Make the Most of this Holiday Season {Odyssey Adventure Club}

OAC-Gift-That-Lasts-All-Year-Facebook-Cover 

What’s on your children’s Christmas wish list? As excited as they might be about that new toy, as every parent knows, the thrill of the gift will eventually wear off. Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey have created the perfect gift for those who want to give their children or grandchildren a present that will provide year-round fun with eternal impact.  This holiday season give them the gift they can enjoy all year long!

The Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) offers families 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) episodes in a safe online environment where children can explore and learn. Christmas really is the perfect time to tap into your children’s imagination while infusing faith and fun into their day . . . and every day of the year.

To celebrate the holiday season this year, the OAC is offering free content for everyone, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.

In keeping with AIO’s rich heritage of teaching children about biblical principles — such as the importance of giving — a portion of each OAC membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations. Here are a couple of examples of what has been accomplished through Odyssey Adventure Club members:

The Odyssey Adventure Club wants to reach beyond fleeting entertainment this Christmas, partnering with parents in helping their kids grow deep in faith and find their place in God’s story.

talesadvent 

Speaking of the holidays, you can prepare for Christmas with Thriving Family‘s 2015 Advent Activity Calendar — Tales of Christmas Past: 25 Inspiring true stories of the season. Assemble a beautifully designed Advent poster to help your kids focus on Christ this Christmas. Then read Scripture passages and stories that relate to individual flaps on the poster. You can also create easy-to-fold booklets for each story. Get more information about this year’s free Advent calendar at ThrivingFamily.com/Advent, or sign up to download it.

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

There are more awesome things happening to so stay tuned!  I personally can’t wait for the Advent Calendar!  This is our first year celebrating Advent and I’m at a bit of a loss.  I’ve never done it before and don’t know a lot about Advent. Plus Hanukkah falls in the middle of Advent so we’ll be double celebrating!  I’d love to hear your Advent traditions!

 

 

blog disclosure

Deciding on a Devotional @FamilyChristian

As we gear up to start a new year I find myself looking for a new devotional book to use with the kids.  It’s sometimes hard to find a good one at a price you can afford.  I find that deciding on a devotional is always much harder than I anticipated.

There are so many to choose from!  And so many factors to consider.  For me I have to make sure it’s something that will work for a wide age range.  When you have nine kids ages nine and under you want to make sure you can keep the most of them occupied at the same time.  

Another factor that affects my deciding on a devotional is how many days it covers.  I want one that covers the whole year.  A 365 day devotional book, not a monthly or weekly one.  A great way to make sure that we keep on task and do it daily is if we’re going to be very thrown off if we skip a day!  This does it for me!  Keeps me on my toes and keeps us on schedule with our devotionals.

When I was browsing the Family Christian online store the other day I found two that were reaching out to me!  Now I just have to choose between the two of them.  

 

Deciding on a Devotional

 

The first is a little devotional book titled God and Me by Penny Boshoff.  It’s published by Thomas Nelson Publishers who happens to be a favorite of ours.  So I knew I’d need to check it out!  It also fits my criteria of being a 365 day devotional so that we can start on January 1st and end on December 31st next year.  Now the age factor is harder to fit with devotionals.  This one is for children ages 5 and up.  I have three littles under that age range.  But I think from what I have read of the devotional that it will still be a great fit for our family.  As I’m reading about the devotional and searching online I found that people were recommending in their reviews that it is really geared towards ages 3-7.  So my older few may not be highly entertained, but they will still learn from it just like the younger ones.  Win win situation in my book!

 

Deciding on a devotional

 

The second devotional that I found is Grace for the Moment: 365 Devotions for kids which is written by Max Lucado and adapted to children by Tama Fortner.  This is another devotional that covers a whole years worth of time but that is undated so that you can easily start on December 1st and end on November 30th if you want to.  We love the works of Max Lucado in our house and know that this is going to be good quality.  On the website is says ages 6 and up, but in a review they recommend for grades 2nd through 5th.  This would mean that it would appeal more towards my older children and less to the younger ones.  As I dug deeper other places suggest ages 6-10 for this devotional.  Again I only have three that are under the 6 year marker so it would still cover the same amount.

