When this photo came back from our wedding photographer, Daniel McQuade, I said to Jimmy, "Well this one is perfect of you! Shows exactly who you are and how I see you all the time, but look at me! I look like I am trying to crinkle up my nose, one eye looks completely black and my hair is out of place. We can't use this one for our engagement announcement."
He replied right away, "Tal, you are beautiful! I only look so happy because I am with you. I wouldn't trade you, your crinkle nose, messed up hair, or black eye for anything. That is you...the you that I fell in love with!"
Needless to say, after he relayed his personal view of the photo, I cried.
The above photo pretty much sums up our first year of marriage: Happy and in love even through those "mess ups" of life.
As I have detailed in other posts, Jimmy and I met and were engaged very quickly [few days shy of four months].
We both just knew.
That "knowing" feeling that makes you feel complete, whole, loved, fearless of the future.
We both had that feeling for one another and all those around us could see it too.
So we planned our dream wedding for six months, the day came, and the day went, but that day was the day that we pledged our lives to one other even through the trials, tribulations, successes and failures. He was my "one" and I knew no matter what happened in my life, as long as he was by my side, it would be a life well lived.
Has our first year of marriage been "perfect?"
But it was perfect for us.
I have always been big on learning something from every experience and no, our marriage won't be an experience for me, it will be a lifetime, but I am detailing what I learned through our perfect first year.
Learned Lessons....Learned Loves
[Combination of things learned and things already known, but repeated during our first year]
Jimmy is a news junkie!
We have to watch the 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. news every night no matter what.
To him, it means life or death.
He even has a DVR timer.
Jimmy is addicted to Facebook.
Not addicted to posting things - because he rarely does - but addicted checking to see what everyone else is posting. Many dinner table conversations have been abruptly stopped due to his Facebook scrolling, but he always says "Tal, I could be out running the streets, but I'm not. I'm here, cuddled up on the couch with you, Facebooking. What's the harm?"
I just laugh and find it so baffling because he is Mr. Hard-Worker, never-rest-for-a-minute, but would rest for Facebook :)
Oh, Facebook, you make our lives interesting!
I married someone who everyone loves.
I knew Jimmy was a people person, but I never realized how many people would come up to me and say, "Are you are Jimmy Will's wife? Oh, we just love him. He keeps us laughing and is so comfortable to be around."
What a compliment!
When my dad and brother were over at a farm equipment sale in Ohio, they started talking up the machines and the question was brought up, "Do you know anyone in this area?" They told the gentleman about the farm that they had purchased and then started talking about Jimmy.
My dad said the gentleman just smiled when he said the name "Jimmy Will."
After they finished up at the sale and were getting ready to leave with their purchases, that same gentleman stopped my dad and took him by the arm. He said, "I am sure you already know this, but I want to tell you again what a jewel you have in Jimmy Will. You are so lucky to have him as a part of your family and I am sure he makes your daughter very happy." I just want you to know that."
My dad told me that he responded, "Oh, I know. We have known that from the start and I love him just as much as my daughter does."
When he told me about this, I just smiled and cherished that moment knowing he is mine.
I married someone who loves everyone.
I have yet to meet anyone, or hear of anyone, that Jimmy doesn't like.
Many times when I was discouraged he would take my face in his hands and speak the words I needed to hear right then.
He believes in others more than himself.
He is a dream-giver and the holder of my dreams alongside him.
He's an old soul.
When Jimmy and I first started dating, a male friend of mine said, "Tell me about him, Tal." As I started detailing Jimmy, I remember saying that he really cares about older people, that his best friend is 60 years old and just recently his other best friend had passed away. He was 87. That he doesn't go a few days without calling, or stopping in to see his grandparents and rattled off a few other facts too.
The male friend of mine looked at me like that was weird and surprised I found him amazing.
I didn't think it was weird at all!
I married an old soul.
We don't go to parties with his high school classmates, not because he doesn't want to, or we aren't invited, but because he has been invested in by other "old souls" and he continues to reinvest back into them.
We love the feeling of "you've been to church."
I thank the Lord weekly for the way Jimmy was raised - the same as myself.
We weren't allowed to miss church unless we were throwing up 10 minutes before walking out the door. It just wasn't an option and because of that fact, we will raise our children the same way too.
Our first "date" was to go see him perform in his church's play.
It was one of those original, old-time church plays, made with characters of all ages and all acting abilities. His mom was the script writer and Jimmy had one of the main roles. He acted so embarrassed that we were there [Tyler and his wife, Molli] but I beamed watching him! There were other girls in the church, and knowing nothing about any of them, while I watched him I thought, "Girls, you have met your match. He's mine!" [wink]
That was in the first week of knowing each other...
I digress....but that goes without saying that church is so important to us and in our marriage. We decided that my church would become "our" church and we cherish the feeling of "you've been to church." I am so glad that I don't have to worry about whether he is going to get up with me and go. That he is going to say the 45 minute drive is too far. That he is going to encourage me to stay home when he has to work and can't go with me.
We love the feeling, so we go because at every service we walk away with something that helps us live our lives more full through His love.
Family Time = Treasure the Time
Time has been a small commodity in our family this year.
Jimmy is has been in school all year long finishing up his R.N. certification, works full-time and farms full-time. So time is and has been very, very, very, very tight in our married life. We often have had to miss out on fun trips, much time spent with friends, and even time spent together, but whenever we can, we carve out the most time to spend with family.
We treasure that time spent.
Jimmy is even more a family man that I am.
Not that I don't like our family or love spending time with them, but my time is always split in more ways than his. We may not be the most popular friends because of our time restraints, but our family understands, and their understanding spirit encourages us to spend more time with them.
