Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yes, I'm being lazy...

But I have a really good (and cute) excuse.

We welcomed Connor Joshua Morrill into our family on July 15th. He weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was 21 inches long. After weeks of having start-and-stop contractions, Connor came roaring into the world 45 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. (If we have another, we intend to camp out on the hospital grounds as the due date approaches...)

So today I just have pictures for you guys. But they're really cute, and hoping that makes up for a short post.


Me, McKenna, and my "big belly" as she called it. This was taken just a few days before he was born. It was the only shirt that fit me.


Connor when he was about 10 minutes old. And you'd never know from my smile that fifteen minutes before I'd been sobbing to my husband, "I can't do this! I can't do this!"


His first bath. The calm before the storm...


McKenna and Connor. And, yes, she's just as delighted about being a big sister as she looks in this picture.

Stephanie Morrill
www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My new cover!

Camy here and this is the cover to my September release, Formula for Danger!!!

This book follows Deadly Intent, but you don’t have to read Deadly Intent before you read this one. Formula for Danger stars Rachel Grant, the sister of my heroine from Deadly Intent, Naomi.

Rachel is close to my heart because she’s a dermatologist researcher. And while I didn’t do dermatology research, I did do biology research and it was fun to delve back into my biology days in order to do Rachel’s story.

Rachel is the researcher at her family’s Sonoma day spa. She formulates the exclusive, in-demand skin products that make the Joy Luck Life Spa so wildly popular. Her latest product is an amazing scar-reducing cream that has the potential to make the spa to the number one day spa in the country.

But she discovers someone is trying to steal her research and kill her in the process. While Rachel scrambles to protect her formula, Edward Villa, the greenhouse owner who has been growing the scar cream’s secret ingredient, discovers the danger to her life and tries to protect her. But in keeping her one step ahead of the thieves, he has become a target as well.

Here’s something I just got today—the bookmark design for Formula for Danger! My friend, Dineen Miller, is a fantastic graphic designer who worked professionally as a designer in the corporate arena before she became a stay-at-home mom and writer, and she did my bookmark design for me! Check it out!





And in case you haven’t heard, I’m holding a giveaway for my Street Team members with a chance to win Formula for Danger! Click here to find out how you can join my Street Team—it’s free and there’s lots of chances to win prizes!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is her humorous contemporary romance novel, Single Sashimi, and her romantic suspense, Formula for Danger, releases in September. 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 ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for giveways!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First Love

I remember the first time I "fell in love." Steven was the brother of one of my friends. There were two main things that made me interested in him:

1. He was super cute!
2. He liked me as much as I liked him.

Looking back, I dove in way too hard, way too fast. I didn't take time to consider if he was the type of person I could imagine spending my life with. I didn't pay too much attention to his character qualities ... I was too focused on his dazzling baby blue eyes. In the end I gave him all of myself, and I ended up with a broken heart. I want better for you.

Are you interested in someone? Is he a person you'd consider dating? Here are some things to ponder before you draw closer:

1. How is his relationship with God?
2. Would your parents and youth pastor approve?
3. Do you have similar interests?
4. How does he treat his parents and siblings?
5. Does he date just to date, or is he looking for a special person?
6. Does his goals in life match yours?
7. Does he treat women with respect?
8. Would his personality continue to draw you over the years, even if his looks fade?

You don't have to know the answers to all the questions right away, but these are something to consider. HE is something to consider ... before the excited beating of your heart clouds your judgement.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life without My Computer?

We came very close to being computerless today. My laptop is being repaired and my son’s crashed over the weekend (he is looking for a good deal so he can replace it in time for fall semester), leaving us with an old desktop. This morning, while dusting that old, tired computer, the screen suddenly went blank. After playing around with the cords it came back on, but I’ll admit I was really nervous. Besides the fact that I have a project due on Wednesday and needed to post this blog today, I had e-mails to return. My son has been searching on-line for his replacement laptop. I need a computer.

