Maple Alps


An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail

TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

Ending the month of May in California with friends was a great idea. It was so nice and refreshing to be with long-time friends who are fun and understand you. Celebrating one of them was a perfect occasion to get together. 

Just thought I'd share a few glimpses of an evening walking Mount Rubidoux Trail on Saturday night. Not sure what made me happier: the spectacular views or the fun cacti gardens!

An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt. Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |

Adult Friendships: The Art of Keeping Friends

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps14 Comments

Friendships are sometimes harder as an adult. In school, you are automatically with most of your friends every day. You study together, you eat together, maybe you even meet up once school is over, or on the weekends. Sometimes you even live with your friends. But life moves on, and in this globalized world, you likely are finding yourself in a completely new place with completely new people.

This is a reality for many of the people I come across. Making friends is not the easiest, but it's not impossible. We talked about making friends, but now what?

You've made a new friend, or you've moved away from friends you already had. What now?

Adult Friendships Made Easy: Maintaining Friendships (+ Free Printable!) |


Check in once in awhile

There is no way to maintain or cultivate a friendship (especially a new one) if there is no communication at all. I know there are those friends where you can live your own lives for long periods of time, but when coming together again, it is like no time has elapsed. But seriously, check in once in a while. Both parties will come away feeling refreshed.


Be intentional about making time in your schedule

There are few true cases of not having enough time. Prioritizing your friendships is important. Make time in your schedule to meet up with friends, or if they are too far away, to FaceTime or Skype.


Related: Adult Friendships Made Easy: Making Friends


Send cards. Not an e-card or a text. A card in the mail.

Nothing quite shows that you are thinking of others like a card in the mail. Mark down birthdays and other special dates, or send cards "just because." It doesn't have to be extravagant or long-winded. I've never received a card I was not happy with.


Ask good questions, and really listen to the answer

Practice the art of communication. Ask good questions, but also listen and remember details. When people feel known, they feel loved. 



Pray for and with your friends!


Just be yourself

Be yourself. As an adult, you have no more time to waste by pretending to be someone you're not (and don't waste the time of others!). On that note, though, continue to grow in excellence, making yourself the best version of you through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Adult Friendships Made Easy: Making Friends

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

The last few years have been a little tough when it comes to friendships. Being in school, you are automatically with most of your friends every day - or at least with peers who could become potential friends. You study together, you eat together, you might live together, and maybe you even meet up once school is over, or on the weekends.

I have found that, for me, being an adult (a married adult even more so!) has done something to my friendships. Everyone goes their separate ways in separate places and making friends also takes a lot more intentional effort. In this age of cellphones and internet, staying connected may be easier, but it is not always ideal for cultivating true friendships. This is not to say that making or maintaining friends as an adult is impossible. Quite the contrary! It is possible but does require some extra effort.



Be intentional about starting conversations

Do not wait for others to approach you wanting to be friends. While this may happen, if you truly wish to start a friendship, take action! Make the first move! The worst that could happen is that it doesn't work out. Do not, I repeat, do not, sit around feeling sorry for yourself because no one will talk to you!


Do not limit yourself to those in the same stage of life as you

People from all walks of life have things to offer you. I personally have friends who are much younger than me and friends who are older than me as well. I also have friends who are single, those who are married, some with kids, and even empty nesters. I learn from those who have gone before me and share my knowledge who come after. 


Find others with similar passions

Befriending those with similar passions creates an automatic topic for discussion! Make friends at your workplace, or those at the craft store you frequent. Talk to the people who share your pew each week at church. Meet friends in the dog park or the laundromat (everyone does laundry, right?)


Just be yourself

Be yourself. As an adult, you have no more time to waste by pretending to be someone you're not. On that note, though, continue to grow in excellence, making yourself the best version of you through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Accept that long-term friendships take time to cultivate

The friend you made last Tuesday is not going to have the same connection with you as the friend you have had since the 5th grade. Deep friendships take time to cultivate


Do you find it easy to make friends as an adult? Why or why not?


How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps11 Comments

With Valentine’s Day over and boxed heart candy at 75% off, I have caught myself giving a little sigh. You see, I just love Valentine’s Day (VD). It’s something about the pink and hearts everywhere that makes it impossible for me to be mad at anyone, reminds me of how much I am loved (and love!) and allows me to embrace my inner “girl.” Though I’ve never done anything extra special on February 14, I have always thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere it provides.

