happy and productive lives to their natural end. Some of the horses they rescue are pregnant mares, foals, yearlings, even professionally trained riding horses that are in the prime of life, amiable, willing, and offering a lifetime of love and service. I have neither the space nor the budget to adopt any of these horses, as much as I would love to, but I pray for them and every once in a while I have an extra $5 to donate to the cause. Even $5 helps to rescue these horses. Our society has rejected these horses. Our society closes their eyes to the brutal treatment and harsh conditions of horses in the kill pens. Our society has taught more than a generation of people that it’s better to kill these horses than to find homes for them, simply because the original owner can’t or won’t keep them any more. Horses are highly intelligent animals. We can learn a lot from horses, majesty, loyalty, forgiveness, strength, endurance, devotion, and yes, just as with the smaller pets horses too can teach us about unconditional love. They can also teach us about a healthy work ethic, and about dedication, and commitment, and other holy virtues. Our society would cast these animals aside, even abuse them, misuse them, and see them only for the financial profit they can gain from killing them. These are animals that have a deep joy of living, they run free in the wind, and love sharing their life with others of their kind. Humans steal their joy and their life, starving them for long distances in overcrowded conditions, to end their days confined, unloved, and abused. It is heartbreaking. I have loved horses all my life, but it wasn’t until this year that I learned of anyone doing anything to rescue them. How can there be so few people trying to save them, and so few people helping? For every horse that they save there are probably a hundred more they were unable to rescue due to lack of funds, and lack of help. This is the culture of death, hardening people’s hearts to the point they can no longer even recognize the sanctity of life.

Recently one of our cats was hit by a car. She suffered a broken pelvis. She became dehydrated and lethargic as a result of complications from her accident. She nearly died. We took her to the vet for treatment, but we had an extremely limited budget (I spent our last $80 at the vet instead of paying a bill). Given our financial hardship, the vet was quick to offer euthanasia as a viable treatment method, due to the severity of her injury and complications. I told the vet “We brought her in so they would help her live, not to kill her! Only God gets to decide if she dies.” The vet gave her subcutaneous fluids, antibiotics, and painkillers, and she sent us home with a feeding tube to keep her nourished and hydrated. Our cat recovered and is back to her old self of trying to escape every time the door opens. But the moment when death was offered as a treatment method for an injury struck a chord deep in my soul and has bothered me ever since. Euthanasia is no longer seen as death, it’s seen as “treatment” for a medical condition. Killing the patient is considered a viable option for treatment. This is the culture of death, but people call it compassionate care instead.

A friend of mine has been closely involved with the care of his parents. When his father was hospitalized for a chronic, but treatable, condition recently the hospital staff pressured him, his mother, and other relatives to choose euthanasia for his father instead of treatment. My friend adamantly fought for life and defended his father’s right to life. At one point his father recovered well enough to go home, but a nurse told a family member, “If he comes back here, he will not leave alive again.” And indeed, the next time he was admitted to the hospital, they pressured extended family members so hard on the euthanasia issue that they finally signed his life away. Euthanasia was the most cost effective treatment for the hospital, the most profitable outcome for them. The hospital stopped treating him, and accelerated the onset of his death. They put him on hospice and called this compassionate care.  My friend lost his father.  This is the culture of death where life is measured in dollars, and wisdom of the ages is discarded in favor of profit margins.

