We had plans for the afternoon, so I accompanied my lovely wife to work this morning. She handles marketing efforts (among other things) for a flag store. They sell flags, poles, and other flag-related accoutrements. The customers today were an eclectic mix, as I’m led to believe they always are. Few in number, but easy to draw stories from. Who gets out on Saturday morning to buy a flag?


He’s elderly, in with his wife of, I assume, many years. Looking at flag poles for their front yard. Considers and discusses the various available poles and finally chooses one. Then, of course, it’s on to flags. First, the 3’x5′ American flag. And then a second flag…

A goddam confederate flag. And the wife was 100% into it, unfolding the two flags for size comparison and contemplating how they’ll look on the pole in the yard. I had to sit quietly behind a desk, pretending to be busy, while they purchased that ridiculous piece of shit.

So there you go, America – Army veterans (you know, people once charged with the protection of the nation) proudly buying the adornments of traitors.

I certainly understand freedom of speech and expression, there are just some things that no one should hold dear (like murder or discrimination…you get the point).

a few points gleaned from a lunchtime ‘washington [#fakenews] update’ address with Congressman Gregg Harper

fake news gregg harper

click picture to contact the congressman

I attended a rather large and significant event (considering Mississippi economics) at the end of last week. I won’t mention specifics, but it was a convention for an association representing an industry that employs a huge percentage of Mississippi workers.

Congress(person)man Gregg Harper, 3rd District, was the keynote speaker. It’s no secret that I’m neither a fan of the current administration nor the mindless masses [traitors] who support them, so I decided…’during this talk, I’ll take notes.’

{coming clean from the beginning — he didn’t know there was anyone present who would identify themselves as ‘a member of the media’…he asked, I held my tongue. I think it only fair that the public (electorate) hear what our elected officials say when they believe no one is around to report it.}

These are my notes, clarified some after the fact, annotated with my own commentary, from that address. I did not take notes about everything, nor do I claim to represent everything he addressed — but everything following was in truth said by the Congressperson. We all take note particularly of statements we strongly agree with or strongly disagree with, and my notes reflect that reality. There’s my full disclosure.

Things the elected official from Mississippi said and discussed — my annotated comments in brackets:

