Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School

Some of you may have already started back to school. I know colleges are back in session and some states start in August.

A few of you may have this one last weekend before you hit the hallways.

I was always nervous about going back to school. I never went to any school for more than 2 years in a row (until high school). One year I went to three different schools in two different states. That was second grade. It's a miracle I ever learned anything at all!

My kids have the opposite problem. Same kids year after year. And I've learned neither is easy. We all have challenges. In every school, there's that one mean girl who makes life extra miserable (you know exactly who I'm talking about).

And while some of you are probably homeschooled, I'll bet that there are challenges with that as well.

But challenges are made to be conquered. God has created us to be overcomers. But overcoming happens one step at a time, getting up every day and choosing to overcome rather than be conquered. Christ can help us if we're willing to see things through His eyes instead of our own.

So today, and every day, what's one thing you can do to try and have a different perspective?

Maybe you'll pray for that mean girl every morning.

Maybe you'll try and make a new friend.

Maybe you'll be more faithful to study every night.

Maybe you'll pray for that teacher who is getting on your nerves.

Maybe you'll run for student office so that your voice can be heard.

Maybe you'll try a new sport or activity this year.

Maybe you'll walk away from a bad influence.

What will you do? How will you take the next step?

Blessings to you,

Sarah Anne Sumpolec writes for teens and has a series called Becoming Beka where you'll get to know Beka Madison as she navigates high school. Check it out here:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Know-it-all's Really Don't Know It At All

I can be a know-it-all. Can you?

It's pretty easy. I guess its human nature. People like to know things, to know more than others, to feel special or elevated or in the know. We like to hear the gossip first and pass it on so we feel popular by having the scoop before anyone else. We like to feel included. We like to feel smart.

Human nature, yes - but that doesn't mean it's right or ok. ;)

I have definitely been there before, and guess what?

I've passed it down to my daughter.

And ummm let me say - the only thing possibly more aggravating than a know-it-all is a 4 year old know-it-all!! :)

Sometimes I'll tell her something and she will immediately argue the opposite, whether she knows or has a clue or not. It's this automatic defense in her. "Little Miss, the counter is wet." "No it's not." Long pause and wet hand. "Oh" - sheepish giggle "You're right".

Other times she'll argue 'til I give up from sheer exhaustion. Future lawyer, perhaps? :)

I think the majority of her issue comes from not just wanting to argue but truly believing in her own head that SHE'S right. Despite the fact that I'm 24 years older than she is and not completely stupid myself. ::eye roll:: It can definitely get frustrating, and I'm trying to work with her on this. "Believe mama," I say. "Trust me. I know things. I've been around a lot longer. I see the whole picture." Sometimes it works and she consents. Other times, we change the subject for peace.

The other day I was in the middle of this with her and it hit me HARD.

How often do we do this same thing to God? How often do I argue with God? Insist I know more or know better than He does, even subconsciously? Insist my way is best, my knowledge higher?

Bottom line - He's right. And I'm wrong. Or at the very least, confused.

I have to trust Him just like I want Little Miss to trust me.

He sees the whole picture. I only see it in part. Just like Little Miss only sees from her 4 year old perspective, I only see from my selfish, earthly perspective.

Can you relate?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School

This proud, toothless boy is my son Nathan, taken five years ago for kindergarten graduation. Tomorrow, my baby starts fifth grade.

Although school means the end of summer, Nathan is actually excited. He likes to see his friends every day, enjoys learning new things, and is eager to start band for the first time. (He chose trumpet--lucky me.) In fifth grade, they get lockers, which is a very big deal. Who cares that they don't actually have locks on them; they are lockers and only the big kids get them. He isn't thrilled about getting up early, but the inconvenience is clearly worth what awaits him.

I, on the other hand, don't feel ready at all. After a summer that went way too fast, as usual, it seems too soon to face the daily routine of getting up and out the door, dealing with homework, and all the other details that make up a school year. I'm not ready for little Nate the Great to be in fifth grade, because that means next year he'll be in his last year at King's Academy then he'll be in middle school then . . .I don't even want to think about it.

But I'm glad that Nathan is excited for this new school year. He should be happy. It's fun to see friends and learn an instrument and get something new like a locker. Seeing time pass more quickly than I want it to is difficult, but it means that fun and exciting milestones lay ahead, experiences that I don't want to miss while I am wishing that things could stay as they are. Because, let's face it, they can't.

What new things does this upcoming school year mean for you? What are you excited about? What makes you wish that time would slow down a little?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Camy here! I don’t know if I ever shared this with you guys, but I recently was listening to Rush of Fools and remembered how the song “There is Nothing” really inspired me when I was writing Stalker in the Shadows. This became the theme song of the book because I’d play it over and over as I wrote key scenes, especially at the climax at the hotel.

