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.

Get To Know You

Here is my 3 step suggestion.

1.       Invest $1 (one dollar) in yourself. Go to one of the stores where all items are priced at a dollar and purchase a notebook. You could splurge and buy a new pen for another dollar.

2.       Choose a definite time of day when you can devote 20 to 30 minutes to yourself sitting down alone in a quiet space. Aim for the same time every day.  No. Not 5 minutes. You are worth a half hour a day! This is life changing. Your life changing.

3.       During your “My Time” put pen to paper and write down your thoughts. This is your private book. This is not for Face Book or You Tube. This book, this journal is for your eyes only, for your thoughts and feelings.

Write about what is going right in your life. Write about what is going wrong. Write about what you have always wanted to do but didn’t. Write about why you didn’t do it.  Be honest with yourself. Write your truth as you see it. No excuses.

If you feel you want to change something, be brave and change it. Don’t let fear stop you. Take your fear by the hand and do it anyway.

Do you long for an adventure? Anything can be an adventure. Learn to paint. Walk in a park or a woods. Eat lunch outside sitting on a blanket. Stick your feet in a fountain. Sometimes opening up to being a little silly will help you to start a serious project or to offer a proposal that might be a winner.

Once a month, read back through the journal. Do you notice patterns? Are you being truthful or offering excuses? Are you waking up or sleeping your life away?

Get to know you. Inside that body is a perfect creature, someone who loves you very much. You can’t escape yourself.  You are with yourself 24/7. You may as well treat yourself well.  After all, you are your own best friend. It’s time to find out what your friend is all about. If not now, when?

Organic Weddings

There is so much talk these days about “organic” that it made me think about exactly what organic means. When the word “organic” is mentioned it brings to mind produce – living, healthy, growing, good-for-you items.  No chemicals or artificial means have been used in its production.

Organic also means natural, that whatever you are referring to has not been violated, encroached upon, invaded or corrupted in any way. Considering all of that, organic means safe.

It occurred to me that what I do and love to do is to write and perform organic weddings!

Using the same definitions, a wedding ceremony is for a living, growing relationship; two people who are good for each other and will lead healthy lives together.

Your organic wedding ceremony would only have the parts that are natural to you.   A by-the-book ceremony could contain components that invade your sensibilities, leaving you feeling like you have been encroached upon. Strong wording which is the opposite of your present thinking may have such an adverse effect that you could feel almost violated.

Sometimes childhood beliefs fade away or die and are no longer valid. Why include something that has no more meaning to you or life to it?

Maybe if the preacher talks fast and mumbles no one will notice that what is being said is a corruption of what was originally designed to be a blessing.

No. No. No!

The two of you are a couple who thinks, who decides for themselves what is good and natural. You don’t jump into any boat that cruises down the river.  You may not have any say on that boat and wind up stranded on a leaky ship. No way!

Your wedding day can be a cruise down the river on the ship of your choice – enjoyable, memorable, and fun for everyone on board. The key is: it is YOUR choice. Have an Organic Wedding Ceremony, one that is natural whether simple or elegant. It’s always of your choosing.

I guarantee that I will write an organically perfect ceremony for you. You only have to ask.

Expect The Unexpected

I was about half way through a chilly, but sunny February wedding ceremony. The families being united were positioned around the table that held 6 vials of colored sand and the main keepsake container.  The bride and groom, 2 teenagers and 2 children, the youngest being 3 years old, eagerly waited for me to call their name along with the interpretation of the color they chose and then to pour their sand into the center container.


Three had poured, three to go. All of a sudden the 3 year old announces, “I have to go potty.” She calmly turns around and walks off into the house.  Her perceptive Grandmother bolts out of her chair to follow the little one to make sure all is well and that the child would return and not decide to stay inside and play a game or take a nap.

This was a push-me/pull-you moment.  We wanted to honor the child with her time in the spotlight yet not suffer frost bite.  (It wasn’t that cold, but it was chilly.)  While we waited, two more poured their sand. Finally the child returned. The guests broke into a spontaneous round of applause.

We continued as if nothing had happened and just before my lips turned blue. The relieved and happy child’s name was announced, color explained, sand poured on tippy toes into the family container and a cherished memory was born.

To me this is an example of the importance of going with the flow during the life changing experience of a wedding ceremony, especially when children are involved. The rule, “Always expect the unexpected” can definitely be counted on where children are concerned.

Writing Personal Vows

You should see the look on the faces sitting on my couch when I ask the question, “Are you planning on writing your own vows?” You would see everything from blank stares, to wide eye amazement and everything in between.

The bride says, “Oh, he doesn’t want to do that.” And the groom is nodding his head and saying, “I have been thinking about it.” What??

Step back a moment and let’s look at the issue. In the first place, this is your day, your wedding, your ceremony with your thoughts and sentiments. Besides that, it will be in front of your family and your friends. These people like you and support you or they would not be there.


A wedding vow is simply this – what you are bringing to this union, what you feel in your heart and how you feel about your mate. We’re not talking about a 5 minute story. You could say something as simple as “I love you. You are my best friend and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, no matter what.” If that does it for you then you have said it all.

There are no magic words. The words may feel magical (and probably will) but you don’t have to come up with the-all-time-absolutely-perfect-I-will-die-if-it-doesn’t-happen vow.

What makes it magic is the feeling in your heart that comes up over your face, that makes your eyes sparkle and your body tremble. You love this person standing in front of you so much that you would do everything in your power to have a magnificently, incredibly, loving life together.

