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Monday, 14 March 2011
The Key to the Kingdom - A FANTASTIC First Wild Card Blog Tour Book -
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Book Reviews

I cannot say enough about this book! I absolutely loved it.  John Allen is reading it right now and loves it as well. Unfortunately I am going to write another post to describe how much we like it because my wife rushed my middle son to the hospital with breathing problems. He seems to be OK, but I didn't have time to process and put down all of my thoughts this evening. I wanted to get this posted, however, since the review is due today. But, suffice it to say for now...WE LOVED IT!


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Key to the Kingdom: Unlocking Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Deep River Books (December 1, 2010))

***Special thanks to Arielle Roper of Bring It On! Communications for sending me a review copy.***


Jeff Dixon was raised in Florida and has always been fascinated with the man Walt Disney and the theme park he created. Dixon feels that any guest who would take the time to look would discover a story that will never be completed. It is against this canvas that Dixon paints this mystery, adventure, and thriller.

Visit the author's website.


Grayson Hawkes learns how imaginative and elaborate Walt Disney World is when he accepts an invitation from a trusted friend landing him in a world he never knew existed. Suddenly unraveling a perplexing puzzle and trying to solve a mysterious disappearance, Hawkes navigates through the kingdom where knowledge of seemingly unimportant Disney facts and some divine help are the only way he can discover the answers and get out. In this world Disney trivia is no game…And the ancient key is the only way out.

Soon the lines between right and wrong begin to blur, and telling the difference between real and unreal become nearly impossible. Loyalty to faith, family and friends are stretched to the extreme in the pulse quickening adventure through a magical place where dreams really do come true.

Key to the Kingdom: A Real Treasure Hunt at Walt Disney World from Marc Percy on Vimeo.

Key To The Kingdom Trailer from Marc Percy on Vimeo.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Deep River Books (December 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265245
ISBN-13: 978-1935265245


Day One


Halogen headlamps pierced the darkness of the cool central Florida night. The GPS guided the Mustang surging toward the coastal community of Port Orange. Racing along Taylor Road, Dr. Grayson Hawkes approached an unknown destination. Questions swirled in the tornado of curiosity whipping through the preacher’s mind. The glow of the dashboard light illuminated the business card propped against the gearshift; “1819 Taylor Road, Port Orange” had been neatly printed in blue ink. Flipping the card he read the name on the other side.

Farren Rales

Imagineering Ambassador

Walt Disney Company

Reading the name of his dear friend brought a slight smile to his face. Rales had been hired by the late Walt Disney himself as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios on Rales’s thirtieth birthday. In the years that followed he had worked on animated features, been involved in projects at Disneyland, and eventually became a part of that exclusive group of creative Walt Disney Company designers known as Imagineers. Rales was part Disney historian, part Disney philosopher, and a modern day keeper of the dream that Walt himself had begun.

Farren Rales had given him the business card with an invitation to meet the old Imagineer at ten o’clock this evening. The GPS announced a turn seconds before an inconspicuous dirt road veered to the right. Hawk responded sluggishly and shot past it. He instantly banked his ride into a U-turn that corrected his course. Slowly navigating the heavily wooded, chassis-jarring dirt road, he watched for signage. The headlights threw a glow on a sign that read Gamble Place Parking with an arrow that pointed right. He turned the wheel. A gate immediately came into view, blocking forward progress. Hawk looked over the steering wheel trying to decide whether he had managed to bungle the directions and gotten hopelessly lost. With the car idling, he got out and walked to the gate. Grasping the chain that held the gate closed, he saw the lock had been secured to the chain, but the chain was not fastened. When he dropped the chain, the gate lazily swung open. Hawk slid back behind the wheel of the car and it crawled forward as the dirt became softer below the tires. The Mustang eased up to a parking barrier, above which the headlights shone on a yellow house trimmed in green.

Exiting the automobile, Hawk left the parking area and made his way toward the house. There was a display in front of the walkway to the house that probably explained where he was. The automatic timer for the headlamps clicked off, leaving him standing in darkness. Sensing his eyes would never adjust in the moonless night to read the display, he remembered a flashlight that was hopefully still in the trunk of the car. He retraced his steps. In addition to the soft sound of his shoe steps in the sand, Hawk thought he heard something else moving near him. He came to an abrupt halt. Rales? Listening closely, he now only heard the sounds of the outdoor evening. The trunk popped open, producing a blast of light that momentarily blinded him. He fumbled for the flashlight and flicked the switch. The beam shone strongly as he slammed the trunk shut. He again moved toward the house. Sweeping the beam around him, he saw a large historical marker looming in the dark, over his left shoulder. He refocused the attention of the light on this newly discovered sign.

