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Heaven on Earth

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Last week, I took a trip to Colorado from my home here in Japan. I was invited to my nephew's wedding several months ago and at first responded "no" to the RSVP. It's such a long trip (about twenty hours, counting travel time to the airport and layovers), I am no longer young (soon to be 62), my elderly in-laws need a lot of attention, it is very hard to take holidays from my job teaching English to Japanese businessmen (the schedule is set in stone unless somebody dies), and if I went to the wedding, it was going to cost me a lot of money for international airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, restaurant meals, etc. But then I decided to take a look at the engagement website set up by my handsome nephew and his beautiful fiancee, and there I saw my chubby older brother Ken's smiling face in the section where the parents of the bride and groom are introduced, remembered how my drunken father had verbally abused Ken at the dinner table every night when we were teenagers, realized that my sister Meredith's advanced kidney disease might prevent her from attending, and predicted that my younger brother Hugh's usual avoidance of family gatherings would mean that he would probably end up not going as well. Our parents died almost twenty years ago, so if it turned out that none of us three siblings attended the wedding, our side of the family would be glaringly underrepresented, and that would be a rather sad and maybe humiliating outcome for Ken. I decided to go after all.

When you accept an invitation out of a sense of moral obligation, that does not necessarily make you a good guest. I still had very mixed feelings. I'm not poor, but I'm not rich either. Did I really want to spend all that money, travel all those thousands of miles, and put myself through so much stress for what was essentially just a long weekend, I asked my husband Toshi, who replied very simply with "Go." It would be a ritzy affair, held up in the mountains at a resort an hour's drive from Denver. While cheaper accommodations at a slightly lower altitude were listed on the couple's website, if you wanted to stay at the resort where the nuptials would be held, it would cost you more than 300 dollars a night. If I had not had to pay trans-Pacific airfare, there's a slight possibility I would have considered splurging on the five-star luxury hotel, but under the circumstances, I opted for a much cheaper room at a Best Western along the highway in the small town nearby, which turned out to be a much more comfortable fit for me, especially as my ailing sister was able to make the trip, and she and her husband Robert (at 82, twenty years Meredith's senior) stayed at the same hotel, as did Meredith's adopted son Perrin (who had a horrible car accident last Christmas and is now a paraplegic) and Perrin's wife. We commandeered the sofas and armchairs in the hotel lobby on the first day and talked for three hours--about Perrin's new life, about how he is slowly getting back to work as a welder, a job he loves, and about his daughter, who will be two years old this coming March. The next day, the day of the wedding, we were a strong presence at the breakfast buffet, sitting around until the staff came to take away all the food. I talked so much, first at the hotel and later at the events surrounding the wedding, that I lost my voice, which hasn't happened in a very long time.

Anyway, back to my fear of driving in unfamiliar places. Before this trip, I had never set foot in an American city west of St. Louis. After landing at Denver Airport in the early evening, instead of picking up the rental car and trying to drive up into the Rockies in the dark, I spent the night at an airport hotel, where I accessed google earth and obsessively viewed, again and again on my tiny iPhone screen, the route I would take the next day. Which lane would I have to be in when Pena Boulevard merged with I-70? Would there be so much traffic I wouldn't be able to get over to the correct lane in time, as sometimes happens here in compact Japan? Would I be able to turn around and come back without getting lost? There was no GPS device and my Japan-based phone plan allowed me to connect to the Internet only when using the hotel's Wifi. How would I know what to do if I got lost or missed my exit? Would I remember to drive on the righthand side of the road, especially after making a turn? In Japan, we drive on the left side, and I've been confused in the past when transitioning from one country to the other.

The directions seemed so easy--take Pena BLVD until it turns into I-70, then exit at #232, then stay on US Route 40 until you come to Winter Park. Any fool could understand such simple instructions! But I felt like it was June 5, 1944, and I was scheduled to land on the beach in Normandy the next day. I knew how crazy I was being, but I could not go to sleep. When I envisioned myself careening off the road the next day into a deep valley and dying, thus putting a damper on the wedding, I asked God to please help me get out of this sick mindset. After that, for the first time in my life, I was able to shut down my own brain, and I fell asleep right away, slept peacefully, rented the car the next day, and drove up the mountain through some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery I have ever seen. It was my first time seeing the Rockies. Being from Georgia, I had seen the green Appalachians many times. The snow-covered Rockies were something different, and I was awestruck. Although the drive required concentration because of the numerous switchbacks, all I felt was gratitude that everything was so much easier than expected and deep reverence that God had created such a magnificent world.

