Jesus Calling for Little Ones

Three Favorite Family Bible Study Items

We’ve been testing out a few options for family Bible study to see what works for our kids as unique learners and us as a family. I’ve loved many resources we’ve been able to review or come across over the years. Some we’re saving for when the kids are older. But here are three we’re using right now and absolutely love:

1. GrapeVine Studies – We love the simplicity and interactive components of GrapeVine Bible studies! We’ve particularly used the traceable formats for our preschoolers, and they’re wonderful for young kids working on fine motor skills. The lessons are short enough for young attention spans, and also work well to spread a unit out over several weeks (with two or three days per week). I’ve reviewed some of the GrapeVine traceables studies on my blog in the past and included ways we adapt the lessons for our child with special needs. GrapeVine also offers studies for older students and multi-level studies for families to complete together.

Grapevine Summer Studies

Keep a watch with GrapeVine. Starting July 15th, they’re having a mega bundle sale!

2. Jesus Storybook Bible – I know I’ve mentioned this one quite a bit, but it’s just so wonderful. The poetic, yet age-appropriate and energetic, way Sally Lloyd-Jones writes this Bible offers a wonderful read aloud. Plus, every story, no matter whether it’s Old Testament or New Testament, focuses on God’s love and telling that story of love through His people and through Christ.

Jesus Storybook Bible

3. Jesus Calling for Little Ones – My daughter is in love with this book. I enjoyed the original version of Jesus Calling for adults and this board book version for young kids picks out some wonderful statements and verses. Each page spread has a sweet and colorful illustration, one focus verse, and 4-5 sentences in the trademark Jesus Calling style of God speaking to the reader.

For example of the style, one page reads: “If you look to the heavens, I am there. If you look to the bottom of the ocean, I am there. I am everywhere! You can be sure I am always with you.”

Jesus Calling for Little Ones

With a good mix of Old Testament and New Testament verses, this little book covers several themes: trusting through fear, prayer, gratitude, trusting God’s plans, joy, forgiveness, worry, God’s presence, and more. There are thirteen total spreads/stanzas.

My daughter loves reading each stanza aloud and talking about the illustrations. My favorite aspect of this format is that one page spread has just enough to allow preschoolers to hear the heart behind a verse and allows us to discuss it as a family and what it means in our daily lives. This board book is great for around ages 1-6, and for older siblings to read and “teach” to younger siblings.

Upcoming: In the next year, I’m very excited to try out the K-3 version of the PictureSmart Bible. I’ve read many good things about this program and was able to check it out in person at our homeschool convention this year, and I think it’ll be wonderful to combine a new tactile component with book overviews!

What are your family’s current favorite Bible study resources? Have you used one of the above resources? Share your experiences in the comments!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Jesus Calling for Little Ones from the publisher as a part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates and GrapeVine Studies. If you click on an Amazon link or a GrapeVine Studies link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Hearts Made Whole - Jody Hedlund

Forgiveness of All Kinds {Book Review – Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund}

Jody Hedlund’s historical fiction romance novels always include a romantic plotline along with a few other relatable themes woven in, and the second book in the “Beacons of Hope” series, Hearts Made Whole (Bethany House, 2015), continues this format.

Hearts Made Whole - Jody Hedlund

In Hearts Made Whole, the reader follows Caroline Taylor in Michigan in 1865 as she acts as the lightkeeper of Windmill Point Lighthouse after her father’s death and takes care of her four younger siblings. Ryan Chambers enters the scene, newly appointed as the lighthouse replacement after returning from the Civil War. (Readers of the first in this series, Love Unexpected, will remember Ryan Chambers as Emma’s brother.) Ryan quickly realizes he isn’t fit for the lightkeeping job, nor does he want to boot out Caroline and her family, but women aren’t supposed to keep jobs like lightkeeping. This storyline among other supporting plots create a high-conflict book.

Jody always knows how to keep the conflict ramped up in a book and continued to do so in this book. Just when you think a conflict will be resolved, another issue douses the victory. As always, the historical details and settings fascinate me as much as (and sometimes more than) the plotline. This book addresses themes of trust, forgiveness (between siblings, friends, and enemies), healing, looking to God for strength and sustenance rather than objects or people, women’s rights, and seeking truth.

Ryan’s character was my favorite in this book. He exuded not only charm, but had a realness and relatable brokenness to him that allows the reader to empathize with his struggles and cheer for his developing strength and healing. Caroline also had past brokenness to overcome, and both experienced trials and growth in their faith journeys.

