Thursday, October 11, 2018

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Underground Rising Review

I remember the days when I was in grade school and my best friend at the time and I would go to her house after school, run upstairs to her room, and pull out some of our collection of cassette tapes of our favorite audio series. We'd spend hours upon hours in front of her boombox captivated by the adventures, built up spiritually by the moral characters, and knit together as friends in our beneficial pastimes.


Listen to some samples of the stories by clicking here!


You can imagine my excitment when my family got word that we were reviewing Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital Version! We had never heard any of the Brinkman Adventure's audio dramas before, but we are audio book junkies!

AND we just got a new 15-passenger van that has a CD player!


AND we had a road trip at our finger tips!



We were so excited to pile in the van and be transported back in time to WWII Holland where we learned about the Brinkman's great-grandparents and the heroic measures they took to save the Jews from the persecution they were facing in the first few episodes.

We then were encouraged with the gospel message in "Twice Born Fly" and in knowing that when we have salvation in Jesus we don't need to fear anything... even death!

"I Wonder Why?" gave us hope that even terrible circumstances we face, such as a miscarriage, can be used for good and God's glory when we walk in faith and obedience to His will. 

"Free Burma Rangers" was my husbands favorite story on this album. He kept telling the kids to "shhhhhh" so he could engage in the story surrounding us in the car :). This story followed a boy through his young life and adult life and the wrestle over what God's will was for his life; what was his calling?

Brinkman Adventure Season 6 Underground Rising includes 2 CDs each comprising of 3 tracks. 

CD ONE
Episode 55 Dutch Underground Part 1
Episode 56 Dutch Underground Part 2
Episode 57 Twice Born Fly

CD TWO
Episode 58 I Wonder Why?
Episode 59 Free Burma Rangers Part 1
Episode 60 Free Burma Rangers Part 2



Evelyn contently sucked her thumb while we listened to Brinkman Adventure. Things got a little loud at times, but I think she enjoyed it. 
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There were many very though-provoking and conversation-stimulating scenes from the audio drama adventures that we embarked on.  My favorite teaching moment was inspired by Dutch Underground Part 1 and Part 2:

A group of young boys were brainstorming ways to provide food stipends to the people that weren't able to get any. Their plan was to ask church members to leave their food cards in the pockets of jackets at church so that these boys could go from pocket to pocket and "steal" the food cards. These cards would then be distributed to the less fortunate and the card owners could file them as "stolen" and get new ones issued to them.

My kids were perplexed as to why they would steal! 
Isn't stealing WRONG?!?
In what situation would it ever be acceptable to do this? 
What does the Bible say about this?

I greatly appreciated at the end of "I Wonder Why?" there was a disclaimer for kids to be careful not to eat food they're allergic to without having a parent with them. You see the little boy in this story had severe food allergies causing him to have anaphylaxis. Later in the episode he believed that God healed him. So he began to eat some wheat and it was a tear-jerking reality (Yes I teared up...) that God did indeed heal him. The disclaimer explains to kids that healing is a topic that is sometimes hard to understand and encourages young listeners to inquire on this topic with their parents.  I appreciated that the creators of this series didn't attempt to teach my children any Biblical topics that can be "touchy subjects" but instead reverted to the parents for doctrinal issues. 



The stories on Season 6 Underground Rising were pretty intense and dealt with some heavy topics. I loved this about them! They weren't just happy-go-lucky episodes without any real life changing, faith challenging situations or topics. They were real. I appreciated this.
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We have listened to each of these audio stories 2-3 times each and they never get old. In fact, every time we get into the car we are excited to be able to listen to them again.



My son yells from the back 
"Oh! I love this part! Be quiet!! Mom?! Can you turn it up??" 

Evangelistic, faith-building, real-life stories (most, if not all, are inspired by actual events and situations) of real issues such as miscarriage, war, famine, fear, death, salvation and more are addressed in these dramas. 

I love them and want more! They bring me back to when I was a kid listening to audio books on my best friends boombox after school each day. What glorious memories my kids can have as well. :)




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Friday, October 5, 2018

Deputie Family Vacation 2018 Part 2


Tuesday morning I got up early and took full advantage of that exercise room! It was so nice to have that time alone with some ear buds in running and lifting some weights. 