  • The news is frequently wrong, and many stories going around now in the media, even media that should be friendly to the administration, are false.
    [The continual attack on reporting and news undercuts freedom of the press — authoritarian governments do this. Always. #fakenews #administrationlies]
  • He rambled about North Korea for a while, bragging about two warships now being posted in the region, just in case. He made it clear that we are ramping up for war, and the administration doesn’t expect anyone to be able to stop it. Reason #1: the nature of North Korea’s administration. Reason #2: none of North Korea’s allies will be able to curb them except perhaps China, but they can’t be trusted to follow through with what they say.
    [Elected government officials making glib comments about events that could be leading us to war is disturbing. Laughter. “Well, we can at least get some war games out of all of this.” It is as though they forget that the lives of the men and women of the armed forces rest in the balance — US service people and innocent Korean civilians will die if war happens. This is no laughing matter.]
  • “The Chinese can change their mind by breakfast…no government steals more intellectual property…” This is the statement immediately following comments on North Korea, related to our inability to trust China to keep North Korea in check. We don’t trust the Chinese — a point he made several times.
    [Governments don’t trust each other. They spy. They maneuver. They manipulate. But government officials tend to keep overt criticisms, especially unprovoked ones, to a minimum. And accusations of theft should be backed up with some sort of evidence, even if generally believed to be true — throwing around accusations is dangerous. Another hint of both the isolationism and amateurism that we’re seeing from the US government lately.]
  • The conversation then moved on to disparaging the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign and possible collusion with Russia. It was presented as a massive distraction posed by the left. Government leaks were the next topic, with a basic formulaic-type response I’d heard before — leaks are dangerous, never a good thing, government knows best, leakers should be caught and punished. Another hint that much of what was presented by media as leaks was just fake news. But then a surprise comment, one that I appreciated: he praised the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to lead the Russia investigation.
    [I laughed at a few jokes over the course of the talk, but this comment on Mueller was the only time I genuinely felt something like happiness. At least there was a willingness to not start trying to undercut the investigation from the beginning — Mueller is respected by everyone, and Harper’s comments showed that fact. But the constant attacks on the other side in a general way, and dismissing the conclusions of multiple intelligence agencies off-the-cuff simply doesn’t make any sense, and reminds me of a great quote from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: “We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”]
  • Paraphrase: The media has latched on to Jared Kushner’s alleged attempt to create a back channel of communication with Russia. This kind of back channel is usual for campaigns in transition, and there’s nothing unusual or illegal about it. It’s been going on at least since the time of President Reagan.
    [Again, my comment would be that brushing potentially compromising situations under the rug neither inclines others to trust, nor speaks directly of honesty. The congressman was also bending the truth — secret channels of communication with foreign governments are not unusual for presidents, but are in fact highly unusual for teams in transition. There is a huge difference between ‘President of the United States’ and ‘President-elect.’ One is the leader of the free world; the other has neither power nor authority to act on behalf of the American people. Looking into and clarifying the communications associated with this back channel makes perfect sense, both as a responsibility of ethical elected leaders and a responsibility to the American public.]
  • In the midst of attacking the left (Democrats) for investigating Trump and his team, Harper then chuckled, stepped away from the mike a bit, and says he has a comment off the record, a comment that hasn’t become a major story (it was implied that the story wasn’t yet known by the media, but that is not the case) but shows the opposition isn’t as clean as they purport to be. He said that about 20 staffers shared between 5 Democratic House members, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, were at issue…they were Pakistani, and the implication was that they were illegals.
    [The hollowness of this brief commentary was pathetic. The wrongdoings of Trump are in no way impacted or mitigated or balanced by wrongdoings of other members of government. Anyone in government doing wrong should be held accountable, regardless of their position or party. The actual story about these staff members concerns their being under criminal investigation for equipment theft and misuse of the House IT network, some sources even allege spying is among the concerns, and some of them possibly leaving the county for Pakistan after the investigation began.]
  • We then returned to the meandering course of the address, moving to healthcare. A healthcare bill has passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate. The bill will be greatly changed after the Senate’s work, but he hopes to have the two bills in conference by late July. He went on to say that he will always refer to the Affordable Care Act as “Obamacare;” it isn’t affordable, so he refuses to call it that. He then claimed that none of the promises of the law have happened, and that now the entire healthcare system in our country is ruined and messed up. Parts of the new bill that he particularly praised included purchasing insurance across state lines and removing regulations on the insurance industry in order to stabilize the markets.
    [The Senate has already confirmed they aren’t “looking at” the House bill. They are writing their own, and will refer to the House bill, but aren’t even using it as a basis or starting point. The Senate will pass their own bill, and having two radically different bills into conference by July is less a hope than a delusion. Refusing to call a law passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president by it’s name…refusing to use the name of a law of the United States…this, I’m afraid, betrays an attitude toward the law not befitting an elected member of government. The notion that nothing of the ACA has worked at all, for anyone, in any way, is a sweeping false generalization (as one example, how many more people now have health insurance that didn’t before the ACA), and laying blame for the ruination of American healthcare (another false hyperbole) at its feet is equally ridiculous. Plenty of experts have already explained why purchasing across state lines is absurd (networks, etc.), and insurance industry regulations are in place because the industry was gutting the American people and making healthcare inaccessible to increasingly more people. Bad ideas a plenty…]