“There is Nothing” by Rush of Fools from the album Wonder of the World

Songwriters: Kevin Huguley, Jason David Ingram, Wesley Willis
How far is too far for You?
How hard is too hard for You?
How much is too much for You, great God?

There is nothing, no, there's nothing You can't do

There is no wilderness, no desert place, no sickness
There is no sinking ship, no history, no weakness
That you can't save me from
That you can't save me from

How high is too high for You?
How low is too low for You?
How can I say thanks to You, great God?

There is nothing, no, there's nothing You can't do

There is no wilderness, no desert place, no sickness
There is no sinking ship, no history, no weakness
That you can't save me from
That you can't save me from

When I can't find the strength I'm needing to get up
I'm not outside Your reach, You rescue me with love

There is no wilderness, no desert place, no sickness
There is no sinking ship, no history, no weakness

There is no wilderness, no desert place, no sickness
There is no sinking ship, no history, no weakness
That you can't save me from
That you can't save me from

Buy the MP3 on Amazon

Aren't they awesome lyrics? They remind me how God is always there with me, no matter what happens to me or how I'm feeling. I am never alone.

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the third book in her Sonoma series, Stalker in the Shadows. 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, August 10, 2012

Are you brave?

My Little Miss is on a "Brave" kick. The Disney Pixar movie, Brave? Yeah - she's seen it in theater. Bought the action figure. Played with her friend's bow and arrow. Runs around the house pretending to cast bear spells. Ordered a Brave backpack and lunchbox tote for preschool. Whispers to herself about Merida. She took swim lessons a few weeks ago and was scared to jump in the pool. A few promptings of "be brave like Merida!" and she was leaping right in :)

Makes me wonder how brave I am, and where my courage comes from.

Sometimes I wish Disney would do a Christian based cartoon instead of magic spells or portions or whatever. How powerful would that be?! What if Merida got her courage from prayer, and not her hill country heritage or a potion from the crazy old lady in the disappearing cave store? What if her courage came from the Holy Spirit and not just love of family? Wow!

That's real life, guys. We live in the real world - there are no crazy witches brewing potions and selling bear statues. No disappearing cave stores. No spells to turn mom into a bear when you want some freedom. And thankfully for us in today's time in the USA, no arranged marriages ;)

Sadly, there are no highland games either, which seemed really fun! ha!

Seriously though, we need to evalute where we get our courage from. Not the courage to fight a bear (because honestly I don't think I'd ever have that much) but the courage to stand up to peer pressure. The courage to do the right thing when no one is looking. The courage to shut our mouths when it's easier to spout off, and the courage to speak when it's easier to be silent and blend in.

Does your courage come from the power of God's Word and His promises? From the urgings of the Holy Spirit living inside you as a Child of God? Or is your courage weak and fleeting, because it's not based on things eternal?

Are you brave? And where is your courage coming from? Do you courage and fear are opposites or not? Let's talk about it! :)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Church in the Park

Today our church doors stayed locked, the sanctuary completely empty . . . because we had church in the Park, complete with baptisms in the river, volleyball, and activities for the kids.

We have been looking forward to it for weeks--the day when we would worship, learn, and fellowship out in the open. Everyone was told to bring sack lunches plus one extra. The church staff loaded ice chests with the lunches, as water and other drinks and plenty of extra sandwiches; they covered a table with baskets full of cookies and bags of chips. We didn't want this to be an exclusive "members only" event; we hoped people would hear the music or teaching and wander over, and if they did, we hoped they would accept our offer to stay. Since our church loves to reach out to the community, volunteers also planned to walk around with the extra lunches and invite people to join us or just give them something to eat. (I live in Reno, Nevada and we have a lot of poor and homeless downtown where this park happens to be.)

I must admit that I wondered how outsiders would respond. Would they make fun of our music or mock the sermon? Would they accept the offers to join the picnic or just take the food and walk away? Would half the lunches go uneaten? Instead, passers by stopped to listen and many set down for both the service and lunch. A rafter stopped to watch the baptisms. One teenage boy approached a girl who had been baptized and asked, "How did you know for sure you were saved?" and she got to share with him. No one seemed to care that it was 100 degrees outside; we were having too much fun to care about weather.

I have no idea who got the lunch I made, but I pray they walked away knowing . . .
God truly does love them
Their life can change
Following Christ, while not always easy, can fill your life with joy, hope, wonderful friends, and yes, even fun

When have you had an exciting opportunity to reach out to your community? How did you see God at work?

I would love to hear your stories. 


Winner of Stress Point!

Our winner of Stress Point, by Sarah Francis Martin, is AMBER! Amber, send me your address at writebrained(at)gmail(dot)com.