It’s Hannah’s Day here on Tween You and Me, and I know you love that. Before I give you her awesome post, a few announcements:
* Welcome new Tribelet member, ADA. And thank all of YOU for giving her a great welcome. Ada, you’ll want to read last Monday’s post on what we agree to here on the blog (sort of like rules) and then you’re all set.
* Hannah and I are jazzed that you all like the new part of our blog, The Mini-Makers. If you missed that, read last Tuesday’s post so you can participate. The next Mini-Makers post will be December 12, so be sure to send me your pictures, drawings, recipes, stories, poems, songs (you get the idea) before then. Just click here for my email address.
* Some of you have said you want to submit a piece of writing but yours is more than 100 words. That’s okay. Just send me the whole piece and I’ll use an excerpt from it on the post. (An excerpt is a small portion of a piece of work that shows the best of it.)
All righty, that’s it! Now on to Hannah’s post. Prepare to really look at yourself …
Hi mini-women! I hope you all had a wonderful (and yummy!) Thanksgiving with people you love. I know these long weekends seem to go too fast every year, don’t they?
Today we’ve got a new topic in the True Self/False Self series, and I bet you may have heard some examples of this happening at Thanksgiving dinner, depending on who was there! That topic is …
Speaking Honestly OR Speaking Rudely
When we get enough people around the table, there are bound to be some interesting comments throughout the day, how ‘bout it? Stuff like people asking if you know your sweater looks weird, or if you’re really going to eat that fourth helping of turkey. (Why yes. Yes I am.)
Obviously we know that God values honesty. Truth, not lies. That’s our God for sure. If the stuffing is soggy, shouldn’t we tell someone if they ask how we like it?
Maybe not, because our problem comes when we forget to speak truth with love. God is love too, isn’t He? So it isn’t ‘just being honest’ when we tell our cousin her new haircut looks weird. It’s also unloving.
Often we speak honestly, but we do it from the way WE understand honesty. We don’t ask God how God would handle it. But we’re telling the truth, right?! Isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t we tell our little brother that he totally just butchered the joke he tried to make?
Well … let’s consult God about that:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)
Oh boy. Lots to consider here.
That first phrase — “wisdom that comes from heaven” — that makes us realize that there ARE other types of wisdom. Like our own earthly wisdom. Like stuff we think up on our own and never consult God about.
Like when our little brother or sister has been annoying ALL DAY and we stomp down the hall and say, “Do you know how annoying you are when you play with that same loud toy over and over? You are so rude!”
It’s truthful right? They are definitely being annoying. No doubt about it. And they’re being kind of rude, right? Being loud and not thinking about others?
BUT … look back at that verse.
We weren’t very peace-loving, considerate, or full of mercy, were we? Not really. We just went in there to be honest – and nothing else!
See, honesty is only great when it’s used the right way. Let’s use another example. Let’s say your friend has a crush on someone who isn’t such a nice person. You could tell your friend that she’s insane, and she has terrible judgment, and she’s dumb for even thinking about this person. Some not very nice words in there, but all honest, right? And maybe your friend needs a punch to the gut to wake her up.
But God doesn’t seem to feel that way. He says when wisdom (honest advice) comes from Him, it makes you merciful, considerate, and you speak in love.
Maybe your friend just likes this person because she’s lonely and she wants someone to love her. Maybe her heart is soft, and she wants to help change this person. Still not great reasons, but at least we can maybe understand a little better why she feels this way. And that will help us speak honestly, clearly, and with love.
If we look back at that verse again, we’ll see that wisdom that comes from God always makes ‘good fruit’ which means it focuses on a good end result for everyone, instead of just blowing our top and getting our point across. We could say something like, “I know you like him, and I’m not saying he’s a total jerk or that you’re dumb for liking him. But is he really the best choice for you?”
Besides, if we’re being honest here, mini-women, when does speaking rudely EVER help? Does it EVER work? Let’s try to do things the God way first, instead of our own way. We should ALWAYS make sure our honesty is loving – and not rude!
If you want to write in your Talking To God Journal, you might talk about the last time you were rude to somebody by “just being honest” and what happened as a result. After you talk to God about how awesome it is that God forgave you already, write about how you could have worded it – or just not said anything at all.
