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

the day that love came to north carolina

asheville city hall same sex marriage

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here we are. in 2010. at a rally for marriage equality in raleigh, north carolina. 

yesterday was day one in north carolina.

what does that mean? it means that it was the first day, ever, that same sex couples were finally treated as equals. the first day that same-sex couples received the right to file for marriage licenses and get married. and the first day that my love and i were legally, officially, recognized as a married couple in my home state.

it’s been a long time coming, and for a while, i wondered how long we would have to wait to be able to have the right to marry and build a life with the one that we love. but, tonight i saw same sex couples getting married in asheville, north carolina. like legally married. not a commitment ceremony, but a real live, legal marriage. with paperwork from the government and all. in north carolina!

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it’s a long legal story, that sped up in intensity this past monday after a ruling in virginia struck down the law that defined marriage as only between a man and a women. in other words, it was unconstitutional (illegal). that ruling opened the door for other states to also strike down their own bans on same-sex marriage. north carolina has had a ban on gay marriage for a while now, but i didn’t really believe that the law would be stuck down anytime soon.

so, after a lot of drama and a lot of waiting, and hoping, and wishing, and last ditch political and horrific stalling tactics by republican, and almost giving up, at the last minute on friday night, a judge in north carolina ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (because of what happened in virginia on monday). and then, within minutes, same- sex marriages were allowed to begin. I couldn’t believe it when i saw it in my twitter feed.

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when i saw the news on twitter… i ran to lina. we stood in amazement. just looking at each other. suddenly, within a flash, our marriage was recognized in our state. suddenly we were a married couple in north carolina – with rights and privileges. not just two girls living together. but, legitimately married. it felt amazing. and i could hardly breathe.

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here we are, literally minutes after same sex marriage became legal in north carolina last night. we had to celebrate with a photo of a real, live, legally recognized married couple!

the government offices where you get marriage licenses stayed open late all across the state after the ruling in favor of same sex marriages. and couples poured in to get their licenses, and then immediately get married. there were ministers and clergy available everywhere to marry people right on the spot.

we decided to hop in the car and head down to the government building to be a part of this historic moment, and when we arrived, we saw that there were people milling about everywhere. couples were scattered in groups on the stairs in front of the building, getting married right there. other couples cheered them on. lina and i joined in. it is unbelievable how this truly affects the lives of so many people and so many families. it is so amazing that this has happened. that it is real.

to be clear, lina and i do not have to get married again. we were married in sweden almost 5 years ago, and as of last night, that marriage is now legal in north carolina! so, no ceremonies for us. only celebrations that our love and our marriage is something that is real and valid and recognized now. *deep breath* amazing.

here are photos of the wedding ceremonies and celebrations happening just after the ruling. it was so emotional and powerful and unbelievable…

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the rest of the photos are not mine. i pulled them off of different places on twitter. but, it shows you just some of the couples in asheville that got marriage licenses and got married. what a huge, mind-blowing, heart-exploding day! look at how cute these couples are – and they (along with lina and i) get to celebrate their love – and be recognized as full, legitimate spouses!

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yep. yesterday was day one. the day that love came to north carolina. the day that equality and justice won. i am so proud. so excited. and so overjoyed. and you know what else? it really did feel different walking around today, holding my love’s, my wife’s, hand – knowing that we are not just two women who live together. but, in the eyes of the law of north carolina and the united states, we are legally married. it is a binding contract, affording us the same rights and privileges as opposite gender couples. and i cannot adequately describe to you how incredible this feels.

yesterday, love won.

light + love

welcome back, dear autumn.

pumpkin

tonight is special. it is the autumn equinox. or in other words, fall begins tonight in the northern hemisphere. and i just love fall. but, before i get all wrapped up in the coziness and beauty of autumn, i want to pause today to let the equinox energy do its thing.

what i’m talking about is the fact that with the autumn equinox, nature is in balance. from the beginning of summer until today, the days have been longer than the night. after today, the reverse is true. the nights become longer. and the season of darkness creeps in.

for tonight, however, the light and the dark are equal. everything is in balance.

and this can mean a lot to our lives symbolically, if we take pause. as it is the middle of the harvest season, it is a time for celebration of all of the gifts of life. it is a perfect time to take stock and reflect on what has happened so far in life. it is a perfect time to be aware of the abundance we have received this year, not only in food, but in everything that we have experienced. and it is a time to plan and prepare what is needed for the next season in our lives. we can spend some moments, if we choose, on this autumn equinox night putting our lives in balance – focusing on remembering all that we have been given and preparing to let the season of darkness and coziness inspire us to go even further than we have in the past. it’s a time to finish up our old projects and begin to plant seeds for new ones. it is a time to celebrate and balance our life.

trees fall

so, i decided to spend some time, on this absolutely gorgeous day in the north carolina mountains, by myself. thinking, reflecting, and enjoying nature.

i headed over to a bar that is kind of like a park. grabbed my camp chair out of my car, ordered a pint of beer, and went to sit by the river. i let the sun warm my face, the water and the trees inspire me, and the blue sky fill me with awe and gratitude. i did a few things i love: i took some photos, wrote a little in my journal, and meditated a bit. i only spent about 45 minutes there, but it was the perfect little break in my day – and the perfect opportunity to welcome this next season in the cycle of life.
the bywater the bywater the bywater the bywater the bywater the by water french broad river the by water french broad river

at home, i gathered some candles, got a pumpkin, and made a dinner from fresh, local veggies. i am in the midst of creating a cozy, warm space for the coming dark, chilly nights.

every time this season rolls around, i am always ready for it. i am ready for sweaters and boots and scarves. ready for deep blue skies and nights that nip at your nose. i can’t wait to slide on some fingerless gloves and wear beanie caps. i love lighting candles all over my home, and making chili + soup. and the leaves, of course the leaves on the trees in the mountains. it’s a breathtaking, beautiful, restful time of year.

pumpkin ego self autumn vegetables

i hope that you will take some time over the next few days to let autumn (or spring if you are in the southern hemisphere) sink into your bones. i hope that you will find some peace and quiet, and feel the balance of the earth as nature moves on, reminding us that our lives move on too. and it’s time, my friends, time to let the summer (or winter) go – time to begin to move indoors and begin to let the long, sometimes difficult, but always amazing season of autumn (spring) inspire us.

peace + love.