Hey, Y'all!

Notice anything different?

Anything at all?

No, the background color hasn't changed.  It's still white.  

Haha!  Yes!  I've finally updated my blogger template.  Been thinking about doing so for quite some time, and while I prefer sending off my ideas and requests to fellow bloggers with the fabulous designing skills, it is difficult for them to find the time--especially if they have a waiting list.  And I can't exactly afford to spend money on something I can find somewhere for free. . .

So, here we are!  Whatcha think?  I found this beauty on BloggerCandy.com--they have some cute designs, and all for free!

And with that, it's been an Oo-de-lally of a day.  :]  

source

Don't forget to come again for a couple new posts!


Sweet Dreams

Well, I hope you are not too disappointed.  You should know by now that blogging isn't exactly top priority around here.  I enjoy it immensely, but other things come first and life and books like to butt in.  :]

So this little note is to say that my A + A post for today is still in the drafts. . . But you can look forward to it next week!  Along with a queue of new posts in the works.  

I'm hoping to re-do/re-work my blogging schedule and have at least three postings per week.  I know, sometimes it simply doesn't work out to schedule some things, but I'm the kind of person who likes to have everything laid out clearly before me.  

So, thank you, faithful friends!  For now, I leave you with this selfish kitty:



Sweet dreams, vrienden.

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What's in a Name?

For this post, I'm attempting to fulfill a particular challenge presented to me by a particular friend. :] I shall do my best!  Here are the set of instructions, so to speak:

Right now I'm in need of names to represent a mixed demographic of Americans. I'm going to have a really big group of people from all around the country thrown together in a story I've been pondering, mostly in the 10-25 age range. It's proving slightly harder than I thought to find COLORFUL names for the cast that aren't too UNUSUAL, at least not unusual enough that they draw attention to themselves. Pretty abstract name requirements, I know, but if you want to take up the challenge I'd be happy for the help. ^-^

Upon first reading her comment, I immediately thought along the lines of a futuristic story (forgive/corretct me, dearie, if I'm wrong!).  So, you'll see names below that I think would fit awesomely in that genre. (Notice I said "I think.") As a result of this little challenge, this post may extend/add to another post, continuing, hopefully, next week.  But I'm still up for requests!!

Thane
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English (rare)
Pronunciation:  THAYN

Meaning & History
From the Scottish and English noble title, which ranked between an earl and ordinary freeman, and who usually held lands granted by the king (early English history); or (in Scottish history) the chief of a clan, holding lands of the king, a king's baron.  Originally from the Old English thegn.


Citris
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Latin, Modern
Pronunciation:  SIT-triss

Meaning & History
Meaning unknown.  Possibly from the word citrus, defining a genus of plants such as the lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, kumquat, etc.









Jek
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Modern
Pronunciation:

Meaning & History
Meaning unknown.  Possibly taken from the nicknames Jake or Jack, both of which are derived from the biblical name Jacob.


Danyel
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English (modern), French
Pronunciation:  dan-YEL

Meaning & History
Variant of Danielle, the French feminine form of Daniel, meaning "God is my judge."








Names & history via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

Well, there ya have it.  May have a few more similar handles next week.

Until then, fairfarren!

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A + A Friday!


AWKWARD
  • Stopping to let a skunk cross the road while mumbling and clutching the steering wheel: "Goyourwaygoyourwaypleasedon'tspraypleasedon'tspray!" Twice.  That happened twice.
  • Finding a pair of boots online and discovering a brand new color! "Bungee Cord." Which oddly looks like the color brown.
  • The moment of profoundness:

  • Working at Lifeway one evening, while your entire family (on your dad's side) is celebrating your grandfather's 81st b-day at Stevie B's next door.  After they eat, they pop in to say hi. ALL  15 OF THEM.  Haha! Needless to say, you turn beet red at all the attention, and the assistant manager (a dry humor, sarcastic, quiet sort of man) just looks on curiously. Good fun!
  • What it feels like when you put on jeans right out of the dryer:

  • This bit of awkwardness actually belongs to my sister, Julia. . . She had just got out the shower, dressed and everything, then suddenly exclaimed she'd forgotten her glasses somewhere. . . Turns out, they were on her FACE.  You laugh so hard.


