All My Tomorrows

Shirt: @crabapplebooks “Let’s make a deal. We don’t borrow tomorrow’s problems today.”

May, 2021:

As I boarded my flight back to work, I was musing over the multiple hurdles that had appeared to mess up the timing and details of my trip. I could definitely see the hand of God working in the matter to get it “resolved” — that is, to get me back to work. He’d also given me a huge peace about the entire thing. Even the flights back were good in many ways. Unexpectedly sitting in “premium economy” vs “basic economy” was a lovely perk. 

Looking forward, there’s still another leg of my journey to get back to my assigned job station. There’s also a lot that can still go wrong, and if it does or doesn’t, it is still in God’s hands. I was chuckling to myself ruefully about the fact that this journey should “end” on my birthday. Not exactly what I’d have chosen as a birthday present. As I told my mom, “His ways are definitely not MY ways!” 

And as the thought came… another memory came along with it. Back in September 2001, just a week before 9-11 rocked our world, God gave me a word. He told me to “trust Him with my tomorrows” — that “He would answer for each and every one of them… and that they would be better than I could ever dream or imagine.” That word has been played out over and over and over again. I know He holds my tomorrows. All of them. 

He’s given far more than I could have dreamed at the age of 15, and I trust that He will continue to take care of the rest of the days. And as I thought about the fact that “He’s got this”… I was suddenly reminded that he holds the good days — AND the “not-so-good” days. His tomorrow’s might not always look great or happy or easy. 

What was important wasn’t the promise of blessing. It was the fact that HE is in control. Outside of His sovereignty, nothing can happen. I chuckle a bit remembering a conversation with my best friend, where the now (in) famous phrase “You’re not that powerful” was applied to the worry about “messing up” God’s plan and His will for our lives. It was a joke at the time. But… if I truly think about it, if I believe that God is Omnipotent (all powerful) and Omniscient (all knowing)… how can it NOT be true? We’re not that powerful. 

I don’t want to get sucked into a discussion about predestination vs free-will, but I believe He is in control and nothing happens outside His control. Period. And the relief and blessing that is… its unreal, honestly. But I’m losing the thread. 

All of my tomorrows. That means, He’s promised that He’s going to answer for each and every one of them — they are His. The tough ones. The hard ones. The heartbreaking ones. The joy filled ones. ALL. OF. THEM. So as I prepare to walk into what has the potential to be a dark and challenging period, my focus needs to be on Him. Not on the circumstances. Not on the behaviors of others. Not on the day to day hustle and bustle. On Him. 

Because He’s got this. 

-Soli Deo Gloria-

Valentine’s Day + Writing

Valentine’s Day has come and gone this year. I didn’t pay much attention to it, because I was busy working. Plus, I think people deserve affection and attention and random gifts and compliments and time spent on them throughout the year, not just on one special day. Also, as a single gal, I get a bit burnt out by the fact that this day revolves around “love” — but only for romantic love. There’s a lot more to love, and tonight I got to thinking about that.

My brain’s thought process is odd, so I’ll save you the trouble of the twists it took getting to this blog post and my topic. It relates to my writing, and it relates to Valentine’s Day. Just go with it, okay? 

So how do I get from “romantic love” to “writing”? As I said, there is a lot more to love (and that’s a whole other blog post). Years ago, I remember reading that every author tends to write the same story over and over again, but with slight variations. I’m not sure how true that is, at least when it comes to plot or specific stories. I’ve read authors who have the “same characters” in nearly every story. But what I think this translates to — at least for me — is that I have one theme that comes through in every story I sit down to write. 

I’m not the girl who writes a story consciously around a “theme” — in fact, it took me years (and years and years) of writing stories before I finally realized that I DO have themes in my stories. The funny part was realizing that it wasn’t a different theme in every story… but more of a “same theme, different story” kind of thing. 

What I found is that my theme is similar to what I love reading and watching the most: family and relationships. Found family, sibling bonds, teams that pull together, relationships forged in battle and hard times. Its about trust. About those characters who have nobody, and find themselves in the middle of a circle of friends, co-workers, or adopted into a family. That, ladies and gentlemen, is nearly ALWAYS my cup of coffee. 

I grew up in a family with close bonds. I have three siblings, all younger. We were all born within five-and-a-half years, so believe me when I say we were close (in age) and bickered like it. We knew we were loved. I grew up going to family functions where I was accepted without conditions, with love and affection. It didn’t matter how distant the relationship was (or if it was simply by bonds of affection), we were loved and accepted. When I took an “adopted” little brother with me to one of the family reunions, no questions were asked, he was simply accepted into the gathering and treated as though he was one of the family. 

