Different Songs, Different Gifts

I went bird crazy a decade ago.

That’s right. Since then I’ve spent time looking for them, listening to them, and taking pictures of them. Pretty amazing coming from me since I’ve been afraid of having birds fly near me in the past—which, by the way, might have something to do with watching Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds when I was young. Did that scare anyone else silly?!

I’m not sure what started my fascination with birds. Maybe it was the birds’ contribution to the beautiful morning symphony I enjoy so much each day, or maybe I can blame it on the new camera I got for my birthday the year my bird-craziness started. It was just a point and shoot but it had a great zoom lens. So I went on the prowl for opportunities to zoom. And birds made the perfect subject.

While trying to capture some good shots, I also began tuning my ears to listen more closely to the various birds’ songs. I’ve always loved the sound of birds singing but until then I had not paid attention to their particular sounds and melodies. It was so much fun beginning to recognize a few.

I discovered that not only does each type of bird have its own signature look, it has a distinctive song as well. Some warble, some coo, some chirrup, some tweet. Some may be more pleasing to the ear than others, but it’s the variety that makes the symphony so amazing. It’s the differences that keep it interesting.

The same is true in our lives, isn’t it? We each have our own singular appearance and unique voice. We each have our own God-given abilities. Some create, some serve, some organize, some teach. Some may garner more attention than others, but it’s the variety that makes our world work. It’s the differences that keep us intrigued.

Yes, the birds have their various songs and so do we. Are we using the abilities—the voices—God has given us? Have we embraced the roles we’re gifted for? Let’s sing our different songs!

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” 1 Corinthians 12:17 NIV

*How has God gifted you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regular issue, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

Hungry For More: Ice Cream and God’s Word

Maybe just another bite. That’s what I often think as I’m standing at my kitchen counter eating ice cream straight out of the carton. I usually limit myself to three bites (or one if I’m trying to drop a pound or two), but sometimes it tastes so darn good, I’ve gotta go in for just a little more. Just another bite to satisfy that craving.

I’ve found myself feeling that way as I close my Bible before too. As I start to put it away, I feel compelled to open it again for just another taste. I’m hungry for more. I need just another bite to satisfy my craving for God’s life-giving words.

Maybe it’s because my selected reading was kind of short for that day. Or maybe my spirit is searching for direction about something. But maybe the Word just tastes so darn good, I’ve gotta go in for a little more.

Whatever the reason, I follow the impulse to read a little more. I’m so glad I don’t have to limit myself to three bites of the Word like I do with my ice cream indulgences. In fact, the more I indulge in the Word, the better. And you know what? When I’m hungry for more, God always serves up a heaping portion of satisfaction. And I must say, it tastes awfully good!

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 NIV

*What part of the Bible have you been reading lately?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out today. 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.)  Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Mark BonicaCreative Commons License

Wedding Day Cake-Cutting Tip

Mother of the Bride, here’s an important cake-cutting tip for wedding day: After the bride and groom have cut the traditional first slice of cake, make sure that both the main cake and the groom’s cake are then cut and made available to the guests at the same time.

It’s a fact of wedding life that almost every wedding guest in the world looks forward to indulging in a piece of cake at the party. If someone wants a piece of the groom’s cake, don’t keep them waiting while the wedding cake is sliced for those who want a piece of the star-of-the-show cake. At most weddings, the guests have already been in waiting mode for the cake-cutting, so the last thing we want to do is keep them waiting longer than necessary.

Make arrangements ahead of time with your caterer for simultaneous cake-cutting. I didn’t realize I should have done this until we ran into a problem at one of our daughters’ weddings.

The on-site caterer for that wedding was busy cutting the main cake herself and had not assigned any of the servers to cut the groom’s cake. When I asked her to have someone start cutting the groom’s cake, she responded in a negative way. As a result, both cakes weren’t available to our guests until later. I’m sure some guests even had to leave before the groom’s cake was cut. On top of that, it was an unhappy wedding day experience for me as I was rebuffed by someone we were paying to serve us.

So learn from my bad experience, MOB, and arrange for simultaneous cake-cutting ahead of time. Your guests will be happy—and you will be happy as everyone joyfully savors the cake of their choice on your daughter’s big day. Now, “let them eat cake!”

*Note: If you and your friends and family are handling the catering by yourselves, be sure to assign helpers to cut both cakes at the same time.

