Dating Untangled: Summer Date Ideas

 

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Summer is almost upon us. The longer days and the nicer weather are among the incentives to be outside. Now is a good time to start scheduling some intentional down time to relax. I have listed some summer date ideas below. These date ideas can be used for family and friends as well as two people in an exclusive relationship. So whatever your status is please enjoy your summer.

Beach Day:  The beach is always fun and there so much to do. You can go swimming, lay on the beach, walk the boardwalk and more. I have not gone in 14 years but plan to go at least three times this summer. I am looking forward to listening to the waved and touching the sand. 

Fast Sweet Date: If you are short for time but want to do something sweet, have a sweet treat with your significant other. It can be ice cream (dairy or nondairy), frozen yogurt, sorbet, a snowball, and so on. You can spend some quality time together and savor a sweet treat. Who would turn down a sweet date? I know I would not be able to say no.

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Volunteering: Serving a great cause together is a great way to strengthen your bond and also serve your community. Whatever you are passionate about should have a nonprofit. Also, you can start a steady schedule of volunteering on a regular basis together which will add a wonderful dimension to your relationship. I love volunteering and would highly recommend it. If you need some ideas, please feel free to contact me.

Aquarium or Museum: You can attend a museum, art gallery, aquarium and more. A lot of these places have certain days of the week or times of the day that heavily discounted. It will be a great time and you can have a bite to eat before or after your visit. You can expand your knowledge and have a great time with your mate.

Cooking or Baking Class: Cooking or baking classes are so much fun. This is a great way to work as a team while learning how to cook or bake something new or a favorite dish. Groupon or Livingsocial is great way to score discounts.  Also, you can make this a regular date night. Anything dealing with food is a great way to bond.

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Seeing a play or concert: A lot of concerts and plays are happening in the summer. Churches, colleges, small production companies and more put on concerts and plays at discounted rates. This is a great way to have a date night and not spend a fortune. This can also become a regular date night.

Sporting Event: This is the season to see sporting events. Some events include international soccer and professional baseball, golf and tennis. You can even catch preseason football, the NBA finals and the Stanley Cup.  You can even watch local league events. This is a great way to have fun while cheering on your favorite team. If you and your mate have opposing teams, this is a fun way to be competitive. If you cannot go to a live event, you can go to a sports bar or watch the event from home.

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New restaurant/Restaurant Week: Trying a new restaurant is a lot of fun. As a former foodie, I loved visiting new restaurants. If you are not bold to be the first, you can read reviews online but there is nothing like firsthand experience. Also, a lot of fine dining establishments do restaurant week. During a restaurant week, you can eat at a nice place and the prices are discounted. I would make a reservation to ensure you have a seat.

Road trip to neighboring town or state: You may just have a short time together so you can do a day trip to a nearby city or town. You can even do a nearby state. You can do some research together and find some things that you want to do together. You don’t have to do everything on your first visit. It will be fun to explore somewhere new or away from your routine.

Hiking or camping: If you like to do outdoor activities, hiking and camping are great ways to bond without the distractions of cell phones and work. You can make it a group outing. You can always make it a few hours or an overnight affair. Make sure you check the weather, plan and eat some good food and snacks while staying hydrated.

Whatever you decide to do now or this summer, have a great time.

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Accept Your Birthright of Abundant Life

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Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -James 1:17 

Jesus died a brutal death so that we would be in relationship with God and have an abundant life now. We do not have to wait until Heaven to enjoy an abundant life. It is our inheritance as children of God. God is the ultimate King. There is no person, place or thing that can compare. When we approach God, we have to walk in the confidence of knowing we are his children and he is our father. We are royalty. Matthew 6:33 says,” But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ” When we keep God first, he will give us lives we cannot even imagine.

How are you approaching God? Are you approaching him as a beggar or as a stranger? God is not a human being. He is always available to us. He will never decline or block our prayers. He won’t stop associating with us. He won’t stop loving us because of a mistake or disappointment. He won’t mark down his blessing for us because of out shortcomings.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God loves us too much to leave us in a state of unrighteousness. There is nothing you can do to be loved more or less by God. 

What is stopping you from walking in your inheritance? Is it unbelief? Is it being hurt or disappointed by people or circumstances?  Is it your past? Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. ” Whatever God has said about you is true. No person, place or thing can question or defeat God’s purpose for your life. Every person, place or thing that is opposed to you or the calling of your life cannot defeat you or your Heavenly father. Starting right now, believe God for the impossible. Believe God for something that you cannot do in your own strength. God is never too early or too late. Walk in your inheritance as a child of God.

 

God Always Keeps His Promises!

