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

Sep 29, 2009

Time Flies...

Do you ever get the feeling that time is moving at warp speed? It's almost as if a month is going by in a week.

It was just about one month ago that one of my favorite teens stopped by my classroom to drop off her little sister to her first day in fourth grade before heading to her school for her first day in twelfth grade.

If I think really, really hard I can actually picture my twelfth grade year. So when I think of her in twelfth grade I think, "Wow, life is going by too quickly! Where did the time go?" It seems as if one day you have all of the time in the world ahead of you and then you suddenly wake up and it's ten years later...

It's so easy to get caught up in the daily routine of life that we forget every day that passes by brings us closer to the coming of Christ.

Sometimes I wonder, "Am I making the most of every opportunity? Am I living my life like He is soon to come? I know that some days I fall short of where I want to be but I keep trying... because, time is flying by, the days are short and I want to be ready when He comes...

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. . Ephesians 5:15-16

Sep 27, 2009

Safe in His Care

Recently I woke up in the middle of the night afraid for no reason at all. I lay there in bed with my heart beating wildly, wondering if I should call someone. However before I could jump out of bed or reach for the phone I heard the still small voice of my heavenly father say, “Why are you afraid? I’m here with you.”

With those simple but utterly powerful words resonating within my spirit, a big smile came over my face.

I was safe. My father was with me.

I breathe out a quiet prayer, rolled over and went back to sleep, safe in my father’s care.

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell
in safety. Psalm 4:8

I took this photo of my goddaughter a few years ago and I named it "A Picture of Trust" I used it before but I thought it was the perfect fit for this post.

Sep 19, 2009

Nevertheless Moments

Have you ever been to the place where life was going in one direction and you wanted it to go in another? I have. However for all intents and purposes at that time where I wanted to go and where God wanted me to be were not in harmony. I call moment like these nevertheless moments; the moment when what I want and what God wants are polar opposites, unthinkable even.

I recently read this nevertheless moment which is a defining moment for all of us. It comes by way of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the moment when the weight of the sacrifice, the weight of our sins seemed just too heavy a load to carry.

And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Matthew 26:39

Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt...

Jesus knew all along the reason he came. He knew that he came into this world to die for our sins but in this moment there in the garden he cried out to his father to take the cup away from him. But as quickly as he said it he decided on the tough thing, the nevertheless. He thought about us. To think that in spite of the fact that He knew there would be times we would disappoint him, times we wouldn’t trust him, times we would turn our backs on him and yet he choose us.

How do you respond to your nevertheless moments? Do you start questioning and arguing with God?

“Give up my last $50.00 God??? But how am I supposed to make it through the rest of the month?”

“My closet is already sadly lacking God and you want me to do what?”

“That person said the most hurtful thing about me God and you’re saying…?”

(I can easily add a dozen other things to that list but you get the idea.)

These are the nevertheless moments. The moments when we should say God I don’t understand but nevertheless…

How do you deal with your nevertheless moments? Do you feel like God had forsaken you in those moments? Do you still trust him? Do you still brag on him? I try, sometimes with more success than others to handle my nevertheless moments gracefully. We never know how many eyes are watching to see just how much we trust this God we talk about.

God has a blessing in store for us also when we obey him. When we trust him during those times when we don’t understand, when we obey him in spite of.

I’m so grateful that Jesus obeyed in spite of. Because of his obedience we have the gift of eternal life the choice of a life with Him or without. What if he had decided that His nevertheless moment was too difficult? Where would we be today?

Sep 15, 2009

Girl Talk Sept/Nov '09

Click on a topic below to read some of the contents of this issue of Girl Talk.


Dawn & Elaine's Final Year (Fiction)

Do Hard Things Book Review & Giveaway

Tips on Good Nutrition

The 411 on Good Nutrition

Prayer for Tomorrow (Poem)

Spotlight on Miss Racquel Rose

The Baby Can Wait (A Mother's Perspective)

What Makes You Cool?

Do Hard Things... Book Review and Give Away

A teenage rebellion… this was the first thing that caught my eyes when I finally picked up my copy of Do Hard Things. When I was a teenager rebelling could bring some serious consequences if the parents found out. However this book encourages rebellion not against parents, society’s rules or God’s laws. It encourages, almost demands rebellion against low expectations.

