Pencil Skirt Pride

Pride always seems to get in the way of pleasing God. I know because it happened to me.

When I started a new job, I wanted acceptance and respect as a true professional. A shopping trip was the first step! I really needed some new outfits meant to impress.

That navy blue suit was a perfect fit! I was bursting with pride when I wore it! It had an adorable little jacket and a pencil skirt that fell below the knee. A white blouse and black shoes completed my professional outfit.

I received several compliments from the older ladies in the office, who were just a little tired of the more casual attire worn by some girls. I was quite pleased I measured up to their high standards! The other girls didn’t say anything, but that was okay.

Right off, my boss gave me an important task to do that day. I was to go over to one of the government buildings to pick up some paperwork. No problem!

I found a parking place and started walking to the building. That’s when I discovered I could only take very tiny steps instead of my usual longer stride. I hated to admit it to myself but that skirt just didn’t have any give to it at all.  It was a bit of a hike and my time was slipping away. It was impossible to hurry.

When I finally made it to the building, my next obstacle loomed before me. To my horror there were about fifteen steps to the building’s main door. How does one get up steps if you can hardly bend your knees?  

I stood there, hoping  no one noticed I was deliberating about how to get up the steps. Obviously, my beautiful outfit was more suited for church, not office work. I had no choice but to swallow my pride and hike my skirt up a bit so I could go up those awful steps.

I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 16:18 (KJV):  “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Another verse that comes to mind is found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Later, I had to admit to myself and God that my goal in wearing my gorgeous suit was to draw attention to myself. I wanted to show up the other girls in the office. There was an attitude in my heart that set myself up as better because I had a much desired position in the office. It wasn’t about looking good, but about setting myself apart in arrogance.

God doesn’t mind us dressing up for an important event. He doesn’t mind when we excel and do well. He expects us to do our level best in every situation, not purposely fail.

To do our best, we need to turn to Him in prayer asking for His direction and guidance. Our focus is to be on how we can please Him, not ourselves. Instead of seeking our own acclaim, let us take pride in what our Lord does! He alone deserves the praise and glory! Our joy comes from knowing that we are pleasing to Him.

A thoughtful reminder from the Apostle Peter:

“…be clothed with humility:  for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the might hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:5b-7

Every time I begin to feel prideful, I am reminded of my humiliating experience in a pencil skirt. I remember to trust God to help me to be the person He wants me to be.

Written by Linda Hull

Are You As Healthy As You Could Be?

Every single person on this planet is different. Even identical twins have differences within their bodies that make them unique. Saying that, it’s not surprising that some people have ailments or complaints about their body earlier than others do. Age is a big factor when it comes to things going wrong with your body because as you get older your body starts to weaken, especially if you don’t look after it properly. However, even the younger generation still suffer with common complaints as well as some unusual and rare cases. This article is going to make you question whether you could improve your lifestyle so that as you grow older, you decrease the chance of ailments forming. If you’re already suffering with certain conditions, it might help you find some relief from your symptoms.

Smoking and Alcohol

You probably don’t have to be told that smoking should be something you avoid like the plague. Not only does it make you smell, discolor your teeth and drain your money, it causes cancer. You might be thinking to yourself that you’ll be fine, but why take the risk? If you’re a smoker, quit while you’re still young enough not to have damaged your body too much. If you’ve never tried a cigarette, then don’t. Quitting smoking will help reduce the risk of you getting cancer, or developing other lung conditions like asthma later in life and also COPD.

Alcohol is a little bit of a taboo subject because so many people enjoy a drink or two. While there’s nothing wrong with that, bingeing on alcohol is bad for your liver, money, mind and much more. Remember to drink in moderation!

Looking After Your Bones

Many people forget about keeping their bones healthy, until they start getting problems like joint pain and brittle bones that break or crack easily. Remember to keep your calcium levels up through the food you eat and by drinking plenty of milk.

