Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women (review)

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If you have a teenage daughter, this review of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women by Zondervan is for you! This beautiful hardcover devotional book is as powerful on the inside as it is beautiful on the outside and I am excited to share this resource with you.

When I started reviewing this book, I was looking at it from the perspective of the mother of a ten year old daughter. As I read the devotional I came to two conclusions. My first conclusion was that this was a well done devotional that would be great for a mother and teenage daughter to work through together. The second, was that my daughter was not quite ready for some of the content and so I am putting it up for a year or two before we work through it together.

The devotional is laid out with 365 devotions to take you through the entire year.  Each day consists of a small scripture verse, a devotional thought, and a bit of journaling space at the bottom of the page for your notes and thoughts.  While I wish that the scripture verses had been longer to give more context, that is easily remedied by reading the scripture in your Bible.

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One thing I really like is that many of the devotions go in a series by following through an entire story of scripture. For example, one series is from day 213 to day 227. On those days the reading is in 1 Samuel chapter 25 focusing on Abigail who was Nabal’s wife. I love how it focused on various women in the Bible to help a teenage girl see how God used women and continues to use women to do amazing things for the kingdom of God. I think it handled subject of women in ministry well by explaining that each person can use their gifts even if not behind a pulpit.

You may be wondering why if I enjoyed it so much I put it aside for another year or two before going through it with my daughter. I should mention that my daughter is still a bit younger than the recommended age but I was hoping she was ready. However, since it does address the topic of sex and adultery in several of the devotions I did not feel my daughter was ready for this book yet.  The topics were handled well and appropriately but I would not recommend them for a girl who did not yet know about sex unless you were going to read it with them and were ready to have that conversation and offer explanations.

Overall, I do recommend Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women for teenage girls. It is simple enough for them to do on their own but I think it would be a great mother-daughter devotional time. You can sit down for a few minutes each day with a warm drink and read through it together; drawing closer to each other as you draw near to God. I encourage you to check out the other Review Crew reviews below to see how they used the devotional and what those with older girls felt about the devotional.

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}Crew Disclaimer

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

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Be Still and Be Present: Week 1

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Welcome to week one of the ‘Be Still and Be Present’ challenge. I am so excited for us to take this journey together. I didn’t do this challenge because I have it all together, but because I felt that I needed to work on these things as well. I am excited to see what God can do in my heart and my life through this challenge. I will be praying each day for all of you that are participating with me in the challenge.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

‘Be Still’

This week I chose John 14:27 as my focus verse. Many times throughout the Bible we hear about God’s peace. I want to remember that God is not a God of overwhelm and rest in his peace this week. My goal is to memorize this verse by the end of the week and use it to remind myself when the season gets hectic.

In addition to my focus verse, I am going to be working my way through the advent reading plan from Not Consumed and coloring or journaling either in the Max Lucado Christmas Coloring book or in my Beautiful Word Coloring Bible. You can use whatever Bible or materials you have available to complete this challenge. I choose to use a coloring Bible because the act of coloring the pictures and words helps me to slow my brain down and really focus on God’s word. If I am just reading and trying to sit quietly, my brain has a tendency to wander. I found my coloring book (and one for my 10 year old) at Ollies for only .99. If you do not have an Ollies there are some other options on Amazon.  Another good free option for your study plan is to use these Names of Jesus printables and verses and study through the various Biblical names of Jesus.

Another resource that I want to share with you are Bible apps. If you do not have a Bible or if you find it more convenient to read from your phone or device the  YouVersion Bible App is a great free app. It offers a wide variety of translations which can be very beneficial when you are studying a particular passage of scripture. While I find that I focus best while I am coloring or journaling, I know others that like to listen to the Bible while they are driving or maybe while out in nature or taking a walk. The Daily Audio Bible App is only .99 for Kindle and free for Android. This app reads through the Bible in a year.

‘Be Present’

I often hear people talking about how important family is during the holiday season, but I know that in reality I often neglect the focused time with my family because of the hustle and bustle. We spend lots of time together doing school, going from place to place, crossing tasks of the to-do list, but we don’t always slow down and just spend time together. I encourage you to spend at least 30 minutes a day being present with those that mean the most to you. Some of you will need to spend that time focused on your children, others may feel you have been neglecting time with your husband. I am hoping to be more mindful of time with both my children and my husband over the next month.

