your pain has purpose

>> March 31, 2011


If it's that church family that was part of your core team and walked out - your pain has purpose.

If it was the friend that betrayed you - let it go - your pain has purpose.

If it was the member that stirred up half of the congregation against your husband - your pain has purpose.

If it was the deacon or board member that seemed to not get the picture and made life hell on earth - there was pain in your purpose.

If it was the finance committee, Woman's Ministry Leader or Youth Pastors wife that caused drama - your pain has purpose.

If the church split almost caused a split in your marriage - your pain has purpose.

If you just found your husband has been dealing with the pressures of ministry by doing XYZ and you don't know how to help him, what to do, who to turn to.... your pain has purpose.

What you have gone through, what you are going through, what you are facing next, remember - your pain has purpose. Every test, every trial, every hardship, has pain associated. But I want to encourage you to handle it differently this time. Grow from it. Don't waste your trial.

When the pressure is on and we are hard-pressed, we can allow character development to take place. We can find a resolve from the depths of our soul that we will not give up or give in. If you are in standing position and are being pressed, literally someone/something will take you to your knees then to your face. Make it on your knees before God and on your face in His presence.

Know that tomorrow holds another day. That a new day is on the horizon.

Know that while God didn't send all the craziness happening in your life; He can and WILL use it. There can be glory in your story when it's all said and done.

Confront what you need to conquer. Don't waste your trail.

If you are down in the dumps, and you just don't understand why you are facing the situation you are in - if all you can say is "God you are my Good Shepherd, my Chief Shepherd and my Great Shepherd" - then hold onto that.

God wants you to cling to hope. If you feel like you are at a bottom of a pit, reach up and grab the rope of hope. I love you, am praying for you and just wanted to remind you that there is purpose that will make you stand stronger, taller and with a smile on your face.
I'm praying you find it.
~Veronica

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just for pastor's wives (3)

>> March 28, 2011

Dear Pastor's Wife,

Perhaps it is because we don't want to make ourselves so vulnerable that our hearts get hurt. Or maybe it is because our personalities don't like the limelight. Or maybe we are unsure how to go about it. Or perhaps we are simply unaware of the importance of our presence.

Whatever the case may be, some pastor's wives simply aren't visible. I believe that, in our own way and in our own style, we must make it a priority to be a presence in our church families.

I personally do not like to have eyes on me. My reserved and retiring personality feels awkward at unscripted social functions. I would rather stay home and read a book all day than to be traipsing around a room full of people. However, being amongst those to whom God has called me to serve is an uncontested given, or so it would seem.

For legitimate reasons, I'm sure, the previous pastor's wife at our church wasn't around for her last 7 years in this ministry. When I arrived on the scene, I heard many people say that they didn't even know who she was, and I am sad to think of what the ministry lacked as a result.

I think it is important that a pastor's wife be a vital part of the church family where her husband has been called. I don't always do this perfectly. Sometimes I would rather just hang out with my girlfriends at church. Many times I must tend to my children (but I caution against socially hiding behind them, if you know what I mean). Other times I just want to keep a low profile because I am tired and weary. But I try not to let it be my norm.

Regardless of your husband's pastoral position, for the sake of his ministry, your ministry, (and even your marriage), make every effort to be visible.

Hear me now. This does not mean that I believe that a pastor's wife should be at every church function, or that she must always lead a ministry. Dear me, No! However, for as many events that we can attend, we should do so, and do so in a way that is visible. Here are things to consider:

1. Go to strategic events at church. Some events are weightier than others. If there is a funeral of a dearly loved, long-time member of your church, that would be one to attend. Community group invitations, baby showers of staff wives, kick-off events, women's Bible Study, and elder's wives gatherings are others that would top my list. These are opportunties to minister to a lot of people or to be involved in fellowship with key leaders of the church.

2. Position yourself well.
When attending a church function, we can maximize the opportunity by placing ourselves in visible locations. For me, because my husband is the preaching pastor, it makes sense for me to sit up front not only so others can see that I am present, but so my husband can sit with me at times and the congregation can see us together.

