Maple Alps

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?


 

Finding God In Your Every Season

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV)

 

I have had many seasons in my life. My guess is, so have you. I’m not talking Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall - though we’ve likely all experienced our share of these. My favourite thing about God is that everything He does has a purpose - down to the times of the year. We see object lessons if we look, and amazing truths can be discovered. The same could be said in each season we find ourselves in.

In the last 4 years alone, I’ve found myself in so many different ones: as unemployed, as a graduate student in a city where I knew no one, as a newlywed pastor’s wife and homemaker, as a part-time teacher’s aide, and now as a full-time teacher juggling many responsibilities. This one is extremely busy. Each season has been trying in their own way and some were even satisfying and fulfilling, but in every one of them, I’ve come to learn that true contentment that comes only from the Lord. I have also learned that even though it is difficult at times to see, God is in every season.

Each differs and some seasons last longer than others, but one thing remains constant; the love of God and the fact that we need Him. How amazing that God wants to be near us in everything we go through!

Finding God In Your Every Season | www.maplealps.com

In seasons of closeness with God, delight in Him and savour His presence (see Psalm 37:4).

In seasons of doubt and drought, remember the delight you found in God’s presence, and cling to Him (see Psalm 77:11).

In seasons of busy-ness, find quiet times to be restored. Remember that your life exists not without the Creator (see Isaiah 40:28).

In seasons of God-gifted love, remember that God is Love, and we can only love the way He loves when we love Him with our whole heart (see 1 John 4:8).

In seasons of hunger, remember that Jesus is the bread of life (see John 6:35).

In seasons of disappointment, rely not on your feelings. The heart is deceptive...who can know it (see Jeremiah 17:9)? Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

In seasons of uncertainty, hold fast to the promise that God is the same yesterday, today and forever (see Hebrews 13:8).

In seasons of searching, seek for the Lord (see Deuteronomy 4:29)!

In seasons of longing, remember that God is the strength of your heart (see Psalm 73:26).

In seasons of shame, remember that Christ restores (see Psalm 51).

In seasons of contentment, thank God for His many blessings, and share them with others (see Psalm 9:1)!

In seasons of discontent, remember that God will never leave you and is all that you need (See Hebrews 13:5).

In seasons of discouragement, remember that God’s grace is sufficient (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).

In seasons of confusion, remember the truth will set you free (see John 8:32).

In seasons of anxiety, remember that God has everything under control (see Matthew 6:25-34).

In seasons of joy, rejoice! This is the day the Lord has made! (see Psalm 118:24).


 

What seasons are you experiencing in your life right now?


 

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Health, TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Traveling is an amazing thing. Seeing the world and experiencing different cultures and landscapes and places can be a good way to shake things up a little. Of course, when we shake things up a little too much, our body sometimes suffers as well. There is nothing worse for me than getting sick on a trip, or right after one. Here are a few things I do to keep myself as healthy as possible, even through the stress of traveling.

This post contains affiliate links

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling | www.maplealps.com
 

Eat As Close to Your Normal Healthy Diet as Possible

Don’t go from eating smoothies and kale salads to cheese fondue for breakfast every day for a week. I mean, you could, but your body might try to rebel and the results may not be pretty. I may or may not be speaking from experience. ;-) It won’t always be possible to eat your exact normal diet, but try.

 

Get Enough Sleep

It is definitely hard to get enough sleep during the holiday season or traveling. Friends and family may be in town, and parties are happening left and right. Do your best to get as much sleep as you can. I find that even a weekend of too little sleep leaves me feeling pretty awful and makes for a very long week. If you are traveling to a different time zone, you can use a small amount melatonin to help get you out of jet lag quicker. Note that melatonin is not a long term fix for sleep problems.

 
 

Choose Healthy Alternatives

While packing your own snacks is a health and money saver, when traveling for longer periods of time, it is often necessary that you stop for sustenance. Try to plan ahead by creating a meal plan for your vacation. The best thing for your wallet is finding a local grocery store to stock up on healthy foods and even meals. Of course, not everyone stays in facilities that allow you to cook your own meals, so thankfully, many fast food places and restaurants (and even grocery stores!) have started offering healthy options on their menus that you can take advantage of as well.