An alternative is to take a supplement like Strontium that contains a natural mineral that’s found in our bones. This can be found in AlgaeCal, but make sure to read up on AlgaeCal side effects to make sure you’re clued up on what to expect. Of course, if you’re worried about the condition of your bones, make sure to visit your GP to get professional advice on what treatment you should be taking.

Keeping Hydrated

Our bodies are mainly water, so if you’re not putting enough water into your bodies you will be starving it from one of the main sources in which it needs to run on. Aim to drink the recommended 2 liters of water a day to ensure your body is getting everything it needs.

It’s simple really, eat well, drink enough water, don’t put harmful toxins in your body and look after your bones and you will find yourself at peak fitness in no time!

Preparing For College Life

Your teens are arguably the most important years of your life. It is the time where your body changes, you’ll grow into an adult and you will have to decide what path to take in life. It can be a scary time, but just remember that what you choose now doesn’t have to be permanent, later in life you will be able to change your decisions.

Preparing for life as a college student is a huge task; you’ll be faced with living away from home, cooking for yourself and studying independently. It is a big lifestyle change, but it is also a great opportunity for you to grow as a person.

Prepare for College in Advance

Always be prepared. There’s no such thing as preparing too much, so make sure you take ample time talking with your parents and teachers to decide on the path you want to take, what subject to study and where you want to go. Get prospectus’ sent in the mail so you can see what different colleges have to offer. Work out how far away things are and decide how far you are willing to travel from your family.

Take Leadership Roles

It will not only look good on your application, but it will also enrich your life and allow you to build your skills on a personal level. If you feel like you are a shy person naturally- taking on a leadership role can help you with your confidence and allow you to come out of your shell. It will make college interviews much easier to bare.

Have a Mentor

Find an older student, a family member or a teacher to help you with the application process. They have all been there before, so they will be able to advise you on what colleges are looking for in a student and the sort of things you want to add to your application. You may be surprised to hear that your hobby as a writer will be something to include on your application as it shows more about who you are as a person. Find useful sources of information and look at websites for tips on college life and admissions (source: collegeprepoptions.com)

Study

Get yourself into the habit of studying for every class each week. It doesn’t matter if you have a quiz coming up or not, you need to be reading up on the subject to help you better understand what you are learning- this will help you when you get to college because you will be expected to study independently.

Cut Down On Social Media

Social media is a huge part of our daily lives, but try and refrain from spending hours glued to your phone screen. Instead focus on your hobbies; go out and play a sport, read your favourite book or sketch. Enrich your life by spending time on what you love rather than looking at endless memes.

Do Not Cram for Exams

Procrastination is the enemy to every successful person. It is something that all of us do at some point or another, but it can prove damaging to your life and career. Instead of leaving your study until the night before the exam, try studying for 1 hour each week for a couple of months leading up to your exam. You can find some better ways to study here: http://www.thebestcolleges.org/17-scientifically-proven-ways-to-study-better-this-year/

 

Does God Care About Our Daily Needs?

How do I know God is a part of my daily life?  Every time I begin to think God is too busy in His Heaven to remember my needs and wishes that might seem trivial, I try looking for Him in my routine activities.

I remember one busy morning I had to shop in a short time. I needed an indoor basket plant for my friend, Helen who was recovering from a short illness, and I had other shopping to do.  Knowing that florists expect a “good price” for the sort of dish garden I wanted, I thought of a large discount store outside my neighborhood.

But I don’t enjoy visiting this store because it’s always crowded.  Still, I felt an inner urge to shop for groceries items there.  Just as I expected, when I arrived, the store was filled with shoppers.

Then I prayed, “Dear God, please help me find a gift for Helen.”

Inside the store, with shopping list in hand, I came upon a temporary table of assorted,  dish garden plants. I couldn’t believe it!  They were exactly the kind I wanted, but much more beautiful than I’d even imagined.

“I must have one of those basket plants,” I told myself.  I knew Helen would enjoy the plants.  Cautiously,  I read the sign and then looked again.  It was true, these large, healthy dish gardens were moderately priced.

“Thank you, God,” I whispered.

