Budding: New Growth in Spring and in Life

Have you noticed them yet this season? Budding trees. They whisper promises of things to come, slip us reminders of spring’s unfailing relief from winter’s frigid toll. One day they nudge us and say, “Look at us. New growth! There’s hope after all . . .”, while on another they call out, “Look at us! We’re budding! What will you become?!”

I love how the seasons speak to us on deeper levels and give us encouragement to grow or rest, to persevere or hope. Spring has the privilege of bringing hope to weary souls and inspiring us to branch out or reach for new heights. It works wonders in our world and in our hearts, and each year its work in our lives might be a little different.

The image of growth in spring has influenced how we see so many things. We’ve all heard people say, “He’s a budding artist” or “She’s a budding musician”, and they’re usually referring to children or teens. But I can’t help but notice, in the natural world, that even old trees bud year after year. New growth and the promise of things to come grace them as well.

And to be honest, probably none of us reading this post today are children or teens. We’re all older trees, if you will, though some of us are indeed older than others. The good news is that old trees bud! We’re not only capable of growth, it’s expected.

So what’s budding in our lives as we head into spring this year? What evidence of growth can be seen on our branches? Are we mastering a new skill or using some new technology? Are we displaying strength or peace in the face of adversity? As believers, are we looking more like our Savior each year?

If you don’t feel like you’re growing right now, it’s not too late to start. Get out there and start budding! Rejoice in the promise of things to come!

“In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6 NIV

*Is there something budding in your life right now? If not, what would you like to see bud?

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from March 2011 blesses you today!

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

Anyone Snowed Under?

Any of you ever find yourselves snowed under? This was the sight that greeted me several years ago when I opened our door the day after a blizzard buried us in its immobilizing winter white. With temperatures below freezing and more snow on the way, our bushes and lawn didn’t fully see the light of day for quite a while.

I have a feeling that some of you might be snowed under. Snowed under by things other than winter’s icy calling card. Burdened by things longer-lasting or even more immobilizing than a foot or two of snow.

Some of you may feel weighed down by a burden of grief. I’ve certainly been there. Others may find yourselves buried under a pile of work or unpaid bills while some of you are bearing the weight of others as well as yourselves as you struggle to keep up with parenting or caregiving duties. And it might just be a combination of several things causing some of us to feel overwhelmed.

Are you feeling like you may never see the light of day? Be encouraged. Remember that we have One who wants to bear the weight of our burdens for us. We have One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

So turn to him. Tell him you’re snowed under and ask for his help. Then relax in his arms and be at peace, my friend. Be at peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

*What burdens you most in this season of your life?

*Hope this slightly revised post from February 2011 blesses you today!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Feb. 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.

*My photo

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Love

*To free some of my time for other things, I’ll now be posting only on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Hope you are blessed each time you stop by!

As we continue the monthly blog series featuring sentence prayers inviting God’s power, February is the perfect time to focus on love.

Do you long to live a life of love? I do. I want my life to be marked by a deep and abiding love for God and a genuine love for others. But that kind of life doesn’t happen automatically. I need God’s power to live love and I bet you do too.

May the following sentence prayers help each one of us grow the life of love we desire to live. Let’s invite God’s power into our lives!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Love

  1. Father, empower me so that my life—my actions, my thoughts, my motives for everything—will be an overflow of my love for you and my love for others. (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 John 4:7, 11-12, 16, 19; 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:12)
  2. Lord, give me a heart to love you more. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Philippians 1:9
  3. Lord, help me see interruptions that sidetrack and delay me as opportunities to show love to someone. (Psalm 31:14-15; Ephesians 4:2)
  4. Since love is a choice and an act of obedience, Lord, please empower me to forgive those who hurt me or those I love. (John 13:34-35; Colossians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8)
  5. Father, help me to live and love unselfishly, putting the needs and desires of others before my own. (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:4)
  6. Lord, help me to reflect your love through generous giving. (John 3:16; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:18)
  7. Lord, help me to show my love through prayer—through praise and thanks to you and through intercession for others. (Psalm 18:1; Hebrews 13:15; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:1)

Friends, may God’s love shine through us in ever increasing measure!

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV 

*Which of the above prayers (actions) do you find most challenging?

*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.)

*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 garryknight, Creative Commons License

Time To Hole Up

Holed Up in Winter

Arctic weather isn’t the only reason I hole up when I can in January. After December’s demands and any traveling I do, I often need some catch-up time and a bit of a slower pace. I need to be at home.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t lounge on the sofa eating bon-bons—though that sounds pretty good. No, I faithfully work on writing projects and take care of the stuff of life that has needed my attention. And I’ve got to admit it’s a welcome change after a season of increased demand.

Do any of you hole up when you get the chance too? I’ve found that whether we’re forced to stay put due to weather or we choose to sequester ourselves for some regrouping or restoration, we usually feel ready to break out after a time and experience life in the greater world again. We get rested, recharged, and . . .  a little stir crazy!

It’s not so different in our spiritual lives. There are times when we need to slow down and catch up a bit. Times when we need to hole up and be “at home” with the Lord. If we’ll take that time, I bet we’ll find ourselves feeling rested, recharged, and . . . yes, ready to break out. Ready to do the work God calls us to do with fresh energy.

So where are you right now? Feeling a little stir crazy or are you needing some time to hole up? Wherever you are, whatever you do, do it with the Lord. He faithfully offers a welcome change!

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

*Hope this slightly revised encore post from January 2010 blessed you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by MuffetCreative Commons License

Theme Word 2019: Depend

*FYI, I won’t be posting next week but will see you back here on Jan. 22. Blessings to all!

I love the practice of choosing a theme word for each new year. Having an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—can give me direction throughout the year and also helps me refocus on the word—this thing God has directed me to do.

I usually start thinking and praying about what my word for the upcoming year should be sometime in November or December. This year three or four words came to mind, but as I prayed and asked God to direct me to his word for me for the upcoming year, one word resonated with me more than the rest.

The word that resonated the most with me for 2019? Depend. That may sound like an odd word to choose, but with the changes, situations, and tasks that 2019 may hold for me (or for my husband and me), I need to depend on God each step of the way. I can easily start to worry if I don’t remember to trust God and rely on him and his guidance and strength for whatever the future may bring. So depend it is.

Of course, as in other years, the word depend may end up with applications I haven’t even thought about yet. We’ll see. However the year plays out, I want to be found depending on my faithful and able God. My loving heavenly Father. My strength.

“You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Psalm 59:17 NIV

*Have you chosen a theme word or an anchor verse for 2019?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by  Khánh Hmoong, Creative Commons License