Gratitude for Beginners · holidays · The Street

All American Family

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Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Tired of the SEO-optimized click-bait titles and bored by breathless Black Friday pre-sale announcements?

Me too. 

Add in 24/7 race-to-the-bottom political news and it’s tempting to just give-in to the sky-is-falling-so-might-as-well-get-used-to-it voice in my head and trudge silently toward December.  Tempting, but that’s an excuse to not do this Thanksgiving post I’ve committed to.  And I absolutely believe in Yoda’s “do or do not, there is no try” attitude-is-everything philosophy.  So I write.  My topic — giving thanks this Thanksgiving.

I am giving thanks to family – my family.

This year, Thanksgiving itself will be a very small gathering.  The reasons are many.  The larger local family is adjusting to a new marriage and the restructuring this brings.  With new additions to guest lists and newlywed hosts at the helm, we could sense the anxiety and ambivalence of having a really large group for dinner and graciously excused ourselves.

Our parents are also not joining us this year. My father’s worsening dementia makes it difficult for him to enjoy gatherings.  The disease makes it increasingly hard for him to have a conversation, and that plus the noise and unfamiliar surroundings causes him to withdraw. I will instead have a Thanksgiving lunch with him at his facility.  David’s mom is unable to travel by air, is unable to drive herself here, and is too far away for us to drive her to us and back.  FaceTime will have to do.

So it will be David and me, our son and one other adult, someone who consistently and passionately works (and it can be work) to remain involved in our 12 year old’s life.  He will be with us for a few days over Thanksgiving, and we are so glad that he will be here.  He is family.

He is as family as it gets in my world.  He continues to choose by his actions to be involved, to listen, to make spending time with us a priority.  He wants to.  Not many adults show that dedication and loyalty.

What defines your family?

David’s and my family is not defined by blood, it is defined by commitment.  Our family is defined by trust and support.  We care about, care for and look out for each other.

Big picture — families, however they form, are a reflection of the effort its members put into maintaining and encouraging them.  Their spirit and relevance are a direct result of a concerted effort.  Most importantly, families are worth celebrating, especially those families that do not fit neatly into a traditional definition, are seldom acknowledged, and sometimes marginalized.  These diverse & modern families are American families too.

Who will your family include this Thanksgiving? Will there be new members, whether because of relationship or circumstance changes?  Or, are you about to “be that newbie” in someone else’s family? Either way, let’s all plan to not just try, but to do — and take one definite action step that will demonstrate the importance of your family to you and how glad you are to be a part of your family this year.  Someday, they might be all the family you’ve got — and, as it turns out, all the family you’ll need.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude for Beginners · LGBTQ · The Street

Why We Love June (and you should, too!)

It’s our wedding anniversary month (!),

It’s Father’s Day & I have two amazing sons (!!),  and…


…it’s Pride month!   Happy Pride!


 

Plenty to celebrate, and since Taylor Street is all about celebrating, we love June!

There is a common thread to these celebrations, and to all celebrations — and that is the sense of community each promotes.   There is a sense of belonging and acceptance — and love — that is created when you and I take time to honor tradition, our families, our respect for one-another.  And while modern families are increasingly diverse, at their core they remain much the same…

 

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So we are going to share stories of people and their celebrations — of all types — this next year.  Why?  We will support the sense of community, celebrate its members, and strengthen our collective bond.  Because, as Lin -Manuel Miranda said in his amazing acceptance speech, “Love is love”, nothing here is promised – not one day.

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#loveislove #NoH8 #lovewins #LGBTPride #Pride

 

 

Real Weddings

Seaside Wedding: Michael & Barry

Michael & Barry were married on August 6, 2016 at Gearhart Beach, Oregon.

Who proposed to whom? I Proposed to Barry

How did you get engaged? We went on a 4 day cruise through the San Juan Islands with friends for Barry’s birthday and in the sculpture garden in Roche Harbor, on San Juan Island, the question was popped.

