A Model of Beauty // Inside & Out


Be ENCOURAGED

Did you know Titus 2:2 applies to not only the older MEN, but also to the women? 

I had never thought of that before reading the chapter for this week of Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.  (Me mum is hosting a book study---check out this post to better understand)
Why do you say this, you may ask?  Well, because in the following verse, it clearly states, "Likewise."  And we know what that means, right? 

Please read the passage below:

"Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.  Older women LIKEWISE are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, sot that the word of God will not be dishonored."
(Titus 2:2-5, emphasis added)

These are great guidelines for our lives as Christians, young or old!  And if we commit to following such instruction, beauty is found.

So, this week and the next and next and so on, can we commit to being. . .?
temperate
dignified
sensible
sound in faith
sound in love
sound in perseverance
reverent in behavior
not gossips
pure
& kind

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When you are out and about in your daily life, what do others see in you?  Are you hiding your light under a bushel?  If someone sees you in Walmart tomorrow, will they automatically think you are a Christian---or at least that there's something incredibly different about you? 

If so, that is a model of beauty.

And if not, that is something we should definitely work on.

Food for thought!

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Pondering this Scripture certainly made me think whether or not I'm daily displaying a model of beauty for my Lord.  I know I am constantly falling short. But He is so good to forgive & to help.

Do you need encouragement in this area, dear heart?  I know I do.  Beauty doesn't end when youth does---it can grow with every passing year.  And you can help! by encouraging the younger AND the older women in your corner of the world.

What's in a Name? || Nicknames!

It's Monday!  And that means November 1st is literally TWO. DAYS. AWAY.
Who's ready for NaNoWriMo???
*shakes head furiously*

But that's okay.  It seems I'm more of the procrastinate until last possible moment and then fly by the wind kinda girl anyways. . . ;D

Well, today I've got a new set of names featured for you, but as per request, they specialize in nicknames!  I gotta say, I LOVE sharing these.  Nicknames are a specialty of mine, I think.  :]

{To find the first post, go here!}

Enjoy!

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Jey
Jelani
M | Eastern African, Swahili

Means "mighty" in Swahili.


Dia
Euodia
F | Biblical, Ancient Greek
u-OH-dee-ah (possibly)

Feminine variant of Euodias, which possibly means "prosperous journey" or "sweet fragrance."  In the New Testament, this is the given name of a woman mentioned by Paul in the book of Philippians (Phil. 4:2-3).


Cy
Cyrus
M | English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
SIE-rǝs

From the Greek form, Kyros, of the Persian name Kūrush, which could mean "far sighted" or "young."  This name is occasionally associated with the Greek kyrios, meaning "lord," and was borne by several kings of Persia, including Cyrus the Great, conqueror of Babylon, who is well-known in the Old Testament for freeing the Jewish slaves and allowing them to return to Israel.  As an English name, it was introduced among the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.


Kandi
Kandace
F | English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
KAN-dis, kan-DAY-see, KAN-dǝ-see

Variant of Candace, which hails from the hereditary title of Ethiopian queens as mentioned in the New Testament book of Acts.  It is most likely derived from Cushitic kdke, meaning "queen mother."  As a given name, it was used by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.


Ridge
Alderidge
M | English

Variant of the surname Aldridge, which is a habitational name of a place in West Midlands, England.  Meaning unknown.


Bree/Brielle
Gabrielle
F | English, French
ga-bree-EL (English), GAH-BREE-YEL (French)

French feminine form of Gabriel, meaning "God is my strong man."  This is the name of the main character in Shannon Dittemore's Angel Eye's trilogy, she went by Brielle.  A great series!!







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Whatcha think?  Got a favorite out of this set??
Best wishes to those of you taking part in NaNo!  Happy writing!
And have a lovely week!

What Makes an Epic Story?