I’ve read a few different articles lately about the new Common Core curriculum that indicate indoctrination into the practice of euthanasia as an accepted medical outcome is being taught to children as young as seven and eight years old in the schools. They are given “logic” problems where they have to choose one person from among a group of people in a story that will have to die. They are being taught that choosing death is not only a viable option, but the only option. We know from examples of socialized health care in other countries that the government forms “death panels” where policy is made to determine which patients will live, and which will die. Elderly are immediately culled from the health care services because their lives are determined to be “a burden” on society. Anyone who is unable to work is considered “a burden” and will fall in priority ranking for treatment. There is not enough money and there are not enough doctors to treat everyone in socialized health care, so some people will necessarily be cut off. Children are being taught that it’s the right thing to do to kill their grandparents and handicapped relatives to maintain socialized health care. They are never taught that there is another way, a better way, that would allow grandma and grandpa to live. They are never taught the value of learning from the experiences of the older generations. They are institutionalized into government schools, pulled away from their families, and isolated from the people in their lives who have the most experience in how to succeed in life.  They are taught through example that money and formal education are more important than love and family values. They are taught by the schools that elderly are financial drains that should be eliminated from society. They are taught to kill old people through a treatment called euthanasia. They are never taught to respect their elders. They are never taught to listen to the wisdom of the aged. Only God should choose when we die. When humans try to play God, destruction follows. But of course, they removed God from the schools and replaced Him with Secular Humanism instead. Children are not taught the wisdom of the Bible any more. This is the culture of death, killing our elders and starving our children of much needed wisdom.

We should not be surprised that the culture of death is killing our most treasured members of society, our children and our grandparents. It permeates every aspect of our culture, even our entertainment and our celebrations. And this is not just about Halloween, and the dance with death that our society engages in every October 31, although it is most evident at this time of year. It is about movies, books, games, even bumper stickers and disaster preparation activists feed on the culture of death with the ever present topic of zombies. Zombies seem to be the devil’s perversion of holy resurrection. He can’t bring people back to life, but he knows that deep down we all crave to experience new life in Christ, so to distract us from the holy resurrection offered by the Lifegiver he dangles this counterfeit resurrection through undead and zombies to obsess over instead.  And people fall for it. Even Christians get excited about the idea of a zombie apocalypse, and will spend hours talking about it, scheming survival plans, and sometimes even preparing for such an event. The Bible does describe an apocalypse that we will endure, but it isn’t going to involve zombies, it’s going to involve Jesus returning with a sword and an army of angels to wipe out evil from the face of the Earth once and for all. And all the people who made jokes about “zombie Jesus” are going to find themselves at the wrong end of His sword. It won’t be funny any more. Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and everyone who embraces this culture of death is going to be in for a very uncomfortable surprise.

I am so disgusted with this culture of death. I see it everywhere, every day, and I hate it. I hate that we are pressured to prevent our animals from having offspring. I hate that beautiful horses are slaughtered for profit. I hate that women are pressured into limiting the number of children they have. I hate that the Pro Death agenda spends so much of our tax money on the murder of unborn babies. I hate that animals are euthanized. I hate that death panels choose to kill people instead of treating them. I hate zombies. And I hate that Christians are often caught up into this culture of death as much as the atheists are. The Bible tells us that in the last days even the elect will be deceived. I think it is happening right now. This is the culture of death, and we are all victims of it, in some way infected by it, very likely dying from it, and I hate it.  This is what I mean when I say I am Pro Life: I oppose killing, I mourn loss of life, I oppose the prevention of new life, I oppose the glorification of death and the undead, I oppose the culture of death. We need to trust God more, and trust society less. We need to have faith that God knows what is best for us. We need to do our best to live for Him, obey Him, and follow Him. Jesus is the light of the world. We need to walk in the light. Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and we need to give our lives to Him to be healed of this culture of death so we can be restored to life, both in this life and the next.

Posted by: Laurene Wells | October 12, 2013

Join the Visions team!

Be part of the world’s first Christian MMORPG game development team! Help us create Visions. Gain valuable industry experience working with the Bigworld game engine, an industry standard engine designed specifically for massive online worlds. Visions is an historical game set in the Ancient Roman empire. It is a quest and skill based game with three primary quest tracks: Professions, History, Scriptures. Players start out as a slave and earn their freedom by learning a Profession. There are history quests relevant to the 100AD era. And there are scripture quests for players to collect all the verses to compile their own Bible. It is heavily tradeskill oriented where play characters will be able to make almost everything that they use in the game. Because it is skill based, and not level based, veteran players will be able to share meaningful gameplay with new friends just joining the game. Use your gifts and talents for God’s glory. Get involved and help us finish this game!

