Christmas Rest Is Possible – Plus My Blogging Break

*I’ll be taking my annual holiday blogging break until the first of the year. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as Christmas rest.

Some of you may feel like Christmas rest is the oxymoron to top all oxymorons, but I promise you, dear readers, Christmas rest is possible. It may not come easily or happen without intentional effort, but it can indeed be experienced.

If you’ve read my blog during the holiday season before, you know I draw great inspiration, joy, and peace through the music of Christmas.  And it’s the music of Christmas—a beloved Christmas carol—that can shine a light on one important way to enjoy some rest during any busy holiday season.

Look closely at the words penned by Edmund Sears in the third verse of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” Its words provide the perfect instructions:

“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!”

So how can we experience rest during the Christmas season? We need to stop and pull off that hectic holiday road that may be wearing us out. We need to sit back and quiet ourselves. We need to listen. As we do, we just might hear the angels sing. As we do, our hearts will fill with peace and joy.

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as Christmas rest.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:13-14 KJV

*How do you experience Christmas rest?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out in early February. 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 and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by John-Morgan, Creative Commons License

Spirit and Soul Refreshment for Mothers of the Bride

In light of our current national emergency regarding COVID-19, some of you Mothers of the Bride will be facing some tough decisions along with your daughter and her soon-to-be groom. The stress you’re facing must be unbelievable. I hope the below post from Sept. 2014 will be an encouragement and help to you. And for others of you who are helping plan weddings for later this year or next year, may the following encourage you as well in the midst of all the normal stresses of wedding planning. Here you go:

Mothers of the Bride grow weary at times. Not only physically and mentally weary, but weary in spirit and soul as well. It goes with the territory.

As you add new wedding-planning duties and tasks to your already crowded schedule, MOB, it’s no wonder your spirit begins to droop and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Stress and exhaustion will do that to the best of us.

Spending time outside soaking up the beauty of God’s world always refreshes my spirit and soul, but the life-giving words found in the Word of God also breathe new life into me as I let them wash over me.

So, Mother of the Bride, allow me to share some passages with you that I pray will be just the balm your weary MOB soul may need today. From God and me with love—may you be encouraged and refreshed!

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” Matthew 11:28-30

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake . . . You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:1-3, 5b-6

“‘Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.’” Deuteronomy 33:12

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

Feeling refreshed, MOB? I hope so. May you go forward in fresh strength!

*You might also like to read Time Out for Laughter and An MOB Prescription: Movie Fun!

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

*The new 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.)

*My photo of Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

5 Inexpensive Ways to Pamper Your Bride-to-Be Daughter

Mother of the Bride, I know this won’t come as a big surprise, but there are times when wedding planning can be stressful—for both you and your darling bride-to-be daughter. Much of the planning is fun and exciting, but since the tasks involved in wedding planning are in addition to the regular demands of life, stressful moments become unavoidable.

 As moms, we hate to see our kids stressed out and that doesn’t change when your daughter becomes a bride-to-be. She is still your little girl and you’ll still want to help alleviate her stress. So what’s a mother of the bride to do?

 Here are 5 inexpensive ways to pamper your sweet girl and thus reduce the stress she’s feeling: 

  1. Surprise her with her favorite homemade cookies. No, she is not too old to pamper her with cookies. Something special from Mom’s kitchen is always the ultimate comfort food, isn’t it?
  2. Treat her to a bath bomb or bubble bath designed especially for relaxation. When you’re at her apartment or house next, leave it in her bathroom when she’s not looking. It will be sure to put a smile on her face and bring a contented sigh when she uses it.
  3. Take responsibility for the wedding planning task currently causing her the most stress. Either ask her directly or ask the groom-to-be for his insight and do the task yourself or arrange for someone to take care of it or assist her with it. Your help will be a sweet balm to her!
  4. Say stress relief with flowers. Surprise her with fresh flowers from a discount or grocery store. Nothing lifts the spirits like beautiful fresh flowers, plus they offer soothing beauty for several days.
  5. Send chocolate to the rescue. Can there be a post about pampering and stress relief without including chocolate somehow? Treat her to her favorite chocolate truffles or some other chocolate treat you know she loves, something she doesn’t usually buy for herself. She will love you for it!

So go ahead, MOB, pamper away. Not only will you bless your daughter, but you’ll feel blessed as well as you help your sweet girl!

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride: 9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself, A Wedding Favor That Pampers: Beigetone Soaps, and Relax and Refresh with This Wedding Story.

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

*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 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.) p.s. It is too late to get in on this issue’s giveaway, but if you subscribe, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways.

*Flickr photo by RebeccaVC1, Creative Commons License

Mother of the Bride: 9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

Mother of the Bride, you deserve to pamper yourself every now and then on this marathon journey otherwise known as wedding planning.

Not only you deserve to do it, you need to do it. Just think—in addition to all the responsibilities of life you manage on a day to day basis, you’re now juggling wedding responsibilities as well. If you don’t take care of yourself during the journey, you may crumble before the big day gets here.

So to help keep you refreshed, recharged, and ready to help your daughter in every way possible, I give you 9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself. May they work their magic on you, dear MOB!

