Friday, September 28, 2007

Put a coffee filter on your head and party


Last Saturday was my dad's birthday. I won't tell you how old he is because he's in denial about it and I will spare him the torture of a public declaration. If there is anything you should know about my dad it's that he is a very quiet man who hates the spotlight. On his birthday weekend, when we were all out to dinner, the waiter started singing a rousing round of "Happy Birthday" at a nearby table and my dad joyfully started clapping along to the beat...until we reminded him it was his birthday and we could have the waiter come sing to him too. A look that was a cross between petrified and mortified crossed his face and all clapping ceased. Watching the color drain from his face so quickly was almost funny--aside from the fact that his pain and discomfort over being sung to in public was apparent. Needless to say, we didn't call the waiter over.

So, imagine my surprise when my mom called this morning to tell me that my dad's co-workers threw a party for everyone with September birthdays today at the office and all of the birthday people had to wear coffee filters on their heads. I laughed out loud. Then I called my husband and he laughed out loud. The image still makes me laugh out loud. I emailed my dad asking for a picture. So far, I haven't heard back from him.

What's my point? I have one, I promise. Sometimes we all have to do things that make us feel uncomfortable. And our discomfort can either mortify us and push us further into the isolation that being fearful provides or it can define us and raise us to new heights.

Scott Peck once said, "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

It might take a coffee filter to coax my dad--who is one of the funniest men I know--out of his shell and into the party of life. And it might take something a little uncomfortable to get you from where you are to where you never knew you could be too.

So, today, put a coffee filter on your head and party like it's your birthday!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Be bold

So, I was at this fiction writers conference this weekend. And since we’re all novelists, we get kind of emotional and spiritual and weird and weepy.

A friend of mine came to the decision this weekend, “Darn it! I’m not going to listen to the trends of the publishing Market anymore, I’m just going to write what I think God wants me to write!”

Because, of course, God trumps Market every time.

(She’s probably going to kill me for telling this story, but it’s a perfect illustration of what I want to say.)

So she pitched this WAY COOL (and yes, I’m shouting) and incredibly unique (read: unmarketable) story idea and got a very positive response. It was like God was saying, “Yeah, girl, you obey Me and we’ll go places!”

Here’s my point: Forget trends and peer pressure and just do what you feel God telling you to do. You know what I’m talking about. It’s an urging in your heart that’s been bugging you for weeks. It’s a burning on your tongue that you try to stifle because you’re afraid you’ll sound stupid.

God will NOT let you fall on your face. He doesn’t work that way. He always brings some kind of good out of any action we do for Him. And most of the time, it’s really really good.

I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but God wouldn’t ask you to do something without giving you some divine help to do it.

And if you’re not feeling that urging or that burning right now, then store up this info for when God does set that in you. He can call you anytime to do some really awesome things for Him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oh! The Wonders of a Mocha

So, I have a confession to make: Whenever life is rough, wild, crazy, confusing, troubled, anxious, worrisome...um and etc., I usually turn to two things. 1) Prayer and 2) Mochas.

Now, I recognize this is not the most Biblical of all remedies, but here's my thoughts on that: I'm talking to God and God created chocolate and coffee, so it's fitting that we chat over something He is responsible for.

It kind of makes sense.

Take today. I'm having a nerve-wracking day, to put it mildly. So, rather than handle this like the grown-up adult I'm supposed to be (oh come on. I'm 22. I can still count as a kid. Maybe not in restaurants, but that's beside the point), I drove straight to my local coffee chain this morning, passed them my gift card and left, happily losing my worries in a rich, chocolately blend of milk, cocca and espresso and conversing with my Heavenly Dad about what's going on.

Like I said, it may not be the most Biblical, but it works for me. Isaiah 30:15 says, "In quietness and trust is your strength." Why can't we be quiet and trusting while holding a mocha?

So, to all of you out there who are roughing it today, take my advice: Head to a coffee shop. Get a mocha (well, unless you're lactose intolerant). Then sit in your car and have a nice long chat with God.

I promise. It will help.

Have a great afternoon, everyone!

