Tuesday, February 18, 2014

an interview with jessica thompson & book giveaway!

heyo!
one thing i love in this life is resources that help me be a gospel driven parent. i feel completely clueless most days.  luckily for us, Jessica thompson has kicked out an amazing family devotional that will help guide you and your kiddos through a gospel centered worldview. listen, i need all the help i can get. when it comes down to it, i feel lost in being intentional with my kids...i typically let things happen and then discuss them. so i'm excited to dig into this devotional with the kids, for the direction, and for any help i can get in the intentional department.

maybe you're like me?

so i interviewed the author (ok, and she happens to my very good friend), to give us more details about the book.


1) tell us a little bit about Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family and what age group it's for.
This book is 40 devotionals for the entire family to read together. The target age is 5-10 year olds, but I have read them to my kids (15-10) and they all enjoyed them. Or, maybe I should rephrase that, they all said they enjoyed it. In hindsight, they were probably scared of me or didn't want to hurt my feelings. So, maybe let's go with 5-10 year olds.

2) why did you decide to write this?
I travel around the country with my mother and we talk about Give Them Grace, a book I co-authored with her in 2007. The premise of the book is that we need to give our children more than morals, we need to give them the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After every conference several parents would come up and ask us if we knew of any curriculum or devotionals that weren't just focused on morals, and bible super-hero but rather focused on Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. We always recommended The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally-Lloyd Jones, but didn't know of any devotionals or books that explained how the gospel applied to situations kids went through at school, home, church or on the sports field (Jami, sports is something that most people enjoy). So my mom pressured me a bunch and I finally decided to write the book. And also I wanted to get super rich. I found out you can't get rich writing a book. Surprise!

3) did you or did you not do devotionals with your children when they were little? if not, why. if so, what can we expect from our (rambunctious) children.
I did do devotions with my kids when I homeschooled them. It was part of our curriculum, I am not really sure if I would have done it if it hadn't been something we were supposed to do every day. But we never all sat down with my husband after a meal and had a formal devotional time.(keeping it real)
As far as what to expect you could always just look at how you do your Bible reading every day and see how your own heart reacts. Are you always interested? Do you end up getting distracted even while you are ready? Do you want to read your Bible every day? Take all the answers to those questions and then remember that your kids are just that… kids. They aren't even as mature as you are.

4) what would you say is the most valuable take away from this devotional?
My hope and prayer is that moms, dads, children, and possibly family pets would walk away knowing that God's love for us in Christ is not about what we do or don't do it is about Christ's perfect finished work on our behalf. I would also hope that families would learn that the gospel really does have an impact on every single circumstance that we face.

5) my kids aren't really interested in deep readings. how can i make this fun for them or is there something i should avoid doing?
Possibly bribe them. Avoid bribing with sugar and then expecting them to sit still.

6) corn dogs. yea or nay?
Corn dogs are my favorite fruit.


7) what's your favorite craft? (jess hates crafting)
Those things that people knit to cover toilet paper rolls.


thanks for your time and wisdom, jess! i didn't even know there was such a thing as knitted toilet paper covers. your knowledge is vast...

would you like a book? we're giving away 2 books! just leave a comment letting us know how you make time to be intentional with your kiddos. we'll randomly pick on tuesday!

AND you can purchase Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family today on amazon for $8!


55 comments:

  1. I would love to own this! I've really been wanting a devotional to do with my son! I've been reading Give Them Grace and really want to be intentional about using every opportunity to point my kids to the gospel and their need for Jesus. Also, as far as intentional time--unplugging from technology for a bit!

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  2. Sounds excellent for both the parents and the kids!

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  3. Oh I need help in this area..my 3 year old has been wearing me down..so we both need His Grace and some intentional God time..

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  4. I would love to win this! My almost-5 year old son and 6 year old daughter have a Bible Story app on their kindle that they love to watch stories on, but I would love a good devotional book to do with them each night before bed!

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  5. Sounds like a great resource to have and start while my littles are still very little. I have tried to take moments during the day to just stop and enjoy with my one and half year old. If I have a list or cleaning to do, stopping to read a book is often the more important choice.

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  6. I would love to win this! Actually taking intentional time out to spend with my kids feasting on the Word of God is something I always want to keep as a priority in my home. It is life.

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  7. This is amazing! My little man, who's 3, loves to hear stories from his Bible. He's much more intentional than I am (who knows where he got it!), so this would be great for me too!

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  8. sounds like a great read! I'm currently trying not to make too big a deal out of it with my 3-year-old. The first time she said, "mama" I freaked out and she was so shocked and bothered by my reaction that she didn't say it again for weeks. She's done this same sort of thing with other issues. I'm working hard to just be all easy breezy about it, but inside I'm like, "Oh my gosh, this is it, girl! If you get nothing else from me, get this, Jesus died for you and wants to do life with you!" So, I like what you had to say, Jessica about how they are just like us. Yesterday I had a brief opening as we drove where we talked about Easter and what it means. She asked me if I was God so I said no, and explained how Jesus is God's son and then, right as I was about to get to the part where what Jesus did means that you can ask him to forgive you of your sins and live life with you...she started talking about chimneys and fireplaces and how her cousin has one, but we don't. So, I take what I can get, and I try to relax! :) Would love to win this book!

