On the Second Week of Advent

Hey mini-women!  We’re well into the Christmas swing of things now, and I’m delighted to bring you the second week of Advent.

There’s a part of the Christmas story that often gets overlooked, mostly because it doesn’t directly involve the baby Jesus.  But it’s so beautifully important to the story!

I’m talking about a little family of two that was soon to become three.  No, not Mary and Joseph.

Zacharias and Elizabeth.

A bit before Mary got her life-changing visit from Gabriel, Zacharias got his own crazy visit from an angel who told him that his wife Elizabeth was pregnant and being that they were old enough to be your grandparents, he didn’t believe the angel at all!  But of course God doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t send his angels with made-up stories, so Elizabeth WAS pregnant.

And who was this miracle baby?  John the Baptist!

See, God knew that sending His very own son was going to rock the world, and change our way of life forever, and He knew that the world would need prepared for this big transition, so He decided to send a messenger ahead of Jesus, to get the Israelites ready.

Think about in school when they give you a study guide before the final exam.  Or when your soccer coach has you run sprints before the big tournament.  How you practice the piano until your fingers cramp, to get ready for that big recital.  When something BIG is coming up, you know that sometimes we have to do hard, even painful work to get prepared.

Now, at first glance, we might think, “Having Jesus come to earth is not as stressful as my final exam or a piano recital!  In fact, Jesus is great news right?  Who needs to do hard, painful work to get ready for good news?”

Well ladies, that’s what the Second Week of Advent is all about.

Repent

Repentance.

Repenting of your sins and turning your life around to make room for Jesus is not always easy fun work.  In fact, it rarely is.

God knew that the Jews were not ready for Jesus and all of His teachings and they would need to do some serious heart-searching to root out any bad habits they had gotten into.  Like maybe thinking too judgmentally of others while not looking at themselves.  Or ignoring the poor and hoarding all the extra money they made instead of giving it away.  Things like that.

So John the Baptist was there to give out some ‘tough love’ and remind everyone that yes, the Messiah was coming and He’ll be here soon, so let’s turn our lives around and get ready for Him!

Let’s take those bad habits, like gossiping or being sarcastic or not listening to our parents and turn away from them, to Jesus-habits like complimenting a friend behind their back, giving an honest answer instead a sarcastic one, or doing what our parents tell us to do, the first time they ask.

Will these changes be easy?  Probably not.  Sadly, it can be totally our human nature to lose focus on Jesus.

But we’ve got to make room for Him in our hearts and our lives.  We have to be the one to start the process.  Jesus is a gentleman.  He won’t barge in unannounced or force His way into your heart.  He stands and knocks and waits for us to open the door.

Long Road

That’s why He chose to come as a little baby, and be born in a tiny stable, and didn’t seem to ask for much fanfare.  He came quietly and let John the Baptist announce it before He did, to give us the chance to get ready for Him.

Mini-women, we should always be looking for ways to make our hearts more open to Jesus habits.  But Christmas is a great time to remind us of this, to re-center, re-focus and get our hearts ready for that happy, happy Christmas morning.

In your Talking to God journals, ask God if there’s something that you’ve been holding on to too long, some bad habit that might make Christmas morning a little difficult to celebrate.  If you’ve been rude to a friend, or talked back to your parents, talk to God about it, ask for His forgiveness, and go to that person and apologize, so that you can be happy to wake up and celebrate Christmas with that person on December 25th.

In your comments below, if you’d like to share, let us know what might keep you from having a happy Christmas and what you can do to change it.  If there is something that is out of your control, you can tell us so we can pray about that for you!  But I want to know if there is some problem in your life that you CAN start to fix, and what steps you’re going to take to make it happen!

Asher's header

I don’t know about you, but letting go of bad habits is really hard for me! One thing I’ve found helpful is replacing the bad habit with a better one instead of trying to completely get rid of it. For example, if you tend to get distracted surfing the net while you’re doing homework, you could try going to make a cup of tea (or maybe some hot cocoa during this Christmas season) instead when you feel tired of working. And of course, pray about it, especially when you’re feeling tempted to slip back into your old habit(s).