Funny thing. . .  
I wasn't receiving any comments on my blog, which usually come through my email when someone posts them.  But I hadn't had ANY for what seemed like months, and was beginning to think no one loved me. . . TT_TT  UNTIL I checked the "awaiting moderation" section on the Blogger dashboard and found OODLES of 'em from way back in the Summer!!!  YAY! They do love me!! I do have followers who actually read my posts!!! *sobs joyously* #FACEPALM

Soooo, I spent yesterday afternoon catching up on my replies.  I apologize for JUST now getting to your comments!  I seriously thought I had no feedback as it usually notifies me via email and I've never had to check Blogger for them (must've gotten turned off somehow).  But anywho, I feel loved now.  (and rather silly. . .)  *^ - ^*

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But I digress.  

With NaNoWriMo LITERALLY (#WHUTTTTT) around the corner (seriously, November is FIVE. DAYS. AWAY.), there's an amazing amount of incredible writerly posts out there to prepare you for the ridiculously high, princess tower of stress that usually is the month of NaNo.  So I thought I'd add to the mix with a post of EPIC proportions. (Figuratively speaking) :]


"Epic" is a word I would usually define for sagas, trilogies, and any other term for a book series.  And in my opinion, the fantasy genre is a biggie that particular word describes (although it could pertain to other genres as well).  What do YOU think defines a story's epicness?  Is it the characters for you? The story world?  The amount of details (or lack of, giving a vague mystery to the story)?

Below, I explain the key elements I believe MAKE a story awesome.  These are things I try to keep in mind whilst working on my own WIPs.  So maybe this will help influence you as you tackle that NaNo tower this November.  :]


No, duh.  Any story must have a character or three of some sort, am I right?  And I must add multiple characters give depth to any tale.  My hubby and I watched a movie a few weeks ago that featured ONE character the entire two hours---All is Lost, Robert Redford.  No joke, the most BORING. MOVIE. EVER.  (I apologize if you've seen and liked it---it just wasn't for me!) 

Characters must have relateability.  There are no perfect people in this world, so there shouldn't be perfect characters in your story's world (unless, of course, that's a part of your plot).  :]  No one likes reading about a hero/heroine who aces absolutely everything and saves the world without barely lifting a hand (okay, exaggeration, but still).  Flaws, unfortunately, are a part of our make-up, and quirks add personality.  And every hero needs a side-kick.  Good, fleshed-out, minor/secondary characters are another element every story NEEDS.  Most often, they are the ones who help, or hinder, the hero and allow them to grow toward their ultimate goal.

I could name several novels that have some pretty amazing characters, but for this example I'm using Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles.  Some of her dear characters are pretty messed up human (or not) beans, buuuuut ones you simply can't help but love anyway.  And if a book/series makes you feel that way about their heroes---especially if it's the Rampion crew---then that series is totally epic.


The setting and place is undoubtedly a key element in a story.  Without it, where would the characters be??? hahaha

Whether this is the rambunctious streets of London, the incredible scene of Dubai's cityscape, a homey farmhouse in Tennessee, or some castle in a fantasy world, the amount of research put into such world-building MATTERS.  

You probably know right away what great example of world-building I would be putting here, but while the world of Middle Earth is absolutely amazing, I'm saving it for the next element.  :]  Instead, I'll share another incredible example in the series The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.  Her worlds of fae and human collide often and the creativity in them is simply amazing.  And her characters are GREAT!!!  If you have yet to read these, this series is a definite must!


This is another place where research matters, as mentioned in the previous point.  I have physically winced when a small detail or two doesn't line up correctly simply because the author didn't do their research.  For example, my dad has read books where characters are using a weapon, but the ammo written into the story is literally not compatible with the sort of gun said characters are using.  That's a simple fix!  (unless it's already printed & published. . . heheh)  You get the idea, though, right?

If the genre you are writing in is based in the real world, in a well-known city/country, or whatever, this attention to detail is a BIGGIE.  But if you are writing Fantasy, or even Dystopian, then what the hey! you can do ANYTHING!  It's YOUR world.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien beats most all other series out of the water with it's attention to detail and world-building.  Those books are a bit heavier to read, but nonetheless amazing in the entirety of its imagination and creativity.  But, a word of caution: while details are great, too much can be too much, causing readers to skim and/or skip chapters due to their level of boredom.  So there is certainly a balance, and while some opinion may say LotR goes overboard, I would disagree to a degree.  But to each his own.  :]


Especially in a series, consistency is a MUST.  The personalities of characters need to be same, if not similar (allowing for character growth) throughout the books.  I love The Restorer series by Sharon Hinck, but the first book is really the best.  Kieran's character was AWESOME in it, but as the main protagonist in the sequel, his personality did not maintain its mystery and I found the story lacking in the second novel.  (Still a pretty great series though!)

