It’s May! This is my favorite month of the year for so many reasons. The weather warms up to the perfect temperature for hiking, camping, and adventuring. Flowers bloom, sun shines, schools wrap up their year, and my birthday is celebrated, too! This year, May seems extra special because there are so many great books releasing for Christian girls.
We are super excited to give you a plethora of ideas for your summer reading list in the next issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. (If you haven’t done so yet, snag a free subscription!) But if you want to get a jumpstart, here are some new books to read this month:
Girl Defined ministry leaders and authors Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird just released their second book, Love Defined, about having thr right heart to pursue godly relationships with boys.
Seventeen-year-old Taylor Bennett is a newly minted author with the publishing of her novel Porch Swing Girl, about a girl who’s trapped on an island with another girl with a secret.
Later this month, you’ll start hearing more about soul surfer Bethany Hamilton’s new film Unstoppable, as well as her inspirational companion photo book Be Unstoppable.
And next week, Livy Jarmusch is dropping her newest installation in her Tales or Tarsurella series, The Rebellion.
Livy Jarmusch is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She enjoys crafting YA fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining! When she’s not writing, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies. Come connect at http://www.livylynnblog.com.
The Rebellion is the sequel to The Coronation. Need to catch up in the series? Author Livy Lynn Jarmusch has offered to autograph a copy of The Coronation to the winner of this contest. There are several ways you can enter, and entries will only take a few seconds of your time.
I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day, a holiday known for excluding singles while couples display lovey-dovey acts. I myself am single. No husband, no boyfriend. But this Valentine’s Day, I don’t feel alone. Maybe it’s because I know a lot of other single people now. They’re right in the Bible.
They Were Single Too features eight chapters, each outlining a single person from the Bible and explains what we can learn from their lives. One of the chapters is about Anna. I remember when I first read her story in the book of Luke. I was working at a camp as a teen and was so excited about it, I texted the girls’ dean and asked if we could learn about her at that night’s Bible study. She liked that idea, but I learned even more from reading her profile in They Were Single Too. Author David M. Hoffeditz delves deeper into explaining what singleness and the lifestyles of these people meant in relation to their culture and time period, and how that can personally translate to my life today.
I would recommend They Were Single Too to singles of any age and circumstance. Maybe even married people should read it, because understanding each other diminishes the “us vs. them” mentality. Reading this book would be a great way to spend your Singles Awareness Day. Here are a few other Valentine-less ideas:
Watch a movie on PureFlix, which has a host of clean movies and shows in different genres. Whether you want a romantic flick or nothing of the sort, you’ll find something here. (You can even watch God’s Not Dead 2 before the next movie comes out!) Click here for a free month of PureFlix streaming!
If you have a job, offer to cover an extra shift. You probably have a coworker who would love the night off for Valentine’s Day. You’ll make some extra money and be too busy to wallow in self-pity.
Listen to an audio sermon from your church or by another pastor. Since Valentine’s Day lines up with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent this year, it’s a good reminder to keep focused on loving God.
A copy of They Were Single Too was provided by Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. Links may be from affiliates, which will help our ministry while offering positive deals for you.
A few weeks ago, I did a series of polls using Girlz 4 Christ’s Instagram stories. All of them were about relationships. Presumably, most of our Instagram followers would consider themselves Christians, so I asked questions surrounding that idea, from hotly-debated topics such as “Do you prefer dating or courting?”, to what I thought would be unanimous questions like “Would you ever consider dating a non-Christian?” I assumed just about everyone would vote “no” for that last question, but boy was I wrong!
Just as I was wrong about the poll results, some girls get caught up in the wrong relationship with the wrong guy. It may be because that guy’s not a Christian (which about 10% of our female Christian voters would at least entertain the idea of going out with a guy like this), or may be some other negative situation, like he’s controlling or encouraging you to get physical.
Then I got a copy of She’s Got the Wrong Guy.
As it turns out, lots of Christian women get into a relationship with the wrong guy. This book lays out the facts, gives explanations for this phenomenon, and makes suggestions for how to avoid this. You’re a smart woman. You shouldn’t have to settle for less than what God wants for you.
Girlz 4 Christ is glad to be part of this book’s blog tour. We received a copy of this book to assist in our review, but all opinions are our own.
We all have goals. They’re a major driving factor that gets us through life. And here at Girlz 4 Christ, we not only want you to have goals, we want you to ACCOMPLISH them!
Have you ever wanted to do any of the following?
Read the Bible cover to cover.
Plan a trip to another continent.
Become a writer.
Get a straight-A report card.
Earn extra money.
Or anything that takes motivation and hard work?
If so, you’ve come to the right place! We’re excited to announce the theme for our Winter 2017/18 magazine issue: Going for the Goals!
