Sunday, January 27, 2008

Warm

Camy here. I’ve become obsessed with scarves and socks.

I know it sounds totally weird, but it’s true. I’ve been knitting up a storm lately, and all I’ve been knitting have been scarves and socks.

Granted, I live in California, but it’s darn cold here and my wool socks have saved me from frostbite, I’m certain. Socks are quick and easy to knit up, and I got a whole bunch of worsted weight wool yarn late last year because it was on sale.

So, my toes have been toasty!

I’ve also discovered the power of the scarf. Even just a small one around my neck keeps me warm, and they’re especially nice with a coat or jacket to take that last edge off the cold. I am currently in a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and a cashmere scarf around my neck because the house is a bit chilly.

I knit up a cool one in teal, blue, and pink that I take when I walk the dog. I intend to knit up more so I can wear them with some other outfits to church.

Oh and speaking of church, I just finished a burgundy poncho that I intend to wear today. It’s made with this bulky weight wool yarn (again, which I got on sale) and it knit up super fast. Sure, it makes me look a bit pregnant, but I don’t care because I’m happier than a cat licking the last of your tunafish sandwich.

And I don’t want to hear anything from the peanut gallery about minus degree temperatures in the Midwest or Northeast or anywhere with snow. I am from Hawaii and my blood is very thin—’nuff said. I’d turn into an icicle in someplace like Colorado or Nebraska.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Garbage in, Garbage out...

Have you ever heard the saying Garbage In ... Garbage Out? What you read, you think. What you think, you live.

For many years, garbage is exactly what I read, thought, and lived. And amazingly, once I started reading books with good morals, I started living better. So, maybe you don't know what to read ... here are some suggestions!

Also, tell me about your favorite book that you'd recommend!

The DragonSpell books by Donita K. Paul

The Christy Miller Series and Sierra Jenson Series by Robin Jones Gunn

Anything by Melody Carlson

Anything by Sandra Byrd

Anything by Sarah Sumpolec

Historical novels by Wendy Lawton

Anything by Nancy Rue, Bill Meyers, Robert Elmer, Bryan Davis, Lauraine Snelling


These are all friends of mine (and EXCELLENT writers) and I can vouch for their character as well as their good, moral stories. Check them out!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"Let's be Friends!"


This is Belle, my son Christian’s new dog. She has starred in a few blog posts lately. Although she is almost 50 pounds she seems to think she’s a lap dog. She also lives under the delusion that our two cats, Lucia and Princess, want to be her friends. Lucia has warmed up to Belle a little but gets sick of the constant pestering. Princess has disliked the oversized intruder since Day 1. She hisses and arches her back whenever Belle comes within 20 feet of her personal space.

Princess’s new favorite routine is to sit on the highest shelf she can find in order to make herself taller and more threatening. But Belle refuses to give up. She is a needy dog with separation anxiety and wants companionship. She looks up at Princess with her big brown eyes as if to say, “Why can’t we all just get along? I’m really very nice.”

I even went so far as to remind Princess that she has no room to think of herself as superior. “You come from the same background, you know. Same shelter and everything.”

On Day 3 of Belle’s new life in the Hanscome house she and Princess had an inevitable standoff. They met unexpectedly in the laundry room. I noticed, right off the bat that Princess didn’t look quite as confident without the added height that a book shelf provided.

“Not feeling quite so cocky now, are you, Princess?” I teased.

She looked at me like she wanted to hiss, “Why don’t you shut up! Who is responsible for this creature anyway? I need to know whose shoe to cough up a hairball in tonight.”

Then, in one heart-stopping moment, Belle tried to take advantage and step a little closer, Princess made a run for it by jumping over Belle, Belle defended herself against the oncoming attack by standing to her full height, causing Princess to miss the hurdle, and she ended up clawing her way over Belle’s back. Both ran from the scene in a flurry of hisses and yelps.

For a week Belle trembled in fear at the sight of Princess. She didn’t even need to arch her back. Belle still gave her the sad eyes. She still wanted to be friends. And you guessed it, the fear has worn off and she is back to being the thing that won’t leave. Obviously, the attraction isn’t mutual and probably never will be. I can’t help wondering, why won’t Belle give up and just be happy with the idea that Lucia sorta likes her and has come within inches of touching noses with her? Lucia doesn’t hiss half as much (only when Belle tries too hard or barges in when Lucia is getting the affection—see, told you she was needy) and doesn’t have back-mauling claws like Princess does. Lucia is sweet; Princess is . . . I’m sorry to say . . . a little brat. Even when she gets cut down to size as she did in the laundry room, she still cops an attitude around the tender newcomer.

