I tossed the damp towel on the edge of the bathtub.  A couple of hours later, it was still there.

Must only mean one thing………vacation is over.  Here at home, there are no efficient maids that work behind the scenes. (to be clear, this is a picture of the hotel bathroom, not the master bath in our home )venetian-bath

This year to celebrate 35 years of being married, we chose to do something completely different.  Certainly, different for us.  In a surprising twist, two folks who don’t drink, smoke or gamble decided to go to Las Vegas, Nevada!

venetian-resort-armillary_2400x1600To spend time, in a glamorous suite, at the Venetian exploring a whole new world was most certainly different and quite an adventure.

8949It was a week of art, beauty, gardens, waterfalls, food, glorious food, treats and sunshine!  We are so used to pouring rain and gray, it took a day or so for us to dry out and revel in the glorious rays of the sun.

Daily breakfast at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant had VACATION written all over it. Seriously folks.  I want live in that restaurant.  I want that floor.  The service was 8958extraordinary. The food was exemplary.  If you order the French Toast it is little pillows of heaven served on the most exquisite marmalade you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The coffee is perfect. Oh, and then as you are just about to leave……….wait for it………they bring you a “to-go” cup of coffee, already with the perfect amount of cream to take with you, to help you ease into the day.  BLESS THEM and what they have created.  Such extravagance.

The gondola ride was anniversary perfect.  The music, the gondolier, the roses, the water, the perfect (faux) sky…… charming, every moment of it was charming and fun (I mean 8945romantic).


Having my palm read has been a secret desire.  I don’t know why I have never been brave enough.  Vacation has a way of making you brave enough to try new things.  I did it and it was super fun & silly & wonderful all mixed together.  After she was done, I told her she was spot on and accurate about everything.  (I wanted her to know she did a good job.)  She said,  “I know, it’s my job.”   Really?  How did she know I study one hour each morning?  ummmm….

A daily treat of swimming and lounging by the garden pool, was so nice.  Just hearing the waterfall and lollygagging for hours was dreamy.

We visited some beautiful gardens and wondered around until we found a glorious bakery.  See?  Vacation is DREAMY!!

Vacations allow us glorious time, somehow remind us we have permission to slowly walk through a garden and fill our spirits with saturated color and beauty. We walk slower, we take more time to gather goodness.

This Monday morning, our vacation envelope is empty.

Time to start saving and dreaming about our next adventure. I’ll wait for you to go get an envelope and pen.  Saving and anticipating the next glorious adventure is wonderful. Write on the outside of the envelope where you want to go.  Put a dollar in the envelope. Seriously, one dollar.  Seed money.8956

Vacation fills our pitcher.  We owe it to ourselves to dream and anticipate and plan.  Then once on vacation, the sun feels warmer, the coffee is richer,  the pool more relaxing, the desserts are more decadent (I forgot to tell you all about the glorious, thick, creamy dreamy Tiramisu dessert that we had made right at our table……..ah……)  oh, and did I mention the shared tangy, Lemon Gelato? 8947

Taking the time to plan a 35th  anniversary vacation, reminds us to celebrate what a really good marriage we have. Yes, my friend, celebrating marriage is THAT important.  By making an effort to celebrate anniversary 4 or 17, those celebrations most certainly help you get to number 35.  By celebrating number 35 it helps you get to number 47 and so on……

Here’s to great marriages, amazing experiences and wonderful breakfasts in French restaurants!

vacation quote

celebrating 4 and 12

Everyone wants to celebrate engagements and weddings.

Presents, cards, wrapping paper and fancy lush bows, the overwhelming color scheme is white or silver.  If you haven’t been to a “get hitched” ceremony lately, lots of brides & grooms offer a special box of some kind to gather all the cards. Always a table dressed up fancy as the “gift table”

This is a big deal folks.  Everyone wants to get in on the celebration.  Everyone (and I am talking about 90-200 people)  want some of that goodness to rub off on them.

Fast forward say four years or even 12 years later.  How many Anniversary cards do those young couples receive?  Do their parents even send a card and gift?

Folks we are talking about thousands upon thousands of dollars for one “party”.  We are talking about folks buying new undies, new clothes, new shoes, getting hair cuts, having their nails done, renting clothes.  This is BIG, I tell ya.

