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

Love Is Large

7188915268_2eed6d006c_zFriends, on this day of love, let’s think for a moment about the largeness of love.

When we truly love others or others truly love us, there’s nothing small about it, is there? Even when the gesture may be small by the world’s standards, the way it makes the recipient feel magnifies the smallest gesture into a grand gift. Yes, love feels big. Love is large.

Joni Eareckson Tada, contemporary artist, author, and speaker, sums it up perfectly:

“Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay, the time it is willing to give, the hardships it is willing to endure, and the strength it is willing to spend. Love never thinks in terms of ‘how little,’ but always in terms of ‘how much.’ Love gives, love knows, and love lasts.”

What do you say—are you ready to go out there now and love? Let’s do it. With Jesus as our ultimate example of large love, let’s get out there and be extravagant. Let’s love!

“‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’” John 13:34 NIV

*When has someone been extravagant in their love for you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter which includes 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!

*Flickr photo by Venkataramesh.Kommoju, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Loving Others, Showing Them God

7452197640_7c4d4e9aea_zDid you realize that when you show love to others, you are in fact showing them a bit of what God is like? Since the Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8b), it follows that God can be reflected through our loving acts and words towards others.

In the book Bittersweet—Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, author Shauna Niequist points out this truth especially as it applies to loving the heartbroken. Consider these words of hers and recall if this has been your experience as well:

“I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over.”

What a privilege to show God to a hurting soul, huh? Let’s remember that our expressions of love to the heartbroken can have deep and even eternal impact. Let’s show them love. Let’s show them God.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7a

*During your times of heartbreak, has someone reflected God to you through their loving deeds?

*Flickr photo by lucidtech, Creative Commons License

Most Important Part of the Bride’s Attire

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Mother of the Bride, your daughter’s attire on her big dream-come-true day will most likely be of prime importance to you both and will take center shopping stage until every piece of it is selected and properly rejoiced over. Just the right gown tops the list, with a perfectly complementing veil and/or headpiece not far behind. Finding gorgeous shoes and deciding on jewelry are also important decisions. Even undergarments get special attention.

But the most important part of her attire on Wedding Day—the thing that will really shine—is love. The love she has for her groom shining in her eyes and on her face will be the thing that makes her truly beautiful. Oh, her attire will certainly add to her beauty, but it will be her loving expressions that the groom and everyone else will remember from that special day. This truth reminds me of a truth expressed in 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible—if we have not love, we are nothing. (my paraphrase)

So MOB, remind your sweet girl to, yes, select her attire carefully and with great joy, but to remember to relax and simply love. Then she will truly shine on her big day. And everyone will rejoice with her—and with you all!

*You might also want to read Most Important Part of the MOB’s Wedding Day Attire

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photo by Flowers Photography

Wedding Reminder: It’s All About Love

February—the month of love—is upon us, Mother of the Bride. Why not let it remind us that a wedding is all about love. People who love one another—family and friends—join together to celebrate the love of a very special couple becoming one, becoming man and wife.

In the midst of managing a multitude of details and troubleshooting one situation after another, MOB, it’s easy to lose sight of love. I encourage you to take a few minutes for quiet reflection. Set aside thoughts of attire and décor, of lists and menus, and focus on love—the love your daughter and her groom have for one another, the love you have for your sweet girl, and the love you all share for the family and friends invited to be a part of the celebration of a lifetime. Nothing else matters if love is trampled on.

So let love carry you, MOB, as you labor to give your daughter and her beloved a wonderful wedding celebration. Let it inspire you to do your very best, but also let it free you to focus on what’s truly important—people, relationships, love, memories.

Mother of the Bride, you will set the tone for wedding planning with your daughter. And you will play a huge part in setting the tone for the big day itself. Here is where you need to shine, MOB. Let the tone you set be love!

*You might also like to read Spirit and Soul Refreshment for the Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Bride – Needed and Loved, and Mother of the Bride, You Are Appreciated!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Don’t miss out on the One-More-Chance Starbucks Giveaway over on my home page. Deadline to enter is Feb. 10th!

*Flickr photo by myasfxc, Creative Commons License