Archives for 2019

Mother of the Bride Beauty Prep: Face Yoga Exercises!

Mother of the Bride, are you interested in your face looking its best for your daughter’s wedding? Sure you are! I’m happy to be able to share with you today a great way to do that!

One free, all-natural way to prepare for the big day and get the perfect wedding glow is by starting a daily face yoga routine. Maybe you’ve heard about this new anti-aging wellness routine. Some simply call it facial exercises, and it has been popularized in recent years by a number of celebrity A-listers including Meghan Markle, Jennifer Aniston, and Madonna. Face yoga works by toning and strengthening the facial muscles to keep the skin on top plump and firm. You do this by stretching your face in a series of repetitive exercises that target specific muscles under the skin.

Scientists have recently begun studying the face yoga phenomenon and the results are promising. One recent study showed that 30 minutes of facial exercises per day can lead to a more youthful appearance, and another proved that it can lead to thicker facial muscles.

So MOB, I’ll share a couple of examples below but check out all the exercises from Rory to get started looking younger today!

 

*You might also like to read Most Important Part of the MOB’s Wedding Day Attire and Mother of the Bride: Spruce Up Your Smile!

*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.)

*Thanks to Rory for these images.

Guest Post by James Watkins: Why? Why? Why?

A three-year-old’s favorite word is why.

“Johnny, hold my hand while we cross the street.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want you to run out in front of a car.”

“Why?”

“Because if a car hits you, you’ll be hurt or killed.”

“Why?”

“Because if it’s a contest between a thirty-five-pound boy and an SUV, the three-ton vehicle is going to win every time.”

“Why?”

“Because the laws of physics state that mass plus momentum equals—Just take my hand, Johnnie!”

And on it goes—right into adulthood!

Why didn’t God heal my friend?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do I still have acne at 60?

But like the popular game show, Jeopardy, the answers are often in the form of a question.

 

What can I know?

I can know the truth of Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).

For instance, our group health insurance had very few maternity benefits, but had great “major medical” coverage. At the birth of our first child, my wife had complications and spent five days in Intensive Care. But, because the birth was now “major medical,” every penny of our daughter’s birth was covered. Sitting in ICU for five days waiting to know if my wife was going live or die was not good, but it did work for good.

However, it took me nearly thirty years to realize that Romans 8:28’s “purpose” is revealed in the following—and usually ignored—verse:

. . . to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. . . .

I may never know the answer to why, but I can know what is the purpose to which God is working all for our good. To be like Jesus! If you look for it, you’ll find throughout the New Testament. For instance:

 

And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18b, author’s emphasis).

 

How can I grow?

Jesus promises . . .

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:1, 4-5 NLT).

Our spiritual lives depend on this intimate connection with Christ. His life flows into and through us causing us to become organically one with his character. That connection is strengthened through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other believers. And suffering!

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NLT, author’s emphasis).

When I think back to my “successful” years—award-winning author and editor, world-traveling conference speaker, denominational executive, and co-pastor of a growing church—I certainly didn’t resemble the Christ I was trying to follow. It has only been during my “failure” years—years between book contracts, estranged relationships, being voted out of a church, and having to borrow money to make a living writing and speaking—that I have come to derive my self-identity and self-worth from simply being a loved child of God.

Who can I show?

Finally, 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 has become one of my favorite passages in encouraging me while I’m going through terrible times:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer (NLT).

I now believe that God is more than willing to answer those questions and how they relate to living a life conformed to the image of His Son. Even why I still suffer from acne!

From God, I Don’t Understand, Copyright 2017, 2019 James N. Watkins. Available at Amazon.

Jim is an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles, who has spoken across the United States and overseas. He has served as an editor and editorial director at Wesleyan Publishing House, an editor with the American Bible Society, taught writing at Taylor University for 15 years, and has guest-lectured at Liberty, Regent and other universities. He is currently writing and speaking full-time as well as consulting in book development. His most important roles, however, are being a child of God, husband, dad and “papaw.”

*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.)

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

Post-Wedding Decision: Bridal Gown Preservation

To preserve or not to preserve—have you and your daughter had this discussion yet, Mother of the Bride? The answer will depend on whether or not your daughter wants to keep the gown in good condition for possible use by her future daughter or for another relative or friend. And it will also depend on which expert’s advice you listen to. I found two vastly different viewpoints.

First let’s look at what The Knot has to say. They offer some great advice in an article called Preserve Your Wedding Dress. Be sure to read the entire piece for all the details you’ll need to know, but I’ll give you a snapshot look in this post.

Here are a few of the highlights:

*Cleaning the gown is the most important part of the preservation process. All stains—even hidden ones like sugar—must be removed.

*Have the gown cleaned while the stains are fresh. It can wait until after the honeymoon if need be but don’t wait much longer.

*After cleaning the gown, a reputable specialist will wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or muslin and place it in a museum quality archival box. All storage materials should be clean and completely acid-free.

