ATB: How to say no

Bonjour, mes amis! (That’s French for “Hello my friends.” I figured my introductions were getting boring, so I decided to switch it up a bit.) This installment of ATB was inspired by your comments. I’ll be responding to the question “What should we do if our friends ask us to something that is not right? How can we handle it with kindness?”

Whew, that’s tough. I totally get where you’re coming from, though. It’s hard to do what’s right in situations where you feel like you might lose a friend if you do. I’ve never been in a situation where a friend asked me to do something flat out wrong, but I can totally imagine what it’s like. I have to confess, off the top of my head, I can’t think of any Bible verses or stories. Let me go Google it……

Alright, I’m back. To address the first part of the question, if your friend asks you to do something you know isn’t right, say no. It sounds too simple, but that’s really it. James 4:17 says, “Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” Now, onto the second part. This one, I do have several Bible verses for. But to start off, I think the best way to say no and handle the situation is to say something like this: “You know, I really don’t think that God would want us to do (insert thing that is not right).” If you can think of a Bible verse, share it with them. The only thing that’s tricky is that people tend to get mad when others tell them what they’re doing is wrong. They may accuse you of thinking that you’re better than them or that you’re a goody two-shoes. They may say that you are not friends anymore and exclude you because you called them out. But take heart! Jesus says in Luke 6:22, “What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.” Jesus is saying, “Look, not all people are going to like you. Some might even hate you. But when they make fun of you, remember that God sees. Jesus also said, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops. “ (Matthew 10:27) God wants us to tell the truth that we hear in safe places, like church or from your parents or teachers, whenever we can. That includes the times when it’s hard to stand up to your friends. And if after you’ve done that, if they still won’t listen, go tell a adult that can handle the situation. You’re not a tattletale, you’re actually helping your friend. It’s also super important to tell your friend the truth with a big ole’ bucketful of love. No one wants to be told they’re wrong, but it won’t help your cause if you tell them that you’re wrong just to tell them that they’re wrong. You should be telling them that they’re wrong because you love them, and want to help them.

Hope this helps,

Bright Eyes’


ATB: as it is in heaven

Hey, everybody! This week on ATB, we’re talking about the Lord’s Prayer. I just wanted to remind you guys that we love to hear what you have to say, so please comment! And, please, please, please, if you have any questions related to God and the Bible, write them down below in the comments. (If you’re question hasn’t been answered yet, don’t worry, we’ll get to all of them.) Now, here we go.  Prayer is important in our lives because it’s how we connect with God. We talk to Him, and He responds. In Matthew 6:19 (also known as the Lord’s Prayer), Jesus says: ” This then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed (holy) be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, (sins) as we forgive our debtors (people who have done wrong to us). And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'” (words in parentheses are mine) Essentially, this is Jesus giving us a rough outline of how to pray. Let’s break it down, bit by bit.  When Jesus is saying “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed by your name” , he’s saying that we first need to address that God is above us. He’s in heaven, we’re on earth. Next, we need to address that God is good and holy, even though we’re not. The next part is “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” By saying this, we’re committing to let God control our lives, and asking Him to make earth look like heaven by using us to transform it. “Give us today our daily bread.” Give us what we need for today. It’s also interesting to point out that by saying “Give us what we need for today”, we’re also saying “I’m focusing on today, and not worrying about tomorrow.” It’s also sometimes referred to as “living by faith”. We live believing that God loves us, so He’ll provide for our daily needs; and when we’re trusting God today, we don’t have time to worry about tomorrow. Then Jesus says, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” This one’s pretty simple: God forgave us for how we sinned against him, so in that same spirit, we forgive the people that hurt us. (If you want to read more about that, check out the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18:21-35 sometime) “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” Here, we’re saying, “God, don’t let me be tempted. Please keep my thoughts on you, and protect me from the devil.”

