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Less stress in just 2 minutes???

26 Jan

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Happy New Year, beautiful girls!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get on here and wish you a Happy 2014…We had a crazy start to our new year with being snowbound in another state and then, once home, battling the flu—TWICE! But life is back on track again now, thankfully!

Over the holidays, I watched a video in which the speaker shared some interesting research regarding body position and its effect on the body chemically. She gave a lot of information, but what I took away most was this:

 Body position can alter your body chemically, both positively and negatively.

This researcher found that the test groups members who (upon request) sat in a chair for two minutes making themselves physically small, close, and withdrawn:

1)    Did poorer in the job interview that immediately followed.

2)    Tested lower in testosterone (the get-it-done hormone) and higher in cortisol (the stress hormone)

The researcher also found that test group members who (again upon request) sat for two minutes with their arms raised in a victory pose:

1)     Did better in the job interview that immediately followed.

2)     Tested higher in testosterone (the get-it-done hormone) and lower in cortisol (the stress hormone)

She urged viewers to take just two minutes before important events (like a job interview, important test, etc.) and strike that victory pose. She is convinced it will make a real difference in the outcome.

Instantly, I thought of the different verses in the Bible that encourage us to raise our hands to our Heavenly Father.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. Psalm 63:3-5

God, come close. Come quickly! Open your ears—it’s my voice you’re hearing! Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising; my raised hands are my evening prayers.  Psalm 141:1-2

While we may think of worshipping God for who He is as benefitting us spiritually and emotionally, according to this research, it even helps our body work better! It actually reduces stress and equips us to succeed.

So let’s lift our hands to Him this year, even if for two minutes at a time, trusting Him to take care of our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our dreams.

With God, nothing is impossible. And that victory pose is ours.

Believing with you for a great new year,

Lisa

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Victim or Empowered One?

16 Nov

Ever wonder if you can really do it? (Only you know what “it” is for you: succeed at school, make new friends, change your choices to get to a better place, stay strong in areas you may be weak, find out who you were created to be, pursue a big dream you have in your heart…)

Sometimes we look at our situations and feel like they are too big to overcome.  But feelings often lie.

The truth is that God can empower you to not only face what comes in life, but enjoy victory over it.

Hope the amazing girl in this video encourages you that:

1) It’s important to be honest, intentional, and persistent regarding the challenges we face.

2) Attitude is everything, and we can choose to see challenges as opportunities.

3) It’s all in how you view yourself: victim or empowered overcomer.

4) Positive support in your life is crucial. Be real with positive mentors who love you, and then let them cheer you on!

5) With God’s help, hard work, and consistency, you really can do anything!

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” Philippians 4:13 (Amplified; underlined emphasis added by me ; )

“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:13 (The Message)

Love you, beautiful girls!

Lisa

Why Can’t I Read This???

10 Sep

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School is back, and many of you are once again buried in books and computers, quizzes and tests, classes you like and maybe even those you can’t wait to be done with already!

As a former high school teacher, I’ve seen some pretty funny things over the years with students. One of my favorites was when I was monitoring an elementary student who was doing his science homework. His assignment was to write down the chapter vocab words in his notebook and then go back and fill in the definition of each term from the glossary located in the back of the book. (Ever had to do this?)

This boy worked quickly and diligently, proudly handing me his notebook upon completing all the terms. I scanned the list and took a double-take. Yep, every single term was perfect. (Seriously, not even one spelling error that I could see). I handed the notebook back to him and said, “Um…could you read me the first definition please?”

The kid glanced down, started reading, and suddenly stopped. A shocked look on his face, he cried, “What in the world? Why can’t I read this?!

We both had a good laugh when he realized that he had painstakingly copied every definition perfectly—IN SPANISH! Apparently, there were TWO glossaries in the back of his science book, one in English, the other in Spanish. This actually very smart student was so focused on what he was doing (finishing boring homework he had no interest in), he hadn’t connected with the words he was writing. He had written out hundreds of Spanish words without bothering to process or understand them. Had he simply paid attention, he would have noticed his mistake on the very first definition.