  • I’m not sure if this next comment was planned, related somehow to healthcare, or an unexpected aside. He said that the average American citizen has no idea about politics. Politicians keep up with what’s going on, conversations the average citizen doesn’t know are happening and can’t even understand, and therefore politicians are best equipped to make political decisions. Leave it to the professionals.
    [A calloused comment that was really the only time I considered walking out of the address. His disdain for his electorate was off-putting in the worst way. He basically said — the public doesn’t know what’s best, or good for them, or even what they want…they don’t understand the conversation…they should shut up and let the pros, like me, take care of everything for them. Sounds very authoritarian to me.]
  • I hoped the next conversation would happen, and lucky for me, it did. The Paris Agreement. Harper preached that the Agreement was a bad deal for American, a unilateral executive decision made by President Obama, which has the traits of a treaty and should have come before Congress for approval. Trump was praised for pulling out of the Agreement so America won’t be at a massive economic disadvantage to the rest of the world by the end of the century. AND, he added, it is only estimated to reduce world temperatures by 0.2 degree by the year 2100.
    [Where to even begin on this topic…it’s hard to decide, since the administration denies the reality of climate change and loves to misconstrue data. In brief — the Paris Agreement is voluntary, and any country can change their commitments. It’s also nonbinding — I think that needs to further explication. These two points, facts, voluntary and nonbinding, also demonstrate why it’s not a treaty. I am surprised the congressman didn’t deduce that on his own. Trump also said he wanted to renegotiate – 195 countries signed, and have already said they will not renegotiate. Also, renegotiation is entirely unnecessary, since the Agreement is voluntary and the commitments can be changed. Further, the comment on temperature reduction (and the study that’s from) betrays a lack of understanding of science, and a bending of reports and data to the administration’s viewpoint. There’s a nice article, if you can bear to read it, in the German publication Spiegel, detailing some of the lies, misinformation, and misunderstandings touted by the Trump administration as “reasons” for the US withdrawal from the Agreement. Even more, it makes clear the betrayal felt by the remainder of the world, and the way our government is now viewed. For your edification — Donald Trump’s Triumph of Stupidity.]
  • Harper then proceeded to say that he’s never seen someone attacked like Trump, and he doesn’t think any president has ever been treated as poorly, and he thinks the approach will backfire on liberals.
    [What short memories our politicians have…a quick primer (there are many, many who have been treated more unfairly than Trump, to use the president’s own words). The United States of America have had 4 presidents assassinated – which seems worse treatment than Trump has received: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. There have been at least 20 attempts to assassinate sitting presidents, so we aren’t even in the conversation of worst treated American politician, much less worst treated politician ever.]
  • Before question time (of which only a few were allowed, two of which I’ll comment on below), Harper wanted to make 2 comments about Trump.
    1 – he feels Neil Gorshuch was a great choice for the Supreme Court.
    2 – he said the US hasn’t been respected for many years, had lost world respect primarily because of weak leadership. He thinks the missile strike on the Syrian airbase and the MOAB dropped on ISIS targets in Afghanistan will make the world begin to respect the US again because now they know Trump is a man of action and will do what he says.
    [1 – The Gorsuch seat was stolen from Obama. The Republicans refused to hold hearings on his nominee for a court appointment that was, constitutionally, his to make. The callousness and hypocrisy drips from the capital steps. Gorsuch, this “great choice,” has a record of being anti-equality, especially for the LGBTQ community and women’s rights. He has also, several times, already demonstrated his arrogance and the fact that he’s not up to snuff when compared to the other justices on the Supreme Court.]
    [2 – The leaders of the free world have, for many decades and more, referred to the US as THE leader of the world…any other notion is simply a falsehood. Until 2 weeks ago, that is. The Syrian and Afghanistan attacks have been roundly criticized as illegal by world leaders — not exactly the makings of “restoring respect.” This section could be so long…the ignored security briefings, the murdered civilians. Trump has lost the world’s respect. He has placed the US on the back burner. Trying to claim otherwise is, verifiably, fake news.]
  • Question #1 was about the inefficiency of the VA. Harper supports shutting down the VA and privatizing all aspects of VA care. He said he hates to say it, but what we have now is about as good as big government can do. He also stated that the central problem is federal employee unions, driving up prices and complicating the entire system.
    [The irony, an elected government official blaming all of the problems on the government. Hypocrisy at its finest. Backing the government out of caring for the very people they employed in the armed forces to defend the people and land they claim to care so much about (they are public servants, after all) — is your face making the same strange expression as mine? And then attacking the federal employees as the problem, instead of government’s unwillingness to cut pork and favors in order to care for their citizens…classic pointing the finger and refusing to take any responsibility. But, on the up note, now the people of Mississippi know how this elected official feels about caring for the nation’s and state’s veterans.]
  • The 2nd question I noted was about our role in and relationship with the United Nations. Harper was no fan, and made that clear. His main consternation was what he called the anti-Israel bias at the UN. He then said that his personal belief is that a major part of America’s being blessed by God, and therefore so successful as a nation, is because of our support for Israel. He again said he’s no fan of the UN, but wants to see what the US can do, and if it can’t work in our favor then we should leave.
    [I assume he equates recognizing Palestine as a state as being anti-Israel, a typical American evangelical misnomer. The UN has been a major player in everything from world peace to fighting famine, all over the world. Having everyone work together is not a bad thing, even if it means your particular country can’t always be the top dog. Bringing in his religion might cause an issue, especially if he wants to destroy decades of cooperation because of something he simply believes to be true. That’s not how our republic works.]

