Coming Undone on FREE KINDLE!

January 31, 2012

February 1 & 2 ONLY!

FREE ON KINDLE!

Staci’s novel:

Coming Undone

“If you’ve ever searched for love, been afraid to love, or lost someone you love, you will love Coming Undone.”

Available as a free download from Amazon!

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Bad Things Happen

January 30, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

Last week I got two of “those” phone calls.  You know, the ones with not just bad news but REALLY BAD NEWS.  Both pieces of really bad news had happened to the loved ones of relatives, not to my immediate family, but both were so severe, I would think about the BAD NEWS every few minutes.

I remember when I was much younger, there was a book that came out called, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”  I never read the book, but I remember the title.  Because I never read it, I can’t tell you what conclusion the author came to.  But over the course of the last five years, here’s what I’ve learned… bad things happen to good people because bad things happen.

Bad things don’t single anyone out.  You could be the Pope and bad things would happen.

It has nothing to do with your goodness or your badness.  This life is simply not designed to be good to you and certainly not good all the time.  We get ill.  We have a minor fender-bender.  We have a bad hair day.  These are the little bad things that happen to all of us.

But the real truth is that the big bad things happen to all of us too.  And if they haven’t happened to you yet, say a prayer of thanks and then one of protection because they are surely coming.

Think about it.  If you know 100 people, what are the chances that when you die all of those 100 are still living?  What if you know 1,000 people?  10,000?

You might think 10,000 is out of the range of possibility, but they have calculated that the average person in the United States will know around 10,000 people in their lifetime.  That’s a lot of chances for something bad to happen!

I remember after my brother-in-law died, my nephew who had been through the death of two uncles said, “Why do these bad things only happen to us?”

They don’t.  Sadly, they don’t.

Bad things and sometimes really bad things happen in this life.  A major car wreck.  A sudden illness that sweeps in and takes a life.  A long illness that is battled sometimes for years before death arrives.  Fires.  Floods.  Hurricanes.  Tornadoes.

And none of us are immune from them.  I don’t care if you go to church every Sunday, sing in the choir, and bring casseroles to the sick.  Bad things are going to happen along the way.  Our good deeds do not give us a pass from bad things happening–anymore than they will get us into Heaven.

So, what then?  What’s the point of doing good, of staying with God, of being a good person?

It’s not to get you into some cosmic “good club” that keeps you from bad things happening.  The point is two-fold.  #1 We learn to cling evermore to God in times of tragedy and strife on this earth.  #2 We learn to bring His light into the darkness that is this world.

Think about it… if there was no darkness, what need would God have had to say, “Let there be light”?   Bad things are the darkness, and it’s still here.  And it still requires God to send the light–His light into it.  Thus, He sent us into the darkness to be His light.  That means we are going to encounter the darkness.

People who don’t understand God.  People who need God.  People who do not necessarily want the light anywhere around, and yes, times of great tragedy and sorrow.

Bad things happen.  When they do, God says once again through us, “Let there be Light.”

*~*~*

Coming Undone

Ben Warren has life all figured out. At 35, he’s successful in his work and free as a bird everywhere else. He has no desire to be tied down like some of his friends, and he sees no reason to change that. Then the unthinkable happens and causes him to rethink everything about everything.

Kathryn Walker can’t figure out what she’s doing wrong in the dating department. The rest of her life makes sense. She’s compassionate, strong, honest, hard-working and still alone. She wonders if she is doomed to spend forever single. Little does she know that fate is taking a major turn in her life. In fact, she doesn’t even see it happening until it has. Can she ever get past the fact that Mr. Right didn’t show up in the way she thought he would?

Click here to see Coming Undone on Kindle!


Testing Your Faith

January 26, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

A long time ago I believed that God sent “tests” to “test our faith.”  As in, if you pass, you get in.  If you don’t, hello darkness and gnashing of teeth!

Then God showed me graciously that I was a bit off on that concept.  His greatest goal is for ALL of us to be with Him, and He’s not standing there with a stick ready to bop us on the head when we get it wrong.  Nor is He looking for a reason to keep us away from Him.  In fact, He knows we are going to mess up.  He knows we are weak and that we are prone to make mistakes.  So He gave us the Ten Commandments and said, “These are the guardrails.  If you go through the guardrails, you will get hurt, and I don’t want that.”

