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Interview with Debut Author and Cancer Survivor, Barbara Britton!

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When I met Barbara M. Britton online, I had no idea I’d met such an amazing Strong Girl. But as my recent interview with her on YouTube progressed, and she revealed her journey with and triumph over cancer, I was in complete and total awe of her courage and tenacity.

She’s also a pastor’s wife and a Pelican Book Group author. How is that for kindred-spirit-sisterhood?

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As my regular readers know, I, too, am a pastor’s wife and my first book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots was published by Pelican!

I know  you’re going to be inspired by Barbara’s story. Scroll down to the video, grab a cuppa and kick back and enjoy!

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Tweet this: Strong Girl Barbara M. Britton writes inspiring strong girl fiction!

 

Strong Girl Saturday: Different? That’s Way Okay! By Elaine Stock

Today’s Strong Girl post is written by friend and fellow author, Elaine Stock.

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Elaine Stock, Author

Can you see her? She’s the kindergartener reading a book in the corner because a speech impediment tossed bricks between her and the ability to make easy friends. She’s the one whose mom pushed her into awkward social situations that made her feel as if she were an elephant balancing on a tightrope while she watched her mom seclude herself behind a closed door. She’s the serious one, yet a dreamer, the one who writes stories. She’s the one who clung to God even before she understood the full meaning of faith.

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She’s me. And I used to struggle with being what others typed as “different.”

The red and gold bracelet shimmy down her arm

The ankle bells clanks and rings

She hears music and dances steps that calm

Closing her eyes to life’s stings.

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Others laugh

They tease, they taunt

They think they’re cool, but they’re only half

If they really had it all, they wouldn’t have to flaunt.

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She hears the One who loves her so much

Her confidence isn’t dependent on the cruel

Her esteem, rather, comes from Him who has her in His clutch

She learns to love the others, but lives on His fuel.

(© Elaine Stock)

It’s taken me many years to learn that it’s okay to be me. Really, I’m not a bad person. Not freaky. Don’t mess with drugs or drink. I do no harm to others. I admit to owning a few quirks, but nothing in the too-seriously-weird category.

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What I’ve come to realize the past decades of my life is that everyone—without an exception—is singular, as well as we should be. God created each of us in His image, but like each kitten with patches and zigzag stripes or like each snowflake that falls, we are all unique. If we obey God’s words, then our individuality is very okay.

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The popular singer, Taylor Swift, recently said, “Maybe you’re not meant to fit in. Maybe you’re supposed to stand out.” Yay, Taylor! What a bold statement from someone in today’s times who is pressed to be outrageous, but instead is creating her own way and is enjoying each day.

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Be true to yourself. Be a good person. Believe in the One who created you with an expressed purpose. You won’t go wrong.

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Rejoice in the good stuff. Ignore any discouragement.

Author Bio:

Elaine Stock never expected that a college major in psychology and sociology would walk her through the see-saw industries of food service and the weight-loss business; co-ownership with her husband in piano restoration; and ten years in community leadership. All great fodder for creating fiction.

In the spring of 2011 Elaine placed in the Semi-finals category in the ACFW Genesis Contest for her novel WALK WITH ME. In 2013 she received the honor of My Book Therapy’s Frasier Bronze Medalist award for NO GOING BACK. And in 2014 she was blessed with the news that her short story IN HIS OWN TIME won the People’s Choice Award in the FamilyFiction Contest and will be published in a printed anthology. Her short story, THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS GIFT is about to be released in CHRISTMAS TREASURES: A COLLECITON OF SHORT STORIES.

Elaine’s blog, Everyone’s Story has been graced by an awesome international viewership. She hosts weekly interviews and reflections from published authors, unpublished writers, and readers who share inspirational stories. Its viewership is dedicated to “Readers, Writers, and All Those In-between.”

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You can connect with Elaine at:

Website/blog: Everyone’s Story  elainestock.com

Twitter  http://www.twitter.com/ElaineStock

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineStock

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Tweet this: She’s the serious one, yet a dreamer, the one who writes stories.

Reaching for the moon

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Dear Young, Strong Girls, things weren’t always as they are today.

Used to be, strong women such as Jerrie Cobb, Bernice Steadman, Janey Hart, Jerri Truhill, Rhea Woltman, Sarah Ratley, Jan and Marion Dietrich, Myrtle Cagle, Irene Leverton, Gene Nora Jessen, Jean Hixson, and Wally Funk, who passed the same tests as other astronauts competing for a spot on a trip to the moon, would be denied the chance simply because they were female.

