Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Movie Review: The Good Dinosaur

U.S. Release Date:                    November 25, 2015
Voice Cast:                               Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Marcus Scribner, Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Steve Zahn, AJ Buckley, Anna Paquin, Sam Elliott
Director:                                   Peter Sohn
Producer:                                  Denise Ream
Executive Producers:             John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Andrew Stanton

My Review:
The Good Dinosaur is a cute story about an Apatosaurus named "Arlo" and a boy named "Spot" who became friends and shared an exciting adventure together. Arlo struggles to make a mark in this world because he is fearful/easily frightened. He lives with his mom, dad, brother, and sister. A tragedy strikes and he gets lost & tries to find his way home. He and Spot encounter some interesting dinosaurs...friendly ones and unfriendly ones.

The animation is amazing; it looks so real! Beautiful landscape. There are some perilous situations and some funny moments. I like Spot (a fearless orphan boy who acts like a dog) but I wish he talked. I also love the background music which effectively sets up the mood. The Good Dinosaur is a lovely story that values family, friendship, kindness, forgiveness, and doing the right thing in spite of fear. It's not as touching or memorable as some other Pixar movies but it's still a feel-good family film. I think younger kids (4 to 9) probably will enjoy this movie more than older kids :).

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~Special thanks to Allied-THA Marketing for the opportunity to attend an advance screening of Disney Pixar's The Good Dinosaur for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

“Tales of Christmas Past” Thriving Family Magazine Advent Calendar


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.

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 holidays 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.


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, or sign up to download it.

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review: Get Your Story Straight by Kristen Hatton

About the author: 
Kristen Hatton is a native Texan now putting roots down in Edmond, OK with her church-planter/pastor husband and their three children. With a public relations background from Southern Methodist University, Kristen has a wide array of professional experiences, none of which she counts as important as the job of being a "present" mom. Through leading a small group Bible study of teenagers, she has discovered her passion for teaching and writing about God's grace.

Find Kristen online: 

My Review:
Get Your Story Straight is a 52-week devotional for teens and young adults. It aims to help young Christians live Gospel-focused, Christ-centered lives. The author wants to steer teens away from performance-focused, self-centered living toward the beautiful story of the Gospel. Jesus is the Hero/Main Character of the story, not us. This book is unlike many teen devotionals that try to be hip and cool or culture-relevant but shallow in their messages. It starts from the beginning with creation in Genesis and unfolds the wonder of the gospel through Old Testament and New Testament passages. You will see what the gospel is all about, how the whole Bible points to Jesus, who Jesus is, and why we desperately need Him. This devotional will also teach teens an inductive Bible study method which involves 3 steps: observation (what the Scripture passage says/reveals), interpretation (what the passage means in context), and application (how you can apply what you have learned from the passage in your life).

The book is divided into 3 parts: Getting the Story Straight (Chapters 1-18), My Life Mixed into the Story (Chapters 19-35), and The Story in Me Lived Out with Others (Chapters 36-52). Each part begins with a Bible verse for memorization. Each week's devotion consists of Day One: Straight from the Word, Day Two: The Word Applied, Day Three: Straight to My Heart, Day Four: Word and Deed, and Day Five: Journaling and Prayer. Each day's devotion has questions or instructions and blank space for readers to write down answers, questions, and thoughts. I personally love journaling while reading/studying the Bible each day. It's a great way to let God's Word sink in our heart and mind. I'm so glad that the author does not sugar-coat anything and presents the gospel message in an easy but effective way that teens can understand and realize its impact. I also really like all the thought-provoking questions that will help readers reflect & respond and draw them to dig deeper into God's Word. The book covers many important topics such as justification, identity, purpose, grace, freedom, idolatry, worry, faith, endurance, church, friendship, forgiveness, repentance, discipleship, and more. 

I highly recommend this challenging, inspiring, & insightful devotional to any teens, especially the ones who enjoy journaling. It can be used for either individual study or small group study. This book would make a wonderful Christmas gift for teens in your life. It can help them grow spiritually more mature and experience the transforming power of the grace-filled gospel in their lives.

~I received a copy of this book via Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, please visit here.