This book is an excellent motivational tool for teens. It encourages you not to waste your teenage years doing what seems to be the norm for teenagers. It’s not enough to just do well in school, obey your parents and keep your room clean, although these things are important. These two teenage authors want teens to stretch themselves beyond what is expected of them and do hard things. The book has story after story of real teens who did great things such as; start charitable organizations, ran campaigns for political candidates, stood alone against pressure and the list goes on… I think any teenager would be motivated to do hard things after reading this book.

Now for the Giveaway

I’ve offered teens who receive the print copy of Girl Talk here in the Bahamas an opportunity to win my copy of the Book Do Hard Things. However, I'd love to give blog readers an opportunity to win a copy also. If you'd like to read this book leave a comment on this post. I'll choose a winner at the end of September. So be sure to check back. (This is my very first bloggy giveaway so I hope you'll participate:))

What Makes You Cool

Hi, my name is Bernadine and I have a confession. Promise not to tell? Okay, here we go…. I sometimes watch reruns of Family Matters.

I watched the show when it first came out in the late 80’s. However back then it was just a funny show with an annoying nerd who seemed to be oblivious to the fact that he was a NERD. Today, watching the same show with the same nerdy guy I have a totally different outlook. On this your first month back to school I’d like to share with you what I’m just now learning from Steve Urkel, Nerd Extraordinaire.

1. Be yourself! Steve in all of his suspendered geekiness (is that a word?) didn’t try to change who he was to fit in with his more popular friends.

2. Try new things: Steve, led a full life. He knew how to polka, he created things in his lab, he annoyed people:), he enjoyed life.

3. Be loyal! Steve was loyal to a fault when it came to his friends and his beloved Winslows the family he adopted without their consent.

4. Succeed in spite of difficulties. Steve’s parents were not the most loving or supportive. However, not even a less than perfect home life deterred him from striving to achieve his goals.

5. Persistence often brings success: From the very first time he saw her Steve set his sights on the lovely Laura Winslow, a girl that everyone except Steve knew was far beyond his reach. However fast forward to the last episode and we find Steve, along with being the first student in space and a host of other firsts under his belt engaged to the formerly unreachable girl of his dreams Laura Winslow. ..

Here’s what Steve thought made him cool…

Steve Urkel Quote:
“… I may not be the most trendy guy on campus, or the best looking and I'm CERTAINLY not the most coordinated. But I like myself, and that makes me cool.”

*unfortunately, I do not know who to credit the photo of Steve Urkel to.

Spotlight on Miss Racquel Rose

The superpower I would like to have would probably be invisibility. It would be really fun to sneak up on people and scare them sometimes, and it would be handy when you want to hide from someone .

This humorous response to my silly question shows the mischievous, fun side of this issue’s Spotlight Teen, fourteen year old Miss Racquel Rose.

Racquel is a tenth grader at Sunland Baptist Academy. She is a friendly, highly motivated and disciplined student who always strives to do her very best. This exceptional teen finished off her ninth grade year with seven B.J.C’s with 6 A’s and 1 B and a GPA of 3.82. (Way to go Racquel!)

In addition to doing extremely well academically Racquel also finds time for extracurricular activities. She takes piano classes, and is in her school’s Hand bell Choir. She is also in the Anchor Club of Lucaya, and plans to join GGYA (Governor General Youth Awards.) Racquel also enjoys acting and was in her school’s play “Once on this Island.”

This studious teen is excited about her tenth grade year and her plans for the future. Her goal is to become a pediatrician when she grows up. One of the reasons she chose this field is because she loves children and likes the idea of being able to help them to get well and in so doing make the world a better place.

What are your hobbies?
I like to play the piano and sing. I also love to write. I write a lot stories and poems when I feel like it. I also love to read books, because to me they’re like a door to a whole new world.

What was your favorite part of summer vacation?
I’d have to say going out, when I got to see my friends and people I know. It’s always fun to get out of the house sometimes.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when cars drive by houses and schools and other public places with their windows down and their music blasting so loud that it’s disturbing.

