Today is a big day in our family!! It's a day worth celebrating for lots of reasons, but none more than it's the birthday of my man! And not just any birthday, this is a BIG one :) I get to rub that in just a little bit because I have 6 years to go before I catch up and have to face 4-0 in the face! But today I wanted to share some pics of the man we love so much and tell you a few reasons why he makes our lives so great! I just grabbed some photos from my iphoto library today, in no particular order. They are all pictures that make me smile when I think of Trav and they show the many hats he wears and roles he plays in many lives. Mostly I hope they show what a GIFT he is to the kids and I.
We met when Trav was just 28 and I was 22. Honestly, apart from some grey hairs, some added muscle and lines on his face that make him wiser, he barely looks any different from when we met. You have aged well, babe!
Travis a big lover of sports! And games and fun. Basically if there's an option to run around, he's all over it. Of course that comes in handy for student ministry and especially for having kids! He cracks me up as age creeps up and plays more of a factor these days...talk of "slowing down" or watching from the sidelines every now and then is simply not an option! I try hard before summer camp to remind him that he doesn't have to keep up with 13 year olds, but as you can see, I usually lose that argument. He's an all or nothing guy, which I secretly love about him, even if it means I get to play the role of nurse after camp is over when all those muscles are screaming in protest :) ha ha! I can't imagine 40 will slow him down one bit.
Even before we met, Trav was coaching a variety of sports at the school he taught for in Florida. For the last few years he's returned to coaching varsity soccer at a christian school near us and it's been a great ride for all of us. He's a great coach and he loves the game of soccer, but not more than he loves investing in young men and teaching them lots of important things on and off the field about character and perseverence and leadershipe. etc. The kids and I love to go to as many games as we can and we make it very clear that no matter what, we love the coach! I often bring my camera along, not because I need any more pictures of his soccer team, but just because I love to take his picture. I think he's the best part of watching every game :)
We found this cute store while celebrating our 10th anniversary last year and of course, I needed a pic! So thankful for a partner in life that I love and adore. We've had a decade together of marriage and few more years of growing old under our belts. In many ways, 40 seems like a page turn into another chapter that I can't wait to experience.
Nothing like sharing the excitment of baby #3 with a man who knows how to find the joy in the moment! So thankful that he is the one who I get to do this parenting thing with. He's the best kind of balance for me, not that that's the only reason why I am thankful for him. But it's a serious perk. For all of the worrying and planning and thinking-things-through that I tend to do, ad nausem, Trav is the one who reminds me to relax, and trust The Lord, and just enjoy life! He's the product of Solomon's conclusions in Ecclesiastes!
Nothing sweeter than seeing your husband become a daddy and for us, to see him become the daddy of a little girl first. He's such a tender hearted man for Ava to be loved by and he does a great job embracing all the things that make her tick. And naturally, she thinks her Daddy hangs the moon. In this particular picture, Travis and Ava were about to head out on a little daddy-daughter date last November. Trav and I were supposed to go to a college play to see a former student of ours, but I was newly pregnant and very naseous, so I suggested Ava take my ticket and of course, she was ready and willing and her daddy was excited too. I love when they get time together and with another boy on the way, I know this will only grow to be more precious for the two of them.
Of all the moments between us that I have frozen in my heart and mind, seeing Trav hold our babies in the hospital when they were fresh and new and ours, has to rank right up at the top. This is a pic of him with our new nephew Sawyer from a month ago, but seeing him with a newborn in his arms again, only makes me more excited for another little one in his Daddy's arms. Such a blessing and so sweet to behold. Can't wait.
Not only does Ava love her Daddy, but so does Carter. These two together are something else, two peas in a pod or as they say, "a chip off the old block!" Carter lives for the moment Trav walks in the door every day and I never take that personally because I hope he always loves his Daddy like that. They are rough and tumble and loud and wild together, everything they should be. One of the things Carter told me that he loves about his Daddy is "playin guns and swords!" Classic. I can only imagine the noise and the sounds when Walker joins the party! I love that Trav can throw Carter over his shoulder and wrestle one minute and then get down on the floor to read a book or snuggle up in his bed to read him a bedtime story and sing songs together.
