young women, it’s time to grow up.

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After writing my Wickam’s & Willoughby’s post, I thought I should maintain some balance by writing a post dedicated to how young women should improve.

These are some things I’ve learned over the years – and am still continuing to learn. Now of course, this isn’t supposed to be an exhaustive or legalistic list to make us feel guilty or beat ourselves up over. Rather, I pray that this serves as an encouragement to cultivate excellence and holiness in our day-to-day lives, and to strive to please God in everything we do. (This is in no particular order, by the way.)(Orange titles are linked.)

1) Preserving Feminine Mystique

(No, this has nothing to do with Betty Friedan.)

It seems nowadays that young girls everywhere throw everything to the wind. They dress less to impress, or sometimes emotionally throw themselves at guys whom they are attracted to.

Now you’re probably wondering … what on earth is “feminine mystique”? I’m referring to 1 Peter, the “ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4 KJV). There are so many girls who are loud, attention-seeking, boisterous, or too public about personal affairs. (You know, the girls who plaster their Facebook wall with every emotional up-and-down, or drama.) There are some things a young woman should just keep quiet about, especially around young men, or when they’re out and about. Also she shouldn’t emotionally “dump” her private concerns and problems on her crush, her boyfriend, or even her male “just friends”.

This shouldn’t be something we do in order to make us more attractive to a godly young man. Instead, it should be something we do out of honoring God, and, really, it’s one of the best ways to display the beauty and mystery of the gospel.

Also, I’ve also learned (from experience) that preserving your feminine mystique does not mean hiding in a corner and going out of your way to avoid guys. It just means treating those around you with respect, and showing some respect for yourself with a modest attitude.

2) Never Forget Your “First Love” (Jesus!)

Young women, we tend to try to build our fulfillment on someone else. We want to be loved. To be cherished. To be wanted and desired so deeply by someone. We dream about the day we turn around, and there he is, standing there with that brilliant smile, looking at us the way every girl wants to be looked at. And, you know, there’s no shame in this. But I know it can be OH-so-easy to forget that our purpose isn’t found in this kind of relationship. It’s found in Jesus alone. Men will fail us. There will be times that they’re insensitive. Or they’ll ignore us. Won’t meet our needs. Push us away. Get annoyed with us. There is only One Person in the entire universe who loves and desires us more deeply than we could ever fathom.

3) Spend Your Time Serving (Not Searching)

This goes hand-in-hand with #2 above. Rather than squandering so many precious hours pining for love and matrimony, why not spend our time well, furthering and serving the kingdom of God ? And instead of doing things and going places for the purpose of nonchalantly bumping into — ahem — Mr. Right, we should be focusing our lives in a way that impacts those around us and displays the glory of God’s love. So often I see modern Christians who focus on such frivolous pursuits, or trivial conversations while there are so many more terrible things happening in the world. Just watch the news. There are sad and broken people in our churches, starving children in other countries needing to see God’s love manifested to them in a piece of bread, there are the youth of today struggling under society’s pressures, broken families, bullying, or being strong in their faith. Or look at the countries around us: ten yr old girls are prostituting themselves to make money to survive, and there are Christians in prisons being kept alive for no other purpose than to ceaselessly extract every ounce of pain from them day after day, for years, with little to no hope of ever escaping. And yet often we can only think of, “Poor me”? “If only someone loved me”? Plug yourself in to organizations like Voice of the Martyrs. Create awareness among your friends. Go on mission trips with your church. Start or join a prayer group, or even just pray. Connect with Youth for Christ. Change the world. Serve your fellow man.

4) Stay Away From Gossip/Drama

Don’t be that person who is always stirring the pot, talking about others behind their back, or starting rumors. It’s ugly, and it hurts others.

5) Rest With Full Assurance

6) A Kind Word Turns Away Wrath

I know that, in my experience, irritability is contagious. If someone else is in a sour mood, or snaps at me, I find it tempting to make a snarky comment back, or to become irritable myself. Swallow it back, and treat others with grace.

