Giveaway: A Christ-Centered Wedding by Catherine Strode Parks and Linda Strode

A Christ Centered Wedding

Photo Credit: Provided by Publicist


Wedding planning has spawned a major industry. The average cost of the occasion now exceeds $25,000, and societal pressure to create the “perfect day” is so strong that even Christian couples forget what God originally intended for the sacred marriage ceremony. While paying attention to the good fun that follows that special proposal (the dress, the flowers, the cake, the gatherings, etc.), A Christ-Centered Wedding first serves as a guide to believers who want their wedding to portray the relationship of Christ with the church and to reflect the gospel to all in attendance. From the start, this thoughtful book looks to the Creator of weddings for guidance in planning by emphasizing the sacrificial love of the Savior more than the modern world’s idealistic view of romantic love. There are chapters filled with practical information about everything from pre-marital counseling and choosing a wedding location to other resources like a planning checklist and timeline, music suggestions, guidance on potential issues of conflict, a listing of traditional financial responsibilities, sample vows, and other great ideas from couples who have successfully put together a Christ-centered wedding.

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The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen

the wishing treeIvy Marshall’s life is falling to pieces the same day she learns her younger sister’s life is coming together with a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. Ivy, while happy for her sister, cannot help wonder “what if” about her own life. What if she’d married the man her family wanted her to marry instead of Elliot? “What if” is a dangerous question, at times……

Ivy leaves Elliot to head back to Sunset Beach. Partly to help with her sister’s wedding, partly to get away from Elliot, and partly to think about life. Back in Sunset Beach, she does not want her family to know about Elliot- since they did not want her to marry him- they wanted her to marry Michael. Ivy figures she’ll see Michael at the wedding since his cousin is marrying her sister- but is surprised (and secretly pleased) to see that Michael is around for the summer.

Elliot is not taking Ivy leaving lightly- he takes to Twitter, one of her favorite social media sites, and begins tweeting to get Ivy’s attention. As the weeks go by, Ivy begins to see that Elliot is trying- he’s paying more attention- but what broke between them; she is unsure if can ever be fixed.

Ivy also has some hard truths of her own to deal with- her role in what lead to her family being hurt about her broken engagement, Michael, and the others she hurt in her past.

The Wishing Tree deals with hard issues with sensitivity and lightness: cheating, breaking hearts, growing up, disappointing family and finding yourself. Well-written, enjoyable, a story-line that is interesting and very readable.


Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Marybeth Whalen has done it again. Written a book that is light, funny; yet poignant and thoughtful. Themes of love, forgiveness, and moving on are discussed and weaved in and out of the story of Ivy and her life. Thought-provoking. Read- you will not be sorry.


*The author provided me with a review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. All above opinions are mine alone.

Always a Bridesmaid, never a Bride


My brother and his lovely fiancee will be getting married in the next few months. I was asked to be a bridesmaid- a time honored tradition that has it’s fun and frivolity; but also it’s times of headaches!

Because my brother is getting married and I’m truly fond of my future sister in law, I’m dedicating this blog post to them (and hoping to win the Wedding Cake for Breakfast for them- to hopefully aid them in the first year of marriage.

Advice for marriage I’ve read over the years: 1. Never go to bed angry. 2. Have separate checking accounts; but have one joint for combined purchases. 3. Be willing to laugh because there is plenty in a marriage that can be funny- you just have to have the right attitude. 4. Know where you stand on the important issues before you tie the knot- it’s easier to not tie the knot, than untie it (cheaper, too!)

Since I’ve been a bridesmaid more times than I can count (I’m not quite up to 27 Dresses-type), but close enough. My advice for bridesmaid’s: 1. Bring a bag loaded with essentials for the day of. 2. Stay Hydrated! 3. Remember to smile- the camera will be flashing all day!

Dedicated to my brother and his fiancee: May the road ahead of you be littered with bright and shiny things, good fortune and much love. May the days be long and bright, and the life be as charmed as possible. xoxo