Little Thoughts: Acknowledging Modesty

Thank you for not dressing to reveal yourself to the world.

My boyfriend said this to me yesterday.  We were at a local amusement park for the day, and in front of us in line, was a young-ish girl (maybe 16 or 17) wearing a shirt that revealed her entire bra.  I was actually rather taken back by how many women and girls were scantily dressed.  I saw more bras, cleavage, butt cheeks, and body parts yesterday, than I did my entire high school career.

I was wearing a college t-shirt, jean capris, and sneakers.  And even when we were in the water park, my body was covered. While we were in line, with this girl and her boyfriend (who couldn’t keep his hands off her, I might add) in front of us, my boyfriend pulled me close, and whispered that in my ear.

I grinned like a freaking fool.

See, here’s the thing; I dress modestly.  I know I have the choice to dress however I want, but I know that what makes me attractive and appealing, isn’t how much skin I reveal. I know my body is attractive to men, simply because I am a woman.  I know men are visual creatures, and I know I want to respect men and not put them in awkward or uncomfortable positions.  There have been times when I’ve worn a shirt not thinking anything of it, and my brothers or other guys I trust, have told me that the shirt was making them uncomfortable.  And guess what? I have incredible respect and appreciation for men that do that, because it makes me aware of the consequences of the clothing I choose to wear.

My boyfriend tells me all the time not only how beautiful how I am, but how smart he thinks I am.  He compliments my writing, and engages in my philosophical ideas.  He encourages my adventurous spirit and he challenges my relationship with God.  He doesn’t make me feel like I need to reveal myself to him, to be worthy of his attention.  And, the cool thing is, he acknowledges my modesty.  He acknowledges how I dress, and by doing so, he’s showing me how much he cares about me.  He knows I could dress however I wanted, but it makes my heart happy to know he appreciates my modesty.

My question to you is this: when did we stop caring about modesty? When did we stop caring about how the other sex reacts to exposed skin?  When did we stop respecting each other, and acknowledging that how we dress and what we choose to expose, has an effect on our primal instincts?  And, when did we stop imparting the importance of modesty on the younger generations?

Personally, I think modesty is hand in hand with respect.  I dress modestly, because I respect and acknowledge the undeniable fact that men are visual beings.  I dress modestly because I respect myself, and I don’t need body parts hanging out to feel good about myself, or to think I am attractive.

Also, and this could easily become another post, but to put it plainly – ladies, if you don’t want to be lusted after, put some clothes on.  Naked girls tend to end up in Playboy.  And, really, guys?  Girls are visual too, so if you don’t want to be lusted after, put some clothes on.  Naked guys tend to end up in Cosmopolitan. 

But I guess, to tie this all up, modesty goes a long way.  You don’t need to show off your body to be attractive.  Guys (and girls) do appreciate modesty.  And there’s something really cool, when people you deeply care about, acknowledge your modesty.

Ciao for now,

Julia

Little thoughts: Pray in Public

*Recently, I’ve found that I have a lot of topics for posts, but very little material to expand on them.  So I figured, at least for now, I would create a little series where I just put these “little thoughts” out into the world., rough cut and short.*

Pray in public.

Pray when you go out to dinner.  Pray when you’re eating a picnic.  Pray when you’re with friends.  Pray when you’re with your family.  Pray when you’re on a date.

Praying in public is a very vulnerable expression of faith.  I know, as Christians, we need to be bold about our faith.  But I’m more comfortable with wearing a shirt from Walk in love. and posting verses and praise songs on my social media, than I am with praying in public.

It’s vulnerable because you are allowing yourself to immediately be judged and criticized.  In an active form of faith, you are putting your guard down and opening the door for attacks.

But.  Pray in public.

Do it.

Still your hands, bow your head, close your eyes, and verbally pray to God.  Show the world who you are thanking and praising.

Let me tell you: It’s a way cool thing to pray with my boyfriend when we’re out to eat.  It’s something I’m not used to, and it’s strengthening my relationship with God.

Be bold, and pray in public.

Pray out loud.

Don’t make a show of it, and don’t demand attention.

But pray.

Pray in public, because you don’t know who may need to see, or hear, it.

Last night, some of my friends and I went to a local Friendly’s for dinner.  When our food came, we prayed together.  As we ate, we goofed off and had fun.  And a good bit of time into our meal, one of the surrounding tables got up, and one of the patrons walked over to us.  It was an older woman, and she told us that she saw us praying.  She said it made her really happy to see the younger generation still praying and being connected to God.  She concluded by saying we had blessed her heart, and made her night.

