Thursday, June 30, 2005

Batman Begins: A Star-Spangled Tale

Batman Begins was great summer entertainment, funny, fast, and even wise at times. (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

Blockbusters reflect interesting aspects of culture. First off, take stock of the bad guys. In Batman Begins, I thought the evil, masked ninja dudes demonstrated Hollywood's fear of passionate religious types. Their quest to annihilate immoral societies sounded strangely 9-11-ish to me. It's probably pop culture's dislike of "fundamentalism" in general — Muslim or Christian. Everything in moderation, thank you very much, especially when it comes to religion.

Next, what goals do they want us to root for? How are we supposed to achieve them? Acccording to this flick, the goals are peace and justice in Gotham City. Sounds good, doesn't it? Very American. Yes, but a vigilante equipped with unlimited money and combat technology is the way to achieve them.

Don't get me wrong. I definitely want peace and justice, I pledge allegiance to the flag, I know the lyrics to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." But I LIKE our legal system; I rely on the checks and balances; I count on the American process where we the people make decisions and have the freedom to blog about whatever we want. As an immigrant, I especially like the regal Lady who defines the real Gotham City not as a place of lawless extremes nor as a terrorist target, but as a safe harbor for persecuted and oppressed people from every corner of the planet. And I don't want ANYBODY to preserve the peace singlehandedly, no matter how superheroic he seems: that sounds like a dictatorship, not a democracy. But I guess a movie about a superhero couldn't really focus on the people saving the day; Spiderman 2 tried to emphasize this, but it wasn't half as good as Batman Begins when it comes to the comic-book-to-big-screen genre.

Last but not least, check out the hero (in a godly, dispassionate manner, ladies). Christian Bale made a fine Batman, the best one yet. (Plus, he was cute in a smart, kind way. Okay, stay on task; see previous parenthetical statement.) I loved his refusal to wreak vengeance and his decision to use his suffering, heritage, talents, and possessions for the sake of good. My favorite male character, though, was Gary Oldman's Officer Gordon, a law-abiding officer who refuses to be bought or bribed and ends up saving the day. At the end of the movie, Batman refuses Gordon's thanks, but I think Gordon was the one who deserved Batman's gratitude. No escape to the Himalayas or access to billions of dollars for him. He was the American archetype I like best — a regular family dude doing his duty, upholding and obeying the law through good times and bad. Now that's a hero, if you ask me.

Happy Independence Day, everybody! Batman may begin, but in real life, average people like you and me are the ones who finish the job.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Royal Blood

I got a real kick out of my Bible Study today (Beth Moore - Living Beyond Yourself if anyone's interested). A lot of what was said caught my heart's attention but I'll focus on one thing today - we are royalty.

Yeah, I know we know that if God is the King and we are His kids then that makes us princesses and knights (cause most boys really want to be valiant knights instead of the boring princes that seem to do mostly whining in the movies - but that's another post:-). Even if we walk around in jeans and T-shirts, we are really dressed in the royal robes of Christ - we just have to see them with the eyes of faith.

Beth talked about how when we are little, the idea of being royalty in a real kingdom seems much easier to believe than when we are older. Rejection, pain, failure and awkward, growing bodies seem to make us forget that our Daddy thinks we are really beautiful. That our Abba Father really does treasure us like the apple of His eye.

I can be such a perfectionist - working so hard to try to earn the favor of the One who already favors me. So silly - but I keep doing it. Until that still small voice whispers patiently to my heart that I am already loved. See I had to earn the favor of my parents. I knew the score and as long as I kept my neck above the water line, I was approved of. I don't think I ever really felt "favored". That's an amazing word, isn't it? God favors each and every one of us. He is keenly aware of our every need, our every hurt, our every breath.

I'd probably do a lot better if I would be as aware of Him as He is of me. But like most everybody, I can get wrapped up in the busy-ness of life and forget to remember that I am already His - and allow myself to relax into that truth.

I shared a prayer request with the group after my Bible Study and even before it was out of my mouth I realized that once again, I was trying to do too much. I simply had to let some of the things that were overwhelming go. That's hard for me to do, but in doing that, it's a huge reminder that I am not able to do everything. God gives me the strength I need for the things He wants me to do. It's all the other things that I think I'm supposed to do that need to be tossed - simply because they are what keeps me from enjoying the fact that I am His princess. I can climb into His arms and rest there.

