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Singles Awareness Day? They Were Single Too!

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.

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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!
  • Make a fun dinner and have some friends over.
  • Go shopping! Just because no one’s giving you a cheesy gift doesn’t mean you can’t treat yo’self. (And you can earn cash back when you shop online with Swagbucks!)
  • 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. 

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She’s Got the Wrong Guy

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.

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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. 

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Hitting the Breaks

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.

Hitting the Breaks is the first original sitcom series from Pure Flix. We would like to invite you to watch this series for FREE by signing up for a free trial of Pure Flix’ streaming service. To celebrate this comedy, we wrote this review comedy-style as well.

The Premise

Lightning McQueen… I mean, Randy Wilcox’s car

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.

Serenity Inn from Hitting the Breaks
Quaint, quiet, and no cell phone tower within miles to disrupt the scenic view!

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.

Wilcox Family from Hitting the Breaks Pilot
Accurate depiction of how kids feel when they have to move to the middle of nowhere.

But although there are mysteries and faith themes, Hitting the Breaks is 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.

The Characters

Is it Brother White? Is it Holy Man Undercover? No! It’s a racing star you’ve never heard of!

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 Breaks premiered. (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 Hitting the Breaks
I think she’s the only person in this whole TV show that has any idea what’s going on.

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 Hitting the Breaks
While watching Hitting the Breaks, try to get a screenshot of her without a sarcastic look. I dare you.

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 Hitting the Breaks
She may be a preteen, but her IQ is higher than the rest of the town’s combined.

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.

Bernie and Sky
Sheriff Bernie and non-cranky-vegan Sky appear to be best friends. Not sure what they have in common.

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.

Tim Tebow in Hitting the Breaks
Tim Tebow makes his appearance. I wonder how many people watched the entire series just to get to this point?

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!

The Recommendation

Wilcox Family Hitting the Breaks
Your new favorite TV family. Do they have room for one more? I’ll see if I can make a cameo in the next season.

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.

Although Hitting the Breaks is only available on Pure Flix, we have a special deal for you. If you click here (or on any other link in this post) you will get a free month of streaming on Pure FlixHitting the Breaks has ten episodes, so you can easily watch the entire first season during your free trial, even if you’re not a binge-watcher.

Question: What kinds of things do you enjoy in a sitcom? Also, do you have a favorite kind of shampoo? I really want to know!

Don’t forget to check out our movie reviews for Princess Cut and I’m Not Ashamed, as well as snag a free Girlz 4 Christ Magazine subscription!

Reviewed by Jessica Lippe. All photos are from Hitting the Breaks/ Pure Flix. This article utilizes affiliate links. All opinions belong to the author.

 

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Back to School Savings 

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!

Movie Streaming Service

We are excited to tell you about our favorite streaming service. We are even more excited that we can give you a month of unlimited movies and shows for free! Pure Flix offers a wide variety of clean things to watch in every genre. We even offer a growing list of recommended movies for you to see. Click here to start your free month now!

Shaving Razors

We like using Dollar Shave Club razors because they’re effective, durable, and help the environment by having replaceable blades. Not to mention, they are super inexpensive!  The options may look like razors for men, but we assure you that they remove hair from legs and armpits at least as well as any pink razor ever has. The Dollar Shave Club toiletry options are pretty great, too. Click here to shop or set up a subscription, which you can cancel at any time.

Gift Cards

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!

Lodging

Need a getaway before the school year begins? Or maybe a weekend trip to retreat in the fall? No matter where you go, there’s probably an AirBnB nearby. We like renting rooms and houses from AirBnB because they’re unique and often inexpensive. Click here to save $40 off your first AirBnB stay. If you prefer hostels, check out the price comparison tool from the largest database of hostels.

Books

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.

Magazine

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!

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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!

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Princess Cut

 

 


We watched Princess Cut by streaming it on PureFlix, a service offering an entire library of clean, Christian movies and shows. We at Girlz 4 Christ would like to offer everyone a free one-month trial. Click here to start streaming PureFlix for free!

