Growing in a Hard Place

Last summer while on vacation with my husband, I witnessed one little flower after another growing in hard places—in the nooks and crannies of rocky formations above tree line in Colorado.

I spotted the flowers pictured above in the Mount Evans Wilderness area. The flowers found there (and in other alpine regions throughout the world) display a delicate but hearty beauty that seems to cry out, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place. I’ve survived harsh conditions and my beauty is declaring God’s glory!”

And today we each have an opportunity to be like the alpine flowers—we can grow in the hard places we find ourselves in.

Due to the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic, we have literally been thrust into harsh conditions—threat of illness and possible death of ourselves and our loved ones, social isolation as we join together separately to rob the virus of opportunity to spread, financial losses and loss of jobs for many, and an inadequate supply of medical supplies, food, and other product shortages as people panic and start hoarding. Most of us have also had to place certain plans or events on hold—some of them very important like graduations and weddings.

Some of us are dealing with living in other hard places at the same time. Some may be grieving the loss of a mate, family member, or friend. Others may be struggling to keep a marriage afloat. Some are living with chronic pain or long-term health problems and some are even battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

As we each struggle with our own set of harsh conditions, let’s remember that if we hang on, the beauty will come. Persevering and overcoming struggles always serve to make us better, to help us grow. We will have the chance to declare to the world, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place and I’m declaring God’s glory!”

Hang on, friends. God will see us through—and oh, what beauty will come!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 1 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV

*Are you seeing any beauty in your circumstances yet?

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

*My photo

A Message for Friends

How long has it been since we’ve told our friends how much they mean to us? Since we’ve told them how much they enrich our lives?

Why not tell them today? Below is a message from my heart to the hearts of those who have touched my life with friendship in a variety of ways.

If you feel the same way about your friends, why not forward this post to them and tell them this is how you feel about them too? I’m sure it will mean the world to them.

May the following bless you all!

Friend,

Spending time with you
Refreshes and refuels me,
Joining you in laughter
Helps heal whatever’s hurting.
When facing challenges together
I’m inspired to hidden strength,
My life is better because of you
For you, my friend, make a difference.

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement . . .” Philemon 1:7 NIV

*How can you be a friend who makes a difference?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. 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 ainavidal, Creative Commons License

Making Our Lives Count: Laura Bush’s Words Still True Today

Several years ago when the tenth anniversary of 9/11 drew near, we heard, saw, and read many reminders of that horrific time. I came across one that year that I think bears repeating here. I hope you will agree.

Woman’s Day Editor-In-Chief (at that time) Elizabeth Mayhew introduced their September issue with a quote from an essay former First Lady Laura Bush wrote for their magazine on the first anniversary of the attacks. I love what Mrs. Bush had to say:

“You don’t have to walk into a burning building or wear a badge to rescue someone. You don’t have to go to medical school to help a person feel better, or walk on the moon to change this earth. You simply have to care about what happens in our country. To me, we can all honor the lives lost on September 11 by making our lives count even more.”

What great perspective Mrs. Bush offered back in 2002—and it’s still true today. Instead of feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of overwhelming times, we can make a difference. We can make our lives count. Sometimes we just need to think about it a bit and then become more intentional in our efforts.

So what can we do to make things better for our nation? We can vote regularly in elections and pray for our leaders. We can treat others with kindness and respect. We can volunteer through our churches and civic organizations when crises come or to help with ongoing projects. We can support our military and their families and volunteer at our communities’ schools. We can also recycle and try to incorporate other earth friendly practices in our lives. The possibilities abound.

In like fashion, we as Christians should be making our lives count for the Lord as well. We can grow closer to him each day, becoming a beacon of hope and good news for those around us. We can live our faith in front of our families and friends in good times and bad, setting an example for our children and grandchildren. We can pray for and encourage others. We can get involved in mission projects and actively support missionaries. We can be ready to share the good news of a Savior as the Lord gives opportunity. Yes, we can make a difference eternally.

Let’s heed the wisdom Mrs. Bush offered on that first anniversary of 9/11. Let’s make our lives count even more.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42 NIV

*What else can we do to make a difference in our nation or for Christ?

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

*I hope this slightly revised post from Sept. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by włodiCreative Commons License

Pre-Ceremony Wedding Day Prayer Idea: The Mother of the Bride Prays for the Bride

Mother of the Bride, before your precious daughter says I do on her wedding day, why not send her off into her next stage of life with a prayer? What could be more meaningful than a prayer falling from the lips of the one who has loved her, watched over her, taught her, and encouraged her from the moment she was born? Yes, dear MOB, you are that treasured. Your prayer will bless her in a way that no one else’s can.

On the big day, after your little-girl-turned-bride is all dressed and waiting with her bridesmaids for the appointed time to get into place, have everyone get in a circle and hold hands while you pray for your darling daughter and the love of her life.

You may want to give your prayer some thought ahead of time and make mental note of the things you want to mention so you won’t forget something important to you. After all, your brain may be on overload by the time you reach go-time. Or on the other hand, you may prefer to let it all come naturally in the moment from the overflow of your heart. Do what works best for you. There is no right or wrong way.

One thing is certain—your prayer asking for God’s blessing and protection and for encouraging their total, sold-out commitment to each other and to God will undergird your sweet girl with strength and love and send her off into her new life with the complete support and blessing of her mom. What better gift could be given? I only wish someone had suggested it to me when my girls got married. We missed this special time together because I simply didn’t think about it. But you don’t have to miss it, Mother of the Bride. Now you’ve heard the idea!

So MOB, gift your daughter—and yourself—with this once in a lifetime moment and memory. And rest assured that God will use your send-off prayer in mighty and wonderful ways!

*You might also like to read A Prayer for the Newlyweds, A Prayer for the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon, and Wedding Resource: Prayers 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 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.)

*Stephtphotography photo of my nephew’s beautiful bride Kaitlynn and her sweet mom Shannon

Wedding Expenses: Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

At the beginning of a new year, many of us are looking for ways to trim down, both physically and financially. Saving money always feels good and getting the most value for our money makes us smile as well. Sometimes we get downright giddy over a good deal!

Want to know how to get the most bang for your MOB buck, Mother of the Bride? Here’s my tip: Put your checkbook away and use your credit card when paying for wedding expenses.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating racking up charges that you don’t have the money to cover. But since you’re going to be making lots of purchases—and some of them very big—why not take advantage and rack up the points on your credit card so you can purchase free flights or other free items?

In other words, let the money spent on the wedding work twice for you—once to make your sweet daughter’s dreams come true and the second time to make your dreams come true. Another win-win on the wedding front!

*You might also like to read Wedding Planning Tip: Ask for Price Breaks, Wedding Savings Tip: Make It Yourselves!, A Simple Wedding Expense Tip, Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!, Let Bridesmaids Bouquets Perform Double Duty, Wedding-Themed Shower Gifts, and Christmas Gifts for the Bride.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out on Thursday Feb. 1st. One lucky subscriber 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. New subscribers this week won’t be included in this giveaway but will be included in all future giveaways. 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 Images Money, Creative Commons License