Friday Introduction: One-year Devotional


We’ve worked hard with both girls to institute the habit of having a quiet time with God every day. I try to provide them with devotional material that’s age-appropriate, interesting and relevant. As my older daughter has grown into the older tween years, that’s become more and more difficult. The children’s devotionals are too young, and the teen devotionals are too old. That’s why I’m so excited about today’s Friday Introduction, The One Year Devotions for Teens: DEVOS.

Yes, the cover says teens, but this isn’t a typical teen devotional book. My daughter isn’t interested in dating. She isn’t interested in boys at all right now. And I’m perfectly OK with that. My biggest issue with buying her a “teen” devotional is that they usually contain a lot of scenarios that include dating and boy/girl relationships. I don’t want to encourage those relationships before she discovers them on her own.

The One Year Devotions for Teens: DEVOS is a great devotional for tweens and teens. Written for both genders, it focuses on issues relevant to their stage of life. It includes only a handful of devotions about dating, and those are mostly about purity. This devotional focuses on who God is, why He’s relevant to our kids’ lives and how to practically apply what the Bible has to say. This is hands-down the best devotional I have found for tweens — boy or girl.

The book contains a devotional for every day of the year. Each day includes Bible reading, a short one-page devotional and the main idea for the day spelled out for the reader. If you’re looking for a devotional book that will keep your tween engaged and interested, check out The One Year Devotions for Teens: DEVOS.

Friday Introduction: Learning to Be Still (Allison French)

It’s not quite 9 AM and the dishwasher is going, the laundry machine whirring in ritualistic harmony. I’ve worked out, written three emails, balanced the budget, changed two dirty diapers, held an attitude adjustment session, conducted a short phonics lesson, fed three hungry little birdie mouths, started dinner, written a few paragraphs of this blog post and yet still not made a much of a dent in my to-do list. My educated guess is that those reading this blog have had a similar morning. Such is the life of a mother.


There are times in the day where I achieve a thrill, a “high” if you will, off of back-to-back accomplishments, seamless multi-tasking, that moment when my juggling act reaches its peak with balls suspended mid-air, and I am super-woman, super-mom soaring untouched on my own strength, my goals, my ambitions, my vision. This flight may last seconds, minutes, hours, or, if I am stubborn enough, maybe even days.

Regardless of the length of the flight, however, the crash is inevitable. The balls drop, reality hits, the tremble of an anxious heart breaks through. My nerves are frazzled, my patience thin, and, once again, I am not enough for all who want me, need me. You’d think I’d learn, time after time after time. And yet, too frequently, this is what it takes to bring me back to the deep longing I have for “the gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God.” (1 Peter 3:4).

As the shepherd of my children, I believe it is not only my responsibility to shelter, nourish and grow their little bodies and sweet minds, but their tender souls as well.


Just as my Shepherd “makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet water refreshing my soul” (Psalm 23), I’ve increasingly so felt the weight of the calling of modeling and making this same rest for my children. With three children under four, my personality, the roles I play and the dynamics of these factors combined, it’s not an easy thing. We all have our challenges to practicing this peace. The practicalities of motherhood are very important, deadlines don’t disappear, tasks must be checked off. And yet, a wise older woman once impressed upon me to, one: prioritize this peaceful practice and two: to start young.


Beginning in small but frequent increments, setting aside “quiet times” for our children and ourselves to sit is imperative to calming busy hands and flighty minds. It’s a certainly a discipline, and specific personalities take more readily to this practice, but the rewards are perhaps more impactful than any other life skill we can teach. Academically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the ability to be still is not only rewarding but necessary.

In our home, this quiet time is spent in separate chairs at several points in time throughout the day. Starting at a little over a year-old, I’ve invested hours upon hours helping my children learn to sit in one place with no other toys or stimulus than their small selection of books. In the beginning, a few minutes was an accomplishment worth a lavish celebration. Now, a timer can be set for a half-hour at a time.


I’ve watched my little ones blossom in this ability as the whining and complaining we inevitably worked through in the beginning has developed into something beautiful; my 3-year-old can be heard whispering rhyming words to herself, humming quiet preschool songs, my 20-month-old can be seen turning the pages of a book, pausing to contemplate the pictures. As a former teacher, I can appreciate the fact that my children will be required to do this someday in the classroom and are strengthening their imagination and independence now in preparation.


