Elegant Blogger Award!

I have been awarded!



Many thanks to Christina of Idelwild for presenting me with this reward.  So sweet of her!


THE RULES
  • When you receive the award, link back to keepcalmandsparkle1099.blogspot.com and the blog that nominated you. (In my case: Christina! [http://idlewildcl.blogspot.com/])
  • Display the award button in the post
  • Answer all of the 12 questions given in this post (Do not make your own questions)
  • Nominate 12 bloggers
  • Notify them that they have been awarded

THE QUESTIONS


1. What made you decide to start blogging?
With family living on the other side of the country, we thought this was a great way to keep track of each other -- a better way than Facebook, in my opinion. (No offense meant to those who do Facebook.) My mother started a blog first, and I posted a bit on it, then my sisters and I decided to start our own, and it grew from there. I love it! =]


2. What is your fashion style?
Comfy and cute. =3 I love mixing and matching, but am very particular about colors and such. I love a-line skirts, feminine blouses or girly hockey-style shirts, and ballet flats. 

3. What is something none of your followers know about you? 
Um. Oh! I own a Ferrari F430 Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. Yup. Bright red. 

Okay, okay. It's a LEGO model... But I still own it! (Some of you readers may have already known that due to a post on the 3Maidens blog.) Among seven, no, EIGHT Hot Wheels Mustangs of various models...

[In reality, I do own an awesome 2004 Nissan Xterra, jet black, stick-shift, with a Captain America sticker on the back door.]

Oh. And I'm also an agent of SHIELD. (In my mind, anyway.)

4. What are some of your blogging goals?
To eventually have 100 loyal followers. Yes, I know, a LONG way off, but I want to be the type of blogger with something worthwhile to share, and eager readers with whom to share it. Maybe lessons I've learned in my twenty-one years of life, wisdom I've picked up along the way, and generally overall good, fun writings that fellow readers would love to read and pass on.


5. Where is your favorite place to shop?
McKay's Used Book Store! (I could live there.) Books-A-Million. (I could live there, too.) ^__^ Goodwill. 


6. What would your ideal amount of blog followers be?
As mentioned above, my goal would be 100 followers. I want to earn them. Does that make sense? I could host a giveaway with this awesome, one-of-a-kind prize, but I don't want that to be the reason they sign up to follow me.

7. What are your talents?
I have been told that I have a natural talent for dance (ballet, etc.). ^__^ Actually, I think I'm more of a lass of all trades, mistress of none... I play the electric bass guitar; I know a little bit of both violin and ukulele, but really I haven't mastered them. And I make an awesome chocolate chip cookie, if I do say so myself. ;D (That's not really a talent...)




8. Are you a leader or a follower?
I can be a leader, such as teaching a small dance class or organizing a party something or other; but I guess I prefer to be the follower.



9. What is one of your favorite quotes?
Oh dear. Don't get me started! I have PAGES AND PAGES of quotes. But I guess my favorite would be: "...A strong man who has known power all his life may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength." Dr. Erskine paused then pointed to Rogers' chest, emphasizing each word,"And knows compassion." (Dr. Abraham Erskine, Captain America: The First Avenger)



10. Do you have a favorite book or book series?
Why such hard questions?? I apologize, but I must name a few: The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour (my ultimate favorite); The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), The Redwall series (Brian Jacques), The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy (Claire B. Dunkle), The Restorer series (Sharon Hinck), and so much more!


11. Out of all of the synonyms for elegant, which would you describe yourself with (smart - stylish - dressy - graceful - dainty - fine)?
In all modest-ness, I think I am rather graceful and stylish. Dainty? Probably not, I grew up and live on a farm. My hands are calloused, and, in my opinion, not very pretty...



12. What is your favorite flower?
The red Poppy. I love tulips too, but the Poppy is my favorite. 

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Again, my thanks to Christina for this award!

And now it is my turn.

