Tuesday, August 15, 2017

10 Healthy Habits to Form in College

It's that time of year again! In just a few days I will be heading back up to college for my senior year (woot woot!), and I know that many other students are getting ready to or have already started school for their new semesters. With the new semester opening up once again, it's time to start implementing some good habits.

Whether you are a brand new college freshman or a veteran senior who knows the ropes, these ten habits are some that you are not going to want to skip out on!


#1. Don't Neglect Devotions


Make sure that you stay in the Word of God and be devoted to studying it every day. You may or may not get spiritually fed the same way as you do when you are at your home church, especially if you are used to some good solid teaching and preaching, so be sure to spend your personal time with God. This is especially important to do if you attend a secular college or university. There will be a lot of ungodly influences, so take extra care to be sure you are well equipped with the Word so you can not only flee temptation to sin, but have the knowledge to be able to live in a way that is pleasing to God.

The best times to have personal devotions is in the morning and at the end of the day before you go to bed.

When you wake up, spend time in the Word of God and in prayer so that you will be prepared to face the day with whatever challenges may come. You will begin the day with the right heart-set and have some verses to hold onto throughout the day that you can apply to your everyday life. If you find some verses that particularly stand out to you in your devotions, write them on an index card and carry them around with you throughout the day so that you will be sure not to forget them. You will also find that God has an amazing way of meeting our specific needs with Scripture and most likely what you read in the morning will come back to you in some kind of event that same day, or maybe even a few days or more later.

Before you go to bed, spend time in the Word to review your day. Find out where you sinned against God or what He did to meet specific needs that day. Confess any wrongs and give thanks for what God has done for you. You will end the day as you began it, with the right heart attitude. Meditate on the Word as you fall asleep and get excited for the next morning's devotion time.

Spend time throughout the day reviewing your devotions in your heart and really set your heart and mind on things above. It takes a lot of work, but it is a habit that should be formed!



#2. Wake Up Early


The morning is the best time to get things done. Ever wonder why most classes are held in the morning rather than at night? Because you function better in the morning, at least I know I do.

It might take some changes of your personal lifestyle to get this habit formed (like, go to bed earlier). Waking up early allows you to have your personal time with God in devotions, gives you time to eat a good breakfast, and also can give you some time to get extra homework done! Besides, who likes rushed mornings? Wouldn't you rather just be able to take it nice and slow? Well, good news! You can, you just have to wake up earlier!

(Plus you can be sure that you won't miss that eight o'clock morning session.)



#3. Get Moving!


Exercise! Get your blood pumping and get those muscles working!

Being in college means a lot of sitting. Sitting in class, sitting at meals, sitting to get homework done, sitting to play games with friends, sitting to watch the basketball game... whatever you do you just sit a lot. If you don't have time (or motivation) to do a huge five hour workout, just do a few minutes of toning exercises once or twice a day. My personal routine literally takes less than ten minutes every morning, and it is enough to get me woken up for morning devotions and energized for the rest of the morning. Plus, your body just needs to be challenged. Find a routine that works for you and be sure to get your exercise!



#4. Drink Lots of Water


Water is a college student's best friend. Drink a lot of it.

Water is so essential for your body and mind to function properly. It can do so many great things for you, like help stop headaches, make you feel full so you don't have to snack all the time, make some of those leg cramps go away, give you energy during that afternoon slump, and even help you be able to focus better in class. It can also do things like make your hair look healthier, keep your skin more hydrated, and help you hit those high notes better in choir without straining your voice. Just research all the things that water can do for your body, it will blow you away.

It is really easy to start drinking more water. You only need a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day, and the average glass is about 16 ounces, so you need about four of those glasses a day. Always try to go a bit more, though, it's good for you!

There are a lot of options out there for different water bottles and water consumption trackers, so find something that you will enjoy carrying around with you to classes. In my experience, drinking water in class is about the best time to make sure you are getting hydrated. In between notes during a lecture, just take a few sips of water. It's not there just for when you are thirsty, go ahead and drink up. Most colleges have drinking fountains and bottle filling stations that you can stop by in between classes to fill up your water bottle again. They are there for you, please use them!



#5. Take Notes in Class


Seriously, you will remember those things on that exam much better than you would if you hadn't taken notes. Plus in a few years down the road will might want to remember whatever your teacher is lecturing about. They have your classes for a reason, you know. They aren't just trying to dump a bunch of worthless knowledge that you'll never use again on you, they are trying to prepare you for your future. Take notes!