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 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”-Isaiah 55:11 

Are you standing on a promise God spoke to you? Maybe the promise was spoken seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years or decades ago? Whenever the promise was spoken, God will see it to the end. Your circumstances or what other people think or say cannot stop or negate any promises of God. Remember when God declared to Abraham and Sarah about their promised child, Issac (Genesis 12-25)? Abraham and Sarah were not a young couple. They were very old and waited 25 years before God blessed them with Isaac. Let’s talk about practical ways to stay in a posture of receiving the promises of God. 

  1. Stay in the Word of God: We must read the words of God and mediate on it daily. It is like taking a multivitamin. You must  mediate and read the word everyday so it can be in your heart. You will lean on scriptures and God’s word in good and bad times. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” When the word is in your heart, no person, place or thing can take it from you. 
  2. Pray: The most important thing you can do is pray. God will not only equip you for your promises but he will also give you instructions, encouragement and much more. When we pray, we have to know that God is not only listening but is prepared to answer us.  Pray is a beautiful way of communicating with God and strengthening our relationship with him.  1 John 5:14 says, ” This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
  3. Be Honest: You can be honest with God. He created us and knows our hearts. You can cry, voice your questions and frustrations, express doubt and more. There is no reason to bottle up your emotions. Tell God the truth and know he can take it. He loves us too much to leave us the same.
  4. Watch Your Words and Actions: It is hard to wait. When God tells us something, it may take a long time. We must trust God and his timing. In the meantime, we have to watch what we say. We must stay in faith and not speak against our future.  God can do anything. We must make sure our words and actions line up with what God says. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  5. Community is needed: God expects us to live in community. The greatest example of this was Jesus. Jesus did not need 12 disciples but he had a group of 12 to show us that we need community. We need to be around people who will love, support and accept us unconditionally.  Surround yourself with people who will love, support and accept you always.
  6. Praise God Now!: As an act of faith, praise God now. You do not have to wait until you see the promise. Praise God right now. It may be unbelievable and astonishing but you are telling God that you believe and trust him now. Sometimes, we want to wait until the journey is over to celebrate but we do not have to wait that long. It is okay to praise God in advance.
  7. Share Your News: When you are ready, share your news. Encourage someone else who maybe hopeless or has lost faith. I know when I read stories about other people overcoming their fears or realizing their dreams, it encourages me. It reminds me that if God did it for someone else that he will do it for me in his time.

So now as we embark on the halfway point of 2019, let us look at God. Take a moment and think of something you have been praying about. Something that you have been trusting God about. Thinking about it may bring tears of joy or even sorrow. I want to encourage you to stay strong and know that God loves you too much to fail you. God will honor his promises to you in due season. Just hang on a little longer and I am also speaking to myself. I look forward to us celebrating as we praise God right now.

 

 

Let’s Agree to Disagree Respectively

 

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There are no two people who agree on everything 100%. Even if two people love one another, work in the same profession, are born into the same family, live in the same neighborhood and so on, you will not agree on everything. This makes perfect sense since no two people are alike. We are all wired differently. If we were all the same, the world would be boring. Our differences allow us to open our eyes to things that we would otherwise not know or understand. Our differences allow us to grow and thrive in a well-balanced environment. Our lives are full and fun because no two people in our lives are the same.

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Disagreements occur and are an essential part of life. If disagreements are the sole association of your relationship or friendship, you need evaluate your association.  Disagreements allow us to grow and learn from one another. This is how we find out what our relationships are made of and to make our relationships stronger.  When disagreements occur, we need to do a heart check and take a step back. We need to find out if we are willing to be honest that we disagree and express ourselves in a caring manner. When things get too heated, we need to take a step back and be careful. Once words are spoken, they can never be taken back.

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When it comes to social media, we must be careful how we engage with other people. If someone says something to disrespect you, you should block or mute the person. There is no reason to engage with the person or troll them. You are not obligated to follow someone forever and just because someone follows you does not mean you have to follow them back. We have to also remember that social media does not tell the full story. A perfect picture or post does not mean someone is living a perfect life. It is okay to state your opinion but your opinion is just that, your opinion.

As we navigate through life, let us make a decision to enjoy life. Yes, there will be ups and downs. Yes, there will be conflicts and disagreements, but life is so much more than those moments in time. There are times when we will laugh. There are times when we will savor a great meal and spend time with the people who matter the most to us. When those disagreements occur, let us agree to disagree respectively. The final picture in this article is a picture of my dream vacation. I hope to write a future article about how this dream became a reality. Have a great day!

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Are Your Words Speaking Life or Death?