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  9. this sounds awesome, exactly what my family needs right now. How do I make time to be intentional with my kids? whoa, I feel conviction just in that question alone. Been struggling with that a lot lately, I find with my kids being varying ages and needing different types of quality time I get overwhelmed, and end up overlooking all their personal quality-time-needs. It's mostly survival over here. :( We used to do a family devotional after dinner (little visits with God) but it mostly became a competition between my 2 oldest over who could answer the most questions, then I lost interest. They are ALWAYS fighting. My hope is that we start doing a devotion together during breakfast, that is when they are most eager and happy (me not so much, not a morning person, but I guess coffee will help!) Thanks for the great post!

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  10. i find intentionality to be really hard in this busy world. but i try to fight for it like it's my job. and i guess it is since i am my kids' mother. we try to focus on a bible verse each week and then relate it to any and everything throughout the week while emphasizing grace over being good.

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  11. I recently discovered Give Them Grace from a friend. I think this would be a helpful tool to implement time in the Word as a family. This is a desire of mine, but something I feel unequipped to do. Thankful for Jessica, and Elyse, for sharing practical wisdom!

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  12. Ooo! I have Jessica's book, I have Jesus Storybook Bible, I would love to have this for my kids! Pick me, pick me!

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  13. I would love to use this! Thanks for telling me about this great resource.

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  14. This was great!

    As far as being more intentional with my kids... my first baby is due in 17 days, so I haven't had a chance to practice with him yet, but with my husband, we have been more intentional about doing a marriage book every night and praying together. It has been such a blessing to me to connect with him on that spiritual level and being focused on the gospel/love/commitment marriage takes. I love the idea of having a devotional for the whole family that points all of us back to the cross and Jesus Christ. Being a mom and being in charge of little ones (physically and being responsible to teach them) is daunting at times to even just think about!

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  15. This looks and sounds incredibly helpful. Right now, we try to discuss their lessons from church, try to hide the word in our hearts via AWANA, and try to read / study the Bible in our homeschool day. I admit though, we have yet to find the right fit...the format that clicks for us. I so thankful for grace...and for gifted authors who are called to create resources to help moms & dads

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  16. Right now we are working through the storybook bible. Would love to check this book out!

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  17. I take my daughter some place other than home, where I won't get distracted by things like laundry.

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  18. I try to use time at the table while eating to work on scripture memory

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  19. Thank you for this giveaway! We homeschool, so do Bible and devotions together each day, however I would like to use this for our family night devotions so the whole family is involved. It looks like a terrific book!

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  20. I loved her first book, "Give Them Grace." But now I love her even more. These answers were right up my ally. Corndogs are my favorite fruit too. I don't let my kids eat that kind of fruit, though. Hypocritical much? Anyways, I stink at being intentional with my kids. I have a 6, 3 and 1 year old. I am homeschooling my first grader, while trying to keep the other two out of the toilet and garbage all day long. Most of my intentionality comes in the form of intentionally looking into their eyes and telling them if they don't stop doing whatever it is I don't want them to do I will whack them. And I do mean it. So I guess that means something?? All that to say, we neeeeeeeeeed something like this book to help give us an anchor (I know, I know, our anchor is in the Lord, but you get what I am saying). I am going to go out on a limb and say that I will definitely glean more from it than my kids will, but the apple doesn't fall from the tree, right??? Something like that:)

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  21. I would love this book! We make our dinner times intentional as a family but now that we have our older kids in sports, at times we aren't all eating dinner together. :/ Love that she hates crafting. Me too Jessica! ;)

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  22. I would love a copy to share with my family and with the group of moms I lead (which actually started reading and discussing "Give Them Grace, " this week!
    I'm intentional in teaching my little one to pray by setting the example of praying over him each night then teaching him by praying with him leading after my prayer. Thank you for creating another great resource!

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  23. This book sounds great. We take time to pray (almost) everyday.

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  24. Our baby boy is only 3 months old but we definitely need guidance, encouragement, and help to establish family devotionals as a part of our household life.

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  25. I'm not intentional. Not at all. Well, if by intentional you mean "organized." But I do pray that God would give me wisdom to show HIM to my children throughout the day in a Deuteronomy 6:7 kind of a way (Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.) I need His help to be conscience of those "opportune" moments. Those moments when I can see their little hearts are open. Sometimes we read their Bible in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. We pray throughout the day. Sometimes around the table, sometimes while sitting criss cross applesauce in the middle of the living room, sometimes beside their bed. We sing praise songs together and find that sometimes we're honoring Him when our mouths while our hearts are far from Him. We memorize scripture together, except for when I forget to find new scriptures to memorize. We intentionally seek Him. Except for when we don't. Then there's grace.

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    1. **conscious** of those "opportune" moments...

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  26. I would love to read it with my kids! We currently do a family devotion after dinner and I also homeschool so either time would be great!!

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  27. We try to take time doing family worship at night, but also keeping it real, we haven't been great at that lately. I do always try to be intentional about sharing the gospel with my daughter even though she doesn't get it just yet. Give Them Grace has helped remind me to do that, rather than teaching my daughter to just "do better."

