The Wonders at Home

Several years ago, not more than a half-mile outside of town, unexpected movement not far off the roadway captured our attention. In a split second, Don and I both saw it—a fawn leaping through an overgrown field. No momma in sight, just the baby. Our first wildlife spotting of the trip.

Here we were headed to Colorado to surround ourselves with the beauty of the mountains and to see the wonders of God’s creation when we saw a little miracle bounding through a field not five minutes from home. We had to laugh. In that moment, God reminded me that sometimes the wonder is at home.

Not only did he give that reminder as we left for our much-anticipated week in the mountains, he bookended our trip with the same reminder as we traveled home. Believe it or not, less than twenty minutes from our house, in the light of our headlights we spotted four or five deer dashing across the highway in front of us. After a week filled with exciting encounters with the wildlife of the Rocky Mountains, God seemed to say again, “Remember, sometimes the wonder is at home.”

Even though over the next few days I experienced the normal let-down most of us feel after a vacation and even though the beauty of the mountains feeds my spirit like nothing else, what comfort I found in the knowledge that wonder and beauty can be found at home, too. What comfort in knowing that God—and the beauty of his creation—are ever-present, no matter where I am.

How about you? Are you in need of such a reminder? Take a moment and consider your life. Consider the world around you. And remember—sometimes the wonder is at home.

“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.” Psalm 9:1 NASB

*What wonder have you seen right in your home area lately?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Jeffery™Creative Commons License

15 Dreamy U.S. Venues to Inspire Your Winter Wedding

*Thanks to Siege Media for their help writing and creating this post.

Mother of the Bride, destination weddings are always beautiful and exciting for both the couple and their guests. Destination weddings give everyone the opportunity to take a mini vacation and explore the area where your wedding is being held.

When we think of destination weddings, a summer wedding at the beach or a vineyard event is what usually comes to mind. For something a bit more out-of-the-box, let’s consider some beautiful wedding venues perfect for a winter destination wedding. 

Planning a winter wedding can not only help you stay within budget but can also give you opportunities to get creative and plan a truly unique wedding day. As we all know, wedding costs can accumulate quickly, especially when you book your wedding during peak wedding season. This is why the winter season is perhaps the best time of year to have a budget-friendly wedding. You’ll also have more flexibility when it comes to vendors and venues since it will be a slower season for everyone. 

Winter weddings can help you add creative and warm details your guests are sure to love. Things like blankets or scarves as party favors, a hot cider station, or a hot chocolate bar are just a few fun favorites that will make your wedding cozy and memorable.

Here are a few winter wedding venues highlighted plus a link to them and more below: 

Dunton Hot Springs – Dunton, CO

For a more outdoorsy couple, Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado is great! It’s rustic vibe and crystal white snow background will leave you with little else to add. 

Union Hill Inn – Sonora, CA

This fairytale-like inn is great for couples who want a winter wedding but are feeling a little unsure about heavy snow. The gardens and cottage rooms create an ideal space for any wedding. 

Treehouse Point – Issaquah, WA

One of the most unique venues on this list, Treehouse Point offers a breathtaking area in the middle of the forest full of adorable treehouses for your guests to stay in. Plan your wedding in one of their communal areas for an unforgettable event.

For photos of the above options as well as more venue ideas, check out the full list of winter wedding locations. The roundup includes essential details including peak winter wedding months of each location, capacity, wedding spaces offered, and best nearby lodging for you and your guests.

Have fun with your daughter, MOB, as you consider these winter wonderland destination venues for her big day!

*You might also like to read Favor Help for Winter Weddings, Winter Wedding Cake Idea: Snowflakes!, and Winter Wedding Cake: Pinecones and Baby’s Breath!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Thanks to CarRentals.com for the images.

Just Married Getaway Vehicle and Photo Idea

Mother of the Bride, have your soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. given any thought yet to a getaway vehicle? Here’s a fun idea to share with them—and just in time for the spring and summer weddings that are upon us.

A bicycle as a getaway means is sure to provide for fun as well as memory making. Whether one built for two or a ten-speed big enough for the groom to carry the bride in front, joy and laughter will abound when the bride and groom breeze away on two wheels. All you need to do is make sure a Just Married sign is attached to the bike so the photographer can snap a super cute photo too.