If you are a systematically organized type of person, use bullet points to organize your notes. If you are a visual and creative type of person, use pictures and colors in your notes to give you a bit of a "memory hook" that you can easily tie facts to so you can remember them better later on. Or use a combination of a lot of things! Organize according to color pens or paper, use stickers and sticky notes, whatever works for you. Make it fun and get engaged in the lecture, you'll be thankful for it later on.



#6. Work Ahead


If your teacher gives you a syllabus, start working on the homework assignments. Especially if you have a bunch of reading that needs to be done by the end of the semester, get it done early. I always aim to get all my reading done within the first month of a new semester, it gives me that much more time to work hard on other projects like papers and exams. And with all that homework out of the way, you don't have to feel guilty about spending that time with friends or reading that pleasure book.

And you know what is even better? You'll have that much more time for devotions.



#7. Pray Often


College is challenging. You can't do it alone, you really do need to depend on God to help you. We are commanded to pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17) as well as to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2). Take your prayer life seriously. Set time aside specifically for prayer, it could be during your devotions if you wish. Find ways to pray without distractions during this time if possible. I have found that keeping a prayer journal helps me to keep my mind from wandering during my prayers as well as lets me go back and see how God has answered my prayers.

Pray in your heart throughout the day. Talk to God as you walk from class to class or stand in the cafeteria line. Talk to Him while you do homework or when you are exercising. He is always available at all times of the day and He does want to hear you talk to Him.



#8. Balance Time Wisely


Use to-do lists to help you keep on track for what needs done. Be able to have time for work, but also leave some time to socialize or have a little bit of relaxing fun. However, don't prioritize fun over work. You need to find a balance and believe me, it will help you have a positive college experience.



#9. Snack Healthy


If you must snack, eat something healthy. I know that junk food is cheaper and sometimes tastier, but it is not very good for your body or mind. Healthier foods will help you to not feel sick and can give you a bit more energy that you need to get through the day.



#10. Go To Bed!


I know that college students joke about this a lot and say that they practically run on coffee, but it doesn't have to be that way. You do need sleep, about eight hours every night. Do your best to get sufficient sleep every night. It is understandable that some nights you just have to stay up and finish your homework, but that doesn't have to be a continuous habit. Less sleep makes it so much easier for you to get sick and miss a lot of classes, which honestly is wasting a lot of your money. Make sure you get the most out of what you are paying to attend classes.

A well-rested body functions much better than a sleep-deprived body. When you keep yourself from getting sufficient rest, not only do you hurt your own body, but you also risk hurting your relationship with the people around you. When you don't get enough sleep, you are much more likely to be grumpy, stressed out, unhappy, and prone to complaining. You could easily snap at people or get very angry, fall into temptation and sin, and discourage the people around you. It effects everyone you come in contact with. Trust me, I've seen it for three years.

Just be sure to get the sleep you need. And if you can't, be extra careful to depend on God to give you the strength to trust Him, deal well with the people around you, and get your studies done at the same time.



I hope that you have found these ideas to be useful. I know how well they work for me personally and I highly encourage forming these habits for yourself. You will find that when you do these things, your college experience will be much more enjoyable and positive.

In Christ,
Megan

Monday, August 14, 2017

What is modesty really?

I've enjoyed doing this little series for Modesty Talk Monday and I hope that you have enjoyed it as well. I had another topic that I wanted to discuss today, but during my research on that topic I realized that we have missed something that is very important to our talks on modesty. We have never truly defined what modesty really is.

Is modesty just how you dress? Are there rules on what is modest and what is not? Should you cover certain things only and consider it modest? Is modesty wearing pants or skirts that come to or below your knee and wearing shirts that cover your cleavage?

I think it is obvious that we need to do a bit more study on what modesty really is.

The central passage for modesty that I like to use is in 1 Timothy 2:9-10. It says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."

Context is key for this passage. In a nutshell, Paul was writing to Timothy about how the church runs. So we find this passage in the middle of that, therefore we conclude that this is specifically referring to how women should dress in the church, since the context is talking about the church. This is a very basic hermeneutic principle.

Now that we've concluded that the context shows that this is dealing with women in the church, let's dig into the Greek a little bit.