It reminded me of the times in sixth grade when I tried very hard to gain acceptance from the “cool group” in my class even though half those girls were snots. Then there was the time in high school dance class when a group of girls snubbed me for NOT snubbing someone else and I still wanted them as friends (again, because I considered them cool, even though, when I think about it now, they weren’t really, only good at making people think they were). And then there was the time when . . . Well, maybe I better stop. This is enough proof that I have a pretty pathetic background when it comes to one-sided friendships.

I almost want to say, “Belle, Honey, you deserve so much better. Give it up.” I’m sure she’ll continue to learn the hard way, as I did. But she is only a dog and I’m an adult human being who knows better. Watching Belle is a good reminder to take the precious friendships that God has sent me instead of attempting to hang on to something that is one-sided, or even damaging. Thankfully, there is nobody like that in my life now, but I’ve had more than my share. Praise God for learning experiences that showed me, “Don’t bother with those that hiss and arch there backs and claw their way over you. You deserve better!”

And so do you! How do your friendships and choices in who you try to get closer to reflect this?

Your Friend,
Jeanette

Friday, January 18, 2008

The "One Thing" List



This year my church has encouraged us to pray for a "1 Thing" list. It comes from Philipians 3:13-14, "Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promsied by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus."

So we have this form to pray over and eventually fill out when led. You can get your own HERE. But think about 2008, looking ahead and not behind. What do you want for this year? More importantly, what does God want for you this year? Prayerfully consider:

1.One Thing Spiritually. For me, that's praying for a passion for God's word. Honestly, there are many days I have to make myself read the Bible. Not always, but...it happens.

2. One Thing Family. I want to show my family Jesus. Not everyone in my clan is a believer. Do I show them Christ's love...or do I pass out judgment because they're not on board?

3. One Thing Job. Maybe for you that's one thing "school." I want to be more of a light at my job, a school. I want to work as if I'm clocking in for God every day. (And now that they've stripped our vending machiens of anything chocolate or unhealthy, it's even harder!)

4. One Thing Church. I'm still praying about this one, but I really want God to fill in this blank for me.

5. One Thing Community. Still praying about this one too, but I have a feeling it might be to take a more "green" approach to my life. Let's just say my carbon footrprint probably equals a family of four.

6. One Thing Personally. I'll keep this one to myself, but I could make a list that would circle the globe for this prayer slot.

7. One Thing Supernatural. I'm praying for God to do something HUGE in my life this year. My pastor calls it the BHAG, Big Hairy Audacious Goal. What's your BHAG? (And no, it's not a name you call your mother when she cuts your allowance.)

So how about it? Grab some goals and join me on a quest to make God the author of 2008.

By the way, that's me and your own Sarah Anne Sumpolec in the picture above--hanging out at a writers' conference.

Have a great weekend, G3'ers!
Jenny B. Jones

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Day



Last night at youth group this girl Laura came in singing,"Oh, the weather outside is frightful....Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." She even used the microphone and got somebody to strum the guitar while she sang to the top of her lungs.

We all teased her. But that didn't stop her from singing and believing. It RARELY snows in N. GA. After a while, she got on my nerves--so cheery and happy. Nobody really believed it would happen.

The youth at our church go to different schools from a few different counties.

This morning our son got up and wasn't too happy. Laura's county is the only one closing today.

Keep the faith. No matter what.

Love,
Julie

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Appreciate a Dragon TODAY

Several years ago when DragonSpell first came out, I was reading a book about how to market your book. One of the suggestions was to register a new holiday. So I registed appreciate a dragon day, or AADD. Just recently someone, I think my webmaster, asked, "Have you googled AADD lately?" Well, I don't think I'd ever googled AADD.
So I did.
SHOCK! It's all over the place. I sent emails to many of the people and places that have given it a boost. It was not only a publicity ploy but something that is dear to my heart: promoting literacy.
You can go to my website www.dragonkeeper.us to get more info on this interesting holiday and some suggestions on how to celebrate.

