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Hey party people! It's been a while since I've done an introduction/ I have an announcement. My name is Shruthi Parker and I'm a lifestyle blogger & writer for my website, thehonestshruth.com. I started this blog while my husband and I lived in 🇬🇧. Although I was born in 🇮🇳, I grew up in 🇺🇸. Every Monday I write about love, Tuesdays are about travel, Wednesdays are about food/restaurants, Thursdays are my thoughts, Fridays are fashion, and Sundays are for my walk with Jesus. If you haven't subscribed to my website already, do ittt.🔻
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Also, since I've gotten SO many inquiries for things to do in Austin, three-out-of-four Tuesdays a month I'll be sharing with y’all something new I'm adding to my "Honestly Austin: TheHonestShruth’s Austin, TX Travel Guide". These are places I actually visit and things I actually do, so they might not be on TripAdvisor's top ten haha. Stay tuned, and thank you for following along. Remember, you can always DM me topics you'd like posts on.🔻
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"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ― Anaïs Nin
#TravelTuesday

[No. 28] Love is : perseverance. Perseverance means steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Sooo think about a time in your life where you persevered even when you wanted to give up. For me, that’s like anytime I go to the gym (loll) but more seriously, it’s believing in Jesus even when people around me gossip or judge me. Their words show what’s in their hearts but only strengthen my perseverance and love for God. When it comes to relationships, I think perseverance equals deeper knowledge & harmony.
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Even when all I want to give him is a massive eye roll and a callous look, or just give up and walk out of the room, I know the end result of harmony is so worth it. Getting to a place of harmony & understanding because you refuse to give up is thrilling. The growing trust and beauty you see are worth it. The ability to go to sleep in love and not anger is worth it. The ability to wake up to smiles and not awkward silence is worth it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in this world of distractions, upgrades, ‘irreconcilable differences’, and ‘swipe left’, stay the course and persevere. #thehonestShruth

Sunday Thoughts: It’s been a long week people. If you’re feeling anything like I am, you’re weary. I ask God to break my heart for what breaks his but I’m always overwhelmed when he does. On days like this, I can easily go down a verrrry pessimistic road, just thinking of all the sin in this world, and in myself. And even the silliest things can get to me, like the gray & foggy Austin sky or the fact that my dogs kept us very awake through the night...little rascals.🔻
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Part of trying to trust God more this year is capturing the negative thoughts, telling them to kindly shut up please, reading my Bible, and then recounting the ways God was (and is) faithful and just and compassionate and strong and reliable and aware and patient (just to name a few) even when I am/the world is not. If you’re feeling low like I am today, I want to encourage you that He will deliver justice, He will save the righteous, He hears the cries of the weak, and He brings rest to the weary. He is active and not a picture hanging on the wall. And I rejoice that His promises are enough to take me through another day.🔻
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“...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
#thehonestShruth

Had a Fashion Friday all ready to go but I can’t even think about anything else besides the mass school shooting that happened in Florida. I just can’t get over the fact that so many parents said goodbye to their kids in the morning, unaware it was the last time they would see them. I’ll be honest. I was tempted not to read anything about the shooting because I didn’t want to feel burdened and heavy. But I knew that was just me trying to stick my head in the sand and say “everything is okay!”🔻
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I read the stories last night of those we are mourning as a country. It breaks my heart how a brother lost his sister, how a mom lost her only child, how a friend lost her best friend. Why are we okay with saying “this is the FIRST mass shooting of 2018”? How many Americans are numb to shootings now? Numb to the sin that doesn’t directly affect us? We lose more than those lost if we actively ignore what’s happening around us.🔻
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EVERY SINGLE TIME something like this happens, we have to acknowledge the pain that others are going through. We must think about how we can improve our system. We need to act on ways that will safeguard children that aren’t just our own. Sign those petitions, raise awareness with your social media platforms, get involved in your community. Time and time again has shown us that as more children die, we all cry, raise our fists, then move on. And a month later when it happens again, we find our fury and voices to do it all over again...yet nothing will be different. Please help us Lord! 🙏🏽 🔻
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Psalm 11:5 “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.”
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Romans 12:19: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

