Thursday, April 28, 2011

Solid Rock verse sinking sands

You know that thing where you've heard something a thousand times, but one day it hits you in a new way? I've heard the hymn, "Christ the solid rock," off and on through my church-going years. If you're unfamiliar with it, the lyrics say:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly lean on Jesus' name

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Usually, if I dwell on this song, I focus on what it means for Christ to be a solid rock. But the other day, I was hit by "all other ground is sinking sand." All other ground is sinking sand. As in all. Everything. Anything we stand on that isn't Christ is sinking sand.

That's not to say they're necessarily bad things, but if we try to finagle them into a role that only Jesus was meant to fulfill, it's going to mess us up. We're going to sink.

I started making a mental list of everything I either have "stood" or find myself "standing" in. By which I mean the things I find myself relying on to fulfill me, to make me feel good about myself or the decisions I'm making. The things that I use to gauge whether or not I'm measuring up.

Here are a few I came up with:

People's opinions of me
This is especially hard when we're talking about people I love and respect, like my parents or my husband or friends at church. I want them to think well of me, but I can get carried away by their opinions of my choices and completely forget to ask God what He thinks I should do.

My prestigious high school
It feels good when we're chosen, doesn't it? At one point in time, my high school felt like the ticket to bigger and better things. But Jesus is the only one who holds that power.

Being published
It was my dream ever since I was a little girl, and I often thought so long as I achieved it, I would be forever content. Nope.

Good reviews of my books
These are so fun to read, and they make me feel like I did so well with the story God gave me. Bad reviews, however, make me feel like I somehow failed God. The truth is, so long as I'm doing my best to serve Him through writing, the reviews are nothing more than a blip of an earthly reward.

My comfortable house and safe neighborhood
At our neighborhood in Orlando, we occasionally heard gun shots at night, and the FedEx guy once warned me about not opening my door for "just anybody" because someone had apparently been raped in the apartment complex next to us. I often felt nervous going to and from our place.

But here in Overland Park, I'm hardly ever nervous. It's important to recognize how God's blessed us with a nice home and safe streets, but He should be my ultimate security.

The cleanliness of my house/yumminess of the dinner I made/happiness of my kids/and the check marks on my to-do list
It's easy to feel good about my life, good about me, on those days I'm doing everything "right." When I accomplish everything I meant to and my 9-month old isn't shoving dust bunnies in his mouth because I actually vacuumed. But God loves me even on the days that I don't vacuum and don't mark a thing off my list.

What about you? What are some things you "stand" or rely on?

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. 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. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Scarf a Day

Camy here! Some of you may know that I am the coordinator for the ACFW Genesis contest for unpublished writers. The Genesis would not even exist without the hundreds of judges who volunteer their time to judge the entries each year. This year we had over 550 entries! Each entry is judged by 3 judges. Our judges agree to judge anywhere from 3 to 21 entries each!

Because I’m so grateful to our judges, I decided to try to make scarves for all of them who are going to be at the ACFW Conference in September. I’m guessing about 200 judges will be at the conference, and I have five months. I figure, if I do a scarf or two a day, I’ll make enough for all my judges who will be at the conference. As of today, I have a dozen or two scarves already made.

I’m not making really intricate scarves, but I’m using some neat yarn from my stash and making quick scarves with large needles (size US 35). I’m also using a size S crochet hook for some Tunisian crochet scarves. Most of the scarves I’ve made take less than an hour per scarf, even the ones with a lace pattern. The big needles help the work go quickly, but the scarves still look really nice and squishy.

My point? What can you do to show someone your appreciation? It doesn’t have to be anything big. Each of these scarves only takes 60 minutes of my time, and I make most of them when I’m in front of the TV. But I know the judges will appreciate the time and the thought that went into making scarves for them.

Who would you like to say thank you to? What can you do to show them your appreciation?

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. 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 dogs, knitting and spinning wool, running, Asiana, and other frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter for giveways!

Click here to find out how you can join my Street Team—it’s free and there’s lots of chances to win prizes!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus in every book of the Bible

Happy Resurrection Day to each and every one of you. Thank you all for chiming in, commenting and just being with us. Thought I'd share this video with you, to remind you that Jesus was, is and always will be.

