7 October Stress-Busters

After posting 7 September Stress-Busters last month, I thought it might be nice to offer month-appropriate stress busters each month throughout this next year. Stress certainly doesn’t take a vacation, so many of us might benefit from some fresh stress-busters at the beginning of every month, huh?

May the following stress-busting strategies come in handy in October when you find yourself in need of refreshment and relief. Be blessed, friends!

October Stress-Busters

  1. Enjoy a fun fall activity with some favorite kiddos in your life. Visit a pumpkin patch, collect colorful leaves, or carve pumpkins for Halloween. Enjoy the season like a kid again!
  2. Decompress with the beauty—and awesome autumn scents—of candlelight. Light candles in various spots in your house so their soothing beauty and comforting aromas will refresh you as you move from room to room.
  3. After the leaves change color, go on a walk in the woods (or your favorite tree-lined street or park.) Let the awesome oranges, reds, and golds fill your spirit with joy.
  4. Spend an entire day (or morning or evening) in your favorite comfy pants and cozy socks. As you change into your relaxed attire and let it comfort your body, take off the stress of the day or week as well. Let your spirit and soul relax and be refreshed.
  5. Plan a coffee or lunch date with friends and treat yourselves to some special foods or drinks offered during fall. Get that pumpkin spice latte or apple cinnamon muffin. Slow down and savor a taste of autumn.
  6. Watch for an especially cool evening and start a fire in the fireplace or firepit. Sit for awhile and soak up its warmth and relaxing beauty. And don’t forget to roast some marshmallows or make some smores. Fully enjoy this evening respite.
  7. Let the cool evenings of October give you permission to curl up on the sofa with your favorite hot drink and a good book (or a must-see tv show.) Lose yourself—and your stress—in a compelling or funny story. Enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor.

Along with these stress-busting strategies for October, let’s not forget to turn to the One who knows every stress we face and is willing and waiting to take the load from us and let us relax in his arms. No better place to be—no matter the day or month!

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

*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 dan.kristiansen, Creative Commons License

Wedding Tasks Perfect for the Groom

Mother of the Bride, as you and your daughter attend to the multitude of details involved in throwing a wedding, don’t forget to put the groom to work. That’s right. It’s a good idea to put him in charge of a few tasks, too.

Your daughter’s intended undoubtedly has some passions or skills that you can put to good use while planning for their big day. Be sure to tap that resource. Lighten your load while giving him an opportunity to be personally invested in the celebration of his lifetime. It will even give him the chance to show off to his wife for the very first time.

Number one on the list of tasks perfect for the groom could be arranging for the getaway vehicle. What man wouldn’t like to be in charge of the vroom vroom? I asked both of my girls’ grooms to take care of the getaway transportation, knowing they would do their best to make it interesting or snazzy. They, of course, came through.

Other ideas might include asking him to help design the programs or invitations if he’s a computer whiz, or if he lives in a different town that you do, you could even send him to his local Hobby Lobby or Michael’s to pick up items that you need multiples of. If you can’t get everything at your store, he might be able to score the last five candles or the last white rose garland you need to complete your decorating.

Of course, the groom will also be in charge of selecting tuxes and helping his family arrange for the rehearsal dinner, but what other wedding tasks might the love of your daughter’s life be especially good at doing?

Don’t overwhelm him with tasks but do carefully select some ways that he could really provide some help. It will be a win-win for everyone!

*You might also like to read 9 Easy Way for the Mother of the Bride to Bond With the Groom, Fun Gift for the Bride to Give the Groom, and Building a Bridge to the Groom.

*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post from Nov. 2013 helped you today!

*Photo by Will Flowers

Bridal Bouquet Roundup

Mother of the Bride, have you asked your daughter yet if she knows what kind of bridal bouquet she’d like to have? You two may have just started your wedding planning journey together, but it will be time to select flowers before you know it.

In addition to the beautiful fall colors featured above, options abound when it comes to the big-day bouquet. Will your daughter want something traditional like roses or will she perhaps interested in something less conventional like the gemstone bouquets some brides select now? Will she want something colorful or something in softer colors that will be an elegant and beautiful complement to her gown?

To help you both consider many of the options that are out there, I’ve put together a roundup of the bridal bouquets I’ve featured here on the blog (see links below.) I hope you both find it helpful and fun to look through these options. And MOB, your darling girl might even discover her dream bouquet. Good luck!

Bridal Bouquet Idea: The Roses Have It!

Single Bloom Bridal Bouquets 

Bridal Bouquet: Classic and Elegant Calla Lilies 

Wedding Idea That Sparkles: A Brooch Bouquet! 

White or Cream Bridal Bouquet: Add a Touch of Color 

Bridal Bouquet and Boutonniere Sheet Music Idea 

Inexpensive Bridal Bouquet Idea: Baby’s Breath! 

