Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sandwich At Ike's Place

Wow. Almost let today slip by without posting. It’s just been one of those weeks!

I spent the day yesterday traveling to San Francisco to take my daughter to a specialist. We stopped at a great little deli on 16th Street called Ike’s Place. (That's their sandwich photo to the left.) They have about a thousand sandwich combos to choose from. Okay, maybe not a thousand, but a lot. And with really interesting names that all sound like they could have stories behind them.

I love stories. True stories. As my daughter, her boyfriend, and I sat there at a small table on the sidewalk, I did a little people watching. I promise I didn’t gawk. But as I glanced around, I wondered about the stories behind the others sharing the sidewalk and eating their sandwiches in front of Ike’s.

I’ve been thinking a lot about stories lately—especially as I revisit those I told in my books. I was just rereading one today while working on a study resource to go with the series. In my reflective mood I thought about stories generally—other real ones, like mine and like yours.

  • Our personal stories are always dynamic, always going somewhere.

  • One day of our story has context—huge context. Though we live the day in the present, it is unmistakably part of a past and a future. (And one beyond our imagining--Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 3:20.)

  • As much as our life sometimes seems entirely out of our control, it can be in God’s loving and capable hands.

  • Our stories, however, are also made up of the many choices we make.

  • And we can choose to live free--John 8:36!
Simple statements not earthshakingly deep, but with some chewing you might find a few unique and personal layers meaningful particularly to you.

(Tempting, but I won't get corny and try to relate that to a sandwich.)

Anyway, how’s your story going these days?

author of the Live Free series, Standard Publishing

true stories, true hope

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book giveaway - GATEKEEPERS by Robert Liparulo

Camy here, doing something a little different today. I'm doing a giveaway for a book! (No, not mine)

Robert Liparulo

In the third novel of this young adult series, the mystery deepens in a house that is more than meets the eye. It's hard to believe that things could have gotten worse for the King family-but they have. Dad's in handcuffs, the school bully has just found the secret portal that leads from the high school to the house, and Xander is sure he's found Mom, but they can't get back to her. Then Jesse arrives, and he seems to be a virtual Obi Wan of knowledge about the place. But is he the key they need to unlock the secrets, or just a crazy old man? Dangers are increasing from within and without when Xander makes a startling discovery that explains why they haven't found any rooms that lead to the future. Alongside the threats, though, they're also starting to find some surprising allies. All they have to do is get organized, get psyched, and get Mom. But that isn't nearly as easy as it sounds.

To enter to win today’s book, leave a comment on this blog post, giving your name and saying you want to enter. International readers are welcome to enter!

Please leave an email address or website where I can contact you (please use this format--you [at] something like that to prevent spammers from trolling for your email address). It is the winner’s responsibility to check to see if you won and to email me if you haven’t yet heard from me.

I always email the winner and give them a week to reply, but if I don’t receive an answer, I will pull another person to win the book. I am not responsible for a lost opportunity if you leave an email address you don’t check frequently.

Only one entry per person. The winner can expect their free book in 4-6 weeks.

You have a week to comment--I'll pick a name out of a hat on February 14th (Valentine's Day!). (BTW, you can post a comment and NOT enter, too.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

One thing at a Time

On Saturday I worked for hours scrubbing about 5 layers of scum off our floors. I vacuumed, swept, mopped, and attacked extra gross areas with a brush. I didn’t even stop to think about how long it had been since I did more than a quick surface cleaning. It would have been too embarrassing. I know that my mom gave it a good scrub while I was recovering from my gallbladder removal in early November. But since then my house has suffered. Once I felt better I had to catch up on work, the holidays came, and I had an emergency appendectomy the weekend before Christmas . . . Oh did I forget to mention that in my posts? Yes, barely six weeks after losing my gallbladder, my appendix expired.

I almost dreaded feeling better because feeling better meant making up for lost time. Talk about overwhelming! I needed to clean the bathrooms, dust, and don’t even get me started on the refrigerator. Let’s just say, it’s amazing that none of us got botulism, salmonella, or cholera.

Usually I would try to do it all in one weekend. But 2 surgeries in six weeks taught me a new skill—how to pace myself. So I tried a new approach. Each day I tackled one project—one room that was grossing me out, one long overdue chore, one shelf, closet or drawer that made me want to scream each time I opened it. Sometimes I ended up doing three projects but I always started with one “I have to” job.