Last time we talked about having “Now faith”–the kind that you don’t hope to have someday, but that you have right NOW!

Well, here’s an interesting concept to attach to that–God does “test” our faith, but it’s not a pass/fail to see if we get in or not kind of test like I used to think.  That kind of test we are BOUND to fail.

In fact, I think it’s the concept of “failure” where we get hung up.

See, I always thought of failure as bad, negative, a huge black stain on my record.  It was something to be avoided at all costs!  And if it did happen, something to be covered up and buried lest anyone else ever see it.

But oh, my Father is so wise.  He doesn’t see failure like that at all.

Take, for example, a bridge-builder.  Now they actually have competitions like this for budding engineers.  In fact, my niece is going to take “Material Engineering” in college this semester.  I asked, “What is material engineering?”  She didn’t know exactly as it hasn’t started yet, so we asked her cousin.  “It’s learning what types of material to use in what you build.”

Okay. That makes sense even though I’ve never really thought about learning something like that.

So, what do you do in this class?  You use different types of material and strengths of material to build a bridge with your group.  It has to withstand a certain amount of weight.  So it’s a lot like those match-stick competitions where you see how much weight your bridge will hold.

You with me?  You know where this is headed?

Well, when you build these bridges for the class or the competition, you do a lot of testing prior to the competition.  After all, you don’t want your prototype bridge to fail with the weight of a marshmallow, right?  You want it to withstand a bucket of wet cement!

But how do you know if it will or not?  Simple.

You test it!

This type of test is different than the type you had in school (though it should actually be similar; however, in too many classrooms the “test” doesn’t determine where you still need work; it determines if you pass or fail the course!).  The idea of “testing” your bridge is that when you test it, you can see where the structure or material is weak and fix it or strengthen it.

Until the competition, you will run hundreds of tests–with different weights at different angles.  Every test gives you information.  Every piece of information tells you if your bridge is strong or weak and how to improve it.

When you first start, you get a lot of failures.  You find a lot of things that don’t work.  But then, as you learn, your bridge holds up more and more weight–it gets stronger and stronger.  Though even now, it will break at times.

In the Book of Job, God allows Job’s faith to be tested.  He allows Satan to do some pretty mean things to Job.  Why?  Because we don’t know how strong or weak our faith is until it’s tested!

This is not a bad or mean thing like I used to think.  It is actually very loving.  Just like a baby walking, we have to learn how to stand, how to take a step, how to balance–and yes, falling (failing) is a part of that process.

So when your faith is being “tested,” just know that God is giving you a chance to see your weak spots and with His help improve upon them so your faith is like a bridge that can span a waterway and stand–no matter what!

*~*~*~*~*

“A match made in Heaven!”

Cowboy

Amazon Top-Rated Christian Romance!

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Now Faith

January 23, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

One of the cool things about being with the Lord and having friends there too is that you don’t have to ferret every lesson out on your own.  And some of the most profound lessons sometimes come during a simple conversation when friends just toss off something they have learned about God.

Now Faith is one of those lessons.

My daughter was on team for a recent retreat, and the Scripture verse was Hebrews 11:1.  It is interesting to me how, when a certain Scripture becomes important to you, you see it everywhere.  And she did.  It got to be hilarious all the way to their song playing on the radio as we drove home after it was over.

If you’re like I used to be, you may now know exactly what Hebrews 11:1 is, so I’ll help you out.

Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen.

Get that?

FAITH is believing even when you don’t see it happening.  It is the EVIDENCE even before something has come to pass.

And that’s the way it’s written most of the time “Faith is…”

But wait.  That’s not what it says.  Go back for a moment:

Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen.

Did you catch that?  It doesn’t say “faith.”  It says, “Now faith.”

As an English teacher I will tell you that something very important is missing if you are trying to express the word “Now” as a reference to a previous comment as in “Therefore”.  A comma is missing.  “Now, faith…”  as in “Now, having said what I just said, I’m going to tell you the next thing.”  I have looked in several translations and there is no comma there.  So that makes “Now” not an adverb but an adjective!

So what, you say.  Staci, that’s all just mumbo jumbo English stuff that no one cares about.  But is it?

“Now faith” as it is written is an expression of Now modifying or changing the word faith.  It’s not “Past faith…”  or “Future faith…”  It is “Now faith…”  In this present moment, right here, right NOW!

