Monday, March 30, 2015

As a Miner Searches for Gold

So I am now reading When God Writes Your Life Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy. Below is a quote from the end of the first chapter.

Think on that this week. I have a feeling I'm going to like this book.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Casual Fridays

Earlier this week (Tuesday maybe?) I was giving myself a facial at home and that got me thinking about so many fun memories I've shared with some of my closest and favorite girlfriends over the years doing girly things. So today, I'm letting you sneak a peek into one of those memories with me. (Cue up some Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and enjoy. And ladies, forgive me!)

Grillin' it up in one of our "Before" photos! 11/04/11
These four women are some of the best I know. This "Before" photo was taken sometime during the 11 o'clock hour at the slumber party to end all slumber parties.

Not only did we rock some facials, we all crammed onto the side of the tub together to soak our piggies in some hot, steamy water.

Our glowing "After" faces! (technically) 11/05/11
By the time we took this photo, it was well after midnight. Instead of going to sleep, we stayed up several more hours talking, giggling, and giving our best American Idol auditions to each other.

Amy, Dakota, Christina, Danette? You chics are the best friends a girl could ever ask for. Let's have another slumber party soon!

Feel free to share a memory that makes you smile in the combox, y'all, and do something fabulous this weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Let's talk a little today about what makes a "gentleman". Thackeray puts it pretty eloquently in Vanity Fair:
"Perhaps [gentlemen] are rarer personages than some of us think for. Which of us can point out many such in his circle--men whose aims are generous, whose truth is constant, and not only constant in its kind, but elevated in its degree; whose want of meanness makes them simple: who can look the world honestly in the face with an equal manly sympathy for the great and the small? We all know a hundred whose coats are very well made, and a score who have excellent manners, and one or two happy beings who are what they call, in the inner circles, and have shot into the very centre and bull's-eye of the fashion; but of gentlemen how many?"
From chapter 62 ("Am Rhein") page 613-614.

I have been very blessed in this life to have a true gentleman for a father and now a true gentleman for a husband.

From the time I was born, this man has cared for my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. He taught me to be respectful to all people and to never tolerate disrespect from men. He has always told me that I'm beautiful, and he took me on lots of dates to teach me what to expect from a man and to never accept anything less than that. Most importantly, he introduced me to Christ and taught me God's Word from the time I was very small. My dad has been the most consistent person in my life. I have never heard him preach something from the pulpit that he does not live out daily in his personal life. I cannot possibly thank God enough that this man is my father.

Almost 3 years ago now, I married this man. He is now the one caring for my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Throughout our marriage, he has displayed every aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit toward me consistently and lovingly. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Self-Control. This man never fails to point me back to Christ and the Scriptures. This man never fails to tell me I'm beautiful. And this man never fails to hold me when I cry. I am so thankful that I waited for Cody, and I cannot begin to thank God enough that this man is my husband.

I was reading Ruth yesterday and this topic of gentlemen came to my mind when I read this verse about Boaz:
"Then [Naomi] said, 'Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.'"
Ruth 3:18 (NASB)

Ruth is one of the shortest books in the Bible, but I think it contains the story of one of the most noble gentlemen in history. This man Boaz took care of Ruth, a poor, widowed, foreigner, with no thought of himself or what he might gain by providing for her. Then, when Ruth actually came to him to ask for his aid, he did not rest until he was able to meet her request. This is a beautiful love story, and I would encourage you to read it. It's very short and you could finish it in less than half an hour. I'm so thankful for God's Word and how it has power and authority to instruct me in every area of life. Ultimately, my father could teach me what to expect from a man because he learned it from God's Word. My husband knows how to treat me in a way that glorifies God because he learned it from God's Word. What an indescribable gift!

Have you read the book of Ruth? Who do you think are some of the greatest Biblical or historical gentlemen? Do you have true gentlemen in your life? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Let's Bust A Recap : Vanity Fair

Yes. It is finished. I have completed Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. *cue the Hallelujah Chorus and bring on the selfies* This was my big novel for the year, y'all. 67 chapters. 680 pages. I began reading this monster on January 19 and completed it March 18. Not bad. At one point, I was on track to finish by the end of February, but my brush with death threw me off that track for a couple weeks. Let's attempt a recap, shall we?

Let's start off by talking a little bit about Thackeray and the inspiration for the novel that rocketed him into instant fame as an author.