Want to know more? Check out more about how to get to know Jesus.

BTW - the blonde one is my daughter:-)


Sarah Anne Sumpolec

Friday, April 22, 2011

Be her friend.

Do you know a struggling young woman or a teen mom? Be her friend. 

Take her to coffee. Listen as she shares her heart. Encourage her. Point her to where true love is found ... in Jesus.

Tell her to pray for her future husband ... it'll help her to think of what she longs for in a new way. My co-written book Praying for Your Future Husband is for young women who've done everything right, and those who haven't. It offers hope despite wrong choices. You can pre- order it before the May release.

If you know a teen mom ... help her on her journey. She needs help, hope, encouragement, advice, and a helping hand. Buy her a copy of Life, Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Teen Mom. It'll speak to her heart from someone who's be there.

Finally, share your story. We've all messed up. God has helped us in numerous ways. Speak to her and tell of His goodness. Remind her that someone loves her more than she can imagine, and then give her a hug and tell her you love her, too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I like me.

I like me.

I didn't always. In fact, I can remember sitting in my middle school math classroom, watching as one girl made fun of me with her best friend. I was awkward, extremely shy, and not at all interested in the Backstreet Boys. Add all those things together and you get the perfect target. I just wanted to melt into the floor, away from that girl and her friend. No matter what I did, I couldn't fit in with them. I couldn't be super skinny, athletic, social, and boy-crazy like they were. I knew I didn't want to be like them. But I also didn't want to be myself.

Fast forward to high school. Same story, different characters. There was this one guy in my history class who would sit next to me and wait for the teacher to walk to the other side of the classroom. And then he'd lean over and bark like a dog in my face. An hour and a half a day. Every day. For an entire semester. (He was trying to be clever. To my knowledge, he was an otherwise normal human being.)

But somewhere along the line I decided I didn't care. Somewhere along the line the words "made in the image of a holy God" started to sink in. And somewhere along the line, I decided I kind of liked being different, even if it meant people didn't quite know what to do with me.

Yeah, I'm quiet. And I can't catch a ball if I knew it was the last thing keeping me alive. And I'm probably about as aggressive as a lilypad. (Confrontation? YIKES.) And I'll always avoid the giant crowd of people in favor of a quiet corner and a book.

But I'll also listen if you've got a problem, even if it's 2:00 am. And I'll probably cry with you because that's how my heart works. And once we're friends, we're going to be friends for life. I'm as loyal as they come. Even if I can't do sports, I can draw you a decent picture, or play you any praise and worship song ever written in the '90s on my guitar.

Over the years I've had a lot of people tell me they wished I'd be different. That I'd act differently or do things they did or be more like so-and-so. I used to try it. But I felt fake and stupid. I mean, I'm not someone else. I'm me. Ashley. Completely unlike anyone else ever made, and completely unlike anyone else who will ever exist. God had a reason for making me the way I am. Who am I to throw it back in His face because I think I should be just like everyone else? 

It's taken a long time and, don't get me wrong, I definitely still have days where I don't really like me all that much. But they're definitely fewer and farther between than they used to be.

So...what do you like about you today? :-) I'd love to hear it.

Love always.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I lay on the floor, hot tears rolling down my cheeks. I can’t do this anymore, God. I can’t keep going.


Four years. I thought this would be over by now. I thought that one day, after all the prayers my friends and I could muster, I would wake up whole.

That day didn’t come.

My friends were tired of waiting. One by one they stopped calling; stopped visiting; stopped remembering.

God, if you’re there – give me one reason to stay here. One reason to keep breathing.

I stared at the wall – not expecting an answer. Then I saw it.

Perched on my bulletin board was a card from a church lady: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

The sobs escaped from somewhere deep inside of me.

I don’t know where that secret place is, but God, I want to be there.

Something changed in that moment. I wish I could say that magically my friends started calling, or that my body was miraculously healed.

But the change was deeper. For the first time I could see Jesus, carrying me like a wounded sheep – close to His heart. I could see His tears, His agony, His pain for me.

It was eight years before the Gentle Shepherd chose to heal my body.

There were still days I was angry, days I couldn’t feel His presence, days I wanted to end it all. But in those desperate moments I reached out for that secret place. I asked Him to meet me there.

