Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pray Big Prayers

Well, I'm into 1 Chronicles this week. I won't lie: 1 Chronicles is tough-going at first. There are a lot of ancient, unfamiliar names. But as I'm slugging through all these endless genealogies, I come across this one verse in chapter four--ONE VERSE--and I'm reminded of something my dad says all the time: pray big prayers. You've probably heard of this verse if you've hung around Christian circles long enough. Some guy wrote an entire book about it called The Prayer of Jabez. The verse is 1 Chronicles 4:10.
"Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, 'Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!' And God granted him what he requested." (NASB)
Did you catch that last line? "And God granted him what he requested." 

Now, I'm not trying to start any debates about the prosperity gospel or blah blah blah. I know from personal experience that God doesn't always answer prayer how or when I want Him to. And that's okay. I know that He is in control and that His ways are infinitely more excellent than mine.

But I also know that God tells us to pray. In the book of Luke chapter eighteen, Jesus is telling His disciples a parable about a persistent widow who continues to bother a judge until she gets what she wants. It says in verse one that Jesus told them this parable so that they would understand that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 

And James 5:16 says that "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (KJV)

So instead of sitting around worrying about the world or wondering if God cares about your problems or wishing your circumstances were different, remember that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, who can sympathize with our weaknesses because He has been tempted just like we are yet never sinned. And "let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

Pray big prayers.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Let Us Be Elegant or Die

One of the reasons I chose to indulge myself with Little Women is because it keeps me laughing the whole way through. (It also keeps me crying, but let's not get into that right now.) This quote in particular tickles me:
"Meg's high-heeled slippers were dreadfully tight, and hurt her, though she would not own it, and Jo's nineteen hair-pins all seemed stuck straight into her head, which was not exactly comfortable; but, dear me, let us be elegant or die."
From chapter 3 ("The Laurence Boy") on page 35. 

This quote makes me giggle, and even though it's written with perhaps a hint of irony, it's true isn't it? My mind immediately went to movies like Cinderella (starring Brandy) in which Bernadette Peters cries out to her two stepdaughters, "Beauty knows no pain, girls!" or Bride Wars (starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway) where the attentive sales attendant oh-so-helpfully tells Liv, "Just be careful of any pre-wedding weight gain. You don't alter Vera to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera."

In today's culture, so much emphasis is placed on how you look, how you dress, and how you carry yourself. And I'm all about keeping my appearance neat, putting my best foot forward, and even getting dolled up occasionally. But I think it's vital to remember what's really important:

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."
-1 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJV)

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."
-Proverbs 31:30

But dear me, let us be elegant or die!
My Bridal Portrait
(arguably the most elegant I will ever be in my life)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Casual Fridays

Yesterday my niece was over and we were discussing our favorite animals. Because hello, what's more fun than favorite animals?! My favorite happens to be the elephant. And I was telling my niece about the time I got to ride a real, live elephant. And then I started showing her the pictures from when I did that. And then I realized that it has been exactly five years since that memorable ride. 

So I decided to dedicate today's Casual Friday post to one of my favorite memories. Taking an elephant-back safari in Sun City, South Africa.

For those of you reading who may not know, I spent 6 months in Johannesburg, South Africa from October 2009 to May 2010. As I was nearing the end of my time in South Africa, I found out about this place you could go to take a safari while riding an elephant. First of all, it had been a major bucket-list goal of mine for quite some time to ride an elephant. I am that girl who always wanted to ride one in the parking lot of the local festival that was traveling through or who would spend the whole day at the zoo watching the elephants--forget about the other animals. So when I heard about this, I had to do it. I mean, how many people get to ride an elephant through an African game reserve?? I got online, booked my excursion, got some directions, and did it. I remember the long drive there was gorgeous. Fields and fields of sunflowers in full bloom. I wanted so badly to get out of the car and snap some photos, but the better part of wisdom said, "Hannah, stay in your car and keep driving, white girl." And for once in my life, I listened. 