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!

Princess_Cut_Screenshot1Highlights

“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.

Princess_Cut_Screenshot2Connection Points

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.

Princess_Cut_Screenshot3Points 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.

Princess_Cut_Screenshot5Final Word

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.
000pcGirlz 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!

To read our movie review of I’m Not Ashamed, click here. To get a free subscription to Girlz 4 Christ Magazine, click here. And of course, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post letting us know what you think!

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I’m Not Ashamed 


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. IMG_9367_web

Highlights

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.

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Connection Points

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?

Sign up for a free month of Pure Flix and start watching I’m Not Ashamed Now!

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Points of Concern

“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.

Final Word

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.

If you would like to learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspect of the I’m Not Ashamed movie, check out the features in Girlz 4 Christ’s Fall 2016 issue. You’ll find our chat with Rachel Joy Scott’s actress Masey McLain, articles from the fashion department on how they pulled off the 90s look seen onscreen, and an interview with Beth Nimmo, the real-life mother of Rachel Joy Scott. Click here to read Girlz 4 Christ for free!

You can watch I’m Not Ashamed and many other movies for free! Just sign up for a free month trial at PureFlix.com. If you decide to get a subscription to Pure Flix’s service, a portion of the proceeds will help support Girlz 4 Christ.

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10 Spring Break Staycations

By Cheyenne Baccary

Spring break is right around the corner! A week off from classes to do whatever you want! Well, almost… If you’re like me, you probably don’t have the money to take a trip to Cancun or Miami. But that’s okay! Because I compiled a list of ten Spring Break Staycation ideas that will make spring break at home feel like a real vacation.

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  1. Throw a Macaroni and Cheese Party

Invite all your friends to cook their favorite mac and cheese recipe or a recipe they’ve been wanting to try and have them bring it to the party. There are so many ways to make macaroni and cheese! You can stick with the classic or make a vegan version; the possibilities are endless! And who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?! For more inspiration, check out this link to the Food Network’s website of 50 ways to make macaroni and cheese: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-mac-and-cheese-recipes

  1. Go to a super fancy restaurant and just order dessert

You know that super fancy restaurant in your hometown everyone has been wanting to go to? Ordering a full meal can be pricey…so don’t! Just order the dessert! The dessert is the best part of a meal anyway. Plus, it gives you a reason to get all dressed up and go out with your friends. Not to mention that the dessert is amazing!

  1. Have a classic movie marathon

One of the things I love is classic movies. There is a certain magic and timelessness to them. If you haven’t had a chance to see any of the classics yet, this spring break is the perfect time to do so. Hint: Some of my favorites are Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Don’t Bother to Knock.

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  1. Volunteer

Find somewhere local to volunteer at. You could give blood or help an elderly neighbor clean their house. Whatever you can to do help someone in the community, do it! It will bring great joy to that person and bring joy to you for helping someone else. Also, if you make volunteering an ongoing thing, it looks really great on a resume.

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  1. Be a hometown tourist

Explore your hometown like you’re a tourist. Go to all the local museums and restaurants. Take selfies in front of local landmarks. Just go out and do all the things someone who isn’t from your town would do. Google things to do in your hometown beforehand; there may be attractions that you didn’t even know of!

  1. Binge watch Netflix

Whether it’s a show you’ve been wanting to start or a show you’ve been watching, spring break is the perfect time to binge watch. Chill out in your pajamas with your favorite snack and spend your spring break watching all six seasons of your favorite Netflix show.

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  1. Have a clothing swap

What better thing to do on spring break then to do some spring cleaning? Clean out your closet and invite all your friends to do the same. Then invite all your friends over and go through what each other no longer wants. Then- voila!- you and your friends have a whole new wardrobe all for free. Whatever is left over can be donated to a women’s shelter.

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  1. Go to a local pet shop and play with the animals

Playing with puppies and kittens!? Um, that sounds like the best spring break ever! Google your local pet shops and visit them all. Take pictures and post them to Facebook and help them find “furever” homes.

