A Wedding to Remember

processionprocession-2procession-3walkvowsvows-2

 

Renewing our wedding vows and inviting friends and family to help us bless our new home was amazing.  There were just enough chairs, even though the air turned cold and windy, for the hour or so before and during the ceremony it was clear and a touch warm.  The sun shone down on us with approval as bagpipe music filled the air transporting this little blue collar town into Scotland.  People I expected didn’t make it and those I didn’t expect came with smiles on.  It was all quite perfect.  My husband looked fine in his kilt and sporran and his vows touched my heart, his eyes filling with tears.  I read him mine.  Maryjane was adamant about being the wedding planner.  She stayed in our bedroom as we dressed, ordering my friend, Pat, around as she fastened Doug’s belt, and zipped up my dress.  Maryjane declared herself both ring bearer and flower girl.

anvilringskiss

Our friend, Cliff, a blacksmith, member of the Renaissance Scots, and a respected police officer, told the story of the anvil.  The blacksmith was usually educated and was the judge in many matters.  Young people went to the blacksmith to be married.  After our vows and exchanged rings he rang the anvil.  Then the kiss.  Not the giddy kiss of a new couple just getting married, but a sincere kiss of passion and friendship from years spent forging a life together.  We were grateful that Cliff performed the ceremony.

mimsgirls-3alvinkathleen-and-ingrid

At 8:00 in the morning our daughter, Emily, showed up with bags and serving dishes and prepared to cater the event.  My children are grown now and this is the first time that I did not have to do anything.  The house smelled so amazing and the aromas of chilies and spices wafted through the door welcoming guests.  Her tacos and salsa were amazing.  I have never had tofu tacos that tasted so wonderful.  At the end Kathleen and Ingrid donned a few of my vintage aprons and set to work cleaning up everything.  Our good friend, Alvin, takes amazing photographs and we were honored that he was there to take all of these.  Shyanne made a cake to remember.  My daughter has been baking our cakes for the past decade.  This one was my favorite.  Lemon cake with lavender frosting.

cakecake-3cake-4

Many of my favorite people were there (I missed my son) and it was a fun time for all.  My brother and his family, my great uncle and aunt Norris and Pat, family, children, great friends, all wishing us good will and helping bless the new life in front of us.

joeysnorrismaryjane-and-malachijacoblupobubblesbride

‘Twas a lovely day and I will leave you readers with the blessing that completed our ceremony with a link to see a clip of our amazing bagpiper, Neil, at his finest.  May you all experience the love and support that we received on that special day.

blessing

us

A Guide to Renewing Your Vows

celt-2

We have been thinking about renewing our vows for some time now.  We decided to wait until we had a home of our own.  A celebration in itself coupled with a renewal of love and new beginnings.  We have certainly lived through all of our promises…through sickness and health…through richer and poorer…and have come out stronger than ever.  There were times of great sadness.  But the times of great joy and a life together lived with excitement and courage has reigned prevalent.  We share a friendship and a bond with more great memories than we can recollect.

celt-4

We had a lovely wedding.  As many weddings go, we planned for months, spent our life savings (and a good chunk of my in-laws’ savings), I became Bridezilla (crying bitterly over the greens in my flowers…I plead insanity), and then a snow storm hit and everyone skedaddled out of there promptly after the meal.  It was a blur but we were married.

celt-3

This time is different.  A bit of fun, a bit of whimsy, without expectations.  That is what makes things stressful.  Expectations.

1. This time we have no idea who is coming.  We invited to our joint house warming/vow renewal one hundred and thirty people.  Most have not responded.  It doesn’t matter.  Those that want to be a part of the ceremony and stand by us will be there.  I expect roughly forty, but perhaps not all for the vows.  I rented twenty chairs for a buck a piece.  The couches and miscellaneous chairs will fill in.  We do not need everything to match.  Just invite your favorite folks and let it roll.  Do not be hurt if certain people do not come.  We are all on many journeys.  We cannot possibly handle everyone’s schedule.

2. Have fun!  We are having a traditional Scottish wedding.  Why not?  Our friend is coming down with his bagpipes.  Our Renaissance friend is doing the ceremony complete with anvil.  Doug is wearing a kilt.  I am wearing my original wedding dress (which was my mother’s wedding dress when she renewed her vows) with corset, slips, and plaid beneath to show through.  I’ll pick up roses or something from the grocery store tonight.

