Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Money. . . What IS It Really All About? - Throwback Thursday

Okay! You got me! It's not Thursday. As a matter of fact, this won't even post on Wednesday. It will post on Tuesday. Forgive me. It's been a super busy past few days. I meant to post something, though, that is amazing similar to this. Hopefully tomorrow you will be able to read that post. Until then, please thoughtfully and prayerfully read this post. As I was reading again just this evening, it struck me as to how life has a habit of going around and around in circles. It almost seems like someone else wrote this post for me to read today. It's funny how a post that I wrote many years ago could speak to me and minister to me today. I pray it speaks to you also. If it does, please leave me a comment.

Money...What IS it really all about?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: The Purple Files

I've been thinking about money lately. I think about it off and on, but this bout began the other day. I was driving to a neighboring town to take one of my kids to therapy when I passed a pet grooming business. It got me to thinking about all of the people who actually take their pets and spend 20, 30, 50, perhaps hundreds of dollars a year. For what? For someone to comb their pets fur and put pretty bows in it? Now, we could go on and on about the benefits of having a pet and how therapeutic they are, etc. I am not against having a pet. We have a cat and a dog ourselves. But is that really the best use of our money? A use that would be glorifying to God?
Perhaps it's because we work with low income families and support kids through Compassion International. I have seen what it's like to live with little money here in the United States and I've read about and corresponded with children who have next to nothing in life. But, I've never seen or experienced extreme poverty before. My wife and I were talking about this just today. She made the comment that perhaps one of the reason God sends us on mission's trips is to jolt us back into reality when we get back. To make us realize what is really important in life.
A blogging acquaintance of mine, Kristen, from We are THAT Family has experienced just that. A few months ago Kristen was on the blogging team that went to Kenya with Compassion International to write about what they saw and post it on their blogs. You can read their amazing posts by clicking here. I could never verbalize it in the excellent way that Kristen did, but her Kenya trip had a profound impact on her. She came back a totally different person. So much so that her husband commented that he wasn't sure that he knew her anymore. To which Kristen commented back that she wasn't sure she even knew herself. Things just seemed so empty when she got back...so odd.

On her trip Kristen experienced traveling through one of the worst slums in the world. So bad was this slum that they had to split up into groups of three or four and have a personal body guard. They were told not to stare and to refrain from taking pictures while traveling on foot to get to the Compassion project in the middle of the slum. One lady, a professional photographer did take pictures however. She took them from her hip from under a jacket. Those photographs are amazing to look at but disgusting as well. You can find them by clicking on the posts of the bloggers that traveled through this filth called Mathare Valley. Read more of Kristen's story appropriately titled "Today, I Went to Hell" by clicking here.

Kristen had experienced extreme poverty. This isn't the government housing area that Sarah and I work in, or the one in your town...this is EXTREME POVERTY! When she got home Kristen felt lost. She made the comment that she wanted to sell everything and live in her garage. She struggled with coming to terms with what she had seen in Kenya and what she came home to in America. She is still dealing with this and it has had a profound impact on how she and her family now live. I encourage you to click here and go to her blog to see what she and her family are doing now. It's amazing.

The stories that these bloggers told really had an impact on me. Since experiencing the poverty in Kenya through their blogs, I've been contemplating money a lot. I've been contemplating a lot of things a lot. And, no, it's not my depression this time. As some of you know, I've suffered from depression in the past. This time, however, it's God. God has been talking to me lately. I mean really talking to me. About a lot of things. This is just one of them. The other day I posted about another. I'll post more of my thoughts on this and other things that God is revealing to me in the future as well.
Money is just one thing that God has been dealing with me on. Don't get me wrong. I don't begrudge people that have money. Many great Christian people have had money. It's what people do with their money that frustrates me. It's what I do with my money that frustrates me.

I Timothy 6:10 says:
For the love of money is the root of all evil...
Notice it doesn't say that "Money is the root of all evil". It's not money that is evil, it's what you do with your money. Are you frivolous with what God has given you? A dear friend of ours who tragically died in an auto accident used to say "Hold on to things loosely". Don't allow things to get in the way of what is right and what is true in life. Contrary to what some people think, money cannot buy you happiness. In fact, most of the time it is just the opposite. Hold on to what you have loosely. Use your money and your talents to help others. Use them for the Lord.
Lord, although you haven't given my family much, thank you for what you have given us. Thank you for providing for all of our needs. Lord, please help us to "hold on to things loosely" as Betsy used to say. Help us to use what you have given us to further your kingdom. Not just the money that you give us, but everything that you give us. Out talents, our home, our ministry, our time, everything, Lord. Help us to use it for your glory. In your name I pray. Amen 
The following is a video of a group of Mathare children singing at the compassion project. Below the video are the lyrics.

