Peristeria Winter 2011
This winter issue has feature stories on making decisions, the supernatural, and on bullying in addition to some awesome seasonal features like winter recipes, stocking stuffer ideas, a whole section on holiday fashion, and so much more! Set New Year’s resolutions, get a look at three fiction series perfect for teen girls, and even tips on applying eye make-up.
Hey Girls! National Girls Ministries Director Candy Tolbert Teen Girl Specialist Magazine Editor Katie Mattiuzzo National Girls Ministries Editor Lori Van Veen This Month’s Contributors: Jennie Olson Katelynne Cox Brad & Rebekah Mandy Groot Cake Pops Ashley Knepper Winter Weather Driving Taylor Colton Did You Know? Ashlee Chu Decidedly Decisive Mike Clarensau Tough Question Justin Chandler Like, Love, & Dating Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society®. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (NASB®) are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) ©2011 by Gospel Publishing House. All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy for church use only. I have such good memories of the winter growing up in Minnesota. My sister, my best friend, and I would bundle up and trek through the snow mounds with our ice skates to the pond that was a short walk away. It was always really fun to lay on our bellies and lick the iced-over pond until we remembered that it was frozen pond water with amoebas in it that we were licking! We’d make it back to my house and eat chocolate chip cookie dough and popcorn and then crawl up in the fort my dad built in the basement and spend the rest of the Saturday afternoon playing board games. While this continued into our junior high years it eventually trickled off. We got busy with homework, jobs, other friends, and just got plain old sick of being cold and tired during the winter! It can be so easy to let life pass you by. You girls juggle so many different things between commitments at school, church, around the house with your family, with friends, etc. By the time you realize it, the season is already over and you haven’t even had a chance to really embrace the sights, smells, crafts, and foods of the season you were just in! I challenge you this winter to set aside a little bit of time each week to do something festive. Go outside and go sledding, skating, or just take a nice long walk. Make a hearty winter meal for your family. Start a collection of nativity scenes or Christmas ornaments. Invite a friend over to make Christmas cards if they’re feeling lonely this season. Read through a good fiction series and try out some of the recipes you’ll in this issue. And take time to really enjoy these next few months! Yes, it might be cold. The skies might be overcast. The sun might set at 4:00 in the afternoon. And you might get sick of slipping on the ice that awaits for you on your front step every day. But enjoy the beauy and the diversity God built into this season. He put the same creativity and care into forming you as He did the different seasons. So there are a lot of reasons to bubble over with joy this winter season! The symbolism between the Peristeria Orchid and the Christian teen girl is pretty powerful stuff. Peristeria is Greek for “little dove.” The orchid gets its name from the dove-shaped center of the flower, and has also been called the Holy Ghost orchid (read Luke 3:21,22). Peristeria Orchids can grow in light or dark, much like a teen girl who has a desire to grow in her relationship with God despite the circumstances around her. The roots require moisture — pure water — at all times. As Christians, we also need nutrition and to be constantly fed through studying the Bible. As you read this magazine, think of yourself as a beautiful Peristeria Orchid — filled with the Holy Ghost, growing in whatever circumstances you’re living with, whether they be in light or dark, and being fed with the pure truth of the Word of God. seasonal favorites | page 2 bits of beauty | page 26 winter fashion | page 9 book nook | page 27 new year’s resolutions | page 14 feature story: a thirst for the supernatural | page 28 feature story: blindsided | page 16 tough question | page 30 entertainment center | page 19 what do we think about... | page 32 feature story: decidedly decisive| page 24 like, love, & dating | page 33 ask away! | page 36 1 3 great ways to make hot chocolate! butterscotch hot chocolate white hot chocolate 6 c. milk 2 c. heavy cream 12 oz. white chocolate, chopped 1 tsp. vanilla extract Whipped cream for topping 1. Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around edges of pan. 2. Add white chocolate. Turn heat to low. 3. Stir continuously until melted. 4. Whisk in vanilla. Continue whisking until a light foam forms. 5. Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream and enjoy! peppermint hot chocolate 4 c. milk 3 (1 oz.) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped 4 peppermint candy canes, crushed 1 c. whipped cream 4 small peppermint candies canes Whipped cream for topping 1. In a medium pan, heat milk but do not boil. Add the chocolate and crushed peppermint candies until melted and well blended. 2. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream. Add one peppermint candy cane to each mug. 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 c. sugar 1/8 tsp. salt 1/2 c. boiling water 3 1/2 c. milk 1 tsp. vanilla 1 Tbs. butterscotch sauce Whipped cream for topping 1. Combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. 2. Whisk in boiling water and bring mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. 3. Stir in the milk and heat until hot, but do not boil. 4. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butterscotch sauce. 5. Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream, and enjoy! Serves 4-5 Serves 4 Serves 8 2 check out these fun ideas! snowball cookies fancy sandwiches 1 c. butter, softened ½ c. powdered sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 2¼ c. flour ¾ c. finely chopped nuts ¼ tsp. salt Powdered sugar 1. Combine measured ingredients. 2. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. 3. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400o. 4. Roll cookies in powdered sugar after they have slightly cooled. Let fully cool and then roll cookies again in powdered sugar. holiday cream-filled sandwich cookies For a festive but easy holiday treat, dip cream-filled sandwich cookies in melted white chocolate. Cover them with colored sprinkles or drizzle them with white or milk chocolate. You can make them as fun or as elegant as you want! Want to dress up a simple lunch for your friends? Try cutting sandwiches into holiday shapes from using cookie cutters! Serve on a festive platter. 3 cake pops! by mandy groot You will need: - Cake - Frosting - Candy fillers, if desired - Coating chocolate (melting wafers are easiest) - Small candies, sprinkles, or nonpareils for topping, if desired - Lollipop sticks - Styrofoam blocks - Small treat bags and ribbon for packaging Cake Pops start with any cake. A dense pound cake works best because you don’t want the cake to be too moist. You can turn any boxed cake mix into a pound cake by add6ing one package of instant pudding and by using the following amounts of additional ingredients instead of what is called for in the mix recipe: four eggs, one cup of water, and one-third cup of oil. Directions: 1.After you bake the cake, it must cool completely. You can place it in the refrigerator for a little while if you want or just allow the cake to cool overnight. 2. Once the cake is cooled, remove any hard edges. Break the cake into sections and start rubbing the large chunks together until you get fine cake crumbs. You cannot have any large pieces of cake. If you want to add any sprinkles or small candies to the cake pop interior, this would be the time to add those – about one-half cup or so. 3.Add about one-half cup to threequarters cup of frosting. You can use a homemade or canned frosting. It is best to use your hands to mix the cake crumbs and the frosting together. You do not want this mixture to be too dry or too moist. The balls or shapes need to be able to hold together without splitting. 4.Start rolling your dough into balls or the shape you desire. Use about two tablespoons of dough. Don’t be nervous to press the dough together as you roll it in your hands. Place these on a small cookie sheet or in a container until you finish this step. 4 pumpkin At step 4, roll into a ball. With the back of a butter knife, cut small creases to make the lines of a pumpkin. Slightly pinch the top and bottom together to make the creases open a bit. Continue to step 5 and 6 using orange coating chocolate. Once dry, place a dot of melted orange chocolate to the top and add a green leaf or sprinkle. (The leaf pictured is a holly leaf sprinkle made by Wilton©.) Allow to dry completely before packaging. reindeer snowman At step 4, shape the dough into a skull shape for the reindeer head. Continue to step 5 and 6 using desired coating chocolate. At step 4, make two different sized balls of dough. Coat and push the stick completely through the larger ball with enough of the stick coming out of the end to go almost halfway through the smaller ball of dough. Recoat the stick with chocolate (see step 5) and stick the small ball onto the top. Continue to step 5 and 6 using white coating chocolate. Once dry, place dots of melted chocolate, one at a time, for eyes, nose, and antlers. Antlers are pretzels broken into desired shape. Nose is a mini-M & M’s© candy. The eyes are candy eyes from a craft store. Allow to dry completely before packaging. 