Monthly Archives: September 2011

celebrating erin + chris: a wedding ceremony

photo by geneva.

On Saturday I was honored to officiate the wedding ceremony of my dear friends Erin and Chris. The evening before the big event was fraught with torrential downpours and awful winds, New England’s worst stuff, but we awoke the day of to blue skies and fluffy clouds. Humidity and passing gray threatened us with rain all day, but as if God Herself was watching over our little bride and groom, not a drop came down.

the bride + bridesmaids bustling around waldingfield estate, ipswich, MA.

 Here is their ceremony, word for word. Congratulations again, Erin and Chris. You’re a lovely couple and we wish you many years and great happiness.



Today we celebrate the marriage of Erin Kathleen and Christopher. This marriage marks a beginning, one of many for the couple, and for all of us here who’ve been asked to witness this moment. Erin has told me all about the people, many here today, who’ve helped support you, Beth, as Erin’s mother, throughout the years. Many of you here have fed Erin steak dinners, and French toast at sleepovers, and have opened your doors and homes to her generously, ever since “Moonbeams” was an infant. And yet, no one can do what a mother can do: your strength and courage have inspired Erin as a woman, and she wants to honor you in this marriage by asking you to officially “pass the torch.” So Beth, as you present Erin, your daughter, your child, (who REMAINS your daughter and child forever, by the way) to Chris, we ALL acknowledge your strength, your courage, and your blessings on this marriage.

“The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.” (Oscar Wilde said that). A happy marriage is kind of a rare thing these days, and not one that necessarily begins with a beautiful wedding (although that’s not a bad start). But we’re all here because we believe in this love and in this union. And we are happy because we love.

I’ve known Erin for ten years, we met in college and were roommates there, and friends beyond that. We’ve seen each other through a lot and have had some pretty deep, meaningful conversations about happiness. When Erin met Chris five years ago, I witnessed a quiet happiness grow in her, and then later, when I first met Chris, a vibrant happiness between the two of them. Erin and Chris share a deep love for each other, and that love is the vessel that cultivates this happiness. This is the vessel that we build to hold and cultivate our best selves.

Because of this love and this commitment they’re making to each other today, we’re fortunate enough to be present to some of love’s very best qualities: balance, humor, adventure, and seeing the spirit of yourself in your partner.

Love is about BALANCE. Chris, a champion golfer who understands stability and flexibility in perfecting his swing, and Erin, a devoted yogi who recognizes the power and grace required to practice challenging poses, these two know a lot about balance. Love is no different, and demands a delicate balance from those who are committed to it. That’s why when one person is weak, the other must be a strong support. When one person is frantic from some mess or another, the other must be calm, quiet, still. This balance will help see you through the ebb and flow of life. Our hope for you is that you’ll balance and support each other; this is one of the most beautiful rewards of a loving marriage.

Love is about HUMOR. Now, these two love to laugh, and to see them laugh together like little kids over a secret joke, to look at each other and smile and conspire, like they know something that we don’t…well, that makes me believe that we can all learn something just from observing them. Our hope is that you can keep your sense of humor, through good and bad. Without laughter, without lightness, without humor, marriage is just a lot of hard work.

Love is about ADVENTURE. Erin and Chris have adventure burned into their souls. They’ve traveled together, across the country, into canyons and to the tops of mountains, and they have big plans to make travel an important part of their relationship. How wonderful to have this sense of adventure and want to share those discoveries with your partner. Jawaharlal Nehru says this about adventure: “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” Our hope is that you continue to have adventures together, starting with this marriage (surely the greatest of ALL adventures), with open eyes and open hearts. And, I would add, a sense of humor.

Love is SEEING YOUR SPIRIT IN THE OTHER. Like holding a mirror to your face, you see everything, your best qualities as well as your flaws. You create beauty from the inherent difficulties of loving the flaws and imperfections in each other. When you have the courage to look at yourselves honestly and have the willingness to hold each other accountable to your dreams and aspirations, you’ll give your relationship one of the biggest gifts. Our hope is that when you look at each other, you’ll see the wholeness of yourselves as individuals, with unique dreams and wishes, but also see the amazing union and wholeness of your souls, together.

As the supporters and witnesses of this marriage, I’d ask you all to take this moment to think about something YOU hope and wish for the couple. It’s custom in many traditions to shower a new couple with gifts, and cheering, and rose petals, so I ask you now to shower them with prayers, and blessings, and good thoughts, whatever is speaking to your heart. Whatever small thing you know is true about love, send it to them now. Please close your eyes.

I laugh when I hear that the fish
in the water is thirsty.
You wander restlessly from forest
to forest while the Reality
is within your own dwelling.
The truth is here! Go where you will–
to Calcutta or to Tibet;
until you have found LOVE,
in your own soul, the whole world
will seem meaningless to you.

I CHRIS, take you, ERIN, to be my wife.
Today my mind is clear and my heart is steady in our commitment.
I promise to be strong when you need strength.
I promise to make you laugh when you need laughter.
I promise to create great adventures with you.
I promise to support you in the pursuit of your dreams and happiness.
And I promise to respect you and honor you,
And strive for harmony in our marriage.

I ERIN, take you, CHRIS, to be my husband.
Today my mind is clear and my heart is steady in our commitment.
I promise to be strong when you need strength.
I promise to make you laugh when you need laughter.
I promise to create great adventures with you.
I promise to support you in the pursuit of your dreams and happiness.
And I promise to respect you and honor you,
And strive for harmony in our marriage.