That made us all really happy, and shocked.  Something as simple as praying, and praying in public, had such an impact on a complete stranger.

I will say it again; pray in public.

Don’t let the fear of being judged keep you from praising and thanking God.  He deserves more than that.

Pray.

 

 

Let’s Talk About Health …..

My senior year of high school, one of my teachers showed the class Food, IncI was fascinated by the story and at the same time, I was intrigued by the obscurity and the bureaucracy in the food industry.  It amazed me how many secrets were being kept from the general public about their food.

Then, a few months ago, I watched Super Size MeThat particular documentary, I believe, should be shown in school health classes; it’s that powerful.  It showcases the horribly detrimental effects of fast food and poor diet on the body.

Tonight, on a rare Saturday off work, I watched What the HealthThis show, released this year, focuses on the correlation between meat and diary, and the increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  This show, like the others, tried to present the audience with an idea of how shady big, governmentally endorsed food companies are.  It also began to stress the power of a plant-based diet.

Now.  I generally take documentaries like this with a grain of salt.  I know that such documentaries generally have some type of agenda, or maybe even a political aim.  But I always like that these shows make me think.  I think it’s really important to think about what I’m eating, particularly if it has the potential to have a very negative effect on my long term health.  And I think shows that expose some type of ugly truth about the food industry, even in a small way, should be viewed.

As someone interested in conducting research, I had a few issues with this show.  The narrator used Google a lot, and relied on the studies that fit his confirmation bias.  I never quite got the sense that he had a good understanding of the study he was quoting.  And at times, he used only one study to make a ridiculous claim.  At one point, the president of the American Diabetes Association called him out on the studies he was using, questioning whether they had been truly peer reviewed.  Like I said, however, I like this show because it made me think about food, and the impact it has on my health.

I’m going to be real here. Being healthy is my goal.  I strive to be the healthiest I can be.  Naturally, my diet tends to lean more vegetarian.  It’s not a conscious choice, just what my body naturally tends to enjoy the most.  I’m not lactose intolerant, but my body doesn’t really like diary products.  (I’ve been having issues with my stomach for some time.  It’s rather complicated, but I know for sure diary causes issues.). When I’m buying food, I tend to gravitate towards food that I know have a significantly decreased chance of hurting my stomach, and these foods tend to be organic, gluten-free, and diary free products.  I really enjoying detoxing my body, and re-starting it’s natural ability to function well.  My mom and I are getting ready to do a second round of the Whole 30 diet, because we really liked how we felt during the first round.

I could never ever go completely vegan or vegetarian.  Don’t get me wrong; I have a lot of issues with the food industry.  But, honestly, I like Five Guys and homemade ice cream too much.  However, I feel I could comfortably go four or five days out of seven vegetarian.  I feel powerful and strong when my body feels healthy.  And for me, with my genetics and biology, healthy is when I’m eating less meat, less diary, less carb and less sugar.  Plus, even prior to watching this documentary, I had decided I was going to be as self-sufficient as possible when I have my own place.  I plan on having a garden full of my own, home-grown, fruits and veggies and herbs.  I plan on making my own bread on a regular basis, and eating healthy as much as possible.

If it’s true the food we eat has an impact on our genetics, then I want to do all I can to decrease the certain diseases and illnesses in my genetics.  There is a chance for heart issues, and five women in my family have battled cancer.  They have survived, but the risk is still present.  And if I’m already having issues with my stomach, I don’t want to make it worse by making poor food choices.  It’s important to me that I take care of myself, both for my present and my past.

This documentary does bring up some interesting point, and things I would like to further investigate.  Is there truly a connection between meat and diary, and cancer/diabetes/heart issues?  Why are major food companies so secretive?  Why is the health of our food, and the impact it has on our bodies, not a bigger concern? 

Ciao for now,

Julia

Get to know me: 25 “facts” about me

Hello there! It seems like its been quite some time since I’ve sat down and truly wrote out a post.  I’m in a bit of an inspirational rut at the moment, and there’s also a post or two I’m way behind on posting. (The series of books I’m reading each month, anyone?)

But I figured, as a way to re-inspire myself to write, why not *properly* introduce myself?  I think this could be fun, and I’d love to know your responses and reactions to some of these things! I’d love to know a few “facts” about you, too.