Three things happened:

1) I didn’t burn out. I’ve accomplished more in the long run because I didn’t try for more than I could handle.
2) I enjoyed the process. Now that I’m seeing the results of my labor it’s kind of fun to look around and consider, “Hmm, what can I accomplish today?” It actually felt good to have the energy to wear myself out cleaning the floor.
3) It rekindled my drive to keep things tidy on a daily basis instead of letting piles, dust bunnies and smells add up. Obviously I had a good excuse this time, but it has been four weeks since my trip to the ER so “I don’t have the strength” isn’t going to fly anymore. Now that the house is cleaner it’ll be easier to maintain.

The dog doesn’t quite know how to take it though. While scouring the tiles under her
food and water dishes I caught her looking at me like, “What are you doing? Is it my birthday or something?” Still, it feels good to see things LOOKING good.

Are you dreading a project that seems beyond you? Have you put off a term paper, let your room become a health hazard, or procrastinated on your college applications? Instead of taking on the whole job at once try breaking it down into steps. Make up your mind to finish one step per day. You’ll be amazed at the results. Not the mention the feeling of accomplishment when it’s finally done!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

High School Seniors

I've been teaching high school girls in Sunday school for 17 years or so. Every year, seniors feel the College Decision Drama after Christmas. Maybe you don't know what you want to do. Maybe you want a four-year degree. Maybe you are thinking about going to a two-year college. Small college? Huge college? Private school? State school? Room-mate?

We have two daughters, now 27 and 24. Yep, they experienced College Decision Drama too. Neither did too hot on the SAT, but they both got into college. And guess what? Both daughters ended up graduating from the same college, the very same December of the same year. One's a probation officer and one's a nanny--two very different majors. One daughter has a degree in Criminal Justice and the other with a Social Services degree, but each is gifted in her own way. Did they realize THE PLAN as high school seniors? Nope. No clue.

Are these kinds of questions circling your thoughts?




It's never, no not ever happened that graduation comes and one of my Sunday school class seniors hasn't make her decision. The answer doesn't come quickly. Never in September of her senior year. Sometimes, not even until May right before graduation.

Does anybody have any graduation concerns?

I'd like to pray for you. Be at peace. God has a plan.

Love, love, love,

Friday, January 16, 2009

Appreciate A Dragon Day!

Today is Appreciate a Dragon Day. This holiday which has gained momentum was
 instigated by yours truly.
Here’s a blurb about it:
 We are pleased to bring you news that this week on Friday, January 16, people
 around the country will be celebrating Appreciate a Dragon Day! What is this
 strange holiday, you ask?
 Several years ago when DragonSpell first came out, Mrs. Paul was reading a
 book about how to market a book. One of the suggestions was to register a new
 holiday. So she registered Appreciate a Dragon Day, or AADD.
 Appreciate a Dragon Day is all over the place! Mrs. Paul is very grateful to
 the many people and places that have given it a boost. It was not only a
 publicity ploy, but something that is dear to her heart: promoting literacy.
 Check out the AADD Event Pages to get more details on this
 interesting holiday and some suggestions on how to celebrate. Some of these
 ways include making a dragon kite, a dragon cake, a dancing dragon toy,
 putting on a dragon puppet show, and many more fun ideas!
 We would love to hear about how YOU decide to celebrate this special day of
 dragons. Email us your AADD pictures, poems, videos, etc., and we may post
 them in the AADD Gallery!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Becoming a better person in 2009

Camy here. I love New Year’s Resolutions—I don’t know why so many people hate them. I think they’re fun.

And so, to that effect, I’m making some resolutions for 2009 to make me a better person. I think Jesus would be happy with me.

1) Read my Bible more consistently. I’m working through the Bible in 90 Days but what I really want to do is finish the entire Bible by June 1st, which is what I challenged my youth group high schoolers to do.

2) Pray more often. I want to learn to pray like breathing—almost unconsciously, all day, everyday.

3) Call my friends more often. This might not apply to some of you who talk to your friends ALL DAY but how about friends you don’t see every day? How about friends who live far away?

4) Develop a healthier lifestyle—eating smaller portions, eating lower fat meals, and exercising daily. After all, God made my body and it’s not right for me to abuse it and contribute to my skyrocketing cholesterol levels, which I’ve had since I was only 20 years old!

How about you?

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, January 09, 2009

Live Powerfully

This week I was in Nashville at the Children's Pastors' Conference (next month-San Diego), speaking and having conversations about ministry to preteens. I came away with an even greater burden on my heart--the huge need to reach that age range and root them solidly in Christ.

As I write this, I'm wondering about you--who God is creating you to be, the strengths and gifts he has given you, and maybe, just maybe the opportunities to use those gifts and strengths to teach and encourage others younger than yourself.

