Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pure and Confident

Last week, I devoured Anna and the French Kiss. It was an excellent book. Funny and romantic and satisfying, but it also left me aching a bit, and here's why: the main character, Anna, feels embarrassed by being a senior in high school and still a virgin.


This is something I've noticed is very common in general market teen fiction, that if the main character is still a virgin, they feel like they're the only virgin left in high school, and they frequently get teased about it by their friends.

I'm coming to you all today in hopes that you can straighten out my thinking - is it my high school experience that was weird? Because anyone who knew me knew I was waiting until I got married to have sex, and I never caught any grief for my principles.

I had friends who were having sex. And many of my friends who weren't yet sexually active intended to be once they had a serious boyfriend. But no one was ever like, "Stephanie, you're such a weirdo for being a virgin." I honestly believe - both then and now - that nobody cared about my sexual status. (Other than my parents, of course, and my boyfriend.)

As I've mulled this over for the last couple days, it's occurred to me that even though I'm a person who embarrasses easily, I can't dream up a single thing anyone could have said in high school that would have left me feeling awkward about my choice. I believed to the core of my being that waiting was the right choice and that not waiting was foolishness. Just like if all my friends divorced their husbands and teased me for staying married, it would in no way humiliate me because I believe in my marriage.

As someone who writes for teens (and who is raising kids), I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this. If you're a virgin, do the other kids at school tease you for it? Do you feel like you're alone? And if you're not a virgin, do you feel like it's more common at your school to be sexually active or not? I welcome you to either leave an anonymous comment or contact me privately by clicking here.

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 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 www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Free ebook!

Camy here! Yes, today is blatant self-promotion day. Weddings and Wasabi, the fourth book in my Sushi series is now available as both a print book and ebook!

What’s more, I’m offering the ebook of Weddings and Wasabi FREE to my newsletter subscribers!

Go to my website to sign up for my newsletter, then email me at camy {at] camytang {dot] com or leave me a comment here on this blog post, and I’ll email you a link to the newsletter I just sent out with instructions on how to download my ebook, Weddings and Wasabi, for free.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Sushi series book #4: Weddings and Wasabi (novella) (Winepress, July 2011)

After finally graduating with a culinary degree, Jennifer Lim is pressured by her family to work at her control-freak aunty's restaurant. But after a family dispute, Jenn is determined to no longer be a doormat and instead starts her own catering company. Her search for a wine merchant brings John into her life--a tall, dark, handsome biker in form-fitting black leather, who's Hispanic to boot. It would be wonderfully wild to snag a man like that!

Shy engineer Edward tentatively tries out his birthday present from his winery-owner uncle--a Harley-Davidson complete with the trimmings. Jennifer seems attracted to the rough, aggressive image, but it isn't his real self. Is she latching onto him just to spite her horrified family? And if this spark between them is real, will showing her the true guy underneath put it out?

And what's with the goat in the backyard?

So go sign up for my newsletter and get book #4 of my Sushi series for free!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the fourth book in her Sushi series, Weddings and Wasabi. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Visit her website to sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

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, August 25, 2011

NEW Summer Giveaway Contest Winner!

That's right people!!! More than a week later and after four tries I still haven't heard from our first winner so per our rules, she has to sadly forfeit her prize. (Moment of silence)

Sad for her but good for you!!!

Because that means a new contest winner!!!!

So I went back to our handy-dandy number generator and had them give me a new winning number for our contest!!

So our new winner is:

Katie Stewart!!!!

Katie added our blog button to her blog and got ten entries and BAM! now she's our summer contest winner!!!!

So congratulations Katie!! All you have to do to accept your prize is send me your full mailing address at sarah(dot)sumpolec[at]gmail(dot)com


~Sarah~

Sarah is the author of a teen fiction series, Becoming Beka, and can be found here or hanging around her blog "a naked faith".

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How far...?



Hey guys! Betsy here. I'd like to initiate a discussion today, on the age old question - how far is too far when it comes to entertainment?

We've all been there - out with friends, sitting in a movie theater, eager to see a popular new flick...when BAM. Embarassing sexual scene on the screen. Or suddenly your ears are peppered with bad language that doesn't seem to stop. Or the violence is so intense you begin to feel heavy and sick.

What do you do? Do you try to convince your friends to leave? Do you shut your eyes and hope it gets better? Or do you take a stand and walk out alone?