I hereby reward the following bloggers:
Ashlin from My Hiding Place
My mother, Jody from Farm, Faith, Family
My sisters, Jen & Ju from Maidens of Virtue (I blog there, too, but it still counts for them!)
Lauriloth from Musings of an Elf
Morgan & Katie from Two Sisters
Jameson C. Smith from Words on a Page
Brittney from Daughter of the King
Leah from Apassionata
Joy from Fullness of Joy
Michaela from Rhapsody in Pink
Lena Elizabeth from Love of a Lifetime

Technically, that is 13 bloggers (if you count the 2 pairs of sisters). . . But they deserve it!

Thank you for stopping by.  Come back again soon!

Chainsaw Therapy [Rydan & Safia]

Are you ready?  Here is my newest Chainsaw Therapy, featuring Safia and Rydan, from my main work-in-progress (WIP).  

To find my first edition, click here.  And to read the origin of this awesome exercise, by Katie of Whisperings of the Pen, click here.

[a bit of background for my characters]
Rydan:  Crown prince of Gondoa (a large country loosely based on America).  Eldest son of King Ryen and Queen Adrie; brother-in-law of the young King Colton, ruler of Ardos (sister kingdom to Gondoa), who married his older sister, Anna -- both now have two young children, Cassyndra and Cody; older brother of Sasha and Tori, princesses of Gondoa.  
Safia:  My main character, who has suffered much.  Poor thing.  Bless us and splash us!  *ahem* O_o She has witnessed the death of her mother, eight years before, and most recently the death of her father and his entire merchant crew in a battle at sea.  (Sounds a bit extreme, I know. . .)  Rescued by the prince's men, who were returning to their home country after an ambassadorial trip to the Twelve Isles, she is welcomed as one of them.  And the story goes on. . . =]  She is quiet, reserved, has a slight temper, and is slow to trust.  
Mo'mbweno Bongani:  Known simply as Mo.  A huge, dark-skinned giant of Makar (based on the familiar continent and countries of Africa), standing six foot seven.  First mate of Rydan's ship, the Sea Falcon, and bosun of the royal family's ship, the Victory's Crown.  Loyal to the kingdom of Gondoa and her rulers, personal friend and bodyguard of her crown prince.
Peder:  You know him, right?  =]  Cadet of the Red Guard, a division of the elite fighting force of Gondoa.  You can read more of his character and background in my seven-part short story, All in a Day's Work (Part 1).

To read another summary of my WIP, Safia, click here and scroll until you find the name Faina.

What are you waiting for?  On to the story!