Now if I could just get all that through my head...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Complicated Cobweb Convolution


I don't know about you, but sometimes I make faith all complicated. Like God has a report card with my name written on the walls of heaven. And then I read a scripture like this one:

But the person who loves God is the one that God knows and cares for.
1 Cor. 8:3 (NIV)


Hmm. Isn't that too simple? Doesn't that rule out all the “to-do's” I've got stacked up like a rickety house of cards? I want to be a part of what God is doing. That's a cool thing and it makes my life richer and I’m not stopping any time soon. But it gets complicated when I make God about "doing", when he's just looking to know me.

It's a revelation when you scrape away all the exterior stuff like a bad paint job and realize that it’s what is underneath that is appealing to God. God just wants you to love him. When you do, he takes care of the rest. He opens doors. He gives opportunities. He shares answers. He walks with you through the sticky, icky times. He plants a kiss of destiny on your life like a spiritual game of spin the bottle.

But on those days that you get caught up in a faith-like-a-cobweb mentality, cut the strings of your complicated cobweb convolution and remind yourself of one thing:

God loves you and wants to know you – you, not your works, not your to-do's, just you.

“Jesus loves me. This I know.” I love that song. When I start to struggle and feel like I’ve failed God or if my to-do list isn’t taken care of, I get very alone with Him and thank him all over again for his intentional love. Do I want to make a difference in this world? Absolutely. But first I want God to make a difference in my heart so that my faith is more than words or even a very long to-do list.

Suzie Eller (T. Suzanne)

Monday, June 27, 2005

I'm getting confused

4:12LIVE
How about you? I've been reading blogs and trying to figure out who wrote whay. So right off the bat I am going to say, "Hey, it's me! The Dragon Lady."
I forgot to mention last week that I ran into a neat writer whose books are specifically for teens and mysteries. Her name is Nancy Lindquist. She writes under N. J. Lindquist. Two of her books won awards at the conference. They were Shaded Light and More than Friends. If anyone has read these, I'k love to hear what you think.

I spent two hours on Friday and two hours on Saturday at a Denver library with some aspiring teen writers. They were awesome. They had me laughing when it was their turns to put on the dialogue demonstration.

How many of you are writers? Can you share some places on line that encourage teen writers and are a safe place to hang out?

I have to go write now. I've done too much traveling, had too much fun, and spent too much time recovering from traveling and fun.

Next week I have a booksigning. Booksignings are either a blast or a bust, depending on who shows up. I'll tell you about it next week.

Donita K. Paul, who intends to cuddle up with my laptop and see if my hero gets the map.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Day Late... Modem Short...

My apologies for being out of turn here. Just returned from a week hanging on the beach to find my modem fried. (And don't be like my husband and say that's what I get for leaving it on all week... I haven't turned my computer off for weeks at a time and not had a problem...)

So, real quick... I'll be back next week on the regular schedule. Looking forward to seeing you then. Oh, and Samantha, if you stop by, do say a hello to the other ladies. I'm glad you're liking Songwriter, and I promise that I haven't been reading your diary. Glad to see that I did right by her.

Back to your regularly scheduled blogger,

~B.

Daddy's Girl

Forgive me readers, this was to post last Sunday.


Over six years have passed and I still can't get over my Father's death. I never will.

Now, I was lucky. First off, I had a Father. Second, I had a Father until I was 22 years old.

I knew my Father, he was married to my Mother my entire life and he was a wonderful provider. He had wisdom and kindness and compassion. He terrified any dates into treating me with total respect. They knew my Father would be waiting up for me, just behind the front door with the porch light on. And he always was.

My Father told me that I was smart, intelligent and that I had talent. He enjoyed my fearlessness, encouraged my creativity and taught me how to overcome intimidation. He taught integrity by example, the value of a strong and healthy body and to defend myself from attackers (and teenage boys who got a bit randy).

He made me feel safe when he was home, protected. I knew that if anyone was stupid enough to want to harm me, they would have to go through him. And to me, no monster was big enough or bad enough to take my Daddy on. He taught me to appreciate sunsets, rescue animals and promised me he would never die. But things didn't' turn out that way.

