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Post for teens: Sharing pictures – preventing regrets

Olivia giggled as she looked at the picture she’d just taken of herself. This was a photo that just had to go on Snapchat. Maybe it was a bit crazy, and she certainly hoped some of the other people at school wouldn’t see it, but sure it would only be there for a little while and then it would disappear. The only ones who would see it would be her friends.

The next morning, a group of boys clustering at the back of the classroom looked up and elbowed each other as she came through the door. As they laughed, she could see they were gathered around a phone which had a picture on the screen. A picture which looked suspiciously like the one she had snapchatted last night. Her heart sunk to her toes. She felt sick. She’d known Zara had taken a screenshot, but she really didn’t think she’d send it to other people. Now everyone would see it! And that photo would be around forever…READ MORE

Immigrants, racism, and our attitude

Racism is a hot topic these days! Never a week goes past that we don’t hear or read of some racially-motivated attack or discrimination. It happens not only across the world, but locally as well.

In recent times, our world has become a smaller place. Advances in aviation mean that we can now travel colossal distances across the world in one 17.5-hour flight. The internet has opened our eyes and introduced us to people, places and cultures that, thirty years ago, we could only observe by reading National Geographic. We know more about each other, cultures have much more in common than they used to have, yet it seems that the cohabitation of different ethnic groups is fraught with as much tension as ever, if not more.READ MORE

Post for teens – Sharing secrets: when people let you down

It was so exciting! Kelsey was just bursting to tell someone – she couldn’t keep it to herself any longer. She turned to her best friend and enthusiastically whispered the secret. At lunch, a girl Kelsey hardly knew walked up to her, a smug smile on her face. “So what’s this interesting news I hear?!” Kelsey’s mouth fell open. There was only one way the girl could have known. Her best friend had actually betrayed her!

Hands up if something like this has ever happened to you. Yes, I thought so! Me too! Maybe you’d found out something and you were dying to share it – some interesting piece of information. Perhaps you were feeling sad or confused and wanted to talk about your problems. Or maybe you just really liked someone and wanted to gush about them. But then you picked the wrong person to confide in.READ MORE

My top 5 tips for storywriting

I didn’t overly enjoy English class at school. Instead, I trudged my way through comprehensions, various books I’d never have chosen to read and everything else in the syllabus that I’ve long since forgotten. But when it came to creative writing, I was in my element. From a story at primary school about riding with Santa in his sleigh, to my all-time favourite piece of GCSE coursework – a story about an Irish girl named Bridget who emigrated to America during the potato famine – writing stories was something I always loved to do, both inside and outside of school.

I’m no expert. The more I write, the more I’m painfully aware of how much improvement there could be. I have, however, learned a few things from experience over the past few years, which I’m happy to share.READ MORE

Everlasting love

I have loved thee with an everlasting love… (Jeremiah 31:3)

Love. If any word was ever overused, yet undervalued, it’s this one. We use it to speak about people, places, objects or food, and then, when we want to express our truest, deepest sort of love, we find we need to add more words.READ MORE

Book review – Sergei by Sergei Kourdakov

Sergei, an autobiography by Sergei Kourdakov, is a book that I read multiple times as a teenager. Sergei was a police squad leader whose job was to break up secret meetings of Christians, usually in a most violent way. As a young believer, close in age to some of the persecuted young people mentioned, this book left a massive impression on me, along with a fascination for Russia, her people and captivating history.

With Russia’s name once more popping up more frequently in the news, I decided to re-read this unforgettable true story. Published firstly in 1973 as Sergei, then in other editions as The Persecutor, and Forgive Me, Natasha, this is the life story of Sergei Kourdakov.READ MORE

What Age is the Search for Truth Series suitable for?

I’m told it’s a challenge finding appropriate books for children and young people and I often get asked what age the Search for Truth Series is suitable for. When the idea of writing a fiction novel first began to drift into my thoughts, the age group was one of the first things that I considered. As a child, I had a variety of good, wholesome books to read, and when I got older I was introduced to adult Christian fiction written by authors such as Janette Oke and Lori Wick. My younger brothers, however, had very few options. As teenagers, their Sunday school prizes were generally biographies of great preachers – worthwhile, but not light reading, in many cases. And apparently things haven’t changed very much since then. So, with that in mind, I decided to write for teens, making sure that it was something boys would want to read, though not excluding girls.READ MORE

When God Waits

Waiting. We all know what it’s like, whether simply standing in a queue in a supermarket, or waiting for a phone call, the bride’s arrival at a wedding, results of a medical test, acceptance to a school or job… On most occasions, we know that our waiting will, sooner or later, come to an end. Other times, we don’t know if what we’re waiting for will ever come to pass. We pray, crying to God day after day, but nothing happens. We don’t understand the delay. Wouldn’t what we’re praying for help us to live better lives for God?
A bigger house would mean we could serve others in a much fuller way.
Surely it would be easier to do certain things for God if I was married.
A miraculous cure to this chronic illness would show how great God is.

Book review – Where we Belong by Lynn Austin

What kind of fiction novel appeals to you? I prefer something a little out of the ordinary, something in an unusual setting, whether in era, culture, country or occupation, than what tends to dominate the bookshop shelves. For this reason, I read romances set in Victorian times pretty sparingly – there’s only so much swooning over tall, dark, handsome gentlemen that I can take! Where We Belong, however, while it is set in Victorian times and contains some romance (although not the main theme of the story by any means), is full of those added elements that make me feel that I’ve not simply been entertained, but actually educated.