We want you to help us design this issue so it can best help you reach your goals. Where is your stumbling block? Is it difficult to figure out what your goals really are? Is the day-to-day grind too much for you? Let us know what your goals are and how we can help you.
If you want to get a head start on your goals, we have the perfect eBook for you. Girlz with Goalz, our step-by-step workbook, can bring you from formulating your dreams to becoming a success! To celebrate our upcoming issue, we are giving this book away to everyone who makes any size of donation to the Girlz 4 Christ ministry. Just click here to safely give through PayPal, and we will send your downloadable Girlz with Goalz eBook to your email account.
PS: If your goal is to become a writer, we have an exciting way for you to do that! You can become a published writer by contributing an article to our “Going for the Goals” issue. E-mail G4Csubmissions@gmail.com for more information or to send your work in. (If you are a photographer or illustrator, you can contribute your work, too!)
Earlier this year, I came up with an idea I thought would revolutionize Christian television production. Along the same vein of The Office and Parks and Recreation, we needed to shine a light on the world of ministry through a mockumentary of those front-line workers. I created characters, ministry jobs, and early versions of a script. Unfortunately, while writing is my forte, I do not have an in with anyone working in Hollywood.
Little did I know that, around the same time, a new mockumentary-style Christian series was in the works. I admit it might even be better than my show idea. Hitting the Breaks premiered last month. I watched it on Pure Flix and am hyped to tell you about it.
In case you forget why this mostly-normal Christian family ended up in an anything-but-normal Colorado Rockies town, just listen to the theme song. The title sequence begins with the opening sequence of Cars 3. (That’s also the same scene as the final race of the first Cars movie, but I digress…) Without giving away too much of the setup of the show (or the Pixar Cars franchise), there’s an accident on the racetrack. This forces driver Randy into a midlife crisis of early retirement and moving his family cross-country to his recently inherited hotel, which is where we first meet them in the pilot episode.
The Wilcox family walks into The Serenity Inn, their new home in Colorado. Oh no! What happened to the Wi-fi and cell service? I guess it lacks those features to make what otherwise looks like a just-built hotel set seem old and dilapidated. They never get those services, so I guess they won’t be able to read this review. Or watch their own show.
When it comes to the topic of finances, this modern-day Petticoat Junction is mysterious . Why did Randy’s father die and leave his estate conveniently at the same time that Randy also flirted with death and needed a place to move to? Why is Randy concerned about money when he has free housing and presumably a professional athlete’s savings account? How can a hotel that never has a paying guest afford to keep on a maid? (Although this does explain why she never does any work- there’s no one to clean up after!) How can Randy quickly get hooked up with an endorsement deal when he wants several thousand dollars, but can’t drop a hundred bucks to replace a falling-apart floor rug that everyone complains about? And the most mysterious of all: why are Christian films notoriously low-budget, but Hitting the Breaks is actually a good show?
Speaking of Christianity, this is an original series created by and available exclusively through the Christian entertainment company, Pure Flix. But don’t expect the characters to awkwardly pause the story line to give their testimony. Instead you’ll see the Wilcox family and some of their friends living out their life with Christ through Bible studies, church events, reading, and prayer. For them, Christianity isn’t a separate part of their lives that they focus on for two minutes but ignore the remainder of the episode. It’s how they live their whole lives. That’s a good takeaway for all of us.
But although there are mysteries and faith themes, Hitting the Breaksis a comedy. You’ll be reminded of that every four seconds when the laugh track goes off. Sometimes it gets so cheesy that you’ll want to grab tortilla chips and make some nachos. The characters even acknowledge this a handful of times while breaking the fourth wall.
Randy Wilcox is played by that ever-present actor in nearly every Christian movie, David A.R. White. Instead of his typical portrayal of a pastor or an Amish man, David branches out in this show as a retired race car driver. The word “retired” might be a bit harsh, since he’s only middle-aged with daughters still in school. But what can you do if you have a family full of women who convince you that your line of work might be dangerous after your last race ended in smoke and shambles?
Coincidentally, I was also in a car crash shortly before Hitting the Breakspremiered. (I’m not a race car driver; I just share the road with people who think that a red light means “keep going!”) I even got the same lingering injury as Randy: a shoulder in so much pain that I couldn’t raise my arm. But since Randy’s arm was instantly cured by falling off a roof, I am definitely jumping off a building now. If anything goes wrong, I’ll just send my hospital bill to the production company. (Not everything you see on TV is meant to be impressionable, kids!)
Charlie Wilcox is Randy’s wife. Actress Andrea Logan White is also the real-life wife of David A.R. White. In Christian film world, that means it’s okay for the couple to share a bed unlike the sitcom couples of the 50s, and kiss each other without pulling Kirk Cameron’s stand-in stunt from Fireproof. Yay for realism!
