Archives for July 2009

Backyard sports!

friends1Tons of fun can come out of playing backyard sports—football/flag football, ultimate frisbee, wiffle ball, tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and even ultimate football. Each sport has its own set of rules, own way of having fun, and own techniques in playing.

Playing the game

Planning when to play the game is the most important part. Most of us don’t want to play wiffle ball or football outside in the snow . The many places you can play theses sports are at graduation parties, church drop-ins, birthday parties, or just whenever you want to play. When deciding which game to play you need to check the weather. If it’s beautiful outside you could play any of the games I listed above, and if it rains or snows you can play certain games inside, like volleyball or basketball.


Unlike high school football, backyard football doesn’t involve wearing gear like shoulder pads or leg pads; instead, you only have your clothes to protect you from the tackles. When it’s chilly outside you may want extra layers, like an underarmor shirt underneath your regular t-shirt, or long sleeves. If it’s hot outside you’ll want to wear a simple tee shirt and a pair of shorts.

Picking the team

When picking who you want on your team, don’t just choose your best friend. Choose other people to be your teammates so you can get to know them better. Remember to keep a good attitude–regardless of whether you win or lose, everyone should be a good sport and enjoy playing the game while growing closer together.

By Michelle Jane


ts1Suicide has been a topic I’ve wanted to cover for a long time. But, I chose this month for a reason. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. The number one reason for this is untreated depression (go here for more on depression). Like any death, suicide does not only affect the one who is lost, but also the family and friends of that person.

I have known several people who have committed suicide or attempted to. At times when someone feels scared, alone, and depressed their minds don’t always look for the most reasonable solution to a problem…they simply look for a way out. What these individuals don’t realize is that suicide is not a way out. It does not fix a problem, but causes new ones for those left behind.

How do I know if someone is contemplating suicide?

You won’t always know if someone is. Many times people who are suicidal are withdrawn, isolated, and have symptoms of depression. But, it is important that you talk to people who seem to be depressed. You don’t have to ask them if they are suicidal, you don’t even have to ask them about depression. But be a friend. Be someone that they will be comfortable confiding in so that if they decide to, they can share their feelings with you. Share Christ with them. I know it is hard to talk to others about Christ, but in times of need, there is no other friend they need as much as they need Him.

What do I do if someone tells me they want to kill themselves?

Always take them seriously. Don’t laugh them off or yell at them. Talk to them about how important they are to you and how bad situations do get better…it just takes time. Offer to call for help for them. Help them find a counselor, and talk to a trusted, mature Christian for advice on how to better handle the situation. Most importantly, pray with and for them. Let them know that when it seems all hope is lost, Christ is always there.

If the situation is more advanced and the person is threatening themselves right then, call 911. Do not hesitate even if the person begs you not to call for help. If the person threatens violence upon you, leave and get to a safe place before calling 911. Remember that although you want to save this person, you can’t save them if you don’t protect yourself.

Seeking Help

ts2There are many different suicide helplines across the country. is a great organization that helps set up suicide prevention organizations in colleges and universities across the country (if yours doesn’t already have one). Their website offers tips on what to look for if you suspect someone is suicidal and also offers a 24-hour toll free hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE. If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, please call that number, or if in immediate danger, seek help by calling 911.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

By Sarah Ancheta

Last chance for entries!

Bracelet created by Hannah SmithToday is the last day to submit photos of jewelry you’ve made for use in our Gifted Girls article next month. You can send pictures to Info @ PierceMyHeart . com (remove spaces).

This is also the last day to enter to win our July giveaway. The winner, who will be announced on July 31, will receive a bag of beauty supplies.

If you have any questions, please let us know, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

– Davonne Parks

The Eyes Have It

Ecclesiastes 11:7: “Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.”

One size does not always fit all. You know that to be true about clothing, but it also applies to other things. With the more pleasant weather, many of us are venturing outdoors. And you may be realizing that it’s time to update an essential part of your summer wardrobe––sunglasses. But before rushing out to the store to grab the cutest, trendiest pair, consider which ones will best work for you.

