Thursday, February 7, 2013

2-Year Blogoversary Celebration: Day Four ~ Sandra Byrd!


Why I Love Writing About Ladies-in-Waiting
by Sandra Byrd

Having close friends is an important part of the female  experience from girlhood through womanhood. These friends might be especially valuable when the woman's position is exalted, public, and potentially treacherous — such friendships take on an even more important role. When Oprah Winfrey started her empire she brought along Gayle King. When Kate Middleton was preparing to become Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge her sister Pippa was her constant companion. And when Queens went to court, and stayed, they took their friends, too. 

In Tudor England, Anne Boleyn asked her longtime friend Margaret Wyatt to stay with her throughout her ascent and then her queenship; Wyatt ultimately became her chief lady and Mistress of Robes and likely served Anne all the way to the scaffold.  Henry VIII told Queen Kateryn Parr that she should "choose whichever women she liked to pass the time with her in amusing manners or otherwise accompany her for her leisure," and she did - mostly reformers like herself.  Queen Elizabeth I had ladies from all families and factions serve her, but she seemed to be closest to her Boleyn relatives, such as her cousin Katherine Carey Knollys, whom she could trust without question.  Queens often surrounded themselves with family members, hoping that they could trust in their loyalty because as the queen gained influence, so advanced her family.


Ladies-in-waiting were companions at church, at cards, at dance, and at hunt.  They tended to their mistress when she was  ill or anxious and also shared in her joy and pleasures.  They did not do menial tasks  — there were servants for that — but they did remain in charge of important elements of the Queen's household, for example, her jewelry and her clothing.  As such, they were  intimate gatekeepers, there day and night.  They were privy to the queen when she had her makeup off and was in her dressing clothes and were high enough born to share some secrets with. Because of this, they knew the real woman.

In her excellent book, Ladies in Waiting, Anne Somerset quotes a lady-in-waiting to Queen Caroline as saying, "Courts are mysterious places ... Intrigues, jealousies, heart-burnings, lies, dissimulations thrive in (courts)as mushrooms in a hot-bed."  This is exactly the kind of place where one wants to know whom one can trust.  Somerset goes on to tell us that, "At a time when virtually every profession was an exclusively masculine preserve, the position of lady-in-waiting to the Queen was almost the only occupation that an upper class Englishwoman could with propriety pursue."  Although direct control was out of their hands, the power of influence, of knowledge, of gossip, and of relationship networks  was within the firm grasp of these ladies. I like to write about women wielding whatever power they had, ascribed or taken, using their influence both overtly and subtly.  Ladies-in-waiting did just that.

Appointment was not only by the personal choice of the queen or the king, but a political decision as well.  Queen Victoria's first stand took place when her new Prime Minister, Robert Peel, meant to replace some of the ladies in her household to reflect the bipartisan English government and keep an even political balance.  According to Maureen Waller in Sovereign Ladies,  Victoria was adamant. "'I cannot give up any of my ladies,' she told him at their second meeting.  'What, Ma'am!' Peel queried, 'Does your Majesty mean to retain them all?' 'All', she replied." When ladies-in-waiting turned and became disloyal, as did Sarah Churchill to Queen Anne, they were  very often severed from court.


Even today, the British Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II,  relies on ladies-in-waiting; two of them, Susan Hussey and Mary Morrison, have served her for more than fifty years apiece.  Sally Bedell, in her book, Elizabeth the Queen, a Modern Monarch tells us that "... the queen from the outset has surrounded herself with an equally capable group of ladies-in-waiting, organized into a strict hierarchy, with medieval titles and clearly delineated tasks." Further, "all the ladies in waiting are adept at circulating through receptions, running interference for their boss by engaging overeager guests in conversation, or arranging for introductions."

When we twenty-first century women wonder who's got our backs, the answer is very likely our friends, whom we trust implicitly and walk through life with.   Our friends wholly know us, strengths and blemishes alike.   When I write about a queen, I want to know the woman behind the gown and crown.  This is why I've loved writing about Ladies-in-Waiting.

Sandra Byrd is the author of more than three dozen books, including her series set in the Tudor Court, Ladies in Waiting.  You can walk through a Tudor Hall and then read more about these books at www.sandrabyrd.com. Her books, To Die For and The Secret Keeper, were chosen by Library Journal as 2011 and 2012 Best Christian Book Picks. Be sure to check out her new book, Roses Have Thorns, which is set to release April 9th, 2013.

Giveaway!! 


Enter to win a copy of To Die For and The Secret Keeper plus a bar of Anne Boleyn Essence of Oakmoss soap!!! Open to the US and Canada!!

Enter via the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

106 comments:

  1. I lived in England as a child and went to a British school, so I have always loved all things English.
    I would love to read this book.
    godblessamerica.jan(at)gmail(dot)com

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  2. I love her ladies in waiting series, cannot wait for the new book to come out.

