Archives for January 2015

Steaming Hot Valentine’s Day Giveaway!


February is almost upon us, dear readers, so that makes me think of Valentine’s Day—which, of course, makes me think of fun giveaways. I guess that’s a side effect of being a blogger, huh?

Since it’s still winter and since staying warm is still on everyone’s radar, I give you the Steaming Hot Valentine’s Day Giveaway! One lucky commenter will win a $15 gift card to Starbuck’s. The winner can splurge entirely on herself or stoke the fires of romance and treat his or her sweetie as well.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post by 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 11th. If I don’t know you personally or cannot contact you via your website or blog, be sure to include your email address (such as cheryl at cherylbarker dot net).

It’s not required for the giveaway, but to make it more fun, tell me what your idea of a fun date night is. My hubby and I love to go to the movies. We get a big tub of popcorn, their biggest Pepsi or Coke, and a package of Peanut M&Ms (yes, those are for me!). We love getting into the spirit of it all—plus eating helps keep Don awake :)

And to help stoke the fires of your spiritual life, why not warm up with the verses below from the Word of God? Be blessed and be a blessing—in February and beyond!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Melissa Gray, Creative Commons License

Cake Idea for the Rustic Wedding


Mother of the Bride, is a rustic wedding on your horizon? If so, I might have stumbled upon the perfect cake idea for your down-home country affair.

How about a cake version of the old-fashioned sweetheart tree? The example above is not only amazing in its detail, but it makes you go aww, doesn’t it? The couple’s love is declared right on the cake!

If your daughter feels like it needs a little more pizzazz, some greenery and/or wildflowers would fit in quite well and also add that something more she might be looking for. Can’t you just imagine the possibilities?

Check with your daughter and see if this sweetheart-tree cake idea strikes a love-bird chord with her and her groom. They might just think it’s perfect!

*You might also like to read Rustic Wedding Bridal Shoes: Boots—What Else? and Table or Mantelpiece Décor Idea for a Rustic Wedding.

*Flickr photo by Whipped Bakeshop, Creative Commons License

Following Through on Repentance


“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8

Do any of you have sins, weaknesses, or offenses that you confess to God (as well as to others whom you’ve wronged) but then find yourself doing the same things again and again? If so, you’re not alone. I have a few problem areas like that, too.

For example, at times I get irritated too easily. I end up reacting too quickly and sounding more harsh than I should. And regardless of the offense that prompted me to lose my cool, I really don’t want to act that way.

I’m fairly quick to realize my wrong behavior and confess it, but many times I have trouble with follow-through—with, like mentioned in the verse above, producing fruit in keeping with my repentance. It’s easy to say we’re sorry (and yes, it’s harder for some), but changed behavior can be an ongoing challenge.

True repentance should manifest itself in our actions, shouldn’t it? If we’re truly sorry for certain behaviors, attitudes, or thoughts, shouldn’t we make a real effort to avoid those shortcomings in the future? Of course.

One simple thing we can do to help correct our shortcomings is to memorize the verse above from Matthew. The Holy Spirit can then remind us of it when we are tempted to slip back into the wrong pattern. He might also bring it to mind when we make the same mistake again, correcting us and exhorting us to keep on trying to produce the fruit that matches our repentance.

Let’s take a moment today to think about the sins that trip us up and ask ourselves if we are producing fruit in keeping with our repentance. If not, let’s ask God to work in our hearts to bring about the fruit he—and we—long to see. Let’s follow through.

“‘But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’” John 14:26

*What other things can we do to help bring about changed behavior and/or thoughts?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by prodigy130, Creative Commons License

Wedding Photo Idea: Flower Girl with the Bride’s Shoes


Mother of the Bride, want some super-cute photos of the flower girl on Wedding Day? Grab the bride’s shoes and ask your photographer to take a couple of fun shot shots like those pictured here.

Not only does the photo above with the shoes standing back to back creatively feature an article of the bride’s attire, but it captures a precious flower girl’s dream of one day being a bride herself. Such a sweet shot.

The shot below shows off every little girl’s love of wearing high heels—and not just any high heels, but the bride’s high heels. Talk about a little girl’s ultimate fantasy!

Waste no time, MOB, in adding this idea of the flower girl with the bride’s shoes to the list of photos you’d like your photographer to take.  Everyone will love it!

*You might also like to read Wedding Photo Idea: The Corner Shot and Wedding Day: Sweet Family Moments in Store.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photos by 藍川芥 aikawake, Creative Commons License


Make Arrangements with the Caterer for Leftovers


Mother of the Bride, here’s an important tip—make arrangements with your caterer for leftovers and get it in writing. You’re paying dearly for all the food at the wedding reception so you are entitled to take home everything that’s left over.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming the caterer will automatically save the leftovers for you. Some may have a policy of tossing food that has set out for a certain period of time. If that’s the case with your caterer, you’ll need to make plans for the food to be packed up and refrigerated (if needed) before the time limit is reached.

Also, a verbal agreement is not enough. With one of my daughter’s caterers, I verbally mentioned my desire to be given the leftovers but failed to get it in writing. By the time I asked her about the food after the guests had left the reception, she informed me that it had already been thrown out. I was very unhappy but couldn’t do much about it because I had forgotten to get the details in writing.

So, MOB, let the caterer know your desires about this issue in one of your pre-wedding meetings and have them include the details in the contract you sign. Save yourself the disappointment and wasted money by making firm arrangements ahead of time. Learn from my mistake, okay?

*You might also like to read Get It in Writing and Wedding Day Checklist: Containers for Leftover Cake.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by KOMUnews, Creative Commons License