William Makepeace Thackeray lived between 1811 and 1863. Vanity Fair was published in monthly installments in a London periodical called Punch during 1847 and 1848. After the last installment, it was published in book form and was an instant success, elevating Thackeray to the rank of major novelist. Rightfully so, believe me. The title and novel were inspired by John Bunyan's Vanity Fair in his enduring work The Pilgrim's Progress. In The Pilgrim's Progress, Vanity Fair was an ancient carnival on the outskirts of a town called Vanity. Permanently situated in the path that leads toward Heaven, Vanity Fair tried to lure men away from their proper spiritual goal and has done so since the beginning of time. (Ecclesiastes, anyone?) I had no idea that this was the inspiration for Vanity Fair, and it makes me a little happy that The Pilgrim's Progress is also on my reading list this year. Fun connection.

Vanity Fair is a historical novel set in the early 1800s with one of the main events in the book being the Battle of Waterloo in which the Duke of Wellington overthrew Napoleon Bonaparte. Now do not be deceived, this novel is hardly a history lesson. It is complete fiction with only certain historic events mentioned to mark the time in which the story is set.

Our narrative is cast with a host of colorful characters, too many to even begin to name. Many would say that the main character in Vanity Fair is Rebecca Sharp, but I would argue that Amelia Sedley and William Dobbin were given just as much attention and detail by Thackeray as Becky was. The novel centers mainly around three families: the Crawley family, the Sedley family, and the Osborne family (much to my chagrin as Osborne is my maiden name and I hated the Osborne family in Vanity Fair. *sigh*). Other major players include the O'Dowds, the Southdowns, and the Marquis of Steyne.

In Vanity Fair, Rebecca Sharp and Amelia Sedley could not be any more different from each other. Rebecca's ultimate goal is to elevate herself from her poor station in life by any means necessary. She is cunning, devious, and entirely wicked. Amelia, on the other hand, is the sweetest and most innocent of women, always assuming the best in people and forgiving even the worst offenses committed against her without question. As our story follows the lives of these two women, the contrast is undeniable, and you can't help but beg for justice as the tale unfolds.

I have mixed feelings about whether I would recommend this novel. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was superb. As I have mentioned in other posts, it is complete satire and I found myself pondering the different vices of men and realizing once again that there is nothing new under the sun. I also found myself laughing a lot, and I got emotionally involved in the novel. I intensely disliked certain characters (good riddance, George! die, Becky!), wished others would just grow a spine already (c'mon, Amelia), and rooted for some wholeheartedly (GO DOBBIN!). Parts of the book disgusted me while others had me giggling gleefully. Vanity Fair is considered a classic and has inspired several film adaptations. I believe that all these qualities make a book excellent and worth reading. If you are an avid reader, I would highly recommend you taking the time to read Vanity Fair.

However, there were times of transition in the story that bogged me down a bit. Pages of introductions to places and people that, while setting the stage for what was about to happen, were overly wordy and hard to read. The narrative follows the lives of several people and is almost biographical in nature. Vanity Fair itself is subtitled A Novel Without A Hero, so if you like to read books based solely on their compelling plots, you may be disappointed reading Vanity Fair and give up on it before finishing.

All in all, I think Vanity Fair is definitely worth reading, but if you do decide to take it on, I would encourage you to really commit yourself to finishing it before you even start. If you read it, come back and leave me a comment so I can congratulate you and bake you some cookies. Seriously. I will.

On a final note, Vanity Fair reminded me of the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes with a cynical narrator throughout, and, in fact, the final words of the novel are practically taken out of that wise work.
"Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?--Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out."
From chapter 67 ("Births, Marriages, and Deaths") page 680.

What about you? Have you read Vanity Fair? What is your opinion of it? Have I piqued anyone's curiosity? Has anyone seen a film adaptation? I watched the trailer for the one starring Reese Witherspoon, and I am very skeptical. It looks as if they would have you sympathize with Becky, and I am just not about that. At this point, I don't want to watch it, but if anyone who has read Vanity Fair would recommend any film adaptation of it, I am open to seeing one.

I still have a few quotes from the last few chapters of the book that I will probably be discussing here on the ol' blog so don't be surprised if this isn't my last word on Vanity Fair.

