Superbook: faith-based screen time your kids will love

This post is sponsored by CBN and Team Superbook.  All opinions are my honest assessment of the Superbook show.

After a long day of outdoor play, my husband tucked our three weary kids in bed.  I tiptoed into the quiet bedroom to give each of them one extra kiss.  As I bent over their sleeping heads, I thought about what my heart desires for my kids.

I want them to be active and adventurous.  To explore outdoors.  To grow in strength and confidence in their bodies.

I want them to have a love of learning.  To be curious.  To stretch their minds through reading and critical thinking.

And I want them to know God.  To be familiar and comfortable with Sacred Scripture and the Traditions of the Church.  To love Jesus.

I often feel these goals are threatened by the lure of modern technology.  Every day, my kids beg for movies and TV shows and videogames.  Every day, I have to be intentional about playtime, reading time and Jesus time.  I have to make sure screen time doesn’t take over.


I want my kids to be familiar with Sacred Scripture and the Traditions of the Church.  To love Jesus.  Tweet this.


I feel like I’m fighting a battle against technology.  I try to suggest VeggieTales and My Catholic Family, but the kids beg for Frozen and Moana and Big Hero 6.

And I don’t blame them.

I love these movies.

The storylines are more compelling.  The characters are more relatable.  The action scenes are more exciting.

But I longed for a way to cut back on screen time and increase faith and learning time without my kids treating me like I was torturing them.

Then I found Superbook.

What we love about Superbook

Chris and Joy are two elementary school best friends.  Their sidekick, Gizmo, is an adorable, quirky robot.  In each twenty minute episode, the trio starts off the show by getting into a bit of trouble.

Then Superbook, a tablet-esque digital Bible, shows up with impeccable timing to transport the three friends back in time to a perfectly relevant Bible story.  They are immersed into the action of the story, with seemingly little foreknowledge about what will happen next.  By the end of the show, the friends are transported back to the high-tech present, where they apply what they learned in the Bible story to solve their real-life problems with virtue and integrity.

The format is everything I want.

The modern life of Chris and Joy is relatable and appealing to my kids.  The animation is cute and sometimes astounding.  The action scenes are exciting

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And best of all, I feel good about letting my kids have a little screen time.  They beg for an episode of Superbook and I don’t feel guilty about making a deal with my persistent 5-year old.  “Just one episode, then go outside and play.”  I can take this opportunity to ease the indoor-outdoor transition  (it’s easy to sunscreen with his eyes glued to the screen).  And I’m on board with letting the TV give the kids a little faith formation in the morning before kicking them outside for the rest of the day.

With Superbook in my queue, I’m free to use screen time as a tool rather than dreading it as a time-wasting brain sucker.  The episodes are the perfect length to keep the kids occupied on meltdown days when I’m in desperate need of a quick shower.


With Superbook, I’m free to use screen time as a tool rather than dreading it as a time-wasting brain sucker. Tweet this.


And when we pull out our children’s Bible, the kids are even more familiar with the stories, and how to apply the lessons in modern situations.  After watching the episode where Isaiah goes face-to-face with the priests of Baal, the kids are quick to choose that story for reading time.

I loved Superbook so much I recommended it to all my friends.  And then I reached out to the Superbook team, partnering with them so I could share my recommendation with you!

You can introduce your kids to Superbook for free.  At Superbook.cbn.com, register for a free account, and you’ll have access to Season 1 streaming online.  If you love it like I do, you can join the Superbook DVD club for access to streaming further seasons, and new episodes on DVD sent in the mail.  My recommendation: share the subscription with a friend or two, or register for your Catechism or Faith Formation class (you get 3 copies of each new DVD in the mail, so sharing is ideal).

 

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Superbook has become a family favorite.  It’s a great tool (one of many) to help me realize the goals I dream of for my kids.  The short episodes leave plenty of time for active play, allowing me to make compromises on screen time without feeling like I’ve lost a battle or failed as a mom.  The Bible based content inspires my kids to want to learn more about the stories during reading time.  And the kids begging for faith-filled movies?  That just melts my heart!

