wedding

Wedding & Honeymoon

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Let me share some pictures of the wedding and honeymoon! It was a great time… feels like longer, but it was only 3 weeks ago! Hard to believe!

Reverend Patrick starting the ceremony
Reverend Patrick starting the ceremony
Part way through the ceremony. I am putting the ring on Darren's finger. All of a sudden, multi-tasking (talking and putting the ring on) became so hard!!
Here I am, putting the ring on Darren's finger. All of a sudden, multi-tasking (talking and putting the ring on) became so hard to do!
The kiss! Woo hoo!
The kiss! Woo hoo!
Weary travelers that we were, we made it to Jamaica!
Weary travelers that we were, we made it to Jamaica!
Our perfect honeymoon cabin (at Royal DeCameron Resort, Runaway Bay, Jamaica)
Our perfect honeymoon cabin (at Royal DeCameron Club Caribbean Resort, Runaway Bay, Jamaica)
One beautiful evening
One beautiful evening
Sunset over the resort. This picture was taken from the Jetty Bar, which was built over the rocks/water.
Sunset over the resort. This picture was taken from the Jetty Bar, which was built over the rocks/water.
One of the beaches. There were 4 "coves" that made up the beaches. Very nice!
One of the beaches. The beaches were in 4 "coves." Very nice!
Need I say more?
Need I say more?

So I’ve been thinking 2 things lately: Things usually happen gradually — everything from changes in the world, to the weather, to what kind of person I am becoming. So who am I becoming? Am I gradually becoming more loving, more kind, more understanding? Or am I becoming more judgmental, snappy or sarcastic? I do get snappy when I am hungry, but that is usually preventable, if I only make sure to take care of myself. In fact, if I take care of myself emotionally and spiritually, I am far less likely to be judgmental or sarcastic, too.

As for world changes, the “financial crisis” is pretty hot in the news (even though I never watch it). Well, it seems to me that when you play with pretend money too much, you are going to get in trouble. (“Pretend money” is loaned money, stocks and such.) In Jamaica, the majority of people live in small/half-finished houses, because the lending rate is so high, no one can afford a mortgage. So they save real money, and build on as they can (it is similar in Mazatlan, Mexico, where I visited in February). So although it may not be their dream house until they are old, it is all theirs, bought and paid for every step of the way.

The second thing I’ve been pondering — remembering from a class I took — is that when some new idea comes along, test it by saying “if that were true for me, would I be more free?” For example, if I hear that the real estate market is going downhill, I can think “if that is true for me, would I be more free?” The answer: nope! I might start to worry or mope, which is not adding to my freedom.  So, I don’t focus on it, and in that way, it’s not true for me. I don’t think it is true, so it has no power over me then. Make sense?

The same phrase can be applied to a new thought like “so-and-so is a hag.” Does that make me more free?  Nope! Because then I want to avoid that person (which is hard work in a small town!) or I have to work at biting my tongue… definitely not more free! So I can choose to have a new thought, one that is more understanding or less judgmental.

Anyways, that’ll give you something to think about! Have a great day!

Wedding Bliss

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What to blog about the first time after the big day?! I decided that it would be nice to share with you the wedding vows that Darren and I wrote together and said to each other that fateful wintry day just over 2 weeks ago. Darren agreed with me, and so below are the vows that we said (me through tears about half way through!) as part of the ceremony.

I know that there is not two, but one.  We are on the same journey, sharing the same love for each other.  I share everything, hold nothing back, love completely and without reservation.  I do now, and will always believe the best in you, speak the truth in love, and hold you in perfect prayer.  I love you with the deepest love I know.  I rest in this love, which is in you and me, and everything, and I am full of joy and gratitude.

Our journey of spiritual unfoldment continues from this day, originating from the same Source, fueled by the same Love, nurtured by the same unending commitment to our mutual growth in Spirit.

And so it is.

