Category Archives: contests

“Mother of the Bride” Review and Give-Away…

ebook_3d1

*This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Cindy G. who will receive a copy of the book via Amazon. 

I love a good book, especially during these summer months when I have both the time and the energy to absorb a new story. And while I always have a compelling, fiction story sitting bedside, my favorite books fall into the category of non-fiction – truth-tellers, stories of “Been there, done that, and have the battle-scars to prove it”, a come-alongside-you-for-the-journey kind of book that feels more like a companioning presence than an uninvited stranger.

Cheryl Barker’s book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride is one such book. To clarify (lest any of you think my thirteen-year-old daughter has recently become engaged), I am not currently an official MOB (mother of the bride). I hope to have that honor in a season to come. As the mother of three older sons, I’m mostly sitting on the sidelines in that department.

But it’s fun to dream, is it not? When I was in college, my girlfriends and I saved up our spare change in order to purchase the latest bride magazines at the grocery, check-out stands. We’d cut and paste our favorite images into a notebook of sorts, planning for a perfect wedding, all the while praying anxiously (and rather insistently) for the perfect groom to slide onto the scenes of our lives. For most of us, that moment came. When it did for me, the worn and torn bridal pages from those earlier years were nowhere to be found. Instead, my mother and I started the process from scratch. Bless her heart; she didn’t have a come-alongside-you-for-the-journey kind of book in her pocket. Instead, she had me. Again, bless her sweet, patient heart.

Had Cheryl’s book been around then, no doubt it would have been a huge blessing to my mom, a gentle hug to remind her of all that’s good and right and honorable about her role as the MOB. Mother of the Bride truly is a “gem” for the wedding journey. Included in this beautifully packaged book are twenty-three seasonal vignettes written to highlight the special moments of the bridal journey. Each entry concludes with practical planning tips, as well as personal pampering ideas. There’s even a space for journaling your thoughts as you reflect on Cheryl’s heart-felt renderings. Some of my favorite vignettes include:

To Have and to Hold … Until She Gets Married

This vignette is all about the “letting-go”; whether you’re a MOB or a MOGroom, this is a relatable tug of any mother’s heart. A favorite quote from this selection is: “Let go of your daughter with grace and you’ll find her calling on you with joy.” (pg. 43)

Bye-Bye, Comfort Zone: Diving into Unfamiliar Waters

No doubt, the MOB will wear many hats during the wedding-planning process, some more comfortable than others. Cheryl challenges MOBs (and women everywhere) that “… each time we square our shoulders and say good-bye to our comfort zones, it leads to growth and more self-confidence.” (pg. 74)

Be Very Careful: No Do-Overs for the MOB

This reflection is a gentle reminder for MOBs to consider how important her responses/reactions are during a season where first responses are measured (and well-remembered). Cheryl writes, “Some situations, like various tasks or games, lend themselves quite well to do-overs. However, when relationships and feelings are involved, that’s another matter. Even if we get a second chance, the memory of the original situation will never be entirely wiped out.” (pg. 97)

My MOB and me, 7-19-97
My MOB and me, 7-19-97

Also included with the twenty-three vignettes are wedding venue worksheets – a very practical, thought-out list of questions to keep in mind when planning for your daughter’s special day. Truly, Cheryl has given all MOBs an inspiring gift in writing Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride. She’s thought of everything and has packaged it beautifully as her “gem” to you during your special season of love and grace.

As for me and my future as a MOB, well, I’ll tuck Cheryl’s treasure away for a season longer. But when that day arrives, when my little girl looks at me with dreams of satin and lace and budding bouquets, I’ll know where to start. I’ll start with a hug from a friend named Cheryl who “once upon a time” penned a few thoughts about the glorious steps that await me as a Mother of the Bride – a come-alongside-me-for-the-journey kind of book that feels more like a companioning presence than an uninvited stranger.

Thank you, Cheryl, for writing your story and for inviting me to the wedding. What a lovely celebration this has been!

