Christian Blog: Irrevocably Beloved

For Jesus And For The Culture. . .Being Black, Christian and a Millennial In America

Easy winter craft ideas for when you’re stuck in the house

Dear Reader: 

If you’re looking for something to do this winter, why not try your hand at some fun and easy crafts? From making your cards and decorations to cozy knitwear, there are plenty of projects to keep you busy. And what’s more, crafting is a great way to relax and de-stress. So get out your supplies and get ready to get creative!

Make a wreath out of old newspapers

Get creative and crafty with your old newspapers! Making a wreath from recycled materials is an easy way to get crafty and upcycle. All you need is to gather up the newspapers, scissors, glue, and some string or ribbon. You can cut out shapes or strips of paper from the newspaper and use these to create the wreath shape. When it is complete, all that’s left to do is add a finishing touch by attaching a bow of your choice, such as some colorful ribbon. There’s no wrong way to make a newspaper wreath—make it bold and striking with large pieces of paper, or subtle with tiny strips interlaced together to form a delicate frame. This project also serves as a fun activity for all ages—it’s perfect for family member bonding during the winter months! With just a few simple materials, you can have the satisfaction of creating something unique and beautiful that expresses your creativity. Plus, it’s an incredible way to give old newspapers new life! This DIY project can be further jazzed up with other materials such as buttons and beads if you want a sparkling touch on your newspaper wreath. So get creative this holiday season and make something special just for yourself!

Turn an empty wine bottle into a vase for fresh flowers

Reusing and upcycling are great ways to use the items that occupy our living spaces without breaking the bank. A fun and creative project you can do with minimal effort are turning an empty wine bottle into a vase for fresh flowers! All that’s needed is a few general household tools and some patience; this do-it-yourself project has endless possibilities! To begin, choose an empty wine bottle–whether black, green, or clear glass–to place in a pot of warm water on your stovetop. Put it on low heat until the bottle is covered in steam (it should take just a few minutes). After that, grip the neck of the bottle firmly with oven mitts or towels and carefully twist off the neck. Once cooled, wash away any remaining label glue from the scored lines left around the bottle. Dry it out and you now have your very own decorative upcycled vase for your lovely space! Place wildflowers or boughs of your favorite plants to show off your green thumb skills. Whether decorating indoors or outdoors, creating something beautiful out of common items is always inspiring–as well as giving new life to something collected. So go ahead and be creative while helping out Mother Earth at the same time! It’s a win-win situation all around.

Create a photo collage of your favorite memories

Your favorite memories are the ones you will remember and cherish for life, so why not capture them forever in a photo collage? Not only is it easy to create a stunning collage out of pictures, videos, and other types of media, but it’s also the perfect way to relive those special moments. When creating your collage, think about what makes each image special to you. Maybe it’s from an unforgettable time with friends or family, or maybe it reminds you of an important event in your life. Whatever the case may be, each image should tell its own story — and when combined in a single artwork, these stories can create something utterly unique. A photo collage helps to immortalize your most cherished memories and is sure to evoke powerful emotions whenever you take a look at it. So take some time out of your day to assemble the perfect collection of images and create a lasting keepsake that you’ll be proud of for years to come!

Side note: I LOVE COLLAGES. I realize that all of this are messy ideas but winter is the time to get messy and watch snow fall. DO IT !

Paint a picture of your favorite winter scene

In my favorite winter scene, the snow lies heavy and pristine on the ground. The trees stand in stark contrast to shades of white, their silvery branches stretching like veins against a deep blue sky, illuminated by a bright winter sun. Ambling across the field, I come upon an immense pile of snow – the perfect ramp for launching myself into powdery softness. Nothing can compare to racing down that mountain of snow on a sled or even just tumbling lightly off of its apex. This, coupled with running and jumping until I am out of breath, is one of my most cherished winter activities. In this wonderful landscape, I also appreciate how everything is transformed under the cloak of white so that familiar places look like something completely new and exciting. At winter’s end when the blanket melts away again, I take comfort in knowing that I’ll be able to experience it all anew once more when cold times return. Until then, I remember it fondly as part of those rare and beautiful moments in life that make life distinctly worth living.

Make a gingerbread house out of graham crackers and candy

Making a gingerbread house out of graham crackers and candy is a great way to get creative in the kitchen. Start by gathering all the supplies you need such as graham crackers, colored icing, and plenty of assorted candies. Next, prepare your workstation so that you have easy access to all the materials. Think about what type of house you want to make and plan out your design before getting started. After that, it’s time to build! Use the graham crackers for walls and roofing, the icing for cementing them together, and the assortment of candy for decoration. Believe it or not, creating a gingerbread house out of traditional ingredients isn’t that different – just construct the walls with graham cracker sandwiches filled with frosting instead of dough! So go forth and get building – no matter what kind of gingerbread house you make with this method, it will be sure to delight family and friends alike!

