GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

FIRST tour: "Let’s Have A Daddy Day" by Karen Kingsbury


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Karen Kingsbury

and the book:

Let’s Have a Daddy Day

Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of ZonderKidz for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury has written more than forty of her Life-Changing Fiction titles and has nearly sixteen million in print. Dubbed by Time magazine as the Queen of Christian Fiction, Karen receives hundreds of letters each week and considers her readers friends. Her fiction has made her one of the country’s favorite storytellers, and one of her novels, Like Dandelion Dust, is under production for an upcoming major motion picture release. Her emotionally gripping titles include the popular Baxter family novels, the 9/11 Series, Even Now, Ever After, and Between Sundays. Karen and her husband, Don, live in the Pacific Northwest with their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. You can find out more about Karen, her books, and her appearance schedule at her website.

Dan Andreasen lives in Medina, Ohio, with his wife and three children. He has illustrated more than thirty picture books. When his daughter was asked by her first grade teacher, “What kind of work does your daddy do?” she replied, “He colors.”

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310712157
ISBN-13: 978-0310712152

TO BROWSE THE BOOK, CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW

Let’s Have a Daddy Day

My Opinion:

This is a beautifully illustrated book written for children and their dads. Karen Kingsbury has done a wonderful job in making this book flow together and it’s easy-to-read style keeps the child(ren) engaged. It’s beautifully illustrated with a dad, his son and daughter. These pictures also keeps the children engaged in the story and it provided fodder for their imagination.

A wonderful hard covered book this will be a keepsake for the dads and children in your life and would make a great gift for dads on Father’s Day to read to their children. I’ve read Karen’s books for adults and her writing style shines through in this beautiful children’s book as well.

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"Raising a Modern-Day Princess" by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card authors are:

Pam Farrel

and

Doreen Hanna

and the book:

Raising a Modern-Day Princess

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009)

***Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORs:

Pam Farrel is a relationship specialist, international speaker, and author of over 25 books, including best selling Men are like Waffles—Woman Are Like Spaghetti. She hs been a pastor’s wife and director of women’s ministries, and is president of Seasoned Sisters.

Visit the author’s website.

Doreen Hanna is founder and president of Treasured Celebrations Ministries. She is the co-author of Becoming a Modern-Day Princess, a biblically-based rite-of-passage program for teenage girls. She is a faculty member and motivational speaker for CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, & Speakers Seminars), and has been a women’s Bible study teacher and trained biblical counselor for more than 25 years.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158997574X
ISBN-13: 978-1589975743

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Seeking My Father’s Blessing: What Every Young Woman Longs For

‘I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.’

The Word of the Master, God.

—2 CORINTHIANS 6:18 (MSG)

I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics; even if they dress in rags; even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?

—A LITTLE PRINCESS (1995)

Lying in my bed, I [Doreen] lifted the shade and peeked out the window. Except for a sprinkle of stars and a sliver of a moon, it was now pitch black outside. My sister’s gentle snore let me know she was sound asleep. The TV was off and I had heard my parents’ bedroom door close. It was time for my escape.

Earlier in the day I had picked out my best purse for this “runaway.” It was red, rectangular in shape, with hinges on it, like a little suitcase, and a mirror on the lid. It could only hold my hairbrush, two pairs of panties, and a package of crackers. But for an eight-year-old, that was good enough. I was ready to go.

However, I began to have doubts. I considered how hard it would be to walk down the hall past my parents’ bedroom without them hearing me because there was a board in the floor of the hallway that creaked. But if I attempted to open the heavy wooden window of our bedroom and tried to remove the screen, I knew for sure that my sister would wake up.

Suddenly, or so it seemed, those warm covers felt so good as I heard the wind blow through the trees on that chilly, late winter’s eve. I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open. I fought it, but it felt like someone was gently closing them. The next thing I knew, it was morning, and once again, I had failed to make my great escape.

This scenario played out many times in my elementary years. But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties, seeking help for challenges in my marriage, that I discovered why I continued to replay leaving home but never making my way out.

As a child, there were certain securities that kept me there. My mother loved me, food was always on the table, and I had a lovely home to live in. We lived in a middle-class neighborhood where I enjoyed many childhood friendships. I enjoyed spending time with both sets of grandparents who lived close by.

I remember the enjoyment of watching Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best on TV and wishing my dad was like one of those TV dads.

From the age of five well into my teens, I loved watching the Miss America beauty pageants, and wished that I would someday be beautiful enough to be crowned a princess.

I wept deeply for the first time in my life as I spoke those words out loud to my counselor. He sat and listened as I began to describe occurrences that clearly displayed the lack of my father’s acceptance throughout my life. This seemed to open the floodgates of memories and hurt and angry feelings I felt toward my father.

Seen but not Heard

I recollected how resentful I was toward my dad for so often sending my sister and me to bed by six-thirty in the evening so he could have our mother to himself.Many summer nights I would peer out my bedroom window, yearning to be with the rest of the kids on the block who were playing hide-and-seek at dusk while I was supposed to be sleeping; all because my dad thought children were to be “seen and not heard.” I believed that this was just a convenient out for him on many occasions, when those words followed his request that we leave the room.

I expressed to the counselor how I was told by my mother every night, for the first 12 years of my life, to “go and kiss your father good night,” no matter how I felt. He most often sat comfortably in his easy chair, watching TV, expectant of my nightly kiss. I could not remember one time in my childhood when he came to tuck my sister or me into bed and kiss us goodnight. That longing was heightened when I saw my friends’ dads do this for them whenever I had spent a night in their homes.

