Maple Alps

Ask Amanda

The Crucial Element in a Long Distance Relationship

Ask Amanda, RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment
The Crucial Element in a Long Distance Relationship | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: What was the crucial element that helped your long distance relationship?


I guess quite a few of you must be in long distance relationships, because I get this question quite often. In a globalized world, I suppose dating or even being married long distance is getting more common.


Let’s see…


My husband and I spent 3 years in a long distance relationship before getting engaged. With the Atlantic Ocean between us, it did not always make it easy (or affordable for students - which we were at the time) to spend time with each other in person. We calculated it the other day, and the time spent face-to-face during that time added up to between 7 and 8 months. While that is not a lot, we did talk almost every day.


Modern technology is fantastic for that and allowed us to stay in almost constant communication (as constant as an 8-hour time difference can allow for anyway…). If it wasn’t letter writing and emails, we could text and video chat - something our parents were not able to do in their own long distance relationships!


Did I mention that even our parents did the same crazy thing? Must be genetic.


Anyhow, despite a large time difference, insane cultural differences, and the fact that we were on different continents, it all still somehow worked out.


To answer your question, there were several factors that affected our successful (in my eyes) long distance relationship. I actually wrote a blog post about it a while ago called, “The Three C’s of Long Distance Dating.” You’ll have to visit to find out what those C’s are and to find some really fun ideas for your own long distance relationship.


But really it all boiled down to intentionality.


I know I use that word a lot, and it’s the theme of this entire website, but it really is true.


Intentionality was the one crucial element that helped our long distance relationship. We chose to make it work, which made every element something we intentionally thought about.


We intentionally talked about core values with each other, but most importantly, we really tried to intentionally keep our relationship a God-centered one.


Practically, we had to be sure we were reaching out to each other and that the limited time we had to talk was used wisely and we were not distracted with other things. I’m not even kidding when I say that we often created agendas as if we were entering a board meeting before talking. That way we didn’t forget what we needed to share or talk about. There were several resources we used to guide our conversations as well.


All of this is not to say that we have stopped being intentional in our relationship now that we are married - not at all! It’s just that intentionality in our relationship looks a tad different now that we are married.

But more on that in a different post!


 


Have you been in/are you in a long distance relationship? What was the crucial element that helped you?


 
 

Dealing With Stress

Ask Amanda, Blog, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments
Ask Amanda: Dealing with Stress | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: What are your best stress-coping methods?

 

This is a really great question! Sometimes I feel as if I have so much stress that I’m drowning. Other times, I feel like I can conquer the world. I find that dealing with stress is best done by preventing it as much as possible. Of course, this is not always possible - life likes to throw unsuspected curve balls every once in a while. I suppose the easiest way to answer this question is to share some of the things that I utilize to both prevent and manage stress.

 

 

Keep a planner

Writing down my tasks and goals and prioritizing them helps me keep on track. I am able to focus on things that keep me productive and I waste less time when I know what I need to be doing. When I find myself wasting time, I get discouraged and have a hard time picking myself up from it, so this is a nice preventative way of dealing with some stressful things.

 

 

Journal

Oh, the amount of filled journals I have is amazing. I write in them significantly less than I used to, but I do journal regularly. Sometimes I’ll just get my thoughts out till I can think straight again. Other times I’ll write prayers or letters to God. I do have one rule in my journals though: I never write anything bad about anyone. My journals will likely outlive me, and I don’t want a moment of agitation or anger on my part to ruin anyone’s reputation. Besides, I want to get over it, right? I don’t want to have to relive it every time I reread my journal - which I do on occasion.

 

 

Take time for Me

This may sound counter-productive, but when I take time to sit back and recharge, I am able to come back and face all of my tasks head-on, and with a better attitude than before. Taking a bath, or lighting some candles and chilling, taking time to read something for fun. Those are all great ways I can just remove myself temporarily from the situation. Sometimes, I just need a power nap to get my focus back on track as well.

