Memorial Day is just around the corner, which means school will be out for the summer! Parents, does that fill you with dread, knowing all you’ll hear for the next few months is, “I’m bored!”? Keep reading because we have a deal for you-one that will only cost you a buck and that will keep your kids safe online while allowing them to have fun and to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Buck Oliver is back in the latest Adventures in Odyssey album, and to celebrate, you can try the Odyssey Adventure Club for just a buck for your first month. Sign up before May 31st using the promo code BUCK! *This deal only applies to first-time accounts and is good the first month only.
-24/7 streaming access to more than 750 Adventures in Odyssey episodes (a $1500 retail value).
-A new, members-only Adventures in Odyssey episode every month.
-A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine.
-A web quest of video stories and online activities reflecting the biblical theme of that month’s episode.
-On-the-go access with the OAClub mobile iOS app.
-Growing access to Odyssey books, a daily devotion, access to select Radio Theatre dramas and more.
Additionally, a portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations, such as Carry the Cure and Mission Aviation Fellowship, providing parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of serving others. The Odyssey Adventure Club hopes to spend another 25 years hand-in-hand with parents seeking to teach biblical truth to their children while inspiring the theater of their imagination.
Your favorite Adventures in Odyssey characters are also Taking the Plunge in Album 59 and now you can, too! This summer, dive into your faith and grow closer to God by joining the Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine Taking The Plunge Summer Challenge. It includes these simple things:
- Learn 5 memory verses
- Get active with 5 family activities together
- Share God’s love and your faith in 5 different ways
When you commit to the Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine Taking The Plunge Summer Challenge, you’ll receive:
- A promo code for an exclusive Odyssey Adventure Club first month offer (for new members only)
- Adventures in Odyssey special studio message
- “Strange Journey Back” book excerpt
- “Jones and Parker Mysteries” book excerpt
And if you loved these books be sure to put your reviews on:
Net Galley (if reviewed via ebook)
When you post your reviews on these external sites, it really helps out the author!
My mom has a saying I heard a few times.
“It’s okay to look at the past, but don’t stare.”
That makes a lot of sense. I’ve watched a lot of people waste amazing potential because they still remember that great football game from high school, that one relationship that got away, that one rejection that nearly broke them.
On Monday most everyone will celebrate Memorial Day, and they should. But for our family, it marks ten years since my dad passed away.
That’s surreal on so many levels and there are little details long suppressed that are coming back as the date approaches. We recently lost someone that was close to dad who was so good to us after dad was gone. It brought us back in a lot of ways to 2004.
That season was horrific. For my husband, me and the kids, we were in such transition. Tom was in a brand new job on the OH/PA border living in a crappy apartment above a hot dog shop. Everything about the job was different than what he came from. I remember panicking when I heard the apprehension.
He celebrated his tenth anniversary a couple weeks ago.
I was back in Upstate NY with a kindergartner I was homeschooling and a baby that was recovering from croup. RSV. Pneumonia. Near death. Hypothyroidism. She was receiving therapies three times a week. I remember them encouraging me to speak more so she could hear verbalization. But back then all I had to offer was stunned silence and tears.
I worked on selling the house while Tom tried to find one in OH. There were many trips to look at new homes. Fights because we were grief stricken, shell shocked and bone tired.
Someone came to my sister and me and tried to pit us against us each other to see who was grieving more. She was a true Daddy’s girl who learned her work environment was changing while we made funeral arrangements. She found out about the change when boxes were delivered.
We did a lot of ministering to others because so few knew Dad was sick, and there they were at his funeral. He looked great. It was a very small circle that knew his fight.
Mom woke up the day after the funeral realizing after a life time of caring for so many people, she had no one to care for. That was her role, what she did. Who she was. And that was gone.
Once our move was complete I remember sitting in our new bedroom staring at those towers with blinking lights. Deep down I’m a country girl so I still don’t know what they are. But I couldn’t wrap my mind around it all. I had no idea how I got there.
And if I’d even survive.
While I set our toddler up with therapies and doctors and made sure our first grader adapted well to school and made sure my husband felt encouraged in his new job I grieved. I missed everything my family was. This new normal was so radical I had trouble trusting God. My husband worked through a Bible study on Job with me to help me take the pain and find the purpose.
And I’m so glad he did.
From that pain, grief, sadness, shock and everything in between I clung to Hosea 2:14. Basically it says when in the wilderness, God will speak tenderly to us. In that season I learned to lean on Him. Listen. Realize it was a season and He did have a purpose. It wasn’t a joke at my expense. I understood it as a preparation season, too. A visual learner, I pictured every tear going into a warehouse that Jesus will show me in heaven, and explain it all to me on that warehouse tour. I picked up His challenge to take that brokenness, knowing I will never see life the way it was, but in that new way, share that broken place with others.
Had I not lost so much on a level so deep, I would not be writing. In that season I surrendered everything, even fear. From there I started writing with no more fear of rejection or people pleasing. I trust God’s timing and words He gives, and am a literal scribe. I’ll put myself out there so people can see there is hope. They can survive this. Thrive, even.
