It’s that time of year already! Can you believe it? Time to start making preparations for Christmas. Where did 2020 go? Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t discuss that. HA! But let’s do talk about Christmas.
If you have ever been a Children’s Ministry leader or directed a Christmas Program, you know that if you haven’t started making plans by the end of August, you may have a more difficult time keeping things organized.
A few weeks ago, Trisha Peach of Kidmin Ninja offered for me to review her upcoming release, “Finding Hope”. I was intrigued off the bat and couldn’t wait to dig in and read the script. Trisha Peach has been a Children’s Pastor for many years and has written books that I highly recommend for every Children’s Minister. (Her books contain tips that I have even used in other areas of ministry! Look for more information on her website, www.kidmin.ninja)
Finding Hope is about a little fish named Finn that runs away from home, combining the landscape of Finding Nemo with the parable of The Prodigal Son. The story covers sin, shame, grace, reconciliation, and more in a play script that is not complicated, Biblical, entertains, includes humor, and most of all: shares the Gospel message.
Intended to be an outreach, it has the potential to be just that if you set out with that as your prayer from the start. The author has provided many tools to help ease the workload from beginning to end, leaving little to be desired with checklists, forms, practice schedules, advertising suggestions, music lists, costume and prop suggestions, and more. There is even a follow-up letter template to use to reach out to those that attended the program. I also have to add, this former Media Team leader is especially impressed with the Sound/Tech/Lighting template that marks everything down to the minute.
Worried about possibly being in a Covid-19 lockdown this Christmas? That’s okay, she even has tips for how to still hold your Christmas Program online and how to host a distance production online. Trisha Peach has thought of everything! This production can also accommodate a small or large church with a few minor adjustments, whether in person or online.
If you are looking for a Christmas production for your Children’s Ministry that shares the Gospel, is anointed, fun, super cute, entertaining, and will help keep you organized, I highly recommend that you purchase Finding Hope as soon as it is made available.
Last night our family was looking forward to FINALLY having a movie night together. We were all together under one roof and ready with our snacks when we sat down to watch Paul Apostle of Christ.
What is #PaulMovie?
Paul (Faulkner), who goes from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Christ’s most influential apostle, is spending his last days in a dark and bleak prison cell awaiting execution by Emperor Nero. Luke(Caviezel), his friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into Rome to visit him. Paul is under the watchful eye of Mauritius (Martinez), the prison’s prefect, who seeks to understand how this broken old man can pose such a threat. But before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. Their faith challenged an empire. But their words changed the world.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Andrew Hyatt
PRODUCED BY: T.J. Berden and David Zelon
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Eric Groth, Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Jim Caviezel
STARRING: Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez, Joanne Whalley and John Lynch
Soon after turning on the movie thought we may have made a mistake by letting our 7-year-old watch with us. My tired brain didn’t consider the fact that persecution would include torture and execution, but it remained over her head and we had no issues.
As for the rest of us, we quickly fell in love with the film. The story is true to both history and scripture and was enjoyable. My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised with the humorous quips between Paul and Luke, showing that they were human while yet men of God. The end, oh my word, the end left me in tears.
One great factor of this film is that you do not have to be a theology scholar or history buff to understand and appreciate what is happening. One could even press play on this movie, having never heard of Saul/Paul or Nero, and follow along as it explains it all so well. That being said, if you do enjoy these things, you will find it especially interesting as well. Two of my favorite “characters” were Aquila and Priscilla, and seeing what they might have been like was really neat.
The Schott Family highly recommends Paul, Apostle of Christ!!! We also highly recommend discussing what is happening with your children so that they understand what persecution is and what it meant for those that have to endure it, even now. It is probably best to screen the film before allowing your children to watch to know if they can handle some of the scenes or not. (Example: There are Christians that were used as Roman Candles to light the streets. This was seen several times in the film.) Even so, we give the movie 5 out of 5 stars!
For more information, follow this movie on Facebook and Instagram!
Are you interested in winning a copy for your family to enjoy?
Alternatively, you can go to https://www.blessedfreebies.com/paulapostleofchrist.html to enter as well.