We all got up, ate the continental breakfast, and brushed through everyone's hair. As we were getting ready to head to the Omaha Zoo, the Lord so faithfully told my husband to separate his cash (my husband pays for everything in cash) from his wallet. 



When we arrived at the zoo the Lord also led us on how to tackle the zoo so that we could see it all in two days. Little did we know He planned it so perfectly!




We viewed most of the outdoor exhibits that first day, and it was HOT, HOT, HOT! We had ice cream for brunch just to keep on going. 



Thankfully there were sprayers along the path and many places to rest in the shade while the kids ran and explored. This zoo was very interactive!



A few hours before closing we wanted to check out the Imax theater. Alex and I planned on napping in the air conditioning while the kids watched the show. Haha. 


Long story short, Alex went to a few desk fronts since we found out a mistake was made and instead of purchasing a zoo membership which would allow us to benefit from the IMAX theater for free, he purchased a daily admission. As he was resolving this mishap, he pulled his license out of his wallet and place his wallet on the counter next to him. This wallet was more then likely swiped off the counter.



We alerted the zoo staff and searched the surrounding trash cans. Alex kept searching with the boys while I took my girls to a desert building and spent some time with them. It as air conditioned, and a very special time I got to spend one-on-one with my girls. This was probably the second sweetest time of the whole trip :)



After this, we met back together and Alex sat the kids down to explain the Lord's Faithfulness and provision and the importance of being led by His Holy Spirit.



You see, because my husband obeyed the voice of the Lord in even the small things, we were without loss. All the cash he needed to pay for our hotel, our food, our gas was safely tucked away in his pocket. Even his license was pulled out of his wallet before it was taken. We took a moment to praise the Lord for how good He is to us and then continued our day at the zoo.



We all knew that the Lord would return the wallet, but Alex decided to cancel a couple of his cards anyways.




We spent the following day at the zoo continuing to tackle it the was my husband and I felt led to. Even this was ordained by the Lord since we got to join up with our church family at the end of the day for some of the buildings we hadn't experienced. Those happened to be our church family's favorite places to visit on their only day at the zoo.

Me hiding from the bats! YIKES!

I also got to have a very edifying conversation with a couple ladies I ran into at the kids play place.



As we checked out of our hotel on Thursday, the zoo called and said the wallet had turned up encouraging them in their walks with the Lord!

God's Faithfulness is a fact. So is His Goodness.
Our circumstances, not always good.
This world, not so good.
Our feelings, shifting and changing with every light breeze.

But God, He Is Good.




We check out of the hotel and head over to a family from the Calvary Chapel in Bellevue, NE. My husband was praying over whether or not to stay in a hotel for this portion of our trip and he decided we would need to be boarded by the church.

The couple we stayed with blessed our socks off and we blessed and ministered to them as well. We spent several late nights worshipping and praying together. Our staying with them had an important part to play later on...

During the conference, Alex and I both wrote down what the Lord was showing us and they lined up so beautifully with one another as well as with decisions we are facing in the near future. 




Our plan was to leave Saturday, but as we began to pack out things, Alex had a stirring in his heart. He kept saying something wasn't quite right and he believed we were supposed to stay another night. We wouldn't have been able to do this if we had gotten a hotel, but since we were staying with people, we asked if we could spend another night. 



News came soon after this that a sister in the Lord was heading to the hospital during the last portion of the conference. Because we made the decision to stay another night we were able to meet the needs of the family that was staying at the hospital with food, clothing, and a place to stay (the same family we stayed with! Praise God)!

Kids all praying together.


The drive home was uneventful and filled with conversation, laughs, and good food. We made it home later that night and spend the next 24 hours recovering from the week. 

What sweet fellowship with had with our Lord and with each other.

