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the Editor’s Page

i there! Are you excited that Bloom! Magazine is back underway? I know that all of us behind the scenes here at Bloom! are very excited to release this issue! We hope that you will enjoy it.

The September issue is full of exciting articles, including an interview with Christian singer, JJ Heller! We are also hosting a giveaway, so be sure to check out JJ’s interview to find out more. Another new part of Bloom! is our new website! We have switched websites and we are now residing over at Our graphic designers worked hard to design our new look and we love it! What do you think? As we jump into September, I want to encourage each of you to take time out of your busy schedules this year to spend some quality time with God. Spend at least 20 minutes a day reading your Bible and praying. To help you stay committed, we’re going to take the challenge with you! We are going to start including a bookmark in each issue that you can print off and cut out. All of us here at Bloom! are going to read through the Bible in a year and we hope that you will join us! For more information, go to page 73. Have a great month! As always, feel free to email me with your comments and suggestions about this issue. :-)

Founding Editor and Manager KyAnn C. Media and Marketing Assistant Elena S. Webmaster Amanda B. Webmaster’s Assitant Hannah B. Advice Columnist Kathlene S. Contributing Senior Writers Elizabeth C. Elizabeth J. Emily P. Jessi D. Kyla Contributing Junior Writers Megan M. Tirzah B. Contributing Senior Photographers Belle H. Hannah M. Jess B. Kiley M. Rachel G. Contributing Junior Photographers Grace C. Contributing Graphic Designers Becca C. Hannah B. Photo Credits:


September 2011




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Meet Our Staff

Meet two of our staff members-staff writer, Jessi, and staff photographer, Jess!

Happy September!

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop!

Worth The Price

A fiction piece on letting go of your fears and accepting friendship.

Interview with JJ Heller

Interview with popular Christian artist, JJ Heller, on her music, her dreams, and even a list of her faves!

Bloom! Giveaway

Be sure to enter our giveaway!


How to make new friends when you’re the new kid, when your best friend moved, and when you’re shy.

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20 Tips for Your Best School Year Ever

Find out how to have the best school year ever with these practical tips!

Mia’s Journal

Welcome to the world of Mia Isabelle Taylor!

We’re Not Perfect

Letting go of the idea of perfectionism and striving towards Christ-centered living.

It’s Just A Blog

Not letting blogging consume your life.

Teen Outreach

Guest article on a teen missions group that is displaying loving outreach in their community.

Brain Food

Learn about foods that are healthy, nutritious, and even good for your brain!


BFFs with God

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Fall Fashion

Practical tips for strengthening your relationship with Christ to the point where He is your very best friend! A week of fabulous fall fashion as well as tips and ideas for wearing cooler-weather clothing stylishly.

Finding Joy In Christ

Guest article on getting “out of the rut” and living your faith out to the fullest!


Our monthly beauty column. This month’s topic: hairstyle tutorials!

Next Issue: Interview with Susie Shellenberger of SUSIE Magazine!

The Real You

Are you a different girl at home, at school, and at church? Who is the real you?

DIY Rice Sock

Find out how to make a do-it-yourself rice sock.

A Battle for God

How to find your battlefield for God-using your unique talents and abilities.

Fear Factor On letting go of your fears and getting out of your comfort zone

Then and Now

Learn about school back then, and school now.

Recipe Corner

Our favorite after-school recipes.

Ask Kat

An advice column for teen girls.


Find out about our advertising opportunities!

Bible Challenge

Take the Bible challenge with us!

10 Ways To Be The Best Friend That You Can Be

Meet Our Staff

Jessi D. Writer

Jessica B. Photographer


Name: Jessica B. Age: 19 Bloom! Position: Photographer Favorite color: Green

Q: Tell us about your family. Jess B:

I have two wonderful, loving parents and two great younger brothers, Jon, 16 and Christopher, 13. My dad works as a Bible translator in the beautiful country of Papua New Guinea where I was born and grew up. My mom is the head librarian of the primary school and also the school board chair. My parents met in PNG and have been working there for over 25 years!

Jessi D:

I have the best two older brothers in the world and the best parents in the world. One of our favorite pastimes is playing a game of Scrabble. Together we are an invincible team.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests? Jess B:

Besides photography, I love writing, reading, languages, guinea pigs, traveling, cooking, and music. I played flute from 5th to 12th grade and I’ve been involved in choir for several years.

Jessi D:

OHHH! I have a lot of hobbies and interests. I like to bake, write, sing, dance (even if I am horrible at it), take pictures, and hang out with family and friends. I like to watch movies and read, as long as the book is good.

Q: How would you describe your personality? Jess B:

I would describe myself as quiet and reserved, thoughtful and caring. I like being with people, but I’d much rather listen than talk in a big group.

Jessi D:

I am very outgoing. I am also sarcastic a lot. I really like to make jokes and make sure that there are no awkward moments. So in one word I am the-girl-who-is-epically-failing-at-makingpeople-laugh-while-talking-to-strangers.

Q: Public school, private school, or homeschool? Jess B:

I’ve gone to a private school for most of my life. Our mission center has an international school for missionary kids that I attended while I was in Papua New Guinea. When my family had our furloughs in America, I went to public school.

Jessi D:

Public school.

Name: Jessica or Jessi D. Age: 14 Bloom! Position: Writer Favorite color: Purple, or Yellow and grey

Q: What is your favorite food? Drink? Jess B:

I’d have to say anything Mexican. My favorite drink is coffee, but I also love iced tea, especially during the summer.

Jessi D:

My favorite food is my dad’s amazing steaks with my mom’s sauteed mushrooms on top. AHMAZING!!! My favorite drink is a caramel frappucinno.

Q: Where is your favorite place to shop? Jess B:

That’s a hard question, since I grew up in a place that only had one store, and I don’t often go shopping in the US, although if I have to pick a favorite, I’d say Claire’s.

Jessi D:

I love to shop at Target. I don’t really know why...

5 Random Fact s About Jessi D : 1) I like the word m ilk because it sound s funny to me. 2) I can’t dance to save my life. 3) I am probably th e worst swimmer in the world. 4) I like to talk to random people (yes, even strangers). 5) My favorite gam e is Monopoly.

Q: If you had a rainy day all to yourself, what would you spend your day doing? Jess B:

I’d spend the day reading a good novel, playing a bit of guitar or flute, and maybe taking some photos of the rain glistening on the flowers.

Jessi D:

Writing and singing very loudly.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Jess B:

I would go back to Australia, because I absolutely love it there! I’ve been there several times and every time I go back, I like it more! It’s a beautiful country with some pretty cool animals and amazing sights to see, like the Sydney Opera House!

Jessi D:

New York! Yes, I know a ticket to anywhere in the world and I choose a place in the U.S. I would go to New York because I love the city. It is an inspiring place to me.

Would you rather jet ski, skydive, or rock climb? Jess B:

I’d rather skydive because I think it would be so neat to be falling freely out of sky, able to see things thousands of miles around.

Jessi D:

Skydive. I am a scaredy-cat dare-devil at heart.

Q: What do you love about Bloom! and being on the staff? Jess B:

I love that Bloom! Magazine is committed to encouraging and challenging girls in their relationship with Christ in a realistic, fun way. Being on the staff is great because I get to share my love for photography with other girls and hopefully make some wonderful new friends!

Jessi D:

I love Bloom! because I love the fact that people from all over can come together in Christ and share that common string. Many of the girls of Bloom! are from places far away from me and I love being able to communicate with them and make new friends. I love being on the staff because I get to show people what I believe. To me, writing for Bloom! gives me something to write for. I don’t have to worry about a teacher grading what I write or people judging what I write. I like writing for Bloom! because I can write freely and I get to share what little knowledge I have, with other girls. I love Bloom! That pretty much sums it up!

*Editor’s Note: We will be featuring one staff writer and one staff photographer in each issue of Bloom!. You can look forward to getting to know Meredith and Samantha in the October issue!

5 Random Fact s About Jess B : 1) I was born

in Papua New Guinea and have lived th except for 4 furloug ere all my life hs and now college. 2) When I was in h igh school, I raised g uinea pigs.. 54 to be love small animals exact! I and really miss hav ing them. 3) I had kidney failu re when I was eigh t years old and nea go on dialysis, but G rly had to od performed a mir acle and spared my life. I spent 11 days in th e hospital and 5 we eks in Cairns, Austra took a year for my lia. It body to heal comple tely. 4) I love kids and w orking with them is such a great experi years I’ve babysat ence! For and just this summ e r I was a volunteer summer program fo for a r kids in grades 1-4. 5) The first time I rode in a plane was when I was one we then, I’ve been on ek old! Since too many planes to co un t, and the longest I’ve ever been on w flight as 15 hours long - fr om Cairns, Australia to LA.

Happy September! By guest writer Monica L.

not called back for another audition for the Happy September! show, I realized that there were other ways Yes, I know it’s the month of unpackI could help the show. Like being a techie. ing from vacations and locking up beach Does that “When God shuts a door, houses and breaking your back under the He always opens a window” quote ring a weight of new text books. But it’s so much bell? Well, it looked like it would all work more. Let me ask you something. When was the last time you did some- out, but…. I have to admit, it wasn’t how I imagined. I had been asked to be a rehearsthing for the first time? al assistant first, which meant I was asked For me it was this past month. I was to come to every practice and take notes. a techie for a musical. Which turned out to You might have caught on, but it was be an amazing experience, one that I won’t not the most exciting job on the face of the soon forget, where I met new fantastic friends who I will hold close Again, I found myself earth. Again, I found myself on the brink of quitting, givto my heart for a very long on the brink of quitting, ing up, falling apart because it time. The theater group giving up, falling apart wasn’t my dream come true. that performed it was one I had hoped to be involved in because it wasn’t my I wish I could interject here that I had a revelation, that for many past summers. dream come true. I read the Bible or prayed or But I’ll let you in on a found a cool quote like the one little secret. I did not want to try something by Aw Tozer that says “Sometimes when new. If you rewind to some anonymous day we get overwhelmed, we forget how big in May, you’ll find me sitting at the comGod is.” But that wouldn’t be the truth. puter, staring, crestfallen, at the screen. The truth is, I decided to quit groanAn online page was pulled up bearing a list ing and just face it and do the best I could of names. do because I didn’t want to quit on my goal. And my name wasn’t on the list. So, A week later, the set designer asked for my naturally, I had to cry a little, be miserable, help to paint sets, which put me to work host a small pity party. What’s a girl to do? and gave me a job to do. The week after, I When I finally got over myself and became was asked to be on sound crew. accustomed to the fact that I was

And now, looking back, I can’t imagine how much I would’ve missed out on if I had given up, given in, thrown in the towel. “You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face”, I once read. I had a blast this summer and I met a lot of people who showed me what I want to be like when I grow up, what sort of person I want to become. I want to be the type of person who is a go-getter, who looks at a new challenge and says “Let’s do this thing!”, who is cheerful and persistent and works hard. All that being said, we are in September! The summer has released us from its glorious, relaxing, refreshing hold, and we stare the incoming school year in the face. I can’t help sometimes glancing over my shoulder and thinking, “I wish I was back a few weeks and I didn’t have to go to school yet.” But what kind of thinking is that? Look ahead of you, straight ahead. You are an amazing individual. Each and every one of you. I am, too. We were created amazing. But the only way to show the world how amazing we can be is by doing it day by day. I can see the person I want to become: cheerful, happy, hardworking, pleasant. I can only become that person day by day.

By every little choice I make, even if it’s just the choice to get out of bed the first time Mom shakes me, or to smile instead of yell when somebody cuts me in the lunch line. So yes, Happy September! Happy back-to-school month! Happy try-newthings month, challenge-yourself month, and never-give-up month! Go do something beautiful. To close, here’s a worthy piece of advice! “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and wellbalanced mind and discipline and self-control.” 2 Tim 1:7

God bless. And keep the glass half full!

Meet Monica

Hi! My name is Monica. I’m the third in a large family: I have four younger brothers and two older sisters. They say they come cheaper by the dozen, but let me tell you, they come pretty expensive at only seven. ;) I was homeschooled all the way until this past year when I entered a private high school. I love to read, write, act, sing, play games, swim...all the wonderful things of life! “Never get tired of doing the little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest parts of their hearts.”