Comfort matters

Vera Wang rectangular sunglasses, available at Kohl’sObviously, one of the first things to consider when buying a new pair of sunglasses is comfort. I’ve bought many pairs that were perfect in the store, but when I got home and started wearing them, they were awful. They were too tight, giving me a headache. Or they seemed to sit crookedly on my face, bothering me the entire time I wore them. Even though I don’t pay a lot for sunglasses, if they are not comfortable to me, they are never a good deal. Make sure you spend a decent amount of time wearing the glasses in the store to get the best idea of how they’ll fit. Wear them home with the tags on so that if you notice that they start to get uncomfortable during the ride home, you can take them back. If you’ve already removed the tags and find yourself cringing every time you have to put them on, offer to give them to a friend who might have better luck with them.

Price matters

Yes, there are $150 pairs of sunglasses out there that are great. And stylish. And come in a cute case. And cook dinner. But, consider how worth it they are if you accidentally sit on them in your car. Or lose them at the mall. I have friends who are constantly ruining sunglasses by leaving them on the seat of their car and then sitting on them later. It’s much easier parting with the $10 sunglasses than it is the $100 pair that was so necessary just weeks before.

Style (kinda) matters

I say “kinda” because, while there are certain sunglasses that look better with specific face shapes, you can certainly buy whichever glasses you like best. Style might matter to you, but it shouldn’t be our ultimate objective. But since it’s nice to have a place to start, here are some tips for shopping for sunglasses for your face shape.

Start by looking in a mirror. Using a lipstick or lip liner pencil, trace the shape of your face. You should come up with an oval, circle, square, or triangle.

If your face is oval:

Congratulations! You have a very versatile face shape. More sunglasses look good with this shape than any others. You could go with round or square frames. Just make sure the size of the frames is proportionate to your face size. Meaning: If you have a small face, don’t buy oversized frames, or your face will get lost behind them.

Sonoma oval sunglasses, available at Kohl’s

Sonoma oval sunglasses, available at Kohl’s

If your face is round:

To minimize the fullness of a very round face, opt for frames that are more angular. Square frames or ones with straight lines are your best bet.

Vera Wang rectangular sunglasses, available at Kohl’s

Vera Wang rectangular sunglasses, available at Kohl’s

If your face is square:

Opposite rule applies here: To soften a square, angular face and jawline, go with frames that are slightly curved. A square or rectangular frame will make your face look harsh.

Merona small oval sunglasses, available at Target

Merona small oval sunglasses, available at Target

If your face is triangular:

This face shape is defined by a broader forehead and narrow jawline and chin. Go with thinner frames to balance the bottom part of your face. Avoid heavy, thick frames, or very bold colors.

Adi Designs frameless sunglasses, available at Target

Adi Designs frameless sunglasses, available at Target

Time to go shopping!

For more on sunglasses for your face shape, search online or visit Frames Direct.

Having a friend along will help you to judge which sunglasses work best with your face. Don’t just consider frame size and shape. The color of the lenses is also important when thinking about your complexion. So, grab a tactfully honest friend and head out to accessorize your face.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Distance Learning

itw1When someone thinks about college, usually going to classes online is not something that comes to most people’s minds. However, distance learning has some great advantages for those who are unable to go to a campus for school. For me, it has proven to be an excellent choice. I graduate with my associates in September and begin my bachelor’s program a week later. But, just because I study at home does not mean it is easy. I work hard, I study, I have to do research and write long papers. But, like any other school, I know the hard work will pay off.

How do I know if distance learning is for me?

If you are someone who works full time or have children, distance learning offers the greatest advantages for you. I was able to go to school online from the comfort of my home, after I had worked during the day. When I was pregnant, I was able to continue my education while on bed rest. But, contrary to what most believe, distance learning is not only for those who fit these circumstances. Many students just out of high school are beginning to use online classes. In fact, many community and state colleges are offering more and more classes in an online atmosphere. It saves on travel expenses and college or campus housing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning?

