Maple Alps

intentionality

Teaching or Blogging?

Ask Amanda, Blog, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments
Ask Amanda: Teaching or Blogging? | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: Do you want to keep teaching or is your goal to make your blog a full time job?

 

Well, at this time, I definitely don’t see me making blogging a full-time thing. I do love teaching. I’ve always wanted to teach, so as much of a headache as it is sometimes, it really is a dream come true to be able to do so now. 


Because of my husband’s work as a pastor, however, we are prone to move around every few years. In fact, if you’ve been following along on Instagram and if you subscribe to the Good Intentions Guide, you know that we recently made a transition. I have started a new position in this fall teaching middle school math, which really excites me since I do love math!


If in the case there is no school where we move, I would definitely consider switching to blogging full-time if I could or had to. Blogging is a really fun and a great creative outlet for me and I enjoy it (which is probably why I go through the effort to keep Maple Alps running during the school year). If the opportunity arose to blog full-time, I would seriously consider it, though I wouldn’t want my fun hobby to become stressful because of the pressure to make an income... 


I have actually recently begun to extend Maple Alps. Maple and Math will be a branch of Maple Alps launching completely very soon aimed towards intentional teachers!

One thing I try to live by in my life is always making sure that everything I do glorifies God. Whether that be teaching children or serving my blog audience, I want Him to be glorified first and foremost!



 

 

 

On Adding Value

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

The other night, my husband turned to me and said the sweetest thing:

“You add value to my life.”

It really got me thinking. I’m always trying to be intentional about what I add to my life, but am I intentional about what I add to the lives of those around me?

I’d like to think that that I always try to be considerate and intentional with my interactions, but sometimes it’s easy to let our words or behaviour slip through the cracks. Today, I want to explore a few broad guidelines to keep in mind when interacting with others intentionally that will help you add value to their lives.

On Adding Value to Others | www.maplealps.com

Consider Your Words

This may be obvious, but being careful of the words we choose is important. Do we inspire and encourage, or do we mock and tear down? Are our words too few or too many? Are we too quick to speak or accuse?

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)

It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19, ESV)

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.(Proverbs 17:5, ESV)

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

(1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)

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

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.(Proverbs 17:28, ESV)

 

Consider Your Actions

Think about your actions and interactions. What we DO is louder than what we SAY. How do we treat others and how might they perceive our actions? How do we act even when we don't think others are watching (by the way, someone is always watching). Do our actions stem from our hearts - or do we just "act good" without having our heart in it?

Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5, ESV)

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:23-25, ESV)

 

Consider Service

What do we do for others that can add value to their lives? It could be as simple as a smile, a hug, a cup of tea. Maybe some time together sharing that cup of tea. Do we meet greater needs too? Do we have an ear that listens, an eye that pays attention to basic needs that need to be met...simple consideration for others? We may tell someone that Jesus loves them, but do we show them Jesus' love?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17, ESV)

 

Consider Everything

What you put into your life, you’ll get [and give] out. I think I'll just let Paul finish off this one:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, ESV)

 

How do others add value to your life? How do you try adding value to others?


 

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word

Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Readers. I am so excited today to introduce you to Naida, of Meaningful Word! I met her a few years ago at an expo and fell in love with her designs. We even have some of her work on a couple of tees we own! She has a true gift of making words come to life! I won’t say much more other than her story moved me, and I can’t wait to share it will all of you today!

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word | www.maplealps.com

First some easy stuff, tell us a bit about yourself. What is your
work, your passions and interest?


Hello, I’m Naida. I’m a Melbourne based Graphic Designer and Illustrator with a passion to create colourful pieces and experiences. When I’m not drawing or thinking about design concepts, you’ll find me taking photos, finding new brunch locations or exploring nature with like-minded individuals.



I absolutely love your work! How did you get started with art and ultimately Meaningful Word and your shop?

Thank you, I’ve always loved to draw ever since I was young. When I think about my art journey it took me a while to understand that 1 - this ability was a gift from God, and 2 - that it can be use for the church and ultimately for His glory.

The first time I ever thought of God having a part in that area of my life was when I was in high school. It was Friday night during lifegroup when the youth pastor said “Praise God” after I told the group about an award I received. I was brought up in the church, but I didn’t have a relationship with God so I was unsure why she said it. It actually rather annoyed since I did all the work – Silly me.

Fast forward to my final year of University where I focused all my attention on getting a job after I graduate because the design industry can be very competitive. It’s not just about having an amazing folio, but your industry experience and who you know that sets you apart. It’s funny how scripture says ‘Man may plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9) – because this was very much the case for me. I landed an internship with a design studio in the city where I got to work on some exciting projects for clients like Melbourne Fashion Week, Australia’s Next Top Model and for other up-coming fashion designers in Australia – It was a dream!

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word | www.maplealps.com


I had a lot of fun and learnt a whole lot, however, the more projects and more time I surrounded myself in that atmosphere, the more I found myself changing and what little connection I had with God was fading. I was in a dream role, but something wasn’t right and I was watching many things fall apart. But little did I know that God was working on me – out of the mess He was able to make something beautiful. I had to see all my plans crumble, to be at a point where I was left alone crying to God for Him to speak comfort into my life and redirect my path. He was asking me to surrender my career to Him.