Gamble Place

In 1898, James N. Gamble, of the Proctor and Gamble Company and a longtime winter resident of Daytona Beach, bought this land on Spruce Creek for use as a rural retreat. In 1907 he built a small cracker cottage with an open front porch and a breezeway connecting a separate kitchen and dining room . . . In 1938, Gamble’s son-in-law, Alfred K. Nippert, completed the “Snow White House,” a Black Forest style cottage inspired by the Disney animated film classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The house is surrounded by a Witch’s Hut, the Dwarfs’ Mine Shaft, and an elaborate network of rock gardens. Collectively these buildings and grounds form a historic landscape now known as Gamble Place. This property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Obviously Rales had asked Hawk here because of the Disney connection. It had been a Disney connection that had started the friendship between the two men. Hawk had been introduced to Rales and asked the Imagineer if he would meet with him and his church staff to teach them the art of storytelling. The first meeting had gone so well it turned into a standing appointment each month. However this evening the invitation was for Hawk alone. Sighing deeply in an attempt to relax, Hawk listened closely and his ears tuned in to the sound of water gently playing along an unseen shoreline. The unexpected snap of a branch unleashed a wave of adrenaline spinning him in the direction of the noise. He peered into the blackness of the trees, searching for the maker of the sound, but heard nothing.

“Farren, is that you?” Hawk spoke with a bit more edge than he anticipated.

Silence confirmed Rales was not the source of the sound. “So when did you get so scared of the dark?” he muttered to himself. “And when did you start talking to yourself?”

Out of the corner of his vision he noticed a glimmer of light across the wooded darkness. With a bit of reservation he moved toward it. His shoes cracked sticks and crushed leaves, creating a symphony of sound that shattered the haunting noises of nature that had moments ago surrounded him. His flashlight began to dim. Shaking it violently he resurrected the brilliance of the beam, only to watch it fade into a momentary glow, and then disappear completely.

“Tremendous,” he said in frustration at the malfunctioning light. “Still talking to . . . and answering yourself.”

The point of light he had been moving toward disappeared as well. Pressing onward, he drew nearer to where it had been. Once again it appeared and this time looked brighter and stronger. Hawk’s trudging through the undergrowth yielded to softer ground as he heard a familiar voice cut quietly through the night.

“I began to think you weren’t going to make it.”

“I was starting to think you were playing a practical joke on me,” Hawk whispered back.

“Now, would I do that to you?” Rales laughed softly.

Hawk could now see much better as he approached the place where Rales stood. Farren had brought a lantern that illuminated the place he was standing and cast long shadows in multiple directions. Hawk descended the steps to join Rales on what appeared to be a recently created platform. The sound of the creek was closer and Hawk assumed they were now on the edge of the river. Rales was dressed in a pair of black slacks with a lightweight black windbreaker. Hawk did not miss the stealth attire and was getting ready to comment on it when Rales again spoke in a hushed tone.

“Any trouble finding the place?”

“I suppose not, since it’s out in the middle of nowhere!” Hawk decided to satisfy his curiosity. “And could you tell me why we’re whispering?”

“Didn’t you read the sign? We’re in a state park. It closed at dusk. We could get arrested for being here.”

“Then why didn’t we come here in the daylight?”

“Now, that wouldn’t be as much fun, would it?”

“Farren, we should clarify our definitions of fun.”

“Breaking into a state park is a story you’ll be able to tell for years!”

“I didn’t break in, the gate was unlocked.”

“So you opened it and drove on in.”

“You invited me.”

“Shhh,” Rales interrupted.