7) Let Go of Pride

8) Smart Dudes Aren’t Looking At Your Body

9) Modesty is a Heart Issue

There are countless books, and articles, and “check-lists” on this topic, so I feel like I don’t need to add a lot to the discussion. But one thing we should remember: modesty isn’t just a list of rules to follow in order to become holy — rather, it is a condition of the heart. What are my intentions? Am I wearing this to purposefully cause my brothers in Christ to stumble? Or to draw unnecessary attention to myself?

10) How to Take a Compliment

This is something I definitely need to work on …

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11) Femininity is Beautiful

You don’t have to “man up” to be a better woman.

12) Seek Not Fame Or Notoriety

13) Don’t “Objectify” Men

Now, I’m sure this sounds a lot more strange than I mean it to. What I mean is: don’t use men to fulfill your emotional desires (as men sometimes use women to fulfill their physical desires), because that’s not fair. Men are human beings, too.

14) Let. Him. Help. You.

15) Be On Guard

16) Do what is right, not what is easy.

17) Educate Yourself

Acting stupid is not cute. It’s stupid.

18) You Don’t Have To Be a Size 0 to be Beautiful

19) Happiest Girls Are the Prettiest

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier… A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”~ Roald Dahl, “The Twits”.

20) Don’t let your mood dictate your manners.

21) Be the Exception

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Don’t reduce yourself to be like typical teenage girls. Pursue excellence in conduct and manners. A young woman who is classy is timeless. There is something that is set apart about a young woman who carries herself and dresses herself with elegance and poise. “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…”  (Phil 1:27) We need to remember that as young women – as Christians – we are ambassadors, we carry the image of God. We are literally walking, living, breathing representatives of God’s love, goodness, and beauty. Don’t lose your dignity, love.

22) Chivalry Being a Lady Is Not Dead.

How often do we young women complain about the lack of good men in society? Although this is definitely true, rather than merely talking about how men should rise up and be men, we should check ourselves to see if we are stepping back and letting them be men. Are we ourselves acting like ladies, and encouraging the men around us to act like gentleman? To an extent, a man’s behavior goes only as far as women’s expectations of him.

23) Dress & Act How You Want To Be Addressed

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one thousand gifts //

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–> spring break!

–> seeing little boys opening doors for their mamas

–> homemade chicken noodle soup

–> the smell of something garlic-y cooking

–> my church family

–> getting to see my friends at school every day

–> my difficult but enjoyable classes

–> chivalry

–> hot lemon tea

–> Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, Variation 18 — by Rachmaninoff❤

–> quiet time to draw & write

What are your gifts this week?

choose to live.

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We always talk about how we’ll “wait” for our future husbands. We write articles, blog posts, even entire books on this subject. We make promises, commitments, vows.

But you know what? I’m not waiting.

Yes, I am saving myself physically for my future husband, and am committed to staying pure, but I am not waiting for my life to start until I find Mr. Right. My life is now.

I choose to live. To do. To work. To serve. To pray. To study. To impact people. To go on adventures. Make phone calls. Drink coffee. Play with kids. To live where the quiet things are. Read lots of good books. Try new things. Pursue beauty. Be messy. Do hard things. Stand up for the weak. Write out my heart. Find freedom and grace in Christ. To walk with Him, footprints in the sand, caressing these precious moments I will never have back. Heart beats strong, lungs breathe deep, and I plunge into the waters of life. I will laugh. Cry. Fail. Succeed. Right here. Right now. I choose to embrace my life as it is, fulfill my calling, to live all out for the glory of God, because life is either a great adventure, or nothing.

This is my purpose. This is what I was meant for. This is the meaning of life.

 

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macaroni & cheese

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cast of characters:

2 cups elbow macaroni (7 ounces)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard
Pinch of paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 ¾ (or more) cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz cream cheese
Italian seasoned bread crumbs

the plan:

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Cook macaroni as directed on package
3. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a 3 quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, garlic, and spices, to taste. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and cream cheese until melted.
4. Add cheese sauce to drained macaroni. Pour into an ungreased 2 quart casserole. Sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs over the top. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.
5. Enjoy!