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        The air was cool. The sea, calm. A mild wind stirred the open sails of the Sea Falcon, gently pushing her on course.
        Rydan, crown prince of Gondoa, stood at the helm of his ship, completely at ease in his role as captain. His eyes roamed the deck below where a small number of his sailors were spending their off-duty hour on a game of cards. He could hear the soft laughter of men having a good time.
        Breathing deeply as a fresh breeze ruffled his hair, Rydan looked toward the bow of the ship. He caught a glimpse of raven tresses and knew she was in her favorite spot, nestled on the slim, cushioned bench in the nook of the prow. He sighed. Though he relished the days at sea, this voyage was different.
        Different in the way he felt he was losing something.
        Safia.
        Movement nearby interrupted his reverie and caused him to turn.
        “Mvamawe, Raja! Hail, Prince! Did'ja miss me, life-friend? Were ye lonely?” greeted the booming voice of a giant man with dark skin, a bald head, and a big smile. He wore the custom attire of his home country, Makar; consisting of a sleeveless shirt, matching tan breeches, a wide maroon sash tied at the waist, and leather boots. A large golden earring hung on his left ear and two arm-bands, of the same substance, on his upper arms completed his native look.
        “Mo! Where have you been? I thought for sure that fish had come back for revenge and you were helpless to escape. What a monster! And who says I'm lonely?”  With one hand, Rydan released the spokes of the ship's wheel to clasp his friend's hand. Mo'mbweno Bongani, known to all as Mo, grinned and offered to relieve Rydan of his post.
        “What creature can stand th' might of Mo?” he replied, with a fist to his chest, as he took the wheel.
        “None!” the prince agreed. “Thanks, Mo,” he said, moving aside to allow his friend the power of the helm. Stretching stiff limbs, he commented, “By the way, what is on the menu for this evening?”
        “Now, why would I know de answer to dat?”
        Rydan laughed. “Because you smell as if you were the one marinated and cooked in one of Cat's famous stews. Taste testing again, are we?” Mo's expression of mock astonishment and lost dignity almost caused Rydan to lose his quizzical glare.
        “Me? Commit such a crime? D'ye think ol' Catfish would allow anyone other den 'imself to touch 'is precious concoctions?”
        Eyebrows raised, Rydan gave him a look.
        “The ladle o' stew I had was beyond delicious. Well worth the rap I got on de knuckle for it,” he said, grinning.
        “What is it? Seaman's Stew? Beefy Bard's Bounty?”
        “Oh no. I swore on pain o' death I wouldn't tell a soul,” said the big man, serious. With his hands on the helm, he leaned down closer to Rydan's eye level and whispered, “ 'E threatened t' chop ma head off–wid 'is ladle.”
        The prince could no longer contain the mirth welling within. He burst into laughter. Mo humphed at his post and glared straight ahead.
        “Go on, Raja,” he mumbled. “Ye can laugh all ye like, but ye won' get an answer from me.”
        “Alright, alright! Keep your head. If there's anyone on this ship you need fear, it's Catfish, the five foot cook, and not the Makarian giant. Very well, Master Mo, I know who to call if we find ourselves under attack.
        “Aye. Beware the ladle.”
        It must have been the manner in which the dark man stated the latter sentence–a deadly serious tone–that set the prince laughing once more. He slapped his friend on the back, then ducked to avoid a return swipe that could possibly have knocked him down.
        “I'll be forward if anyone needs to know,” he called when he had regained his breath, then turned for the stairs that led to the lower deck.
        Mo replied in a loud voice so all of his men could hear, “Give 'er m' best greetings, Raja!” Rydan sent him a glare, but continued to the main deck.