 

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“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”-Proverbs 18:21

Are you awaiting a breakthrough and feel stuck? Are you in the middle of a storm or in the valley and things have gotten too intense? Have you taken inventory of your words? Words are not just what are spoken but what you are accepting that others have said to you or even what you are saying to yourself. Also, it includes what you are reading and writing. What words are you saturating yourself with? Are you murmuring and complaining? Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,  and who meditates on his law day and night.That person is like a tree planted by streams of water  which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”

God promises to bless us when we delight in his word. When we meditate on his word. That means to take in a regular and continuous diet of his word. This can be done by reading the word, listening to and watching sermons or worship music, writing the promises of God, engaging in prayer and worship and so on. If we ingest negative words and music most of the time, it will be hard to stand in faith. Our words are so powerful. Our words can encourage, build up, heal, restore, show love and much more. Our words also can have the opposite effect of causing pain, tearing down, showing hate, discourage and much more. So we need to take regular inventory of our words.

Also, what are the sources of our words? If we are around people who tear us down, we need to make changes. If we have nothing good to say about ourselves, we need to evaluate our self-talk. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  When we interact with each other and with ourselves, our words should be loving, encouraging and positive. We should never tear down anyone else including yourself. I know we have times of sorrow and disappointment but that should never give us permission to speak against ourselves or anyone else. 

Choose to speak life to yourself and your circumstances. Your name is not your circumstance. Your name is child of God. It does not matter the day of the week or what is happening in your life, your name is child of God.  God can resurrect, restore, set free, promote, heal and so much more in an instant. You must continue to trust and believe God, stay in the posture of prayer, stand in faith and have a community of people who will pray you to the other side of whatever is happening in your life. Exercise your faith and praise God in advance. Thank him in advance for what your eyes cannot see or mind cannot comprehend as happening next. 1 Corinthians 2:9, “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”[a]the things God has prepared for those who love him” I am excited to see what God will do next. In the meantime, let us watch our words and make sure our words are life giving. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Mother’s Day! To every woman who has taken up the call as mother and grandmother, we salute you not only today but every day. You are the reason we are here. Being a mother is not just the act of giving birth but it the act of raising your child or children in love for the rest of your life. You hold us up in prayer. You wipe away our tears. You give free advice. You love us unconditionally even when we do not listen to you. You forgive us faster than we can spell the word forgiveness. You give us the benefit of doubt. The best meals of our lives have come from your kitchen. You worked hard and made sure we never lacked anything. You showed us how to stand up for ourselves. You walk in so much strength, grace and confidence that you take our breath away. You have even sometimes put your dreams, life and more on hold for us. Thank you will never be enough. May God bestow on you a special blessing today and always.

To every woman who may not have children yet or is a mother or grandmother who answers to one or some of the following: Aunt, Godmother, Pastor, Pastor’s Wife, Mentor, Deacon, Elder, Spiritual Mother, Leader and more, thank you for playing an important role in the lives of the children around you. Thank you for being there for the most important moments of the children in your life. Thank you for standing in the gap for the children in your lives and their family. We thank you so much for your love and may God pour out a special blessing on you today and always. For those who are experiencing sorrow and pain this Mother’s Day, I pray that God could come close to you and comfort you. I have lost women who have played an important role in my life and I am reminded of them during this time. I pray that if your desire is to have children of your own, that God would manifest himself in a special way for you and that his will would be done. I pray that God would give you beauty for ashes. It is okay for you not to be okay.

Please take a moment to salute the women of your life. Thank them not just on Mother’s Day but any day. You can call them. You can send them a beautiful card (Hallmark is a Dollar Tree). You can send them a text message. You can take them out for a meal. You can make them a meal. You can visit them and spend intentional time connecting with them. You can send them for a day of self-care. You can buy them a gift. Whatever you decide to do, please say thank you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Joy is a Beautiful Gift

 

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”-Romans 12:12

Today is a new day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised. Despite what is happening in our lives, we should walk in joy. This is something we should do every day. This is easier said than done. Happiness is based on what is happening in our lives. Joy is a great feeling no matter what is happening in your lives. I never said it would be easy. God gives us more than we can ever ask him. Joy is one of the fruits of spirit. Joy is something that we ask God to give us despite having a bad day, trials and tribulations.

How do we ask God for joy? First, we should pray. We just cry out to God. God is not expecting an eloquent speech. When we talk to God, he promises to  meet us.  In James 5:13 it says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” Prayer opens the door to talking to God. God loves us unconditionally and he accepts our honesty.  Joy is a gift that we can open every day of our lives. This is despite whatever good, bad or in between is happening in our lives.

Next, we should surround ourselves with people who will be with us in the valley, on the mountaintop and in between unconditionally. There will be days that it will be hard to put one foot in front of the other. It is a blessing to have people who will help you on those days when you cannot spell or see joy. Proverbs 18:24 says, ” A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ” As we ask people to live out life with us unconditionally, we need to do the same for other people.  All us need community and it works both ways.  Community makes the difference.

I hope and pray that no matter what comes your way that you will walk in joy. Joy is easier said than done. God gives us more than we can ever imagine or comprehend. Having community is essential to help us live our best days.  Being the one who receives and gives unconditional love will bring unspeakable joy. I will leave you with one of my favorite passages: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. “