Saturday, 31 December 2016

2017 Word of the Year - Firgun



This year 2017 has really crept up on me. I can't believe it's come so fast. Seriously it's ridiculous!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Sunday, 18 December 2016

American Adventures // the most wonderful time of the year

Ok first of all I'd like to heartily apologise that the bulk of these photos featuring me are selfies... I'm sure you can forgive me, ok? :) You'll have to, haha.

These are just photos of the last wee while. Enjoy!

Monday, 5 December 2016

New Zealand vs. United States: Differences


Wow, there really are lots of differences between New Zealand the United States. (I'm talking about things that are less obvious than population or geographical size.) I knew about a lot of them because of American movies, American books and American acquaintances, but I was still surprised by some!

Here is my non-comprehensive guide to some of the many differences I have so far discovered between our two cultures. I enlisted the help of a friend (Thanks Laura!) in writing this... because two minds are better than one :P.

Firstly, in things they say. Here is a list of differences in words they say. 

Kiwis  Americans 
Kiwis New Zealanders
Shop Store
Lollies Candy
Petrol  Gas (the fuel you put in your car)
Jandals Flip flops
Footpath Sidewalk
Surname Last name
Toilet/ bathroom/ loo Restroom
Lift Elevator
Flat Apartment
Nappy Diaper
Dummy Pacifier
University/ uni College/ University/ School
Holiday Vacation
Tramps Hikes
Tomato sauce Ketchup
Smoko Morning tea/ coffee break
Postman Mailman
Rubbish Trash/ garbage
Biscuit / bikkie Cookie
Soft drink Soda pop/ soda/ pop
Capsicum Bell pepper
Candy floss Cotton Candy
Togs Swimsuit/ bathing suit


Clothes
In NZ, gumboot and jandal wearing is massive. A lot of people survive their entire existences in jandals (these are often students at uni, funny that). Gumboots are also quite widely worn. In rural towns especially.
American women wear lots of makeup. Kiwi women are more relaxed about that.

The classic Kiwi gumboot

Speech
Kiwis can talk quite fast. Americans talk in a more laid back way and often can't understand us. :P Also Americans don't understand the difference between New Zealand and Australian accents. Aussies say 'i' as 'ee'. There you go. Example: "ship" I would say "sh-i-p". They say "sh-ee-p".

Kiwis call each other friendly words of endearment such as "homie", "gee", "mate" and "bro".

Kiwis make a big deal of kiwi birds when they really aren't hugely exciting. (Seriously though they are nocturnal - they don't even come out during the day and they are ridiculously hard to find in the wild anyway).

"Bro" "Homie" "Mate" - we really set the standard when it comes to terms of endearment

Food
Kiwis eat staples such as pavlova and pineapple lumps. We LOVE sausage rolls, fish and chips, meat pies and chocolate fish.

Americans eat staples like Reese's peanut butter cups (which I can now officially tell you are actually amazing), pumpkin pie and cinnamon spice EVERYTHING. I suppose I did come over here on Thanksgiving time so what should I have expected? :P

Americans don't eat yams (we'll pray for them!). They only use pumpkins for carving and sweet foods (cookies, pumpkin spice everything, pies) and don't really use it as a vegetable. Most Americans don't roast pumpkin or make soup out of it!! They really are missing out.

Also of course Americans eat lots of takeaways such as burgers and pizza. New Zealanders survive on fish and chips. :P Well some of them do anyway.

Also, kumara and sweet potato are actually slightly different things. I know, surprising right?

The pavlova- basically a giant meringue cake covered with whipped cream and fruit.

Interested in any other info about New Zealand or how it differs from America (or the rest of the world)? I did another post on it a while back you can find here.

What differences between New Zealand and your country have you noticed?

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

American Adventures // HAPPY FALL, Y'ALL!

I told you I'd try and post some photos, didn't I? :) Here we go.

The sun was really cool coming in to Nashville airport.

This is the house we are staying in. We are staying upstairs and the office we work in is downstairs.

