Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Musical Musings - A Throw Back Thursday Post

 
 
I am warn out today! I've been on my feet from morning until this evening and I am just plum tuckered out. I am in the middle of a blog post on my series "What the Tinkel's are Reading" but I just don't have the energy to finish it tonight. So I reached back into the depth of time to give you a Throwback Thursday post early. It is about my musical career. It doesn't quite tell it all, though. You'll have to wait for part two later. This was written a couple of years before I turned 50. Well, I am now pushing 55 so you know it's been quite a few years ago. Enjoy my memories from the past.
   
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Musical Musings
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: General
 
 

 
Knocking on the door of 50 (not quite my next birthday, so don't get any ideas) has gotten me thinking about middle age lately. I guess the many deaths (brother, brother-in-law, and father) and the changing dynamics of my family over the last few years have also made me meditate. One of the things that I have reflected on is the middle age crisis. I often wondered if and when I would have one. I haven't had it yet. At least not the "dress and act like you did when you were a teen" type. Maybe having young children takes your mind off of it. Maybe it will happen to me when all of my kids are grown. There is however one thing that I often reflect on and has always effected my emotions since I was very young. That thing is music.
 
I remember when I was very young, my brother, as a joke, would set me on his lap and sing this sad song that would always make me cry. It went something like this - "Sit upon my knee little Timmy". I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous now, but when I was two it was dramatic.
 
My entire family has always been into music. My parents both had beautiful voices and often sang duets in church. My mom played the piano and my dad played trumpet. My sister has a beautiful voice as well, and my brother also played trumpet in the band. Is it any wonder why I was in the band, orchestra and chorus growing up, and even majored in music for one year in college?
 
Still, today, music can bring me to tears or to laughter and certain songs can bring back long forgotten memories. Some of my earliest church memories are of singing "Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain" and "This Little Light of Mine" in Sunday School, or of my mother, in tears, as the congregation sang "In the Garden" during a church service.
 
I still remember Miss Owens coming to our elementary school to go from class to class teaching music or teaching us how to play the "Tonette" (pictured to the left) - similar to a small recorder.

Middle and high school were where I really flourished musically. I was never very athletic. Music was always my thing. I played trumpet, piano, and organ as well as sang in school and church choirs. We had an excellent music program in the schools that gave great training.

I still recall sitting in Miss Bloom's middle school music class and singing along with some of the hit songs of the day. That still amazes me, because Miss Bloom was very religious and wouldn't even allow her students to use the word "gee" because she said it was a slang word for taking the Lord's name in vain (I still tend to agree, and shy away from using that word myself). The hit songs of that day were mild in comparison to the songs of today, but were still controversial for the time.

In high school, the head of the music department, Mr. Cugini, Mr "C", introduced us to all sorts of musical styles. We sang and played all types of music, and still today there are not very many musical styles that I don't enjoy listening too (or can at least tolerate).

More recently, since the boys got ipods for Christmas, I have been introduced to many of the internet sites where you can download any song or recording artist that you can think of. As well as songs for the boys, I have found some artists that take me back to my younger days.

Lately I've been listening to the likes of "The Carpenters" and "The Captain and Tennille". I still remember listening to "Love Will Keep us Together" on a vacation to Mackinac Island in Michigan. "Simon and Garfunkle", "Neil Sedaka" and "Carole King" remind me of the time when I had the measles and my brother, David, would put on a stack of his records for me to listen to while I was laid up in bed. "The Fifth Dimension" and "Jim Croce" take me back to the first albums that I ever bought.

I learned to love the "Beatles" and "Neil Diamond" while singing and playing their songs in high school band, orchestra and chorus. "Barry Manilow" and "Barbaral Streisand" also bring back high school memories.

Later, in my college days, was when Christian music really hit its stride. Some songs from "Amy Grant", "Michael W. Smith" and "Russ Taff" can still reduce me to tears. I branched out with Christian music. I even listened to "Petra" - considered very rocky in those days and "DC Talk" - originally a Christian rap group.

I praise God for all of the musical talents that He has given me, and all of the ways that he has used music to effect my life. It makes me more conscience of what I listen to and allow my children to listen to today. Music can effect your life for good and bad and shouldn't be taken trivially.

