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Monthly Archives: August 2013

The First (Break) Dance

I ran across this video via the Huffington Post wedding page. I’m lacking in the Russian language department, so I have no idea what is being said, but it appears a dance-off broke out at this wedding. I have to say, it’s better than most of the dancing I’ve seen at weddings before.


Wedding Dress Trends for 2014 – Sleeves

Claire Pettibone Beauty, courtesy of

Claire Pettibone Beauty, courtesy of

Last week the wedding website Style Me Pretty featured an interview with bridal gown designer Claire Pettibone. When asked about wedding dress trends going forward, she said, “I am loving sleeves…whether short or long, I think strapless may have finally had its day.”

Oscar De La Renta Spring 2014, courtesy of

Oscar De La Renta Spring 2014, courtesy of

This thought has been echoed in several other places recently, with industry experts seeing more and more of what Wedding Bells magazine called “sophisticated coverage.”

BHLDN Rococo Gown, courtesy of

BHLDN Rococo Gown, courtesy of

For the record, I don’t have a problem with strapless dresses. I’ve seen many gorgeous ones and when I got married they were vary much en vogue. But I do know of brides who have tried in vain to find something with sleeves, only to find either a $10,000 price tag or sleeves accompanied by an extremely deep v-neckline. My dress was actually a designer knock-off, made by a local seamstress for a fraction of the cost. I wanted sleeves, but couldn’t find a dress with them for less than several thousand dollars.

Monique Lhuillier Spring 2014, courtesy of

Monique Lhuillier Spring 2014, courtesy of

So I was encouraged by this news and wanted to pass it along. It’s only a matter of time before this trend finds its way throughout the bridal industry. I think it allows for more creativity and diversity in dress selections, and frankly, more peace of mind. A strapless dress has to be fitted so perfectly to give the bride assurance she won’t lose it in the middle of the ceremony.

Carolina Herrera Spring 2014, courtesy of

Carolina Herrera Spring 2014, courtesy of


Temperley London Titania Collection, courtesy of and

Temperley London Titania Collection, courtesy of and

What do you think? Would you prefer sleeves or strapless, or somewhere in between? 


Music Monday – Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder

I might be late to the party, but I just discovered this song and really love it. It’s certainly not your typical “wedding song,” but it tells and sings of the glorious redemption story, which makes it perfect for the wedding of two believers.

Revelation 1:5b-6 says,

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

This song rejoices in the blessed truth that Christ has washed us with his blood. There is nothing better to sing about on your wedding day!

This version is recorded by Jars of Clay featuring Martin Smith. Lyrics by John Newton and music by Laura Taylor of Indelible Grace.

Are You Needed in Your Church?

'Lil' Country Church' photo (c) 2007, Mary - license: A lot has been written lately about people in my age demographic leaving the church. Some have suggested reasons for this, others countered with other possibilities. Solutions have spanned the spectrum. We’re told our generation is wary of anything that hints at consumerism, and then in the next breath we’re given reasons for attending church that center on what we can get out of it. It’s no wonder we are leaving the church–we’re not even sure what it’s for.

This post isn’t really about millenials leaving the church. It’s not about millenials at all, actually.

The consumer mentality of church members and church-goers is not unique to my generation. It can be found in every demographic in probably every church. Where I most often see it, and where I am most often guilty of it myself, is in the area of service.

My husband and I started attending our church nearly eight years ago. We were there just a few months before people were volunteering us to serve in various areas. We found ourselves part of a newly formed “Greeting Ministry,” I was working in the nursery, we were teaching kids on Wednesday nights. It was a little overwhelming. We didn’t know how to say “no,” so we “served” begrudgingly. Truth be told, we were both pastor’s kids and were unsure how to be normal church members.

It was easy to think, “Well I’m not sure this is my gifting. Maybe I should find something that uses my talents and abilities better.”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to use our gifts to serve our church family. But then again, who would say they have the spiritual gift of changing diapers? Holding doors open? Setting up chairs?

