Dawning of a New Year

2014 is knocking at our doors. 
Can you believe this is the last day of December and the last of 2013?  It seems this year has flown by.  I still remember the first of Summer, wishing for the days to last.

Life is fleeting.  We must learn to take nothing for granted.  Do you remember the quote I used in a previous post? 

"What if, when we wake up in the morning, all we have is what we thanked God for today?"

 This applies to our everyday lives, of course.  Not just during Thanksgiving, or Christmas.  We should wake up every morning and fall to our knees before the Holy King.  Is He the first thing that comes to your mind?  Ashamed, my answer is often no.

Strive this new year to put God before you in all things.  I can guarantee if you do so, this year will be one to remember.

Happy New Year!

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December Snippets!

'Bout time I joined the blogging world, again, eh?

Here's a few Snippets for you.  Enjoy!


      A little while later, after showing nearly the whole ship to the thorough Aktaran, they passed the king's quarters.  The Ishadi captain stopped and inquired about this door.  Rydan was mad with impatience, though he managed to keep his calm.  They had lost two valuable hours of sailing time--two precious hours which could have brought them all the more closer to Gondoa by now.
      "Oh, that?" Marcus sighed, rubbing a hand across his face. "I hate t' tell ye this, m' friend, but that be a door."
[SAFIA; aboard the Gondian ship, Victory's Crown]

      "Are you saying your sisters are spoiled?" Jok whistled and laughed again.  "Wait until they hear what their puffed-up brother thinks of them!"
      "Come on, Jok.  I didn't say that!  Safia's different somehow.  I--" Rydan stopped himself and began pointing a finger at the older man.  "No.  No, sir.  I see what you are doing.  You're trying to get me riled up in order to confess my feelings, if any.  Ha!  I saw through your devious plan, you like these debates!"  Rydan cupped his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chair, placing his boots atop the table.  "Well, sir, it won't work.  Not this time."
      Again, Jok chuckled and picked up a book he had set aside.
      "And I'm not puffed-up."
      They were silent.  If possible, you could have heard Jok's smile.
[SAFIA; aboard the Crown]

      "What she saw?"  The woman's face contorted into anger. "What was to see?  Nothing!  He was a brute, a monster.  Headstrong, stubborn, violent--unfit for my daughter!"
      "He had changed!" Safia's voice rose a notch in volume.  "He discovered a future, a new life.  Because of your daughter!  He forsook his past and pursued a life of honesty.  We--"
      "Honesty!" Meline scoffed.
      "Mother," Gabriella began, distressed, wary about the direction in which this conversation was headed.
      "Silence, daughter!" The mistress snapped and turned back to her granddaughter. "He was a pirate, they do not know the meaning of such a word.  A pirate will speak boldly before you of honesty while lying in their teeth!  They always know the right thing to say, the best way to make the most profit--all without a single care for the others to whom their deeds may harm.  Blackhearted fools, that's what they are.  He--your father--was just like them!  He had no heart!"
      At the outburst, the older woman sat abruptly in her chair, wide-eyed, as if pushed by the strength of the girl's voice.  The small parlor was quiet as the last echo of Safia's words died away.  The girl, herself, stood rigid, feet apart and hands clenched.  Her face was down-turned and her hair fell as a shield before her eyes.
      It was deathly silent.  The air thick with tension.
      Then a soft voice broke the dark quiet.
      "You did not take the time to know him. . . You were not the one to be swallowed up in his arms as a little girl and feel that nothing in the world could harm you.  You never heard his laughter, rich and full, and join in even though you did not know the reason.  You didn't watch him sweep her off her feet to dance on the white sands in the moonlight or hear the deep, baritone of his voice as he sang you to sleep. . .
      "You did not hear the screams that night.  You were not present to watch as he bore the limp body of his wife to shore.  Nor were you there to hear as he cried to Eliadan for mercy, to take his life instead of hers. . .  You didn't watch helplessly from a distance as he cradled her in his arms or witness as he laid her beneath those beautiful white sands."  Safia paused, aware of the tears running down her face, yet unashamed.
      "You call him a pirate, well, at one time that was true.  But no longer.  He died a cherished father, a brave captain, a worthy friend, a hero.  You think of me as his daughter, but forget that I am also the daughter of your own precious girl.  A pirate?  Maybe.  But as for her, my mother, Faina Belle Rouseau Leifson, she was his greatest treasure."
[SAFIA; before the Mistress Rouseau, her grandmother]

"Prayers can win wars, love, but they are only as strong as your belief."
[Faina Leifson, SAFIA]

      She wanted to pray.  But she did not feel like talking to Eliadan.  She would never admit it aloud, but it felt like He had abandoned her.
      Tears fell.