If you want to make a comment, tell us which one of these being-honest-with-love parts of our verse you most need to work on:
Being pure about why I want to “be honest” (am I actually jealous or angry or annoyed?)
Thinking about making peace (instead of stirring things up and making them worse)
Being considerate of the person’s feelings (how would I feel if somebody was ‘honest’ with me like that?)
Considering what made the person do that thing I’m being so honest about (before I blast in with all my judgey-ness)
Being honest with myself about what I want to get out of this (will it just make me look smarter, like I know more, like I’m better?)
Being fair (rather than just jumping on people because I don’t like them or because they do it to me)
Being real (instead of being critical because it’s the cool thing to do, because being all snarky is funny)
Happy Almost Thanksgiving, Tribelet. Since we’re in the middle of our “Just Be Myself? Really?” series, this seemed like the perfect time to remind you to …
Be thankful for yourself.
Before you say, “Isn’t that kind of conceited?” remember that your True Self is the one God made you to be … IN God’s own image. God loves that you, so you should love her too and be grateful that you are her … or she is you …
Okay, you get the idea, right?
So as you U.S. girls are getting ready for Thanksgiving Day, and all of you mini-women living in other places in the world are celebrating with us, make sure you take some time to list the things God planted in you that you’re especially grateful for.
* your laugh? * your eyes like your mom’s or your smile like your dad’s? * how good you are at math, or how hard you try? * your softball swing? *your forward roll *your killer tuna fish salad sandwich?
Your Talking To God Journal is the perfect place for that, of course. And if you want to share the thing about you that you’re the most thankful for in a comment, that would be awesome.
Can’t wait to hear! And can I just say, I’m thankful for everything about you.
Hey, Tribelet! Whether you’ve always wanted to write the next Nancy Drew series or you would rather have a tooth pulled than have to sit down and pen a story, this post is for you. How could that be?
Because every one of us is a creative person. Think about it. The Bible clearly says that God made people in God’s own image and likeness. God created and is still creating everything … and if we’re made in the likeness of God .. then we’re creative too!
That doesn’t mean everybody is going to be a published author. Not everybody will be a painter, a musician, a quilter or a fashion designer either. But in every single one of us there is a spark that makes us perfect for making something — whether it’s “artistic” or not.
So, when I write a Mini-Writers’ post once a month from now on, it won’t just be about putting words on paper. Most of the things I’ll talk about can be applied to anything you do that calls for having an idea and making if happen.
For example, if I say mini-writers should keep a journal, that also means that mini-artists should keep a sketchbook. If I say “be aware of the world around you,” that works for those of you who like to come up with new soccer plays as much as it does for those of you who write poetry .
That also means that at the end of every Mini-Writers post when I invite you to send me your work so I can post some of it, artists can send me drawings, photographers can send me photos, bakers can send me pix of their pies and cookies and math whizzes can send me cool story problems they make up (with the elegant solutions). See what I mean?
In fact, maybe we should call this once-a-month post the Mini-MAKERS post. Tell us what you think about that.
Okay, so these are the basics to get us all started. KAELYN, if you recognize this, it all comes from the email I sent you when you asked for my advice on being a writer. You and several other Mini-Women gave me the seed for this new part of our blog, and now we’re planting it!
* Read, read, read. And did I mention read? Read the best books you can. That’s how writers first learn to write. (OR look at art, or watch professional sports — whatever applies to your kind of creativity)
Keep a journal. Have you made a Talking to God Journal? It’s a great way to pray and to learn to express yourself with your written words. It’s also a fun place to doodle, draw, write down ideas for recipes or figure out how to organize your closet – and just generally be yourself.
Write whatever comes to you – songs, poetry, stories or just stuff. Don’t worry about whether it’s good. Don’t even think about whether it could be published. Just write, because that is the second most important thing writers do to learn to write. They write. Freely. Authentically. The same goes for sketching. Sewing. Practicing new ice skating routines. Doing everybody’s hair. You learn a lot about it just by experimenting.
