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

Wedding Photos with Bride and Groom in Background

Looking for great wedding photo ideas, Mother of the Bride? See if the photographer could capture a few with the bride and groom in bokeh effect (an out of focus blur effect), using them as the background of a shot of something or someone else in the wedding.

The happy-couple-as-background bokeh shot above is actually a shot of the chair décor, but notice how having the bride and groom in a soft blur as a backdrop not only makes the shot artsy but extra special as well. The above shot’s style is so much more interesting and gorgeous than a simple straightforward shot of the chair and its décor, isn’t it?

Possibilities abound for photos using this bride and groom bokeh effect. In addition to chair or pew décor as the focus of the shot, the photographer could also use the cake, champagne glasses, the parents of the bride and/or groom, the gift table, or a floral arrangement as the focal point of the shot. The ideas could go on and on.

So, MOB, talk with your daughter and see if she’d like to mention bride and groom bokeh shots with the photographer. Beauty awaits!

*You might also like to read Wedding Photo Idea: Groom Admires His BrideWedding Day Photo Idea: Bouquets in a BunchPhoto Idea: Bridesmaids Blow the Groom a Kiss!Wedding Photo Idea: A Shared Faith, and Wedding Photo Idea: The Corner Shot.

*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 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.

*Flickr photo by charamelodyCreative Commons License

Savings Tip for Wedding Expenses: Make It Yourselves!

Mother of the Bride, as you look for ways to save on the multitude of wedding expenses in front of you, be sure to ask yourself this question: Can we make it ourselves? Of course, expense is still involved when making things yourself, but the cost can many times be cut in half or more.

Start by making a list of all the items you or the bride or other family members and friends could possibly make. Your list might include: the bridal gown and veil, the garters, bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dress, your own dress, bouquets and boutonnieres, favors, pew bows, invitations and programs, the cakes and/or other food for the reception, and centerpieces and other décor. I’m sure you’ll be able to add other ideas to your list as well.

But keep this in mind—several factors need to be considered before deciding to make some items yourself.

*Do you or someone you know have the skills needed to make the items?

*Will the savings be significant enough to justify using your time in this way?

*Do you (or the person making the item) truly have the time to give to the project or will it add too much additional stress?

*And also, is there enough time before the wedding to make the items on a reasonable schedule?

Remember, MOB, always balance the savings against the stress and time involved. After you’ve made your decisions, go forward with joy. If you can save a little money while making your daughter’s big day one that she’ll remember forever, what a great bonus. But if you need to buy most items to save your sanity, that’s a bonus, too, right?!

*You might also like to read Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow! 

*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, comes out in early February. 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 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 thepatrickCreative Commons License

Groom’s Cake for the Pool Shark

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Mother of the Bride, cake decisions are among the most fun that await your daughter and her beloved as they plan their wedding. And the groom’s cake decisions are especially fun since the groom gets to let loose and let his personality shine if he so chooses. He may know exactly what he wants or he might ask for ideas. Be prepared for either, MOB.

One way to go is to feature one of the hobbies or special skills of your soon-to-be son-in-law. This can be anything from his favorite sports team to his favorite recreational activity to his career expertise. All ideas are fair game—with the bride’s approval, of course :)

The idea I’m featuring today is for the groom who likes to play pool. He and your sweet girl may not have room for a pool table in their first home together, but he can sure have a pool table groom’s cake if he wants. To make it even more fun, part of his bachelor party could include shooting some pool. Just mention it to the best man or one of the groomsmen and they might surprise the man of the hour with a pool tournament the night before the big day.

This is just one option, MOB. Share it with your sweet couple and let their ideas take off from there!

*You might also like to read Groom’s Cake Idea for the Wrestling Fan, Groom’s Cake Idea: A Chessboard!, Groom’s Cake Idea: Law Books (or any other books!), and Groom’s Cake Idea for the Military Man.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mandotts, Creative Commons License

Include Venue Signs in the Wedding Photos

Sharp ChapelMother of the Bride, many wedding photographers today pride themselves on telling a story with their photos. They make an effort to capture more than the standard shots and provide not only a timeline but the emotions of the big day as well. Their beautiful and meaning-filled finished products are works of art.

In the telling of the Wedding Day story, ask your photographer to be sure to include the signs at your ceremony and reception sites. Having those locations identified through photos not only helps tell the story, but it will be a help in years to come when you try to recall the names of the venues. After all, these special places play an important part in one of the highlights of your family’s life.

And believe it or not, MOB, a good photographer can even make photos of signs look artistic. So scope out your venues and give your photographer a heads-up about the locations of the signs. Be a part of telling the whole story!

*You might also like to read Wedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer and Bridal Portraits: Include Some Artsy Shots.

0280*Photos by Chris Humphrey Photographer

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