Build a fort out of blankets and pillows

Make your fort – it’s easy and fun! All you need is some blankets, pillows, and a little creativity. Start by draping the blanket over two chairs or other pieces of furniture to support it. Then grab some more blankets or sheets and arrange them in triangular shapes coming down from the top blanket to create walls. Add pillows to the inside for comfort and decoration–throw in some colorful stuffed animals for more fun. Don’t forget to find a way to close off the sides such as using a rolled-up carpet as an extra door. With your fort complete, now you are ready for hours of imaginary playtime! Build a train station out of chairs and make passenger tickets under a desk or pretend you’re camping under the stars with fairy lights twinkling overhead. No matter what activities you choose, building a fort out of blankets and pillows will surely create special memories that will last forever. So go ahead–it’s time to escape into your imagination!

Bible Journaling 

I know you remember a time when Bible Journaling was a huge craze. People were just buying tons of highlighters, special pens, and special Bibles with special paper. Now dust off that hidden journal Bible you have somewhere and get to work! Or if you don’t have a Journaling Bible, maybe use your regular art supplies. Paint a scripture. What images come to mind when you read this verse? Draw the image. Write the verse on top of it. I’ve been doing that with my mini watercolor notebook after work and it had an impact on my ability to unplug. Let’s use this winter to get crafty with Jesus! I’ll share one of mine with you below: 

WRITE THE VISION

Dear Reader:

Habakkuk 2:2-3 states “And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”

I know this is not the first time you’ve heard this verse in relation to the beginning of a new year. It is standard practice for almost everyone, no matter culture, religion, or creed to start their year off by writing down what they envision the new year to look like. We either focus on what we want to improve about ourselves (weight, appearance, talent, skills, etc) or our ideals (family, better home, etc). What does the bible have to say about this practice? I believe that vision is a biblical concept.  However, we cannot just merely willy-nilly dream. 

HOW TO BEGIN VISION PLANNING

  1. The first step in your process of writing the vision needs to be reflection. What happened in 2022? What worked? What didn’t? Why didn’t it work? What spheres of life declined and which prospered?  Before you can start to plot and plan, you should prayerfully journal and reflect upon the previous year. 

My biggest challenge of 2022 was moving. Living in a new place can disrupt everything you know about yourself, your faith, your family, etc. I was very much disrupted by the change in the workplace, routines, etc. My biggest challenge of 2022, however, also lead to my biggest triumph: I learned to drive.  Like for real. Multiple hours of driving. Not a lot of young people who grow up in the 5 boroughs of NY can say that they’re good drivers and take road trips. Having to drive for work made me by force a better driver. 

  1. The second step after reflection is really just to imagine. Having reflected and prayed, what would you and God (the dream team) like to happen in 2023? Do you want to grow in your profession?  Do you want to make some money off a hobby? Do you want to be more connected to your family? Are there one or two particular spheres of life that call out to you more for the vision? 

I know it’s lame and very encouraged in secular circles, but I think vision boards are cool. I think that they present a visual reminder as to the vision for the year.  Vision boards are very debated in Christian circles. But let’s go back to Habakkuk. The above verse is talking about a time when the people Habakkuk was instructed to write the vision for were not following the will of God and Habakkuk was pretty frustrated. I’m not asking you to create a vision board to “Manifest” anything. I’m asking you to create a visual reminder of your covenant with God for the year 2023. In the same way we take communion often to remind us that Jesus died for us and that we bear the responsibility of the new covenant with him. 

  1. WRITE THE VISION. You have to write it out in words. There are many many verses in the Bible that talk about the power of words. (James 3:2-12, Proverbs 11:9 to name a few).  There are many people who perhaps cannot write out the words because of disability but if you are able to… put pen to paper. WRITE IT OUT.

The vision that Habakkuk was writing out was death to Babylonians who had captured his people. Maybe that’s not the theme you’re going for … contend with those who contend with me, Lord. Maybe you just need to learn Spanish for work. Lol.  Write it down. 

  1. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Not all of the vision needs to be shared with others. Some of it might need to be, like if you’re married and you vowed with God to do something that directly impacts your spouse. But some matters need to be held in a secret place for God to water it in secret. 

Finding your life’s purpose: How to live authentically in your calling

Dear Reader: 

We all have unique talents and passions that make us who we are. When we use these talents and passions to their fullest potential, we live authentically in our calling. But what does it mean to live authentically in your calling? And how can you find your life’s purpose? These are questions that we often ponder but seldom find satisfactory answers to. In truth, there is no one simple answer that will fit everyone. However, there are some things that you can do to help you understand and live into your authentic calling.

