New Year Giveaway!


Bring on 2012.
I love a fresh start, don't you?
My friends and I have been talking about what our word for 2012 will be. What are our individual themes? What do we want to focus on? (And either “chocolate” is truly not an acceptable theme or I need new friends.)

I had a word last year, but 2011 kind of chewed it up and spit it out. In fact, last year I was so psyched about my 2011 word, I had it made into a cool charm and necklace. But the thing broke me out every time I wore it. Nothing says “this is not your destiny” like a rash.

So I wasn't going to do a 2012 word but then the super clever and insightful Natalie Lloyd gave me one. Which I'm not sharing. In case it bombs again. But it's not! It's not going to. And I got a charm with that word on it too. And if 2012 tanks too, at least I got some jewelry out of it.

So I'm staying in for New Year's Eve. Someone had the nerve to breathe on me, and now I have some major crud. Which is okay. Because now I won't get The Crud for another few years. I'm rarely sick, but when I am, I do it really well. So I'm just gonna stay in, watch the Food Network, and do Aquafina shots every time I hear the words “whole stick of butter.”

Now I want to tell you about a book you must get. In fact, I'm gonna give one away–my favorite read of 2011.
If we were in my classroom, this would be the point I would put on my serious face and say, “I need you to look at me.” Because this book is so important and I believe everyone needs it.

It's called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.
Batterson is a pastor in D.C. and often writes on the theme of dreaming big. He's the man behind the awesome must-read In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day. (aka: The book with the longest title in the universe.)  This is along the same lines, but REALLY kicks it up a notch. Please know I am promoting this book because I am CRAZY about it. Like I told one friend, if this book were a man, I'd drag it off to Vegas and marry it. I'm getting no kickback here and I don't know Mr. Batterson. But the man can write. (No ghost writer! Impressive!)

This book is about how you and I need to stop praying wimpy prayers. We need to start being brave and gutsy about our goals–goals that are bigger than we are, dreams that are God-sized. And we need to get strategic about how we pray. There are a million things I liked about this book, but I love that it's not this vague idea of “dream big.” It's specific, it's filled with ideas to use today. It's encouraging, well-written, inspiring, and the author comes off as a humble, normal guy in love with life, running hard after God, and not content to live in mediocrity. And he has the life experience and scripture to back it up.

I actually got my copy free as an e-book, but 1/4 of the way through it, I stopped and ordered the hard copy. Because I needed to mark and write and underline all over it.

So I'm giving away a copy of The Circle Maker. And I'm strongly encouraging each of you to get a copy for yourself right now. (Even if you win mine, that just means you have one to give away.)

To get in the running, just leave a comment telling me :
1. Best thing about 2011
2. Your goal for 2012.

If you tweet or FB about the drawing and include this post's link (Such as, “I just entered to win The Circle Maker!, you'll be entered once for each shoutout. (For the few, the proud, the brave who do this, leave a comment for each occurrence.)

You have until January 8th to enter. Winner announced Jan 9th. If I get school-closing snow that day, I'll draw two winners.

This book could totally change your life.
And I know for me, it couldn't have come at a better time.
Because 2011 gave me a rash.
And I'm circling my prayers for 2012.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 44 comments
Lynette Eason - December 31, 2011

Hey Jenny, great post. My hubby knows Mark. I’ll tell him to tell Mark to be sure to read your blog. And I’m going to order the book…like now. If I win the drawing, I’ll be sure to give the book to someone who can use it. Okay, so…

1) Best thing about 2011 – I went to Waffle House tonight at midnight after painting the hallway. I had paint on my forehead when I went. Here’s the “best thing” part – I didn’t run into anyone I knew.

2) Goal for 2012 – Get all the paint off my face before going to Waffle House next time — and to write LESS! And relax MORE!


Jerica - December 31, 2011

Now I really really want to read this book!

The best thing about 2011 is the new direction my life is headed!(like college and a new, awesome job) God has really blessed me this year!

My goal for 2012 is to make God Time in both the morning and the evening. I’m not a morning person, but I really need to start out the day with prayer, and I am starting a new devotion on January 1st called “Jesus Calling”, and I can’t wait! (everyone should check it out!)

Madison A. - December 31, 2011

Best thing about 2011? Hm.
Learning. Learning that people aren’t perfect. Churches aren’t perfect. The world is sad and cold.
But God IS perfect. God is good. God is love. God is hope when there is no hope. God is light in darkness, joy in sorrow, warmth in coldness. God is my Rock. God overcomes the things of the world. In Him I have to trust. What other way is there? None.
God is great.