Distance learning offers students quality education and the ease of receiving it from their home. However, it does have some drawbacks. Distance learning costs considerably more than conventional state or community colleges. Distance learning is also based on written communication. While different schools offer different types of classes depending on your field of study, some schools do require that students work in teams so that they learn to communicate through written and verbal communication (a telephone or voice messaging system is required).

Does distance learning accept financial aid?

itw2Yes. Online colleges or universities accept government financial aid and student loans, as well as payments from students.

What equipment do I need to attend online classes?

Different schools may require different software, but you would definitely need to make sure that you have access to a computer with internet access that is reliable and meets speed requirements for the program you have chosen. Most programs also require that you have computer software that consists of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

How do I start?

The first place to start is to research schools with online learning programs. You need to make sure that the career field you have chosen is included in their program. Also, make sure that any school you choose is accredited. Programs with courses that are not accredited may not transfer to another school if you need to change classes or decide to go to a campus to learn.

Making the right decision for you

Choosing a career or even the college that will help you reach your goals is a very hard decision. Like any decision in our lives it is important to make sure that we allow God to lead us. Only with Him can we truly achieve our goals (Matthew 19:26).

By Sarah Ancheta

Financially Savvy: Shopping and Scholarships

fam1We recently discussed dining and credit cards, and today we’ll continue with financially savvy tips about shopping and scholarships.

Thrifty shopping

I used to hate shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill. I liked going to a store and finding the style shirt I wanted and quickly locating my size on the nice, clutter-free rack. But then I realized how great––and inexpensive––my thrift-store finds could be. I can almost always find great name-brand clothing in like-new condition for $4 or less. Do you realize how many outfits I could come up with for the amount I’d spend on one pair of pants at the actual store? And no one can tell the difference. I recently bought a $60+ pair of Gap pants for $2 at Goodwill. Lots of compliments––especially when I tell people how little I paid for them.


There are scholarships out there for everything. Sports, academics, ethnicity, hobbies, interests, accomplishments…the list could go on and on. And with the Internet, these scholarships are very easy to find. Unfortunately, many of them are never given away because no one applies for them. Scholarships are one of the best ways to help pay for college. There are thousands available. I recommend looking for legitimate scholarships online and applying to as many as possible. Most will require an essay––or several––but the time spent writing one could really pay off. Even if you only receive a handful of scholarships from the dozens you apply for, that is money that you won’t have to pay yourself. And if you’re not starting college until next year, this is the perfect time to start looking for scholarships. Don’t wait until the last minute (although, if you have, don’t let that stop you!). Record the deadline for each scholarship, and mark them in your favorites on your computer. You don’t have to be a freshman to get a scholarship, so even if you’ve already finished some school, keep applying to make the rest of your time at college financially easier.

Financially fit

fam3Although school is costing much more now than ever, there are plenty of ways to cut the costs of college. Start now by being responsible with your money––the money God has given you. Be creative and thoughtful with your spending, and hopefully you will leave college in a few years more financially fit than when you started.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

Have any tips for saving money or frugal spending while in college? Leave a comment and let us know!

By Lisa Grimenstein

Financially Savvy: Dining and Credit Cards

“Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.” Ecclesiastes 7:12

fam1With the excitement of starting college comes the not-so-exciting thought of…paying for it. Especially in this hard economic time, many families are wondering how they’re going to pay for college this year. Some are having to forego the private, Christian colleges for a more local, public school. Although I hope you are financially able to attend your first choice, whether public or private, there are still ways to watch your spending habits while at college. Here are some helpful financial tips that can used whether you’re living at home or moving away.

Dining Time

Many colleges offer a food plan. Often there are several from which to choose. You may opt for a certain number of meals a week allotment, or you may choose to place a certain amount of money on a cafeteria card from which you can purchase meals. If you’re living on campus, this is probably the most frugal way to eat. However, if you want to cook, and have a kitchen available for all meals, that can certainly be a much cheaper option. The main thing to remember is that if you––or your parents––purchase a meal plan, use it! These often expire at the end of a semester. Many times you’ll find yourself wanting to dine out with friends, thus not spending the money you already designated for meals, and spending money at a restaurant that could go toward other expenses. If you want to leave money for eating out with friends, make sure you don’t get the largest meal plan offered––it will only go to waste.