What about when a friend (Christian or not) begins to tell a dirty joke? Or offers you a look at a magazine you know has images you shouldn't put in your head? Or lets you borrow a book that has a really spicy scene halfway through?

As Christians, what should we do? How far is too far? What does the Bible say?

While the Bible offers encouragement and advice in these situations, it's a little gray. After all, it doesn't flat out say "Do not see any movies at all." or "You can hear/say this curseword but not this one." etc.

Let's see what it does say, though.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:7-9

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Do those verses help you navigate these murky entertainment waters? Is hearing an actor say "GD" or the F word over and over in a movie, or watching a love scene between two characters in a film, or filling your head with extreme violence true and noble and pure? Is it considered wholesome to tell a dirty joke?

I think it comes down to different convictions for different people - depending on where you are in your spiritual walk. New Christians might not be as convicted for these things as someone who has actively walked with God for ten or twenty years. But sadly, some Christians stop growing and therefore lose their sensitivity to conviction.

So how about it? Let's discuss! How far is too far for you? Where do you draw the line with your entertainment? Do you have a story to share, about a choice you had to make regarding this topic? I'd love to hear!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Giveaway - Redux!

So I haven't yet heard from our Summer Giveaway. I'm sending one more e-mail and posting this today - our giveaway winner was Jordyn. She had this comment with this e-mail:

So if that's you - speak up quickly and e-mail me at sarah(dot)sumpolec(at) gmail(dot)com

Jordyn said...

I would love to win this! Love this blog.

aqua15cat @ yahoo. com


If I still haven't heard from our winner by Wednesday, August 24 - then I'm going to draw A NEW WINNER!! So stay tuned just in case:-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hershey's vs. Ghirardelli

It happened two weeks ago. But really, if I'm honest, I can say this whole comparing thing has been a lifelong condition. But here's how it happened a couple weeks ago.

I was reading a book on the plane to Guatemala. It made me laugh a lot. And some of the words pierced me to my soul. Tears dripped down my cheeks in the plane, and I'm not really all that much of an emotional person. I read the stories and absorbed the wisdom like it was the last thing keeping me sane. When I finished each of the chapters, I felt as though I needed to write the author a personal letter of appreciation and gratitude for writing a book that had to be written solely for me to read.

And then it happened. This moment when a slithery voice just whispered to my heart, "See, this is how it's always going to be. When other people write, it's like Ghirardelli chocolate experience. And when you write...it's just Hershey's. Why do you even try? Just quit writing."

That's all it took to sap the joy from my reading experience. That's all it took to take a moment from a holy experience, to an all about me experience. In that moment, I believed the lie that I'm a second-rate kind of person, just struggling to accomplish my goals while everyone else skates on by...and of course does everything awesome the first time. And it totally sucked all of my confidence.

It's not just writing either. I find myself comparing myself to other people in almost every aspect of my life. I want to look as put together as the other girl at work. Or I want to be as good on the treadmill as the guy running his heart out next to me. Or I want my house to look just like the Pottery Barn catalog. Pretty soon, when those sort of thoughts run amok in my heart and mind, I realize I'm living a joy-less existence.

I'm not living a story that's already been lived. I am who I am for a reason, and there's no reason for me to be ashamed that I haven't done as much or accomplished the same things as someone else. I'm not supposed to be anyone else. God's given me a unique journey...and I think if I can remember that a little more often, I might find a little more joy in my life. And, let's be honest, sometimes a Hershey's kiss can be just as good as some Ghirardelli's. Just depends on the perspective. :-)

Ashley Mays is the former Editorial Assistant for Brio and Brio & Beyond magazines and currently writes her own fiction for teens. She enjoys rock climbing, people watching in airports, and expanding her shoe collection. Ashley lives with her husband in Colorado. No, they don't ski. Learn more about Ashley on facebook or on her website: http://www.ashley-mays.com/.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to Reality

It seems like last week that I posted a story and picture from our beginning-of-summer trip to Disneyland, and now I’m getting ready to head home after a final get-away before school starts up again. As usual, the summer flew by.

