Friday, April 27, 2012

More unpopular thoughts about The Hunger Games

Camy here, and I am in the middle of Mockingjay so if you’ve already read it, PLEASE don’t spoil it for me. But for what it’s worth, here is a thought that came to me today:

In The Hunger Games (book one), Peeta doesn’t actually know that much about Katniss because he never spoke to her much before the games, yet he said he’s in love with her. That’s not really love.

I know, all you bleeding romantics will be complaining. But it’s true. How can you love someone when you don’t know them? That’s not love, that’s attraction. Or infatuation, which starts going into stalker category. (Yes, I know Peeta’s not a stalker.)

Infatuation doesn’t live long in the real world when you realize how different the two of you are, or when you see him pick his nose while farting.

Infatuation can grow into love, but I don’t think someone should say they love you if they hardly KNOW you. If someone says they love you, it should mean they know you, your good side AND your faults, and they love you anyway. That’s the kind of love Jesus modeled for us.

I’ve just got to the point where they discover Peeta is … ahem, sick.

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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where is your scar?

In my recent novel release, HER FAMILY WISH, (available now through Amazon or other local booksellers in print or ebook) the theme of the story is scars - both internal and external. The hero has internal scars, the heroine has external that represent the internal. The story is a romance, that explores not only second chances at life and love, but a story that explores second chances with God.

Because we all have scars. Some run deeper than others. Abuse. Divorce. Loss. Abortion. Others are more surface level, but hurt just the same. Rejection from friends. A break up with a boyfriend. A failed test at school. Not winning in a beauty pageant. Not getting chosen for the football or chearleading team. Things that mark us and leave us not quite the same.

What is your scar today?

I have a real scar on my right thigh, from about two years ago when I had melanoma cut off my leg. Yep, full blown skin cancer. I thought the "freckle" I'd had for so long looked funny, a little different - so I went to a dermatologist. He did a biopsy (ow) and then sent it off to be tested. Called me himself two days later.

Cancer.

Thankfully, Praise God - it was surface level. He was able to go in, cut around that bad ol' freckle on all sides and under, and remove not only the offensive piece but any wayward cell that even had a chance of spreading.

It's a non-issue now, but the scar is there. And no amount of Mederma cream can totally take it away.

But there's an upside to scars that we often don't think about, because we stay caught in the drama of it. Scars can be reminders - helpful reminders. Reminders that we're weak, and need Jesus. Reminders that we aren't alone in this world, and need each other. Reminders that sin has consequences. Reminders that push us to strive forward, to do better, to be better, to grow and remember and live freely in Christ's love.

Reminders that I have no business EVER getting in a tanning bed again!

What is your scar today? Visible, or internal? Was it earned, or were you a victim?

Remember, friend, the One who bears the ultimate scars on His palms and in His side. Jesus Christ. He'll never leave you or forsake you. In a sense, He's our Mederma cream. He's smoothing out the hurt, tightening up the loose spots, bringing us back together and making us whole. No, we'll never be the same. He won't undo what's been done. But He is healing. And life.

And is able to take that which hurt us and turn it into something beautiful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Evening on the Island of the Colorblind


Last night I re-watched The Island of the Colorblind. It follows a neurologist and scientist on a trip to Pingelap, a small island in the South Pacific where almost 10% of the population is born with the eye disease Achromatopsia and 1/3 carry the gene for it. Achromatopsia causes total colorblindness, extreme light sensitivity, and visual acuity around 20/200.

Why would I care about visually impaired men, women, and children living on an island thousands of miles away? I felt drawn to the film because I was born with this disease. Outside the isolated community of Pingelap, Achromatopsia only occurs in about 1-in-33,000 people. It’s recessive so it tends to pop out of nowhere in families, and once it does, parents usually have more than one child with low vision. My sister Sherry has this eye problem while my sister Kristy doesn’t.

After growing up with a disorder so rare that I often find myself explaining it to doctors, the idea of a place where I would have neighbors, friends, and even teachers just like me and wouldn’t stand out as odd fascinates me. What struck me even deeper was their attitude toward the disorder. These visually impaired people get by without the sunglasses, magnifiers, and resources that I rely on, but they also grow up without being labeled disabled. The scientists had to be careful to offer things like sunglasses and magnifiers as cool tools that could make their lives easier without implying that anyone had a problem that needed fixing.

Those who had never seen color didn’t seem to miss it or feel deprived. Instead, they emphasized the patterns, tones, shadows, and textures that they did see. They obviously struggled but it didn’t consume them or hold them back. Many of the night fishermen had Achromatopsia because they see so much better after sunset. The visually impaired seemed perfectly happy and those with 20/20 vision accepted them as normal.

