What's in a Name?

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Hebrew, English, Bibilcal, Biblical Latin
Pronunciation:  MAL-ǝ-kie (English)

Meaning & History
From the Hebrew name Mal'akhiy, meaning "my messenger" or "my angel."  This was the given name of one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament and the author of the book of Malachi, which foretells the coming of Christ.  In England, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation.

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  MAHR-vǝ

Meaning & History
Feminine form of Marvin, which is most likely derived from the English surname Mervyn, which in turn is taken from the Welsh given name Merfyn, possibly meaning "marrow famous."  O_o

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Swedish, Danish, Norwegian
Pronunciation:  hyal-MAHR

Meaning & History
From the Old Norse name Hjálmarr, meaning "helmeted warrior."

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Arabic
Pronunciation:  ha-EE-fah, hay-FAH

Meaning & History
Variant transcription of Hayfa, which means "slender" in Arabic.

Names and meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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Book Review [The Shadow Things]

The Shadow Things
Jennifer Freitag

Publisher:  Ambassador-Emerald International
Genre:  YA ?
Released:  2010

The Legions have left the province of Britain and the Western Roman Empire has dissolved into chaos. With the world plunged into darkness, paganism and superstition are as rampant as ever. In the Down country of southern Britain, young Indi has grown up knowing nothing more than his gods of horses and thunder; so when a man from across the sea comes preaching a single God slain on a cross, Indi must choose between his gods or the one God and face the consequences of his decision.

WARNING: Possible Spoilers

I am such a horrible reviewer.  No really.  I think I read this book way back in October or November of 2013, and am only now reviewing it?? *le sigh* Please don't misunderstand, I enjoyed this book, it is merely because I tend to procrastinate and keep putting off what should have been done long ago.

To begin, I found this on sale as an e-book and purchased it, not really knowing what it was about, just that I was following the author's blog and it seemed interesting.  Well, it was.  :]  I was unexpectedly and pleasantly surprised by the whole story, its characters, and the impeccable truth written into its pages.

[The Basics]
This is a historical fiction tale set in the land of Britain after the Roman legions left, leaving everything to dissolve into chaos.  Paganism reigns freely in the land, where Christ has never been introduced.  It is so saddening to see the characters of this story giving credit, thanks, and worship to their pagan gods.  Why?  Because that is all they know.  Until an old monk finds his way to their little village speaking of a single God who teaches compassion, mercy, and forgiveness of sin.

[Spiritual Content]
This is a Christian novel, where the characters are introduced to the one true God.  Some accept the undeserved mercy, others reject it to the point they would kill to be rid of the "defilement."

The people worship the gods Tir, a war-god from Germanic cultures, and Taranis, a Celtic god of thunder.

A village priest seems more of a witch doctor, freely and willingly sacrificing to the pagan gods.  There is a deep sense of evil and wickedness, even the main character feels, though he is familiar with the practices.

A woman has dreams that seem prophetic.

The holy man carries a beaded cross on a necklace and Indi refers to it as a wooden sword.  Jesus Christ is called the Christos.

[Violence & Other Negatives]
Indi, the MC, takes off after a wolf that's been pillaging his village's herds.  He tracks the big black beast and battles against its claws and teeth, coming away severely wounded.  He lives, thanks to the holy man, and his friend finishes the wolf.

A little girl is sacrificed on a bloody altar on behalf of her sick father, against the protests of Indi and the holy man, Procyon.

Indi's sister marries his friend, Cynr.  The wedding ceremony involves cutting the wrists of both bride and groom and drinking the blood from a cup.

[SPOILER] Indi's father, the Chieftain, dies from a sickness.  And the dun (or village) falls into chaos.  Cynr betrays Indi and becomes Chieftain, claiming the right because he had married Indi's sister and declared him incapable and unworthy of leadership, siding with the priest.  Cynr becomes a bitter man, forcing Indi to be his slave, abusing his wife, Indi's sister, and ruling his dun with a harsh hand.

[SPOILER] Indi and Cynr fight briefly in hand-to-hand combat.  He is "cursed" by the corrupt priest.

Indi's mother essentially disowns him due to his loyalty and submission to the God of the wooden sword.

A baby girl is killed in a scuffle.  One man is nearly executed, then save in the nick of time.  A couple men are slain by arrows.

In the midst of the chaos, Indi and his sister accept the peace offered by the Christos and learn to stand strong for their faith even when it seems the whole dun is against them.

