Friday, November 30, 2012


For Thanksgiving this year, our family had something extra to be thankful for: a wedding. My sister Sheri, who hosts the meal in her rural Colorado home every year, announced that she and her long-time beau Ken would marry the day after Thanksgiving.

We'd all assumed their coupledom without marriage was the way it would be, and it was fine. It was good, actually. They embody the spirit of love in everything they do, not only in their relationship. They are both teachers and members of the art community, and if those two things don't say love, well. They just do.

But they decided to marry each other in front of the forty-some-odd family members who all trekked to the San Luis Valley for a sunny Colorado weekend. We carried furniture out of their living room and brought in folding chairs, took our seats amid white and silver decorations, each with a champagne glass in hand. We listened to music from Ken's brother Gordon on violin, from Sheri's daughter Morgan and her boyfriend Abe, who sang a touching song that Abe's father wrote to his mother. Matt and I sang the Etta James classic At Last. And Sheri and Ken spoke to each other and to us about what they mean to each other, about what love looks like in real life (the way a mother watches her daughter sing, for instance, Ken noted). The Kleenex box made the rounds.

Sheri helping Daniel weave.
Sheri showed us a small weaving loom she'd made just for the occasion. We were each to weave a few rows during the day, using a color of yarn we picked. By the end, they would have a record of everyone who'd been there that day, all up close and personal, yarn to yarn to yarn, much like the way we were seated together in their living room.

They wed each other with words and with family and friends and with rings made by another friend. And then it was time for champagne. And kissing. Lots of kissing.

I write this because I was so moved that day by the simple beauty of love. And by each of the participants, who were fully there in support and to celebrate. And because Ken and Sheri are officially AARP age, not spring chickens, but so young and sweet and happy in their love, even after fourteen years together.

Later that night as the musicians in the family played songs, there came a request for a slow one, so Sheri and Ken could dance. Sheri asked us to play At Last again, so we handed out lyric sheets, everyone singing as the newlyweds took to the floor. Before I knew it, another couple had risen to dance, and then another. Pretty soon, every single person there was up dancing in the small living room.

Spontaneous love and celebration had erupted, once again. Gratitude and thanks to Ken and Sheri and our big extended family for the best Thanksgiving ever . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Grateful Am I for Thee?

Let me count the ways (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning).

1. I am grateful to those of you who read my books and find some insight, solace, confirmation or joy in them. Or just a good story.

2. I am grateful when above-mentioned yous write and tell me how my book(s) made you feel or what they made you think, even when it's not all good. Hopefully some good.

3. I am grateful to all you booksellers and librarians and publisher's reps and sales teams and marketing people and publicists, because you are the ones who convince the vast majority of readers out there to give one of my books a try.

4. I'm grateful to you whose decisions mean I even get to publish books: my agent and editor, the publisher and VPs and so many people I may never even meet.

5. I am grateful to my friends and family and husband for encouraging me to write, for supporting me when I do, for catching me when I stumble and cheering me on when I achieve a small miracle.

6. I am grateful to my teachers, the ones who challenged me and encouraged me. Except for my algebra teacher, but I suspect he doesn't care.

7. I am grateful to you, whoever you are, because you took the time to read this far, and I wish you gratitude and happiness and a large slab of pie on Thursday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!