When my husband and I first started dating, he made some remark about every day being Valentine’s Day with him. While he was saying it somewhat lightly, there was definitely truth to his statement. Why should a day (regardless of the history and background of it) predominantly celebrating love, be the only day we think about sharing with those we care about how much we love them? It just doesn’t seem right.

If you, like me, are feeling a little sad that the holiday has passed us by already, you can hold your chin up a little higher. Some of my blogging friends have helped me out with a fun project to share with all of you some great ideas to keep the VD feelings all year long!

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day + Free Printable |

We can make every day "Valentine's Day" by performing little acts of kindness for the people around us that we love: our spouses, friends, neighbours, and families. We can serve them, meet their needs, and show them just how much we love them!
- Abbey of Small Town Soul

We can make every day Valentine's Day by remembering why we love in the first place and being intentional! I love Jim Elliot's quote - "Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." So in daily life, whether I'm spending time with someone or doing something, I strive to focus on them (instead of checking my phone, wondering what to say in response, going for efficiency over caring) and love them to the best of my ability, depending on God's grace to help me best love and serve them/perform the task at hand!
- Jessica of Duly Noted Ink

Have a quiet moment together like seeing the sunrise or sunset, viewing the ocean, sitting on a hill and embracing earth's natural beauty together or even sitting in front of a fireplace with some hot chocolate. Just being around each other is something wonderful.
- Martika of Coffee Time With Him

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day |

When our girls were 4 and 6 we started a new tradition for Valentine's Day. I set out 4 boxes, one for each family member. I had paper, pens, pink and white doilies, and lots of stickers available. Each person got to write out qualities they liked in each family member, things they appreciated, and favourite memories. It was to be a secret. On Valentine's we took turns reading them out loud. Because of their ages, they needed lots of coaching, memory jogging, and help writing/typing. They are 27 and 25 and we still do this, though sometimes it's through cards or texts throughout the day. It's really a skill I wanted to encourage--to find things we love about each other and what makes the other person feel loved.
- Terri from Terri Fullerton

I make every day Valentines Day by learning my hubby's love language and making sure I'm using it!
-Susannah from Simple Moments Stick

I'm such a weirdo but, I don't care much about Valentine's Day. It's sorta man-made and regimented. For years, I've told my husband to love me throughout the year and he can just go "light" on Valentine's Day. My love language is gifts so he sends flowers often, buys me things, surprises me with gifts all year. So I kinda feel like every day is Valentine's Day. Should he ever slack, then I might put more emphasis on that one day in February. 
- Teri of Godsy Girl

It's not something I do all the time, but every now and then I will make dinner for my kids (before an early bedtime) and then make dinner for my husband and myself after the kids go to bed. I'm also known for making treats and snacks for after the kids go to bed. Truffles anyone?
- Erin from Momma's Living Room

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day |

By writing little "love notes" filled with words of appreciation for our loved ones on a regular basis. You never know how much a kind note might mean to someone.
- Rachel from The Random Writings

We need to know how we are loved. I like to leave notes for my family that tell them I love you because . . . . your are brave, kind, considerate etc and then tell them how I saw that in them.
- Kim from Day to Day Adventures

My boyfriend texts me every morning "Good Morning Beautiful!" which puts a smile on my face and starts my day off right. 
- Pamela from Bible Geek Lifestyle

We can make every day Valentine's Day by constantly pushing ourselves to serve our spouse. Valentine's Day is great because we all seem to want to make our significant other happier. What if they had a hard day at work and it wasn't Valentine's Day? The probably need our love and support more at that time.
- Courtney from Happy Little Shopping Secret

I would say to make everyday Valentine's day we could ask ourselves, "How can I make today a little bit brighter or easier for my spouse?" It could be by doing something simple or leaving them a little note or just taking an extra minute to tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
- Kaitlyn from Lily and Mama

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day |

We can make every day Valentine's day by having quick morning cuddles before starting the day! I love resting on my husband's chest and kissing him on the cheek with his arm around me! It's sweet and simple. Just a little way to say "I just woke up, and you're on my mind!"
- Elizabeth  from Wanderlust + Heart

From a relationship standpoint, I think making a conscious effort to do something nice for or compliment someone you care about can make each day Valentine's Day for you and that other person. From a personal standpoint, taking a few minutes each day to reflect on your life and give yourself a nice little pamper session, pep talk, or general treat can make each day Valentine's Day for you.
- Jessi from Roses in Ink

It might seem over simple ... But ... To make every day like Valentines, touch your spouse. A loving caress - a neck rub, a hand placed gently on a forearm, "footsie" under the table, a kiss on the cheek, etc. As husband and wife, we can be together all day and never touch. It happens all too easily - especially if we have children to nurture.
- Lori from Encourage Your Spouse

Meet your spouse's love language
- Audrey of Life with Little People


How would you make every day Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comments below!


