A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Monday, May 22, 2017

Traveling With Kids? This App May Make Trip Planning Easier

You're wandering around an unknown place, phone in hand, frantically searching for a kid-friendly restaurant, museum, or park to entertain your little ones for the day. It might be raining, your children might be tired and hungry, and you are certainly worried. We've all been there. Sometimes, the ideal family trip does not turn out to be as smooth as it could be.
One startup is trying to change that with a new parenting app.
Meet Yuggler, the activity planning app created by brothers Thomas and Stefan Bodenski. The Los Angeles Times reports that the app curates a set of kid-friendly activities on an interactive map, allowing users to customize their experience by time frame, type of activity, weather, cost, and other variables. Recommendations include nature, shows, playgrounds, hotels, and food, to name a few.
The app addresses the unique set of challenges that parents face while traveling with young children. Travel is a stressful experience to begin with, and it's no surprise that business people flying commercial report a 40% drop in productivity, for example. For busy parents, however, that might sound like a cake walk. Especially with little kids in tow, family travel can be tricky.
According to the app's original press release, the founders created the app based on their personal experiences struggling to keep their kids at the center of their family plans.
"Nineteen months ago, I asked my brother Stefan for help," Thomas said in the release. "It was so difficult and time consuming for me to find fresh ideas for kids activities that I can do with my son... Within the blink of an eye, my whole family and a team of developers around the world were involved in building Yuggler, the community for family fun."
Users can cultivate this community by connecting with friends and chatting through the messaging feature, according to the company's website. Parents can also set up customized notifications for events happening in their own community or the area in which they are traveling.
"I was able to find gardens and parks, bowling alleys, gymnastics classes and animal attractions near our home that I hadn’t heard of," Jen Leo writes in the Los Angeles Times, having tested the app. "Then I searched for attractions in London for our vacation and had more fun options than we had days to enjoy them."
Yuggler's website boasts the ability to curate results based on family interests. Many parents choose to avoid urban environments and take their children camping, as the great outdoors offers seemingly unlimited entertainment for kids. In fact, about 85% of campers took their first trip between birth and age 15. But if your family is more inclined to explore a city, Yuggler will find the right spots for you.
"Stefan and I are on a mission to maximize family fun," Thomas said in the press release. "We made it our mission to simplify the busy and hectic lives of parents, and enable them to spend quality time with their kids."
Leo does warn of a few drawbacks. In her Los Angeles Times review, she points out that the app's features, such as in-app purchase options, are not the same for every phone. She also warns that the navigation is not always intuitive, as a new search sometimes took her back to a map from a previous search.
The Yuggler app is currently only available in the Apple store and requires iOS 7 or later. You can use the app with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Why I Love My Red Nose: Join Us in Celebrating #RedNoseDay to End Child Poverty

You may see me- or my kiddos- wearing a red nose in the next few days. I’m wearing it proudly to support a cause called Red Nose Day which is on Thursday, May 25. Red Nose Day is about ending child poverty here in the U.S. and around the world, “one nose at a time.”

My family and I have had our fair share of hard times, but I know that compared to many we have been exceptionally blessed. We have food on the table and a roof over our heads, and that's more than some. A day doesn’t go by when I’m not thankful for all we have, but we also pray and do our best for those in need, especially children.

Did you know that-

* 1 out of 5 children in the U.S. live in poverty.

* Every Year, More Than 2 Million Kids in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness.
* 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.

These are heartbreaking numbers! Homeless children and youth in our streets are also in constant danger of human traffickers – something I know so many of our churches and organizations fight against.

