Blogging Break Until the New Year

Friends, I usually take blogging breaks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year I’ve decided to take a longer break that encompasses the entire holiday season.

Not only will this help take the pressure off during an already busy time of year, but it will also allow me to give myself grace in the continued time I need to recover from some health problems I’ve had the past couple of months. Don’t worry, nothing too serious, but I’ve had to cut way back on the amount of time and mental energy I can give to writing projects.

I’m sure you’ll understand—after all, we’ve all had life situations that require us to take breaks, haven’t we? So thank you so much for understanding, and I pray that God blesses your entire Thanksgiving and Christmas season with blessings beyond measure. I’ll see you again here in the new year! (In the meantime, please feel free to check out the November and December archives for refreshment and encouragement. Hope they bless you!)

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you . . .” 3 John 1:2 NIV

*How will you take the pressure off in your life during the upcoming holidays?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Nov. 1st. 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 bjimmy934Creative Commons License

Wedding Planning Help During My Blogging Break

Mother of the Bride, I usually take blogging breaks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year I’ve decided to take a longer break that encompasses the entire holiday season.

Not only will this help take the pressure off during an already busy time of year, but it will also allow me to give myself grace in the continued time I need to recover from some health problems I’ve had the past couple of months. Don’t worry, nothing too serious, but I’ve had to cut way back on the amount of time and mental energy I can give to writing projects.

I’m sure you’ll understand—after all, you’re in the midst of a life season (wedding planning!) that has probably required you to take breaks from some of your responsibilities, right? So thank you so much for understanding.

In the meantime, though, I hope you find the wedding planning helps below helpful as you snatch moments during the holiday season to take care of some of your more pressing wedding tasks. Until I see you again here in the new year, I pray God blesses your entire Thanksgiving and Christmas season with blessings beyond measure!

Four Resources Especially For You

  1. Look through the list of Favorite Posts on the sidebar and click the links to the ones that spark your interest. (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find the sidebar items.)
  2. Use the drop-down feature in the Archives to spot some posts that might be especially helpful to you at this stage in your Mother of the Bride journey. You’ll find the Archives on the sidebar too so use the directions above to find it if you’re on a mobile device.
  3. Check out my Pinterest pageAmong other things, it features eighteen wedding-related boards!
  4. Read my book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride. Allow me to be your friend for the journey!

Most-Clicked-On Mother of the Bride Blog Posts:

Introducing the Mother of the Bride Blog! 

Where to Find Your Mother of the Bride Dress

A Prayer for the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon 

Wisdom and Encouragement for the Mother of the Bride 

Savings Tip for Bridal and Bridemaids Bouquets

Wedding Thoughts from Anne Lamott’s Plan B

Mothers of the Bride Need Prayer 

Groom’s Cake Idea: Law Books (or any other books!) 

Wedding Resource: Prayers for the Mother of the Bride

Gift Idea: Prayers for the Mother of the Groom

A Prayer for the Newlyweds

*You might also like to read Bridal Bouquet RoundupWedding Cake RoundupWedding Registry Roundup, and Wedding Photo Ideas Roundup That Star the Groom.

*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, came out Nov. 1st. 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.)

*Photo by Will Flowers

Midweek Morsel: Look What God Does!

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I love passages of scripture that recount some of the things our mighty and loving God does. One such passage is found in Psalm 146:6-10. Just look at a few of the things the Maker of heaven and earth does!

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD.” Psalm 146:6-10

Praise the Lord indeed!

And don’t you love how verses that tell us what God does can be turned into prayers? Pray through this passage with me, won’t you, asking God to do these very things in our lives, in the lives of others we know, and in our world today. He is forever faithful. He will continue to do these things!

*Which part of this scripture passage resonates the most with you today?

*Flickr photo by Andréia, Creative Commons License

What We Can Do When Grief Is Compounded

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We’ve all been there—smack dab in the middle of a conversation or situation that compounds a heavy grief we’re bearing.