3. Ask family and friends to help.  Our daughter, Shyanne, is making the cake.  Our other daughter, Emily, is taking care of all the food.  Shyanne is a master baker and has her own baking company, A Witch and  Whisk.  Emily wants to open her own restaurant.  She has been in the business for five years.  She is setting up a taco bar.  My friend, Alvin, is doing the photos.  He is an amazing photographer.  My mother-in-law is making some delicious desserts.  Fruit infused waters make an inexpensive and delicious drink.  Homemade chokecherry wine and beers for toasts.

4. Go with the flow.  It always feels like Spring in Pueblo but it is not going to be particularly warm tomorrow to my great dismay.  Somewhere between 35 and 45 degrees in the morning.  The sun always makes it feel warmer.  We may not know until morning if the ceremony will be outside or inside.  The bagpipes should be outside!  Folks can grab a couple of chairs and we can move them where we wish.  Take weather and the flow of the day with a smile and a heart of gratitude.

5. Gratitude.  That is the key.  Be happy there is a celebration to be had!  Loved ones made a point of being there in a world of busyness.  There is food and drink and laughter.  And bagpipes.  Can’t get better than that!

celt

Next week I will share with you the celebration in pictures.  Perhaps it is time for you to plan a celebration of your own?  They do make life ever sweet.

 

 

Happy Birthday HotRod!

abbey-all

For those that are long time readers, the people that are mentioned in my blog are almost characters in a book.  It’s fun to see folks that read the blog meet my friends for the first time.  It’s almost as if they know them!  Rodney is one of those characters.  He and his wife, Pat, have been our best friends for twelve years now.  I have never had friends for that long.  We have traveled together, celebrated together, watched our kids grow up, mourned together (especially when Rodney’s mom, Kat, died last July.  I called her my mom too), and laughed together.  When we were losing everything and about to lose our minds, they threw us in their backseat and took us to Utah for four days to play.  We go to New Mexico together and plan our respective homesteads.  They are moving to Pueblo this year along with Rodney’s dad, Rod.  These are my people.

Today Rodney turns fifty.  I think that is a monumental success and reason to celebrate.  We have all lost friends that did not make it to fifty.  This is a gift, a blessing, and I am blessed to still call this man my friend.  We have a lot in common spiritually, and our families have really melded into one.  My granddaughter, Maryjane, calls them Aunt and Uncle, and their son is her best friend (he is 16…that is the sweetest kid) and cousin.  We are their grandchildren’s godparents.

So today I just wanted to share this celebration with all of you out there.  Happy Birthday to my best friend, travel partner, confidant, and trouble maker.  May you get every wish come true!  Wishing you health, happiness, love, and peace.  And a home by us!

Here’s to friends (clink!) and here’s to Rodney (double clink!)….Raise your coffee cups!  Cheers.  Happy Birthday, HotRod!

It’s a Wonderful Life

 

This iconic scene from the great movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, probably looked a lot like us!  We had twenty people total helping move us from city to another.  Trucks strapped down with pots of rose bushes and rocking chairs.  Our children and friends all coming out to help us get into our home.  Rent?  Ha!  We finally own our own home.  The American Dream.  I appreciate it so much more than when I was younger.

Over the next few weeks I will share with you how to take a 92 year old drafty adobe home from stark, stained, rental white walls, scratched grey trim, and dark black curtains into a cozy home perfect for respite, family gatherings, and life.  Stay tuned!

 

The Art of the Mini-Vacation

Jpeg

Vacations are expensive.  They take a lot of planning, a week off of work, savings, and can be exhausting.  We have found that the best vacations are often weekends.  We call them mini-vacations.  We got our friends hooked on them too.  We find specials on hotel rooms and stay one night, maybe two somewhere new.  A dip in the pool, a soak in the hot tub, free breakfast, a comfy bed sans cats, and a hot shower is often just the ticket to reset for the week.  We like to try new restaurants, see the sights, visit museums, or walk around the city.  It doesn’t cost much and it really is fun.

If you have been reading my blog long you know Pat and Rodney via my stories.  We have traveled with them to Utah, to New Mexico, and across the front range, from Wyoming to Fort Collins, to Colorado Springs.

pueblo-3

Last weekend we took Pat and Rodney down to Pueblo to show them around.  We met up with my friend, Alvin, who just moved down there.  We went to dinner at my new favorite restaurant, Nachos.  A family owned place that serves up the best Mexican food I have had in a long while.  We walked the Riverwalk and oohed and ahhed at the lights.  We planned, dreamed.  Pat and I walked arm and arm singing and yelling, “Merry Christmas” to the boats that went by all alight with Santa in tow.

Jpeg

The next day we took them to see our new house.  We drove around town and walked the Main street with its quaint blocks of all locally owned shops.