Peace out, cub scouts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Casual Fridays

Strawberry season is in full swing down here, and is there anything as yummy as a big bowl of sweet Florida strawberries?? We have an entire festival dedicated to strawberries where you can get strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, strawberries on a stick, chocolate covered strawberries: strawberries, strawberries, strawberries! My favorite way to eat strawberries is to cut them up, pour a copious amount of sugar over them, let them sit in the fridge overnight, and then sit and eat 'em with a spoon. Heaven. This is also the way to prepare them for strawberry shortcake if anyone was wondering.

I've been jamming to Nichole Nordeman's Woven & Spun album for the past couple days. 
She's one of my favorite artists and Woven & Spun is my favorite of all her albums. 
It's one of those that I can sing every word of every song, you know?

So our backyard is like a bird sanctuary. Seriously, you can't look out there without seeing sand hill cranes, ducks, geese, the occasional bald eagle, and a multitude of other types of water fowl. I think this is due in part to the fact that our next door neighbor goes out and feeds them daily. One time, we counted at least 23 pelicans swimming across the lake. Pelicans! This week there has been a mama duck hanging out in our part of the lake with her sweet little brood of ducklings. There are at least 6 of the little guys, and they are adorable. I tried to go out yesterday and snap a photo, but if I venture off the porch, they swim out too far away for me to get a good shot.

Link Love

Cheerful Insecurity : Can you relate to the need to turn your panic list back into your prayer list? I can.

Charity Has Power : This is a great review of the new live action Cinderella movie. To be honest, I haven't been interested in seeing this movie, but my brother texted me and told me I have to watch it, and then I read this review. Now I can't wait to see it.

The Bionic Arm : Stop it.   Just. Stop. It.   You have to watch this video.


20 Years of Faithfulness : Late entry, but I'm so proud of my parents and so very thankful for Faith Baptist Church!

And now I'd like to introduce a new segment of Casual Fridays that I've decided to call Colonel's Corner. This puppy, y'all. He is too much. He doesn't just lay down, he flops down. Hard. You can hear him no matter where you are in the house. I cannot tell you how much this cracks me up. He's such a drama queen. He also likes to growl and bark at his own reflection. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes he will not shut up. We think he's the greatest. 

Apparently, I will be giving weekly reports of my thoughts on The Voice. And it's official, y'all. Forget Paul Pfau, I am so on the Sawyer Fredericks train. I mean, really?! How is this guy only 15 years old?? He is amazing. He is my official Season 8 pick. If this kid goes home, there is no justice. Check out his duet in the battle round. I like this version of Have You Ever Seen The Rain better than CCR's. And make no mistake, I am a fan of CCR. 

What about you? Who's your favorite on The Voice? (I have yet to hear anyone speak up in the comments about this show. Am I the only one watching?) Do you have a favorite artist or album that you know every song? What's your favorite way to eat strawberries or what is your favorite summertime treat?

I hope you've had a stupendous week, and I hope your weekend is even better! Check back Monday for my recap on Vanity Fair. I finished! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

For the Love of Mozart

"A new world of love and beauty broke upon her when she was introduced to those divine compositions: this lady had the keenest and finest sensibility, and how could she be indifferent when she heard Mozart? The tender parts of Don Juan awakened in her raptures so exquisite that she would ask herself when she went to say her prayers of a night, whether it was not wicked to feel so much delight as that with which Vedrai Carino and Batti, Batti filled her gentle little bosom? But the major, whom she consulted upon this head, as her theological advisor (and who himself had a pious and reverent soul), said that for his part, every beauty of art or nature made him thankful as well as happy; and that the pleasure to be had in listening to fine music, as in looking at the stars in the sky, or at a beautiful landscape or picture, was a benefit for which he might thank Heaven as sincerely as for any other worldly blessing."

Vanity Fair, chapter 62 ("Am Rhein") page 613

For anyone who may be unaware, these two arias are from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Does anyone out there love the opera as much as I do? One of my favorite memories is from college when I went on a "study tour" in Austria, Italy, and France. A few of my musically-minded friends and I went to see an opera at the Vienna State Opera House. L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love) by Gaetano Donizetti. Standing room only. Crammed in like a bunch of sardines. But, oh my heavens. Talk about awakening raptures so exquisite. If you ever get the chance to go to an opera, jump on it.

17 March 2008 : snapped during intermission

Monday, March 16, 2015

We Interrupt The Regularly Scheduled Program To Bring You...

Oh my word, y'all, we have lost our ever-lovin' minds over here. 

We got a puppy.