Erynn :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Time and the Dream


Today our son, Luke, is leaving, and I won't see him again for a year. He's going to Cote d'Ivoire, Africa, as a public health intern with World Venture. He's raised all his support, gotten all his shots, packed a remarkably small amount of clothes (he's a guy), and has assembled a prayer team.

I suppose he's as ready as he can be, but he really doesn't know what to expect. The climate, the food, the government, the language--everything will be new.

I know Luke will see poverty and some forms of suffering on a level he's never seen before. He will face loneliness, discomfort, and possibly danger. But I'm not afraid, because I also know he will cling to Jesus.

Not long ago, Luke wrote a song for two of his friends who were about to get married. The title, Great Ormond Street, refers to a children's hospital in London, a place that figures significantly in the story of Peter Pan. Though one might think some of the lyrics odd for a wedding song, I love the big-picture view they conjure. Here's the song:

Great Ormond Street, by Luke Damoff

I have watched the dance you weave
Run back and forth between the trees
It has been redeemed
And it will be redeemed

And the rain may fall on your wedding day
Don’t pray the clouds away
They were sent as a grace

And the rain will rise from churchyard stones
Your mother cries ‘cause her child is grown
But we all laugh because we know
Your love has found its home

At the end of Great Ormond Street,
A mother cries just for relief
Will her tears be redeemed?

Cause the rain will fall on courtyard stones
And the child cries when he’s left alone
And the siren’s wail will let you know
That love is going Home

But if the rain won’t fall, then the grass can’t grow
Though we’re all just scared of dying alone
Do not fear—just know
That Love will guide us Home.

The time and the dream have each in turn returned redeemed.
The time and the dream have each in turn returned redeemed.
The time and the dream have each in turn returned redeemed.
The time and the dream have each in turn returned redeemed.

*~*~*~

I pray that Luke will keep this bigger picture in mind as he soars into an unknown future. Whatever happens, it's a blessing to know that the time and the dream will each in turn returned redeemed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Journeys

I’m excited! This month has been an amazing experience for me as my book, Scars That Wound, Scars That Heal—A Journey Out of Self-Injury officially released September 5th (a Live Free book, Standard Publishing). Wow, talk about journeys. I’m thanking God for taking me on this one with this series.

In this book, the first in this series written for teen and young adult guys and gals, I tell the true story of Jackie’s secret struggle with self-injury. I also tell the stories of others and how God is an essential part of the journey out of self-injury. You can read an excerpt at my author site. (Once there, click just under the picture in the sidebar.) The book is not only for those who might be hurting and struggling, but also for those who want to come alongside and help.



BOOK GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment to this post—maybe, if you want, tell me what new topics are on your mind that you’d like to hear about from the Girls, God and the Good Life bloggers. Then include your email addy (or email me so I know how to contact you). I’ll draw a name on October 5th.


And if you happen to live near the Sacramento area, you can meet Jackie (and me too) on Saturday, September 29th, from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Wayside Bookstore on Sunset Blvd. in Rocklin. (Or Friday night, the 28th, 6 to 7 p.m. at the Wayside store in Grass Valley.) I’d love to meet you, and I’m sure Jackie would too. We’ll just be hanging out and having an informal chat about the book and the topic of self-injury.

Speaking of topics, I’m deep, deep into writing the third of the series, which is about internet use . . . and abuse. You know, those moments when we cross some lines into totally losing track of our time online, like with a game, or chat, or MySpace. Or we get involved in stuff and we kinda get that sense that it just isn’t at all something we should be doing. Ever do that?

Well actually, I need some help with this third book of the series . . .



I’m looking for teen- to twenty-something girls who would like to answer questions via email about their Internet use. Don't worry, the questions aren't too probing, and you can choose the questions you want to answer. Also, for your privacy, I won’t use your real name in the book. Email me if you think you’d like to participate. I hope you do.


Back to work for me. Until next time . . .

Jan

http://www.choose2livefree.com/

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One thing at a Time


The other day a friend gave me a book on nutrition that she found extremely helpful. After a pretty intense battle with depression this past year, and a scary experience tying to wean myself off my prescribed medication without consulting my doctor first (not recommended AT ALL), which triggered a setback, I felt desperate for something that I could implement in everyday life that might help in addition to all the other things that I’d tried. I knew many people who found that improving their diet improved their mood overall so I eagerly cracked open the book.

