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

Holding Still for God

It was a God-given moment. Several years ago on a winter morning, I decided to brave the cold and take care of an outdoor chore so Don wouldn’t have to do it at the end of a long workday. As I stepped out on our back porch, a surprise awaited me.

A beautiful mockingbird perched on our nearby evergreen. I expected him to whoosh away as soon as he caught sight of me or heard the cat-like squall of the screen door. But he stayed, holding still, allowing me to marvel in his beauty from just a few feet away.

As he continued to linger, I thought wow, I wish I had my camera. Would he stay long enough for me to dash back in the house and get it? Would he be there when I returned? Would he hold still just awhile longer?

I took a chance and slid back inside, as carefully as my noisy door would allow. After grabbing my camera, I turned it on while still inside so there would be one less noise to startle my little outdoor visitor away.

In spite of another screech from the door, the bird remained perched in the same spot. I raised my camera, zoomed in, and took several shots while he continued to hold still. He looked this way and that, almost as if allowing me to work a little more magic with my camera. He eventually flitted away but not before I was thoroughly blessed by this unexpected God-given treat for the soul.

For a few brief moments, I was an artist capturing a subject—a subject who was willing to hold still and let me do my work. I can’t help but wonder if I do the same for God.

When God wants to work on me or just spend time with me and rejoice over his creation (yes, he wants to rejoice over me!), am I a willing subject? Do I hold still for him and cooperate with his plans? Do I allow him to work his magic?

May the Lover of our souls always find us willing to hold still for him!

“The Lord your God is with you . . . He will take great delight in you; in his love he . . . will rejoice over you with singing.“ Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

*When did you last notice God working on you or rejoicing over you with singing?

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

*My photo

Photography Tip for Wedding Weekend

3464890649_e196088bbd_z*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, here is an encore post I hope will be helpful to those of you who weren’t MOBs when I originally posted it in July of 2013. Hope it helps!

The last thing the Mother of the Bride wants to do during Wedding Weekend is take photos. Of course, MOB, you’ll have a professional photographer for the day of the wedding, but precious photo opportunities will abound all weekend long. Like any loving mother, you won’t want to miss a single shot, but it’s hard to be in the moment and enjoy everything fully if you’re busy capturing it all on camera.

Here’s a tip that will free you up not only to live the moments as they unfold but will also take one big responsibility off your shoulders: Ask a family member or friend to be in charge of your camera for the entire wedding weekend. You’ll then be able to concentrate fully on carrying out your MOB responsibilities and on enjoying all those once-in-a-lifetime moments as they happen.

Be sure your designated amateur photographer understands the importance of his or her role. Ask them to take shots of anything and everything a devoted MOB would want pictures of—decorating day and all that it entails, the rehearsal and dinner following, the bridesmaids luncheon or other pre-wedding events, moments the extended family spends together, and of course fun shots of Wedding Day that your professional photographer might not get. It’s always nice to have the day recorded from various vantage points, and your camera-toting volunteer will make that possible.

And you, Mother of the Bride? Just be in the moment and enjoy!

*What kinds of things should you consider when deciding who to ask to fill this role?

*Photo by Kevin Dooley, Creative Commons License

Wedding Weekend Photography Tip

3464890649_e196088bbd_z

The last thing the Mother of the Bride wants to be doing during Wedding Weekend is taking photos. Of course, you’ll have a professional photographer for the day of the wedding, but precious photo opportunities will abound all weekend long. Like any loving mother, MOB, you won’t want to miss a single shot, but it’s hard to be in the moment and enjoy everything fully if you’re busy capturing it all on camera.

Here’s a tip that will free you up not only to live the moments as they unfold but will also take one big responsibility off your shoulders: Ask a family member or friend to be in charge of your camera for the entire wedding weekend. You’ll then be able to concentrate fully on carrying out your MOB responsibilities and on enjoying all those once-in-a-lifetime moments as they happen.

Be sure your designated amateur photographer understands the importance of his or her role. Ask them to take shots of anything and everything a devoted MOB would want pictures of—decorating day and all that it entails, the rehearsal and dinner following, the bridesmaids luncheon or other pre-wedding events, moments the extended family spends together, and of course fun shots of Wedding Day that your professional photographer might not get. It’s always nice to have the day recorded from various vantage points, and your camera-toting volunteer will make that possible.

And you, Mother of the Bride? Just be in the moment and enjoy!

*What kinds of things should you consider when deciding who to ask to fill this role?

*Photo by Kevin Dooley, Creative Commons License