Such depth to those words… it is good to remind myself of them, even now! Every day! :)

There’s a really cool part to this – because we chose to do our wedding as part of a regular Sunday celebration, and because the Centre is now podcasting their weekly messages (which Darren is taking care of), you can listen to the whole thing by using this link. So, if you missed the big day due to the bad weather, or for any reason, you can have a listen and hopefully feel like you didn’t miss out!  :) Look for December 7, 2008, and if it’s not there, check back in a week or so… it will be posted shortly!

So life is treating me very well and I am happy, content and feeling great.  My mantra lately is Love…  Gratitude…  Joy…  Contentment…  Peace…  Acceptance… (and then it repeats).

And it just so happens to be December 25th as I (finally) post this, so Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it!  And to those of you who don’t, just enjoy the day where “Peace on Earth” is thought about!  :)

darren-and-me-by-log

Engagement Rings

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So, Darren and I are engaged, and when we talked about it, we sort of joked about how he didn’t have a ring “to make it official.” But I felt that I didn’t want or need a ring; it seems to me that engagement rings are a sort of bribe: “If you agree to marry me, you get to keep this lovely ring. If you say no, I’ll be giving it to someone else.” Okay, so maybe that’s a little jaded, but how else can this action be interpreted? It’s bribery, if you ask me!

Now, if the man asks first and gives a ring later, that is better. That’s not a bribe, it’s more of a gift. Speaking of gifts, you should see what Wikipedia has to say in the engagement rings section (“Refusing the Gift” subsection):

Women traditionally refuse offers of marriage by refusing to take the offered engagement ring. In some states of the United States, engagement rings are considered “conditional gifts” under the legal rules of property. This is an exception to the general rule that gifts cannot be revoked once properly given. See, for example, the case of Meyer v. Mitnick, 625 N.W.2d 136 (Michigan, 2001), whose ruling found the following reasoning persuasive: “the so-called ‘modern trend’ holds that because an engagement ring is an inherently conditional gift, once the engagement has been broken, the ring should be returned to the donor. Thus, the question of who broke the engagement and why, or who was ‘at fault,’ is irrelevant. This is the no-fault line of cases.”

giant-ring
A monster ring - I found this on the DeBeers webpage, worth $13,800. And it's NOT the most expensive one on the page! {gasp!}

One case in New South Wales, Australia ended in the man suing his former fiancée because she threw the ring in the trash after telling her she could keep it despite the marriage proposal failing. The Supreme Court of New South Wales held that despite what the man said, the ring remained a conditional gift (partly because his saying that she could keep it was partly due to his desire to salvage the relationship) and she was ordered to pay him its AUD$15,250 cost.[4]

Tradition generally holds that if the betrothal fails because the man himself breaks off the engagement, the woman is not obliged to return the ring. Legally, this condition can be subject to either a modified or a strict fault rule. Under the former, the fiancé can demand the return of the ring unless he breaks the engagement. Under the latter, the fiancé is entitled to the return unless his actions caused the breakup of the relationship, the same as the traditional approach. However, a no-fault rule is being advanced in some jurisdictions, under which the fiancé is always entitled to the return of the ring. The ring only becomes the property of the woman when marriage occurs. An unconditional gift approach is another possibility, wherein the ring is always treated as a gift, to be kept by the fiancée whether or not the relationship progresses to marriage. Recent court rulings have determined that the date in which the ring was offered can determine the condition of the gift. e.g. Valentine’s Day and Christmas are nationally recognized as gift giving holidays. A ring offered in the form of a Christmas present will likely remain the personal property of the recipient in the event of a break up.[5]

In the United Kingdom, the gift of an engagement ring is presumed to be an absolute gift to the fiancée. This presumption may be rebutted however by proving that the ring was given on condition (express or implied) that it must be returned if the marriage did not take place, for whatever reason. This was decided in the case Jacobs v Davis [1917] 2 KB 532.

And you wondered why I was feeling jaded! Gads. All that talk of property, rings being returned… it just reinforces the materialism of the tradition. Speaking of tradition, from Wisegeek, I found the origin of engagement ring giving:

The tradition of engagement rings as we currently know it arose in the medieval era, when, in 1215, Pope Innocent III instituted a mandatory waiting period from engagement to marriage. For the first few hundred years in the tradition of engagement rings, only the wealthiest nobles could afford precious stones for their rings, and most engagement rings were simple metal bands. Plain bands are still worn as engagement rings by both men and women in many countries, including Denmark, Germany, and Sweden….

