Stone Soup for Five

Jul 28, 2015

5 simple ways to add Bible into your Homeschool

Adding Bible study into homeschool is tricky because it's the most important subject we have, but it can very easily become the most dreaded subject too.

I used to think my boys got "enough" Bible between Wednesday night AWANA and the scripture sprinkled through out the other subjects we were studying.... 

But, I realized I was missing out on a crucial part of my job, and I was being lazy.  I am to teach God's word to my children.  I am to live it out and talk about it when we sit down, when we rise up, and all the times in between.  I was slacking off and feeling crushed under the guilt of it.  Because, honestly, some days homeschool is EXHAUSTING. When I'd lay in bed at night (those guilt-ridden minutes before sleep graciously takes me), I'd be so overcome with discouragement and guilt and hated feeling that way.

I knew there had to be a better way.

Last year was an experiment year.  I tried a few curriculums, a few things on my own, and we found some things that always worked for us, and made Bible time enjoyable.

Audio--Audio Bibles are great! We love the dramatized versions the best.  There are hundreds of free versions online.  Each morning, we'd listen to one chapter.  Easy and fun, which makes it do-able for me, and because they like them so much, it encourages them to get up, get their chores done, and get to the table so they don't miss it! has different 30 min podcasts that are great to listen to, we used it a lot during lunch time.

Visual--My sons learn very well visually, and I asked them to doodle while we were listening to the audio Bibles (after a few doodles of battle tanks and war scenes, we had to institute a rule of doodling what they were actually listening to).  


Discussion--After listening and doodling some days we'd take time to talk about what we had learned.  Most of the time this was just talking about what they had doodled, but their insight and understanding often times caught me off guard.


Scripture memory cards--I didn't want to have memory be a high stress part of our school, since it's not about how much you can remember, but more about building up a "library" of God's word in their heart to use throughout their life.  This Charlotte Mason system has worked really well for us for years.  It's kind, easy, low-key, but incredibly effective.


Transcribe--Our favorite way to write out the word is to divide their notebook page into three big sections.  In the top row they write out the Bible verse (or verses) that they're assigned (Copywork WIN!).  In the next row they write the verse in their own words.  In the final row, they write it out as if they were explaining it to a small child... we'd write it out like we were telling it to one of their young cousins.  Older kids were given multiple verses, younger less. 

And if you need to fit in some more Bible time for yourself, I have some fun, visual, and very approachable Bible studies written just for busy homeschool moms.  Work at your own pace, add simple doodles, and teach yourself the Word of God. 

Jul 26, 2015

A walk through and video of Kelly's Bible journal

I was originally hesitant to try the Journal and Doodle studies because I feel I am not good at drawing.  

But after working on the free Ephesians study, I love them. I love details in these studies. I love what I have learned about the time and the area and the fact that the doodle examples are easy for someone who doesn't draw to follow.

I have learned a new way to study the Bible that is in depth.

The studies are easy to follow but thought provoking.

I would recommend them to everyone because I have learned so much!

This study in Ephesians is my first study and I have learned so much just in Chapter 1. It really makes the Bible real and personal.

Anyone can do it!! You don't have to be an artist or a Bible scholar.


Thank you Kelly!  You can get your free Ephesians study by subscribing in the sidebar to the right.

AND in just 7 more days the two newest studies are coming out through 1 and 2 Corinthians!  I have a special package deal for you for that week only!  Don't miss out!

Jul 25, 2015

A Peek Inside Rachel's Bible Journal

I just love it when people allow me to peek over their shoulders and see what they're learning through the Journal and Doodle Bible studies! I was able to interview Rachel and she graciously shared some of what God has been teaching her through her time journaling and doodling. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Thank you Rachel!
Before coming to Christ, I was a spiritually searching GOD-believer, just not a Jesus believer. I was happy most of the time and very much connected to God through nature. But I resisted Christianity.

One day God worked through my fiancée and his testimony and touched a guarded place in my heart. For the first time ever, God had given me the ears to really hear what others where saying about Jesus, rather then listening with my "Mis-judging earmuffs" on.

From that moment, the great search began! I contacted everyone I knew who radiated a love for Jesus, searched out a good church, and devoured book after book on what it means to allow Christ into your heart. I read the Bible each day, and it filled me up!

