MKL and I got married on Saturday. Yes, we did. And it was absolutely perfect. There were so many highlights, I don’t even know how to share them with you, and I will share more pictures over the coming months, but here’s a start:

  • Our open house the day before the wedding had the beach house bursting with friends (who are family), blood kin, and love. And the shark tacos were a hit.
  • At the end of that party, the rainy skies cleared to a beautiful sunset and a wide calm beach, and we all migrated to the water’s edge to walk, talk, take pictures, and play ultimate.
  • No one was eaten by sharks (the shark tacos made it the reverse) and the post-wedding day stingray stab on LJRH’s daughter was dramatic, but not debilitating, making for an excellent story for her to take back to Missouri.
  • My loved ones made the house and the deck (E-bro’s, rented down the beach, with more room than mine) look spectacular, and perfect for an inside (rainy) or an outside (sunny) wedding. The sun cooperated and we were outside.
  • An arc of rainbow appeared behind us as we were sitting together after the ceremony. God and my parents were smiling down on us.
  • Painkillers – the drink of the Soggy Dollar Bar, courtesy of my much loved friends Dave and Amanda, who are my family met at that spot 11 years ago – flowed like the sea.
  • The two small and gorgeous girls became fast and immediate friends. In fact, all the people, many of whom had never met, became friends.
  • Beth K., the daughter of my late parents’ best friends, and a true and beautiful warrioress, joined us. We had never met before, and now I feel I have another sister.
  • My three new stepsons, all of whom are treasures: one was the most perfect ceremony officiate ever, one steamed and bustled me and made sure I looked perfect, and one led the toasts that brought me to tears.
  • My brother and sister-in-law and their wonderful children opening their hearts and home to us.
  • My sister and niece flying quickly and crazily in from Colorado to share the day and capture it in photographs.
  • Having my uncle and aunt and darling cousin (now one of my best friends, after a gap in time of some 35 years) made me feel like my parents were there.
  • Our across-the-street neighbor who lovingly provided a sandcastle cake, delicious crab dip, serving trays, a steamer, and her and her husband’s warmth, affection, and light to our special days.
  • JJ, who continues to allow me to come “home” every year for a few brief weeks, to the house on Topsail Beach.
  • My stepson T’s toast, which touched me deeper than my heart.
  • Having the Swine Sisters – aka my two best girlfriends from when I was 17 – reunited again as if no time had passed.
  • The girlie-hen-party that was a part of my getting dressed for the ceremony. I really feel like I have lots of sisters now.
  • I sparkled. And I glowed. And my dress was awesome.
  • Wearing my mother’s rhinestones that I used to play dress-up in, and carrying my father’s handkerchief.
  • MKL’s shirt matching the sky, and being my “something blue”.
  • Beautiful bouquets from Surf City Florist, and a lovely centerpiece created from grocery-store bought flowers. And my daughter’s swagging and shell-arranging skills were front and center.
  • All the vows, including those read by the officiate, handwritten on the back of placemats from the Breezeway, our favorite beach restaurant. (I’ll share a photo later.)
  • My most darling daughter, who not only wore a dress for the occasion, but looked gorgeous, and bailed me out when I pulled her aside just after the ceremony had started and told her I had forgotten MKL’s ring and she needed to drive like a bat out of hell to fetch it from our house. She did so successfully, saving the day, and allowing her to maintain her dignity by not bursting into tears during my vows (which she read the next day).
  • Another wedding down the beach releasing Chinese lanterns after dark – it was if they were ours, but we didn’t have to go to the trouble. (Fire and I are often not a happy mix.)
  • Seeing the Milky Way in the sky for the first time in years; it was here that my father first pointed it out and explained it to me.
  • Remembering almost nothing about the ceremony but the look in MKL’s eyes, which as always looked sparkling like the sea, with a hint of aspen trees.

DSCF3387
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” — Homer

Daily gratitudes:
A couple more days by the sea
Long walks holding hands
Shark’s teeth
The smell of sunscreen
Love

Storms have been abundant the last few days…hoping that the weather is good for the wedding day.

Jolly Roger Pier
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” — Charlotte Bronte

Daily gratitudes:
Pool at Homeport
Looking for shark’s teeth
Watching Kelsea and Michael grow into their relationship
A good sleep with my love
The cry of seagulls
My Mother’s spirit subtly shifting things in the beach house

Wordless with happiness.

Sneads Ferry Image
Snead’s Ferry, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” — Robert Heinlein

Daily gratitudes:
Family
The beach
Being with Kelsea and Michael
Thunderstorms
Waves

Only a few days away…the sun will be rising from the ocean, instead of setting into it, but I’m not particular. In the meantime, I had to see my little baby girl off on her first cross-country drive last night – she’s going with three other girls, and I think it’s just a taste of how hard it will be to send her off to college. At least this trip, I will see her on Friday.

