So Patrick and I have been married 25 years as of this moment. Wow. What an amazing adventure we’ve been on! I thought I’d celebrate by taking you through our marriage and family year by year.
Year One: We lived in a tiny apartment in Federal Way, Washington. He worked as a vascular technologist, and I worked as a junior high teacher. Later that year we moved to Silverdale for his job into another apartment with an Olympic mountain view. That fall I found out I was pregnant, except that it turned out to be ectopic. I had to undergo surgery, and we didn’t know if I could have children. We also tried to plant a church via our home church, Puget Sound Christian Center (Tacoma).
Year Two: I became pregnant again (and this one became SOPHIE!). We bought our first house in Bremerton, Washington. Sophie came early, on Christmas Eve, the best present ever.
Year Three: I was now a stay at home mom, while Patrick continued to work in ultrasound. We had very little money. I borrowed money from my grandfather to buy a computer. That year, I created The Giving Home Journal, a newsletter for people who wanted to manage their money well with the mind to give more. We attended Faith Fellowship Church in Silverdale.
Year Four: Patrick’s job changed, and he was recruited to work back in Seattle. We eventually moved to the Edmonds bowl in a tiny two bedroom apartment below someone’s house. That year, I became pregnant with Aidan. We started attending Sunrise Christian Fellowship where we met some amazing friends.
Year Five: We moved from the tiny apartment to a home in North Edmonds that had four bedrooms. Aidan was born two weeks early (I had preterm labor), and we settled into life. By this time I was editing and creating my church newsletter.
Years Six and Seven: We continued to cement our friendships at Sunrise Christian Fellowship. Patrick continued his job. And I continued to write. I landed a curriculum writing job, and I wrote a script for an ultrasound training video.
Year Eight: Patrick got a job offer in Palestine, Texas to set up a vascular lab in a hospital there. Julia was born a week prior to our move. We moved there knowing no one, and our home was infested with scorpions. I began to write more and more, and I homeschooled Sophie. In the first month we were there, Patrick attended a Promise Keepers conference where he heard God’s call to ministry. We began to plan for what would be next.
Year Nine: Patrick was on the leadership team for Trinity Valley Community Church, and helped bring on Pastor Wade Hobbs. I got an article published! We prayed about the next part of our adventure.
Year Ten: We moved from Palestine to Rowlett, Texas where Patrick started Dallas Theological Seminary full time and started his own vascular company part time. I stayed home and wrote, finally penning my first novel (now called The Quarryman’s Wife) and started attending writing conferences. Sophie went into public school in Rowlett, and Aidan and Julia attended pre-school. We attended Creekside Christian Fellowship for awhile, meeting some amazing friends, then moved to Lake Pointe Church where we currently attend. Patrick surprised me with a trip to Paris for our ten-year anniversary. The seeds of ministry in France germinated there.
Year Eleven: I started to get published in more magazines, and attended a writers group consistently. Aidan started kindergarten, which gave me more time to write. I started writing Bible studies and teaching them at church and the seminary. Patrick and I participated in a spiritual formation group, and we continued to make friends at church, leading an Adult Bible Fellowship.
Year Twelve: Patrick continued to balance a heavy load of coursework and a job. I started seeing more success in writing, now writing a local column for the Rowlett paper. Sophie moved to an academy, and met a lot of great friends.
Year Thirteen: We made the decision to pursue church planting in France and started raising support. Julia started kindergarten. Most of our time was spent researching France, raising money, and looking ahead. I found a literary agent who began to shop my first novel.
Year Fourteen: In the span of three months, Patrick dissolved his company, graduated with a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary, and we moved to Southern France. Sophie started school that Fall at an international school, while Aidan and Julia started at the French local public school. (All were so brave, and they endured A LOT there, far too much to post here. They are my heroes.) I signed two book contracts and began writing them. Several more would follow. I learned guitar so I could lead worship. Our team began to fall apart. We were appointed team leaders. We found out we sold our home in Rowlett to a conman and were forced to go into foreclosure. Let’s just say this was a difficult year.
Year Fifteen: Counselors diagnosed us with PTSD. Julia continued to struggle in French school, as did Aidan and Sophie, though all three now spoke French very well. We started church services, had a Texas barbecue and a really well attended marriage seminar. We welcomed new team members. Sophie shared Christ with one of her friends. I continued to lead worship but gave the guitar playing gig to someone who could actually play. Lots of spiritual warfare, including our youngest hearing voices, then eventually meeting Jesus and getting baptised in the Mediterranean Sea. Two of my books released.
Year Sixteen: On the field most of the year, we battled more team issues. Thankfully, Patrick brought on N & V who were French. They ended up pioneering an amazing effort after we left. (In retrospect, it seems God brought us there to learn how to suffer well, but to also bring this couple to the south of France.) Things fell apart, and Patrick got a job offer at UT Southwestern. We moved back to Texas just a week shy of Christmas, and lived in the corner of a barn (apartment, don’t worry).
Year Seventeen: We bought a home in Rockwall, Texas. Sophie attended 8th grade at Williams Middle School, and Aidan and Julia attended local elementary schools. By this time I had several books published, continued speaking, and all of us worked on healing from our time in France.
Year Eighteen–Twenty-Two: Sophie attended Rockwall High School. I led her discipleship group. Patrick continued to work for UT Southwestern. We continued to attend Lake Pointe Church. I attended Cape Town 2010, a global missions conference. Aidan and Sophie went to Ghana on separate mission trips. Sophie graduated and then ventured off to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Year 21 was also the year Julia had some significant health issues and was hospitalized while I was in Haiti. We are grateful she is doing much, much better.
Year Twenty-Three: Julia attended online school. Patrick got a new job at Vanguard Vascular. I continued to write books and speak. Aidan graduated and went to University of North Texas on full scholarship. Yes! Patrick became an elder at Lake Pointe Church. Sophie ventured to Eastern Europe. Patrick traveled to Montreal with church. He also led a team to southern France to work alongside N & V. Julia was able to go to and make peace with some of the trauma she endured there. We were deeply saddened at the passing of Mary’s stepfather, Mark.
Year Twenty-four: Patrick started a new job with Navix Diagnostics, pioneering and managing vascular labs in the western United States. Julia resumed schooling at Rockwall High School, and entered the culinary arts program. She competed at state in the restaurant management portion and made third place. Sophie went to Israel. Aidan completed his first year at college with honors. Patrick traveled to Montreal, Canada with a church partner. We remodeled our downstairs and our kitchen. Our dear friend Twilla went home to be with Jesus this year, and we still miss her.
Year Twenty-five: Sophie graduated from Ouachita, nannied for a summer, then got a job at Right Now Media. Julia got a job at La Madeleine and will be graduating from high school next year. I released my 30th book. Aidan continued to have a beard and work at Massage Envy as a receptionist while in school. Patrick and I led a team to Montreal, Canada. The family went to Wenatchee, WA to celebrate Patrick’s parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. We bought two big outdoor tables that will easily seat 16 people, thanks to a friend who made them, fulfilling a very long-held dream. To celebrate twenty-five years of marriage, we went to Paris.
Whew! That’s a lot of life in twenty-five years! Happy anniversary, Patrick. I love you, admire you, need you, and am so grateful for your humor, godliness, steadiness and leadership. You are dear to me.