Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our 9th Anniversary

I started this post three years ago, a third of our marriage has gone by since, but the sentiments of reflection are the same, so I will use the same introduction.

Today is our sixth (ninth)  wedding anniversary, and the nostalgia of it all keeps flooding back to me. I think about how much work my dear mother put into making it a perfect day for me, her little girl, about my father's willingness to provide such a special series of festivities, because weddings are really as much about the mother/parents of the bride as the bride, aren't they?

  I think about my friends who came from far and near, representing pieces of my life and parts of my heart, pieces of BJ or his heart, who came to celebrate our union, honoring me in a way that I treasure to this day. 

 I think about cheers and toasts, dancing and smiling, praying and honoring the sanctity of the union BJ and I were entering. I know it was a very long service, so I'm thinking of my girls standing up for me.  I'm so grateful for the memories of the wedding weekend, the friends and family who made it so unique and fun, and the marriage I got out of it.

BJ and I have just returned from a 24-hour long romantic jaunt in Hickman County to celebrate our wedding here and the life we have built together since. 

We started with an afternoon at the Grinder Switch Winery, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and great wines.

He planned the date and the only thing I knew was that I needed a bathing suit and it would be close. He tried to tell me we were going to scuba dive in the Tennessee River for a river pearl. I didn't think that sounded so great or being in a bathing suit in December, but I was excited to learn the reason I needed a bathing suit was a private hot tub where we enjoyed soaking under the stars and having the cows talk (moo) to us.    

We then drove over to Only to the Chestnut Hill Bed and Breakfast

where we were greeted with a warm fire, a beautiful country setting and a lovely pair of hosts.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner for two by a picturesque window including wine we picked out from Grinder Switch.

 This morning, we were lured out of bed with the smell of coffee and a seat by the fire place.  
 We enjoyed bird watching by this picture window.

 And a fabulous country, classy breakfast.

 Then, we took a walk in the wilderness to enjoy the beauty of nature and time together in the calm woods. 

 Nine years later, I'm happy to be making the journey together. 
 Our marriage isn't perfect; we don't appreciate each other like we should and focus more on logistics than love too often, but there is beauty in our path and most days, we appreciate that.
 One of my mom's friends told me when I was planning my wedding, "Don't try to make a Centerville wedding something out of Centerville. Celebrate the small town, the country." (My friends who were forced to stay in the dive of "The Grinder's Switch Inn" (not to be confused with the winery), may have said we took that a little far.)

  But it was so nice to be in Hickman County to be reminded of the beauty of here, representing the way life and marriage together provides joy and beauty in accepting where we are. 
 And, loving who we are has been some work on accepting who we are as well.

 “We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.”  
William Hazlitt 

Maybe marriage should be the same. I wonder what truths I will learn in the next 9 years of marriage, metaphors I will find and places of nature and life we will journey to.

The overnight excursion was such a blessed way for us to step out of our life into the beauty and charm of my home county and renew ourselves and our marriage. Happy Anniversary BJ, and for all of you that came to our wedding 9 years ago and who have been a part of our life since, thank you.

 “Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” – Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 26, 2013


My sweet sister-in-law Becki asked me about how we handle our pets dying since she thought my niece Kitty's fish is about to be "belly up."  On Sunday night, a friends whispered to Anna Cate that when they tell their daughter "the fish went back to the ocean" they really mean the fish died.  In these little vignettes of witnessing the way my friends/family handle death with their kids, I'm reminded of how differently my daughter's childhood experience is in that death is dealt with head on in our household.I think because we want their grammy to be a part of their consciousness, death is also.

Anna Cate in her young 7 years has experienced loss on a few occasions.  A few weeks ago, as the girls were still processing the loss of a sort-of-grandfather in Patti's Dad, Molly said "Paw paw is like Grammy and Jesus . . . in our hearts."  I jokingly said, well I guess that is Molly's theology -- heaven is a place in our hearts.  But when I reflect about the depth of my children's capacity to understand life in its fleeting properties, I'm both grateful and sad, and hope I'm handling it all ok.

So I tell myself that they celebrate the special occasions deeply as well.

When asked what her favorite thing about Thanksgiving, Anna Cate says "being with family" and I think she means it.

Molly Mae loves having family around, too.

She has quite the spirit to know when things are special.

She soaked up as much time with Daddy Doug as she could, including naps together.  I forgot to ask him if she rubbed his neck.

Daddy took both girls to see Frozen.

Then, he went back to Tennessee but Nana stayed an extra week. We crafted, she visited Anna Cate's school twice, she shopped and we went to see Santa.

 Molly was brave to Santa. Look at that grin.

The reason Mom stayed was to go with as 'nanny' to a wedding for the first weekend in December. BJ was so honored to be asked to be "best man" for his friend Whitney as he wed his "once in a lifetime love" Sam (as said in their vows).  The girls were asked to be the flower girls. It was a trip of  a lifetime for us at the Homestead Resort.

It was a beautiful wedding and we all had a fabulous time!!

Having Mom with us was icing on the cake, a marshmallow on the fire, a candy cane in our martini!

The girls swam in an outdoor heated pool, ice skated with their Daddy and pretty much felt like they were at home by the time we left.

It was a special weekend and fabulous kick off to the Christmas season as well as a reminder about the celebrations in life, the beauty and history of Virginia, and the importance in celebrating life of our family and friends.

“Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.” 
~ Joanne Harris