I'm shaking my head. God sure does some things I never saw coming.

Enjoy Appreciate a Dragon Day, January 16th, every year.

Different, fun. Life isn't always serious.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Repentance

Camy here.

At youth group the other night, the lesson was about cicadas.

Okay, not really. It was about the locust storm in the book of Joel, and my husband, Captain Caffeine, thought that cicadas are like small locusts. But one of the high schoolers said no, and I don't even know what a cicada is, so we decided the lesson was not about cicadas.

Anyway, in Joel, there's been a huge swarm of locusts that pretty much ate everything. In the land of Israel, there were no flowers (Valentine's Day would suck), no trees (you'd get a good tan with no shade from the 100 degree heat), no fruit (no orange juice for breakfast), no wheat (I think I'd die without Frosted Flakes).

The reason the locusts came isn't clear except that the people of Israel had sinned. It was probably the usual Baal worship, child sacrifice, rampant sleeping around with prostitute priestesses, and overall turning away from God.

So God sent the locusts, and sent the prophet Joel to call the people to repentance.

Now, for me, repentance doesn't come easy. It probably doesn't come easy for anybody. I am often rather clueless that I'm turning away from God, and need a swift upside the head to get that duh moment.

But once I get to that point, Joel teaches that I need to really mean it. And that takes some deep soul-searching.

Am I just saying the words, or is my repentance coming from that true place inside of me? Do I really understand the gravity of what it is to turn away from God? Do I really care?

We ended the lesson by having everyone go off by themselves, and we read a short script about repentance. Then we had people take time to really be on their faces before God about anything God convicted them to pray about.

The lesson from Joel was good for me, because it not only brought the high schoolers into a different frame of mind from the usual Bible study, it made me examine myself, too.

How about you? Why not take a few minutes right now to ask God if there's something you need to repent from?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Extreme Makeover

I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you a unique experience.
I was privileged to make the acquaintance of a young man who reads my books. His name is Joshua Woodhouse. His sister has rare disease, and his family was chosen to be on Extreme Makeover - the home edition. He is so enthusiastic about dragons that they did his room in a dragon/castle theme. His family asks for prayers that the testimonies to God that they expressed during filming would be aired and not left on the cutting room floor.

I hope you will be able to see the show on Sunday, January 13th. They will be airing a repeat show first and then the Woodhouse program.

Thanks for supporting them with your prayers.

Here's a link to the preview. You need to scroll down and find the Extreme Makeover click among all the other programs.
http://abc.go.com/video/index

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Blog!

Hi friend!

I'm very excited to announce a new blog called Teen-Script: Your Story, Your Life. The cool thing is that I want to make the blog interactive like My Life, Unscripted. I just don't want it to be about me blabbing about teen issues, I want to involve YOU. I want your voice to be heard.

I was wondering if you'd like to help? (Say, yes!) Here is how you can do it:

1. Bible Q and A: Do you have any questions about the Bible you'd like answered?

2. Author interviews. Who is your favorite author? If you could ask him/her three questions, what would they be?

3. Media: Have you watched a good movie you'd recommend? Or listened to a good song? Or read a good book? What did you like about it? Why?

4. Romance: To date or not to date? How far is too far? How do you know when you've found Mr. Right? Send me your questions OR offer advice!

5. Health and Fitness: Do you have any tips for healthy food? Exercising?

6. Body Image: How do you deal with body image in a world that obsessed with thin and sexy? What advice do you have for others?

7. My favorite things: What is your favorite .... (fill in the blank). Here are some to get you started. Bible verse, Color, Food, TV show, actor?

8. To do: What is something you want to learn to do? Where is some place you want to go? Do you set goals for yourself? What do you hope for your future?

9. Real Life: What does being a Christian look like in the real world? How do you cope? What do you struggle with? How do you connect with God day-by-day?

10. Fun Stuff: Write a quiz. Tell a joke. Share a cool saying ... the sky's the limit!

11. Relationship: Do you struggle with parents? Friends? a boyfriend? Siblings? Do you have any questions about relationships you'd like answered?

I can't wait to hear from you!!!


Would you like to win an iPod Nana 4G? Check out the contest I put together for My Life, Unscripted!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Immanuel 2008


I have known some who barely notice the turning of one year into the next. Just another twenty-four hours sliding quietly into another.