AWESOME
  • 65 degree (F) weather in JANUARY.  (I'm so ready for Spring now.) :]
  • Brand new stereo for my SUV. It plays and ejects the CDs! YES. Aaaannnd my dad is awesome. (He helped me--or was it me helping him?--to install, and deal with all the wiring mess and funk. I now have a working radio/CD player!)
  • Taking a road trip to Cades Cove with your family and some friends. Beautiful, sunny day! A few years back, your family had made it a kind of tradition to stop in at one of the old churches and play with the amazing acoustics (as in, sing a song or three). And so, you sing a couple songs and end with the hymn "There is a Fountain." Occasionally, a small audience will gather and compliment you and family. One man in particular with a special needs son, spoke up as you and company were leaving and asked what church you go to. Your parents respond; and it's the next day (Sunday) that you discover the man had sent an email to your pastor, describing a family that sang the hymn in an old country church and how much he had needed to hear those particular words.  So sweet and uplifting to hear!
  • When a crafty project turns out a success.

  • Illustrating the title page in my leather journal that will become my own "self-published" poetry book, filled with my handwriting and poems.  It will one day be worth millions.  Like, a couple hundred years from now.  :]  Can't wait till I can show pictures!! (Check my Instagram to see a few. . . @sarahpenmaiden )

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What's in a Name?

Hulloa, friends!  I've got a rather mismatched set of Names for you today.

Enjoy!

Leander
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Pronunciation:  lee-AN-der (English)

Meaning & History
From the Greek Leandros which means "lion of a man," taken from the Greek elements leon "lion" and andros "of a man."  In Greek legend, Leander was the lover of Hero.  Every night he swam across the Hellespont to meet her, but drowned on one occasion when a storm arose.


Zuri
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Eastern African, Swahili
Pronunciation:  ZOO-ree

Meaning & History
Means "beautiful" in Swahili.











Silas
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Pronunciation:  SIE-las (English)

Meaning & History
Probably a short form of Silvanus, which is derived from the Latin silva meaning "wood, forest."  In the Old Testament, this was the name of a companion of Paul, who referred to him as Silvanus in his epistles, though there's a possibility that Silas was a Greek form of the Hebrew given name, Saul (via Aramaic).

Willow
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English (modern)
Pronunciation:  WIL-o

Meaning & History
From the name of the tree, which is ultimately derived from Old English welig.











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Thanks for reading, dearies!  Come back soon.

P.S.  Note to Risa: I haven't forgotten your name challenge!! I promise. I just haven't had much of a chance to sit down and "research." But I'll see what I can come up with.  :]

Fairfarren, all.

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Sunday Book Review | Two Renegade Realms

Two Renegade Realms
The Realm Walkers #2
Donita K. Paul

Publisher: Zondervan
Genre:  Christian, YA, Fiction, Fantasy
Released:  2015

{back cover}
Three years have passed since the attack by the corrupt Realm Walkers Guild--years Cantor, Bixby, and Dukmee have spent searching for secrets that could save their realm from a deadly invasion.  Just when they seem close to success, however, a new surprise knocks them off track: the famed Chomountain may indeed be alive.  And it appears their group has been chosen to rescue him from his years of imprisonment.

But when they arrive in the valley where Chomountain supposedly has been kept, they are met by a man whose only passion is fishing.  Desperate, and running out of time before the invasion begins, the three friends, along with Cantor's dragon constant, Bridger, must find a way to escape the growing perils in the valley while also uncovering the answers they urgently need.

--------------------------------------------
WARNING: Possible Spoilers

*I was provided a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.*

{The Basics}
Well, to begin. . .  I LOVE Donita K. Paul's books.  So, of course, upon hearing when the second book to this series would be released, I waited patiently.  Anxiously.  Excitedly anxious, yet patient.  :]  Why?  Because of her fascinating stories, each so intricately woven, are laced with stitches of pure adventure! And the characters.  Each have their own personality, voice, quirks, weaknesses, etc.  They are so fun and. . . purely themselves.