So, what’s the take-away? You really can go through the motions of doing something without connecting. Yet if you don’t connect, you’re often wasting your time. Or at least not getting as much out of the experience as you could have.

How are we simply “going through the motions” in our lives? Are there ways that we are missing out by not truly “connecting” to what we are experiencing? This can apply to school, work, relationships, or even the time we spend reading our Bibles or worshipping.

As we start a fresh fall season, take a moment now and then to check if you are really connecting to life around you. I promise that you’ll get a lot more out of…well, EVERYTHING, if you choose to be present in the moment.

(So happy to be back writing with you girls now that it’s fall. : )

Have a fabulous week!

Much love,

Lisa

What Now???

2 May

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Watching the Michigan game a few weeks ago (great season BLUE!), I was reminded of my own college days. They don’t feel that long ago—yet it’s been quite a few years already! (YIKES!)

One of my favorite classes my freshman year was my Ethics class. The professor would present contrived scenarios to us students, asking what we would do in those situations. Situations like, if your children were starving to death, would you steal to feed them or let them die because stealing is wrong? You weren’t allowed to give an answer like, I’d pray for an inspired idea to find food or I’d petition God for His divine intervention. (Remember Elijah and the ravens?) Nope. You had to answer a or b and explain why. It was very stressful, but fascinating at the same time, to see how people worked through their reasoning or justified their choices.

One day my professor (who I greatly admired, by the way) referenced a story from the Bible. He explained the dynamics of that story and ended his thoughts with:  I could never serve a God like that!

To my shock and  and dismay, I realized that I actually agreed with him! What he said made total sense to me, and I couldn’t argue with it.

Suddenly, I felt at a crossroads: ditch my belief in God because of this seeming truth OR continue to believe in Him even though I couldn’t counter that argument.

I remember thinking long and hard about it, considering the times I had felt God’s presence, the relationship I had developed with Him, the verses I had read and believed, the ones I had literally seen come true in my life. I had experienced miracles I knew were real. So, what now?

I remember praying, “Lord, like my professor, I don’t understand You in this story. But I know You, and I trust you. If You could someday explain this to me, to help my understanding, that would be great! Either way, however, I know You are real and You have my heart.

A few years later, my pastor back home did a message on that very story. What he explained completely cleared up that issue for me, and I was so grateful that I didn’t throw away my faith in God over something I couldn’t wrap my mind around at the time.    (Remember our “Soda Can” post?)

Has someone said something to you that has rocked your world a little, caused you to doubt the truth of the Bible or your relationship with God? If so, take heart! Even Thomas, a disciple who actually spent time with Jesus, the miracle-working Son of God, needed reassurance in his faith. (John 20:24-29)

I love Jesus’ reaction to Thomas’ doubt of His resurrection. He didn’t scold him and dub him Doubting Thomas (as we’ve often heard him called). Instead, Jesus went directly to Thomas and addressed his doubt, helping him to believe. Then He encouraged us who would come later, declaring a blessing when we believe in Him without having the opportunity to put our hands on His scars and witness the resurrection with our own eyes.

When doubts come, as they may at some point, in some form or fashion, remind yourself that truth is truth, regardless of what you do or do not understand at a given moment. Be willing to wait, search, and dig a little rather than simply give up your faith. God loves you and is faithful. If you choose to seek Him with your whole heart, He will work with you and help you understand the truth of who He really is.

Have a fabulous week, beautiful girls!

Much love,

Lisa

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Kiss from Heaven

28 Jan

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Been online much lately? Then you’ve probably heard of Owen Groesser. He’s a new Internet sensation (featured on Sportscenter a couple days in a row. Even Sarah Palin mentioned him on her Facebook page). His claim to fame? Nailing two three-pointers during the last 2 minutes of the first half…the only two minutes he had played that whole season.