What is the secret to your success in school?
The secret to my success is staying focused and determined to achieve the goals that I set for myself and being disciplined to make it happen.

What are your goals for this school year and how do you plan to achieve them?
My goal for this school year is to do better than I did last year. I want to get a higher G.P.A and be more focused on my work. I plan to achieve this by studying harder, being more focused and not putting friends over my work.

What advice would you give to young ladies who are struggling academically?
I would tell them to keep trying no matter what. If they really set their minds to do well, I’m pretty sure they can, with a little extra hard work, focus and determination. Also, they can take extra classes in subjects where they are weak, because they do help a lot too.

What advice have you received that you will always remember? (It can be from anyone)
The advice I will always remember was from my mother, when I was about six, she told me that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, and from then I’ve always practiced it.

What are some of your accomplishments that you are most proud of?
Well, I’m proud of my BJC results. I’m also proud of the scores I got on the music exam I took last year. I passed the practical and the theory part with a distinction and a merit.

Finish these sentences

I smile my biggest smile when I get my report card and see that I did as well as I wanted.

I get angry when I hear about or see people being unfairly treated or judged.

I often dream about being a successful doctor one day, marrying a nice husband with a good job, having two good kids and living in a nice house when I grow up.

God is an awesome God. He is caring, loving, merciful, great in all ways, fair, and compassionate, powerful and intelligent in ways that we can’t even understand.

The world would be a better place if more people would become Christians because then there would be less crimes and more happiness.

*BJC - Bahama Junior Certificate (usually taken in the ninth grade)

The Baby Can Wait

From a Mother’s Perspective
By Cleora Williams

September 2009 marks the beginning of the final year of high school for my eldest daughter ….Wow!!! I can remember quite vividly dressing her in a navy blue jumper and a checker blue blouse for her first day at kindergarten, and now in a few months she will be leaving the hallowed halls of her high school. I am so excited and I am looking forward with great anticipation to her graduation in June 2010. Yeah 2T10!!!

Despite my excitement, as a mother I do have a level of fear or anxiety. I hope that my daughter and all young ladies will do right by themselves and their parents and not yield to peer pressure by engaging in pre-marital sex. I am greatly troubled by the number of teenage pregnancies. When I see or hear about a young lady who gets pregnant I want to shout “WHAT IS THE RUSH? THE BABY CAN WAIT”

I am by no means saying that having a baby signifies the end of a young lady’s life but, it certainly makes goals and aspirations much more difficult to achieve. Think of the financial burden it places on your parents, and basically the overall disappointment because they wanted so much more for you. That cute little giggly baby, doesn’t always giggle and coo. In fact it totally changes your life around and demands your full attention. Young ladies please think of the impact it will have on your young life. Having a child is a tremendous responsibility.

It is my wish, no my plea from a mother’s heart to young ladies everywhere, especially girltalk readers to WAIT PLEASE…THE BABY CAN WAIT. Study hard make yourselves proud; make us (your parents) proud. You have so much potential, so much to achieve, so much to enjoy. Do well in all that you do, keep your heads held high. Believe me when the time is right you will have and greatly enjoy children. There is a time and a place for babies and it is definitely not your teenage years.

Remember ladies you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and you are priceless. Have a wonderful school year. God bless you.

The 411 on Good Nutrition

By Camelta Barnes
Public Health Nutritionist.

Food is important, everybody needs food to live. If you are hungry, then you should eat. As long as you satisfy your hunger, it really does not matter what kind of food you give your body….right? Remember the old saying, “A belly full is a belly full”.

Think about it, does it really not matter the quality of food you give your body? Why does your body need food? Is it just to fill your stomach? A belly full of unhealthy foods may satisfy your hunger but not your nutritional needs. Food is the most basic human need, but this fact does not stop here. It must be food that provides “good nutrition".

Why should you be concern about good nutrition? Good nutrition allows you to have all the energy you need to do all the things you enjoy doing. Good nutrition gives you the nice smooth skin everybody wants to have. What about the lustrous shiny bouncy hair that most girls covet, well good nutrition can give that to you as well. You want to be included among the students that help to raise the national grade point average from a D to an A? Well once again, give good nutrition a try.