Our bedroom.. it's so pretty! I was on the top left bunk. Now that New York Hannah has gone home though, I'm on the bottom bunk. (*cries that Hannah isn't with us anymore*)

Our first weekend Hannah (other AR helper from New Zealand -not to be confused with another AR helper, Hannah from New York) and I went exploring. Franklin is a really cute town about 45 mins from where we are with some cool Thanksgiving decorations and some super cute shops. 

Quote on the mug: "Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of chocolate"
GUYS CAN I GET AN AMEN HERE PLEASE THANKS

Did I mention Franklin has cute shops? This is one selling Christmassy stuff. 


Here's a photo from the basketball game I mentioned here. The other gal with me is Hannah from NZ Everyone say hi to Hannah (*blocks ears from chorus of HI HANNAH*) - you will probably get to see a decent amount of the two of us! :)

The woods around here are SO PRETTY!

Let me introduce you to little Canaan, Mercy's baby. He is seven weeks old and so ridiculously cute! 
I miss little Michael at home... but having Canaan to cuddle helps make up for a bit.

I know it's pretty much winter over here now, but happy fall y'all anyway. :)

Before I go, I want to chat real briefly about American Thanksgiving. Last weekend was my first Thanksgiving (I'm not counting the Thanksgiving we celebrated in China last year) and it was awesome! 
We had around 87 people celebrating the Lord's faithfulness with us! We had a massive midday meal featuring turkey, lamb, roasted veggies, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and all kinds of yumminess. Then people made speeches and toasts giving thanks to the Lord and each other for all kinds of things. It was a fun thing to be part of! We then went outside for the family's tradition of competitions. We had an egg throwing competition (which I managed to stay in for four rounds but then lost) and a tug of war tournament and finally running races. Everyone participated, from the oldest to the youngest! (Well not the youngest because he is only seven weeks old :P). Then we trooped inside for arm wrestling competitions and dessert, which consisted of pie. Lots of pie. And biscuits ('cookies') and cream and icecream and cheesecake. The final item on the agenda was a concert which involved people singing, sharing, acting and making music. I officially love American thanksgiving.

How was your Thanksgiving? What have you been up to?
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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Music I've Been Loving

There are all sorts of lovely songs out there but these are the ones I've been loving recently. I am working on a blog post with lots of photos of my adventures for you... but in the meantime, enjoy this one! :)
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Pushing Back The Dark by Josh Wilson is all about letting your light shine... it talks about how we might not think we can do much ("a single candle in the dark..... don't have what it takes... who are you to make a change?") but how we can't understimate the God we follow! It's really encouraging!




This next song, Shelter by Joy Enriquez, is one I've played over and over recently. What with all the changes in my life (the most notable being moving across the world for two and a half months), a song about how the Lord is our shelter... how he is our fortress and our guide and always by our side is so encouraging! It's a great song for when you need a reminder of God's promises... or just a great song whenever.




Now we have one that I thought long and hard about including... but eventually decided to leave it in. Breathe by Jonny Diaz is a really neat one for anyone who feels stressed or busy! It reminds us to just breathe... and to come and rest at the Father's feet.




Alone by Hollyn (feat. Tru) is a song I first heard on the radio I listen to while I'm driving. It's a really cool, very upbeat song that makes you want to dance! If you watch the lyric video I embedded below, try to ignore the few wrong lyrics/typos it has. :) Good video otherwise! And a neat song.



Our final one is a song to get you excited about Christmas (which is, in case you had forgotten, right around the corner). Whoop whoop! It's my favourite Christmas carol ever, sung by one of the best acappella groups in the world (well I don't actually know if they are one of the best in the world but they truly are fabulous). Here's O Holy Night by Home Free!




And that's the lot for today! :)

Have you heard them before? 
Have you come across any particularly awesome songs recently?

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My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered. Psalm 71:23

Saturday, 19 November 2016

kind of an A + A // American Adventures + Misc

Good afternoon, friends! Well those of you who follow me over on Instagram will know that I'm still alive and having lots of fun over here in the US. We had a couple of days in San Francisco exploring (amongst our exploring we went over and under the Golden Gate Bridge but sadly it was shrouded in fog so our photos are horrific :/) and then we came on to Nashville.

