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3 Reasons to Thank Dad on Father’s Day

To most, the man across the table from me is nothing but an old broken Tooler with knobby fingers and dirty nails. To me, he is everything left that’s kind and lovely in the world. – Portia, The Revisionary

At the beginning of The Revisionary, Portia and her father Abram Abernathy only have each other, but she’s made a plan to get back her lost brother. She thinks that if she can earn a Revisionary seat in the ruling Dome, she can rescue him from the satellite where the ASU government banished him.

Although her father calls her plan “a fool’s errand,” she is sure of one thing: he loves her, whether or not he agrees with her ideas. Truthfully, she doesn’t understand his own or the secret work that often takes him away from home.

As she embarks on her own journey, she comes to respect her father’s wisdom and realizes that all along, he’s had her best interests at heart.

You see, there are several lessons in tough love fathers teach their children, all of which help prepare them for adulthood.

#1: Dads let children make their own mistakes and learn from them.

My brave girl’s quest is a fool’s errand, but I’m proud of her spirit. – Abram Abernathy

Moms are nurturers. Fathers are providers. Moms have a momma-bear-protection instinct, but dads want to see their kids get dirty and learn to pick themselves back up. Sure, there are some things in life dads hope their children will never have to face, but dads also recognize that experience can be an effective teacher.

Abram may not want Portia to leave home, but he doesn’t stop her. Instead, he tries to prepare her for what might lie ahead.

#2: Dads teach children about the future and how to prepare for it.

“It’s more than the blade. It’s the responsibility that comes with it.” – Abram Abernathy

Before Portia leaves home, her father presents her with a gift: a small karambit blade to carry with her for protection.

Perhaps your dad taught you self-defense and how to shoot. (If he did, all the better!) If not, maybe he showed you how to change a flat tire or balance a checkbook.

Every dad has his own approach, and one isn’t necessarily better than another. As dads see best, they help equip their children for the future.

#3: Dads don’t pretend to know all the answers but give guidance for the journey.

“You do the next right thing, Portia, and then the next right thing after that. You’ll find your way.” – Abram Abernathy

The older I get, the more I value my parents’ wisdom. Though I’d like to think my dad can solve all my problems, the truth is that he can’t. Still, he knows how to handle a great many more challenges than I do, so I call him and my mom anyway.

I don’t think they mind.

The Heavenly Father

If you’re blessed to have your father in your life, use Father’s Day as an opportunity to thank him for all he does. However, I realize that due to death or circumstances beyond control, many people find Father’s Day a lonely time.

Always remember we have a heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us more than we can possibly imagine. Just think about all God does for His children!

  • He shows compassion toward them (Psalm 103:13).
  • He corrects them, because He delights in them (Proverbs 3:12).
  • He desires to give them good things (Matthew 7:11).

I hope you can call yourself God’s child. If you can’t, I challenge you to get into the Bible, his Word, and discover why a relationship with Him is the most important one you can ever have.

Happy Father’s Day.

~ Kristen

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The Pixelated Lens of Fear

Fear isn’t just something that plagues children. Although we might laugh about monsters in the closet now, the truth is that we all struggle or have struggled with fear at some point. Only, our fears morph into more subtle villains, masked with titles like rejection, self-doubt, and failure.

Or, they may even be seemingly laughable “little” things that tempt us not to trust God … like my somewhat irrational fear of needles. (I say “somewhat” because trypanophobia is a word in the dictionary, which makes me guess I’m not alone.)

Today, I’m honored to be a guest on author Jerusha Agen’s The Fear Warrior Blog. There, I’m sharing a challenge about fear. When fear blurs our vision, how can we shift our focus back to where it needs to be?

Click here to read the post. I’d love to hear your comments!

~ Kristen

The Revisionary – New YA Novel Now Available!