Love language. When you hear a word you don’t know, ask what it means. When you read one, look it up. Enjoy the way certain words feel in your mouth (I like chassis, strut and smooth, just to name a few.) How does that work for other creative activities? Love musical notes and chords. Or love spices. Or love the way muscles move. Or love yarn, fabric, paper or glitter.
Be aware of the world around you. Spend less time with a screen in front of your face and more observing people and nature and your community. Keep a notebook in your purse or backpack so you can jot things down. I’m always writing something in my head as I view the world. That gives you ideas and inspiration for using whatever gift God gave you.
Learn everything you can about the things that interest you. Right now I’m studying several things. I’m learning to draw (I have no talent there but it’s fun), I’m reading about Alexander Hamilton because I want to see the musical about him when it comes to town, and I’m interested in everything about Concord, Massachusetts because I’m writing a book that’s set there. What fascinates you? Write or draw the thoughts and facts and observations of the things you want to learn more about in your notebook. That’s what writers do. That’s what most creative people do — the ones who really want to express who they are.
This is the learning-about-life and learning-about-yourself and learning-about-your-craft phase. You’ll start writing things or drawing or planning things and not finish them. That’s perfectly okay. In fact, it’s exactly what new artists of all kinds do. It’s the learning that counts right now, not the finishing.
What you can send me by December 12, 2016:
* any piece of writing you want that is 100 words or less OR
* a digital photo of a drawing or diagram or whatever other representation of something you’re working on
* a photo you’ve taken that expresses you
If you need my email address, just ask for that in a comment.
Here’s an example from JOHNNA, a song she wrote just for Tween You and Me
Why would he choose me, over her?
My dull brown hair and ttttt-shirt.
She’s over there, long blonde locks,
I guess I shouldn’t really care.
I feel like I look nice and it’s what I wear,
And if he can’t see my beauty inside,
Too bad, I got another man, his name is My God.
My God sees my beauty inside!
He-he-he loves me! He-he-he loves me!
My God sees my beauty inside!
He-he-he loves me! That, I guarantee.
So you think you don’t got compotition,
Cause my God is here, and he wants me, and,
I think hes winning!
Why would he choose me, over her?
Cause my inner beauty shines, hm, hm, hmmmmm!
I try to be good, I try to be kind,
He don’t notice, that’s okay, My God was right.
If you want to post a comment, will you tell us —
* What you like about this new part of our blog (by the way, Hannah and I will still do all the other posts too)
* What your creative gift is (remember that everybody has one)
See you tomorrow for our regular weekly post! Dream deep, Mini-Makers.
Hello, Tribelet! We have so many new Mini-Women here on Tween You and Me, I thought this might be a good time to review the “rules” we have for how the blog runs.
I don’t like to use the word because it sounds like if you break one you’re going to have consequences or something. NOT!
Instead, think of them as the things you agree to when you join us. None of them are “restrictions.” They’re just here to help us make this a safe, open place for you to be who you are.
I personally like to know WHY certain rules exist, so after each one below I’ve given you its reason in parentheses. Here we go:
#1 Comment only on the prompt in RED on the post, usually at the end. If there’s something other than that you’d like to talk about, click here to email me, and Hannah and I will see if we can weave that into one of our posts. * (We plan our posts in series. This helps us make sure the blog doesn’t go off someplace we don’t want it to go!) We prefer that you don’t recommend books or songs to each other in your comments (because we can’t keep track of all of them)
#2 The one exception to that is prayer requests.We love that you pray for each other, though we do ask you not to include other people’s names and a lot of details. (We need to protect people’s privacy. It’s not up to us to tell everybody that your Uncle Joe is throwing up all over the place, right?)
#3 Keep your personal information personal. That means only use your first name or your screen name and only tell us what country you live in, if you want to. (That, of course, is to protect you.)
#4 It’s wonderful to pray for each other and give each other encouragement. It’s best, though, if you let Hannah and me give the advice. (That way our mini-women don’t get confused by too many different answers)
#5 Most important of all, keep your comments to each other positive and polite, which you’re wonderful about. We haven’t had that issue in a very long time. (Here on Tween You and Me, we respect the dignity of every human being. There is never a reason to argue or be ugly. Not here)
Don’t you wish there were only FIVE rules at school or in your house — or in life? The 8 years Tween You and Me has been around have proven that when we follow these five guidelines, our community stays healthy and happy and safe — and it grows.