Hopefully, you too can join me for Red Nose Day! There are so many easy ways you too can be a part of this including:

* Wear your own Red Nose and post on your social channels to raise awareness. Red Noses are available at all Walgreens locations. Don’t forget to hashtag #rednoseday
* Watch A Special Night of TV: On May 25, NBC will be celebrating Red Nose Day with a three-hour primetime program block that will both entertain viewers and give them an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of kids in need.
* Visit the Red Nose Day website: https://rednoseday.org/ for additional fun ideas and info.
Some of the charities that will benefit include: Save The Children, Feeding American, Boys and Girls Club and these two Christian-based charities - Covenant House and charity: water. All of these organizations work tireless to make a difference here at home in the U.S. and around the world.

Whenever, I pray with gratitude, I also think of this passage below:

Acts 20:35: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I believe that we can all raise awareness, support Red Nose Day, and end child poverty – one nose at a time. Will you join us?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Therapy Dogs Help Children With Autism Cope With Dentist Visits

Therapy dogs have been used for many years, but we're still discovering new ways these dogs can help their human companions. Case in point: Zucca the black lab, a very good dog who is helping young children with disabilities get over their fear of the dentist.

Diego Rosales, now nine years old, was petrified of the dentist when he was four. So petrified, in fact, that he would consistently bite the fingers of his dentist. But after being calmed by Zucca, a therapy dog that works with children with autism, he was able to confront and conquer his fear.

Even though virtually all adults (99.7%) believe a healthy smile is socially important, according to a survey from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentists, many children and adults suffer from intense dentist dread. For a variety of reasons, the average U.S. adult goes three years in between dentist appointments, far longer than the recommended six months. While financial limits stop many people from making appointments, dental care can also be especially difficult for children with disabilities. Fortunately, the recent use of therapy dogs in dentist's offices is opening new doors for children with autism.

Dental and doctor appointments are frightening for many children, but they can be particularly scary and overstimulating to children with autism. The bright lights, loud noises, and unfamiliar sensations at the dentist can be so overwhelming that some children even have to be sedated. On top of that, missed doctor's appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $150 billion every year, which begs the question: would children benefit from the use of therapy dogs in other healthcare settings?

Tooth decay may be 20 times more common than diabetes and five times more common than childhood asthma, but all children deserve equal access to healthcare. That's why dogs like Zucca can be vitally important for children with disabilities to receive necessary healthcare services. Emergency rooms, which see up to 110 million visits each year, are just one of the other healthcare settings where therapy dogs are occasionally brought to soothe patients.

In a 2012 study published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, researchers surveyed both patients and hospital staff after bringing a therapy dog (TD) into the ER. The results were overwhelmingly positive.

"Ninety-three percent of patients and 95% of staff agreed that TDs should visit EDs; 87.8% of patients and 92% of staff approved of TDs for both adult and pediatric patients. Fewer than 5% of either patients or staff were afraid of the TDs. Fewer than 10% of patients and staff thought the TDs posed a sanitary risk or interfered with staff work."

Raul Varela, a therapy dog trainer from Chile, started his own practice upon witnessing his son with autism's drastic improvement in behavior after playing with the family's black lab. He subsequently quit his job and got his certification from Bocalan Institute of Human and Animal Behavior in Chile to train therapy dogs to help children with autism. He then began his very own non-profit organization called Junto a Ti ("Next to You").

“Zucca had already been trained to be around children with autism, but taking her to the dentist was different,” Varela told the Associated Press. “She needed to be able to resist the screaming, the noise from the drill and to stay still in the lap of the children, even when they pull their hair or their ears.”
Ultimately, Diego is just one of the countless children with disabilities who has benefited from the use of a therapy dog like Zucca. His most recent visit to the dentist didn't involve yelling or biting, thanks to Zucca sitting on his lap. Instead, it was a simple tooth removal, and he even got to bring the tooth home with him to put under his pillow for the tooth fairy.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Out Of The Dark: Mandisa's NEW CD Out Today! #OutOfTheDark #FlyBy

My favorite part of church every Sunday morning is the music!

I love me some good Christian music! Maybe it's because I was always in choir, so music was a big part of my life, but music has always been a great way to connect with God for me. It's almost like a type of prayer.