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1. I will be a junior in college in the fall, and I am currently working on my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.  I plan on getting my Master’s at some point in the future, with a focus on providing therapy for kids with special needs.  And ultimately, I hope to use that to complete a Doctorate degree.

2. My family has two cats, and well, I’m well on my way to being a crazy cat lady.  I kinda really like cats …..

3.  I play the flute and piccolo, and have for many years.  But it’s on my Bucket list to play the violin, or rather, to make it weep.  I absolutely love the sound of a weeping violin.

4.  I do not handle needles or similar things well at all.  Yesterday, I had to get a TB test, and came really close to passing out.  I had to lay on the floor with my feet above my head.  The same thing happens when I have to get blood drawn ….. so that’s fun.

5.  I am a Christian, and more specifically, Brethren in Christ.  I was born in the church, raised in the church, and Imma die in the church.  However, as you can probably tell, I’m totally not against talking to people of other religions and beliefs; in fact, I think it’s rather important.  I was even at a Jewish synagogue last fall for one of my classes … that was really cool.

6.  I love Tim Burton movies.  I could very easily write essays on the complex beautiful themes in some of them.  And don’t even get me started on the incredible-ness that happens when he teams up with Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman.  My goodness, so good.

7.  I can’t stand sappy Nicholas Sparks-esque romance movies, or even really dumb chick flick movies.  Period.  Also, I’ve never seen Titanic.  No shame.

8.  I read predominately classics.  My two most favorite books are classics (Jane Eyre and Les Misérables), and most of the books on my shelf are as well.  Also, I have never read The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, the Divergent series, or any other popular book …. they’re not really my cup of tea.  However, I am a sucker for The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  They are so good.

9.  I wear very little makeup on a daily basis, and I really don’t understand how some girls have the time to go through the “normal/expected” makeup routine.  Like seriously, I ain’t got time for that ….

10.  My favorite movies include the Pirates of the Carribbean movies, the Bourne movies, classic Disney movies, anything Time Burton, Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), and Jane Eyre (with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson).

11.  I am a big fan of oldies music.  I really enjoy Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Nina Simone, Etta James, Elvis, and some Motown.  I honestly cannot tell you any of the songs on Billboards Top 100 ….. And ya know, I’m absolutely fine with that …. Ignorance is bliss right?

12.  Beyoncè greatly annoys me.  Really badly.  Also, so does Miranda Sings … and Amy Shummer …… We’ll leave it at that ….

13.  I love big wild thunderstorms.  Where I live, my house has a pretty good view, so when a storm rolls in, we can see the glorious clouds rolling together.  I love the feel of powerful thunder and sweeping winds and blinding lightening … it makes my soul feel alive …..

14.  When I fall asleep or need to seriously de-stress or relax, I use ASMR videos on YouTube …. I promise, this is nothing weird, but it’s still very unknown …..

15.  My favorite time of the year is the fall – my birthday is in November, right before Thanksgiving.  But I love the smells and the memories and traditions.  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because of the memories of carving pumpkins and dressing up.  But I also love Thanksgiving and the anticipation of Christmas.  Plus, I’m kind of a sucker for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade …..

16.  I am right-handed.  Also, I don’t wear contacts or glasses.  And I’v never had braces.  Nor do I need to get my wisdom teeth out ….

17.  Generally speaking, I feel rather self-centered when I’m constantly changing my Facebook profile picture.  For awhile there, my picture us of my back, or of me doing something I loved.  I’m of the mindset that the profile picture should be a visual representation of who you are, and I believe I am more than a face.  Does that make sense?

18.  Here’s a secret: I’m in a relationship.  Gasp, I know.  But one of the things that’s really important to me, is to not flood my social media with coupley pictures, or to obsess over each other publicly.  I won’t be posting a picture of us, until our sixth month mark, and even then, it won’t be sappy.  That’s all to say, I can’t stand Public Internet Displays of Affection.

19.  I put a lot of stock in pinky promises.

20.  I could spend way too much money buying trinket trays, journals, and antique Victorian-style chairs.  It’s bad ….

21.  I can understand basic Spanish.  I can understand, and speak, some complex Italian.  I can understand basic ASL.  My goal is to become completely fluent in one of those three.