It makes little sense for me to serve in the nursery right now because I would not be visible there, but certainly the wife of a children's pastor could do so. Sometimes, it may be best to stand near the back as people enter or exit so you can greet as many as possible. Other times, it may be helpful to mingle with others in the lobby, or pass out bulletins, or serve in another active and visible role.

3. Take opportunities to be up front.
This goes no matter what ministry role your PH has. I don't mean literally from the main stage. But you might take a quick up-front role at choir practice, or at youth group, or in women's ministry. Don't force the issue, but if given the opportunity, go for it and try not to shy away. Pray when you're asked. Give an announcement. Share a story. Be in an accessible location after services to those within your husband's sphere of ministry.

4. Have groups of people over to your house.
One-on-one can be fun, but it's exhausting to get to know a lot of people in this way, especially if you are new to a church. Go for casual pot-luck parties with your husband's ministry team. Have a SuperBowl party. Invite the staff or elders' wives over. People appreciate getting to be in your home and knowing you in a more casual setting.

5. Develop your own ministry where you can reach many people. Perhaps you like to write notes to people. If so, make it a priority to write 5 or more each week to people in the congregation. If you like to counsel, let it be known among the church staff so that they can send people your way. Maybe you will have opportunities to speak, or write in a newsletter, or blog. It is cathartic and refreshing to not just be "the pastor's wife", but to have a ministry in your own right.

6. Stand by your man. Literally. Your presence by his side makes a strong statement to those that are watching. It lets people know that you are a team. You have strengths that can compliment your husbands and as you talk to others together it will be noticed. Plus, you are able to interact with the same people and help each other remember names ;-). It also keeps unhealthy admiration by other women in check. Ahem... hint, hint.

Whatever you choose to do must be in the context of your own personality and your relationship with your pastor-husband. The only exhortation is to make sure that you have a presence within your church...that people know who you are and feel that you love them and are approachable. How you do that is uniquely defined by you. God will give you the wisdom and grace to get out there and lead well. You can always go home after church and take a little nap :).

Rising up into my role and calling with you,
~ Joy

Growing up in a pastor’s home, Joy Dombrow was molded and shaped by a life of ministry and service.  While studying Human Development/Education at a Christian college and then teaching, she partnered with her husband in youth ministry at four different churches, a calling that would continue for 15 years.
Currently, Joy’s husband Joel serves as lead pastor of Willamette Christian Church, where she serves in a wide variety of teaching, serving, counseling and advisory roles. She is passionate about helping women understand and apply the truths in God’s Word and enjoys using speaking opportunities to do so.
In her free time, Joy writes, cheers her kids at sporting events, plays board games, chats with friends, reads five books at any given time, and makes references to her beloved television show Little House on the Prairie... all while sipping on a cup of peppermint tea.

Joy and her husband make their home in the Portland, Oregon area, along with their two school-aged children, Nathan and Elisabeth.
She has graciously shared this series as a guest writer for CLUTCH. You can read more about her life, ministry and family on her personal blog here.

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at the movies with Bishop TD Jakes

>> March 24, 2011


Last week Pastor Mark and I had the privilege of being invited to a mentorship event with Bishop TD Jakes, also known as Project Gideon. I will be blogging on our experience on other posts, but I wanted to share with you “Movie Night with the Bishop!”

He rented out the Prytania Theatre; the oldest operating theatre in New Orleans dating back to 1915. Project Gideon delegates were attendees where we watched a pre-screening of his movie Jumping the Broom. As host, he served popcorn and soda and I sat right next to my hubby soaking up a date night.

Jumping the Broom is a hilarious wedding-themed comedy that depicts the collision of worlds when two families from divergent socioeconomic backgrounds are forced to spend the weekend together for a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard. – The movie was GREAT! Without giving it away; there were so many relatable points.

I think everyone should see the movie! The skin showed in the movie is nothing more than what you would see in a JC Penney's catalog, so just note that if you're judging based on previews. There are godly principles implemented through secular scenes. It's the perfect opportunity to build on the hidden messages and how we can live out Christ in our daily lives.

Pastors’ Wives, First Ladies and Women in Ministry: if you and your husbands would like to support Bishop Jakes on opening weekend May 6-8th, you can call 877-488-4258 for group sales or email SPE_Group_Sales@spe.sony.com Remember that the success of the film is all based on opening weekend; together let’s impact Hollywood.

