June 1, 2010 I published the last issue (at least for a while) of Girl Talk my teen girl magazine. Since this blog was originally designed for the purpose of publishing weekly devotions for the magazine and later the magazine itself I decided to create another blog that isn’t connected to Girl Talk.

I’ll probably still publish book reviews or other items here now and again but you’ll more often find me at Trusting Him with Today. I hope you’ll stop by

May 31, 2007

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?
We've all wondered what other people see when they look at us. I know I did. When I was a teenager I struggled with my self-image. I thought everyone's opinion of me was more important than my own. Thankfully I don't anymore. These days, if someone compliments me I say thank you. If there's something about me they don't like, well it's their opinion. I refuse to look at myself through the negative eyes of my critics and neither should you.

Yes, it is nice when people tell us how smart we are, how beautiful we look. But it's even better when we see it in ourselves. Hence, what I want to know is what do you think about you? What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see a beautiful face looking back at you? How do you feel about your accomplishments? What do you think your good qualities are?

Having a good self- concept is very important. Here are a few things you can do to help see yourself in a more positive light.

· Focus on your successes. Congratulate yourself when you do something right.

· Don't compare yourself to others. You are a unique individual unlike any other, be proud of that.

· Hang with friends who are positive. If you surround yourself with negative people you won't see the good in yourself or others.

· Don't label yourself negatively e.g. I'm so stupid, etc

If you truly believe that you are a beautiful person with good qualities it will show. When other people have something negative to say it will roll off like water off a duck's back.

Here's something to try saying every day.

I look in the mirror and what do I see? a beautiful princess staring back at me. Oh wow! I thought, who could that be, (then smile and say), oh! It's only me.
Also, say it until you believe it and then say it anyway!!!

Do you know what it means to be the apple of someone's eyes? Well you're the apple of God's eyes and he thinks you're simply the greatest! So hold your head up high girlfriend. The person who matters most in life thinks you're special!

Write in and share your thoughts on what makes you beautiful. Remember it's not only physical.

Girl Talk Magazine
March/May 01

May 28, 2007

Not Quite Perfect

For the past few days I've been reposting some of my favorite articles from Girl Talk Magazine. I thought this one that I wrote a few years ago fit this week's IOW's topic.

“Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t heaven, so don’t expect it to be.”
Max Lucado

On Friday nights at 10:00p.m I enjoy watching the television show Monk. Adrian Monk, the main character is a genius crime solver with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Everything in Monk’s world has to be just the way he likes it or he can’t function.

In the last episode I watched, Monk had an opportunity to take a test, which if he passed would help him get reinstated on the police force, something he wants more than anything. Unfortunately for Monk he did not pass the test. His ‘disorder’ kicked in just as he sat down. If he did not fill the circle on the answer sheet perfectly he erased it and started over again. He did this continuously until the paper tore. Then he’d ask for a new answer sheet. This self-defeating and unproductive cycle went on until time was up and he had not gotten past the first question.

Monk continuously sabotages himself because everything has to be perfect, to his exact specification in order for him to perform. However, it’s difficult for everything to be perfect in an imperfect world. Let’s face it none of us is quite perfect, all of our halos get a little crooked and we make mistakes now and again. But you have to learn to deal with it; If you find it difficult to look past the imperfections of others life is going to be frustrating and disappointing for you. So my advice to you is to remember these three words… not quite perfect.

Not quite perfect… whisper this to yourself when it seems as if you’re the only perfectly sane person in an imperfect and crazy world. I’ve felt that way a few times. In fact, I chant the words “not quite perfect” quite a lot. But in all seriousness, remember to find your own place of acceptance and tolerance to the weaknesses of others and yourself. We are all striving for perfection but none of us is quite there yet.

Girl Talk
March/May ‘04

For more thoughts on this week's IOW visit Iris at Sting My Heart

May 26, 2007

How do you get that lonely?

Have you ever felt alone in a room with all your friends? Ever felt like you're an extra piece of a puzzle that just doesn't fit in? I think most of us have felt this way at one time or the other. The question is do you talk to anyone when you do?

A few months ago, I listened to a song that I couldn't get out of my head. It was a song about a teenage boy who committed suicide. The song had a lot of questions. The singer wanted to know, Did his girlfriend break up with him, did he buy or steal that gun? Did he lose a fight with drugs or alcohol? Did his Mom and Daddy forget to say I love you son? Did no one see the writing on the wall?

