Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I guess we live in Texas now

Swimming at the end of September? I'll take it.

Photography by Atticus.

Anniversary dinner!

Gay pride festival.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting married again... why not?

Before we left Wisconsin, we decided to renew our vows at FUS in the Landmark Auditorium on Tim's birthday and a month shy of our 6th wedding anniversary, which is tomorrow. We had come to see the meetinghouse as our second home, and wanted to renew our commitment to one another in our new faith tradition especially since our previous marriage covenants had been made "null and void" as we were told when we left the Mormon church.

It was a lovely experience, well-attended by our dear friends whom we hold so close to our hearts and officiated by our favorite minister Rev. Kelly Crocker.

Atticus and Donovan played iPad together.

During our Instagram joke.

This picture makes me think of this joke I heard on some TV show (I think Orange in the New Black... or Parks and Rec....), and now whenever people compliment me on my hair, I want to say "Thanks! It's genetic and unattainable!"

Tallulah slept through the ceremony, and woke up right at the end.

Bringing together our favorite Madison friends, Bob and Kelly, and one of my dearest BYU comrades, Weston.

Our ceremony read as follows (Tim wrote most of it, but Kelly also said some words that I don't have a copy of):

Reading from Hafiz, as creatively translated by Daniel Ladinsky:

"There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far too deep for that.

In one well
You have just a few precious cups of water,

That "love" is literally something of yourself,
It can grow as slow as a diamond
If it is lost

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a

Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife

Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

There are different wells within us.
Some fill with each good rain,

Others are far, far too deep
For that."

If Unitarian-Universalist weddings are already quite ambiguous in their purpose, prone to shift dramatically in focus and tone depending on the couple and their desires for their wedding day, a Unitarian-Universalist vow renewal is sure to be even more so. Does God sit here with us today? Perhaps. Will she recognize what happens here today as a binding commitment for the eternities? Probably not.

Let it be enough for us to hold love as it is today, whatever shape it might take as it shifts and turns over time. Let it be enough that we are filling each others deepest wells now.

Today is about celebrating the give and take, the creating and the receiving that is at the heart of any soulful relationship. Unitarian-Universalism affirms the central role that connection plays in the life of each person, and how vital it is for us to live lives filled with both the giving and the receiving of love, whether it is with a spouse or a pet, a parent or a child, a beloved near or far, here or departed.

History of love

Caitlin and Timothy do not have a perfect relationship. But they have a relationship worth celebrating, the type of celebration that they and I believe should make up a more regular part of our lives.

Tim and Caitlin met six years ago on a sunny May day on the campus of Brigham Young University. Their courtship was both short and, at the same time unhurried. Falling naturally into step, side by side, they soon were wed. In a similar short but un-rushed manner, they were soon joined by Atticus, and then, several years later, just as their time in Utah was wrapping up, by Tallulah.

Timothy and Caitlin joined us in Madison and at FUS a little over two years ago. It has been great coming to know them and walking with them on this short but important step on their spiritual journey. They will leave here with many firm friendships sewn and memories forged.

This moment marks both a beginning and an end for our friends, as they prepare to move on to a new stage in life, and I think I speak for us all, when I say that we wish them many blessings on the journey.

Our vows

And so we promise. We promise to take things one day at a time. To be present in the miracle that is "us." We are truly miraculous.

We promise to strive to reach deeper than we have before to tap into our inherent ability to love and share, to take and to receive.

At the same time, however, we promise always to have a life outside of each other other, and outside of our family. We recognize that the world is rich in experience and wonder, and we will be best together when we take time out to gather

The Prophetess Mary Oliver:

“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” 
― Mary Oliver 

We proudly place ourselves within the "slow marriage" movement. We will, as Thich Naht Hanh instructs try to "smile, breath and move slowly" as we continue to learn and grow together. We will savor the long conversations, the simple gestures and the quiet moments that make for a deeper relationship even if they don't make for great instagram photos. But we also promise to take plenty of instagram photos.

We do not promise to see our marriage through any difficulty. If the time does come for our marriage to end, we promise to do so with the greatest civility possible, with a focus on preserving the love and friendship that has formed the basis of our relationship these last six years.

However, we also promise to fight for what we have. To bend and to sway near to the point of breaking to shift with the changing winds that call on our relationship to be flexible yet firm. We recognize the value of our relationship and will go to extraordinary ends to preserve it, cutting pieces of our soul off with a knife, if necessary, to weave into a blanket that will cover us both for years to come."

Let it be so.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saying goodbye

Some unpublished thoughts about leaving Madison, from a month or so ago:

I had a meeting with our graduate chair today. It was something I was glad to get over with, going over the logistics and figuring out a plan for the future. It was also something that made me sad and depressed in a way I had not anticipated. I may have even cried when I walked out of North Hall for the very last time. This bleak, old building with its endless staircases and overpowering heating system has become my second home for the past two years. I spent so many hours giggling at inappropriate things with Jose Luis in the computer lab and going on feminist rants with Camila in the hallways and complaining about the workload of 856 with... well, everyone. I made friends with my cohort and with my professors and the staff. I felt supported and befriended even though I was this weird anomaly with two kids. While I did not enjoy every waking moment of grad school here (who does? I'd like to meet her) I felt like my time here was well spent and a huge growing experience. I have never been more of a leftist socialist feminist anarchist in my whole life! (yay, gender studies department)

It also doesn't help that the weather in Madison has been a balmy 75 degrees and sunny, sunny, sunny for the past month. Our bushes are overflowing with red raspberries and we are biking more than ever before... to lakes, playgrounds, friends' houses, Trader Joe's. We are living in a lovely bungalow that's not unlike the future home we hope to own, and spending our evenings cuddling on the couch watching top-quality Danish TV shows. Even though I am excited for our next adventure, I am more than a little sad to be leaving this one. We had high expectations for our lives here in Madison, and they were met or exceeded. We love the midwestern friendliness, the international flavor, and the homey vibe of this city. Now we only have two or three more weeks to soak it all in and see as much of it as humanly possible ...


We live! In Texas!

Welcome back to our awfully neglected blog. I kind of missed blogging, but have felt rather uninspired. Does anyone care to hear about our loooooong drive through Kansas? Our night at the Motel 8? The traffic in Dallas/Ft. Worth that we sat in for several hours? How we really, really, really miss Madison but are sure we may come to like Austin too? Probably not. Here are some photo highlights for you, though:

Saying "hej-hej!" to many of our Madison friends at Rennebohm Park.

On our way out of Madison, in the pouring rain. Apparently this is the only picture we took on the whole trip?

We all came down with a terrible cold the first days here in Austin. Tim's director of student affairs took pity on us and put us up in their guest rooms for the weekend until we could sort everything out with appliances and furniture.

Asian ice cream food truck. Tallulah calls them "trains!"

I came in to the student lounge while Lu was watching TV. It was PBS Kids, until the Newshour came on. I asked her what she was watching and this is the face she gave me. 

We're slowly replenishing our toy bins. Girl is into trains now!

Ah, to have a library close by!

The kids' room. I found this bed on Craigslist, and nice Texas man drove an hour to deliver them AND assembled them for us. HUMANS CAN BE SO AWESOME SOMETIMES! THANK YOU, DUWAYNE!

She loves her soccer shirt, and her tiny babies.

She also loves giving me black eyes, as evidenced here.

We are mostly settled in now... 
And happy to be in Texas while Tim embarks on his new life, and we are along for the ride.