Then, a mere 12 months later, maybe one or two anniversary cards.  Do the couples themselves get dressed up and celebrate?  Do they exchange cards or gifts?  Do they rip open a package of Oreos to celebrate that Oreo cake they had to have constructed for the ceremony? oreo-wedding-cake

Do we all continue to lift up the couple with encouragement and celebration? Who does Hallmark sell all those anniversary cards to exactly?  You know the really expensive cards on the top row?  Seriously, those are pricey.  Jeepers, you really have to like a couple to dish out that kind of moolah.

During some ceremonies, we as the congregation promised to lift up this couple and walk with them through good times and bad.  Are we keeping our promise?

Have you remembered to invite those couples to dinner?  Have you sent an anniversary card this year?

I am offering up a gentle reminder and suggestion.  This life is tough.  Maybe sending out cards will soften the edges and help us remember to celebrate? Maybe a card or note will gently remind other couples we are in their corner?

Lots of statistics out there that tell us how few marriages “make it”.

Somehow, as a society we expect these young couples who have not even hosted a formal dinner party for 6 with written invitations and matching place cards to throw an enormous PARTY for 200 to celebrate their union.  Somehow, we as a society expect so many youngins’ to wear the “right” clothes, say and do the right things and because they do all that, the union will work.

Mr. Right and I send anniversary cards.  We expect our kids to celebrate.  We want to show by example.  We try our best to remember and lift up couples.

(Now, we don’t go all wild and try to push our values on others.  If they choose not to celebrate or wait until next Saturday to go out to a restaurant to toast their big day, good for them.  No, we are not going to continue to jump up and down if another couple is just more quiet  & private about their joy.)

Except when it comes to our own kiddos.  They don’t get a choice whether or not we lift them up and celebrate them.  They get bathed in Grace & Goodness weather they like it or not.  

Some years we send a hand-made, time-consuming gift.  Stitched with such love and fierceness that it is mighty difficult to unwind.  We try and send silly cards to remember to have humor.  One year, we sent aluminum pie pans, foil, cookie cutters to celebrate an “aluminum” year.  One year, we gave toilet paper, paper towels and napkins.  To celebrate the “cotton” year.  haha

Always a card.  Sometimes a sweet little metal sign that simply says:


Being married is all sorts of wild and wonderful feelings mixed together.  Happy, tricky, goofy, funny, hard, easy breezy, lovely, weird, interesting but always, so worth it.

We want our children to know that we are in their corner.  We will lift them up and celebrate what they do and who they love. It is our calling to help our grands have parents that are so strong in their marriage, that it spills over into creating a family of strength and goodness.

Here’s to G & M as they celebrate 4 years of Marriage, today!

Here’s to D & G as they celebrate 12 years of Marriage, tomorrow! 

With Love & Congratulations,

Cheers, Mom & Dad








to love and to cherish, over and over and over

lavender bundlesMarriage is choosing someone again and again to love and to cherish with each new dawn. 

 Last night before licking the envelope shut,  I  wrote that quote on a first year Anniversary card.

We all know the amount of work, time, energy, money, stress, choices and planning that goes into a wedding day.  For Pete sakes, I meant to say we all understand the ENORMOUS amount of thought and planning and effort that goes into making one day of celebration happen.  The money spent on some of these parties is breath-taking.  The people involved and invited count in the hundreds per event.  Not only do the bride and groom take a honeymoon, I have heard of Mothers and Fathers of the happy couples taking a holiday after, to rest and recover.

What if? 

What if, all the people who actually attended the celebration were called upon to lift up the couple each year ever after?  Oh wait, in some ceremonies they are.  Will you support, lift up, pray for and encourage this couple for all the days of their lives?  We will!

What if that meant, each of us who had a part in the wedding, either by cutting cake or sewing a dress or sitting in the congregation or sending a simple card were expected, yes expected, to hold the newly wed couple up and honor their commitment?

What if every single couple celebrating their anniversary, got as many cards on their anniversary as they did on their wedding day?  Today, July 15th would have been my grandparents 77th wedding anniversary.  Will we place so much importance on our anniversary that others will remember the date, long after we are gone?

What would happen, if you looked up their bridal registry and purchased a small plate or dish, brought it home, cooked a really thoughtful meal, invited the young couple and served cookies on their “pattern”.  A surprising and thoughtful take home gift.

Now, I am not saying that if we all gave out that much good karma and energy that there would be fewer divorces and happier couples………..but on the other hand………..there is power in numbers and the positive energy certainly couldn’t hurt.

