**Most of this blog is for girls only! Any boys, please only read the posts linked to in the "For Boys" page on the sidebar. Thank you.**

Monday, 31 December 2012

Top Book List

Hey guys! I'm sorry I haven't posted for ages. To be honest, I haven't for a few reasons:
  1. I've made some not-so-good choices with my time.
  2. I've been away for Christmas.
  3. I have a post, but it took a while to write, and I'm still not sure it's as good as I want it to be. So it'll take a while to process and edit it.
 But meanwhile, I thought I may as well post a list of my top favourite books.(Happy New Year, by the way!) So here goes! (By the way, they are in no particular order.)

Non-fiction
  1. 'Before You Meet Prince Charming' by Sarah Mally. Topic: Relationships/Dating/Courtship/Purity
  2. 'The Lost Art of True Beauty' by Leslie Ludy. Topic: Becoming the lovely woman that God wants you to be.
  3. 'Secret Keeper' by Dannah Gresh (Got this for Christmas; it's an AMAZING book on modesty. However, it's VERY heavy and mature, so DEFINITELY get your mum to read it before you.)
  4. 'God's Smuggler' by Brother Andrew. Topic: Autobiography of Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors (which seeks to encourage persecuted Christians) and a hero of the faith. Plus being an epic adventure novel! Highly recommended.
Fiction/Historical Fiction
  1. The Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley. (Unfortunately, I only have the first four abridged ones. I'm sure the originals are much better, but I can't vouch for that personally. These books (the abridged ones at least) are about a Christian girl goes through trials because of her faith, but stands strong, making her a good example to all who want to follow God with a steadfast heart.)
  2. 'The Bronze Bow' by Elizabeth George Speare. (Set in the time of Jesus. About a bitter boy who wishes to avenge his father's death at the hands of the Romans, and who needs to realise that the Kingdom will come through the man Jesus, but in a different way than expected. Very good, even though my blurb may not portray it that way!)
  3. 'The Phantom Tolbooth' by Norton Juster. (Even though it may sound like a scary sci-fi story, it's not. It's about a boy called Milo who is bored with life. But through a journey to {many places} he basically realised the exciting-ness and importance of word, numbers, sound, colour, expectations etc. Even though it sounds, ahem, boring, it's NOT. It's really very clever and interesting. 

 And that's about it! Próspero año y felicidad! (meaning "Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness")


Cassie xoxoxo




















Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Giving Thanks

 This is a thought-provoking video. Let it speak to you, and think for yourself.

{Unfortunately I can only get this link. So here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6znqpPaYzM4.}

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Daily Dignity: Dress




So Cassie has been going through many ways of how we can act with dignity and really become that beautiful princess. I'm here to talk about dressing like we are daughters of the King.

 So have you ever really thought about the fact that once we accept God's amazing offer of eternal life we actually become his princess!? Well, it's true! And I think it's high time that we start acting like it's true. Dressing with dignity is a great way to send people a message that:
  1. You live for Christ.
  2. You respect your brothers in Christ (and other guys) enough to put effort into being modest.
  3. You respect yourself! And that you want to be beautiful but also not revealing.
 Dressing with dignity is such a wonderful way not only to set an example for non-Christians, but also to encouraging your sisters in Christ to do the same, and to encouraging your brothers in Christ not to sin.

 Please realise I'm not just talking modesty. Dressing with dignity means sooo much more! Hopefully, after reading some of Cassie's amazing posts, you're starting to grasp the meaning of dignity. But... if you are going to start trying to act with dignity and dress with it you have to believe that you are God's princess! And that because you are, God believes that you are worth looking beautiful! Do you totally believe that??

 Don't think about modesty as a way to completely cover up and look sloppy/unattractive. You don't have to do that! OK, maybe that is still being 'modest' but that is not what we're talking about! Dressing with dignity is actually different. It means we want to reflect the beauty of Christ through us in the way we dress. I think that is different to just 'covering up...' and hopefully sounds better! It's so much fun to take time to dress up a bit for special things and make sure you're always looking nice. We want people to think of us as, yes, different... but a good different!

 Nowadays it's becoming more and more difficult to dress with dignity, as people just want to look 'hot' rather than beautiful. Nevertheless, I think that, as Christians, we should make a change, and we can sometimes do this by the way we dress. People will look at us and go, "hey, she dresses different. I wonder why?" Here are some tips on dressing beautifully, like a lady, without revealing too much nor looking sloppy:
  1. Skirts! Skirts are so beautiful and modest! They give us a feeling of feminism and can be dressed up or down. 
  2. Scarves! OK, sometimes we see (or own) a shirt that we really like... except for the fact that it's a bit too low, or too tight. Now, I really don't want you to get into the mode of 'get away with as much as possible,' but there if there is a way we can make that shirt modest, why not go for it! Try this: wear a simple scarf over the top! But make sure that it really is modest... in all positions. (Leaning over at the waist is the most common not-modest-even-with-a-scarf position, as the scarf falls forward and off your shirt. But if you don't lean over at the waist (which is good!), that position won't be a problem!) Wearing a scarf also dresses an outfit up a bit for, say, going to church or out to dinner. It can also make your outfit look modern as well as elegant. (See the last two pictures.) (Sorry about this font, it was stuffing up.)
  3. Don't be afraid to dress up! There's two things I reckon we have to think about when we dress: modest and dignity. And it may mean that we need to put a little more effort into the way we look. So dressing up a bit for certain occasions is fine. And can make you feel really beautiful! Wearing dresses is so much fun! And also can give you that sense of feminin-ness and dignity. (The last picture is an example of this.)
  4. A little bit of make-up. Now this is something that is neither right or wrong; it's up to what YOU think (and your parents!). And everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And I'm just going to share mine :) I think wearing a bit of make-up for special occasions is great! I love make-up! It makes me feel dressed up and adds to my outfit... IF I don't put too much on. Too much make-up... well, yes, that becomes a problem because it generally overpowers your face and natural features, and people are drawn to look at you for not the best reason! And that is not dressing with dignity! So sometimes a bit of made-up can just be lovely to add to your outfit and make a special touch! But make sure you remember that too much causes problems and that you ARE beautiful without it! (This is now me, Cassie: I very rarely wear make-up. I believe that girls look lovely with out it! But I also agree with Bri: it's up to the individual. Some people are more drawn to make-up than others. But please, for the sake of dignity and beauty, don't put on too much! Make sure you highlight your natural beauty, not overpower it. Now, back to Bri...)
So without further or do let us begin our quest for dignity! And dignity in everything. I hope this has inspired you to dress with dignity because you are God's princess. Do you dress to be accepted into the modern world? Or do you dress for Christ? Think about it!