One of my favorite pictures from our trip to Charleston a couple of Novembers ago. We left the kids with my sister and brother in law and enjoyed a dinner out together. Trav is the reason we have driven all over the coutnry and made our own adventures and memories together. I can usually come up with 10 reasons why we should just stay home, but he is the one who encourages me to live and enjoy life. That's a good thing for someone like me. So thankful I get to live life with him most of all!
Somehow I got duped into marrying an outdoorsman! When we met, he was a Florida guy who loved the beach and running and golfing, etc. Never had any idea he was into camping or fishing or a million other things that are right up that alley, but surprise! Maybe more than anything else, those are the activities that make his heart beat strong. He LOVES to be outside and he's doing his best to pass that on to our kids. I'm ok with it, I'm starting to embrace more and more of these things that create epic loads of laundry for me or keep me awake at night with worry :) He fits right in with the Minnesotans who fish through ice and think canoeing in the boundry waters of Canada is a "vacation!" It's all good, I think the term "wild at heart" is especially applicable to my husband!
I found these old pics of him last summer and confirmed what I always wondered...
Like father, like son!
One of the things that is unique about ministry is sharing Trav with many other people. I'm so thankful that he has had the opportunity to be like a Dad to many kids whose own Dads have left or abandoned them, that's truly a privilege and a high calling. I've shed lots of tears over the years reading sweet cards and notes and facebook messages from kids who have thanked him or parents who have let him know the impact he's made. It's not always easy to let him go when we'd rather have him at home, but I see the way The Lord has redeemed Trav's own story of growing up and the ways he's used his own heartaches to reach out and be a blessing in return. The Lord has used all the parts of Trav's life that he's allowed Him to heal and redeem and it's a joy to see it in action.
It's a joy to support him and the ministry God has gifted him for, but I'm also very, very thankful for a husband who works overtime to make sure that his own family never gets the short end of the stick. He is so amazing at being around for us and making us his priority over his job. That's a rare thing in this culture of career minded men. He burns the candle at both ends many, many days and we are the lucky recipients of that effort.
To be fair though, ministry has also given him some great perks over the years! Like this Fall when the Duck Dynasty family came to our Church for a fundraiser at the school Trav coaches for. We got to host Mountain Man in junior high that morning and my man LOVED it!! So fun to be a part of that and to hear his testimony of how The Lord changed his life.
Also fun for Trav to pray over him and for the many challenges that the spotlight brings. I got to talk to him later (mountain man, whose name is Tim in real life) and he told me "what a fiiiinnnnneee man your husband is. Ha! I had to agree!
This is the guy that still makes my heart skip a beat when he comes home . Really. I just love him and even though we've been married long enough to really bug each other some days and just step on every last nerve the other one has left, at the end of the night I can't be mad for long. I just like him too much! And he doesn't fight very well because he's forgiving and patient and long suffering...all that stuff that's really irritating when you just want to be mad :) Not that I know anything about that...
On the day we learned we were having another boy!
Seriously, how can you not laugh with him??? He even makes trick or treating for hours on end, fun!
He doesn't ever waste opportunities to photo-bomb me either. Just trying to thank the sweet girl who made this scarf for me and of course, Trav saw that as a perfect chance to thank her too!
Really, truly I am blessed to be married to a man I love and admire and respect and enjoy. He is the leader that God knew I would need, the one who can win me over without a word, just by his steady and Godly example. It's pretty convicting to be married to him sometimes! He makes our life so much FUN, he is my load-lifter, never putting pressure on me and always trying to get me to stop demanding so much of myself. He's not perfect, he is as human as everyone, but he's a wonderful work in progress and we love him like crazy.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the one thing that makes him so amazing and that is seeing The Lord at work in him. I can probably count on one hand the number of days I haven't seen him with his Bible in hand, pouring over it and letting The Lord speak to Him before he begins his day. It's the most consistent thing in his life and the thing that has shaped him the most. It's an honor to watch your husband grow and deepen his walk with Jesus, it's been life-changing for me as well. I know that we owe everything to Jesus and to the power of His word in our hearts. Birthdays will come and go and who knows how many we'll get to celebrate together?? I'm praying and asking for a lifetime of them but the hope we share in Jesus trumps anything we share here on Earth.
I love you so much Trav. Forty years looks so good on you!! I'm so happy to be your wife, so thankful to be raising our kids with you and living life together, serving Jesus. Let's do many more of these together, ok??