22.  I cannot sleep unless my closet doors are closed.  I’m not afraid of the dark, but I’m afraid of what my mind thinks in the dark sometimes.

23.  Spiders and snakes don’t really scary; they just kind of unnerve me.  However, I have two really big fears.  First, I’m terrified of getting to Heaven and feeling like I’ve disappointed God, feeling that I didn’t do enough with this life.  Also, I’m terrified of a natural disaster happening, and my family not being together.  That really scares me …….

24.  I love to camp.  I love being up close and personal with nature and being away from WiFi for a week or so.  It really helps my soul ….

25.  I don’t like coffee, but I love how it smells.  Also, I drink mostly water.  It’s actually quite rare I drink anything else.

Hi, I’m Julia, and that’s just a bit about me.  Nice to meet you. 🙂

 

Thoughts on being single and dating.

This is a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for quite some time. This is something that is really important to me, and I feel a lot of people need to hear what I have to say.

I am not saying that to be important or anything, but I feel the concepts of being single and dating are becoming less and less powerful.  When I was single, I often found it to be incredibly empowering, but I also experienced some incredible pressure to be in a relationship.

And to be honest, I think I am on the brink of a wonderful, incredible, maybe my ultimate, relationship, and I see relationships as very serious thing.

I recorded my thoughts on this topic a bit ago, and wanted to write a corresponding blog post.  But as I was trying to figure how to say these things again, I realized I captured my thoughts the best in this recording.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this, especially if you are in one of these stages.

So here, my thoughts on dating and being single.

Ciao for now,

Julia

Survey: Modesty

I’ve created another survey!  This time, I am interested in examining how modesty has an impact on single or unmarried men, predominately Christian men.  All answers are kept completely anonymous, I promise!  I do ask, though, as there is space to explain each answer, that you do so.  I’d like this post to be a collection of responses, not just statistics. If this interests you, please follow this link: Modesty.

Thank you all very much!!

P.S. If possible, could you pass this on to your friends? That would be great too!Survey

 

Religion and Politics: Survey Results

*I want to dedicate this post to every single person who completed my survey.  Your responses helped me test my hypotheses, and understand the relationship between religion and politics.  I am forever grateful to every single one of you.  Thank you.*

I started this study with the aim to analyze the connection between religious beliefs and political beliefs.  I was interested to see if the strength of one set of beliefs influenced the strength of the other.  This was my main hypothesis.  However, as I began compiling my survey, I became curious of other variables, and their effects.  Did age play a role?  What about gender?  If someone isn’t religious, does that impact which political party they most agree with?  Does different religious beliefs affect politics?  Does religious beliefs influence more conservative or more liberal beliefs?  And finally, does the amount of time one set of beliefs was held, impact the other?

I believed these variables would be statistically significant (important, statistically unique, different than normal).  I thought the stronger someone believed one set of beliefs, the stronger the other set of beliefs would be.  For example, I thought that if a Christian held very strong beliefs, they would also be a very strong, conservative Republican.  (This was based on prior observations and patterns.).  I thought age and gender played a role in each set of beliefs, but I was unsure to that role.  I thought the type of religious belief, be it religious or non-religious, would have an impact, but I was unsure what that was.  And I thought people that had beliefs from their family for one belief, would hold the other for the same reason.

Several prior studies influenced my knowledge prior to analyzing the results.  For example, a study conducted by Driskell, Embry, and Lyon (2008) suggested that religious beliefs about an involved God and many world issues are significantly related to political participation on a national scale (Driskell, Embry & Lyon).  Another study conducted by Evans (2014) concluded that religious people tend to disagree in terms of political policies, but they have the tendency to agree with the process of reaching those policies (Evans).  Friesen and Ksiazkiewicz (2015) concluded that society functions the best when people follow traditional values, and also was able to conclude that individuals tend to interpret religion as an important guide for one’s life (Friesen and Ksiazkiewicz).  Fitzgerald and Wickwire (2012) were able to conclude that people of specific religious and political groups tend to favor, or express more trust towards others of the same groups (Fitzgerald and Wickwire).  Finally, Meyer, Tope, and Price (2008) concluded that nations of people who tend to be strongly religious are less favorable towards democracy (Meyer, Top & Price).

