Mother of the Bride Book’s Birthday Giveaway and a Blogging Break

Last year at this time I was in the midst of celebrating the launch of my book Mother of the Bride. Since July 1st was the official launch date, I consider that the book’s official “birthday” too. So now my book baby is one year old!

If you weren’t a mother of the bride last July, you probably missed all the hoopla. I hosted a big giveaway here on my website, my family sent me flowers, and friends and fellow writers wished me well and shared the book via social media. Later in the month, I had a launch party at our local library. After all, the birth of a book calls for lots of celebration!

I think a first birthday calls for some celebration too so how about another giveaway? One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of my book along with a set of the Wedding Inspiration cards I developed a few months ago (see below.) For those who are reading this but are not mothers of the bride, you don’t have to be a mother of the bride to enter. The book and cards also make perfect gifts, and I love to see the book donated to church and public libraries as well. For a description of the book along with endorsements, I’ll link you to the Books section of my website.

Now for the giveaway. Here’s how it will work—and you must follow the instructions to qualify for the entries. You may list all of your entries (as outlined below) in one comment:

*1 entry for leaving a comment on this post here on my website. The comments on Facebook are greatly appreciated, but to be entered in the giveaway, you must leave a comment here.

*2 entries for Liking my Cheryl Barker, Writer Facebook page (tell me in the comments.) If you’ve already Liked the page, just say so. That definitely counts!

*3 entries for sharing the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter (tell me in the comments.)

*4 entries for subscribing to Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter (tell me in the comments but be sure to confirm your subscription when you get a confirmation email.) Sign-up is to the right under “Free For You”. (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) If you’re already a Life Notes subscriber, you bet that counts. Just mention it in your comment.

*Giveaway is open to US residents only due to customs and mailing costs.

*Drawing will be done by Random.Org.

Enter by noon CST July 22nd, and I will update this post with the winner announcement as soon as I’m able, depending on travels, etc.

I won’t be posting here again until August 1st. Yes, that’s a long blogging break, but July is going to be a super busy month for me so I’m being kind to myself and taking a break. I’ve learned it’s okay to do that!

For “mother of the bride” help in the meantime, check out my list of Favorite Posts and also the drop down menu in the Archives. You’ll find both of these on the sidebar. (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find them.) I encourage you to check out my Pinterest boards for some great ideas as well. Have fun with all of that, MOB, and I’ll see back here on August 1st!

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 cash (summer mad money!) 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.)

Left to right: Life Lessons from the Mother of the Bride, A Mother of the Bride’s Prayer, A Bride’s Wedding Day Prayer, Praying for Newlyweds, and For the Newlyweds.

Grandson Photo Fun Plus July Blogging Break

*Don’t miss a special giveaway going on over on my Mother of the Bride Blog. You don’t have to be a mother of the bride to win!

When the month of July rolls around each year, that means it’s time for some Summer Photo Fun here on the blog. And what better kind of photo fun to feature this year than Grandson Photo Fun, right? How can I not share this kind of sweetness with you!

For those of you who don’t already know, God has blessed us with TWO sets of twin grandsons! Isaiah and James are pictured above on the left (James on left, Isaiah on right) and belong to our daughter Kristin and her husband Shawn. Samuel and Silas are on the right (Silas on left, Samuel on right) and belong to our daughter Kelli and her husband Jake. Isaiah and James are now 2 ½ years old and Samuel and Silas will be 11 months old in a few days. We love these little guys beyond words. And yes, they keep us hopping!

Life is so busy for me right now—and July is always extra busy when my husband is on vacation for a few weeks—so I’m going to take a blogging  break and leave these photos of our sweet boys up here on the blog for the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy seeing these little sweethearts—and I will be back with regular weekly blog posts in a few weeks. Have a great July!

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV

Sweet Samuel

Busy Silas

*I have some family events and travel scheduled for July. Will you be doing anything special this month?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 cash (summer mad money!) 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.)

Casting a Shadow

Shadows. They can be scary, can’t they? They hold the unknown. They sometimes even hold danger.

In life, we encounter shadows of a figurative kind. The menacing ones seem gigantic. Things like cancer, terrorism, financial problems, loss of loved ones, and divorce. Shadows like that can nearly suffocate us.

But not all shadows in life are negative. This time of year—in the heat of summer—shadows provide shade and welcome relief. We don’t run away from them. Instead we run to them. Some we welcome with open arms.

Loved ones cast a comforting shadow when we’re hurting. Mentors provide the shade of experience and encouragement as we try to grow. Friends offer the shelter of companionship when we’re lonely or needing some fun. And the Word of God stands ever-ready to give us whatever kind of refuge we need. No, not all shadows are negative.

The question we need to consider is what kind of shadow are we casting today in the lives of those who know us? What would they say about our influence or our impact on them if given the opportunity?

