Archives for June 2009

Congratulations! (Giveaway Winner)

jft11The random winner of the book GIFTS is Sarah (sabeckstrom@)! You should have an e-mail from Pierce My Heart in your inbox. If not, please contact us within seven days to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this contest by leaving comments on our article. If you didn’t win this month, please try again in July, because we have another fun giveaway coming up.

Congratulations, Sarah! We hope this book will help you or someone you know in your Christian walk.

– Davonne Parks

Last chance to enter book giveaway

jft10Today is the last day to submit photos of tie-dye things you’ve made (t-shirts, pillows, etc.) for use in our Gifted Girls article next month. You can send pictures to Info @ PierceMyHeart . com (remove spaces).

This is also the last day to enter to win our June giveaway. The winner, who will be announced on June 30, will receive a book valued at $9.99.

If you have any questions, let us know, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

– Davonne Parks

Decorate It!

This month we’re featuring household decorations, and we hope you’ll receive some inspiration for a summer face-lift on your bedroom, or for preparing things for a dorm room.

Latch hook kit pillow made by Hannah Smith

Latch hook kit pillow made by Hannah Smith

Next Month

We’re going to feature tie-dye items next month, so if you’ve made anything (t-shirts, pillows, etc.) using a tie-dye pattern, please send us a photo by Friday, June 29, 2009, to be used in next month’s article.

By Davonne Parks

Influential friends in new places

friends1Meeting new friends feels great! However, there are times when a new acquaintance is not meant to become a new friend. Sometimes, you may meet someone who is a negative influence and who pulls you away from your relationship with God. It’s important to befriend people who will strengthen our walk with God. This doesn’t mean that we should avoid these negative influences. We can reflect God’s love to them. And even if our friends are not negative in our walk with God, there are times in life when they may be struggling–and we can be there to help encourage them!

Different types of influences:

Ungodly influences can impact your life in the worst way. Some people think it’s really cool to party and be sexually active outside of marriage. Let me ask you a question: When putting yourself in that environment, do you think it’ll get you through life in a godly way? Many people begin drinking, and acting in other ungodly behaviors, when they allow others to influence their decisions. Third John 1:11 directly says, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”

Godly influences can also have a huge impact on your life. Importantly, they can cheer you on when you are strong in your walk and encourage you when you are struggling. In 3 John 1:5-6: “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.” Godly friends will encourage you to fellowship with other Christians. They will try to help you by reminding you of the godly path when you are wandering. Having good friends can also make you a good friend as well. If a friend is sinning, we need to pray for him or her and ask for God’s wisdom and guidance about confronting him or her about that sin. Keep in mind: it is not our duty to convict people of their sins–that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. We should also not confront others in front of other people. This should be done in private.

Techniques to find a good friend:

friends2When you want to find a good friend, first you need to be a good friend. When moving to a new place, or starting a new school, it’s important to meet new people who share a common interest. Remember, the most important commonality should be your relationship with God (2 Corinthians 6:14). There are many ways you can meet new people, even if you are shy. Find a common interest, strike up a casual conversation, invite them to join you in something you both have to do anyway, like studying for a test or running an errand.

Who you choose as a friend can greatly impact your life. Our friends have a great influence on us; therefore, we should choose our friends wisely. Although most of us will be friendly with many people, there is often just a handful of people who will be among our closest and dearest friends. Let’s make sure these friends are helping us to grow in Christlikeness.

With Christian love,
Michelle Jane Weinrich

Style in the Workplace: The Office

ss6We recently discussed casual work attire, and some general tips to keep in mind. Now we’re going to cover office wear.

The Office

If you’re searching for or already have a job which requires a more “professional” look, there are several basic pieces you should include in your wardrobe. Remember to be conscious of modesty issues with whatever you buy for the workplace. Although some work places don’t have rules about modesty, choose to dress with care, and choose to stand out for having good morals. Let’s get started!

Dark suit––The suit doesn’t need to be black, but if you are working in a more “professional” environment, you will probably be required to have a suit, at least for certain occasions, such as meetings with clients. Dark solids, such as black, navy, or gray, will give you the most versatility and should last for years since they are classics. Although a simple pinstripe is fine, I would not recommend getting any suit that is too trendy or has too many distractions (such as hardware, large buttons, bold patterns, etc.). The pants should not be skin tight, and they should have a straight or slightly boot cut leg. Although flare legs or ultra-wide leg may be “in,” they are styles that may not be as versatile or stand the test of ever-changing trends.

