All Posts By

Krystal Irrgang

Well Being

When Being Perfect Isn’t Enough

Have you ever felt like you were the only one who didn’t have it all together? I know for me, I have tried it all. Eating healthier, running more, vacationing when I can and just making sure that everything is neat and tidy. For some reason, though, it all just doesn’t seem to be enough. I have been looking back at all that I have done to make things just right and I feel all wound up instead. My creativity becomes empty and I get discouraged. Lately, I have been really thinking about what it means to completely surrender. When the Bible talks about completely believing that Jesus is who He says He is, it means going all in.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – 1 John 5:5

There isn’t anything that we can do to be successful, presentable, or even great. I fear failure, just like anybody else, and somehow it has made me a rather stiff soul. It has made it harder to forgive not only others but myself. When it comes to taking care of ourselves, the most important thing we can do for our minds, bodies, and souls is look completely at Jesus and not our fears. Why?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6

Maybe you are discouraged. Is there a project you just can’t seem to get a head start on? Are you buried in mountains of work and forgetting things (I know I do)? Running out of steam? Not only is Jesus the only way to feel complete, He has Someone on “standby” just for you. He wants to see you succeed. He is excited for all that He has planned for you.

But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. – John 14:26

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Home Life

5 Packing Tips For That Next Move

Over the past couple of months, Chris and I have been working on buying a house. I might have mentioned that we were moving earlier, but now it is getting pretty real.  With it comes the packing part. Ya… not anyone’s favorite. It can be quite stressful just keeping up with all the paperwork and adjusting to the soon coming change. For the next month Chris will only be home on the weekends so I figured it was a good idea to get ahead on the packing since I would be doing it alone. Plus, I don’t want Chris to have to worry about it on the weekends. He has enough going on as it is.

Since this is our third move in the last 5 years, I thought I would share some things that I learned that can make packing easier. It definitely will take the stress out of moving day for sure! Anything I can do to make our lives a little less crazy. Here goes!

  1. Gather newspapers & boxes that others no longer need. I wanted to save as much money as possible with this move, so I started to save the coupon papers that are dropped at my front door once a week for free. I started doing this several months before we even started house shopping. I saved quite a big pile! You can also collect leftover newspapers from friends, work, or, like us, at our store front church. I saved our boxes from our last move so I didn’t have to gather as many this time, but I suggest finding some at book stores, groceries, and keeping any box you get from a delivery (we are Amazon Prime crazy around here).
  2. Sort through the closets, drawers, and hidden places, first. While we were waiting to see if our offer was going to be accepted and were able to sign on the dotted line, I thought I would move the process forward by going through my stuff that I didn’t want anymore.  At the time, I didn’t know if we would be moving in March so I figured that this had to happen either way. Who wants stuff around that they don’t use anyway?
  3. Pack what you don’t use all the time, second. Once we knew we were definitely moving, I started the process by going through each room and pulling out things that I won’t use in the next month or so. I worked my way from room to room, gathering everything into the least used space, like the dining room. I would set out a marker, tape, newspaper, and boxes before hand. Packing items in a different room seemed to help me. Knowing that the bedroom was empty as much as I wanted it to be made it feel like progress, instead of having it all in there during the frustrating task of packing.
  4. Take breaks in between packing. Maybe you already do this, but I find it hard to keep to this. I want to marathon through anything I set my mind to and it is hard to stop. I have found that taking little breaks in between packing during a particular day, helps. Even going a few days without packing has been helpful. I can focus on other things and get up the energy to pack again. It sometimes gives me inspiration of what to pack next and how. I like to keep similar items together in a box and so I strategize the size of a box and what can go in it. If you like Tetris, just think of packing like a game. Ha!
  5. Pack in advance. The first two steps I have done a month before moving. I can avoid just throwing random stuff in some box on moving day. It also helps me make sure the essentials are properly packed so that I don’t have issues locating them once we move. I will let you know how it goes after we move! It might seem overly zealous, but I like to plan these kinds of things because I don’t like to be overwhelmed. I can get easily anxious, so I get pretty determined in lightening the load of craziness. We also don’t have a ton of stuff because of all of our moves so don’t think I have some super power.

