Serve Acrostic: Midyear Theme Word Refresher

Nearly half the year is gone so it’s time to give more thought to my 2021 theme word—serve. The creative exercise of writing acrostics is an excellent way for me to go deeper in my consideration of my theme word each year. This practice helps me think of different aspects of the word.

As I remind myself of and reflect on serve, I pray you are blessed and inspired to serve as well. Also, if you chose a theme word of your own this year, maybe this post will encourage you to do something similar with your word. Whatever your situation, friends, may you be blessed as you read!

See the needs of others, share your time and resources, and set aside selfish desires to be available.

Evaluate what you have to give, enter the lives of others with kindness, and engage those who don’t feel seen or heard.

Refresh others with scripture and encouraging words, remember what ministered to you and do likewise, and resist Satan’s attempts to discourage you from serving.

View everyone as loved by God, vacation where you can also serve, and vow to listen for the Spirit’s nudging.

Expand your vision of ways to reach out, enable others to meet needs as well, and extend love to the poor, the lonely, and the forgotten.

Let’s be alert to ways to serve. God will be pleased, others will be blessed, and so will we!

“. . . serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV

*How might God be calling you to serve right now?

*Special Note – As usual, God knows what he’s doing when he guides me to a word for the year. By late January, our daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer so I’ve spent much time helping her and her family. My husband has also had some health challenges. Serve has come to life in ways I never anticipated. Yes, God knows what he’s doing! (p.s. Kelli completed her chemo treatments earlier this month. She still has some tests and procedures in front of her, but she is doing well!)

*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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

*Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

Mother of the Bride, Pay the Blessing Forward

Mother of the Bride, has someone provided some sort of help to you during your wedding planning process? Has someone given you the benefit of her MOB experience or loaned you some needed items or offered a listening ear? Has someone has been a blessing?

Well now you can pay that blessing forward, MOB. When a friend, family member, or casual acquaintance provides a breath of fresh air in our lives, it’s just natural to want to bless someone else in the same way.

What can you do for another mother of the bride now or in the future? Could you loan someone your copy of your favorite wedding planning book or refer them to helpful website? Or maybe gift the new MOB with a copy of my book Mother of the Bride? Maybe you could be your MOB friend’s shopping buddy for a day—which is always fun, wedding planning or not, right? Or do you have a beautiful cake knife and server set or champagne bucket someone else could benefit from? What about the always needed and helpful white rose garland or glass candle bases?

Mother of the Bride, possibilities abound when it comes to blessing another MOB so why not stop and consider what you have to offer. And then do it—offer your help. You’ll be rewarded with a big smile and many thanks as well as the personal satisfaction of making someone else’s load a little lighter.

So go ahead, MOB—pay it forward!

*You might also like to read Post-Wedding Inventory , Mother of the Bride Pep Talk: Encouragement For You, and 9 Quotes to Encourage and Help You on Your Mother of the Bride Journey.

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

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Amazon 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*Flickr photo by Buttontree LaneCreative Commons License

Choosing to Still Be a Student

After sixty-plus years of speaking the English language (I’ll leave the plus part to your imagination), I’m still looking up words in the dictionary. As a writer, I need to be a reader also so I run across new-to-me words on a fairly regular basis. It’s not that I have a poor vocabulary, there are just a lot of unfamiliar words out there, especially when I get into areas outside my realm of experience.

One time I read a novel that featured a main character with a form of autism. Since I don’t have close personal experience with autism, I had to hit the dictionary a couple of times over terminology I’d heard before but didn’t really understand. Not long ago, I read some historical fiction that put me in a time and place that also stretched the limits of my vocabulary.

Of course, other times I’m foggy on meanings of words that I’ve seen before and should know. Maybe my brain has only so much room and has started deleting past info to make room for new? Say it ain’t so!

Whether encountering brand new words or words I simply need to review, I have a choice to make. I can skip over them completely, try to guess their meaning from the context, or take time to look them up. I can choose to still be a student or just coast through and miss the full message intended.

Many times I choose to coast, allowing time factors or lack of convenience to dictate my decision, but other times I choose to investigate. I choose to learn, to still be a student. I may not remember the new word a day later, but the process still helped me grasp that particular passage more fully.

What about when I—or you—read the Word of God? We may be familiar with much of the language, but what do we do when we run across words and phrases or names and places that are unfamiliar to us? What about when we know the actual meaning of certain words, but we’re puzzled by the deeper meaning of the passage? Do we take time to read the footnotes or look up words in our concordance or do some cross-referencing? Do we dig deep to discover what words meant in the original Greek or Hebrew language?

Are we still students of the Word of God or do we just coast through in our reading? Do we sometimes miss the full message intended? I don’t know about you, but I don’t dig deep often enough.

The Word of God is too important to miss, isn’t it? Let’s choose to learn. Let’s choose to investigate. Let’s still be students.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

*What do you do to dig deeper into the Word of God?

*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 and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by crdotxCreative Commons License

Radical Faith Prepares for Answered Prayer

“And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.” Philemon 1:22 NIV

Radical faith. The apostle Paul demonstrated it on numerous occasions, didn’t he? When he wrote the words above to fellow believer Philemon, he wrote them from prison—a place he frequented because of his bold displays of faith.

Being imprisoned didn’t dampen Paul’s faith as we might imagine. In fact, he made plans to visit Philemon based on his hopes of answered prayers. He encouraged Philemon to act in faith as well. Paul exhorted him to prepare a room for him—to behave as if the answer to prayer had already been granted.

And when Paul told the Corinthians to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), he not only doled out instruction, he lived it himself. His instruction to Philemon shines as just one example.

What kind of faith are you and I demonstrating in our lives today? Could someone point to us and say, “Look at how she lives by faith. Look at how she trusts God.”

Are we like Paul? Are we living in the hope of answered prayer? Let’s think about what we can do right now to live in expectation and to prepare for the answers that God will send. Let’s show some radical faith.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NET

*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 and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by familymwrCreative Commons License

Let Your Life Provide a Well-Paved Path for Others

Pain. Grief. Weakness. Limitations. None of us welcome these unwanted visitors—especially when they take up long-term residence in our lives. Each one causes distress in its own way. And let’s be honest. We all do our best to avoid distress whenever possible.

We don’t like to hurt. We don’t like to fail or find ourselves unable to do certain things. But as we live in these places of pain, we grow and learn lessons. We develop a deep empathy for others experiencing similar sorrows. Each of our painful places has the potential to become a well-paved path to another hurting soul.

In the New Testament, we see that the apostle Paul experienced pain, hardship, and limitations time and again. And while we may feel the chains of weakness and limitations in our lives, Paul dealt with literal chains during the times he was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel.

He didn’t give in to discouragement during those imprisonments though. While shackled and suffering, Paul saw the good that came from his chains. In his letter to the Philippians (1:14 NIV), he said, “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”

Surely our chains of pain, grief, weakness, or limitations serve to encourage others as well. Other struggling folks might very well be inspired to persevere through their own trials as they see how God strengthens us in ours.

Whether reaching out to hurting souls going through similar situations as our own or being a beacon of hope and encouragement through the witness of our lives, let’s allow our painful places to result in good. Let’s let our lives be well-paved paths.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

*When did someone provide a well-paved path for you? Our family is currently undergoing a trial that will certainly allow us to encourage and comfort others in the future. Our daughter Kelli is having surgery for breast cancer today. We’d be so grateful for your prayers. 

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Feb. 2nd. 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.

*My photo