7 May Stress Busters

Happy May to one and all! Not only does the arrival of a new month have us looking at what’s in store in the weeks ahead, but here on my blog it signals it’s time for the next installment in my year-long Stress Busters blog series. Fingers crossed that you look forward to each one!

Since I started sharing the stress busters last September—and with the way time is flying—it won’t be long until I’ve completed the full set of month-appropriate stress busters. I so hope they have blessed you.

The month of May is often second only to December in its busy factor so I pray the following May stress busters will provide the refreshment you may need. Here’s to making it through May with interludes of peace and joy in the midst of the end-of-the-school-year dashing to and fro. Be blessed my friends!

May Stress Busters

  1. Since April showers bring May flowers, soak up the beauty and fragrance of flowers at least one day this month. Go for a walk through a flower garden or a park that features a generous display of flowers. Or if you have the chance, visit a botanical garden. Let the amazing and delicate wonder of flowers refresh your spirit.
  2. In spite of the extremely busy schedule you may have this month, take time each day to be with God. Whether looking up to the heavens or kneeling before him, spend moments in praise and worship. Talk to him, telling him all of your concerns. Hear his voice as you read his Word. Commune with the Father and let him fill you with peace and joy.
  3. If your mother is still with you, treat yourself (and her!) to a visit or a nice long phone call or FaceTime session at some point around Mother’s Day. Mothers are often our best encouragers so let her love, support, and encouragement minister to your soul. If this isn’t possible with your mom for some reason, do it with another one of the great encouragers in your life.
  4. Be intentional about taking rest. Schedule it on the calendar if necessary. It may mean leaving Saturday mornings open so you can sleep in. Or you may need to say no to Sunday afternoon commitments so you can luxuriate in the all-important Sunday afternoon nap. For others, it may be blocking off time to relax with a good book or a round of golf. Whatever form it takes, provide yourself with respites of rest.
  5. Join in the celebrations of May (end of school year, graduations, weddings, etc.) or create one of your own. Not only accept that invitation to a party, but decide to celebrate something—no matter how big or small—that’s going on in your own life. Let celebrations provide joy in the midst of the pressures of life.
  6. Like December, May is another good month to opt for simple meals. Take a few hours early in the month one day and prepare some freezer meals or go outside and grill up a variety of meat to keep handy in the freezer. For other days, plan to fix your easiest meals or take advantage of your favorite take-out places. Ease your stress with no hassle meal prep this month.
  7. With Memorial Day in mind, spend some time writing down or recording on video some of your favorite memories and stories of loved ones who have passed. Our memories savored internally are wonderful, but wouldn’t it be great to have some of them recorded for yourself and others? Don’t make this harder than it is—relax and let your memories spill out of a heart of love. This interlude from present day demands will be good for your soul. 

May these stress-busting ideas help you relax and refresh during the whirlwind otherwise known as May. Blessings to you, my friends!

“‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 NIV

*Which of these stress busters would you like to try this month?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. One lucky subscriber 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.) p.s. It is too late to get in on this issue’s giveaway, but if you subscribe, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways.

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

*My photo — featuring my darling grandson Isaiah :)

Bridal Shower: Makeup Practice-Run and Demonstration

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Valentine’s week. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Mother of the Bride, a bridal shower is one of the highlights of the wedding planning experience. It’s a time of fun, fellowship, and celebration with family and friends. It’s a girly-girl time that is well worth making memorable in a variety of ways.

If you’re contributing ideas to the shower or actually giving it yourself, MOB, one fantastic way to make it both special and helpful is to have a makeup practice-run and demonstration. Not only will it give the bride and her makeup artist a chance to have a run-through before the big day, but it will provide an entertaining and informative demonstration for the shower guests. Fabulous idea, right?

To make it even more interesting and fun, extra features/activities could be included. For instance, the makeup artist (and her team if she has one) could do your makeup and/or the bridesmaids’ makeup as well. Different techniques and types of makeup would naturally be called for so all the more informative.

You could even have makeup samples for the guests to take home or lipstick shades for them to try at the party. And I bet you and the bridesmaids will be able to think of other ideas as well. Just have fun with it!

Does this sound like an exciting idea to you, MOB? If so, suggest it to the hostesses and see if it’s something they’d like to make happen. Might as well make the shower as girly-girl—and helpful—as possible!

*You might also like to read Bridal Shower Idea: A Cooking Class and Bridal Shower Cake: A Cupcake Wedding Dress!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride 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, 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 Ashley MacKinnon, Creative Commons License

A Prayer for the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon

Mother of the Bride, if you’re looking for something special to do for your daughter’s bridesmaids, some MOBs host a luncheon for the bride and her maids. Hosting an intimate gathering like this will give you an opportunity to show your gratitude for the role each young woman plays in your daughter’s life, and it can also provide a way to reach out to the mother of the groom by including her and the groom’s sisters as well. And, of course, you’ll want to include the bride’s sisters if they’re not already serving as bridesmaids.