Your sister in Christ,
Bri


(And your sister in Christ, Cassie. Bri did nearly all of the work for this post {round of applause!}. I only edited and put is some things, including the most pictures that I'm now going let you look at!)


This is my new dress!!! Beautiful and modest (as you can see by the neckline, and also the length compared to my hand.)

                          
Sorry, I was having a collage moment!


                       <3 this outfit!                                                                               This one's more modern and casual.
 





















                 Winter outfits! Hurrah for turtle-necks! Very modest and dignified and pretty.
 


This shirt below is a close-up of the one above on the right.


This is a great winter top! Long enough so that I can just put leggings under it for warmth.
 Another skirt!

(Bri's picture below.) Skirt and scarf!


(Bri's picture below.) What a pretty dress! And a scarf!



My (Cassie's) apologies for the poor quality pictures that I took! Bri's are great!



 And this ends my Daily Dignity posts! Hope you enjoyed them and were possibly inspired.


Love,
Cassie xoxoxo


Daily Dignity: Asking


(Can you spot the little red bird?)

Hello! Today's post is on dignity in asking for things. Now, before you start thinking that I'm going to tell you how to ask for stuff like a new iPod... I'M NOT! This is about stuff that is more important. I'm also mostly focusing on asking things from parents. But a lot of the principles apply to asking things of others, too.

 I think we've all heard of, seen, or done something like this:
 {Girl} "Mu-um, I want to wear make-up."
 {Mum} "No, you're too young."
 {Girl} "But all my friends wear it! I'm not too young, and I really want to!"
 {Mum} "Don't talk back to me. I won't let you wear make-up just because all your friends do."
 {Girl} "But Muuuuummmmm!!!!! I want to!"
 {Mum, sternly} "I said NO. Now stop being disrespectful!"
 {Girl} *Sulks.*

 {Narrator/me} "Do you think the girl approached her mum well? Do you think she acted with dignity? I don't think so."

 We need to show dignity when we ask for things. Especially important things. Here's a few tips on how (I got my Mum's input for some of these):

  • Go with a background. Don't just suddenly blurt it out because you just thought of it. Think over it first. Is this really what you want to have/do? Why? Is there any reason you can think of why you shouldn't do/have it? The person you ask is most likely to ask why? Have a good answer. Take some time to ponder, and then...
  • Pick a good time. Make sure the person is available and not busy. You may need to ask if you can have a chat.
  • Go with a request. Nearly the worst thing you can do is demand. Make sure it's a request.
  • Watch your tone. Don't ask with any hint of whining. Make sure you state your request seriously and with dignity.
  • Accept and respect authority. If you're asking something of someone who has authority over you, you need to respect that. Don't fight it. You can still state your reasons and try to persuade them gently, but don't fight. If you're asking something of someone who does not have authority over you, you still need to respect what they say.
  • Ask why. (You may feel it's better to do this another time.) If, first of all, they simply say 'no,' with no explanation, ask them why they said that. They probably have a good reason. Don't argue or get angry or whine or plead "but why no-ot???" Just ask them calmly, "why's that?"
  • If they still say 'no'... back off. Don't pester. If it truly matters a lot to you, you can still go through this process again, with an added, "I know I've asked you this before, but this still really matters to me, and I'm wondering if you would consider my request again." It's also a good idea to do some more thinking (and possibly research) about your request before you go asking again. Then the person can see that you do really care a lot, and that you're prepared to put in effort to get it (in a good way, of course).
 I'm going to share how I made a request to my Mum.
  1. I'd thought about it, but I hadn't thought about why I wanted to and why I maybe shouldn't do it.
  2. I picked a good time. We were alone on a walk.
  3. I'm pretty sure I went with a request. (It was a year or so ago.)
  4. I stated it seriously.
  5. She asked why. I hadn't thought about a reason why, so I had to form that thought on the spot.
  6. When she said no, I asked why.
  7. When she stated why, I backed off. 
  8. I still wanted what I had asked for, even months later. So I asked again.
  9. She said no again. Again I backed off.
  10. A little later (maybe a day or two) I again asked why she wouldn't let me, because I had forgotten. 
  11. Months later, I still wanted it. So again I asked calmly. This time she really knew I was serious, that it wasn't just a passing fancy.  Again she asked my reason. This time I had it ready. But she wasn't convinced enough to let me. She asked me to do more research.
  12. When I had done my research, I presented it to her. She was still hesitant. She again gave her reasons why, in greater depth. However, she saw that I still wanted it. We agreed to talk about it again in a week. She talked to Dad and others.
  13. In a week, I admitted that my desire had actually lessened, but not enough to not want it. She said that she and Dad had agreed to let me go ahead. And that was the end of my quest.
 Because I had asked calmly and with dignity; because I had come back to it without whining; because I was willing to put in some effort, it paid off. It will for you too!

Cassie xoxoxo

P.S. Awesome guest post coming up tomorrow! 





















Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Daily Dignity: Reactions


The this day's post is about dignified reactions. To negative things that come our way.

 It's a fact: sometimes, life gives us lemons. And it's how we respond to those lemons that counts. (Well, and what we do with the lemons. Hint: take them to Jesus... he can make really good lemonade!) OK, seriously, how can we react in a dignified manner when bad things come our way?