Worth The Price A fiction piece by Elizabeth C.

“Whoa!” I cried, as a powerful force knocked my binder, papers, textbooks, and me to the ground. “Oh, I am so sorry!” A voice exclaimed behind me. Before I had a chance to look up and see who my offender was, a tall boy with copper-coloured hair dressed neatly in a cashmere sweater, was on the floor beside me, picking up my supplies. “Uh, thank you,” I replied, almost speechless. “You’re welcome,” He said as we rose. “It was the least that I could do. What is your name?” “Madelyn,” I replied quickly, before dashing off to find my class. Although I was new to town and Morton High school, I did not wish to get to know anybody. In fact, it was my intention to simply go through my classes and avoid friendship as much as I possibly could. I would only be here for a short while, and I didn’t want to get too attached to anyone. No, that would be too

painful, and it wasn’t worth the hurt. I hurried through the halls as quickly as I could, but even so, I was late. I tried to slide into the first empty seat as inconspicuously as I possibly could but the science teacher had eyes like a hawk. “You’re late, Miss—” I sighed. “Davis. Madelyn Davis,” I replied. The teacher shook his head. “Late on the first day,” He said, as if it were the worst crime a person could ever commit. “You’ll have to stay in my class after school and do extra pages of homework.” My mouth gaped open dumbly. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before, even in my prestigious private school back in New York. What kind of teacher was he? I noticed the other kids looking at me with smirks on their faces. My cheeks flamed and I turned my attention to the dusty chalkboard on my left. “Excuse me, Mr. Scott,” I looked up to

see the same boy who had made me late for class in the first place! “Charlie Webster,” Mr. Scott acknowledged harshly. “You’re late as well. You will also see me after class.” “Yes, sir,” He replied meekly. “But if you don’t mind, I’ll do Madelyn’s work for her. You see, I ran into her in the hall and she’s new here so it isn’t really her fault—” “Silence, Webster,” He said gruffly. “Both you and Miss Davis will see me after school. There is no question about it,” He turned his face to me with a threatening look. “And if either of you are late, you will only have more homework.” I groaned inwardly. Science was my worst subject and having extra homework in it, in addition to a bad start with the teacher, were the last things that I wanted at the beginning of the school year. Why was this happening? Near the end of class, I felt a light tap on my shoulder, and turned around to see that the girl behind me had a note with my name on it. I snatched it up quickly, and read it while Mr. Scott’s back was turned. I knew that it was wrong, but I was curious as to the note’s contents, and I was already in trouble as it was. It said: Dear Madelyn, I’m really sorry that I made you late. I hope that you will forgive me, and that we can be friends from now on. Please let me know if there is any

thing that I can do for you. God bless, Charlie. I couldn’t help but smile as I read his note. It was a sweet thing for Charlie to do, and I would forgive him. In fact, I already had! However, being friends with Charlie was another story that I did not wish to write. Although he was nice enough, I had vowed not to get too close to anyone while I lived here for I would be gone soon and we would only hurt ourselves by developing a friendship. With that thought, I put Charlie’s note into my cardigan pocket, fully intending to forget about him and his friendly advances. Friendship just wasn’t worth it for the pain that I would experience. True to my word, I completely forgot about Charlie Webster after first block. He wasn’t in any of my other classes, and we didn’t run into each other at all throughout the rest of the day. I managed to keep my friendship vow, too. Even though it was still the first day, I was proud of myself for withstanding against what I knew would harm me. “Hey, Madelyn,” a friendly voice greeted me as I stepped into Mr. Scott’s class after school. Sure enough, it was Charlie. “Hi,” I said shyly. Thankfully, it wasn’t hard to stick to my vow because as soon as I arrived, Mr. Scott gleefully assigned us two extra pages of homework, all to be done in the classroom. Under his watchful eye, I was certain that it would be safe, and for once, I was glad about him and this horrible home

work. Unfortunately, Mr. Scott’s watchful eye was not to accompany us for the entire time. After I’d answered the first question, my teacher was called to an emergency meeting with the principal. Although reluctant, Mr. Scott eventually left us to finish our homework, under the threat that he would be back in ten minutes and that we should be finished with the first page by then. I buried my face into my science text, and determined to do all that he had asked and more. “How are you finding the work?” Charlie asked, once Mr. Scott had left the room. My heart sighed but I simply answered as calmly as I could. “It’s OK,” I said. To my chagrin, he only persisted. “Do you like Science?” “Not particularly,” I sighed. There was a pause which I hoped would last forever but it didn’t. “Why don’t you like me? Are you still mad about earlier?” I felt my cheeks flush and my hands grow cold. Not like him! How could I not like Charlie? Oh, why had I led him to believe that? I never meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. “No, of course not. I forgave you,” I replied hastily, showing a brief smile. “Oh,” He paused. “Because you don’t seem to enjoy talking to me.” “No, I do. Its just that I...” Suddenly, a tear slid down my cheek. I tried to stop it but it had to go. I brushed it away but more only came. I turned my head but Charlie still saw. “I’m sorry. Was it something that I said?” Charlie was beside me now. “No, no,” I replied quickly. “Do you want to talk about it?” I was about to say no, but the tears were coming too quickly now to say any

thing. He put his hand on my shoulder and just stood there calmly and wonderfully. It was in that moment that I looked up at him and saw his sincere blue eyes. I realized that Charlie only wanted to help me, to love me, and to be my friend. I realized too, that I wanted and needed to be his friend. Before I knew it, I was unfolding my whole story: how my mom had died last February, and my dad had left me with my grandma in this strange town while he established himself in a new city. I even told him my feelings of fear, grief, and loneliness and how I didn’t want to make friends that I would just lose when I left after the first semester. “You don’t have to be lonely, Madelyn,” He said, after I’d finished my story. I looked up at him, and wiped the tears from my eyes. “But it hurts. Every time I get close to someone there is pain. I had to leave my friends behind, my dad is away, and my mom...” I was about to burst into tears again. “Yes, there is pain, but if there wasn’t pain then there wouldn’t be any real love. I’m not sure if you’re a Christian, but I am and because of that I know that God loves me so much that He sacrificed His Son’s life so that I could live with Him forever. Although our lives don’t require the same level of hurt, I know that God never intended love or friendship to be easy. Where there is pain and sacrifice, there is also true love and friendship. It makes it worth it, Madelyn. Without loving others completely and letting go of our fears, we cannot live in the fullness that God created us for.” There was a silence before I looked at him and smiled. I knew that I had just found a true friend, the first of many in my new town. It was worth it.

If there wasn’t pain then there wouldn’t be any real love.

Interview with

Interview by KyAnn C.

JJ Heller

K: Let’s start with you telling us a little about your family.

people. I have to really gear myself up for different things. I’m more quiet unless I’m around people that I know really well. But, I’m definitely not standoffish in a social setting. I’m friendly, just a little shy, I’d say.

JJ: My husband’s name is Dave and we have been married for eight years. I have a 2 ½ year old little girl, her name is Lucy. She’s a little chatterbox and she loves to be the center of attention. Lucy is very bright and she is very aware of what is going on. Like, she’ll have a long conversation with you. We also have another little girl who is due on September 8; we’re going to name her Nora. I’m getting more and more uncomfortable, that’s for sure. But, I’m trying to enjoy these last few weeks with my first daughter, just knowing that I’m not going to be able to give her as much attention when the new baby comes.

K: What is one random fact about you that our readers probably don’t know? JJ: When I was in high school, my identity was in being an athlete. Music wasn’t really a big part of my life. I played volleyball, softball, and basketball all four years but basketball was my primary sport. K: When you were in school, what did you look forward to most about going back to school every year?

K: What are your hobbies and interests, outside of singing? JJ: I love doing craft projects and home decorating and sewing. For example, right Heller family photo from 2009 (JJ, Dave, and Lucy) before you called, I was working on decorating the new baby’s room. The new baby is going to have Lucy’s old room so I’m trying to change it up a little bit, so it can be special for little Nora. The colors are different. She has this little mesh canopy that hangs from the ceiling above the crib and it has these little triangular pennant things that hang down from the top. I think I’m going to cut those off and make my own new ones. I’m also working on Lucy’s new room because we moved her to a new room. I’ve been slowly decorating that. Dave and I are going to upholster her bed, hopefully later this week. To see more of JJ’s craft projects, visit her blog here.

JJ: Honestly, getting new clothes. {chuckles} My mom would give my sister and me a certain amount of money that we could spend on school clothes. I used to love going shopping for new clothes.

K: How would you describe your personality (bubbly, funny, shy, positive, etc.)? JJ: I don’t think of myself as being very outgoing, unless I’m in a smaller group that I’m really comfortable with. My husband is much better at going to parties and mingling with

Baby Nora’s new room, designed and crafted by JJ

K: Did you enjoy school? What was your favorite subject? JJ: I did enjoy school. I was really involved, because I played sports throughout my school years. And I was in a vocal ensemble and I got pretty good grades. My favorite subject was English, for sure. I love to write and I’m awful at math. K: As we are now close to heading into fall, what do you love about fall? JJ: Gosh, I keep talking about clothes but like, I don’t really like wearing shorts so I love when I’m able to pull out my cooler-weather clothes and wear jeans and sweaters and stuff. K: When and how did you come to Christ? JJ: I came to Christ when I was really little, I was five. I grew up in a Christian home so when I was five, my mom tells me that my older sister kind of led me in a prayer and I gave my life to Christ then. Which, of course I didn’t really understand fully, so it’s kind of been more of a long process to learn what it means to follow Christ and give my life to Him.

ample and I actually went to a Christian high school. In my junior year, my dad was my Bible teacher. And, fortunately, he was a favorite [teacher] for a lot of the students. So that made it easier for me, to not have my dad as the teacher who everyone hated. K: Have you always wanted to be a singer? What did you want to be when you were a kid? JJ: I never knew really what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do as a career after I got done with school. In high school, though, my goal was to play basketball in college. Beyond that, I didn’t really have any idea. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I started writing songs and realizing that it was something that I really loved to do. K: How did you realize that God was calling you to be a singer?

JJ: It was a really slow process. When I started writing songs, it felt really natural. And it was like, “Okay, Lord. I can see that this is something that K: If you were to describe You’ve put inside of your relationship with me.” Probably two Christ in one word, what and a half to three word would you use? years later when JJ and Dave’s daughter, Lucy Dave and I were JJ: Foundational. Just getting ready to get married and we were praying about because I have no idea what my life would be like without what God wanted us to do with our lives. The more that knowing who Christ is. It affects how I make decisions, the we would play our music, the more positive feedback we’d way I live my life, how I see the world. I’m so thankful. get from people. So we just felt like the Lord was calling us to pursue that. At the beginning, though, it was not even K: When you were a teen, what impacted your relationship on my radar at all. It was just, writing songs was somewith Christ the most? In either a positive way or a not-sothing fun that I would do and it was rewarding but I never positive way? thought I’d ever be able to make a career out of it. JJ: I would probably say my parents. They were a good ex

K: How did your journey to becoming a Christian singer begin? How did you get to where you are now? JJ: Well, it was a slow start. My husband, Dave, plays the guitar and sings backup and I sing. We would just play at open mike nights at coffee shops and then eventually we started getting paid to play. But, it really wasn’t very much. It was just this long, slow process. Like getting better opportunities as the months and years went on. Eventually, we built up enough contacts, like a list of places we’d played in the past who wanted to have us back. It started getting easier to fill up our calendar playing at these different places. We started with one of the places we played; they offered to record us live during the concert. We did that and we sold that for just five dollars per live recording. And then when we were able to sell enough of those and save up some money, we started to record in a studio. We made two records that way but then we wanted to kind of increase the quality of the recording. So we decided to invest in using a really great producer in a really great studio. That’s when we started working with Mitch Dane; we haven’t worked with anyone else since we started working with him. I think we’ve made about five projects now with Mitch over the course of four or five years.

