Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trials

~Tuesday Thoughts~



Sometimes it can be hard to look at the trials we have in our lives and say "Your will, God, not mine". Let us pray that we can do that more and more often.

How about you? Do you have trials that are hard to be thankful for? Mind sharing how God is working in your life?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Who You Say You Are

~Monday Movies & Music~ 


"Who You Say You Are" is a song by Britt Nicole. Here are the lyrics

God is truly who He says He is. He knows everything; He can do everything. He is who He says He is. We can really trust Him. Even if it's hard sometimes. 
 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

~Saturday Stories~



Typical Jessie: I guess my life was crazy even before the day it really lost its mind. I just didn’t think it was. I did think my friend Chelsea’s life was a little weird. Her parents had been married to each other for twenty years and her family sat down at the table to eat supper together every night... I definitely considered my friend Marcus’s life to be strange. His family went on a two-week vacation every single summer to places like Key West and the Grand Canyon... Totally off the wall.

When Jessie's mom is sent to the hospital for gulping down a bunch of pills, Jessie is left with her dad. Who she had thought was dead. Her plan is simple: drive him nuts until he sends her back home. Except it might be nicer in some ways in Florida: like motorcycles, the beach and a book that she can actually read. Can there really be a relief from the hamster wheel in her head? Can she just be herself, without always covering up the fact that she has ADHD?


Like most of Nancy Rue's books, Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book is awesome. I love how Jessie changes from the I-have-to-hide-this girl to someone who more or less embraces herself as she is. RL-the book that she found herself reading despite her disability- is basically a modern-day paraphrase of the Bible. It can mysteriously be clear when it's time to read and blur when the reading is enough for the day. Although a book like that isn’t really out there, Nancy Rue does show us that parts of the Bible can stand out to us too.

This is the first of the Real Life series for teens. The others are Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble, Tournaments, Cocoa and One Wrong Move and Limos, Lattes, and My Life on the Fringe. They can all be read as stand-alones, since the only thread is the RL book that they find when they need it and leave for someone else to find.

For more on Nancy Rue, visit her website, Facebook page and blogs for tweens, teens and new adults.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Why should we love one another?

~Friday for Friends~


Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11 (NIV)

That is so plainly and beautifully said that it’s hardly arguable. God loves us. Therefore, let us love one another. Not easy, but with the help of the One who loved us first, can we not do it? God bless you and give you strength to love one another.   

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When everything's gone

~Tuesday thoughts~ 


Anne Bradstreet was a poet in 17th century America. Contrary to what you're probably thinking right now, her poems are actually pretty neat. This week for literature I sort-of analyzed her poem "Verses Upon the Burning of our House". 

Could we do that? Could we see the ashes but, instead of weeping, be full of hope? Could we remember the greatest treasure above when all our earthly ones are gone?

With God's help, I think we could. Can. Let's try to remember that we have something - Someone - greater than anything the world can ever offer. 

Have you ever experienced a loss and remembered that God promised us much more? Mind sharing?  

Monday, September 22, 2014

You matter

~Monday Movies & Music~


"Matter" is a really awesome song by for King & Country. Here are the lyrics.

YOU matter. To the God of the Universe. Yes, you. All of us. We MATTER. How cool is that?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"You don't need to be strong" and other quotes

~Saturday Stories~


"You don’t need to be strong. Let God do that for you.” - Darlene, Roadside Assistance

"You’re much more likely to make true, authentic choices when you have a relationship with God." The Whole Guy Thing



"I might not like who I am - all that I see - within - but I'm me. That's important. Now that I have accepted that, I've been freed to - with God's help - work on who I am- deep down inside of me". -Berta, The Bluebird and the Sparrow 

How about you? What do you think about these quotes? Any quotes you can share with us?

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Whole Christian Thing - now on Nancy Rue's blog

~Friday for Friends~ 


So this is a little different than what I usually post on Fridays, but it's an awesome opportunity to go through the whole I-don't-even-get-what-this-means with someone who gets it a bit more than we do. And it's a community where friendships can blossom. 

