A Prayer for Your Summer Plus My May Blogging Break

As I mentioned in my Spirit and Soul Refreshment for Busy Lives post a couple of weeks ago, May can be one of the busiest months of the year. And this year is no exception for me. Probably not for you either, huh?

To do my part in allowing a little breathing room, I’m taking a blogging break the last half of this month. So no worries if it appears I’ve abandoned my blog over the next couple of weeks. I’ll be back with regular weekly posts sometime when June is bustin’ out all over. Let’s say June 6th. June should be in full bustin’ mode by then, right?

Before I break away, though, I’d love to pray for us all as we prepare to head into summer and all that it holds. May this prayer be a blessing to you as we gear up for the upcoming summer season. Feel free to keep it handy to give needed encouragement and refreshment as the days and weeks unfolds.

Pray with me, won’t you?

Lord, you are the Maker of every season and we thank you for the gift of summer. It’s a time to break from many of our normal routines and enjoy more time outdoors in your glorious creation, more time with our families and friends, and more opportunities for travel adventures. Thanks so much for such a wonderful gift.

Guide us, Lord, as we make plans. Help us not to pack so much into the fleeting weeks of summer that we end up feeling stressed rather than refreshed. And please grant your blessing, Lord, that all logistics for special activities and travels will flow smoothly so we can have truly refreshing times instead of those marked by frustration or disappointment. We don’t take mercies like this for granted so we ask humbly and thank you in advance.

Please protect us, Lord, as we do things like hike and swim and play sports. Watch over us, please, in our travels so that we will arrive safely at every destination. Protect us as well from our enemy Satan as he continues to try to undermine our relationship with you and with others. He doesn’t take a season off. Please surround us with your protection.

And finally, Lord, please bless us with lots of sweet times with you and with loved ones this summer. Grant us memories that will make us smile for years to come and also grant us periods of rest that will refresh and re-energize us to get back to normal routines in the fall. And may we shine the light of your love everywhere we go and in all that we do. May you be glorified in our summer, O Lord! In your precious name we pray, Amen.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us” Psalm 67:1 NIV

*Do you have any special plans or activities that you’re looking forward to this summer? I’d love to hear about it!

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

*My photo (taken in the Cleveland Botanical Garden)

A Prayer for Weary Mothers of the Bride

9916290543_ea73a1c8f7_zMother of the Bride, are you weary today, are you needing refreshment? Everything from troubleshooting wedding-planning problems to dealing with the regular stresses of life can leave you feeling depleted of all energy, emptied of all strength to continue.

If you need an infusion of strength and fresh energy, MOB, here is a prayer I posted on my inspirational blog last March. I pray it will give you the second wind you need to press on today. Be blessed and refreshed, dear MOB!

Father, this child of yours is weary. There’s no easy answer to her problems. She’s lost all strength to continue and will fall without your help. Help her, Lord, to lift her eyes and look to you—and then show her that you care. Bathe her in your light and love, reenergize her from your divine storehouse of strength. Send your angels to minister to her needs. And as she rises to press on, may your praise be on her lips, may you receive the glory. All this I ask in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

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

*You might also like to read Spirit and Soul Refreshment for the Mother of the Bride, Time Management: Give Yourself a Break, MOB, Time Out for Laughter, and Mothers of the Bride Need Prayer.

*Flickr photo by Infomastern, Creative Commons License

Pre-Ceremony Tip for Wedding Day: Keep It Calm

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*I won’t be posting next week during Spring Break, but I will see you back here on March 28. Maybe you can check out the archives and Favorite Post list in the meantime!

Mother of the Bride, one last gift you can give your daughter before she becomes a Mrs. is a calm environment in the hours leading up to the wedding.

Yes, MOB, make it your goal to keep those pre-ceremony hours on the big day as stress-free as possible for your baby girl. Do your best to help her to head into the glorious but demanding hours of the wedding and reception well-rested and focused only on her beloved and the joy of the day.

One thing you can do to keep things calm in the hours before the wedding is to make sure your girl has interactions with only a few people—her immediate family, bridesmaids, and hairdresser, etc.

Since extended family and friends are already gathered for the wedding weekend, it’s tempting to plan breakfast or lunch (or another activity) as a group, but resist that temptation. There will be plenty of time for more interaction with one another at the wedding and reception. No need for your daughter to be “on” any more than is necessary before the wedding. Once she heads to the ceremony site, there will be no slowing down for her until she rides off into the honeymoon sunset with her love.

For those few things she has to do early on the big day—like get her hair done—keep it as low-key as possible. Have only one or two people accompany the two of you to the salon. If you’re at a hotel or have company staying in your home, bring food to the bride’s room and let her eat without having to interact with a crowd. Suggest she ask only her sisters and/or bridesmaids to join her.

Every family’s circumstances will be different, but you get the idea, MOB. Adopt the spirit of the advice—keeping things calm for your sweet girl—and adapt it your individual situation. Your little girl-turned-bride will be forever grateful!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride’s Wedding Day Advice for the Bride and Most Important Part of the MOB’s Wedding Day Attire.

*Flickr photo by Corey Ann, Creative Commons License

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!

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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! 

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*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