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10 Ways To Love This Valentine's Day and Every Day

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

A lot of people (including me) like to refer to the commercialized Valentine's Day as, "Singles Awareness Day (SAD)". Of course, society has emphasized romantic relationships on February 14 every year, but who says only those in romantic relationships are the only ones who love? I know many people who are single, yet love with great fierceness. Part of this is that they ultimately love the Lord, and because of that love in them, it flows out to everyone. 

I recently came across some notes I had scratched on the topic, and I thought I would share them today in honor of Valentine's Day. It's hard to love others sometimes, but as we grow and become more like Jesus, it becomes natural. Here is some of the ways the Bible tells us to love.

10 Ways To Love This Valentine's Day and Every Day |

1. Listen without Interrupting

 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
    he breaks out against all sound judgment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing his opinion.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
    and with dishonor comes disgrace.
The words of a man's mouth are deep waters;
    the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
It is not good to be partial to[a] the wicked
    or to deprive the righteous of justice.
A fool's lips walk into a fight,
    and his mouth invites a beating.
A fool's mouth is his ruin,
    and his lips are a snare to his soul.
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Whoever is slack in his work
    is a brother to him who destroys.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
A rich man's wealth is his strong city,
    and like a high wall in his imagination.
Before destruction a man's heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.
If one gives an answer before he hears,
    it is his folly and shame.
A man's spirit will endure sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear?
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
A man's gift makes room for him
    and brings him before the great.
The one who states his case first seems right, 
    until the other comes and examines him.
The lot puts an end to quarrels
    and decides between powerful contenders.
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
    and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied;
    he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing
    and obtains favor from the Lord.
The poor use entreaties,
    but the rich answer roughly.
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18, ESV)

2. Speak without Accusing

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19, ESV)

3. Answer without Arguing

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
    but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (Proverbs 15:18, ESV)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)

4. Promise without Forgetting

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12, ESV)

5. Trust without Wavering

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4: 18, ESV)

The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain. (Proverbs 31:11, ESV)

10 Ways To Love This Valentine's Day and Every Day |

6. Forgive without Punishing

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13, ESV)

7. Give without Sparing

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7, ESV)

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death (Proverbs 21:6, ESV)

8. Share without Pretending

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9, ESV)

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:15, ESV)

9. Enjoy without Complaining

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, (Philippians 2:14, ESV)

10. Pray without Ceasing

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Colossians 1:9, ESV)

Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)


Of course, you should love others every day, not just Valentine's Day, but today is a great day to start!


North West of the Island // Iceland

TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

Normally, I wouldn't be all about traveling all night, flying and landing at 6am local time and then setting out to explore as much as possible right away, but with only three days in Iceland, we had to make ever minute count. 

North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |

It was seriously surreal. We were so overtired and everything felt like a dream. Thinking back on it even now makes it seem like a dream. The nature was like nothing we had ever seen before and it was, or is rather, so beautiful in such a unique way. 

North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |

I spent a lot of time trying to get a photo of the sheep. I never did get my dream shot, but I caught some nevertheless. They just really added to the experience. 

North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |

Unfortunately, we had to get most of Iceland from inside of our rental car. It was nice when we did get out to stretch every once in a while though. Chilly, but nice. We also ended up getting so tired that we pulled into some hotel parking lot and slept for half an hour. It was a needed reboot. 

North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |

The sun did come out briefly, but it was truly moody the whole time. It rained and was cloudy, but it all added to the effect. The towns were so perfectly European and I felt right at home.

North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |
North West of the Island // Iceland |

We're already counting down the days till we can go back!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments

Before I got married, I always had this idea in my head about going running with my husband. We would get all cute in our coordinating (but not matching) gear and go down the street. Everyone would look at us and think in their heads: wow, what a healthy power couple!

Yeah, well, reality looks a little different than our imaginations sometimes. The first time we ever went for a run together, I was consistently about 3 blocks behind at all times. I blame it on my short[(er)-than-his] legs. For the last few months, however, we've been running at the same pace and it's been great (especially when deer come out of nowhere and I know I'm not alone....)! I hope the neighbours think we're a healthy power couple. Never mind. 