For 2012. What does God have for me? As a personal goal, I would like to get healthier. But more importantly, I want to be used by God. I want to be his hands and feet. I want my relationship with God to be strong. I want to worship Him. I want to share His love with others. I want to make a difference. I want to care for those right in front of me. I want to go to the nations. I want to lead people closer to the Lord. To give selflessly. To love and live big. To take in fully the life God has given me. To not waste a second. To serve others.
I want to serve God.

Richard Mabry - December 31, 2011

Jen, this book will be a great way to use part of the Amazon gift card I wound up with (when Kay decided we should give something else). I’ll order it today.

Best thing about 2011? Lots of possibles, including meeting you at the ACFW conference this year, but by and large I’ll stick with the fact that God has spared me for yet another year and allowed me opportunities to make it count for Him.

Resolution for 2012? Umm. I was going to procrastinate about making a resolution, but think I’ll do that in 2013. For now, I’d like to lose ten pounds, exercise more, and be nicer to everyone. Check back with me in a month or so to see how I’m doing.

Heather Sunseri - December 31, 2011

Hey, Jenny! Sorry you’re sick. But staying in is best on NYE anyway. I ALWAYS have more fun staying in. If you want, I’ll send my two kids over. They’re excited to stay in and play Star Wars Monopoly, but I’m willing to let you have that fun since you’re sick. That’s the kind of friend I am.

I’m off to check out that book NOW! Sounds like a book I need in a big way!

Feel better!

Suzanne Schaffer - December 31, 2011

Best thing for me about 2011 was Cancun.
What I’m hoping for in 2012 is to get the horrid satellite dish out of our yard.

Lizann - December 31, 2011

Jen, am loving the book so far!!! One of those that I’m having to make myself read slowly so that I can let it soak in. (like In a Pit…)

Best thing about 2011 – Seeing and experiencing God’s provision for me. Had to sweat it out a lot, but He came through in ways only He could at just the right time.

Goal/s for 2012 – Truly live out Psalm 46:10. The whole “be still/cease striving” thing is difficult for me. But, I think the “and know that I am God” part will be cool to see. And, I’d love to open a separate savings account that would have enough money to cover all my deductibles (house, health, car insurance).

Allison - December 31, 2011

That’s really hard. 🙂 One of the best things about 2011 was the amazing missions trip I went on with my class. It was an awesome experience!
One of my goals for 2012 is grow closer to God. And to survive the second semester of my senior year. 🙂

Lauren - December 31, 2011

Best thing about 2011: Well, there are a few. I realized I needed to be open with my parents and talk to them fearlessly. I got more involved in portrait drawing and poetry. Did NaNoWriMo for the first time (and had a blast).
Hopes for 2012: Acting-I’d like to make it a career if it comes to me (no waitressing for me). Either that or see where God is pointing me. Being more confident.
(The book sounds fantastic, Jenny! Thx for the giveaway. I’m tweeting the giveaway, too).

Jenny - December 31, 2011

1. Best thing about 2011 – The healing of a friend this summer that her doctor could only explain as “a miracle”.

2. Goal for 2012 – Tackle some of my difficult questions about God instead of continuing to sweep them under the rug.

Olivia - December 31, 2011

The best thing about 2011 was meeting my soon to be stepfamily. They are amazing and I totally get Robbie from The Charmed Life Series! Whee! My goal for 2012 is to not care what others think. All my life I’ve always relied on what others think. No more. My word is Independent.

Jenny B Jones - December 31, 2011

Lynette, very cool that your husband knows him. Am I right that he doesn’t use a ghost writer? And I SO relate to going about in public with paint somewhere obvious. I can’t paint without getting it all over my hair.

Lizann, look at you commenting on the blog! 2012 is gonna be a BIG BIG year for you. I know it. BHAG.

Jenny, HOW COOL to see that miracle.

Allison, sounds like an awesome experience–going on a mission trip w/your class.

Lauren, congrats on NaNO! That is a huge accomplishment.

Dr. Mabry, it was an honor to meet you and Kay this year. And I can’t imagine you needing to work on being nicer.

Suzanne, I went to Cancun in 1988. It was right after a hurricane…Also, please tell me the satellite dish is one of those huge ones straight out of 1985.

Heather, send those kids right on over. We’ll toast midnight with orange juice, Monopoly, and Kleenex.

Madison, those are some great goals. You would love the book.

Jerica, you will love Jesus Calling. And best of luck on the job and college!

Paris - December 31, 2011

1. The best thing about 2011 was that I finished my first year of college! Yay!
2. My goal for 2012 is to build a better relationship with Jesus…and keep my room clean.

Kristin - December 31, 2011

For me, the best thing about 2011 was probably graduating from college. No more classes, assignments, or stressing out over public speaking class! =)

I have a whole list of goals for 2012. But the major theme of them all is to simplify my life and learn how to be content and joyful.


