A "Hello!" and a "Just so ya know. . ."

Well, hello!  I just wanted to wish everyone a beautiful last day of June.  Gah!  Can you believe July begins tomorrow??  Summer, please stay longer.  Stop flying away!

Pwease?

And I also wanted to let you know that this little blog will not be as active (if you can call these scattered posts "active". . .) as usual. . .  Because, for the month of July, there will only be occasional posts every other day or so, or perhaps once a week.  But I am by no means gradually leaving this blog for good!  There WILL be posts!  I am merely stepping away from the "leech" known as the Internet and not logging in as often.  Hopefully, I shall accomplish great and wonderful things.  ;D  Like writing a short story! or actually finishing my WIP. . .

Anyhoo, that's what going on for me this month.  So, don't forget to drop by!

Here's a random GIF to make you smile:



Many thanks, my friends.  Fairfarren, for now.  :]

Happy Monday!

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

A + A. . . er, Saturday! :]


AWKWARD

  • When you're on your sister's computer, and of a sudden it becomes possessed, opening up camera mode and you have NO idea how.  Your fingers are innocently scrolling through the page and BAM! it happens again!  So many times, you actually lose count until you are ready to hit the thing with a baseball bat.  Then someone mentions restarting it.  So you do, and all's well.  Hmm.  That would be awesome if it worked for everything. . .
  • Discovering a portion of the hem of your skirt is not properly pressed, while you and family are out performing (singing/playing guitars and interpretive dance).
  • When your three-year-old cousin uses you and your siblings as "paper" for his stickers.
  • At the Tractor Show when a thunderstorm pops up.  Squealing as rain pelts you and family in sheets of wetness and you are sure the older gentlemen, also sheltering in the same pavilion, think you and your family has never experienced a rain shower before. . . (Although it was a storm.  The rain was pouring in sheets and the wind whipped it till it blew sideways.  Needless to say, we were goodly wet. :] But it was fun!)
  • My pet moss, Pete, finally succumbed to his "sickness."  TT_TT

  • Stepping in a massive piece of gum and getting it ALL over your favorite white flats. . . >:[  and wishing you had a match. . .
  • After having found a beautiful German-made teacup at Goodwill, your brother mentions that there will be a huge estate sale after you die.
  • Realizing that the Romans are Italians.  O_o  (Ok, I know this! But have you ever really thought about it? You almost never hear "I am an Italian!" It's usually, "I am a Roman!" You know, like in movies. . . Am I the only one who thinks this?)
  • When your phone goes bonkers, and you don't know how to turn it off because the power button is jammed.  (I Googled an alternative.  It's okay now.)  :]
  • Zoning out while playing a game, and EVERYONE is waiting for you to put down your card.  [them] "Sarah!" *throws card* [me] "No, really! I AM paying attention. . ."



AWESOME

  • Eating your sister's fresh, homemade Cinnamon Zucchini Bread. *yum!*
  • Finding new and interesting books to add to your never-ending To-Read list:  Throne of Glass and Cinder -- just to name a few. :]
  • Hiking to Piney Falls where everything is wet and refreshed after a rain earlier that day, and while thunder rumbles directly overhead.  (Loved it!  We didn't get rained on, which was good, I suppose, because of the rocky trail. And the Falls were gorgeous!)
  • A bounty of homegrown garden vegetables.
  • Summer is here!
  • This quote:  

  • Oreo ice-cream sandwich from Steak n' Shake.  Delicious.
  • Watching HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 on the BIG SCREEN!!! It was incredible! Such a great film.  Definitely a keeper.
  • Finding an exercise buddy to help keep you accountable.  P90X, guys.  Yep.  All the way!
  • Learning a new game: Tripoley!
  • Sisters who calmly jump in when you are stressed out.

Hope your week has been fun!  Enjoying the Summer?

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

The Olaf Award!

My dear friend, Lauri, from Musings of an Elf, has graciously awarded me. . .


Oh, thank you, my friend! These are such fun.  And it's Olaf!  What more can I say? :]

~Rules~ 
1. Answer the award questions. 
2. Pass the award on to however many bloggers you choose, using the same or your own questions.

Simple, yes?  On to the questions!

