Scott Peck, with his book The Road Less Traveled, was an early influence in my life. I found a richness of personal growth when embarking on life’s unbeaten path. As a post-college young adult who grew up Catholic, my first inclination at finding fulfillment involved becoming a priest, as a way to be of service to others.
I attended a multi-cultural seminary for six years, obtained a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained in 1995. After living the celibate (vow not to marry) lifestyle for four more years, my mind, body and soul revolted. I wanted a partner, I wanted to be married. I found myself at the end of a ten-year rumination period in which all of my learned theology, scriptural studies, cultural adventures, pastoral care and parish experience had congealed to open a new door. Not only did I want a family, but I was eager to work with people in creating personal and meaningful ceremonies on their own terms and away from the confines of any religious institution.
As I was in the process of transitioning, I was offered an opportunity to travel to the Philippines for a Jimmy Carter, Habitat for Humanity Work Week. Ten-thousand volunteers gathered from around the world to build 300 houses. While at breakfast the first day of our trip, and among hundreds of volunteers, a young woman asked if the last seat at my table was available. I thought, “Goddess, not only is that seat available….” My mission for the week was now nuanced! I had one fleeting opportunity to hook and reel in this beauty to see if we had a future together.
Nine months after first meeting, we were engaged. Not wanting to begin our married life under clouds (her hometown in Michigan was just three hours away from where I grew up), we moved to Denver. My wife works in the non-profit sector and I carry the torch [full-time] for incredible wedding ceremonies. Aleah and I have two blooming kids, we live at 8,100 feet where the ground is white from Halloween to Mother’s Day, and the sun shines 245 days a year. We found our path in the Rockies!
I get energy from public speaking and I enjoy presenting a well-crafted experience where laughter, contemplation, and tears are all welcome. I play hockey, ski, backpack, and cycle. I live with my family in a house we have completely renovated over the past 17 years. The abode is entirely heated with wood (I harvest 50 cords a year of beetle-kill pine).
I have traveled beyond North America to Africa, Israel, Europe (east and west), Asia, and central and South America. The tastiest beer was in Yugoslavia, and I learned to love sauerkraut in Munich, Germany, and squid in southern Mexico A facet of travel that I look forward to is exploring culture, music, and food I cannot pronounce. People are kind and hospitable from the bush in Burkina Faso to Tim Horton’s in Canada, and the most breath losing moment happened in Ireland at the cliffs of Moher, lying on my stomach at the edge looking down. Taking a steam bath atop a volcano in El Salvador was liberating.
I value a genuine experience. In working with my couples or families, I seek to tell their story with meaning, humor, and interest in what makes them authentic. I am by nature and nurture, reform minded; I keep an open mind and generally have the courage to make thoughtful additions to whatever the project at hand, combining the wisdom of the ages with contemporary philosophy, and art with practicality.