Indi gains loyal friends, who would gladly give their all for him and his, despite his position as a slave.  They have seen the corrupt wickedness of the chieftain and recognize the power of Indi's God, and eventually [SPOILER] follow him to a new life in a new land.

[Love-y Content]
Not much.  A wedding is performed.  Indi is given a wife, who is shy and frightened (she had been captured previously to be sold as a slave).  His little wife has nothing to do with him and he gives her the space he thinks she needs.  [SPOILER] She later comes to love and accept him and his God.  They embrace and kiss a time or two.

I must say I enjoyed this tale.  The story was so well-written, the characters alive and real, and the message painfully clear.  We see Indi grow from a young, headstrong boy to a strong, godly man.  He finds peace, freedom, and unconditional love in the one true God that changed his life and his family.

Each character is flawed, but we see again the love of our Lord and His desire that all come to know Him.  This story brings into perspective the need this world has for our God's saving grace, and that it is up to us to share it.


Recommended ages:  16+

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A + A Friday!

  • Falling out of bed while trying to plug your phone into its charger.  Then, laughing hysterically and being unable to explain why you fell out of bed, something that hasn't happened for probably 15 years.
  • Receiving a text message (the loud, resounding sounds of chickens clucking, "Message! Message!") in the middle of choir/band practice when your preacher is discussing upcoming church events; turning as red as a cherry because EVERYONE's attention is now on you.
  • Coming out from the back room of the house huffing and puffing after a good fifteen minutes of
    exercise and stating, "Man, I'm out of shape!" Your sisters promptly laugh.
  • Getting compliments regarding you and your sisters' outfits from random strangers in the middle of Walmart.  You politely thank the lady and wish her a good day.  (If anyone had been looking on, they would have thought the sweet woman was our grandmother!) Don't get me wrong, I love getting compliments! But it can be kinda awkward when you don't know the people. . .  :]
  • Trying clothes on in a dressing room and opening the door for sisters to see, but quickly discovering no one is there. . . So, you retreat back inside wondering if anyone saw you.
  • Arriving to help at a local tractor company's open house luncheon, but having nothing to do for the first half-hour, so you stand around the warehouse awkwardly trying to look busy.
  • Signing up for Instagram about a week ago, but the majority of your family didn't know until the small group Bible study Thursday night when your younger cousin called to his ma saying, "Hey! Sarah's on Instagram!" and Julia says, "You're on Instagram??"  (How does miss-communication happen in a family when you are essentially with them 24/7?)  :]  So, yeah.  I'm officially on Instagram:  @sarahpenmaiden.
  • Cutting yourself on a pair of food tongs.  How??

  • Vanilla Coke.  'Nuff said.
  • Finally finishing the second season of Once Upon a Time!  And now having to wait for the 3rd season. . .
  • Finding an awesome theater company that produces professional-grade, quality, Christian musicals for
    via Sight & Sound Theaters
    the family, AND buying one of their DVDs (Jonah) that same day.  (We received our purchase yesterday and are going to watch it tonight!  Seriously, if you haven't heard of these guys, Sight & Sound Theaters, look them up! You can find them in the previous link and also here, on YouTube.)
  • Workin' cattle all morning Thursday and having no major problems to speak of.  :]  
  • Planning a get-together with a friend. 
  • Finding a heavy, glass cake stand at Goodwill for $8.99 and purchasing to add to future home collection.  :D
  • Driving old tractors.  The feel of the wind on your face and in your hair. 
  • Discovering your library now carries several books and films you've been wanting to read and see!  For instance, Cinder, Howl's Moving Castle, and the BBC version of North & South--already seen it, but want to again!


So, how was your week?  Come on, don't tell me you don't have bouts of awkward/awesome moments!  Share them!  What was the most awkward moment of your week?

Look forward to a book review tomorrow:  The Shadow Things.

Till next time!  

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A Word, Guv'na?

Google Search
noun  a person who admires clouds

This is an obsolete (out-of-date), late 19th century word.  No longer in use.
Unless, of course, you use it.  :]

This definition describes my sister Jenny all the way, who is all the time drawing our attention to the clouds.  Just another beautiful creation by our Master-King.


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What's in a Name?

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Biblical
Pronunciation:  ROO-ǝl

Meaning & History
Means "friend of God" in Hebrew.  A famous bearer of this name is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien), author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and many more fantasy novels.

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  NO-vah

Meaning & History
Taken from Latin novus, meaning "new."  This was first used as a given name in the 19th century.