As we all know, this quiet, still time is not only coveted but many times necessary. There have been many times where I’ve called upon my children to use this skill when we are out and about; recently my youngest required an x-ray and my 18-month-old had to sit by himself on a chair outside the room until we finished. It was an amazingly freeing feeling to know I could trust him to stay quiet and safe in one spot for an extended amount of time. At home, many times I can catch up on a phone call, a counter clean, a meal prep, but often the greater reward is when I find my own seat with just my journal and Bible, joining them in silence.


This all being said, this morning’s rate of activity will most likely be repeated tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. I know full well that life can not be paused.


There is a season for everything. However, I’m writing today to share the joy of this revelation. 1 Kings 19 recounts the prophet Elijah’s encounter with the Lord. A series of loud, tumultuous events takes place, but it is after that, in the stillness that the Lord whispers to him gently. Setting aside time to “Be still, and know that (He is) God.” (Psalm 46:10) has been one of the most beautiful, rewarding, sanity-saving practices I have been introduced to, and it’s been a privilege to impart this joy to my children.


Allison French lives and photographs in Kansas City with her college sweetheart hubby and three children. She loves her babes (all four of them), Pippy Longstockings, her dog, all the lovely members of her constantly-in-contact family, her camera, writing and a good long run. She blogs about the daily life of motherhood and tries to get as much of her own beautiful everyday chaos from behind the lens as she does for others.

Friday Introduction: There is Grace

This motherhood thing can seem like it’s a constant stream of “No,” “Don’t do that,” “Did you do this?” “Why are you doing that?” From changing diapers to packing lunches to disciplining the kids to doing the laundry, so much of being mom is task-oriented, and we can get so caught up in those tasks that we forget to have fun.

Motherhood is supposed to be fun. Oh, not all the time. There’s nothing fun about puking kids in the night or trips to the emergency room. But being a mom should have as many moments of fun as it does frustration. Sometimes, though, we forget that. We forget to simply have fun with our kids.

God wants us to have fun. He wants us to enjoy our kids, enjoy our lives. Jesus says in John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Part of that fullness is fun and laughter.

Today, I want you to meet Nancy Backues who blogs over at There is Grace. She’s been blogging since 2008 and started her There is Grace blog just last year. There is Grace is a blog where she writes about her family, her faith and finding grace in the journey.

Nancy knows life isn’t always fun. As a cancer survivor, she’s seen how God can use everything in our lives for good. As she says, “I am now  2 1/2 years cancer-free, and while it was one of the most difficult times of my life, I am thankful for it. God used the experience to confirm in me my gift of words. My journey with cancer is what convinced me to begin writing my everyday story again.”

As part of that everyday story, Nancy and some friends decided they needed to spend more time having fun with their kids. That desire has evolved into the Fun Mommy! challenge on her blog. Each week, she intentionally chooses to do something fun with her kids, then blogs about it on Mondays. Here’s what she has to say about the challenge: “I was talking with some of my mom-friends one day when one of them commented about how her husband always seemed to be the ‘fun’ one. We all agreed it was the same in our households. Mom is typically all business, and the party starts when Dad gets home. So, we challenged one another to do one thing every week with our kids that is just pure fun. It ended up being a difficult (but rewarding) challenge for us all. I figured other moms might have the same struggle, so I brought the challenge to my blog. I can’t believe how many moms have told me that it struck a nerve with them…that they, too, have a hard time being a “Fun Mommy.” I so wish I came by it naturally, but I don’t. I really have to work at it.”

I want to encourage you to head over to Nancy’s blog to receive encouragement and to check out the Fun Mommy! challenge because we can all use a little more fun in our families. I’m going to be taking part in trying to intentionally be a Fun Mommy, and I hope you will to. Be sure to leave a comment for Nancy when you stop by and let her know I sent you. You can also check out the There is Grace Facebook page.

   Nancy Backues blogs at There is Grace. She is the mom of an 8-year-old daughter and a    5-year-old son. In addition to blogging, she is a freelance writer for a Christian publisher; she writes Sunday school curriculum, devotions, and magazine articles. She is passionate about words, especially God’s word. She loves chocolate, coffee, naps with her kids, dates with her husband of 10 years, and chatting with friends.

Friday Introductions: Prioritizing Marriage (Time-Warp Wife)

My husband and I are approaching our 17-year anniversary. I don’t write a lot about my husband in this space, mainly because he’s an intensely private person, and this blog is mostly about parenting, not marriage, but today, I want to talk about marriage. Why? Because our marriages affect our kids. How we treat each other, how we solve conflict, how we parent together are all affected by the health of our marriages.

