Well, more than one, really. 1) She named me one of 7 versatile bloggers, bestowing this cool award jpeg on me; 2) She reminded me that I’m not tossing words off the cliffs of nowhere; and 3) She challenged me (inadvertently) to keep up with my own blog at least as well as I do my other monthly features (like Laura Kurk On Hollywood and KatharosNow). Thank you, kind new friend April!
So my acceptance speech is supposed to be a list of seven random things about me. And then at the end of my speech, I’m to name 7 other bloggers who are versatile and worthy of a follow.
Here goes . . .
I am a descendant of Laura Foster, the woman killed by her impoverished Confederate veteran lover, Tom Dula (Dooley). He reportedly stabbed her many times with a large knife and buried her body. His former lover who was insanely jealous of Laura, reported the location of Laura’s body. He was hanged for the crime but not before it became a media circus because of love triangles and STDs. Oh, and there’s a song . . .
As a teenager, when I felt nervous, I would get dry heaves. This was especially embarrassing on the night of junior prom (my first actual date with an actual boy, alone in his actual car). You can fill in the awful details.
I tried stuffing my bra exactly once. Unfortunately, the toilet paper I used worked its way up and over the top of my shirt during the day. I didn’t know that until I went to the restroom during last period and saw a streamer of toilet paper hanging halfway down my body. FAIL.
One time, driving from my west Texas college to Oklahoma for the holidays, I ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere. I coasted into a station that looked more closed than open. But there was a guy there, and the pumps did work. After filling up, I found that I’d left my wallet in my dorm. I had a small TV in the car, so I gave that to the man at the counter, smiled, and thanked him for the gas.
I posed for a picture with meth addicts in London’s Piccadilly Circus. I don’t recommend it.
I can type freakishly fast. Like blurred hands fast. I won a state typing contest in high school. Nerd.
And the Number 1 random thing about me:
I have what a frustrated orthopedist once said were “Just extra bones . . . get over it,” in my feet. They’re like second ankle bones, slightly below and west of my real ankle bones. They’ve got a name but I forget. They make wearing shoes, any type of shoes, weird. When I was in high school, I saw the first doctor about them. He gave me a foot rub and charged my mom $500.
Now for my blogging awards–
Tessa Hall is an eighteen-year-old (maybe 19 now?) writer who is getting ready to release her first novel. I love her tender blog–Christ is Write–written mostly for teen girls, that tackles matters of the heart, faith, and writing. She’s a talented girl and someone to follow.
Mara Schasteen, an expressive naturalist painter in Wyoming, maintains a beautiful blog known for its abundance of heart and willingness to tell all her painting secrets. She’s a lover of nature and people and beauty and God and she’s as expressive with her words as she is with her paintbrushes.
I like Ruthie Dean’s blog a lot. She’s filling a gap, speaking to twenty-something professionals who are worried about things like ‘will i ever get married?’ and ‘how can i recover from all these mistakes i’ve made?” She’s honest, authentic, and witty. She says what she means.
I’m a huge fan of Stephanie Morrill’s Go Teen Writers! Stephanie does incredible mentoring of young, aspiring writers at her site. I’ve not seen a post yet which wasn’t full of meat and potato writing advice. She hosts contests, hooks writers up with mentors, and teaches workshop style lessons. It’s great stuff!
The MacGregory Literary blog – hosted as chipmacgregor.com is one to follow if you have any interest in writing and publishing. Chip is known for bringing a touch of humor and realism to the world of agenting and publishing and he has surrounded himself with fantastically smart people. My own agent, Amanda Luedeke, blogs every Thursday (Thursdays with Amanda) and she gives advice about how to make it in the industry. It’s a “How To” sort of column that breaks things down into chunks we can handle.
One of my favorite new blogs is Ryan Pemberton‘s hands&feet|thoughts on experiencing and sharing Him. Ryan has the amazing claim to fame of living in C.S. Lewis’s former home while studying theology at Oxford. Yeah. It’s cool, I know. And his writing style is emotional and full of heart. I cry when I read him and I see a lot of themes in his writing that I strive for in my own.
My number one most favorite versatile blog is Sara Zarr’s. Sara’s the best thing happening in YA right now, in my opinion, and it’s not just because she has a way with words. She also graciously shares her time, talent, knowledge, and heart with her readers and, most importantly for me, other writers. She’s open about her own stumbles as she finds her way in this odd calling–the creative life. Her new podcasts, in which she interviews a well-known creative person each week, are beast. Follow her if you like to hear smart, sensitive, bold AND vulnerable things being said. And if you like to laugh.
So that’s me and a few of my favorite things! Thanks again, April Line, for the shout out . . .
(Feature image by photostock)
Tessa Hall joins me today and I’m thrilled to introduce her to my readers. I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to get to know her better. Tessa is eighteen and already a published novelist. Her first YA book, Purple Moon, releases this spring. Check out her blog — Christ is Write — for the details.
She contacted me after reading Glass Girl and we struck up a conversation about how to know when you’ve found “the one.” Our thoughts turned to the confusion these days about whether or not it’s okay for Christian teens to date. There are a bunch of books out right now, as you all know, that encourage you guys to work hard to stay pure (great advice) but they disagree on how best to make this happen.