I’m going to just say it right off the bat… If you have a child that loves comic books, you are going to love BibleForce.
What is BibleForce?
From the company: “BibleForce is a brand-new Bible storybook that is illustrated with exciting, comic-style artwork that kids will love. Children will love the detail and action of BibleForce, and parents will love having a book that gets their children engaged in reading Bible stories. Vivid art, incredible detail, and easy-to-follow text will get readers of all ages enthusiastic about reading this chronological and fast-paced retelling of the Scriptures. It includes nearly 200 fully illustrated stories that take children through the adventure and action of the Bible and help kids understand the full story of the Bible. The focus on Bible heroes makes the stories even more thrilling.”
Our family has been reading BibleForce and I have one particular child, Tommy (age 10), that has fallen in love with this book. Since putting this book in his hands, all he wants to do is read. He especially loves the free app that comes with the book that helps him read along through stories with particularly difficult words for his reading level.
It does not seem that much has been left out of the Bible when translating it into a comic style storybook! The book itself is very thick and somewhat heavy. There are pages with history, maps, and even “Hero Profiles” that state facts on different heroes of the Bible. Hero Profiles were one of Tommy’s favorite features as he loves to learn facts.
I love that it has my child interested in Bible heroes, reading, and looking up scripture in the Bible to see what more he can learn about the hero and story he has read about. In fact, a few times we have had to go in and tell him it is time to put the book away to go to sleep/do chores/eat/etc. If you are a parent of a reluctant reader, you know how excited this has made me.
The following is what Tommy has to say about BibleForce:
“I think this is a great book. The art style is really good. It is really easy for me to read. I’m learning lots of new things. My favorite hero is Moses.”
I’ll be honest, we have a lot of different Bible storybooks. I didn’t expect this one to be too much different, but I have been pleasantly surprised with the way it has ignited a fire in my son. Our family highly recommends BibleForce!
Are you interested in entering a giveaway to win a copy of your own? You can do that here!
By now many have seen the movie I Can Only Imagine. Unfortunately, even with the best-laid plans, I have not. That did not stop my husband and me from enjoying the I Can Only Imagine Small Group Curriculum though.
For this review, I was supplied with the 28 Day Study Journal, in which, through studying the life of Jesus, a week is spent on each of the topics Rejection/Approval, Guilt/Forgiveness, Brokeness/Redemption, and Death/Eternal Life. Also included was a leather journaling notebook and a DVD containing a series of 4 episodes, one for each week in the study, to be watched as a group.
The 28 Day Study Journal was well laid out and didn’t leave you feeling lost or as if you missed something. Including scripture, quotes, questions, and even hymn lyrics, it assists you in digging into the hidden places of your heart to allow God to heal your brokenness and move forward.
The DVD was exceptional and really got us talking about how we related the topics to our own lives. Bart Millard shares raw emotions about his life story and how, with God, his life, the life of his father, and their relationship was redeemed.
As for the journaling notebook, much like the other products, there was nothing left wanting. While blank, the pages were well laid out with pages for various types of journaling and the cover very sturdy.
Let’s face it, in this day and age (well, any day and age) there is no one that has not experienced hurt. These products by City On A Hill make a great tool for discovering your identity in Christ while becoming whole in Him. Taking it a step further, and doing that as a group, really helps as you know that you are not alone in having gone through these emotions.
If you are considering purchasing the I Can Only Imagine Series and/or Journal from City On A Hill, you can save 10% using the code frontgate10 at this link: https://cityonahillstudio.com/shop-3/i-can-only-imagine/
Want to enter for a chance to win a copy for yourself? Enter at the following link before 5/25/18: https://www.blessedfreebies.com/indescribablestudygiveaway.html
Have you seen the movie or tried the Bible Study series? I’d love to know what you thought of them!
Sometimes during the day, we need little reminders of God’s love and faithfulness to keep us going.
Prone To Wander LA is a company that is focused on helping you do just that. Each product displays a scripture, Biblical promise, hymn lyric, Godly greeting, or something similar.