Remarks are made that drive a knife deeper into an open wound. People may offer trite words or pat answers that may, in fact, be true, but do nothing but make the pain sharper because of their lack of understanding. Some may even make comments with an edge—with an implication of how we should get over the situation or fix it or how we possibly could have prevented it to start with. The knife goes in deeper.

Other times, actions are taken—or not taken—that show a lack of sensitivity and understanding. After asking how we’re doing, someone glances at his watch repeatedly as we try to share our stories. Another knife in the heart. Sometimes our heartache is ignored—we are ignored—when people, unsure of what to say or do, carry on as if nothing is wrong. In the process, these unwitting but guilty parties compound our grief as well.

So what can we do when our grief is compounded, when the pain is made worse? How can we turn it into something positive? A few things come to mind:

  1. We can give grace. We can forgive. Chances are, the offender doesn’t even realize the pain his remarks or actions caused. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt and overlook the offense. And if the person should have known better, we can still forgive. We can remember how God has forgiven us time and again and offer the same mercy ourselves.
  1. We can learn from the situation. Any time and every time our grief is compounded, we can make a mental note to avoid such remarks or actions in our own dealings with those who are hurting. We can guard against compounding others’ grief in the future.
  1. We can educate and enlighten others. We can share the lessons we’ve learned during our season of grief as opportunities arise. Depending on the situation and the people involved, it might even be appropriate and helpful to let an offender know how his actions or words caused hurt.
  1. We can draw closer to God as we handle the hurt. We can go to God with every fresh heartache. We can tell him all about it. In his arms we’ll find comfort and understanding. We can see the hurtful situation as one more opportunity to go deeper in our relationship with God.

Grief compounded doesn’t have to win, doesn’t have to have the final say. God can help us even through this. God can redeem the pain-made-worse. Let’s allow him to do so.

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 KJV

*What are some ways we can avoid compounding the grief of others?

 *Flickr photo by Thomas Leuthard, Creative Commons License

Learning About Grief

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As most of you know, I lost my mom unexpectedly last October. I don’t know if I’ve gone through all the “official” stages of grief, but I’ve learned a bit about grief since that day my family had to say our unexpected goodbyes. I won’t try to speak for everyone who’s ever experienced grief. I’ll just share what I’ve learned after a period of a few months now.

I’ve learned that grief lingers. Yes, life does indeed go on, and I slipped back into my normal routines fairly quickly. But those normal routines felt anything but normal at first. In the beginning my sisters and I asked each other if we’d ever feel normal again. Like so many others who’ve gone through grief, we’ve had to adjust to a new normal. The one without Mom.

Even now, almost six months later, grief lingers. All it takes is one thought of Mom, one remembrance, one glance at a photo, and my heart aches with loss. Granted, the pain is not as sharp as it was in those first weeks, but the ache is still there. Always just below the surface.

I’ve also learned that grief longs. When those thoughts of Mom come, not only does my heart ache, it also longs to see her again. To hear her voice. To talk things over with her. To show her how much she was—and is—loved. I long for the day I’ll see her again in heaven, along with other loved ones who’ve already left us.

Grief also longs to turn back time, to do some things differently. I wish I’d said I love you more. And even though I got to see and talk to Mom fairly regularly, I wish I’d done it even more.

I’ve also learned that grief leans. In the aftermath of our great loss, my dad and sisters and I have leaned on one another as never before. We feel a kinship in our loss and can offer comfort to one another because we understand like no one else just exactly what we lost when we lost Mom.

And above all—for believers—grief leans on the Lord. The comfort found in him and in knowing that Mom is in his presence can’t be matched. To be able to say to him, Please tell Mom I love her, please tell her I miss her helps so much. Just knowing that the Lord walks with me each day as my ever-present Companion and Help brings peace and comfort for every situation, grief-related or not.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned about grief as the months have passed. Much more could be said. But my prayer is that something mentioned here today will help a hurting heart somewhere. Will help someone to feel understood. Or help others understand what grieving friends are going through. After all, we’re all learners in this life of ours.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

*What have you learned about grief?

*My photo