INDEPENDENT SALES PEOPLE!

We have an opportunity for Independent Sales people to come along side us and earn commissions from selling our games. Earn 20% from every referral from your site. No sign-up fee! You can sell from your existing Blog site, or create a new store site, whichever works best for you. When you sell our games, you are helping us fund the development of Visions. We do not have outside corporate funding, so this is our only revenue. Do you have a gift for sales? Come help us! Learn more on our store website. http://store.tinyzoo.com/affiliate-resources/

WORLDBUILDERS / LEVEL DESIGNERS!

We are creating a massive game world to include a majority of the Mediterranean basin, so we have a lot of work for worldbuilders to do. This is a volunteer position. Apply now! http://www.visionsgame.com/volunteer

PROGRAMMERS / PYTHON SCRIPTERS!

Visions is currently in the second Alpha state of development, meaning the core functionality of the game mechanics are not implemented yet, so there is a lot of work for programmers to do as well. This is a volunteer position. Apply now! http://www.visionsgame.com/volunteer

3D ARTISTS!

We have an ongoing need for artists, and occasionally for researchers working in tandem with artists, to create the buildings, items, and various visual elements of the game. We especially need artists who are comfortable with building 3D models of ancient Roman buildings with nothing more than a floor plan, or pictures of ruins to go by – historic artistic interpretation is a must. Artists just joining the team will not gain game editor access immediately, as we have a limited number of seats. This is a volunteer position. Apply now! http://www.visionsgame.com/volunteer

PLAY TESTERS!

Players interested in testing the game can buy access to our alpha test server for just $30 to access the download client. This is a rare opportunity to grow with the game and see it like the developers do. Get it now! http://store.tinyzoo.com/visionsalphadownload/

Posted by: Laurene Wells | October 8, 2013

Small Changes…

Did you notice? I added a new page to my blog site last week (or maybe it was 2 weeks ago now, I didn’t exactly mark the date on my calendar) talking about the book I am writing.  I’ve been working on this book for 2 years. Well, it’s sort of three books now, it has grown too long to be published as one book. But I have to finish the story before even the first book can be published. So you all have to wait while I chip away at it before you can read it.

For a long time I was afraid to talk about the book I’m writing. I don’t know why exactly, I guess for a number of vague undefined reasons. Partly because I didn’t want to argue with anyone about whether or not I should or shouldn’t be writing a book on this topic. It is the story that God has given me to write and so it is the story I’m writing right now. Maybe God will give me another story about something completely different after I finish this one. I have had many story ideas in my lifetime. Very few, if any of them, are related. And partly I think because I was a little bit afraid that I might never finish writing the book, and I didn’t want to have to announce to the world yet another failure.

Yet ultimately, it was that fear that pushed me to publish the page. I wanted to put it out there that I am working on this book so people would know that I’m trying. Have you ever tried to write a book? It’s hard. And daunting. And exciting. And draining. It is something that a lot of people say they are going to do “someday” that they never actually do. So I wanted people to know that I’m at least trying. And if I can do it, so can you.

