Archives for August 2017

Bridal Portrait From a Spectator Angle

Mother of the Bride, have you given any thought to specific shots you’d like to see included in your daughter’s bridal portrait session?

As a pro, her photographer will of course have lots of great ideas up his or her photo-snapping sleeve, but it never hurts to have a few ideas of your own to mention too—especially if you’ve seen a particular shot you’d love to see featuring your daughter.

One shot you might want to suggest is one taken from a spectator angle—one that looks as if the bride is looking at someone other than the photographer. Not only does it give a different vantage point of the beautiful bride, but it sparks the imagination of the viewer. Who or what is the bride looking at? Or watching for? What must she be feeling?

If you and/or the bride really like this type of shot, MOB, make a note to show it to your photographer when the time comes. You might even want to start a short list of shots you’d love to see him or her take. It will be fun to watch them come to life with your darling daughter as the star, right?!

*You might also like to read Bridal Portraits: Include Some Artsy Shots, Bridal Portrait Idea: Windows Plus Great Light, Bridal Portrait Idea: A Mirror Shot, and Bridal Portrait Idea: A Shot with Mom

*Flickr photo by atmtx, Creative Commons License

Guest Blogger Julie Gillies: Let’s Choose Brave

I’d like to welcome writer friend and author Julie Gillies to my blog today as she shares an excerpt adapted from her recently released book From Hot Mess to Blessed. I’ve already read the book and it’s filled with biblical wisdom, encouragement, and hope. I pray Julie’s words bless you today!

Let’s Choose Brave

Bravery has ripple effects. We rarely consider this (at least I don’t) because we’re so caught up in the everyday and the here and now. Life’s daily battles are intense, and sometimes it’s all we can do to remain focused and keep plowing forward. Yet our courageous choices act as a gleaming machete, slicing a path through the thick jungle of fear that entangles and trips.

Choosing brave helps us fully believe and embrace and pursue God’s promises while inspiring those around us and making a way for those behind us.

A key component in learning to embrace bravery is praying brave prayers—prayers that focus less on avoiding fear or keeping fear away from us and more on courage and confidence and holy mettle. Though we might not always feel fearless, by praying for specific qualities from Scripture, we can fear less.

– Instead of praying that fear will be far from us, we can pray for strong, bold, and very courageous hearts (see Joshua 1:9) when fear comes near.

– Instead of asking God to remove all the sources of fear in our lives, we can pray for His grace to run toward the big, scary things with great courage (see 1 Samuel 17:48).

– Instead of praying that fear will leave us alone, we can pray that when we are afraid, we will have confidence and put our reliance on God (see Psalm 56:3).

– Instead of asking God for all fear in our lives to vanish, we can pray that His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus—and supersede all fear (see Philippians 4:6-7).

– Instead of feeling alone and fearful, we can pray to consistently remember God is with us, and we don’t have to fear. King David declared, “The Lᴏʀᴅ is for me, so I will have no fear” (Psalm 118:6 ɴʟᴛ).

I think I need to write the above verse on a Sticky Note and attach it to my forehead. If I had it my way, I’d never wrestle with fear again. It would be completely and permanently eradicated from my life (Can I get an amen?). But this side of eternity, I don’t know how realistic that goal is. I think we will all have times when we must battle fear, but it is always for a purpose.

Facing down fear teaches us how to engage the enemy, to fight, to stand, and to prevail. So be beautifully clothed in His mighty strength and the holy dignity He lavishly provides. Laugh without a care, free from fear’s taunts and digs. I see us—hot messes though we may yet be—laughing beautiful, musical laughs, heads tossed back, and hearts lifted toward heaven because we have nothing to fear.

This is an adapted excerpt from the book, “From Hot Mess to Blessed: Hope to Propel Your Soul and the Promises that Change Everything”, Harvest House Publishers 2017. Used with permission.

*Question from Cheryl: What situation in your life is God calling you to choose brave for today?

Julie K. Gillies is the author of From Hot Mess to Blessed: Hope to Propel Your Soul and the Promises that Change Everything and the devotional, Prayers for a Woman’s Soul. Healed from a traumatic childhood, Julie’s message helps women pray, know, and believe God’s Word. Julie is the joyful wife of Keith, mom of two soldiers and one civilian, and Grammy of four. She loves bicycling , any day without humidity, and hanging out with the entire family at home, especially on days when her house is clean. Find FREE resources and connect with Julie at .

*Photos courtesy of author.

Mother of the Bride Dress-Shopping: An In-the-Meantime Dress

Mother of the Bride, have you started shopping for your dress yet? I know finding your own dress is probably way down on your list of priorities, but it must be done.

Don’t feel free to do it yet? I understand. After you’ve gotten all the vendors secured, helped find the bride’s and bridesmaids’ attire, helped with all the choices and orders for flowers, cakes, and food, made sure the invitations are ordered, and have taken care of a host of other time-sensitive tasks, you’ll finally feel free to hit the stores and find the dress that will make you shine on your daughter’s big day.

