“I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!!!” – Part 2

This blog post series is the 3rd in the series, “I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!!!” Read the introduction and part 1 here!

Introduction

Part 1

Now, onto Question #2 out of the questions I asked in the introduction!

Question #2: “Is that smart? Being friends with so many guys? Shouldn’t you be investing time in the girls around you?”

Oh but I do! Who says I don’t invest time in the girls in my life? Yes, this blog post series is generally about my guy friends. But that doesn’t mean I don’t invest time (and usually a lot more time!) in my relationships with my girl friends than my guy friends! I love my girl friends so much! I try and be a “Titus 2 Woman” even now. Yes, I’m not really that old yet. :-) But there are still girls that are younger than me that I can try to encourage and point back to Christ as God would want me to do based on that passage. Just because I may have more guys in my life than girls doesn’t mean that I don’t spend time with girls. I spend a ton of time with them!

I have three accountability partners who, like my parents, know everything about me. They are all girls. At my acting group, as I said, there are way more girls than guys. I’ve taken many of them under my wings to be their big sister and their friend, loving on them and discipling them as best as I can through God’s grace. I don’t have any biological sisters, and I’m thrilled that many of them have been willing to let me “adopt” them into my family. I’m much closer to all of them than I am with my guy friends currently – at least until I meet “the one.” They are beautiful treasures to me, and I would never trade their friendships for the world! They’re girls, and generally speaking, they know me better than most guys ever will.

And while I definitely want to encourage good and godly guy/girl friendships, I do want to stress that it’s important to be a friend to all, and particularly that you need to make sure you have accountability partners be of the same gender as you. Guarding your heart is important. That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to guys/girls about the deeper things of God. But your most intimate thoughts shouldn’t be shared around with any young men, or young women as the case may be. Reserve the deepest thoughts of your heart for God, your parents, your accountability partners, and your future spouse alone.

Have those earnest and godly relationships with members of the same sex first before you begin closer friendships with members of the opposite sex. My accountability partners watch me and let me know when I’ve crossed lines or need to not be so friendly around the guys in my life. They help me stay guarded and truly stay “just friends” with the guys I’m around. Their relationship and insight is invaluable to me. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Again, this all comes down to good communication. Also, humility and teachability. Listen to your accountability partners and make sure you’re investing in everyone in your life, not just singling out the guys or girls as the case might be. Remember that we’re here on earth to serve others and live for others, just as Christ came to serve and live for us.

Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Emphasis mine.)

Stayed tuned for Question #3 in just a few days! :-)

“I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!” – Part 1

This blog post is a continuation of the series “I’m Friends With a Guy… GASP!” You can read the introduction to this series here:

http://acryfromegypt.com/2014/09/im-friends-with-a-guy-gasp-introduction/

In the introduction, I introduced five questions that people might/sometimes do ask me about my friendships with guys. In this post, I’m going to discuss the first question.

Question #1: “How do you do spend time with guys and have friendships with guys without having crushes or attractions to them?”

In a nutshell, my answer is…

Carefully.

Oh I’m not denying that there are times when it can be hard! Between the ages of 9-15, I really struggled in this area! Which is one of the reasons that I have my character, Jarah, in “A Cry From Egypt” and “A Stand At Sinai” learning from her (and my!) mistakes. I’ve had many “crushes.” Some of them I’ve handled well. Some of them I haven’t, just like my character, Jarah. I’m happy to tell you now that I don’t have a crush on anyone and I haven’t for some time.

How did I do it?

I prayed. A lot.

I prayed before I was around guys. I prayed as soon as the thoughts came to mind. I turned my focus to Christ instead of on the guys and what they might think of me. And you know what? God has helped me to change my thoughts and to truly see these young men as brothers in Christ. They’re people I’m going to war with against the flesh and the devil, not people that I’m trying to woo and win.

I’ve also talked with some of my “little brothers” about this when they’re struggling with their emotions towards girls. Those that have prayed and turned their attention towards Christ every time that girl came to mind said that it has really helped them in their struggle to guard their hearts.

