Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff, Ray & Marcus da Díxon 💙

Writing Tag!✍

So, Grace over at Following Him Beside Still Waters nominated me to do this tag some months ago (try January) and I completely slept on it. I can never get around to completing tags in a timely manner, but I thank Grace for the nomination and I’m here for it, but first…

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I don’t really write anymore. I still enjoy it from time to time, but I don’t devote my energy to it as before. However, I’ll be doing this tag with my serial Crazy Rich French Twins given that I don’t have much writing material as before to choose from. This serial is still in its planning stages, but I’ll try to feature an episode for Short Story Sunday soon. I am also contemplating on entering it for this year’s NaNoWriMo. 

1. A crazy hacker’s gone into your computer and has deleted all of your music, except for one song off of your writing playlist. Which song is it?

I don’t have a playlist for CRFT, but if one song had to remain it’ll be ‘Oubliez Moi’ by Ridsa. It fits perfectly given that the story is set in France.

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2. Your protagonist and antagonist have been paired up by friends to go out to lunch together. Where do they go?

CRFT shares two protagonists who are supa dupa mirror identical twins so good luck identifying who is who.

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The twins are practically one so they’ll go out with Jean-Pierre Papin at Ladurée in the Champs Elysées…

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…and maybe leave with some tasty macarons. Kudos to Ladurée for inventing this tasty treat.

3. You’re crossing a bridge when the troll living under it stops you. He demands to read a chapter from your novel, and won’t let you cross otherwise. Which chapter do you give him?

The joke is on the little guy who spends his miserable life under a bridge for I don’t have any chapters as yet. Plus, I don’t need to cross the bridge by walking over it when I can simply fly over it in a helicopter.

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4. Your friends have invited you out to a party. Surprise! All of your characters are there. Who do you choose to hang out with?

You won’t ever see me at parties for it’s not my thing, but it’ll have to be Ray da Díxon. He’s sunshine in a cup and a beautiful soul. He’s fascinating and his mind works like no other so I know he’ll be a blast to hang with!

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5. Oh no. You left your car keys in your house, and you’ve (somehow) locked yourself out. Which of your characters picks the lock for you?

It’s okay, I’ll pick the lock myself. Oh, right, this is about the characters. How dare I pick the lock myself! This is a job for… anyone of my main characters actually.

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6. The zombie apocalypse is happening right now. (It’s awful.) Everyone is fleeing the planet, and moving to Mars. ONE of your characters can go with you. Who do you choose?

I hate zombies! I won’t be choosing any character to go to Mars for we’re not cowards. We’re going to form an army and go Nick Morton on them! Flee to Mars? Please!

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7. You’ve been given the opportunity to travel to one place (town, building, landmark, country) in your book. Where do you go?

It’s France! I’ll go EVERYWHERE & ANYWHERE! Loire Valley Châteaux, Palace of Versailles, Mont Saint-Michel… EVERYWHERE & ANYWHERE! I cannot just choose one place! … okay, for question’s sake, at the moment, I’ll choose the panoramic Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. 

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Or I’ll probably stay at Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu-sur-Mer:

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8. You meet your main character and start a conversation with them. Problem is, you’ve only got six words or less to do so. What do you say?

To Ray: Always be that sunshine we love. (I know its cheesy, but this is Monsieur Cheesy himself from The Most Romantic Man in the World series so it’s quite fitting.)

To Marcus: Stay true; never change for society. 

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9. Crazy acid rain is falling from the sky. Which of your characters would you use as an umbrella?

I’ll probably use Jean-Pierre Papin. Bastard had it coming. 

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10. You’re out at a restaurant with your main character, and the time has come to order dessert. What do you order for them?

For Ray: he has one of the sweetest tooth known to mankind, so a healthy slice of clafoutis. 

For Marcus: every single dessert on the menu! Yes, he puts his twin to shame when it comes to consumption of food.

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This was so much fun to do! I’ll love to do another fun tag such as!

***GIFs & pictures via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part X: The promise of an heir and Ishmael is born

In case you missed it:

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

Happy Sabbath and welcome back to Bible Study. I trust that your week was well spent and blessed. Did you learn anything new during your study of God’s Word? If it’s something that you’ll like to share, feel free to do so in the comment section below. Open up your Bibles to Genesis 15 and let’s get down to some study of our own.

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Abram yearns for an heir

Scripture in focus: Genesis 15

And after these things (Gen 14), the word (Christ) of the LORD visits Abram via a vision (15:1) to encourage him and to ease his fears after defeating a HUGE army. He might have feared an attack of retribution, but God promised that not only He is Abram’s shield, but also his reward. In response to God’s encouragement, Abram honestly opens up about being childless and thought of adopting his steward (his right-hand man) Eliezer of Damascus as his male heir (15:2). Although God has promised that he’ll be a father of many, Abram still had doubts for he was without an heir (15:3). God reminds Abram of the promise of the heir that would be his own flesh and blood and illustrates it by referencing the stars in the sky (15:4-5). 