Let me introduce you to the newest inmate of the Hancock establishment.

We call him Colonel.

His mama is a gorgeous Irish Setter and his daddy is a poodle. He's about 16 weeks old. We picked him up last Wednesday night, and he has already stolen our hearts.

Are we crazy or what?

our first photo together : 03/11/15

Friday, March 13, 2015

Casual Fridays

Okay you guys, my adorable niece had her first ever soccer game last Saturday. She's three. I can't even get enough of watching a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds "play soccer". It is too much.

Also, hi. We like to do it huge around here. My 3 year old niece is playing soccer? Let's all make awesome soccer family t-shirts and wear them to every game. Seriously, if you ever need some encouragement in your life, just come on down smack to the middle of the Sunshine state, and we will throw you a party. We will make t-shirts, bake you a cake, and bring balloons. We loooove a reason to celebrate. 

Here's our little super-star with Coach Uncle Cody. Stop it with those stank lips. My hubby not only coached his team alone (assistant coach had to work) and reffed the game, he did it while sick. He's the best.

And what's more? All the little girls on his team are calling him "Uncle Cody" now because that's what our niece calls him, of course. Be still my heart. 

And one more funny anecdote: these girls were done before the game was over. On their last little water break, Cody looks at them and goes, "Ok girls! Just 4 more minutes! You can do it!" And bless my soul if the cutest little blonde thing you've ever seen didn't look right back at him and say without missing a beat, "Um, how about 3." 

I think I died.

We like to keep it silly if you hadn't noticed. 

In other news, we may have a contender on The Voice. If you caught last week's Casual Friday post, you know I am on the Sawyer Fredericks train. But check out Paul Pfau. I mean, he had me at "Fly Me to the Moon". If you can convince me to enjoy your version of a Sinatra tune, you are doing something right, my friend.

Well, that's all for this Casual Friday post. I've been blogging for over a month now. What do you guys think of the blog? I'm nearly finished reading Vanity Fair. If you'd like to cast a vote for my next reading endeavor, check out my list for the year and shout it out in the comments. I'd like to go non-fiction for my next read. Anyone else out there watching The Voice? Who is your favorite?

Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just Smile

I came across this the other day and decided to share it here. Sometimes it's hard to keep on smiling when we see all the horrible things going on in our world. When terrorists attack. When we read about the millions of babies being aborted before getting the chance to show us their smiles. When we lose parents or children too soon. When we see videos of people being brutally killed. When the guy at the store is just plain rude or you find out your best friend has been tearing you to shreds behind your back. There is so much happening all the time that steals our joy. 

But James says to count it all joy when we are facing all these trials because the trying of our faith produces patience. Which is good. 

The above statement may seem trite, but I think the world needs to see Christians smiling. Christians who have a joy that cannot be shaken. Christians who are being kind to them with no ulterior motives. Christians that are loving without condition and assuming the best in people. 

So I would encourage you to dive into God's Word today and get your joy. Our God is the God of HOPE! Smile at a stranger. Really smile at them. Maybe even say hello. Don't let the world steal your joy or change your smile.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 
-Romans 15:13

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I thought I'd poke in here on a Tuesday because I just came across the word "otiosity" while reading Vanity Fair. (I'm getting close to the end, y'all, hallelujah! Be looking out for a recap soon.) Has anyone else ever heard of this word? I hadn't. It comes from the word "otiose"and I think Thackeray made it up because I didn't see "otiosity" anywhere in the dictionary.

otiose (adjective): serving no practical purpose or result; indolent, idle

Its origin is in the late 18th century. I love it. The "t" is pronounced more like a "sh" sound. In Vanity Fair, Thackeray is using it to describe one of our principal characters. 
"Joseph Sedley then led a life of dignified otiosity such as became a person of his eminence."
This is straight out of chapter 60 ("Returns to the Genteel World"), and is found on page 592 in my copy.  Yes, you heard me right. Chapter 60. Page 592. This book is no joke.

Anyway, I like it, and I'm adding it to my vocabulary. Perhaps this post is the stuff of otiosity, maybe even this entire blog is, but there you have it. Have a fabulous Tuesday afternoon!

Do you have a favorite word that's maybe a little obscure?