 

Drink Water

Water is so important! Staying hydrated will help keep you healthy! I pack my own water bottle and fill it up whenever there is an opportunity to so that I don’t have to buy giant, heavy, and often expensive, packs of water. Seriously, having to pay $4+ for a bottle of water is not fun when you are thirsty. I have actually experienced not even getting free water on a 6+ hour plane ride, so don’t assume you’ll get some on flights sometimes. If you do take a water bottle on a flight in you carry on, be sure it’s empty before you go through security. Yikes. By the way, you will also want to keep your skin hydrated with all the stress of travel.

 

MOVE!

If you regularly exercise (which you should be!), don’t let your habits go completely out of the window when you travel. If you’re staying in a hotel, there is a chance they have a fitness area where you can set aside some time to exercise. If not, Youtube is full of at home workouts that require no equipment and that cane be done in 20 minutes or less! Phone apps too. Walking will also help keep you active - especially when you have to sit for hours during the traveling process in trains, planes, and other automobiles. Just make sure you pack some good sneakers and gear!

 

Be Prepared

Be prepared for whatever conditions you will be facing. If you’re going to be having fun in the sun, make sure you pack a water bottle and sunscreen and a hat! Pack warm clothing for chilly weather. Borrow from hosts if you need to, by the way. We went to Canada and couldn’t pack our snow gear in our suitcases, so we borrowed from some cousins! Bring some immunity boosting vitamins and stuff to keep you clean. Pack a small first aid kit with some basic needs. You get the idea. Being prepared will help you stay healthy - or help you when you aren’t as successful.

 
 

What are some of the ways you stay healthy while traveling? Any other tips?


 
travel maple alps
 

How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans

Recipes, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I love the versatility of garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas)! You can put them in a salad, roast them in the oven to make a quick snack, have them in a bowl or even crush them to make a spread or burgers. Beans of any sort are great to keep in the pantry, and if you are trying to save money on groceries, a fantastic way to do that is to buy beans dry! They keep a long time, and they are easy to prepare and freeze if you want to keep them on hand. Plus, if you have concerns about the sodium content in canned beans, dried is the way to go! Canned or not, you definitely need beans in your diet, so I decided to do a quick "how to" post to help you out. 

How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans | www.maplealps.com

This how-to really applies to any bean and there are several ways to cook them. 

Step One: Sort
Check your beans for any broken fellows or other debris or stones you may find in a dry bag of beans. You will want to get all of that out.

Step Two: Rinse
Pretty self-explanatory.

Step Three: Soak
Now, soaking is optional actually! The thing about soaking is that it will cut your actual cooking time down (Saving you on gas/electricity - whatever your stove runs on), and it will also make beans less of a "musical fruit," as it helps break down some of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. The easiest way to soak beans is overnight. Just make sure water is about 2-3 inches above them and sleep the night away. Waiting is easier then. You can also do a quick soak by putting them in a pot with water, bringing it to a boil, and then taking them off the heat and let them soak for an hour.

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com
How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Four: Cook
Again, make sure there is 2-3 inches of water covering your beans and bring the pot to a boil - slowly though. Bring the pot to a simmer, and stir occasionally, scraping off any foam that on the surface (you won't get too much with garbanzos). You will know your beans are done when they are tender (you can mash or poke them with a fork - or eat one like I tend to do....hehe)

Those weirdly shrivelled things do come out plump and juicy - as long as you don't overcook them. 

Now, I did mention you could cook them in several different ways. Some other ways I know of (let me know how you cook beans in the comments!) are:

  • in a pot in the oven

  • in a slow cooker (my favourite method - I just turn it on before work and I have cooked beans when I get home for dinner!)

  • in a pressure cooker

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Five: Store
Beans will stay good in the refrigerator for several days, but I like to keep them in the freezer for easy and quick access. They will stay several months in the freezer. I suppose you could can them as well, but I personally like the freedom with how many I want to use with the freezing method. I don't always use an entire jars worth.

Yay! You are now ready to save time (with some planning, of course) and money!

 

How do you cook your beans? What do you cook with them?


 

Just Graduated? No Job? Do These 9 things.