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  3. Love Sandra's books I'm reading her book Let them Eat Cake right not. thanks for chance to win

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  4. I don't think I have ever read any of Sandra's books, but I love historical fiction, so thanks for the chance to win!

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  5. I found this very interesting! Thanks for sharing :)

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  6. Another good day and great author, enjoying stopping by to see who is next. I like this author and have seen her many places. thanks for sharing
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  7. Wow, these books look great. I haven't read anything by this author yet... I will be soon! :)

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  8. Very informative post. It's an interesting career!

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  9. Oh, I almost got one of these books at the bookstore here, but didn't have anough money!

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  10. These look like great reads and new to me!

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  11. Sounds like a really good book.
    superstarsarah94(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. I haven't read any of Sandra's books but my daughter has and she ♥'s them!

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  13. I've been looking forward to reading these for a while. I love Tudor fiction! Thanks for the giveaway. :)

    ~Nessíma

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  14. Very interesting! I love stories about the queen and her court. Thank you for a chance to win these books!
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  15. These books look really intriguing!
    Thanks for the giveaway!!! :)

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  16. Great contest! Anne Boleyn is my favorite queen from the Middle Ages. I will have to add all of these books to my reading list.

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  17. Hi Melanie! Thank you so much for inviting me to your party and happy anniversary!

    I've loved reading through the comments so far, and hope you all enjoy reading about the Tudor women as much as I do. The ladies in waiting are fascinating ... and so cool that Queen Elizabeth II has them, too.

    I brought the Essence of Oak Moss soap back with me from England so it's the real deal. :) Thanks, everyone, for considering reading my books.

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  18. By the way - if anyone has questions they'd like to pitch to me in the comment section, about the books or the Tudors or whatever, feel free. I'll pop back over a couple more times today.

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  19. Love any books having to do with British royalty, especially the Tudor era. These look like fabulous books to see what happens behind the scenes. Thanks so much!
    Lauren@Mommabears Book Blog

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  20. Ahhhhhh!!! I'm so dying to read these books!!!

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  21. I've heard some really great things about this authors books! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  22. How exciting! I'm so looking forward to reading Sandra's books! Thank you for the post & giveaway!

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  23. Love to read about this time, haven't read any of Sandra's books yet she's a new author to me.. Would love to win one.

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  24. Thanks for the opportunity to win. Looking forward to reading more!
    luvs2read4fun(at)gmail(dot)com

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  25. I have always been fascinated with the story of Anne Bolyn. I would love to read this.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  26. I've never read any of Sandra's books - or heard of her - but the interview really helps me understand the author. :) Thank you for the giveaway, also!

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  27. Thanks for having this contest. This looks like a great read. :)

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  28. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  29. I would love to win!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond
    N.C.
    sarahrichmond.12@gmail.com

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  30. Very interesting! Thanks for the giveaway - I can't wait to read these.

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  31. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win this!

    Simply because I just "met" Sandra on Twitter, and received a signed bookplate this week! So I really need a book to put it in! :D

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  32. I haven't read any of Sandra's books yet but they look really interesting and I'd love the chance.
    Jasmine A.
    montanamade(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. Love these books! I really can't wait for "Roses Have Thorns." :) Great giveaway!

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  34. I haven't read any of Sandra's books yet, but they sure sound good!! Thank you for the giveaway!

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  35. I absolutely love Sandra's books! I look forward to reading her new ones :)

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  36. How neat! I have 'Secret Keeper' but haven't read it yet! *Yikes*

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  37. Sounds good!!!!! Count me in! ;)
    Alice

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  38. This sounds interesting, I would love to win!

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  39. My book club read and enjoyed To Die For. I'd like to read the rest of the books in this series so it would be wonderful to win. Thanks for having the giveaway of books.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  40. I've never read any of these books but they sound really good.

    sonflower277 at gmail dot com

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  41. I think that is an interesting time to write about and can be hard to have a happy ending. There was so much treachery and you always had to watch what you did and said to stay on the good side of the monarchs. Fun post to read. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  42. I've wanted to read these books for some time now!

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  43. Thanks for the giveaway! These books look great. Speaking of English history, have you heard that they discovered the skeleton of Richard III under a parking lot in England!?!

    mestith@gmail.com

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  44. Thank you for the informative post. I would love to win these for my grand daughter who loves English history as much as me.I would love to read them also.
    godblessamerica.jan(at)gmail(dot)com

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  45. I am a huge Turor fan thank your for the giveaway! Happy 2nd Anni!

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  46. My daughter would love these books, thank you for the chance to win them for her.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  47. I've been dying to read these books! I have a big interest in royal history for some reason...I just think it's really interesting :D

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  48. I haven't read any of Sandra Byrd's books, but I would love to! :)

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  49. I am so excited to read these books! Thank you so much for this chance to win!
    dymesich(at)juno(dot)com

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  50. I have never read any of her books, but am always interested in trying novels I have never tried before:)

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  51. I look forward to reading Sandra's books!