Love you much,
Veronica

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just for pastor's wives (2)

>> March 21, 2011

Dear Pastor’s Wife,

Without fail, when someone speaks the term “pastor’s wife”, varying images and ideals are conjured up in the minds of those listening. I would venture to say that those ideals differ from person to person, but there can often be an unspoken expectation inadvertently placed on the pastor’s wife regarding who she should be and what she should do.

You know the typical ones... Piano player. Conservative style. Teaches children’s classes. Bible Study leader. Two-for-one deal. Depending on your church situation, you can receive these messages from members of the congregation, but often times...

...the worst offenders are ourselves.


Perhaps your own pastor’s wife set the model for you. Maybe it came from your seminary experience. Maybe it was set by your pastor-husband. Maybe you were influenced by all the comments that you hear about pastor’s wives, or questions from the members. However, somewhere along the way we can become consumed by the should's and the ought-to's (even subtley) of our identity as pastor’s wives instead of the get-to's of who we were made to be in Christ.

That kind of thinking leads us to insecurity. Insecurity leads to funny behavior...like jealousy, and withdrawal, and self-promotion.

God chose us to be pastor’s wives. We will not please everyone. Why are we trying to anyway? He will (and has) equipped us to compliment our husbands and their ministries while enjoying our own... just like every other wife out there.

So my thought for today?

#2... Know who you are and live it out.


Find out your strengths and weaknesses.

Take tests for your personality and spiritual gifts to help you narrow down what you should say "yes" to and what you should leave to the other parts of the church body. Ask your friends what they see as your strengths. Note the areas where you receive positive feedback and confirmation. Play to your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Try to make at least 80% of your ministry within your strengths and 20% or less within your weaknesses (stuff still needs to get done, ya'll).

Know what energizes you and what doesn’t.
Usually what energizes you is in your area of strength. However, if you need to do something that doesn't come naturally, make sure to have a plan to refuel later. Make sure you are rested up and prepared for that task. If you are an extrovert and being alone makes you depressed and tired, plan some coffee appointments. If you are an introvert and loving on people all weekend makes you tired, don't plan much for Sunday night or Monday.

If you have creativity coursing through your veins, look for ways to utilize it for the church. Snag a hobby that brings you joy so that you can continue to serve gladly. Whatever you do, pace yourself for the long haul. Don't jump in without counting the cost and planning a course for longevity. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Recognize (and accept) your stage of life.
If you are working, select ministry that accommodates your schedule and also gives you some downtime. If you have young kids, simplify ministry life so that you can cope with the needs of the home. If you have to take care of aging parents, don't apologize for not being able to make it to everything. If you have active teenagers, figure out ways to do ministry that won't cause them to resent being a PK.

Bottom line: we should never try to fight against our stage of life, or wish for something different. If it is a stage you don't like or that hinders you from your view of how you should do ministry, just know that it is temporary and is preparing you for a future stage. You can still thrive.

Do not try to be someone else or wish you were different.

Although it is good to have role models and to look to others to help sharpen us, we must be very careful about turning our heads to watch what other pastor's wives are doing. That kind of comparison can often lead to feelings of inadequacy and discouragement. I love what I stumbled upon in God's Word recently:

"Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct." Galatians 6:4-6.
Let's rise up into the role and calling that God has placed on our own lives. If you don't do it, someone else just might. Your role is the role you were intended to fulfill. Do not try to fill anyone else's... their job is already taken.

Let God speak to you each day about who He made you to be and what He wants you to do.
This concept piggybacks on the verse above. The key is to do what you should do... what God has told you to do for the day. So often I feel guilty for not being able to meet the continuous stream of needs that are within our community.

However, if I begin the day asking the Lord what He would want from me and then trust that He will answer that prayer, I can look back on my day and be confident that what I was able to do, or not do, was His plan and idea... not my own.

That daily prayer is a vital one and allows me to live a life that stands strong against comparison and regret. If God has led me to it, then I must do it. If He hasn't, then I am free from that obligation, no matter what others may say.

Sparkle!

My pastor's wife's mom gave me this little word to hold onto. I am rather reserved and so just thinking about this as I enter a room really helps me to go out of myself in order to minister.