5.Melt some of the candy coating that you plan to use. A double boiler or melting pot is ideal for melting the chocolate. Once it is melted, dip the end of the lollipop stick into the chocolate (about half an inch). Place this not quite halfway through the ball of dough. Place the pop onto a cookie sheet. Continue doing this will all of the balls. Once the sticks are in place, place the cookie sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes – no more than that. If you have the time, refrigerating them for two hours is best. 6.When your pops are almost done in the freezer or refrigerator, melt the rest of your chocolate. Remove about half of the batch for dipping – you do not want too much moisture on the dough when dipping. One at a time, dip or roll the pops in the chocolate to coat them up to the stick. Gently tap the pop or swirl it upside down over the melted chocolate to allow the excess chocolate to drip away. 7.Stick the coated cake pop into a Styrofoam block for drying. For simpler cake pop decorating, you can add some small sprinkles or nonpareils shortly after the pops begin to dry. For more elaborate decorating, allow the cake pops to dry completely. Once dry, place dots of melted chocolate, one at a time, for nose, eyes, mouth, and buttons. You can use an orange candy coated sunflower seed for the nose. You can use candy eyes for the eyes or dark brown chocolate. The eyes and mouth of the pictured snowman were done with a toothpick and melted dark brown chocolate. Colored Twizzlers© were used for the scarves and hats. The candy was cut open lengthwise to shape into scarf and hat. This candy is very stretchy and works great. You can use white melting chocolate to secure the objects to the cake pops if needed. Allow to dry completely before packaging. 8.Once dry and decorated, place a treat bag over the cake pop and tie it with a ribbon. A jar or vase makes an easy and attractive display. 5 relaxation kit check out these great ideas! lip gloss colorful scarf hair accessories earrings necklace manicure kit winter mittens candles 6 Did You Know? A few years ago, I drove to meet my family at a foot- ball game to celebrate my brother’s birthday. Wanting to avoid getting a ticket, I put my cruise on and started singing. It had been snowing lightly all day. It was late fall and the first snow of the season, so it had been melting quickly. As I entered the city, I rounded a corner and my tires began to wiggle. Before I knew it, I was spinning off the busy highway, landing in a ditch going the wrong way. Thankfully, I was fine, my car had only minor damage and a very kind highway patrolman drove my car out of the ditch using some very fancy driving maneuvers only taught in patrolman training. (For the most part, this involved him remaining calm and giving it some gas while holding the steering wheel straight.) After that incident, I was a little nervous to get back out on the open road, so I did a little research about safe winter driving. Here’s what I learned: • Go slowly. When the roads start to get slick, the best thing you can do for yourself is to give yourself as much time as possible to make decisions. The snow or ice will always make it more difficult to turn and stop. Going slowly will give you an advantage. If you know you need to be somewhere and you see the weather is starting to get slick, leave early. As silly as it feels to show up 15 minutes early for work, it won’t feel as silly as hitting a mailbox because you were rounding a corner too quickly. • Pump your brakes. As a driver, your instinct will always be to slam on the brakes when you start to slide, but resist the urge! Pumping your brakes will keep them from locking up and will give your tires more opportunity to regain traction. But remember: pumping your brakes will not make you stop quickly, so you have to start stopping sooner. • Steer where your car goes. This might seem kind of obvious, but it’s a little trickier that it seems when snow and ice are involved. If you happen to lose control of your car, turn your steering wheel in the direction your car is going. When you start spinning to the right, your instinct will be to turn to the left to try to get your car back on track. (Again, resist the urge!) Turning your steering wheel in the direction your car is going will allow your tires to regain traction and get you back in control of your car. Winter can be a beautiful and cozy time of year that also forces us to slow down and be careful. So, if you don’t need to go out, stay home. Snuggle up with a good cup of cocoa and enjoy some time at home with your family. by ashley knepper … why snow is white? It’s actually because the sunlight we see is white. The little snowflakes reflect this “white light” off of each other and create the white color we know and love. …that snow makes things quieter? No, really! It does! The air pockets in fresh snow trap and absorb sound waves, creating a more peaceful environment. However, when that snow hardens, it will reflect sound waves and make them louder and travel farther. …if you counted every gift given in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song, you would end up with 364 gifts? That’s almost 1 gift for everyday of the year! …that the most snow to fall within a 24 hour period in the United States was 76 inches? That’s right! It all happened in Silver Lake, Colorado on April 14, 1921. To put it into perspective, 76 inches is a little over 6 feet of snow! …that many parts of the Christmas tree are edible? As gross as that sounds, it’s true. The needles of the evergreen, for instance, are a good source of vitamin C. But we wouldn’t recommend trying this with your fake Christmas trees if we were you. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya! …that one of our well-known Christmas songs was at first written for Thanksgiving? Ready for this one? It’s “Jingle Bells!” It was written by James Lord Pierpont during the late 19th century for a church’s Thanksgiving program in Georgia! It was so widely loved, that the church sang it again on Christmas day. …that snowflake sizes and shapes depend on the temperature? Yep! The colder it is, the smaller they are. The fluffiest snow is known to form at around 15°F. …that the world’s largest snowwoman was made in Bethel, ME? Her name was Olympia and she towered over the tiny town with a staggering height of 122’1”. She was born in January 2008 and stood strong until July of that same year! …that each of the gifts given to Jesus by the Magi meant something specific? The gold represents royalty, the frankincense represents holiness, and myrrh is a spice used to embalm the dead. Jesus is the King, He is holy, and He died and came back to life again to save us! by taylor colton 7 Not sure what to get for the guys on your Christmas list? Take a look at these great ideas! • Car kit — leather cleaner, air freshner, new CD, car wash soap and sponge, tire polish, all sitting in a new bucket with a bow. • Mobile headset/ear bud • Visa gift card • Movie kit — movie(s), box of popcorn, mini cans of soda, candy of choice, large popcorn bowl, blanket. • Video game • Relaxation kit — slippers, music CD, favorite snack, book, journal, man candle (believe me, a guy can enjoy a good candle as long as it looks and smells manly!) • Dress shirt and tie • Coffee Break kit — bag of coffee beans, new mug, shortbread cookies, creamer, and a flavored syrup. • Night Out kit — restaurant gift card, movie theater gift card, and coffee shop/ice cream gift card • Office kit — planner, sticky notes, pens, candy dish, notepad, tissues • Accessories kit — tie, • Small tin pail filled with belt, and cufflinks tissue paper and $5 gift cards to his favorite places • Nice photo of you guys together/family, matted • Work Day kit — man and framed soap, razor, cologne, small toiletries bag, man- • Vacation kit — photo themed hand towel album, book/magazine of destination, map, new • Photography session shirt, vacation folder and notebook • Special Interests kit — magazine, book, trinket • Snow Day kit — hot all pertaining to his special chocolate mix, board hobby or interest game, movie, favorite snack, sweatshirt, slipper • Gym membership socks • Work-Out kit — free weights, waterbottle, work- • Sports Fan kit — jersey, Tshirt, cap, small collectible out outfit, protein bars • Winter gloves and hat • New pair of cool shoes • Pajama bottoms and comfortable sweathirt and socks • Concert tickets 10 8 Thanksgiving Day Outfit Celebrate the last of the fall season by wearing a longsleeved brown shirt under burnt orange cardigan. Dress the outfit down with a relaxed pair of mediumwashed jeans, some cute brown flats, and some accessories. Christmas Eve Outfit For a trendy, yet classy approach to a Christmas Eve outfit, wear a festive knee-length dress made of a heavy, winter material with a black, velvet jacket, black leggings, a pair of black ankle boots, and some matching accessories. 11 9 Christmas Day Outfit Throw on a cute yet comfortable outfit for your Christmas Day celebrations! Wear a comfortable pair of jeans with a colorful long-sleeve shirt under a zip-up hoodie with a cute bubble vest over top. Add some accessories and a cute pair of boots! New Yearâ€™s Eve Outfits To the right are two great options for a New Yearâ€™s Eve outfit. A dressy option and a more casual option! This black and ivory dress is shown under a trendy cropped, short-sleeved jacket and is accessorized with a blingy necklace, rhinestone earrings, and red high heels. The casual option is a maroon shirt under a short-sleeved warm flannel jacket with skinny jeans, back suede boots, and an awesome scarf. 12 10 Love the winter white trend but youâ€™re not sure how to wear it? Here are a few tips! 1. Wear it with accents like black, gray, or brown. 2. Wear heavier fabrics like corduroy, wool, or cable knit instead of light summer fabrics like linen or light cotton. 3. Wear whites that are slightly off-white as opposed to crisp white. 4. Wear white accessories. 5. Wear white from head-to-toe only if you have a variety of textures in your outfit. 13 11 Live in a warmer climate where winterâ€™s arenâ€™t as harsh? Here are two cute outfit ideas for you! Warm Winter Outfit #1 Wear a bright colored long-sleeved sweater with a pair of jean shorts with thick, colored tights underneath. Add tan suede slouch booths, some accessories, and a cute scarf to tie in all of the colors. Warm Winter Outfit #2 Wear a loose crocheted top underneath a cute denim jacket with black leggings under a black skirt with black suede slouch boots! Accessorize with a simple green scarf to add a pop-of-color to your outfit. 