Do we bring others (or maybe just certain people) down by our negative or critical attitudes and words? Do we add a dark cloud of worry wherever we go? Or instead, do we lift people’s spirits with our happy dispositions and words of encouragement? Do we cast a ray of sunshine instead of an unwelcome shadow?

If you’re like me, it may be a mixture of both. Sometimes our families get an up-close and personal taste of the negative side of our personalities. Hopefully, those are balanced out by all the positive influences we bring into their lives.

Let’s make sure our shadows—whether with family or with the world in general—are the kind people run to, the kind that provide shade and welcome relief.

Let’s cast shadows that people welcome with open arms.

“O LORD, you are my God . . . You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:1a, 4a

*Who has cast a positive shadow in your life?

*My photo

“Show Off the Ring” Engagement Photo Idea

Mother of the Bride, one of the fun parts of being an MOB is always being on the lookout for great engagement and wedding photo ideas. Funny, isn’t it, how after becoming an MOB, your eyes and ears perk up to a whole new world of sights and sounds you barely noticed before. And you know what? I have fun presenting you with a small part of that whole new world!

Today I’m super excited to share this “Show Off the Ring” engagement photo idea because I absolutely love it. I love how the couple is holding hands and how the ring is the central focus of the photo. I love how the dark clothes the bride and groom-to-be are wearing provide a dramatic color contrast for the light color of the ring. It’s perfect for making the ring stand out and truly sparkle. The bokeh effect in the background also adds to the ring being the star of the show, doesn’t it? And to top it all off, this is a super simple shot to make happen.

If you love this simple yet dramatic way to show of the ring as much as I do, MOB, why not send this blog post link to your daughter and let her take a look. I’m predicting she’ll love it as well and suggest it to their photographer when the time comes. What fun it will be to see the shot come alive with your sweet girl and the love of her life! Enjoy, MOB!

*You might also like to read Engagement Photo Idea: Show Off the Ring and Wedding Day First Dance Photo—Show Off Her Rings!

*Flickr photo by shaunanyi, Creative Commons License

Let’s Give Ourselves a Time Out—For Gratitude!

Too often we wait until November, the month of thanks—or even the very end of the year—to focus on things we’re grateful for, but let’s take a time out to do it today.

After all, we should have thankful hearts all year long, right? Sometimes we let life blaze past us, forgetting to truly appreciate and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives. So let’s do our best from now on to continually cultivate thankful hearts—and we can start by being intentional about it today.

Since we’ve almost reached the midpoint of 2017, let’s each give some thought to the top ten things we’re most grateful for so far this year. Limiting it to this year will help us focus our thoughts on the most recent events in our lives rather than thinking of the general things that always come to mind when giving thanks.

Here’s my Top Ten Gratitude List thus far for 2017:

  1. I’m thankful for being able to trust God for the outcome of a big personal prayer concern as well as some work-related concerns. So grateful for the peace and rest I find in trusting him.
  2. I’m thankful for the times we’ve spent with our daughters, sons-in-law, and two sets of twin grandsons. So thankful for sweet baby smiles and little boy laughter, for snuggly cuddles and precious hugs. Thankful for trips to the zoo and for seeing baby milestones achieved.
  3. I’m thankful my dad, my sister Carolyn, and I got to go meet the newest member of our extended family—Jaxon, my niece Joanna’s baby and my sister Janice’s first grandbaby.
  4. I’m thankful for God’s Word and how he has used it to guide me and to strengthen and encourage me and how he’s allowed me to share it with others through my writing.
  5. I’m thankful to have reached one of my main author marketing goals for the year—participating in bridal fairs.  This has been a challenge because of high vendor fees, but God has led me to two so far on the lower end of the expense spectrum.
  6. I’m thankful for safe travel in all my trips to see our grandkids and also travel associated with my writing. For example, on one trip to Little Rock, I had three close calls on the interstate. I don’t take safe travel for granted.
  7. I’m thankful for the beautiful job Stephanie Wheatley of Wheatley Design did on the Wedding Inspiration cards I developed. Also very thankful for God’s leading in this project as well as my daughter Kristin’s help with various aspects of it.
  8. I’m thankful for good health for Don and me through cold and flu season. Also very thankful that God kept our grandbabies protected from the flu.
  9. I’m thankful for a quick getaway to Branson with Don in May. It had been over five years since we had been there. It was so good to enjoy Silver Dollar City once again—a place where my entire family has many great memories together.
  10. And finally, I’m thankful Don is carrying a lighter teaching load in summer school this summer. Since his Microbiology class is filled beyond capacity, he could never have kept up with all the extra work that causes plus teach Anatomy & Physiology the way he normally does as well.

So there’s my top ten—how about yours? I think you’ll find that when you get started, it will be hard to stop at ten!

“Come and see what God has done, the amazing things he has done for people.” Psalm 66:5 NCV

*What are you grateful for so far in 2017?

*Flickr photo by RnD.de.Portraits, Creative Commons License