Summer Book List for the Christian Girl

I know what you all are thinking, “it’s summer and the last thing I want to do is read a book!” Trust me when I say I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU.

I need to be transparent with you all. I am the worst reader. Like the worst reader you have ever met. I will start a book and continue to work on it for months. So when Tiffany brought up the idea of writing a post about books, I secretly prayed that I would not be the one to write it, but here I am. 😂 I guess the Lord has a funny sense of humor.

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My New Book!!!

Friends, I have been literally getting up and DANCING all day today!!! For two reasons:

First, the new “Insatiable Quest for Beauty Book” is now here!!!

EEEE!!! And I LOVE IT. It is seriously SO MUCH BETTER than the old one.

As much as I had loved the original version when I released it four years ago, my writing style has matured a lot over the past few years, and I’ve learned more on my journey. So I rewrote a TON of this book and I LOVE it. Also, my friend Kirsten designed a new cover and it’s amazing!!!

You can purchase it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Insatiable-Quest-Beauty-overcoming-perfection/dp/1475272553/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1461616141&sr=8-3&keywords=tiffany+dawn+the+insatiable+quest+for+beauty

You can hear more about the new book here:

 

And the second reason I’ve been dancing all day is because…

TOMORROW (4/26/16) is the FREE, community event at 7pm at SCCC in Schenectady, NY!!!

If you live in the upstate NY area, you should definitely come join us!!

Not only will I be sharing a brand new version of “The Insatiable Quest for Beauty” Seminar, and having it video recorded, but you’ll also get to:

  • text in anonymous questions for our guest panel to answer;
  • be inspired by a beautiful dance, music, and videos;
  • and stick around for a book signing, as we officially release this new book!!

Want more info?? Visit the Facebook page here! https://www.facebook.com/events/233006347048660/

It’s going to be AMAZING.

And every time I think about it…I  just want to dance!!

Book Review: A Broken Kind of Beautiful

coverI was inexplicably drawn to the title of this book, as I may never cease to wonder at the way God turns brokenness into beauty.

Christy-award finalist and Carol winner Katie Ganshert penned the beautiful story of a world-famous model, who is falling apart underneath her perfect facade. Loved by many, and yet truly loved by no one, she was rejected by her father, used by those close to her, and now stands hidden behind a self-built wall of “perfect.”

With my passion for girls’ issues, A Broken Kind of Beautiful sounded exactly like the kind of novel I wanted to read. And it was. With insightful thoughts on beauty, becoming oneself, the fear of falling in love, and redemption, Katie draws you into the world of the kind of woman many girls idolize, draws you beneath the surface, and helps you look deeper into your own self.

Check it out! I think you’ll love it too. Here you can read Chapter One, find more information, or check out author Katie Ganshert’s bio and other books!

Note: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Book Review: It Had to Be You

bookI just finished the latest book Tyndale sent me for review: “It Had to Be You” by Susan May Warren. Every chance I got to sneak a few more pages in, I was all over it!

You see, I love a good romance novel every so often (sometimes more than often), particularly one in which I learn about something new (i.e. history, politics, law, etc.), but after awhile they all sound the same — poorly written, cheesy flicks that I end up putting aside for something more exciting like espionage (big surprise coming from this CIA fanatic).

So when I got “It Had to Be You” in the mail, I had this initial moment of, “Why did I choose THIS book? I’m so sick of romance novels right now!” But then I opened and started to read…

author…and I discovered that Susan May Warren can write!!! (See a Q&A with the author here.) There are few books where I think, “Oh man, I love how she weaves words together,” and this was one of them. On top of that, it taught me a bit about ice hockey (and let me tell you, sports is one subject I desperately need to learn about). It felt easy to read, and drew you into its narrative and characters, complete with an entirely unexpected twist at the end!

I really enjoyed this book. So if you’re looking for a new, clean, beautiful, feel-good-and-inspired novel, check out this one!

Let me leave you with these paragraphs from the end of the book, written by one of the characters (an aspiring reporter who feels invisible), as her ode to someone’s life. These words pricked my heart, offering a refreshing perspective in our world of searching to be seen and noticed.

“Is it possible to have a remarkable life by simply caring for someone else? To be a champion by losing everything? To become a hero by becoming invisible?

“Hudson taught us that the answer is yes.

“See, we pass them every day. They sit on a ratty piece of cardboard, wrapped in bags, fraying woolen hats, matted and dirty hair in tangles down their backs, wearing old Army surplus jackets.

