Wedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer

Mother of the Bride, today I have a tip on how to sidestep a potential disappointment with photos from the big day. Since wedding photography is one of the major expenses for the wedding, you definitely want to do anything you can to insure that both you and the happy couple will be satisfied with the once-in-a-lifetime photos from their special day.

One of the best things you can do to avoid disappointment with the photos is to give a list of must-have shots to your professional photographer. Don’t assume he or she will automatically take all the shots you think are standard. Don’t expect him to be a mind-reader, MOB. Some couples and their parents have a very traditional vision of what their photos should include while others want to take a more casual or photo-journalistic approach.

Be specific. Don’t just say family shots. List the specific family shots you want. Also be sure to tell him that in addition to the list, you want him to be as creative as possible and capture unexpected, fun, and tender moments whenever and wherever he can.

As you compile your list, MOB, think outside the box—think of some of the great photo opps that might present themselves at the wedding that are unique to you and your family and friends.The photographer will not magically know to take a photo of you with your very best friends. He won’t know that the newlyweds want a shot of all their college friends together.

Do a little photography preparation, MOB, and you’ll come much closer to being pleasantly surprised with the results instead of unhappy over missed shots. Take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event—make your list!

*You might also like to read Wedding Weekend Photography Tip and Day Before Wedding Tip: Preview Flowers.

*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 in early August. 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.)

*Hope this slightly revised encore post from Feb. 2014 has been helpful to you!

*Flickr photo by Elvert Barnes, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Staying in Lonely Places

girl-491623_640“ . . . Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places . . .” Mark 1:45

Jesus knows what it’s like to be forced to stay in lonely places. Early in his ministry after people began to hear about his healing powers, crowds began to seek him out any time they caught news of his whereabouts. Jesus was no longer free to stay wherever he wanted. His growing popularity brought new limitations into his life.

Some of us may find ourselves in a situation or season of life that makes it necessary for us to stay in lonely places. For whatever reason, we’re not free to do what we want to do or go where we’d like to go. This new season, this new situation, has brought new limitations.

Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus understands our disappointment and frustration, our grief and loneliness when we lose our freedom? Let’s not face time like these alone. Let’s turn to Jesus. He understands.

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28

*What’s one of the lonely places that life has found you in?

*CCO Public Domain Photo

Midweek Morsel: A Light for the Darkness

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Some of us may find ourselves in dark places today. If you’re struggling with fear, depression, grief, or life circumstances that seem hopeless, please know that you’re not alone. All of us have been there at one point or another.

The good news is that there is a Light for the darkness. If we will but look, if we will but lift our eyes, the Lord will be our light during our darkest moments. He will be our guide, our comfort, our hope. May these verses point you to him, my friends. May hope be your portion today!

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” Micah 7:8b

“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28

“‘I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.’” Isaiah 42:16

*When has the Lord been the light in your darkness?

*Flickr photo by jeet_sen, Creative Commons License

Prisoner of Hope While Waiting

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“Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12

I am a prisoner—a prisoner of hope. Both professionally and personally I’m in the midst of long waits. Not long ago when I read the verse above where God is speaking to his people Israel, my spirit said, “Yes, yes, that’s me. I’m a prisoner of hope.”

On the professional front, many of you know I’ve been working towards book publication for a long time. Yes, it’s been a period filled with work to help bring the dream to fruition, but even though it’s been an active time, it’s also been a waiting time. Waiting as I develop my craft. Waiting as I build an online presence. Waiting as I network. Waiting for the right time to seek an agent. And now my agent and I work and wait together for the right publishing deal to unfold.

Just a few weeks ago, my publication dream looked like it was finally going to become reality. We actually had a contract. But before we could get it finalized, economic difficulties forced the publisher to withdraw their new contract offers. My book deal disappeared before I could ever announce it.

In the face of this withdrawn contract, hope threatened to disappear as well. But instead, it was time to live out my faith. Time to put feet to my claims of wanting God’s will alone. Time to turn once again to my Fortress, my God, and fix my eyes on him. Time to continue being a prisoner of hope.

On the personal front, my husband and I have been waiting with our kids for years for God to bless them with a child. As with me and my book publication dreams, this period has been an active time for them as well as they’ve worked towards making their dream come true. But in their situation, the waiting time outweighs active times. The whole experience can best be described as brutal. And we have been standing with them in prayer continually—and hurting with them as well through countless disappointments.

And yes, with each of their disappointments, hope threatens to disappear. Each time we must each one decide to lift our tear-stained eyes to our Fortress, our God, and continue to trust in him. We must choose to continue living our lives as prisoners of hope.

God is worthy of our trust, and he alone is our source of hope. Look at the last half of the verse in Zechariah—“even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” I believe not only does God want to bless us, but he wants to bless us abundantly.

How about you? Are you a prisoner of hope? Do you need to return to your fortress today and live out your continued trust and hope in God? You’re not alone. Let’s join our hands and walk our faith together.

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14

*What are you hoping for today?

*p.s. If you would be so kind, would you whisper a prayer for the situations I shared with you today? Thank you!

*Flickr photo by cabodevassoura, Creative Commons License

Focusing on Second Best and Missing the Gold

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Photographers—even hobbyists like me—are always on the lookout for photographic gold. You know what I’m talking about. The shots that make the one behind the camera say yes and grin like a Cheshire cat while those later viewing the photos say “Wow” as they experience wonder, joy, peace, or any number of other reactions. Good photographs move us, don’t they?

I find much of my photographic gold in wildlife shots, especially birds. Why birds? Mainly because they’re plentiful here in town where I live. But they are also beautiful and amazing creations of God.

The sanctuary I’ve created for my winged neighbors by providing a backyard bird feeder and bird bath gives me the opportunity to focus on several different visitors on most days. Many of the birds are the ordinary varieties of our region, but every now and then I spot more interesting or seldom-seen-by-me birds stopping by for a snack or a quick refresher at the bird bath.

In my zeal to capture photos of my backyard visitors, sometimes I’ve almost missed seeing an unusual bird because I was so focused on getting shots of the more visible, ordinary birds that stop by. I’ve sometimes missed the photographic gold while focusing on the second best. And boy, do I ever kick myself when that happens.

Missing the gold while focusing on second best can happen in more spheres than just photography, can’t it? Do we perhaps miss the gold of building relationship or memories while doing one more chore or checking off another item on our to-do list from work? Do we spend our spare time pursuing a hobby rather than spending time with an elderly parent or friend? Do we miss time with God while opting instead to stay in bed for another thirty minutes?

Let’s look sharp for the extraordinary in our lives. Let’s not spend so much time focusing on second best that we only catch a fleeting glimpse of the true treasure. Let’s not miss the gold.

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better . . .’” Luke 10:41-42a

*When have you missed the gold while focusing on second best?

*My photo