 

 

Sing

This started from a very young age. I’ve sung to myself in so many stressful situations - from pumping myself up for interviews and other difficult situations to singing while driving on icy roads. It somehow calms me. Especially singing hymns and scripture songs that are filled with promises that remind me that God’s got me.

 

 

Give My Burdens to Jesus

How heavy a glass of water is just depends on how long you hold it. The longer you hold it, the heavier it seems. And if you’re carrying that thing for a year, we may have to call the ambulance for you. The same with our stress and burdens. Jesus tells us to come and give Him our burdens (see Matthew 28:11). His rest is a promise to us that I love to cling to.

 

 


How do YOU deal with stress?


 
 

Finding the Time

Lifestyle, Ask Amanda, BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments
Ask Amanda: Finding the Time and Balance to Blog, Teach, and Have a Life | www.maplealps.com
 

Question: How do you find time to be a wife, teacher and blogger? Is that even possible? Can we have a glimpse into a day in the life of Amanda?

 

 

Honestly, I ask myself this question all of the time, so it is no wonder that it is the most common question I get! I wish I could say that I teach during the day and blog at night, but it really is not that simple. Teaching and blogging both require so much behind-the-scenes work and sometimes I wonder if I can manage it all! 

 

Learning how to say no has been the one thing that has helped me accomplish so much in these areas of my life. Choosing my priorities carefully has been important, as has to accept that both teaching and blogging are passions of mine.

 

We actually have more time than we think. A lot can be accomplished in 24 hours (including getting 7-8 hours of sleep!) when the time is used carefully and intentionally without distractions.

 

Blogging tasks are usually done over the weekend, and sometimes in the evening if I have some spare time. Long weekends and breaks are also used productively for those tasks (for example, this last summer, I queued 4 months worth of content). During periods that I have less time for blogging, I like to repurpose or update content so that I’m still keeping things fresh and up-to-date. Sometimes I’ll perfect a recipe. All of that being said, my teaching tasks always come first. Thankfully, I’ve got a knack for being productive and motivated most of the time. We all have days.

 

As for being a wife, it is sometimes hard to be intentional about that. Last year, my husband and I struggled to find enough time to even just sit down and talk (both for fun and for important things like the budget). The pastor/teacher duo is not always the best since his work starts getting even busier once I get home. There are always constantly meetings in the evenings between the two of us, and I try to go to bed early most nights to ensure I have enough energy for the next day. Also to ensure my immune system stays functioning.

 

We have started setting aside one evening a week for a “date night,” which really just means we spend the evening together. It could be playing board games, cooking together, or going out to eat, but we make sure to connect deeper than just a passing “hey!” We used to joke every Sunday, “see you next week!” We would literally not see each other for more than a few minutes a day depending on the week, so I hope to not have that as a reality this next year. I should also mention that my husband is fantastic at sharing chores around the house, which makes keeping things tidy much easier!

 

Finding time for personal and spiritual and professional growth is most important for me on top of all of the other things I do. One way I make sure to meet all of these needs is getting up extra early by 4:30 am to ensure I have time to pray and read my Bible. Another thing I like to do is to use my 40-minute driving commute to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Sometimes on my way home, I'll call friends or family.

 

Exercising is another thing I try to find time for. Since exercising at ridiculous times in the morning is not for me, I have in the past chosen  to do it after I come home. There has never been a time where it hasn't perked me up and made me feel good - even if it's a short 30-minute walk around the neighbourhood, even if the motivation is hard to find after a long day sometimes.

 

It's all about using time wisely. I take one day per week to rest and recuperate and to focus on my relationship with God and others - one day where I do not do any work at all! It sounds counterproductive, but it truly is our original design and is a blessing!

 

If you struggle with making time for the things that matter for you, I highly recommend printing off or buying a weekly timetable and marking off all of the things you have to be at or do - including sleeping and eating! You may be surprised at the time you have left off, and the things you can fill those slots in with! Or with what you can shift to make a manageable timetable!

 

 


What are some of the ways you manage your time with tasks?


 

If you have a question, feel free to leave one below for a future segment of "Ask Amanda!"