Building Routines

Building Routines Photo

Hey everyone, so sorry for the delay between posts. But, oftentimes God seems to teach me what I want to talk about by making me personally go through it first. Boy, I have had no way of maintaining any kind of schedule recently. That’s alright though as I’m learning. God can work whether or not I am on time and completing my to do list (Can I get an amen?)

Personally, I learned a lot from tracking how I spent my time during the week:

  • I try to multitask a lot, and it’s never  rarely effective
  • I can easily waste a full hour on my phone or iPad
  • Trying to watch a movie and do homework is not a good idea.
So, after studying some other blogs (Prep In Your Step), I think one of the greatest ways to accomplish things is to make some basic routines. Nothing fancy. Just knowing, for example:
  • In the morning, I read my Bible.
  • Before I go to bed, I journal.
I plan on starting small and working my way to adding more routines to make sure I can accomplish what I need to in a day.
What routines would make your day easier?

Tracking Your Time

Time Management

Welcome to the first post in my time management series!

I think that there are a lot of factors that go into successfully managing one’s time, and the first step to successful time management is knowing where all of your time is going! I’m one of those people who gets to the end of a day and wonders, “Where did all of that time I wasted watching movies go?” Maybe some of you can relate.

So, I’ve seen on several different blogs this idea of tracking what all you do in a day. Just keep a running note on your phone. “9-10 am class. 10-12 pm Netflix.” And so the list goes on. Keep this list for a week and then look back and see where all of your time really went! 

(Potential bonus: You may feel really productive when you see how much you got done.)

(Potential downside: You may realize, like me, how little time you spend on the things that truly matter, like reading your Bible.)

Now, for this to work, you have to get fairly specific. There’s no need to record your day on a second by second basis. But, if you look back on a day, and you have 22 hours listed when you should have 24, then there’s a problem. 

For example, I have classes from nine to noon on Wednesday. Classes are fifty minutes long, actually, and the other ten minutes are spent walking to the next class. But I see no reason to write that.

  
So, since today is almost over, start tomorrow. Begin at midnight and count how many hours you sleep, what you do while you are awake, etc. In a week, we will see our results. Happy tracking!

“Time” for a Series

Time Management

Happy Sunday guys! So sorry about missing a week, but I greatly underestimated how much time college takes up. I mean, I only have to go to class for sixteen hours. In high school, I had at seven hours of classes every day. That’s way more hours than now!

(For those of you still in high school, do not fall for this trap. There is a reason twelve hours is full-time for college students. It’s called homework. Headache inducing thought provoking homework.)

With that in mind, I feel like the beginning of the school year is an excellent time to work on time management skills. But this is a Christian blog, you say. We should be studying James or the Rapture. Nowhere in the Bible are planners mentioned.

Very true. But, if you are barely surviving the days and have no concept of time management, I would bet my college tuition that you are not exactly a thriving and growing Christian. I would go so far as to say that you are probably pretty grumpy, not very reliable, and certainly not focused on the kingdom of God.

I’m definitely not.

So, over the next few weeks, hopefully beginning this week, we are going to look at some of the skills and pitfalls that relate to being master of one’s time. If there are any topics you want addressed, please comment below or shoot me an email at rachel.tuggle@outlook.com!

My Top Five Favorite Christian Series

Sorry for taking so long between posts! College transition week started yesterday for me and, well, life got busy. And it’s only going to get busier. So, sorry again, and I will try to have at least one post up every week, probably on a Monday. Even though today is Sunday.

Moving on.

For those of you who don’t know, I love reading. Let me repeat that. I. LOVE. Reading. My mom has always said that I was, for all practical purposes, almost reading before I entered kindergarten. In my house on Saturday mornings, when everyone else is sleeping, I can read a whole book before they wake up. That’s right, I can read a novel in a matter of hours.

But, why am I telling you all of this? Because narrowing down to a few “favorite” series was hard. But, I did it, and here it is:

Around the World in 80 Dates

  1. Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers by Christa Ann Banister- This isn’t exactly a series; it’s just a book and it’s sequel. But, it is definitely my all-time favorite Christian novel (My actual all-time favorite book is The Book Thief, just FYI.). Banister is an excellent author, and, while this book is a pretty quick read (think: one to read while by the pool or at the beach), it is full of Sydney Alexander’s adventures as a travel writer. I made immediate plans to move to Minneapolis when I finished the book. As the title suggests, Sydney struggles with finding the perfect guy. There’s a ton of great lessons in this book without it sounding preachy. Definitely check it out!

Paige Torn

2. The Paige Alder series by Erynn Mangum- This series is a lot like Around the World in 80 Dates. I read it last spring, and I feel like I can totally relate to Paige Alder, who is so busy she generally eats cheese sticks for dinner. Even though she doesn’t have time to breathe, an amazing guy steps into her life. But, that’s not even the best part of the book. Paige Torn has a girl and a guy in it, but the book is so not about their relationship, which is refreshing.

