Paying Attention to Warning Signs

Several years ago my hair dryer made me nervous each time I used it. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, hair wet and as straight as a string, and panicked a little each time after flipping its switch on. The faint burning smell it emitted could not be a good thing.

Thank goodness for the warning sign. This particular hair dryer had served me long and well and was now even giving me a heads up that it might be nearing its last blow dry session. What a trusty friend, huh?

Somehow, though, I’d forget the warning and go on my merry way, not thinking about it until the next time my head was wet. After a few nerve-wracking episodes of blow dryer roulette—also known as praying for it to dry my hair before it shut down permanently—I decided to take precautions and buy a new hair dryer before disaster struck. In other words, I finally paid attention to the warning signs.

Since a hair dryer disaster is a trivial matter (if it happens to someone else!), let’s consider other more serious warning signs we might be overlooking or forgetting as we hurry on to the next item on our agendas. What do we see happening in our lives that warrants our proactive and precautionary attention?

Maybe our bodies are trying to tell us something. Is it time to see the doctor? Do we need to make more time for sleep at night? Or maybe we see signs of trouble with our families. Do one of them need a medical appointment? Or are our kids acting out or withdrawing? Do our spouses seem troubled or distant? And what about finances? Are we juggling payments or hiding purchases and credit card statements from our significant others? For each of us the warning-sign scenarios may be different, but if we are wise, we’ll pay attention. And that’s not always easy to do.

And what about warning signs that something may be amiss in our spiritual lives? Do we feel like God is far away? Have we been neglecting time in his Word or in talking with him? Or perhaps the joy has disappeared from our relationship with the Lord. Have we slipped into following a set of rules rather than loving a person?

Let’s be thankful for warning signs that alert us to possible problems—and then let’s be proactive.
Let’s take precautions, if possible, before we encounter major malfunctions. We’ll all rest easier then.

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.” Proverbs 4:6 NIV

*Have any warning signs come to your attention lately?

*The current 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. *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.

*Public Domain photo by Henrique Vicente

Make Arrangements With Wedding 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.

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

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

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is FREE! *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

A Spring Poem: Morning Symphony

Morning Symphony

Much is reborn in spring,
Among them the morning symphony.
Nature’s music long muffled
By cold days and closed windows
Now greets me with gladness again.

The sweetness of the birds’ songs
Sends my spirit soaring,
Those pure, clear notes that nature sings
Point me to the Creator
To the grand Conductor
Of the magnificent morning symphony.

The cheep-cheep-cheep, the caw, the coo
The sliding chords and yodels
Take their turns with who-whoo-whoos
And leave me marveling at the glory.

Other sounds add different layers
Add interludes and accents,
A dog’s frenzied barking, a chattering squirrel
A train whistling in the distance
All keep me guessing what more
The masterpiece holds this morning.

And then soon I hear
The flutter of wings
A bird whooshing by overhead,
Next chiming church bells create a chorus
To which I’m compelled to add my voice.

No two days exactly the same
New music unfolds with each sunrise,
The morning symphony no longer muffled,
The voice of God,
A life-giving melody
Renews and inspires my spirit.
Yes, much is reborn in spring.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”
Psalm 40:3 NIV

*What do you like best about spring?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. It’s not too late to receive it. 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 and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Jacob McGinnisCreative Commons License

Bride and Groom Wedding Reception Game

Mother of the Bride, if your happy couple is looking for some extra fun to incorporate into their wedding reception, here’s a suggestion—The Shoe Game! This wedding reception game for the bride and groom is so much fun and so simple to do for those who want to add to the traditional line-up of first dances, cake-cutting, and tossing of the bouquet and garter.

Just have the bride and groom sit back to back, kick off their shoes and give one of their shoes to the other while keeping one for themselves, and prepare to answer “Who is” type-questions posed by one of the wedding party or even the DJ. The newlyweds answer by raising the appropriate shoe. (The photo above features our nephew Cody and his bride Kaitlynn.)

Laughter and banter abound as the bride and groom unveil their answers to questions like who is the most fun at a party, who is the most attached to their phone, and who is most likely to toss their clothes on the floor. The possibilities for questions are endless, and everyone loves the fun of getting the insider scoop and seeing whether or not the newlyweds agree. The extra bonus is a great photo like the one above!

So MOB, find out if your newlyweds to be would be up for The Shoe Game and then put a bug in the maid of honor’s ear. It will be fun for all!

*You might also like to read Fun Pre-Ceremony Idea for the Bride and GroomBridal Shower Idea: A Cooking Class! and Three Tips for Working with Your Wedding DJ.

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

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE! *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*Photo by Stephtphotography.

Surrounded by the Lord

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2 NIV

I love this verse. After rediscovering it several years ago, I personalized it and made it part of my early morning prayer each day. Before even getting out of bed, I gave the Lord my day and placed my times in his hands. Then along with a few basic requests, I added, “And Lord, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so surround me with your peace and your protection.”

Sometimes the thought of being surrounded brings up negative images, but that’s certainly not the case here. Not for me—not when it’s the Lord doing the surrounding.

I suppose if someone didn’t love the Lord or was trying to run or hide from him, it would be a frightening prospect to be surrounded by the Almighty. But for those who know and love him and look to him for help, great comfort lies in the precious knowledge of his surrounding presence and care.

The image of mountains, so strong and protective, surrounding a little town paints the perfect picture of what the Lord does for us, his people. The Lord stands guard, ever watchful, ever ready to protect and guide. He provides majesty and beauty, adventure and stability. He keeps us nestled in his peace as we look to him.

Each day let’s picture ourselves surrounded by the Lord. Let’s relax in his care. Let’s snuggle down into that place of peace he has reserved for us. Let’s fix our eyes on him. Let’s be surrounded by his peace.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121 NIV

*When have you felt supernaturally surrounded by God’s peace?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. *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 It’s No Game, Creative Commons License