A Deadly Habit

We know we shouldn’t text and drive…but our phones are programming us to do just that.

The next time I contact you by cell phone from my vehicle it will be only after I pull over and put the car into park. So if you don’t hear back from me quickly enough, practice your patience because I will be practicing my new habit of turning off and stowing my phone while driving. 

The title of this blog post and the quote above are from “The last word” column of THE WEEK (November 8, 2013). In this startling article, which I hope you will read, a study shows “that drivers who are texting are twice as likely to crash, or almost crash, as those who are focused on the road. “

Now, like the Geico ad, everybody knows that, right? Then why does it not change? Are we suicidal or homicidal or just what? The article sheds new light by pointing out that “For many people… using a smartphone may be less a decision than a habit–a move they make without initially thinking about what they are doing or why.”

So clearly the answer is to break the cycle, start a new habit that will greatly increase your odds of avoiding an automobile accident. As a schoolbus driver, I force myself to mute my android and stick it in a shelf where I can’t see it but, up until now, I have kept it next to me in my private vehicle. No longer! After reading this article I decided that even if I don’t care about myself, I at least owe it to the other drivers and pedestrians to pay complete attention to what is happening in front and around my two ton moving steel missle at which controls I am in sole command.

If I catch you or you catch me, let’s remember “Friends don’t let friends text and drive”!


A simple but profound symbol, the rainbow

This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations. I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and all the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-13)

I wear one of those rubber bracelets on my right wrist. It is rainbow-colored with the word EQUALITY stamped on it. I forget about it, but I would guess that two or three people a day notice it, probably without thinking about what it might represent. If they asked, here is what it means for me: no one can define loving relationships for anyone else. Who loves whom is personal to the lovers, society must not define that. In my opinion, there should never have been any question about people of the same gender being married.

The profile picture for my social media presence has the rainbow flag for background.

Warren Turner, Wedding Officiant & Humanist Celebrant
Marriage Equality Supporter

As a result, some couples seeking a wedding officiant have contacted me specifically because they wanted to make sure there was no question about same gender ceremonies or gay and lesbian participants in their weddings. That pleases me because that is exactly the message I hope to convey.

I love to see rainbows. Once in a while, there is a complete arc across the sky. I try to pull off the road and watch it and always think of the leprechaun sitting on the top of a pot of gold at the end and wonder. Once, when I was flying a small plane across rural Wisconsin there were little puffs of clouds everywhere, most of them smaller than my aircraft. Since I could see all around them and knew it was safe, I flew directly into one. For that second of entering before I popped out the other side, I saw a complete rainbow circle. Wow. Thankfully there were many more so I could do it again a few more times.

Humans have always reacted to this weather phenomenon with wonder. The Jewish scripture quote above gives an ultimate meaning to the rainbow but whatever religious outlook one has, there is still a kind of awe and gratitude. Is it any mystery then why those of us who believe in marriage equality fly the rainbow flag? We are celebrating the greatest of hopes, that love wins over all.

Beyond “I Do”: Incorporating Religious Elements (or Not) in your Wedding Ceremony

If you are planning a wedding, you may be wondering which elements of your marriage ceremony are absolutely required by law and which are optional. How much of the ceremony can you create from scratch to reflect your and your fiancé’s beliefs and sentiments?

When my daughter asked me recently whether a religious homily was a requirement of a Catholic wedding, I began to consider what sets religious weddings apart from secular weddings. I posed this question to my clergy spouse: “What is the absolute minimum verbal exchange required for you to sign the marriage license?” Her answer: “Asking both persons if they agree to be wed — and getting a positive response, of course.”

Saying “I do” before a person licensed by the State to marry you is all you need! Obviously, however, that is not nearly enough for most couples. Most desire a much richer ceremony, one that is particularly meaningful to them. And we Justices of the Peace are eager to help you fashion the wedding ceremony that you desire.

How do you develop a wedding ceremony that is true to you? Most JPs have samples of language that you can consider. I begin, for example, by sending you a list of the items in a typical ceremony. For each item, I present alternative wording, from very traditional to quite contemporary. I make it clear that everything is optional and can be excluded or revised. This works well for most couples, who are thankful to have a blueprint upon which they can build their unique vision.

And that Catholic homily — can that be included in a secular wedding as well? Yes! Just because your wedding will be officiated by a JP doesn’t preclude you from incorporating spiritual readings or prayers into your ceremony.

On the other hand, some couples want a purely secular wedding. One groom-to-be recently wrote to me: “My bride and I are non-religious and want to stay away from any reference to God in our ceremony.” Are you permitted to leave God out of your wedding? Of course! It’s your wedding! Your JP will help you follow your own philosophy in the design of your ceremony.

As JPs, our goal is to make the wedding as meaningful as possible. So don’t be afraid to ask your Justice of the Peace for what you want and expect in your wedding ceremony. Remember that the only real requirement is for you both to say in your own words: ”I do.”

30 Days, 30 Posts: NaBloPoMo is here!

As this article points out so clearly blogging is a very versatile means of communication. It also reminds me that of the infamous Three P’s: Perfectionism ; Procrastination; Paralysis. Just a couple of thoughts for those who write and those who read our blogs

WordPress.com News

There’s a lot of buzz each November around NaNoWriMo — you may notice some of your favorite blogs dedicating themselves to churning out 50,000 words this month.

If 50,000 words seem like 49,000 too many or you’re more interested in blogging than writing a book, NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month — might be your speed: a challenge to post once every day for the entire month of November. No theme, no word count, no rules; just you, your blog, and 30 new posts.


NaBloPoMo started in 2006 in response to NaNoWriMo; not every blogger has the time or inclination to write a book, but the idea of a challenge that forces participants to stretch themselves, grow as bloggers, and be part of a supportive community is undeniably appealing. As founder Eden Kennedy, the power blogger behind fussy.org, put it:

If there’s one thing creative people…

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