For everyone, it is different. These are just ways that have helped me and so I hope they at least spark ideas that work more with your way of doing things. I just have to say that God has been so good to us over the last few years with all of this moving! We have grown and come so close to God through all the changes. Even if it is hard to move, knowing that God is right there with us, helps.

Have any packing tips that have worked well for you in the past? Please share. And what about getting settled into your new home? Do you have any tips that I can try out in the next month?

Well Being

How God Showed Himself To Me

I don’t know about you, but I like to have deep relationships with those I care about. I like one-on-one conversations about dreams and goals. When it comes to my relationship with God, I still want this. The only thing is, I have found it harder to connect with Him and it has made me doubt. If you have a hard time too, what are some things that make it hard? One of the reasons why it has been hard for me is the fact that I can’t see His face. Seems basic, but as a visual person, it really affects me.

But you know what? God showed up. Let me show you how:

A few weeks ago I started studying more about the Holy Spirit and what His job is. I love studying about Him, but this one week was different. Chris and I are in the process of moving to a whole new place and it has been stressful not knowing where we should live. So when I found several Bible verses (1 Corinthians 2:9-13, Deuteronomy 18:18, Micah 3:8) explaining how the Holy Spirit gives out wisdom, knowledge, understanding and life… I honed in BIG time. I was like, “I need this!”

I started to practice requesting wisdom, based off of what I had been reading. I requested it in little decisions while working on creative projects. I requested it when making bigger decisions like buying a new car. Each step of the way I became more confident in the wisdom that God was giving us. Especially as we started house shopping in New York a few weeks ago.

While I would plead with God in the car for wisdom, after looking at houses that just weren’t making the cut, I found myself paying special attention to Him. I was on the lookout for His next move and the next thought He would inspire me with. I felt incapable of making decisions and totally inept in knowing how to express to our realtor what we wanted (I am horrible in verbal communication). I basically presented myself before God, saying “you do it God, I can’t.” When this happened, He showed up.

It came in simple ways. Like when I thought of a new way to filter houses online or all of a sudden could spell out our next move with our realtor. Or when, after speeding through this really overwhelming house, both Chris and I looked at each other and said, “I hate to admit it, but I kinda like that house,” and “you know, that place really fits all that we were looking for.”

You see, while I was requesting wisdom from God, He was giving me more than just the smarts, He was revealing to me how He works. What He does day in and day out. His creativity in timing and knowing exactly how to move my heart. You know how the wind is used to describe the Holy Spirit moving? Well, now I see more than wind. I am starting to see the hand of God over everything and in everything. He doesn’t just want to help us make right decisions, He wants to show us His presence. He wants me to see His face just as much as I want to see it.

Remember how Moses wanted to see the Lord on the mountain? And how God said he could only see His back? You see, God’s glory is so strong that it can kill us, in our sin, if we see His face. So He has to show Himself in other ways. In the last 2 months I have seen His “back” and it has made me more courageous in my prayers and confident in Him. No more crazy guessing about His will. No more wondering where He is and what He looks like. This verse couldn’t be more relevant right now:

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. – 1 Corinthians 2:9

I invite you to ask for His wisdom, because then you will see Him more powerfully than ever before.

Recipes

Cranberry Blueberry Smoothie

Lately, I have been pretty busy. For the past month I haven’t been home. I have been either visiting family for the holidays or up in NY looking for homes (Chris and I are in the process of moving). I have been wanting to be more intentional about getting more raw fruits and veggies into my diet, so I have been incorporating smoothies into my breakfasts. Smoothies are great because you can’t really give the excuse that you are missing an ingredient. You can pretty much make anything as long as you have some raw fruit, as well as, frozen fruit.

After being away for so long, I had to quickly go to the grocery store and grab a few things in between my other responsibilities. Since I didn’t plan much, but knew that I wanted fruit, I worked with what I had the next morning when I made my breakfast. I decided to share with you what I came up with.