If that outfit is modest and you feel great in it, wear it without worrying what others may think. If someone makes a funny comment toward you or you feel them whispering behind your back, just continue to smile, deflect the comment, and hold on to your purpose.

If you are feeling tired, allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength. Dwell in the wonderful parts of your personality and live unapologetically in who God created you to be.

In short, we as women in Christ must learn to rest in God. Comparison, pushing your way into ministry, being someone you are not, and trying to meet everyone’s expectations (unspoken or otherwise) is exhausting.

Just relax and be yourself. The people of your church will get used to your style and will love you best as you love them out of a secure and confident heart. The ones who don't, have that prerogative.

So break out those funky shoes if you want. Indulge in that fun hobby of yours. Embrace this stage of your life without hesitation. Stop trying to do everything so “right”. And run with God headlong into serving and loving the way He has created you to do it... with a genuine smile upon your face.

Uniquely designed for His glory,
~ Joy
 Growing up in a pastor’s home, Joy Dombrow was molded and shaped by a life of ministry and service.  While studying Human Development/Education at a Christian college and then teaching, she partnered with her husband in youth ministry at four different churches, a calling that would continue for 15 years.
Currently, Joy’s husband Joel serves as lead pastor of Willamette Christian Church, where she serves in a wide variety of teaching, serving, counseling and advisory roles. She is passionate about helping women understand and apply the truths in God’s Word and enjoys using speaking opportunities to do so.
In her free time, Joy writes, cheers her kids at sporting events, plays board games, chats with friends, reads five books at any given time, and makes references to her beloved television show Little House on the Prairie... all while sipping on a cup of peppermint tea.
Joy and her husband make their home in the Portland, Oregon area, along with their two school-aged children, Nathan and Elisabeth.
She has graciously shared this series as a guest writer for CLUTCH. You can read more about her life, ministry and family on her personal blog here.

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apples and oranges

>> March 18, 2011


Comparing is dangerous.

While apples and oranges are alike because they are fruit, both roundish in shape, both hand-held -- they are also very different. One feature is the outer layer can be eaten while the other cannot. One has more seeds then the other. Only one can create a pie, yet they both produce juice.

How many times do you compare your husband, your ministry, your family dynamics, etc? While it is healthy to have mentors, motivators and models which encourage us to grow; it is not healthy to compare and complain.

If you have fallen into this trap, feel free climb out today. How do you stop? You just do. You hold your tongue. You take your thoughts captive. You change your point of view and refuse to go there.

You are anointed to be you! Your husband is anointed to be him! Your kids are anointed to be who they are! Focus on being you. Find the real you, if you have masked her with various cover ups. Dig deep and allow the fruit-fullness from within to come out.

I encourage you to "deal with the root, not the fruit." Meaning, there are root issues to why are you comparing and complaining. Face it, trace it, erase it, and replace it.

I have a friend who was the PW of a church planting Pastor. She said one day, "my husbands messages aren't thought out, it seems like he's shooting from the hip, they are unprepared and I'm so frustrated". In reality her husband is an awesome preacher. However, as a church planter he was being pulled in too many directions. His study and preparation time was being cut short.

After discovering that root, we were able to come up with ways she could help him with ministry administration tasks that would free up some time for him to dedicate to studying and preparation. They were able to talk about delegating to core team members and other solutions.

Comparing and complaining is easy but its not productive. My prayer today is, if you are in this rut, that you will be inspired to work toward solutions rather than settling for complaints.


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just for pastor's wives (1)

>> March 14, 2011

Dear Pastor's Wife,

Over the past 16 years of being the wife a man in full-time ministry (i.e. a pastor’s wife), I have learned a lot...both through wise and godly counsel and from experience.

I always wished that someone would have sat me down and told me all the things that would be helpful for me to know in ministry. I didn’t take Pastor’s Wife 101 in college :). Most of what I learned I observed from my mom (or she counseled me in along the way), I gleaned from books by pastor’s wives, or I figured out by trial and error.

Through the years I have developed a love for sister PWs and am sensitive to the needs that they have as they fulfill a unique calling on their lives. So, from time to time, I thought I would share some things that I have learned along the way. I don’t do them perfectly, as I am a work in progress and have much more to learn, but there are certainly little pearls of wisdom I can pass on...especially to those who are just starting out in ministry.


