Taking Photos: Another Way to Worship

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A few weeks ago it struck me that my little hobby of taking photos is in fact another avenue of worship for me. My Facebook and blogger friend Nancy confirmed my thought a week or two later with this comment on a photo I posted on Facebook recently: “Love your pics. They glorify God.” Wow, how I loved to hear that.

Yes, capturing the beauty of God’s creation through a photo, rejoicing in that capture, and sharing it with others can indeed be worship. It might not be worship for every photographer—amateur (like me) or professional—but for those of us communing with God as we do our picture-taking-thing, it definitely qualifies as worship.

Of course, I don’t always have God on my mind as I snap photos, but many times I’m thinking of him and the beauty before me—and also calling on him for help, especially when I’m trying to capture photos of birds or other wildlife. My thoughts are often filled with things like oh,let it stay, Father, let it stay and thank you, Lord, for the great shot.

What joy then to be able to share a photo that brings others joy, or causes them to think of God, or ushers them into their own time of worship and adoration of the amazing Creator God we have. How wonderful is that?!

Taking photos is just one of many creative avenues for worshiping our Creator. For others, it could be music or dance or cooking or knitting. The possibilities go on and on. If we are rejoicing in God and communing with him as we undertake an activity, it indeed becomes worship.

 May the photos below inspire you to worship as you consider the beauty God’s given us!

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Mount Moran from Oxbow Bend“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers . . . O LORD, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3a, 9

*What creative way have you found to worship God?

*My photos

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Feb. 3rd. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Making Her Beautiful—Bridal Primping on a Budget

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Wedding Day has dawned, and it’s time to make the bride beautiful. This is a day every bride would love to be pampered and treated like a princess, with one person after another seeing to her every need as she makes herself ready for her groom.

Making the bride look and feel like a princess doesn’t come without cost, though. Of course, the gown and accessories are in a financial bracket all their own, but they are ready to go come Wedding Day. The expense of the final primping—the hair, make-up, manicures, and pedicures—that takes place on Wedding Day (nails possibly the day or two before) can add a hefty last-minute addition to the ever-growing total expense column on the bridal budget sheet.

So, Mother of the Bride, how can bridal primping be accomplished when you’re trying to hold expenses down? This is one of the times to call on friends and family. This is when you and your daughter put your wedding-planning heads together and think of the perfect people you can ask to help you.

Do you have other daughters or does the bride have bridesmaids or friends who are especially good with applying their own make-up or doing their own nails? My younger daughter Kelli served as make-up artist for her big sister Kristin (above). Do you have friends or family members who are hairdressers? Each one would probably love to be enlisted to be on your sweet daughter’s fairy godmother team on Wedding Day. If someone you’d like to ask isn’t a particularly close friend but could do an amazing job, you could see if she’d like to provide the service as wedding gift. This could be a win-win for both of you.

Making your darling daughter beautiful on her wedding day while trying to adhere to your budget is possible, MOB. Assemble your team of assistants, sprinkle some fairy dust with plenty of smiles and yummy treats on hand, and treat your daughter like the princess she is. Everyone will enjoy!

*What are some great hair or make-up tips for Wedding Day?

*Photo by Chris Humphrey

*This will be my only post this holiday week. Let’s enjoy the week with our loved ones!

For the Gardener: Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers!

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Mother of the Bride, do you or your daughter love to garden? If so you might like to grow your own flowers for her wedding. Not only would it add a unique personal touch to your celebration, but it could save money and create a great memory as well.

I know it might sound a bit far-fetched at first, but why not enjoy your passion while accomplishing a task for the wedding? Some moms and brides love to sew and fashion their own dresses for the big day. Others love to cook and provide much of their own food for the reception. If you love to garden, why not plant and nurture your own flowers and then take joy in displaying them on Wedding Day?

I admit I’m not a gardener and don’t have first-hand experience with this. But I do know that people craft wedding flowers and table décor from silk flowers as well as from paper. So if they can do that, why not put your gardening skills to work for you and have some fun, too?