[No. 27] Love is: not settling to appease loneliness. It took me a while to shift from feeling lonely, to contently alone. Years ago, I worked at a store and one of our regular customers came in. I always thought he was attractive & v edgy so imagine my delight when he asked me to dinner that day...it was Valentine’s Day. My lonely heart was ecstatic. Maybe this was the guy God had for me? *cue wedding bells ?!* 🔻
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By the end of the night, I knew he was not. He was a staunch atheist and no matter what my mind tried to rationalize, my heart knew it would never work. I went home upset and frustrated, and the counsel I got was equally confusing. On one hand I had friends saying, “Go for it! You’re not dating anybody. What’s the harm?” But on the other hand, I had the Spirit of God in me saying, “What are you doing? Do you distrust me this much? Haven’t I always provided for you in ways you didn’t know were better?” I rebelled for two weeks before I listened to the Spirit inside me. When I ended things with edgy guy, he was upset and…intrigued. He wanted to know who this Jesus was that I would break up with him for.🔻
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Looking back, I am so thankful I didn’t give in to the temptation of “not being lonely” anymore. That time of being alone was character building. It scared, surprised, strengthened, and sanctified me. If you’re in a place where you dread Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage you that it’s a day meant for love. And you don’t need romantic love to celebrate that. #thehonestShruth

Sunday Thoughts: We didn’t sleep a wink last night thanks to this little guy, and, according to my mom, that’s a preview of the lack of sleep that’s to come with parenthood one day (oh boy 😅). But seriously, the last 24 hours have been all about Ludwig and man, we are in love. His personality is so intricate! When he’s a diva, we call him Lululemon. When he’s mischievous, we call him LUDA (shout out to Ludacris). When hes sweet and rolling around around we call him Ladoo (delicious, round Indian sweet). The list goes on …and it’s only been 24 hours. ———————
It’s easy for me to acknowledge the magnitude & intricacies of God’s creation when I see an intense sunset, a field of sunflowers, or snow falling…but his intricacies of creation is everywhere—even in Ludwig! He is like no other Frenchie. He has his own personality, likes and dislikes, bark, snort, and ...farts (silent & deadly). He is incredibly unique and loved. Did I mention he’s just a dog!? I’ve been thinking all day, how much more TIME and JOY and LOVE does God spend on each of his people, if he even created Ludwig with such care?! #thehonestshruth

Sunday Thoughts: Happiness and joy are two different things because Joy is NOT dependent on circumstances. Lately, I’ve been listening to duuumb and negative thoughts like, “Gods forgotten about me.” or “He doesn’t have a purpose for my life.” Yeah, intense lies that have been circulating like a bad song on repeat. And guess what? The more space these negative thoughts get, the less air my joy gets. Plus, these fears/doubts leave me feeling exhausted, and I’d really like to stop-it-like-it’s-hot. 🛑 ✋
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One of my favorite bible verses talks about how we can be joyful always. What a challenge that is! My husband is better than me at this because he’s more patient with people and trials than I am. This week, I’m praying for a joyful heart, regardless of circumstance. Comment below if you’d like me to add you to my prayers this evening! “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

[No. 25] Love is : consistent pursuit. Remember your first couple dates when everything was exciting, butterflies lived in your stomach, and every phone call was special? How do couples get from that to staring at phones while sitting across from each other, “on a date”? 🤔😭
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Our time in Costa Rica has been a re{treat}. In addition to rest, we’ve filled each day with little challenges for each other: daily quiet times with God, work out every afternoon, eat healthily at {most} meals, and talk in Spanish with hotel staff & each other. One time we couldn’t remember the word for sunglasses so we said “ventanas de los ojos” which translates to windows of the eyes. 🤣🤓
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Friendship in a marriage is just as important as romance. People have said that with time the “rose tinted glasses come off” or the “spark fades”, but the couples I look up to most are the ones that have managed to keep their friendship AND romantic relationship strong as steel — 20, 30, 40 years down the road. So worth the effort! ❤️ Want something actionable? Start with a weekly date night & put those darn phones away. #thehonestShruth