A few weeks ago I received a beautiful banner and pillow cover in the mail. First of all, I have to say how amazing these items smelled when they arrived. I kept holding the packaging and items to my nose because they seriously smelled SO good! Sometimes, when you order something online, it arrives smelling unpleasant so this was nice. 😉 Second, I was amazed by the quality! Being someone that sews, unintentionally, I look at things like seams, creases, and zippers. These products are not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but are constructed to last with durability. The fabric is top notch and the seams are strong.
But most of all… It has been wonderful to see this banner as I walk through my home or on my way out the door and find myself humming or singing “Be Still My Soul” as I go about my life. I have had a rough couple of weeks and to remember the Lord is on my side has meant so much to me. The pillow rests on my couch and when my kids are being silly with a mess on the floor I remember that even amongst the toys, my nest is abundantly blessed. It’s the little things sometimes, more than the big things, that bring the most reassurance of His love for us when we need them.
If you are like me and enjoy little reminders of God’s love and faithfulness throughout the day, but also prefer that these items be of higher quality, I HIGHLY recommend making a purchase from Prone To Wander LA.
Also, there is a giveaway! Prone To Wander LA also offers phone cases and are giving away a set. Enter now for a chance to win! Fill out the form below or go to this link to enter.
I love music… Especially worship music. I seem to not be able to do anything without it playing in the background. It just brings motivation and encouragement to everything I do. Knowing this, I jumped at the opportunity to review the new debut album from Higher Vision, For Your Kingdom.
Higher Vision Church is located here in Southern California and is quickly growing, averaging about 3,000 attendees each week from all walks of life. Their worship team sings some of their own original songs, and now has released an album.
With a sound that some would find similar to Hillsong Young and Free or Elevation Worship but is also unique to its own style, this album does not disappoint. Each track seems to have a reference to scripture and doctrinal truths, leaving no room for fluff. A perfect mix of upbeat songs that would be perfect on your workout playlist and slower ballads that will help usher you right into the Throne room during your personal prayer time… or, if you’re like me, great to listen to as you drive, do housework, or sew and craft.
Songs on the album include:
For more information or to purchase this album, visit https://sc.lnk.to/HghrVsn
How about a chance to win a copy? You could win 1 Higher Vision For Your Kingdom CD from Higher Vision and Frontgate Media! Follow this link here to find out how to enter: Click HERE!
Have you listened to this album yet? Tell me what you thought about it in the comments!
A few months ago I was feeling lost when it came to tracking how well my 4 year old non-verbal autistic son, Johnny Ben, was doing academically. Sure, I would see him accomplish things and notice where he had issues. However, I just couldn’t get him interested in certain activities and it was taking me a long time to sit and chart where he was thriving and lacking. We had tried a few online programs and apps with him in the past, but they just didn’t seem to get his attention or were not available on a tablet. (He lacks the coordination needed to use a mouse, but he’s getting close!) I whispered a prayer that God would help me find a preschool curriculum that would match his needs, be fun, and challenge him but also not break our bank. It wasn’t but a few days later that I received an email from Miss Humblebee’s Academy asking if I would be interested in reviewing their program. (Can you see where this is going? It’s pretty exciting!)
Immediately I went to MissHumblebee.com and started looking around. First off I noticed that the program worked on a tablet. Perfect! It may not be an app, but that’s okay. It loads easily on our Android tablets. Second, the characters, music, prizes, and everything else were fun and very animated. Then that was when I saw it: All instructions are audible so that the child can hear what they are to do. They could even be repeated if needed by the press of a button on most lessons. Since my little guy is just coming around to following instructions, this is a MUST HAVE. But would it cover as many subjects as I needed it to? I went on to look at what the lessons consisted of. This is where I was completely sold, because Miss Humblebee doesn’t just cover math and reading, but also science, social studies, art, and music. Not just a little here and there, either, but hundreds of lessons. This wouldn’t be a temporary fix, but something that we could continue to do over time. I can’t imagine what I looked like reading all of this, but if Mary Poppins were in my living room she probably would have told me to close my mouth because I’m not a codfish. This was exactly what I had prayed for!
