Thursday, June 28, 2007
I love the California sunshine, New York Yankees baseball and dark chocolate. My husband is my best friend in the entire world, and he and I are both addicted to the TV show 24. When it comes to entertainment I definately prefer action and adventure over romantic comedies. But that's probably because I live my own fairytale. So who need a fake one, right?
You can look for regular blog posts from me on the 13th and 28th of every month. If you miss me in the meantime you can visit me at my website or on MySpace. I'd love to be added as one of your friends!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I write Asian chick lit. (For those of you who don’t know what chick lit is, think Bridget Jones and Princess Diaries).
I grew up in Hawai’i (if you’re ooohing and aaaahing, let me assure you that living there is waaaaaay different from visiting on vacation), but now I live in northern California with lots of sun but no tropical flower allergies (yay!).
I’ve always loved writing, but when I was in college, I felt like God was telling me to lay down my writing. The reason is because I was more interested in my name on a book than in glorifying Him. So after World War III, in which God won, I did it—no more writing. I shoved my 1000-page epic fantasy manuscript under the bed to play with the dust bunnies.
I became a biologist researcher. That was both fun and satisfying (I worked on developing drugs to cure osteoporosis), until I got laid off. Then I felt God telling me to pick up my writing again. Don’t have to tell me twice!
God told me to “write my heritage,” so I started writing Asian romances. There are lots of serious Asian stories (like Amy Tan’s books) but I write what I like to read—fun stories about weird girls like me.
My first novel, called Sushi for One? (the question mark is deliberate), releases in September this year. It’s the first book in my Sushi Series about four Asian American cousins pitted against their psycho Grandma, who wants them all to get married and give her great-grandchildren before she dies.
I’ve also been a staff worker with my church youth group for eleven years now, which explains why I’m not quite right in the head. I’ve been to three DC/LAs, five or six Lake Tahoe youth group ski trips, and too many overnighters to want to recall.
You can also read about my mental state of the day on my blog, Camy’s Loft:
I give away Christian fiction books every Monday and Thursday, so stop on by!
I’ll be blogging here on the 14th and 27th of every month. I’m looking forward to chattin’ with you!
Monday, June 25, 2007
1. Approximately three-fourths of my personality is caffeine. Mostly found in the form of coffee, though I’m about to go get a peach iced tea (oh my gosh, so perfect for summer!).
2. I am twenty-two, I’m not married, and I believe that heaven will smell like Starbucks. I’m still trying find a Bible verse to back that up with, so if you’ve seen one, let me know!
3. I work at my church with the high school girls and I also write chick-lit. Two extra reasons to tip the coffee mug a bit higher, but I absolutely love both my jobs!
4. I recently spent…no exaggeration here…936 minutes on my cell phone. Over the course of ONE – that’s the number one – ONE month.
One month! That’s like more than half an hour on the phone a day!
Yet another thing you should know about me: I’m not that fond of the phone. Actually, I’ve been known to say I hate the phone. I would so much rather sit opposite someone at a table at Starbucks than talk to them through a slice of some form of metal.
So, the real mystery is whom was using my cell phone to make a ridiculous number of calls to random people like my boss, my mom, my friends, my girls I meet with…um…
Yeah. Okay, so we don’t need to call Scotland Yard (even though listening to their accents would be pretty awesome).
Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself and let you all know that if you’d like to get in touch with me, I can be reached after 9PM.
I can’t wait to hear from you!
I was just taking care of mundane business. We had lots of forms to fill out before Luke went off to college, and one of them involved his health history, insurance, etc. I had to verify that our policy would fully cover him once he moved out of state. If not, Wheaton required that he purchase insurance from them, which was a $600/year expense I preferred to avoid. So I called Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I explained what I needed to know, and the woman brought up our account on her computer.
"Oh," she said, "Your children were born the same years as mine."
"Congratulations," I responded, and we both laughed. Then I added, "I guess you're in college mode, too."
"Well, actually, no . . ."
I listened as she chatted in her mid-western-don'tcha-know accent about what was going on with her kids, the whole while feeling a little amused and surprised that this woman was so eager to share her life with me. By the end I knew that she lived in Illinois, her 20-year-old son was engaged, her 17-year-old daughter (Tracey) would be a high-school senior in the fall and was a little concerned, because she'd signed up for Spanish, but her favorite teacher was leaving, and now she wasn't sure she would like it, and then after graduation, she planned to go to a college about an hour away from home to become an elementary ed major, but was having second thoughts, because she helped raise her little brother, who was only seven, and when Tracey recently took the snacks to his school for his birthday celebration, she realized how hard it would be to leave him in a year . . .