“Now faith” means you don’t have to wait for the faith to show up.  It’s here!  Now faith moves you to action because it is your evidence, it shows you that things are coming that you cannot see, but you believe and act as if they are here!

Do you have “Now faith”?  Do you have faith that expresses itself in moving forward even when you don’t see how it will work?  Do you have “Now faith” that give you hope and a future but expresses itself not “then” or “someday” but right NOW?

I challenge you to start using some “Now faith…” today.  This minute.  I truly can change everything about everything!

*~*~*~*

Now available on Kindle and Nook…

The first Bible Study by Staci Stallings

Explore the first Beatitude and learn how life can go from miserable to magnificent!

Click here:

http://stacistallings.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/theirs-is-the-kingdom-bible-study/

to see how!


Getting Burned

January 20, 2012

By Guest Blogger, Lynette Sowell

Few things are worse than being betrayed or let down by someone we love. When they hold our hearts, we’re vulnerable. When they turn and walk away, the pain is almost physical. There aren’t many of us who’ve escaped this type of heart pain. We’ve been burned and might have a few scars to prove it.

The Bible talks about forgiveness. Even when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, forgiveness was one of the essentials that Jesus included. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” You can also substitute the word “debts” for trespasses. Either one works just fine. I think it’s ironic that although Jesus is fully aware of the pain we feel when we’ve been trespassed against, He tells us to pray and ask forgiveness in the same measure that we forgive. Ouch. Really? Quite often it’s easy for us to pray for mercy for ourselves while we ask judgment for someone else who’s hurt us. Maybe that’s why He emphasized our need to ask forgiveness first.

I know that I’ve prayed for certain people who’ve hurt me and crushed my heart in the past. It’s easy to speak the words because I “know” that forgiveness is a gift I must give them. I’ve heard the sayings, that unforgiveness hurts me than it hurts the offender, etc. However, the feelings are still there. How to deal with those, especially when being confronted with that person once again?

I’ve learned that forgiveness is a process that goes beyond my feelings. Once trust is broken, giving someone our trust again comes more slowly. Self-preservation is a very powerful force. “Burn me once, then stay away” is the easiest sentiment to hold. However, how do we know when it’s all right to trust again?

There’s an old song that has the phrase “use your head to guide your heart.” I think that’s a wise saying. I believe if we ask God for discernment that someone who once wronged us is trustworthy, He’ll give it to us. But we must be wise, and be cautious, and give it time.

 

Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of five novels and six novellas for Barbour Publishing. When Lynette’s not writing, she divides her time between editing medical reports and chasing down news stories for the local newspaper. Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained. She loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip.


Waves of Life

January 19, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

I’ve been doing a lot of marketing and thinking about marketing recently, and I stumbled upon a concept that I think translates well in the spiritual and practical life as well.  The concept came from watching “Soul Surfer.”  If you’re not familiar with that movie, it’s the story of the surfer girl who got her arm bitten off in a shark attack.  The story and how she handles the tragedy in her life are inspirational.  But what I was really fascinated by was the surfing.

I can’t imagine doing that.  First off, I would surely drown, but more than that having the balance and strength to ride the waves is unfathomable to me.  In fact, there’s a very short scene in which she is learning to stand on her board after the attack.  She does a sit up and comes all the way to standing.  As someone who could hardly get her shoulders off the ground, that was insane!

As I thought about the movie, I realized a great truth of life.  You cannot ride the waves if you aren’t willing to do some paddling first.  I noticed that a “ride” came in four parts:  paddling, waiting, riding, ending.

First comes the paddling.  You cannot ride the waves if you’re on the shore.  In fact, you can’t even ride the waves if you’re very close to the shore.  In order to catch the waves, you have to be willing to paddle and sometimes paddle a lot.  In life this is called “work.”  The more willing to do the work you are, the more waves you will be able to catch.  In school, this would be called studying.  In life it would be called work.  In money it would be earning and saving and investing.

You don’t become a millionaire by sitting at home.  You don’t get on the A-Honor Roll by taking easy classes and turning in halfway done work late.  It doesn’t work like that.

You have to be willing to do some paddling.

Once you’ve paddled, however, there comes a time when you get to wait.  This is hard because it seems like once you’ve paddled, what you’re working for should happen overnight.  When it doesn’t, I think we get discouraged.  In fact, this is part of where I came up with this lesson.  I had ridden a wave and it was great fun.  But afterward, I realized to catch another wave I would have to paddle again.  And that was a real let-down.  Then I did paddle only to find myself waiting for the next wave.  If you’re not careful, this part of the phase can take you out altogether. Why?

