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4 Faith-Filled Gifts for Grads

It’s graduation season and the celebrations are filling up your already-busy calendar. You want to give a meaningful gift to your favorite grads this year but you’re running out of time and ideas.

Stop scrolling through Pinterest. I’ve got 4 perfect faith-filled gifts for the graduates in your life and the links you can use to order them. (These are not affiliate links. I get nothing if you choose to purchase these items.)

Gift #1: College Survival Guides

Seriously, where was this book when I was in college?

From Amazon:

Hanna Seymour, a mentor to thousands of young college women, provides a plan for success in college based on experience, illustrations, and biblical principles.
Each year millions of young women enter the college scene and are surprised to find their glittering preconceptions shattered. College isn’t exactly what they had imagined–it’s a lot tougher. Social challenges, a demanding schedule, pressure to succeed, shifting family dynamics: how do girls tackle these issues, learn to thrive, and really enjoy this new phase of life?
THE COLLEGE GIRL’S SURVIVAL GUIDE is packed with experienced-based advice that can help. Written by a mentor with ten years of experience helping college girls succeed, it’s like having a big sister along for the journey. With proven tips, scripture, and inspiring illustrations, this book will coach, comfort, and inspire young women so that they can make the most of the college experience.
Thousands of young women have asked Hanna Seymour what to do about roommate drama, boyfriend trouble, choosing a major, balancing family and school life, and so much more. She’s poured her best insights into this book–answering the top 52 questions she has received–so that readers everywhere will be armed with the knowledge and inspiration to make college the most epic, enriching time it can be.

And here’s a great survival guide for guys or girls!

College 101 is filled with practical advice on how Christian students can be preparing for the challenges of life on campus. Developed by college students, the words of advice and counsel are genuine, honest, and insightful. Based on the authors’ personal experience as students, friends, and active leaders in campus ministry, you discover a unique perspective on college and campus life that only Christian peers can provide.

Gift #2: Journals

Journals are great gifts for young men and women, alike. Graduation is a time of transition and growth. What better gift than a tool they can use to pour out their hearts and preserve the memories they make in what will be some of the best years of their lives?! Buy the journal alone or in a cute set with a coffee mug, bookmark, ink pen, etc…

Gift #3: Coffee

Coffee is an essential part of life for most college students. Grab a gift card for a favorite coffee shop and slip it inside a fun and inspiring mug for the perfect practical gift for every graduating girl and guy on your list.

Gift #4: Letters for Later

This is personally my favorite graduation gift idea ever. I’ve learned from having my own recent high school graduate that money might be what most graduates want, but they’re not always good at saving it. The solution? Letters for Later!

Grab a stack of cute note cards and write out words of encouragement for different situations they may encounter throughout the school year and stuff them with cash, a memento, or gift cards that fit the situation. Then make notes on the front for when they should be opened.

For example, one envelope might say Open Me When You’re Tired and inside you may write a word of encouragement and enclose a Starbucks gift card. Another envelope might say Open Me When You’re Homesick and it may include a photo of you and the graduate. Or maybe you include an envelope that says Open Me When You’ve Aced a Test and it includes a gift card to an ice cream shop for celebrating.

I love this gift idea because you’re combining practical gifts they can use, spread out over time, just when they need them most. It’s thoughtful, practical, and the grads in your life will love it.

Do you remember a specific meaningful gift from your high school graduation? Do you have a go-to gifts for graduates? Please join in the conversation!

Posted in Bible Study, Cooking, Crafts, Friendship, Homeschool, Illness, Marriage, Motherhood, Politics, Prayer, Reflection, Uncategorized, Writing

The Blueprints Behind the Blog

Every well-built house started in the form of a definite purpose plus a definite plan in the nature of a set of blueprints.”

Napoleon Hill

When I look back over the path of my 40 years on this earth, it is hard for me to imagine that any kind of strategic planning ever occurred before I drew my first breath and plunged head-first into my awkward existence. Like many babies, I was a surprise, and the plan and purpose of my life have remained unclear ever since I arrived.

Sure, I was taught that ultimately my greatest aspiration should be to bring glory to God in all that I do but I have wondered for years exactly what that should look like. It’s like telling someone that their assignment is to build a beautiful house without telling them what kind of design might appeal most to the future occupants of the home.

