Tag Archives: middle school girls

I sat cross-legged on my living room floor last night bubbling with joy. Everywhere in front of me sat a beautiful girl or woman with a story. What's so special about that, you might think. Everybody has a tale. (Of course they do.) 

I sat encircled by ladies who have graciously shared tender parts of theirs.   They took their own personal experience, whether it was embarrassing or still even a little painful in some cases, and they laid that experience bare for the world to see. I'm just plain lucky to call them friends, but more than that, I've been personally touched by their willingness to be agents of God's grace in the telling of what He has done in their life to whomever will listen.  

These are the local faces of The Village Girl Handbook. Along with fifteen other fabulous ladies (who live elsewhere), this group has put more than words on pages. Between the lines they're cheering on growing girls by becoming vulnerable and committed to an audience they've never met. 

But I guess that's how life works. There are people who watch our life stories play out and then those who will never know of the things we've overcome, or learned from, unless we tell them. We can do life simply working by the clock, influencing and encouraging those in our peer and familial circle or we can recognize that there's a larger audience who could benefit from a display of God's faithfulness. 

We're mindful of what God has brought us through, what he has taught us, and our intent is to share that very thing in the hopes that it encourages. 

  1. Please pray with us that those who pick up The Village Girl Handbook will feel encouraged and empowered. Pray that they will be reminded that God loves them and is writing a good story even in the midst of struggle or a season that seems directionless or fruitless. 
  2. Please consider your own story and how you might share it with someone who would be encouraged by it. Share this post with someone you know who has a powerful testimony. 
  3. Think about getting a book in the hands of a girl who needs to know more about God's grace. 

A second volume of "The Village Girl Handbook" is now being complied. The deadline for stories is August 11. Each story needs to be around 400-600 words and presents a personal story of struggle during middle or high school that ends in overcoming or perspective. (I've got an outline I can send to anyone interested).  Let me know if you have a story you'd like to share. 

Jesus prayed:

 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them... John 17:26 

Let's follow suit. 

More faces of VGH contributors:


Get The Village Girl Handbook book here

Learn more about it here

Most of you know that I've been working (with about twenty fabulous ladies) on a book for middle school girls. (For more about the book,  Click Here). A lot of heart, and over 40,000 words, have been poured onto pages that are now coming to life. 

Progress has felt slow for the most part. This week, however, has been a blur. Final touches like the acknowledgements and the blurb for the back are getting us one step closer to the book being ready for print. I was so ridiculously excited, writing the acknowledgements, that I could only try not to sound like I was receiving a Golden Globe as I thanked everybody involved in the book. 

I'll share one quick story that illustrates how God is working in big ways, but also in the details. 

I found an amazing app called Fiverr that provides people who make bids on your editing and artwork needs. There are some highly capable, reasonably priced people on this site. 

I was able to work with a lady named Ruxandra from Romania. I detailed five sketches that I wanted for the book interior. Four or five days after I requested the sketches, Rylie mentioned that she'd really like for the girl who will appear in each sketch (the girl who, hopefully, all readers will identify with) to have a high ponytail. 

I told Rylie that it was probably too late to ask for that and I kissed her goodnight. I woke up around three that morning unable to sleep. I prayed for all the hands that are touching, and will be touching the book, asking for God's guidance. 

After a long prayer time I went back to bed and checked my email. Up popped the sketch that will be used for "the girl" in the book. She's got a high ponytail. As minor as that may seem, it was a reminder in the dark that God knows our requests before we ask him. 

Please pray for the book. Pray that I'll be able to get the book properly formatted (the next step which appears to be complicated). Pray that the book will be available in good timing. Pray that girls who could benefit from godly counsel and encouragement will be able to receive a book. 

I don't tell you often enough how much I appreciate your reading my posts. It's an encouragement. Thank you for your relatable  thoughts and kind compliments. 

It would be an honor if you would help me choose the cover for the book.  I'm in the middle of a fun contest right now where artists are designing book cover ideas. I've picked some of my favorites. By clicking on the link below, you can rate the submissions, pick your favorite and leave helpful comments. I'd love to see what you think.  

Vote and pray please! 

Vote for your Favorite Book Cover

And while you're at it (if you haven't), subscribe to get my posts by email. 


Many of you may be aware that I'm working on a book/project for middle school and junior high girls. My high school daughter and I came up with the idea over summer when we decided to rally in support of the youngest in our family who would be entering middle school. We've become Rylie's cheerleading squad.  We've enjoyed encouraging her so much that we decided we want to broaden the "group hug/kumbayah campfire/team huddle". 

The book we've fondly titled "The Village Girl Handbook"  will contain submissions from middle school/junior high "survivors". 

My daughter Hallie has agreed to share an entry she has written for the book on body image. 

The other day I was cleaning my room when I came across an old photograph underneath my bed. I was standing on the beach with my grandpa wearing some baggy jeans and a half smile.

It was taken only three years ago but I could barely recognize myself. The awkward position and frizzy hair I knew all too well, but it was my malnourished body that frightened me.

I don't remember much from middle school. I don't remember much about what I learned or what I got for most Christmases, but I remember my small 89 pound body was never quite small enough. I suffered an eating disorder and major body image issues.

I remember many days where the only thing to reach my lips was a stick of gum and days where I would spend a long time staring at the scale hoping it would change.

Now a few years forward and with a new mindset and perspective, I can see no matter what weight I was I wouldn't have been happy, because the problem was not my body it was my mind.

I thought that skinny=beautiful and although I was skinny, it was never enough. I became obsessed with myself and how I looked and came to hate the person I was.

Now, though it's been only a few years, I am in love with my 30 pound heavier, healthy body and the person I have blossomed into. Once I focused on inner beauty, and all the beauty in the world around me I could finally see myself as beautiful. 

I finally realized I was always beautiful and no matter what size I was I would still be beautiful. The only thing ugly about me was my insecurity.

You are beautiful

No matter what you look like, you are a one of a kind masterpiece who needs nobody's consent to feel beautiful. Your body is a temple, an advance machine and so much more.

Love yourself, you deserve it.

-Hallie 🙂