Thankfully the Lord revealed to me the selfishness of my heart. I wasn’t serving anyone, really. I was performing needed tasks, but my heart was not in it. Even still it’s easy to slip back into this. It’s the mentality that thinks my service on the Sundays in which I sing with the worship team are more valuable that those in which I am a substitute teacher in the preschool department.

People leave churches over things like this. When our gifts are unneeded or we go unrecognized for some God-given ability, we decide we’ll go somewhere else where we’re “needed.” So we leave a church with a need for workers in every children’s department because we just don’t feel we’re being used there.

I think ultimately it comes down to this: Are we serving for the benefit of the Body, or for our own self-fulfillment?

Serving in our local church is not meant to meet our needs for self-fulfillment or self-worth. We don’t go to church to “find ourselves.” Or if we do, we learn the only way to find our lives is to first lose them. That’s the whole picking up our cross and following thing (Matt. 10:38-39).

A love for Christ is accompanied by a love for His bride. My church family is just that–my family. I can’t imagine saying to my husband, “I’m sorry, I just didn’t change our son’s diaper today because it really isn’t my gifting and I’m not sure it would really use my talents well.” No, I love my son and I love my husband. If the diaper needs to be changed, I change it. It’s a simple way to serve in love and meet a need. This doesn’t mean my gifts aren’t important. What it means is that sometimes the need for a servant is greater than my need to use a specific gift.

A love for the church means a heart that desires to give. There are weeks I’m tempted to go to church and sit back and be served. Now, sometimes being served is what we need to do. If you’re one who is always giving, but in pride refusing to receive, that’s not okay. Allow others the chance to serve you. But if we refuse to serve in the nursery because Sunday is our one chance to get away from kids, we’re thinking of church wrongly. The Bible speaks strongly about the church being our family, even more than our flesh and blood families. (UPDATE: For a great series on this, see this post and those following). So Sunday is not a chance to take a break from family–it’s a chance to serve our true family.

When you are part of a body that loves and serves and gives, there is a beautiful bond that forms. You see people serving in the background and you praise God for that. You see the joy of service in others, and you want to follow suit. You see a need and you long to meet it.

It’s not about self-fulfillment; it’s about self-denial.

The church is the bride of a Bridegroom who emptied Himself and took “the form of a servant.” He humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross. Our Savior did this on our behalf. He freed us from trying to one-up one another. He freed us to serve in love, just as He did. He freed us to rest in the knowledge that our service does not earn our salvation.

We love because we have been loved, and we serve because we have been served.

As we head into the fall, many churches are looking for people to serve in a wide array of areas. Let’s not wait to be wanted or asked. Let’s find out how we may serve our family in love.

New Series for the Fall

This past week I traveled to Branson, MO with my mom, my grandmother and my two children. I had planned to sneak away for a bit and write, but realized an hour outside of Nashville I left my computer sitting inside the door of my home. So I had an unexpected vacation from blogging. Truthfully there wouldn’t have been much time to write anyway, and my kids probably enjoyed some extra time with their mom.

My oldest starts Kindergarten next week (let’s not talk about it…I’m about to drown my sorrows in a pint of Blue Bell Banana Pudding ice cream) and things around here will soon get into some semblance of routine. Once that happens, I’m excited to explore some new blog topics:

– Mother-in-Law/Daughter-in-Law relationships

– Wedding vows

– Thank You note tips and etiquette

And of course the random non-wedding-related posts thrown in there as well.

I’m also going to be doing a series on pre-marital counseling, using some ideas and thoughts from readers (thanks!). I actually wrote some introductory thoughts on this subject, posted this past week on the Revive Our Hearts blog.

Read What Premarital Counseling Didn’t Teach Me here. And, just as an aside, this is not meant to belittle premarital counseling. Most of my counseling was actually in the form of books I read. I know many counselors who do a great job preparing couples for marriage. The point of the post is that no amount of counseling can prepare us for the unknown–only understanding Christ’s supreme value can.

Thanks for reading!