Monday, September 1, 2014

Why be Modest

Modesty is a very big topic among religious people and nonreligious parents. I don’t know why it is such a hot debate, because we should want to shield our bodies. I haven’t always been modest and often though my parents on the topic but I really do not know why. With age comes wisdom I suppose. I want to give you all three main reasons to be modest to help you counteract what the culture says.
First, of course, is faith. Christ should be at the center of all that we do. The same is true when deciding to be modest. There is evidence all over scripture of what godly modesty looks like and we should use these as a guide. He wants us to keep ourselves covered so our bodies can be used for His great purpose and not man’s perverted ones. Pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him why modesty should be on your heart and on your body and he will be sure to answer.

Next, respect for family. Everyday you leave the house you represent God and your family. There is honor in displaying your family’s virtues in thought, word, deed, and dress. Neighbors, friends, and family will ask your parents why they allow you to leave the house in distasteful dress. We should consult our family members about their options on how we should dress, and more importantly we should listen.

Finally, personal pride; I feel better about myself when I keep my body covered. Young men look at the face more than any other part of the body when it is covered. Some enjoy the attention that comes from wandering eyes, but I believe people should connect with their minds instead.

When deciding to be more modest we must recognize for whom we are doing it for. There is great honor and respect for young ladies who keep their bodies sheltered from the eyes of strangers. Be mindful of how others will perceive God, your family, and your own virtue when you dress we do not only represent ourselves.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lent Bible Study Week 6

Memory Verse: John 4:48
"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
Do you ever think that Jesus isn't with you always because He doesn't show himself to you? Unfortunately, the thought has crossed my mind. This is the perfect verse to go back to when you are starting to feel that way. We don't need to see signs with our own eyes. Our faith in Jesus is called "faith" because He not in your head or your eyes. He is in our hearts and our souls, we must have faith in what we don't see. I have faith in what I feel, and what I feel is His presence.

Reflection Question:
Are you asking for a sign and keeping yourself from Him until you see it?
Jesus is here, he is with us always. We know this because it is what the priests says, other bloggers say, the Bible says, but do you believe it? I hope so! There are signs each and everyday that He is here, he is alive, and he is within us. When was the last time you faced an obstacle that seemed impossible, but with some prayer He guided you through it? For mothers, that happens everyday. When was the last time the sun came up, you woke up, a baby was born. These are God's awesome ways of showing us that he is on Earth even now, within each of us. We need to stop asking for signs, we need to stop talking. We should start seeing the blessings and start listening when He is talking.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lent Bible Study Week 5

Memory Verse: John 5:25
Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

So often we hear people say that in our sin we are dead, but only through Christ do we live. This is true, but do we believe it everyday? Are we making the effort to see Him everyday raising us from the dead? Everyday we get to live is a blessing from God, but do we see it like that. I must admit, I don't see it everyday (especially after the winter we've had). In my head I know and usually in my heart I know. But sometimes I just sit and stew in my sins and it gives me anxiety. Which does nothing for no one! During those times, God is so patient with me and I am eternally grateful to him for it. After some time of stewing alone in my bed, he shines his light on me. Usually, it is actually light...from the sun. Of course, sometimes it is his figurative light, but every once in awhile he shines the sun into my room and I find the ability to get out of bed. In these moments, I am so grateful to him for rising me from the dead, for bringing me out of my sin and my misery, and shining a light on me, showing me that I am his, and I am blessed.

 Have you heard Jesus call you out of your sin? What was it like? What happened? Are you still hearing him? What can you do to hear him again?
One of the hardest things to explain is how you sometimes hear God talking to you. If you say this to unbelievers they may think you are off your rocker. Which may be the case, but you still know when you've heard him speak to you. You know when he is pointing you in the direction you should go, even if you can't put it into words. I don't always hear him. He sometimes has to yell to get my attention, I tend to be a little hard headed. One thing I do to hear him without having him yell is to pray about something and ask that he give me no other choice than the one he wants.
Recently, I have decided to change churches. There are two in my area that I was looking into. I sent e-mails to members of both churches and prayed that whichever church I was meant to go to, that I would hear from them. Well, a couple days past and I ended up hearing from both churches. So I prayed again and asked that God be a little more clear with me. So Sunday came and I woke up and got ready for service at the church that e-mailed me back first. The first church had services at 7:30 and 8:45. The second church had service at 9. I figured I could go to the 7:30 at one and 9 at the other, and the one I felt better at, I would go again. Well, God was speaking more clearly on Sunday. I was going to the first service with my dad. We had planned on going to the 7:30, but he got his times confused and thought service was at 8:30. I told him what the times were and he apologized. We had to go to the 8:45 service instead. Since I going to the 8:45 and the 9 would be impossible, I took it as a sign from above.
I know some people that are really good at listening to Jesus when he points them in one direction. He knows, that I need more hand holding. So, he gives me what I need just like he does for others just in a different way. I wonder if you are like me and need extra direction. If you do, try doing something like this in your own life. Much like a child you only give two options to choose from, God needs to show me two choices and then push me to the one he wants, we just have to listen.