*Get referrals for a preservation specialist. Many dry cleaners claim to clean wedding gowns, but they are not specialists. If you go with a dry cleaner, they should process at least 100 gowns a year. (By the way, that number seems pretty high to me.) Try to find a professional gown preservationist with a good track record.

*Will the preservationist company guarantee their work? How will they reimburse you if you discover damage after a number of years? Will they reimburse only for the cost of the preservation or for the gown itself?

*If you open the box and handle the gown, be sure to wash your hands first or wear clean white gloves.

*Beware of those who quote a price before seeing the gown. Different gowns will require different treatment depending on the fabric and type of stains, etc.

*Expect to pay $250-$700, maybe even up to $1000 in metropolitan areas.

The authors of Bridal BargainsDenise and Alan Fields, express a different view of gown preservation. Again, I will give only a snapshot of what they say in the book. I recommend reading the entire section on gown preservation to get a thorough look at the authors’ findings and conclusions.

The Fields reference one horror story in particular and offer a statistic from the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops regarding preserved gowns that are brought in to be sold. They stated that 80% of the gowns are found to be dirty. They go on to call the gown-preservation-box scheme a rip-off and then recommend that brides don’t do it.

The authors suggest cleaning and preserving the gown yourself or selling it as soon as possible after the wedding. They claim that most wedding gowns can be washed and offer a few how-to tips and also recommend storing it in an acid-free box. They say it can be wrapped in a clean white cotton sheet and stuffed with acid-free tissue paper if desired.

For those who don’t want to try to clean their own gowns (that would be me!), the Fields do give some advice on using a dry cleaner. They also go on to recommend two companies for gown preservation, even though they first advised against it. Of note, when I compared my copy of Bridal Bargains, the 7th edition put out in 2005, to my friend’s copy of the latest edition (11th) put out in 2013, I noticed the information on gown preservation had only been changed slightly. It makes me wonder if the 80% statistic given is still accurate. I also felt like they could have used updated examples.

I know it’s confusing to hear two different recommendations by those who specialize in all things wedding, but I hope this helps in some way, MOB, as you and your daughter decide what to do about the gown. Remember to examine the more in-depth info found in the article from The Knot and in the book Bridal Bargains itself. Good luck!

*If you have any info or insight or personal experience to add, please share in the comments. Everyone reading is all ears, I’m sure!

*You might also like to read Wedding Planning Tip: Post-Wedding Inventory.

*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 November. 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.)

*Photo by Will Flowers

Small Seeds, Big Results

“‘. . . a mustard seed . . . the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’” Mark 4:31-32 NIV

We’ve all heard the phrase “little but mighty.” These well-known words are an apt description for many people and situations, and they can certainly be applied to seeds and planting too.

In scripture, Jesus used the example of the mustard seed to show how something great—something big—can come from the smallest of seeds when planted. The humble little mustard seed can grow until it is one day large enough to provide shade for birds. What a perfect example of how something little can become something mighty.

Small seeds that yield big results are not only seen in the world of gardening and farming, though. They can be witnessed in finances, education, in developing talents and abilities, in building self-confidence, and in spiritual transformation as well as many other things.

Whenever and wherever seeds are planted, growth—yes, miracles—are bound to happen. A little boy who’s given a toy microscope as a child grows up to become a research scientist. A little girl receives a set of colored pencils for her birthday and one day opens her own graphic design business. A troubled teen accepts a New Testament during a Gideon distribution at school and later that year asks Jesus to be his Savior. Yes, planted seeds become miracles.

What small seeds can we plant in the coming days, weeks, and months? It might be as simple as an encouraging word to a struggling soul or a verse of scripture shared on social media. Perhaps we could give a scholarship to a camp, conference, or event that will be life-changing for the recipient. The possibilities are limitless.

Let’s do it. Let’s plant small seeds that could become mighty things. Let’s provide shade—or nourishment or inspiration or any number of other things that someone somewhere needs today. Let’s be part of a miracle!

I planted the seed . . . but God has been making it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6 NIV

*What seeds have been planted in your life that have become mighty things?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Kapitalist63, Creative Commons License

Our Continuing Debt of Love

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another . . .” Romans 13:8 NIV

Sometimes as I’m reading the Bible a verse will capture my attention, leaving a deep impression on me and a desire to share it with you. The above scripture is just such a verse. Read it again carefully and let the words sink in.

Loving others is a debt we’re never to fully pay. As followers of Christ, we’re always to be about the business of love, continually making payments on our debt of love.

So let’s ask ourselves what payments we have made lately. How have we shown kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, unselfishness, grace, compassion, or affection? How have we loved one another?

More importantly, how will we pay our debt of love from this moment on? If you feel like you’ve fallen short in the past (and who doesn’t), no worries. Remember, it’s a lifetime mission. And there’s no better time than now to start making regular payments. Let’s be about the business of love!

“‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.’” John 15:12 NIV

*To whom can you show God’s love today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by seyed mostafa zamaniCreative Commons License