Checking Levels

Keeping an eye on levels is important business. Checking fluid levels in our vehicles is especially important. Just try not doing it and see what happens. Sooner or later we’ll pay for our negligence.

Because my hubby has always taken care of car maintenance issues, I have to admit the only fluid level I keep an eye on is the gas. I don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road and have to go through the humiliation and hassle of trying to find gas for my car. And in today’s world, it’s just too dangerous to risk being easy pickings for some unsavory character who might happen along.

Don keeps an eye on the other levels in our car, though. Not only does he make sure we get regular oil changes, he checks other fluid levels before I take off on out-of-town trips. He doesn’t want me to have unexpected trouble because of low oil, antifreeze, or transmission fluids—and neither do I! I’m thankful he’s watching out for me. Without him, I’d have to get educated on car maintenance in a hurry or pay the price through some painful and likely expensive lessons.

Keeping levels in an appropriate range is vital in other areas of our lives as well. That’s why the doctor orders blood tests and makes us get on the scale when we go to see him for our annual check-ups. That’s why others test our drinking water, soil, and air quality. And let’s not forget the levels of expertise that must be met to qualify for most jobs. When you think about it, levels are important in almost everything.

What about our spiritual lives? Any levels there that need to be examined periodically? Sure. If we fail to feed on the Word of God or neglect our time with him in prayer, we’ll soon find ourselves spiritually parched or feeling distanced from him. Our hearts may even grow hard.

What about the level of love in our lives? What’s the motive behind our worship, our confession of sin, and our acts of service? Another level to keep an eye on is the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. How well are these qualities being displayed in our lives?

Let’s not neglect to keep an eye on our levels—spiritual levels included. We don’t want to find ourselves sidelined or distanced from our heavenly Father. We don’t want to be easy pickings for our unsavory Enemy. Let’s not find ourselves paying for our negligence. Let’s stay watchful. Let’s check our levels.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

 *The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue , comes out next week. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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! (To be included in this issue’s giveaway draw, you must sign up by noon on Saturday Apr. 29.)

*Flickr photo by Pat Hawks, Creative Commons License

Bridal Portrait: Bride Seated with Bouquet on Train

Mother of the Bride, are you gathering some ideas for special bridal portrait shots of your sweet girl? Your photographer will have lots of great ideas, but most will welcome input on any particular shots you or the bride would like to capture. Whether taken during a special bridal portrait session or during the hours preceding the ceremony on wedding day, you’ll want lots of amazing shots of your gorgeous daughter-turned-bride.

Today’s bridal portrait idea features the bride seated near the floor with her bouquet displayed on the gown’s train. I don’t particularly care for the darker tones used in the photo above, but at least it gives you an idea of what a shot like this could look like. I like to imagine it in a prettier setting with more light and color in the shot. This particular shot would, of course, work best on wedding day so you wouldn’t have the expense of a bouquet on a separate day.

Of course, you can use this idea as well as a springboard for other photo ideas of the bride seated.  She could be seated on steps, on a fancy loveseat, or even on the floor or grass outside—all with her gown extended all around her, of course, for spectacular effect.

Why not run these suggestions past your daughter, MOB, and see if any of them appeal to her. If so, add the idea she likes best to the list you’re making for the photographer. Your little bride-to-be will be grateful for your help

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

*The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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! (To be included in this issue’s giveaway draw, you must sign up by noon on Saturday Apr. 29.)

*Flickr photo by galeria_stefbu, Creative Commons License

Bridal Gown Trend in 2017: Illusion Lace Sleeves

Mother of the Bride, for several years strapless bridal gowns dominated the bridal attire landscape, but a different trend seems to have taken hold now—illusion lace sleeves. According to Belle the Magazine—The Wedding Blog for the Sophisticated Bride—illusion lace sleeves are here to stay.

The photo above is actually one I used a couple of years ago of a gown from Chatfield’s, a bridal shop that specializes in modest gowns, but it wonderfully illustrates the illusion lace sleeve trend that is popular currently. I love the delicate and feminine look this particular trend affords—so romantic and even vintage looking.

