Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Live Free 'Determination'

Sharing some thoughts today from a post from my Choose 2 Live Free site:

I love that it's God's work in us that transforms us--gives us what we need to go deep with him to live powerfully in the face of the big stuff that shakes up our life. Even the smaller stuff that messes with our day.

So do I sit back and just let him carry it all for me? Well, yes . . . and no. He is our burden bearer who has a history of stepping into the messiness of each of our lives and working in ways that leave us in awe. He doesn't need anyone to complete who he is or what he wants to do.

But in relationship with him, I can be willing, even better, determined, to join him in all he's doing.

I like life verses. One of mine is the Philippians 3:10-11 in the Amplified version. Take the first part:


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.

God doesn't force me to be in a relationship with him. And once I am in a relationship with him, my connection to him doesn't just happen passively. I need to, or rather I want to, actively pursue knowing who is. More strongly, clearly.

It's my determined purpose.

A determination that spills over into other thoughts and choices and ways I choose to live.

Jan, choosing to live free

http://www.jankern.com/
http://www.choose2livefree.com/

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Carpet

My husband and I bought a house last November that had tile floor throughout. It was beautiful tile, but it was cold! Every morning I would dread getting out of bed because my feet would touch that freezing cold rock. It was hard to keep clean too - we live in a dusty state and all of the dirt from outside somehow always ended up on my floors. So, I would vacuum, sweep and mop and twenty minutes later, the tile would be all grimy again.

It would look clean, but it wasn't. I know there are people who love tile out there, but my husband and I are definitely carpet people.

I hated it.

So, we decided to carpet the house. These last three days there have been workmen in and out of my house installing our carpet. It's so pretty! It's a neutral color with lots of different colored flecks in it - can you see dirt? I don't think so! (By the way, this isn't my carpet in the picture above - I just liked this girl's socks!)

I am, though, learning about the joy of having new carpet. Meaning that it sheds. Badly. We've vacuumed and there is still little carpet pieces laying all over.

It reminded me a lot of myself.

Before Christ, I was a lot like the tile floor. Seemingly a good person. I looked clean. But, I really was dusty and dirty. After Christ, I am now like my new carpet floor. Brand spanking new - I don't even resemble my previous self. Except, I'm still shedding the old me. There are still pieces I'm learning to let go of, still fuzzies that God is helping me slough off.

I hope that this weekend we can all let go one just one more little piece of us that we've been struggling to hold on to. Maybe you're a worrier like me (and yes, that passage about God caring for even the sparrows gets me every time!).

Have a wonderful last week of September!

Erynn :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teen Moms

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.
—Franklin P. Jones, writer

Ugh. Sometimes being a parent can be so frustrating. Just as you’re finally working on your English essay or you’re at a good place in the movie, your child needs your attention. It’s as if he has an internal sensor that says, “Start crying, kid. Your mom is really busy now.”

Of course, when is a good time to be interrupted? Something always fills our time or takes our attention. That’s where perspective comes in. Perspective is viewing what happens today in light of the future. It’s considering what’s really important and contemplating what will matter to us five, ten, or twenty years from now. Then it’s planning our time and our goals accordingly.

Life as I See It
My fiancé and I were both excited about my pregnancy until reality set in. Then we were scared that we wouldn’t have enough money, enough space in our apartment, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish school. After we talked to some of our friends, we realized that we had plenty of support and would be able to figure things out.
—Amanda, Ontario, Canada

Change of Perspective
When we become mothers we think about things we never considered before—such as being a good role model or scheduling play into our day. We worry about vaccinations, pollution, and too much sexiness on TV. We see the world in a different light, mainly because we’ve brought a precious child into it.

Life as I See It
Before I was pregnant, all I wanted to do was get out of my mom’s house. Now that I have a child, I wish I could just go back and have my mom take care of me—but that’s not possible.
—Jessica, Montana

Being a mom has changed the way I think. I worry about things that I never worried about before. We went on vacation, and we had to fly. I have never had any problems with flying, but knowing that my baby was on the plane really upset me.
—Jessica, Florida

If I didn’t have my daughter, I wouldn’t be going to college or bettering myself. I would be one of those kids you see on the street drunk by noon. When I think of that, I appreciate her that much more.
—Jamie, Montana

Here’s another example of perspective:
Once there were two shoe salesmen who went to Africa to open new sales territories. Three days after they arrived, the first salesman faxed a message: “I will be returning on the next plane. I can’t sell shoes here. Everyone goes barefoot all the time.”

There was no report from the second salesman for about two weeks. Then came a fat, airmail envelope with this message for the home office. “Fifty orders enclosed. Prospects unlimited. Nobody here has shoes.”

