Friday, October 19, 2007

Cj Carleton in the News


A local author has garnered national recognition for turning her difficult teenage years into a learning experience for other young girls.

CJ Carleton, a Waterford native, has won the Canadian Christian Writing award for her new book, What Makes You Unique? Discover the Truth or Believe the Lie.

She'll be signing copies of her book at the Gospel Lighthouse this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"The book teaches girls how to make better choices," she said. "It's really what I wish someone would have told me when I was growing up."

She describes the book as honest and raw, containing many of her own personal experiences.

"I had some serious self-esteem issues," she said. "And I still have to work through those. I was bawling while I wrote some chapters."

Using Christ as a guiding theme throughout her book, Carleton shows girls how to find themselves.

"It's good to improve yourself and to keep growing," she said. "I don't want the girls to be the same person at the end of the book as they were at the beginning."

She thinks teenage girls today have it more difficult than when she was growing up.

"The styles and images they get bombarded with -- it's hard to see what the right choices are," she said. "The book teaches self-esteem and where and how they fit in. I want to teach them how to decipher what is being said to you and if someone's making a fuss over you, what is their relationship to you. Should you care?"

After high school, Carleton went to Sheridan College to study advertising and marketing. There, she was scouted for a modelling agency in Toronto and went to work on her portfolio.

Though she enjoyed walking the runway and making money, she didn't find it fulfilling. She moved into a small basement apartment and did some serious soul searching.

"I remembered going to camp and that being the most enjoyable time of my childhood," she said. "I felt like the person I wanted to be at camp." She went back to camp to work and that is where she found Christ again.

"There is just something about knowing there's more to life than just me," she said.

From camp, she joined Campus Crusade for Christ, which is a group that speaks to high schools across Canada. There she met her husband Dustin, who was a pastor. They now live in Saskatchewan with their two young daughters.
"As a pastor's wife, people were always asking me to speak to groups," Carleton said. "It's encouraging to know that I can help others by sharing my experiences of growing up."

She's the founder of Beautifully Created Girls Conference, has developed her own self-development course for girls and is working on two other books.
Carleton speaks on a variety of topics from self-esteem and making positive choices to sex, dating and purity.

NEW BOOK IS A FIT FOR TEENS- December 30, 2007

Former model and author of the newly released What Makes You Unique? Carolyn Carleton claims she once had no self-esteem. During high school Carleton memorized the floors of her high school "because I never looked up." Kids can be cruel, and this resident of Prince Albert, SK, knew it. "I ate lunch at my locker. I didn't have any friends - high school was a really big struggle for me."

It wasn't until college that someone noticed Carleton's beauty and recommended she model. For the next three years she did runways and photo shoots. Yet, even then, "I was searching for so many answers, fame, popularity, money and I wasn't sure which would fix me." Carleton sunk into a dark depression, which opened the door to scripture. "I got to Philippians 4:13 saying we can do all things through Christ and I thought, "I need some of that strength.'" Carleton realized "God can offer the fulfillment and peace that I've never had."

A year at Muskoka Woods Sports Resort in Ontario solidified her commitment. "I met some incredible people who showed me what having a relationship with Christ was all about. That's where I discovered who God created me to be."
Following camp Carleton spent a year ministering with Campus Crusade for Christ. "I would talk in the assemblies about my self-esteem issues and I'd have all these girls coming up to me afterwards. It was always the same thing: girls feeling as if they don't fit in because they're Christian." Determined to help, Carleton began searching for answers. The result: What Makes you Unique? (, a book garnering attention from both mainstream and Christian markets.

The Mother of two is already working on another manuscript. This one is geared toward women and their calling in Titus, where it says older women need to teach younger women.

"I believe we're called into their lives to help guide them along," she says. That is exactly what this Canadian author is trying to do. - Emily Wierenga


by Emily Wierenga

Growing up in Waterford, ON, Carolyn Carleton had the floors of her high school memorized."I never looked up," says the now 35-year-old resident of Prince Albert, SK. "I had no self-esteem. I ate lunch at my locker, I didn't have any friends- high school was a really big struggle for me."Two decades later, the once acne-covered sound of belittlement has teenagers lining up for her autograph as she travels North America promoting her new book, What Makes You Unique?

Following high school, Carleton's life changed, literally, overnight. While walking the hallways of Sheridan College, eyes downcast, a woman stopped her and said, "You'd be good model material."Astounded, Carleton- encouraged by her family- pursued modeling for the next three years. Yet while it offered the physical affirmation she was seeking, inwardly "I was searching for so many answers at that time- fame, popularity, money, and I wasn't sure which would fix me."

Following the end of her modeling contract the void only deepened, sinking into depression. Carleton escaped to a small town where no one knew her and sough refuge in her Bible, which her parents mailed to her from home."My family and I grew up going to church, but I never really saw anything lived out in my home other than praying before meals," Carleton recalls.

Yet as the 23-year-old read Philippians 4:13 which says, "I can do all thing through Christ who gives me strength," she thought, "I need some of that strength."It was through a year-long position at Muskoka Woods Sports Resort in northern Ontario that Carleton discovered the power which comes from knowing God personally. "I found some incredible people who showed me what having a relationship with Christ is all about; that where I discovered who God created me to be," Carleton shares. "I was full of questions, reading my Bible like crazy. I was hungry."Succeeding camp, Carleton began leading a youth group in her hometown, which led to a one-year contract with Campus Crusade for Christ. This involved travelling across Canada with CFL athletes who were sharing their faith with audiences.

As Carleton played keyboard and talked to teens about finding her identity in Christ, young girls flocked to her for answers. “Everyone wanted to know the same thing – they were all asking how they can fin in as Christians. So I started searching and trying to find answers for the,” says Carleton.

It was those questions – and the subsequent answers – which triggered Carleton’s organization, Unlimited Potential, as well as an annual conference for girls in Prince Albert, and most recently, her book.

With chapter headings like “Dealing with Parental Dictatorship,” “Sex,” “The Dating Game” and “Pray Naked,” Carleton’s words hold universal appeal.
“It’s not just another fluffy teen book, says Carleton with a laugh. “It’s very open and honest.”

She becomes serious. “Writing this book was really hard on me as a person because you have to do so much self-examination.”

Eight years in the making, What Makes You Unique was well worth the wait. “I’ve had more life experiences which I needed in order to write this book, and I have two daughters of my own so I am now even more inspired to help young girls of today.”

This passion is propelling another book, which Carleton says will be based on the Biblical book of Titus, urging older women to teach younger women. “I believe we’re called into their lives, to help guide them along,” she describes.

Equipped with the peace that comes from knowing she’s beautifully created by God, Carleton is definitely qualified for the job. “God offered fulfillment and a sense of peace that I never had when I was trying to follow the world’s way of doing things. That’s what I was always looking for.”

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