Challenge: Spend more time listening to Jesus and less time talking. More time meditating and reading and less time praying about what you think you need. 

Lent Bible Study Week 4

Memory Verse: Mark 12:30
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

I love ice cream! Love it, love it, love it. And in my heart I love God, but do I love him in everything? I don't know. I'm always in the mood for ice cream, in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at night, in the middle of the night. But, often I find myself thinking about all the things I need to do, instead of spending time with Jesus. Obviously this is wrong and it is something I struggle with. I have to put God before everything in my heart, mind, and soul (even before ice cream). This should be something I am thrilled to do, but too often it isn't. I wonder if I am the only one who struggles with this. Life tries so hard to get in the way of what really matters. My shopping list and wait a little while so I can have time with the Lord.

Question: How can you make sure God is number one in your life and nothing else is getting in the way? Give specifics.
It is said that it takes a month to make things into a habit. I'd like for spending a set time with the Lord each day to be more than just habit, but a habit is a good place to start. Consistency is key! For me, during the week I wake up during the 5 o'clock hour, but on weekends anything can happen. When I wake up at 5 the first thing I do is say a prayer and read my devotional. But, if I wake up at 11 the first thing I do is go to the bathroom and the kitchen. My Jesus time will come later in the day. Sure it's getting done, but being out of a routine can make things jumbled. More than once, I have waken up late and had to do a million other things during the day, then realize right before bed I didn't read the Bible, do Bible study, or have devotional time. Which isn't a huge deal for some, but I want God to know that He is first in my life, and I want to prove it to Him. Making the conscious effort to form a habit of waking up early (even on weekends) and devoting the same designated time to God will help fill me with His love and spirit. I hope that you will do the same.

Challenge: Devote some extra time to honor Him based on the specific examples you gave in your reflection question.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Working to Noble Character & Linkup

Proverbs 31:10

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

These are the top 10 noble character qualities that I think are most important for wives, wives to be, and wives eventually.

1. Christ seeking
Jesus should be the center of every family. He should be the head of the household. So often I read and hear stories about people who were trying to work on the marriage and their family without putting Christ in the middle and they always fell short. When they chose to seek God's help and His word in the Bible, things seemed to miraculously fall into place. Single or married, when we put Jesus first in our lives, everything else follows.
It is my goal to dedicate a bit of time each day to Him and that He will work in my heart to mold me into the proper godly woman he wants me to be. The only way He can do this is if I devote special time to Him. By being still and listening to what He has to say, all the other noble character qualities will fall into place.

2. Generous
I think being selfish in a marriage is a quick way to conflict. I have seen plenty of couples go through difficult times because someone is wrapped up in themselves. When you are married you become part of a partnership which requires a lot of give and take. Unfortunately, I often have a take, take, take attitude (that I am working on).
The best way to practice is by using your family as practice. The family unit is a football offense: Dad is the quarterback, mom is the wide receiver, the kids are everything else. Listen to the quarterback and wide receiver when they ask for a block, and when you get tired tell them you need to rest. Now for those of you who do not have a clue what I'm talking about, I'm saying that you have to have open lines of communication and do your best to meet the needs of the other people in your family. Do not just think about yourself and what you want, but also look for ways you can help them.

3. Honest
I'm sure dishonesty within marriage is one of the leading causes of divorce in this country. I've seen people say on TV "It wasn't the cheating that was the problem, it was the deception after the cheating." Being open and honest with one another (especially through trials) is a great way to grow closer to one another and to avoid trouble.
I must admit that I am being a bit of a hypocrite as I write this because I've been holding on to something for far too long. Being open and honest with your parents, siblings, and friends is a wonderful practice for marriage someday. It will allow you to get used to being accountable to someone and being humble enough to talk about your mistakes. Lies snowball if you let them, but opening up now, will help train your to be more open with your future husband.