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And Abram put his trust in God (15:6). This is a fine example showing that we’re justified by faith and not works. Also cross reference Romans 4:19-24 and Galatians 3:5-7.

Abram’s faith did not lean on believing in God but believing God. 

Yes, there’s a big difference!

God makes a statement reminding puny Abram who He was (15:7). Abram wants to know how he shall inherit the land (15:8). A ceremony soon follows to mark the covenant (15:9-21). God tells Abram what animals to gather (15:9) and most of those animals became a sin sacrifice in later ceremonies. Abram heeds and he knows exactly what to do with the animals (15:10). While Abram waits for God to walk through the animal carcasses to sign the covenant, vultures paid a visit and he quickly chases them off (15:11). The sun was about to set when God put Abram to sleep (15:12) and came to him via a dream giving Abram the rundown of the hardships that would befall his descendants (15:13). This prophecy took place some 300 years later when Israel sojourned in Egypt and served the Pharaoh for 400 years. But God would judge Egypt and bring His people out with great wealth (15:14).

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Abram will be buried after living a full life (15:15; 25:7).

God would give the Amorites a chance to repent before Abram’s descendants make their entrance to the land (15:16). Sadly, the Amorites did not repent. The presence of God represented by a smoking furnace and a burning lamp (God is a consuming fire!) pass through the animal pieces; God passed through by Himself (15:17) thus sealing the covenant He made with Abram (Note that Abram did not walk through the animal pieces for God signed the blood covenant for both of them. Abram cannot break a contract he did not sign and he could’ve held God accountable had He not kept His end of the bargain. He didn’t have to, though, for God can never lie).

God then quotes the specific lands Abram’s descendants will inherit (15:18-21).

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Abram and Sarai tries to help God with the promise of an heir

Scripture in focus: Genesis 16

Sarai is barren and childless and instead of waiting for God to fulfill His promise, she proposes that Abram her husband of many years have a child through her Egyptian maid Hagar and Abram heeds the voice of his wife (16:1-2). This is a surrogate arrangement so the child would not be considered to be Hager’s but Sarai who lost faith and decided to help God out. Abram could’ve manned up and said no to his wife and poor Hagar gets caught in the middle of their heir scheme. How he’d think Adam messed up in the first place? He didn’t say no to Eve. Let’s go to court:

Defense: It’s been more than ten years since God made the promise regarding Abram’s descendants (16:3). The long wait discouraged them and they grew impatient. 

Verdict: Despite the lapse in time, God’s ways are not our ways and He fulfills promises in His timing, not ours. God cannot lie and if He promises you something, you don’t try to help Him no matter how gloomy things start looking. Take comfort in the promise and look ahead to the time when God would eventually bring it to pass. He always keeps His word. 

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Sarai gives Abram permission to marry Hagar (16:3) and when she conceives, she feels superior to Sarai (16:4). I blame Abram for this for he should’ve reminded his wife of God’s promise. Two women cannot share one man. Marriage was intended for two to become one (2:24). When Sarai saw that she was despised by her maid, she blames Abram and demands justice to right the wrong (16:5). What does Abram do? He gently tells Sarai to deal with Hagar as she sees fit (16:6) for despite both women being his wives, Hagar was still considered lower than Sarai for she was still the help. Besides, Abram didn’t seem like he was too happy with the arrangement he made with Hagar. However, as the man, instead of taking charge of the situation, he cowardly backs away and leaves the decision making to Sarai. She must have dealt harshly with Hagar for she caused the Egyptian to flee.

An Angel appears to Hagar as she attempts to make her way back home to Egypt reaching as far as Shur (16:7). The Angel here is said to be God, in the Person of Jesus given that He spoke in the first person (16:10-12) and Hagar recognized that in seeing this Being, she had seen God and called upon His Name (16:13). This is also the first time that the Angel of the Lord appears in the Old Testament. I’ve included a little note on Angels via bible-studys.org in the recap section below.

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The Angel calls Hagar by name and questions her although He already knew her predicament (16:8) and tells her to return to her mistress (16:9). God promises to multiply her descendants through her son (16:10) which He did for Ismael went on to become the father of all Arabic peoples. This also meant that Abram became the father of two groups of descendants: both Arabs and Jews are descended from Abram by two half-brothers: Ishmael and Issac. Had Abram and Sarai not tried to help God things would’ve turned out differently. 