That, sadly, hasn’t been everyone’s experience. And growing up, I’ve seen what the other side of this coin feels like. Being tossed aside as unwanted. Being treated like a disposable commodity. Being an afterthought. 

I don’t do disposable relationships. Friendship isn’t taken lightly. Adopting someone as an honorary sibling is not something that is taken back. Relationships are valuable. 

It took me multiple years of writing before I actually realized that the themes that I write, in every story, are the same ones that matter the most to me. The world may define them as “squad goals” or “found family” — I think of it as wanting to show people what God’s view of “family” actually can look like. For those who haven’t had the blessing of family or friends who modeled that, I want to show people that the family of God can be like that. 

One of my favorite movies in the Marvel franchise is The Avengers. You take a group of strong, talented individuals… and somehow, they end up working together as a team. It sets up the rest of the movie franchise, and it is WELL DONE. This entire franchise is full of themes of friendship, siblings, and found family. 

One of the moments that really resonated with me in Endgame was when Natasha says, “I used to have nothing and then I got this family.” The relationship between Natasha and Clint is one of my favorite things threaded through the films. I love that there’s platonic friendship, trust, and a sibling-like bond represented here. I love that Clint’s kids call her “Auntie Nat” and Clint’s wife Laura obviously isn’t threatened or bothered by their relationship. That is relationship done right. 

Thor: Ragnarock is another one of my favorite films in this universe. Its hilarious, outrageous, slap-stick, and yet… it is the culmination arc of some FANTASTIC character development, not just of Loki and Thor as individual characters, but with their sibling relationship as brothers. You can’t wish away siblings. You can improve the relationship, but you can’t escape it — even if it is by adoption. 

Steve and Bucky’s brother dynamic playing out over the course of the films is another family bond I love seeing. I know, I know… people have definitely tried to go down the romantic path with them, but I seriously can’t see it. Brotherhood IS a powerful bond. That willingness to sacrifice and fight and never give up doesn’t just happen in romantic love. That is what brotherhood truly means. 

The point of all of this isn’t to continue indefinitely down the Marvel rabbit hole of things I love (that is an entirely different black hole we aren’t going into right now). The point is just to talk about how my writing style takes the premise of “found family” and “adoption by choice” and “siblings forever” and “friends are loyal no matter what” and how it comes out in my writing. 

In my historical flavored space adventure, The Tikvah Crisis, I have dual MC’s who are twins: Alys and Kyler. Both of them were orphaned at a young age, and they grew up as each other’s support system. They have each other’s backs, they trust each other, they fight for each other, and they are always there for each other. Their family legacy is one of “mess with one of us, mess with all of us” kind of vibe. 

One of the WIPs that is sitting on a shelf waiting for me to come back to it has a trio of siblings. They are incredibly dysfunctional in their relationship, at least outwardly, but the key premise is that all three of them would do anything for the other two. Another WIP is about the co-worker/team dynamic, with a very non-team player, independent, cynical character who ends up having to work with the rest of her team to solve a problem… and how she gets pulled into the work “family” despite herself. 

Even looking back, most of the stories I have in various stages of completion are all about orphans finding family, siblings doing their level best to keep their family together, or people finding a place and a family to call home. You might say it is my writing theme. I’ve given up trying to write anything else. Until that theme is replaced by something different, I will continue to write stories about families — unconventional families, family built by blood, family found in battle or forged in fire, family built from friendship and loyalty, or family forged by choice. 

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God settles the solitary in a home; He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” Psalm 68:5-6, ESV 

Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone

Writing Prompts and Recycling

Disclaimer (because I’m tired and trying to figure out all the things writing and blogging related): “As seen previously on Made4Him blog… Feb, 2016.”

The fact is, I’m exhausted. Yep.  Exhausted.  Mentally and physically, actually.  I don’t have any answers.  All I know is that I need to write, and write some more, and keep writing even when it a) doesn’t make sense or b) isn’t very good or c) follow a logical progression.  Side note: I have a need for logical thoughts, even while I’m not particularly logical.

Writing Prompts — they make me laugh.  And think about characters and stories.  Which I believe is the point.  So, I thought I would like to share some of my favorites with you.  Brace yourselves.

Dialogue Prompt: “I’m not as bad as the books say, you know.”  “Quiet, evil one.”  “Ooh, name-calling.  So fearsome.”

