Friday, January 28, 2011

To Do Lists and God

There’s a quote from Gilmore Girls that has sprung to mind every couple days this month. Lorelai Gilmore is opening an inn, which I’m guessing is even more stressful in real life than it appeared on TV. Referencing her to-do list, she says, “Hey, do you know that if the entire population of China walked by, the line would never end because of the rate of population increase? That’s my list – every Chinese person in the world.”

I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed recently. Like my to-do list rivaled the Chinese population. Until now, I’ve always been like, “Okay, it’s been a rough week, but McKenna wasn’t feeling well and there was family in town … next week should be better.” Or, I might have said, “Yikes! Schedule overload. Time to find something to cut.”

But here’s the thing – there’s nothing left to cut. This is just life for a while, and I’ve got to figure out how to “roll with it” better than I have. I’m not what you’d call a flexible person. (The type of people who arrange their spices in alpha order and make daily to-do lists rarely are. But if you need cumin and you need it fast, I’m your girl.)

So what do you do?

There’s no returning my kids (wouldn’t want to) and writing … well, it’s what I do. It’s the work God gave me. Morally speaking, to give it up feels akin to abandoning the family God blessed me with. It would be disobedient, turning my back on my calling.

Like I usually do, I blubbered all my frustrations to my husband. He’s my fix-it guy. If anyone could see something I could cut, he could.

But instead he gave me something better. He brought up the scripture in Acts, where Ananias questions God’s choice of Paul as a speaker for the kingdom. Acts 9:15-16 says, “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Ben laid out all the evidence that writing is what God has asked me to do, and guided me toward the solution that there might be suffering involved in answering that call.

It’s funny, I always thought of “suffering for your call” in a more physical way. Like being imprisoned or being tortured. Not having time to write because I’m sitting around playing with these two doesn’t feel like it should qualify:

But not getting to do what I want when I want to do it is a form of “dying to self,” which is always a struggle.

Ben said to me, “You’ll just have to get done what you can and trust God that it’ll be enough.”

I read a devotional yesterday that talked about Abel’s offering to God, and that it was pleasing because of Abel’s faith. (Heb 11:4). I think that’s what I need to be more mindful of. That my writing is an offering. And one of the ways I do it by faith is to say to God, “I didn’t have time for much of it today, I only wrote 100 words, but here they are. Do with them as you please.”


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. To check out her blog and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com and www.GoTeenWriters.com.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Friends--Having Them and Finding Them

Camy here talking about friends.

I didn’t have any best friends all through middle school and high school. I had good friends, but they didn’t have that much in common with me.

Looking back, I realize that it’s okay when your friends don’t have everything in common with you, because even your best friend doesn’t have everything in common with you, but back then, I thought I needed to collect around me friends who were completely likeminded. I realize now that that’s unrealistic, and it’s also a disservice to my own personal development. I needed people around me who were different from me.

I found some good friends in college, too, and God drew people to me who could help me become a woman who would serve Him and please Him.

But I didn’t find my best friends until I started writing and discovered that writing was what I was really called to do. And then I found other writers with whom I could talk to about writing.

All that to say, it took me a LONG time to find my best friends, and during that time, I was impatient and expecting my good friends to fill every relational need I had. Even my best friends don’t do that, yet I was expecting my good friends to do that.

The reality is that God fulfills my every need, and it took me a long time to get to that point where I had surrendered myself completely to Him and depended on Him completely. Jesus is my Best Friend, and He fills me in ways that no one else in my life will.

My good friends and my best friends add color and enjoyment to my life, but more importantly, they point me to God. I don’t NEED them in my life, but God uses them to add love to my life.

How about you? Are you like me, struggling with finding friends? Or do you already have friends who circle around you?

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!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Hollywood Baby Boom Isn't Just About Sex


It's being called the Hollywood baby boom because all of the stars, it seems, recently had, is about to have, or just announced they're having a baby. It's a trend that I've been noticing for a while, just check out the covers of magazines like People and Us. If I took time to compare covers from now and twenty or thirty years ago the message would be clear: babies are hot stuff.

I knew this was coming, and I don't think we've hit the peak yet. When I mentioned the Hollywood baby boom on Twitter one of my friends wrote back and said, “It's just not in Hollywood, all my friends are pregnant.”

Another friend sent me this tweet. “Did you hear about the high school in Memphis? 86 teens are pregnant in one school.” I looked it up and she was right. You can find the information HERE.