It doesn't feel that way to me.

This year those seconds ticking down and then the welcome of the new year were quiet for me, but very noticed. I hadn't yet let go of Christmas. I mentioned in my blog post a month ago that I love Christmas. I wasn't kidding.

So as the New Year came, I wasn't quite ready to let the season go. For the most part, I didn't mind packing up the ornaments, even as much as I enjoy how those seem to make my house feel more warm and upbeat during December. But those items do tend to be reminders for me of God's gift in Jesus—Immanuel, God with us—my favorite Christmas theme. I realized it was that "theme" I wasn't ready to let go of.

But I don't have to.

As I spent time praying on New Years Day, I realized, God-Immanuel is a thought I can, with intentionality, take with me throughout the year.

God is with me. Not just at Christmas, and not just as a babe in the manger.

I thought about the year ahead and wondered what it would bring. Most of all I wondered, on December 31st of 2008, when I look back, where will I have so clearly seen God with me, God with us.

Will I have noticed him? Invited him?

Will I have lived more fully, breathing in and out his love, drawing from the deep well of his wisdom?

Even in the dark or painful moments, where without him I am crushed, will I have seen him as God-Immanuel and known he was with me?

Will I have sought a new depth of relationship with Jesus, God-Immanuel? I hope so.

That is my prayer. And it's my prayer for you.

Jan

http://www.choose2livefree.com/

Saturday, January 05, 2008

When You Can’t do what You Planned

This weekend we are putting away Christmas decorations. It’s hard to believe that the season is over. It was actually a strange one for us because one person or another has been sick since before Thanksgiving. For most of December the sick one was me! Perhaps you have already discovered this from experience—that when Mom is sick many things fall apart. For us it was our typical Christmas routine.

At first I felt too awful to care about what I missed out on. A few times, however, I felt extremely bummed out. I didn’t have energy to bake cookies for friends or write Christmas cards. I had to skip the choir Christmas party and even the Christmas Eve service. After awhile I decided to avoid wallowing in disappointment and consider the things that I got to do instead.

I didn’t bake cookies for all my friends but, on a day when I had the energy, did dip chocolate pretzels for friends who had helped get my son to and from school, took him to a birthday party, and helped my family in other ways.

I had an opportunity to see that friends and family members really do understand when you are too doped up on pain killers and a brain-zapping infection to write cards. I don’t know why I felt to let off the hook. I would completely understand if the situation were reversed. But it served as a nice reminder. And there was an “instead” here too—the few that I did hand out or send were to very special.

True, I missed out on some fun events, but I also did a lot less running around. I was basically forced to have a quiet Christmas. And you know what? It was kind of nice. I read a book, watch a lot of old movies with my family, played games with my 5-year-old, and had time to reflect.

So looking back the change in routine turned into quite a blessing.

I’m sure you know this already but life often throws unwanted twists. Plans suddenly have to change. Things that we were looking forward to must be cancelled, put off, or enjoyed by others without us. How do we handle it? Sure we mope and maybe even cry, which is completely normal, but what about after that? Think of a time when changing plans allowed you to do something that might not have been possible otherwise. The next time that circumstances change you plans or traditions, pay attention to what you get to do instead.

Happy New Year,
Jeanette

Cross posted on my blog, Declaring His Marvelous Work

My 2008 Catch and Release



Happy 2008, G3ers!

I’ve mentioned this before, but the days surrounding January first always put me in a contemplative mood. It’s like it’s a chance to start over—so much possibility ahead! I love the hope and “what if” of a new beginning, don’t you?

This year as I got in my New Year’s groove (my NYG), I took some time to do something a little different to my routine. Instead of spending all my time wishing, planning, and praying about 2008, I took a moment to count down the blessings of old 2007. I thank God for things all the time, but honestly I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed an entire year and made a list of things to be thankful for. But that’s what I did. From the smallest thing (I didn’t lock myself out of my car one time this year! Woo-hoo!) to the biggest (I got to fulfill a dream and see Europe), I did my own 2007 countdown. I highly recommend it. Grab a piece of paper and make that list. What things happened (or didn’t happen) that you need to recall and give praise for?