Kenyan Song in Mathare from Ryan Detzel on Vimeo.
Adhi e dala malo
Am going home on high
Dala gi yesu Ruodha
The home of Christ my Lord
Dala mar auma
The home of splendour
Tinga malo adhi anee dala
Lift me up, so I may see my home
Neuru achako achako wuoth madhi ka wuonwa
I have began, began this journey to the father
Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny ni rumo
I realise that this world is soon ending
Neuru achako achako wuoth ma dhi ka wuonwa
See I have began this journey to the father
Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny dong’ gunda
I realize this world will soon be uninhabited
Adhi e dala malo
Am going home on high
Dala gi yesu Ruodha

The home of Christ my Lord
Dala mar auma
The home of splendour
Tinga malo adhi anee dala
Lift me up, so I may see my home
Tinga malo tinga
Lift me up lift me
Tinga malo tinga
Lift me up lift me
Tinga malo tinga
Lift me up lift me
Tera adhi anee dala
Take me to see home
Wach ni awinjo
I hear this message
Wach no aneno komaka gi wuoro
This message feels me with awe
Omaka gi wuoro
Feels me with awe
Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny ni rumo
I perceive this world is ending soon
Wach ni awinjo
I hear this message
Wach ni aneno komaka gi wuoro
This message feels me with awe
Gimaneno ndalo mabiro piny dong’ gunda
I realize this world will soon be uninhabited


Kenyan Song in Mathare from Ryan Detzel on Vimeo.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Христос воскрес - Christ is Risen! Воістину Воскрес - Indeed, He Is Risen!

The past few days have been a whir of ministry. Not necessarily because of Easter, but just every day ministry. We have been swamped. Not before being blessed a number of times, however. Tonight and tomorrow I want to tell you two true happenings that blessed us and made me really think of what is truly important. Enjoy!

Our pastor and his family were missionaries in the Ukraine for many years. Yesterday during our church service our pastor's wife told a story about one Easter early in their ministry.

During the Easter season it was a common tradition to greet everyone with the phrase "Christ is Risen" during the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. The one being spoken to was to respond "He is risen, indeed." Then, on Easter Sunday it was a common tradition to exchange a loaf of "paska" or Easter bread. This sweet bread, usually home made, often looked something like a tall cupcake.

Their family lived in a house that from the outside looked like a run down shack but inside was quite nice. That was actually good, because all around them were high rise apartments that sometimes weren't very nice themselves. Of course, everyone knew where the American missionaries lived, and it would have looked bad if they had lived in a really nice house. Then everyone would have thought that they were rich Americans. By not having a nice house, it made them more equal and, therefore more approachable to their Ukrainian neighbors.

Outside of their home, by the street, was a big dumpster. Before too long after moving in, they noticed a woman who looked as if she was in her 60's sifting through the trash in the dumpster and hunting for food. They later found out that she lived in the cemetery in a type of trash receptacle that was used to dispose of the excess or dead grave flowers.

After a few days of watching this lady scrounge in the trash, they decided to take the leftovers that they had from their meals and put it in bags to hang on the out side of the dumpster for her to find. Even if they didn't have any leftovers, they would make sure they hung something out there. They didn't know if the woman even knew who was leaving the leftovers, neither did they really care. They just wanted to make sure that the homeless woman was fed.

They never really met the lady. One day our pastor just happened to be outside when the lady came and got the food. He greeted her and realized how poor and disheveled she was. That was the only encounter they had with her. Until about eight months after they moved.

It was Easter and they were learning the Ukrainian Easter traditions including greeting one another with Христос воскрес - Christ is Risen! Or responding with Воістину Воскрес - Indeed, He Is Risen! They also learned the tradition of giving the paska - Easter bread to friends and family.

Христос воскрес!

Воістину Воскрес!

They recall that on Easter Sunday they heard a knock on the door. When they answered they saw standing there the poor, homeless lady with a paska in her hand. As she was handing them the Easter bread she simply said "Христос воскрес" to which they responded "Воістину Воскрес". Then she was gone.

Our pastor's wife said that probably the woman had spent all that she had buying that bread. This time, though, it was the homeless lady that didn't care what anyone thought. She had noticed the love given to here by complete strangers and through them, she saw the love of Christ. And, He, made all the difference.

