Reading Bingo PrintableDoes anyone else often get stuck reading the same type of book or other reading material over and over again? And do you read in the same place all the time?

I do. I’ve been stuck on British crime novels for a long time now (and I’m addicted to British crime TV dramas as well, but that’s an issue for another day). And I always read either in my recliner or in my bed. It’s kind of a routine, and while there’s nothing wrong with routines, I think I need to mix it up a little. Maybe you do too.

With that in mind, I created a Reading Bingo printable for myself and for you, my loyal blog readers. I made it with both adults and independent kid readers in mind, so various ages can use it.

This is a great tool to use with kids who love to read as well as those who need a little prompting to get some more reading time in.

You might want to give yourself a certain time frame to get “bingo”—like summer or a specific month. Maybe your goal will be to cross off the whole board. Or you might want to make it a contest with a friend, child, or even your entire family. It’s up to you to do whatever you wish with it.

If you decide to play Reading Bingo, I’d love to hear about your plans for you and/or your kids. Leave a comment below to give the rest of us ideas.

Click here to download the Reading Bingo pdf: Reading Bingo

Want another way to connect with your kids over books?

If so, you need to check out our companion novels for women and tweens. The two books have an intertwining storyline, but one is written for adults and one is written for children. Adults can connect with kids by reading the books together and discussing the characters, story, and themes of forgiveness and community service. Click below to find out more.

Connect with Kids by Reading Companion Novels // A novel for adults and a novel for kids: both books contain a shared storyline, with the same characters, timeline, and setting, but they're written from two different points of view and for two different age groups. // #reading #parenting #kids #books #fiction #family

The purpose of this website is to inspire people to live well and serve others and then influence the children in their lives to do the same. You can find other resources that will help you influence kids to live well and serve others in our online store and on our companion novels page. 

Adam and Nancy Blaue: Imagining a Library


Nancy Blaue met her husband, Adam, when she was 14 years old. He claims it was love at first sight, but Nancy’s not so sure. Nevertheless, the two got married just months after she graduated from high school in the early 1990s. Due to some medical issues, the couple were advised to have children early on. The two became parents at what most would consider a very young age, but their family was soon complete with two daughters and a son.

Adam and Nancy live on a farm in northern Montgomery County, Missouri, where they raised their children. Their two daughters, Katie and Libby, are now married and both are expecting babies. Will, their son, will graduate from Wellsville-Middletown R-1 High School in just a few weeks.

If you’ve ever met Nancy, you know she is not only dedicated to her own family, but she also cares about the families surrounding her. Nearly everything she does is focused on serving families of all shapes and sizes in her community.

Continue reading “Nancy Blaue: Imagining a Library in Every Home”

Amy Simpson: Advocating for Mental Health


When Amy Simpson was four years old, her mom would often lock herself into her bedroom for hours at a time. While that’s not an ideal situation at any time, the bigger issue is that this would happen while Amy’s dad was at work and her older siblings were at school. So that left Amy and her two-year-old sister on their own.

How a Parents Mental Illness Can Affect Children // Read Amy Simpsons story to discover how kids are affected by mental illness in their home. Find tips for how to help them. // #mentalillness #mentalhealth #kids #family #parenting #kindness

More than a decade would pass before Amy’s mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia, though she’d been showing symptoms—some quite concerning—since she was in her late teens. This was the 70s, after all, and mental illness carried much more of a stigma than it does today. And it was never discussed in the church, which was a major problem because Amy’s dad was a pastor.

Amy recalls that her mom didn’t have any friends. She knew plenty of people an interacted with them on a regular basis at church, but her mom socially struggled, and she was very withdrawn and disengaged. She often couldn’t explain her thoughts or emotions.

In many families that have a family member with a mental illness, it’s very similar to households where someone has an addiction. Everything centers around that person. Everyone does what they can to make adaptations to protect, avoid, or keep from upsetting that person. This is what happened with Amy’s family, without anyone acknowledging it. She also can’t remember a time when things felt “right” with her mom.