Every marriage goes through great times and tough times. We have moments when we can’t imagine being married to anyone else and moments when we just want to throw up our hands and walk away. There are weeks, months and years when our marriages are fulfilling and amazing, then there are times when our marriages are draining and conflict-filled.

We’ve been going through one of those draining and conflict-filled periods in the past few weeks. Somewhere, our communication got off track, and we couldn’t manage to get it back together. Conversations that should have been easy became hard. Hard conversations became arguments.

When we’re in one of those periods in our marriage, it’s easy to blame the other person. They’re not listening, they’re not interested, they’re being stubborn, but the truth is, the only behavior that we can change in our marriages is our own. Most of the time, there’s plenty of blame to go around, and many times, I’ve found, I’m actually the problem, not my husband.

Yesterday morning, after another evening of not communicating well, God made it a point to show me that this time, I’m the problem. Sure, my husband has things he could work on, but the root of our issues this time is me. Somewhere along the line, my husband got pushed to the bottom of my priority list — if he was even on it at all. When I had to make a choice between being a good wife or being a good parent, ministry leader, friend or volunteer, I’ve been nearly always choosing the thing that is not my husband.

God says in Genesis 2:24, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” He doesn’t tell us to become one with anyone else — not our kids, not our job, not our ministry. If we are to work together, if everyone is going to pull in the same direction, then we have to put a priority on our marriages.

Healthy marriages don’t just happen. They take a lot of work. No matter what we do as parents, if we’re married, the single most important thing we can do for our kids after focusing them on God is to love our spouse. Our kids are learning how to interact with others, what to look for in a mate, and what a marriage looks like by watching us. When we allow conflict to fester, when we don’t acknowledge when we are wrong, when we treat our spouses like they don’t matter, we’re teaching our children what a relationship looks like.

It’s tough to do it all. It’s hard to work, parent, be a wife, and be a ministry leader, among other things. It’s difficult to carve out time for everything, but our marriages have to be at the top of our priority lists, right after God. They have to be there because everything else we do is ineffective if they’re not.

One of my favorite resources for perspective on marriage is the blog Time-Warp Wife. She does a great job of focusing on the role of women in a biblical marriage. Plus she offers up lots and lots of great tips on ways to show your husband you love him and how to keep your marriage vibrant. If you need encouragement in your marriage, be sure to check it out.

This week, I’ll be reorganizing my priorities to find some extra moments to spend with my husband, so that he knows that he’s at the top of the priority list instead of at the bottom. And I hope in doing so that I’m teaching my kids that marriage is more important than work, ministry and even them. Because that’s the way God designed it.

Friday Introduction: You Have Been Invited (and a giveaway)

My girls love to get birthday party invitations in the mail. There’s something special about knowing you were chosen to join in someone else’s celebration. It makes you feel important and included.

God gives us all sorts of invitations. He invites us to accept His gift, approach His throne in prayer, marvel at His creation and so much more. A new book, You Have Been Invited! by Brian Howell, lays out these invitations for children. This beautifully illustrated picture book includes 19 of God’s invitations. Each 2-page spread includes the invitation and the scripture that backs it up.

This book is a great way to start talking with your preschooler about the things God has invited him or her to do. The simple, engaging format of the book makes it a great starting point for learning about the things that God has invited us to do.

You could even use this book with older kids as a springboard for some more in-depth conversations. Take an invitation a day and make it your dinner-table conversation. Talk about what the invitation means and what the blessings are that you receive from that invitation.

Brian Howell got the idea for the book when reading Tea for Ruby about a child who is invited to have tea with the queen. That book started him thinking about how God has invited us to do many things with Him and You Have Been Invited! was born.

While You Have Been Invited! is a simple book, it’s message is important and timeless. If you have preschoolers or early elementary kids, don’t miss out on this book.

I’m lucky enough to be able to give you a chance to own a copy of this book as we’re giving one away today. Don’t miss your chance to own it.

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Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review and giveaway purposes.

Friday Introductions: Case for Christ for Kids

It’s a cold, blustery, drizzly day here. We probably won’t spend much time outside. I really think the wind is strong enough to blow over my 65-pound 9-year-old.

Speaking of that 9-year-old, she’s had a lot of questions lately. Questions about God, heaven and faith. She’s really struggling to understand who God is, whether He’s real and why it matters. Growing up in a home with Christian parents doesn’t guarantee your kids will never have questions.

