• Tag Archives Angels
  • Merry Christmas

    The story of Christmas…

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    In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin′i-us was governor of Syria. 

    And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

     And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

    Luke 2: 1-7

     

    via GIPHY

     

    And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 

    10 And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

    12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

    14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

    Luke 2: 8-14

    via GIPHY

     

    15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 

    16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; 18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 

    19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 

    Luke 2: 15-20

     

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    Wishing all my friends and readers a very Blessed and Merry Christmas.

     

    via GIPHY


  • Update on Cadáin’s Watch

    My last update on progress was published back in March. (Click here to read).

     

     

    I’m happy report that my tiny grandson thrived in the NICU, and went home with his parents two weeks ago. He now weighs 6 pounds. (He weighed 2 pounds, 13 oz at birth).

    Isn’t he darling? We are so happy and thankful to God for him. 🙂

     

    Baby Grandson

     

    During the past couple of months, work on my manuscript has been slow but steady. I have managed to average around 4,000 words per week, in addition to blogging and attempting to create my vision of Cadáin, the warrior angel, in photoshop.

    I had the image of the warrior in my mind and set about finding him somewhere on the internet. I looked all over Deviant Art to find artwork that I could lease or buy, but I had no luck to speak of, so I decided to make my own angel. He’s in progress and the going is slow. Still, I’m learning a new skill.

    If my artwork is acceptable to me when the book is ready to be published, it will be on the back cover of the paperback, and if I find that I’m not happy with my creation, it will never be seen by anyone but me. (And the few trusted family members and friends who gave me their honest opinion that it stunk.)

    Now, back to the manuscript. Today I outlined the last few chapters of the book, and after months of planning and outlining, and a year of writing during every spare minute, it’s getting close to being finished.

    As I said in the post linked above, I have learned not to set deadlines. They are counterproductive, and my use of them most likely made the writing of this book take longer than it it would have without them, because I get too stressed. At the thought of a deadline I freeze like a deer in the headlights, and sit with my fingers poised above my laptop, worrying about whether or not I will finish on time.

    Without a deadline, I sit down to enjoy writing and end up with finished chapters. So I can’t say when the first draft will be finished, but I will say it’s getting close.

    It will be a great day when I finally finish this book, but also a little sad. It’s the final book in the Storms Series, and I’ll miss writing about Michelle, Jason, Brad and all the other characters. Still, the time is fitting for this series to end.

    My characters have been through a lot over the past seven years since I began writing my vision of a fundamentally transformed America. I have also been through a lot, since some of the scenarios I have written seem to be on the verge of becoming reality, or close to it.

    Writing a near future dystopia during this particular period of time is not something I would recommend to everyone. You need to be calm when news stories appear that mimic what you wrote a few years earlier. Sometimes it’s not easy to remain calm, and I end up in a puddle, trying to drag myself back to my computer so I can finish this series before America becomes something it was never intended to be.

    But lately I have a little hope. Maybe things are getting a bit brighter. My characters have survived, and America, though demoralized, tired, battered and bruised, has also survived this transformation that some of us didn’t ask for. We can never go back, but perhaps we can learn from our experiences.

    Cadáin’s Watch will be finished and ready to be published sometime before the November elections, unless another family crisis occurs. The grace of God was responsible for the entire project, since I never set out with firm plans to write such a series. Though I did have dreams of writing as a child, I never pursued them until the idea for Michelle came to me in the summer of 2009.

    So, I think I’ll keep working as hard as I can, and readers will have the book when the time is right.

    I will write another update when the first draft is finished. And then… the revisions begin.

    Related Posts:
    Title for Book Three Announced!

    Rock & Roll Fantasy

     


  • Title for Book Three Announced!

    The title for book three in the Storms Series has been long in coming.

    I have never found it easy to assign titles or names to projects, large or small.  This has been going on all my life. It was difficult to choose titles for term papers and other schoolwork. It was hard to choose names for my children (in fact, my husband and I simply couldn’t agree on ANY names. We were lucky to have finally compromised, and even luckier that our children, though they may not exactly love their names, at least do not actively hate them).

    I even found it hard to give names to my quilts. And make no mistake, some quilts, such as the Broken Lone Star quilt on my bed, are very difficult to make. The seams must match, the fabrics and their placement must be chosen with care in order to  showcase the various rows that make up the stars, and a quilting design must be chosen to showcase the masterpiece. Most quilters choose names for their quilts and make special labels that are sewn on the back, so their descendants will know who made the quilt, the year, etc. But not me. The Lone Star quilt took me over a year to piece and hand quilt with a fancy feather design, yet it doesn’t have a name. Someday one of my grandkids may inherit it. Maybe whoever it is will give it a name and sew on a label. But I was just too lazy, or maybe I just didn’t care at the time. (I still may name the quilt. It’s not too late).

