A + A Friday!

  • When your sister is playing a game on your iPhone whilst sticking it in the cat's uninterested face. You ask her what she's doing and she says, "I'm trying to play the game with her!" And this from a 21-year-old. xD
  • Playing late night card games, PIT in particular, and you win THREE times in a row.  THREE times! (You would think this would be in the "awesome" section, but. . .) By the next round, you are wishing you don't win, simply because you feel terrible for your other companions.
  • Awkward silences:

  • Attempting to make an awesome origami dragon.  And failing miserably.  (Hence, no picture.) ;D
  • Wearing sunglasses for the 30 minute drive to work, and taking them off to find indents on the bridge of your nose.  -_-  *le sigh*
  • When a sister calls the Phillips screwdriver a "star-head screwdriver." xD  It makes sense, but you know, it's a Phillips! 
  • And this GIF, so true, I'm afraid. . .  But I'm not the only one, right?  . . . Right?? :D

  • Movie night with friends and family to watch BIG HERO 6!!! 17 people total, all piled on pillows and couches. :] 

  • Starting to read Resistance, by Jaye L. Knight, Book 1 of the Ilyon Chronicles.  Immediately hooked after two pages. 
  • Perfect snowy weather for sledding and snowball fights; then getting a challenge to build the best snowman from a friend.  My sister Jen and I came up with this one: 

  • My awesome manager lady. :] Who doesn't make me go into work when a blizzard is brewing.
  • This quote: ". . .He is indeed Enough.  He is not all we would ask for (if we were honest), but it is precisely when we do not have what we would ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency.  It is when the sea is moonless that the Lord has become my Light." [Elisabeth Elliot] 
  • Buying two books for only $1.53!! Together! (LifeWay has a bargain $1 table right now, and I couldn't resist.  One of them ended up being $0.39!)


Thanks for reading, dearies. :]  Happy weekend!
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A Book of Poems | Progress Through Photos

And now the day has come to share a bunch of pictures.
Of my poem book.  :]
For those who have no idee of what I am speaking of, I recently purchased a blank, leather journal, solely for the purpose of handwriting my poetry and doodling little doodles that match each piece.  My thinking is that this little book will one day be worth millions! in like, the next 200 years. . .  Haha! 
Basically, it is a keepsake of mine for later generations.  :]
The quality of these pics are probably horrible as they were taken using my iPhone (almost ready to buy a real camera!!), which does well, but still. . . Most of them you can find on my Instagram (@sarahpenmaiden).

A teensy bit of designing was called for, of course.

Sketching in pencil first, then outlining in ink.

I enjoy pretty much anything to do with nautical themes.  And I've always loved ships.  And mermaids.  :]

The completed title page:

I left a blank page after the title page, because I want to do some kind of intro thing. . .  

But on to the first poem!

This one covers three pages, and is a parody of Louis L'Amour's poem "I Haven't Read Gone With the Wind."

I'm not particularly happy with how the leafy doodles turned out on this next page.  But there's nothing to do now.

This one is a top favorite of all that I've written.  My sister Julia actually put a melody to it, and that just makes me love it even more!

I still have ten or more poems to add, with plenty of blank pages!


So, there you have it--the beginning of my Book of Poems.  I'll most likely post a few more pics as it progresses.  But you can find the entirety of my poems at the Princess Poetry page.

For now, I bid you farewell.  :]
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What's in a Name? | Medieval Edition

Here's a set of Medieval-ty for you.  :]  Hope you enjoy these, dearies!
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Medieval English
Pronunciation:  ELL-rick

Meaning & History
Medieval form of either ÆLFRIC, from the Old English elements for "elf" and "power, rule"; or ÆÐELRIC, which also hails from Old English meaning "noble" and "power, rule"; both of which were rarely used after the Norman conquest. 
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English (modern)
Pronunciation:  AM-bǝr-lee

Meaning & History
An elaboration of Amber, defined either by the gemstone or the orange-yellow color of the same name; influenced by the spelling of the name Kimberly
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  MIL-tǝn

Meaning & History
From an English surname, which in turn is derived from a place name meaning "mill town" in Old English.  A famous bearer of this name was John Milton (1608-1684), the poet who penned "Paradise Lost."

