Archives for August 2013

Midweek Morsel: Place of Shelter


“I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” Psalm 55:8

You, O Lord, are my place of shelter. In you I find refuge from turmoil and storms. To you I turn both day and night to find the peace and comfort I desperately need.

In your presence, O Lord, I can find rest. I’m embraced by your unfailing love. You strengthen my spirit for situations at hand and then walk with me through each one.

Yes, you, O Lord, are my place of shelter. Help me remember to hurry to you.

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10

*How has God been your place of shelter this year?

*My photo

*Don’t miss out on the “Back At It” Giveaway. Deadline to enter is 6 p.m. Aug. 28. Other details are in my Aug. 15 post.

Prediction: A Special Memento for the Couple


I have a prediction to make. After all you spend on your girl and her wedding, you will find yourself shopping for her again shortly after it’s all over. Yes, I’m serious. You will go on the hunt for a special memento of the whole affair to give to the new Mr. and Mrs.

Your heart will be so full of joy and gratitude over the beautiful and life-changing event you helped your daughter plan that you will want to preserve the memory with a treasured memento of some sort. Something that will be a reminder of an important or best-loved aspect of the whole wedding experience.

One of the things we were most excited about during Kristin and Shawn’s wedding was the cake—or more accurately, the cakes. The wedding cake and the groom’s cake both were beyond divine. Scrumptious barely describes the yumminess the cakes provided us all. In short, we were enraptured by cake if that’s possible :)

So when I stumbled upon a Precious Moments figurine of a bride and groom sharing a piece of wedding cake, I gasped in utter joy. I knew I’d found the perfect memento. And Kristin and Shawn heartily agreed. They loved it.

When I hit the hunt-for-a-memento trail after Kelli and Jake’s wedding, I scoured several gift shops looking for that special something for them. I lucked out again when I spotted a dated Christmas ornament made by Waterford, the maker of the crystal we had given them as a wedding gift.  It featured toasting flutes. How perfect. Kelli and Jake’s toasting flutes had been decorated by a long-time family friend. 

So Mother of the Bride, get ready. Your heart will most assuredly nudge you into your own memento shopping adventures. All the best in finding just the right remembrance when the time comes!

Any ideas yet of what might prove to be a special part of your daughter’s wedding?

*Here’s a peek at a memento another MOB made for her daughter and son-in-law.

*photos by my daughter Kristin

*Join me over on my inspirational blog and throw your name in the hat for the “Back At It” Giveaway!

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


Shattering “Never Haves”


Hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail for the first time in my life.

If you’re like me, you have a mile-long list of things you have never done. I’m talking good things here. Noble or interesting things. Fun things. Daring things. In other words, life experiences. And even though I’ve lived well over five decades now, there’s still a lot of life that I’ve not yet experienced. A lot of things I’ve never done.

I’m happy to report, though, that during our vacation I shattered some of my never haves. On the way home I go to thinking about how many new experiences I had racked up during our time away and decided to make a list. With each item I recorded, I realized how cool it all was. Not that the activities themselves were all so extraordinary—just that I felt really pumped to have done so many new things for the very first time in my life.

Here are some of the never haves in my life that I can now say that I’ve done:

*Finally traveled east of the Mississippi. We spent time in Tennessee and even made brief appearances in North Carolina and Kentucky.

*Visited the Smoky Mountains National Park. Absolutely beautiful.

*Straddled two states at once—along the Tennessee/North Carolina border in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

*Hiked on the Appalachian Trail. So happy to join the company of those who have done this.

*Saw a couple of bears in the wild. I wanted to see a bear while in Tennessee bear country, and my wish came true our very first morning.

*Followed a bear in an excited-but-extremely-unwise attempt to take some photos. Am thankful the Lord was watching over me!

*Ate at a Bubba Gump and a Johnny Rockets. My taste buds are happier for having visited them both :)

*Ate corn fritters—and were they ever yummy.

*Saw an American Idol winner in person—David Cook!

*Drove go-carts. And not only that, but drove go-carts with American Idol winner David Cook in our group of drivers. If I remember correctly, he left me in his dust :)

*Enjoyed a family-only worship service with my parents, my sisters, and all our families.

*Attended the Grand Ole Opry. They put on a superb show. Highly recommend it. During a backstage tour, they also took us out on stage where we got to stand on the famous circle from the Ryman Auditorium where all the performers have stood throughout the years.

*Acted as navigator in Nashville while Don drove. Quite challenging since I had never been there before this trip! :)

*Drove through the area where the Ohio River meets and empties into the Mississippi.

Pretty neat, huh? Some of these things I hoped and planned to do, but some were complete surprises. And now my world is larger simply because I shattered some never haves. I wonder what will be next? Can’t wait!

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things . . .” Psalm 98:1a

*What are some of your never haves you hope to shatter soon?

*Photo by one of my family members

*Don’t miss out on the “Back At It” Giveaway. Deadline to enter is 6 p.m. Aug. 28. Details are in my Aug. 15 post.

Engagement Photo Idea: Frame That Moment!


Engagement photos equal fun. No big crowd hovering around like there will be on Wedding Day. Just the sweet couple and your super skilled photographer creating an hour’s worth of digital treasure.

Done right, these photos will capture not only your daughter and her fiancé’s present love but the excitement of their future together as well. Engagement photos can provide a window into the couple’s soul, with all their dreams of married life seen dancing in their eyes. So much love, so much promise, all there for the photographer’s taking.

One idea that makes a fantastic engagement photo is the “Frame That Moment” shot above. I absolutely love this photo idea—though I am a tad prejudiced. Yes, that’s our daughter Kelli with her beloved Jake. Such a creative shot, especially after it’s framed and showcasing the frame within a frame look.

A good photographer will capitalize on a couple’s personality and make sure their essence shines through in the photos. Kelli and Jake’s photographer used their playfulness in several shots and created great photos—and memories—in the process. I hope “Frame that Moment” will be a winner for your daughter and the love of her life, too!

*What other great engagement photo ideas have you seen? How could your sweet couple’s photographer capitalize on their personality?

*Photo by Will Flowers

*Join me over on my inspirational blog and throw your name in the hat for the “Back At It” Giveaway!

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

Time for Annual “Back At It” Giveaway!

1629254_508396130eMid-August is here and that means it’s time for the annual “Back At It” giveaway—and time for me to get back to my regular style of blogging. Focusing on photos is always a welcome change for a few weeks during the summer, but it’s also good to dig a little deeper and get back to offering you posts that are designed even more specifically to refresh your spirits and nourish your souls.

To help kick off my “back at it” season and since so many are thinking about back-to-school right now, I’m giving away a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble. I love to be able to support a bookstore while doing a giveaway, and I bet you love a chance to have a few extra dollars to spend at a nearby B&N.

To be included in the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post by 6 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday, August 28. I’ll announce the winner the next day in my Thursday Midweek Morsel post. If I don’t know you personally or cannot contact you via your blog, you must include your email address in your comment (i.e., mary at yahoo dot com) to be eligible for the giveaway.

Any comment will work, but to make it a little more fun, tell me what you’d like to purchase if you win the gift card. Do you have a new book you’ve been dying to read? Do you need a fun new journal? Maybe you’d like to try a new magazines or perhaps buy a gift for someone special in your life.  I’ll look forward to a peek at your would-like-have-at-B&N list!

And now, some “back at it” scripture inspiration for you:

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks . . . She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:17, 27

*Flickr photo by striatic, Creative Commons License

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