Because waiting is hard.

I’ve been waiting for God to do something awesome with my writing for 16 years.  Every so often it looked like the wave was here, and I would ride it.  But most of them were small waves at most.  Then I’d start all back over, and it was frustrating.

Now, however, I am beginning to see why God had me wait and how the wave He had in mind for me was perfect.

Once that wave shows up in your life, you have to get on it and ride it to the best of your ability.  After watching Soul Surfer, I went on the ‘net and watched other surfers.  They are AMAZING!  Riding waves that are 90-feet?!  Awesome!

Riding the waves requires balance, strength, and a lot of practice.  I wouldn’t recommend trying a 90′ wave on your first time out.  And the same is true in the spiritual world.  Ride the small waves first.  Practice and get good at those.  The bigger waves will come, and if you’ve been practicing, you’ll be ready.

Finally, and this phase is just as frustrating as the waiting phase, the wave dumps you off back at the shore.  Sure it was fun, but now you have to paddle again and wait again.  And if you’re not careful, it’s easy to quit right here.  But don’t quit.  The waves are worth it.

So get your paddle on and go find another wave… life is out there waiting!

—–

Read the first chapter for FREE!

Click here: http://spiritlightworks.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/deep-in-the-heart-chapter-1/


Watching God Work

January 16, 2012

by:  Staci Stallings

Sometimes a little distance from an event can give you great clarity on just how God works in this world.  I’ve found that when He’s working in my life and His work is really visible, it’s hard to pull apart all He’s doing because I’m in the middle of it.  It’s kind of like how on http://www.MapQuest.com, you can pull way out and see most of the world.  Then you keep hitting + and you get closer and closer in to the map until you can see all the street names.  The problem is sometimes the actual area doesn’t really look like it does on the map.

Okay, so there’s a curve there, but you weren’t expecting trees or that hill that obscure your view, nor were you picturing that there would be no sign to the turn you’re supposed to take.

It’s the same way when you’re in the middle of a situation.  You are bombarded with things so close and coming at you so quickly that really, you’re just living, not analyzing.  When, however, you have a bit of distance from a situation, you can often marvel at how God works.

For example, I’ve recently connected with a writer’s group that is going gang-busters.  We help each other out in the rough and tumble world of social networking.  The neatest thing is getting to watch God work–through them, with them, in them, and with each other.  Three times now we have had a book/author who for one reason or another starts climbing the charts.  That’s the cue to go from passive help to active help–getting the word out to as many people as we can as quickly as possible.

But the thing I’ve marveled at the most is simply watching God at work.

I have so enjoyed seeing Him work in how the other authors rally together, in how creative they can be in coming up with ways to help, and in the encouragement they give to one another.  I have also enjoyed watching the astonishment of the authors that others rally around.  They are often quite literally floored that others would be so generous with their time, talents, and resources to help them out even though they will not see a nickel for their efforts.

In fact, it’s almost a glimpse, I think of what Heaven will be like.  Doing things out of love only, not for the gain that will come to us if we do.  Helping out of our fullness not out of our need. That’s so cool.

I love watching God in each of them too.  They are helpful, yes.  But they are fun and joyful.  They know how to lift each other up–through prayer, yes–but also through just being wonderful to each other.  I love watching that example played out over and over again.

The other night, one member posted something about NOT checking sales numbers on Sunday.  (You can get obsessed with checking. ;)  Well, another member happened to see that post and hadn’t checked in awhile so she went and checked.  Come to find out her book was rapidly climbing the charts that minute!  (And she never would have thought to check without the first post!)

She came on and was all excited about her book selling so well.  Instantly about six of us jumped on the band wagon and started tweeting and Facebooking about her book, and sure enough it climbed nearly 4,000 more spots!  Now on her own, even if she saw the climb, she couldn’t have done much.  A few tweets, a Facebook Message.  But with all of us right there, ready to help, many more people now have a great book about God’s love for them.

This is not a perfect system, nor is it science.  We do what we can, following and doing what God leads us to do when He tells us to.  But it is one of the honors of my life just to get to watch Him work through this group.  He really is an AWESOME God!

