Family Devotionals were a response to the 2020-2021 Covid-19 pandemic. In March of 2020, when schools and public spaces began to shut down in the United States, we started daily family devotionals to provide structure, connection, predictability, and simplicity in a time when those things seemed scarce.
We ended May 28, 2021, after exactly 350 family devotionals, each of which included singing, a story, a query, a brief period of waiting worship, and sometimes other things as well. It was a precious time, and we formed communities of regular attenders from a wide variety of geographic, cultural, and generational backgrounds.
Below, you’ll find a list of all the stories and queries that we used in family devotionals, preserved here (messy as the list may be) for those who are searching for suggestions of books and conversations for multiage Quaker settings in the future.
What are some specific ways you will practice your faith in the next few weeks?
What makes you feel good?
What is a book or story that you really love?
The pictures in this book are made by splatter painting. What is your favorite way to make art?
MAKING FEELINGS FACES! What’s your _____face?
In this story, the caterpillar is nourished by many delicious foods. What nourishes you and helps you get ready to grow and change?
Who do you feel connected with? When do you feel most connected?
The story has a lot of sentences that start with, “We know God is listening when . . .” How would you finish that sentence?
Did you have a favorite picture or a favorite part of the words in this book?
What do you like to do with your imagination?
Sometimes when someone dies, we say that they are in our hearts. Sometimes we hold people in our hearts even when they are alive. Who do you hold in your heart?
At one point, the lighthouse says to the bridge, “I thought your light was so bright that mine was no longer needed.” What do you think about that?
Do you ever need to say no to someone you love? What is that like?
How do you end your day and get ready to go to sleep?
Each person we meet sees the world in a new way. It’s kind of like every person is a window. Who is someone you have known in your life who showed you a whole new way of seeing things?
What do you think about what happens to Red in the end? Why does Red get to be part of the group again? Does that seem right to you?
Have you ever taking a walk at night? What are some nighttime sounds?
What do you have now (in summer) that you want to store up in your memory for this winter?
Which animal in the story are you like sometimes?
What is your favorite part of the story? Is there a part that you did not like?
Share smiles. Make other feeling faces.
Which character do you like better? The chicken? Or the worm?
Have you ever had a hard time learning something new? What did that feel like? How did it feel when you did it!?
This can be used as an introduction to a ‘sweet talk’ or ‘affirmations’ exercise, in which each group member takes a turn as the focus person for about a minute while everyone else in the group calls out positive qualities they have seen in the focus person.
In this story, Grover is making obstacles for us to overcome. Have you ever had an experience like this in your life?
Before he saw the baby, Joram was grumpy. After he saw the baby, he was singing. What do you think happened to Joram when he saw Jesus?
Do you have a special, cozy place you like in your home? What makes it special for you?
Can you think of a time when it was hard to communicate? Either hard to say something, or hard to understand? What does that feel like? What do you do when that happens?
What does it feel like to give hospitality? What does it feel like to receive hospitality?
Can you remember a time you have shared something that is yours and special to you? How did that feel?
If this story was about you instead of Harold, what would you do with your crayon?
In the story, the animals keep making more space each time a new animal comes along. Can you think of a story about a time you made space for someone?
If you were in the farmer’s position, do you think you would sell the farm? Why or why not? What would that be like?
Do you know the story of your name? How does your name fit you or not? Is there another name you like to be called?
Do you know where your name came from or what it means? Is there another story you’d like to share about your name? If you could be named anything, what name would you choose?
What do you think that God thinks about laughter and play?
Do you remember how snow feels? Have you ever had an adventure in the snow and done things Peter does? How does it feel when you come home again?
What do you think this story is about?
This is a very famous story. As you hear it again now, what do you notice that you haven’t noticed before, or that you had forgotten?
Do you have a favorite plant? Is there a plant that you would have been okay if Naamah had forgotten to rescue it?
In the story, Patchwork and the others show loyalty and devotion to their friend. What do you think about the words “loyalty” and “devotion”? With whom, or with what, do you experience those feelings?
Can you think of a time when you were afraid of something, but then it turned out not to be scary?
When you pray, is it like this story? Or is it quite different?
How do you make decisions about chores in your family? What do you think of the way that the group in the barnyard makes these decisions?
What is something that started small and grew into something big? Have you ever been surprised when something grew or became something new?
What did the characters learn in this story? What can we learn from this story?
Have you ever found a way to be peaceful when you were feeling unpeaceful?
What do you like to do when you’re alone?