Give it a try!

Favorite Superbook Episodes

In the Beginning: This is my favorite episode, the first in the series.  The animation of Creation is breathtaking, and filled me with awe at the thought of God creating this entire world out of nothing.  The animators did an amazing job of giving it the feel of the miraculous.  And of course, I always love to have a good laugh about artists trying to creatively cover up the naked Adam and Eve.

The Giant Adventure:  This is my son, Hero’s, favorite episode.  What kid doesn’t love the story of David and Goliath?  To see a brave young kid battle a fierce giant.  Complete with head chopping (off-screen of course, but this detail is often lost in kid-versions).  In this episode, Chris is inspired to overcome a bout of stage-fright he encounters when he wants to audition for the school band.

Roar! My girls always beg for this one.  I’m not sure what exactly makes it their favorite.  I think they like the friendly lions.  I like the lesson about standing up to bullies.

Revelation: More epic battle scenes.  Angel armies flying through the air, battling the demons.  Jesus riding in triumphant on a white horse.  This episode is intense, and appeals strongly to my son, Hero, and his older uncle.  I appreciate the way the creators of this episode portrayed Satan as a deceiver, who disguises himself to trick you, but at the same time, lets the children watching know who he is all along.  In this episode, Chris learns an important lesson about forgiveness.

Superbook Bible themes parental caution

The Bible is no cakewalk.  It’s filled with struggles between good and evil, scenes of peril, and epic battles.  Superbook makes these stories accessible to kids without completely eliminating the exciting parts.  Keep in mind, this show is not for the youngest kids.  It appeals to older kids who can handle the scary parts of the stories.  Some children may end up with nightmares!  I recommend you view a few episodes before showing them to your kids, and discern whether they are mature enough to handle the content.


The Bible is no cakewalk.  Superbook makes the stories accessible to kids without eliminating the exciting parts.  Tweet this.


I specifically want to caution you about the violence and scariness of some Superbook episodes.

  • violence

Yes, there are battles and wars, and the Crucifixion scene in He is Risen makes you uncomfortable. My son loves action movies, and he begs for Superbook episodes with sword fights. If you want squeaky clean feel-good stories, stick with Veggietales.  If your kids are ready to be introduced to a little more of the reality of the Bible, give Superbook a shot.  Just be prepared, and know what you’re letting them view.

  • scariness

We had friends over and I thought it would be a good idea to put on an episode of Superbook for them. I thought The Miracles of Jesus would be a happy, uplifting episode.  Miracles make us smile, right?!  Well, this episode included the time where Jesus cast the demon, Legion, out of the man.  Think glowing eyes and a double-pitched demon voice.  Even I was creeped out.  And it gave our guests the heebie-jeebies.  My bad.  But we had a great conversation afterwards about Jesus always winning against bad guys!  So just be warned, Superbook does have some frightening scenes.  And if your kids are easily scared, stay completely away from Revelation.

Superbook passed my Faith-check

Every time I check out a new kids’ Bible or Bible storybook, I go straight to two places: the birth of Jesus and the Last Supper.  I don’t like anyone implying that Jesus is anything other than the Son of God, or that Mary gave birth to brothers and sisters for Him.  And don’t even get me started on renditions that treat the Eucharist as symbolism.  Naturally, I viewed these two Superbook episodes with extra caution, and I was pleasantly surprised to give it a thumbs up!

Are you intrigued?  If you think Superbook would be a good fit for your family, give it a try today!

Dive down deep in the ocean of mercy

A reflection to inspire you to dive down deep into the waves of God’s justice and immerse yourself in the ocean of His mercy.

I sprinted across the warm golden beach and splashed into the cool ocean water.  After a few steps, the sand dropped off and the waves leaped up.  I tried to keep my head above water, but the breaking wave dragged me under, slammed me on the rocky bottom, and washed me, gasping, up on the shore.