Somehow, I found Sun City without getting lost, met my guide, and was driven out into the heart of the African plains. Turns out I was the only one who booked a ride that day. Winning! I then was introduced to 6 of the most gorgeous creatures I had ever laid eyes on. These huge beasts walked right up to me and surrounded me. It was a wee bit intimidating, but also the coolest thing I have ever done. I was told that I'd be riding Michael, the very biggest one, and then shown how to mount him. (It involved climbing steps to the top of a wall I had to stand on in order to get on his back.) I will never forget the sensation of being so high off the ground. It was awesome. Two huge elephants walked in front, then Michael's handler and me on Michael in the middle, and two more huge elephants behind us with a little 13-month old elephant walking with us. I was amazed at how they all walked in a line and how the baby would just walk right underneath us, through and around and under the legs of all the adult elephants. So cool. We spent about an hour riding these guys through the bush, walking right by other incredible animals including rhinos and zebras. It was breathtaking.

chatting it up with Michael
After we finished our ride, I was given the opportunity to interact with the elephants in a bit more up-close-and-personal fashion. I even got really brave and fed Michael.

As you can see, this involved putting the majority of my arm inside his mouth. No big deal. I remember that as I was sticking my hand inside his mouth, one of the handlers mentioned that one of the elephants likes to snap down before you can get your hand out. Excuse me?! Fortunately, I walked away with all my limbs intact.

Me and Michael ~ April 16, 2010
All in all, it remains one of the very coolest things I have ever done, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

What is your favorite animal? Or what crazy item have you been wanting to check off your bucket list? Feel free to share something unique you've done in the combox, and have an extraordinary weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Feeling Seussy

Today I want to talk a little about And to Think That I saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss. This book was published in 1937 and was the first children's book Dr. Seuss ever had published. 

And I love it.

It's a story of a little boy named Marco who is in possession of an outrageous imagination. The story starts out with the lines:
"When I leave home to walk to school, Dad always says to me, 'Marco, keep your eyelids up and see what you can see.'"
But when all Marco sees on his way to school is a plain horse and an old wagon, he quickly dreams up an entire parade complete with police escort and an airplane showering down confetti over the whole spectacle. 

Did you know that Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss's real name) was rejected by at least 20 different publishers before Vanguard Press agreed to publish And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street? Apparently, one of the biggest criticisms of the book by potential publishers was that it lacked a clear moral message. Geisel has been quoted as saying to his wife in response to this criticism, "What's wrong with kids having fun reading without being preached at?"

And that's what I love about this book. It's just fun for the sake of being fun, and it encourages kids to use their imaginations which I happen to believe is very important.

Are you a daydreamer?  What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Monday, April 20, 2015


Mothers Day is coming up in a few short weeks (May 10th, to be exact, so consider this your reminder), but rather than posting something then, I decided to post today because, well, I'm reading Little Women (yes, it won out for A Book To Read--I love it so much), and this absolutely perfect quote was in the very first chapter:
"She wasn't a particularly handsome person, but mothers are always lovely to their children, and the girls thought the gray cloak and unfashionable bonnet covered the most splendid woman in the world."
From chapter 1 ("Playing Pilgrims") on page 17.

And isn't it just the truth? My mother is the loveliest and the best. I love you, Mom!

the most splendid mother in the world with all her babies (the last one still inside)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Casual Fridays

What a week, what a week! First of all, let me begin by saying that my brother and his wife were down again last weekend, and we had a little Yahtzee rematch. I totally killed with a whopping total score of 309. I'm pretty sure 2nd place was a full 20 points behind me. No brag, just fact. Ah, sweet justice!

Moving on, I'm going to need to gush for a second about where I live. Can you just check out the view from my window?

Look at those perfect, white, fluffy clouds on that gorgeous sky-blue backdrop. And I know those are just weeds that really need to be cleared out of there, but in the meantime, I am loving those yellow and purple flowers growing straight up out of the lake. We went to the beach on Sunday to celebrate my mommy-in-law's birthday, and it was the best day. I've been practically living outside this week. I know Cody and I may not live in Florida for the rest of our lives, but for right now, my heart is full. 
I know I just said I've practically been living outside, but I did come in for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon to watch Ramona and Beezus with my youngest sister-in-law. (Thanks for indulging me, Savannah!) Y'all, the first time I watched this movie, it became an instant favorite of mine. I love it so much. It's such a feel-good, wholesome family film, and I would highly recommend it if you've never seen it and are looking for something good. In fact, if you want to come over, I will pop up a big bowl of hot buttery popcorn and watch it with you. (Seriously. Girls Night In, anyone?) It never gets old. Maybe someday I will review some Ramona Quimby books on the blog, but sadly, I do not own a single one. *sigh*

Been listening to a lot of Ginny Owens this week. 
Particularly her Without Condition and Long Way Home albums.
She's so good.

