Maple Alps

intention

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity

Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Today, I am excited to introduce you to one of my friends, Kayla of Embrace Purity. I met Kayla this summer and was blown away at how someone so young was so full of Jesus’ love! I hope you enjoy getting to know her in our Intentionality Spotlight segment as much as I have!

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com

First some easy stuff: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, your passions and interests?

My greatest passion is reaching out to the hurting and sharing the hope of Jesus. I’m a freelance writer who loves music, reading, and spending time with the people (and animals) I love. I’ve been homeschooled for the last 6 years and love it! My biggest goal in life is to use my gifts and talents to point others to Christ.

 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com
 

I love that your blog is about embracing purity in all areas of life! What is the story behind how your blog was started, and how has that changed over time? What is your goal and has that goal developed?

Writing has always been a part of me. When I was little, I often made up short stories and kept journals. Along with that, I had a real desire to make a difference in people’s lives. It wasn’t until 2016 that I realized writing could be more than simply a hobby. In fact, I could even combine writing and my desire to help others!

That year, a blogging class was being offered at my co-op. That’s when I started “Embrace Purity”. Though I didn’t know much, at the beginning, I knew I wanted to use my blog to point other young women toward Christ. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to write articles for multiple platforms including other websites and a magazine.

I now have the opportunity to expand my ministry to both young women and young men! Later this year, I will be launching “Rescued with Purpose”, a ministry all about trusting God and getting serious about living for Him.

I definitely want to keep “Embrace Purity” up and running, so I will be transferring it to “Rescued with Purpose”, where it will have its own section. I can’t wait to see what God will do!


 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com
 

As a young woman, who writes for other young women, where do you get the inspiration for the topics? Is it hard, or does it come easily?

If you take a look around, it doesn’t take long to realize that there are countless young women who are struggling. Most of my inspiration comes from observing and listening. I’ve had many conversations with girls who feel alone, worthless, and burnt-out on life. I truly believe that God’s word is equipped to help us in any situation. That’s why I put time and energy into my writing!

Whenever I hit writer's’ block, I often look back to books or articles I’ve read and get more ideas!

 

What is one other specific area in your life you find that intentionality is absolutely critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?

I find that intentionality is absolutely critical when it comes to saying “yes” to God. For the longest time, I claimed to have faith, but I was still letting fear run my life. Though I knew there were certain things that the Holy Spirit wanted me to do, I often ignored it if it was outside my comfort zone.

When I decided to start saying yes to God, I realized that true joy comes from fully trusting God to keep His promises! Now, I’m able to experience the life God wants for me: one of fullness, freedom, and joy.

 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com
 

If you could give one piece of advice about saying "yes" to God to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?

Take it day by day. Sometimes, God calls us to do things that seem scary or hard. It isn’t always easy to listen when He asks us to go outside our comfort zones.

The first step is when the Holy Spirit impresses you to do something (sharing your faith, confronting a friend, overcoming a specific sin, etc), decide beforehand that you will say yes and do it, even if it’s hard.

Remember that you’re not alone in this journey. We’ve all struggled with fear, at one time or another. When you choose to start saying yes to God, your faith can only become stronger!

 

 

 


Find Kayla at her blog, on Facebook, or on Instagram.


 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Life Lived Intentionally

Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

This week we meet Dani of Life Lived Intentionally! As a fellow Canadian with ties to Europe through marriage, we connected instantly! It has been so fun meeting new people through this series and I'm excited to share Dani's story with all of you and to hear her share how she brings intentionality into her life. 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Life Lived Intentionally | www.maplealps.com

First some basics: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, your passions and interests?
 

I’m Dani, I’m originally from Canada, but have lived in my husband’s home country of Germany for almost a decade. We have had our four children here, and are in our fifth year of working with a Christian university group ministry called Studenten Für Christus (Students for Christ).

