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.


The Art and the Heart of Hospitality

I have learned a lot about the art of hospitality, not because I am a master of it, but because I have been the recipient of it. My mother in law is the very model of a gracious host. If you are fortunate enough to be welcomed into her home, chances are you will be met with a smorgasbord of food, you’ll be told to use the nicest towels, and you’ll leave feeling rested and refueled. Every time I leave her home, I find myself inspired and soon lost in a Pinterest-induced coma so that I might craft and bake my way into deserving the title of Hostess-with-the-Mostest. In these Pinterest wanderings, I found myself inundated with images of the trendy pineapple. […]

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Want to Help Foster Kids? How to Become an Advocate

I first heard about the Guardian ad Litem program when I moved to Florida 20 years ago. There were frequent commercials about it on TV and I always thought, “That is a really neat program…maybe one day I’ll volunteer!” About 17 years went by, during which time I homeschooled my daughter, lost my husband and went back into the workplace, transitioning through a series of pretty challenging jobs. After nine years as a single mom, I got remarried and was able to start working part-time from home, freeing up my days for personal pursuits I had put on hold for many years. A good friend who owns a small newspaper in town asked me to do a story on the Guardian ad Litem (GAL)

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Is It Really So Bad to Want to Be a Princess?

Disney Princesses have become a much-discussed and polarizing subject in today’s culture. There is the pro-princess group that still believes in Prince Charming and dancing at the ball. Then there are those who want to throw the princess loving ladies to the dragons, believing they have been lied to about real life. Fortunately for all of us, realism has not been a part of the Disney brand for decades. If it had, cars couldn’t talk, magical nannies wouldn’t appear with umbrella in hand, children would never fly, mops couldn’t dance and toys would be left on their shelf…never leaving the house for their own adventure. We don’t usually go to the movies for realism, there’s enough of that outside the theater walls, so

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Applying Grace and Understanding in the world of Autism

Applying Grace and Understanding in the World of Autism

“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” said Susan Pieples, quoting autism advocate Dr. Stephen Shore. Pieples has 25 years of experience working with and advocating for families living with autism. What she meant by that statement is that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) truly is a broad spectrum due to the wide range in both challenges and strengths possessed by individuals with ASD. Although it’s important not to make any assumptions, it would be beneficial for all of us to understand a few things about ASD. Especially since The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 1 in 68 children are now living with ASD as of 2015.1 With Autism Awareness Month in mind, I reached out

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Why We’ll Be in Line to See The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Grit and Grace Project is a place for strong women and those who want to be. We know that stories of women who display great strength help inspire more women to do the same. With that in mind, we love to highlight these women—women who do brave things, make hard decisions, keep going when they should collapse, and, more than any other quality, we love women who value life so very much that they are willing to risk their own for the sake of another. That is exactly what Antonina Zabinski did in Poland during the height of the Nazi Reich, and that is why we will be lining up at the box office to see The Zookeepers Wife. “A lovely story about the Holocaust might seem like

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5 Ways to Rid Your Life of Clutter

5 Ways to Rid Your Life of Clutter

I recently helped my mother move from a three bedroom home into a one bedroom apartment. Shortly after that my husband and I also spent several days sorting through his father’s life’s possessions. After returning home from these exhausting endeavors I looked at the things that filled my closets, drawers, and cabinets and realized that as we live life, we accumulate clutter. It’s inevitable. It took about 13 seconds for me to have a complete mental freak out over the future workload I’ve created! This mess would be mine to deal with during the next move we make. Suddenly a new resolution—I will spend the rest of this year tackling this weighty job before it becomes necessary. Here are the 5 things I resolved: 1. If I haven’t used it in two

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Florence Nightingale, Denying Wealth for the Good of Others

Named after the city she was born in—Florence, Italy—Florence Nightingale lived her life in England. Her inspiration crossed oceans and ignited change within the community of nursing throughout the entire world. She was reared in enormous affluence and wealth, an extremely educated young woman.1 Florence’s mother was so enamored with social life that when launching her daughters into society she added six bedrooms to their home to accommodate the entertaining she desired. Maids, footmen, and valets, often traveling between two mansions in England, cared for the two Nightingale daughters. There was nothing Florence either needed or desired that was not provided for her easily, elaborately, and with no consideration of the cost. However, though Florence traveled with all economic opportunity, she found herself fascinated

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Margaret Thatcher A Woman Made of Iron, Grit, and Grace

Margaret Thatcher: A Woman Made of Iron, Grit, and Grace

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day set aside to acknowledge the political, economic, and social achievements of women around the world. With that in mind, we couldn’t help but take the opportunity to recognize a woman who so powerfully embodied grit and grace that she was nicknamed the “Iron Lady.” She left a legacy that extends far beyond her country, Great Britain, and the time in which she held power. She achieved things a woman had never achieved before, but that’s no surprise when she’s the one who said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” Margaret Thatcher was born to Alfred and Beatrice Roberts, who lived above the corner grocery

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2-Minute Read on How to Create a Wedding Registry