Ah, well, all of this remembering has me wanting to find my high school yearbooks and put on some of the music that I found on the internet. Maybe I'll even pull out my beaten up trumpet or look up some of my old piano music. I wonder where my band jacket is - does it still fit?
WAIT A MINUTE! Is this what a midlife crisis is? HMMMMMMM.....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The LORD your God is in your midst! - Scripture Sunday

 
 
 

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Thank you Lord for being in our midst.
Thank you, oh so much, for saving us.
Thank you for loving us enough to rejoice over us with gladness.
Thank you for quieting us with your love.
Thank you for exulting over us with loud singing.

We want to praise you God for your love and kindness. Praise you for caring for our every need - not just our physical needs, but our emotional and spiritual needs. We want to praise you for just being the great, wonderful and perfect God that you are even when we absolutely don't deserve it.

Amen




Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gossip Hurts! God Heals!


Everyone makes mistakes. I know I do. I have made plenty of mistakes. We all fail at things and I think it's safe to say that one of the things that we've all fallen into the trap of is gossip. Prayerfully, as Christians, once we've fallen into that trap of gossip, God convicts us and we realize our mistake. Unfortunately, it's been my observation that if you don't ask God's forgiveness and ask His help in defeating this sin then it becomes habitual and you become desensitized. It becomes one of those cases where someone can hear a rare sermon on this hurtful sin, nod their head and say "Preach it brother!", and then turn to their neighbor and start talking about the folks they know that are gossipers and slanderers. They don't realize that at that very moment they are the ones gossiping. As I am writing this I am praying that God reveals the sin of gossip in my life and convicts me if I have become desensitized.

Why do people gossip? A lot of times, people gossip because they don't understand something. They don't understand someone's motives. They don't understand what is going on in the background. They see what they want to see but don't care to look further. They hear what they want to hear but don't bother to listen intently. They think they know what is going on, but really don't know.

Then they gossip.
And the gossip spreads.
And it gets bigger.
And it gets distorted.

And before you know it the thing that happened (or maybe didn't happen) turns into something that it never was. In fact, it turns into a lie.

So, what does the Bible say about gossip?

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Titus 3:2 (ESV) To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Psalm 34:13 (ESV) Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.



Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits these occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

I think it's safe to say that God doesn't want us to gossip. He wants us to say things that will build one another up. Yes there are verses in the Bible that talk about confronting a fellow Christian if they are doing wrong. However, none of those verses say we are to go around and tell everyone else about the wrongdoing. You are to go to the brother and discuss it with him not go and discuss it with others.

What should you do if we hear gossip? Well, if you don't fan the flame then the flame will eventually go out. So, don't continue the rumor. If it is something that you feel you really have to know is true or not, go to the person that the rumor is about and ask. Don't believe something that you hear from someone else. Find out yourself from the actual person.

What should you do if you are the victim of gossip? You could always go and talk to the person that is spreading the rumors but they probably heard it from someone else and you would just have to keep backtracking. Just remember. God knows what is going on. He is the one who counts. Remember these verses:

1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV) People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Jeremiah 1:5a (NIV) Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

Zephaniah 3:17  (ESV) The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.


1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."



I'm going to be brutally honest here. Tonight I had meltdown.  That's what led me to finish this post that I had started a few weeks ago. Tonight I had a frustrating conversation with my wife. A conversation about some things that my family and our ministry is going through. I'm afraid that I didn't do a good job of explaining my frustrations. However, the whole thing stems from gossip about us.

We aren't perfect by any means. We make mistakes like everyone else. Gossip and rumors get back to a person, don't ever think that they don't, and some of the things that have gotten back to us are terribly distorted and some are just out and out lies. It exasperates me to even imagine what some people are talking about and how these rumors ever got started. The problem is, no one ever came and talked to us. No one ever came to see if these rumors were true. They didn't bother to look further and see if there was something more to the story. They saw what they wanted and they heard what they wanted. Now, the damage is done.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I really don't know who began the rumors so trying to track the person down would be futile. I can, however, hold my head high, even during these difficult circumstances, and remember the verses above. I can remember that God loves me more than I can ever imagine. He is in control. I need to remember the following verse. That is all that really counts. After all, what God thinks of me is what is really important. If I am doing what God wants me to do then I shouldn't worry about anything else.