keyboard_writing

The other reason I finally decided to post a page about it is because I’m not the first person to write a book on this topic. Jeff Gerke challenged me (and a room full of other people) at the Christian Game Developer’s Conference in 2011 to write “the next big hit” on the topic of Amish Vampires in Space. Then we did a sort of group walk through of what that might look like. And while people were offering suggestions of what the plot would look like, in my mind I kept hearing “No no… it should go like this, not like that,” and “No that’s all wrong, it should be more like this! Don’t do that! That’s wrong!” and so this entire story formed in my mind while the group of people were going off on some bizarre tangent about what they thought it would look like. And then the conference ended, and I forgot about it. Until NaNoWriMo came around in November of that year. I was complaining to a group of writers that I couldn’t participate in NaNoWriMo because I had failed in 2010 with no more than 5 pages of words when I ran out of story to tell. I didn’t think I had a novel-sized idea. Someone suggested the topic challenges on the NaNoWriMo website, and suddenly the entire story plot from CGDC came flooding back to my mind, and I no longer had the excuse that I couldn’t participate because I didn’t have a story idea. I came up with other excuses, all of which got shot down or eroded away until it became clear to me that I was being pushed to write this story. It was 8 days into November by the time I succumbed and started writing the first words.  I won the NaNoWriMo challenge that year with 60,000 words (written in 3 weeks!), and an unfinished story. I wrote another 30,000 words over the course of the following year and found myself yet again facing this book at the start of NaNoWriMo. It was clear by this time that I had at least two books in this story, so I began work on book 2 as my NaNoWriMo challenge and continued with the same story. I wrote another 65,000 words in November of 2012. Now we are approaching November once again and still my story is not done. I’ve gotten even less done through the year than I got done the year before, primarily due to writer’s block induced by fear of editing this monstrosity when it’s done.  It is nearly 171,000 words long now, and it isn’t done yet. (By comparison, the average novel is between 60,000-90,000 words.) That is a lot of words for the story to be in an incomplete state. My friends from NaNoWriMo are tremendously powerful encouragers though and they have motivated me to pick up the baton and keep running with this story.

So here I am, with only a few small changes to my book, and only a few small changes to my website, and only a few small changes to other aspects of my family, my business and my life, determined to finish this. I am pressing on, with what little energy I have, and I’m going to keep working until it’s done. I may work on it through NaNoWriMo again, or I may work on a different story. At the moment I don’t have another story idea so I’ll probably just stick with this. But some of my NaNo friends have suggested that working on a new story can sometimes help release writer’s block from an old story and make work on both go faster. We will see.

In the meanwhile, I’m also still working on Visions with my volunteer team. This time of year is always very busy for us as we try to get at least one, if not two, special events published on our test server for our play testers to have some fun during the holidays. And of course I am still homeschooling my children. And as you might have read in another post, we have chickens again. We have had two pullets grow up to become roosters. We are not allowed to have roosters in town so we have been trying to re-home them. We just delivered the second one to his new home on a farm last night. Oro is going to have a great time on the farm with is very own flock of 4 lady hens.  Life is never boring in my house!  But sometimes it is a little bit difficult to concentrate. I wouldn’t trade it though. I love my family, I love the freedom of homeschooling, and I love the excitement of using my creative energy to try new things. Maybe someday one of these ventures will pay off.

God bless you. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. Hold on to God’s promises, even through the darkest of nights, and He will bring joy in the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5 (KJV)
4 Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

IMG_7938The chickens going to roost at night. The red light keeps them warm and calm.

Oro is pictured in the bottom right corner. He’s living on a farm now, with a new flock of hens.

Posted by: Laurene Wells | September 26, 2013

Support Visions and earn 20% Commission!

I do believe we finally got our Affiliate program properly set up! And the new store is live! Who wants to be our first Independent Sales Person to test it out and start earning a 20% commission from sales?

http://store.tinyzoo.com/affiliate-resources/

It took us far longer to get this completed than we originally had expected it would take, but hopefully the results are worth it. Now anyone can sign up as an Affiliate (it’s free!) and start selling our games! Right now we just have 1 product available on the Commission sales plan, but hope to be adding the others as we’re able over the next month.

Thank you for your support!

Posted by: Laurene Wells | September 23, 2013

New school year, new activities, same goals.

