7 April Stress Busters

Spring is undeniably here. So as we spring into April with its legendary showers, allow me to shower you with another set of month-appropriate stress busters. We’re over halfway through my year-long Stress Buster blog series and I hope you’ve been blessed by each installment. I’ve had fun—and been challenged as well—writing them.

Now in the spirit of spring and all things fresh and new and full of life, may you be refreshed and revitalized by the following April stress busters. Be blessed, friends!

7 April Stress Busters

  1. When April showers pay a visit, take a few moments to play in the rain. Become a kid again. Lift your face to the skies and spread your arms wide. Let the raindrops splash on your cheeks and thank God for his life-giving provision—to the earth and in your life. And while you’re at it, why not rejoice wholeheartedly and jump in a puddle!
  2. Indulge in floral therapy by keeping fresh flowers in your home this month. If you’re not the green thumb type (I’m not) and don’t have flowers blooming plentifully in your yard, treat yourself to flowers from the florist—or less expensive yet, from a greenhouse, grocery, or discount store that sells fresh flowers. Farmer’s markets might be another option. Let fresh flowers refresh your spirit.
  3. Set aside your responsibilities at home one evening and take in a concert. Whether it’s a professional concert or simply a spring musical or program at a local school, let an evening of live music provide a much-needed escape from your never-ending to-do list.
  4. When you get a break from April showers, go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Take your lunch break in the park or eat at a restaurant with outdoor seating. Tinker in your yard or relax on your patio and listen to the birds. The sounds of nature are soothing indeed.  
  5. As you enjoy the newness of spring, try a new-to-you coffee shop, restaurant, or ice cream parlor. A new experience can bring fresh energy and help pull us out of ruts where we see only the stresses surrounding us. Take a friend or loved one with you for an extra shot of fun.
  6. Do a little spring cleaning and clean out a kitchen drawer or two or tackle a shelf in a closet. Even though it sounds like work, it will get your mind off things that may be stressing you. Plus, you’ll be rewarded with a real sense of accomplishment.
  7. With Easter inspiration still fresh in your heart, continue to enjoy Sunday morning worship and the fellowship of other believers. As you lift your heart in worship and as you share your life with fellow believers, you will be strengthened and encouraged and ever reminded to drop your burdens at the feet of Jesus. This is true stress relief.

May these stress-busting ideas for April help keep you relaxed and enjoying life during the wonderful season of spring! 

“Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he . . . sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.” Joel 2:23 NIV

*Which of these stress busters sounds the most refreshing to you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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 he(art)geek, Creative Commons License

Turn Rain on Wedding Day Into a Positive

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With spring weddings now upon us, the chance of rain on Wedding Day becomes a real possibility. Mother of the Bride, if the unthinkable rain happens on your sweet girl’s big day, what can you do to somehow turn it into a good memory?

One way to turn Wedding Day rain into a positive is to capitalize on some fun photo opportunities. Just like with snow during winter weddings, ask your photographer to get creative and snap some great photos featuring the rain in some way. If rain is in the forecast, contact him or her earlier in the week and share any ideas you may have. I’m sure an experienced photographer will have several ideas up his photo-snapping sleeve as well.

As in the photos above and below, why not buy umbrellas in one of the colors of the wedding and then feature the bridal couple cozied up under one while the attendants pair up under others. Keep the tags on the umbrellas until the day of the wedding just in case the rain doesn’t materialize. If it doesn’t rain, return the umbrellas and get your money back, MOB. If it does rain, you’ll be prepared. And a good MOB is always prepared, right?

Next time you talk to your daughter, MOB, go ahead and brainstorm other ideas for some great rainy Wedding Day photos. Maybe one of the bridal couple laughing as they seek shelter under an awning or in a doorway? Or the bridal bouquet covered in raindrops?

Whatever you come up with, share your ideas with your photographer—and turn the rain into some fun Wedding Day memories!

6244880589_cea42a37ff_z*You might also like to read Wedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer.

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

*Flickr photos by Corey Ann, Creative Commons License

Rain or Shine

I admit it. I’d rather be out running around on a sunshiny day than to be dodging puddles and trying to keep my glasses spot-free on a dreary, rainy day. I’ve been known to avoid water rides at theme parks, too. I guess I just don’t like getting wet :)

But while I stay holed up singing rain, rain, go away, I’ve noticed that our feathered friends don’t let a few showers get them down or sway them from their tasks.