Gossip hurts but God heals. God is beginning to heal me. It is taking longer than intended I'm sure because I can be a stubborn self-centered person sometimes. For now, though, I am going to allow God to heal and I am just going to keep on doing what God wants me to do. Loving Him, loving my family, and loving others. I'm going to keep on ministering to the people God gives me to minister to. I'm not going to stop. I can't stop until God commands me to. God will deliver us. I know He will. Just keep on praying for us and we deeply thank you for all of your prayers.

If you have been a victim of gossip and have a comment or need prayer. Please leave a comment below or private message me. Remember, all of my social media buttons are at the top of this blog.

Psalm 18:2 (NIV)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and deliver; My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.


 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Adding Social Media Like Buttons On A Blog - A Five Step Tutorial

 


A few days ago in my post I Did It! I Really Did It! Now, Please Like Me! I talked about how a friend of mine, Marcy, had posted a tutorial on how to place social media icons at the top of a blog in order to make it easier for people to like you or your blog in the different social media platforms.  After I wrote the post it was suggested that I link to her blog so that others could do the same.What I failed to mention, though, was that Marcy had posted it in a private forum so I couldn't link to it. I contacted Marcy and found that she had never written an actual blog post tutorial and graciously gave me permission to do so.

It really does make sense to create an easy way for your readers to like your page. It helps build your readership. The reason that many folks don't take the time to like your different pages on the different social media sites is because it is too difficult to figure out how to like them. My blog used to be a prime example of that. I would have one social media "like" banner here on my blog and another one there. That is if I were lucky! There were a couple of social media sites where I couldn't figure out how to place a "like" button on my blog so there never was one. If it isn't easy for someone to like your blog (or if it's not even there) then people aren't going to take the time to search out how. Marcy made it super easy for me to do it and if I can do it I know that you can as well.

So, without further ado, here, in five easy steps, is how to create the same row of social media icons for your blog that I have at the top of my blog.

  1. Copy the pictures of my icons in the top right corner and save them onto your computer. If you have a windows based computer then all you should have to do is place your cursor over the picture and right click. One of the options should say "save picture as". Click on that and then name it what you would like to name it. Do that for each of the icons that you want to use.
  2. Upload them to Photobucket or another online photo storage site. I uploaded mine to Photobucket. Photobucket is very easy and it is free - at least for what I want to do with it. I'm not going to go into detail about how to upload something on a storage site because each may be a little different. After you've chosen one, upload the icons for the social media that you use.
  3. In the following code, replace the information in red with your own information. I copied the sample code that Marcy provided and pasted it into a Word document so that it would be easier to change the information for each icon and then copy and paste it into my blog. The information at the top after the "href=" is where you would put the address to your main page of each of  the social media platforms. The information after the letters "alt" isn't a code from anywhere, it is just something for your own information that tells you what social media icon you are working on. The information after the "src=" is the html code from photobucket (or whatever storage site you are using) for the picture that you are using. You'll need to do this once for each icon. Here's the sample.
    <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Families-Again/268872677464" target="_blank"><img border="0" alt="FamiliesAgainFacebook" src="http://i872.photobucket.com/albums/ab289/tink38570/facebook_zpsez1rxdky.png" width="40" height="40" />
  4. Decide where you are going to place the icons. Toward the top is better. Place them one by one and make sure you put a space in between each. For my blogger blog I went to "layout" on my dashboard, then clicked on "add a gadget" toward the top of my blog, and then chose the option "html/javascript". Then I pasted the above code with my information in it. I did it once for each social media icon that I wanted to add and added a space in between each code. Otherwise they will be all squished together.
  5. Look to see if they are arranged the way you want them and then test them to make sure they direct people to the page that you want them directed to.
That's it folks! That's how I did it. It is a bit time consuming because you have to keep copying and pasting the new code for each social media platform and icon picture but it really was fairly easy.

I know that some of you will understand each of those steps easier because you have done those things before. For some of you, though, the above might look like gibberish or like a daunting task. Just take it step by step and if you come to a spot where you can't figure it out, leave a comment here or Facebook message me and I will try to help.

How do you become friends with me on Facebook? Just click on the Facebook icon at the top of my blog of course!