The author had a whole section on brain chemistry and how our food choices affect it. At first I was horrified by her report on sugar, caffeine, and other foods that I gravitate toward. Apparently women with eating disorders (including those who battled them in the past as I did) had tweaked brain cells too. Another strike against me! As I read on I saw that I didn’t eat nearly enough protein or vegetables and had enough preservatives running through my bloodstream to keep a package of low-fat turkey eatable through the winter at least. My family ate fast food on occasion (apparently we don’t even want to know what’s in it), the French vanilla creamer that sweetened my coffee each morning was loaded with life-zapping chemicals, and I baked with white flour. I was lucky to be alive! Talk about depressing!

But hope awaited me in the next chapter. One could repair the damage done and feel better for life. At first I only felt more overwhelmed as I viewed lists of good fats, all the foods that contain hidden sugar, and what I should and should NEVER eat. Then I stopped. How could I possibly expect to make all these changes at once? For one, my family would be very unhappy with me if we suddenly went sugar, caffeine, and pleasure-food free. Secondly, I didn’t have half of the suggested foods in my cupboard, and finally, I didn’t really need to do everything suggested. So I started with a few things:

1) Eat more protein (my parents were very happy to hear this—they have been bugging me about it for years), veggies, and fruit
2) Eat less sugar
3) Cut back on coffee refills
4) Cut out foods that I absolutely know are garbage
5) Make a list of healthy foods to buy during our next grocery shopping trip

And you know what, even with these small changes I feel better. Now I am actually looking forward to trying one more tip from the book, then another.

My new health craze reminded me that, when God points us toward a path to change, He doesn’t always expect us to dive in head first immediately. True lasting change takes time. When we try to do it all at once we only become overwhelmed and discouraged. And what happens? We usually give up? However, when we take needed change a step at a time we have time to see that change work for our good. Then we are anxious to try even more.

Is there an area where you see a need to make some changes? What small steps can you take this week?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Go, Tell It On The Mountain -- You Can Win a Book!



On the Loose hits shelves this week. I know, I know there will be lines and people camping out at midnight Monday night, but please, no fights. And share those candy bars and "waiting-all-night" snacks. It stresses me and J.K. Rowling out when our mobs of eager readers get violent. But we do understand.

So ask your local booksellers if they carry the book. (Say, "You know--On the Loose. By Jenny B. Jones. I think it's up for a Pulitzer? No? Well, all I know is Oprah will NOT leave this poor lady alone.")

Ask your librarians about it. ("You don't have her books? And you call yourselves a library! No, I don't want to read the latest Grisham novel. I want Katie Parker. Is it just me or does this reek of censorship?").

Ask your friend of a friend of a friend of a second-cousin who knows the Wal-Mart or Sam's book buyer ("If you don't stock her books in bulk, I will buy myself a Sam's Choice water and lay down on this floor and scream like a two year old.")

I'm just kidding. You don't have to do alll that! Why? Because you can get a book FREE!!! What a great deal! WHAT do I have to do to get a free book? Well, I'm glad you asked! Just leave a comment on this post with your email addy (to make it complicated, put brackets around the [at] so spam diggers don't get your address), and I'll draw from the tons and tons (humor me) of commenters. We love to read your comments even when we're not bribing you with free stuff!

But bribe I shall.
Hope to send you a book!
Jenny

Monday, September 17, 2007

Friends


A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27 (The Message)



Today, I have to stop and write about how blessed I am. Robin has been my best friend since high school. And that is so rare--to have a friend last a lifetime.



This may surprise some of our teen readers, but even when you get to your forties, you'll still want a best friend.



Robin met me at the mall before I left town last week. I just got back from Texas. I taught at the North Texas Christian Writers' Conference this past weekend. One of my LEAST favorite things to do is to shop. Robin helped me pick out new eye shadow and dark-colored jeans. She kept bringing different jeans back to the dressing room for me. She didn't complain a bit. Isn't that sweet? And I've always been fascinated with girls/women who know how to put on their eye shadow the right way. I learned how to do the new thing with gold eye shadow.