I am passionate about many things: my family, loving Jesus, discipleship, beauty, starting new things, learning, reading, my garden, eating, dreaming and thinking about how to do things better, and great conversations with beautiful people. I am interested in business, missions, people, art, farming, history, and good music, and generally all learning.
 

 

I love how your blog focuses on living intentionally and choosing life. How did the idea for Life - Lived Intentionally come about and what are your goals for it?


For years I had always thought about starting a blog, but I never really had the energy to. Every time I’ve been pregnant or was nursing, my capacity for anything in life is dramatically limited. Perhaps it’s the hormones?

The beginning of this year I was neither pregnant and no longer nursing and it was like a bunch of energy sprung forth. Then came this lingering question, “Do I really think I can do all things with God?”

I feel like much of my life I’ve always put a limit on what I could do. Something like, “I don’t have enough time.”, or even, “I’m just a woman… or I’m just a mom.”  or, “there are so many others who are much _______( smarter, more together, cleverer etc.) than I. I’m nothing.”

Somehow, I just made a conscious decision not to think like that anymore. I wanted to think how God thinks, and with him nothing is too great.  Often lies or fears inhibit us. It seemed at the moment as if the doors blew opened, and the possibilities presented themselves as endless.
An important thing to me was to be home with my family, as much as possible. On the other hand, I felt like I had so much to give. I started to realize blogging was kind of an ideal platform for me.

I briefly chanced on watching a free online summit of the Work at Home School, and watched an interview with the blogger Rosemary Groener, who really inspired me. I didn’t realize that blogging could be so lucrative. This totally appealed to me, because I already wanted to invest my time helping people, and had already been thinking about blogging. Then I realized it was a win/win, I could help and inspire people from my own home, and (hopefully) support my family from it.
 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Life Lived Intentionally | www.maplealps.com
 

What is one other specific area in your life you find that intentionality is absolutely critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?


Stopping.

For the last six years or so our family has observed the Shabbat (or the Sabbath). For us this has meant following the traditional Jewish beginning of Friday evening until Saturday evening. Though, how we have observed it has changed and grown with us.

Six years ago, I kept encountering the Sabbath all over my Bible, and I couldn’t figure out what that meant for us today. I was only generally aware that we should stop and rest at some point. But, and perhaps this is because of the Christian tradition I’ve grown up in, I labelled serious Sabbath observation as legalistic. That is, until it was explained to me by a very kind family who visited us.

After that visit, and some self study, I realized the Sabbath or “Shabbat” was so much more than just a rule to force us to stop.

The Shabbat is a physical proclamation that God is God. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Author and Creator, the beginning and end of all things. In the stopping of my work, my endeavors and my plans, I rightly recognize that I can never complete and finish any work without Him. I’ve found even if I have a task left undone and I’m not quite prepared for the Shabbat, I stop, and by His grace it gets done at a different time.

Without our work and busyness we are left with an awkward silence. We are left just being plain and simple us (as He created us), before the gracious, and marvellous Him. No accomplishments or deeds to define us. Naked and unashamed, like in the garden.

That’s really how I see the Shabbat now. A time that both reflects the perfection of the garden, and our glory-filled future with the King who will come again. For me, this is totally exciting to remember and celebrate  every week. It’s also a fantastic teaching opportunity for our kids, and any guests we have over. We use flavours, colours, candles, beauty, and wine to experience God’s goodness with all the senses.

I think in our work and deed addicted society, this is a massively important statement. Often, I get the impression that we have a tendency to worship ourselves. Too easily we throw God off his throne, and replace him with an “I do, therefore I am” identity.

This year, we’ve included shutting off all of our media and electronics over the Shabbat. We found that the constant beeps, buzzes, and music was crowding away the peace. I don’t think we will ever go back.

I long for the Shabbat now. Our week has a momentum, like a continual upward direction and anticipation that is satisfied from Friday to Saturday evening. It reminds me of the great yearning all of creation has for the King to return, for Heaven to come down, and for everything to be at peace and put right again.