Hello, friends! I’m thrilled to share The Revisionary with you. It is now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

I want to invite you to celebrate with me this week! On Tuesday, June 6 (release day), you’re invited to listen in on a radio interview I’ll be doing on Blog Talk Radio. Tonight at 7 pm (Correction: Central Time), I’ll be chatting with Write Integrity Editor Marji Laine Clubine on her Publishing Laine program. We’ll be talking about the popularity of dystopian books, world-building, and perspective.

Giveaways for Facebook Event

Then, on Thursday, June 8, join me for a Facebook launch party. I’ll be giving away a copy of the book as well as some other “survival” items (themed for the dystopian novel).

Thanks for celebrating with me! I’m so grateful to everyone who helped make this book possible.

~ Kristen

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The Places Graduates Go: Deserts and Gardens

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Do you recognize this conversation from Alice in Wonderland? If you’re graduating, maybe you feel a little bit like Alice. You’d like very much to stop and ask for directions.

Along the way, though, life is going to take you places you might not expect. Last week, we saw the first two, and today, we’re going to look at two more.

THE DESERT

Missionary explorer David Livingston trekked across Africa from west to east and braved many hazards, including the Kalahari Desert. If you’re looking for an inspirational biography, I challenge you to read his.

He had this perspective on where life took him:

I’d rather be in the heart of Africa in the will of God, than on the throne of England, out of the will of God.

Although you may never cross a literal desert, you will face times of spiritual dryness or times when God just doesn’t seem to hear your prayers.

That’s when waiting on Him becomes so important. Trust me, I’ve been there. The “waiting room,” as I’ve come to call it, is not a fun place to be. When is a door going to open? When is God going to make a way where there seems to be no way?

Ironically, the barrenness of the desert can produce some of the richest fruit in our lives, because it forces us to depend day by day on our heavenly Father.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

Learn to face deserts with anticipation, because you never know how God will lead you through and what will be waiting on the other side.

THE GARDEN

By garden, I mean quiet and still places with cool grass beneath your feet and gentle streams.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:2-3 NKJV)

The garden is a place of rest, refreshment and refocus. When you find yourself with breathing room, don’t chide that the action and drama of life have slowed. Take the opportunity to spend more time in God’s Word and enjoy the people and opportunities at your fingertips.

While planning ahead is great, counting your blessings in the here and now is also important.

Thank God for what you have, and trust Him for tomorrow.

COMMENCEMENT

Graduate, I’m excited for all the places you’ll go! God has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Don’t waste the precious life entrusted to you, but pursue the passions God’s laid on your heart. Give God permission to redirect as He sees best, and get ready for the next step on your journey.

~ Kristen

Tweetable: The Places Graduates Go: Deserts and Gardens – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

The Places Graduates Go: Mountains and Valleys

Last year, I had the privilege of guest blogging for my friend and writer Ashley Jones. She invited me to share a two-part graduation challenge for graduates. This year, I’d like to share those posts here with you. Whether you’re graduating or have long since graduated, I think you’ll be able to relate to the places we’ll face on our journey.

***

You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!

Dr. Seuss penned these well-known verses which have become synonymous with graduation. They capture a sense of achievement and the anticipation of climbing the mountain ahead.

Mountains are awesome to climb (We’ll talk about that in just a minute.), but there are several other places graduates will find themselves in the years ahead. Some of them are exhilarating; others are exhausting.

Even if you’re not a graduate, you can still relate to these places. Wherever you are in your journey, I hope these words will encourage and challenge you to pursue your God-given dreams – wherever they take you.

THE MOUNTAINTOP

For those of you who are graduating, this is where you are right now. The spotlight is on you, and your parents are in a frenzy to make every moment special, every moment count.

Personally, I enjoy mountain climbing. A few summers back, my brother and I hiked Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the northeastern United States. The sense of achievement upon reaching the top (and surviving the round trip) merited a large iced coffee, a chocolate cake donut, and bragging rights.