Bridal Bouquet Idea: Add Some Sparkle with Gemstones 

Knitted Bridal Bouquet and More 

*Since September is an exceptionally busy month for me this year, I’m taking a short break and will be back on the 26th. Why not take a look at my list of Favorite Posts (sidebar) and read some posts from there. Blessings!

*Flickr photo by Flower Factor, Creative Commons License

7 September Stress-Busters

With Labor Day behind us and summer officially over, let’s kick off the rest of September with a few stress-busters to keep at the ready. With the return of regular routines and full schedules, stress is bound to creep back in as well. We might as well be prepared, right?

May the following stress-busting strategies come in handy this month when you find yourself in need of refreshment and relief. Be blessed, friends!

September Stress-Busters

  1. Pull out your fall décor and celebrate the coming change of season. A new season has a way of invigorating and refreshing us, especially when it involves the cooler days following summer. Even if you’re not seeing or feeling the signs of the season yet, joy and fresh energy will bubble up as you light your favorite fall candle and look forward to the season.
  2. Take a break and enjoy your summer photos and videos. Sometimes we’re so busy squeezing in as much summer fun as we can that we don’t have time to enjoy the photos we captured in the midst of it. Give yourself a chance to do it now. Relive your memories. Smile, laugh, and linger over all your precious remembrances—of the summer and even earlier times as well. Enjoy!
  3. Attend a sporting event and root for your favorite team. Whether it’s football, soccer, or late-season baseball, re-energize yourself with the fun of cheering on your team with like-minded friends and family. Leave any stress behind and just have fun!
  4. Take a drive outside of town and go down a road you’ve never taken before. Let the milder temperatures inspire you to explore new territory. You won’t have to go far to find a road you’ve never traveled. Stop along the way and snap some photos or simply enjoy the sounds of country life.
  5. Enjoy some of your favorite fall comfort foods. When cooler days present themselves, bake your favorite cookies during down time at home or start a pot of chili or favorite soup before you head out the door. Savor each warm and yummy bite.
  6. Treat yourself to a nap. Sometimes all you need to bust stress before it takes a firm hold is a little extra rest. Grab your pillow and snuggle down on the sofa. If it’s cool enough, grab your favorite comfy blanket or afghan as well. Close your eyes and give in to sleep, glorious sleep.
  7. Step away from the demands of life and enjoy your favorite hobby. Whether it’s reading, biking, knitting, or taking photos, it’s important to carve out some time to do something that recharges your spirit. When you come back to your to-do list, you’ll feel more relaxed and energized for your tasks.

Along with these strategies for September, don’t forget the ultimate stress-buster that works year round—quiet time with the Lord. Reading his Word, pouring out your heart in prayer and praise, and enjoying quiet moments with him outside in his glorious creation will all certainly refresh you and set your heart at peace. With him you’ll find true refreshment and relief!

“‘I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.’” Jeremiah 31:25 NIV

*What stress-buster works do you most look forward to this fall?

*Flickr photo by infomastern, Creative Commons License

Casting a Shadow

Shadows. They can be scary, can’t they? They hold the unknown. They sometimes even hold danger.

In life, we encounter shadows of a figurative kind. The menacing ones seem gigantic. Things like cancer, terrorism, financial problems, loss of loved ones, and divorce. Shadows like that can nearly suffocate us.

But not all shadows in life are negative. This time of year—in the heat of summer—shadows provide shade and welcome relief. We don’t run away from them. Instead we run to them. Some we welcome with open arms.

Loved ones cast a comforting shadow when we’re hurting. Mentors provide the shade of experience and encouragement as we try to grow. Friends offer the shelter of companionship when we’re lonely or needing some fun. And the Word of God stands ever-ready to give us whatever kind of refuge we need. No, not all shadows are negative.

The question we need to consider is what kind of shadow are we casting today in the lives of those who know us? What would they say about our influence or our impact on them if given the opportunity?

Do we bring others (or maybe just certain people) down by our negative or critical attitudes and words? Do we add a dark cloud of worry wherever we go? Or instead, do we lift people’s spirits with our happy dispositions and words of encouragement? Do we cast a ray of sunshine instead of an unwelcome shadow?

If you’re like me, it may be a mixture of both. Sometimes our families get an up-close and personal taste of the negative side of our personalities. Hopefully, those are balanced out by all the positive influences we bring into their lives.

Let’s make sure our shadows—whether with family or with the world in general—are the kind people run to, the kind that provide shade and welcome relief.

Let’s cast shadows that people welcome with open arms.

“O LORD, you are my God . . . You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:1a, 4a

*Who has cast a positive shadow in your life?

*My photo