Jenny B Jones - December 31, 2011

Kristin, you gotta tell us your post-grad plans!
Paris, that is awesome! Congrats. College will FLY now.

Ronda - December 31, 2011

Best thing about 2011–watching my granddaughters grow

Goal for 2012–to be more scheduled and disciplined. A goal that I’ve always tried to reach, but this year I mean it! Really.

Nicole O'Dell - December 31, 2011

Best of ’11: Being Jen Jones’ writer-sister. (Sucking up has to be good for an extra entry!)

Goal for ’12: Be on time. Apply whenever and wherever it’s needed. lol

Olivia - December 31, 2011

totally mentioned my contest entry on my page!!! 🙂

Olivia - December 31, 2011

mentioned it again twice! 🙂

Suzanne Schaffer - December 31, 2011

Yes it is straight out of the mid-eighties. It’s awful. Came with the house we bought this past summer. Been trying to get rid of it ever since. Hubby says he can’t do it. I think he’s secretly punishing me with it.

Allie Smith - December 31, 2011

Best thing about 2011…My youth group went to Jamaica on a mission’s trip. That was a life-changing experience! There’s no possible way to describe what that trip meant to me. Of course,as a teenager,my heart was not looking to be changed,but God had other plans. Memories made in those 9 days will stay with me forever,and I’m a different person because of the people I met and had the opportunity to tell about Jesus 🙂
Goal for 2012…To be more fearless. In my walk with God,in how I deal with people. Every day I want to make the decision to give God everything,to take risks and enjoy every day 🙂 There’s a song out by Mandisa and one of the lines says,”You made me for so much more than sitting on the sidelines…” That’s gonna be my motto this year!

Kim W - January 1, 2012

2011 highlights: traveled all over the place making memories aplenty with my husband and kids (included plenty of cupcakes and pastries), got braces at 39 (to match my 12 year old daughter), and met our biggest fan, Paul (aka “Big Show,” a WWF wrestler – talk about random!). Goal for 2012 – find someone who can teach me to knit (I can settle for crochet), and I sure would love to read through my one-year Bible as scheduled (like the WHOLE) year!

Emily K - January 1, 2012

1.)Best thing about 2011: I am getting to go & see the wonders of Australia. I get to go there for study abroad & am so excited. For 6 months I get to experience all the wonders that God put into this world. I am super excited.

2.)Goal for 2012: I am going to try and follow God more. I kind of lost touch with him this past year, & this coming year I am hoping to reconnect with him. God is the one who has always been there for me. My faith is the most important thing I need to have in my life. It is the one thing that will always stand tall when everything else is falling down. That is my goal. To reconnect with the one and only, God.

Emily K - January 1, 2012

Mentioned the contest on my FB pagee. (:

Katie - January 1, 2012

The best thing about 2011 was when you and Natalie both linked to my blog on the same day. Okay. Not really, but still.

The best thing was probably June, with my parents in Europe. It’s hard to pick just one thing though, out of such a beautiful year.

In 2012, I’m going to stop biting my nails. I even have positive incentive for myself: HUNGER GAMES NAIL POLISH!

Brooke - January 2, 2012

The best thing about 2011 is that God has showed me sooooo many awesome and amazing things! God has called me into missions and it’s been so exciting! It’s also helped me stretch out of my comfort zone which is huge for me!

One of my most important goal for 2012 is really spending more time with God and reading my Bible everyday! Also letting God take control of my future and life cuz i tend to want things to go my way and when something goes wrong i get mad at God but i try and remember Romans 8:28 which helps. I know God has such great plans for my life but sometimes it’s just hard so im giving everything to Him and letting Him take complete control of everything in my life! =)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Clare Kolenda - January 2, 2012

The best thing about 2011 was finding me. Becoming who I feel like God is calling me to be and liking it. Not being scared of it, or being ashamed of it. I’ve grown up around eight other siblings, all of whom have their own person. Their own niche. Something that sets them apart. And for so long I craved to have that same thing, my own identity. Last year, I felt like I’d found something worth holding on to. This year was not the easiest and brought me to my knees countless times, but it also helped change me and help me define who I wanted to be.

My goal in 2012 is to live my life as me. 2011 was about finding me, 2012 is about LIVING out who I am. To be as authentically unique as I can be. To chase my dreams, to not shy away from something just because it’s tough, to help build God’s kingdom.

Leah - January 3, 2012

Wow sounds like a really good book!

The best thing about 2011? Man! What a hard question!
There was so many great things!
I turned 16 and got my drivers license!!
Um, got my first job, and read a TON of books.
The best thing I would say probably getting my drivers license, coming in a close second would be my job……

My goals for 2012 is to work out more, read my bible more, read lots of books, and get better at math….