 First of all, I want to establish a few things:

  1. IT'S OK TO CRY!!!!!!!! Crying is not against dignity. It's scientifically established that the chemicals in the tears you cry in response to strong emotion literally make you feel better! God made tears to help us. So if you need to, you can let them out. 
  2. The 'bad things' I'm talking about are, on the scale of things, little. Things like being told you can't go to a party you really, really wanted to go to. Or (as bad as it may seem) having to endure another dance class where the teacher is not all that sweet. The kind of stuff we can respond badly to without even thinking 'what am I doing this for?' For worse stuff (like moving city or losing a loved one), I think you know how to respond anyway. Those kinds of 'bad' aren't stuff you chuck a mindless fit about.
  3. It's the 'good, better, best' thing again. Our reactions to these bad things are pretty low on the scale of 'problems we need to work on.' (It may be higher for some, I don't know. If you're one of those, that's no reason to feel guilty or 'less good' than the rest.) I'm just picking things where sometimes (or often) we do not display dignity.

 Now I'm going to list some bad reactions - things we should NOT do in response to bad things: (Some of these I put in just for fun. :P Some you may do.)
  • Chuck a fit. Scream, fling yourself on the floor and kick your legs.
  • Give the 'silent treatment.' 
  • Glare hard for the rest of the day.
  • Roll your eyes often.
  • Sulk in your room and refuse to come out.
  • Generally sulk.
  • Let everyone know how disappointed, frustrated, or {inset emotion} you are by sighing every other minute.
  • Let everyone know how disappointed, frustrated or {inset emotion} you are by complaining almost non-stop.
  • Gossip about your/the 'stupid {insert item or person}' to everyone you meet. 
  • Dwell on (think about) your/the 'stupid {insert item or person}' for hours.
  • Be obstinate and grouchy all day.
  • Get angry and yell at siblings etc.
  • Plead and whine.
  • {Insert your own}.
 Getting the picture? Do you think these display dignity? The *very* obvious answer is NO! So what do you think does? Here's some ideas on how to display dignity when disappointed, angry, frustrated, or simply sad:

  • Take a deep breath. Not to scream, to calm down. It helps.
  • Pray. Take it to Jesus. He cares about how you're feeling.
  • Bite your tongue. It's tempting to yell, or gossip, or whine. But that won't help. And it's not dignified. I'm sure you know that already. 
  • Take a break. That is, if you need to and if you can. Chill for a bit.
  • Clear your head. Don't dwell on the matter. Do the necessary thinking, but don't go over and over it. It'll make it worse, and make you more likely to let your built-up feelings out in a not-so-dignified manner. (Philippians 4:8: "whatever is true, whatever is noble.... think about such things." )
  • Talk to someone. Often, it's enough to leave it with God. But sometimes we need to talk to a person your feelings may be directed at. That's a dignified response. DON'T gossip to others who are not involved, just talk to the person who was involved. Make sure you have calmed down a bit, though, and are out of the heat of the moment.
  • Let Jesus make lemonade! God can bring about good from bad situations. You can be blessed even if you are feeling not-so-good. Look for ways to be a blessing to others, too. Maybe since you can't go to that party you can read to your little brother? Remember, "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him." (Romans 8:28.)
 A good rule of thumb is just to ask yourself, "is this a dignified, Godly response to what is happening?" Let's make sure we're displaying dignity in our reactions to bad things that happen.

Cassie xoxoxo

Monday, 19 November 2012

Daily Dignity: Posture


 Hey guys! A new topic today: posture/movement. (Are your brows creasing?) You may have never thought of it, but the position of your body does relate to dignity (and modesty, by the way).

 Let's think about it for a minute: is draping yourself carelessly over a bench with your hips at a funny angle dignified? Is bending at the waist only so that your backside {ah-hem} protrudes dignified? Is strutting? Is sitting haphazardly? I do not think so.

 Let's go back to the princess analogy. Take the questions above and try to imagine that princess doing those things. Can you? Does she look like a princess any more? Or more like a typical teenage slouch? Do you reckon she would win the admiration and respect of the nobles if she acted  and looked like that? The answer is obvious: a lady-like princess would not place her body carelessly. And we also need to display dignity in our posture and movement. Here's some suggestions for doing so:


  1. Don't drape yourself. This is hard to explain. Basically don't lean over something sloppily. A common 'draped' position is leaning your torso over a table/bench, with your chin resting in your hand/s. If standing, it is often accompanied by the hips being tilted. If sitting, it is often made worse by leaning to one side. 'Draped' posture is NOT dignified or modest.
  2. Don't sit on the ground with your legs stretched open in a 'V.' Legs together is OK, but not open.
  3. Don't bend at the waist only. You know the look this creates. Not dignified. Or modest. It's even worse if your top rides up. If you need to bend to reach something, bend at the knees and keep the back straight. If it's on the floor, crouch with your back upright. Or kneel down. It's far more dignified than carelessly bending at the waist. And more modest by a long shot.
  4. Try to stretch discreetly. I don't deny the fact that sometimes our backs get little stiff and we need to stretch. But bending straight back or over (especially at the waist) or throwing the shoulders and arms back does not display dignity. It displays carelessness. It's better to discreetly twist your torso, keeping your arms forward. If you need to bend forwards to stretch, bend at the knees as well, just like you're picking something up from the ground. If you want to bend backwards, preferably move away from other people so as not to unintentionally draw attention to yourself.
  5. Walk with dignity. You don't have to be conscious of your every step, but be careful if you have a tendency to strut or walk sloppily. Carrying yourself with gracefulness is key to being dignified. Once upon a time, ladies walked with lovely posture and dignity. They valued how the body was carried. Our bodies are, after all, a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
  6. Sit or stand with poise. Sitting or standing sloppily is not dignified. It is careless. It conveys lack of value for others, your body and what you are doing. Sitting or standing with poise, on the other hand, conveys attentiveness and value for the above. 
  7. Don't slouch. (Part of #6.)
 I'd like to point out that, while we should have a habit of retaining dignity in our posture, it's often OK not be completely dignified while by ourselves. For example, it's fine to flop yourself onto your bed when you need a break. Or take a good stretch when you're alone. Some things, however, it's simply good to get in the habit of doing, and so doing them when you're alone is a good idea. One of these, I find, is crouching instead of bending at the waist. 