My Father's suicide surgically removed a piece of my soul that I can never get back while on this earth. Surgically you ask? It didn't tear through you, rip you to shreds or knock you over like a ton of bricks? No, I very distinctly remember feeling a laser beam go through my heart, right to the part where Daddy's girl was, and remove it. Quickly, concisely and there was no going back. The heat sealed, scared and hardened all that was around it until my heart didn't resemble a heart anymore.

I had no one to blame but my Father, the one I loved had killed the one I loved and there was no where else to go with that. No where else but God, and I was mad at him. I did not believe that you could die of a broken heart until that day. But now I know, it kills you softly, slowly, bleeding death into you and all around you.

I decided to just survive it, and I did for a few months. So I ate myself into oblivion, washing away my pain in chocolate and cake (hey it wasn't drugs). I just got really fat, so I tried some wine one night. I only ended up throwing up and the next day, HELLO, heartbreak and a hangover.

Then I did what the church told me and tried to just forgive. It wasn't real and that lasted a few days, until the pain came again. I gave denial a shot. Hey, if I don't admit it, it never happened! That worked just up until I almost purchased him a birthday gift, a gift he would never unwrap.

I decided to just get on with life. People told me it was time to move on. So I listened to all the sayings like "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "God knows best". But this just began to build a slow anger, a rage that was overtaking me.

Desperate with what I was becoming, I figured I wasn't spiritual enough. I went to bible study and church and prayed empty prayers from heavily advertised books and listened to people who had no idea of my pain. I was fine there, as long as God didn't show up.

Then I got really, really, really pissed off. And I got pissed off some more. It was not going away. Nothing was changing. So I kicked and I punched and I lifted weights and I ran. I ran so hard and so far that I lost 80 pounds of retained rage and denial from my poor body. But the weight on my soul stayed and it was crushing and bleeding my heart dry.

Then finally, finally, one day the noise and rage was quiet. Just for a moment. And I let myself go to the one I had been advoiding all this time. It was time for a face off and I dared him to show up.

I lost myself and became the deepest part of me. My broken, crying soul. And I knew it, I felt God there and it really, really pissed me off. How DARE he let my Father kill himself! How dare he do this to me. I raged and screamed and begged. I believed in you! I KNOW you are God. I KNOW you can fix this, could have fixed this. I BELIEVE you have the power. HOW COULD YOU DO NOTHING!

But God didn't leave. He took it, listened to me for hours. He heard every word and never flinched. He stood in the room with me, with the ability to vaporize me, and listened to my threats and curses and didn't retaliate.

Slowly, quietly, I somehow found myself in his arms. I struggled and resisted and then exhausted I whispered my deepest fears.

I cried that I was a Fatherless child. He said he was a Father to the Fatherless.
I told him my heart was broken and no one and nothing could fix it. He said HE binds up the broken hearted. I told him I was lonely and had no one. He said he puts the lonely in families. I told him I wanted to die too, there was nothing left for me here but pain and betrayal. He told me "I will not die, but live and proclaim what that Lord has done." And he made me live, again.

And the devil did not win that war that day.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Can I get a Testimony?

Tonight I'm speaking at a women's retreat. When the organizer contacted me, she said, "We want you to share your testimony."


I said, "Oh, okay." But inside I was shouting, "Woo hoo!"


I love sharing my testimony. For one thing, the research is really easy. ;) But that's not the main reason. I love it, because I have an excuse to look back over my life and remember God's kindness and mercy to me.


Since this is all fresh on my mind, I thought I'd share part of my story with you.


When I was a little girl, my parents took me to church. They were the kind of people who were "Christian" in the same way they were proud-to-be-middle-class Americans. It was just the right thing to do. I can't say for certain that no one in my church knew Jesus, but I can say that I never understood who He is or what it means to follow Him.


As a preteen I quit going to church. Frankly, I just wanted to sleep in. If someone had asked me, I would have said, "Oh, yeah. I'm a Christian. I joined the church in the 4th grade." As far as I knew, that was it. Church member=Christian.


Then came junior high. I may write a book about junior high some day and call it Torture for the Teen-age Soul. I felt lost in a sea of social scrambling--everyone trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in. I didn't have a clue who I was, and it scared me. But it never occurred to me that God might be the missing part of the equation. After all, I'd joined the church in the 4th grade. What more could God want from me? And besides, those goody-goody types really got on my nerves. I didn't want to hear about their mission trips and their Christian music. Puh-leeeeze! Give me my top forty and a week at the beach, thankyouverymuch.