Chances are the newlyweds will only ride a short distance before needing to change forms of transportation, but the memories will have been made and the fun photos captured by then. They’ll need to have their other means of transportation waiting for them at the appointed time and place along with someone else to pick up the bike. The bride and groom can simply hop off, sneak in a kiss or two, and then take off on the next leg of their honeymoon journey.

Fun idea, right, MOB? Your happy couple may not know it yet, but a bike may be just what they need for their perfect getaway. Here’s hoping!

*You might also like to read Just Married Sign and Photo Idea, Wedding Day “Just Married” Photo Idea, and Honeymoon “Just Married” Photo Idea.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Rachelgnatiev, Creative Commons License

Free Fly Like Autumn Leaves

I love to watch the autumn leaves—and not just for their colors. I love to watch them fly as well.

The leaves of fall are free flying. They’re not bound by a must-follow route or a set of rules. No one tells them to drop at a perfect 90 degree angle—or any other angle. Each one is different. Each one takes its cue from the wind at the moment it falls.

Some fall headlong, landing right below their former homes. Others venture a few feet away as they drift gently through the air before finding a new resting place. Still others fly like crazy on the wings of a major wind gust, soaring as never before, looking like frolicking birds—up and down and all around, going great distances before running out of breath. Yes, autumn leaves are free flying.

Makes me want to do some free flying myself. Anyone else?

The good news is we can. As believers in Jesus, as children of God, we can free fly on the wings of his Spirit living within us. We can abandon ourselves to his leadership, whether on short straight paths, lilting walks, or adventures of a lifetime. Following the Spirit, we’ll soar as never before.

We can also free fly on the wings of encouragement. Sometimes all we need to be spurred on to try something new or go after a dream is the confidence inspired by a friend or family member who cheers us on. Sometimes all it takes is a little push. We then find ourselves free flying and loving every minute of it.

Other times it takes a little more. It takes a major gust of courage to launch our flight. The ride holds out hope of great and mighty things—but only if we’re willing to take the risk, only if we’re brave enough to step out of our comfort zones or battle whatever problems are trying to hinder our flight.

As the leaves free fly around us this autumn season, let’s ask ourselves if we’re ready to do a little free flying ourselves. Let’s abandon ourselves to the wings of the Spirit, let’s fly on words of encouragement. Let’s be bold and allow courage to carry us to new heights. Let’s free fly!

“. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

*How have you been free flying lately?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by _hq_, Creative Commons License

Getting Ready for a New Challenge or Adventure

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Spring Break so will see you back here Tuesday Mar. 27. Blessings to all!

“‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan River and take the land the Lord your God is giving you.”” Joshua 1:11 NCV

The Bible is filled with accounts of ordinary people faced with new challenges or adventures. Men, women, teens, children, senior citizens, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, married, single—you name it and we can find an example of such a person who had to move into unchartered territory, step out of their comfort zone, or simply take on a new task in one of their areas of expertise.

God tasked Joshua with leading an entire nation of people—the Israelites—into the land he had promised them. After God spoke with Joshua—instructing, encouraging, and preparing him for the task—Joshua set about preparing the people for the challenge and adventure ahead. He sent officers through the camp with instructions.

Joshua’s order rang out—“Get your supplies ready.” They had three days before they would take possession of the land God was giving them. They needed to get ready for the conquest, they needed to get ready to move. Among other things, they had to prepare and pack their food as well as gather and secure their belongings.

Is God leading any of us to a new land? A new physical location or a new circumstance? Is he calling us to some sort of unchartered territory, asking us to step out of our comfort zone, or perhaps giving us a new task in one our areas of expertise?

Like Joshua and the people of Israel, what do we need to do to get ready for the task before us? The answer will be different for all of us, depending on the specifics of the  challenge. Let’s spend a few minutes considering what we should do then let’s begin preparations. Let’s get our supplies ready.

“‘Get ready; be prepared . . .’” Ezekiel 38:7 NIV

*How have you prepared in the past for a new challenge?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by jev55, Creative Commons License