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Secret Power for GirlsIdentity, Security, and Self-Respect in Troubling Times
By Susie Schellenberger
ZondervanCopyright © 2003 Youth Specialties
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFifteen-year-old Ashley slammed the front door of her house, threw her backpack on the floor, bolted upstairs, and shut her bedroom door.
"Ugh!" she screamed as she grabbed her journal and stretched across her bed.
Using her favorite green gel pen, she wasted no time putting her thoughts on paper.
I'm such a loser. I hate it! I've wanted Jeremy to notice me for two weeks, and today he finally got close enough to catch my eye in the cafeteria. Well, I got nervous and bumped into the kid in front of me. He made me drop my entire tray! It was so stupid! Everyone laughed. And then they all started clapping. I never wanna go back to school again. Jeremy must think I'm the most uncoordinated person in the world! How come I can't do anything right?
Natasha unloaded her backpack on the couch, grabbed a couple of cookies, and settled into the oversized chair in the living room. It was her favorite place to unwind. Even though the chair was old, frayed, and a little lumpy, Natasha enjoyed snuggling against the soft, worn fabric.
After carefully balancing her diary on her knees and placing the last cookie on the arm of the chair, she began her entry for the day.
Whew! I don't think I've ever had a day like this. Totally unbelievable. I mean, my life could definitely be the next TV sitcom!
I'll start at the beginning. Not because I wanna relive it, but because if I don't get it down in writing, someday my grandkids will never believe me. Well, here it is-Natasha's documented proof!
Okay, my alarm didn't go off because I had mistakenly set it for 6 p.m. instead of 6 a.m. (This should have been my first clue that my brain was in the freezer with last night's ice cream.)
As I was drying my hair, the blow-dryer broke. Yep, that's right; the only blow dryer in the house! So I had to go to school with wet hair. And wouldn't you know it, the hot new guy-the one I've been dying to meet-walked right in front of me and made eye contact. I was so nervous-I dropped my science project. He stopped to pick it up and said, "Hi, I'm Dominik." And all I could do was smile and say, "Dominik, even though first period hasn't even started yet, it's already been a really long day for me. Just call me W.H.-short for Wet Head."
Then I ran to class, but the bell rang before I could get there, so naturally I got a tardy. "That's your third tardy, Natasha," Mr. Mathers said. "I'll see you in detention today after school." Even though I hate sitting in detention, it gives me a chance to get my homework done before I leave school. And (this may sound lame)I really enjoy meeting the other kids who are stuck in detention with me. Sometimes I pull my Bible outta my backpack and just set it on my desk while I'm doing homework. You'd be surprised how many kids ask about it!
You'd think things would get better as the day progressed, wouldn't you? Not a chance! This is my life, remember, Diary? I just had to laugh.
We had a fire drill between third and fourth periods, and I tripped going down the stairs. Mrs. Hoskins sent me to the nurse, who wrapped my ankle in one of those beige ace bandages (it totally clashed with the orange shirt I was wearing).
Okay, my hair's still not dry, I have an ace bandage around my ankle, I've got detention coming up, I'm limping through the halls, and when I finally get my lunch and sit down to eat it in the cafeteria, I totally miss the chair and land right on my bottom.
The entire caf is clapping and laughing. So I stand, take my bow, and hit the side of my milk carton with a fork before beginning my acceptance speech: "Thank you very much! I especially wanna thank the Academy of Cafeteria Workers, the Academy of Higher Learning, and those who'll be in detention with me after school today."
Everyone was dying laughing-including me-what could I do but laugh? And when you think about it, it really was funny. I looked hideous! I now had baked beans on my orange shirt (they splattered all over my chest when I missed my chair and tipped the edge of my tray) and the remains of a barbecued pork sandwich on my lap.
During fifth period I gave my science report and displayed my homemade map of North America with its rivers, hills, mountains, ravines, and national parks. I tried to explain why the Rocky Mountains weren't so rocky after I dropped the map in the hall this morning before school. I laughed as I picked a few "new items" (leftovers from the accident) off of Colorado-a paper clip, a broken press-on nail, and a huge dust ball. "Scientists have recently discovered these items growing and reproducing at an alarming rate in the Colorado Rockies," I said.
