Archive for March, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway contributors post an answer to a weekly writing-or-reading related question. This week’s topic is: What books were you obsessed with as a kid?

SOO… here’s my first RTW post, in all its glory! Since I can’t choose one, I’ll choose three:

1. The Babysitters’ Club series. The entire series. I wanted to move to New York with Stacey, or paint with Claudia, or tan with Dawn… I wanted to BE a Babysitters’ Clubber. I got the whole set one Christmas, and I wore them out. Then I passed their tired-looking carcasses on to my adopted “little sister”, who managed to read around all the fraying and enjoy them as much as I did.

They were so REAL to a ten-year-old… spoken in a voice that I could understand. Ann Martin had a knack for making every one of those girls so alive to a middle-grade reader. Mad props to her.

2. Bridge to Terabithia. I believe I read BtT in sixth grade as a school requirement. It rocked my world. It was the first book I had ever read that punched me smack in the face with death. And not just death, but the death of someone my own age. I’ll never forget it.

3. Summer of My German Soldier. Boy, did I ever have a crush on that cute German POW! And being from the Deep South, I related to Patty like I had not related to any character I had read before. I could imagine myself doing what she did… doing the right thing, changing the world. I reread it a couple of years ago, and  fell in love (just a little bit) with Anton all over again.

Wow… what a trip down memory lane! Makes me want to go dig out Kristy’s Mystery Admirer!


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If you want to know why I LOVE my life, and being married to a youth minister, and being a part of the Killen family… well, here you go! I’m posting a “guest blog” that Jess wrote about some of our kiddos. It’s awesome.

1 Timothy 4:12…For REAL!

by Jess Eastep on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 11:30am


I wanted to start this note with a powerful quote about young people.  The problem is that I really wasn’t able to find one.  I’m sure there is one out there somewhere, but the only ones I could find were about how young people are immature and/or think they know everything.  As a youth minister, I can understand why so many quotes are of that tone.  At the same time, there are a ton of young people doing great things and deserve to be recognized for it.


I want to showcase some of these young people and share with you the awesome things they are doing.  The thing about being young is that you can’t always do a whole lot.  What I find in these people is that they are doing what they can with what they have.  Their motives are pure and their willingness is huge.


Catlyn Watkins (along with her friend Addison Pointer) has organized a soup kitchen called “Handy Lunches.”  It started in March 2010, and feeds over 100 people on the second Saturday of each month.  They get help with food from their home congregations and have even had local businesses donate money and food to help.  Catlyn and Addison are finishing their freshman years of college.   Handy lunches can be found on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118866481471279&ref=ts.


Russell Kershaw started a website called “The Push for Better Lyrics.”  As a senior in high school, he has noticed that lyrics in “popular” songs are appalling and need to be cleaned up. On the website, you can discuss all things music, but the overall purpose is to bring awareness to the dangers of listening to songs with vulgar lyrics and what we can do to change it. Check it out at http://pushforbetterlyrics.forumotion.com/.


Will Brown, a junior in high school, and his friend Lauren Atchley, are planning a movement called “Pennies for Panama.”  Their goal is to raise as much money as they can to go towards shoes for children in Panama.  Their Twitter name is pennysforpanama.


Emily Martin is another college freshman.  As part of a planning session at a youth rally, she came up with the idea of after-school tutoring.  The idea is to split groups up by age and have someone help them with homework and other school related subjects.  After a summer of planning, we plan to start the tutoring program in the fall of 2011.


Taylor Simpson is a junior in high school.  After a friend of their family’s young daughter was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, Taylor ordered bracelets to sell with all the proceeds going to their family.  She is getting her school involved and visiting various churches to raise money for this family.


Emily Russell is 16 years old.  After the earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan, Emily wanted to do something.  She came up with the idea of wearing red on a specific day as a reminder of what had happened.  It wasn’t going to rebuild houses or businesses.  It wasn’t going to undo the damage that had been caused.  What it was going to do and did, was make people stop, think, and pray during the day when they were reminded why they were wearing red.  Emily is also in the early stages of getting a benefit concert together of local bands to raise money for Japan.


Daniel Briggs is 22 years old…the old man of the group.  Daniel wants to plan a disaster relief trip to Japan in 2013.  His vision is to fill an airplane with people ready to help in any way they can.  Lots of planning and prayer will have to go into this, but Daniel is willing.


Simply writing this has encouraged me.  It’s great to see the “other” side of what young people are doing these days.  Hopefully this will be as refreshing to you as it has been to me to be a part of it.

I think this is exactly what Paul had in mind when he wrote to Timothy to “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”


“The heart of a young person overflows, because it knows no limits.”  – Jess Eastep


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Let me add this… it’s a perfect example of what I was talking about in my previous post. One of our 16-year-old girls started “Wear Red for Japan” to raise awareness of the plight of the people in Japan… to help people remember what happened, and remember to pray, and remember to help however they can. A middle aged woman posted this on the Wear Red for Japan page: “It could happen to us and I guarantee you when it does, Japan will cheer and spit on us”. Emily’s reply? “Maybe they will. But maybe, somehow, they’ll hear about what some American kids started and how on one day a whole bunch of people wore red for them and maybe they’ll wear red, white, and blue for us. No one is forcing you to wear red. It’s a choice you make for yourself. I pray you make the choice to remember these victims on this day.” Wow. Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about our future. Looks like it may be better and brighter than our past.

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Helping Japan

Today my best friend and I were talking about the condition of the world… the world that our church kids are growing up in and the world in which my Brennan will grow up. We lamented over all the things that they have to deal with and all the sarcastic, vulgar, disgusting pool of sinfulness that they encounter every day. How will they ever survive?

And yet… as I drove home this afternoon, I started thinking. The kids today are so… incredibly…giving. SO much more so than my generation was (or is), and more so than the generation before me. The tsunami that would have barely touched the radar of my high school class has already generated such a response from these kids. I know one student who initiated A Fist For Japan (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=205749769451066&ref=ts); another started Wear Red For Japan (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=105713806177117). They are asking us what they can do to help, and they’re eager to do something.

It almost brings me to tears to think that within the past 100 years, the country of Japan was so much “our” enemy that we struck it with an atom bomb. My grandparents’ generation, wonderful as it was and is, carries so many prejudices. But those types of things seem so irrelevant to this newest generation. They just love people; it’s what they do best. Which gives me a lot of hope for the future, and a lot of hope for my son. I can’t wait to see how they change this sick old world. I’m willing to bet that it will be a change for the better.

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