Hawk grew quiet and strained to hear sounds coming out of the darkness. He studied Rales’s tense features, trying to decide whether the old man was toying with him or was actually concerned that they might be caught after hours in the park. Rales’s face softened and he turned away from Hawk, letting his lantern shine toward a nearby wooden cottage that looked as if it had been plucked off of an animation cell from an antique piece of film. Hawk’s mouth opened slightly. Rales moved forward and panned the light across the front of this cottage that did not belong in this time or any other. It was recognizable as the cottage in the Black Forest of the classic cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Hawk’s eyes followed the movement of the lantern to the carved lintel and a stone trough. Rales moved toward the front door, fumbled with the handle, and then opened it. Looking back to Hawk, he motioned for him to follow him inside. Hawk entered, feeling like he was stepping into a fairy tale as Rales silently closed the door behind them.

The Key to the Kingdom: Unlocking Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom

© 2010 Jeff Dixon

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:10 PM CDT
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Saturday, 12 March 2011
All Right All You Homeschoolers Out There!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Affiliates


I know that winter is over and spring has sprung in many areas of the country. Spring is a time when God breaths new life into His great creation. However, how is your homeschooling going? Do you need to breath new life into that?

I know that spring is not the time for you to go out and spend lots of money for curriculum to be used this year. All of your money is probably budgeted for next year.

But there is still a way to get some exciting unit studies, book studies and more for little to no money at all! It's on Currclick! If you have never been on Currclick you have got to go. There are all sorts of resources that you can buy and many that are free. Just click on the banner above for more information.

I feel I must tell you, though, that I am a Currclick affiliate and if you click through to the website using the banner, and end up buying something, I will earn a small commission. If you do, thanks ahead of time.

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:07 PM CST
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Thursday, 10 March 2011
Looking for an Uplifting Website? Look no Further!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

Recently I read a book by the author Jeff Dixon and became so intrigued by the short bio in the book that I wanted to find out more about him. I found that he pastors a church close to where I used to live in central Florida and that his church has a website. Upon further investigation, I found that not only do they post his sermons but also a daily podcast that he makes with his church staff. I began listening to his sermons and podcast and am very impressed and have been enjoying and learning from this pastor who turns out to be my age.

I think you'll be impressed as well. However, if you are looking for a traditional church and a traditional pastor, don't press on this link! Have I piqued your interest? Click here for a great experience. It won't replace your home church, but I think you'll find it very enjoyable and uplifting.

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Posted by tink38570 at 9:34 PM CST
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Wednesday, 9 March 2011
The Practice of Repentance - A First Wild Card Blog Tour Book
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Book Reviews

Everything that I learned in Bible college about Repentance was turned upside down by this book. Although I had some questions about some things written by the author, it is very thought provoking. I think it is worth the read.


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Practice of Repentance

CrossHouse Publishing (October 15, 2010)

***Special thanks to Jennifer Nelson, PR Specialist, Hannibal Books for sending me a review copy.***


Woody Wilson and his wife, Judy, live in McKinney, Texas, where he serves as senior pastor of Waddill Street Baptist Church. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. Woody received his M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his D.Min. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


What does being sorry for one's sins truly mean? Why do many Christians regret their wrongdoings but never engage in true, utter, and complete repentance?

Pastor Woody Wilson contends that as believers we are content with what he calls "incomplete repentance" in our repetitive sin-struggles and never actually engage in the necessary practice of repenting of sin before we commit it--genuinely forsaking our tendency toward sin and turning away from it before it entangles us again.

Product Details:

List Price: $11.95
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: CrossHouse Publishing (October 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934749877
ISBN-13: 978-1934749876



The Enigma of Repentance

The first word of the gospel1 is in grave danger of becoming the last word of the church. Repentance is not a popular subject. True repentance is difficult to describe. Is it an emotion—feeling sorry for our sins? Is it an attitude—thinking positively about the human condition? Is it an act of will—promising never to commit a particular sin again? Is it a personal resolution—turning over a new leaf? Most of our thinking about repentance places it squarely in the domain of human activity. It is something we do.

Repentance is, in fact, a God-ward action, but this is only part of the story. Repentance begins and ends with God. In between, however, we are dynamically involved in the process. The enigma of repentance is that it is both a gift that God gives, a divine enabling of sinful man to turn his heart away from sin and toward God, and also a command to be obeyed, without which no one can approach God or find forgiveness for sins.