I was a ten year old who didn’t know how to face the ocean.

With sand-caked hair dripping down my back, I slumped to the safety of our beach blanket.  But my dad turned me around and sent me back toward the water, bellowing words of encouragement.

Don’t fight the wave.  Dive down deep under it, as far as you can go.  Immerse yourself in the water.


Don’t fight the wave. Dive down deep under it, as far as you can go.  Immerse yourself in the water.  Tweet this.


I ran in again, faced the looming wave, ignored the fear, and took the plunge.

As I sank down towards the sandy floor, the water gently swirled around me.  I felt the wave rush over me, but I was safe from its destructive power.  When the tugging passed and the calm lull returned, I sunk my feet into the sand, pushed hard, and surfaced safe on the other side of the wave.

Lord my God, I often wonder how Your justice and mercy can coexist.  But I imagine them now as the fierce crashing waves and the calm rolling depths of the ocean.  Both part of the same body, with no clear separating line.

Waves of Justice

The ocean is violent where the sea meets the sky.

The rough waves tumble and crash against the shore.  At the surface of the ocean, I witness the power, the strength, the waves that beat upon the shore, wear away the land, and tumble mountains.  Your justice, Lord, does the same to my sins and my pride.

In my pride, I fight You like I fought the waves at the ocean shore.

But like my naive 10 year old self, I find myself crashing down.  A tussle with the ocean means certain destruction.  My pride results in my fall, tumbled onto the shore, weary and defeated.

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Even if I stood before You as firm in my sinfulness as rocky cliffs at the ocean’s edge, I can’t stand against You forever.

Just as the land rose from the sea and will be battered down to return to it someday, so too will my own self.  I rose from Your providence, created through Your goodness and love, and I will return to You at the end of my life.

If I stand against You like the mountain at the edge of the ocean, my pride will be the means of my demise at the encounter with Your justice.  You call for atonement for my sins.

But by the power of Your Cross and Resurrection, my Jesus, Your justice is appeased.  I don’t need to end in ruin.

Depths of Mercy

I surrender my will to You.  I surrender my faults, my sins, and my failings to Your saving grace.

I choose to dive down deep.

To immerse myself in Your depths.

To accept Your love and Your mercy.


Your grace and love encircle me, washing around me, gently wearing away at my faults. Tweet this.


Like I learned to do that day on the beach so many years ago, I allow myself to be drawn down beneath the turmoil of the waves.

Your grace and love encircle me, washing around me, gently wearing away at my faults until You shape me to Your heart’s desire and allow me to resurface, unhurt, on the other side.

Beneath the waves, the further down I let You draw me in, the less I need to fear.  Your justice will no longer be a threat.  Rather, it will be an opportunity to allow myself to formed and shaped by Your mercy.

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As the grains of sand rest on the bottom of the ocean floor, so too do I rest in Your mercy.  Your mercy is gentle and forgiving.  It washes around me but doesn’t destroy.

Like the plants on the ocean floor, I sway with the movements of Your mercy.  I submit myself to the currents of Your will, allowing myself to be drawn along the path You call me to in life.

I surrender my sins and imperfections to Your cleansing waters, to be gently washed away and lost to the depths forever.

A Prayer of Surrender

Oh Lord, show me the way to Your heart!

Break down the mountain of my pride.  Let me abandon myself to You so that I may be engulfed, immersed, molded and changed into the person You desire me to be.

I enter the ocean facing the strength and power of the waves of Your justice.  But I don’t want to fight You any longer.  I want to dive down deep into Your mercy.

I surrender myself to You today.

Immerse me, Lord, in the ocean of Your mercy.

Amen.


I enter the ocean facing the waves of Your justice but I want to dive down deep into Your mercy.  Amen. Tweet this. 


Ocean of Mercy Pinterest

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The Mass: 2 things you know and 1 that will blow your mind

A reflection on the Mass in the context of Holy Week.

