Wedding Budget Tip: Prioritize and Trim

Mother of the Bride, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking of all the expenses coming at you while planning a wedding. The whole process can start to feel like a runaway train you can’t seem to slow down. Soon you can find yourself engulfed in emotions like panic and dread instead of excitement and joy.

Here’s a wedding budget tip that can help: Prioritize and then trim. Talk with the bride and groom and have them decide which elements of the wedding are most important to them and  which elements are the least important. And then plan your spending from there.

Devote the bulk of your budget to the things the couple cares the most about and plan for minimal amounts to be spent on the others, possibly even forgoing some things altogether. If your daughter and her beloved want an amazing venue, a live band, and top notch photography, maybe they would be willing to have an hors d’oeuvres buffet rather than a sit-down dinner and scale back on flowers and favors. They might even decide they don’t need ceremony programs at all. You get the idea.

MOB, take the pressure off a bit—prioritize and trim. The results will be unique to your own situation and will help put the brakes on that runaway train, giving wings to joy instead. Why not give it a try?

*You might also like to read Budget Agreement with the Father of the BrideA Simple Wedding Expense Tip, Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow, Bridal Primping on a Budget, 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 this week. 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.) p.s. It is too late to get in on this issue’s giveaway, but if you subscribe, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways.

*Flickr photo by cafecredit, Creative Commons License

One Way to Pray Against Enemy Forces

The Lord threw [the enemy forces] into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely . . .” Joshua 10:10 NIV

We will all face enemies in our lives—and it’s not usually a one and done affair. The average person or group or nation will face multiple battles over the course of time. It’s just to be expected. We are not in heaven yet, and until Jesus comes again and gains the final victory over Satan, conflict and sin will continue to be part of our lives.

The enemy forces that come against us will take many forms. As a nation, we may face foreign and military battles from without and political battles and bigotry from within. As individuals, we will undoubtedly face emotional and spiritual battles as well as health-related, financial, and interpersonal ones. These are just a few broad examples. Others have probably already come to mind.

As believers in Christ, we know that prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal. Through prayer we can ask God to wield his almighty power against our enemies on our behalf. In fact, prayer is listed as the final component of battle readiness as laid out by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6.

One specific way we can pray when enemy forces come against us is to ask the Lord to throw them into confusion. In the scripture featured at the beginning of this post, we see that God did this very thing for Joshua and the Israelites. As a result, they were able to defeat their enemy. Will not God do the same for us today as we call on him for help?

Let’s do it—let’s ask God to throw our enemies into confusion. Let’s watch him act in our behalf. Let’s watch our mighty God defeat our enemies.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV

*What enemy is coming against you today? Will you call on God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. 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.) p.s. It is too late to get in on this issue’s giveaway, but if you subscribe, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways.

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

*Flickr photo by D.Munoz-Santos, Creative Commons License

Mother of the Bride: 9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

Mother of the Bride, you deserve to pamper yourself every now and then on this marathon journey otherwise known as wedding planning.

Not only you deserve to do it, you need to do it. Just think—in addition to all the responsibilities of life you manage on a day to day basis, you’re now juggling wedding responsibilities as well. If you don’t take care of yourself during the journey, you may crumble before the big day gets here.

So to help keep you refreshed, recharged, and ready to help your daughter in every way possible, I give you 9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself. May they work their magic on you, dear MOB!

9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

  1. Treat yourself to a couple of hours of relaxation in your favorite bookstore. Enjoy browsing the aisles or take a seat and do some reading while sipping on a delicious drink. Soak up the peace and solitude and then head out the door with a refreshed spirit—and maybe a new book or magazine!
  2. Spend a few minutes outside listening to the birds sing. Block out thoughts of to-do lists and various worries and focus completely on the calls and melodies of the feathered friends around you. Refresh with one of the most soothing and uplifting activities to be found. And it’s free!
  3. Treat yourself to an outing with a friend. Go to the movies or try the new ice cream place or restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Enjoy your friend. Laugh. Forget the demands of life for a few hours and focus on having fun.
  4. Relax with the new craze of coloring. If you enjoyed coloring as a kid, I bet you’ll love it now too. And if you didn’t really care for it in your younger years, you could still give it a try. Let creativity fill your senses and watch stress get crowded out.
  5. Take time for a stroll down memory lane. Spend an afternoon or evening looking through family photos or reading back through baby books and journals. Bask in the warm feelings nostalgia brings. Let joy and contentment bring you fresh energy and perspective.
  6. Indulge in floral therapy by keeping fresh flowers in your home. If you’re not the green thumb type (I’m not) and don’t have flowers blooming plentifully in your yard, treat yourself to inexpensive flowers from a greenhouse, grocery, or discount store that sells fresh flowers. Farmer’s markets might be another option. Let the amazing and delicate wonder of flowers refresh your spirit.
  7. Take a drive or bike ride in the country and get away from it all. Enjoy the scenery and scents of country life. Stop along the way to walk and take photos. Capture the beauty of the open countryside—wildflowers, birds, the sky, farms, cattle, pastures, crops, ponds, and streams. Whatever catches your eye. Thank God for his marvels in creation and for refreshing your spirit.
  8. Be intentional about taking rest. Schedule it on the calendar if necessary. It may mean leaving Saturday mornings open so you can sleep in. Or you may need to say no to Sunday afternoon commitments so you can luxuriate in the all-important Sunday afternoon nap. For others, it may be blocking off time to relax with a good book or a round of golf. Whatever form it takes, provide yourself with respites of rest.
  9. Treat yourself to a copy of my book Mother of the Bride. Yes, this is a shameless plug, but darn it all, I think you’ll love it. I believe it will truly pamper, encourage, and refresh you—with everything from the beauty of the cover and interior design to the wisdom, help, and understanding voice shared throughout. Through my book, I want to be your friend for the journey. Let me pamper you!

