Tag Archives: Adventures in Odyssey

15 Ways Technology Has Improved My Spiritual Life


Technology.  There are days I love it & other days I really wish I was born in Laura Ingalls’ time & could live in a cabin in the woods, milk the cow, sweep our dirt floor, & tend the stove all day.  But, then I remember I couldn’t do all that while listening to my iPod & quickly thank God I live in this day & age!

I think we all know the huge pitfalls of it in our spiritual lives: it can eat away at our time with frivolous nothingness between gaming, pintrest, twitter, etc., it feeds any perfectionist tendencies (you could make that photo perfect if you just run it through the photo editor one more time…), and can be a huge trap for porn of all kinds if you don’t put serious barriers on your devices.  But I got to thinking this week of all the really great ways technology has improved my spiritual life.  I list them here to give ideas if you’ve never thought to use it these ways.  Please add to the list if you have ways not listed here.  Let’s swap ideas!

1 – The last few years we finally gave in & started texting.  It has been SO encouraging at times we have needed immediate prayer to be able to text my Circle of Sisters &/or Keith’s Band of Brothers to pray for the situation.  The return text alert rings, even if we can’t read them right away, brings such encouragement knowing we are being covered! And my friends & I occasionally get so excited about a passage, we’ll text it to each other for encouragement.  Or a prayer for each other “out of the blue”.  It’s nice to be able to move as the Spirit moves without calling – they can read it when they get a chance.  It always makes my day when I get those kinds of texts!

2 – Speaking of prayer, every Tuesday we can join around the country on a phone conference call to pray for revival in our nation.  How cool is that??  One week I was privileged to pray with a man in Texas, woman in Mass, another in Michigan, etc.  So exciting!  For info on how to join in on the action, click here to visit the One Cry page.  Another great thing about these prayer conference calls is that even when I can’t join them, I signed up to get a text alert to remind me every Tuesday about it.  It’s amazing how fast a week goes by & I think, “Man, is it Tuesday again?”  It makes praying for our nation’s spiritual awakening a priority.  If I have gotten too busy that week to remember to pray for our nation, that little alert gives me the needed reminder.

3 – Our church has a facebook page as well as a ministry trailer in a trailer park.  The lady that coordinates things like after school tutoring, Good News Clubs, coat distributions, etc. posts needs every now & then.  Last week, a neighbor in the park needed a stove so she posted on our fb page.  It’s a great way to get the word out, spread the news for help, & allow others to pray for & contribute.  And you can pass the good news quickly when the prayer is answered.  Love it!!

4 – The last few days there has been a prayer summit in Colorado.  We could join Joni Eareckson Tada, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Shirley Dobson, David Jeremiah, etc. in the 27 hour prayercast in the comfort of our own home for free!  Amazing.

5 – Family worship rocks!  A surround sound home theater system is not out of the norm these days.  Twelve years ago, we had a small group that started using it for worship time.  The leader at that time made power points, but these days, Keith leads our family regularly with ease using YouTube playlists.  Can’t get any easier.  If we need the words, we just put one on with the lyrics.  And it’s so fun to crank the sound up & praise the Lord together!  Keith has lately been putting our family Bible reading up on the TV each night for our evening family devotional time.  He has it set up to mirror our computer (Air Parrot), & we can then read together on the big screen from whatever translation we wish (BIble Gateway), & we can even hear it read to us in various voices using the audio Bible found there.

6 – Can’t say enough about podcasts!  You become who you hang out with & thanks to podcasts, I can “hang out” with some really great people.  If you’ve never been to OnePlace,  go check it out & find some new “friends” to fill your mind with Truth on a regular basis.  We can get anything from daily encouragement from Joni Eareckson Tada & Revive Our Hearts, to our pastor’s sermon if we missed a Sunday or our national missions conference sessions from two years ago.  Keith likes to listen to the messages each week from our Virginia pastor we had when we first got married.  There’s kids programing, Focus on the Family, Phil Vischer now has a weekly podcast, etc.  You can listen on your own time: while mowing the lawn, baking a cake, or grocery shopping.  Plus, you can start & stop it as needed, like when you’re needed to stop & kiss a boo-boo!  Genius invention, that little Shuffle clipped to my collar.  Brings me encouragement daily.