A total of 193 people responded to my survey.  However, of the responses, 20 responses were discarded.  These responses did not meet all the criteria, such as being 18 or older, or not providing all information.  (All the surveys were completed.  However, 18 of the 20 responses chose not to specify their religious affiliation.  This was an optional spot, but was a factor I was interested in examining.). I chose 18 as the minimal age, because in America, that is the age when teenagers are allowed to vote.  The vast majority of participants were female and between the ages of 18-30.

Of the participants who identified as religious, the vast majority specified their beliefs as “Christian” (non-denominational/ denominational).  However, I also received responses such as “Catholic”, “Spiritual”, “Norse”, “Methodist”, “Mennonite”, “Christo-pagan”, “Baptist”, “Lutheran”, “Jewish”, “Former Mormon”, and even “Catholic with Celtic beliefs”.  Of those that identified as non-religious, the most common responses were “Agnostic” and “Atheist”.

Politically, I asked participants which political party they most aligned with, and then asked them to place themselves on a conservative/liberal scale.  I was interested to see if religious beliefs affected that ranking.

When gathering the responses, I was really focused on not getting a biased sample, such as too many millennials, or too many Christians, or too many Republicans, etc.  (Given where I live, those would have been the most likely biases.). So, I placed my survey on my Facebook page, and thus it was shared by many of my friends.  I also linked it in several of my blog posts.  Finally, I asked one of my previous professors to pass it out to his students.  The responses were kept completely anonymous, apart from asking for age and gender.

I was expecting my sample to slightly biased, with more Republican Christians.  However, I was surprised to find that the split between Republican and Democrat beliefs to be rather equal.

When I had finished analyzing my results, I was disappointed to find my hypotheses were generally not statistically significant. *I’ll apologize here: I seem to have deleted the file with all my graphs and whatnot.  So, unfortunately, I am unable to share with you any of the visual data.*. The strength between religious beliefs and political beliefs was not statistically significant. (For those of you interested, r=-.087.). This was fascinating to me, as I could see participants of similar religious beliefs rating the strength of that belief very high, but then ranking their political beliefs differently and opposite ends of the spectrum.  Also, I saw many responses where on set of beliefs was ranked high, and the other was ranked low.

The effects between “religious and political beliefs” and “gender” were not statistically significant, and neither was the interaction between them.  This was interesting, because based on previous patterns and observations, I expected females to be more religious, but also slightly more liberal.

When I analyzed the interaction between “religious beliefs”, “political beliefs”, and “age”, the interaction was not statistically significant.  However, when I analyzed the main effect of “religious beliefs” on “age”, this was statistically significant.  (For those interested, F (4, 170)= 2.76, p = .03, and h2 = 0.024.).

Finally, I analyzed the relationship between “religious beliefs” and “political beliefs”.  This correlation was mildly statistically significant (r = .19 at p = .013).  This was interesting, because it demonstrated there is indeed a relationship between “religious beliefs” and “political beliefs”.

*Unfortunately, I did not quite get the chance to analyze all the varied variables I wanted to, such as the different types of beliefs against political beliefs, or how long those beliefs were held against the strength of the beliefs.  If I have the chance to re-do this study, I would fine tune the variables I want to explore.  I made the mistake of adding more and more “variables” as my study went on.  I didn’t start with a strict set of things to investigate, and I think that is why so many of potentially interesting insights were ignored.  I ran out of time, and to a degree, resources, thus negatively effecting the validity of my results.*

I think, overall, this study brings some really interesting things to light.  For example, I began to understand that the interpretation of religious texts is often more impactful than just the religious beliefs.  There were participants who were nearly identical in religious beliefs and in their belief strength (sometimes even in age and gender), but completely opposite in terms of political beliefs and conservative/liberal ranking.  (I may even be so bold as to say that it is this split in interpretation that is leading to the split in Christians today …… corresponding blog post to come …..)

Also, it is also possible that race, economic status, and living environment (rural, city, urban, etc.) further impact the relationship between religious and political beliefs.

———————

I had quite a lot of fun organizing this study, analyzing the results, and understanding real life applications.  It has opened the door to many other questions I would like to pursue, and may at some point.

I’d love to know your thoughts about these results.  Do you think there is a bigger connection between religious beliefs and political beliefs?  Or do you think it’s smaller?


 

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Ciao for now,

Julia

P.S. I am interested in do a post on modesty, but from guys’ perspectives.  If you are a single, or yet unmarried Christian guy, I’d be honored if you’d fill out this short questionnaire.  Please pass it around to your friends! I will be giving credit where credit is due! Thank you!