        Safia half-heard the exchange between the two men on the upper deck, and would have laughed with them had she not been so preoccupied with thoughts of her late mother's family. With every movement of the ship bringing her closer and closer to the people she did not know, a home that would never be home, and memories she wished to forget–it was all she could do to keep from screaming, much less jumping at every sound.
        Fingering the medallion her father had given her with his dying breath, she felt a comfort. Her eyes closed and she allowed the sway of the Falcon to calm her.
        Moments passed like so until the strong voice of a man awoke her from the pleasant doze.
        “May I join you?” Safia opened her eyes and looked up at the prince standing before her. She smiled. Over the last few weeks, she had come to trust him as an invaluable friend.
        “Of course.” The bench, large enough to hold three girls her size, was a comfortable length to allow the two space with an incredible view from the fo’c’sle deck, just before the bowsprit.
        Safia drew her legs closer to her chest, adjusting the folds of her skirt as he settled into the cushions adjacent her. Hugging her knees, she looked at him, well aware her current position was far from lady-like.  At the moment, she didn't care. She was far too weary from worry and fear.
        Rydan reclined against the side railing and stretched his legs before him, sighing contentedly. With head back and eyes closed, he enjoyed the sea air as it riffled through his dark locks. For a minute or so, they sat quietly. He could feel her watching him. Peeking at her with one eye, he met both of hers and was surprised by a sadness in the depths of deep blue. A sadness she tried to hide.
        Leaning forward, holding her eyes with his, he voiced his concern.
        “Are you well, Safia?” His tone was soft. “The closer we have come to Charan, the quieter you become. Is there something you are not telling me?
        She looked away. There was far too much he didn't–couldn't–know.
        “I am fine,” she hesitated, staring into the sea before them. “Honestly, I am afraid.”
        “Afraid?”
         Releasing the tight hold she had on her knees, Safia stared at her hands, hating the tremors that were beginning to run through them. She clasped them tighter and looked to the horizon.
        “I do not know my mother's family. The vague memories of my childhood visits with them were few. Only once do I remember seeing my grandparents, and that was in the town, when they ventured far enough from their castle walls to speak with the people they governed.” She shook her head, as if to rid her mind of useless thoughts. “What if they won't accept me?  What if they are gone?  What” she stopped herself. It is nothing. Just the foolish worries of a little girl.”
        They were silent until Rydan spoke a moment later.
        “I made a promise that I would take you to the port of Sancor,” he began. “But that doesn't mean I have to leave you there.” Blushing, she met his eyes as he continued. “If you wish it, you can return with me. Safia, I–” His next words were broken by an otherworldly sound:
        BRRRRGHBEEEWHHRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
        Instantly, his sword was drawn and he was on his feet before her, ready to defend. Safia, wide-eyed and with hands over her ears, was frozen in place, terrified.
        Rydan's sword, aimed steadily down his ship's deck, swerved right and left trying to discern the source of the horrid sound. His men were coming to life, roused suddenly by the monstrous noise.
        At last, Rydan pinpointed the direction of the noise and moved forward, gesturing for Safia to stay. Slowly, he walked to the ship's port side where a skiff had been lowered earlier that day for fishing purposes. As he came nearer to the railing, he began to make out a voice bellowing over the monster.
        “Blast it, lassie, that ain't no tree! It's a bloomin' boat!”
        Leading with his sword arm, Rydan peered over the edge just as a scattering of his crew arrived. What he saw left him far more bewildered than before. A big man, not as tall as Mo, yet just as broad, wearing blue overalls, a faded red-flannel shirt, and baseball cap, stood in the little boat with a broken oar and an annoyed expression. Despite being quite bald, the man sported a bushy beard. In his hands was the source of the sound. He pounded and tugged at the object, finally silencing its monstrosity. The man was still mumbling unintelligible words to himself when Rydan decided to address him. But before the prince even uttered a word, his childhood friend, Peder, was suddenly at his side.
        “What is this? Dan–” The young Guard's features changed to sudden recognition and he scrambled to the ship's side. “YOU!”
        Baffled, but sensing no danger whatsoever, Rydan sheathed his sword and signaled for his men to do the same as they listened to the banter between the stranger and Peder Grey, Guard of Gondoa.
        “What is going on?” Rydan turned to find Safia at his elbow.
        “Looks like we have a stowaway, though for the life of me, I cannot figure how we missed him. It appears that Peder is acquainted. If that is the case, it is probably best we do not know.” Rydan called to the sailors standing by the rigging and ordered them to hoist the skiff up. While his men worked to bring the little boat level with the top deck, Safia and Rydan listened to the conversation commencing between the annoyed guardsman and the mysterious stranger.
        “. . .This is a royal ship! And we are in the middle of the Tandic Sea! What in heaven's name are you doing here??”
        “Tandic Sea? Royalty? Oi, sonny! Don't I know you?” The big man's mouth widened in a beaming grin and he slapped his thigh in recognition. “Well I'll be buttered, you're the fellow from the forest, eh? You sure get around, don'tcha?”
        By now, the boat was level with the deck, and Peder glared up at the man afresh. But before the young man could speak another word, the stranger slapped his own forehead with a beefy hand, startling Peder, and exclaimed, “Don't tell me, I've done it again! Blasted portals! Down to the depths whoever thought of mayonnaise!”
        Rubbing his temples with the tips of his fingers, Peder muttered, “That would be the French.”
        “What?”
        “Nevermind.”
        As the banter continued, Rydan shrugged and ordered his men to return to work. Turning to Safia, who stood quietly watching the two with a smile, he offered his arm.
        “Come on. Let us leave them to it, shall we?”
        “But what is that thing?” Rydan looked to where the strange object rested on the deck.
        Again, he shrugged his shoulders, “Who knows? Probably some contraption of the future, so made to saw effortlessly through whole trees.”
        “What?”        “I don't know. What say we go to the galley?”

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(photo via Pinterest)

*beams*
What did you think?  Not as funny as my first. . . But still.  It was so much fun to write!

This writing exercise is perfect if you are currently suffering through a writer's block.  Or even just for fun!  Pick a character or two, put them in their own normal, little world, then add a random man with a chainsaw.  Simple, yes?  Have fun with it!


What's in a Name?

Featuring Ocean-themed names!