7 – Our worship leader recently started posting new songs she wants to teach the congregation on our church facebook account.  What a great idea!  Now we can listen at home & get the tune & words down so we are freed up to worship in cooperate worship time.  I enjoy new songs, but hate that awkward first few weeks when I can’t sing along because I don’t know the tune or words.  Those of us who can read music REALLY Do miss hymnals at times like that.  This eliminates that frustration.

8 – When I led our church children’s group, I started a blog to keep parents informed on what we talked about, up coming events, pictures, etc.  It also worked well to keep my stuff organized as a leader.  To see what I mean, click here.

9 – I’ve seen church sites feature testimonies for a few reasons. First it gives a way to share that testimony!  Secondly, it’s a great way for new members to get to know others in the church.  I love the idea & wish more churches did it.  Click here to see how one church does it.

10 – It’s so easy these days to just click & get a monthly prayer sheet to print & pray.  Here’s the pdf for October 2013 for an example.  Or find a great Bible reading plan (Click here for the one we use).

11 – It’s great to be able to get book, game, and movie reviews with a Christian perspective.  Plugged In is our go-to source.  We don’t watch a movie without first checking it out here.

12 – You can get things put daily into your email to remind you to pray, or give you a devotional from your favorite devo writer, etc.  We’ve gotten My Utmost For His Highest, Prayer Challenges from Revive Our Hearts, Commands of Christ, Unreached People Group of the Day, etc.

13 – There are some GREAT websites for kids these days: Adventures in Odyssey for free on line listening, Studio 252 for weekly Bible stories that connect with monthly character qualities all rolled into a cool TV show format, G.C. Kidz Club is a great missions site for kids, & Club Jelly Telly for fresh Christian children’s programing to name a few.

14 – The every day DVD is still amazing.  The fact that I can “travel” with my family any night of the week to the Holy Land & get top notch teaching at the press of a button is incredible.  If you’ve never seen Ray Vander Laan, the next 22 minutes you have free, treat yourself here then go watch more.   We watched the lesson linked below last night with the kids.  I dare you to watch it without being moved to tears by the end.  They never disappoint!  Just one of so many great resources we have at our fingertips these days.

15 – It is so easy to get $$ to people when they need it.  Last year, we had a friend pass away who had a loved one living 2,000 miles away in seminary.  Rather than give flowers, we really wanted to help him get home to be with his family.  Within 24 hours, we were able to get the news, pass the news around to friends all over the country, collect $$ via paypal, & put the gift electronically in this brother’s church fund (they have a way you can give on line) so the pastor was able to personally hand him the love gift with a note from all of us & start making flight arrangements!  Simply amazing.  Most charity organizations now have sites were you can give monthly, one time, it keeps track of what & when you gave for tax purposes for you, too.  And if you have missionaries you support, you can do it all on line & many save oodles of money having their prayer letters on line, too.  My, this list keeps getting longer…

So which of these do you use?  In what other ways has technology bettered your spiritual life?  Do share!

Truth Project for Children

Keith went down to Kentucky to train in The Truth Project last year. Since then, our church has had several Truth Project groups, both adult and teen. It is a must for any college bound teen and their parents! This is a great series to have a middle schooler start going through probably once a year to get grounding in the basics before heading out into the world. My parents did that for me with the Gothard seminar from seventh to twelfth grade & I’m so glad they did. It takes a few hearings to let it really sink in. I found I learned new things each time I went. That’s what The Truth Project is like.

We had heard they were going to be working on a children’s version & I have been waiting with anticipation. IT’S HERE!! Adventures in Odyssey‘s new CD set is The Truth Project for children – The Truth Chronicles. Can’ wait to get my hands on it! Nate listens to AIO literally every time he works with his Legos & if you know him at all, that’s pretty often. I’m ordering a copy for our church library & will try to write a review when we’re done listening.

Summer Breeze

The Lord so knew what I needed when He set up seasons. I love the fresh start each new season brings in its own way. With both of us being teachers, it makes it even more a time for renewed & adjusted scheduling, reflecting on what worked/didn’t work & high hopes that the new plans will work better.

Take summer for instance. With Keith home, our world changes a bit. It takes a while to sort out who’s going to deal with what in the children’s discipline department. When it’s just me home, that’s obvious. When he’s home, I don’t want to just dump it all on him. So, it takes a week or so to sort that part out usually in ours as well as the kids’ minds.