As central as repentance is to the gospel message, it has fallen on hard times. When Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, on July 8, 1741, in Enfield,Connecticut, people literally held on to one another or to fence posts, in fear that the earth would open up and swallow them alive, taking them down to the pit of hell itself. The people, previously characterized as “thoughtless and vain,” were so changed before the sermon was ended that they were “bowed down with an awful conviction of their sin and danger.”2 No wonder that repentance was a mark of the First Great Awakening in America. In the words of W. G. T. Shedd, “All great religious awakenings begin in the dawning of the august and terrible aspects of the Deity upon the popular mind.”3

Times have changed; seldom do pastors today preach with such tones as did Edwards, George Whitefield, and other preachers of that day. The modern/postmodern preacher usually opts for a more positive approach to the gospel in his sermons, rarely mentioning either sin or repentance. One of those Great Awakening preachers was Aaron Burr Sr., who stood in stark contrast to many of the preachers of that day and this:

He was none of those downy doctors who soothe their hearers into delusive hopes of the divine acceptance, or substitute external morality for vital godliness. He scorned to proclaim the peace of God till the rebel had laid down his arms and returned to his allegiance. He searched the conscience with the terrors of the law, before he assuaged its anguish with the sweet emollients of a bleeding Deity.4

The accusation of soothing their hearers into delusive hopes should cause us to sit up and take notice. Preachers today want the power, popularity, and results of those renowned preachers but do not want to carry the message necessary to bring those results. We will not experience peace without preaching repentance, and we will not see repentance without preaching sin. We have become accustomed to—and prefer—a watered-down version of the gospel marked by an absence of the awe and fear of God. We have, consequently, lost the impetus of calling people to return to a holy and just God who will not leave sin unpunished. In response to the attitude of that former day, the preaching of “the Great Awakening was often alarming, and intentionally so.”5

Richard Owen Roberts sounds a renewed alarm for this current generation:

The biblical doctrine of repentance hinges on the fact that all sin is a grievous affront against God. None of us has a right to offend Him. We must turn from our sin in repentance. Thus, it is scarcely surprising that in a time of deep moral and spiritual decline, the world cares as little for the doctrine of repentance as it does for negative statements about sin. It is time for alarm, however, when the church that the Lord Jesus Christ established knows scarcely any more about repentance than does the sin-loving world. Tragically, that is the situation today. Granted, the word repentance is still in our religious vocabulary, but it is nonetheless a tragically misunderstood and carelessly disregarded term.6

One reason why repentance may be so neglected in many churches is that there is a general disregard for biblical doctrine. Christians have substituted slogans and philosophical ideas for God’s revealed truth. An example of such is the oft-quoted “God helps those who help themselves.” It is quoted as if it is a divinely inspired verse in the Bible. Of course, it is not—in fact, it is contrary to what the Bible teaches. This popular byword implies that God is a last resort—help yourself first and, if that does not work, then ask God to help.

Another factor is that churches have preached a brand of salvation that requires no repentance. We call people to “walk the aisle,” “to say a prayer,” and “to invite Jesus into their hearts.” If there is no repentance that accompanies these acts, then we are calling people to turn to Christ without turning from sin—an incomplete repentance at best. No wonder so many who call themselves Christian today are merely nominal believers7 who persist in the same sins they committed before their so-called salvation.

Many view repentance as a one-time event (as a synonym for salvation) rather than as a continuing response to God’s grace. The Bible calls us to be repenting repenters. As I typed this line, the spell check on my computer underlined the word repenter as a misspelled word. I clicked on the word to see what the suggested spelling was and found two possible substitutes: reenters and repeaters. At first, I chuckled at the suggestions, but then I realized that this is exactly what we do. We are “repenting repeaters,” never truly turning away from sin, often repeating the same old sins without ever truly repenting of them.

The end result of these factors may very well be a “repentanceless” church. That specter begs the question: Can such an entity truly be called church? One may also ask whether a Christian life void of repentance can truly be called Christian.

Where does repentance fit into the Christian experience? Jesus came preaching, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).8 For the gospel to be the good news that it is, it must always remain “repent and believe.” Jesus joined these two aspects of our salvation in what Roberts called the “irrevocable link … between repentance and faith.”9 To separate these concepts is to destroy the essence of the gospel. To abandon repentance proves extremely detrimental to the life of the Christian and to the church.