But often times, I would find myself a bit confused. There were lots of chapters I was misunderstanding or not fully grasping the ideas. Well, that's where the Journal and Doodle Bible Studies come in! They are exactly what I was looking for and so much more!

As I continue through the Ephesians study, I've grasped so much MORE understanding than I even knew I needed. The map teachings and the history set up in the introduction really helped me to grasp the time period and the chronological order of the events.

And when I made it to the chapter studies, God really filled my heart with a much deeper understanding of His word! It's like all the little cracks and crevices and questions were being filled in, and I could connect God's word to my heart, and on a much more personal level!

Each day as I connect with God and work through the study, God continues to grow, strengthen and guide me. Our relationship is beautiful and I've never felt so filled up and bright. Before, I knew God, but I didn't realize that it was only a whisper to what He was really trying to say to me. It wasn't until I met Jesus that my heart really exploded with so much real love and joy!

This study particularly, has really helped me to understand God's heart and the immensity of what Jesus has done for us, through love. I can't be more grateful. I'm a 100% a new person and absolutely in love with our amazing Creator!


You can get the same free full-length Bible study Rachel is working on by subscribing on the right.  Thank you Rachel!

Coming in 8 more days!!

Jul 23, 2015

Penny Bennett Totes and Samaritan's Purse--an awesome combo!

With the upcoming release (Saturday, August 1st) of the Journal and Doodle through Corinthians studies Penny Bennett Totes, our sponsor, has set up a great promotion just for you!

In 2 Corinthians, Paul spends two chapters talking about the importance of giving and encouraging the believers in Corinth to give generously.  In light of that, Penny has teamed up with Samaritan's Purse Bible and Christian Literature program to get the Bible, and other gospel literature, into the hands of people around the world.

For each Stone Soup for Five reader who purchases a Bible tote (of any size), Penny will donate $5.00 to Samaritan's Purse.  I love that Penny's tagline "Get the Word out!" is really and actively being lived out!  And that she's giving others a chance to get involved!

This promotion is only through July 31st. 
 When you purchase from Penny, please be sure to use the "note to seller" that you're from SSFF so she can track the donation amount.

If there ever was a time to buy, it's now! Share the Word with those in need around the world! 
(Is it too early to mention Christmas gifts?)

Jul 19, 2015

A walk-through of Kelly's Bible Journal

Kelly was kind enough to film a walk through of her Bible Journal for us.  She is currently working through the free Ephesians Bible study that you can get by subscribing on the right.  I love Kelly's creativity and how she has made this study unique with her own special touches. Thank you Kelly!!

"I did a search on Facebook and found your group. Then I went on your webpage. Your approach was so wonderful that anyone can do it. I love to study the Bible. I love all the background information that I am learning. Your studies bring the Bible to life for me!"

You can find more of these studies available here:

And the new 1 and 2 Corinthians studies are coming August 1st!
Be sure to sign up to keep up to date!


Jul 10, 2015

When You Can't Get Your Morning Routine to Work

Most of us have heard how essential it is to have a disciplined morning routine to start the day off right.  I definitely agree with that, but it can be a HARD thing to do!

I have struggled at each stage of parenting to get the mornings done well and still do.

Not that long ago I hit another Morning Routine Rut and could NOT get things going.  I'd wake up later than I wanted, stumble into the kitchen for coffee, and waste a couple hours online.  I'd feel like the rest of my day was ruined, no matter how I tried to make up for it.

So I stopped trying to fix my morning routine.

Instead, I changed my focus to my evening routine.  And it made all the difference.

Instead of watching TV, being online, or reading (falling asleep on the couch with a book in my lap), I make it a priority at about a half hour to an hour before bed to work on my evening routine.  The cool thing is that when my evening stuff is done, it almost always guarantees a great morning routine!

Here's my usual evening routine:

10 Minute House Pickup--when the boys were babies, this was essential to get all their toys tossed into baskets and all the bottles loaded in the dishwasher.  Now that they are teens, I usually ask them to do their assigned rooms.  (Each boy has a room of the house that is "theirs" to keep clean in addition to their own rooms--My oldest has the kitchen, because he's the biggest mess offender in that area, my middle son has the dining room, and my youngest the living room.)  10 min is a great amount of time to get things put back in their places and wipe down messes.

Sweep--Most of the time, the boys do this as part of their pickup time.  There is nothing worse than walking into a kitchen with bare feet in the morning and having crumbs sticking to your feet.