I am not surprised by anything the Congressman said that afternoon, but I continue to be saddened by the fact that so many of our elected officials are perfectly willing to ignore criminal behavior, deny science, turn a blind eye to hate, abandon promises and allies…all for the hope that their party can stay in power. Where are the days of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people?”

No government is perfect, but the public must take back this American government from the hands of autocrats and fools who are quickly leading us to a point of no return — destruction of our political structures, economy, environment, and international relationships looms on the horizon.

not a review, but thoughts after reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: “Faith is only a word, embroidered.”

“It appears that certain periods of history quickly become, both for other societies and for those that follow them, the stuff of not especially edifying legend and the occasion for a good deal of hypocritical self-congratulation.”

I finally understand. I see why The Handmaid’s Tale has claimed a spot again on the best seller list. I sit on my couch and feel like a damn idiot. How have I not read this by now? A degree in English, plenty of graduate work (150+ hours and degrees to show), thousands of books read, 39 years of life gone – but never this one. The older I get and the more I experience and read, the more I realize that I know nothing, I’ve read nothing, and my life has practically been wasted.

I can imagine a Trump-esque regime leading America to the dystopian reality Atwood’s novel portrays. Fortunately, it seems that public sentiment is slowly turning away from the insanity we see daily from the government (bought by foreign powers, abandoned by those who could help) leading our country today.

Who publicly calls one of their leading allies evil?
Who uses world tragedies to attack their detractors?
Who rapes women?
Who physically attacks reporters?
Who shoves world leaders to keep themselves front and center in all things?
Who brags about supporting Everyman, yet refuses to pay their employees and contractors?
Who brashly shares state secrets with people who are virtually enemies?
Who plots to cut funding for the arts, education, and healthcare?
Who destroys you with a smile, claiming everything will soon be better?

The US today is mimicking the Republic of Gilead, where half of the population repeats phrases they know to be false, praising a regime that continually demonstrates disregard for all but the top 2% of the top 1% (economically).

Artists and writers and the press are persecuted in order to stop them from speaking the truth to the masses. Sound familiar?

The rights of women and minorities are oppressed in order to keep homogeneity in power. Sound familiar?

In The Handmaid’s Tale, our protagonist (and her frequently quoted aunt) remember what life was like before tyranny. But then we hear this: “We were a society dying…of too much choice.” Defeat. Aunt Lydia, and many like her, had not only accepted cruelty and deceit and a warped vision of life, but had come to embrace it. Yes, most likely as a coping mechanism for a reality that felt inescapable, but accept and support and preach they did.

