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Ten Scriptures to Memorize in September

The tween years are an important phase in learning to be more independent and responsible. As your tween gets into the groove of school and extracurricular activities this month, help her grow spiritually with these Bible verses about integrity, hard work, and godly character.

Proverbs 21:3
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

2 Corinthians 8:21
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.

Proverbs 4:25–27
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Colossians 3:23–24
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Proverbs 13:4
A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Psalm 90:17
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.

Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

2 Peter 1:5–8
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Easy Back-to-School Snack: Crock Pot Chex Mix

On those busy school days when the kids need a snack, be ready to deliver with a super easy version of the old classic, Chex Mix!

3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
3 cups Cheerios cereal
3 cups pretzel sticks
1 can mixed nuts
1 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

• Mix all three Chex cereals, Cheerios cereal, pretzel sticks, and mixed nuts in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
• Whisk together vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and garlic powder and pour over cereal mixture. Mix well.
• Cook uncovered on high for approximately 90 minutes, stirring frequently.
• Turn the slow cooker down to low and cook for an additional 20 minutes, again stirring frequently.
• Spread on a cookie sheet to cool.

For a gluten-free version, substitute pretzels for a gluten-free brand and swap the Wheat Chex for more gluten-free Rice Chex. Also switch out the cheerios for your favorite gluten-free O cereal.

Recipe source:

How to Establish Family Devotional Time

One of the best ways to grow closer as a family and toward God is to engage in regular family devotions. This is special time set aside to explore God’s Word together and discuss how it applies to your lives. Here are some tips for establishing an effective family devotional routine.

Mark your calendars. Decide on a time to gather as a family each day or each week and mark it in everyone’s calendars so it doesn’t get overlooked. You could choose to do a devotion every morning at breakfast, once a week on Sunday evenings, after school on Fridays, etc.—whatever works best for your crew. Then agree not to allow anything to bump your devotional time.

Choose sound resources. Beyond choosing a portion of Scripture directly from the Bible—which is always a wise approach—also consider using a devotional book or resource to guide your family Bible time. Make sure these are aligned with your family values and beliefs. Faithgirlz provides a variety of biblically sound and tween-friendly devotionals that the whole family can enjoy.

Supplement with technology. Tweens love videos and music, so why not enhance your family devotional with a related YouTube clip or worship song? Many fun resources are available online today. Simply search the Internet for “funny Christian videos” and you’ll be amazed at how much quality content pops up.

Give the kids ownership. Consider inviting the kids to take turns leading the family devotion. This will get them into God’s Word and excited about sharing what they’re learning. Plus it will give everyone a greater sense of worth in the family’s goal toward spiritual growth.

Talk about it! Ask questions and encourage the kids to share their thoughts, opinions, and more questions of their own. Don’t be afraid if they express doubts; often these are an open door to making their faith their own. Just “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Serve snacks. If you feed them, they will come. Make family devotions extra appealing by serving a special treat or snack reserved only for Bible time. Or make snack prep part of the fun by inviting your tween to search Pinterest for a recipe related to your devotion’s theme each week. Then work together to bake or assemble the snack!

Pray. Finally, start and end each devotion time with prayer. Encourage the kids to join you by praying one by one for your family’s needs as well as for any requests among your extended family and friendship circles. Spend time thanking God for your family and the blessings He provides. Praying together is one of the best ways to strengthen your faith and family bonds!

Helping Your Daughter Make New Friends at School

Each new school year is a fresh opportunity to strengthen old friendships and develop new ones. Whether your child attends school with familiar faces or is entering a new school where she knows no one, a few key tips from Mom and Dad can help guide her toward making friends wisely.

Be kind. One of the simplest ways to make new friends is to reach out and be kind to others. Teach your daughter that simple gestures can often spark long-term friendships, such as inviting a lonely student to sit with her at lunch or helping a struggling classmate with math. If your daughter is new to her school, encourage her to be kind to everyone, not seeking out the popular crowd alone but looking for the value in every student. Pray she will be drawn to like-minded kids who also prioritize kindness.

Be discerning. Explain that the best kind of friends are those who draw us closer to God. That doesn’t necessarily mean every friend needs to be a Christian; often close friendships are wonderful opportunities to witness and share the good news of Jesus. But your tween should seek out friends who share her values: honesty, acceptance, kindness and loyalty. And encourage your daughter to discern these “good” traits from “bad” (such as lying, cheating, gossiping, disrespecting authority, etc.) when choosing who to befriend.

Be confident. Your daughter is a child of God, and her identity is secure in Him. Nothing the other kids say or do can change her inherent worth in Christ, so encourage her not to allow gossip or rejection from other students to affect what she believes about herself or her King. Remind her that everyone sins, and sometimes those sins come out as unkindness toward others—especially, unfortunately, during the tween and middle school years. Encourage her to rise above the “norm” of judgmental or cliquey behavior and accept others for who they are {even with their imperfections} while staying true to who she is {also imperfect yet covered by the grace and worth of Jesus Christ}.