Then there had been the monumental issue of what to wear, which I spent far too many hours trying to resolve. The invitation said, "Cocktail attire is encouraged," and I thought, "What is cocktail attire?" Well, actually, I have an idea from my early adulthood, when Meredith was married to an attorney, from whom she bitterly split two years after they adopted Perrin, which marked the first of many sad episodes in Perrin's life. That's another story, but what Meredith used to wear to all the cocktail parties she was expected to attend as an attorney's wife in a mid-sized Southern city--that's what must be cocktail attire, I thought--shiny dresses, high heels, stoles, lots of jewelry, perfect hairdo, perfect makeup, high-end perfume, etc. I started a search on the Internet for something appropriate, and one day, after much deliberation, on a sudden reckless impulse ordered a lovely black maxi skirt with a sheer outer layer, matched with a shiny silver-toned top that had a grosgrain ribbon to be tied just below the chest to create an empire waist. I'm overweight but not plus-sized, so when I saw that the top looked really good on the plus-sized model, I expected it to look good on me, too, a petite-obese size 14. Well, I was wrong. It did not look good. That shirt was a whole lot shinier than it had appeared online. It was covered with sequins (not visible in the photo!), and the material was like a glittery lame sewn into the shape of a lot of little ornate flowers. Somebody in a faraway factory had worked very hard to make that shirt, and I was so sorry to come hard up against the fact that it would just not do for me. Don't get me wrong. It would have looked good on many other people, but because it was so very different from what I usually wear, I could not make peace with it, no matter how hard I tried. I was briefly infatuated, but deep down I knew that this was not a good match. I put it on with the long black skirt, then went to Kana's room and asked, "Does this outfit look okay for the wedding?" And she hesitated a very long time, which told me that it did not look okay and that she was searching for a polite way to deliver the news. "Um," she said. "Um, yes. It looks okay." When I found out how much it would cost to send the silver shirt back to Macys in the US (almost as much as the shirt itself), I renewed my efforts to believe that it was right, but part of me knew I needed to face the fact that it was too tight, too low-cut, too glamorous, and too out-of-character. I hated wasting money, but I knew I was rejecting the shirt not because I thought I wasn't good enough to wear an expensive fancy item (I wouldn't have considered it in the first place if that were the case) but because I liked myself enough to want to look my best and feel comfortable at the wedding. To make a long story short (can you believe that I had even more thoughts and inner struggles about this shirt than I'm expressing here?), I ended up pairing the new long black skirt--which I loved--with a white empire-waisted blouse (empire seams flatter every figure, girls!), a pastel pink cardigan, and to add some "cocktail" flavor, a long silver necklace and silver earrings. At the wedding, I felt comfortable and warm and true to myself. Despite the wasted money--which I accepted as a sunk cost--I felt good that I had learned anew that whenever possible we should wear clothes that reflect who we are. In the old days, back when I felt myself unworthy of looking attractive or fashionable or wasting even a small amount of money, I would have gone ahead and worn the shirt I disliked and felt self-conscious the whole time. When I showed Kana the second outfit, with the blouse and pastel cardigan, she smiled and said, "Now you look like you're going to church." I decided to take that as a compliment.

And although there was no minister at the wedding (the bride's brother officiated) and the ceremony was held outdoors, I think I felt even closer to God than if I had actually been in a church. It was a beautiful, crystalline day. The air was crisp, the sky deep blue, the snow-covered Rocky Mountains rising majestic and timeless across the valley. My nephew had to wipe the tears from his eyes when he saw his bride appear in the door of the building and make her way down the hill toward the rustic altar. That was when my cousin Ann, seated next to me, dressed in an elegant aqua-colored silk dress and deep pink cashmere sweater that she told me she had found at the thrift store in the small town nearby only hours before, not having organized her cocktail attire earlier--she is so laid back--leaned over to me and whispered, "Do you have any tissues?" So I dug in my bag and pulled out some pocket tissues, white ones with a cute pink Hello Kitty pattern, but she didn't notice the design and just started wiping her eyes. We sat there together under that big, big sky and shed tears of I-don't-know-what into our Hello Kitty tissues as the beautiful bride walked across the grass toward her groom.