Dylan
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Welsh, Welsh Mythology, English
Pronunciation:  DUL-an (Welsh), DIL-ǝn (English)

Meaning & History
From the Welsh elements dy "great" and llanw "tide, flow."  In Welsh Mythology, Dylan was a god or hero associated with the sea.

Famous bearers of this name include the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) and the American musician Bob Dylan (1941-), born Robert Zimmerman, who took his stage surname from the poet's given name.  Due in part to the above-mentioned bearers, popularity of this name has spread outside of Wales in the last half of the 20th century.  In the 1990s, it received a further boost in popularity thanks to a character in television series "The Beverly Hillbillies 90210."


Morgan
Gender:  Masculine & Feminine
Usage:  Welsh, Welsh Mythology, English, French
Pronunciation:  MAWR-gan (English), MORE-gan (English)

Meaning & History
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant, which was most likely derived from the Welsh mor "sea" and cant "circle."  It is also the modern form of Morgen, used in the 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay.  Geoffrey possibly based it off of the Irish name Muirgen, a feminine name meaning "born of the sea" in Gaelic, instead of the Welsh variant, which would have been spelled Morcant at his time.  

Since the 1980s, Morgan has been more popular as a girl's name rather than a boy's, possibly due to stories of Morgan le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).


Kaito 
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Japanese
Pronunciation:  [possibly] ky-TOH, ky-EE-toh, KAY-toh

Meaning & History
From the Japanese elements kai "sea, ocean" combined with to, which refers to the constellation Ursa Major, or to "soar, fly."







Nerissa
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Literature
Pronunciation:  nah-RISS-sah, NE-riss-sah

Meaning & History
Created by Shakespeare for a character in his play, "The Merchant of Venice" (1596).  It is possible he took it from the Greek Nereis, meaning "nymph, sea sprite," which is ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god Nereus, who supposedly fathered them.  








Requests?


Name definitions and history via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

Book Review [The Fairy Princess]

The Fairy Princess
debut novel by Lena Elizabeth

Amazon Description:
Enter the world of fairies and dragons once again as you enter the life of Angelique, the grandmother of the first-born hafling princess Amara. Angelique Sirlan lives a normal life as an adopted high school student preparing for graduation. That is, until she finds a gold necklace and a mysterious portal in the woods outside her home. When she goes through the portal, she meets two fairy royals who seem to believe that she is their long-lost fairy princess. Is she really the fairy princess who will inherit the throne? Step through the imagination's portal to discover what lies beyond.


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I was absolutely thrilled when Lena Elizabeth asked me to review her book!  Excited, and, I confess, a bit wary.  You see, while I love books, and don't mind reviewing them, I am a complete maniac when it comes to proper punctuation, correct spelling, etc.  And a book whose author comes with the tagline of "self-published" brings warning signs to my mind.  Although I came across a number of simple mistakes, I enjoyed the story.

The synopsis listed on the Amazon page kind of threw me off a bit.  Just a bit. When this brief paragraph introduced the main character, Angelique, as the grandmother of a princess named Amara, I admit I was a little confused.  Amara is not even mentioned once in this book.  Only her mother, Tamira, daughter of Angelique, is named.  Obviously, there is a sequel!  The Halfing Diaries.  Next on my review list!

On to the actual tale. . .
Note:  this review contains spoilers!

Knowing this is the author's debut novel, I read with a completely open mind.  As mentioned earlier, there were a few simple mistakes in spelling and grammar, easily overlooked.  But all in all, this story is a good, easy read.  It took me two, maybe three days, mostly due in part to my schedule, to enjoy the tale this story had to share -- normally, I could have read it in one.

Set in present day times, the story itself centers around Angelique, a normal teenage girl working her way through the last few weeks of high school.  We learn she was adopted by a Christian couple twelve years before, loves them just as she would her birth parents, and is a strong Christian herself -- unafraid to share her faith with a skeptical unbeliever.  One day, while jogging through the forest from which she was first discovered as a child, Angelique stumbles upon a portal, leading to another world.  That of medieval and fantasy.  Pixies, dragons, fairies, elves, unicorns -- you name it! and those characters are most likely roaming the beauty of this fantasy world.  From that point forward, Angelique is led on an adventure, kidnapped by an evil wizard and his dragon, finds romance, loyalty and friendship.  (The love interests between the characters is purely clean, no issues at all there.) =]

I have always loved the idea of mixing our modern world with that of the Medieval/fantasy.  I enjoyed the simplicity of the plot and storyline, and was saddened when I was obliged to stop for some chore or other.  I wanted to finish and find how it ended!  Overall, this was a good story and I loved the chance to share in its secrets.

