What Is a Master Planned Community? Should I Move Into One?

Masterplanned communities are popping up everywhere you look around the new home scene. The trend seems to point to homeowners’ growing desire for tight-knit communities that contain spaces where residents can work, play, and live.

Definition: A master-planned community is a residential development specifically designed with the intent to include commercial areas that meet the needs of its residents. Masterplanned communities can also market to specific groups (ex: active senior communities, up and coming professionals, families, etc.) 

Pros:

Master-planned communities sometimes offer amenities such as exclusive community clubs, fitness/recreational classes, seasonal parties, and outdoor concerts. They may also host events for holidays, local donation drives, and voluntary neighborhood cleanup. Additionally, master-planned communities are purposefully designed to limit your need to travel outside of the community limits for your immediate needs. Grocery stores, schools, doctors’ offices, and entertainment will all be within a few minutes’ drive. Ideally, the house you buy in a master-planned community is one you will be able to stay in for years to come. Consequently, you’ll be able to build a strong network of neighbors, friends, coworkers and family that make up your overall community.  

Cons:

As with all good things, there are a few downsides to master-planned communities. To maintain aesthetics, certain rules and regulations are implemented. They usually control (or restrict) physical changes to the appearance of your home, landscape, or curb. Before making alterations to your home, you may need to get approval from your neighborhood committee, or even get a permit. If you happen to make an unapproved change, fail to maintain the appearance of your yard or violate a rule, you may also face a fine after being warned. Lastly, master-planned communities are often managed by homeowners’ associations (HOAs). HOAs can charge residents a monthly fee to allocate toward the neighborhood’s needs. Keep in mind, monthly HOA dues can fluctuate over time.

Deciding whether a master-planned community will be the right fit for your family requires a careful look at the pros and cons. Visit a few to get a better feel for the atmosphere, meet your potential neighbors and talk to the community leaders. And remember, the community you choose to surround yourself with can greatly impact your daily life. So take all the time you need to arrive at your final conclusion. 

Jim and Bobbie PuryearWhat Is a Master Planned Community? Should I Move Into One?
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Not Active In Your Community? Ways You Are Missing Out

Unless you are residing in a far-flung and isolated island, you are surely a part of a community. You can create your own little world in the privacy of your abode, but it will not exempt you from the rules and regulations set by society. Whether you like it or not what happens to society affects you. And it may not seem so obvious, but in some way, everything you do affects society as well. The truth is that society plays a huge role in your choices and decisions. Sometimes it can even define the lifestyle you lead.

Since it is quite impossible to separate ourselves from society, you are likely to benefit from being an active community member. While no one can persecute you if you wish to detach yourself from everything that is happening around you, remember that by being oblivious about your community, you are missing out on a lot. Listed below are reasons why you should be active in your community.

You are wasting a chance to create wonderful relationships.

Do you want to meet new people and widen your social circle? You can scour the list of events in your community and inquire on how you can participate. It is a great way to have fun and at the same time meet folks who share your interest and passions. Who knows? You may create lifelong friendships because of it.

You miss opportunities to flaunt your skills.

Do you have a talent or skill to share? Your local community may be the perfect place to hone it. You can hold a workshop if you are an artist or volunteer to cook a hearty dish if you are a good chef. As the city hall organizes various events, you are likely to find something where you can display whatever talent or skill you may have.  

You are giving up your chance to be an influencer.

As an ordinary citizen you may feel powerless regarding implementation and amendments of policies in your local community. This may change once you decide to check out your town hall’s office. City council meetings are generally open to all (except for some meetings which are closed to the public), so you can listen and observe as officials assess and deliberate a certain policy proposal. In some cities you can even share your opinion and ask questions during a city council meeting. Attending these meetings will increase your knowledge about issues affecting your community and at the same time you get the chance to influence a lawmaker’s decision.

You are not boosting your self-esteem.

Even in a small way, being able to help or contribute in the community will give you a sense of purpose. This is such a great way to boost your confidence because you are also taking small steps to improve the society you live in. So if ever you feel inadequate or incompetent, you may want to spend some time doing community service. You may just give yourself a healthy dose of self esteem in no time.