PS: Hey readers – leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy of Cheryl’s Mother of the Bride. The deadline for entries is July 17th.

You might also like...

“Oh, Hey Girl!” Happy Monday

hey girl

She’s enormously gifted, my friend Melanie Dorsey. She’s a creative in all that she does. Whether lending her heart to words, painting, sewing, cooking, re-purposing furniture and beyond, Melanie pours her all into the project at hand. I don’t think she can help herself. She’s so much like her heavenly Father . . . creatively creating. Indeed, Melanie is helping to solve the problem of pain in this world through her artistic fashioning.

Most recently, Melanie has been working with watercolors. I adore these little portraits of grace she’s been creating. You can see more of them by clicking here. To honor her work, I’m giving away a set of five note cards to one of you (your choice of cards)! Take some time to peruse Melanie’s designs and let me know your favorites in the comments below. I’ll pick a winner with my next post.

joy-full-flowers-1024x958Bee-Yourself-a-1024x800

In the meantime, I pray your week off to a very good, God-start. May the day ahead of you be filled with a rich awareness of God’s presence and his love for you. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

You might also like...

Into the Cloud

11540872_sI came across a verse this Sabbath afternoon while working my way through HeBrews: a Better Blend. I don’t think my author-friend, Leah, meant for me to park my thoughts at this particular verse for any length of time; nevertheless it parked alongside me, keeping company with my soul for the last several hours.

“The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” –Exodus 20:21

Where God was.

Where was God? In the cloud – shrouded by thick darkness. Moses knew it; the Israelites knew it. Still and yet, they allowed their fear to overrule any measure of faith. Moses? Well, he’d been down that road with God before, back in those beginning days when his fear might have kept him from the greatest faith-adventure of his life. Instead of giving into the fear, Moses approached the darkness—the burning bush, the throne of Pharaoh, the Red Sea. Why?

Because God was in there, in those places of great testing. Moses, better than the Israelites, valued the presence of God and understood that, sometimes, it’s in the darkness where the Light is most radiantly revealed. God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. But in the darkness, when we cannot see clearly for the thick fog surrounding us, God’s light is a holy, welcome resource.

We should not fear the unseen. Just because we cannot see the light doesn’t mean that the light isn’t waiting for us just beyond the veil. Sometimes the way through is clear and obvious. Sometimes, it’s only by taking those initial steps of faith into the cloud that the light will be revealed. Sometimes, it’s our steps forward that bring the sacred flame into focus.

Not long ago, I stepped into the cloud to meet with God. Was I afraid? A little. But like Moses, there was a greater fear that penetrated my heart – The fear of not taking those steps forward. I think that Moses, like me, clearly knew that God had something more for him (beginning at the ripe young age of 80) . . . something beyond the routine of sheep-tending on the plains of Midian. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with sheep-tending. Sheep-tending is a good living unless God wants to move our tending to the other side of the pasture, or in Moses’ case, the other side of the Red Sea.

Every now and again, we have to be willing to let go of good pastureland in order to take hold of God’s Promised Land.

And so, I said “yes” to God and stepped into the thick darkness surrounding my “yes.” Do you know what I found once I did?

His extraordinary “yes” on the other side, brilliant light radiating deeply into my heart and bathing my soul in peace. Why? Because God was there. God is there, and God wants me to be where he is.

Friends, I don’t want to live my life beneath a cloudless sky if it means missing the beauty of a trust-filled walk with the Lover of my soul. I don’t want sunny skies if it means I cannot have the thickness of God’s presence surrounding me. I don’t ask for the darkness; I much prefer sacred revelation without it. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know when he’s inviting me to a deeper level of trust. This is one of those seasons. Accordingly, I have stepped beyond the veil in recent days, and I have seen with my own eyes and felt deeply within my soul what it is to move beyond my fears and to walk with faith as my anchor.