We started the new school year a week later than we intended to. Summer kind of went into over time on us. I heard from other homeschoolers around the country. Some of them started on time (and then immediately fell behind) and others started late, and some even started early. Some have delayed their start of the year until life circumstances change sufficiently to allow them to breathe and read at the same time. Whenever we start, it is exactly the right time for us, even if it doesn’t look the same as other people around us. I love homeschooling for the freedom and flexibility it offers families.

Yes, we’re still homeschooling. And I’m still working on Visions, the Christian MMORPG. And I’m still writing the book I started writing 2 years ago. All the same things are still filling up our time. And I still have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. So really, not much has changed. But I have a Senior (again) this year. And a sophomore. And a 7th grader. So we’re looking at college applications again, and college prep, and middle school woes. Every year is different even if we’re still doing the same thing, it never looks the same from one year to the next. This year we are adding in 4H for the first time ever. I’m wishing I would have done 4H while my oldest son was still in homeschool with us. It looks like there are a lot more fun activities to learn in 4H than I ever imagined! And we got chickens over the summer. So that adds a new dynamic to our home and life and schedule also.

IMG_4038

They grew up fast.  Now they are large birds that wander around our back yard during the day and we close up in their coop at night to keep them safe. (Good thing too because we had a opossum trying to get them a couple nights ago!) My daughter picked out an Ameracauna pullet to be her very own. (We hope and pray it stays a pullet!) She loves that little bird!

Goldilocks_9-12-2013  Chickens_9-4-2013

So some aspects of our life are looking different around here.  Some of our goals are to just spend more time together as a family and not run all over tarnation in 6 different directions at once.  Some of the pulling back in our schedule is mandated by my health. I just don’t have the energy to do everything I want to do. And some of the new commitments are evidence of guilt that I was feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, or teaching all the things I wanted them to learn, or giving them the life experiences I wanted them to have during their childhoods.  So I ended up filling some of those empty spots that I had fought so hard to clear with more activities. (Yeah I know, fail.) So now I have to try to clear out time in my schedule again. And so it goes.

This year I’m trying to incorporate more project based learning into our homeschool schedule. I felt the Lord compelling me to do this last year. It isn’t for lack of willingness to follow Him, but lack of understanding of HOW to do it that has caused my delay. So I’ve come up with a hybrid attempt this year where we have 2 days of book reading, 1 day of cooking classes, 1 day of self-directed project learning, and 1 day for make-up work or play-date activities with friends. And the other thing I’ve done is carve out large chunks of time in November for us to participate in NaNoWriMo as a large writing project. And then December is for celebrating the birth of Christ. I’m hoping we can come up with some fun Christmas gift ideas to make this year. I haven’t thought of anything yet though so we’ll see how it goes. So that’s our hybrid schedule. Here is our booklist for the year:

–Mom’s Choices–
Continue Chronological Bible plan
Christian Modesty
New Answers Book 3
5 Money Personalities
Engaging Islam
World History & Geography
Cursive Writing Practice
Trajan
21 Laws of Leadership

–Rivan’s Choices–
The Hobbit
The Belgariad
Last of the Nephilm Bk 3
The Bones of Makaidos Bk 4
A Beka Biology
Biology CLEP
A Theory of Fun
The Calculus Direct
Life Of Fred Math (extra)

–Zephan’s Choices–
The Chimney Sweeps Ransom
The Missionary
Chronicles of Narnia
Age of Opportunity
The HS Physics Tutor
Israel, Land of the Bible
Geometry Success
Life Of Fred Math (extra)

–Kaiya’s Choices–
The Trumpet of the Swan
King Arthur
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Black Beauty
Almost 12
The Skin You’re In
Watercolor Landscapes
Graphic Novel
How Children Lived
The Animal Atlas
DK Pond and River
Life Of Fred Math

Yes, I really do let my children choose their own books for school!  They make pretty good choices I think. Quite often they choose much more challenging books than I would have chosen for them. And they often choose subjects that surprise me.  After the book choices are made, I plan them out into a schedule for the year, and then we read them together.  This year I put all the novels into a “Silent Reading Pool” so they spend an hour a day doing silent reading, but they can read from any of the book choices we made. This “Living Books” method allows us to learn from each others interests and in so doing learn more about each other.  I really like this about homeschooling. I love learning more about these young people who share my home, my life and my heart. It’s so much fun learning together with them.