    Lone Star Quilt

    But books are different, and not only because they can’t exactly be published without a title. I must admit that with the exception of my children and family, my books are what I’m most proud of. I am still marveling that they exist, and that they were created by me, with God’s grace and help, of course. (And the help and support of friends, family and gracious professionals in the independent author/publishing community).

    So the title of book 3 was long in coming. It needed to be just right, in keeping with the themes of the Storms Series and building on the previous two books. But the title finally showed itself, and I am excited. It’s perfect for the final volume in the Storms Series.

    So here it is, everyone. The title of volume three of the Storms of Transformation Series is: Cadáin’s Watch.

    Cadáin is an angel. 

    Readers may remember Cadáin from books one and two, though back then he didn’t have a name. The first time his name appeared was in my blogpost detailing the music that inspired each of my characters.

     

    Above are Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performing The Battle Of Evermore (Led Zeppelin), which inspired the character.

    Also called the Battling Angel, Cadáin makes himself known to Jason with the appearance of flickering, ethereal light, light that always remains just out of Jason’s perception. With the light comes the voice of Cadáin, speaking to Jason in a voice only he can hear, warning him to stay on the right path, the narrow path, the path that will lead him to Christ.

    Meaning of Cadáin.

    As readers know, Catholicism is a big part of the Storms Series. The characters aren’t all Catholic, but the majority are. Prayer is something interwoven, just a part of each day. Jason’s prayers, the formal ones, include the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Michael is a warrior. He is the patron of firefighters, police, and soldiers, among others. Cadáin is under the command of Michael.

     

    St. Michael the Archangel on Horseback
    Icon ~  THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL “VOYEVODA”  by an anonymous Russian icon painter. Public domain image.

    There are different images of the Archangel Michael. Some are not to my taste, simply because they don’t communicate the image of battle in my mind. They show a blond St. Michael driving a sword into Satan, who is always underneath. Of course this is perfectly acceptable, however, I like to think of a more fierce warrior. 

    The name Cadáin can be roughly translated from Gaelic to mean son of a warrior, or little battle.

    1. CADEN: Irish surname transferred to forename use, from McCadden, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Cadáin “son of Cadán,” henc“little battle.” 

    Since the angel is under the command of Michael, (who is a being created to serve God, and who takes orders from God) he must follow Michael’s orders. And Michael follows God’s orders. In the Storms Series there is no attempt to hide spiritual warfare. As I see it, we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare, and I believe battles for the souls of men and women are raging in the heavens as I write this. Cadáin (pronounced KAY-den) has been given orders to keep watch over certain men, namely Jason and his family, friends and others. The angel has a bigger presence in book three. He watches, waits and warns. He is a guardian, but even more than a personal guardian, he is a warrior.

    Archangel Michael Statue, Kiev, Ukraine
    Archangel Michael statue in Kiev, Maidan Nezalezhnosti square. Kiev, Ukraine, Eastern Europe.
    Photo Credit: Mstyslav Chernov

     

    Above is the only photo I could find with a Creative Commons usage that might possibly convey my image of the character Cadáin.

    Even the statue above is not quite my vision of the character. But readers will form their own vision of Cadáin, a being who chooses, always, to do the will of God. The angels in my books do exactly what God commands, unlike human beings who sometimes defy Him, whether we mean to or not.

    A fierce and protective warrior is what I’m imagining. A sword wielding guardian, a sentinel, a being who keeps watch, and a warrior. The first  draft of Cadáin’s Watch is halfway written. It has an element of fantasy more pronounced than the previous two books, in the character of the Battling Angel. Stay tuned.

     

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  • Music – An Inspiration

    I’ve been working on a project in my mostly nonexistent spare time: Deciding on “songs” for the characters in my series of books.

    Most writers find that their characters (both good and bad) become real to them. Mine have to me. In my mind each character has a distinct personality, part of which pertains to music.

    I must admit that deciding which song fits each character is turning out to take longer than expected. I’m trying to find songs that the characters would listen to while at the same time conveying the personality of the character. My favorite music genre is Classic Rock, so many characters’ songs will reflect this, though I do include other genres for characters who would, if they were people rather than fictional characters, listen and identify with different music.

