Life: it will surprise you every time

Life: it will surprise you every time

This is what waited for me when I returned from my trip to Michigan. My brother’s house next door was completely spared from the fast-moving fire, except for his fence. We can live with that. And I am in the transition of letting go.

What is so very crazy, however, is how my life is following Eaven, my character in “Astoria Rumors.” She is alone, homeless, and has no idea where life is taking her.

Scary. Stranger than fiction.

I’ve got to say, this season is stretching my trust level. I better write something amazing in her future. Oh, I did!

You can read her story in “Astoria Rumors” on October 1, 2020. Click to read on Amazon. Click to read on any other device.

Practicing Certainty and Resilience

Practicing Certainty and Resilience

The mug in the photo is the “writing” mug I use while at my computer. I bought it in Astoria, Oregon, where Book One of my current series takes place. It is traveling with me and posing for pics along the way.

It is strange getting used to the idea of taking off without a return date. I’ll miss the flowers I planted that have just burst into bloom but will relish the time I’ll have with two of my children. And learning to be me.

I looked back at the blog I posted on “purpose.” I had unconsciously written my character as an extention of myself. This is what my editor saw:

She often seems to serve the agendas of others rather than following through on her goals. Though she had some stated desires, she often responds to, or is motivated by, others’ decisions and needs, and she seems to achieve success or failure incidentally, instead of as a result of her own actions. Even her emotional responses seem filtered through the judgments and needs of others instead of clear expressions of her feelings and desires. It’s a problem since it keeps your character from truly living and breathing.

Right. Living this way kept me from living and breathing. And does not a strong heroine make – in real life or in fiction. I’ve grown a lot since then. “Certainty” and “resilience” are now my chosen companions.

How about you? What goals or desires have you set for yourself? Are you still working toward them, or have you set them aside? Are you inspired to move toward them again? Would love to read your comments.

Moving on: 2020 Oregon to Lake Michigan road trip

Moving on: 2020 Oregon to Lake Michigan road trip

This year brought huge changes for me, as it did for most of us. My gracious mom passed in March at eighty-eight; I ended a thirty-six-year marriage in April and moved into my fifth wheel; we sold our home in May; I put the few belongings I wanted to keep into a ten-by-ten storage unit in June. Though dealing with the weight of grief, my life feels…untethered. Light.

Through all the heartbreak, God has met me. Friends, who are further along on this road of aloneness, are helping me build hope that good things are yet to come. In this new season, I will pass on that hope while it is fresh and trust it will make a difference.

And so, I begin this journey across the country and invite you to join me on what I sense will be an exciting, productive time for me. And for the characters in my novels. I hope to publish “Astoria: City of Rumors,” Book One of the “Get Eaven” suspense series this year, followed by “Charleston Tides,” Book Two that I hope to finish this summer. You will be the first to know when they are available.

Thank you for enjoying my novels and your good wishes,
Cheryl

Be still and know

Be still and know

Some experiences can only be encountered when we still our minds, lay aside our limiting filters, and lift open hands to receive what is actually there. My mother’s favorite verse is, “Be still and know that I am God.” Whenever her life took a dive into uncontrollable chaos, she would still herself and quote this verse.

While walking my dog yesterday, a bush caught my attention. Most of it lacked signs of life, but some of the blossoms had pushed their way through the dry bark, knowing their destination was toward life and beauty.

My mom’s body is that way right now. It is dying. I think of her amazing life and abundant love and grieve her loss. Then I remember this life is only a blink. I can’t even imagine who she will be when free of this world’s constraints.

From our perspective, there are few signs of life. But inside, she is whole and intact. Perfect. And I believe parts of her lovely self are already pushing through the veil between this world and eternity. She is blossoming in the light and love of her God.

Today, I am being still, Mom. Tears flow, but my heart rejoices in the joy just beyond your fingertips. I love you. We all love you. See you on the other side.

Who’s running my life?

My wise editor returned my manuscript with the following paraphrased comments regarding my character, Eaven Alexander:

Eaven often seems to serve the agendas of others rather than following through on her goals. Though she had some stated desires, she often responds to, or is motivated by, others’ decisions and needs, and she seems to achieve success or failure incidentally, instead of as a result of her own actions. Even her emotional responses seem filtered through the judgments and needs of others instead of clear expressions of her feelings and desires. It’s a problem since it keeps your character from truly living and breathing. Secondly, it weakens your scene structure as she meanders through the scene, accounting for time and moving across the stage, but not necessarily doing so with purpose along the path to a specific goal.”

Make you want to cry? I did. I wrote myself on the page and was forced to face the mirror. Eventually, I was grateful for this revelation and used it to rewrite Eaven’s character and begin the renovation of my life.

On this journey, I came across the question, What is God’s purpose for me? It’s found in Genesis 1:26. “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image.’” That is still God’s quest for us. Every challenge, trial, and victory will be used to transform us.

What does that image look like? Pure love. God is love. Agape love, not just human emotion or caring. This road is not for wimps who are meandering through life. I Corinthians 13 lays out what agape love looks like. I’ve listed a few characteristics here:

Love is patient and long-suffering with the betrayals and failings of ourselves and others.

It is kind to everyone without partiality.

It doesn’t parade itself with an attitude of ‘look at me’ and is not puffed up with pride or arrogance.

It isn’t rude, even when confronted with rudeness.

It is not provoked into being less than love by the words or actions of others.

That’s Who our God is. That’s how He reacts to our rudeness, pride, and selfishness – with perfect agape love and acceptance. He already knows our failings, but He also has an immutable plan for His children.

Like my character, I need to know my purpose – to align with God’s goal to form me into His image. After that, my instructions are to trust and thank Him for the work He is doing through the challenges, failures, and triumphs, keeping in mind His promise that, “All things work together for my good.”

It takes practice to see my life this way, but through experience, I’m becoming more confident that, “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.” Even though our spirit is already perfected in Him, it takes a lifetime for our character to be transformed into pure love. A worthy Purpose.