As team manager, Owen would come to practice every. single. day, work out with the team, and then perform his managerial duties during the games. But this night he was given special permission to suit-up and show off his basketball skills with his teammates.  Loved by the student body, Owen found himself surrounded by wild applause, encouraging chants, and teammate hugs as teens grabbed their cell phones and tweeted #GetOwenOnSportscenter. Sure enough, after hours of tweeting, that night Owen was highlighted on Sportscenter! (Click here to see an interview of Owen & his dad the next day on ESPN.) We have the privilege of knowing Owen. He’s such a great young man…So happy for him to have this moment!

I love this story because it shows how showing up and being diligent day in and day out will bring you great reward. In fact, God will send kisses from heaven you aren’t expecting…just because He loves you.

I also love seeing how a group of teens worked together for the benefit of someone else—and accomplished something really special.

As you read this today, be reminded that no matter what your age, your voice counts! Just make it count for something valuable, something bigger than just you.

Have a great week! And remember: you are loved, and you are not alone!

Lisa

photos provided by Groesser family

Behind the Smile

24 Sep

Our blog helps us stay connected with our readers and address the needs and issues that today’s young women face. What about young men? Do they experience many of the same problems, insecurities, and fears in today’s society? Do they struggle with rejection, inferiority, or feelings of inadequacy? They’re much tougher than girls, right? Or has the world in which we live taught young men to hide their true feelings—to act like everything’s cool even when it’s not—to be ashamed to admit it when they are hurting? Does hiding pain make it go away? Or can it eventually cause someone to become dangerous to themselves and to others?

In novel 1 (Waiting for Mr. Right) Julia and Jay meet for the first time at a campus café. Seeing Julia’s alone, Jay joins her at her table, introduces himself, and skillfully counters the objections she’s previously stated about meeting him. Assuring her that he is a nice Christian guy, he asks Julia to please give him a chance and go out with him. Flattered and out of objections, Julia yields to his charm.

Yet the tall, handsome guy that Julia is about to date is not the confident, happy young man he appears to be (or the committed Christian he claims to be). That’s all an act. Inside, he is hurting—dealing with tons of loneliness and rejection. (In the novel, you see why that is.)

Meanwhile, Julia is young and inexperienced with guys. She believes whatever Jay tells her because 1) he is totally convincing and 2) she wants to believe him. So Julia doesn’t take time to find out anything about Jay’s life before meeting her. In fact, she doesn’t tell him anything about her own before coming to college. She is simply happy to have a boyfriend at last—someone to have some romantic fun with while away at school. But Jay is looking for much more. He’s looking for love to make up for his hurts and—as you see in the novel—is willing to do anything to keep her with him.

What can we learn from Julia?

To ask ourself some questions before jumping into a relationship. Questions like: Why rush to get romantically involved with someone I don’t know yet? Why not take my time and get to know this guy first, to see what he is really all about? (If he is as wonderful as you are hoping, time will reveal that great truth. If he’s not, time could spare you from a lot of unnecessary heartache!)

Another good question: Lord, is this relationship part of your plan for my life?
 
Because God’s plan for our life is the one that matters most.
It’s the one that has the most purpose and meaning—and is the most personally fulfilling.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Also, only God knows a person’s heart and what his real motives and intentions are (good or bad). He also knows the great (or not so great) person he will be down the road.

So continue to get close to your Heavenly Father. Learn to hear and trust His voice (through reading your Bible and spending time with Him in prayer.)

Then when Mr. Wrongs come your way (which they no doubt will), you won’t be fooled by any of them. And you’ll be ready to meet Mr. Right when the time is right!

Because I care,

Barbara

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A Bit Cloudy???

10 Sep

In Julia’s very first conversation with Jay, she explained to him that she would only date a Christian. That amused Jay because he did consider himself to be a nice Christian guy. (After all, he wasn’t an atheist, right? And he had gone to church with his parents when he was younger.)