Mountaintop moments chronicle our success stories, and you’ll probably climb several figurative, if not literal, mountains in your life. However, pinnacles can be dangerous if we hunger for them more than for God.

In The Truth ProjectDr. Del Tackett calls this desire a hunger for significance. The drive for success is natural and God-given, but it can become a killer when we crave significance above our relationship with God.

The Apostle Paul warns about this pitfall in Galatians 1:10.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (ESV)

Go climb a mountain. Go for your goals, and do so with the drive to please God with your life.

THE VALLEY

Geographically speaking, valleys are much wider places than mountaintops. Death Valley stretches 100 miles long across the borders of California and Nevada. It is one of the hottest places in the United States.

Life sometimes brings us face to face with trials that threaten to burn us. We lose someone we love. Our application is denied. We don’t get the job or promotion. The relationship ends.

Although the future sometimes looks hopeless in the valley, we don’t have to travel it alone.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me… (Psalm 23:4a ESV)

Valleys are part of living in an imperfect, broken world. By God’s grace, they won’t keep us down for long. Regardless, our Lord goes with us through them.

NEXT TIME

There are some other places you’ll go in life after graduation, and we’re going to look at two more next week.

Until then, I have an assignment for you. Grab a pen and notepad, and write down your hopes and dreams for tomorrow. No matter how crazy or impossible they seem. As someone has said, “A dream is just a wish until it’s written down.”

You’re either going to face these goals (take risks) or forget them (avoid life). I strongly recommend facing them, because no matter how scary your dreams seem, they are at least experience or at best, success.

After you’ve written them down, then pray over them – that God will shape them and give you the courage to pursue them tenaciously.

Then, get ready for the adventure. You never know what places you’ll go.

~ Kristen

Tweetable: The Places Graduates Go: Mountains & Valleys – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

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Honor to Whom Honor is Due

This Memorial Day, I think back to my visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Lined with row after row of headstones, those grounds demand respect. People don’t talk loudly but whisper in hushed tones. During the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, visitors stand and silently watch the meticulous inspection of the new guard and the precision of those on duty.

Today, many of us will enjoy a day off from work, time spent with family, and good food. I’m truly thankful for all these things, but I might not be able to enjoy them but for the sacrifice of so many men and women.

And so, we say thank you to our soldiers, past and present. Your service and sacrifice help make our freedoms possible.

~ Kristen

Arlington National Cemetery
Changing of the Guard, Tomb of the Unknowns

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Jamestown Lessons on Faith and Government

There are so many places I could share with you from my trip to D.C. and Virginia, but today, I want to leave you with just one more: Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.

The second day of the Alpha Omega Academy trip took us to Jamestown, or rather, the scale-size model of that first community that sits on the opposite side of the James River where the actual excavation site lies.

There, we encountered replicas of the three ships that brought the first settlers to American soil: the Godspeed, the Discovery, and the Susan Constant. Next, we explored a Powhatan Indian village and the fort itself, including the church where members, according to our tour guide, were required to attend several times a day or risk severe punishment.

You see, the church of Jamestown was a transplant of the Anglican state church of England, and other types of worshipers (including Puritans and Catholics) were prohibited.

In other words, the “freedom of religion” guaranteed to Americans today was not available in this first community. However, in 1791, the first amendment of our Bill of Rights made that freedom not only possible, but also a Constitutional right.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …

The reason for “separation of church and state” is not meant to take God out of government. Rather, it is to ensure the freedom to practice one’s faith and prevent America from following England’s example of a state church.

Still, despite the restrictions Jamestown imposed on religious freedom, the colony reveals how important faith was to the early settlers. It was not something to be taken lightly but a vital and integral part of life.

Parting thought: Thankfully, no state church requires us to attend mandatory services. However, Hebrews 10:25 admonishes us not to neglect church fellowship, because it’s essential to our spiritual growth. Do you take church for granted? What benefits do believers reap from spending time in God’s house?

~ Kristen

 

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