The series of The Ranger's Apprentice and that of the Lunar Chronicles carry out this element exceptionally well.


Unpredictable characters and plot-lines are what keeps stories fresh and alive.

Plot twists, rabbit holes (literal or not), are amazing ways to keep the reader on their toes!  I don't have much to add on this particular element, but a GREAT example of unpredictability are the books of Beaumont & Beasley by Kyle Robert Shultz.  He takes faerietale retellings to a whole new level! and certainly keeps you flipping pages and wanting more and more and more.

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So there ya have it.  Now chat with me!  What do you think??  Do you have any elements you would add to this list?  What about other great examples of books and series that apply them?

Be ENCOURAGED || Be ENCOURAGEMENT

Welcome back, dear ones!  
How fares your day?  Can you believe November is LITERALLY around the corner??

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It seems the older we get, the more meaning a word of encouragement has to us.
You agree?

I mentioned last week that my mother is hosting a book club/Bible study on Thursdays featuring Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.  I hope to share what I've learned/am learning from this book & discussion every Wednesday.  It will give me the push I need to dig deeper into the Word, as well as---hopefully---encourage someone who may need a bit of lifting up that day.

This week's discussion is centering on sound doctrine and just how important it is to know exactly what the God-breathed Scripture says.  Sound doctrine is the what, as Nancy puts it, and the application of it is the now what.

To put it simply, doctrine means teaching It's the content of what we believe as followers of Christ.

Because of this, our lives should be noticeably different from those of the world.  

Why?


So that through us, the Light of Christ will shine brightest in the mesmerizing colors of the world.

It is important to know the doctrine our Lord has given us so that we will "Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you." (1 Peter 3:15)

According to the book of Titus,
the Christian life should have. . .

Consistency of belief & behavior -- Purity -- Self-control -- Composure -- Relationships -- And Truthfulness
(p. 43-44 of Adorned, by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth)

Be encouraged!  Our God's doctrine---the very the foundation of our faith---will stand firm against any test or trial.
How wonderful it is that we have been given our very own life manual!  Living righteously seems a daunting task, but certainly not an impossible one.  And guess what?  We don't have to do it alone!

We are each an older woman to someone and a younger woman to others, and we are each a piece of the working gears in the family of Christ.  

Relationships are one of the core factors in the Christian life.  Something I need to work on building more of. . . We are given them to encourage and to be encouraged.  
Be ENCOURAGEMENT to someone this week.  Share with them that they are highly valued and so LOVED.

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You are LOVED!

Do you feel encouraged?
  I would recommend reading the three chapters of Titus this week.  Trust me, it won't take but maybe ten minutes of your time---fifteen tops! And who knows? there may be something you take away from it.  :]

What's in a Name?

Happy Monday, all!  
How was your weekend, my friends?  Mine was good, though the hubby has come down with a head-cold and Gabe has been fussy due to minor tummy issues. . .

But other than that, Autumn weather has officially made it's appearance!  And while I'm ready for the sweaters, scarves, & boots, I've already done near froze in this sixty-odd/seventy-ish degree temps.  xD  Ha.  

As you can see, I'm making a valiant attempt to blog regularly.  And thanks to that, the Name posts have returned!  Who's excited??? *raises hand happily* Now, now, don't get too awful excited.  Save it for the awesome new films coming later this year and in the Spring.  :D :D :D (Nutcracker & the Four Realms?  The Grinch?  Fantastic Beasts, anyone??  Captain Marvel???  Mortal EnginesMary Poppins Returns?? How to Train Your Dragon #3??????  Aladdin???)

I tease.  :]  Read on for today's featured monikers. 

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Anson
M | English
AN-sen

From a surname, meaning "son of Agnes."



Navar
M & F | English
na-VAHR

A variant of NavarreUnknown meaning.