Have I crossed the Red Sea? Not yet, but I’ve dipped my toes into the waters of anticipation, and I’m ready to make that journey through on dry ground.

This is faith from the inside-out, all the way through to Canaan. God is there. He is my next, and he is my peace . . . for the journey. I can’t wait to read the next chapter in this crazy book called “My Life.” Thank you for joining me on the road.

PS:The winner of a surprise gift from Lisa Dixon is Cindy from Letters From Midlife.

Leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy of Leah’s new study, HeBrews: a Better Blend. It is a fascinating, challenging dig into the life of faith. I hope you’ll take advantage of this soul-stretching resource!

Also, have you heard about my summer-combo book deal? You can secure copies of Peace for the Journey and Beyond the Scars for $20 (includes shipping – USA orders only). I’ll be happy to sign them for you and get them in the mail this week (sent media mail). You may order through paypal using the link below or by contacting me directly by clicking here.
wedding summer special




Photo Credit: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo

You might also like...

“HeBrews: a Better Blend” Bible Study Release and Give-Away

HeBrews-Cover1-796x1024It’s been four years since my friend, Leah Adams, published her first Bible study – From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy. On July 1st, her second Bible study, HeBrews: A Better Blend will be released by Warner Press. I’m so excited to share this interview with Leah that highlights her new study as well as the author herself. Leah is a dear friend, and I am greatly looking forward to digging into God’s Word, utilizing her heart and pen as my guide.

Be sure an leave a comment with today’s post, and I will pick one winner to receive a copy of Leah’s new study!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leah, I may have readers who have not met you online. What would you like for my readers to know about you?

 
I am a North Georgia girl who loves Jesus—A LOT. I asked Jesus to come into my heart at the age of 15. Within a few years, I made some horrible moral choices that drew me away from Him. I spent the better part of my 20s walking far from Jesus, and God let me go my own way until I was sick of it. Then, just like the prodigal son’s father, God welcomed me back, and overwhelmed me with a desire for His Word and His presence. He made it clear that nothing I had done, no sin I had committed, changed how He felt about me. God loved me with a ridiculous love. He lavished grace on the heart of His daughter, and ultimately called me into ministry in 2007.

 
My passion is teaching God’s Word, and He allows me to do that through two avenues: speaking and writing. I have had the privilege of speaking to groups all across the United States. While my signature message is about the legacy we are leaving for the generations that come behind us, the ultimate message is always about the grace, love, acceptance, and mercy that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I love speaking to women of all ages, but my heartbeat is for women under 40 years of age. My hope is that the words God gives me encourage and challenge women to walk intimately with Jesus every single day they walk the dusty sod of earth. I want them to know that Jesus loves them more than they can imagine.

 
Another area of ministry that the Lord has assigned to my husband and me jointly is ministry to international students who are studying in the US. Over 750,000 students from other countries study in America every year, and the vast majority of them are never in an American home. What a missed opportunity for the church of Jesus Christ to show the love of Jesus to students who might, otherwise, never hear about Him! Greg and I regularly host international students in our home, and have developed close friendships with many of them. In fact, we have become ‘American parents’ to a delightful young woman from Australia. God brought Bree, Greg, and me together, and she is now very much a part of our family. We love her as if she were our own.

 
What occupies your free time? Hobbies, interests?

I love to read. Christian fiction and biographies are what can be found on my bookshelf, alongside lots of biblical commentaries, Bible translations, and cookbooks. I enjoy cooking, camping in our fifth wheel RV, and spending time with my husband and my girlfriends.

 

What are some items on your bucket list?

 
I would love to visit Australia, Germany, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Grand Canyon. Speaking gigs in any of those places would make the trip that much sweeter! My husband is a golfer, and we would like to attend the Master’s golf tournament. I sponsor two girls in Tanzania through Compassion International, and visiting them one day is definitely on the list. I would like to write another Bible study, or ten, if the Lord gives me the words. As I said, I love to cook, and attending a weekend Southern Living cooking school would be great fun. A return visit to a hummingbird haven where many different types of hummingbirds are together in one place is on the list. I’m amazed at those little fliers.

 
untitled-65How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?

I have enjoyed writing and public speaking from my junior high school days. I always excelled in English, and term papers were never a drag for me. I know . . . I’m a geek.
My deep-end dive into writing came in 2002 when my Daddy was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer. As he progressed through his chemo treatments, I would write a weekly email to family and friends who wanted to keep up with his progress. Each email would close with a few inspirational thoughts that usually included Scripture. After my Daddy graduated to heaven in late 2004, people began asking if I would write a weekly devotion and send it out via email. After a year or so of doing that, over 125 people were receiving each email, but unfortunately, my ISP was deleting the emails as spam. It was at that point that I made the jump to a blog format, where I now offer my writing.

 
When the Lord called me into ministry in late 2007, I needed something to speak about, and that something was the topic of legacy. For my first speaking engagement, I wrote a 15 minute message about the legacy we, as Christians, are leaving for the generations that come behind us. Eventually that message grew into an hour-long message, and ultimately became the foundation of my first Bible study, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy, which was published in 2010.

 
What is the back story behind HeBrews? What was the impetus for you to write this book?

I began writing HeBrews: A Better Blend purely out of obedience to the Lord. Several years prior to writing the study, I had done a pretty intense self-study of the book of Hebrews. It was my hope that the Lord might allow me to write something out of that time of study, but I wasn’t sure. Perhaps it had just been for my edification. In 2012, I sensed the Lord giving me the go-ahead to write a Bible study from the book of Hebrews. I’ve learned that when God says do something, the best response is ‘Yes sir’. So, write I did. I had no intention of publishing HeBrews, thinking it would just be an act of obedience, and perhaps a study that my Tuesday morning small group would do. God had other plans. When I was about halfway through the writing, my friend, Brooke, introduced me to the wonderful woman who is now my Editor at Warner Press. One thing led to another and before I knew it, God had opened the door for HeBrews to be published. It was totally a God-thing, and I often tell Him that this is His doings, and the responsibility is on Him to place HeBrews into the hands of the people who need to read it.

 
Share with us a bit about your book.

 
HeBrews: A Better Blend is an eight-week Bible study that takes the student through the entire book of Hebrews. The Old Testament constructs that were so important to the Israelites, i.e. Old Testament tabernacle, priest, sacrifice, and covenant, are examined alongside the New Testament parallels that we find in Jesus. Jesus was the BETTER priest, administering a BETTER covenant, offering a BETTER sacrifice, and ultimately bringing us into a BETTER tabernacle.
There are five days of homework each week, and most days the student studies from both the Old and New Testaments. HeBrews: A Better Blend can be done by individuals, and in group settings. At the beginning of each week of study, I offer a dessert recipe taken from my collection, or from the collections of some of my friends and family. Dessert definitely makes Bible study richer. No pun intended!

 
Why should someone read HeBrews: A Better Blend? What does it offer them personally?

The study of Scripture, God’s Love Letter to humankind, is as important to me as taking my next breath. Without it, I would be right back in the ditch of sin that I crawled out of 20 years ago. HeBrews: A Better Blend offers the reader a guided study of the book of Hebrews, as well as opportunities to apply faith principles to their own life, and grow in their faith in Jesus Christ.

 
How can my readers find you? Blog? Social media?

I would love to meet your readers. They can find me at my website and blog, The Point, at http://www.leahadams.org.

I am also on several social media platforms:

Facebook Ministry page

HeBrews Facebook page

Twitter

When and where will HeBrews: A Better Blend be available to the public?

The release date for the Bible study is July 1st. It should be available at major e-tailers, as well as Christian bookstores.

 

Any final thoughts you’d like to share with my readers?

 
I want to encourage your readers to fix their eyes on Jesus. My prayer is that they will raise their eyes above the horizon of their circumstances (good or bad), and look to Jesus for their strength and hope. He is everything we need. EVERYTHING! Developing an intimate relationship with Jesus will not happen accidently. It requires intentionality, perseverance, and lots of time allowing Scripture to speak to the heart. Once a heart gets a taste of walking in intimacy with Christ, there is no going back. I want that for your readers, because I know what a thrill it is to me.

You might also like...

Lent … It’s Killin’ Me (Guest Post by Leah Adams)

25293020_s

Having come from a Baptist background the only thing I knew about Lent was that it was probably a misspelling of the stuff that you clean out of the dryer. It was not until I went to Young Harris College that I even heard the word, much less had it explained to me. Consequently, I never partook in the Lenten celebration. Even as an adult, I have never felt the urging to participate, until this year.

For those who are not exactly certain what Lent is, allow me to offer the definition from Dictionary.com:

“An annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.”

Fasting and penitence … sounds fascinating, huh? Well, fascinating or not, it seemed the Lord was calling me to participate this year. As I pondered the matter on Ash Wednesday, I tried to decide what I would give up, or fast. I’m not a chocoholic, so that never crossed my mind. I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time on social media, so I didn’t feel led in that direction. What would it be?

I asked the Lord what I should fast during Lent, and the Holy Spirit plastered Philippians 2:14 (NIV) on the walls of my mind. I could do nothing but follow His lead.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing ….”

Well, alrighty then! If I want to focus on Jesus and His work on the cross, and be more like Jesus, then I need to stop complaining.

“Hmmmpfff! I don’t do a lot of complaining,” my smug self told the Holy Spirit. “This should be pretty easy.”

I think in the distance I heard Almighty God laughing out loud.

About twenty-four hours in, I realized I might have been a bit too smug about the level of my complaining. Forty-eight hours in found me ‘telling’ our Australian daughter, Bree, about something someone else had done that had not pleased my heart. Suddenly, she looked dead-on at me, and in her most charming Australian accent said, “Weren’t you giving up complaining for Lent?”

BUSTED! I had not even realized I was complaining. Oh Sweet Mercy! I still had thirty-seven days left. This was going to be much more difficult than I had anticipated.

The next morning I spent time repenting of my spirit of complaining, and asking the Lord to help me be aware of when I complain. I’m certain He has a mind to answer that prayer. Probably I should just go ahead and duct tape my mouth closed for the next thirty something days. Alas, there is the pesky problem of my thought life. I may not voice my complaints, but I sure think them. Perhaps a long acting sleeping medication is what I need. You know, Rip van Winkle-ish for the next forty days.

What about you? Are you pegging your complaining meter out like I am inclined to do? It is a huge issue, friends. Are you doing everything without complaining?

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

untitled-65Leah Adams describes herself as the “prodigal son’s sister” after spending several years walking far from the Lord in her twenties. Helping others understand the grace that is offered by Jesus to anyone who will accept it is the passion of Leah’s heart. In a works-based and failure-prone society, grace is a concept that many people have difficulty grasping, and Leah’s speaking and writing ministry, called The Point Ministries, seeks to point others straight to Jesus and his amazing grace. Although her ministry is to all women, Leah has a heart for reaching those who are part of the Generation X and Millennial groups with the love of Jesus.

An author and communicator, Leah lives in northern Georgia with her husband, Greg, who is also her dentist. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Mercer University School of Pharmacy. Leah is a CLASS certified speaker and is the author of a Bible study entitled, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy, as well as a devotion book entitled, When Words Won’t Come. Her second Bible study, HeBrews: A Better Blend, will be released by Warner Press in the summer of 2014. In her free time, Leah enjoys reading, cooking, camping and sharing girlfriend time. You can visit Leah at her website, www.leahadams.org. She can also be found on Facebook (Leah Adams – The Point Ministries) or Twitter (@PointMinistries).

PS: Leave a comment today to win a copy of one of Leah’s books – your choice. I’ll pick a winner with my next post.

You might also like...