Then further down, on the right, there was  a display table of children’s books.  As I browsed through them,  I found a beautiful picture book showing the life of Jesus.  It too was moderately priced. The book would be the perfect gift for my young granddaughter Alyssa, whose birthday was in a few days.

“Thank you, God, for sending me here,” I murmured happily, reaching for the picture book.   Through my prayers, God had helped me find the things I needed today.

At home, relaxing after shopping, I thought about my morning.  And I had to remind myself once again–when I take the time to look for Him, it’s easy to find God doing wonderfully, unexpected things in my ordinary life.  I just have to stay alert and recognize them.

When I do, I find the reassurance that these little “special favors” are God’s way of showing me that I am not alone to meet the challenges in my life.  They reveal that God is here with me, helping me, and smoothing out my way in my day to day needs.

Isn’t it wonderful how God makes His presence known to us in ordinary ways all the time!  What a joy to know God is here in our lives, helping us, and blessing us every day with His faithful love.

Written by Evelyn Horan

How To Make The Choices That Matter

The younger you are, the bigger the future will seem to you. However, the future doesn’t suddenly shrink with your age – when you get older, the future seems as big and bright as you were when you were fourteen! However, with age, we get a bit more realistic, and we might accept that some ideas are just dreams. Youth is where this changes, as with the right planning, you can make your dreams come true. Certainly so if you are grounded and ready to put the work in. Some big choices are coming.

The first huge choice that people make in their young lives is a college degree. Sometimes, that choice comes earlier when kids choose specialized high schools to enroll with. This all hinges on the area of life that you want to learn about and specialize in. Sometimes, the choice of college is just as big of a degree, but what you choose to study is important, and often more so than where you choose to study it. It’s never too early to start thinking about your major or degree, and there’s plenty online to learn. You can examine and explore the career prospects that come with degrees. You can even find out who makes what in terms of income based on their degree. You can also study online with courses like the online MBA in Healthcare Management, so it’s not just research you can perform. Question what you want to do with your life and find courses and majors that can propel you in the right direction. It’s not just online, consult with school and college counselors and make the right decision – doing what you want to do.

It’s difficult, because college is followed by a huge decision. College degrees fall in line with a future line of work, but this is not always the case. No matter what you choose to do with your education, you will have to choose a line of work at some point. Sometimes, this might not be what you have studied – so research career paths and see how your skills could take you up that path. This might mean you need to jump into internships and the like, but once you find the right path for you find ways to climb it.

There are a lot of big decisions to make in life, and as you get older you might get worried. You might get cold feet and think about changing your mind. If this happens, it’s no bother. You are never too old to pursue a new path in life as long as you start again and follow the correct path of doing your research.

These decisions are stressful to make, and that’s only right – because they will be a big part of what defines your future. However, if you take the decisions needed for your future seriously and do your research and make balanced decisions, you’ll do alright. Remember that changing your mind is not an issue, as long as you do one thing – you guessed it. Do your research!

It’s Not Too Late To Put The ‘U’ Back Into Your Summer Break

The beginning of summer was all about fun, fun, fun. By now, though, you’re probably wishing that you’d made more of this opportunity to better yourself. Well, given that the new school/college/university year is still a few weeks away, you still have time.

Here are just five phenomenal ways to maximize productivity throughout the rest of your summer. Use that time wisely to…

 

#1. Look & Feel Your Best

If you’re planning to take time out to focus on becoming the best possible version of you, your appearance is the first place to start. It may seem a little vain, and looks aren’t everything in this world. Still, there’s no denying that feeling your best bring many rewards.

Reinventing your style with a little retail therapy can help. However, your first focus should be on your natural appearances. Start using a hyaluronic acid serum to get your skin looking better than ever. The confidence and happiness gained from doing this are second to none.

The increased recreational time is also the perfect moment to start getting fit. Whether you join a gym or find fun home workouts is entirely up to you. Either way, hitting those body goals will fill you with happiness.

 

#2. Seek Work Experience

While the academic year is on a break, you might not be thinking too much about your future career. This is a huge error of judgment, however, because you have a wonderful opportunity to seek an advantage over your future competition.