In modern day England and the United States, among other countries, the most common type of engagement ring is a diamond solitaire. This tradition of engagement rings is largely due to an advertising campaign by De Beers in the 1940s. In some countries, such as France, other precious stones are commonly seen in engagement rings. One tradition of engagement rings calls for the ring to be expensive as a symbol of the man’s commitment, and many engagement rings are truly impressive.

Aha! Rings as an advertising campaign! I shouldn’t be surprised! So, engagement rings are just a status symbol, created to keep the jewelers in business. Think of the stereotypical people who want to see the ring and how big the diamond is! As if a larger stone is going to make the man a better husband. Why don’t people ask “does he treat you good? Does he ever put you down or try control you?” Those things are far more important than the size of a diamond.

I guess I can understand a ring given as a token of love or a promise throughout a long engagement. My great-grandfather made a wedding ring for my great-grandmother from a coin. He punched out the center, sanded and smoothed it, and that was her ring. Isn’t that sweet? They had no money and so that’s what he did. That kind of ring, I’d be proud to wear!

Overall, I’m glad I decided not to have an engagement ring! Now, I just have to decide if I’m going to change my name.  {sigh}  :)

Getting Married

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Many of you know I am engaged to be married, and my fiancee and I are just trying to nail down the date and figure out the details… it’s going to be a simple affair, that much we know, and we have a place and a minister to do the deed. He sent us the wedding ceremony that he usually uses as a template. So I was reading this the other day and pondering it. After I was done, it struck me — there are so many words! Words, words, words… words are no good if they don’t mean anything!! (I was married once before and so I have a little skeptical streak.) Besides, we don’t want this wedding to take all day; in fact, we are planning on doing it as part of a Sunday celebration service, similar to a baby dedication or other short ceremony that gets inserted some time after the music and before the sermon. So, in reading the script the minister sent, it just sounded way too long! Are all these words really necessary?!? I mean, we love each other deeply, want to be together always, and want to make it official. Can’t we just look into each other’s eyes, sigh, say yes, and be done? How much of the ceremony is added in to make it longer, so that people don’t sit back and say “I drove all the way from Saskatchewan for this?!? Five minutes?!?”

Well, that’s a bit silly I suppose! All those words really are lovely, and when you look at the meaning of them, they are truly beautiful. There is so much to say, and the vows are so deep… Sure, there is a bit of superfluous ceremony with the giving away of the bride and such, but the heart of the ceremony is profound. It suddenly hit me — getting married is not like installing software on your computer, where you hit “Accept” or “Next” or “OK” 3 or 4 times without bothering to read all the things you are agreeing to! Admit it, you don’t read all the fine print, do you?!? :) I usually don’t. When you get married, you have to know, to the absolute best of your ability, what you are getting in to!! You have to think long and hard about the commitment you are making, the agreement you are entering into. You’re not just accepting someone as being in your house, or in your life, you are agreeing to believe the best about them at all times… To be the best you can be, for that person… To see perfection… to share all parts of your self and your life with them! It is amazing, beautiful, and yes, words are necessary. They communicate the heart, and so they have the meaning that they need to have.

Excerpt from the ceremony:

“Will you, (woman) and you, (man), bring the very best that you are into this marriage for your own sake and for the sake of the other? (both reply: “I will.”)…

(Man), do you take (woman), whose hand you hold, choosing her alone to be your wedded wife? Do you promise to live with her, talk to her, love her, comfort her, work with her, play with her, honor her at all times and be faithful to her? (reply: “I do.”)…

“(man) repeat after me: (woman), I take you as my beloved wife and dearest friend. I promise to share my life openly with you, and to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honor you and tenderly care for you. From this day forward, I promise to cherish you and to encourage your own fulfillment and peace through all the changes of our lives….”