This is our America, 2017, filled with adults and leaders who are bowing to what they swore they’d never accept. Evil, oppression, bigotry, isolationism, authoritarianism – these are the reality of what the regime wrenching power from the people represent.

Attack the press – attack the judiciary – attack the legislative branch – attack foreign governments – attack founding documents – attack the rule of law and justice – attack protestors – attack entertainers – attack artists.

All of this has happened, and will continue. This is a bald-faced attempt to change the landscape of American life, values, culture, history. This is a full-on attack on freedom.

You don’t have to be a particular fan of America to see the problem — I’m not. I often wish I weren’t born here and didn’t live here. But this county has always valued freedom and equality — these are being threatened today, under the very noses of those who swear protection, by the ones elected to protect them. That’s not alarmist — read the news, watch the people running things today and listen to them…listen to the words they proudly speak — there’s no question about their aims.

The Handmaid’s Tale offers us a warning. It shows us a vision of what life could look like if we allow our country to get out of control…if we allow regression to continue. A few glimpses of life in Gildead follow; heed this warning from literature.

Quotes for consideration:

Buy Now!

“Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.”

“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

“Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.”

“Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn’t about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.”

“How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all. What an available temptation.”

“Pen Is Envy, Aunt Lydia would say, quoting another Center motto, warning us away from such objects. And they were right, it is envy. Just holding it is envy. I envy the Commander his pen. It’s one more thing I would like to steal.”

“Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some.” [it seems so…does this always have to be true?]

“But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot.”

“There is something powerful in the whispering of obscenities, about those in power. There’s something delightful about it, something naughty, secretive, forbidden, thrilling. It’s like a spell, of sorts. It deflates them, reduces them to the common denominator where they can be dealt with.”

“Change, we were sure, was for the better always. We were revisionists; what we revised was ourselves.”

“Humanity is so adaptable, my mother would say. Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.”

“I don’t want to be a doll hung up on the Wall, I don’t want to be a wingless angel. I want to keep on living, in any form. I resign my body freely, to the uses of others. They can do what they like with me. I am abject. I feel, for the first time, their true power.”

what a novel idea

I have a few things percolating in my head today as I trudge through a Thursday of work, dreaming about Friday and the always too short weekend. I should probably be at home for a “mental health” day…but alas, no vacation hours remain.

I don’t know that any of these things are actually novel ideas…but they seem novel to me in my life at this particular point in time. Perhaps I’m thinking too much (my birthday is in 11 days), but I like where the thoughts are leading.

Novel idea #1 – I’ve decided to dedicate myself to finally taking the time to fully work through the needed edits on my novel in preparation to begin sending it off to agents and publishers. This won’t be a particularly quick process, since I have 130,000 words written, barely any of it edited, and a conclusion to finish writing as well. But I’m sick of always saying “I need to…” I’m ready to give this ride a go.

Otherwise, I’m somewhat satisfied with my writing life at the moment. Do I write as much as I’d like? No. Am I always happy with my effort and results? No. But I’m writing regularly, and I’m generally satisfied with what’s coming out. I’m also happy to be fairly active on my professional Facebook page and my website. All in all, not a bad first part of 2017.

Novel idea #2 – despite 37 years (very nearly 38) of rarely thinking this way…life is honestly an enjoyable experience. It’s dawned on me slowly the last few months that I enjoy my life, and that I can structure my life to draw even more enjoyment over time. Life’s hard. Life sucks. It’s draining, not often rewarding, and I typically would rather be doing anything other. But this is all we have, and I plan to rededicate myself to the things I love in life in order to make mine a life I love.

Novel idea #3 – other than my wonderful wife and amazing children, I’ve decided to carefully consider the other relationships in my life. From my childhood, relationships were primarily about pain. Of course there were healthy, happy, nurturing relationships. All too often, however, my interactions with others have been a primary source of disappointment, pain, and depression. It’s sad to let others have so much influence. After all my years, I can’t seem to reduce the impact other people have on me – so I will instead do what I should have done long ago and reduce (or eliminate) my contact with the people who cause me pain.