That got me thinking: what would I do if I did not have access to Internet, e-mail, or even MS Word? What if I had no control over when this computer-free season would end? What would I do? It would impact my career, my contact with friends . . . so many things. If not for that, maybe it would be such a bad thing. It would force me to . . .
Write with pen and paper (maybe my handwriting would improve)
Call friends on the phone
Spend more time with my family
Spend more time with God
Read more
Get more done around the house

What would you do without your computer? How would it complicate your life? How might it impact you in a good way? How do thoughts of what you would do without Internet access and social networking prompt you to consider new ways to spend your time and interact with friends?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Mother/Daughter Blog



http://www.guideposts.org/blogs/woman-woman


My mother, Marion Bond West, is affectionately known as Guideposts must published/most rejected author. When I was about ten, she asked me to started editing her writing. Not being too excited about it, I loved using a red Magic marker and writing, "Boring/Who Cares" all over her work. But it seems God had a plan. I started writing after turning 40, and she went on to write seven books.

We began blogging together weekly for Guideposts in January. I want to pass along their new link for our blog. You might like it if you like to read about stuff mothers and daughters talk about.

Love,
Julie

Friday, July 16, 2010



"All too often we are living in the past, preoccupied with something that has happened to us; or we are living in the future, waiting for a time when life will treat us magnificently and we will be happy; or worrying about what lies ahead and how we will cope....But every day of our lives brings the opportunity for a new beginning, and there was never a better time to be." --Eileen Campbell


If you've explored my website, or my facebook, or my shoutlife, you know I am a Max Lucado fan. I love the way he uses story to impact his readers.

I read the general market copy of Every Day Deserves a Chance. Now I see there is a version especially for teens.

And it seems the middle of the summer is a good time to look at how we treat the days of our lives. Days of Our Lives was a soap opera. It was on when I was a kid. I didn't watch soap operas, but sometimes I had the tendency to make my days into soap opera material. Perhaps that tendency toward melodrama is par of why I am an author now.
In October, I have a book coming out, "Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball." In the book, one character refers to her family as living "Tomorrow's Sorrows."
She explains,

“They live their own soap opera. I call it ‘Tomorrow’s Sorrows’ because whatever they choose today inevitably ends up being something they regret tomorrow.”
The operative word here is choose. Few people realize how much their own powers of choice determine the "mood" of their lives. A sign of maturity is the ability to be aware of and take responsibility for our choices.
Get a copy of Every Day Deserves a Chance. Max Lucado explains the concept in Christian terms, and he does a much better job than I do. I love reading a Max Lucado book. My spirit is always uplifted. I hope you'll get the opportunity to have a great day, every day this summer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh, the Waiting You'll Do



When I graduated high school, I was given a copy of Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go. I never read it. I put it on the shelf with all the other Dr. Seuss books I'd loved as a child, and went on with my life. Until a couple weeks ago when my daughter asked if we could read it.

I'm sure at least most of you are familiar with the concept of Oh, The Places You'll Go. Basically the guy is off to great places.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."

I was really enjoying the book, even getting a little teary in places that I felt particularly relate to me. And then I hit this part:

You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place...

Then he goes on to talk about what all people are waiting for. (A train to go, a Yes or No, Friday night, Another Chance.) And then it says:

Everyone is just waiting.

NO! That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you'll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you're that kind of guy!

With all due respect to Dr. Seuss, I totally disagree.

Now, sometimes people choose to wait for things that they really shouldn't. Like for a toxic relationship to magically turn healthy. Or to get their ducks all in a row before they pursue that thing they feel God calling them to do. (If I've learned anything since becoming a mom, it's that ducks are on the constant move and should not be waited upon.)

Here's three things I'd like to say about waiting:

Waiting is not useless.

Does it feel useless at times? Absolutely. I started pursuing publication when I graduated high school at age 17. I had the great fortune of being able to write full time from the when I was 21 to when I had my daughter at age 24. As rejection after rejection came in, you think it felt like I was using my time wisely? No! I had no guarantee that I'd someday be published. All I knew was that it felt like God had called me to this, and that I had to try. During that season of waiting, I learned not only about the business of writing, but also about God's faithfulness and who in my life I could count on to support me.