Women of Intention Week Nine: Friendships

Women of Intention, RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

Welcome to week nine of the series, Women of Intention! We are just over halfway through and Maple Alps will continue to feature a woman every week who will talk about intentionality in specific areas in her life. So glad you've decided to stop by! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE

Intentionality in Friendships. #WomenofIntention16 #MapleAlps


Today, we are going to meet Andrea of Empty Plate, Full Heart, a blog full of inspiring stories and the like!

Friendship may not always be something we think about intentionally, and that is exactly where Andrea comes in today! She has some great thoughts and experiences in having intentional friendships and has a lot to share!

After reading this post, be sure to check out her blog and share this post :)

Find Andrea on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Tell us a bit about yourself: What are your passions, work and interests?

My name is Andrea Stunz. I am the wife of one, mom of three, mother in law of two and grandmother of one (hoping for more!). I am originally from South Texas but have lived and traveled to the tune of a very fat passport. I love good food and good coffee and I find so much hope in every sunrise.

I feel like in all of the callings God has placed on my life, He has serendipitously worked many of them out through my role as a mom. Motherhood comes naturally. Marriage is a bit more challenging. That being said, my husband and I, through a lot of hard work and God’s amazing grace, have been married for over 27 years now.

As I approach the bi-centennial age bracket, I’m learning that a shared page in my story can encourage someone else to turn the page in theirs. This plays into my calling as a writer. As I am entering my empty nest years, I have asked myself the question more than once what I want to be when I grow up. God has clearly confirmed to me that I have words to be shared and that quite possibly, someone out there may need to read them.

I love capturing moments in time through the camera lens. My adventurous spirit comes from a deep desire to see, taste, hear, smell and touch everything that God has created. I simply can’t get enough of His creation story.


Would you say that being intentional in friendships is important? What are the benefits?

This is an interesting question for me. I’ve moved often throughout my life so cultivating friendships (finding them, keeping them and losing them) has always been a major part of who I am. Add to the mix that I am an introvert by any and all definitions so this is where relationships get tricky. Being intentional in making friends has always been important but keeping them is what becomes the challenge.

 The benefits of being intentional in our friendships are immeasurable. The bottom line is that if you don’t want to be lonely, you simply must be intentional about making and keep friends. It might take a quick “I’m thinking about you!” text or an email or a long lunch together but putting the first foot forward is crucial. Always remember that we must be the kind of friend we want to have.

Were you always intentional in your friendships? If so, why? If not, what made that change?

I have not always been intentional in my friendships or most of my relationships, if I’m honest with you. As I mentioned before, I am an introvert. I like being alone. I am recharged by being alone. I guess the first time I remember being very purposeful about making friends was when we moved overseas. I knew that my bent would be to stay at home and live with my family in my known and safe environment. I also knew that this wouldn’t work for me. I wanted to have a life more than I wanted to be alone. I joined an American women’s organization with the sole purpose of exploring and learning new things. It would also prove to force me to be around other people. I didn’t necessarily make any great new friends through that but it was a good way for me to be intentional. It got me out of my cocoon.

Another time of change for me in being intentional in friendship was during a season of personal brokenness. I lost a few friends during that season because quite honestly, I wasn’t able to be a very good friend. I was in survival mode and there was very little margin for fluff relationships. It turned out to be a good weeding in my life and the friendships that stuck, those who were intentional in keeping me, taught me so much about how to be a better friend. The friends who stuck with me during that time and helped and encouraged and stayed, they mean the world to me. I long to mean the world to someone else in that same way, to be that kind of friend. 

What would you say to encourage someone who is struggling with intentionality in this area of their life?

 If you’re struggling to find friends or keep friends, take a look at the kind of friend you are. Be the kind of friend you want to have. Grasping this in my life was such a turning point. Take a look at the kind of people you are hanging around with. Someone once told me that we become like the 5 people we hang around with the most. Who do you want to become? Narrow your focus to finding those 5 people or those 5 types of people. If we are constantly looking for others to come to us, to fill us rather than the focus being on us filling others then we will likely live unfulfilled and disappointed. We should make the effort to become someone we would like if we expect others to like us too. Simply profound.

Be the friend you want to have. History has proven to me that in doing so, friends will find you!

What about you? What helps you be intentional in your friendships? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments, and connect with us on social media?

(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)