If the amazing benefits listed above sparked your interest to engage in community activities, then what are you waiting for? Make good use of your time by finding out how you can make significant contributions to your local community today!

Jim and Bobbie PuryearNot Active In Your Community? Ways You Are Missing Out
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Unexpected Benefits You Get From Active Community Involvement

Community service may sound like hard work and some may even see it as a form of punishment. Yet undeniably, once you realize the positive impact that your action can do to society, it can also be one of the most fulfilling and enriching experiences. Since you do it primarily to help others or give back, it is easy to assume that all the benefits solely pour on the side of society while you get nothing out of it.

It might then come as a surprise that community involvement can offer a multitude of wonderful rewards that can tremendously enhance your life. If you are yet to take an active role in community service, the following unexpected benefits you can get from doing it may just provide the motivation you need:

Improves Physical Health & Well-being

It may not seem so obvious but active community involvement can bring tons of health benefits. Some volunteer work can be tiring but it provides a form of exercise that can reduce stress levels and prevent many diseases. Furthermore, to know that your effort, no matter how small, can greatly contribute to the betterment of the community can be a source of pride and achievement. This wonderful sense of accomplishment results in a happier disposition which in turn leads to better health. The conclusion of years of research done by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) indicate that volunteer activities have a positive correlation with lower chances for depression and lower mortality rates.

Widens Your Skills & Knowledge

The need for continuous learning is essential if you want to move forward in life. Fortunately, altruistic activities can be an avenue for free education. Some organizations provide volunteers with training so you get to increase awareness and knowledge on a certain cause and may also acquire new skills in the process. You may also discover a good way to share your talents with the community if you offer help for a certain cause that is related to your interests.

Builds Up Your Resume

Students who choose to devote their free time to community activities increases their chance to land a high-paying job later on. Moreover, affiliations in reputable organizations is a clever way to beef-up your resume when you are a fresh graduate with no past employment. The claim that community involvement makes you more attractive to employers is backed up by research. In 2009, a UK-based organization, TimeBack, formed a partnership with Reed, a recruitment agency, to conduct a survey on how employers view charitable activities. The study revealed that 84% think charitable activities help job seekers get hired. Likewise, more than 70% of employers believe that that volunteer experience increases the chance for promotion and salary increase.

May Open Up Travel Opportunities

You only want to offer whatever assistance you can give to a cause but you may end up going places and experiencing new things as well. Travel privileges is indeed a possibility if you are really committed to offer your services. At the same time, the opportunity to be in a new environment and meet new people can broaden your mind and perspective on things.

Grow Your Network of Friends

Getting out there and immersing yourself in the community is an effective way to meet people who share your same interests and passion. They say, true friends are hard to find – but you may not find it so difficult if you regularly participate in community outreach activities.

We are all a vital part of the society we live in so in a way, we are all required to contribute something for the betterment of the community. This responsibility may sound challenging but participating in community activities is a win-win situation – the society benefits and you get rewarded as well.

Jim and Bobbie PuryearUnexpected Benefits You Get From Active Community Involvement
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Four Faith-Building Testimonies to Share with Others

Belief is delicate and life is tough. Even the most seasoned followers endure trials and tribulations that test their faith. In those moments of uncertainty, it’s beneficial to have a support system to aid in the process of rebuilding that faith. If you are blessed with opportunity to counsel someone through the most vulnerable point of his/her walk, these 4 testimonies can help.

  1. Share a Testimony About Your Biggest Obstacle. Explain How Faith Helped You Overcome It.

Offering an anecdote about your biggest life challenge creates common ground. It’s important to let others know that even you, the person they look to as a strong pillar of faith, went through (what felt like) an unbearable situation. You were delivered from it, and came out stronger than when you went in. This type of testimony creates understanding and works toward canceling the feeling of isolation and guilt that your mentee may feel. By specifically stating how faith played a role in your triumph, you illustrate the necessity of its role in problem solving and endurance.

  1. Answer the Question: Who Helped Build Your Faith?

By nature, people are social. We learn by seeking guidance from people who are already skilled in the areas that we aspire to excel in. Discussions with others help us navigate through our thinking and processing. Leaders also share teachable lessons on best practices. Similarly, these interpersonal benefits ring true in faith-based scenarios. God created us to be interdependent. For most of us, there was someone who helped answer our questions, point us to the most applicable Bible verses, and to hold us accountable. Whether that was your pastor, a friend, or someone in your family, that person played a vital role in building the base of our faith. Try sharing a testimony about the spiritual leader who did that for you. Make sure to include the biggest takeaways you gleaned from his/her counsel.