I don’t know what you’re going through today, but I want you to know you have a Gentle Shepherd. And I want you to know that He longs to hold you close to His heart. He wants you to never be alone.

Would you ask Him to do that for you today?


Lord, I need You today. I need you to be my Gentle Shepherd.
I need to be in your secret place, safe from everything that’s surrounding me. Would You show me how to find you there? In Jesus' name, Amen.



Jeremiah 29:13, When you come looking for me, you'll find me.
Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed. (MSG)


Get alone with God today. Wait for Him to meet You. He promises He will.


What difficulty can Jesus meet you in today?

[This post is re-shared from Rad Revolution.]

B.J. Hamrick wants to walk with the realization that every breath, every heartbeat is a gift from God. She spends most of her time at Real Teen Faith, a safe place where faith-filled and seeking teens talk about God, current events, books, music, culture, devos, lyrics and poetry, and missions.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More on One Thousand Gifts

I'm reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp for the second time. The first time, I underlined something special on almost every page. Now I'm reading it with a Share Group and am making tons of hearts all over it. It's amazing how reading a book with others opens your eyes and hearts to even more than reading it alone.

One of our group members shared this song in relation to the book. I think she's so right. Perfect song choice. To me, the book is all about change. Change in how I see anything and everyone. Just wanted to plug an incredible book and beautiful music, too.

So much love,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Joy in Obedience

Camy here! When I was in college, we had a few couples from the church who would occasionally open their home to us, feed us dinner, talk with us about whatever we wanted. It wasn’t a regular ministry, but we knew they were always there for us if we needed them.

I wanted to give back to the college students at my church in the same way those couples had helped me with my walk with Jesus. So my husband and I recently started having a college Bible study at our home on Sunday around noon. We cook lunch for the students and then have a Bible study lesson. Right now, we’re going through a video Bible study on sex and dating.

This past weekend, I was making some Japanese tea for the students (all of them are at least half Japanese) when it hit me how happy I was to have boisterous college students eating teriyaki meatballs in my living room. Talking about history classes and raunchy coworkers and random things. Coming into the kitchen asking for more food. Barreling through bags of chips and bottles of soda.

But it wasn’t just a happy-happiness, it was a really deep-seated kind of joy that I felt down in my gut. A joy that really had no logical explanation—it was just there. And it filled me entirely. David’s words about cups overflowing came to mind.

I knew, in that moment, that this was what God wanted me to do, to open my home and my heart to these students. I wanted to chat with them about silly things like YouTube videos and about serious things like sex. I wanted to help them grow in their relationships with Jesus. I was filled with joy and a desire to serve the Lord in this way, to be obedient to Him in this way.

Is there something Jesus wants you to do for him? Have you hesitated in going through with it even though you know it’s something God wants? Remember that with obedience comes love and joy. You won’t be disappointed if you keep Jesus’ commands.

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. 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 dogs, knitting and spinning wool, running, Asiana, and other frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter for giveways!

Click here to find out how you can join my Street Team—it’s free and there’s lots of chances to win prizes!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In bloom

Here in Kansas City, spring has arrived. It's such a fun time of year, watching trees flower and seeing shoots of forgotten plants emerge from the soil. While our warm days are starting to outnumber our cold days, it can still get pretty cold at night, and two weeks ago - just as the buds on many shrubs had grown brave and opened up - it snowed.

I'm not a big gardener, so it doesn't freak me out the way it does others, but many in our area were all jittery as they eyed the snow-covered flowers. The weather alerts all talked about bringing delicate plants inside, or covering up those you couldn't.

The spring - the wonderful time of change and growth - is a vulnerable time for plants. And it's a vulnerable time for us too.

In Beth Moore's Esther study, she talks about the Amalekites and their attack of the Israelites. (From Deuteronomy 25)

Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. 18 When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God.

When God is bringing us into a new season of life, it's easy to grow "weary and worn out," making us vulnerable to attacks. I think the best way to prevent this is to stay in community. Notice in verse 18 where it says the Amalekites "attacked all who were lagging behind." The people who'd been separated from the group.

