Archives for March 2014

Focusing on Second Best and Missing the Gold


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

Wedding Décor Beauty: Candlelight Works

JWF_5360Mother of the Bride, as you and your daughter discuss décor options for the ceremony and receptions sites, don’t overlook the beauty of candlelight. No two ways about it, candlelight works. Yes, other décor possibilities are beautiful, too, but candlelight has a magic all its own.

Candlelight adds beauty, serenity, and romance to every area it graces. This may be one reason candelabras have been such a traditional decoration for the front of the church. As the bride and groom exchange vows, they are flanked not only by the elegance of their attendants but also by the beauty of candlelight.

If your daughter doesn’t want the traditional candelabra-look for the ceremony, maybe she could have clusters of pillar candles positioned at various places up front. Or she might want votive candles lining certain areas. Possibilities abound. Just be sure to suggest that she include the magic and beauty of candlelight somewhere in the vision she has for her ceremony. Candlelight works wonders at a welcome area near the guest book as well.

Candlelight transforms a reception site, too. Whether candles are part of the guest table décor, a magical touch at the cake tables, or positioned in windows or other key areas, candlelight amps up the beauty factor at the reception big-time. As the evening goes on, the beauty grows as outside light fades and the candlelight becomes more prominent. It will make the wedding wonderland you’ve created absolutely gorgeous.

So MOB, do everyone a favor and encourage your daughter to offer the beauty of candlelight to all who join her and her beloved for their big day!

*What are some creative ways you’ve seen candlelight used for weddings?

*Photo by Will Flowers

Midweek Morsel: Gift of Intercession


“My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” Job 16:20-21

If anyone can offer some insight into what helps a person who is hurting, it could certainly be Job. The Old Testament tells the story of Job, the righteous man whom God allowed to be tested and afflicted by Satan. Satan felt sure he could make Job forsake his faith in God, but God had confidence in Job.

After having his home, his considerable wealth, each of his children, and even his health all taken from him, Job would not turn his back on God and walk away. His pain and grief overwhelmed him, but during the midst of his darkest days, he gave us a lesson—though it may have been unintentional—on how to help the hurting.

Job said, “My intercessor is my friend . . .” The one who would plead with God for him was the one Job considered a friend. Job saw the prayers of others as a true gift, a real help, and a comfort during the most heartbreaking time of his life.

How can we help those who are hurting? Let’s give the gift of intercession.

“Brothers, pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:25

*When has someone’s gift of intercession been a sign of loving friendship for you?

*Flickr photo by albertopveiga, Creative Commons License

New Wedding Cake Trend: The Ombre Cake


Mother of the Bride, if your daughter is looking for a wedding cake that’s a little different, a little less traditional, why not suggest an ombre cake? An ombre cake is characterized by colors fading from one to another on either the frosting or the inside layers of the cake.

If you spend a little time perusing Pinterest, you’ll see that ombre cakes are popular right now for all occasions—weddings included. It may be just what your daughter’s looking for.

The ombre touch is light on the pretty lavender cake pictured above, but more drastic color changes are being done as well. Using unusual colors for wedding cakes may be a little difficult for many of us moms to wrap our minds around, but as with so many other facets of weddings today, things are getting changed up. And when we open our minds to the possibilities, we might just like them!

So, MOB, if your daughter wants to make a colorful splash or go with a more current trend in cakes, consider the ombre cake. Possibilities abound. Have fun considering them all with your sweet girl!

*Here are some more examples of gorgeous ombre wedding cakes

*You can also see some examples on my Wedding Cakes Pinterest board

*Flickr photo by Mina Magiska Bakverk (My Magical Pastries), Creative Commons License

Guest List Help: The Father of the Bride!

FOB & Keith, the minister

Mother of the Bride, as you start jotting names down to include on your portion of the guest list for your daughter’s upcoming wedding, don’t forget to ask for help—the father of the bride’s help! That’s right, here is one of the tasks where you need to get his input and find out his desires.

Don’t assume that you know who the FOB would like to invite to the wedding. You might be surprised by just exactly who he wants—or doesn’t want—to invite to join you for the festivities. He may want to invite his co-workers but not his boss, or he might like to include his golfing buddies but not the fellow members of the civic group committee he’s serving on.

Also be sure to get his input on the total number of guests to invite. Unless the bride and groom are paying for their own wedding, you need to be on the same page with the FOB on this important decision since it will impact the cost of the wedding. Avoid hard feelings over unexpected financial stress and everyone will be happier when wedding day arrives.

MOB, maybe you could even make the guest list conversation fun and make a date out of it. Go out for coffee or dessert and take your pad of paper along. Brainstorm names with the father of the bride and enjoy something yummy while you’re doing it. Another win-win on the wedding planning front!

*Photo by Chris Humphrey