We go to Mass every Sunday or more.  We know the routine so well we sometimes go on auto-pilot.  We receive the Eucharist habitually.  And we lose our sense of awe and mystery.

I’m here to bring it back today.

Let’s start with what we know. Continue reading “The Mass: 2 things you know and 1 that will blow your mind”

Reflections for Holy Week

What is Holy Week all about?

I knew there was Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  But what about the rest of the week?  Oh yeah, I’ve heard of Spy Wednesday somewhere before.  But what do we do about Monday and Tuesday?  Not to mention Saturday, the weirdest feeling day of the year, between Christ’s death and Resurrection.

Well, Fr. Mike shares a way to enter into every single day of Holy Week. Continue reading “Reflections for Holy Week”

Rocking Motherhood

What makes a good mom?

A little while back, I guest posted on The Koala Mom about what it means to be a Love Rebel Mom.  In short: I’m dedicated to my vocation.  God called me to be a mom, and I’m going to be a darn good one.

So Anni over at Beautiful Camouflaged Mess of a Life challenged me to prove it.  In her rocking motherhood post, she shared what makes her a good mom, and tagged me to do the same with practical examples from my own life.

As I brainstormed my supermom qualities, I realized everything on my list was more about the mom I want to be than the mom I am right now.  And I struggled to identify real life ways I actually rock motherhood every day.

So I asked my kids.

“When do you think I do a good job of being an awesome mommy?”

I was humbled by their answers.

Hero

My 5 yo son, Hero, is a ball of energy.  His feet hit the ground running every morning (this is not a metaphor).  He’s a big thinker, a big reader, and one of those people who’s so good at everything they do, it’s obnoxious.  Hero says I rock motherhood…

“When you play cars and Legos with me.”

Honestly, my car skills are limited to “brmmm brmmm – wheeeelieee!”  And I’m not very talented at Legos either… I can’t turn bricks into something cool.

But skills don’t matter to him.  Nope.  It’s enough for me to sit on the floor with him while he builds a demolition derby car that will DESTROY mine.  It’s enough for him that I brmmm my car while I listen to him tell me all about who’s winning the race.  It’s enough for me to just be with him.

“When you feed me.  Especially dessert.  Chocolate dessert, that’s my favorite.”

A boy after my own heart!  I love chocolate dessert, too.  It doesn’t surprise me that he finds the comfort of family dinner and dessert a special time when he feels  loved.  I want him to feel the joy of home, of a happy family.  If it takes a little chocolate to get the desired effect, so be it.

Princess

My 3yo, Princess, hides a big personality behind a quiet, shy facade.  “Feed me.  Carry my.  Read to me,” is her litany.  Her comfort zone is in mommy’s arms (or daddy’s).  Princess says I rock motherhood…

“When you get yourself tea because you share it with me when you drink it.”

This surprised me, but it shouldn’t have.  Princess needs down time, snuggles, physical reassurance.  So I do my best momming for her when I slow myself down.  When I sit and do nothing important.  Sip tea quietly and snuggle her.  As of today, I’ll be adding that relaxing cup of tea back into my morning routine.

“When you’re at church.  Because you get to pray.”

Well, I might have cried a bit at that one.  How does she know so firmly that I need Jesus big time?  How does she know I can’t do this motherhood thing on my own?  How does she know the grace of God is the only thing that keeps me going somedays?

I need to remember this when the toddlers are tormenting me during Mass and the big kids are whispering, “Can we go yet?” during Adoration.  I’m a good Mom just by being there, because I get to pray.  And prayer makes all the difference.

Flower

My 2yo, Flower, is crazy from the hair down.  Daddy can’t even discipline her without laughing and telling her how cute she is.  It’s gonna come back and haunt us, I know.  She thinks I rock motherhood…

“When you’re in the tub with toys.”

