Conversing with Lord Casimir: An EXCLUSIVE Rothana Tour Interview

Conversing with Lord Casimir: An EXCLUSIVE Rothana Tour Interview

So, I know I’ve teased this for part of November. Tormented you guys on Instagram and even Facebook about this. And God only knows the literally countless amount of times I’ve pestered Ms. Sarah Delena White herself about it, on messenger, for at least a few years, maybe even more. 😉 (Hey, an Author Bugger’s gotta do her job. And we did become good friends through my pestering, so it WAS worth it. Love you, Sarah!)

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Casimir is a star-fae and an alchemist. His abilities include, but are not limited to, illusion-making, light-generation, weapons made of starlight, mesmerism, and of course alchemy.

And my efforts have not been in vain. The favorite minion, head of Tribe Minion, has finally come through, bearing great fruit of great joy from great labors.

Today, my Casimirian brothers and sisters of Casimir’s Minion Tribe, I get to interview our beloved Lord Casimir, himself, in celebration of his new role in Sarah’s sequel to Halayda, Rothana. That’s right–this interview is the next pivotal stop on the Rothana Blog Tour, in celebration for its new release!

To that end, I have compiled several imperative questions months and months in advance, to prepare for this highly anticipated moment in history. Welcome, Lord Casimir. Your minions anxiously have awaited your glorious presence. Please, have a seat in one of the most comfortable, most luxurious chairs we possess.

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L4G: First, a bit of an icebreaker (though you may despise trivial talk). As some of us have seen from the #1randomquestion posts that Sarah’s been sharing, one of your hobbies (aside from scheming and alchemy, of course) is insect collecting. Why did you start this hobby? Do you collect specific insects, or just dragonflies?

Lord Casimir: “I collect insects of all sorts, though dragonflies are particularly interesting. I enjoy studying them and organizing them into ornate displays on the walls of my laboratories. It’s one of the few activities I find relaxing, as it doesn’t require strategy or foresight or dealing with anyone’s emotions. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for dealing with Faerie’s Dragonfly.”

L4G: *nods sympathetically* I daresay she likes to make things quite challenging for your plans, but we’ll discuss her more in a bit. Judging from your infamous speeches, you’ve garnered quite a bit of philosophical wisdom over time. Who is your favorite fae or mortal philosopher, and why?

Lord Casimir: “I have little time for philosophers these days. While I once found their discussions interesting, I’ve seen too many of them come and go, and watched the world go on unchanged by their debates. For all their fancy words, they often fail to grasp the true nature of reality. Experience and necessity are the only philosophers I have the leisure to heed.”

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The College of Alchemy–Casimir’s current domain and area of expertise in the mortal city of Sabellyn

L4G: I wonder what the true nature of reality is… I wonder if it has to do with your view of alchemy. How did your interest in alchemy begin, especially since you’re already very clearly skilled in Solasa magic?

Lord Casimir: “I turned to alchemy out of necessity after the rest of the Solasa and I were exiled from Faerie. Fae cannot survive long in the mortal world, with all its iron and smog and little trace of magic. Those of us who could turned to alchemy to bolster our power and help minimize the effects of living in Sabellyn. Soul sense is even rarer among the fae than it is among mortals (yes, contrary to the speculation of mortals, we do have souls). Those of us who have the ability can create powerful potions that are beyond of the capabilities of ordinary alchemists. I eventually used this skill to secure a position in Sabellyn’s upper echelon.”

L4G: Speaking of which, in Sabellyn, there are obviously those with great power and influence. Why choose a college specifically, if you’re aiming for power and overall leadership, rather than a governing position?

Lord Casimir: “What casual observers often fail to realize is that the College of Alchemy is the greatest power in Sabellyn. The Ruling Council is useful, but they’re often mired in debates and formalities. While I could have obtained a seat on the Council, I prefer industry and invention, the true powers that drive the city. As Chancellor of Alchemy, I serve as an advisor to the Ruling Council, which gives me a voice within governing circles without having to be tied to their pettier aspects. It also allows me to keep a lower profile and avoid interacting with members of the fae Court when they visit Sabellyn.”

Sabellyn

Sabellyn– A steampunk mortal city full of innovation, alchemy, slums, and secrets

L4G: …And NOW we circle back to one alchemist in particular, your former prized student, the new Dragonfly. We’ve seen quite a bit of alteration and interaction in your relationship with her, but what is your honest opinion of Sylvie Imanthiya?

Lord Casimir: “She is infuriating. She is a creature of weakness who somehow finds herself at the center of battles. Her idealism is foolish and likely to destroy her. If possible, I would have kept her out of my schemes entirely. She was the last person I wanted involved.”

SylvieandTaylan

Sylvie the Yushara (Dragonfly) with her “Halayda” (husband), Taylan Ashkalabek

L4G: *murmurs to self* (I wonder why the latter is… Guess Rothana will cue us in on the answer… 😉 ) We know that in Halayda, you inspire us by trying to take hold of your own destiny, your own fate, and your own realm. In your ideal, perfect world, what is one other major change you’d make, aside from complete control?