Monday, March 9, 2015


Today I want to deviate from my pattern a little bit. I know, I know, what pattern?! Well, at least for the quotes I've been sharing from Vanity Fair, I have posted the quote and then expounded on it with some of my own personal thoughts on the subject. For today, I want to put up this quote and then open the floor for discussion. So without further ado, here is the quote:
"It may perhaps have struck her that to have been honest and humble, to have done her duty, and to have marched straightforward on her way, would have brought her as near happiness as that path by which she was striving to attain it. But,---just as the children at Queen's Crawley went round the room, where the body of their father lay;---if ever Becky had these thoughts, she was accustomed to walk round them, and not look in. She eluded them, and despised them---or at least she was committed to the other path from which retreat was now impossible. And for my part I believe that remorse is the least active of all a man's moral senses---the very easiest to be deadened when wakened: and in some never wakened at all. We grieve at being found out, and at the idea of shame or punishment; but the mere sense of wrong makes very few people unhappy in Vanity Fair."
This paragraph comes out of chapter 41 ("In Which Becky Revisits the Halls of Her Ancestors") and is on page 415 in my book.

First of all, may I just say that I am enjoying Thackeray's writing immensely? Because I am. He is so good. I mean, have you ever tip-toed around certain thoughts instead of facing them head on? His analogy is beautiful.

Now, what do you think? Is remorse the least active of all a man's moral senses? Is Thackeray's statement true or false? And if true, is it true across the board for Christians and non-Christians alike? Let's start this week off with some edifying debate. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Casual Fridays

Orange Blossoms. Oh my goodness. This is my all time, number one, nothing-even-comes-close, favorite fragrance in this world. We have come to the time of year down here in Florida where I go everywhere with my windows down just to catch a whiff of this heavenly scent. It's like my own personal Christmas in March. If someone--ANYONE--could effectively bottle this up, I would keep them in business for the rest of my life. I would buy the candle, the lotion, the cleaning products, the car freshener: you name it, I'd buy it. It is divine. I genuinely feel sorry for you if you are allergic or have never experienced the blessing that is Orange Blossoms. 

Speaking of paradise, have I mentioned lately that I live there? It's true, y'all. I apologize to anyone who might be reading this right now living up to your neck in snow, but this is me mowing our backyard last week. Fun fact: up until a few months ago, I had never mowed a yard in my life. My brothers still don't believe that I have. (Oakie, Reagan, here is photographic evidence that I am now a proud lawn-mowing machine.) My verdict on mowing? I like it. As long as it's sunny and warm, I will volunteer to mow the yard. If we had a push-mower, I might feel very differently.

Movie Review Time!

I recently watched Cast Away all the way through for the very first time in my life. My thoughts at the end: Ain't nobody got time for a blonde who says, "I always knew you were alive" but went and married your dentist. You go get you a redhead, Tom. 

I also finally caved and agreed to watch the first few Harry Potter movies with my hubby. He likes them, and it's my goal in life to be an awesome wife. I have resisted watching them and have no desire to read the books. My thoughts after seeing the first three: meh.

Cody and I also watched a movie recently called The Double starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace of all people. Has anyone heard of this?? We hadn't, but we saw it in RedBox and, after looking up some reviews to check the content, decided to watch it. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The plot was compelling, the acting was good, and it was pretty clean. There were some violent scenes and probably some language, but overall I thought it was very good. There is a plot twist at the end that I never saw coming, so major kudos for that.

I've been jamming to Train this week. 
Not any particular album or song. 
Just Train. 
I love me some Train. 

Speaking of music, can I just talk about The Voice for a second? So, I've never watched an entire season from start to finish. I love the concept of this show. But I pick my winner and once they're gone, I'm gone. For instance, my season 7 pick was Taylor John Williams. He came so close, y'all. Taylor? Please make me a record. And the only other season I really followed was season 3 and my pick was Melanie Martinez. She didn't win. I just started watching the current season and Hello, Sawyer Fredericks! What?! This kid is just too adorable for words. #following

Well, this is probably about enough for this post, and to wrap it all up, check out this church sign I drove by this week. Cody and I laughed too much.

I mean, come on.

 Get outta here, Devil.

What is your all-time favorite scent? Have you seen any good movies lately? Are you a fan of Train? The Voice? Who are you #following season 8?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I'm So Excited, and I Just. Can't. Hide. It.