1 Timothy 4:12 says, "And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity" (The Message).

Take that verse apart, really think and pray about it, and ask God to put it together in your life. You can make a powerful difference.

Just a thought. What do you think?

I'll close with my verse for 2009 (a long-time favorite): "For my determined purpose is that I may know Him--that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly" (Philippians 3:10 Amplified Version).

Live powerfully for Christ in 2009. Let me know how it's going.

author of the Live Free series, Standard Publishing

true stories, true hope

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

Monday, January 05, 2009

In with the New . . . Now what about the Old?

Last year I started a new tradition that I couldn’t wait to repeat. For every gift that I receive for Christmas I give something to a local charity. When I hang up a new sweater I search for one that I can pass on to someone else. Same goes for new slippers, jammies, gloves, etc. I rarely stop with removing one old item for each new one. Before I know it I’ve cleaned out my closet.
How about doing the same? You’ll benefit by clearing unwanted stuff and someone less fortunate will have a need met. Like me, you’ll probably find yourself giving away more than you planned and enjoying the process.

Here is how I choose what I should stick in the bag.

· If I haven’t worn it in a season I obviously don’t like it all that much anymore. Why not let someone else enjoy it? This year I gave away a perfectly good sweater that brought back bad memories for me (I was wearing it the night I had an appendicitis attack and never wanted to see it again let alone wear it).
· It needs to have some “wear” left in it (in other words, no stains, rips, or over abundance of fuzz balls). I figure it isn’t nice to donate junk.
· Think beyond clothes. If I get a new book, why not find one on my shelf to pass on, along with a CD, DVD, or pair of earrings?

Have fun blessing someone else with your abundance.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I always get a little out of sorts on January 1. People start talking about setting NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS. Just the sound of it intimidates me. Being prone toward perfectionism, I've avoided making new year resolutions.

I'm in a online editing group made up of Guideposts magazine writers. (We edit each other's articles.) One of them asked if anybody wanted to be accountability partners and come up with 2009 GOALS.

Hmmmm. The word goals didn't sound as scary as resolutions. So, five of us have formed a little group called GOALIES. We each set our 2009 goals--both writing and personal.

Jotting down my goals made them seem much more real. Maybe even more attainable. Then sharing them with other people took it up another notch.

Writing Goals

1. Continue meeting with face-to-face fiction editing group twice a month.
2. Read and edit the entire novel I printed and take two days to do it.
3. Get novel proposal to its best, let it go, and stop obsessing. Try to get it out by Jan 15.
4. Develop plot line for next novel.
5. Ask and believe that God’s Spirit will lead me to the right stories/articles.
6. Be watching for a story for the Guideposts spring workshop.
7. Trust God. Trust God. Trust God. In everything.

Personal Goals

1. Become more aware of negative thinking and consciously fight it.
2. Expect good outcomes. Believe the best.
3. Guard my tongue being careful of my words.
4. Go to the Y four times weekly.
5. Make first thing in the morning quiet time a priority. Before computer time.
6. Pray for my husband daily.
7. Recognize joy in the little things every day.

Whew! Now I've shared them with all of you--talk about accountability.

Does anybody want to share your 2009 Goals?


Friday, January 02, 2009

A New Year

Welcome to 2009!

I love the idea of a new year - fresh and clean and ready to be experienced. 2008 was hard for me, maybe it was for some of you as well. But I have great expectations for 2009 because I know that God is at work. Even when we can't tell exactly what He is doing, I know He is at work.

So I am also working hard behind the scenes here at Girls, God and the Good Life. I'll be making some changes on the website and we'll be introducing some new bloggers to you - something I'm really excited about!

And in the spirit of a new year, I have one favor to ask, and one opportunity:

The favor? Could you spread the word about Girls, God and the Good Life? Tell your friends, tell the websites that have links for teen girls, tell anyone you think might be interested:-)

The Opportunity? Would you like to be a "Guest Blogger?" Well, I'm looking for you readers to offer your reviews on Music, Movies, Books and Websites. Here's the skinny on doing a review:

1) We're going to stick with reviews of things that you would recommend to others. 
2) Give us some idea of what the book or movie is about but do not give away the whole story. For practice on this, read the back cover of a book. See how it gets you interested without giving the story away?
3) Do tell us if there is something to watch out for (language, message, etc.)
4) Be clear about why you liked it or would recommend it. Use examples.
5) Keep it short - no more than 250 words for a book or movie and no more than 150 words for music or a website.
6) Send it to me through my website contact form and be sure to include your name, age and e-mail address (e-mail will be kept private). You'll earn a chance to win some Good Life gear if your review is posted.

That's all for now! Have a fabulous day!