Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Years weight loss

Camy here. Yup, going to try AGAIN to lose weight this year.

I have done all my preparations. I have finally forced my husband to tell me I’M FAT. No “I love you the way you are.” I need the truth or I’ll keep lying to myself that I’m as slender in form as I think of myself in my head.

(Okay, I’m not super fat, I just need to lose 30 pounds, but I’ve been carrying those 30 pounds for close onto 10 years now and haven’t lost any of it.)

New Year = new commitment to portion control.

I suck at portions. Really. So I’m going to really pay more attention to my portions and reduce them little by little.

I’ve been pretty good about walking everyday for 30 minutes with the dog, so I’m going to keep that up. I’m walking faster and faster each week and hopefully will get up to running in a few months if my bad knee can handle it. If not, I’ll just keep walking.

So, let’s go! Who’s with me?

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Girls' Night Out

“I’m hosting a girls’ movie night on the 19th,” My friend Sherry told me last week. “Susan offered to pick you up. Please say you can make it.”

I thought for a second, looked at the calendar and, yay! I could give her a “Yes.”

I have no idea what we are watching and don’t really care. It’s a chance to spend an evening with my girlfriends, watching something that the guys in our lives would most likely roll their eyes at, and eating snacks that they would consider too girlie (the menu is “bring your favorite appetizer”—I’m in charge of bringing something sweet).

Face it, as much as we love our families and think guys are great, sometimes we just need to hang out with the girls. As a wife and mom of 2 boys I am constantly surrounded by testosterone, dirty socks, and bodily functions that double as entertainment (for them anyway). If I happen to have time to do my nails I usually have the dog, a cat, or my six-year-old hovering at my side. If I sneak in a chick flick I have nobody to appreciate it with me. So I have been looking forward to tonight all week long!

When is the last time that you had a girls’ night? Why not plan one during Christmas break? Watch a movie, paint each other’s nails, listen to music, or do whatever spells fun for you. To make it even more enjoyable, how about adding the following rules:

· No gossiping about people who aren’t there.
· No putting others or yourself down.
· Ban all discussion about the calorie, fat or sugar content of the snacks. If you’re health conscious bring your own food and let everyone else enjoy their junk in peace without slipping in any “do you know what you’re really eating” remarks.
· Eliminate the words “fat,” “diet,” and “weight” from all conversation.
· If one of you is going through a difficult time, has a problem to deal with, or is just having a bad day take a few minutes to make sure she is okay, pray for her, then agree to talk about anything BUT that topic for the rest of the get-together. Sometimes the best thing we can do it set our problems aside for awhile and have fun.

So that’ll make for a pretty quiet night (ha ha). Seriously, see how much fun you can have when you keep the night upbeat. I look forward to hearing your stories. Please leave a comment if you use this idea.

Have a fun-filled break and a glorious Christmas!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Coffee Curiosity

What is it about meeting friends at Starbucks? Or even going alone. I love the place. Even my 17-year-old son goes to Starbucks. When I was a teenager, this didn't happen. We met at McDonald's or for pizza but never for coffee.

For some reason, I think better when surrounded by that amazing coffee smell. Conversations seem more, I guess, important. My creativity level goes up a notch--even when I'm just sitting there by myself. Ideas come to me at Starbucks.

I order the same thing--a cup of something strong, like Sumatra, and I add sugar and half-and-half. The other day I tried a French-pressed Sumatra and fell in love. Bold, strong, and even hotter.

Since it's close to Christmas, I gave in and tried a Peppermint Latte. Not me at all. And those ice coffees gross me out.

Maybe the kind of coffee we drink says something about our personalities.

Anybody have thoughts on coffee? Love it? Hate it? What's your favorite kind? Do you agree that stirring coffee helps us stir our friendships? Are you okay sitting there by yourself?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm Happy

My daughter and I were driving down the street yesterday, and I realized I was happy. We had just been to the crowded UPS store, mailing gifts. We were at the UPS store because the line out the Post Office annex sent us searching for a place I wouldn't have to stand for so long. We were on our way to look for a particular present for on of my grandsons. We stopped and got coffee. She got eggnog latte, and I got peppermint mocha. The price of the coffee was outrageous. I was still happy. I picked up the cup and hot coffee spewed from the tiny hole, making a mess. I was still happy. The special nightlight/toy was expensive too, so we didn't get it. I was still happy.
We tried it online when we got home and didn't, plus read some reviews that indicated it wasn't such a great toy after all. Still happy. Woke up this morning with a sinus headache. Yep! Still happy.
Every day has it's own measure of irritants, some of them quite substantial. The past 24 hours held more than I've even related to you.
But . . .
this is CHRISTMAS!
And I love Jesus.
I wish I could carry this glow around with me for the other 11 months of the year. 
I think I'll make that my New Year's Resolution. I LIKE being happy.
Ignoring the irritants, putting them in the bottom drawer where they belong, is healthy.
The toaster burnt my toast . . . yeah, but Jesus was born in a stable.
The car in front of me made me miss the green light . . . yeah, but Jesus told stories that make heaven more real to me.
My drink spilled all over my book . . . yeah, but Jesus forgives e.
It's a habit to remember that the nativity scene should be on top of the dresser and the junk deposited in the bottom drawer or even the trash can.
I'm happy. I have reason to be. Jesus not only came as a baby to grow up and teach me about God and heaven, he also died to make a way for me to stand in the presence of God and enjoy His Heaven. Allelujah!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting organized