Lord Casimir: “You assume I wish for complete control. What I seek is to right the wrongs that have been done to me, to Kyure, and to fate itself. If that requires taking complete control, so be it, but do not think that that is my chief desire. It would merely be convenient.”

L4G: *grins* I’ll bet it would. Sadly, I think we need to wrap up here, because we do have a time limit… *composes self* Lastly, what advice would you give to someone else who also wishes to forge their own destiny?

Lord Casimir: “Consider the consequences of your choices before you make them. Decide whether you can live with the cost.”

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Casimir’s illusionary golden garden

Thank you so, so much for joining us today, Lord Casimir!! It has been an incredible privilege and honor in having you on my humble little site today, with your Minion Tribe and Yours Truly. You are truly inspiring. We wish you great success with achieving your goals, and will be there to support you every step of the way!

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Interested in reading more of Casimir and Sylvie’s story? Check out book 1 in the Star-Fae Trilogy by Sarah Delena White!

“Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.”

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And let’s not forget book 2, Rothana

“A new queen falls. A death lord rises. An ancient foe looms in the shadows.

Sylvie Imanthiya is desperate to lead Faerie well and deepen the bond with her husband, former king Taylan Ashkalabek. But all hope of that vanishes when the Winter Solstice ceremony ends in disaster, stranding her and Taylan in the Deathrealm, and stripping the kingdom from her.

With Faerie in chaos, Zad and Diza are separated once again: Zad to reconcile with an old mentor to stabilize the kingdom, and Diza to confront the nefarious Casimir in the mortal realm. But Casimir claims that a greater evil seeks to destroy both realms, an evil that Diza’s unique death magic can hold at bay—if she could only remember how.

In the Deathrealm, Taylan is succumbing to the lure of specters from his past, and pushing away Sylvie’s love. Overwhelmed by decay and darkness, Sylvie must summon unexpected magic from the soul of Kyure to fight for her convictions and her husband’s heart.

Shadows divide them. Their friends are in peril. If Sylvie fails, her marriage and her world will fall.”

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Check out Uncommon Universes Press to order signed copies of both snarky, romantic, fae-and-steampunk-filled books, today!

https://uncommonuniverses.com/books/

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About the author of the Star-Fae Trilogy!

Sarah Delena White

Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is the administrative manager for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing, she can be found making elegant designer bead jewelry, traveling to festivals as a professional ballad singer, drinking tea, and seeking to create the perfect latte. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.

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Credits:

Halayda, Rothana, and author pictures and descriptions were all taken from the Uncommon Universes official site, credit goes to them; I OWN NOTHING.

Additional picture credits:

Cover collage pic, top center: Gil-Galad by Kaprriss, Pinterest. 

https://www.deviantart.com/jankalateckova/art/Sylvie-and-Taylan-764908178

hw.kappboom.com

Glorfindel by SaMo-art of Deviantart

Pinterest

http://www.flickr.com

 

 

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An Attitude of Gratitude

(Quick updates: This weekend, you’ll be getting two blog posts, one is much anticipated tomorrow– something I’ve been badgering a certain someone over for years–and a special surprise I’ll be hinting at over Instagram; the other will be either a MBTI type post or a Shadow Functions post!)

 

This past Sunday morning, my pastor remarked on the obvious: Thanksgiving was all but dead to America. He joked about once writing a eulogy about how it started off strong in the 18th and 19th centuries, got severely ill and on the verge of death by the 20th century, and finally, died in the 21st century due to being smothered in an avalanche of Christmas décor, and Halloween candy and costumes.

We may joke about Thanksgiving not having much of a say anymore– at least, as far as the American public and most commercial sales are concerned– but it goes far deeper than the surface, to an underlying problem we’ve had for a while. And while this rings a familiar tone in the ear of some of my fellow Americans, I think the whole world could use a good, healthy dose of truth, too.

A while back, in July, I posted again about why I think we should pray for America– not to be blessed, as we are so fervently encouraged to do, but to be humbled and healed. See, we have a similar problem to ancient Israel– when the going gets tough, we turn to our chapels and prayer out of desperation. But the instant everything’s peaches and cream in life, our ego starts to swell. We credit ourselves for our successes, our blessings, and in doing so dismiss our loving Benefactor– before the cycle starts all over again. America often lacks humility, and it lacks gratitude for the One Who founded it to begin with, Who crafted the land with such care, raised flora and fauna into being for nourishment, enjoyment and resources, who provided a way for people to reach the land and settle– He certainly didn’t have to. He did it because He loved them, as He loves us, and because He provided what they needed. Note: NOT wanted. Needed, according to His will.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again: We often treat God like a cosmic Santa (oh, sickeningly sweet irony), making a mile-long list of greedy gimmes and things we don’t necessarily need but oh, how we WANTS IT, PRECIOUS.

