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

Unprotected

My husband takes his chances when it comes to sunburns, but not me. I don’t like them. Sunscreen is my friend and never more so than when I’m in higher elevations. In fact, I bought a new tube of sunscreen just before our trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone a few years ago. And believe it or not, I even remembered to take it with me and use it before each outing.

One day, though, I somehow missed applying my trusty protector to one particular area—my left wrist and hand, just below my watch. I didn’t notice the effects of my negligence until the next morning. I could feel the burn and my hand resembled a bright red paw. Good grief. Just the look I wanted for vacation, huh?

You wouldn’t think my hands would be in the line of direct sunlight, would you? However, we’d been in Yellowstone the day before visiting Old Faithful and other points of interest, and I had been a picture-taking fool.

While manning the camera, I’d held my hands in an upraised position much of the day—especially at Old Faithful, where I waited poised and ready for any action. Unfortunately, I was also poised for the sunburn I didn’t see coming. You can bet I didn’t neglect protecting my hands after that.

Sometimes we fail to protect ourselves spiritually. The enemy of our souls is on the prowl, just looking for chinks in our armor. He watches for areas where we’ve neglected to cover ourselves with the Word of God and prayer.

We may think we’re not at risk in a certain area or get too busy or distracted to turn to God’s Word or call on him for wisdom, help, and protection. We may submit most areas of our lives to his leading but hold onto a few for ourselves. Or maybe we’re rather half-hearted and take a hit and miss approach to time spent with God. Worse yet, we might neglect him completely, taking our chances and assuming we’ll be able to deal with whatever comes down the pike.

We may not notice the effects of our negligence immediately, but if we continue on in our own way, we’ll soon be dealing with the consequences of a spiritual burn. And by that time, it may be visible to others as well.

Let’s be alert to the dangers that threaten our spiritual lives. Let’s be diligent to apply the protection God offers us. Let’s cover ourselves with the Word of God and prayer.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 NIV

*What area of your life do you sometimes forget to protect?

*Hope this slightly updated encore post from Aug. 2012 blessed you today!

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.)

*Flickr photo by *~Dawn~*, Creative Commons License

Ever-Ready Refreshment

Have you noticed how we set our sights on the summer months for periods of rest and refreshment, for times to recharge? We take breaks from regular activities and make efforts to get away from home for a while, whether to a vacation destination or a trip to see family or friends. We long for a change and a chance to catch our breaths.

Sometimes that works for us and sometimes it doesn’t. Life may have other plans. We may not get to go on that getaway. Or sometimes we go, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t provide the rest and refreshment we desired and needed.

Whether our plans to refresh and recharge work for us or not, we can take comfort in the fact that nature’s ever-ready refreshment is within our grasp each day. And that, my friends, is a truth that inspires poetry. Hope my latest blesses you!

Ever-Ready Refreshment

Just outside my door I find it
nature’s own remedy,
a ready retreat
an instant vacation
the ever-ready refreshment I need.
When my body needs fresh energy
or my spirit needs a lift,
when my soul cries for God’s own touch
the great outdoors soon beckons me.
A few steps and moments later
the very air around me changes
as I pass from indoors to out,
as I breathe in nature’s tonic.

The miracles in God’s world around me
never disappoint,
as I listen for the song of birds
or hear the wind sashaying through the trees.
The sights, the smells, the sounds, the feel,
and yes, the taste of God’s ever-ready refreshment
set my weary heart to singing,
re-energizes me once again.
And I found it all
just outside my door.

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

What aspect of creation particularly refreshes you? The ocean? The mountains? Maybe the wide-open fields or the forest? Perhaps flowers? Do tell!

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out tomorrow. It’s not too late to receive it (though you won’t be eligible for the giveaway until the next issue.) 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.)

*My photo