Life & Culture

life • cul·ture

/līf/   /ˈkəlCHər/

Every experience we walk through that affects our very existence; the external influences of the world we live in that shape us and impact our thoughts, actions, and daily routines.

When Winter Gets You Down and You Need the Sunshine

When Winter Gets You Down and You Need the Sunshine

For those who don’t live in a dark and dreary place most of the year, you won’t be able to relate to this article. If you do, I’ll expect an “Amen” when you’re done reading. I reside in the middle of nowhere, in the upper left corner of the lower 48. I truly love where I live, most of the year. We’re located in a breathtakingly beautiful land, where you can be in the mountains and 30 minutes later be at the beach. Opportunities to get outside and just enjoy creation are endless. There are great places to hike with amazing views that are ever changing, as well as, lakes, rivers, and the Pacific Ocean to enjoy, bike paths and parks and […]

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Every One Of Us Can Help Vulnerable Children

Every One Of Us Can Help Vulnerable Children

In his book Doing Good Is Simple, Chris Marlow issues a profound four words of motivation: “Get in the boat.” Marlow is a North Carolina pastor who started a worldwide ministry after coming home from a “mission trip” and seeing starving orphans on the streets of Zimbabwe that he had absolutely no way to help. Ten years later, his ministry, Help One Now, provides homes, meals, school, and sex trafficking rescue to children in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and four countries in Africa. The point and purpose of Marlow’s 2016 book about his own journey from cushy church job to nonprofit orphan care is that every single one of us can help vulnerable children right where we are. We don’t need

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Did you Know that Women Struggle With Porn Too?

Did You Know That Women Struggle with Porn Too?

I was 13 years old when I was exposed to pornography—this was back in 1999, in the land of dial-up and dinosaurs. While researching for school one day, I found a website with small clips from videos and TV shows. As I clicked through the different videos, one thumbnail caught my eye. I clicked on it. It was a porn video. I wish someone could have warned me about how the next few minutes would change my life, and not for the better. I woke up that morning a teenager whose only knowledge of sex was sex ed classes in school and whatever my classmates were whispering about. Within seconds, that all changed. No adult content warning. No age verification. Just straight

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For Gals Who Golf... and Those Who Want to Learn

For Gals Who Golf… and Those Who Want to Learn

From retired “ladies who lunch” to LPGA professionals, women all across the world are taking to the courses and meeting on the tee to enjoy the bittersweet experience of golf. I say bittersweet because if you’ve picked up a club, you know what I mean. Swing after swing as beginners, we hack away at our grandpa’s backyard with an old pitching wedge. Some of us get lucky and actually learn how to make contact with the ball on some part of the club face. Others get frustrated right away and say, “Nope! This isn’t for me!” Regardless of whether you go pro or not, you will always find yourself frustrated with your game to some degree. Some days I can’t miss with

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10 Things to Know Before You Try Tiny Living

10 Things to Know Before You Try Tiny Living

Tiny spaces have become all the rage as minimalistic living continues to trend! Gone are the days where every family envied a large home. With the cost, efficiency and availability of studio apartments, single bedrooms, other small living spaces are becoming a popular alternative for many families. My husband, one-year-old son and I recently moved from our 920 square foot, two bedroom apartment. Plagued by high costs, we decided to ditch the space and trade it in for something more affordable, so we made a move to a 500 square foot, studio apartment! What had seemed like a daunting task has turned into our best decision. With a little intuition and creativity, it is possible to create a beautiful and functional home

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5-Immunity-Boosting-Smoothies-That-Will-Help-You-Fight-Flu-Season

5 Immunity Boosting Smoothies That Will Help You Fight Flu Season

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this winter, you know that this year’s flu season is a doozy. In fact, the CDC is reporting the highest flu infection rates since 2009*, which if you remember is when we were all in a panic over the Swine Flu. And to make matters worse, the flu shot is only showing to be about 10% effective in preventing the flu*, largely because the most prevalent strains were not covered in batches this year. These stats are enough to make even the least germaphobic amongst us panic. But, let’s face it, life must go on. Most of us won’t have the luxury of riding out this season sealed off from human contact. Most of us

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Managing Your Money So It Doesn't Manage You

Managing Your Money So It Doesn’t Manage You

There are a few things that seem to drive us all crazy, for me some days there may be many. But one that definitely tops the list is the challenge of making ends meet—stretching the budget to pay the bills. It seems like we are always chasing that “I wish I could just get this figured out and keep it that way” illusive dream. So we jump into a new program, a budgeting system, or a great resolution that tomorrow will be different. The problem is we don’t give ourselves a break, instead we look at the challenge and then beat ourselves up when we realize we can’t change it in just a few days. Oftentimes this leads us to get discouraged

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5-Books-We’re-Reading-Right-Now-and-Think-You’ll-Love

5 Books We’re Reading Right Now and Think You’ll Love

It’s hard to find time to read, but it’s something I enjoy and try to prioritize. I’m assuming I’m not the only one in this boat, so here are five books I’ve loved recently to get you headed in the right direction! 1. The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley What a beautiful, beautiful story this was! I grabbed it off the employee’s picks table at Barnes & Noble, and I read it in less than two days. It’s the story of a woman whose mother was adopted, searching for her family history, not knowing what (and how much) she’d find. I loved the artistic influences imbedded within the story as well. 2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

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Simple-Skin-Care-All-Natural-Recipes-for-Bright-Healthy-Skin