Now, if you’re at all familiar with special needs children, you might know that they live for routine and hate change. It took a couple weeks of just getting him to want to acknowledge Miss Humblebee. He wasn’t interested in creating his own avatar like most kids would be. He would look out the corner of his eye at what was on the screen, but it took awhile to get him to acknowledge it was there. Being we had done this before, I knew it had nothing to do with Miss Humblebee’s Academy and more to do with it being new to him. I pressed on in a way that would not upset him.
In the beginning he would give in and do a little after a some guidance then push it away, but I could see by the look in his eye that he was intrigued. This was more than just another learning tool, this was fun and like a game. We took our time and warmed up slowly. Sometimes he would only do a little, other times he would just look around at the different options. Options like “Art Box”, “Music Room”, “Choose A Lesson”, “Rewards”, “Sticker Room”, and more. After showing him the classroom every so often, he gradually did a little bit more each time. He loves all the characters, Miss Humblebee’s voice, the music, and the “games”. I’ve never had to help him, nor did I ever have to show him what to do. Miss Humblebee made it all so easy, flying around the classroom and guiding him through the lessons.
What he surprisingly shows no interest in is the rewards/stickers/puzzles, but I’m assuming that is because he doesn’t quite grasp the concept. Miss Humblebee also offers printables, which is a great addition so that you can work on motor skills while keeping with the theme of the curriculum, but Johnny Ben just seems to hate paper (Maybe it’s the sound of it rustling?) so while I printed a few out, he wasn’t having it. So unfortunately I can’t give you an opinion on those aspects. That being said, Johnny Ben’s 2 year old little sister, Molly, is VERY interested in what all Miss Humblebee has to say and offer. So much so that we will be purchasing a subscription for her soon after her 3rd birthday as well. For now we have had to cut back our lessons to when Miss Molly Pop is napping or distracted. 😉 I really wish I had Miss Humblebee when 6 year old Tommy was in preschool also. It’s so fun, easy, thorough, and extremely interactive.
So, I’ve told you that Johnny Ben grew to love it and my toddler is aching to get into Miss Humblebee’s classroom… But how am I tracking Johnny Ben’s progress? Every week I receive an email to let me know that a progress report is available. When that email arrives, all I have to do is click on the link and it’s all right there in my account for me to see. How many lessons he’s completed, how many prizes he has earned, and how much artwork has been saved. I also have access for past progress reports so I can see how he’s coming along. It is exactly what I needed.
I do still believe in hands on constructive play for preschoolers. But these lessons are a great addition to all of the other things we are doing without becoming overwhelming. Besides, it is so much more fun that filling out a worksheet! Again, a complete answer to my prayer!
The price of a subscription to Miss Humblebee’s Academy is $12.95 a month for 1 child and $5 for each additional. Another option is a yearly subscription at $129 for 1 child and $60 for each child after that. Not sure you want to make a commitment just yet? There is also a free 1 week trial so you can see if it’ll work for your child.
By now you’ve probably seen me talking a lot about Building Character With Children, a new program by Shirley Solis, in social media. But just in case you haven’t had a chance to check out the FREE video for yourself, I want to tell you a little bit about how well it has worked for our family.
I am beyond surprised with how her technique of teaching my son to do his chores every morning without being asked has worked! I’ve been trying for a few years to get Tommy, 5, to pitch in a little more around the house. I’m not talking massive housework, just basic chores and taking care of himself. With the advice that Shirley offered in the first free video, he is now doing 5 things every morning before he eats breakfast. He even memorized what the 5 chores are on the first day! It not only worked, but it was so simple on my part. Needless to say, tag me, I’m sold! I wish this woman was in front of me so I could give her the biggest hug.
If you’re wondering if Shirley Solis’ program is good for you, just stop and think about your family for a moment.
Are you frustrated with your children’s attitudes?
Are you tired of doing all the chores around the house?
Do you wish the children helped around the house a little more?
Need creative ways to train your children?
Want to start the year off right and finally train your children consistently?
Are you constantly yelling at your children?
Building Character with Children is a brand new video-based program with homeschool mom, author, and speaker Shirley Solis. In these short, 7-minute videos, Shirley shares her experience as a mom of 6 children, with tips and tricks to build strong, desirable character traits in your children!
