Father of the bride

20527410_10104430389451076_645467860_n

Photo by Nichole Haun Photography

I’m not going to lie… sometimes he drives me crazy (he doesn’t have far to drive), BUT he always makes me proud to have him in my life. No more so than when our daughter got married a little over a week ago. I don’t know how he got through his speech without crying. Maybe the precursor ‘father of the groom’ speech 2 years ago got him over that hump. I won’t share that video here, but I will share this:

“Good evening! First of all, Let me say, I learned from my speech at my son’s rehearsal dinner, I need to have my speech in front of me in large print, double-spaced. I may be able to speak on the fly in the courtroom, but this my friends, is no courtroom. It’s my life’s investment. On behalf of the Smith family, the Bride and Groom, and the Kennedy family, I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here this evening to celebrate with us, and for the love you have shown this special couple.

 

27 years ago I could not have predicted the range of emotions I feel today. The love and the beauty that is packed into a journey like this is overwhelming at times. As the father of the bride, it was sometimes hard not to go all Steve Martin, and freak out a bit. I’m happy to say I’ve been pretty cool about all the wedding planning, except for speaking incoherently at times.

 

Over the past 7 years though, we have come to love and appreciate Conner. For Ann, it was pretty instant, as she has a sixth sense for reading our kids, she new Ariana was pretty smitten, and sensed it was mutual. For me, skepticism sometimes rules the day. Even though I immediately liked Conner, he did have some work to do.

 

Well, the verdict has been in for some time, and these two are perfect for one another in so many ways. Conner is great yin for Ariana’s yang, their sense of humor is unmatched, and Conner is simply an extraordinary complement to our family. He makes us better people for having him in our lives.

 

We are so excited to see where life takes these two. One thing we know for sure, it will be a fun adventure along the way. Their compassion to make the world a better place, and their desire to leave a wide trail of God’s love along their journey, is an inspiration. We are extremely happy and proud of this dearly beloved bride and groom. Here’s to a life that will I know will be well lived. We love you, Ariana and Conner!”

He killed it on the dance floor for the father-daughter dance too!

 

 

 

Posted in dads, daughters, Empty Nest, Father of the bride, Wedding reception, Weddings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A few thoughts, the day after…

Coming down off a high from weeks of wedding planning, followed by a wonderful rehearsal dinner, to the actual wedding yesterday (7.29.17). I loved every moment. Thank you Alli, for giving the best maid of honor speech. It was beautiful, and totally captured the essence of what we were gathered to honor. Our hearts are truly all knitted together to now include a whole group of Californians! Jane, Larry, Cassidy, we love you guys. Thank you to all our family for making the journey to share this moment in time with us. Family is what it’s all about! I want to give a special thanks to my Mom and Dad, as they overcame many obstacles to be there. Wonderful memories were made this weekend.

 

To Sheree, thank you for your labor of love, what a beautiful hand beaded veil. To Jim, Sheree, Becky and John, we are indebted to you for giving of yourselves to make the trip, and then working under a time crunch deadline to take a load off our shoulders. I hope your literal shoulders have recuperated Jim! We would have been dead in the water without you guys. That’s a true friend.

 

To Alli, Samuel & Sarah, thank you for all your help, advice, spirit, and love. To Ariana and Conner, thank you for making your wedding day something extremely special by putting your stamp on it through your words, your humor, and your choices in the little details of the day.

 

Thank you all! We don’t have the words to adequately express our gratitude to each and everyone who showered Ariana & Conner with tremendous love. What a special day and truly magical night.

 

We are now a family of 7.

 

Posted in Empty Nest, Family, Joy, Love, Marriage, Wedding reception, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bappy Hirthday Ari! (borrowed from Conner)

19225090_3954074301562_6393468210275150369_n

Photo by Nichole Haun Photography

June 26, 1990, at 6:06 am, our lives changed forever in wonderful ways! July 29, 2017, at 4:00 pm, our lives will change forever in wonderful ways.

Happiest of birthdays today Ariana! Because of you our lives are enriched in unimaginable and exciting ways. When you introduced to us 7 years ago to an incredible young man, the enrichment certainly continues. We are all ecstatically happy to have Conner officially part of our family soon. What a year this has been! From law school to graduate school, to engagement, to wedding planning mode. It is all a joyful & fun journey. We are looking ahead with great anticipation.

