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

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

Wedding Cake Roundup

the wedding cake by Emmaline

Mother of the Bride, if your darling daughter-turned-bride is ready to decide on what kind of wedding cake she’d like, then this post is for you. Counting today’s, I’ve featured twenty design ideas for wedding cakes here on my blog since I started it nearly four years ago so I thought it was high time to do a round-up post of all the various ideas.

But before I share the round-up list, allow me to point out the photo above featuring my daughter Kristin’s cake. The top was completely covered in fresh flowers while fresh flowers provided accents on the other layers as well. The fresh flower petals rimming the bottom layer and scattered on the tablecloth added the exquisite finishing touch to the overall floral look. It was absolutely beautiful and oh so tasty.

Now for the roundup—here are the links to the cake designs I’ve featured thus far:

Wedding Cake Idea: The Drape Effect

Scattered Pearls Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake Trend: Ruffles!

Wedding Cake Idea: Coconut Cloud

Wedding Cake Idea: Beautiful Brooch Accents!

A Berry Beautiful Wedding Cake

Traditional Wedding Cake Twist: The Naked Cake

Winter Wedding Cake Idea: Snowflakes!

Cake Idea for the Rustic Wedding

Unique Wedding Cake Idea: Word Search Cake!

Wedding Cake Design: Graduating Circles

Wedding Cake Idea: Swiss Dots

Wedding Cake Idea: The Textured Cake

Sash and Brooch Multilayer Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake Trend: Multiple Mini Cakes

Back from Break with a Monogrammed Wedding Cake!

Wedding Cake Idea: The Single Layer Cake!

New Wedding Cake Trend: The Ombre Cake

So there you have it, MOB—be sure to share with your daughter! She might just find a design idea that she wants to use or at least incorporate into her final choice. What a fun part of wedding planning, huh? Enjoy yourselves when it comes time to taste-test!

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 by Chris Humphrey Photography

9 Easy Ways for the MOB to Bond With the Groom

MOB seeing groom for first time

Mother of the Bride, now that your daughter is sporting an engagement ring, you may be wondering how you can develop a closer relationship with your soon-to-be son-in-law. Hopefully you’ve gotten to know him fairly well during their dating days, but officially becoming part of your family—well, that takes the whole dynamic up a notch, doesn’t it?

Never fear, MOB—here are nine easy ways you can bond with the groom:

  1. Spend time with the happy couple—have fun together! This may seem obvious, but with everyone’s busy schedules, you may have to be really intentional about spending time together. Don’t miss the big dividends this simple step can pay.
  1. Take a genuine interest in his job, his dreams, and his interests. Ask him about these aspects of his life and show him your support in whatever way you can. Praise not only his accomplishments but also his character.
  1. Treat him to his favorite food or restaurant. Make his favorite pie or cake or treat him to his favorite eating spot. Bond over barbecue or steaks.
  1. Include him in family traditions and help him get to know your extended family and friends. Traditions always serve as bond-builders so take advantage of this whenever you can. And as your soon-to-be son gets to know your other loved ones, you’ll both feel like he’s becoming part of the family. Another benefit is that everyone will feel more comfortable with one another on wedding day and that just adds to the joy!
  1. Become acquainted with his family and include his mom in some aspect of the wedding planning. He will appreciate every effort you make to get to know his family better and will be especially grateful for ways you can make his mother feel included in the biggest event of his life. The better you know his family, the more you’ll have in common.
  1. Conspire with him to plan a surprise for your daughter. If he asks your help concerning something he has in mind for the engagement, his wedding gift for her, the honeymoon, or some other surprise he has up his sleeve, welcome the opportunity to be involved. A shared secret is super fun and another great bond-builder. If he doesn’t come to you, initiate a surprise of your own for your sweet girl and recruit him to help pull it off.
  1. Ask for his help or advice in his area of expertise. This may or may not have to do with a wedding-related task. The important thing is he will feel affirmed as you seek out his knowledge or skill, and it will also give you a chance to get to know him on a different level.
  1. Pray for him. He may not know you’re bonding when you do this, but you will. As you pray for him, you’ll feel closer to him and that will naturally manifest itself in all your interactions.
  1. Show excitement about his plans for the honeymoon. He won’t tell you all the details, but be happy with him over any little detail he does share with you. Your excitement will boost his confidence and joy and he’ll be grateful for your support.

So there you go, MOB—start bonding away! You’ll both be glad you did. And your darling daughter will be so happy to see you grow to love and appreciate the love of her life. Definitely a win-win-win!

*Adapted from Chapter 10 of my book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride.

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

*Photo by Chris Humphrey

Gift Idea: Prayers for the Mother of the Groom

IMG_8654Mother of the Bride, have you thought about giving the mother of the groom a little gift of some sort? This didn’t occur to me when I was an MOB so you may not have thought of it either. But giving a small gesture of acceptance and friendship is always worth the effort, isn’t it?

One great gift idea for the MOG is the book Prayers for the Mother of the Groom by Traci Matt. Designed for use during the last two months leading up to the wedding (or MOGs could start earlier and go through it a couple of times), this book is a wonderful resource for Christian moms who desire to cover their sons, themselves, their families, and the entire bridal party in prayer as they all go through the life-changing event of a wedding.

Each of the sixty selections included feature an introductory paragraph or two about some aspect of the wedding or the changing family dynamic, and then Matt shares an in-depth prayer addressing the topic of the day. Matt’s prayers spring from the truths and insights she’s gleaned from the Word of God and from her own personal experience as both a mother of the groom and a mother of the bride. With each selection Matt also shares a feature called “Something Borrowed”—a quote applicable to that day’s topic.

In this nicely done self-published paperback book, mothers of the groom will discover an extremely thorough and heartfelt guide for their own prayers. Not every topic mentioned or every prayer prayed will apply to every MOG, of course, but each mom will be able to easily apply what pertains to her and skim over the parts that don’t quite fit her situation. With Matt’s wisdom and skillful and easy-to-read writing style, I think mothers of the groom will love using this book.

So MOB, does this sound like a gift you’d like to offer to your future son-in-law’s mother? If you can help the prayer effort going up for your soon-to-be son and your precious girl, I’ll be you’re all for it, right? Why not bless the MOG today with a copy of Prayers for the Mother of the Groom!

*You might also like to read Make the Mother of the Groom Part of the Team and Kicking Off the In-Law Relationship.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right. Your name won’t be included in the giveaway draw until the next issue comes out, but it’s not too late to receive this issue. Sign up today!

*My photo