“They hold out their hands, and we avert our eyes as we drop a quarter, maybe a dollar.

“Why? …They are different, broken, weary, forgotten, and we try not to notice them because they frighten us… if we saw them as any different, we might have to connect, to care.

“It might cost us something.

“We all judge each other. We see what we want, what we believe based on stereotypes, on rumor, and even on our own fears. We put people into categories and assign behaviors to them, and it isn’t until we take the time, until we commit to the cost, that we see beyond those stereotypes…

“Hudson knew that, to these forgotten, these unseen, God says, ‘I see you, and My heart breaks for you. I long to heal you. To comfort you. For you to rise up and know you are Mine. I am proud to be your daddy.’

“Hudson knew that to live a remarkable life, it start with seeing just one person and reminding them of God’s love.” (pp. 360-361)

 

Note: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

The Perfect Book for Valentine’s Day

Girls. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and if you’re in your teens or twenties, you’ve got to check out this book!

My friend Dechari from Girls Living 4 God (GL4G) recently released her book Finding Your Fairytale Ending.

I have to say, it’s one of those books you don’t want to put down! She shares her story so beautifully and honestly; I remember feeling like I knew her so much better by the end of it!

Thinking back on high school and college, Dechari shares her journey through the confusing world of dating and friendships, along with practical advice and things she learned from each part of her adventure.

I love this book because it’s down-to-earth and actually means something in my life!

Sometimes I feel like I don’t really connect with books, or feel like it doesn’t apply to my life, but Finding Your Fairytale Ending felt like I was talking with a friend who got me. I loved it!

So. If you’re looking for a good read for yourself, or if you’re searching for a Valentine’s Gift for your girlfriend or daughter, totally check this book out!! 🙂

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What you have to give besides your body

[This post is based on my new Boycrazy seminar.]

My greatest fear in life has been that I wouldn’t give a guy a reason to stick around.

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No, I take that back. My greatest fear in life is being eaten by wild animals. (I’m so serious right now. Realistic, I know.) My second greatest fear is that I’d never keep a guy’s attention.

Too many times I’ve bought into the cultural idea that I am my body, and my body is the greatest gift I have to offer in a relationship. Too many times I’ve bought into the mentality that, even if I’m not having sex (which I haven’t), I should still be super physical with a boyfriend.

If you were at the Boycrazy seminar, you heard the story of my last boyfriend, who sat me down and told me, “Tiffany, I feel like you’re trying to prove something, like you’re trying to prove to me that you’re sexy enough. But you have nothing to prove! I like you the way you are, and I respect you. I want to treat you like a daughter of the King, and I need you to help me do that.”

[Cue collective “awwww” moment.]

He exists!!!

In that moment, I knew that the kind of man I’d dreamed about as a little girl actually existed. The kind of man who was strong and kind, with the heart of a lion. The kind of man who would fight for the heart and honor of a daughter of the King. In that moment I knew:

Never again will I settle for anything less than this.

So here’s what I want to say to all you girls out there: You are worth more than your body.

I know you’ve heard it a hundred times, but I don’t think we often believe it. I never thought I was worth waiting for, so I didn’t respect myself. Now I know: I am worth waiting for — not because of who I am, but because of who my Father is. 

As much as I look forward to being with a man physically when I am married, in the meantime, I have so many other things to offer in a relationship — besides just my body.

So. Let’s talk about ten things we have to give in a dating relationship — besides our bodies.

  1. Interests. Find things the guy is interested in, and learn about them. I had this boyfriend who loved weather systems (so weird, right? It’s cause he was a pilot). Anytime I’d talk with him about weather, he LOVED it!!
  2. Surprises. Leave a note on his windshield or a fresh, steaming cup of coffee in his locker.
  3. Affirmation. I always thought that only girls needed to hear they were wonderful. Turns out guys do too! They want to feel needed (though not smothered) and respected. We can let them know how wonderful they are!
  4. Activities. Go do something fun together! (I’m talking sports and adventure, people, keep it clean!) Try a new activity or enjoy a hobby you have in common. What about geo cashing, board games, rock climbing, kayaking, or something else? What if you join a group of people who play soccer or hike all the mountains in the area? Make something that’s your thing to do.
  5. Friendships. Get to know his friends and family — and let him get to know yours! I’ve tried to date in a vacuum, and it doesn’t work. How a guy interacts with his family and friends tells you a lot about who he is. Plus, group dates help keep us accountable in our physical relationship — and they’re tons of fun!
  6. Thank yous. Notice the little things he does, even things like opening doors for you or helping your little sister work on her bike. Let him know how much you appreciate those things.
  7. Listening. Really listen, don’t just fake it.
  8. Humor. Be goofy together! Just HAVE FUN!!
  9. Devotion. Encourage one another in the Lord; keep Christ front and center of your relationship.
  10. Food. Obviously. We all know the way to a guy’s heart is through his stomach! (Actually, that’s the way to my heart too…)

Remember: You are more than just your body!!