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Because strong women such as these never gave up on pursuing the dreams God placed in their heart–the dreams they were born to do–we now have many more choices in the United States and allowed to compete for the same jobs as men. Gender has no role.

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I know some people think there’s a war against us in the United States, but trust me, it’s nothing like it used to be and the war is with a very different enemy. Satan hates women and he’ll do everything he can to suppress them. He delights in seeing your dreams squashed because you are powerful and influential. He’s scared of you.

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I’m always encouraged when I see strong women go after a dream. In some way it strengthens me and gives me courage to keep working toward the dreams in my own heart.

Surround yourself with other strong girls and women. Take courage from their persistence and tenacity. Learn about all the strong women you can. I believe it will encourage you to go forth and conquer!

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To learn more about the remarkable women who reached for the moon during the Mercury space program check out these links:

Women in Space.

She Should Have Gone to the Moon

Women of the Mercury Era

And enjoy the following videos (embedding for the first one has been disabled, but it’s very good, so please check it out!):

Click here:    Mercury 13 – The Secret Astronauts (Part-1)

Part 2:


The Mercury 13:

twitter48smallTweet this: Strong girls reach for the moon!

Psalm 8

 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

What dream is in your heart? How does the enemy try to stop it? What will you do to win? Share with others in the comments below. We need to encourage one another!

Happy International Day of the Girl!

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Today is International Day of the Girl!

Who is your girl hero?

Go on twitter and tell us and use the hashtag #girlhero.

Also, remember when I wrote about Strong Girl Malala Yousafzai? She just became the youngest person in the world to win a Nobel Peace Prize! Way to go, Malala!

Just listen to her inspirational speech:

What an amazing young woman all girls everywhere, regardless of their religion, can look up to.

There are so many heroic young woman in the United States who deserve a shout out today. Girls who’ve remained firm in their convictions, faith and goals. Be sure to honor them on twitter today with the hash tag: #girlhero.

I happen to be the grandmother of six Strong Girls! And I’m very proud of their determination to be true to who God created them to be. I’m also God-grandma to another little Strong Girl! How blessed I am!

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Trinity, Avery, Maggie, Sonya — 4 of grandma’s strong girls!

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My daughter, Melissa. I’m so proud that she’s a Strong Girl!

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My daughter, Melissa, and my granddaughter, Abbey. Two Strong Girls!

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Strong Girl, Lauren, another one of my beautiful granddaughters!

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My God-granddaughter, Emma Leigh! She’s one tough cookie!

These girls are my heroes today because they will take the Strong Girl message to the next generation.

As Christian Strong Girls, our message isn’t that we’re strong only because we’re girls. We’re strong because of the strength we gain from the Lord. When we’re weakest, God is strongest. We know this because of what Paul wrote to us in 1 Corinthians 12. He had prayed for God to take something away from his life that was causing him some sort of pain. But here is what God told Paul about it:

“Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, NET.

Our Strength comes not from our own power, but from the Lord:

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” Psalm 118:14, NIV.

Don’t forget to tweet about your #girlhero! And let me know in the comments below who you admire as a Strong Girl!

twitter37smallTweet this: Happy International Day of the Girl! #girlhero

Strong Girls aren’t ashamed of their Christianity

Stronggirlslogo2We are living in troubling times as Strong Girls. Which is why now, more than ever before, it’s important to remain strong and firm in our faith.

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Christians throughout the world are dying for believing in Jesus. Maybe you think this will never happen to you, but I’m sure other Christian women and girls in the world thought the same thing.

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Mariam Yehya Ibrahim is one of those women. She was put in prison in her own country (Sudan) for being a Christian and for marrying a Christian. Even though she had her little boy with her in prison, and was also expecting a baby, she refused to renounce her faith.

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All she had to do to get out of prison was tell the prison authorities that she would become a Muslim and deny Jesus as her Savior. She was hungry. She was carrying a child. Her little boy was hungry, too. But she refused to renounce her faith. What a strong woman.

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I wonder — are you that strong? Am I?

Mariam revealed the secret to her strength in a recent interview on Fox News. It wasn’t that she had her own superpowers, but the power of faith: “The situation was difficult but I was sure that God would stand by my side. I relied only on my faith.”

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“When I was in prison I was only thinking about my children and how I was going to give birth. I was most scared of giving birth in prison…I gave birth chained — not cuffs but chains on my legs. I couldn’t even open my legs, so the women had to lift me off the table.”

Meriam Ibrahim with her daughter, who was born in Omdurman women's prison last week

Because of the way she was forced to give birth, her baby girl may never walk.

