Finding God in a Teen Room Makeover (Book Review)

By  Karen O’Connor:

Sherry Kyle helped her daughters with a teen room makeover — and they ended up finding God in inner makeovers too.


Dream Room

The Girl’s Guide to Your Dream Room by Sherry Kyle

“Mom, can I please have my own room?”

The desperate look on my friend Sherry’s daughter’s face gripped Sherry’s heart. As a mom, she wanted to do whatever she could to give Brittany her own space. It wasn’t working out for her to share a room with her sister who was four years younger. The two were at odds with one another all the time.

“My nerves were on edge,” said Sherry, “waiting for the next fight to erupt.”

Little did she know at the time, however, that she would find God in a teen room makeover.

This creative mother loves to find solutions to problems that seem impossible so she went into research mode. After a bit of imaginative thinking, and plenty of prayer, Sherry came up with a workable solution.

“By placing a track rod on the ceiling and hanging paneled curtains, it split the room in half, dividing the space equally. Next, we painted the entire room a bright neutral color and purchased a second loft bed so my girls could each have a place to sleep and study. Then the fun part came––picking out separate comforters, rugs, lamps, and accessories to complement each daughter’s color scheme.”

During the process, the Holy Spirit nudged Sherry to teach her daughters “the importance of having an inner makeover as well as a room makeover—such as learning to speak kindly to one another, live humbly, and serve generously, to name a few.” Later on several occasions, the sisters pushed the curtains aside to talk to each other.

“I loved hearing the chatter and laughter, knowing they were spending time together,” said Sherry. “A little separation did wonders for their relationship—and for my sanity.” And in the process they all found God in the room makeover.

In addition, Sherry wrote a book on the topic of teen room makeovers.  The Girl’s Guide to Your Dream Room, for girls ages 8-12, (Legacy Press, 2013) gives girls and moms all the information they need to update the girls’ space! Filled with quizzes, stories, crafts, and tips, this book encourages girls to design a room that’s tailor made—just for them. Check it out. You can also find out more about Sherry and her other books at her website: Sherry Kyle: ReConnecting Faith and Fiction.

And for more help, see this YouTube video with ideas to help teens and tweens give their rooms a makeover: 125 Cute Bedrooms Ideas For Teenage Girls


 ©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor  


Find God in Soul Food

By  Karen O’Connor:


Image by digitalart /

Image by digitalart /

Is there a soothing, comfort food you turn to when you’re feeling lonely, sad, uncertain, or even happy and satisfied? Perhaps it triggers warm memories of the family table and good times with friends and relatives. Such food not only nourishes the body but does the soul a whole lot of good too,

In the United States today, the term “soul food” refers to African-American cuisine, including such mouth-watering delectables such as yams, sorghum, watermelon, pumpkin, okra, and leafy greens, wild lemons, oranges, dates and figs. When the aroma of soul food wafts through a neighborhood, everyone knows there’s a big pot on the stove somewhere and they gather ’round.

Image byJennifer Woodard Maderazo

Image byJennifer Woodard Maderazo

In my family of origin there were many delicacies particular to my Irish heritage, beginning with Mom’s apple slices drizzled with a light frosting made from a mixture of water and powdered sugar, corned beef and cabbage, especially on St. Patrick’s Day, and plenty of hot stews with more vegetables than I liked at the time I was growing up.

In my home now, soul food is potato-carrot soup, pumpkin custard, and toasted English muffins spread with fresh hummus and topped with thin slices of onion, tomato, and avocado.

Musing about the kind of soul food one can eat, got me thinking about another kind––soul food without calories––the kind that nourishes the human spirit. The food that matters for eternity.

Find God in soul food: feasting not just on family fare but also on the word of God.

I believe it’s important to enjoy earthly foods that keep us healthy, functioning, and alert. But such foods should never take the place of a daily helping of true soul food: conversation with God, rest in Him, Scripture reading, journal-writing, listening prayer, and repentance when we overstep his authority and will for our lives. This rich buffet of nourishing choices provides the balance we all need.

Bible image

This week as you linger over a cup of tea and your favorite cookie or sit down to a lovely meal, enjoy every bite and sip, keeping in mind that these will one day pass––but the food you feed your soul, will––like the words of Jesus–– never pass away. Find God in soul food and you’ll never be hungry again.

Be inspired by this YouTube video from Quiet Hour Ministries on food for your soul.

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor  


Finding God: The Dark Side of Seeking Approval

By Heidi McLaughlin:

Unrelentingly  seeking approval can lead to misery and bring out our dark side.

 [Image from kanate /]

[Image from kanate /]

We all crave to be accepted and recognized for who we are. When we sense we have been overlooked, rejected, put down or devalued, I believe our dark side kicks in. This starts when we are very young and someone gets a bigger ice cream cone or more recognition at a school play. We ask ourselves.  ”Am I not as important or valuable as the other person? How come she/he gets more rewards or recognition?”

When my children were younger and I took them to swimming lessons, they would constantly shout at me. “Look at me mommy; watch me swim. Look at how I can and do the back flip.” If I got into a conversation with another woman or happened to look away, they would remind me afterwards, “Mommy, you didn’t watch me.”

As we get older and become somewhat more mature, we become better at hiding our desperate need for applause and recognition. Yet it is there, lurking and subtly alive. We control, manipulate and orchestrate life to bring attention to our efforts; always hoping that today someone will notice how special I am.

When the pain of being rejected and overlooked becomes so powerful, the dark side can take over and compel people to do horrific acts of violence just to show the world that they are valuable and need to be noticed. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999 and killed thirteen of their classmates. That was four years after Timothy McVeigh killed 168 fellow citizens in Oklahoma City with a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  It is almost if I can hear them screaming, “I will make you take notice of me, no matter what I have to do.”

The need for our spiritual souls to be filled with love and acceptance is as powerful as the need for our physical bodies to be fed.  If our cravings are not fulfilled, our dark side will kick in and grab onto the thing we need to feel better.

As Christians and leaders in our community, churches and neighborhoods, many of us have trained our minds and bodies to behave and not let this craving be so evident. But I believe as long as we are in our human bodies, this will be one of our many struggles. But the Bible tells us this:

“For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord look at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 MSG).

So what is a person to do with the unrelenting craving?

Unlock the dark side. Be aware that it is there and call it by name. Pretending that it doesn’t exist does not make it go away.

Be aware that it is our motives that determine our actions. Ask yourself, “What is my motive for doing this. Is it to bring attention and recognition to myself or is it to fulfill my God given purpose and bring glory to God?”

God has given us authority and power through the Holy Spirit to live in the LIGHT, which is God.

The bible tells us that “God is Light and in Him in no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 NIV).  As long as we stay close to God, accept His love and life in His truth, our motives will be brought into the light.

Rehearse God’s promises and love for you.

Don’t be afraid to look into your dark side; it will be the beginning of taking it out of the darkness and bringing into the Light.  By doing that, it will begin to lose its subtle, insidious, manipulative power.

 © Heidi McLaughlin. For over two decades Heidi has taught women how to become “beautiful from the inside out”, applying God’s powerful truths via bible studies, mentoring, and Heidi’s own poignant stories.  Visit Heidi at, or  her blog. Follow Heidi on Twitter: @heidiheart

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