This has been a strange summer for us, with some major life changes to deal with. While in some ways, it’ll be good for us to get back into the routine that school and our usual activities require we don’t feel ready to face that level of reality yet. So much of our summer got sucked away with errands and appointments and phone calls that still don’t seem real. Still, God was gracious enough to sandwich all that between two refreshing trips with family. He wove in plenty of fun activities for my youngest son to enjoy while I dealt with life. For that I am extremely thankful. I can send Nathan off to Day 1 of fourth grade knowing that, no matter what our circumstances look like, God was good to us this summer.

How has He shown His goodness to you this summer? As you see the new school year looming ahead, what are you most excited about? What are you dreading? How has summer refreshed you for the reality of fall?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Waiting for "The One"...

They say “that feeling” wears off after a few years, but I still get it every time you walk in the door. Looking into your eyes, I know you’ve come home to me. Not just with your body, but also with your heart.

There’s no vacant stare. No sitting down to the evening news. No mindlessly surfing the Internet. {We save that for later.}

You sit down to know me… to ask what’s going on in my heart. Your day has been long, but the last thing you think of is yourself.

You listen but you do not try to fix.

After five years of seeking my heart, it seems you’d have learned all you want to know. It isn’t entirely pretty. There are things I wish I didn’t have to tell you. Fears and dreams so out-of-this-world that anyone else would think I was insane.

There are also hard times. Times of sobbing because the pregnancy test once again only showed one line. Times of hand-holding as we said goodbye to someone we loved. Times of gray-hair-sprouting because the decimal point on the bank account landed in the wrong place.

Through it all… you pursue.

My prayer for you is that you feel as treasured and pursued as you make me feel. That every day you see that expectancy in my eyes – the emotion that says I want to know you -- however you are. My prayer is that you will feel how you’ve made me feel every day of the past five years – accepted, utterly safe, and free to be me.

I love you, and I want you to know… it takes my breath away.

****
B.J. Hamrick writes for teens and for you at http://www.realteenfaith.com/. She wants you to know that waiting for the right guy is so worth it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Changing Schedules




Have you ever felt like you needed to rearrange your class schedule at school? Like somehow by mistake you signed up for Algebra II first period and right after it, you've got Trigonomentry and then Chemistry--all three classes before lunch? That's sort of what's happened to me with my writing commitments.

I'm a little sad to let you know that this will be my last month to blog here. I want to say a gigantic thank you to Sarah Anne Sumpolac and the rest of my blogging friends from this site. It's been such a joy to get to know you through our writing and to share my thoughts with you over the past few years. Thank you also to our readers. You are wonderful encouragers!

Teenage girls will always hold a special place in my heart. My two daughters are all grown up now. Whooo-eee, it goes so fast.

I'm praying for you.

Love,
Julie


Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Summer Contest Winner!

Our Good Life Summer giveaway has a winner!!

Jordyn! (Your winning comment was on the Summer Giveaway post)

Jordyn actually left her e-mail so I'll send an e-mail to that address directly but I wanted to give everyone a huge thank you for participating in our First Giveaway! It was so much fun I think we'll have to do that again!

I wanted to also give a shout out and a big thank you to the lovely girls who added our blog button to their own blogs! Thanks for spreading the word about who we are!! Visit their blogs and show them some Good Life love!


Got something you'd like to see here? Let us know!

And thanks for visiting with us!
~Sarah~


Sarah is the author of a teen fiction series, Becoming Beka, and can be found here or hanging around her blog "a naked faith".



Sunday, August 14, 2011

A word for the school year

Camy here! Most of you are probably getting excited about going back to school, since you’ll see all your friends and get back into your sports and clubs.

But as you’re preparing to reenter the world of homework, team practices, and club meetings, also consider how God can use you this coming school year.

Every year in January I have a word for the year that I pick to help guide me spiritually in the coming year. One year, I had the word “fear” which isn’t as weird and scary as it sounds. I spent the year learning what it was to “fear” God, and learning how to respect Him and revere Him. It was a fantastic year because everytime I saw the word “fear” in my Bible reading, I would focus on the verse and learn something else about fearing God.

How about you pick a word to guide you spiritually for the school year?

Take a few minutes to pray and ask God to show you a word He would want you to keep in mind during the year. Read a bit from your Bible if you feel led to do so. Then pick your word.



You can write the word on your text book covers, or make a pretty bookmark with the word on it for your Bible. Or think of other creative ways to keep the word at the forefront of your mind and remind yourself throughout the school year to focus on what God wants to teach you through that word.