 Again, it's hard work to conquer these things. I know I fail often. (Trust me, I straightened up a dozen or so times just writing this post!)  But the Lord will honour your striving if you do it in His power. 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 says: "He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful."

 Maybe you think I'm too strict. If so, I apologise. I really don't want people being uptight or paranoid about these things.  It's the 'good, better, best' thing. Are you sinning by slouching? No. Is slouching the most important thing to work on in your daily life? Maybe, but probably not. Given a choice between slouching and sitting straight, should you sit straight? Yes. 
 Some of my post are about more urgent or 'bigger' problems, some are about 'little' things that we can improve. I simply want to bring to mind these subjects and give some practical tips or solutions. It's up to you to evaluate what you read and decide whether you should follow my advice.


Much love in Christ,
Cassie xoxox


 P.S. If you want to explore subject of posture more, or if you want to know what influenced my thoughts on this topic, check out this link: http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse. (Just a warning: it's probably best to get your Mum to look at this first if you are under 18.) If you're allowed to have a look, click the posture/movement section and check out the responses from guys to the statements. It was from reading this (and "The Lost Art of True Beauty" by Leslie Ludy) that I came to realise that posture was reasonably important.














Sunday, 18 November 2012

Daily Dignity: Speech {part 2}


 Here's part 2 (and some more suggestions).

  1. Ask insightful questions. These are questions that go beyond the normal "How was your day?" and trivial "What is your favourite band?" questions. Insightful questions include:  "How's your walk with God going?" "What's God been doing in, through or around you?" "How can I pray for you?" "Is there anything that you're struggling with at the moment? (coupled with a request to pray with them)" "What are you looking forward to in the next year?" "What's your favourite holiday memory?" They can be anywhere (as shown) from spiritual questions to asking how a person is really, truly going, to not-quite-as-deep-but-still-not-trivial-chit-chat questions. Of course, it's not OK to ask something that would force a person to open up their most intimate secrets and struggles with you. It's also hard (not to mention awkward!) to ask deep questions straight after the "Hi, I'm Cassie, what's your name?" But maybe after knowing the person for a while you can begin the slightly-deeper-but-still-not-trivial-chit-chat questions. And the prayer request one is often good. (You can do that one with both Christians and non-Christians.)
  2. Practice elegant speech. I've talked about this in my "Coarse talk: uh-uh" post and my "Modesty in Actions" post. I reckon you guys should get the gist of it by now. If not, or if you're new (yay!), this is basically what elegant speech is: (these points are from "The Lost Art of True Beauty.")
     1) Not using crude humour or comments.
     2) Not gossiping or belittling others with your words.
     3) Not using profanity.
     4) Not overusing filler words; words like 'stuff,' 'like' and 'really.' (This one is really hard to          get out of, but it cleans up our speech.)

     5) Not mumbling. As ambassadors for Christ, we shouldn't speak as though we're ashamed.
     6) Not talking to fast or rambling on and on.
     7) Not talking so loud that everyone is forced to listen to you.
     8) Keeping your heart guarded in your speech. We should make sure that we aren't revealing  every deepest, most personal secret, fear and struggle in our common conversation. While we need to make sure to ask insightful questions etc, we still need to guard the sacred parts of our hearts. It's also wise to be more cautious with guys. I'm not saying that we can't carry on a slightly deeper conversation with them, but we shouldn't tell them everything that we tell our female friends. 

 I know that that's a lot of things to work on, but I can tell you with certainty that you will be blessed for following them, and trying to exude dignity in every area of your life.

 There's also a message that I feel God wants me to give you. It relates to the result of you seeking to obey the Lord in every area of your life. (I wrote about it a bit in this post.) With me (and others, including God himself) bringing up things that I believe that we need to work on, it's easy to get discouraged. I know I do sometimes. But I believe that God wants to remind you that He is the one doing a transforming work in us; that if we listen and follow what He tells us to do, we will see change!. God whispered to my heart, "Tell them that I love them and will honour their striving." Romans 8:31 says, "What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us!" The song "You Raise Me Up" reminds us that that God "raises us up to more than we can be." Thanks be to God!

    Your sister in Christ,
    Cassie xoxoxo

    Saturday, 17 November 2012

    Daily Dignity: Speech {part 1}


    So we've had an overview on feminine dignity. Now for a specific topic: {inset drum roll.....} speech! This is a big area where we need to display dignity. (OK, before we go any further, I'm going to let you know that I'm going to use Leslie Ludy's points from her book, "The Lost Art of True Beauty." Because (1) THEY ARE SO GOOD and (2) it's what I'd say anyway. So basically, I give Leslie a lot of the credit. And I take no credit for the titles of the dot points. Of course, there are original thoughts in there too. Cause I can't just copy exactly what she says. Unfortunately. And because I want to add some things.) Now for the points. I believe that these are specific areas in which we can be dignified in our speech. I also admit that I fail at every one of these often. Of course I'm not perfect, and I sure need to work on these.

    1. Carry on a good conversation. A beautifully dignified young woman does not mumble an answer to questions whilst looking at the floor. Instead, she looks the person speaking in the eye and gives a proper answer. With few exceptions, one-word replies do not count as answers. Can you see that lovely, feminine, dignified princess mumbling 'No' or 'Yes' to the nobles' questions, whilst studying the mosaic on the floor? Would she not lift her graceful head to give them a full and dignified answer?
       Also, we need to learn to pass the conversation back. Ask the person a question of your own. Don't force the other person to keep up an awkward, one-sided conversation. That is not dignified and beautiful.
    2. Use positive body language. Looking someone in the eye, listening intently, not fiddling, sitting up straight etc all convey that you appreciate and acknowledge everything that the person is saying. Looking away absently, slouching, fiddling etc all convey boredom, nervousness and lack of value for what the person is saying. Oh, and I know that as girls we find it easy to multi-task, but we need to restrain from doing so when caring on a face-to-face conversation. When we multi-task we send the message that the person speaking is not worthy of our full attention. (Please note that sometimes we don't have to drop something to have a conversation, unless it's deep or pressing. If your friend starts a conversation when you're chopping the carrots for mum, for example, you don't have to stop. But make sure you still nod or look up occasionally to show that you're listening.) Make sure that your non-verbal signals are positive. Doing so helps show dignity and love.