In Building Character with Children, you will learn:
This post contains affiliate links.
Unless this is your first time here, you know I’m a busy mom. You see it in my Facebook statuses, Tweets, & frequently here on the blog as, well, the whole theme of Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven is about making time for God in the midst of being a busy mom.
So it comes as no surprise that I’m excited to share my review of this book with you all today. Putting On the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy Moms, just released this week, is one of my most favorite devotional books yet.
Author Katie Hornor of Paradise Praises put together this study for moms like you and me. The mothers who have little time to catch a breath, let alone find time to spend in the Word. For the moms whose time is valuable and cannot be wasted by reading something that isn’t just right. The ones who sometimes have to read quickly while in the doctor’s waiting room, a few minutes before the family wakes, or maybe even in the bathroom with the door locked. She knew what we needed, because she is a busy mom herself. Most of all, she let the Lord speak through her and that is what makes this book so amazing.
Each day’s reading takes about 10 minutes, just as the title says. Along with the workbook that is available for free to download, you will realize what the Bible says about the Fruits of The Spirit mentioned in Galatians while doing some soul searching. While going through Putting On the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy Moms I had so many “Aha!” moments that I did not anticipate. Without being preachy, Katie teaches us how to put on the whole spirit in our day to day lives by being down to earth and speaking the truth. I couldn’t wait to read each day and even found myself crying tears of joy some of those days. Quick, meaty, encouraging, and a blessing. Exactly what I needed!
This week only Putting On the Spirit: Ten-minute Devotions for Busy Moms is available for 99 cents! The book’s forward is by Heidi St. John and is also available in Spanish. I can’t recommend it enough! I even plan to go through it again each time my children study the fruits of the spirit in homeschool. It’s that good!
This post may contain affiliate links.
I can’t even begin to tell you how often I am sticking my foot in my mouth. The wrong thing always seems to pop out unintentionally. If I’m angry, it’s even worse. That filter that some people have between their brain and their mouths was left out when I was manufactured… or so I thought… The truth is that I have a problem with thinking before I speak and using self control. When Connie Hughes of Smockity Frocks offered for bloggers to review her book, How to Manage Your Mouth – A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge my first thought was “Okay, I desperately need to read that.” My second thought was “But I’m not going to like what I find out about myself when I read this…” I finally told my flesh to shut up and sent an email to Connie Hughes asking if I could please review the book.
In How To Manage Your Mouth, Connie gives us a look into her heart and why she wrote this daily devotional with journal prompts. Each day has a scripture to apply to our lives and a short but powerful read about why and how to put it into action. There was never a day that was dry, dull, or unuseful. Every day I read, wrote, and did a lot of searching in my heart.
I received the book on a Sunday and began reading it on Monday. Unfortunately, on Tuesday night I was admitted to the hospital with a dangerous blood clot. Several times I tried to begin reading the book again, but due to illness I was just not able to keep up. It wasn’t until I had caught myself saying something that I knew I was going to regret that I decided enough was enough and started all over.
A week after starting How to Manage Your Mouth – A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge the final time, I found myself in a situation that I often find myself in: Arguing with my ex-husband on co-parenting issues with our two children. Right away I fell back into old habits. I was snipping right back at him with sarcastic insults whenever I felt that he was insulting me. Suddenly I remembered the scripture I had read that morning and realized that when held over a fire, I quickly failed the challenge. I stopped the conversation right there and did something that was extremely hard for me to do. I asked the father of my two oldest children to forgive me for my behavior. Yeah, that was NOT easy. The rest of the conversation went on with him and I discussing ways that we can work together to be better parents to our children.
Since that day I have had moments where I have slipped, but in all honesty this book has changed my speech. When I am about to say something that is negative (or I have just said something that I regret) I remember the scriptures compiled in this study and bring myself into accountability.
Does this sound like a book you would like to read yourself? It is available on Amazon
in Kindle format for $3.99. Don’t have a Kindle? That’s okay. You can download an app for your computer, phone, or tablet for free and read it that way. Click here to read more about free Kindle apps.
None of you are like me and need to read this book, though, are you? 😉