Mother of the Bride

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Rachel2.jpgMy beautiful daughter got married last June!  It was an exciting, stressful, busy time before, during and after.  I was so thankful for wedding planning guides.  They either didn’t exist when I got married, or I was just completely uninformed.  Probably the latter.  Neither my baby nor I would have survived without a step by step plan to go by.  There were just so many details!

The dresses were the biggest hurdle.  Most dress shops required a one year notice, and we were six months away from the big day.  We did find dresses that could be purchased and shipped within that time frame, but they came with no alterations.  The wedding dress itself was purchased while my daughter lived in another state, so when she came home for the wedding, I received the honor of becoming her tailor.  Originally we had decided that I would make her dress as I had made mine 20+ years ago.  But she fell in love with one that she saw in a shop and promptly purchased it.

The bride’s maid dresses had to be altered when they arrived, so we took them to a nearby seamstress and had them fitted.  All seemed to be going well until we picked them up and did a second fitting.  While they had indeed been altered, they still didn’t fit.  There was no time to return to the seamstress, so I broke out my trusty Viking, and we we_DSC0255.jpgnt to work.

In addition to these alterations, my daughter’s dress had to be hemmed about 6″.  She’s a shorty.  Since she purchased the dress on sale and in a different state, I had the pleasure of this task also.  Without a second thought, the Bernina was in action.  It has a rolled hem foot on it that worked beautifully.  Removing the lace and beads fell to my daughter, then we hemmed, and finally she put the trim back on.  I’m not sure she enjoyed this as much as I did.  She was a bit impatient.  The veil, flowers, corsages and boutonnieres were all made at home as well as the decorations at both the church and reception.  Her colors were teal and copper with peacock feathers.  I both loved and hated Pinterest during this time.  There were many wonderful ideas.  Too many.  And my daughter couldn’t make up her mind.  If she had had her way, there would have been more colors and themes than we could have accommodated.

Her cakes were also homemade. We had many recommendations for bakers, but we both decided that since I didn’t make the dress, I would make the cakes (and all the rest of the food).  I really wanted to do something special for her, and she kindly agreed.  So again, back to Pinterest.  I already had the perfect wedding cake recipe that I had used once before, so we used it and added a pineapple filling between the layers.  For the groom’s cake, we found a chocolate wedding cake with coffee in it.  To this we added raspberry filling.  I’ll admit they weren’t quite professional quality in looks, but they certainly tasted good!

_DSC0463.jpgAll in all, it was an event to remember.  From the first day to the last, the most important part was the memories that I got to make with my one and only favorite daughter.  I will treasure these times together, and I look forward to not only the marriage of my sons, but grandchildren and great grandchildren.  I don’t believe that there is anything more precious or valuable on this earth than family.  I am truly blessed.

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Compare or Contrast

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Tea or coffee? Paper or plastic?  Regular or Super size?   We are inundated with choices every day whether we realize it or not.  Some require little to no thought, while others cause us great consternation. When faced with making a decision of importance, we often will weigh one side against another.  Viewing the pros and cons is one way to label this process, and another is to compare and contrast ideas or choices.  I asked my students to write a compare/contrast essay last week and decided that perhaps I, too, should write one.

The first dimension of this process is the comparison.  Comparisons are a part of everyday life.  Our children compare their clothing with that of their friends.  Athletes compare stats and abilities.  Businessmen compare bank accounts.  We are all searching for people “like us.”  There is an inherent need to be a part of a larger whole.  Even those who would consider themselves to be on the fringes of society have a relationship, a connection, with others who are breaking the status quo.

The idea of comparison can be both negative and positive.  In the negative sense, people compare in order to disassociate with certain groups.  They may even compare simply to boost their own self esteem.  However, comparing can also be a positive trait.  By comparing, people can be challenged to succeed.  A difficult situation may pose a stumbling block to one, but when that same situation is viewed through the lens of another, a new solution presents itself.

In contrast, pun intended, the second dimension of this analysis is contrasting one idea with another.  What makes one choice different from another?  Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.  There was a difference between them and a choice to make.  Sometimes those differences can lead to further learning.  At other times it may cause us to turn back.  It all depends on the individual.

Again, there are both negative and positive traits to consider.  Many times people fear differences.  Racism stems from this fear.  If someone looks or sounds differently, then walls are thrown up.  “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” is a song from South Pacific by Rogers and Hammerstein.  The lyrics are powerfully written and show just how negative contrasting people can be.

Cable:
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Songwriters
Rogers and Hammerstein

The positive side of contrasting ideas, thoughts and decisions is that there is room for growth.  Friedrich Nietzsche said it best with, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Now I’m probably taking a bit of license with this quote, but if we allow ourselves to explore ideas that are different, if we contemplate choices that are unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable, we will no doubt find that we have evolved in some way.  And that is far better than to have suffered from intellectual and emotional atrophy.

While it is easy to sit and contemplate the comings and goings of human beings, it is far more difficult to live this life.  Much more time needs to be spent on comparing and contrasting the decisions that bombard us on a daily basis.  We have choices to make that will either lead us to a higher plane or leave us to fester where we are most comfortable.  The choice is entirely up to us.  Or as Hamlet said, “To be or not to be:  that is the question.”

Being Under Satan’s Yoke

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Satan called a worldwide convention.  In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church.  We can’t keep them from reading their bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So, let them go to their churches; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus Christ.”

“ This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”  “How shall we do this?” shouted the angels.  “Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds.” he answered.  “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6– 7 days a week, 10–12 hours days, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.  Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over stimulate their minds so they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their homes and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ. Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Stuff their mailboxes with junk mail,mail ordercatalogs, sweepstakes and every kind of newsletter and promotion offering free products, services and false hopes. Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so the husbands will believe that external beauty is what’s important and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. Ha! That will fragment those families quickly!”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead.  Keep them Busy, Busy, Busy!  And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning, but crowd their lives with so may good causes they have no time to seek powerfrom Jesus. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and families for the good of the cause. It will work!”

It was quite a convention. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy here and there. I guess the question is: Has the devil been successful at his scheme?

You be the judge.

Have you been BUSY?

— Author Unknown