Of course, MOB, other possibilities abound for personal pampering, but these are some ideas you may not have thought of yet. I hope you’ll try most—if not all—of them and let them provide you with the occasional respite you desperately desire. Remember, you need and deserve it!

 *You might also like to read Relax and Refresh with This Wedding Story, An MOB Prescription: Movie Fun!, and Mother of the Bride Relaxation Time—with Coloring!

*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.)

*Flickr photo by  “Strolic Furlan” – Davide Gabino, Creative Commons License

7 August Stress Busters

Believe it or not, friends, the stress busters I offer you today are the last in the series. That’s right, this August installment will complete a full year of month-appropriate stress busters designed to bring you refreshment and relief from whatever stresses you may be facing. I hope each month’s ideas have been a blessing to you!

And now, as summer winds down and the back-to-school season sweeps in, may the following stress busters help you relax and enjoy both seasons. May your August be blessed with the last of the lazy days of summer and the fresh energy and excitement of new beginnings as well!

7 August Stress Busters

  1. Spend some time indulging in a super laid-back, relaxing activity. For some that might mean going fishing. For others, it may mean a round of golf or an afternoon poolside with a refreshing drink and a good book. The choice itself is not important. The goal instead is the slowed-down pace and pure relaxation. Ahhh!
  2. Enjoy a frozen treat you don’t usually buy or make. While the heat of summer is still hanging around, frozen treats continue to carry medicinal value—that’s right, for stress headaches, knotted shoulders, and internal tension and the like. Add the extra bonus of a treat that is a rarity for you, and stress is certain to disappear while you focus on enjoying every yummy bite.
  3. Spend a few minutes outside listening to the birds sing. Block out thoughts of to-do lists and various worries and focus completely on the calls and melodies of the feathered friends around you. Hands down, this is one of the most soothing and uplifting activities to be found. And it’s free!
  4. Grab a friend—or better yet a sibling—and indulge in a favorite pastime from your childhood. Play a game of jacks, catch lightning bugs, or go exploring. As you enjoy the activity, share memories from your childhood days. Let nostalgia and laughter send stressful feelings packing.
  5. While back-to-school sales are in full swing, treat yourself to a school supply you always loved getting. Were notebooks your thing? Find a journal and have fun choosing a topic for it. Did you like new boxes of crayons or colored pencils? Get one this year and buy one of those popular adult coloring books to go with it. Let creativity fill your senses and watch stress get crowded out.
  6. Take time for one last spontaneous summertime travel-hurrah. Whether for a half-day or a weekend, take off on an impromptu adventure. Do that thing you were thinking about doing all summer but never got around to doing. Or follow that urge to visit a place you just recently heard about. Let the thrill of the adventure replace stress with excitement instead.
  7. Make a list of the highlights of your summer and thank God for each one. Your highlights may include big things like a vacation or family reunion, but smaller things may have been what really brightened your summer or made things easier for you—things like early morning walks through a park, a working air conditioner in your car, or a new devotional or book that really encouraged or inspired you. As you thank God for each blessing, you’ll experience its joy afresh. And joy will dissolve stress every time!

So there you go, friends—you now have an entire year of stress busters, served up to bless and refresh you month by month. May God continue to bless you all with fun respites as you bust the stress in your lives!

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

*Which of these stress busters is calling to you this month?

(*If you’re just now getting in on this blog series, simply type stress busters in my site’s search bar to find the posts for the previous eleven months.)

*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.)

Flickr photo by ΠάνοςΤ, Creative 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