Join Odyssey Adventure Club for a Summer Challenge

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Summer . . . a time that kids pine for during the school year and parents may anticipate with something akin to dread. Fearing refrains of “I’m bored” or hours spent on the couch playing video games can make moms and dads nervous about the long, hot months stretching before their family. Focus on the Family’s Odyssey Adventure Club offers an answer, encouraging parents and kids to embrace faith and fun with the Take the Plunge Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse magazine’s Summer Challenge.

Take the Plunge

The Take the Plunge challenge features:

  • Master Mind Monday — commit God’s Word to memory
  • Ways to Play Wednesday — spend active time with your family
  • Faith Sharing Friday — share God’s love with others

The Take the Plunge challenge helps families memorize at least five verses, engage in five activities together and share their faith with five people before the school doors swing open again. Those who sign up will receive an 11-week plan with suggested verses to memorize, activity ideas (such as visiting a war memorial) and ways to witness (such as passing out popsicles at the park with an invitation to your church), making this challenge the perfect tool for parents who want summer to be a time of spiritual and social stimulation for their kids.

“Research tells us that the more senses we involve when teaching children a principle, the more likely it is to stick,” Plugged In editor and Adventures in Odyssey podcast host Bob Smithouser says. “Bible memorization by itself is great, but it becomes even more powerful when put into action. Know it. Share it. Live it.”

Families who sign up to take part in the challenge at www.whitsend.org/summer will have access to weekly verses to memorize, ideas for family fun and suggestions for service projects that allow a family to share their faith. Additionally, anyone who signs up to participate in the Take the Plunge challenge will receive a free scene from the latest Adventures in Odyssey album, as well as a free story from the book Strange Journey Back.

Book Review: Picture Perfect Love

This review is part of blog tour.  To see what others are saying about the book, click here.

Picture Perfect Love
by
Melissa McClone

About the Book (from www.melissamcclone.com):

When image becomes everything, it’s up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren’t always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God’s plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away.  When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton’s heart still hasn’t recovered. 

It was me. His younger sister’s three words turn Ashton’s world upside down. He must ask Jenna’s forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

My Thoughts:

Sometimes when an author writes a novella the reader is stuck with a story that feels shallow and empty, this is not this case in Melissa McClune’s latest work.  Despite being constrained to the limits of a novella, McClune has crafted a beautiful story that is well rounded and does not feel as thought it’s lacking anything. Picture Perfect Love was a fun story to read, short in length but well developed and complete. I enjoy being able to read a complete story without having to devote weeks to finishing the book and this one definitely fits the bill. Available in digital and audio form only, it’s the perfect book to put on your e-reader or audio device for a beach vacation with your family this summer.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Book Review: The Tank Man’s Son

The Tank Man’s Son
by
Mark Bouman

Beatings, fear, machine guns and a tank were all a part of Mark Bouman’s childhood. Living under the thumb of his Neo-Nazi father, he grew up in circumstances many of us would find hard to believe but to he and his siblings they were normal.  In this memoir, Bouman takes readers into a world that involves war games, psychological torture, and fear. The detail with which he tells his stories is jaw dropping, drawing readers in, fully engaging them in his story.

Bouman’s story is so real and raw, I was so captivated by it that I found myself staying up much later than I should have because I just couldn’t put it down. It is amazing to read his story and see that God can do with a life that many would consider hopeless. It just goes to show that God can use anything for his glory.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Book Review: The Good, the Bad and the Grace of God

The Good, the Bad and the Grace of God
by
Jep & Jessica Robertson

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years or so, you’ve at least heard of the Robertson family and their show “Duck Dynasty.” Most people are familiar with Phil, Miss Kay, Willie and Jase but not as much is known about “Willie’s Other Brother”, Jep.  In The Good, the Bad and the Grace of God we get a closer look at Jep and his wife, Jessica.

This story is quite interesting; Jessica was previously married and Jep fell into the pit of drug and alcohol addiction. It’s not your typical love story, but it’s a story that has its own sort of beauty. I really enjoyed learning about their lives and getting a glimpse into how their past experiences shaped them into who they are today.  Reading it deepened the respect that I already had for the Robertson family, they seem to be a family that stays true to who they are whether the cameras are on or off.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Sonlight Curriculum Giveaway

If you’ve ever homeschooled or looked into it, you know how expensive it can be.  This is especially true of complete curriculum packages. Sonlight realizes that too, so in celebration of their 25th anniversary they’re hosting the Mom-to-Mom giveaway.  Two winners will receive a full year of curriculum.  This is a great way to save some money or just check out Sonlight and see if it works for your family.

 

Follow the link below to enter!
Mom-to-Mom Curriculum Giveaway
– See more at: http://25.sonlight.com/my-account/#sthash.sVUVPbhg.dpuf

Book Review: A Warrior’s Faith

A Warrior’s Faith
by
Robert Veta

Full of devotion and drive, Ryan Job defeated the odds and accomplished his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL. While serving alongside Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame, Job was shot in the head on a Iraqi rooftop. Overcoming the odds again, he survived. What most people would see as a major setback in their lives, Ryan Job saw as something else he would overcome. Comparing Ryan’s life to the biblical account of Job, Robert Veta tells the story of a courageous and strong young man who never faced an obstacle that stopped him in his tracks.

I enjoyed reading this book, but it wasn’t quite what I had expected. I had gone into it expecting more of Job’s story, but this book felt as if it was more like an account of Veta’s encounters with Job. That being said, it’s an amazing and inspiring story; one that helps the reader put things into perspective. Anytime I read a book like this, I am always in awe of the amazing brotherhood that our special forces members develop and the lives that they lead. This book is no exception and I recommend it for anyone interested in such accounts.

To get a sample chapter, click here.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Book Review: Who’s the New Kid?

This review is part of a blog tour.  To see what others are saying, click here.

Who’s the New Kid?
by
Heidi Bond

When her 9-year old daughter, Breanna, tipped the scales at 186 pounds, Heidi Bond knew it was time to take some serious action. Rather than resort to drastic measure like medications and surgeries, Heidi enacted dietary and fitness changes that resulted in Breanna dropping 40% of her body weight in just over year. In Who’s the New Kid?, Heidi tells her story and walks readers through the changes the Bond family made and the results they saw. The last half of the book has many fitness and nutrition tips, as well as a 40-day nutrition plan to help readers develop healthier habits.

I found this book to be quite interesting and I commend Heidi Bond for taking matters into her own hands and taking on the challenge to better her daughter’s life. I found some of the tactics she used a bit extreme, but I’ve never been in her shoes.  If I had a morbidly obese child, I may enact some of these same changes. I was excited to see that this book advocates diet and exercise for weight loss rather than pills and/or surgeries. The 40-day nutrition guide at the end of the book is a great resource, too.

Disclaimer:

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.