Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crossroads: Guest Post from Renee Johnson Fisher

Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask
for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its
path, and you will find rest for your souls.

JEREMIAH 6:16


In Jeremiah 6, the prophet says that Israel is at a crossroads. Have you ever been there? In your professional life, your education, your dating relationships? Has there been a time when you faced a number of options, all of which looked equally attractive but presented wildly different futures? Maybe one path looked easy—a college close to home, a job in the same building where you’d been an intern, dating the pastor’s daughter. Maybe the other path was more uncertain—a college in a different part of the country, a career that wasn’t certain to bring financial stability, dating a guy your parents couldn’t stand.
Jeremiah has advice for Israel and for you. Check out his instructions in verse 16:

Stop. Recognize the crossroads right in front of you. Before you make a decision, take some time to reflect and seek God’s will.

Look. Immediate distractions or hindrances directly in front of us might cause us to miss the right path.

Ask. Talk to God and people you trust. Seek wise council. Dig into the Word. This part’s important. Hebrews 2:1 warns us that “we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.”

Walk. Once you’re certain of God’s will, take those first steps on the path with confidence.

Travel. Once you’ve made all the preparations, you can enjoy the journey and delight in all the surprise and abundance you find along the way.
When you reach a crossroads in your life, find peace and certainty by following God’s will!

~

Renee Johnson Fisher is a spirited speaker and writer to twenty-somethings. Her second book Not Another Dating Book (Harvest House) released in February 2012, and you can find Renee blogging at www.devotionaldiva.com.

Adapted from: Not Another Dating Book © 2012 by Renee Fisher. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.










Sarah here: The publisher has graciously offered to GIVE AWAY a few copies of Renee's brand new book!! Interested? Of course you are! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a valid e-mail address - that's it! I'll give you one week and then we'll randomly select our winners! So comment away!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Exhausted

Camy here. Recently I came off of several book deadlines plus a book tour. While that sounds like fun (and it was!) it also left me really tired.

But I couldn’t rest because I had some book edits due right after I came back. And then I caught a cold from the airplane.

So while I was honking my nose (and muttering, “Can’t a girl get a break?!”) I was also feverishly (pun intended, haha) working on my book edits.

For the record, I’m not complaining about the deadlines (I tend to like them, believe it or not) or the work or the book tour. I feel very blessed to be able to do what I love to do, which is write books.

But physically, I felt like a wet tissue.

After the deadlines, I had a couple appointments and they literally wiped me out. I’d go to the appointment, then come back home and crawl back into bed.

I’m starting to feel better now, but I realize that I can’t do that again. For one thing, I’m not as young as I used to be and don’t have the constitution that once pulled three all-nighters in a row and then went watched a Star Trek Next Generation marathon on TV.

For another, when I run on empty like that, I don’t work as quickly or as efficiently, and everything takes longer than if I’d been eating, exercising, and sleeping properly.

So my question for those of you who are habitual overachievers, are you tired?

GO GET SOME SLEEP FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

I’m serious. We have so much we need to do and then neglect our bodies and our mental stability. Do you really think psychos get eight hours of sleep a night? Of course not! They’re up plotting murder. I’m not saying you’ll go all Misery on your family and friends, but you might, say, snap at your husband for bringing you a glass of water when you wanted tea and then burst into tears. Not that that’s happened to me, you understand ...

So Camy’s lesson for the month: Plan better so I’m not so crazy tired when I have deadlines.

Why are you still here? Go to sleep!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the first book in her new series, Protection for Hire, which is like Stephanie Plum meets The Joy Luck Club. 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!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Do you have it all?

I was thinking earlier about the title of this Blog - Girls, God, Good Life - and what that means to me.

Girls - well, I got this. I AM a girl, obviously, and love girly stuff. Vintage dresses, flowery shoes, shiny purses, sparkly lipgloss. (of course I also love driving my husband's big jacked-up, diesel, Dodge Ram 4x4 with the windows down and blasting Miranda Lambert but that's another story) ::wink::

God - well, I got Him too. I don't understand Him, but I HAVE Him. In my heart, because of His Son Jesus. Do you? (if you want to know more about how to have a relationship with Jesus, please email me -mailto:-betsystamant@yahoo.com)

And Good Life - well, sometimes I wonder. Ever have those days? What exactly is a good life anyway? Jesus said in the Bible He came to give us life, and life more abundantly.