Robin always tells me when it's time to decorate my house for each season. She told me to put out some fall leaves the other day. She loves color and she's fun!



She always, always, always wants the best for me.

This is a picture of us at my daughter's wedding. We were pregnant at the same time with our daughters way back when. :-)



In high school, I had no clue what a gift God gave me by letting us meet each other.



Today, I want to be sure I tell Him thank you. I tell Robin all the time.



Is there someone who's makes your life special?



Love you all,

Julie
www.juliegarmon.com








Saturday, September 15, 2007

BookSigning


I had a booksigning today at one of the local Barnes and Nobles. Booksignings always surprise me.
One of my favorite questions is "Are you her?"
Am I? I think I am.
Another gem is "Are these books any good?"
I am the wrong one to ask. No, because I am becomingly modest. Yes, but I'm horrendously arrogant.
In the grocery aisle at Walmart next to the organically grown vegetables, I heard someone exclaim, "Are you THAT author?"
Seriously, do I want to admit that I am THAT author?

God has put me in a position where I am in front of the auditorium instead of in the back row where I prefer. I write way better than I speak. But I laugh a lot and force other people to laugh with me. (That's right. If you don't laugh, it is a challenge to me, and I'll keep trying until I get you.)
For many years the verse about being content in any state I found myself in meant for me to accept coupon cutting, penny pinching, and waiting for a sale to buy shoes, etc. Now being content in any state means accepting that people are really interested in me, and I need to be ready to give an answer. Some are interested in my books and are surprised I am a Christian.
I've learned a lot of things along the way, and one of the most significant is that God is going to surprise me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Drifting

It’s easy to drift away from God. Things happen, like homework and boyfriends and girl friends and parents.

Suddenly you wake up one day and realize God just isn’t there. You’ve been going through the motions of going to church or praying or reading the Bible, but you don’t feel God, He’s not there with you, He doesn’t speak to you. And you haven’t heard from Him in a long time.

Maybe you don’t really feel like getting back with God. You’ve done okay without Him for a while, so what’s the point? Or maybe He hasn’t come through for you in other things, and you’re feeling a bit resentful.

Obviously this post isn’t going to mean anything to you unless you think there really is something that might be wrong in the fact you don’t feel close to God anymore. You know it’s a hole in your life, but you just can’t muster up the energy or the desire to go seeking Him.

Here’s a thought for you to cling to: Even if you’ve drifted from God, He has never left you.

Write it on your bookbag, tape it to your computer monitor. God has never left you alone.

But what do you do now?

Go back to the Word. Yeah, it might seem dumb since you might have been reading the Bible for months now and God hasn’t spoken to you at all. But just try it.

Take a lesson from the monks—try lectio divina. I’m going through this book right now and it’s really surprising. God really does speak when we just shut up.

(You don’t have to use that book, there are lots of others if you search Amazon or Christianbook.com)

Pray first. Just a short prayer. Try to open your heart to God.

Then, take a passage from the Bible—maybe a Psalm. Read it through once, slowly. Read it through again, slowly. Read it through a third time, slowly.

Each time you read, open your heart to what God might want to have jump out at you. Study the words, see nuances and meanings. Really observe the text and keep an eye out for what seems to strike you, or just nudge you.

Then close your eyes and sit in silence. Try not to babble in your head. Just be still. Don’t let your mind wander, try to focus on what you’ve just read.

Sometimes your thoughts will drift to things that convict you. Sometimes you’ll hear God speaking to you. Sometimes you’ll just feel a gentle presence. Sometimes you won’t feel anything at all except maybe peace and a sense of rest.

