Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Celebrating Love.

Two years ago today, my beloved and I stood on a sun-drenched patio overlooking Okanagan Lake. Surrounded by the vineyards of Bench 1775 stretching to its shores and the beautiful mountains on the other side, we said our “I Do’s” and promised to grow through love always.

The day began dark and stormy. I really wanted an outdoor wedding but it appeared Mother Nature had a different idea. The rain fell in heavy sheets. The sky was dark and gloomy. Finally, knowing I had to get back to Therapy Vineyars and Guest House where we were staying, and the girls and I were getting ready for the wedding, we set the chairs and bower up indoors. I reconciled the image I held in my mind of what our wedding would look like to the reality of nature’s downpour and breathed deeply. Love is in the air. Who cares about the rain?

And then, it happened. Just before 4pm when my daughters and I were to arrive at the venue, a friend text me to show me the skies had cleared.

Tell everyone to pick up their chairs and move the wedding outside, I text back.

And they did.

Amidst laughter and good humoured jostling and comments of, ‘trust Louise to put us to work’, guests quickly picked up their chairs and moved everything outside.

The chairs were lined up on the patio. Our dear friend Alyssa placed her chair and harp at the front of the gathered guests and began to play.

My daughters and I walked down the aisle from one direction, while C.C. and his son and daughter appeared from a side entrance. We met in the middle of the aisle. C.C. and I joined hands, kissed our children who lined up behind us and together, we walked to the front of the deck where our friend Al waited to marry us beneath the white, flower laden, bower that had been moved outside when the sun came out.

Across the lake, above the mountains that edged the horizon, fluffy white clouds danced a heavenly chorus beneath the bright blue skies above our heads. The wind blew. It wasn’t all that warm, but I didn’t care.

This is the stuff wedding dreams, and marriages, are made of.

Weathering storms. Confronting obstacles. Changing course. Going with the flow, and always following your heart.

C.C. and I have been married 2 years today.

It hasn’t been all blue skies and sunshiney days. We’ve faced ups and downs and not so pretty moments. We’ve struggled sometimes to understand why the other does what they do. We’ve picked opposite sides. Sometimes, we’ve held our opinions as more important than thespace we share as husband and wife.

But, no matter the weather, or the storms, we always come back together to this sacred space where we hold each other in love. Where we honour the other’s opinions and have the courage to let go of whatever side we’re on so that we can stand on the sacred ground of our being together.

Two years ago I said “I Do” to the man who always makes me laugh. He also makes me a smoothie every morning and dinner lots of nights. He is kind and caring and thoughtful and loving. He is willing to stand in the broken places with me so that together, we can find our way deeper into the heart of what makes us, us. To the threads that bind us together stronger and stronger every day. To that which is always the answer, Love.

I am so blessed.

Namaste.

 

 

 


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#flashbackfriday Love Amongst the Vines

A year ago today, my eldest daughter and I set off to wine country to spend the final days getting everything ready for C.C and my wedding April 25th. Today’s #FlashbackFriday took me back to the beauty, wonder and awe of that time amongst the vines.

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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Falling in love is easy.

Falling in love
is easy
when the laws
of gravity surrender
to their need
to hold me up
in my fear
of falling.

Falling in love
lifts me up
to the calling
of your heart
beat pounding
in time
with mine.

Falling in love
leaves me
effortlessly
standing with you
breathing
deeply
into Love.

I love creating visual memories of times and places. In the past, I’ve created videos of significant events in my daughters’ lives, family happenings, poems I’ve written C.C. — and on the weekend, I decided I’d take the photos we’ve received of the wedding from friends and, using the amazing song that Ken Swift, our DJ composed for our us, and turn it into a video.

C.C. and one of my daughters were teasing me last night that this would be, Wedding Video, 1.0. There’s 1.0 a and b oh and possibly C to come, they joked.

