1. Our wedding night supper in the Burger King parking lot. It was raining, and we were exhausted. Not the best meal I've ever had, but certainly memorable. He probably thought the cheap date was a sign of good things to come...if he'd only known!
2. Getting lost on road trips (starting with our honeymoon). We can usually laugh about it at the time. We can always laugh about it later.
3. Building our first home and moving in less than 7 months after we were married. We threw our young marriage into the fire to see how it would hold up, and it did. When I got our first electric bill (over $300), I called my mom in tears, telling her we couldn't afford our new home. I didn't realize that included much of the construction use, as well as thawing out the house from an exceptionally cold winter.
4. Finding a church family and the Lord (me for the first time, and R's recommitment).
5. My father-in-law's cancer diagnosis, just one short month after #4. God knew what would happen before we did, and he planted us with a loving church family that would sustain us time and time again through the next 5 years.
6. Saying goodbye to grandparents and an unborn child.
7. Welcoming CJ into our lives. Our family wasn't complete without her.
8. Being mesmerized at the sight of R transforming into a father. I fell in love with him all over again.
9. Saying goodbye to my father-in-law, after a long, hard-fought battle. At the visitation, I met so many people who knew R as a child/youth. My standard line was, "Hi...I'm R's wife, Melissa." I don't think I've ever been more proud to say that, as I watched him shepherd his family during this most difficult time.
10. Trips to Paris, Boston, Annapolis and New York. Each one, a fantastic adventure with my best friend.
11. Selling our first home and moving to a tiny apartment, while R labored to build our current home. It is a tangible testimony to God's gifts, and R's love for his family.
12. Weathering a particularly rough season in our marriage. God did some powerful healing during that time, and we are stronger for it.
13. Laughter. R gives me something to smile or laugh about nearly every single day. He is far sillier than I, but he's rubbed off on me.
14. Sitting in the church pew as R was ordained as a deacon, and later as he assisted with CJ's baptism. Why the Lord has blessed me with a Godly husband who loves Him, me and our girl so much...I'll never know. But I do not take it for granted.
15. Drinking coffee and studying the Bible this morning. It took 15 years for him to drink coffee with me..."I thought it was time to turn over a new leaf," he said. As I glanced over at him on the sofa, reading his Bible while I was reading mine, my heart fluttered and it nearly took my breath away.
Happy Anniversary, baby!