Party Down in Godliness!

Work is always there.  Eventually, I will have to talk about keeping a good attitude on the job and all that stuff that you know but don’t want to do.  But for NOW — we are still talking about fun! 

I went through a stage, and perhaps other girls have too, where I didn’t know what to do with my friends.  I saw them once a week at drama, but other than that I was at a loss!  I have given it some thinking since then, and I have come up with some great ideas for fun, some of which can be just girls, and others can be a mixed crowd. 

Spa Day:  I haven’t been to a real spa (yet!) but when my girlfriends came over in the summer I used to get out my Klutz natural spa book and we would make up face, hand and foot masks.  These are all-natural — like the banana and honey mask I did on my sister’s face (she looked… interesting).  There are also hair rinses and masks we would do outside.  One recommendation:  don’t rinse out an egg yolk hair mask with hot water.  I had scrambled eggs in my hair all day.

Shopping!:  One of my best friends (the one pictured in the last post) loves to shop, and so do I.  Often we go downtown and window-shop, or when the district has a Spring or Winter Open House, and the streets are closed off for shoppers, we go together and help pick out Christmas and birthday presents for each other’s families.  It helps knock items off the lists and is a great time together as well.

Movies:  I usually check the ratings before I head to the theater, simply because of one mistake I made with three girlfriends.  We all had recommendations for the movie “Mamma Mia” and were appalled with what we saw.  We thought it was PG, but I guess it was PG-13.  The theater didn’t show ratings on the board!  When there IS a good movie in theaters, my friends (guys and girls) usually get a group together and watch it.  We had a great turnout for the latest Indiana Jones movie — I think we had 15 homeschooled and graduated movie-goers!

Horseback Riding:  My family has horses, so for those who ride, we take on trail rides out into the country.  It’s a blast, and the more experienced the friend, the more fun it is.  There is so much wildlife and nature to see, and depending on the time of year, we can eat different wild fruits, berries and plants. 

Dancing:  Our local arts school offers dance lessons of all kinds, so for several months (before I started working late) my sisters and I, along with a group of guys and girls, would go Tuesday nights to ballroom dance lessons.  Afterward was an open dance that we stayed for.  Twice a month the local Big Band played at an old ballroom for special swing and ballroom dances.  I never made it to one of those, but my friends did.  This type of dancing is clean, elegant and beautiful — and SO much fun!  We had a blast learning the steps and hope to continue it when we can.

Skiing and Skating:  Depending on where you live, the snowy sports can be a great place to go with family and friends.  Of course, as my readers may know, don’t spend any quality time with the lift runners (see ‘A Little Flirt Don’t Hurt’)!  If you know how to ski or skate, or are at least willing to learn, these are some of the most memorable sports for wintertime. 

Go to a Game:  What sports do you and your siblings and/or friends share a liking for?  My fam is really into hockey — it’s a multi-generational sport with us.  I also like baseball.  And I will watch football, although I don’t understand it.  My cousins and sibs go to the hockey games that my dad and uncle play in, and I went to a baseball game this past summer with the church.  This is another great group event. 

Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting:  Now we’re getting more athletic, and slowly moving out of my area of expertise!  I do participate in these sports though, and this past summer we had such fun kayaking the Crooked River with friends.  Canoeing is my personal preference, although I did go rafting with the college group as well.  If you have water nearby (and Michigan does, I assure you!) there are plenty of great outlets available.

These are just some options for a great time that are still honoring to God and including family.  This is one of those ‘fluff’ posts you write when you can’t think of anything else :-).  I will be talking about making brothers and sisters best friends next time.

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Twiddling Your Thumbs?

This past summer, before I began working at the showroom, I worked as a waitress in a little diner a mile down the road.  I had to be there at 6:30 every morning to open, and then I stayed until 2 or 3 pm cleaning up.  The restaurant was very small — only eleven tables fit in the dining area — but I spent every day, all day, running back and forth and to and fro like a frantic hen.  People could be friendly, fussy, flirty or freaky — rude, rambunctious, Really Annoying… it didn’t matter what you felt, you were to wait on that person and serve them to the best of your ability. 

The title of ‘waitress’ implies that you are waiting on something.  Truthfully, a waitress ‘waits’ on the customer to order his food, ‘waits’ on the cook to produce it, and finally brings it out to be served.  Yet while she is waiting for these things to happen, she is alway moving.  She is not idle, she is not shiftless — she continues to work even while the food is not ready.

Waiting on love is the same.  As Sarah Mally said in her book Before You Meet Prince Charming,  waiting does not imply that you are sitting around waiting for something to happen.  You aren’t twiddling your thumbs and humming “Someday My Prince Will Come”.  On the contrary, this time of waiting is to help you become all the woman (or man) God wants you to be. 

The reason we wait is often lost in the occasional pain of the waiting.  Truth be told, you aren’t waiting to get married.  The goal is not to get married.  One of the problems that arises with the ‘wait not date’ mentality is that it produces girls who think that marriage is the end-all.  It becomes their life goal, their only calling, and any other services are either scorned or ignored.  This is not a right or true way of thinking.  Do you know I know?  Because I did it. 

Being a wife and mother is a wonderful thing, but there is a time for it.  Until that time, girls should not spend their days focusing on reaching that time.  This time, this day, this present, is where you live.  This is where you become effective.  You may be waiting, but keep moving.  Keep other goals!  Develop alternatives.  What if you never marry?  Then what?  What if you don’t marry till you’re thirty? What will you do with your time?  Make the most of the years God has given you.  While I do believe that singleness can be a trial, making the most of that trial grows you into a person worthy to marry another. 