JJ with Baby #2, Nora Some of that, I pray about it a lot, just finding that balance. We’re almost for sure, we haven’t totally figured everything out yet but we are considering buying a tour bus. So that we can take our girls with us. It’s really complicated and we would bring a nanny with us. As it is right now, Dave’s sister is our nanny and she lives with us. The way that it has been working is that most of the time, Lucy and Dave’s sister would stay home while Dave and I would fly out somewhere for the weekend. But when the second baby comes, we’re all going to stay together. Hopefully on a bus and so, Jess is her [Dave’s sister and their nanny] name, will come with us along with our girls.

K: What is the toughest thing about working in the music industry? JJ: For me, it would be balancing my career with taking care of my family and being home. Especially having a second one on the way, I want my daughters to know that they’re a priority. It’s hard to travel so much and have children in the equation. JJ and her husband, Dave

K: Where do you find the inspiration for your songs? Can you explain the process of writing a song a little bit? JJ: Yeah, there are a few different ways it can happen. Sometimes I’ll hear a song or an album and I’ll get really inspired by the music of it and I’ll just sit down with the guitar and try to write something along the same lines of the music I’m listening to. But then, other times, I will hear a phrase or a concept, whether it’s in a book or in a sermon or just something somebody says. I’ll write it down and I keep a little list of those type of things. When it comes time and I have time to songwrite, I’ll sit down and I’ll go through my list and see if I can make a song out of one of those ideas. But I always write the music at the same time as the lyrics. There has only been one time that I’ve been able to take existing lyrics and put a melody to it. Every other time, they just kind of take form at the same time. K: Your song, What Love Really Means, has touched the lives of thousands of listeners. What inspired you to write this song?

K: How long have you played guitar? JJ: I started playing in 2000 but I don’t play very much at all. I just pick it up long enough to write a song and then don’t ever practice. My husband is way, way, way better than me. K: If you were to choose a female Christian singer that you really admire and look up to, who would you choose and why? JJ: I mean, I can tell you that Jennifer Knapp was a huge inspiration for me when I was in college. Her first CD had just come out, called Kansas, and I listened to it and I’d never heard Christian music that sounded like that before. It just really motivated me to try to write like that, to write really poetically and try to be clever with the lyrics. I would say that she had the most impact on my life. If you know anything about her, she’s obviously had some crazy struggles recently and I haven’t even really listened to her in the past couple of years. But, I just know that when I was first writing songs, the Lord used her music to really inspire me.

JJ: That one was unique in the sense that K: Which album or song that you have re“it just makes I really didn’t have any inspiration goleased do you feel speaks to you personally the it obvious that ing into it. I just sat down with the guitar most? and started strumming chords, which is it was Him, and another way that sometimes I’ll write, I’ll JJ: I would say Only Love Remains. It’s one of not me.” just strum chords and sing melodies and the oldest songs that we still play at concerts. then just sing whatever words come into It’s about what it means to follow Christ and my mind. That’s what happened with that song. “He cries how it’s often a painful process as He molds us and shapes in the corner where nobody sees,” just came out of my us into the person that He wants us to be. But, it’s only mouth. It was odd because I had no idea where it came because He loves us and He doesn’t want us to stay caught from but then the rest of the song really just flowed out. It in our harmful patterns. So every time I sing it, it’s a good hardly took any time at all to write that song-normally, I reminder for me to keep asking God to work in my life, labor through songs and just work really hard at it. But, I even if it’s really uncomfortable. think that it was just a song that God wanted me to write. So I didn’t really have any specific inspiration for it but it’s K: What would you say is your motivation to keep writing been so cool to see all of the different applications that it’s songs that touch listeners? had. Just like so many different things that people have come and shared how the song just directly related to JJ: I think just hearing the stories from people, how God their lives. I love that the Lord did it that way because it has used our songs to impact their lives. It’s such a gift to just makes it obvious that it was Him, and not me. be able to hear that and it is motivating when I feel like I don’t want to write songs or I don’t really know what else

I can say. It’s really cool to hear.

I would say, try to be as successful as you can locally, in the place where you are [for the time being]. Then, if you K: Has motherhood changed your writing style or your find success, it’s time to start branching out a little bit. I career in music at all? How? think a lot of people just think, I want to start traveling, I want to start tourJJ: I think it’s changed ing. But, you need the content of my places to go to do that, songs, some more than places that want you others. I definitely to come and play. I have written quite a think it’s important few songs about what to kind of establish it means to be a mom yourself locally first and loving my chiland just listen to the dren. It’s affected my feedback around you. career, too, where as Are people saying, before we could be “Wow, that was really really flexible and last inspiring!” or “You’re minute. Now, we can’t really talented,” or “I really because we have was really moved by to consider Lucy and what you did.”? And, this little one in every if they’re not, then decision. There’s just you know maybe it’s a lot more considernot really the best ations going into every place for you to put decision but we still your time and energy. feel like God is calling Also, just know that us to keep playing our it’s really hard work. music so we’re gonna You have to be really make it work. self-motivated. Fortunately, for me, my K: Music is one thing husband is that way. that has a big influence He’s really good with on teens’ lives today. planning and busiWhat would you advise ness decisions and teens in regards to this? all that stuff, which I’m totally not. I’m I know it’s kind of cliso thankful that God ché to say it but it is rehas put the two of us ally true, that what you together, cause neither JJ and Lucy at Young Life camp listen to affects you. I of us would be playing mean, my personal opinion is that I think that the Lord music without the other. is honored through beauty. I think that when we listen to music that moves us, I think that is glorifying to the Lord, K: Do you have any practical advice for getting started in whether it’s specifically a praise song or not. But, at the the industry? same time, if we’re listening to music that’s degrading or profane, we’re just promoting things that are not benefiJJ: Just be really wise when it comes to how much money cial for our lives. I think that that affects the way that we you spend on a recording. Basically, if you know you’re see the world. I think it’s good to keep asking yourself, going to be playing and selling the music, then you can “Is this music enhancing my life? Or is it bringing me invest a little bit more. You kind of have to look at it as down?”. I have to ask myself these questions, as well. an investment, as will I earn this money back? But, if you just want to do something for fun, to give away to your K: What advice do you have for teens that are dreaming family and friends, then it’s not really worth it to spend a of getting into the music industry? lot of money on it. It’s good to take little steps. Like for us,

we just sold our live recordings for a while, until we could save up money to work in the studio. Also, the quality of your work depends on a lot, a lot of people have a recording here but the producer makes a big difference in how it comes out. American Idol is totally not how it really works, for the most part, anyway. It’s a lot of hard work. And, for us, we’re still independent so we don’t have a record label that we work with. That’s how we prefer it, at least for the time being so we’ve just been able to run our own business and keep it going. If you can do that, it’s really the best way. And even if you do want to get signed to a record deal eventually, the way to get the best deal is to be as successful as possible on your own because then they’ll really want you on their label if you have something to offer them.

JJ’s 3 Fave Foods 1. French fries 2. Thai curry chicken 3. Cheescake Factory Cheescake

JJ’s 3 Fave Songs 1. When It Don’t Come Easy by Patty Griffin 2. Fireflies and Songs by Sara Groves 3. 1234 by Feist

Flip to the next page to find out about an awesome giveaway that JJ and Dave are generously sponsoring!

Giveaway The Prizes:

3rd prize winner: 1 month of free advertising for your blog or website 2nd prize winner: 1 month of free advertising for your blog or website + half-page ad in the October issue 1st prize winner: 1 month of free advertising + half-page ad + When I’m With You CD by JJ Heller

How To Win:

1. “Like” Bloom! Magazine on Facebook. (1 entry)

2. Post about Bloom! on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter. (1 entry each)

Thanks for helping us spread the word! And good luck!

3. Print a copy of our Bloom! flyer here and hang it in a public place such as your local mall, church bulletin board, a store/restaurant bathroom, etc. Make sure you aren’t vandalizing, though! (3 entries per flyer) 4. Take a picture of yourself next to the flyer you hung and send it to us at (1 entry) 5. Send us an email with ‘Giveaway’ as the subject line and list each entry that you completed, as well as links to your posts.


Article by Kyla

When I was still in the womb I went through the first move of my life- it was the beginning of a long list of infractions and traumatic relocations. As you can imagine this trend left a long and lasting impression on my heart due to the fact that it seemed every time I began to make friends and settle in we would pull out the boxes, pack up our lives, and move again. All too often I would find myself in the same situation. The relentless change evoked a fear within me, and that took ages to conquer--- the fear of making new friends. My heart was hardened and I figured that it was better to just remain invisible than to make friends and then have to leave again with the hope of “staying in contact” and then having all hope shattered when we didn’t. I fortified my heart in a pathetic effort to avoid ever being disappointed and abandoned again. In 2006 I moved to North

Carolina (from South Carolina), my parents bought a beautiful house in the suburbs and my school was the best high school I could ask for! I knew it was too good to be true, although my parents continued to reassure me that we would be there a very long time, and I should think about establishing myself at WHS. I ended up falling for it. I made friends and was happier than I had ever been--- until that spring. I came home one day from school to find a “For Sale” sign planted firmly in my front yard. I was devastated. It hadn’t even been a year- and here I was, a girl who didn’t go to the

same middle school for more than a year was moving once again! Was I going to relocate every year in high school too!? We moved 3 hours away to another town in North Carolina, and as always my friends and I didn’t keep in touch. It was my first day of sophomore year and I had no friends--- yet this time I was determined to harbor my emotions and maintain a disconnection with the new school. I didn’t want to become attached again only to find myself moving the next year! The first day of school God sent two angels to rescue my heart of stone, and to be my friends- the true friends I had always desired! Weston and Brittany, together they served as a spark for my dry heart--- and they lit a fire within me for Christ. The wait was well worth it.

Although I am still going to the same school and I haven’t moved, both Weston and Brittany (and many of my other friends) graduated just this past school year. I am about to start my Senior year and like many of you (who just don’t have any friends yet, just moved, had a friend move, are going to your first year of high school (or transferring from home school to public school), I am about to have to make some new friends to enjoy my last year of high school with! I want to leave you with a few tips from experience and the Bible in regards to how to make friends and how to be well liked this upcoming school year. So first is first- are you ready for a real and raw friendship with one of your sisters in Christ? Are you confident in yourself and in your faith? This is the first step and beyond necessary so that you can stand firm in your beliefs and find friends that support you in your walk with Christ as well as wholeheartedly encourage you in your future endeavors! Anyone can find an acquaintance, but to find a true friend that leaves footprints on your heart and influences you in all the right ways takes a bit more searching, waiting, and praying--- but with a little bit of time and confidence in Christ, He will provide! The second step is to allow God to prune your life of all people

tian friendship, let’s dissect details in regards to certain situations such as: How To Make New Friends When You’re The New Kid: who are crippling you and not allowing you to pursue Christlike friends. If you have people in your life that you hang out with, but are not really true and supportive friends--- move on so that God can fill the space with new and amazing people. Now one thing you must realize about this friend-making business is that you must choose your friends very carefully! The Bible tells us that “he who walks with wise people will become wise himself, but that he who keeps company with fools will be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20)” and it also says “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14)?” If you follow His instruction, God will send God-friends into your life: People who will build you up, not tear you down--- who will be fertilizer to the garden in your soul, friends who will lead you to growth in your spiritual life. Do not settle for less. Now that we have the foundation laid out for any basic Chris

I have been in this situation all-too-often, and although it is nerve-racking it is in all honesty not too terrible. The best advice I can give in regards to making friends as quickly and painlessly as possible is to get involved in a local church and youth group. You will be able to make a couple friends in no time as long as you put yourself out there, and don’t try and change your personality to fit in, just be the unique you God created you to be! The church will allow you to meet fellow Christians in your age group as quickly as possible. How To Make New Friends When Your BFF Moved: This is honestly super tough, my best friend is leaving for Argentina in two weeks, and I am going to have to find a new “group” to hang out with. My advice for this situation is do not be closed minded to making new friends. Host a small get together or bonfire at your house, and then invite a few girls--try and find common interests- do you like horses? Go to the local stable and sign up for some lessons.

To have a friend, you have to be a friend!