14 12 Q. When did you develop a love for sewing? A. I learned how to sew from my grandma when I was younger, and have been sewing little projects since then. Think pillows and pencil cases. In the last two years I have gone from making myself a skirt to being addicted to sewing prom dresses. Q. How do you come up with your project ideas? A. Lots and lots of Googling. I look through all sorts of pictures of prom dresses to decide what I want to make. Using unique materials is always fun because there are no boundaries to what you can make when you don’t limit yourself only to fabric. Q. How would you describe your fashion style? A. My favorite quote to tell people is, “If you wear it together, it matches.” And I Brittani Worley is a 17-year-old from Wisconsin with a really cool set of skills — sewing and fashion design! Check out this interview with her and the picture below of one of the dresses she made. The bussel at the bottom of the dress is made of patterned tissue paper! pretty much follow that everyday. I love bright colors, patterns, and suspenders. Q. What opportunities have you had because of your sewing? A. I was able to apply for a scholarship because of one dress I made. I also am starting a local drawing for a dress made by me to help fund a missions trip I am going on next summer. Q. What is the hardest thing about sewing? A. For me, the hardest thing about sewing is how much time it takes. I have to set aside tons of time to focus and sew. With how busy I am, my time to sew can be pretty limited. Q. What kinds of sewing projects have you done? A. I have altered tons of clothes, made skirts, coffee cup cozies, blankets, and other little projects. In the last year alone, I’ve made four different formals for girls at school. Q. What has been your favorite project to work on? A. My favorite project I’ve worked on is the black dress I made. It took a couple late nights to finish, but it turned out so amazing and exactly as I had pictured it. Q. What are your plans for fashion design in your future? A. Sewing is just a hobby for me. I love fashion, but I don’t think I could ever go into the design business. After college I want to be a missionary, but I don’t think I will ever be done with sewing. Q. What would you tell other girls who are interested in fashion & sewing? A. Only you know what your tastes are. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you have in mind to make is not going to turn out, or that it will end up being ugly. The only thing that matters is that you do your best on it, and enjoy what you’ve made. 15 13 by katie mattiuzzo Why Make Resolutions? Resolutions provide us with direction for our future and focus for our daily actions. They are a way for us to reflect on the past year, recognize our weaknesses, and identify ways we could improve over the next year. What Should My Resolutions Be? Make a list of areas in your life you want to improve in. Add to the list any knowledge or skills you want to gain. Now add any bad habits you wish to break. Step back and take a good look at your list. Can you pull out 3-4 themes that can become your resolutions? For example, maybe your list includes get homework done on time, make more time for daily devotions, be on time to school, etc. Your 16 resolution could be to manage your time better in 2012. To send more thank you notes and birthday cards. To spend less time on my hair and more time working out. To eat more well-balanced meals. These are just a few of the New Year Resolutions I made for myself last year. I can tell you straight up that the only one I made any amount of progress on was to eat more well balanced meals. And I still put the food pyramid to shame. How Do I Keep My Resolutions? Make a plan! Setting a goal for the next year is awesome but if you don’t have a plan for making it happen, what’s the point? Go back to our earlier example. How exactly do you plan on managing your time better in 2012? Perhaps you can set your clock ahead by 10 minutes so you start naturally getting to places on time. Perhaps you make a point to do your homework every day when you get home from school instead of waiting until evening when you’re too tired. Write out practical steps of how you can achieve your goal and include what you are going to do when you are faced with obstacles. A great way to keep your resolutions is to set up a reward system for yourself. Create mile markers as you write your plan of action. Include what you will reward yourself with and what you will have to achieve before you give yourself that reward. For example, maybe you reward yourself with a movie or special treat after the first three consecutive days you’ve had of not being late. Maybe after that you reward yourself every two weeks of successful on time arrivals. What If I Fail? You’re human. You’ll be faced with temptations or discouraging thoughts to just give up. You need to anticipate that there will be a few times when you blow it. But don’t let that stop you from picking up where you left off and moving on. Have a few resolutions in mind for 2012? Take a minute to jot them down on the next page! 14 Resolution #1 In 2012 I resolve to: Resolution #2 In 2012 I resolve to: Resolution #3 In 2012 I resolve to: I plan to do this by: I plan to do this by: I plan to do this by: I will track my progress by: I will track my progress by: I will track my progress by: My incentive will be: My incentive will be: My incentive will be: 17 15 Jamie straightens her glasses, stands in front of the white full length mirror in her bedroom, and practices over and over. She looks away and back again, scowls, rolls her eyes, smiles a phony smile, and glares back at herself. Must practice. Must get this right, she thinks to herself, determined to master the art of ignoring certain girls in her English class. The “girls” who for the last several weeks have chosen to make her the object of teasing, exclusion, harassment, cruelty, and taunting. The “ girls” on a power trip who are trying to take the confident, smart, and strong part of her away. Sound familiar? Almost every girl at some point in her life will be teased and words can cause pain. But when teasing turns into repetitive behavior or when there is a conscious intent to hurt another girl, it becomes bullying. Unfortunately girls like Jamie fill the halls of most schools across the United States. Research estimates that 20 to 30 percent of schoolage kids are involved in bullying incidents, as either ring leaders or victims. According to the National Education Association, more than 160,000 students stay home from school every day because of fear of intimidation. That means someone you know – maybe a close friend – maybe you – is likely to be bullied during her school years. She might even be the one who is doing the damage. How can I get through today without embarrassment? What if no one sits with me at lunch today? Am I sure this is the right outfit for the day, so that I’m not laughed at and ridiculed? Will today be the day in class I’m able to ignore the taunts and teasing? These are very real questions from girls who would rather hide from their accusers and yet are forced in most cases to face them head on with suspicion and fear. Let me introduce you to Rachel. Rachel: I am in 7th grade, like school — especially volleyball — and really enjoy hanging out with my friends. I’m not very tall, 5’2”, and am kind of small compared to other girls my age. For some unknown reason, Eva who is about 5’8” and an 8th grader began bullying me at the beginning of the school year. You know, laughing at me with her friends when I walked down the hall, spreading rumors around school about me, sending mean text messages to me at all hours; generally trying to make my 16 life miserable. She’s just a mean girl and I’m not the only person to think that. Most days I succeeded at just ignoring her and her clique. But the worst was when she spit on the back of a brand new sweater my mom bought for me. It was awful. A really embarrassing moment. Peristeria: How did you handle the humiliation? Rachel: I tried hard to forget about it and didn’t really want to talk to anyone about it until a few days later. I decided to tell my mom and was so upset that I started crying. It affected me way more than I let on. My mom assured me that very few people have the self-confidence to withstand constant cruel behavior and then she called the principal and told him the story. He said that because no one else actually saw what happened in the hallway there was little he could do but that he would keep a close eye on Eva. Peristeria: Did the bullying continue after that? Rachel: Yeah, it did. But this time my mom took action. She called Eva’s mom and asked the two of them over to our house after school. We sat in our living room as my mom calmly confronted both of them about the spitting incident and the months of bullying. Even though at first I didn’t want to do it and even though Eva denied everything, I’ll admit I was relieved to know I wasn’t alone. My mom was very clear about putting a stop to the bullying and the consequences for Eva if it didn’t stop. She totally went to bat for me! Fortunately for me, the bullying did stop and gradually I found my selfconfidence return. Peristeria: What lesson did you learn from this that you can share with our readers? Rachel: One big lesson is the re- minder that I have a relationship with my parents where I can talk openly with them and not have to worry about how they will respond. If I had shared earlier about what I was going through at school, I might have saved myself a lot of hurt and worry. And if you can’t talk to your parents, then find a trusted teacher or youth pastor who can help. Above all, stand up for yourself! “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This is such nonsense! It’s wrong and it hurts. And girls just like Rachel who have been or are subjected regularly to personal assaults of various forms would agree. Take note of the following 10 big Truths about Bullying from American Girl: Print these out and tape them to your mirror so you can refer to them often: 1. Communication is key. If you or someone you know is being bullied, talk to a parent or find a trusted adult you can share with. 2. Choose your friends wisely. Foster relationships that revolve around acceptance and unconditional love. 3. Model kindness. Avoid gossip- ing and being around others who do. Stand up for others. 4. Watch your Media intake. Make sure the movies and TV shows you’re watching and the video games you’re playing convey right messages. 