On the flip side of this conversation, I am having with myself….. What if the couple placed as much value on the 1st, 3rd, 22nd or 32nd anniversary as they did on the wedding day?

What if each couple, saved up vacation time and took a half a day off of work, early on their anniversary?  What if for that one day a year, each polished the apple a bit?  She has her nails done, he gets a fresh haircut.  What if they planned an overnight somewhere new and refreshing?   What if they made their own cards for each other?  What if they came up with sincere and heartfelt small gifts for one another?  What if for just that one day out of the year, they made the celebration of pure importance?  To the exclusion of all other invitations.  Sorry, we can’t come to your BBQ, it is our anniversary and we will be celebrating.  AND the others, would nod understanding the importance and value that the couple has placed on their union.

I am not saying that every couple should rent a tuxedo & shoes or put on an ivory dress and invite 200 people to their first anniversary dinner.  I was just toying with some thoughtful and planned out ideas.  Say for instance while talking and test tasting food with the caterer, how kind and thoughtful would it be to plan that first anniversary dinner?  Maybe if they enjoyed huge, sumptuous steak sandwiches in their hotel room after the big day, every year to follow they enjoyed steak sandwiches?   What if the couple wrote down the name and address of the wedding planner and sent her/him a thank you note a year later?  What if they had a copy of their wedding ceremony and re-read it each year?

I find it interesting, that young couples are willing to spend hours planning for one single day and then somehow in the “busy” and hustle and bustle of everyday LIFE, they fail to celebrate and place value on their commitment to one another, on “their” special day.  NO, not two weeks from now, when we have time.  THE DAY!  Remember they had several and I am sure some heated discussions about what day they should get married.  Apparently, they chose that date for a reason.

Now, I know, there are some that say, we don’t exchange gifts.  We don’t do cards.  We don’t make a big deal out of it.  WHY NOT? 

You expected me to buy a shower gift & give it, plan to take your special day off,  pull on undergarments that take an enormous amount of effort, have my nails painted, buy a pretty dress, find matching earrings to go with said pretty dress, slap on some make up, fluff up or calm down my hair, lay out cuff links & matching socks for my better half, buy a gift, buy or make a card, drive hours or fly, find parking, walk in very high heels,  sit like a lady in 95* weather or freeze under a beautiful but useless pink wrap, raise my glass to your “special” union, wait 2 hours to see you cut into that delicious smelling cake, drive home, fill up the car with gas, take off before mentioned undergarments…………………..and YOU DON”T WANT TO MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT?

WHY NOT?  Why was it so important for you to pay thousands, yes, thousands for a photographer, pay for an event planner, research & sample food, look for the perfect shoes to get married in, view and judge florist after florist and yet, 364 days later……………you DON”T DO GIFTS!

Big news flash, IT IS A BIG DEAL.  I used to say to young couples you are of value and your marriage is worth the effort.  Or is it?  Maybe I see it as a sacred and sincere celebration of two people.  Maybe you do not. Maybe it was all just an illusion.  Maybe you just wanted a party and you really didn’t place as much value on the union as I did.

Was it just a big party?  Was it just for show?  Was the food important for your guests or for you?  Were the wedding favors you gave away, thoughtful, kind and charming or did you see them in a bride magazine and thought they would go with your “theme”?  Yes, I was once a 12-year-old girl, who brought home grooms cake tied in tulle and tucked it under my pillow for sweet dreams and wishes for my Prince Charming.

With all that said, I for one love the celebration year after year.  It feeds our souls.  By celebrating with Mr. Right, we add layers and layers and layers to something that is already grace filled and good.  Really good.

I am truly happy to plan out anniversary gifts or cards to help others celebrate.  I get a giddy feeling in my stomach when I wish another couple, warmest congratulations on year, fill in the blank.

It is not the love that sustains the marriage; it is the marriage that sustains the love.  bonhoeffer

In a few days, a wonderful young couple will be celebrating their first anniversary.  We lift up our glass to you K & S.  May you celebrate with reckless abandon!  You have many, many people lifting you up and standing in your corner.  (They may not have read my blog yet today and don’t know they NEED to join with you in celebration.)  May you have a million more good days than bad in your fresh young marriage.

Here’s to you both and your celebration of love.  May you continue to cherish each other for all of time. May your anniversary celebration be worthy of your love.   We are in your corner.  We are waving our sticks with ribbons and jingle bells on them, celebrating you!  lavender 2