    Friday, 16 November 2012

    Daily Dignity

     Hey folks! So, God gave me this really awesome idea for a post series. I'm calling it "Daily Dignity." I will be posting a shorter post every day for a week or so. In each post I'll write about a specific area where God wants us to showcase feminine dignity.

     Now, you may be thinking, "Dignity. Ah, yes, that means.... um.... er.... actually, what does it mean?" Which is quite reasonable, seeing as this word is not used very often in our vocabulary. Sadly. So anyway, I asked that question, and immediately thought, "maybe the Bible tells me what dignity is." A quick concordance-search and I came up with Proverbs 31:25a. Speaking about the Wife/Woman of Noble Character it says: "She is clothed with strength and dignity." Now I moved on to a Hebrew-word definition look-up. What I found there was quite interesting, and rather useful. Basically the Hebrew meaning is 'splendour or nobility; often related the appearance of something that is beautiful and instils awe.' I reckon that's pretty cool. Dignity is noble; it instils awe; it is beautiful; it is noticeable. You kind of get the picture of a fairytale princess: noble, graceful, loving, gentle, serene, awe-inspiring. How amazing.
     But before I go any further, I want to let you know that, unfortunately, the English decided many times that they only wanted one word for many things. And so, like the word love, the word dignity has come to mean various things. It can mean formal, composed and serious; or it can mean someone's honour or pride; or it can be used to translate that Hebrew word hadar (that's a close as I can get it with my English keyboard) whose meaning I've explained here and is so beautiful. This last meaning is what I mean from now on in this series.

     That's an overview on dignity. The next post will be about a specific area..... but I'm not going to tell you what it is!

    Your sister in Christ,
    Cassie xoxoxo


    Wednesday, 24 October 2012

    Encouragement

     It's a fact: we all love to be encouraged. It inspires, strengthens and/or brings joy. God designed encouragement to build us up and help us. But does God command us to encourage others? Are we just supposed to soak it all up... or give it out as well?

     I define encouragement as one of three things: either 'something that inspires us, gives us courage or builds us up' ('hey, that's a nice top'; 'I just wanted to say, you have such a godly character'; 'you are doing such a good job, keep it up!'; 'you can do it!' etc), or 'an urging or advice' ('I'd encourage you to apologise' etc), or 'something, usually an action, and often unconsciously done, that brings joy or relief' ("Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints." {Philemon 1:7}). (I know these may seem blurred and/or all the same, but I did my best. :D I reckon you guys get the gist of encouragement.) Here, I'm just going to talk about the first one. 

     So: does God wan't us to give encouragement? OF COURSE!!! It may be hard to do at times, or seem weird, but God commands us to encourage each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (Let's hope that last bit is true!) There are stacks of other Bible verses that talk about encouragement; check out Romans 12:8, 2 Timothy 4:2 and Titus 2:15b. There are many places where the Bible talks about specific people encouraging: like Paul in Colossians 2:2, Barnabas in Acts 11:23 and Judas and Silas in Acts 15:32. Guess what? The Bible even tells us that God encourages us! (Psalm 10:17, Romans 15:5.) So does the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9:31.) God also speaks through the Scriptures to give us encouragement. (Romans 15:4; I think you've probably experienced these ideas for yourself!)

     Why encourage? Why does God command us to build each other up? Well, there's the simple fact that it makes others feel nice. You know how you feel when you're encouraged; others feel that way too when you encourage them. Everyone likes a boost. 
     Then, there's the effects your encouragement can have. Check out this verse: "But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see." (Deuteronomy 3:28, emphasis mine.) Your encouragement could do something big! OK, OK, maybe not saying 'I love your shirt' (I guess, you never know... it could start that girl thinking about creating her own fashion label... :P), but some things could have a big impact.
     Lastly, there's what might happen if you don't encourage someone. 2 Samuel 19:7: "Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall!" (OK, my example may be slightly exaggerated, but the concept still holds.) If you don't encourage someone, something negative could happen. Maybe if I hold back from telling the girl on my street that she looks pretty she'll grow up hating herself. (Maybe not, but who knows. My encouragement could just be the thing that pulls someone away from something bad or helps change a life course. But always remember, such encouragement - indeed, all encouragement - needs to be constant and consistent.) 

     I'd also like to point out that we can be channels for God's direct encouragement. This may or may not be a new concept for you, but it's really cool! For example, when I ask God for a message of encouragement for someone, He most often gives a picture. I then ask God what it means, and deliver the message. By the way, not everyone gets a picture, but I usually do.
     Sometimes God gives you a message (for your or someone else) suddenly, sometimes He gives it when you ask. Sometimes when you ask you don't get something, and that's fine. 



     So lets rise to the challenge... and the command! Let's spread encouragement all around us!


    Love in Christ,Cassie xoxoxo



    P.S. Check out this wonderful video!!!

    Wednesday, 3 October 2012

    New and Awesome Discoveries!

     I have exciting news! {Insert drum roll...} I've recently made 3 discoveries! And I'd love to share them with you.

    1) {Rediscovered} The book "Do Hard Things" and the Rebolution. 
    These are VERY cool. The book "Do Hard Things is written by teen writers Alex and Brett Harris. They inspire and challenge Christian teens to rise above our perverted culture's incredibly low expectations for us and the teen years. And to DO HARD THINGS for God. (That's what the Rebolution's all about too.) I know, I can hear you groan. 'Hard things? Who wants do do hard things?' But hey, I can tell you, this book is a HUGE life-changer, NOT a burden. (See http://www.therebelution.com/) I HIGHLY RECOMMEND "DO HARD THINGS"!!!!! I was given it two years ago, and didn't really take it in, but this holidays I decided to re-read it, and I'm SO glad I did, because it lead to...