Advent Habits

Letting go of bad habits and developing Jesus-habits doesn’t have to be another difficult thing to add to your to-do-list. You might want to make it a little more fun by rewarding yourself with something you love (maybe Christmas cookies!) after trying your best not to be sarcastic to your mom or writing in your Talking-To-God-Journal more.

Also, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up and say something snarky to your mom or forget to write in your Talking-To-God-Journal – developing Jesus-habits is about having a heart that’s devoted to Him, not keeping a perfect track record, and thankfully God is full of forgiveness!

 

Love you mini-women!  And I love getting our hearts ready to welcome Jesus! ~Hannah

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On the First Week of Advent

Nativity

Hello Tribelet of lovely mini-women!!  How are you this beautiful day??? It’s nice and cozy where I am in Tennessee. Perfect for Christmas music and twinkle lights.  And a cup of something yummy. Can you believe it is December already? I felt like this year was taking forever and now, BOOM, it’s almost over.

I loved reading your sweet comments to Mrs. Nancy. Isn’t she incredible? Her books are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. and so is this Tribelet she has brought together. Don’t you worry, mini-ladies, she’ll be back as a guest blogger. We love her too much to let her go too far.

me and Gen

 

So we are going to be talking about Advent this month.  And how to celebrate it. From the comments, it looks like quite a few of you are familiar with the season of Advent. But just to get the whole Tribelet on the same page….

ADVENT: the season where we prepare our hearts for Christmas. And more importantly-Jesus coming to earth all those years ago. The word Advent actually means…coming.

Good news is coming

It’s kind of like a count down to Jesus’ birth, for the four weeks before Christmas. So that in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, with all the schoolwork, shopping and decorating, we don’t miss the big picture. That Christmas is really about celebrating the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, put on skin and came to earth. And each week, we will focus on a different part of the Story-God’s Story. Of why Jesus came to earth in the first place.

So for the first week of Advent, let’s focus on LIGHT.  Or more importantly LIGHT vs darkness.

light vs. darkness

Have you ever wondered why life is so hard? Why bad things happen? Or looked at what is happening in the world and thought what the heck is going on? Life can get a little depressing at times. And things can seem dark.

When I think about darkness, I always think about this verse.

“We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

You might read that and think, “Whoa, Leslie. That’s a little heavy.” And it is. The reality is our world is filled with darkness. Sin. Brokenness. Pain. And that is why Jesus came. We needed Him. To fight the battle for us.

Jesus explains it this way…

“I am the LIGHT of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the LIGHT of life.” John 8:12

Yesterday I just asked a friend, “What do you think it means that Jesus came to be light in the darkness?”

They responded -“He shines in my darkest moments.”

Isn’t that the truth?  This world can feel pretty dark. Sometimes my heart can feel a little dark. And knowing that Jesus has wrapped me in His LIGHT, makes me feel safe. And that everything is going to be ok.

The first week of Advent is all about LIGHT. Or more importantly LIGHT vs darkness.

light vs. darkness 2

Jesus came to be a LIGHT in the darkness. And I don’t know about you but I’m so glad He did. We have all lived enough life to know there is darkness in the world. Also called evil. Hopefully your life has not been touched by it yet, but if you look around you can see it. Our world is broken. And full of pain. And that is why Jesus came. To give us HOPE and to fill us with His LIGHT.

This week, as you are preparing for Christmas, be on the lookout for different types of LIGHT. Maybe the ones on your Christmas tree or a candle or even the ugly florescent ones at the mall. Every time you notice a LIGHT, take a moment and thank Jesus for being the LIGHT of the WORLD. It is a simple way to stay focused on the Bigger Story of God’s love and faithfulness.

Bible and coffee Christmas

In your Talking to God Journal-Take a moment and write a prayer asking God to prepare your heart for this season of Advent-that He would make Himself known to you in new ways.  I was thinking it might make things feel special if we light a candle whenever we write in our journals this month, But PLEASE ask your adult for permission first. Let’s not start any fires.

