It’s a joy to be able to do something that you love doing.
I feel very blessed to be able to perform wedding ceremonies and celebrate with couples as they take this important step on their journey together.
And it is humbling to learn that the readers of Style Magazine feel that I’m doing a good job.
“The love story of Joseph and Andrea began more than six years ago. He was the handsome FedEx delivery man and she noticed that he often came to her office without any packages, just so he could talk with her. One conversation led to another, and their interest in each other grew.
“She appreciated his charming, caring nature and fun sense of humor; he was drawn to her beautiful eyes and her gentle, sweet demeanor. They began dating, and quickly recognized they were meant for each other. So Joseph asked Andrea to become his wife and his partner for life, and of course she said ‘Yes!’”
During their courtship Joseph frequently demonstrated his delightful sense of humor by sending illustrated declarations of his love to Andrea via email. Read more »
Although most of my ministerial work involves writing and performing wedding ceremonies, I am occasionally called upon to conduct a memorial or celebration of life service.
I was recently contacted by a local funeral director who asked me to officiate at the service for his father-in-law, Ken. I was honored to do so. Read more »
Jason and Celina were married today in Foresthill, with the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains as their ceremony backdrop. (Their reception was held at the Forest House Lodge, one of my favorite wedding venues.)
I am confident Jason and Celina will have a long and happy marriage, in part because they were raised with the example of longevity in marriage. Both sets of parents have been married for 30 years or more, and have exemplified the value of respect, good communication, and knowing how and when to give and take in a relationship.
Congratulations, Jason and Celina! May you endlessly delight one another and may you love and fulfill each other always.
Leon and Carlos met on December 7, 2001, and they got married on their seven-year anniversary: December 7, 2008.
Well, they had a ceremony on their seven-year anniversary, but since same-sex marriage was not legal in California at that time, it was technically just a ceremony of the heart.
Until yesterday, July 13, 2013, when they again said “I do” and exchanged rings and this time I was able to pronounce them to be married. And sign their marriage license.
I generally include a Love Story in ceremonies, and after interviewing them back in 2008 I shared the following in their December 7th ceremony:
Carlos and Leon are aware of the work and commitment required in order to build and maintain a solid relationship. They know there are many essential elements in a successful marriage, including communication, trust, honesty, compromise, respect for self and each other, and a determination to succeed in marriage.
After nearly a dozen years of loving each other and working together to live a happy life, I think Carlos and Leon are a wonderful example of love and commitment.
Congratulations, you two!
And when you’re ready to renew your vows on your 25-year anniversary (December of 2033), I’d love to be there!
The past week has been very important to couples in California. Unless you never open a newspaper, watch TV or turn on your computer, you know that same-sex marriage is once again legal in California.
Back in 2008, during the brief window of time that same-sex marriage licenses were issued, I was honored to perform a handful of weddings for non-traditional couples.
As is my practice with ALL the couples I work with, I asked questions and wrote a Love Story for each of these ceremonies.
And what I found is that their stories, their challenges, their hopes and dreams were no different from any other couple.
They date, they hope to find their “one true love,” their hearts may get broken but they continue to love.
They worry about aging parents, and a challenging job market, and the loss of pets and other family members.
They celebrate anniversaries; they worry about their spouse’s health; they grieve for a marriage that fails (as is true for one of “my” same-sex couples).
And don’t we all?
As I’ve said before, and will continue to say for the rest of my existence: Love is love. It has no gender or race or age or nationality.
It is simply the essence of who we all are, as spiritual beings having a physical existence.
Congratulations for ALL people who choose to make the commitment, and do the work, to have love and be love!
Marly was a widow; Philip had been divorced for many years. They met at Fontaine Dance Studio in Roseville, where Philip is a dance assistant. She found him to be charming, and he thought she was very nice. They began dating and soon fell in love.
And on Saturday, in an intimate patio ceremony at Orchard Creek Lodge in Lincoln, they exchanged rings and vows, promising to love and care for each other, and be dance partners, for the rest of their lives.
Stephanie and Zak have known each other for 20 years; they were part of a close-knit group of friends at Christian Brothers High School. Although their lives took separate paths for many years they stayed in touch, and over time they realized that their friendship had evolved into something more.
As Zak told me, “I began to realize that my attraction was more than just friendship — we had shared over a decade of experiences together and it just never got old.” And Stephanie said, “We get stronger the longer we’re together.”
On a beautiful May evening, on a plateau overlooking Taber Ranch and the lovely Capay Valley, they were married. Their families and large group of friends were there to laugh and love and celebrate with them!
Michael and Paula met 34 years ago, when both worked at McDonald’s on Freeport Blvd. They dated during high school, but when Michael moved to San Francisco for college their lives slowly drifted apart.
However, in January of 2011, Michael felt compelled to contact Paula, so he searched the Internet and was able to find a telephone number for her. He dialed the number, not knowing who he would reach. She answered and instantly recognized his voice on the phone. That conversation lasted for three hours, and they found they still felt a bond with each other.