This time does not have to be an elaborate activity, costs lots of money, or even be something new and exciting. The goal is simply to spend time being fully present with those you love. My daughter and I recently started working through a Christmas coloring book together. We can sit at the kitchen table and spend 15 or 20 minutes coloring and chatting together. This is relaxing for me and it is encouraging for her.  You could take a walk with your children or your husband, build Legos with your children, color a picture, or make a Christmas craft.  One of our favorite ways to connect is to pour mugs of hot cider or cocoa and gather on the couch for me to read a book. We also enjoy playing ‘Would You Rather ‘ type games.

I have included a downloadable sheet that will allow you to plan each week’s devotional time and your ‘Be Present’ activities as well as a sheet where you can check them off as you complete each day. Some of you may prefer to take each day as it comes, especially with the ‘Be Present’ activities and if that works for you that it totally fine. In my life I have found that having it planned out makes it more likely that it will actually happen so I plan to sit down each week and plan out a flexible list of activities.

Please share with me in the comments some fun activities or great devotional tools that you have and I look forward to hearing how this challenge is effecting your life.

Be Still and Be Present planning

Be Present Check List

Be Still Check List

 

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Forensic Faith For Kids ( Review)

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*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

Forensic Faith for Kids by David C Cook was a fun review! We read a chapter in the book each morning during our morning time and most nights we would watch the videos on the Case Makers Academy website that go along with each chapter.

We really enjoyed this book. It had parts that were really fun and lighthearted but yet really taught valuable lessons. In the words of my twelve year old son, “I like how they include the Bible verses but it doesn’t sound like they are preaching.”  The book taught some really important lessons about the Bible and faith but in an engaging format. The book was written from a second person point of view. This really resonated with my daughter who said, ” I like how it feels like you are there solving the cases.”

The main characters of the book are a group of friends in a Junior Detective Academy learning about investigations. As part of their program they were working on two cases. One involved a ‘found’ puppy and the other was the evidence for Christianity and who Jesus claimed to be. This is the third book in this series (though the first one I have had the opportunity to read). The students had a friend who was questioning whether or not Jesus even claimed to be the Son of God. The detective helped them understand how they could research and investigate to help him answer that question.

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On the sidelines of the pages were some additional components that added a lot of value to our experience in reading this book. There were ‘Dig Deep’ features which reminded you about activities and features on the website that related to the lessons learned in that chapter. There were ‘CSI Assignments’ where you went to the Bible and read a verse/s and then filled in the blanks and answered a discussion question. This was great for bringing out scriptural lessons in real life applications.

There were also ‘Detective Definitions’ where they explained some of the more technical terms used by the police detectives. For example, the words forensic and evidence. Finally, sprinkled throughout the book were sections titled, A Tool For Your Detective Bag. Those sections focused on lessons the reader could learn from the case such as “Accept Your Duty, Take Your Place, and Know and Help Your Listeners.”

The Case Makers Academy  had short five to ten minute videos that discussed each chapter. In addition there were worksheets that could be printed and completed. These included crossword puzzles, drawing worksheets, a detective notebook and even a leaders guide. The leaders guide gave great question to ask about the chapter, a summary, and connected to the adult books that correlate to the series. While I used this just with two of my own children (three if you count the four year old listening to find out more about the missing dog), it would also be a great study for a youth group or middle school small group. I intend to show the book to our youth minister at church as a possible tool for working with the youth group.

Don’t forget to check out all of the other Review Crew reviews below and then purchase your own copy of Forensic Faith for Kids! be sure to tell us in the comments how you think you could use this in your home school, family, or youth group.

 

Forensic Faith for Kids {David C Cook  and  Case Makers Academy Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

Barbour Publishing Kingdom Files Biography Series (Review)

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We wrapped up what we came to call our ‘summer of reading’ with a read aloud of  Who Was Jonah? which is a part of the Kingdom Files series by Barbour Publishing. This review book along with another book in the series Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? proved to be a great fit for our family. These are fun and fairly short chapter books that feature a biography of a Bible character, an investigation into their lives, and lessons that we can learn from those stories.

We read Who Was Jonah? together and really enjoyed it. The book starts with a Fact File that gives basic information about Jonah. I really appreciated this because even as an adult I sometimes struggle with the timeline of events in the Bible . Then comes the Action File. This section of the book was the story of Jonah and included great illustrations and clues that you could apply to your own life and to help you understand the story of Jonah. For example, “No matter what you’re going through, your heavenly Father sees you and accepts your prayers. That should be as comforting to us today as it was to Jonah. ” There were also some very well done black and white illustrations of the story in this part of the book.