Some days I get that. Sometimes I get to sleep in, and my toddler acts more like a mature young adult than a selfish 3 year old, and I beat my personal goals at the gym, and I turn in a newspaper article before deadline, and I get news of a new book contract, and I only lose my temper once instead of a dozen times - and I actually remember to blog. (lol) And my husband and I have a romantic moment and I catch up on the phone with an old friend and I get to snag a cupcake and I think - why yes, this life is abundant indeed.

But that's not what Jesus meant.

I think He meant He came to give us abundant life THROUGH Him. And that definition is often (okay, usually almost always) different than our definition. Maybe He meant for it involve cupcakes and kisses and best friends and happy toddlers. But I think He meant for it to mean in our souls. Contentment, despite life. Joy, despite circumstances. Trust, despite strife.

That's not easy, but we can get there because of Jesus.

And we can take it a step further like He intended by living our lives with purpose. THAT'S the good life - not just being a girl, not just having God in our lives, but by figuring 0ut how those two things combine - for our good, and His glory.

How can we be a woman/girl in today's society and shine for Christ? How can we take the gifts/talents He supplied us with and do something we're called to do? Is it writing? Is it art? Is it being a good friend/encourager? Is it preaching the Word? Is it teaching others and being a positive role model? What is it?

Whatever that means for you - That's abundant life. Living for Jesus, wholeheartedly, with all that is within us as women.

So what do you need to change in your life today to live the Good Life? Do you need to make that phone call you've been putting off? Do you need to hit send on that novel proposal you've been preparing? Do you need to join that club or sign up for that class or send an email to someone that's been on your heart? Do you need to spend more time with Jesus in the Word and prayer? Do you need to mail that check to someone who you know is in dire need?

Think about it. Pray about it. and LIVE.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"You Have No Idea . . ."


I just finished teaching at a writer’s seminar, where I got to connect with many friends that I only see once or twice a year. One thing that I love about this seminar is the opportunities to connect with writers that I originally met as beginners, when I critiqued their manuscript or they took one of my workshops.

This year I had the fun of spending some time with a friend that I critiqued last year. We have kept in touch all year and recently celebrated over her first published story. Knowing that we might not get time to talk once the seminar began, she helped me set up for my first workshop so we could catch up a little. She told me how much last year’s critique had meant to her.

“You believed in me,” She said, “You have no idea how huge that was for me.”

Having someone who didn’t even know her say, “You’re a good writer. You can do this!” gave her the courage to attend a big conference a month later and start submitting her work.

What this precious friend doesn’t realize is that her thank-you was equally as huge for me. I often catch myself doubting if my writing, teaching, and attempts to help other writers really make a difference. That night, as I tackled my usual pre-workshop fears (What if no one shows up? What if I fumble over my presentation?), God used her words to remind me that what I did mattered—that even when I felt lost in a sea of successful writers, I was impacting others.

When our goals don’t seem to be working out and life is spinning in a direction that we didn’t sign up for, it’s tempting to think that God has us on hold—that He has decided not to use us for any great purpose after all. That moment in the empty workshop room reminded me that God has a way of using us when we aren’t looking. He used my I hope this helps her comments to show a new writer that she had something powerful to say; then He used her gratitude to send the same message back to me.

If you are struggling over whether you make a difference, just know that your life is much more impacting than you realize. While you wait for God to send you a reminder, why not take the time to thank someone who have you courage, confidence, or strength when you needed it most. It’s possible that she really needs to hear, “You have no idea how huge that was for me.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day--or not

Camy here! As I’m writing this, it’s about 1 am on Valentine’s Day, and this post will go live at 5 am here in California, so Valentine’s Day hasn’t really started yet. But by the time you read this, it’ll probably be in full swing or have been over by now.

How’s your Valentine’s Day going? Good or bad? Most of my Valentine’s Days when I was in my teens and twenties totally sucked. It wasn’t just not having a boyfriend, it was feeling like nobody cared about me.

I now know that wasn’t true. There were lots of people who cared about me, but I had closed myself off from people because I thought they wouldn’t want to be close to me.

But I also think that time in my life was because Jesus wanted me to be closer to Him. I have the type of personality where I will fill my life with friends who will take the place of God. Instead of depending solely and completely on Him, I will depend on my friends more than I should.

So God will sometimes have to take all my friends away from me for a little while to remind me that I need to depend on Him more, and to re-teach me how to do that. I think that’s what most of my teens and twenties were about.

(Or it could be that at the time, I wasn’t really a nice enough person that a boy would want to date me. Luckily God worked in me to make me a better person.)

Hmm, that’s not a very uplifting Valentine’s Day post. Then again, I’ve never enjoyed V-Day even when I got married, maybe because I remember how hard those days were when I was younger.