Unpaid internships may not feel overly attractive right now, especially as they mean you’ll be giving up a large section of your leisure time. The rewards are plentiful, though, and could help point you towards your future dream job. Besides, you never know who you might connect to during that work experience.

Alternatively, you could look for paid work in an unrelated field. You might not be working towards your dream job, but it’ll still prepare you for a far better career.

 

#3. Invest In Your Future

Working on a short-term contract with no long-term guarantees may not appeal to everyone. But there are other ways to start building towards your future career. With the extra time on your hands, you could take the time to write a better resume or build a portfolio website.

Alternatively, you could launch a business of your own. Thanks to the benefits of online interactions, an increasing number of teenagers are carving a name for themselves. Even if you don’t gain the riches that you’d love, the lessons you’ll gain could have a telling impact on your future.

Finally, you could look at learning a new skill. In today’s climate, being bilingual is more attractive than ever. Add another language to your repertoire, and it will pay dividends for your future.

 

#4. Prepare For The School Year Ahead

There is still plenty of time left this summer, but the new academic year is still fast approaching. Whether you’re heading off to college for the first time or will be a returning student doesn’t matter. Putting yourself one step ahead of the game will be very rewarding.

Ultimately, you want to reduce the stress so that you can concentrate on studying. In truth, financial elements are likely to be the biggest problem. Learning how to save money with couponing and other tips for students will work wonders. Aside from the physical gains, it’ll give you peace of mind.

All academic years are important, but there’s no doubt that some are more crucial than others. If you’re entering a big one, there’s nothing wrong with sourcing textbooks or thinking about projects at this early stage. You could even find graduates online and ask for their support. Anything that provides an advantage can only be positive.

 

#5. Help People Out

The rest of the summer should be committed to making personal improvements. Sometimes, however, helping others is the best way to help yourself.

This can manifest itself in many different forms. Having said that, spending time with senior citizens is one of the most mutually beneficial. While they will take a lot of comfort from your visits, they’ll also repay you with valuable lessons and knowledge. Moreover, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of happiness that comes from helping someone in need.

If this isn’t your bag, helping out at charity events or signing up for one yourself can be equally wonderful. Seriously, the confidence boost you’ll gain is massive. And it should prepare you nicely for the coming academic year.

 

True Beauty: Understanding What It Means

God tells us we are wonderfully and fearfully made, and to Him, you are beautiful and unique. He does not compare you to others, as you are the person He made you to be.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where we can feel judged. Despite what the Bible says, we can face pressure within ourselves, or from others, to conform to a false idea of beauty. In this article, we will try and get some perspective on the matter, and try to understand what true beauty means.


On the surface

When most people think of beauty, they think of face value. First impressions are made, wrongly, by the way somebody looks on the outside. The media doesn’t help. From magazine models to movie stars, we wonder why we don’t look like the people we see on the page and screen. There is also peer pressure at school to look and dress a certain way. If you are too fat or thin, or you are wearing the wrong fashions, you may struggle to fit in with the crowd.

For starters, don’t be fooled by the false image the media portrays. The pictures you see in magazines and on the internet have often been photoshopped, with any blemishes removed before publication. Movie stars are as insecure as anybody else, spending a fortune on making themselves look beautiful for the screen. You can look after your skin, with advice from a website such as Exfoliate.com, but you don’t need to compare yourself to others, as chances are, they will still look like you do first thing in the morning.

You don’t want to neglect your body, and we have offered advice at Relatemag.com. Health is important, so while you don’t need to feel ashamed about the way you look, there is still the need to be sensible and take care of yourself. Body shaming has become a trend, but there is no ‘perfect’ weight provided you are healthy and looking after yourself. There will always be bullies in life, but don’t subject yourself to their torment and criticism.


On the inside


The Bible tells us we are made in God’s image. We don’t know what God looks like, but the verse refers to the qualities of God, rather than physical appearance. You have probably noticed some of these qualities in other people, including love, kindness, and grace. It is this writer’s opinion that true beauty radiates from the inside. As you will know from movies such as “Mean Girls,’ people can be beautiful on the outside, but very ugly on the inside.