Tim Mackie said something like this in his podcast episode titled “The Lord’s Prayer”, “The Lord’s prayer is special because it was Jesus’ personal prayer. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed ‘Not my will, but Your will”, which sounds suspiciously similar to the Lord’s prayer. Jesus gave us His prayer to pray.” Isn’t it crazy to think that when we pray the Lord’s prayer, we’re praying the same thing as Jesus did? But, we can also think of it as a guideline like I mentioned before. For me, making the Lord’s prayer my own usually sounds like this: “Hey, Jesus. Thanks for being so good. I can’t believe you loved me enough to die on the cross for me. It must have been so painful and humiliating. Thank you for another day, and the sunshine, and my family. Today is your day, God, and I want to do what you want me to do. (Here, I usually insert a mental list of things I can do to bless the people around me) Will you give me the strength I need for today? I know I’m not strong enough (to be everything you’re asking me to be, I give up, I’m not strong enough. That Matthew West song plays in my head EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.) to do what you’ve made me to do, and I really need you to be with me.  Will you forgive me for what I’ve done, and help me to extend grace to the people who wrong me? Also, can you guard my thoughts and my heart from attacks from the devil? I’m not strong enough to do that either. Um, thanks again for all the stuff you do for me, and can you please help my chickens to get along better, and….” You get the gist of it. Honestly, when I’m looking back on that prayer, the praise part seems kinda small in comparison to the asking section. But that’s when I remember what Mike Donehey said in his book, Finding God’s Life for My Will, ” I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t go to God only when you need something, but I think I’m starting to disagree. Is it even possible to approach God without needing something? When do we not need something of Him? Let me try to unpack that, because you might argue that we must first come with adoration and thanksgiving. Question: Isn’t gratitude the need to direct out attention to the one who is worthy of it? What is adoration except our need to be free from slavery of self so we can revel in the limitless glory of God? If He gives us life, breath, and all things, isn’t need the only thing we bring to Him? If we think we go to God with more than need, aren’t we bringing too much?” In the end, that’s what prayer is all about. We bring our needs, wants, gratitude and sin to God, and we wrestle with it in prayer. We come to Him openly with us and our needs, and we give Him permission to come and change our hearts. Prayer, according to the Bible,  doesn’t have to be long, or fancy, or jam packed with every thing that God has ever given us. It’s a conversation, and it works best when we stop pretending and start to be honest with God and ourselves. Prayer is where we stop to intentionally look for God, and prayer is where we’ll find Him.

Have a wonderful week,

Bright Eyes

ATB: Book Choices

Question:  I am an advanced reader, but I want to honor the Lord in all that I read and I find that some of the more advanced books have things in them that are not yet appropriate for me.  We know you are an advanced reader.  How do you choose books carefully?  Do you have recommendations?


ATB Answer:

That is a great question because we have had the exact same problem with reading more advanced books. Hopefully what we have learned will help others.
Tip 1. Read the back cover of the book of the book. You can usually tell a lot about what the book is going to be like from the back cover.
Tip 2. Have your mom flip through the book and check it out.
Tip 3. Read reviews for the book online or even the author. Two great places to look are Plugged In and Common Sense Media. They don’t always have certain books so sometimes we just look up Christian book review for the book online.
Tip 4. If you are reading and you come across something that you don’t think is right or the Spirit convicts you about, close the book and return it. Don’t keep reading. There are so many books we have never finished because of the content.
Tip 5. To the parent, be willing to have a conversation with your kid about the/a book that they’ve recently read. Sometimes as kids, to really process things, we need to talk them out.
Tip 6. If there’s a book that you want to read that you’re worried might have something off in it, read it along with your mom or dad.
Here are some books I have read and recommend:
*The Making of America Series by Teri Kanefield
*The Mandy Series by Louis Gladys Leppard
*The Thing About Leftovers by C.C. Payne(if the readers family doesn’t want their child reading about a character with divorced and remarried parents, this probably isn’t the book for them. Mind you, it doesn’t glorify it, it’s actually about the girl’s struggle with her parents divorce, but still)
*The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
*Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
*the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
*the Phantom Tollbooth
*Color Me Dark by Patricia McKissack
*Loot by Jude Watson
*On Stage Please by Veronica Tennant
*Wonder by R.J. Pelocio
*Girls Who Rocked the World by McCann and Welden
*Finding God’s Life for my Will by Mike Donehey
Hopefully these help!  If you have other excellent recommendations, leave a comment!

about me.