Farren
M | English (modern, rare)
FAR-en

Variant of Farran, an English surname which is derived from Old French ferrant, meaning "iron grey." 


Jenica
F | English (rare)
JEN-i-ka

From Jennica, a combination of Jennifer, (from Guinevere) "fair, white", & Jessica, (from Hebrew variant Iscah) "to behold."  You could say Jenica means "fair to behold."







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What do ya think, me fellow human beans?  Do you have a favorite name out of the four of these?  Honestly, I really like Navar, but I could see myself using any one of these in my stories.
Perhaps you're seeking a name with a specific meaning, or simply looking for something to fit a character in your WIP?  If so, shoot me a comment!  That's what these posts are for and I'd love to help you out.  :]

Have a great week, y'all!

KNOW THE NOVEL // Writer's Link-up!

It's a brand-spankin', shiny new, writerly link-up, y'all!!  And it's created by the Ever-Lovely Elvish Forest Queen Herself: Christine! of Musings of an Elf.  :]  :]  :]

Pop on over here to see the introductory post!


QUESTIONS

1.  What first sparked the idea for this novel?
Come to think of it, it was simply a name: SafiaI stumbled upon it years ago in one of my all-time favorite novels (by one of my all-time favorite authors), The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour.  At that time, I believe the first few films of The Pirates of the Caribbean were extremely popular, so yes, you guessed it---PIRATES.  From there Safia's tale and storyworld just began to grow over the years.  And it has been years. . . (Going on about nine years. . . maybe?) I've worked on and revisited that WIP off and on many times.  And here I am again!! 

2.  Share a blurb!
 (still working on it, but. . .)

A rumored treasure trove, hidden.
A mysterious nobleman with vague intentions.
A prince seeking to follow his father's footsteps.
And an orphaned girl---the key to it all.

3.  Where does the story take place?  What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
In the world of Everon.  Much like our world, but different, of course.  :]  There's Elves, dragons, other awesome creatures, corrupt noblemen, bitter relatives, and handsome princes.  

Pirates.  SHIPS.  Battle at sea.  A sweet romance.  A prince learns to be a king.  TREASURE.  Sea shanties.  

4.  Tell us about your protagonist?
Safia is a sweet girl upon first impression.  But don't let the lovely exterior fool you into thinking she's fragile and easily broken.  She was raised aboard a sea-faring vessel amongst weather-beaten, battle-tough seamen whom she calls family, and she most likely knows more about the ocean and anything to do with ships than you'll ever learn from Google.  ;D  Safia has a sweet heart and lives to serve others and make them laugh.  She is a joy aboard her father's merchant ship.

5.  Who (or what) is your antagonist?
A nobleman who is extremely subtle and discreet in his intentions, but is as venomous as a snake.  And carries a grudge.  He may be one to seek revenge on those who have wronged him. . .  After all this time, he is still rather nameless. . . Nothing has really stuck. But I'm working on it!  To sum him up simply, he can be compared to a politician of our day.  *evil laugh*

6.  What excites you the most about this novel?
THE CHARACTERS.  For sure!  They're mah babies.  :D  They've been with me forever, it seems, and I've certainly put them through much.  heheh

7.  Is this going to be a series?  Standalone?  Something else?
A standalone.  Buuuuuuuut the other stories floating round my head are set in the same world and roughly same era/time as well.  So, there could be honorable mentions of mah babies throughout other tales.

Delani.  Myrander.  Joel.  Noya.  Brom.  

8.  Are you plotting?  Pantsing?  Plantsing?
Goshdarnitall.  
Definitely a plantser. . . I've said it before, plotting is such a difficult thing for me.  I can make a pretty decent outline and follow it well.  But coming up with awesome and unique plots is SO. HARD.  Characters, though, I can make new friends all the time!  (That goes along with my loving names)

9.  Name a few things that makes this story unique.
The rumored treasure.  
IF it exists, may not be what it seems. . .

Erm. . . I'm honestly not sure what else to say.  Is that intriguing enough???

10.  Share a fun "extra" of the story ( a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a Pinterest board, a map you've made, a special theme you're going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).


