The Snapshots of Summer

As summer winds down, let’s rewind mentally and take some mental snapshots of the joys this fun-filled season bestowed. For each of us they’ll be a little different while at the same time being much alike. May my latest poem help you recall the scenes of your own special summer!

Summer Snapshots

As the waning weeks of summer slip by
Its snapshots drift through our minds,
Classic moments, favorite memories
Keepsakes of the carefree days.
Toes painted for flip flop season,
Poolside parties and ballpark nights,
The grill fired up and ice cream churning
All part of the rhythm of summer.
Playing in sprinklers, drinks from the hose,
The Fourth filled with fun and fireworks,
Friends and fishing, bike rides and berry-picking
Each day holds hope for adventure.
Zoo days and picnics, gardens and flowers,
Loading the car for road trips,
Mountains and beaches, sunblock and shades
All leaving the gift of memories,
All captured in summer’s snapshots.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3 NIV

*What are your favorite snapshots from this summer?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. 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 Daniel Ray, 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

7 July Stress Busters

Since July finds many of us overheated by extreme summer temps and over-stressed by demands of life that take no vacation, let’s refresh ourselves today with the next in my year-long month-appropriate Stress Busters blog series.

This July installment is the next-to-last in the series I began last September. I hope you’ve found it helpful in seeing you through the various stresses that have tried to bring you down or keep you in knots over the past several months. Stress is ever-present in our lives so we need to be ever-alert to reducing it where we can.

So here you are, friends—7 July Stress Busters designed to cool you off and refresh your spirits. Be blessed by them!

7 July Stress Busters

  1. Take in a fireworks display on the 4th. Whether a city-wide display in a stadium or a park or your own personal fireworks extravaganza with family and friends, blowing up fireworks is such a fun and exciting way to blow off the steam of life’s stresses. The beauty, the thrill, and the fun of sharing it with others all work together to reenergize your spirit.
  2. Moderate the heat of outdoor activities—and the heat of unwanted stress—with some ice-cold watermelon. Watermelon is tasty any time of year, but add the heat of summer to the mix and its cool and refreshing sweetness makes a body go yum! And as you relish the taste and experience, you’ll relax and forget your worries for a bit.
  3. If at all possible, go on a vacation. Time away from work or just the normal routines of life can help you unwind both physically and mentally as you focus on other things—family fun, the great outdoors, new foods and experiences, relaxing with a good book, or any number of other things you love to do when you’re away from your regular responsibilities. Say goodbye to stress and hello to fun!
  4. Go to the movies. When the sizzling temps of July make it next to impossible to de-stress with time outdoors, enjoy some air-conditioned relaxation in your local movie theater. Seeing a movie on the big screen is a treat in itself, but go ahead and splurge on snacks too. Get away from it all and enjoy the adventure.
  5. Browse the shelves at your local library or favorite bookstore. Give yourself permission to do this leisurely as you savor the quiet atmosphere. Set stress aside and explore all that the room has to offer. Take joy in your new discoveries.
  6. Take a swim or play in the sprinklers. No better time than July to jump in the pool—or pond or river or ocean—and let the water wash your cares away. Or if you’re like me and swimming is not your thing, cool off in the sprinklers. That’s right, become a kid again—and yes, grab one or two or ten while you’re at it—and enjoy dashing through the sprinklers. Don’t forget to open your mouth wide and grab a drink too. Remember, fun equals refreshment.
  7. Stir up some homemade ice cream. Ah, the delight of homemade ice cream during the heat of July. Definitely hard to beat. Add your favorite topping, cake, or pie and you take the delight up to a whole new level. Simply divine. And the simple pleasure it brings will provide just the soothing touch your frazzled spirit needs.

May these stress busters help you chill out in more ways than one, my friends. And as you do, lift your eyes to the heavens and offer thanks to God for the joys of life. They are all around!

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.” Psalm 92:4 NIV

*Which of these stress busters most appeal to you right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out August 1st. 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 and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by yllek, Creative Commons License

7 June Stress Busters

Our first month of summer is before us—who’s ready to bust some stress? I’m certainly ready to lend a hand in that endeavor with the next installment in the year-long Stress Busters monthly blog series I’ve featured here since last September. I hope it’s been a great way for you to kick off each new month and that you’ve been inspired and helped by the ideas you’ve found here.

Since we would all like to experience some of that summertime easy livin’ that the old Gershwin song refers to, let’s consider the following June stress busters. May they help you set aside life’s pressures every now and then and relax and refresh instead!

7 June Stress Busters

  1. Listen to some music that helps you relax. For some that might mean classical music while others may find that classic rock helps them unwind better than anything else. If you haven’t done it yet, why not click on the link above and listen to Gershwin’s Summertime as sung by Ella Fitzgerald. That should do the trick!
  2. Take in a baseball game. Summer and baseball go hand in hand so be sure to get at least one taste of it this month. Whether Little League or your favorite professional team, leave your worries behind and enjoy an afternoon or evening of relaxing to America’s favorite pastime.
  3. Plan for fun on Father’s Day. Set aside responsibilities to focus on your family on this special day. Treat the dads in your life to whatever puts a smile on their faces. As you show love and receive it in return, you’ll find stress melting away.
  4. Relive fun summer memories. Take a break from the stress and demands of your life by looking through photos of past vacations, day trips, or family gatherings. Let those precious memories replace the worries of the day with smiles and laughter.
  5. Take advantage of pleasant nighttime temperatures and do some stargazing. Before it reaches the hottest part of the summer, take a walk in the moonlight or lie on a blanket in the yard and look up at the stars. Relax in the night sky’s beauty—and in the knowledge that the Creator of it all is watching over you.
  6. Grab a friend and go out for ice cream. Ice cream is one of the all-time favorite summer comfort foods so combine that with the company of a good friend and you’ve got the recipe for some sure-fire stress relief. Choose some sort of yummy chocolate flavor and you’ll take the stress relief to a whole new level!
  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.

I hope these stress busters keep you busy in the best possible way this month—busy relaxing and enjoying life and the Lord. Have a glorious June, my friends!

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3 NIV

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

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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 kla4067, Creative Commons License

Summer or Fall Wedding Favor Idea: Jars of Honey!

Mother of the Bride, are your darling daughter and her sweetheart planning a summer or fall wedding? If so, it’s time to start gathering ideas and making decisions about some of the more minor aspects of the big day. And one of those minor issues is what to provide as wedding favors.

One super sweet idea for summer or fall wedding favors is a gift of honey. Since honey harvest usually takes place in July, August, and September, you might even be able to acquire some newly harvested honey from a local or regional beekeeper. What a treat for your guests—honey fresh from the honeycombs!

You can buy already-packaged honey wedding favors or you and the bride can get creative and come up with your own unique packaging. To buy ready-to-go honey favors, just google “buying honey wedding favors” and explore your options. Some of those options will allow you to personalize your favor. But to make your own favors from the hive up so to speak, find a local beekeeper and go from there with your own creative packaging.

Your daughter’s summer or fall wedding will be here before you know it, MOB, so why not go ahead and suggest jars of honey for the favors. You never know. This sweet idea might “bee” just what she’ll love!

*You might also like to read Fall Wedding Favor Idea: Caramel Apples! and A Wedding Favor That Pampers: Beigetone Soaps.

*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 with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. 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 moralesmegan25, Creative Commons License