Us: The Little Word That Changes Everything

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

“Us.” One tiny word—two little letters—with giant impact.

Who is to throw off everything that hinders? Us. Who is to run with perseverance? Us. Who is the race marked out for? Us. Not me. Not you. Us. We don’t have to run the race alone.

Just think of how that one little word changes everything. We can have support. We can have camaraderie. We can have the encouragement of others as we run our races, whether they’re races wrapped up in relationships, jobs, illnesses, goals, losses, or living lives of faith with victory.

In fact, we’re not meant to live the Christian life independent of other believers. Another passage in Hebrews (10:24-25) tells us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Do you see it again? Us. Yes, we need to run together.

Let’s consider each of the races in our lives right now. Do we have running partners or groups running alongside for each one? Do we have those who are spurring us on, encouraging us, and giving us strength to persevere—or are we out there all on our own?

Let’s not forget the little word that changes everything. Let’s not forget “us.”

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

*Who are your running partners in this season of life? Thank God for them—and then thank them too.

*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 DrongowskiCreative Commons License

15 Dreamy U.S. Venues to Inspire Your Winter Wedding

*Thanks to Siege Media for their help writing and creating this post.

Mother of the Bride, destination weddings are always beautiful and exciting for both the couple and their guests. Destination weddings give everyone the opportunity to take a mini vacation and explore the area where your wedding is being held.

When we think of destination weddings, a summer wedding at the beach or a vineyard event is what usually comes to mind. For something a bit more out-of-the-box, let’s consider some beautiful wedding venues perfect for a winter destination wedding. 

Planning a winter wedding can not only help you stay within budget but can also give you opportunities to get creative and plan a truly unique wedding day. As we all know, wedding costs can accumulate quickly, especially when you book your wedding during peak wedding season. This is why the winter season is perhaps the best time of year to have a budget-friendly wedding. You’ll also have more flexibility when it comes to vendors and venues since it will be a slower season for everyone. 

Winter weddings can help you add creative and warm details your guests are sure to love. Things like blankets or scarves as party favors, a hot cider station, or a hot chocolate bar are just a few fun favorites that will make your wedding cozy and memorable.

Here are a few winter wedding venues highlighted plus a link to them and more below: 

Dunton Hot Springs – Dunton, CO

For a more outdoorsy couple, Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado is great! It’s rustic vibe and crystal white snow background will leave you with little else to add. 

Union Hill Inn – Sonora, CA

This fairytale-like inn is great for couples who want a winter wedding but are feeling a little unsure about heavy snow. The gardens and cottage rooms create an ideal space for any wedding. 

Treehouse Point – Issaquah, WA

One of the most unique venues on this list, Treehouse Point offers a breathtaking area in the middle of the forest full of adorable treehouses for your guests to stay in. Plan your wedding in one of their communal areas for an unforgettable event.

For photos of the above options as well as more venue ideas, check out the full list of winter wedding locations. The roundup includes essential details including peak winter wedding months of each location, capacity, wedding spaces offered, and best nearby lodging for you and your guests.

Have fun with your daughter, MOB, as you consider these winter wonderland destination venues for her big day!

*You might also like to read Favor Help for Winter Weddings, Winter Wedding Cake Idea: Snowflakes!, and Winter Wedding Cake: Pinecones and Baby’s Breath!

*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, 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.)

*Thanks to CarRentals.com for the images.

Just Married Getaway Vehicle and Photo Idea

Mother of the Bride, have your soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. given any thought yet to a getaway vehicle? Here’s a fun idea to share with them—and just in time for the spring and summer weddings that are upon us.

A bicycle as a getaway means is sure to provide for fun as well as memory making. Whether one built for two or a ten-speed big enough for the groom to carry the bride in front, joy and laughter will abound when the bride and groom breeze away on two wheels. All you need to do is make sure a Just Married sign is attached to the bike so the photographer can snap a super cute photo too.

Chances are the newlyweds will only ride a short distance before needing to change forms of transportation, but the memories will have been made and the fun photos captured by then. They’ll need to have their other means of transportation waiting for them at the appointed time and place along with someone else to pick up the bike. The bride and groom can simply hop off, sneak in a kiss or two, and then take off on the next leg of their honeymoon journey.

Fun idea, right, MOB? Your happy couple may not know it yet, but a bike may be just what they need for their perfect getaway. Here’s hoping!

*You might also like to read Just Married Sign and Photo Idea, Wedding Day “Just Married” Photo Idea, and Honeymoon “Just Married” Photo Idea.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The current 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 Rachelgnatiev, Creative Commons License

Church in a Condo? You Bet!

Have you ever had church in a condo? We enjoyed just such a time a few years ago during our family vacation to beautiful Colorado.

That Sunday started off extra sweet as Kelli and Jake made cinnamon roll pancakes for us for breakfast. (And yes, they tasted every bit as good as they sound!) But what was even sweeter is what happened next. Church happened. Right in the midst of our family. Right at the dining room table.

While everyone chatted, I slipped away for a moment. When I returned with my Bible, I was pretty sure my girls knew what I was up to since they had grown up with good ole Mom trying to jumpstart some kind of family share time during holidays or vacations. During their teen years, protests or groans usually ensued but not anymore.

No, this time a slice of heaven on earth—at least to this mom’s heart—transpired. I began our share time by reading one of my favorite Bible passages and then suggested that everyone else either share their one of their favorite scriptures or tell what God had been doing in their lives lately.

Along with my husband, one by one our daughters and our sons-in-law shared scriptures and stories of how God was teaching them something or encouraging them in some way. Bottom line? We had church. What a blessing to sit back and listen to our adult kids talk about the Lord and his Word. What a blessing to see our kids walking in the truth.

Church in a condo? You bet. No greater joy . . . no greater joy.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 NIV

*Where’s the most unusual place you’ve ever had church?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Aug. 1st. 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.

*Hope this updated encore post from Aug. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by ALM PortraitsCreative Commons License

Wedding Tasks Perfect for the Groom

Mother of the Bride, as you and your daughter attend to the multitude of details involved in throwing a wedding, don’t forget to put the groom to work. That’s right. It’s a good idea to put him in charge of a few tasks, too.

Your daughter’s intended undoubtedly has some passions or skills that you can put to good use while planning for their big day. Be sure to tap that resource. Lighten your load while giving him an opportunity to be personally invested in the celebration of his lifetime. It will even give him the chance to show off to his wife for the very first time.

Number one on the list of tasks perfect for the groom could be arranging for the getaway vehicle. What man wouldn’t like to be in charge of the vroom vroom? I asked both of my girls’ grooms to take care of the getaway transportation, knowing they would do their best to make it interesting or snazzy. They, of course, came through.

Other ideas might include asking him to help design the programs or invitations if he’s a computer whiz, or if he lives in a different town that you do, you could even send him to his local Hobby Lobby or Michael’s to pick up items that you need multiples of. If you can’t get everything at your store, he might be able to score the last five candles or the last white rose garland you need to complete your decorating.

Of course, the groom will also be in charge of selecting tuxes and helping his family arrange for the rehearsal dinner, but what other wedding tasks might the love of your daughter’s life be especially good at doing?

Don’t overwhelm him with tasks but do carefully select some ways that he could really provide some help. It will be a win-win for everyone!

*You might also like to read 9 Easy Way for the Mother of the Bride to Bond With the Groom, Fun Gift for the Bride to Give the Groom, and Building a Bridge to the Groom.

*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post from Nov. 2013 helped you today!

*Photo by Will Flowers