So what's up with that? Is it all about the sex? Are people more sexually active and then, “Whoops, here comes baby.”

One school official in Memphis thinks so. The last line in the article linked above says:

“It’s upsetting that we continue to see the rates of teen pregnancy ticking up in certain areas,” Alvarez said. “I think we really need to focus on education – that’s really the key.”

Is she right? Maybe in part. I'm sure there are some teens that let their passions take them away and didn't fully understand how to prevent pregnancy. But I think that's the minority. It goes deeper than that. It goes to the heart.

You see, our fascination with children didn't start in the last few years. It started with our parents. As you know each generations seems to flip their values. The dedicated, stable, hard working Baby Boomers raised the wild “love children” of the 60's and 70's. Those hippies are our parents. Their generation brought in legalized abortion. They brought in latch key children. My friends and I were the ones who had moms and dads who both worked outside of the home (more than any other time in history). Our parents were also the ones who increased the divorce/live ins/and multiple marriages thing. We had bio dads, step moms, step dads and then there were the boy/girlfriends that never committed themselves to marriage. Children were everyone's last concern.

“The best type of parent is a happy parent” was the motto of those years. Really? I wonder if the kids would agree.

So where does that leave us?

Like I quoted in my book, Generation NeXt Parenting:

“Because of the loneliness and alienation of splintered family attachments, 'experts' have claimed that the strongest desire of Gen Xers is acceptance and belonging.”

Here's another statistic from Generation Next Parenting. “According to a 2003 survey of 2,020 parents, twice as may Gen X mothers spent more than twelve hours a day attending to children rearing and household responsibilities.

"Rough half of Gen X fathers devoted three to six hours a day to domesticity. Only 39 percent of baby boomer dads could stay the same.”

A Peer Personality is a generation persona recognized and determined by (1) common age and location; (3) common beliefs and behavior; and (3) perceived membership in a common generation.

So what is our Peer Personality? If I were to sum it up, our generation is like a stubborn five year old. We have our fingers wagging in our ears and our tongues sticking out. “Naher, naher, I don't care what you think. CHILDREN ARE IMPORTANT!”

I have to admit I too have pulled those magazines off the checkstand aisle, flipping through and checking out the star-babies. That's the value I hold deep in my heart, too: “Children are important.” If I look around, I see this lived out by myself and those in my generation in a few ways.

There is ...
a rise in stay-at-home moms
a huge jump in homeschooling or private/charter schools
an increase in extracurricular activities
a growing number of families adopting children

Those are the positives. I started out this blog talking about other, more negative factors such as the Hollywood baby boom (which I feel is negative because of the lack of committed star marriages) and the rise in teen pregnancy.

Whether positive or negative, the core value that we hold closest is clear: family and children are worth most. This became our greatest value because of we lacked in our growing up years. As one teen mom told me, “I wanted someone to love. Someone who would always be mine.” She'd been abandoned by her parents, and she'd been violated by others in her life. She longed for love and a child seemed like a safe place to find that love.

So truthfully, I don't think education has much to do with it. The majority of people know how NOT to get pregnant. I also don't think Hollywood is setting the standard in this case. They're just echoing the feelings and emotions of our society. They're spotlighting what all of us feel.

What should we do about it? I have a few ideas.

1.We should embrace families. If they feel family/children are important then we need to support them in all the ways we can. Be a positive influence. Start local support groups. Make 'family and children' discipleship a priority for your church.

2.We need to mentor young people. Teens turn to each other for sex and love because they are hungry for attention and affection. If we step in and be positive influences in their lives we will make a difference.

3.We need to lift high the commitment of marriage. The best place to raise a baby is in the home of two parents who love each other and are dedicated to building and serving their family together.

4.We need to share the good news of Jesus Christ. It's not about a religion, it's about a relationship. The love that we long for can (in part) be found in the embrace of a child or spouse, but those things can never fill the God-shaped holes in our hearts.

Take a moment and think about how YOU can help in one of the above areas. It will make a difference. A huge one. And if we impact those having babies in positive ways, we're going to impact the next generation.

You see it's not all about sex. It's about a generation hungry for love. What can you do today to point them to the Source Who will satisfy?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Faithful Friend

This morning I talked to my friend Darlene, who I’ve known since fourth grade. She is one of those friends who gradually faded to the background of my life after I got married. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Suddenly I was married and she wasn’t, then I had my oldest son, and eventually she moved to Florida. Every now and then she would call or send a card or surprise me with a birthday gift. On rare occasions, we got together when she visited her grandma in California. The last time we talked was eight years ago. Then, out of the blue, she called while I was at Bible study last night.

