|Julie & Seth|
When we hit 40 we had 12 kids, had moved across the country -- and back while I attended a School of Ministry for 9 months in Oregon -- and had lived in somewhere around 20 different "residences" that included an apartment, a barn and houses that ranged in size from 860 square feet (with five kids) to over 4,000 square feet.
Oh, and there was that two-week stretch in a couple of rooms in a motel when we arrived in Gloucester and no one would rent a house to us because they said we had too many kids. (Like nine is really a lot of kids ... what would those folks say now?)
Sometimes we talk about the plans we had before we got married. We'd have two kids and they'd be best friends and I'd have a nice career in the newspaper business. I'm not sure what all we had planned or if we planned much beyond those few details but it definitely looked nothing like what we have now.
I write all this because I want to say how thankful I am that I'm married to a woman of great faith. Julie inspires me with her devotion and love of the Lord, a pure faith that reflects and radiates the love of Jesus in so many ways. It's a selfless, sacrificial love for me and her children. It's patience, kindness, endurance, strength. It's wisdom. And so many other things.
A couple of months ago we were walking together on a date in D.C. heading to the Mall on an extraordinarily pleasant November night. We had snuck away for a night, just the two of us with no agenda, no demands and no plans other than to enjoy the evening together. Maybe the past 25 years together hasn't looked anything like what we thought it would. It's had so many unexpected twists and turns. And I can't imagine it now any other way.
But walking in D.C. is the part of my life I definitely envisioned. The two of us laughing and talking about the things we've done, the plans we have and the places we'll go. I envisioned us always being together.
Together we've done some pretty incredible things. We have such a good life, far different than anything we could have imagined when we met in her living room in her parents' house in Canby, Ore. We're blessed beyond measure by a family full of kids that love each other and has so much fun together. There's joy in this house and that's something I don't take for granted.
For that I thank Julie and her faith and love and passion to live a life pleasing to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She's an amazing example to our kids and many others.
Today is her birthday. Happy birthday babe. I love you.