3 01 2011

Holy cow.  This was us, 7 years ago today!  It really does seem like {YESTERDAY}.  Our story is one of long-term friendship and eventually figuring out that “my really good friend” could be something more.

At my friend Jessica’s wedding, on January 4, 2003, Matt seemed to have a revelation.  He said it was my black boots.  Who knows, but this picture was taken that night.  He came up with an *excuse* to hang out after the wedding.

(Left to Right:  James, Me, Lisa, Matt, Erin and Matt)

Kind of silly in that he needed to make up an excuse when we’d been friends for 7+ years by that point….

Here’s some embarrassing, pictoral evidence of the previous years:

All Church Conference in May of 1999

(Left to Right:  RJ Heijmen, Matt, Jaime Heijmen, James Obert, Lisa (McNess) & Matt Richards, Me and then Elisa (Jones) VanVoorhis


I’m not in this one, but it was taken by me while at our friend Paul’s birthday in San Francisco.  Tim Shaw (on the left) was Matt’s youth pastor during high school, eventually gave Matt the *nudge* while skiing to eventually ask me out, was in our wedding party, and is speaking at Matt’s installation service this Sunday.  Full circle!

(L to R:  Tim Shaw, Paul Yeager, Matt, & Amy Reynolds)


On Choir Tour in Baltimore with our Youth Group Chitlins during the summer of 2000….

(clockwise sorta:  Hank, Chelsea, Jenny, Alex, Lauren, Me, Matt, Clare, JVS, Mike and Jonathan P)


At the KFOG KaBOOM! firework extravaganza in May of 2002….

And then we eventually started dating after Matt put his hand in a table saw.  Yes, a table saw.  I’ll post on that later.  That’s a long, long one.  But, somehow, that event gave him the clarity to know that he wanted to pursue me and continue in the ordination process. Was it the pain meds that did it?  Who knows.  But, I was so excited that we were together!



After dating for 3 months, we went home for a real life “Meet the Parents” experience….

and he got my Grandma’s ring (and it got stuck on my finger in the SeaTac airport!!).

And then a week later he called my parents from the parking lot of my friend Elisa’s wedding and asked my dad if he could pop the question.

I was clueless.

On the way home, with the Richards in our car, while listening to Amy Grant, I noticed him getting exceptionally annoyed that we were stuck in traffic.  I had no idea what was waiting for me at home….what Matt had set up in my apartment after I’d left to go to Elisa’s wedding pre-festivities.

Fun balloons with post it notes attached leading to roses and the ring.  But….oops…..HOT weather deflated the carefully placed balloons and notes and they tangled up and it all mangled literally and figuratively for a flustered Matthew.

But, I said yes….and promptly left the next week for a 3 week trip to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands with my dear friend Carol.

But, I couldn’t stay away and came home for a wonderful time of fun adventures as an engaged couple.

Eventually January rolled around and with an intense wedding coordinator in tow, we got married at First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley….

(J, Matt’s lifelong friend, with  our coordinator….get a sense of the experience yet??)

It was a glorious day with blue sky and clear view of the San Francisco Bay from the Mira Vista Golf and Country Club (the reception site)….

We had fun taking pictures….


Enjoyed a beautiful, candlelit ceremony attended by a ton of students, co-workers and friends from Marin Elementary School where I taught,youth group families and friends from First Presbyterian Church and our families…


(Marin School contingent)


The reception was so fun (never saw the dessert reception, only the dance floor).

I even made Matt carry my Lactaid  so I could safely enjoy the wedding cake!


And of course the youth group “kids” decorated our car.  I think they even unearthed a huge shrub which was attached to the top.  Matt was <<<NOT>>> happy.


And in that gloriously decorated car, we drove off into the sunset and have experienced marital bliss for the last seven years.

No fights.

No misunderstandings.

No raised voices.

No shortcomings.

No mistakes.

{Pure bliss}.




Not so much.


But, as we celebrate seven years of marriage today, I am grateful for so much.

Today’s prompt is to share one word to describe our marriage in 2010.

ONE word?

As our Christmas card said, 2010 was quite a year for our family and our marriage.  Pregnancy, full time ministry together, adding another son and moving and starting a new job three weeks later.

But for me, the word that best describes our marriage in 2010

(and 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009)…

is contentment.

Contentment can mean stagnancy and staleness.

In our marriage, though, it has meant the opportunity to walk through life, the *mundane* (if that’s possible with two boys), with your best friend and partner.  To create and enjoy adventures together.  To weather challenging days together.  To choose to love and communicate even when we’d rather turn away and shut down.


I am so grateful for Matt.