“From as far back as I can remember, I lived with the conviction that I was stronger than my mom.”

“She needed my help and protection. … That awareness was always with me, but it wasn’t something that I processed. The whole family functioned that way without talking about it.”

Continue reading “Amy Simpson: Advocating for Mental Health”

Life Lessons from Doctor Who

A few months ago, I noticed that an Amazon Prime app had suddenly appeared on my Apple TV. I tried to ignore it for awhile, because I didn’t need any more binge-watching in my life, but it didn’t work. I had to see what shows were on Prime that I hadn’t watched on one of the other platforms. And I ran across Doctor Who.

Science fiction has never really been my thing, but for some reason I decided to give Doctor Who a try. I’m on season 6 (of the 2005 series), and at this point I have no intention of stopping.

There are several things about the show that fascinate me. The main thing that I find interesting is the directors’/producers’ abilities to keep an audience engaged throughout a revolving cast of Doctors and other main characters.

Continue reading “Life Lesson from Doctor Who: A Revolving Cast of Characters”

How to Connect with Kids Over Books They Love; #kids #parenting #reading #books


How to Use Books to Connect with Kids // Find out how to look for repeating themes in books kids love, and learn how to capitalize on that knowledge in order to connect with them. // #reading #kids #parenting #teaching #books #family #connect #children

I recently had the opportunity to talk to the fifth grade students at School of the Osage in Osage Beach, Missouri, about writing and books. While thinking about what I wanted to say, I thought back to the books I loved as a kid.

I read a ridiculous amount of books when I was little. (And I still do.) But what I realized the other day is that I don’t remember much about most of those books.

There’s even very little I recall about the book I read more than any other book in elementary school: Superfudge by Judy Blume. I’ve always been the kind of person who hates to crack a spine, dog-ear a page, or otherwise mar a book. But my copy of Superfudge was nearly falling apart by the time I outgrew it. Yet I still have very little memory of what it was about, other than the fact that Fudge had an older brother named Peter and a baby sister named Tootsie.

My parents’ basement currently houses boxes upon boxes of Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden mysteries. However, I remember exactly one minor storyline from any of those hundreds of books. Continue reading “Connect with Kids Over Books They Love”

A few years ago I did some freelance editing work for the Fuller Youth Institute. The first project I worked on was the Sticky Faith Launch Kit, which I found quite fascinating. 

So what’s this sticky faith thing? The Fuller Youth Institute website describes it as: “Sticky Faith is a ministry framework and parenting philosophy backed by practical and proven ideas to help develop long-term faith in teenagers.” So basically, they help ministry leaders and parents with strategies to help guide the faith development of their children with the hope that they won’t abandon it when they reach adulthood.

I honestly don’t remember everything from the kit, but the one thing that really stuck with me is the amount of adults they believe need to be heavily invested in kids’ lives.

Continue reading “The 5:1 Ratio: Kids Need a Tribe”

When you were a kid and didn’t eat everything on your plate, did your parents ever say, “Eat your food. Just think of all those starving orphans in Africa”? Mine occasionally did, and my smart-aleck response always was, “Well, if they were here, I’d give them this food. But they’re not here, are they?” (Disclaimer: Yes, I know not all kids in Africa are orphans or starving, but that’s a real thing American parents said ALL THE TIME when I was a kid in the 1980s.)

Flash forward to today, and there really is a way to give your food to starving kids in Africa, Asia, North America, and other regions of the world. No, I’m not talking about the actual food you leave on your plate at the Outback Steakhouse or your great-aunt’s questionable JELL-O “salad” at Christmas, but the food you consciously choose not to even buy in order that you can feed a child somewhere else.

A few years ago, I was working on a writing project with Candace Cameron Bure, and she mentioned an organization she supports called When she told me more about it, I was intrigued by the charity’s focus. Their motto is:

Continue reading “Just Skip It . . . and Feed a Child”