Thursday, August 29, 2013

Purpose + Me

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.
 
I hope this helps give an introduction to my new readers and a reminder to my older ones of the purpose of our time here. Y'all have any questions? I'll be happy to answer any, although I may have sketchy internet until next week, so be patient. :)

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.



48 comments :

  1. Coconut oil is your cure for everything: I'm curious about different ideas. We saw some at Trader Joe's this week-end, and my husband was mesmerized. I wanted to buy it because I've heard it's the best. But, I didn't because I have no idea what to use it for. Would you mind sharing?

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    1. Hi, just saw your comment and thought that I would share since my family uses it for everything also! From putting it in pancakes to rashes! :) Really it is a trial and error sometimes.A friend of the family can put it on his poison ivy and it completely clears up! This does not work for me though....we put it mostly on rashes/bug bites..It is just very soothing! A great lotion and I have used it to wash my hair also. And it being all natural it a plus! :) so I would encourage you to buy a small amount and the next time you cant seam to cure something, try it! :)
      ~Cassie

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    2. Hi, Cassie! Thanks for this information. Interesting. I wish I had some now to try on these pesky bug bites I've been fighting for 2 weeks. My husband really wants to get some, so I read your comment to him not 2 min ago, and he's already on Amazon. So, I'm sure we'll be the proud owners sooner rather than later.

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    3. Glad that I could help!
      And sorry for the bad punctuation,I was in a rush! :)

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  2. Olivia, I can't say "thank you" enough for the heart you have and the ministry that you do!! I discovered your blog through my older sister a while back, who also reads it and spoke very highly of it. I struggle with the combination of modesty and fashion in my everyday wardrobe, and I find your posts and outfits very helpful, encouraging, and inspiring!!! I love your combination of cute, beautiful, modest, and fashionable.
    I believe the Lord has blessed you with this gift, and thank you for being willing to follow His guidance and share it for His glory. It's a blessing to know that there are other young woman out there who are actively fighting this battler for outward purity:) It's a breath of fresh air to see someone who is radiantly modest. Thanks again, and God bless!!

    ~In Christ with Joy~
    Jess

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  3. Thank-you for sharing, Olivia! I've only recently found your blog and really enjoy it. :-)

    Blessings,
    Kelsey

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  4. I recently found your blog and enjoyed reading your testimony so much! Your blog is like a breath of fresh air...I have two young daughters, 14 and 11, so as a mom I am thankful that there are young women like you to serve as role models.
    God bless!
    ~Tammy

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  5. BEAUTIFUL photos. just absolutely gorgeous!
    I have understood why you blog about this, and I think it's a great way to do it. Keep it up!

    xo,
    rn
    www.rachelnicoleblog.com
    ps- i sent you an email a couple days ago, and wondered if you got it... :)

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  6. You are so beautiful Olivia! The light of Christ just shines from you!
    keepcalmandsparkle1099.blogspot.com

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  7. enjoyed reading this. :) but whattttttt, you were up here and didn't visit ME?! I live only a few hours from Rachel! you coulda both dropped by. =D

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    1. Aw, sorry! I will keep that in mind for future trips. As it was we had to cut our planned two-day stay with the Clarke's to just 4 hours because we have to hurry to Texas for a funeral and then a memorial service. :-/ We didn't get to see anyone from OH/WV/PA except the C's... although that was delightful. :)

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  8. I enjoyed this post... =)

    Those pictures are amazing! I love your hair -- did you do something different with it? It looks almost reddish.

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  9. Olivia,

    Thank-you for sharing a bit about your life and purpose for blogging! I enjoy reading your blog; it is so inspiring for me! Thank-you for always and continually pointing us to the Saviour, and for showing all of your readers the combination of modesty and fashion. I am so very grateful for your blog. May God bless you richly for your ministry to all of us young women!

    With love,
    Tabea

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  10. I was blessed to introduce you to my daughter in Nashville. Thank you for helping me - by showing her another young woman focused on glorifying God.

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  11. Olivia,

    You're such a wonderful example. I'm so grateful for The Lord guiding me to your blog. You've really helped me embrace modesty on a whole new level. Thank you for being so amazing. Please keep it up!

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  12. As a newer reader, I really appreciate you taking hte time to write this post up! I had done some clicking around in your archives, but I like having all this laid out here for me to read. Also those photos of you are gorgeous!

    Although I haven't been reading for long, I am enjoying 'hearing' what you have to say and seeing these great ideas on covering up what needs covered without having to resort to 'frump'... which is kind of a problem I tend to find myself in, because I'm not really a huge fan of showing a ton of skin.

    Although we're way different denominations, I have to say that your sheer joy in the life you're living is probably the best ministry I've really seen. I read a few religiously-oriented blogs, some more about the intellectual sides and some more about the living. Yours is currently one of my top three that I check everyday to see if there's been an update, just to make sure I don't miss it!

    I suppose the point of this whole long ramble was... good job. Thumbs up? I'm not sure. Just general positivity and encouragement to keep going is what I'm going for here, haha.

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  13. When I first discovered this blog over a year ago, I thought I had stumbled across a goldmine! I don't think I'll ever be able to describe how much you have inspired me and other young women through this ministry.

    Keep it up! Rachel certainly snapped some great photos of you!