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  1. Do a DIY

DIYs can be a ton of fun! Search Pinterest for a DIY idea that interests you. It could be a dreamcatcher or homemade bath bombs. The possibilities are endless of what you can create.

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  1. Read Christ Centered Girls and Girlz 4 Christ Magazine

Spring issues are coming! Click here to get a free subscription to Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. The spring issue drops on March 20th and is jam-packed with fashion tips, volunteer projects, and other ideas to make your spring break the best ever.

And there you have it, some awesome fun spring break ideas from a Christ Centered Girls writer! If you try any of these make sure to take a picture and tag us on social media! We want to see how much fun you guys are having! Blessings!

 

 

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Taking My God for a Walk

If you check out the Winter 2016/17 issue of Girlz 4 Christ, you’ll find this review in our “Books for the Journey” article:

Our spiritual journey is an internal one. It doesn’t need a trail or driving directions. But sometimes, a physical journey reinforces the importance of a spiritual one. That’s what Tony Collins discovered. As a Christian book publisher from England, Tony decided to take a long-overdue Sabbatical. He chose to spend this time walking the Camino de Santiago: a 490-mile stretch starting in Southern France and reaching across Spain.

Along the way, Tony encounters people, sights, memories, pain, and new experiences. He documents much of this in this new, unique memoir.

Each chapter covers a day or two on this pilgrimage trail, originally created by Christians in the Middle Ages. Tony also documents the internal journey he had on the Camino, plus the adventures of staying in hostels, visiting dozens of small Spanish towns, and getting stuck in bad weather!


While reading this, you may just want to take a walk with God yourself!

Before I went to Europe in 2015, a family friend lent me a copy of “The Way”, a movie about the Camino in Spain. This was my first time hearing about this pilgrimage trail, but it certainly hasn’t been the last! During my pre-international-flight checkup, the nurse practitioner told me she was taking a month off to walk the Camino de Santiago. In Paris, I found the starting point for the longest route of the Camino. When I made it to La Alberca, Spain, I learned there was an offshoot of this trail going through the town, so it was a spontaneous privilege to be able to walk it. While volunteering at Pueblo Ingles, I learned that one of my fellow “Anglos” from Australia was walking the Camino after our week of volunteering. The Camino de Santiago isn’t exactly on my “bucket list” of adventures, but if I’m to thru-walk any trail, it will probably be this one!

Because of these small experiences in time related to the Camino, I was excited to find out that a Christian memoir was being published of a man’s experiences and memories on the trail. Taking My God for a Walk: A Publisher on a Pilgrimage is certainly an ideal armchair adventure! 

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Merry Christmas from Girlz 4 Christ

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 KJV

Merry Christmas from all of us at Girlz 4 Christ Magazine!

We have a few Christmas gifts for you…

-We are giving away a copy of Girl Defined! Click here to enter. 

-Any year-end gifts to further the ministry of Girlz 4 Christ will be rewarded with a free copy of Girlz with Goalz. 

-If you don’t currently receive Girlz 4 Christ Magazine, we want to give you a free digital subscription! 

-Click the PureFlix image in the left sidebar to get a free month of movie and TV show screening.

-You’ll find even more just by poking around our social media and website, like deals on modest clothing, movies, and books. We even have resources for youth leaders and parents!

Thanks for a great year. We hope your celebration of Christ the Savior is filled with joy, peace, and love.

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How to Write for Magazines

So you wanna be a writer? I did too.

 

I grew up wanting to be a writer. When I was seventeen, I found writing guidelines for a magazine I enjoyed reading, as well as an article about how the magazine business works. I followed the guidelines, wrote an article, sent it in… and got rejected! But I didn’t give up. I expanded my reach, writing more articles for more publications. Several months later, I finally got to see my name in print. I was a writer!

I still freelance write for many publications to this day. Now that I am an editor, I am contacted by many teens who are following the same path I did at their age. Since I’ve seen both sides of the magazine industry, as both a writer and an editor, I’ve learned a lot over the past several years. I wanted to encourage these young people who are eager to write and get published, but also produce a professional magazine. If you follow these seven steps, you’ll be well on your way to providing editors with content they want to publish, regardless of how old you are when you decided “I want to be a writer!”

