Absent Without Leave: Body Parts and the Body of Christ

My voice went AWOL on me one spring a few years ago. Blame it on seasonal allergies (which I usually don’t have) or just a nasty spring cold, but I spent the better part of a week trying to communicate with anything from a hoarse whisper to a croaking, cough-infused version of my former speaking voice. And forget the singing voice. It stayed AWOL even longer.

What a difference one little part of our bodies can make. Having next to no voice made it difficult and at times impossible to do certain tasks and carry on with life as normal. Maybe because life is not normal when a part of our bodies is missing or not functioning the way it should, huh?

The staff at the pharmacy probably thought they were dealing with a prank caller on my first voiceless morning when I called to ask advice from the pharmacist. I pretty much gave up on phone calls after that, though I did talk to my daughter Kelli when she called one day. Poor thing had to listen to me cough and hack my way through that conversation.

When my voice started to return, I had to apologize for how it sounded every time I spoke to someone new. I also couldn’t make myself heard if I was more than a few feet away. And I’m still trying to figure out why Don thought I could answer him when he yelled at me from another room. Crazy guy.

I was living proof that our lives are definitely hampered when a part of the body goes AWOL. And you know that’s true not only for our physical bodies, but for the body of Christ—the church—as well. Scripture likens the church to a physical body, and the comparison is an apt one.

Since as believers, we are each part of the body and each have a role to fulfill or a function to perform, what do you suppose happens when one or more members of the body goes AWOL? Yes, the rest of the body finds it difficult and even impossible at times to carry on its normal tasks. They may have to give up a vital service or ministry or, at the very least, apologize for a role being inadequately or half-heartedly filled.

So let’s ask ourselves today what kind of body part we are. Let’s not be the ones to make life difficult for our fellow church members. Let’s not go AWOL on the body of Christ.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV

*What kind of body part are you? What role or roles are you playing in the body of Christ?

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

*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 Michael CoryCreative Commons License

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

7 March Stress Busters

We’ve made it to March, y’all! Not only does that mean the worst of winter is surely behind us (fingers crossed!), but here on my blog, a new month means it’s time for another installment in my Stress Buster blog series. I hope you’re finding it helpful and also fun as we think of different month-appropriate ways to lighten life’s stresses.

March always promises to be filled with activity, doesn’t it? The coming attractions include March Madness, the coming of spring, Spring Break, and even Easter weekend falling on the last couple of days of the month this year. Could it be that a teeny bit of stress will creep in as we squeeze extra activities into our already busy lives?

So to combat the stress that may try to march (hee hee) against us this month, here are some stress busters especially for March. Hope they make a difference for us!

7 March Stress Busters

  1. Get into the spirit and enjoy some March Madness. If you’re a die-hard basketball enthusiast, you may fill out a bracket and the whole nine yards, but if you’re not a big fan, you can still choose a team to root for and enjoy a game or two of some of the best basketball that’s played all year. Plus, snacks can be involved!
  2. Hang some wind chimes on your porch or from a tree in your yard and let March play you a medley of tunes. The sound of wind chimes can provide a welcome distraction from the pressures of the day. Let their music put a song in your heart.
  3. Look for signs of spring every day and rejoice in them. Whisper a prayer of thanks over each one or sing a song of praise. You could even snap photos or jot down your spring-sightings in a journal and then look back and remind yourself of them when things aren’t going well.
  4. Treat yourself to a short getaway. Sometimes the only way to get away from stress, particularly work-related stress, is to leave town, if only for a day or two. If you have a spring break in your schedule and can take extra time away, do it. Enjoy a change of scenery and a change of pace.
  5. Take advantage of a warm day and enjoy one of your favorite outdoor activities. Go to the zoo or take a nice long walk or a bike ride. Break away from your indoor confines and soak up some sunshine.
  6. On one of March’s colder days, spend some time dreaming and planning for summer vacation. That’s right, winter will probably stage a last hurrah this month so combat it with thoughts of warm summer days and what you might do for vacation. Spend some time looking online for possible destinations or grab your sweetie and daydream options together.
  7. As Easter approaches, sing or listen to favorite hymns or praise choruses celebrating the season. When you feel stress building, hit pause and turn your heart to the Savior and sing for him. Let him be the Prince of Peace in your life.

If March has come in like a lion for you, my friend, I pray that these stress-busting strategies will help it go out like a lamb. May God bless you with all the best this month has to offer!

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2 NIV

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

*Have you subscribed to Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue? If not, sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, just 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 Fimb, Creative Commons License

Spring Wedding Cake: Cherry Blossoms

Mother of the Bride, is a spring wedding in the works at your house? If so, the wedding may be coming up within the next couple of months or perhaps you’re in the very beginning stages of wedding planning with the date set sometime for next spring. Whatever the case, I’m sure spring colors and spring ideas are springing to mind right and left. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!)

If one of your daughter’s colors is pink, today’s spring wedding cake idea—cherry blossoms—might be something she’d love to include in her big day. Nothing says spring like cherry blossoms, right? Delicate and beautiful. Pastel perfection.

The photo above is just one example of how cherry blossoms might be incorporated into a wedding cake. You might want to look for other examples, too, and then show them all to your daughter at the same time. She’ll appreciate having several options to consider.

MOB, I hope this is an idea that will work for your sweet girl. If so, time to find your baker and arrange for a tasting. That’s when things really get fun!

*You might also like to read Wedding Cake Roundup

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride 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 in early February. 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 Jamie Anderson, Creative Commons License

Fresh from God

17276672462_7b04d5b6fc_zSpring almost always motivates me to pen a new poem. Hope you’re blessed today with my latest!

Fresh from God

Spring bursts with life
fresh from God
tiptoeing in as winter retreats,
surprising with love gifts
wrapped in newness,
delighting our winter-worn hearts.
Spring’s colors splash,
look new, feel fresh,
her songs capture our attention
with the calls and melodies of birds
back from their southern sabbatical.
Ah, spring—so fresh from God.

More fresh-from-God gifts spring to mind
more love gifts wrapped in newness,
romance blooms, life partners given,
babies are born, tiny kisses from heaven,
two become three—or four or more—
new day, new year,
new strength, new plans,
new mercies every morning.
New life in Christ
new home in heaven,
the gifts of God, fresh from him,
ever fresh with life.
Ah life—so fresh from God.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

*What fresh-from-God gift are you rejoicing in today?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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!

*Flickr photo by SteveRish, Creative Commons License