And in the comments section, share a favorite tradition that makes Christmas feel special to you. The goal is to get to know our TRIBELET and each other a little more.

Asher's header

While most of us think of Christmas as a time of joy and celebration, some people are going through dark times this month. Before you jump into the whirlwind of Christmas list writing and gift shopping and wrapping, you might want to take a minute and think of people in your life that need some light this December. Maybe it’s the girl that’s bullied at school, the grandpa who lives next door who is spending Christmas alone this year, or your own family.

To help keep you in a giving mindset, you might like to write down a few kind things you could do for others this month on slips of paper. Maybe you could invite a friend to your church’s Christmas service, or bake cookies for your lonely neighbour or tell your bullied classmate God loves her. Then, you could put your slips of paper inside your advent calendar or a jar and pick one to do every day. What you might think is a “small” gesture can make a huge difference to others – knowing that someone loves them will bring Jesus’ light and hope to their day!

 

Love, Love, Love,

Leslie

 

A New Beginning … In a Lot of Ways

Hello, Tribelet of amazing mini-women! Can you ashers-christmas-drawingbelieve that Thanksgiving is over (for us U.S. Girls) and everything is now all about Christmas — already? December doesn’t even start until tomorrow, yet every store is playing holiday tunes and most commercials on t.v. have something to do with buying presents (who gets somebody a CAR for Christmas? What’s that about?) I don’t know about you, but it feels a little rushed to me. Sure, I love Christmas morning with all its wonder, but, yikes, it’s more than four weeks away!

calendar-pink

 

At least that gives us plenty of time to get ready, right? But do we really “get ready'” on the inside, too? In churches like mine — which are called liturgical — we observe the four-week season before Christmas, called Advent. It’s the perfect way to prepare ourselves for the important stuff, even while we’re saving up to buy gifts for people and eating as much cookie dough as we end up putting on the sheet and getting that thrill thing going when we see all the lights on people’s houses.

ugly-sweater

Here at Tween You and Me, we want to share the tradition of “doing Advent”. We’ll do it as a Tribelet: each week whoever is writing the post will explain the theme of the week and talk about some real ways you can get yourself ready for more of Jesus — and thus God — in your life.

Does that sound good to you?

Now, about those people writing the posts. That’s going to be Leslie (you met her last week)

Leslie 1

and Hannah, who you’ve known for a while now. Hannah writing Asher will also be adding her comments to each post in the If You Ask Asher section. As for me …

Advent is a new beginning for me because I’m starting one new adventure and leaving an old one to make room. I started Tween You and Me eight years ago, and it’s been going strong ever since that first post. cafe nudge pictureGirls who are now in COLLEGE were part of the blog when it began. Some of them want to be writers, and I’ve started a program to help them. It’s kind of a big deal and I want to give it all I have.

So … this is my last post as the lead elder of our Tribelet. If Leslie and Hannah invite me, I’ll do a guest post now and then, and I’m sure I’ll pop in to read your comments so I can keep up with all of you I’ve come to love. You can definitely count on me praying for you and answering your emails when I can. Besides …

I’m leaving you in the BEST hands ever. Both Hannah and Leslie are writing for young girls and young women. They both LOVE mini-women. They know how to talk with you and listen to what’s bothering you. In fact, because they’re so much younger than I am they can probably understand you way better than I can on some things.

The blog is staying. You are still a Tribelet.Asher journal You’ll still write in your Talking To God Journals and share your comments. You probably won’t have Mini-Makers; and I apologize for not being able to keep that going these last few months.  Everything else will stay, and I’m sure there will be many more surprises along the way.

Promise me you’ll stay together? That you’ll keep praying for each other and encouraging one another like you do?  Noble AsherThat you’ll suggest new topics to Leslie and Hannah? After all, the blog is and always has been YOURS.

And it always will be.

