Making Our Lives Count: Laura Bush’s Words Still True Today

Several years ago when the tenth anniversary of 9/11 drew near, we heard, saw, and read many reminders of that horrific time. I came across one that year that I think bears repeating here. I hope you will agree.

Woman’s Day Editor-In-Chief (at that time) Elizabeth Mayhew introduced their September issue with a quote from an essay former First Lady Laura Bush wrote for their magazine on the first anniversary of the attacks. I love what Mrs. Bush had to say:

“You don’t have to walk into a burning building or wear a badge to rescue someone. You don’t have to go to medical school to help a person feel better, or walk on the moon to change this earth. You simply have to care about what happens in our country. To me, we can all honor the lives lost on September 11 by making our lives count even more.”

What great perspective Mrs. Bush offered back in 2002—and it’s still true today. Instead of feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of overwhelming times, we can make a difference. We can make our lives count. Sometimes we just need to think about it a bit and then become more intentional in our efforts.

So what can we do to make things better for our nation? We can vote regularly in elections and pray for our leaders. We can treat others with kindness and respect. We can volunteer through our churches and civic organizations when crises come or to help with ongoing projects. We can support our military and their families and volunteer at our communities’ schools. We can also recycle and try to incorporate other earth friendly practices in our lives. The possibilities abound.

In like fashion, we as Christians should be making our lives count for the Lord as well. We can grow closer to him each day, becoming a beacon of hope and good news for those around us. We can live our faith in front of our families and friends in good times and bad, setting an example for our children and grandchildren. We can pray for and encourage others. We can get involved in mission projects and actively support missionaries. We can be ready to share the good news of a Savior as the Lord gives opportunity. Yes, we can make a difference eternally.

Let’s heed the wisdom Mrs. Bush offered on that first anniversary of 9/11. Let’s make our lives count even more.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42 NIV

*What else can we do to make a difference in our nation or for Christ?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. 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.

*I hope this slightly revised post from Sept. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by włodiCreative Commons License

Summer Photo Fun: Sisters Trip!

IMG_6425

Summer Photo Fun this year absolutely has to include a few shots of my sisters and me on our first-ever Sisters Trip. As you may remember, my theme word for this year is adventure, and I love how my sisters helped me live an adventure this summer. (Left to right above: me, Carolyn, Debbie, and Janice)

We had a wonderful time together in the Breckenridge, Colorado area making memories and building our already strong sister bond. We are so glad we made time in our schedules for this special time together. We don’t know if we’ll ever manage to pull off such a trip by ourselves again, but at least we’ll always have this trip to remember and rejoice in.

Hope you enjoy a peek at a few of the memories we made!

Debbie's pic of us downtownShopping in Breckenridge our first day. Nothing too strenuous so we could get used to the altitude. Love all their flowers downtown!

IMG_6277With my book release still fresh, I watched for appropriate shops and introduced the book to shop managers. Authors are ever on duty!

IMG_8581The next day was a hiking day. Off to Cucumber Gulch!

IMG_8584We saw lots of gorgeous wildflowers all week long on our hikes. Can you guess what these are?

Debbie's selfie of us on Cucumber Gulch trailWe tried to take selfies throughout the week, but it’s kind of tricky when you’re trying to get four people in the picture :)

 IMG_6330

We had so much fun riding the ski lift and then hiking on up to the top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge.

IMG_8760Finished our day in Frisco with homemade ice cream from Foote’s Rest Sweet Shop and Eatery. Extremely yummy, especially after our hike to Rainbow Lake!

IMG_6447On our hike up to the top of the mountain at Hoosier Pass we stopped to catch our breath and get some photos. The altitude, steady climb, and steep portions of the trail along with hiking into the wind made it extremely difficult.

IMG_6483We made it to the top! Very proud and extremely wind-blown! :)

IMG_6469Hiking down was no joke either. Pretty nerve-wracking but we all made it okay.

IMG_6542Some of our last views of Breckenridge before we headed home the next morning. What a great adventure and an amazing time together!

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth . . .” Isaiah 42:10a

*Do you ever take special trips with a specific part of your family?

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

*Photos by me or my sisters

Summer Photo Fun: Name This Location!

IMG_3086

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!

Groom’s Cake Idea for the Military Man

25374928976_f4b8a6d913_z

by Cheryl Barker  CherylBarkerWriter

Mother of the Bride, has your future son-in-law given you and the bride any ideas for his groom’s cake yet? If not, why not start the conversation the next time the three of you are together. After all, there’s no better time than the present to talk about cake, right?!

If your daughter’s beloved is a military man, you could suggest the idea of a cake that showcases the branch of the military he serves in. To get more specific ideas flowing, show the above example to the happy couple and see what ideas it sparks.

With a few changes, the cake above could fit any branch of the military. Or the groom might decide to keep the military theme but change the size and shape of the cake. Once you get him thinking, who knows what he’ll come up with, right? Great ideas are often born in brainstorming sessions!

So MOB, get the conversation rolling. If the groom isn’t in the military, talk about what he is interested in and let the ideas start flying. Just be sure to mention chocolate while you’ve got the chance—he might go for it!

*You might also like to read Groom’s Cake Idea for the Wrestling FanGroom’s Cake Idea: His Favorite Set of Wheels, Groom’s Cake Idea: Law Books (or any other books!), Groom’s Cake Idea: Alma Mater Pride, and Groom’s Cake Idea: A Chessboard!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Graceful Cake Creations, Creative Commons License

Summer Photo Fun: The Mighty Mississippi at Memphis

IMG_3085Summer Photo Fun wouldn’t be complete without a few vacation photos, would it? To be honest, we almost didn’t plan a vacation this year since our main vacation goal was to spend time with our grandbabies who were born in January. No big surprise there, huh?

You’ll be glad to know, however, that after getting our grandbaby fix, we also managed to pull away for a few days to explore an area new to us—Memphis, Tennessee. We had driven through Memphis a couple of years ago on our way to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but we had never spent any time there before. We have now remedied that situation.

One of the highlights of our Memphis trip was experiencing the mighty Mississippi River. Not only did we enjoy the glory of a sunset over the river, but we also took an afternoon riverboat cruise. I hadn’t ridden Old Man River since I was a kid and Don had never ridden on the Mississippi. Such a great experience to add to our lifetime of memories together.

So today, friends, enjoy a ride on the Mighty Mississippi. It’s on us!

IMG_3062

IMG_3067

IMG_3071

IMG_3072

IMG_3083

IMG_3086

IMG_6093

IMG_6095“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:24

*What natural wonder did you see this summer?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photos