Last Sunday, our entire immediate family — 15 of us — flew or drove to Quincy, Massachusetts to surprise Erica, Sam's oldest sister. She entered religious life with the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth in July of 2016 and is currently in formation. She was gifted a five-hour long "family day" and was incredibly excited to know that we were coming with Sam's parents. She never dreamed that all 15 of us would be waiting for her. We rented a house and hugged and laughed and cried and ate pastries and soaked up every blessed minute of those five hours. Everyone had a verbal present for Erica — be it song, poem, letter, rap, or in our case, a blog post. Below is what we read aloud to her. Mark took all of these photos. It's a gift in itself to be able to relive the radiating joy which, if you ask us, was probably making the house physically shine. To everyone who loves Erica, we hope you feel like you were there with us, with her. In spirit, you were. —m+s

Currently, 15 of us are under the same roof, either asleep or awake, but no matter the case, there lives a deep and familiar sense of anticipation. Earlier today, all of us were en route to Boston for a two day Rendezvous Of The Highest Order. By way of plane, train, and automobile, our caravan has arrived. Because, as perfect timing would have it, our sister— the one who lives in a convent and is becoming a religious sister — has been given five hours to be with her family, us. And as perfect timing would have it, this week we all found ourselves journeying from Colorado, Ohio, and Vermont to make this given gift a reality. Can't say how we all managed to pull this one off, only that we have and that a reunion of this sort has us intoxicated with gladness.  

When we tell people we have five hours to be with Erica, they tend to be shocked by what sounds like a lack of time. Understandable, sure, as five hours isn't much time. But, ah! It is! Let us shout it from the rooftop, It is enough, It is enough, It is enough! Last summer, when having a nun for a sister felt impossibly hard for Sam to adjust to, Erica wrote that maybe it would be a cathartic and healing process to put into words, here on our blog, what she, Erica, might be thinking and experiencing. It was inconceivable that either of us ever be able to do this. How could we imagine, much less put into words, what Erica— spiritual gangster, brilliant beyond reason, and hilariously lovable Erica—would be thinking? Impossible. Impossible until this evening.

Of all the nuggets of wisdom, of all the emotions felt, of all the letters exchanged, I feel assured that the thing that Erica would want us all to experience is, really, quite simple.
To want what we are given.
That's it. That's it and it's everything.

She would want us to let this truth that says that happiness is Here + Now ring out like a joyous symphony in our hearts. She would want us to know that the Lord she has devoted her life too is Generous + Unceasing in love. She would want us to embrace the reality that what we are given in life, by God, is All Gift, as she puts it. She would want us to feel freed of the bondage of wanting for more, just as she is free in the convent despite a life that, from the outside, must seem terribly Un-Free. She is free and so are we. 

And this is how five hours can be just enough. 
A morning update: Very shortly we're heading to get our Eri. It's an enormous surprise. The 15 of us are in various states of readiness — especially the 15th, a tiny baby girl, no bigger than a mango, who is hard at work growing inside her mama's womb (blog note: that's my future sister-in-law, not me). Today is everything. When you want what you are given, 5 hours is Totally + Completely enough. 




We are headed back.

In that complex and very unpredictable way that life works, where it catches you by surprise in an off-handed way, we are returning home. We have two, quite different, homes: Ohio and Greece. We landed at Eleftherios Venizelos airport outside Athens two years ago. We piled into our aunt's compact car. And as we came around the bend in the road that leads into Porto Rafti—a place that became our second home over the course of the next three months—we saw it: the clear, blue waters of the Aegean. From the time we had to say goodbye, we have longed to relive that moment; to come home to our sea.

Greece is a wild, untamed place. Its natural beauty is no rumor, nor are its manmade troubles. Its a land where the rhythms of life are informed more by the position of the sun in the cloudless sky than by economic indicators or the law of the land, for better or for worse. The Aegean Sea is Greece's crown jewel and Porto Rafti rests on her shores; nestled among the coastal foothills, on the other side of which you will find kilometers upon kilometers of silver-leaved olive trees, pistachio groves, and dry, thistle-y brush.

Porto Rafti is a town of 2,000 in winter and 50,000 in summer. Stray dogs and cats co-mingle with the patrons at seaside tavernas and cafes. Street vendors, slinging anything from grilled corn on the cob to terra cotta planters, proposition you in a language you won't understand. Groups of men drive by in rusted pickup trucks, advertising to all via loudspeaker that they will buy your unwanted junk. The airspace falls silent around two o'clock, when lunch has been consumed and all take refuge from the sun for an afternoon siesta. It's like clockwork, says our uncle.

We are convinced theirs is a way of life anyone could get used to, whereby (at least) two daily swims are an expectation and church bells can be heard ringing every single day. And we'll be living it out again, if only for a moment.

Home sweet home. Bless you, Greece.



eating cake
wedding toast
one of the boys
mimi and haze
running to gurney
dancing with gurney

Though the general ethic of our wedding celebration centered on sustainability—that is to say, non-disposability—there was one exception we were willing to make: disposable cameras. 

Film photography has played a special role in documenting our relationship & our lives, and we had hoped it could play into our wedding plans in some way or another. Due in part to our decision to change the date on very short notice, we ended up with what amounted to "crowdsourced" wedding photos. With a couple of very talented photographer friends leading the way, DSLRs in hand, our wedding guests captured the action themselves using cheap drug store cameras. 

Yesterday, when we went to pick up the film—with that bygone feeling of unknowing anticipation that comes with waiting to have your photos developed—we were overjoyed to discover rolls that had turned out even better than we had expected. In placing cameras in the hands of everyone rather than one, we are now able to (re)live so many beloved moments & faces that we may have missed the first time around.