Choosing not to wait can be cutting yourself off from God's plans.

The Bible is full of stories of people who were promised something big, and then waited a looooong time before it came to pass. Abraham was promised a son. Joseph dreamt of his brothers bowing to him. David was told he'd be king. Did God grant these things instantaneously? No. And for some real motivation to sit tight and wait on God for something He's promised, refresh yourself on Abraham's story and what happens with Hagar.

Waiting is not always a choice we make

Sometimes we're granted the choice to wait or not wait, but that's not always the case. Sometimes the waiting just happens, and there's no deciding "it's not for you." Like waiting to see if chemo is going to work. Or if you're going to get into the school of your dreams. Or if your friend is going to decide to forgive you one of these days.

So while you do have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, don't think that guarantees you a "Get out of The Waiting Place for free" pass. Because sometimes, even if the waiting is being done by choice, not waiting is only going to cost you.

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and daughter. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels a few years ago and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. To check out her blog and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Have you ever considered suicide?


I have to admit that when I was a teenager it crossed my mind, but I never took it seriously. While I was in high school, though, a friend of a friend did commit suicide after his girlfriend broke up with him. I remember how the whole community was saddened by this. We all wondered if there was more that we could have done to help him.

Last year I had the opportunity of working on a book with a young woman named Kristen Anderson. Kristen tried to commit suicide by laying down in front of a train when she was 17-years-old. Kristen's life was saved, but she lost her legs. Here is Kristen's story.

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts there is hope!

Contact Reaching You Ministries if you need help ... or just someone to talk to.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Doing what you can


The crows attacked at dawn.

A pair of scrub jays had two chicks in their nest, and the crows ... well, they did what their instincts have told them to do for generations. I couldn't save one of the chicks, even after running down the street chasing the crow who had it, but when I ran back, I was able to get the second one away from his attacker before he'd got too far.

Baby Bird, brave little thing, couldn't do anything but open his beak and hiss at me, but he did it with all his might! With a parliament of crows still on the hunt, I took him inside and let him recover. Then I got on the net and researched how to feed a jay chick. The answer was dry dog food soaked in water, every hour. So even though we had plans for a 4th of July barbecue, Baby Bird and his dog food went with us, much to the amusement of our hosts. Good thing I had a bird carrier.

BB had a comfortable night and the next day hung out with me in my office. He had given me his trust within a couple of hours, so was happy to hop about on my desk, warming his feet on my MacBook, and exploring the forests of pens and pencils. He even sat on my shoulder, taking test flights to the back of the chair.

Then, outside, I saw mom and dad scrub jay still searching in despair for their offspring. I took BB out and put him on the ground in their sight, and you would not believe the rejoicing over him who was lost! Anyone who tells you that birds don't feel emotion is just ... well, unobservant. BB couldn't fly up in the trees, so I reached up and put him in an old nest where mama bird proceeded to feed him, just like any human mother whose boy has come home from the wars. By midday mama had moved him to another tree (don't ask me how) but was willing to let me see her feeding him, so I knew where he was.

I love happy endings, and all three of those birds were totally happy. It wasn't much--I took a crow's breakfast away and gave it 24 hours of safety. Sometimes we can't do much to help someone or something. But sometimes we can, no matter how small it may seem at the time. And you know what? It could change someone's life.

Shelley
www.shelleyadina.com

Monday, July 05, 2010

A Lesson from Young Victoria


For me, summer seems to include a lot of movies. Over the weekend I watched one that came highly recommended by my sister Sherry—the Young Victoria. The story followed Queen Victoria as an 18-year-old adjusting to her role as ruler of England. A scene from the end of the film really resonated with me. Earlier today I wrote a post for another blog, relating this particular scene to the writing life. Then I realized that it applies to life in general.

Victoria is married to Prince Albert of Germany and is clearly struggling to let him have a say in things. After all, she is Queen. Though they obviously adore each other, the royal marriage is suffering due to her refusal to relinquish control and his repeatedly-dashed efforts to respect her authority while also knowing that he is a ruler in his own right, not to mention her husband. To complicate things even more, Victoria has a personal advisor to help her make tough decisions, and a nursemaid who has cared for her since childhood and continued in her role after Victoria and Albert’s wedding.