However, there were no answers, for really is there any acceptable reason for deciding that life is not worth living? We all experience different emotions that if we let it, it can completely overwhelm us.

When you're dealing with difficult times, whether it's loneliness, depression, broken friendships or something else, remember although today may be bleak there's always the hope of a better tomorrow.

Tips for troubled times

1. Remember, you are not alone. Don't withdraw and shut yourself off from your family and friends. Talk to them, you'll discover that they've been there before and may be able to help you through it.

2. Have a good cry. Sometimes when you're going through something having a good cry helps you get rid of all the pent up feelings and when you finish crying you feel much better.

3. Don't dwell on your problems. Whatever is getting you upset and depressed will only get worse if you keep thinking about it. So after talking to someone about it let it go.

4. Watch what you listen to. if you are depressed and you listen to music that has a sad message then you'll feel worse. So lose yourself in some happy music and turn off that depressing stuff.

A part of the chorus of the song said: How do you get that lonely... and nobody knows? In all honesty it's easy to get overwhelmed by different things without anyone knowing if you choose not to talk to anyone. I remember being so depressed once that I thought for one moment, What if...? But, thankfully I thought beyond the moment to eternity. I talked to people I trusted and I prayed to God who is able to lift burdens that seem too heavy to bear.

We are all guilty of putting on a false smile and "fronting" as we Bahamians say, so the people around you may be fooled by that. Your family and friends have no idea what's going on inside your head if you choose not to share. Let someone in on what's going on with you. Sometimes in talking to other people we find out that maybe things aren't as bad as they first appear.

Girl Talk Magazine
Jun/Aug 05

May 25, 2007

A lady ain’t what she wears…?

Am I less of a lady if I don't wear pantyhose
My mama said a lady ain't what she wears but what she knows …

India Arie

According to India Arie’s song, which I actually quite like, “ a lady ain’t what she wears but what she knows…” Usually I would agree with the song but sometimes a lady is judged by what she wears and not what she knows. This was brought home to me quite forcefully when I was about 15 or 16 years old.

I was going to meet a friend and I was dressed quite nicely, or so I thought, in a new outfit, a short jeans skirt and leotard type top. However, before I was halfway to my destination I began getting whistles and very personal comments from men I passed. I had never received so much attention and I was NOT flattered. In fact I felt quite intimidated and self-conscious. I couldn’t figure out why I was attracting so much attention.

Before I reached my friend I met someone I knew who was a few years older than me. She looked at me and said, “Bernie, I’ve never seen you dressed like this before.” She didn’t say anything else concerning my clothes but that tipped me off to the fact that something was wrong big time.

By the time I reached my friend’s house all of the joy I had felt when I put on my new outfit was gone. Instead I felt self-conscious, and dare I say it… I felt less than a lady. Needless to say, I didn’t walk home from my friend’s house. In fact, I pretended to be cold and borrowed a big sweater. When I was ready to go home I got a ride. I couldn’t take the comments and attention a second time around.

After I got home I looked at myself in a full-length mirror. I wanted to see myself through the eyes of those who saw me in the outfit. You know what? In retrospect the skirt was shorter and tighter than I normally wore and the top was just a tad skimpy. Well that was the last time I wore that outfit and to this day I try to be careful of what I wear out in public because everyone who sees me will not get an opportunity to find out what I ‘know” so what they see is what they will judge me by. I’m sure I sometimes miss the fashion mark but then again who doesn’t…? However, I try not to wear clothes that would make me seem less than the lady I know I am.

Girl TAlk Magazine
March/May 04

May 24, 2007

Have an attitude of Gratitude

It was the day after Hurricane Jeanne, Sherelle stared at the wreckage of her home tears streaming down her face. She looked at the place where her computer desk once stood. The desk was crumbled to the floor with the computer on top of it, still wet from the flooding. She sloshed through the water, which was still on the floor to her bedroom. All of her bedroom furniture was destroyed! The closet that her clothes hung in had only a few pieces left. The wall behind it was totally gone and she could actually see outside as several of the walls of her house were gone carrying most of the contents of the house in it’s wake. Sherelle’s silent tears turned to loud sobs as she felt her mother’s arms around her. She turned and put her head on her mother’s shoulder as she cried. “What are we going to do Mom?” She asked through her tears. “Everything’s gone! We have nothing left.”