Their outlook got me thinking—wouldn’t it be nice if we could embrace life and others this way? Wouldn’t we all feel a lot freer focusing on what we have instead of what we don’t and noticing strengths before weaknesses? What if we decided to see ourselves and everyone we meet as perfectly normal and treat them accordingly? After all, each of us could turn the television on one day and discover that a place exists where what we thought was weird isn’t considered weird at all.

The Little Girl I Used to Be

She walked past me last night. I could see it in her eyes. The little girl I used to be.

Secrets. Her eyes held secrets. Things she could admit to no one, least of all herself.



I wept. Not outwardly, but on the inside. I wept as I wondered if she knew what made her numb, walking in this haze. I wept as I wondered if one day the pain would sneak up on her, like a thief, stealing who she was… stealing who she was becoming.

I wondered if she knew that the moment she acknowledged that pain for the first time, it would almost kill her. I wondered if she pushed it down, day after day, like a beach ball lurching from the water toward the sky.

And I prayed. I prayed for the moment she would own her pain. I prayed that it would not own her, but that she would be owned by the One whose wounds took all her shame.

****
You are not alone. If you have been abused, tell someone. If anyone can get healing, I am proof that God is greater than our greatest nightmares.

Don’t go at this alone.

For more information, contact me at www.bekahhamrickmartin.com.
****
Photo source: Microsoft Clip Art

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Isaiah’s Song (Holy Lord)

Little known fact: I used to sing in Testimony A Cappella group when I was at Stanford University. It was a fantastic experience because it was the first time I ever met Christians my age who truly loved Jesus. I was a baby Christian and I learned so much about walking with Jesus from my fellow Testimony members.

This is one of the songs we sang, although we were definitely not as good as the Maranatha Singers. Our soloist was Luke, and while the rest of us were only so-so, Luke was flippin’ awesome.



I love this song because of the amazing sense of worship I feel. Do you have songs that do that for you, too?


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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Susie Magazine, Wal-Mart & You!!!!

Susie Magazine is a completely amazing magazine for teen girls, but you know what? SO MANY teen girls still don't know it exists. So what better way to let girls find this magazine then having it on the shelf at Wal-Mart!!

And YOU can help that happen! How?


So go vote! twice a day! And let's help make this happen!


And spread the word!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Teens! Check out the Gideon!



The deadline is May 1st - so it's time to get a move on and apply!

What is the Gideon?


It's a Christian Media Arts Conference and Film festival held near Asheville, North Carolina August 11-16, 2012

Media Arts?


Filmmaking, Acting, Graphic novels, Comedy and Screenwriting!

Who's it for?


The conference is designed for adults that are working in the Media Arts and all of the classes are taught by professionals.


What about teens?


We have a special Intern program for Teens between 16-18 to come and take part in this spectacular conference. This allows teens to attend without bringing a parent/guardian (this makes it way cheaper!)


Would you make a great Gideon Clash Intern? Are you...

  • a teen who is actively working in and/or pursuing training in the media arts?

  • a teen who can interact well with a team and work in group settings?

  • a teen who can interact with professionals in a respectful way?

  • a teen who is eager to learn, eager to help and eager to take advantage of all that Gideon has to offer?

  • a teen who is responsible and organized enough to manage the pre-conference interactions as well as the conference requirements?


Why come?


Let's face it - getting real hands-on training in filmmaking and other media arts is hard to do! At the Gideon, Interns get to interact with Christian professionals who are actively working in the Media Arts. In 2011, our interns got to help shoot a music video and produce a short film! We are excited about what's in store for 2012! You won't find anything else like it!

What do we do?


Gideon Interns get to take full advantage of all the course offerings at the Gideon Conference (the Intern Directors help guide you through the week!) But Interns get special perks! Like getting to eat meals with the faculty, giving them a chance to ask a lot of questions and learn from these working professionals. Our interns help out in classes giving them a front row seat to all the action.

Got more questions? Feel free to contact me! My friend Vonda and I have been directing the Intern Program for four years!! And yes! I'll be there this August!

Check out our website to learn more and apply today!

Don't wait! The deadline is May 1st - but you can do it!

Know others who would be interested??? Please let them know!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Bunny vs. Jesus

I hope everyone had a good Easter!

I know its pretty easy to get carried away on the tide of all of those yummy Easter cookies and desserts and chocolate (anyone else have a thing for Cadbury eggs? Holla! ::wink:: ) It's easy to let the secular view of Easter (a.k.a. The Easter Bunny) steal the attention from Jesus.

(Just like Santa tries at Christmas! Nothing against the Easter Bunny or Santa, because obviously it's not "their" fault but rather society's...) Have you ever noticed though, that the two biggest religious/spiritual holidays are the only two holidays that have such fierce competition for attention? Jesus vs. The Easter Bunny / Santa Clause.