Pants––If you’re buying dress pants for your job, you should have several basic pairs. Black, dark brown, and light khaki are great colors that go with most tops. You can go with solid, a small, light pattern, or pinstripe. Although straight leg and boot cut are the most basic, you could try these pants, on sale, in a wide-leg style, which is very popular right now. Again, don’t go too tight––or too low! No one should be able to see your underwear (or anything else) when you lean forward or squat down. These pants don’t need to be incredibly expensive, but buying the cheapest possible will probably result in them wearing out faster. Kohl’s and Target have some relatively inexpensive styles and brands (many of which are designer names and quality sold at “un-designer” prices).

apt. 9® Maxwell Straight-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Maxwell Straight-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Striped Wide-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Striped Wide-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

Skirts––If you live in a hot, humid climate, you may want something a little cooler for the office. Skirts are very popular right now––and there are so many modest styles! For a more business look, you can opt for the pencil-style skirt, which is straighter. There are also a ton of A-line skirts available right now. Whichever skirts you choose, make sure they are modest and appropriate. Your skirt should reach your knees and should not ride up when you sit down; this should be quite easy to manage since many styles now are below-the-knee. As with the pants, make sure your skirts are not too tight.

Dresses––The same rules apply for dresses as do skirts. Not too short, not too tight. But also, the top should not be too low or revealing. A very cute, popular style right now is the shirtdress. Again, solids will be most versatile, as will simple, small prints. Save bolder prints for evenings out or the weekend.

Shirts/Blouses––Number one rule here: not too tight––keep it modest! If a shirt is low-cut or short, make sure it looks professional with a nice camisole underneath before purchasing. And although this applies to non-work clothing, I still include it here––it is very unprofessional to wear revealing tops (no matter how often we see the lawyers and accountants on TV wearing them). If you wear button-down shirts, make sure that they are buttoned high enough not to reveal cleavage, and make sure the buttons don’t pucker when you move around. When in doubt, wear a tank top underneath!

apt. 9® Ruffle Dobby Blouse––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Ruffle Dobby Blouse––Kohl’s

Shoes––Your most useful pair of shoes for work will most likely be black heels. This does not mean 4-inch platforms or spiky stilettos. Depending on your style and comfort, I would go with a heel not more than two or three inches. Pointy toes may be comfortable to you, but if you need to purchase new shoes, I would recommend something more classic, such as a slightly rounded or square toe. Make sure the shoes have a back, or at least a strap––there’s nothing more awkward than slipping out of your shoes on the way to a meeting or while running errands. As for other shoes, check your employer’s dress code for guidelines. Some may not mind open toes (no flip-flops!), and you may notice other women in the company donning their favorite patterned dress shoes.

Keep in Mind

As with the rest of your wardrobe, the most important thing when choosing clothes for work is to make sure they are modest. “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…” (1 Timothy 2:9). You are representing God and His church, and your appearance should reflect that.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Style in the Workplace: Casual Settings

ss61 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”

Summer is approaching, and whether you’re graduating high school or college, getting a new summer job, or staying at a job you already have, you’ll need clothes for work. However, even your basic khakis don’t have to be bland, and your classy black suit doesn’t have to cost hundreds. You can look stylish and presentable, even on a budget. With any job, research and ask about the company dress code. While some jobs may only require the same look each day (and possibly provide you with the uniform), others will simply have guidelines (dress pants, closed-toed shoes, button-down shirt) or may require you to wear clothing purchased (usually at an employee discount) from their store. You may also be able to purchase that store’s clothing (if required) at consignment shops, or on eBay, or by shopping the store’s clearance rack.

In this time of economic difficulty, you may not be able to find the “perfect” job you’ve always wanted. While it’s great to find a job you can enjoy, it’s important to remember that you should work as for God and not men, being diligent and having integrity, regardless of how “insignificant” your job may seem, or whether it allows you to wear the clothes you want to wear (Proverbs 10:9a). Not only is this attitude pleasing to God but it will also be noticed by others in the workplace.

Casual work wear

Many companies you work for may have a very casual dress code. However, this does not mean wearing your t-shirt and jeans to work every day.

Pants––Khakis are a great staple for the casual workplace. Depending on the “uniform” guidelines, I would have several pairs (unless there is a certain color you are to wear). A darker camel or brown color also works well. For extra versatility, keep the style as simple as possible––no big pockets, embellishments, or ultra-flared legs.

Merona® Pocket Chino––Target

Merona® Pocket Chino––Target

Shirts––Again, same rules apply as with the office workplace. Keep it modest! There is generally more flexibility here when shopping for casual work shirts, however. Make sure you check with your employer’s dress code as to whether you need a specific color (red, pastel) or style (polo).

