Start Small, Dream Big – Sparkle, Grades 7-12

Dreem Big

Stories of success and self-determination are often shared throughout social media and the news. These stories can touch your heart or make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Society makes it known that if you’re an “adult” these things can be easily accomplished. But what if you’re a teenager? Can your dreams or ideas become reality? The answer is yes!

You may have recently heard about a young man by the name of Nick D’Aloisio who sold his text-summarizing app to Yahoo in 2013. The app sold for a cool $30 million—and Nick was just seventeen at the time! The British programmer developed his first version of the app when he was just fifteen years old.1

You might say, “Well, if only I were as smart as he is.” Or, “I could never do anything like that.” You might tend to compare yourself to others who are successfully fulfilling their callings; but what if your calling is something easier or different from creating an app for Yahoo? Maybe it is to feed the homeless or make some other difference in the world.

Have you ever thought that the dreams God has placed in your heart might be much easier to accomplish than you think? Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV). The verse doesn’t say that you can do some things; it says all things! God has given you unique talents and abilities. It is up to you to put them to use.

God put it on my heart to share with you the story of my own daughter, Lauren. When she was very young, her father began reading to her every night before bed. I remember one night Lauren asked if she could read back to him. Although she was memorizing the pictures in order to “read” to her father, she was already developing her love of reading.

In the second grade, Lauren’s teacher told her she would “never amount to anything.” She said Lauren would “never read at grade level, and would spend her life in special education classes.”

These words resonated in Lauren’s head and tormented her for a very long time. It wasn’t until Lauren was in the third grade that her self-esteem would tell her differently. The change happened with the help of a loving and devoted teacher whose gift was to teach her students a passion for reading.

I will never forget our first parent-teacher meeting. With tears in her eyes, Lauren told her new teacher what her previous teacher had spoken over her. Ms. Cozine promised Lauren that she would help change her perspective on reading.

Ms. Cozine sat with Lauren at every recess and asked her to read aloud. When Lauren graduated that year, she was above the third-grade reading level, and was never again placed in any school reading program. Ms. Cozine will never know how powerfully God used her to impact Lauren’s life and dreams.

Years later, when Lauren was twelve years old, we took a Disneyland vacation where Lauren saw a street named Adventure Avenue. At that moment, she began dreaming of a story for a book full of adventure and, in her words, “Something for teens to read other than another vampire story.” On the flight home, Lauren wrote the first sixteen pages of her book.

Lauren had a plan, a calling, and a dream. The little girl who never gave up her love for reading turned author; she will be releasing her first book, Adventure Avenue, at the age of sixteen!

Don’t put your dreams in a box. Don’t think you have to wait for a certain age to make them happen. Let them start flourishing now and be used for the kingdom of God and His glory. Start small, and dream big!

Note:

  1. Emine Saner, “Summly Creator Nick D’Aloisio: ‘I Try to Maintain a Level of Humbleness,’” The Guardian, March 29, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/mar/29/summly-creator-nick-daloisio-interview (accessed May 9, 2014).

 

Amazing God, Amazing World-Changers – Glitter, Grades 1st – 6th

Amazing God World Changers

Have you ever looked at the world around you and thought “How can I help?” Maybe it was something you saw or experienced that made you feel compassion. It might have been something God spoke to you through a church service or whispered in your ear. It has become the topic of conversation with your friends and the idea you daydream about and doodle on your homework. It has been woven into your heart and now you have claimed it as your mission in life.

You might not have the exact plan on how it’s going to develop; you just know you will do this one thing…someday. God has destined you to change your world! Webster’s dictionary says change means “to make the future course of something different from what it is or from what it would be if it were left alone.” God has given you a passion for something and wants you to change the world with the gift He has given you.

A good example of this is Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Luke 1:47 Mary’s response to Elizabeth was: “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (NIV). God had given her a special gift to raise and cherish the child who would later transform your life and the entire world – Jesus!

You are also blessed with people around you who believe that you are special and chosen for a big purpose. There are girls all over the world who are making a difference even though they are young, and it’s your turn to rise to the challenge and chase after the vision that God has deposited in you.

I have found just a few examples of young girls who are changing our world right now, some you may have heard of, and some you may not know. All the girls pictured here have something in common: they were your age when they achieved a goal. They saw something or experienced something that planted a seed in their hearts. Then they took action steps and did not wait until they were all grown up to follow their dreams. These girls changed my life just by reading their amazing stories!

I encourage you to first pray and write down your vision or idea. Did you know that Walt Disney, the founder of Disney World, first drew his idea on a napkin, and years later his dream came to life?