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Another feature of the book that I really enjoyed are the scripture references for the portion of the story that he was telling. The story of Jonah was told through the words of the author but the references allow you to go and read the actual scripture for yourselves and compare it to the book. I found that the book did a great job of following scripture while also using a writing style that was very engaging for the children. In the Power File section, each ‘Power Up’ or lesson has a memory verse as well.

For Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?,  I had my daughter read it independently. The short chapters and engaging narrative made it an enjoyable read for her. This book was set up in the same style as Who Was Jonah? with the Fact File, Action File, and Power File.   While she enjoyed reading it and I think these books are fine to be read independently, I really think that they worked best for our family when we read them together. There were so many great lessons to be learned that I felt it was ideal to be able to pause after the chapters and have family discussions about what we were learning. I did not get a chance to use them for this reading (which we began while we were on vacation) but Kingdom Files has some great educator resources and games that you can print to take your study even further. These include word searches, creating trading cards, and mapping activities just to name a few.

These biographies can be read independently (recommended for ages 8-12) or used as a family read aloud or part of your Bible study time. I highly recommend checking out this great series. Our family is hoping to purchase some others in this series, particularly Who Was David? and Who Was Esther? Tell us in the comments which book you think your family would most enjoy and check out the other Crew Reviews below!

Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

What “Bible Time” Looks Like For Us (and LOTS of freebies)

From early on, I start teaching our kids to read their Bibles independently. I want them to see that God can speak to them, and they can understand it. Too much spoon-feeding helps our kids to feel they need to be reliant upon us in order to have a walk with God.

So, from the time they are small, we listen to Keys for Kids every day (you can also get it free in booklet form). We talk about the main idea of each broadcast. I copy and paste the verse for the day into a free handwriting worksheet maker for daily copy work.

When the kids were tiny, we used these little flashcards to learn a verse by heart for every letter of the alphabet.

I’ve also used a children’s Bible like this one, so they can begin reading passages on their own.

Who needs to hear the Bible read aloud more than the cat?
Who needs to hear the Bible read aloud more than the cat?

In addition, I also love this brand new children’s topical Bible, compiled by my friend, Michelle Brock.

I’ve used free printable Bible curricula like this and this (for older children).

I also enjoy including missionary biographies. Currently we are using this book, and we are really enjoying it. I’ve tried to encourage our youngest to write a little biography of her own using this free printable.

For my high schoolers, I’ve done some different things. I’ve used the New Answers Book (from Answers in Genesis), which is available free online (as well as a free study guide) for apologetics/creation science.  I’ve used this free material to create a “Life of Christ” course (here is a free commentary also). I put together a Biblical Counseling course using the free resources at Debi Pryde’s site in conjunction with this book by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

Finally, I’ve found plenty of videos recently addressing the idea of why the Bible is trustworthy. Here are the videos my 10th grader has watched thus far:

Science Confirms the Bible is True Part 1

Science Confirms the Bible is True Part 2

How Do We Know the Bible is True? (Josh McDowell)

40 Archaeology Facts Which Prove the Bible is True

A little more advanced is this series, “From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man” (free mp3s) by Mark Minnick, which addresses questions about inspiration, translations, and why the Bible we have is reliable.

A great initial discipleship tool is “Basics for Believers” by Dr. Jim Berg (not free, but very reasonable). A more fully developed, free discipleship series called Foundations can be found here.

Here is a screen shot of all the topics covered:

foundationsHope this helps!

For the Love of Learning,
Diane

Children’s Topical Bible Giveaway

biblecollageWe have a great event going on right now at Schoolin’ Swag!

Today I have not 1, not 2, but THREE copies of “The Topical Bible for Kids”! These are HARD copy volumes! I have had a chance to look through this resource, and I love it. Extremely user friendly, for both kids and parents. Addresses everyday issues important to children, like anger, contentment, disappointment, envy, friends, money, school, teasing, trust and much more! The winners can choose between KJV or NASB versions. She is hoping to have an ESV version available before Christmas as well.

**This is an exclusive offer… the book won’t be available for release/purchase until November 1st. For those who don’t win, the retail price is very reasonable… $9.99! I will have an Amazon link to post after November 1st.**

Here is Michelle’s blog post about it: http://www.as4me.net/bibletopics4kids/

Here is a link at Goodreads about it: https://www.goodreads.com/…/show/26861789-topical-bible-for…

To enter the giveaway, you’ll need to comment once in the thread (go join here!). I’ll give this a couple days to be public, and then I will draw winners at 9am (Mountain Time) on 10/31, via Random.org.