#1 Recognize that it takes about three years to feel at home and find your place.

Oh, I have had to remind myself of this piece of wisdom time and time again! Not only is it true for a pastor’s wife, but I believe it is true for anyone starting out with a new church...layperson or otherwise. Upon setting foot in a new church, idealism and expectations run high. Based on previous experiences we have preconceived notions of how things should be...either positive or negative.

I have found (after being “new” in four different churches) that it takes a long time to form lasting relationships, to figure out the in’s and out’s of the church body, to find a good fit for my own giftings, and to settle into what is normal and healthy for the current church situation. So often times, people become discouraged at about year 2, wondering why they don’t feel like they fit in, when in reality they just need to hang on because year 3 is a-comin’! (Of course, each circumstance is different and it make take shorter or longer for some).

Within the first year, I have found two pieces of advice helpful. The first comes from Chuck Swindoll who told a friend of mine, “Be careful who greets you off the plane”. Meaning, be careful of those who try to befriend you hard and fast in the beginning. Often times, these people are ones who are starving for friendship...and for a reason. Or, they had extreme loyalty (and thus influence) to the previous pastor and his wife and want to recreate that same relationship with you. In short, they are feeling a loss and may have an agenda. Although the attention is nice, it may come to harm you later.

The second piece of advice is not to tie yourself down to any one ministry in the first year. As soon as pastor’s wife sets foot on the scene she is a novelty and new “help” for any given ministry. It was a blessing for me to let people know up front that I would not be committing to much at first so that I could get to know the church as a whole. We visited as many community groups as we could within the first six months. I went to all three services. I was a participant in the women’s ministry. I helped out here and there in the children’s ministry. We had people over to our house as often as we could.

I kept myself free enough to be visible and active in as many things as possible without having to lead much of anything. I supported my husband along the journey of his learning curve. I don’t know that I stuck to my plan for the whole year because six months into it we had committed to a community group and I served on the children’s advisory board, but the pressure was off and I was free to make decisions based on where I felt God was leading me. Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint, and it is important to count the cost before making a leap of commitment that may, or may not be the best fit for you or your family.

By the second year, the “honeymoon” (if you ever got one) is over. New staff come on board that then become the new novelty. Idealism gives way to reality and it’s time to figure out how to settle down for the long haul.

By year three, trust and credibility have grown, friendships have been forged, giftings have been placed, and a ministry wife can settle down into her church family like a familiar warm blanket.

The transition to a new ministry has its ups and downs, but perseverance is your friend. I have been so blessed to be at the church that we are at. Honestly, I don’t know that a transition could have gone any smoother as our people have been so generous and gracious toward me. But, there is still a transition nonetheless and for those of you in rockier circumstances...hang in there!

Remember that it will probably take about three years and recognizing this fact will save you from acting out of insecurity, which is never a good thing. You will find your place in your new church family and in doing so be a blessing to them.

Waiting for God's timing in all things,
~ Joy

Growing up in a pastor’s home, Joy Dombrow was molded and shaped by a life of ministry and service.  While studying Human Development/Education at a Christian college and then teaching, she partnered with her husband in youth ministry at four different churches, a calling that would continue for 15 years.
Currently, Joy’s husband Joel serves as lead pastor of Willamette Christian Church, where she serves in a wide variety of teaching, serving, counseling and advisory roles. She is passionate about helping women understand and apply the truths in God’s Word and enjoys using speaking opportunities to do so.
In her free time, Joy writes, cheers her kids at sporting events, plays board games, chats with friends, reads five books at any given time, and makes references to her beloved television show Little House on the Prairie... all while sipping on a cup of peppermint tea.
Joy and her husband make their home in the Portland, Oregon area, along with their two school-aged children, Nathan and Elisabeth.
She has graciously shared this series as a guest writer for CLUTCH. You can read more about her life, ministry and family on her personal blog here.
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video interview::debra george

>> March 10, 2011

Hey Clutch friends:

This month on Wholehearted, I want to introduce you to Debra George!

