The 777 Writing Challenge

Oh my.  I'm so behind in my tags.  Thank you to all the sweet dearies who tagged me what seems ages ago!  I haven't forgotten. . . Well, I did, but I remember them now! :]  Heheh.

This one in particular was passed on to me by my friend Jameson C. Smith of Lovely Whatsoevers.  [Thanks, girlie!]  It's a super easy one, and has served to get my mind back on my poor, neglected Safia-story.  (Which, I'm ashamed to admit, has been put off for MONTHS. . .)  O_O

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RULES -
Go to page 7 of your current work-in-progress (WIP), scroll down to line 7, and share the next 7 lines in a blog post.  Once finished, tag 7 blogger buddies to do the challenge themselves on their own blogs.

This snippet comes from Safia, Chapter 3. . .

           With his last reservoir of strength, he kicked and pushed, attempting to swim free of the wreckage surrounding him and his charge.
          Rescue.  What a beautiful word.  He had never thought the day would come when he would depend on such a thing.  Numb to his wounds, he felt only a heavy throb in both his body and heart. But one thought dominated his mind: Protect her.
          Clinging to the large wooden beam that was currently acting as their life float, he carefully adjusted his hold on Safia, ignoring the sharp stab of pain in his shoulder. . .




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TAG! your turn!
H.M. Wilson @ Plottinger Twist
Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite
Alea @ Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings
Autumn @ Autumn's Readings + Writings
Miss Melody Muffin @ The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls
Clara Darling @ To Find a Castle
Jillian @ Covers and Ink


You are not obligated to partake of this challenge.  But if you do, have fun!

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Book Review | Rising Shadows

Rising Shadows
Ashley Townsend
Publisher:  Kirkdale Press
Genre:  Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Time Travel
Released:  June 16th, 2012
{Goodreads}
          Sarah Matthews is nearing the end of another eventless summer in the small town of Bethany, Oklahoma, bringing her closer to the start of her freshman year of college. Disheartened over the reality that yet another unexciting season is coming to an end, Sarah wishes for an unforgettable adventure. When mysterious circumstances transport Sarah and her younger sister back in time, she gets more of an adventure than she could have ever imagined. The two sisters find themselves trapped in the twelfth century in a place shrouded with mystery and deception. Assassination plots, kidnappings, and tumultuous adventures force Sarah to rely on the Shadow, a masked hero who comes to her aid numerous times. 
          In order to uncover a conspiracy and save those closest to her, Sarah requests help from the Shadow and also from Will, the handsome and equally intriguing blacksmith she befriends. Sarah is strangely drawn to the excitement that seems to follow the town hero and begins to look forward to their secret encounters. She also finds herself caught in a romance with Will, despite the fact that their equally fiery personalities have a tendency to clash as they attempt to work together. But Will’s past is filled with secrets and pains, and Sarah finds it difficult to break through the walls he has built around him. Can the faith and love of God that Sarah exhibits in her own life cause his hardened facade to fall away as he discovers that forgiveness and mercy are never too far from reach?

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I was provided a copy of this novel by the author in exchange for my honest review.

{The Basics}
*cue HUGE sigh* This review is long overdue. . . 
First, this is a modern/medieval Time-Travel story!  How cool is that?  Sarah Matthews is your typical, teen, high school graduate, longing for one last Summer adventure before she heads off to college in the Fall.  Her parents are away visiting an ailing relative and she's left alone with her little sister, Lilly, who she loves dearly of course, but finds increasingly irritating.  Little did she know, however, that she would find out the true meaning of the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for."
A fierce thunderstorm brings Lilly into Sarah's room.  Sarah tries her best to be the good big sister, but is simply not in the mood to have to deal with Lilly's questions and fear of the raging storm.  The thunder and lightning seem only to increase, and, to the girls' horror, cause a kind of earthquake, which jostles them about in the little room.  They awake, literally, to a whole new world.  And the adventure is just beginning. 
{Positives}
Sarah may think her sister annoying and irritating at times, but upon being thrust into another world, her first thoughts are to help and watch over Lilly.  

