Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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A Love Perspective

These memories of Love
of sharing our vows,
amongst the vines,
I hold them,
close within my heart,
savouring each morsel
upon my skin
kissed by the sun
and the one
I love.
I taste
the beauty and joy and love
our friends and family
gathered together.

My heart overflows
gratitude fills my spirit
joy embraces me.

I fly high
on wings of love
dancing amongst the vines.

 

 

There are so many, many moments that touched me deeply, that moved me to tears, that gave my heart wings. I am still not ready to share these moments, to move beyond these rarefied air.

We return to Calgary today and with us we carry the memories of the wonder and awe we have shared in over the past week — and the months leading up to our wedding. Ross Tabalada, our friend and photographer shared the photo above — in total he took 2300 photos! Can’t wait to see them all once he’s gone through them. 🙂

A moment I want to share is when Ken Swift, our DJ, dear friend and one of my co-workers, shared the song he composed as a surprise for C.C. A Love Perspective.

Ken writes on his SoundCloud page,

This song was created to honour the vows recently shared between two friends of mine. The bride is an artist, poet and writer who composed the lyrics that are heard throughout the track. This song was debuted at their private party in Penticton BC on April 25, 2015.
Many thanks go to:
Amie and Carmella Swift for contributing their enchanting vocal work.
Miles Cantafio for his smoothed out bass lick.

 Click HERE to listen to A Love Perspective.

 


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Gratitude and Love live here, always.

Even though the Calgary Flames did not win last night, forcing a sixth game on Saturday night, they did not rain on my parade. As C.C. said, “Nothing is morning important than our wedding celebration. Hockey, smockey!”

Okay. So he didn’t really say that, but I know he was thinking it, as were all the other ardent and vocal Flames fans gathered at a local pub last night to watch the game and to begin the wedding celebrations! When I popped in after C.C. and I met with the marriage commissioner, they were completely immersed in the game, sharing laughter and jokes about the imminent end of C.C.’s single status.

Earlier in the day, Alexis and I went with Natalie Winsa, our wedding angel, to do a site visit at Bench 1775, the winery where the wedding will be held tomorrow. Conscious of the weather forecast, we talked about Plan B. None of them all that enticing until Natalie said, what about the entranceway to the Tasting Room?

and voila! A beautiful Plan B, should it be needed.

I’m confident it won’t be. The forecast for today was all showery and cloudy. Yet, here I sit at my writing place, looking out at the unruffled waters of the lake. No wind and few clouds above.

Funny how weather is not all that important to me, until I plan an outdoor wedding. Like so many things in life, the context comes when my plans include things I cannot control, but have an impact on what I’m doing.

Thing is, the weather won’t make our day tomorrow great. We will. All of us gathered together to celebrate love and marriage, family ties and friendship.

And yes, I am excited!

One more day. There’s a party tonight, an Open House C.C and I are hosting here at Therapy Vineyards where we’re staying. The amazing Kasey Alladin is catering, just as he will be at the wedding. While we are either out on the golf course, or touring the vineyards, Natalie and Kasey will be busy setting up the party and laying out the food to welcome us upon our return.

Therapy Guest House is almost full with just one more couple to arrive from New York today. Last night, C.C.’s son and daughter arrived as did dear friends from Calgary. We stayed up late, chatting and sharing a glass of wine and a few sips of Therapy’s incomparable Freudified wine, laughing and talking and telling stories on each other. These are people who have been in our lives for a long, long time. They hold special places in our hearts and journey. Earlier in the afternoon, a couple, along with a friend who had driven in from Calgary, stopped by for a late afternoon visit. We sat on the deck, soaked up the view and the ambience of the place, and gave thanks.

As I check over my lists, tick off more and more To Do’s as DONE, I am grateful.

For C.C., our family and friends who have made this weekend so special.

Gratitude flows all around and I breathe deeply.

Yes, this is life. This is Love. This is beauty.

This is my last post before the wedding tomorrow. How exciting is that!

See you on the other side of marriage.

Much love to all and deep gratitude for your well-wishes and support and encouragement and above all, Love.


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The view from my heart is sunny all day!

I checked the weather forecast for Saturday this morning.

Bad idea.

The outlook is cloudy, not too warm, 80% chance of showers.

And then, Alexis showed me another forecast from a different website.

Much better.

15 degrees Celsius. 20% chance of showers.

IMG_7930Like that a whole lot better!

Yesterday, they predicted rain all morning.

No rain, at any time of the day and 4 degrees warmer than the forecast.

I’m so glad they can’t get the weather right! But then, there is no wrong for the weather. Nothing can really rain on my parade for Saturday. My heart will be bright and sunny and the world all sparkly as C.C. and I say our vows to one another in front of our family and friends.