We learned several things on this family vacation:
(1) Use the website or app "RoadTrippers" to plan creative destinations along your route. Plan to stop about every 2 hours
(2) Always pack a potty chair, toilet paper, paper towels, wet wipes, garbage bags, zip lock bags, paper plates and utensils, and disposable water bottles for road trips. 
(3) Less is more when it comes to things you want to squeeze into a day giving lots of time to roam around, soak in the beauty or the information you're surrounded by.
(4) Rent a suite with a full size kitchen so you can cook, but also make sure your hotel has breakfast and possibly a light dinner available. 
(5) Plan ahead as far as what you're going to do and what you're going to eat, but listen to the Lord and allow Him to direct your steps.
(6) Save your change all year long and cash it in. Use that change to bless the kids with money to purchase anything they want for family vacation (books, games, food, sleeping bags).
(7) We need a family vacation every year!





So the moral of this trip was this:
Be led by the Holy Spirit.
Rejoice Always
Pray without ceasing
In Everything Give Thanks
This is the Will of God.
Simple Enough

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Bible-At-a-Glance Review - Bible Study Tool for Kids

We love to study our Bibles. When I fell in love with Jesus, repented of my sin, and accepted Him as my Savior, I couldn't get enough of my Bible! I was learning who God was! I was reading His Words and it felt like they were written to me. I wrote scriptures all over my bedroom walls meditating on them day and night. I fought battles with God's Word, overcame sin with God's Word, received healing from God's Word, studied history and science and archeology through God's Word. And still today I am hungry for God's Word. I have grown in wisdom and knowledge and understanding in all areas over the last decade through study of God's Word!



How true this is in my life, how true this is in the lives of my children! To know God. To have His Word hidden in their hearts. Teach Sunday School has created a very simple and useful product to help your children better understand the main scope and sequence of the 66 books of the Bible. It's called Books of the Bible At-a-Glance and we have been using it in our home over the last month or so in our study of God's Word. 

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24 

I want to share what this neat tool is and how we have been using it. 




What Is It?

The Bible is a LARGE book with many characters, authors, and it takes place over an extensive amount of time. Getting things straight for little minds, and even big minds, can be challenging. 


Books of the Bible At-a-Glance consist of one-page "cheat sheets" for each book of the Bible that cover the basic who-what-where-when-why's of background information. They also include each book's "claim to fame" comprised of important verses or stories that book is particularly known for. 




You purchase access rights via their webpage and, once your order is approved, you have immediate access to view and print any, or all, of the 66 At-a-Glance reference sheets. Another great part of this is that you are able to print UNLIMITED amounts for a single church use or household use!



What Does It Look Like In Practical Use?

In the Children's Ministry at our church, the kids go right through the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. In our home, we prioritize our children's growth in their spiritual lives. Part of their daily and weekly school work is their devotional life. They read ahead for what is being taught Sunday and Thursday and come to class with notes. They also work on their CKC (Calvary Kids Club - similar to Awana) books on a daily basis memorizing scriptures, looking up words in the dictionary, and finding applications in their own lives.



APPLICATION ONE: My kids were finishing up the book of Galatians and starting the book of Ephesians. These sheets were a BLAST for my kids! They brought full circle what they have been studying and gave them a clear vision going into a new book of the Bible. 
So cool!

The Bible-At-a-Glance sheets were not overwhelming for them. It didn't feel like an extra thing they needed to read or another chore they needed to do. They enjoyed looking over them and ask to reference them occasionally throughout their studies. 



APPLICATION TWO: Another one of my kids is doing her CKC book that is an "Overview of the Old Testament" Books. This is a PERFECT application of these Bible-At-a-Glance sheets since she is reviewing one book of the Bible a day working from Genesis to Malachi!

At first I was printing her the sheets for her to use and keep. 



Then I had a brilliant idea!!!
(You probably would have thought of this long before I did...)

I created a 3-ring binder with sheet protectors and placed all the sheet inside. Now it can sit on the shelf at home and the kids can pull it down and reference it whenever they need to! I plan on adding other cool tools like these to this binder over time so they have a neat and personalized resource for their studies!

Introducing the beginning of our Deputie Children's Bible Reference Guide:

Printing these sheets in full color would have definitely made this much prettier then it looks :)

APPLICATION THREE: My husband is about to start teaching Children's Ministry this month and I am sure these Bible-At-a-Glance sheets will come in handy for him as well. 