You are not sacrificing, you are giving gifts. You are not denying yourself, you are becoming more. You are not tying down you are freeing up. Love is a blending, a sharing, a giving and receiving. Read that last part again. Giving AND receiving. You give because you want to give. You receive because you accept the gift given and appreciate the giver.

Being legally married is the commitment to live together because you want to, not have to or need to. You want this person in your life for as long as you are here on this earth. There is nothing wrong with living alone but you two want to live together. Why?

Think about that. Why do you want to live together? Why this person and not someone else? Write that down. Put those thoughts on paper. Don’t worry about how or what you are writing. You can reread it a hundred times, condense it and come up with two (2) sentences which express your feelings, which perfectly conveys your heartfelt message to your chosen partner.

Your vows are your vows. You each write your own. The finished product may sound similar but it will have its own feeling, its own message, your own twist to it when you speak it on your wedding day.

Be brave. You’ve gone this far, now go all the way and write your own personal vows.

Start Your Own Tradition

So many couples request a “traditional” ceremony. I often wonder to which tradition they refer. For instance, what is the “traditional” day on which to marry? Saturday you say?


Here is an example of changing traditions. Saturday takes its name from Saturn and was considered the most unlucky day of all. Nobody would marry on a Saturday. But, by the second half of the last century nearly everyone in the western world married on a Saturday.

Sunday, obviously named for the sun. In some blocks of time no one would or could marry on a Sunday. In England during Elizabethan times Sunday was THE day to marry. To quote from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew: “We will have rings and things and fine array; and kiss me, Kate, we will be married o’ Sunday.”

Monday is the day of the Moon. Everyone knows that the moon is associated with love and lovers. This certainly suggests that Monday be an auspicious day for marriage. Yet how many people do you know that are married on Monday?

Tuesday, the day of Mars. Mars as the son of the Sun, epitomizes virility, granting health to men and women who marry on its day. I would say a Tuesday wedding on today’s calendar would be a short & sweet affair, maybe even an elopement.

Wednesday or Woden’s day, named for Mercury, the winged footed messenger of the gods. Being right in the middle of the week, Wednesday symbolizes balance. Communication and balance sounds like a good start to any relationship especially a committed one.

Thursday is named for Jupiter, the heavenly home of ascended masters. Jupiter connotes wisdom which gives birth to compassion. Your honeymoon of passion matures to a wedded life of compassion. Works for me!

Friday, given to Venus as Freya’s-day. Marrying on Venus’ day? Are you kidding? Venus is all about love. Besides, its right next to Saturday and it will give you an extra long weekend.

Traditionally, people would marry at the beginning of the weekdays. But the current tradition is to marry at the end of the week or the weekend.

In my research I’ve also found reasons not to marry on any of those days. As far as I’m concerned, the best day to get married is the day that suits you best.

So, really, tradition, any tradition, means that to which we have become accustomed. Be brave. Start your own tradition.

I Love Him Enough......

I was visiting a friend of mine who is a nut about putting things away but could care less about a few dust bunnies. On the other hand, his partner of 15 years doesn’t mind things out of place but is a clean freak. (The things you find out when you’re in someone’s home!)

And how did I find out this mole hill of information that could easily become Mt. Everest? Well, I’ll tell you. We had walked into the kitchen and right there on the floor was a stray sock. My friend picked it up, looked at me and said, “I love him enough to take care of this for him.”

That blew me away. In fact, it blew me back to the previous century. Two other friends of mine were in a business together. Businesses are so much like a marriage. Their business happened to be a boat yard which required someone to take charge of the office, handle orders and matters involving paper work, and someone to be outside to govern placement of boats in and out of the water and following through on work orders. One was great inside and one was great outside.

Perfect, you might say. Nope! The one who was outside would complain that his partner was always sitting down and talking on the phone. The inside man would complain that his partner was always walking around “shooting the breeze”.

I’ve seen that in marriages too especially when one is sloppy and the other neat. Like the famous Odd Couple. How do you deal with that?

How do YOU deal with that (or something similar)? Do you pick up after your mate, suffer and complain about it? Or do you pick up as an act of love? To pursue that point a little further, do you expect a favor in return or do you know, deep down inside, that you are taken care of too and loved for what you are?

I’ve listened to couples bickering, each one telling their story. The amazing part is that both are complaining about the same issue. “I do all the work.” “What do you ever do for me?”

Why am I writing about this and posting it on a site that advocates marriage? Marriage includes living together. Living together exposes differences. Differences need to be accepted and dealt with. Key word is accepted.

Marriage is all about Love. Love is accepting a person exactly the way they are. I repeat, exactly the way they are. Right here. Right now. To quote a line from one of my ceremonies, “Marriage is accepting the incompleteness, imperfections and hidden surprises of the other.”

You offer your whole self to your marriage partner. You take your partner in marriage in their entirety. You send out love you’ll get love back. You send out control and you’ll get rebuttal. You send out expectations you’ll get disappointments. You send out acceptance and you ACCEPT YOURSELF the way you are and you’ll be accepted.

I have a friend whom I have never heard say an arbitrary word about her husband. I asked her how she deals with day to day issues in their relationship, like picking up, taking out the garbage, cooking, etc. What arrangements did they make and what process was used to come to an agreement?

I wish you could have seen the look on her face. I was not speaking Russian or Greek. She had to mull over the question to figure out what I was asking. Her answer as to how and why the marriage worked so well was….. (are you ready for this?) “Simple. When either of us sees something that needs doing, we do it.”

They don’t keep score. They don’t make rules. They don’t have expectations. And there you have the best advice for a long, lived, happy marriage. When either of you sees something that needs doing, do it.

“I love him enough to __________ for him.” Fill in the blank.