Step 1: Find Some Magazines to Write For
Make a list of magazines that focus on topics you’d be interested in writing about. You want to have several options, and at least some of them should be smaller publications. You can’t expect to have your article accepted into a major national publication, especially on your first try. You may need to do a web search to discover more magazines that you might have a writing interest in.

Get familiar with each publication on your list. Every publication has a unique style and voice that they would like their writers to have. Getting a description of the magazine’s style is not enough; you must read the magazines to get a true feel for their voice.

Many magazines have a sample issue found online. These can be helpful for getting a basic idea of the type of writing they use. It’s best to get a better understanding by reading different sections of the magazine in multiple issues. If you cannot buy the magazines, go to the library to see if they have any copies available. If they’re not at your library, check out a neighboring library. Although you may not be able to check out the magazines, anyone can stay in the library and read them for free. It’s even a common practice for some writers to thumb through an issue inside a bookstore! You could also try borrowing magazines from friends and family. The more recent issues you read, the better. Some magazines change their style over the years, so you want to stay up-to-date.


Step 2: Get Writing Guidelines
Before you get to step two, you should have checked out the websites and social media for all the magazines you want to write for, in an effort to familiarize yourself. Go back to their websites and look around for their writing guidelines. Sometimes, it’s in a tab in the page menu. Often, it’s located in the footer. It may even be hidden in the “About” or “Contact” page. There are times when the guidelines are not readily available online, but they provide instructions on how to obtain them. And there are times when they cannot be found at all. If that’s the case, look at all the contact options, and pick the e-mail address that you think has the best chance of getting a response in the appropriate manner. (The graphic designer won’t know what to tell you regarding writing. On the other hand, an editor-in-chief may lose your e-mail in the hundreds they receive every day, but a department editor can get back to you more easily.)

Some magazines offer a 10-page PDF that explains every last detail of what to write, down to want font to use and whether or not to use an Oxford comma. Other publications make it short and sweet, with nothing more than a word count and where to send the piece. Regardless, read these guidelines- multiple times! While some magazines can be forgiving about certain minor infractions, you don’t want to lose your opportunity to be published over something that could have easily been avoided.


Step 3: Craft Your Article
Once you know what’s expected from you as a writer, it’s time to be a writer and write! If you’re reading this in the first place, you probably enjoy writing because you already know the basics. So we won’t go over grammar and other rules here. However, if you do need some extra assistance with this, take a course or ask for help from a teacher or fellow writer.

Finish your article, and then check it against the writing guidelines. Is your piece within the proper word range? Is it broken down into subsections with appropriate headers? If the magazine requested a certain kind of formatting, did you do that? Do they need a bio line about you?

Also check your basic writing rules to make sure the piece reads clean and professionally. You may have a great point to make, but no one will ever be able to read it if the editor has a hard time finding it among misspellings and errors. For newcomers to the magazine industry, the title “editor” can be misleading. It is not their job to proofread your work; it’s yours. They are more focused on determining whether a piece is suitable for their publication, and possibly adding or cutting parts to better fit.

One major no-no that you don’t want your writing to get involved in is plagiarism. Never copy and paste words from the internet! Most websites have a hidden indicator that you probably never noticed, but an editor will be able to tell with this indicator that it has been copied. If you must use a direct quote, make it brief and include information on where you found it. Even with a research paper, the majority of the content should still be your original work.


Step 4: Submit 
If your article is crafted and final-drafted, get ready to send! In the writing guidelines, you may have found deadlines. Many magazines don’t have set deadlines since they continue to publish their magazine year-round and year after year. However, if your article is about current events or has a seasonal slant, or even if it adheres to a magazine issue’s theme, you’ll want to make sure you meet the intended deadline, and a few days early if possible. If there is no established deadline for seasonal material, make sure at least three months in advance.