The Rescue

3. The English Garden series by Lori Wick- Lori Wick writes the best romance novels in my opinion. They’re like Disney or Hallmark movies, but not nearly as cheesy. I love knowing that, no matter how crazy the story gets, there is a happy ending coming my way. Life has enough sadness without reading sad books. Anyway, Wick has a lot of great series, but I love this one because it’s set in historical England- and what girl doesn’t love England? Now, this series isn’t four books about one couple; each book focuses on different people who are all somehow related. These books are great reads for when you want something a little sappy. Oh, and every book puts a huge emphasis on faith, which means no awkward scenes to try and skip. 🙂

Leaving (Bailey Flanigan)

4. The Bailey Flanigan series by Karen Kingsbury- Bailey Flanigan is someone who I wish was real so I could be her best friend. This series is about her life after college as she moves to New York City to follow her dreams of Broadway and what happens after. She is a minor character from Kingsbury’s The Baxters series (which is actually four or five series about the Baxter family- also great books). This series is a great read if you are looking for a book with some substance.

A Lineage of Grace

5. A Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers- This is more of a series  of short fictional stories about several women of the Bible. Francine Rivers writes really deep stand-alone novels and series, but this is one of her best. I love all of Francine River’s writing; if you are looking for real, deep novels that challenge your faith, your search just ended.

What are your favorite books? Leave a comment below!

When You’re Just Too Exhausted to Move

Coffee

Do you ever feel like just laying in bed and sleeping through the day? Like you’re just running on a never-ending treadmill all day every day? Do you live from cup of coffee to soda to another cup of coffee? Is “burnout” your middle name?

I hit that point at a remarkably early point in life- senior year. I was leading the Bible study group on my drill team, senior editor of a yearbook with a tiny, almost completely new staff (one other person had experience), vice president of National Honor Society, practicing at least ten hours a week for my drill team, taking almost exclusively honors and dual classes, applying for college and scholarships, went to regional UIL in three writing (of course!) events, and was valedictorian of my class. Oh and I had a boyfriend, which makes life so much easier.

Oh yeah, I knew burnout. It was a good friend of mine.

So believe me when I say that I understand how you feel when you are overwhelmed by the never ending to do list. Here are my four top pieces of advice, which are Biblically based, to be able to move past exhaustion.

1) Get some rest. Put down the phone, the homework, whatever it is, and go to bed. Yes, your to do list may be longer tomorrow, but the odds are that it will be longer anyway with the hamster-on-a-wheel lifestyle you are living. One of my best coping mechanisms that kept me from being stressed out of my mind was getting plenty of sleep. In Genesis two, God rested when He finished creating the world. If God rests, the One who can do anything and needs nothing, then you definitely need to rest. So, just do it. You’ll thank me late.

2) Make an extremely detailed to do list. This step serves a twofold purpose. If you write everything down, you won’t forget anything, like that meeting early Monday morning. Secondly, when you start crossing off the items on your to do list, there is an amazing feeling of accomplishment. At first that list may seem completely overwhelming, but as you see what all you accomplish in a day, you will start to feel pretty proud of yourself.thats why I love writing out my to do lists on paper- for the satisfaction of drawing a line through them with a really inky pen. 

3) As soon as you can, cut down on the number of activities you are participating in. I don’t mean cut out time with your family or study time or sleep. I’m talking about the extra things you are involved in- a sorority or club or sports team. This is the only way you can escape the burnout cycle. If you are overbooking yourself, the only solution is to be involved in less. Now I know you can’t cut down on your activities sometimes because there is a time commitment involved. I get that. But, once you have the ability to make some choices, make them.

4) This tip goes along with the last one. Make priorities. Sit down and write out what kind of person you want to be in the future. What kind of a Christian, family member, student, friend? Make sure that you are lining everything up with Biblical principles (remember our love filter?) and make choices based on who you want to become. Do you want to get more involved at church and create faith based friendships? Don’t get involved in anything that is going to happen on a Sunday. Don’t spend the majority of your time with those who pull you from your faith. Thinking through your options now will save a lot of hassle later.

Welcome to “What Love Requires!”

Featured Image 1st Post

Hello there, whoever you are. Welcome to my blog What Love Requires. For whatever reason you stopped on this particular site, I hope you find what you are looking for. I created this blog for one reason and one reason alone- I felt that it was what the Lord wanted me to do. So, what I can’t tell you is the direction that this blog is going and what our focus will be, because that is something that I just do not know yet. I’m going on faith. Jesus said in John 14:12, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also…”

By now, you are probably wondering at my choice of a title. These days, there are so many different definitions of being a Christian. At my church, we did a Wednesday night series of videos by Andy Stanley called “Christian, It’s Not What You Think.” In one of the lessons I was able to go to, Andy talked about “loophole Christians,” or people who were focused more on the commandments in the Bible (and getting out of them!) than having a relationship with the Author of the Bible. People spend so much time worrying about the proverbial checklist that they wrong God by not having a real relationship with Him. They mislead other people because they are fighting over trivial issues that don’t really matter.

Anyway, Andy said that Jesus summed up what our whole outlook on life should be, what our focus should be, in John 13:34-35. “[Jesus is speaking] A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” So, our question every day should not be, “What can I do or not do today? What can I do that will earn the respect of others? Etc. Etc.” Andy said our question should be, “What does love require of me?”

Heart

I just remember feeling like my whole world was turned on it’s side. Andy continued talking about how everything we do should go through the filter of God’s love- reading the Bible, responding to other people, the list goes on. This is such a simple concept, yet so difficult in today’s culture, even today’s Christian culture.

So, that’s where the inspiration for this blog comes from. From here, who knows where we will go? But, the love Jesus speaks of will be in the center. Everything I write about will be to grow us as people and as believers in Christ. And it will all be filtered by love.

So, what do you think? Please leave any questions in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!