Monday, October 31, 2011

Why We Should Pray

Everybody has said a prayer, at least, once in their life. We say a prayer in our time of need. We say a prayer when we are in a church service. We say a prayer around the dinner table, but do we really know why we should pray?

God commands us that we pray to Him. Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” Colossians 4:2 also tells us that we should continue in prayer. Prayer is our way of communicating with God. Without communication, we would have no relationship with God. Can someone say, “Oh yeah, I know Katie really well. No, I’ve never talked to her before, but she’s my best friend”? No! You cannot have a relationship with someone and not talk to them. That is why God commands that we are to continue in prayer.

We are told to be examples of Christ, and Christ prayed! Hebrews 5:7 says, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” Jesus prayed before He fed the four thousand. (Mark 8:6) Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, before His Crucifixion. (Matthew 26:42) If Jesus prayed to His Father, then we are to pray to our Father too.

Prayer has the power to do many things! Prayer can defeat the Devil. (1 Peter 4:7). Prayer can bring back a person who has been backsliding (James 5:16). You can glorify God through prayer! Revelation 8:3-4 says, “… and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden alter which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came up with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” That verse says that our prayers are incense, which is something sweet smelling. One day, our prayers will be a sweet smelling savor to our Savior!

Prayer has the power to give you what you need and to reveal the will of God (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9-10). (Prayer has the power to keep someone from sinning. Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  We have this power of prayer because of the Holy Spirit who lives in us! Prayer is of God, and without God, we are nothing.

Prayer is not just something you do every now and then. Prayer is an important part of your relationship with God! The next time you pray to God, make sure you thank God for His awesome gift of prayer.

Did you know that Haylie LOVES sea turtles?!

Did you know that Paige likes taking flowers and pressing them into library books so that, when someone checks out that book, they get a lovely surprize?!

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Paige Cunningham.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Forgiveness~ Heather Young

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

Let’s face it. It’s hard to forgive someone. It’s even harder to forgive someone when what they have done to you seems beyond paying back. In my last article I addressed James 5:16, where it says “Confess your sins to one another.” In this article, I will focus on the other half of the process—forgiving others who have confessed a sin (or multiple sins) to you.
One example that you are probably familiar with is Joseph, in the book of Genesis. Even though his brothers threw him in a pit, sold him into slavery, and lied to their father about him being dead, Joseph still found it in his heart to forgive them. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph states, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” He had great faith in God through every situation he faced. When he first arrived in Egypt, things seemed totally hopeless. Soon, though, everything turned out to be part of God’s perfect plan for his life. Instead of the Egyptian people dying of starvation, God revealed to Joseph that his dream-interpreting was not useless at all. A whole kingdom was saved because Joseph trusted in God and was willing to follow His lead.
So many people I know take forgiveness for granted. When I or someone else apologizes to them, they shrug it off as nothing and don’t seem to truly forgive the person in their heart. The Bible implies that forgiving someone is even more important than worship! “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26) Wow! Forgiving others must be very crucial! In addition, Matthew 6:14-15 has similar standards: “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Holding a grudge is not fun—neither for us nor for God. He loves His children, which is exactly why He wants us to forgive each other. After we forgive one another, He forgives us individually, leaving us white as snow.
You may be wondering, “What about the cross?” “Didn’t Jesus die for our sins once and for all?” “Aren’t we already forgiven?” The answer is yes—and no. Jesus died for our sins once and for all, and after we accept Him into our life, He becomes the propitiation for our sins. This means that He restores our relationship with God. Instead of looking at us through our dirty, sinful rags, God looks at us through the perfect blood of Jesus Christ, who has made us alive in Him. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” (Colossians 2:13) We must be accountable for the wrong things we do. We are forgiven through Jesus’s blood, but we must ask for forgiveness when we get a spot (sin) on the perfect robe He has given us.

We were saved from the penalty of sin. (Justification)
We are being saved from the power of sin. (Sanctification)
We will be saved from the presence of sin. (Glorification)

Did you know that Heather is fascinated by the moon?!?!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello

This is the third book in a series by Sibella Giorello. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, even though I have not read the first two.

Raleigh Harmon sets out on a cruise with her mother, aunt and one of her aunt's "psychic" friends. She hopes to get in some much needing rest and recuperation from her tiring job as a FBI special agent, and spend some quality time with family. But a strange case arises while Raleigh is on the ship and she is drawn in, not completely against her will. With so many twists and turns to the story and new clues being discovered every moment, Raleigh sets aside her plans for chilling by the pool and gets caught up in the exciting world of crime solving.