Delancey Wilcox is the oldest daughter of Randy and Charlie. Since she’s a teen, the writers gave her typical teen traits like being obsessed with boys and shampoo. Wait, shampoo? Is that a legit obsession? I started working on this teen magazine (that you should subscribe to) as I was aging out of my own teen years. All this time I guess I forgot to include a much-desired magazine section dedicated to shampoo. If you’re a teen girl with a shampoo obsession, please leave a comment at the end of this post. I need your help with an upcoming article.
Darcy Wilcox is basically a female version of Brick Heck from ABC’s The Middle. Book brainiac, youngest child, remembers everything, socially awkward… you get the picture. I almost expected her to repeat words in a whisper. Maybe they’re saving that for season two.
Other Characters abound in this Rocky Mountain town. A fan favorite is Sky, a vegan-restaurant-owning/ motorcycle-riding/ friends-with-everyone twentysomething who knows the rest of the townsfolk are unusual without realizing that she’s a different kind of offbeat as well. The bumbling cop Bernie makes Barney Fife look like a SWAT Team agent. Then there are two old guys who continually wear bunny costumes. It’s weird how quickly you get used to that.
Let’s not forget the special guest stars! There’s Alyson Stoner, and Morgan Fairchild, and Carrot Top, and IS THAT TIM TEBOW? LET’S FREAK OUT LIKE EVERY CHARACTER DID IN THE SEASON FINALE!
Joking aside for a moment, you probably know that there are fewer and fewer sitcoms airing that the whole family can enjoy. Two of the three family-friendly shows I alluded to above (The Andy Griffith Show and Petticoat Junction, which also has episodes available to stream on Pure Flix) were first filmed in black and white. The other mention, The Middle, is in its final season as television networks turn to edgier shows with more shock value. I’m glad that Pure Flix is stepping up to fill this widening gap. We need more shows that are funny, entertaining, and hold to God-honoring, family-friendly values.
Back-to-school shopping is in full swing. You can go to any superstore and pick up pencils, paper, and folders for just pennies each. But now, we at Girlz 4 Christ would like to offer you savings on bigger ticket items that you can use year-round!
The following contains affiliate links. This just means that if you click on the links, we’ll both end up with some extra money in our pockets. Thank you for supporting Girlz 4 Christ through your wise shopping!
We know that gift cards are fun to shop with. It’s even better when those gift cards are free! When you sign up for an account with Swagbucks, you can earn points for doing simple things like playing games, taking surveys, or searching the web. You can then use those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, Redbox, restaurants, or even the gas station. Click here to join Swagbucks and start off with $3 for free!
If you have to buy your own school textbooks, our best recommendation is to try to find used ones online. But for personal reading choices, we can point you to FREE books! When you join Tyndale Rewards, you can earn free Christian books, discs, and other gifts for things like posting online or giving your opinion.
We couldn’t forget this one! You can always get a 100% free, no-strings-attached subscription to Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. Each issue is packed with devotions, celebrity interviews, beauty tips, book and movie reviews, and so much more. Click here to become a subscriber now!
This post has utilized affiliate links. Thank you for clicking through them so that we both can have a little more cash in our pockets!
Have you ever gazed longingly at the engagement rings in a jewelry store? That’s where we meet Grace, a twentysomething farmgirl over the moon about getting married. True, her boyfriend hasn’t even proposed yet, but it’s just a matter of time, right? When he visits her on college break, she gets a surprise. It’s a ring… on another girl’s finger!
Heartbroken, Grace experiments with new relationships, starting with Jared. But when their differences in values makes dating each other miserable, Grace decides to approach romance in a new way. She has a lot to learn before getting that longed-after princess cut!
*2020 Update: Like movies? You can read our interviews with Christian actresses, plus authors, musicians, ministry leaders, and more, in our book Girls Who Change the World!*
“Princess Cut” busts a lot of the misconceptions that are believed about dating and romantic relationships. Do you have to get physical with your boyfriend? How involved should your parents get? Is there an appropriate amount of flirting? What qualities should you be looking for in a mate?
Remember that this movie shows just one example of a God-honoring relationship. Since everyone’s circumstance is different, “Princess Cut” isn’t a how-to guide or a list of dos and don’ts. However, it can still point you in the right direction of thinking about how you can form your own personal guidelines.
Aside from the main moral of purity, a major subplot point expresses the value of hard work and seeking God in all you do. When the family’s combine breaks, everyone pitches in to pick the fields by hand. After a successful harvest season, they give the glory to God by hosting an outreach community event.
When Grace decides that there must be more to God-honoring romance than what she’s experienced in the past, she checks out a pile of books to learn more. During her marathon of a reading session, she takes notes, highlighting things she finds important in a relationship. Do you think that something like this might help you prayerfully figure out your own dating rules and what you’re looking for in a future husband?