If you have any questions about the rules, feel free to ask them in a comment.
* Now, about weaving something you want to talk about into a blog post … some of you got excited about sharing your stories and poems. I absolutely want to encourage writers — ya think? — so let’s do this. Rather than posting your writing in comments on days when that’s not the topic, I will:
+ Do a “For Mini-Writers” post once a month and invite you to send me your work by email.
+ I’ll then pick parts of your stories and poems and post them, inviting comments.
Does that sound like a good plan?
Now – I just want to make sure nobody thinks I’ve posted the rules because somebody did something “wrong.” It can’t be wrong if you don’t know what the rule is in the first place! No, it was just time, and now we can move ahead. You rock, Mini-Women!
Nancy Rue (and ASHER — these were all her drawings today!)
Hi, Tribelet! Hannah here! In our series — “Just Be Myself? Really?” — as we’re talking about the true self (the God-made you) and the false self (the world-made you), there’s one issue we really need to get clear on.
I know, right? But before you start getting all uncomfortable, get this. The thing with anger is that sometimes it’s good. Like when you see somebody being bullied or somebody (maybe even you) gets accused unfairly. If we didn’t get mad about stuff like that, bad situations would never change.
But sometimes anger is just your false self getting all fired up because she’s jealous or she wants to be first or she’s all hormonal.
We actually can’t help that we GET angry. We’re human beings. Even Jesus got mad. It’s what we DO with anger that counts, and sometimes it’s not pretty.
Mini-women, we have ALL been there. Something makes us mad and instead of handling it in love, we spout off because we want the world to know it!
I have done this 1 million times in my life.
What is it about anger that just makes us lose. Literally. All. Control?
Let’s unpack this topic and find out when you’re being (rightly) angry and when you’re just being nasty. This can tie in to what I wrote about in my first post – about making excuses for bad behavior by saying things like, “That’s just the way I am. I have a temper.”
We’ve all probably said that before, in one way or another. But here’s what God has to say.
“In your anger do not sin.” – Ephesians 4:26
God tells us two very important things in a short sentence here. 1. We’re allowed to get angry. BUT 2. it can easily lead to sin, which is basically separation from God. So we have to be on our guard.
See, sometimes we think we’re angry. Maybe your friend got an A on a math test, while you’re still stuck in Chapter 1, wondering how class can be moving this fast! You feel like you have every right to be mad, and maybe you even want to yell at her when she offers to help. This is where we start getting nasty – which is helpful to no one, and we all know it deep down.
But we’re really not just angry. We’re something else also. We’re afraid, or we’re hurt, or we’re confused. And so we lash out, instead of trying to fix that emotion inside. Like the math test. You’re really not mad at your friend. You’re just frustrated with your own score.
I think our false self (the ones we drew pictures of) likes to whisper to us, “You have every right to be angry. You need to tell them JUST how you feel. You’re not scared or confused, you know exactly how you feel and that’s MAD! You can’t control it, just let it out!” (Kaelyn’s inner critic!)
Wooh. Doesn’t that voice just SOUND kinda creepy and evil? And yet it doesn’t sound that way in our heads, does it? It just sounds RIGHT in our heads at the time. We can talk ourselves into a fit pretty quick and lose all control.
Now, the true, God-made self doesn’t sound like that.
If you’re feeling righteous anger, then you’re in a situation where someone or something is not honoring God, not treating people with love, or not following one of the Ten Commandments.
For the record, I don’t think your parents asking you to do more chores, your sister borrowing your clothes without asking, or your little brother breaking one of your toys is a ‘righteous’ anger situation! (Not saying this isn’t frustrating sometimes!)
RIGHTEOUS anger is a little different. If we’re going to stick with the math test example, maybe we find out that some people in our class are cheating to get those straight A grades. Meanwhile you’re crying over your homework every night and you still only get a C. So at this point, you’re feeling righteous anger. Because cheating is definitely not in God’s plan.