Marriage, and thus my relationship with Matt, has been a tool that has sharpened me, shown me my rough, sinful edges, my selfishness.  However, despite all that, it’s also modeled Christ’s promise to us that no matter what, he chooses to love us.  This concept is seriously mind boggling to me.

Our marriage is  far from perfect.  Far, far, far from perfect.  However, I love the opportunity to live out that imperfection in community.  To be real and honest and remain committed to each other even when we mess up. {and if you were on summer staff at Westminster Woods in 2008, 2009 or 2010, you got to see our mess ups just a FEW times!}


So, yippee….happy seven years, Matty.  Here’s to many more and the promise that sometime, eventually, we’ll be sleeping through the night again and be able to actually have a fun conversation over a meal.  Like in 18 years.  But, it’ll happen.

I love you!

(In Princeton at Small World in February of 2006)







7 responses

31 12 2011
2 01 2012
Hello, 2012 « These Stones

[…] year, but different, there are changes afoot.  Going back to work.  Growing boys to mother.  A marriage entering it’s eighth year tomorrow!  And sometimes, I envision 2012 as a year to pull in. […]

3 01 2012
Eight « These Stones

[…] marks eight years of marriage for Matt and I. Last year I posted about our journey. Here’s a link to that post for some fun pictures and […]

28 06 2012
June « These Stones

[…] for me.  I had no idea the rigamaroll that was going on around me before and after this moment.  {the full story can be found here}  Phone calls to my parents from the parking lot.  Champagne being delivered to my doorstep back […]

3 01 2013
nine years « These Stones

[…] Here is the post I wrote on our seventh anniversary, Contentment.  It is one of my favorites as it chronicles the story of how we met and were eventually married. […]

9 07 2014
Lynne P.

You have a gift for sharing your genuine feelings beautifully! Hugs, Lynne

3 01 2015
Eleven :: Tough as Steel | These Stones

[…] Benjamin Franklin This is my husband.  Preparing for his Children’s Sermon at the Kid’s Christmas Eve service.  Duct tape is useful for all tasks, including attaching a “happy light” as a necklace. This is how is looked in actuality… Does he look like a Man of Steel?!? He DOES have a Superman t-shirt in his closet…. Not sure STEEL is the perfect description, but strong, yes. Matt’s known for being the sappy one between the two of us.  As I have mentioned here previously, he was the one that cried at our wedding and in the midst of giving many-a-sermon. Those tears are endearing to me. * * * * * * Why am I waxing poetic over Matt?  I try not to talk about him too much here.  He’s not too into public stories and focus being put on him. {although preaching each week might be the exception} Today marks 11 years since this… (posted last year on Instagram) And in official Miss Manner’s terms…it’s all about steel this year. So I did some research on steel. Steel is strong and doesn’t cost a lot.  It can harden and prevent dislocations. How do you connect that to marriage?!? It’s strong? Yes…but not costing a lot? Not feeling that one.  Marriage does cost a lot.  It isn’t easy and man alive, we have a ways to go.  So much to learn and practice.  Lucky Us! We can and do “harden”, hoping it prevents emotional dislocations. Isn’t that the way of relationship? “If I just grit my teeth, grin and bear it, we’ll push our way through?!” The more I see this approach play out, though, I’m convinced it isn’t so productive. Maybe, as Anne Hillman wonders, it is more about “permeable aliveness” vs. old choices and clear-cut answers. Possibly old ways need to die so that something new can be born? Perhaps (ya think?!?) vulnerability is at the root of this “new way”? Learning to Love and Look with Uncertainty?! Yes.  Yup.  Yessiree Bob. This year, we will celebrate 11 years. I am in major purging mode, so every gift idea keeps getting shot down in my own head. We loved sipping Moscow Mules this summer, so I pondered splurging on the special STEEL hammered mugs we saw recently downtown. {Inkwell, you slay me everytime.  Corvallis locals, you know what I’m saying!} I thought it could be fun, dramatic. Maybe slip in a tasty Vodka, a lime and Trader Joes’ amazing new ginger beer?! Those glasses are one more thing to store and we really had no trouble enjoying MANY a Moscow Mule last summer in our normal everyday glasses. Specialty glasses for every drink?  Not thinking that’s necessary. So, I’m “settling” for dinner out after a (no doubt) busy day with the boys. Maybe we can hold an entire conversation. Complete thoughts and sentences. Think a bit about the year ahead and what it means to know oneself (thanks, President Franklin) and reflect a bit on true strength with my Man of Steel. Happy 11th, Matty! * * * * * * Previous Anniversary Posts: Ten (and Palm Springs 10 Year Anniversary trip here) Nine Eight Seven […]

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