      "Eliadan?"  Safia could feel the panic rising.  The scene around her was fading, yet she could still feel His embrace.  His rich voice spoke in her ear and reverberated in the corners of her mind, instantly soothing her tired heart."
      Hold fast, dear one.  I will never let you go.
[SAFIA, unknown chapter]


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When Came the Light of the World. . .

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy this season of Giving.  Cherish the love of family and fellowship!  But don't ever forget the Truth of this holiday when came the Light of the World.

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What's in a Name?

Old English names!

A little history: 
Old English, also called Anglo-Saxon, was a Germanic language spoken in England from about the 7th century to the 12th century.

After the Norman conquest in 1066, the Anglo-Norman language (a dialect of Old French) displaced Old English as the tongue of the nobility.  Naturally, many Old English given names were replaced by Norman-French ones.  Names like Leofwine, Sigeberht, and Æðelflæd fell out of use.

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Old English
Pronunciation:  ED-wǝrd (English), ED-varht (Polish)

Meaning & History
Means "rich guard," derived from the Old English elements ead "rich, blessed" and weard "guard."  A known bearer of this name was Saint Edward the Confessor, a king of England shortly before the Norman conquest.  He is remembered as a just ruler, and because of his popularity this name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced with Norman ones.  The 13th-century king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven other kings of England also bore the name.  This is one of the few Old English names to be used throughout Europe, in various spellings. 

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Swedish, Finnish, Slovak
Pronunciation:  me-TIL- (English)

Meaning & History
From the Germanic Mahthildis, meaning "strength in battle."  Saint Matilda was the wife of 10th-century German king Henry I the Fowler.  The name was introduced to England by the Normans, borne by the wife of William the Conqueror.  Popular until the 15th century in England, it later took its vernacular form of Maud.  Both forms were revived in the 19th century.  This name appears in the Australian folk song, "Waltzing Matilda" (1895).  

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  [Old] English, French, German, Czech, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Pronunciation:  RICH-ǝrd (English), ree-SHAHR (French), RIKH-ahrt (German)

Meaning & History
Means "brave power."  It is derived from the Germanic elements ric "power, rule" and hard "brave, hardy."  Introduced to Britain by the Normans, it has retained its popularity since.  It was borne by three kings of England, among them Richard I the Lionheart, leader of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.  Other famous bearers include two German opera composers, the British explorer Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), and American musician Little Richard (1920-). 

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  [Old] English
Pronunciation:  KEN-drǝ

Meaning & History
Feminine form of Ken, which is ultimately derived from a Scottish given name meaning "handsome" or an Irish name meaning "born of fire."  Could also be taken from Kendrick, an English surname of various origins--possibly meaning "royal/bold power," or from a Welsh name meaning "chief hero."

Names & Old English history from behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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Book Review [Veiled Rose]

Veiled Rose
Tales of Goldstone Wood #2
Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Publisher:  Bethany House
Genre:  YA
Released:  2011

A Monster Prowls the Mountains of Southlands

      Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely. 
      Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands. 
      But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find? 
      Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?

Warning:  Possible Spoilers

Oh dear.  I am so behind in these reviews!  My list to do seems to get longer and longer. . . I just received my copy of Captives by Jill Williamson yesterday!  I've been dying to read this one!  And Moonblood is also waiting patiently for me to pick it up. . . Then I have a manuscript of Lauriloth's that's been "picking up dust" in my computer files--don't get me wrong, I love what I've read of her book so far! But splitting my computer time in half to read it along with my others. . . I just kinda feel overwhelmed at the moment.  (So sorry, Lauri!  Believe me, I will get it done!!  I LOVE what I've read so far! =] )

On to the review.  Similar to the first of the series, I loved the second addition to the Tales of Goldstone Wood.  Anne Stengl's writing style is brilliantly fresh and descriptive, her characters relate-able, and the story intriguing.