We LOVE our Shabbats.
 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Life Lived Intentionally | www.maplealps.com

If you could give one piece of advice about stopping to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?


When you make something a habit, it becomes second nature. Habits take time. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with structure, and my nature rebels against “rules”. The good thing is, is that “stopping” can be developed over time. Take it slow, but try and try again.

My suggestion is pick a day that works best for you. Perhaps it’s a Sunday rather than a Friday to Saturday night - but I have to admit we love celebrating the end of the week, so beginning Friday evening rocks. Once you have a day, try it out. Invite friends over, or don’t, shut off all of your electronics. Shutting down and stopping is amazing, you’ll be addicted. If you decided to turn something on and check, don’t feel condemned or bad about it. Make it a you and God day - a weekly vacation.

Remember, it’s not a rule to bring death, but a guideline to show you how to truly live. I think that’s why the Shabbat is so important to God, because it’s so good for us.

 

Find Dani on Instagram, Facebook, and on Pinterest


 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Crystal Whitlow

Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

Today for Intentionality Spotlight, we talk to Crystal Whitlow about starting a business, resources she uses, and how she stays motivated and preserves balance in her life!

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Crystal Whitlow | www.maplealps.com

First some easy stuff: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, passions and interests?

Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog! I’m so happy to be here and talk about my life as a graphic designer and creative entrepreneur.

I currently call Kansas City my home and have grown fond of the Midwest culture.

During the day I work for Champion, the collegiate clothing company, and at night I spend my hours building up my creative profile through my online blog CW Design, Etsy shop, and Spoonflower store. I’m excited to turn my side hustle into a full-time adventure in the next few weeks.

I love being a graphic designer. I think of it as my super power! I see how good design as the power to motivate people to buy goods and build organizations. I enjoy studying marketing and how I can help grow my own business and help other businesses with my knowledge.

Outside of business ventures, I love paper crafting. I have a Silhouette Cameo machine that I absolutely love. A Silhouette Cameo is a machine that can read illustration files and cut them out of paper. It saves a bunch of time so that I can make many fun crafts for parties, Sabbath School, holidays and home decor.

Until now I have only made cut files for myself. Starting in June 2018, my mom and I will be opening an Etsy shop together to sell craft files.  It is our goal to inspire other people to flex their creative muscles to make their own projects. 

 
Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Crystal Whitlow | www.maplealps.com
 

You are a talented graphic designer and crafter. Were these always interests of yours and did you always want to go the entrepreneur route? How did you decide to start CW Design?

I definitely feel that I was born to be a creative entrepreneur. I have always enjoyed my art classes more than any other subject, and it’s a skill set that I have always felt more confident in.

I was the type of kid who would sell my holiday candy to my classmates in elementary school... until my dad found out and told me to stop. So, I have always been entrepreneurial minded. I love the thought of having control over my work schedule and finding my own opportunities to grow in my career.  I believe that I will feel more satisfaction through running my own business than working for someone else.

 
Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Crystal Whitlow | www.maplealps.com
 

As an entrepreneur, I imagine you have to be quite disciplined in certain areas. How do you stay organized and motivated? What are some resources that have helped you with this?

Having discipline is easier some weeks than others. I often struggle with feeling burnt out, and that I’m not achieving enough. What helps me the most is to take my goals and break them down into smaller goals, so I  feel like I am moving in the right direction.

For example, when I start freelancing, I will obviously need clients. So, I take the goal of finding clients who would benefit from hiring a graphic designer on a monthly retainer and try to find networking opportunities in my area. I can search on Meetup.com, Chamber of Commerce events, and co-working/office rental buildings. By physically showing up and making connections will lead to this goal. I can use Facebook Groups for Entrepreneurs and Upwork.com for online referrals.

I think giving myself permission, not to overwork is healthy too. It’s easy to get so wrapped into working on tasks and projects that it takes discipline to walk away from it too. I think it’s safe to say that overworking will lead to burn out too.