College is the time for hanging out with friends, and for me, this occasionally included coffee (go for the decaf!). However, all these little trips to the local coffee shop can really start to add up. So if you really want to spend time together, and it means coffee shops, do without the coffee every time and get water with lemon slices instead. You’ll still get to enjoy the company of friends, but without spending the money.

fam2I love coupons. And there are tons out there. Check out websites like for coupons to restaurants and other deals. If you find yourself eating out a lot with friends, a buy-one-get-one-free coupon at your most frequented restaurant can really help out. Also, don’t hesitate to ask the waiter or cashier if they have any current coupons available for use. Even fast-food places may have a stack under the register––even if it’s just for a free drink with your sandwich. Every little bit helps!

Credit cards

When I started college, my parents gave me a credit card to purchase my textbooks and supplies, and for emergencies. However, I quickly found that having the must-have jeans that everyone was wearing was an “emergency.” And so, they went on the card. As well as the boots that my friend said looked so great on me. And soon, I was encountering “emergencies” on a weekly basis. It was easy to get carried away when I didn’t have to pay for the stuff.

Although I don’t use credit cards now, I won’t make this into a time to tell you to cut up all credit cards and use cash only. I will say that if you have credit cards, you need to be responsible with them. I know this is what your parents are probably telling you, but it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement and newness of college and start thinking that everything is a must-have item. It may help to leave your credit card in a safe, hidden place in your room––it’ll be more difficult to have a sudden jeans emergency at the mall when your card isn’t in your purse.

We’ll continue later with more financially savvy tips, so check back soon!

By Lisa Grimenstein

Positives of Community College

jft6aWhen it seems every other friend is moving away from home, it can be easy to feel left out if your family can’t afford for you to go somewhere other than a community college, or if you’ve chosen to attend one. There are so many positives to living at home, though, and if you have the right attitude, you can enjoy the experience and thrive in the environment.

Home cooking: You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving break to enjoy a home-cooked meal!

Comfy bed: There’s no sleeping on uncomfortable beds and longing for a good night’s sleep on your own bed, because you’ll be getting that every night.

Emotional support: Your family will be right there to cheer you on and support you when you need it. They’ll see you every day and will know when something’s wrong.

Nearby friends: Since most of the people attending your school will be from the same area, they won’t leave to go home on breaks, and they won’t run out of money and move back home; most already are home!

Easy scheduling: Instead of trying to cram scheduling for the next semester during finals, you can drive to campus at your leisure during breaks and avoid the crowds in the admissions office.

jft6bWork: You can keep the job you already have, and if you’re a loyal worker, they’ll likely work around your schedule each quarter as class times change. Plus you won’t have to look for a seasonal job every time you come home on breaks – you can just ask your boss to up your hours for a few weeks.

Money: Since you won’t have to pay a lot of money for dorm rooms, food plans, and eating out, you can use that money to pay for classes and books, thus avoiding huge student loans to pay off after graduation.

I attended a community college, and it was a great experience for me. I loved living a few minutes away from school, and making friends close to my town. I enjoyed meeting various family members in my school cafeteria for lunch, and I liked being able to stay on campus to study in between classes (going home to watch TV isn’t so tempting when you have to drive several minutes each way!).

Community colleges may not be everyone’s top choice, but they can definitely have a positive impact on people’s lives, and the same degree can be obtained for a fraction of the price. If money is an issue, consider attending a school near your town, at least until you have most of your prerequisites out of the way.

In the end, where we went to college won’t even matter. All that will matter is that we’re Christians and lived our lives in obedience to God, sharing His love with as many people as possible. Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.”

