Living Simply, Uncategorized

A Merry Minimalist Christmas

In my humble opinion, the best gifts are ones shared with loved ones and getting to experience something memorable together.

If you are trying to figure out what you should get your friends, family and significant others for Christmas, but don’t want to add more unnecessary clutter to their lives, I’ve got a few ideas for you!

Minimalism and Christmas actually can go hand-in-hand. After all, the man himself, Dr. Suess said it best,

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
What makes a gift good isn’t the store from where it was purchased, the price tag or anything like that. What really makes a good gift is the memories that can be shared this holiday season.
So, if you are looking to go the more minimalistic route this Christmas, give an experience instead of a thing. Here are a few ideas!
  • A surprise picnic.

Take inventory of your loved one’s favorite drinks and snacks and make a run to the grocery store! Pack up a basket with a blanket, food to share, a Christmas-y playlist, a fun game or two, and enjoy each other’s company!

Now, during this time of year, this idea is for those who live in warm climates. If you live where it snows, use this idea, but bring it inside! Make a pillow fort and hang some Christmas lights and you’re golden!
  • A show.
I love this type of gift! You can get dressed up and feel all classy while you indulge in the arts. Check your local theaters to see what performances or plays are coming up and snag a couple tickets for you and your friend! They could even be in the nose-bleed section, but still, nothing beats getting to experience a magical musical show or concert with a loved one during the holidays!
  • Explore a new city
This idea can be really fun if you get creative! If you know of a town or city close by that you have yet to explore (or maybe the city you’re in has a really cool vibe!) create a list of 10 questions that lead your person to different places to do different things. For example, Atlanta has super sweet places like the Georgia Aquarium and SkyView. Make cute riddles and have something special waiting for them at each stop–whether it is a photo op or an activity!
Gift-giving doesn’t have to break the bank, and it doesn’t even have to be about the bank. Make this holiday season one for the books by truly celebrating it with loved ones and sharing in the Christmas season magic together.
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Living Simply, Surviving College

Mindfulness.

The Christmas season.

The week full of final exams.

The excessive spending.

The exhaustion.

The stress.

 

Mindfulness.

I urge you to be mindful this month.

A word that represents an action that is neglected very often in our everyday lives, but a practice we should observe religiously.

Mindfulness is a state of being that halts any further action and observes what is being exerted from your thoughts and body.

You have control over what is flowing in and out of your head, you have the power to object negative thinking and forbid overstimulation.

This post is in no way to encourage you to seek some kind of mystical enlightenment. It is a post, however, to encourage slowing down and being kind to yourself. What you put in your body is what you’ll get out of it, as they say.

Be mindful in this season of your life. Be mindful of your thoughts, actions, the way you treat others and the way you think about yourself.

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Tidbit Tuesdays

Tidbit Tuesday

In this stage of life that we are in, not only are we learning more about who we are as people and growing and evolving, the people around us are experiencing the same changes too.

When we become attached to our friendships, sometimes we experience rough patches. Those rough patches can result in a stronger relationship, but, they can also result in an ended one. It can become difficult to navigate feelings when friendships become rocky, and it can quickly feel like you are alone when relationships change and become distant.

When this happens to you, become your best friend.

Treat others with kindness, even when the people in your relationships don’t treat you well. Be loving to them, but be loving with yourself even more.

Stay positive about yourself, affirm yourself, encourage yourself. Respect your efforts and understand your limitations.

It is so important to embrace your humanity and be mindful of your own presence. You are a necessary part of this world, no matter what others may say.

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Living Simply

Minimalism + Marriage

When Jordan and I got engaged (story here), we started the journey of joining our lives together.

When we decided to join our lives together as one, we were agreeing to take care of one another as we would want to be taken care of, we agreed to a life-long promise of listening and loving and making our relationship work through the good and the bad.

We agreed to support each other’s dreams and goals.

We decided that no matter what, we had enough in our relationship with God and in our marriage.

We adopted a minimalist mindset for our marriage, and it has benefitted us more than we thought possible. Here’s how:

Minimalism + Money

For over the past year, Jordan and I have been stewarding our finances in preparation for our marriage.