I recounted how, in my teen years, I dreaded our nightly family dinners. I would set the table thinking, What will he find fault with tonight? Would it be my acne? Or would I draw his criticism for putting butter on my bread? Or maybe it would be my posture, bringing a threat that he was going to make a wood brace that would force me to sit up straight.

His harsh, critical words about my appearance caused me to feel that I would never gain his favor or have boys interested in me.

I Will Prove Him Wrong

By this time I was becoming rebellious. I was determined to prove him wrong. I would get a boyfriend.

I found, in those early teen years, that flirting with the boys brought quick attention and some form of emotional gratification. I was so hungry for them to compliment me or just kiss me—validating me as a young woman. I didn’t understand why all the other girls didn’t flirt with the boys like I did. I thought it was fun. I lost the trust of some girlfriends and made enemies playing that game, luring the other girls’ boyfriends away from them. But the relationships were short-lived so I thought, What’s the big deal?

I looked for every opportunity to be away from home—a school football game, a party, a church activity, or anything else that was acceptable to my mother. My dad never minded how much time I spent away from home unless it interfered with the chores he required of me. In fact, I truly believed Dad appreciated my time away from home as much as I did.

By the age of 17, I was a senior in high school and had dated almost every guy I had hoped to. However, that had left me very lonely. I didn’t even have a date to the senior prom. I had proved my father wrong, but all to no avail. I had isolated numerous potential girlfriends and was left with no boyfriend. I had a huge hole in my heart and nothing seemed to fill it.

The Man of My Dreams

Within two weeks of my high-school graduation, the man of my dreams came into my life. He had just finished a three-year term in the army and had returned home to establish himself in civilian life. He was the potential “catch” for every girl between the ages of 18 and 22 in the church where our families had attended for many years.

He was 22 years old and very handsome, over six feet tall, blue eyes, a great sense of humor, and—very important to a beach-city girl—a surfer! One night, as I jumped into the backseat of his parents’ car for a ride home from church, there sat Chad. I was excited but jittery, knowing I was sitting right next to the “catch.” I spoke more to his parents than to him because I was so nervous.

His dad pulled up in front of my house. As I slipped out of the car Chad said, “Boy, those are some great legs!” My heart leaped—Chad Hanna thought I was pretty! By Friday he’d asked me out and within six months we were engaged.

At barely 19 years of age, marriage seemed like the best solution to escape my father’s house. My dad viewed life with a strong work ethic. He did not regard higher education as a necessity and had informed me that if I were to consider going away to college, I’d have to pay for it myself. That seemed impossible. So I was soon working full-time and saving my money for a beautiful wedding.

My father was not happy that I was marrying Chad. I remember one day, just weeks before the wedding, he said to me, “I thought this would be a time in your life when you could spend some time with me.” I couldn’t believe my ears! I was instantly angry and thought, He’s ignored me for the last 19 years of my life and NOW he wants to spend time with me?

It was the first time in my life that I sensed I had begun to build a wall in my heart—a wall that I thought would keep my father from hurting me anymore.

The day of the wedding, as I stood waiting to go down the aisle on my father’s arm, he turned and touched the edge of my veil. I thought for just a second that we were going to share a special moment. Instead he stated, “My mother would have never let this happen.” I looked to see that my veil had been trimmed slightly unevenly. “Your grandmother would have trimmed this in satin,” he stated proudly.

Rightly so, my grandmother was a well-known seamstress and had I asked, I’m sure she would have done it for me. Once again, I had failed to meet my father’s standards.

Still, that walk down the aisle gave me such hope. I had proven that I could find a man to love me and would finally be free from my father. I believed that saying “I do” would eliminate my frustrated and angry feelings toward him. Yet, there I sat in a counselor’s office 10 years later, dealing with all my “father” issues.

Break Down the Wall

With kindness and gentleness, my counselor helped me realize that the wall I had built in my heart ultimately never hurt my father; it only hurt me. He continued by saying that I would never be free emotionally or spiritually until I could forgive my father. OFFER forgiveness? I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, Shouldn’t my dad be seeking MY forgiveness?

As I left the counselor’s office, pondering his advice to forgive my father, I drove to my parents’ home to have a chat with my mother. I was considering the possibility that my memories might be distorted and I wanted to gain her perspective.

As we sat and talked, things began to unfold. She told me something I had never really understood before. I was a honeymoon baby. My father was not only shocked that, at 19 years of age, he was going to be a father within months of being married, he was also very disappointed that he was going to have the responsibilities of a father. He had told my mother prior to their wedding that he wasn’t ready for children and had wanted to wait at least five years before starting a family.

So, upon my birth he found me an obstacle to having my mother fully to himself. Ah ha! Now I was beginning to understand why I had been sent to bed by six-thirty so many nights of my life!

My mom also told me how critical his mother and other members of my father’s family had been toward him as a child, calling him various “pet names” that were very degrading. He, too, at the age of 18 couldn’t wait to marry and flee from his home.

Driving home after chatting with my mom, I thought about what she had told me and seriously considered the words of my counselor. His desire was to free me from the inner turmoil that comes from harboring unforgiveness. In addition, he pointed out how this turmoil was overflowing into my marriage relationship—the reason I was there to see him originally! He explained to me that I had put many of my unfilled expectations of my father onto my husband. He then humorously expressed,

“It would take at least three men to fulfill all that you are expecting your husband to fulfill!”

As I walked through the door of our home that night, I determined that I would seek Chad’s forgiveness for the unrealistically high expectations I had placed upon him during our marriage. That night as we slipped into bed, I expressed to him how I now realized why I had been asking so much of him. I was trying to have him fulfill what I had desired from my father all of my life. He understood my feelings and forgave me. I closed my eyes at peace now with my husband, but still—what about my dad?