Prince Albert proves his devotion to Victoria through a heroic act that I won’t give away for those of you who haven’t seen the movie. While he is recovering, Victoria’s advisor gently offers her a piece of advice based on his observations: she needs to give Albert a say in things. It was also time to let go of her nursemaid and let her husband care for her. The movie ends shortly after this but the historical notes that precede the credits make it clear that Victoria and Albert flourished in their partnership.

How often do we stumble through life’s journey because we insist on making our own decisions, fighting God’s leadership? How many times do we brush off the care and guidance that He stands waiting to give because we have too many other advisors and nursemaids in our lives that we can’t bring ourselves to let go of? And how we flourish when we listen to that gentle instruction to, not only give Him a say but let Him lead, and actually have the courage to obey!

In what ways do you need to give God more of a say in your life? Personally, my list is probably too long for a blog entry. Join me in the challenge of letting Him rule, noting how we flourish as we give up what is holding us back.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Freedom

I've been thinking about tomorrow--the 4th of July. Words that come to mind are freedom, independance, celebration and gratitude. Countless men and women who gave and are giving their all--families who had to say goodbye to loved ones. Many who relinquished children, wives, husbands, friends for our country. For me. For us.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

By the grace of God, and the lives of many, we are free.

Question. Is there anything that keeps you, me, us from living a life of personal freedom? Freedom where our hearts are totally open to God? For me, other things and/or people can slip into being more important to me than God. Even emotions--fear, worry, doubt.

I'm just thinking a lot today about the word FREEDOM. And what the scripture really means that says, "If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8:36The truth is, sometimes I choose slavery.

Love and thoughtfully,

Julie

Friday, July 02, 2010

Pondering by Ponderers

I meet many young people who have the urge to write. I think that is fantastic. I actually think this is a process that some people use to "figure out" their world, even if they write about characters in a fantasy. Whenever I write a book, God reveals something to me. Usually it is how to deal with the circumstances He is using to mature me. Right. I'm a 59 year old grandma and He is still guiding me toward calmer waters in tempests that are sometimes of my own making.
Anyway, since so many of my young friends are aspiring writers, I thought I would point you to a new blog for writers.


http://mbtponderers.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Recharge by disconnecting!


I have been thinking a lot lately about one of the 10 Commandments:

Exodus 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

"Sabbath" comes from the Hebrew word shabbat - which basically means "to cease". I don't know about you - but there are often a lot of things I need to "cease" from.

cease from hurrying
cease from worrying
cease from busyness
cease from ______

God commanded us to "cease". We have a built in spiritual hunger that drives us to "fill up" with God - to commune with Him. But all of those things - busyness - worrying - hurrying - all of those things can mask that spiritual hunger and cause us to try and "fill up" with a lot of pointless things.

We have to slow down. We have to learn to be still. And with all of the ways we are connected in the world - Facebook, texting, cell phones, twitter - the list goes on and on...well, we are all in danger of forgetting how to do that.

Now - I actually don't think we need to take a 24 hour period and do absolutely nothing in order to plug in with God. What we need to do is be willing to be still. Be willing to "cease" for more than just a moment.

Around here - it is a gorgeous day and I stepped out onto our back porch for a moment to take a phone call. When the call ended, my instinct was to head back inside and get back to work. But I felt that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit drawing me to linger there.

Are you willing to linger in silence and stillness - even for a short time?

Here's a challenge - disconnect.

Start with an hour. For an hour - don't text or check your cell phone. Don't pop onto Facebook or check your favorite sites. Don't watch TV. Just be.

Stillness can actually be quite addictive - in a good way. The more you get comfortable with being still, and having your heart open to hearing God, well, the more you want to do it. The more you will begin to crave "ceasing" from all of those other things in order to get close to the One who can truly fill us up.

Blessings to you,

Sarah



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