Now, I shall give you my rating, after which I will then explain the reason for it.

Rating from 1-5 stars, being:
1 star = total dislike, not worth time
2 stars = it was okay
3 stars = liked it
4 stars = really liked it
5 stars = loved it!
My rating:

I really liked this story.  Please don't get me wrong!  Miss Lena did wonderfully, considering this is her first published novel.  Still plenty of room for improvement.  But isn't that the same for everyone?  Of course!  (Especially me.)  =]  

Positives:  Great descriptive adjectives!  For example, an "alice blue gown."  (I don't know why I like that description so much.  Creative!)  I've already mentioned my love of combining modern and Medieval worlds. . . Another good trait, in my opinion, is unpredictability.  There was a time towards the climax of the tale where I was reading and thought, "Hey! Why did he do that??  Why did he just let her go?!?" But as I read, it made more sense and added a level of intensity to the plot.  Well done, Miss Lena!

Negatives:  Various misspellings and minor grammatical errors.  Characters are a bit too perfect.  Sad to say, but I believe they need a few flaws in their personalities.  One of the very things I struggle the most with in creating my characters.  The ending battle's transition from attack mode to normalcy was SUPER fast.  Didn't seem to flow quite as smoothly as I thought it should.

In conclusion, The Fairy Princess is a good story.  (I can't wait to read its sequel, The Halfing Diaries!)  Good, yes, but it could be better.  Still, Lena Elizabeth has done what I have yet to do:  finish a story!  And that, in my mind, is a great accomplishment.  

Recommended ages: 10-12+

Many thanks for reading!

And a huge thank you to Lena on my part for allowing me to review this book!

You can visit Lena's blog here.  And her Google+ profile here.

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Have a recommendation for me?  I would be happy to read it!


. . .something(s) to look forward to. . .

I know my posts of late have been few and far between, and I don't wish to complain and make excuses as to why I haven't been posting. The reality is -- Life.  Happens.  Can I get an "Amen!"??  =D

To bring you up to speed, I have begun dance lessons once again!  Long story short, I am taking classes to eventually have the ability to instruct/teach lower skill levels of ballet (and possibly tap, hip-hop, jazz, etc.).  My first day back began Monday, and today (Thurs.) concluded my two-days-a-week schedule.  Other than being sore all over and worn out, I am loving it.  ^__^  Thank you, dear Risa, for your prayers concerning my decision in this!!!

A couple things to look forward to. . . (in no particular order)

Chainsaw Therapy.

Yes!  I have written another excerpt in this writing exercise, featuring my character Safia.  Remember to return in the next few days to read the latest of my writings!

And, last but not least, a Book Review!


The Fairy Princess.  A self-published, debut novel by young author Lena Elizabeth.  I was only too happy to read this novella in order to give my review.  And quite flattered that she asked me to do so.  =]  I will post the review as soon as possible!  Patience, my young padawans.  All in due time.

A new Name post, featuring an Ocean theme, is on the "Coming Soon" list as well. 

Have I forgotten anything?

Now, I must bid you adieu.

Fairfarren, dear readers!


What's in a Name?

Per request, by my dear friend Risa, this particular Name post features names that I think would/could be classified as Sci-Fi and/or futuristic.  

Neo
Gender:  Masculine & Feminine
Usage:  Southern African, Tswana, Greek
Pronunciation:  NEE-oh, nee-OH

Meaning & History
Means "gift" in Tswana.  Also used from the prefix meaning "new," ultimately derived from the Greek neos.

This is the name of the main character in a series of films, the first entitled The Matrix.  I must say, it is. . . bizarre.  Really.  Beyond weird.  It would not be one I would recommend. . .