-----------------------------------------

1. What is your favorite Disney movie of all time? 
          Oh my.  You start with this question??  *mumbles under breath* So hard. . . 

I've finally figured out that I don't really have favorites--because there are so many I LOVE!  Gah!  Ok, ok, Tangled!  But Frozen, is a close second.  And Sleeping Beauty and Beauty & the Beast will always be close to my heart.  ^__^

2. Of the three newest Disney films (Tangled, Brave, and Frozen), which is your favorite? 
          Again, it's gotta be Tangled.  :]

3. Do you tend to prefer Disney films made prior to the 2000s or those made more recently?
          I have to say, I love the Classics.  Simply because they are classic!  The art and animation is traditional and incredible.  For example, Sleeping Beauty has (along with quite a few others) the hand-drawn, frame-for-frame, sketchy look that took a lot of time, effort, and talent.  Can you imagine??  I'm not saying there's none of that going into films nowadays, but think of the difference in technology from then to now, and wow.  It just blows me away!  But also, the quality of CGI (computer-generated imagery) in movies now (compare Toy Story [1st film] to Frozen) is amazing.  The details and realistic qualities is absolutely AMAZING!  

4. Who is your favorite character in Frozen
          Elsa.  :]

5. Everyone loves Disney music. Any movie whose soundtrack you particularly enjoy? Limit yourself to three.   Just THREE??!?  Tangled's music is so lively! (surprised?)  Kingdom Dance from Tangled is a favorite.  National Treasure.  And Pirates of the Caribbean (all four soundtracks are great).

6. In your opinion (similar to Question #3), has the quality of Disney's film-making decreased as time has gone on, or has it only improved?  Regarding those with CGI, it has definitely improved.  As to storylines. . . Well, there are ups and downs in all.  Values change, unfortunately.  But Disney has still managed to put in a good word and/or lesson that speaks a truth or two. 


7. Favorite Disney couple? 
          Rapunzel's parents, the king and queen of Corona.

8. Favorite Disney sidekick? 
          Hmmm. . . I'm gonna say Merida's horse, Angus, from Brave

9. What is the worst Disney film you've ever seen? 
          The Nightmare Before Christmas.  UGH.  Disgusting, horrid.  I LOATHE the animation.  Halloween is not a good thing--except for the candy.  Love the candy.  :P  And maybe the dressing-up part. . . 

10. Lastly, what is one lesser-known Disney film you'd recommend?
          NEWSIES!  If you love musicals, you'll enjoy this one.  :]  






-----------------------------------------

Woohoo!  Now, before I announce my nominees. . .

Because this is a Disney tag and it features Olaf from Frozen, here are a few fun facts from the film:


  • Hans, Kristoff, Anna, and Sven were all named after the original writer of "The Snow Queen," Hans Christian Anderson.  His story is the fairytale that Frozen was [very] loosely based upon.
  • Olaf's name is a clue to his comic-relief.  It can be interpreted as "oh, laugh." 
  • When Elsa unclasps her purple cloak, during the song "Let it Go," it signifies her as "letting go" of her royal duties.  Purple is a traditional color of royalty in the Nordic culture.
  • The horses in Frozen are actually based on the Norwegian Fjords.  They're real! 

-----------------------------------------

Ok, time to go.  Hope you enjoyed this post!

I hereby award. . . 

Anyone and everyone! 
who wishes to participate!  Because Summer is now fully underway, I understand the pressures and how fast your time seems to be spent.

So, if you wish to join in, here are the questions:

1. What is your favorite Disney movie of all time? 
2. Of the three newest Disney films (Tangled, Brave, and Frozen), which is your favorite? 
3. Do you tend to prefer Disney films made prior to the 2000s or those made more recently? 
4. Who is your favorite character in Frozen
5. Everyone loves Disney music. Any movie whose soundtrack you particularly enjoy? Limit yourself to three. 
6. In your opinion (similar to Question #3), has the quality of Disney's film-making decreased as time has gone on, or has it only improved?  
7. Favorite Disney couple? 
8. Favorite Disney sidekick?
9. What is the worst Disney film you've ever seen? 
10. Lastly, what is one lesser-known Disney film you'd recommend?


Have fun and don't forget to leave a comment if you decide to do this!  I'd love to read your answers.  :]

Have a great week, mii rinur

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

What's in a Name?