I threw in the occasional observation when she seemed to want it. Mostly I just enjoyed her accent and allowed myself to chill for a while till she finished her tale. I also answered all her questions about my kids, what they planned to study, what they wanted to do with their lives. I did eventually get all the info I needed about our insurance. Luke would be covered. So that was nice.
As I was about to hang up, she encouraged me to call her (like I can determine who answers my call after navigating all the voice mail options?) if I needed anything else. We parted friends. Or at least it sure felt that way.
I hung up feeling kind of happy about the fact that friendliness exists everywhere, that not all people are cold or cynical or suspicious. Some folks just want to find the something--anything--in common and connect with another human for a while. Even if that human is just the voice of a stranger on the other end of the phone.
Let's live with our eyes and ears open. Friends may show up where we least expect them, don'tcha know!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
What are some of your favorite movies? Have you seen anything good lately? Or perhaps you've been too busy focused on the drama of life to have time to go to the movies.
Recently, I was talking to a teen. "Life is SO dramatic. I'm happy school's out for the summer," she told me, "because at school there is so much drama going on, they forget what the whole point is ... SCHOOL WORK."
I had to laugh, but I totally understand. In fact, I wrote a book about that very thing!
My book, My Life, Unscripted will be out this fall. You can read the first chapter here.
Still, drama is going to happen around us no matter what. Life is like that. People are like that. What I've decided is that I often can't change people. And most of the time I can't really do much about the situation. But God is teaching me something, and that is that love covers a multitude of dramatic moments.
John 13:35 says, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Because we have God inside, we're able to act and react differently than 99.9% of the world. We can love others even when our first, natural, fleshly response would be to NOT to.
And what does God says about that? "Cool, that's how they will know you're with Me."
So next time you find yourself in the middle of life's drama, ask how God can use you to show love. It will get noticed--God's love that is. And people will see Jesus like they never have before ... in you.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
What is jealousy? Jealousy says, “I like what you’ve got; I don’t like the fact that you have it, and I want it.” We have all had that thought at some point in our lives. The truth is that most jealous people are not happy people. They spend their thoughts, time and energy comparing themselves to everyone else.
Jealousy is not a hopeless cause. There is a cure to your jealousy. Go out of your way to celebrate the one who threatens you. This is not an easy cure because it is unnatural for us to celebrate the greatness of someone who threatens us. I am an author, and I am also friends with a lot of other authors. Most of these people are much better than I am at writing so there is a tendency for me to be jealous of them. I have a choice to make after I read their material. I can either celebrate them or exhibit jealousy in my heart. The later is much easier.
Have you ever known someone who upstages you in everything? Does their success bother you? I have a friend who seems to be the queen of everything. She is beautiful, funny, talented, intelligent and skinny. People flock to her, and when I am around her I feel like the queen of nothing. I have learned to celebrate the things in her that make me jealous. I celebrate that she is beautiful, funny, talented, intelligent and skinny. I began by celebrating those truths in my heart. After time, I was able to celebrate her greatness out loud. The more you celebrate others, the more God weeds jealousy out of your heart.
Jealousy can attack your heart and leave you lifeless. It will drain the joy out of your relationships. The cure to a jealous heart is to celebrate. Make it a habit to celebrate openly whoever threatens you secretly.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Thou shall not lie.
Okay, so I was a scardy cat into my teen years. I confess. But that’s a blog post for another time.
Yesterday I discovered a monster under my desk. When I sat down with my Bible, my journal, and my loved-to-death copy of My Utmost for His Highest I heard a strange sound coming from the floor. My body stiffened. Had another mouse slipped through the cat door? I peek under the desk, instinctively tucking my feet up. Nothing. The sound got louder. Heart racing, I peeked again, just in time to see a black paw stretch out from the under the low shelf that houses my Internet router. Before I had a chance to gasp in horror, a familiar black-and-I-think-orange face poked out.