A few months ago I found myself in an overwhelming and frantic search for my dream kitchen. Water was leaking into my kitchen floor caused by a leaking pipe between my exterior wall and my kitchen sink. The initial assessment indicated that we would need to replace a wall, our cabinets, our countertop, and our flooring. In short, I needed a new kitchen.

While this sounded like an absolute dream come true at first, I quickly found myself overwhelmed and frustrated. My judgmental spirit is quick to decide if I love or hate something whether it is a piece of art, a book, or a tiled back-splash but I found that I have absolutely no earthly ability to design anything. None. I know what I like but I am not good at creating something from nothing.

This should not have surprised me because this has been an overarching theme throughout my life. I have strong opinions but I don’t know how to build anything out of them. I’ve struggled with my identity and been embarrassingly envious of women who have found their niche, their purpose, or their dream come true. I’ve prayed that God would give me something that would steer me in a clear direction. I’ve asked Him to pick a path and set me on it. Yet, for years I’ve felt stuck in the middle of the crowd, wandering aimlessly towards nothing.

Instead of meticulously sketching out my dream kitchen, I found myself pinning countless kitchen cabinets and counter tops to my Pinterest board declaring, “I like this one the best” about ten different times. Seriously. I made up my mind and changed my mind and made up my mind again over and over until I no longer believed in my own ability to make a decision. I took every “What Is Your Design Style” quiz I could find online and shook my head in dismay when the only style match that I received repetitively was “Eclectic”.

When the final inspection revealed that the massive air dryers in our kitchen had done their job and removed all the moisture from our cabinets, walls, and floor and that a kitchen re-model would no longer be necessary, I sighed with relief like a prisoner who had just been pardoned. Deciding what I wanted most was no longer my responsibility and I was relieved.

Over the past 20 years as an adult, I’ve embraced a plethora of architectural and decorative design styles for my life that have never felt complete. I’ve tried to paint myself as a military wife or a wounded warrior wife. I’ve attempted to drape my motherhood with my experience as a homeschool mama and co-op leader. I’ve wired my heart for being the mama of a child with cancer and for being a lupus warrior, myself. I’ve adorned my walls with this ministry and that ministry and many fun hobbies that I picked up along the way. I’ve furnished my life with everything from expensive investment pieces to flea market finds and nothing has ever felt cohesive.

And then I re-read this verse.

Through skillful and godly wisdom, a house, a life, a home, a family is built, and by understanding it is established on a sound and good foundation, and by knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasure.”

Proverbs 24:3-4

That’s when I realized my life wasn’t quite as disheveled and mix-matched as I thought. Yes, my interests and my choices have been quite eclectic over the years but that does not make me any less Me.

The rooms in my house match the rooms in my heart. They are varied in size and style and color but they are each uniquely and beautifully mine. I can change up the paint and the flooring and the furnishings as often as I like but that won’t change who I am because I will always have the same solid foundation.

My faith.

My faith is my foundation and it is what my entire life is built upon, no matter what it looks like today or tomorrow. Storms have come and gone, knocking down walls and breaking out windows but my foundation has never wavered because my faith is built upon the Solid Rock. Jesus Christ is a “sound and good foundation” and by my hungry quest for more knowledge of Him, the rooms of my life are being filled with “rare and beautiful treasure”.

The foundation was poured years ago and I have fabricated rough walls and doors along the way, but they never connected cohesively because I wasn’t looking at the blueprints. I’ve been trying to figure out how to tie in my faith with my role as a mom or as a writer or as a student, when all along I should have been trying to figure out how to tie in each of those roles with my faith. A builder never builds a room first and THEN sets it on the foundation. A room is always built ON the foundation.

So today, with the launching of this blog, I’m unrolling the blueprints that God has given me. I’m not focused nearly as much on the decorating right now as I am with the foundation and the structure of each room. I have been neglecting the passions that God planted in my heart years ago out of fear that I could never make them match with the rest of the life I was building. Now I know that the passions of my heart are part of the foundation of my faith. They are God-gifts and if I don’t use them, I could very well lose them.

Welcome to She Builds Rooms of Treasure. I hope you will examine the blueprints of your own life as we do life together, filling the rooms of our lives with rare and beautiful treasure, for the glory of God.

May 25th will be my 41st birthday and with that, I will be making an exciting announcement. It will be the wall-raising of a new room in my life upon the foundation of my faith and I cannot wait to share it with you.