We want our kids to have real faith — faith that gives them roots and holds them up in the tough times, faith that won’t be blown away when the winds of life are howling around them.

For some kids, faith comes easy. It’s not a big deal to believe in a God they can’t see. They accept the Bible at face value. They have no trouble believing that God loves them and would send His Son to die for them.

Other kids have to dissect it all, make sure it makes sense, then make a decision to believe or not. Much as we would like, we can’t force our faith on our kids. They have to choose to follow Jesus on their own.

If you have one of those questioning kids, one of those kids who has to dissect it all before he can believe it, don’t overreact when they start asking questions. Pray hard for your child. Hit your knees and stay there for a while. But answer those questions the best that you can. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “I’ll have to look that up.” Don’t make their questions out to be abnormal or frustrating for you. Let them know that everyone has questions.

My younger daughter and I are going to be working through “Case for Christ for Kids, Updated and Expanded (Case for… Series for Kids)” by Lee Strobel. If you have a child who is struggling to understand Jesus, then I encourage you to check out this book. Lee Strobel was a journalist who set out to disprove that Jesus was the Son of God. He actually discovered enough evidence for Jesus that he became a believer. His “The Case for Christ” for adults has been a classic of Christian apologetics for years. His book for kids brings that information down to their level.

Don’t let your kids’ need to question their faith send you over the edge. Keep the tone gentle and let them ask questions. If we hide from their questions, they might decide that Jesus won’t stand up to intense scrutiny and turn away. Keep them talking and keep praying. It’s the best thing you can do to keep their faith from being blown away with the first strong wind.

Friday Introduction: Teach Me to Serve (and a giveaway)

I love doing Friday Introductions and introducing all of you to the great blogs and resources that are available, but I think that today may be my absolute favorite Friday Introduction so far. A couple of weeks ago, Kristen from Celebrate Every Day With Me did a great guest post in this space about how to celebrate the ordinary, everyday moments. This week, I get to introduce you to her new e-book, Teach Me to Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others.

Now, if you don’t have preschoolers, don’t turn away because after reading her book, I think every parent should own a copy. While the ideas in this short, 30-page book are geared toward preschoolers, they are easily adapted for older kids as well.

The world is busy telling our kids that the only thing that matters in this world is getting ahead, having a good time and putting yourself first. Selfishness is encouraged in many areas of life. But God tells us to put others first. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” That’s the message we want to send our kids. That’s the attitude we want to teach them.

In Teach Me to Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others, Kristen lists out 99 easy ways you can help create a servant’s heart in your child. Most of the ideas are quick and simple to do. Most don’t require a lot of preparation and planning. But all of them have one goal in mind: creating an attitude of service in your child.

From serving dinner to handing out candy to crying children at an amusement park, Kristen gives you fun ideas for turning service into a lifestyle for you and your kids. I guarantee if you start adding some of these ideas into your life on an every day or every week basis, you’ll find not only your children’s hearts softening toward others, you’ll find your own heart looking for ways to serve as well.

Don’t miss out on getting a copy of Teach Me to Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others. I’m so blessed to get to give away a copy today, so be sure to enter at the bottom of this post. You can also order a PDF copy on the Teach Me to Serve website or you can get a copy for your Kindle or Nook.

Today and tomorrow, Kristen is offering Everyday Truth readers a 30% discount on the $3.99 price of the book. Enter everyday30 as the discount code on the Teach Me to Serve website. This discount is only good on PDF copies and not on Kindle or Nook.

Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on this book and start your family on a journey toward serving others.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Friday Introductions: Khan Academy

My older daughter is taking pre-algebra this year. Now, it’s been a really long time since I’ve worked an algebra program of any kind –like 25 years. When she brings home algebra problems that she needs help with, I have to dig deep into the recesses of my brain to figure out how to help her. And sometimes I’m wrong, which doesn’t make her very happy.

That’s why when I stumbled across Khan Academy’s website, I was thrilled. This free website offers video tutorials on a whole bunch of subjects, including algebra. They cover history, economics, math, science and even computer science. The videos are easy to understand, and each one includes practice problems. We used it over the summer as a refresher to keep the kids up to speed on their math.

It can be tough to admit to our kids we don’t know everything. We don’t want to appear stupid in front of our kids. When your sixth-grader is doing math problems that you don’t remember how to do, you can feel like an inadequate parent. But an important part of parenting is to admit when we don’t know something and find a way to help our kids anyway.