The soybean analogy that Grace’s dad introduces in the movie could be a great reminder in your own life. Sometimes we try to get a harvest before we even plant the seeds. We may be planting seeds right now for qualities such as patience, communication, and romance. They may not come to fruition right away, but that doesn’t mean we should quit working on them, just like you wouldn’t quit watering a plant that is still growing. You can remember this when you’re working towards just about anything.
Points of Concern
There was only one scene that caused enough concern that it may affect viewers. Grace receives a suggestion to try professional counseling. Although she’s apprehensive, she nervously goes anyway. Within the first few minutes, her counselor gives poor advice about premarital relationships, which causes Grace to walk out. For those who have never visited a counselor, know that this was a very atypical experience. Most counselors are in fact helpful in navigating a variety of life situations. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to go to counseling for yourself, whether it’s for for relationship concerns or any other reason.
A later scene involves two young men fighting over a love interest. The one that ultimately wins her affection is the one that tries to be a peacemaker despite the violent attacks. The fight quickly subsides when her father steps in.
Though it’s not clear, Grace at times seems more excited about getting a princess cut ring than she is for the relationship that comes with it. However, the movie is clear that, whether single or in a relationship, valuing others is more important than valuing objects.
I often get tired of watching romance movies, or really any movie that has a romantic subplot. But I actually liked “Princess Cut”. It wasn’t unrealistic. It didn’t have inappropriate sexual content. It wasn’t even preachy. Instead, it inspired me to seek God for conviction in relationships, and not just in the romantic sense. Family members, friends, and yes, even boys, are all relationships that play a major role in your life. But through them we should seek our most important relationship of all: the one with our loving Savior. Girlz 4 Christ was provided with a PureFlix membership in order to view this movie. Opinions expressed are our own and were not swayed by payment. You can get a FREE month of PureFlix too just by clicking here!
We viewed this movie thanks to Pure Flix, a clean, Christian streaming service for movies and TV shows. All opinions expressed are our own and were not swayed by payment.
There aren’t many movies where you know the ending before you even watch it. But the events leading up to the climax of “I’m Not Ashamed” will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Based on the inspiring true story in the midst of the tragic Columbine Shooting, follow teenager Rachel Joy Scott’s life, including her faith, her art, and her untimely death. Find a story of hope in this tragedy.
Rachel believes that “if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction”. You see several chain reactions like this play out over the course of the film. Rachel’s walk with Christ begins after visiting her cousin, who spent the summer demonstrating compassion.
Rachel continues this chain reaction with others she meets. One night after youth group, she encounters Nate, a homeless young man that becomes her “big brother”. Another sweet moment was when she arranged a date with a developmentally disabled boy who was often teased at school.
As a teen, Rachel made plenty of mistakes when it came to the world of dating. While these are clearly not examples to follow, it does help singles form their own guidelines of what to do and not do.
And of course, “I’m Not Ashamed” shows that we can all find light in some of the darkest moments of life. This includes both everyday mundane moments and headlining tragedies.
The accuracy of this movie wouldn’t be possible if not for Rachel Joy Scott’s real-life journals. Quotes and doodles from these diaries were used to create the script and art. More importantly, the light of Christ shines through her writing. You can tell that journaling was a great way for Rachel to connect with God.
What about you? Do you keep a journal? If writing isn’t your forte, you could make your journal more visual with drawings or small mementos like ticket stubs and notes from friends. Use your journal as a space that’s just between you and God. This is where you can ask bold questions, state your personal beliefs, and come up with ideas to change the world. Who knows? Maybe in the future, your journals will become valuable historic documents!
Another way Rachel used journaling was to communicate with her “big brother”, whom she led to Christ. For awhile she didn’t get to see him in person very often, so she ministered to him through letters in a notebook. He wrote back with his own questions and ponderings. This turned out to be beneficial to both of them. Is there a friend or family member that you could send a letter to today?
“I’m Not Ashamed” certainly earned its PG-13 rating. After all, it would be nearly impossible to tell the story of one of the biggest school tragedies without a dose of violence. Other than Rachel and a friend with gunshot wounds, most of the massacre takes place off-screen.
There are other elements more commonly found in high school. Teens are seen smoking and drinking. A group sneaks out of their homes and breaks into a pool in the middle of the night. One of Rachel’s friends appears to come from an abusive home. Other friends are promiscuous and criticize Rachel’s Christianity. Rachel herself even struggles with a bout of suicidal thoughts. Despite all this, I do appreciate that the struggles that hit closest to home do come to reasonable resolutions. Most of these are addressed by bringing God into the situation and transferring trust to him.
This is a must-see movie for every teen and young adult. It’s relatable and relevant. Since I’m Not Ashamed is based on a real-life tragedy, it’s not a fluffy fairy tale that magically solves every problem. Instead, it tackles tough subjects head-on. Even though the movie takes place in the late 90s, it has a powerful message we can still learn from today.