Feeding and Nurturing the Young

Have you ever spotted birds at work feeding their young? I have several times since I like to watch and photograph birds when I get a chance.

When we visited my parents one Memorial Weekend over a decade ago, I got to observe a particular bird’s parenting skills over and over. Mom and Dad lived in Missouri then and had a couple of birdhouses on their property. Bluebirds had built a nest in one. I hoped to share a picture of the daddy bird’s parenting prowess (he was easiest to spot because of his bright blue color), but darn it all, the shot is too blurry to use here on the blog.

This daddy blue bird took his responsibility very seriously. He worked tirelessly to feed his little namesakes. Time and again he’d come flying in from a distance to land atop the bird house and rest a moment before scooting through the little hole to where his young ones waited. Within seconds, he was out again, taking only a minute’s reprieve before he was off scouting more food. He was a dedicated parent.

Have you spotted anyone feeding the young lately? You may be in the midst of feeding the young at your very own house—and I’m not just talking physical sustenance. As parents, we need to feed our children spiritually, too. Even when our kids are grown and gone, we still have opportunities to pour truth into their lives and eventually into our grandchildren’s lives.

Have we in the past or are we currently filling our kids’ or grandkids’ hearts and minds with the Word of God as we “sit at home and when [we] walk along the road” (Deuteronomy 6:7)? Have we exposed them to the spiritual teaching available in our churches?

We can also help nurture and feed other young ones besides those in our own families. Think of all the children in your circle of influence. Consider also the spiritually young, those who have only recently come to faith. They need us who are more mature in the faith to take our responsibility seriously. They need us to work tirelessly to help them grow and become strong in the Lord.

Let’s demonstrate some parenting prowess. Let’s be faithful to feed the young.

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Psalm 34:11 NIV

*How are you feeding the young in your circle of influence?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. 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! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*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 Sister72, Creative Commons License

Theme Word 2023: Patience

The new year is here (2023!) so once again it’s time for me to choose a new theme word to help guide me through the year. Do you do something like this? Some people prefer selecting an anchor verse or word.

Focusing on an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—can give me direction all year long and also helps me focus on more fully implementing that new word in my life. It’s a practice I highly recommend. I can honestly say it has benefited me time and again.

This year God directed me to the word patience. Yes, I know most people would be afraid to choose this word for fear of what circumstances God might bring into their lives to give them opportunities to practice patience. But the truth is, God has already placed me in a situation that will require great patience for the forseeable future—and patience is not something that usually comes naturally for me.

Thank goodness patience is a fruit of the Spirit. That means as a child of God, the Holy Spirit who is within me will help me grow in patience as I ask him, yield to him, and depend on him to empower me.

I know it won’t be easy, though, because as long as I’m on this side of heaven, I also have my old sin nature waiting to rise up and war against the refining work the Lord is doing in my life. This makes me doubly thankful for God’s promise to all of us to one day complete the good work he begins in us (Philippians 1:6).

Is there a good work God wants to do in your life this year—a word that he’s led you to claim as your theme word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it so I can encourage you along the way. As for me, I’ll be over here patiently growing in patience—I hope!

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” Colossians 1:11 NIV

*What is your theme word or anchor verse for 2023?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. 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! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

Photo by Girish Dalvi on Unsplash

Guard and Gift Acrostics: 2022 Theme Words Refresher

**I will be taking a blogging break the rest of this month. See you back here in early August!

Half the year is gone now so it’s time to give more thought to my 2022 theme words for the year—guard and giftFor me, the creative exercise of writing acrostics is an excellent way to go deeper in my consideration of my theme words each year. Doing so helps me think of different aspects of the word.

As I remind myself of and reflect on guard and gift, I pray you are encouraged and inspired to apply these words to your life as well. And not only that, but if you chose a theme word of your own this year, maybe reading this post today will inspire you to do something similar with your word. Whatever the case, friends, may you be blessed as you read!

Give no place to unforgiveness, bitterness, revenge, unkindness, pride, or people-pleasing.

Understand all the wisdom, power, and riches you have in Christ as you seek to make wise decisions and exercise self-control.

Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and empower you each day to stand against the schemes of the evil one.

Read, memorize, and plant God’s Word in your heart.

Declare that God is your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, your refuge and shield, the horn of your salvation and your stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV

AND

Given by God from the fullness of his grace.

Ideal for your needs in this particular time.

Favor upon favor flowing from love.

Treasure for your spirit, heart, and soul.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

*What is God saying to you about the words guard and gift today?

*If you’d like to hear more about why I originally chose guard and gift, click over to my 1-4-22 post. Hope it blesses you!

*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. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me. p.s. If you sign up after noon July 28th, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways but not in this current giveaway.

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

*Flickr photo by Randy Tan Travelogue, Creative Commons License

“Love” Acrostic: 2020 Theme Word Refresher

Over half the year is gone so it’s past time to give more thought to my 2020 theme word loveFor me, the creative exercise of writing acrostics is an excellent way to go deeper in my consideration of my theme words each year. Doing so helps me think of different aspects of the word.

As I remind myself of and reflect on love, I pray you are blessed and inspired to grow in love as well. And not only that, but if you chose a theme word of your own this year, maybe reading this post today will inspire you to do something similar with your word. Whatever the case, friends, may you be blessed as you read!

Leap to answer God’s call, listen for his voice, learn what pleases him, and let your mouth ever praise and worship him.

Open your arms and heart to one and all, offer forgiveness freely, observe the needs of others, and outdo yourself in kindness and giving.

View yourself and others through the lens of grace, voice your affection to God and loved ones often, vow to say no to selfishness daily, and visit those who need the comfort of your presence.

Enjoy time with the Lord each day, enter lives of others as God opens doors, eliminate gossip and critical words from your conversation, and encourage others at every opportunity.

Join me, won’t you, in living a life of love? Others will be blessed and so will we!

“. . . walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2 NIV

*What is God saying to you about love today?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out yesterday. 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.

*Flickr photo by johnsdigitaldreams.com, Creative Commons License

Growing in a Hard Place

Last summer while on vacation with my husband, I witnessed one little flower after another growing in hard places—in the nooks and crannies of rocky formations above tree line in Colorado.

I spotted the flowers pictured above in the Mount Evans Wilderness area. The flowers found there (and in other alpine regions throughout the world) display a delicate but hearty beauty that seems to cry out, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place. I’ve survived harsh conditions and my beauty is declaring God’s glory!”

And today we each have an opportunity to be like the alpine flowers—we can grow in the hard places we find ourselves in.

Due to the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic, we have literally been thrust into harsh conditions—threat of illness and possible death of ourselves and our loved ones, social isolation as we join together separately to rob the virus of opportunity to spread, financial losses and loss of jobs for many, and an inadequate supply of medical supplies, food, and other product shortages as people panic and start hoarding. Most of us have also had to place certain plans or events on hold—some of them very important like graduations and weddings.

Some of us are dealing with living in other hard places at the same time. Some may be grieving the loss of a mate, family member, or friend. Others may be struggling to keep a marriage afloat. Some are living with chronic pain or long-term health problems and some are even battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

As we each struggle with our own set of harsh conditions, let’s remember that if we hang on, the beauty will come. Persevering and overcoming struggles always serve to make us better, to help us grow. We will have the chance to declare to the world, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place and I’m declaring God’s glory!”

Hang on, friends. God will see us through—and oh, what beauty will come!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 1 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV

*Are you seeing any beauty in your circumstances yet?

*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.)

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

*My photo