The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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Should Couples Earn A Wedding

Tin or aluminum. The pliability of tin and aluminum is a symbol of how a successful marriage needs to be flexible and durable and how it can be bent without being broken. This is the traditional gift for the tenth year anniversary.

What if weddings were reserved for couples in a marriage that has lasted at least ten years? Anyone celebrating their ten-year anniversary would be eligible to apply for a wedding license. Said license would allow the couple to hold a wedding. Until this time, anyone who wishes to get married, may do so at The Justice of The Peace, or in their church or temple, with immediate family only, and their dog named Huck.

Seventy-two days of marriage. A Multi-million dollar ceremony. Kim Kardashian wins the maybe-I-should-have-waited award. She sold the TV and photo rights for an incredible $17.9 million dollars, meaning that they earned about $250k for each day they were married. Now she is readying to marry Kanye in yet another high profile wedding to be televised. I get it. If I don't want to watch, I don't have to. This is an extreme case. But even in reality, the rite of 'marriage' is getting lost in the grandeur of the 'wedding'. I do's have morphed into "Look what we can do!" Emphasis is often on details the squabbled over, that no one will notice or discuss on the way home, except to explain how they would have done it differently. Debates over color scheme bleed into fabrics never to be worn again, and parents' wallets are drained to a pale shade of grey. All for a marriage that could dissolve faster than the ice sculpture of Cupid mocked by Uncle Frank. If I sound cynical, I'm not. I believe weddings can be the most glorious experience in the world - when they truly celebrate a couple committed for life. Not a couple who ends up committed.

This may sound a bit extreme. It will certainly sound so to anyone working in the wedding industry, and I apologize for this. But as I have had two years of sick-leave from this industry that I, too, benefitted from, it has given me time to reflect upon the beast I fed, and that fed me for years.

I will be the first to admit, I am aware I am not writing this as the nicely-compensated wedding photographer I once was. But it wasn't until I stood back and viewed the industry from the outside, did I become aware of how large weddings have become detrimental not only to the couple, but to their families as well as the institution of marriage if conducted before their time.

Divorce rates for couples married longer than ten years have been left largely unchanged since the 1960's. Once you hit this mark, the odds are that you will make it as long as your grandparents did.

Divorce rates are at forty-two percent. These rates are independent of age, race or gender. But the one commonality in couples most likely to divorce, are marriages within the first ten years.

The only place you can ensure a lasting marriage are the Philippines and Vatican City where divorce does not exist. But can't we at least bring a weight to the enormity of the financial outlay by parents and young people by holding off on the large wedding in celebration of a marriage that has earned such a sacrifice?

With the recession came a wave of couples opting to use such funds as a down payment on a home instead of a wedding. The average cost of a wedding during my tenure as photographer was $35,000.

The point is, weddings are an expense. They can also be magical. They are so special, so meaningful, such an important aspect of our society, why don't we treat this ceremony with the reverence it deserves, by offering it to couples married ten years or more for whom the details will not be lost? For guests who can express nothing but awe and gratitude for including them in such a special event. And for the children of these couples to be included in a ceremony that will give them a reference point for the gravity of marriage.

Imagining a world where a wedding is revered and never jeered. That is my wish. That every vendor hired receives premium for doing so because this couple earned the right to have the wedding of their dreams. I want to build this industry up, not break it down. Even it means waving my arms from my sofa and voicing my dream from here. Until then, our daughters will be raised to expect a wedding on the beach, no shoes, and twelve friends. And when she and her love reach their tenth anniversary, and exchange their gifts of tin, we can celebrate with a wedding of a marriage without an end.

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Reader Comments (1)

Just to say a big Congrats on your nomination. It's well deserved!!!

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLouise K

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