Oh and this song. It's super-fun.

Colonel's Corner
So you know how last week I mentioned that Colonel was getting his first-ever haircut and how I was so petrified that they were going to ruin him? Well, he's cuter than ever. They did such a good job. He looks like a lean, handsome dog now instead of a shaggy little brown bear. I insisted Cody take some before and after pictures of us. He was thrilled to oblige, let me tell ya. You can see the results below. Maybe you can't really tell, but the difference is huge.
Link Love           
Quote of the Week
"I want the presence of God Himself, 
or I don't want anything at all to do with religion. 
I want all that God has or I don't want any."
-A.W. Tozer

I think I'll wrap this post up by telling you that I treated myself to a little back porch pedicure this week (I repeat, living outside lately), and I have decided that I will never be too old to paint my toenails Barbie hot pink. 

Be fabulous, and if you happen to be awake at 4 AM tomorrow morning, say a prayer for me. I'm chaperoning an all-nighter for a bunch of 5th and 6th grade girls tonight. 


P.S. Sawyer Fredericks is in the Top 10. He is so winning this show.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Selfish Love

Ok, I have one more quote from Vanity Fair. I promise, last one. Check it out: 
"He had placed himself at her feet so long that the poor little woman had been accustomed to trample upon him. She didn't wish to marry him, but she wished to keep him. She wished to give him nothing, but that he should give her all. It is a bargain not unfrequently levied in love."
From chapter 66 ("Amantium Irae") on page 662.

Read that last line again: "It is a bargain not unfrequently levied in love."

Is this love? Treating someone like a doormat? Expecting to gain everything, but intending to give nothing? Keeping someone around because they do nice things for us?

"Love is patient,
love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails..."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NASB)

There's no such thing as "selfish love"-- only selfishness. How many of us treat our spouses this way? Our parents? Friends? Jesus?

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -John 15:13 (KJV)

Monday, April 13, 2015


**WARNING** Today's post is a stroll down a meandering dirt path buried somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind. Musings from Scriptures I've been reading recently. Lots of questions and not much resolution. If this is not for you, read no further.

Joab is one of the most perplexing characters in all of Scripture to me. I mean, he was extremely loyal to David (to the point of obeying David in his wicked scheme to kill Uriah). He spoke the truth to David even when it was hard for David to hear or accept (like after Absalom died and David was mourning instead of thanking the people for their loyalty and valor). He was one of David's mightiest men, and David obviously trusted him (he put Joab over the entire army). Joab was probably one of the greatest war heroes in the Bible. 

Yet at the end, David--from his deathbed, mind you--expressed his desire to Solomon that Joab be put to death. And Solomon had him executed. 

What is that??

Of course Joab made mistakes. No one is perfect. But why at the end of his life did David want Joab executed? Had he harbored anger toward Joab because Joab killed Absalom? Was pledging his loyalty to David's older son Adonijah the cause? Was David still experiencing guilt over killing Uriah and feeling bitter towards Joab for the role he played in that situation? I mean, Joab had given David wise counsel at other times. Why didn't he write David back and tell him not to be so foolish?

I know the explanation David gives to Solomon is that Joab killed innocent men in peace time and that blood was on David's head. And maybe it really is as simple as that. Maybe David didn't have the heart to carry out the proper punishment because he did love and trust Joab and valued his loyalty. 

But it just seems so abrupt to me. So out of the blue. It makes me wonder if there wasn't more to the story that we're not privy to. I wonder...

Are there certain stories from the Bible that you wish you could fill in some blanks for? That you're left wondering about? A scene you wish you could have watched as a fly on the wall? I have many. Tell me some of yours.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy Birthday to the Best Mother-In-Law!

Happy Birthday, Mommy Trina! I love you forever!

bringing in 2011 together

Ormond September 2012

Graduation May 2014

Friday, April 10, 2015

Casual Fridays

So, I've decided it's time for another segment of "A Few of My Favorite Things". These things have been making me happy lately.