As I emerged I was reading Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore and I realized I was involved in something toxic that threatened to keep me in 2004 even though a couple years had passed. There was someone not just looking back, but staring. She wanted me to stare too. And when I decided not to, she didn’t like it.
Each year when we mark dad’s passing, it’s always different. This year is a little more pronounced. A decade I think is a milestone to remember. Losing someone so recently that meant a lot to our family brought feelings and memories back. As much as I miss dad and think of so many things every day that we could talk about, I know he’d be proud of how we’ve carried ourselves. Mom took on a project that was his dream and handled every single detail until it was completed. My sister is a mom and her little guy would be a delight to his grandpa. Dad would be proud of how my husband’s worked to provide for us and look out for his family. Our kids? There is so much in our son that is my dad. Our daughter was a kindred spirit to dad. She was less than a year old when he passed, but the bond was deep.
I am who I am because I’ve been emptied and made new. I’ve cried enough tears to fill that heavenly warehouse. Or 4.
But at this special remembrance, I look back.
And thank God I didn’t stare.
If you’re struggling with grief, I highly recommend griefshare.org. This was also key in my healing and moving forward.
Thank you to all who served and gave the ultimate, including the families they left behind.
We have not forgotten.
To those currently serving, including your families, we have not forgotten you, either.
The Lord be with you all.
This is an old story but Memorial Day themed. If you take the time to read this amidst the picnics and baseball games, don’t forget to thank a Vet for serving. Thanks for being here!
The Old Geezer
Oh c’mon you old geezer, that’s the last space in this lot.
Anna Stewart made a face at the elderly man parking his tan Buick. She had five minutes and three blocks to park and walk to work. Of all the days, she had to work at the shoe store noon to close on Memorial Day.
She swung into a narrow space not even a real parking spot. She slammed her rusting door and started to jog. Her race to the time clock felt more like an obstacle course. Families milled the streets, trying to find a perfect spot to place their lawn chairs for the parade. Vendors blocked her path with their sausage sales, cotton candy fanfare, and overpriced balloon offerings.
Anna mumbled under her breath, frustrated that so many would be in her way.
Am I the only one who needs a paycheck around here? Move it people, get going.
She wanted to keep groaning but she slammed into one of the patriotic banners proudly displaying Geneseo, New York and 1990. She gagged out a piece of flag and pushed the material away.
Anna passed the halfway point of historic Main Street with the high school band playing Lee Greenwood’s, God Bless the USA. Out of synch trumpets threw off her own rhythm. She focused ahead, intent on navigating away from the annoying crowd gathering in front of the sub shop.
“Let’s welcome the local veterans who served us so heroically during World War Two. Ladies and gentlemen, when you finish the parade route I hope you return here to Cookie’s for a free sub and drink. We’re so grateful for your sacrifice.”
The squeak of Mr. Cook’s microphone rang through Anna’s ears. She rolled her eyes as a group of uniformed senior citizens carrying banners and flags took their time uttering thanks to the store owner. Anna pivoted against one particularly slow old man wearing an outdated cap and an outfit way too hot for the eighty degree day. She landed two steps ahead of him when she heard a thump. It was so close she felt a slight wind, followed by shrieks and screams.
“Someone get help, he’s convulsing.”
Anna stopped and turned. The man she just passed was on the sidewalk in a horizontal spastic dance. She knew by stopping she was going to be late but the gathering crowd seemed in extra slow mode. Voices warbled. Jaws dropped. People stared.
Anna fell to her knees, creating jagged slits in her khaki pants. She reached for his cap and placed it next to her sandals. All her senior year health facts came back to memory. She knew he could choke or injure himself with nearby objects.
“I called an ambulance. They’re close by because of the parade.”
Mr. Cook panted the sentence from running to her side.
She nodded, pushing a pop can away. He continued to shake. Anna saw the gleam of gold around his neck. Six medals attached to patriotic ribbon wrapped tightly around his neck with each twinge.
“We have to get those medals off him. They’re choking him.”
Anna heard the siren in the background. She pulled on the ribbons but there was no budging. Purple lines circled his neck.
“I have a jackknife.”
The impact of what Mr. Cook suggested hit Anna. This was no old geezer, none of the men and women in uniform were. They were veterans. The weathered lines on the man’s face told a thousand stories.
“Wait, Mr. Cook, can we try something else? Can you lift his head and I’ll try to remove them?”
A voice boomed from behind them.
“Step away, give us some room.”
Anna and Mr. Cook shifted and saw the paramedics. Anna tried to fall back, but froze. She was holding the ailing man’s hand. She looked down and realized he was still. Still and smiling.
“Did I at least get to start the parade?”
Anna laughed out a sob, relieved to no longer see eyes rolling, but crisp blue eyes.
“No sir, ‘fraid not.”
The paramedics pried Anna’s hand away and quietly stabilized him for transport.
“You saved my medals. Thank you.”
Mr. Cook and Anna exchanged glances. Mr. Cook shared her thoughts.
“No, thank you for earning them.”
After the ambulance transported Ralph Hoover away, Mr. Cook handed Anna one of the “Thank you veteran” coupons. She glanced at her watch and handed it back.
“Mr. Cook, do you happen to have a job instead?”