Today has been my second day of work here, slowly learning the ropes. We work in the Above Rubies office from 9-5 doing things like packaging and sending orders, creating digital art to post on the Above Rubies social media, managing the subscribers database, answering the phone and sending off magazines. It's really fun. There are three other helpers here, one of which is also from New Zealand (we came over together). :)

Tennessee in the autumn (well over here they call it 'fall') is absolutely gorgeous. So many beautiful colours! Winter here could get cold, I'm told. We are preparing for a fun Thanksgiving celebration. Last night we went to watch a basketball game. It was awesome going to a real American basketball game! The other young people living nearby are really interested in Kiwi things... such as our money. I brought a $10 bill with me and some coins and they were a hit! Seeing other people's culture is so interesting. I'm loving hearing all the American accents around us!

Not sure how many photos I'll be posting, but hopefully I'll be posting a bit in the next wee while. Definitely not as often as I was this year, but I'm aiming for once a week. We'll see! There's always something happening around here. Anyway I'm enjoying myself wayyy too much to tell you what's happening (well ok I'm kidding guys just kidding just kidding calm down ok :P). But seriously though America is the coolest. Next to NZ of course. :P Everything is just... very American! Lol.

The rest of this post was created before I left New Zealand. I didn't post it on it's own because it's not very long in it's own right but hopefully with my little US trip update and letting you know I'm still alive, you'll be happy. :P Anyway. On with the awkward and awesome!
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Awkward:
- Going to bed (a.k.a. walking out to the sleepout) and waiting on the deck while Danella unlocked the door... and discovering what looks like an animal (like a hedgehog or something) sitting quietly on the deck next to you. So you get suitably frightened (I mean come on, it had a snout and everything) and both of you hurry into the sleepout to grab a torch so you can see what it is.
It was an empty potato chip packet.
I have no idea how that got there, we certainly do not eat potato chips in the sleepout (and even if we did, we'd put the empty packet in the rubbish like responsible humans).
Once we got over the trauma of thinking an animal was sitting on our deck, it was quite funny.

- Holding little Michael and cooing at him and having him coo and giggle back... then having him suddenly and without warning let loose a mini fountain of spit up all over you. Then he looked at me and grinned cheekily. I couldn't believe it.

- Seeing all my friend's facebook posts after the American election... :O Half of them were thrilled and half were horrified. All elections divide people but this one was the worst I've seen.


Awesome:
- A day trip with some friends to Castle Hill. Guys, this place is the coolest! It's where the battle scenes in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe were filmed. We had so much fun exploring it and taking photos on top of the rocks. We also went exploring nearby Cave Stream (where you can enter a network of caves/tunnels and, following an underground stream, travel underneath the hill and pop out in daylight on the other side of the hill! It's super cool. We didn't actually do the underground caving bit because we didn't have torches.. but we enjoyed adventuring around near the entrance.
Here are a couple of photos....

Some of the really cool limestone formations. They are way bigger than they appear and this is very high up.

It was a beautiful day.

Posing in one of the Cave Stream entrances.

- Having heaps of fun at a trampoline park with some friends. Doing awesome things with friends in the last few days before I leave makes some neat memories.

- Encouragement in the form of letters and cards in the mail. Pretty sure no one has friends as great as I do!

Well that's all I have for your, friends... tell me, what have you been up to in the last week? 
How is your life going? 
What's the weather like where you live?


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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Blogger Recognition Award

Well I have now been tagged in the same tag a grand total of twice. :O This tag really is making the rounds of the blogosphere!

I was tagged by Lexi (Times and Seasons of a Beautiful Life) and Paige (Paige's Pages). Go check out the blogs of these lovely ladies! :)

In between my answers to the requirements, I'm going to be inserting some photos of my siblings playing on the trampoline. Because trampolines are awesome.

The Tag Rules (because all blog tags have rules, right?!)
❤ Thank the blogger who nominated you. THANKS LEXI AND PAIGE!!!!
❤ Tell a little bit about how you started blogging.
❤ Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
❤ Nominate 15 other bloggers.



