7 February Stress Busters

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Valentine’s week. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

With the flip of the calendar to February, it’s time for another installment in our Stress Busters blog series. I started it in September and I pray it’s been a blessing to you. Hopefully you’ve discovered some new ideas for reducing stress as we think of strategies especially appropriate for each month of the year.

Since February is the month of love, some might think stress should disappear, but alas, the expectations of Valentine’s Day can actually add stress to some of our lives. Combine that with the other stresses that invariably rise up to drag us down, and yes indeed, it is a very good idea to consider how we might reduce our stress levels.

So here, my friends, are seven stress busters for your February days:

  1. Say “I love you” to someone every day this month. Whether saying the words, writing a note, or posting a meme on someone’s Facebook page, brighten days for others and lift your own spirit as you share love. See how many different people you can touch.
  2. Perform a random act of kindness. Offer an encouraging word, hold a door, leave an extra generous tip, or pay for the person behind you in line. Surprise someone unexpectedly. Not only will it make you happy, but you might just change the course of someone’s day, week, or life.
  3. Offer a comforting touch or hug as often as an opportunity presents itself. Loving touches have a way of helping stress melt away for both parties involved. Bless others—and let others bless you—with a hug.
  4. Show yourself some love with an out of the ordinary treat. Get a massage, indulge in a candlelit bubble bath, order your favorite dessert, or take a day (or afternoon) off to do something fun. Enjoy yourself!
  5. Make a list of the things you love about your life. The biggies will come to mind first, but nothing is too small to include. If it brings you joy, jot it down. As you do, whisper a prayer of thanks.
  6. Call a friend or family member you rarely get to see and share some love and laughs. Sometimes hearing a distant loved one’s voice soothes our spirits the way nothing else can.
  7. Read and reflect on a passage from the Bible—God’s love letter to us—each day. Let the Word of God infuse your spirit with peace and joy and wisdom. Let it refresh and recharge you to deal with the demands of your life.

Your stress is sure to diminish if you put these ideas to work this month. As you do, may your February be filled with love and joy. And chocolate. Don’t forget the chocolate!

“Love never fails . . .” 1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV 

*Which of these stress busters will be the easiest for you to carry out? Which will be the biggest challenge?

*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.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Tania_Cataldo, Creative Commons License

Bridal Shower: Makeup Practice-Run and Demonstration

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Valentine’s week. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Mother of the Bride, a bridal shower is one of the highlights of the wedding planning experience. It’s a time of fun, fellowship, and celebration with family and friends. It’s a girly-girl time that is well worth making memorable in a variety of ways.

If you’re contributing ideas to the shower or actually giving it yourself, MOB, one fantastic way to make it both special and helpful is to have a makeup practice-run and demonstration. Not only will it give the bride and her makeup artist a chance to have a run-through before the big day, but it will provide an entertaining and informative demonstration for the shower guests. Fabulous idea, right?

To make it even more interesting and fun, extra features/activities could be included. For instance, the makeup artist (and her team if she has one) could do your makeup and/or the bridesmaids’ makeup as well. Different techniques and types of makeup would naturally be called for so all the more informative.

You could even have makeup samples for the guests to take home or lipstick shades for them to try at the party. And I bet you and the bridesmaids will be able to think of other ideas as well. Just have fun with it!

Does this sound like an exciting idea to you, MOB? If so, suggest it to the hostesses and see if it’s something they’d like to make happen. Might as well make the shower as girly-girl—and helpful—as possible!

*You might also like to read Bridal Shower Idea: A Cooking Class and Bridal Shower Cake: A Cupcake Wedding Dress!

*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 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 Ashley MacKinnon, Creative Commons License

Wedding Expenses: Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

At the beginning of a new year, many of us are looking for ways to trim down, both physically and financially. Saving money always feels good and getting the most value for our money makes us smile as well. Sometimes we get downright giddy over a good deal!

Want to know how to get the most bang for your MOB buck, Mother of the Bride? Here’s my tip: Put your checkbook away and use your credit card when paying for wedding expenses.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating racking up charges that you don’t have the money to cover. But since you’re going to be making lots of purchases—and some of them very big—why not take advantage and rack up the points on your credit card so you can purchase free flights or other free items?

In other words, let the money spent on the wedding work twice for you—once to make your sweet daughter’s dreams come true and the second time to make your dreams come true. Another win-win on the wedding front!

*You might also like to read Wedding Planning Tip: Ask for Price Breaks, Wedding Savings Tip: Make It Yourselves!, A Simple Wedding Expense Tip, Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!, Let Bridesmaids Bouquets Perform Double Duty, Wedding-Themed Shower Gifts, and Christmas Gifts for the Bride.

*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, comes out on Thursday Feb. 1st. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. New subscribers this week won’t be included in this giveaway but will be included in all future giveaways. 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 Images Money, Creative Commons License

Hear the Call to Worship

Chime! Chime! Chime! On weekdays, not more than a dozen blocks from our house, children arrive and begin their school day at the local Catholic church and school. When I’m lucky, I happen to open my door or step out on my back steps and hear the church bells ringing in a new school day, signaling the time to begin.

I don’t know their schedule, but I like to think they are starting with moments of worship and prayer. As they hear the chiming of the bells, I hope they are gathering to acknowledge the Creator of the world, gathering to say prayers to their heavenly Father.

I know for me, when the rich ring of the beginning bell wafts through the air, I hear a call to worship. I hear my Father saying, “Think of me! Think of me!”

And I do. I think of him. I think of the glory of the morning and of the world around me. I think of how worthy he is to be praised. I think of how blessed I am to have such a loving and faithful heavenly Father. I think of him, I think of him.

On days when I’m caught up in something else and miss hearing the ringing of the bells, I still feel the call to worship as I look at the beauty of my Lord’s creation or as I think of blessings he has poured into my life. Each work of beauty, each sound of nature, each blessing he has granted is like a church bell chiming, “Think of me! Think of me!”

How about you? What calls you to worship? What calls you to think of him? Whatever it is, take time to answer his call. Take time to think of him.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? . . . LORD, our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-4, 9 NIV

*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, comes out on Thursday Feb. 1st. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. New subscribers this week won’t be included in this giveaway but will be included in all future giveaways. 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.)

*I hope you enjoyed this newly revised post from February 2011.

*Flickr photo by vxlaCreative Commons License

Groom’s Cake Idea: Favorite Professional Sports Team

Mother of the Bride, are you and the happy couple talking cakes yet? And more specifically, the groom’s cake? If so, this suggestion might help you hit a wedding planning home run if the groom decides to run with it. Do you see a theme developing here?!

If your future son-in-law has a favorite professional sports team, he might love featuring it in some way with his groom’s cake. He could request that your cake baker design a team jersey and hat cake (as in the photo above), or he might rather feature the team’s mascot or a simply the team’s name and logo on a big sheet cake. Or he might have a different idea entirely once you spark his imagination.

So grab the soon-to-be newlyweds, MOB, and show them this idea. The groom may love it—and you will have knocked it out of the park with your suggestion! Fingers crossed for you!

*You might also like to read Groom’s Cake Idea: Favorite Team Cake Pops Groom’s Cake Idea for the Wrestling FanGroom’s Cake Idea: His Favorite Set of WheelsGroom’s Cake Idea: Law Books (or any other books!), Groom’s Cake Idea: Alma Mater Pride, and Groom’s Cake Idea: A Chessboard!

*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, comes out February 1st. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks 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.)

*Flickr photo by aalphotos, Creative Commons License