Erin McFarland - January 3, 2012

2011: getting TWO new JBJ books in one year!! woot!!
That had to be exhausting my friend. As much as I love your writing, hope 2012 will be a restful year for you.
2012: I want to go for it. “IT” being lots of things that are challenging, risky, and a little scary…but oh so worth it when God is leading.
Happy New Year!!

Robin - January 3, 2012

Best thing about 2011: watching my nieces turn 5 & 7 and become little ladies

Goal for 2012: Read more non-fiction.

Alexis - January 3, 2012

Best thing: Starting college without a panic attack 🙂

Goal for 2012: Becoming fear free. truly free and happy.

Carissa Arend - January 3, 2012

Best thing about 2011: Starting the adoption process for my little 5 yr old foster sister. We’ve been her foster family for a year now, and God opened the door for us to be able to adopt her.

Goal for 2012: Glorify God in every aspect of life. And to “carpe diem.” (Seize the day)

Ariel Lawhon - January 4, 2012

Hhhhmmm. I might need this book. Because I have scary huge dreams for 2012.

Best thing that happened in 2011? I was reminded 365 times that God provides.

Goal for 2012? Finish my second novel and write the first draft of my third.

Carla - January 4, 2012

Best part of 2011: I survived and had lots of time with family. I feel like it has been a great year overall. The Help and The Hunger Games were also good parts. So excited about the movie….Which brings on my 2012 info.
For 2012, I may just do the midnight showing of Hunger Games if there is one…even if it’s a school night. And talk quieter because I have more patience.

Carla - January 4, 2012

Did a shout-out on Facebook(actually shared/posted your link)

Serena Chase - January 4, 2012

*not an entry*
I’ve read Snowy Day (I’ll forego the rest of the title. You know what I’m talking about) and Wild Goose Chase (loved loved that book. I’ve highlighted and written all over it!)so I figured Circle Maker would be a winner. I actually had this book in my hands at B&N yesterday, but put it back due to my teetering TBR pile. My bad. But someday, yes, someday it will be mine.

Best thing that happened in 2011: my new job

My resolution for 2012? To learn how to make more finite and concrete goals. (as opposed to making wide arcing goals, such as hoping that I learn how to make more finite and concrete goals.LOL)

Best of luck with praying circles around your mysterious word!

*not an entry*

Beth - January 5, 2012

Best thing about 2011.
1. I got my rejection letter from Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship but it only made my resolve stronger to enter 2012 and write more.
2. My niece was born…cute as a button!
3. My job was cut from 40 hours to 24 hours…and I get to stay home more and write.

Goal for 2012
1. Get into the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship. (Which means moving from New England to California)
2. Be brave.
3. Write more often.

karenk - January 5, 2012

best of 2011…reuniting w/ a high school friend
goal for 2012..find the time to read (more) books

Jess - January 6, 2012

Hard questions!

2011: moving away from family and friends to follow where we felt God was leading us. So very hard and scary but oh so good.

2012 goal: live more intentionally. I feel like I have just been floating lately. No more!

Abby - January 6, 2012

2011: Starting college – it’s one of my favorite experiences ever!

2012: Be more God-focused. I feel like I spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying about what the people around think about me, instead of what God thinks about me.

Lori Kasbeer - January 6, 2012

1. Best thing about 2011: I lived through my first year working Human Resources in the local public school district and no children were put in danger.

2. Your goal for 2012: To live through my oldest and first son graduating from high school. Tears have already begun.

Kariss Lynch - January 7, 2012

Oh, this book sounds right up my alley!

OK. Best thing about 2011…it was the epitome of transition. I finished my first novel! That was a pretty exciting moment.

Goal for 2012 – I actually picked a word for the first time this year. It’s Courage. I want to continue writing this year, but ultimately “Know Thyself” so that I can be a better writer and person. Excited to see what 2012 will bring!

PS I just started reading your books, and I am officially in LOVE with them. Just sayin’.

capillya - January 7, 2012

Catching up on all of my blogs! Oh how I’ve missed yours! I hadn’t heard of the Circle Maker, but I’m thoroughly intrigued, for sure!

The best thing about 2011…hmmm….2011 was an up and down year for me. I’d have to say my trip to Haiti was the best. It was a last-minute thing for work, and I will forever be changed by that trip.

In terms of 2012, I only have 2 goals — 1) to learn a new language (French) and 2) snail mail more. I got lots of pens and stationery and I’m ready to write this weekend! =)

I know it’s been over a week since you’ve written this, but hope you’re all over your crud.


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