Top 5 Ways To Be A Good Friend: 1. Be honest. Be honest about your feelings and be true to yourself. Don’t lie about yourself just to get a new friend! 2. Listen. Be sure to listen to what they have to say! 3. Laugh...a lot! The old saying is true-laughter is the best medicine. Or do you enjoy soccer? Try out for the team. Be vulnerable and willing to try some new things, because people gravitate towards those with a joyously adventurous spirit! How To Make New Friends When You’re Shy: The best advice I can give is to try and go outside of your comfort zone. Many may write you off as cocky, distant, or even stuck up when you are not willing to reach out to anyone. I would encourage you to “be strong and courageous, do not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:9] God is rooting for you, and you can be certain He will be right there beside you when you go talk to that girl sitting beside you in Algebra! Reach out, you may be surprised to find it really isn’t that hard to make new friends!

God will provide friends for you, friends that will nourish your spiritual life and your dreams. Remember to put yourself out there and be confident in Christ’s ability to provide friends. With God anything is possible! He has plans for you, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future…”

4. Shhh! Don’t gossip! If a friend tells you something in confidence, don’t go and repeat it to all of your other friends! 5. Show them you care! Show your BFFs how much they mean to you by writing them a heartfelt note!

Tips for Your

20 Best School Year Ever!

Article by Elizabeth D.

Talk to God, your Heavenly Father, about what He wants for you this year.

like the beautiful girl that you are, and shows decency and propriety, of course.

Write down what you feel He is calling you to and ask for His help. Start your goals right away and don’t worry if you fail! God loves you and He is always there to help you!

Put a new outfit together for your first day of school.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or any at all! Whether you hit the mall, the thrift store, or your own closet, do your best to

Get a good alarm clock.

make a creative, cute, and comfortable outfit. Remember that it doesn’t need to be “in style” to look good! Just do your best to create something that brings out your inner self, makes you feel

If you don’t already have one, buy one! Make sure that you set it with enough time to get ready for school (i.e. NOT ten minutes before the first bell!) If you are not a morning person, try placing it on the other side of your room to really “wake you up.”

Make sure that you have a place to keep important dates and assignments.

This could be a school planner, calendar, journal, cell phone or whatever! Just make sure that you both update and check it on a regular basis.

Try to get your school schedule ahead of time.

If you are new to the school, see if you can go in a week early to find where your locker and all of your classrooms are.

Get into a good sleep routine, starting the week before school.

They say that the average teenager needs 9.5 hours of sleep every night. So, if you need to get up at 7:30 go to bed at 10:00.

Set aside some time for God every morning before school.

This is definitely the most important tip of all! God loves you and He yearns to spend time with you! Giving Him this time will actually benefit you as well. A prayer and a Bible reading may sound trivial, but they actually make your day better and equip you with what you need to face the day.

Make friends!

good grades, tests, and staying stress free.

Get help when you need it.

Of course, you should keep building on your old relationships but also try to extend yourself towards others. Is there a new girl in your class that could use a friend? What about that shy boy who always sits by himself? Be the light of Christ in your classes: partner up with someone new, smile at the girl beside you, and say hello to your classmates in the halls. You never know what kind of friendships might come out of these simple gestures!

Respect your teachers.

Even if you think that they aren’t a good teacher or that they dislike you, always, always respect everyone, especially your elders. This means that you listen when they are talking, hand in your assignments on time, and don’t talk behind their back. Note: If you are having a serious problem with a teacher, make sure that you inform your parents right away!

Stay on task!

Keep up with all of your classes, even if you don’t like them very much or think that they are “easy.” This is very important for making

If you are having trouble with something, make sure that you tell your teacher and ask him or her to help you. Don’t be embarrassed about it! You aren’t supposed to know everything right away and your teacher is there to guide you! If you are having serious problems, tell your parents so that arrangements for a tutor can be made.

Do not over commit yourself.

Part of having a good year is making sure that you have the time to do both your schoolwork and extracurricular projects in a timely and enjoyable fashion. If you’ve gotten yourself into too much, don’t worry about stepping back a bit. After all, knowing your limits and staying within them is part of being a responsible student.

Eat well!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so make sure that you wake up with ample time to eat it! Walking out the door with a granola bar or skipping it completely is not allowed! Make yourself something quick but nutritious like a smoothie, fruit salad, or peanut butter on toast. Since humans also need 8 cups of water a day, bring a water bottle with you to school and fill up in between classes. Last but not least, don’t forget about lunch!

Always pack yourself a nutritious lunch the night before (or remember your lunch money). Eating and drinking well will prevent you (as much as possible) from getting sick and missing school.

Do not set unreasonable goals for yourself.

If math is tough for you, don’t tell yourself that you must get an A. You will simply make yourself feel pressured and lousy if you set unreasonable expectations upon yourself. Of course, don’t slack off, either! Make sure you challenge yourself while keeping an appropriate level.

Get involved at your school.

This doesn’t mean that you have to take on everything. Simply get involved with one or two things (i.e. student council, after school sports etc.) that you enjoy. This will help you get to know others, benefit your school, and give you something fun to do.

Keep God at the center of your life and don’t be afraid to show it.

Always make time for Him and never put anything else ahead. Don’t hide Him from your classmates either! While you don’t have to go around the halls proclaiming His message, do not be afraid to let others know that you are a Christian. This could mean reading your Bible before the bell, wearing your cross necklace, or inviting some

one to your youth group.

(i.e. a test the next day), try to keep the Lord’s Day free. After all, that is the day that God has set aside speAlways study for your tests! cifically for you to worship Him and You are definitely a smart girl but also to rest. So leave the books alone on Sundays and give God the glory by spending some extra time with Him, going to church, doing a favourite activity, and hanging out with friends no one (or very few people at least) and family. Note: If you absolutely are intelligent enough to do well must work on a Sunday, make sure on a test that they’ve never even thought about. Make sure that you that you go to church and spend a bit of time doing something that you do your teacher’s review sheets, enjoy. write flashcards, and re-read portions that you don’t understand or whatever it takes for you. Do this Don’t let other people’s opinwell before the exam. ions of you get to your head.

Reward yourself.

Every hard worker (like you) deserves a break once in a while. After a long day of studying, an exam, or on the weekend (as long as you don’t have assignments), give yourself something special. This could be anything from a movie night with your girlfriends, a sundae from your favourite ice cream shop, or a little present to yourself.

Take Sundays off.

While some dire circumstances do require you to work on Sundays

Always remember your worth as a beloved daughter of the one, true King. No matter what anyone says, you are beautiful, smart, talented, wanted, and loved. Don’t listen to anyone who says any less! Be yourself and be happy with it. God loves you for who you are! Note: If you are having serious problems with a bully, make sure that you tell a parent or a teacher right away.

ssi D. Column by Je


Dear Journal,

Today was rough. After school I went home, did my homework, then went straight to church. I find church so time consuming and pointless sometimes, especially when the pastor keeps repeating the same point in the sermon over and over and over again. And since we just moved to a new town, we have been on the hunt for a new church. I know its wrong to say this, but I really don’t like to sit and listen to a sermon that my old pastor preached already. Maybe its God’s way of telling me that I need to listen to that sermon again but it is hard to listen when you already know what’s about to happen. It’s like being able to quote a movie because you have already seen it twelve times. You know that the hero is going to get the girl and that the villain is either going to get caught or get killed by his own contraption of the sorts. It all just loses the magic after the repetitive watching of it. I’ve grown up my whole life in church and was saved when I was seven. Back then the gospel was so much more interesting to me. I

loved to hear how after Job lost everything, he still worshiped God. Even after his wife told him to just curse God and die, he still worshiped the Lord. I loved to read the different Psalms and praises that people wrote for God. My favorite was Psalms 39:7 “For now O’ Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” Back when I was little, I loved to hear that kind of stuff. Now, like I said before, it’s just repetitive. Let’s move on to a different topic, shall we? My friends. My friends are my world. I didn’t think I would be able to live without my friends. Well, apparently I can. We moved a few weeks ago and, even though I continually call and text and email and Skype with my friends, each day, I feel a little bit more of my heart rip. I really hated leaving them. I hated my parents even more for making me leave them. Next week I will start school again and I will have to make new friends. I am really afraid that no one will accept me for who I am. I have been home schooled all of my life and all of my friends back home, were from church or church camps. I am afraid that no one will even look at me at school. I am scared that no one will like me because I am different. Well in the sense that I am home schooled. I hope that there are some people that share my interests. I mean, what sixteen year old doesn’t like music? Music, one of my biggest strings of life

in this world was thankfully not cut when we moved. In fact, I have leaned even more on music since we moved. I play the clarinet, flute, piano, guitar, and am learning to play the bass guitar. I also love to sing. Sometimes I lock myself in my room and play on my piano and sing so loudly; once the neighbor even joined in with me. It’s a passion and a life line for me. My other two strongest passions are photography and writing. Since this notepad is usually in my hand or in my bag on my shoulder, I’m sure you can tell I like to write, especially when each passage I write is at least two pages or more. :0) Now, on to my parents’ and how they affect my life. Sometimes I feel like I am invisible to them. Like I am just a speck of dust floating in the air. I feel like they don’t notice when I achieve a goal or when I want to do something that is important to me (like the National Young Musicians Conference). Sometimes I wish I could yell at them and tell them to wake up and see what is in front of their faces. I wish they would stop comparing me to my brother, Drew, and stop setting a standard for me because of something he did. He graduated second in his class and now my parents expect nothing less from me. He is an engineer of some sorts and now what do you thing Mom and Dad want me to be? Every time I tell them I want to be a musician or a writer when I grow up, they say, “Well, we know you are going to go far in life like Drew. Maybe you can be a physicist!” I hate science; they would know that if they listened to me once in a while. My dad made us move out here because of his job. More money for our family and he says a fresh new start. I saw those two reasons as stupid. Our family was already very wealthy, and we didn’t need a fresh new start. We were doing very well back home! My mom was excited to start out new in a new city! She moved a lot when she was little and always liked it. Once we settled in Florida, she was always telling my dad we should move to a new place, meet new people, and see new places! Sounds like something out of a movie, eh? Yup! That’s my parents, the

only people I know that can make real life seem like a movie. I have realized lately that I spend too much time hating on things and writing about what’s bad in my life. Maybe its time to change that. I am going to start adding one positive thought to the end of each entry. Who knows! Maybe (hopefully) it will change my attitude to wards life. Who knows? Its worth a shot, right? My new room in our enormous house is amazing. The grey and yellow theme is so pretty. It’s also huge. My dad hired a contractor to build our house and he made my room extra big with a separate music room through my closet. Sound-proofed so that the rest of the world doesn’t get to listen to me jam out! It’s pretty cool. I guess my dad is listening a little more than I thought! Until next time, my dear friend! Love,

Mia Isabelle Taylor

Hear more from Mia in the next issue!

We’re Not Perfect

Article by Tirzah B.


ou aren’t perfect, and you never will be. (How’s that for the beginning of an “encouraging article”?! ) But it’s totally true. As humans, our nature is to try and be perfect; to try and be the coolest, the smartest, the bravest. But no matter how hard we try, we can never do it. And for us as Christians, it’s even harder. God can’t be near anything evil or sinful. And we are just that, sinful and evil. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. On our own, we could never ever get to Heaven or see Jesus face to face. “(Princes and Kings- Jeremiah 2:26) Saying to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ And to a stone, ‘You gave birth to me.’ For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us.’” Jeremiah 2:27 “We don’t live for God, we live because of God.” (Quote by Tenth Avenue North) Just let that sink in for a moment. We can’t live for God if we don’t live because of God. Because Jesus died for us, we can live.

Because Jesus gave up his life for us, we can have eternal life with Him in Heaven. Sometimes it’s extremely hard for me to comprehend just what it means when people say ‘Jesus died for our sins.’ But when you do comprehend just what it means, it’s overwhelming. I’m not joking. When you think of all the sins you’ve done in your lifetime, they seem like a ton, don’t they? Now, take your sins, multiply them by 3, then take that and multiply it by billions of people. Now put all of those sins on one man. Then kill that man, and have all those sins leave the earth forever. Now, all the rest of us are sinless. Now we can get to Heaven. What about the one man? What if that man was sinless before? What if He hadn’t committed any of those sins? What if He had an Omni-present, Omni-scient, all-powerful Father who raised Him from the dead? What if that Man’s name was Jesus? What if Jesus died willingly? What if He didn’t have to die? What if He died because He loved us, because He loved YOU? Would you die for our sin-filled evil world? Overwhelming or what? Enough questions?