Along with the positive, you’ll probably dredge up some negative. But fight that temptation! In the NYG, you have to stay positive! Last week at church my pastor said, “On a scale of one to ten, rate yourself in 2007 and write that number down.” Then he said, “Now rate your year—how was 2007 for you? Rate it. And write it down.” So I thought of my number. One of the two wasn’t the most fabulous. And the pastor gave one final instruction. “Now scratch those numbers out until you can’t see them. Because 2007 is over. You start new in 2008. The rest—the old mistakes, the old sin—it doesn’t matter. Don’t let it influence and drag you down this year.” That was a light bulb moment for me.

So have a wonderful ’08. And make a gratitude list of events of the year we just left—but then leave it behind. God wants you to move forward. Christ died for our sins, even the millions I committed with my 2007. But I’m letting that go and moving forward. I don’t want to lose my grip on gratitude, but I’m all about giving him my failures and letting him scratch them out until I can’t see them anymore.

Happy New Year!
Jenny
Visit my blog HERE

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It Happened



I've used a treadmill since I was eighteen. I'm not particularly clumsy. I'm not a newbie in a gym. Really, I'm not. I guess I was feeling confident in my skills last night when it happened.

My sixteen-year-old son and I went to the Y. He played basketball. I jumped on a treadmill and spread out my newspaper, my book, my ear piece, my water bottle, and my reading glasses, just like always. I followed my usual routine, kicking the incline up pretty high and got to walking a good pace. I opened the newspaper and assembled my things around me. I don't read the Sports page and it sailed down to the "pavement" of the treadmill. I bent to move it and that's when it happened.

I fell.

When you fall on a treadmill, you really don't have time to see it coming. Plus, I wasn't worried about falling. I thought nobody ever falls but really old people or people on funny commercials on TV. I came face-to-face with the pretend pavement, then was thrown to the floor. My hat came off and I had instant hat hair and instant worried-looking people gathered around me saying, "Are you okay?"

The guy on the treadmill next to me said, "We'd better stop her treadmill for her" like I'd died or something.

The manager rushed up. "I heard you fell. Here, sign this form that you don't need us to call anyone for medical help." By this time, I was back on the treadmill. He came back two more times to check on me.

Somebody handed me a paper towel and stared at my chin. Both of my knees were killing me but I was afraid to look at them right then. (Later, in the bathroom I looked. Chin and both knees have nice strawberries.) I got back on and started walking again.

But you know what stood out the most? What I'll never forget?

This one lady. She walked up and said, "The same thing has happened to me."

I wanted to give her a big hug (but I was a little shaky and already trying to act like I wasn't hurting--walking fast again and didn't want to fall twice).

"Really?"

"Yeah, it happens."

That's the lesson I took from falling off a treadmill. We all mess up in life. Either we get too cocky or we lose our focus, but it happens. Eventually, everybody falls. The kindest thing we can do is to go to someone who's fallen and say, "It's okay. I did the same thing once too. You're going to be okay."

Anybody who's down right now, it's okay. Don't worry. There are strong hands to help you up.

Love,
Julie

www.juliegarmon.com

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Kitty-Sitting


I have been kitty-sitting for two weeks. The owner comes to pick up Esmeralda tomorrow. I am a dog person, but this cat won my heart. Until I cleaned out the litter box and reminded myself I am enjoy looking at kitties, not sharing my abode with one. She also had a hairball today, to complete the reminder that I don't really want a cat.
This cat is the best participant in the game of hide and seek I have ever known. Although there is positively no way she could get out of the house, on two separate occasions I thought I was going to have to explain to her doting owner that she just vanished, never to be seen again. Just two days ago I discovered one of her hiding places . . . under my chair. That's right. When I searched high and low, she was under my favorite chair, probably watching me hunt.
She's a small cat, soft as all get out, and loves to play. Her owner said she didn't care for balls, but I must have just the right type, because we played catch the ball quite often. One night around 2 o'clock, she went on a tear and rampaged through the house. Did I feed her petrol or lima beans? What was with that?
I enjoyed my visit with Esmeralda, but two weeks is enough. I'm thinking God knew what he was doing when he made both dogs and cats. He also made cat-people and dog-people.
I suppose you've heard the saying that God made dogs to help humans understand what it is like to be adored, and cats to help humans understand what it feels like to be ignored.

Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
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