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

You have graduated! Congratulations! The hat has been flung and the diploma [cover] is in your hand - don’t worry, the real thing will come in the mail later, hehe! As a postgrad, you know the struggles of staying up late to finish that paper or study for that test. You’ve practiced for hours to perform the perfect jury, and you’ve learned to avoid 7 a.m. classes. You have also gone through the struggle of deciding on your major and perhaps you were like me and changed it three times! Now you are standing at the entrance of the work world, fresh out of university, with most jobs wanting 3 years of experience.

I know what it’s like to not have a job after graduation. Heck, I’ve been there twice! But all is not lost when in that situation. It can be frustrating if your dream job isn’t opening itself up to you right away, but here are a few things you can do in the meantime:

Just Graduated? No Job? Do These 9 things. | www.maplealps.com


 

1) Be Open

Widen your search parameters. Rather than focusing on your ideal job, focus on the one that fits your interest scope. Don’t settle for a job you don’t like, but be open to the unexpected. Who knows? Maybe that entry-level job that you were not really looking forward to will really open your eyes to a passion you never knew you had! You might even end up working in countries or place you never thought possible!

 

 

2) Stick to a Schedule

Stay on top of those applications and be timely in it. Dedicate certain days to do hardcore job searching so that you don’t lose momentum. Rather than sitting and waiting (because you never know when someone will get back to you), use your time wisely. Do activities that will increase your chances of landing work.

 

 

3) Reach out to your Network

This one does not come easily to me, so it may not for you. If need be, stick your neck out! I’m sure you have heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” and that truly is an accurate statement at times! Send out an email to a trusted advisor, or meet someone in your same field over coffee. Don’t be afraid to make that phone call. Sometimes, jobs aren’t always listed and you can get the scoop on some of those! If nothing else, you can solidify relationships along the way.

 

 

4) Practice Your Skills - Or Build New Ones

Now that you are unemployed, it is a great time to practice your skills! This is actually how Maple Alps was born - during a season of unemployment! You may not have employment, but now is a great time to add tools to your toolbox that will make you a top rate hire! Focus on things that are of interest to you that can help you get a job in your field. If you’re interested in writing, start a blog! If you want to do photography, why not hone in on your graphic design skills? Learn calligraphy. Take some online courses. Do something you love. Pursue both professional and personal passions (loving that alliteration!)!

 

Related: Fun Creative Ways to Learn New Things (Without Going Back to School)

 

5) Finetune your Resume

Make sure your resume is gold. I’m sure it is already up there, but put in some extra effort to tailor your resume to the job you are applying to. Spend some time on it, making sure you take off any irrelevant information, and highlight the things that make you shine!

 

 

6) Reevaluate Your Finances - Or Make A Plan

Unemployment doesn’t usually bring in the big bucks. If you are in this boat, and especially if you have student loans you still need to pay off, it may not be the best idea to use up your cash reserve unnecessarily. Make a plan - whether that means learning how to cook more meals, not going to Target, or even getting a roommate. It looks different for every person. Evaluate your priorities so you will feel more comfortable and more in control of your situation.

 

 

7) Consider an Internship or Volunteering

I know, I know, you want to make money and many internships are not paid - and neither is volunteering. That is okay. Make the best out of interning/volunteering by logging hours, networking, and developing your professional skills. Wake up, dress up, and show up!

 

 

8) Stay Positive

It is easy to get frustrated with not having a job. I know, because I’ve been there plenty of times. You may not get your dream job right away, and what you thought was your dream job may not end up being all you thought it was going to be. Stay positive in your season of unemployment. And take care of yourself. Enjoy it, and use the best of the time! There may come a day when you will miss the freedom you had.

 

 

9) Pray About It

Be intentional about everything you do in this season, including praying about your situation. A hard prayer I prayed when unemployed was closing doors if it wasn’t the right place for me to be. Closed doors happened, but when the right door was opened, it was truly the perfect fit. Praying about it and doing the above 8 things, rather than being discouraged when years of unemployment went by, helped me stay faithful and hopeful that all was happening for the best. When I look back at that now, I can see it - even though it was hard for me at the time.

 

 

 


Did you get a job right out of college? What's your story? I'd love to know!