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52 Weekly Devotions for Busy Families Review by Cassandra Holdeman

Karen Whiting
Rose Publishing, Inc.
Rose Publishing, PO Box 3473
Peabody, MA 01961-3473

Spending time getting to know the Bible, God, and faith is important to us, and it is important to us that we teach our kids to do this too. This is why we do individual devotions in our house. It is also the reason we try to do family devotions in our house. There are times that we are better at doing family devotions than others which is why I was excited to receive 52 Weekly Devotions for Busy Families by Karen Whiting to review recently.

Karen Whiting truly understands busy families. She is a mom of five who, along with her husband, knows the importance of teaching the Word of God to the family. She also knows that family life can be crazy busy which is why she created this book of short family devotions that can be completed in as little as five minutes, and then your activities of the week can focus on the Bible lessons learned in the devotion.

52 Weekly Devotions for Busy Families is designed to be quick, but meaningful. The author encourages the SIMPLE approach to doing family devotions which is scheduling time together, involve your children, mix in fun and hands-on experience, plan ahead to choose your activities for the week, let it become a legacy, and end with prayer. Using this method, each weekly devotion gives a Family Beatitude which reflects the theme of each week, a Focus to look for each week, a Weekly Bible Verse, Family Activity options, a Family Devotion to read aloud, a Bible Study Connection to get your family studying the Bible, Chat Prompts to talk about, Scrapbook/Prayer Journal options, and an ending Prayer. There is a set theme for each of the 52 weeks and even though the book is designed to start at the beginning of the year, you can start it at any time throughout the year. It is available to purchase for just $16.99.

We decided to start this book with Week One even though we were starting it in the middle of the year. As we started reading it, we were excited that it started off discussing our family theme for this year that we set at the end of last year long before we got this book. Our family has been focusing on a fresh start since we moved at the beginning of the year and everything around us is new to us. Creation and celebrating new starts was exactly the focus of week one. For the family activity, one of the choices was to start a new tradition and start a family scrapbook where you can add your family’s memories and hopes. Right before we moved we created a list of all the things we wanted to do and accomplish by moving, so we used this family scrapbook activity as an opportunity to pull out our list and see what things could cross off that we had accomplished, what we needed to add, and see what we needed to try and focus on. As we have gone along and been able to accomplish things from this list or wanted to add to it, we have done so. Then we read our family devotion and discussed it. The next night, we read the Bible Story connection for week one and discussed the days of creation. The following night, we used the Chat Prompts to start discussions with our kids. This was fun because we chose one about music and got to chat about our current favorite songs and whether or not they glorified God. My daughter did the scrapbook option and created a drawing that illustrated a fresh start for her. Then we ended the week with prayer using the one in the book as a starting point and then praying for all the opportunities God has for us with our fresh start. We worked our way through a few more weeks using this same process. Sometimes I had to modify the activities to fit older children. The book is recommended for ages 4-12, so it fit my daughter who is 8 well, but my son who is 14 needed the activities to be for older kids.

This book was very good and very thorough. We liked that everything for the week was laid out and we could pick and choose what we did and how indepth we chatted. It was a good starting point for us, and since our kids are older, we could discuss the concepts more in depth. My teenage son said that the book felt like it was more for little kids than older kids and my daughter loved the book because she could actually do activities that went along with what we were learning. As parents, we liked the book because the devotions were short and laid out so that we could do a little each day. It was very easy to follow and adjust for what we needed. Overall, as a family, we would recommend 52 Weekly Devotions for Busy Families by Karen Whiting.

-Product review by Cassandra Holdeman, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2017