Winter Wedding Trends

A clean color palette of wintry whites and soft ivories looks sophisticated and glamorous when contrasted with natural elements. Eucalyptus garlands, full foliage arrangements and lush blooms create a refined feel. 

Also big? 
Including a jewel-toned contrast color (think: sapphire or violet). The deep hue will make a statement and add serious definition to flowers and décor.

Winter wedding trends

Gimme Love

“I’ll love you if you’ll love me. You go first.” Ok. That might work. People have been doing it for years. Centuries even. Test the water. Make sure. Be safe. Does that sound like someone you know? You perhaps?

Wait! Here is another one – “Love hurts.” (Do I hear a song off in the distance?)  Love never hurts. Expectations hurt. Conditions hurt. Judgments hurt. Criticisms hurt.

Babies are a perfect example of love with no conditions. You look into those precious faces and you love them. You don’t stop loving them when they wake you up at 2 a.m. or when you change a poopy diaper. And the baby never says, “Thank you.”

As the baby grows into a child you naturally think it should be walking; it should be talking; it should be getting good grades; it should be having nice friends; it should be………etc, etc.

Expectations. Judgements. Criticisms. Conditions. Paybacks. Gimme love!

Now I’ll tell you the secret to loving without conditions. It’s a secret because most people don’t know it. They may have heard the formula but they don’t believe it for a second. They keep looking for love in all the wrong places. (Did I hear another song starting up?)

Before I tell you the secret, let’s go back to the baby for a moment. You love that baby even when it spits up on your shoulder, or wets thru the diaper onto your lap, or fusses, or gets sick. You love and accept that baby just as it is. Right?

Here’s the secret: love your self just like that. “But I do!” you say? No you don’t. Be honest now.

Do you beat yourself up for past mistakes? Ever get depressed? Have anxiety issues? Afraid of the dark, or spiders, or snakes? Do you complain when you look in a mirror? These thoughts are all about conditions.

You made a mistake. Learn from it and stop kicking yourself around the block. Depression is anger turned inward. Why are you mad at yourself?  Give your heart a hug and forgive you your mistakes. Anxiety is another fear. Fear is the opposite of Love.

Fear is the opposite of Love.

Now, here is the secret to the secret. All you have to do is ask yourself if what you are thinking is coming from a place of love.  Is the thought kind, gentle, happy, accepting, generous, forgiving, comforting, beautiful or willing? Then the thought is based on love.

OR is what you are thinking doubtful, confusing, critical, blaming, worrisome, hurtful, damaging, jealous or judgmental in any way? All of those types of thoughts are fear based.

Keep in mind that we are talking about thoughts.  The thoughts that are in your head. BUT, since your thoughts are in your head you – and only you – have the power and the ability to change those thoughts. You can choose again. You CAN choose again.

Gimme Love!

Look in the mirror every morning and say, “I love YOU.” Give love to yourself first and you’ll have more than enough to give to everyone else. I promise. Try it and see what happens. Let me know how you make out.


Reflections On MY Marriage

Tom and I were married on this day 55 years ago. My concept of a marriage was that I was to please my husband, take care of the children and do the housework. I thought doing all of that would entitle me to be cared for. You give – you get.

My expectations were never met. Even though I never voiced those expectations I patiently waited for them. Tom had never known about Mindreading 101, never thought about it, never inquired.

Where was my reward for being good? Who was giving out the rewards? Where were the Fair Play police? Is anybody out there?

So now, 55 years later, I know. The answer to all of those questions is the same. The answer is, always was and always will be – me. The one to answer the questions is my Self. Not the small, demanding, little self but the calm, quiet, inner, higher Self.

Ego yells and is easy to hear. Its usually in-your-face. Higher Self speaks softly, soothingly. In order to hear it you must stop, breathe deeply, sit quietly and listen. Its answer is always the same. Love.

Taking care of and loving yourself is not about me me me.  It’s not about I want, I want, I want. It is about accepting you as you are; about forgiving yourself when you think you have fallen short; about resting when you are tired; about sharing rather than doing without.

Take time to know yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you. You are my best friend and I will take care of you.” Eventually you will believe it, feel it, and do it.

How does that help a marriage? How does that improve your life? The formula was given 2,000 years ago. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Your neighbor means your spouse, children, parents, the president (of anything), the bank robber, the terrorist, and your ancestors. The often missed caveat is “as”. Love your neighbor as yourself.

You must love, care for, respect, accept and forgive yourself first. Then the rest is easy.

Fly The Plane

Right now, today, I am reaping rewards from lessons I learned 25 years ago when, against all odds, I became a licensed private pilot.

The odds? I was a single mom raising 3 kids on my own, working full time, responsible for all bills, a 5’ 1” woman (cockpits are built for 6’ men), no college education and legally blind in one eye. The chosen airport was one of the most difficult and therefore dangerous at which to land. This tiny woman was stepping into a tall man’s world.

I no longer fly planes.  But those same lessons have taught me how to fly my inner dragons.

