From the Sierra Ranch to Monterey Bay and down the one through Big Sur. Calamari and local wine, waterfall into the pacific, Elephant seals, sunset, Spectacular. Pepperoni pizza for dinner. Happy valentine’s day.
This land was made for you and me.
We landed in San Francisco. It was a long day, but I’m always full of energy at the beginning of a trip. It was nice to be up at dawn when the sky is a color of blue I rarely get to experience.
Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, valentine’s day, Friday, Jake and Maggie’s wedding, Chinese New Year, Presidents’ Day, plus 4 more days!!! What a vacation.
We met Matt and Megan at the airport, got a car and headed downtown to 2nd street for some local brews and yummy food at the 21st Amendment Brewery. We had dinner with Matt’s cousin and his new finance. Then we crossed the Bay Bridge and made our way to Oakley where Eliot and Anna welcomed us happily into their home. Good conversation, music and dancing.
Next on the agenda: the Golden Gate Bridge and the REDWOODS!!!
A couple photographs to summarize a glorious beginning to a new year.
Look at all the new growth!
Back in December of 2011 I accompanied my mom to a service celebrating the life of an incredible woman, Marnie Werth. An only child, Marnie created her own family, despite blood relations, marriage ties, and other traditional definitions of family units. Her three children each had different parents, but they were all very closely knit into one anothers lives. She lived a life of passion towards helping others, including the Avery County Habitat for Humanity, and the Valle Crucis Day School, where I went as a toddler. Marnie forever expanded my definition of family.
My approach, as I plan this wedding, is to be inclusive rather than exclusive. And while Ian and I both grew up in the church, and work with the church, we are not getting married in a church. I would have gotten married in St. John’s Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis, but it isn’t open past labor day and I felt that we had more than 100 family members, so we wouldn’t be able to cram in there. We are instead getting married outdoors, in the middle of God’s beautiful creation. There will be plenty of Episcopal priests present, so it might as well be church, anyway. As Camp Henry taught us to appreciate the world around us and to notice the little moments, we often look to creation to see the beauty of this world and it is where we see one another clearly. The other advantage is that we are not constrained by space outdoors, and thus it makes it easier to have all our family present on our wedding day.
I wonder in all of this who my family will be in 30 years. I think about who I will raise kids with, what I will remember from my wedding day, and what kind of family I will look back on. As I work on invitations, I imagine the greatest dinner party of my life thus far. Determining a guest list is not easy. There are people who have been in our lives for a very long time. There are new friends who we expect to be around for the rest of our lives. We have all sorts of cousins, aunts, uncles and friends from old and new relationships. We have one set of grandparents, who will not be able to travel the distance to celebrate with us, but all of our grandparents will be there in spirit. In the beginning of the wedding planning craziness, I decided being in a beautiful space with people we love was all that mattered (besides the promise Ian and I make to one another). So when I get all tied up in a knot about some detail, I think about my family. My immediate family, my Camp Henry family, my Sewanee family, my church family, my childhood family, my Polk county family, my family friends that might as well be family, and the family I will create with Ian. These relationships, the people in our lives, this is what we’re celebrating.
“If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each one of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life.”