Blessings,

Nancy Rue

 

 

 

Stressing Big Time!

Hey, Tribelet! Today I get to introduce you to the newest member of the Tween You and Me Team. Ladies, meet

LESLIE! Leslie 1 Do you love her smile or what? Don’t you just want to sit across that table from her and have a hot chocolate and talk? Well, grab your mugs, because she’s going to talk to YOU … right now!

Hello beautiful mini-women!! It is such an honor to get to chat with you ladies. I love reading the comments and getting to know each of you a little better. This month we’ve been talking about stress and one thing is for certain, we all feel it.

pug in blanket

Stress: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

 And isn’t stress such a feeling? Think about it. When you feel stressed, what happens in your body??? I feel mine in my face. My blood pumps a little louder in my ears and I get a little humming feeling in my hands. If things are really bad, my mind starts to run through all the things I need to do before my head hits the pillow and all of a sudden, I just want to take a nap. It’s exhausting.

In this series we’ve been given some great strategies to help stay organized and on top our responsibilities.  Which has been AMAZING advice. I made my very own chore chart and it has been so freeing!!! I know what I need to do and it’s has helped to keep me on track. The surprise has been how much free time I have to do what I want because I did what I needed to. Love it!!

 

Leslie's chart

But not all stress can be fixed by a chart. Some stress comes from deep within. And some comes because of things going on around us. Some that we can control. Most that we can’t.

sand through fingers

And that’s when things get overwhelming.

I know for me, when I start to feel stress, anxiety is the next thing that starts to creep in.

Anxiety: fear or nervousness about what might happen

 I am the queen of worst case scenarios and worrying about what might (or might not happen). And it does not serve me well in life. In fact, it causes me to act a little crazy, a little mean or a little scary. Fear is not my friend.

When I read the Bible, it’s pretty clear that God doesn’t want us to worry. Or be afraid. He says it a lot. Like 80 times or so. But the great thing about God is that he doesn’t just tell us not to worry (we’ve all had that friend), He gives us the tools to combat stress so that we can live a little more free and a little lighter.

This verse has been such powerful tool for me when I feel stressed. Or anxious. Or worried.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

                                                                           Philippians 4:6-7

boy reading bible

 

Let’s break it down. Here’s what stands out to me:

  1. Don’t worry about anything. Another version says “Be anxious for nothing.”

 2. Instead of spinning your wheels worrying, pray about what’s going on. Tell God everything.

For me, that’s where my talking to God journal comes in. I make lists. All the time. Lists of what I need to do. Lists of what is bothering me. Lists of what I’m worried about. And as I write down all the things that keep me up at night, I give them to God. And I ask Him for help.

  1. Then make a thankful list.

I write down all the ways I’ve seen Him work in my life. I thank Him for all the cool things he has made. That He has done. That He has said.

  1. When you do these things, you’ll feel the peace of God.

Mini-women, it’s crazy. But true. The things that are causing stress don’t go away. Your brother won’t disappear, your room won’t clean itself and yours friends won’t automatically start talking to you again. But the feelings will fade. The horrible, awful pressure you feel in your chest, or the blood pumping in you head or however you feel stress//anxiety//fear//worry….it goes away. Because you’ve brought God back into the picture. You’ve taken time to connect with Him. And invited Him into your life. Mess, stress and all. He loves you, And together you can get through whatever you need to do. Before your head hits the pillow tonight.

leslie's journal Now, I’m a huge fan of my Talking-to-God journal. My mind wanders when I try to pray so I do best if I journal out my thoughts. But a few summers ago I was at a camp and they had this crazy amazing prayer room. It was filled with all these creative ways to talk to God and there was one idea that was so helpful, I use it all the time.

Prayer Knots

 Prepare:

1.Get a piece of rope or thicker ribbon.

You should be able to tie and untie it easily.

  1. Go find a quiet spot.

In your room, outside, your favorite place to just think.

  1. Tie the rope around something.

It can be a chair leg, tree, anything. Just make sure you have to equal

sides hanging down.