We have the necessities in mind: rent, groceries, car payments, etc.

But we have dreams to travel. We have joined our mindsets together and realized that minimalism will make way for us to be disciplined with our money and create the life that we both want to live.

Minimalism + Mind/Body/Health

Like I stated earlier, minimalism creates a mindset that says “I have enough,” but it also makes space for us to use our money in different ways–ways that better us. Less mindless spending means more intentional purchases

Less mindless spending means more intentional purchases that better our health, such as food. Being picky and ruthless in your diet will make a huge overall difference in your health. Being alert and energized has a lot to do with what you put in your body. Skipping the purchasing of loads of cheap food and refining your grocery list to a smaller, more tailored and intentional list of healthy options will show you how you can eat well and spend wisely.

Minimalism will also help redefine what you spend the bulk of your time doing. It causes you to take a step back and evaluate the influence of your daily decisions. You will begin to weed out the activities that don’t inspire you or keep your body in good health and replace them with activities that do.

Minimalism + Making Decisions

Now when invitations pop up, or if we are just trying to decide what to cook for dinner, we are able to make better decisions together because our mindset and focus are going in the same direction.

We ask ourselves: what makes more sense in regards to our time and finances? Where are we putting our effort and energy into right now, and does this decision reflect that?

I encourage every couple to explore more into the idea of minimalism in their marriages, or their dating relationships.

When minimalism is adopted into a couple’s life:

The arguments over spending minimize.

The money lost over pointless spending diminish.

The time used doing mindless activities decrease.

And the quality of life is restored.

 

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Surviving College

Love Listens: a live blog from church

“Sunday is the most segregated day of the week,” entrepreneur Scott Williams’ voice rings out in Bush Chapel, “what MLK spoke decades ago still stands true today.”

I look around and see many, many students crammed together under one roof for this morning’s chapel service. I take note of our differences but celebrate the fact that we are all here to hear the same word–accepting the same truth in our lives.

If you don’t like diversity, you’re not going to like heaven,” Williams laughs, as the hundreds of us laugh along while nodding in agreement with him.

Breaking Barriers

Today, on a Tuesday morning at 9am, I attended the first Athletic Chapel at my university. I go to a Christian university where we are dedicated to making space for all types of people doing all kinds of things on and for our school, and today was the first chapel of the year for athletes and students to join together to learn something from every team on campus.

I’m not an athlete; I don’t understand sports talk. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if there was much I could learn from a service dedicated to athletes. But I do understand the few things we have in common and try to relate to those things.

Like the fact that just being a student in college is difficult at times. The tests, the homework, the projects, and presentations; trying to balance social life with a decent GPA. It gets tiring. Sometimes I wonder if I will survive. But it wasn’t until our campus pastor got up on stage and laid out what student athletes endure every semester until I realized I know nothing about their struggle.

“The 6am practices, the ice baths, lifting weights and physical therapy,” the campus pastor says to the crowd of students gathered together, “on top of studying for exams, taking quizzes, writing papers, attending class. Blood, sweat and tears shed and–most of the time only God is watching you.”

It struck me. I am sitting in a room full of hundreds of athletes who attend class and write papers just like I do, yet who also face a whole different struggle that I will never know.

Sometimes in our struggle, we are only seen by God.

“The things you do in secret are the most effective for the kingdom,” says one bright student athlete while sharing her devotions for offering this morning. She encouraged the athletes and non-athletes alike to seek God and do what we know is good and noble–even when no one is looking.

Even when no one is looking.

Sometimes it’s me who’s not looking while my neighbor struggles.

My responsibility and calling as a follower of Christ is to follow the great commandment, to love God with all my heart and the great commission, to love my neighbor as myself and make disciples from every nation.

“It is the great commission, not the great omission where we go out and make disciples and omit the part where it says ‘from all nations.'” Scott Williams

“How are you adding to the solution?” says Williams, “how are you going out of your way to listen to your neighbor?”

Despite what we are going through personally, love should seek first to listen before it is ever heard.

We should all be working towards the common good–even if it’s not the same cause. As Christians and fellow brothers and sisters, we are all working together to move the ball down the field for the better of our neighbor, our country, and the world.

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