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  14. I'd like to say thank you for inspiring me to dress more modestly, but yet not frumpily. Er, is that even a word? I really mean it though, this has been such a very helpful blog to me.
    Thank you so much and keep up the good work!
    ~Mary

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  15. Thanks for sharing this, Olivia! I was going to ask you to share about you and your family since I am new to your blog!! :) You said when you were younger you didn't know how to dress modestly and your mom didn't really know either, well, couldn't you have asked your dad? Men are the only ones who are going to be able to tell you if you are truly modest or not. Just wondering! :)

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    1. Hey! Good question! It wasn't necessarily that e didn't know what standards to have, but how to carry those out in feminine, beautiful, flattering ways and how to balance up-to-date with frugality and traditional. Hope that clarifies that statement! :) My dad is a huge part of how I dress. :)

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  16. Thanks for sharing! I haven't been around for very long, so it's good to get caught up. :) Lovely pictures! My compliments to the photographer!

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  17. I've read your blog off and on for a few years but never commented until now. You inspire me so much!

    I bet your readership has exploded in part due to pinterest. I've starting to see you on pinterest more and more -- meaning others are pinning your blog pics of your outfits and I bet many others have found you that way too :-)

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  18. It was really nice to see your mission of this blog...from the months I've been following along you do a great job.

    Iris♥
    Feminine Modesty

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  19. I love your blog! I know this may sound silly (and hopefully not creepy, haha!) but every time I read your posts, I just think, "GAH! I just want to have coffee with this girl and talk for hours!" I always enjoy reading your words and seeing what cute outfits you put together!

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    1. That sounds like the perfect baby-sitting outfit. =) Just beware of lower necklines as little kids like to grab up there.

      And try Cato's for denim skirts -- they have some awesome ones, usually for about $20, in both long and short (and some with splits, others without) styles.

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  21. This was amazingly said Olivia! Thanks for sharing it! It was a great idea to do this for your newer readers! I have been following since May I believe and though I do always go back in the archives in any blog before I become a follower, it was an amazing read! Thanks!
    ~Cassie
    p.s. The pictures of you are beautiouse! :)
    calicoclodhoppers.blogspot.com

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  22. So beautiful, Inside and out!

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  23. Beautiful, and I really like your blog. : )

    ~Sarah

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  24. Thank you so much Olivia for sharing, I love your Blog, and read every bit of it! I love your mission behind this blog, in encouraging girls to dress modestly but fashinonably, it has helped and inspired me so much!!! You have given me some great ideas, and I also like your sewing Blog! :)

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  25. Olivia your honesty is refreshing and as a long time reader I am so glad to hear your goal to glorify God still stands. He made us to glorify Him in the first place as you said so why not do it with our blogs too?

    In Christ with love,
    Rebecca

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  26. Hi I just accidentally came upon you blog.... I've been thinking about dressing more modestly... But honestly I'm scared and confused.... I'm a cheerleader and ballerina I'm almost expected to dress in something small... I work hard to maintain a tiny figure I want to show off my hard work... I wear tiny short and a tank top

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    1. I just realized I forgot a question I multitask everything so I do things like that
      What do you think of tank top and tiny shorts?
      I'm really confused cause Idk I have a feeling that I should dress more modest but 1 if I wore long dress and. Skirts my friends would most def question me. 2 I have a very busy fast moving life I dont want to be slowed down because of a dress/ skirt and I know you'll say you can do tons of things in them but I can't do flips just cause I like to if I'm in a dress/skirt I can't hop on A board and go to the skate park. So what would you suggest?

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    2. Will u ever respond or are u to busy?

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  27. Hello Olivia :)
    I have been reading your blog for about six months now and it has inspired me tremendously. I'm home-schooled and wear modest dresses/skirts as well. I've never commented before but wanted to say how wonderful your blog is. You are a beautiful young woman who has a beautiful passion to serve God. Thank you so much for your time and effort to such a lovely ministry. Your pictures are so pretty and I'm a little jealous of your sewing skills.;)
    Blessings,
    Brittany from Ohio :)

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  28. Did you get my question about how to dress modestly?

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  29. You have cute style and a great mission statement! :) I just started my own blog and am checking out the sites of some other Christian fashion bloggers.

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  30. Awwwnn! You are so sweet and inspiring:) It makes me want to visit your church :)
    Yes, como to Texas and stop in Houston to say hi

    Ma

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    1. Hey! I was just driving through Houston last night-- wish I could have stopped! Blessings!

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    2. :( I want to meet you Olivia!! Ok, maybe next time :)))

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  31. Beautifully written! I completely agree...I still struggle with what is modest and what isn't. Perception means so much more than we would think, but the ways other's perceive us equals our modesty...not the way we perceive ourselves.

    Tiffany Ima
    Style Honestly

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  32. I love it! I've been reading your blog for quite a while now, and I've always loved it. I've kinda been out of the blogging loop, but I've just recently been trying to get back in. I loved hearing this! I also love how your blog is always so encouraging and inviting. You state your beliefs but never seem to judge anyone. I love you blog! :)

    ~Molly~
    mollyslittlecorner.blogspot.com

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  33. Hi Olivia!
    I really like your blog and I love your style I wish I know sewing... I´m 20, catholic homeschooler and started a blog about Modesty in February. It is written in my language: spanish. There are not blogs like yours in spanish :( one day a month ago I discovered your blog and since then it inspires me to continue.
    Thank you and thanks to God for your blog. Thank you for share with us, young women how to dress to please God.

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  34. Your hair is beautiful! Is it naturally wavy/curly or did you style it? Beautiful. :) Oh, and is your hair layered?

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  35. Hi Olivia, I love your blog and find it so inspirational (love the the swimsuit pattern!!) So as a result, I've nominated this post for this monthly post link up on Miss Dashwood's blog: http://miss-dashwood.blogspot.com.au/p/id-like-to-share.html

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Fresh Modesty is fashion blog which encourages girls to "Dress outside your box, but inside His Book!" I allow anonymous comments so those without accounts can comment, but I would really appreciate it if you would identify yourself by some form of a name. :) Thank you for taking the time to comment!