In the midst of this festive girly-girl event, why not take time to voice a prayer for the bride and her sweet maids? As you do, you’ll be creating one more special memory for all involved and you’ll also help deepen the bond everyone feels as you head into the wedding weekend and beyond.

Feel free to use the following prayer (also see note below) or perhaps let the thoughts expressed spark a prayer of your own. May your sweet overture, MOB, be a blessing to all!

“Lord, thank you for bringing each of us here today to share in [the bride’s name]’s joy and excitement over soon becoming Mrs. [groom’s name]. We are thrilled to be part of this special time in her life.

As mother of the bride, I want to especially thank you today for each of the precious young women serving as [the bride’s] bridesmaids. I thank you for the special relationship each one of them has with her and for the love they are showing her by joining in her joy. As [the bride’s] mom, it makes me so happy to see all these girls shower my girl with such sweet love and attention.

So now I ask you to bless them, Father, for the sacrifices they’ve made to be part of her [the bride’s] big day. Please bless them with continued safety in travels and with good health for all the festivities to come. Provide, dear Lord, for their every need. And as they bless our family, please bless them in special ways and grant us all wonderful memories to carry in our hearts forever.

Now please bless our time of fellowship, Father, and continue to prepare [the bride] for the life she’ll share with [the groom]. We love you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Hope this is a help and a blessing to you, dear Mother of the Bride!

NOTE: If you happen to print the prayer out and distribute it for any reason, please give author attribution as Cheryl Barker, author of Mother of the Bride.

*You might also like to read Bridesmaids Luncheon: Treating the Girls, Polka Dot Nails for the BridemaidsTen Thousand Villages Gifts for Bridesmaids, and Special Bridesmaids Gifts from Along Came A Box.

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

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. One lucky subscriber (subscribed by noon Oct. 30) will receive $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. Giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue! (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 jwinfred, Creative Commons License

Sweet Fellowship

Oh how sweet it is to find a group of people who get you, huh? People with whom you can enjoy meaningful fellowship. On a professional level, I’ve found this with Fellowship of Christian Writers, the writers group I meet monthly with in Tulsa, and also through writers conferences. On a personal and spiritual level, I’ve found this throughout my life with other believers in Christ, whether through the local church or a ministry or mission group.

Today let’s consider and rejoice in the fellowship we share as God’s children. As we read the following Fellowship acrostic, let’s thank God for each aspect of fellowship made possible because of our bond in him. And let’s fellowship!

Finding others with common passions and goals and joining them.

Enjoying time together and encouraging one another in every way.

Listening to the burdens as well as the delights of fellow members of the body of Christ.

Learning from others’ knowledge and experiences and sharing your own.

Owning possessions with open hands and giving liberally to those in need.

Worshiping the Lord together in song, in prayer, and in words of testimony.

Serving alongside one another to minister to others and share the love of Christ.

Helping each other in time of need or to achieve a common goal.

Inviting new folks to join in your activities and groups.

Praying together for needs, common concerns, and for people to come to faith in God.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3 

*What aspect of fellowship do you most enjoy? Which aspect do you struggle with the most?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $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.)

*Flickr photo by Pepe Pont, Creative Commons License

The Divine Lookout

Are you on the lookout for a certain item at all times? Some of us are always quick to notice a good recipe while others gravitate toward a great coupon, a super bargain, or maybe a giveaway or an e-book temporarily offered for free.

Some of us also stay alert for less tangible things like a recommendation for an amazing book or tips on a particular area of interest. Since I’ve started blogging, I’m always on the lookout for new material for blog posts. In fact, my family and friends now live with the reality that some of their interactions with me might just make their way to the blog!

But we’re not the only ones on the lookout. God is on the lookout, too. He’s on the lookout for people. He is our Divine Lookout.

Consider these scriptures to see who God searches for:

“‘. . . who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?’ declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 30:21b

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’” Isaiah 6:8a

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

And we must not forget the parables in Luke 15 about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son—all of which illustrate God’s continual efforts to go after and save the lost or to scan the horizon, waiting with open arms to welcome a returning child.

Where do each of us fall in the sights of the Divine Lookout? Are we among those who are lost, who have never given our hearts to him in faith, or is he watching for us because we have strayed away? Maybe he’s seen that we are fully committed to him, and he stands ready to imbue us with his strength. Or possibly we’re the ones who will answer his call for devotion or go in his name to the place where he sends us.

Let’s never hide from the Divine Lookout. Let’s always be ready to be found or answer his call. There’s no better place to be than with him.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

*I hope you were blessed by this encore post from Sept. 2011!

*Flickr photo by Dave Morrow’s Custom CreationsCreative Commons License