Christ is Risen!

He is Risen, indeed!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Scripture Sunday - The Poor and the Needy

Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (NIV)
I remember a few years ago when a Facebook friend unfriended me because I posted something about Compassion International and how we financially support a child from Compassion and are correspondence sponsors for five other children. He lambasted me for sending my money overseas when there are so many poor in our own country. I tried to explain that our ministry at home was to low income families and that much of our money and time goes to Good News Ministries, our ministry.
I understand completely (more than you know) that the poor of our own country are often overlooked, I also am wholly aware of the poverty in other countries as well. Sarah and I fully believe and teach to our kids that anyone can be a missionary and that we should start at home and then advance outward.
Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (NIV)
There are poor in our own town, in our country, in neighboring countries, and all around the world. God doesn't want us to forget the poor and the needy anywhere on earth. God wants us to help all of them. However, there is one thing that he requests, whatever you do and whomever you choose to help do it not for yourselves, but for Him.

1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (NIV)


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Photo Saturday - Ministry

Today was a busy but very blessed day. It was a day full of ministry, which I always enjoy. It began this morning with Sarah, Joshua and I going to pick up some bread that had been donated to us. We sorted it, loaded it in our van, unloaded it at our house, bagged it up, loaded it back into our van, then hand delivered the bags to the folks in our neighborhood and to the public housing area where we minister.

This was the first time delivering bread on the street where we now live and it was a joy getting to know some our new neighbors. It was also a joy to continue ministering to the folks that we have ministered to for nearly 15 years now and plan on ministering to for as long as the Lord allows.

Please continue to pray for our ministry. There has been a season of change, but we are excited about what God is doing with Good News Ministries and what He has planned for its future. Please enjoy the pictures. More will be coming soon.

Sorted and ready to bag.

Sarah and Lois bagging loose rolls.

The van is loaded down.

Blessing others and others blessing us in return!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Year Round Homeschooling - Sometimes It's a Necessity - How the Tinkels Do It - Part 2

Yesterday, in Year Round Homeschooling - Sometimes It's a Necessity - How the Tinkels Do It - Part 1, I talked about why we chose to homeschool year round, and three things that we do to make year round homeschooling both possible and fun for our family. The three things that I mentioned in part 1 were:

1. We make sure we do something every day no matter how small.
2. We try make use of every possible moment and turn it into a learning activity or mini field trip.
3. We talk about current events and subjects of interest a lot in our home.

Today I'm going to elaborate on three more things that we do and wrap it up with a few closing comments.

Since, as full time missionaries, we travel quite a bit, we try to include educational things while we travel. So, today's three items are going to talk about things we do on the road, however, the first item listed is also something that can be done at home. Here they are.

  • We always read to our kids. - We, of course, read at home, but we especially read when we are traveling. Traveling in the car can be an excellent time to teach many things such as map reading skills and geography, but it is also a great time to catch up on regular reading. I remember one time when we were using Sonlight History with John Allen. Sonlight uses a literature approach to learning history. Instead of reading a dry, boring textbook, they read good historical novels. Some are on grade level and some are "read alouds" that the parent reads to the child. On one trip I grabbed one of the above level read aloud books and used the time traveling to read to the boys. They loved it as did Sarah and her mom who was traveling with us at the time. They were just as excited to learn what happened next as the kids were. On another occasion we used books on CD with the boys. The series we were listening that time was "Hank the Cowdog". The author is the one who records the book on CD and he uses all kinds of funny voices for each character. Again the entire family loved it.
  • We always use our travel times as educational times. - Many children can't handle long road trips but that is especially true with kids on the autism spectrum. Traveling for hours and hours on end is just not the best thing to do with them. So, we try to break up our travel days with a lot of stops and even add days so that we can stop at a museum or historic spot along the way. We have enjoyed a lot of those type things as a family. We have explored the Blue Ridge Parkway, gone to museums, visited zoos, stopped at botanical gardens and more as extra things while we travel.
  • We also try to make the times at our destinations a learning experience by doing fun but educational things while we are there. Whether it be attending a mission's conference, on a business trip, or just visiting my sister, we always do something that is enriching. We take a day to visit an interesting site or do something different. Perhaps there is a unique restaurant or store nearby. I recall a business trip to Kansas City when Sarah and the kids joined me. We looked up a very unique restaurant where your food was delivered to you by a train on a track. During that trip we also visited the St. Louis Arch. When we visit my sister we always try to take a day trip to visit a historic site, the beach (which believe me is a learning experience for these Tennessee kids) or something else. There is one store, another humongous grocery store, that we always go to when visiting my sister. In her area of New Jersey, there are many international folks and this store has a huge international food section. We always buy a new snack or drink from another culture to try. Many times we find places that go along with our kid's interest at that time. On one trip to Canada Joshua desperately wanted to see the CN Tower in Toronto so we stopped in downtown Toronto (a real adventure for we country folk) to view this amazing building. Traveling, even on a business trip with the kids tagging along, can be fun and adventurous if planned correctly.

