Make the Mother of the Groom Part of the Team

4197459050_4ec8e9f299_zMother of the Bride, have you reached out yet to help the Mother of the Groom feel included in some way in the wedding preparations? Remember, the wedding you’re helping your daughter plan is a very big deal to the mother of your little girl’s beloved, too. This is a major milestone and celebration in the life of their family as well.

True, unless the groom’s family is helping in a significant way financially and thus in charge of certain aspects of the wedding, you and your daughter will take care of most of the wedding preparations. However, you can enlist the MOG’s help for certain things.

Here are a few ideas to help make the Mother of the Groom feel like she’s part of the team:

1) Ask her to be in charge of providing the card box/container to use on Wedding Day for any wedding cards guests may bring.
2) Invite her to help decorate the church and/or reception venue the day before the wedding.
3) Ask if she can provide some needed items such as cake knife and server set (since one will be needed for the groom’s cake as well) or a champagne bucket.
4) If a problem arises with some aspect of the wedding prep, is there some way she might be able to help? If so, call on her.
5) Is there an errand she can run? For example, if you need to find multiple items of a certain component of the centerpieces, can she check to see if more of the items you need are available at the store in her location?

MOB, these are just a few possibilities for including the MOG. I’m sure you’ll be able to think of others. The important thing is to just reach out, to make her feel included. The joy will be that much greater during Wedding Weekend if you’ve built a bond ahead of time. Don’t miss out on this special blessing!

*You might also like to read Kicking Off the In-Law Relationship.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Or Hiltch, Creative Commons License

Look Beyond the Weakness

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Sometimes we have a tendency to label or pigeonhole people according to our perceived view of their weaknesses or flaws.

Just think of how we identify others at times, either in our thoughts or in actual conversation. We say things like oh, she’s the heavy one, the homely one, the ditzy one, the gossip. Or he’s the string-bean, the nerd, the boring one, the loser. Unfortunately, unless we’ve taken time to look beyond the weaknesses or flaws, we tend to think of them in terms of these not-so-flattering labels.

Even Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, has been remembered down through the ages as doubting Thomas. Yes, he did in fact express doubt when told about the resurrection of Jesus, and that event is detailed in John 20:24-29. Unfortunately, that’s how most of us remember him.

However, Thomas also displayed great courage. When Jesus wanted to return to an area where the Jews had previously threatened to stone him, the other disciples questioned Jesus about wanting to go back. Thomas, on the other hand, said, “‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’” (John 11:16b)

Maybe it’s time that we look beyond Thomas’s weakness and notice his strength—and maybe it’s time we do that for others as well. Let’s take time to look past whatever weakness or failure we see at first and look for the best in one another. Let’s be overheard saying things like oh, he’s the brave one, the funny guy, the giver, or she’s the creative one, the kind one, the peacemaker.

Yes, let’s look past the weaknesses. Let’s look through eyes of love. Let’s look beyond.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . .” 1 Thessalonians 5:11a

*What do you hope people see when they look beyond your weaknesses?

*Flickr photo by Flood G., Creative Commons License

Building a Bridge to the Groom

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I recently got to hang out with a brand new mother of the bride—what fun! It was double the fun because this new MOB happens also to be one of my very best friends. Jeneal and I don’t get to see each other very often so we had lots of catching up to do and also lots of wedding talk to accomplish in a few short hours.

Jeneal wanted my help in selecting a few items to send to her daughter to help kick off their long-distance wedding planning relationship. We met at Barnes & Noble along with our other good friend Teri, gathered up a variety of wedding planners, books, and magazines to peruse before deciding the best fit for Jeneal’s daughter Liz, and then deposited ourselves in the store’s Starbucks Cafe to ooh and ah and giggle to our hearts’ content. The other customers knew without a doubt that a mother of the bride and her friends were on the premises. What can I say? We were excited :)

Jeneal made her choices and then thought of one more thing she’d like to send—a little something for the groom. She hasn’t had a chance to get to know her daughter’s beloved yet since she and Liz live in different states. She thought why not make a gesture—you know, build a bridge to this new son-in-law-to-be. My friend is a wise and thoughtful woman, huh?

After we looked at a few books especially for the groom, she decided on the one pictured above, The Groom’s Instruction Manual: How to Survive and Possibly Even Enjoy the Most Bewildering Ceremony Known to Man. Since it takes a humorous approach and has illustrations, we thought it was the perfect choice for the male species in general and the best bet for one that Jeneal doesn’t really know yet.

I don’t know if the groom in question has read the book yet or not—or even if he will—but I can almost guarantee you that he was super pleased that his future mother-in-law thought of him and made an effort to include him in the celebratory package to her daughter. A small gesture can not only speak volumes, but it can build a bridge as well, can’t it?

*What can you do to build a bridge to the man who’s captured your daughter’s heart? If you already know him, how can you build on the relationship you already have?

*Phot0 from Barnes & Noble

When Jesus Touches Our Lives

Think back today to the years when Jesus walked on earth. When he interacted face to face with those around him, when his hands touched their needs. Those folks walked away different than they were before they met Jesus.