Also great? The things that happen in our kitchen when I get serious cravings on a productive day. Like Mexican food for a solid week, and fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Or freezer meals that will last a month!

Then there are those times I see brown bananas on the counter and get really excited...

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan) |

The thing about bananas in our house: they don't last long enough to turn brown. You see, there's a banana-eating machine in our home roaming wild. My husband. It seems as if no matter how many bunches I purchase, they are all gone before those beautiful brown spots even get a chance to develop. So when I see a brown banana? Well, I pounce, and delicious things tend to happen.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan) |

When I was growing up, it seemed that the family we carpooled with always had these little chocolate chip banana muffins. This always baffled me because I never associated chocolate with breakfast. At the same time, it intrigued me, and after trying one, I knew that life would never be the same. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan) |

I knew some kind of banana chocolate mix would happen when I saw those brown babies on my counter. I think I have some sort of chocolate theme when it comes to muffins! I have no idea how, but they turned out on the first try - I even gave the bulk of them away!

Without further ado (it's not like you're reading any of this anyway), here is the recipe!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan) |

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax mixed with 3 TBSP hot water)
1 tsp pure almond or vanilla essence
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use non-sweetened almond milk)
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease muffin tin (I use olive oil).
2) Prepare flax egg by combining the flax and hot water and leave to sit for five minutes.
3) Mix flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
4) In a separate bowl, mix mashed bananas, pure almond essence, vegan butter, non-dairy milk and prepped flax egg.
5) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
6) Stir in chocolate chips.
7) Distribute the batter evenly into the muffin tin (I'm still working on the even part...)
8) Bake for 25 minutes, until the muffins pass the toothpick test.
9) Remove from oven and cool on rack.


Modern Hexagon Afghan

DIY, BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

I had an unexpected 8 weeks off of work, and while I had a ton of projects to work on during that time, I decided to pick up one more. The weather was getting chilly and it seemed like a good time to pick up my crochet hooks again. 

I didn't really know what to work on, so I started browsing Pinterest for some ideas. I saw a beautiful hexagon baby blanket from Make and Do Crew and decided to run with it. 

Modern Hexagon Afghan |

The original had space on the sides, but I decided to crochet some half hexagons to fill them in to create a more finished (okay, rectangular) feeling.

I was really happy with the outcome and Astra loves it too, so naturally, it was part of her first Christmas photo shoot!

Modern Hexagon Afghan |
Modern Hexagon Afghan |

I think the hardest part (besides sewing all of the hexagons together) was choosing the colours! I wouldn't be able to tell you how many times I changed the colour scheme. In the end, I am satisfied with what I chose (dark teal, light grey, dark grey, dusty pink, white, and cream) - it fits right into our living room. 

Modern Hexagon Afghan |

If I ever get bored enough, I might consider making another one! That sewing hexagon together thing is no joke! The outcome was pretty darn satisfying though. 

What You Can Do with $7.99/month That Doesn't Involve Netflix

MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

I wrote about some things to do instead of streaming television shows a while ago with the angle of time and our minds being precious. What I didn't talk about was the other thing streaming sites like the popular Netflix takes from us: our money. As Christians, we are called to be stewards of our money, resources and time, and in fact, none of those things truly belong to us. They were entrusted to us to use for God's work.

Here are some things you can do with $7.99 that doesn't involve Netflix (though I heard prices for that have been going up, so $7.99 might not even be enough for that!)!


Take a friend out on a cafe date

Get some tea and talk about the wonderful things God has been doing in your lives. 

Rent a bicycle and explore parts of the city you have not before

See your city through new eyes, and meet and talk to people you may not have ever thought to. Using your legs is free though! :) 

Go to the dollar store and put together a package to mail to a friend

Even the smallest of surprises in the mail can bring joy and encouragement to a friend.

Buy some stamps and send out some cards

Bless others by letting them know you are thinking about and praying for them!

Buy a meal for someone in need

And pray for and with that person.

Join a gym

I actually know someone who used Netflix money for a very basic gym membership instead! Turns out those exist!

Put it into your savings account

You'll have a pretty good amount by the end of the year to use for a good cause or pay off a chunk of debt.

What creative things would you do for $7.99 that doesn't involve streaming?