Maybe you feel confident in your gardening abilities but not so much when it comes to designing the arrangements or bouquets. If so, you could do the growing and find a floral designer to finish the job. You’d still be giving the wedding your personal touch.

However, don’t feel pressured to undertake a growing-your-own-flowers project, MOB, if you don’t really want to. I’m just throwing out ideas here and hoping they hit just the right spot for some of you. You alone know what you can handle time-wise and stress-wise.

If you’re interested in giving it a shot, though, here are a few resources to help get you started (hover over the title to click on the link):

Better Homes and Gardens—Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers 

Gardenista—DIY: Secrets of Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers

 Bridal Guide–How to Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers

 *If you could grow your own flowers for the wedding, which ones would you grow?

*Flickr photo by Robert S. Donovan, Creative Commons License

Wedding Decor: Craft It with Paper

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Thinking of making some of your own wedding décor, Mother of the Bride? Why not craft it with paper?

Since roses and weddings go together like tea and crumpets, paper roses would add a beautiful touch to any wedding celebration. The classic whites, creams, blushes and beiges will work with almost any color scheme, but gorgeous roses in the specific colors of your daughter’s wedding will add the perfect splash of color.

Roses, of course, aren’t the only flowers that crafters can create. Take a look at this post from Paper and Lace: 10 of the Best Paper Flower Tutorials.  (Notice the two different links – the first for the home page and the second for the actual tutorial.) You’ll be amazed at how beautiful the flowers look. Also check out brand new book Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrel. You can purchase it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Paper luminaries for candles are another creative idea for weddings. On this Martha Stewart The Bride’s Guide post, you’ll see not only paper luminaries but also delicate paper grasses that look amazing in varied sizes of white vases.

I bet these ideas are enough to get your Mother of the Bride-creative-wheels turning. So how about it? Anyone ready to go out and stock up on paper? :)

*What are some other ideas for crafting it with paper for a wedding?

Flickr photo by kilted01

Developing an Eye

I’m doing it! I’m developing an eye for taking better photos!

How can I tell? Certain hallmark signs are there. Lately, I’m spotting good light or noticing great vantage points. I’m focusing on color but noticing backgrounds and striving for centered shots. I’m giving attention to detail. (Notice the morning light and winter trees behind the icicles in the shot I took above? I didn’t even realize how cool that would look until after I took the picture. I was concentratig mainly on the icicles.)

Developing an eye doesn’t happen by accident—in photography or other endeavors. I’ve invested time in taking lots of shots. In other words, I’ve endured the dross before the gold. And to be honest, I end up with a lot more dross than gold.

At the same time, though, I’ve benefited in several ways from taking time out for wonder while taking a host of photos. Not only am I becoming more adept at capturing better pictures, but I’ve been energized by my new pursuit and have also grown more appreciative of the beautiful world God’s given us.

The concept of developing an eye certainly carries over into other areas of our lives as well.Consider the spiritual realm. Do we notice spiritual applications to things that we see or experience in our everyday lives? (Writing blog posts has helped me develop an awareness for this.) Do we spot God at work in people or situations or can we see him in the background? Do we notice when people are hurting or in need but also pick up on their joys?

If we don’t feel like we’re actively developing a spiritual eye, we can take steps to do it. Remember, developing an eye doesn’t happen by accident.

We need to invest time—time in learning to think in spiritual ways. We do this as we read, study, and meditate on God’s Word and as we talk with him. Talking with others about spiritual truths will also spur us on in our growth. And when we notice hurts or joys of others and interrupt our lives to share in what they’re going through, we’ll continue to develop that eye for spiritual things.

So what do you say? Let’s be people who continue to develop and grow in our lives, whether it be in our walk with the Lord or the pursuit of our interests and skills. Let’s continue to develop an eye!

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” 1 Peter 2:2

*For what interest or skill are you developing an eye?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Feb. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!