Category Archives: books

Divine Makeover- Author Interview and Book Giveaway

 

DiVineblogtour_3
Into a teen girl’s world ruled by selfies, and the illusive self-worth tied to them, comes Sharla Fritz’s Divine Makeover.

This is not a stuffy book that ignores or condemns the desire for acceptance through physical appearance and fashion, but rather puts that into perspective with the source of real beauty: a faith in Jesus Christ that makes us holy.

DiVineblogtour_2This fun and reflective Bible study can be read alone, with a best friend, or with a group of friends.

Would you like to win a copy? Read the  Q&A with author Sharla Fritz and leave a comment below by midnight Thursday, April 24 (2014).

Everyone who comments will be added to the drawing. (Winner will be announced Friday, April 25th!)

 

Why did God prompt you to write this book?

After my first Bible study, Divine Design, came out, I heard about some groups of mothers and daughters doing the book together. It was so exciting that women of all ages could come together and discover their true beauty in Christ. But I thought young women would enjoy having a book that taught the same principles while using examples of their own struggles. So I wrote Divine Makeover—essentially Divine Design for a younger generation.

What struggles do you see the younger generation having?

I remember as a teen thinking that no one would ever think I was beautiful, no one would ever love me. Almost all of us go through an awkward stage where we doubt our beauty and worth. (Some of us never outgrow that stage!)

Plus, in this age, the emphasis on physical beauty is greater than ever before. Celebrities are scrutinized for their hair styles, makeup, and clothing choices. Ordinary girls are slammed when they don’t wear the coolest brands. Every year hundreds of thousands of teens are so dissatisfied with their looks that they resort to plastic surgery.

I’m hoping that Divine Makeover will help young women discover their worth not in what clothes they are wearing on the outside, but on the clothing of their character.

How did you get the young women’s point of view for this book?

Admittedly, I am a long way from the teen years! So I met with some amazing teens at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois every week. They candidly shared their views and struggles. I was truly impressed with this group of young women who clearly loved the Lord. Their faith and commitment to serve was very inspiring. Some of their words and stories are included in the book.

You talk about some myths of modesty? What are they?

I think three modern myths of modesty are: Modesty is old-fashioned, modesty means wearing a burlap bag, and modesty means following a strict set of clothing rules.

Modesty is an enduring principle because the Bible tells us that “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1Timothy 2:9). Because God’s Word never goes out of style, this advice is not just for women of Timothy’s day, but for us too.

We might think that if we dress modestly we can’t be stylish, but that isn’t necessarily true. It may mean that we have to adapt styles: wearing a camisole under a too-low top, adding leggings to a dress that’s a bit too short, or wearing a cute jacket or sweater over a top that’s too form-fitting.

I have seen sites and books that give strict rules for lengths of skirts and depths of necklines. But I think rules sometimes beg to be broken, so I think a better way to view modesty is as a way to dress with respect: respect for the beauty God gave you, respect for God’s Word, and respect for the gift of sexuality—which God has reserved for marriage.

What are some of the other topics discussed?

Divine Makeover is a “What Not to Wear” for the soul. It talks about hanging up the uniform and letting go of your inner control freak. It encourages young women to get rid of the handbag of worry and live with an attitude of trust. It tosses out the prom dress of pride, the boots of selfishness, the bitterness sweater, and anything the color of envy green. Instead, in Christ we can wear humility, love, forgiveness, and contentment.

You include some dramatic stories of teens who struggled with their self-image. Tell us about them.

Yes. Some young women graciously shared their stories with me. One young woman battled anorexia for a time in her life. When she looked in the mirror, she saw herself as fat, even though she definitely wasn’t. She bravely shared her story of how she eventually discovered that she had become obsessed with food and a totally skewed view of her body. Eventually she learned to choose to see herself as God saw her—His much-loved daughter.

Another young woman discovered she had alopecia. She lost all of her hair. In this society that worships thick, long manes of hair, she struggled to see herself as beautiful. She doubted that any man would ever love her. She has never regained her hair, but she has regained a healthy self-image because of her trust in God.

Both of these women are now in their twenties and happily married.

What practical tips do you share with readers?

The book concentrates on our inner beauty, but does have some fashion fun. Every chapter ends with some Fashion Finesse: a few words about finding the right clothes, building a wardrobe, and looking your best. Some of the practical tips include choosing a cute yet useful purse, finding your best colors, and discovering the best style of sweater for your shape. After the chapter on the prom dress of pride, I included seven tips for a fabulous formal.

What one thing should potential readers know about this book?

I pray that every girl who reads this book will take away one important truth: that in Christ she is beautiful. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we always look lovely in God’s looking glass. Our heavenly Father sees us not as we are, with our mammoth mistakes, our messy sins, our major bedhead. He sees us as we will be—perfect. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Tell everyone a little more about yourself.

I’m a Christian speaker and author who loves to communicate the truth of God’s transforming grace. I love meeting women around the country at retreats and conferences.

I live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, who is the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church. Together we shared the adventure of homeschooling for 15 years with our two children. They are all grown up now and moved away from home. My daughter moved far from home—she now lives in China!