Remember, real education is a lot more than just book learning. If you read my series on unschooling, then you know that I don't all-out completely agree with that philosophy. I do feel that for some kids a traditional style homeschool is valuable. However, I also agree that there are some children that thrive by being able to explore and research areas of interest on there own. I also agree that most children learn better by using all of their senses, not just the senses of seeing and hearing that are the main ones used in a traditional school. That is why we utilize a lot of  "field trip" type activities in our homeschool. Don't be afraid to count unusual things such as summer camp and travel as school activities. They are just as valuable as sticking a child's nose into some dry and boring textbook or doing another worksheet. Many families began homeschooling for that very reason. They realized that the traditional classroom setting wasn't always working for kids and they wanted to do something different.

I'm not saying to totally abandon the curriculum that you are using. What I am saying is that if you find yourself stressing over getting everything done in 180 school days then consider a different way of doing things. When you homeschool year round, instead of having 180 days to complete a school year, you have 365 days! Just do what you can each day and use each day to your advantage. Look for a learning opportunity in everything that you do. Don't stress and have fun learning!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Year Round Homeschooling - Sometimes It's a Necessity - How the Tinkels Do It - Part 1

I used to stress over schooling. When our oldest, John Allen, was younger, I was always on a strict schedule. We started homeschooling around 9am at the kitchen table and worked until we were done. He did great. He was that type of learner.

Then, Joshua came along. Joshua is not someone who I can force into a schedule. Being on the autism spectrum, maybe I should try harder, as spectrum kids really need a schedule, but that just doesn't work for us. Some things can and need to be scheduled for him, but school is not one of them. We need to watch and wait for the best learning time and environment. As I mentioned in my two part series, Oh No! Could We Actually Be...*Gasp*...Unschoolers?!?, we try to use the things that our children are interested in to our advantage when we homeschool. For example, when Joshua was fascinated with football, we used football a lot in our homeschooling. From math to reading, it was about football. Joshua thrives when we do that. But I use to stress about whether we were getting it all in or not.

Jacob is a mixture of John Allen and Joshua. We can sit him down to do work and he is usually okay. When he has had enough, though, we know it is time to put away the books and not do anymore for the time being. So again I used to stress.

Because of their different learning styles and schedules, although we work with our kids every day, we can't always fit everything in. Our schedule as missionaries also necessitates us taking days off here and there. So, a few years ago, we decided to be more of a year round school. It allows us to spread things out more and enjoy our learning time. It's relieved a lot of my stress!

Don't get me wrong, although we homeschool during the summer, we still allow them to enjoy the usual summer activities, we just use those activities to our advantage. We still do some regular academic subjects, although not as many, and we purposely choose fun summer activities in our learning. Warmer weather is the perfect time to go to the park and explore nature or take local field trips to museums and historic spots. Even traveling in the car and going on vacations can be used and counted for homeschool. I'll talk more about those tomorrow, but for now here are some things that we try to do on a consistent basis in our year round homeschool.


  • Do something academic every day. - Even if it just one subject, we do it. I'm not talking about regular homeschooling days, I'm talking about days when life is busy and we can't pull it all together. When that happens, we at least do something. We might assign Joshua to read a chapter in a book, work in his geography book, or spend 30 minutes with one of his Russian language apps on his tablet. John Allen might need to do a few lessons in math or one worksheet of Latin. Jacob might read a story that is on his reading level or work on a math sheet. Whatever it is, it is usually something that they can do fairly independently and doesn't require a lot of explanation from me or Sarah.
  • Make everything a field trip. - When we have to take the boys with us to run errands we try to make everything a learning experience. I remember a day recently when we were in Knoxville buying them shoes. Since all three of my boys are blessed with one leg shorter than the other, we have to buy special shoes for them and then have inserts made for them. The shoe buying is an adventure in itself, but after we bought the shoes, we went to one of those humongous grocery stores - the kind that we don't see around where we live. The kids loved sampling different spreads and crackers, looking at the huge circles of cheese and the fish on ice, and buying international snacks that they aren't use to eating. Everything was fascinating and was always accompanied  by many questions and  discussion. We try to do this type of thing every where we go. Make life interesting.
  • Talk a lot about current events or things that we are interested in. - In this day and age, kids cannot escape hearing about things going on in our world. Information is everywhere. It's on 24 hour news channels, the internet, newspapers, magazines, etc. We always try to discuss the news of the day with the boys. We also discuss things that we are interested in now or that we were interested in in the past. Just telling an old story about yourself can bring about a lively question and answer session and discussion.
Let's recap what we have talked about so far. Always try to do something academic every day, even if it is little. Try to make even humdrum errands into an exciting field trip. Use present day news and interests to your advantage by discussing them with your kids.

