Archives for October 2015

Midweek Morsel: A God Who Gets in the Boat

12400141055_1de52c804c_z“Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.” Mark 6:51a

Are you familiar with the boat story that took place after Jesus fed the crowd of five thousand?

When everyone had had their fill, Jesus told his disciples to get into a boat and go on ahead of him so he could have a private time of prayer. Later on that evening when the boat was in the middle of the lake, Jesus saw the disciples straining at the oars because it was so windy. He decided to walk out on the water to them. When they saw him, they were terrified. They thought he was a ghost. So he identified himself at once, told them not to be afraid, and then climbed into the boat with them. The wind died down—and I imagine the disciples’ fears did, too.

Just as the disciples had a Savior who came to them and climbed into their boatload of fear and struggle, we too have a God who gets in the boat with us. He comes to our aid when the winds of life are beating us down. He enters our lives and our pain. He gets right in the middle of our trials and struggles and brings peace. So don’t be afraid. We have a God who gets in the boat.

“. . . do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

*When has God gotten in the boat with you?

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Richard Clark (Digimist), Creative Commons License

Bride’s and Bridesmaids’ Bouquets as Cake Table Decor


Mother of the Bride, have you and your darling daughter discussed the wedding day décor for the cake tables yet? Remember, you will have two tables or areas to decorate—the main cake table and the table for the groom’s cake as well. Yes, the cakes will be decorative in themselves, but something more is really needed to add color and beauty to the white tablecloths you’ll more than likely use.

One smart and gorgeous solution is to use the bride’s and the bridesmaids’ bouquets to add beautiful accents to the cake tables. Since you already have money invested in the bouquets, why not use them beyond the ceremony?

Not only will the bouquets already be stunning, they will provide coordinating color, already be paid for, and will require no extra work. Just tell the bridesmaids ahead of time where they are to place their bouquets as soon as they arrive at the reception. Or have someone else assigned to gather the bouquets as soon as the post ceremony photos are taken so she can get them to the reception site asap.

MOB, this is one of those times you can kill two birds with one stone. Take advantage of it and move on to the next item on your to-do list. After all, you’ll probably be adding to that list as fast as you check things off, right?!

*You might also like to read Cake Table Tip for Weddings: Display Engagement Photo, Table Décor Finishing Touch: Fresh Rose Petals, and Wedding Table Décor: Add Pizzazz with Confetti.

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post on my home page and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

0307*Top photo by Flowers Photography; bottom photo by Chris Humphrey Photographer

Guest Blogger RJ Thesman: Finding the Shepherd within Alzheimer’s


While visiting my mother at the assisted living facility, we decided to go to “church.” A visiting pastor would present a brief service and offer encouragement – making Sunday a special day at the “home.”

Although Mom is now in Stage Five of Alzheimer’s Disease, that sacred place within her where God resides has not been forgotten. So she picked up her Bible and we walked down the hall to the reception area.

I wondered how many of the residents would gain anything from the service, but I watched as they sang some of their favorite hymns, their faces aglow with the memory of other places and decades past when they sang with their families sitting next to them in wooden pews.

The pastor asked if the group would help him recite Psalm 23. I suppressed a snicker, certain that none of these folks, including my mother, would remember an entire Psalm, much less be able to recite it. Alzheimer’s is, after all, the memory thief.

But I didn’t realize how deep that sacred place is that resides within the soul, how the word of God digs in so intensely that not even a brain disease can disrupt it.

So I watched and listened as these dear souls, in various stages of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease recited the Shepherd Psalm.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”

They quoted the King James version, with none of them missing a beat.

“He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.”

How many of them prayed that God would restore their lives, do a miracle in their bodies and release them from this disease, this long and tragic goodbye?