*Ahem.*

Anyways, I’m inferring by the “we” that I’m certainly not just pointing the finger to America, but to myself, as well. God’s recently been nudging me (pretty consistently, might I add… ) on abandoning “desires of the flesh,” so I can draw closer to Him, and thus help to fulfill what He wants for my life (which I may or may not discuss later on– you guys might think me a bit crazy as it is xD). In that search for a more in-depth revelation on how exactly to “abandon the desires of the flesh,” I stumbled upon this verse, in James 4:2-3, which kind of smacked me upside the noggin:

“…You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (NIV)

(This is the passage that comes directly before saying that “friendship with the world is enmity with God,” too… :/ )

Wow.

It struck me right between the eyes, because lately, I’ve been very much the materialist, for an INFJ. I’ve been buying bookish stuff out the kazoo, and I think this was God’s wake-up call for me to slam on the brakes before I overspent or over-prioritized that, or worse, ASAP.

But, look what it says after calling them out on sin, in James 4:6-10:

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says,

“God opposes the proud

but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter into mourning and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (NIV)

Whoa and whoooooaaaa. Humility. God is calling me to be humble. God is calling US to be humble. God is calling us to repent of our sin, to recognize the depth of the pain that it causes Him and others (and often us), and to be genuinely remorseful about it. I think I’ve only been deeply remorseful about one major sin in my life, sadly, and it wasn’t the materialism that plagues my life now. I believe that America is even more deeply entrenched in materialism than I am, but I don’t think it’s too late. As controversial as I am or seem, I do love my country. Do I hate lies? Yes. Do I loathe propaganda? Also yes. But I care about my country, and I want to help it out of its spiritual mire; I can do so by encouraging it– and others– to turn to God for aid, and humble themselves, seeking Him.

All this makes me think of times when I was actually blessed deeply by God, and did not take such things for granted. I was blessed all through my college years; God kept me safe and He kept me, for the most part, as sane as any student could be. He gave me the most amazing, knowledgeable and compassionate professors. I met so many wonderful students, and made quite a few friends and acquaintances, who I’ve been deeply privileged to know. He told me at the beginning of my Geneva journey that we were going to tackle this together, one day at a time, when I initially panicked, overwhelmed by it all. Later, in one of my first semesters as a sophomore, I broke down in an anxious frenzy, thinking I was a failure– I was no good academically, socially, and even genetically (I cannot give blood to donate, as I am cortisol deficient, but I have the universal donor type– cruel irony). I would have sobbed for hours those days, if it weren’t for classes to keep me busy. Then, one day, I felt God’s Spirit, Ruach, nudge me. Watch the Prince of Egypt. I frowned. I had no reason why I couldn’t, but saw no reason why He wanted me to. Watch the Prince of Egypt movie. It popped up a couple of times, so eventually I caved at the end of the day, popped in some Netflix in my own private little room (oh yes, I had it pretty made, sophomore year!), and, cuddling up with Eikon (my Zorua plushie), I watched to the part where Moses is almost arguing with God, about how he can’t, he can’t do it, he can’t lead God’s people, and God talks some sense into him, saying, with the beautiful Spirit-music in the background, that through him He’d do His wonders. In that moment, I heard Him speak to my soul, “You are not a failure. I made you. I love you. Through you, Olivia, I WILL work My wonders!” I was so struck, so taken aback, I started crying right then and there. That moment’s still remained with me to this day.

Later on, God blessed me in nearly all my academics, and was with me even as I went on my class trip to Israel. In fact, that was one of the consistent messages He constantly gave me, when I did my devos over there– ” I’m with you. I’m protecting you. Don’t be afraid.”
My usual response? “I’m not afraid.” I was ready, and willing, to go where He led us, where He led ME. One clear instance over there, of thanksgiving, was a total surprise. I was simply grateful and felt so privileged to BE there, in THE Holy Land– it felt so surreal. But God continued to surprise and bless me, even as I did not ask for the blessings outright. This continued even directly right after college, in little ways, and not always in material ways, either. However, I’ve come to realize that some of the material blessings are beginning to get to my head, and I need to humble myself like before, to seek God, repent, and focus on Him, not what He can do for/give me.

You see? If we don’t obsess about it, God does give us what we need. The trick is to take our eyes off our wants and our problems, and focus them on Him.

This is why I cringe about “health and wealth,” gospel; we shouldn’t automatically and constantly ask God to bless us, especially with material things. Our hearts and motives need to be in the right place, for starters, as the above Scripture states. And, like the Apostle Paul states,we need to learn to be content with what God has already given to us; additionally, we should not worry about needs/provisions, God always makes a way to provide for His children and Creations, be it us the Image Bearers or the smallest sparrow.