C.C. “Why don’t you wait for Ross’ photos (our wedding photographer) before you spend so much time making a video?

Me.  Because I don’t want to mix in his professional photos with all the non-professional one’s we’ve got.

C.C.  Mmmm… and it has nothing to do with your being impatient?

Me. (innocently). Impatient? Me? Never…

🙂

A Love Perspective. The Video. (Ver. 1.0)


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Creating an image of love

 

I am always in awe of how people, when given a chance, can be creative.

At our wedding, we wanted to create ‘something’, that represented family, its many facets, colours, elements, members. We wanted to show how our family was coming together. Two parents with their four children, and all the tributaries flowing into One.

Pinterest has lots of interesting ceremonies couples use to show this — sand poured into a jar by the bride and groom; knots tied in a rope, shells added to a dish, names to a figurative tree. The ideas are many and varied.

As an artist I wanted something that reflected not just family coming together, but the creative uniqueness of each of us and how we all contribute in our own special way to the whole.

We decided to do a ‘paint pouring’ ceremony at the wedding.

Pouring paint can be messy. An acrylic pouring medium is added to the paint which can make it very fluid. Once poured onto the canvas its natural desire is to flow everywhere.

That wouldn’t do at a wedding.

We needed something that would flow but would still be thick enough when poured to hold most of its form so that it wouldn’t run off the edges of the canvas onto the floor or people’s clothes. Cactus Arts, one of my favourite purveyors of all things that feed my artistic needs, sells a French brand of paint that was perfect: Pebeo paints are thick, opaque and in some colours, metallic or iridescent. Their ‘flowability’ can be controlled, even when pouring medium is added to them.

Jerry with Judy - pre wedding

Jerry with Judy – pre wedding

Which is why, on Saturday morning of the wedding, when Jerry W. a dear friend arrived at the venue to ask if he could help, I immediately gave him the task of mixing paint. Joyfully he tore off a big piece of plastic to cover his clothes and set himself up in the ‘paint pouring’ corner to complete his task.

An Image of Love

An Image of Love

Later, after C.C. and I had finished the first pour and then our children each had added their colour to the mix, we invited all our guests to join in and help us paint a picture of love and family.

It was spectacular! All through the evening, people poured and laughed and added their special and unique mark to the painting. Some went back to add another mark or came back to see what new element or idea was added.

What began as just an idea turned into a beautiful representation of love, family and friends.

We are delighted. Once I’ve added a resin to the surface to protect it we will hang it in our living room where it will be a beautiful reminder of not just our wedding but of everyone in our lives who add such beautiful and vibrant hues to create the circle of love that is our life.

This is the PDF of the poster that stood on an easel beside the poured Painting

 


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And the chairs moved and the sun shone.

IMG_1177Planning a wedding is a delicate balance of trying to plan for everything and anything, while constantly having to give up control of needing to have it perfect.

Planning a wedding outdoors means perfection cannot even be on the agenda. The weather is its own element, with its own agenda and its own whimsy. You cannot control what it does, when it does it or how. You can only prepare for every eventuality.

On Saturday, April 25th, the rain that had threatened all week became a reality. It fell. All around. All morning.

The valley was shrouded in grey glowering darkness. Misty clouds floated above the surface of the lake, raindrops danced upon the waters.

It was beautiful but it was not what I wanted.

At nine, when I arrived at Bench 1775 Vineyards to help set-up, I was not willing to concede defeat. “Let’s wait until mid-morning before we make the final decision,” I pleaded with Natalie Winsa, our wedding planner. “Of course,” she agreed. “Let’s wait.”

Waiting didn’t make a difference. The rain kept falling. The temperatures were downright cold.

My daughters arrived to help. “You’re going to have to do the ceremony inside,” they cautioned me.

I took a breath and decided it was what it was.

All set up inside...

All set up inside…

“Yes! Let’s set-up inside. It will be different than I imagined but it will still be beautiful.”

