Archives for September 2014

Spirit and Soul Refreshment for the Mother of the Bride

Brandywine Falls, CVNP

Mothers of the Bride grow weary at times. Not only physically and mentally weary, but weary in spirit and soul as well. It goes with the territory.

As you add new wedding-planning duties and tasks to your already crowded schedule, MOB, it’s no wonder your spirit begins to droop and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Stress and exhaustion will do that to the best of us.

Spending time outside soaking up the beauty of God’s world always refreshes my spirit and soul, but the life-giving words found in the Word of God also breathe new life into me as I let them wash over me.

So, Mother of the Bride, allow me to share some passages with you that I pray will be just the balm your weary MOB soul may need today. From God and me with love—may you be encouraged and refreshed!

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” Matthew 11:28-30

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake . . . You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:1-3, 5b-6

“‘Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.’” Deuteronomy 33:12

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 40:28-31

Feeling refreshed, MOB? I hope so. May you go forward in fresh strength!

*You might also like to read Time Out for Laughter and An MOB Prescription: Movie Fun!

*My photo of Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Look Beyond the Weakness

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Sometimes we have a tendency to label or pigeonhole people according to our perceived view of their weaknesses or flaws.

Just think of how we identify others at times, either in our thoughts or in actual conversation. We say things like oh, she’s the heavy one, the homely one, the ditzy one, the gossip. Or he’s the string-bean, the nerd, the boring one, the loser. Unfortunately, unless we’ve taken time to look beyond the weaknesses or flaws, we tend to think of them in terms of these not-so-flattering labels.

Even Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, has been remembered down through the ages as doubting Thomas. Yes, he did in fact express doubt when told about the resurrection of Jesus, and that event is detailed in John 20:24-29. Unfortunately, that’s how most of us remember him.

However, Thomas also displayed great courage. When Jesus wanted to return to an area where the Jews had previously threatened to stone him, the other disciples questioned Jesus about wanting to go back. Thomas, on the other hand, said, “‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’” (John 11:16b)

Maybe it’s time that we look beyond Thomas’s weakness and notice his strength—and maybe it’s time we do that for others as well. Let’s take time to look past whatever weakness or failure we see at first and look for the best in one another. Let’s be overheard saying things like oh, he’s the brave one, the funny guy, the giver, or she’s the creative one, the kind one, the peacemaker.

Yes, let’s look past the weaknesses. Let’s look through eyes of love. Let’s look beyond.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . .” 1 Thessalonians 5:11a

*What do you hope people see when they look beyond your weaknesses?

*Flickr photo by Flood G., Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: An Invitation to Rest

Butterfly Garden

Anyone weary today? Anyone need to take a deep breath and rest for a few minutes—or a few hours or days or weeks? Whether it’s rest for body, mind, soul, spirit, or a combination of them all, we’ve all been at that place where we long for deep satisfying rest.

We find the most satisfying rest when we look to Jesus and draw near to him, depending on him to grant the rest we so desperately need.

Here is his invitation to us today and every day. Let’s accept his offer and find true rest in him!

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” Matthew 11:28-30

*Is there an activity or a place that helps you find rest in the Lord?

*My photo taken in the Cleveland Botanical Garden

Bridal Gowns with Modest Design—Try Chatfield’s!

Ruth full length (3)

What’s a bride to do who wants a wedding gown with a modest design? Not every bride wants a strapless or backless gown or one with a plunging neckline. Some want a more modest look for their big day. And thank goodness, there are options out there.

Mother of the Bride, if your daughter is among those who’d love to find a modest bridal gown, one place she can turn to for help is Chatfield’s Bridal Boutique in St. Louis, MO. According to their website, they are one of only ten modest-only bridal shops in the U.S. Chatfield’s features gowns with sleeves—cap sleeves, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, and long sleeves—as well as modest necklines.

Since every bride’s standards for modesty may be somewhat different, Chatfield’s owner Debbie Welcher says that almost all of their dresses can be easily modified to make them either more modest or even a little less modest.

Be sure to check out the galleries on the Chatfield’s Bridal Boutique website to see the variety of beautiful gowns they offer. One of their bestsellers right now is the gown pictured above (Ruth). Their other current bestseller (Aubrey) is the one immediately below. I’ve also included shots of a few others that I thought were especially pretty.

Aubrey (2) (3)

evelyn dress (3)

Lourie_weddingdress (3)

Marguerite (3)

Why not share Chatfield’s and their beautiful gowns with your daughter, MOB? They might have just what she’s looking for!

*Also find Chatfield’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

*If you’d like to try to find a bridal shop in your own region that features gowns with a modest design, try some of the links on the Google page for “modest bridal gowns”. Hope this helps!

*Photos compliments of Chatfield’s

Prisoner of Hope

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“Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12

I am a prisoner—a prisoner of hope. Both professionally and personally I’m in the midst of long waits, and not long ago when I read the verse above where God is speaking to His people Israel, my spirit said, “Yes, yes, that’s me. I’m a prisoner of hope.”

On the professional front, many of you know I’ve been working towards book publication for a long time. Yes, it’s been a period filled with work to help bring the dream to fruition, but even though it’s been an active time, it’s also been a waiting time. Waiting as I develop my craft. Waiting as I build an online presence. Waiting as I network. Waiting for the right time to seek an agent. And now my agent and I work and wait together for the right publishing deal to unfold.

Just a few weeks ago, my publication dream looked like it was finally going to become reality. We actually had a contract. But before we could get it finalized, economic difficulties forced the publisher to withdraw their new contract offers. My book deal disappeared before I could ever announce it.

In the face of this withdrawn contract, hope threatened to disappear as well. But instead, it was time to live out my faith. Time to put feet to my claims of wanting God’s will alone. Time to turn once again to my Fortress, my God, and fix my eyes on him. Time to continue being a prisoner of hope.

On the personal front, my husband and I have been waiting with our kids for years for God to bless them with a child. Like with me and my book publication dreams, this period has been an active time for them as well as they’ve worked towards making their dream come true. But in their situation, the waiting time outweighs active times. The whole experience can best be described as brutal. And we have been standing with them in prayer continually—and hurting with them as well through countless disappointments.

And yes, with each of their disappointments, hope threatens to disappear. Each time we must each one decide to lift our tear-stained eyes to our Fortress, our God, and continue to trust in him. We must choose to continue living our lives as prisoners of hope.

God is worthy of our trust, and he alone is our source of hope. Look at the last half of the verse above—“even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” I believe not only does God want to bless us, but he wants to bless us abundantly.

How about you? Are you a prisoner of hope? Do you need to return to your fortress today and live out your continued trust and hope in God? You’re not alone. Let’s join our hands and walk our faith together.

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14

*What are you hoping for today?

*p.s. If you would be so kind, would you whisper a prayer for the situations I shared with you today? Thank you!

*Flickr photo by cabodevassoura, Creative Commons License