Number One Lesson: P.I.C. – the Pilot is always the one In Command. Not the tower (authorities, bosses, teachers, parents, or friends) but the pilot who is flying the plane. You are the one who is ultimately fully responsible for your life. If you are old enough to read this, you are old enough to be in charge of you.

#2. Pre-flight check. A pilot would never jump into a plane and take off. Like we do in our cars. Does the tail rudder work? In what condition are the tires? Fuel? Oil topped off? Is the plane safe to fly and can you handle it if the engine stops? Do you know where you’re going and what route you will take to get there? In what weather will you be flying?

Pre-flight your day – your life. Do you have the proper fuel for your body, your mind, your soul? Can you easily steer your life and rest when required instead of being forced down (as in getting sick and out of commission)? How much weight or baggage are you carrying physically, mentally and emotionally? Shifting or unknown cargo can throw you off balance.

#3. Lift off. Did you know that taking off is practically as dangerous as landing? Look around you – up, down, and side to side. You are not the only one who wants to do something. Have patience when you have to wait for the runway to clear. Are you comfortable – relaxed yet alert and prepared to go forward on the right signal?

#4. Fly The Plane! This is your trip, your life. You have this plane to fly now. You have this life to live now. Pay attention. What is going on around you? Are you on course? No matter what happens with the plane YOU are the one responsible for this flight. Don’t blame the weather, the birds, or crappy fuel. Deal with what comes up the best you can.

#5. The best part of flying planes and living life = it’s an experience meant to be fun. You are the PIC, the Pilot In Command.

Fly Your Plane!

Traditional White

Should you wear a white wedding dress? Trends today lean toward white with an additional color added or ivory gowns. Many brides no longer wear a long veil but attach a small veil to the back of their head or no veil at all. What about tradition? Is tradition out the window?

Every tradition started some time, some where. The key here is “started”. Queen Victoria had quite an impact on the population and women wanted to follow her for many reasons. The Queen wore white so the brides did likewise.

Your wedding is your wedding. You can have it in a church (not the original setting) or on a beach or house or any place. 

You can wear a long white dress or shorts. Do you want to talk about veils? Who wears veils any day of the week??

Originally, people lived together because they wanted to or needed to. Then it became a business with a contract, often political. That still happens but not in the world of today’s average American/European bride.

Who are you pleasing when you go “traditional” and who are you offending? Everyone has the right and the privilege to make up their own mind and decide how they want to dress, where they want to marry, and the type of ceremony that proclaims it legal.

Tradition was also dictated by where you lived. In the States the groom did not see the bride until the service. (Another “tradition” tossed recently.) In Germany, the groom walked together with the bride to the church and down the aisle.

Brides traditionally carry a big bouquet of flowers. Do you know why? It was intended for the scent of the flowers to waft under your nose instead of body odor. Rose petals were tossed on the floor where the bride would walk for the same reason and to act as an aphrodisiac.

Before tiered wedding cakes there were individual little cakes or petit fours. Today the trend is back to little cakes, as in cupcakes.

Be brave. Start your own tradition.

Do's And Dont's

An article popped up about “What guests should not to say at a wedding”.  And I thought, “That could be a cool thing to note on my FB page.  Pass on the information. Make everyone aware.”  And then I read the article of all the "Don'ts" and an new thought popped up which was, “That is like saying, ’Don’t think of an elephant!’”  Once you say don't, then inevitably, you DO!

If I passed on all of the things that you weren’t supposed to say at a wedding it would be nothing short of a guarantee that you would blurt out at least one of the unmentionables.

So, I will rephrase what I read and give you some topics that would be fine to bring up – when you can’t think of something to say.

1.       “This is one of the most _________ (fun, delightful, spectacular, extraordinary, etc.) weddings I have ever been too.  I’m having such a good time!”

2.       “I am so glad to be seeing you again.”  Simply remember that a wedding is a celebration of a joining of two lives together and that whatever the circumstance was the last time you saw this person or the length of time, you are happy to see this person again.

3.       This couple has joined to create a new family. It is being celebrated.  So celebrate! Forget about your temporary set-backs. Forget about it. Why dig up dirt?  Celebrate!!

4.       Why did this couple get together? Because they love each other.  There is no other answer. Repeat after me: “They are so in love!”

5.       Look around you.  Note how many things that are of your taste, have your approval that you can connect with, that you just love.

There is a really old song that comes to mind and which resonates completely with this message:  “You’ve got to accentuate the positive/eliminate the negative/latch on to the affirmative/don’t mess with mister in-between.”

If you look for what is wrong you will definitely find it.  But, you may, just may find you are happier and feel better and attract more positive friends when you focus on the beautiful, the kindnesses, the sweetness of life that is all around you. Of course it is. You’re breathing aren’t you? And this morning you woke up on the right side of the grass. Good start to a great day!

