Friends don’t let friends officiate

Ok so maybe my title is a bit of an overstatement, after all my friend officiated my wedding but she was also a trained celebrant and respected leader in our faith community. Specifically, I’m talking about the DIY trend of having your friend or relative ordained or deputized for the sole purpose of performing your wedding. It could work. It worked when Joey officiated Phoebe’s wedding on the TV show Friends. On the other hand it might be a mistake. Do you want to take that chance with your wedding?

The wedding ceremony is an intense one filled with high expectations and equally high emotions. All eyes will be on the couple AND the officiant. Your friend or relative might be the most confident person you know but will they be able to withstand the attention? Even strong public speakers have been known to choke up when they realize that they are doing more than just reading a script; they are in fact solemnizing a spiritual, legal and life-changing union.

I may be biased but I highly suggest that, if your wedding ceremony is important to you, you seek the services of an officiant who is not only ordained but also trained and experienced in the arts of ritual and ceremony.

How to handle stress & conflict during the holidays

The holiday season is upon us and though the greeting card companies proclaim this as the season of “peace on Earth and goodwill to men” this is usually one of the most stressful times of the year. This year’s holiday season promises to be more stressful than most as financial and economic uncertanties add to a heightened sense of frustration and vulnerability within families and between neighbors. Here are a few steps that one can take when dealing with neighbors, coworkers and others that seem to be behaving in irrational and purposely irritating ways.

  • Be a friendly driver. During the holiday season we become more inclined to such rude behaviors as competing for parking spaces and cutting other drivers off on the freeway. Foregoing these urges will leave you feeling less frustrated and could save your life.
  • If someone does cut in front of you on the freeway or jack you for a parking space, just let it go. Find another parking space or be content to arrive a few seconds later at your destination.
  • Be mindful of your neighbors during your celebrations and be responsible for the actions of your guests. Ask that they not block your neighbor’s parking areas or leave their trash behind on the street. Also consider not hosting loud and rowdy celebrations that last into the wee hours.
  • Shop early to avoid the holiday crush of last minute shoppers
  • Resist the temptation to fight over the last unit of that “must have toy” or other hot gift. Chances are that it will be on sale after the holidays anyway.
  • Remeber that these are tough times and don’t be offended if your coworkers can’t or don’t want to buy the holiday items being sold by your child’s school.
  • Likewise don’t feel like a Scrooge if you can’t afford the items that your coworker is selling or to participate in the office celebrations.
  • Be patient with store clerks, transportation workers and restuarant servers. Chances are they are working long hours with little sleep in order to make sure that YOU have a cheerful holiday season
  • Finally take a moment to slow down and remember what the holiday season truly represents; a time to pause and reflect on your spiritual connections to Divinity, nature and your loved ones.

Have a Blessed Yule, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy Chanuka.