This week we are driving down there just for the day to accompany Rodney and Pat while they house hunt.  Wouldn’t that be something?  Our best friends moving down the way?  This is getting too fun….

Bringing Christmas Cards to Life

card

Every year we have sent Christmas cards.  When the children were little they drew adorable pictures on the cards.  As they grew older, our farm was growing and we cheekily signed each and every farm animal’s name.  The chickens, cats, goats, dogs, ducks, sheep, alpacas, the whole troupe were displayed on the card along with the kids’ names.  Last year we found ourselves without children at home or farm animals and from our friend’s basement we penned just a few cards and sent them out.  This year we are sending quite a few!

Are Christmas cards important anymore?  We have instant correspondence with friends and family any where in the world.  Social media, texts, or good old fashioned phone calls are all ways to stay in touch.  But Christmas cards are different.  A bit of yourself in the design of the card.  A sweet note inside.  A sign that one took time out of busy schedules to sit and pen a note of love for the season.  That feeling of finding an envelope with card stock in the mailbox, the heavy feel, the glossy stamp, the sound of the envelope opening.  A note of cheer inside.  Yes, Christmas cards are still important.

Now, take care that you don’t just purchase a box of cheap cards and hastily scribble names.  A simple little note, photo, or heart brings that same card to life.  Sad or bragging Christmas letters are out, notes of cheer and personal touches are in.  Just as they were all those years ago when the Christmas card began.  A way to let the homefolks know all was well.

Every year our card list changes.  Turning pages of the address book show a life of friends and family that venture in and out of our days, those that have passed, those we wonder what happened to, new friends that have entered.

christmas-card-2016

This is what I have learned over the years, send cards to who you want.  Include a photo.  Write a personal note.  Sign your pets’ names if you wish.  Affix a sticker to the front of the envelope.  Use pretty stamps and your best penmanship.  Send a little love and cheer.  It is just one way to make the world a slightly sweeter place.

I’d love to exchange a card with you or even an old fashioned letter.  Mrs. Katie Sanders, P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Recipes Made Better

Jpeg

A swirl of truffle oil or walnut oil on green beans is really quite nice.  Some toasted slivered almonds or walnuts dressed with truffle salt is delicious.  And a bit of blue cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar  elevates the green bean casserole from cream of something to fresh amazing.

Recipes are developed to appeal to the average palate but if you want to take your dishes from average to extraordinary, it really only takes a few changes to make your guests take pause as they eat.

Jpeg

Pumpkin bread calls for cinnamon, but what about adding other spices from pumpkin pie spice?  Instead of vegetable oil sub out vanilla olive oil…or orange olive oil.  Add a handful of chopped candied ginger or chocolate chips.  It doesn’t change the basic recipe at all.  Vanilla salt replaces ordinary salt.  This makes pretty amazing pumpkin bread.

Jpeg

Combine sesame oil with orange oil to dress salad.  Use smoked salt on mashed potatoes.  Add a little New Mexican red chili to sweet potatoes.  The sweet marshmallows and the smoky chili is bliss.  Cream chives into the butter.  Or cinnamon.  Have fun!  Cooking is an exploration of the human palate, a sensual dance of sweet, sour, spice, umami, and savory, far from average.  And eating with loved ones is food for the soul.

Here’s to family, friends, gratitude, and dreams come true.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

 

 

 

The Grandma House

 

Jpeg

My grandparents lived in their house for forty years.  They have lived in their current one for twenty.  My in-laws lived in theirs for thirty.  I wonder what it would be like to settle into a place that is home.  Where every corner holds memories, each piece of furniture remembers laughter and family gatherings, where each knickknack had a reason, has a story.  Where the gardens grow in beautiful tandem each year, naturally knowing their place, the roses reaching up over the heads of grandchildren.  Where neighbors wave and remember the day (“Where did the time go?” we’ll laugh) when we….  Neighbors and children and life in a home without worrying about moving when the rent goes up.  My goodness, this is exciting.  We have owned homes before but none will ever be so received with as much gratitude as this one.

Jpeg

We walked through the house (which looks remarkably from the outside like our Kiowa house) and felt the presence of family.  The house was tended to with such love for the past sixty plus years.  A grandmother certainly lived here.  The house sings of the perfect grandparents’ house.  Lines inside the hall closet note growth of children.  The kitchen waits for sizzling pans and glasses of wine with friends.  Or coffee at the kitchen table.  The wood stove boasts proudly in the living room.  Each room with original wood floors.  The roots cellar stands ready with rows and rows of shelving for canned goods.  A busy woman lived here.  The front yard has great grandma and grandma’s roses.  The ones that towered over me as a child and created large orbs of romantic flowers. They are by the front porch.  A chicken coop and large run waits for spring babies.  A big front yard, a big back yard waiting for little feet to run across it.  Maryjane tries out the tree.  The plot is on a corner and is an impressive quarter acre right in the quiet neighborhood.  One block from a lake and playground.