Hullo, friends! I’m an eighth grade girl who goes by the blog name Bright Eyes. I love sunshine, reading historical fiction and biographies, and attending my church youth group. I’ve been blogging since 2nd grade, and I still thoroughly enjoy it! I’m a plant mama of 9, and a sold-out Jesus fanatic. If it’s any kind of art project, you’ll find me doing it: painting, sketching, friendship bracelet making, macrame, and diying. I have a fondness for anything and everything fall, and I detest math of any kind. (other than algebra) I love music, and my favorite artists are Tenth Avenue North, TobyMac, and For King & Country. I truly believe that Mediterranean food is the best, and one day I hope to visit Israel and Australia. Peace out,

Bright Eyes

ATB: Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching

Hey everybody, I’m so sorry for this ATB being out late! This past week has been super busy.

This week I’ll be talking about something that you guys suggested: what do we do when we feel jealous of another family that has more money than ours does? Just to start off, I want to share a verse with you guys. It’s the beginning of  1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Here’s the whole verse in a different translation:”But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.” Whoa, right? According the Bible loving money is a serious sin. Apparently, it actually leads to other sins!

But you might be thinking, “What does this have to do with the question? It was about money, but nobody said anything about loving money!” Let me clarify: I shared that verse because I think it reflects God’s view of money. Is money in and of itself bad? No, of course not. But putting money over everything IS wrong.

Now, back to the question. I totally get seeing people around you with more money, and nicer clothes, and books, and a nicer car, and a bedroom they don’t share with their siblings and being like, ” I really wish my family had the money for all of that stuff.” But that’s the thing, those things are just stuff. They hold no eternal value, which means, in heaven none of it’s going to matter. The Bible says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6: 19-21)

Let’s break that verse down. Jesus is saying, “Don’t spend lots of time and money getting stuff here on earth as your treasure. If all of it is here, who says that it won’t mold, or be stolen? Spend lots of money and time on things that will last. Give to people who are in need. Spend time with God and the people you love. These are the treasures of heaven. ” And then he tells us that where are treasures are, the things we get spend our lives on, that is where our hearts will be. I don’t know about you, but I want my treasures to be in heaven, with Jesus, where I can enjoy them forever. I don’t want them to be here on earth, which is going to end one day.

So, I bet you’re wondering how this applies to the question. I’ll let you in on my secret to being content with what I have. Come a little closer, I don’t want anyone else to hear. Okay, this is it: God’s given me what He’s given me. In comparison to most of the population, I have it really, really good.

And, get ready for the next part: The things that really matter in life, I’m very rich in. I’m learning to invest my time on knowing God, blessing the people around me, and using the talents He’s given me to do things I love. And so, I can tell you with confidence, that the money doesn’t matter. That kid’s super expensive sneakers that he’s bragging about don’t matter. The most beautiful, fulfilling things in life are free. So, in this coming week, I’m challenging myself (and you) to store up my treasures in heaven. 

See you on the flip side,

Bright Eyes

ATB: Anxiety

Hello, all! This my first ATB article, so I’d love it if you’d comment below and tell me what you thought about it.

So, first of all, I want to clarify what I mean by anxiety. For me, anxiety is worrying about future events. It can be how I’m going to pay for college five years from now, or if I’ve studied enough for my history test.  I also think that anxiety and stress go hand in hand. If anxiety is worrying about things, stress is the feeling produced when we’re overwhelmed.

Okay. Now that we’ve got that down, let me tell you a little about what I have anxiety about. It’s mostly the future. I’m in eighth grade, which means that next year my grades will count toward a scholarship for college, which puts a lot of pressure on me to work hard in my studies. I also need to get a job in the next year or so, to start saving up for a car and college, of course! Ugh, I’m feeling anxious just writing about it.

But, according to the Bible, (see what I did there) there’s no need for worrying. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your heart and mine as you live in Jesus Christ.” Philippians: 4:6-7

Did you catch the beginning of that? Don’t worry about ANYTHING.  Anything. The standardized tests? Don’t worry. College? Don’t worry. Your friend who has the flu? Nope. Don’t worry. But there’s another part too. “Instead, pray about everything.” God isn’t saying, “You just need to forget about it.” No, we’re instructed to pray about it! I know when I pray about what’s worrying me, it’s like taking a deep, calming breath.

We’re also reminded to be honest with God about the things we need, and to thank him for all he’s done. That’s really important for me, because when I’m worried, I get tunnel vision. I only think about that one circumstance and not about how God has moved in other parts of my life. That’s when we can receive God’s peace which usually doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You know that other people would be freaking out, but God just lets you have peace about whatever was worrying you. It guards your heart and mind from anxiety as you live in relationship with Jesus.

