Fresh from God

17276672462_7b04d5b6fc_zSpring almost always motivates me to pen a new poem. Hope you’re blessed today with my latest!

Fresh from God

Spring bursts with life
fresh from God
tiptoeing in as winter retreats,
surprising with love gifts
wrapped in newness,
delighting our winter-worn hearts.
Spring’s colors splash,
look new, feel fresh,
her songs capture our attention
with the calls and melodies of birds
back from their southern sabbatical.
Ah, spring—so fresh from God.

More fresh-from-God gifts spring to mind
more love gifts wrapped in newness,
romance blooms, life partners given,
babies are born, tiny kisses from heaven,
two become three—or four or more—
new day, new year,
new strength, new plans,
new mercies every morning.
New life in Christ
new home in heaven,
the gifts of God, fresh from him,
ever fresh with life.
Ah life—so fresh from God.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

*What fresh-from-God gift are you rejoicing in today?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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!

*Flickr photo by SteveRish, Creative Commons License

9 Easy Ways for the MOB to Bond With the Groom

MOB seeing groom for first time

Mother of the Bride, now that your daughter is sporting an engagement ring, you may be wondering how you can develop a closer relationship with your soon-to-be son-in-law. Hopefully you’ve gotten to know him fairly well during their dating days, but officially becoming part of your family—well, that takes the whole dynamic up a notch, doesn’t it?

Never fear, MOB—here are nine easy ways you can bond with the groom:

  1. Spend time with the happy couple—have fun together! This may seem obvious, but with everyone’s busy schedules, you may have to be really intentional about spending time together. Don’t miss the big dividends this simple step can pay.
  1. Take a genuine interest in his job, his dreams, and his interests. Ask him about these aspects of his life and show him your support in whatever way you can. Praise not only his accomplishments but also his character.
  1. Treat him to his favorite food or restaurant. Make his favorite pie or cake or treat him to his favorite eating spot. Bond over barbecue or steaks.
  1. Include him in family traditions and help him get to know your extended family and friends. Traditions always serve as bond-builders so take advantage of this whenever you can. And as your soon-to-be son gets to know your other loved ones, you’ll both feel like he’s becoming part of the family. Another benefit is that everyone will feel more comfortable with one another on wedding day and that just adds to the joy!
  1. Become acquainted with his family and include his mom in some aspect of the wedding planning. He will appreciate every effort you make to get to know his family better and will be especially grateful for ways you can make his mother feel included in the biggest event of his life. The better you know his family, the more you’ll have in common.
  1. Conspire with him to plan a surprise for your daughter. If he asks your help concerning something he has in mind for the engagement, his wedding gift for her, the honeymoon, or some other surprise he has up his sleeve, welcome the opportunity to be involved. A shared secret is super fun and another great bond-builder. If he doesn’t come to you, initiate a surprise of your own for your sweet girl and recruit him to help pull it off.
  1. Ask for his help or advice in his area of expertise. This may or may not have to do with a wedding-related task. The important thing is he will feel affirmed as you seek out his knowledge or skill, and it will also give you a chance to get to know him on a different level.
  1. Pray for him. He may not know you’re bonding when you do this, but you will. As you pray for him, you’ll feel closer to him and that will naturally manifest itself in all your interactions.
  1. Show excitement about his plans for the honeymoon. He won’t tell you all the details, but be happy with him over any little detail he does share with you. Your excitement will boost his confidence and joy and he’ll be grateful for your support.

So there you go, MOB—start bonding away! You’ll both be glad you did. And your darling daughter will be so happy to see you grow to love and appreciate the love of her life. Definitely a win-win-win!

*Adapted from Chapter 10 of my book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photo by Chris Humphrey

2017 Theme Word: Trust

15004178998_fdf4bb1e5c_zThe launch of a new year means different things to different people, but for me it means it’s time to focus on a new theme word for the year. I’ve never been big into New Year’s resolutions, but the past several years, I’ve chosen a theme word to help guide me through the year. It’s a practice I highly recommend. I can honestly say it has benefited me time and again.