I wish I could tell you’ll find the perfect dress in the first place you shop, but truth is, some of you may have some difficulty. I faced challenges in finding my dresses for both of my girls’ weddings.

When you begin your dress quest, you may find that the colors available this season may not flatter you or coordinate with the bride’s color choices. You may not like the styles that have swept this particular season. Or you may just have bad luck finding your size in the dress you love.

Here’s a solution to help take some of the pressure off: Buy an in-the-meantime dress. Since you do indeed have to have a dress and if time is getting short, why not go ahead and purchase something that will work while you keep looking for the dress you’ll love? I did this on my first time around the MOB block.

If you buy an in-the-meantime dress, be sure to check the return policy. You don’t want to end up with the expense of two dresses when the overall cost of the wedding keeps climbing as it is. If the dress was on clearance, you might not be able to return it. But for most dresses, you may have anywhere from a month to ninety days to return the dress as long as you have the receipt and the tags are still in place.

Buying an in-the-meantime dress will give you the window of opportunity you need to find something you like better while setting your mind at ease. You’ll know you’ve got a back-up tucked up your MOB sleeve. Happy shopping, Mother of the Bride—and good luck!

*You might also want to read Where to Find Your Mother of the Bride Dress and Mother of the Bride (or Groom) Dresses for You!

*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post from Oct. 2013 helped you today!

*The new 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.)

*Flickr photo by imcountingufoz, Creative Commons License



My husband takes his chances when it comes to sunburns, but not me. I don’t like them. Sunscreen is my friend and never more so than when I’m in higher elevations. In fact, I bought a new tube of sunscreen just before our trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone a few years ago. And believe it or not, I even remembered to take it with me and use it before each outing.

One day, though, I somehow missed applying my trusty protector to one particular area—my left wrist and hand, just below my watch. I didn’t notice the effects of my negligence until the next morning. I could feel the burn and my hand resembled a bright red paw. Good grief. Just the look I wanted for vacation, huh?

You wouldn’t think my hands would be in the line of direct sunlight, would you? However, we’d been in Yellowstone the day before visiting Old Faithful and other points of interest, and I had been a picture-taking fool.

While manning the camera, I’d held my hands in an upraised position much of the day—especially at Old Faithful, where I waited poised and ready for any action. Unfortunately, I was also poised for the sunburn I didn’t see coming. You can bet I didn’t neglect protecting my hands after that.

Sometimes we fail to protect ourselves spiritually. The enemy of our souls is on the prowl, just looking for chinks in our armor. He watches for areas where we’ve neglected to cover ourselves with the Word of God and prayer.

We may think we’re not at risk in a certain area or get too busy or distracted to turn to God’s Word or call on him for wisdom, help, and protection. We may submit most areas of our lives to his leading but hold onto a few for ourselves. Or maybe we’re rather half-hearted and take a hit and miss approach to time spent with God. Worse yet, we might neglect him completely, taking our chances and assuming we’ll be able to deal with whatever comes down the pike.

We may not notice the effects of our negligence immediately, but if we continue on in our own way, we’ll soon be dealing with the consequences of a spiritual burn. And by that time, it may be visible to others as well.

Let’s be alert to the dangers that threaten our spiritual lives. Let’s be diligent to apply the protection God offers us. Let’s cover ourselves with the Word of God and prayer.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 NIV

*What area of your life do you sometimes forget to protect?

*Hope this slightly updated encore post from Aug. 2012 blessed you today!

The new 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.)

*Flickr photo by *~Dawn~*, Creative Commons License

Tuning Our Ears

Do certain sounds capture your attention while escaping the notice of other people? For example, a distant cry of “Mom!” may find you turning your head instinctively. Or if you’re my little grandsons, the sound of the garage door opening is not just another outdoor sound, but it means that Daddy is home. And they hear it every time. Their ears are tuned for it.

While hiking and exploring recently in Colorado, my ears perked up to the songs of nearby birds, but my traveling companions didn’t take particular notice of them. For them, birdsong was just a pleasant part of nature’s backdrop, but for me, it signaled a chance to capture some photos of birds I may not regularly see. Since I enjoy taking photos, my ears and eyes are tuned to opportunities, just like my grandsons’ ears are tuned to the sound of their daddy coming home.

We tune our ears—and our eyes for that matter—to the things and people important to us, don’t we? Since we have different loved ones and different interests, it follows that our ears will be tuned to different things for the most part.

For those of us who are believers—children of God—let’s ask ourselves if we’ve made sure to tune our ears to his voice. Whether he’s speaking through his Word, through the voice of the Holy Spirit within us, through the wind or the waves or the birds singing overhead, or through the timely word of a friend, do we hear him? Do we take notice? Are our ears tuned to God?

Let’s tune in. We don’t want to miss hearing from our Savior and our God!

“. . . love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 30:20 NIV

*What helps you tune in to God’s voice?

*The new 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.)

*My photo