To add some conflict, Raleigh's enemy, Jack Stephanson, a fellow special agent she once worked with, is assigned to board the cruise ship to assist her. Even though she has a fiancé waiting for her when she gets back, Raleigh finds herself wondering why Jack seems to know her better than herself when her fiancé can't seem to understand her.

Raleigh is also a geologist and the geology explained in the book will be fascinating to rock lovers and easy to understand for those just reading the book for fun.
I loved the mixture of suspense, romance, and emotion the author blended in the book. A good story always needs conflict. The author made sure of that by bringing in an enemy, also by some head-butting all throughout the story.
I would recommend this story, but references to drugs, alcohol, pornography, and other things may make it inappropriate for the younger generation.

Did you know that Michelle style is a mix of vintage, romantic, bohemian, whimsical and professional?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Horrors~ Lea Sadler

"Trunk or treat!" Little children from my church smile up at me while I sit in the back of my mother's van. I smile to reveal the artificial, rotted teeth and distribute their treats as they all giggle and leave for the next car in the small parking lot. My attention is diverted to a tiny girl in striped stockings, a pointed hat, and a broomstick planted in her left hand. Something inside me breaks.

Halloween is a very popular time of the year, especially among young children and teenagers. What seems like an innocent night of harmless fun, might actually have some deeper meanings that people are unaware of.

The celebration of October 31st started many years ago when people believed this was the day that the dead returned to the earth. They also believed that dressing with fangs, or scales, or as powerful, intimidating, beings could make the spirits fear them in order to keep them away. First, the dead do not return to earth. God does not allow that. Luke 16:19-29 says, “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ "

Have you ever participated in games such as "Bloody Mary," fiddled with Ouija boards, or seen a "psychic" who claims to have powers but doesn't know where from? These are all very dangerous. Though they may seem like innocent, childish fun, they begin to lead you away from God and stir up Satan's minions. You may not realize it, but when you participate in such things, Satan grabs onto a foothold. Messing with dark things are horrifyingly dangerous. Leviticus 19:26 and 31 say, "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying...Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." Also Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 says, "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spirits, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you."

Now that you know a little bit more about Halloween and what God says about some of it's traditions, choose wisely how you will be spending your time on October 31st. Will you be taking your little sister dressed up as a pony to houses giving out candy? Or will you be sitting in an abandoned house reading cards, studying astrology, and calling up the dead? For me, the decision is easy: Christmas movies with my best friend :)

Did you know that Lea fractured her skull, her tailbone, sprained her back, ankle, finger, shattered her big toe and almost broke a cheek bone?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Word From the Wise (The Wise Being God)

Dear Nadia,
How can I know what God's will for my life is? I've been praying for Him to show me what I should do, but I don't feel like I've gotten a clear answer yet. I have to make this decision soon. Is there a hint I'm not listening to?
Dear Torn,

God has an amazing plan for you. In Jeremiah 29, He says that He has plans "to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future," and later on in the chapter He promises that you can always find Him (and His will) when you seek Him with all your heart. God loves incredibly! And although He longs for our lives to be free from all pain and full joy and love, we're human and we sometimes make bad choices that take us off of His path. So God is willing to pursue us each and every day to bring us back so that no matter what we do, we can still find His love and glory and still be able to do what glorifies Him!
According to John 6:40 and Ephesians 1:5-12, God's will is simply the fact that He wants us as His own - redeemed and loving Him! As you make your decisions, bring God into every aspect of it. Pray for guidance and peace, then think about your options. Talk about it with a parent, older sister in Christ - whether a young woman you look up to, your pastor's wife, or a lady from church - or make a list of the pros and cons of each decision. Take into consideration what will bless the Lord the most and make Him shine more brilliantly in the world!

 Hopefully as you reflect on your options, God will help to make it clear. This might look like: sudden peace about one choice that you were unsure about before, God closing all the doors except for one, God moving so clearly to point at one option. Or it might not be clear at all! But whatever you choose, be peaceful! No matter what you do God will find a way to work through it and you will find a way to glorify Him. I pray right now that the Lord will totally anoint you with His peace. 'Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with [you]!'
 (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

All of us LAT staffers will be praying for you as you discern God's will for your life! God bless you girl!

Did you know that Nadia has 'freckled eyes'?!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fashion Writers Wanted!!

Hello Fashionistas!!