Another part of the Bible that I LOVE, is Luke 12:22-26. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” 

Jesus was telling his disciples, “Why are you so worried? Do you doubt that God is in control of your life, and that he can handle anything? The God who cares for you takes care of the ravens. He feeds them, clothes them, protects them, and he loves you so much more. So if he’s taking care of you, and you truly believe that he is, why are you worrying? You can’t add time to your life by worrying, so stop!”

And that’s what it all comes down to. When we worry about future jobs, and sick relatives, and hard tests, and strained friendships, we tend to leave God out of the equation. According to the Bible, that’s the opposite of what we’re supposed to do. To let go of worry, we need to bring our circumstances to God, believing that he hears, he cares and he is in control. If God’s in control, you and I don’t need to stress. He’s a good God, who loves us and is capable of taking care of us.

No more fear, no more worry. He’s in control of it all. When we bring these things to him, he’s faithful to give us peace. True peace. The peace that comes from knowing that even when we face stress-inducing things, they don’t worry him.

“What then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?.” Romans 8:31


Bright Eyes

Announcement: ATB

Hey guys!

I just wanted to let you know that Farm Girl and I are starting a new “series” of blog posts called ATB, According to the Bible. Farm Girls and I will alternate writing posts. We’re going to be talking about parts of the Bible that we apply to our every day lives. We’d really love it if you would comment with suggestions of topics to write about! Our next post will be written by me, and it will probably be out sometime next week.

See you then,

Bright Eyes

The Sweet Young Ones

Oh, the sweet young ones,

The splash and sing and twirl ones

The bossy little girl ones,

The big smiles ones,

The crazy styles ones,

Oh, the sweet young ones,

The having lots of fun ones,

The no worries ones,

The no hurries ones,

The just-one-more-stories ones

Oh, the sweet young ones

The cry on your lap ones,

The “You need a nap ones”,

The dance and laugh ones,

The “Let’s do a craft ones”,

Oh, the sweet young ones

The Heavenly Father loves you, young ones,

He’s holding you right now,

Jesus loves you more than we ever could, sweet ones

He loves your tears and your fears, young ones

To Him, your story’s just begun,

Oh, young, sweet ones, know that you are precious and loved.


God’s Presence

Hi again!

Today I heard a song that gave me chills. Have you ever had that happen? Well the song I was listening to is called “Jesus in Disguise” by Brandon Heath. The whole song is about how we probably all have been in God’s presence before, but we may have not recognized it.

The song goes like this: Ever get something in your head/It’s nothing you heard, or something you’ve read/Ever had a cut, but you never saw a blade/Brought to your knees, but you never prayed/Jesus in disguise/Jehovah passing by/The burden of a tear/ Hanging in your eye/ Jesus in disguise/A scar across the sky/ You were looking for a king/You would never recognize/Jesus in disguise/ Ever feel like you’ve been somewhere before/ You hold the key, you know which door/Speak the word your lips have never known/Because your heart tells you so/Jesus in disguise/Jehovah passing by/The burden of a tear/ Hanging in your eye/ Jesus in disguise/A scar across the sky/ You were looking for a king/You would never recognize/Jesus in disguise/So open my eyes, wide as I can/Blind as I am, blind as I am/So open my eyes, wide as I can/Blind as I am, blind as I am/ Jesus in disguise/Jesus in disguise/.

So, I get chills not because this song is amazing, which it is, but because it is talking about a God that gives me chills. This song is talking about God’s presence! I’ve felt His presence personally, and just thinking about the experiences I’ve had makes me shake. The line “Jehovah passing by” stuck with me for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt Jehovah passing by. Almost a year ago, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I HAD to pray for a friend of mine. So, I shook off my sleepiness and prayed for her. That was my first experience with the Holy Spirit telling me to do something that I remember.

There have been many more incidents since. In May I went to a Christian youth convention with my church. We were there for two nights, and on the first night, I could not go to sleep. Somehow, I ended up sleeping on the floor of our hotel room reading my Bible. I flipped around awhile, until I saw a passage that jumped out at me. It was Exodus 25:1 “The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive a contribution from them.” I had the thought, “My words are my contribution to God. I need to be in ministry.” It kind of startled me, because I had never really been sure of what job I was going to do. I still wasn’t sure, last On the second to last day,one of our youth leaders (who I am now very close to) came and hugged me out of the blue and told me I was going to do great things for God. I later learned that my pastor, youth pastor, the leader who hugged me, and a bunch of youth leaders brought up me and some of the things I had said. Coincidence? I don’t really think so.