What spiritual gifts did you notice in the different characters? (What did you notice that each character was especially good at?)
What does “the touch of God” feel like inside?
Have you ever made a sign to carry, or put in a window? Why did you make it? What does it feel like when you speak up and use your voice?
What would you like to say about this story?
Is there anything in this story that reminds you of something in your life?
Have you ever played with someone different than you and found you could do new things together?
Who are you in this story? Or, who is someone you are really missing?
How is Earth like a mother? Or not?
What do you like about babies? What are some things babies can do?
At the beginning of the story, Obediah says that the seagull is not his friend. At the end, Obediah says the seagull is his friend. What do you think changed?
Was there a page of this story that you especially noticed? What would you like to say about it?
What part of this story did you like best? What was the silliest part of the story?
Do you have a toy that you made, or that someone made for you, that you still use today?
The monkeys must have known that they were upsetting Mr. Crocodile when they teased him. So why do you think they did it?
Is it ever hard to be yourself? When do you feel like you can do anything?
What is a “do you love me” question that you have found yourself asking?
Today, 375,000 new babies will be born on Earth. What can you do today to celebrate that?
Have you ever been to a parade? I wonder if you noticed the rainbows?
If you had a friend like Iguana, what would you say or do for her?
The octopus tells the rainbow fish that he should give all his rainbow scales away, and then he will learn how to be happy. What do you think of that?
In the story, Davy’s sister and brothers tell him, “Saying sorry isn’t enough.” What do you think about that?
How do we show kindness and care to others? Have you ever asked someone what they need?
When is it easiest to feel God with you, and when is it hardest?
Have you ever looked up at the stars at night? What did you see? How did it feel?
Is there a line or a picture in the story that you connected with?
What is it like when you think something is scary, but it turns out not to be?
What is something you know about God? How do you know this?
What makes you happy?
Why do you think it is important to be polite? Are there times when it is not important to be polite?
What is your favorite quiet time?
What is something about the way God made you that you especially love?
What part of this story, either words or a picture, jumped out at you today?
Do you have something old in your home, that has been passed down from person to person in your family? How do things change when we share them?
Can you tell us a story about a very special thing that you have?
Have you ever walked a long way? How do you help to make peace?
What do you think God is like? What else can God do?
First Part: What is hospitality? Where do you see hospitality in this story? Second Part: Why do you think God doesn’t tell us what is going to happen to us next? Third Part: When you feel angry, what helps you let it go?
What do you notice about the relationship between Lisa and Corduroy?
How do you feel about the ending of this story?
What is a sound that you really love?
What is something you believe in? What connects you to other people?
What helps you when you are having very big feelings?
How do you know when you want someone to be your friend?
Do you have a name for God? What names are you called by?
Which character in this story do you feel like sometimes? Why?
What kind of light do you like best? When do you use the light inside you?
What is something that you have learned from seeds?
What is something you’d like to be someday?
What is something you are good at? What makes you feel cozy and comfortable?
What are some things you can do to get help when you need it?
If the earth could talk in words, what do you think the earth would say?
What is something you have to do everyday? What is something you like to do?
What makes you feel curious? What are you curious about?
What is the gift of nothing? What could that mean?
What does this story make you think of?
Take a moment to be very still. What do you notice that you didn’t notice before?
Close your eyes and imagine a place that makes you very happy. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Is there something to eat? What can you feel?
Where do you see circles around you right now? What are some circles in your life?
Can you tell a story about learning to do new things?
At the end of the story, the Emperor says he admires Ping. Do you admire Ping? What do you admire about him?
Have you had the experience of going on an adventure? What did it feel like to come home?
What is growing outside where you are? Is there an idea or hope you would like to grow?
Can you remember a time when you spent time with someone older than you? What did you learn from them?
What does it feel like when you’re trying to do and think about a lot of different things all at the same time?
Can you tell a story about a time when someone was especially kind to you?
Do you have another name for God? What do you call God?
What do you wonder about?
Have you ever made something new out of things you found?
If you were going to say thank you to God for some part of your body, what would you say thank you for?
Where are you quiet and still? What does that feel like?
What is growing where you are?
What is faith? What do you have faith in?
Close your eyes and imagine “happy colors.” What do you see?
What do you do when you’re scared? What is it like when you think something is scary, but it turns out not to be?
Do you ever feel like Tucker? What happens when you do?
In your home or town, is there a particular place that feels sacred? Why?
How does this story make you feel? Do you feel more like the mama, more like the child, or both? Why?