The whole class was laughing, including Mrs. Rawlings. Afterward, she told me she appreciated my sense of humor. Well, that's nice to know, but it doesn't make up for the C she gave me, now does it?
With school finally over, I felt a little relief as I headed to my locker to get my stuff for detention. I know this will be hard to believe, but after I got out my books and stuff, I slammed the sleeve of my shirt in the locker door. Yep, the sleeve of my favorite orange shirt-which is now orange and brown, thanks to the cafeteria incident-ripped.
I limped into detention with my ace bandage unraveling, my torn and stained shirt stinking like picnic food, and my hair sagging toward my shoulders. In spite of my bedraggled appearance, I was grateful for the chance to get started on my homework. I'd probably been into it for five minutes when I heard a voice behind me say, "Hi, W. H."
I looked around ... and yes, it was him-Dominik!
"Well, I'm not a wet head anymore," I said. "My hair finally dried in a nice matted sort of way. I'm trying to go for one of those celebrity styles you only see in magazines."
I laughed. (My heart raced.)
"I'm new here," he finally said.
"Great performance today in the caf."
"Oh, no. You saw that, too?"
"So when's the encore?"
I laughed. "I'd like to say never, but knowing my luck, you'll probably catch a few more performances before the end of the week."
He laughed, and his eyes twinkled slightly.
"Most girls I know would've been devastated if they'd had a day like yours. But you ... you're different. What's your name-your real name?"
"So what's your secret, Natasha?" he asked.
And I smiled remembering the Bible I'd put in my backpack this morning.
Hey, what's the deal? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Natasha had a way more terrible day than Ashley. But while Ashley came home angry and depressed, Natasha can't wait to share the day with her future grandkids!
Glad you asked. It almost seems like Natasha has some kind of secret, doesn't it?
Yeah! A major secret. And not only that ... but it's like she has some kind of power or something that enables her to turn a bad day into a good one. What gives?
You're right. Natasha does have a secret. She also has a special power. And not only does that power help her turn bad days into good ones, it also helps Natasha like herself in spite of her outer appearance, find the humor in embarrassing situations, and feel confident enough to reach out to those around her.
So what's the secret? And where I can get this special power?
You're already on track! You're in the right place at the right time. And you're holding the map-this book-that will answer those questions.
Great! So let's keep going.
Wait a sec. This book is so important and holds such incredible truths that you'll want to soak in each page. The information printed in the next few chapters is more valuable than anything you'll ever read. So pause for a second. Take a deep breath. And let's pray.
I've never prayed before reading any other books.
This isn't like any of your other books. And you want to get it, don't you? Really get it? Understand it? Make the secret power not just something you read about but something that actually becomes part of your life?
Okay, then. We need to pray. It's that important. I'll make it easy-I'll write the prayer below and you pray it.
I gotta admit, it feels kind of weird praying about a book. But I understand that what's inside is really important-so important it could change my life forever. I'd like that, Jesus. I really would. It's easy for me to get down on myself. I want to know the secret of loving me like You do. And if there really is some kind of special power that could help me be a better person and make me confident-well, I want it!
So, please Jesus, help me understand what's inside this book. I really do wanna get it. Help me not just read it; help me soak it up and live it. In Your name I pray, Amen.
It's also important that you enjoy this book. So let's grab a few things to make the journey fun, okay? I'm gonna get a Coke, because that's my favorite drink. You get your fave drink, maybe a few munchies, and a pen.
I like the drink and munchies part, but why do I need a pen? This isn't going to be like school, is it?
No. You won't get detention if you don't have a pen. But if you do have a pen, you can actually participate inside the book. Sort of an interactive thing. Not only that, but you can use your pen to mark things you want to remember so you can go back and read them again later. So grab your drink, your munchies, and your favorite pen. Then meet me here in five minutes, okay? I'll wait for you. In fact, while you're gone, I'll just sit here and doodle.
Excerpted from Secret Power for Girls by Susie Schellenberger Copyright © 2003 by Youth Specialties. Excerpted by permission.
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