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52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family

52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family

52 weeks to Fortify Your Family

I admit it. Several times I have selfishly coerced my children into promising me they’ll stay little forever. They never keep their promise. They keep growing up. I guess I’m O.K. with it – after all, that’s what kids do. Yet one particular month in 2012 my children getting bigger seemed extra heavy on my heart.

It was the end of summer and school was just around the corner. My oldest was about to start second grade. Strangely, I was having a hard time with this transition. She had been in school all day long for an entire year now, but something about that moment – this milestone from first to second grade – was pulling at me.

Could it be because she was turning eight soon?

In just a couple months she would be baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I knew that for the first time in her sweet life, Satan would be there tempting her. That thought really bothered me.


Here entire life I’ve wanted to protect her. I was already worried about conversations on the playground and bullies in the lunchroom. And now I wanted so badly to protect her from Satan too.  I knew our home was a safe haven, but what would happen when I sent her out the door each morning and off to school? I wanted to cover her in bubble wrap and keep her body, mind and spirit safe. Obviously that would be impossible, or at the very least impractical. But I realized I could (and should) do a better job of spiritually preparing her each morning before she left our home. I could armor her with the Word of God.

I decided we could study a topic each week, one scripture each morning. It would be quick and easy and hopefully effective. I wanted to start with kindness and then light and then love. I had no idea those were the first seeds of what would become the bestselling book 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-minute messages.

Do you worry about your kids too?

I doubt I’m the first parent with the idea to bubble wrap my babies! We worry. We’re parents. That’s what we do.

Thankfully we can support each other as we strengthen our families. We’re not in this alone. And maybe – if we stick together- our kids just might turn out alright.

A resource to help.

52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family book cover Armor Your Children

I wrote 52 Weeks to help my kids and yours too. The book is a theme-based approach to daily devotionals for Latter-day Saint families. The book offers an assortment of topics from kindness and citizenship to the Plan of Salvation and the Godhead.

But I want this book to work for your family. You don’t have to follow along week-by-week. In fact, I encourage you to pick a topic best for your family and let the daily scripture, thoughtful questions and quotes guide your family through a pertinent conversation all week — whether your kids are four or 14.

What does your family struggle with? What challenges do you face in bringing your family together?  Here are a few suggestions to help as you use this book in your own home:

1. Consistency is Key.

Whether you like to use these daily devotionals at the breakfast table, before bed, or in one bigger lesson on a Monday evening, stay consistent. Decide what approach your family wants and stick with it.

A consistent routine will be easier for you as the parent. And as begin to your children see the difference in their day, they’ll help remind you. I’ve even had some families tell me their teenagers request it!

2. Keep is simple.

Don’t make this time a big production. Simple is sweet. My family likes to start with the book and end with a prayer and then head on with the day in front of us. I love how we can guide our time together by the questions my children ask or even the lack of answers they might know. They never need a full lesson plan.

3. Ask questions.

We learn from discussions, not lectures. The first question I usually ask my preschool and grade school kids is, “do you know what that scripture means?” We might just spend the morning talking about the meaning or if they understand, I’ll ask another question that will help them think about how it might relate to their sweet little life.

Give it a try.

I’m so excited that 52 Weeks is already a #1 bestseller! If you want your own copy you can grab one online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or in person at Deseret Book or Seagull Book. We’ve got over $100 of Book Launch bonuses! Or – if you’re feeling lucky – maybe you’ll be the winner of the autographed copy we’re giving away!

To be entered for a chance to win this book, either pin or share one of the following posts below and then come back and leave a comment telling us what you did. A random winner will be chosen on Thursday, January 22nd.

The One Thing Sister Monson Would Not Do

The Empty Chair

This post was written by the author of “52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family”, Nicole Carpenter.

NICOLE CARPENTER is an advocate for strong families. She believes in focusing first on strengthening mothers so they can fortify their children. Nicole is a mom mentor, speaker and founder of, a blog and online community for mothers, reaching out to moms in over seven different countries. She is the creator of the Define Your Time™ time-management e-course and the Mothers of Magnitude Academy. Nicole’s parenting column publishes regularly on and has been syndicated in several other online news sources. 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-minute Messages is her first book.

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Nicole graduated with a B.A. degree in Public Relations from Weber State University, where she also met her husband, Marty. They reside in Syracuse, Utah and are raising four incredible children, including a set of identical twins. And to make it all happen, she may or may not rely on Diet Dr Pepper and chocolate-covered toffee hidden in the fridge.


Sherelyn Cureton

Friday 16th of January 2015

You are so right...I have raised five and now two grandchildren and teaching the Gospel by keeping it simple, consistent and asking questions. I have been blessed to have the knowledge of truth. My children and grandchildren are stronger in the winds that howl, it is their anchor and mine in the storms. God Bless you---Sherelyn.

Ben Arkell

Friday 16th of January 2015

Sherelyn, thanks for being a great example to those kids and grandkids of yours!


Friday 16th of January 2015

I would LOVE this book!!! Just what my family needs is some daily inspiration ♡♡♡♡ I pinned Sister Monson's story on Pinterest! Thanks for sharing. What a great reminder to us all!!!

Ben Arkell

Friday 16th of January 2015

Cherish, thanks so much! Good luck!

Rebecca Balinski

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Sounds like a great book! I'd love to be entered. I just shared the post about Sister Monson on our Facebook timeline :)

Ben Arkell

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Thanks Rebecca. You guys are the greatest! Say hi to Alex for me. :)

Michele Shumate

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Shared the empty chair. I love Pres. Hinckley. I would love a copy of this book, but can't fit it in our budget. Would love to win a copy.

Ben Arkell

Tuesday 17th of February 2015

Michele - you were randomly selected as the winner of the book! Please email us at with your mailing address.

Ben Arkell

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Awesome Michele, good luck! Thanks for sharing the poem on President Hinckley.


Thursday 15th of January 2015

Love your blog. I pinned the article about the paper boy - "ONE Thing President Monson’s Wife Would NOT Do". What a great example she was to us!

Thank you!

Ben Arkell

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Thanks Stef! I appreciate the pin. We'll announce the winner on Thursday the 22nd! :)