Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Twenty Years Later

Someone said this morning on a post my mom-in-love tagged me in on Facebook that Todd and I must have gotten married as babies, because, surely we were not old enough to be celebrating twenty years of marriage.  I wholeheartedly agree with her!  It does not seem possible, and twenty is a BIG one.

But then we came home from dinner last night, with a whole bag full of leftovers, and all the teenagers stood around us and devoured them and I thought to myself, "Yeah, it might feel like it's been twenty years."

Ha!  (Seriously.  The boys inhaled all the food, but more about that yummy-ness in a minute.)

Babies!  We were seriously babies.  We were both nineteen in this picture.  (I know that must have terrified our parents.)  I cannot imagine Graham being married in a year and a half.  That kind of puts things in perspective.

I can't remember if I ever talked about my wedding on here, but I'm doing that today.

First off, remember that I was a teenager.

Todd proposed when we were eighteen, and we stayed engaged for a whole year.  We both LOVE fall and cooler weather, so we promptly agreed on a fall wedding, especially when my mom strongly discouraged the Christmas wedding I originally wanted.  (I am a Christmas FREAK and always have been.)  Nowadays when I hear of people getting engaged, I advise them to not wait an entire year.  It was a bit long.  Well, it was a LOT long.

We also originally picked October 11th, but Todd's dad was still a full time firefighter then, and that was his weekend to be on duty, so we moved it up a week.  I wanted a wedding exactly like the one from the movie, Father of the Bride.  I wanted lots of seasonal flowers, twinkle lights and dancing.  I got the flowers and lights, but the church nixed the dancing...however, we still shared a private dance to "our song", The Way You Look Tonight, by Frank Sinatra.

My bridesmaids were all my sisters, plus one friend I'd had since the beginning of our relationship.  Todd's groomsmen were his brother, some friends, and my brother Paul.  It was a large wedding, because my family is huge and we had lots of friends in attendance.

That night, we stayed at an old hotel that is no longer open, The French Quarter, and the next morning we had breakfast with all of the parentals.  (Looking back, I realize how weird that is, and how extremely awkward it could have been, but somehow wasn't.  My sister Debi had done this years before and I loved that idea and did the same thing.  Plus, we are both extremely close to our families and always have been.)

Right after breakfast we left for our honeymoon.  We stayed in a condo in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in or near Banner Elk, North Carolina.  I always give that advice to couples nowadays, as well, to take a honeymoon right after you get married.  I don't feel as if it's always the same if you wait.  I know that's not the case for some, but I would say it is, more often than not.

The other advice I give to couples getting married (because, APPARENTLY, I am the pro at this) is to not skimp on wedding pictures and for the brides to wear their hair in a similar way that they wear it every day.  Who wants to look back and see that updo you wore and have your kids not know who that woman is?  So, to the chagrin of my mom, I wore mine down and a little back, because my veil was similar to a headband.

Fast forward to twenty years later.

I skipped a lot, but here we are now.  Our oldest son took this last night after we'd gotten home from dinner.  We went to Longhorns steakhouse to celebrate.  At first we didn't think we'd go out, but in a strange turn of events, all the boys ended up being gone and I didn't cook enough dinner for all six of us.  My friend Abbey stopped by after work yesterday, and it was while she was here that I realized that all the boys were going out.  There was a reunion party of sorts at the sight where she was for Backyard Kids Clubs this past summer, and she needed all the help she could get, so that's what all our boys did.

Also, I'd made plans to make beer cheddar joe's for dinner, and it turns out I didn't have enough ground beef.  So three of them ate what I made, and Graham ate at Chick Fil A when they met a group of friends there (and Abbey).

And THEN I remembered that we had a gift card to Longhorns with a ridiculous amount of money on it, and I called Todd and told him to rush home, that we were going out!

Also, the reason we were not originally going to celebrate is because in two weeks, the two of us are going to New York.  !!!  He has to go through some classes there for his work, on Long Island, and since he is going and since this is the year we celebrate twenty years of marriage AND it's the year we both turn FORTY, we decided to make a trip out of it and stay some additional days.

I am beside myself with excitement.  It almost makes me able to ignore the fact that I'm turning forty.

Fall in New York sounds like heaven to me.  We will fly out of Memphis on Saturday the fifteenth and return on Friday the twenty first.  While there, we are going to see a Broadway show (The Phantom of the Opera) and I plan on eating at some restaurants I've been wanting to for years, and we will see the 9/11 Memorial, and Central Park and....

I'm stopping myself, but you get the picture.

So, there are some things about this twentieth year of marriage that I am thankful for.

One, that through the trials we've had, God has drawn us closer to Him and to each other in the process.  We've not been without some pretty big milestones, but the Lord is faithful, and He took those situations that Satan meant for evil and used them for our good, just like He did with Joseph in the book of Genesis.  Those problems and issues refined us and made us who we are today.

And we are not perfect, but praise God, we are being sanctified day after day and we are learning and muddling our way through.  Marriage is hard, y'all, but without Jesus, it is IMPOSSIBLE.

I love what I read in Mark this morning.  It's from Mark ten, verses six through nine.

"But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate."

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.

I am thankful that God chose to give us four boys.  I would not change one single thing about my life, and though the whole four boys thing took me by surprise, I am so grateful for them, that I get to be their mom.  I would not trade one single moment of this sometimes crazy life we lead.  For instance, last night, after ten o'clock, Todd and the boys were rearranging furniture and vacuuming carpet that had sat under it for years.  I'm not even kidding, but somehow, that always happens that way and at weird times.

My prayer as we grow older together is that God will always use us in mighty ways to serve Him, to honor Him, and to share His gospel with those we come into contact with.  I pray that we would always live to glorify Him.

We have lots of years ahead of us to be together, and I pray that the Lord keeps us tucked in close to His side.

I am thankful for every moment I've had with this man of mine thus far.

Thanks for reading about my walk down memory lane, and happy twenty years to us, Toddley.

Love to all.

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