Back Porch Book Chat: Melissa Deming (Bible Teacher)

Back Porch Book Chat: A casual, virtual conversation about books. Join us as we chat with book lovers like ourselves about a topic we all love! Our guest today is Melissa Deming of Hive Resources. She chats with us about reading with her family (#boymom), her Bible study resources, and more! Check out her bio after the interview for more about Melissa.

Getting to Know Melissa

Melissa Deming
Melissa Deming

Before we begin, tell us what beverage you’d like as we sit in our rocking chairs on this fall day: Sweet tea? Lemonade? La Croix? Ice water? Is it cool enough to start thinking hot chocolate or coffee?

Despite the scorching heat, I am always a coffee girl. It must be my Texas roots. We are accustomed to weather so hot it will peel the paint off your car. Technically, I’m not a purist. So, let’s plan on adding some cream and sugar! {Melissa lives in the South where fall has been mighty slow in coming this year–it’s been plenty hot, even in October!}

Melissa, you’re a boy mom like me—in fact, we both have TWIN boys! But I didn’t know you were from Texas, too, like me. I’m with you on coffee served HOT.

Tell us a bit about your family, your favorite ways to spend time together when everyone’s home, and your boys’ school.

My husband and I have 11-year-old twin boys, Zach and Jonah. They are in fifth grade in our local public school, so most of our afternoons are taken up with sports, music lessons, and homework. We are pretty intentional about guarding our weekends so we can enjoy some down-time together as a family. This year, we decided to take a break from team sports that require weekly practices and weekend games. As most families can agree, each season of our life varies. So, we try to observe what the family needs and adjust from there. 

On weekends, we love to hike, take family day trips, and lounge (and read, of course!). One of the boys usually has some sort of “project” going on at all times – building a Lego warship, cataloging the insects in our yard, or making something slime-related (unfortunately). 

Reading in the Midst of Real Life

I can totally relate to those boy projects. Tell us what books has your family particularly enjoyed this past year.

Although my boys are identical twins, they are polar opposites when it comes to their reading tastes. This month, my eldest devoured the DK’s non-fiction books on WWI and WWII: WWI: The Definitive Visual History and WWII: Visual Encyclopedia

My other dipped his toe into the Redwall Series by celebrated author Brian Jacques. 

We also went through the entire Mistmantle Chronicles by M.I. McAllister. Despite being out of print, I scoured amazon for used copies and was able to find all five! This were a big hit with both boys. 

This past week we finished Brandon Mull’s latest installment of his Dragon Watch series, a spin-off of his successful series, Fablehaven. (We first read Fablehaven on Halloween of last year, and it has turned into one of our our favorite series!)

We’re fans of the Mistmantle Chronicles here, too! {Readers, you can read our starred review here.} And my identical twins have different reading tastes from each other, too. It’s been a fascinating development to observe.

We obviously love books at Redeemed Reader, and we love passing along good tips for making reading happen in the midst of a busy school year. Do you have any favorite tips or routines that work for you all when it comes to finding and reading good books?

Finding time to read together as a public-school family is challenging. But learning to love books and stories is a value and skill we strive to pass along to our kids. We tuck reading time into small moments where we can find them: in the carpool lane, at bedtime, on family trips, and on rainy days. To do this, we’ve found that we have to be intentional and creative. I always have new books on hand to surprise the boys with or to give as a reward. We keep baskets of books within reach, and put them in the car to read while waiting for a table at a restaurant or for unexpected delays. Because reading is contagious, we strive to be parents who are reading books, and not just looking at our phones. 

This intentionality takes a lot of effort, so we usually have a running wishlist of books saved on Amazon. I am from a family of all girls, so the world of fifth-grade boys has been quite an adventure. But I’ve loved every second of it because I get to read books about dragons and espionage and lone rangers and see the world through different eyes. 

To find new books, I follow trusted websites like Redeemed Reader (naturally!), the Rabbit Room, and The Read Aloud Revival. I also go to Barnes and Noble and take pictures of books that look fun. When I get home, I research them. If they pass the test, they move to our Amazon wish list, so that if I find myself at a used bookstore, I can search for the books by title or author. 