Most of all I focus on my main goal - Successfully running my own design studio and designing a lifestyle that financially provides for my family and creates new opportunities.  Naturally, I’m pretty driven toward making this goal happen.

Tools I use that make my life easier are:

I have a pretty cheap budget, so I keep things pretty simple. I would like to invest in Skillshare to learn new skills and other training workshops for small businesses. However, I feel that there is enough free information already available to learn new skills without having to pay for them. I really enjoy spending time in libraries vs paying for an online course.

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Crystal Whitlow | www.maplealps.com

 

What is one other specific area in your life you find that intentionality is absolutely critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?

Balance. There is a time to work, time to rest, and time to reflect. I think having another hobby that isn’t design related is healthy for my mind. I love fitness, so I enjoy starting off my day with weight training and running in the evening. (On an ideal day.) I recently just signed up for my first half marathon, so that helps me to get moving from my stationary career.

After my morning workout, I love to take a few minutes to write in my prayer journal. Writing my prayers helps me organize all my wandering thoughts, and gives me peace in how I feel and what is going on in my life.

Mindfulness to me is being aware of how I feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s impossible to be mindful when running around trying to accomplish the next goal. Within all the noise in my head reminding me of the tasks I need to do and new ideas I should try, I remember that God said in Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Therefore, I don’t think that the term “mindfulness” only applied to yogis and Eastern Religions. I believe that God calls everyone to be still. Whether that be in meditation, prayer/ prayer journaling, stretching or nature walks etc., God knows that we need a balance of work and rest for a healthy life.

It’s not always easy, but with God’s grace, I can try my best for Him.

 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Crystal Whitlow | www.maplealps.com

 

If you could give one piece of advice about [this area of intentionality] to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?

My advice for someone who is struggling with intentionality is to find a way they enjoy helping others. When someone understands how they can help someone it gives them a sense of purpose and passion. Everyone has their own skill set that can be used to bless others and be beneficial. If someone doesn’t know what their skill set is, I suggest trying new classes, figure out what you enjoy doing for fun, and think how you can take the joy to help someone else.

For example, I really enjoy hand lettering, but more so, I enjoyed encouraging other people to be creative too. So, I began teaching hand lettering workshops with the focus that, honestly, anyone can hand letter, even if you have bad handwriting!

 

You can find Crystal at her blog, CW Design, and on Instagram!


 

Homemade Seedy Bread

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps8 Comments

Since it's been a while since I've talked about my everyday staples, I decided to share another bread recipe. 

You may have been around when I talked about why I don't buy bread anymore, and if not, that's okay. You can check it out here

Easy Seedy Bread | www.maplealps.com

If you follow along on Instagram, you might know that we've slowly been making the transition to a homemade pantry. Over the past year, it's been so satisfying to add things that I used to never think twice about buying. Things that were staples, but never knew how easy and how much healthier (and cheaper!!) they were to make. Bread is one of those things, and since we eat it so often, it was only natural to make the switch. This year, I hope to share more of the things we learned, but back to this deliciousness that is this bread!

Easy Seedy Bread (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

I like to rotate the bread recipes I make, but this one is so far my favourite. The texture is perfect, and I love the crispy outside. Sure, it takes a while to get everything done, but it's worth every long rise it goes through. That being said, it's very easy, just time consuming. 

We love eating this plain, or with homemade spread!

Easy Seedy Bread | www.maplealps.com

Easy Homemade Seedy Bread
Makes 2 Small Loaves

Bread Dough:
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp liquid honey (or agave if vegan)
1 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1 cup large flake oats
3 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I have also used whole wheat pastry flour with great success)
1 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
1 tsp sea salt
1 TBSP of each and mixed: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds 

Preferment:
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1) The night before baking the bread make the preferment. In a large bowl, mix together the bread flour, water and yeast until a smooth small dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature overnight. The preferment will double in size by morning.