Tomorrow we'll talk about three more things that you can do with your kids to enrich their learning and make your homeschool into a year round learning experience.

Click here to get to part 2!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Fruit Leather - So Easy a Caveman. . .I Mean a Kid Can Do It!

I had this scheduled to post tomorrow and was working on something else for today when I was called away to some ministry things. So, I am you are getting my "Throwback Thursday" post on Wednesday! Enjoy!

I was thinking about Fruit Leather the other day so I looked up this old Angelfire blog post and thought I would share it this week. It was originally published on January 23, 2011. We love home made Fruit Leather. However, even more fun than resurrecting this recipe was seeing Joshua from four years ago! I even kept the horrible orange color. What was I thinking? Anyway, have fun and let me know what you think of the recipe.

What do you get when you add applesauce, unsweetened koolaid and sugar? Fruit Leather! Well, you have to dehydrate it first. Here's the deal.
My friend, Brenda, left a comment after yesterday's post saying she knew the answer and, since she was the one who gave me the recipe, then I'm pretty sure she's correct. So, here's the official Brenda Emmett fruit leather recipe:
  • 32 oz of applesauce
  • one packet of unsweetened koolaid mix
  • one quarter of a cup of sugar (adjust to your taste)
Mix all ingredients together and pour on to dehydrator trays covered with plastic wrap. We were out of plastic wrap so I cut up a couple of gallon freezer bags and placed them on my trays and they worked perfectly. You can set your dehydrator at any temperature, but if you put it on high keep an eye on it. I put ours on low and leave it running all night long. In the morning we have delicious fruit leather. It's really so easy that our 10 year old, Joshua, could almost do it by himself. Here's proof!

Pour 32oz of applesauce in a bowl!
Pour in one packet of unsweetened Koolaid ~ this time we chose lemon lime.
Pour in about one quarter cup of sugar ~ a little more or a little less depending on your taste.
Mix well.
Pour onto dehydrator trays covered with plastic wrap,  spread evenly and dehydrate.
Here's Joshua with some grape fruit leather that we fixed a couple of days ago. We have also fixed orange. We'll make a batch and store it in plastic sandwich bags to be munched on for a healthy snack.
There you have it. Our fruit leather recipe. Thanks Brenda! If you don't have a dehydrator, you can put it on a cookie sheet, place it in your oven on low with the door cracked open a bit. Try it! I'll bet you'll like it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pets - You Gotta Love 'Em!


What is it about pets that make us get so attached? Is it the unconditional love that they give? Is it the unique personalities that we grow to love? It is the way that they always want to play with us and always seem to have boundless energy? Is it all of the above and more?

Whatever it is, most people treat pets like they are members of the family and love them as such. Tonight was one of those nights when we really felt how much our pets are loved and cherished.

Sarah's mom's boyfriend, Tom, become very ill last November. He ended up in the hospital and knew that it was going to be for a long time, so Mom asked us if we could take care of his 8 year old Dachshund, Wiggles, until Tom was well enough to take her back. Well, Tom didn't get better and passed away in January, so Wiggles became ours to keep. We had already fallen in love with her anyway so it wasn't a hard decision to make her part of the family. Jojo,  our 5 year old miniature pincher,  loves her as well and would have been lost without her.

Jojo and Wiggles are complete opposites. Picture the characters in the Winnie the Pooh movies and you'll have a good idea of the personalities of our two wonderful dogs. Jojo is like Tigger, always bouncing around and hyper. Wiggles, like Eeyore, moves around slowly and is never in a hurry to go anywhere. Jojo always has to be front and center while Wiggles is just as content to go back into the bedroom and crawl under the covers all day long.

