be the king of your life

first aid kit lyrics

the amazing swedish (!) folk duo first aid kit, whom i completely adore, are going to be in asheville tonight – and we’ve got tickets!! yes, we saw them just this past spring in carrboro, nc (you can read all about that trip here and here), but when we heard at that concert that they were returning to asheville, we just had to buy tickets. we have missed them either here or in sweden for years… so finally we get to see them in our home city! and word is, they absolutely love asheville (who doesn’t?!), so i am expecting it to be an energetic and inspiring concert!

these two sisters are incredible – embracing a wild, authentic, free-spirited life, poetically singing of dreams + challenges + never giving up, they are always chasing the open road or embracing all that is natural. and their voices… oh my god. they are what bliss sounds like.

so, tonight, i’ll be standing right there, soaking up every little second – experiencing my own little bliss and filling up on earthy, real, wild inspiration.

i’ll be reminded, once again, to be true myself and to follow my path – that i am the king of my world, most definitely with my head in the stars + my feet in the sky, chasing my dreams and ready for all of the challenges/changes/adventures that lie ahead of me.

join me, and reign over your kingdom too.

light + love. xx

the many ways to celebrate love

well guys, the weekend of weddings is over. it was wild and amazing. and each of the three weddings were completely different – unique and beautiful, all in their own ways. for two of the weddings i was the officiant = i performed the wedding ceremony (a freaking awesome honor to have!). one was fairly short and quick, yet still meaningful and ground-breaking for the women. the other one was a little bit longer, and totally + completely inspired by the autumn nature around us. the third one was a greek orthodox wedding of two friends – complete with rituals, traditions, a reception and an after party. what an eclectic, fun time!

wedding # 1: long time love

i posted about this wedding the other day, so i won’t go into all of the details again. (you can read my original post here). but, i did have to include some photos from the day. my drive down to cherokee county, in the far western corner of north carolina, was amazing. it was just me and the open road for 2 and half hours both ways. that’s a lot of precious “me time”. and i loved every second of it.

and then there’s the photo of the happy couple and me. we were all smiles, all giggles, and all nerves. it was a moment of pure elation and joy. filled with the power of a love that has stood the test of time and hate and discrimination. but, finally, these two women married – something they never thought they’d get to do. and they chose me to officiate. humbled to the max. i get goosebumps just thinking about the whole day now.

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LGBT wedding

wedding #2: my amazing, fun, beautiful greek wedding

on saturday, i had barely come off my high from friday’s wedding experience, only to be ready for another amazing celebration. lina and i dressed up and headed to the greek orthodox church on a second absolutely gorgeous autumn day. it was warm + cool all at the same time. perfection.

we experienced so many new traditions and rituals at the ceremony of our friends, chris + andrea. rituals like wreaths crowning their heads in the middle of the ceremony, symbolizing that they are now the king + queen of their own kingdom. and their first steps as a married couple, a slow walk, wearing their wreath crowns and holding candles, around the altar three times.

there was so much tradition in the entire ceremony, chanting, singing, and praying by the priest. it was beautiful and mystical – something that i have always loved about the orthodox church – their focus and continuation of belief in the mystical divine nature of spirituality. though, there were a few theological things that i disagree with (man is the head of the household + spiritual leader scripture readings, and such). still, i can completely appreciate the ancient context of these readings and celebrate the commitment + love that our two amazing friends share. and, let me tell you, these two friends are two of the biggest rays of sunshine in the world that i have ever met – loving, accepting, fun, and so very down-to-earth. they are real people. beautiful souls. and it was an honor to watch them begin this part of their life together.

soon, it was reception time! we met downtown in a venue called on broadway. it was amazing! so beautiful and breathtaking when we walked in. we ate delicious, local food. drank lots from the open bar (thank you andrea + chris! hehe!), danced, sang, mingled, laughed, and generally just made merry the whole night long. lina and i kept saying to ourselves that we were so honored to be invited to be a part of this day. what a joy!

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my love and me

greek orthodox wedding

greek orthodox wedding reception

greek orthodox wedding reception

greek orthodox wedding reception

andrea bride and me

party

greek orthodox wedding dance

my love and me

wedding #3: of nature + love

after sleeping off all of the festivities from the greek orthodox wedding extravaganza, i awoke to yet another captivatingly gorgeous autumn day. it’s as if nature has been celebrating with us for three days now (as i type this on monday morning, the perfect weather continues).

the third wedding was to be celebrated by my former co-worker (and friend) and his fiancé. they are the ones who actually got this whole ordination/wedding officiate thing started for me. back in september at lina’s + my 70th birthday party, these two asked me if i could marry them in december. they knew that i’d considered getting my ordination done before and simply asked me if i’d go ahead and do it. so, i did! then, they moved the date up to october, thinking they’d love to have an autumn wedding. the ceremony was to be at their home, which lies on the swannanoa river.

lina and i got dressed, i had all my my wedding stuff with me, including a nature-inspired ceremony, and we drove over to their place. as we drove down the curvy roads, the sun glowed through the leaves of all colors. it was gorgeous. then we came upon their house, which sat directly on the bank of the river, with a deck overlooking it. the water was clear, sparkling and glistening. lina + i immediately declared that we would love to live right there. the colors, the river, the entire setting was indescribable. and the day… well, it was the. perfect. autumn. day.

it was a small ceremony with a few family members friends, a photographer, and a few people with us via FaceTime from England (the bride is british). how cool is that?! lina became the impromptu FaceTime videographer. hehe.