Great tips, Melissa! I think every family that wants to inculcate a strong reading habit has to do just those very things: model the reading life as parents and seize opportunities whenever they present themselves. And we love that we’re in such good company with the Rabbit Room and Read Aloud Revival!

Melissa’s Ministry Passion: Teaching God’s Word

Melissa, you are passionate about studying God’s Word, and that’s one of my favorite things about you. Tell us a little bit about how you got started creating Bible study resources, what sort of resources you offer, and what your hopes are for your business/ministry.

I started creating Bible study templates a few years ago to give women tools to use to dig into God’s Word for themselves. So often, women are accustomed to consuming God’s Word like it is a microwaveable meal – reheating someone else’s thoughts on God’s Word and enjoying them instead of doing their own prep work. I have always hoped that my guides and journals will help women learn that they can get into the kitchen for themselves and make a meal out of the Scriptures. If they do this, they will find so much more joy and understanding. 

Ooh, I love that cooking analogy! And, I personally have benefited from your guided Bible journals. They definitely help me make a meal out of the feast in God’s Word. Readers, if you’d like to see some of Melissa’s work, you can visit her website. We’ve also reviewed her *excellent* book on studying the Bible, Sweeter Than Honey.

What advice would you give our readers when they’re trying to decide where to start studying the Bible with their kids? Do you have some favorite resources you recommend to parents and teachers? 

Because we as parents often feel under-qualified to study God’s Word, we feel under qualified to teach our kids about God’s Word. If our children see us opening up the Bible and reading a passage and talking about it, they will think that is the normal way to study the Bible. I hope to normalize self-feeding in my kids. I don’t want them to feel they must find five resources in order to understand what the Word means. We are in a magical phase of life where the boys are capable of in-depth conversations about a biblical topic. It is exciting to see where a conversation goes based on their questions. So, instead of recommending resources for Bible reading, I would encourage parents to just be normal!

Select a book of the Bible and walk through it. Talk about it as you go. Learn to look up key words together using the Blue Letter Bible app. Keep it simple! 

Do you have favorite children’s or teen’s Bibles to recommend? We review a lot here on Redeemed Reader, but we’re always interested to know what we’ve missed!

I don’t! We gave the twins their first plain ESV Bible recently. I think they appreciate that it is simply the text without any bells and whistles. We are entering a new phase where we can delight in the Word for the sake of the Word, and I can honestly say, it is glorious!

Any last words of encouragement for your fellow moms of busy school age kids as we seek to disciple our kids?

I would tell moms to be faithful and also, not to be too hard on yourself. As a public school mom, I can easily get down on myself when I see the pictures and posts of my homeschooling mom friends. I love the images of their kids sprawled on the grass reading their Bibles while munching on lunch. Every mom can be faithful with the time she’s been given. And faithfulness will look different from family to family. There are family devotions that go well in our house, and then there are mornings where we are just barely hanging on. You are not your worst morning or your failed Bible study moment. Your kids will remember your consistent hand to show them and return them to the sacred Text. That’s what it is all about! Grace is our greatest teacher, after all (Titus 2:11).

Thank you, Melissa, for such gracious, wise words!

FREE Bible Guide from Redeemed Reader

Link to Free Guide to Best Bibles for Kids and Teens

Readers, we echo Melissa’s delight in watching kids dive into God’s Word itself. We have a FREE guide right now: The Best Bibles for Kids and Teens (based on more than 70 reviews of children’s and teen’s Bibles!).

MELISSA DEMING is the author of three discipleship books for women and the creator of – a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ. Her heart for women to know and follow Christ has taken her from around the world, from China to Chattanooga. After seeing the need for women to learn how to dig into the Scriptures for themselves, she launched a line of inductive Bible study journals for women and kids. Her shop, Heart & Hive, launched last summer.  

She and her husband, Jonathan, have identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. Melissa has a M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.

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Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.

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