We love our house.
We rent an old farmhouse located on the farm of Jimmy's late 87-year-old friend, Kenneth Chaney.
The location of the house is not exactly ideal, but we love the house itself because it is ours.
We tried the best we could to decorate around the '70s carpet and crazy wallpaper, but really, it adds character to the place. It feels homey even amongst the different decor choices. We know it isn't ours and if it were, we would do a few renovations, but we can only imagine the stories we can tell our kids and photos we can show them.
So, no, it isn't a dream home, but we dream of our dream home in it!
Money is spent much faster
Amazing how quick money is spent on bills, groceries, utilities, insurance, etc. for two.
And yes, that was a learned reality for the both of us!
He is a farmer first.
Jimmy is a nurse, but a farmer first.
He love, love, loves farming!
Sometimes I wonder if he loves it more than me!
When he is going around on that tractor, his smile is so big that it could light up the world! I love seeing him this way and will continue to make whatever sacrifices necessary to keep that smile on his face.
I love that my husband is always encouraging us take trips together.
You would think with our time restraints that he would say we just needed to stay home, but anytime we are offered the opportunity to go somewhere, we do our best to work it into our schedule.
Whether it is a weekend away with the family, a night away in a hotel before a clinical, or just a back-road trip, he loves trips!
I enjoy this trait about him....a trait that he inherited from his parents who also take trips together as often as they can and enjoy that quite time spent together or company they visit.
I have an attitude problem and often "fight" out fights - that I perceive may happen - in my head.
I am my worst critic and the worst critic of others.
If I allow it, my mind is my worst enemy and Jimmy is constantly checking my attitude and telling me to snap out of it, or assuring me that I am acting like a crazed person and he isn't putting up with it.
This is honesty at its finest.
I love that I have a husband that doesn't allow me to walk all over him, or others.
That he checks me when I am wrong and steers me in the right direction.
Jimmy has encouraged me to follow after each of my dreams, even if that meant being away from him, costing money that we would have rather saved, changing jobs, etc.
He is there for me and gives me the wings to fly toward my dreams - whatever they may be!
I made a radical change in jobs this year.
No matter his feeling on the situation, he supported me in my decision and stood strong by me in my new endeavors.
One of my new endeavors would take a strong person, standing by my side, and on our Anniversary trip while talking about the future, he looked me in the eye, tipped up my chin and said, "I support you in anything and everything you do! Don't ever think I don't have your back. I am your biggest cheerleader."
I don't cook.
It isn't that I can't cook or don't want to, but Jimmy is on the craziest schedule that I don't know when he is coming or going. And....he eats about five things. Not sure how he survived all these years, or if he is just being this picky with me, but that is the reality of the situation.
But in three weeks when he gets out of school and has a set schedule, I will be cooking and am really looking forward to trying new recipes and getting him hooked on some new foods!
If you have any tasty, easy recipes that you can pass on, I would appreciate all the help I can get!
Gas is our friend...but we hate his cost!
The road is our friend because it allows us to get where we need to be and takes us to new places together.
Treasure Time Together
In three weeks we will be hearing the Hallelujah chorus ringing in our ears!
That will mark the end of Jimmy's schooling and the start of a new life together.
A set schedule.
No longer running here there and everywhere.
We have made a list a mile long of the things we want to do when his time frees up!
So that three-day posting rule that I made just may have to be broken a few times while we travel, do movie days/nights, fix things around the house, etc.!
We're really aren't going to know what to do with ourselves!
I knew Jimmy was an impressionist when I met him, but it is even better when you are the first person to get to see the impressions!
He keeps me laughing and his laugh is so distinct that you can pick it out in a crowd of 1,000!
I love it!
She is frugal...
Jimmy says the thing that he is most surprised by is how frugal I am.
Yes, I love nice things and have probably too many of them, but I am frugal.
I love couponing, a great deal on any article of clothing, free anything, gift cards, etc.
I am so frugal and I enjoy being that way because it isn't a "hassle" to me to do whatever I can to help our family save! Because of my frugal personality, we may be getting a hot-tub with all we have been able to save!
We shall see...
It's all about compromise.
Marriage is about compromise.
I compromised when I agreed to move to Ohio after we got married and we were able to find our cute farmhouse to rent until we found something permanent, or built.
But, I have a feeling the closer we get to "setting up roots," the closer we will be to West Virginia.
Jimmy never complains when I am in WV working or visiting friends and we compromise with a high gas bill. But same goes with his farming or hunting. He has never missed an opportunity to hunt - even went on a 10-day out West trip recently - and rarely misses an opportunity to complete his farm work due to my wish for him to be somewhere else.
We compromise constantly to make the other happy because that's what marriage is about...compromise.
Future is Bright
They always say the first year is the hardest, but I wouldn't say that applied to us at all!
Yes, at times our schedule, where we lived, the pressures of work or commitments that were put upon us were hard and no fun, but to sum up the year as "hard" is untrue.
This post was not made to brag about our marriage or try to that our marriage is flawless, because that is untrue also. We are not perfect and as I said above, our first year wasn't a walk in the park, or without a few fights here and there. But when it is all said and done, we learned those things about one another. Things that, at times, may have been hard to learn, but they were learned and now we are thankful for the both hard and fun times experiencing our first year as a married couple!
Hopefully, after we are able to settle into a more set schedule with Jimmy's work, our friends will accept our resurrection from a tiresome schedule and our families will watch over our house and cats as we hit the road for some much needed fun making memories in Year No. 2!