My foray into freelance writing started with a look at what I knew and what I was passionate about. My heart, first and foremost, is for writing encouraging words to children and our youth today. Therefore, I started with the Christian Writers Market, focusing on writing for Children and Teens. Below is the article (before edits) accepted for syndicated publication by Churchmouse Publications last year (2010).

Bored No More – 10 Ideas for Teens and Young Adults

Are you bored? Are you spending your days flipping between Twitter, email, and Facebook waiting for “something” to happen? Are you thinking there should be something more that you should be doing? How about finding fun, joy, and spiritual fulfillment in a project to help someone else? Here are some ideas that should take the “bored” out of your heart and replace it with peace.

  1. Help someone who is sick or disabled – Find a friend and go visit with someone who is sick or disabled. The first thing that they probably need is someone to say hello and listen to how they are feeling (think about how much you want your mom to listen when you don’t feel good). You could then find out if they need an errand run (which would probably be the most fun of the tasks), housecleaning (which is why you brought a friend, maybe you could sing together or tell a stories while you clean), or bringing frozen meals to heat up (challenge the friend to cook the best meal – but don’t lose sight of what is important here). The helper here often ends up being more blessed than the one being helped.
  2. Do a secret mission – Find out about a need that someone has and try to fulfill that need – secretly. For example, if you find out there is a family whose father does not have enough work and they are struggling financially, you could gather up some food from friends and quietly drop it off at their door, being sure to disappear before they pick it up. Or, maybe an elderly couple are out-of-town and you trim up their yard for them. There is something exciting to a secret task like this.
  3. Visit the elderly in Nursing Homes and other facilities – If you and some friends or siblings can sing, play an instrument, or even read a story, setup a time to go to your local nursing home and perform for them. This is a great way to get experience using your talent in front of a usually supportive audience. For further blessing and growth, stay for a little and chat with some of the folks. This is something they don’t get enough of and you may just be enthralled as they “perform” for you, telling you stories of their youth and such.
  4. Join a group – There are many different groups out there. Some are service oriented (i.e. Big Brother / Big Sister), some are focused on learning (i.e. Scouts), and some are focused on a talent (i.e. a worship group) and some combine a little of everything (i.e. 4-H). This is will help you meet new people if you don’t know many people in your area and can open the door to all kinds of opportunities. You will learn and grow, and you may find many ways to serve others. Obviously, the group should not conflict with your Christian values.
  5. Collect “stuff” for a fund-raising Garage Sale – People generally like to give away stuff more than money, so you should have an easy time gathering up items. You should choose what the charity is ahead of time and theme your sale around that. Maybe only gather up items that relate in some way or decorate based on the charity and theme. For example, the charity could be an orphanage in Kenya. You could then have the focus be on children’s clothing and / or lightweight summer clothing. You could decorate with an African theme and have photos of the orphan children placed around the tables at the sale. Do what sparks your interest and your heart.
  6. Go on a Prayer-walk – You could take a walk around your neighborhood and pray as you go. Pray that the Lord shows you the needs of the people around you and to shows you an open door to share the gospel with someone. Pray for someone in the neighborhood that you don’t like or maybe even did something wrong towards you. Pray for the people in the neighborhood who look like the meanest, scariest, or weirdest. Do it for many days in a row. It is one of the biggest faith builders to see God answer prayer and it should leave you feeling connected and peaceful with the Lord.
  7. Create a Volunteer Scavenger Hunt – This is good if you have a lot of charity organizations near you and you would like to see which one you really want to get more involved in. Make a list of the charities, an item that can only be gotten by volunteering there, and set a minimum number of hours each participant needs to work at each one. The winner could be the one who gets the most items on the list, but in the end, you should all be winners by the time and effort you gave.
  8. Call or visit a friend – Maybe you have a friend who needs to know more about your faith or why you believe what you do. Or maybe you have a friend who is not currently in a good situation and needs to get out of their house once in a while and spend time with a Christian family. Maybe they posted something on Facebook and you have a feeling they need to talk about it. Go and get a bite to eat or visit a park or something that allows you time to really talk, and talk, and talk.
  9. Make something for someone – Have you been wanting to try wood burning, or bead making, or trimming bonsai trees? Maybe you cook, sing, or read dramatically? God asks us to use our talents. You might give this a try initially to bless someone, find you have a real talent for it, and find your future vocation in the process.
  10. Read your Bible and pray – OK, this isn’t exactly a project for someone, but sometimes, when we are searching for something, what we really need is just some quiet time with the Lord.