NOTE:  This is the given name of my grandfather, my mother's father. :]
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Irish
Pronunciation:  DEE-dra

Meaning & History
Possibly a variant of Dierdre, meaning unknown, though it could be derived from a Celtic word meaning "woman."


Should I do another set of Medieval-ty names or try something else?

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

A + A . . . Saturday!

Aces, where do I begin?  

Well, before I go on to share the Awkward/Awesome-ness of my week, I will explain why this post comes a day late.  

Rewind to yesterday, Friday, the 20th of February:

Good morning, cold world! The day began like any other. . . 
*enter dramatic music* 
I got up, dressed, made my bed and went downstairs to fix a breakfast smoothie and read the Proverbs of the day.  Later in the morn, we get a call from Grandmommy saying that she's spoken to Aunt Margaret who got a call from News Channel 9, wanting to interview my sister about the dramatic rescue of a calf, that happened Thursday morning. . .

Long story short, my sister Jenny took a drive with my aunt and cousins to see the beautiful results of our TN ice storm earlier that week.  They just so happened to be in the right place at the right time to experience the rescue of a little calf who had fallen into a rather large pond and was trying to keep its head out of the water.  Many people showed up to help and Jenny had the privilege to photograph the whole scene.  Her pictures were sent to the local news website, WYXI.net, and featured in their morning fax.  My great-Uncle Bo was actually the one to lasso the calf from the water and, with the assistance of a couple other men, successfully pulled the calf to safety.  (It is now up and eating, safe and warm.) 
So to recap, my sister and Uncle Bo were interviewed and featured on News Channel 9 television yesterday at 5:30pm.  So exciting!

That was one adventure.  The next follows. . .
I went in to work as usual yesterday afternoon--which takes a good 30 minutes for me to drive there and back.  By the time I walked into the store, it had started to flurry.  That was 4pm, and by 7:30, we had the go-ahead to close the store at 8 instead of the usual weekend time of 9pm.  And I was SO thankful we did! 
Where my regular drive to and from work takes only a half hour, this one took three!  I pulled onto the interstate among large flurries, slid some on the turn (scared me some!) and never really went over 30mph on the 70mph interstate.  I made it past the Charleston exit, but finally had to pull off at the Calhoun exit and slowly make my way to Highway 11, where I waited for my daddy and grandfather to pick me up.  (My heroes!) 
Visibility as I was driving was nothing.  I have never driven in such conditions (and really don't want to again), but all was well and we finally pulled into our driveway around 11pm.  So thankful for God's protection! and the many prayers of family and friends.
That's one adventure I won't likely forget.

And now on to A + A!


  • Running into the corner of a wall and coming away with a. . . bruise?!  (I really hit it that hard? *hysterical laughter*)
  • Sleeping past your THREE alarms and having no memory of turning them off.
  • When your kitty is so cold she HAS to be held and NOT put down.  If you try to put her down, you might get a nibble on your hand.  With teeth.
  • When a customer describes his tattoo.  At Lifeway.
  • The truth in this GIF:

  • The progress you are making in your handwritten Poem book! Photos to come soon. :]
  • Writing short stories.
  • When your sister (and uncle) is featured on a local news station!
  • This motivational poster.  Virtual high five if you know where she's from! xD (It's my favorite quote from the series.)
  • Brainstorming with a sister about rewriting fairytales in the Western aspect. . . Ohoho! The ideas that come to mind! Might be able to create a short story for this here blog. . . Maybe.
  • My grandmother (Da's mother) is safely home after knee surgery and therapy, and doing well.
  • This 2-Minute French Toast in a Cup recipe! So yummy.
Instagram - @sarahpenmaiden

Thanks for reading!  Have a lovely weekend!

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Book Review | Remember the Lilies

Remember the Lilies
Liz Tolsma
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Genre:  Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Released:  2015

{back cover}
How will two very different people find love--and survive the impossible circumstances of war?

In 1941, Rand Sterling was a wealthy, womanizing club owner and an American of note among ex-pats and locals alike.  Now two years later, Rand is just another civilian prisoner of war--one whose planned escape from the Santo Tomas Internment Camp could put him and others in grace danger.

Irene Reynolds grew up as a missionary kid in the Philippine jungle.  Now she works for the paranoid Japanese authorities, delivering censored messages to the other American prisoners in Santo Tomas.