IMG_8721
Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Quote of the day: “Bring me the sunset in a cup.” — Emily Dickinson

Daily gratitudes:
A good night’s sleep
Outlander Book #2
Packing
Having a strong, independent woman as my daughter
Juggling to-dos

Since I started the swimming pig ball rolling, I figured I’d just let it roll with some more shots of these cuties. My feet will be in the sand in about four days (North Carolina sand, not Bahamian sand) and I can’t wait. It has been over eight months since I’ve been on a beach (seeing one from an Oregon scenic overlook doesn’t quite count) and that’s way too long for me!

A Passel of Pigs
Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “To the stars, on the wings of a pig.” — John Steinbeck

Daily gratitudes:
My orange shoes
That when I don’t burn things, I can make a darn good quick dinner
Dozing on the bus
Laughter
Masterpiece Theatre

On our last trip to Exuma, we crossed something off of my Bucket List – swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas. Our private captain took us to a Secret Pig Island (not the ones that most of the tour boats go to), and the little porkers swam right out to greet us, knowing that we’d have something fun for them to eat. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience (though I said that about my first trip to the Caribbean as well, and look how that turned out), but I was soooo happy to pet and paddle and share some splash time with these beasties. And they seemed pretty darn happy too.

Swimming with the Pigs
Somewhere off Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “I really do believe that all of you are at the beginning of a wonderful journey.As you start traveling down that road of life, remember this: There are never enough comfort stops. The places you’re going to are never on the map. And once you get that map out, you won’t be able to re-fold it no matter how smart you are.
So forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can, pull over and have picnic with a pig. And if you can help it never fly as cargo.” — Jim Henson

Daily gratitudes:
Wedding dress shopping for Niece 1
Time with my sister
Finalizing my wedding hairstyle (courtesy of Niece 1)
Hawks on telephone poles
GPS assistance when needed

It is still remarkably green here in Colorado, due to our unusually wet spring and early summer. Most years by now, the vista is brown and dry. But as of last week, the wildflowers werestill showing their fancy, making a lovely foreground for one of the sandstone Pawnee Buttes.

Butte and Rudbeckia
Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.” — John Steinbeck

Daily gratitudes:
Getting fancy
A lovely date with my MKL
A generous pour of Glenmorangie
Snuggling
Loving attention to my wounds

Yes, it is indeed where the deer and the antelope play. We saw a lot of antelope on our long drive on Sunday, some of who kindly posed for us. Most would bound away when we stopped the truck, retreating to a safe distance, and then inch their way back to us as we took pictures, as curious about us as we were about them. We saw pairs and herds and babies and they were all adorable. It was especially nice for me, as the antelope is my constant spirit animal in my shamanic practice.

Antelope 1
Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Beauty, the world seemed to say. And as if to prove it (scientifically) wherever he looked at the houses, at the railings, at the antelopes stretching over the palings, beauty sprang instantly. To watch a leaf quivering in the rush of air was an exquisite joy. Up in the sky swallows swooping, swerving, flinging themselves in and out, round and round, yet always with perfect control as if elastics held them; and the flies rising and falling; and the sun spotting now this leaf, now that, in mockery, dazzling it with soft gold in pure good temper; and now again some chime (it might be a motor horn) tinkling divinely on the grass stalks—all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.” — Virginia Woolf

Daily gratitudes:
How antelope rhymes with cantaloupe
That Season 2 of The Paradise arrived just as I finished Season 1
Fishtail skirts
MKL’s hands
Soft air

Was Sunday really three days ago? It doesn’t seem like it. But then again, I’ve spent hours since battling with the cable people, the power people, and the refrigerator, all of which changes the quality of time, so Sunday is a very happy memory. I am so glad that we have at least made efforts to preserve some wide open spaces. They are blessings.

Pawnee National Grassland
Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” — e.e. cummings

Daily gratitudes:
That my neighbor Mr. Beard still has his Christmas lights up
Time with Kelsea
Avoiding traffic
My dress for Friday night at the opera
Not setting the house afire when I made dinner tonight

Windows, doors…all ways in and ways out, and important in our lives both physically and metaphorically. I have seen doors not just slam shut, but implode before me, leaving me left to pull pieces of splintered wood and glass from my heart, but no matter how hard it has been, there has always been a window, albeit one I might have to smash with my bare hands to get through. The doors and windows in my life now are welcoming and clear, and that’s a very good feeling.

And A Door
St. Elmo, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller

Daily gratitudes:
Tattered Cover’s broccoli-cheese soup
MKL
A strange tinge of fall in the air
Surprises
The sunlight on the wings of wheeling flocks of birds

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