five years of bliss, bumps and blessings

Five years ago today, pretty much right at this minute, I was walking down the aisle on the arm of a very handsome tuxedoed man. First as Johanna Henderson on the arm of my dad, then back down as the new Mrs. Johanna Puelston with Kyle. It was a beautiful fall day, much like this one. The colors in the trees were as bright as the smile on my face that wouldn’t quit. I was HAPPY. I mean, CRAZY HAPPY. I was marrying the love of my life! And we were going to be together forever.

Today I am still so very happy. The past five years have honestly been wedded bliss. Not without bumps along this beautiful road called Life Together, but so chock full of blessing that I cannot for one minute dwell on the brief moments that have been hard or painful. In fact, those moments have shaped and helped us in ways that the super great days can’t hold a candle to.

The first three to six months of marriage were the bumpiest. We had to learn and study each other as we lived life side-by-side after a long-distance courtship. God worked mightily in both our hearts to teach us to extend His bountiful grace to one another, to love even when it was hard and to let the little things slide. The bumps smoothed out and with great support, wisdom from those around us and lots of praying for each other, marriage just got better and better.

I was thinking today that this is probably the life I pictured four years ago when we celebrated our first anniversary in beautiful California. A house, a couple of kids (one that has yet to appear to the outside world!), a continuation of Kyle’s funky, but lovable work schedule. But its SO much better than I could have imagined. And we’re better off in so many ways than on the blissful day our marriage began. God’s grace has been working in small and huge ways to bring us to a place of deepness and maturity in lots of areas of life.

So basically – I’m blessed beyond anything I could have pictured on the day I thought was the happiest day of my life. 🙂 It’s a joy to share life with my best friend and lover. I’d do it all over again in two seconds, Kyle!

33 years…

Today my mom and dad celebrate 33 years of marriage. In honor of such a momentous occasion, they are giving each other Lasik surgery. 🙂 I mean – they are GETTING Lasik surgery from an expert doctor and its their gift to each other. No glasses. I guess if the commemorative gift was “glass” for this year, they are doing the opposite. 😉 Either that or are changing it to “better vision”.

In their marriage I’ve seen much love, compromise, fun and adventure lived out. Of course they’ve had their moments of trial and I remember one particularly challenging time when I wondered if they would make it through, but God has been faithful to see them through those moments or days or years and they have given each other grace and the promise to never leave. When a lot of my friends in elementary and jr. high school had parents that were divorcing, Mom and Dad reassured me more than once that they would never, ever do that. And I didn’t have any reason to question them.

Though their address has changed many times through the years, their love for each other and their companionship has remained steady. When my dad gets a wild new idea, Mom doesn’t shoot him down. When Mom wants Dad to try a new diet or exercise regimen, Dad always gives it a little try. 🙂 They bike together, grow plants and veggies and strawberries together, travel together and encourage their kids (that’s me!) to always follow hard after God, no matter how far from home that might take us. Or them.

Dad always comes up with something clever and sweet to celebrate the love they share on their anniversary. Some years its been a banner staked in the ground at Lake Harriet that told the world “Hip hip hooray! 10 Years today!” while we ate chinese takeout and then an anniversary cake appeared from the car trunk to share with friends that suddenly appeared. 🙂 One year he had hats made that said “HIS” and “HERS” and the date they were married. Dad wore the one that said “HERS” and Mom the one that said “HIS” and walked around the MN State Fair (which always falls over their anniversary) to the booths of each radio station we frequently listened to in an attempt to get on the air on their special day. Most recently, the Better Together t-shirts – pretty genius. I can’t remember if it was a banner or a t-shirt that said, “She was the best then and better now”, and the banner from last year that repeated the joy of their 10th anniversary, with 22 years more of history tacked on.

I’m very grateful for every year of love and life that God has given my parents. I’m grateful for their example and encouragement to press on, follow God and love each other. They match and complement each other in the best ways. Life IS better when you’re together. I love you, Mom and Dad. Happy Anniversary! (and I hope your fried eyeballs can see clearly now!)