– Davonne Parks

Avoid the Freshman 15

haf1College is a pivotal time in a young adult’s life, but it also can lead to a decline in healthy habits and physical activity. The “freshman 15,” or typical weight gain of a college student, is usually due to a decrease in activity, an increase in unhealthy food choices, stress, and the change in daily routine. Although it seems like a rite of passage to enjoy every single freedom that college brings, it is not an excuse to allow bad habits to take over while healthy habits decline. College can be the perfect time to change for the better.


The first part of staying healthy while away at college is to make wise food choices. Many students take part in the food plan while away at college, and many of the cafeterias offer buffet-style dining where you can choose among a variety of foods. Become familiar with portion sizes, as buffet-styles can allow you to heap your plate full instead of just eating a serving. Be mindful of returning for seconds and try to choose the healthier items available. The best part about buffets is that they offer many options when it comes to salads, low-fat dressings and milk products, whole grain breads, pastas and rice, and grilled vs. fried foods. If you still feel the need to order that pizza for your late-night cram session, opt for healthier choices such as thin crust and veggies. You always have a choice.

Most buildings on campus contain vending machines with an abundance of chips, candy, and soda. Make sure to carry healthy snacks like fruit, pretzels, and water with you to class so you’re not tempted. Research has shown that when eating in groups, we tend to eat more food than when eating alone. It takes your stomach 20 minutes to communicate with your brain that you are full. Take your time when eating. Enjoy the company, chit-chat awhile, and eat more slowly. You’ll become full sooner than you think, and will avoid the late-night stomachache when you have had more food than your stomach can handle. Look into buying a small refrigerator so that you can purchase and store your own healthy favorites to keep handy.


haf2Stress is a big problem in college due to hectic schedules, homework, job schedules, sports practice, being away from home, peer pressures, and other collegiate pressures. Try to set aside time each day just to relax. Do whatever you need to do (read, exercise, listen to music, etc.). There are a lot of new things going on in your life at this time––new adjustments to living on your own or living with people that you’ve never known before. Make sure you take some time just for you. Do not eat food just because you are stressed or bored and have nothing else to do.


Many of us played sports in high school and were typically more active. Many of us do not continue to play those same sports in college. Think about all of the exercise you’ve done on a daily basis during practice that you never once considered as “exercise.” You were training and practicing for the next game, match, or tournament. Staying active is crucial to staying fit during college. Join an intramural sport if you’re not playing on a collegiate team––this is also a great way to meet new people and form lifelong friendships.

Most admission to the gym on campus is free to students, so take advantage of their workout equipment, swimming pool, and classes. You can always purchase a video to use in your dorm room if exercising in a crowd doesn’t appeal to you. Every amount of movement helps, so try to walk around campus instead of taking the shuttle or driving, and take the stairs instead of the elevators in every building.

Create your own healthy college experience simply by trying to make a healthy choice every chance you can. Remember that one of the most important things during your transition to freedom is to keep God’s Word close to your heart. “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:20-27 NKJV).

Food of the Month: Carrots

haf4Carrots are a member of the parsley family, with feathery, leafy greens and an orange root. Carrots are an excellent source of carotene, fiber, vitamin A, calcium, and folic acid. Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked by boiling, roasting, steaming, sauteing, and grilling. They have a sweet taste and can be eaten as appetizers or added to many dishes. When you select carrots, look for them to be uniform in color from top to bottom, with smooth skin, free of cracks. Dark coloring at the crown of the carrot indicates that they are getting old. Avoid carrots that have begun to sprout, have blemishes or soft spots, or have begun to go limp. Carrots can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month if stored properly. Wrap the carrots in a paper towel and store in a bag in the fridge to avoid excess condensation, which will rot the carrots. If the greens are still attached, cut them off to stop them from drawing out excess moisture. Click here for more great carrot tips and recipe ideas.

By Sherri Houmard

July 2009 Desktop Image

If you’d like to have our theme image on your desktop this month, simply click on “standard” or “wide-screen” underneath the photo, then right click on the image and select “set as background.” Note: laptops are generally wide-screen, and desktops are usually standard images.

Pierce my heart: college edition! Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 “…Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh… Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.”

July 2009, Edited by Davonne Parks – Standard or Wide-screen