5. “Cool” doesn’t equal confident. Having all the latest, greatest clothes won’t make you more confident. But feeling smart and competent just might. Find activities that tap into your strengths. 6. Tough times build resilience. Prepare yourself for difficult days and difficult friends! Work through them by talking to your parents, reading Scripture, and journaling your thoughts. 7. Learn to set boundaries for yourself. Say “yes” when you can but “no” when you need to. This will build self-respect and strength of character. 8. Everyone makes mistakes. Admit your own, try to make it right, and learn from it. 9. Laughter heals. Find friends and activities that can build humor into your everyday life and give you an important break from the pressures of life. 10. Pull together. When you see anyone being hurt or bullied, speak up! There are those in this life waiting in line to tear you down. Above all remember that Jesus loves you with an eternal love. He finds you beautiful and of tremendous worth. Hold on. Talk to God. He is listening. John 15:14-15 “You are my friends…I have called you friends.” Candy is the director of the national Girls Ministries Department. Working alongside her husband for 30 years, her extensive ministry background includes Christian education, music ministry, missions, public speaking, and writing. She and her husband Michael are the proud parents of two daughters and one son-in-law. Candy enjoys home decorating, good coffee, and baseball – especially the St. Louis Cardinals. 17 bullying Bullying is abuse. Typically, bullying can be categorized as emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. It usually involves subtle methods of coercion such as psychological manipulation. Victims of bullying suffer in many ways including emotionally, physically, and academically. Though it can be a very painful and difficult experience it is, unfortunately, all too common. About one in five students feels bullied at some point during their school years. Have you or any of your friends ever been bullied? How did it feel? How did you react? How did it stop? Read Proverbs 11:16-18 Would you rather gain respect or wealth? Why? Do you think kindness benefits you in the long run? How? What do you think the “sure reward” is? Why does living righteously mean that you’ll receive that reward? Read Luke 6:27-36 Why is it so important to love your enemies? What does it mean to “bless those who curse you”? Read Luke 6:31 again. This is often referred to as the Golden Rule. What do you think it would be like if every one lived by this rule? What does it mean for you to live by this rule? What does this passage say about how we should treat the victims of bullies? What does it say about the way we should treat bullies? Read Ephesians 4:1-6 Why is it important to keep unity with other Christians? What can you do to keep unity? Is your church a safe place? What should you do if you see someone is feeling left out or bullied at church? For more information, see: • Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons • Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman • Mean Girls and Mean Girl Gone by Hayley DiMarco For more Hot Topics like this one, go to tgm.ag.org/hottopics. • www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov c 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Springfield, MO 65802. All rights reserved. 18 Up-and-coming pop artist Katelynne Cox talks about rejection, bullying, and finding her voice “One blessing led to another, and he introduced me to the manager and another producer,” Katelynne said. “And here I am – one gift from God at a time.” Seventeen-year-old Katelynne Cox seems like she has it all together. As a former pageant girl with a budding music career and new album, you’d never guess this west coast beauty had to go through many trials to get where she is today. A victim of relentless bullying for most of her life, Katelynne changed schools nine times because of name-calling, stalking, and harassment to the point of legal action. “Sometimes with teenagers and preteens, they don’t like it when other people achieve, and it’s easy to put others down to make you feel better about yourself,” Katelynne said. “I started believing what people were saying about me, which made me insecure about myself.” Katelynne released her first full-length album this May called “One Girl.” The pop/rock album features songs about Between standing up for one’s belief and not singing in pageants, blending in with the crowd. churches, and schools, Katelynne was never one to “The main theme behind it is fighting blend into the crowd, which is one the status quo and accepting yourself possible reason she was picked on as the way God made you,” Katelynne said. “We can’t change everything a teenager, she said. around us; we have to surrender ourRather than listening to the criticism of selves to God and realize that He her peers, Katelynne continued to pur- wants to change us to fit His plan.” sue her passion of music. Then, at the age of 12, Katelynne was accepted into Katelynne said the songs on the album reflect what she went through the very first American Idol Camp. during her early teenage years, and The Massachusetts-based camp works because of that, the themes are wideto train future stars and foster creativ- spread. ity in youth ages 12-15. Katelynne used the opportunity to hone her per- “As much as the bullying hurt me at formance skills and network with pro- the time, I’m happy I went through those experience because they ducers and other industry leaders. helped me gain a bigger perspecEventually, Katelynne had the oppor- tive of life and what people are going tunity to sing the national anthem on a through in schools,” Katelynne said. “I local radio station in Oregon. Among thought I was the only one who faced those in the studio when she was re- these things. Now, I can share my tescording that day was the president of timony with them.” Red Hammer Records – and he liked For more information about Katelynne or to check out her music, visit katelynnecox.com. what he heard. 19 Husband and wife music duo Brad and Rebekah have been leading worship together since 2003. After releasing their third worship album this past June, the two North Central University alumni talk to us about traveling for a living, finding their calling, and “The Things of God.” Q. Can you describe your journey to discovering and developing your talents? A. Brad: For us, it was a means of survival at first. We started emailing churches and recorded our first acoustic CD, and people responded and started setting dates. Three months later, we decided to try touring for a year and see what happens. We worked really hard, but God really provided. That was three years ago this fall. Q. journey for me. My dad was a music pastor so I grew up in a ministry-minded and musical home. I often sang at church and school, but I felt more fulfilled in a ministry aspect and struggled with what I really felt called to do. I knew I loved music and searched for what I felt like God was calling me to do for a while. One day I was singing with North Central’s choral at a pastor’s conference and it was a time of ministry. We were leading worship and singing over them as they were praying and being ministered to and I felt that the Holy Spirit telling me this was my calling. When did you realize what your calling was, and how exactly Q. Can you tell me about how would you describe that calling? you two met? team said, “Bekah sings – we need a girl to sing a song that we’re doing.” They asked me to come to practice that night. I guess that’s how we started doing the duo. Q. What are each of your roles in preparing worship music and creating a new CD? A. Brad: When it comes to songwrit- ing, I sometimes write the main gist of the song and Rebekah does the tweaking and editing. There was one song where Rebekah came in and changed the lyrics and it turned out to be a great co-write. But some of the songs just come together by themselves. Q. Can you tell me about “The A. Brad: It was around ninth grade. A. Rebekah: We were both in the Things of God”? What are some of I wanted to learn to play guitar and be music program together, so we had the main themes? A. part of music at the school I was at. Af- classes together. I was walking through Brad: It’s all original music. The 22 that I just always wanted to do it. the cafeteria and walked past a table basic theme branches off our last CD, ter Rebekah: I would say it was more of a and some of the guys on his worship “The One We Love.” The Bible says to 20 love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and second is to love your neighbor as yourself. It’s a desire to do that as well as get the focus off things that distract us in life. We get consumed with things in life and all the things we do. We lose track of the things of God and what He’s called us to do. We are free, and that CD is a celebration of our freedom in Christ and what He came to do for us. With me, it’s that God is with us no matter what situation we find ourselves in. When things are out of our control, God is still with us and directing and guiding our paths. Q. How often do you travel? What is it like traveling together as a married couple for a living? A. A. it’s definitely a learning process. God Brad: I think you have to find has reminded us time and time again what God wants for you. Sometimes that He’s in control and is providing it’s easy, but sometimes it takes time. for us. It’s exciting and fulfilling at the In the process you don’t sit around same time. and wait. You should keep pursuing the things that God has put in your What events do you do? Brad: It’s all worship-based and heart. You might not understand why it depends on the event. We do full they’re there or what they are yet, but worship services on Sunday mornings there are things you Visit Brad and also share our songs in connec- are drawn to – they are there for a reason. & Rebekah’s tion to what we’re doing. We also do How you submit them camps and retreats and other events, website for but Sunday churches are a majority of to God is important even at a young age. a free song what we do. You just say, “I have this right now, and I want to download! What’s next for you guys? give it to God.” Brad: We’re always touring, so there’s never a dull moment with that. Rebekah: I think maybe it’s about just We’ve been on the road with no week- keeping the focus on why you’re doing ends off since last August. “The Things what you’re doing. It’s not for us or for of God” released this past June, so our glory but for the greater good. we’re not working on a brand new project right now. We are working on a new Christmas single, though. Q. A. Q. A. Rebekah: We travel at least on a weekly basis. We go to a different For more information about Brad church every weekend or sometimes What message do you have and Rebekah and to download a free a couple different churches in a week. for teen girls who are trying to find song, visit bradandrebekahmusic.com. It’s definitely a walk of faith traveling their calling? com. full-time for our complete living, and Q. top 10 Christian songs . Cou rageous #1Cast ing Crowns Enough #6.StMroatngthew West #2. MMercyovMe e Strong Enough To Save Tenth Avenue #7. #3. (for the week of November 19, 2011, billboard.com) My Hope Is In You Aaron Shust Lift Strong Up Me h ersNort The Aft #8. #4. DStoevEvenerCyturhitisng Chapman I Lift My nds #9.Chris Ha Tomlin rn Around #5. TuMatt Maher Trust In Jesus Third Day #10. 