So here's the deal: Nancy Rue on her blog In Real Life has started a new series where we can sit down and talk about what we don't understand about Christianity - not worrying that we will get preached at or anyone will say "wow, you're not a good enough Christian". And later on Nancy is even going to write a book, somewhat like The Whole Guy Thing, I think, but about the whole Christian thing. And we can be a part of that.  

Here's the plan and guidelines for the journey. It's already started, but you can hop in anytime! Here are the posts on getting it out on the tablebarriers to the deep endnot understanding the Bible and admiring it from afar. Do join in! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When life goes hectic

~Tuesday Thoughts~ 


There are times when life can seem out of control. Complicated. Unpredictable. Unstable. Lonely. Purposeless. Hard. 

What can we do when all we can think about is how to survive the day without having another breakdown? Here are a few ideas: 

1. Pray. Even if it's just "this doesn't make SENSE, Lord". It helps.

2. Find and read a Bible translation that speaks to you. For me, I'm somewhat interested in The Message version, which speaks in a more modern way. 

3. Call/email/skype a good friend. Tell them what's going on and ask them to pray. I have an awesome friend who is a great support when I'm having problems. If you don't have a friend like that, comment on this blog and I'll answer as best I can. 

4. Find a mentor. For me, Nancy Rue is that mentor, even though we've never met each other or even emailed back and forth. I just read her books and blog posts and that can be so awesome.

How about you? Do you experience hard moments like that? What ideas can you share on how to overcome them? 

God bless you all!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Place in this world

~Monday Movies & Music~


Place in this world  is a song by Michael W. Smith. Here are the lyrics.

Sometimes we just want to BELONG somewhere. It's like "why does every else have a place where they belong and I just can't seem to find mine?" When those times come we can remember that we belong in the greatest place ever: God's family.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1a (NIV)

Amen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Emily: I could feel the thump of the engine reverberating a deep, low drone against my chest. I bit my lower lip, squelching the urge to run over to the garage and help him fix that tick. My interest and specialty had always been Chevrolets, an affection I’d inherited from my dad. But rebuilding a Dodge would be a fun challenge. One I could use right now.

Last year Emily's mom died from cancer. Her dad's business couldn't keep up with the medical debts, so now the two of them have to stay at her aunt's and uncle's. One word: humiliating. Emily can hardly wait until her dad finds work so they can get a place of their own. Where is God when she needs Him?


Roadside Assistance is a story of a girl with doubt. Had God forgotten her? Why was she not feeling Him? Why did her attempts at prayer never work? But it's also a story about learning to open up to the ways God can show His unfailing love.

I think, though, that some changes to the "technique" of writing would have been great. For example, having Emily have a clear goal and adding a worse protagonist who wants to mess it all up. To my taste, the beginning through the middle of the book could use some more drama, but it gets better at the end. This book is the first in a trilogy, in which it is followed by Destination Unknown and Miles from Nowhere.

Overall, the message of His care is great, but the writing could use some improvement, I think.

For more on Amy Clipston, visit her website and Facebook page.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Let us consider...

~Friday for Friends~ 


And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

Just because I like lists, here’s a point-by-point one of what these verses say we should do.

We should:
Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds
Not give up meeting together
Encourage one another


Isn't this great advice? Advice that brings us closer both to each other and to the One who called each of us. Any ideas on putting this into practice anytime soon? Please share.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When Criticism Cuts Too Deep

~Tuesday Thoughts~

Today will be the last in the Starting School mini-series. The first three are "Homework? Maybe later…", "Never quite reaching ‘perfect’" and "But everyone else is doing it". 

Probable everyone has encountered criticism in their lives, be it from friends, family members, teachers, coaches or someone else. And sometimes, granted, we can just shrug it off. “Who cares what Mr. So-and-so thinks?” But most of the time, I think, it cuts… and sometimes deeply.

