Summer Reading Plan: Atlas Girl



Okay everyone, I couldn’t be more excited about this week’s summer reading giveaway… Atlas Girl is a beautiful memoir from a precious new friend, Emily Wierenga.  Emily is guest posting today so I’ll be brief and encourage you to read what she shares… and then comment to win one of two copies of her book.  You’ll instantly love her!  Plus she shares some powerful truths in her post that every leader needs to be reminded of.

5 Secrets to True Success (and memoir giveaway)

By Emily T. Wierenga


Jenni Catron

I’ve always wanted to be famous.

We were walking home from college one day, my boyfriend and I, the sun on our faces, the wind at our backs.

Trent was asking me what I wanted to become when I graduated, and this girl in the blond hair and bell-bottoms said, “A television news anchor.”

“Why?” he said.

I looked down at my feet. “Well, I guess, I’d like to change the world.”

In high school the boys had always just said, “You’d be great at that, because you’re so pretty!” I liked that response much better.

“Why do you need your face to be on television in order to change the world?” he said then, this farm boy who volunteered at kids’ club and bowled with his Grandma on weekends.

“I don’t know.” I was nearly running, trying to escape the past, but its legs were longer than mine. I was still the lonely preacher’s kid who was always comparing herself to others and turned anorexic.


Trent put a hand on mine. “You don’t have to be seen to make a difference,” he said, and I knew then I would marry him.

“But if no one sees me,” I said, “then who am I?”

I’d believed all those self-help books that say we are what we make of ourselves, that the power of success lies in our hands, that the highest rung on the ladder is the aim.

It’s been 15 years, and I’m an author and a speaker, and I’ve learned this: my husband was right. True success is not about being seen, or about having the right labels or the right job. It’s about this:

  1. Humility. Success is about treating others better than you treat yourself; it’s about seeing the person versus the mass; it’s about being small, and assuming the lowest position of service and waiting for the right time to be lifted up and recognized. Those who steal the show receive false glory.
  2. Integrity. Success is about doing the right thing, the hard thing, even if no one sees you do it. Because someone Higher and All-Powerful does see you, and he will reward you at the right time.
  3. Patience. Success is not about fast fame; it’s about slow and steady wins the race. We’ve lost the art of waiting.
  4. Honor. Success is about doing something well, and about the honor finding you. It’s about detail and beauty and respect and the fine wine that take ages to perfect; it’s about doing something people will talk about for centuries, versus days.
  5. Quiet. Success is about listening to what the rest of the world is too rushed to hear. The whispers of longing, of regret, of ache. Success is about hearing those whispers, and responding to them. One person at a time.


It’s not about us, friends. It’s about something so much, so the question is—How can your particular, amazing story become a candle that leads others home?



My memoir, ATLAS GIRL, is releasing this month, and I am excited to give away TWO copies today. Just leave a comment below to win!

From the back cover:

“Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents’ rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else–anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time–in the place she least expected it.

“Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.”


Click HERE for a free excerpt.


I’m also giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl. Just order HERE, and send a receipt to:, and you’ll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by myself and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.

Atlas Girl_700x175_2

ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards my non-profit, The Lulu Tree. The Lulu Tree is dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers. It is a grassroots organization bringing healing and hope to women and children in the slums of Uganda through the arts, community, and the gospel.
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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  • Heidi menges July 14, 2014  

    So excited to read this book as my life is going down a new path!

  • Lindsay_BalesAndTales July 14, 2014  

    Oh my goodness … the question at the end is beautiful …How can your particular, amazing story become a candle that leads others home? inspiring indeed!

  • Amy Cashion Hickman July 14, 2014  

    I was hooked when I read, “Success is about doing something well, and about the honor finding you.” So beautiful!

  • Carrie July 14, 2014  

    It becomes a candle because we shine as ourselves . . . creations of God. Too often, we think being famous makes us useful, but being ourselves as we were created encourages others to be themselves. God created each of us for a plan and purpose, and we can not fulfill that when we are being other people. Our light is God shining within us, showing the beauty of the imago Dei (the image of God in man). This shines brighter than any spotlight or paparazzi flash.

    I look forward to reading your book (either by winning it or purchasing on my own). 🙂

  • Jamie Swenka July 14, 2014  

    Looking forward to reading this book! Love the concept “You don’t have to be seen to make a difference.” Goes well with my new blog and the mission of it – accepting yourself to be who we are designed to be. Very excited to read more!

  • Emily Cummins July 15, 2014  

    WOW! I’m inspired and challenged by the above question: “How can your particular, amazing story become a candle that leads others home?” So excited to dive into this book!!

  • Lisa Coleman July 15, 2014  

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Joanna July 17, 2014  

    Would love to win this- sounds inspiring 🙂

  • Laureen Fox July 18, 2014  

    Can hardly wait to read this book!

  • Richard July 18, 2014  

    Hello, Jenni! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you’d be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like:

  • Amy Nabors (@amykiane) July 19, 2014  

    Would love to win! Sounds like a great book!

  • Connie Saunders July 19, 2014  

    This is such an inspiring story. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  • Karen July 19, 2014  

    Sounds like a great read!

  • Kelly July 20, 2014  

    I love your definition of success. Great insight! I look forward to reading Emily’s memoir!