And we began the task of creating a space of beauty within while outside the rain tapered off but the skies remained gloomy.

We’d planned on being finished by noon. By one, we were not yet done. Alexis my eldest daughter set the alarm on her phone. “We have to be out of here latest by 2 mom,” she advised me.

“Of course,” I replied as C.C. and I draped fabric over fishing line wire to disguise the corner where all the ‘extra stuff’ was hidden behind the DJ.

TZ, who had been working on beautifying the tent, wrapped the final guy-wire with silver mesh, hung the last whimsical flower I’d made on the centre pole and strung the final silver star. TW swept up debris as his daughter Victoria helped place the final centrepiece.

Alexis’ alarm chimed at 2. “We have to go,” she announced.

I was still waiting for the weather to turn. The rain had stopped but the clouds still hung low. “We have to go, mom. It will be beautiful.”

I knew she was right. The room where we’d set up the chairs for the wedding looked beautiful, as did the tent where all the tables were set.

It’s just, I’d really, really wanted to get married outside, with the lake waters shimmering in the sun and the view expanding out behind us.

We drove back to Therapy Guesthouse to get ready. TW practiced sabering a bottle of champagne and we clapped and laughed as the bubbles came frothing out.

Alexis did my makeup while Ross Tabalada, our amazing photographer, took photos. C.C. and his son T floated around for awhile until we banished them to the downstairs.

The tradition of not seeing the bride until the ceremony runs strong amongst our daughters.

And I just kept smiling and getting ready and practicing letting go of wanting the ceremony outside.

At 4:55 we were ready to leave for the ceremony. C.C. and his son TC had already gone before us. It was just the girls and me, and TW who was driving us over.

My phone pinged.IMG_6569 A text. I looked at the screen. It was just emoticons. A heart and a whole bunch of suns shining.

I text back. “Move the chairs please. Outside.”

And so, the clouds pulled apart. Blue sky appeared and sun streamed through the gaps.

And the chairs moved.

It didn’t matter if the air was still crisp or the clouds hung low upon the horizon. Right where we stood, the sun shone and the breeze felt fresh against my skin as C.C. and I, surrounded by our children, family and friends vowed to love one another, forever and always.

It was perfect in every way.


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The many views of Love

We are home. Husband and wife. Married.

I didn’t think ‘being married’ would really be all that different than living together. I thought it would just be a formal/legal kind of thing that didn’t change anything.

I was wrong.

Something did change. Shifted. Moved. Tilted. Expanded. Deepened.

There is something different in this place called husband and wife. Something deeper. More solid. Stable. Safe. Complete.

I am surprised. Awed. Excited.

I am home.

The entire week at Therapy Vineyard & Guesthouse was amazing. Natalie Winsa, our host and wedding planner made it all so carefree, so fun, so beautiful! Her partner, Kasey Alladin, ensured that everything we tasted, from the Friday night snacks at the Open House to the wedding buffett not only was delectable and delightful but visually stunning too. And the team at Bench 1775 Winery were amazing. While Sonya, Aaron and crew aren’t actually responsible for the incredible views (Thank you Universe!), they definitely did everything possible to ensure we could savour the vistas from every point of view no matter where we stood on one of their decks or in their tasting room.

Surrounded by incredible scenery, long vistas across the lake and billowy white clouds above, no matter where you stood at our wedding, every view spoke of friendship, family and above all, Love.

There isn’t a single thing I’d change. Not a single moment I’d re-do, except of course, I want to experience it all again and again!

I’m still savouring. Still processing. Still breathing into the beauty and awe of it all. So rather than put words to my feelings and thoughts, I’m sharing photos from our wedding most of which have been provided by the amazing Tamara Z. Thank you Tamz. Your thoughtful ideas on how to capitalize on the views and space and your help in setting up made everything a perfect dream! Between you and Tim W. Sr. this girl never had to worry about a thing! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Enjoy!


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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.