Mulching with Women’s Wear Dailies, Perfume Hacks and Authenticity

Yesterday, my friend Donna told me she had come upon something I had written back in the day. It was poem I wrote when my ex and I owned a 23 acre property and gardening was, like writing, art and fashion, one of my forms of artistic expression. I was big on mulching. Among other things, I mulched with an iconic daily newspaper of the fashion industry, which I enjoyed reading and then used to keep the weeds at bay.

This morning I mixed two scents- a fancy mysterious Oriental (Poison) with a drugstore light citrus I’ve loved since my teen years (Jean Nate). Because for me, the blend of deep and cheery is just right. And just because. I can.

I remember the poem (Mulching with Women’s Wear Dailies) and what it meant to me. We do not have to choose our identities from a set menu defined by others. We can allow who we are to come from within, and fully inhabit the wholeness of our gifts and natural selves. It’s OK to be a mechanic who reads Rumi. It’s OK to be an intellectual who watches night-time soaps and prefers top 40 to NPR. Empowerment doesn’t always look like some big deal. Usually it’s just about making choices that make you happy

First Things First; Second Things Second

The ceremony is the central part of your wedding day. It’s where the emotion peaks for you and your guests. The most potent and special moments. Laughter,happy tears, parental pride, oohs and ahhs…and awwwws, when children are involved n the processional. When the ceremony is well-written and properly personalized, it’s where the meaning is. The words the minister speaks will truly reflect and celebrate your identities as individuals and as a couple, and your love story.

Though the ceremony, in terms of meaning and memorability, is the “first thing” in any wedding, the minister it is not the first person to book. She is the “second thing.” The dress, cake, music, flowers, and all that good stuff are wonderful and important parts of creating a beautiful wedding, because venue and the minister are the only basic *must-haves,* practically speaking, they should be booked first and second.

The “first thing” as far as booking goes, is the venue. This is because the minister will need to reserve a specific time to be at a specific place for the wedding (and rehearsal, if there is to be one). Place matters,in the logistics and time planning, because travel time needs to be figured in.

I like to be at rehearsals half an hour early and weddings forty-five minutes to an hour early, depending on the venue. And I need to know what my travel time is going to look like, so I know that I can keep my commitment to you to be there early, so you can relax and know that the minister is present and accounted for!

Another reason to book the minister second, and not as a last minute afterthought, is that way you can secure the most experienced and best vetted minister, and the one who’s the best fit for you and your fiance, and who’ll be easy and fun to work with. If after reading the reviews on my website and/or Wedding Wire (over 100 now, thanks to the awesome couples I’ve worked with!) you think and feel that person is me, please go ahead and book my services early. Most likely, my customization fee will be the lowest of any of the line items of your wedding budget, and you ensure that the heart of your wedding day is every bit as beautiful as you dream it.

So, if you have become recently engaged, congratulations! I wish you lots of fun choosing one of the *beautiful* venues in the region, and once you’ve e done that, give me a call. I look forward to talking with you!

Personalizing Your Wedding

I feel privileged to get to know each and every couple and to do my part in making their special day beautiful and meaningful. In most circumstances, the personalization process is typically accomplished with three or four interactions:

1. The initial conversation with the bride or groom, whichever one calls me to secure my services.

2. A one hour interview in person or by phone, if the couple lives out of the area. This is where we discuss and plan the ceremony, and when I get to know who they are as individuals and as a couple, what their preferences are for the various aspects of the ceremony, and I hear their love story. This interview gives me the “art supplies” with which to craft the ceremony script.

3. A check-in call to make sure details of the ceremony script are as the couple wishes them, and remind them to bring the license to the wedding, or the rehearsal, if there is to be one.

4. Sometimes there is a call or email, between the interview and the pre-wedding check-in, if the couple was not sure what they wanted for a reading. I may do some research to find something that works for them and matches their theme, if they are doing a theme wedding. Or they may have considered some we talked about in the interview and chosen one, or found one on their own that they would like me to include.