A Letter To Guilt-Tripped Victims

Dear Guilt-Tripped Victim,

Although it is highly likely you are a dominant or auxiliary Extraverted Feeler (ESFJ, ENFJ, INFJ, or ISFJ), there is also a fair chance you are a dominant or aux Introverted Feeler (ISFP, INFP, ESFP, or ENFP), too. Either way, you’ve been manipulated. Guilt-tripped into thinking things are your fault, when they really aren’t. People take advantage of your caring, good-natured feelery-ness and sometimes, your ability to give others the benefit of the doubt. You want to please them because you care, but because you don’t want to offend them by standing up to them, you doormat, instead. They stomp all over you, taking good measure to wipe their shoes clean of dirt and filth, grinding it both into you and all over you. They accuse you of being selfish if you can’t do something, “do it right,” or at least can’t do it right away, for them, simply because you are preoccupied or have other obligations. Sometimes they don’t even need to say anything, just shoot you a witheringly patronizing glare that breaks you up on the inside. You can’t bear the pressure, so you cave. “Oh, thank you!” they may say, with a hug for affirmation. You hug weakly in return, but only feel a small amount of satisfaction. You do the thing you were asked to do, and in the meantime, focus on trying not to feel resentful and frustrated, because hey, a good person should be entirely self-sacrificing, right?

Right?

Not if you’re constantly being pressured or bullied into things.

Not if you’re receiving threats of any kind to, “do as I say, or else.”

Not if you’re being disrespected.

And certainly not if you’re being persecuted/hounded down for your beliefs.

You see, I’ve been there. With a few certain people I thought were my friends (most are, but a very small handful aren’t). And even my folks. They guilt trip and manipulate to get what they want, and they take advantage of your kindness and wanting to help. Now, this does not mean that you should never be kind to others, or want to help them. And you should still be a bit guarded. But this also means you need to have a healthy sense of yourself in Christ, how you are valued in His sight, and how He never compromised. When the crowds became too much for Him at certain times, He went off to the mountains, alone, to talk with His Father (God). We would do well to learn from His example. Take time for yourself, take time for Jesus, ask Him what to do. And remember, even though God wants us to serve others, He certainly doesn’t want us to be total doormats– and most importantly, when it boils down to it, He wants us to serve Him first and foremost. We often do that by serving others, of course, but when it crosses a line– say, if said others basically grill it into your head that you should listen to them and no one else– you need to be strong and take a stand.

Dear ones, I’ll be praying for you. We can do this, with Christ’s help. And we can make this stand together.

 

Blessings,

L4G

Staying on the Path

Last rainy September, on our way home from Church one Sunday morning, my Mom and I nearly ran into a felled tree, in the middle of the road. This forced us to take a detour onto a back, narrow, very windy road, followed by several other possibly equally confounded and frustrated drivers.  It was extremely tiring, and unnerving because we didn’t know where we were going to end up, and the pressure seemed to only build up behind the long line of anxious drivers behind us. It was so tempting to drive off the main road, take a side road to try to take a short-cut, to put off the pressure of the long line of cars following behind us. And it didn’t help that we could only see a bit of the road, directly ahead of us, at a time– the rest was encapsulated in a dense fog.

But you know what? It reminded me of something.

(Yes, this is where I get up on my little soapbox and start to preach. A tiny bit.)

You see, this is where being an Intuitive is handy– we see unconscious connections, and we connect them all to the bigger picture. In this mini-sermon instance, that bigger picture is life itself, or rather, the Christian Life. We have no idea what the future holds for us, exactly– individually or as a group. Trees block a path God warns us not to go down. The road of Life is foggy, and it is impossible to know exactly where the next turn up ahead is if you can barely make out three feet in front of you.

Imagine this: You’re on a random road trip, one of those terrible surprise trips (I say terrible, being a planner myself) where the person taking you on the trip, the one person knowing the destination and how to get there, won’t tell you how you’re getting there. You have a notion of the destination, but again, it is foggy out, and you barely know which way to turn. Those promising shortcuts off the beaten path are starting to look more and more tempting as you get more and more lost in the middle of nowhere. Your friend, the one who suggested the trip and is riding shotgun with you, is being your human GPS, but it’s hard and is getting harder to hear him over all the noise– your cell is ringing, your artificial GPS is constantly repeating, “recalculating,” confusing you further, and the radio is blaring music. Your friend asks you to please turn off/down the radio, shut off/ignore the cell and the GPS, and simply listen to him– he knows exactly where you’re going, and how to get there. You are reluctant, however, to trust in just him. He asks if you trust him; you say you do. He says to pull over, get out, play “fire engine” (switch seats fast) and let him have the wheel. The wheel of YOUR car. Suddenly, you get nervous. What if he’s wrong? What if you get there late? What if you end up somewhere completely different than what he told you? What if… What if…

Some of you might be making connections already– if so, that is fantastic. 🙂

For those that haven’t, yet… The friend, obviously, is Jesus and Ruach, your Comforter, Savior, Counselor and Guide on Life’s weary travels to your destination, which is to be with God (many say, “heaven,” but technically it’s supposed to be wherever God is– especially since He’ll be creating a new heavens and a new earth in the future for us to live in!). The AI GPS, the radio blasting, and the cell phone? All earthly things, all things that can distract or mislead us from God (if you think about the soil parable, this would be the thorns and the seed). He has the ultimate map, and knows the way well– we need to trust him, and turn off that noise. There will be temptations, oh yes– seeming shortcuts to the top, to your destination, but these will often come at a price, and more often than not get you more lost.