So there you have it.  I found two devotionals.  Now comes the hard part.  The actual deciding on a devotional part.  I of course couldn’t make this decision on my own.  I went to my husband and had him check out the two that I was looking at.  He liked them both too!  Then he asked me about price.  Because you know, we’re a single income family and we do have to do some price checking at times.  This is the part that you want to pay attention to!

Right now Family Christian is having a sale where select Children’s Bibles and Devotionals are 50% off!  These are both on that list!  Would you believe me if I said that God and Me is only $9.99 during the sale?  What about that Grace for the Moment is only $7.99?  Those are some awesome prices!  The sale is running December 5th through December 24th so you can a few weeks to get those purchases in and even time to get them here by Christmas(which is my plan!).

Deciding on a Devotional

 

My oldest caught saw me looking online at the devotionals and put in her vote for one.  She wanted the God’s Little Princess Bedtime Devotional book.  Gigi is such a precocious little girl and a creation of Sheila Walsh and Tama Fortner.  We have a few Gigi books in our house and one video.  This is on sale as well.  It’s only $7.49.  There really is a little something for every child in the sale.  

So now that you know about the great sale and the great deals you can find make sure you head over to Family Christian.  In the meantime I’m going to keep counting down the days until our new devotional arrives and I can safely wrap it up and hide it away for a Christmas present for our family.  You ask which I chose?  We finally decided on Grace for the Moment because we do want something that will work for all ages and it tends to be easier in our house to get something geared towards the older children and then find ways to make it work for the younger ones.  Who knows, maybe I’ll end up getting the other one before the sale is over and we’ll do two!

 

 

 

 

This post does contain affiliate links.  If you use those links to make a purchase I will receive a small commission.  This is also a sponsored post, meaning I am being compensated for the post in a monetary way.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  I have not been coerced or told what to write.  This content of this post is solely owned by me.

Blessings through Praise

As I sit here, listening to my children sleep and my dog snore(he’s  a German Shepherd and he snores LOUD) I decided to take some time to just think.  And my thinking led me here to share about blessings.

How often at the end of the day do you just crawl into bed?  How often are you so exhausted that you can’t think beyond “man I’m tired”?  Or are you the kind that watches a movie before bed?  I know this probably sounds like a lot of questions and not many answers and you’d be right!

So here are the answers.  . . . wait no I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a few to my questions.  As I sat in my comfy chair rocking my littlest to sleep I had time to just think.  No distractions as she had gone to the point of no longer fighting sleep.  I began to think about my word of the year PRAISE and what my life was doing so far this year.  Face it, we’re already 18 days into the year so that should give us a small sampling of what is to come.

I sat there and a song popped into my head.  The song was from a favorite Christmas movie of mine.  The song is Counting Your Blessings sung by Bing Crosby in White Christmas.  It really gets you thinking.

It made me think at least.  What do we count as our blessings in our life?  Do we count our family?  I definitely count mine.  I thank God daily for giving me 9 wonderful little kiddos.  I love them and I am daily reminded of how great a blessing they are to me.  I hope that they will one day count me as a blessing to them as well.

What other blessings are we counting?  I count it a blessing that I have a house, heat in my house, food to feed my children, and clothes to wear.  But these aren’t just blessings either, they are praises to God.  I’ve never been one to vocally go preaching from the rooftops about God and Jesus and their love for mankind.  I’m more of the let them know by the works of your hands type of a gal.  I want people to see Jesus through me and my actions.

So I’ve decided I need to start focusing more on my blessings and praising God, whether I’m alone of whether there are people around.  Does it really matter if we thank God in front of others?  To me it did!  I was embarrassed really because I am actually a shy person and not that outgoing.  I didn’t want to be noticed.  I wanted to just fade into the background and not draw too much attention to myself.  But now that I have children I don’t want them to think that we need to hide Jesus in public and only give Him praises at home.  No.  We need to praise Him and thank Him for our blessings where ever we are and who ever we’re around.

Now that I’ve shared this I think I am going to go curl up in bed next to one of my blessings and listen to the rest sleep as I drift off to sleep myself listing my blessings in my head.  I think you’ll find you sleep better too when you try this.  You fall asleep with positives on your brain this way!

Word of the Year for 2014 -Praise

So, I’ve heard a lot about the word of the year for a few years now and have finally decided to try it out for myself. It took me a bit, but I finally figured out what I wanted my word to be and what I wanted to work on for this year.

Praise His Name!

Praise His Name!