One of my friends had the word “prepare.” Throughout the year, she focused on preparing herself spiritually for changes in her life, and they eventually came--her husband started his own company, and she had some challenges with her daughter.

You obviously probably don’t have a husband and daughter, but you can see how a word for your school year can help you grow in your relationship with God.

So take some time to pick a word, and then let me know what you come up with! And tell me how I can pray for you!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the fourth book in her Sushi series, Weddings and Wasabi. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Visit her website to sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

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, August 13, 2011

Remembering



I was raised in a church that shared communion every Sunday. It consisted of passing a tray with teeny-tiny crackers followed by a tray of thimble-sized cups of juice. For a long time, I knew very little about communion. I knew we did it because the night before he was crucified, Jesus said the bread represented his body, the wine represented his blood, and that we were to do this in remembrance of him.

It wasn't until I was in my early twenties, when I became serious about Bible study, that I put together some of the symbolism involved in communion. That Jesus and his disciples had been eating Passover dinner, that the bread would have been unleavened, that Jesus was the sacrifice, how weird it would have been for Jews to hear Jesus talking about wine representing blood, and many other details.

After that, whenever I partook in communion, my mind was on symbolism, on the deeper meaning behind me eating the world's smallest cracker and drinking grape juice. In enriched the experience. For a while.

Last week my husband went backpacking in Colorado with his brother and a friend. (The connection to communion will come in just a moment, I promise!) For whatever reason, those three guys find it enjoyable to strap monstrous backpacks to themselves, venture into the wilderness, and hike for 3 to 4 days. I wouldn't mind it so much except I miss talking to my husband when he's gone. He sometimes gets a cell phone signal if he's on top of a really big mountain, but typically on these trips, there'll be a couple days where we don't get to talk.

This time, the day before he left I was struck with a horrible summer cold. Not only was I sick, I was really, really ticked to be so sick. Ben was leaving! I wanted to be able to have fun with him and the kids, not just lay on the couch and blow my nose. My husband said he bring home take-out for dinner, that it was the least he could do. He picked up Greek food for us, and as he was unloading it, he said to me, "I got the extra pita bread for you. I know you really like it."

A couple days after he'd left, when the kids were already in bed and the house was quiet, I pulled out the leftover pita bread and hummus from the refrigerator. As I ate, I thought about my husband. I thought about how nice it was that he had ordered extra for me. I thought about how what he did demonstrated that he loved me. I thought about how nice it was to have a tangible reminder of it since at the moment he wasn't tangible.

In short - I remembered him.

In Luke 22:19, it says, "And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."

The symbolism involved in communion is certainly worth understanding and can enrich the experience. But what really matters is that act of remembering. Remembering that Jesus gave what he did - his body, his blood - because he loves you.

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 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 www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lessons from Buggy Boo

I sacrificed my arm to save Buggy Boo.

That's not really a sentence you hear much, but hey, fellow mothers everywhere shouldn't blink an eye. They've probably said weirder. Like "We do NOT put Froot-Loops in our panties."

Let me explain.

We converted my daughter's bed from crib to toddler bed for her 3rd birthday in July. She adapted great, and rarely gets up or has issues staying in it. She's such a sweetie :) But since half of the bed is now open for her to get in and out, my Little Miss has a tendency to drop the stuffed animals she sleeps with during the night. (Yes, I've been woken up at 4:00 a.m. to the sound of pitiful wails. One night when she did this, I went running, certain she'd had an accident or had gotten sick, only to discover her pathetic whimpering of "I can't find my friends!", who had fallen on the floor)

One of Little Miss's "friends" is Buggy Boo, this tiny little rubber gloworm that glows for a few minutes after you hold it next to a lightbulb. It's a special toy, because we found it in my mother in law's hope chest after her death earlier this year, and Little Miss bonded with it.

Well, last Monday afternoon before her nap, we couldn't find Buggy Boo. Searched in the bed, under the pillow, under the bed... Finally saw the little thing on the floor between the bed and the wall. No biggie. I stuck my arm through the rails at the back of the bed and grabbed him...and couldn't get my arm out.

Did I mention I hate being trapped?

Yes, I'm the girl you'll hear next door in your dressing room at JCPenney, panting and gasping and banging elbows against the wall trying to get out of a dress that was a little too tight.