____________________________

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Peace and have a blessed day!


News From Nashville & Beyond

January 12, 2012

Character Interview with Ashton Raines and Kalin Lane

(Transcribed from a television interview with “The Music Plays… World Tour” featuring opening solo artist Kalin Lane and headliner Ashton Raines, both accompanied by their wives, Beth Raines and Danae Lane.)

NFNB:  First of all, welcome to you all.  Thanks for sitting down with us.

Ashton:  Thank you for having us.

NFNB:  Let’s start with what it’s like to be on a world tour.  What cities?  What are the crowds like?

Kalin:  Well, for me it’s been an absolute dream come true.  I mean, getting invited to be here with Ashton who, let’s face it is the King of Country music right now.  Standing on that stage every night, hearing the fans singing my songs, cheering, in all these different countries…. it’s truly amazing.

Ashton:  I have to agree.  I stand down there as Kalin’s playing, and there’s just this incredible energy that sweeps through the whole place, no matter if we’re playing for 20,000 or 60,000.  To hear those fans, to get to connect with them.  It’s what I came here to do, it’s why I started singing in the first place, and to get to do it night after night has been such a blessing.

NFNB:  How’s it been working together?  The two of you play country music, but it’s really not quite the same kind of country.

Ashton (laughing): Yeah. I could never pull off the hair!  (Reaches over and ruffles Kalin’s famously stringy blond mane then shrugs.)  But it works, you know?  I play the more traditional stuff, Kalin rocks the house, it works.

Kalin:  I have to agree. I think it has really come together because we’re not two performers who happen to get on the same stage every night.  We really understand each other and respect each other for what life has thrown at us and the hard knocks it’s taken us to be able to play from the heart so to speak.  So it doesn’t matter that he plays the acoustic and piano, and I’ve got more electric and keyboards to my style of music because I think deep down we both really see that we’re doing what we love to do, making the kind of music we love to make.  When you do that, somehow the synthesis of what comes out of it just works even if on the outside it doesn’t look like it should.

NFNB:  You mentioned what life has thrown at you.  Would you call the road to get here bumpy or smooth?

(Ashton looks to Beth who smiles back, and Kalin grins at Danae who brushes her brown locks from her forehead and shakes her head with a soft laugh.)

All:  Bumpy.

(Laughter)

Ashton:  Definitely bumpy.  (Beth nods, her eyes filled with respect and love as she looks at her husband, and the two of them share a moment.  When he turns back to the camera, Ashton seems to drift into another world.)  After my first wife died of cancer, there was a long stretch in there that honestly I didn’t even want to be here.  I mean here as in making music here, but even here as in on the planet.  Then one night I wound up in this little diner in the middle of nowhere (He looks over to Beth.)  And an angel from Heaven pulled me back and gave me a reason to keep on living.  (As if no one else is watching, he leans over and kisses.)  Thank you, babe (he whispers so the camera barely catches the words. Then he turns back.)  To be real honest, I’m not even sure I’d be here without her.

NFNB:  So Beth, what was it like?  I mean, he is Ashton Raines.  It’s like every girl’s dream to have the king of music to walk in and sweep you off your feet.  That must have been surreal.

(They glance at each other.)

Beth:  Well, to be honest with you, I didn’t even know who he was that night.

NFNB:  You didn’t?

Beth:  No, really I didn’t. It’s a long story, but let’s just say I fell in love with a man, not a music star.

NFNB:  Okay.  Well… (Turning to the other couple.) Kalin, you also said bumpy.  Now we know a little about your career’s early fits and starts what with having to go back to your home country the first time around.  What was that like?

Kalin:  Rough.  Really, really rough.  To be honest with you, that first time I let the fame and the money and the adulation of all the people around me go straight to my head.  I fell in with a lifestyle I thought was great at first, but it caught up with me real fast.  When I lost everything–the dream, my meal ticket in Nashville and almost my life–I thought it was all over, you know?  Back then, there was no way I could have seen the amazing grace God was waiting to give me and the joy and the mercy and the grace He gives me every day now.  Getting to be here now, like this, with the Raines family, and my beautiful wife. (He turns to Danae and smiles.  She smiles back.)  I’m telling you it’s more than a dream come true.  In fact, it’s the reason I sing “Lucky” every night out there on stage.