That’s right, as long as the weather is not severe and even though they may get a little wet-for-the-wear, I still see birds out and about, singing and faithfully taking care of business—flying, looking for food, eating, working, and patrolling their territory among other things. Yes, they continue on.

Could the same be said for us when the showers of life come raining down? Do we continue on or do we easily get discouraged and pull back or even pout and give up?

Let’s consider some of the things that might discourage us from pressing on with our work, our personal growth and goals, or our walk of faith.

The answers might be different for you, but for me as a writer, I can be tempted to give up when I experience rejection or hear about more things I must do to compete in the industry. I can also be derailed by the distractions of life, burn-out, lack of support, and weariness or other physical problems. I go through periods of discouragement where blogging is concerned because my readership doesn’t grow (or even shrinks at times) and because I don’t receive much feedback.

As I consider these culprits of discouragement to my writing life, I see that some of these same factors also hamper me in my personal and spiritual pursuits. It’s hard to stay enthused when I don’t feel well or when too many demands clamor for my attention or when I feel alone. On the spiritual front, I’m also impacted by feelings of failure when I sin as well as the enemy’s ongoing tactics to defeat me.

It’s clear that all our days will not be sunny. Rain will come. Will we let circumstances or setbacks dampen our enthusiasm and keep us holed up singing rain, rain go away, or will we faithfully continue taking care of business?

Let’s not be afraid to get wet. Let’s press on—rain or shine.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

*What do you do to battle discouragement?

*Flickr photo by net_efekt

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

Refreshing Rain

Our region—and much of our country—has been dealing with drought for months. Recently we’ve received some refreshing rain and we’re so very thankful for the much-needed relief. Won’t you praise God with me for the refreshment he gives our earth—and for the refreshment he gives our souls? How we thank you, how we praise you, Lord!

Blessed Sound of Falling Rain

Blessed sound of falling rain

The music we’ve strained to hear
For so long,
The sound of life
To our drought-stricken land,
The melody of God’s provision.
A greedy earth clutches at the drops
Almost drinking before they land,
Needy and desperate for any relief
It takes hours before she relaxes.
Finally she glories in the drink
Soaking, laughing, swelling with life,
Praising God with every drip, drip, drip
Turning green with gratitude.
Our thirsty souls wait as well
For the sounds of life that restore us,
The sounds of a Savior
Coming to pour
The music we’ve strained to hear.
Yes, blessed sound of falling rain.

“for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9

*How does God refresh you?

*Flickr photo by John-Morgan

Life-giving Rain

Whew, finally! After watching the leaves on the trees almost choke from thirst, this past Thursday and Friday we got some life-giving autumn rain. I don’t know what it’s been like where you live, but here in the Heartland, we’ve had an unusually dry and milder than normal fall.

I admit I’ve loved the warmer temps and sunshiny days, but dry spells certainly take their toll. When the trees finally got around to treating us to the gorgeous fall colors we all look forward to, many of the leaves had already made their descent, skittering across streets and sidewalks and crackling underfoot.

The leaves still adorning the trees have been giving a valiant effort at filling our lives — however briefly — with shades of orange, red, and gold, but the colors have not been as vibrant, the leaves not as fresh and healthy-looking. The lack of moisture has shown.

So when the rain came this past week, we all eagerly soaked it up — the earth, with a serious thirst to quench, and us, rejoicing in the replenishing work of God going on around us. Even though the days dawned dark and dreary, excitement and gladness filled our spirits as we offered thanks for the life-giving rain.

Dry spells come to our spiritual lives as well, don’t they? Times when God seems far away, times when it seems we’re not hearing from Him or feeling His touch. But just as certainly as dry spells come — whether in the natural world or in our spiritual lives — thankfully, dry spells go. One day when we have a serious thirst to quench and when the lack of refreshment is painfully evident, God sweeps in and does a replenishing work. He sends a life-giving rain.

How does this look in your life? How does God refresh you? Does the Word finally seem to speak to your spirit? Does He give you a special touch that could only come from Him? Maybe you’re rejuvenated by the beauty of God’s creation or the timely fellowship of a friend.

One thing is certain. However God chooses to send us fresh life, we eagerly soak it up, and we rejoice in its coming.

Do you find yourself choking through a dry spell of your own? Hang on, friend. The rain is coming.

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25

*Flickr photo by lecates, Creative Commons License

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