While you watch the video below, think about what you would do in these circumstances. Someday you may need to take a stand for your faith. As a Strong Girl, you, like Mariam, will need to draw on the strength that comes from faith in God.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” Zechariah 4:6b.

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Tweet This: Is your faith strong enough to be tested?

Strong Girls aren’t Mean Girls part III

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A few weeks ago I wrote to you, dear Strong Girls, about standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

Today I want to share a great Strong Girl story with you.

Last night, in front of thousands of people, Anahi Alvarez gave her Homecoming Queen crown to her friend, Lillian Skinner.

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Lillian, described as sweet and innocent, was targeted by mean girls and told she’d been nominated as Homecoming Queen, which wasn’t true. When her friends, Anahi Alvarez, and Naomi Martinez, who were nominated as Homecoming Queen, found out, they vowed that if they won the crown, they’d give it to Lillian.

Watch the amazing report here:

 

Today, I’m happy to award the first Strong Girl Commendation Award to Strong Girls Anahi Alvarez, Namoi Martinez and Lillian Skinner.

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Do you know a Strong Girl who should receive this award? Let me know and I’ll honor her here.

twitter02smallTweet this: Alvarez, Martinez and Skinner show us what it means to be Strong Girls!

How Strong Girl, Cynthia Koenig, is changing lives

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Strong Girl, Cynthia Koenig

If you’re reading this blog from a home with running water, it only took a simple turn of the wrist to turn on the tap. But many, many women and girls in the world spend hours a day collecting and carrying water. Girls carry water instead of going to school. Women must collect water instead of helping make money to support the family or pursuing an education or career.

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The WaterWheel

With the invention of the WaterWheel, women can get water faster and easier. Instead of carrying Jerry jugs on their heads, they can push twice as much water home. Now Cynthia Koenig spends her days trying to get the WaterWheel to the people who need it most in India.

In 1991, two South Africans invented the Hippo Water Roller for use in Africa. On their website, they offer the following stats:

  • Every day, millions of women and children in developing countries are forced to walk an average 6 km per day, carrying heavy loads of water, typically in heavy 20L (kg) containers balanced on their head.
  • Women worldwide spend 200 million hours each day to collect their families’ water.
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Hippo Water Roller

But Africa’s Hippo Water Roller, won’t work in India because the terrain and needs of Indian women are different. That’s why the WaterWheel invention is so important.

The Wello website states the following about the WaterWheel:

It’s…CONVENIENT.
Women spend over 25% of their time each day collecting water. With the WaterWheel, they can now transport 50L at once – between 3 and 5 times the amount of water possible as compared to traditional methods: this means MORE water in less time!

It’s…HYGIENIC
The WaterWheel’s cap-in-cap design prevents recontamination at the point of use. The single most effective strategy to reduce incidents of diarrheal disease (the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5, according to the WHO)

It’s…HIGH QUALITY.
The WaterWheel is manufactured from high-quality, human-safe plastics. It’s a smart investment: long lasting and is durable enough to handle the roughest terrain.

It’s..AESTHETICALLY PLEASING.
The WaterWheel’s form was inspired by the shape of the traditional matka – both aesthetically pleasing and a clear indication of the WaterWheel’s intended purpose (clean water!).

AND it’s…AFFORDABLE.
In recognition of the fact that the people who need the WaterWheel the most have the least ability to pay for it, we developed an innovative business model that will enable us to offer the WaterWheel at an affordable price. Local manufacturing (in Ahmedabad, India) and CSR partnerships help us keep costs as low as possible.

Strong Girl, Cynthia Koenig, makes the case for the WaterWheel in the video below.

Strong Girls change the world. That’s why it’s important not to remain a victim but to fight hard to be a victor. Someone needs your influence in their life.Ask God to show you what you can do to improve the life of someone else. It’s what your strength is for.

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Tweet this: Someone needs your influence in their life. It’s what your strength is for.

 

Strong girls aren’t mean girls II

Stronggirlslogo2Yesterday I wrote an article for my column about a group of teens who poured bodily fluids on an autistic classmate by tricking him into thinking they were doing the ALS ice bucket challenge. They poured the vile fluid on him from the roof of his garage while recording and posting it to Instagram.

autism-1I can’t watch the video without crying. As a Mom with teen boys with autism, I can’t imagine someone doing that to my sons. I have to wonder — where was the voice of reason in this group of kids? Did no one stop to think about how it would make their autistic peer feel?

 

If just one of them had stopped or refused to participate–would it have given the others a chance to slow down and think about the consequences of their actions?

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Strong girls aren’t mean girls. Strong girls stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. They are strong enough and have the courage enough to go against the flow, to be different, to say no when their heart is telling them something is wrong.