She is a Woman in Ministry, a life coach and motivational speaker. You can connect with her online on facebook and twitter or visit her on youtube. Debra is on the move, traveling from church to church, ministering life-changing messages to men and woman across the globe. Her ministry website shares more about her projects, products and availability for your next event. She is full of life, vibrant and fun! I encourage you to get to know her!
~Veronica

Part 1
video


Part 2
video

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unsuspecting...

>> March 7, 2011



LaRae and her husband are missionaries in a Muslim country in West Africa, where they are developing a public health clinic to serve the medical needs of the people in their village. They live with occasional electricity and running water, and have a son who is 3 years old.

The trees are lushes and healthy, beautiful to the eye. Their fruit ripens into either brilliant crimson red or a cheery yellow.

...cashew fruit & nut...
When you bite into it, a light, sugary sweet water fills your mouth. Something about it makes you crave more and eat as much as you can eat.

Yet this delicate fruit has a dark side. When you eat too much, your mouth and throat become dry, inflamed and sore. If the watery juice drips on your clothes, a dark brown stain will appear after you wash it and nothing will take out the stain. If left for a day after picking, the fruit will ferment.

The tree also has a root system that spreads under the ground and pops up as new trees, making it difficult to completely remove them from your property.

Another yummy aspect to this tree is the hard green c-shaped lobe at the end of the fruit. Inside this bomb-proof shell is a fine quality nut.

...LaRae's African home and garden...
But again, there's a negative aspect. The green shell contains a vicious oil that causes blisters on your skin. It's a tedious process to harvest the nut -- and thus, the expensiveness of cashews.

As I have been experiencing the cashew season here, I've been fascinated at its bi-polar properties. I'd been told once upon a time that the fruit was poisonous. But here in Africa people pick it and eat it freely.

One day as I pondered this, I realized that sin is very much like the cashew tree, fruit and nut. Beautiful, delicious, tantalizing, addictive and poisonous.

And in the end, there is always a price to pay.

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SURVIVAL TIP #12

>> March 4, 2011

TIP #12: Let your husband fight his own battles. 

He's a big boy. Act like you believe in him.

That doesn't mean you aren't going to defend him if somebody comes to you with a harebrained accusation or rumor.

It just means that it's usually wise not to act like you think he can't take care of himself. 'Cause that can make other people wonder if it's true!

Every pastor has conflicts with people. Every church has times where there's some issue, big or small, with their pastor. It's the nature of ministering among real, live human beings. Count yourself blessed if it hasn't happened yet, 'cause its guaranteed to happen sometime. 

When it does happen, be sure to let your husband know that you're behind him. Tell him how much you love him. Affirm his calling and his ability to handle the situation. Pray for him -- LOTS.

And stay out of it. 

If people come to you about it, tell them that you stand behind your husband on this one. Don't come out clawing like a tigress, even though you might want to knock some heads together. State your position, and then refuse to get sucked in.

When it's all over and the storm has passed, you'll be glad you kept your cool.
 
Got a survival tip that someone shared with you, or that you learned along the way? Send it in and we'll share it: clutchtalk [at] gmail [dot] com.

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TIME Magazine on pastor's wives

>> March 1, 2011

HELP WANTED: Pastor's wife. Must sing, play music, lead youth groups, raise seraphic children, entertain church notables, minister to other wives, have ability to recite Bible backward and choreograph Christmas pageant. Must keep pastor sated, peaceful and out of trouble. Difficult colleagues, demanding customers, erratic hours. Pay: $0.
That's how one article in TIME magazine starts. It isn't a recent article, but I just stumbled across it and wanted to share it with you.

We all know that being a PW makes for a unique life. No other wife's life is exactly the same as those of us who are married to the pastor.

One of my favorite aspects of the article is its' emphasis on how the Internet can bring PWs together into a network of shared advice and support that never existed for past generations. That's really what CLUTCH is all about.

You might not know it, but CLUTCH is read by PWs in more than 20 countries every single week. We'd like to grow our readership too, so that more and more young PWs can be blessed and share their blessings back with us. So why not let your fellow PW friends in on the secret?

Read the full article by LISA TAKEUCHI CULLEN here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1604902,00.html#ixzz1Dm0BROEe. Then, maybe come back here and tell us what you thought about it?

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