4. Kind
Everyone expresses things differently and we need to be able to figure out how the people in our lives express themselves. Some people are ready for a fight anytime, while some people are in control of the fight. Now, I know my parents are going to kill me for putting this on the Internet, but it is far too funny for me not to. It is a bit of a joke in my house that Mom is ALWAYS ready for an argument, it doesn't matter if it is 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning, she's ready. Dad, on the other hand, is in control. Sometimes when I see something starting to erupt, I will jump in and remind Dad that he is in control. Usually he will take a couple deep breaths and calmly say something like, "Okay, I hear what you are saying, what can we do next." It is hysterical! Mom calms right down, dad has calmed himself down, and my brother and I are highly amused. A kind word or tone is the difference between a blow out and a conversation.
Practice being kind to your siblings. I think siblings are the only people in the world that can be our worst enemies and our best friends at the same time. Lately, I have been working on being nicer to my brother. It doesn't always work, but I do try. When he does something to really crawl under my skin, I try using kind words and a soft tone to explain how I'm feeling. Usually it ends in laughter because my facial expression doesn't match my voice, but it gets the job done. Also, try doing nice things for them too. Because I do the grocery shopping in the house, if the store has my brother's favorite juice, I'll one up for him. Not because he asked, not because he put his dishes in the dishwasher, not because he is going to be thankful when he gets home from school. I just do it because it is the right thing for a big sis to do. This exact scenario would be oh so precious in a marriage as well. 

5. Modest
Modesty is the best policy. I recently learned the importance of this policy. If you are seeking a godly man (which I am and I hope you are too), then you probably shouldn't wear something too revealing. Worldly guys will say things like, "Why don't you wear something like that so all the guys will know that you are my girl." I hope godly guys don't say things like that because: a. he knows your heart belongs to him, b. he is humble and does not need the affirmation of others, and c. he wants you to be protected and not have other guys lusting after you. Keeping yourself covered now is a great way to show a godly guy that your body is for the one guy God has and not some Joe Schmo walking down the street.
Also, you don't want to be calling too much attention to yourself now because you may find a guy who is only after you because of what you are wearing. How often do we hear about guys saying things like "I saw her in a bikini and asked her out." That guy has one thing on his mind and chances are it's not marriage. I do not want to attract that type of guy. Instead, I will keep myself covered up and bring godly attention from godly people into my life so that we can share and have fellowship as opposed to the sinful things that inappropriate dress will bring.

6. Gentle
 Now when I first wrote this I was thinking about children, but now I'm thinking about husbands. So I will write about both! Sweet little precious nuggets (what I call kids) require special care. Not just babies, but kids and teens too (really all people). Being soft with them will encourage them to share their thoughts, nurture their character, and set a good example. Having a gentle tone and word is a great way for kids to grow into godly adults.
Now for husbands. Again, hopefully my parents don't kill me, but I can see a visual difference in my dad from when my mom says something harsh or something gentle. He is much more calm and able to explain to her his needs and the two can find a solution to pretty much all the issues in our household. I see the appreciation in his face when mom is using gentle words as opposed to the twinge of frustration I see when he is being more harsh.
The best way for me to practice being more gentle is by thinking before I speak. This has never been a strong character quality of mine, but through prayer and conscious effort, I have made some improvements. By thinking before I speak, I am able to adjust the words and decide on the appropriate tone to respond in. People have always said to think before you speak, and I finally see why.

7. Flexible
This is a huge one for me to work on! I am a very Type A kind of person. I need things done my way, when I say it, how I say it, or watch out for the storm. It's really bad. One day, I lost my 1/4 measuring cup. To a normal person they would say, "Well I have my 1/2, I'll just fill it half way" or, "I have a measuring glass, I will use that." Not me. No, I freaked out. In a panic I asked Mom if she'd seen it, I checked all the drawers, dishwasher, sink, the cabinets, and I yelled down to the basement to ask my dad. Nothing... no one had seen it. My brother was taking a nap because he had been up late the night before and my mom gave me specific instructions not wake him. Did I listen? Of course not! He had no clue where my measuring cup was. And because moms know EVERYTHING, she came to me right when I had closed his door and said "Didn't I tell you to leave your brother alone?" "Yes, Mom, but the measuring cup is missing!" "So?! Make something else, double the recipe, use another tool, just leave your brother alone." Again, did I listen to her? Of course not, instead of acting like an adult, I sulked in my room for the rest of the evening and no one got muffins. Much to my amusement (later, after I'd calmed down), my brother woke up from his nap and asked for muffins. You may think this is the behavior of a 10 year old and how I wish I could say that were the case, this incident happened last year. :/
Going to my room and not making muffins is clearly not the logical, flexible answer. I should have just used some other tool, or eyeballed it, I had made the recipe enough times to know how much I needed. Being able to problem solve and be flexible is important in a marriage, because who knows what will happen. My dad doesn't plan on missing his train home from work, but it happens. So Mom has to change her plans to pick him up later. For the record, I am much better at handling this situation after the "muffin incident," now I will just start dinner later, or keep it in the oven until Daddy gets home. For me, flexibility takes a lot of practice and a lot  of prayer, but I am learning to adjust.