Lucia, one of our two cats, had found a new hiding place. I laughed, feeling my heart slow to a more human pace, and stroked her as she stretched and yawned her way out. I found her in the same spot this morning. This time I smiled at the first rumbly purr/meow/yawn.
“Good morning, Lucia,” I whispered, marveling at how she managed to fit her body into such a tight space. I guess my office is her new bedroom and that cozy corner under my desk her bed.
That moment of fear turned to laughter made me think of a quote by Victor Hugo.
“The peculiarity of sunrise is to make us laugh at all our terrors of the night, and our laugh is always proportioned to the fear we have had.”
How often have I withered in fright, only to discover that the “monster” was one of our cats, my husband returning late from work, or my teenager rummaging through the fridge for a midnight snack? Afterward I always feel silly. Then I laugh at myself.
Am I the only one with a monster under the desk story? I’d love to hear yours.
Have a blessed, fear-free day.
Monday, June 18, 2007
This show has it all—drama, people who hate exercise having to sweat it out (I so relate), fierce competition and teamwork, an interesting panel of advisors, and a cast of “where are they now?” type of celebrities.
This season has been especially…um, interesting. Dustin Diamond, aka Screech from Saved by the Bell, had some weight to lose, but decided he would go on the show to prove one could eat whatever they wanted and still lose weight. And this was just his first mistake.
I will spare you all the details, but this guy, who has had many personal trials involving career and money, made enemies at every turn. He was a world class jerk to every person and refused to do anything but insult people and shoot arrows in their weakest spots. Three different times show members (including one with a military background who has biceps bigger than my head) had to be restrained to keep from tearing into Dustin Diamond. But as one angry contestant said, “He’s a miserable person—miserable with his own life.”
As I sat there watching, I thought, most of them don’t get it. Only one person saw that it wasn’t just a personality flaw of ‘ol Screech’s. This guy must be so unhappy. What’s it like to wake up every morning and not like the person in the mirror? What’s it like to bring others down in the cruelest of ways just so they can feel as terrible as you? This guy didn’t need his tail kicked—he needed some prayer and some friends.
But then I thought—how easy for me to say that from my nice spot on the couch. What about in my own life? In yours? Who do you know in your school, your church, among your acquaintances who acts a little like this? Know anyone who gossips constantly about others? Know anyone who builds themselves up by shooting others down? Maybe it’s the kid at school who’s always ready with harsh words or ready to fight. Maybe it’s the teacher who never has anything positive to say. Maybe it’s the person at church who has a complaint about everything.
As a teacher, I have seen thousands of kids come and go. And I have never known a darker time than now where there is such hurt. The kind of hurt that you carry with you daily is the kind that Satan LOVES to use. It makes us say things we shouldn’t, do things we know are bad, and strike out in ways that target others.
I challenge you—all of us—today to take some time and pray. Pray for that one person who pops into your mind—maybe it’s that person who always snarls at you or is rarely kind. Then pray for yourself. Ask God to show you what pain you need to let go of—for your sake and for others. Our lives may not be broadcast on VH1, but believe me—people are watching.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Money for Fast Food Twice
Yep. He's ready along with the other 20 or so going to help rebuild.
I'm going to pray for the people God's going to love on through our small group this week. I'm praying they will see Jesus. Through hammers and nails. And backyard Bible clubs. And hugs.
Sometimes love calls us to action. God's calling me to pray.
God's always behind giving hope to others--no matter the package.
Is there someone you're to give His hope to today?
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
A group called The Rebelution (rebelling against the cultural image of teens who party, have no moral direction) has gained a lot of attention across the world. This is a move started and fueled by teens who say that knowing and serving God is the foundation of their belief systems.
I hear from teens on my ministry blog, Real Teen Faith, who are making bad life decisions, or who are hurting, or choosing relationships that offer nothing in return, but I also hear from teens who are solidly running after relevant faith and sharing that with friends at school and in their community, but with the world with their poetry, or lyrics, or their stories. I also love it when teens speak up to encourage others seeking answers, like they did today on Real Teen Faith:
One girl wanted to know if she should choose a guy who played, but who she really liked, or wait. Lydia and Jade, two amazing writers and teens, jumped in to give her a biblical perspective and encouragement.
That's the body of Christ in action!