Even if we’re pretty sure we’re righteously angry (and not just irritated), we need to take time to think over our position. We pray about it, read what the Bible has to say, and we pray again. Then we’re ready to confront someone in a loving way. We don’t yell at them, “I know how you’re getting all A’s – because you’re just a rotten cheater!”
We ask them if we can talk with them alone, after class. We keep our voice calm when we say, “I think the way you’re getting those grades is dishonest. Maybe you should go talk to the teacher before this gets any worse. I’ll even go with you.”
That way we’ve found a good way to express our anger AND we still treated that person with love. Win-win.
Believe me mini-women, I don’t have this down perfectly, not one bit. This was actually a tough post for me to write because I do tend to fly off the handle about the silly stuff, and my false self DOES whisper to me, “You’re just feisty. You can yell if you want.”
Nope, sorry, little voice in my head. I can’t yell at other people about that silly stuff. Jesus didn’t, and that means I have to try not to as well. I don’t want to feel separated from Him when I get mad.
If you want to write in your Talking To God Journal, ask God to show you just what it is that’s pushing YOUR buttons and making you lose your mind (or at least your temper) Ask for God’s help.
If you want to post a comment, tell us:
what is that thing, that one ANNOYING or HURTFUL or UNFAIR thing that sets you off?
how do you usually react when that button is pushed. (Don’t be afraid to tell us you want to smack somebody.)
which of these things HAVEN’T you done that you could try so you can respond in love instead?
Pray about it
Really think it through
Talk to a grown-up about it
Decide if it’s righteous anger or, instead, you feeling hurt, afraid or confused and wanting to lash out
Say to the person who is firing up your temper, “Can we talk about this? Because I’m having a hard time with it.” (You might want to avoid the part about wanting to smack him or her in the face …)
If you really need help with this, tell us in your comment! You know this Tribelet loves to pray for each other, and Nancy and I have your back too.
Hello, Tribelet of precious mini-women. Is it just me, or is our blog twice as awesome now that we have Hannah with us? She loves you as much as I do, and that’s a lot.
Last week she got you thinking about the beauty traits you want to be known for — the ones that have nothing to do with whether you’re having a bad hair day. As I was reading your responses it occurred to me that almost every one of those traits was something you’ve shown us here on the blog in your comments and the way you support and pray for each other. Basically, you’re already moving toward being more your true selves just by imagining the kind of woman you want to be.
You WILL get there. Last week I as visiting a town I lived in for 19 years, 20 years ago. As I was sitting in the very classroom at the university where I sat as a student (this time I was listening to my husband give a guest lecture), it hit me: I am not the same person I was back then — and I am so close to being the woman I prayed I would become in those days. That’s pure God right there, and it will happen for you because you’re talking to God and being aware of who God made you to be. Just think about that for a minute. Seriously.
You done thinking? Okay, now let’s turn back to that false self we talked about two weeks ago — the one who keeps you from realizing that you ARE that loving, generous, kind, loyal, honest person you want people to know you for. I asked you to send me some pictures of what that false self looks like. Some of you did …
Asher’s is above.
Here is Rebekah’s — Yikes! Hers pitches a fit!
And Lauren’s — Tinker Bell was literally critiquing Peter Pan ALL the time!
And definitely check out Johnna’s —
One thing is for sure: we can be meaner to ourselves than the worst bully is to us. Before we can let out those wonderful traits we glimpse in ourselves, we have to find a way to shut that False Self up. With her out of the way, we can hear God.
So what do we do?
(1) We learn to recognize that voice as a false one. It will usually —
* sound mean * accuse you of bad things * put you down * criticize you for petty stuff * call you names
(Didn’t I tell you it was a bully?)
(2) We come up with a one-liner to say to it — even out loud if we have to — to let it know it has no place in our brain. For instance:
* Thanks for sharing but I’m only hearing new business today.
* Move along. You have no place here.
*I’m sorry but I got no time for liars.
Or my personal favorite: Shut. Up. (I never say that to people, but my false voice deserves it because she’s a mean liar)
Notice that a one-liner is:
*short *gives the ‘get lost’ command *doesn’t bully back (as in, “You’re a heinous liar and I hate you.” More like, “Bye-bye.”)