What Does It Mean To Live Authentically In Your Calling?

You are true to yourself and your talents when you live authentically in your calling. You are pursuing your passions and using your talents to their fullest potential. When you live authentically, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction because you’ll be doing what you’re meant to do. What does it mean to live authentically in your calling? It means being honest about who you are and what you want to do with your life. It means having the courage to pursue your dreams and the strength to overcome obstacles. It means living each day with purpose and meaning. When you live authentically in your calling, you’ll be living a life that is truly yours. So, what does it mean to live authentically in your calling? Only you can answer that question. But whatever your answer may be, remember that living authentically is a journey worth taking. 

As you know by now, I think my career is part of my calling but that may not be true for everyone. Sometimes your calling can be separate from what you do for work. 

How to figure out your life’s purpose:

The first step is to spend time in contemplation and introspection. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. What are your values? What do you care about? What makes you come alive? When you are clear about these things, it will be easier to start discerning your life’s purpose. However, there are a few things you can do to start finding your life’s purpose:

Examine Your Talents And Passions. 

Think about what you’re good at and what you love to do. What are your strengths? What energizes and excites you? These are good places to start when it comes to finding your life’s purpose. 

Consider The Things That Bring You Joy. 

Another great way to start finding your life’s purpose is to think about the things that bring you joy. What are the activities or experiences that make you happy? When you’re doing something you love, it should bring you joy. If it doesn’t, then it might not be something you’re meant to do. 

Talk To People Who Know You Well. 

If you’re having trouble finding your life’s purpose, talking to people who know you well can be helpful. Ask them what they think your strengths are and what they think you should pursue professionally. Other people often see our talents and passions more clearly than we can see them ourselves! 

How to live out your life’s purpose

How you live out your life’s purpose is ultimately up to you. But once you understand what that purpose might be, there are some general principles you can follow to start living it out. First and foremost, don’t be afraid to take risks. Your life’s purpose is unlikely to be something that comes without effort or challenge. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and seize opportunities as they come your way. Second, stay true to yourself. Getting caught up in what other people think you should be doing with your life can be easy. But at the end of the day, you are the only one who knows what is best for you. Trust your gut and follow your heart. Third, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Pursuing your life’s purpose is not a solo journey. Surround yourself with people who support and believe in you and will help you along the way. And finally, enjoy the journey! It might not always be easy, but remember that living out your life’s purpose is an incredible privilege. Embrace the challenges and relish in the rewards. Pursue your purpose with passion and joy, and let it lead you to a truly fulfilling life.

Living out your life’s purpose is not always easy, but it is a journey worth taking. You can create a truly fulfilling life by following your heart, staying true to yourself, and embracing the challenges along the way. So, what does it mean to live authentically in your calling? Only you can answer that question. But whatever your answer may be, remember that living authentically is a journey worth taking.

Lastly, keep your mouth shut. When discovering who you are and what you are called to, don’t ask for second, third, or fourth opinions. This is between you and God. When you ask google, your mom, your aunt and your second cousin, they can only tell you what they want for you… not what God wants for you. Turn inward and listen to God, not google. 

Healing: Herbs, Prayers, and Modern Medicine

Dear Reader: 

Herbs, prayers, and modern medicine have been used for centuries to heal the body and restore balance. Each of these methods has its benefits, and when used together, they can create a powerful healing experience. Herbs can be used to support the body’s natural healing process and help to alleviate symptoms. Prayer can help to focus the mind and connect with a higher power. Modern medicine can provide relief from pain and help to speed up the healing process. When all three of these methods are used together, they can create a synergistic effect that is greater than the sum of its parts. By using all three methods of healing, we can tap into the power of nature, spirit, and science to create a truly transformative experience.

Modern medicine has largely dismissed herbs and prayers as a form of healing

For centuries, humans have looked to nature for healing. Herbs and prayers were often the only forms of medicine available, and they were used to treat everything from colds to broken bones. Over time, however, modern medicine has largely dismissed these forms of treatment as ineffective. Instead, we have come to rely on drugs and surgery to keep us healthy.

But there is growing evidence that herbs and prayers can be effective forms of healing. In recent years, several studies have shown that certain herbs can help to improve our health. For example, lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, while Ginkgo Biloba can help to improve cognitive function. And while the mechanism by which prayer works is not fully understood, it has been shown to improve mental and physical health. In one study, patients who were prayed for showed significant improvements in their recovery from surgery.

So while modern medicine has its place, it is important to remember that nature can also offer powerful forms of healing. Herbs and prayers may not be able to cure everything, but they can often help to improve our health in ways that modern medicine cannot.

