Category: Children’s Church

Children’s Church

How God Answered My Most Sincere Prayer… about T-shirts…

My Dear Friends,

I need you to take a good look at the photo I posted at the top of this email.  It’s a screenshot of part of my launch plan from the last T-shirt of the Month Club subscription launch.The week before the launch, I was organizing all the ways to reach our people to get them to join the club. I used my launch calendar to stay focused and making sure I was covering all my bases. As I was working, I sat back and prayed for a minute that God would help me to know what to believe for. If you wanted to watch a video on my take during that week, click here.

I stared at the word “Goal” on the paper, and without really thinking much more about it I wrote out “20 subscriptions.”  Somehow in my mind, I thought that was doubling last month subscriptions to this one. The number felt right, and I just really felt like I had to have it down on paper as I worked.

A few days later I realized I had made a mistake in my calculations for subscriptions, that we really only had 8 paid members, so to double that would be 16. I was a little embarrassed and a little flustered, because I really felt like 20 was my magic number.

Suffice it to say, I was just a little disappointed when I went to bed the night the Cart was closing. We had doubled our subscription to be sure, exactly doubled our numbers to 16 total subscriptions. But I was sad because I wanted more, and I wanted the original number I was believing for because it seemed so much bigger and so much better, even though it was sort of a mistake.

Still, I forced myself to be content and put on a brave face and thanked God for how far we had come.

The next morning, I woke up to more orders that had come in through the night… and as I came into the office for T-shirt making day, I glanced at the paper from the first numbers I had mistakenly believed for. We made it! We reached the first goal, the bigger goal, the one I was afraid to believe for!

So I just remain so incredibly grateful for the miracles we are seeing right before our very eyes, and I can’t help but shout it out for the world to hear! He truly does give us the desires of our hearts!!!

This means we will be able to send our shirts off to a local printing company to be made there next month. I cannot tell you the time and stress that will relieve, and yet even MORE profit will go straight back to fund Project: HOPE, which is the best part of all.

To Join the Wait List for our T-Shirt of the Month Club, CLICK HERE!

And How To Use Them

To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!

With the launch of our new devotional, I shared in an earlier post about my favorite children’s Bible just in case anyone needed to order a few before they started their family devotional.

After I posted about the kids, (and if you missed that post you can read it here), I started thinking about the Moms. Maybe we all have a Bible that we love and use… but maybe we don’t?

So I thought I’d share the things I use and tell you why.

I feel so blessed that my Mom sent me this gorgeous Bible and Devotional from Candace Cameron Bure when she partnered with DaySpring, and I feel like I’m using a piece of art every time I use it. If you need a Bible and can’t swing the extra $15-$20 for the devotional, go ahead and get the Bible. It is FILLED with incredible devotions inside its pages, and you can find the authors with an index in the back and follow them on your socials for even more hope and encouragement.

Mine was a special edition, but this line by DaySpring was so successful that they are launching another devotional, coming out soon. This is truly a classic and encouraging Bible, and would make an incredible gift for a girlfriend, bestie, sister, mom or grandma. It is beautifully designed to look pretty, and filled with powerful content that will leave you filled up and connected in God’s word…

The devotional is such a perfect and simple solution to studying the Bible. It’s like taking a friend with you to go learn something new. You just open the first lesson, read the concept and verses, then write your thoughts and your own notes… and sit awhile to listen for that Still, Small Voice before you move on to the rest of your day. Something about writing and responding, especially on gorgeous paper with gorgeous photos, helps you understand and process so much more sometimes…

Next on the list: Strong’s Concordance.

Don’t get caught up in the scary and overwhelming thought of a Concordance and just completely shut down the idea of one right off the bat. Also, no condemnation if you just know that studying is not your thing, or don’t have the time right now. But at least hear me out:

A Concordance is an incredible way to search things out for yourself. It works like this: the Old Testament of the Bible was written in Hebrew, the New Testament was written in Greek. The Strong’s Concordance has every word, every meaning, and every definition inside it. That means you can take any verse and break it down to the nearest possible literal original translation. There are few direct ways God can speak to you like that, shining light on His very word as you interpret it, word by word, definition by definition, verse by verse, until you get a true inspirational meaning.

If you like putting puzzles together or solving mystery shows, consider adding a concordance to your wish list.

To read the post on our favorite children’s bible, click here!

To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!

Disclaimer: any of the clickthroughs you find on my pages are links to products that I have used and love and trust. I may make a small commission on anything you purchase on the other side of the link, so please know it will go to fund my crazy projects, wild ideas and writing habits. It will not cost anything extra for you. Thank you for your love and support!

Disclaimer: any of the clickthroughs you find on my pages are links to products that I have used and love and trust. I may make a small commission on anything you purchase on the other side of the link, so please know it will go to fund my crazy projects, wild ideas and writing habits. It will not cost anything extra for you. Thank you for your love and support!

