Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 2011

It is March and almost spring!!!

I was running a little behind on posting articles this month due to some sickness/flu bugs that were going around in my family (the reason I wrote the Cabin Fever article).

Half of the articles are up now and look for the rest in a few days!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! Be sure to check out the “green” articles from last year!!!

Mandy and Rachel

I will be announcing the winner of Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren in a few days, too!!!
I'll also post the winner on Facebook!
 And check out the By Faith Column to see how you can win Waterfall this month!!!

Cabin Fever Challenge

Jesus - Devo - Cabin Fever Challenge

I don’t know about you, but this seems to be the time that cabin fever sets in. You may not live in a place where there is snow and you get stuck in the house, but you may be feeling some cabin fever anyway. Maybe it is the same old, same old: school, work, etc…

I have a challenge for you that will, hopefully, cure your cabin fever!

(In case you are wondering…Cabin Fever is…a state characterized by anxiety, restlessness, and boredom, arising from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place. ~dictionary.com)

One of my favorite passages is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I like to think of these verses as something that I can apply to my daily life and something that I need to work on daily.

My challenge for you is to take one week and apply this passage daily; 3 things, every day, for a week. That is the challenge.

Challenge In depth:

1. Verse 16: Be JOYful!!! Each day find things that you can be joyful about and see if the feeling can last all day. Example: You have a Heavenly Father that loves you! That should be something to keep a smile on your face.

2. Verse 17: Pray and pray, all day long. As you go through your day and think of people, just pray for them! Example: “I wonder how insert name is doing?” “Dear Lord, be with insert name, etc…”

3. Verse 18: Be thankful in every situation. This doesn’t mean you have to be thankful FOR the bad situations, but IN them. There is always something to be thankful for if you look hard enough. Example: As you are walking outside, start thanking the Lord for the trees or the sun. As you are in your home, be thankful for it. Be thankful for your family, friends, transportation, “toys”, food, water, etc…

Try out the challenge! Comment below and let me know if you are doing it and how it is going or how it went. Have some fun curing your winter blues!

Add Your Comment Here... March 2011

I grew in my relationship with God when…

Helping in the Harvest: Foster Families Part 2

Helping in the Harvest: Foster Families Part 2

As promised, I have more advice, information, and stories about foster care from my Grammy. I’ll just let you hear her wisdom in her own words:

“I think when we counted; we had approximately 150 [foster] kids in and out of our home. We had many of them the year we were an emergency home, so the turnover was great and most of them stayed just for a day or two.

“The biggest lesson I learned being a foster parent - that we always have enough love and space in the house for those kids who need it! (But that we also shouldn't neglect our own kids in the process). And that like Jesus feeding the 5,000, we always had enough food!!

“The greatest experience we had as foster parents - One short answer would be when we had a child that was scared because she had heard awful things about foster homes, and she said ours was not what she thought it would be; it was a good place and she felt safe and happy.

“The main thing I wished that we knew sooner was what I’ve told your mom - stand up for yourself with the Social Workers, because they know a good foster home when they see one and will overuse you (because there is such a shortage!) So be sure to take breaks between kids, get your own rest breaks as a family, because 'burnout' will happen otherwise.

“One scripture in particular I loved for the kids, especially when they left our home and I wondered what would happen to them? Had we taught them enough? Would they remember that we told them ‘Jesus loves them’? - I found Philippians 1:6 (Philippians being one of my favorite books of the Bible) ‘Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’

“To me this meant that if we got the ideas and love into them, it was God who would carry the rest of the work out in their lives, I just had to trust that someday something would pop into their heads about God's love for them.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”
Jeremiah 29:11

How To Help
For more information on Foster Care, contact your local County’s Child Protective Services, or visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/acf_services.html#aafc or http://www.childwelfare.gov/nfcad/ or http://www.nationalfostercare.org/

I love Philippians 1:6. It is a wonderful verse that I often pray over the foster children my family has taken in. Just thinking about that promise gives me hope for the foster child we’ve had and also for the children we have at the moment. (I have one of them in my lap right now as I write!) They may go home and I may never meet any of them again on this earth, but you can be sure I will never stop praying that I can meet them in Heaven. And who knows? Maybe I will.
Will you pray about becoming a foster family? Will you pray for the over 460,000 children in foster care? Will you pray for my family and the lives we are touching? Will you pray for the lives you are touching?