To see some other absolutely gorgeous gowns featuring the illusion lace sleeve trend, hop on over to Belle the Magazine’s blog post.  The dresses pictured there are all so elegant and stunning. I definitely love this trend!

If your daughter doesn’t have her gown yet, be sure and share this post with her, MOB. She might just find her dream dress—or at least a feature she wants to keep in mind as the two of you begin shopping for her dress. Enjoy this special part of the journey!

*You might also like to read Bridal Gowns with Modest Design—Try Chatfield’s! and New Trend in Wedding Gowns: Lacy Top or Sleeve.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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!

*Photo compliments of Chatfield’s

Meeting a Problem Head-On

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’” John 18:4 NIV

With Easter still fresh on our minds today, let’s take a look at one of the lessons we can learn from the age-old story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Many insights and truths can be drawn from this dramatic real-life event, but let’s focus today on how Jesus handled a problem that came looking for him on that dark night before his crucifixion.

When confronted with the most dreaded and excruciating hours of his life, what did Jesus do? He met the ordeal head-on. Scripture tells us that while Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane—after eating his last Passover meal with his disciples and after spending time in agonizing prayer—some soldiers and religious officials led by Judas came looking for him.

Since Jesus knew all that was about to happen, he could have handled the situation in a number of ways. As soon as the threat was spotted, he could have run for his life and told his disciples to do the same. Or he could have had the disciples stay and cause a delay while he made his getaway. Or since it was nighttime, he might have even told everyone to hide.

But Jesus didn’t do any of those things. Instead, he summoned his courage and went out to meet the threat. He told them he was the one they were looking for. Then he tried to protect his disciples by asking that they be let go. When one of the disciples drew his sword and began to put up a fight, Jesus stopped him and said, “‘Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’” (v. 11) Yes, he was ready to meet the life and death challenge head-on.

How was he able to do this? Love for us. His desire to pay the price for our sins and offer us eternal life instead. Also love for his Father and his commitment to do the Father’s will. And I’m sure he gained strength from the Father during his Garden of Gethsemane prayer time. We’re told in the scriptures that an angel even came and strengthened him there (Luke 22:43.) All of these things combined helped Jesus face his moment of truth.

Are any of us faced with an overwhelming situation? Let’s take strength from the example of Jesus and from the strength God so willingly gives and then go out and meet the challenge head-on. Let’s drink the cup the Father has given us. Let’s bring glory to his name.

“‘The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God and I will exalt him.’” Exodus 15:2

*When has God given you strength to face a dreaded ordeal?

The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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!

*Flickr photo by TimOve, Creative Commons License

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is the secret of success in every sphere of life . . .” Hugh Black

Yes, Mother of the Bride, as in other areas of life, attention to detail when planning a wedding makes all the difference. If you want to bless your daughter and the love of her life with a wedding celebration filled with joy, beauty, fun, and ultimately great memories, give attention to all the details.

Whether it’s making sure everyone knows their assignments on Wedding Day or ensuring  that each centerpiece is centered and setting level on the tables, the details all work together to provide a beautiful setting and to keep things running smoothly throughout the entire event.

Nothing is too small or insignificant for your attention. If you give attention to detail, it shows. If you don’t give it, that shows as well. Why not give your family and friends an experience that leaves them saying Wasn’t that a wonderful wedding? Wasn’t that a great party?

After Kristin and Shawn’s wedding, I actually received a note from one of her bridesmaids telling me how much she enjoyed the wedding weekend and how the attention to detail made everything perfect. A few months after Kelli and Jake’s wedding and after they had attended a friend’s wedding where apparently haphazard best summed it up, Jake thanked me for everything I did to make their wedding a smooth-sailing and beautiful event. What was the key? Attention to detail.

Go above and beyond, Mother of the Bride. Give attention to detail.

*You might also like to read Mother of the Bride, You Are Appreciated and Mother of the Bride – Needed and Loved.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps 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!

*Photo by Chris Humphrey