Hagar is told to call her son Ishmael meaning “God hears” (16:11). Ishmael’s life wouldn’t be easy while dwelling in the presence of his brethren (16:12). Hagar realized that this Being was indeed God talking to her and calls Him “You Are the God Who Sees” (16:13). Hagar dedicates the well to God calling it Beer-lahai-roi (well of the living One). She goes back and bares Abram a son called Ishmael (16:15) and Abram was 80 (16:16). 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ I love that David was a man after God’s heart, but I’ll rather be Abram for a day so God can call me His friend as He did Abram. His friendship with God was beautiful, but it’s hardly talked about.

^ Some of us may look at Abram’s openness as complaining (15:3-4), but it’s better to be open with God, bearing all that is in our soul.

^ Concerning 15:9-21: In those days, contracts were made by the sacrificial cutting of animals, with the split carcasses of the animals lying on the ground. Then both parties to the covenant would walk through the animal parts together, repeating the terms of the covenant. (blueletterbible.org).

^ Even after all that Abram and Sarai did in trying to help God, it would still be more than 13 years when the promise was eventually fulfilled.

^ Fun Fact: Ishmael is the first man in the Bible to receive his name before he was born.

^ANGEL OF THE LORD (via bible-studys.org): The Angel of the Lord, who does not appear after the birth of Christ, is often identified as the pre-incarnate Christ (see note on Exodus 3:2). In the Old Testament, an angel identified as the “angel of the Lord”, the “angel of God” (21:17), the “angel of his presence” (Isa. 63:9), and the “messenger of the covenant” (Mal. 3:1), appeared to individuals. 

A closer look at the context of His appearances reveals that He is more than another angel, He is God. The expression usually signifies a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ and is sometimes called a “Christophany,” meaning the visible and bodily manifestation of God the Son before His incarnation.

That He is not merely another angel is evident in those appearances where He is called God. This was recognized by Hagar (16:13), Abraham (22:14), Moses (Exodus 3:14), Gideon (Judges 6:22), and Manoah (Judges 13:18, 22). The expression is also used of men, but on such occasions, is translated “the Lord’s messenger” (Hag. 1:13). 

The Angel of the Lord no longer appears to men today, since God has commissioned Christians to be His messengers to the world.

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Books & Reviews 📚

Books #132-#134: Bonjour Luc Moncrief 😍

Meet dashing French Detective Luc Moncrief:

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Now, let’s see how he rates.

You know that question book lovers always seem to get asked: Who is your book boyfriend? Well, I can finally answer that age-old book question: his name is Moncrief. Luc Moncrief. He is debonair, has impeccable instincts, a gentleman, witty, the King of one-liners, and he handles tragedy well. He’s French. So very French, that I would’ve forgiven him had his introduction went like this…

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I was not even going to pick up another Bookshot for I don’t think they’re the best thing since vanilla shakes, but I spied a French detective as the protagonist and being the good Francophile that I am, I picked it up and I’m glad I did. Okay, enough chit-chat. Meet Luc.

Book #132: French Kiss (Detective Luc Moncrief #1)

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Luc Moncrief. Mercy! Luc is rich. Like, stinking rich and he puts to test my argument that wealthy characters aren’t boring (if used right, of course). His father is not pleased that he has chosen to become a detective. Anyway, Luc is on loan to the NYPD from Paris. In the French capital, he’s renown for uncovering major drug crimes and chasing down murderers, but in the Big Apple, he’s given clean-up work. But when his partner Maria is killed while working undercover, he is tasked with solving the murder and he gets a new partner Katherine Burke, whom he dubs ‘K. Burke’

Luc receives some more ugly news when his girlfriend and the love of his life Dalia is killed (I LOVE how Luc loves Dalia, but since she’s hardly mentioned, I didn’t care much for her). It’s personal, Luc realizes, and he returns to Paris with K. Burke to get to the bottom of the crimes.

Luc is your stereotypical (and then somewhat not) handsome rugged fashionable French male… with flaws. Lots of flaws. He solves crimes differently (goes with pure instinct) and food is always on his mind. He reminds me of my character Marcus a lot especially for their mutual dislike for the color pink (If Tammy reads this, she can confirm it). But there are some heartbreaking moments involved. When his girlfriend was killed, we get to see his human side and it was moving. 

I devoured this book in one sitting and begged, ‘Please, can I have some more’ so of course, it’s only natural that it gets lots of coffee. love coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffee Luc is so likable it’s criminal!

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Book #133: The Christmas Mystery (Detective Luc Moncrief #2)

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Luc is still heartbroken over the death of his girlfriend, but he loves being a detective so he has work to do. In this one, he and K. Burke are called in to investigate when two priceless paintings disappear from a murder scene. Of course, Luc realizes that some paintings are forgeries and sets out to find the culprit behind it. 