So, on to the actual tale.  In this second book of the series, we return to the characters three years after the conclusion of the first novel.  Three years is a good while to go on your way and return; so, naturally, some of the characters have grown and changed--physically, in one case especially--while others have remained their awesome, lovable selves.

Cantor, alone, is the one who changed the most.  In the sense that he grew.  Yeah.  First book: Cantor is five foot six.  Second: six foot nine inches!!  Whoa!

Bixby, love her heart, is still the same adorable little darling.  Bridger is Bridger.  :]  And his sister Totobee-Rodolow remains her fashionable, lovely self.  Other characters are introduced, but I'll leave them for you to discover.

The gist of the plot: Word of a coming invasion from two renegade planes reaches our crew of heroes, and they hurry to prepare for the impending assault.  This includes gathering two stones and a globe, which essentially act as a key to the realm of the Universe.  Here, they learn how to defeat said invaders.  But first on their agenda is to rescue the famed Chomountain, the right hand of Primen--essentially a Prophet.  During all of this, they must deal with the corrupt members of the Realm Walkers Guild, who seek to take over rule of the realms, outlaw the true realm walkers loyal to Primen, and replace them with their phonies.

{Positives}
Each member of Cantor's team truly care for the others.  It is obvious they would risk their lives for their friends.

From the beginning, we learn that two years prior Cantor left Bixby's company to search for his missing mentors, Ahma and Odem.  Two years later, he has yet to find them.  And while anxious for the them, he puts his trust in Primen to keep them safe and focuses on the tasks at hand.

Cantor comes to finally accept Bridger as his constant, though he still doesn't like to admit it. :]

{Negatives}
The relationship between Bridger and Cantor doesn't seem to have changed much.  In the previous novel, Cantor traveled to Effram in search of a dragon constant and the result was Bridger claiming him whether or not Cantor liked it.  They've stuck together for two years, but Cantor still seems pretty harsh to his dragon friend.

Cantor is attracted to Bixby, but in line of his duty as a realm walker, thinks such a relationship a danger and as a result avoids her and/or blocks her from his mind.  At one point he plays an impulsive prank on her and she flounces away in anger.

{Spiritual Content}
I love how Mrs. Paul ties our faith in her novels.

Primen is the name of God in the Realm Walker's world.  Chomountain is a type of Prophet, known as the right hand of Primen.  He wields great power in the name of the Maker.  Through Chomountain, we learn the will of Primen.  The characters send prayers to Primen and trust that He will guide their steps.

"Claiming righteousness tied an ordinary man directly to Primen, and in that association, the man could call upon the power of Primen.  It was an old-fashioned term, but still held in awe by some."
(p. 343)

Realm walkers/healers/wizards, etc., each have their own talents and during battle, they can be harnessed as a force of energy.  I suppose you could call some of it magic. :]

{Violence}
War is imminent.  While in the Observatory of the Universe, the Realm of Eternity, Cantor and his team study the coming invasion by watching the scenes unfold as if in the future.  Hence, they see the horrible aliens, the Lymen, arrive to invade and pillage the planes, destroying and killing anything and everything in sight.  People and animals are slain on sight, and/or eaten.  To the Lymen, babes are a delicacy and are swallowed whole.  Animals are beheaded and stored away for future use.

The Lymen themselves resemble green plant-men, with arms like leaves, and yet are used as blades and deadly sharp.  The seed pods they use to travel shoot little palm-sized disks that embed in flesh.  Defenders are struck down by the disks and Lymen arm-blades.

It is war, but Mrs. Paul does not go into bloody detail.  Men and dragons alike are wounded and fall.  One has a hand cut off.  A dragon loses a wing, but we are told it will grow back.  A tent full of men explodes, killing nearly one hundred people.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
No language.  Medicinal drugs, herbs and potions are used for healing.  And sleeping potions are useful in dispatching a group of guards.

{Love-y Content}
Cantor develops an attraction to Bixby, and Bixby likes him as well.  They hold hands a time or two, if I recall correctly.

During an intermission in the battle, Dukmee leaves to preform some other task but not before kissing Bixby on the cheek.  Kind of random and way out of character for him, but sweet.