LAT is looking for ONE new fashion/beauty writer! Our dearest Madeline Hunt had to spot writing for us and is already missed by me and the staff.

We are looking for someone who can write...

~ Inner Beauty Articles ( click here for an example)
~ Clothing Articles ( click here for an example)
~ Beauty Articles/Reviews ( click here and here for examples)
~ Store Reviews ( click here for an example)

You will be writing 2 articles each month. The first month, you will write inner beauty and beauty articles, the second month you will be writing clothing article and a store review. It repeats over and over again, unless told otherwise.

If you think you might be interested, please email me at and label your email FASHION WRITER.

Thank you!

Haylie Gregory

Monday, October 24, 2011

Let's Do Something Daring!~ Hogan Stevens

But not too daring, okay? Just a wee bit daring.
The title says it all.
If you're like me, you've grown a bit bored of the usual daily schedule: school, work, homework, sleep, repeat. Doesn't sound too fun when put that way, does it? Well, how about we change that boring schedule up a bit??

Do something classic...

like playing a board game with your friends! I don't know about you, but I never really played games when I was younger. I'm the youngest in my family, and none of my siblings ever really wanted to play Scrabble or cards, but now that I have some friends I'm learning to enjoy board games and card games.
One of my favorite card games is called Spoons. We play this a lot, and most of the time it gets pretty intense (in a good way). There's a reason the game isn't called Knives, by the way. Here's a link to instructions on how to play, since I'm not that great at explaining it:
Apart from card games, we also like to occasionally try out some board games. Scrabble is pretty fun...especially if you're like us and try to make up words for more points. And just the other day, we played a board game version of Wheel of Fortune, which was pretty fun, too. If you play that, make sure you have one guy pretend to be Vanna White while you all guess the letters. Well, you don't have to have a Vanna, but it just makes it funny. No? Just me?

Do something new...
like take a walk downtown to explore the different shops and parks with some friends. Go window shopping! Go to a clothing store and dress up in the funniest outfits you can find! Make sure to bring your camera so you can get proof of how crazy--I mean, of how much fun you're having.
Yes, my friends and I also do this. Quite often, actually. There was this one time we picked out the most ridiculous outfits we could find for each other to try on, and then we spent nearly an hour posing and laughing for the camera and making faces in the mirrors of the dressing room.
Do something daring...
like going to a fair or amusement park. There are a lot of state fairs going on right about now, and they're usually a great way to spend you're weekend.
This year, I didn't get to go to the state fair, but I did go to an amusement park with 7 of my friends, and we had a blast. We rode all the scary rides (I screamed on all of them, everyone else laughed), took pictures with a huge tiger statue...and rode the Carosel like the mature near-adults we are. Okay, so maybe I should just confess that we're all crazy. There, I said it. But it makes it all that much more fun.
Whatever you choose to do, if you're hanging with your friends I'm sure you'll have a blast. Because that's what really makes it fun: The people you're closest to. So, get out there and have fun, girls! Just make sure not to get too daring, alright? Personally, I draw the line at riding three roller coasters in one day that go upside down.
Did you know that today is Hogan's birthday?!?! Wish her a happy birthday!!!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Insidious" and "The Ward"

Since October is here I think its time for some scary movies. Personally, scary movies are my favorite type of movies, but it is so hard to find good, clean, scary movies. So, if your like me and want to watch a clean scary movie here is a good one.
 The Ward is set in 1966 North Bend Oregon, with runaway Kristen (Amber Heard). When Kristen sets fire to a farmhouse and runs away the police start a search when the police find her they put her in North Bend Psychiatric Hospital where Kristen meets Dr. Gerald Stringer (Jarred Harris) and other inmates. Soon, Kristen starts to see the ghost of a girl, then this ghost starts abducting and murdering the other inmates one by one. Kristen trying to find answers looks through Dr. Springers folders and finds out the truth about this ghost, Alice Hudson (Mika Boorem). This movie is very scary and has a good plot. The movie is rated R for violence images. There is no sex or nudity in this movie and extremely little profanity. Overall this is a good scary movie because it is clean AND scary. I give The Ward a 4/5!
Insidious starts with a family who just moved into a house. They appear to be happy and healthy, until all of that changes. When the families older son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a coma, things start happening in the house. It appears the house is haunted and after Dalton. The family decides to move again, but the haunting come with them. The mother, Renai Lambert, (Rose Byrne) decides to try everything and hires a lady who specializes in the paranormal. We find out that the house is not haunted, but Dalton is and that he is not in a coma, but lost in another dimension called The Further. The father, Josh Lambert, (Patrick Wilson) must follow his son into The Further in order to save him from the evil beings on the other side. I will not go into the ending for chances of ruining the movie for you, I guess your just going to have to watch it to find out for yourself ;)
There are two sides to Insidious. The good side and the bad side, the good side is that is movie was definitely scary. If all your looking for is some good scares, then this is definitely your movie. The bad side however, is that the plot was not good. It was extremely fictional (and yes i know that is what scary movies are about) to a point of stupidity. I, a person that LOVES scary movies, did not like this one. I laughed my way through the plot, but I admit, the scares were really good. I was on the edge of my seat in terror whenever a suspense scare was coming up. The profanity in this movie is better than some but still not great. There are 2 F-bombs (one is written down and briefly seen on paper), there are about a dozen other cuss words that are either written down or said. There is no sex or nudity only light kissing throughout the movie. I rate this move a 2/5.
Go get scared.... BOO!