Have fun! I'm praying that each of you who try this has great success!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Letter From Our Regional Director About our Ministry

 
 
This isn't something that I would normally put on my blog, but, since a lot of my readers follow our ministry through our blog, I am making an exception today,
 
Most of you read our latest news letter discussing our financial goals for this summer and beyond. If you haven't but would like to, click here. Our "boss" and BCM South Eastern Regional Director, Ken Grubb, recently wrote the following letter that goes along with what we said in our newsletter. Here it is. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it.
 

FROM THE DESK OF…

                                                       Rev. E. Kenneth Grubb, S.E. Regional Director for
                                                       Bible Centered Ministries, International

 
Dear Friend,

This letter is being sent out in behalf of the ministry of Tim and Sarah Tinkel.  They have been engaged in serving the Lord in the Livingston, Tennessee area, for 17 years.   Both of them display a real passion to reach children and adults for Jesus Christ.

As their supervisor, for the last 13 years, I’ve been able to observe them, in various situations.  Tim and Sarah, as well as their three sons, have felt led to care about those in the project area.  They clearly demonstrate the love of Jesus, through all kinds of outreach ministries.

Therefore, I am recommending for you to prayerfully consider providing two things.  First and foremost, daily prayer support of their ongoing work.  But secondly, to seriously think about giving financially towards their labor of love.

Let me thank-you in advance for taking the time to read this letter.  As well as ponder over the possibility of joining with the Tinkels’ in building for His kingdom.

Heavenly Related,

 

Rev. E. Kenneth Grubb

 




Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday - An Old, Old, Lesson Planet Review

 
 
I know it's not Thursday yet, but the post that I was writing for today had some technical glitches so I am switching around a little bit. Enjoy this blast from the past. I know that it is an old review but it was just a really fun review to write. Also, the Lesson Planet people liked my review so much that they featured it on their website. I still get traffic sent my way from them, so the least I can do is reciprocate. Have fun reading this old review from my Angelfire blog platform days.
 
 
 
Families Again
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Lesson Planet - This is a Poor Sad Story
Mood:  blue
Topic: Homeschool Product Review
http://www.lessonplanet.com/
 
Let me tell you a story...a poor sad story. 
 
There was once a poor homeschool parent whose son was studying United States History. This son loved to read. He read almost everything that he could get his hands on...when he wasn't playing his video games of course. This wise parent thought that, since his son liked to read, he should try to use curriculum that involved interesting books. He found a fantastic history curriculum that did involve reading good novels and doing some unit studies. But...alas...this parent couldn't buy all of the materials for the poor pitiful son that so needed them.
 
"Not to worry," the father said to himself. "I can make my own unit studies to fill in the gaps. They can't be that hard to put together."
 
But oh how mistaken he was. Try as he did, he could not find anything but bits and pieces of unit studies to use with his knowledge yearning child. He found what he could and presented it to the boy. The poor child dove in to what his father gave him, but, like a hungry urchin that is only given a few tasty morsels to eat, he longed for more. Alas, the father could find no more, nor could he afford to buy the expensive food for thought that was recommended. The child would just have to wait and make do with what he had.
 
Then one day, along came a stranger. This stranger was no ordinary stranger. Her name was Brenda. It was her job to assign new and exciting homeschool items to homeschool product reviewers. She reminded this poor father and his son that they indeed were homeschool reviewers and should cheer up for help was on its way. She then proceeded to hand them a package. It looked just like an ordinary package on the outside, but to this poor homeschool father and his son, it was like holding a package of gold. For inside the wrapper was a piece of paper. On this paper were two words, both of six letters. The two words were "Lesson Planet". With a quizzical look on his face, the father looked up to ask Brenda what these peculiar words meant. But, she was gone. Gone like the wind to help another struggling homeschool family. 
 
But what was the father to do with these words? How could they help in his dilemma? After much thinking his highly intelligent son suggested Googling the words on their computer. Soon he typed in the twelve letters and clicked on the first entry that came up. When he did, the most amazing thing happened. It was as if this poor man and his lad had lived their life in black and white and everything was transfigured into a colorful new world.
 
