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

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

Blessings in the New Year for the Mother of the Bride

As a new year begins, Mother of the Bride, may I pray these blessings from the Word of God (NIV version) over you? I want the very best for you this year as you prepare for one of the best days in the life of your family. So from me to you —

“‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.’” Numbers 6:24-26

“May the LORD answer you when you are in distress . . . May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:1, 4

“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

“May the God of peace . . . equip you with everything good for doing his will . . .” Hebrews 13:20, 21

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way . . .” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Amen and amen. Have a blessed 2019, Mother of the Bride, and a blessed wedding celebration!

*You might also like to read Mothers of the Bride Need Prayer and Wisdom and Encouragement for the Mother of the Bride.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early February. 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 LadyDragonflyCC – Tinsel Time!!!Creative Commons License

5 Things Every Bride-To-Be Needs to Hear from Her Mother

*I won’t be posting next week during Thanksgiving but will be back on Nov. 27. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Mother of the Bride, as your daughter prepares to marry, she’s navigating a season like no other—as are you.

Not only are you both planning the biggest events you’ve probably ever planned, but you are both experiencing the shifting sands of changing family dynamics. She is shifting her primary loyalty to her husband-to-be and also developing relationships with his family while you are preparing for the final letting go as well as welcoming another family member into your family’s fold.

Since like any good mother, you’ll want to make her wedding planning experience and her family transition as easy as possible, here are 5 things she needs to hear from you right now. I pray that they will help both of you navigate the emotional mother-daughter waters you find yourselves in. May your season of planning and change go as smoothly as possible—and even hold unexpected blessings.

5 Things Your Bride-to-Be Daughter Needs to Hear from You

  1. This is your wedding, not mine, and you and your groom’s desires are the ones that matter the most. It’s okay, MOB, to share some of your most deeply held desires concerning the wedding—after all, it will be a highlight of your life and her dad’s life as well—but when it comes down to final decisions, those should reflect the couple’s desires.
  2. We welcome the love of your life into our family with open arms and will love him like a son. This will be a process of course as you may need time, MOB, to get to know him better, but just hearing your assurances of your welcoming love for him will mean the world to her.
  3. Even though you’re starting a new family, you’ll always be my dearly loved daughter who can count on me in good times and bad. At this critical time of family transition, MOB, your sweet girl needs to know that you’ll always love her and you’ll always be there for her. And as you assure her of your unchanging love, this will give her an opportunity as well to reassure you of your place in her heart.
  4. I’m sorry—I didn’t handle that very well. There may be (will be!) times during the wedding planning process, MOB, that you will say or do something that you wish you hadn’t. Tensions can run high at times and in those moments it’s so easy to act or speak in haste. When you’ve done something that hurts feelings or offends, apologize as quickly as possible. Keeping loving and peaceful relationships is the way to go.
  5. How can I help you? Whether with wedding details, relationship issues with any of her friends and family, or other day-to-day life stresses that can be compounded by the pressures she’s feeling as wedding day approaches, your girl needs you, MOB. Find out how you can best help her with whatever she’s going through. She will be forever grateful.

Good luck, MOB, as you and your precious daughter navigate the days ahead. May these pointers help along the way!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride’s Wedding Day Advice for the BridePre-Ceremony Wedding Day Prayer Idea: The Mother of the Bride Prays for the BrideA Prayer for the Newlyweds, and A Message for the Newlyweds.

*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 rawpixel on Unsplash

Free Fly Like Autumn Leaves

I love to watch the autumn leaves—and not just for their colors. I love to watch them fly as well.

The leaves of fall are free flying. They’re not bound by a must-follow route or a set of rules. No one tells them to drop at a perfect 90 degree angle—or any other angle. Each one is different. Each one takes its cue from the wind at the moment it falls.

Some fall headlong, landing right below their former homes. Others venture a few feet away as they drift gently through the air before finding a new resting place. Still others fly like crazy on the wings of a major wind gust, soaring as never before, looking like frolicking birds—up and down and all around, going great distances before running out of breath. Yes, autumn leaves are free flying.

Makes me want to do some free flying myself. Anyone else?

The good news is we can. As believers in Jesus, as children of God, we can free fly on the wings of his Spirit living within us. We can abandon ourselves to his leadership, whether on short straight paths, lilting walks, or adventures of a lifetime. Following the Spirit, we’ll soar as never before.

We can also free fly on the wings of encouragement. Sometimes all we need to be spurred on to try something new or go after a dream is the confidence inspired by a friend or family member who cheers us on. Sometimes all it takes is a little push. We then find ourselves free flying and loving every minute of it.

Other times it takes a little more. It takes a major gust of courage to launch our flight. The ride holds out hope of great and mighty things—but only if we’re willing to take the risk, only if we’re brave enough to step out of our comfort zones or battle whatever problems are trying to hinder our flight.

As the leaves free fly around us this autumn season, let’s ask ourselves if we’re ready to do a little free flying ourselves. Let’s abandon ourselves to the wings of the Spirit, let’s fly on words of encouragement. Let’s be bold and allow courage to carry us to new heights. Let’s free fly!

“. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

*How have you been free flying lately?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. 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 _hq_, Creative Commons License