Focus on your inner beauty. Be somebody that cares for others. There will be people in your life who may not be physically attractive, at least to society’s standards, but you won’t notice this when their beauty radiates from the inside. Think of the people you love, and ask yourself why you do. It will be who they are on the inside, and the way they care for you.

So, what is true beauty? You decide, but above all, love yourself, for who you are, and be good to others.

Love: It Can’t Coexist with Hate

You only love Jesus as much as you love the person you like the least.  Or, how about this:  your love for Jesus equals the amount of love you have for the person you hate the most.

Harsh, right?

You’re shaking your head and saying, no way, I love Jesus way more than that.

I’ve thought the same.  In fact, I’ve been in denial for several years.  I’ve looked at other people (Christians, mind you) who were burning with anger and hatred and thought, “Wow, they must not love Jesus very much.” But all the while, I’ve not put much thought into what this meant in my own life.

The fact that the difficult equation has surfaced many times throughout the years tells me that it’s something I need to work on.

The fact that I felt compelled to write about it tells me I’m not the only one.

Think about this.  Jesus tells us to love one another.  People who aren’t Christians like to call us out on this one, too; they like to point out our hypocrisy.  And it’s rampant for a reason…loving someone you don’t like is really, really hard to do.

It’s so hard to do, in fact, that it’s easier to walk away from people we don’t like and stop dealing with them altogether rather than find some common ground or forgiveness or, gulp, here it is again, love.  We harden our hearts and dismiss people like they are broken or out of date cell phones that can be replaced by shiny, unfamiliar, newer versions.  I know because I’ve done it.  Repeatedly.

Until I decided that I’m done, I’m not walking away.  I’m going to deal with it.  By giving it to God.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but here is the thing…GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY.  I got so fed up with the fury churning at the inside that I’ve simply prayed, “God, please, fill up that space, that gap, where I am so shamefully lacking, and help me love this person.”  I had to mean it.  I had to empty myself of the anger by no longer giving it my attention, and I let God do what He does.  And here’s the thing…He did.

I have stood across from people I have absolutely nothing in common with other than the fact that we both have noses on our faces; our political, spiritual, moral codes, our likes and dislikes so polar opposite it’s difficult to see them as people, and I have loved them for reasons I cannot explain.  I have recognized them as souls that God made with a purpose, and I have felt nothing but compassion.  I have faced people who have hurt me deeply and personally, and I have prayed the same prayer, and all my hurt feelings have shriveled in God’s pool of forgiveness.

Loving others, the ones that are most difficult to love, the ones that are the most distant, have brought to me more peace than anything else I have experienced in my life.  I wish there was something that I could so eloquently say that would convince you this is true, but I don’t have those words.  I can only pray that you want it enough in your own life that you try it.

And, while this may be another article of its own, I think it’s important enough to add: this goes for yourself.  If the one person you can’t stand to be around, the one person you wish you could change or punish or perfect is the girl staring back at you in the mirror, you have to love her, too.  You can’t love Jesus and hate yourself.  

Anger and hate and contempt cannot coexist within a soul that claims to love Jesus.  They are too big of burdens to bear, and they will squeeze out all the goodness that Christ wants to bring out in our lives.  Fortunately, the opposite is true.  His light is brighter than the darkness of contempt, and He will quench it if we allow Him to.  The question is, which one will you choose?

 

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

How To Form A Social Life When You First Start College

Now that the summer is officially in swing, you’re probably planning a lot of fun activities to do (and then enjoying them). But if you’ve just finished high school, you may also be enjoying what feels like your last summer in your home town too. And that can feel bittersweet. On one hand, you’re sad to be leaving your home behind, but on the other hand, you’re excited to start college. If you’re getting your preparations underway as well this summer, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind. One of those things will definitely be how you’re going to make friends. So, if you’re moving away to college this fall and you want to figure out how to adjust, here are a few ideas on making friends and forming a social life.