{Negatives}
Quite a bit of lying amongst nearly ALL the characters.

{Spirituality}
Throughout this whole story, Sarah's relationship with God only grows.  She has always had faith in Him, but it seems this adventure serves to strengthen the bond.  She learns to rely fully on Him, and acts as a witness to Will, who has struggled with faith and trust.

{Violence}
In a recount of a character's past, his parents died in a fire, leaving him orphaned and in the care of his uncle.  One man is shot in the back with an arrow (and we're left with NO explanation as to who killed him or why exactly he was killed. . .).  A woman is kidnapped, drugged with a cloth, and drug through the woods on her back, causing serious wounds to her back.  That same woman is nearly strangled at one point, and at another is cut with a poisoned knife and nearly dies.  Another woman is taken prisoner, accused of being a witch, and threatened to be burned at the stake.

Sarah and Will are left to die, by fire, in an old shed. ({SPOILER} They escape.)

A man scales a wall, intending to do some spy work.  He narrowly misses getting caught and does pick up some bruises on his escape route, which was pretty wince-inducing. . .

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
None.

It's believed that the king is being poisoned by his brother.  At one point, a cloaked man overturns the goblet in question (actually, he knocks it out of the servant's hand) and disappears out a window. . .

{Love-y-ness}
Sarah is a lovely girl, which is pretty obvious by the looks she gets from the village men and the farmer boy, with whose family she's staying with.  The farmer, Seth, has feelings for her, but comes to accept she doesn't feel the same for him--they remain friends.  And we learn that Sarah's friend, Karen, likes Seth (and has for awhile).  Obvious attraction between the smithy, Will, and Sarah.  They become partners-in- . . . er, spy. . . ing.  Heheh.  

{Conclusion}
All in all, I enjoyed this story.  I love the epicness of modernity clashing with the Medieval era.  So cool!
The only thing I was disappointed in was much of the plot.  The characters were fine, each their own, but there was no resolution to the plot itself.  By the end of the tale, I felt I had so many questions left completely unanswered.  True, the story was left open for its sequel, but still. . . Each story, or mini-tale, if you will, needs some sort of resolution.  Something to give the reader a feeling of satisfaction, no matter how small.
So, Sarah returns home and goes about her life, acting like she'd never had this awesome adventure, as if her new friends never existed, and a kingdom wasn't really falling apart.  Until she hears a knock at the door. . . 
Aaaannnndd. . . the way is set for Chasing Shadows, the sequel!  :]  Again, I totally enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend to all my reading buddies.  This was just my opinion regarding the plot. 
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Recommended ages:  13-14+
My rating:

I thank you for stopping in!  
Do you have a book to recommend? or perhaps one of your own you wish someone to review in order to gain recognition?  Contact me!

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What's in a Name?

Dominic
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  DAHM-ǝ-nik

Meaning & History
From the Late Latin name Dominicus, meaning "of the Lord," which was traditionally given to a child born on a Sunday.  Many saints have borne this name, including the 13th-century founder of the Dominican order of friars.  It was in this saint's honor that the name was first used in England.







Eva
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Hebrew, Biblical
Pronunciation:  E-vah (Italian, Spanish, Danish), EE- (English), E-fah (German), AY-vah (Dutch)

Meaning & History
Latinate form of Eve, meaning "to breathe" or "to live." This form in particular is used in the Latin translation of the New Testament, while Hava is used in the Latin Old Testament.  It is also a variant transcription of Russian Yeva.  This is the given name of a character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852), belonging to Little Eva, whose full name is Evangeline.


Zakary
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English, Bibilical
Pronunciation:  zak-ǝ-RIE-ah

Meaning & History
Ultimately derived from the Biblical, Hebrew name Zechariah, meaning "YAHWEH remembers."  Other variants of this name are ZakZachariah, Zacharias, Zachary









Vesper
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Roman Mythology, Popular Culture
Pronunciation:  VES-pur

Meaning & History
Roman equivalent of the masculine name Hesperos, meaning "evening."  In popular culture, this was the given name of James Bond's partner and lover in the film Casino Royale (2006).  A variant of this name is Vespera, meaning "of the evening" in Esperanto.