I wasn’t fond of the character of Tessa, Caroline’s sister, but could see hints of change in the last few chapters. This should make for an interesting start to the next book in the series, which looks like it will follow Tessa’s story.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction and Christian romantic fiction, you’ll continue to enjoy this series.

Jody is also hosting a Facebook party for the release of this book tonight (June 23rd) at 7pm Central! Details here.

"She might have darkness in her life...but God was still bright and unchanging behind the clouds." - from Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

I always love reading an author’s note to find out what’s based on truth in a historical fiction novel. Do you read the author’s notes?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

An Ode to the Mountains

An Ode to the Mountains

I might’ve mentioned here before that I love the mountains. (#understatement)

This month, at Do Not Depart, we’re looking at our Marvelous Creator and what His creation signifies to us as we study it and Him.

So, of course, I wrote about the mountains.

With good reason, though.

An Ode to the Mountains

Join me at Do Not Depart for my ode to the mountains (particularly the Appalachians) and what being in the mountains reminds me about God. I’d love to hear your favorite parts of God’s creation, too.

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

Finding Good and Hope {Book Review – A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron}

World War II stories are hard and fascinating and certain ones offer stories filled with hope.

Hope is a main theme of A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson, 2015). The reader follows two intertwined storylines. One, a present-day story with Sera Hanover, newly married to William and an art curator who now has to help her husband fight a legal battle against his family. The other, a 1940s story of Kája Makovsky, a young woman from Prague who has to escape Nazi rule because her family is half-Jewish. She becomes an employee in London at The Daily Telegraph, but, as the Blitz occurs and the war gets worse, finds herself drawn back to Prague to find her remaining family.

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

I read The Butterfly and the Violinby Kristy Cambron last year, the first in this “Hidden Masterpiece” series, which was a fantastic debut novel. Like that first novel, A Sparrow in Terezin includes Sera as a common character. The dual storyline keeps the reader turning pages, following circumstances of both. The historical details and setting descriptions are fascinating and obviously well-researched. The reader can easily visualize both worlds in this story.

I found that, if I had to choose, The Butterfly and the Violin might be my preferred novel. Kája’s story in A Sparrow in Terezin is fascinating, emotional, and hard, as well, though the symbolism of the sparrow didn’t seem as inclusive as symbolism in the first novel. The author did an excellent job of creating Kája’s world changes, in Prague early on, in London as she settled into a new way of life, in London as the Blitz occurred, and later within the heart of German-occupied Europe. Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this story was the inspection of good and evil, and how good and beauty could be found even when surrounded by immense evil.

Between these two novels, readers get a strong sense of two different perspectives of the terrors of World War II. I recommend fans of historical fiction reading them both.

What is a fascinating World War II story you’ve read recently?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

As Waters Gone By - Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon, 2015)

Imagery, Analogies, and Hope {Book Review – As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti}

I’m always drawn to great analogies and setting details, and the most recent book I read definitely shares some of that.

As Waters Gone By - Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon, 2015)

As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon, 2015) introduces the reader to Emmalyn Ross in the midst of a very trying time. Her husband is imprisoned for a rash action and serving a 5-year sentence, which has become a 5-year pause on their marriage. Emmalyn sells their main home and moves to a small cottage they own on a remote island in Lake Superior, wanting a place of exile for the remaining 8 months of her husband’s sentence. Only, when she gets there, she finds more surprises (good and bad) than she expected.

This book features a slightly unique twist on third-person, past tense writing. While the writing remains past tense, the specific voice the author uses allows the reader to follow directly along with Emmalyn’s thought process, even to the point of reading Emmalyn’s train of thought switch mid-sentence. This immediacy helps the reader think and feel as Emmalyn is in the story.

At times in the early chapters, Cora and Bougie’s advice and anecdotes seemed more realistic than Emmalyn’s own thought processes. Some of Emmalyn’s internal analogies and insistent recurrent thoughts made me pause a bit because they disconnected the flow of the narrative. But this was a small distraction compared to the great plot and writing in this book. Most of the setting imagery and analogies were beautiful and heighten the visualizations of the environment. I found myself deeply caring about many of the flavorful and varied side characters by Chapter 4 (the side characters ended up being my favorite!), as well as loving the little island town (and wanting to visit!).

This book tackles so many more themes than just what it takes to make a marriage work. We reflect on friendships, work, family issues, children, lack of children, imprisonment, shelters, grace, communication, and hope. This book is a thoughtful, introspective read that doesn’t present a perfect ending, but does offer a hope-filled one.

What hope-filled book have you recently read?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group as a part of their blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.