(Oops, there goes another one!). When Jesus died for us, we became blameless, because He took our sins as His own. Now, we can live with Him in Heaven F-O-R-E-V-E-R. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:1617 (NKJV) So no matter how hard you try to look the best, sound the best, be the best, you can never do it. It’s only through Christ that you can gain eternal life. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

It’s Just A Blog Article by Amanda T.

In the past year, I have browsed through dozens of blogs; some of you more avid blog-hoppers might have hit hundreds or even thousands of blogs. But let us narrow it down to that one blog – your blog. Out of the millions of pages on the world-wide-web, it is just one. One little place to pour out your thoughts, hopes, dreams, convictions, fears, laughter, and life. Your blog reflects either who you are or who you want to be. So . . . what if I obtained your blog URL and hopped on over? What would I see? What should I see? Let us jump to the last question. What should be on our blog? I mean, it’s just a blog. Matthew 5:26

says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (KJV) I believe that a blog is an excellent place to shine! Not just shining, though – for we can shine in “look at how amusing, funny, and entertaining I am” – shining for GOD! When others look at our blogs, what do they see? Are they simply entertained, or are they encouraged in their walk with Christ? What is our blog content? Can we pray Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer?” Or are we too busy making our words acceptable in a friend’s sight? God is a follower on our blogs.

He sees every little sentence, every JPEG image, and even the motive behind each post. Is He seeing something that pleases Him and brings glory to His Name, or is He seeing posts that daily have lost opportunities to share Him with others? Maybe in considering these verses, we need to also consider a revamp. As Christians, our blogs need to reflect Christ! As sisters in Christ, our blogs need to encourage one another in the Lord! Are we faithfully serving God with our blogs, or are we satisfying our selfish desires? Yes, our blog is “just another blog,” but we can use it as an avenue to spread God’s love!

Want your blog, company, or website advertised here? See page _73_ for more information!

Teen Outreach Guest Article by Jennifer Slattery

Do you have a “bucket list?” A growing record of things you want to do before you die? I’m not trying to sound morbid here. You’ve got the rest of your life to do something great, right? But why wait? Why not start pursuing a life in radical obedience to a radically awesome God now? There’s this song by Switchfoot that I love. It’s called “This is Your Life,” and the question it poses cuts straight through the superficial. “Are you who you want to be?” That’s a powerful question, isn’t it? If we’re honest, most of us would say no. I mean, video games and cruising McDonald’s parking lots are great, but we long for more. We want to count—to make a difference. To know the world will be different because we were in it. Thousands of teens across America have wrestled with that same question, and they’ve found their answer in Global Encounter Ministries. Global Encounter is a teen-led evangelical organization founded by Bob Caldwell to train up tomorrow’s leaders—not to be the next CEO’s but instead, to set their world on fire for Christ. It’s teens hanging out with teens to reach other teens, and the results have been amazing.

“The kids don’t want to connect with youth pastors because they’re not their age,” said Isaiah Caldwell, Bob Caldwell’s son. “[But] we’re on the same level. A teen is a lot more likely to listen to a teen because an adult sounds like they’re trying to overpower you or whatever. I mean, they’re above you so they should know this—they should be able to handle it. It should be easy because they’re an adult. But if you talk to a kid, it’s like [they think], ‘I can do this because you can do this.’” But Global Encounter is much more than innercity evangelism. “We’re definitely here to impact the kids and [tell them about salvation], but this is training for the rest of our lives,” Isaiah said. “This is training for the day to day and I’m glad I get to do it with all my youth friends. This is a great ministry, but the greatest, I think, is training everyone for the next level.” Students’ biggest challenge is to take what they learn during their encounter back into their classrooms. “[We tell] our kids … when they go into their

public school, it is the greatest mission field of their life,” Joy Caldwell, Bob’s helpmate and co-laborer said. “If they can go on a mission trip and share the love of Christ, then they can at school as well. Life is not about us, it is about living for Him and making Him known.” Perhaps teens get a bad rap, but many people assume youth are self-centered. Global Encounter flips self-centered tendencies to compassion by opening students’ eyes to the world around them. “When I see the kids, and see what they have to deal with, like some of them—I could just tell by the way they acted they came from rough families,” said Brian McTigue, a Global Encounter participant and Freshman at Seckman High in Arnold, MO. “I was just thinking how blessed I am. I live in a family that’s calm and peaceful. My parents won’t say, ‘Okay, we can’t get air conditioning or anything.’ We have all that stuff. I’m blessed that way. [Global Encounter] showed me when I see people who have less to not think that they’re the lesser person. I shouldn’t have this stuff. Honestly, I shouldn’t have what I have. I deserve what they have. I deserve probably less than that, but by God’s grace, I have what I have. I’m blessed to be in the family I am.”

Meet Jennifer

Visit LINK “http://www.globalencounter. org/” to find out more about this rapidly expanding, life-changing ministry.

Jennifer Slattery is a novelist and freelance writer who works for Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach as a publicity and critiquing assistant. She has received numerous commendations for her writing and her work has appeared on countless websites and in numerous publications. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, The Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters, and is the marketing manager for the literary website Clash of the Titles. You can find out more about her and her writing by visiting her website LINK “”

School is just around the corner. It’s time to get our brains back in shape. Time to start eating healthy. (Gasp!) Time to put aside the kool aid, ice pops, soda, ice cream, etc. Okay so maybe this sounds dramatic, but really, food does affect our brains. And we need our brains to be in good condition for learning. Choline is good for the memory. -Example Meals and Snacks: -Scrambled eggs with toast. -Omelets with spinach, ham, peppers and onions. -Peanut butter on toast or bagels.

Article by Emily P.

Brain Food

Antioxidants for memory improvement. Example Meals and Snacks: -Berries (Blueberries, strawberries, black berries, raspberries, cranberries.) -Vegetables. -Nuts. -Beans. -Hummus or black bean dip. -Yogurt fruit smoothies. -Apples. -Pecans. -Plums. -Potatoes.

Whole Grains improve memory function. Example Meals and Snacks: Oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon and topped with berries or sliced bananas. Whole grain cereals. Whole grain bread (Some people, me included, aren’t huge fans of whole grain breads. Try starting out with half wheat/ half white.) Whole grain noodles. Buckwheat pancakes. Popcorn (Not the microwave kind.) Iron for mental alertness. Example Meals and Snacks: Ham or bacon. Poultry. Spinach (Contrary to what you might think, spinach is really good! Try mixing it in with a salad or making a spinach smoothie with bananas, pears and kale!)

Beans. Dried Fruit. Whole grains. Cereals. Spaghetti with meatballs. Homemade Trail Mix.

Water keeps your concentration level up.

Note: Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. So, for example, if you are having bacon or ham for breakfast, it would be a good idea to have a glass of juice or a fruit with it.

Brain Foods That You’d Think Wouldn’t Be Brain Foods.

Calcium to Strengthen Bones. Did You know? Nearly 85% of young girls and 60% of boys ages nine to eigh teen don’t hit their daily calcium target of 1300mg. For four- to eight-year-olds, the requirement is 800mg.

Coffee-Drinking- Regular coffee has been shown to actually reduce the risk of mental decline and diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and has been found to be the #1 source of antioxidants in the average American diet. If you get a caramel mocha coffee topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup at McDonald’s....well.... that’s not so healthy!

Example Meals or Snacks: Milk. Yogurt. Cheese. Almonds. Salmon. Orange Juice.

Staying hydrated is very important. It prevents fatigue and keeps your concentration level strong.

Dark Chocolate- With 75 percent cocoa, it has lots of fiber in it! Score!

There you have it! Some healthy food ideas for this coming school year.

d o G h t i W s F


Loneliness. It’s that deep, painful yearning in your heart. It’s the tears on a day when everything seems right but isn’t. It’s the depressing thought that no one loves you. Your soul is friendless, and far away from God. Have you ever been there before? I think that most of us have felt lonely at some time or another. In fact, it is a perfectly normal condition and God intended for us to need each other. However, you also don’t have to be alone all of the time. Yes, you can have a best friend that sticks to you more closely than your own shadow, if you let Him. Jesus can be your very best friend.

izabeth l E y b Article


I know you’ve probably heard this before and you Try to read your Bible every day but don’t get stressed out are now thinking, “But I can’t hear God!” or “How do I talk if you miss a time. Start with the New Testament or a book to Him?” Although God desires you, and you may yearn for that you really enjoy. For motivation, you could start a Bible Him as well, the relationship isn’t usually the most straight- study with a friend or ask someone to be your accountabilforward. For some reason, there are always other things to ity partner for reading the Bible each day. If you have a little do and people to see. Even the strongest of Christians have Bible, try carrying it with you in your purse so that you can struggled and continue to have difficulty with loving God as read when you have a spare moment in your day. their best friend. Despite these troubles, God still loves you. Yes, Talk to God often, and speak to Him as though He were He cares for you more than you could ever understand or one of your “regular friends.” Tell Him your troubles, joys, imagine. He knows your heart, and yearns for it to know hopes, and dreams in addition to repenting of your sins, His. He wants you with a passion like no other. No matter and asking for help for yourself and others. what happens, He is always there, reaching His hand out to you, waiting for yours to latch on. Take a moment to listen to God, too. Ask Him to speak to So why don’t you reach out to Him? Take the hand you; be quiet, and just take in His voice. If you like to jourthat He has given to you, and show Him the love that He nal, write down what He says to you. desires. Ask Him to come into your life like never before, and He will come. Look for God throughout your day and thank Him for what He has provided. If the sun comes out for the first time in a long time, or you have a really good day, make sure that you Tips for Becoming BFFS with God: acknowledge Him. Tell God that you love Him and want to know Him better and ask for His help.

A Week Of

Fabulous Fall Fashion Beat the back to school blues with a few new twists to staples more than likely already gracing your closet!

Marvelous Monday

Don’t let yourself wake up with a groan and a sigh on Monday morning, but rather slip on one of your favorite summer cotton sundresses and toss on a denim jacket. Make sure to roll up the sleeves and jump into a pair of cowgirl boots for a cool but casual look. The gold floral jewelry feminizes the ensemble. Start this year off right with this comfortably crisp but casual outfit.

Shine in the halls as a studious and stylish student, and have everyone glancing at your school-girl attire. The striped zip-up cardigan paired with the pleated khaki skirt gives the scholarly appearance without trying too hard. The navy ballet flats adorned with flowers coupled with the fun bracelet and classic studs adds just the right amount of sparkle and personality without overpowering the outfit.

Thoughtful Tuesday

This trendy ensemble screams pizazz and is absolutely “adorb,” and the academic styled Hello Kitty simply adds to the theme of “Back to School.” The cherry-red Toms add a brightness to the outfit that wouldn’t be achievable with the oh-so typical black flats. The heart shaped studs and crystal encrusted belt adds a sparkle that will catch everyone’s eye. Get ready to shine both in the class room and in the soda shop or local Mickey D’s after school with your girlfriends!

Wow Wednesday

Do you want to subtly rock the rustic bohemian chic look but don’t know how? Take out those pleated shorts and match it with a loose cotton top (the sequins add a cool glamor to the outfit) and a thin leather belt. Add a stack of bronze and silver bangles and dangly gypsy style earrings to really enliven the overall style. And the bold gladiators bring the whole outfit up to current trends while maintaining the timelessly rustic feel.

Timeless Thursday

Girls just want to have fun! And what better time than Friday?! Pull out those boyfriend style worn-out blue jeans and reinvent them by rolling them up and pairing them with one of your fun summery tanks (like this colorful toucan top) and toss on a bright yellow cardigan to make it appropriate for the cool autumn mornings and your school’s dress code. Add some cute flower studs and a couple fun strands of beads to spice up the ensemble. Wear a pair of simple black sandals and you are off for a day full of sunshine and friends.