*You might also like to read Three Tips for Working with Your Wedding DJWedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer, and Day Before Wedding Tip: Preview Flowers.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*Flickr photo by Lars PlougmannCreative Commons License

Choosing to Still Be a Student

After sixty-plus years of speaking the English language (I’ll leave the plus part to your imagination), I’m still looking up words in the dictionary. As a writer, I need to be a reader also so I run across new-to-me words on a fairly regular basis. It’s not that I have a poor vocabulary, there are just a lot of unfamiliar words out there, especially when I get into areas outside my realm of experience.

One time I read a novel that featured a main character with a form of autism. Since I don’t have close personal experience with autism, I had to hit the dictionary a couple of times over terminology I’d heard before but didn’t really understand. Not long ago, I read some historical fiction that put me in a time and place that also stretched the limits of my vocabulary.

Of course, other times I’m foggy on meanings of words that I’ve seen before and should know. Maybe my brain has only so much room and has started deleting past info to make room for new? Say it ain’t so!

Whether encountering brand new words or words I simply need to review, I have a choice to make. I can skip over them completely, try to guess their meaning from the context, or take time to look them up. I can choose to still be a student or just coast through and miss the full message intended.

Many times I choose to coast, allowing time factors or lack of convenience to dictate my decision, but other times I choose to investigate. I choose to learn, to still be a student. I may not remember the new word a day later, but the process still helped me grasp that particular passage more fully.

What about when I—or you—read the Word of God? We may be familiar with much of the language, but what do we do when we run across words and phrases or names and places that are unfamiliar to us? What about when we know the actual meaning of certain words, but we’re puzzled by the deeper meaning of the passage? Do we take time to read the footnotes or look up words in our concordance or do some cross-referencing? Do we dig deep to discover what words meant in the original Greek or Hebrew language?

Are we still students of the Word of God or do we just coast through in our reading? Do we sometimes miss the full message intended? I don’t know about you, but I don’t dig deep often enough.

The Word of God is too important to miss, isn’t it? Let’s choose to learn. Let’s choose to investigate. Let’s still be students.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

*What do you do to dig deeper into the Word of God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. 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.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by crdotxCreative Commons License

Gift Idea for Newlyweds and Other Couples Plus Wedding Planning Help During My Blogging Break

Mother of the Bride, with Christmas coming, are you looking for a meaningful gift to give to your daughter and her beloved? Even if they won’t be married by Christmas, you can still give them a couples gift that will help them on their coming newlywed journey.

Our Daily Question: A Three-Year Journal for Couples is a 365-day guided journal that poses a question a day designed to stimulate conversation. I haven’t seen the book myself (it’s brand new on the market), but for the past few years I’ve personally been using The Daily Question: My 5-Year Spiritual Journal. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed answering each day’s question and then looking back to see my answers from the previous years.

 Our Daily Question works the same way as The Daily Question journal I use. What fun it will be for newlyweds to see how their answers may change over the course of three years. They may enjoy the exercise so much that they’ll want to get another one! And just think—this is a gift you can keep in mind for other couples as well. Remember, Christmas is coming!

With that in mind, it’s time for me to take a holiday blogging break—but not before I leave you with some great wedding planning help. I’ll be back with my weekly posts starting Jan. 5th, but in the meantime, I hope you’ll find lots of helpful ideas and info as you take advantage of today’s post.

Here are four resources from yours truly:

  1. Look through the list of Favorite Posts on the sidebar and click the links to the ones that spark your interest. (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find the sidebar items.)
  2. Use the drop-down feature in the Archives to spot some posts that might be especially helpful to you at this stage in your Mother of the Bride journey. You’ll find the Archives on the sidebar too so use the directions above to find it if you’re on a mobile device.
  3. Check out my Pinterest pageAmong other things, it features eighteen wedding-related boards!
  4. Glance through the roundup posts I’ve written so far. Roundups can be very helpful:

Wedding Photography: Bridal Portrait Roundup

Roundup: Popular Mother of the Bride Blog Posts

Bridal Bouquet Roundup

Wedding Cake Roundup

Wedding Registry Roundup

Wedding Photo Ideas Roundup That Star the Groom

Finally, if your daughter is in the beginning stages of gathering ideas and investigating her options, try Martha Stewart WeddingsReal Simple Weddings, and Brides.  And if she  your daughter wants a rustic wedding, check out Rustic Wedding Chic.

Hope this helps you and your sweet daughter, MOB!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early February. 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.)

*Flickr photo by wuestenigal, Creative Commons License