I have a tendency to shy away from people when I'm going through some personal junk. I might says it's because I don't want to burden people with my problems, but the truth is it's because I don't want people knowing I have them. When I cut myself off like that, it only causes problems. Those voices that whisper things like, "You're not good enough," or "What makes you think you're special?" grow louder and louder.

But when I share my life - the good, the ugly - with people who love me and love the Lord, they can speak truth into my life. They strengthen me, and God uses them to bring me into maturity. To bring me into full bloom.

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. 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. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Love filmmaking, singing, acting or writing???

Then have I got some news for you!! Want to spend a week this summer hobnobbing with filmmaking, writing and acting professionals from all over the country? Want to grow as an artist? Want to explore the media arts in an environment that honors the Lord?
Yes, Yes, Yes!

There's still time to apply!!

Gideon Teen Intern Program (GI)The Gideon Intern Program is a unique and fabulous part of the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival. It is designed exclusively for teens between the ages of 16 and 18 who are ready to take their love of the media arts to the next level. Media Arts, you ask? Well, we're talking about things like writing, screenwriting, acting, directing, radio, TV, church drama, and producing. Our interns participate in every aspect of the conference, plus get to have exclusive meals with industry professionals to ask questions and learn from them.This year we also will have a special filmmaking and novel writing track that some of our interns will be selected to participate in.But don't sit around and wait - you have to apply to be a part of the program! For all the details and an application, please see our website: Gideon Teen Intern program


Friday, April 08, 2011

I was looking for love in all the wrong places

I felt like I was sneaking out and getting away with something. I was on the top of a mountain at a ski resort with two dozen teen girls. We were having a retreat, and I was the speaker. We spent time playing games, having a spa day, and as we sat in front of a cracking fireplace I told these amazing young women about my high school years and all the mistakes I'd made.

“I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I ended up pregnant ... twice. I thought I'd never find a godly man who would want to be my husband, but God had other plans,” I told them.

I looked around at the faces of the teens as the sat and listened to my story. Part of me wished I had a better story to tell. I wished I'd done everything right. But afterwards, as I spoke with some of the young women, I was thankful God had led me there. Some of them had already made many mistakes and had gone too far with their boyfriends. Many, like I had, doubted if there would ever be a godly guy who'd love them. I was glad to tell them that no matter what they'd done, God had good plans for them … just like He did for me.

My life changed when I accepted Jesus Christ's free gift of salvation. I was a new person—someone who had no more sin and all the potential of Christ in me. Things changed again when I surrendered everything to Jesus. For many years I thought I had to figure out how to serve God. I taught Sunday School, I led Bible Studies, I cooked for church dinners, only to feel overwhelmed and frazzled. Yet, when I really surrendered myself and asked God to show me how He wanted me to serve, He led me to an amazing ministry—speaking to teen girls and teen moms. I discovered that my greatest failures gave me a compassion for these young women. I understood where they were coming from because I used to be where they are.

And that's what's amazing about God. First he saves us, then … as we give our everything to Him … He sets us to serve in the work He's planned for us to do. Ephesians 2:7-10 talks about this:

“Saving is ... God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:7-10 (The Message).

After all my mess ups, it's amazing to know that God had good plans for my life. He's done more amazing things than I could ever imagine! The thing that it took, though, is understanding who I was and who I am. I was a sinner, saved by grace. I am a child of God who is amazed by how He's transformed my life. I am also someone who loved to connect with people. And in an amazing way sharing the ways I've screwed up my life has allowed me to connect with others in ways I hadn't though possible.

God knows me better than anyone else. He loves me more than anyone. How could I have ever doubted He could make something good out of my life? The best decision I ever made was to give Him everything. And as I continue to connect with teen girls, I tell them that.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Breaking Up

He gave me a chicken. Okay, so it wasn't a whole fryer or alive and clucking or anything like that. It was a stuffed chicken. It was a stuffed chicken and it laughed. Loudly. There's nothing wrong with a chicken, per se. But I'm more of a bunny kind of girl myself. And so the chicken got added to the List of Reasons Why I Probably Shouldn't Be Dating This Guy.

We'd been dating for a few months. And he was a nice enough guy in the beginning, but I really just wasn't feeling a heart connection. Add that to a few heated discussions here and some big things I just didn't agree with there, and every time I saw this guy I felt sick to my stomach. I kept telling myself that I just needed to give the guy a chance. Time would heal all wounds, or something like that. Besides...he really, really liked me. He even said he loved me.

Wasn't it my duty to stay with him? It was obvious to everyone around us that I was his world. I was willing to stay with him just because I didn't want to destroy his life by breaking up with him. It must have been love, right?

Um. Wrong.

Julie's post about whether or not he's dating material really wrapped its fingers around my heart. Because I've been there dating the kind of guy who wasn't dating material! And you know what? I stayed in that relationship for a long time when I shouldn't have. I don't want you to make the same mistake.

So what do you do when you're dating a guy who isn't dating material, anyways?

Break up with him.

I know, I know, it sounds so insanely easy when it's just out there on paper (or screen, as it were). But if you're anything like me, you're really worried about how much it's going to hurt his feelings. Here's a secret: he's in charge of his own feelings. How he handles your break up is up to him.

Or maybe you don't know how you'll survive without him. Five words: Support system and ice cream. :-)

Breaking up is tough. But sometimes it just needs to happen. Go down the list Julie wrote and see how many of those things you check off. (Hint: if you check off any of those things, it's time to rethink the relationship.) If you still aren't sure whether or not this guy is right for you, start praying hardcore about it. God will answer you. Just be prepared to do what He lays on your heart. Pull some people you trust into the conversation and ask them for help, too.

Seven years ago when I was in the wrong relationship, I wish someone had told me just to break up with the guy! Yes, it hurt for a season. But everything worked out after all and I'm living a much healthier lifestyle now, living the way God intended, not roped into a relationship that was all wrong. I have to admit, it's a little weird for me to post something that's a little more personal like this--but when Julie posted last week and this was already on my heart, I felt like I couldn't hide it under a rock this time. :-) If you need someone to talk to and your heart is hurting, go ahead and shoot me an email! I'm all ears.

Love always.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Who's Your Buddy?

This week I’m preparing for a big writer’s conference, where I coordinate a program call The Buddy System. Basically, I match those who have never attended this amazing but often overwhelming conference before, with someone who has. Each year I receive comments like . . .

“My buddy was perfect for me. We have so much in common!”

“The first-timer that you assigned me lives in the same town that I’m about to move to. How did you know?”

Some shared the same life challenges or health problems. Others just hit it off in a way that they didn’t expect.

The cool thing is that I don’t ask any questions about likes and dislikes, health problems, or even where they live. I ask for their name, e-mail address, writing interests, and conference goals. Then I pray as I make assignments. So in many ways, God chooses each first-timer’s buddy.

I assigned a first-timer to myself a few years ago without know much about her. She has become a precious friend who now faithfully serves as a buddy. As it turns out, she is also friends with one of my cousins.

This has become my yearly reminder of God’s hand in our relationships. He knows who He wants us to meet, encourage, and gain from. But, we also need to put ourselves out there and be willing to connect with people. First-timers must sign up for the Buddy System just as we need to leave our homes and get involved in activities in order to make friends.

Think of some people that God has brought into your life through circumstances that left you pleasantly blown away. Thank Him for loving you enough to be actively involved in your everyday life, including choosing your buddies.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Waiting While You're Dating

Chick-lit author Erynn Mangum wrote the book on romance. And the other book. And the other book. And the other book. 

So you can imagine her standards were high when it came to dating.

At 6’2”, Jon O’Brien was one of the few guys to turn Erynn’s head. “When you are 5’7” and living in a state populated by guys whose average height is around 5’5”, anyone over six foot is considered quite the find,” Erynn says. “And the fact that he was really cute didn’t hurt.”

But it wasn’t just Jon’s looks that turned Erynn’s head. It was also his heart. “Every week, everyone would come [to my house for Bible study] and then around ten-ish when everyone else would be leaving, Jon would be just sitting down on the couch and I'd go take my place in the recliner and we would end up talking until way past midnight.”

It was a dark April night when Jon made his move.

“We were standing on the porch and it was a little bit chilly,” Erynn says. “It was completely dark outside except for the porch lights and the stars, and Jon bent down and I realized what he was about to do…”

Erynn turned her face away from Jon.  