Recommend?

Yep! Very neat, simple tool that helps younger kids on their first discoveries of the BIG book of God's Word. 

We really owned these and made them our own. I can't wait to continue to implement them over the next several months and years of my children's years in training under my roof :)

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You're never too little to start hiding the Words of the Creator and the Savior in your heart. Start that hunger and that habit now! The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10). 

Aryeh taking notes in church :)


It needs to come before academics, and it needs priority above academics. 



Friday, September 28, 2018

Deputie Family Vacation 2018 Part 1

God uses us all the time.
He always desires to work in you and through you.
If you are a minister of Him, you're never "off the clock."
Ministry isn't a "program" that a church puts on.
Ministry is being a servant to Jesus Christ with every moment of your life.
Every plan, every circumstance.
Knowing every conversation is one that God ordained for you to minster to Him and others.

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This was our first annual family vacation.


We set off Monday morning with our destination being Omaha, Nebraska. My husband had planned attractions along our route to break up our trip a little, and to add some site seeing and historical flare (after all, we are a home-educating family so you know there has to be some learning along the way). We stopped at the Spam Museum, Berstein Bear Museum, Clear Lake, and a Botanical Garden.


Not all of these places were "planned" but they ended up happening in such a beautiful way



The first stop was the Spam Museum which was a little over 1.5 hours into our drive. My kids had never heard of Spam before. We briefly read up on the history of Spam on our way to the Museum. 






We had lunch at the Museum (some potato and hamburger hash we made the night before as well as a couple captains of SPAM). Aryeh loved playing with the little pigs. All the Museum workers fell in love with the kids and gave them each a little pig to take home. 




Across the street was a little, curious bookstore. We went in and they just happened to have the largest collection of Bernstein Bear items in the world (or so they claim...). We spent a little time browsing through all that and then piled back in the car for some iPad time. 



Our next stop was a traditional stop to Cabin Coffee, a small Christian coffee house we accidentally discovered years ago. We got our coffee and Alex went to the car to start making sandwiches for lunch. 








While he was crafting sandwiches, my oldest 4 kids and I wandered around the little town and moseyed our way down to Clear Lake. We found a dock and ventured out to listen to the waves.





It was roughly 97 degrees out and VERY HUMID, so naturally the water looked very, VERY inviting. After about 30 minutes Alex found us with Evelyn and Aryeh. We ended up wading in the water (well... the boys stripped down and went all in), exploring the shore, having a picnic, and singing praise songs to God acapella. 

It was the sweetest, most intimate time of the whole trip and totally unplanned. 






Just in time for nap, we set off. This time we were going to try to make a History Museum in Iowa, but they closed at 5pm and we wouldn't have time. We noticed an interesting building off the highway. Turns out it was a Botanical Garden.




They also closed at 5pm, but we did get to use their bathroom and play around in their outdoor garden for a good 40 minutes before venturing onto the last stretch of our trip to our hotel. 

We grabbed some Chipotle, were able to witness to the workers and customers as people are always asking, "How Do You Do It?!?" or saying, "Your kids are so well behaved!!". We always reply with the good news of Jesus Christ and what He's done in our lives!

Our hotel was a two bedroom, two bathroom suite with a kitchen. It had a pool, hot tub, exercise room, continental breakfast, and "light dinner" provided. We built a relationship with a number of people during our stay and were able to give glory to God through our behavior and conversation. 



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The very first day of our trip was so refreshing and felt like a week in itself. It wasn't rushed. It was a time of real bonding and laughs. We kept frustration at bay and spent 12 hours getting to our hotel that was only 6 hours away. It was so much worth it!

I went on several family vacations as a child, and Alex none (unless you consider being a refugee a vacation...). Although I recall them being fun, I also recall family vacations being stressful, hurried and exhausting. 

The Lord showed us how sweet a family vacation can be when it's led by His Spirit, when it's slow and about enjoying the small things without stressing over the big things. 

Even when events occur that could have gotten our eyes and hearts distraught....


Check out what happens next on Friday!