And here’s the other way I avoid this.

Communication.

Whoa. There is the one word to change the course of all of the guy/girl parent/child issues today!

My parents know everything about me. Literally everything. From the time that I was young, they cultivated a very open relationship between myself and them. They know my deepest and darkest secrets, my sins, my crushes. They know it all! That means they also know who I spend my time with and why. My parents watch the people in my life, particularly the guys, and make sure that everything is ok. They know who I’m with, when I’m with them, and why.

Now at the same time, they are not control freaks. While I do live at home with them, work with them, and serve with them, they allow me to have my own friends and my own life. They want to know my friends, but they aren’t constantly on top of me – dictating my schedule or making me get approval from them every time I need to step out of the door to go to Wal-Mart. They ask me gentle questions about what I’m doing, where I’m going, who I’m seeing, and then ask me how my day was when I get back home. They genuinely care and are genuinely interested. Instead of them controlling my life, I come to them wanting to talk to them and wanting their advice. I understand that this might not be the case in every household. If you wish it was the case in your household, then pray, show them this blog post, and start a conversation! Communicate!

My parents also respect the fact that if, for example, a guy friend of mine shares a prayer request with me that’s a little more private, I won’t tell my parents what it is. But at the same time I’ll explain that “so and so is having a hard time right now and needs prayer.” When the situation is resolved and there’s not an issue of trust being broken, then I can fill them in. My parents have watched me and guided me and they now trust me and my interactions with everyone I’m around.

Opening up to your parents and talking to them about everything is the best thing that you can possibly do, besides pray.

Also, if a guy (or girl, as the case may be) seems to be rather friendly towards you, don’t immediately shut them off or pawn them off to your father or mother. Maybe he just wants to be a friend. Maybe he wants to be more. But how is he supposed to get to know you or you get to know him if you shut him down before you even have a chance to talk to each other? Again… Communicate!

I’m a very friendly person, which can sometimes be interpreted as being flirty. I never try to be flirty at all. But I know of at least one or two guys who both thought I liked them for a little while until they realized that I treated every guy exactly the same way. It wasn’t that I had singled them out. I was just really friendly! Once they realized that I wasn’t singling them out, they relaxed, and we now have a very good friendship where we both know that there’s nothing else there. That wouldn’t have been the case if they had immediately shut me out and not at least been open to being friends.

Communication with your parents, communication with your friends, and communication with your Lord are essential to this area of your life.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, coming in just a few days!


I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP! – Introduction

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts recently about courtship vs. dating. All of them seem to swing from one extreme to another. Either courtship is so totally not the way to go, and dating around is the only option. Or, dating is so wrong and you must only court, without ever having alone time or private conversations with your potential spouse. Each blogger has their arguments. The pro-daters talk about how you have to be friends with tons of people to get to know your “type,” and that can only happen in an intimate, date-like setting. The pro-courters almost go to the extreme of saying that if you have any private conversations with a guy/girl you’ve given away your heart and you’re not being faithful to your future spouse.

I’ve read so many of these things. Always the same arguments and extremes back and forth. And then I thought of something…

What if neither of these ways are right? What if neither of these extremes are healthy? What if some friendship should be involved, but dating around isn’t the right idea, either? What if you can be friends with members of the opposite sex without giving away your heart?

So, I decided to write a blog post. Actually, a series of blog posts. This is the introduction to a six-part series about my journey to try and find this middle ground, which I believe is very biblical and healthy on so many levels. Hence the name of this series. “I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!”

Actually, I’m friends with a ton of guys! And no, we’re not getting married. :-) I’ve grown up practically surrounded by boys, and yet I’m still single.

Now, let me explain what I mean what I say “surrounded by boys.” I definitely don’t want you to envision Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone With the Wind” dragging dozens of boys behind her in an attempt to flirt with every single of one of them. That’s not it at all! As far as I know, I’ve only had about two or three guys who might have had somewhat of a crush on me in my entire life! It’s just been that every circle I’ve been involved in for my life has more boys than girls.