How my little blog started:
So I had some friends who blogged. (Their blogs are here, here, here, and here, if you're interested!) After reading/stalking their blogs for a while, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go (I'm never one to miss out on fun for long...). I created my blog in January 2013 which means next January is my four year blogiversary! I've never stopped blogging for long. The longest break was, I think, the three week break when I went to China last year.
If you want to find out more about how my blog began and why it is still continuing, feel free to have a read here.


Advice for new bloggers #1:

Don't try to make your blog into something that you are not. Let it reflect you. Let it reflect your personality, your life. Don't try and copy other people's blogs because your blog should be a reflection on you, not on other people! :)
Sure, allow other people and their blogs to influence you. But stay true to yourself.

If you try to make your blog something that you are not, it will feel forced. You will rob yourself of much of the joy in blogging!

Don't let other people tell you how you should blog. Listen to them politely and weigh up what they are saying. If it's helpful, keep it. If not, continue to do you.


Advice for new bloggers #2:

Interact with other bloggers! :)

This is super important. If you just write a blog but don't bother about interacting with commenters, commenting on other people's blogs and finding new blogs, you'll be living in a pretty stagnant corner of the blogging world. Besides, meeting new people is a good way to get more followers yourself. Plenty of people will follow you back if you start interacting with them.

Finding other awesome blogs is super easy. Just go to a random blog (like mine - it's easy because you're already here! :) ) and dive down the rabbit hole! Go through the list of followers or read the post/page comments and click on the blogger's names. Read their blogs and find their followers and commenters and continue the process until you find a (or several!) blog you're interested in.

When you find a new blog you like, comment on their 'about' page or one of their recent posts and introduce yourself. Follow their blog and tell them you have. Everyone is thrilled when more people start following and commenting. You make someone else thrilled and you've found a new person who will potentially start reading your blog, too. Everyone wins!




Nominations
Well actually I'm not going to nominate anyone. I feel like most of my bloggy friends who would do it have already been tagged.

Unless you want to do it... in which case GO FOR IT! And in that case.....


Hope you guys are having a nice life! 
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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Tea Cup Exchange

I was so privileged to be able to participate in the 9th Annual Tea Cup Exchange through Stephanie's beautiful blog, The Enchanting Rose. You can find the rules of the exchange here and a broad overview of what happens here.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Michael // two months old

It is extremely hard to believe that the youngest member of our family has today reached the ripe old age of two months old. :O He's growing so fast! It seems like yesterday he joined our family.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Month in Review (well, not really a month in review)

So lots of bloggers do posts at the end of the month where they review the month that has just been and look forward to the next month. I think that's a really cool idea! Except the day I want to post this isn't at the end of the month. :P

Anyway, there are things I want to talk about that aren't just from this month. So. I shall treat this as an undisclosed-period-of-time review.

Sorry if you're confused! :P I'm not, so let's get started!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

2016 Survey RESULTS!

I have to say, I had way too much fun with my survey. Most of you gave me good responses but there were a couple that were (intentional or unintentional, not sure...) rather hysterical. I'll go through the questions (using pie charts, yay!) and discuss your answers generally. I'll also reproduce some of my favourite responses. :)

Wait, pie charts? Like this?

Oh wait, whoops, that's not the kind of pie chart I'm going to be using. Sorry! 

*tries again*
(yep, that's more like it!)

Ok you ready? Let's see what happens!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Sleepout/Bedroom Tour

You guys have been asking me for a while to do a tour of my bedroom. Well, my bedroom is a sleepout, made by Ben, Johnny, Caleb, Dad and a family friend! Here's the tour of it just for you guys. Enjoy.

This is my bedroom!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Art Tutorial

One of the things that was requested in my survey was to do more blog posts about my art / my journaling Bible. I'll attempt to do the occasional post about those things! :)
(Also, I will be posting about the survey results so stay tuned for that!)