Next, share your idea with someone you trust and ask them to help you get started. Build a team and work together. Lots of hard work and sometimes even money was poured into these girls’ dreams, and they all had someone beside them helping get the word out, driving them places, and on and on. Finally, never give up! It might not happen overnight, but if you keep believing, you will achieve all God has planned for you!

Following are examples of girls who are making a difference:

Adele’s Literacy Library

A thirteen-year-old girl from New Jersey who was very passionate about reading, formed a nonprofit in 2008 encouraging youth around the world to read and be empowered. Adele Ann Taylor the Founder/CEO of Adele’s Literacy Library has reached out to thousands of people helping them to grow and develop their reading skills. This organization has donated hundreds of thousands of books to various schools, libraries, daycares, and businesses around the world. Adele has received numerous awards for her efforts. Now in college, she has plans of becoming a corporate attorney. Adelesliteracylibrary.org

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Riley’s Toys

One morning in 2009, four-year-old Riley Hebbard was watching the news with her mother and saw a story of an actor helping children in Sudan. These children were playing with sticks and rocks because they did not own any toys. She asked her mother if she could send them her toys, and started asking other people in her community to help her. She inspired hundreds of people to give money and send toys to the refugee children who had captured her heart. After partnering with World Vision, they have now sent over 23,000 toys and supplies from 10 established donation centers to many African countries. Rileystoys.org

Toys; A Rare and Precious Gift for Orphaned ChildrenToys; A Rare and Precious Gift for Orphaned Children

Katie’s krops

Third-grader Katie Stagliano brought home a cabbage seedling in 2008 that grew to 40 pounds that summer! She knew her cabbage was special and decided to bring it to a local soup kitchen, where she helped serve the cabbage to a line of hungry people. That experience gave her a dream to help end world hunger. She asked her school to let her classmates start a garden, which they agreed to. That is where her dream became a reality. Currently, at the age of fourteen, Katie runs an organization called Katie’s Krops, which has grown just like her dream. She now oversees 49 gardens in 22 states that donate thousands of pounds of fresh produce to local soup kitchens. Katieskrops.org

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Savor the Season

Savor The Season

  You roll over in bed just to get a glance at the red numbers on the alarm clock. Does it really say 6:30 AM already? Inhaling as if you are about to jump into a 25-foot deep pool, you pull yourself out of bed. Just as your feet hit the floor, the reality of […]

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GLAM UP YOUR ROOM And Make It One of a Kind

Glam up your room

Try this fun and easy craft to personalize your room Craft Instructions Step 1:  Gather your materials Purchase a wooden letter that represents your name, and a super cute picture holder. Find printed paper, glue, charms, gem stickers, fabric, or ribbon, silk flowers, and anything and everything you can think of to decorate! Step 2:  […]

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Decorating Walls with Love

Decorating Walls with Love

  My mom taught me many things about keeping my home attractive and clean, but first and foremost, she taught me how to love. Spreading joy and love around your home makes it a cozy nest. Home is where the heart is! It is important to make your home full of you – your loves, […]

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Something’s Brewing

Somethings Brewing

Are you a morning person? Do you need a few cups of coffee before you start your day? The smell of coffee brewing is such an inviting smell to help encounter the day, and the words “coffee’s ready” are like music to the ears! I have always approached the day so much better when I […]

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CUCUMBER SALAD WITH SOUR CREAM AND DILL DRESSING AND PEACH COBBLER RECIPIES

Cucumber Salad

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon) 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish (optional) Coarse salt and ground pepper 4 to 6 cucumbers (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise DIRECTIONS In a mediumbowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice, and dill. Season with salt and pepper, […]

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God’s Gatekeepers: Protecting Divine Health

Gods Gate Keepers

  In our modern world of advanced technology, energy-efficiency, fast food, and labor-saving gadgets galore, it seems that women should enjoy the freedoms of extra time, less stress and increased energy.  In spite of these contemporary conveniences, I sometimes feel like I’m scarcely surviving, much less thriving. Have you experienced similar frustrations? Working many years […]

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Creating a Dream Board

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God wants us to see through His eyes, so sometimes we need to make things even more tangible. Visualize your dreams by developing a dream or inspiration board. You can put it anywhere in your home to view it, change it, and pray over it as you feel inspired. Supplies Needed: 23 x 35 inch […]

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Getting on Board with the Lord’s Vision

  Years ago, in a dream, I was called into an open field where my pastor was standing, wearing a white sailor’s suit and a captain’s hat. Behind him was a huge, white cruise ship. In my amazement, he informed me that everyone was on board and waiting for me so that the ship would […]

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