So, needless to say, when I realized my arm was not coming back through the slats, well -

Insert panicked cry here.

Little Miss started dancing around, asking questions such as "What's wrong?" "What happened", while I talked to myself in a weird mantra that sounded something like "its okay don't panic it's okay no it's not don't panic omg omg omgomgomgomg" I finally stood still (in the super uncomfortable, awkward position while kneeling on her bed, arm extended as far as it could go) and debated my choices.

1. Break the bed.

2. Send Little Miss for the butter.

3. Send Little Miss to grab my phone so I could call my husband.

A fireman.

Who was at the fire station.

Needless to say, #3 was not going to be an option I'd ever, EVER live down with him or his crew. I'd rather break the bed.

I was going to settle for option 2 when I finally managed to twist my arm to an even odder angle, gently pull at the rails, and wrench myself out. Painfully, but successfully.

So, like I said - I sacrificed my arm to save Buggy Boo. I got several bruises, a headache, and an accelerated fear of being trapped that will probably ensure I avoid dressing rooms for the rest of my life, but hey, Buggy Boo is safe and sound.

And like any good mommy, I'd do it again (though this time I'd be wiser and would simply move the bed away from the wall for my rescue mission, instead of creating a new rescue mission for myself)

Do you ever find yourself trapped without any good options?

Do you tend to put yourself in circumstances where hindsight (like moving the bed instead of reaching through it) slaps you in the face with a resounding DUH?

We all do it. But the difference is in how we handle it. I shouldn't have panicked when realizing I was stuck - afterall, if I had remained still and calm, I'd have done without the bruises and headache. But sometimes in the turmoil of life, we forget that we have something even better than a tub of butter. We have a Heavenly Father who leads us and guides us and loves us and wants the best for us. He's more than willing to help give us direction and advice - if we seek Him first.

I have to admit, I didn't really think to pray in those initial few seconds of being stuck. The panic was too loud in my head. Maybe if I had, I could have saved myself the pain.

Do you find yourself putting God as a last resort instead of a first in the various trials in your life? The Bible says in Matthew chapter 6 - "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

In other words - God before butter.

And hey, I'm pretty sure His righteousness includes not being trapped in your kid's bed, so, I'm all about that... :)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

After Kumbayah

I was a camp counselor for three years. Best job ever! But that's another story for another time. :-)

Camp is such an interesting environment. I remember when I was a camper. At the beginning of the week, I wouldn't know a single person there, but on Friday I had a whole new set of best friends. And when I first went to camp, I didn't know how to do half the activities, but that changed pretty quickly. I fell in love and out of love and back in love with like three different guys at camp. But most importantly, my relationship with the Lord totally took off. Something about those campfires and daily devotional times and Bible study times and chapel services made me seek after God more intensely than I'd I've done before.

Me and some of my camp forever friends!

But camp doesn't last forever. We don't always have the advantage of scheduled devotions or powerful messages every day. And that super-awesome spiritual high we sometimes feel after a week at camp (or after a retreat or conference) has a tendency to fade after a couple of weeks. What is it about things like camp and retreats that make God seem closer than He is during "regular" life? And what can we do to make our relationship with God a little stronger during the day to day, like it is when we're at camp?

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Block out a time every day for some devotional time and stick to it no matter what! At a place like camp, the schedule is made for you. You don't have any excuses. Set up your every day life to eliminate any excuses, too. 
  • Write letters to the new friends you made and talk about the experiences you shared. Sometimes talking about the memories is just as great as the memories themselves.
  • Go back and re-read any notes you might have taken during any chapel services or retreat sessions. You might come across some things you've already forgotten.
  • Choose a few of your favorite worship songs from your camp or retreat experience and put them on your iPod. 
  • Set aside some time for yourself. Sometimes the busy-ness of life is one of my biggest enemies! An hour "retreat" at Starbucks or in a quiet room can make all the difference in how I feel spiritually. 
  • Pray together. Gather a group of friends and pray about the things you're going through. Community is part of what makes camp and retreats so awesome, so be intentional about developing a similar kind of community when you come back home!
What do you think? Have you ever experienced that kind of spiritual high after camp, and then wondered where it went after a couple of weeks? How did you deal with it? 

