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Meet our new intern, Becky!

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Vicki Courtney Ministries is so excited to introduce you to our summer intern, Becky Beggs! She will be helping Shawna and Casey out with our upcoming Mirror, Mirror event for mothers and daughters on August 12th in Austin as well as a few projects related to my upcoming new release, Move On (August 5th). While we were impressed with Becky’s strong writing and marketing skills, we were most impressed with her contagious joy for the Lord. We are blessed to have her on board! (Becky is in the middle with my daughter-in-law, Casey on the right and our junior intern, Walker.)

Here is a little bit about Becky:

Home town: Austin, Texas
College/year/major: Sophomore at the University of Texas, studying Business
Family background: Oldest of four siblings and two opinionated dogs
Faith background: At a very young age, I was deeply troubled by the idea of life after death. I had consistent nightmares about heaven and hell, and was terrified to think of my own eternal destination. One night, when I could take it no longer, I asked my mom to pray with me, and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I may have been young, but the only thing that remains more vivid in my memory than the recurring nightmares is the unexplainable peace that washed over me as soon as I had finished praying. It’s been a learning process ever since, and I will always be a work in progress, but thankfully, I have a perfect and merciful Savior who walks with me.
Most defining moment in your life: Other than accepting God’s gift of redemption, the most defining moment of my life (so far!) occurred when I was recovering from a traumatic brain injury, and I found that when all else faded–accolades, friends, personality characteristics–my identity was, and is, securely found in Christ.
If you could tell tween, middle and high school girls one thing, what would it be? I’m not exactly sure how to get this across in writing as emphatically or eloquently as it stirs my heart, but I desperately wish that every girl–no matter her age or stage–would understand that life can be so much more, so much sweeter, so much more satisfying, when one places their trust in the Lord! I firmly believe that the commonly-accepted idea of a “full life”–a movie-like romance, lots of money, popularity in high school, the seemingly obligatory, debauchery-filled college experience, etc.–will never satisfy. True joy, fulfillment, and freedom are ours for the taking, presented as a gift by the One who gave us the desire for a meaningful existence.
Favorite Bible verse and why? This changes frequently, because I’m always finding a new one that I love, but my current favorite it Psalm 119:32: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?  I love to run, explore, play outside, and learn about people!

Ever After summer give-away!

UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER, JENNIE!
Thanks to all our participants! Winner has been contacted by email.
      .
Looking for a good summer read or a low-key bible study to do on your own or with a small group? Ever After is a perfect choice!
EverAfterbooks

Most every woman dreams about having a family and a building a home. We grow up on a steady diet of fairytales and chick flicks that drive our dreams . . . and leave us with a sugarcoated version of reality. The truth is, marriage and motherhood are hard. And no matter how much we give or how hard we try, we may never feel like it’s enough. The Ever After book and bible study address the difficulties and blessings associated with marriage and motherhood and most importantly, remind us that Christ alone is the answer to the happily-ever-after we long for.

To kick off the summer, we are giving away an Ever After prize pack including the winner’s choice of either the Ever After book or the Ever After Bible study workbook along with a sweet treat, bubble bath, and of course, your very own Princess tiara to wear in the tub (once you lock your husband and children out of the bathroom, of course)! To enter the give-away, comment below and share with us what you love most about summer.

One entry per person, please. A winner will be drawn next Monday, June 16th. We will contact the winner via email and update this post with the winner’s name.

EverAfterGiveaway

Here’s what women are saying about Ever After:
Ever After, Life lessons Learned in My Castle of Chaos is an honest, insightful book by Vicki Courtney addressing common issues all women face such as “castle envy” and being “yes-aholics”. Vicki’s stories and helpful marriage and parenting tips are just what every girl who ever wanted to be a princess needs.” Sara Ella
“Awesome Book!!! Every mother and wife needs to read!! Very easy to
read!! It’s one of those you don’t want to put down!!” – Leslie
“Some of the chapters in this book include: Prince Charming Letdown, Quitting the Family Busyness, and Hold on Loosely. Courtney goes over almost any aspect that we will face in our marriage and meets it head on with practical advice and wisdom from the Bible. There are some real laugh-out-loud moments, too, which made the book a joy to read. This is a really easy book to read, it holds your attention, and has practical wisdom that we can apply to our marriage whether we’ve been married for 1 year or 50. I highly recommend this book!!” – Julie
Thanks for entering! Hope your summer is off to a great start.