The foggy road is your life– full of potential, but also full of uncertainty. You only see a bit of the road at the time, not the whole thing. The same’s true in life; we often live day-by-day, moment-by-moment, wallowing in simple predictability. We try to make the most of those moments, neglecting to think of what could be or what is to come, rather than what is. God shows us bits and pieces of the puzzle at a time, but when we stand back to see how some of them start to come together, we start to see the bigger picture of why He does things the way He does. We may not completely understand, but sometimes we don’t have to.

When I was 14, in the midst of the Swine Flu Craze, I became quite faint-headed and ill in the middle of the night. Concerned, I woke my mother, and she went to the kitchen to get me some medication; I followed. Next thing I know, I was waking up on the kitchen floor, my mom or dad asking me how many fingers they held up– I had passed out. Shocked, they took me to the ER, and since the docs automatically assumed I had Swine Flu like everyone else (to this day I doubt that was it; they misdiagnosed a lot of random cases that day as S.F.), they gave me what they had been giving everyone else, Tamaflu, and sent me home to recover. The next morning, I found my thighs and parts of my legs had broken out into hives; I had an allergic reaction to Tamaflu. (Now, when I was fairly young, I’d been tested for every common allergy on the market, save for Tamaflu and maybe a couple others, and they had all tested negative, except for extreme amounts of dust/dust mites) I had received a short-term scenario of what God saw, long term: Had I not been sick, I wouldn’t have gotten Mom. Had I not passed out, I wouldn’t have gone to the ER. Had I not gone to the ER, I would have not received the Tamaflu shot under the fairly ignorant assumption that I had Swine Flu, and thus would have never, ever discovered my allergy– which could have had devastating effects in the future. God works in mysterious ways, showing us what to do, piece by piece, bit by bit, but He always leads us out to the other end, just like Mom and I eventually got home safely, that same morning. All we need to do is literally let God take the steering wheel, not backseat drive, and trust in Him.

Trust and Obey?

You may know me well enough.

You may know my fave colors, my fave foods, how I make myself crack up when I fangirl in private (which is fairly often), my unsure status on whether or not I’m autistic (long story, for those that DON’T know…), how insanely picky I am when it comes to men/food/clothing/perfectionism in general…

But most of you probably don’t know, I teach Sunday School for tykes (First and Second graders, to be precise) about twice a month. Yup. Me. Teaching.

(Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually good with kids, but getting them to listen EXTENSIVELY to me? That be the No. 1 reason I am NOT a teacher, folks, haha…)

Don’t get me wrong, they’re good kids, smart kids, even. You can tell which of their parents work with them on stuff. I try to sound invested in their lives, because it’s how I’ve learned to connect with others– ask them how their weekend was, if they’re doing ok in school, if they’re excited about Halloween, Ooo, you’re going as a princess this year? Which one? What’s your costume look like? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? , etc, etc. They’re actually pretty good at it, and I try to involve and encourage the shyer ones a bit, if I can (and of course, if one helps me do something, they all want to help and seem important, so I try to divvy up the tasks as fairly as possible, so everyone gets a turn.). If they start getting restless, I wrap up the lesson as best as I can (because most kids don’t listen if they’re restless– let’s be honest here), and we play a game that gets them moving, but involves a major theme from the story/lesson, so it’s more ingrained in them. Then we usually wrap up with a small snack, and sometimes the girls will want to color.

So last week, they were relearning a story that was quite familiar to them: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego, and the Fiery Furnace. (For those not familiar with the story: Check out Daniel 3:1-30.) They knew it, at least, mostly. They did not know specific details, however (such as the kidnapping of the friends from their homelands, the pagan name changes, and that the furnace was heated seven times hotter than normal– so hot that the guards who were carrying the tied-up men to throw them in died just from being NEAR the heat! ), and when I asked the girls (since it was an all-girls class that day) what they would do, if they were told to bow down and worship a statue, or they would be killed by a furnace, one of them had an interesting answer:

“I’d bow down, but I’d still believe in Jesus/God in my heart.”

This, my friends, is the very profound mind of a simple but sweet child, and one of the reasons I love them dearly. How many of US are like that? Think of the disciples– many of them said to Jesus, before His arrest, “I would die for You, Rabbi,”– but how many actually DID, when that moment came? Instead, they fled the scene, as prophecy had foretold, even the closest of the Twelve denied knowing Him. I think that often WE are like that, too. We think to ourselves, “It’s OK to lie to the world, and for the world, as long as I know what I believe on the inside is true and righteous and–” Uh, no. No way, no how. God does not want half-hearted commitment, He wants all or nothing, and the same goes for His Son.