2-Minute Read on How to Create a Wedding Registry

The engagement season is full of decisions and deadlines. Juggling details, proper etiquette, timelines, and relationships is a lot to handle all at once. For many reasons, creating a wedding registry was one of the most intimidating tasks to me. However, I received a few pieces of advice along the way, each of which was a true gift of relief. Here are 8 tips for tackling a wedding registry: 1. Dreadin’s Worse Than Doin’. Any time I feel overwhelmed by a big project ahead, I recall my grandmother’s coined phrase: “dreadin’s worse than doin’!” It’s so true. Have you ever noticed that once you start chipping away at a big project, it’s oftentimes not nearly as difficult as you anticipated? And once you finish—or even make

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Women’s History Month Celebrating Strong Women

Women’s History Month: Celebrating Strong Women

We all know that women impact the world every single day, but we love the fact that the United States has deemed the month of March Women’s History Month. Here at The Grit and Grace Project, we are eager and thankful for the opportunity to recognize, along with our country, the contributions women have made to culture, history, and society. Throughout the month, we will honor some of our favorite strong women of history by posting articles highlighting them and their achievements. Through The Grit and Grace Project, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know women who have encountered life’s challenges and walked through them, not around them. Because they’ve chosen this brave path, they’ve done so much more than simply endure difficulty—they’ve transformed it into something

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3 Things I Learned From Taking a Risk and Living Overseas

In 2012 I spent almost three months living in Singapore as a part of a training program for a year in the mission field (which is a story for another day). I was 21 years old and had only ever left the country for a five-day trip to Costa Rica, so I was full of anxiety and nervous anticipation. I knew nothing about the tiny city-state at the southernmost tip of Malaysia, other than the jokes I’d heard at some point about gum being illegal (and it is … you can chew it, but they don’t sell it anywhere). After nearly 33 hours of travel, I landed. I felt small, homesick, and overwhelmed by how different everything was from home. As I rode with the people who came

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appreciating winter and the forced rest it brings

Appreciating Winter and the Forced Rest It Brings

Winter can feel so dead when seeing the trees, gray and bare, seemingly lifeless against the flat whitewashed sky. Within those outstretched branches one can find that last withered leaf still clinging, albeit weakly to its post, determined to defy the season. I cannot help but see a bit of myself in that one leaf. I have come to survive many a winter season, physically and emotionally. But it was in a recent, longer than desired, weathering that I had this epiphany. Winter is not only what it appears to be on the surface: frozen, bitter and bleak, but also what cannot be seen—life teeming underneath. A tree doesn’t cease to live during the winter months, rather it is still very much

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How to Have a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

Did the new year bring you a new ring? Or, maybe your Valentine surprised you with a proposal for life-long love. No matter when or how it happened, congratulations! Engagement season can be full of anticipation and lots of growth, but for many couples, finances and the lack-there-of can be a heavy weight anchoring you down from head-in-the-clouds love and bliss. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always end after the “I do” either, sorry. But there can be freedom! Money does not have to be the dream crusher! Your wedding can be beautiful, even better than you imagined in your head, and still your best day ever while staying within your budget, I promise. Plus, wise budgeting for the wedding can prep you and your soon-to-be husband for conversations

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a valentines day message for every woman

A Valentine’s Day Message for Every Woman

Valentine’s Day is here and we have something to say to every woman… To My Single Friends, here are 5 Reasons to Love Being Single! But, if you’re looking for a Valentine, try starting with these qualities before anything else: 7 Things to Look for in a Man. For those of you who are currently dating, it’s always smart to start off on the right foot—so remember these 7 Dating Tips for Successful Relationships. Already in a committed relationship? Need some ideas for tonight? Read 7 Simple and Memorable Valentine’s Day Date Ideas and Great Sex—What Is It?.  Are you daring to date after divorce? Read our friend’s story about her experience; you’ll be glad you did. You’ll also like Remarriage—5 Tips for How to Make it Work, And for all

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women finding purpose

Find Purpose in Everyday Life and in the Big Things

At The Grit and Grace Project we want women to discover their own unique character, talents, and purpose. We also love to partner with organizations who are impacting the world. Some of our favorite articles that talk about these topics are:  1. Anatomy of a Strong Woman In this article our founder, Darlene Brock, lists the qualities that make up a strong woman. 2. How Running Became About More Than Fitness to Me Read about one of our contributors who found a way to show kindness to strangers in need while doing this simple, daily act. 3. How I First Learned of the Sex Trafficking Epidemic This story is written by a young woman who turned her horror over injustice into a mission for her life.

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Grace When You Take More Than One Year on Your Resolutions

Grace: When You Take More Than One Year on Your Resolutions

I rarely accomplish my new year’s resolutions. There, I said it and the transparency removes a load of burden from my shoulders. Sure, like every year previous, I desire to exercise more regularly, eat healthier, stress less, rest more effectively and all around live more intentionally. However, life can bring the unforeseen, leaving the process of meeting my goals greatly affected, if not altogether thwarted. When making resolutions I recognize the high probability of not seeing them come to fruition within the next year or even two for that matter; however, I am determined not to let that reality stop me from the ambitious attempt. Why? I am wired to need something to strive for in the day-to-day, desired ideals perpetuating a

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