Grandbaby #2 is on the way!

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Due date: Early December!

Move On release date: August 5th!

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move on DVDMy Grandson (Walker) watching a sneak peek of Session One of my next Bible study, “Move On: When Mercy Meets Your Mess.” I loved shooting this Bible study DVD and getting to talk about how God takes our messes and uses them as part of His bigger story. But first, we have to be willing to talk about those messes, right? Did I scare you off from doing the study? I hope not! If you’re not a Bible study kinda-gal, it will also release in book form on the same date. Move On CoverMove On CoverMove On Cover

My poor blog and why I … “let it go”

Testing. Testing. 1-2-3 testing. Goodness. This poor, neglected blog hasn’t been updated since late December. I have no good excuse for my absence other than life got crazy busy and I had to take some things off my plate. I also tend to over-analyze what is blog-worthy and get caught up in a sort of “paralysis of analysis.” That said, I am really going to try to post more frequently on this blog, whether it be a quick ministry or family update, a video of my darling grandson, or a post related to topics I’m passionate about.

And I realize I haven’t posted an “Off the Cuff” segment with my college boy in FOREVER. It proved harder to pin him down than I had originally thought (did I mention he’s in college?!) and the clips were pretty time-consuming to edit. I have some volunteer help coming this summer, so maybe I can add that back on my plate.

Anyway, thanks for your patience and it’s good to be back! :)

Christmas present today…junk pile tomorrow

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This past week, I tackled a long over-due project in my home that I’ve been dreading for years: I cleaned out my youngest son’s bedroom. The poor kid left for college the same year his older two siblings got married and for that reason, the massive room overhaul was postponed. I’m not much of a spring cleaner (as in, it just didn’t happen except for maybe once every decade), so the thought of walking into his room was more than daunting. It took me a full week to weed through box after box of toys, clothes, books, and gadgets from his childhood. I uncovered a few priceless treasures, but honestly, it amounted to a whole lotta JUNK.

The crazy thing is much of this worthless junk entered our home by way of Christmas morning, wrapped in a box and sitting under a Christmas tree. Many of the items were things my son had to have because “all my friends have one;” “my life won’t be complete without it;” “I saw it on TV;” and yeah, you get the picture. Gameboy consoles with a bazillion cassettes, now extinct. Virtual pets (that mothers ended up caring for), an old pair of Nike Air Jordans that promised to make him cool; Houston Astros and Dallas Cowboys paraphernalia out the kazoo (remember back when they were winning teams?), vintage flip-phones that were oh-so-trendy at the time, and more.

I suppose I saved much of it because I thought it would mean something to him someday, given the value he had placed on them at the time. The bigger the junk pile became, the more convicted I felt. Before I bagged the expired must-haves up for a Salvation Army pick-up, I thought I’d give him one last chance to claim any treasures worth keeping. He was due home for the Christmas holidays, so I laid out the past birthday and Christmas plunder and told him to grab anything he wanted to keep or say his goodbyes. He plucked a few random things from the pile and walked away from the rest, without a second thought.

So, why am I telling you this? I suppose it’s because I wish someone had bothered to remind me that most of the things our kids clamor for each year when Christmas rolls around, will someday be junk — junk I will have to rifle through someday with a stab of conviction. Oh sure, it may give our kids a temporary zing of satisfaction in the days that follow, but alas, that zing always wears off. I’m certainly not suggesting we give our children nothing for Christmas, but what if we scaled back on their wishlists and instead, gave them something with lasting value? What if we made it more about giving than receiving? Trust me, I’m stepping on my own toes here, as I type that last sentence.

aphichokAbout seven years ago, my daughter (16 at the time) asked for a pair of Ugg boots. The problem is, she already owned a pair of Ugg boots. Granted, these were blue Uggs…and she found them on Ebay for a fraction of the cost…and most of her friends had the blue ones…and blah, blah, blah. Here we go again. That was the year, I wised up and gave my daughter something better than Ugg boots. We sponsored little Aphichok from Thailand through Compassion. He was three years old at the time and next month, little Api (as we like to call him) will celebrate his 10th birthday. I let my daughter choose which child we would sponsor and I assumed she would go for a darling little girl with pigtails and a charming smile, but no, she immediately pointed to Aphichok and said, “I want the angry-looking little boy.” Bless him. Isn’t he the cutest?

