My Origins: I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest…one of the most beautiful places in the world. I am the mother of three grown children. ( the above photo is my daughter Rachel and her new husband, Dave! I was Mother of the Bride that day, and Annemarie Julihan performed her ceremony.) I am also a grandmother to five…so far. I am fortunate to have two sisters and a brother nearby, a really great sister-in-law and a brother-in-law as well as a niece and two nephews, and some grand-nieces and nephews. Two of my granddaughters live with me and I see my three grandsons at least 5 days a week. I have always loved animals; I have a dog but developed an allergy to cats…but still think they are cool. As a little girl, I was an artist…and still am!
Why a Celebrant? It was my mother’s death and planning her memorial that inspired me to become a Celebrant. It turned out wonderful…and it was so healing to write and produce a unique tribute to a unique and loving person. In the past, I attended funerals that were so generic. It left me feeling that it was unfair the the person who died, as well as those who came to pay their respects. Sometimes the Pastor who performed the service would use the death of a very special person to deliver their own agenda to a captured audience. The story of the deceased was never really told outside reading the obituary…the history was basic and the soul sketch failed to be delivered. So, after my mother passed, people encouraged me to do this kind of work. I researched and found the Celebrant Institute and took the Foundation Class. Then, I moved on to take the Weddings and Funerals Class. The rest is history…being a Celebrant really is the Art of Life!
My Education: I have a BA in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College. I finished my degree in my late forties…after a 20 year break in my education to have my three children and to run my own award winning sign company, Sign Language, which I sold in 1992. I have some studies in Depth Psychology with Pacifica Graduate Institute. I am a Certified Life Coach with Coach Training Alliance and am a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant with the Celebrant Foundation and Institute. In order to earn certification as a Celebrant, I spent several months and over 400 hours studying the art of ceremony and ritual as well as the foundation and structure of ceremony. Currently, I am an Ordained Minister through Universal Life Church, fulfilling the requirements to perform weddings in Washington State as well as most US States. I am also a student with One Spirit Learning Alliance in their Interfaith Seminary Program and will become an Ordained Interfaith Minister in 2013.
My Spiritual Philosophy: I am enjoying my studies with One Spirit. An Interfaith Minister honors all faiths and recognizes there are many paths to God. It is not a new religious belief…and sometimes gets confused with being a Non-Denominational Minister. Studying the major religious beliefs is a path that seems right to me. I believe we need to be comfortable with our Spiritual life…that we know when it feels right and when it feels wrong to us. It is really about our connection to God in a way that feels right in our hearts; it is about our personal connection to God and can be accessed through a variety of spiritual practices, including being in nature. I just love these studies! I was raised Catholic, but as an adult, found that I had a hard time with some of the constructs. And while I still feel strongly attached to my Christian background, I find other faiths contain a bountiful of rich wisdom.. A religion that believes “We are the only right way…the rest are wrong“, just doesn’t feel right to me. As I study Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Native American, 12-Step Programs, A Course In Miracles and some Indigenous faiths, I learn about various worldviews and the common ground seems to be they all address the challenges of our walk on earth, it’s suffering as well as the joys…as fleeting as joy can be. There is always to desire to attain more joy and to sustain it, and that is a challenge in itself. Weddings are an occasion of great joy, no wonder I love this work!
As a Celebrant, I find the weddings I perform are mostly for the “unchurched”, for people who don’t belong to a church or particular faith or for couples who don’t share the same religious beliefs…or no belief. I do not judge anyone for their religious beliefs nor do I impose my own beliefs on them. I always do offer a “prayer option” in my ceremonies, but am not offended if my couples decline this option. I enjoy bringing in rituals from other cultures or faiths to create meaningful ceremonies.
My Interests: Even though my life is very busy, I take time to pursue my interests in art by continually taking classes at the Gage Academy in Seattle. I write…especially when I create the love stories in the ceremonies I perform. I speak…sometimes with Toastmasters, but most often doing ceremonies and of course I blog…on this site and I also do more reflective writing as I complete my assignments with One Spirit. I try to remember to take my camera with me so I can take my own photos…and I get a few good shots now and then. I use my skills in Dream Interpretation that I learned at Pacifica when friends or family have strange dreams they can’t figure out. Shelby, my dog, takes me on walks. The arts, music and theater are food for my soul and yes, food, really good food, is an interest too…it’s hard for me to turn down wedding cake. One thing I struggle with is taking time to just be…to rest, but we need that much more than we realize. So, that is my new goal…set aside a day to rest…and be soulful, and the importance of that is stressed in all the religions I have studied.