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Whatcha think, dearies?  Any requests, have you?  Send 'em my way!!

Hope you have a delightful week.  Fairfarren, all.

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

Hello, Blogging World.


"No disaster overcomes the righteous. . ."
- Proverbs 12:21 -


source

I've taken this verse to mind this last week.  It holds a promise!

Tomorrow evening marks the second week since the unexpected death of my uncle.  Life goes on.  His family is cared for and loved.  Such selfless love has been shown to my family and still it is displayed.  Praise the King who sends His children to love and nurture others.  Thank you, dear friends, for your prayers!

On a lighter note, my grandfather has completed his treatments for now, and a date for surgery is set for July 7th.  Other than fatigue and mild sickness, he is doing well and staying active on the farm.  Another call of praise to God!






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Aaaaannnnddd now. . . 

meet my suitor, Evan.

Instagram -- @sarahpenmaiden

I hope to put a post on soon (actually there's a bazillion posts I hope to do. . .) regarding my relationship with this awesome man.  But for now, this explanation will have to do: 

Evan is a dear friend to me and my family.  I do not know what we would have done without him the week following the passing of my uncle.  He showed a servant's heart, selflessly giving of his time and energy to keep my little cousins occupied and entertained, as well as helping out with different tasks and jobs around the farm.

 He is my suitor and we are in the midst of a date-ship.  We are "dating" but with a PURPOSE, being with marriage in mind.  Yep, the big M word!  I am so blessed and I thank my God for him every day.

If you would, please keep the two of us in your prayers as we strive for wisdom, patience, and knowledge throughout this journey.  And that we will seek Christ first and foremost.  I thank you, dearies!

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I hope your weekend is filled with Summer fun and God's bountiful blessings.

Fairfarren, for now!

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Blessed are those who mourn. . .

* UPDATED *

Sunday evening, June 7th, 2015
My family experienced the unexpected loss of my dear uncle, Kelly Thomas.  Forty years of age, he leaves behind a loving wife, Jana, and four precious children: Janelle, age 12; Keljan, age 8; Joelle, age 6; and Kenton, age 4.

Mother's Day, 2014
Jesus took him Home Sunday evening after he suffered a severe allergic reaction from a red wasp sting to the head.  There are no words as to what a shock this was to me and my family.  We thought they'd take him to the hospital for a shot or something and he'd come home and laugh it off.

But for as long as I live, I will never forget the grief-laden wails of four children upon learning their daddy wasn't coming home.  As I write this, the tears begin to come, for though he was only my uncle, in a way, my siblings and I were his first children at least 11 years before his daughter was born.

We are so loved.  Countless people have come to pay their respects and to bring food.  We have laughed and wept together, we have embraced and prayed together.  And never have I felt such agape--selfless--love.  I thank my God for you.

A Memorial Fund has been set up for my uncle's family.  As he was the sole provider and only source of income, my aunt is dealing with worries for the future, and this fund will serve to calm those fears.  Already, in only three days, we have raised $32,753.  Wow.  God is good! And He will provide.

In prayer there is power.  And yours mean the world and beyond to us.  Thank you.  Continue to remember me and my family.  Funeral arrangements have been set for this Friday and Saturday.  The service is from 5:00-7:30pm on Friday at Laycock Hobbs funeral home in Athens.  Burial is at Clearwater Baptist Church at 11:00am on Saturday.

Again, your prayers and support are so very much appreciated.  May we never take for granted the love we have been shown.  Thank you, my dear friends.

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So this is Sorrow.
So this is grief.
Heart-weary, heavy-laden--
Oh, Lord! Where is Relief?

How can we bear
When wife and children weep
For sudden loss of husband, father
Whom Jesus took to keep?

How do you bear
The young wailing cries
Of those precious little ones
Who find Daddy has died?