When friendship struggles arise, be available to talk with your child and point her toward the One who will never leave her or forsake her. Consider meeting with the school guidance counselor to get insight on the classroom dynamics, which might also help you better understand how to encourage your daughter through the rough terrain of tween social life. Ultimately, God will use her friendship joys and challenges to shape who she becomes— “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Three Important Back-to-School Prayers

As the kids head back to school, it’s important to cover them in prayer. But not just your own kids—consider these three groups of people who also need your prayers this time of year.

Teachers—God bless the men and women who rise every day to face a classroom filled with tweens who may or may not find math and Roman history as fascinating as the teacher attempts to describe it. Our teachers spend countless hours preparing, delivering, and grading lessons all year long, and they need our prayers for wisdom, patience and joy. Consider blessing your child’s school with a collection of Faithgirlz fiction paperbacks to share in the library or classroom book bins.

Friends—Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (ESV). Pray for your daughter’s friends to seek wisdom from God and to effect a positive influence in your child’s life. Pray for protection against peer pressure, gossip, unwholesome talk and mean-girl drama. Encourage your daughter to bring her friends to your home where you can speak God’s love and truth into their lives.

Church Leaders—Many churches follow a school-year calendar, launching youth groups and Bible studies in the fall. Remember to pray for your child’s Sunday school teachers, youth group mentors, pastors and worship leaders who are working hard to lead our kids into a deeper relationship with Christ. Pray that their ministries would be fruitful and always led by the Spirit.

Most importantly, pray that God will guide all of these people, along with your family, toward His greater purposes and plan for the school year. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). So never stop praying for the people in your child’s life!

Preparing Your Tween to Go Back to School

Where did the summer go? Over the next few weeks, families across the country will be gearing up for back to school. This transition can be both exciting and stressful for tweens and parents alike. Here are some tips for helping your daughter ease into the new routine.

Schedule routine medical, eye, and dentist appointments before the school year starts. If your tween is involved in sports, make sure you’ve completed any medical forms required to participate. It’s no fun to sit out the first practice because Mom forgot to get the doctor’s signature!

Read all information sent from school to make sure no important details are missed. Attend any orientation events offered—especially if your tween is transitioning to a new middle school building or wing. These meetings give the family a chance to get comfortable with their new environment.

Buy school supplies early, before they’re picked over. If your tween’s school has a dress code, take time to buy new clothes when you’re not in a rush. Consider making school shopping a special event by taking your tween out for a one-on-one shopping date with Mom or Dad.

Reunite your tween’s school friends for a special outing or “back to school” gathering at your house. This is especially helpful if your daughter has not seen her friends on a regular basis over the summer. Getting reacquainted with peers before the first day of school will help her feel more welcome when she walks through the doors.

Gradually transition your child’s schedule and activities back to school mode. Cut back on TV or mobile screen time and encourage more reading. If your tween’s sleep patterns shifted to late nights and lazy mornings in summer, set the alarm clock a few days before school begins, gradually shifting it back to a school-day wake time.

Prepare and freeze some meals ahead of time. Invite your tween to help! During the first busy days of the new school routine, you’ll be grateful for a quick and easy family dinner.

Talk with your tween about any concerns or fears she’s experiencing. Ensure her you are a safe place to confide. Remind her that God goes with her to school and He will help her face any challenges.

Finally, take pictures! These days go by so fast. Commemorate each new school year with photos that last well beyond the tween years.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Five Scriptures to Encourage Your Tween’s Heart

Tween girls need a lot of encouragement. As they mature from little girls into lovely ladies, they will face plenty of doubts and worldly influences that might cause them to question their value. But God’s Word is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). It can cut through any discouragement and lead us toward victory.

Share these encouraging Scriptures with your daughter and urge her to keep them close to her heart.

Deuteronomy 20:4
For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
What “enemies” does your daughter face? These could be anything from unkind peers to cultural lies to self-doubts, anxiety, fear and much more. Remind her that God fights FOR her to conquer these discouragements.

2 Corinthians 4:6
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Does your daughter ever feel weary or weak? Remind her we all face struggles in this life, and there will be times when we feel inadequate—because we are. As humans we cannot muster enough power within ourselves to succeed at every task. That’s why we rely on God to give us HIS strength. With His power working in us, we can move mountains!

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Does your tween know God loves her to the moon and back? The Bible says He actually sings over her because He enjoys her so much. Remind your tween that God is crazy about her. No matter how she feels about herself or what other people say about her, the truth is that God says she is valuable and greatly loved—and what He says, goes.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Tweens can easily fall into the trap of materialism. The world tells them to value gadgets and clothes and entertainment, yet true peace comes when we value God above all else. Remind your tween to seek God and to trust Him, and He will work out the rest.

Psalm 139:13–14
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Your tween needs to know she is valuable simply because God thought her up—and God does not make junk! Everything about her is designed by an expert Creator, and she is His masterpiece. Sometimes that is all a girl needs to remember in order to fill her heart with confidence.