This year the word the Lord kept bringing to my attention in the waning weeks of 2016 was trust. It wasn’t a word that was on my theme-word radar so to speak. Initially the words balance and simplify came to mind, but as I asked God to guide my choice, the word trust kept popping up, first in one place and then another. Isn’t it great how God gives us direction as we seek his guidance?

I’ve got to admit when I sensed God directing me to the word trust, fear tried to sneak in. Why was God leading me to the word trust? Is something bad going to happen? Is God trying to prepare me to trust in him? Of course, I immediately realized I would have to trust him even with this. I shouldn’t run from the word trust. I needed to follow his lead and yes, trust him come what may.

So, I don’t know how the word trust will play out in my life this year, but it will be interesting to see how it offers me direction, comfort, peace, and yes, perhaps even challenge as the year goes on.

Right now when I think of trust, I think of believing, resting, or staying faithful, and I know it will be good to grow in all of these areas. But who knows, God may have something in mind that hasn’t even occurred to me. After all, he works like that quite often, doesn’t he?

One thing is certain, though—God is trustworthy. So with trust as my word for the year, I’ll go forward fully trusting in him and the good work he will do in my life. Join me?

“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12 NIV

*Have you chosen a theme word or an anchor verse for 2017?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, to give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by SFB579 Namaste, Creative Commons License

Mother of the Bride Relaxation Time—with Coloring!

broadstreet-coloring-books

Mother of the Bride, I’m sure you’ve noticed the adult coloring book craze that’s swept the nation the past year or so. I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon myself yet, but I know lots of folks have and are thoroughly enjoying relaxing through coloring.

Since relaxation is something every mother of the bride longs for (and needs to work into her schedule), why not try coloring, MOB? If you enjoyed coloring as a kid, I bet you’ll love it now, too. And if you didn’t really care about coloring in your younger years, you could still give it a try. After all, we change as we grow older and often develop new hobbies and interests.

Adult coloring books can be found almost anywhere books or crafts are sold now, both in stores and online. BroadStreet Publishing, the publisher of my book Mother of the Bride, is one of many publishers offering adult coloring books. The photo above shows a few of the ones they offer—The 5 Love Languages® coloring book, Beside Still Waters, Cattitudes, and This Is the Day the Lord Has Made.

If you’re ready to relax and refresh through coloring, MOB, here are links to the coloring books BroadStreet offers as well as some links to the coloring books my blogging and artist friend Jana Botkin offers on her website. Hope you find one you’d like to try!

Majestic Expressions coloring books by BroadStreet Publishing

Heart of the Parks by Jana Botkin

Other “Heart Of . . .” coloring books by Jana Botkin

*You might also like to read Relax and Refresh with This Wedding Story and An MOB Prescription: Movie Fun! 

mob-meme-relax-and-refresh

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early November. One current or new subscriber will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photo courtesy of BroadStreet Publishing

Appreciation Giveaway in Every Life Notes Issue Now!

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Something new is on the horizon for all subscribers to my Life Notes newsletter—a giveaway in every regularly scheduled quarterly issue! I probably won’t do many giveaways here on my blog anymore, but don’t worry, you can still get in on the giveaway fun if you’re a Life Notes subscriber.

All current and new subscribers will automatically be entered to win each time, and I will announce a winner in each November, February, May, and August issue. Occasionally I send out a special issue with big news, but those issues won’t include giveaways—unless it’s just a surprise. Who knows, that might happen sometime!

The giveaway prizes will be varied throughout the year, but the next issue of Life Notes will come out in early November and the prize will be a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

The past several years I’ve had a subscriber appreciation giveaway this time of year and have given the B&N gift card so I thought I would go ahead and continue that tradition for our November issue this year. For other issues, the prize may be a book, a gift card, or whatever else I happen to decide. Fun, huh?

So, if you haven’t yet subscribed to Life Notes, why not go ahead and do it today? Sign-up is free and to the right. To be included in the draw this time, be sure to sign up by Oct. 31st. Doing the giveaways will give me a chance to show appreciation for my subscribers all year long now. I really am grateful for each and every one of you who take an interest in my life and writing. Thank you so much, friends!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3 NIV

*How do you like to show appreciation for people in your life who support you?

*Flickr photo by racineur, Creative Commons License