But I don't like to just have the musical worship experience on Sundays, I want to experience it throughout my week! In the car, while I clean, while I journal...I love finding great music that glorifies God!

Today, I'm excited to share with you a brand new album that is sure to get you up--- singing and dancing for the Lord- Mandisa's Out of the Dark:

Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend Kisha, who was battling breast cancer. Mandisa really believed and prayed that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in 2014, Mandisa’s foundation was shaken in a way she never expected. She fell into a deep pit of depression for close to 3 years, shutting out her friends, family and the rest of the world. Mandisa believes if she had kept going down that road she was on, she would not be here today… but God stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to communicate their love for her and God’s love for her. This album is Mandisa’s way of letting her fans into her story – it’s called 'Out Of The Dark' because that is exactly where God lifted her out of!

Have you ever been in that spot? Whether you deal with mental health issues or just deal with situational anxiety or depression on occasion, we all have those moments of feeling down, right? I know I deal withit. I'm there right now with my anxiety... some days it's everything in me to just get out of bed and get through the day. It's in these days that I realize the amazing power of music. The lyrics can speak to us in ways that sometimes not even people can--- they speak the words in our hearts that we are unable to. This album truly was that for me, and I know it can be for so many Christians dealing with mental health issues now. Or people going through a rough spot...or a bad day. Or even if you just appreciate great music with a great message. This album is for ALL of us.

Out Of The Dark is available to purchase TODAY! 

And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy for themselves. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Winner will be contacted via e-mail after giveaway ends, and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. One entry per household, winning entry will be verified. Odds of winning depend on valid entries received. A Modern Day Fairy Tale is not responsible for prize delivery.

Rise Up and Be Bold For Christ {An Introvert's Guide + A Look at June's Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit} #IF_RiseUP #IllustratedFaith

** Kit received as part of the Dayspring Illustrated Faith Launch Team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

  1. 1.
    (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

Bold. Let's be honest, of the many words that others might use to describe me- bold is probably the last on the list. Careful, timid, shy... those tend to be more up my alley. And you know, in most areas of my life, that's fine. I'm okay with being cautious. I'm okay with being in the background, not the spotlight. I'm okay with being soft spoken. If that makes me timid, I'm okay with that. Most of the time.

Still, there is one area of my life in which I do NOT want to be seen as timid: my faith.

But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. - Jeremiah 20:9

These are the words in which I want my faith to be seen. I don't want to be seen as an 'only on Sunday' Christian. I want my faith to be evident in all I do, I want to live my faith boldly.

But how does a self-proclaimed mega introvert live boldly? What does that look like? 

Rise Up and Be Bold... Quietly.

Being bold doesn't have to mean being loud. Sure, maybe for some people... but that doesn't mean there is no room to be bold for the soft spoken. I've heard it said God often speaks in whispers, so why can we not do the same? You don't have to stand at the pulpit or sing to crowds, share your faith in YOUR way. Volunteer at your church. Wear your faith on a t-shirt. Use social media to share your faith. 

Rise Up and Speak Life.

Speak life...what does that mean? Aside from being a great song by TobyMac, it's also all about speaking the truth of Christ. Again, it doesn't have to be shouting it to the world, it can be one on one, offering words of encouragement to someone who needs it. Sharing your faith in an intimate setting. Hey, maybe it's even a blog post like this one, speaking your truth, speaking your life and the role that God has played in it.

Rise Up and Be True To You. 

I don't know about you, but sometimes I look around at other people and think, "Man, I wish I could do it like THEM." Some people just seem to be good at everything, and I think it's only human nature to wish that we could trade places for a day or two. But here's the thing... we're not them. God put us where we are- right here, right now- for a reason. We have our own unique experiences and our own audiences that He has perfectly equipped us to reach. If we aren't true to us...how can we do what it is God intended for us?

Rise Up and Step Out of the Boat. 