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  52. Thanks for sharing. I would love to win any of her books.
    Katie J.
    johnsonk133[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  53. I don't know how I have never heard of her before but now I cannot wait to read her books! Thanks for sharing and I would love to win! Have a great day|!
    Lisa Medeiros
    deiselbuffs@yahoo.ca

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  54. Sandra,
    I haven't read any of your books yet. However, now that I've been able to read your interview and see your passion for true friends and companions, I can't wait to get my hands on them. I too am especially fond of surrounding myself with ladies whom I can count on, trust in and know the feelings are mutual on their part. God bless.

    Kristie(at)connectionlifechurch(dot)org

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  55. I have always looooved the Tudors so winning these books would be a dream! Thanks for the opportunity, Melanie!

    inspiringdaring (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  56. I've always loved the Tudor period. These book sounds fabulous

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  57. I love to read a Christian author's prespective on the Tudors. It is such a fascinating time!

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  58. I love this time period to read about. Also I think the cover your books are great. Thank you for the chance to win

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

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  59. I am enjoying Sandra Byrd's books about queens very much. Looking forward to the one about Elizabeth I.
    Thanks for the giveaway!!

    -Shantelle

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  60. Wow! I have got to get my hands on your books! I have seen them but have not read them...yet! :D

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  61. Enter me for this great giveaway!!
    Sharon Richmond
    Blanch,NC.
    sharonruth126@gmail.com

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  62. I would love to read one of Sandra's books. They all sound so interesting. Great interview, too. Thanks!

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  63. I loved hearing about the Ladies in Waiting. I really had no idea. A fascinating history lesson

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  64. Would love to win these books!

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  65. I love historical fiction. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    As part of an re-enactment group as a child/YA, I can say that Ladies-in-Waiting know more secrets than any one person wants another to know about them! There are reasons that these people are kept close and given high places in court- they know enough secrets to be dangerous; and that is why they have to be people one trusts. AND why Queens (and Kings) should get to pick these people. (Not that they always have been able to, as Mr. Peel tried to use his power influence the "power behind the throne" as others have done.)

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  66. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    Sounds really good!

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  67. I've been interested in reading those books. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  68. Wow, wonderful new books to read! I love it.

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  69. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your books!

    bonnieroof60@yahoo.com

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  70. Fascinating facts about ladies in waiting that I never knew. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  71. I've seen and heard about this book, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Hope to soon!

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  72. Sandra is a new author for me. But I love historical fiction and reading new authors...so would love to win one of these books.

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  73. This era is what made me love historical fiction in the first place. I am interested to see how th author mixes her inspirational elements into this storyline

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  74. Having been born in England and lived there most of my life I have always loved its history

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  75. WOW! This is a great contest, Interesting Series, and, 2 books. how I would love to win. Melanie, it is a lucky person who wins your contests, for you have a big following! Thanks for the chance tho. Please enter my name. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  76. Enter me for the drawing, please. What an awesome gifting!! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  77. Happy Blogoversary!

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

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  78. The covers of these are beautiful. I love them!

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  79. Sandra is a new writer to me. I would love to read her books.

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  80. I love reading stories about the monarchy. Although they were all a scummy lot, they had a much more intersting life. ;)

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  81. I borrowed both of these books from the library and loved them. Would not mind having them on my keeper shelves.

    mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

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  82. I would love to win these books . The covers are great. have not read any of her books but would love to..

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  83. I love the covers of these books!

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  84. Interesting! I'd never really thought about ladies in waiting through the ages. To Die For and The Secret Keeper both look very interesting, and the covers are gorgeous!

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  85. I love these covers! I honestly have never read anythhing by Sandra or knew of her. I would love to read these...they sound wonderful! Please eneter me...my e-mail is: sunydey26@aol.com.

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  86. These look fantastic! Love the premise, love historical's <3

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  87. I would love to read both of these books!

    Amy G

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  88. As an author and reader, I have newly fallen in love with the historical fiction genre. This lovely post made me want to write & read about ladies-in-waiting myself! :D Thank you so much for a wonderful post & giveaway!

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  89. I would love to read this haven't read this author yet.

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  90. I haven't read any of her, but this is a good place to start ;)

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  91. Historical fiction is my absolute most favorite genre - can't get enough of it!! Thank you for the giveaway! :)

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  92. Love Sandras books ...always keep you so interested

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  93. I loved the first book To Die For. Very interesting period in history.

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  94. I'm very interested in Tudor history, especially Queen Elizabeth I. Thanks for this giveaway!

    Ari - falses1gns at gmail dot com

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  95. These books sound wonderful! Thank you for the giveaway! :o)

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  96. I would love to be able to read these books. Hope I win!!!

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  97. These books look great and I had no idea that there were still ladies-in-waiting at the court today!

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  98. The Tudor era is my favorite period in English history. I would love to read these books!

    TCuevas@iccable.com

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  99. Thanks for offering this chance

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Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8