A million things could go wrong the fearful part of me proclaims (she is new since last year) but Doug and I look at each other and we know.  This is our house.  We put an offer on it last night.  Is this the house?

Embracing Your Wild True Self

Today  is usually when I write about farming.  I will write about it tomorrow.  For this blog and lines of prose are written from my soul and much as a diary.  I am not afraid that the world knows about our ups and downs, about our work, our life, our children.  I write because every cell in my body prompts me to do so after half a cup of coffee.  If my words speak to someone then it was the day to write those words.  Today is not a day to write about watering more.  That can wait until tomorrow, for there is more on my heart today than hoses and rabbits eating the peas.

meme 3

No, today we are standing tall, pushing our chins up a bit higher, and embracing the miraculous gift of self.  And the bravery it takes to step out of the mainstream expectations of peers, friends, and society to really become one’s true self.

There will always be biting tongues when you decide to enter your own, to fulfill your destiny, for the mirrors of what could have been reflect and others get defensive.  People hide in their religions and contain themselves in their caves of denial and fear, or regret, and if someone is not just as they are, they must be working for the other side or must be unstable.

meme

Goodness, how does anyone ever get the nerve to stand up and embrace their destiny, their unexplainable gifts, their sides of enchantment and wild when there is someone in their family or friends ready to snap them back down to their cubicle, church pew, and norm?  This is detrimental to a soul that is traversing this land during this life with really only a handful of minutes finding and discovering their true essence, discovering frequencies above the norm, and seeing the immense beauty in the world that is unexplainable, magical, and beautiful.  Let folks be.  Embrace your own magic.

meme 2

There is great harm in not letting someone become their own true self.  There will be work undone, people and animals not helped, blind eyes turned.  But, one cannot convince another to open their eyes, their minds, or their hearts.  I can only speak to those of you that need courage to embrace and become your powerful and gifted self.  Creator by any other name is still Creator.  We are created to be so much more than destructive forces saving souls while killing spirits.

meme 4

When you decide to stand up and show your true colors, when you decide to accept your gifts to benefit mankind and the natural world, when you decide that you are pretty incredible, there will be those that do not understand your work.  They cannot fathom what you do.  They cannot see why you are different.  It doesn’t matter.  Stand tall and choose your tribe wisely.  This means that there will be family who are detrimental to your peace and will affect your work.  Release them.  Friends must be friends that accept you for who you are.  If not release them.  Even if you are left with five people, they are your tribe, your helpers in this life, the ones that allow you to be your true self.  We should no longer be afraid of what people think.

meme 5

Stand tall.  Embrace your true calling.  When you are doing the work that you were intended to do, every door will open so that you can be your highest self.  The world is really quite enchanting, today notice a few more things you didn’t before…and stand strong.  You are amazing.

 

 

 

Summer List and Sunshine

Summer is quickly becoming one of my favorite seasons.  Sometimes in Colorado it seems like we have seven and a half months of winter a few weeks of spring, a few months of summer, a few weeks of autumn, then right back to winter.  Yesterday felt so good at seventy four degrees.

red rocks 2

Summer does have a wicked tendency to come and go before you can get your tan lines straightened out.  Along with our shop we do farmer’s markets and now Doug has a 9-5 job too.  We watch the baby, I am writing a novel, and we have three garden plots, and…well, we need to make a list of what we really want to do.

I am a notorious list maker.  If I don’t make a list of the things we want to do this summer then we shall miss it.

red rocks

So far we have seen a bluegrass concert at Red Rocks.  I have read a good book, The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton.  I have a beautiful garden started.

  1. Go to pool one morning a week.
  2. Take Maryjane to the carnival next week.
  3. Take Maryjane to rodeo next week.
  4. Go hiking on a trail we have never been on.
  5. Ride bike as far down the trail as I can go.
  6. Read three great books.
  7. Dance under the full moon of the summer solstice.
  8. Order lemonade at the county fair.
  9. Drink coffee on the balcony every morning.
  10. Go to the mountains and picnic by a stream at least once this summer.

I would like to add road trips and vacations and time in hammocks and bonfires but time, especially summertime, is elusive.  But we will do all we can to soak up each beautiful warm moment.

summer baby

Tell me,   what do you want to do this summer?