Blinded eyes saw again. Deaf ears opened. People were fed. Fevers disappeared. Shame fell away. The lame leapt with joy. Persecutors became followers. And on and on it goes. All of these things happened because people had encounters with Jesus.

You see, when Jesus touches our lives, we are changed. The people that Jesus met during his days on earth saw not only healings and physical changes, but they experienced spiritual transformation as well.

Consider the story of the jailer told in Acts 16:31-34. He stood guard over Paul and Silas when they were thrown in a Roman prison. In fact, after being told to guard them carefully, he was the one who put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in stocks. They would not escape on his watch.

Little did the jailer know that God had other plans. While Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, an earthquake rocked the prison. All the prison doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose.

The jailer, gripped by fear and the certain knowledge that escaped prisoners meant his own execution, drew his sword and prepared to kill himself. When Paul stopped him by shouting that they were all still there, the jailer fell to his knees and asked what he needed to do to be saved.

Paul and Silas said, “‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’” (v. 31)When they could have turned a deaf ear to the one who had mistreated them, Paul and Silas extended the love—the touch—of Jesus. The jailer believed and his life forever changed.

Because he met Jesus, the man who had thrown these men of God into the inner cell and put them in stocks now washed and tended their wounds. He took them into his home and set a meal before them. Why? Jesus had touched his life, and he was a changed man.

Jesus is still touching lives today. Lives are still being changed. And I am among them. Because Jesus touched my life with love and forgiveness, I can offer the same to others. Because Jesus has given me hope and peace, I can share these precious gifts with those around me. My life is changed, I am changed, because Jesus touched—and continues to touch—my life.

Do you need the loving, healing touch of Jesus in your life today? He’s as close as your next breath. Use it to whisper his name. Call on him. He will not fail you. He will extend his touch to you. And you will be forever changed.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’” Revelation 3:20 KJV

*How has Jesus touched your life?

*If you don’t have a personal faith in Jesus, you can come to know him today. Just talk to him. Tell him you believe that he died for your sins and the sins of the world and that he rose from the dead to bring victory over sin and give eternal life to those who believe in him. Ask him to forgive your sins and to come into your life and be your Savior. He loves you and is waiting to hear from you!

*Flickr photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto

 *Don’t miss out on the I Love Chocolate Giveaway 2! Also, Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out May 1st. It’s not too late to receive. Sign up is free and to the right!

*I’d love to have you come over and “like” my new Cheryl Barker, Writer page on Facebook. I plan to post things that readers will be interested in (book recommendations, free on Kindle links, book giveaway links, etc.) along with any writing news I may have. Hope you’ll come join me!

Kindness Works

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve got a competitive streak. Just ask my family.

The latest evidence of my drive to win (aka my cutthroat tendencies :)) occurred during our Easter visit to Mom and Dad’s. Yes, I indulged in cutthroat behavior on Easter weekend. It seems my desire to conquer knows no bounds. Good grief :)

This time the game was Mexican Train Dominoes. You know—that nice little game that almost anyone can play. Nice, that is, until I implement my Mexican train policy. Yes, I have a policy :)

In this version of dominoes, after everyone has their first turn and plays on the double in the middle, someone can start the Mexican train off to the side (using another of the same number as the double in the middle). This is a neat, wild-card feature to the game that allows players to get rid of dominoes that don’t fit into their own train somewhere.

Now, if a player can’t play on their own train, he has to draw from the pile until he can play on his spot. Since that can get super depressing real fast, someone usually has pity on that poor person and plays on his train to try to help get him started. But me? I have a policy—a policy to start the Mexican train first. In other words, I do what’s best for me in the long-run instead of helping someone from my very own family. I told you I was bloodthirsty :)

Of course, my family gives me trouble about this little policy, but as I said to them Easter weekend, “What good’s a policy if you don’t live by it?” We all laughed, and it immediately became an ongoing joke.

You’d think my fellow players would pay me back big-time when I didn’t have the right domino to start my own trains, but believe it or not, they didn’t. Someone would take pity on me right away instead of starting the Mexican train like I would if given the chance. I humbly thanked each benefactor and then next round, I’d go right back to playing by my notorious policy.

In the days after we returned home, I kept thinking of the kindness and compassion shown to me—not only by my family but by my Heavenly Father as well. My competitive heart began to soften. I decided that maybe it’s time to change my policy. Kindness looks more attractive than winning. (At least that’s how it looks when I’m not in the throes of a game :))

If kindness can work to change my cutthroat behavior, I wonder what else kindness can change? When we are faced with someone’s hard-hearted or even downright mean behavior toward us or our loved ones, I wonder what would happen if we implemented a kindness policy?

It might take awhile. We might not see immediate results. But there’s a good chance kindness will soften that hard heart. For you see, kindness works. I’m living proof.

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.’” Jeremiah 31:3

*How have you seen kindness work before?

*Don’t miss out on the “This One’s for the Girls Giveaway”! Deadline to enter is noon on Mother’s Day.

*It’s not too late to receive the current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Earl-Wilkerson