Practice:

  • Sometimes our worry, fear and anxiety can make us feel like we are literally tied into knots. Take a moment and think about the things that are causing you to feel stressed. Fearful. Anxious.

  • Each time something comes to mind, tie a knot in the rope.

  • When you have finished tying all the knots, hold the rope in your hand.

  • Say a little prayer. Mine usually sounds something like this.

“Lord, I am so overwhelmed. I have so much to do. And I haven’t really made the best of my time. I give all of things that are causing me stress, worry and fear to you. Please help me know what to do in each situation. I really need you help.”

  • Then, untie each knot. And as you do, imagine letting go of whatever it represents and watching it float up to God. And into his capable hands.

  • When you are finished, take a minute and tell God five things you are thankful for in this moment.

 

Tonight in your Talking-to-God journal, write a note to God about what is causing you to feel anxious, worried or stressed. Tell Him everything. And then make a list of everything you are thankful for. If you are feeling really wild, you could even give the Prayer Knot a try.

 

And in your comments, we’d love for you to share: What are you thankful for today?

Asher's header One thought I would love to leave you all with is: God is a God of possibilities. Often when we worry, we focus on what we “cannot” do – ace that big math test, give a presentation to your entire class or go to a new school. If you feel helpless, don’t lose hope; it is true that we are powerless alone, but God promises to give the strength we need and with Him everything is possible.

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

So dare to dream! Next time you face something that makes you anxious, think about the things God could make possible through this situation. Going to a new school might be nerve-wracking, but God could strengthen your trust in Him and provide you with new friends through it. With Him, the possibilities are endless! ASHER

Looking forward to reading what you have to say!!!

Love, Love, Love

Leslie

P.S. All the definitions come from www.learnersdictionary.com I use it all the time because it breaks words down into simple meanings. Great for vocabulary homework. Especially if you’ve read the definition 5 times and still don’t know what the heck it is saying.

Asher On Stressing Over SCHOOL!

Hello, Tribelet of Amazing Mini-Women! Thanks for being patient with computer issues that kept us from posting Wednesday. But here we are, with our next installment of the I’m Stressing Out! series — and this week we bring you Asher. She was a mini-woman not too long ago, and now at 14 she is part of the Tween You And Me team. She can talk about school stress better than any of us because, hello, she’s in it! So — let’s see what she has to say.

School! It takes up so much of our lives, from attending morning classes to after-school activities to doing homework in the evening, so it’s not surprising that you mini-women listed it as one of your main sources of stress in the comments.

Asher bus

Staying Organized

I think staying organized is a great way to manage school stress, as difficult as that can be. Why? When you map out deadlines and know where everything is, you’ll see your workload more clearly and it’ll become less overwhelming.

Here are some tips that might work for you:

  • Have separate folders for your subjects. That way, you won’t have to scramble through your bag for ten minutes just to locate your English assignment!

  • Have a specific homework/study spot at home – a space with all of your school supplies away from distractions like screens. Set a certain time to study and do homework, for example 7:00-9:30pm.

    Asher organization

  • Tape a copy of your schedule on the back of your front door. When you leave the house, you’ll be able to quickly check that you have everything you need for the day. It might be a good idea to keep a copy at your study space too.

  • Use a planner to record any tests, events and deadlines you have. You could also put your to-do lists for chores and homework in it, so you’ll have a clear idea of what needs to be done when. You can buy one or make your own like mine below.

    asher planner

Struggling with a school subject can be quite stressful as well. To improve, try creating a study plan in your planner – if you’re struggling with math and science, you could dedicate Tuesday afternoons to studying those two subjects. Review your notes, watch teaching videos, test yourself on what you’ve learned – whatever works for you.

If you’re still having trouble at school, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Talk to someone who can help, whether that be your dad, your teacher or your friend who’s a whiz at math. Maybe your teacher or friend could help you after school, or your dad could help you find a tutor.

asher homework

Pressure to Make the Grade

Many of you cited getting bad grades as a source of stress – I can definitely relate! The pressure to do everything right can be overwhelming.