Why online? Because that's where many of you find community. It's very biblical, taking the message of hope, of healing, and the fact that knowing God is life-changing, as far as you can.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8"
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Thanks for playing and don't forget - if you love the blog, then spread the word! One address you can use is www.thegoodlifeblog.com. It will take you right here. We also have a snazzy little button you can use on your website or blog.
Our Winners so far:
The Masquerade: Miss Erin
Want More? Joy: Holly Bloemhof
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
So, along with a reason to praise God for protecting our home, I found a few more gems. Those resurrected bushes will stand as reminders that . . .
1) God can bring beautiful things out of ugly situations.
2) Difficulty may knock us down for awhile but we come back, usually stronger and lovelier than before.
3) The friend who told me that rosebushes can’t be killed no matter how hard you try wasn’t kidding.
I pray that God shows you something amazing today.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Unless you've been living in a bunker during the last couple of weeks, you're probably aware of the brouhaha (I love that word:-) over Miss Paris Hilton.
I've been watching the whole thing with mixed emotions. On the one hand, the girl did something wrong. On the other hand, a whole lot of people make money off of "keeping Paris happy". That doesn't often help someone gain maturity and insight, two things that Paris is obviously in dire need of.
When I went looking for a picture to put up with this blog, I had a hard time finding one where she was 1, clothed and 2, not in some provocative position. That's not good either. She has created an empire on how she looks. There's nothing good about that. The above one is the most wholesome one I could find.
Paris apparently called Barbara Walters over the weekend, collect, from jail. I find this amusing because I doubt Paris has Barbara Walter's personal phone number memorized. I'd bet that her Publicity people gave her the phone number and told her to call so that it would have an air of legitimacy. Yes, I suppose I'm cynical, but Hollywood runs off of publicity. Why else are there pictures of her carrying books under her arm? Most of the human race would carry them in a bag, not tucked awkwardly under her arm so that the titles are nicely in view. So it came as no surprise to me that Paris now wants to "change her ways."
For her sake, I hope she means it. I really, really do. And for that reason, I think we need to be praying for her. Paris is a girl who lives her life surrounded by people who adore her (or at least pretend to). It's not a great set-up to really consider your life, purpose, or anything else except what party you're going to next. Her jailtime is going to be...lonely. It won't be any real hardship, but being alone with yourself can be a hard place to be for some people. But it's also a place where we can gain that "insight and maturity" that I mentioned earlier.
So let's not condemn or make fun, let's pray for her. If we all pray for her everytime we see her on the news, perhaps good can come out of this whole thing. (Of course, that also means you'll do A LOT of praying...)
And while you're at it, I bet Lindsay Lohan could use some divine intervention as well...
Monday, June 11, 2007
He is looking at the camera. His hair is just long enough to be in a perpetual state of unruliness, and he's grinning from ear to ear. He's wearing . . .
Well, let me start over.
My knight in shining armor came riding into my life on his valiant steed. He was really just a tousle-headed college boy in levi corduroys on a ten-speed bike. But he was mine. We'd been engaged for a few months, but hadn't told anyone yet. We had our reasons. In retrospect, they are mostly silly and romantic, but we had them. One evening my doorbell rang. He was standing there, his eyes full of merriment, and he said, "I've come courting."
I laughed at him. In fact, I couldn't stop laughing. But he wasn't offended. That's exactly the response he'd anticipated. He and his dorm buddies had pooled their resources and decked him out in quite the interesting finery: an orange and blue plaid flannel shirt, brown and white checked pants, a hot pink tie with neon colored flowers, and a brown blazer. Courting duds.
So we put on some music and danced. We talked and laughed. My roommate snapped some pictures. I'm so glad.
He stayed as long as was proper. Then he went to the window, opened it, and called to his bicycle, "Mighty Bones! Prepare to ride!" And he left. Through the door, not the window. I watched him ride away, feeling loved, happy, courted.
It's such a great memory. And to think, twenty-eight years later, he's still my prince. Still loves me, courts me, makes me laugh.
If your prince hasn't come courting yet, keep praying and trusting God to bring him at just the right time. Princes come in all shapes and sizes. And they don't all ride white horses. Sometimes they show up on a ten-speed bike.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
There is a saying that goes something like "Don't try to be someone important in the world-- try to be the world for someone important."