Excuses, excuses.  I know.  I have missed yet another A + A Friday.  I hope this won't become a habit. . . But I do feel like I had a good reason!

I had the A + A post saved in drafts and nearly ready to publish on Friday, but somehow it wasn't.  Obviously.  Anyways, that night we went to my aunt's house to learn a new game, Tripoley!  Good fun.  :]  (We didn't play the poker part, I promise).  ;D  Then, Saturday, we took a trip to Crossville for the Cumberland County Tractor Show and afterwards a hike to Piney Falls.  That in itself was quite an experience!  Hopefully I'll have a couple pictures to share with you later.

On to the post!  Alas, only two names this time.  But enjoy all the same!

----------------------------------------

Eldar
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Azerbaijani
Pronunciation:  (possibly) EL-dahr, or el-DAHR

Meaning & History
From a Turkic element el "country, society" and a Persian element dar "possessor."





Tamsyn
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English (British)
Pronunciation:  TAM-sin

Meaning & History
Variant of Tamsin, which is a condensed form of Thomasina, the Medieval feminine form of Thomas, meaning "twin."


Requests?

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

Daddy's Day!

Happy Father's Day!
to my Daddy.
I couldn't have asked for a better father to serve as the godly, Christian example that a leader and protector of the home should display.  He serves as a strong and steady anchor for my family and I thank my God for him.

I love you, Daddy! and I'll always be your first little girl.  <3

Happy Father's Day!

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

A + A Friday!

Happy Friday, my friends!  I'm catching up from missing an A + A last week.

Hope you've had a lovely day so far!  Thanks for taking the time to stop by.  :]


AWKWARD

  • When sneezes sneak up on you. . .
  • When you can make yourself laugh.  For example, I know a certain girl who can tickle her own feet and laugh doing it.  (Yes, yes.  You guessed right--it's me!)
  • Handing your mother your sister's sketchbook to see the latest drawing, but she won't take it because she's expecting you to hold it just so she can see; but you can't 'cause you've been weed-eating all morning and your arms feel like limp noodles.
  • When a person keeps snatching looks at you and your family, and you feel like you should know them, but you don't. . .
  • When a scene from a LEGO TV show makes you jump.  O_o  Heheh. It was just unexpected. . .

  • When you read of a cool, unique name that you've never heard of before, and then suddenly you see it everywhere.  
  • When someone asks something regarding your stories and you turn all shy and bashful.

  • Feeling like you need to apologize for one-too-many GIFs. . .  (Does anyone find them annoying?  So sorry, but sometimes they fit my reactions all too perfectly!) 
  • Admitting to a couple friends that you like to play the Wii's LEGO Star Wars, LotR, and Pirates games.  They look at you in astonishment as if to say, "How old are you?"  (But I feel no shame!  *beams*  And they're good friends, they understand! I think.)  :D



AWESOME
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 just came to the theaters TODAY!!!
  • When asked by a cousin which is your least favorite Disney film, you and your best friend say at the exact same thing at the same time: "Pinnocchio!"  (No offense to any who does like it. . .)
  • Filling in for the secretary at the church office every day this week and getting a wee bit o' income!
  • Watching Beauty and the Beast, then drawing and making up your own versions.
  • Going to McKay's Used Book store and leaving with FIVE treasures! (beautiful copy of The Secret Garden, hardback Sherlock Holmes, a sequel to L.B. Graham's Binding of the Blade series, Heart of Ice by Lis Wiehl, and The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickinson.)
  • Watching LEGO's Ninjago seasons 1 & 2 (DVD).  So cute!
  • Reading (and finishing) the 10th addition of The Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja. Such a great read! Love that series. :] 
  • Homemade Orange Cake.  Need I say more?
  • This quote:  "Hard times will consistently be there, but so will Christ." (Al Fox)


How's your week been?

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

What's in a Name?

Wow!  This marks the 50th Name post!  Whoa.  That means approximately 200 names have been featured on this here blog.  :O  Double WOW!  That's "beyond awesome.  It's be-awesome!"  ;D

On to the names!


Takeshi
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Japanese
Pronunciation:  tah-KEH-shee (possibly)

Meaning & History
Means "military, warrior" in Japanese.