This is what I had on hand:

Ingredients

  • handful of blueberries
  • handful of frozen cranberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1-2 tangerines
  • unsweetened almond milk
  • spoonful of peanut butter (optional)
  • honey, agave or maple syrup (optional)

Directions

You’ll want to put all the ingredients into a blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until it is smooth, or to your liking. I find that the easiest way to blend ingredients is to put the fresh fruit on the bottom and add the frozen fruit on top. I rarely have to use the plunger to help the blades along. Sometimes I put the peanut butter under a few ingredients so that it doesn’t stick to the sides.

You can definitely leave out the peanut butter if you want. I like to add peanut butter and almond milk for protein and extra nutrients. I used to use soy milk, but later learned that it can increase the amount of estrogen in my body and that is something I have been trying to avoid (I get migraines, check out my story). This has been one of the small steps towards making things better. I tried this recipe with and without sweetener. If you like tart, then leave out the sweetener. Otherwise add sweetener to your liking.  I listed sweeteners that the body tends to recognize better. Also, those cranberries can make your lips pucker!

So this doesn’t end here. I want to know if you tried it out and also if you made any changes to make it more awesome! Since cranberries are pretty seasonal and only really show up in stores around Thanksgiving (winter), I was excited to find frozen ones! That is probably the main reason why I wanted to share this recipe with you. Adding in something different to the mix is always fun!

Be sure to let me know in the comments what you are trying and if there is another recipe you like to use cranberries in. 🙂

Home Life

3 Parabin-Free, Non-Toxic, Clean Burning Candle Ideas

This winter is flying by for me, but it also has been pretty chilly! I love to have a good candle set out to bring a little extra warm and glow to the dark evenings. They always make things feel homey and welcoming for people, especially on Friday night when we are winding down from a crazy week.

Recently, I became aware of the harmful affects of parabin wax candles and so I have been on the look out for candles that let off better fumes. All those scents go straight into the brain from our smellers, so it is important to find something that our body recognizes. They can be a little pricey but it is definitely worth the investment!

I thought I would share 3 types of wax candles that are parabin-free, non-toxic, and clean burning! The first two I found at the original Yankee Candle store in western Massachusetts, and so they might be harder to find for some. I just want to give you an idea of the different types of wax that you can look for!

Bayberry Wax

This first one I was pretty excited to find! I am always on the look out for different natural waxes and this one was new. Bayberry wax comes from the fruit coat on a bayberry, which is boiled down until the coating floats to the top of the boiling water. It is skimmed off and then purified by remelting and filtering it. Bayberries, also known as wax myrtle, waxberry, or candle berry, grow on either a tree or shrub. The plant grows in several places along the east coast near the seashore. Pretty neat if you ask me. You can even make some yourself! I bought these dipped candles to have set out on the dining table during a special dinner. I figured that the simple scent wouldn’t deter anyone from eating. 🙂

Beeswax

This one you might know more about. Anytime you go to a historic museum or site, they have candle presentations made with beeswax. They are also easier to find in stores. You can find them at Target or on Etsy. I found this one at Yankee Candle and my parent’s gifted it to me for my birthday! Can’t wait to burn it. The scent is a gentle sweet smell. I would love to know more about whether or not you can get beeswax at a bee farm or not and make them from scratch!

Soy Wax

This one has also become a lot more popular these days. I think you can even find the wax in Michael’s to make your own. This particular candle is the only one in this post that is scented. There are several things you want to look for in determining if a candle is safe: 1. natural wax and 2. essential oils 3. non-lead wick 4. natural dyes. This particular kind made by Root, Seeking Balance, is made with essential oils and soy wax. They come in several different relaxing scents and have a wooden wick that crackles. I have gotten several of them from this big farmer’s market in Massachusetts. You can find them in gift stores or on the Root website.

I hope that these give you a little more info into what is out there for natural candles. No one coaxed me to advertise these and they are ones that I enjoy! If you know of any other candles that are parabin-free, non-toxic, and clean burning please let me know in the comments! I LOVE candles and it would be awesome to know about other resources. If I compile enough ideas and try them out, I will share them here in the future. 🙂

Well Being

What I Learned From Loosing My Photos

So I debated sharing this, but I thought what I learned from it could help others too.