Being bold for Christ isn't always easy. In fact, sometimes it's downright terrifying. I think that's where many of us fail. We doubt ourselves, and depend too much upon our own selves than on God's power. I'm guilty of the same. But we have to remind ourselves---every day, every hour, every minute--- that with God we will not fail, and He is with us every step of the way. He will not ask you to do something that you cannot, we just have to trust Him.

Rise Up and Live Your Faith. 

Sometimes, being bold in our faith is truly as simple as living it. Live a life that reflects the love of Christ. Be kind, be loving. Be the light that this world so desperately needs. Without speaking a word, people will see that light in you and they will want to experience that light too. 

You see, being bold in your faith is different for each and every one of us. I haven't been called to speak to millions- that's not my place. But I can write my heart and share with all of you. I can boldly (albeit quietly) confess my love of Christ in MY way, and maybe, just maybe inspire others to do the same...all without raising my voice.

Ready to Rise Up? The new monthly devotional kit from Illustrated Faith might be the inspiration you need:

Rise Up!—that's exactly what Kristen Wolbach encourages and challenges all to do—14 days of God's Word, along with inspiring devotionals, calling all to step out and do what God is calling us to do.  "Join me as I share with you ways God has asked me to step out in faith—with the heart of a warrior—all while learning more about who He really is...and, that above all, we learn how to RISE UP in the name of Jesus."  —Kristen

Product Details:

  • 1 plastic pouch
  • 1 devotional booklet
  • 1 clear stamp collection
  • 1 roll of washi tape
  • 1 sheet of cut-out paper pieces
  • 2 cardstock sticker sheets
  • 3 tip-ins
  • 1 magnet
  • 1 thank you card from Shanna

With it's vibrant colors and powerful messages, this devotional kit truly will inspire each and every one of us to rise up and share our faith! And truly, what could be better than that? The Illustrated Faith Rise Up Devotional Kit is available to purchase now at Dayspring.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? How do you live boldly in YOUR faith? How can this kit help? 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

We Saved You a Seat {Tips for Starting a Bible Study with Friends + A Review} #Dayspring #incourage

**Items received for consideration, post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Today, we're talking about Bible Studies.

We all know that studying our Bibles is an important part of Christian life, right? It allows us to dig deeper into the Word and learn to better apply it to our own lives. There are some great ways to study the Bible--- be it through a study Bible or one of the many great Bible studies out there. Today though, I want to talk about studying the Bible with friends.

Why a Bible Study with Friends?

Matthew 28:20 tells us, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," so it only makes sense to join together in studying the Bible, right?  But that's not the only reason. 

  • Differing Perspectives. I've often said that often, the way we interpret things is based upon our experiences. Each different, each unique. This is one of the things I love about my Sunday school class--- we all have lead such different lives, but as we are studying- we see how those different experience give us different perspectives on whatever we are studying. I love that this allows me to get a larger picture and opens my eyes to see things in a way I have not before. 
  • Being Held Accountable. Let's be honest, when we set a goal to study the Bible, it can be really easy to just give it up. We lose track of time, life gets busy. We know its important, but... life happens. BUT when we're studying with friends, we have someone their cheering us on, helping us make that time together to actually follow through.
  • Strengthening Relationships. I think there is truly something really powerful about spending time with God together. It allows you to connect on a much deeper, much more powerful level. 

So, now we know the why, but what about the how...?

How To Plan For a Bible Study with Friends?

