Monday, November 5, 2012 decades...

This is a big week for us.
Tonight Asher has his 2nd grade play... I will post pics later!
Tomorrow is Election Day. Honestly, I am most excited about the commercials and ads being GONE. Colorado is a big swing state and an estimated $1 million per day has been spent by each candidate for ads in Colorado alone. Thats a whole lot of commercials. Believe me. And, we have the cheap cable and no DVR, so we mute the TV and suffer through them. I may go into fight mode if I have to endure much more. Eek!
Thursday, my mother in law comes to stay with our kids so Chip and I can celebrate our 10th anniversary on a cruise in the Caribbean. Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. SO excited!
And, Friday, the actual date of our anniversary, we head to Miami....

The nostalgia sets in as I think about our lives over the last 10 years. I never could have dreamed we would have all of the adventures that we have had. I remember my own parents' 10th anniversary. They renewed their wedding vows and did a small ceremony, in which my little brother and I got dressed up and were participants in the "wedding". Its hard to think about renewing vows already since these 10 years have flown by so quickly. My parents' circumstances were different, since they weren't Christ followers in the beginning of their marriage, so they wanted to renew those vows for a reason.

Here are the thoughts I am experiencing...the loudest of which is: Am I old enough to have been married for 10 years? Well, apparently, yes. I am. I met Chip when I was 10, became "friends" (he was much older than me... a whole 3 years) when I entered youth at age 11. So, I have known him for 21 years. CrAzY. 21 years ago, he was just this super cool, older, skater boy in my youth group that everyone wanted to hang out with...including the older girls. :) Which is of no surprise...he IS and has always been hot!

I was 15 the first time I ever looked at Chip and thought of him as anything more than a friend. One day he walked into church and I remember thinking "Wow, he is really cute.". When it really hit me was the Sunday night he returned from his short stay at Trinity College in North Dakota. He had on a dark blue puff jacket, and sat by me during service. The whole time he was talking to me before and after service... he was totally spitting game... he had me smiling. I knew then that he was special. That year, my junior year of high school, at the risk of sounding like a stalker... he became my dream. :-)

He took me to my Jr/Sr. Banquet - it was a super weird, legalistic, and strict private school in a church... the people were out of their minds, and we dressed in formal wear to eat fried chicken at a hotel. Really classy. He was a true sport for hanging out that night. That night, after he left my parents' house, I told my mom out of the blue that I was going to marry Chip. I don't know what made me think that... I honestly don't remember saying it, but I remember feeling it. From then on, as our daughter Amery says, he was "my guy". He was always the one who gave me butterflies when he walked in the room, or would make my face get all hot when he'd talk to me. I always felt safe with him...I knew, even as my friend, he would protect me at all costs. That is just who he is. Chip is loyal to a T.

Jump forward about 4 years... He'd lived at Wrightsville Beach, and was back in Winston again. I'd lived in El Salvador and Phoenix, and was back in Winston again. We were, once again, back at each other. Our friendship grew strong during those first few months back home. We hung out all the time, and could talk about any and everything. It was different than before... in years past, although we were good friends, there wasn't the freedom that we had this time around. It was easy. We could be ourselves  and have fun being friends. We were older, wiser (haha, well...thats up for debate), we knew who we were more than we did before, and we were ready. Ready for each other.

On October 13th, 2001, Chip told me he liked me. I didn't want to mess up our friendship, so I didn't respond the way I wanted to deep down. But, over the next three days, I thought about our history. I thought about how he was my very best friend and I couldn't imagine him dating anyone else, or me ever wanting to be around someone more than I wanted to be with him.

April 13th, 2002.... Hilton Head Island, SC....he proposed at beach marker 113. I think the number 13 isn't all that bad. :-)

And, November 9th, 2002 at 6:00pm... I became Mrs. Early. My dreams came true.

Over the past decade we have lived in NC on two different occasions, Florida, and Colorado for the last 5 1/2 years. We have the MOST gorgeous children...a 7 year old boy, and a 3 year old girl. We have more fun now than ever, are possibly in the best shape we have even been in since being married, and literally every, single day is an adventure. We truly love the life we have been given, the ministry we're privileged to be part of, the children we have honor of parenting... it is more than I ever would have imagined it would be. We have grown closer through the ups and downs we have endured. We are stronger now than ever. I know more what love is today than ever. I thought I loved him as much as anyone could on our wedding day, but that love has deepened so much throughout the years. It has become something unbreakable. We are a team, a family, a unit. We are still the best of friends, and he still gives me butterflies. I cannot WAIT for the rest of adventures to unfold, and there is NObody on the planet that I would rather have beside me.

Here's to a million more decades....

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