When I went to pick up the marriage license yesterday, I think the woman serving me at the BC Services office might have thought I might be on something! I couldn’t quit grinning and smiling. But then, by the time we were finished, neither could she! 🙂

Love is in the air and I am embraced by its beauty, casting off ripples of joy all around me!

Alexis and I spent the day the best way a mother and daughter can. Wandering the streets of a small town/city, in and out of shops, trying on weird and wonderful hats, laughing, enjoying each other’s company. And then, lunch at a vineyard overlooking the lake, sharing a bowl of soup and the best potato pancakes ever and a glass of Pinot Gris. We did an impromptu wine tasting at 2 vineyards along the way back and picked up treats for when C.C. and my youngest daughter and her boyfriend arrive. We reveled in the beauty of this place, the joy of being together and the anticipation of the festivities unfolding.

Later, after the other’s arrived, Alexis finished off a University assignment and the four of us played Euchre and chatted back and forth. I think Liseanne calls it ‘smack talk’ — when C.C. waxes eloquent on how they’re going to win with their card-playing prowess only to lose the hand!

This morning, the skies are cloud, grey clouds hanging low over the hills on the other side of the lake. And my heart is light.

I am getting married in two days! I’ve come a long way baby!

All is well with my world from where I sit by the window looking out at the world. In my heart, breath expands in ever increasing circles of love and joy. All is well with my world.

 

 

 


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Love in my heart and a pocket full of possibilities.

The journey started with a mishap.

Construction on my daughter’s condo building. The car parked a little too close. Speckling splattered all over the hood and roof.

When I’d pulled into the 20 minute spot beside the building, the foreman had asked me to back up a bit so I wouldn’t get hit from the work of fixing the brickwork above where I was parked. “I’ll guide you back,” he said and when I was far enough away he motioned me to stop. “You’ll be fine there,” he added confidently.

Carefree, I walked into the building to help my daughter with her suitcase.

It wasn’t until we were blocks away that I connected the beige drops on the windshield with the fact there were beige splatters all over the hood in front of me.

Panic!

Alexis calmly pulled out her phone, found a car wash not too far away where I could wash it off myself.

Relief.

It all washed off.

Whew!

A quick visit to my mother for a loving good-bye and  only 45 minutes later than anticipated, we were off to wine country.

The drive was nowhere near as eventful as its beginning.

Warm temps. Dry roads. No snow. No rain. No weather to mention other than glorious sun glistening on the snow-tipped mountains and then shimmering on the calm surface of the lakes we drove along. Three Valley. Shuswap. Okanagan.

Natalie, our amazing host and wedding planner met us at Therapy Vineyards and Guesthouse. Her welcome smile and hug, her eagerness to show us around the house, ensure we got settled in before heading home, embraced us in loving kindness.

Natalie is my wedding angel. No matter the request, the need, the idea, she has gracefully opened doors, created possibilities and found the right ‘thing’, no matter what we needed or how outlandish my request. In one of my emails to her I’d told her she was making planning the wedding ‘almost carefree’.

I want your day to be carefree, she wrote back.

And she has. Made it so.

Last night, we chatted about where to go for dinner and she suggested ordering in pizza. I have your case of Fizzio in the car, she said. I can put a bottle in the freezer and it will be cold in no time.

The deal was done. Alexis and I ordered in about the most delicious gluten free pizza either of us has ever tasted. We sat on the deck, sipped Therapy’s amazing Fizzio and watched the sun go down behind the hills across the lake.

It was divine.

We chatted and reminisced and talked about life and love and all things related. We laughed and savoured the moment of being together, connected in the love that has always kept us strong, no matter the weather. We watched the stars poke through night’s blanket. A satellite blinking high above. A plane and then, a shooting star.

“Make a wish!” I cried and she smiled and said softly. “I did. It already came true.”

Her fiance has not been well. A two week stay in hospital and a medical concern yesterday left both of us worrying about his well-being. A phone call earlier in the evening had reassured her. He is okay. Better still. He will be joining us on Friday for the wedding.

Relief.

Sigh.

Bliss.

All is well with our world.

All is well.

And so the journey continues. Day follows night, The promise of a rainy day today not yet materialized and the possibility of it never happening very real. Soft billowy pink and blue and white clouds skim the edge of the distant hilltops. Straight above, the sky is pale blue and clear. Gusts of wind buffet the trees. A bird swoops. A covey of sparrows flit by the window.

All is well.

The forecast for the next few days is sunny with a slight possibility of showers.

All is well.

Nothing can rain on my parade. I’ve got love in my heart and a pocket full of possibilities.

All is well.

 


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And so it begins… the wedding journey

And so it begins.