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

One Small Finger

How often I am tempted to despise the “small things” in search of the “big things.”

Again and again I realize: God never does.

ImageI just read the beautiful story of a woman with multiple sclerosis, as told by Corrie Ten Boom. Imprisoned to her couch day after day, with limited control of only one small finger, she spent her days slowly translating portions of the Bible and Christian books on an old typewriter, to pass out to Christians in Soviet Russia. As she typed painstakingly slowly, she prayed for the writers of the Christian books.

One day Corrie Ten Boom visited her, and cried out silently to the Lord, “Why don’t you heal her?”

The woman’s husband answered her unspoken question: “God has a purpose in her sickness. Every other Christian in the city is being watched by the secret police, but because she has been sick so long, no one ever looks in on her…

She is the only person in all the city who can type quietly, undetected by the police.”

Corrie Ten Boom looked around the room and saw how the woman had given all she had, and how pleased the Lord was with the offering of her one small finger.

“Today we got a letter from her husband,” Corrie concluded the story. “In the early morning hours last week she left to be with the Lord. But, he said, she had worked up until midnight that same night,

typing with that one finger to the glory of God.”

Write for Him: Book Review

One of my favorite parts of this year was connecting with other incredible ministries for young women. One of those ministries is called Godly Girls for God (GGFG). Today I want to share a bit of their story with you. They just released a book called Write for Him: The Story of GGFG, which features 25 ladies from 10 different countries who have been influential in the start of this ministry. Check out this interview with the founder, Hillary!

About GGFG Webzine:

Hillary: “Currently, GGFG has 30 Site Writers ages 11-25. They write devotionals and stories, which we post every Friday. Some of the past and present writers have been featured in our book. Our site: www.godlygirlsforgod.com.”

ImageBook overview:

“Write for Him: The Story of GGFG is the story of how God brought together an online community of girls, bound together by a hobby of writing. The 25 young ladies featured in this book represent 10 different countries and many different backgrounds. They put their trust in God to overcome addictions, put away distorted views of God, learn how to cope with losing a parent, deal with bullies, face their fears about the future, and trade the messages of this world for the Truth,” writes Hillary.

“When they wrote these devotionals, fictional stories, testimonies, poems, and quizzes, they ranged in age from 11 to 24. Each writer desires to glorify God and encourage others by sharing a part of her life. We pray that the reflection of the faith, love, and hope of these girls will inspire in you a passion for God’s Word, so we can continue to grow together into the women God desires for us to become.”

Interview with Hillary:

When did you start writing in general?

As a very young child; in kindergarten, I started a journal that my mother encouraged me to write daily, and I stuck with it through my teen years.

When did you start writing for GGFG?

We started GGFG in 2004. I was 15 by the time it really took off as a Webzine.

How have your experiences influenced your writing?

I loved the quiet mysteries of our backyard in Florida, and was often inspired to write because of those moments I felt God was near. I loved listening to radio sermons at age 12, especially those by Charles Stanley. He was a comfort to me through some very trying times in my family, as my parents dealt with some very hard things with my sister. I was, at times, very depressed as a teenager, and could not think clearly. Writing helped. I would even write out my prayers sometimes. Then, going to several different colleges taught me a lot about writing itself; some teachers challenged me and put me down, which strengthened my resolve, and others both challenged and encouraged me.

What has God taught you through writing? Do you have a favorite part of this book?

God has taught me that He is working all over the world in hearts, and that we are far more alike than we realize as true believers in Jesus. It was reinforced to me that we are not alone, and that we can find others going through very similar things; Satan’s biggest lie is that no one else could possibly understand me. It isolates us in a way that makes it hard for us to open ourselves up to God, and others in healthy ways.

My favorite parts of this book is where you see the Gospel changing lives… and the sweet innocence of pure faith in God.

How does writing help you? What would you like to accomplish by writing?

Writing helps me focus on God. I want to make sure every girl knows that they are not too young to serve the Lord, and are not alone serving Him, no matter what their family, school, or other life situation.

What does the butterfly symbolism in the book’s graphics mean to you?

