Monday, March 30, 2020

Word of the Week - Curfew


I found this one on another trending list at Etymonline.com -- and found it quite interesting! Did you know that curfew is literally "cover fire"? It's from the Old French cuevrefeu -- cuevre being "cover" and feu, of course, being "fire." Why?

Well, it began in the Middle Ages, when a bell would ring at 8 or 9 p.m., signaling everyone to douse their fires...so that no one would fall asleep, leave the fires unattended, and so burn the whole village down. It came into English sometime in the 1300s as "a signal bell rung at a set time."

This word took its time in evolving into "a period of restricted movement," not taking on that meaning until the 1800s. But there we have it. When you give your kids a curfew, you're really telling them to put out their fire and go to sleep. 😉

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thoughtful About . . . The Invisible


I'll never forget the first time I watched Monsters, Inc. with the kids. We'd rented it so were watching it at home. Both of them were pretty small. They laughed in all the right places--and the grabbed hold of my arms and scrambled into my lap at the expected ones too. They--and I--thoroughly enjoyed the movie. But what I remember most isn't honestly the plot or the names of the characters or anything like that. What I remember most is the bad guy. Or rather, one particular trait of the bad guy.

He could make himself invisible. And that made him terrifying. Because you never knew where he was. What he might be doing. 

It's the same thing with the Indominus Rex in  Jurassic World, right? The fact that this enormous, vicious creature could hide right out in the open...TERROR. Pure terror.

We always have this idea that if we can perceive it, we can fight it. If we can identify it, we can defeat it. If we can put our finger on it, we can solve it.

But sometimes we can't...because we can't.

Too often, though, that's the kind of enemy we face. It's true of cancer. It's true of autoimmune disease. It's true of viruses. It's true of termites eating away at your foundation and of mold growing in your attic. The unseen, unperceived, unknowable things are the ones that sneak up on us without warning, slithering about in the dark. And then when they pounce . . .

What? What are we to do? How are we to fight it off?

The invisible enemy is the scariest enemy. I've been entirely certain of that ever since I first watched that cute animated movie with my kids. But it's something I remembered not just because it's true in storytelling and disease...it's something I remembered because it's true in the realm of the Spirit as well.

We don't fight against flesh and blood. We fight against powers and principalities and the rulers of darkness of this age. Invisible things. We always fight against invisible things. And while it can seem terribly unfair, terribly terrifying, terribly difficult for us corporeal beings, there's something we have to remember.

We're not just fighting an invisible enemy.
We're serving an invisible God.

I've never really seen that in a movie--salvation for the hero coming from an unseen force. An invisible hand sweeping it all away. It probably wouldn't be satisfying to watch, right? Though we still hope for it in the real world. God, put an end to this! God, stop the bad thing! Why doesn't He just swoop down and make it right?

And yet . . . and yet we do see salvation coming from an unseen direction all the time. The character you thought was out for the count. The helicopter arriving in the nick of time. Physical things perceived with our eyes and ears and noses.
Kinda like Jesus. He came in the flesh to be our physical salvation. To be the visible answer of our invisible God. He's done that already, my friends. Triumphing over the ultimate enemy--death. It may still claim our bodies, but it cannot touch our souls. As if we have that certainty, how can fear rule us?

We will always fear what we can't see. Can't know. But faith, my friends...faith is as powerful a weapon as any we could ever ask for from the military. Because it too harnesses that Invisible. It is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.

How do we know God is at work? That His armies are marching against our enemies? Because of faith. If a sneeze is the evidence of a cold--that unseen virus--then faith is the physical manifestation of God Himself. We don't think of it that way, do we? We tend to think of faith as another not-physical, unseen thing.

But it isn't. It's fully visible. Fully physical. It is the substance.

Which means we need to SHOW IT to each other. More, we need to show it to the world. We don't need to fear the invisible--because we serve the Invisible. And faith is our proof that it works. Now is our time to shine it forth.

Now is the time to fast. To pray. And to cling to Him and His promises with a visible shield. Faith. It can protect us from the fiery darts. But only if we lift it up before us.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Word of the Week - Mystic and . . . Secretary?


Talking about some secretive words today. 😉

In one of our family devotionals last week, there was a quote from a "mystic" of millennia past, and we found ourselves wondering where the word came from.

Mystic comes from the Greek mystikos, meaning "secret, connected to the mysteries." Sometimes today I hear any ancient scholar deemed a mystic being occult . . . but that connotation didn't come around until 1610, long after the word was applied to those who spoke or wrote about the mysteries of God--which surely we can't claim aren't mysterious!

What I found really interesting is that secretary actually has very similar roots--how did I never really notice that it has SECRET right there in the first part of the work? LOL. A secretary has pretty much always meant "one who is entrusted with secrets," and it migrated quite naturally from these trusted officials who knew the innermost, most secretive things of kings and dignitaries to those in the closest, trusted positions of anyone in authority.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Thoughtful About . . . Not Fear, but Love



Are you ready? I have a load of goodies for you today! My next (Virtual) Tea Party is live for orders. There is a SALE on The Lost Heiress. And...our podcasts are LIVE!!! 