Camy here, talking about Spring ... er, Winter cleaning.

Yes, my house is SO MESSY that I need to start in Winter to finish my Spring cleaning. Oy!

Actually, this was started because we have to enter that spider-infested domain that is THE ATTIC in order to get our Christmas decorations out. And in order to even put our Christmas decorations up, we have to clean up.


I am chucking junk with a vengeance.

Do we need this anymore?

Have we ever used this? (alternate question: Have I ever worn this?)

Is there a reason this was put here or was it because we couldn’t think of anyplace else to put it?

What in the world is this?

I think the rust means it no longer works.

Ew! Ew! Ew! Spider!

After chucking junk, though, I have to organize the junk—er, stuff we do have.

Some things are easy to organize. Books, for example. They go on the shelf or in plastic bins (I have a super anal Excel spreadsheet that lists all my books and which box each one is in, and the boxes are all numbered).

Yarn is another easy thing to organize. I sort them by size and/or fiber content and put them in those nice plastic bins from Costco.

But what about all the odds and ends? Extra parts for the telephone? Extra cable for the TV? Extra dog toys and leashes? My husband’s keychain collection???

Any ideas? Right now, I am sticking things anywhere I have room that is an even halfway logical place to put them.

But the good news is that I can now see the floor! LOL

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Break!

Yes! Christmas break is coming. Lots of free time. Well, at least more than usual. What will you do with yours?

Today I spent time talking with the sixteen- to twenty-something-year-olds at the ministry where we work about their Christmas breaks. (Some are facing theirs with anticipation, some with trepidation.) Later I joined them all for dinner. After hanging out some, I started to head home to work on this post, and stopped. Hey, if anyone knows the answer to the question I want to write about, these guys do.

So I went back inside and asked for their ideas for creative ways to spend the next few weeks really enaged in life (instead of being online for most of that time).

One, by the way, mentioned how ironic it was that I was using the Internet to bring the topic up. Maybe not the most popular place to talk about doing something different than being online. But it's not that being online is a bad thing. It’s about making choices. Here’s a quote from Eyes Online, Eyes On Life:

The Internet—it can offer a really great experience, or for some, it can easily become an obsession. Without realizing it, we’re sucked into activities that rob us of the amazing identity, resources, and relationships God has in mind for us.
Eyes Online, Eyes On Life p. 17
Who wants to be robbed at Christmas?

So back to the creative ways to spend the break. Here are the ideas they shared:

Ask someone to coffee
Go visit a church you've never been to
Spend time with family talking, bonding, doing things together like working on a puzzle
Take a dance class
Take a walk or drive to see Christmas lights
Go to a church performance
Get into the Bible
Read a book—"like actual words on paper"
Make dinner for friends or family
Walk on the beach (or take a walk in a beautiful place)
Eat meals with family
Play board games with family
Do crafts—like beading
Jam with friends
Go to movies with friends
Bake with family or friends
Volunteer at a homeless shelter or an animal shelter (or any volunteer work)
Go to a bookstore and discover a new topic of interest
Crochet while watching a favorite chick flick
Go for a leisurely bike ride

One who offered a couple of the ideas above temporarily forgot this was specifically about alternative activities to being online all the time. She said the list goes for anything. Do these things “instead of making choices where you're messing up.”

Or, I’ll add, for those who wouldn’t think of “messing up,” do some of these to assure a really amazing break. Get together with friends or talk with your family and come up with some of your own ideas. Then take those beyond scribbles on paper. Plan them into your day--either for yourself or with friends and family. Get a few on the calendar and don't let anything stop you from making sure they happen--especially the Internet :) .

Enjoy your break!

author of the Live Free series, Standard Publishing

true stories, true hope

for teens, young adults,
and those who care about them.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Decision Making 101

Decisions …

Write down one decision you are trying to make. Now, answer these questions:

~What is behind my decision?

~Is my motivation to be liked, appreciated, or accepted?

~Who is behind my decision?

