Hey y'all! I finally had some time (read: 10 hours in the car) to put into words a little bit about my heart and purpose of blogging here on Fresh Modesty. I've had some amazing explosive growth in readership lately and quite a few of you aren't sure what's exactly going on here unless you've gone and looked through all the archives where bits and pieces of my "mission" are tucked in with everything else. So, an overview. I hope you will take a little time to read it.
What is “Fresh Modesty”? This blog (and sewing eBooks) are the ministry and business of me, Olivia Howard. I am a Reformed Presbyterian Christian with a Lord-given passion to promote real, conscientious, gospel living. I am nearing my 21st birthday and do not pretend to have anything figured out. I do know this: the Lord is my savior and I owe Him my whole being. I know He conquered sin and I know He reigns over this world and me. This knowledge changes things.
My heart for this blog: To provide young ladies (in the spirit of Titus 2) with a really human example of how to take dominion over our wardrobes for Christ. Clothes are the first clue anyone has to who we are, what we stand for, and who we represent. We must not balk at this and say, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” because like it or not, we are ambassadors. We can use this to further the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of self.
Let’s be honest, clothing is a huge struggle for women, young and old. Sometimes it seems silly to spend so much time trying, buying, sewing, and being frustrated over such an earthly thing, but God created us women to cultivate our beauty and take dominion of it, just like the rest of life. He delights in His creations and this is something that is OK to spend time and effort on. It would be wrong of us to totally dismiss our physical appearances, but it’s also wrong to obsess over it. My purpose is to simply share my clothing choices with the hope of encouraging girls that,yes, this is important, but it’s nothing to stress over. With creativity, thrift store shopping, some occasional stitching, and prayer, it is not only possible, but rather enjoyable to dress outside your box, but inside His Book!
As a young teen, I didn’t have a clue as to how I was to dress as a Christian (since my mom wasn’t really sure either) and really looked up to the few women who I would see pictures of online dressing modestly, femininely, and practically. I’m still learning and growing in my style and the Lord’s will for my wardrobe; so, I share my life not as one who has arrived, but as one who would like to include others in my journey. It is odd, I admit, to be seeking after true modesty and to yet be posting pictures of myself on the internet for strangers to look at. I have prayed about all the other ways I could possibly share my journey without this oxymoron, but the format and style of this blog is the way that the Lord is leading me right now. I hope you will see past me and see He who is in me.
But, if you are curious about the brain behind the forehead, I am Olivia, Livvy to special people. It’s hard to describe me to others, because honestly, I constantly surprise myself. I’ll do anything once. Even though my family lives on 63 acres in the hills of rural Tennessee, about an hour west of Nashville, and we have cows, chickens, and pigs, I am not a “farmgirl” nor do I pretend to be. I do what needs done and enjoy it, but my passions lie mostly in fabrics, cleaning, and building relationships. Some of my favorite texture+smells+ “experiences” are squishy mud, tractor grease, dishwater bubbles, a great gluten-free dessert, and happy flip flops. Healthy eating is more important than the taste of doughnuts to me and I’d rather drink warm water than cold soda. My younger siblings are one of my greatest joys in life and I devote many hours a day to them and they really are part of who I am. They are Emma, 17, Willa, 15, Brother, 8, Girlie, 6, and Handsome, 3. That last one is my buddy and I don’t want to imagine the day he’s too big to scoop up in my arms. I thrive on crazy schedules, over-booked days, lazy Mondays, and early foggy mornings when there’s outdoor work to be done. I mumble, stumble over words, and hate making people do extra work on my account. Coconut oil is my cure for everything and my pajamas always match.
It is not my desire to share every bit of my life here-- clothes and gospel living are my focus and I share just enough about my personal life to hopefully be real and show y'all that this modesty thing is not only practical, but a joy. I realize that just living in front of someone can be a great testimony to the Lord's work in your heart and I want y'all to know my Savior. I wrote a post about this last May if y'all would like to read more about why I don't share my dirty laundry: Reality.
Photos in this post by the fabulous Rachel Clarke Photography, taken yesterday. That girl and I grew up together and she's a huge part of me.