Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Ten Highlights from 2015

We are thankful for another year of God's faithfulness & favor and are excitedly looking forward to what He has in store for us in 2016!


1. Josiah did well on his SAT exam. He also received a letter of commendation from National Merit Scholarship Program for outstanding performance on the PSAT test taken last year.
2. Isaiah raised $2,130 for Steps for Life this year.
3. Alyssa received 3 awards at Dining Out (an annual AFROTC event celebrating cadets' achievement): Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction Award, American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award, and Reserve Officers Association (ROA) Award.   
4. Alyssa completed her AFROTC summer field training. 
5. In June, I had a retinal tear in my left eye and received a laser treatment for it. I am very thankful for the gift of seeing.
6. Alyssa did a freelance videography for 2 weddings and 1 dance event.
7. We had a wonderful vacation in Port Orford. Kayaking. Hiking in the Fern Canyon (in CA). Visiting beaches in Port Orford and Bandon.
8. Josiah got his driver's license.
9. God helped Eric find his missing wedding ring.
10. Eric bought me my first smart phone (iPhone 6s) and us our first iPad (Air 2).

Note: This year, we also ate lots of sushi and watched several movies at the theaters :). I also joined 6 different photo groups on Facebook. Josiah made his first CD (a combination of his own songs and some covers) for relatives. This year is the first time we put up Christmas lights outside. 


Here are some snapshots of our 2015. Happy New Year from our family to yours!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Cards AND Clubhouse Magazine Christmas Stories, Crafts, and Recipes

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Tired of the Christmas shopping, the baking and sugar overload, the Christmas festivities that keep you away from your family during the season? Take time special time to spend with your loved ones and invest in your community—with Focus on the Family's help!

You can download a fun gift to give to your friends, family, and community! Each Christmas stocking stuffer card directs you to a special place to hear an Adventures in Odyssey Christmas episode. Plus, you’ll be able to read a special excerpt from Imagination Station #12, “Danger on a Silent Night.” Sign up here to download the free cards.

Plus stop by this page for a slew of crafts, recipes, and stories to share with your family during this special time of year!

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If you're still looking for one last gift to give your kids this year, give the gift of the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family, 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.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Town of Odyssey Cutouts and 101 Sure Fire Ways

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The holidays are a busy time . . . but life can be even more hectic! In the midst of work, after-school activities, grocery shopping, and business trips, how are parents supposed to find the time to build within their families a lasting foundation of faith?

Focus on the Family wants to step in and give you some tips. Sign up by clicking here for a free e-book called 101 Surefire Ways to Strengthen Your Child's Faith. With creative ideas on weaving faith into everyday conversations, turning family activities into learning opportunities, and having faith-filled holiday celebrations, this book is jam-packed with fun and interesting, easy, faith-building ideas for your family.

Another way to invest in your child's faith is through the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family, 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.
Another fun way to build your child's faith: have a family craft night and use it as a faith-building opportunity! Click the image below for a printable Town of Odyssey cutout set. Bonus points if you listen to an Adventures in Odyssey episode while you put together your town!
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To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The Cultural Battle for Human Dignity | Evangelicals for Life

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Clear your schedules January 21–22, 2016, because Focus on the Family and The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission will host Evangelicals for Life, a major pro-life conference held in conjunction with the March for Life event.

The event will take place in Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Evangelicals from across the country will gather to hear from leading speakers, such as David Platt, Russell Moore, Jim Daly, Kelly Rosati, and others—to be equipped and encouraged to become a voice for life! The event will also be simulcast for FREE so individuals, churches, and organizations from coast-to-coast and around the world can take part.

Speakers will encourage evangelicals to engage the culture on issues of abortion and end-of-life decisions, and the event will affirm the evangelical belief in the sanctity of life, that every life matters to God and is created in His image.

For more information, visit http://evangelicals.life/.


Readers of this blog will receive 15% off their registration by using the code FocusLife.





Russell Moore will be speaking at Evangelicals for Life. He is President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a theologian, ethicist, frequent cultural commentator, and author of several books. In the guest post below, he speaks to the importance of hosting the conference in the midst of the cultural battle for human dignity.


Why We’re Hosting the Evangelicals For Life Conference

By Russell Moore

As many Christians sat at their computer and watched a casual dinner conversation over the price of dismembered children, a lot of us probably thought: “But what can I do about this?” This is a question I hear often from pro-life evangelicals. Many Christians are utterly convinced in their heart of the personhood and dignity of the unborn, yet don’t know how to faithfully effectively advocate for life.