Lena
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese
Pronunciation:  LE-nah (German), LYE-nah (Russian), LEE-nah (English)

Meaning & History
Scandinavian, German, and Polish short form of Helena ("torch" or possibly "moon") or Magdalena ("of Magdala"), and Russian short form of Yelena.

Antonello
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Italian
Pronunciation:

Meaning & History
A form of Antonius, an Ancient Roman form of Anthony (English), which possibly means "priceless one."

This is the given name of a character of mine, though he goes by the name Tony.  He is the father of Chess Palladino, my main character in a concept story I'm working on.




Larisa
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Russian, Ukranian, Croatian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Pronunciation:  lah-REE-sah (Russian)

Meaning & History
Possibly taken from the name of an ancient city in Thessaly, meaning "citadel."

In Greek mythology, this was the name of a nymph, a daughter of Pelasgus, and was later borne by a 4th-century Greek matryr who is revered as a saint in the Eastern Church.





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

-----------------------------------------

Check back next Monday for a set of names for twins!

Any requests?

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

Book Review | A Deadly Business

A Deadly Business
A Mia Quinn Mystery
Lis Wiehl with April Henry

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Genre:  Christian Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Released:  2014

[Goodreads]
If the hours don't kill you, the accused just might.

Mia Quinn is a Seattle prosecutor working on high profile cases in the Violent Crimes unit while juggling the impossible demands of single parenthood. Her husband, Scott, was killed in a car crash that homicide detective Charlie Carlson now believes was no accident. Charlie's instincts and professional record make it impossible for Mia to refute the evidence she'd rather not believe.

When the powers that be refuse to reopen the case, it's up to Mia and Charlie to investigate, all the while trying to deny a growing attraction between them. Was her accountant husband really in league with nefarious criminals? And who is the young woman whose photo they find on his computer?

Uncovering the truth may hurt Mia in more ways than one.


--------------------------------------
WARNING: Possible Spoilers
This is an adult fiction novel.  Some scenes reveal quite a bit of blood and/or disfigurement that may or may not be mentioned in this review.  Simply be aware that mystery thrillers such as this one involve a good bit of blood and gore, as well as a body count.

[The Basics]
Mia Quinn, court prosecutor and single mother of two (fourteen-year-old Gabe and four-year-old Brooke), struggles to make ends meet while working full time and providing for her precious kids.  After losing her husband, Scott, to a car accident, her world is turned upside down by the knowledge that he had kept secrets and buried them in debt.  For the past few years, she had noticed the change and the gap between them, but neglected to act until it was too late.  Now, her friend Charlie, a detective with the Seattle police, believes Scott was murdered.  

Meanwhile another case makes its way to her desk and demands attention.  Two of three boys are arrested for dropping a shopping cart on a woman from a four-story building.  It is Mia's decision whether to charge them as adults or juveniles.  In order to discern the best route, Mia and Charlie interview each boy and anyone close to them.  All come from broken homes and bad neighborhoods, with no chance to learn life the right way.  Mia's heart breaks for them and she does her best to build her case as well as make it so the boys can have a second chance--something that would not happen if they were sentenced to an adult prison.

All this piles on to her already heavy burdens, which threaten to bury her for good.  In more ways than one.

[Positives]
Mia does her best to be both parents to her children.  She makes an effort in her busy schedule to talk and play and regrets when work calls her away.  (Hey! I rhymed.)  Despite doubts and worry, she doesn't hesitate to welcome a family into her own home when they had lost theirs and were living in an unheated garage.  

She loves her kids and would do absolutely anything for them.  

Gabe, now the man of the house, tries his best to be just that.

[Negatives]
Because Mia works full-time as a prosecutor, she doesn't have much of a chance to interact with her children, other than get them ready for school, breakfast, and brief makeshift dinners.  She regrets not having the time to tumble with her daughter and feels she's missing the best years of her kid's lives.  Gabe is distant and quiet.  They no longer go to church, her youngest doesn't have any memories of God's place at all, and Mia herself has fallen away.

[SPOILER]  We learn that Scott was cheating on Mia.  

It is implied that Mia's boss is having an affair.