Singing The Blues

The Blues. I love Blues music. There’s a channel on my TV that plays Blues music which I love to listen to. It was on the other day and these lyrics jumped out at me:

“Be thankful for the things you got.
Don’t worry about what you don’t
You gotta rise above it
If you don’t rise above it
You’re gonna drive you mad.”

Amen. I say, AMEN. There’s a whole book right there in those 5 lines.

“Be thankful for the things you got.” Gratitude. You’ve heard that word and I’m sure you ARE grateful and probably one of the many that count your blessings every day. Like breathing fresh air (which we never run out of), drinking clean water, hot water to bathe in, clothes to wear, food to eat, a dry comfy place to sleep, people to talk to. Add a new blessing to your list every day. Be thankful for the good, the bad, and the ugly. They all have a purpose.

“Don’t worry about what you don’t”. Worry is a total waste of time and energy. It not only gets you nowhere fast, you actually go backwards. You don’t have something? Chances are you don’t really need it. Wanting and needing are two entirely different things. I may want a Jaguar and a 60 foot yacht but my Mini Cooper is perfect to get me where I need to go.

“You gotta rise above it” When the world puts a block in front of you, you can let it stop you and sit and whine about it, or you can use it as a stepping stone to go higher than you were before. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow and expand, to rise up to a new level.

“If you don’t rise above it” It’s always your choice. Many people don’t realize they have a choice. To do nothing is also a choice. You could lie there in your muck. It’s your life.

“You’re gonna drive you mad” Read that again. YOU are going to drive you mad. No one else can do that for you or to you. You don’t like your thoughts? You’re driving yourself crazy? You can change your thinking. You can change your thought process. I didn’t say it was easy. It’s probably the hardest work you’ll ever do. I’m no genius and I change my mind every day.

I don’t keep thoughts just because they popped into my head. If a thought brings me down or shakes a finger of fear in my face, I stop, acknowledge the thought, toss it, then replace the thought I didn’t want with a thought I do want. Try it.

“Be thankful for the things you got.”

(And let’s give credit where credit is due. The picture at the top is a photo of my grandson, Jason Genise-Gdula singing during an audition. Awesome!)

10 Things To Know BEFORE Hiring Your Officiant

Where do you start when you are planning on getting married? One thing is for sure – you will need an Officiant. Read on……


1.       Will you hold a religious, spiritual, or secular ceremony?

If you are of a singular religious faith you may want to have the minister of your church officiate.  If that is not the case and you are an interfaith couple, or spiritual, or prefer a secular ceremony, Rev. Phran will tailor the ceremony to your specifications.

2.       Do you prefer a traditional order of service or one that is totally unique?

You may wish to follow a traditional order of service and also include non-traditional additions such as: Honoring of Parents, Honoring of Travelers, Memorial, Special Readings, Candle lighting, etc.  Your service can be not-so-traditional and include Hand Holding, Hand Fasting, Sand Blending, Time Capsule, etc.  Or you may want to collaborate with Rev. Phran and create part of the service yourself.  There are many options and additions available.

3.       Is experience an important factor?

Rev. Phran has been happily marrying couples since 2000 and is considered an expert in the field. Her patience, good humor, and confidence will put you and your guests at ease.

4.       Can you preview the completed ceremony? Are changes allowed?

You may want to know the exact wording of what will be said during this life changing event. Rev. Phran will email you the completed ceremony and change, delete, or add componentsif you choose that option during the consultation.

5.       What are your expectations of the Officiant?

Depending on the flavor or theme of the wedding, you may request that the minister dress in an official robe, in professional attire or casual clothing. Rev. Phran is open to discussing the style of clothing you’d like her to wear. Rev. Phran will be there to assist with last minute details or changes because she will arrive at the chosen venue 30 to 60 minutes prior to the ceremony.

6.       Will the wedding venue be acceptable?

Rev. Phran has performed ceremonies at hundreds of different locations and venues. Some of them are: churches, chapels, houses, yards, restaurants, light houses, at a lake, in a lake, forest, campground, park and trolley. Her Home Chapel is available for up to 10 guests. She is willing to travel to an outer space station as well!

7.       Will you be required to attend premarital counseling?

With Rev. Phran, premarital counseling is available but not mandatory.

8.       Have you budgeted for a wedding officiant?

Without the ceremony, there is no marriage! There can be significant work involved in creating your dream ceremony and Rev. Phran provides top quality services at a reasonable fee. Working within your budget, Rev. Phran will guide you in designing a ceremony that fits your personality and preferences – a ceremony that will touch hearts and be remembered for a long time!

9.       Can your wedding ceremony be on any day and at any time?

The day and time are totally up to you. Rev. Phran is licensed to marry you in any village, city, state or country and is willing to travel to accommodate your requests. A discount is available for a week day wedding, for elopements, for small intimate ceremonies with 10 guests or less, and for weddings performed in the Home Chapel. Discuss your situation with Rev. Phran.

10. Can your wedding ceremony be co-officiated?

Yes. Rev. Phran will work with any officiant as well as special people who wish to serve but are not licensed to perform a legal wedding.