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  28. Like the author, I have Bible curriculum that I use during our homeschool day, but I would love this book to use as a devotional before bedtime or during dinner with the family.

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  29. This book sounds great! We have just started reading 'chapter books' with our 5-year-old, it has been fun for all of us -- for a kid that can barely sit still, I'm amazed at how much he is comprehending! :)

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  30. I would love this book for the future... My twin boys are only 1 but oh how I want to be intentional... Starting now we pray with our boys before they go to bed.... Thanks for the recommendation and interview I have her other book and I am really looking forward to reading it.

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  31. It sounds like I need all I these books, and as bad as it sounds, I'm so glad I'm not alone with how I feel parenting several kids! Thanks for the oppertunity to be blessed by this giveaway!

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  32. we fall off the intentionality wagon every few months. then we pick ourselves back up and try again. we've done a toddler devotion book (very moralistic), jesus storybook bible, and for awhile our church was sending home gospel project pages for the family (to correspond with what the kids learned that week). all that to say, i'd love to check this book out and get back in the saddle again. or wagon. or whatever.

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  33. I teach at a christian school and would love this book to do with my students!

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  34. my boys are little- 8 months & 2 years. We have begun reading 1 story (sometimes 1 page) from the Jesus Storybook Bible every night we are home for dinner

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  35. Sounds like a great book! It's always a work in progress around here, but (among other things) I try to use the time we're in the car to have some good discussions with my 5 year old. Truth be told, I wish I had his simple yet profound understanding of the gospel! I pretty sure he's the one teaching me.

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  36. Sounds like something I would love! I am always trying to be more intentional with my boys and failing. Grace needed!

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  37. I do not have my own kiddos, but I do have two nephews! We try to discuss Jesus and our salvation through Him, but some direction would be AWESOME!

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  38. It's a daily struggle, but after breakfast, I try to read the Bible with my kids, practice memory work, maybe sing a song?

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  39. Oh this book sounds so great! We look forward to reading Bible stories, singing, praying and snuggling each night with our young girls.

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  40. honestly I would love to give this as a gift. my husband and I have not been blessed with our own children yet but I could see this book making a HUGE impact with my brother and sis-in-law and their little 5 yr old. We have had our ups and downs over the years as my brother and I try to transition into our different roles (not just big brother and little sister anymore) and I would hope this could be a thoughtful and genuine offering in their lives. I will buy the book even if i don't win it! It sounds amazing and I love how down to earth jess is :) can only imagine how awesome the book is!

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  41. I have devotions in the car with my 2 high school kids as I drive them in the mornings. They take turns reading the devotional so I can pay attention to the driving :)

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  42. Does forcing at times either my husband or I to go into our 13 yo room and "talk" when we are butt tired and just want to have a conversation ourselves or veg out count as intentional :0)?

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  43. My little is 17 months old. I am reading through the comments to see what others do, to get ideas. Obvi, he's only interested in Bert and Ernie's book of Opposites. I need ideas, and this looks like a great book to help with that!!

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  44. oh I'm excited about this one. My kids are 1,2 & 4 but I still really do really yes really want to get my hands on this gem. Thank you for the offer!

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  45. Hi there! Would really love to win this book. I have 2 girls ages 1 and 3.

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  46. We read a chapter of Proverbs every day and try to eat most meals together.

    Thanks!!

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  47. I would like to be more intentional. You're the best-thanks for your blog! Enter me in the drawing!

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  48. Entering! We could use this in our famdamily!

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  49. We started reading a chapter in the Bible after dinner. And now my 3 year old thinks the day hasn't ended unless we've read our Bibles. :)

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  50. Our most intentional times happen at bedtime....usually! Ha! We try to take time to process their day and pray. Nothing crazy intense or deep...just simple words of truth spoken over them each day and prayer to wash away the world. I value that time a lot.

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  51. I haven't actually figured it out yet. I pray with my son and sing worship songs with/to him. But I'm still in the stage where I'm trying to understand how in the world people have more than one child and survive...no, not just survive but LIVE. Jesus, help me. I'm so tired. I know all phases in life end, but I feel as though I'll be drowning forever, stuc

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  52. It regularly occurs to me that many of the best conversations about life and God between my kids and I happen in the car. It gives me a fear of God to use that time well, when it just feels like transition or passing from one thing to the next. I try to keep my awareness up for their small, backseat questions, spiritual conversation starters on the radio, or just a chance to have a seat-belted dance party on a Friday. Those snippets of time add up to a lot of potential for relationship.

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  53. as my sons approaches the age of four i feel a deep sense of urgency to figure out how i will share the gospel with him in age appropriate ways and i have been searching for a resource like this!

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  54. Maybe I'm still in time for the give away? We do nightly devotions but most nights I want to stick needles in my eyes. Its really hard to get all of them to focus - especially the 5 y.o. boy! I think I'll get this devo though. I've been a Christian my whole life, but for reals for the last 15 years....and just LAST WEEK did I finally grasp the concept of His grace. I've been living under the law...which is a horrible place to be. So happy to be free!

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