Midweek Morsel: Old Glory Still Flies

419187374_244fb2442b_zAs we head into this Fourth of July holiday weekend, aren’t you glad that Old Glory still flies? Much blood has been shed and many sacrifices made to ensure that our country is still “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I, for one, am forever grateful, and I’m sure you are, too.

Let’s not forget that it’s because of the One to whom all glory is due that our nation still stands where Old Glory can fly. Thank you, Father, for the freedom we enjoy. Thank you, O Lord, for your watch-care and mercy!

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:2

*What are some of the ways God has blessed our nation?

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

*Flickr photo by arbyreed, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Praying for Favor

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“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight . . .’” Nehemiah 2:4-5a

Sometimes we find ourselves having to speak or make an appeal in an important or even fearful situation. The stakes are high, our nerves taut. Right words are needed, but even more than that, favor is needed from the one to whom we’re speaking. What do we do?

In the Old Testament, we see what Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, did in just such a situation. He had heard that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and that his countrymen were in trouble. He wanted to go help, but he would need the king to look on him with favor and grant him leave to make the journey.

So what did Nehemiah do? He prayed and asked God to give him success and grant him favor with the king. Wisely, Nehemiah knew that God could open the king’s heart to his request. And wisely, Nehemiah prayed before he ever approached the king (Nehemiah 1:11), but as we see in the scripture above, he also whispered a prayer immediately before he made his appeal. Nehemiah relied on prayer, he relied on God.

Are any of us in need of favor today? Let’s remember Nehemiah and his dependence on God. Let’s bathe the situation in prayer.

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” Proverbs 21:1

*When has God granted you favor?

*Flickr photo by peasap, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Adventure Awaits!

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The year ahead holds much for each of us. Some of it we know is coming and some will catch us by surprise. Chances are we’ll all experience a mixed bag of joy, sorrow, love, hurt, good health, poor health, success, failure, challenges, and smooth sailing. Twelve months of living can pack an awful lot into our lives, can’t it?

One thing I hope this year holds for you and me is adventure. Adventure can be a little risky, a little scary. And many times it requires an investment of some sort. But consider what Mark Twain said about adventure:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Whether planned or spur of the moment, adventure will be sure to enrich our lives. Will we be ready to take the risk? Will we be ready to make the investment? Let’s do it. Let’s sail away from safe harbor!

“Sing to the Lord a new song;” Psalm 96:1a

*What adventures would you like to experience this year? Some of mine will be sure to include the two sweet boys below (Isaiah on the left, James on the right) :)

*Flickr photo above by Thomas Hawk, Creative Commons License

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

05-aLSP_1973*Photo by Bella Baby

Safe to Cry with Jesus

7456141970_c9c7d38139_zHow many times have you held back tears while trying to be strong for someone else? If you’re like me, it may be too many to count.

Recent examples happened for me during some of the most difficult days after my husband Don’s injury in November. On a couple of different occasions it was all I could do to keep from collapsing into a pool of tears.

On dismissal day from the hospital, I was completely overwhelmed with being caregiver to someone who not only had his spine fractured in several places but who also was experiencing an adverse reaction to some medication.

When the time came to leave, I ducked into a bathroom and pleaded with God to help me hold it together. I didn’t want to cry in front of Don or my dad, who was also on hand as we left. The last thing I wanted to do was scare Don or worry him, and I didn’t want to worry my dad more than he already was. God heard my prayers and gave me the strength I needed to shake off the imminent meltdown. Thank you, Lord!

The other time I had to fight back tears was when my daughter Kristin was leaving after she’d been home helping us for a couple of days. I was worried about Don, who was experiencing some of his worst days, and also fearful of facing the situations that might unfold alone. As she left, I held my eyes as wide open as I could to try to keep the tears from falling. I later found out she was fighting tears as well and unleashed them only after she drove away. Yes, we stood strong for each other that day.

I’m so glad we don’t have to stand strong when we’re with Jesus—so glad we’re safe to cry with him. He is strength itself and wants to be our Rock, our Refuge. We can let our guards down when we’re with him and let the tears flow freely. We can let him know our deepest needs and tell him all about our fears and the weariness that threatens to overwhelm us.

Do you need to cry today? You’re safe with Jesus. Go ahead and turn to him.

“‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears . . .’” 2 Kings 20:5

*When have you held back tears to be strong for someone else?

*Flickr photo by KimbOlene, Creative Commons License

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

Wedding Planning Tip: Ask for Price Breaks

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Mother of the Bride, did you know that savvy MOBs ask for price breaks?

You may be familiar with the verse of scripture that says “. . . ye have not because ye ask not.” (James 4:2 KJV) Yes, this verse is about asking things of God, but I think the principle holds true in other situations as well—wedding planning included. If we don’t ask for price breaks, we may not get them.

Every little bit saved helps when putting on the event of a lifetime so be bold when asking for discounts, MOB. Mention to whatever vendors or shop owners/managers you’re speaking with that you’re trying to keep expenses down and are looking for the best deals you can find. Ask them what kind of discounts or price breaks they offer. If they don’t have any standard discounts, you can suggest one that might be appropriate to the situation.

Here are some examples of price breaks that might be offered or that you might be able to negotiate:

1) A percentage discount if paying in full or paying early.

2) Matching their price to a competitor’s price.

3) Discount if giving a vendor business in two or more areas—renting tuxes from the shop where you buy the bridal gown or bridesmaids dresses, ordering the wedding cakes from the caterer in addition to the food for the reception, ordering bridesmaids dresses from the same shop where you buy the bridal gown, etc.

4) Discount for floor model or last item in stock.

5) Discount if wedding is being held in off-season.

6) Ask what they can do for the price you have in mind. They might give you a better deal to get your business.

7) If an item is not currently on sale, ask when it will go on sale—then grab it as soon as it goes on sale.

Good luck, MOB, as you ask for these and other price breaks. Remember, we have not because we ask not. So go out there and ask away!

*Flickr photo by 401(K) 2012, Creative Commons License

*You might also like to read A Simple Wedding Expense Tip, Quick Tip: Getting the Most Bang for Your MOB Buck, and Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!