Popping in on a Thursday because y'all. Robin Jones Gunn just announced on her blog that the third book in the Christy & Todd: Married Years series will be released August 15th!  I cannot contain myself. I have been waiting for this since December, and, have no doubt, this book has already been added to the 2015 Book List.  Oh. Em. Gee. 

my Robin Jones Gunn shelf
Any ladies out there reading this, do yourself a favor and go read the whole Christy Miller series, then the Sierra Jensen series, then the Christy & Todd: College Years series, then the Katie Weldon series, and THEN the Christy & Todd: Married Years books. You will thank me. 

You really cannot go wrong reading anything by Robin Jones Gunn. She is golden. Her books really encouraged me to stay close to Christ during my teenage years, and they continue to be an encouragement to me today. I talk about Christy, Katie, Sierra, and the rest of the gang like they are my best friends (seriously. just ask my husband. he thinks I'm crazy), and I can't wait for the pre-order to open up so I can buy One More Wish as fast as is humanly possible. 

Much love to you all on this sunshiney Thursday.

I'm so happyyyyy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Feeling Seussy

We're pretty big into Dr. Seuss around here, so don't be surprised if every now and then, you stumble onto a Seussy post. 

One of our more recent acquisitions is Bartholomew and the Oobleck. This was one of my Christmas presents from Cody. (How many times do I gotta say it? The man gets me.) One of my all time favorite Dr. Seuss books is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Bartholomew and the Oobleck is about the same little boy in the same Kingdom of Didd with the same crazy King Derwin.

In this adventure, King Derwin nearly ruins his kingdom because he gets bored with the same four things that always come down from the sky (rain, sunshine, fog, and snow), and he orders his royal magicians to make something new come down (against the better judgment and advice of Bartholomew Cubbins). 

This is a fantastic story about contentment and the magic of saying the simple words "I'm sorry." I would highly recommend it.

My favorite line from the book is, "'You may be a mighty king,' he said. 'But you're sitting in oobleck up to your chin. And so is everyone else in your land. And if you won't even say you're sorry, you're no sort of a king at all!'

We all have times when something is all our fault and we need to apologize. Instead of trying to think up some elaborate, elegant excuse or exquisitely worded explanation, sometimes a simple "I'm sorry" is the best thing we can say. Besides, if you won't even say you're sorry, you're no sort of a person at all.

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Listen Up, Girls!

If there's one thing in this life that breaks my heart and drives me to my knees, it's people being ugly to other people. Human beings, created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27), tearing down other human beings. There have been days when Cody has come home to a weeping wife simply because I was reading the comment section of some article on the internet. (Why do I keep doing that?! Note to self: read the article and move on with your day, Hannah.) People are nasty. We have all been guilty of saying things we ought not say, myself included. I have spent too many sleepless nights wishing I could reel some heedless words I spewed out back in. But it truly blows my mind how complete strangers will rip into each other over this world wide anonymous web. 

And you know what's worse? We women are the champions of this. We always have been. It's as old as Sarai and Hagar (Genesis chapters 16 and 21). Probably older, but that's the first recorded account in the Bible of a woman bullying another woman. We know just how to cut someone down, and what's worse: we can do it with a sweet smile on our face and finish it off with a "Bless your heart!" (At least, down here in The South we can.)

This behavior does not go unnoticed. Look at this little snippet out of Vanity Fair:
"Who has not seen how women bully women? What tortures have men to endure, comparable to those daily-repeated shafts of scorn and cruelty with which poor women are riddled by the tyrants of their sex?  Poor victims!"
This particular gem comes out of chapter 33 ("Miss Crawley's Relations Are Anxious") and can be found on page 318 in my copy.

Ladies, this should not be. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul commends us to encourage one another and build each other up. As wives, moms, friends, daughters, sisters, we ought to be in each other's corner. We should be cheering each other on, praying for one another, empathizing through struggles, and rejoicing together through triumphs.

Not talking behind each other's backs, gossiping at every opportunity, and shaming each other when we don't agree on some subject. This is not becoming, and it does not go unseen. I would challenge any woman reading this (in fact, even if you're not a woman, I challenge you, too) to make a point to go out of your way this week to encourage another woman. Tell someone she's doing something right.

Just remember what your momma always taught you: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. And if your momma didn't teach you that, go write it on your mirror right now.

Also, I just gotta shout out my little brother right now. Happy Birthday, Oakie! I love you forever!

Both photos from our May 2011 Spain adventures.
P.S. Caroline, make sure he sees this, will ya? Thanks, girl!  ;)