Did you know that Kari ALWAYS sings along with the radio?!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Your Advice

Hello Readers!

The staff of LAT would like to know what YOU would like to see in the next upcoming issues! Are there any types of music you would like us to review? Genres of movies? Books? Topics? Beauty items? Anything!


Please leave us a comment with your suggestions!

With Love,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Think I'll Be Brave, Starting With You...

When first planning to write this article a couple months ago I had planned an entirely different focus for it than what you’re about to read. Call it providence or just plain irony, I had chosen to hold off on writing it until after a trip I was going on because I thought afterwards I’d have a better idea about my subject. I had no idea just how much my outlook was going to change during and after that trip. I got a clearer plan for my subject –but it has turned out to be entirely different than what I expected.

Originally, I had planned to mainly focus on several different unique ways of dressing to artfully hide embarrassing scars from cutting. Why? Well at the time I had just admitted to my parents that I’d struggled with cutting. It was then I learned that, even when surrounded by people who knew the truth, I couldn’t stand to have my scars in plain view. Even just allowing some of my lesser ones to be seen was a challenge knowing the past few years were written on my arms.

The last several months I’ve literally tried everything to remove those scars from my body. I’ve easily spent between $100 and $200 on scar gels and creams in attempts to heal them and yet more on make-up to cover them. I even attempted using bleach on my skin –as I’m sure you can imagine, that is extremely painful- it felt like I was running a hundred tiny sharp knives over my skin. It didn’t do any good. After about 6 months, I came to the realization that no matter what I did, my scars were not going anywhere. I settled for allowing my less-noticeable ones to be seen and always wearing ¾ length sleeves to hide the ones I couldn’t stand for anyone to ever see. Naturally, this turned my mind to different ways of hiding my shame and regret from the world. That, had been my plan -to tell you all how to hide your shame.

Like I said though, the trip I took drastically changed my view on this –or at least, it was theturning point in the changing of my view. If two months ago you’d told me what I would be choosing to write I would be laughing uncontrollably at the ridiculousness of it. I honestly can only barely believe it even as I’m writing this.

So what exactly am I going to tell you? Well, now that I’ve written almost entire page on what I’m not going to write, I guess it’s about time I tell you, huh? I decided I was going to be brave, face life honestly, and suggest you try doing so as well.

Our past –no matter what it may be- is always going to be there. That’s a fact we all know, even though some of us try to pretend we can make it go away, we all know we can’t. If we’re going to embrace our futures we need to acknowledge our pasts. Our pasts are where we come from–they’re the intros to our current lives. Sure, we might skip over the intro of a story, but it’s there for a reason: To explain how we got to our current place in the story. Yesterday I thought about an age-old question: If I could go back and change anything in my life, what would it be? I realized at that moment that despite all the horrible mistakes I’ve made, there’s not a single thing I’d change because it took all of those things to make me who I am today. The dark areas of my life are definitely not my finest moments or what I’d choose to highlight, but they’re apart of who I am and why I’m what I am today.

I know I can’t keep my scars hidden for the rest of my life. What if I finally get to go toAustralia like I want to? Am I going to wear long sleeves and not go into the water? Yeah, I don’t think so. Eventually, someone is going to see those scars no matter how hard I try to hide them. Unless I never allow anyone to become close to me (which would make for an extremely lonely existence, fyi), I have an impossible mission ahead of me if I’m determined to hide them forever. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be better to tell them upfront at a good time than to have them learn the truth by accident at an inopportune time?