23 Need some pointers on how to choose what movies and television shows you watch and music you listen to? Download the free Music, Movies, and TV Hot Topic at tgm.ag.org. 21 20 movies that have been remade Thought it was the first time in theaters for these movies? You were wrong! Some of them were even originally released under different names. Check it out! Oceanâ€™s 11 originally made in 1960 remade in 2001 The Parent Trap originally made in 1961 remade in 1998 Poseidon originally made in 1972 (titled The Poseidon Adventure) remade in 2006 Pride and Prejudice originally made in 1940 remade in 1980, 1995, & 2005 The Stepford Wives originally made in 1975 remade in 2004 What a Girl Wants originally made in 1958 Clash of the Titans originally made in 1981 remade in 2010 The Day the Earth Stood Still originally made in 1951 remade in 2008 Dinner for Schmucks originally made in 1998 (in France titled Le Diner de Cons) remade in 2010 Footloose originally made in 1984 remade in 2011 24 Freaky Friday originally made in 1976 remade in 1995 & 2003 Fun with Dick and Jane originally made in 1977 remade in 2007 Hairspray originally made in 1988 remade in 2007 The Italian Job originally made in 1969 remade in 2003 The Karate Kid originally made in 1984 remade in 2010 King Kong originally made in 1933 remade in 1976 & 2005 (titled The Reluctant Debutan te) remade in 2003 Alice in Wonderland multiple versions dating all the way back to 190 3! remade in 2010 Charlie & the Chocolate Factory originally made in 1971 (titled Willy Wonka & the Cho colate remade in 2005 Factory) Another Cinderella Story originally made in 1950 (titled Cinderella) remade in 2008 Miracle on 34th Street originally made in 1947 remade in 1994 22 25 D The problem with making decisions is that they can be small, medium, or large in how they can influence our day-to-day life or even our future. Here you will be able to gain an insight on why it is important to have an opinion and make decisions and how those opinions and decisions have consequences. and friends are also factors in making desicisions. Knowing who we are in Christ should govern our thoughts, actions, words, and inevitably our decisions. There are times, however, when outside influences can pressure us more than anticipated, which is why it’s vital that we discipline ourselves to consistently pursue the works of God and pray for His discernment. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (NASB). Seeking God’s guidance enables us to overcome indecisiveness in the little things and big things. Having an opinion, whether it be moderate or strong, helps making decisions be more simple. Your views on beliefs, activities, appearances, etc., show others who you are and eventually have an impact on 26 your decisions. Not only that, but outside influences such as media We will always encounter the consequences of our decisions; some will be good and some will bad. But there will always be a consequence. Simple decisions such as devoting time with God or even brushing our teeth can be easily done or ignored. Consequences of these decisions ecisions, decisions, decisions. Pressure and stress affect everyone — especially when it comes to making decisions. Some of this pressure comes from outside influences and some from our own internal indecisiveness. can mean a disconnect from our relationship with God or having no cavities at our next dentist appointment. More complex decisions such as driving the speed limit or accepting a job offer don’t always receive the right amount of care behind the decision. These consequences might mean being issued a speeding ticket or having a new opportunity to learn a job and gain work experience. Anticipating the positive and negative consequences of our decisions should always be taken into account when we are faced with choices. Some of my decision-making difficulties came in the form of friendships. Growing up, I went to church and attended public school. Birthdays were always difficult for me because it meant deciding which friends I would invite to celebrate with me. In high school, I was heavily involved in school and church activities. Because I didn’t attend week- 24 end parties and I had rather obvious differences from the other people I grew up with at school, I wasn’t invited to many birthdays or movie nights and I felt excluded from the group. Throughout that time, I was made aware of how importance of choosing the right friends. Friends can challenge us, encourage us, and influence us. The Bible advises us to “not be deceived. ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NASB). When considering making someone a friend, I would and still ask myself these questions: Do I respect their principles? Do they positively challenge me? Do we both gain from the friendship? How do they treat others? Do they encourage my goals? To this day, my answers to those questions help me navigate who I am friends with, how much time I spend with them, and how much I share with them. Friendships may appear to be simple decisions, but they have residual effects on our future. One large, future-impacting decision I made without enough time and thought was choosing a college. I had originally planned on attending community college for two years and then transferring to a university. But in the midst of college application season and watching my friends being offered scholarships, I couldn’t resist joining in and applying to schools myself. I knew I wanted to be at a private institution that valued my Christian beliefs, academics, community, and had high recommendations. I received phone calls and letters informing me that I had been accepted to all of the universities I had applied to. Without doing much research or long-term planning, I submitted my first tuition installment to my university of choice. The first two years at the school opened the gates to be able to engage with other people of different backgrounds and personalities. They positively challenged my faith, pushed me to strive for higher academic achievements, and more. In my first few months, however, it became apparent that the tuition and housing fees were quite expensive and would increase over time. A family member co-signed a student loan with me which helped significantly, but the logistics of private loans, federal financial aid, and scholarships proved to be too much of a challenge for me to continue on at that time. I made the difficult decision to take a leave of absence from my degree program. It’s proven to have been a season of acceptance, change, and growth for me. When making such an exciting and important decision like what college you to attend, spend some time and do your research (i.e., financial aid, degree programs, the environment, institutional stats). Having made the decisions that I have, I found peace in the words from Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (NASB). I hope that you are encouraged to question your outside influences and reflect upon the plans the Lord has for you. Weigh the possible consequences of each decision you are about to make, and challenge yourself to stay positive when the consequences of those decisions end up being negative. Make your decisions wisely by standing strong in knowing that God is always by your side. Ashlee graduated from Girls Ministries as a Silver Medalist in June 2008. Ashlee has attended Azusa Pacific University, coordinated international events with Invisible Children, is a contributing author for Foundation Restoration, and is the Director of Social Media for Girls Ministries of Southern California. Identify whether this is a small, medium, or large descision. This will help tips to becoming Decidedly Decisive you determine how much time and effort you need to put into making a decision. You probably don’t need to pray or ask for advice when trying to decide what to order off the menu. But you probably need to when it comes to deciding whether to go on the missions trip with your youth group or when looking for a summer job. Who is influencing you? Is it someone godly who has wisdom? Is the media? Is it your unsaved peers? What would Jesus do? Does the decision you’re about to make align with what Jesus would do and with what Scripture says? Evaluate the potential consequences — good and bad. This will help as you make your decision and can prepare you in case the decision does in fact have a negative consequence. Spend time doing research. Sometimes you don’t even know enough to be able to make an informed decision. So take your time and do some investigating. Pray and trust. God will give you wisdom and direction. He’ll also give you peace as you learn to trust in Him with the decisions that you’re faced with. Practice forming opinions on a variety of issues. Make a list of a few issues — political, preferential, spiritual, fashion, social, etc. Next to each item on the list, write what your opinion is. There ... doesn’t that feel good? You’re already taking steps to overcome your indecisiveness! 