Third Sunday of Advent: Joy

The third Sunday in Advent is Gaudete Sunday. The liturgical color in some churches is rose. The theme of the day is joy.

How could this not be a day of joy snowed in with my family in Bend?

A winter storm is blowing through, which meant church from home today.

So worship included walks and play in the snow.

Prayers, knitting, and reading from a snuggly couch beside a fire with snow falling outside the window.

Does this look like a cross outside my window?

Baking cookies.

Zebra cookies


Wedding in the Catskills: Soon. So soon.

After a morning spent having more little family reunions, and the first half of the afternoon with yet more preparations, we are gathering for the blessing of the marriage of Hannah and Andrew.

On my drive through the twists and turns of the country roads, I stopped at a local Episcopal Church for some prayers and to center myself for the wedding.

An extra sweetness is that many of us were gathered almost eight years ago for the marriage of Dominique and Nathan (Andrew’s brother) who are here with their two sons.

I love being the CelebrAunt for my family occasions and the opportunities they are to share God’s love with all sorts of lovely people.

I’m remembering when we prayed at Dom and Nathan’s wedding,

Bestow on them, if it is your will, the gift and heritage of children, and the grace to bring them up to know you, to love you, and to serve you. Amen

And God said, Yes! to Rafael and Jack.

In a little over an hour we will begin. I wonder now God will answer the prayers we pray for Andrew and Hannah and those gathered to support them today?

May all who hear and pray these prayers find their own commitment to be instruments of peace and love strengthened and reinvigorated. In the name of the God who created love we all say amen.

Wedding in the Catskills: Prelude

Today was about getting ready for tomorrow. I spent the morning working on some final details for the wedding liturgy. Andrew and Hannah have been creatively involved in the liturgy choices and details seem to change by the minute.

This afternoon we had the rehearsal at Aunt Marcia’s home by the lake. It was a bee hive of preparations, and in the midst of it all, I herded the cats of the wedding participants for the rehearsal. Another wedding edit: going from two wedding attendants to fourteen.

After the rehearsal, we drove into Mountaindale to a lovely outside bar for a reunion of family members and friends. All of us from Texas loved the Austin-feel with a temperature edit of about twenty or more degrees. Oh. This is why people love summer.

Skipping the post-dinner after party, my sister-in law, her sister, and I (the three sisters/moms/grandmas) did the wind-y country roads back home. We were literally stopped on our way by the sunset over the Catskills.

God of love, you have granted us a peaceful night and a perfect end.

A wedding in the Catskills

I met my brother, Austin, at Newark today, and we made the beautiful two hour drive to Mountain Dale, New York, for a weekend in a part of the world where I’ve never been before. New birds! New flowers! New landscapes!

My nephew is getting married on Saturday, and I’ve been invited to officiate. It’s a family event in the Catskills.

My other brother, Richard, rented a historic (1850!) home where many of us will be staying.

I’ve spent a great deal of zoom-time this past few weeks planning the wedding with Andrew and Hannah. They had originally planned to be married two years ago, but we all know what happened. Like it did to so many others who had to delay important gatherings.

I’ve had such a good time with Andrew and Hannah, two artists (dancer/musician/actor), as they re-crafted the Episcopal marriage liturgy and made it their own. Such deep and wondering conversations about God that fills a priest aunt with joy!

Tonight we all settle in. Tomorrow the pre-festivities begin. I am jumping up and down spiritually to see what God had in store.