Your spirit and spunk has served you well in life!  You are full of hope and beautiful dreams, with a strong desire to simply make the world a better place, which for you, meant law school. 🙂 Everything you set your mind to you do well. We are grateful for you. Watching your compassion drive you, is our joy.

Have a great day celebrating your birthday in fiancée status! Love you, Mom & Dad

 

Posted in Birthday, Children, Empty Nest, Engagement!, Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

My parents are headed to West Point!

After a very challenging year, this morning my parents headed out on their first long road trip. They are going to see their grandson graduate from the military academy. My brother graduated from the Air Force Academy and now his son is graduating from West Point. Like father, like son. I understand my nephew’s first assignment will take him to Hawaii. Well played Britton! Oh, and he speaks fluent Farsi and Arabic, and I have heard one other, but I’m not sure what that one is.

I’m so grateful to my sister-in-law, and her daughter in law for ‘going along for the ride.’ Well, they are doing much more than that. Without them this trip would not even be possible for my parents, as a lot goes into a trip like this that is above and beyond for a paraplegic. This past year we have become acutely aware of the meaning of ‘accessible,’ or the lack of accessibility. In planning this trip we have found that hotel rooms are not fully accessible even if labeled as such. Most hotel beds are now on platforms. When a person requires a lift, it needs to be able to go under the bed. So, I’ve written to Hilton, and Marriott, and Hampton Inn, etc. 🙂

I hope and pray all goes well and they have the best time, because they have another long road trip to take the end of July, for a wedding.

Posted in Empty Nest, Hotels, Paraplegic, Road Trip, Travel, West Point | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

To the future generation… you’re on my mind

mydesignI’m no longer outraged by Trump. Rather I’m consistently outraged and disillusioned with all those who continue to overlook, excuse, ignore, and enable all he is doing to undermine our republic. I’ve always been a political moderate, and I have voted for candidates and issues rather than parties….. until the hypercriticism, and outright lies that circulated over and over about President Obama, a man who best exemplified the Christian faith more than any other President in my lifetime. That resulted in a crisis of faith, and the deeper I grew in my faith during that time, the more my politics shifted. My goal became, and remains, to sift everything through the eyes of Jesus, the life he lived, and the example he set.

When candidate Trump was outed as a man who objectifies and excuses as well as touts his right to sexually assault women, when he mocked the disabled, when he revealed his distain for minorities, when he incited hate at his rallies, when he attacked and lied about people when they hurt his fragile ego, and villainized anyone who disagreed with him, I could never have conceived our country would one day be run by this mad man. But here we are.

I have never been tribal about politics until the ascension of Donald Trump, and I shall continue to speak out against what I believe to be exclusionary, mean-spirited, demeaning policies and the blatant lies he continually feeds the American people. I’ll stand up to his threats against the press. I’ll stand up to his attempt to treat groups as second class citizens. My distrust of this President does not have anything to do with him being a Republican. It’s because he calls climate change a hoax that I speak. It’s because he threatened to make all Muslims register with the government that I speak. It’s because he wants to allow discriminatory practices against the LGTBQ community that I speak. It’s because he seemingly cares nothing for the Native Americans that I speak. It’s because he criminalizes Mexican immigrants, legal or otherwise, that I speak. It’s because he marginalizes African-Americans that I speak. And it’s because he mocks the very ideals that the God of love holds dear. If that makes me tribal, so be it. This has never been about left and right. This is about human decency and Trump’s appalling lack of it.

Sitting in an immigration court room last week witnessing the havic he’s wrecked in one small corner of our society was disheartening enough. Now with the firing of Comey, and everything in between, I’ve never been more suspect of the future of our country. We’ve become one of ‘them,’ one of those countries. SMH. And for that, I want to say to the next generation I’m so sorry we have failed you, nevertheless many of us will work like there’s no tomorrow to reclaim the future for each and everyone of you. Peace.

Hidden Clues In The Trump-Comey Drama: It’s Worse Than You Think

Posted in Bigotry, Discrimination, Election 2016, Empty Nest, Family, Obama, Peace & Politics, Racism, Religion & Christianity, Trump | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One thing I’m weary of hearing & One thing I love to hear #immigration

imagesIf I have to hear one more time… “they just need to wait in line.” Really Jeff Sessions?! What do you know about it? What about the child who has escaped their country with their life as the local gang demanded their allegiance?? What kind of line were they to get in?? That’s a reality for too many young people. Just ask the family whose child was deported back to their country, and brutally murdered a week later. Not an isolated incident.