A restored relationship with God takes time. Work at it. Keep striving for Him. He promised that if we search for Him with all our hearts, we’d find Him. Hold Him to that, and keep searching.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Confessions of a Broadway Wannabe



Recently, my husband and I returned from vacation in NYC. I LOVE NYC. It is one of the most fun places a person could ever go. There is something about the hustle and bustle of life in the city that gets my energy pumping and makes me feel alive.
There are so many things I love about New York--the Yankees, shopping, Central Park (pictured), and Broadway! While we were in town Michael and I caught a showing of the new musical "Mary Poppins." I was absolutely riveted. I didn't say a peep the entire time (that's a big deal for me), and at intermission I was actually annoyed that we had to stop the story for a minute.
You see, I grew up wanting to be an actress. In the fourth grade I got to play a wealthy woman in the class play and I burst onto the stage layered in fake fur and faux jewels and said, "Hello, Dahling" in the best British accent I could muster and judging by the audience's applause I knew my bit part had stolen the show.
But something happened to me between the fourth grade and the eighth grade that I cannot explain. In the eighth grade I set out to audition for the CYT musical "Snow White." My voice coach had been working with me on my song for months. When it was finally my turn to get on the stage and wow the crowd something inside me shut down. Instead of belting out the song with my "Hello, Dahling" enthusiasm I was barely able to eek it out.
It was as if someone had stolen my ability to sing. The same thing happens to us in life. Someone makes a rude comment about us, tells a lie about us or does something else that rips our very hearts out, and somewhere along the way we lose a little bit of our song. Live long enough, and the whole song may be missing eventually.
But thing about losing your song is this: it doesn't have to be that way. There is an Audience who will always clap for you because He made you and He longs to see you come to the stage and bring all of the talents and abilities He has given you. He wants you to sing at the top of your lungs--so sing the song He has placed in your heart today. And sing it for Him alone...



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ah, when times change...

So, this week is an exciting week for me because one of my best friends is coming back to New Mexico for a visit after living in Israel. She moved about two years ago and I haven't seen her in more than a year. Big Huge Change: She's married now! Last time I saw her, she was seriously dating this guy, now she's married to him.

Confession: This is kinda freaking me out a little. Mostly because I know it will be different, and as much as I like change in general (like redecorating, traveling, etc.), relationships changing scare me.

But change seems to be what God's got in store for me in the near future. I'm in a wedding this weekend where another one of my best friends will say I do. I plan on wearing waterproof mascara, just so you know.

I'm being reminded even as I'm writing this that there is one thing that doesn't change. Even when seasons, friends, people, relationships, or just everything around me is in a complete freefall, God promised that He stays consistent. James 1:17 says that God doesn't change like the shifting shadows. He's there and He's the same - yesterday, today and forever.

Definitely a comforting thought for me right now. :)

I hope all of you are having a wonderful week and enjoying the cooler weather!

Love,

Erynn :)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Sister Trap


Tricia Goyer here ...

Growing up my favorite movie was The Parent Trap. You know, it's the story about a young girl who goes to summer camp and meets the twin she never knew. Why? I grew up with my mom ... and later my mom and step dad. All through those years I didn't know my biological dad, and I always dreamed I had a sister out there.

Fast-forward a few years and I decide to get curious. Not only did I find my biological dad, I discovered I have four amazing sisters. Not one .... but four!

Last week one of those sisters, her husband, and her three kids visited me and we had a great vacation. I wanted to share a few pictures. I also wanted to offer hope.

--Sometimes our deepest desires are answered in ways greater than we could ever imagine.

--Even if we have "complicated" family situations, God can bring them around for His good.

--And, whether through genetics, or spiritual adoption as children of God, it's cool to discover someone in your family. We need each other!

Our trip to Glacier National Park!


Lesley and Tricia

Hiking



Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park


Our hiking friend


Cousins

The Ram who joined our picnic


I wasn't willing to share!



My nieces and nephew


P.S. My new book for teen girls, My Life, Unscripted is now on store shelves!




Friday, September 07, 2007

Top 5 Reasons September Makes Me Happy



This week I've been working on the revisions to The Fruit of My Lipstick, which will be out next August. One of the things I had to work on was a character's list of the Top 5 Ways to Know He's the One. Since then, Top 5 lists on all kinds of subjects have been wandering through my head, so I thought I'd post one of them here.