There are a few new things going on with my Visions game development project too, but that’s news for another post on another day.  Today was filled with homeschool books, and reading, and math, and handwriting practice. And I kind of like it that way.  If you are a homeschooler, you probably know what I mean. And if you’re not, you should try it! Yes, there are down days, and pain days, and days when nothing goes right – just like there are for their institutionally schooled peers. But there are also fun days, and productive days, and days when we really enjoy the discussions we have about the things we are studying. And I love those days. They make it all worthwhile.

Posted by: Laurene Wells | May 23, 2013

Support my Christian MMORPG Visions on Faithfunder

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I’ve been working on a Christian MMORPG called Visions for a very long time. I’ve been working on it since 2003 actually, and have been through several setbacks, engine changes, and difficult trials. When we switched to the Bigworld engine in January 2012 it set us back to square one all over again. But the choice was either cancel the project or switch engines, because we arrived at an impassible road block with T3D (the game engine we were using before). Bigworld is an exciting transition for us because this game engine was designed from the ground up to be an MMO game engine – no trying to make it be something it was never meant to be. It’s got the server support, load balancing, and networking all built in already!

So even though we had to start back at square one with the artwork, and the world building, some of the back end code was already done for us, and this has enabled us to get up and running faster than ever before. We’ve finished our Alpha 1 stage of development, and we’re progressing through Alpha 2 now. At the end of Alpha 2 we will begin a 5 stage beta testing development cycle that will lead us to our live launch. We are running a crowdfunding event on Faithfunder to help us get to that point faster.

https://www.faithfunder.com/uproject.php?fpv=OTE5MDgw

All this progress means we also have increasing financial needs. Running the test server costs money. And for us to be able to expand the world we need to add more servers. That costs money too. And to be able to add more player testers like we want to, we have to upgrade our servers which costs yet more money. We don’t have a corporate sponsor, all our support comes from the donations of our fans, regular people like you. Even though we’re an entirely volunteer team we still have needs that can’t be met by donating our time.

We researched several crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Rockethub and Indiegogo and decided to go with FaithFunder at this time to try to raise funding because it is the only one that is run by a Christ centered company. Visions is a Christian game and we like to support other Christian projects as well, if we can do that while growing our project at the same time, everyone wins! It has the added bonus that we get the funds whether we meet the goal or not, so every bit helps and we can make progress with whatever is donated. Rest assured, every contribution will go to help the Visions team and the Visions game project!

We believe our Big God can meet Big Goals, so we have set high goals and have plans set forth for how to use the funds for each of the different goal levels. If we reach our greatest goal, it would allow us to graduate from being a volunteer team to becoming a full time paid team, which would mean we could spend a lot more time working on Visions, and get it done significantly faster than we are able to accomplish right now when our time is divided between earning money to support our families and working on Visions. But everything helps, and we appreciate everything that our fans have given to support us! So come see our event posted on Faithfunder and support our work! Help us get done faster! Be part of the excitement from the very beginning!

https://www.faithfunder.com/uproject.php?fpv=OTE5MDgw

We have several different prizes available for every budget. Which prize would you like the most? Do you just want to get in the game with a digital download, or would you like to have the game loaded on to a USB drive? Or perhaps you would like to support Visions and leave your mark by investing in the Buy-A-Brick program? Or leave a lasting legacy by purchasing a memorial statue that will appear in one of the early cities in the game? Come see what we have and choose your prize before the event is over!