Herbal Medicine & Prayer

Herbal medicine is a holistic approach to healing that takes into account the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. It is based on the premise that all cultures have used plants for their medicinal properties for centuries. Herbal medicine seeks to restore balance in the body using a variety of methods, including dietary modification, acupuncture, and massage. Herbs, prayers, and modern medicine can be used together to heal the body and restore balance. The use of herbs in combination with prayer is an ancient practice that has been used by many cultures to heal the body.

How prayers can be used to restore balance in our lives.

Prayer has been used as a form of healing for centuries and can be a helpful tool in restoring balance to our lives. When we pray, we focus our attention on something outside of ourselves and connect with a power greater than ourselves. This can help to quiet the noise of our thoughts and allow us to find stillness and peace. Additionally, prayer can help us to access our intuition and inner wisdom. It can also be used to bring forth our deepest desires and set our intentions for healing. Modern medicine can also play a role in restoring balance to our lives. It can help us to address physical imbalances and heal the body. Additionally, it can support the emotional and mental aspects of healing. By combining prayer with modern medicine, we can create a well-rounded approach to restoring balance in our lives.

Herbs, prayers, and modern medicine are key in getting your body and mind together. You know my favorite saying by now. That God wants us to have life and have it abundantly. When all three forms of healing are used together, we can tap into the power of nature, spirit, and science to create a truly transformative experience and have an abundant life. Do your research. Talk to Professionals (MDs and NDs). Don’t sleep on your health. It is its own gospel.

The Biblical Basis for Rest and How It Can Enhance Your Life

Dear Reader: 

The Bible contains references to rest, and it’s not hard to see why. When we rest, we give our bodies and minds a break from the stresses of life. This allows us to rejuvenate and come back stronger than before. This blog post will discuss the biblical basis for rest and how it can enhance your life!

The biblical concept of the importance of rest

The Bible is clear on the importance of rest. In Genesis, God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. And in Exodus, we see that he commanded his people to observe a day of rest each week. The New Testament also speaks to the importance of rest, with Jesus often withdrawing to solitary places to pray and recharge. The apostle Paul even writes that “we should labor, working with our own hands” so that we can “give ourselves faithfully to prayer and ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). In other words, work is essential. Still, it should be balanced with periods of rest and refreshment. This principle is just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. In a world that is always on the go, it is essential to take time to rest and recharge. For Christians, this may mean taking a Sabbath each week to focus on God and spend time with family and friends. It may also mean taking regular vacations and sabbaticals throughout our lives. Whatever form it takes, resting is essential for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

How Jesus modeled rest

In today’s hectic world, it can be easy to forget the importance of rest. We are always on the go, juggling work and family commitments and trying to squeeze in a bit of leisure time when we can. However, Jesus himself modeled the importance of rest-keeping when he took time out to pray and reflect during his busy ministry. By making time for rest, Jesus showed us that even when we are at our busiest, it is still essential to take a step back and recharge our batteries. When we follow his example, we can find the strength to face whatever challenges life throws our way. So next time you feel overwhelmed, take a page from Jesus’s book and take some time out for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Practical tips for implementing biblical rest in your own life

To many people, the idea of rest seems like a luxury. It can be challenging to slow down and take a break in a world that demands more of our time and energy. However, the Bible clarifies that rest is not optional but essential for our health and well-being. Here are some practical tips for incorporating biblical rest into your life:

1. Set aside specific days for rest. Just as the Sabbath is set apart as a day of rest, you can set aside specific days each week for rest. Make sure to unplug from work and other obligations to relax genuinely.

2. Take regular vacations. If possible, plan a vacation at least once yearly where you can completely disconnect from work and other responsibilities. Use this time to recharge your batteries and enjoy some much-needed leisure time.

3. Make time for hobbies and personal interests. In today’s busy world, it’s easy to forget what we enjoy outside work or family obligations. Schedule some time each week to pursue your hobbies and interests, whether reading, playing sports, or going for walks in nature.

4. Slow down and savor life’s simple pleasures. In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to rush through life without taking the time to enjoy the little things. Make a conscious effort to slow down and savor life’s simple pleasures, such as a cup of coffee in the morning or sunset at night.

The Bible is clear on the importance of rest, and Jesus modeled the importance of taking time out for rest. In a world that is always on the go, it is essential to take time to rest and recharge. For Christians, this may mean taking a Sabbath each week to focus on God and spend time with family and friends. It may also mean taking regular vacations and sabbaticals throughout our lives. Whatever form it takes, resting is essential for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. 

For me, sometimes rest is just taking 15 minutes with my office door closed and blowing bubbles with one of those summer bubble wand things… away from my paperwork of course. I find worship music restful and I sometimes spend some time just singing out loud on my porch. Find some ways to rest this week.