Check back with the writing guidelines to see if the magazine wants a completed article or a query. A query generally means that they don’t want you to send more content than they have time to manage. Instead, you need to write them a convincing query letter that explains why your article would be ideal for their publication. You’ll only need to send the completed article if they write back asking for it.

If a query is not requested, then send the complete manuscript. But check the guidelines to see if they want you to e-mail the article as an attachment or in the body of the text. Some publications have submission forms on their website. There are even a few magazines still out there that only want to read what you send through snail mail!


Step 5: Practice Patience
After you hit that “send” button, you may hear back from the editor after a few minutes. But more than likely it will be several weeks, or maybe even months, before you hear anything back. Resist the urge to follow up on a daily basis. If the writing guidelines state how long it normally takes for the editors to get back to you, and it’s been longer than that, it may be okay to write a short note asking for the status. But be aware that in most cases, the only thing you’ll get back is a rejection notice. If they really want to use an article, they’ll take the initiative.

Know that getting a rejection letter is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. In fact, in a lot of cases, the reason for rejection is because of something completely out of your control. They may have written everything in-house, or they may have had a lot of freelance writers who wrote for that particular need. You could even be rejected because the magazine is going out of business! Sure, there may be something you need to change about your article, but don’t automatically assume that it’s bad writing or that you shouldn’t be a writer. Even the best writers have been rejected. Think of it this way: you can only get a rejection letter if you’re a writer!

Whether you receive a rejection letter, or you’re still waiting on the verdict of your article, don’t spend this waiting time idly! Remember that list of publications you’d be interested in writing for? Look up writing guidelines for another one of those and keep yourself busy with a new piece. Realize that if you want to write full-time, you’ll probably be expected to create a new piece every work day. Professionals don’t wait around to hear back about their piece before they write another, and neither should you. You could even submit to the same publication if they have a new theme or deadline coming up.

Step 6: Follow Rules and Follow Up
It can be nerve-wracking to open up a response to your writing. There are several options of what could be inside: they want to use it, they don’t want to use it, or they need certain criteria to be met if they’re going to use it. Again, don’t get discouraged if they can’t use your piece at this time. But don’t respond back to them asking for reasons why they won’t use it, or if they know of a publication that will better appreciate it. Although you may occasionally get pointers, asking for them makes you come across as whiny and unprofessional. Editors are not your personal writing tutors. Just accept the fact that they won’t accept it and move on. Down the line, you may be able to work with them once you have more experience under your belt!

Sometimes you will get an acceptance on spec. This is especially common if you send a query instead of a finished piece, although you may also get this if they request certain edits from you. Writing on spec just means that they aren’t guaranteeing publication at this point. They’ll come to that decision later on. If they did request that you change some things, do so and return your piece in a timely manner. Don’t try to defend that your piece is perfect as-is; the editor knows what’s best for their publication. Virtually all work gets edited anyways, but in this case you just have the opportunity to provide some extra input!

If you get an acceptance notice, there will probably be some paperwork or some sort of agreement that follows. If you’re getting paid for this, you’ll have to provide personal information so that they can keep their bookkeeping and taxes accurate.


Step 7: See Your Name in Print
Congratulations! If you follow the above six steps, you’re a magazine writer! It will just be a bonus the day you get a copy of a magazine with your name inside.

That day may not come so quickly, though. If you write for a website publication, you may see fast results. But traditional media can take longer- sometimes more than a year. You already practiced patience, and now’s a time to use this skill in practice!

Sometimes, articles end up fitting better in a different issue, so it may not be published in the month you were expecting. When it does go into print, share it with your friends and family! They’ll get to read your work, and you’ll keep a good relationship with the magazine so that you can write for them again!

Now that you have a better idea of how the freelance writing process works, put it into action! How about writing an article for Girlz 4 Christ Magazine? (Start step 1 by signing up for a free subscription!)

If you’d like more personalized training for publication writing with a real magazine editor, consider taking Girlz 4 Christ’s course, “Writing for Publication“. This one-day class can accommodate groups of any size, and every participant will leave with a ready-to-submit article!