We never know what kind of impact we might make on the people in our lives by the way we chose to live, the way we chose to treat others, or the way we react to the way we are treated.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
This happens to me all the time.... Whenever I have to speak on a particular topic, God always allows me to struggle and wrestle with it personally before I speak. I think it helps me to internalize God's truth so that I can speak from a level of authenticity.
This week, I had to prepare a message about contentment...about how we are all attached to something. That something determines our contentment. That can be a person or thing or circumstance. It is so easy for us to attach ourselves. There is a string attached to that something. Follow the string. You'll find what is attached to your soul.
I started to think about the things that tend to determine my emotions or moods. What would change my mood? Over all my years of living, what were the triggers that changed my emotions? I realized (God pointed it out) that I had a lot of things, so I followed the strings from each of them: friends, opposite sex, tennis, job, appearance. They all led to the same thing... I am attached to what others think of me. God really showed me how my emotions ride a roller coaster depending on what happens in my life based on what others think of me. If everything is going well, then I feel good. But if someone should not like me or I hear a negative comment about my latest speaking engagment, it destroys my contentment.
We have a choice when it comes to this. We can choose to attach ourselves to Someone who doesn't change. People, things and circumstances will change, but God remains consistent in who He is and what He thinks of you. We need to let God determine our contentment so that when tough things happen or rejection comes, it won't ruin our contentment.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I love my work at the church. I’ve had many jobs, most in the teaching field, and never had the sense of belonging that I feel in our warm, friendly church office. This job provided a safe, supportive environment when I needed to step away from my position at the preschool in order to deal with some issues. At a time when life felt completely out of control, God handed me the perfect work situation. I’ve been able to use my gifts, get to know the pastors, ministry directors and secretaries, have the flexibility that I needed, and feel like part of a family. In less than two months all of that will change. I have no idea what I’ll do next.
It would be easy for me to let myself spiral into hopelessness. Instead I’m trying to think of it as an opportunity for God to send me something even more perfect. Who knows, maybe it’s time for me to venture out of that safe cocoon.
How do you respond when life throws you a curve? What good things have happened thanks to unforeseen and/or unwanted change? Thank God today that, even in the uncertainty of each day, we can trust Him to provide, offer direction, and lead us to the next exciting step.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Yes, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that I have resisted the urge to yell at anyone. Tension runs high at a school, especially a high school, in the last days. I'm thankful that this year I didn't beg God for an Apocalypse to take me out because I couldn't make the last week or two. I'm thankful to every student who recognizes that "get out of my face before I have a meltdown" look that hits every May. I'm thankful I remembered how hideous the cafeteria food is during this time and brought my lunch to avoid their "clean out the freezer" recipes.
I'm grateful for a summer ahead to read, read, read. And to travel (Europe, here I come!). And I get to write a book. And I get to catch up on a little TV (Reruns? Nope, new to me!). I have a musical to see (Spamalot!), a concert or two to hit (Keith Urban, hubba-hubba!), and I get to hit the stage for Bible school at church. And of course...I get to sleep in. Woo-hoo!
We have all made it to the end. So long school year 2006-2007. Bring on summer! Bring on fun! I pray this is a memorable summer for you. Be safe, be blessed, and slather on that sunscreen. And if you're like me, just give thanks...for time to finally breathe. I love me some summer--thank you, God!
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
When I was involved with the teen ministry in our church, a young man came up to me and said he was going to drive a Lamborghini when he got to Heaven. I must have looked thoroughly shocked. I mean, after all, I was one of the Christian adults responsible for helping form this young Christian's attitudes. He grinned (I knew I'd fallen for it, and he had gotten just the response he wanted.) With glee he continued, "What else would you drive on golden streets?"Lessons learned from this cheeky kid:
1. Materialism is in the eye of the beholder.
2. Always remember teens love to do the "Gotcha!"
3. Heaven is going to suprise all of us. If they have cars, the cars will be far more spectacular than a little ole Lamborghini.
Unfortunately, the predominant energy within American Christianity is in what I call "pop Christianity" or "Christianity-Lite." This brand of faith tastes great but is less filling, and wherever it prevails, it is a source of impoverishment of faith and culture. Christianity, when it takes on these characteristics, is an imposter. People are seeking the way home to God, but pop Christianity cannot provide it. Yet for many today, Christianity-Lite is all they know, and the consequences are serious for both the religious and the irreligious.