When you became pregnant, it may have been difficult to consider your pregnancy in a positive light. You may have been like the first shoe salesman who simply focused on the negative and felt like walking away.

Of course you couldn’t walk away. You’re a mom now. Now you see the world with “mothering” eyes.

You’ve discovered there is a second way to look at your situation. Like the second salesman, you see the potential. Motherhood has become a time to reconsider your future. A time to clarify your goals. Or maybe it’s a time to take a different path.

Excerpt from Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom, Zondervan Publishing
© Tricia Goyer, 2003

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Taylor Swift and being a class act.

Okay, I'm sure many of you saw Kanye West's obnoxious mic grab at the VMA's the other night. What's even sadder is that he did it to Taylor Swift. To her credit she didn't get mad or say anything mean. Then Beyonce brought Taylor back up onto stage later so that she could finish her acceptance speech. Now that's a class act. And almost across the board, Kanye is being blasted for his bad behavior.

I loved seeing these artists stick up for Taylor when her moment was robbed. It's what we all need to do for each other. And you know, in high school there are the mean girls who treat others badly, knock you down and ridicule you. But those mean girls grow up. And they don't usually get nicer on their own. They become mean frenemies and mean moms. So unfortunately, dealing with mean people never quite goes away. But when we watch out for one another, when we speak truth about those around us, when we love...that is amazing. And it affects those around us in amazing ways.

So, back to Taylor. Below is the video she won for, and I have to say, I love it. Because nice girls - they don't come in last place. Not in the end.



Sarah Anne Sumpolec


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ebooks—likey or no likey?

Camy here, with a few questions for you guys, especially if you are under the age of 18.

Now, I live in a small house. Considering it’s just me, Captain Caffeine, and my dog, Snickers, it’s a fine size for our family, but it’s a far cry from my GRAND dreams of a humongous personal library with window seats and a fireplace and a massive teakwood desk where I can write to my heart’s content.

Since I have limited space for books (and in recent years, my knitting yarn stash which has grown like a pack of Tribbles), I LOVE EBOOKS. Hard disk space takes up less square footage than bookshelves.

I get each month’s Love Inspired Suspense books on ebook at Fictionwise.com, where I get a nice discount b/c I’m a Buywise member. I also can indulge my historical romance obsession since almost all of my favorite authors—and new authors, too—have books available as ebooks.

Since the ebooks end up being cheaper than print books (even better than the prices on Amazon), I can try new authors without wincing at how much it hits my wallet. This has been really cool because often I wouldn’t want to try a new author because I didn’t want to spend the money. But now that the ebook is cheaper, I can indulge myself a bit more often.

I am also all for instant gratification, so I love how I can buy the latest Love Inspired Suspense novel and start reading it within a few minutes. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

I have a Sony eReader, which I’m really happy with, but I still read most of my books on my computer because it’s just easier—the screen is big, I can sit and eat or knit or whatever while I read.

I am also a bit ashamed to admit that I have increased the font on my ebooks in the past year or so. :P Ahhh old age, combined with a genetic propensity for near sightedness so bad I’m almost blind. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

And since I love ebooks so much, OF COURSE I made sure my books would be available as ebooks. :) Which is really good, too, because Deadly Intent isn’t in Walmart or many of the major bookstores anymore (although you can still order print copies from Amazon).

Click the covers below to buy my ebooks! For my Sushi series, the link is for the paperback, but under “Format,” you can click on the ebook platform of your choice. The only exception is Only Uni--I’m not sure why it’s not available as an ebook yet. But you can also buy the audiobook if you’re so inclined.












(If you prefer Secure eReader format for Deadly Intent, click here to find it on Fictionwise.com.)






So here are my questions for you guys:

1) Do you like ebooks?

2) How often do you buy ebooks or borrow them from the library (if your library has that function)?

3) What do you read ebooks on, your computer? PDA? iPod Touch? Kindle or Sony eReader or something else?

And if you’re a teen, please let me know. I’m kind of curious to see if any of you teenagers read ebooks.


Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is her humorous contemporary romance novel, Single Sashimi, and her romantic suspense, Deadly Intent. She also 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 and ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sleepy Fall Days

Here's something you don't need to know about me: I hate fall.

The allergies, the weird weather, the not knowing whether to bring a jacket or wear a tank top, the back-to-school routine and subsequent sleepiness...

Plus, for a winter-lover like me, it's just one more hoop to jump through before it's snowing time.

So, I just don't like fall.

Are there things like that for you? Maybe it's not a particular season, maybe it's a class or a routine or a chore. It just bugs you to even think about it.