But summer also frees us up to get those things done spiritually & educationally that have been simmering on the back burner, but just never got done – journaling consistently, some of those discipling tools that didn’t get used, etc. I am pretty stoked about this summer’s plans. I got to thinking, there are so many great materials out there to use in discipling kids, at times it can be overwhelming! I want the kids to know hymns for instance in their growing up years. We have five great books with stories of hymns & a CD to play. Have I used them? No. Summer is the perfect time to schedule those into the morning routine. Here’s my list…

Character Building materials
Hymn Exposure
Christian US History
Heroes of the Faith
Odyssey (listening with them & discussing)
That makes one per morning for the week. How convenient.

The one I’m particularly excited about this summer is the US history. I’ve had my eye on that curriculum for years just waiting for the right time to use it. This is the summer! They have a children’s read aloud version plus activity books for the children to color while you read.

And then there’s the things I’ve wanted to get into more of a consistent habit… journaling every day, daily chores, their personal devotional time (vs. me leading it), memory verse chunks (Psalm 23, Books of the Bible, the Lord’s Prayer). Summer is the perfect time to get these established again. Sure, there will be days when I chuck it all & spend the whole day at the poolside, but most days I can get these things made into some semblance of routine. (If you go into summer with no plans, you will go bonkers. Guaranteed.) Then come fall, we can start fresh again with a renewed hope in polishing up on these and a few more routines. But at least we’ll have the satisfaction of having used a few of these great resources & not totally wasting away the summer.

On top of all that, we’re free to plan all those great summer fun activities to do in the afternoons – swim lessons, library reading programs, history time down town, free movie Tuesdays at the local theatre (not doing this year, but have in the past), outdoor ed program, VBS, etc. Poke around in your area to see what places are offering this summer. Take advantage of a few of those along with an occasional bringing out of the Slip & Slide or jar for collecting lightning bugs and you’ll have yourself a summer full of great memories/R&R/time well spent. I can’t wait to get started!!

(Disclaimer: No, this child is not a relative. I found this pic on google image search, so you can quit trying to figure out which kid that is you should know!) 🙂

He’s Inching Up On Me

Our oldest boy is growing & changing so much this year & I couldn’t be prouder of the young man he is becoming. He is tenderhearted, generous, quick witted, & has a memory second to none. He truly has become my little buddy & helper this year. He absolutely loves babies & they love him. Can’t wait to see how he & this new baby will get along despite their eleven year age difference. As Shannon said it best, “I’m so thankful to have a front row seat in his life”.

I, too, now have a boy that shares my shoe size (for this year anyway!). That does cause a mother to do a double take. Suddenly, you move from yourself & the world seeing you as a “young” mother to a mom of soon to be teens! It smacks you across the face how fast this time of motherhood goes by.

Anyway, here’s a list of my gentle giant’s favorites right now. Most of them haven’t really changed much in the last few years & it causes one to wonder if many of these interests will be carried on throughout his life at this point…

Adventures in Odyssey
the color blue
Super heroes – favorite is Green Lantern
rings – the bigger the better
comic books, or as they are now called, “graphic novels”. Please!
camp fires
Star Wars – toys mostly, but movies, too. He is scheduled to be allowed to see the latest one this year. I fear he may not be ready for it, but dads know best on these kinds of things.
Lord of the Rings – books & movies
Narnia books
weapons – his bb gun, rifle, sword, revolver, num-chucks, bow staff, etc.
TMNT – they carry weapons
his new Razor scooter – did you know that Leonardo uses a scooter?
The Far Side
Family Circus
recycling trash into some craft of the day
tent camping
twisting his hair
spy stuff
mechanical pencils
Scooby Doo
The Jetsons

See Flickr to the right for the latest of Nate’s grand Lego creations featured today.

Thanksgiving Straight Ahead!!

Here’s a list of resources to get started celebrating one of my two favorite holidays (Easter being the other one)…

Adventures in Odyssey
Thank You, God“(from #3), “BTV:Thanks“(#31), “Thanksgiving At Home“(#7), “A Thanksgiving Carol“(#12), & “In All Things Give Thanks“(#32).
– NEST Entertainment – William Bradford
– Little Bear Wheeler – “The Pilgrim Adventure” DVDs
– Barbara Rainey – “Thanksgiving, A Time To Remember” book & CD set.
– Focus on the Family Radio Theatre – “The Legend of Squanto: Pilgrim of the Heart
– online information: from the Christian History Institute, Audrey’s Thanksgiving Links with coloring pages, games, craft ideas, verses, etc.

Do you know of any other good books, DVDs, CDs, etc. to pass the Thanksgiving story on in your family?