    2) My Personal Rebolution! OK, this is a long story, so I'll tell it in stages.
    Stage 1: Before I re-read "Do Hard Things," the question of 'what to do with my spare time and how do I use it wisely for God' had been lurking in the background of my mind. Occasionally it reared it's head more strongly, but I never did anything about it. Then along came...
    Stage 2: "Do Hard Things!" As I read it, the 'time question' bubble burst (or should I say, exploded!). I knew I had to to something. My thought process went something like this: "I needed to harness my time. And my passion... wait, passion? But I'm not passionate for anything 'big' (for example, poverty, modern-day slavery etc). Well, then, what is my passion? Ah, I'm passionate about the things on my blog, that sort of stuff... OK, how do I turn that into something hard?" Hm, good question. I needed a little...
    Stage 3: Brainstorming! I thought of something and put it to my mum, who suggested some other things. Now I had a mental 'hard thing' checklist (actually, this came a little later, but I put it here because it's more relevant). My goal: take a further step in my passion to encourage girls to be pure and follow God whole-heartedly. My checklist:
    1. Submit to God each morning when I wake up. 
    2. Email Sarah Mally (author of "Before You Meet Prince Charming" and founder of the Bright Lights ministry) to see if she has any use for my testimony/message or me in person. I wanted see if God had an opening for me with Bight Lights, apart from starting a group. (However, nothing really came of that email.)
    3. Email our Children's Ministry Pastor to see if there may be a place in the church for a ministry to young girls.
    4. Attend the Radiant Purity conference that Sarah Mally is hosting - and probably her Strong in the Lord conference and the Bright Light Leaders Training too. 
    If your still not convinced about this 'hard things' business, let me tell you: deciding on my hard thing, and anticipating the things God's gonna bring about, has had me full of joy for the last few days! I'm soooo excited!!! No negative results yet! (And though possible future 'failure' (you only fail if you give up!), burnout etc may seem 'negative,' they are positive, or at least outweigh the negative by a million miles, in the long run! I can brace myself for them without getting down for sure!)

    Stage 4: Action! My list now looks like:
    1. Submit to God each morning when I wake up. \
    2. Wait for the church's response. (Then follow up, or explore other options.)
    3. Attend  the conferences (held in December). 
    So that's my Personal Rebolution! It's bound to make a change in my life and in the way I spend my time. Yay! Now, my third discovery...

    3) The Modesty Survey. This is very exciting! The Rebolution.com hosted a survey, asking Christian guys specific questions about modesty and different clothing. It was both very helpful and encouraging to read the results. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU HAVE A LOOK! I'm glad I came across it. 


    And that completes my discoveries! Awesome, don't you agree!? Open to any comments!

    Cassie xoxoxo

    P.S. Check out the conferences I mentioned earlier! They're worth a good hard look. 

    Sunday, 23 September 2012

    Question Time!

    OK my wonderful followers (and any other wonderful person who happens to stop by!), I have a question for you! {Drum roll, please!}

    What would YOU like to see on my blog? Do you have any post suggestions? Do you have any questions, or topics that you would like me to give my opinion on? I am open to ANYTHING (well, as long as it's purity/following God related). Fire away! Please, take the time to think of something and post it in a comment.

    Awaiting your response!
    Cassie xoxoxo

    Thursday, 13 September 2012

    Coarse talk: uh-uh

     I came across this verse recently: "Nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (Ephesians 5:4)  (I've put this in my Modesty in Actions post, too.) Wow, pretty direct! I also love the New Life Version: "Do not be guilty of telling bad stories and of foolish talk. These things are not for you to do. Instead, you are to give thanks for what God has done for you." I think we all do these not-great things at some point. However 'harmless' they may seem, God is against them. 
     And we also need to work on giving thanks. It's all too easy to tell a cool story and not give the due credit to God, for example. We need to publicly give thanks to Him for His work. (Psalm 22:22) What a challenge. 


    Cassie xoxoxo

    Thursday, 6 September 2012

    Idols

     'Idols in our life.' We've all heard the concept before, and the lecture that goes along with it: don't let anything in your life be above God. But can you relate? I couldn't until about a month ago. I used to nod my head in agreement, but, to be honest, nothing was really interfering with God in my life. Then that changed.

     When we moved, God quickly gave me friends, who are amazing. I am so thankful for them. BUT, because I had been staved of the constant, every-day kind of friendship (sure, I still emailed and valued my old friends, but there was an element of frequency that was missing) I started to idolise my new friends. They became "objects of my excessive and superior adoration." (My variation of The Concise Oxford Dictionary's definition of 'idol.') True, I did not live to please them, and I believe they were a 'mild' idol; but they were an idol nonetheless, I had to give them over to God.

     Unknowing of my situation (nice one, God!), the mum of a friend shared the 'open hand' concept. Instead of pulling our hands into a fist, and holding tightly to what God has given us, we should let them lay open, alowing God to do what he wants with his blessings. (While it's true that God can take them away, even if our hand is closed, we still need to make a conscious decision to release them to him.)

     So in my personal devotion, I physically laid my hand open, and pretended to place in it my friendships. I told God that He could have them and do whatever He wished with them. I told Him I wanted Him to be in the highest place in my life. After praying, I felt a shift. I knew my friends weren't an idol any more.

     However, after a while I realised that this would be a continual process. Satan keeps trying to shove friends onto the top of my life, and I have to pray to get them back down and God back up. I don't know how long this will go on for. But I do know that I must always watch for signs of idols, and be willing to give them over to God.