About two weeks ago, my external hard drive with all of my photos on it, DIED. I had been meaning to back up everything onto another one and even online, but I didn’t do it. I was too busy. It made me cry crocodile tears and it felt like someone important to me had died. All of my work, as well as my memories, were gone. Just days before this happened, I had asked God to help me with letting go. To just stop me from thinking that I had everything in control. I am always so uptight and it was beginning to show.

So. What did I learn? Most importantly, God didn’t make my hard drive die. He wouldn’t do that to me. My work and my memories are important to Him. Since I learned quite a few things, here is a list:

  • God uses circumstances that occur, outside of His control, to show us how He is going to help.
  • Life still goes on when we loose our STUFF.
  • Printing and framing your photographs is pretty important, even though it is tedious.
  • We improve even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. 10 years ago I would have stopped taking pictures all together if this happened. Today, I am still snapping away despite my situation.
  • I feel more determined and confident in my photography because it took loosing my work to value it more.
  • Sometimes learning to let go only happens when you are forced into it.
  • Loosing pictures or possessions isn’t the end of the world, it’s not like someone close died.
  • God sometimes intervenes before we actually need the help, by preparing us for the struggle.
  • Faith takes letting go completely in SO many different areas that I never knew about.

Thankfully I have one more try at recovering these images. I found a company that charges a flat rate for retrieving photos and so I just have to send it in when I am ready to spend the money. Faith is a funny thing. That is really what this is all about. We can use all sorts of religious words to describe faith, but in the end it isn’t till we have to jump into it that we fully understand what it can do for us. Faith doesn’t get us into Heaven, like some might think. It just sets us free, cause honestly, we really don’t have control over much.

Here is an awesome quote I found on the internet:

“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” – Dwight L. Moody

Well Being

Needing A New Start?

Are you wishing for a do over? Feeling kind of embarrassed about how things went down in 2016? Maybe you are little skeptical about having a fresh start? Here we are coming into the new year and it can be so frustrating to make a plan, feel determined to see it through, and then fall flat on your face two days into the new year. It makes us skeptical about changing our lifestyles for the better or maybe seeing an issue through.

Here is the awesome thing. With God you get a million chances. Not only that He has given us so many promises that if we just give over our “stuff” to Him, He will give us what we are really after! Healthier bodies, motivated minds, and patient hearts. We can quit fighting ourselves and just let Him take care of the rest. Isn’t it so easy to just not even try when you know what will happen? I know it all too well.

Over the last few months I have been constantly asking God to help me surrender. I always need control in life and it makes me anxious. Not only has He shown me that beating myself up won’t help, but that He is changing my life one step at a time, bringing me closer to surrender. For some it might all happen in one step, for others, like me, it happens over time.

God just wants us to give Him a chance to help us. So if you feel like a failure or like you just can’t get anything right for the new year, know this:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:5

With Christ, you got this!

Relationships

4 Simple Ways To Help People This Holiday Season

During this holiday season, it can be pretty tough for a lot of folks. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in making sure you get the right gift for your kid or that you spend the right amount of time with everyone that you love. At the same time, it is also easy to forget those who kind of slip through the cracks. Those that usually end up spending the holidays alone, without any family. Maybe you are even someone who dreads spending the holidays in solitude. I thought it would be a good idea just to throw a few ideas out there that will remind us to think outside the box and be able to bring cheer to someone in the next couple of weeks.

Find someone else who is alone and have dinner together.

I know that it is easy for me to all start feeling sorry for myself and think I have it hard. At the same time, there are ways to combat this. We have the power to make a change and one way of doing that is reaching out and finding someone else who is also alone this season. If you have nothing else in common, this one thing will bind you. It might take courage, it might take guts. I know that any time I start thinking about others and what they need, it makes my woes not seem so bad. If you feel uncomfortable meeting them in their home alone, you can invite them out for dinner!