First of all, I have a seventeen-year-old brother. We’re very close, even though we’re almost five years apart. My brother is one of the best guys on the face of the planet. And no, I’m not THAT biased… :-) But my brother also happens to pick some of the other best guys on the face of the planet to be his friends. That means that I have tons of guy friends who are anywhere from 1-10 years younger than me that I’ve “adopted” as my little brothers. They talk to me about life, ask for prayer, and we have a good time hanging out and getting to know each other. Many of us have volunteered together at our churches or other Christian outreaches. While we don’t know each other’s deepest and darkest secrets, we know each other’s personalities and lives like the back of our hands. They keep my life interesting, protect me, keep track of me, and ultimately point me to Christ.

At all of the churches I’ve been involved in, the guys have always outnumbered the girls significantly. So once again, I find myself surrounded by great guys. We serve together, play sports together, lead worship together. People talk about us behind our backs. People couple us up. But you know what? We’re still just friends!

Another one of my circles is my acting group, Spiritual Twist Productions. This is the one place where the girls actually outnumber the guys significantly! But since guys are desperately needed in theater, the guys are always around. I have a job on the staff as a musical director, and so that means that I often work very closely with the kids, boys and girls. I often have groups of guys in my music room for hours at a time hammering out music and harmonies. We have a blast! They all have my back. They check in on me all the time. We all pray for each other all the time. We’re an awesome team. You have to be when you’re putting on a play! But no, we’re not getting married.

And then my final circle is my publishing family, Great Waters Press. Hal and Melanie Young, my publishers, have six boys! We all work very closely together and interact with each other, often on a daily basis! But again, we’re just friends. Friends accomplishing the awesome vision of this incredible ministry, Great Waters Press.

So… Some of you girls, boys, and parents are probably thinking one (or more!) of the following questions:

“What??? How can you do that without having crushes on so many people? Or not liking them? Or them liking you?”

“Is that smart? Shouldn’t you be investing time in the girls around you?”

“Doesn’t that mean you’ve shared your heart with a ton of guys?”

“Aren’t you emotionally involved?”

“Won’t other guys be intimidated by all the boys that you’re around all the time?”

First of all, before I answer these questions, I need to clarify something. Yes, there is definitely a time when you should draw lines. I’ve given many talks online and at local homeschool conferences about how to have healthy guy/girl friendships without crossing Biblical boundaries. I share verses like these all the time!

Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.”

1 Timothy 5:1-2, “Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, to the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.”

Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, dwell on these things.”

So I am a huge advocate of guarding your heart, not sharing intimate things, not harboring crushes, or dwelling on members of the opposite sex. You might be thinking that these Bible verses above show that we need to stay closed off and protect ourselves until it’s time to court or date or get married. Well, over the course of this blog series, I hope to show you that that is not the case.

Stay tuned for part 1 of these series, which address Question #1, in just a few days!

Radio Drama Update!

For those who have been waiting on the radio drama…. We’re making progress!! I plan to have another preview chapter or two available on the website by the beginning of next week! Yay! I can’t wait to hear what you all think! :-) Stay tuned for more updates!

We also figured out how many people can fit in a recording closet this past weekend! The answer is….. Nine!! :-) I had so much fun recording with these extras (from left to right), Sarina, James, Becky, Rachel, Zach, Stephanie, Will, Dion, and Wilson! You’ll get to hear their amazing acting voices in the voices of the maids, Jewish girls, Egyptians soldiers, and magicians!

Having fun with our extras! :-)

NCHE Conference Fun!!

A very belated post…. But here’s some pictures from the pre-release of “A Stand At Sinai” at the NCHE (North Carolinians for Home Education) conference in May of 2014! It was an amazing weekend! We had so many great sales and awesome feedback! And a phenomenal team making everything work. :-)

Click on this link to pre-order your own copy of “A Stand At Sinai” before the big release in Fall!! :-)

Enjoy the pictures! :-)

And now there are two!!! :-)

Signing my first copy of “A Stand At Sinai”!