[Spiritual Content]
Not much.  Though this is a Christian fiction.  As mentioned above, Mia has fallen away and realizes so.  She prays, but usually only when life gets tough.  This novel just seemed very vague on the faith issue, and I wished there had been more to it.  (Still a great book, though!)

[Violence]
Mia is nearly cut in the throat with a razor blade during a court session gone wild.  The criminal in question lunges and wraps his fingers around her throat.  She is bruised and shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

Mia's home is seemingly broken into, but no evidence that anything was taken.  Her son and daughter arrive while the alarm is blaring; he goes in alone, leaving Brooke to hide in the bushes.  Very intense scene, but no harm done.

A woman is severely injured when three thoughtless boys drop a shopping cart from a four story building.  We read a full description of her physical condition while lying in a hospital bed.  I won't go into detail, but it is quite gory.  [SPOILERS] She survives, but is left in a coma for most of the book. * Her own husband attempts to kill her in an act of "mercy."  He doesn't succeed.

Scott, Mia's late husband, was killed in a previous car accident.  We read the full detail of his injuries.  Again, gory.

A woman is shot, which proves fatal, but not before she leaves a message in her own blood.  A man is sent to make it so she will be unrecognizable in death.  (He cuts two of her fingertips with clipping shears, but is interrupted before he could do anything further.)  

Restaurant workers are being abused and threatened by their manager.  We see bruises on a waitress' wrist.  A man is slapped hard across the face.

A woman is abducted at gunpoint and forced to drive the guy's car to the harbor where they board a yacht.  She later jumps ship and nearly succumbs to hypothermia before she is rescued.

A man is grazed by a bullet and breaks his arm.  Another is shot in the chest twice. 

[Language, Alcohol & Drugs]
Muttered curses and expletives, but never spelled out.

Brief mention of wine, maybe. . ?  A guy makes a mental note to by a beer for another guy as a "well-earned reward."  

[SPOILER]  It is discovered that a business is smuggling cocaine.

[Love-y Content]
Two men are equally attracted to Mia and feel a wee bit o' jealously for her.  A woman's figure is discussed.  Two men and a woman are stripped to their underwear and wrapped together in blankets in an attempt to warm the woman and save her from hypothermia.  One of the men kisses her bare shoulder, praying for her to live.

[Conclusion]
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I love mystery thrillers!  It is a definite page turner and one you won't want to put down.  The plot moves fast, but seems just the right speed with just the right intensity and a wee bit of humor thrown in.  You see the struggle of single parents providing for their children, young men with no hope in life, a woman fighting for every breath, and revealed secrets involving murder.  Your typical mystery novel, but entertaining all the way.  A great read!

--------------------------------------

Recommended ages:  18+


 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

Random Hullo! [update and video]

Argh.  I missed another A + A Friday post!  I could go on and on making excuses, like how we were out of town all day Friday, then went to Dollywood all day Saturday, and that we've been weed-eating fence rows every day this week, but you know.  Excuses, excuses.

So, I thought I'd share a video today and a book review, posted separately.  Also, I've been thinking of doing a post on writing tips and such, but obviously that hasn't happened.  For some reason, you have to do it, not just think about doing it. . .

First, a song.



Beautiful!

Happy Sunday, my friends!

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

What's in a Name?

Here's a set of Biblical names for you.  Most originate from Hebrew.

Remember, if you have any requests regarding names with certain meanings, or "genres" (Fantasy, Victorian, Scandinavian, etc.), don't hesitate to comment!


Tekoa
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Biblical
Pronunciation:  teh-KO-ah (possibly)

Meaning & History
Means "stockade" in Hebrew.  This was a the name of both a city and a son of Ashhur in the Old Testament.  (1 Chronicles 2:24; 4:5; 2 Chronicles 11:6)

Noya
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Hebrew
Pronunciation:  noi-YAH, NOI-yah (possibly)

Meaning & History
Means "divine beauty" in Hebrew.




Oren
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Hebrew
Pronunciation:  ah-REN (possibly)

Meaning & History
Means "pine tree" in Hebrew.



Atarah
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Hebrew, Biblical
Pronunciation:  AT-a-rah (English)

Meaning & History
Means "crown" in Hebrew.  In the Old Testament, this was the given name of the wife of Jerahmeel. (1 Chronicles 2:26)



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

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png