Send out personal messages to those needing encouragement.

Snail mail is not dead. I still love getting cards in the mail that are personal and took a little thought. Even if it’s a payment for a project I worked on, the little note included still makes a warm spot in my heart. Think about all those going through really tough times this season. Maybe you know someone who lost a loved one over the past year and this season is a painful reminder. Or maybe your friend lost their job and they need a little extra cash tucked in with a word of encouragement.

Offer to watch kids for a busy couple or single parent.

We all know that this time of year can get pretty crazy. Though I am not a parent, I am pretty sure that parents out there can attest to the fact that they just want to catch a break. Offering to watch a friend’s kids while they either go run errands or maybe spend time with their spouse or friends can be a simple way to lighten the load.

Practice being aware of simple needs around you.

Thinking about extravagant ways to make someone’s day or really be of help, can paralyze me sometimes. It prevents me from noticing the little moments that need care. Take time to just be aware of the little things around you that need help. Just the act of helping in a small way can make a big impact. It makes others feel extra special because you took the time to notice the details. When someone looks down and they end up opening up, offer to pray with them. Listen.

All throughout the Bible God has made it clear that helping others is a big priority. The widows, orphans, and poor are especially on His list of those we must care for. We shouldn’t just do it to make sure we are good people. I am beginning to understand that God wants us to make sure others are taken care of because He wants us to participate in His ministry. By participating He can make a big impact on lives that would otherwise not know Him. If God has blessed you in a mighty way and shown you His abounding mercy, doesn’t it just make you want others to know that love too? God wants to spread LOVE. Why not join in?

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:40

If you have any other helping ideas, please share with us in the comments!

Well Being

Migraines: My Journey Toward Recovery Pt.1

So I want to share with you guys a journey that I have been on for a while. I am doing it because I just experienced a breakthrough and I want to be able to share what I am learning in hopes that you can benefit from it. I know I am not alone in this journey.

So, for the last 10 years I have been struggling with hormonal migraines. Any of you in the same boat? I’ve tried lavender scented tea and candles, caffeinated beverages of all kinds, pain killers, cold/hot showers, sleeping, drinking lots of water, gluten free diets, progesterone cream, massages, days off, you name it. All in an attempt to ease the pulsing in my head, the foggy thoughts, and the feeling like I am pregnant, but clearly am not. It is kinda consuming and I feel overly obsessed about it. Which leads me to something I didn’t realize had anything to do with my prayer life. God is funny like that no? He just knows our deepest desires.

I have been writing my prayers out in a journal. I shared a while back about how I am easily affected by my feelings, how I need constant visual reminders that God and I did in fact talk. One such prayer that I always write, is that God will protect my marriage and our home. It is a weighted and powerful request. I don’t really pray that He will keep the thieves out. I pray more for His power to keep the evil spirits out. One such way that I know they try to come in, is through my mind. It can think some of the most ridiculous things that have the potential to destroy our home. God has granted my request each and every time I ask. I speak less fighting words when I do. In turn I feel even closer to my husband, Chris. It’s pretty legit. The kind that binds for good.

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While God has been doing His thing, making me a little more pleasant to be around, He has been creating this other desire in my heart. Because of my migraines, I can’t always be available. Sometimes it just makes me cranky. Other times I have a hard time processing information and getting work done. So when my friend, Hillary, asked if I would participate in a survey for a natural remedy course that she is taking, I jumped at it. I wanted in on getting better! When she got back to me, asking a few more questions about my symptoms and concerns, she said I should look up “estrogen dominance” and check back with her. You guys, you have no idea how happy I was to discover that this is a thing! I do most of my searches on Pinterest and BAM. The results were in. Well sort of.

I have to go through some major changes in order to rid myself of the excessive amount of estrogen in my body. Once I do that I have to reevaluate and take some blood work. I am nervous and glad at the same time. For so long I have struggled with mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue. I want to be able to offer more to my community, this ministry, as well as my home. And I don’t just want to keep these new developments to myself! I want to share the secrets to a whole life. At least in this situation. If I discover other beautiful healing things, I won’t hold back.