Fast forward to tenth grade. I'm not even sure exactly what happened, but isn't that the way of the Holy Spirit? When school started that year, certain people I knew seemed to have a glow about them. I don't know how I knew it, but I knew they had the peace I lacked. So I started hanging out with them. Maybe it would rub off, I thought.


Several of these friends invited me to a weekly event called TNT (Tuesday Night Thing), at which staff people from Campus Crusade talked about knowing God. The goal was for the student members of Campus Crusade to invite their nonChristian friends. I slipped into this scene as one of the Christians inviting the nons. But then a strange thing happened.


We held the meetings at a student's home. One evening that autumn, I sat on the couch listening to a man named Rick Perry. I don't remember anything Rick said that night, except for this: "If you want to be a Christian, you have to make Jesus Lord of your life."


Instantly a battle erupted in my mind. My thoughts went something like this: "Jesus isn't my Lord. I am. But if I'm my Lord, then I'm not a Christian. And if I'm not a Christian, I'm going to hell."


Let me pause here to say that it's remarkable I even believed in hell. My parents didn't. I don't remember learning about it at church. Chalk up another one to the Holy Spirit. Back to my thoughts.


"But if I make Jesus my Lord, that means I have to obey Him. He may tell me to give up some of my friends, or dancing, or my music. He may even send me as a missionary to Africa."


It's still amazing to me that I even thought these things. I'd never heard about "counting the cost" or "setting your hand to the plow and not looking back." But that's what I was doing. If I made Jesus Lord, it was going to be my "final answer."


For a few tense moments I honestly wondered if I could make this choice. But then a question formed in my mind. "Who made you?"


I thought, "God did."


Another question followed. "Then who will make you happiest?"


I was sixteen years old when I answered that question, "God will." I set my hand to the plow that night, and I've never looked back. Has the road been easy? Heh heh. Not a chance. Would I trade it for anything? No way! In every sorrow, Jesus has been my comfort. In all my confusion, He has brought peace. And I know my life is counting for eternity, because I am His.


Next week I'll tell you a story about something God showed me in college. It's a picture He gave me in my mind that I've never forgotten, and I'd love to paint it with word brushes so you can see it, too.


If you haven't decided to follow Jesus yet, I encourage you to answer these questions: Who made you? And who will make you happiest? You were created for a purpose. Let Him take you there, and the adventures will never end.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Summer Solstice: Blues or Wahoos?

Tuesday marked one of the saddest days of the year for me. Why, you might ask? After all, it was the official beginning of summer (yes, it's come to New England despite our darkest fears). As the long daylight hours stretched into twilight, I took Strider, our yellow lab, for a walk through the leafy, quiet streets of our town. The roses were in bloom, the lawns were emerald-green, and Strider was in total ecstasy as he sniffed and marked at leisure. So, why was I so glum?

You see, from Wednesday on, the days wane. We lose minutes of light, the sun sets earlier, winter creeps closer. And that makes me sad. Yes, I'm one of those people who focus on losses. Graduations, weddings, family reunions, holidays ... they all make me sad. Things will never be the same again, I tell myself. I'm pretty darn good at grieving.

I have friends, however, who look ahead with joy to what's next. Another grade of school to conquer, a new season to enjoy, a more mature stage of life with more freedom and faith. Hooray! To them, June 21st means that summer's here, and we should definitely party.

Mourning and dancing. Jesus showed us that they go hand-in-hand, at least on this side of heaven. We need to be good at doing both. Looking back and remembering helps us to recognize what God accomplished during that season. It readies us to let go and wait with expectancy for what's coming next. And looking forward with faith is a non-negotiable for a follower of Jesus.

Do you wallow in the sadness of change without moving on to celebrate fresh starts, like I'm tempted to do? Or are you the type to rush into the future without reflecting on good gifts received and hard lessons learned? Strange though it might seem, we humanoids need to recognize our thirst in desolation in order to drink the Spirit's full consolation. So, you glass-half-full types out there, take a moment to turn and look back. Stay there for a while, even if it feels uncomfortable to think about what you're leaving behind. And as for you glass-half-empty navel-gazing types like me: Let's PARTY! Summer's FINALLY here!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Stormy Weather

As I sit here and write this evening I can hear the rumbles of thunder out my window. The sky has turned darker but not a drop of rain has actually fallen. I still know the storm is coming...all the signs are there.