It’s certainly a good thing to do your best at school, but grades are not a measure of how good a student, person, and daughter of Christ you are. Next time you find yourself worrying about whether you’ll win the competition or what grade you got on a test, ask yourself: “How am I defining myself?” Your worth is not based on your success or report card or anything else, but who you are in Jesus – a wonderful person made in His image.

Asher mirror

Also ask yourself, “What am I putting first in my life?” When you make getting straight A’s and winning every science fair too important, you may start putting those things before God. Make sure you put prayer time and writing in your Talking-To-God journal in your planner as well. Remind yourself with a sticky note by your homework desk or your bathroom mirror to put God first. As it says in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When you are putting God first in your life, He will give you peace to stay calm in that math test, endurance to finish that social studies project, and courage to get back up again after you fail.

And while you’re in the thick of projects, activities and school fairs, try to enjoy it! You might not be thrilled every time you walk into the math classroom, but make a list of the things you do like about school, like giggling with your friends during recess or doing creative writing or trying fun experiments in science. School will be over sooner than you think, so you might as well make the most of it.

Asher journal

In your Talking-To-God journals, tell God about what you’re finding stressful about school, and ask God to provide ways for you to manage your stress. Thank Him for the things you do enjoy at school. You might also want to ask Him to help you put Him first and define yourself as who you are in Him.

And in your comments, we’d love for you to share: what problems are stressing you out at school? What ideas do you have for managing that stress? Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Praying that all of you will grow, flourish and find joy in your school days.

Blessings,
AsherAsher's portrait

 

Friends Are Stressing Me Out!

Hey girls! Hannah here. Is it just me or is there a LOT more energy here on our blog these days?  We’re loving it, and we hope THIS post will get you even MORE involved.

Today we’re talking about stress caused by friendships.  Listen ladies, you can have the best friend in the whole world and you’ll still have times when she will be sad and you can’t seem to comfort her,  Asher Whatever IS Right or you two get in a fight or she’s just plain getting on your nerves.  This is all normal.  It can be sad, but I promise you it happens to everyone, and you’re going to get through it.

Fighting With Friends

I think one of the worst things that can happen in a friendship is when a friend gets mad at you.  I just hate that feeling, don’t you? Sometimes we know what we did, and other times we’re just clueless!  Either way, anger between friends is just downright uncomfortable. inner-critic-asher

Remember, this is your friend we’re talking about.  If you’re not sure what you did, you’re allowed to go to her and ask!  Sometimes just a simple, “I feel like you’ve been really quiet lately.  Is everything ok between us?”  Maybe you’ll find out you did something wrong or maybe you’ll realize she’s going through a lot of her OWN stress and it has nothing to do with you.  Either way, your friendship gets a lot stronger from that one act of kindness.Asher girls

There’s also another scenario, and that’s when you KNOW what you did wrong.  Maybe you failed the math quiz, tripped in gym class, and got a stain on your favorite shirt at lunch and all that combined to put you in one rotten mood!  Your friend comes along and you say something rude or snippy and you’re too grumpy to apologize.  Mini-women, I’ve been there.  Give yourself a day (or a few hours) to calm down, and then give her a call.  Ask for forgiveness, and mean it!  No excuses (you can tell her about gym class later), just an apology. Noble Asher

One of the best Scriptures for this is Matthew 5:23-24.

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Veronica march 1 This is how seriously God takes ‘making things right’ with our friends and family.  He doesn’t even want our gifts, our tithes, our volunteer hours in Sunday School, if we haven’t made things right with our friends.  He says take care of that first and then come talk to me.  The Lord delights in us when we are determined to keep the peace.

When Your Friend is Sad

Mini-women, it’s confession time for Hannah:  I hate when people cry.  When people are sad and crying about something in their lives, I get all weird and nervous and awkward.  I feel like I never say the right thing.  It’s embarrassing sometimes.Asher's tween girl But I’ve gotten better over the years after I realized that God makes all of us different.  He created me not to have words of wisdom for my friends, but instead I can be the silent friend.  You know, the one that sits beside our crying BFF and doesn’t interrupt, but lets her get it all out.