You are now as your hearts have always known: husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.

May you live in true happiness, through balance, humor, adventure, and spirit, the rest of your days together in marriage.

Ladies and gentleman may I present to you, in accordance with the laws of the State of Massachusetts, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Chris and Erin Brewer!

it's love.


wednesday wisdom: if you’re a fighter…

meatless monday/tuesday: the vegan stoner

Jujyfruits and a Diet Coke in a Prius. Friends. Monday was a day of road tripping back from a New England wedding (more on that later), and after a weekend of serious indulgences (wedding food, football food, B&B food), this was not my finest Meatless showing.

This is not a week for cooking. It’s a week for perusing the blogosphere for fun, new meatless inspirations. The Vegan Stoner appeals to my palette and to my nerdy graphic design love. This one courtesy of Danielle. Enjoy.

wednesday wisdom: do nothing

Do nothing for two minutes, right now. I mean it.

meatless monday: an ode to the apple

What better way to celebrate and honor an American relic (the apple) than by stuffing your mouth full of the pie variety at a Lower East Side street fair?

corner of orchard & grand.

That’s right, the NYC Apple Day was yesterday! If you missed it, here’s a recap: many local businesses, including our own, participated by shilling their apple-related goods to passersby, drawn to the Orchard Street tents and thump-thump of the deejay. The day ended with the main event: the National Apple Pie Eating Championship, where Michael “Hambone” Little (yep, the guy I married) competed in the amateur division.

from left: michael "hambone," paul "pork slap," and the girl in the apple costume.

Making us all proud, he is. Sadly, the championship title went to someone else, named “Refrigerator” or “Gentleman Joe” I think. And since there’s been a strict ban on apple pie in our house, today’s meatless recipe is an apple thyme galette, (which I guess is a fancy word for pie! I’m not telling). Recipe courtesy of Ann Gentry of Naturally Delicious.

Apple Thyme Galette
2 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
7 tbsp. vegan sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. cold vegan margarine, cut into 1-tbsp. pieces
4 to 6 tbsp. ice water
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 lbs. Granny Smith apples
1 tsp. thyme leaves, packed
1/4 c. apricot preserves plus 2 tbsp., divided
2 tbsp. sweetened soy milk

Blend flour, 3 tbsp. sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse in margarine until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add water, 1 tbsp. at a time, until dough begins to come together. Gather dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of parchment) to 1/8-inch thickness. Trim to 13-inch diameter. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Peel, core and slice apples into 1/8-inch slices. While slicing apples, keep cut pieces covered with water and juice from lemon. Drain apples well and toss with lemon zest, thyme leaves and 2 tbsp. sugar; set aside.

Preheat oven to 400F. Remove dough from refrigerator and spread 1/4 c. of preserves over crust, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Arrange apple slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles. Fold crust border over apples, using parchment as an aid. Pinch together any cracks in crust and brush edges with soy milk. Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp. sugar over entire galette, including crust. Bake 65-75 min., until browned and crusty. Heat remaining 2 tbsp. of preserves and brush over hot apples.

wednesday wisdom: the wisest throw pillow

meatless monday: kitchari

A staple dish in Ayurvedic diets, this “fall digestive kitchari” recipe is courtesy of Yoga Journal. The most recent issue features a fall detox plan that includes this recipe (and others) to balance the body and stoke agni, the body’s own internal digestive “fire.” Read more about the 7-day detox (which also includes a quiz, meditation, yoga, and reflection as part of an energetic detox) and take part in it here.

Fall Digestive Kitchari 
This basic recipe is good for vata dosha, and is the base recipe for both pitta and kapha doshas with the noted additions. 

1 c. basmati rice
½ c. organic whole mung beans (don’t use split mung beans), soaked for at least three hours before cooking
4 c. purified water
2 tbsp. organic ghee
1 tsp. black mustard seed
1 tsp. cumin seed
2 pinches hing (asafetida)
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 stick of kombu or wakame
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. turmeric

for pitta dosha imbalance:
½ tsp. dry fennel seed
sliced burdock root (appx 8 inches long) or 2 sliced carrots
1 ½ c fresh green beans
1 small zucchini, sliced

for kapha dosha imbalance:
1 ½ tsp. coriander seed
1 ½ tsp. oregano
3 bay leaves
2 c. chopped vegetables, including zucchini, leafy greens, green beans

Rinse the rice and mung beans and soak for three hours or overnight. Drain. If using vegetables, cut into cubes. In a pot, warm the ghee over medium-high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds (and, if using, fennel and coriander seed) and sauté for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic. Add tumeric (and if using, other spices), mung beans, and rice. Then add water, kombu, and ginger. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 40 min. If using vegetables, add starchy ones (burdock or carrot) halfway through the cooking. Zucchini and beans should be added 10 min. before the kitchari is done. Greens can be added in the last five min. If you need to add a more water, do so, but the kitchari should be the consistency of stew when done. Garnish with fresh cilantro chutney and add salt to taste. You can have avocado with a little salt and lemon or steamed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, beets, green beans, asparagus, fennel, and summer squashes) as a side dish. Eat enough to feel satisfied, about 1 to 1.5 cups, and then relax for at least 15 min. to support good digestion.