And How We Use it With Our Kids

I have been reading a Bible for nearly twenty years now. Well, to be fair, I can remember taking my parents’ super special holy Bible off the coffee table in the living room as a child and reading the stories and psalms, and turning the pages to look for pictures. Since we had grown up in the Catholic Church, it was common knowledge that that was the most sacred book of all, unlocking all the secrets of life. We just did not read it for ourselves. That concept was unheard of to me.


Once I really gave my life to the Lord and started reading for myself, I read as much as I could stand. I thought I was the holiest if I read the King James version, and even though it took some time to adjust to the old English version, I was able to read and understand the beautiful words. When I went to Bible School I actually needed a Strong’s Concordance as part of my textbooks, and I started to understand how to use the King James version to go back to the Greek and Hebrew original words for deeper and clearer meanings. It was amazing what I could learn in one simple verse just by breaking it down and researching its roots.

To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!

As time went on and I started to grasp the context of each verse, I turned to many different versions for help and understanding. The first Bible I ever bought myself was actually an NIV version, which I felt was “acceptable” to write in and make notes in, but the King James was a little too “holy” for me to feel comfortable writing it in those first years. I am laughing at myself even as I write this, though I tell you the truth to be sure.

Time went on and our kids came on the scene, and I was faced with a huge dilemma. I wanted them to understand the old English and not be afraid of it, but I also one of them to have an every day understanding of what the word of God meant to their daily lives. When Tim and I took over the Children’s Ministry program at our church, I had to decide even further what version of the Bible we were going to use in the current curriculum there, and what we would keep on hand for our newcomers and visitors to take home.

(Sidenote: have you ever taught a Children’s Church class where every one of them has a different version to read from? I do not recommend that. At all.)

Anyways, we bumbled our way through parenting those first years and then into the Children’s Ministry program. Before I knew it, we were fostering and inviting a four-year-old little boy into our home who had never seen the likes of this Jesus we have talked about before.

He was petrified. It was like Greek to him. Our music, our prayers, the way we talked with life and love and hope… It was all too much for him and all the trauma he was going through.

In those first few weeks, many friends and relatives would ask if we needed anything. Truly, so much of it was things we just found out at the last minute and had to scramble to make it happen. One of the greatest challenges was that out of three smaller children, he did not have what they had and it was painfully obvious that they could not share at all, but they needed their own special things. Lego bins that were labeled with kids’ names on them now needed another new bin with a new name. Special bins that were assigned to each child now needed an extra bin with a new name… Desperately trying to make it look the same so he did not feel separated from the rest of our family as he walked through the darkest days of his life.

Day after day, new things crept up that we had to collect and label and sort.

Then it came to Sunday School: we had it set up where each child would get a reward if they brought their Bible to Children’s Church class. Most of the time it was just a small piece of candy or a tiny toy, but everybody knows that means the world to every child. So as many Sundays as they would remember, our kids would race around the house as we loaded into the van, looking for their Bible as they strapped their shoes on their feet and ran out the door. They knew that if they could not find it, they were missing out on their candy or toy for that week.

Our new baby boy could not participate if he did not have a Bible.

For the first few Sundays, he would bring a tiny Gideons Bible that one of the kids had stuffed in a toy bin some unknown months ago. But as the others brought their own special Bibles with their names written in them, it became glaringly obvious we had to fix the problem.

“Is there anything he needs?” came a text from one of my friends. She was single, a hospital nurse, with no understanding of what a small boy in foster care could need, but she offered to ship anything we needed straight to the house, as long as I told her specifically what we needed.

To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!

We had just plunked down a chunk of change to get him school supplies, a few sets of legos to call his own, and some clothes that actually fit. I swallowed my pride, sent her a description, and a few days later, his first Bible showed up.

I have tears in my eyes now as I remember writing his name inside. At that time, we thought he would eventually return to his family, so I felt all warm and fuzzy inside that we would be sending him back with a gift he could call his own and treasure as long as he wanted. I imagined him sharing it with his siblings and reading from it whenever he was lonely or afraid.

We never could’ve known the road we would all walk down, needing those words in that blessed Book to become life to us more than anything in the world.

Week after week he stayed, and took that Bible to church. Some Sundays he forgot it or lost it, just like any other five year old boy would do, but he was getting it, he was doing it, and even when it looked like nothing was sinking in and all would be lost except his candy… God showed up.


To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!


Many of you know our story, how our Little Buddy (as we used to call him for safe social media practices) struggled so much with anger. It was really the only emotion he knew. Coupled with sleep walking and night terrors for months, we ALL struggled with controlling our emotions by the time he was able to sleep through the night. He was not able to listen to any adult figure in his life, because every adult to him was a sign of hurt and betrayal and pain. For MONTHS I was the only one who could tuck him in, and if I did not, you could be sure that around 2am that morning he would be downstairs looking for me, just needing to be walked back to bed.

Babysitters were no longer an option. We had a close family of friends that had been there since the beginning of all of our kids, and they had walked us through some really bleary parts of parenthood and the girls grew up to be our big sister/babysitter friends, but THIS was a whole new level of babysitting. Basically, Tim and I could not bear the thought of one of our “girls” getting hurt in the wake of one of Little Buddy’s awful rages.