When Jay asked Julia why she thought he wasn’t a Christian, she said it was because he was in a frat. Again that made no sense to him. How could she preach to him about being in a fraternity when she was part of a sorority (one known for major partying)? Naturally, Jay pointed that out and then assured Julia that he was a Christian, that there was no reason why they couldn’t see each other.

So, just like Julia with Jay, what’s one thing that happens when you stray from doing what is right?

You damage your witness to others. People don’t see that your life/choices are that different from theirs, and it makes it hard for them to accept what you’re telling them about God.

If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring. Proverbs 25:26 (NLT)

When you’re really thirsty, there’s nothing better than a clear, cold glass of water. God wants our lives to be a refreshing fountain and a pure spring—for us and for those around us. When we start thinking and acting like people who don’t respect God, we muddy or pollute the clear waters of our lives. Eventually, we’re left with a murky mess!

Take a few moments and consider if there are any areas of compromise in your life where things have gotten a bit cloudy. If so, take them to the Father today and ask for His forgiveness. He is all about making us fresh and new, helping us to grow and then make better choices day by day. Another added benefit? When we focus on our relationship with Him, it’s a lot easier to make good choices that benefit us both now and in the long run.

So let’s protect the pure springs of our lives, being intentional about what we put into our minds, the situations we put our hearts and bodies in, and the people we allow to influence us. God loves each of us so very much. We’re worth the effort it takes to guard our hearts!

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Hope this has encouraged you today…Have a great week!

Much love,

Lisa & Barbara

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Breaking Up

9 Jul

Breaking up is hard to do!

In novel 1 of the Mr. Right Series, Julia’s finds herself working through a painful break-up with a Mr. Wrong. In the chapter Girl Talk, her mother shares some valuable insights regarding relationships with the opposite sex.

As I have pointed out in previous posts, dating as we see it today often has little to do with finding and keeping a marriage partner. A dating mentality is typically about enjoying the moment with someone; a marriage mentality, however, is about building a life with someone.

Our society is full of couples who have experienced a devastating break-up (or are heading for one in the near future). Usually at least one of the people involved in a break-up ends up being deeply hurt.

When I was in high school, my girlfriends all had steady boyfriends. I didn’t. God was protecting me during a time when I was immature and vulnerable, but I didn’t understand that then. I just felt alone and forgotten.

Trying to help me, my friends fixed me up with someone to date. He was a nice guy, so even though I wasn’t all that attracted to him, I dated him for a while—just to have a boyfriend. When his feelings for me grew beyond what I could return, I dumped him, without any explanation.

While I came away from that relationship without any hurt feelings, I had broken his heart. I can think of one other time when I dated a guy for a while and then dropped him without ever looking back. My desires and feelings were all I considered as a teen.

I didn’t know how devastating a break-up could be until I married a Mr. Wrong at age eighteen and experienced a painful divorce at age 20. It was only then that I could look back and relate to the pain I had caused others to suffer. It’s never fun when the person being hurt is you.

Break-ups are hard on everyone involved and are nothing new. I remember a song that was popular when I was a teenager. It was first released in 1962, and then a slower version came out around 1975. Both versions were a huge success, which rarely happens. Maybe this song was so popular because people could relate to the message. I think it remains just as relatable in 2012. See if you agree after viewing the video at the top of this post. (The song, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, is sung by Neil Sedaka, the original recording artist.)

Did you notice the video (apparently from another country) had subtitles? Reading along, we see that the girl isn’t dating the boy she’s with in the car. Apparently, he is her neighbor, giving her a ride there. But because she is having a hard time with a breakup (did you see her duck in the car?), she drags this neighbor boy into the party just to make her old boyfriend jealous, to show him that she is fine without him now. She simply uses this new boy (calling him darling and hanging on to his arm) in order to hurt her old boyfriend.

True to Hollywood form, however, as this girl begins dancing with her neighbor (temporary fake boyfriend), she starts to realize that maybe she likes him better anyway. The video ends with the words a new love… a new beginning… It illustrates the mentality prevalent in our society: jump from one relationship into another, hoping it will turn out better for you this time.