In my other life I am a church musician and piano teacher. I love traveling (especially to China!), going out to lunch with friends, and reading. If I’m not sitting at the piano or my computer you might find me at the thrift store stalking fabulous fashion finds.

Anything else you’d like to share about this book?

Divine Makeover has eight chapters with each chapter having five days of devotions and Bible study questions. A girl could read it on her own, with or without doing the questions. But it would be even more fun to do with a group of gabby girlfriends!

DiVineblogtour_FB

Don’t forget to leave a comment before midnight Thursday, April 24 (2014) for a chance to win a FREE copy of Divine Makeover. Winner to be announced Friday, April 25th.

Also, for a chance to win a Divine Makeover basket, visit the Sharla Fritz Divine Makeover Blog Tour page on Facebook and share your makeover story. Winners of that basket will be announced there on Facebook on May 2.

Laundry Baskets and Books: Our Smuggling Operation

444px-Books_of_the_PastIt was desperation. Pure, unadulterated desperation.

It drove us madly to scheming an international smuggling operation in which we involved our four youngsters.

Neither regret nor remorse are motivating me to come clean now, years later. (Really, I needed something to blog about, and this story was as good as the next.)

However, I may consider this our public confession of our contraband years.

.

Books and Fools

It all began shortly after we moved to Chihuahua, Mexico in 1998. We were having a conversation with a local pastor who offered his help with anything we may need to become acclimated.

“Where is the closest library?” I promptly asked, realizing the books there would be in Spanish, not English. I was prepared for the challenge for both myself and our children.

His head turned and his brows furrowed as he asked, “¿Para qué? What do you need a library for?”

Questions like that are cultural clue cards. I took that one, filed it away, and answered matter of factly, “To have books to read at home.”

He snickered. “The libraries here do not loan out books.”

Shock registered on my face. “¿Por qué?

“We have a saying here in Mexico,” he answered,

“…if you loan a book to someone, you are a fool, but if you return a book you borrowed, you are a greater fool.”

If my mother would have been there, she would have told me to close my gaping mouth already, before a bug flies in.

That cultural awareness would prove helpful to me years later in managing a Bible Institute library in southern Mexico. Though it was a lending library limited to only students and staff, the end of the year inventory proved the saying true for some.

In 2004, Mexico City ignored, or perhaps tried to overcome, this particular cultural nuance when they hoped to curb crime and improve literacy by lending 1.5 million books – on the honor system – at subway stations around the city. They stopped the program after having so few riders return the books.

Border Runs

El Paso is due north of Chihuahua City. We would make the five-hour trip through the desert, and the one-hour trip through Ciudad Juarez, often. Sometimes we just needed to hear English, sometimes we simply needed to de-stress. We needed to retrieve our mail, all of it, unopened and unpilfered.

But we especially needed a library. El Paso had public libraries. Those libraries loan books. We could sign books out and take them into Mexico with us. Easy!

Not exactly. There were rules mocking us.

First, the librarians voice, “Fill out this form, ma’am, and return it with a utility bill proving your local residency.”

Then, the sign, “No borrowed items are to be taken into Mexico.”

It was then that the desperation for books, namely to sign them out to have at home in Mexico, overtook us, creating the wonderfully deviant smuggling plot.

A local retired missionary allowed us the use of their home address as our mailing address. Though we didn’t have utility bills, other mail such as credit card statements came in time and were deemed acceptable by the library staff.

Five library cards were issued (the baby didn’t need one yet). We lacked only one thing: a way to carry the amount of books we’d be signing out. Most normal people carry books in hand, or perhaps in a bag. Then again, most normal people don’t go to the library with a family of six to check out 60+ items at a time.

To the nearest Wal-Mart we headed, purchasing the largest plastic laundry basket they had. It was go-time.

Here is where we corrupted our children: we told them not to mention “home” or “Mexico” in the same sentence when we were in the library. And, no!, they could NOT say it in Spanish either, since the majority of El Paso either speaks or understands Spanish.

Each child was told to pick out ten titles, bring them to us for approval, then put them in the big basket. I felt somewhat criminal-minded  when we stood in line to check out and that sign would catch my eye and taunt me, tugging at my conscience as it reminded me I didn’t have permission to smuggle those books out of the country.

“It’s for the niños!” I mentally hissed back, wishing the sign knew I was home-schooling and we were starving, literarily speaking.

It stared back, hard and motionless.

“Okay, it’s for me, too!” I ‘fessed.

Into the back of the SUV my hubby carefully and systematically placed the basket along with the suitcases, ready to cross the border, go through customs and make the long journey home.

The border guards with their rifles showed less hostility over the basket of books than the stupid sign back at the library.

Todo Bien

The end of the story is a happy one.

We enjoyed hundreds of books during those years, the library received back all their loans, we paid any fines we may have incurred, three of my four kids graduated and went to college, the oldest is halfway through graduate school, and I bought a Kindle.

Back for a season in the USA, my hubby, my tween, and I still use laundry baskets and frequent the local library; the baskets, however, now carry laundry and our visits to the library end with either a bag or our arms carrying the numerous titles scattered throughout our rented home.

There are worse crimes than burning smuggling books.  One of them is not reading them.  ~Joseph Brodsky.  (strikeout and italics are mine).