Goal: come up with better snarky and smart aleck responses — I have characters I can see doing this.

Dialogue Prompt: “Now remember, if you hear ominous chanting, the appropriate response is to run.”

Thoughts: Now, why is it that all I can think is… unless you are in The Mummy Returns.

Dialogue Prompt: “Technically it wasn’t on fire.”  “Of course it wasn’t on fire! You completely blew it up!”

Thoughts: Such over-reacting.  A little fire (or explosion) never hurt anyone…

Quote: “We go to war with a smile on our faces… Because we are friends of Death himself.”

Comment: Okay, I just think this is cool.  Perhaps dark and scary, but very cool.

Dialogue Prompt: “Is this one of those times when you want me to lie to protect your delicate emotions?”

Thoughts: *Snort.*  Can I use this on people I know in real life??  So applicable.

Dialogue Prompt: “There are at least seventeen ways this could have gone better. Literally. Like, I’m counting them right now, you moron.”

Thoughts: I can see this in a story.  I may have to put this in MY story.

Dialogue Prompt: “So what’s your plan?” “My plan was to follow your plan!” “What do you mean, ‘my plan’? Since when have I ever had a plan?!”

Comment: HA!  Yes, this I could totally use in a story.

Dialogue Prompt: “That’s humans for you. Cut off a limb and it will live, but leave it without oxygen for five minutes and it’s done for.”

Comment: So, so true.

Prompt: “Your home is a wreck… you could’ve at least cleaned the bathroom.” “Had I known I was going to have guests at three o’clock in the morning I’m sure I would’ve.”

Comment: I love the sarcasm and the stating of the obvious.  Of course, if you know you are expecting guests, you clean.  If not… who really cares?

I use Pinterest a lot for inspiration, scenery, costumes, characters and quotes.  One of the latest quotes I saw in the last couple of days is by Louis L’Amour: “If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is to just write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”

So… here’s to turning on the faucet.

Soli Deo Gloria — Glory to God Alone

BLOG TOUR: Retrieve

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Hey folks! This is my first time participating in a BLOG TOUR, so I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing. Still, I am super excited about the chance to talk about this lovely book by Sarah Addison-Fox. AND!! THERE’S A GIVEAWAY!!

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Synopsis:

What if the job you took to stay alive might be what kills you? 

Kade knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it’s like to lose everything and everyone around him.

His job in a Stormer Unit guarantees not just his survival in the decimated country of Azetaria, but his sister Meg’s. Even if it means facing the Numachi warriors baying for his blood, he’ll do what it takes to keep her safe.

Hadley is alone and surviving the only way she knows how. By hiding where predators won’t find her and scavenging enough just to keep her alive.

When desperation drives Hadley to search for her missing brother, she mistakenly accepts the offer of recruitment into the Stormer’s camp, only to be partnered with Kade and sent as a scout into Numachi territory.

The intimidating young Stormer may just know where her brother has gone. But can they stay alive long enough to find him? (credit: http://www.sarahaddisonfox.com)

 

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Check out: Sarah Addison-Fox  where you can pre-order your copy of Retrieve.

Follow Sarah on Facebook: Author Page

Twitter: @Saddisonfox 

Goodreads: Sarah Addison-Fox

Amazon: Sarah Addison-Fox (where you can purchase a copy of Retrieve)

Instagram: sarahaddisonfox

 

My Review of Retrieve:

I had already pre-ordered this book before Victoria Lynn asked me if I would be interested in participating in this blog tour. A chance to read a book described as “Prince of Persia Meets Mulan”? YES PLEASE and THANK YOU. I read the entire book in one sitting and it definitely held my interest.

I liked Kade and Hadley, and thought both of them had compelling reasons for the choices they made. I’m trying not to give spoilers, since this book comes out December 26. It is definitely a Young Adult story, but without a lot of the angst many books in the genre contain (a definite plus for me!). The story moved along quickly, with realistic set-backs as the characters work to accomplish their mission.

There’s a bit of romance brewing, but I appreciated that the book was still clean and sweet. While the story ends with the major plot threads tied up, it does end on a bit of a cliff-hanger. It left me intrigued and wondering what comes next in the series. As book one of a planned trilogy, I’m invested in the world and characters and look forward to seeing what happens next.

And then… the Giveaway! Click Here (You’ll be redirected to Victoria Lynn’s host page with more details on the giveaway!)

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To check out the full Blog Tour schedule, including interviews, reviews and more, please check back at Retrieve – Blog Tour

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone