7 November Stress-Busters

The calendar has turned the page to another new month so that means it’s time to offer you another set of month-appropriate stress-busters. I hope you’re enjoying beginning each month with some ideas designed to help you relax and refresh in the face of stress.

Whether dealing with the normal daily stresses of life or additional major stresses, we all need ways that can help us step back for a few minutes and intentionally put that stress on a back-burner. If we do that often enough, we may find our overall feelings of stress diminishing as we learn to better cope with them day by day.

May the stress-busting strategies below come in handy in November when you find yourself in need of refreshment and relief. Be blessed, friends!

November Stress-Busters

  1. Take a few minutes to watch the leaves fall from the trees and dance their way to the ground. As you watch them float gently down, imagine your stress falling from your head, your shoulders, your arms, your hands, your legs, and your feet in the same way. Consciously relax your body.
  2. Before going to bed each night, jot down at least one thing that happened that day for which you’re thankful. Gratitude has a way of changing our perspective and lessening the worries of the day. By the end of the month, you may decide to keep a gratitude list or journal year-round.
  3. As you begin thinking ahead to Christmas, decide on at least two ways you can simplify your life or the celebration of the season in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If you can go beyond making two changes, wonderful. Anything you can do to ease the increased demand of the holiday season will be well worth it.
  4. Enjoy some Thanksgiving nostalgia. Recall and share with family or friends some of your memories of childhood Thanksgivings. Welcome and listen to others’ stories as well. End by sharing your most memorable Thanksgiving whether long past or fairly recent. Let the comfort of past joys soothe your spirit today.
  5. Head outside for some impromptu physical activity. Get in a little leaf-raking therapy or go on your own little turkey trot around the neighborhood. Or you might grab some loved ones and challenge them to a quick game of basketball or touch football. Let your adrenaline pump that stress right out of your mind and body.
  6. Reach out to someone hurting or in need and in the process watch your stresses fade into the background. No question about it—you will be blessed as you bless someone else.
  7. Simplify at the end of a busy day and have breakfast for dinner. Set aside an evening of time-intensive dinner prep and cleanup and fix pancakes and bacon or scrambled eggs and sausage instead. You’ll still enjoy a hot meal with a touch of comfort to boot.

Add to these November stress-busters the ultimate stress-buster of dropping your burdens at the feet of Jesus and peace will be your portion this month rather than worry. Can’t beat a trade like that!

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28

*Share with us—tell about your most memorable Thanksgiving or mention what you’re thankful for today. We’ll all be blessed!

*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 Vijay Gunda, Creative Commons License

Wedding Inspiration Cards by Author Cheryl Barker

Mother of the Bride, did you know I’ve written some wedding-themed cards? I wanted another product to offer at bridal fairs along with my book Mother of the Bride so with the critique help of my daughter Kristin and the design expertise of Stephanie Wheatley of Wheatley Design, I created my original Wedding Inspiration cards. I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I think you’ll love them too.

The five cards I have available are printed on high quality cardstock so they make wonderful gifts and/or personal resources. I mentioned them a few months ago but had never done a feature post on them so I decided it was time to rectify that. You can include the cards in gifts or give them as a gift by themselves. I don’t sell envelopes with them, but they do fit perfectly in any business size envelope.

You can click on the photo above to see a larger version of the picture, but I’ll list the titles of the five Wedding  Inspiration cards for your convenience:

A Mother of the Bride’s Prayer

A Bride’s Wedding Day Prayer

Praying for Newlyweds

For the Newlyweds

Life Lessons from the Mother of the Bride

Most of the titles are pretty self-explanatory, but Life Lessons from the Mother of the Bride features lessons that anyone can benefit from and For the Newlyweds is perfect to include in a wedding gift or to send to the new couple in the days or weeks following the wedding.

The cards sell for $3.00 each and are available directly through me. Just contact me with your order and we’ll work out the details of payment and mailing, etc.

I hope my Wedding Inspiration cards will be a blessing to all who receive them—and I hope that will include you, MOB! Talk to you soon!

*You might also like to read My Work page

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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.)

*My photo

7 October Stress-Busters

After posting 7 September Stress-Busters last month, I thought it might be nice to offer month-appropriate stress busters each month throughout this next year. Stress certainly doesn’t take a vacation, so many of us might benefit from some fresh stress-busters at the beginning of every month, huh?

May the following stress-busting strategies come in handy in October when you find yourself in need of refreshment and relief. Be blessed, friends!

October Stress-Busters

  1. Enjoy a fun fall activity with some favorite kiddos in your life. Visit a pumpkin patch, collect colorful leaves, or carve pumpkins for Halloween. Enjoy the season like a kid again!
  2. Decompress with the beauty—and awesome autumn scents—of candlelight. Light candles in various spots in your house so their soothing beauty and comforting aromas will refresh you as you move from room to room.
  3. After the leaves change color, go on a walk in the woods (or your favorite tree-lined street or park.) Let the awesome oranges, reds, and golds fill your spirit with joy.
  4. Spend an entire day (or morning or evening) in your favorite comfy pants and cozy socks. As you change into your relaxed attire and let it comfort your body, take off the stress of the day or week as well. Let your spirit and soul relax and be refreshed.
  5. Plan a coffee or lunch date with friends and treat yourselves to some special foods or drinks offered during fall. Get that pumpkin spice latte or apple cinnamon muffin. Slow down and savor a taste of autumn.
  6. Watch for an especially cool evening and start a fire in the fireplace or firepit. Sit for awhile and soak up its warmth and relaxing beauty. And don’t forget to roast some marshmallows or make some smores. Fully enjoy this evening respite.
  7. Let the cool evenings of October give you permission to curl up on the sofa with your favorite hot drink and a good book (or a must-see tv show.) Lose yourself—and your stress—in a compelling or funny story. Enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor.

Along with these stress-busting strategies for October, let’s not forget to turn to the One who knows every stress we face and is willing and waiting to take the load from us and let us relax in his arms. No better place to be—no matter the day or month!

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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 dan.kristiansen, Creative Commons License

Bridal Bouquet Roundup

Mother of the Bride, have you asked your daughter yet if she knows what kind of bridal bouquet she’d like to have? You two may have just started your wedding planning journey together, but it will be time to select flowers before you know it.

In addition to the beautiful fall colors featured above, options abound when it comes to the big-day bouquet. Will your daughter want something traditional like roses or will she perhaps interested in something less conventional like the gemstone bouquets some brides select now? Will she want something colorful or something in softer colors that will be an elegant and beautiful complement to her gown?

To help you both consider many of the options that are out there, I’ve put together a roundup of the bridal bouquets I’ve featured here on the blog (see links below.) I hope you both find it helpful and fun to look through these options. And MOB, your darling girl might even discover her dream bouquet. Good luck!

Bridal Bouquet Idea: The Roses Have It!

Single Bloom Bridal Bouquets 

Bridal Bouquet: Classic and Elegant Calla Lilies 

Wedding Idea That Sparkles: A Brooch Bouquet! 

White or Cream Bridal Bouquet: Add a Touch of Color 

Bridal Bouquet and Boutonniere Sheet Music Idea 

Inexpensive Bridal Bouquet Idea: Baby’s Breath! 

Bridal Bouquet Idea: Add Some Sparkle with Gemstones 

Knitted Bridal Bouquet and More 

*Since September is an exceptionally busy month for me this year, I’m taking a short break and will be back on the 26th. Why not take a look at my list of Favorite Posts (sidebar) and read some posts from there. Blessings!

*Flickr photo by Flower Factor, Creative Commons License

Bridal Portrait From a Spectator Angle

Mother of the Bride, have you given any thought to specific shots you’d like to see included in your daughter’s bridal portrait session?

As a pro, her photographer will of course have lots of great ideas up his or her photo-snapping sleeve, but it never hurts to have a few ideas of your own to mention too—especially if you’ve seen a particular shot you’d love to see featuring your daughter.

One shot you might want to suggest is one taken from a spectator angle—one that looks as if the bride is looking at someone other than the photographer. Not only does it give a different vantage point of the beautiful bride, but it sparks the imagination of the viewer. Who or what is the bride looking at? Or watching for? What must she be feeling?

If you and/or the bride really like this type of shot, MOB, make a note to show it to your photographer when the time comes. You might even want to start a short list of shots you’d love to see him or her take. It will be fun to watch them come to life with your darling daughter as the star, right?!

*You might also like to read Bridal Portraits: Include Some Artsy Shots, Bridal Portrait Idea: Windows Plus Great Light, Bridal Portrait Idea: A Mirror Shot, and Bridal Portrait Idea: A Shot with Mom

*Flickr photo by atmtx, Creative Commons License