Find Friends In Your Dorm

First of all, one of the best ways to make friends for life is to look within your dorm. When you first move in, it can feel intimidating, but if you want to build budding friendships, make sure you speak to everyone and get to know who you can. Making friends in your college dorm might seem scary, but remember that everyone is in the same position as you. Nobody knows anyone else either, so why not break the ice? You can often form lifelong friendships this way.

Make An Effort In Classes

Next up, you can also look for friendship opportunities in your classes. For starters, you’re taking some of the same classes, so that means that you have shared interests. Again, like you did in your dorm, just start a conversation. If there are people that you think seem like you or share your interests, then strike up a conversation and see where it goes.

Join A Team

Another option you have for finding new friends would be to join a bunch of different teams. If you’re interested in sports or other extracurricular activities, then sign yourself up. Being on a team is a great way to find friends. Not everyone will become your best buddy, but a lot of them might. The thing is to put yourself out there and try out as many things as you feel like if you want to form a social life in college.

Start To Date

If you’re single, another great way to ensure that your social life is buzzing is to make sure that you date. Again, dating can seem scary – especially if you’re putting yourself out there, but it can be another great way to meet people in a new place. Be sure to consider opportunities on campus or how to see who super liked you on tinder to find a potential mate. After a while, you may make a great guy friend or even find romance.

Go On Socials

Another way that you can make sure your social life is fun and varied is to make sure that you go on socials. To form a great social life, you have to take charge of it. So, when you first move in, make sure you go to all kinds of events and activities that are advertised in your dorm or talked about in classes. You could find that regular movie nights, or poetry readings are just what your life is missing.

Bad Teenage Decisions: Rectify & Recover

It’s not entirely your fault.

Truly, if you find yourself in the aftermath of a bad decision, it’s not entirely your fault.

The fact that teenagers have poor decision-making skills is often referenced in pop culture as a rite of passage. People dismiss their previous actions, rolling their eyes at their past behaviors as if unable to comprehend how they ever felt like that. “What was I thinking?” is the common refrain, and one you might be beginning to experience for yourself.

It’s still not entirely your fault, though.

The reason that young people are prone to making poor decisions is a simple matter of biology. Before the age of 21, your frontal lobe – the information processing part of your brain – isn’t properly developed. You’re not yet able to make decisions in the calm, rational way that those over the age of 21 are able to do. This isn’t an excuse to just continue to plow down a bad path, but it is a justifiable reason why you might have made bad thus far in life.

When you’ve made a poor decision, rather than cursing your prior self, it’s healthier to focus on God and repent. You may also choose to follow the two Rs: Rectify and Recover.

Rectify: Explained

Rectifying your choices might not always be possible. Some things are permanent; if you said something hurtful, for example, there’s no way of turning back time and being able to snatch the words back.

However, there’s usually something you can to do to heal the wounds. That might be in a very literal way; if you got a piercing that you now regret, you can remove it, and let the wound heal. If it’s a tattoo that’s been your downfall, then laser tattoo removal clinics can consign your regret to nothing but a distant memory. And while you might not be able to ever take back words said in anger, you can apologize for them.

For any mistake, there is something you can do to rectify the situation as best as you can. It might not be perfect; you might not be able to go back to exactly how things were before, but think hard and you’ll come up with something that can at least help.

Recover: Explained

Guilt is a strange emotion. If you’re living in the aftermath of less-than-stellar decision making, it’s also a useless emotion – but one you can feel very strongly.

Learning to forgive yourself for your mistakes is a vital component of ensuring you don’t do the same thing again in future. That’s not to say you should just give yourself a pass; that’s not the same thing as forgiveness. You have to acknowledge what happened and why, take steps to prevent it ever happening again, and then let go of the memory that you’re still struggling with.

If this is something you find you’re having difficulty with, then it helps to seek the advice of a therapist. There’s no reason to carry guilt around with you; all it’ll do is slow you down from progressing into your future. So take the steps you need to reconcile with God and yourself and then, finally, you can move on.