    With sisterly love,
    Cassie xoxoxo

    Sunday, 26 August 2012

    The True Reason

      I've been posting all about what we as Christian girls should be like. I've suggested many things to improve our behaviour and ourselves (among other things, but mostly that). You've shared you views on crushes and modesty - stuff to do with improving ourselves. And while I believe this is all good and valid, I think that we may need to be reminded of why we do all this.

     We often get so caught up in the 'doing' and 'being' that we lose our focus. We need to remember that we love Jesus - that's why we try to do what he wants. "If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 15:15) He's saved us, and wants only the best for us - that's why we obey him. Cause seriously, why wouldn't we want to! Man, we have two awesome reasons for living out our faith: gratitude and our benefit! Also, God loves us so much! "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1a) On Friday night my youth leader reminded me that God loves looking at us when we shine for Him. We're like sunflowers in His garden which He enjoys. He LOVES to spend time with us! When we obey Him, He's cheering us on! God loves us more than I can find words to say! When we think of it like that, it puts our obedience and 'doing' into perspective.

     So sit back. Take a breather. Remember why we do what we do, why we strive so hard, why we run the race.


    Your sister and comrade in the race,

    Cassie xoxoxo


    Tuesday, 31 July 2012

    Modesty in Actions... huh?

     Hey guys! I'm working on a post about modesty in actions, but I just can't seem to put my finger on what exactly it is that is wrong with our behaviour sometimes. Like, I sometimes I come home from, say, youth and think to myself, "Hm, I don't think I behaved in the best manner tonight. " Often I think I've crossed some line, but it's hard to define what and where that line is. So I'm wondering what you guys think: how does God  want us to behave modestly, what do we often do 'wrong,' and what's wrong with it? Inviting all comments...

    Tuesday, 24 July 2012

    "Mission Modesty - Revive Our Actions" (Part 2)


     Thanks for your thoughts guys! They were great!

    OK, you may or may not remember my post "Mission Modesty - Protect Our Brothers! (Part 1)." If you haven't read it, go and check it out. Any way, you may (or may not!) have wondered, "where's part two?" Well... Ta-da! This is it! (And just to warn you, this is gonna be a long post! And sorry about the funny text. It kept mucking up, so there's variations within the post.)

    OK, first I want to define what I think modesty in actions really is. Then I'll go on to give some examples of what it looks like. But for now, here's my definition: modesty in actions is a quality that comes from the heart-desire to let Jesus shine through one's actions, is spurred on by prudence and results in discretion, selflessness and control of one's behaviour. 

    Let's unpack that a bit more. (I'll try hard to balance my descriptions between explaining thoroughly and not over-explaining and repeating myself, and so confusing you. Bear with me.)
    1. Comes from the heart-desire to let Jesus shine through our actions.  This is all-important. We can't do a very good job of being modest if we don't truly desire to shine Jesus' character to everyone we meet. It'll just be propped up and fake. This eagerness that Jesus places within us to show Him every way we can is the foundation to modesty of any kind. Emily Grace said that we need to fill up on scripture and discover what God says about how we should behave. I agree; it'll fire us up for wanting to show Him to everyone.
    2. Is spurred on by prudence. Prudence is defined as "being careful to avoid undesired consequences" (The Concise Oxford Dictionary) and "caution in regard to practical matters" (Dictionary.com). This obviously means that prudence is important to in our decisions. We are constantly making decisions on how to behave, and prudence helps us to make careful decisions that will have positive effects. Modesty in actions is spurred on by wise decision making... a.k.a. prudence. (There are some verses in Proverbs about prudence: check out Proverbs 12:8, 15:5 and 21:16.)
    3. Results in - Discretion. Discretion is being discreet in our behaviour. 'Discreet' is defined as "wise in one's conduct or speech, especially with regards to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about somethingof a delicate nature," or "modestly unobtrusive; not intended to attract notice." Not being overly silly or loud and not drawing attention to ourselves, etc,  is discreet (more on this later).  Flirting is certainly not discreet (more on that later too). Just remember the base word of discretion: discreet. Oh, and I was lead by God to this Bible verse: "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion" (Proverbs 11:22). Basically, it says you can have beauty (the gold ring), but if you lack discretion, you don't have real beauty! Ouch! If that doesn't wake me up to the importance of discretion, then, then I doubt much else will be able to !
    4.  - Selflessness. This's the thing I really want to draw out. Modesty in actions is, for me, all about not drawing attention to ourselves, but instead pouring our pursuits into Christ and letting Him shine through us. And that's being selfless, right? Seriously, do you think Christ can shine though our actions if we just seek to draw attention to us, not Him? If we think we deserve attention, why should we and how can we be modest in our actions? I believe we (including me for sure!!) need to think less about ourselves and more of others and Jesus. Humility and selflessness are key.

    5.  - Control of behaviour. Er, pretty self-explanatory. We behave with discretion, selflessness and knowledge of God's standard of behaviour. Controlled behaviour is the result.

    Now you get the gist of what modesty in actions is (hopefully!!), I'll try to describe what it looks like in everyday life. There are a few things that I think we need to put on, and some we need to put off (Hebrews 12:1, Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:8-10). First come the examples of the 'off' stuff, then the 'on' stuff.

    • Flirting. "Actions designed to attract the favourable attention of the other gender," as my mother wisely said. That's about as simple as I can put it. I think we know what it looks like, and when we do it, as Bri said. However, we must realise that it's the intentions behind the acts that make it flirting. The key part of this definition is the 'designed to attract' bit. We can do things that will attract the favourable attention of others, but are not designed for that purpose. The motive is key.
       I also think that laughing too much/hard at a guy's joke/humour is a form of flirting. I guess I view it as 'leading him on.'
      Just to clear things up, I AM NOT telling you to quit laughing or smiling at the funny things guys say. That would be silly, and hypocritical of my belief that following God is meant to be FUN (among other things). So relax; you can still have a good time with guys. BUT... I think many of us (certainly me!) can at times go overboard in our response to guys' natural humour. While it's fine to laugh at a joke, sometimes I think we need to settle down a bit. (I really hope I got that across well. It's very hard. Feel free to just think "what on earth is she talking about?")

