20 Memories For 20 Years Married To My Best Friend

Married for 20 years. Unbelievable. More than anything, this mile marker gives me perspective… that we have many more markers to pass on this journey together. But here are some of the highlights from the rear view mirror. 

20 Memories For 20 Years Married To My Best Friend
2001. When we got married in a blizzard that dropped 8 feet of snow on Buffalo in just a few days. We delayed a couple hrs, but we still tied the knot, and almost everyone made it!

2002. When we lived in the condos just off base  from Parris Island and we learned what "palmetto bugs" are. Gross. Then we bought our first home together and had it built to our specs. We had no idea whatsoever about what's important in home design. Whoops.

2003. When I got out of the Marines and you had your summers off as a teacher. We were twenty-two  and had nothing tying us down. We could have gone to Europe or Alaska. Instead we got a puppy. Daisy Mae arrived in our home on our 2nd day of "freedom."

2004. When we both quit our jobs, sold our house, and left our great friends in Beaufort because we felt God was calling us to vocational ministry. Arrived in Greenville, where we made new friendships and started a new chapter of our lives together.

2005. When we bought our home in Greer and had a yard big enough to rate a riding lawnmower. I had to start it up with a long screwdriver and a tap of the hammer to get the solenoid to fire. But it was ours. I called it my tractor and cut the grass with pride.

2006. When we brought Daylia home from the hospital. She was just so little, and so beautiful, and we were so worried that we would do everything wrong. But eventually we figured most of it out… except for that time you needed to feed her and soaked through your sweater during my church job interview. Yikes! She's been helping us figure out how to do things the "proper" way ever since.

2007. When we brought Hazyl home from the hospital. This time you were more comfortable with the idea. You even went out on the boat and pulled me around on the wakeboard a day before she was born. Too much sun = baby comes quickly! Similarly, I definitely put her in the bike trailer way too soon. No wonder she's a daredevil.

2008. When I finished my Masters while working full time, and you ran your first Marathon while caring for our two little babies and a steady stream of college students in and out of our home. A busy time with great rewards.

2009. When we entered the first difficult time in our lives. Up to this point everything went as planned. No longer. Josiah was born with an incredibly difficult medical condition, but you were so great at keeping all the plates spinning. We moved 6 times in 6 months, and knew what was going on for each of his many, many surgeries or more. You thrived. You kept our family intact, and you ministered to those around us in similar trauma. It was wonderful.

2010. When we lost Josiah and seemingly lost everything. We didn't lose our faith, but we did lose our sense of community, and in the darkest days of grief we lost sight of each other. It was tough, but through some Godly counseling, and some Godly friendships, things began to improve. One of the most emotionally cleansing times for us was to go as a family to Croatia and experience Gods beauty there.

2011. When we reset everything.  When our story of loss and grief was a connecting point to a whole new community of people in Buffalo. We saw it heal and restore so many lives through a beautiful move of God. We saw hope rise and shine in our hearts. We saw the faithfulness of God.

2012. When we decided to try having kids again, and Maia came to be. She was such a happy baby and a pleasure for everyone to be around; and she still thinks she is the mayor in social situations. You were thriving as a mom, and always had her strapped on you in a sling or a backpack for whatever adventures the day might bring. And with the other two kids, excitement abounded at every corner.

2013. When we had to start all over in ministry. We weren't sure if this was our calling anymore, and had to do some real soul searching for what God was doing. It was crazy hard, and it was crazy frustrating. But God was faithful, and we got through it. Not without some scars, but we got through it.

2014. When we added Elias to our home and found out what a "tough baby" really was.That little dude was brutal! But the other kids were so much fun, and carried us through. We had some new ministry wins, and some great experiences with family coming in from out of town.

2015. When we made our first cross country trip and Elias screamed for 15 consecutive hours for 15 consecutive days. He broke all kinds of records, and we made all kinds of great memories with our family for a lifetime.

2016. When we took a new role in an old church that we would have never seen coming in a thousand years. We skied Tahoe and we hiked part of the Appalachian Trail. We learned what family vision meant. Finding direction in the valley times and finding prospective from the mountaintop.

2017. When we decided to put an addition on the house instead of move, and we did it in least advisable way. Still, it came out better than we ever hoped it could and God taught us how to work together through all kinds of problem solving. Granted, these skills would prove to be needed in the year to follow.

2018. When we saw our child go through the worst emotional health collapse we could have ever imagined. It put us in another year of going in and out of the hospital for months at a time, and stretched our family to the limit. But we saw our spiritual family rally again in new ways, and we saw God love our children even more than we could love them ourselves. And in the end we made it through.

2019. When we raised ducks in the piano room and we went to see the turtles on Georgia. We taught the little kids to ride without training wheels and the big kids to snowboard. We built a sweet deck and we made some new friends in the process. The Bills were in the playoffs, and our lives were back in "normal range." It was a great start to a comeback. 

2020. When the whole world stopped for Covid and all we could do was spend time with our family. It wasn't the same for everyone, but this was exactly what our kids, our home, and our marriage needed. Extended time to move closer and closer together and build what had been broken previously. Restorative work was being done in every facet of our lives. 

2021. When we got to take the family on the road and see the nation's treasured through their eyes. Gods beauty on display, day after day, with amazement for us all everywhere we went. Reaching a seven year sabbatical in one ministry setting was something we never imagined in previous years, but something we value more now than ever. 

2022? The adventure continues. 

We will know whose we are. We will be who we are. We will love one another. We will go where he tells us to go. 

I love you Erin. Happy Anniversary 


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