Top 5 Reasons September Makes Me Happy

(1) I'm going to Germany and Austria with my family in two weeks. How fun is that? My hubby and I, my mom and dad, and my 16-year-old niece and 13-year-old nephew. We're going to shop and eat Sachertorte and see castles and meet interesting people and learn how to say "Sagen Sie wo is der Autobus?" with the proper accent! Oh, and polka! Did I mention we're going on a concert tour with a polka band? My niece, who is a hip-hop and ballet dancer, was informed by her mom that she was going to have to learn the polka. She looked down her nose and said, "Mom. I'm a dancer. How hard can it be?" Ask Uncle Jeff, sweetie.

(2) Fire season in California is nearly over. It officially ends on Hallowe'en, so I can see a nice, cool November coming, dumping rain all over these thirsty hills.


(3) I can see fall coming, a little ahead of November. I love fall. I love the way the air smells and all the maple leaves whirling down. I love how it makes my chickens moult so that there are feathers from one end of the yard to the other. I love lighting a fire in the stove and starting a new book. I love harvest and vegetables and trying out new recipes. I love getting the course catalogue from the local University Extension and seeing what I could learn. Ooh, look--Drawing Birds. Creating Characters. The Art of the Chick Flick. I'll never be able to decide!

(4) My friend Camy Tang's first book, Sushi for One?, just came out--totally a reason to celebrate September.

(5) Best of all, September is a good reason to thank my heavenly Father for all of the above!

Love, Shelley

www.allaboutusbooks.com

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Watch Out--Surprises Ahead



I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the guy who’s made it big just by fooling around in front of his webcam lip-syncing a song by O-Zone. After uploading, it got a phenomenal number of hits. In his interviews, he admits he never imagined—through that one spontaneous, uninhibited moment just being himself—he’d become so well-known. In fact, bordering on rich and famous.

Or, how about the woman who posted an honest, side-splitting-funny story on eBay about a trip to the grocery store with her six kids. During one of her many distracted moments while shopping, one (or two or three) of her children snuck a pack of Pokemon cards into the grocery cart. She missed seeing them and decided not to reward her children for the act but to sell them on eBay (no, no—the cards, not her children). Not only did she get a fairly decent price, she—due to the wit of her creative post and her equally humorous blog—has publishers and agents begging her to sign on to write a book.

There are those like the eBay mom and the numa-numa guy, and then there are the rest of us. How many times have we worked dog hard at something that no one noticed or appreciated? And I mean, we really, really tried our best.

I’m actually growing kind of fond of those “unappreciated” moments. I’m finding there’s a lot of freedom in letting go of the results, applause, or impact of what I do.

Yes, I fully believe God wants us to celebrate the amazing things that happen. He enjoys celebrating with us.

But the problem is those crazy expectations we all have. You know—“I’ve gotta be that or else,” or “I wish that woulda happened to me,” or even “Why didn’t anyone notice and say something?” Those types of expectations.

You have a new school year ahead. I have a few new directions I’m heading too. If you’re up for the challenge, how ‘bout joining me in a little experiment over the next eight or nine months?

We may not ever experience numa-numa or eBay fame (or fame of any sort), but we can enjoy being who we are, expressing fully who God created us to be. And we can then be surprised and celebrate what God does with it—in even the small ways. Especially those.

I just might check back in with you. I’ll definitely be praying for you.

Have an amazing and surprise-filled year . . . just being yourself.

Jan
www.choose2livefree.com

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nice Guys: They’re out there!


These are my sons Christian (16) and Nathan (5). Let me share a little secret about them. They are both nice guys. For some reason they feel the need to be secretive about that fact. It must be a guy thing. Here is one example.

I picked Nathan up from kindergarten and he immediately requested a play date with his friend Isaiah, begging me to talk to Isaiah’s mom right away. She wasn’t around to ask so I promised him that we’d set up a time another day. He dragged his feet the whole way home. I finally asked what was going on. He told this story.

“At recess Isaiah was sitting at the table with his head down and I asked, ‘what’s wrong?’ Isaiah said, ‘Nobody wants to come to my house.’ I said, ‘I’ll come to your house.’ And he was happy. So we really need to do a play date, Mom.”