Girls, no matter how God made you, I will tell you this:  He made you to be compassionate.  And I know for a fact that you girls already are that way, because I see you in the comment section, praying for everyone.  I know you must be the same way with your friends off the computer too. July 6 2017 post

If you are the type of person who always has something sweet and comforting to say – be that girl.  If you trip over your words like I do, give your friend a hug and go home and ask your mom for some help whipping up a snack for her.  (Nothing says ‘I care about you’ quite like a batch of homemade cookies, am I right?)

Either way, take the strengths that God has given you, and know that He has placed you in your friend’s life to be a helping hand, and He’s given you the tools to do it.  You don’t have to understand everything she’s going through to show her love.

Asher journal

In your Talking to God journals this week, ask God how you can be a better friend.  How you can keep your temper in check and not be snippy next time, or how you can show your sad friend that you’re there for her?  Remember that Jesus walked on earth and had friends who got mad at Him, and friends who were sad around Him.  Ask God to show you some stories in the Gospels about how Jesus acted as a friend.

And in the comments section, you can tell us a friend problem (and your ideas for what the solution should be) so we can pray over you about that!  Remember, solving the problem leads to us getting rid of that pesky friendship stress that keeps us awake at night.  Let’s work to fix it!

Asher's header

When Friends Drift Apart

Have you ever had a friend drift away? They gradually begin hanging out with a group of friends very different to yours, and before you know it the girl who you shared all your secrets and spare time with feels like a stranger.

If you’re feeling like a friend is drifting away, ask them about it if you can, even if it may be uncomfortable.  If it’s clear that you and your friend have drifted apart, don’t feel guilty: it’s not your fault if you and your friend have changed – this is part of the growing process. It is tough when a friendship fades, so give yourself time and space to be sad. Keep faith – although things may be hard now, God has great plans in store for you and is your friend, always. Maybe you could even take this opportunity to make new friends and discover more about yourself and God! Asher's portrait

 

Love you mini-women, and I love that we’re friends!

Blessings,

Hannah hannah

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, My Messy Life!

confusedHello, Tribelet of Amazing Mini-Women. Today we start our new series – which comes just in time for some new members who have recently joined us. Please welcome (drum roll please) BETH … ALANA … POPPY  … KYLIE … ELSA … MELODY. They need a big ol’ shout-out from those of you who have been with us for a while. We’re glad ALL of you are here.

Now, about this new series. A few months ago, one mini-woman emailed me and asked if we could do some posts on STRESS. When I put that out there and asked if anybody else was feeling anxious and afraid and, if so,  about what, the comment box filled up.

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Sounded like a God-thing to us.

So the team got together – me (Nancy), Hannah, Asher and our newest member Leslie, who you’ll meet later. We looked at all your input and came up with these themes, which will be the topics for November’s posts. Ready?

  • Stressing out over friends (Hannah)

  • Stressing out over school stuff (Asher)

  • Stressing out over Godly things (Leslie)sad girl

  • And this post (by me) – Stressing out over responsibilities

So why is today’s post titled “Oh, My Messy Life!” ?

Because you told us that you get WAY anxious about these kinds of things:

  • A messy room

  • Being latedrained

  • Having too many chores to do when there’s homework

  • Trying to do everything RIGHT!

If you think back just a couple of years when you were in those early elementary grades, you probably didn’t even know what “stress” was, right?  You went to school or showed up at the dining room table for home school. You did your work. You played. You maybe had some activities. You went to bed. And all along the way somebody was reminding you to do all of the things.

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Do you have to go potty before we leave the house?” watching movie

“Let’s say our prayers together.”

And then did it seem like all of a sudden that changed? Now —

  • You have to get yourself ready in the morning

  • Somebody yells if you don’t make your bed

  • You have to make sure everything is in your backpack

  • You have to wash your own hair

The list goes on, right? You now have responsibilities. And if you don’t take care of those things, your Life. Gets. Messy.