2) Measure out 1/4 cup of warm water in a glass measuring cup. Add the yeast and honey. Mix to combine and then allow the mixture to sit, undisturbed for 5 minutes or until the mixture is foamy on top.

3) Add 1 1/4 cups of warm water to a bowl. Add the oats and flax and allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes.

4) After 5 minutes, add both the yeast mixture and the oat mixture to the bowl with the preferment from the night before. Add the flours and salt.  

5) Mix and start kneading on the counter. You will have to knead for about 5 minutes (unless you have a stand mixer, but it's a great work out!). If the dough seems sticky, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it looks the way you would like. Add 3 tablespoons of the mixed seeds and mix until combined.

6) Grease the bowl you mixed the dough in and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for at least 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

7) Preheat oven 450 degrees F. Place a large dutch oven with the lid on in the oven on the centre rack. You may also use a pizza stone (or baking sheet) if that's all you have.

6) Punch the dough down and place it onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough a few times with your hands and then form the dough into a rough oval shape (if needed, you can divide the dough in half and make two loaves). Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes.

8) After 20 minutes, use a sharp knife to gently make a small slit down the center of the loaf. 

9) Carefully remove the hot dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. Very carefully, pick the dough up by the parchment paper and lift it into the hot dutch oven (parchment and all). Place the hot lid back on the pot and return to the oven.

10) Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. Using oven mitts, remove the hot lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep, golden brown, about 15-20 minutes more. Remove from the oven. Carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Easy Seedy Bread (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

Have you tried making your own homemade bread? I wish I could start it from the ground and grow the grain myself too!


Skincare Essentials: 5+ Important Tips to Note

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps10 Comments

When it comes to skincare, there’s so much to do, and it can all get a bit overwhelming and difficult to implement. Thankfully, here’s a quick guide to help you sort it out better. Follow these simple and actionable steps to make sure you’re treating your skin the right way! Read on...

Skincare Essentials: 6 Important Tips to Note | www.maplealps.com

 

Cleanse

This one’s a no-brainer and an absolute must. Use a good quality face cleanser well suited to your skin type to cleanse your face- the simplest yet most effective way to tackle acne, skin irritations, inflammation, dark spots and almost all other types of skin problems.

 

Hydrate

Hydration is an important daily essential when it comes to skincare. Depending on your skin type, choose from an oil based moisturizer or a water based moisturizer and make sure you use it religiously.

 

Exfoliate

Exfoliation is another skincare essential most people tend to ignore. A weekly face scrub could help remove the layer of dead skin cells from the surface and unclog pores, allowing your skin to breathe.

SKINCARE ESSENTIALS: 5+ Important Tips to Know; Guestpost | www.maplealps.com

 

Nourish

Believe it or not, your skin needs a good dose of nourishment atleast once a week, even if your skin isn’t really that oily. Exposure to dirt and pollutants tends to sap the essential nutrients and moisture in the skin, and leaves it dry and undernourished. Using natural oils such as avocado oil and coconut oil is associated with tons of skin benefits. Infact, you could also try using castor oil for acne- it could nourish the skin and tackle outbreaks at the same time!

Detox

It isn’t just your body- your skin is also exposed tons of chemicals and pollutants on a daily basis, which is why, it needs a detox too. Make it a point to wash your face at least thrice a day, remove all traces of makeup before sleeping and indulge in an occasional steam to detoxify your skin naturally.

 

Rejuvenate

Every once in a while, don’t forget to treat yourself to a nice face mask packs in alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that give the skin a good dose of nutrients and powerful enzymes that rejuvenate it, giving you that bright, glowing look!


Enozia: Writer. Editor. Naturopath. Social Media Cupcake. Animal Lover.
Connect with Enozia:
FacebookTwitter

This was a guest post by Enozia Vakil, who blogs at her lifestyle blog, Beauty Junction Online 

If you are interested in guest posting, check out the guest posting guidelines for Maple Alps, here.