The word that we translate as "modest" in English is actually "kosmio" in the Greek. This is the dative singular feminine form of the word "kosmios", which can be translated as "orderly" or "virtuous", according to the Analytical Lexicon of New Testament Greek by Maurice A. Robinson and Mark A House. According to Strong, this word can also be translated as "well arranged", "seemly", or "modest".

So, according to the definition of this word, modesty is not so much "covering up" as it is being well arranged and orderly. Think more along the lines of appropriate, or put together.

Now again, we are specifically talking about the church setting. Paul describes how a woman should dress for worship. She should be orderly, well arranged, seemly, or modest. That is what modesty really is.

So what does that look like in everyday life?

Well, women should dress in a well arranged and orderly fashion to church is the most basic application we can take from this. We are not to dress sloppy and frumpy, but at the same time we are not to be super flashy and extravagant in our dress. We are to be modest; well arranged, orderly, or appropriate for the occasion.

Then how should we dress outside of church? I believe that we should still be modest and appropriate for the occasion, be orderly and well arranged. Why? Because of our testimony. Dress in ways that you know would be glorifying to God. And if He explains how to do it for church, don't you think it would please Him if you did it outside of church too? Just a thought for you to chew on.

I do encourage you to do more study into this topic on your own, it is very interesting and I know personally that it has cleared up a lot of questions in my mind! Modesty isn't tying you into some restrictions in style or trying to make your life boring and miserable, it is a guideline for how God wants us to dress. Isn't that refreshing?

Thanks for your time, I hope that this has cleared up some questions in your mind. I'll talk to you again soon, but until then, have a great week!

In Christ,
Megan

Monday, August 7, 2017

Modest Wardrobe Essentials

Personal style differs according to each individuals tastes and interests, so sometimes the "essentials" for one person may not be the essentials for another. Because of this, I wanted to keep my essentials at a bare minimum. 



These five articles of clothing that I am about to share with you are things that I personally have found to be very necessary as well as beneficial to my outfits and taste in style. These things also don't have to fit a specific style but can be paired up with so many other articles of clothing to fit your own liking, which makes them all the better!


#1. PLAIN WHITE T-SHIRT



I have found this to be so essential to so many things I wear! I wear a lot of button-ups and tend to wear this shirt with them a lot. This can be worn under anything to provide a bit of extra coverage in case an article of clothing is too transparent, or it can even be worn as your main top when paired with some kind of tank-top underneath. It is convenient, and depending on the style, it can be very elegant and feminine.


#2. WHITE BUTTON-UP



I have two words to describe the importance of having one of these blouses in your wardrobe: church events. Just about every formal or choir event we have had in church with a themed dress code has included this top. It is not my favorite thing to wear, but I do keep it for those special events just so I don't have to rush out and buy a new one every year. 

It doesn't have to be worn alone as a white top if you don't want to. You can add all kinds of colorful undershirts with it to make it more fun to wear with your outfits if you want to include it into your everyday wear more often. Or you can wear it over a dress as a jacket, or even wear it with a bold skirt or colored pants to give it a little more personality. Find ways to fit it into your own personal style!


#3. BLACK MAXI SKIRT



I can wear this with literally any blouse in my wardrobe and it looks so nice! This is especially ideal to have for colder weather or again, church events. A lot of events with a themed dress code, when they don't say to wear a white top, is to wear black bottoms. A black maxi skirt is perfect for this and it looks very beautiful, not to mention is works well with most body types and can be customized to fit just about any style. Plus what is more modest than a loose fitting, floor-length maxi skirt? :)


#4. PENCIL SKIRT



This one is a bit more of a personal style choice. I never had a pencil skirt until recently and I wish that I had some earlier in my life. I do love them, but you need to be careful in choosing the right one! Some pencil skirts are too short and too tight, so be careful to try them out before you buy one. Don't be afraid to go a size or two bigger if you need to. These can be worn in so many different ways with so many different styles, and I personally would consider them to be an essential. A lot of people say that you need a black pencil skirt, but I get by just fine with a white one. The color is up to you!


#5. JEANS



Ah yes, the classic jeans. This one is up to the individual for sure, but personally I do consider them an essential for my wardrobe. I understand that some women are convicted to not wear pants at all, and I will not argue with your convictions. If you are one of those women, consider a jean skirt instead of jean pants. 