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Late Greek (Latinized)
Pronunciation:  Eh-RASS-muhs

Meaning & History
Derived from the Greek erasmios, meaning "beloved."  This was the given name of Saint Erasmus, also known as Saint Elmo, a 4th-century martyr, the patron saint of sailors.

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Swedish, Dutch, Finnish, German, English
Pronunciation:  AHN-nee-kah (Dutch), AH-nee-kah (German)

Meaning & History
Swedish diminutive of Anna, which is derived from Hannah, meaning "favour" or "grace."

Names and meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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A + A Friday!

  • Walking normally in the house until you come to floors that have just been mopped but you forgot until your feet get wet, so you throw a panicked Silly Walk and try to get to the safe, dry side.
  • Waiting to rinse an apple in cold water while your sister finishes washing dishes.  You put your finger
    under the hot water and say, "Ah! That's wet!" Except you meant to say it was HOT. . .
  • Vacuuming with a carpet cleaner that sounds as if it might explode at any moment.  (Yeah, our vacuum is messed up and makes this loud, awful sound while running over the carpets.)
  • Medieval Lowe's commercial!  This could probably go in the Awesome section, too.  :]
  • Realizing you really like yodeling.  O_o
  • Stepping into a hole (covered by leaves) nearly three times before finally getting your balance.
  • Having bits of paint in your hair, making it look like you're graying before your time.
  • Leaning against the kitchen counter listening in to a conversation, then randomly slipping in your socks and making a scene before your aunt and uncle, who saw the whole thing.

  • Finished one of the InScribed Collection's books, Living So That by Wendy Blight.  Really good.  You can read my review here.
  • A poem I entered into a contest has made it to the semi-finals!!! They sent me an envelope in the mail also stating that my poem has been selected for publication in a multi-volume series called Across the Lands.  I'm so excited!  (In all actuality, about 60-70% of entries make it to the semi-finals, so this could be the farthest I get, but still. . . It's exciting!  I had to call nearly everybody in my immediate family.) 
  • Applied for a part-time position at a candy store this past Monday.  :D  Still haven't heard from them,
    but hoping.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger -- Seasons 2 & 3, from Walmart.  :]
  • A rainbow around the sun, also known as a sun-halo.  The moon has them too.  
  • Listening to an oldie country station with classic cowboy singers like Rex Allen, Roger Miller, and Marty Robbins. 
  • Trying out new recipes and getting "Mmm"s from the family.
  • This quote:  "Why do bad things happen to good people?  That only happened once, and He volunteered." (R.C. Sproul, Jr.)

Photos via Pinterest.  
Sun-halo pic is not mine--didn't have my camera, but it looks exactly like the halo we saw earlier today.

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Book Review [Living So That]

Living So That
Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life
Wendy Blight

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Genre:  Bible Study
Released:  2014

[rear cover]
Living So That is a fresh approach to understanding God's Word, focusing on many of the powerful "so that" verses in Scripture, including:

Jesus Came So That. . .
God Spoke So That. . .
Pray So That. . .
Trials Come So That. . .

Through her approachable style, personal examples, and biblical teaching, Wendy Blight equips readers to take what they study in the Word of God and practically live it out in order to impact the world around them.  The result is a renewed appreciation for the power and applicability of Scripture.  Through practical examples and biblical truths, Wendy helps readers gain a new perspective on daily living, equipping them to apply these biblical truths to present-day decision-making.


This is a beautiful study filled with truths that are deeply rooted in the Word of God.  Each section begins with a memory verse for that week and ends with a call to action.  There are five sections with five chapters in each part, making it easy to do in five weeks.  Keep in mind this is a Bible study, and therefore has Scriptures to research and dig deeper into, with follow-up questions.  There are spaces left for your notes, but I would definitely encourage getting your own journal for this.

The first memory verse is a classic, but one we all too often tend to take for granted.

John 3:16  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, [so] that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (NIV, bold emphasis added)

Mrs. Wendy Blight stresses the importance of memorizing Scripture.  And for good reason.

"If we can so easily remember catchy lyrics and memorable movie lines, how much more should we seek to remember the precious words of our Lord and Savior?" (Chapter 1, page 3)


Before this book, I had never really noticed the "so that" verses.  And there are so many!  Each hold a beautiful promise.