He ends up spending Thanksgiving with K. Burke toasting to the new friendship. I love that Luc doesn’t change who he is for anyone and how he owns his Frenchness: I am so obviously French that I might as well have a statue of the Eiffel Tower on my head (page 28).

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And I also love that he doesn’t care about money despite being a Billionaire: “..a great big pot full of money does not make a person happy…” (page 114). He teaches K. Burke that, “The French never fill themselves. They eat. They think. They enjoy.” (page 132).

I feel as if there is something developing slowly but surely between Luc and Katherine, but there’s no rushing to unload feelings on their part. For now, they enjoy the friendship for Luc is in no way ready for a new interest. 

This installment gets love coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Book #134: French Twist (Detective Luc Moncrief #3)

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Alas! I’ve come to the end of this lovely trilogy. 😢😢Healthy rich women are suddenly dropping dead where they stand. Luc and K. Burke have to figure out what these bimbos have in common and prevent future deaths. Meanwhile, across the country, Luc’s friends received a threatening note after their horse Gaston won the Kentucky Derby. Luc makes it his business to figure out who is threatening his elderly friends.

A few gripes: In The Christmas Mystery Luc gifts K. Burke a ring, but it becomes a necklace at the beginning of this book. On page 101, Luc sets an appointment at 5 for K. Burke, but the next day, she arrives at 4. I thought the hour discrepancy would’ve been explained, but the editing didn’t mention anything. 

I love the fact that Luc did not jump into a relationship or bed for that matter with another woman after Dalia’s death. It was refreshing to see him care deeply for one lady and not having mistresses on the side as other writers tend to portray French Cassanovas to be.

Luc Moncrief is a loveable riot in flashy designer clothes and a fast car and very French minus the smoking and although I have enough French characters in my arsenal, I wished I had written him. He is the perfect amount of everything. Luc deserves a full-length novel.

Final rating: love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

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But wait, it doesn’t stop there!

I read that ABC bought the rights to this series and they’re calling it The French Detective. France’s finest Jean Dujardin is said to be attached to the project. He’ll be portraying Luc Moncrief. 

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His Frenchness is riveting, but I don’t see Moncrief. Should’ve gotten France’s other finest Stanley Weber.

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Bonjour Luc! 

And if they want to go for tall, dark, and brooding, Gilles Marini can get the job done.

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Because let’s face it, they won’t be able to get Olivier Giroud to portray Luc.

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***Photos and GIFs via Google Images

Trinidad & Tobago 💙, Yes, This Is Our World. 🗺

Terror quake rocks Trinidad: a warning for the people

Last evening, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Trinidad sending people scampering out of buildings and houses and calling upon the name of the Lord. Venezuela and Grenada were also affected. It was the hardest earthquake we’ve ever experienced lasting over a minute. 

The house SHOOK so hard, I thought that it was going to rend in half. The windows rattled as if they’ll fall from their hinges and the floors felt as if it was raising up. We thought it wasn’t going to stop, but I was not afraid for I know God was with us. Traffic lights went down, the electricity went out in many areas including ours and some buildings suffered cracks. The aftershock came in early this morning, but it was not bad. 

It could’ve been worse.

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Look at these stats: 

^ 21 August 2018: 0 people killed after a 6.9 earthquake hit Trinidad & Tobago. Also, a 7.3 hit Venezuela and there were no reports of death or injuries. Guyana felt the earth tremor.

^ 5 August 2018: 460 people killed after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Lombok.

^ 20 April 2013: 160 people killed and 5,700 in China’s rural south-western Sichuan province after a 6.6 earthquake.

^ 22 February 2011: more than 160 people killed in the New Zealand city of Christchurch after a 6.3 earthquake.

^ 14 April 2010: 400 people died after a 6.9 earthquake strikes western China’s Qinghai province.

^ 12 January 2010: 230,000 people died in and around the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince after a 7.0 earthquake.

7 December 1988: 25,000 people die in north-west Armenia after a 6.9 earthquake.

^ 18 April 1906: 3000 people die after a 7.9 earthquake strikes San Francisco from the collapsing buildings or the subsequent fire which lasted for several days. It was one of the worst and deadliest earthquakes in the history of the USA.

We should be thankful and take it as a warning, but people here are going “God is really a Trini.” He isn’t. The next time an earthquake of that magnitude hit T&T, I don’t think we’re going to be so “lucky”. God is not a nation’s mascot. He is not a Trini. He is Alpha and Omega. And this was a warning call which many of us won’t heed because “God is a Trini”.