Nevertheless, repentance has fallen into misuse and disuse in the church today. My first encounter with an erroneous view of repentance came in the days of my youth. I lived in a central Illinois town that tended to be predominantly Catholic. My Catholic friends found it strange that I was a Baptist; I was equally bewildered by their practices. Without launching into the theological explanations of why they did what they did, suffice it to say that their practice of visiting the confessional on Saturdays and being given some penance to do by the priest did not alter their lifestyle one iota. They sinned with impunity, confessed their sins by rote recitation, and returned to their sins as quickly as they could. There was absolutely no concept of life-transforming repentance, even less any vital commitment to the Lordship of Jesus.

I have learned, however, that Baptists and other evangelical groups have equally misshapen views of repentance. Most, if pressed to describe their own repentance, would relegate it to an entrance event. To them, repentance is synonymous with their conversion experience. They “repented” by asking Jesus to forgive their sins. Years later, if you asked them about repentance, they would say they had already done that and had no need to repeat it.

Others who are more serious about their Christian life and are struggling against some persistent sin also focus on repentance as a one-time event. They are tired of some specific sin affecting their life and want to be done with it once for all. They seek a repentance that will rid their life of the problem for good. I have found in my own experience that it does not happen that way. I will treat the issue of habitual sin and our struggle with sin in a later chapter, but for now I confess that I, too, wish I could leave some sins behind and never be troubled by them again. In the moments of my deepest regret over repeating the same sin, having again turned my heart and will back to the Lordship of Jesus, I know that even though I am forgiven, I am not through with the sin. It will rear its ugly head again and again. What I do with that temptation is the subject of this book. Moving beyond the concept of a repentance that removes sin and temptation out of our way once for all, we embrace the truth that repentance is intended to be the constant companion of the dedicated Christian. It is one of the Christian disciplines (even though many books treating the subject of spiritual disciplines fail to recognize it as such). Just as we abide in God’s Word on a daily basis and maintain an attitude of prayer throughout the day, so we seek to practice repentance as a matter of daily discipline.

The truth that I am seeking to declare is that we will never understand true repentance until we comprehend that repentance is not merely an act of turning away from sins already committed but is, more importantly, an act of turning away from our proclivity toward sin. The thirteenth-century Jewish teacher Rabbeinu Yonah refers to the highest level of repentance as “shunning a sin when faced with it and still fully craving it and fully capable of committing it again.”10 Most people see repentance as something they do only after they have sinned. I am suggesting that true repentance is primarily something we do before we sin, which keeps us from straying into that sin again. It is turning away from the temptation to sin. In this sense, then, repentance not only releases us from sin’s guilt but also from sin’s power. This truth transforms repentance from a past action (I have repented) to a present action (I am repenting).

Let us not confuse our terms here. There is an entrance-level repentance when we first come by faith to Jesus. In that moment, we can say without hesitation, “I have repented of my sins.” There are also those times when, under conviction of some sin committed, we turn back to God in godly sorrow. We can, at these times, also say, “I have repented of sin.” For the follower of Jesus, however, it cannot stop there if we are to have victory over sin’s sway in our lives. We must practice repentance preemptively. I referred to this earlier as being a “repenting repenter”—that is, one who, having repented of sin and placed his faith in Jesus, is actively repenting, turning away from sin one temptation at a time. W. T. Conner explains,

The initial act of repentance is the beginning of a life of repentance. Jesus says we should take up the Cross daily (Luke 9:23). … The sinful self has to be crucified daily. The old man, as Paul calls him (Col. 3:9), has more lives than the proverbial cat. He will not stay dead when killed. Oftentimes the deepest repentance does not come at the beginning of the Christian life.11

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin says that the one who has placed his faith in Jesus “must depart from the errors of his former life, enter into the right way, and devote all his attention to the exercise of repentance” (emphasis added).12 Calvin explains further:

This restoration is not accomplished in a single moment, or day, or year; but by continual, and sometimes even tardy advances, the Lord destroys the carnal corruptions of his chosen, purifies them from all pollution, and consecrates them as temples to himself; renewing all their senses to real purity, that they may employ their whole life in the exercise of repentance, and know that this warfare will be terminated only by death. … There still remains in a regenerate man a fountain of evil, continually producing irregular desires, which allure and stimulate him to the commission of sin.13

In the first of his ninety-five theses, Martin Luther states, “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘repent,’ he meant that the entire life of believers should be one of repentance.”14 Luther taught that penance, the way the Catholic Church of his day practiced it, had little, if anything, to do with true repentance. He was convinced that “the Gospel called not for an act of penance but for a radical change of mind that would lead to a deep transformation of life” and that “repentance is a characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment.”15