Am I worried about how people react when they see the truth? Extremely! It’s not like there’s much doubt as to what they could be from. Such numerous long, surgically-straight scars could only come from one thing. I’ve already had to face the pain of customers at my workplace looking pointedly at my arms and not taking their eyes off them the whole time I waited on them. Others have seen them and looked on in disgust for the rest of the transaction. I’ve been working there for about two months now and I’m just now reaching the point where I really don’t care or think about it -most of the time. Already I’ve had to wonder if a guy had backed off from getting to know me better after seeing the scars on my arms. And I’ll admit, that last one is an extremely difficult one to have to face, but in the end, I’d rather know upfront how he felt rather than have grown close only to have him reject me later on.

It’s not all sad stories though. I’ve started being more open about my struggles with some of the new friends I’m making at college, and although I’m not going into details, I’m becoming much more comfortable with the whole thing. I can say, yes, this is something I’ve struggled with, and then move on with the conversation. By doing so, it’s helped me to see that I’m not going to lose all my friends if they know the truth, and in turn, has helped me to finally start coming to terms with my past.

No matter what you’re trying to hide in your past, know that you can still find love and acceptance despite it. I was thoroughly convinced that because of what I’d done to myself, no guy would ever want me. The idea that any guy could look with love on someone like me was impossible for me to believe. God changed that one night while I was attending an on-campus ministry known as His House. For the first time since I became a Christian at six, I walked over to total strangers to pray. The only person on the prayer team who was available was a guy. I almost turned around and left, but God gave me the courage to tell him how, though I’d been free from cutting for about 7 months, I still really struggled with the urge to use cutting as a release. What he said while praying for me took my breath away. This guy not only mentioned how he knew of others who attended His House who were struggling with this same issue, but that his own girlfriend had struggled with it and even though he didn’t understand it completely, he understood the desire of having what cutting offered. I hadn’t even known that story was exactly why God had urged me over to pray until after I’d gone back to friends to rejoin the singing. Without either of us knowing it, God had used that guy to show me that even someone who had been a self-injurer could find love and acceptance from another person. To me, that meant more than anything anyone could say about that issue. It was an example honestly put forth without knowing how important to me it would be. God had planned it beautifully, and I’ll admit to having shed a few tears in the darkened room while singing some of those worship songs.

 I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to be open and honest –there will likely be people you will never tell the truth to –and that’s fine. What I’m most concerned with is that whatever is haunting you from your past –be it drugs, alcohol, cutting, eating disorders, teen pregnancy, whatever- that you acknowledge that yes, it’s there in your past, and then move forward in your life being honest with those you should about your struggles. There will likely be plenty of pain and I’m sure you’ll have your share of people who react with disgust –especially if the truth is obvious in some way. Your own parents, like mine, may choose to ignore the truth when presented with it. But I’m also here to tell you that you’ll meet your own prayer team guys who tell you just the right story at the right time, you’ll have friends who will stand even closer by your side after learning the truth, and people who will wrap you in their arms and promise to never let you go. And even if the whole world seems to hate or look down at you at times, know that God really is standing right there and could care less about what you’ve done because He still loves you more than you can ever imagine. He’s just waiting for you to say hi and have a good heart-to-heart about it all. So be brave, face the past and then look towards the future as you use what you’ve learned in your dark times to make it through the rest of your life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Winner of Paperdoll Book!

Hello Everyone!

I'm happy to announce that the winner of Paperdoll by Natalie Lloyd is.. JENNOELLE!!!
Jennoelle, please email us at with your address! We will send you your copy of Paperdoll as soon as possible ;)

Thank you to everyone who entered in our giveaway! Be looking for our next giveaway in December!

