5 Things Every Bride-To-Be Needs to Hear from Her Mother

*I won’t be posting next week during Thanksgiving but will be back on Nov. 27. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Mother of the Bride, as your daughter prepares to marry, she’s navigating a season like no other—as are you.

Not only are you both planning the biggest events you’ve probably ever planned, but you are both experiencing the shifting sands of changing family dynamics. She is shifting her primary loyalty to her husband-to-be and also developing relationships with his family while you are preparing for the final letting go as well as welcoming another family member into your family’s fold.

Since like any good mother, you’ll want to make her wedding planning experience and her family transition as easy as possible, here are 5 things she needs to hear from you right now. I pray that they will help both of you navigate the emotional mother-daughter waters you find yourselves in. May your season of planning and change go as smoothly as possible—and even hold unexpected blessings.

5 Things Your Bride-to-Be Daughter Needs to Hear from You

  1. This is your wedding, not mine, and you and your groom’s desires are the ones that matter the most. It’s okay, MOB, to share some of your most deeply held desires concerning the wedding—after all, it will be a highlight of your life and her dad’s life as well—but when it comes down to final decisions, those should reflect the couple’s desires.
  2. We welcome the love of your life into our family with open arms and will love him like a son. This will be a process of course as you may need time, MOB, to get to know him better, but just hearing your assurances of your welcoming love for him will mean the world to her.
  3. Even though you’re starting a new family, you’ll always be my dearly loved daughter who can count on me in good times and bad. At this critical time of family transition, MOB, your sweet girl needs to know that you’ll always love her and you’ll always be there for her. And as you assure her of your unchanging love, this will give her an opportunity as well to reassure you of your place in her heart.
  4. I’m sorry—I didn’t handle that very well. There may be (will be!) times during the wedding planning process, MOB, that you will say or do something that you wish you hadn’t. Tensions can run high at times and in those moments it’s so easy to act or speak in haste. When you’ve done something that hurts feelings or offends, apologize as quickly as possible. Keeping loving and peaceful relationships is the way to go.
  5. How can I help you? Whether with wedding details, relationship issues with any of her friends and family, or other day-to-day life stresses that can be compounded by the pressures she’s feeling as wedding day approaches, your girl needs you, MOB. Find out how you can best help her with whatever she’s going through. She will be forever grateful.

Good luck, MOB, as you and your precious daughter navigate the days ahead. May these pointers help along the way!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride’s Wedding Day Advice for the BridePre-Ceremony Wedding Day Prayer Idea: The Mother of the Bride Prays for the BrideA Prayer for the Newlyweds, and A Message for the Newlyweds.

*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, came out Nov. 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.)

*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Free Fly Like Autumn Leaves

I love to watch the autumn leaves—and not just for their colors. I love to watch them fly as well.

The leaves of fall are free flying. They’re not bound by a must-follow route or a set of rules. No one tells them to drop at a perfect 90 degree angle—or any other angle. Each one is different. Each one takes its cue from the wind at the moment it falls.

Some fall headlong, landing right below their former homes. Others venture a few feet away as they drift gently through the air before finding a new resting place. Still others fly like crazy on the wings of a major wind gust, soaring as never before, looking like frolicking birds—up and down and all around, going great distances before running out of breath. Yes, autumn leaves are free flying.

Makes me want to do some free flying myself. Anyone else?

The good news is we can. As believers in Jesus, as children of God, we can free fly on the wings of his Spirit living within us. We can abandon ourselves to his leadership, whether on short straight paths, lilting walks, or adventures of a lifetime. Following the Spirit, we’ll soar as never before.

We can also free fly on the wings of encouragement. Sometimes all we need to be spurred on to try something new or go after a dream is the confidence inspired by a friend or family member who cheers us on. Sometimes all it takes is a little push. We then find ourselves free flying and loving every minute of it.

Other times it takes a little more. It takes a major gust of courage to launch our flight. The ride holds out hope of great and mighty things—but only if we’re willing to take the risk, only if we’re brave enough to step out of our comfort zones or battle whatever problems are trying to hinder our flight.

As the leaves free fly around us this autumn season, let’s ask ourselves if we’re ready to do a little free flying ourselves. Let’s abandon ourselves to the wings of the Spirit, let’s fly on words of encouragement. Let’s be bold and allow courage to carry us to new heights. Let’s free fly!

“. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

*How have you been free flying lately?

*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 _hq_, Creative Commons License

Getting Ready for a New Challenge or Adventure

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

“‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan River and take the land the Lord your God is giving you.”” Joshua 1:11 NCV

The Bible is filled with accounts of ordinary people faced with new challenges or adventures. Men, women, teens, children, senior citizens, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, married, single—you name it and we can find an example of such a person who had to move into unchartered territory, step out of their comfort zone, or simply take on a new task in one of their areas of expertise.

God tasked Joshua with leading an entire nation of people—the Israelites—into the land he had promised them. After God spoke with Joshua—instructing, encouraging, and preparing him for the task—Joshua set about preparing the people for the challenge and adventure ahead. He sent officers through the camp with instructions.

Joshua’s order rang out—“Get your supplies ready.” They had three days before they would take possession of the land God was giving them. They needed to get ready for the conquest, they needed to get ready to move. Among other things, they had to prepare and pack their food as well as gather and secure their belongings.

Is God leading any of us to a new land? A new physical location or a new circumstance? Is he calling us to some sort of unchartered territory, asking us to step out of our comfort zone, or perhaps giving us a new task in one our areas of expertise?

