Tag Archives: friends

Edition: Friendship 101

Wednesday Reads Widenobody-book-cover-transMelanie Shankle’s third book Nobody’s Cuter Than You digs deep into an area where many women today struggle: developing deep friendships. She says it best in the books introduction: women “have a tendency to swim in the shallow pool of relationships because we know getting deep can equate to being vulnerable.” Unfortunately, social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook widen the shallow end, allowing women the illusion of being involved in one another’s life. In reality, it’s simply a bunch of pictures and status updates that don’t often reflect the whole truth about a friend’s life. It’s a false world that offers little in the way of real friendship and support.

The best thing about Melanie’s book is that not only does she write inspiring quotes about friendship, but  she tells stories that illustrate the powerful bond of female relationships. It’s not a how-to book — although following her friendship example can help all women learn how-to be a better friend. It’s a nostalgic trek down friendship lane that forces its readers to remember friends from their childhood, high school and college years, as well as today. And in the remembering, we are compelled to deepen our friendships, the kind that shares joy and pain, love and loss, through thick and thin, day in and day out.

Nobody’s Cuter Than You, of course, will puddle the eyes with tears for its poignant moments, but it will also make readers laugh out loud with its hysterical analysis of stupid friendship antics, such as hideous clothing choices, eating habits (better to buy clothes than food in college), spontaneous road trips, and unexpected life changes. With every memory Melanie shares, readers remember why friendship is so vital to a full life.

The book is an easy read. I read it over the course of two days, only because I was trying to savor it. The read filled my heart with memories of friendships past and encouragement to connect with friends in the present. My heart was lighter, my smile brighter, and my mind determined to make friendship a priority in my life. Overall, Nobody’s Cuter Than You was worth every tear, chuckle and penny I spent!  (Watch the book trailer here. So worth it!)

PS: If you haven’t read her blog, you are missing out on daily laughter.

PSS: Don’t miss out on Melanie’s other books: Sparkly Green Earrings and The Antelope in the Living Room.



noun – a special or instinctive aptitude or ability for doing something well

I have a friend named Emily. She’s a wife, mother, dental hygienist, and phenomenal singer. Recently, however, she recognized her love for photography. And when she started sharing her pictures with the world, her friends immediately recognized her gift.

But… just because someone else recognizes a gift in us doesn’t mean we automatically have the confidence to believe that it’s true. We often find it hard to believe that God could use little ole us doing a job that we adore. So it was with Emily. Until…

She prayed a simple — desperate — prayer.

As a wife, mother, dental hygienist, and part-time photographer, Emily was feeling the stress of trying to doing it all.  Her love of photography, a mere hobby at the time, started to demand more than she had to give. But how do you give up something that you love? How do you find balance between the responsibilities of life and the talent that fills your heart?

In a stressed and desperate moment, Emily cried out to God, pleading desperately for a sign to leave her gift behind or keep developing it. That evening she posted the following picture on Facebook which had been taken during a recent photo shoot.


The next morning she headed off to work, ready to let the talent go if God so desired. As she was leaving work, she received a call from a friend that told her to check her Facebook account. Upon doing so, she saw that the picture she’d posted the night before had over 300,000 likes, and within 24 hours of the posting, the pic reached 1 million likes. That same 24 hours brought in 200 email inbox messages and hundreds and hundreds of encouraging comments from strangers all over the world! People from the United Kingdom, Canada, and even Australia raved over the perfectly captured moment.  Within 3 days, her photography fan page grew from 400 likes to 22,000!  According to FB, Emily’s photography had reached over 27 million people!

Needless to say, God answered: “Don’t let the dream go, Emily!”  I’m so proud to say that she’s my friend, and I love her heart, which says follow God even when the dream’s future is unknown.

Her story reminds me of quote from Holly Gerth’s book, You Were Made for a God-Sized Dream.  

It’s not about what you do as much as HOW you do it.  It’s about pursuing life with passion and purpose and going with God wherever he leads. It’s about not settling. It’s about tenaciously believing that you were made for more…more of Jesus, more of what he’s created you to be, more of what he’s called you to do. Less of you, actually, and more of all he is and all he has for you — which is beyond what you can even imagine.

God places dreams inside of all of us — gives us each a talent. Some of us choose to hide it, ignore it, or dislike it, but some choose to fight for it. That fight is what brings us closer to God because we know the dream cannot live without him. The dream requires something of us that we don’t have – a thing that only he can give.

May you be challenged to pull out your dream, lay it before God,  and decide it’s worth it . Just like Emily did.

Enjoy these photographic moments that Emily created just for my family.  Her flair for photography is evident.  If you are looking for someone to capture your family’s personality and preserve it forever in a photo, check out Emily’s Facebook page and her photography page.


A little hint of our love for Ecuador


Two of the greatest — and best looking– teenagers on the planet


If you know us, you know this pic fits us to a T


Can you find the hubs and me?


Love the head on daddy’s shoulder in this one


Yep, still in love and this pic shows it!


Me and the wind…not staged…only real-life wind used here:)


How fun is this?!

Thanks for being a God-sized dreamer, Emily. Your flair for photography and dedication to God makes all our lives a little more colorful.