Haylie Gregory~ Editor

Fall Fashion 2011~ Renee Arnold

Tis the season when our shorts and tank tops get tucked away and we start thinking about jeans and boots. You may be wondering,  "What is in style and what the best ways are to wear them so they are modest and remain stylish?" Here are the top 10 fall fashion trends and the lowdown on how to wear them!
1. Polka dots is a playful pattern, usually forgotten about because we think it looks too childish. Spotted fashion can be seen on runways everywhere, this season. It can be worn on pretty much anything! Since this trend is not clothing item specific, there are no real guidelines to what is modest.
2. This is one modest trend that I have seen all over my high school so far, maxi skirts. These long, flowy skirts come in a variety of colors and patterns and are all a very modest length. It's nice to see such feminine fashion coming back in style! I would just be careful that your skirt isn't sheer. Stand in front of natural light and look in the mirror to make sure you can't make out the shape of your thighs, through the skirt. Obviously, the first two ladies in the picture could have picked a more modest top, but their skirts are all very beautiful!
3. Another trend, still going strong from last school, year is lace. There are lace accents on a lot of shirts and the bottom of skirts to give them a classy look. This trend is modest, as long as you don't count on the lace alone to cover skin. In other words, wear a tank top under sheer lace tops and make sure the cloth part of your skirt comes to about fingertip length, before the lace starts. Lace simply doesn't cover what basic fabric does.
4. Jewelry isn't something I usually cover in fashion articles, but I didn't want to leave choker necklaces unmentioned. Chokers are a great accessory to go along with your homecoming dress this year, because they are very elegant and draw attention back up to your face.
5. Plaid is still going strong! Plaid is a great, casual pattern that looks amazing on tops, scarves, shoes and even headbands! It comes in all colors and sizes, so there's always something different in stores that is unique and can be worn new ways.
6. Oriental fashion has been all over the runways this season. Categorized by flowing kimono dresses, blossoms, and fluttering orchids, there are many beautiful ways to wear this trend. Again, it's hard to give modesty specifics because it's such a broad trend. Remember to pray about your standards and ask mature Christians for their input as well!
7. Pleats can be soft or edgy, depending on how you wear it! Pleats are generally thought to be unflattering because they draw attention to your midsection, but if you find one that fits just right, they can actually be extremely flattering on any body type. Generally, pleated skirts are made short. A good way to make sure your skirt is long enough, is to put your arms down at your sides and see if it reached the bottom of your fingertips. Also, bend down in front of a mirror and make sure you won't be flashing anyone when you bend over!
8. While skinny jeans are still going strong and holding their own in the fashion scene, 70's inspired looks, like bell-bottom jeans, are making a comeback. These super-flared denim numbers are very comfortable, versatile, and available in many washes and styles. Some bell-bottom jeans are distressed, so make sure you inspect them to make sure there aren't any open holes in places you don't feel comfortable exposing.
9. Ankle boots are another footwear trend continuing it's long reign as a top fall, footwear must-have. If you like fur or leather, ankle boots will look adorable with a variety of outfits. Wear a fur boot tucked into skinny jeans with a comfy sweater for a casual, going to school look or, wear leather boots with dress pants and a colorful blouse for a dressier statement. The black boots below are available at one of my favorite stores, Maurices for $49!
Madden Girl® Virtual Buckle Wedge -
10. Last, but not least, and certainly the brightest fashion trend this season, is neon colored pants. This is a bold trend to try if you're looking for fresh ways to break out of the boring, denim cycle and try something new and exciting.
I hope this article has been beneficial in your quest for a modest, fashion forward fall wardrobe! Remember to pray about your standards with God and ask a mature Christian parent, friend, brother or sister for advice if you're unsure. Have a great fall season!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Me, God and Worship~ Rachel Melillo

When most of us think of Christian worship, we think of modern-day worship songs such as “How Great is Our God” and “Lead Me to the Cross”. We think of a team of musicians standing at the front of a church leading us in singing a couple songs. But what's the point? What is worship?

I once heard a quote from the editor of Worship Leader magazine saying, “What worship is defies definition.” It's something that we instinctively know, but can't exactly define with mere words. Recently in a college class, I was asked to answer two questions: one, what is worship?; and two, what is Christian worship?

Now we weren't given the questions at the same time, so when answering the first one, I actually answered the second one. One person in particular had an interesting thought in regard to Christian worship. He said, “Christian worship is not basing the success on how we feel, but on what God received.”

How many times do we do that? How much do we come out of a powerful worship moment and say something like, “Wow, I felt God.” or “I really feel like people were worshiping.” And maybe that's because we have a skewed vision of what worship is. We just had a chapel service where we based our worship music around an African culture. Afterwards, we heard many statements saying things such as “That wasn't worship to me.” Well, maybe it's time for us to stop focusing worship ourselves, and start focusing on worshiping God.

Did you know that Rachel likes crayons better than markers, and markers better than colored pencils?
Did you know that Paige loves Funions?!
Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Paige Cunningham.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fit to Serve~ Water and a Ab Workout!

