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)





8 thoughts on “Contentment

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