Us: The Little Word That Changes Everything

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

“Us.” One tiny word—two little letters—with giant impact.

Who is to throw off everything that hinders? Us. Who is to run with perseverance? Us. Who is the race marked out for? Us. Not me. Not you. Us. We don’t have to run the race alone.

Just think of how that one little word changes everything. We can have support. We can have camaraderie. We can have the encouragement of others as we run our races, whether they’re races wrapped up in relationships, jobs, illnesses, goals, losses, or living lives of faith with victory.

In fact, we’re not meant to live the Christian life independent of other believers. Another passage in Hebrews (10:24-25) tells us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Do you see it again? Us. Yes, we need to run together.

Let’s consider each of the races in our lives right now. Do we have running partners or groups running alongside for each one? Do we have those who are spurring us on, encouraging us, and giving us strength to persevere—or are we out there all on our own?

Let’s not forget the little word that changes everything. Let’s not forget “us.”

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

*Who are your running partners in this season of life? Thank God for them—and then thank them too.

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

No Beauty By Accident

During a visit to Mom and Dad’s several years ago, I woke early one morning and looked out the bedroom window. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I took a few moments and basked in the beauty of their then-backyard in the lush woodland hills of Missouri. The photo above shows part of what I saw, but my camera and photography skills don’t do it justice. They had a gorgeous view that was not only a treat for the eyes but for the spirit as well.

My thought that morning as I feasted on the scene before me? Beauty doesn’t happen by accident.

That’s right. No accidents in the world of nature. There is a Creator. Whether it’s the hills of Missouri, the beaches of Mexico, or the birds that sing outside my door each day, the beauty of the world around us proclaims the handiwork of a Master Designer.

Each one of us bears his signature as well “For we are God’s workmanship…” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). And just as our outward beauty (yes, we are beautiful!) is no accident, our inner beauty doesn’t happen by accident either. The same Creator who sculpted the mountains and painted the seas will mold us into loveliness if we present ourselves to him and submit to his loving and all-wise touch.

Do we trust him? Are we ready to become the masterpiece he envisions? Let’s allow him to unleash his handiwork on the inside, too. After all, beauty doesn’t happen by accident.

“Yet, you LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 NIV

*What is beautiful about the masterpiece God has created in you?

*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.

*My photo

Turn Ordinary Wedding Items Into Keepsakes

Mother of the Bride, why not turn a few of the ordinary every-wedding-and-bride-must-have items into something more? Why not transform them into keepsakes that will remind the newlyweds of precious wedding day memories for years to come?

For instance, instead of picking up a set of standard wedding garters (one to keep and one to toss) at your favorite craft and hobby store, ask a family member or dear friend who loves to sew if she would be willing to make garters for your precious girl.

My friend Teri made garters for both of my girls (see Kelli’s above), and her loving touch and personal effort instantly transformed the garters into precious keepsakes for both Kristin and Kelli. And since Teri and I had great fun selecting the lace and ribbon she would use to craft this traditional part of the bride’s attire, the whole experience made for a great memory for us as well.

Toasting flutes can also become a treasured keepsake. I found a special and elegant set for Kristin’s wedding, but for Kelli’s, we decided to ask a friend to dress up some standard flutes. This time we asked Teri’s daughter Stephanie for help. With her creative knack and a little input from Kelli on what she would like, Stephanie transformed the flutes into something far more beautiful than we could have found at any wedding supply or craft store (see below; click on the photo to see it better).

MOB, these are just a couple of ideas—I’m sure other possibilities will come to mind as you think of your own daughter and her desires and style. Have fun turning the ordinary into keepsakes for her. She’ll be forever grateful—and you may make some great memories along the way!

*You might also like to read Craft It: Bridal Keepsake Box, A Keepsake Photo of the Wedding Invitation, Deciding On a Wedding Guest Book: Ideas to Get You Started, and Wedding-Themed Shower Gifts.

*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 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.)

*Photos by Will Flowers

9 Quotes to Encourage and Help You on Your Mother of the Bride Journey

Are you in need of a little encouragement or a few words of wisdom today on your Mother of the Bride journey? If so, don’t feel down on yourself. Every mother of the bride goes through moments like that. And never fear, I can help you.

Below you’ll find a few quotes I’ve compiled with you in mind, with hopes of refreshing your spirit or giving some practical help. A verse in the Bible says, “. . . how good is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23 NIV) And I wholeheartedly agree. May the following words be timely and prove to be good for you today!

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” Milton Berle

“Take the gift of this moment and make something beautiful of it. Few worthwhile experiences just happen; memories are made on purpose.” Gloria Gaither

“God is, and all is well.” John Greenleaf Whittier

“Attention to detail is the secret of success in every sphere of life . . .” Hugh Black

“Joy is the best makeup.” Anne Lamott in Grace Eventually

“Let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” Henry Ward Beecher

“To be prepared is half the victory.” Miguel de Cervantes

“When your dreams for a particular event seem to be slipping away, don’t despair. An unexpected joy may be waiting in the wings.” Cheryl Barker in Mother of the Bride

I hope these made a difference for you today, MOB. Be blessed!

p.s. That last quote is from my book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride. Hope you’ll grab a copy for yourself on Amazon or contact me for a personalized, author-signed copy!

*You might also like to read Wisdom and Encouragement for the Mother of the Bride, You Are Appreciated, Mother of the Bride!, and Mother of the Bride: 9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself.

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

*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.)

*My photo

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In and Through the Church

As we turn our calendars to April, let’s turn our thoughts to a new category for my monthly “7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power” blog series. This month let’s focus on the church.

In considering the church, let’s remember we’re not talking only about the local church we belong to but the body of Christ worldwide. The church encompasses all true believers—Jesus followers everywhere, from my corner of Kansas to the utmost corner of the earth.

Through our prayers for the church, we—the body of believers—can make a difference in our world and in the lives of individuals not only today but eternally as well. As we call on God, he works with life-changing power in answer to our prayers.

May the following prayers help equip us as we lift the church, the body of Christ, to God in prayer. These are just a few of many possible prayer points for the church, but may these provide a start. Here’s to making a difference!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In and Through the Church

  1. Father, protect your church from the schemes and attacks of Satan as he seeks to cause division, confusion, hurt, and any number of other things that would render us ineffective or even damaging to the cause of Christ. (John 17:15; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:3)
  2. Lord, move us, the church, to be people of prayer and revive us personally, corporately, and in our nations. (Isaiah 56:7, Acts 2:42; Colossians 4:2; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 57:15; Romans 12:11)
  3. Lord, cultivate in us a spirit of unity, both in purpose and in our relationships with one another so everyone will see that we are your people. (John 13:35; 17:21-23; Romans 15:56; Ephesians 4:3)
  4. Father, move and empower us to go out into the world to share the gospel of Christ with all people everywhere, to plant new churches, and to help new believers grow in their faith. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:2)
  5. Jesus, help us to be your hands and feet in our world, loving and giving to others as you would. (Matthew 5:42; John 15:12; John 13:34; 1 John 3:16-18)
  6. Father, help us to stand up for what’s right, to speak up for the oppressed and those who can’t speak for themselves, and to pray for those who are persecuted. (Psalm 94:16; Proverbs 24:11-12; 31:8-9; Hebrews 13:3)
  7. Father, help each of us faithfully carry out the individual roles you’ve called us to fill in the body of Christ. (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; 1 Peter 4:10)

God bless you, your local church, and the church—his body—worldwide!

“‘. . . I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’” Matthew 16:18 NIV

*What prayers for the church would you add to the list?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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 and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by kristi.ee, Creative Commons License