When Irene's negligence leads to Rand's failed escape attempt, Rand is sent to the torture chambers of Fort Santiago--and Irene suffers under the weight of her guilt.  Yet when she crosses paths with Rand again after his unexpected return to camp, something more than mere survival draws the unlikely pair together.

As life in Manila becomes more and more desperate, and another threatening letter finds its way from Irene's hands to Rand's, the reluctant couple struggles to find a way to stay alive. . . and to keep their growing feelings for each other from compromising the safety of everyone around them.

WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
Set during the Second World War, this tale follows two people's lives as they struggle to survive as prisoners of war in the Philippines.  Life at Santo Tomas Internment Camp is brutal.  People are suffering from multiple diseases, starvation, and malnutrition.  The Japanese captors are cruel and unmerciful, arresting at random (or for ridiculous reasons) and sending them to the torture chambers of Fort Santiago.

Through it all, faith plays a huge part in the lives of a few.  Anita, Irene's aunt and only close relative, is the perfect example of a prayer warrior.  Though frail in physical body and blind, she never ceases to stand strong and look for the good in the bad.  She doesn't complain.  She simply trusts that freedom will come, one way or another.

Men and women help each other.  At great risk to their own lives, a group smuggles food into the camp.

Rand Sterling, once a wealthy businessman with everything he could ever want, now a nobody, tries to keep hope alive.  He plays with the children of the camp, has a compassionate and generous heart, and would risk his life if his efforts would help to grant food to others.

Irene and another woman part as friends after months of anger and betrayal on Irene's part.

Rand is a womanizer.  He likes the freedom of having a new girl with him every now and then.  (His thoughts change entirely on this subject, later.)

Irene, a sweet missionary girl, knows what is right, but always seems to have one grudge or another.  She is hurt many times, and forgiveness does not come easily.  She avoids a friend who needs her during these trying times, shunning her.

A man blackmails Rand, and later Irene.

{Spiritual Content}
Even in trial and troubles, God is present.  Rand comes to understand this when he wonders if anything good will come of captivity.  Eventually, he gives his life to the Lord and experiences the life-changing feel of a different kind of freedom.

As mentioned earlier, Aunt Anita is a solid rock, encouraging Irene with Scripture.  Her love and wisdom, brings Irene through the toughest of trials.

Forgiveness, in a way, is freedom.  And it takes a great deal of strength and courage.  When asked to forgive a Japanese soldier of all the wrongs and torture he went through, Rand nearly gives in to hatred and anger.  But it is then he realizes he is no different from this soldier who fights for his own country, just as Rand would if his path left him in the States.  He (Rand) has just as much blood and sin on his hands as any of the enemy, and thanks to Christ, he is washed clean.  Only with this knowledge of God's forgiveness of him can he do the same.

Fort Santiago is a place of death and torture.  Many who are sent there do not return.  A man's fingers are broken with a hammer in an attempt to gain information.  {SPOILER!} He doesn't give in. Instead of giving the names of his accomplices, he writes a list of American presidents, baseball players, singers.

A woman dies of disease and fever.  Two patients are trapped in an ambulance that wrecks, falling to its side.  Gasoline vapors fill the compartment, threatening to ignite until rescue arrives.

Japanese soldiers unload bags and bags of rice before the hopeful internees, only to rip them open and trample the precious grains into the mud.

Men, women, and children are starving, bone-skinny, and weak.  A couple men are beaten by soldiers and taken to the Fort.  Conditions there are beyond worse.  One man suffers through nights in a dank cell with dirty (that word doesn't quite cover it) water up to his waist.  Moans can be heard from other cells.

Bombs, shrapnel, Japanese pom-poms showers the land, some hitting awfully close.  One woman is hit in the thigh by a bullet.  On the edge of liberation, Japanese hold hostage to a couple hundred men after American soldiers storm the compound.  Tanks tear through gates and destroy buildings.  A man is hit and later dies.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
No language, other than the occasional "bangers and mash" from a British friend of Irene's. Cigars, cigarettes.  Brandy is mentioned.  Morphine is used for medicinal purposes.

{Love-y Content}
There is obvious attraction between Rand and Irene.  They holds hands, embrace, and share some kisses.