Sunday Thoughts: I often talk about how my trust is in God and that with Him I do not fear. But, if I’m honest, I don’t always live that way. I’ve wasted days twiddling my thumbs, shuffling my feet, and letting anxiety take too much time/energy. The patterns of my past effectively said: “I know you say to trust in you God, but I don’t think you can handle this.” This year, I really don’t want to be a thumb-twiddling, feet-shuffling woman of God. When I face health scares and challenging relationships, I want to be one that truly trusts in God through my words and actions.
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Further, this year I will not only flee from anxiety & fear, but I will fight against them. One of my favorite bible verses talks about how God cares for us and is always ready to help. You can bet I’m going to approach Him on a daily basis to trust in his provision, and remove anxiety. If you’d like me to add you to my prayer to give God your anxieties and fears this year, comment below, I’ll add you to my prayer this evening.
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“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
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“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouse or barn, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan? So if you cannot do such a small thing, why do you worry about the rest?…” Luke 12:24-26

Sunday Thoughts: This past weekend, so many women marched around the world...and I’ve some thoughts. I love the bold women who are fighting against the repulsive culture of sexual harassment. I love the passionate women standing firm against unequal wages and opportunity. I love the mom/daughter duos shouting against the man in our White House who has repeatedly said sexist/racist things in the past year. But while I stand with them on those issues, I don’t agree with everything the march represents - especially the pro-abortion voices. ———————
I am pro-life & one of the MANY aspects of being pro-life is being anti-abortion. The Bible says that we are given an eternal soul at the point of conception, and at that moment, God begins to stitch the child together in the mother’s womb. The Bible also says that the point of conception is from the moment you are conceived, not from X # of weeks. As a Christian, I do believe the Bible is true. As a human, I know we all fall short of what the Bible says. As a woman, I know too often, too many men have told women what to do with their bodies. As a friend, I’ve seen the immense pain those around me carry with them after an abortion. As a church-culture critic, I see too many shout “pro-life” without giving one cent to help terrified young mothers or women without resources. ———————
I understand this is a very contentious topic & you may not agree with me. But the point of my thoughts is not to offend or argue... but to get you to think deeper. Think about why you’re “pro-life” but shudder at the thought of welcoming refugees. Think about why you believe you have the power to decide whether an unborn life should live or die. Think about why you judge women who’ve had abortions, yet don’t stand up to help them financially, emotionally, or physically when they decide to keep the baby. Think about why you tell expectant mothers to put their babies up for adoption but you yourself would never adopt. Think about how not even one human can explain/create the miracle of human souls.
#thehonestshruth

Thursday Thoughts: We showed our English friends around our old college (University as they say) today! I can’t believe I’ve been out of here for so many years already, slooooow down time, please! While we walked around campus, I felt so thankful for my time at UT. Little ol’ me came to college, never having done her laundry before and unsure of what a balanced diet looked like (helloo freshman 15lbs lol…more like sophomore 17lbs).
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Apparently, college culture is pretty different here than in the U.K… Among many differences, they found it interesting how we are so👏🏽school👏🏽spirited👏🏽. From 100,000 people sporting events to wearing our school colors often to fiercely throwing up our hand sign and shouting “hook ‘em horns!” – we are VERY proud students/alumni. I’m not sure why we are more intense about college spirit than the English. But when I look back on the four years I had here, the amount of growth I experienced and the deep friendships I made are what motivate my ridiculous, loud, & proud school spirit. I love it. Hook ‘em 🤘🏽#thehonestShruth