Visions_Alpha_03_400x250

Posted by: Laurene Wells | May 23, 2013

A couple Freebies before bedtime

Not much time to search but a friend shared a neat Amazon Kindle freebie tonight, so I thought I would share it along with a couple others. Hope someone likes them! As always, please remember that while they may be free right now that doesn’t mean they will be free always! Authors sometimes offer their book for free for a promotional period, then it goes up to the sale price. So if you want it, get it now!

Survival Seeds for Life
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CVTXY24/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_D8SNrb0VGDMVP

The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers From Seeds and Roots 16th Edition
http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Vegetables-Flowers-Edition-ebook/dp/B00847I3UU

(Kids picture book) Sheep! Learn About Sheep and Enjoy Colorful Pictures – Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Sheep)
http://www.amazon.com/Sheep-Learn-Colorful-Pictures-ebook/dp/B008S2A55W

Common Diseases of Farm Animals
http://www.amazon.com/Common-Diseases-Farm-Animals-ebook/dp/B0082T1XCK

(Learn to read Level 2) Goats! Learn About Goats While Learning To Read – Goat Photos And Facts Make It Easy! (Over 35+ Photos of Goats)
http://www.amazon.com/Goats-Learn-About-Learning-ebook/dp/B007KT6QXY

A Horse Book (Old Fashioned poems about horses)
http://www.amazon.com/A-Horse-Book-ebook/dp/B0082XP340

History for Kids: The Illustrated Lives of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse
http://www.amazon.com/History-Kids-Illustrated-Sitting-ebook/dp/B00BLBK1L0

The Arabian Art of Taming and Training Wild and Vicious Horses
http://www.amazon.com/Arabian-Taming-Training-Vicious-ebook/dp/B000JMLMTW

Queen Rider (Children’s book about a girl and a horse)
http://www.amazon.com/QUEEN-RIDER-ebook/dp/B00873PF5C

Black Beauty (classic by Anna Sewell)
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Beauty-ebook/dp/B0084B132Q

Horses! Learn About Horses While Learning To Read – Horse Photos And Facts Make It Easy! (Over 45+ Photos of Horses)
http://www.amazon.com/Horses-Learn-About-Learning-ebook/dp/B007TNHVIA

Buying a Horse (Vintage book on what it was like to buy a horse in the 1800’s)
http://www.amazon.com/Buying-a-Horse-ebook/dp/B004UJ1ERU

Posted by: Laurene Wells | March 9, 2013

Pineapple Mango Chicken recipe

I just invented this recipe tonight, using ingredients we got from our Bountiful Baskets. Some were left from last time, some were from the food basket we got today. And of course I had to add chicken and rice and other non-plant ingredients. 🙂 Thought someone else might like to try it too.

PineappleMangoChicken
Pineapple Mango Chicken

2 lb. chicken breast, diced
4 TB. coconut oil (or other cooking oil)
1/2 cup sliced leeks (I used frozen leek slices)
6 stalks celery
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 fresh pineapple, diced (could use a whole one but we ate the rest right off the cutting board. LOL)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. corn starch
1 c. sugar or honey
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. salt

Cook the chicken in the coconut oil until done through. Add zest of lemon. Add leeks and cook until soft. Add celery and cook about 5 minutes. Add fruit and lemon juice. Bring back to a bubbling simmer. Add sugar and salt. Stir. dissolve corn starch in water. Add to pan. Cook until thickened. Serve over cooked rice.

Posted by: Laurene Wells | March 7, 2013

Come to the live Shakespeare performance!

In just a little over a week will be the one day only performance of The Winter’s Tale and Twelfth Night by Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits cast. 3 of my children are in The Winter’s Tale. Rivan is playing the lead role of King Leontes. Zephan is playing 2 roles, the court officer and Antigonus. Kaiya is playing as Prince Mamillius. Please come see them on March 16th, Saturday, at either the 1:00 or 5:00 performances at the Woodburn Soul’s Harbor church of the Nazarene. Tickets are $6 per person or $20 per family. We would love to see you there! Thanks for your support.

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