{SPOILER!} Rand learns that he had fathered a daughter six years earlier, out of wedlock.  The girl's mother wants him to stay out of it and only wrote to him because of the insistence of another man (who blackmails Rand with this info).  Rand wishes to marry Irene and respect the choice of the girl's mother.

I love historical fiction, especially when it lends little tidbits of facts along the way.  And Liz Tolsma does a fantastic job!  This is the third of her novels that I have had the privilege to read. (You can read my review of Daisies are Forever here.)  And while it is not a favorite, I still enjoyed the tale woven in these pages.

We are nothing without Christ, and we have nothing if not Christ.  Faith is beautifully portrayed in this novel by characters who are flawed and realistic.  It is so difficult to believe God truly has a plan in the impossible trials of life, and that He can make something good from evil.  But it's true!  And these characters learn firsthand of God's provision and protection.


Recommended ages:
Due to the graphics of violence, war, and the sufferings of the POWs.

I was provided a copy of this novel
thanks to BookLookBloggers, in 
exchange for my honest review.
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What's in a Name?

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Biblical
Pronunciation:  JAY-ven (English)

Meaning & History
Means "Greece" in Hebrew.  In the Old Testament, this is the name of a grandson of Noah and the ancestor of the Greek people.
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Pronunciation:  KAN-dis (English), kan-DAY-see (English), KAN-de-see (English)

Meaning & History
From the hereditary title of the queens of Ethiopia, as mentioned in the New Testament book of Acts.  Evidently, it is derived from the Cushitic kdke, meaning "queen mother." Another version of this name is Kandake, reflecting the Greek spelling.  Candace was used as a given name by the Puritans after the Protestant Reformation, and later became popular in the 20th century, due to a character in the 1942 film "Meet the Stewarts."

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  TADD

Meaning & History
Short form of Thaddeus, the Greek form of the Aramaic name Thaddai.  It is possibly derived from a word meaning "heart," but may actually be an Aramaic form of a Greek name Theodore, meaning "gift" or "gift of God." 
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Russian
Pronunciation:  nah-TAH-lyah

Meaning & History
Russian form of Natalia, a Late Latin name meaning "Christmas Day."

All too often I tend to leave out the older faces in stories.  Or they get a backseat ride for the tale, when in reality they are some of the most valuable characters in your whole story!  They lend depth and experience where your ignorant, naive youngsters lack.

Aaaaannnd that's my writing tip of the day.  :]
Have fun with these names! Remember, these posts are for you.  To help you find the perfect names for your characters.
So. . . I know I don't have to ask every time, but any requests?

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Happy Valentine's Day! | A Love Story

It's once again the day of Love!  And in honour of St. Valentine's Day, for the past two-three years, I've posted a fictional letter regarding this heart-full holiday.  You can find it here, on my sisters' (and my) poor, unintentionally-abandoned blog, or last year's post here.
This year, however, I decided to try something else. . . 
A Letter for Lillian