Funky Friday

Do you want to be ready for any adventure that may come your way this Saturday? Rock the cool and casual look with a loose scoopneck rose colored pocketed tee and your favorite worn-in pair of cut-off denim shorts and a leather belt. Oh, and don’t forget about all the places you may go- slip your feet into a beloved pair of Chacos. Add some style to the simplistic outfit with a pair of adorable chick studs and aviators, and you are ready to take on any plans your friends or family spring on you.

Super Saturday

This outfit is simple and classy. From the effortless and comfy cotton dress to the elegant black patent leather flats, this look will last you from Sunday morning worship to mid-afternoon lunch and all the way to youth group. The practical black leggings can be layered underneath the chic dress to give flexibility in regards to activities after church (like that crazy game of twister your youth pastor came up with!). This outfit is comfortable and feminine.

Soulful Sunday

This is one of our junior writers, Megan! Read her fall fashion ideas below. :-)

Autumn Fashion Ideas It’s that time of year again, it’s getting cooler outside and the leaves have begun to fall from the trees. One of my favorite parts about the beginning of Autumn is after having the heat of summer shining on my back for three whole months, I finally get a chance to pull out the long sleeves and the jeans. Autumn fashion is so delightful because we get a chance to layer but not be too hot. I have a few ideas for autumn fashion to share with you today. No. 1: Plaid shirts. Personally, I love the plaid look and was delighted to see stores getting plaid in for this autumn. Plaid is getting quite popular and is a cute and easy look for cooler weather. No. 2: Knitted hats. This summer I got an urge to wear hats. Due to hot weather, I was disappointed that I couldn’t wear any. But now that it’s getting cooler outside, we can finally pull out our lovely knitted hats. Handmade is best! No. 3: Boots. What could possibly make an outfit of a blue plaid shirt, a grey knitted hat and a pair of jeans better? A nice pair of knee-high boots, of course. They complete any outfit and makes it lovely from the toe up.

Do you have any fashion tips? Any ideas for our fashion column? Email us at and let us know!

Finding Joy

In Christ

Getting “out of the rut” and living your faith out to the fullest!

Guest Article by Katie Hoffman

There’s a song by the English band U2 with the words, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” The song seems to get played over and over again in stores. Maybe it keeps shoppers shopping longer. They keep thinking they haven’t found what they’re looking for. I’ve heard that for every extra minute spent in a store, the buyer spends an additional $1.30. The song also seems to stick in my head after I hear it. And the lyrics are haunting. Have you ever felt that there’s something more you need in life, if only you knew what it was? I’ve literally walked around in Sam’s Club praying, “Lord, if there is something I could buy that would make my life easier, please show me what it is.” In that sense, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. But even more than a purchase, have you ever felt like something was missing from your life? Have you ever wondered if maybe there is something better out there in life that others have, but you don’t know about? If you are lonely, having closer friendships is the answer. If you have a best friend, maybe being more important is the answer. If you are important, maybe looking prettier is the answer. We really don’t know what we need, but we keep feeling like we need something. The sad thing is, that as possessions and comforts have multiplied—things like indoor plumbing,

likely to have depressive illness than they were 60 years ago.” 3 “Statistically, only 10% of people are ever helped sufficiently by medication.”

electricity, entertainment, the internet—people as a whole have only gotten sadder. In fact, an article in the Orange County Register (by Edward M. Eveld, McClatchy Newspapers, March 4th, 2007) called, “Stone Age was Less Depressing” said that our country has a “growing depression epidemic, a modern phenomenon.” Included in the article was the following quote: 1 “The latest and sobering statistics predict that one in four Americans will become clinically depressed by age 75.” 2 “Americans are 10 times more

In other words, sadness and depression are common. With every philosophy and drug and modernization developed in the last 60 years, depression has gotten worse. Depression is a type of sadness that causes people to withdraw from others, stop wanting to participate in activities, and often, to feel sorry for themselves. One big reason this is such a problem for Christians is that God calls us to serve, to pray, and to be actively involved in loving others and doing the things that please him. Depression can cause a person to miss out on serving and loving others, and miss out on living a life fully to the glory of God. Depression can be triggered by all sorts of things. While I believe the majority of depression is caused by the emotional issues I will address in this article, I must also add that a physical cause is possible—including the lack of sleep, sunlight, exercise, proper nutrition, and so forth. Sometimes what seems to be depression can be resolved by a physical change. I know that I personally need to get exercise and sunlight on a regular basis or my mood will be affected. But in this article I’m talking about depression that is not caused by a physical problem. So is it possible for a Christian who has hope in God to be depressed?

Yes, because we are all weak and human and still in these earthly bodies. Additionally, until we enter eternity and awake in the likeness of Jesus, we will be beset with weakness. Some people may struggle with feeling downcast at times throughout their whole life (like the Psalmist David), but the answer is for them to put their hope in God—even when they feel sad. And because we will never be truly satisfied until we awake in the likeness of Christ, we know that our emptiness, that our longing for heaven, won’t be satisfied until heaven. We will be dissatisfied with this life because we are created for something better. That is one reason why sorrow is a natural part of life and is distinct from depression. Feeling sad is normal and even biblical. I think life itself has always had some degree of inescapable sadness—for every single person alive. We inherited this sorrow from Adam, we find some relief in Christ here on earth, and we will one day find ultimate relief when we enter

eternity with Christ. We all share a longing, an ache deep in our hearts that is only appeased but never fully satisfied on earth. And while the Bible tells us that wicked people—those who do not obey God or know Him—have many sorrows, even those of us who desire to please God from the very depths of our being still have a shared pain because we all share the same sin nature.

Jacob: “So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life.” Genesis 47:9

That’s why I’m so comforted when godly men like Moses, Asaph, Jacob, Jeremiah, and David wrote things like:

Jeremiah: “I am the man who has seen affliction because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light... He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship...My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness.” Lamentations 3:1-2, 5, 17.

Moses: “Seventy years are given to us! Some may even reach eighty. But even the best of these years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we are gone.” Psalm 90:10 NLT

David: “For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away.” Psalm 31:10

Asaph: “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; for I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.” Psalm 73: 13-14

And I don’t forget that Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief ” Isaiah 53:3. There is an ache that plagues us all.

A grief that is such a part of life on this sinful earth that even the godliest of men (and God Himself when He became a man) have shared this pain. This ache does not disappear when we find joy in Christ, but joy makes the ache bearable. The joy we have in Christ gives us hope in life. The Bible tells us this was the case with Jesus, who “for the joy set before Him endured the cross.” And this anticipation of future grace gives relief from what would be otherwise an unbearable burden, a sorrow without hope. Therefore, while every human on earth shares in the grief of sin, only those who have hope in Christ get to share in the joy of awaiting eternal life. But even though we have the great hope of heaven, many Christians still struggle with depression at times. And that is why I think depression is to some degree the alarm clock that tells us when something is wrong with our thinking or something in our life. Depression notifies us that something’s not right. Often, depression can be caused by things like bitterness, selfpity, and unforgiveness. For example, a girl named Sara is at home on a Saturday having a good day. But then her friend Tina calls and says she spent the morning with some of their

mutual friends. And when Sara realizes that she was not invited by Tina or her other friends, she begins to feel sorry for herself. And as the day goes on, she wonders what is wrong with

her, why she wasn’t invited, why she was left out, and she begins to feel sorry for herself, which I call self-pity. And self-pity is, I believe, one of the main causes of depression. It can be triggered by all sorts of things, but it’s basically when you feel sorry for yourself because life isn’t the way you

want it to be, because you didn’t get something you want, or because things are hard. The opposite of selfpity is thankfulness. Sara’s self-pity over not getting invited could even turn into bitterness or jealously, both of which can fuel depression. Chronic self-pity is when person remains focused on the disappointing things. Another cause of depression can be guilt. This is a big one. When we are guilty of sin, often we will feel depressed and we won’t really know why. This depression can be a signal from our conscience that something is wrong. In the Biblical story of King David, we see this revealed clearly. One evening when David’s armies were out at war, he took a walk on the roof of his house and saw a beautiful woman taking a bath on her house. David had the woman brought to him, though she was married, and he slept with her. She became pregnant, and after failing to make her own husband sleep with her, David finally ordered her husband killed. After a year passed, Nathan the prophet pointed out David’s sin, and he finally realized what he’d done. And when he did at last understand how deep his error was, he was devastated, and he wrote two Psalms of repentance for

the entire world to see. He begins one of the Psalms by telling us what it was like during the time he was living in denial of his sin, when his heart was separated from fellowship with God, and he was under guilt. He describes that time saying, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4). When David describes the state of his heart after his sin with Bathsheba, he says his vitality, his excitement and joy was gone. Drained away. He had no motivation or energy. He felt drained and depressed. As long as David’s heart was separated from God by his sin, he couldn’t shout for joy. He couldn’t feel joy because his vitality was gone. Sadly, many of us carry the guilt of our sin and failure for months and years without feeling the freedom of God’s forgiveness. But the forgiveness and cleansing is there, simply waiting for us to ask for it. If you are

under the burden of guilt, confess your sin to God, and then receive His forgiveness and let yourself be free. If you find yourself feeling depressed, here are three practical and biblical things you can do to restore (or gain) joy in the Lord. 1. Holiness (an upright heart before God). Above all else, this is the key to joy. And a lack of holiness is the greatest root of depression. The Bible says that the seed of joy is an upright heart. (Psalm 97:11 Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart.) And there’s two ways we can lack holiness. The first is that we can feel guilty because of something we’ve done and the second is that we can do something wrong and not feel guilty. And that’s the scariest thing, because often we can do something wrong and not feel any guilt over it and the result is depression. For example, a girl named Ruth gets angry too quickly with her mom and acts disrespectful toward

her. Or a wife gets angry too quickly with her husband and acts disrespectful toward him. Now she may not feel guilty about it and she may even feel like the person deserved it. But if she sins in her anger, even if her anger is justified, she is still guilty for her own sin. And so, because of her sin, her conscience might be disturbed and sometimes, instead of feeling guilty, she begins to feel depressed. And she doesn’t even know what is causing that depression. The first thing a person must do is be forgiven of their sins by God; seeking continual holiness and an upright heart before God. And after asking for forgiveness, a person must know and believe that God truly has removed their sin as far as the east is from the west. Now, because we live in these human, unglorified bodies, we will still sin. And that’s why we need to keep confessing our sin and believing that God forgives us. And then secondly, a person that seeks holiness would change her behavior— and seek to be holy in all that she does and thinks.

She must strive to walk uprightly and to have a heart that is upright and holy before God. And what is fascinating is that uprightness of heart is the seed that produces joy (Psalm 97:11). 2. Hope in God. The Bible says that we need to fix our hope completely on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13). God tells us that we must hope completely on the grace to be brought to us when Jesus returns. When we put our hope on something else, we are often disappointed and we are often frustrated by the way things turn out. But if we keep our hope on Christ and His return, and we live to serve Him and we don’t look for our satisfaction in our friendships or in a relationship or in acceptance or anything else, we will have a lot more joy. 3. Thankfulness. In the story about the girl who got left out, instead of feeling sorry for herself because she wasn’t invited to some event, she can begin to think about all the things she has to be thankful for. For instance, she can be thankful for other events that she’s been invited to in the past. She can be thankful for her life. And especially she can be thankful for being able to know God. The way to respond if you start to feel depressed or to feel sorry for yourself or if you feel disappointed with life is to give thanks in everything—for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thes. 5:18). And the key is to think about all that God has done for you. Not just what He’s done for you in the past but what He’s preparing for you in the future when Christ returns. And as we wait for eternity, we need to live for the glory of God and know that He gives joy to those who seek Him. That is why an upright heart, putting your hope in God, and thankfulness are three of the primary factors that influence a person’s mood, and these three things need to be remembered and practiced daily.

For additional study: Each of the godly men mentioned in this article who talk about their sorrow in this life go on to declare their joy, their hope, their reason for living. Look up the following verses to see what each man said about God’s goodness and their hope here on earth: -Moses: Psalm 90:14 -Asaph: Psalm 73: 28 -Jacob: Genesis 48:15 -Jeremiah: 3:21-24. -David: Psalm 31:14, 21 -Jesus: Isaiah 53:11; Hebrews 1:8-9

Meet Katie

so he could say it.