Can you think of a way that you could invite someone to play with you today? Who will you invite? What will you invite them to do?
What does it feel like when you use your voice to say STOP when something is wrong?
What can you see right now that makes you think of God? What can you hear right now that makes you think of God? What can you feel right now that makes you think of God?
What do you do when you feel too crowded? What do you do when you feel too lonely?
What is a book or story that you really love?
What makes you feel good?
What do you think about the ending of this story?
Quakers have a saying that is a lot like the last page of this book: “What canst thou say?” What does your voice have to say today?
When have you used your voice to share your ideas?
Who are some of the people that your invisible string is tied to?
Do you have a story to share about either jam or muffins?
When is a time you have been to a march?
What are some good strategies for making new friends?
Do you have a favorite letter from the story? Which one? Why?
Is there a part of the story that you’d like to say something about?
Do you always follow the rules? Why or why not?
In this story, Georgia longs to visit the “faraway.” What is your “faraway”?
I wonder if there was a time when you were brave?
What is a favorite memory you have of a time you did something with a member of your family?
Is there a part of your daily routine that you like or find comforting?
What part of the story did you like best?
Is there a food you like to make in your family? What kinds of feelings do you have when you eat it?
What did it feel like to make the goose laugh?
What do you want to be when you grow up? Or what *did* you want to be when you grew up?
Which season do you like best? What are you grateful for during that season?
What animal inspires you? What animal do you want to be like?
What do you do to help you remember that God has the world in God’s hands?
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? What is the key to getting there?
What are you grateful for? How do you say thank you?
What question would you like to ask God?
What is something you take with you that reminds you how much you’re loved? It can be a physical thing, or a memory, or something like the kissing hand in the story.
What do you think about the way the mouse solved its problem?
Do you have a favorite sound? How does the sound make you feel?
Have you ever been lost? How does it feel to be found?
Is God anywhere in this story?
Is there a bench where you live? What can you see when you sit there? Does anyone sit with you?
Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in? What makes a good friend?
What do you think of Robin? Do you know anyone like Robin?
If you could say something to Baboushka, what would you say?
I wonder what part of this story you liked best, or thought was important?
What is something you like to do to celebrate?
When someone tells you what to do, do you find it easy or hard to listen to them?
Have you ever had a mystery happen to you?
Have you ever been in a Christmas play? Have you ever seen one? If you haven’t, what do you think you’d like to be in – or do to help with – a Christmas play?
Do you have a favorite part of the story of Jesus’ birth? Is there a part that you have a hard time with or often leave out?
Which part of this story did you like best?
If you could invite someone to your house for dinner, who would you invite?
Which was your favorite car?
In the story, Mahdrick and the other characters are sometimes leaders and sometimes followers. What is something you noticed in the story about leading and following? What is something you know from your life about leading and following?
What do you think you might do to celebrate winter solstice?
What did you hear in the story about giving? What is something you know about giving?
I wonder what makes you happy?
“Empathy” is trying to understand how someone else feels. Where in the story did you see empathy? Where did you see people trying to understand how others feel?
Which animal do you like best? What would you give to the baby Jesus if you could?
What do you do the night before Christmas?
Do you have a favorite Christmas memory, or snow memory, that you’d like to share?
What is your favorite kind of berry?
Have you been to a fair? What was fun there?
Do you think the mouse was a good guest? Do you think the boy was a good host?
Have you ever been on a journey or pilgrimage?
What is something you need to be comfortable? What would it be like not to have that?
This is a story about a grown-up explaining the world to a baby. What would you add if you were explaining the world?
What is something you find comforting?
What is beautiful?
Which was your favorite day of creation? Or, what creation were you especially happy to see?
Which truck would you like to drive, and what would you do in it?
When you have a friend who feels grumpy or sad, what can you do to help them feel better?
What part of nature would you like to say thank you to today?
Do you think Leo is a good friend? What makes him a good friend?
If you could go anywhere with the magical teapot, where would you go?
What is something that you used to be afraid of, but now you’re not? What is something that still feels scary, but you’d like to keep working on it?
When is a time that you stood up against a rule that wasn’t fair?
Is there a job you’d like to try that you’ve never had?
Why do you think people get left out sometimes? What can we do about it?
In the story, things do not go as expected for Pup and Bear, but they are cared for anyway. How is God taking care of you and your family right now?
Have you ever lost something? What happened?
Where did you see yourself in the story?
How was Shirley the first? What did you like best in her story or have a question about?
Even though he knows what to do, George sometimes has trouble making good choices. Do you ever feel like George? What happens when you do?