  • Think of Who You Want to Include. Do you want a large group of ladies, or just an intimate few? Do you want ladies in all stages of life, or a more specific group--- perhaps mothers, or newlyweds, even military spouses. Consider these things and see who wants to participate. 
  • Pick a Time/Location. After you've decided the who, figure out the when and where. Meet at church, someone's home or rotate locations. Want to do a Bible study with a group of friends who are not local? Create a Facebook group. Sure, you might not get that true together time as you would in person, but for the most part, you'll still get all of the benefits above. 
  • Provide Treats. It can be as extravagant as a weekly/monthly breakfast or as simple as donuts and coffee. Whatever you choose, food can be a great motivator and a great way to bring people together!
  • Pray About It. Before you start and during each get together, PRAY. Pray for God's guidance as you study, pray for your friendships, pray for individual needs and pray that the study reaches someone in a way that they need it. 
  • Pick the Perfect Topic. Choose a particular book of the Bible and create your own study if you're comfortable with that idea. Need a starting point? There are plenty of great ones on the market--- figure out a topic that is perfect for the members of your group--- be it motherhood, marriage, friendships... you are sure to find the perfect study to fit your group needs.

Today, I'm excited to share with you a great Bible Study that is perfect for this type of Bible Study group- We Saved You a Seat: Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships:

In today’s busy world, we’re wired to appear “fine,” warding off authenticity and shielding ourselves from judgment. We hide behind the hum of busyness to escape intimate friendships with the women God has placed in our lives.
But we do want a seat at the table. We yearn for authentic relationships and the opportunity to be the opposite of “fine” with people who cheer for us. But comparison, envy, and entitlement often stop us from pulling out a chair at the table. Friendship can be hard, making new friends even harder, and maintaining genuine friendship the hardest of all.
In this 7-session Bible study, Lisa-Jo Baker and friends from (in)courage explore our relationship with Jesus as the ultimate model for authentic friendship. Nothing shapes us like the impact of a friend—it’s how Jesus radically and intimately connects with us. So instead of chasing perfection, overcome your fear of being known and find the courage to connect.

Leader helps to guide questions and discussions within small groups
Personal study segments with homework to complete between 7 weeks of group sessions
Explore your relationship with Jesus as a model for friendship.
Debunk the myth of effortless friendship.
Overcome the fear of knowing and being known.

Stop running from friendship and find the courage to connect.

To be honest, relationships are hard for me. I am much better at talking to people from behind my computer screen than I am in real life. Making and keeping friends is something that I need a little- okay a lot of- help with. This is why I so much love the idea of studying what the Bible says on friendship with friends. Doing this study together will draw you closer and help you grow as Christians and in your relationships with God and each other. So grab some friends and get started!

In addition to the study, Dayspring also offers great products to help you along. This conversation starter jar is the perfect ice breaker to help get the conversations going. Pick and answer a few questions during each Bible study session, or have a 'Get To Know You' session to work through them all before you dive in! The We Saved You a Seat Bible Study Kit offers tools to better help you follow along, make notes and even journal as you go. Highlighters. washi, sticker notes and more will help you make the most of your study time!

You can see all of these and more at Dayspring. Head on over to shop now.

Have you started a Bible Study Group with your friends? What advice would you add? Looking to start one? How could these study help?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Journaling Through Leviticus #BibleJournaling

As you might recall, I have been making an effort to read and journal through the Old Testament. Genesis and Exodus were pretty easy. There were so many epic stories and images that we all love and know so well. I found many places to find my inspiration from. I started thinking that perhaps this whole 'journaling through the Old Testament' journey was going to be easier than I anticipated.

And then came Leviticus.

Oh boy. Now, we all know that Leviticus is the book of laws. Rules, rules, and more rules. How on earth does one journal Leviticus!?

To be honest, I was nearly to the end of the book before finally figuring it out. None of these rules jumped out at me as something I would like to illustrate. In fact all that kept running through my head throughout was, 'Thank God for Jesus!' All of these laws, how hard must it have been to keep each and every one? I mean, can you imagine living in the days of the Old Testament and being bound to these laws? I certainly couldn't. There was simply no way! And when I realized this, it gave me an even great appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus... how blessed are we to no longer be bound by these laws? How amazing is it that Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice to set us free?

And so, I created a journaling series to reflect just that...

When was the last time you read through Leviticus? What stands out to you? If you've journaled through Leviticus, I'd love to see it! Share on Facebook!