  1. Answer the Question: When Was Your Faith at Its Lowest? How Did You Recover?

This will undoubtedly be a vulnerable exchange. As Christians, we often feel a certain level of shame or regret about the situation that caused us the greatest level of doubt. Nevertheless, it was a critical life moment that, once it passed, provided a lot of clarity in your Christian faith. Sometimes when you begin to doubt the very thing that used to help you keep going, it can feel like you’ll never come out on the other side. This is why it’s meaningful to share an account of the feelings you personally experienced when you were in the midst of your lowest lows. It’s comforting to know that other believers prevailed in spite of their setbacks. Focus on explaining why your faith decreased in that scenario and the steps you took to rebuild your assurance. Lastly, expound on what currently prevents you from returning to the mind state you were previously in.

  1. Share a Testimony Detailing the Ways That Strong Faith Has Changed Your Life for the Better.

Finally arriving in a place where your level of faith is the best it’s ever been, is a wonderful feeling. Having the confidence of being able to fully trust God and cast all your fears and problems on Him is freeing. That freedom comes with daily benefits. Maybe increased faith has helped heal your marriage or given you greater mental health. Maybe your high level of faith changed your perspective on life. Think about the day-to-day benefits that make you grateful for reaching the level of faith that you currently enjoy. Share those victories with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Your joy-filled spirit will be infections and make others eager to attain the same for themselves.

Other Interventions That May Help

If you are struggling to think of impactful testimonies that will be helpful, don’t fret, there are plenty of other avenues that lead to the same result. Below are a few faith-building suggestions that you can pass on:

  • Bible study
  • Support groups
  • Seeking prayer for renewed faith
  • Center friend groups around people who have reached the faith-level you desire
  • Seek pastoral guidance

Faith is the backbone of Christianity, yet most believers will struggle with faith at least once during their journey. Sometimes life knocks us down and it feels impossible to get up. However, we don’t have to bear our burdens alone. We are charged with the responsibility of lifting up our brothers and sisters when they cannot stand for themselves. Witnessing through testimony is a surefire way to stand in the gap for those among us who need encouragement in strengthening their faith.

Jim and Bobbie PuryearFour Faith-Building Testimonies to Share with Others
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3 Reasons to Adopt a Community Mentality

You can go far in life with self-motivation, drive, and the determination to create a successful life for yourself. However, you can go even farther if you have a community of people supporting you and encouraging you along the way because the strongest, boldest, and most successful you can be is always when the people you surround your life with are strong, bold, and successful too. It’s so important to go through life with a team-oriented mindset, so you have people you can trust and rely on when things get tough. Here are 3 reasons you should adopt a community mentality.

A community mentality increases a sense of membership in your life

If you make an effort to create a sense of community in every area of your life, you will also create a sense of belonging. As humans, we naturally crave acceptance in a group and security in our relationships. Establishing a community built on trust and respect establishes a sense of membership and feeling of belonging in your life.

A community mentality creates a source of influence

Further, establishing a sense of community within your relationships also makes it easier to cultivate an environment for a source of influence to flow. Being around like-minded and motivated people creates an environment for positive ideas to bounce off each other. Further, the community gives each member a sense of mattering just as its members give the community a mission and an importance. And this sense of importance is only possible because of the influence members have on each other and on the community as a whole.

A community mentality fulfills human needs

A community of people is often initially brought together because of their shared interests, values, and goals. In doing so, communities also relate over their shared experiences and the memories they have together. These experiences and shared memories form a lasting bond and emotional connection between the members of the community. And this kind of emotional connection is exactly what brings a community’s members together during a tragedy and forms an unbreakable bond for a lifetime.

So while you might create a successful life for yourself with your own self-motivation and drive, your life won’t reach the same level of fulfillment unless it’s rich with personal connection and values a community mentality.

Jim and Bobbie Puryear3 Reasons to Adopt a Community Mentality
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