What do we do
When life must go on?
When we feel time should stop
Because our loved one is gone?

O praise to the King
Who holds every tear,
And whispers His love
Through friends & family dear.

So amidst this pain
And grief and sorrow,
Let us find Love, Hope,
And Joy for tomorrow.

- Sarah Dake -
So This is Sorrow, June 9th, 2015


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May God bless and keep you.

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A + A Friday!


AWKWARD
  • When you're bored enough at work that you an a coworker start playing with tiny paper airplanes. . . 
  • Exercising with a sister and friend and talking about food nearly the entire time.
  • AHAHAHA!!! This.

  • Getting a snack at Starbucks and asking the worker what the rewards consisted of.  But before she can give a good reply, the lady behind you ends up listing all of the benefits and freebies if you sign up--free refills on select beverages, bday specials, etc.  The employee never really said anything.  You thank the other lady with a smile and walk away feeling both awkward by the lengthy conversation and interested in the rewards program. . . 
  • Holding hands with your beau, and you touch a slimy spot on his finger--ew! doggie slobber!! Thanks, Nova. xD  Needless to say, LOTS of laughter at that.  (Oh, and by the way, did I mention I have a suitor??)
  • Accidentally and unintentionally cutting someone off at Walmart. Heheh, you apologize, avoid eye contact, and hurry on your way. (Anyone else ever done this?)
  • Haha! This is PERFECT:



AWESOME
  • When a coworker friend and your boss inquires about your grandfather.  (His treatments ended today and he is scheduled for surgery July 7th.)
  • DOLLYWOOD with the family tomorrow!!
  • This AMAZING sibling duet of songs from Disney's Frozen!
  • Anytime that something comes in the mail with your name on it:
Instagram -- @sarahpenmaiden
  • Summer storms.  Watching the massive thunderheads roll slowly in, loosing their lightning in brilliant glory and low rumbles.
  • The majesty of the night skies.
  • "Suffice it to say that [C.S.] Lewis has captured a little of how God's Kingdom operates by introducing the concept of a first and older 'rule' at its very center.  And what is this rule, this Deeper 'Magic'?  Love.  Not affection, not friendship, not sexual attraction, but agape: the compassionate, selfless love God has for us when we're at our most unlovable.  Lewis called it 'charity' in his book The Four Loves (the original meaning of that word has changed over the years, unfortunately).  It's the highest and holiest kind of love, straight from God's heart." (Sarah Arthur, Walking Through the Wardrobe)

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Many thanks for stopping by, dear friends! 
How was your week?  Do comment!  I love hearing from you!

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What's in a Name? | Twins!

At long last, another twin post!!  Oddly enough, I cannot find the first one. . . Well, I did find it, sorta, but it said the page "does not exist."  O_O  WHAT?  Oh dear, oh dear, tut tut.  I don't know what happened, but I don't like it.  I don't even remember which names I used for that one!! AGH.  Do any of you happen to have a better memory than mine?  If so, I'll gladly re-create that post. . .

But in the meantime, enjoy these!


Denver
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  DEN-vǝr

Meaning & History
From an English surname which hails from a place-name meaning "Dane ford" in Old English.  This is the name for the capitol city of Colorado, USA, which was named for the politician James W. Denver (1817-1892).

Dakota
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English (modern)
Pronunciation:  dǝ-KO-tǝ

Meaning & History
Means "allies, friends" in the Dakota language.  This is the name of a Native American people of the northern Mississippi valley.

Erin
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Irish
Pronunciation:  ER-in
Meaning & History
Anglicized form of Eireann, the genitive case of Gaelic Éire, meaning "Ireland."  This has been used as a given name since the middle of the 20th century. 

Erica
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Swedish 
Pronunciation:  ER-i-kǝ
Meaning & History

Feminine form of Eric, which is derived from Old Norse elements meaning "ever, always" and "ruler."  First used as a given name in the 18th century, it also coincides with the Latin word for "heather."




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Thanks for stopping by, lovelies.  Hope your week is great!

Happy June!

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Names via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.