I guess if you’re at the same point I was, don’t lose hope. Cling to Jesus because He’s all you’ll need, and it really will get better. Sometimes it means God needs to work on you more, but other times it just means you need to be patient and trust that Jesus knows what He’s doing.

Love and peace,
Camy

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the first book in her new series, Protection for Hire, which is like Stephanie Plum meets The Joy Luck Club. 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!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Free Book! My Valentine's Gift for you!

Yep! It's my Valentine's Day gift to you:

Totally Unfamous is totally free!

But it's for today only so scoot on over there and download it!

Download it here.

Don't have a Kindle? That's okay - there are Kindle reading apps for everything!



There are Walmart deals that can get you a Kindle or gift cards at low prices.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The ups and downs of V-Day...

Betsy here...


Growing up, Valentine's Day was always one of my favorite holidays. It didn't matter if I had a boyfriend or not as a teenager, or liked a guy or had a crush or whatever! My parents always made it fun for me and my sister regardless. I have fond memories of paper hearts and safety scissors, cookies with red icing, boxed Valentine's from the store (usually Snoopy!) and a goodie basket on Valentine's morning filled SweetTart hearts (so much better than the old fashioned chalk hearts with messages! Just FYI! hehe)





As I got older and had serious relationships on Valentine's and even after I got married, Valentine's Day sort of lost its luster. Oddly enough...but it's true. I guess because the expectations changed. It went from innocent, childlike fun and enjoyment of craft projects and pink T-shirts at school to suddenly having to profess your love in a profound way to this person you were with. (and well my Hubby still cringes over the concept of profound ways! lol)


Some people just aren't wired to express romance or make grand gestures. A lot of guys (and even women) tend to come under the wire and get in trouble, or go WAY over the top and get in trouble. Either effort is unbalanced. I think it's not about how big the stuffed animal can be or how gourmet the chocolate (because really, is anything better than Hershey's anyway??) but rather, how sincere the heart.

(I'm sure there's been many a woman who wanted to yell to her spouse "forget the fancy dinner out that we can't afford and the limo we'll be paying on our charge card for the next 6 months and just make me a picnic outside in the moonlight already!")

Right!?!

Here's the thing though. We're humans. No matter how old we are, or what kind of relationship we're in, it's never enough to complete someone else or ourselves. No matter how on-target the gesture is, it's going to miss it's mark every time to a certain degree. Valentine's Day or not, true love or not, married or not. It's just a fact.


Emotions change, feelings change, even our minds change. And as humans, sadly enough, even true love can change as people grow and develop. But you know what the best news of Valentine's Day really is?


Jesus. The ultimate Lover of our souls.


Jesus is consistent. He is true. He is sincere. He gets it right every time because He KNOWS our hearts. He's intricately involved with us because He's intricately involved with the Creator of us. He knows whether we need a moonlight picnic or a four page poem or a cruise to the Bahamas because He knows our hearts.

How romantic is that?!?

This Valentine's Day, as you celebrate with a loved one or buy roses for a special someone or just don a pink T-shirt and stroll around the mall alone...take time to remember the One who loves you more than anyone else ever even could. The One who died for you to show you that grand love.

The One who is ready to whisper Happy Valentine's Day if you just spend a few moments reading His word and listening for His still, small voice.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Who is Really in Control?

Have you ever gone through a time when it seemed like your choices were being made for you—like you had no control over what happened to you? Worse yet, you had to suffer for the bad choices that someone else made? I’m going through a time like that right now. Saying it’s not fun would be an understatement, but it is also teaching me something about my life with God.

Today, God reminded me that, whether I’m living in the fallout of someone else’s choices or not, I never did have control over what happened to me. He is in control, not me. Those who keep throwing my life off course might not have as much say as I think they do, because in the end, God oversees their path too.

I can either let this reality knock me into panic mode, or take comfort in it. My prayer today is that I will allow the idea that I’m not in charge of my life bring me reassurance. God hasn’t left me at the mercy of those who only care about their own interests; He is asking me to give over control that I never had in the first place and trust the One who has my best interest at heart to know what He is doing.

If you can relate, I challenge you to pray in the same way—that you will trust the Father who is ultimately in control and see His authority as a good thing.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

What Are You Reading?

I just started reading this book by my friend Betsy! I'm interested to see what it's like since the main character is a "P.K." -- pastor's kid -- and so was I.

I'll let you know how it goes next blog (February 18th).

In the meantime, what are you reading?


Girls, God, and the Good Life

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