We’ve written to little Api over the years and I carry his pictures in my wallet to remind me to pray for him (and to help serve as a deterrent to pulling out my credit card to purchase more stuff that will end up in a future junk pile). In fact, I wrote to Api just last night and sent him an updated picture of our family. But here’s the coolest part about sponsoring Api: my daughter and her husband just sponsored their own child through Compassion this past year. The gift of sponsoring Aphichok was not only lasting, it was contagious. It followed her into her marriage, which is more than we can say for the Ugg boots.

This Christmas, would you consider giving your children the gift of sponsoring a child? Maybe you could do it together as a family and let your children choose the child like I did with my daughter. I realize that times are tight and not everyone can consider it, but I know many of you who are reading this can. Give your children a gift that keeps on giving — a gift with lasting value that won’t land in a junk pile or someday.

The real blessing is that your sponsorship may introduce a needy to child to the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. And isn’t that really what Christmas is really all about?

Click here to see the children who are waiting for sponsors. What do you say…can I count you in?

 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)

Off the Cuff: My son won’t talk to me!

Well, it’s taken awhile to get another Off the Cuff segment on the blog, but we’re back! With my travel and writing deadlines and Hayden’s college schedule, it’s been more of a challenge than we thought to get together and tape more episodes. The good news is that we taped about five episodes on Hayden’s last visit, so I have a stockpile of episodes to air over the next couple of months!

Today’s episode addresses communication barriers that are typical in the mother/son relationship. You know what I’m talking about.

Mom: “How was your day?”
Son: “Ok.”
Mom: “How much homework do you have? When is your English paper due? Did you turn in the permission form for the field trip?”
Son: (inaudible caveman grunt)
Mom: “Before we leave for baseball practice, I need for you to clean your room and take out the trash.”
Son: (dazed and staring into pantry in search of the perfect after school snack)
Mom: “Son, did you hear me?”
Son: “Huh?”

In today’s episode, Hayden offers his insight as to why it’s sometimes (always?) hard for boys to listen to their mothers. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 8.09.30 PMIf you’ve experienced this problem with your son, we’d love to hear about what has worked for you!

Ever After: Bible Study release & give-away!

We are so excited to announce the release of both the Ever After DVD Leader Kit and the Ever After Bible Study Member Books. The truth is, marriage and motherhood are hard. And no matter how much we give or how hard we try, we may never feel like it’s enough. The Ever After Bible study addresses the difficulties and blessings of marriage and motherhood. Poignant, funny, and even cathartic, Vicki shares mistakes made, lessons learned, and memories to keep. Most of all, she reflects the hope that Christ meets us wherever we are in the journey and that He alone is the answer to the happily-ever-after we long for.

Ever After BS

The Ever After DVD Leader Kit contains 2 DVDs with 6 sessions of video teaching and 5 weeks of homework, a message to leaders, a promo video, and bonus features. Videos average 20 minutes in length.

The Ever After Bible Study Member Book contains 5 weeks of homework with 5 days each and leader helps.

Click here to visit our bookstore and place your bible study order today!

Ever After DVD Leader Kit Giveaway

UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER! Congratulations to Paula (comcast.net) who entered by following Vicki on Pinterest.

To celebrate the new releases, we are giving away an Ever After DVD Leader Kit ($150 value!).  Entering is easy. Just click the link below and enter your email on Rafflecopter.com.  From there you will be given the option to add bonus entries for the drawing (liking Vicki’s author Facebook page, following her on Twitter, etc. using various social media tools). If you already do those things, that counts, too, so be sure and indicate that on the Rafflecopter page for additional entries.

Contest starts today and ends Friday (11/15) at 5:00 pm CST. We will randomly select one winner to be announced here on the Vicki Courtney blog on Monday. We will notify the winner by email as well.

Click here to enter the Ever After DVD Leader Kit giveaway!