Go here for tips that will help you to get started in practicing “good nutrition”.

Tips for Good Nutrition

By Camelta Barnes

Make Smart choices.
• When using Ramen Noodles, do not use the season packet.
• When you are thirsty, pick water instead of sweet juice or drinks.
• Use 1 or 2 percent milk instead of cream or sweet milk for your cereal.
• Choose bake or grilled foods more often than you do fried foods.
• Get ketchup or mustard for your fries, not liquid cheese or mayonnaise.

Enjoy some foods in moderation.• Choose chips or fries no more than once a week.
• Limit starchy foods to 2 servings at lunch time. (1 serving equals 1 slice of bread; ½ bun, 1 small dinner roll, 1 pot spoon or ½ cup rice).
• Choose candy and chocolates no more than once a week but not on the same day as the chips or fries.

Balance your diet.
• Add tomato and lettuce to your sandwiches.
• Add vegetables to your Ramen Noodles.
• Include a side of a small salad, a serving of veggies or piece of fruit.

Think simple.
• A plain burger (no cheese) is a better choice than processed or breaded foods such as hot dog, chicken nuggets or pizza.

Dawn & Elaine's Final Year

“I wonder what Dawn’s working so hard at already?” Elaine muttered to herself as she approached her best friend. Dawn was sitting on a bench under a tree, hunched over something in her lap. As Elaine got closer she noticed that Dawn was feverishly going over some numbers on a piece of paper.

“What are you doing Dawn?” Elaine enquired.

Dawn looked up startled. She had not even heard Elaine’s approach.

“I’m trying to see what I need to do in order to graduate on the honor roll.”

“Earth to Dawn,” Elaine said rolling her eyes exasperatedly. “You are on the honor roll, what are you stressing about?”

“No, I’m not. My cumulative average is below a three point. You remember the term when Mommy was doing her chemotherapy? My GPA dropped to almost 2.5. Even though I was back on the honor roll the next term my GPA was barely a 3.0 and my cumulative average was affected. I really don’t want that one term to stop me from being on the honor roll for graduation in June.”

“So what do you need to get in order to be on the honor roll?”

“I need to get at least a 3.5 for the next two terms in order to make it. I should be okay though, the only subject I completely failed was the physics. I’ve already signed up for extra classes so hopefully I can get a better grade in that”

“Physics! But what if you get Mr. Kenton, even the best students complain about his class, how tough he is, he doesn’t give good grades and hardly anyone does well in his class.”

“You know what Elaine, I’m not looking for anyone to give me a good grade. I plan to earn it. Besides, I’m not going to let what others say worry me. Students said all kinds of stuff about Mr. Smith’s Biology class but I found out that the students who did their work on time and participated in class had no problems at all with him.”

“Dawn, I don’t think anyone would hold it against you if you didn’t quite make the honor roll. Everyone knows what a difficult time it was for you when your mom was sick. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

“I’m not being hard on myself Lainie,” Dawn responded. “I just want to know that I gave it my best effort. Also, my mom is doing so well now and I want to make her and my dad proud at graduation. I may not do as well as I would like but I am going to be on the honor roll.

Both girls paused for a moment, thinking about the year before when Dawn’s mother was so sick. Lainie, recalled the gaunt, frail, joyless person her friend had become. She remembered being so afraid that if Dawn’s mother had not made it she would have lost her best friend also. Thankfully, it had not come to that and here they were now in their twelfth grade year. ..

“Uh hmm?”

“You know you can count on me if you need my help with anything right?”

A myriad of memories crossed Dawn’s mind. Memories of late night conversations, sleepovers where she cried all night because she was worried about her mom, Lainie’s halting voice praying that her mom would be alright…
“I know Lainie,” she whispered. “I know.”

Read part 1 here

I know I said Dawn and Elaine would be graduating but they weren’t quite ready. They wanted to share their senior year with you. It’s been quite a while since my senior year so I’m a little lost. How about sending me some ideas on what should happen with Dawn & Elaine over the next few issues.