“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

A righteous life includes reading the word of God and hiding those words in their hearts so that when the end of life comes, when those final years flip over onto the calendar, they hang on to what really matters.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

These saints understand better than I because they live in that valley. I could see it in their eyes, in the faces accessorized with various shades of gray hair, the shining baldness of the men. This valley they knew and only God could help them walk through it unafraid.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

Food no longer provides comfort because the appetite is gone, the taste buds have forgotten a favorite flavor or the joy of family meals. Yet smiles surfaced around the group – maybe a dim remembrance of God’s anointing on a life, the cup of joy that once ran over and now waits for its fulfillment.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….”

My mother, her voice clear, her eyes bright – solid in her faith and waiting for her timeline to end.

“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”


RJT - pic for 2nd book (3)RJ Thesman writes as a daughter whose mother is disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s Disease. The Reverend G trilogy, published by CrossRiver Media, uses a fictional story to encourage caregivers and help readers understand how the Alzheimer’s patient might be thinking as she journeys through the Long Goodbye. Thesman’s books are available from her publisher at and also on Amazon and Kindle. You can follow Thesman’s blog and sign up for her newsletters at

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Jon Ragnarsson, Creative Commons License

Bridal Portrait Idea: A Stairway Shot


Mother of the Bride, bridal portrait photos will definitely be among some of the most beautiful photos ever taken of your daughter. A little planning before the photo session will reap a great reward so if you haven’t done it yet, start a list of possible shots you’d love to see the photographer capture of your sweet girl.

Be sure to add a stairway shot to your list of possibilities. Of course, capturing this particular shot will depend on the location of the photo shoot, but if there is a stairway anywhere on the premises or nearby, ask the photographer to take a few shots there. If you or the bride definitely want stairs included, keep that in mind as you select your location. Many historic buildings and homes have beautiful staircases that will translate into gorgeous photos.

Stairway shots can be so elegant and classy, whether looking down on the bride (as in the photo above of my daughter Kelli) or taken from behind the bride with her gown and train beautifully displayed on the stairs. Your photographer and/or your daughter may have some other great ideas for stairway shots as well.

So go prepared with ideas, MOB, and make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime bridal portrait session. Be sure to take some tissues with you, though. I warn you there may be a few tears as you behold your beautiful daughter in all her wedding day finery!

*You might also like to read Bridal Portrait Idea: Windows Plus Great Light, Bridal Portrait Idea: A Mirror Shot, Bridal Portraits: Include Some Artsy Shots, Bridal Portrait Idea: A Shot with Mom, and Bridal Portrait Idea: Fun With Sunglasses!

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post on my home page and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Photo by Will Flowers

Cake Knife and Server Sets for Both Cake Tables

0326*Since my husband will be on Fall Break later this week, I’ll be skipping my midweek post. See you again next Monday!

Mother of the Bride, add this to your “to-do” list: find two cake knife and server sets. That’s right, you’ll need nice sets for both the main cake table and the groom’s cake table. It’s easy to forget about needing a set for the groom’s cake so put it on your list now and save yourself from a last minute cake-serving crisis. Heaven knows you want to avoid as many last minute glitches as possible, right?

I would suggest borrowing both sets or perhaps buying one beautiful set as a shower gift and then borrowing another set. The one you buy as a gift could be used for the main cake table, and the other set for the groom’s cake table.

Asking the groom’s mother if she has a set that could be used for the groom’s cake is an excellent way to help her feel included. If she doesn’t have a set herself, she may be able to borrow a set. If you’re trying to borrow both sets, you can ask other family members and friends or even check with your caterer to see if she has a set available for your use. You could also check with your church.

So MOB, line up your cake-cutting utensils now—and then prepare to enjoy the yumminess of both cakes on Wedding Day!

*You might also like to read Cake-Cutting Wedding Day Tip, Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!, Make the Mother of the Groom Part of the Team, and Mothers of the Bride Pay It Forward.

*My annual Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is now underway. All subscribers, new and old, will be included in the draw for a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” See my home page for details!

*Photo by Chris Humphrey Photographer