And so, I invite you to join me on this journey back through the decade as we celebrate what God has done. The following are short excerpts from each of the years. I hope you enjoy sharing this look back.
To GOD alone be all the glory!
"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." ~Psalm 33:11
2000: Our wedding day. I will never forget looking up into your sweet, beautiful eyes as we read our vows, hearing your voice catch with emotion and the swell of happiness inside of me as we were finally, after eight years, pronounced husband and wife. It was official!
"Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." ~Ruth 1:16-17
2001: Cody's birth. Remember how we just kept looking down at him, marveling at how perfectly beautiful he was? It was simply one of the most wonderful moments of my life. We were parents! You are a phenomenal father and our boys are so blessed to call you "Daddy." Your support and dedication to fatherhood were evident from the beginning. Thank you for getting up with me at all hours of the night, changing diapers, keeping me going when I was exhausted, staying home when I needed you and praying every day for us.
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." ~Psalm 127:3
2002: This year was filled with seemingly endless feedings and diapers, and to be truthful, I don't remember very much. I do remember loving my new role as mommy. This year was a challenging one for me personally as I was a relatively new wife working through the details of being a new mom, taking care of our home, running a business and just trying to keep up with it all. I learned a lot that year and I'm really thankful for the lessons learned!
"So they are no longer two but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate." ~Matthew 19:6
2003: Buying our first home. We had a toddler in the house, my studio out of the house, and a crazy neighbor across the hall. But we had each other and a place to call our own. We had many lessons to learn that year about finances and prayerfully making decisions before just jumping into them, and I'm thankful for the lessons learned.
"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." ~Psalm 127:1
2004: Moving (again) and ministry begins at a new church. This was also the year we vacationed in Branson with Cody. It was so beautiful and we had so much fun as a family. Remember hiking through that national park in the Ozarks and all the turtles we saw sunbathing? Cody was so excited to take a boat ride and enjoyed seeing all the fish and turtles there. We had such fun on that vacation.
"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" ~Psalm 8:1
2005: In God's perfect plan, we conceived Caden. This was also our final reunion in Omaha with Poppop. I remember talking to Aunt Sass about our future plans for more babies. Little did I know I was already pregnant! I'm so thankful God blessed us with another baby boy. I am equally as grateful that we had such a special time with Poppop that year and that you were able to be a part of it. I'm so glad he got to see our family grow in those first years and that we were able to spend as much time with him as we did. My one and only regret is that he never got to meet Caden after he was born, but I am glad he knew we'd had another boy!
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11
2006: Caden is born, Glen and Poppop go home. This was a very difficult year for the entire family, filled with many ups and downs. You were an amazing support to all of us, and I know you felt the losses as much as we did. The addition of a difficult labor and delivery thrown in there (as well as a colicky baby and difficult post-partum) made this year altogether challenging, but you were there to support me every step of the way. Remember the day you came home to all three of us crying? Caden was screaming in his crib because I was trying to get him to nap for the umpteenth time that day, Cody had fallen and hurt himself and I was sitting on the stairs crying while listening to my babies cry! I remember you saying, "I have no idea who needs me more right now!" Thank you for your endless love and support and for always being there and choosing your family first. I can't imagine walking this life without you!
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ~Psalm 34:18
2007: In May of this year, we planted a pin oak tree in our back yard on the anniversary of Poppop's passing. I remember you praying over that tree, that it would take root and that it would stand strong. I do not take for granted the godly husband you are and the ways you encourage me in my walk with Christ. May ours be a marriage that stands strong, just like that beautiful tree!
"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." ~Psalm 1:3
2008: Homeschooling begins. I am so thankful that you and I are in agreement about the decision to teach our kids at home and for your daily prayers for us. Thank you for regularly affirming this decision and for walking beside me on this journey. Thank you for working so hard to keep me home with them. I know you don't have an easy job. I know your days are long and that you have some that leave you feeling completely emptied out and sometimes unappreciated. WE are thankful for all you do.
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many." ~Deuteronomy 11:18-21
2009: Spring break spent in Gatlinburg. What a glorious time we had there as a family. I loved every single moment...hiking in the national park, reading "Little House in the Big Woods" while SITTING in the middle of a forest and relaxing around a blazing fire in our cabin, mini golfing on a mountain, driving through the mountains and hoping for a bear sighting, hearing you exclaim in wonder, "The heavens declare the glory of the Lord. The earth displays its majesty!" (I'll never forget that.)
"May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works; he who looks at the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke." ~Psalm 104:31-32
2010: This year's story is still being written, but I know that whatever God has in store, we'll walk through it together. Thank you for marrying me. I am so incredibly thankful for the day God brought you into my life 18 years ago. Words don't seem to adequately express my gratitude to you for all you have done and for all that you are. God has been so very good to us and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Here's to many, many more years ahead. The best is yet to come...