[No. 23] Love is: just. Dr. Martin Luther King knew that every man and woman deserved to be treated with equality & love. He preached against the satanic evil of racism and hate in the US with consistent love, truth, and fervor. His work, 50+ years ago, changed my life & millions of others. Thanks to his powerful influence in the civil rights movement, a love like ours isn’t punished due to the colors of our skin. I will never take it for granted, and never stop fighting racism.
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Thank you, Dr. King, for speaking out in spite of the persecution you faced. Thank you for winning hearts with compassion and not violence. MLK day isn’t just a holiday for a day off. It’s a celebration of what has been accomplished and a reminder for all that remains to be done. Too many think that racial inequality is no longer prevalent, but just open your eyes! It’s everywhere. On this day, we should remember for what MLK spent his life advocating, the price he paid, the results of his work, and ways to keep fighting peacefully for the equality of every man, woman, and child. If you get a chance, listen to one of his speeches today...his words still ring true. ———————
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -MLK Jr.
#thehonestshruth

Sunday Thoughts: We should not love someone less based on skin color. Simple enough right? Then WHY is it still a struggle even in 2018? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a firm understanding on love. As a Christian, civil rights activist, he repeatedly preached loving those who persecute you like Jesus did. He pleaded with people to not hate their oppressors. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -MLK Jr.
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With this year being the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, tomorrow especially serves as a time of personal reflection and a public call to action. Like King said in a speech 61 years ago..."Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'” Are you learning to speak up for those around you or do you stick to the comfort of your bubble? If you’re being oppressed, do you love those who hurt you or have you succumbed to hating them? 🤔
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“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -MLK Jr.
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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” -MLK Jr.

Sunday Thoughts: By golly we did it! We welcomed our favorite Brits with a night of British/Texan vocabulary games, margaritas, Texas shaped foods, two-stepping, random hip-hop dancing (so.much.dancing.), board games, @whataburger 😆, and conversation. They had such a warm welcome from our Austin community! Hubster and I went to sleep last night with the biggest smiles on our faces even though we were exhausted. Why?
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Because there is something *out of this world* about genuine community. I know I say this all the time but man, it is CRUCIAL. We need people. We were made to be with others, love others, and serve others. Good community is consistent, compassionate, and carries each other’s burdens. I’m just left here praising God for the night we had. It certainly is in my top nights in Austin ever ❤️ #thehonestshruth
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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” [Hebrews 10:24-25]

[No. 22] Love is: gentle. Is it just me or did I imagine we are in the most developed time of the world so far, and yet, something as simple as “no means no” still isn’t understood? Love is not pressuring the other person. It’s not meant to be thrill seeking. It’s not edgy, treacherous, and dark. It’s never, ever, EVER laying a hand on another person in a manner of assault. You do not get to hurt someone physically and then tell them you love them. You don’t get the honor of saying the word love.
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Love protects, defends, and speaks out against injustice even when it’s awkward, even when your voice is alone. It breaks my heart for the victims as I to hear all the physical/sexual assault allegations but at the same time, I’m glad these past hurts are coming to light. The evil that warps “love” cannot live in the light. Let’s clean out the filth as much as we can, and not assume this responsibility is on the shoulders of others to do so. #thehonestshruth

Sunday Thoughts: My husband and I hosted friends out in the country this past weekend. The day before we left, we were sniffling, coughing, “hot messes” thanks to a cold we caught last week. After downing a few cups of coffee, I layered on the under-eye concealer and we sent up some prayers that we’d be able to host our friends well. Thankfully, we had a wonderful time with them—a very restful time. And it reminded us of how important it is to slow down and rest more often.
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Yes, it’s uncomfortable to rest given that this world houses 1,000,000 distractions. When I think of resting on Sundays, the “Sabbath”, I often immediately think of good-ish reasons why it’s just not a practical time for me to rest. Something like, ”Hey God, thanks for creating me and all, but even though you told me to rest on Sundays, it’s just not a good time, I need to color code my closet!” LOL not really...but you get the gist.
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However, I know that at the end of the day, no matter the excuses, God rested on the seventh day of creation. If He who is powerful enough to create mountains, animals, water, and humanity, and everything else in six days, still chooses to rest on the seventh day, it’s worth noticing! I know we’re only one week into 2018, but I’m hoping that for the next 51 weeks I remember to rest well on Sundays as God did. So tell me, do you know how to rest well? Do you know when to slow down?
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And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation. -Genesis 2:3