“He ended up kissing my cheek,” she says.

But Erynn had a reason for what she describes as a moment that was “SO awkward!”

“When I was a sophomore or junior in high school, I decided that I wanted my first kiss to be when I got engaged. I thought it would be so romantic and I also thought it would protect me from kissing a bunch of guys that I would inevitably end up not marrying. Both good reasons. Both things my boyfriend did not know.”


“Poor Jon. I was so completely flustered that all I could say was, ‘Okay, well, good night, drive carefully!’ and then I hurried back inside and closed the door.”

Erynn wondered as the hinges squeaked – had she just closed the door on a perfectly good relationship?


Not everyone’s cut out to be a no-kisser like Erynn – but we’ve all been there – wondering just how far a guy’s expecting to go with us. And the truth is, whatever your physical boundaries are – they won’t help if you don’t communicate them.

\So next time you’re worried that a cute boy might want to go a little farther than you do, here’s how to handle it:

    • Set your boundaries beforehand. The heat of the moment is no time to decide how far you’re willing to go.
    • Ask your parents or a Christian mentor to give you accountability for your decisions.
    • Set aside a time to talk with your significant other about these boundaries. While you might dread the awkwardness of this talk, it will be much less awkward than letting the moment get out-of-hand and then bringing it up.
    • Realize you are worth waiting for, even if it means closing the door on your current relationship.

Erynn was waiting by the door when the bell rang. It was Jon, almost 24 hours later, and no less confused.

“The entire time he was [at my house], I kept trying to tell him about my no kissing stance. Each time I opened my mouth, someone would walk into the room, or dinner was ready, or the movie was starting. So, once again, I went the whole night without saying anything and it was again time for the awkward porch goodnight thing.”

This time Jon hugged Erynn and stepped back. “Well, goodnight,” he said.

Erynn almost let him leave. Then she felt guilty and started confessing. “Jon, I just want you to know that I'm saving my first kiss for when I get engaged, so I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but it was kind of weird last night… and I'm sorry, and anyways, goodnight.” Erynn ran for the door.

The bell rang.

It was Jon. They needed to talk, he said. “I sat down on the bench out front,” Erynn says, “fully expecting him to say that [not kissing] wasn't going to fly with him, so I was either going to need to pucker up or plan on him leaving. So, I planned on him leaving. Because being with someone who didn't respect my boundaries - regardless of how pointless, silly or stupid he thought they were - just wasn't an option.”

To Erynn’s surprise, Jon had something else to say. He was okay with her boundaries. He saw himself staying with her. Possibly long-term.

One year after their miss-kiss, Jon slid a ring on Erynn’s finger. She was worth the wait, he said. Several months later they tied the knot and… you guessed it… sealed it with another kiss.

That was three years ago, and Erynn’s still writing romantic chick-lit. And why not? There’s nothing like a little real-life inspiration.

B.J. Hamrick has lived out four years of her own happily-ever-after with her husband, Ethan. Know a great dating story? Want to share it? Contact B.J. through her site, Real Teen Faith.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Is He Dating Material?

A few days ago I was chatting with a twenty-something-year-old. Her blue eyes were all sparkly and shiny. I told her she looked happy. She said, "I am."

"Are you dating anyone?" I said.


"Tell me about him."

As soon as she started talking about him, I knew I wanted to blog about it. She said that they're hours apart, and he doesn't mind the long drive to visit her. He must consider dating her a privilege. She said he likes to take her out to nice places. Then she said her parents really like him a lot. She also admires him.

So....I started thinking. What's the flip side of a healthy dating relationship? How does it feel to be dating a not-so-good guy?

Maybe he puts you down.
Or he's selfish.
Or you get this weird feeling that he doesn't want the best for you.
Maybe your parents aren't too thrilled with him.
Or maybe he's cheated on you.
Maybe his temper scares you.
Or you feel sorta sad after hanging out with him.
Or he doesn't do kind things for you like open doors.
Sometimes you don't feel too special when you're around him.
Maybe he's way too jealous. Too possessive.

Is he dating material? Listen to your heart. Pray. Ask God to guide you. It matters to Him. You matter to Him.

P.S. My dear friend Robin let me use this fabric picture from her blog.