If like Sherelle you are facing a devastating situation you may be wondering how do you get pass that moment of despair and trust once more in the God you think allowed it to happen. As impossible as it may seem to put it all behind you, the best way to get past something devastating is to have an attitude of gratitude. Instead of thinking about everything that happened to you or everything that you lost, think about what you have left that you can be grateful for.

In the midst of your devastating situation are you able to take comfort in the arms of your family? Be grateful for family!

Do you have a home, a bed to sleep in every night? Be grateful that you still have a roof over your head!

Do you have friends who are true blue and always there for you? Be grateful for friends!

There were times after the hurricane when I sat in my dark house, trying to do something by candlelight that I started to get upset and depressed. I was accustomed to what I thought of as necessities, electricity, running water, telephone, my computer… But now, I had to do without it and believe me it wasn’t easy. However, every time I started to get depressed I had to remind myself to have an attitude of gratitude because, while I was sitting in a “dark” house there were some who no longer had one. While I couldn’t use my computer I still had one.

Being grateful in devastating times is hard but necessary. Having an attitude of gratitude will help you to keep your perspective and not sink into despair or depression, even in the most difficult situations.

“Don’t cry sweetie,” Sherelle’s mother whispered, tears streaming down her own face “Well be fine…” “Yes, we’ll be fine,” a deep voice interrupted as Sherelle’s dad came in and wrapped his arms around his wife and daughter. “I’m just grateful that we’re alright and we still have each other.”

Girl Talk Magazine
Dec 04/Feb 05

May 23, 2007

Do it Afraid

Sweat poured down her face. Her hands shook nervously and teeth clattered together as she stuttered, "uh, ah, um…" Her mind was a total blank as she looked into the expectant, pitying faces of her classmates staring back at her. The papers she held may have been written in Greek, all the good it did her. Her eyes could not even focus on the squiggly black dots on the page.

"I can do this!" she thought to herself. "These are my friends, I know I can do this." Unfortunately, Candy couldn't convince herself. She felt her stomach gave a warning heave and with an alarmed, "excuse me," she grabbed her mouth, and made a mad dash for the door, her only thought to make it to the bathroom before she completely embarrassed herself. She left her classmates in her English class, where she was giving a rebuttal on a debate, staring in astonishment.

The above may sound a little extreme but many of you may be able to relate. The feeling of fear is one that can grip you at anytime and any place. It is a feeling that can turn a usually smart, well-spoken person into the worse kind of babbler. Yep! I've been there and I sometimes revisit that place more often than I would like. However I've learned to overcome.

I recently had an opportunity to go Germany. It was a trip that took me farther away from home than I'd ever been before. I really wanted to go, however, I was fearful. I kept thinking, "Four connecting flights? What if I miss one? What if my friend isn't waiting at the airport, I can't speak German!" Nevertheless, I decided not to let my fears ruin what was the chance of a lifetime. I decided to, as Joyce Meyers puts it, do it afraid. Yes I was still afraid but I did it anyway and it was a wonderful experience. Oh, and guess what, the worse did happen I missed my final connecting flight and because of that my friend wasn't at the airport. But I dealt with it, without panicking and it wasn't half as bad as I feared.

Do it afraid! Three little words and I've learned so much from them. No one is completely self-assured. The most confident of persons sometime feel a sense of doubt or fear. So, the next time you have that oral report to give, or you're fearful for some reason and your stomach is heaving like mad, remember these words do it afraid. I'll tell you a secret, the young lady you admire at school because she seems to have it all together, has secret fears also. We all do but we handle it in different ways, so whatever you do… don't let your fears overcome you! You overcome your fears and DO IT AFRAID.

Ten minutes later, after giving herself a pep talk, Candy reentered the classroom. Her teacher gave her an encouraging smile. She quietly walked behind the podium and gave a convincing rebuttal. When she was done her classmates gave her a standing ovation. Candy had done it afraid and she'd done it well!

Girl Talk
March/May 03

May 22, 2007

Girl Talk's Anniversary

Almost seven years ago I published the first issue of Keeping it Real Girl Talk magazine (shortened to Girl Talk). It was rather primitive in its appearance but what was inside was a reflection of what was inside my heart, my concern for teen girls and my desire to see them grow into godly young women.