9 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

  1. Treat yourself to a couple of hours of relaxation in your favorite bookstore. Enjoy browsing the aisles or take a seat and do some reading while sipping on a delicious drink. Soak up the peace and solitude and then head out the door with a refreshed spirit—and maybe a new book or magazine!
  2. Spend a few minutes outside listening to the birds sing. Block out thoughts of to-do lists and various worries and focus completely on the calls and melodies of the feathered friends around you. Refresh with one of the most soothing and uplifting activities to be found. And it’s free!
  3. Treat yourself to an outing with a friend. Go to the movies or try the new ice cream place or restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Enjoy your friend. Laugh. Forget the demands of life for a few hours and focus on having fun.
  4. Relax with the new craze of coloring. If you enjoyed coloring as a kid, I bet you’ll love it now too. And if you didn’t really care for it in your younger years, you could still give it a try. Let creativity fill your senses and watch stress get crowded out.
  5. Take time for a stroll down memory lane. Spend an afternoon or evening looking through family photos or reading back through baby books and journals. Bask in the warm feelings nostalgia brings. Let joy and contentment bring you fresh energy and perspective.
  6. Indulge in floral therapy by keeping fresh flowers in your home. If you’re not the green thumb type (I’m not) and don’t have flowers blooming plentifully in your yard, treat yourself to inexpensive flowers from a greenhouse, grocery, or discount store that sells fresh flowers. Farmer’s markets might be another option. Let the amazing and delicate wonder of flowers refresh your spirit.
  7. Take a drive or bike ride in the country and get away from it all. Enjoy the scenery and scents of country life. Stop along the way to walk and take photos. Capture the beauty of the open countryside—wildflowers, birds, the sky, farms, cattle, pastures, crops, ponds, and streams. Whatever catches your eye. Thank God for his marvels in creation and for refreshing your spirit.
  8. Be intentional about taking rest. Schedule it on the calendar if necessary. It may mean leaving Saturday mornings open so you can sleep in. Or you may need to say no to Sunday afternoon commitments so you can luxuriate in the all-important Sunday afternoon nap. For others, it may be blocking off time to relax with a good book or a round of golf. Whatever form it takes, provide yourself with respites of rest.
  9. Treat yourself to a copy of my book Mother of the Bride. Yes, this is a shameless plug, but darn it all, I think you’ll love it. I believe it will truly pamper, encourage, and refresh you—with everything from the beauty of the cover and interior design to the wisdom, help, and understanding voice shared throughout. Through my book, I want to be your friend for the journey. Let me pamper you!

Of course, MOB, other possibilities abound for personal pampering, but these are some ideas you may not have thought of yet. I hope you’ll try most—if not all—of them and let them provide you with the occasional respite you desperately desire. Remember, you need and deserve it!

 *You might also like to read Relax and Refresh with This Wedding Story, An MOB Prescription: Movie Fun!, and Mother of the Bride Relaxation Time—with Coloring!

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

*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  “Strolic Furlan” – Davide Gabino, Creative Commons License

7 August Stress Busters

Believe it or not, friends, the stress busters I offer you today are the last in the series. That’s right, this August installment will complete a full year of month-appropriate stress busters designed to bring you refreshment and relief from whatever stresses you may be facing. I hope each month’s ideas have been a blessing to you!

And now, as summer winds down and the back-to-school season sweeps in, may the following stress busters help you relax and enjoy both seasons. May your August be blessed with the last of the lazy days of summer and the fresh energy and excitement of new beginnings as well!

7 August Stress Busters

  1. Spend some time indulging in a super laid-back, relaxing activity. For some that might mean going fishing. For others, it may mean a round of golf or an afternoon poolside with a refreshing drink and a good book. The choice itself is not important. The goal instead is the slowed-down pace and pure relaxation. Ahhh!
  2. Enjoy a frozen treat you don’t usually buy or make. While the heat of summer is still hanging around, frozen treats continue to carry medicinal value—that’s right, for stress headaches, knotted shoulders, and internal tension and the like. Add the extra bonus of a treat that is a rarity for you, and stress is certain to disappear while you focus on enjoying every yummy bite.
  3. Spend a few minutes outside listening to the birds sing. Block out thoughts of to-do lists and various worries and focus completely on the calls and melodies of the feathered friends around you. Hands down, this is one of the most soothing and uplifting activities to be found. And it’s free!
  4. Grab a friend—or better yet a sibling—and indulge in a favorite pastime from your childhood. Play a game of jacks, catch lightning bugs, or go exploring. As you enjoy the activity, share memories from your childhood days. Let nostalgia and laughter send stressful feelings packing.
  5. While back-to-school sales are in full swing, treat yourself to a school supply you always loved getting. Were notebooks your thing? Find a journal and have fun choosing a topic for it. Did you like new boxes of crayons or colored pencils? Get one this year and buy one of those popular adult coloring books to go with it. Let creativity fill your senses and watch stress get crowded out.
  6. Take time for one last spontaneous summertime travel-hurrah. Whether for a half-day or a weekend, take off on an impromptu adventure. Do that thing you were thinking about doing all summer but never got around to doing. Or follow that urge to visit a place you just recently heard about. Let the thrill of the adventure replace stress with excitement instead.
  7. Make a list of the highlights of your summer and thank God for each one. Your highlights may include big things like a vacation or family reunion, but smaller things may have been what really brightened your summer or made things easier for you—things like early morning walks through a park, a working air conditioner in your car, or a new devotional or book that really encouraged or inspired you. As you thank God for each blessing, you’ll experience its joy afresh. And joy will dissolve stress every time!

So there you go, friends—you now have an entire year of stress busters, served up to bless and refresh you month by month. May God continue to bless you all with fun respites as you bust the stress in your lives!

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

*Which of these stress busters is calling to you this month?

(*If you’re just now getting in on this blog series, simply type stress busters in my site’s search bar to find the posts for the previous eleven months.)

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

*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 ΠάνοςΤ, Creative Commons License