They eventually started seeing each other again, finally recognized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. And they were married on Sunday morning, in the patio garden at Vizcaya in Sacramento.
One of the most touching parts of the ceremony was this quote from Paula, as told during the Love Story: “He’s tall and I’m short, but when he holds me in his arms, my head is right next to his heart.”
Each of these couples, in their own way, show that love happens at any time in life.
May they each enjoy many, many years of happiness together!
(Featured Image: Cake by Village Cake Shoppe)
While visiting the Louvre in April of 2009, I saw this painting, “Adoration of the Shepherds” by Georges de la Tour, and thought that it would make a beautiful Christmas card.
I send it, along with this beautiful blessing, as my Christmas wish to you and yours.
We do not wish thee
Riches nor the glow of greatness,
But that wherever thou go some weary
Heart shall gladden at thy smile,
And thy path shall be a track
Of light like angels’ footsteps
Passing through the night.
(Words on a church wall in Upwaltham, England)
Today, I conducted the Celebration of Life service for a 48-year old woman. The chapel was filled with Michelle’s friends and family, all of whom acknowledged that she had lived her life with gusto. And died far too soon.
This evening I was listening to my iPod and a song came on: “Time Passes By” by Kathy Mattea. And I was reminded of a speech I presented many years ago. (This memory was evoked because I actually sang a few lines of that song during my presentation!)
Fortunately, I still have a copy of the speech, and while it was presented 21 years ago — oh, my! — it is still timely. I am sharing it here with the hope that it will be that gentle nudge (or swift kick in the pants) that some reader may need to LIVE LIFE, because it truly is short.
Life is Short
Do you know when you are going to die?
Suppose you knew that you were only going to live until the end of 1991. What would you want to do before then?
Have you ever said, “Before I die, I want to …..”?
I know what I would do. I’d get cash out of my credit card, maybe borrow some money, and I’d fly to France and go to the Louvre. I’d spend days studying the great masterpieces there. I’d absorb the French atmosphere and culture.
Of course, my French is pretty rusty, so I’d have to spend some time learning the language. I don’t know which pieces are housed in the Louvre – and I don’t know much about the artists, so I would need to take an Art Appreciation course. And that would take time. And I would wish that I had done this preparatory work sooner, so I could live the dream now.
Do you have passion about your life? Are you enthusiastic about your dreams? Are your relationships fulfilling? Do you live life NOW?
Think about your dreams. If I ask you right now to name a dream of yours, what would it be? Do you want to take a cruise to the Mexican Riviera? Do you want to learn to dance? Or start your own business? Have you done anything to achieve your dream? If not, why not? Would you have to take a risk in order to realize your dream?
Let me tell you about one of my dreams. I have always wanted to take a ride in a hot air balloon. I wanted to feel the exhilaration of rising to 3,000 feet above the ground, floating silently over the Napa Valley, with only the low murmur of other passengers and the hiss of the helium keeping the balloon afloat to break the still. I’ve had this dream for years.
And this year, I realized that dream!
A friend and I took that first balloon ride over the vineyards, and it was WONDERFUL!!!
And you know what I found out? It’s addictive. Not just the balloon ride, but the fact that I did something I’ve always wanted to do!
I challenge you to focus on one of your dearest dreams, and do whatever you need to do to make it happen. If you want to learn to dance, sign up for lessons. If you want to take a cruise, talk to a travel agent and find out how much you need to save, and then go open a savings account! Start writing that novel you have in your head. Do it now! You’ve heard the phrase: Life is short; eat dessert first! Live your dream. Be excited!
What about your relationships? If you knew you only had a few months to live, wouldn’t you do something to weed out those relationships that are unfulfilling and unnecessary? What about that co-worker (or friend, or lover) who brings you down rather than causing you joy. Wouldn’t you say, “I love myself too much to continue in this negative relationship”?
I have a rather selfish attitude about this. I only have so much of “ME” to share with others, so I want to invest my energy wisely, so that it will multiply.
I would certainly make it a point to get in touch with the people I really love, and tell them so! I’d call my grandfather and tell him what a lasting impact he’s made on my life. I’d play board games with my children, and take the time to read to them more often. I’d tell my friends how much I appreciate their friendship.
There’s a song out now on the country station which beautiful summarizes my thoughts. It says:
“Time passes by
People pass on
At the drop of a tear they’re gone.
Let’s do what we dare; do what we like
And love while we’re here, before time passes on.”
Life is short. Although we all hope to be here many more years, there are no guarantees. Let me encourage you to LIVE your life now. Fulfill your dreams. Improve your relationships. Live each day to the fullest.
What am I doing, to practice what I preach?
Well, I hope that I will be alive well beyond the end of 1991. But I’m spending better time with my children. If I appreciate someone, I make it a point to tell them. I’m weeding out unhealthy relationships.
I have not cashed out my credit card for my airfare to Paris. But I have been reading books on great art. I’m practicing my French. “Je parle une petit plus Francais. Tres bien, n’est pas?”
I’m going to live my life to the fullest. I hope you will too.
Because life is short!
PS: This is a photo of me in 2009, during my THIRD trip to Paris!