Water. Many of us knows that it's good for us, but how many people really act on that knowledge?
Did you know:

~75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
~In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.
~Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3% which can make a HUGE difference if you're trying to keep a weight or lose it.
~One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters (studied in a University of Washington study).
~Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
~Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
~A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
~Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%., and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Are you drinking the amount of water you should drink every day?
Studies show that you should be drinking half your bodies weight in water in ounces everyday to be fully hydrated, and our full bodies weight in ounces when we are sick to heal faster. Most people will drink up to one glass of water or less a day, filling their thirst on such things as soda, coffee and tea, which dehydrates you even more than you were to begin with, not to mention soda and such also pulls needed vitamins out of your system. You’ve probably heard those narrators on the National Geographic specials say things like "Water gives life" or "Without water there could be no life." They’re overly dramatic sounding, but they’re right. Water makes up 70% of our bodies; so how do we become dehydrated? It doesn’t take much, It can happen to an athlete who’s competing, to someone who’s in bed with the flu, has diarrhea, in the very hot weather, or even to someone who just doesn’t drink enough (if any at all) water.
So what happens to us when we are even just a little or even horribly dehydrated?

~Your brain won’t work properly – you’ll be groggy, slow, and feel out of it, tired all the time.
~You’ll lose muscle tone
~Your kidneys won’t be able to function; toxins and wastes will back up in your body, making you feel generally crummy or get sick easier.
~You’ll have trouble regulating your body temperature; you make feel overheated, or you may feel chronically cold and unable to get warm.
~You’ll get constipated and bloated often (And not just on your time of the month)
~Fats stored in your body won’t get used up or metabolized (Won't be able to lose weight)
~You’ll think you’re hungry all the time, and so you’ll be likely to eat more. Also known as the munchies!
~Your skin will get dry, itchy, saggy, and acne can get worse or even appear.
A clear sign of dehydration is in the color of your urine. Did you know that urine is not supposed to be a dark yellow or even yellow? If you are properly hydrated, your urine should be clear or maybe with just a slight tint in it.
Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning before eating is especially good for cleansing the liver. Lemons are also a good source of citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. It helps prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria and the decomposition of tissue, It assists in “cleansing the system of impurities” and will help prevent disease. It is effective at dissolving uric acid (often the cause of pain and inflammation in joints) and other poisons in the body. Helps fix oxygen and calcium levels in the liver, which ultimately affects blood oxygen levels. It can help reduce symptoms of malaria, rheumatism, gout, rickets and tuberculosis (Which I hope none of you have!). One of the most important benefits of drinking lemon water regularly is its effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Lemon water assists in the process of digestion and elimination. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. Lemon assists in lowering high blood pressure, relieves symptoms of asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems, Nourishes brain and nerve cells due to its potassium content, Helps dissolves gallstones, calcium deposits, kidney stones, and pancreatic stones, and in pregnancy, it will help build strong bones in the child. Lemon water will also help to eliminate waste through the bowels more efficiently, thus preventing or alleviating constipation, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders.

Amazing what just a little bit of lemon and a lot of water can do for the body, right?! It's no surprise God gave us many clear signs that is all He wanted us to drink. Adam and Eve weren't handed sodas at the end of the day, nor were they handed fresh squeezed orange juice. Water is mentioned in the Bible hundreds of times. That's what they relied on. That was their source of life. It's no wonder why today that we have so much sickness and pain in the world. No one's drinking enough of the thing that over half their bodies are made of!

Try it!
Use a freshly cut lemon and squeeze a little benifits you just read!

I can't stress enough the importance of drinking water, it's not that hard grab a glass and go!
Quick! Your body's counting on you...

More on the importance of water:

More on lemon water:

All about water:
Did you know that Haley ONLY drinks water?! I guess that's not a shocker to you now!

Now unto the abs with Lea...