    Some characters were easy to assign a song. Reese, for instance. Reese is a secondary character, but still very important to the overall series. Reese is someone who knows exactly how he feels on a minute to minute basis. He’s also an Iraq War Veteran and no nonsense auto mechanic. Reese’s song is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets.”

    Other characters weren’t so easy. After some thought I decided on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle Of Evermore” for the character I call the Battling Angel.

     

    The sky is filled with good and bad
    Mortals never know.

    Oh, well, the night is long
    The beads of time pass slow
    Tired eyes on the sunrise
    Waiting for the eastern glow

    The Angel is in the service of St. Michael the Archangel, and is sent to warn and protect main characters Jason and Michelle.  St Michael, of course, is in the service of Christ, who I wouldn’t dream of assigning a song. He’s my Boss. He gives me assignments. I just do my best to carry out His orders.

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    I’m beginning to note ideas and plotlines for book three. While writing Tears Of Paradox  and The Notice, (coming in mid-February) I relied heavily on prayer and reflection. I wanted Christ to be at the helm, and I tried to write what I felt He would want me to write. I’m going to do the same thing while writing book three.

    I plan to complete the entire character/song list within a few weeks and then include it in a second blogpost. I already know protagonist Jason’s song, but I still haven’t decided on a song for another pivotal character, Brad.

    Following are the words to Michelle’s song, The Scarlet Tide, as sung by Alison Krauss. This is from the movie “Cold Mountain” –a terrific film.

    Well I recall his parting words
    Must I accept his fate
    Or take myself far from this place
    I thought I heard a black bell toll
    A little bird did sing
    Man has no choice
    When he wants every thingWe’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the brideMan goes beyond his own decision
    Gets caught up in the mechanism
    Of swindlers who act like kings
    And brokers who break everything
    The dark of night was swiftly fading
    Close to the dawn of day
    Why would I want him just to lose him again

    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride

    Michelle is separated from her husband, not knowing what the future holds. She’s also, for all intents and purposes, in the middle of a civil war. This is one of the songs that inspired The Storms Of Transformation series, book three of which will be set in the North Carolina Blue Ridge, in roughly the same area as the fictional Cold Mountain.

    More in a later post.


  • Guardian Angels (And Being Prepared)

    Today is the Memorial of the Guardian Angels in the Catholic Church. Fellow Catholics may be familiar with the Church teaching of Guardian Angels. Each person, at birth, is assigned a Guardian.

    IMG_0419What comforting knowledge, to know that an Angel of God is with us every step of the way during our earthly existence, guarding us, warning us, keeping us from harm. This goes for our children as well;  they have their own guardians.

    I’m reminded of this passage from my upcoming book, The Notice, where Jason, the protagonist, is  dreaming of his wife and child.

    “My wife is back in my arms. The baby is safe in her cradle. The light is flickering all around, fluttering like wings. I see it. The flickering light, that which is unseen by human eyes is there. Guarding her and her mother. They’re safe.”

    Angels play a big part in The Storms of Transformation Series. It seems strange that I edited the previous passage just yesterday, but that’s the way God rolls. There are no coincidences. God is always with us. Angels are simply one example of his constant care and protection.

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    God protects his children. Christ himself said so, in today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew:

    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
    for I say to you that their angels in heaven
    always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
    He’s always looking out for us.
    However…I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “God helps those who help themselves”, which brings me to the subject of preparedness. I’m sure most people are aware of the fact that a case of Ebola has popped up in the United States, in Dallas Texas. This post is not intended to scare people, or to lay blame. Even though I have strong opinions on the subject, the horse is out of the barn at this point. Ebola is here now, and Americans need to inform themselves with facts pertaining to the disease and its symptoms.
    So, what can we do? We can help ourselves. We should stay calm, while at the same time preparing for a worse case scenario. This goes not only for an outbreak of any infectious disease, but for natural disasters, power failures, terrorist attacks, etc. All are possibilities at this point. We Americans need to do everything possible to protect ourselves and our families.
    One way of helping ourselves is to have an emergency readiness plan in place. Keep food, water and other necessities on hand, enough for your own family and  some to share with less fortunate neighbors. Purchase a generator, and make sure you have fuel on hand to run it. Keep a stock of first aid supplies on hand. Flashlights, batteries, lanterns and other light sources are essential. We also can’t forget to protect ourselves in whatever way we deem best. Disasters always bring out looters and other criminals, who might possibly hurt us and our families.
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    God loves and protects His children, but we must also do what we can to help ourselves and others. We cannot depend on the Government to save us. Government is not God, and we cannot allow ourselves to believe Government will take care of us.
    God helps those who help themselves. Be prepared.