Expanding love…

“True love is the joy of life.”

–John Clarke

I am delighted to share glimpses of the joy of new love, as celebrated at my daughter’s wedding ten days ago at a beautiful lakeside ceremony in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Atlanta.

Below is my family, which now includes an amazing son-in-law.

Wedding blog phto

Yet, beyond my immediate clan, I am now blessed to include in my love circle new family members from the groom’s side. (And unfortunately I have yet to get a full set of photos of them or I would have included it here.)

The expansion of my heart to include another set of loving folks reminds me of being pregnant with my second child wondering if I could ever love another baby as much as the first.   Of course, those of us who are parents know our heart holds more than enough love for all our children. Love is abundant and limitless; staying open to expansion is the key.

The additional gift of a wedding, for me, is seeing that love not only brings us together, but sometimes it prompts us to step out of our comfort zones to be present to another. There were many acts of such unconditional love during my daughter’s wedding–from people who came from far away to attend to those who missed other major events in their lives to be there for Catie and Dave, the new bride and groom.

Yet, it is the way that my daughter and her new husband have been there for one another that has been a joy to observe. While they had the “fairy tale” wedding my daughter hoped for, they certainly didn’t have an easy dating life. During their two-and-a-half year courtship, my new son-in-law, who is a single child, lost both his parents within seven months. His parents, who were ages 55 and 60 at the time of their deaths. had a 30-year, loving marriage as all who were at the wedding told me. My daughter helped Dave, who was her boyfriend at the time, organize the funerals, catching the first plane she could to be there for him.

For Dave, and the wedding guests on his side of their family, there must have so many conflicting emotions, as the same people who gathered to celebrate the new marriage had been huddled together over two funerals a short while ago.

I cannot fathom the grace, courage and strength it took for Dave, standing under the dockside wedding arbor, to focus on his new bride while also respecting the two empty seats at the front of the ceremony in honor of his parents. Catie and Dave each placed roses on those seats before exchanging the wedding vows they created themselves.

Gail Chairs copy

I share this poignant moment not to create sadness around a beautiful wedding, but as a reminder that love is a gift to be cherished right now, in this moment, in whatever form it takes. Don’t wait to tell someone you love him or her or that you are sorry. Make the heart bigger than the ego.

To the two people who expanded my view and circle of love, meet Mr. and Mrs. David Maloof:

(Courtesy of Mary DiNapoli Maloof whose husband, Joe, captured this fun moment.)


With a more full heart,


The photo of the chairs was taken by Andre Urquiza, one of the groomsmen, as a gift to Dave.

Thanks to wedding photographer, Joseph William Jackson Jr.,for capturing one of the last beautiful last moments of the wedding as the guests lit sparklers while the bride and groom walked towards the pier for a boat ride around the lake (See the black-and-white photo in the top left of the heart collage.)

And, I offer my special thanks to my talented friend, Beth Shedd, of PhotOptimist for creating the wedding collage for this blog post.


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  • Dick joseph says:

    Sounds like a beautiful ceremony! You and Catie were the most beautiful women in the room….I’m certain of that!


  • margi smith says:

    Beautiful tribute.

  • Beth says:

    Beautiful! Sending love and blessings to Catie, Dave…and to you and others who share their joy.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Beth–another wonderful gift of the wedding…hearing from old friends. Hope your life is blessed as well:)

  • Barbara says:

    Lovely post Gail, and a wonderful reminder – to LOVE in the present!
    So happy for you and your family!
    Sharing to my community…

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Barb: I appreciate your sharing–and your happiness for my new expanded family. Being embraced by another’s family in such thoughtful, caring ways was a huge surprise for me in the aftermath of the wedding. They really know how to love. My daughter is so blessed to have them as part of her new foundation. And yes, to your point: LOVE in the present. Don’t wait for a loss or a scary diagnosis. I’d be thrilled if one person picked up the phone today and called someone they may not have spoken with in a while and told them they loved or cared about them or thanked them for touching their lives in some way:)

  • Jill says:

    Gail, what a truly beautiful tribute to the groom’s parents. You used the words “expansion of my heart” which struck me. How amazing when we feel that love is present. I thought of a situation I am facing currently and “expansion of the heart” can occur in difficult times too, I realize. Times when you choose to do a “loving” action, even if you may be hurt and angry. Coming out of those dark places and finding love in the heart again helps me move forward in my life. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your joy!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      You’re welcome, Jill. And I love your insight about choosing to do a “loving” action, even if you feel hurt and angry. That approach is key to loving someone unconditionally–something many of us have not been taught or experienced. When others act in unfavorable ways, it can help to see them with compassion as they are often drowning in their “wounds”–some from a very long time ago that has nothing to do with us in the present. It can take great courage and vigilance to do what you described of moving from a dark place to finding love again. Our egos often want us to stay in victim behavior, which helps no one. Congratulations on your moving forward and thanks so much for sharing in my family’s joy!

  • Gail, your courage, your compassion and your creativity and poetic expression are an inspiration to me and I’m sure to so many of us. Kudos to the beautiful couple and to you for the wonderful life you’re creating. I’m so impressed with the way you embrace new adventures and life experiences. Kixx

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Kixx: And I am so grateful to you for your friendship, wisdom and keeping my writer’s soul alive and connected here in Scottsdale. You’ve been a gift!

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