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Archives for November 2016

Kick Off the Holiday Giveaway!

11377205686_d2fd287fe8_zNow that Thanksgiving has come and gone, let’s kick off the holiday season with a little giveaway. You may remember that I’m doing most of my giveaways through my Life Notes newsletter now (sign-up is free on the right sidebar), but I can’t let the Christmas season go by without playing Santa here on my blog. It’s just part of who I am! :)

This Christmas I’m giving away a $15 gift card to Starbucks as well as a signed copy of my book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride. Most everyone enjoys getting a gift card to Starbucks, and if you’re not a mother of the bride, you can give the book as a gift or donate it to your public or church library. I would love to see the book make its way into more libraries!

To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post by noon (CST) next Monday December 5th. I’ll announce the winner the next day in my regular Tuesday blog post. (Because of high shipping costs, you must have a U.S. mailing address to be eligible to win.)

Any comment will do, but maybe you could tell me what you will do with the book if you win. Are you a mother of the bride who will hang on to it for dear life? Will you give it as a gift? Will you donate it to a library? Maybe you will keep it for future use. Or maybe you just want a copy of my book and don’t have one yet. Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a mother of the bride to enjoy reading it! Lots of personal stories included and wisdom that can be applied to a variety of situations.

You may earn an additional entry if you’re a current or new Life Notes subscriber (sign-up is free on the right sidebar), and you can earn another entry if you Like (or have already Liked) my Cheryl Barker, Writer Facebook page. Just mention if you’ve done these things in your comment to get your extra entries!

Now here’s to a blessed holiday season to one and all. May you each feel our Savior’s presence in a wonderful way this Christmas season!

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NIV

*Flickr photo by Daniel Y. Go, Creative Commons License

An Overflowing Heart for Thanksgiving

3339606759_265dc7c515Aren’t you thankful for a month when we can celebrate thankfulness? A month when all across our vast nation we each remember the blessings we have and offer God thanks for them?

The details of our thanks may vary from year to year, but the underlying truth remains the same—the countless gifts God gives fill our hearts with thanks and praise.

 I originally shared the poem “Overflowing Heart” on my blog in November 2007 (the first Thanksgiving after I started blogging), but it’s filled with even more truth and meaning for me today as God has continued to pour blessings into my life. Yes, today my heart overflows even more.

May my “Overflowing Heart” give rise to your own this holiday season. And may God continue to bless you all richly, my friends!

Overflowing Heart

On this Thanksgiving Day
My heart is overflowing,
The blessings in my life, dear Lord,
Just seem to keep on growing.

How can I ever thank you,
Where can I begin,
To show my appreciation
For the forgiveness of my sin?

Apart from you I am nothing,
No glory is my own,
From your hand comes all I have,
Your goodness I’ve always known.

My health, my home, my family,
You’ve given me by grace,
Help me, Lord, to give them back
To serve you in life’s race.

Oh God of all the universe,
I will ever sing your praise,
I will forever thank you,
I will honor you all of my days!

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life . . .” Psalm 23:5-6a NIV

*What blessings are you especially thankful for today?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out early this month. It’s not too late to receive it. I feature a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free on the right sidebar!

*I won’t be posting during the holiday week next week. See you back here on the 29th!

*Flickr photo by Sangre-La.com, Creative Commons License

A Mother of the Bride’s Thanksgiving Prayer

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May this Mother of the Bride’s Prayer of Thanksgiving help you express to God what’s in your heart this year, dear MOB!

Dear Lord,

My heart is filled with thanksgiving this year as I help my precious daughter prepare for her wedding. These are once-in-a-lifetime days, and I’m so grateful to be sharing such an exciting journey with her. Thank you, Lord, for granting us this amazing time together.

Father, as I see my sweet girl take on this new role of bride-to-be and soon-to-be wife, my heart swells afresh with love for her. Not only has she grown into a beautiful woman, she has become a funny, smart, kind, and loving person. I am so very proud of her and I thank you, Lord, for allowing me the great privilege of being her mom.