With everything that is going on in the world today, I wanted to be able to share as much GOOD with you as I can.


People are selfish.

This isn't a newsflash. People have always been selfish, and I don't see that changing any time in the near future. At the core, we're always looking out for us. Me. My family. They matter most. I'll do anything I have to do to provide and protect. Right?

I daresay most of us think this way--it's the way the human brain is wired, frankly. It's natural. 

But Jesus asks us to give up those natural inclinations when we follow Him. He asks us to put the souls of strangers above the health of our own.
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”~ Luke 9:59-60, NKJV
In so many teachings, Jesus is instructing us to change our perspective. On what we define as sin. Of where our hearts should be. Of who we should love. Of how we should love them. Time and again He challenges us to love our neighbor.

Time and again, He and the apostles make it clear that this faith, this trust, this decision to become a slave of Christ means giving up our lives--giving up the ME--for Him.

We're in a time of trial right now--something that can be said a lot in history on a national or international scale and pretty much always on individual levels. I've heard a lot of fellow-Christians saying, "Don't live in fear!"

And this is #Truth. Don't live in fear. You don't have to, because you know that your life isn't your own. You know that you're His. There doesn't need to be fear for these bodies.

But let's not be ignorant. We can say God has this in His hand, and that too is #Truth. But God had the Black Death in His hand too. He had the Spanish flu. He had every other worldwide pandemic. That doesn't mean there isn't going to be suffering and death, of both the faithful and the faithless, the just and the unjust. It simply means that He's still Lord through it. It doesn't mean we won't die. It means if we do, He'll welcome those who believe in Him with open arms. Yes, He can protect His children from any virus--but we know He doesn't always choose to. We know it in the statics from past pandemics. We know it by logic. And we know it because we know that He doesn't define tragedy in the same way we do. Christians can and do die all the time. It's something we're not told won't happen, but which we're instead told not to fear.

Where, then, is the line between fear and wisdom? 

More, where is the line between living fearlessly and still loving our neighbors?

If you didn't follow that jump, let's spend a bit of time on it. You do not have to fear. But what about the older lady next door? What about the stranger on the street? What about the coworker or the delivery man or the clerk? The mom whose child has immunodeficiency? The daughter whose father is in the middle of chemo? Do they have that certainty?

So what if your determination to live without fear and live life as normal endangers theirs?

This is the question my family is wrestling with as we determine what lines to draw in these troubling weeks. We don't fear for us. But we're not called to think only of us. We're called to think of them. The people in need of Christ. The people who are at risk. The people who are frightened and without hope.

"Not living in fear" should not mean putting others in danger. Not our fellow believers who are at risk of physical illness, and not the rest of the world whose souls don't have that certainty in Him.

Love your neighbor.

Love them with encouragement and faithful words and promises of Someone bigger than their fear. But love them too in wisdom and caution and care. Love them with distance when our leaders ask for it, and with praise to God that distance, in this day and age, doesn't mean being cut off. Let's be grateful that we can still be in the community through the wonders of technology, and let's respect the wisdom of the professionals we expect to turn to when something bad does happen.

Let's stop thinking about how we can keep from giving in to fear...and start thinking about how we can best show love to those around us. Be wise, and think of them. Knowing that if everyone thinks first of their neighbor, that means someone has our backs too.

Readers to Leaders

My husband and I have just launched a community that we're calling Readers to Leaders. Basically, the idea is to encourage and support each other to take those inspirations and ideas we get from books and actually put action to them.
For instance, in a book I recently read, the heroine joins forces with an elderly woman in a nursing home to write letters to soldiers. Well, that inspired me to pull out my cards and stationery and write to the people in my local nursing home that I usually visit once a month but can't right now because of COVID-19.

This community is designed to encourage READERS to take actions like that inspired by the books we read and make a difference. Become LEADERS. =)

If you have a few minutes and an example or idea--from my books or ANY books!--would you consider participating? The forum was just turned on this morning, so it's still very bare...which of course needs to be corrected, LOL.
You can find it HERE.

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Offering our words to the Lord at the crossroads of faith, family, and fiction


April Tea Party


Friday, April 24
7 pm EDT / 6 pm CDT / 5 pm MDT / 4 pm PDT

This is a special PRINCESS (virtual) party!! Included in the package will be some special royal treats.
Author Hannah Currie will be joining us all the way from Australia
(so we’ll get to hear her lovely accent)


Monday, March 16, 2020

Word of the Week - Quarantine



No, I'm not being morbid. 😏 But this was one of the trending words on Etymonline, and I found its etymology fascinating!

So quarantine entered English around 1660 with its somewhat-familiar meaning: "the length of time a ship suspected of carrying disease was kept in isolation." Okay...so what is that amount of time? Forty days--the word is, in fact, from the Latin quaranta, meaning "forty." This was how long ships were expected to wait before entering a port during the days of the plague, to make sure no latent cases were aboard.