Siri
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Pronunciation:  SEER-ee, seer-EE

Meaning & History
Short form of Sigrid, derived from the Old Norse name Sigríõr, which comes from the elements sigr "victory" and fríõr "beautiful, fair."


Jem
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English (Archaic)
Pronunciation:  JEM

Meaning & History
Medieval form of James, the English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus, ultimately derived from the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov (Jacob).













Kielo
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Finnish
Pronunciation:  kie-LOH, KIE-ǝ-loh, KEE-ǝ-loh

Meaning & History
Means "lily of the valley" in Finnish.













What do you think?

Other names I found, with no particular meanings, include:

Arran (M)                 Erin (F)
Zev (M)                    Meridian (F)
Genesis (M or F)        Miri (F)
Loc (M)                   Aida (F)
Boon (M)                 Sono (F)
Doon (M)                 Taryn (F)
Ransom (M)              Decree (F)
Zak (M)
Garred (M)
Nero (M)

[Those in bold are some I've come up with.]

Any more requests? 

Would you like to see more Medieval names?  What about names with Ocean meanings?  Or Fire?  Give me a theme and there is a good chance I can find a name, or three.  =]



Name definitions and history via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

hello, friend. who are you?

Normally, I dislike this sort of thing.  

Polls.  

But I have decided to host one on my sidebar for the sake of seeing the majority of ages to whom my blog reaches.  So, I hope you will take the 2 seconds (if you have fast internet) to click one of the four little dots in your respective age group.   



It will be difficult not to miss.  Follow the direction of the lovely arrow above and you will see the little poll at the top of my sidebar.  If you need any more direction than this, you may need to consult a doctor of some kind, preferably not the witch doctor.  I know what he will say.  =D

[edit] I realize that ages 20+, especially some who have acquired a goodly amount of years, are not classified as "young."  But this age group is obviously for ages 20+, so if you are 42 (or older), this counts for you! =]

Thank you!  Again, this is not important.  But it is so good for me to see who reads my ramblings!


Book Review [Beautiful Girlhood]

Beautiful Girlhood
Revised by Karen Andreola

rear cover:  
What can be more beautiful than the budding and blossoming of girlhood?  Those years of transition from childhood to womanhood are filled with wonderful interest and promise.  But the young feet that travel this way may be unsteady and unsure.  Each could use guidance, a helping hand along the way.  To encourage our girls to a nobler life and truer ideals is the task of this book.  

Far away there in sunshine are my highest aspirations.
I may not reach them,
but I can look up and see their beauty,
believe in them and try to follow where they lead.
[Louisa May Alcott]

"I remember, as a young girl growing up during the 1920s and '30s, receiving Beautiful Girlhood as a gift.  Reading it again after many years brought back such good memories.  We need to encourage our daughters to desire the same ideals and values today."
Audrey O. Renich
mother of eight, grandmother of twenty-nine, great-grandmother of fourteen

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I am assuming that the majority of my readers are tween/teen girls, and that there is a very low chance I even have a few gentlemen, if any, who visit. . .  Needless to say, this book is written for girls, obviously.  But, to clarify, my review contains no surprise, or otherwise unexpected content.  It is perfectly safe.  I promise.  ;D

I understand that at twenty-one I am pretty much well out of girlhood.  Heheh, again, obviously.  But that doesn't mean I have to refrain from reading such great resources as this book, right?  Absolutely not.  If you have just celebrated your tenth, eleventh, twelfth birthday, this book is for you.  If you are a grandmother of twenty, this book is for you!  I would definitely recommend mothers and daughters to read it together.  This is one of those I wish I had five, ten years ago.  I believe it would have helped me a great deal.  

On to the review.

The very first quote I wrote down was this:  "She who does not make the world better for having lived in it has failed to be all that a woman should be." (pgs. 17)

Pretty harsh?  Aye!  But true.  