          She sighed as the new dawn light filtered through the linen drapes of her bedroom window.
          Another day.
          Scrunching the pillow between her fists, she gave it one punch, then rolled over with an audible groan, running her left hand over the empty space beside her.
          “Good morning,” she whispered, to no one in particular. With a final sigh heavenward, she tossed back the blissful warmth of blankets and rose to dress.
          Another day, another round of endless laundry, another set of lonely meals. At least she had the Valentine's Tea Party to look forward to in a couple days. The church ladies were working so hard to pull it off.
          She splashed cold water on her face, then fumbled for a towel.
          But she wasn't going to mope around until then. No, sir. This war had caused enough of that.
          Once finished with the toiletries, she went through the motions of dressing and routine chores. With the bed neatly made, her hair coiled and pinned, and her favorite green dress donned, she made her way to the tiny kitchen.
          While water boiled for her morning tea, she flipped on the radio and grabbed the duster, giving her cozy home a quick once-over. That done, she swept the kitchen and living room to the sound of Glenn Miller's “In the Mood.”
          While brass and percussion played in the background, she sat down at last to a mug of hot tea and a steaming bowl of oatmeal. Mumbling a brief prayer of thanks, she ate quietly and turned the frail pages of her worn Bible to the Gospel of John.
          “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy,” read chapter 16, verse 20.
          Sorrow to joy.
          She pondered the subtle promise as her ears caught a phrase from the radio: “. . . meeting at Yalta has concluded. After an eight day conference, the Big Three depart with plans for the final defeat and occupation of Nazi Germany. . .”
          Her eyes widened. Could this be so? Would the war finally end? Were the rumors true?
          She couldn't help it. Her mouth twitched into a smile and she met the shining face of her best friend smiling back through the small, glass frame.
          “Are you coming home? Are you coming soon, Jack?” Those laughing eyes never ceased their laughing, but they didn't grant her a reply either.
          Lord, keep him safe. Bring him home.
          She didn't realize she was twisting the delicate, gold band around and around her ring finger until a muffled voice broke her reverie.
          “Mail call!”
          Her hand froze and she blushed.
          But he wasn't there to see. Her little habit had always made him laugh.
          A smile lit her features as she glanced out the window, watching the mailboy's receding back as he pedaled away for more deliveries.
          Her brow furrowed. Billy was earlier than usual.
          She shrugged and sipped her tea, then scrunched up her nose at the cold liquid. Smothering a sigh, she put her bowl in the sink and made for the front door, thinking to sweep off the porch before grabbing the day's mail.
          But something made her walk past the  broom as she pulled on her coat and stepped into the chilly late-Winter air.
          The mailbox sat forlornly among a bouquet of withered bushes. They always looked ghastly during the cold months, but come Spring and Summer, they never failed to bloom beautifully. Just seeing those bushes, she found herself wishing for warmer weather, picnics, and long walks as she sifted through the meager collection of envelopes.
          One caught her eye. Containing only one word above the listed address, there was no mistaking the distinct loop of the L.
          She turned heel and ran to her kitchen, nearly stepping on the cat in her haste, who had seemed to materialize on the rug. She made it to the table, forced herself to take a deep breath and sit before opening the seal. With smiling face and shaking hands, she pulled out a letter.
          And couldn't stop the tears. . .

          “Oh, Jack.”
          A hand muffled her happy laughs, but couldn't stop the shine of her broad smile.
          “Happy Valentine's Day.”



Thanks for reading, dearies.  :]  Hope you have a lovely weekend!

NOTE: Characters and letter are fictitious and of my own making.  I took a little liberty in this short story, but the mention of Glenn Miller and his orchestra and the conference meeting at Yalta are entirely true.
Photos via Pinterest.
Jack's portrait is actually that of actor Gene Kelly.  His uniform does not match that of a 1st Lieutenant, but I loved his smile.  :]
John 16:20 quoted in KJV.

A + A Friday!

  • Getting up in the middle of the night to trim your toenails, because you can't sleep. . . and they were bothering you.
  • Inside your car in a Walmart parking lot, blocked in by the buggie guys. You wait patiently, while trying to look busy and hoping they don't see you.
  • This is the best GIF in all of humanity:
  • You did not know that mullets still exist.  O_o
  • When a guy tries to flirt with you while you ring up his items.  He asks if you are new, and you reply that you haven't been working there too long, and he says something along the lines of, "Well, I guess I should come by more often," and you reply "As long as you buy something!" You and another co-worker end up in laughs after he leaves.
  • When your cat tries to eat your phone and near succeeds in tearing off the screen protector!
  • When your grandfather misspells your name, "SHARA." You thank him and don't say anything, just joyfully smile!  XD
  • When you have to explain that your fuzzy, cupcake pants are LOUNGE pants, not pajamas. . .

  • The Athens Movie Palace opens this weekend AT LAST!!
  • Three new books arrived in the mail--can't wait to read 'em all!!!
  • This quote!
  • Planning a movie outing with friends to see CINDERELLA in March!
  • Receiving early Valentine candy from your grandparents.  Awww. :]
  • Burning a CD full of Big Band favorites:  Vera Lynn's "Faraway Places" and "White Cliffs of Dover," Louis Armstrong's "La Vie En Rose," the Andrew Sisters' "Bie Mir Bist Du Schon" and "Chattanooga Choo Choo," Glenn Miller's "In the Mood," Harry James & his Orchestra's "It's Been a Long, Long Time" (from Captain America: The Winter Soldier!!!) and the Chordette's "Mr. Sandman." Just to name a few.  :D
  • This makes me laugh:


Thank you for reading!  Have a lovely weekend, all!

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