They could not help us in that time. It seemed no one could.

In came an in-home counselor to try to help us navigate this insanity. You can read a post about her here, but I don’t want to get too off track right now. She listened, she loved on us… and then she pushed us to start making steps to grow Little Buddy to learn about other safe adults in his life.

As much as I dreamed of a date night and cried over my lost freedom in those months, I could not allow others to be hurt by this child.

Our in-home counselor challenged me: how can you call it love if you allow Little Buddy to stay this way?

So she taught us HOW to help the girls as they babysat, what to say, how to act, and told us to start trying.

We were petrified.

How could we possibly enjoy a date night, wondering just how bad things were going? You could have cut the tension in the van between us, as both Tim and I did our best to fake enjoying ourselves, pretend we were not on pins and needles waiting for a horrible phone call, and not blame this little one who was only living what he had ever seen and not been taught.

Some nights were just as awful as we thought they would be, and my heart aches to this day when I think of the scratches and emotional pain our girls went through as they learned to walk through the trenches with us. I have never seen Tim so close to losing it as when his girls were injured by a temper tantrum from a little boy we could not even know how to control.

It was a pretty dark and hopeless time.

Then came the night we never expected.

Tim and I were driving aimlessly through town, trying to kill time before heading home too soon. We were both too exhausted to say much of anything, and there seemed nothing good to say anyways. We were not just prisoners of our own home at this time: in that moment, we couldn’t even GO home to rest, if there was any rest to be had there.

As we tried to pretend a decaf coffee was fixing all our problems, the Text of Dread came through to our phones. We each grabbed our phones to accept the next awful report, and could not believe what we read: “You did it!” Alisha wrote us. “They are both peacefully sleeping in bed, and when I let them pick a story, they both chose their Bibles. No problems, no tantrums, just perfect. They took turns reading to each other, and all is well.”

We were stunned. We weren’t even sure if what we were reading was true. Maybe they all just got together to make up this story so we wouldn’t lose it.

But it was true.

And bump by bump, smooth place by hiccup, we started functioning past this mountain.

There was a bit of a calm period as he settled in and started making peace with our crazy, loud, loving life. We started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and began to believe that we could help him in to his forever with us while almost having hope of functioning as a normal family again, whatever that looks like in my old mind’s eye… He was smiling a little, and learning jokes and fun and kindness. And one day, I heard his belly laugh, pure and unhindered and free, and I just knew we were going to make it.

But Life has a funny way of letting seasons teach you lessons, and when we moved his sister in to live with us Forever, we found ourselves in the greatest struggle of our lives.

It wasn’t our little girl that had the trouble adjusting, no. She was in her honeymoon, learning this whole crazy life that she had begged to be a part of for months of visits beforehand.

It was Little Buddy.

He was terrified. We had unwittingly invaded his safe place, and the last time he had lived with his sister a year before he was living in a darkness and terror that I feel my wildest imagination cannot piece together for reality.

He was a mess. The anger, rage, tantrums and violence was back and worse than ever before. Even if it wasn’t worse, we were just so worn down from enduring the battles before that we truly had nothing left to give.

I share about the turnaround a little bit here on our Adoption Day post, but suffice it to say we were utterly lost and done.

Until God showed up.

One day and one moment and one prayer at a time, we made it through and God showed up. We drew lines in the sand with the enemy of our souls and asked for prayer from our church family. As many as could pray, we begged them to join us, to help us find our way through. I sobbed on the phone with my parents, asking them what I should do and how were we going to make it, and they could only offer love and prayers. I have never faced spiritual warfare to such a depth as we faced it then, and it may take a lifetime to fully explain what we went though, but finally I can tell you…

God showed up.

Out of the trenches and into a wide open safe place, we went. Leaving the darkness and pain behind and heading in to the light.

That’s what happened to us, when God showed up.

A few months went by and Adoption Day came faster than anything after we had waited months for nothing.

We were still a little apprehensive about this whole Forever business on Adoption Day. I mean, we knew that we knew that we knew that it was the right thing for all of us, and it was God’s plan for our lives… but we could still see the spooky woods in the background and had to practice believing our Good, Good Father that we heard Him clearly as we moved on ahead.


To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!

But He is so faithful and just.

And shortly after Adoption Day, one of our girls captured this photo of our Little Buddy, now our handsome and sweet Liam Philip Wall, reading his little Adventure Bible on the way to church one Sunday morning.

And I will make sure the candy in the Sunday School classrooms is OVER-stocked.

Because that’s just how far we’ve come.


To get your copy of our favorite kids and family devotional  click here!

To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!

Disclaimer: any of the clickthroughs you find on my pages are links to products that I have used and love and trust. I may make a small commission on anything you purchase on the other side of the link, so please know it will go to fund my crazy projects, wild ideas and writing habits. It will not cost anything extra for you. Thank you for your love and support!

To get your copy of our free kids and family devotional releasing in May 2020, click here!