I couldn’t help feeling bad as I got ready to return her call this morning. It hit me that Darlene is always the one to call me. Looking back over the past decade and a half, I couldn’t remember the last time a card exchange started with me. When was the last time that I sent her a gift? About five years ago she called and left a message on my voice mail; the message got erased before I had a chance to return it. Some friend! Yet last night she thought to call me. She still wanted to talk to me. When we talked, I didn’t sense any resentment. We just enjoyed catching up.

Darlene remained faithful to me even when I wasn’t faithful to her. She could have said “forget her. This friendship is getting way too one-sided.” In other words, she didn’t treat me the way some might have. Or the way (gulp) I’ve treated others—the way I might have treated her if the situation had been reversed.

In many ways, Darlene modeled Christ—faithful and forgiving. By doing this, she prompted me to re-examine some things and try to change.

It’s Jesus’ kindness that leads us to repentance, and I believe He uses people in a similar way—allowing them to treat us with such undeserved grace that not only want to do things differently in the future, but hope to reflect them.

Thanks for calling me, Darlene. And thank you God, for using this precious friend to open my eyes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Don't Give Up






My daughter Katie called me last week. "You've got to watch this Youtube."

Katie's almost 27, but ran track in high school. I think you'll see why it touched her heart. She's athletic. She also played softball, tennis, and a year of basketball. As she was talking about the video, I could feel the emotion in her voice. The video is about more than sports.

Watching it, I teared up. That scripture from 2 Chronicles 15:7 came to me. "But as for you, be strong and do not give up. For your work will be rewarded."

This doesn't mean it's going to be easy. Or quick. Or that we get to pick what kind of reward will come. It doesn't mean there won't be struggles. It doesn't mean we won't feel like giving up. But if we believe the Lord has called us to do something, we're to keep at it. This message is especially powerful for me as a writer and sent with love and encouragement to each of you.

Love,
Julie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Appreciate a Dragon Day

First -- I love the new look of our G,G, and GL
Second -- Camy's street gang looks like fun
Third -- January 16th, every year, is Appreciate a Dragon Day. It is probably too late for you to plan anything big, but just a salute to your favorite dragons in literature is easy enough to do.
I actually declared this a National holiday back in 2004, when DragonSpell first came out. How cool is it that you can declare a holiday! How very cool that seven years later you can Google Appreciate a Dragon Day and find hits. Hold on to your hats! References to AADD wound down at 60 pages of google hits.
It is amazing how a little thing can spread like wildfire. Quite often it is not a positive thing that goes viral. Gossip flows faster than fact. As the Bible says to guard our tongues, in this age we need to guard vigilently against things we put forth in written form and through all the social medias. Some things are fun and innocent. Others are destructive. Consciously choose what you look at and what you recommend to others.

Here is a video of an illusion. It is not what it seems. Watch the video and listen to the commentary. The last line is "We move far enough around to the side, we suddenly realize the structure is different, and the illusion fails."
If we use the tools of observation, the standard given by God, we can discern when the world's wisdom is shallow, an illusion of truth, not truth.
There are also instructions for making the dragon. Have fun!
Dragon Illusion

Friday, January 14, 2011

Join Camy’s Street Team!

Camy here with some shameless self-promotion. (I can’t be serious all the time, can I?)

What's a street team?

Basically, it’s my team of "influencers" who help spread the word about my books while participating in contests and competitions. And it’s free to join!

Can you give out bookmarks and/or leave them in fun and wacky places? Then you’re perfect for my Street Team!

What do you get?

Street Team members who give away a batch of my bookmarks get to pick two free books from a ginormous list! New in 2011: When my new titles come out, I'll be putting them on the Street Team book list, too!

I'll also be posting Street Team Challenges every so often where you get to win cool prizes. Keep a watch on my blog and my Street Team YahooGroup. (It's an announcement-only YahooGroup, so there won't be a ton of emails in your Inbox.)

What do you have to do?

Email camy {at} camy tang {dot} com with your mailing address and I’ll send you 80 bookmarks. Also, until supplies last, I’ll send all new Street Team members a free ribbon bookmark (which my mom made!)

I’ll also send you an invite to my Street Team YahooGroup (or you can click on the link and join up on your own!). This is just the fastest way for me to communicate with you guys, but you don’t have to belong to this YahooGroup if you don’t want to.