Since I’m not much of a regular blogger, I suppose that’s where my post will end. I don’t have anything else to say, just a few things on my mind today, eating most of my available processing capacity. Writing helps me process – though I doubt my processing will improve any!


My wedding was Saturday, April 1. Shortly after the ceremony, I mentioned to my new wife that I’d like to type up our vows and paste them on my website. Why? I’m not sure, exactly…but reciting our vows was the highlight of the wedding for me. It was also the only thing I was particularly nervous about.

We decided to write our own vows almost immediately after deciding to get married. We knew we’d have a service of our own making, and we’d express our love for each other in our own words. We barely discussed what we were preparing in terms of our vows – we each wrote our own.

And they were lovely!

I never thought I’d find myself in this position.
I never thought I’d find a person to truly share my life with.
A person I cared about enough.
A person who cared about me enough.
Who was interested, compassionate, concerned.
I never thought I’d find love.

And then I met you, that random Monday night, and I knew you were something special.
And then we met again, about 2 weeks later, and I remembered to get your number that time, and leaving out some of the more embarrassing details (for me), we really started talking and spending time together.

And it didn’t take long before I was done. I loved you so immediately, so intensely…you were entirely unexpected, unwanted even in some ways, yet there you were. And you were perfect. You were amazing.

A wonderful mother.
A wonderful partner.
A reader.
A human being full of life, curiosity, and passion.

You were more than I ever could have hoped for, more than I ever would have dreamed of.
And you loved me in return.

So what do I want for the rest of my life?
That amazing look you give me, your eyes filled with love – I want to deserve that look until the day I die.
And I want to make you laugh, every single day (like I’ve promised before), for the rest of my life.
What do I want? You.

One of my favorite quotes on love, from Toni Morrison, we used on our wedding website: Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it…I made up my mind, and it’s you. Always and forever, it’s you. I love you.

Matthew, I don’t think we could have met at a more perfect time. Our first few interactions were such a whirlwind of laughter, sweet awkwardness, and a connection so intense that I divulged more about my life than most people hear after a few years. I’ve never been more proud to have someone in my life. Your unceasing love, support, and patience have made me a better mother, daughter, friend – and now – wife. You love my children as I do yours – just like your own. I honestly feel you are my other half. I know you’ll always be here for my children, my family and friends, and me. And I will be here for you. I love you.

If anyone might be interested, for whatever reason, the service we compiled is copied below:

In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East.
Communication of the heart, mind, and body
Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun.
The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South.
Warmth of hearth and home
The heat of the heart’s passion
The light created by both to illuminate the darkest of times.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West.
The deep commitments of the lake The swift excitement of the river
The refreshing cleansing of the rain
The all encompassing passion of the sea.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North
Firm foundation on which to build
Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives
A stable home to which you may always return.
Each of these blessings emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union.
Yet they are only tools.
Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

Handfasting Verse
Now you are bound one to the other
With a tie not easy to break.
Take the time of binding
Before the final vows are made
To learn what you need to know –
To grow in wisdom and love.
That your marriage will be strong
That your love will last
In this life and beyond.

Matthew will now say his vows.

Kate will now say her vows.

Ring Explanation
Kate and Matthew have chosen to use traditional claddagh rings for their wedding bands. Each part of the claddagh ring has a certain symbolism for the couple – hands for friendship, a heart for love, and a crown for loyalty. They will wear the rings with the heart facing them, demonstrating that they are now a married couple.

Ring Exchange
Do you have the rings?

Matthew, place the ring on Kate’s finger. Matthew, do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect Kate, for as long as you both shall live?

Kate, place the ring on Matthew finger. Kate, do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect Matthew, for as long as you both shall live?

We will now have the final blessing over the newly married couple.

Wedding Blessing
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

I now pronounce you husband and wife.