The Power of the Blessing

Within weeks aftermy counselor’s challenge to forgive my father—which I wasn’t yet ready to do—I went to a local bookstore to pick up a gift for a friend. While there, I happened to also pick up a book titled The Gift of the Blessing, authored by John Trent and Gary Smalley (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1993).My eyes were immediately drawn to the following sentence on the cover:

Dr. John Trent tells of his search to receive the blessing from his father and how, with the new insight he received from God through that search, he has sought to pick up the pieces of his shattered dream.

Those words jumped out at me. My dreams had been shattered and I was trying to pick up the pieces. And I surely did not want to be like my father. I wanted to do things differently for my daughters. I bought the book and began reading.

Chapter after chapter, I remember thinking, Oh, how I wish my father had done that for me. My self-pity was stopped short in the last chapter when Dr. Trent presented this challenge: “If you have not received your parent’s blessing, begin to bless them and see what God will do.” I was again confronted to face my “father” issues head-on.

Within days of finishing the book, I called my father and asked if I could take him to lunch—just the two of us. He said “yes” without hesitation, and we met together the next day. I can still remember exactly where we sat at a small Mexican restaurant in Cave Creek, Arizona.

As he finished his last few bites of an enchilada, I mustered up the courage to share my feelings. “Dad, I now know that when I was a child you demonstrated your love by providing a home for us, nice clothes, and food on the table. However, I’ve always felt that you didn’t like me.”

Those were some of the hardest words I had ever spoken. I felt that by saying this out loud to my father, I was taking the risk of his complete rejection.

Conversely, he quickly responded, saying almost word for word what my mother had said about him, “I didn’t want children immediately after marriage, and I was taught that children were to be seen and not heard.”

I could sense regret in his words and it was reflected in his demeanor. For the first time in my life I felt sorry for my father, and the wall I had built in my heart began to crumble.

When he had finished talking, I said, “Dad, I want to have a good relationship with you; one that also includes my husband and children. With the counseling I have received recently, I’ve come to realize that I’ve had a deep resentment toward you for a long time. I would like for us to have a better relationship from here on and I need to ask for your forgiveness. Will you forgive me?”

My father’s eyes welled with tears as he replied, “Yes I will, and will you forgive me?”

I wept out those healing words: “Yes, Dad, I forgive you.”

Wow! What a huge step in our relationship. While, in all honesty, I had hoped to hear “I love you,” I was satisfied at that time with, “Will you forgive me?”

As the years progressed, our father/daughter relationship began to grow. We could laugh and talk together for the first time in our lives.

From that day—he in his forties and I in my twenties—we were both seeking to grow spiritually, prompting engaging discussions between us.

In addition, at our now numerous family gatherings, I would delight as I watched my father and Chad enjoy each other’s company.

The Perfect Father’s Day Card

Some years later, I remember searching for several weeks, seeking to find the perfect Father’s Day card. At the end of a discouraging search, I felt prompted to pray and ask the Lord if He had something that He wanted me to write for my father. As I lifted my head from prayer, it was as if suddenly the creative writer that was deep within me came out and my fingers began to speed across the keyboard, typing out a poem for my father.

I had never felt that I had a poetic gift until that day! I sat in amazement of my own work as I reread the poem. I quickly printed it out and sent it on its way to arrive by Father’s Day.

My father and I were living several hundred miles apart at this time, so the following Sunday I called to wish him a happy Father’s Day. I was so eager to find out whether he’d received the poem and hear his reaction to it that I urgently asked, “Dad, did you get my poem?”

He, rather casually, just said, “Yes, it was nice.”

My heart dropped. I thought the poem was fabulous and all I got was an “It was nice.” I made every effort to mask my disappointment in his response. We went on to other topics of conversation. But as we were closing our phone call, he said, “I love you, Mija.”

Whenever my father called me Mija (a Spanish word of endearment) I always knew I was in his good graces. This was big—very big! I heard an “I love you” coupled with a “Mija!”

I quickly responded, “I love you, too, Dad.” I got off the phone and fell into a heap of happy tears. I had heard the words I had yearned to hear all of my life from my father: “I love you.”

Several months later, I had a business trip that took me to Phoenix, Arizona, where my parents lived. When I arrived at my parents’ home, only my mother was there. We chatted for a few minutes and then she said, “Before your father gets here, I must show you something.” She took me into their bedroom, and there on the wall hung a 3×5 copy of the poem, done in calligraphy on parchment paper and lacquered to a beautiful piece of wood. I wept with joy, not only realizing how much he valued that gift, but also appreciating how often since that Father’s Day he had told me he loved me.

In that reflective moment, the thought came to me that I was living out the last chapter of the The Gift of the Blessing, which stated, “If you want to be a person who honors your parents, you will be a person who blesses them. When you truly honor them and do what is right in God’s eyes, it will even prolong your life; living free of resentment and unforgiveness does prolong our lives, enabling us to live years longer!”

Pam’s Search

We sat across the table in a restaurant in Canada. My husband, Bill, and I had just appeared on theTV show Marriage Uncensored with Dave and Christie. Over dinner Dr. Dave Currie and his wife, Donalyn, along with Bill and I, were talking about our children and our families of origin.

Dave and his wife have two remarkable daughters, whom we had met as they sat in the studio audience that night. As we sat at the table that evening, Dave shared a story that penetrated me to the core. When his daughter Jody was a very little girl, she came home and announced her love interest in a little boy. Dave said to her, “Honey, when you are much older, there will be a day when you will want to give your heart to a man. He will have to be really special, and you will need to feel confident that he is the one God wants you to marry. Until then, I will keep your heart. I will keep it safe.”

Dave’s wife made a heart that hung in the Currie home and on it hung two gold keys, one for each daughter. Any time Dave prayed with his daughters, tucked them into bed, or acted out any of the other daily interactions a loving father would have with his daughter, he’d say, “And who has the key to your heart?” His daughters would answer, “You do, Daddy.” Anytime he had to set a rule or make a correction he would begin with, “Remember who has the key to your heart?” And the girls would answer, “You do, Daddy.”

Then Dave would explain how because he, their daddy, has their best interests on his heart, he had to make decisions and choices to protect his daughters and provide the very best path for them. Dave would explain, “God has called me to do this because God and Daddy love both of you little girls very much.”

Dave shared, “One day Jody met and fell in love with a fabulous man, Chris. She came to me and asked if she could have her heart now because she had found the man she wanted to give it to. I agreed and prayed and released her heart.”

The day of their wedding, Dave asked one last time, “Who has the key to your heart?” But this time the answer was different; it was the name of her new husband.

Then Dave sang a song he had written for this moment, The Transfer of the Sacred Trust:

As man to man, we stand here today,

Though the time is so right, I won’t give her away.

Yet you are my answer to the prayer for God’s plan

Please listen close, Son, as I give you her hand.

God gave me a trust as head of my home

To look after my family, to protect through life’s storm,

To comfort and build these put in my care

And cover them daily with a fatherly prayer . . . that’s why

I won’t let her go, but I will let you start.

To treasure her most, you must carry her heart.

I’ll still be her Dad, but relinquish I must,

It’s the transfer of the sacred trust,

The transfer of the sacred trust.

There comes a day in every girl’s life

About leaving and cleaving, ’bout becoming a wife,

I’ve protected her heart from all other men

The depth of this moment, please understand.

God gives you this trust now as head of your home

To look after my daughter, to protect through life’s storm,

Your love dare not waver as you carry her heart

Please hold her real close as I did from the start . . . you see

I won’t let her go, but I will let you start.

To treasure her most, you carry her heart.

I’ll still be her Dad, but relinquish I must,

It’s the transfer of the sacred trust,

It’s the transfer of the sacred trust,

I transfer now my sacred trust.

(reprinted with permission)

Right after he sang the song, he gave Chris, his new son-in-law, the key that had hung in the Currie home, the key to his daughter’s heart.

Then six years later, for his second daughter, Keldy, Dave repeated the passing of this sacred trust, and gave the key to her heart to her new husband, also a prince of a man.

A dedicated dad holds the key to the heart of his Modern-Day Princess until the day God’s prince of a husband comes to care for the heart of that precious young woman. It is a sacred trust, passing from the two men who should love a woman more than any other: a father, then a husband.

I sat at the table weeping because that is the kind of love I had always longed for as a daughter. That is the kind of love that builds courage and confidence into a young woman’s heart and life.

Looking for My Key

In a nutshell, I grew up in a home that was confusing. One night I might be dancing around the living room with my daddy, but the next night he might be in a drunken rage banishing me to my bedroom in fear. I would slide my chest of drawers in front of the door to keep him from coming in my room while he was so angry. I always thought our family might make the front-page news, but not for a good reason, rather a headline that would read, “Man shoots family then shoots himself.”

When I was in high school, one night I was awakened from a deep sleep to my mother screaming, “Help me!” We three kids bolted from our beds, running through a pitch-black house thinking, Oh no! We need to rescue Mom! We broke open the door into the garage and there we found, not my mom in need of rescue, but rather my daddy, trying to hang himself from the rafters of the garage.

My brother, Bret, a high-school football player, pulled my dad down and dragged him into the living room, pushing him onto the sofa. I took the noose off his neck and began to pray aloud over my father. I knelt and prayed with my siblings and my mother for hours, singing hymns, praying, and begging God to rescue my father from himself.

Abba, Father

Later that same day, God spoke to my heart, “Pam, you have been pushing me away. You must think I am like your earthly father: distant, demanding, and demeaning. I am not like that! Open up the Bible; find out who I am.” Shortly after that day, I came upon Romans 8:15, which says we call God “Abba, Father.” I was reminded again of the reason I made the decision to begin a relationship with Him. I recalled in a powerful way that the King of Kings was my Daddy and He loved me unconditionally. My best interests were and are on His heart. It was as if He were saying, “Who has the key to your heart?”

You do, Daddy, my

Abba Father, I am your daughter, a daughter of the King.

For the next three years I kept a journal and I wrote down all the verses I found that showed God loved me and was a Father I could trust. That journey was my personal rite of passage into becoming a woman of God.

Those verses placed my tiara on my head as I was crowned a Modern-Day Princess. Because of this journey, I was able to recognize my own prince, Bill, when God sent him into my life. I could see that Bill, a healthy, godly man who loved me fully, was worthy to hold the key to my heart.

God sent many people into my life to help me understand what it meant to be God’s princess. You will hear some of those stories, and hear more of my own journey to grasp what it means to be a daughter of the King.

Highly Motivated, Greatly Needed

You see, the two of us [Pam and Doreen] are highly motivated to help young women learn what it means to be daughters of the King. Somehow girls around the world have lost their way. Consider the following statistics:

One in three girls becomes pregnant before age 20.
The median age at which young women have their first sexual experience is 17.
One in four will contract an STD (sexually transmitted disease).
Forty percent of girls at a contraceptive clinic are there without their parents’ knowledge.
One third of all teen pregnancies will end in an abortion.
We also know that many girls are turning into bullies. Nearly one third of all juvenile arrests are girls, and one-third of all property crimes are perpetrated by girls. About one-quarter of all aggravated assaults are committed by girls. A girl is more likely to be violent at home, and the victim more than any other is her mother.

Dr. Dallas Jackson, professor of educational leadership at Argosy University/Tampa and assistant principal of curriculum at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Pinellas County, Florida, says, “Over 50 percent of the bullying incidences involve one girl picking on another.” Cyber bullying has made picking on each other more common and deadly.

On March 30, 2008, high-school cheerleader Victoria Lindsay was lured to a friend’s home in Lakeland, Florida. While two boys stood guard outside the house, six girls attacked Lindsay. They knocked her unconscious by slamming her head against a wall. Then the perpetrators posted the attack on the Internet. After the authorities arrested the teens involved, one asked if she would “make cheer practice,” apparently uncaring of the seriousness of the attack.

Cyber bullying can consist of mean or critical comments, sharing personal information in a public setting, or demeaning or undermining another girl’s social standing. Today, this kind of pain can travel at light speed through text messaging, IM chatting, or social-networking postings.

And girls pick on the guys, too. On December 5, 2004, the Ottawa Citizen reported: “Considerably more boys than girls say their dates yell at them, demean them, pinch them, slap them, and out-and-out attack them, according to preliminary findings in a study on dating violence.”

However, teen girls are hardest on themselves. Teenage girls are more likely to develop depression than teenage boys. (The Heritage Foundation found that those who were sexually active had a much higher depression rate). Depression in girls might also extend to behaviors like cutting, anorexia, bulimia, and other self-destructive behaviors. Girls experiment with drugs and alcohol in higher numbers than boys. Often, girls use drugs and alcohol to lose weight.

Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. A new, desperate, self-destructive behavior is “sexting,” which includes text messaging pornographic photos of themselves; over 20 percent of girls have engaged in this risky behavior.

Consider the young women around you. Can you think of just one girl you know who seems to have lost her way? When I [Pam] met Emily, she was suffering from the hurt and pain of a dysfunctional family. Her mother, distracted by her own pain, was unable to help her daughter. Emily needed someone to care enough to come alongside her, to reach out and show her God’s love. There are Emilys all around us.

My [Pam’s] motivation in writing this book was heightened on September 5, 2007, the day my first granddaughter, Eden, was born. Even while she was in utero, and since, I have prayed she will step into her priceless identity as a daughter of the King. I pray that her mother, Hannah, will have all she needs to impart a godly heritage to her. I know my son Brock will impart a blessing on his daughter because he already does, in the way he gently loves and cares for Eden. But I also know Eden will need more voices, more wisdom—the help of mentors—to help her safely step into, and then walk out, her identity in Christ.

Can you hear a host of teen girls crying, asking, and waiting for your help and guidance? Right now, think of a young woman, a tween or teen, you might know. She may be your daughter, your niece, or just a young girl you’re acquainted with. You could be the person in her life to dust off her tiara, place it on her head, and help her see herself as God sees her—a person valued and loved. And you could do this for many girls, moving a multitude of young women into a healthy, whole, and wholesome future as adult women who make a difference for their generation.

Out there among you, there are many “Doreens” who are longing for affirmation; “Pams” who are longing for attention; “Emilys” who are longing for affection; and “Edens” who are looking for agreement. One voice to confirm her value can make all the difference in a girl’s life. Every girl deserves a mentor, a mom, and a memorable blessing—a rite of passage to womanhood—and a chance to be a woman who reflects God’s character and lives it out to leave a positive imprint in a world that so desperately needs it.

Mentor Moment

It’s Mother’s Day, and I [Pam] answer my cell phone often. I have only three sons, but several young women will call me on this special day and thank me for being their “spiritual mom.” Though I am not a biological mom of daughters, I am a mentor to many women.

Let me share my journey to becoming a mentor. It first began when a series of women sacrificed their time and energy to mentor me. I, myself, had a terrific mom who came to know Christ the same year that I did. I was 8, my mom, 28.

But I grew up in a home filled with the drama of an alcoholic father prone to domestic violence. My first mentors were two women I didn’t even know were mentors until years later because I had no idea what the word mentor even meant! They were two of my mother’s friends, Kathy and Mrs. Beamer.

Both of these special women saw the chaos in our family and compassionately invited us to attend church with them. At Kathy’s home, I saw what a healthy marriage looked like and how a healthy family functioned. At Sunday school, Mrs. Beamer taught me about Jesus, the Author of love, and prepared my heart for the personal decision to receive Jesus I would make before my ninth birthday.

What I learned most from these women was:

• Love lavishly and trust the results to God.

• Be faithful in the little things because you don’t know how that little act of kindness, integrity, or wisdom might ripple to impact hundreds, thousands, even millions of people.

In college, I was looking for love in all the wrong places, trying to add up awards and accolades in a frantic search for self that was leaving me feeling empty. As I watched my parent’s marriage implode and fall apart, I felt helpless and very alone in life. I was a young woman with a heart to do good but a fatal flaw inside my heart that threatened to destroy my life before it ever really got started.

At the time, I had an overstated need for male attention. I was a virgin at 18 but a tease and very disjointed in my personal value system. I just wasn’t sure what I believed about much of anything. It was as if I had been dropped by a plane into a vast wilderness and I was looking for my compass. In my life, Tina, my next mentor, became the compass giver.

I met Tina at a Campus Crusade Bible study; she was the woman who, with her husband, organized the event. Tina asked me questions, hard ones at times: Who did I think Jesus was? What did I think my life purpose was? Did I read the Bible? Attend church? Tina also answered my questions, held me accountable to make wise choices, expected me to reach higher and further in my goals, and challenged me to be a better person and leader than I had ever pictured for my life. She encouraged me to dress more modestly, act more lady-like, think more critically about principles, and decide more strategically about my future and my place in the world.

Her nurturing of me in the area of what constitutes healthy dating, engagement, and marriage set the foundation for the strong, vibrant marriage I have today. I would have completely missed my godly, amazing husband, Bill, had Tina not entered my world and gotten me unaddicted to men. She pushed me to interview couples with healthy marriages to get a better view of what dating boundaries work best. She pointed me to God and Scripture to form my core relationship values.

What I learned from Tina:

• Always ask the tough questions.

• Expect the best from people and they will rise to meet those expectations.

• Be a woman of sure principles in an unsure world.

The woman who mentored Tina also mentored me. Her name is Faith. Faith and her husband, Cal, had a vision for building a home across the street from the college campus where students could come and get wisdom, training, and a safe place to make better choices in life as they were launching out on their own.

I came to Faith because I was in a dilemma: I had overcommitted myself with extracurricular activities. Faith listened to my heart, prayed with me, gave me some Scripture verses to read, and then said something like, “Pam, you have a pure heart for God. I am sure God will lead you through His Word to the answer your need.” And God did. As I read one of the verses about not “loving the world,” I realized my future was in serving Jesus. I was to invest in that path for my future. It was a clear call.

What I learned from Faith was:

• Love the Lord and love His Word and you’ll have all the answers you need.

• Treat young people with respect, and trust that if you give them the tools God will lead them.

• Relationships matter. God uses relationships to expand His work.

This last one has an important side-note story. Faith mentored me, but she also had similar meetings with a young college woman named Mary. That same Mary ended up going on staff with Campus Crusade, then was hired to be president of Women of Faith.

It was while Doreen was working for Women of Faith that she and I met. Doreen was in Kansas laying the groundwork for Women of Faith. I was speaking at an event in Kansas where she gave an announcement for the upcoming Women of Faith event. I was speaking on Women of Influence and gave a message on mentoring! Now, years later, all those connections (and more) led us to write this book on raising and mentoring young women.

In seminary and ministry, I have had a series of women invest in my life. When I look back on these women, and others who poured their time, talent, or trust into my life, I realize God was preparing me for living an adventure with Him.

My Opinion:

I’ve been looking for a book that was written in how to inspire young women (ages 12 and up) to become Princesses, true Daughters of the King and Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna have definitely filled that niche. There are many books written on how to raise a daughter but I think this one is definitely in a league of it’s own. With tips on selecting mentors and also how to plan a rite-of-passage for our daughters this book is a diamond in the rough.

Most young girls want to be a princess, regardless of never having a watched a Disney princess movie, girls want to be a princess. Princesses are real but our daughter’s need to be taught how to be a Princess, one with integrity, humility and values. Not just any Princess will do for the job though, these Princesses are for the King of Kings – their Father – so they must be trained as such. Advice on including earthly dads, moms, friends (the book touches on making sure the daughter has good friends), how to prepare a rite of passage ceremony, what to do if you’re a single parent, what to do if the daughter’s dad doesn’t want to do a blessing/affirmation and so much more.

The only part that bothered is the makeover part of the curriculum, when girls are told that while they are beautiful on the inside they also need to be beautiful on the outside too, seems to be a double negative. Makeup doesn’t always make a girl more beautiful and even God has told us in His Word that a beautiful woman is one who is not made up or adorned – it truly comes from the inside where He lives in her life. The program can be done though without this section if the families choose to do so, and I wouldn’t let it deter me from reading the book. There is much to glean from this book.

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No Sex in the City by Lindsey N. Isham


“No Sex in the City” written by Lindsey N. Isham was an interesting read. Miss Isham is a virgin and she isn’t ashamed to acknowledge that fact because that is what God wants of her and all unmarried Christians to be until marriage. She has been working for over 13 years with singles and traveled nationwide speaking to audiences of women of varying ages. Kregel Publishing has found an author that will appeal to the younger generation of Christians who also uses sound Scriptural basis for their writings.

This book is a frank outlook on single women who have choosen to remain pure until marriage. Since I want my daughter’s (and son) to also be virgins until marriage I was intrigued by this book and I must say some of the terminology was shocking! Terms such as ‘horny’, ‘one-eyed snake’ and ‘get laid’ were just some of the terms that I came across that made me uncomfortable. No, I’m not a prude but I simply find these terms unusable for Christians – not to mention pure, modest Christian women. I would not let my daughter’s read this book – these terms are ones that I don’t think they need to know and it’s my prayer that I can avoid them learning these things.

I can see where this book would reach a young woman who is in the world and not sure if they want to continue living an abstinent lifestyle. Also I could see where today’s church would not have an issue since most try to be culturally sensitive, but if you want a book that is more modest in terminology this isn’t the book. However, this book does have the redeeming quality of sound Scriputural basis, and most books that come out today for young people do not have this quality. Overall, I can see it’s niche but I also would not let my daughter’s nor the daughter’s of my friends read this book.

**This book was provided to me by Kregel Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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Let’s Walk the Talk by Danae Dobson


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Danae Dobson

and the book:

Let’s Walk the Talk!

Tyndale House Publishers (September 3, 2009)

***Special thanks to Katie Anderson of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Danae Dobson is the author of Let’s Talk!, a popular inspirational book for teen girls. She has an active speaking ministry addressing women at church-related events such as banquets, teas, and conferences. She is also involved in seminars for teens as well as speaking to children at Christian schools. Danae was born in Southern California and published her first children’s manuscript at the age of twelve. The book was entitled, Woof! A Bedtime Story About a Dog. She received her BA in communications from Azusa Pacific University. She has authored 22 books to date, which have sold a combined total of over 400,000 copies. Danae resides in Southern California. She is the daughter of Dr. James and Shirley Dobson.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (September 3, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1414308108

ISBN-13: 978-1414308104

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

How to Be a Winner

Check it out: Proverbs 3:5-6

Would you like to know the secret of success? I’m not talking about how to acquire cash, cool cars, and designer clothes. If success were defined by the things we own, then Paris, Nicole, Lindsay, and Britney would all be respectable role models. No. When I mention success, I’m referring to a genuine sense of fulfillment that comes not from the outside but from the depths of the soul.

Every girl desires to feel good about herself, but what happens when she bases her contentment on something temporary like physical attractiveness, popularity, money, or fame? Well, it’s no secret that money can’t buy happiness, and as far as good looks are concerned, the Bible teaches that “beauty is fleeting” (Proverbs 31:30). Fame and social status are shaky too. I could give you a list of celebs, beginning with Marilyn Monroe right up to Anna Nicole Smith, who discovered that fame didn’t bring the satisfaction they craved. In fact, the success of those two beautiful women was short-lived, ending in tragic drug overdoses.

A friend and I were shopping in a clothing store recently and couldn’t help but feel disturbed about some of the products that were on display. The store featured drinking games, sexually inspired books, and T-shirts with disturbing messages on the front. One read “I Live for Kicks” and another, “Pleasure Victim.” Think about it. Those messages encourage you to believe that life is all about getting satisfaction from the world through fun and pleasure, but that’s a straight-up lie! Living for “kicks” won’t amount to anything substantial. It’s just short-term gratification—a way to feel good for a little while.

The world will tell you to rush after your passion to find happiness, but after you’ve obtained it and the fairy dust settles, you will still have emptiness of soul and spirit. Having money in the bank, credit cards, and a hot body won’t give you a real sense of purpose. The only way you can obtain lasting fulfillment is through someone who is not of this world—the Lord Jesus Christ! Only He can help you achieve the kind of success that endures.

You may have heard of the ’90s rock group Nirvana. The lead singer was Kurt Cobain, and if anyone appeared to have it all, it was this former teen idol. Cobain had screaming fans around the globe, and his albums sold millions. He’d won awards and Grammys, and had earned more money than he could spend. In addition to all this fame, he had an adorable baby daughter. There wasn’t one thing the world had to offer that Kurt Cobain hadn’t obtained. Yet in 1994, he ended his life with a gunshot. Why? From a worldly perspective it didn’t make sense, but from a spiritual viewpoint, it came into sharp focus. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, Kurt Cobain didn’t have peace and contentment. He might have felt the temporary rush of newfound success, but once the excitement wore off, he was still surrounded by everything he despised, including himself. He was so discontented, in fact, that he chose to abandon it all and take his own life.

Obviously, not every person who’s not a follower of Christ will become suicidal, but there’s something to be learned from Kurt Cobain’s horrific death: a person can have everything and nothing at the same time.

Jesus said in John 10:10 (NKJV) that He came so you could have life and have it abundantly. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to suffer trials and times of sorrow. You may have already been there—I know I have had my share of tough times. But what sets you apart from people like Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, and Kurt Cobain is that even in the midst of heartache, you can experience the peace that passes all understanding (see Philippians 4:7, RSV). Your life can have meaning and purpose, regardless of whether or not you have everything you desire. That’s the promise Jesus has given you!

In my own life, things haven’t always turned out the way I planned or hoped. I know what it’s like to suffer anguish and broken dreams, as I’ll describe in a later chapter. But through my tears, I’ve clung to the knowledge that my sense of value isn’t dependent on people or circumstances. During those difficult moments, I remembered that I belong to the Lord and my identity is rooted in Him. That assurance gave me strength to move forward and trust God’s plan for my future, even when things weren’t going my way.

Let’s return to the question I asked at the beginning of this chapter: “Would you like to know the secret of success?” The answer is revealed in one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” If you’re completely surrendered to God and if you follow His will, as revealed in the Bible, you cannot fail because He has already established the master plan for your life. Your obligation is to live it out. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

To adhere to God’s calling is to discover His purpose for your life. I can’t suggest what His plans might be, but I can promise you they’re more significant than anything you could envision on your own. And the best part is that whatever accomplishments you enjoy in life will bring glory and honor to Him.

Do you want to be a winner? Then “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). That’s your formula for success!

LET’S TALK ABOUT SUCCESS

DUSTY SANDERSON (student, age 17): I think success is living your life according to God’s plan and feeling like you’ve given all you can to Him. If you make God happy and please Him, then you please yourself. As far as my future is concerned, I’m considering becoming a pastor. I enjoy sharing the love of God with people who are lost—telling them what He’s done for me and how He’s changed my life.

MATT GODSHALL (student, age 14): I heard a pastor say that we sometimes think of our lives as our own story, with God just kind of thrown in. In reality, we are part of God’s story.

ERIN DIEFENBACH (student, age 17): I’m trying to focus on what God wants me to do rather than on what I think I’m good at. If I parallel my life with His purposes, I believe I’ll be successful. Right now I think God’s will for my future might be to become a marriage counselor because I enjoy encouraging my friends who come to me for advice. But I’m trying to stay open in case He has other plans. I think the best way to discover God’s will is to talk to Him about everything and to read the Bible to find answers. God wants to be incorporated into our daily lives, so if we’re paying attention to our circumstances and really trying to listen to Him, we’ll eventually get a sense of direction.

CHRISTIAN TURNER (student, age 16): I want to be part of something bigger than myself, so I’m excited to discover the plans God has for me. One of these days I’m going to be standing in eternity, and I’m going to have to answer for what I did with my life. I want to hear God tell me that I was a faithful servant. I wouldn’t want Him to reveal the wonderful things I missed because I was too busy following my own ambitions. I want to have peace in knowing that I was faithful to my calling.

PAUL HONTZ (student, age 19): Success is the direct result of our obedience to God. Through Him we are made complete.

ALYSON THOMAS (student, age 16): As far as my future is concerned, I’m still in confusion mode. Right now I’m devoting a lot of prayer to this issue. I wish God would send me an e-mail with the words, “Thou shalt do this for thy future,” but it’s not that easy. I’m trusting that He will reveal His plan for my life at the right time.

MARY SPAGNOLA (student, age 16): So far, a lot of things I’ve wanted haven’t turned out the way I’d hoped, but in hindsight they turned out better than I could have planned. I have faith that God knows what He’s doing and that His ways are so much better than my own.

SARAH UTTERBACK (student, age 16): I really want to become a chef. I’d like to go to a four-year college for hotel and restaurant management and then to culinary school. Eventually I’d like to open my own restaurant and catering service. As much as I want this dream for my life, I’m willing to submit to God’s plan if it’s different from my own. I’m trying to keep my heart and mind open to His will.

MR. AUSTIN SEFTON (youth leader): As far as my career is concerned, I don’t know where God is going to use me. Right now I’m attending a community college, but I’m not sure what I’ll major in. I’m spending a lot of time reading my Bible, praying, and asking God to reveal His plan for my life. Every Christian has a specific calling, and it’s different for everybody. Once we discover where God wants to place us, then it’s up to us to live it out in total surrender. The definition of success is to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Success is striving after His will and discovering our place in His Kingdom.

PASTOR AUSTIN DUNCAN (youth minister): Life may seem out of control for you at this stage of your life—your hormones are raging, you’re making friends, you’re losing friends, you’re having issues with guys. But God is on His throne [Psalm 115:3], and if you love Him, then He is using every single circumstance—both good and bad—for your good and for His glory. Every one of us has issues with discontentment, but discontentment is really the temptation to complain against the sovereignty of God. He is in control of the universe and of your life, so you can draw comfort from the fact that where He has you today is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

MR. MATT NORTHRUP (high school dean): I think the definition of success is to look more like Christ today than you did yesterday. It’s learning to sacrifice as Christ sacrificed, to serve as He served, and to love as He loved. *

What Say You?

1) What is your definition of success?

2) How do you think God defines success for your life?

3) What is the promise that Jesus has given you in John 10:10?

4) How can you discover God’s plan and purpose for your life?

My opinion:

I really enjoyed Danae’s book – it was a fast read but it was also very Biblical and it was geared to teens who are trying their best to be godly in an ungodly world. I liked the fact that she talked to the reader and not at or below, it made me feel as if I was having an actual conversation with Danae instead of reading her book. Her writing is very down to earth and I enjoyed that.

The two things I disagreed with was the dating section – I believe in courtship and about how to dress. It’s a conviction belief though and does not have a basis on Salvation. It seems that many today view women who dress in long dresses or skirts are frumpy – and that is far from the case. So I did disagree in earnest with that idea that those of us who believe in dresses only would be lumped together as frumpy. Make up is also addressed in the book – so that is just a little heads up for those families who don’t use make-up in order to make their features up to worldly values. As I said though this is a conviction belief and not everyone is convicted on courtship or dresses only as a form of modesty and femininity.

I would recommend this book for a teen girl who has already discussed certain relationship aspects with her mom – or even reading it together so that discusion can occur. I would not let my daughter read this until she was 14 or older because some content is for the older teen – like kissing, sex, and that nature of subject matter. At the end of each chapter questions are given that give deeper meaning to what has been read, Scripture is given at the begining so that the Bible is delved into at the onset of reading this book – as always weigh what you read against Scripture and pray for God’s wisdom. Overall though, this is a wonderful resource that a family can use to gently open up discussion in their daughter’s life so that all lines of communication can stay open in this turbulent time in a child’s life.

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Love is A Verb by Gary Chapman


“Love is A Verb” is a book of stories “of what happens when love comes alive”. Love has to be alive to bring forth fruit and this book definitely proves that.

Several authors comprise this book of stories about love and living love. It may be the lady who choose to love her husband when she just wanted to run away. The husband who learns to love his wife more when she develops Alzhiemer’s Disease. The neighbor lady who ‘adopts’ a lonely next door girl. A woman adopting children no one else wanted even after raising her own three children.

“Love is A Verb” was a fast read but one that will not leave your memory so fast. Mr. Chapman offers tidbits at the end of each story that may show you just how to live that love that Jesus embodied so well. The short stories may well open your eyes and have you love that unlovable neighbor, the spouse that is chronically ill, the child that never listens and goes the way of the prodigal son. Whatever is going on this book may just show you the value of loving those who we deem unlovable. If we shed our preconcieved notions of who deserves our love then we can fully embrace everyong in love and treat them even if they may not really be deserving of love – like the abusive ex husband.

Gary Chapman has put together a book that is a gem and can make one really think about how they are treating others around them. Even if you aren’t a Christian, loving others can make this world a better place to be and maybe the person you showed love to will show love to someone else! You can visit Bethany House to purchase “Love is A Verb”.

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