But let's back up a little.  What exactly is a "so that" verse?  Mrs. Blight enlightens us with a bit of Greek grammar in which we learn that each "so that" statement is called a hina clause, which simply means a "purpose" clause that is used in conjunction with a subjunctive participle.  *pause*  Yes.  I had to stop and reread the whole paragraph regarding this.  It's been too long since my English grammar classes. . .

Anyway, a subjunctive participle sets the mood of a sentence and usually indicates the possibility that something might happen.  When an author uses a hina clause ("so that") in conjunction with a subjunctive participle, it changes the mood of that sentence from one of possibility to one of result or purpose.  Understand?

"The authors of Scripture knew this. . .and, led by the Spirit, intentionally chose to use these two words to connect a truth of Scripture to a practical application of that truth.  They used them to bring truth alive and make it relevant and applicable to our everyday lives." (pg. 7)

Simple, right?  And enlightening.  I didn't realize!  This is so cool!

The book goes from there and tackles the most common "so that"s:  Jesus Came So That. . . God Spoke So That. . . Pray So That. . . Trials Come So That. . . Let Your Light Shine So That. . .

In conclusion, I truly enjoyed this book and recommend it to my Christian sisters.  Sometimes we need a fresh perspective on God's Word and this book acts as another tool in deciphering it.  But always remember: a study is a study.  The Bible can--and will--stand alone.  It's just nice to have another way to help better understand the words of our King.


Recommended ages:  16+

I was provided a copy of this book thanks to BookLookBloggers.com.

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A Man Called Love

New poem, by me, Sarah (pen name: Sarah Sackett).  :]


He speaks in a whisper, rarely a shout;
His arms are Comfort; He drives away Doubt.
His Word is a sword, sharp and sheer;
His hands, always open, are warm and dear.
He came for sinners, the vilest of all;
Those ready to listen and heed His call.
He came to live, an example to be;
Then surrendered everything to die on a tree.
He lived and died for vast mankind,
Bound in world-chains, hopeless and blind.
His Rescue of Mercy and Grace displayed,
Shattered Death's plan -- man's debt was paid!
He sits now on Heaven's righteous throne,
Awaiting the Day He shall bring us Home.

Who is He? This Lord of Above?
He is my God -- a Man called Love.

Photo via Pinterest.  Words Photoshopped by me (with exception of "love").

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The world would wish us to believe we celebrate this "holiday" for all things green and Irish.  But it is so much more.  We recognize this particular day as the anniversary of the death of a great man of God, Maewyn Succat, later christened Saint Patrick, a missionary to Ireland and a devoted servant of Christ.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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A + A Friday!

  • Painting a door where you are sitting on the floor and your sister is beside you (with another sister above. Yeah, how many does it take to paint one door?).  She is painting the far left right in front of you, while you are painting the far right in front of her. . . Erm.  Easy solution to that, but it worked all the same.
  • Painting above another door using a cool little thingy called an Edger and dropping it--TWICE--and getting paint all over hands and sweatshirt.  Younger cousin asks if you want a paper towel, but you just say "Naw," and wipe excess paint onto old jeans.  She replies, "Oh."
  • Driving home when you spot a bull on the wrong side of the fence from the cows.  Call grandparents and help them try to put him back where he belongs, but turns out it was the wrong bull, who had escaped from the other side of the road to confront the other bull who was exactly where he was supposed to be.  So, you jump from the truck to latch the fence before he can get through, then run like Jack Sparrow to get back into the truck because the bull is looking right at you.
  • I think my pet moss is dying.  :[
  • Mixing up words.  For example, I asked Jen, "Hey, do you still have hair in your paint?" (And a couple weeks ago it was, "Wow.  Look how field that green is.")  I think I'm coming down with something. . . *le sigh* -_-
  • Finding a new site for free ringtones! Right now mine is set to this quirky tune about gummy bears.  Oh! and my text tone has chickens clucking, "Message! Message!"

  • Started a new cross-stitch project!  So excited as to how this one will turn out.  (Pics to come soon!)
    Heterochromia Iridum
  • Playing YouTube compilations of soundtracks and letting sisters guess what films the music is from.  This is tons of fun!
  • Getting Coca Cola coupons in the mail! (From MyCokeRewards)  :D
  • Received another new book! The Queen's Handmaid -- expect a review within the next week or two!
  • Meeting an actual person who has different color irises! (called Heterochromia) Long story short, the man was the guest speaker for our church's four-day revival.  A great set of evenings filled with music and messages from God's Word as spoken by a devoted man of God.
  • Sweet comments from older church members.  Makes me all warm and fuzzy!