Now, you might think I’m saying this with disgust. With pure condemnation.

And that couldn’t be more wrong.

You see, even when we turned our backs on Jesus like cowards (yes, I most certainly said WE), when we humbly came crawling back to Him, apologizing and asking forgiveness, to make a commitment to start afresh– He forgives. He heals. He cleanses us of unrighteous, of cowardice. He makes us bold, for His sake. For His Name’s Sake. We only need to place our faith in Him, not ourselves.

Before I started teaching, I doubted. I doubted what God could do through me. I doubted the abilities He’d given me. I had seriously doubted that me, of ALL people, could be a POSITIVE influence on these precious little ones, when I had messed up so badly in the past. I still struggle with devos and reading my Bible frequently enough.

Guess what? God said, “You’re doing it anyways.”

And, as always, He is right on the dime.

The bigger question is, when (not if) you eventually screw up majorly (if you haven’t already), will you bring your broken, humbled heart and allow Him to fix it, make you new and whole inside? Or will you keep your distance, in either pride or humiliation, too disgraced to look upwards to heaven, or too “independent” and confident of your own abilities, and not God’s, to help lift you out of the mire? (And, let me assure you, that that mire turns to quicksand mighty fast)

Our words may say one thing, but our actions ultimately reflect who we are, and what we believe. To quote Blanca, “Cause if you don’t stand for nothing/ You always fall for something/This isn’t how it’s meant to be/So Imma keep on Walking/And let Him do the talking/ Imma have to make a scene.” So, what’s it going to be– the world, or God?

Down to Bed, Up to Heaven

Down to Bed, Up to Heaven

Now I lay me

Down to bed,

Closing mine eyes, I

Rest my weary head.

If breath doth fail

Before I awaken,

I do presume, then

My soul to be

Taken

Away from the

Misery

And life’s woes,

No longer worrying

O’er mere earthly foes.

The battle was fought,

The battle was won–

My Lord greets me,

“Dear Friend–

Well Done.”

 

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In loving memory of Jane Moore, mother, grandmother, sister and mother-in-law. Passed away the eve of Sept. 25th, 2018, EST. Age: 87.

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Image Credit:

http://willoughbyandassociates.com/tools/puerta-del-cielo.php

 

 

Olivia’s Fictional “NT List”

Olivia’s Fictional “NT List”

 

OK, I know I’ve talked about this numerous times on social media, and even a bit here. So I figured it’s high-time to grab the bull by the horns, so as to speak, and cut to the chase on that list.

But, before we do, some may ask, “What the heck IS an “NT”?”

Oh, I am so glad you asked. (Refer back to my MBTI posts for more refs, especially my INTJ and INTP posts) NTs are one of the four Meyers-Briggs Personality groups, each with four separate sub-groups. To make this simpler:

NTs: INTJs, ENTJs, ENTPs, INTPs

NFs: INFJs, ENFJs, ENFPs, INFPs

STs: ISTJs, ESTJs, ESTPs, ISTPs

SFs: ISFJs, ESFJs, ESFPs, ISFPs

 

NT types tend to be theoretical, highly intelligent, argumentative/”devil’s advocate”, sometimes neurotic, witty, very sarcastic, but generally pretty loyal at their core, and ultimately idealists and truth-seekers. I tend to be attracted the most to these types more than any other MBTI types, and have the tendency to blame my INFJ-ness on that. I noticed a particular pattern of attractions, whether healthy or unhealthy, in YA fiction, and, upon further investigation, realized it was all within the same MBTI group. And more specifically, there was a VERY large crowd of INTJs (that seems to be popular in YA fantasy and sci-fi. You’ll see why momentarily). So, initially, it was the “xNTJ List,” thanks to a certain indie publishing master who helped coin the phrase for me, 😉  (Why not, “INTJ List”? Casimir, an ENTJ, of course made it.).

But then, stuff happened. And I was made to add a couple of ENTPs (who are quite attractive, btw) to the Precious. Thus making me throw my hands up into the stagnant air of my “cave dwelling” (read: my bedroom, which I seldom leave), and yell, “TO HECK WITH IT,” at my ceiling stickered with wall-puttied plastic glow-in-the-dark celestial bits. And thus, the OFFICIAL “Fictional NT Guys L4G Likes in Most Any Way” was birthed. It was a difficult, trying, but nonetheless beautiful birth.

And now it is here for you to peruse at your leisure, to your enjoyment, to your amusement, or perhaps, to your enrage-ment. I do not pretend to share everyone’s fancies of the ideally-typed mate (I know many prefer Elias… Cough… NF type… Cough…Not that there’s anything WRONG with that, being INFJ myself 😉 Just more into NTs) , nor do I pretend that I’d WANT to actually date many of these characters on this list (or that THEY would want to date ME, for that matter… Just ask their authors. LOL.). This is simply a cataloging of personal favorites, and why I like them so much.