Give away your bookmarks, and/or leave them in places. PLEASE take pictures of the people you give the bookmarks to and/or the places you leave the bookmark, and either email the pics to me or post it on my Facebook page. I TOTALLY want to hear about it. The more creative you are, the better!

After you’ve given away all your bookmarks, you get to pick TWO FREE BOOKS from my Street Team giveaway list. The list is huge (don’t believe me? Click here) and I’ll be adding to it occasionally, too. Email me and I’ll send you another batch of bookmarks and your two free books.

When you give away that next batch of bookmarks, pick another two free books! There is no limit to the number of books you can get for giving out bookmarks.

Any rules?

Please don’t just toss my bookmarks in the trash and tell me you gave them away. Also, please don't leave a stack of bookmarks in a place where a janitor is going to just throw them away at the end of the day. That's not cool. I reserve the right to not send you more bookmarks, and I reserve the right to refuse Street Team membership to anyone.
Illegible and duplicate entries will be discarded.
International readers are welcome to join my Street Team.
Minors are welcome to join my Street Team but please get your parent’s permission first. If I get an angry email from your parents, you are SO off my Christmas list.

Interested in joining my Street Team? Click here!

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 YahooGroup 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!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Salty Conversation

I'm a huge fan of salt.

I'm even kinda picky about my salt. This is the brand I use:



I drive to a specialty spice store here in Kansas City to purchase it, and I use it for everything. Baking, cooking. You know, your basic salt needs. I'm fascinated by how many recipes call for salt. Ever made chocolate chip cookies and left out the salt? They don't taste quite as good. They lack dimension. Same with blueberry muffins. I made that mistake a few weeks ago, and the muffins just tasted flat to me.

This has left me sensitive to every mention of salt in the Bible, and during my reading time on Monday, I came across this beautiful passage:

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:5-6

My friend, Roseanna, and I are reading the same chapter every day and then discussing it with each other. She pointed out some things that really stuck with me, and rather than botch her insights, I'll just copy her words verbatim:

Salt has several properties we have to keep in mind when considering this.
First, it's a preserver. So when we offer words that have salt, they ought
to be preserving the faith of those we're talking to. Second, salt is
flavor and seasoning. So our speech ought to offer something to appeal. But
more important, salt is a thirst-inducer. So our words ought to make people
thirst for God.

As I continue to mull this over, my eye kept catching on Paul's choice of "seasoned with salt."

My mother is a fabulous cook, but I can remember two meals that were utter failures. The time she fixed shark (no comment) and then the time she made what we refer to as "the salty soup." I don't know what exactly happened there, but I remember taking a bite and the salt overwhelmed my mouth. It was the only bite I took, and then we all ate peanut butter and jelly for dinner.

I think there's a reason Paul specifies to season our conversation. To season something is to heighten and perfect the flavor. And it's different for each taste bud, which I suppose is where that "so you may know how to answer everyone" thing comes into play. Because everyone is at a different place in life, has a different family history, different religious background. That must be taken into account. As Paul says, "we must be wise in the way you act toward outsiders."

I love this verse. And I suspect I'll spend many more hours dwelling on it.

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. To check out her blog and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com and www.GoTeenWriters.com.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why God Made a Breakable World

Ever since Adam and Eve made forbidden knowledge their afternoon snack, theologians and philosophers have grappled with the problem of evil, trying to square the existence of a self-perpetuating universal curse with a sovereign and loving God. Far be it from me — one who is neither theologian nor philosopher — to attempt to explain away cosmic mysteries in a single blog post, but I will say this much. In my own journey through pain I’ve come to believe that God always knew the world would break. He provided the Lamb before He planted the lethal tree. The cross preceded creation.

Why would He choose to do that? I’ve only been able to come up with one answer, and it’s simply this: God wants His people to go deep, and the deep things of God are hidden in redemption. This world was never meant to remain perfect. It was meant to be a potter’s wheel. A refiner’s fire. A place where mere men can be conformed to the image of Christ.

A couple of years ago a beautiful young woman, Jessica Teutsch, was killed in a head-on collision. She was in her last semester at a local college and on her way to her student teaching assignment when a young man pulled into her lane. He wasn’t drunk or texting or otherwise impaired. He was merely in a hurry and made a careless decision.