I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband Todd and our three children, ages 9, 7, and 4--and I homeschool them all. Todd and I have been married almost 12 years. We also have a black chihuahua named Preena, who has been part of our family for almost a year now. Her real name is Princess, but my youngest son pronounces Princess like Preena, so we changed her name

In addition to being a full time mom, I have a part time job (which I do from home) managing rental property, and I also get opportunities to speak at Christian women’s events. My hobbies are writing books and studying the Bible. I write at least once a week, often more, just because I love it so much, and because I have so much I want to say. My other interests are going out to eat and trying new foods when I get the chance, and I eat (air-popped) popcorn at least 3 or 4 times a week, which I have been doing for at least 15 years.

BeTrue2U Beauty Column by Emily P.

The Bump:

Take a section of your hair and brush it. Twist it back and push forward. Pin in place with bobby pins.

A New Take On The Pony Tail:

Brush back your hair into a pony tail, leaving a little section in the back. Tie off your pony tail. Wrap the section around the pony tail holder.

Wearing Your Hair Down:

Braid a little section of hair on the side of your head and pin back. Twist back sections on both sides of head and pin back. Use a barrette to clip some of your hair back.

Buns and Braids:

Messy buns are cute and quick. Low and high buns. Side braids.

~Headbands are the perfect fall accessory. They get the hair our of your face and look super cute!~

u o Y l a e R e Th

si D. s e J y b e l Artic People tell you to stay true to yourself. I have always wondered how people actually do that. I have seen so many people that act one way at school, one way at home and one way at church. It always interest me how people can have so many different sides and you never know which one is the real them. They act like they are such godly people and act like it around the people who they want to think well of them, but around their friends from school or around their parents, you would never know that they are Christians or even the same people. Hypocrisy-1) Having one moral standard and expecting people to follow that standard when you don’t even follow it yourself. 2) Acting as one person when you are really a different person on the inside. Matthew 23:27 says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly

appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanliness.” The verse, when it was written, was written to the Pharisee. Nowadays, it is talking to everyone. It is saying that on the inside you can be just as godly of a girl as you can be ungodly on the inside. The verse is comparing the people as tombs. Beautiful on the outside but full of bones and ugly on the inside. That would be the second definition of hypocrisy. A few years ago, I had a friend who was the whitewashed tomb. She was one of the most Godfearing people at church and everyone knew that she was a Christian but when she got to school, her personality changed.

She was one of the girls who would gossip and make fun of other kids. I had always looked up to her until I saw her in school. I went over to her house one day and she was a completely different person at home than at church or school. She was like a mood ring. We had grown up best friends and then she drastically changed, depending on who she was around. One day I found out she was talking about me behind my back. We really haven’t spoken since. I lost a friend because she didn’t know how to stay one person. She moved away about two years ago and I haven’t seen her since then. This article isn’t about trying to change people so that they won’t be a mood ring, its about warning you of who you might be. It’s a matter of losing yourself to find the real you, the one that can be the same around everybody. I was that girl once. I would go to church, sing the songs, listen to the preacher, but as soon as the pastor said his last amen, I would go back to my old self. The one who would act like I never knew God outside of church. And I claimed to be a Christian. I was selfish and prideful around friends, moody and rude to my parents, and at church, the best Christian I could possibly be. I listened to this lesson given by some speaker at a church camp and it drastically changed my life. I said so

long to my old self and took up a new life in Christ. Christ never changes, so if your life is truly hidden in him, neither should you, no matter who you are around. Don’t worry about losing friends, if they are truly your friends, they will understand and who knows, maybe they are going through the same thing and you can help them realize that they are a mood ring. You can help transform them into one person. This is just a reminder that you should always look for that inner person in you and make sure that you are who you tell people you are. Don’t be a hypocrite. It’s easy to fall into different personas but it takes strength and leaning on God to notice that in yourself and try to change.

DIY Rice Sock Article by Tirzah B.

When reading this title you may ask, what is a rice sock? A rice sock is the coolest idea ever!! But what is it for? A rice sock is used to wrap around your neck when you sleep at night. You heat it up in the microwave for a couple of minutes, then the rice will get nice and hot, and it can also help with aches and pains while you sleep. If you’d like, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the rice for a sweet scent. Lavender for relaxation, and eucalyptus for colds. I recently received one from one of my friends as a gift, and I’m going to show you how to make one, so you can enjoy your own rice sock! Materials You Will Need: ~ One knee-high sock~ 4 ½ cups rice (if you’d like to use more rice, feel free!) ~ One thin rubber band ~ A wide mouth funnel ~ Essential Oils (optional) Step One- Measure out the 4 ½ cups of rice into a glass bowl. Squeeze a few drops of essential oil into the rice and stir. (optional) Set aside. Step Two- Place the opening of the sock around the mouth of the funnel, carefully wrap rubber band around the sock to hold in place. Keep your hand on the sock just in case.

Step Three- Gently pour rice into sock. Be careful, rice can spill easily!! Step Four- Remove funnel. Twist rubber band around the opening of the sock. Make sure this is very tight so that no rice will escape. Heating Instructions- Heat sock in microwave on HIGH at one minute intervals. Mush and rotate before heating longer. And that’s how to make a rice sock! Isn’t that easy? These funky little things can be used for gifts, cold nights, and comfy pillows on long car trips. Enjoy your rice socks!

Part 1 of a 3-part series

A Battle for God Article by Elizabeth J. Perhaps you know someone or have a loved one who is across the continent; fighting for our freedom. Every day they lace up their boots, arm themselves, and go out to the battlefield and each day they face danger, but they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t believe that it was worth facing. There is a battle that, as Christian’s, we all must fight. We may not be in the Afghan desert fighting for our country but we fight a battle all the same. We fight for a Higher Power; we fight for God. This is our battle and we are summoned to it until the last trumpet sounds. Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the

manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. --1 Corinthians 12: 1, 4-7 “You are so talented! You surely have a gift.” All of us have been

praised for something we’re good at. Perhaps you don’t think you’re good at anything and maybe you don’t believe that you have any gifts but if you are a Christian; you are mistaken, my friend. Our Creator has given us all unique abilities that are our weapons to carry as we go out to do battle for Him. The first step in finding your personal battle for the Kingdom of

Heaven is to first find the vision that God has placed within you. “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29: 18a How has God gifted you and what talents do you possess? These are the questions to ask when searching for your spot on the battlefield. If you really can’t pin point your God-given gifts; here are some tips for beginning to discover them. •Earnestly pray for the Lord’s leading. Ask Him to help you see the blessings and gifts of grace that he has given to you. •Ask your parents about it. Our parents see us better than we see ourselves and they know our strengths, weaknesses, and talents. Many times my Savior has used my parents to help me see things through His eyes.

•What do you enjoy doing? Do you like to teach younger children, do you enjoy talking to people; do you like to write, or do a specific activity? God often works through us by using the things we enjoy to battle valiantly for His cause. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. –Joshua 1:9 So what do you do once you have found the weapons that you will use in your battle for God’s Kingdom? Do we keep them for our own gain and our own profit or do we say, “Lord, here are the gifts that you have given to me, they are yours; use them as you will”? Everything we have is not ours; it is God’s and it should be our mission to use our talents for Him. How do you find out how the Lord would have you use your gifts? You pray. You seek our Savior’s face and you earnestly ask that He would show you what do to. Your parents, your friends, and I can’t tell you how to use your talents for the Kingdom of Heaven, only God can. He will show you your battlefield. When I began considering how I could use my gifts for the Lord, I had to start by beginning small and then growing from where I was. The ancient redwood trees in The Redwood National Forest didn’t reach their full height overnight. It took days; hundreds of years. Begin using your talents and gifts whenever you

can and wherever you can. You will be a blessing to others even if it is in a “small” way. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. –Matthew 28:19-20 What is the reason for Chris-

tians to have spiritual gifts and talents? They can be used to edify others in the Body of Christ and to help those in need but above everything else, one purpose supersedes. We have been equipped to reach the lost. We are to use the gifts that God has given us to lead the unsaved to a personal and saving relationship with the King of Kings. How do we do this? We begin by giving up what we want in place of what He wants. “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 2:4-5 We cannot effectively use our gifts to further the Kingdom until we have first surrendered our rights to what we have. An arrogant person

who is merely focused upon how wonderful they think they are will never be able to be an effective witness. If we wish to further a cause, we can’t sit at home and just think about what we might be able to do to reach others. We must get up and set out to reach out. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. –Galatians 6:9 Fighting our battle for Christ is not always easy. Often, it is very hard. We want to give up and we want to give in but we must persevere. Always remember that you may feel like you are so inadequate to fight the battle you have been called to, but God is bigger than our pitfalls and failures. Satan will never defeat the Lord of Host. Christian; you are called, you are equipped, and your instructions have been given. Will you answer the call to do battle for the King of Kings and Lord of Lord? It is my prayer that you will rise up and fight for the one who died to defeat the Last and Greatest Enemy of all. I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. --Isaiah 6:8

Then and Now *School Edition*

Article by Emily P.

Then: 1900’s One Room Schoolhouse: Most children didn’t finish the eighth grade. They left school to work on farms or in factories. One teacher taught all the grades for boys and girls. The teacher could punish the children with paddles, rulers or straps. The schoolhouses were cold since they only had one stove. Most children brought their lunch in old maple buckets. School was free and mostly attended by kids who weren’t rich. Most children walked at least a mile to get to school. They used slates to do their lessons.

1900’s Private Schools: Only wealthy children attended private schools. Boys and girls were in different private schools. The girls learned reading, spelling, history, arithmetic, geography, penmanship, manners, dancing, French, drawing, how to walk, how to stretch

and how to yawn. Private schools had lessons in archery, tennis, basketball and swimming. They learned to swim without any water by being hung on the ceiling in a harness to practice arm and leg movements.


2011 Public/Private Schools: They use lots of technology such as interactive boards, computers and ipads. Most children get rides to school. Cafeterias have hot lunches available. They have more than one teacher for different subjects. There are more opportunities to get involved with their school, such as school sports, clubs and running for class president.

2011 Homeschooling: (At my house!) Everything is homework. It is not unusual for us to eat snacks during school. Mom is our teacher. We get hand-me-down school books from our older siblings and friends. We do gym in our backyard (Dad is our personal trainer!). Everything is counted as school. We go on a lot of field trips. We can do school in our pajamas!

r e n r o C e ip


Old Fashioned Raisin Cookies

What You Need:

1 cup water 1 1/2 cup raisins 3 1/2 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup butter, softened 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 1 1/2 cups sugar Sugar mixture: 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp cinnamon

How To:

Boil the raisins in the water on low for about 30 minutes or until water is gone. Cool raisins. In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat together butter and sugaar. Once this mixture is smooth, add in vanilla and eggs. Mix together. Add the dry ingredients to this mixture and stir in the raisins. Form into 1” balls. Combine cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl. Roll 1” cookie balls in the cinnamon sugar mix, coating well. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, 1” apart. Bake at 375º for 8 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on cooling racks.

Baked Apple

What You Need:

1 medium sized apple Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (just a shake of each)

How To:

Thinly slice and core the apple, and arrange on a small plate. Shake on a small amount of whatever spices you enjoy, and then dribble a little bit of water on the slices so they don’t dry out. Cook on high in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (it depends on the type of apple you’re cooking.) If you want a little crunch to contrast the softness of the cooked apple, try sprinkling a small handful of grape nuts on top. Enjoy!!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bananas

How To:

Cut the banana into small sections. Spread peanut butter on the tops and sprinkle with chocolate chips!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bananas

Choco-Brittle What You Need:

How To:

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave. Crush the peanuts into little pieces. Add them togethor. Spread out onto a piece of aluminimum foil and freeze for 10 minutes or so. Enjoy!

No Bakes

Peanuts Peanut butter Chocolate chips

No-Bakes (Cookies or Bars)

Cheesy Jalapenos This snack is so simple, and if you enjoy a little zing, you’ll love this snack... and it’s healthy too!