And, as per usual, they WILL be somewhat categorized (me being the J-type planner that I am), but they will be listed in no certain order, i.e., from, “least liked to most liked,” etc. Just a regular listing. 🙂

 

WARNING! THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! NOW IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO BACK OUT!!!

DISCLAIMER: ALL OPINIONS/INSIGHTS ARE MY OWN. I AM NOT BEING PAID TO ADVERTISE ANY BOOKS, ETC., I LOVE THEM THAT MUCH. MY LIST MAY BE EDITED TO INCLUDE MORE CHARACTERS AS I READ MORE, SO FEEL FREE TO CHECK BACK, IF YOU WANT. 

LIVFORGOD’S FICTIONAL MALE NT LIST:

  1. Casimir

MBTI Type: ENTJ

Series: The Star-Fae Trilogy by Sarah Delena White, including Halayda, and soon-to-be-released Rothana. 

Why He Made the Cut: I can empathize with him, even though we would likely clash IRL. I’m genuinely curious about his past. What happened to him that made him want to change his destiny–along with everyone else’s– so bad? Did he see his, and it was so horrid he became determined to change it? According to his author, he is willing to pursue his ideal and objectives for the betterment of everyone (in his eyes), even while sacrificing his own happiness to achieve it. This makes me saddened, and I want him to have at least some sort of happiness in his life. Even if it be Diza 😉 . Plus, he’s got the very cool, “combine magic with alchemy” thing going on, so there’s that, too. This antag’s got the full support of his favorite minion all the way!

Thurandil

(Yes, IK that is LOTR, but roll with me here– the Star-Fae Trilogy sadly has few, very few, fandom artists…)

2. The Darkling

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: Both the Shadow and Bone Trilogy and the short story, When Water Sang Fire from The Language of Thorns, by the notorious Leigh Bardugo. Hopefully, more to come… 😉

Why He Made the Cut: Even the author herself has seriously questioned numerous fangirls’ defenses of this guy. My guess on THEIR reasoning is, they like how hot he is, how physically seductive he is. While this played a MINOR factor in my judgement of him, I was seriously impressed by two things– his intellect and his complexity/humanness. Despite him regarding emotions and wanting as weakness (we ALL know that infamous line, c’mon!), as an xNTJ type– we all know he actually has a well-guarded soft side for the Grisha, his people, and for underdogs. He doesn’t open up and show that tertiary Fi too often, but he often takes a personal interest in Alina, her habits, her past, how her day was, if people are picking on her, etc. He personally relates to her, and is shown to respect (even if he sometimes disagrees with) her view in several instances. He even shows a gentler, more sympathetic if defensive/protective side to her, to Genya in The Tailor, and to Sylvi and even Annika in Demon in the Wood. I think, if he hadn’t been driven pride-, ambition-, and power-mad, he genuinely would have been a good person. We see those glimpses of goodness in him– he just doesn’t want to be alone.

The-Grisha-Trilogy-image-the-grisha-trilogy-36707139-245-242

3. Sorek 

MBTI Type: ENTP

Series: The Purification Era Series by Angie Grigaliunas

Why He Made the Cut: OK, initially, with this guy– I was not planning on letting him onto this list. No way, no how. I viewed him as a total BLEEP who deserved to go to you-know-where with what he fake-tried to do to Rab (though I can understand why he did it). But the more I got to know him, the more I thought, “Hey, he’s like a more complex version of Nikolai!” And guess what? It’s true. He may not be a pirate or royalty, but he knows how to chameleon very well, to blend in and act with all of his “peers” at the time– something Bardugo only touches on a few times, and that Angie delves into deeply. His complexity is seriously impressive, and his snarkiness, particularly with his crush Rab, made Nik’s actually look fairly tame– all while having me howling and rolling on the floor, clutching my stomach. He is also secretly VERY compassionate, and goes out of his way to help others if they genuinely need it.

Sorek

4. Hideo Tanaka

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: Warcross duology by Marie Lu

Why He Made the Cut: Ok, I swear Lu’s been peeking at Bardugo’s notes for Darky. Hot, mysterious, high-profile leader/boss guy with shrouded past? Check. Intense, innovative, idealistic intellect that he could use to take over countries with? Double check. Carefully but casually selected a seemingly nobody girl with special abilities and potential, ends up falling for her, hard, and flirts with her in a very coy, subtle, and VERY INTJ way? Triple check. Oh, and let’s not forget the mental and emotional link Darky and Alina had sounds remarkably similar to LINK WITH HIDEO? But, I’m not here to discuss character similarities. All that to say, Hideo is a complex, protective, guarded individual and 21 yo company head honcho who is basically a well-meaning-genius-who-goes-wrong-temporarily, and does everything he can for the sake of his family, his loved ones (including Emika, who he tries to protect numerous times, as well– and she, him. They are adorable, I’ll admit it. INTJ-INTP pairing, right there. Sigh….). Sold.