Take Laundry Out of Washer--The boys all do their own laundry, which means they start a load in the washer then forget about it... which means they sour quickly and smell awful.  So each evening I double check the washer and make sure all clothes are at least drying in the dryer.

Make Lunch-- Mr. Measure takes a lunch each day and likes the ease of sandwiches, so every night I make him two sandwiches and store in the fridge.  I really hate making sandwiches, but I hate reaching into a bag of cold, wet lunch meat first thing in the morning even more. *urp*

Shine the Sink--This is 100% Flylady.  Sometimes I just make sure there are no food scraps hardening in the sink, but when I do it right and spray bleach cleaner and use windex on the faucet, it's pretty awesome to wake up to.

Change Dish Towels--I HATE that sour smell of old dish cloths!  Every evening I put a fresh one out and add the old one to the laundry.  I do the same for the hand towels too.

Lay Out Workout Clothes-- If I lay them out I can make sure everything I need is washed and ready to go.  If they're out, it's quick to dress in the morning and if I'm dressed in workout clothes it improves my odds of actually working out.  My goal has been sweating in the morning for a half hour 4 times a week.  Laying out the clothes pretty much ensures it happens.

Charge Electronics-- I check my iPod (with the couch to 5k app I'm currently sweating through with my youngest), my phone, and my kindle.  Charging as needed.

Lay Out Bible--I clean off my desk (where I read my Bible in the mornings with coffee) and lay out my Bible, journal, and pen.  I make sure the desk is uncluttered and inviting.

Shower, Floss, Vitamins--I moved our huge Costco sized multi-vitamins into the bathroom and have been consistent with taking one a night when I am brushing my teeth.  Same with my allergy meds, and this year has been the best for not having eye-swelling, throat-itching allergies!

Wipe out bathroom sink and change hand towel--I usually just use the bathroom hand towel and get a bit of it wet and wipe down around the soap dispenser.  There is so much soap dripped there that I use that to clean the sink, faucet, and countertop.   The old handtowel goes in the wash and a fresh one is laid out.  If the mirror is bad, I use a dry section of the same handtowel to wipe it down the the glass cleaner we keep in the bathroom.

Read-Aloud--We started our Reading Promise years ago, and though we aren't as regular as I'd like in the summers, it's been a good way to get everyone calmed down for the night, and a great way to just be together again before bed.

My morning is completely dependent on if I've done my evening routine.  If I haven't then I spend the day putting out fires instead of what I want to do.  If I focus, it really takes me no more than a half hour to do the activities and another 15-20 min for read aloud.

It requires discipline to stop what I'm doing and get to work on my evening routine, and Flylady recommends starting it right after dinner.  I seem to do better if I do it an hour before bed, so I can use that right after dinner time to enjoy my family or read before I'm too tired to.

What do you think? Do you have a evening routine?  Is there even just one thing you could start doing the night before to make a better morning?

Jun 26, 2015

Simple Bible Meditation for Complete Beginners

 "What value is there to reading one, three, or more chapters of Scripture only to find that after you've finished you can't recall a thing you've read?" 
-Donald Whitney

For years I've read my Bible in many ways...  Chapter by chapter, reading a book 50 times, or reading from cover to cover, but I always struggled with forgetting what I'd read after I checked it off of my to-do list for the day.

In 1990 (before the internet), Maurice Roberts wrote "Our age has been sadly deficient in what may be termed spiritual greatness.  At the root of this is the modern disease of shallowness.  We are all too impatient to meditate on the faith we profess....It is unhurried meditation on gospel truths and the exposing of our minds to these truths that yields the fruit of sanctified character."

As I'm reading about the Spiritual Disciplines, the discipline of meditation has appeared in every one of the books.  It is not the meditation of Eastern Mysticism, one of emptying your mind, but rather the complete opposite, it's filling your mind with a verse or passage and letting that soak in deeply.

Though I'm still experimenting and learning what the "system" of meditation looks like, I can tell you it is an entirely different way to be in the Word, and the results have been amazing.  What starts as reading, flows into study, which flows into meditation, then application, then praise and prayer.  The flow is almost seamless.