Maybe we’ve worked so hard on a science project and then a friend comes up and asks what this useless little thing is supposed to be. Or maybe we’ve read everything but the two final chapters in a super-long book, but the teacher only notices what we missed. Maybe we’ve did the best we could in a game and the coach says that “we could have done better.”  Maybe we’ve tried to impress a parent and he/she just says “whatever”.

So what can we do when the criticism stings?

1. Remember God still loves us. He loves us even when we mess up or when others seem not to.

2. Evaluate the criticism. Maybe it’s valid. Could we learn from it and change something for the better?

3. Talk it out. If we can, it’s better to talk through the problem with the other person. Maybe there was a misunderstanding or he/she never wanted it to come out so harsh.

4. Make someone else’s life brighter. Since we already know that criticism hurts, we can use that knowledge for good. Encouraging others is a great thing to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

How about you? What ideas do you have on dealing with criticism?  

Monday, September 8, 2014

What would Jesus do?

~Monday Movies & Music~


“What would Jesus do?” is a great song by Big Tent Revival. Here are the lyrics.

It has been a few years, I think, since WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) was so popular. I sort of remember making a craft when I was small with those four letters. We have a kid’s WWJD Bible too. And to me it’s probably been more like a nice cliché than a real thought-provoking question. What about you?

But what if we REALLY thought about it? What if we asked ourselves that question before making a decision, however big or small? Can we start now? Let’s try to reflect His light more and more in our lives!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Whole Guy Thing by Nancy Rue

~Saturday Stories~


Note: this book is only for girls! Sorry boys!

“I just don’t get guys.” “Can we just be friends?” “So, what about dating and boyfriends?” “And all of this is important because…?”



Nancy Rue answers a lot of questions we girls might have about boys in her usual I-so-get-where you’re-coming-from voice. I love that voice! Most of the time it makes me feel that she both understands me and my questions and knows at least some of the answers. She has that voice in her fiction too, but here and on her blogs this really shows itself. I recommend The Whole Guy Thing to all teen girls trying to figure it out.

For more on Nancy Rue visit her website, Facebook page and blogs for tweens, teens and new adults.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Carrying each others burdens

~Friday for Friends~


Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

Here are two great songs on the topic: More Than You’ll Ever Know by Watermark (lyrics) and Borrow Mine by Bebo Norman (lyrics).

It can be SO helpful when you know someone is also carrying your burden, praying for you, grieving with you, helping you out. It’s awesome to be that person to someone else.


And, of course, we know for certain that God is the best BFF there ever was. Here’s what He says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

He’s the God who loved us when we were still rotten sinners; He’s the One who died in our place so we can have life; He’s the One who loves us despite all our constant mistakes. And He is the One we can run to with every problem we have, big or small.

Even if we don’t have a friend to cry and pray with, we do have a God who will ALWAYS be there to see us through the darkest times.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

But everyone else is doing it...

~Tuesday Thoughts~


Two weeks ago the Starting School mini-series kicked off with “Homework? Maybe later…” Last week the post was “Never quite reaching ‘perfect’”.  Today’s going to be about that awful thing called peer pressure. 


Peer pressure is JUST NOT FUN. When the kids around you are whispering about you-know-what or you see at least half a dozen kids cheating on that test, it’s hard to say “no; I’ll go against the flow”. Pressure can come in different ways: the “everyone-else-is” way or the “you-better-or-else” way or the “if-you’re-my-friend” way. It can be subtle or it can be screaming in our ears. We can be the only ones thinking it or others can be pushing us around.

Whatever way, peer pressure is peer pressure. And the easiest thing is to give in. But we shouldn't.


The Narrow and Wide Gates
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Through Him we can overcome this problem. That is good news.

How about you? Do you ever want to give in to the pressure? What are some other ways you can think of that peers can pressure us? Do you have a story about how you said “no”? Please share. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Awesome God

~Monday Movies & Music~


“Awesome God” by Rich Mullins had been my favorite song for a while. Here are the lyrics.

He IS an Awesome God. An awesome and loving God! A God who forgives and shows mercy. Let’s praise Him - now and forever!!!

Lord, our Lord,
 how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:9 (NIV)