The Root of the Righteous by A.W. Tozer : Cody and I have been reading this book together kind of like a devotional. Each chapter is about three pages long so it's perfect to read this way. Y'all. I've been wanting to discuss this book on the blog, but I can't even pick out quotes to put up because I just want to copy the whole thing. Every word is golden. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. There are like, 46 chapters, and I think we are on chapter 13. Please, please, PLEASE read this book. 

Wonderstruck Bible Study by Margaret Feinberg : I just started this study Tuesday night with some women from my church. First of all, women's Bible study: what a huge blessing in my life. I had taken a break from our church Bible studies the past few months, but I am so excited to be diving back in with this one. In the past few days, my eyes and heart have been opened to the wonder of God all around me simply because I've been looking for it. One of the exercises in the book is to daily write down three wonders of God that you observe. Even if you don't plan on doing this study, I would encourage you to develop this habit in your life of noticing God's wonder all around you. 

Fun Keys : I mean, why have plain old boring keys when you can have green chevron or a mustache or the American flag on them, amiright?? They're easier to identify and they make me happy every time I have to unlock my house. Win-win.

Springbok 1000-piece State Plates Puzzle : We finished it last weekend and it looks amazing!! (read "amazing" in a sing-song voice) I would have taken a picture of the completed puzzle, but it was too big to fit in with everything else. Take my word for it: it rocks. Now to find a place in the house for it....

Bracelets : I'm big into bracelets right now, and if you'll look closely at the picture, you'll notice three of my current favorites. The first one (super-colorful on the tall glass) is the Colors of the World Cuff from Trades of Hope. It goes with everything because it has every color imaginable in it, and I love, love, love it. The second one (on top of the short glass) is a daisy chain bracelet that my mom gave me for Easter. Daisies are my favorite flower ("Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?" NAME THAT MOVIE!), and my mom thought of me when she saw it, and that makes me happy. The third one (wrapped around the bottom of the short glass) is my favorite bracelet in the whole world. My husband gave it to me for Christmas. I mean, y'all, he measured my wrist and everything. He's sneaky. It's a T. Waterbury Wrap bracelet and it wraps around my wrist five times. It also goes with just about everything, and it feels bohemian and gypsy to me. I'm a bit of a flower child, can you tell?

Cute New Pictures of My Nieces to Frame : Enough said, right? I can't believe they are 3 years old and 7 months old already. STOP GROWING UP! 

and finally, Homemade Mini-Banana Muffins : You guys, I'm amazed I even was able to get photographic evidence of these. They are usually gobbled right up straight out of the pan. They are the best. And if my husband wasn't at work when I took the picture, they would have been gone. But when he's at work, I feel obligated to restrain myself from eating every last crumb before he gets home so that he can have a fair shot at them, too. I know: powerful self-control at work in my life right now. The Holy Spirit is obviously moving. 

Well, I was going to talk about how Sawyer Fredericks made it into the Top 12 on The Voice (of course, because he's so amazing) or how today is the Colonel's first ever haircut (and I'm kindof freaking out about it because what if they totally butcher it??), but I think this post is long enough already. Happy weekend, friends!

What are some things that are making you happy right now?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tell the Truth

Ok, I have another quote from Vanity Fair for you today. I know, I know: you thought we were finished with Vanity Fair, right? Wrong! Muaahahahaha! I just thought this one was too good not to share:

"But that is the misfortune of beginning with this kind of forgery. When one fib becomes due as it were, you must forge another to take up the old acceptance; and so the stock of your lies in circulation inevitably multiplies, and the danger of detection increases every day." 
From chapter 66 ("Amantium Irae") on page 652.

Does this sound familiar to you?  Like maybe:

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"
-Sir Walter Scott, Marmion

Or how about:

"He who tells a lie, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one."
-Alexander Pope

Lying is a messy business. Not only is it complicated to maintain a lie, as all these quotes suggest, lying ruins relationships. I would venture to say that the basis for any good relationship is trust. With one lie, that foundation can be instantly destroyed. In some cases, trust may be rebuilt with time. In others, trust is lost forever.

God hates lying. He says so in His Word.

"There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers."
-Proverbs 6:16-19 (NASB)

"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight."
-Proverbs 12:22 (NASB)

"What is desirable  in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar."
-Proverbs 19:22 (NASB)

"He who practices deceit shall not dwell within My house; he who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before Me."
-Psalm 101:7 (NASB)

Not only does God clearly hate lying, He explicitly tells us not to lie.

"Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit."
-Psalm 34:13 (NASB)

"Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another."
-Ephesians 4:25 (NASB)

"Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him."
-Colossians 3:9-10 (NASB)

Let's review: lying is complicated and messy. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Thackeray, Scott, and Pope among countless others throughout history could obviously see the dangerous effects of lying. Lying ruins relationships by completely destroying trust. God hates--I'm talking, absolutely abhors--lying and commands us not to lie in His Word.

So why risk it?

" will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."  -John 8:32 (NASB)

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Book to Read

G. K. Chesterton once said, "There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read." And that struck a chord with me today because, y'all, I'm tired.

The last couple weeks have been non-stop. I'm talking go, go, GO. And it seems like April is shaping up to be more of the same. 

Don't get me wrong, I am loving this crazy life. We've been getting a lot of quality time with family that we don't usually get to spend time with. I love that. It makes me wish we all lived close because my heart is happy when we're all together. We have the sweetest puppy who has completely wormed his way into our hearts while totally adding a new element of chaos to my days. I mean, y'all. My floors will never be the same. What is the point of even mopping, amiright? I'm almost to a place of acceptance about it. Adoption paperwork is expiring and having to be re-done. I started this wacky blog. There are church activities, soccer games, birthdays, meetings, airport runs: the list goes on and on. And I wouldn't trade a thing (except maybe that crazy adoption paperwork).

So by the time I catch a minute to sit down by myself in the quiet, I don't want to read a book. 

I just want a book to read.

Is anyone out there feeling me? 

I know last Monday I introduced When God Writes Your Life Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy. But you know what? I haven't picked that book back up since I finished the first chapter. Over a week ago. So I think it's time for an old friend. After all, C.S. Lewis did say, "It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between." And Much Ado About Nothing and Vanity Fair were both new. I'm overdue for a good re-read.

I was looking back over my book list, and I think it's time for Sense & Sensibility. Or Little Women. Or maybe I'll go totally rogue and treat myself to something I deliberately left off the list because I've read it so many times. I mean really, "There's nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over." (Gail Carson Levine) Who knows what you might find here on Wednesday? 

What's your go-to when you just want a book to read?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Casual Fridays

Praise God, it's true! 
Jesus is ALIVE! 
This is the foundation of my faith: I serve a risen Savior!
If you are reading this blog, I sincerely hope that you have met Christ and have a reason to celebrate this weekend.

Last weekend, Cody, the Colonel, and I got our roadtrip on and went up to visit my brother and sister-in-law (and their dog Romy, of course) in Columbus, GA. We left Friday morning at 2 AM and arrived there around 9:30 or so. I am proud to report that Colonel did great in the car--both ways--and he loved his cousin Romy. Can't you tell? 

We had an awesome weekend together. We packed a picnic lunch and took the dogs on a super-fun hike. We caught an arena football game that turned into a real nail-biter (52-50. Go Lions!). And we spent quality time together eating great food, talking, and playing plenty of games. We Osborne kids are, um, shall I say, a little on the competitive's hard on our spouses at times, but all I have to say about the games this weekend is this: if you are the only person to roll an actual Yahtzee during the game, you should automatically win. *sigh* Oh well. At least Caroline and I DOMINATED in Pictionary.


Anyway, all this to say, I thought I had it together and scheduled Friday's and Monday's blog posts before we left, and figured I would have plenty of time after we got back to write Wednesday's post. Well, after driving from 2AM Tuesday morning straight through....I was wiped. And no post happened. Sorry if anyone was disappointed. (Thanks for texting me about it, Reagan. At least I have one faithful follower who looks forward to my posts. You're the best!)

Cody and I started this puzzle this week after we got back from our GA adventures. I got it for him for Christmas, and I'm totally loving it. (Thanks for helping put it together with us, Dakota and Caleb!) As you can see, we left the easy parts for last. PSYCH!

Colonel's Corner
In celebration of Easter, I got this brilliant idea to take the Colonel outside and snap some cute Easter-y photos of him.

But Cody was at work. 

And we haven't quite mastered "stay" yet.

So this is the best I got.

Happy Easter, y'all!