(This story is strictly fictional; any resemblance to persons living or dead is completely coincidental)

Elaine & Dawn... Other Stories

A Teen's Fear Part 1

A Teen's Fear Part 2

A Teen's Fear Part 3

Sep 9, 2009

Prayer for Tomorrow

By Bernadine J. McIntosh

Promise me tomorrow
I heard someone pray
That I may serve you
In a special way

Today, I’m just too busy,
With a dozen things to do
And I don’t have time
To spend with you

But if you’ll promise me tomorrow
I’ll give my life
Completely to your service
On that very night
Promise me tomorrow

I cannot promise you tomorrow
Was the sad reply
You need to manage wisely
The time you have today

The tomorrow you pray for
Is always out of reach
Now is the acceptable time
To yield your life to me

If you wait until tomorrow
It may be too late
And you’ll not spend eternity
Within my gates
I cannot promise you tomorrow.

Believe it or not, I wrote this poem over 12 years ago, when I was in college. I was bargaining with God to help me pass a test I had not studied for. During my bargaining I promised him faithfully that I would be sure to study for the next test well in advance.

How’d I do?
Well let’s just say that when you bargain with God be sure to do your part and that’s all I’m saying on that!:)

In reading the poem you'd probably never have guessed what I was thinking when I wrote it because it really doesn't seem to relate to not studying for a test but somehow, that's where I got the inspiration for the poem from. I guess you find inspiration in the most unlikely places:)

What's the silliest bargain you've ever tried to make with God?

GT Magazine Sept/Nov '09

Sep 8, 2009

Laced With Grace Fall Giveaway

Fall 2009 Giveaway_400

Material from Kitty Designs' kit "Dream of a Blue Sky"

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. ~ Matthew 8:26
They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming...Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? (text taken from Max Lucado's website)

To find out more about the book itself, please visit our very own Lori from Lori's Reflection. She read the book so she can share her thoughts with us: Fearless by Max Lucado.

The package includes: Fearless - Hard Cover, Fearless - DVD Study, and the Fear Not Promise Book. You have four chances to enter your name into the drawing. Wondering how to get your name four times into the drawing -- pretty simple...
Please leave a comment on this post for every entry you make. The giveaway will end next Tuesday, September 15th (midnight - EST) with the winner to be announced on Saturday, September 19th.

Remember, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7)

Sep 7, 2009

The Best Combination

I must confess I rarely start my day without a cup of coffee. The best thing I have going for me in the mornings is my combination of coffee and hang time with my heavenly father.

This is the perfect way to start my day, before it gets too noisy outside. I curl up in my favorite chair, with my Bible in hand and my cup of coffee on the table nearby. Reading, praying, listening… Only then I’m ready to start my day.

If I’m forced to I can start my day without coffee and make it through alright but start my day without God, somehow it just doesn’t work. On those occasions where I oversleep and rush off in the mornings without my time with God I find that my day doesn’t go very well. I’m frazzled, easily upset, disorganized and the list goes on…

So give up my coffee? If I must. My time with God? Never!

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine that you follow?

photo: microsoft clipart

Sep 3, 2009

Speak the Truth

It wasn't me, I didn't do it, I didn't say that, I'm innocent, you have the wrong girl...

Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. Proverbs 20:11 (NLT)
Wouldn't it be nice if we could always take someone at his or her word, especially when it really counted? In a perfect world everyone would own up to his or her actions. You'd be able to trust everything someone said and an innocent person would never ever suffer for the actions of another. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and there are people who simply do not speak the truth.

As a teacher it always amazes and frustrates me when I have two or more angelic looking faces before me and I know one of them is guilty of a crime but of course I hear the words, "It wasn't me Miss McIntosh."
"She did it."
"He did it."
"They did it."
"I didn't do anything!"

Sometimes I am unable to get the guilty party to "fess up" and although I know someone is guilty I have no proof. It's in cases like this that I'm quick to remind my students that although Miss McIntosh may not have seen, God did and they should always try to please him by speaking the truth.

Speak the truth, and speak it ever,
Cost it what it will;
He who hides the wrong he did,
Does the wrong thing still.

To do to others as I would
That they should do to me,
Will make me honest, kind, and good,
As children ought to be.

*I'm not sure who wrote the poem Speak the Truth so I'm unable to give proper credit.

Photo: Religious Education corner of my classroom

This is a edited version of a previous post.

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