Campfire Banana Boats

Here is a fun and decadent treat to enjoy over a summer campfire. Gather the family, bring plenty of spoons, and enjoy telling stories and jokes as you dig into these delicious campfire banana boats—an instant family favorite!

Bananas (one per serving)
Peanut butter (or peanut butter / butterscotch chips)
Chocolate chips

Leave the banana in the peel and cut a slit down the center, lengthwise, without cutting through completely. Place the banana on a piece of foil and stuff with peanut butter, chocolate chips and marshmallows. Wrap each banana in the foil and seal the edges tight. Place directly on the fire for about five minutes, until the toppings melt. (Don’t overcook or the marshmallows will turn to liquid.)

Remove the banana boat from the fire, allow the foil to cool, and dig in to this scrumptious, gooey treat!

Note: If you don’t have an open flame, no problem—toss these banana boats in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or place on a grill for five minutes. Experiment with alternative fillers such as peanut butter cups, Snickers bars, flavored marshmallows, etc. Use your imagination to create a personal banana boat masterpiece!

Ten Ways to Keep Your Tween Reading During the Summer

School might be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean reading needs to take a break. In fact, summer is a great time to catch up on as much reading as possible! Here are ten ways to keep your tween reading this summer.

1. Buy books for her to read. Books make great surprise gifts, plus—bonus—you’ll get to choose all your favorite recommendations!
2. Pack books in her suitcase. If your daughter is headed to camp or on a family vacation, be sure to bring along plenty of reading material. Then plan plenty of down time on those family trips so she will be encouraged to spend quiet hours reading.
3. Create a summer book club with her friends. Meet every other week at a different home or park, and each time discuss a book that all the girls agree to read in advance.
4. Join the library summer reading program. Lots of libraries offer prizes and incentives for summer reading. If yours doesn’t offer such a program, create one yourself!
5. Write a summer book bucket list. Both you and your daughter can come up with a list of 10 books you’d each like to read before summer ends. Encourage one another’s progress.
6. Read the same book! Like a personal parent-daughter book club, choose a book you’ll both enjoy, then each read your own copy separately. When you’ve finished reading, go out for ice cream to discuss the plot and characters.
7. Get her hooked on a great series—like Glimmer Girls, Boarding School Mysteries, or The Sophie Series. As soon as she finishes one, she’ll be eager to pick up the next book in the series!
8. Give her someone to read to—such as a younger sibling or a friend’s younger child. Chapter books are great for reading aloud to brothers and sisters at bedtime.
9. Create incentives—such as a payout of 50 cents for every hour of reading, or the chance to earn a half-hour of screen time for every hour she spends reading, and so on.
10. Assign mandatory reading hour—for the whole family. And stick to it! Choose one hour per day or every other day in which the TV and phones get turned off, and everybody is invited to read the book or magazine of their choice. This goes over much better if you let the kids choose what they want to read—and set the example by getting excited about your own book of choice!

Check out the entire Faithgirlz fiction catalog for some terrific options for your tween. Happy reading!

Bonding with Your Daughter During the Summer Months

There’s something about lazy summer days that bring about the best in our relationships. Freedom from school schedules, family vacations and plenty of trips to the café for smoothies make for wonderful opportunities to bond with your tween or teen daughter this time of year. Here are a few key guidelines to help build strong connections.

Be ready to listen more than you talk. As our daughters reach middle school and beyond, they’re less interested in hearing our instructions and more interested in exploring who they are—and, ideally, sharing that lovely person with her parents. When your daughter talks to you, don’t be too quick to interject with criticism or guidance. Listen to her heart and ask God for wisdom in how to respond. You might be surprised what you learn simply by tuning an ear to your daughter’s world.

Engage at her level. What does your daughter enjoy? Try to enjoy it with her. Listen to her music. Read her favorite magazine together. Take her shopping to her favorite stores. Serve her favorite dinner. Be careful not to dismiss or criticize her age-appropriate interests. They might sometimes seem childish or foolish to your adult perception, but to her they are valid and important.

Be trustworthy. Let your daughter know you are a safe place to share her fears and confidences. She has to trust that what she tells you won’t be passed on to your friends as fodder for mom-talk, nor will you tease her or somehow use her words against her in a future argument. In other words, treat your daughter as you’d want her to treat you.

Spend one-on-one time. One of the benefits of summer break is that you can reclaim some family time that might otherwise be focused on school friends or activities. Be intentional about planning one-on-one time with your daughter, even if it’s just walking the dog together or grabbing a quick bite to eat on your lunch break. The memories built in the course of one summer can last a lifetime. So be sure to make time for creating them!

Invite God to join you. Finally and most importantly, invite God into your relationship with your daughter. Talk about her faith—what she believes, what questions she has, what she’s reading in her Bible, etc. Consider reading Scripture together, doing a summer devotional, or setting aside time to pray together.

Need some ideas? Check out the Faithgirlz Bibles and devotional studies for some great resources to enjoy this summer.


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