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

Where Is God When Times Are Bad?

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

Nothing like a little gem from God’s Word to put things in perspective, huh?

Why is it, I wonder, we are so quick to thank God and acknowledge his presence and hand in the awesome blessings that come our way, but when something bad happens, we say, “Where were you, God? Why did you let that happen?”

When tough times come, has God really stepped away from us? When painful events descend, has he removed his hand from our lives?

If we believe the Word of God—and in particular the above verse from Ecclesiastes—no, God is not an aloof observer when our world is falling apart. He allows grief, hardship, and pain to touch our lives and will use those experiences for good in some way.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) says, ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The question is will we believe that truth and trust God when we are hurting?

Let’s remember that we are dearly loved children of God (1 John 3:1), and he stands ready, just as we do with our children, to help and comfort us through our bad times. Let’s not let our trials distance us from our Father. Let’s draw close to him and let him carry us, trusting all the while that he will not waste our pain.

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. ” Lamentations 3:32-33 NIV

*How has God used your pain to bring about something good?

*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.)

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

*My photo

Favorites from the Book of all Books: God’s Word

It’s always fun to talk books. Fun to share what we’re currently reading, fun to tell what our favorites are, and fun to pick up some great recommendations for future reads. Today let’s talk about the Book of all books—the Bible, also known as the Word of God.

As I tell the little ones in my nursery-age Sunday School class, the Bible is a special book. In fact, it’s the most treasured book I own, as well as my absolute all-time favorite to read. When it comes to other books, even the ones I fall in love with or am blown away by, none stay as close to my heart as the Bible. After I read others, I put them on a shelf and only think of them occasionally. I might pick them up again and reread them years later, but they don’t impact my life every day.

Not so with my Bible. I read it daily. I even try to memorize verses I especially need or love. Not only is the Word of God “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) in my life, it breathes fresh life into me like nothing else can do. It comforts me, guides me, encourages me, and gives me truth I can offer to other thirsty souls. To put it like the Bible itself does, “the word of God is living and active . . .” (Hebrews 4:12)

I’m sure the Bible is life-changing and precious to many of you as well. So today let’s share some of our “favorites” from it. What’s your favorite book within the Bible? Favorite story? Favorite verse? I hope you’ll take time to leave a comment and answer any or all of the questions. It’ll be fun to hear what’s especially meaningful to others, won’t it?

I think my favorite book has to be Psalms—maybe because I love poetic writing and music, but it’s also so full of refreshment and encouragement. My favorite story is the Christmas story. For me, it’s just hard to top the angel’s announcement of a Savior born to us all. And favorite verse? That’s a hard one. So many mean so much to me. But one I come back to time and again is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)

Okay, it’s your turn. Tell us your favorites from the Book of all books!

“They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32:47 NIV

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. 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 Savio SebastianCreative Commons License

Bridal Shower: Makeup Practice-Run and Demonstration

*I’ll be taking a blogging break during Valentine’s week. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Mother of the Bride, a bridal shower is one of the highlights of the wedding planning experience. It’s a time of fun, fellowship, and celebration with family and friends. It’s a girly-girl time that is well worth making memorable in a variety of ways.

If you’re contributing ideas to the shower or actually giving it yourself, MOB, one fantastic way to make it both special and helpful is to have a makeup practice-run and demonstration. Not only will it give the bride and her makeup artist a chance to have a run-through before the big day, but it will provide an entertaining and informative demonstration for the shower guests. Fabulous idea, right?

To make it even more interesting and fun, extra features/activities could be included. For instance, the makeup artist (and her team if she has one) could do your makeup and/or the bridesmaids’ makeup as well. Different techniques and types of makeup would naturally be called for so all the more informative.

You could even have makeup samples for the guests to take home or lipstick shades for them to try at the party. And I bet you and the bridesmaids will be able to think of other ideas as well. Just have fun with it!

Does this sound like an exciting idea to you, MOB? If so, suggest it to the hostesses and see if it’s something they’d like to make happen. Might as well make the shower as girly-girl—and helpful—as possible!

*You might also like to read Bridal Shower Idea: A Cooking Class and Bridal Shower Cake: A Cupcake Wedding Dress!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride 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 Ashley MacKinnon, Creative Commons License