It’s important to understand that the cultural battle for human dignity doesn’t begin on Capitol Hill or on CNN. It begins in your family, in your local church, and in your neighborhood. In fact, many of the people we know most vulnerable to the abortionist’s rhetoric are not actually pro-choice, they’re just scared, scared to scandalize a church with their secret. The false gospel of the abortion clinic, which says, “We can make all your trouble go away for you,” is overwhelmingly seductive.

What these people need more than a lesson in embryonic development is to have the Gospel preached to their conscience. This means much more than simply offering “The Romans Road” or prompting a sinner’s prayer; it means speaking directly with the message of Jesus’ complete sovereignty of the universe, his righteous indignation on the murder of the unborn, and most importantly, his complete absorption of God’s wrath on the cross, and his invitation to mercy and fellowship and the imputed righteousness of the Son of God.

The Gospel disarms the appeal of the abortion clinic because it offers truth with love, judgment with mercy, and righteousness with grace. The consciences around us don’t believe what they’re telling themselves. They’re scared and confused. Shine a light on their conscience, and then present the Gospel of reconciliation.

Moreover, the pro-life movement has set an example worthy of our imitation when it comes to practical, holistic mercy ministry. For over 40 years since Roe v. Wade, those committed to defending unborn life have done much more than preach and teach; they have welcomed the scared, the vulnerable, and the wounded and loved them. This has looked like the establishment of crisis pregnancy centers all around cities. It has looked like adoption advocacy and building a culture of adoption in local churches. It’s true that our pro-life witness has a long way to go, but we do not, thankfully, conform to the caricature that says we believe life “begins at conception and ends at birth.”

FOTF-EFL 

Questions like these are why I am excited to be a part of the Evangelicals For Life Conference in January. This conference exists to help evangelicals articulate a truly Christian doctrine on the dignity of all human life. Being pro-life, after all, means much more than being against abortion on demand; it means believing in the dignity of the elderly and infirm, and advocating for compassion and inclusion of the poor, the orphan, and the widow. No doctrine of human dignity that fails to speak to these cases is fully “pro-life.”

Sometimes Christians are encouraged to leave issues like this behind. Sometimes the fight for human dignity is portrayed as “culture war” baggage. For those of us that watched an executive from Planned Parenthood talk about the most valuable anatomy of dead children, we know this to be false. The stakes for human life and human dignity could not be higher, and the plight of those ignored by the world does not go unnoticed by our heavenly Father.

We have a Gospel word to speak to the abortionist and the unborn, to the orphan and those not considering adoption. Will you join me in Washington, on January 21-22, as we seek to speak this word?

This article was adapted from the original article posted on Russell Moore's website.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

FREE download of “Simplifying and De-Stressing Your Holidays” and Gift Ideas

Holiday to-do lists often become longer and longer as we get closer to Christmas. From holiday parties to host, Christmas pajamas to coordinate, family pictures, gifts to buy, travel plans to finalize, and more, the joy of the season can often be lost in the midst of the hustle and bustle.

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Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club have you covered. Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer, authors of Everyday Confetti, share ideas and tips for simplifying and taking the stress out of the holidays. Pointing to the real reason for the season, they offer ideas to help you keep Christ at the center. Click here for a free broadcast download to learn how to simplify and de-stress your holiday season.

Speaking of de-stressing, let me help you out with your last-minute gift shopping. One of my top recommendations: the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) because it offers 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.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Check out these other gift ideas: 1. Give gifts that make a difference. There are many ways to do this: serving at a soup kitchen, donating money/blankets/coats/canned foods, etc. to the homeless shelters, visiting/go caroling at nursing homes, buying grocery for families in need, shopping through catalogs from organizations such as Gospel for AsiaWorld Vision, and Samaritan's Purse for the poor and for things that transform lives like Bibles, Gospel tracts (Did you know that you can buy 200 tracts for only $1?), Jesus wells, etc.  If you are looking for ways to spread the Gospel, share God's love, and make an eternal impact, please visit http://www.gfa.org/gift to request a catalog or browse online. Gospel for Asia is one of our favorite mission organizations.
2. Give gifts that make memories. Gifts of shared experiences, quality time, sacrificial love, and unconditional acceptance. Embrace family traditions that foster fond memories. Do something together to help those in need and discover the joy of giving (see some ideas above).
3. Give gifts that are personalized/custom-made. Unique, personalized gifts say, "You are special to me and this is made specially for you!"
4. Give gifts that are practical (including edible gifts). Practical gifts are useful and most likely appreciated. In addition, whenever they are used, you (the giver) will probably be thought of :). Treats, appliances, tools, towels, etc.
5. Give gifts that edify and entertain. Bibles/study Bibles, books, DVDs, CDs, games, membership to the OAC, etc.