6 Awesome ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day this Year

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What is Galentine’s day, you ask? Well if you’re a Parks and Recreations fan, you might already know.

But if you aren’t, and this is news to you, like it was to me, Galentine’s day is the day before Valentine’s day and it’s all about women celebrating women. And I think we need more of that these days.

In the Latin culture, Valentine’s day is “El dia de el amor y la amistad”. Meaning, a day to celebrate love and friendship. And I grew up celebrating it that way. It wasn’t until I was passed my awkward teenage stage, that I started having a “Valentine”. So I’m all for celebrating with girlfriends on Galentine’s day.

Why not celebrate the smart, wise, and strong women in your life that make you who you are?

Here are 6 awesome ways to celebrate with your closest girls:

  • Send them snail mail
    No emails, no texts, no Instagram posts. Send them a nice note through the mail. Let them know you value their friendship. Something tangible is much more meaningful.
  • Give them flowers
    Do you have any friends that are single? Maybe this is the only gift they’ll get. And who doesn’t like flowers?
  • Make a collage
    A real collage not an app generated collage. Something she can hang on her wall.
  • Give her a framed artwork (like the ones on the Styld by Grace Etsy Shop)
    Frame a motivational, fun, silly, or inspiring word/quote that she can hang.
  • Volunteer to help her with errands
    If she has kids, she will thank you so much for this.
  • Organize a girls night in
    No makeup, no phones, no heels. Just the girls, messy buns, wine glasses, and some chick flicks. Oh, and popcorn.

Cheers to celebrating your gal pals this Valentine’s season! 

#RelationshipGoals

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Can I share how daunting the new year can be?

I kind of feel obligated to be on my “A-game” because everyone else is trying to be on theirs. And honestly, I think resolutions are so 2015. 😉

So this year, in 2016, I have decided to set goals for the different parts of my life. There’s definitely health goals and professional goals that I have written down. I’ve also decided to set goals for a very important, and sometimes neglected, part of my life. My relationships.

Yup, I’ve written down what my relationship goals are. Our lives are made up of the memories and day-to-day activities we share with the people we make time for, the people we share a meal with, and the people we let our guard down for.

At times, I look back at an event or a conversation or a misunderstanding and I think to myself how it could’ve been better or maybe avoided. The habits we form relationally affect us daily. And some of the habits I’ve become accustomed to, are not very healthy and aren’t honoring to God. Some of those habits can be hurtful for me and others. That is why this year I want to be healthy. Not just physically, but most importantly, relationally.

Ok, so here’s some of my relationship goals:

  • LISTEN to people when they speak. Because sometimes I tune them out and I pretend to listen. Not nice.
  • Spend more time with my family. Because I’m not very intentional about making time for them and that is hurtful.
  • Be aware of the time I spend with my husband. Because my marriage should be a priority.
  • Stop gossiping. It’s toxic and it doesn’t honor God.
  • Set strict boundaries with people who have abused my trust. Because God’s word teaches us to guard our hearts.
  • Be generous and give others from the resources I have been given by God.
  • Learn when to say no and when to say yes. Because if I say yes to too many things, I’ll have to say no to the people that need me the most.
  • Be honest about my feelings and have the courage to say it without being rude.

All of these goals challenge me. And that’s why they should be goals. Setting goals for ourselves is inspiring and wonderful because they don’t ever have expiration dates. You keep trying till you reach them. I’m going to keep working on these goals, past 2016, until I reach them. In the process, I hope that the people in my life feel more loved, appreciated, and respected.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
(Ephesians 4:2-3)

What about you? Have you set your goals for 2016? What about relational goals?

 

 

 

 

Mountain Top Experience

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A couple weeks ago, the youth and young adults from my home church (Metro Life Church) went up to the mountains of Jasper, Georgia (at Sharptop Cove) to hear from God and have some good ol’ summer camp fun.

The sites were amazing, the food was mouth-watering (it wasn’t your typical camp food. It was homemade deliciousness), and the words/prayers that we were covered with were life changing. Lots and lots of people were baptized, we worshipped, we zip lined, we danced, and we shared the amazing things God has done in our lives.

My top 3 “takeaways” from camp are:

Be open and vulnerable
When God asks us to pray, to speak, to share, to listen, let’s just do it. And let’s do it with a humble and open heart. Sharing what God has done in your life can be scary and it takes vulnerability. But you never know who is listening. There are people needing to hear what YOU have to say.

Embrace the unknown
Going into an environment or place we’re unfamiliar with can cause us to put up walls and become isolated. But the unknown is a great place for us to discover what God wants to show us. The daily grind has a way of masking and muffling the voice of God. When we are in a new environment, with new faces, and new scents and new sites, our eyes are opened and our ears become alert. Let’s be willing to embrace the unknown so we can hear from God more clearly.

Make a remembrance
Whenever I travel or have an experience that marks my life, I make it a point to create a remembrance of it. This year I bought an arrow necklace at the camp site’s store that has inscribed “Be Brave”. It’s a reminder that I must continue to be courageous and do the things God asks of me. Going to camp was a step of faith. And by taking that step of faith, God used me and affirmed me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I also took a load of pictures to remind me of all the fun we had up in the mountains of Jasper, Georgia.


What experiences or trips did you have this summer?

Have you set some time apart to meet with God this summer? What are some ways you can do so before the hectic fall season starts?