Here it is!!! Isn’t it beautiful??? :-)

My own little corner of the booth!! :-)

 

Ancient Egyptian Deities to Study!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting several blog posts about how each of the 10 Plagues in the Exodus attacked the Egyptian gods and proved that our God is the only real and true God. While I was searching around the internet today, I found these page with some basic facts about some of the most important Egyptian gods. Check them out! Isn’t some of this ridiculous? :-)

And tune back in soon for more posts about these guys! :-)

http://www.ngkids.co.uk/did-you-know/Ancient_Egypt_Gods

Speaking at JCHE this Weekend!!

Hello Everyone!!

Myself, my dad, and one of my publisher’s sons, John Calvin Young, are speaking at a homeschool conference in Clayton, NC, this weekend on Saturday!! My dad and I are speaking on “The Value of a Non-Academic Education” at Noon, and then I’m speaking on “How to Write a Book: A Homeschooler’s Journey to Becoming an Author” at 1:30pm. John Young is speaking on “Playing in the Big Leagues, Preparing for Academic Success in College” at Noon, and “Save The Future, Take Economics!” at 1:30pm. You can find more information about the homeschool conference and book fair here:

http://jchenc.org/BookfairWorkshops

My new book, “A Stand At Sinai,” will be available for purchase there, as well as many other new products from Great Waters Press. We’d love to see you there!!

 

Building a Pyramid out of Sugar Cubes!

Have you ever made a pyramid out of sugar cubes with your kids? If you’re looking for something fun and educational on your summer break, make this craft! It’s fun for all ages! Watch this 3 minutes tutorial below for a list of ingredients and instructions. You can pretend to be Jarah and Lemuel and Eitan while you’re building it, too! :-) Share your pictures of your new creations on my Facebook page!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGB3Wr6bQDU

 

 

“A Stand At Sinai” is Available for Pre-Order!!!

YES!!! You read that right! “A Stand At Sinai,” book 2 of “The Promised Land” series and sequel to the award-winning book, “A Cry From Egypt,” is now available for preorder!! Yay!!

We’re printing a limited number of galley editions right now!! Galleys are the first printed version of the book that we send to reviewers, other authors, endorsers, etc. While there might be a few typos or little things that we didn’t catch, it’s essentially the same as the final version of the book which will be available in Fall! We only have a few copies available to sell from these galley editions, so order now if you want to be guaranteed to be one of the first to read “A Stand At Sinai”!!! I can’t wait to know what you all think of it!!

Click on this link to learn more about “A Stand At Sinai” and purchase the book!

By the way… Right now shipping is FREE! And you also get a free bonus download of my writing workshop, “How to Write a Novel: A Homeschooler’s Journey to Becoming an Author.” Don’t miss out on this great offer from Great Waters Press!

And…. Here it is!! The cover!! :-D Doesn’t it look amazing? Mike Slaton, my homeschooled friend who illustrated “A Cry From Egypt” also illustrated “A Stand At Sinai”! Any guesses as to who is on the cover? :-)

 

Did the Exodus Really Happen???

Have your children ever asked you, or have you wondered yourself, did the Exodus really happen? Is there really evidence for the Israelites living in Egypt? Or for the Red Sea Crossing? Here’s a trailer for a documentary that I own, love, and have watched numerous times! It’s called “The Exodus Revealed: The Search for the Red Sea Crossing.” In this amazing movie, it shows archaeological and Biblical evidence to prove that the story in the Bible is more than a legend. It’s truth! I used this documentary to help fuel a lot of my research for both my first and second books! It’s engaging, exciting, educational, appropriate for all ages, and most importantly, it will help to build not only your faith, but the faith of all of your children! Please check out the trailer below and consider purchasing this amazing DVD for your family’s Biblical and historical studies!! You might want to check it out before “A Stand At Sinai” comes out, too! :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Nca0GxvMA