I had one of those life maps all worked out.

I anticipated that my first decade out of college would be spectacular. It would consist of a quick ascent to ministerial success [clergical rockstardom, if you will] that would afford me opportunities for financial security and national acclaim. I'd be speaking at conferences, writing books— I'd be respected as a ecclesiastical genius.

Yeah, um, didn't quite work out that way.

The reason I start the post concerning our tenth anniversary this way is because I believed I'd be living a totally different life now. If you told that naive young lad in the picture above that he'd be living in the city, pastoring a church of forty people, and living in relative obscurity, he might have ushered himself to the back room and had a good cry. But despite the deviation complete implosion of my ten-year plan there was one thing that kept me sane.

Yes, I had Kelly.

How I convinced that girl that I was worthy of marrying is beyond me. While some might suggest that her acquiescence on August 1, 1998 proves her own mental imbalance, I would agree; you have to be pretty messed up to want to spend the rest of your life with someone like me. But perhaps that's why we get along so perfectly: we're just messed up enough that we offset each other.

I don't mean to boast but [ah, hell, we made it this long so I'm going all out] our marriage is amazing. Sure we have our fights, but we know how to fight. We get it all out and then move on, usually laughing at each other within minutes. Kelly is a constant encourager [which I need more than I realize] and she enjoys the little things in life which are easy for me to provide. She never hesitates to go along with my crazy ideas and has proved it by living in four different places this decade. And, like me, she is passionate for Cincinnati. Not only did she take my last name, by she adopted my hometown and has made it her own.

Obviously, I could write a book about all that my wife has meant to me but the most important thing today is that it doesn't feel like it's been ten years. It feels like we're just getting started in this thing. I still wake up passionately in love with the woman next to me, looking forward to my life with her.

So my ten-year plan didn't work out. But at least I got one thing right, and that was Kelly. Regardless of what happens in the decades to come, I know the person standing by my side is unwavering. And that, my friends, is better than any kind of rockstardom.

And with the way God has provided for me during the past decade, I'm beyond blessed and fully satisfied.

Happy Anniversary, babe.