It wasn't their physical world that had been transformed, however, it was their homeschool world. You see, Lesson Planet is a lesson plan site, that had lesson plans for everything! Quickly the father typed in Canada. Canada was one of those pitiful unit studies that the diligent father tried but failed to put together for his son. Immediately after typing the words, 5976 lesson plans came into view, along with 425 worksheets and 90 websites about Canada. And the lesson plans were diverse! They had studies for all grades and all levels. They had lesson plans for Canada in general or for specific things regarding Canada. There were plans for Canadian geography, history and social studies. There were worksheets for famous people or national parks of Canada. They even had things that talked about the agriculture, forestry or farming in that great country that is to our north. The man was amazed, and soon his son became excited as well. Next they looked up World War One and World War Two and got similar results. A search of South America was just as fruitful. And it was all organized so nicely.
They searched and they looked and they dreamed all day. His father had never seen such joy and excitement in his son. Until, suddenly, the father noted that his boy was silent. As he glanced around he noticed tears trickling down the lads face. "But Father," the poor boy said softly "how much does all of this cost? We surely could not sell nearly enough eggs at the market to afford such luxury." Sadly the father nodded his head, clicked off the computer and they slowly went off to bed. They never expected to see the wonders of Lesson Planet again.
 
That night, however, the father had a dream. He tossed and turned in bed and kept hearing voices. They were the soft voices of Brenda and her kind boss Heidi. They kept saying "Check the price! Check the price!" Finally the father could stand it no longer. He quietly got up, went to the computer and clicked it on. He typed in the name of the wondrous Lesson Planet website and fearfully clicked on the pricing information. For a moment he couldn't fathom what was staring him in the face. He adjusted his bifocals to make sure that he was seeing it correctly. But, no, he wasn't incorrect! It was true! The price was only $39.95 a year! "Why," the father thought "that is well within our meager homeschool budget!"
 
Suddenly the father heard a sound behind him. It was his son. "Father?" the boy asked with a concerned look. Quickly the father got up and embraced his son. There were again tears, but this time they were tears of joy. And they were streaming down both of their faces. Finally, a miracle has come. A miracle that could now enable the son to have the education that he so richly deserved. An education that would allow the son to go on to college and bring his poor family out of the impoverished state that they were presently in.
 
Later, the father went back to bed. This time he slept peacefully and had wonderful dreams. Again they were of our heroes Brenda and Heidi. They were giving the father a command. "Tell them!" they said. "Tell the world! Tell them that they, too, can be blessed by Lesson Planet. All they have to do is click here or on one of the hi-lighted links above. And so the father did. He spread the news far and near. Over hill and over dale. And he and his son lived happily ever after.
 
The End
 
The story you have just read is true; the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
 
Oh, all right, the story is about me and John Allen. There were no dreams, there were no tears and we don't sell eggs at the market Frown. The rest is true, however. At least almost Wink. Happy Homeschooling!
 
I was given a free limited time membership to Lesson Planet in order to try out and review on my blog.



Monday, April 13, 2015

I Did It! I Really Did It! Now, Please Like Me!

shocked photo:  Faint.gif 

Well, not me personally. Not that I don't want you to like me personally mind you. I do want you to like me but. . . oh, never mind!

What I do want you to like are all of my social media pages. A good friend of mine Marcy Crabtree, posted about how to add your social media "like" buttons to the top of your blog so that people notice them better. Well, I tried it and it worked! Wow! I couldn't believe it! All of my social media buttons lined up in a nice row at the top of my page for everyone to click on.

Now, why would I put forth so much effort to make sure people like my social media pages? Well, I really want to build my blog readership. I want people to come to my blog to find out more about God, my family, my ministry, homeschooling, the great homeschool products I am going to soon begin blogging about, and anything else that catches their eye. I want people to come and grow as Christians when they read my blog. I want to strengthen families. I want to help folks in their homeschool. I just want people to read my blog!

To do that, I have to spread the word and a good way to spread the word is through social media. The more people like my different pages, the more people will learn about Families Again. I also hope that you like reading my posts and want to be notified when I post something new. I usually notify everyone on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ when I publish a post, and I eventually put all of my posts on Pinterest as well. Instagram is another story. I am still getting used to that one but you can befriend me on their and laugh with me as I get used to it!

At any rate, the buttons are located on the top right underneath my banner. Please click on them and spread the word. Thanks ahead of time!