Reflecting upon the theological approach to repentance of Calvin and Luther, one may conclude that “true repentance can never be reduced to a single act found only at the beginning of the Christian life. … Since its goal is our restoration into the image of Christ, it involves the ongoing practical outworking of our union with Christ.”16 This truth refers to repentance as a “lifelong process of the restoration of sinners,” which is “an inescapable, ongoing, and permanent necessity.”17

The practice of repentance is therefore the ongoing, continual exercise of resisting temptation and turning our hearts toward the Lord in renewed and steadfast commitment. The enigma of it is that many Christians are content with an incomplete repentance. They repent of sins committed but never learn how to repent of sin before they commit it. That sounds absurd! How can you repent of something you have not done? This is exactly the point. Repentance is misunderstood by most. Repentance is far more than feeling sorry for sins committed; it is the forsaking of our tendency toward sin, turning away from it before it entangles us again. I want you to learn the practice of repentance—to become “a repenting repenter.” The purpose of this book is to teach you how you can live this truth: “I am repenting of my sin.” This is the path to victory over sin.

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:56 PM CST
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Once Upon a Time There was Reading Kingdom.
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jacob. When he was a baby his parents jokingly but affectionately would call him their little Jacobite. And so it was that soon his name was shortened and they simply called him "Bite".

Bite was a curious little boy who was into everything. He loved to discover and learn about the world around him. However, little Bite had to rely on others for his information for the poor fellow had never learned to read. He would discover something new, find someone who wasn't too busy to ignore a young lad, and listen intently as they answered his many questions. Unfortunately, Bite was very talkative and folks would soon tire of his investigating. So, they would wearily return to their work and half-heartedly continue to talk to him. I say "talk" because often they didn't even listen to poor Bite and they would just answer him with the first thing that came to mind.

One day he was relaying all of the information that he learned (or thought he had learned) about stars to his dear father when his father stopped him with an incredulous look on his face.

"Now who told you that gibberish?" asked his father.

"Why, old Fred did when he was tending the cows this afternoon." answered Bite.

"Bite" his father said with a sigh, "You simply can't go on relying on others for your information. You never know what foolishness they will give you."

"Then what shall I do father? Sometimes I see new things and get so I excited that I feel like I shall bust if I don't learn more about them."

"You have to learn about things for yourself." answered the patient father.

"But how do I do that?" asked the very impatient boy.

"Well, you can observe the new thing. Perhaps even draw a picture of it and start a notebook. And you could always..." suddenly the father stopped talking and looked away.

"Always what, Father?"

Quickly the father embraced his young son. "Oh son," he cried. "I suppose it's time for you to learn how to read. You are growing up so fast. I've been wanting to keep you my baby forever. But, alas, you must grow up and I must teach you. Only, I haven't the time right now. Perhaps next year when you turn five I will have more time."

Sadly the boy walked away. "I must learn how to read. I must!" he thought. "But how?"

He thought about it all that evening. Through supper and devotions. Through prayer time and the nightly tucking in to bed. He thought about it as he was falling asleep and was soon dreaming about it as well.

And his dream went something like this:


"Bite. Oh Bite." Came the soothing voice from outside his open window.

Bite was at once awake and, since, as you well know, he was a very curious boy, he was up at once and leaning on the windowsill to see who was calling him. 

"Who is it?" he called. "Who is calling my name?"

At first he thought it was his father, but the voice was much to soft and sweet to be a male voice.

"It is I...Brenda." returned the kind voice. "I am the person who passes out assignments for the TOS Homeschool Crew and I have chosen you to receive a special assignment. One that will change your life forever."

"For," said Brenda, "with this wonderful thing you will learn how to read!"

"Oh, sweet and kind Brenda, this is what I have been thinking and dreaming about all evening!" exclaimed Bite, "But, how did you know?"

"I knew because God told me to give it to you." answered Brenda. "You see, I pray about what children should receive each of my special assignments."

Then Brenda went on, "But beware, oh chosen one, learning to read does not happen over night. You must learn many things and must be diligent with you efforts. Some tasks may seem tedious to you, but if you do not accomplish them you will not be able to read well. You must be patient, my little one. That is something that I know is very difficult for you to do."