You know that verse that talks about protecting the gate to your heart? My neurobiology professor in college called the thalamus the gateway to the brain. Today, this gate is being strengthened. I am thankful.

Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23

Well Being

How To Define Personal Priorities

Lately I have been feeling like I have 5 arms that are getting stretched to the max. I love details and giving 100% to what I am doing but at the same time I feel like I am getting no where. I think I spend about 50% of my days at home worrying about getting everything done and feeling accomplished. My brain is one big fuzz pile. If a brain could be fuzzy that is. I don’t even have kids yet! Ugh… my time management is wacky and I can’t even keep a calendar.

Chris pointed out the other day that for someone who is so detail oriented and organized, I am all over the place. I haven’t made a full on meal for us in over a month. Chris works 50+ hours a week and so I should be able to make food, but he ends up doing it. He doesn’t mind, but he also sees my frustration. He knows that I am having a hard time keeping everything straight, as well as feeling tired and unhealthy. I can’t even relax once Sabbath comes.

So I figured out a few things that are really important this past Thanksgiving week.

  1. I cannot let go of any of the projects that I am currently involved with.
  2. Because of #1 I need to prioritize.
  3. I need to start becoming my own manager, cause clearly no one is going to do it for me!

I got out a dry-erase board and started to write things out that are important to me. I wanted to use something big to write on and not have the distraction of technology. I also wanted to figure out what days I was willing to work on personal projects. Here is how I was able to slim down my work load without having to get rid of a project:

  • Realize that what comes first is the home. Out of everything that I am involved in, the most important thing is my duty in the home. Since Chris works outside of the home three times as much as I do, I am responsible for making sure there is food in the fridge, clean clothes in the drawers, and that our cars are registered for the year. Making our environment a healthy place and making sure that the little details aren’t out of control helps ease the stress on him and makes our home a happier place.
  • Figure out which one of my projects could make the most impact for my family. I have 3 projects: a ministry, photography, and web design. All 3 are crucial and important to me, but with web design, I can visualize the financial goals and overall need around me. Photography I love and I would take photos of families everyday if I could, but it isn’t practical for others and is more of a luxury item. I want to continue making it affordable for families and so in turn it wouldn’t be overly sustainable for mine. With web design I can integrate 3 things that I love: photography, organization, and psychology. Lumping these all together leaves room for this ministry right here (EIG)!
  • Make a schedule & figure out what days I want to get these tasks done. I decided to use the Google Calendar because I have the app right on my phone and I can open it up quickly. I figured out that I didn’t want to post on Instagram every week day and that I would only post on my photography blog once a week. By looking at the calendar I was able to figure out what I could realistically do. Since I am just starting out and still have a part time job out of the home, I can’t do what other entrepreneurs are able to do. I leave my days off, besides Saturday for strictly these projects and home life.

Just by realizing what is most important, can really help us accomplish a lot in a smaller amount of time. It’s a process and definitely something that won’t take overnight to implement, but it can definitely make you feel more confident about the future. Do you feel overwhelmed? Is it hard to let go of a project? What are some things that are really important to you? And hey, if you have any thoughts on how to better prioritize, please share! I am green in my new abilities!

Also, if you are looking for other ways to be more productive, check out this Guide to Healthier Productivity!

Relationships

5 Low-Key & Simple Ways To Be Together

So the last few weeks have been pretty crazy for both Chris and I. We have been meaning to go on a dinner date for over a month and just haven’t had time. Either one of us is working late or we are stuck in a meeting. So what do you do when you just don’t have time to dress up a little, drive into the city, and sit in a nice restaurant for a couple hours? Well, I thought I would share a few low key ideas that might help to keep perspectives realistic, as well as ensure that being together, happens.

Go to the Gym

Going to the gym is a pretty awesome way to both stay healthy and be together at the same time. You don’t necessarily have to do the same exercise routines, but just being near each other while increasing those endorphins is not only productive, it’s healthy!