Your room is a pit and you can’t find anything.

You go to the dentist and he/she finds cavities.

You can’t keep up  — with your homework – with that project you worked so hard on and now where the Sam Hill is it? – with that list of things your mom asked you to do.

hit over the head

            And when life gets messy that way, you get stressed. Gigantic butterflies bat their wings inside your stomach. You can’t sit still. Your sister says something unintentionally annoying and you want to punch her in the face. You cry for no apparent reason (a phenomenon fathers simply do not understand).

The good news? There’s a way to ease that stress and feel pretty good about your responsible sweet self. You might want to try these steps.

  1. Take it to God in your Talking to God Journal. (If you’re new here and you don’t know what that is, just ask and one of the Mini-Women will explain it in a comment) Blurt it all out just like the Psalmists do

  2. in the Psalms. Asher journal They whine ENDLESSLY to God. You can too. While you’re in your journal, ask for God’s help. Then watch for it. God won’t clean your room, but God will send ideas, energy and people your way. Be on the lookout.

  3. Make a list of all the responsibilities you have other than schoolwork (Asher goes into more detail on that in “If You Ask Asher” below). Things like ’keep my room cleaned up’, ‘take my dirty clothes to the laundry room,’ ‘let my mom know about things coming up at school that she needs to be aware of’ (like baking brownies for a bake sale BEFORE the day they’re needed). sketchbook

  4. Look at your list. Is it REALLY all that long? Is it TRULY more than you can handle? When Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he means ALL THINGS. You can do this, Mini-Woman. You got God.

  5. Being strengthened doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly WANT to do all that stuff and you’ll magically have all this energy. What it means is that with GOD’s energy you can find ways to make it happen. You know what I do? I have a chart for every week that lists the chores I need to do every day. I can get so wrapped up in my head with things like, okay, composing this blog post, that I forget to clean the toilets and the trash is suddenly running over onto the floor and I’m wondering why I don’t have any clean socks. I am telling you the absolute truth: every time I do one of the tasks on my chart, I give myself a star sticker. Here’s a picture of it for this week. chore chart I don’t really care if guests see it and think I’m acting like I’m in fourth grade. It works for me. (And what’s wrong with being in fourth grade anyway?)

  6. Finally, set a specific time to take care of those chores – and then don’t procrastinate by putting in a movie or getting into a video game or playing with your new puppy Gibbs at vet(Okay, so I used that example so I would have an excuse to post a picture of Gibbs!) Those things are your reward for AFTER you take care of business.

Have you noticed that I haven’t said, “There are 365 places in the Bible that say something like, ‘Do not be afraid.’ So don’t be.”  If you could just say, “I’m not going to be anxious about this anymore,” and be instantly calm, wouldn’t you have done it by now? I think what God is telling us is, “Don’t be afraid to try to change. Don’t be afraid you can’t do it. Just. Do. It. And I’ll be there for you.”

Asher's header

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your days are packed full of schoolwork, after-school activities, responsibilities, and an endless to-do list… I’m starting to feel stressed just thinking about this!

It might be worth taking a step back, as busy as you may be. List the things that are making your life messy in your Talking-To-God Journal. Think about each item you listed – is it really worth your time? Maybe you’ve signed up for the school newspaper team, which costs you a lot of time, and you don’t even enjoy it that much. It might be worth taking a break from a responsibility that’s simply making your life more stressful. If a responsibility that you can’t give up, like looking after your siblings, is stressing you out, discuss it with someone who can help.

Being involved in a lot of activities can be a good thing, but sometimes it’s even better to make sure you have time to spend with God and take care of yourself. That way, you’ll be able to give the responsibilities you do have your very best!  

If you want to post a comment this time, tell us what’s on your “Chore Chart”. Tell us if you’ll set one up. We’ll give each other gold stars – because that’s what Mini-Women do!

Blessings,

Nancy