Alexis and I are off to wine country today to get everything in order for the wedding on Saturday. C.C. and my youngest daughter and her boyfriend arrive tomorrow night, as does a friend who is our MC. On Thursday, the four of them will be playing golf while Alexis and I enjoy the last minute visits to the florists and other suppliers for the wedding. Tomorrow is our spa day. Our day to simply savour being amongst the vines, beside the lake, in the sun.

Oh! And I do have to pick up the wedding license!

We had planned on leaving yesterday, but it wasn’t until 4pm yesterday that I finally packed up the last tub of paraphernalia for the wedding, swept out my studio and said, I’m done.

Plus, I still had to pick up my dress from the dress-makers where I’d taken it to have it lined. The fabric is gorgeous but it needed softening on the inside!

It is beautiful, my dress. My lovely and generous friend WC spent countless hours creating and cutting and sewing and unsewing and sewing again to get it just so. For me, every stitch in the skirt speaks of friendship. It is a reminder of how we sew together our different perspectives, our varying experiences and thread together a tapestry of caring and love that lifts and supports us in our lives. It speaks of our human desire to be connected, to be part of something, giving the best of what we have and know to create something out of nothing. Like sewing, friendship is kind of like magic to me. From a flat piece of fabric, wondrous things appear that clothe us in beauty!

The fabric for my skirt is from India, a hand-embroidered silk that whispers stories of elephant rides and gardens bursting with the brilliant hues of marigolds and fuschia and passion flowers and birds flitting amongst the branches of a heavily laden lemon tree.

My mother is from India. She is too frail to make the wedding so my dress is in honour of her. It also makes me think of Ireland where my father is from.  When I took it into the dress-maker to have it lined, she suggested adding a small shawl around the neck of my blouse made out of the same fabric as the skirt. It makes me think of the sash an Irish dancer wears to honour her clan. The skirt swishes and sways as if moved by the music of a distant fiddle playing a jig.

Yup. I’m ready.

Everything is done. Everything is ready. All packed up. All set to go.

C.C. is organizing the caravan of cars that will help us get all the boxes and bins to the vineyard. My car today will be filled with two sets of golf clubs, his suitcase, Alexis’ and mine as well as anything else I can fit in!

On Thursday, his son and daughter arrive with their significant others as do my two sisters and one of their husbands and several other friends. Friday, 24 of us are on a wine tour while several others will be teeing off for another round of golf with C.C.

And then, Saturday.

My friend Ula asked me yesterday if I had figured out where everyone would dress and how we’d get to the winery where the wedding is being held.

Oops.

Not yet!

But, I’ve still got four and a half days… 🙂

And oh my. Look at the time!

Gotta go.

I need to finish packing. Last night C.C. looked at the pile of clothes  on the loveseat in our bedroom that I’d set out to take with me and suggested I might want to cull it a bit. “You’re only gone a week,” he said, “Not a month.”

Oh? Right.

I don’t need 7 pair of pants, 5 skirts, 8 blouses and 3 sweaters.

But what about the 10 pair of shoes?

I need each one of them, don’t I? Just in case. 🙂

Thank you everyone for the beautiful and heart-warming well-wishes. I carry you and your loving words with me in my heart.

Namaste.

 

 


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My heart is strong

My daughters asked me last night at dinner when I was going to have my meltdown before the wedding.

I don’t have meltdowns, I told them.

And my youngest daughter looked at me with that look of disbelief daughters do so well and asked, “Really mom? What about that night you landed in hospital?”

Children have such unforgiving memories of their parents sometimes.

The night in question was just after I had moved back to Calgary, after the man whose lies and manipulations that almost killed me had sent him to jail.

After a year and a bit in prison, The Parole Board had let me know of his release to a half-way house in Calgary. I was hyper conscious of my surroundings. Working with a security consultant I was, ‘target-hardening’ my home and my life so that we could be safe and live with peace of mind.

But, the fear existed. It lived on the periphery of my thinking, a constant niggling at my mind to ‘be aware’ of everything going on around me. One evening, I had gone to a friend’s for dinner and he had fed me his world famous peach martini’s. I had known this man for many years but on this night, he informed me of his long time affection for me.

I didn’t feel the same way about him and didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I said nothing. He took my silence as an invitation and tried to kiss me.

And that’s when my walls came tumbling down.

I did not want to be kissed. I did not want to be up close and personal with a man. I did not want a man. Period.

Fortunately, he got the message, backed off and walked me home.

Problem was, the dam had burst and I couldn’t get myself together. I cried and shivered and at one point sat on the grass and sobbed. It was as though, after two years of having to deal with not just the spectre of ‘the bad man’ somewhere on the horizon but also my daughters’ fear of his presence coming back into our lives, and my own work of healing the woundedness within me, I broke wide open and let go.

I let go of holding myself and all of it together.

I let go of being strong.

I let go of being the one with all the answers.

I broke.