By becoming a foster family, you give your time, love, and prayer to children in need- and also to their families. Their parents are in much of need of prayer as their children are. Your example of love and kindness to their child, coupled with prayer, can have a drastic impact on their life.

In Your Community
“Advice for those who want to be Foster Parents/family - my advice is to do it with the right motives: because you love children, want to serve them and to bring Glory to God, not yourself! As a family, it should be a family decision, though the parents hold the biggest vote if they think it will work out... We could not have done it if we didn't believe that it was something God had for us to do, and we couldn't have done it in our own strength.”

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13

Monday, March 7, 2011

By Faith...Your Choice - March 2011

By Faith... March 2011

This month for By Faith, I would like you to tell me who you see living or have lived "by faith". It can be how you are living "by faith" or someone you know, it can be someone in the past, or somebody today that is living "by faith".

Nominate your person, and there may be an article about them sometime. When you comment, post their name (if it is you or someone close to you , feel free to just post your name and last initial), then comment as to how they are living or have lived "by faith".

Remember "By Faith" comes from Hebrews 11:1. Check that our for ideas!

Also, if you comment here, you will be eligible to win the second copy of Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren!!! If you want to win, be sure to check the comments at the beginning of April or leave your email or send your email address to: joyfilledgirls@hotmail.com.

OTHERS-By Faith...Lisa Tawn Bergren

OTHERS-By Faith...Lisa Tawn Bergren

And the Winner is...
Sarah G.
I hope you enjoy it!!! Email joyfilledgirls@hotmail.com to get your copy.

If anyone else is interested, check out March articles to find out how you can win a copy this month!!! 

This month we have a special author interview!!! And on top of being able to interview an author and have great responses, she has a special surprise for you. Lisa Tawn Bergren's brand new book for teens, Waterfall, is just coming out this month AND we are able to give one away here on the blog!!! Thank you Lisa! If you would like to win it, read through the article and then look at the bottom for more details on how to enter!**

And now may I present... 
Lisa Tawn Bergren!

1."By Faith" is based on Hebrews 11. How do you feel you are living By Faith?
It takes a certain amount of faith to try and make a living as a writer--believing that God has planted a story within your mind that is worthy of publication; believing that you can start with a blank page and write a cohesive story that matters (or get to the end at all!); believing that readers may like it; believing that you're supposed to be doing this even if some people don't like your work; believing that it will sell enough that you can do it again the next time. But I'm also trying to learn how to live my whole life by faith--being SO "sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" that my entire life becomes one of optimism, hope, assuredness even when difficult circumstances or trials come my way.

2. What were you like as a teenage girl?
Church rat, one of the youth group "backbones," 3.2 GPA, not one of the populars, but with lots of solid friendships, loved books and movies.

3. Tell us about your next book coming out.
WATERFALL is my first YA novel, and it's about two sisters who are transported through time to medieval Italy. There, they find romance, love, and a boatload of danger. They have to fight for their lives--and those they're coming to love--and figure out how to get home. Or even if they want to.

4. Why did you decide to write a book for teen girls?
My eldest daughter, Olivia, was a reluctant reader. I tried and tried to get her to read, but it wasn't until TWILIGHT that she understood how a book could keep you up all night reading. I wanted to give her another read like it--a solid romantic suspense--but without the vampires.