[The Basics]
Veiled Rose centers on a young prince, whom we caught a small glimpse of in Heartless.  In the first book, Leo, as he was called, was exiled from his home kingdom at the arrival of a Dragon.  In shame and disgrace, he journeyed in the guise of a court jester--something he has always wished to be--in hopes of finding some way to free his kingdom of the Dragon's smoky chains.

In this book, we delve deeper into his childhood, learn more of his personality and character, and come to understand why he does what he does.  His summers are spent away from home, this time at the ample mansion of his pompous aunt and prickly, book-nerd cousin, Foxbrush.  Hill House.  Located in the Mountains, said to be haunted by a Monster.  Well, what is a little boy to do when there is talk of a monster in the woods by the house?  He finds it his duty to hunt and kill it, right?  And that is just what he sets out to do.  With the advice of an old gardener, Leo sets off into the unknown, a trusty beanpole in hand and naught but his courage.

But it isn't a monster he finds.  He meets a girl.  And her goat.  Albeit a strange and mysterious girl, who wears veils that cover her entire body, not even her face is visible.  Rose Red is her name, and the two become unlikely friends.  She hides a terrible secret.

[Spiritual Content]
As mentioned in the previous book, the Dragon represents all evil.  It is his duty to make chosen characters his children.  One part I found quite bizarre and confusing is with the Dragon and the Lady.  Brother and sister, they play a game for the "souls" of the characters.  In this case, where the Dragon won with Una, he lost with Leo (or Lionheart, as is his true name) to his sister, the Lady.  She, in the victory, plagues Leo's dreams throughout the whole of the book, promising that whatever he wishes she will provide.  Which might be true, it is purely up to Leo to decide what exactly it is he desires--whether he will succeed his father as king, a heavy burden, or do what he truly enjoys, travel as a jester, make others laugh.

Rose Red, however, struggles with the Dragon in her own dreams, for it was he who won her in the game between himself and his sister.  Through it all, she has an Imaginary Friend, that in my thinking, acts like the voice of God to her.  He loves her and will continue to even though "she breaks [his] heart."  Sound familiar?  God loves us anyway.  Even when we choose not to listen to Him.

It is mentioned some people worship the Lady and her Dark Brother.

Spirits are bound in chains, and freed.  Rose Red travels a path that seems like an underworld of darkness, where she encounters creatures of the past, bound for eternity.  A legendary lantern lights her way, providing hope.  One character tells her, "You walk freely into Death's arms.  Why?"  She makes no answer knowing this is the path she must take in order to save a person that she doesn't particularly like.  She does it anyway.  But she is not alone.  A guardian rushes to her aid in the nick of time.  Her Imaginary Friend (mentioned above), you will know him as Someone Else in Heartless, remains by her side, speaking words of comfort and courage.

This is a medieval/fantasy story.  And what good is a medieval/fantasy tale if it doesn't have swords, monsters, and dragons?  As in Heartless, the Dragon leaves destruction wherever he roams.  A kingdom is leveled, people suffer the effects of dragon-smoke, leaving them wandering and empty.  A man is beaten with iron rods as punishment, fights erupt in a rich man's house, Leo is roughly tossed from an Emperor's presence.  Rose Red follows a path to "Death's world," where death reigns, blood stains the ground, a monster roams aimlessly horribly wounded, and yet still "alive."  Rose attempts in vain to help this creature with his injuries, but is unsuccessful and is forced to leave him to his eternal pain.

[Love-y Content]
Prince Lionheart, or Leo, comes to care deeply for Rose Red, though he knows nothing more could ever come of it.  Later, we return to Oriana Palace where he meets Princess Una.  We see a review of this story from his point of view this time and he seems to genuinely fall in love with Una, she in turn gives him her heart.  But he has come for a purpose, no matter how much he cares for Una, his kingdom comes first and he leaves her behind without explanation.  Eventually, he finds himself betrothed to the beautiful Daylily.

Overall, I loved this story! which continues in the third addition, Moonblood.  It teaches us that appearances are not what makes one beautiful, but what is evident in the heart.   It is easy to get confused towards the beginning and middle, but don't worry too much, it all pans out rather nicely, I believe.  Also, in the midst of all the seriousness, there is a good spattering of humor.  And in my opinion, that has a lot to do with the quality of a book.  One part in particular I literally laughed out loud.  And I don't usually do that.  :D

(i.e.) "Why are the trees pink and dripping frogs?"  

If you laughed, bless your heart.  =]


Recommended ages:  13+

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