5 Things To Do While Waiting to Get Hitched

It’s wedding season! All my friends are either getting married, are newlywed or are thinking of marriage. It’s a great season! I’m a newlywed and I’m loving being able to take mini vacations with my hubby or have stay-cations at home, binge watching our favorite TV shows. But for the people who don’t feel close to getting married or don’t have a significant other, seeing their social media outlets filled with romance and all things weddings, it can be sad and even discouraging. So what do you do in the wait? What do you do while you wait for your other half? Don’t feel bad for yourself, girls, and don’t resent your friends. Read below for some tips I learned while waiting to get hitched.

1. Deepen the friendships you have
You’re going to need your girlfriends even after you find your guy. Ladies, let’s not lie to ourselves and say we’d rather not have girlfriends because of the drama that sometimes we encounter. We were created with a deep longing for connection with each other. We need each other. No matter how great of a guy you find, there are just some things only your girlfriends will understand. They will be your support system in good and bad.

2. Do the things you long to do
Do you want to go backpacking in Europe? Do you want to do missionary work? Do you want to live in a new city? This is the time do it. Once you’re married or once you’re in a committed relationship, you have to start thinking of the other person’s needs as well. It’s not that once you’re married, you can’t do the things you long to do, it just involves more planning and mutual agreement.

3. Serve God and learn what His word has to say about womanhood & marriage
The world wants to teach us about being a woman and what it looks like to be a woman. It also gives us models and ideas of marriage. I would say many of these teachings and ideas aren’t aligned to God’s purpose for marriage and womanhood. So in your wait, learn what God has to say about all this. Trust me, it’ll make the transition from being single to being married smoother.

4. Discover the vision for your life
Without a plan or vision for what you want out of life, it’s hard to choose the right person to come along side of you. If you don’t have a plan or a vision, pray and ask God to show you what it is. The best way to know if that special person is the “the one” is by sharing your vision with him, and seeing if his vision is similar or the same.

5. Establish healthy habits for yourself
If you don’t make your bed every day now, you won’t do it once you’re married. If you don’t work out and have a healthy diet now, you won’t do it to fit into a wedding dress. If you overspend and don’t manage money well, it won’t get any easier once you’re married. Take care of yourself now. Take care of your responsibilities now. If you do, once have more responsibilities to attend to, you won’t neglect the things that are most important. (I’m so speaking from experience on this one, ouchy.)

Hope this encouraged you and I pray you seek the Lord in your wait, more than anything else!

If you know someone who could use this pep talk, share it with them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! 

Friendship: It’s not Always Hearts and Kisses

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I was getting ready to go to bed after a much-needed Facetime date with my sister, who recently moved away. My husband noticed that I wasn’t being myself and had been crying. Of course, he asked the inevitable questions, “Have you been crying?”. Now, you know what happens when someone asks that, right? You start crying again. And it’s not your normal crying face. No. It’s your really ugly crying face. Anyway, I went on a rant, trying to explain why I was crying, “I miss my sister. I miss my best friend. My sisters are my best friends. I need them close to me. I can’t make friends that are as close as a sister.”

The great thing about having best friends that are my family is that we don’t expect perfection from each other. We know our faults, our hurts, our attitudes, and we take each other as we are. Having that connection outside of a family circle, can be difficult. It dawned on me that it’s not easy to have close friends when you expect them to be perfect. Why couldn’t I take my friends just as they are like I did with my sister?

It would be ideal, and we would be living in a perfect world if everything was hearts and kisses. You know, like those cute emojis you send your friends? The reality is that, heartbreak and disappointments will happen in our relationships. If we expect for that to never happen, we are setting up our friends for failure.

Loving others sometimes will cause us emotional pain. We will get hurt and we will be disappointed. I am reminded of the love and dedication Jesus had for his disciples. He knew their thoughts, their intentions, their hearts. And still, he taught them and guided them with love. Jesus was betrayed and denied by his closest friends, yet He chose to love.

I believe Jesus shows us in God’s word that we should love unconditionally. He also shows us that we should forgive and move forward. Holding on to bitterness and resentment is poison to our souls and even to our bodies. The best choice we can make is to accept people’s flaws. If we can’t accept people’s flaws, how can we expect them to accept ours?

Honestly, it doesn’t really feel good to love my friends when they hurt me. My first response is to push them away or go into hiding for a bit. Sometimes I rehearse in my mind what I would say to them. Really mean things that would hurt them back. My mind tells me, “She’s not a good friend”. While my heart says, “Give her another chance. Show her God’s grace”. I’ve isolated friends and family from my life because of things that I could’ve resolved and decided to forgive. Only trial and error can teach you when it’s time to let go of a friendship and when not to. I have a feeling though, that God would have us forgive and forget rather than letting go of a friendship.

This crazy love that God calls us to demonstrate, takes so much dedication, commitment, and courage. It takes courage to confront an issue and forgive.

So how do we mend or prevent broken friendships?
We choose love over staying disappointed. We choose mercy when we feel hurt. We choose grace when we feel betrayed. And we choose peace when we feel heartbroken.

Is there anyone you need to make amends with today? Is there a friend you should take out to coffee and resolve an issue with? Is God asking you to forgive a friend or loved one today?

Be encouraged to be honest with your friends and loved ones when you’re hurt. And be encouraged to forgive them and embrace their frailties.