And how can I ever thank you for bringing such a fine young man into her life to be the love of her life and share the rest of her days with her? I pray that you’ll draw them even closer to one another in these months preceding their wedding. Help them form a bond that nothing will ever break, and help them to always look to you and desire to honor you in their marriage and in all that they do.

Lord, help me to be a mother of the bride who is truly helpful and encouraging in every way. Help me to be the support that my daughter needs now and help me to develop a sweet and loving relationship with my soon-to-be son-in-law. I pray I will be a mother they can always count on and a friend who will walk with them through whatever the future may hold. Help me to be a blessing to them, Lord!

Yes, Lord, my heart is filled with thanksgiving this year. How I thank and praise you!

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

*You might also like to read Spirit and Soul Refreshment for the Mother of the Bride. And from my home page, you might like A Prayer for Couples You Know.

*Since the readership of this blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post from November 2014 is a real blessing to you today, MOB!

*Also note I won’t be posting next week during the holiday week but will see you back here on the 29th. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

*It’s not too late to receive the current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter. I offer a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free on the right sidebar!

*Flickr photo by JFXie, Creative Commons License

Wedding Photo Idea: Program Amid the Bouquets

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Mother of the Bride, I love to share wedding photo ideas with you from time to time so you can share them with your daughter. If she loves a particular photo idea, she might want to pass it along to her photographer—or ask you to keep a list of ideas or start a Pinterest board to save them on. Better for your daughter to share her desires with the photographer than hope he or she is a mind-reader and magically captures  the shots she’d really like to have, right?

Today’s idea frames the wedding program in flowers. Don’t you love the beautiful shot above? All that’s needed are the bridal bouquets and the program, and voila—an elegant photo of the wedding program amid a sea of gorgeous flowers.

Why not pass this idea along to your little girl turned bride, MOB? She may think it’s the perfect way to save a memory of the program. And I would have to agree!

*You might also like to read Idea for Displaying Programs: A Basket and A Keepsake Photo of the Wedding Invitation. You might like to take a look at my Wedding Photography Pinterest board as well.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. I feature a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Corey Ann, Creative Commons License

Waste Nothing

3910415397_5974dca644_z“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’” John 6:12 NIV

Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000 is one of the most well-known stories and miracles recorded in the Bible.

We remember the massive crowd of people who followed Jesus to a remote area. We remember the worry expressed by the disciples over how to feed such a large crowd. We remember the boy with five loaves and two fish and how Jesus gave thanks for the food and then had the disciples distribute it to the people. And we remember the twelve basketfuls of food that were amazingly left over. But do we remember what Jesus said (as recorded above) when everyone had had enough to eat?

Jesus said, “‘Let nothing be wasted.’” We don’t know exactly what Jesus had in mind with this instruction to his disciples. Maybe he wanted to provide the people with a powerful visual of his abundant provision and power as the leftovers were placed into baskets. Or maybe he wanted to teach his disciples to fully use all that he provides.

Whatever the full intention of Jesus’ instruction that day, we can apply the lesson of “let nothing be wasted” in our lives today, can’t we?

On a physical level, we can all use a reminder to be good stewards of God’s provision. Unless we’ve known poverty and extreme hardship, most of us occasionally—or even regularly—waste the resources at our disposal. Food gets tossed out, water goes down the drain (literally), electricity flows when not needed, and money gets spent on foolish things at times. So yes, we need this reminder today.

Let’s also consider how this important “let nothing be wasted” lesson can apply to other aspects of our lives as well. What about trials? Let’s not let the hard things in our lives—the pain, losses, disappointments, challenges, injustices, etc.—be wasted. Let’s learn from them or grow in character. Let’s be moved to some positive action.

And what about the blessings in our lives? Let’s not waste an ounce of the goodness God lavishes on us. Let’s fully enjoy and utilize and share them. And let’s continually give God praise and glory for all the wonderful things he does for us.

So friends, whatever comes into our lives, whether good or whether bad, let’s heed that same instruction Jesus gave to his disciples so many years ago: “Let nothing be wasted.”

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14a NIV

*When have you grown through a trial? How have you fully used a blessing God has given you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. I feature a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by K.Hurley, Creative Commons License