27 25 28 26 29 27 What is it about the supernatural that causes us to suspend our disbelief enough to entertain the idea of werewolves, vampires, and decades of clans secretly warring for territory while blending in among average human beings? We are enthralled by the impossible becoming possible, captivated by the dark and unknown, and drawn in by the intense romance of forbidden love. Here are some general observations of the supernatural characters our culture has fallen head over heels for: Intriguing. There’s just something about them. They draw the reader or viewer in with an extreme fascination and curiosity for more. Teen girls voraciously consume the storylines playing out in front of them because more of the personalities, the abilities, and the history of the super30 natural characters will be revealed. Consumers are intrigued about what brought the characters to the point where they are at right now … the supernatural encounter they had that transformed them into who they are today. They are intrigued and thirsty for more to be revealed. Confident. Confidence is attractive. Think of the guys you crush on or the girls you are jealous of at school. They typically exude confidence. They know who they are, what they want, and they stand up for justice. Supernatural characters are set apart from those around them and understand the greater scope of what’s going on around them, so they respond in a confident, more mature way than the peers around them, making supernatural storylines even more desirable to consume. Unique. During a season of life when it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing special or unique about you, the longing to live vicariously through the supernatural characters in movies and television can be alluring. Vampires, werewolves, and the girls who fall in love with them are set apart from the rest of the ordinary human beings dealing with ordinary human being problems. They are beautiful, powerful, and hold years of secrets that can never be shared with the rest of the world. They are unique. Heroic. Supernatural characters have a way of showing up to save the day. They are protective, strong, and seem to know where to be at the right time to be there for the ones they care for. It’s natural for a girl to be drawn to storylines that emphasize characters like that! It’s easy to see why so many teen girls have fallen head over heels for the characters in the various supernatural books, movies, and television shows that are so prevalent. But why must it be vampires, werewolves, and 28 witches that we’re drawn to? Are not these qualities mentioned above the same ones of our Heavenly Father? There’s nothing more intriguing than a God who is bigger than the ocean and bigger than our biggest problem. A God who created everything in heaven and on earth. A God who never had a beginning and will never have an end. What is more intriguing than that? You will never get bored or reach the end of your journey to discovering more QUIZ about our Heavenly Father. When Jesus walked on earth He did so with a confidence that was like none other. He never wavered with what to say, how to react, or struggled to look people in the eye. He knew what He believed in and never held back from speaking truth. He understood the big picture and responded to the events around Him with an unbelievable amount of maturity. And there will never be a more amazing hero in your life than one who willingly 1. I’ve seen the Twilight movies: a. never — not my thing b. one time each c. three to five times a piece d. more than five times a piece 2. The number of television shows with a supernatural theme that I currently watch is: a. none — not my thing b. just one c. two or three d. I’m really into them right now 3. My interest level in vampires, witches, & werewolves is: a. pretty limited b. mildly peaked c. pretty high d. call me obsessed died to take your place and continues to jump in and save you when you call out to Him. How loving, protective, and timely is our Heavenly Father! So instead of chasing the romance of a fantasy, try spending some time getting to know the supernatural One who desperately wants to know you better! God. 4. The love stories in the popular supernatural movies & television shows: a. don’t really phase me since I know the writers are trying to get to me b. are entertaining but nothing more c. make me dreamy d. have really damaged my expectations of love since guys like that don’t really exist (perfect in their responses and the things they say, flawlessly handsome, etc.) 5. The popular supernatural movies, television shows, and books out right now: a. don’t have much of an effect on me b. effect me a little bit but I can handle it c. are really intriguing and I find myself wanting more d. cause me to dwell too much on the supernatural themes Results Mostly As: In a supernaturally obsessed culture, you’re pretty grounded. You might be familiar with some of the popular plotlines, but you haven’t bought into the craze. Mostly Bs: You find this new trend somewhat fascinating, have watched a few of the shows and movies, and have read some of the books just to see what it’s all about. You are still able to separate reality from fiction and don’t spend a whole lot of your free time taking in the subject matter. Mostly Cs: You seem to be dabbling a little too much into the supernatural. You’ve been seeking out television shows, movies, and books on the subject and find yourself replaying the scenarios in your head afterward. Mostly Ds: You might want to consider scaling back a bit on the amount of supernatural plotlines you are consuming. Not only are you spending a lot of your free time devouring the subject matter, you’re spending a lot of money. And since werewolves and vampires aren’t real it may seem like harmless entertainment, but your submersion and fascination with subject matter that is not of this world could become a doorway for 31 letting Satan have a little bit of power in your life. James 4:7 says, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” 29 by Mike Clarensau Ever tried to get your mom to change her mind after she’s announced a decision you don’t particularly like? Is dad a tougher nut to crack? Sometimes getting our way takes a lot of arguing and promises and, well, a lot of work. But what about with God? Can a person change His mind? After all, He is the ultimate Parent, a Heavenly Father who tells us that He has plans for each of us. And, since He’s all-powerful and He set up the rules we live by, do we have any chance of changing His mind about what’s happening in our lives? God most definitely wants us to talk to Him and tell Him what we want. Again and again, the Bible encourages us to pray, to make our requests known to God (Philippians 4:6). Even Jesus told us we could ask anything of our Heavenly Father, and He even encouraged us to ask in His name (John 16:23-25). So it seems that prayer can change things, but does it really change God or alter His plan? Now before we start bombarding God 32 with wish lists the way little kids treat a department store Santa, maybe we should ask some deeper questions. First, do we really want to change God’s mind? Most of us can be pretty determined when it comes to getting what we want, but let’s think about what God brings to the conversation. The Bible gives a lot of priority to telling us about how much God loves us. Nearly every chapter tells us something about God, and the main point is that He loves us in ways far beyond what we can imagine or deserve. Story after story shows that love in action and tells us that we can expect God to love us the same way. perfect, that He never makes a bad decision, that His heart is always aimed for our good? I think maybe we should trust that. Mom and Dad are usually doing their best to meet the same goals, but God never misses. Everything about His will and purpose for us is perfectly designed for the amazing life He wants to give us. So, do I really want to change His mind? While Jesus encouraged us to pray, He also told us that God knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:7-9). It’s pretty amazing to know how He is working for our good in every moment, so maybe I’m better off with what He wants than I’d be if He shifted gears and gave me something else. Second, is God the one that really needs to change? One of the reasons God invites us to pray is to draw us into a conversation where our relationship with Him can grow. The more we know Him, the more clearly we see His love, and our perspective on what we want may begin to change. That’s how God grows us, by loving us and showing us the paths we’d never Now, I know that our parents use find on our own. that same line when they tell us something we don’t want to hear. Ultimately, we want what is best for They say, “It’s because I love you,” our lives too. But sometimes we when they are also saying, “No, you can’t see the whole picture. It’s hard can’t go out with your friends, or to imagine where things are headed that guy, or to that party.” And it’s or the end of the story, especially usually hard to really believe them, when you’re living in the middle of when their decision has upset us. So it. So God takes our grandmother to if God’s plan isn’t what I want, telling Heaven instead of saying “Yes” to me He loves me only helps a little. our prayers for her healing, because But what if we add the fact that He’s He knows the deep suffering she’s 30 facing or the way her death can help other family members discover His love. His ways really are the best, and sometimes He has to help us learn to see our situations from His angle. Finally, does God ever really change His mind? There are times when it may seem that way from our vantage point, but since God isn’t locked into time like we are, we can assume that He already knows the future. He knows what He will choose to do and He knows how we will respond. He encourages us to pray so that He can give us His very best and we will know that goodness comes from Him. Sometimes He may give that goodness anyway, but other times we may “have not because we ask not” (James 4:2). Perhaps the best conclusion we can draw is to know that God invites us to talk with Him and know Him more deeply through prayer. When we do, we understand Him and His purposes even more and learn to trust that what He says and does is the very best for our lives. Sometimes He gives us His best because we ask, which means there could