What You Need:

What You Need:

Jalapeno or Banana peppers (Banana peppers are usually a little less hot) Your favorite kind of shredded cheese (Swiss is good w/ this recipe!)

How To:

Cut the peppers in half and take out all the seeds. It’s a good idea to wear plastic gloves when cutting these peppers, as they can burn your skin. Lay the pepper halves in a pan and fill them with shredded cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the peppers are slightly cooked. Enjoy! (And have a cup of water handy! :))


This is our all-time favorite family recipe! Once you get comfortable with the recipe, it’s easy to whip up a batch in fifteen minutes or less. 2 cups sugar 1/4 cup (or 1/2 stick) butter 1/2 cup milk 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder 1 tsp. vanilla 1/2 cup peanut butter 3 cups oats (we prefer old-fashioned, but quick-oats work as well)

How To:

-Lightly grease or butter a 9x13” baking dish and set aside (If you wish to make individual cookies, prepare a sheet of wax paper instead). -Combine sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat. -Add peanut butter, vanilla, and oats and stir until completely mixed in. -Pour immediately into prepared pan or spoon into cookies on wax paper.

Autumn Baking

elcome to the amazing world of baking! Baking is truly a beautiful use of the foods God has given us. As the season of autumn draws near, we are called upon to remember our loved ones as a crisp wind blows the brown leaves from oak trees. We think of autumns past, of Thanksgiving dinners and pumpkin pies. We think of baking spices wafting through the kitchen, tantalizing young taste buds. When your turn comes to provide those delicious scents, what will you make? Here’s one of my favorite pumpkin recipes to get you started!!  

Pumpkin Cupcakes

What You Need:

2/3 cup shortening 2 eggs  3/4 cup maple syrup  1/2 cup milk  1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour  1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1/2 teaspoon ground ginger  1/2 teaspoon ground allspice  1 cup canned pumpkin  1 package (8 ounces) Cream Cheese, softened  1/4 cup butter, softened  1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar 

How To:

1. In a large bowl, beat shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (mixture will appear curdled). Beat in syrup and milk. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger and allspice; add to shortening mixture and beat just until moistened. Stir in pumpkin.  2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.   3. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 16 cupcakes.    How easy! I tried this recipe a while ago and put my family in happy land. :)  But one thing that always stumps me when it comes to cupcakes is the frosting. *insert shudder* So here are some tips that help your cupcakes come out like the ones in those fancy baking magazines:   Frosting a Cupcake 101

1. Scoop your frosting into a sandwich baggy and zip shut. Using scissors, gently snip a small corner off of the baggy, you should have a small hole now. Carefully gather the top of the sandwich baggy at a diagonal angle into your hand. Squeeze gently onto the cupcake.   2.. It will not be perfect. Just remember that as you try and decorate your cupcake to look its best. Try squeezing the frosting in a circular manner, start at the edges, and squeeze the frosting in a full circle and repeat, tubing the frosting in a circle until you reach the center of the cupcake.   3. Place a generous amount of frosting on top of cupcake. With a plastic knife gently smear the frosting around in a circular motion. Frosting should end up evenly spread with a circular look to it.   Enjoy this recipe, and please enjoy the precious gift of baking for your family.

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Ask Kat

I have a friend that is really going down hill and starting to “lose her faith.” She swears in texts and emails to me, but never in real life, has worn a one piece her whole life, and recently switched to a bikini and talks bad about people [a lot of times my close friends!]. I don’t really want to be friends with her, and my parents don’t really want me to be, either, but she is so clingy and is always trying to hang out with me. I don’t want to tell her straight out that I don’t want to be her friend anymore but I just want her to change back to the friend she used to be. Do you think it would be bad to address to her that I don’t like how she is acting? Hey girl of God, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. It is so strange sometimes when friends start to act differently than they have in the past. Especially when they are choosing not so godly things to add to their life. I am glad you are recognizing those things, though, and if this girl is your friend I do think you should ask her about it. But I wouldn’t accuse her of being “sinful” or “wrong”, but just lovingly tell her she seems to be acting differently and because you love her you just want to make sure she is ok. Usually people start acting differently because something has changed in their life and they have a need that they think will be filled by doing worldly things. Sadly, the Bible tells us that filling ourselves with the world only leads to destruction. (Galations 6:8). We don’t want that for your friend. So maybe set some time aside to have that talk. Try to encourage her (I Thes 5:14). If she talks to you –great! But if she acts weird or offended then you might just have to let her know that although you love her and want the best for her, you can’t hang out with her for a while. Although it’s hard, sometimes we just have to step away from a friendship even if it’s just for a short time, and pray that God steps in.

Dear Kat, my friend always lies to me even about the littlest things, how do I get her to stop? Hi girl of God, I’m sorry to hear your friend is having trouble with her tongue. I know sometimes lying can start as something that is small, like a white lie. But after time, it grows into a way of life. That is how sin works if we don’t take care of it from the beginning. If you haven’t talked with her, you should. Express to her how you feel when she lies, even if it’s a small lie. Don’t assume that she knows she is lying. She might not even realize that she is doing it! But if you tell her how it tears down your trust with her and hurts your friendship hopefully she will recognize what’s happening and try to stop. “If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn’t follow. I’d be at the bottom to catch them when they fall.” –anonymous Dear Kat, hi. I met this guy this summer when I was teaching a summer musical, and I had such a great time with him that when the end of the musical came, I had a really hard time letting go of the whole show, especially working with this guy. I feel like there’s a big hole in my life and I want to fall in love with Christ more, but I feel like I’m all hung up over this guy and the show. What should I do to slowly focus my attention more on Christ? I pray daily, and go to church every Sunday...but I dont’ know how to make my love of Christ stronger and more vibrant. Thanks. Sincerely, Heart-Troubled Dear Heart-Troubled, hi. I totally understand your question because that same thing has happened to me. There is something about summer camps, musicals and events that bring people together! First, let me tell you that you are normal! It is normal to struggle with wanting more of God and feeling caught up with life at the same time. The suggestion that I have for you might sound strange, but I feel it could help you sort out your feelings. Don’t try to make your love for Christ stronger. If I tried to make my love stronger to my husband, it would be forced and almost feel fake. Sometimes my relationship with Drew isn’t vibrant. Sometimes it’s boring. But in those days I know it’s time to spend time with each other and do something fun to remind one another that we still love each other. So, try something new with God. Buy a new journal/notepad and start writing daily letters to God. Tell God how you feel and that you feel torn. Tell Him about your desire to get closer to Him. Also, share your heart about this boy and allow God to work on your heart as to what to do with those feelings. It’s so great that you are spending time in prayer and church, but sometimes we also just need to sit still and let God talk to us. So after you are done writing your letter, just sit and do nothing and allow God to speak to you. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words. “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” Habakkuk 2:20 Dear Kat, I really like this boy at school. He is one of my closest friends , though, and I don’t want to ruin our friend ship by telling him I like him. I also don’t want to tell anyone in our little group of friends because I’m afraid they would tell him. What should I do? Hi girl of God, If you aren’t ready to tell anyone about your feelings, I would keep praying about it. God has an amazing way of making ‘God moments’ happen when you know for sure that you are supposed to say something. Or He just might take those feelings away if it’s not ‘right’. Either way, He has your best interests in mind and will work out all things for His glory. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

It seems that lots of Christian girls wear skirts and dresses all the time, and that they have their hair very long. Does God tell girls that they should wear skirts and have long hair? Dear Girl of God, I can’t speak for the girls that you are seeing, but I do know some girls do that because of religious beliefs and have made certain decisions about things in their lives. There are some cultures that believe girls should have long hair and wear certain clothing. There are other cultures that don’t allow women to speak in public. Many different cultures in the world can bring many different ways to live. I found a great article that helps us dig deeper into this question specifically and the scriptures to help us know why some cultures might do this. But again, don’t assume all Christian girls do something for a specific reason. It might just be that’s what they like to wear! I wanted to also mention something that goes along with this. Let’s see what the Bible says about this subject. 1 Peter 3:3-5 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” I believe beauty is about what is inside and if we allow Jesus to cultivate our inner self our outer self will naturally be shaped. If we want to honor our “husband” (God right now!) then we should submit to Him and He will shape our beauty inside and out.

Submit your questions for Kat on the Ask Kat page of our website or send them to KyAnn at!

I have a friend who I just found out is not Christian. I’m scared for her. What should I do? Dear Girl of God, It can be scary to know that someone you love isn’t a believer in Jesus. The first thing we should do is pray. We have to remember that it isn’t our job to “convict the world of sin” that’s the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:). But it IS our job to “love deeply”. I Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I love that because it makes it easy for us. My suggestion to you is to love your friend while praying that God would send His Spirit to love on your friend as well. The light of God is in you, and it’s contagious. It will spill over, and your friend will see it. God honors the prayers of friends. Sometimes it just takes time.

How do I bring Christ into conversations with friends? Dear Girl of God, I don’t know you so it’s hard to help you specifically about what to say. But I know me, so I will talk about me. When I hang out with my friends I don’t just sit around and talk about Jesus. But I do talk sometimes about how I love to journal and I will write prayers in my journal to God. Sometimes that opens a door to talk about my relationship with Him and how that has changed my life. Another way I talk to people about Jesus is by sharing cool things he’s done for me. For example, one time I really wanted this cool picture and I didn’t have any money for it. So I told God that I wanted it. The next day someone brought me a gift and it was that picture. Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, God is like that. And the more stories we can share about what God is doing in our lives the more people are drawn to Him! He Rocks! So don’t be nervous, God is SO good that it’s easy to talk about how much He loves us.

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Email KyAnn at to get more information or to purchase an ad today!

Take The Bloom! Bible Challenge! All of the staff over here at Bloom! is taking a Bible challenge to read the entire Bible in one year. We would like all of you, our lovely readers, to consider taking this challenge with us! Each day’s worth of Bible reading should take you only about 15-20 minutes, depending on how fast you read. You will be reading one passage from the New Testament and one passage from the Old Testament every day. We will include a bookmark in each issue that you can cut out and keep in your Bible to keep track of your Bible reading. Ready to start? Print out this page, cut out your bookmark, and start reading! You will be blessed by this challenge. If you have decided to take this challenge with us, we’d love to know! Send us an email telling us that you have decided to take this challenge. Happy reading!

September Sep 1: Gen 1-3; Matt 1 Sep 2: Gen 4-6; Matt 2 Sep 3: Gen 7-9; Matt 3 Sep 4: Gen 10-12; Matt 4 Sep 5: Gen 13-15; Matt 5:1-26 Sep 6: Gen 16-17; Matt 5:27-48 Sep 7: Gen 18-19; Matt 6:1-18 Sep 8: Gen 20-22; Matt 6:19-34 Sep 9: Gen 23-24; Matt 7 Sep 10: Gen 25-26; Matt 8:1-17 Sep 11: Gen 27-28; Matt 8:18-34 Sep 12: Gen 29-30; Matt 9:1-17 Sep 13: Gen 31-32; Matt 9:18-38 Sep 14: Gen 33-35; Matt 10:1-20 Sep 15: Gen 36-38; Matt 10:21-42 Sep 16: Gen 39-40; Matt 11 Sep 17: Gen 41-42; Matt 12:1-23 Sep 18: Gen 43-45; Matt 12:24-50 Sep 19: Gen 46-48; Matt 13:1-30 Sep 20: Gen 49-50; Matt 13:31-58 Sep 21: Ex 1-3; Matt 14:1-21 Sep 22: Ex 4-6; Matt 14:22-36 Sep 23: Ex 7-8; Matt 15:1-20 Sep 24: Ex 9-11; Matt 15:21-39 Sep 25: Ex 12-13; Matt 16 Sep 26: Ex 14-15; Matt 17 Sep 27: Ex 16-18; Matt 18:1-20 Sep 28: Ex 19-20; Matt 18:21-35 Sep 29: Ex 21-22; Matt 19 Sep 30: Ex 23-24; Matt 20:1-16

“A chapter a day keeps the devil away!”

September 2011  

September 2011 Issue