We had our weekly Bible study last night and as I was sitting there, mentally griping about how tired I was after a long week and how my allergies were acting up and how it had just rained so now it was freezing outside, and one of the guys in our Bible study brought up 1 Corinthians 10:31.

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

It was one of those immediate conviction moments. Griping is not glorifying to God. Actually, it might be the opposite.

And, as much as I hate fall, some good things have happened during it. One of my books was released. My dad, mom and sister's birthdays are in fall. I got engaged during the fall.

So, what are you griping about today? And how can we change our attitudes and focus on glorifying God?

Have a great weekend!

Erynn :)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Nine-nine-o-nine!

Happy 9/09/09!

Are you thinking it's just another day? No, not at all. First of all, part of the fun of it is realizing how rare it is to have one number line up for the month, day, and year. You'll never experience another 9/09/09 in your lifetime.

Still feeling like it's just another day? Well then, change that! Do something unusual for you. Try something new. Use the number nine!

Need some ideas?

1. Plan for you and eight friends to go out for ice-cream, coffee, or whatever you love doing together.
2. Choose nine favorite causes and plan to do something for them over the next nine months.
3. Pick nine of your Facebook friends that could use encouragement and write on their wall or send them a private note telling them how important they are to you.
4. Make a list or stack of nine books you'd like to read next. (Hint: If you're stumped, choose from the books written by authors represented on Girls, God and the Good Life.)
5. Get creative and change nine things about your bedroom or any other favorite hang-out room in your home--nine changes that will make you smile!
6. Pick nine songs that you absolutely love and that characterize what you can celebrate about your life. Create a playlist.
7. In your best calligraphy, write out nine scriptures that can be great challenge reminders for you during this school year. Display them in your bedroom or any place where you'll see them often.
8. List nine of your talents and strengths--those special gifts that demonstrate the unique way God has made you. For each, come up with new ways you will use those strengths to help others and serve God.
9. This one is up to you! I'd love to see (at least) nine new ideas coming from YOU, the readers of Girls, God and the Good Life. You are creative! You are wonderful! Let's hear your ideas of how you can use the number nine and celebrate the life God has given you!

Enjoy the day!

Then keep it going. Look for ways to bring encouragement, celebration, and joy into every day!

Jan
www.jankern.com

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Fear Factor


This week I caught myself getting caught in up rumors about things like swine flu, politics, and whether or not I should be even more careful what I say on Facebook. I ended the week in a funk. It didn’t take long to figure out where my downer mood came from. I had let fear take over. On top of that I was dwelling on things that I couldn’t do anything about and didn’t know were 100% accurate. So I decided to take a break from these topics for awhile. You know what? I feel better already!

Do you occasionally find yourself consumed by fear over all that is going on in the world? Try these tips for reducing the fear factor:
1) Limit your time watching the news and following stories on the Internet. While it’s wise to be informed, dwelling on all that is going wrong isn’t healthy.
2) Make sure you are getting news from credible sources. Remember that some of what we see, hear and read is slanted by media bias or personal opinion, or is purely rumor. Stick to trusted sites, blogs, and news shows.
3) Focus on today. No matter what the news stories tell us we are clueless about tomorrow. Today is all have so we don’t want to waste it. Enjoy the moment and the people you are sharing it with.
4) Remember who is really in control. Take comfort in the promise that God is above all the events, laws, and speculation. Spend extra time with Him when fear tightens its grip.

Ask God to give you peace about the future and to help you trust Him with it.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Writers are a Different Breed



I'm an inspirational articles writer working hard at learning to write fiction. It's sort of like learning to write with my left hand--completely different than what I'm used to. I'm meeting my face-to-face critique group today. Some of us share my writing background and some have a strong fiction-writing past.

My husband asked me if my fiction-writing friends are real people. :-)

When we get together, you never know what to expect. There's always plenty of coffee and energy and talking. Maybe because we're always thinking STORY, our minds and ideas rarely stop.

If you're a non-writer hanging out with a writer, just because she's quiet doesn't mean she's sad. Or upset. She's probably thinking out a plot line. Or how to organize her next article. Maybe she's studying you!

I've discovered the following is true of fiction writers (at least my friends):

To us, our characters are real people.
We love to what-if with these characters and each other.
We have to be careful. We watch people. We mustn't get caught staring.
We allow each other to play out loud with our thoughts.
Being together helps us think up more good ideas.
Creativity spurs creativity.
We can spend a long time thinking up just the right word.

Love to each of you.
If you're a writer, keep at it!

"Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." Eph. 3:20

Julie

Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
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