Wedding date? August 6, 2016

Venue? Reception: McMenamins Gearhart Hotel, Wedding: Gearhart Beach, Oregon

Coordinator? Amanda Wolf

Catering? Gearhart Hotel

Cake? Laurie Clarke Cakes

Cake Topper? Sammy’s Flowers

Photographer? Donny Mays Photography

DJ? Spencer Crum

Florist? Sammy’s Flowers (sammysflowers.com)

Hair/Makeup? We are naturally that beautiful (none needed) LOL

Macaroons? Didn’t have any

Weddings & Receptions

Wedding Photos and Our Wedding Album – Advice from a Groom

 

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Wedding photos have [finally] arrived!  Now that bills are paid (ugh) and thank-you’s are mostly written (I know, I’m sorry) we must decide on whether and how to create a wedding photo album.

The “whether to” decision is an easy one for us – Yes.

Digitals are great, but digital images are never going to be discovered by your children or grandchildren in the attic.  You will never just happen upon your digital images while sorting through a stack of books left untouched for too long. There is nothing special and almost no intimacy involved in gathering around a device to stare at images that are too small to appreciate.  Wedding photos are best experienced as part of a narrative — a story that unfolds in a deliberate sequence with one image building upon and informing those before, after and around it.

So as David and I review our images, reflect on the day, and decide how we may want to remember the moments, the wedding album creation & production decision looms — influenced by budget, creative energy, available time, and technological know-how.

I’ve summarized our wedding album website alternatives into 3 price brackets.  All of these websites have beautiful wedding album examples to get your creative juices going.  Disappointingly, however, none have a same-sex couple prominently displayed in their gallery. Time for some new images everyone.

$$$$ – Custom design/print/bind service.  We select the basic layout and the cover, upload the images, provide suggestions for any copy we may want to include with particular images or on certain pages and then let someone else create and print.  Cost:  Wide range based on number of pages and cover type, but $600 to $1700 covers most of the options available.  Yikes.

Two companies we are considering: blendedmotion.net & storybookpages.com

Blended Motion is a turnkey provider, whereas Storybook Pages focuses on the design component and then allows you to select the print/bind vendor from a list of companies they work with.  Both of these companies work primarily with wedding photographers, but they have expanded their service to “retail” as well.

$$1/2 – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.  We select from a wide range of pre-formatted designs, most with some customization available, upload the images in the size and position and order we want, then let them produce based on the paper and cover we select. Cost:  $200’ish to $750 covers most options available.

This is a more competitive market space, and there are a number of companies.  Each of these 3 are worth considering – each with “a look” and particular software & production strengths.

  • Milk wedding focused, minimalist look, basic options, not a budget buster, quality product
  • Blurb oriented to commercial / professional productions, wedding albums as a side business, flexible design system with default templates for the novice
  • AdoramapixTemplate based with plenty of design flexibility, widest price range based on paper type, page count and cover material

Note:  We are not considering BrideBox. Why? There was no “bride” in our wedding.  Might be a clever sounding name, but it’s not very welcoming to my husband and me.

$ – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.  The primary difference between this price point and the category preceding is that these two providers are not providing a wedding specific product.  Their design flexibility is more limited and their production options far more limited. Their product, however, is considered high quality with very fast turnaround. Cost:  $100 and under

  • Apple Photo book we are an Apple family.  I was a reluctant convert, but have come to fully embrace (accept) the Apple way of life.  We have used this service before to make albums of family events and the results have been beautiful.
  • Snapfish & Shutterfly excellent for the novice/non-tech user, low cost, high quality, very limited design flexibility, quick turnaround.  You don’t have to own an Apple.

We are going to go-down-the-middle and use Adoramapix.  We will share the end result when we’ve got it to show.  For us, it’s a good balance of cost, time spent and design flexibility.

Whatever you decide:

Don’t overspend/overthink. Better to get your favorite photos printed in a scaled down book than have no book at all.

Do not let too much time pass.  Your wedding album project will get lost in the “to-do’s” forever…and the story you wanted your wedding photos to tell won’t be telling any stories at all.

The Street

National Coming Out Day

Oct. 11, 2015 marks the 27th anniversary of National Coming Out Day.  
One of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is one in ten.

Coming out — whether as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or as an ally of a friend or family member — is one of the most powerful and life-affirming steps we can take. Our stories support and inspire each other. Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds. When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality.

Our coming out stories are wildly different. There is no right or wrong way. We honor the courage and heartache of so many on this day. We celebrate you.

National Coming Out Day