Looking back on it, I think I was so deeply moved by that wedding because it jolted me awake and taught me something new. Up until the actual wedding, I had had flashes of bewilderment. Why the heck, I had thought, can't they just have an ordinary wedding in an ordinary church downtown with an ordinary minister? Why go to all the trouble of getting a hundred people to this remote mountaintop? Even the guests who lived in the US had to take time off from work (the wedding was on a Friday), travel many miles, rent cars, stay in hotels, to see these two get married. Why couldn't they just do what the generation before them did--have a simple ceremony in one of their hometowns? Wasn't all this just a little too...extravagant and excessive?

But the thing is, they did what they wanted to do, something they'd dreamed about for some time, having been together for seven years before the wedding. We invitees all had the choice of whether or not to accept their invitation to share in the joy and love they feel for each other and their surroundings. I admit that I spent a lot of money and got very tired on the journey over and back and even today am still suffering from jet lag. But I don't regret my choice at all, and I commend my nephew and his bride for creating such a meaningful moment in a place of almost other-worldly beauty. I'm grateful to have experienced goose bumps of mystical awe at the grandeur of the mountains, to have seen the inspiring love these two young people share, to have shown my older brother and my sister that I love and care about them (Hugh stayed home in Georgia, as expected, but that's okay), and to have grown and learned a few important things about myself, mainly that I don't need to worry or agonize nearly as much as I do.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ahhh what an interesting perspective of an American in Japan coming back to America for such an awesome wedding! And having the courage to ditch the over-priced outfit (you might have saved some money in shipping if you had mailed it back while you were in USA? Or taken a side flight to Chicago to return it to Macy's in person? But even if not, there's always ebay or other ways of dealing with the top part of the outfit.

    But the wedding itself is truly a blessing from God , as is the opportunity to see your siblings and extended family. I am happy you made it all in one piece to such a beautiful location. I do have relatives in Denver and the north county so I know what that scenery is like, as well as traveling more west of Denver up to Steamboat Springs and south of Denver.

    Funny, my sister is in Atlanta and I've visited her there, but I've never seen the Georgia Appalachian mountains!
    649 days ago
    Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. I felt I was right there with you.
    661 days ago
    I'm so glad to hear that driving in Colorado wasn't bad for you! My husband and I have made it a tradition to go to Colorado for our anniversary (this is where he was supposed to have proposed to me, but the ring showed up late). The last trip we drove to Boulder to see my cousin and I had to pull over in Denver to make John drive because people kept slamming on the brakes with no warning and I almost hit someone, it was terrifying. I love Colorado and agree, it's one of the places where I know in the deepest part of my soul that God is real. I'm so glad you were able to experience a spiritual awakening!

    It is normal to feel apprehensive about going out on a limb to be there for someone, no matter if it is the "right" thing to do or if you feel you should. I am very sure that the bride and groom were blessed by your presence and it sounds like you had a wonderful time (other than losing your coat, which even that you made a positive!).

    I can completely relate with your sense of panic. So many times I get lost in the endless loop of anxiety only to find out that my fears were completely unfounded in light of what actually happened. How wonderful that God gave you peace of mind! If only I would ask more often, I know this could be true for me as well.

    Your outfit sounds lovely. Did you take any pictures?

    665 days ago
    I'm so glad to hear that driving in Colorado wasn't bad for you! My husband and I have made it a tradition to go to Colorado for our anniversary (this is where he was supposed to have proposed to me, but the ring showed up late). The last trip we drove to Boulder to see my cousin and I had to pull over in Denver to make John drive because people kept slamming on the brakes with no warning and I almost hit someone, it was terrifying. I love Colorado and agree, it's one of the places where I know in the deepest part of my soul that God is real. I'm so glad you were able to experience a spiritual awakening!

    It is normal to feel apprehensive about going out on a limb to be there for someone, no matter if it is the "right" thing to do or if you feel you should. I am very sure that the bride and groom were blessed by your presence and it sounds like you had a wonderful time (other than losing your coat, which even that you made a positive!).

    I can completely relate with your sense of panic. So many times I get lost in the endless loop of anxiety only to find out that my fears were completely unfounded in light of what actually happened. How wonderful that God gave you peace of mind! If only I would ask more often, I know this could be true for me as well.

    Your outfit sounds lovely. Did you take any pictures?

