First of all, this is a somewhat futile exercise, because to know my amazing wife, Jenni, you really have to meet her. But since inviting all of you over to my house would land me in a great deal of hot water, I’ll do my best to give you a glimpse of her here.
A few basics facts about us:
- We met in sixth grade
- We started dating our senior year of high school
- We married at age 22, weeks after we both graduated college
- We have been married more than 30 years (and it keeps getting better)
- I’ll save you the math… we are both well over 50
- We have three beautiful, grown daughters.
- Even though we are in the “empty nest” stage, family is still a high priority for us.
Jenni has a zest for life that is completely contagious, and she finds joy even in the tiniest of things. For example, she screams excitedly every time she sees a bunny in our yard or as we drive along (yes this can be a hazard when I am driving, but I’ve gotten attuned to it).
As children of that age often feel, our teenage kids all tended to be a bit embarrassed of their mother’s quirky, fun, outgoing nature. The thing is, all their friends just LOVE Jenni, and wish she were their mother too.
She is a total anglophile. She loves everything English: tea, scones, English movies, British accents. We have traveled there together “on holiday” three times, and she has been back several times without me, with friends or to do children’s ministry training.
Which leads me to tell you that my wife has an amazing and undeniable gift with children. She has a way of reaching them and connecting with them that astounds me and many others. She says it’s because she is really just a six year old inside. She has taught school at various times throughout our marriage, and has recently gone back to teaching Kindergarten in addition to leading our church’s children’s ministry team. She has a heart to see kids of all ages, from the youngest to oldest, connect with God in a genuine way.
She has also traveled the globe spreading the message that kids deserve the full gospel experience, not to be babysat in a back room while their parents get the real deal. In her travels she trains other children’s teams and also ministers directly to children. This ministry has carried her to an amazing list of foreign countries, considering she was afraid to fly a few years ago.
We tease that she is a strong-willed child (remember she is really six years old inside). Tell her NOT to do something and she feels compelled to do it. She has two gold molars to prove this fact from the time I once cautioned her not to walk out on some slippery rocks.
Jenni is an open book. She wears her emotions very close to the surface, whether it’s anxiety or joy, doubt or enthusiasm, disdain or love, you pretty much know what she is thinking and feeling. She is the opposite of me in this regard, but we also balance each other in that way. Actually we are opposites in many ways, but it works.
She has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. One way this comes out is the way she is very generous in giving people the benefit of the doubt. At one point when I became angry at another driver’s abysmal road etiquette, she said to me, “Maybe his wife is having a baby and he is rushing to the hospital.” Really, she said that. And I think she meant it.
I love this woman with all my heart. As I said earlier, I could never give an accurate portrayal in mere words. But hopefully I’ve given you a fair glimpse of this amazing woman I get to call my one true love.