I've watched a lot of summer storms out this window - some blow by so fast that I almost miss them and others seem to linger forever, trapping us all in the house waiting for the wind and thunder to stop. It's kind of the same with "life" storms, isn't it? Some we seem to get through pretty easily - and others seem to last way too long.

I'm in one of those "way too long" phases I guess. I bet some of you are, too. Even though I know it won't last forever, it feels that way. And even though I know I'm not alone, it still feels that way sometimes. It's times like this that I have to keep reminding myself that the way I feel isn't necessarily the truth. The truth is that God will never leave me nor forsake me - even when He's a little quieter than usual. Even when He's letting me go through something hard.

There's a verse from a song I remember from a few years back:

"Sometimes He calms the storm, and other times He calms His child."

It would be a lot easier if He just held out His Hand and calmed all of those "life" storms, and made all the bad stuff go away. But since He doesn't always do that, I have to remember to let Him hold me through them, and calm my heart.

So if you are looking out the window at a storm today, just remember the One who is bigger than it all. The One who can hold you through anything. The One who can calm your heart no matter what you're facing.

He's there. I promise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Before I'm a writer. . .

I'm His

It's awesome to be able to write books. It's awesome (and challenging) to travel and speak to teens and families. It's very cool to work on my website and talk to teens and listen and share advice (http://realteenfaith.com). But before I do any of that, before I AM any of that, I'm His first. Coz none of it would make a difference if it wasn't based upon my one-on-one time with God.

I'm not trying to be superspiritual. I just want to know God. I don't want my writing to be hype or marketed around my name or a brand and forget who God is and what he wants to do with my life. I want a burning heart for God, a passion for my faith, and I don't want to ever forget just how amazing it is to be able to say, "I'm His".

When I was a teen I didn't believe in God. I thought it was just for people who lived in nice, comfy homes where the parents drove them to church each week. I didn't think that God showed up at homes where it was chaotic and you didn't understand why your parents couldn't get it together. So when my friend invited me to church, I passed--over and over until I finally realized she wasn't going to quit asking. So I went so I could get her off my back.

What I didn't expect was the feelings stirring deep inside of me as I sat in the church. A mixture of feelings -- anger, hope, confusion, hope. Was it possible that God did exist? "No way!" I reasoned.

But something inside of me still questioned, so I silently debated with the God of the universe. "Don't believe in you, don't think you are real, and if you are I'm mad at you because life hasn't been fair, but if you are real, I want to know. . .".

I expected nothing and received everything as God pushed past the hard parts of my heart to let me know that he was real and that he loved me.

I've been running after him ever since. It's why I work with teens. It's why I write. It's why I speak. It's why I hang out with him every morning, checking out his word, talking to him about life and the people who don't know him yet, and what's up in our world.

Well back to writing for today. I've promised myself I'll write a minimum of 1,000 good words a day. I just signed two contracts last week and I need to write, write, write about cool stuff like faith and God and knowing him.

See you,

Suzie Eller (T. Suzanne)

Monday, June 20, 2005

4:12LIVE

4:12LIVE

My turn! I'm Donita K. Paul, author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles. So far there are two in the series, DragonSpell and DragonQuest. DragonSpell is up for a Christy award and I am already nervous about going to the banquet. Will I spill salad down the front of my dress? Will I blubber if I win? Will I blubber if I lose? The answer to all of the above is "probably." Are you allowed to wear a bib at a fancy banquet?

I spent from Wednesday to Sunday of last week in Toronto, Canada for the Write!Canada conference. I had a blast and Canadians do say "eh?" after most of their sentences. I think it is the same as our saying, "right?" or "Do you agree?"
The last day of classes, my students had overcome their awe of me and teased me unmercifully about my accent. MY accent? They were the ones with the accents. They had French accents, English accents, European accents, Boston accents, and American midwest accents. The United States is known to be the melting pot of cultures, but the Canadians sounded more diverse.

I ate entirely too much good food. The meals served were not low calorie, low fat, low carb, low cholestrol, low anything. They created low resistance in me.

Next weekend I will be teaching a two day class at a Denver library to teen writers. Can't wait to report on that. I meet the most awesome teens through my writing. In Canada I had two teens in my class and they really shone.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Something special about a Saturday morning-- even in the summer, isn't there? All week long, I could sleep in, all lazy and not wanting to get out of bed until almost nine when I had to be at work, but, for some reason, Saturday mornings had me up before the dew burned off the grass.

