Friday, August 28, 2009

after rain

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life

~from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver~

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


When I look through these images and reflect on the the wedding of my brother Keith this weekend, I really am at a loss for words. This first picture says it all I think. It is my favorite of the evening. She was lovely and innocent and so very intent on her groom. I will never forget Keith's tear filled eyes when he first caught sight of her, tan and dark in her delicate gown and bare feet. She was beyond beautiful. Strange how love can do that to you. I wasn't really concentrating on taking pictures since I was singing several songs through out the evening, but I did snap some. God gave us the most mild and perfect August day and the garden was dressed with color, trees strung with blooms, lanterns, candles and cozy little outdoor living rooms resting beneath willow branches.

The night was holy with few dry eyes. Music and fireworks and dancing followed into the night until finally the new couple drove off. Much love and prayers to you both. Get ready ,it's a wild ride.

the night before

The bride and groom were glowing. Words were shared, tears were shed. The love in the room was tangible. Another milestone and the last Riley wedding. The absence of my father was felt deeply. We never thought he would miss not one but both of his sons weddings. Emotions were high and my mother honored the memory of my dad by having the dinner at the English Rose, his very favorite British tea room. He would have been so very proud. As my sister so beautifully put, this is the stuff of life, weddings, funerals,celebration and bitter-sweetness, life, love and loss. Weddings are the epitome of life and newness. The event you wonder about all your life, the butterflies, the romance, the desire, the joining of two stories and families, the beauty of two learning how to be one. It is purely magical.

I was five when Keith was born. When my mom brought him home, I thought that he was my baby. I have always had this maternal thing with me brothers. When they are happy, I'm happy. When they're sad, my heart sinks. He is one of my very best friends and I am overjoyed to share this journey with him and this precious new sister God has brought to our family.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For the bride to be

I had a feeling postings would get quite scant come August. There have been many stories and moments and musings left unwritten about lately. With family in town and my brother's wedding a week and a half away, it's been a flurry of activity around here. But I had a few minutes and thought I'd post some pictures of the bridal shower at my house last weekend. Trish is aglow with that mysterious bride to be presence. Something like the glad expectation of coming home, truly home to the one you love... I remember those days well, sweet,innocent and unknowing. The shower was given by all of us new sisters. Showers can be a strange thing. I remember feeling a little shy and overwhelmed with all the attention and being on the receiving end of so much generosity. But they are also such a special way to bond as women, to send a new bride into her marriage embraced in prayer and blessing. There is something so very lovely that happens when women join together to celebrate. Add one pudgy baby to the mix and it's even lovelier. There were women who weren't married and women who had been married for 35 years. Some with marriages full of pain and regret and others full of happiness and healing. As someone shared during the advice giving time, marriage is a good thing, not a perfect thing but a truly blessed by God design. With every lamp and apron and other gift bestowed to help create their physical home, they were saying,"Go, do this thing. This is good." Go into this marriage with love and support and blessing.
I like that take on it, that it is not just about the material stuff, but an expression of love by the giver.
We laughed as Trish recounted how they met and got engaged. I smile to think of the joy she brings my little brother.

The food was decadent, none of which I can take credit for.

Trish practices being a domestic goddess.

I love her easy laughter,her genuine creative spirit and those dimples! Could she be any more adorable? There's just excitement all over the place around here.