Transplanting from California to Iowa made complete sense in my mind when I made the move for college in 2003. My freshman year at Drake blind-sided me and broke my heart in many ways with unsatisfied expectations and having to face it all 1800 miles from home. Sophomore year, God began to heal me, my heart, and mold me. It was clear He was preparing me, but I couldn't have guessed

who

He was preparing me for. November of 2005 I decided, on a whim, to attend a church choir rehearsal in preparation for our church's Christmas program. Exams loomed and prevented me from attending any others after that initial visit, but I kept thinking about the choir director...

Gerard wasn't swayed in the slightest by my absence. He introduced himself during Meet & Greet one Sunday and persued. And persued. And Persued. And every time, I wondered why I walked away.

I finally gave in, 5 months after that official introduction and little signs along the way rattled my heart. Because what other Iowan owns the same Garfield glass mugs from McDonald's and has kept them since they were 6? Who else has THIS MUCH in common with my father?  Because Garfield mugs and singing in a barbershop quartet in high school (among several other things) means serious business.

Could this really be it!? Could he be The One?

Photo by Tiffany Fahy

So, now that the ring has been bought, the house moved into, the puppy trained, the wedding dress preserved...what has Marriage done to us? or better yet, how has Gerard changed me?

Gerard, you have:

*Introduced me to a capella music and I might be more devastated than you that The Sing-Off isn't returning for a Season 4.

*Immersed me in the world of show choir. For better or worse, Babe--win or lose. And my ears finally know what a good ballade for show choir sounds like! I'm so excited that an option I suggested made the cut this year!! :)

Photo by Austin Day

*Developed my patience in waiting for an analytical mind such as your's to make a well-educated decision. I can rest in the decision you make knowing how much you researched it.

*You demonstrate, time & time again, how a selfless servant lives. And it humbles me every time.

*You gently force me to face my fears and act in the midst of unknown outcomes. (Renting a car in Italy with a broken GPS ring a bell?!)

*I'm jealous of how you can function on such little sleep-whether working on your masters or teaching plans early into the morning, I'm just as glad I can sleep through the hum of your laptop.

*I'm in awe of your trust in YouTube "How to DIY" videos and how much you learned in so short a time to complete our closet project from this summer.

*Your ability to make any statement remind you of a song is contagious. After 5 years, I now have the "disease" as well. This is the only disease I know of that makes life more funny and entertaining.

*You pick up my slack and smooth over my weaknesses.

*You can make me silly. We've had SO much fun together in the 7 years that I've known you. Who would've thought you'd debut as a street entertainer in Venice, Italy??

Photo by Austin Day

*When I'm ready to throw a piece of technology across the room, you calmly take it out of my hands (to save us money) and teach me kindly how it was User Error.

*No one can rock tights like you can for Madrigal Dinners.

*When something Californian in me renders Iowa living frustrating or different/scary, you graciously drive in the snow for me to get groceries.

No list is enough to express my love, my gratefulness, and sheer amazement at just how much God has blessed me in giving me you. I can not imagine doing Life without you by my side. Every time I rest my head on your chest, I selfishly pray that it doesn't stop beating until I've already left this earth.  We've worked through so much, grown together, and grown closer to God.  I wouldn't trade these 5 1/2 married years with you, good, bad, ugly, for anything.

Photo by Austin Day

Thank you for changing me in a way better than I could ever imagine. I love you.

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