Throughout the book, the author gives the illustration of a blooming rosebud, using a rose to represent a daughter's change from girlhood to womanhood.  What better way of describing a daughter of the King?  Good character, modesty, meekness, and gentleness, are just a few virtues which make up beautiful girlhood.  "Christ is our Perfect Pattern, and only those who form their lives after Him are building the best character." (pgs. 33)

For the sake of time, I will attempt to keep this brief.  =]  

Your girlhood, my dear friends, is so important.  Do not waste these years by trying to speed it up.  Do not wish to be older than you are, because guess what?  Someday you will be that age, and unfortunately, life is not a fairytale.  You don't have any idea how much I wish it was!  

Do not desire to be someone you are not!  One of my favorite quotes comes from Dr. Suess.  

"Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is youer than you."

Hello?

Chapter 7 acknowledges the follies of the tongue.  Our words are powerful.  Even more so as women.  We have the power to build up or tear down.  "Disrespectful speech is more hateful because it begins at home.  Where the girl should be her best she is her worst, for she is always more ugly to her loved ones that to anyone else..."  I confess this has been me all too often.  And, at times, still is.  Behavior and attitudes such as this are to be surrendered at the foot of the cross.  Only there can we be changed.  But you must first be willing.  The quote continues on that same page, "The time will come, my young friend, when you will gaze upon the still form of one you loved, and you will regret with tears and sighs the harsh words you have spoken.  Do not lay up for yourself sorrow for that time." Need I say more?

Chapter 19 is a Conversation on Dress.  Literally a dialogue between a mother and daughter on the modesty of dress.  I could post this whole chapter, it was so good!  Mothers, if you ever find yourself in need of a good definition to help you in explaining the subject of modesty, look up this chapter.  It covers nearly every question a girl might have on why she should wear this and not that, why others wear what they do, and why she should not, etc.  I may dedicate a post on this chapter in the near future. . . 

As with all of my reviews, there is so much I am obliged to leave out.  So, in conclusion, I will end with another quote from the last chapter (33) and hope you come away with the knowledge that girlhood, though a bit frightening and unexpected at first, is a beautiful design of the path into womanhood.  That God desires a close relationship with each of us.  And that purity and modesty play a big part in beautiful girlhood.  As women, we have power over men.  Do not take advantage of this power.  Look to your mother or other godly women as an example, search the Scriptures, but most importantly, seek the face of God.  
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Your parents, especially your mother in this situation, DO know what is best for you, and it pains them to see you rebel against their wishes.  Listen to them.  Only God knows you best, but your parents are a close second. 

"A good woman can be like a star of hope, a beacon-light, a peaceful retreat, to the man who is struggling against the obstacles of the world.  In her he can see the ideal of purity and truth, and his manhood will strive to be worthy of her.  But if she steps down from the path of true, virtuous womanhood and becomes petty or sinful, she will be his downfall.  There is no true woman who does not know that she is in some measure her brother's keeper." (pgs. 204)







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I would recommend for ages 10+.
My rating: 

What's in a Name?

Per request.  ^__^

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Anne
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Basque
Pronunciation:  AHN (French), AN (English), AH-nə (German), AHN-nə (Dutch)

Meaning & History
French form of Anna, which in turn is a form of Hannah meaning "favour" or "grace."  In the 13th century, this name was imported to England, and was commonly spelled as Ann.  The name was borne by a 17th-century English queen and also a wife Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (the mother of Queen Elizabeth I), who was eventually beheaded in the Tower of London.  This is also the given name of the heroine in "Anne of Green Gables" (1908) by Canadian author L.M. Montgomery.  

As a Frisian name, Anne can be either masculine or feminine, and is the short form of names beginning with the Germanic element arn meaning "eagle."


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Jessica
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian
Pronunciation:  JES-i-kə (English)

Meaning & History
This name was first used by Shakespeare in his play "The Merchant of Venice" (1596), belonging to the daughter of Shylock.  Most likely, Shakespeare based it off of the biblical name Iscah, which comes from the Hebrew name Yiskah, meaning "to behold."  In his time, Iscah would have been spelled Jescha.

 Jessica was not commonly used as a given name until the middle of the 20th century.









Coming next in the Name posts:  Sci-Fi/Futuristic names.

Any requests?



Name definitions and history via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.