As Christians in today's technology saturated culture, we can all take a step back from "to-do-ing" our Bible reading and spending more time steeping our minds slowly and unhurriedly with meditation. "Read less (if necessary) in order to meditate more... It's better to read a small amount of Scripture and meditate on it than to read an extensive section without meditation." -Donald Whitney


I'm not really sure what it looks like for everyone, but I'll tell you what it has been looking like for me.

READ - After praying, it starts with reading a chapter in the Bible, and after reading, finding a verse that stands out.  I underline or notate that verse then re-read it a few times emphasizing different words each reading.

WRITE - Next, I write the verse in my journal, but not in paragraph form but outline form.  Separating into lines that seem to make sense and put the different main points on a different line.

CONTEXT- Next, I read and write down the context in which the verse was found.  I re-read the chapter or section surrounding the verse to try to fully grasp what the author was talking about.  I want to be so careful not to pull verses out of context and warp them to what I think or want them to say.

DEFINE - Now I pick some words (even some that I know what they mean) and pull out my dictionary and write the definition.  Some of the words in my Bible are also notated with the original Greek words and definitions, so I will use those when possible to get a deeper understanding of the Greek.  It's amazing how many Greek words have no equivalent words in English.  Their language was so much richer than ours and these definitions really help.

STUDY - Here I might look up some commentary for more confusing passages, or read the study notes in the Bible or for the Greek words.  I also look up the cross references of other verses noted in the margins and write notes.

QUESTIONS - Next I ask questions.  How does this apply to me?  What is it telling me about God?  Me?  Jesus?  How to live?  For example with this verse, I started by asking, what does  "By His doing" mean?  Then write down my thoughts "It means that it was God's plan.  His effort.  His action, His activity."

QUOTES - There are some amazing theologians out there and I love to hear their insights.  Some of my favorites are Matthew Henry and Charles Spurgeon and many other commentators on Blue Letter Bible or Bible Study Tools.  It's so easy to find great thoughts on every chapter and verse in the Bible.  Today is one of the best ages to study with great minds and sit under the teaching of them with just the click of a mouse.

WORSHIP - After working through this (sometimes I work through just a part of the verse--like I did above--and will come back to it the next day) it leads naturally into worship.  Putting it all down on paper and organizing my thoughts about what God has done leads me to fall down in worship, which naturally leads to prayer.  The prayer usually mirrors my worship, thanking Him for what He had done and asking Him to help me in areas that the verse has spotlighted.

This way of Bible meditation has been so beneficial and is completely adjustable for the time you have available.  You can do each section in a few minutes, or take longer on each if you have time.  You can do them all in one day, or break each apart into several days and make it work specifically for you and what you have going on in your life.

"Most information, even biblical information, flows through our minds like water through a sieve.  There's usually so much information coming in each day and it comes so quickly that we retain very little.  (This was written BEFORE the internet!)  But when we meditate, the truth remains and percolates.  We can smell its aroma more fully and taste it better.  As it brews in our brain the insights come."  -Donald Whitney

In the Bible studies I've written, I've included these methods of meditating on a verse or two and how to analyze and break it apart for deeper meditation.  Be sure to subscribe on the sidebar to get your free copy of Ephesians and put this to work in your life!

Jun 25, 2015

Penny Bennett Totes--Awesome bags

For those of you new to this blog, I wanted to take a second to introduce Penny Bennett and her amazing totes and bags.

Jun 23, 2015

Summer (re)Reading Book List

There are so many good books I want to read.  So much learning I want to do.  So much information I want to plow through and learn and do.

Jun 19, 2015

Blessings from Raising a Hard Kid

Raising a hard kid is the toughest thing I've EVER had to do in my life.  It's not only physically tough, but also drains me emotionally and mentally.  Most days my brain is completely taken up with the stress and conflict and gray storm cloud of emotion that my hard kid is.  And it is so easy to forget that these kids who make us crazy also carry with their hot mess of emotions hundreds of thousands of blessings.

After talking to quite a few parents of hard kids, I've compiled a list to help us remember that all this struggle is for a reason.  Here are twelve of them:

Jun 4, 2015

What I Learned from my First Book Launch

Last week's Galatians Bible Study launch was the biggest thing I've ever done and  I want to talk with you about it for a minute and share my heart.

May 28, 2015

6 Tips to Get More Out of Your Bible Journal

When I started my first Bible journal I struggled with what to write in it.  I made lists of facts but that was about it.  Things really started improving when I changed my approach and went back to a student's mindset and what I had learned about studying in High School and college.