Summer Photo Fun: Name This Location!

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Are you ready, friends, for some more Summer Photo Fun? Each year during July and early August (when my husband is on break from teaching), I feature some fun photo posts rather than my usual inspirational/devotional style posts. I like to take a more casual approach to blogging for a few weeks and hopefully you’ll still leave here feeling refreshed, encouraged, or nourished in some way.

Today let’s have a little “Name This Location” challenge. Who can tell me where the photo above was taken? Let’s see who can turn in the first correct guess!

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer and getting to do a little traveling and photo-taking of your own. Enjoy your location today wherever you are!

“‘I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go . . .’” Genesis 28:15a

*So what’s the location above? Good luck with your guess!

*My photo

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Winner Plus Summer Photo Fun Kick-Off: Caption This

IMG_5442 Hey everyone, I’m back! And to start things off with some smiles, I’m announcing the winner of my Mother of the Bride Book Launch Giveaway plus kicking off my annual Summer Photo Fun here on the blog. Good times, huh?!

First things first—time to announce a winner! The winner of the gift assortment  including a signed copy of my book Mother of the Bride as well as some other special items is . . . Susan Best! Congrats, Susan! Hope you thoroughly enjoy each gift!

And now for Summer Photo Fun: For those of you who may be new here, each year during July and early August, I feature some fun photo posts rather than my usual inspirational/devotional style posts.

This part of summer is always topsy-turvy for me since my husband is on his break from teaching so I try to take a more casual approach to blogging for a few weeks. Since photos can really brighten our days and since I’ll also be including a verse from the Bible, my hope is that you’ll still leave here feeling refreshed or nourished in some way.

Let’s start with some Caption This fun. The photo above is of one of my twin grandsons (Isaiah) after enjoying one of Grandma’s love-filled chocolate chip cookies. The rest is up to you—how would you caption this photo?

Thanks as always for stopping by, friends. I hope my sweet Isaiah put a smile on your face today!

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us,” Psalm 67:1

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early August. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo

Book Launch Giveaway for Mother of the Bride!

IMG_8433The official launch day for my book Mother of the Bride is finally here! The book has been available in limited supply on online sites already, but with the arrival of July 1st, it will now be widely available both online and in stores. I’m so excited!

To celebrate the launch of my dream come true, how about a super fun giveaway? The winner will receive a signed copy of the book as well as some other special gifts—a to-die for Peppermint Latte bar of Beigetone Soap (hand-made by my friend Nancy Douglas), a jar of True Blue Spa 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub from Bath and Body Works, a bottle of OPI Nail Polish in the Hawaiian Orchid shade, a beautiful Butterflies Journal by Peter Pauper Press, and also the decorative container pictured above. You certainly don’t have to be a mother of the bride to win this giveaway, but I’ve designed it in honor of all mothers of the bride out there who deserve to be pampered in the midst of all their wedding planning.

But first, here’s a brief description of Mother of the Bride:

Mother of the Bride will help MOBs step away from the hurried pace of daily life complicated by a demanding new role. It will offer them the refreshment found in discovering community as they take time for themselves time to be encouraged, to gain helpful insight and practical tips, and to enjoy the feminine beauty of a book designed just for them.

Through essays featuring relevant quotes or Scriptures, personal stories, nuggets of wisdom, simple suggestions for personal pampering, journaling opportunities, communication aids, and practical tips for wedding planning, Mother of the Bride will nurture the all-important but too often neglected mother of the bride.

Mother of the Bride is the perfect gift and resource for mothers of the bride. The vendor worksheets alone (found at the back of the book) are themselves worth the price of the book. Why not make it your go-to gift for mothers of the bride you know—both now and in the future!

You may buy the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com, and it will be available in bookstores as well. To find out more about the book, check out MotheroftheBrideBook.com.

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Now for the giveaway. Here’s how it will work:

*1 entry for leaving a comment on this post here on my website. The ones on Facebook are greatly appreciated, but to be entered in the giveaway, you must leave a comment here.