If I were sitting where you sit, I’d be confused. Are they telling you that God disagrees with dating? Or that you’re wrong if you want to casually date a bunch of guys? Are they telling you to never even kiss the guy you’re dating until you’re engaged? Where’s the middle ground? And why are we seeing such a polarizing discussion on the subject lately?
Tessa had some great thoughts because she’s worked through the conflicting advice and found a solution that works for her. I asked her to share with you.
I want this to be a conversation that we have with you! Please comment below with your thoughts so we can work through these complicated issues together. Some of you have had boyfriends since you were young. Some of you have dated a lot of guys. Some of you are following the model of courtship held up in various books today. Tell us about your experiences, good or bad.
Is it wrong for Christian teens to date?
It was the beginning of summer after eighth grade, and my two best friends and I were having a sleepover. We were all three newly single since I had just broken up with my first real boyfriend, so they were excited that we could now “flirt” with guys over the summer.
“I don’t know,” I told them. “I want my next boyfriend to be my future husband.” I remember so clearly the look on their faces. They thought I was crazy.
“How are you going to know for sure when you meet him?” they asked. “I don’t know if I could have that much faith.”
I was shocked at their reactions. I thought it was simple… you just know when you’ve met “the one.” Why go out with someone when you know it won’t last and you’ll eventually be with other guys?
They did make me wonder, though, how I could have so much faith. How would I know for sure when I meet my future husband even before I start going out with him?
Later I heard about the term courtship, which basically means that nothing is official until marriage. Instead of dating, courting is a time of developing a deeper friendship with a person, getting to know his family, and allowing God to grow their relationship naturally—and if it’s His will, have it eventually lead to marriage.
Many Christians who have decided to court rather than date do so because they feel that dating is a worldly activity. And when you finally do meet “the one,” it isn’t as special if you’ve already been with several others. He’ll merely become another of “the ones” you’ve dated. I’ve even heard this kind of dating referred to as being “practice for divorce.”
It makes sense, doesn’t it? So many girls in high school break up with their boyfriend then immediately start searching for another relationship. By the time they graduate, they’ve been in possibly twenty different relationships since grade school. Why? Because we’re romantic, searching for someone who can make us feel special. Besides, the more relationships you’re in, the more “experience” you’ll have once you finally do meet “the one.” Right?
Lauren Barlow from BarlowGirl does a pretty good job at illustrating why this should not be the case.
“God didn’t create one Adam and five Eves and say ‘Go ahead, date around and see which one you like the best.’
He said, ‘Adam, I know what you need and I’m going to create that for you.’”
So if we can’t date just anyone, should we completely rule out dating and only court instead?
I read a book by Joshua Harris a few years ago titled I Kissed Dating Goodbye that explains Christian courtship. This book has some very valuable advice in it, however I wouldn’t agree with 100% of what he says, only because I personally don’t believe that Christians should court only. I’ve learned that God has different stories for each of us.
Here are a few other reasons why I don’t agree that courtship is the only option:
The reason, I believe, why so many people are against dating is because of how the world has defined it. However, Christian dating should be different. Because of this, I decided that I wouldn’t even think about going into a relationship without first seeking God’s guidance.
And I was able to keep my word that to what I told my friends the summer before high school. Exactly a year ago, God put this guy I once knew from my childhood back into my life. A few months after getting to know him through youth group, we went out on a few dates. He then eventually asked me to be his girlfriend. And I said yes.
How did I know it was God’s will? Sometimes, when you pray about something, you just know. There were many “God-coincidences” that He gave to both of us confirming that we were in His will.
Sam (my boyfriend) later told me that it was the fact that I didn’t “chase after him” like so many girls do nowadays that made him even more curious and attracted to me. He had to do all the pursuing.
I think what’s so cool about our relationship is the fact that we didn’t force it into being. It happened so naturally, and wasn’t rushed at all. We both were in no hurry find a boyfriend or girlfriend anytime soon.
That just proves that God honors those who wait.
And there has to be that season of waiting. This is why being single and not playing the dating game is so important. We each have maturing in Christ to do before he puts us together with the right person. In fact, growing closer to Him can grow us closer to our future husband spiritually, even before you ever meet him.
So yes, I believe that casual dating to get to know someone is perfectly fine—as long as Christ remains the center.
Some people do feel as if they should court instead of dating. And that’s completely fine too. But to those who choose not to, remember that there’s a difference between a man-made relationship that will only lead to destruction and a God-written romance that will last for eternity.
And trust me, God’s love stories are far more exciting than the ones we try to write for ourselves.
I love when teens and young adults thoughtfully approach issues and try to keep Christ at the center. I love the idea that being single can be a time of waiting and maturing so that we’ll be ready when we meet the one. I also think dating casually as you learn about yourself and about guys can be valuable, too, if your relationships are always centered on Christ. Once I met Alan, it didn’t take long for me to see how different he was from any guy before and how much I wanted him in my life. I just knew. And I think, in many ways, I knew with such certainty because I had dated a few guys before him. But when you’re in a relationship that you know is wrong, end it! If you’re dating the “wrong” guy, the “right” guy can’t ask you out.
I’d love to hear from some of you who plan to “kiss dating goodbye” and stick to courting. What brought you to this conclusion and what, exactly, does courting look like for you? What about those of you who believe this is a time to be single so that you’ll have the freedom to grow your relationship with Christ?
Show some love and send some comments!