He brought it up several times that day. At one point I said, “Nathan, I am so proud of you for trying to make Isaiah feel better.”

Suddenly Nathan started looked around as if I were revealing what color underwear he had on.

“You are such a . . . “

He put her finger over his lips. “Shh. Don’t say it.”

“I was just going to say you’re a nice guy.”

He shook his head and looked like he might burst into tears. “Don’t tell Christian.”

“Why?”

“”Cause he can’t know.”

“What? That you’re a nice guy?”

“Uh Huh.”

I knelt down and motioned for Nathan to move in close. “Let me tell you a secret. Christian is a nice guy too.” I proceeded to share a story about a time when Christian’s ROTC class had to run the mile and one guy was struggling, so Christian stayed back with him and encouraged him to keep going.

“Believe me.” I patted Nathan on the back. “Being a nice guy is something to be proud of.”

Still, I assured Nathan that Christian would never know about his kindness to Isaiah (as if he couldn’t overhear. We have a small house).

I’ll confess that there are times when I look at Christian and think; I wish I’d had a boyfriend like him as a teenage. I was one of those girls who would date anyone who asked her out. Consequently, I didn’t always have the best guy/girl experiences. If I could do those years over again, I would raise my standards and hold out for nice guys.

As you get back into the routine of school, activities, dances, and nights out with friends, you might encounter guys who aren’t so nice—those who say inappropriate things, don’t respect your faith, don’t like your friends, or think it’s funny to put people down. Maybe one of these not-so-nice guys will charm his way into asking you out. Remember that you are worth more. You are worth respecting and treating well. No matter how you feel about yourself, no matter how badly you want to feel liked or want to be able to say, “I have a boyfriend” you don’t need to settle. My boys—as well as many of Christian’s teenage friends—can stand as reminders that nice guys are out there, so why not hold out for one of them?

Ask God to deepen your security in Him and your sense of worth as you wait for the one that He has for you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Some Godly Fun

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day. We should rally together as a nation and demand we have more three day weekends. Americans are like some of the most productive, hardest working people in the world, according to the news. Is this really an area in which we want to be number one? No!

Let's stop this insanity and be the laziest, most well rested in the world! The people most likely to go to the beach! The nation most likely to work four days a week! The country who purchases the most Hanes sweats! If you're with me, please contact your local congressman or woman and tell them how you really feel. Your couch misses you.

Um...yeah, so obviously I'm a little down in the dumps about having to return to work after a great three day weekend. But I have found one small ray of light in my tiring day. Thought I'd share.

I don't want to like it--in all its cheesy glory--but I do. It's like a happy pill for my back-to-school blues. "NIV with the ribbon bookmark. NIV with the ribbon bookmark..."



"And if you're Catholic, there's even more."
See? It's hard not to like it, right? Kinda like Hannah Montana. Darn you for being so cute and clever!

"She's got good doctrine..." His mad rhymes put me to shame.
Anyway, until we get more three day weekends, it's the small things like this that will see me through.

Jen
Cross-posted from my blog.

Monday, September 03, 2007

PER-FEC-TION TRAP



This morning I'm making homemade chocolate chip cookies to take to a Labor Day party.
Somehow I grew up believing a lie. I thought I had to be perfect to be loved. My mother didn't like her kitchen messed up. One thing I always wanted to learn how to do was to make Christmas cookies--the kind you decorate with icing and sprinkles--the kind they show in magazines around Christmastime.
But we never made cookies when I was little.
And remember, I thought I had to do everything perfectly. What if I tried and they were terrible?
Last Christmas, I made cookies with my kids for the VERY FIRST TIME. They are 25, 23, and 16.
Katie, my middle child, made the ugliest Christmas cookies you can imagine--even used ORANGE and BLACK colors--hideous-looking.
As I stood there in the messy kitchen and laughed at her cookies, the truth hit me. AGAIN. (Sometimes it takes a few times for a truth to sink in--at least for me it does.)
I don't have to be perfect to be loved. And neither do my cookies.
Thank you, God. You continue to teach me about Your love through my children. You love us with an EVERLASTING LOVE.
Love,
Julie

Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
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