8. Teachable and teaching
No one knows everything and being able to learn from others is important. I fill my days with learning how to be more like Christ, how to cook, clean, bake, garden, etc. Being open to learning is a wonderful character quality for anyone, but especially those of us who are not married, but would like to be someday. I don't know how to be a wife, and chances are a lot of you don't either. The best way for us to have some skills and qualities under our belts for when God does introduce Prince Charming into our lives, is by listening to other women who have been in our shoes. Listen when your aunt teaches you about purity, your grandmother teaches you how to use your sewing machine, and your mom teaches you how to care for children. They have been around the block and know a thing or two about a thing or two. The women our families are the best resources we have at our disposal. But, to go even further we have another amazing resource that they didn't. INTERNET! I love following other Christian women's blogs and learning from them and watching YouTube videos about how to start my seeds or sew a zipper. Use the women in your community to learn from and have an open mind to the things they have to say.
Also, don't hold everything you've learned for yourself. Share the knowledge you've absorbed. Start a blog, tutor, help with the church youth group. God has given you the ability to learn many things that other people, especially young ladies, are going to need to know. Teach them and guide them in the way they should go. This practice will come to the test when you have your own children that you will want to raise centered on Christ. You will be able to help them learn from your mistakes and  not the negative world around them. Learning to teach others can be such a blessing now and a blessing later.

9. Humble
All people in all relationship types that I have ever talked to say, "The key, being able to admit when you are wrong." On paper that is so simple! In reality... not so much. But it makes perfect sense. If something goes wrong chances are it is someones fault. "I thought you were going to bring home dinner." "No, you said you were going to bring home dinner." "No I didn't, you did." "No, you did!" This conversation is going absolutely nowhere and could turn into a long argument if no one says, "You know what, I'm sorry. You're right." Say I'm sorry and move on! Humility can stop arguments dead in their tracks.
Being quick to admit when you are wrong takes some practice. Try looking at what the other person is seeing in an argument. For me, not always easy, but I have to make the conscious effort to do it.  When I make a bad dinner, I apologize and make sure we have a big dessert instead of a good meal. (Which isn't very healthy, but we can't go to bed hungry, especially my 18 year old brother). But if I just said eat the food and shut up to the family, there would be lots of tension at the dinner table. Swallowing my pride and admitting that my meal was disgusting, shows the family that preparing well balanced and delicious meals for them is important for me, shows God that I can admit when I'm wrong, and shows me that (apparently haha) the world does not revolve around me and I'm not perfect (no matter how hard I try).

10. Calm
Finally, we have to remain calm! Women are in crisis situations every single day. Baby's missing pacifier, toddler's little ouchie, kids arguing, teenagers misbehaving, and husbands with bad days at work all falls on wife and mommy. Now, if we are quick to anger and freak out easily, are we creating an environment that is comfortable for the family. Nope! So instead, moms have to the rock of the family. The place where everyone can go and get their needs met (not at the risk of our sanity). We must remain calm in day to day life and start practicing that now.
The best way for me to stay calm is to take slow deep breaths...all day. I know a lot of people say you should do it when you start feeling yourself get frustrated. I find it important to do all day. Because, you never know when something is going to come up and my blood vessels are already full of very calm oxygen :). Making time for yourself regularly to do yoga, personal devotions, taking a walk, etc. are all good things to do as well. It helps me have the ability to roll with the punches a lot easier than if I was going though my day without starting with Jesus-Lexie time, not taking an evening walk, or not having a day devoted to pampering myself every few weeks. Find whatever helps you stay calm, and hold onto that one thing FOREVER! It could be the difference between a home in chaos and a home in peace.