The tub is my safe haven.  And I’m not usually in there with toys.  But sometimes Flower escapes from movie time and finds me.  I suppose I don’t rock motherhood the times I send her back out.  But when I let her float her boats in my bath, I transform into Supermom.  Fill my tub with toys, baby, if that’s what it takes to let you know I love you!

“When you be a good listener.”

Excuse me?  You’re two.  Stop being so darned grown-up.  Flower makes sure I’m looking at her when she’s speaking to me.  She grabs my cheeks and turns my face towards hers.  So I’m not sure if she thinks I AM a good listener, or that I need to be a BETTER listener. But from now on, I’m going to make sure her voice is heard.

Rocking Motherhood

Motherhood is not about chores (except dinner, apparently).  None of my kids said I’m a good mom because I do the dishes and the laundry, and make the bed every day.

They showed me I’m a good mom when I make them feel loved.  When I spend time with them.  When I give them my undivided attention.

If I want to be a good mom, I need to stop thinking about myself.  Because motherhood is not about me.  It’s not about what I do.  It’s about my kids.

Now that I know this, I’m going to rock it even more.  I’m going to print this list and make sure I meet my kids’ needs.  Their real needs.  Most importantly: the need for love.

Moms, spend time with your kids.

Love them the way they need to be loved.

That’s all it takes to rock motherhood.


Love your kids the way they need to be loved.  Tweet this.


I want to hear from you!

How are you rocking motherhood?  I challenge you to ask your kids the same question I did:

“When do you think I do a good job of being an awesome mommy?”

Then come back here and leave a comment.  I want to hear what they say!

Blogging friends, I want to hear from you too.  Today, I especially nominate:

to join me in the #RockingMotherhood challenge.

Here’s whatcha gotta do:

  1. Write a post on how you rock motherhood.  Tell us 10 (plus or minus) ways.
  2. Link back to the blogger who tagged you.
  3. Tag blogging friends to join the challenge.

(p.s. no pressure… I won’t be offended if this type of post isn’t for you!)

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Charity: Love. Everybody.

Hello, April!  Time for the Charity Challenge: Love of Neighbor.

Jesus said,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  [And] you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:30-31

Before you can love your neighbor as yourself, you need to make sure you have a healthy love of self.  If you’re struggling with that, make a quick stop at the Humility Challenge, then come back here.

You back?

Okay, here we go.

Love your neighbor. Continue reading “Charity: Love. Everybody.”

The Gift of Friendship

A reflection on the gift of friendship.

I left the kids home with my husband for the entire. Saturday. morning. while I went out to Mass, breakfast, and Adoration with another mom friend.

We were able to actually pray during Mass (imagine that).  We talked and laughed for over an hour as we ate our entire breakfast without sharing (another miracle).  Then we spent a half hour in the adoration chapel in silence (I saw your jaw drop at that one)!

Understatement of the year: We had a great time. Continue reading “The Gift of Friendship”

Weep for Yourself: Step into the Passion

A reflection on Jesus’ words to the women of Jerusalem.

A mess of tears streaked down my face the first time I watched The Passion.  My stomach churned at the horror of each torturous scene.  The unimaginable pain inflicted on Jesus weighed on my body and crushed me in my seat.

As I watched the story of the Passion unfold from the safety of my living room, I was horrified that “those people” could do “that” to an innocent man.  And I was filled with sorrow that my sins contributed to the gruesome death of my God.

I watched the crucifixion from the outside.  And it was only a story of drama, not of saving grace.

Until Jesus reeled me in. Continue reading “Weep for Yourself: Step into the Passion”

A Prayer of Praise to the Holy Trinity

Today, my God, I don’t ask you for anything.  I just want to be with You and adore You in Your majesty.

God, You are beautiful in creation.

Your design is amazing.  From the intricate details of the tiniest bug to the great design of the entire universe, Your plan is incredible.

How did you think of so many beautiful things to fill such a blank canvas?  You are infinitely creative. Continue reading “A Prayer of Praise to the Holy Trinity”