[No. 21] Love is : deep. It’s so fun to get together with friends and make memories. It’s so fun to have easy brunches and big laughs. It’s so fun to look at that photograph and know you adore each person in it. But loving your friends also means taking “time together” to a deeper level. It’s delving into real life. Sometimes that’s messy, but if you don’t have a trusted group to share it with, you keep all that mess inside and that turns into getting in your head or emotional constipation. And down the road...an outburst or breakdown.
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Deep love from friends lightens the load of life on your shoulders. Deep love helps carry each other’s burdens. Deep love never adds the weight of judgment but knows when to speak the truth. Deep love means vulnerability from both parties, which turns into steel trust. When we share the more difficult moments, how much sweeter is it to share the joyful moments too? #thehonestshruth

Sunday Thoughts: Somehow, here we are at December 31st. In a nutshell, 2017 was productive. I’ve had time to [create] priceless memories living in London, [cultivate] my passions through writing & photography on my blog, [treasure] a deeper love & respect with/for my husband, [travel] to nine countries, [cherish] family & friends on this side of the world and the other, and best of all, [nurture] a stronger relationship with Jesus.
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The biggest lessons He’s taught me are that He never leaves me or forgets about me, and His plan is better than my own...always. He knows me better than I do, providing for me even better than I can imagine. Living with open hands takes the pressure off. Knowing I’m in the best hands, gives me abundant hope for what’s to come.
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It was a tough year in some significant ways (car accident, adjusting back from London life, political unrest, and numerous other trials) but overall, I’m thankful for 2017. At the end of this year, I’m stronger. I know better what I want to do with my time, how I rest best, who I want to surround me, how I can improve, and why I’m living this life. Looking forward to what 2018 brings. May it be a blessed year! 
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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

So for 2018, my New Years resolution is to turn these brown thumbs, green! 👍🏽🌳 Thanks to my amazing mother-in-Law (who is a certified master gardener btw) for getting me started 💚 Comment below with your 2018 New Years resolution or something you want to try, learn, or accomplish!! Check out my list of NY resolutions with the link in my bio 🌿🎍 #newyearsresolution #beginnergardener

[No. 20] Love is: giving generously. I heard a sermon yesterday about how we often believe that we are entitled to the things that we have. Does the fact that you “worked for it” make you feel that it is yours, and not open to giving it away? The point of the message was to view everything, good and bad, as a gift from God because when we do that, it’s far easier to share generously. This really resonated with me because, although I like to think I’m a generous person, I’m often generous as long as it is comfortable for me, within my “means”, reciprocated, or a little bit out of the way. But marriage has started to change that.
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One of my favorite things about marriage is how two persons become one. Each starts to exhibit the good character traits of the other. Generosity is one of his strengths. I’m thankful he has such a generous heart because it’s teaching me the ways I am not. From unquestioningly pulling up on the side of the road to help a homeless man, to seeking out the “wallflower” at a social engagement, to getting a coffee with a friend that he knows needs some venting time, he’s generous with his time, money, & compassion. I’m thankful to have a partner that motivates me to grow in that area, since so often we do not.
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Do you have someone that motivates you to give more generously? Are you willing to give beyond your comfort for the benefit of others? Maybe, this holiday season, you could think about what you’re going to give (physically, mentally & emotionally) and not what you’re going to get. 📷: @lindseymuellerphoto #thehonestshruth

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