Jessica was a sweet, vibrant Christian, loved by her friends and family, respected by her professors, and the entire community grieved the tragedy. At times like this, age old questions rise to the surface. Why did God let this happen? If He’s truly sovereign, why didn’t He do something to prevent this seemingly senseless loss?

We may never fully understand, but if we’re willing to see, God gives us glimpses. Saturday’s paper ran a front-page article about the young man’s sentencing. It opens with these words:

Last Thursday’s sentencing hearing for Thomas Austin Blake, who was charged with the criminal negligence homicide of a 21-year-old girl, was more than just a hearing.

It ended up being an inspiring story of a family’s willingness to forgive in the midst of a storm. The compassion the family showed toward the defendant was so striking, it left a few, including some attorneys in attendance, wiping away tears.

“It was one of the most moving I’ve been involved in,” said 71st District Judge William Hughey.

The article is short and worth reading. It concludes with this:

“It was one of the most interesting cases I’ve dealt with, kind of taken away by the family,” (the judge) continued, impressed how the family comforted the defendant by trying to put him at ease and give him a sense of peace about the accident.

“They wanted him to do everything to move forward in life,” said Hughey.

Ms. Teutsch’s brother even presented Blake with a copy of a song he wrote in memory of his sister.

“They told the young man they didn’t have any hard feelings and wanted him to go forward in life,” said Hughey. “It was a really deep story on compassion and forgiveness.”

“The story there is you’re supposed to forgive,” said Hughey. “That says a lot.”

There’s no way anyone can plumb all the purposes of God in situations like this one, but I’m convinced with all my heart that redeeming power has been unleashed. The lives of the legal professionals in that courtroom, the lives of Jessica’s friends and family members, and the life of that young man will never be the same. And those lives will touch many more.

And as for Jessica? She left her brokenness on an East Texas country road and travels the holy highway of the redeemed. Everlasting joy is upon her head. She has obtained gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing have fled away.

The Lamb was provided before the tree. Jessica is whole, and we can be, too. Knowing we’re broken is the first step.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

First Kiss

Have you always thought about your first kiss? A first kiss symbolizes attraction—someone desires you and you desire that person in return. And you, of course, want to be desired. We all do. In a world with billions and billions of people you want to be noticed, especially by a special guy.

The problem is that the longings of our hearts sometimes get in the way of our common sense. You may know at thirteen or sixteen or even eighteen that you're not ready to get married. You may know that the guy you're getting close to wouldn't be husband material even if you were ready. But the emotions are shouting louder than your common sense. Your heart pounds, your palms sweat … this has to be a good thing, right? Then you start to justify. All your friends are doing it, so why shouldn't you?

There's another problem too. Kisses have been cheapened by society. Watch any tween series like iCarly or Drake and Josh and you'll see boys kissing girls and girls kissing boys with abandon. On shows for teens and adults they go farther than that very quickly. It maybe the same way at your school. A kiss is just a kiss … or is it?

I personally know of one young couple who waited until their wedding day for their first kiss. The tension was high in the ceremony … everyone wanted to see the culmination of all their waiting, and we weren't disappointed. I know the couple wasn't disappointed either. Love, tenderness and excitement filled the room. We observers couldn't help but smile and cheer.

And that's one problem about giving away kisses to easily. Sometimes you're disappointed when the perfect moment is given away to a guy who doesn't cherish you. Most of the time there is regret. Every kiss is giving away a part of yourself. A part of your heart.

If you have already given away more kisses than you'd like to admit, you can choose today to make a change. Consider your lips as something precious to be cherished. Like Barlow Girls sing, “what if your prince comes riding in while you're kissin' a frog?” And if you believe you have found your prince, waiting will only make the kiss more special when it does happen.

Ask Jesus to help you be strong. Also ask Jesus to help your future husband to be strong to. In a world where there is a lot of temptation, your future husband needs all the prayers you can offer.

Another thing … don't stop praying. The amazing thing about prayer is that God has designed this system to release the power of heaven for that person or situation. Think of your prayers as the garage door opener that lifts heaven's gates and sends reinforcement and strength to your future husband. You may not know him. You may have never seen him, but your prayers will make a different in his life. Think about a time when you can pray regularly. There is no greater habit than a habit of prayer.