The butterfly represents new life in Christ, and has been our mascot all along. The purple is for royalty usually; it reminds me that we are called to become more like our King, Jesus. The world on the cover reminds me of the many countries represented within GGFG. Our faith in Jesus unites us in an absolutely amazing way. And the hands remind me that God is holding us all. Kristy Adair did an amazing job capturing the heart of GGFG!

When did you decide to start the book?

I was backing up a copy of the book on my computer. I felt like God was telling me it was time to try. It had been in the back of my mind… I turned to my husband and said, “I’m going to write a book.” It was November 2011. May 1st, 2013 I not only held my first box of books in my hands, but I got to show them off at my AWANA club!

Will you be doing more book projects?

As I tell the girls… if this one sells well, yes. I will follow God’s lead on this. We have begun some preliminary work already.

What’s your favorite page on GGFG’s site?

I have always been madly in love with the Hard Q’s page, because I treasure having a safe place to ask questions. I always loved the devotionals page, too, which holds the majority of our articles.

What encouragement would you like to give to other writers?

Write daily – or at least often. Read a lot. Don’t be ashamed to let others read your work. Take criticism in stride. Only you can say what you have to say… God has put you in the situations in your life so you can glorify Him, and encourage others. Don’t keep things to yourself just because you are afraid. God can do great things through you if you are willing!

1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

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Follow GGFG on Twitter: @Ggirls4God!

Book Review: Willing to Walk on Water

Caroline Barnett. Wow. You have outdone yourself.

I just finished reading “Willing to Walk on Water” by Caroline Barnett, who pastors the LA Dream Center with her husband Matthew.

willing-to-walk-on-water-by-caroline-barnettWhat is the Dream Center?

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Dream Center (I hadn’t until this year), it’s an incredible ministry based out of LA, but with other centers opening across the country.

It reaches out to people in need, from victims of sex trafficking to people in poverty.

It provides for and keeps families together that would otherwise have the children removed from the home because the parents can’t afford the basic necessities of life.

It houses single moms.

And so on and so on. Mind blowing.

(For an author Q&A, click here.)

So what’s this book?

Caroline’s book is all about taking that step of faith to make a difference in our world.

This was a book I didn’t want to put down. Inspiring, challenging, and fun to read – a winning combo.

(To read the first chapter, click here.)

But I want to share with you just two things that stuck with me the most from this book.

#1: Why are we allowing this to happen?

In Caroline’s opening chapter, she tells a story of when she first saw an Invisible Children‘s documentary, and wrestled with God, asking, “How could you allow these awful things to happen?” That night, she writes, He whispered this to her heart:

“Caroline, I sent My Son, Jesus, to pay for the sin of what you just saw so that there would be hope for redemption. I sent My Son, Jesus, to pay for the healing that will need to take place. In My Word I have promised to provide and to protect. I have done and given you everything you need to change it. So, Caroline, why are you allowing this to happen?” (p. 12)

Those words shook me to the core.

As she said, “His words weren’t shaming or condemning. They overflowed with love.”

And with a call to arise.

I have never looked at injustice in the world in this way. Yet now all I can ask myself is, “Why am I, why are we, allowing this to happen?”

il_570xN.377535706_ozpg#2: It would take less than one percent.

The other thing that stuck with me was this statistic:

“No matter how daunting the amount of suffering is in this world, or the number of people who are in need, we in the Christian army are not outnumbered. I believe the biggest inustice is that although these problems would be easy for us to fix, we haven’t yet done so. I think about the statistic I mentioned earlier – 18.5 million orphaned children around the world. With over two billion believers in the global community, it would take less than one percent of willing Christians to adopt these kids and every orphan would have a home.” (p. 214)

Less than one percent? That’s it?

Everything I can do makes a difference.

Sometimes I feel like the little things I can do, don’t make a difference. This book reminded me that I’m not alone. I’m part of a body. Every individual makes a difference, but the body as a whole, if we would arise, could change the world.

I walked away from this book thinking: It’s time to stand up and make a difference. Nothing I can give is too small.

*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.*

Book Review: Next Generation Leader

IMG_20130504_141254I am just LOVING Andy Stanley’s “Next Generation Leader.” I start reading, don’t want to stop, but find myself having to rest and process what I’ve read. I find myself challenged and inspired. I’ve stopped to take inventory of my own life and find how I can become more productive as a leader and in the ministry I currently am walking in. His questions give me insight into myself and my style of leadership as I mull them over. It provides vision and strategies for the future. This is a book I will be coming back to many times over the upcoming years!