These are the “normal” scenarios, but you know, as the saying goes, “Normal is just a setting on your dryer.” Life happens and you go with the flow of what the adventure brings you and embrace it! It’s good to have a plan and an organized way of doing things, so that they go smoothly and everyone can stay relaxed. And at the same time, it’s good to be willing to adapt to the unexpected… like rain, snow, and whatever may come along… and still stay relaxed! That way your special day can be 100% enjoyable.

One wedding was set to go, and then unavoidably delayed, so we got back in touch when the rescheduled time came, and did the nuptials with style, grace, and joy. Divine order and timing!

I really appreciate these kind words from the beautiful bride and I will always treasure the memory of working with her and her husband.

“Despite us having a long distance wedding, Kanta contacted us numerous times in order to get to know us. She made our ceremony very personalized for us. She has gone above and beyond what you would expect from a wedding minister. Our ceremony was definitely more meaningful thanks to her.”


YES! “Saying yes allows you to move forward” -Tina Fey

This weekend, I get to officiate my second Steampunk wedding. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. I am so happy I said yes to the first one. Almost didn’t, because it was way out of my travel area, but the couple was so darn cool and something in my gut said, “Do it!,” so I did. It turned out to me one of the most creatively delicious and delightful experiences of my life… and it had a lasting beneficial effect. The little girl who had a costume box and put on summer variety shows in the boathouse came back out, and she came out to stay. It seems appropriate on Halloween to state the obvious: costumery is FUN! It lets us engage with humor, fantasy, archetypes, style, and whimsy.

I once listened to a New Dimensions Radio program about improv, The guest quoted comedy writer/actor Tina Fey, whose training was in improv. It’s all about a yes attitude to whatever an audience…or life throws you, Obviously, there are some things not to say yes to. But if you trust your gut, you’ll know what to sidestep and you’ll know when the yes calls you forward into yourself, beyond the previous boundaries of your limited “travel area.”

Trusting Your Inner Voice

If you’re an artist or writer, it’s important to trust your inner voice. I write and make art to please myself, and also to communicate thoughts and ideas that I trust will resonate with others. I know that if I am feeling something, chances are other people are feeling it too. If the feeling is one I want to celebrate, I feel excitement and joy, which in turn multiplies its positive power as it is expressed and shared.

The more I have let go of self-censorship, second guessing, or creating anything according to what I think others expect, the happier I feel and more I like what I produce and that is what I would recommend to young creatives. Be yourself, let your happy come out to play, and your work will find its audience. This goes for any kind of creative self-expression, including how your decorate your home and how you dress.

I have always loved Bon Jovi’s song “It’s My Life.” “My heart is like an open highway / Like Frankie said / I did it ‘My Way’.”

Musician, actor, and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi recalled, “I had just come home from making U-571 and I said ‘Sinatra made 16 movies and toured ’til he was 80. This is my role model.’ He [Richie Sambora] said, ‘You can’t write that damn lyric. Nobody cares about Frank Sinatra but you.’ And I wrote it anyway.”

“When I was writing “It’s My Life”, I thought I was writing very self-indulgently about my own life and where I was in it. I didn’t realize that the phrase ‘It’s My Life’ would be taken as being about everyone–by teenagers, by older guys, mechanics, whatever. “It’s my life, and I’m taking control”. Everyone kind of feels that way from time to time.”

Yes, they do.

Imagination, Creativity, and Steampunk

So, with Banned Books Week not too far behind us, which kind of flew over my head in busy days, I had a casual conversation yesterday that gave me pause, and frankly, weirded me out. I was talking with a high school senior who asked me what I do. She was interested in the weddings and wanted to know more about that. I said I do a broad range of weddings and I love them all, from more traditional all the way to theme weddings like steampunk.She actually recoiled from the word “steampunk” as though I had said “satanic.” The notion that creativity, fantasy, SciFi, playfulness, humor, and well, just plain FUN would be shameful and shocking to this young lady made me feel sad for her. Then, last night, I got to interview a smart, playful, and funny couple for whom I will be officating my *second* steampunk wedding. It was the antidote. Let’s hear it for imagination and creativity! And let’s affirm that as a culture, we get over the fears of creativity, and imagination. They are God-given gifts and together with empathy, are three of our greatest strengths.