That line about, “And it’s not fate, it’s not luck, it’s a gift from God above, that I found you, you found me, and we found love”?  Those aren’t just nice, pretty words. I really believe that, you know?  Because if it was not for God and the love of this wonderful, strong woman sitting next to me, I can almost guarantee I would not be sitting here today.  It’s more grace and love than I’ve ever deserved or imagined, I’ll tell you that.

NFNB:  Well, it’s almost time to wrap this up.  Closing thoughts, anyone?

Ashton:  The tour’s been amazing.  The fans, the cities, the experiences.  All out amazing.

Kalin:  Come out and see the show!

NFNB:  That’s it for now from News from Nashville & Beyond.  Now back to you in the studio.

 

Read more about Ashton and Beth’s story in “Cowboy” Book 1 of The Harmony Series by Staci Stallings…. Click here:  http://stacistallings.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/cowboy/

Kalin and Danae are featured in “Lucky” — Book 2 of the Harmony Series. Click here: http://stacistallings.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/lucky/

Look for The Harmony Series by Staci Stallings on Kindle and Nook!


The Problem with “Pro-Authority” Kids

January 9, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

The other day I was reading something on the Internet about kids.  It was talking about kids who get into a lot of trouble.  The author defined kids in two broad, general categories:  pro-authority kids and anti-authority kids.  Then he said that anti-authority kids make up 75% of kids and pro-authority kids make up %25.

Now I don’t know where he got his numbers or if this was scientific in any way, shape, or form.  I also know that some “anti-authority” kids probably got nurtured into that disposition.

The author spent all of one sentence on the pro-authority kids, two if you count their percentage and then used the rest of the article to describe what you should do with an anti-authority kid.  That’s okay as far as it goes.  I mean, if you are dealing with anti-authority kids, you probably need the help and guidance.  But here’s something most people don’t realize–pro-authority kids can be at as much emotional risk as anti-authority kids.  It’s just different and much harder to detect.

To define our terms a bit more, anti-authority kids are those who push the limits, get on your nerves, or become out-right dangerous.  These kids might be doing little stuff like lying and missing curfew frequently, or they might be all the way into drugs and gangs.  Either way, their MO is testing authority and trying to either get around it or go through it.

So you see why these kids might have some issues and why they take up a lot of our attention.

But here’s the thing:  Because we are so focused on trying to “save” or “control” the anti-authority crowd, we often neglect to see the blows pro-authority kids are withstanding on a sometimes daily basis.

Pro-authority kids are those kids who want to do things right.  Sure, they might mess up once in awhile, but basically they are good kids who try really hard.  They often make good grades, study hard, join and run clubs, hold school and church offices, sing in the choir, play in the band, are team captain, or form the youth leadership crowd.  They are sincere in their efforts to help others, to make sure life is as easy as possible, and they do it all with one purpose in mind–to make those in authority happy.

And we are.  Most of the time, we are pleased as punch that at least Karen will sit still in the classroom.  After all, the others can’t. We don’t have to worry about her staying out too late either because even for curfew she’s ten minutes early.  Yet, what we often don’t see is the incredible pressure she’s putting on herself and her desperate need for someone to notice her and love her for who she is not for what she’s doing.

To her, love is conditional on if she is good, and that’s incredibly dangerous to emotional well-being.

My kids are all three pro-authority.  (Though they have their moments!)  I’ve noticed a few things about them that I remember for myself from being in school.

One of the worst things you can do to a pro-authority kid is say they are not trying.  That will put a sword through their heart.  It collapses their will to try and even to accept a few failures.  When you begin to expect perfection, the pressure on them increases.  This can even happen if one of them normally gets A’s and you stop being excited and start taking those A’s for granted.  (I know that’s hard to do!)  This gets translated into, “Well, if they don’t care now and I’m breaking my back to study.  What would they think if I got a B?!”  And they want your admiration so much, they will go to great–sometimes unhealthy–lengths to not let you down.

Another killer for a pro-authority child is when “the class” gets into trouble.  Everyone is talking while this child is doing their work.  But because everyone is talking and the teacher gets frustrated, then everyone is punished.  Please, if you’re in authority, try not to punish the kids who are getting it right.  You don’t have to single them out as in, “Look, Johnny is sitting quietly, why can’t the rest of you?”  Just don’t rely on All-or-None punishments.  They teach pro-authority kids that no matter what they do, they get into trouble.  And it’s a very quick trip from there to learned helplessness.

