Twenty-six years ago today......

Love is patient, Love is kind,
It does not envy, it does not boast,
It is not proud, it is not rude,
It is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.

Love always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.

Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

Lover never fails

(Corinthians 13:4-8)

Twenty-six years ago today I took a leap of faith and walked down that wedding aisle again. It was a scary decision, but I held my breath, closed my eyes, and grabbed on to Jim's hand, and jumped off the cliff. It has been an interesting 26 years to say the least.

Unfortunately our wedding pictures are packed away in storage or I'd post some of them. But I looked like this.

Except for the beads. Oh, and I wasn't wearing a bathing suit. No, I wasn't nekid, either. I wore a nice, respectable dress.

Jim looked like this.

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate. But he was quite hairy. He had a perm back then and he needed a haircut so it almost looked like a 'fro. AND he had a full beard, so yeah, I think I'm dead on with the werewolf photo.

I like to say we honeymooned on this lovely heart-shaped island.

Guess again. It was at the local hotel about 10 miles from home. My Mom took care of the kids. I remember feeling sick on my honeymoon night. (Did I mention that on my FIRST honeymoon with my FIRST husband that I was hospitalized for a week? NO? Another post, I guess.) Maybe I'm allergic to honeymoons?

I remember Jim brought a gym bag filled with magazine. ON.HIS.HONEYMOON. A sign of things to come.

"WHAT are you doing bringing magazines on your honeymoon?" I asked him incredulously.

"Well," he said, sounding quite reasonable, "we can't spend the whole time in bed."

Wait, WHAT? Why not?

We came home from our 2-day childless honeymoon (even though I called home everyday to talk to the kids) and got a reality check. It was a rainy Monday morning, and our garbage was ripped up with chicken bones spewed all over our lawn. THIS IS LIFE.

Starting out a new life with someone is hard enough, but throw in a toddler, (Jessica was 2 1/2), and a young child (Jason was 4 1/2), just adds to the interesting things that come up day-to-day in a marriage. I've said before that Jim adopted my kids, legally, so he took us in lock, stock and barrel. Jim's son, Jeff, was 16 at the time, and lived with Jim's ex-wife.

We were married only 4 months when Jim accepted a job in Washington, DC. We were living in Illinois at the time. I was devastated to leave my family. The Chicagoland area was all I knew. I had never lived anywhere else. I still remember to this day when we went over to my parents house to say goodbye. My Mom put her head down on the kitchen table and sobbed. It broke my heart. (I felt that same pain when my daughter went off to college AND when she decided to live about 2 hours away from us after she graduated college.)

It was hard for me to make the adjustment to living in Virginia. It was like living in a whole different country! But it was the best thing for us. We grew together as a family. We only had each other to rely on. After only about a month, the kids stopped calling Jim by his name, and started calling him, "Daddy". It was so nice to hear.

Every weekend we went into DC and did some sightseeing. Unfortunately, my kids don't remember any of this now! But when my daughter was three, she'd always build her blocks so tall and say, "This is the Washington Monument!" She even had a Southern accent for awhile!

I missed my family terribly and called home constantly. But as the days rolled by, I started to cry less and open my eyes more to the beautiful scenery around me. We rented a home for a year or so, then bought one further away from DC. I met a woman out there, Vicki, who became one of my best friends. And Kathy. I am still friends with both of these women to this day. I remember the advice a woman gave me from where I worked in Illinois. She said, "You never know. Your best friend could be waiting for you there in DC." And she was right.

After four years, Jim was transferred back to Illinois. Now I missed Virginia so much! But I was glad to be back with my family. Luckily we stayed put for 18 years in Illinois. The kids were able to establish friends, go to one elementary, middle and high school.

About seven years ago, we bought our first fifth wheel, and Big Blue, this honking truck to pull it. We took a few trips and went camping on the weekends. Jim talked about going "full-timing", selling everything, house included, and hitting the road. It took a couple of years to a)convince me and b)get everything set.

We've been on the road 5 years now. AND we are still married. I'd be lying if I said we don't get on each other's nerves. We do. Living in 400 square feet, you're bound to annoy the other person just by BREATHING. Or at least Jim's breathing annoys ME sometimes!

One thing I have to say about this man - hooking up with him has led me to see so many things and travel to so many places that I probably never would have seen. Little did I know that our last name translates to "gypsies" in German. (kidding)

Jim is a great guy, loyal to the end, smart as Wikipedia, and always has a pen when you need it! It's been a great journey, honey, and I love you! But are we getting off the road anytime soon? I'd like a home that doesn't move when we walk, a little more space, and maybe a washer and dryer that doesn't accept coins?

I can't say that I have improved with age. You be the judge.

Jim surprisingly has a lot less hair. He has me shave his head about once a month. As you can see by this photo, he's a keeper!

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