Saturday, July 30, 2011

PhotoHunt: Together

It's time for another weekly PhotoHunt hosted at This week's theme is Together.
                                                         My true treasures together :)!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pen Pal Kids Club

It's summer time! Do your kids get restless? Would they like to make friends with kids around the world without leaving home? For the month of July, you and your kids can sign up for free at! We think it's so wonderful to have friends from different cultures. Right now, we're hosting a Chinese exchange student. She is a very nice 14 (almost 15) year old girl. We enjoy having her here. When I was young, I used to have a pen pal in France. That was when you had to write snail mail and wait forever to receive one. I don't remember what happened to our correspondence and how it ended. I'm thankful for this safe website that gives my kids an opportunity to enjoy having pen pals from different countries and be able to send messages back and forth quickly. On this site, it only takes a few minutes to write and send a virtual "postcard". Each kid has a profile where you can find out one another's favorite animal, favorite food, favorite school subject, favorite hobby, and favorite genre of music so you can see what you have in common with others. You can change your avatar and show what your mood is by different smileys. There are also interesting games to play and useful information about different countries on the website. My kids think it's fun to learn about and get to know kids from all over the world. To summarize, Pen Pal Kids Club is a cool place for kids from different nations to come together and connect.

About Pen Pal Kids Club: 
Your kids just got out of school and they want to be on the computer?  Now, there's a great site to join that both you and your kids will love! Pen pals are just a click away -- Pen Pal Kids Club is a safe online environment where kids can make global friendships that can last a life time!

Pen Pal Kids Club is the world's only safe, translated, global social network for children. Pen Pal Kids Club is an edu-tainment website where kids can freely SHARE, EXPLORE & PLAY with other kids around the world.  '"I have always believed that if kids had the opportunity to experience one another on a ‘global playground,’ learned prejudices would be virtually non-existent,” says Pen Pal Kids Club Creator and Co-Founder Shelley A. Aliotti. “Here is that opportunity,” she adds.

Many of today's parents grew up with pen pals -- friends from other parts of the world with whom they exchanged letters.  Pen Pal Kids Club fosters these nostalgic relationships and takes it to a new level, thanks to the automated and filtered safe translations in 7 key languages - English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian and German!  

Pen Pal Kids Club's interactive games entertain, as well as teach about other countries and cultures.  On the site, kids will establish their likes, interests and country locations all within the safety of an avatar, which protects their personal identities.  

Within the Pen Pal Kids Club site, high quality, fresh, relevant information is provided through an exclusive partnership with Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. for Kids.  This database is the world's leading online encyclopedia, collecting and offering data since 1768.  This partnership delivers age-appropriate and accurate text, graphs and videos 24/7 to every child, without any links to take them off the Pen Pal Kids Club protected site.

"Through the latest in technology and around-the-clock monitoring by administrators, Pen Pal Kids Club ensures that no inappropriate activities are taking place...guaranteed."  Aliotti also adds, "We believe it is up to the parents to have full control of his or her child's activities with their personal Parent Controls within the site.  This control allows a child to only share as much information and content as his or her parent is comfortable with."

PPKC is fully compliant with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)  PPKC has recently earned the TRUSTe seal of safety,

Try a FREE (for the month of July) membership for up to 5 people per household TODAY!  After July, it is only $4.99 a month, with no long-term agreement!  

About Pen Pal Kids Club, is the only Global Social-Network edu-tainment website for children.’They can SHARE, EXPLORE & PLAY with pen pals around the world in a safe environment. This website is the continuation of the children's book that Mrs. Aliotti wrote, illustrated and published 1995—My Pen Pal Scrapbook: An Educational Journey Through World Cultures©. The Pen Pal Kids Club website combines the elements of education, socialization and play, allowing kids to break down geographic and cultural barriers in a nostalgic, fun, secure and interactive atmosphere.

GIVEAWAY: One of my readers will receive a free 3 month trial to Pen Pal Kids Club.
To Enter: Please leave a comment here letting me know if you or your kid(s) have ever had a pen pal.
Deadline: July 31, 2011
For extra entries: 1. Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs.
                           2. Follow me on Twitter.
                           3. Like my Facebook page, "Christ Alone".
“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Free Fun Field Trip for a Family of Five

Last year in February, I entered Celebrating Life Contest hosted by Focus on the Family. When the contest was over, I received an email informing me that I won the grand prize of a free trip to Colorado Springs for a lunch with Jim Daly, President & CEO of Focus on the Family. I was the person who referred the most people (using my Referral Code) to sign up for the contest, and to make a donation to support the work and message of Focus on the Family. I was so thrilled! I replied with some questions because I didn't realize that the prize was only for 2 people and 1 night. I mentioned that we have 3 kids, one of which is a special needs kid and we always travel together as a family. I asked if there's a way that our whole family (five of us) could go. Our kids love Adventures in Odyssey and it would be wonderful for them to visit Focus on the Family. The lady who coordinated this emailed me back that she had to talk with others and would get back to me later. The last time I heard from her was March, 2010. I kept waiting but I heard nothing back from her at all. I didn't want to bother her. I prayed and asked God to work it all out according to His will and I just left it in God's hand. Then 2011 came around. I still had not heard from her. I decided to try calling her. I discovered that she no longer worked there. I explained to someone at Focus on the Family about my situation. Then one day (not long after my call), I received a phone call from Mr. Ken Janzen. He was such a kind and gracious gentleman. He kept apologizing for the delay in giving the prize and offered to award me with an all-expense-paid trip for all five of us to Colorado Springs and instead of 1 night, it would be 2 nights. I couldn't believe my ears :). God is totally awesome and full of wonderful surprises! He blessed us beyond what we could ever imagine.