This past June, I was at a church camp we had a sermon every night, followed by a song or two to close. The sermon was about God’s purpose for our lives. I remember that out of nowhere, I started to cry. Like, cry cry. Loud, ugly, cry. Then I remember, that all the sudden I had this thought and it was, “You were made to be a youth pastor.” I didn’t hear a voice or anything, it was just a thought. But I knew it came from God. Recently I read something that said that you don’t always hear God’s voice, but when you’re in His presence, He directs your thoughts. That’s what happened to me that night.

At that same youth camp I was praying for people, and had been prayed for and I felt God’s presence. It filled the room and enveloped all of us in it. More recently, it’s happened when I pray. I pray for people that I haven’t though of in months. And then I open my eyes, and it’s like waking up from a dream. I can be praying for what feels like half an hour and then check the time and see that only mere minutes have passed by. Or when I’m in youth group and my heart starts pounding in my chest and God gives me words to say and I have to say something. I’ve even actually gotten up on stage and said something to the whole group, which is absolutely terrifying.

But that’s the thing about asking to be in God’s presence: sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes God asks you to do things that you don’t want to do. Sometimes you think thoughts you never thought would enter your mind, like me. Maybe, you speak in tongues when you pray, which means that the Holy Spirit prays for you, usually in a language you haven’t learned. Maybe someone that you just met weighs on your heart and you feel like you need to pray for them. Maybe you have started crying, out of nowhere and couldn’t tell why. If you’ve ever felt like the air was full of something you couldn’t put your finger on, or reveled in the beauty of God’s creation that takes your breath away, you’ve probably been in God’s presence, even if you didn’t recognize it. God’s presence is holy, filling for your soul, and totally unique. You will never experience anything like it. Perhaps you’ve never felt it, but now you want it. Pray about it, and sit, by yourself with no distractions and your Bible and wait.

God does not hide His presence from his people. I don’t know exactly how you’ll experience but Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

May God bless you with all with His presence,

Bright Eyes

How amazing!

Hello, all! It’s wonderful to get to talk with you again. Today I was reviewing for a science test and realized something pretty cool. Right now, I’m studying for a test about water’s chemical properties. Water is an AMAZING substance. If you haven’t studied it yet, I’ll give you the lowdown. Water is made up of water molecules, which are made up of atoms, which in turn are made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge, electrons have a negative charge, and neutrons have no charge. A water molecule’s chemical formula is H2O. H stands for hydrogen, and O stands for oxygen. The 2 after the H means that for every 1 oxygen atom, there are 2 hydrogen atoms. This is where it gets somewhat complicated, but stay with me. Within the molecule, electrons (negative charge) are shared. They aren’t always shared evenly, though. In water molecules, the oxygen atom take electrons from the two hydrogen atoms, making the oxygen atom slightly negatively charged, and the hydrogen atoms become slightly positively charged. The molecule then becomes a polar molecule, polar meaning that two opposite charges exist in the same substance. This really cool thing happens when you have a bunch of water molecules together. The hydrogen side of the molecule, (the positive side) is attracted to the oxygen side (negatively charged). This causes the molecules to form a hydrogen bond which makes the molecules stay close together even when something tries to force them apart. How cool is that! How amazing is it that God thought that up! Like, there wasn’t any other inspiration He THOUGHT THAT UP. He thought that perfect, unique design up. And what’s even cooler is that He didn’t even have to test it to see if it would work. He, in His infinite knowledge, just knew that it would work perfectly. AND He designed so many other intricate things. Like the human brain, for instance. Our brains control our breathing, swallowing and walking without us having to tell it to. Our brains also store millions of little details and bits of information without us consciously recognizing it. I mean, you’re reading these words without having to actually sound out every letter. He formed the Grand Canyon, and the stars, and the ocean, and then looked at the world and said that it needed one of me and you too. How crazy is it to think that God planned every little thing about you from the very beginning. EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF OUR LIVES is planned out by our Creator. Mind blowing, right.

May each and every one of you see the beauty of God’s creation,

Bright Eyes