    665 days ago
    I completely understand your initial,reluctance to attend the wedding, but isn’t it wonderful that you went and reconnected with other family members. We’re just back from our grandson’s wedding at a Mexican resort. Like you, we grumbled about the cost, but I’m so glad we went. Even spending a week with my ex-husband and his wife went fine.
    680 days ago
    I’m so happy for you for committing to coming on the long, $$$ airplane ride! I’ll bet your sister & the rest of the family was glad to see you, too. You stepped (way) out of your comfort zone, gal, & I’m proud for you. I hate buying new clothes, especially for dress up.
    691 days ago
  • HEYRED221
    As usual, I am always in awe when you write. I am so glad you went and got past your fears to enjoy the beauty of the day and of course, the beautiful mountains.

    Way to go!


    Carolyn emoticon
    691 days ago
    I am so glad you went to your nephew’s wedding. I have never been out to the northwest but love hearing about the astounding beauty of the mountains. I am proud of you for turning your anxieties over to the Lord.
    Your daughter showed remarkable restraint, mine would have bluntly told me that the top didn’t suit me or my personality. She has been known to say “ I don’t like it mom, but it looks right on you.”

    International travel is costly, especially when you have a specific destination and time frame, I think that all the blessings you had balanced the cost. I know that is how I felt when I flew to Belgium for my cousin’s 80th birthday last year.
    Keep on giving your anxieties up in prayer. You and yours remain in my prayers emoticon emoticon
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    692 days ago
    Absolutely loved your blog. I felt like I was right there with you, your descriptions were so vividly put on paper. Thank you for the trip!!! I'm very proud of you for making that journey alone, renting the car, driving down unfamiliar roads. I was especially happy to read how you managed to destress and have a good night's sleep. Bravo my friend, Bravo
    693 days ago
    Oh, my dear...I am so glad you decided you to spend all that time and money and get yourself stateside for the wedding...it sounded absolutely beautiful.
    So glad you got to spend quality time with your family.
    And, really...family is the most important thing, isn’t it?
    I enjoyed walking with you through the agony of finding the perfect outfit for the occasion...lol!
    We flew over the Andes on our trip to South America last spring and it was breathtaking, indeed.
    Pleeeeese keep blogging...we missed you!

    693 days ago
    I would have felt the same reluctance (and some annoyance) at the thought travelling so much for a wedding., but I can see how it turned into a beautiful experience.
    I'm happy for you!
    693 days ago
  • _BABE_
    Love your stories! Next stop Canadian Rockies or as we call them "The Rockies" lol. Missed you and I am so glad you came to see your family.
    693 days ago
    You paint such a gorgeous picture with words! I feel like I was there and I can imagine the scenery in my mind. I would love to see a photo of you in your beautiful wedding outfit, but no pressure. That was so unbelievably generous and sweet of you to go. My goodness that was quite a trip! I must admit I would have taken Uber or a car service to the wedding and I live in the US. Driving on mountains or bridges scares me. That must have meant so much to your family. You are such a talented writer. It is a pleasure to read every word!
    694 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/28/2018 7:04:51 PM
  • EISSA7
    What a virtual adventure you wove ... from agonizing over what to wear to visiting in the Best Western for hours with your family to the splendor of the setting for the actual wedding....I am so very happy that you made the decision to journey in spite of the numerous travel hours and the steep monetary cost to you.
    As always, your descriptively honest accounts are a treat for your Spark friends! You are such a gifted writer! emoticon
    694 days ago
    Great blog!
    694 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/28/2018 3:40:05 AM
    What a beautiful blog!
    695 days ago
    Nothing like the Rockies, I remember saying : God you outdid yourself this time. Then started to panic as that is where we were going to meet friends .... UP THERE. But it was wonderful and amazing..

    Another great blog. THank you and Keep SParking... please.
    695 days ago
    I MISS YOU, CAROLYN! I never have wanted to live in Colorado more than when I found out you were going to be there!!

    Isn't Colorado magnificent? I have never been interested in it, at all, ever. I have a crush on the American Southwest, but, like, Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe...not the MOUNTAINS. Then, I went to Denver for a conference, and it is AMAZING. I just loved it. I went to go visit my auntie in Golden, and the train ride out there was just...wow. And the mesas were so great, and Colorado School of Mines...and, and, and. Simply incredible. I'm so happy you got to see it! I hope to take my men with me to go see it and my auntie soon. Not that soon, because that sounds like a disaster, but maybe when the little one is able to get through several hours without crying...yes, then I think I will take them to Colorado.