I've made it a habit to pray when I first open my eyes in the morning. I also write out prayers in my journal during my morning quiet time, and I pray in the shower too. These three “prayer moments” started by me doing it one day and then the next and then the next. Pick a time and a place where you can commit to prayer, too … and then make it a habit! Someday, when you do meet your future husband, you just might be amazed by how much your prayers sustained his life and protected His heart … for you.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Real Missing Piece


Two days after Christmas I sat down with a bunch of family members to play a game that my son had received for Christmas. We had a great time! Then we started cleaning up and I notice that one bag of game chips seemed less full than the others. I looked under the game board, in the box, and under the coffee table. No chips. I counted the contents of each bag. Sure enough, there were 50 blue chips, 50 green, and only 35 red. How did that happen?

My sister and I searched everywhere for the 15 missing red chips. Since her youngest had been fascinated by the “chip game” (we were actually playing Sequence), Kristy checked his pockets, toy bag, and even an empty M&M Mini container from his Christmas stocking. No chips. Finally, we gave up decided that the manufacturers had messed up and gyped us out of 15 chips. We made up all kinds of scenarios about how such a mistake could be possible. Mom decided it was disgruntled employee who was mad because she’d been laid off. I suggested that the counter on the chip machine had been off.

The next day my husband and I dropped by Toys R Us to exchange the game.

“This box is missing piece,” I explained, showing the girl at Customer Service the skimpy bag of red chips.

Unfortunately, there were no more Sequence games on the shelf. Since Nathan loved his new game and we seemed to care more about the missing chips than he did, I took the game home and made a mental note to find 15 red buttons or something.
Then I had a reason to reread the instructions and stumbled upon the heading “Game Contents.”
We were only supposed to have 35 red chips! Nothing was missing! We all laughed our heads off over the mistake, especially the part where I tried to exchange the game. Had it ever occurred to me to double-check the game contents right away? After all, it was a brand new game! Instead I scrambled around searching for something that was never gone in the first place.
How often do we do this? We panic over a problem that doesn’t exist, freak out before we know all the facts, or search frantically for an item that is right under our noses? Later we see that if we’d only taken the time to stop and think, we would have save a lot of time, energy, and frustration. The experience with the “chip game” reminded me to stop before I assume the worst.
It also got me wondering how many Sequence games have been returned unnecessarily. And why not just make all the bags even. I mean, seriously?

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Joy of Journaling



Does anybody else love to journal? If you're like me, I bet you get excited over a new journal (so many blank pages) and a package of fun pens!

This bookshelf behind my computer holds a few of my journals. I've been writing my prayers since 1994--maybe even longer.

To me, nothing is too silly to pray about. Every few months, I thumb through my journals to see what was going on, what mattered to me, and what I was praying for years ago or even last month. And to see how God has answered. To be honest, a few prayers seem to be on hold forever. Others, it's as though He rushes in and says, "Yes!"

I don't try and pretty up my words. I just write. God knows my often ugly heart, my bad attitude, and my doubts. And He still loves me.

A lot of times, I'll write a one word prayer. Just his or her first name. That's been such a neat experience for me--to write a name and know that God understands and is working His best for the person.

"Jamie"
"Katie"
"Thomas"

A few times, I've put my pen on the page and let Him "talk back to me."

My Dear Julie,
I love you with an everlasting love. There's no reason to fear. I am with you always. I hold you with my righteous right hand. I'll never leave you or forsake you. I love for you to come talk to me. Never feel ashamed or afraid. I am your Daddy. Before the beginning of time, I knew all about you. The things that are on your heart are also on My heart. You can trust Me.


If you've never tried writing your prayers, it might be a great way to start the new year.

And you have friends who blog here who'd love to pray for you.

Love,
Julie

Sunday, January 02, 2011

All About Books

Being an author and a reader, I get bogged down in the "It's all about books" world. Not such a bad thing. I'm curious how books impacted you in 2010 and what you are looking for in 2011 in the way of a good read. So first last year. Please record in the comments so others can share your enthusiasm. And you don't have to answer all of them.
1. Best book of 2010?

2. Worst book of 2010?

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010?

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010?


6. Best series you discovered in 2010?

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010?

8. Most hilarious or sweet/cute read of 2010?

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010?

11. Most memorable character in 2010?

12. Most beautifully written book in 2010?

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?

Now for 2011, what do you want most? Choose one in each catagory.

romance, drama, comedy, western, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, mystery, suspense, contemporary

Male lead or female lead character

page turner or thought provoker

short book or long book

single title or series.

Send you friends to take this quiz, too, and let's see what people are reading.

And check out a new book idea for 2011 here: Dragon bloggin'

Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
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