HideoTanaka

4. Nikolai Lantsov

MBTI Type: ENTP (100% certain)

Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, Crooked Kingdom, and, soon, King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo

Why He Made the Cut: Pirate… err, Privateer. Snarkiest man alive on the high seas, matey, and the most charismatic, too. He gives great, fairly sound advice, especially on politics. I think the only ones he’s failed to fully and successfully charm are Alina and the Darkling, who, on two different accounts, find him either somewhat annoying, or very annoying/a threat. Unlike his childish, perv father, and horrid half-brother, he actually cares about his country and its inhabitants, and is extremely loyal to them and his friends. Oh, and did I mention he’s an undercover Prince/now-King in disguise? I didn’t? Oh, well, there’s this, too…

“”Not bad looking?” said another voice. “He’s damnably handsome.”

Luchenko scowled. “Since when–“

“Brave in battle, smart as a whip.” Now the voice seemed to be coming from above us. Luchenko craned his neck, peering into the trees. “An excellent dancer,” said the voice. “Oh, and an even better shot.”

“Who–” Luchenko never got to finish. A blast rang out, and a tiny black hole appeared between his eyes.

I gasped. “Imposs-“

“Don’t say it,” muttered Mal.

Then chaos erupted. ” (excerpt from  Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, pg. 119.)

I rest my case.

VolcraCake

(In honor of King of Scars, and the King of witty Scarcasm. Hope I’ve made ya proud, Leigh. 😉 )

5. AIDAN (Artificial Intelligence Defense Analytics System) 

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Why He/It Made the Cut:  AIDAN is technically a machine, a program, so as far as the story is concerned, and is one of those characters that I think was extremely well written, and well-developed, but at the same time, just because I like a character doesn’t mean I have to naturally agree with their worldview, and I definitely heavily disagree with the majority of AIDAN’s. Kristoff, the primary writer of AIDAN in particular, seems to have a natural knack for getting you to root for all the charmingly beasty AIs who’re seriously crushing on their human girl heroines (no, I’m not joking here). Even though it’s crazy and weird and kinda sorta unnatural. Just kinda sorta. (Read: <ERROR> I was so <ERROR> distraught when <ERROR> AIDAN did not get to <ERROR> confess his/it love <ERROR> to Kady that first time… <ERROR><ERROR>) He/it is just this… mechanized, artificial version of a classic INTJ. 90% logical, 10% emotional. A tough exoskeleton on the outside, softer wires and a heart-chip ready and willing to be broken (for Kady’s sake) on the inside. Never mind that he/it is a terror and a genius at getting people killed in a “merciful” way, if it means preserving Kady– and as much of his/its fleet– as possible. He/It will do anything he/it can to protect them, even if only by the most extreme means. He/It narrates much of the story, when it’s not in text/documented format, and shows a more artistic, very poetical side to him/it, and even referring to Kady as his/its “queen,” in a chess-sense, at one point. He/it tends to be a subtle romantic, but ultimately discloses his/its feelings for her at the end. T.T #WhyMustYouAuthorsBreakMyHeart

AIDAN

6. Lord Masrekah

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: The Purification Era Series by Angie Grigaliunas

Why He Made the Cut: For a while, like Sorek, I didn’t with this guy. I just didn’t. He wasn’t quite as brutal with Rab as Sorek had been when he tested her fealty to rebellion, but I still got a vibe from him I wasn’t sure about. Turns out, again, we have another Darky-ish dude running around town square– albeit a blonder, more militarized version. 😉 His softer side does poke its head out with Ari, though, and we learn he genuinely regrets being a total BLEEP to Rab, but due to male-esque pride, won’t up and apologize to her for it (not that she’d believe him, anyways. LOL.). He’s clearly affectionate towards Ari, Rab’s younger sister (something Rab is not pleased about), but is well-meaning and respectful, as well as extremely protective of her (love that feature about INTJ dudes… SO LOYAL AND FREAKING PROTECTIVE, LIKE, “I DON’T WANT MY LOVED ONES AND MY SMOL CINNAMON ROLL BABIES TO GET HURT HERE BUT NEVER GONNA SAY THAT OUT LOUD K BYE” xD). Mas also, just like the Darkling, has something of a soft spot for animals, judging on his connection with his horse, Scourge. 🙂

Masrekah

7. Prince Zephryn Nightstalker

MBTI Type: INTJ

Series: The Ironfire Legacy Series by Janeen Ippolito (aka, “Janeen the Snark Queen” 😉 )

Why He Made the Cut: Evil genius-evil=Genius. MAJOR bookworm and recluse, yet caring and protective in his own dragonish, INTJ way. Love his bluntness, and willingness to stand up for Kesia, even when she’s the one cutting herself down. Definitely a brainiac and a constant knowledge-seeker; there’s no problem a book can’t help fix/advise on!

Zephryn

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Image Credit:

Cobalt Dragon

https://www.modelmayhem.com/JordonL

https://www.tumblr.com/search/kristoff%20quotes

https://www.tumblr.com/search/prince%20nikolai%20lantsov

 

 

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-grisha-trilogy/images/36707139/title/darkling-photo