When my girls first started playing sports, I didn’t know a whole lot about either sport. When they needed help with a move, I was pretty useless. So, I watched YouTube videos and talked to their coaches until I understood what my kids needed. Helping them with their schoolwork or to understand difficult things in the Bible is no different. I need to find ways to help them, not pretend I know everything. Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” When we choose to pretend we know everything, we’re setting ourselves up for a fall — and our kids might get crushed in the process.

So, if you’re struggling for answers to your kids’ homework or if you’re just looking for a different way for your kids to practice their math facts or study for their science test, swallow your pride and check out Khan Academy. They might have the answers you don’t.

Friday Introductions: Clubhouse Magazine

My girls love magazines. They’re quick to read. They hold their interest. The come in the mail. It’s a recipe for success.

Too often, though, I’m disappointed with what’s in the magazines aimed at kids, especially girls. Too often, those magazines want my kids to grow up faster than I want them to. It’s important that we know what’s going into our kids’ heads and hearts. What they read can be an important influence on what they think, especially when it comes to magazines where most of the information is real, not fiction.

Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Too many of the magazines aimed at kids encourage them to think on things that don’t meet this standard.

That’s why I like Clubhouse magazine and Clubhouse Jr. These are magazines aimed at kids from a Christian perspective. The main article each month is called Truth Pursuer, and it’s about an important biblical concept or character quality. Other articles in the magazine are filled with humor, cool facts and stories about kids just like yours who are doing amazing things.

The magazines also have a great website that include articles from the magazine, games and videos. It’s a safe place where your kids can play online without you worrying about what they’re getting into.

If your kids like magazines, I encourage you to check out Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. It’s definitely money well-spent.


Friday Introduction: Encouraging Positive Friendships

I’m honored to have my blogging friend, Rosann, from ChristianSuperMom guest posting about friendships today. It’s a timely reminder as our kids head back to school. And congratulations to Cindy Bischoff, who is the winner of our 31 Gifts Utility Tote giveaway.

It’s almost that time of year again.  Soon my daughter will be meeting her 2nd grade teacher and reuniting with friends from last year.  I’m grateful she has a natural love for school and learning.

I’m cautiously watchful when it comes to her friendships, though.

Since she was old enough to play with other kids, I’ve been teaching her the importance of being the salt and the light, a friend to all.

What I never prepared her for is how to determine when a friendship is not worth pursuing.  I guess the thought never crossed my mind that she’d be in a position of having to unfriend someone.

But toward the end of last school year, there was this bully…

…my daughter was emotionally damaged.  An attack on her faith, spun into a vicious lie where others were also deeply hurt.

I didn’t want to be that mom who sticks her nose in her children’s friendships.  But I had to do something to protect her from any future recurrences.

So I stepped in and forced an end (the best I could) to an unhealthy friendship.

As school resumes, I pray old pains and rumors will be forgotten.  Additionally, I have a plan.

A Plan for Encouraging Positive Friendships

 1.  Keep An Open Line Of Communication

Children need to trust they won’t be in trouble or looked down on if they share details of their world with one or both of their parents.  Ask questions and be sure to listen attentively to how their day went.  Choose words carefully keeping your child’s feelings in mind.  Remember to respond with grace.

2.  Embrace Teachable Moments

Look for teachable moments in the every day.  When watching a TV show together.  When reading books together.  When observing others interacting with one another.  Read and discuss with your child what the Bible teaches about friendship.  Continually reinforce the characteristics of a healthy relationship.

3.  Encourage Positive Friendships

Make it a point to invite your child’s friends over for fun activities or play dates.  Get to know the family of their friends.  Host game night or dinner at your home and invite the family over.  Become friends with their friends.  Say a friendly “hello!” whenever you see your child’s friends at school or extra-curricular functions.

4.  Set A Good Example

Children learn by watching how their own family members behave in different situations.  Set a good example.  Nurture your own relationships.  Be a good friend.  Adults can be bullies too.  Don’t be a victim.

What steps do you take to help nurture your child’s friendships?


Rosann Cunningham is a Christian Author, wife to the man of her dreams, and stay-at-home mom to two delightful little girls. When she’s not out for a jog or having energy burning dance parties with her daughters, she can be found writing for her blog ChristianSuperMom, and ministering to women whose husbands are in a season of unemployment, at her other website UnEMPLOYED Faith.  Her writing inspiration for both projects comes from a strong desire to glorify God while sharing the heart of her journey through a life of faith.