We have been working for comprehensive Immigration reform for years now. It is constantly politicized, and nothing gets done. Immigration reform needs to be a priority.

My husband, Sam, is an amazing Immigration attorney. He has worked tirelessly for decades to help families in dire situations. He ‘wins’ his cases more often than not. He is just good at what he does, but he also recognizes the real human stories behind each and every case, which propels him. He knows that often, his work can be life or death. He has had to console families as a loved one was sent back to a sure death. He knows families who have had fathers beheaded, and children tortured. Often related to the fact that the immigration judge had their hands tied because Congress stripped them of discretion.

Many view reform as building longer, higher walls, and deporting the lot of ‘them.’ Newsbreak: that does not even begin to solve the problem. Painting a simple picture, is far from helpful or accurate. Some time ago, and more than once, Congress took action. (Shocking, I know.) Under the guise of solving a problem, they actually made the problem greater. A problem cannot be solved in a vacuum. That is why comprehensive immigration reform is crucial. Recently I witnessed the utter shambles created when all discretion is taken away from Immigration judges. A father of young children, their sole support, is refused bond, because of no discretion. This is a man who will now lose his job since he will be incarcerated until his hearing date, in 3 months. Meanwhile, ‘we’ will all be supporting him and his family. There is no moral or ethical reason for that other than Congress tying the hands of the judges. One small example of the ridiculousness of it all. Jeff Sessions really doesn’t have a clue.

IMG_1340I will always love hearing the joy in a family’s emotion and words as they embrace Sam sobbing, and thank him for all he’s done to help their loved one. We desperately need immigration reform, but we also need more attorneys like Sam, for whom their job is much more than a job. It’s a calling.

Posted in Children, Empty Nest, Immigration, Immigration Reform | Tagged , | Leave a comment

On Mimi~

Source: On Mimi~

Posted in Empty Nest | Leave a comment

Super excited to welcome a new family member, aka my future son in law!

By the way, his name is Conner Kennedy. We’ve loved him for 6 years. Now the adventure continues.

Read their story here! #love

Posted in Empty Nest, Engagement!, Family, Joy, Love, Marriage | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Alexandra!

Dear Alli,
Wait, it’s been 30 years?! I still remember the purple sweater I wore often during my pregnancy. It was like a snugly blanket, keeping us both cozy & warm that winter. We didn’t know it at the time, but when you began sleeping through the night at 10 days old, it was a gift. You were such a sweet and easy baby. Your big heart was evident early on; the way you gently and sweetly doted in your baby sister & brother; how you cared for classmates in school who seemed to be the ones bullied or teased – as someone once said, you gathered strays and made them feel valued. The world is a kinder, gentler place because of you. We’re humbled by what you have done for others over the past 30 years. Apart from our parent role, we still see you as an amazing woman.
We’ve had a front row seat your entire life to your passion to make the world a better place, to your obsession with adventure and travel, your joie de vivre, and your rabble rousing! We’re grateful you have shared the many notes and letters you received over the years, from friends and acquaintances, expressing gratitude for your voice, for your compassion, for your passion to seek justice for those who need a voice in their suffering. You give us hope in life, and in the future. Your faith has been proven unshakable. We’re thankful for the fullness you bring into our lives. It’s a magical experience leaving the 20’s behind. There’s clarity, ease, and an excitement about a new decade. We know you’ll embrace it. Happy Birthday #Alligirl!! Love, love, love you! Mom and Daddy

  Continue reading

Posted in Empty Nest | Leave a comment

Do you read scripture like a Pharisee or like Jesus?

Oh yeah!

The Upside Down World

Way back in college, I took a class on the history of religion in America. One day during a discussion about some Christian evangelist, one of the other students offered this criticism of the man’s work: “it’s like he’s actually trying to be like Jesus.” I sat there a bit bug-eyed. Can you imagine – a Christian who was actually trying to be like Jesus? Whatever could that evangelist have been thinking? (Clearly, not everyone I who attended my college was the best or the brightest.) But the reality is that a lot of people – including a good number of Christians – are as unclear on the concept as this young man back in my college days was. How else to explain the fact that many people read the bible the exact same way that the Pharisees did rather than trying to read it like Jesus did? (For anyone…

View original post 1,158 more words

Posted in Empty Nest | Leave a comment