I decided my word was going to be PRAISE! I want to praise the Lord more this year. I want to praise my kids more this year. I want to build up and encourage more this year through praise. I want to practice praise in all my life this year.

Think I can do it? Follow me this year and find out! Right now it’s snowing. . . . . again. . . . and not showing signs of stopping. My little one is running a fever. But I’m praising God for my warm house, my healthy other 8 kids who had fun in the snow, and the beauty that the snow brings. I think it’s a good start to the year myself!

What are you thankful for this year? What are you going to praise God for?

Are You Blessed?

Are you blessed?

 

Blessed is everyone that fears the Lord and follows after His ways. Psalm 128:1

Do we want to be blessed by God?  If yes then the answer is simple you follow Him, you fear Him.  Not a oh my He’s going to destroy me kind of fear but the good fear. The He is all powerful and can do anything type of fear.  And then we follow his ways, we allow God to lead us.  We use the Bible as our guide to help us follow Him as He has set out in the Bible what we need to do and given us guidelines to live by.

My question to myself and to you is this, are you blessed?  I know I am blessed.  All I have to do is look around me.  I see 8 healthy beautiful children.  I see a house with four walls and a roof that doesn’t leak.  I see food on our table and animals in our pasture.  Animals that will provide us with meat(sheep to be butchered in about a month), milk(goats to kid anytime now), and chickens who give us eggs. 

I AM blessed.  God IS good. 

 
 
Even when my goats are naughty and escape their pen only to climb on my garage roof–
I AM BLESSED beyond measure.
 
Something I like to do when I’m feeling down or wishing for more than we have is to take a step back.  I step back and look at my life through another’s eyes.  We are so rich compared to others.
 
 

God is Faithful

      God is Faithful

    

    I had a rough night last night.  My husband is gone for a conference.  He left Thursday and won’t get back until late Monday night so it’s mommy home alone with the 8 kids and animals.  Normally it’s not bad but last night I had a little one who was sick.  My littlest one, actually was up sick until 2 am.  Anyone knows with kids that it’s no fun to have a sick child but when that sick child is only 14 months old it’s especially hard as they don’t understand.  The good news is she’s up and going having tons of fun this morning.  Mommy on the other hand is a big draggy, lol.  To top that off last night I got a bit of news that has upped my penchant for worrying.

    I got out my devotional this morning and was reading and was struck by a verse that they were talking about.  The lesson today was about how Faithful God is, God is faithful. 

Deuteronomy 4:31(KJV)
          “( ) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of they fathers which he sware unto them.” 

God is there.  God is faithful.  God cares and He is watching us.  He is not going to give us more than we can handle with Him.  That’s the key, making sure we go to Him with our worry and our problems and not try to carry them and handle them on our own.  I know that I sometimes don’t run to God as fast as I should with my problems.  I try to handle them on my own and get consumed with worry and try to work out my own problems.  We just have to trust in Him and put everything we have in His care trusting that He knows what is best for us and will never leave or forsake us.

My devotional ended with this quote that I really liked and wanted to share.

God’s designs regarding you, and His methods of bringing about these designs, are
infinitely wise.
Madame Guyon
 
 
 
The picture of the roses are actually of my rose bush this past summer.  I LOVE roses!  God is faithful.  Look at the flowers and the animals around you for reassurance.

Be Still and Know that I Am God

 
Be Still and Know that I AM God
 

I took my kids to the zoo on Thursday and we had a great time.  Who knew it could be over 60 degrees in the beginning of January in MO!  Anyway we had a great time but one site we saw made me stop and go wow.  God is good.  I will post the picture here for you guys to see, but the sight just made me stop and I had to make myself move on to keep up with the kids.  I was hit by the fact that God was telling me to just be.  To just know that He is God and He is watching out for me and my family.  It was a poignant reminder that God is God.

Does anyone else ever have these moments?  Where you are struggling with something and questioning what God’s will is or what you should do?  We are the parents of 8 children, only four of which are biological, two we’ve adopted and we have guardianship of two.  One of the oldest who has lived with us for over half of her life may have to leave us and live with her biological father who she really doesn’t know.  She has several issues that need lots of love and attention, and I find my heart breaking over this.  I needed this “God moment”.  This just goes to show He knows what we need and He will give it to us and let us know He is still there.

 

Be Still and Know that I AM God!