Jeans––The trouser jean has been a great addition to a girl’s wardrobe. In a dark color, these jeans can create a very put-together look, while keeping a sense of casualness. They should have a trouser fit––not too tight, but not loose and baggy––and should be a dark denim color. They should also not be too long, or else they start to look sloppy. As the name suggests, they are trousers made out of denim material––the fit should reflect that.

Chaps Trouser Jeans––Kohl’s

Chaps Trouser Jeans––Kohl’s

Shoes––Unless you’re working a very casual job (read: babysitting), flip-flops are not going to cut it for work. However, there are many styles that will. A wedge heel is great if you want some height, or the currently popular (and often inexpensive!) flats are a perfect option––especially if you’re on your feet all day.

Stay Tuned

Later, we’ll discuss office attire, including tips and stores about purchasing different pieces, so check back!

By Lisa Grimenstein

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

jft7aTwo roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Our preacher was giving a short lesson before Bible class on a recent Wednesday night. I’d been thinking about my upcoming test to receive my driver’s license. Would the test be hard? What if I failed? What if tomorrow never comes?…Well, what if? I should have been patient and let God handle it all, but once again, I was getting in my own way. I shoved my license concerns out of my mind and listened to Hoby speak. One of the verses he mentioned was Proverbs 16:17: “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.” Now you know the word “highway” had to catch my attention. Coincidence that Hoby used that verse, allowed me think about it, and apply it to my life right now? Um, doubt it. That’s God working right there.

Thursday afternoon came. Three o’clock license appointment. Passed! So that was it? I had my license; it was over. Now, I’m free (with a few restrictions) to go to town and eat with my friends, to pick one up for a youth activity, to see a movie, to just ride. . . . But I got so worked up in the time leading up to it. Why? Because it was something I couldn’t get yet, something that others had, that I wanted so badly! What does that sound like?

jft7bYou know, Satan makes sin look enticing. He tells us, “Everyone else is doing it, you don’t want to miss out! Hurry!” We want to be a part of it so badly, until …we are. We do what everyone else does. We watch those movies that we know we shouldn’t watch. We say those words. We listen to those songs. We put things into our bodies that could destroy us mentally, physically, and spiritually. What happens after we’re doing it? That’s it. There’s nothing left to long for, to want so badly. We’re just stuck in a rut, alone, wanting a way out, to find something bigger and better to live for. Depressing, huh?

Earlier you read, “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil…” When Satan tempts you, depart; take God’s highway! He provides us a way of escape every time we are tempted (1 Cor. 10:13). When you start to lust after earthly things, run to God. Study His Word. Guard yourself with His teachings. Talk to Him in prayer; He knows when you are weak! By doing these things, it might also be easier to teach those who have not been saved. We have to (but we also need to want to) deny ourselves and our earthly lusts, seek Him first, and set our minds above (Colossians 3:2). Without Him, nothing else we do matters!

So, here I am. New license, a Christian girl. I can either drive through life’s highway, looking for temporary stops and pleasures on earth, and end up ruining my life, losing it all forever … or, I can depart from evil, seek Him, deny myself, focus on my end and eternal destination, and allow Him to preserve my soul forever. Now think back if you can; what did the speaker of that poem do? He took the road less traveled by. What are Christians to do? Enter by the narrow gate, although there are few who go in by it (Matthew 7:13-14). I believe I will choose the narrow road. There, I know I am never alone. I know I always have a Friend who keeps me going, lifts me up, strengthens me, never lets me forget where I’m headed, and loves me. The road each of us chooses can make all the difference. . . .

. . . I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

By Hannah Smith

Instantly Changed: The Boy

extra8This true story was submitted to us anonymously, and will appear in several parts throughout the summer, in our Heart to Heart column.

Think about the choices you make now because one night of sinful indiscretion can change the course you will take and may alter your life forever.

I didn’t give myself a chance for my life to start, or to really know what I wanted in a career or in life, before it was altered after getting pregnant by my boyfriend when I was in high school. We ended up getting married––a marriage that should never have taken place, but one that lasted over twenty years and ended in divorce.

I loved children and homemaking, so I had additional children and stayed at home to raise them, which I never regretted doing. In fact, I don’t regret my life and I like who I am, even with the battle scars of life that I carry. I have overcome trials and have become a much stronger, godlier woman.

I was young, shy, naïve, and very innocent until I met this boy, “Frank,” in my early years of high school. Even as a young girl, I was very knowledgeable about the Bible and I was raised in a Christian family. I was by every definition a “good girl.” When I met Frank, he was very charming, but not at all the type of boy I was used to. My dad was always a very gentle and calm man. Frank was just the opposite. He was loud, he cussed, was dominating and very forceful.

Why the connection was made, I’ll never know. I think that I had a low self-esteem for some reason. He was so dominant that he overpowered me. Quite honestly, I let it happen because I didn’t know how to stand up to him. I didn’t like the way he always yelled at people and got into physical fights, lied, and flirted with other girls, and he was really stuck on himself. He didn’t act the way the Christian boys did at church, but somehow I was drawn in.

He asked me to “go with him.” I wasn’t even allowed to date until I was 16, and at that time I was only 14 years old. I was just so happy that a boy was paying attention to me, so I said yes. It wasn’t long before all the kissing and petting started. Later on, we had sex on a fairly regular basis.

There were many times that I didn’t want to do those things––I was a “good girl” after all. Frank was persistent, testing my “love” if I didn’t participate. After a while I wanted sex just as much as he did. That’s the problem with sin. At first you feel so guilty, but each time you give in to sin, it gets easier and easier. I mistook sex for love. I figured that since we were having sex, then that meant he loved me.

extra7I still battled within myself about having premarital sex. I knew God wouldn’t be proud of me, but somehow Frank would make me feel it was okay because we would be married someday––his idea, not mine. Deep within me, I never felt that we would be married; he just wasn’t the type of boy I liked. He would misquote scripture and twist it to justify having sex with me. I went along with it, and even tried to convince myself that he was right, even while I knew deep down that he was wrong.

During this time, Frank came to my church on his own. A few months later, he was baptized. The boys from church would invite him to their homes, and afterward, Frank would tell me that those Christian boys were just like all other boys and that they were disgusting. It was Frank’s way of manipulating my mind against all Christian boys, because at one time I had told Frank that I wasn’t ever going to marry him, but that I would be marrying a Christian boy someday. In his mind, he had to turn me against them. Frank told me that he was the only person that I could trust. He really knew how to work me, that’s for sure, so I believed anything and everything he told me.

Since I was disillusioned about the boys from church, I let myself believe that Frank and I would be married someday. Then I felt justified in having sex with him. I would hear rumors about Frank having sex with other girls or of him kissing them. Some of the girls would act “all knowing” when they were around him. I sensed that there were secrets between them. When I would confront Frank about the rumors, he would say, “Oh people are just jealous of us and they are trying to break us up”! I always felt guilty for doubting him.

My parents didn’t think he was a boy I should be hanging out with, so they forbade me to date him. Over the course of three years in high school, we snuck around to see each other. I know my parents did what they thought was best for me, and even though it doesn’t excuse my behavior, I wish they would have let me date him, because then I wouldn’t have tried to prove to them what a “great” guy he was. I think I could have been honest with myself about him. Instead, I was continually trying to make him look good, and as a consequence, I didn’t deal with reality. Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t blame my parents. They just did what they felt was the right thing to do. I just wasn’t assertive enough to end my relationship with Frank for good.

Check back next month to read part two.

– Anonymous

If I perish, I perish

jft2Are you familiar with this line from Scripture? It was said by Queen Esther (Esther 4:16) when she determined to approach her husband, the king, to plead for the deliverance of the Jews––even though she knew that to approach the king without being summoned meant almost certain death. Ultimately, she chose to be obedient to God, regardless of the possible result.

How often do we disobey God, giving the excuse that the result would be more than we could handle? Or that He wouldn’t mind our disobedience because He wouldn’t really want us to face the possible outcome? But disobedience is disobedience. God doesn’t take pleasure in our suffering, but He tells us that we will suffer. 1 Peter 3:17: “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

We may not be called upon to suffer the extreme consequence of death in obedience to the Lord, but there are many other “sufferings” we attempt to avoid, which results in our disobedience. Let’s have the obedient attitude of Esther, knowing that to please and obey God is more important than trying to avoid discomfort in this world.

If I lose a friend, I lose a friend.
If they laugh at me, they laugh at me.
If my heart gets broken, my heart gets broken.
If they call me intolerant, they call me intolerant.
If people hate me, people hate me.

If I suffer in obedience to Him, I am blessed.

1 Peter 3:14: “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”

By Lisa Grimenstein

Happy Father’s Day!

jftSeveral of the Pierce My Heart staff members wrote short tributes to our fathers last year, which can be read here.

If you need a last minute idea of something special to do for Father’s Day, read this article.

Our fathers, and father figures, work so hard to take care of us and protect us.   This Father’s Day, let’s show them the appreciation they deserve by doing something kind for them and taking the time to tell them how much they mean to us.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ”

– Davonne Parks