What thoughts did this story give you about sharing?
In this story, the two mothers are trying to get ready for winter, but their two children are thinking just about right now. Do you like to prepare for things? Or do you like to do things right away?
Do you have a story to tell about soup?
How do you like to wake up?
How are you like Katy? Is there a way you wish you were like Katy?
What is a place that you hold in your heart–maybe a place where you have found God before?
What do you notice when you take a walk?
What do you do when you’re staying at home?
What was your favorite part of the story? Did the story remind you of anything?
What did Mrs. Twinkle do for Chrysanthemum? Why was it so important?
What is something you have been wishing or praying for?
What did the characters learn in the story?
What do you do when you are having a hard day?
Who is someone who, or what is something that, you know loves you?
Who do you think were the conquerors?
When was a time when you worked together with others to get something done?
Will you tell us a story about an animal friend of yours?
What do you have that you keep with you that makes you feel hopeful or good?
What would you like to say is okay? “It’s okay to…”
What did you like best in this story?
What is something that you’d like to say about interrupting, or about the interrupting that happens in this story?
How does sharing feel to you? Are there times when it is easier to share and times when it is harder to share?
What does it mean to be human?
What are your favorite foods to eat?
What kind of light did you see in the book that you especially loved or that you wanted to say something about?
What is an example of a time when you are going to like yourself?
What do you like best about birthdays?
Let’s talk a little about choices. How do you feel about the choices that Nanette made in the story? How do you feel about the choices Mom made?
The book says that God is like a mountain, a cave, and a small rock. Which comparison did you like best? Is there something else you would like to say God is like?
Who is someone who is a very special friend to you?
When have you helped someone and not expected anything in return?
What was your favorite gift or kind act in the story? What is a gift you have given or something kind you have done?
I wonder how it feels to give something you have made to someone?
Where do you feel cared for and safe?
What is it like when family comes to visit, or when you visit on the phone or on the internet?
In this book, Ralph Mouse has a plan. His friends try to help, but they aren’t actually very helpful. Have you ever had a plan, and someone else had a different plan? What happened?
What is your favorite thing that water can do?
How are you like Leila? How are you different from Leila?
If you could take a bus somewhere today, where would you go? Would you want to be the driver or the passenger?
Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you?
What can you think of that is more fun when you share it?
What do you want to celebrate about the last year?
If you were a character in this book, which character would you want to be?
Can you think of a time you learned a new thing and it was hard at first?
Have you ever waited for a friend? Have you ever taken a journey with a friend?
What was your favorite part of the story? Or, do you have a favorite memory from a garden?
Are you more like Rocket or more like the bird? Why?
Can you think of someone who has told you stories about God?
What have you done for the first time recently?
What was your favorite part of the story?
In the book, Cat has many different feelings at different times. What are some of the ways you noticed Cat felt?
Can you tell about a time when you were surprised?
Which animal family is most like yours? Why?
If you were a dog, what do you think you would like to do?
Have you ever had a time when you were scared and someone comforted you?
Can you think of a reason why someone might think one thing but say something different?
Do you think that driving the tractor was a good idea or a bad idea? Why?
How does your heart feel today?
What is an animal or a plant that you want to know better and help protect?
Do you have a good friend to tell about? What do you like about them?
What is it like when you pray? What do you pray for?
What did you notice the girl carried with her? What did she make?
What is it like to be new? To meet new people, try new things, or go to a new place?
In the story, the mother and baby are connected by a piece of yarn. Who are you connected to? How do you feel connected?
Have you ever shared a toy with someone? What happened?
What is a way that you are like your parent or your ancestors?
What did you notice about each of the friends in the story?
What is something that you do with your family?
What did you notice about what the different animals were thinking and feeling in this story?
Do you ever do things you’re not supposed to do?
Does this story remind you of anything that has happened to you?
Can you think of a time when you helped someone or someone helped you? What did you notice about helping in the story?
Do you like to dress up and play pretend? Will you tell us about it?
How do you match your mama?
Do you have a favorite book or rhyming poem that you want to tell about?
When is a time when you have felt different?
Who is one of your neighbors?
What is something you know how to make?
What do you notice about helping in the story?
Have you ever felt like one of the three monks in this story?
Where is a place that is just right for you that you love to be?
What is something you have built? Who did you build it with? What is something you’d like to build someday?
What are some things you can do when you are new? What can you do when someone else is new?
The girl and the fox go through a lot of different situations and feelings in this story. Which page feels like you today?