Ashley Mays is the former Editorial Assistant for Brio and Brio & Beyond magazines and currently writes her own fiction for teens. She enjoys rock climbing, people watching in airports, and expanding her shoe collection. Ashley lives with her husband in Colorado. No, they don't ski. Learn more about Ashley on facebook or on her website: http://www.ashley-mays.com/.

Friday, August 05, 2011

An Incredible Survival Story


I received an exciting package in the mail the other day—a copy of Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory. You may have heard of Michael and his Guide Dog Roselle, who survived the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center by descending 78 flights of stairs then narrowly escaping being crushed by Tower Two. Mike and Roselle have appeared on CNN’s Larry King and many other television shows. Thunder Dog portrays their 9/11 experience in powerful detail, while also weaving in key events from Mike’s unique upbringing, raised by parents who refused to treat their blind son as handicapped. Scenes include Mike frightening neighbors by riding his bike around town unattended, driving a car around his college campus, and even accepting an offer to fly an airplane. During his escape from the World Trade Center, we see the tight bond between Guide Dog and handler prove lifesaving, as well as experiencing the faith, courage, and perseverance that kept Mike, Roselle, and many others going on that terrifying day.

Susy Flory (a friend of mine) introduced me to Mike and Roselle several months ago, so I have a special interest in this book. Immediately, I found myself inspired by Mike, not only because of his incredible story, but much more so because of his enthusiastic spirit and his commitment to educating the public about living with blindness. As he puts it, there is very little that the blind and visually impaired can’t do, we simply do things differently. As one who has been visually impaired since birth, his attitude and outlook makes me want to get out there and try more than I have already!

If you are looking for an exciting, inspiring book to wrap up your summer, look for Thunder Dog at your local bookstore or on Amazon. You might even fall in love with Guide Dogs like my youngest son and I did.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Premarital Cosexual Interdigitation

 “Young lady, do you believe in premarital cosexual interdigitation?”

I felt my jaw drop as my pastor’s question rolled around in my brain. “Premarital… cosexual…” Sex! He said sex! He couldn’t want me to say yes!


If I’d paused to listen to his last word, “interdigitation”,  I would have known I’d been asked a trick question. But I was so caught up on the word “sex” that I couldn’t think of one unawkward answer.

I have a similar question for you today – what do you believe is OK physically before marriage? Do you think sex is worth waiting for… or is that a bunch of word-censored-here?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you don’t want to share your name or beliefs openly here, email me at real[teen]faith[at]gmail[dot]com with “teen sex” in the subject line.

And by the way… I decided I did like the idea of premarital cosexual interdigitation:
Verb: (transitive) To fold or lock together, as when the fingers of one hand are laced between those of the other. (Source)

****
B.J. writes for you and for teens at www.realteenfaith.com .

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My Friend Lynne



Last year at the ACFW conference, one of my silver sandals broke right before the semi-formal dinner.

What to do?

Lynne Gentry rushed over like an experienced ER doctor. "We need duct tape. Quick."

Within seconds, she returned with a roll of just the right shade of silver duct tape. As the crowd began filling in, Lynne Gentry reinvented my left sandal and sealed our friendship forever. I'll never forget her kindness.

Lynne's debut novel, Reinventing Leona, just came out and I love it! Talk about unforgettable people--I woke up this morning missing her book characters. It's that good. It's written in a way that made me want to call all novel-loving friends and say, "Listen to this sentence..."

Don't you love her book cover?

Here's what the back cover says:

"Leona Harper loves being a pastor's wife. Her impressive resume touts thirty years of coaxing hot water from rusty parsonage plumbing, planning church potlucks, and standing beside her husband while members take potshots at his sermons. Except for the little tiff with her grown children, Leona feels her life is right on track with the Almighty...until her husband drops dead in the pulpit.

When the church board decides to fill the Reverend's vacated position, Leona is forced to find a paying job, mend her fractured family, and tackle her fears. With life spiraling out of control, Leona might find the church antics comical if she weren't so completely panicked. Can the faith of an overwhelmed widow withstand the added heartache of two resentful children and several underhanded church members? If Leona can't trust God, how will she learn to trust herself?"

Welcome, Lynne. Tell us, what brings Leona to the point of changing?


Circumstances beyond her control. Like many of us, Leona doesn't like change. But none of us escape the twists and turns of life. Whether it's the loss of a spouse or the loss of a thirty-year career, nothing stays the same.