“Imagination is only creativity having fun.”
-Albert Einstein

Sure Feet and Rocket Fuel

“To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation…Love is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.”
-Ranier Maria Rilke
This is my favorite Rilke quote and it rings so true. Your near and dear inspire you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Because of your love for them, you find the courage to make important changes and better decisions. Love makes us persevere. It gives us sure feet and rocket fuel. The bonds of marriage and family set us free because they unleash all the fierceness of familial devotion to expand past imagined limits and to create more interesting stories.

We All Drink Water

I woke up needing to pass water with a little mind movie of something that happened last night. I was in Blacksburg coming out of Kroger, where I had eaten a delicious baked salmon and veggie dinner. It came with a fountain drink and I had chosen water, but saved it for the road and had it sitting in the cup-holder in my cart. So, as I’m walking out the door, the water gets jostled, falls on the ground and spills.

A Kroger employee who was getting off for the day happened to be walking out at the same time I was. He stopped and looked at my drink spreading out on the concrete. “Oh, sh**, he said once. And then again, “Oh, sh**.” clearly upset and concerned for my loss and inconvenience. As I looked at him, I felt myself wanting to make him feel better. “It’s OK, I said.”Its only water,” But it wasn’t only water. I actually needed to drink one more water in the next hour, while I was driving home to Floyd, for health reasons.

In that moment, this man who was clearly of Middle Eastern descent and who no doubt was tired, and I’m guessing, wanting to get home to his family, was standing there worried about my needs. And I, who really needed my water, was comforting him! In the back of my mind something shifted in that split second. I flashed back to an NYC visit to see my son two weeks post 9/11, when I am ashamed to admit, I was feeling distrustful and afraid of folks who looked like this man. I’m sure they may have felt the same distrust and fear of pale faces like me, many of whom were acting out in random acts of violence and revenge. There was a lot of fear floating around. The moment of mutual empathy zapped the memory and washed my mind clean and fresh. He spoke again, “Please go back in and get more water,” he said. “It will be all right.”

“Thanks,” I said, “I’ll do that,” He went his way and I went back into the store to get a new container of the precious liquid.

I’ve been sitting here,drinking water in a tall blue glass. Now I’m going back to sleep, dreaming of a time when we remember that we all drink water and we all love our children.

Goodnight, Friends,


Remember to Remember

There are many plays on words hypnotists use to help their clients break free of imaginary blocks and move forward. One is about letting go of old baggage and limiting ideas: “You can forget to remember or remember to forget.” And the other is this wonderful  rhetorical question about letting go of procrastination and seizing the moment: “When would now be a good time?”

What if we put the two together? Here’s one to play with: “When would now be a good time to forget to remember or remember to forget any old baggage that no longer contributes to you living your best life?

Yes, it’s complicated and confusing to the conscious mind and it’s the opposite of “good” straightforward writing. That’s where  both the giggle and the point are, and that’s why it works hypnotically.

Because these plays on words take us away from the conscious and into other parts which *instantly* get the meaning inside the words. The beauty of our being is not in our rationalizations and the part of us that we think of as “intelligent” and oh, so much smarter than “the other.” It’s in our deepest souls and in the part of us which is connected to the vast Intelligence of the Universe, in which we are One and there is no Other.

When would now be a good time to remember to remember Love?

“Good Person” or Loving Person? Look, Listen, Feel

The appearance of being a “nice,” helpful and selfless person sometimes is what it is, only an appearance. Sociopaths, narcissists, sexual predators, and garden variety selfish people usually masquerade as pillars of the community. Jared Fogle, of former Subway fame, for example. Good deeds without a truly loving attitude, generous spirit, and deep compassion mean nothing. It is said that words mean little; it’s actions that count. Though actions certainly are a better barometer than words alone, it is important to pay attention to the whole array of actions, not just the charitable ones, because the charitable ones don’t cancel out the predatory ones. They are just attempts to mask them. Of course, you may not be privy to knowledge of that whole array. What you do have is intuition, and it’s important not to override it by valuing appearances over your own gut feelings.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am        become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing…And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
From 1st Corinthians, 13 KJV