Just before leaving to go about his own duties, Cantor turns abruptly, scoops Bixby into his arms, hugs her and kisses her cheeks and unruly hair.  Again, so sweet!  No lip-locking, I promise.  :]

{Conclusion}
I think it's pretty obvious: I LOVE these books!  Such great stories filled with adventure, hilarity, good fellowship, food, and faith.  I would definitely recommend to my friends!

--------------------------------------------
Recommended ages:  13+

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A + A Friday! is Back!!


AWKWARD

  • Sitting at a concert, during intermission, and looking in the opposite direction when all of a sudden your sister (who's sitting at your right) shoves your mother's purse into your lap, but you think it's some kind of wild animal.
  • This GIF:

  • Removing your earrings before hopping in the shower (I actually have two piercings per ear) and  halfway through you realize you left one little stud in, 'cause you got distracted.
  • Dropping a small cheese plate and it. . . breaks.  Yes.  You stand there looking guilty.  Well! You are.
  • Speaking your mind before thinking.  I know, I know.  But this can make for awkward moments. . . And that's when the Awkward Avoidance Viking would come and knock you out.
  • A Potoophon.
Pinterest
I laughed out loud! (Well. . . maybe guffawed is a better word.)  Do you know what a Potoo bird is?  This will make more sense if you do.  They are the most random, hilarious-lookin' birdie I've ever clapped eyes on.  But I love 'em.

Google


AWESOME
  • The lovely Christmas season.
  • Fantastic gifts from friends and family.  Some of my absolute favorites include a camera lens travel mug, typewriter necklace, Baymax plushie, and a pair of Durango moccasin boots! (Just to name a few. . .)
  • The start of a brand new year! 2015 
  • A New Year's Eve party with a bunch of friends and family. What a blast!
  • Driving by four huge motor-buses, and in one you see a scene of Disney's Frozen movie playing!
  • Marvel's Agent Carter premier!
  • Part-time jobs: Lifeway for the Christmas season and working inventory at a local tractor parts company.  So thankful for my little bit o' income. :]
  • Ordering some items from ThredUp and seeing that you saved over $86!
  • This quote: "May we be as wise as Elves, as merry as Hobbits, as faithful as Dwarves, and as brave as humans." source




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What's in a Name?

Hullo, again!

Just wanted to let you know, while my blogging schedule is back to normal, per ce, my sisters and I are working inventory all week. . . So, you'll please forgive me if I miss a normal posting.

By the way, how's your first full week of 2015 going?  Excited?  Anxious?  Fearful?  Doubting?  Fear not.  Leave your worries and care in the capable hands of the One who knows every step.

For now, I leave you with a couple new names to mull over.  In the meantime, do you have any name requests?  Do you need some help figuring out the perfect lid for a new character?  Or do you need to find the meaning of your character's name?  Whatever it may be, I'd love to help in any way I can! Shoot me a comment!!

Here's a half-set of names with an Italian flavor:

Amadeo
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Italian
Pronunciation:

Meaning & History
Italian form of Amadeus, which means "love of God."  Famous bearers of this name include Amadeo Avogadro (1776-1856), an Italian chemist most known for the constant that bears his name: Avagadro's name.  Another bearer is the Italian painter and sculptor Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920).







Mattea
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Italian
Pronunciation:  maht-TE-ah

Meaning & History
Italian feminine form of Matthew, meaning "gift of YAHWEH."












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Sunday Halloo & Poem

Welcome back, dearies!  Happy Sunday!  I do hope your weekend was lovely.  We had quite a bit of rain, but I'm not complaining, though it would have been nice if the forecast had just a wee bit o' snow. . .

Anywho, I wished to share with you my latest poem, composed late one night this past week.  It centers on one word that has been on my mind since a day or two before New Year's.  More on that subject later.

But before I leave you. . . Now that the holidays are past, my blogging schedule should be back on track, more or less.  So, I wish you adieu!  Until next time.



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Welcome, 2015!

source
Happy New Year!
Here's to a fresh new year, dearies! I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store. 

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world,
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours.
- Irish Blessing -

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