also be times when we get something different because we didn’t ask. So we should pour out our thoughts to Him, knowing that He wants us to trust Him with everything. Check out the Teen Girl Blog girls: n e e t r o f er.org g blog g lo b g a teengirls. Ultimately, it’s great to know that we have a Heavenly Father who is always finding ways to bring His very best into our lives. Even when His decisions are different than the ones we think we want, we can know that His plans for us will turn out to be perfect. Dr. Mike Clarensau is Senior Director of the Healthy Church Network and served as a pastor for 12 years. He is the author of more than a dozen books including, From Belonging to Becoming, Journey to Integrity, The Sanctity of Life, and Give Them What They Want. 33 31 34 32 Q&A Justin Chandler with Q. What are guys insecure about when they talk to a girl? A. I would say most guys are insecure in general. Whether overwhelmingly obnoxious or painfully shy, both are a response to insecurity and a compensation for it. When a guy is in pursuit of a girl and is the proactive one, insecurities begin to flair up like wildfires because each of them is coming to mind as he is talking to her. As the relationship progresses, those insecurities become places that the person you are dating is able to see, talk about, and deal with. All of which can either foster the insecurity or be the place at which they are ultimately remedied by a loving spouse. I don’t know if insecurity ever goes away, but the moment you open your mouth, you’re thinking about each and every one of them. Q. What are some things you’ve noticed guys and girls do when trying to get the attention of someone they’re interested in? A. Depends on the age and the “day of epiphany.” For some that happens as early as third grade and for others it happens in high school. But at some point, there is something that happens in both guys and girls that says “someday I want to be with one of those.” The younger they are, it seems the more violent they are. I don’t know how many times I have seen junior highers punch, hit, slap, or chase one another as a display of affection. As you progress into high school and into college, the game changes completely. Guys start to develop this weird walk/rhythmic pacing whenever they are flirting with a girl. It’s almost an uncontrollable bodily response to nervousness. I find most girls will begin “attaching” to the guy in response to him. Whether that is attending his events, liking his music, participating in his activities (all of which she could have no interest in), the girl begins to respond by taking interests in his interests. I’ve seen girls who have begun to like different kinds of music and watch/ play things they never would have in the past in order to show that she is willing to get to know this new guy. Q. What do you tell your students who want to date when they’re in junior high? A. What do I tell my students who want to start dating when they’re in high school? “You’re dumb.” But I feel like I need to give some context to my answer. I believe dating to be the pursuit of a spouse. Since it’s the pursuit of a spouse, if you’re not ready to have a spouse, you shouldn’t be in pursuit of one. I find a lot of HS students will tell me that they’re ready to pursue marriage, but they don’t have a job, live at home, and their income is supplemented by their parents. Until you’re ready to sustain the lifestyle of marriage, you’re not ready to start dating. If you’re not ready for marriage, it means that dating is only going to go so far before it has met the totality of its experience. This is where a lot of relationships run into problems. Since you can’t progress to marriage, you give more and more physically and emotionally because there is no progress beyond boyfriend/girlfriend. I think this is what Solomon had in mind when he wrote in the Song of Solomon (2:7; 3:5; 8:4). Instead of giving yourself to something that will ultimately leave you unfulfilled and will almost certainly end in a break up, give yourself to that which will build and prepare you for a marriage later. Dedicate yourself to Christ. Know Him and make Him known. Celebrate the season you are in. Have a great time with friends without having to give yourself exclusively to someone. Build toward the person in whom you will be able to give yourself wholly to by allowing your understanding of self, confidence, and dependence to be upon Christ. Q. What is so attractive to girls about “bad boys”? A. I’ve heard it said that guys marry girls hoping they will never change. Girls marry guys hoping they will. I think most girls find themselves being attracted to “bad boys” because they can see the good in him and the ways in which deep down he’s a really good guy and it becomes a challenge. He’s been a “bad boy” for everyone else, but for me, he’s the greatest guy the planet has ever known. There is a misleading confidence that if she can get him to 35 change, then she has value because no one else could (other girls he’s 33 dated, his mom, other authority figures). Plus, all of us have moments where we tempted by something that might not be necessarily sinful, but has a thrill to it. Most girls find a thrill in dating a “bad boy” until he becomes a “bad boy” against them. Then she’s trapped, committed, and doesn’t know how to get out. I haven’t seen too many guys who have gone from “bad boys” to great guys because of a girl. Christ, yes. Girlfriend, extremely rare. Best quote I’ve heard on the subject: “If you’re only finding dogs, you’re probably looking in the kennel.” Q. In what ways to girls de-value themselves? A. A lot of girls seem to put all of their stock in how attractive they are. If they can get guys to look or pursue because of how they look, then they’ve won. They’ve got the guy by their finger. There is so much more value in a woman than if she can turn heads. To put who you are exclusively in your looks takes away from all of the other ways that you are beautiful (character, personality, confidence, etc.). to my wife because attraction is so subjective that I couldn’t be able to speak to all guys. To say that I wasn’t attracted to my wife physically would be a lie. We’re all people of physical attraction and she’s physically beautiful. That wasn’t the clincher though because I’ve seen good-looking girls before. What took her from good looking to beautiful and ultimately what made me say “I will be with that girl” was everything you couldn’t know by just looking at her. She has a radiant personality and has a way of drawing people to her constantly. Her smile is contagious. She is incredibly confident. She told me she didn’t need me (and that spurred me to be attracted to her even more. She didn’t need me to complete her. She was complete in Christ without me. She would eventually choose me not because she needed me to complete her life but because she loved me and chose me. (A.T.T.R.A.C.T.I.V.E.). She loved Jesus. Unashamedly. I loved to see her worship. She always brings out the best in me. She loves to serve. Knows the Bible and can share it with others. Has a voice like you wouldn’t believe. Likes to eat hot wings. My list could go on and on.... And now that she is my wife and the mother to our son, the list goes much longer than this. To put it more succinctly: She loves Christ. She was physically attractive and presented herself well. Beautiful in her personality. Didn’t need me to complete her. Q. In what ways can girls hinder a guy’s relationship with God? - continued - Another way is for girls to compare themselves unnecessarily to someone else and to make their value be in how much they don’t stack up to [insert woman of choice here]. Whether that be a friend or celebrity, girls can rip all of their value by defeating themselves and saying since they’ll never be [insert woman of choice here] and all the guys like her, then she doesn’t have value. Q. What qualities are guys attracted to in a girl? 36 A. I’ll speak to what attracted me 34 Confessions of a Non-Barbie poem excerpt It may be a while before I find someone To take me to the football games To buy me a hotdog when I think they’re too expensive So I’ll buy my tickets in advance I’ll save my pennies now It may be a while before I find someone who does the hard work Helps me out and carries boxes I’ll roll my sleeves up, get my hands dirty I’ll refuse to be helpless It may be a while before I find someone Who loves me more than life Who understands and likes me when My mood is “complicated” It’s true. It might be a while. It might take some time to find him A. If done right, a guy’s attraction to a girl will cause him to marry her and will only build his relationship with Christ. If done too early or in the wrong way, a guy will displace his love for Christ on a girl in hopes that she will fulfill him. His insecurities about who he is as a man will be relieved by a girl who says all the right words instead of finding confidence in Christ who builds far better than any woman ever could. Any girl who finds her confidence in a guy will begin to steal his attention from anything that would compete with that. Whether that is God, friends, hobbies, or who he talks to, if a girl feels her confidence in the relationship (and therefore herself) being threatened, then she will rush to eliminate it. If God is slowly being eliminated from the dating relationship, you are walking a slippery slope to where He may not be present in the future. With all that dating and relationship entail, you don’t want to go down that road and not have God in it. Q. Is there anything else you want to add? A. The best way for you to be ready to start dating is not to need to date. If you feel you “need” to date, then you’re not ready to. Take care of you first. Establish your relationship with Christ. Have good friends. Love spending time with your family. Do well in school. Pursue hobbies and activities to have fun. When you arrive at the place that you don’t need someone in your life in order to be happy or complete, you’ve put yourself in the perfect place to be ready to date. And in my experience, those who don’t need to date, don’t have a hard time finding people who want to date them. It’s those who would date whoever comes their way that have a hard time finding and keeping someone