    • Crude and inappropriate jokes/words. (Thanks again, Bri!) "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6a.) "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. "Nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (Ephesians 4:29, 5:4.) Simple as that. Are crude words full of grace or wholesome? NO WAY! 

    • Laughing too loudly and being too silly. What? We laugh too loud? We can get too silly? Never!... NOT!! If we laugh too loud, we are just attracting attention to ourselves. I think we can still laugh hard, but just not overdo the volume. Same with being too silly. Careening around crazily sure draws attention. So we just need to watch that our merriness doesn't go too far. 

    Now for the 'put on's.

    •  I think we need to put effort into searching and studying how God wants us to behave, just as Emily Grace said. What's better  than getting instructions straight from God!? We need to pour more effort into seeking God than seeking attention from others... actually, we shouldn't seek attention from them at all!

    • We need to remember to guard our hearts, our emotions, the inner things that need to be kept sacred. "[We should not be] haphazard and flippant with our hearts and emotions, casually sharing our most vulnerable thoughts and intimate secrets with [everyone and anyone]." ("The Lost Art of True Beauty" by Leslie Ludy; page 94.) Why would we want to 'spill the beans' to everyone around you? Sure, us younger girls may not stuggle with this a whole heap, but we sure need to keep it in mind.  This is especially the case when relating to guys. While it's OK to share deep things with your family and good friends, we shouldn't let the world (those not as close to us, including most guys) into the deepest, sacred parts of our hearts. We need to whatch what we talk about, especially with guy friends.  This is where discretion and discernment come in.
    Whew! Did you really get through that post?! Round of applause for you! I hope you got something out of it. Feel free to agree or disagree in a comment. Is there anything I need to add, or take out?

    Your sister in Christ,
    Cassie xoxoxo



































    Monday, 9 July 2012

    Thought life - Arrgh!

     My thought life is certainly one big area that has caused me a lot of trouble and pain, though, when it comes to being pure. You can't stop a thought coming up - consequentially, our thought life is one of Satan's biggest targets. And too often he succeeds in leading us to sin with our thoughts.

     One thing I want to make clear - your mind generates a bad thought before you can stop it. (Very occasionally, as you mature in this area, you may be able to stop a half-formed thought in its tracks.) At this point it is only temptation. If you do not quench that thought; if you do not acknowledge it as bad; if you continue to think thoughts along that line, then that is sinning. 

     Sometimes I get very discouraged about my thought life. I ask myself questions like, "Why can't I stop thinking bad thoughts?," "Why can't I get these thoughts out of my head?" and "Will I ever conquer my thought life and make it obedient to Jesus?" However, this is Satan tempting me to give it up as hopeless. So I must take courage in the power of Jesus again, and keep fighting the battle. Even King David said "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" (Psalm 13:2) But he also declared in that same Psalm, "trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me." (Verses 5-6, italics added by me.)

     And there's another important point - we fight a continuous battle. It will not be won in a short amount of time. Actually, our bad thoughts are part of our sinful nature, and will only die when we do. Our thought life (just like the rest of us) will not be perfect until we are resurrected for eternity.  But God tells us through Isaiah to "Give up your crooked ways and your evil thoughtsReturn to the Lord our God." (Isaiah 55:7, CEV) If we stop fighting because we will never really 'win,' long term, the Devil gains a foothold and triumph after triumph. And so the battle must continue.

     If you were wondering, there are many verses in the Bible that talk about thoughts. Very few are commands; most are warnings. Here are some;

    • "You used to let the different parts of your body be slaves of your evil thoughts. But now you must make every part of your body serve God, so that you will belong completely to him." (Romans 6:19, CEV)
    • "Do not allow your weak thoughts to lead you into sinful actions." (Romans 13:14b, NLV)
    • "A man is tempted to do wrong when he lets himself be led by what his bad thoughts tell him to do. When he does what his bad thoughts tell him to do, he sins. When sin completes its work, it brings death." (Wow, pretty straight forward! James 1:14-15, NLV)

     You must notice that in this post I'm talking about thinking unhelpful, distracting thoughts (dreaming romantic dreams, etc). There are however, many other avenues of bad thoughts - thinking nasty things about others, selfish thoughts, greedy thoughts, impure thoughts, inappropriately worried thoughts, etc. There are warnings and commands about these things too; take Hebrews 13:15b for example - "Do not let wrong thoughts about others get started among you." (NLV) Now, I know it warns against nasty thoughts about others among you, but guess where this gossip starts? It starts with bad thoughts in someone's head!! 


    After saying all this (you still with me?), there is one last point to make. It is very important. If you don't recognise it, basically you're doomed to lose this battle over and over again. 
     OK, I'm going to say this slow: Think of your thought life as a big hole. Satan wants to fill it with bad thoughts. You know you shouldn't be thinking that kind of stuff, so you push those thoughts out of the hole. But now you're back where you started - a big hole that Satan desperately wants to fill with thoughts disobedient to God! And just because you pushed him out once, Satan ain't going to give up that easy, let me tell you! He will keep trying to fill that hole with junk. And at some point, we're going to just let him stay for a bit. So, what are we going to do to get Satan to stay out of our hole? FILL IT UP WITH GOOD, GODLY THOUGHTS!!!!!!!!! I'm sure we all know Philippians 4:8. But have you noticed that it's in the positive? It doesn't say ''Don't think about this, this and this kind of bad stuff," it says "Think about this kind of good stuff"! When we fill up the hole of our thought life with good, godly thoughts, there is no room for Satan's junk.


    Phew! Hopefully you got something out of that huge post! I really, really, really don't want to just heap guilt on you. I simply want to challenge and encourage you. PLEASE, PLEASE tell me if you feel hurt or guilty (so you just feel horrid and dirty, not challenged) after reading my post. I won't be hurt or angry; you will be doing me a huge favour. And I promise not to publish your comment. Thanks!

    "We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ." (2 Cor 10:5b, GW)
    Signing off,

    Cassie xoxoxo