Yesterday I wanted to take a bit of a break from studying so I quickly filmed this wee tutorial on my cellphone.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

God's Redemptive Love

I haven't shared any of my poems for aaaaages (because I haven't written any shareable ones for ages :P). So I thought maybe you'd like to read this one that I wrote at the beginning of October.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Music Tag

The lovely Jessica from Apples of Gold has tagged me in a very exciting tag: The Music Tag! Wahoo! *throws confetti and gold balloons*

Thursday, 29 September 2016

2016 Survey

I've decided it's time to survey you all. I want to know things like what time of day you stop by and whether my readership is still predominately female. I want to know what your preferred following method is and what the link to your blog is (if you have one). These things are best found out through a survey, so here is that survey! *proceeds to get really excited*

Monday, 26 September 2016

memories

when you suddenly realize that woah, you're 18, YOU'RE GETTING OLDER (!!!) and time isn't slowing down at all so stop and make some memories. also think back to those wonderful memories you hold dear to your heart from your childhood. and you go back through your family's photo archives so you can reminisce and you can't help but think that your readers might like to share in some of your memories. so here we go. photos from both our computer and our photo albums.

Friday, 23 September 2016

How to Give a Compliment



I recently did a post about how to respond to a compliment (find it here). This post is about how to give a compliment (after it was suggested to me in a comment on the other post). Hope you find it helpful!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Your love is.... Fierce?



Before I call
Before I ever cry
You answer me
From where the thunder hides
I can't outrun
This heart I'm tethered to
When every step
I collide with You

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

How to respond to a compliment: A Helpful Guide


Compliments. How do you respond to them? I find it really hard to respond to compliments. It usually ends up with one of the following happening.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Photo Dump: Dugout, Cute Children + Chickens

I was thinking it must be time I shared some photos. These were all taken recently (by me unless specified). Enjoy! 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

What I've learnt about blog design

As you probably know, I've recently redesigned my blog. Designing/redesigning a blog is great fun although it can be a confusing and tricky thing to get your head around.

I'm by no means an expert but I've found a few tips and tricks that have been useful to me which I'd like to share. Hopefully you find them a bit helpful.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Welcome to My Journaling Bible

I have always been a journal lover addict. I often doodle or do little 'works of art' in my journals. However, I've gotten into something that's waaaaay bigger than just doodling in a journal.... I have something to tell you. I own a Journaling Bible (you'll have seen it before if you follow me on Instagram).


Friday, 2 September 2016

Introducing.... Michael Isaiah William!

I mentioned at the bottom of my last post that we have another brother. Well, here are all the details and photos! :)

Michael Isaiah William is the name he has been given. He's as cute as a button and weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces (2976 grams). Born 29th August 2016. :) Mum did amazing and is feeling great.


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Ask Me Anything: THE ANSWERS

Well, the questions have been questioned, the answers have been considered and written and the blog post containing both has been written. Can we please have a drum roll... for.... my answers to your questions!! *cue drum roll*

Saturday, 27 August 2016

What I've been listening to

Music is such a fantastic way to deal with stuff, am I right? When I'm feeling confused or lonely or worried about anything, praise and worship music is the best way ever to cheer up and remember that God's got this! :)

Here are some of my recent favourites.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ask Me Anything // Volume III

I've done Q + A posts before (read my answers to the questions here and here) but I thought since it's been almost a year since I have done one and I've gained a few readers, it would be fun to do another Ask Me Anything opportunity. Who's excited? I am!

Here's how it's going to work. You now have the opportunity to ask me any question(s). All questions asked are anonymous. I won't know who asked them (unless you put your name on it, of course). You can ask me anything you like and as many questions as you like. The more you ask, the more I'll answer.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Extending Grace - especially in our conversations

Today I want to talk about the wisdom of extending grace to others. I'll be honest - what I'm going to talk about isn't entirely my own thoughts! I was blessed to be able to attend a talk on this at a conference recently. What was said really impacted me so I want to share it with you, too. :)



Thursday, 18 August 2016

Guest Post by Megan // the most important lesson I have learned in my teenage years

Today I'm RIDICULOUSLY excited to share this post with you. I came across the lovely Megan through blogging and we recently decided to do a post swap. So I'm blogging over at her fantastic blog (Pen and Ink) and she's taking over here today. Megan is amazing and I'm so excited that you get to read her awesome thoughts!! :) Here we go.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Friday, 12 August 2016

A + A // "Have a lice day!"