Not a coincidence. The devil is sneaky like that. I'm not saying don't do the fun seculary stuff during Easter or Christmas. It's not a sin to celebrate fun iconic characters like those two, or candy, or presents. Just don't let it be your main focus.

My Little Miss (3 years old) is memorizing partial Bible Verses for her Wednesday night AWANAS group (She's in Cubbies) Her verse this week is "He is not here. He is risen." And she says it with such jubilation and joy, like she was the angel giving the message to Mary and the others at Jesus's empty tomb herself! It's pure and beautiful and exactly what Easter is all about.

He isn't there. He is risen.

As Christians, however old we are, we should celebrate that truth every day. Our joy should never dim. We should share that good news with the hurting, lost world with that same glee that my toddler does.

We're never too old for an Easter basket full of goodies. And we're never, ever too old to keep our focus in the right place.

On an EMPTY tomb :)

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Let's Be Honest

I was having a great time at the writer’s conference, learning and reconnecting with friends that I only see once a year. God had given me some much-needed direction and I’d received great feedback on a story. So why did I suddenly feel like I would burst into tears any minute?

The truth? Every time I turned around one of my friends had exciting news that far surpassed mine. Life had forced me to set aside writing projects that weren’t bringing in an income and I could no longer deny that I resented it. I felt stuck and had no idea how to get unstuck. The event that sent my fun projects to the back burner had also rattled my confidence and I was in an environment where connections required a lot of that. The fact that I was tired and let the floodgates open by sharing a prayer request that morning only compounded my private emotional storm. The last straw came when my roommate shared some wonderful news of her own as we were walking back to our room. As soon as I got inside I felt the tears burning my eyes and throat.

“Okay, I just need to confess,” I managed to get out. “I am incredibly frustrated right now.”

“Why?” The gentleness in her voice melted the last bit of reserve that repressed my tears.

I spilled out everything, feeling like such a whiney baby. Why couldn’t I be happy for my friends and content with what God had already done for me?

Instead of making less of my feelings, this sweet friend shared them. “You’re right, Jeanette, it isn’t fair. It’s time for it to be your turn.” Instead of stopping there, she helped me come up with a plan. She not only encouraged me to take a fun project off the back burner, but promised to bug me like crazy until I finished it. The longer we talked, the more I felt my frustrations drive me to action. And it all started with being honest with a safe friend and with myself. In the process, I allowed myself to be honest with God.

That night at dinner, God opened a door for me to bounce an idea off a magazine editor. She like it! Other answers came in the next twenty-four hours. As I celebrated them, I recognized God’s hand in how all of this played out. I am convinced that He wanted me to hit the wall of frustration that trigged a flood of honesty. The blessings came after I cried out to Him what He already knew: “God, I’m tired of being stuck.”

When have you seen the benefits of being honest, both with yourself and with the One who knows you best? What do you need to be honest with Him about today?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Summer Beauty Tips


This post may or may not be an attempt to redeem myself for the fact that I was celebrating No-Shave Tuesday last week when my doctor spontaneously rolled up my pant leg.

Didn't expect that.

So today I'm sharing summer beauty tips with you. Yes. Just to prove this Mom still has it. Still cares.

And you should care about a few things too if you want to have a romantic relationship*... or at least not terrify your family physician next time he wants to check your reflexes.

1. Hair -- Y'all. I love this stuff. I’ve tried some of the cheaper brands, but my hair always gets damaged. Not with this. Worth the $$ (about $10 anywhere).


2. Skin – New discovery. Walmart - $5. Seriously. Leaves you with a golden glow, just like the tanning bed (only cancer-free). Also doesn’t smell so strongly of self-tanner. Has a banana scent. {Only downside: it takes a while to build your tan.}


3. Teeth – This stuff whitens your teeth AND strengthens them. Which is good because I have a nasty little habit of grinding them into oblivion while I sleep. (What can  I say? I have an overactive dream-life.)


4. Nails – Don’t know if you’ve seen these (by Sally Hansen), but they’re fabulous. LOVE them. And so easy to apply. {Real polish -- comes off with remover but stays better than the average manicure!}


If you’re looking to go cheaper, try NYC’s polishes. About $1 at Wal-Mart. (I’m not making an ad for Wal-Mart – I promise.)

5. Clothes – Now it’s your turn. What’s in this season? Let me know in the comments.

*These reviews are given of my own accord, and I am not being compensated in any way for my opinions...

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Hi. Thanks for reading my mom's post. I don't need any self-tanner 'cause I'm cute already. But that teeth-whitening stuff... I might give that a try it once I actually get some teefers. In the meantime, visit me at my mom's blog. I promise not to bite. At least it won't hurt.

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