**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.**

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,

(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.

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