Each day is given to you and me to glorify God and grow in our walk with Him.  While planning ahead and having dreams are fine in moderation, an over-focus on the future produces discontent.  As Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious about itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:33-34) 

This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Attention without Intention

 That title is a quote I found online that summed up pretty much everything I am trying to say.  It was the title of my presentation to the girls, and it is completely accurate.  Flirtation is giving and taking attention without any serious motivation behind it. 

“Yo!  Phylicia!  You are AWESOME!” It was my sixteenth summer, and I was working as a retail clerk in a greenhouse/gift store.  Being a greenhouse, the landscaping staff were also present — and Billy happened to be one of them.  “Why, exactly, am I ‘awesome’, Billy?” I asked absently, attempting to continue my work.  He considered a moment, and coming up with nothing, he shrugged and said, “You have an AWESOME purse.”  The theme of my summer were Billy’s attempts to gain my attention.  “Yo!  Phylicia!  Gimme a hug!”  “Yo!  Phylicia!  Check this out –” He would tote bags and boxes conventiently past the retail desk, groaning with the strain.  While some of this can be attributed to the typical male ego, most was due to Billy’s desire for momentary attention.  Would he have dated me?  Maybe.  But he never would have meant anything by it.  It was all in ‘fun’. 

What do you do when a guy starts flirting with you?  And what does it look like?  For many girls it can be hard to define what is flirting and what is friendly.  Some girls want to think a guy is flirting with them, when really he is just being polite and pleasant.  Others assume a flirtatious guy is ‘just friendly’ and go along with his overly-pleasant tactics. 

Guys who flirt generally are first, not Christians, and second, not close friends with you.  By close I mean family friends, or church aquaintances.  In my own experience, the men who flirted with me were almost always co-workers, customers, or employees at various stores I would stop in.  Want to know why?  Because these men have no relationship with you, aren’t looking for a relationship with you, and are only hoping for a momentary thrill.  The reason any decent guy friends you may have don’t flirt with you is because if they did, it would be taken as with serious intent.  They have a friendship with you — so if he says, “Wow, I like you hair!”  You’re thinking, “Whoa, where did that come from?  I thought we were just friends!”  Guys in the world flirt because they want female attention without the commitment of a relationship.

Guys flirt in many ways, and almost any situation can be manipulated to fit the bill they want.  Your responsibility is to determine your reaction to these situations.  The key is to keep yourself collected and pleasant.  There are three common reactions girls have when a guy flirts with them:  

1)  A girl will return the favor, flattering the guy or laughing at his attempt to gain her attention (he succeeded, as you can see).

2)  The girl will cower, unduly embarrassed by the attention, and her over-sensitivity will encourage him to tease her even more.   This girl needs to learn to collect her emotions and respond with pleasant coolness.  She has no need to be embarrassed by what the other person said, unless it is very crude (this will be addressed in later posts).

3)  The girl will respond haughtily.  This is a defense mechanism some girls form to quell their embarrassment or surprise, but it is often only effective in making the young man angry unnecessarily and sullying her own witness.

There is one response that can be taken with almost every flirtatious situation instigated by the guy.  What he wants is attention, so instead of giving it to him wholeheartedly, smile and walk away.  In some instances, this can’t be done, so what then?  I call it ‘maintaining the air of the absent’. Look like you are busy, in thought, or on your way to doing something.  Do NOT be unpleasant, but don’t be overly friendly. 

This post, as you can see, covers our responses to guy-instigated flirtation.  In my next posts I will be covering methods of female flirtation and the Great Question:  can I have guys as friends? 

God Bless!

Coming Home

It has been two months since I blogged here regularly, and I am going to attempt to begin again.  Before, my regular posts were a reflection of my time spent with God, my prayers, what I learned, and what I hoped others would learn with me. 

In the business of summer, something precious was lost… the priority of my job and other commitments kept me from what really mattered.  Getting up at 5:30 left me exhausted, and “too pressed for time” to read my Bible or pray.  At night I had classes, or practices, or events to go to… no time for the One who was watching me run frantically to and fro.  It saddens me now to see how I ignored Him.  It saddens me more to see the effect my ignorance has had on my character.

So often we think we can do things on our own, without God.  We are really good people… He’s just a spiritual steroid to boost our goodwill in times of dire need.  I guess that’s what I thought, perhaps unconsciously.  How quickly we can fall from where we were with our Lord!  I can’t say how much I regret losing the times I used to spend with Him every morning.  They were so precious, so wonderful — looking back,  I see I did not appreciate Him enough to make Him NUMBER ONE on my priority list. 

The Bible says that “God hates the proud, but gives grace to the humble”.  The thing is, we are not naturally humble — sometimes he has to help us get to that point.  Perhaps more often than not.  And this is what happened to me.  Through a variety of situations, people and circumstances, I have been brought to a point where I realize my pride was controlling me.  I am at a point where once again, I realize how much I need Jesus Christ.  This, my friends, is exactly  where He wants me.

The wonderful thing about our God is that once He has humbled us, He welcomes us back with open arms.  The whole point of His humbling is to bring us back to Him — like the father of the prodigal running to greet his son, He holds us and welcomes us home.  This time, He asks, Won’t you stay with Me?

And this time, I intend to.

Read a well written post on the same topic at Kaysie’s blog, Alabaster Box:

http://alabasterboxblog.com/2008/09/20/stay-with-me/