That leads us to our problem this evening. I was getting ready for bed when I casually asked Sarah where Wiggles was. We had seen her earlier this evening but hadn't seen her in a couple of hours. Since she is quiet, though, that wouldn't necessarily mean anything. After calling for her and unsuccessfully checking in all of the other rooms of the house, we came to the conclusion that she was gone. She must have slipped out  when some visitors left earlier and we hadn't noticed. Sarah and I quickly got dressed and went to look for her. Poor Joshua was in a panic thinking she had run away or gotten hit by a car and Jacob and John Allen were worried as well. Fortunately it didn't take long to find her. She had just wandered down the street a bit. Her short little legs didn't get her very far. We were all very thankful and it made me realize, again, how much we love our pets.

We are praising the Lord for our found Wiggles. All is well in the house again. What about you? Do you have any lost pet stories or stories about when you first realized how much you love a particular pet? Leave us a comment below and share your pet story.

Before you do, however, enjoy these pictures of our beloved pets, Jojo and Wiggles.

Monday, March 23, 2015

My 5k Running Journey - I Made it Through Prep Week!

Well, if I must say so myself, this 54 year old body did pretty good for the prep week of training.
If you recall, last week I read a blog post written by "The Unprepared Father" titled Training for a 5k- Preparation Stage (click on the link to read it) and decided that I wanted to give it a try. I used to run when I was a teen and enjoyed it and had dreamed of possibly doing it again. After reading the article I thought that now was the time.
So I began with the prep stage. The first week, all he suggested was walking for 20 minutes a day. That seemed simple enough. I had been walking all last summer and autumn around the low income housing area where we minister but hadn't been able to walk in about three or four months so I thought that walking would be a good way to start training. I was worried that I might get a little out of breath and tired, but I was pleasantly surprised. It almost seemed like I had never stopped walking and was just picking up where I left off. The only side effect was being a little sore.
So, the next day I went out and did it again. This time I was able to go a little further in the 20 minutes. I actually felt pretty good. It was easy to keep track of how fast and how far I was going using a free app on my phone called "Map My Walk". The fact that we were visiting my mother-in-law and she lives on a loop that is almost exactly 1/5 of a mile helped a lot as well.
Then, on the third day it happened. After the first lap, I felt like running. "But that's not in the plan!" I thought. I resisted it for a lap but couldn't resist on the third lap so I began to jog. I would jog one lap then walk one lap. I did that for the next three days and it was great. Did I get a little winded? Sure, but each day I got a little better.
We took a day trip to The Great Smokey Mountain National Park (see "Cades Cove and Pigeon Forge With Three Unique and Crazy Boys") so I took a day off from my run/walk schedule. Then on Sunday I was only able to do about a 30 minute walk so today I got back on schedule.
It is tough being back home. The loop where mom lives is pretty level. Around here, however, there are a lot of hills. Especially on the route that I took. Plus, I didn't have the convenience of a measured lap to run one round and walk the next. "The Unprepared Father's" plan for the first real week was to run for three minutes and then walk for two minutes and do that three times. The fourth time you can just walk the rest of the way to complete your 20 minutes. Let me tell you, by the end of the 20 minutes I was tired.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. I may have to consider another route that is more level. I am going to keep on going though. I have been looking for a 5k to enter in about eight or nine weeks. Any suggestions? I'll let you know what happens in the second week of my training next Monday. Until then - Happy Running!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Scripture Sunday - The Tongue

James 3:3-10
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
I've been thinking a lot about the tongue lately. As the verses above say, the tongue can be an evil thing or it can be a blessed thing. Sarah and I have been blessed and encouraged by the words of others, and, I would hope and pray that others have been encouraged  by what we say as well.
Unfortunately, we have also experienced the evil side of peoples tongues and, yes, I am ashamed to say, God has convicted us when we have been on the giving end of hurtful feelings caused by our own tongues. 
I have begun writing a series of blog posts about gossip and its dangers. I plan to include how we can be healed from the hurt of gossip and how we can be forgiven if we have hurt others. For now, though, since this is Scripture Sunday, I am going to let the verses above stand for themselves and allow God to speak to you and say whatever needs to be said. That's the way it should be anyway. Man's words can never top God's words.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cades Cove and Pigeon Forge With Three Unique and Crazy Boys

I have written numerous posts about how we like to turn any time into an adventurous time with our kids. Any trip, even a trip to run errands, can be a field trip where a learning experience can happen. On this particular day journey we experienced three things: History, Nature and Engineering Ingenuity.  Have fun reading and remember that you can turn any trip into a learning experience too! 