5. Which one of your books is your favorite?
THE BEGOTTEN. I love this medieval time period, and THE BEGOTTEN is about a group of people called by God to affect change in his kingdom. It was epic--bigger than me. It hasn't sold the best, but it still is one of my favorites for sure.
6. Tell us about your salvation story. How did you come to know Jesus?
I've always known Jesus. That's the bonus of being raised in the church and in a Christian family. But after college, I went to be a ski bum for a winter and found I was really, really depressed. I also recognized that I was really far from my faith roots. I had a personal reformation experience, where I was down on my face before God, and he picked me up, dusted me off and sent me from Park City, UT to Jerusalem, Israel, where I stayed for three weeks and got my head and heart back in order. Ever since, he's been first in my life and my relationship deepens with him every year.

7. JOY is a blog for girls. Looking back at where you were to where you are now, what advice would you have given yourself when you were a teenage girl?
Be kind to yourself. Try and see yourself as God sees you--special, treasured, cherished, loved. He sees all the potential in you, what you are now, and what you could be--let him mold you, push you, pull you, pry you open, press you closed so you become all that he created you to be. And what's on the INSIDE of you is way more important than what's on the OUTSIDE. The world focuses on outer appearances, but your father focuses on your heart.

8. How do you balance writing, family, and remain focused on God?
It's a constant battle. I'm getting better at morning devotional time, and a weekly Sabbath rest--at least 2 of 4 weeks--which is an improvement. It helps now that all 3 of my kids are in school. I get them off, take care of home life and marketing stuff in the morning, then write in the afternoons.

9. When did you know you were meant to be a writer?
When I started getting fan mail telling me my books--my little books--were making a big impact on people's lives. Healing. Salvation. Reordering of priorities. Through fiction? Yes, through fiction. That's really God, working through my words. And I think that's pretty miraculous.

A few fun questions:

10. What is the one material thing you wouldn't leave home without?
My laptop.

11. What is the one food you don't think you could live without?
Bread. I really hope I never have to go gluten-free because the gluten-free stuff isn't the yeasty numminess I crave.

12. What is your favorite color?
Green, all shades.

13. What was/were your favorite book and/or movie growing up?
Books: ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, A WRINKLE IN TIME, LITTLE WOMEN, Chronicles of Narnia...as a pre-teen. Then I pretty much leaped to adult novels: GONE WITH THE WIND and THORN BIRDS come to mind. Christian fiction was fairly nonexistent when I was growing up--I'm really glad we offer kids and adults so much more these days. But I did enjoy the Thoenes' books and Frank Peretti's books had a big impact on me too.
Movies: I liked action-packed, epic movies: Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, Superman

14. What is/are your favorite book and/or movie now?
Favorite book of 2010: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Favorite movie of 2010: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

15. Is there anything else you would like to share with teen girls?
There are so many pressures for kids these days--good grades, finding the right friends, figuring out which activities to invest in, Facebook and texting, TV--try and not get too spread out and stressed out. God wants you to live a whole life, a life of deep investment, not just on the surface, and that takes time and energy. See where he's calling you to dial back a bit and give yourself time to grow up into the woman he wants you to be. Invest in him--your relationship with him--through reading the Word, hanging out with Christian friends, reading books about life with him, and figure out how to talk to him. He's your Best Friend--for life. And anything you do to deepen that relationship will only make your life better.

Make sure you check out Lisa's Website and Facebook pages!
Website: http://lisatawnbergren.com/
River of Time FB: http://www.facebook.com/riveroftimeseries
Lisa’ Fan FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/lisa.t.bergren#!/pages/Lisa-Tawn-Bergren/29354438694

**If you would like to win WATERFALL, please comment on the article below and include your name and email and you will be eligible to win.  
(If it does not let you comment, feel free to email: joyfilledgirls@hotmail.com)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

You - St. Patrick's Day Ideas!

YOU - Saint Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick Day on March 17th!!!!

Check out this link to find fun ideas from last on how to celebrate the day and what that day is all about!

Click here: http://joyfilledgirls.blogspot.com/2010_03_14_archive.html