Fast forward to July 7th...we flew (with Frontier) to Denver and then drove to Colorado Springs. Focus on the Family paid for our airfares, rental car, hotel (Homewood Suites), meals, tickets to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Chuckwagon suppers & Western music show at Flying W Ranch. We paid for the third night at the hotel so that we could spend 4 days in Colorado. The first night at the hotel, we had dinner at the hotel and then played in the pool.

On July 8th, we had a special inside peek at Focus on the Family led by a personal tour guide, Suzanne Martin. We got to go behind the scenes of the making of Adventures in Odyssey. They even let us record our voices using their prepared scripts and gave us CDs of our performances. Once a month, Focus on the Family holds a chapel. We really enjoyed the chapel time there. The guest speaker that day was William Bennett. The couple who's involved in a ministry in South Sudan led the worship. We bought their CD: Music for the Radio (all proceeds go to buy portable radios for people in South Sudan so that they can listen to the Gospel via radio). Lunch with Mr. Jim Daly was lovely. Three other people joined us: Evan Reedall, Suzanne Martin, and Carrie. Mr. Daly was very pleasant, friendly, and cool. At the end of the meal, they brought out a special cheesecake with my husband's name and my daugher's name on it :). They have July birthdays. It turned out that Mr. Daly and Carrie also have July birthdays. As if all this wasn't enough already, Focus on the Family gave us tons of gifts such as The Truth Project DVDs, The Truth Chronicles Adventures in Odyssey CD set, Adventures in Odyssey postcards and stickers, Adventures in Odyssey water bottles, Focus on the Family water bottles, G.Harvey (gifted artist)'s book, The City Series, and $50 gift card for Focus on the Family bookstore (which I didn't take long to spend it :)). We also had fun at the welcome center. We went down the twisty slide and checked out all the different rooms. After we left Focus on the Family in the evening, we visited Garden of the Gods. Beautiful sandstone monilith! After dinner at Red Lobster, we watched lightnings. We had never seen so many lightnings before. Great light shows in the sky!

On July 9th, after breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. We took the Mountaineer Sky Ride. I'm afraid of heights but the Lord helped me survive the ride and enjoy the spectacular view. We fed giraffes and watched grizzly bears tear up a campsite (set up purposefully for a demonstration). We really liked this many fun things to do and see. We also drove up to Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Interesting castle! Then we went to Flying W Ranch to have chuckwagon suppers and enjoy Western music show. Before the suppers, we walked around the Western village and took a train ride through a "mine".

On July 10th, after breakfast at the hotel, we checked out. We visited Air Force Academy. Then we drove to Denver. We stopped by downtown and shopped at Cherry Creek Mall. We enjoyed yogurt at Cherry on Top. We flew back from Denver Airport to Portland Airport. On the plane, we saw the majestic Mt. Hood up close. Wow! What a vacation...short but sweet :)! We're so very blessed! Thank You, Lord! And thanks bunches to Focus on the Family! We love you all and your ministry!

*Photos will be added when I get a chance :).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--Conclusion

I started participating in the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons on June 6th. You can read my first post here. It has been a wonderful experience. I love praying the Scriptures for my sons (and daughter). I often pray the same Scriptures for my husband and myself, too :). I agree with what Brooke said, "I don’t pray because I have all the answers. I pray because I don’t." God made my sons; He loves them more than I ever could and knows them better than I do. I leave my children in His hand and pray that He will work in their hearts and lives according to His will and that He will lead me and my husband in raising them up to be men after His own be fruitbearers for His glory.

Study Questions

1. Think back on this entire book. What has grabbed your heart the most?
The reminder of the areas our sons need prayers for

2. Are there specific areas that you know your son(s) will need your prayers the most?
Humility (while praying against pride), servant's heart, and self-control

3. Was there one specific prayer that you found difficult to pray for your son(s)? Why?

4. How has this study changed the way you pray for your son(s)?
It has helped me be more focused on the areas that I should pray for my sons specifically.

5. In this chapter, Brooke says that she doesn't pray because she has all the answers. She prays because she doesn't. How has this study helped turn your eyes away from your own ability to change your sons, and turned them toward the only One who has the power to change hearts of stone to hearts of flesh?
The more we learn, the less we know! The more we look at life and reality, the more we realize that we need God to take care of our messes and need to trust Him for His timing and outcome.

                 (This picture was taken in December, 2001.)