We are very blessed to have Sarah's mom live close to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Oak Ridge is a unique town in and of itself, but is also very close to Knoxville and, of course, The Great Smokey Mountains National Park and the tourist towns near to it.

We love going to the Smokeys, especially to Cades Cove and today was a beautiful day to go. It also was a day ripe with opportunity for each one of the boys to show their unique personalities and their favorite things.

Joshua went through a short stage where he was fascinated with cemeteries - especially old cemeteries. Well, he has since moved on to other fascinations, but, as with most aspergers kids, once they've had an interest in something, the interest never totally goes away. We've explored the old graveyards in the cove before, but, today, he wanted to stop by one again. No one else wanted to explore, so it was a great occasion for just Joshua and me to spend some time together. I was amazed at the little things he remembers. As we were walking he mentioned that one of the graves up ahead has a picture of the person buried there on the grave marker. Sure enough, a few steps more and we saw it. He was very pensive and a bit sad as we looked at the head stones. He seemed to spot every marker where a child was buried. One section was especially somber as there were two tombstones side by side. One was for a baby girl born in September of 1916 and died two months later in November. The other was for a baby boy, brother of the little girl. He was born October of 1917 and died January 1, 1918. Two years in a row a mother gave birth to a baby only to lose the child a few months later.  Joshua and I had an interesting discussion about how hard life was back in those times for people who lived in the cove. It wasn't necessarily a depressing and morbid time that we spent walking, just a time for each of us to be together and reflect together. It was a good and special time.

A few miles further down the road we stopped at one of our favorite places - The Cades Cove Visitors Center. Although we knew it was Saturday, we had forgotten how much weekend activity there is at this beautiful spot that contains an old mill, forge, a settlers cabin and other historic buildings as well as the Visitors Center and shop. Today they were also having a lot of demonstrations and nature classes. We were blessed to make it just in time for the "WILD Program" which is a short talk on the wild things in the park. First a ranger talked about what the National Park Service was all about then another ranger set out several pelts and furs from animals found in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. As she talked about each animal and pelt, all three boys were fascinated (as was I) but Jacob was especially enthralled. He is our resident animal enthusiast. Afterward, the ranger invited us up to touch the furs and ask questions. We were even permitted to try on the fox fur which, although from the park, was almost 100 years old and originally made to be a ladies stole. Later, Jacob wanted me to ask one of the workers how to become a National Park Ranger and then I bought a Junior Ranger Program book from the shop so that he could work on the requirements to become a Junior Ranger. Hmm. . .my son the National Park Ranger. . .I kind of like the sound of that.

As we were finishing the Cades Cove Loop the topic of discussion turned to what to do next. The day was still young so we decided to drive through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. When we mentioned Pigeon Forge, John Allen's ears perked up. Somehow, John Allen has become a fan of the Animal Planet television show "Tanked" where a group of aquarium builders are hired by different individuals or businesses to build a custom aquarium. John Allen remembered one show in particular where they were hired to build a special fish tank for the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge and asked if we could stop by. So, off we went trying to find the dinner theater. We drove through part of Pigeon Forge and then Gatlinburg and finally decided to look the address up on my phone and plug it into the GPS. Soon, amongst great excitement from the boys, we arrived. The outside is fascinating by itself with live animals, porches with rocking chairs, and an outhouse that talks to you as you look in, but, then, you arrive in the lobby/gift shop area, and there stands the tank. It is shaped as a giant moonshine jug. All three, but especially John Allen, were thrilled to actually see a tank that was designed and built by the Tanked builders. Hey, I even thought it was pretty cool!

So, how much did this fun filled day cost? Well, outside of the gas and the picnic lunch that we bought at a grocery store, it was absolutely free. NO! I take that back. I spent $2.50 on Jacob's Junior Ranger book. So, there you have it - $2.50! I think it was money well spent for a great day with Grandma, Sarah, and especially our Three Unique and Crazy Boys.

If you want to find out more about any of the places we visited and make some memories with your unique and crazy kids just click on the highlighted links above.
Have fun and leave a comment to tell me all about your special time!

This post is part of the following great blog hop from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Please click on the banner to check out other great nature studies for your homeschool from other great Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers.