When my friend got me home I was a mess. Concerned for my well-being, he called 9-1-1. When my address came up in their database, they found my file flagged because of the ‘bad man’s’ release from prison. Respond immediately.When the ambulance and police arrived. I remember continually repeating, “I can’t keep my daughters safe.  I can’t keep my daughters safe.”

When they checked their database further, they too grew concerned.

And therein lay the challenge. My fears were real. I wasn’t imagining them or making them up. They were real and I had been trying to pretend that while I knew they were real, I was handling it all.

In my desire to protect my daughters from my fears, I had been holding them in the container of, “I need to do everything I can to keep myself and the girls safe. I can’t predict or control what he will do. I can only take care of us”.

I had done everything to ‘target harden’ our lives. It was my heart that was the problem.

It was broken and I had been carrying the burden of its brokenness alone. I was tired.

When my friend tried to kiss me, my fear of letting down my guard, of letting myself feel again broke through.

It was shortly after that my beautiful friend NR went to Choices and invited me to go too. Thanks to her, the deep and lasting healing of my heart, and my family, began in earnest.

Daughters’ memories are long though. That evening doesn’t resonate in my memory. I only think of it when one of them mentions it — and usually they only speak of it in context to their fears of my falling apart.

Daughters count on the strength and courage of their mothers. They count on them to always be there. To be witness to their daughters’ tears and fears and pain and sorrows, and the good times too.

And we are, but what we don’t show our daughters is how much we carry their tears and fears and pains and sorrows. We don’t show them how our hearts break when theirs are broken. How are arms ache when theirs are left holding nothing but air after a love gone wrong or a dream shattered.

We show our daughters our strength and seldom our moments of weakness.

On that night long ago, I couldn’t hold it together any longer. I let it go. And in the letting go my healing began in earnest and the transformation of the pain into loving and forgiving myself began.

For my daughters, that night has not been transformed into the seminal moment where I saw clearly I had to let go. It remains in their memories as the night mom fell apart.

I am getting married on Saturday. My heart is bursting wide open with joy and love and feeling safe and feeling embraced by this man whom I trust and cherish and know loves and cherishes me.

I’m not planning a meltdown before Saturday. There’s no need because in marrying C.C., in stepping whole-heartedly into our life together, I have nothing to fear. My heart is strong and I am safe.

 

 


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Beyond the “I Do”

My heart was touched deeply last night. A beautiful friend, RF came up to me, gave me a hug and said, “I love your words and following your journey as you get ready to marry C.C.” And he went on to tell me how through my words, he feels hope, like the possibility of love is out there, shimmering and calling for him too.

And my heart flowed over.

It is my dream. My desire. My heartfelt wish that my words inspire others to see the possibility of ‘more’ in their lives too.

As I waited for a session to begin at the Champions for Change conference I am attending this week, a woman came up to me to ask if I would be the keynote speaker at the major fund-raiser this fall. “Your story is inspiring and I think it would fit our event perfectly.”

And my heart flowed over.

It is my dream. My desire. My heartfelt wish that my words inspire others to see the possibility of ‘more’ in their lives too.

In 2003 when I was released from that relationship that was killing me, I couldn’t imagine that those events would lead me to such grace and love in my life today. Yet, they form a part of my story today. They inform my actions, my thoughts and my words. They are not my whole story, they are part of the journey I’ve taken to here. Right now. This place where the darkness that was then is illuminated by the light of my life today showing me, and others, that darkness exists but it is not the entirety of our days. It is not all there is.

The light shines brightest in the dark.

Like a watercolour artist, we need the darkness to illuminate the light. We need the contrast to see the depth and beauty of all the colour. Not just some of it. All of it.

In a week plus a day, C.C. and I will become ‘husband and wife’.

I know our lives aren’t suddenly, miraculously going to change. They don’t have to. Our lives are rich and full today. Our life today is a beautiful tapestry of family and friends and joy and laughter woven together in Love.

The change that will happen is deeper. Much deeper. It is a belly change. A deep-seated place of knowing within me that we are committed, for life, to love and nurture and support and honour one another. We are committed to standing in the broken places, together, and not seeing only the wreckage of our last fight or disagreement, but also  the possibility of growth from where we stand and step forward together.

This is a forever kind of place to be. A no stepping back from this edge because at this edge when we leap, we fly together. And when my wings falter, his breath will pick me up. And when his tire, my breath will give him strength. Like geese flying in formation, we will continually shift positions, offer support and encourage one another to keep flying forward, together.

As we commit through marriage to love deep and true, we will continue to encourage each another to keep seeking the higher good in ourselves and the other. To keep loving one another exactly the way we are, right now, because loving one another in this space is where we find the strength to keep flying beyond the “I do” into the mystery, wonder and magic of the ‘more’ of being married to one another.