Help Others Find Strength in God

Jonathan went to David . . . and helped him find strength in God.” 1 Samuel 23:16 NIV

We all have times in our faith and life journeys when we need someone to help us find strength in God. Someone who can come alongside and remind us or show us that God is the source of the truest and best strength we can find. Without help like that at a time of great difficulty, we may falter and lose our way.

In the Bible we read how Jonathan did this for David. David and Jonathan were dear friends, but Jonathan’s father, King Saul, began to see David as a threat because the people praised him so highly. When Saul made plans to kill him, David had to flee. During his time on the run, Jonathan came to him to encourage him and help him find strength in God. We don’t know all the specifics of how he did this, but scripture does tell us they made a covenant together before the Lord.

How might we help someone find their strength in God today? We may go to friends to give them hugs and let them know we’re praying for them. Or we might join hands with a family in a hospital room and pray over their loved one. We may offer to meet someone weekly for coffee and Bible study or send daily text reminders that we’re praying. We could post inspirational memes or scriptures on social media. After all, God’s word does not go out without result (Isaiah 55:11). And these are just a few ideas.

Who do we know right now who may need help finding strength in God? Will we be a Jonathan in their lives? Will we take action to help them? And if we’re the one in need of help, let’s pray that someone comes alongside us so that we don’t lose our way. Let’s help one another.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV

*How has someone helped you find your strength in God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. 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.)

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

*Flickr photo by marmunia, Creative Commons License

Preparation for Decorating Wedding Reception Venue

Mother of the Bride, one vital step in your wedding decor preparation is to visit the reception venue site. You probably visited it early-on with your daughter while selecting a venue, but now you need to go back and carefully survey everything with an eye for decorating.

Here are some things to take to the reception venue when you visit:

*The bride. This is her party, and you definitely need her input. Your job is to help bring her vision to fruition. As you visit the site with your daughter, you’ll both have ideas and can decide together which ideas to implement. Also, two sets of eyes are always better than one in spotting potential problem areas and making sure those are addressed before you arrive to decorate.

*Questions for the venue’s event coordinator. When you make your appointment to visit, make sure the event coordinator will be there so you can ask questions, gain his or her insight, and get advice based on what they’ve seen work well there before. Take time to compile a list of questions before you go so you’re not trying to think off the top of your head. (Lists like this are included in my book Mother of the Bride.) If you see any problems or things you’d like fixed or done differently than their norm, speak up and ask. They will generally try to accommodate if possible.

*Your MOB folder or notebook/journal. As you make your way through wedding planning, you’ll keep a folder and/or notebook of all the info and plans you’re accumulating. You may need some of that info as you talk with the venue’s event coordinator or as you brainstorm decorating ideas with your daughter. Be sure to take this all-important MOB folder/notebook with you. It will also give you a place to make notes during your appointment.

*Camera. Pictures of the site will be invaluable after the appointment since more ideas will come to you and your daughter later on. Pictures of the site will help you carry them out. Also be sure to capture a shot of the two of you during this stop on your wedding-planning journey. You’ll be so glad you documented this once-in-a-lifetime journey together.

*Tape measure. This is the time to record vital statistics like how long banisters or mantles are or how many feet of lights you’ll need. Measure everywhere, even if you’re not sure you’ll decorate a certain area. For example, if you ultimately decide to string lights around the windows, you’ll have the measurements you need.

So MOB, head out for your venue appointment armed with these items. You’ll not only have a successful planning day, but you’ll have fun with your daughter as well. Another win-win on the wedding front!

*You might also like to read Include Venue Signs in the Wedding Photos , Wedding Planning Tip: Ask for Price Breaks, and Get It In Writing.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. 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.)

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

*Flickr photo by J. Aaron DelgadoCreative Commons License

Budget Agreement with the Father of the Bride

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Spring Break so will see you back here Tuesday Mar. 27. Blessings to all!

Mother of the Bride, are you on the same financial wedding-planning page as the Father of the Bride? Budget talk is never fun—in daily life or in wedding planning—but you’ll save yourself and your husband (or ex-husband as the case may be) countless unpleasant exchanges if the two of you are in budget agreement from the earliest stages of your planning.

FOBs may joke that their job in wedding planning is to hand over the checkbook or credit card, but they really do want to have a say in what’s reasonable to spend for the whole affair. If you’re not careful, wedding expenses can turn into a runaway train in the blink of an eye. If you know how much the FOB is comfortable spending, MOB, you’ll know when to apply the brake and slow the wedding-planning locomotive down.

Most men—on their first time around the FOB block—have no idea what a wedding can cost so be sure to enlighten the FOB in your life early on. Better to give him a chance to absorb the shock and weigh in on the budget for your particular wedding than to hit him with repeated shockers throughout the course of the planning.

So MOB, honor the FOB by getting on the same financial page with him from the beginning. Remember, you’re on the same team. You’ll enjoy the big day—and each other—so much more if financial strain and unhappiness doesn’t become a wedge between you. And hey, your spirit of cooperation will bless your sweet daughter as well!

*You might also like to read Wedding Expenses: Get the Most Bang for Your MOB Buck, A Simple Wedding Expense Tip, and Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!

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

*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.)

*Hope this revised encore post from Jan. 2014 was helpful to you today!

*Flickr photo by Tax Credits, Creative 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

Winter Trees and the Church: Beautiful Support

This may sound odd to some people, but I see a unique beauty in the naked trees of winter. Many would describe them as stark, drab, or depressing. I, on the other hand, think they have a beauty all their own when winter strips them of their leafy glory.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the leafy glory of trees as much as the next person. Watching trees bud out and turn green in the spring holds a special excitement for all of us. Summer then brings lush, full trees to pleasantly fill our landscapes before autumn arrives and sets them ablaze with color. I delight in each of these seasons and the changes they bring to trees.

But I think trees are beautiful in winter as well. Some might think it’s like looking at skeletons, but I see what looks like arms and fingers reaching for and pointing to God. I love looking out and seeing the intricacies of the branches. Winter allows us a view of the support system of the leaf laden trees we enjoy the rest of the year. Without the drab looking branches, there could be no beautiful leaves.

Winter trees actually remind me of other support systems in our lives as well. Just think about our bodies and all that’s working together beneath the surface to keep us up and running. The same can be said for just about every company, group, or organization we might name.

Consider the church. Many programs and people are highly visible, but there are just as many or more serving behind the scenes. And it’s the behind-the-scenes-type activity that makes it possible for the more visible ministries to take place. Everyone needs to do their part to keep things running smoothly—and more than that, to enable growth.

What role are you filling in your church—or life in general? Are you a part of the highly visible, leafy-glory, or is your role a part of the vital support system that’s needed? Maybe a little of both? Just keep in mind that neither is better. Both are needed and valued.

So take another look at the winter trees. Beautiful, huh?

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

*What support systems in your church, workplace, or organizations are you most thankful for?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out Feb. 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.)

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

*Flickr photo by Oakley Originals, Creative Commons License

*I hope you enjoyed this revised encore post from January 2008!