Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Odyssey Adventure Club – join today for just $5!

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 For a limited time, you can listen to a new episode of Adventures in Odyssey for FREE! Album 58, The Ties that Bind, will be available this fall for digital download and CD purchase, but if you join the Odyssey Adventures Club, you can listen to the full album now! Guess what? The $5 special held last month was extended through the end of July, too, so you can join in the fun for only $5!
Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.

Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.
One way families can carry out God's design for families is by serving their community—right where God has planted them, being His hands and feet together. Want to serve your community with your family, maybe make a day of out it? Here are some fantastic ideas from some Adventures in Odyssey bloggers and club members:

  • Make scarves through the year and deliver them to your local homeless shelter at the start of winter, or regularly donate food to your local food bank. —Shirley 

  • Our family likes to help with Meals on Wheels. We also do reenactments of the Civil War and WWII to help educate people on history. I like to show my kids that we should be servers and givers by taking meals to people who need them (i.e. baby just born, someone died, someone had surgery, etc.). —Erin 

  • We have been visiting a nursing home with friends once a month. The kids just sing and then we fellowship, but the ladies love it! —Lisa 

  • We make lap blankets for nursing home residents and take the time to visit with them. We also collect food for the local food pantry. —Donna 

  • We make blessing bags to give to the homeless when we encounter them. We also donate clothes and food to a local shelter. —Amy 

  • Our MOPs (Mothers of Prechoolers) group supports our local Pregnancy Support Services with donations, gifts, and notes. We also supports the Durham Rescue Mission, which helps people break free from addictions and restore families. —Melissa 

  • We live in a very rural area. Our church serves two of the poorest zip codes in the state, and about a decade ago, they started operating a food pantry out of a closet. It has expanded since then, so we now use the closet for storage, but the pantry is basically a classroom. The kids and I serve over there a lot. My 17-year-old and I go to Care & Share (50 miles away) to get food to bring back to the pantry. All of us help unload and stock shelves. On pantry days, everyone can get involved with helping people go through the line, playing with the kids, carrying boxes out to cars, etc. There are so many hungry folks, especially in the summer when school breakfasts and lunches aren't available, and helping a bit to put food on some tables is such a blessing for us all. —Debra 

  • We pack food bags each month for the homeless and needy through a thrift store that offers an outreach to the community. We also help clean our church and our Sunday school. —Michele 

  • We work through our AHG troop to do several service activities a year. My girls just recently made bracelets they are selling, which 100% of the profits goes to Hope House in Africa to help young girls. —Sarah 

  • Our church works with a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. We cook food ahead of time, and when our schedules allow we ride down with the group to serve the food. My son always reminds me when we haven't been for awhile, so it's something he looks forward to. —Maria 

  • We do lots of random acts of kindnesses within our community: pay for others' meals, leave change at a vending machine, hand out Gatorade/granola bars to people on the side of the road asking for food. We also love to support Mobile Loaves and Fishes. —Kathryn

Did that provide some ideas to give your family service activity the kick-start it needs? What other ideas do you have for serving your community? Share in the comments!


Monday, July 21, 2014

"Firewall (FBI: Houston)" by Diann Mills

Taryn Young is at the top of her game. She has just created some exciting new software for her company and had a wonderful whirlwind romance. Now she and her new husband (Step) are ready to take off for their honeymoon. But, when the unthinkable happens, will she be able to prove her innocence?

Taryn was so excited to leave on her honeymoon; to share some quiet time with her new husband. But, before they boarded their plane, a bomb went off, destroying most everything in its path. Taryn sustained some injuries but was well enough to look for her husband. Step is missing! Of course, everyone in the terminal is questioned by the FBI. Taryn finds that she and her husband are prime suspects! She can't believe that they think she did something wrong and that they can't find her husband. As she continues to beg Agent Grayson Hall to believe her, he finds that something in her story rings true to him. Was her husband the mastermind looking for a cover, making Taryn an innocent bystander? Does the software Taryn created have anything to do with the bombing? Who blew up the terminal? Is Taryn in danger?

What a great read! I was interested in the story from beginning to end. Diann Mills writes in such a way that her readers feel connected to the story and characters. I also liked that it is something that was realistically handled with thought and research. If you enjoy intrigue and suspense, you will enjoy this book. I received my review copy from Tyndale Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Odyssey Adventure Club still $5.00! Add more fun to the summer.

Inject some fun into your kids' summer! Join the Odyssey Adventure Club for $5—limited time! http://bit.ly/1itH5EO
The Odyssey Adventure Club is an on-line membership experience where the great adventure awaits! Listen to the entire library of Adventures In Odyssey audio episodes, hear exclusive stories not available anywhere else...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"NIV Teen Study Bible" from Zondervan

The Bible is an important book for all ages, but there are some things that pertain specifically to teens. This Bible is designed to help teens read and study the Bible with effectiveness and understanding. Throughout the Bible, teens will find extras like: Questions, Answers, Bonus Questions, Panorama, Instant Access, To the Point, and Dear Jordan questions. Each of these is meant to bring Scripture to life and make it pertinent to a teenager's life. From the "Apostles Creed" through the Bible and ending with beautiful maps, teenagers will discover the message God has for them.

I enjoyed looking through this Bible and seeing the wonderful "extras" that are included. It is not the version I normally read, but I found wonderful thougts and help for the teenagers I know. It is easy to see the study, thought, and prayer that went into creating the teen study sections. If you enjoy this version of the Bible and have a teen, this is definitely for you. If not, it is still worth a look to see what God may have to say to you. I received my review copy from the Book Look program in exchange for an honest review.

"Super Stitches Sewing" by Nicole Vasbinder

Have you wanted to learn to sew, either with a machine or without? Did you sew in the past and need a refresher? Or, do you sew well but want to learn some new stitches? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you.

There are three main sections in this book: 1) Machine Stitches  2) Hand Stitches and  3) Tools and Equipment. Machine stitching details 50 different stitches, from buttonholes to "Walls of Troy" stitches to other Decorative Stitches. The directions and illustrations show the process step by step so there is no question about how to proceed. There are also "Essential Facts" that provide more necessary information (like thread and needle type). The Hand Stitching section is set up the same way and details 18 stitches like the "French Tack" and "Overcast Stitch." The section on Tools and Equipment discusses types of needles, threads, and machines. 

I really like this book. While I do a lot of hand stitching, I haven't used a machine in a long while. This book gave me a refresher and helped me select the proper stitches for my project. This book is a great reference book for anyone and would make a great gift for a young man who will be living on his own. Virtually anyone can benefit from something in this book. I received my review copy from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.