Denim is a great way to dress casual and have an article of clothing that you are not afraid to get down and dirty in. But be careful, because like the pencil skirt, oftentimes these can be too tight and revealing, so make sure that your pair fits well and modestly without hugging too close to your figure. These can be worn in any way, you can dress them up if you like or you can wear them as work clothes. These classics are so versatile it's ridiculous and you can find them just about anywhere.


So there you are, the five pieces of clothing in my wardrobe that I consider to be essentials. What kinds of clothing do you find to be essential to your wardrobe or what would you add to this list? Thanks for reading, I hope that you found it to be helpful!

In Christ,
Megan

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Closet Purge 2017

The time has come.

Every time I open my closet doors, I stand face to face with a dreaded choice.

What do I wear?

The choices are so many, how can I possibly choose?

Clothes cram together. There is no room for more.

Clean laundry sits in a basket, yet to be put away.

So many clothes, so little inspiration.



... I think it's time to do something about it.



Lately I've been enjoying our "Modesty Talk Monday" series here on this blog, and as I've been more conscious about choosing outfits that I can share in the future, I've noticed that I've been having a hard time picking what to wear. I had too many clothes and I spent several minutes too many standing in my closet staring at all my options and hoping something would jump out and inspire me.

I genuinely had a hard time picking out what to wear everyday because I had too many options. I found myself always giving up on trying to wear something nicer and reverting to the same two or three t-shirts. Then I decided it was time for a purge.

Now let me explains really quickly, 90% of my wardrobe is handed down to me by friends and family. I rarely buy new clothing, and so just about everything that I was purging was free in one way or another. Also, everything I purged I plan to donate to a thrift store so that other girls can enjoy what I never wore. Now that this disclaimer is over, let us continue on to the purge!



I had quite a fair amount of clothes. I was having a hard time fitting them all into my closet, and even worse, I hardly wore anything that I owned. When I was at school, I wore much more of them, but always changed into a t-shirt once classes were over because they were so uncomfortable.

To start the purge, I took everything out of my closet. I went through my whole wardrobe this way since I keep all of my clothes in my closet. I took all the clothes off hangers and out of my baskets and threw them in a big pile on the floor.


For many people who purge their wardrobes, this is where they experience the "shock factor". I did not experience shock since the magnitude of my clothing is not that great, as you can see. Instead, I experienced the "I don't want to hang all that back up, now I'm committed" factor. It was very effective!

Now, the key to the next step is to work very quickly. Pick up each item one at a time and ask "yes" or "no". Make two piles of the clothes, one for the "yes" and one for the "no". Don't over think it, otherwise you'll keep all of the clothes and get rid of almost nothing! Do this quickly and honestly, decided if you really ever would wear it again, if it didn't fit well, if you would actually ever fix those missing buttons, or whatever questions are appropriate. 

I ended up with about half of my wardrobe in the "no" pile. These clothes I honestly didn't like, would never use, or didn't fit well. *Quick note: Nothing in this pile is too gross or not nice enough to give away. They are nice clothes, and I want other girls to enjoy them to their full potential, which I know I never could with these items!


The other half was in my "yes" pile. I love these clothes, they are comfortable, they fit well, and I find myself wearing them often.


Next, I separated all of my "yes" clothes into separate piles to make putting them away a little easier. 


Then I got to put them all away!

Here is a cool trick that my Dad did to my closet. If your closet is pretty small and has deep sides, you can make a mini walk-in closet by installing these wire shelves in the sides. They hold up quite a lot of weight and hangers work very well with them, not to mention you can store things on top of the shelves as well as hang clothes from the bottom. Try it out, it works well!





I was actually doing laundry when I took these pictures, so not all of my clothes were in here, but most of them were. But I am so thrilled with my closet now and love to pick from my favorite clothes every day!

Before

After
Okay, before I close this post I want to mention one more thing. I don't know about anyone else who purges their wardrobe, but I experienced some separation anxiety from all those clothes I was ready to give away. I found that the best way to deal with this was to put everything from the "no" pile in a bag and leave it in my room for a few days. There is no rush to take them to the thrift store, and if I decide that something in there is worth keeping, I can get back in and take it out. But until then, I keep seeing this big black bag and I'm getting more and more sick of seeing it, so pretty soon it will all go away with no regrets.

But now I'm enjoying a much smaller wardrobe full of clothing that I am guaranteed to love. I hope that you've enjoyed this post, I'll talk to you again soon!

In Christ,
Megan