Thus then Meaningful Word and a new career path were born as a result of my encounter with God. Meaningful Word started as a small challenge for myself to memorise verses – hoping that if I spent enough time and make it look visually appealing enough, I’d store it somewhere in my mind. It was also a means to create something for God rather than what I was doing in the past (helping the rich get richer, and creating things that looked beautiful, but had no substance to it). God was asking me to trust in Him and to use the gift He had given me back to Him to help others. Ever since then I’ve seen first-hand the fruits of surrendering to God. When you give it to Him, He blesses it, multiplies it and lets it be a blessing to others. I had planned my own way, but God’s plan exceeded it all – far more than I could have hoped for, and for the better.


I love how your art really brings Biblical truths and stories to life. Where do you get the inspiration for it? Is it hard, or does it come easily?

Well I guess it comes naturally. The verses, quotes or stories I post are actual reflections and thoughts from my devotionals that week – the things I’ve read, heard or experienced. I like to post scripture because I truly believe that the messages in it are just as relevant now as they were then. I just love how Hebrews 4:12 describes the word as ‘living, powerful, sharper than any two-edge sword’ and is a ‘discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ – yep, still relevant!

My process starts with the message/text and then I consider what are the key parts of the text that I what to highlight. Vibrant colour palettes, patterns and nature drive my style and approach on each piece I create.

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word | 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?

Investing my time wisely. This is in the form of time with God, time I spend with others and on my health and wellbeing.

Devotional time is super important for me because I just know I’m going to have a lousy day if my priorities aren’t right. Time with others is investing in solid relationships and to also empower the next generation. I’m a strong advocate that the Creative Arts has a place and can be used for the church – we need to encourage this more!  We all have a talent that can we used for God, we just have to give it back to Him.

And lastly, rest. In the past I used to think that ‘resting’ is for the lazy, but God has shown me that rest is just as important. Our mind, body and soul need to recover, and the best way I like to rest is on the Sabbath in nature with others – far, far away from a computer screen.


If you would give one piece of advice about {this area of intentionality} so someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?

Ensure that your relationship and time with God is your first priority, because the rest follows. Start small. It’s not always easy to know where to even begin and yea, you may find you don’t want to pray or read your bible, but the beautiful thing about God is He meets you where you are. Start small, and have a conversation. Open your heart and ‘taste and see’ His goodness - you will not be disappointed. Start small & be consistent – After all, habits are formed in 30 days.



Find Naida at her Etsy shop or on Instagram


 

5 Ways to be Intentional About Your Phone Usage

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

Phone usage has been a hot topic since…..well, since phones came out. Studies and scares about phone radiation are always talked about and campaigns against texting and driving produce thought-provoking, heart-wrenching television ads. Not to mention all of the studies about how your phone is the most disgustingly nasty germ infested electronic you own. I see my phone as a necessary “evil.” I need it to call my mom, and it’s required for work, but sometimes I find myself unnecessarily using it (like adding simple numbers...what?!) and giving it time I will never get back. There have been moments I’ve wanted to throw my phone out of the window. Let me explain:

5 Ways to be Intentional About Your Phone Usage | www.maplealps.com

One thing that really hit me was realizing that I hardly know anyone’s phone number by heart anymore. In school, I remember memorizing my best friend’s number (I still have it memorized to this day!), but I don’t remember the last time I had to actually punch in a number.

I also rely on my phone too much to remind me of things. While this is fantastic, and I would have had to write it down anyway, I can’t help but feel that my brain is shrinking (okay, it's probably not...) when I don’t want to remember a simple task or take the time to write down a particularly great quote I want to remember.

The last thing: simple math. I’ve recently started being more intentional about NOT using my calculator app to figure out simple discounts in the store. I make my students figure out 20% of a number all the time, so I figured I should start practicing what I teach! Besides, that way when they ask when they will ever use it in real life, I could reply, “Well, I just did it Tuesday when I needed to figure out the tip for my hairdresser!” That’s logical, right?


 

Limit your mindless scrolling

Endless scroll through Instagram or Facebook can be an addictive, dangerous trap! Set a timer if you must, or limit your social media usage to a desktop version. It is amazing how much time goes by when you decide to scroll through social media on a phone.

 

Take advantage of do not disturb

There are these fantastic settings most phones have: a do not disturb and airplane mode option! Take advantage of it during quiet moments, driving moments, or if you’re like me, use airplane mode before sleeping or taking a nap.

 

Do not let your phone be the first thing you check when you wake up

Start your day right. Phone notifications can be a stressful thing! If the first thing you see are you unread messages and emails, your mind will go right to those tasks rather than making sure your morning is quiet and sacred. I like to think of it this way: I want to read God’s Word before I read any of man’s word.

 

Don’t let your phone be the last thing you look at before you sleep

Be strict with when you end your phone time. Put your phone away at least an hour before you go to sleep. This will allow you to unwind, relax, and maybe even get to that stack of books on your nightside table. Maybe have a quality pillow talk session with your spouse. Pray and connect with your loved ones before sleeping, not your phone.

 

Create a phone-free zone

When I was in college, I made my dorm room an English-free zone. My roommate and I were only allowed to converse in German. It was good for me. Having a phone-free zone has been good for me too. For me, it’s my bedroom. It took a LOT of convincing my husband (mostly because he uses his phone as that alarm clock), but we finally did it, and I am SO GLAD we did. You can read more about our experience here.

 


What sort of ways do you make sure you are using your phone intentionally? 


 
 

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. Before we even started dating, we knew we were in it for the goal of marriage - and if that didn’t happen, that was okay. But we didn’t see the point of even going through such an ordeal without a goal in mind. What good would that have been?


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 and developed 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 dynamic in a different post!


 


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