Girl Talk has grown from the 100 copies that I printed the first time and I now regularly; print from 500-1000 copies per issue. This is something I love doing and plan to continue as long as God wills.

As I count down to Girl Talk's seventh anniversary (June 1) I'll be reposting some of my favorite articles from past issues of the magazine.

May 14, 2007

A Cheerful Giver

"What makes life on this frightful sod so exquisite is God's merciful propensity to perform divine tasks amid deeply flawed people."
~ Beth Moore, LPM Blog ~

It was a regular Sunday morning about seven or eight years ago. I was sitting with my Sunday school class outside under a tree. Just as I was about to start my lesson two excited little girls came running shouting, “Sister Bernie, Sister Bernie!”

“What is it? " I asked as they came to halt in front of me.

“This is our Sunday school offering” they chorused together beaming as each of them passed me a bag they had hidden behind their backs.

There had been a sudden drop in the offering due to students having to pass a candy store on the way to church, (I mean, let's face it what kid could resist that). Well, after the decrease in offering and increased presence of candy in my class, I started teaching my Sunday school class about the importance of bringing an offering when they came into the house of God. These girls, (two sisters) had taken my lesson to heart. They had broken open their piggy banks that weekend and brought their entire savings to put in the offering about $83 and $67 respectively.

Years later I am still humbled by the unselfish act of these two little girls both of whom I have watched grow into beautiful young ladies. I’m still inspired by this selflessness. I'm sure they had many plans as day after day, week after week, month after month, they put their nickles, quarters and dimes into their piggy banks. However instead of spending it to buy something for themselves they cheerfully gave their all to God. This was one lesson in which the teacher became the student as I learnt the art of cheerfully giving my best to God even if it means giving my all.

I don’t know how well my story fits the quote but this is one of the many things that God has used over the years to show me that in the midst of our less than perfect world he is still able to perform divine tasks that will inspire, motivate and change lives.

(Twany and Perisha if you're reading yes I still remember and no, I won't ever forget)

For more on this weeks In Other Words visit Laurel Wreath

May 2, 2007

My Personal Holiday

Today is my personal holiday. "How is it that I have a personal holiday?" Well, that's how I refer to the day of my birth. I love birthdays even though the number of them that I've celebrated are higher than most women would want to admit to I still love them. The only person I know who loves birthdays almost as much as I do is one of my brothers Pastor Wendal McIntosh. I still think I have him beat though.

My birthday is all about me. Does that sound selfish? I'll explain. I look at it as my special day. Sometimes I share it with family and friends and sometimes I just enjoy the day by myself. No one has to do anything spectacular or give me a present for me to be happy (not that I don't love them :)) I'm simply grateful that God allowed me to see the beginning of a new year for me.

I have a tradition on my birthday, I don't go to bed until after 12:00am no matter how sleepy I am. I always want to enjoy every moment of my day. Today however, I find myself wishing the day would go a little faster. The reason? Today is Election Day in the Bahamas and I want to see who won. But at the same time I don't want it to go so quickly because it'll be another year before my personal holiday comes around again. However, maybe my brother Wendal will allow me to share his own with him tomorrow lol, I doubt it.

May 1, 2007

A Place for Me

“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

“You made it!”
“ Congratulations!”
“Well done!”
“Good to see you!” “
Praise the Lord!”

I can imagine the excitement as the snail who was probably the last animal made its way into the ark. The journey had been long and difficult. There were many obstacles to overcome along the way but finally tired, but excited, by perseverance the snail reached the ark.

The thought that came to my mind as I read this week’s in other word’s quote was, a place for me. There were many animals on the ark, tall, short, beautiful, not so beautiful, fast, slow etc. The small, slow seemingly insignificant snail in today’s world may probably have been overlooked. However, there was a special place reserved on the ark just for that snail. The ark was not complete without the insignificant little snail.

We all feel insignificant sometimes especially sometimes around people who seem more talented, more beautiful, more creative etc. than we are. However, just like there was a place on the ark for the snail there is a place for each of us. God gave each of talents and us special gifts and there is a place in this world for each of us to use them. However, like the snail we have to keep our goals in sight and persevere in spite of whatever obstacles we encounter along the way.

For more thoughts on this weeks in other words visit Iris at Sting My Heart

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