    695 days ago
    Love reading your blogs, Carolyn. I was glad to see it in my inbox today. emoticon

    It sounds like a wonderful wedding and I'm glad you decided to go and that you got to see your family.
    I'm like you when it comes to traveling in unfamiliar places. I usually stress myself out and then realize after I reach my destination it wasn't half as bad as I made it out to be in my head.

    Hope to see your blogs more often!


    695 days ago
    It sounds like it was a beautiful wedding and that you looked beautiful as well. I am glad you went. I can only imagine that your presence was appreciated.
    695 days ago
    I am so happy for you at how well the whole shebang turned out! You are SUCH a great storyteller, Carolyn. I need to read over the whole lovely narrative again tomorrow before I write more. ( I JUST arrived back, exhausted, from putting my Denver sister on her plane back home, from Detroit after her visit here. They just sold their Winter Park condo! Isn't life just full of coincidences?) So glad you made the journey. Hugs, Lynn
    695 days ago
    Wonderful experience and process. My parents tended to criticize and disapprove of luxury spending for family events, then one day when I was parroting my parents' view regarding the first communion for a cousin, my father-in-law retorted, why shouldn't they do what they like for an event that is very important to them - make it a special memorial and pleasant day and share it with family and friends. So true. My thinking was smaller minded along the lines of social competition and putting on a show. Spending on your family on an event that brings your family together on a memorable day - so many good connections and memories.

    I'm glad you had a great time !!

    I love the mountains, the Rockies are stupendous. Part of my honeymoon trip many moons ago was through Colorado.
    695 days ago
    I'm glad you went. If you didn't you most likely would have regretted not seeing your family. Life is too short to miss such a beautiful affair.
    695 days ago
    I can all too well identify with the pouring over maps for hours, and nervous about a route I've never taken.
    I have taken the drive down Pena and west on I-70 a couple of times. Once you get out of Denver, it is heavenly. I'm so glad you conquered your fears and hesitations and went to the wedding.
    How marvelous it must have been!
    695 days ago
    I would have been concerned about driving in a new area too. I'm glad it was not as terrible as your mental vision beforehand and that you enjoyed seeing a different area of our beautiful world.

    The pressure we put on ourselves. I know you were happy to see family again and spend time catching up. Thank you for sharing. emoticon
    695 days ago
    So glad to have you writing again! I was laughing at the part about the blouse, because I just did something similar getting ready for my 50th high school reunion. I had an oufit, but I needed some kind of dress shoes. Had something that would sort of do but was too casual for the outfit and I was imagining the popular girls rolling their eyes at my nerdiness. Haven't worn even a low heel in over a decade, what with my arthritic knees, but was hoping to find a comfortable one. This turned out to be very difficult, the stores were just selling flats and high heels, nothing in between. So I bought a pair of very fancy gold flats with a buckle, they're really smart looking, but when I got home and put them on again I realized I was going to be uncomfortable all night in them, couldn't seem to walk in my normal gait, sorely missed the arch support of my other shoes, and it was clear my toes were going to be hurting after a few hours. But I'd spent this money so I had to wear them, right? I kept trying them on for several days, trying to talk myself into it. Then the morning of the reunion I ran out to the outlet mall and found a miraculous pair of Clarks with a low heel that I can walk perfectly normally in. So I bought them too, and it was totally worth it. Will probably give the flats to my sister or Goodwill.

    Also, I feel your pain re the GPS. I used to think it was silly that my daughter always used this and never read a map, but now that I have it on my phone I've become so dependent on it. It's especially good if, like me, you can't read the street signs until it's too late to turn.
    695 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/27/2018 12:47:00 PM
    Wow, what a trip, and so worth it! I'll just bet you looked beautiful and perfect.
    695 days ago
    Loved your account of this wedding and all your worries about travel/attire and your profound conviction that it was INDEED "worth it"!! Yay you!!

    And how coincidental -- sounds like the same high mountain top locale my DH visited this past June for the wedding of a niece!!
    695 days ago
    You are so expressive and have such a way with words It is like we are chatting across the table together. I am sure your nephew and probably even more, your brother appreciated you taking the time and expense to go. It will be a lovely memory for years to come. emoticon
    695 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon happy for you that you made this trek.
    695 days ago
    What a lovely story! I so understand your initial thought to not go for all the reasons you stated, but I'm so glad you changed your mind and went anyway. How wonderful that you got to spend such quality time with your sister and your nephew and their families and that you were there to support your brother and the newly married couple.