Punish the kids who are doing it wrong, but try hard not to punish those who are getting it right.  At the very least set up some system of acknowledging the work and effort they are putting in to getting it right.

Always be ready with praise when your pro-authority kid gets something right and loving and safe when they get something wrong.  No one is perfect, and pro-authority kids are going to slip up.  Just don’t set up the paradigm in their head that if they ever mess up, they are worthless because pro-authority kids will go to extreme measures (that you might not even be aware of) to make you happy.

They are fragile–though they might look quite strong.  Treat them that way.

Finally, you as the authority (parent or teacher) need to work to help them understand what unconditional love is–that they are loved for who they are, not what they do.  The more you can teach them this, the less prone they are to pressurize every situation that arises.  It helps their spirit to relax and enjoy rather than panic over if they are going to get everything right.  If you can ever do this, pro-authority kids will become amazing, bright, caring, and happy people who will truly be the great leaders of tomorrow.


Celebrating Winter

January 9, 2012

By:  Staci Stallings

Winter is not my favorite time of year.  Let’s just get that out there straight away.  I don’t like to be cold, and I’m cold a lot.  Winter makes that worse because it’s cold outside, and the floors get cold, and keeping the house warm can sometimes be a challenge when Northerns decide to blow in.

But I learned something interesting about winter the other day from my son.  Being the inquisitive, energetic little kid he is, Christmas break was just impossible to handle without doing something!  So he came in here and wanted to know if he could go mow the grass.

I know what you’re thinking.  Trust me. I know. I have weird kids.

I told him, “No.”

In minutes he was back.  “But, Mom.  It’s looks terrible.”  And the face he makes with terrible is just priceless.

“No.  It’s too cold.”

“I’ll wear my coat.”

“The grass doesn’t need cut.  It’s not even growing right now.”

“But it looks terrible.”  (Other than it being yellow and covered with leaves, it really doesn’t look that bad!)

“No.  Not today.”

I think he waited about five minutes.

“Mom, please!  I want to mow! PLEASE!’

Now if Dennis was still here, he would have hired the kid, flown him to Iowa, and put him right to work.  More than that, he would never have believed that anybody liked to mow so much that they would want to go out in the winter to do so!

However, I could see that my son was not going to let this go without a very good reason.  So I told him…

“Look, the grass is sleeping right now.  It’s hibernating.  If you go out there now and whack the heads off the grass, it will really hurt it.”

“Why?  What’s different about now?”

“Well, you see, grass is kind of like us.  In the summertime when it’s growing, it’s working on growing, and so to trim some off the top just tells it to grow some more.  But right now, it’s sleeping.  If it’s sleeping, it’s resting, and it needs its rest.  If you chop it off, you’re going to tell it that it’s time to grow, not to sleep, and that will make it really tired because it needs this time to rest.”

“Oh.”  Apparently that satisfied him because he didn’t ask about mowing the lawn again.

The cool thing is, I never really thought about it like that.  We are kind of like the grass although we fight it something fierce.  As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything.  A time to grow and a time to sleep.  A time to cut and a time to let it lay fallow.  A time to run and a time to rest.  Okay.  That’s a paraphrase, but the concept holds.

I think too often we’ve got the growing, cutting, and running thing down.  We run and we do and we work and we run some more.  What we don’t have as good of a handle on is the resting part of that equation.  Look at the sleep studies they’ve done.  We are stressed out because we’re trying to have spring and summer growth time all the time.  Morning, noon, night, 3 AM. 24/7, 365 days a year, and Leap Year is just a good day for catching up.

It doesn’t work like that.  Or at least it doesn’t work well.  We are like the grass.  We need the winter to just… chill.

So schedule some “wintertime” in your day.  A block of time to just breathe and be and relax and rest.

If God designed that time for the grass, don’t you think He planned as much for us as well?

__________

BRAND NEW from Staci Stallings!

The first in the “Living in the Light Series.”

THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM

A heartfelt look at the first Beatitude.  God meant for life to be more than running and striving after things in this world.  See His ultimate plan for you!

Available on Kindle & Nook!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Theirs-Kingdom-Living-Light-ebook/dp/B006LAOBXU/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1325694830&sr=8-17

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/theirs-is-the-kingdom-staci-stallings/1107959417?ean=2940013840461&itm=3&usri=staci+stallings


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