~Am I concerned about what others would think?

~Are my choices and decisions based on my relationship with God?

~Who loves me more? Do I let those who love me most have greater influence, or do I worry more about those who could care less about my heart, spirit, soul, emotions?

On another piece of paper make three columns. Pick one of the decisions you KNOW you’ll have to make. On the top of the page list any one of those decisions. In the first column write “Family.” In the second write “Friends.” In the third column write “God.”

Now, consider what type of advice you would get from your family, friends or God. Write each one’s advice under their heading.

Finally, at the bottom of the page, write that person’s motivation. (Why would he/she/they make that decision for you?) For example, your friends might push you to do certain things. And your parents might want you NOT to do those things because of the cost or the influence it has on you.

And what about God . . . how do you think He feels about these activities? If you’re not sure, go to His Word, and ask Him to guide you to the answers. Psalm 138:3 says:

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted (NIV).

If you aren’t sure of what God’s answer would be seek out a mature Christian for advice.

There are some decisions that will make a BIG difference to your life and faith. Just think how much better your decision will turn out if you take time to think it through beforehand. When the time of decision comes . . . the work is already done. After that, you just need to follow through, allowing your service to Jesus to rule over being a slave to the opinions of others. After all, scripting your responses makes dealing with the drama 100% easier.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Creative Gift Giving

My friend Jennifer and I decided not to exchange Christmas gifts this year. We’ve been friends since we were 3 years old and have always given each other books, perfume, lip gloss, and other “stuff.” This year, however, my family has very little to spare so Jennifer was nice enough to suggest that we skip the stuff and opt for a gift of time. We plan to get together over my kids’ Christmas break and let that be our gift to each other. Jennifer will treat us to lunch and I’ll cover coffee and dessert, or one of us will buy movie tickets (matinee of course) and the other will be in charge of stuffing her purse full of snacks.

I had already accepted that my gift giving would have to be creative this year. So far I’ve gone with books that I make special by having them signed (I order them directly from my author friends) and fun things like jars of homemade cocoa mix. It’s actually fun! You might want to try. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

· Get a box of small canning jars from the grocery store (they don’t cost much). Choose one for each person on your Christmas list and fill it with their favorite candy, cocoa powder (recipes can be found on the Internet), tea bags, or gum. Cover the lid with a small piece of Christmas fabric or tissue paper and tie it with a ribbon.
· Give a gift of time by treating your best friend to coffee or ice cream.
· Offer to make dinner for your parents or grandparents, promising to do all the clean-up as well.
· Give service “gift cards” – Decorate 3x5 cards and write a service that you would like to provide on each one, such as a night of free babysitting, a manicure for your little sister, or tutoring for a friend who is struggling and wants help in a subject that you excel in. Make sure they are things you enjoy doing so you won’t dread following through.

You can do all kinds of things on very little money. So set the stress of Christmas shopping aside and have fun being creative!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Last night my husband and I got into a mini-argument. He said, "Why do you obsess over things? You get these ideas in your head and you can't let go."

"Yes, I can."

"No you can't."

I knew he was right but still, the truth can be annoying. Maybe it's because I'm a writer? Maybe it's because being a worry-wart is my natural tendency? This obsessive kind of thinking bounces around in my head during the day--sometimes it helps me write, but other times it fuels worry.

Certain nights, the Obsessive Thinking Monster pounces. Always at 4:30 a.m. I'll be sound asleep and boom! A worry hits. It happened this morning before the sun came up--yes, the same thing I'd been worried about yesterday.

Think about me, it insisted. Worry, worry, worry, it hissed. I have to admit--for a few minutes, I unfolded my concern and examined it from every angle as a physician checking out a patient. I put it under a giant magnifying glass to search for hidden clues.

Then a gentler thought eased in.

You don't have to do this, it seemed to say. I'll take it. Go back to sleep.

I formed a mental picture of Jesus trying to help me--His big strong hands reaching out.

Okay, here, I said. But the pesky worry marched right back. Pick up your worry, the thought insisted. It's yours to deal with.

But then I pictured my worry being a baby blue balloon. I pried open my fingers and let go. In my mind, my worry floated to Him. I went back to sleep.

So as I'm writing this morning, I'm thanking Him for my deep ability to think and reason with creativity. Obsessive thinking can be a blessing--especially for a writer. I've asked God to help me use my energy and thoughts only for good. I sure don't want to be that crazy-looking woman in the picture. I already have her red hair!!

How about you? Do you obsess with pesky little worries like I USED to?


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Goose Is Getting Fat

I'm singing Christmas carols. Are you? Here is a video that makes me think and slow down and put that goose on a diet.
I'm sorry I completely failed at embedding. Here is the link:

Watch it all the way through.