Awkward:
- Telling the customers to "have a nice day!" after they've paid for their food. Then thinking that's getting a bit boring so changing it up a bit and telling them to "have a lovely day" instead. Then getting the two mixed up so what comes out is an embarrassing mixture of the two. Dear customers, all we want is for you to have a lice day.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

You know you're from a big family when....

You're never lonely... or alone.
There's always someone to play with, practice card tricks on, tickle, tease, read stories to and go crazy with. However, get used to the fact that you're not alone very often!

You're really good at sharing.
And knowing exactly how many pieces to cut things into. Twelve people = four oranges and everyone gets a third each. Twelve people = five croissants so everyone gets half each apart from the two people who aren't home today... what they don't know can't hurt them. :P

Saturday, 6 August 2016

My Day - in selfies!

Who loves all the tags that ask questions about you? Me, although I can sometimes get tired of them. So I've decided to begin a new tag - although this one will be slightly different. I've decided to start a tag where.... wait, it will be easier if you just read the rules.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Bonnie's Opinion // Feminine Modesty

Aaah, feminine modesty. What a delicate and much dramatised subject. I thought today I'd offer my thoughts on it and maybe (hopefully) get you thinking about your opinion on the subject.

So, without further ado, my opinion on feminine modesty.


Sunday, 31 July 2016

dear teenage girl of today



When I saw you laugh at the vulgar, crass and crude, I was saddened.

When I saw you walking down the road flirtatiously eyeing every male that passed you, I was saddened.

When I saw you wearing things that would have been seen as scandalous when our parents and grandparents were growing up, I was saddened.

When I watched how you acted towards your parents, grandparents and towards your siblings, I was saddened.

When I saw the lack of respect and absence of such beautiful virtures as humility, generosity, patience, love and kindness, I was saddened.

When I saw the way you treated boyfriends as trophies, and things to play with and show off, and not real people with hearts, desires, fears and feelings of their own, I was saddened.

When I saw the extremely rude way you treated my co worker the other day at work when she was tired and had had a long day, I was saddened.

When I saw you whispering and giggling together and pointing at that old lady walking past who was having a bad hair day, I was saddened.

When I watched you shove past each other and the small children in order to be first on the bus so you could get a good seat, I was saddened.

You see, dear girl, your behaviour reflects on the rest of us.

I don't think I'm being prudish and stupid and not-with-the-times when I say that your actions are often obscene, ridiculous and disrespectful. I'm saddened when I see how you act, how you dress, how you speak.

I, too, am a female of today. And when I see you acting in this way I can't help but be saddened because I know that this is how society views teenage girls. Silly, giggly creatures who are only interested in boys and makeup. But what happened to make society view teenage girls this way? I have a feeling that as you began to act this way, society began to view you this way.

What happened to sensibility? What happened to respect for the elderly and authorities? What happened to being kind and sweet and gracious?

Why do you have to sacrifice kindness for stupidity?

I praise the Lord that not all teenage girls are like you. I know many wonderful teenage girls who refuse to participate in the gossip and sass and rudeness to others. Yet there are many of you and I fear your behaviour is starting to invade the girls younger and younger.

When I see you trading decency for indecency, kindness for rudeness, being nice for being obscene and respect for disrespect, it not only saddens me, but it breaks my heart.

Society was never meant to be this way. God made us to be a loving daughter, then to be a loving wife, then to be a loving mother, then a loving grandmother and so on. Not to intersperse loving daughter and loving wife with 'ridiculous, insensible, tasteless, coarse and unhelpful rebel-of-a-teenage girl'.

Please don't think I think I'm better than you when I say that your actions are ridiculous. I am simply concerned for our society and think that something must have gone terribly wrong for your character and your actions to be so accepted!

It shouldn't be like this.

Sincerely,
a teenage girl of today who thinks sensibility shouldn't be a thing of the past

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PS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lovely, sweet, kind, gentle, hilarious sister Sophie who is turning a sweet 16 today! (This post wasn't directed at you, Soph. You know that, right? You do? Phew.) Hope  your birthday is fabulous. Many blessings on this next year of your life.