worth dating. Put yourself in that place, and only the best guys will come your way because they know they’ll need to be on their A game for you even to consider spending time with you. That’s the kind of relationship you want to enter in to. And so I can’t take chances now Reflection Questions And put my life on hold My biggest insecurity when it comes to talking to guys is I’ll love myself in spite of things I’ll not back down on life I’ll do the things I’ve held in dreams I’ll make my wishes true Three of the qualities I will be able to bring into a dating relationship someday are Sometimes I de-value myself by So in case he takes a while to show up I’ll still enjoy the view. by Kinda Wilson I want guys to be attracted to me because of I will know I’m ready to start dating when www.nonbarbie.com 37 cited from Confessions of a Non-Barbie, page 18 35 ask away questions from you answered by us Q. My best guy friend just told me he is gay. What should I do? - Sad A. I’m sorry your heart is hurting right now. :( It’s so difficult to watch a friend take a turn down a path that we know isn’t what God has intended for them. I was just reading about how Satan “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and does everything he can to deceive us, including making sin look like it’s not that bad or that it’s not really even sin. Satan’s whole goal is to deceive as many people as possible, and I think that’s exactly what is happening in our culture. Satan neutralizes us. We’re seeing our friends turn to things that we know are wrong but it’s because they’ve been blinded by Satan into believing that it’s not really that big a deal. We’re living in a culture where there are no moral absolutes, and as Christians it’s so difficult because we know that God has strong opinions when it comes to sin. Read it here from 1 Corinthians 6:9,10: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people — none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God” (NLT). The biggest issue right now is that your friend needs Jesus. If he doesn’t already attend church with you, perhaps you could start inviting him to youth group outings or other social church functions to get him in the door, familiar with the people, and comfortable with being in the church. From there he might be more open to attending services, and may even open his heart to Jesus. From there the Lord will work in his heart to renew him and will start convicting him of areas where he’s not living in obedience. Jesus didn’t turn away people because they were messy or because He didn’t like the sins that they were involved in or because He was uncomfortable. Instead, He loved them and corrected them, and because they had a relationship with Him, they were more likely to take that correction. You are in a unique position to be able to reach him — a position that your pastor or youth leader probably won’t be in — you already have a friendship with him. Continue to be a friend to him and show him Jesus through what you say and do. Want to send us your question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a letter in the mail to: National Girls Ministries ATTN: Teen Girl Ministries 1445 N. Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802 36 37 o Teen Girl Daybook de c emb er m o nd ay tu e sday w e d n e s d ay t h u r s d ay fr i da y 1 2 Look at a map of Israel to see where the cities mentioned in the Christmas story are located — Bethlehem, Nazareth, etc. Do some research — what is the meaning of the name Immanuel? What is the significance of this name being used here? Micah 5:2 Isaiah 7:14 t h e b i rth of J e s u s f ore to l d 5 Has God ever asked you to do something that was life-changing and against what culture says is acceptable? Luke 1:26-33 6 7 8 9 Journal — what can you learn about Mary’s attitude and response to what the angel told her? Invite a friend over to make Christmas cookies. Talk about a time when obeying God was really difficult but you chose to trust Him. God is so good to give us confirmation when He calls us to something. Looking back, what confirmation has He given you for different events in your life? Joseph demonstrated humility. He didn’t need to be the center of attention, the promise of a reward, or to argue with God. He was humble. Do you act humbly? Luke 1:34-38 Matthew 1:18,19 Matthew 1:20-23 Matthew 1:24,25 t h e a n g e l a p p e ars to mary an d j os e ph 12 13 14 Grab a friend or two and watch the movie A Nativity Story. Put on some Christmas music and thank God for sending His Son! Cut apart Christmas cards from past years and make a new card for someone special. Use the words of the angels on it — Glory to God in the highest. Luke 2:1-5 Luke 2:6,7 Luke 2:8-14 15 Think of a time when you were looking for something. Can you imagine the joy and excitement the shepherds felt when they found baby Jesus? Luke 2:15,16 16 Throughout the next few weeks, be more vocal about how amazing God is, how He’s changed your life, and what Christmas really means. Luke 2:17-20 J e s u s i s born 19 20 Cut out and decorate paper snowflakes. Use gold glitter for one of them to represent the star the magi followed to find Jesus. Journal — write about a time when the Lord took you on a journey. How did you feel when it started? What did you learn? How did you feel when it was over? Matthew 2:1,2 Matthew 2:3-9 Like the magi, what can 21 you offer to God? Volunteer one day a week somewhere? Spend more time reading the Bible and praying? 22 Make a list of other instances in the Bible when God spoke to people in their dreams. 23 Spend some time in prayer thanking God for sending His Son. Ask that He would use you to do amazing things this next year. Matthew 2:10-12 Matthew 2:13-16 Matthew 2:19-23 k i n g h erod an d th e magi 26 Make a list of people in your life that need Jesus. Make an effort to pray each day for their salvation. Tell them you prayed for them. 40 John 3:16,17 Cut out magazine and 27 newspaper photos, articles, and headlines that show how dark our world is. Create a collage and pray for a revival anytime you see it. John 12:46 28 Write out your testimony as it has unfolded since the day you asked Jesus into your heart. How has God changed your life? Romans 10:9 29 When was the last time you felt stressed out, exhausted, and unhappy? How different would your life be without Jesus during those times? Titus 2:11-14 Matthew 11:28-30 w h a t d o es th i s me an f o r u s ? c 30 Journal — what does this verse mean? What are some exmples of worldly passions? How can we live self-controlled lives? 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Springfield, MO 65802. All rights reserved. bonus Christmas project ... 25 Days of Christmas In st r u ct io n s 1. Using a large sheet of green tag board, cut out the shape of a Christmas tree. 2. Print the previous sheets of ornaments — back and front — so that the front of each ornament is the full color ornament with the number and the back is the corresponding activity for the day. 25 3. Lightly attach a piece of rolled tape to the back of each ornament and fasten the ornaments to the tree. 4. Look forward each day to removing the ornament and doing the activity for the corresponding day! front of 13 r Decembe ornament 13 Bun for a dle up a n walk with d go Talk a frie ab tradit out Chris nd. God ions and tmas has b how le this y ssed you ear. 14 13 16 step 2 15 17 18 step 1 19 bac Decemk of b ornameer 13 nt 24 Activity for December 19... Make h labels fo andmade r your Ch Christmas for ristmas presents Cut out . old cards, u Christmas se ribbon, scrapbo ok supp lies, etc . step 4 step 3 ©2011 by Gospel Publishing House. All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy for church use only. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 c 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Springfield, MO 65802. All rights reserved. December 3 Make paper snowflakes and decorate them with glue and glitter. December 2 Make a paper chain. Cut strips of red and green paper and loop them together to create a countdown to Christmas or for use as decorations for your bedroom. December 1 Usher in the month of December by popping in a CD and singing Christmas carols. December 6 Make chocolate covered pretzels and decorate them with red and green sprinkles. December 5 Write 5 Christmas cards to people who have been on your mind lately â€” teacher, neighbor, mailman, someone from church, etc. December 4 â€˜Tis the season for giving! Go shopping for some non-perishable foods and bring them to a food pantry. December 9 Make an Orange Pomander Ball. December 8 Write out the lyrics to your favorite Christian Christmas carol. Take time to study the words and learn the meaning behind the song youâ€™ve been singing your whole life. December 7 Take a Christmas Quiz to test your knowledge of the holiday. December 11 Make Christmas cards. December 10 Have a Christmasthemed dinner party with your friends. December 12 Make a homemade gift for someone special. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 c 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Springfield, MO 65802. All rights reserved. December 14 Gather 10 Christmas objects and play the Memory game. Have the other person close their eyes as you remove one object. When they open their eyes they must guess the missing object. December 13 Bundle up and go for a walk with a friend. Talk about Christmas traditions and how God has blessed you this year. December 17 Go window shopping and look at Christmas decorations. December 16 Grab some hot cocoa and take a drive to look at the Christmas lights. December 21 Bake Christmas cookies. December 20 Learn the history behind your favorite Christmas carol. December 19 Make handmade labels for Christmas for your Christmas presents. Cut out old Christmas cards, use ribbon, scrapbook supplies, etc. December 24 Attend a Christmas Eve service. December 23 Cozy in and watch a Christmas movie. December 22 Make hot chocolate from scratch. December 15 Learn how to say Merry Christmas in five other languages. December 18 Make a gingerbread house. ristmas h C 25 D a y! ristmas h C 25 c 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Springfield, MO 65802. All rights reserved. December 25 Jesus was born! Read the Christmas story in Luke 2. ristmas h C 25