Cuddle Up & Watch a TV Show

Sometimes going out can take a lot of time, especially if shops or other attractions are far. Living in the city, it takes a while to get anywhere because of either traffic or red lights. Often, Chris and I will just watch a cooking show on the Food Network. A whole movie takes up a lot of time and can cut into sleep if you are wanting to do something on a weeknight. Also, a light-hearted show allows for dialogue between two people. A movie can get pretty intense and so it can be hard to talk when you are trying to keep up with the scenes.

Go Grocery Shopping

Maybe we are weird, but we like to buy groceries together sometimes. We end up talking about how we can eat better and will usually find fun foods. Most of the time, when we go grocery shopping, we are also planning a yummy meal for Sunday afternoon. We don’t get to eat together often, so it’s nice to make something yummy together and then eat it. We make “gourmet” veggie burgers usually.

Drive Somewhere, Anywhere

Probably my favorite thing to do with Chris is ride in the car while he drives somewhere. Usually, it is on our way to church, which is 45 minutes away. Other times we are headed to New England to visit family. Our deepest conversations usually happen there and not at home. Thankfully Chris loves to drive and I love to ride. We talk about life, where we are going to be next, and what else we can do for God.

Just Stop & Relax

Being busy isn’t always bad, but sometimes it can take away from being together. We can get so caught up in doing amazing things that we neglect those we love. Sometimes just cutting something out of our schedules is important too. Just by letting one chore go for a little bit can create time. I sometimes have to just let the laundry sit there so that we can relax together. Just taking a moment to talk and recognize each others’ needs, is so crucial.

Doing something together doesn’t always have to be overly extravagant. Sometimes we create expectations that aren’t adaptable to regular life. I am not saying that planning something extravagant is wrong, sometimes it just causes us to put off spending time together. Next thing you know it has been a few months and you almost feel like strangers!

Just like when we take a few moments everyday with God, our human relationships also need that everyday time as well. If you would like more ideas of what to do with your special someone, Alison shared 4 almost free date ideas a while back that will hopefully get your creative thoughts flowing as well.

Well Being

Feeling Like An Inspirational Desert?

As a creative person I face inspirational ruts quite a lot. I get down on myself for not having a well of ideas springing forth. Maybe you don’t feel like a super creative person, but you still need to get inspired or motivated to work, thrive, exercise, or to just do something relaxing. Maybe you just want to get excited again about something. I thought I would share a few ideas that might get your inspired juices flowing.

  1. Spend the day in a new place. A week ago I got to visit some pretty awesome places in CO when I visited my brother and his family. It was far and required purchasing a ticket, but sometimes all it takes is getting in the car and driving a couple hours to some place different. If you live in the city, visit the countryside. If you live in the country, take a hike up a mountain and sit there on the rocks and look at the awesome view. Pick a weekend or day off and get out there!
  2. Browse iTunes, Spotify, YouTube or Pandora for new music artists. Sometimes music gets me to think more creatively and usually finding a new artist is a guaranteed success for inspiration. Even watching a music video, from a song that I know, gets me thinking new things.
  3. Listen to podcasts or read an autobiography that covers a topic you enjoy. There have been times where just reading about someone else’s life really opened my eyes to new things. Even if their way of thinking was different, it got me to think. For a while I was into reading about Holocaust survivors and their perseverance. Another time I read a book about the journey of a woman through different religions.
  4. Spend time with friends and find out what inspires them. Any time I get together with my girl friends, there is a chance that we will get going on a really good topic. This always manages to get me thinking about new thoughts and ideas, even if it is just what we might do together the next time we meet.

One of the best ways to tack the inspirational rut, is to just take a breathe and relax. I have learned that by not being so hard on myself, the inspiration comes quicker and is more authentic. Feeling guilty for not being full of ideas isn’t all that healthy either. I hope that where ever you are at in your inspiration journey, you know that sometimes even the “desert” is beautiful. It fine tunes us into stronger people. I mean, doesn’t the desert in the picture above look pretty great?  By appreciating the desert, you will find great satisfaction in your time of thriving.

Now go take a drive somewhere!