But I want you girls to think differently. To think bigger than just what might be good for you only. God wants you to think of the other person, toobefore entering a dating relationship.

Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

There is so much more we could talk about, but hopefully, today’s post has you thinking…Continue reading Julia’s story in novel 2 and you’ll see how she decides to handle the feelings of others in relationships. (It might surprise you!)

So proceed carefully, girls, knowing that someone else’s heart is involved, too!

Love you,

Barbara

Doesn’t Have To

26 Jun

In novel one (Waiting for Mr. Right),  Gretchen was finally ready for things to change in her life. She realized that things could be different. It didn’t have to be this way.

She tried breaking up with her boyfriend, but he reacted with angry threats, and she knew she was in serious trouble. This was not something she could handle by herself; she needed help.

Are you currently trying to work through a problem situation by yourself?

Be wise like Gretchen, and don’t try to handle difficult issues alone.

Someone may be hurting you, or you may be hurting yourself. Maybe your situation isn’t quite that serious, but everything that affects you is important to God! It matters!

There are people all around you who want to see you experience the best life possible. You can talk to a parent, teacher, neighbor, leader at church, or another trusted adult about what you’re experiencing. God can use them to help you get to a safe place, emotionally and physically.

If you hide problems or hurts, that secrecy gives them the ideal place to tunnel and grow. However, if you tell someone about them, the light of the truth will reveal what’s happening. Once everything is out in the open, you can get the help you need to be healed and free.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

God says He is always ready to help you in times of trouble. How awesome to think that God Himself is there for you! And He often uses the people in your life to share your problems, big and small.

Never feel embarrassed to admit your life isn’t perfect. No one’s life is. We all need help from others sometimes. The sooner you seek out help, the sooner you can begin to experience the life God wants you to live.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

God’s good plans for us won’t just happen automatically. We need to cooperate with Him to see them all come to pass.

If you are going through something, you need to let someone know. Start with God. He already knows your situation, but He wants you to come to Him with it.

And don’t wait to deal with things; God wants them to start changing for you today! If you need to, ask God to give you the courage to reach out to the right people for the support you need. Like Gretchen, you’ll be incredibly glad you did!

Much love,

Lisa

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Unspoken Feelings

4 Jun

During their long mother/daughter talk in novel 1 (Chapter 16), Julia’s mother explained many things her daughter wanted and needed to know. This knowledge brought a fresh perspective to Julia’s mind and heart.

At the end of their talk, Julia said, “That’s beautiful, Mom. Why didn’t you tell me about these things before? I’d been unhappy for so long about not having a boyfriend. If I’d understood all this, none of this mess with Jay would’ve happened!”

Filled with compassion, Julia’s mother went over to her daughter, put her arm around her, and replied, “I didn’t know you were hurting, Julia. You kept the pain you were feeling to yourself. When you were at home, you always seemed to be content. I assumed that you were happy and secure… I’m your mother, honey, not a mind reader. If you had confided in me, we could’ve had this talk before you left for school.”

Julia was not intentionally hiding frustrations and painful feelings from her mother. For whatever reason, she had just never communicated them to her. Because Julia kept those thoughts and emotions to herself, they were isolated within her own mind where her lack of experience and maturity could not effectively manage them. Julia needed a seasoned counselor like her mother to help her understand her feelings and deal with them in an informed and constructive way.

Do you have hurt feelings or frustrations you have been silent about? Are you aware that God knows all about them?

You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh. Psalm 38:9 (NLT)

Even though God knows all your unspoken thoughts and feelings, He will often use other people to shed some Scriptural light on your situation and brighten your outlook. Remember, your peers are operating out of a similar maturity level and perspective as you. So, sharing your heart with a trusted adult is the much better choice. Don’t wait for them to ask. Like Julia’s mom, they want to help you, but they aren’t mind readers either.

Always remember, you are loved, and you are not alone!

Barbara

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