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God’s Word reminds us of the Lord’s call to care for the defenseless. In Leviticus chapter 19, God instructs those with fields and vineyards to leave a portion of the harvest for the poor. There are many scriptures in the Bible that instruct us to help those in need: Leviticus 25:35, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Isaiah 58:6-7, Psalms 41:1-3, Proverbs 11:25, 19:17, 22:9, Matthew 5:42, 6:1-4, 19:21, 25:31-46, Luke 6:38, 11:41, 12:33-34, Acts 20:35, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 12:27-31, 13:1-13, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Galatians 2:10, Ephesians 4:7-12, 1 Timothy 5:16, 6:17-19, Hebrews 13:3, 13:16, James 1:27, 2:2-9, 2:15-16, 1 John 3:17-18.

Psalm 82:3 reminds us to: “Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

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A Strong Girl who is attentive to God’s voice won’t go along with the crowd. She’ll listen for that still small voice above the boisterous noise and giggles of a group of bullies. This power and strength isn’t because the girl is exceptionally strong, but because she has tapped into THE STRENGTH that the Holy Spirit provides.

The Apostle Paul, who wrote about a third of the New Testament, reminded his friends in Corinth of this supernatural strength when he wrote in his letter to them:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” 1 Corinthians 2:1-4.

Paul was a bold guy, but even he was afraid at times. He knew that his preaching was only powerful because of God’s power. If you’re scared to stand up, be yourself, go against the flow–ask God for boldness. I guarantee He will give it to you.

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When I am in a conversation that I feel isn’t right, I pray quietly to myself and listen for God’s voice. “Give me the right words, Lord. I don’t know what to say.” I pray this if I’m being bullied, too. (Yes, grown ups are bullied, too!) God has never failed to help me in those uncomfortable situations.

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Then there are times when I’m with friends and I get that icky feeling inside that what we’re talking about isn’t pleasing to God. If you’re in a situation and you feel that ickiness? It could be the Holy Spirit pricking your heart, warning you to stop before it goes too far.

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Sometimes when people, young and old, are in a crowd, they get caught up in the excitement and rowdiness of those around them. This is called mob mentality. But God has called us to go against the mob. He’s given us the power through His Holy Spirit to do so. All we have to do is listen for His voice and obey.

In summary:

  • Strong Girls aren’t mean girls.
  • Strong Girls go against the flow.
  • Strong Girls defend the defenseless.
  • Strong Girls listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice and obey it.

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        Tweet this: Strong Girls aren’t mean girls.

 

 

Lies Strong Girls refuse to believe

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There are a lot of lies out there. But just because they exist doesn’t mean we have to believe them. From the beginning of time the enemy, Satan, has been lying to women, twisting God’s Words and causing them to doubt Truth.

Here are some lies that flow through today’s culture. Lies you don’t have to believe.

Lies a Strong Girl stands up to and dares to defy:

  1. It doesn’t matter who your friends are.
  2. It doesn’t matter how you dress–fashion is more important than modesty.
  3. It’s okay to talk trash about people behind their backs.
  4. It’s okay to use profanity.
  5. Pretty girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not pretty enough.”
  6. Skinny girls/women are more worthy or “I’m not skinny enough.”
  7. Only girls/women who have a boyfriend are worthy.
  8. Your value is based upon how many friends you have on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram (you get the picture…)
  9. It doesn’t matter what music I listen to or movies I watch.
  10. It doesn’t matter what I post online.
  11. It doesn’t matter what I text.
  12. It’s okay to experiment with sex as long as it’s not intercourse.
  13. You can hate your parents or other family members and friends and still be a Christian.
  14. The most important thing in life is to have fun.
  15. Being sexy is more important than being modest.
  16. Education isn’t important or “I’m not smart enough.”
  17. It doesn’t matter how you earn your money just as long as you have the latest gadget or fad.
  18. You’ll never keep a boyfriend unless you have sex with him.
  19. I’m stuck and the only way out is to do something against what I believe.
  20. I’ll never have a friend I can trust.

Through the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing these lies and what our response should be to them.

What lies have you been told?

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Tweet This: A Strong Girl stands up to lies and defies them.

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I truly want to create a blog that is fun, entertaining and useful. We are all short on time, aren’t we? The last thing we need to do is waste our time reading blogs that we don’t connect with. I deeply desire to connect with you, Dear Reader.

Would you be so kind as to fill out this survey? I’d appreciate it so much! Thanks for your help in making this little ministry on the web the best it can be.

Love,

Karla

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