i stood in the sun on the porch, with my back to the river, facing these two people as they began this next journey together in life. i was so filled with joy and inspired by the spirit of nature that was with us. birds chirping, water gurgling, sunshine dancing. as if nature was celebrating + blessing this marriage as well. of course, as soon as i said:

“and so, by the power vested in me…by the state of north carolina, it is with great honor and joy that i now pronounce you…”

i got all chocked up again. damn. that is so tough to say. it’s so powerful and meaningful – not because i have any power, but only because i am standing looking at two people who declare their love to each other and i have the insane honor to be there to witness it. it is such a beautiful gift and it makes my soul sing.

sunrise autumn

autumn trees

autumn house

wedding autumn nature

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swannanoa river autumn

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Congratulations to all three of the happy couples!! ♥

Transforming Power by Lau Tsu

Your love contains the power
Of a thousand suns.
It unfolds as naturally and effortlessly
As does a flower,
And graces the world with its blooming.
Its beauty radiates a transforming energy
That enlivens all who see it.
Because of you, compassion and joy
Are added to the world.
That is why the stars sing together
Because of your love.

(a poem i used in yesterday’s wedding)

light + love to you all. xx

wedding bells weekend

i’m gonna try to write words, but i know that my words will not do the experience justice.

today, i had the pure joy, honor, + privilege to perform my first wedding ceremony. and as if that wasn’t enough, there were many other factors that made it even more amazing…

about 2 weeks ago, i got an email from someone who had seen my officiant/minister profile online. she introduced herself and told me that she + her partner of twenty-six years (!) wanted to be married. they were from alabama and wondered if i could meet them in murphy – a little mountain town in north carolina that borders georiga, tennessee, and alabama – and perform their ceremony.

well,  of course i said yes!

so, today, after emails back and forth for the past 2 weeks and preparing a ceremony that that approved of, i hopped in my car and drove through the mountains, on windy roads, through colorful woods, and by a rushing river to get to murphy. i was excited, nervous, and so humbled to be doing this.

mountain roads

i parked my car on the main street in murphy and saw the courthouse, big + beautiful, overlooking the downtown area. suddenly, i realized that we were in very conservative, rural country and people might not look too highly on two women getting married. the ladies would have to go into the courthouse and apply for their marriage license, and legally they have every right to do that, but i wondered how people would react in the office. i was now nervous about any negativity that we might encounter.

murphy, north carolina

cherokee county courthouse

i made my way to the register of deeds (where you get your marriage license) and waited for the ladies to arrive. the elevator dinged, and two women appeared – all of us instantly knowing who the others were. one of the ladies gave me a hug, the other shook my hand. lesbian vibes bouncing everywhere in that little hallway.

me selfie

after a few moments of just meeting face to face, we walked into the office. they were nervous. i was nervous. and the lady asked what she could help us with. the two women proudly said that they wanted a marriage license, and the woman behind the desk said, “certainly. can i have your id’s?”. that was it!

apparantly, same-sex couples from the surrounding states had been showing up in murphy all week in order to get married. remember, it is now legal in north carolina, but illegal in every other southern state. so, the past 2 weeks, since it became legal, people have crossed state lines in order to fulfill dreams.

for these two women, it had been a dream that they both thought would never happen in their lifetimes, they told me as we stood there while the paperwork was being processed. they fidgeted, one more than the other, and they just wanted to get it over with. but, they were so elated to have this opportunity.

i can’t even imagine… being together all of those years and not able to openly show their love. alabama is even more backwards than north carolina. they described to me how they hid their love for each other for a long time, how they snuck about, and how they just confronted their bullies. they have been through a lot, way more than i have, and here they were, about to make their family legal – able to truly take care of each other. in this moment, they were being treated just the same as other couples seeking to be married. it was a huge moment.

register of deeds

so, with the marriage license in hand, we headed back upstairs to find a place to do the simple ceremony i had planned for them. we saw a staircase with a large window behind it – the staircase was the main one in the center of the big, ornate courthouse. we decided that would be the spot.

i stood with my back to the window and they faced me, side by side. and then… the words just flowed. they answered and proclaimed their love and promises to each other. i began to choke up as i got to the pronouncement part. they were beaming. we were all gitty. and then, i said it:

“You have each chosen this common road of marriage, and from this moment forward your intentions and paths are united.  You have expressed your commitment to one another and taken to yourselves the relationship of Partners in life and solemnly promised to love, honor, comfort and cherish each other for all the days to be. So live vibrantly.  Hold fast to your ideals.  Challenge one another,  and give each other new experiences of joy.

Therefore, in accordance with the laws of North Carolina and by virtue of the authority vested in me it is my honor to declare you married,  partners in life, spouses for life.”

ahhhhh-mazing!!

me married

after the ceremony and filing the marriage license (my other job as minister), i walked around downtown and found myself having lunch in a cozy cafe. i just sat, beaming, feeling like i was going to explode. knowing that i was fulfilling some of the things that i am meant to do in this world.

i basked in the knowledge that i got to be part of something huge today. and i am completely humbled by the fact that i shared such a special moment in the lives of these two, inspiring women. what an incredible, incredible experience.


now,  i’ve still not come down from my high. and, i am ready to keep on celebrating. gonna have some dinner with my brother and my wife soon – both of whom are super stressed and not at all in the same place emotionally i am in tonight. hopefully i will make them feel better.

then, tomorrow, we are attending a greek orthodox wedding for our dear, sweet friends in asheville.

and, get this, i am performing another wedding ceremony on sunday – for a friend and former co-worker.

that’s right, that 3 weddings in three days. love is in the air!

light + peace xx