I don't really have a playlist for this particular story (or any of my stories actually. . .), but my themes are a combo of Viking-ish/Norse things and and anything medieval.  :]  There's a HUGE level of value regarding family and loyalty to those you love that I'ma try to weave in also.

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There ya have it!  A great thank-you to Christine for hosting this link-up.  I so look forward to the upcoming questions! 

Whilst I focus on Safia's story for the next few weeks, my Beauty & the Beast retelling---Noya---is certainly not far from my mind.  Hopefully, I can return to it with fresh eyeballs and actually complete the first draft. . . 

Have a lovely weekend, dear beans!
Blessings. <3


Goings On || And Living ADORNED


Wow, dear beans.  Can you believe we are halfway through October??
Seriously, I cannot.  And my baby just passed the seven week mark last Monday. . . #WHUT  O___________O  He's growing so fast!  He weighs a little over ten pounds now from his 6 lb. 14 oz. birth weight.  I just want him to please stay little!

 In regards to the lovely quote above, my mother is hosting a Bible study/book club on Thursdays and we're going through the book Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.  It studies the Scripture of Titus 2 and just what it means to be a woman of God---for the older to teach the younger---and the how and why of living adorned.  

Essentially, we are to adorn Christ and live out the beauty of the gospel.  How does one do that?  Well, I don't have an answer just yet, but I'm working on it.  :]  

It's so lovely just to get together with other ladies of all ages and to simply study the Word.  I've really missed that the past year.

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As to other goings on, my new job as a mama is certainly FULL TIME.  And let me tell ya, there is NOTHING like it in all the world.  It's difficult, to be frank, but when I see my little boy's tiny hands and feet or watch as his face cracks in a wide smile, it is soooooooooo darn worth it.  

BATH TIME || Instagram || @sarahpenmaiden

 The Silmarillion
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Currently on a back-burner. . . It's a little dryer reading than I'm used to (although I'm loving it), so I'm reading a little at a time whilst going back and forth on a couple of the following books:

Raising Dragons
(Dragons in Our Midst #1)
by Brian Davis
This is the first re-read I've read in I don't know how long.  I found the copy at McKay's and had to add to my personal library (how I didn't have the whole series ages ago is a mystery).  And it is JUST AS GOOD AS I REMEMBER.

Burning Thorns
A Retelling of Beauty & the Beast
{BETA READ}
Technically, this one is not yet published---I'm currently a beta reader for it---but I'm TOTALLY counting it cuz it'll be on your shelves soon, BELIEVE ME.  I'm SOOOOOOOO proud of dear Christine for making it this far in her steps to be published, and I've no doubt she'll do just that. 

The Assassin's Daughter #2
 {BETA READ}
Another beta read!! I'm ECSTATIC, y'all---I'm a beta reader for TWO novels.  So blessed to have this opportunity.  And SOOOOOOOOO proud of this girl as well!  She's already published one novel and she's preparing this sequel now.  I'm really enjoying the continuation of Kat and Ed's story.

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NEXT ON THE TBR LIST
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
Both of those were bargain finds at a couple different bookstores!  I'd been looking for them since they've been all over social media---SO HAPPY.  Can't wait to get into them.  xD
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
MERMAIDS, y'all.  MERMAIDS.
Been attempting to catch up on all of my bloggy friends blogs today, and I've seen some fun link-ups I may try to tackle.  I love those things because they challenge you on your characters' make-up and storyworld.  My stories have been gathering a bit too much dust lately, I'm hoping to grab the shop-vac of my brain and hit 'em hard these next couple weeks. 

Also, NANOWRIMO.

I'm afraid I have not the time to properly take on NaNo this November, but I may try to do it my own way.  I won't have the word goal, but I may set a time goal of, say, ten minutes a day, and see where it goes from there.  I've been wanting to look at a couple of my concept story ideas, which are set in different genre from my fantasy WIP.  Noya's tale seems to be kinda stuck, so I was thinking I'd work in a different world before coming back to it---a fresh start.

What do you think?
How do you keep your stories fresh and going?

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Well, happy Wednesday, all.  I'll be back Friday for a link-up. :] *waves*
Have a lovely evening!