Fat, flab, pudge, love-handles, muffin-tops... whatever you call it, we can all agree on one thing: We don't like it. It seems like the abdominal area is where most girls struggle with being comfortable. We look in the mirror and see a little bit of a roll there and automatically compare ourselves to the actors on TV or the models in the magazines and suddenly decide to change outfits to try and disguise our stomachs a little bit. Well first I want to say, you are BEAUTIFUL!! But I also want to say, it's ok when there's something about you that you want to change as long as you want to change it for the right reason; like being healthier. Truth is, there is no secret machine or food that will liquidate the pudge-lining. The simple fact is, you just need to eat right, drink plenty of water, and exercise. You might say, "But I do like a billion crunches every day and still have some flab hanging around!" Know what? You probably have a six-pack actually hiding under the love-handles. But you can't just do crunches for nice abs, you need to burn the fat with cardio, strengthen the muscles with strength exercises, and like I said before, eat right (read Haley Oscar's article for eating right).
Whatever kind of cardio you do, as long as it's got your heart pumpin, you are burning fat. But wait! I've had some people say, "I do some cardio on Monday, some strength on Tuesday, and focus on my abs on Wednesday and nothing's changing." That's because exercise requires variety, endurance, and change.
You need to include all the different areas of exercise each time you work out!! Just focusing on one type each day doesn't work. That just gets ur heart racing and ready to go and then saying, "Hey! Why are we stopping?"
The longer and harder you work-out (without working out too long or too hard for your body to handle) the more fit you'll become. I have a friend who works out two hours each day, and another friend who goes for a half hour each day. They both look good, but my friend who works out longer is more toned, conditioned, and firm. It's like running and then reaching a hill. You're working on your cardio, and then strength to get up the hill. You can't just say, "Ok, this hill is in the way so I'm done." You need to keep going.
You cannot do the exact same workout everyday. Your body gets bored of it, too used to it, and that actually sets you up for injury because the exact same body parts are being overworked.
What I Reccommend:
Along with your cardio exercises, you could try some of my personal favorite ab exercises:
Bicycle Crunches: Lay on your back, put your hands behind your ears, lift your legs and "pedal" slowly as you also use your muscles to lift the top of your back off the ground. DO NOT pull on your neck. Your hands should not be jerking your neck up, they are there for support, not to do the work for you.
Trunk Rotations with Boxing: With your legs far apart, bend your legs and punch from side to side. Keep your hips in place, don't let them turn with you.
These two are my favorites but for more exercises, I suggest or

Did you know that Lea secretly dreams of wowing the judges on The Voice?!?!

Friday, October 14, 2011

For Those Who Wait~ Fireflight

Fireflight is the true definition of Christian rock band. Hard beats, loud, strong voice, prominent electric guitar, but with solid wholesome lyrics that truly inspire the listener to “rock out.” Lead singer, Dawn Michele, makes hard rock actually sound beautiful, which in my eyes, gains her great respect. “This album is filled with even more personal stories of our own, our families’, friends’, and our fans’,” relates Dawn, who, along with Justin Cox (guitarist/support vocalist), writes the band’s lyrics. “It’s our lives, our hearts, and our pain just poured out. We worked to take the things that we struggled through and faced to leave a trail of bread crumbs, in hopes that other people would be able to see what we went through and find hopein that.” *

A Florida based band, Fireflight has been nominated for the Grammy’s along with Artist of the Year with several major single hits, and their songs have been used on NBC and ABC
This third hit of Fireflight was preceded by two equally popluar albums, Healing of Harms and Unbreakable.

I wouldn’t really call myself a fan of Christian rock, or rock in general for that matter. But I found my self truly enjoying reviewing the album. I would tell you not to be turned off by the “rock” title but try them out and your might, like me, find out a new favorite band for yourself
1. For Those Who Wait (Single)
The title track of this album is about those who have gone who unspeakable tragedy are actually the ones who God’s has strengthened the most and who have the strongest character.
2. Desperate (Single)
This song is about how even when you feel that you’re at the end of your rope and there’s nothing left, that’s when you discover the True Hope.
3. Fire in My Eyes
Dawn, lead singer, literally cries out to Jesus to come in be the fire in her eyes, all that she’s living for.
4. Core of My Addiction
A song about Jesus being the center of our lives, the drive of our hearts and ultimately the “core of our addiction.
5. What I’ve Overcome (Single)
The singer sings about now being defined by what she done, or failed to do, but what she’s overcome.
Before we know Jesus we are defined by our sins. But when we’re made new in Him we are only seen for what He is in us.

6. Name
A lot slower, this song depicts the story of different patients in a hotel room, and while it might seem like no one else can imagine what those people are going through, Jesus can. “He sees you, He’s near you, He knows your face, He knows your pain, He knows your Name.”
7. New Perspective
While reaching out to others and giving of yourself to the poorer, you obtain a new perspective of others and who you truly are.
8. You Give Me That Feeling
The lead singer sings about how Jesus (You) gives her that feeling of wanting to come undone before Him and all His glory.
9. All I Need To Be (Single)
A song about how Jesus has made us all we need to be, and with His help we can continue to become more like Him.
10. Recovery Begins
In this song the singers vocal are more prominent as she encourages that small voice inside to speak.
*taken from Band’s website

Did you know that Michelle loves playing anykind of sport?!