Stone Soup for Five

Jul 30, 2015

Giveaways, Links, and Queens

It is crucial, in this day and age, that we know what the Bible says, and that we read and understand it for ourselves.  Yes, listen and learn from others, but make your primary way of learning just you and the Holy Spirit.  Go to others who have studied and learned longer than you for questions and proper thinking and to check yourself, but first get in the Word and dig around for yourself!  You know the importance of understanding the word, and how doodling helps you when your focus and understanding wane, and over at A Little R&R I gave three reasons why you should be doodling.  She also is offering a chance to enter a drawing to win the Corinthians package that will be out this Saturday!  Be sure to enter!


Also over on Kris's blog, Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, I gave a pretty detailed post about how we made our own DIY Bible curriculum and how it worked for us.  It's simple, deep, fun, effective, and free. Kris also has a giveaway for you to enter to win the Corinthians package!


And, I was reminded yesterday of my all time favorite short story ever.  If you haven't read this, definitely print it off.  It's worth re-reading at least once a year, if not every month.  Love this story.
It speaks to both stay at home moms or moms who work outside the home.  Great story!



Don't forget to enter the drawing here for a chance to win the Corinthians package TOMORROW, a day before you can buy it!

Jul 29, 2015

How to Start a Bible Study Revolution and a GIVEAWAY!

We seem to have accidentally started a revolution of sorts and I'm not really sure how.  I didn't mean to create a "new and exciting" kind of thing because I'm not a "new and exciting" kind of person. (I wanted that in high school when it could have meant something!) My blog is not poetic. My posts are inconsistent. I rarely make any promises that following my advice will change your life (in just five steps!) On most days, I can’t even manage to keep my punctuation in place.

But, despite all that, there is still a thing going on here with the Journal and Doodle Bible studies and though I don’t quite know why or how, I do have a few insights I’ve learned along the way... if you want to stick around for about 500 more words.  (The blogger's magic post length, so I'm told.)

1.  I'm on a soda fast.  Yup.  No more Diet Coke or Pepsi.  (I know, you can clean rust off a car and dissolve a quarter in it, but I really enjoy those tasty chemicals!)  I figure since I'm no longer drinking soda, my brain is much clearer, right?  I'm still waiting for the lovely singing voice, the defined arms and abs, and the full, glossy, slow motion shimmery head of commercial worthy hair, but I know they're coming.  Wait for it.  #FalsePromises  #Sigh

2.  The best way to learn something is to teach it.  Can I get an ‘Amen’?  I have read my Bible for years since becoming a Christian in my teens.  I have attended good solid Bible teaching churches and learned much about my Savior, His love for me, and the way I should live.  But never in my life have I learned as much as when writing a guide for others.  I know the Lord has so much work to do in my life, because He is faithfully pointing out all the areas I need to grow while I'm preparing these studies.  #ConvictionHurts #Ouch

3.  Sit down, shut up, and just do the thing.  I am such an amazing procrastinator.  In fact, I’m so good that I have learned to harness my procrastinating powers for good, not evil. When I'm procrastinating I can clean my kitchen sink till it sparkles.  I have been known to hem clothes, iron, and clean out under my fridge just to avoid what should be done.  I. Am. That. Good.  But when these studies started to grow, the Lord showed me my lack of discipline in a new way. So I am learning to do much more sitting and focusing and doing.  It's hard.  It's a struggle, but it's a good and worthy struggle.  Almost every morning, I get up early, turn on the computer, set my blocker for 4 hours, and write.  And write.  And Write...battling against every fiber of my being.  #ProcrastinatorsUnite #Tomorrow

4.  There is nothing quite like having your best plans ripped from your hand and getting turned upside down by God.  When your best A, B, and C plans end up about as far as the east is from the west and God shows you something harder, but better,  it has a humbling and strengthening beyond anything you thought you needed.  Putting yourself in a place where God moves is really hard and awfully scary at times, and when you don't have the strength to do it yourself, God can definitely step in and gently push you there until you realize this is where you wanted to be all along.  I didn't set out to be a homeschooler, a blogger, a writer. I especially did not plan on being a Bible study author.  But here I am, because God’s plans and purposes are much greater than any I had for myself. #PlotTwist #PlanG

5.  All Grace, All God.  The real reason any of this is anything is ALL God.  He can use the most sin-filled, damaged person to do His will because He is who He says He is.  He forgives completely.  He equips perfectly (even if you don't feel it), and He works His plan just as it was set before the foundation of the world.  He calls His own to Him, and His word will never return void.  THAT is the only reason any of you are even reading this. It is not me.  It is all God.  These studies are a way for others to draw close to Him, which brings Him glory.  How He can do that through me is way beyond my understanding.  I'm just humbled and thankful that He has.  #HeisWhoHesaysHeis #Grateful

Thank you, each one of you, for your amazing support.  Thank you for your kind words, your encouragement when I'm struggling, and the pictures you send of what God is teaching you through these studies.  I truly CANNOT wait till we get to be together in heaven, sitting next to the glassy sea hanging out together.  We will never even begin to reach the end of talking about all the wonders of our Savior. 

Because you have been such an awesome part of the revolution, I don't want any of you to miss out on the brand new studies through 1 and 2 Corinthians, coming Saturday August 1st.  I'm giving away a free copy of both, a day before you can buy, on July 31st!  If you'd like a copy, please enter the drawing below.  Thank you so much for being such great readers! 

To Him be the glory forever and ever!

Enter to win both Bible studies a day before you can buy them! 
Hurry, the giveaway ends this Friday!

This giveaway is open to United States residents, ages 18 years and older only. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (ET) on Friday, July 31. The winner will be selected at random using via RaffleCopter.
The winner will notified via email and have 72 hours to respond. You must enter a valid email address to win. In the event that the winner cannot be contacted by email or does not respond within 72 hours, the prize will be forfeited and and alternate winner selected.
Click to read the complete rulesBy entering this giveaway, you indicate that you have read and agreed to abide by these rules.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.... 

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: