Smart Girl Turns Two!

turning2Two years ago, on Labor Day weekend, I announced a very special kind of “birth” in my life – my book, Smart Girl, Stupid World.  I had “labored” for ten years to bring it to the place where I could actually hold it in my hands, and it was totally worth it.

 

My book is 2 years old today!

 

Going the self-published route was something I felt the Lord leading me to do because of some personal challenges our family faced as the final stages of the manuscript were completed. It was a way to get the book out quickly without having to endure the process of waiting for someone to “pick me.” I don’t regret the decision to self-publish, even though it can feel like a long and thankless process to actually get people to BUY the book.

 

There are a few moments I have cherished about these last two years as reminders of why I wrote the book in the first place.

  • Teenagers I barely know from church catching me in the parking lot to tell me that it really spoke to what they have been going through.
  • One of my youth girls from 15 years ago who is now a youth pastor taking her students through the book and being able to Skype with them when they finished.
  • Emails from moms who have been desperate to connect with their daughters, words of gratitude and joy over the conversations it has unlocked.
  • Meeting at a coffee shop every week to walk a precious 20-something through the materials and discuss her questions.

 

So, what’s next? I still really believe in Smart Girl, and I will still pursue avenues to increase exposure for it, but I am also quite excited about the next book God has laid on my heart. I’m in the research phase for that, and I won’t even begin to put a timeline on the manuscript. I feel impressed to pursue a traditional publishing situation with my next book, so many things will look very different in book number two.

 

Thanks for coming on the journey with me! If you’re just dying to give the book a birthday gift, you could write a review on Amazon. Me personally, I’m going to honor this day by riding a few waterslides with my family!

Sexting… Stupid? Yes.


Sexting
First of all, don’t go to Teen Vogue for advice… about anything. But if you want to get a feel for the moral pulse of high schoolers, it might be {somewhat} accurate {frighteningly so}.

 

A recent online article in Teen Vogue about “sexting” focused on whether the practice of self-made porn is “sexist.” The concern, from the column’s point of view, is not whether it’s right, harmful, safe or stupid… the concern is whether or not the same rules apply to boys and girls who are transmitting the messages.

 

There were several teen and young adult responses, and I won’t repost them all. But a couple from the youngest ages represented stood out to me. Continue reading…

There will be NO BLOGGING in Heaven

heaven

A few months ago, in the midst of a very demanding season juggling family, work, and church involvement, I found myself feeling heavy under the pressure of expectations. I don’t think they were even expectations of people who are actually in my life… more like expectations from these phantom voices that I perceive to be all around me (especially in cyberspace) about all the stuff I “should” be doing to “build a platform.”

 

One day, with only one hour of free time in between my son’s soccer practice and another commitment, and I found myself feeling anxious and torn between two priorities. I could spend uninterrupted time in the Word and prayer, which hadn’t happened in awhile, or I could finally finish up a blog post and some social media promotion for my book. Whoa….did you just read that and feel yukky?? Ugh, I did.

 

I hated that I felt so conflicted in that moment, but I did. The list-checker in me wanted to finish the unfinished business and feel productive.

 

The Lord’s voice broke through my noisy and anxious thoughts, and I clearly heard Him say, “There will be no blogging in heaven.” Continue reading…

For the Fatherless

woodFatherlessMy parents split when I was really little, right about the time my brothers and I were removed from our home and placed in foster care. Even after my mom won custody of us back, my dad was never part of my life again. I barely remember him, and all I remember was attached to pain and abuse. Honestly, the most I ever knew about his life as a man was what I heard at his funeral, which I attended about 5 years ago.

It’s amazing how someone NOT being part of your life can shape your life.

Growing up, I don’t remember thinking, “No fair, I wish I had a dad.” My brothers probably felt the sting more, not having a man to relate to as they matured. But eventually, somewhere in mid-adolescence, it hit me. That’s when I figured out that my “normal” was actually a handicap of some sorts… not that I let on to anyone about that revelation. Once I entered my early 20′s, I finally started to face the fact that my heart was missing some key ingredients in the areas of stability and security, and being fatherless was at the root of a good deal of my unresolved emotional pain.

Was I a Christian? Yes. Did I understand that God loved me completely? Yes.  Did I have other father figures step in to provide guidance and care? Yes. Did that fix it all? No. Continue reading…