Within a decade, it had been extended to mean "any period of forced isolation."

But before that, the word was in English already with some very different meanings! In the 1400s, it was used still to mean a 40-day period, but it was the period of mourning for a widow in which she still had the right to live in her husband's house before the property went to the heir (keeping in mind that women couldn't own property at the time). And it was also the word used to refer to Jesus' 40-day fast! Who knew?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #3


Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!
• The hunt BEGINS on 3/12 at noon MST with Stop #1 at LisaTawnBergren.com
• Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).

• There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 3/15 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books and learn new things about them.

• Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the CLUE on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at the final stop, back on Lisa’s site. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!

I'm Roseanna M. White, author of historical fiction and hostess of the Tea Party Book Club, managing editor for WhiteFire, cover designer, and homeschooling mom. And because all that wasn't enough to do, I'm also launching Bookish Tees and Totes, where you can get fun book-themed merch. A sample of which is part of my individual giveaway, so keep on reading for more info on that! ;-) 

I'm super excited about my latest release, book 2 in The Codebreakers series about England's intelligence division during the First World War. If you're new to the series, don't worry! On Wings of Devotion can be read as a stand-alone. Here's the official blurb:

http://www.roseannamwhite.com/books/codebreakers-series/on-wings-of-devotion/
Against Every Warning,
She’s Drawn
Ever Closer
to the Man Known as “Black Heart”

All of England thinks Major Phillip Camden a monster–a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But he would have preferred to die that day with his men rather than be recruited to the Admiralty’s codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved.

As nurse Arabelle Denler observes the so-dubbed “Black Heart,” she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their families and paths twist together unexpectedly, she realizes she has a role to play in his healing–and some of her own to do as well.

With Camden’s court-martial looming, an old acquaintance shows up, intent on using him in a plot that sends the codebreakers of Room 40 into a frenzy. With their fragile hopes for the future in the cross hairs, Arabelle and Camden must hold on to hope–and to each other–if they want to survive.

Something not exactly pointed out in the summary about Arabelle seems to be the very thing that most resonates with readers.

My heroine is not beautiful.

In fact, the first time the hero meets her, his scene begins with She wasn't pretty. When my husband read that line before I turned it in to my editors, he snorted and said, "Seriously? That's his first thought? In a romance?"

Yep. Arabelle Denler is what one might call plain. She's tall--I don't mention her height in the story, but I imagine her at 6 feet, in honor of my favorite boss of all times, Patricia, who literally towered over short little me. Someone in the story calls her gangly. And while people might look at her and think the word "kind," no one ever thinks "pretty."

And I love writing a character like this. Because, first of all, it's something most people can relate to. Sure, I know some super-model-gorgeous people...but most of us aren't. Most of us just learn how to work with the features God has given us and to appreciate them. Most of us can look nice when we put some effort into it, but we can also scare ourselves when we look in the mirror on a bad day. ;-) But most of us also have people who love us and call us beautiful.

That's what I wanted for Arabelle Denler. I wanted a heroine who might not attract many men at first glance. Because then, as Camden gets to know her, he can notice how her eyes are really the most amazing shade of green-gold...and that single dimple in one cheek is just enchanting...and she's all long, lean lines...and how somehow she's beautiful. Or as he puts it, "How could she be so beautiful when she wasn't even pretty?"

That's the miracle of the lens of love, right? As we get to know people--whether they're family, friends, or potential romances--we stop seeing how they look as a whole and just see them. We see features that we come to cherish. 

We see the heart that shines through them. And that, above all, is what makes Arabelle beautiful. And, in turn, what makes her a heroine most of us can relate to.

So to celebrate Arabelle, Camden, and On Wings of Devotion, I'm offering a special giveaway! It's open to both US and International, but the prizes will vary slightly depending on who wins. ;-) If you're international, you'll receive a copy of the book via Book Depository. If you have a US mailing address, you're eligible for a signed copy of the book PLUS a Bookish Tees and Totes tote bag in your choice of available designs. (You can view them all in detail at www.BookishTeesandTotes.com or, if you're a big Etsy shopper, at my shop there.)





Here’s the Stop #3 Basics:
If you’re interested, you can order On Wings of Devotion on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book, SIGNED from my store, or at your local bookstore! 

Clue to Write Down: or raining

Link to Stop #4, the Next Stop on the Loop: Michelle Griep’s site!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Word of the Week - Mesmerize


When one looks up the etymology of mesmerize, one will find that it dates from 1819, when it was coined with the meaning of "to put into a hypnotic state." What Etymonline doesn't mention is that this comes directly from the name of the physician who developed the practice, Franz Mesmer.

When Mesmer developed hypnosis, he originally called it "animal magnetism." But one of his pupils decided it would be more fun to name it after the inventor (discoverer?) so, called it mesmerize. By the 1860s, however, hypnotize had become the preferred word (from the Greek hypnotikos, "inclined to sleep") for the procedure. At that point, mesmerize shifted slightly to mean "to enthrall or fascinate."


Coming this weekend is the Spring 2020 Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! Mark your calendars!