Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Missions in Action!

Most of you know that my family is a big supporters of Compassion International. In fact, that is the only mission, other than the mission that we belong to, BCM International, that we actively support. We support six kids, either financially or as correspondence sponsors and love each one of them. The following video shows what can happen when a child that is in poverty is loved and supported. To learn more about Compassion International or about BCM International just click on the links above. Enjoy the video.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our Crazy Mixed-Up Summer Part 2 - The Daisy National Air Rifle Match in Arkansas

Most of you know the story of how John Allen got into shooting. If you don't, just click the link below to all of my posts involving shooting sports. He is not the best shooter in the world by far, but he has had some success. We have been blessed to have been able to attend many great shooting championships and to attend the Daisy National Championships - three times when he was younger and shot in the Daisy National BB Gun Championships and, for the past two years, the Daisy National Air Rifle Championships.

Let me tell you, Daisy puts on a fantastic event. They really treat their shooters right and put on an excellent event. The facilities that they choose are top notch and they give a lot of "extras" to the kids who participate. This year all of the shooters were given a free pass to a magnificent place that had a state of the art arcade, bowling alley, go cart track, restaurant and laser tag all in one building AND another free pass to a miniature golf course. The team from Bend of the River Shooting Sports that John Allen shoots for had a magnificent time - as you can see by the pictures below.

But, of course, the main reason they went was the shooting. This year we had two veterans Wesley, who has been shooting Air Rifle for about four years and John Allen who is in his second year of shooting Air Rifle. The other two members of the team, Austen and Keith were first year shooters. All of the team, though, shot on the BB team, so they have many, many years of shooting experience between them. Air Rifle, although it has many similarities, is more difficult than BB. Air Rifle is one of the shooting disciplines that they shoot in the Olympics. The team ended up placing 8th out of 14 teams this year which was better than last year, so they were pleased. Two other shooters from Bend of the River, Anne and Sam, shot as individuals and did quite well also. We love the shooting sports because of the camaraderie that the team has. They encourage each other and have really become friends with each other. They have a lot of fun at competitions like this and I really think that is what keeps John Allen shooting. The shooting family really is like a family. We have made a lot of friends in shooting. Friends that I'm sure will last a lifetime.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Saving Money is Simple with Couponing Made Simple by Christi the Coupon Coach - A Molly Crew Review

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Do you know what a "Blinkie" is? What about a "Peelie"? Do you know what O.O.P. means? What about BOGO? I know what all of these things mean and have learned how to save a lot of money as well! As full time missionaries living on a limited budget we need all the help we can get when it comes to saving money. We also need tools to help the low income folks that we work with save money as well. When I heard that we were going to be reviewing Couponing Made Simple by "Christi the Coupon Coach" Bassford I was excited because I could then kill two birds with one stone - save money ourselves and teach others how to save as well.

First of all, as Christi explains early on in her book, Couponing Made Simple, is not "extreme couponing". You don't have to have a closet full of coupons nor a room full of items that you buy while on sale but may not use for umpteen years. It also isn't one of those on-the-edge-of-illegal deals where you hear of folks getting arrested for illegal trading or copying or something like that. This is just common sense every day smart couponing.

But, what is "common sense every day couponing"? How do you buy $100 of groceries for just $10 as Christi shows many times in her book? I mean, I've clipped coupons occasionally and used them, but never saved anything like that. Well, there is a system and a tried and true method that Christi uses and Couponing Made Simple explains it all in simple and easy to understand language.

From buying the newspapers - Did you know that there are actually different types of inserts that can save you money on different types of things? Did you know that there are websites where you can look and see what types of coupons are going to be in the next Sunday's circulars? (For that matter, did you know that there are coupons that you can print off of computers and that if you have multiple computers you can print they will allow you to print more? I didn't either.)

To organizing the coupons and circulars - Have you ever put a coupon in a special place only to pull it out and find that it was outdated? This won't happen if you have an organizing system. Don't think that this step has to be hard. It can be simple and not require a lot of things or a super lot of time to accomplish.

To finding the right deals - Remember, at the beginning I said that this wasn't extreme couponing? Well, in Couponing Made Simple, Christie tells you how to avoid buying things that you don't need or seeing coupons and thinking "Oh, this is cute" or "Boy this is a good deal" and buying things even if you don't need them.

To finding the good deals - Did you know that there are some products like shampoos, conditioners or lotions, where it may look like a good deal but really there is more water in the product than actual product? I didn't. Couponing Made Simple has actually made me think about products that I buy before I buy.

To finding the right stores and even the right cashiers - I knew that some stores were more favorable to couponing than others, but did you know that there are cashiers that are more favorable to couponing and it could make your life a lot easier if you know the right stores and the right cashiers?

To making your own bargains - The real bargains are where you use store specials, coupons, and other things like "double stacking" (Don't know what that is? Couponing Made Simple will tell you.). And, it really isn't that difficult to understand or do.