Humor is tough to write, but you did a spectacular job, especially considering dear Leona's circumstances. Any writing secrets you'd like to share?

Learning to laugh, especially at myself, has helped me cope with the scrutiny that comes to those living in a glass house. But as a minister's wife, it's not always appropriate for me to say what I'm thinking, let alone laugh out loud. So, with the quirky cast in Mt. Hope, I get to say and do all sorts of things a good pastor's wife would never say or do, but I often think. And I'm happy to report that laughter is good for the soul.

Where did you get the incredible idea to reinvent Leona?

I watched three of my older friends lose their husbands. Two of them regrouped, rebuilt, and reinvented their lives. One shriveled up and died in a nursing home. Observing their choices made me ask, what if tragedy struck me? What would I do? Do I have the spiritual chops to pick myself up and start over? Could I trust God to lead me through a dark valley?

Thank you so much, Lynne. It's been an honor. I can't wait to see you again next month at the ACFW conference.

P.S. My dress is black and green. I'll probably wear black shoes. Bring coordinating duct tape, please, ma'am.

You can purchase Reinventing Leona here on amazon and right now, it's free for your Kindle. Or go to Lynne's website.

Love,
Julie

Monday, August 01, 2011

Dump and Run

I haven't been home very much over the last few weeks. My grandmother (who lives with us) has been in and out of the hospital and two of my three children have been in a theater production that just closed last night.

When I woke up this morning (if you can call it that - I'm vertical but most definitely would not describe myself as "awake") I realized that my house has become the victim of the dump and run.

You know; you walk in the door, drop everything and go to bed because you have to get up early to do it all again. So the clutter has amassed, and I found myself just staring at it all this morning, not having the energy to tackle it.

If we're not very careful, it's the way we can treat God sometimes. You know, hurry in and hurry out because we have ten other things to do. But we can't afford to dump and run with God because it is in the lingering, the pausing, the quiet, where we are restored and refreshed to do the work He has put before us. So today, even if you have a million other things to do - resist the urge to run in and run out in your time with Him.

"Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." Corrie ten Boom

~Sarah~


Sarah Anne Sumpolec is the author of the teen fiction series, Becoming Beka, and you can find out more about her at her website.

The Good Life Summer Giveaway! Only Two More Days!

It's the Girls, God & the Good Life Summer Giveaway!
Contest runs from July 20 - Aug 3

Yes, Summer is already well underway but we wanted to celebrate our brand new look with a giveaway just for you! You can win a bushel of books, a handmade bag and a couple of other secret surprises!

Here's what you can win:

A Gorgeous one-of-a-kind hand-knitted bag from our own Camy Tang. You can see the pic but it doesn't do justice to how soft it is! Seriously, if I was allowed to enter I'd do it just for the bag!

One of our "Good Life" ladybug drawstring bags!

But you can also get BOOKS!:

The Masquerade
Discover Beka Madison and join her as she deals family, faith & difficult friendships.
by Sarah Anne Sumpolec (the first in a five book series!)

Formula for Danger
Deadly Intent

Single Sashimi
Only Uni

all by the lovely Camy Tang

So Over It
by Stephanie Morrill

Want More Joy?
Devotional from Jeannette Hanscome

Sisterchicks Go Brit
by Robin Jones Gunn

A Not-So-Simple Life
by Melody Carlson

Changing Faces
by Wendy Lawton

Graffiti: Learning to see the Art in Ourselves
by Erin Davis

Promise Me Always
by Christine Lynxwiler

So how do I win???

You have Three Ways to Enter!!

1. Leave a comment on any post during the two-week contest (July 20-Aug 3). You can earn up to one entry per day.

2. Grab and post our blog button on your blog or website. (worth ten entries) But in order to qualify you must use the Contact button and let us know where you posted it! (btw - this counts even if it is just a link or you have already added our blog button, but send us an e-mail so it will count).

3. Tweet about the giveaway! (worth up to two entries per day) In order to be counted, you must use the hashtag #goodlifegiveaway

How will we pick?

Entries will be compiled daily and we'll use a random number generator to pick a spot on the list! That's it!

We will post the winner here and will attempt to contact you at least 3 times before we move onto another winner - so keep an eye out! You will have to give us your full mailing address if you are chosen.

US and Canada only!

Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
Designed by Munchkin Land Designs. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.