*2 entries for Liking my Cheryl Barker, Writer Facebook page (tell me in the comments.) If you’ve already Liked the page, just say so. That definitely counts!

*3 entries for sharing the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter (tell me in the comments and include the link where you shared.)

*4 entries for subscribing to Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter (tell me in the comments but be sure to confirm your subscription when you get a confirmation email.) Sign-up is to the right under “Free For You”. If you’re already a Life Notes subscriber, you bet that counts. Just mention it in your comment.

*Giveaway is open to US residents only due to customs and mailing costs.

*Drawing will be done by Random.Org.

Enter by noon CST July 20th, and I will announce the winner in my July 21st posts here and on my Mother of the Bride Blog as well.

I won’t be posting here again until July 21st. Yes, that’s a long blogging break, but I want to leave this post front and center for a while so everyone will have a chance to see it and enter the giveaway. Plus, I will also be taking a trip with my sisters—a first for us!—so I want to concentrate on enjoying that special time with them. In the meantime, why not enjoy some of the inspiration and encouragement found in previous posts? Look under Favorite Posts to the right for some posts you might especially enjoy.

And now, good luck to everyone! I will see you here again on July 21st!

Pinterest Pin - Perfect Gift and Resource

Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: A Part of God’s Mosaic

Bowl Plaza mosaic*Today’s post is written by my friend Jane M. Tucker. She is the author of Lottie’s Gift.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1)

Hebrews chapter eleven describes many people who accomplished great things by faith in God. I have sometimes heard this chapter called the “Hall of Heroes,” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” These titles conjure images of a museum where the portraits of Bible heroes like Abraham, Moses and Rahab hang on the walls. Gold name plates nailed to the picture frames tell who they were, and what they did.

The idea feeds my pride. Someday, I’ll be as great as they were. Someday, I’ll deserve to hang in that hall, too. It isn’t a healthy way to approach my faith walk.

Because the Hall of Fame idea is a trap for me, long ago God gave me a different visual: A mosaic, made of millions of different stones, each one reflecting His light with infinite beauty. In the Master’s hands I am a stone, tumbled to a high polish by time and trial, until I am fit to take my place among all the other precious and unique stones in His timeless design. The idea of a mosaic is reflected in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (emphasis mine).

The mosaic image holds three advantages for me:

  • I measure myself rightly. I’m not so much a portrait, grandly set apart in a gallery for all to see. I’m a stone, precious to my maker, but not more so than His other precious stones.
  • I see myself in relationship with other believers. Our triune God is all about relationship. One lovely stone is admirable, but it gains even more beauty when placed with all the others to form a greater whole.
  • I remember that God wants everyone to join his family. A missing mosaic tile is instantly noticeable. God needs all his precious stones if his artwork is to be complete.

Now, let me be clear: The portrait painter and the mosaic artist are only metaphors for a God we cannot fully describe. Metaphors clothe the intangible with concrete images, but they are limited. Martin Luther called God a mighty fortress, and David called Him a rock, and those metaphors also have their limitations.

What metaphor for God speaks to you today?

When she’s not gallivanting around New York, Jane M. Tucker works and plays in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband and three nearly grown kids. She writes about the people and places of the Midwest on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland. Jane’s novel, Lottie’s Gift, about an Iowa farm girl with a big gift for music and the sister she loves with all her heart, is available on Amazon.com and at CrossRiverMedia.

*Photo by Jane M. Tucker

Midweek Morsel: Loving Others, Showing Them God

7452197640_7c4d4e9aea_zDid you realize that when you show love to others, you are in fact showing them a bit of what God is like? Since the Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8b), it follows that God can be reflected through our loving acts and words towards others.

In the book Bittersweet—Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, author Shauna Niequist points out this truth especially as it applies to loving the heartbroken. Consider these words of hers and recall if this has been your experience as well:

“I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over.”

What a privilege to show God to a hurting soul, huh? Let’s remember that our expressions of love to the heartbroken can have deep and even eternal impact. Let’s show them love. Let’s show them God.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7a

*During your times of heartbreak, has someone reflected God to you through their loving deeds?

*Flickr photo by lucidtech, Creative Commons License