Nature Study for Your Homeschool

I also participated in: 
Mama's Happy Hive

Please click the above link and check them out!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Photo Friday - God's Missionaries

Jacob was singing away today while playing a game and grandma jokingly told him to "keep your day job". Jacob, without hesitation, responded, "Grandma, telling people about God is my day job".
That really touched my heart when I heard that. That is the lifestyle that I want my children to live. I want them to see Sarah and I sharing Christ with our lives and I want them to share Christ with their lives.
It reminded me of the above picture that Sarah snapped last year when we were passing out bread. From time to time we will receive pallets of bread to pass out in the low income area where we minister. We usually spread it out on tables, bag it up, load it up in our van and hand deliver it to people's homes. Our whole family gets involved and it helps people to get to know us and for us to get to know them.
When we saw the picture we thought that it represented perfectly what our family was - a missionary family. Not a couple who are missionaries with three boys, but a missionary family.
God's missionary family. That's what we want to be.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What are the Tinkels Reading? - John Allen's Reading List

In the past, I've talked about our family's love for reading (How We Taught Our Boys to Read for Free - Part One, and Part Two) and I have been thinking for a long time about doing a regular series of posts about what each one of us is reading. You can find a hopefully regular list in my sidebar of what we are reading, when I can remember to update it that is, but I wanted to highlight each child and perhaps me and Sarah every so often in more detail.

We are so thankful that all of our children like to read. John Allen is an especially voracious reader. We are visiting Grandma during her spring break (she works at a school) and John Allen has practically begged me to go to the Mr. K's Used Books in Oak Ridge to buy the next book in one of the series that he is reading. Well, not only did he find the next book in one series, but he also managed to find another series by one of his favorite authors and decided to buy book one form that series. He announced to me after getting home that he was managing to read six different books at the same time. And, yes, since he couldn't narrow it down to bringing one book to Grandma's he packed every one of them. The above picture was taken just this evening with him in bed surrounded by books. 

Below is each book along with a brief description of each. If you click on the picture of each book it will take you to the Amazon page for each one. In all fairness I should tell you that the link is an affiliate link as I am an affiliate with Amazon and will make a small percentage of the sale if you should choose to by. All proceeds go to helping Sarah and I as missionaries at Good News Ministries. If you want to just go to Amazon or any other store yourself and buy then that is great as well. My goal is to get folks interested in good books.


Teen Study Bible NIV Version - John Allen just got done reading through the Bible in two months (John Allen's Amazing Christmas Gift) but reading your Bible should never end and it hasn't for him either. This is the Bible that he used during his two month reading challenge and he loved it. 

The Isle of Fire by Wayne Thomas Batson - A couple of months ago on another adventure to Mr. K's he found the first book in this trilogy (The Isle of Swords) but they didn't have the second book. We were about to order it through Amazon when we found it this evening. It is written by a Christian author and is a pirate adventure.


The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead - I was on still another trip to Mr. K's by myself a few weeks ago (I wish they had an affiliate program) and was looking for The Isle of Fire to no avail when I happened to see this book. I recalled reading a couple of books by Stephen R. Lawhead in my younger day so I snatched it up for John Allen. I haven't read it myself, but by what John Allen has said, it is sort of a fantasy genre book. I'm very glad that he ended up finally finding time to start it and loves it.

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic - About a year ago I was looking for something to read while we were traveling and happened to find a tiny book by Nick Vujicic, an amazing man that was born with virtually no arms and feet but leads a very normal life. His story is very inspiring. The small book was actually an excerpt from his larger book Life Without Limits. John Allen happened to pick up and read the smaller book and asked for the larger book. That began his great interest in Nick Vujicic. He has watched youtube videos of him and has devoured everything that we have bought by him. And, believe me, we don't mind. You really couldn't find a better role model than Nick Vujicic. This is the second book that Nick wrote.
Limitless by Nick Vujicic - Limitless is the devotional book that was taken from Life Without Limits and Unstoppable. So, John Allen is getting a double dose of Nick.

In the Hall of the Dragon King by Stephen R. Lawhead - I happened to find one of my old Stephen R. Lawhead books when we were packing up and moving and saved it for John Allen to read. Unfortunately, it was the third one in a series. Tonight we found the first one and he is thrilled with it already.

Revolution Devotional - After reading through the Bible in two months, John Allen wanted to make sure he continued being in God Word every day. We found this devotional for him that he really enjoys.
Well, that's it. That is what John Allen is reading right now. Boy, I think that is enough. My head was spinning just typing this all out. I don't know how he keeps them all sorted out in his mind. Remember, to find out more about any of the books, just click on the picture and it will take you to the Amazon sight. Happy Reading!