Like Joshua and the people of Israel, what do we need to do to get ready for the task before us? The answer will be different for all of us, depending on the specifics of the  challenge. Let’s spend a few minutes considering what we should do then let’s begin preparations. Let’s get our supplies ready.

“‘Get ready; be prepared . . .’” Ezekiel 38:7 NIV

*How have you prepared in the past for a new challenge?

*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.)

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

*Flickr photo by jev55, Creative Commons License

God Prepares Us For Things to Come

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Have you ever been in the middle of a situation and found yourself thinking I can see now why those things in the past happened—God was preparing me for this situation. Or, like me, perhaps you’ve had times when you’re going through something difficult and wonder to yourself what bigger purpose God has, what he may be preparing you for down the road.

God has been preparing us his children for what is coming—for what we will be facing—since the beginning of time. After their disobedience in the Garden of Eden, God told Eve she would now experience pain in childbirth and then declared to Adam that their food from the earth would come only through the sweat of his brow and painful toil. Later he told Noah about the coming flood. I’m sure you can think of other examples.

While on earth, Jesus also plainly told his followers about things to come, preparing the way the best he could. Before his betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples, “‘. . . the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life.’” (Matthew 20:18-19)

Today God still prepares us for the future by speaking to us through his Word, the Bible. Not only is “. . . the word of God . . . living and active” (Hebrews 4:16a), but “the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8b) Also,“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Yes, the words of the Bible, written so long ago, are for us today as well.

For example, God tells us in his Word that Jesus is coming again (Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). And before that comes to pass, Jesus warns that “‘false Christs and false prophets will appear . . .’” (Matthew 24:24a). He also warns that “in this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33a) Again, I imagine that many examples come to your mind as well. The Word of God is filled with teachings that prepare and equip us for living life and for facing the future.

God also prepares us for future events and challenges through our past and current experiences. Before David ever faced the giant Goliath, God had him learning to cope with and battle danger through his job as a shepherd. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, but through that, God eventually promoted him to a position where he would be able to save his family and many others from a severe famine.

And how has God prepared me? A couple of examples come to mind. God prepared my family and me for the unexpected loss of my mother a year and a half ago by giving us several wonderful family celebrations that year. He also had Mom and Dad move closer to family prior to the accident so Dad had a great support system in place when he so desperately needed it. Where my work life is concerned, I feel like God prepared me to be a writer—and more specifically, a writer who refreshes spirits and nourishes souls—by giving me an appetite for the Word of God many, many years ago. Because of that, I can share encouraging words with others.

What about you? How has God prepared you for events, responsibilities, or ministries in your life? Perhaps he’s preparing you and me right now for something we can’t yet see. I’m so glad we have a Father who loves us and prepares us for things to come, aren’t you?

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

*Can you think of other ways that God prepares us? How has God prepared you? I would love to hear some of your testimonies!

*Don’t miss out on the Splurge A Little Giveaway. Deadline to enter is 6 p.m. (CST) Wednesday!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out May 1. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License

Spark Your Creativity

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September—in all of its back-to-business glory—lends itself to fresh creativity. We’ve all put summer escapes behind us and are busy diving in to regular routines and new challenges. The very nature of the season re-energizes us. And fresh energy many times sparks creativity.

Some may think creativity is beyond them, but that’s just not the case. Since scripture tells us that we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and since we know that God is the Master Creator, we must believe that creativity sounds its drumbeat within each of us. True, the drumbeat will be different in intensity and rhythm from person to person, but we all have God-given creative potential.

So what are some practical ways we can we spark our creativity and fan that flame that’s within us? At one of our Fellowship of Christian Writers group meetings this summer, our president, Elece Hollis, presented a program of tips on being more creative in our writing. I’m sure these tips will spark creativity in other areas, too, though, so with Elece’s permission, I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you. Why not give them a try!

1) Read, read, read—books outside your interest, books on your craft, books for other ages (like children’s story books), the Bible, etc.

2) Allow curiosity to be your indulgence—stop and look at interesting things, take a different route, ask questions, look it up, etc.

3) Use all five senses to observe the world in your own backyard—notice details that you would normally miss, focus on increasing your sensory perception, etc.

4) Try new things—taste new foods, take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, do things you were once afraid to do, etc.

5) Go see art—visit an art museum on every trip you take, view art collections online, visit all art museums in your locale, find other local art, etc.

6) Try some hands-on creating—cooking, gardening, sewing, woodworking, pottery making, crafting, painting, drawing, photography, etc.

7) Get outside and enjoy nature and expose yourself to beauty—revitalize through fresh air and taking a walk, treat your senses to the wonder and beauty of God’s creation.

8) Change your environment—travel, see life through another person’s eyes, try writing (or other work) in a different place (the park, a café, a bookstore, a garden), redecorate your home or office, etc.

9) Schedule some time off every week—don’t make plans until the last minute, maybe walk or just sit and relax, be refreshed by unscheduled minutes.

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to live out several of these tips. I traveled to places I’ve never been before, visited an art museum, and enjoyed nature in a national park, a botanical gardens, and a zoo. And I got to enjoy my hobby of photography while doing it all—and yes, these experiences sparked my creativity!

Join me, won’t you, and try some of Elece’s creativity tips over the next few months. Let’s allow the sparks to fly! (Thanks, Elece, for all the tips!)

“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:3

*What are some other ways to spark creativity?

*Photo by my husband Don