    I could also relate to your concern about finding your way. It does seem as we get older that it's harder to just do the things that seemed so natural years ago. Just yesterday I was going over to my daughter's to help out for a bit - I didn't want to drive on the freeway so I looked at google maps for an alternate route. It was an easy route but I was so nervous all the way hoping I could find each correct street. I made it fine!

    I'm also happy that you decided to wear something you felt comfortable in rather than the blouse that simply wasn't you! Sounds like a great weekend and a wonderful lifetime memory!
    695 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23741364
    It sounds like you made all the right decisions, for you, in spite of the challenges! I felt like I too attended this wonderful wedding! Beautifully written, with all the drama, sadness, and love, within a family!
    695 days ago
    What a beautiful blog! Sometimes we just don't know what decision is right (should I go or should I stay home? Should I wear the shirt or get another I like?) and we can get fatigued by it all and just do nothing. So glad you went and enjoyed it all. Hugs to you, Rhonda

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    695 days ago
    Wow! What an adventure! I lived in the Denver area for over 10 years, so I could picture what you saw. The Rockies are stunning!

    I am glad you went. You gained so much and renewed connections.

    695 days ago
    —-worth it. Especially now that can look back on it. So many good memories here.
    695 days ago
    While I read your blog I was right beside you through every step from the decision to attend , why, what to wear, and the long talks you had with family. Somehow I dread every such invitation. So many decisions to make, and then, it all seems worth i
    695 days ago
    Carolyn......I read every word.......you write and I feel like I’m right there with you! What a great talent you have! I am so glad you made that trip........you checked off so many lists of “can I do this?” You did not talk yourself out of now having so many wonderful memories. That section of the United States does make us feel closer to God. He must have stayed in that area a little longer to create our heaven on earth.

    I wish I could see a picture of you on that special day. I’m sure your face was as radiant as your outfit!
    Thank you for sharing your great experience! I’m giving you a pat on the back........ emoticon
    695 days ago
  • no profile photo CD22518161

    I'm so glad that you went to the wedding, Carolyn. It seems proof, to me, that the "right choice" is so often,
    "the harder choice". You invested so much blood sweat tears and money to be there for your family. I can only imagine how grateful they were to have you there. It's something they will never forget.
    695 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Wow, the wedding sounds absolutely gorgeous. I am glad you went and glad that you found an outfit that matched who you were and made you feel beautiful, I am sure you looked amazing that day.
    I hope your jetlag is better soon. That is definitely the worst part about traveling!
    695 days ago
    Oh Carolyn, thank you for sharing your journey with us. Simply beautiful. Pena Blvd? If you’d driven a bit more you could have visited our kids. Ha! Our precious ones married in Crested Butte 8 short years ago amidst the mountains and golden leafed aspens. No easy ride there either, one of their friends officiated. It is one of my favorite days ever...their love affirmed amidst God’s glory and those they love. Oh amen. The Rockies speak to me each time I witness their majesty, I’m delighted you experienced them. You were on such a journey, memories for a lifetime. How powerful you listened to your inner voice that encouraged you to go. Equal parts priceless and precious...welcome home.
    695 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    So glad you were able to go to the wedding and enjoy time spent with your family, especially catching up with Meredith and Perrin! You also got to experience the Rockies, I've only seen pictures but I know how I feel when we drive up to the White Mountains in NH and I've heard the Rocky Mountains are even more breathtaking...I am not religious in a traditional sense but sometimes nature makes me feel closer to God than any church ever could. I also understand the frustration over the "cocktail attire" - for my nephew's wedding, I struggled until I ended up wearing a simple black dress (simply meaning it was made of tee- shirt material!) but I covered it with one of those sheer, flow-y shawls that are popular now and it made it seem quite elegant. And for my own son's wedding my shoes were my biggest issue until I resigned to being comfortable and wearing flip flops with a wedge heel and silver sequins.

    Great blog, as always! I've missed reading them!
    695 days ago
  • DESIREE672
    What a lovely account of your journey and the wedding! It feels to me that despite the tiredness and the jet lag, you have probably come back refreshed.

    Your writing is beautiful. You have such a gift!

    (I felt a jolt on learning of the difficulties between your father and your brother.)
    695 days ago
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