I worked at the local YMCA all through my teen years. (Talk about the perfect summer job... you can't find too many jobs when you're sixteen where you hang at the pool until six o'clock and always have your weekends off. Come to think of it... you can't find too many jobs like that when you're an adult either...) After a hard work week of throwing water balloons and playing kickball, I loved Saturday mornings. They were a day all for me.

My BFF Mist and I had a routine. We'd roll out of bed early, put on our tanning attire (nothing said summer like tan lines back in the day before everyone was afraid of skin cancer) and pull my little Mustang into the front yard. Fresh batteries in the boombox, the rest of the neighborhood would find themselves waking up to the bouncy tunes of George Michael. We'd lather up the car and wait for the hottie down the road to roll by.

I don't know what we would have done if he would have ever acknowledged our presence. Just a nod as he went by probably would have sent me into a cardiac meltdown.

We put on this show, week after week, just to impress this guy. It was shallow. It was petty and silly. But what other way was there to do it? All the mags I read called it a sure-fire way to get noticed. We had all the ingredients-- hot car, hot music, hot bikinis and short shorts. I talked to him in church on Sunday mornings without an issue. Why wasn't he noticing me the day before?

Twelve years later, I took those Saturday morning frustrations and created a character who was a bit bolder than I. Jenna Rose was the flirt I was too afraid to be as a teen, but she came face to face with the hot guy from church who seemed oblivious to her quest to get him to notice her just like I did. The more oblivious he became--like my Saturday morning car washes-- the harder she tried to turn his head.

Well, I'm Barb. Author of the ON TOUR series. Obsessor of girly quizzes. (Sarah and I would have a blast at a sleepover. I love to write them, too.) Still crushing on George Michael and Toby Mac. Wife of ten years. Mom and Foster Mom. Stereotypical first child/big sister of five. Never found a peanut butter combo ice cream I didn't like. Still washing my car on Saturday mornings-- just usually blasting KJ-52 instead of George, minus the get-noticed clothes that didn't work.

So, join me here on 4:12LIVE each Saturday morning for some reflection and fun. Hopefully, I'll get to know you all more as you all get to know me. Back in the day, I wasn't a Christian. I went through the motions of church because it was expected of me, but I thought it was all a nice moral trip and nothing more. Eight years ago, I came to know Christ on a twilight hillside with Mac Powell singing below. Sometimes, I still struggle with those doubts of my childhood, and we'll probably dig more into those here as I bring you your 4:12 Saturday morning cartoons.

We'll go through them together.

Peace,

~B.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Behind Door Number Two . . .

It's Friday, and I guess that means it's my turn to introduce myself. I'm Jeanne. I was born at a very early age, and since then I've lived and done stuff, and now I'm older. Pretty much everything else falls into the "done stuff" part of that sentence, but for anyone who might be interested, here's a few more details:

  • I'm married to a biologist. He studies worms. We all tease him, so you can, too.
  • I have three children between the ages of 20 and 24. They are artistic, musical, imaginative, and way cooler than me. I'm sure you will hear lots about them in the days ahead.
  • I write books not just for teens, but teens seem to like what I have to say. This may be due to my extemely high rating on the dork scale. (Please note that "dork" is not a negative term in my vocabulary.)
  • I'm also a musician. I play piano and guitar, and I sing. I lead a praise band at my church. The members of this band are super talented and way cooler than me. (Do you notice a trend here?)
  • I speak here, there, and yon. As an added bonus, I occasionally roll over and play dead, too.
  • I'm also a professional choreographer. I create and teach dances to performers in musical productions. Styles range from ballroom to swing to salsa to hip-hop to country line. I LOVE to dance. Party's at my house. 8:00.
  • I love to laugh. If you make me laugh, I will reward you with points. These points are very valuable. You should all strive to earn them, starting now.
  • Other things I like include: photography, thunder, accents, chocolate, and people who are way cooler than me.

I'm excited about the potential for this blog! If you're a teen and you love Jesus, you can help make something amazing happen here. Talk to us! Tell us what's on your mind. Invite your friends to tell us what's on their minds. Let's discuss what matters to you.