Simple Skin Care: All-Natural Recipes for Bright Healthy Skin

With wrinkles, bumps, and dry patches, I am always searching for magic potions to erase these unwelcome, overstaying visitors without breaking my budget or reverting to picking and prodding with my fingertips (so guilty). Like most people, I want to be nice to my face, and all of the products I tested included so many unpronounceable ingredients… Trying to figure out what they were and if they were ok for my skin felt daunting. Plus, when I did find a high-quality natural brand, the price tags sent me back to the easy swipe of a makeup wipe. After all, what I really want in my skin care routine is effective simplicity. My current skin care routine consists of a couple of my

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Let-the-Spirit-of-the-Olympics-Touch-Your-Whole-Life

Let the Spirit of the Olympics Touch Your Whole Life

Whether you’ve been a sports fan all your life or couldn’t care less about sports—you love the Olympics. The stories of the athletes overcoming personal struggle to fulfill one’s lifelong dream, emotional finish line moments, and the world coming together to celebrate victory. Why do we love it? The competition? The sport? I think it’s a concept Brene Brown teaches in her new book, Braving the Wilderness, called “The Ministry of Presence.” Brown points out shared joy is a spiritual experience that unites everyone present. We may not be in South Korea but we’re captivated by the moment, waiting to celebrate athletes, and presence always unites us. When I think about the Winter Games I think about endings that cannot be predicted

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2018-A-Year-of-Peace-and-Strength-for-the-Anxious-Woman

A Year of Peace and Strength for the Anxious Woman

The post-holiday season can leave us feeling exhausted and slightly battered. The packed malls, the parties, the big family get-togethers… It would be tiring for anyone, but if you’re like me and you struggle with anxiety then you may be feeling like you’ve just run a marathon. No one wants to start a year anxious and tired, so here are 3 simple ways to make this year one of peace and strength: 1. Relationships We were never created to do life alone, but anxiety has the tendency to isolate us. You don’t need to trust everyone or share every detail of your life, but can I encourage you to find people in your world that can share your burdens and you theirs? Life

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Hernan-Self-Care-What-to-Do-When-It-Feels-Like-Another-Commitment

Self-Care: What to Do When It Feels Like Another Commitment

A few different approaches can be taken when it comes to self-care. I’ve probably read two dozen articles titled something along the lines of “10 Tips to Prioritize Self-Care,” and while they’re always super helpful, I actually find myself becoming more stressed by reading them! The irony is that the number one item on the list is usually “Don’t stress,” but that’s so much easier said than done! Here are the top suggestions on how to implement self-care: Keep a daily gratitude journal Take time daily to go without your phone/social media Spend a few minutes outside relaxing Prioritize your sleep Eat healthy meals Create a cozy space for yourself Exercise a few times a week Create a nighttime routine for relaxation

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What “My Home Is Your Home” Really Means

With the holidays upon us, we’re bound to have a house guest or two. I have a theme I repeat to my guests that I sincerely mean, “My home is your home.” Since that is true, these are the house rules for all who walk through our door with luggage in hand: 1. If you’re hungry, fix it. The pantry and refrigerator can be found in the kitchen. 2. If you need something, find it. It may require the determination of an archeologist, but it is there for the digging. 3. If you break it, I don’t mind. Unless it’s part of your body…then legal liability protection for my relatives, my bank account, and I step in. 4. Duration of the stay will be determined by how

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7 Organizations to Support (That Might Help You Complete Your Gift List)

In case you missed it—the holidays are officially in full swing! Amid the countless errands to run and get-togethers to attend, you might find yourself wanting to give some time or money on giving back… Here are some solid organizations to support this holiday season: 1. Dressember If you know me, you probably predicted this as my first choice! In 2009, college student, Blythe Hill, gave herself a simple challenge: to wear a dress every day for the entire month of December. Thus, Dressember was born. In the following years, Hill’s friends approached her to participate, and each year the numbers kept climbing. By 2013 the movement blossomed into a partnership with International Justice Mission, a global organization that combats sex trafficking. In the

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5 Tips for Careful Spending This Christmas

This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in the out-of-control Christmas shopping! Giving is a wonderful way to show your loved ones that you care, but this joyful season can turn into credit card panic when the January statement arrives. Whether you’re prone to purchasing obligatory gifts at your place of work, the “oh they always buy me a gift so I can’t forget them” or the “one more cute thing they would completely love and it’s on sale”—you need to take charge! Do these 5 things to make sure the snowball of spending doesn’t roll out of control: 1. Decide. Determine your budget while in the comfort of your non-pressured, no-great-sales-staring-you-in-the-face living room.  Decide how much you can spend on gifts this

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When Others Minimize the Pain of Your Miscarriage

My husband and I have always been dreamers and planners. When we started dating, we dated with the intention of marriage being our end goal. We talked about life goals, dreams, that white picket fence, traveling plans, and of course, kids. We wanted children. Lots of them. Running around, playing. We wanted the chaos and the home filled with love and the laughter and the fun. Husband came from a big family (he is one of six) and I came from a large blended family (I am one of seven). But though our “plans” had children in them, the pressure of making sure we had “a plan” for when we wanted to start our family was there, loud and clear. I started

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You Need These 5 Things From Chip & Jo’s Hearth & Hand

As Fixer Upper reveals its final season, we shed a tear and smile with all the memories shared and tips learned from the reigning farmhouse king and queen, Chip and Joanna Gaines. HGTV sucked me in as a pre-teen and I’ve done my fair share of binging on homes being transformed into perfection by talented individuals (back when you had to catch a marathon), but the Gaines are different. Not only do they captivate us with a renovation to reveal, but with their personalities and honesty as well—and now they’ve topped our wildest dreams by creating a home and lifestyle brand exclusively for Target! In honor of their new line, Hearth & Hand, and the 5th and final season of Fixer Upper, we’re sharing what it is

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