Although faced with that warning, Bite was still very excited. "When can I begin, Brenda?" he asked anxiously.

"Soon, oh young one, soon." "But," said the voice, "remember, Bite, you must be diligent and work hard."

And with that the voice was gone.


Soon, to his disappointment, the boy woke up. I say "disappointment" because he then knew it was only a dream. Or was it? You see, soon after breakfast, his father checked his email and was very excited to see that he was getting a wonderful new assignment from...you guessed it...the TOS Homeschool Crew! He and Bite were going to get to review an online reading program called "Reading Kingdom".

When his father told him about this, Bite was wide eyed and quickly told his father about his dream.

"I knew this was going to happen father!" he excitedly said, "Kind Brenda told me!"

His father just laughed, but in he mind he wondered about the dream.

After the quick registration process was over, Father was ready for Bite to start. First came the "Keyboard and Mouse Training". Father explained to Bite that Reading Kingdom was done on the computer and the program recommended that Bite practice using the mouse and the keyboard to make sure that he was used to using it. Although some children may think this was fun, Bite, of course, was anxious to get on with the reading part. He remembered, however, that Brenda said some parts might be tedious, but he must remain diligent. So, he faithfully went through this optional training for a few sessions until Father was sure that he could handle the keyboard and mouse well.

"Finally", thought Bite, "I will now get to learn how to read."

But, alas, Bite was sadly mistaken. He didn't understand that there are many skills that he must learn in order to read well. He took a Skills Survey and found that he had difficulty sequencing letters and still couldn't easily find some letters on the keyboard. His father explained that sequencing was very important when you learned to read. If you couldn't sequence the letters you would read the words incorrectly. The word "cat" might become "tac" and who ever heard of a tac lapping milk from a bowl?


Bite, who was always a logical thinker, then realized how important sequencing was, and, although he earnestly wanted to read, he found "Letter Land" and "Seeing Sequences" fun. Oh, it took him a while to learn how to listen patiently while the computer voice told him what to do. Sometimes he would type a letter when he was supposed to click something on the screen or click when he was supposed to type, but eventually he got used to it. He remembered that Brenda said to be diligent, so even during a family crisis and a bout with the flu he worked hard. Sometimes Father had to sit by him to guide him, but, often Father would let him work on his own.

Bite was patient and diligent indeed, for he knew that soon he would take another Skills Survey and be ready for the first of five Reading Kingdom Levels. His father had told him that in each level he would learn actual words and read actual books! In level one itself he would learn 36 new words (63 if you included variants like adding s or ing to the words) and he would read 6 books. The information on the Reading Kingdom website said that at first he would learn simple words and phrases like a kid and Here are some toys but soon he would be reading larger sentences such as:

One of the things in the sky is the moon. The moon does not look the same all the time.

There was a baby bullfrog. He was also very bullheaded. He liked to go to places on his own and did not stay with his mother.

Father said that the second sentence reminded him a lot of Bite. Bite, indeed, was very bullheaded and liked to go and explore places on his own. This made Bite laugh and made him want to learn to read all the more.

Bite was very happy with Reading Kingdom and longed to thank kind Brenda for sending it to him. When he asked his father how he could do so, his father told him that he would personally thank Brenda, but that the best thanks would be for him to tell his friends all about this wonderful website called "Reading Kingdom". So that is exactly what Bite did. He told them how fun it was and that it was reasonably priced for only $19.99 a month with no monthly minimum, or $199.99 for a whole year, and, you can try Reading Kingdom for 30 days for free by clicking here (or on any one of the hi-lighted links above)! He also told them about the very neat Reading Kingdom newsletter that they could sign up for. Finally, he told them that Brenda had given this wonderful assignment to many other TOS Homeschool Crew members and they could find what they thought about Reading Kingdom by clicking here.

Bite was indeed a very happy homeschooler. He learned to read, and lived happily ever after.

The story you have just read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Oh, all right, the story is about me and my youngest son Jacob, who we indeed call "Bite". And, the story is only half true. What's true and what's not true? That, my dear readers, I will leave to your imagination Wink!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free one year subscription to Reading Kingdom in order to try out and review on my blog.


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Posted by tink38570 at 1:28 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2011 10:16 PM CST
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