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Although we have been on the road a lot during the time that we had to review Couponing Made Simple and haven't been able to utilize what we have learned in this book as much as we would like, we have been able to use some, and the little, extra, things that she talks about have really made us think and read labels before we buy. We are looking forward to using her full system when we get back from our travels and settle in for our long "fall and winters nap" of not traveling as much. We are looking forward as well to teaching the ladies that come to the mission we direct on how to use this simple method and the simple ideas that Christi presents in this small but easy to read and easy to use book. I give this a two thumbs up!

So, how much is this small but packed-full-of-information book? It's well worth the price of just $18. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above for more information. Happy Saving!

Other members of the TOS Review Crews "Molly Crew" reviewed this as well and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below.


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Monday, July 22, 2013

25 Truths - Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us - A TOS Review Crew Book Review

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No, this isn't a post about my 25 Truths for happy and successful living, it is actually a book review for a fantastic book by Ed Douglas published and distributed by Ed Douglas Publications. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook (or even a personal friend) you know that I am trying to be more positive in my outlook on life. Although I have always tried to be a positive person, the past few years my family has gone through some trying times and I realized how down on myself I had gotten. This past year I was introduced to the whole genre of success books and have really enjoyed reading some of them. As with any type of book (or music or anything), however, there is the good and the bad and it is sometimes difficult to sift through it all. As a Christian, I always try to find books that line up with God's Word and don't compromise the values that it teaches. Even some of the Christian success books can go to wild extremes that I don't like. 25 Truths is fantastic book and is not one of them. It lines up with everything that I believe.

I originally thought that I would give this short, 150 page book to John Allen to read. It's geared toward his age group of 6-12 grade, and I thought he would like the fact that each chapter is only a few pages long and therefore doesn't take long to read. I thought he could use it almost like a devotional book. However, when I received 25 Truths in the mail and looked it over I decided to take it and read it for myself. What appealed to me about the book? Well, probably that it was just 150 pages and each chapter was just a few pages long and wouldn't take too long to read! No, really, there were many other things, and I am definitely going to hand this over to John Allen soon to read. Let me list what I really liked.

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First and foremost, of course, I like that Ed Douglas is a Christian and 25 Truths is a Christian based book. No, it isn't a theological book filled with scripture references for every single thing he says, but he does use verses to back a lot of what he says and I found that the areas where he doesn't list scripture at the beginning of the chapter are theologically sound as well. The author is a Christian and makes no bones about his Christian faith and beliefs. I like that!

Secondly, as I mentioned before, the book is very easy to read. Each chapter is about 3-5 pages long and are based on principles that Ed Douglas has gleaned from life experiences as a Christian, banker, coach, author, athlete and more. In almost every chapter there is a great story that illustrates one of the "truths" (which I'll get into in the next point) in a great fashion. I found myself reading each chapter and being very disappointed when it too quickly ended. Each chapter illustrates one truth and concludes with a quick summary. The author then includes five or six questions that help you think through your life and how that particular truth applies to you. You can either write in your short answer, or do what I did and just answer them in my head.

Finally, the 25 Truths themselves are fantastic and timely. Some, such as Practice - It Makes Perfect, Tell the Truth, and Be Slow to Judge, are things that we have heard all of our lives. Others, like, Take it One Step at a Time, Make Every Day Your Best Day, and See the Glass as Half Full were very good reminders of how we should view and go through life. A few chapters didn't have themes that I had heard all of my life and really made me think. Play to Win is an interesting theme especially since we find ourselves telling our children to "just have fun" or "if you did your best that's all that counts". You may think, by looking at the title of that chapter, that you wouldn't agree with what he says, but he really makes some great points and I encourage you to buy the book to find out for yourself what they are.

In fact, I really encourage you to buy the book and read it period. It may be short and easy to read, but it is full of excellent reminders of how God wants us to live our lives. Although I didn't find any fault in anything that I read, you may not agree with every jot and tittle in the book. That's okay, though. It will get you to think about what he is saying and, especially about your own life and the little things that you can do to make your life happy and more successful. Probably the thing that impressed me the most about this book was how Ed Douglas included the plan of salvation at the end of 25 Truths. If you don't read any other section of the book, please read that one. It alone can change your life.

The price of this book will make you happy as well. The $12.50 that you would spend on the book is well worth the price. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above for more information. Happy Reading!

Many others on the TOS Review Crew reviewed this book and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below.