Dear Lord,
I ask that you help all of us single ladies work on developing noble character qualities, worth more to our future husband than fine jewels. Let this list be a starting point for all of us and grow the list with traits you think are best.
Thank you for your blessings.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Worship What You Know & Linkup

John 4:22

You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Do you know what you are worshiping? I did a book study over summer that really got me thinking about the "little gods" in my life. Then, recently, I watched a LifeChurch sermon about how many can be a "little god" to us. It is a terrible and sad thing. So often we put these other silly things before God. We have to consciously make an effort to make sure that Jesus is at the forefront of our minds. There are so many things that are trying to divert our attention.
When deciding what to give up for Lent, people should consider what these "little gods" are. For example, I have given up the Real Housewives because I plan my day around them. It is important to not put anything ahead of Him and when we feel ourselves being diverted from Him that we refocus our attention. Don't just give something up during Lent or Advent on the Sabbath. If you know this thing is keeping you from Him go into the Word and meditate.
We know what we are supposed to worship, and we do. But are you also worshiping something else? Avoid that thing for a time until your eyes are back above.

Dear Lord,
I pray that you keep all of our attention on you. Our salvation does not come from television, our parents, our spouses, our children, it comes from you alone. Don't let us make for ourselves "little gods" that do nothing for our soul. Instead, help us keep your hearts, minds, souls, and eyes on you.
Thank you for your blessings.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

McCall's 3341 Tutorial & Linkup

I have recently started sewing again! Titus 2:4 says that women should be busy at home, so I thought this would be a good thing to be busy at home doing.
I made a skirt using McCall's 3341 pattern and a black linen fabric. The first time I made the skirt I used a khaki fabric and love it. The linen is nice too, but I think I'm going to need to use a slip.
This pattern is not exactly for beginners because it does require a zipper, hook and eye, and a slit. But, if you know a little bit about you machine and have access to YouTube you should be just fine!

Tip: Wash your fabric before you start this project so that it won't shrink after you've already made it to your specifications. 

Tools you will need are: Fabric (I made Skirt A which required 1 1/4 yards of fabric, I bought 1 1/2 just to be safe), Scissors (not shown), Pins, Thread, Bobbin (with thread on it), Hand needle, Hood & Eye, Sewing Machine (not shown), Tracing Paper and Tracing Wheel,  Seem Ripper, Fabric Chalk, McCall's pattern 3341.

1. Lay your fabric flat and fold it over once "hot dog style." Chances are, your fabric is already folded because that is how it comes on the roll at the store.

Step 1

2. Lay your pattern pieces down with pieces 2 & 3 on the fold. Pieces 1 & 4 should not be on the fold.

Step 2

 3. Mind your markings when cutting, you will use them to line up your pieces later.
Step 3

4. Cut you pieces out. You should have one piece for 2 and one piece for 3, both folded and two pieces of 1 and 4.

Step 4

5a. Mark where your darts should be using tracing paper and wheel.
Step 5a

5b. Mark the two dots on the side of your two back pieces. Use fabric chalk to make the dots. You will need them because above the dots will be the zipper, and below the dots will be your slit, between the dots you will sew in step 7.

Step 5b
6. Sew your darts.

Step 6
7. Pin back pieces together between your chalk dots

Step 7
8. Sew your two back pieces together between the dots.

Step 8

9. Sew your zipper in. Each side of the zipper should go on each of the seem allowances one either side.
Step 9
 10. Sew zipper down. Flip to the front of the garment and sew an outline around the zipper. I think it is to make it "invisible," but it may just be decorative.
Step 10
11. Test your zipper to make sure it doesn't get caught on fabric or thread.

Step 11
12. Sew your front and back pieces together on both sides (only one side shown).

Step 12
13. Sew darts and seem allowance down to make it easier to sew strap.

Step 13

14. Sew strap pieces together. The two back (smaller pieces) should go on either side of the front (large piece).

Step 14

15. Looking at the strap, the edge that does not have markings, sew a 5/8 in hem using a zig zag stitch.
Step 15

16. Line up your markings with the strap and they top of the skirt with right (outsides) sides facing together and sew the two together.

Step 16

17. Flip the strap over so it is now on the inside and sew the strap down in that direction. You may want to press it first (with your iron) to make it easier. Then using your hand needle stitch the strap down to the seem allowances.

Step 17

18. Hem the bottom and the slit using a 1 1/4 in hem. I used 5/8 in and it seemed to do just fine. When you get to the top of the slit, put your needle down and lift your pressure foot. Then, pivot your garment to the angle necessary to continue.
Step 18

19a. Hand stitch the hook and eye on opposite sides of the zipper.
Step 19a

19b. Then snip the tops of the zipper off.

Step 19b

20. Try it on and enjoy!

Step 20