Feel free to laugh.
You can laugh.
*whispers* Why aren't they laughing?

Ahem.  Hope you've had a great week!  Until next time.  ;D

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What's in a Name? [Surnames]

Wow.  I haven't blogged all week. . . O_o  And it seems today you may get two posts in one day.

Because it's Friday.  Remember?  A + A Fridays?  Yep.  Don't forget to check back later!

Ahem.  Looking back in my archived posts, I realized I have only published one TWO rounds of surnames.  Yes.  Way back in. . . July and, um, September of 2013.  So, here's a new set for you, my fellow writer.  :]

Source:  Location
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  BAHR-lo

Meaning & History
Derived from a number of English place names with varying meanings: "barley hill," "barn hill," "boar clearing," or "barley clearing."

Side note:  This is the surname of one of my MCs in Kyndi's story.  Edmund Barlow, British citizen and wealthy businessman residing in London.

Source:  Given Name
Usage:  German
Pronunciation:  BRAND-t

Meaning & History
German variant of the surname Brand, which is derived from the Germanic given name Brando or its Old Norse derivative Brandr, meaning "sword."

Side note:  Another of my character names.  Jack Brandt, security chief and personal bodyguard (and friend) of Edmund Barlow. (Yes, another Brit.)  :]

Source:  Occupation
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  SAY-lore

Meaning & History
Occupational name for a leaper, dancer, or acrobat, from the Old French sailleor.

Usage:  English, Norwegian
Pronunciation:  HUTCH-in-son

Meaning & History
Unknown.  Possibly means "son of Hutchins," which could be taken from Hudson, meaning "son of Hudde" (a Medieval diminitive of Hugh or possibly Richard.)

Heheh.  I couldn't resist putting a picture of Hutch from the old TV show "Starsky and Hutch" with this name.  :]

Names and meanings via surname.behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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Awkward + Awesome! (A+A Fridays)

Hullo, dear readers!  I've decided to begin a new set of posts to be published every Friday as a kind of summary of my week.  Boring, maybe.  But. . .

The idea comes from Olivia, of Fresh Modesty, and her Awkward+Awesome posts.  Love them!  They always bring a smile, which I guess is the purpose of my version.


  • Dropping a heavy dinner plate on my left big toe, then crying, "My pizza!  Ow.  My toe!" (Because my yummy meal fell to the floor as the doomed plate broke into six different pieces.) Yes, I have a bruise, though it is not near as colorful as it SHOULD be.
  • Laughing so hard that I can't breathe, but when I do it sounds like I'm hyperventilating like a squealing piglet.  This is especially difficult when I'm trying to read a Bible chapter for our family devotions.
  • Standing near the restrooms in Panda Express holding two cold sodas, while waiting for a family member to come back.  People are milling about, so you just stand there awkwardly and keenly begin to observe the ceiling and walls. . .
  • Having a stuffy nose and avoiding speaking to people because I know I sound atrocious, but then feel I was rude and so resort to one syllable answers like "Mmm" and "Really?". . .
    "Hmmm. . . An onion bouquet?"
  • Playing on a five-string electric bass when I am used only to the basic four-string.  (The top string is a B, while I am familiar with an E.)
  • Talking aloud to the obviously deaf TV when a favorite show is on.  For instance, Agents of SHIELD, when the plot takes on yet another twist.
  • Your 7-year-old cousin picking wild onions like flowers on a walk.  Hm.  I suppose it's his version of a bouquet. . .
  • Being slightly addicted to a cute game called Jelly Splash.
  • Learning Elsa's "Let it Go" song in Norwegian.  Such a beautiful language, but the written words don't sound at all like they look.
  • Getting a brand new, just released book in the mail! (One Realm Beyond, Storming the Black Ice) Or getting anything in the mail! Especially if I've already forgotten what I ordered. . . When it comes it's a surprise!
  • Posting a few of my poems on a poetry site and receiving two sweet comments within the day!
  • Watched three episodes of Once Upon a Time, second season! (By myself on my Kindle Fire, because none of my family seemed to like it. . .at all. . .)
  • Penguin "goldfish" crackers!  So much better, in my opinion, than goldfish. :] And cuter, too!
  • Re-reading a book from one of my favorite authors.
  • Receiving a comment on my blog from that author!
  • Transplanting my amaryllis flower that has been hibernating all winter.  (Well, I guess the correct term would be "dormant.")

my loverly amaryllis

Hope you at least got a smile out of all that.  :]

Happy Friday!

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