Grandson Photo Fun Plus July Blogging Break

*Don’t miss a special giveaway going on over on my Mother of the Bride Blog. You don’t have to be a mother of the bride to win!

When the month of July rolls around each year, that means it’s time for some Summer Photo Fun here on the blog. And what better kind of photo fun to feature this year than Grandson Photo Fun, right? How can I not share this kind of sweetness with you!

For those of you who don’t already know, God has blessed us with TWO sets of twin grandsons! Isaiah and James are pictured above on the left (James on left, Isaiah on right) and belong to our daughter Kristin and her husband Shawn. Samuel and Silas are on the right (Silas on left, Samuel on right) and belong to our daughter Kelli and her husband Jake. Isaiah and James are now 2 ½ years old and Samuel and Silas will be 11 months old in a few days. We love these little guys beyond words. And yes, they keep us hopping!

Life is so busy for me right now—and July is always extra busy when my husband is on vacation for a few weeks—so I’m going to take a blogging  break and leave these photos of our sweet boys up here on the blog for the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy seeing these little sweethearts—and I will be back with regular weekly blog posts in a few weeks. Have a great July!

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV

Sweet Samuel

Busy Silas

*I have some family events and travel scheduled for July. Will you be doing anything special this month?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early August. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 cash (summer mad money!) 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.)

Wedding Photo Idea: Flower Girl with the Bride’s Shoes

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Mother of the Bride, want some super-cute photos of the flower girl on Wedding Day? Grab the bride’s shoes and ask your photographer to take a couple of fun shot shots like those pictured here.

Not only does the photo above with the shoes standing back to back creatively feature an article of the bride’s attire, but it captures a precious flower girl’s dream of one day being a bride herself. Such a sweet shot.

The shot below shows off every little girl’s love of wearing high heels—and not just any high heels, but the bride’s high heels. Talk about a little girl’s ultimate fantasy!

Waste no time, MOB, in adding this idea of the flower girl with the bride’s shoes to the list of photos you’d like your photographer to take.  Everyone will love it!

*You might also like to read Wedding Photo Idea: The Corner Shot and Wedding Day: Sweet Family Moments in Store.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photos by 藍川芥 aikawake, Creative Commons License

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Will: Little Word, Big Promise from God

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“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Psalm 46:10 is best known for its first half. Almost all of us who have been exposed to the Bible for very long can recite the phrase “Be still and know that I am God”—and well we should. It’s a powerful reminder of who God is, who we are, and where all power, provision, wisdom, justice, love, and everything else we’ll ever need lies. He is ever worthy of our worship and trust.

Today let’s look at the second half of the verse, though—and in particular, the little word will. Let’s look at the implication and power of this mighty little word.

With this one short word, God tells us that he will be exalted among the nations, that he will be exalted in the earth. No mights, no maybes, no ifs, ands, or buts. It’s going to happen. He will be exalted. He will be lifted high, glorified, and praised in our world. And where it’s not currently happening? It one day will.

The events that have unfolded in Iraq over the past few weeks have left us reeling as terrorists have persecuted and killed Christians and other innocents. Many may wonder where God is when these kinds of things take place, but we can rest assured that God has been and will continue to be exalted and glorified in the midst of these horrific events. He will be praised today by many, and will one day be victorious over every evil force in every corner of the world. He will indeed be exalted throughout the earth.

Let’s not think of the world stage only, though—let’s bring it home. What about our own lives? Are we exalting him in personal worship? Are we exalting him in our churches? Are we glorifying him in our marriages, our parenting, our friendships, our work, our play? Do others glorify and praise God because of us?

Let’s help fulfill the promise of the little word will. May God be able to say that he has been and will continue to be exalted through us and our lives. May we ever be found praising him!

“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:3

*How might we lift God high today and in the days to come?

*My photo

*Be sure to enter the “Back At It” Giveaway. See post for details. Deadline to enter is 6 p.m. (CST) this Wednesday.

The Little Things

A cup of hot chocolate. A pretty journal. A sweet comment on my blog. All of these things—little though they are—make me smile, inside and out.

I love how little things like this can set the tone for my day—or turn it around if things are going badly.In the midst of all the stresses we face in our lives today, a simple joy can lift our spirits or spur impromptu communion with our Father as we whisper a word of thanks.

One recent joy I’ve experienced has been the early morning visits of a pair of cardinals. They must want to take advantage of my birdfeeder before any other competition shows up. I haven’t been able to get a good photo of them during this semi-dark hour—and they don’t wait around for good lighting for my camera. They take off as soon as too much daylight intrudes on their comfort zone.

Even though I can’t record their visits for posterity, I get to see them and enjoy their presence. I’m not sure why, but it makes me happy just knowing they’ve found my yard and have made it part of their routine. It’s a little thing indeed, but they make me smile first thing in the morning. And that’s a very good thing, right? :)

Likewise, little blessings in our spiritual lives can set a happy tone for our days or lighten our loads on difficult days as well. Like the lift to my spirit the cardinals supply, even small spiritual blessings can be all it takes to keep us encouraged and moving forward in our walk of faith.

Maybe a song comes on the radio and ministers peace or comfort just when we need it. Or perhaps the sun breaks through the clouds when we’re longing for a touch from the Lord. And God’s Word? One sentence or verse can make all the difference on any given day.

Yes, it’s the little blessings that keep us going over the long haul, isn’t it? Let’s thank God today for the little things. The things that make us smile inside and out.

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessingafter another.” John 1:16

*What little thing has brought you joy recently?

*Update: I wrote this post a week or two ago, and now the early-morning cardinals have deserted me. Am hoping they will return. I miss them! :)

*Flickr photo by byJoeLodge

**The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17 post and sign-up is to the right. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Any: A Little Word with Big Impact

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

If you ever feel little or insignificant, take heart. Little things have a way of being real game-changers at times. For example, some of the littlest and seemingly least important words in scripture can impact our lives in giant ways.

In the past, we’ve looked at how the words us and let were used in two different verses. We discovered what a huge difference they made in expanding our understanding and application of those particular verses.

Today let’s focus on the word any in the scripture above.As the apostle Paul teaches how we can offer comfort to others because of the comfort God has given us, he opens wide our comfort-giving door.

We are not restricted to giving comfort to only those who are going through the same trials we ourselves have endured. No, God tells us through these words of Paul that “we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”(emphasis mine)

Who can we comfort? That’s right—those in anytrouble.

And there you have it. Our little word with big impact. Any. No barriers, no restrictions. Wide open ministry doors.

The next time we start to hold back from comforting someone because we feel inadequate, because we’ve never experienced her kind of trouble or grief, let’s remember that we have the very comfort of God to offer our hurting friend. Let’s remember the word anyand walk through the door before us. It’s wide open.

“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:5

*What are some ways you like to comfort others?

*Flickr photo by Andreía