I'll be posting on Fridays, so be sure your dork-o-meter is in working order and come see me. Also, feel free to stop by my website where you can read about all my adventures and find links to my other blogs.

See you next week!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Ultimate Hook-Up

How ya' doin'? I'm writing from Boston, if you can't tell from my New England accent. Go Sox! But I'm not originally from these parts. I was born in India, where they do a few things differently. Take love, dating and marriage, for instance.

My parents had an arranged marriage; my grandparents set it up. That meant no infatuation, no dating, definitely no touching or lustful encounters, not even a chance to see each other face to face before exchanging flower garlands on their wedding day. And did it work? Well, since it's now lasted fifty years, I'd have to say yes. I remember lots of fights when I was growing up, but they made it through and now they're crazy about each other.

I have twenty-two first cousins; half of them are finding their own mates, American-style, and the other half are going down the arranged marriage road. And me? Well, I met my husband in a Bible Study at college, so I guess it was divinely arranged.

What about you? Is it scary to look into the future and think about trying to find the love of your life? How do you KNOW that person is the ONE? And when even Christians are getting divorced, does that make the thought of choosing someone even more stressful? What's it do to your heart when your parents split up? I'm sending a blessing to "youse guys" from Boston, and waiting to listen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Leaning hard...

Hey everyone!

I guess it's my turn today. My name is Sarah Anne Sumpolec but it's just Sarah that I go by. My friends used to tease me because I was so particular about the H being on my name that they called me "Sarah with an H". I've been writing for teens for a number of years now and have a fiction series for teens called Becoming Beka. The series has five books and writing each one was such a great experience. I've also had a couple of quizzes published in Brio - I love writing quizzes! In fact, I have several more written that I'd love to get on my website but I have, umm, well, a bit of a learning curve to figure out exactly how to make it all work. I'm not exactly tech-savvy (okay, I'm completely tech-challenged)

I am a classic first-born overacheiver - with everything, including my relationship with God. I guess that's why He so often puts me in situations where I have to lean very hard on Him because I just can't handle it on my own. I didn't meet God until college (thugh there were a few who tried really hard to introduce Him to me in high school). I often think high school would have been much easier if I had known Him then, but the truth is, being a teen can be hard either way, and not all adults seem to remember what it was like.

That's probably why most of us are here though, because we DO remember what it was like...the insecurities, the fears, the relationships, the parents, it just goes on and on doesn't it? Thing is, I'm still learning it all too. I'd be embarrassed to admit how much I still struggle with being insecure, or scared, or with relationships. You get my point.

So there's a glimpse of me - just another child on the road headed towards the Father, and leaning on His grace every day.

I'm looking forward to this little venture!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

4:12LIVE -- What's Up?

Hey all, what's up?

I read this cool quote today. It said, There is something exhausting about constantly deciding and redeciding who you are and what you believe".

Wow. It's true. Knowing God is sometimes so hard simply because it is so daily. You know? But then again, that's the cool part. God is with you every day. God isn't afraid of the tough stuff. He's not going anywhere. So my part is deciding that no matter what -- no matter how I feel, what I encounter, what comes my way--daily I'm His. He gets me, the good, bad and ugly and I get him, the God that holds the universe in his hands.

Anyway, I want to give you the scoop on this blog. Right now it's seven authors who write for teens who just want to hang out every day and get real about faith and God and life stuff. Every day we get up and write under deadlines, spinning out books and articles and devos and we love it. For the next week, the authors will introduce themselves, and then we'll just kick back and get comfy and share our thoughts every day. If you have questions about faith, about writing, or just want to share your thoughts, that's cool.

I'm T. Suzanne Eller and I'm not going to tell you what the T stands for, even if you send chocolate. : ) I have been writing for about 8 years. I've written about 450 articles on lots of subjects like cutting, family, faith, friendship, etc. I write a youth culture column for teens. I have a book out for teens right now called Real Teens, Real Stories, Real Life. I have a series of books I'll be writing starting today called Real Teen D (discipleship). These books are exciting as I believe that living for God is amazing, but sometimes there's questions like:

how come I don't feel him?
what am I supposed to be doing?
how do I go deeper?
how do I follow God with my heart instead of rules?

So, any input you have or questions that you want to share, bring them on! I'll love it. I can't wait to hear from you, and hope that you join us when you have time.

Suzie

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Betsy St. Amant

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Author 1

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Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
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