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Friday, July 19, 2013

Thars Gold in Them Thar Hills! Or is there? - A Susan Marlow, Goldtown Adventures Book Review

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Ever since I can remember Susan K Marlow has been talked about by TOS Review Crew members. The Crew has reviewed her books many, many times and we have had the great privilege of reviewing her books before as well. The only problem was that her books always seemed to be geared more toward girls or at least had girls as their main characters. When we reviewed another series written for younger readers it wasn't so bad. Although the main character was a girl, there were a lot of male characters in the series and Joshua loved it. However, Joshua is older now and her older series with a girl main character just wouldn't work anymore. Then, I found out that there was a new Susan K. Marlow series with a boy main character and was thrilled that we were going to review Tunnel of Gold - book 2 of her new Goldtown Adventures series published by Kregel Publications!

I love Susan K. Marlow's books because they are rock solid Christian children's literature. Don't get me wrong, though. This isn't one of those sticky-sweet-never-gets-into-trouble-always-does-the-right-thing type books. Her characters are always realistic and get into a lot of trouble that kids growing up out west in the late 1800's would get into. In Tunnel of Gold, geared toward readers aged 9-13, Jem Coulter, his sister Ellie, his cousin Nathan and the rest of the characters in the book are so realistic that by the end of chapter two you feel like they are your friends. They're definitely kids that I would want my boys to be friends with. Only I would keep an eye out to see if I could minimize the mischief that they were sure to get into! 

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Jem, his sister Ellie, and his cousin Nathan (who is a city slicker that just moved in with Jem's family a couple of months before) are out delivering firewood when the whole town grows quiet. It is so eerie that they go to investigate what happened. So, what caused this silence in Goldtown, the town where Jem lives and where Jem's "Pa" is the new Sheriff? I mean, this is dead silence! The stamp mill, which is so loud that it shakes the town day and night stops working and there is no sound from the mine itself. What happens when Jem finds himself in the middle of a riot of mine and mill workers? What happens when Jem has to choose between right and wrong even when wrong could save the town? What happens when Jem's father is ordered to choose wrong so that the town will be saved? You'll have to read the book to find out! Trust me, you won't be disappointed. There is adventure on every page mixed in with a little fun, mischief and a lot of learning about what God wants us to do in tough situations.

We read Tunnel of Gold while driving home from taking my oldest to work at a camp in upstate New York. The ride was long but this great book helped the hours to go by swiftly. Now, let me tell you, that is a real accomplishment since the two boys that I was reading it to (while Sarah drove of course!) are both on the autism spectrum. They soaked it up and when I asked what they thought of it some of the comments were:

"Grrrreaaat!" - Jacob (said along with the happy dance that is his newest thing).

"I love it!" - Joshua (along with two thumbs up which means he really, really, likes it).

 "The characters are so funny and the plot keeps you on your toes!" - Sarah even chimed in with a comment.

So, there you have it! The Tinkel family really loves Susan K. Marlow's new Goldtown Adventures Series. We are going to be traveling a lot during the rest of the summer, and I have a feeling that this book will be read again more than once. After all, like any great book, you always find out you missed something when you read it again!

In fact, I'm thinking about buying the first book in the series - Badge of Honor - as well to read along the way. After all at a price of $7.99 each plus $2.50 shipping and handling or both for $13.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling can't be beat. You can even get the books personalized and there are free Enrichment Study Guides that you can download. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Happy reading!

Many other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed Tunnel of Gold and Badge of Honor and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below.


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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our Crazy Mixed Up Summer - Part One! - Bridge Community Church's Vacation Bible School

Those of you who follow me on facebook know that the Tinkel family is having a crazy, fantastic, mixed-up summer. Various members of the family are traveling to or through at least 14 different states and provinces (yes I said provinces) in two different countries and we will collectively travel over...hmm...I haven't completely counted it up yet, but I know it will be upwards towards 5000 miles. Our summer is packed with something going on almost every week. We actually started about three weeks ago and are really now on Part Three of our crazy, fantastic, mixed-up summer, so I have some catching up to do. This post is Part One of a Ten Part Series so get ready to come along on a bumpy trip with the nutty Tinkel family (we must be nuts for attempting something like what we are attempting)!

As I mentioned before, Part One was about three week ago...I think...I've really lost track of all time...when Sarah and I directed our churches first annual Vacation Bible School. Our church is a very young church - only about a year and a half old. Last year we didn't have a VBS, but Sarah really felt that God was leading us to direct one this summer and I felt the leading of the Lord as well so we began the planning about four month ago and had a fantastic time with The Bridge Community Church's "Children of the Bible" 2013 VBS.

The VBS was a great success. We had plenty of help and a lot of kids. In fact, we had so much help and things ran so smoothly that when an adult or teen showed up and asked where they were needed we really didn't know where to put them. All of the workers were awesome and fit what they volunteered to do perfectly. Thank you Lord!

Sarah trusted the Lord at a VBS when she was young, so Vacation Bible Schools are near and dear to her heart. She loved directing this one and took a lot of pictures. Below you will see some of the highlights. I actually thought that Sarah and I had taken more pictures than what I found, but I guess we were just both too busy to remember to take them. Oh well, enjoy what I found!