(3) We learn to recognize God’s voice so we can listen to it instead. I don’t know about you, but God doesn’t talk to me in a deep, all powerful voice. God comes to me in my thoughts, but I know they aren’t MY thoughts because they’re not something I would automatically come up with.
* Doesn’t accuse. It encourages. “I know you messed this up before but I’m here to help you do better.”
* Doesn’t name-call because God loves your very name. ” Ah, Lauren, my love, let’s try this instead.”
* Doesn’t criticize. It gives you help. “That didn’t work out so well, did it? How about if you …”
* Doesn’t put you down. It lifts you up. “You never stop trying. I love that about you. In fact, I just love you. Period.”
If you want to write in your Talking To God Journal, ask God to help you hear that False Voice. Tell God what you think it sounds like — describe it like you’re writing it into a story or compare it to something (mine sounds like a very old lady who talks through her nose). See what comes to you. Then ask God to help you come up with the perfect one-liner for that False Voice that basically tells it to get lost.
If you want to share your one-liner with us, we would LOVE to hear it. Yours might help somebody else come up with one. We’ll stifle those False Voices together, so that when Hannah comes back next week with another great post for our “Just Be Myself? Really?” series, your head will be clear. (That voice will try to sneak back in, but you won’t let it. )
In the meantime, let’s keep listening to God and each other. We are, after all, God’s Tribelet!
Hello, Mini-Women! Hannah here. If you’re just joining us or you’ve been away for a while, we’ve just started a new series called “Just Be Myself? Really?” To get caught up, be sure to read last week’s post by Nancy, about the False Self and the True Self.
One aspect of that true self vs. false self thing is…drumroll please…physical-appearance-self! Let’s jump right in.
Have you even felt not as pretty as someone else?
Let’s face it, we all have. I know I have great self-esteem some days, and other days I just feel all womped out. (Womp is a word, you guys.)
Ok so let me tell you a story.
My oldest cousin married a model. This woman is just beautiful. I can eat healthy for a month, exercise my heart out, and when I show up to family gatherings – there she is. Being prettier than me. How dare she.
But let me continue. When I talk about my cousin and his wife, it almost never occurs to me to mention that she’s a model. You know why?
Because she is one of the kindest people I have ever met. She is a loving wife to my cousin, she is so patient with her three darling but rambunctious children, and she’s so fun to talk to when we all get together. She is genuinely interested in what you’re saying, and focuses on you, even when she’s got a little one on her lap throwing their food on the floor! When I talk about her, I say all that good stuff!
Her looks fade into the background, because her kindness just can’t help but take center stage.
That’s how I want to be. I want that false self (the one who gets all worried about how I look) to get kicked to the curb. I want my TRUE self (the self that God created in me) to be SO focused on doing the kind, honest, loving things in life. I mean, for goodness sakes, can you see yourself arriving in heaven and God saying, “Wow I love what you’ve done with your eyebrows!”
We all know that’s nonsense. Take care of yourself, look presentable, of course. But obsess over it? No way! If others are talking about me, I want them to say all the good stuff! Because at the end of our lives, our looks will fade, but our hearts will remain. And we want to be remembered for good hearts, yeah?
And don’t take it from me. Check out what God says.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. –Proverbs 31:30
For what it’s worth, I think when God mentions ‘charm’, He might be referring to girls who just flirt for no reason. And beauty is fleeting – well we all know that. But He wraps up the verse with a grand promise – a woman who follows Him is to be praised! Basically He’s saying: He wants you to follow Him so that when others talk about you – they will praise you! It’s our false self (our deceptive and fleeting self) that OBSESSES over how we look. It’s our TRUE self that fears the Lord and receives praise.
So my question (and your topic for your Talking to God journals) this week for you wonderful mini women is: (after you admire this latest drawing from our Asher)
What is the one trait you want others to remember you by? We’re talking character traits here, not baby blue eyes and gorgeous hair! We’re talking about that special true-self spark that God put in you when He was drawing up your blueprints.
I think mine would be grace. I want others to remember me as gracious and kind to others, always giving them the benefit of the doubt.