There is no doubt that meeting Ann was an integral part of God's plan for my life and she has been the most amazing wife to me and mother to our children. Ann and I met twenty seven years ago when we were both touring as professional musicians. She was a singer and dancer and I was a trumpet player. We would never have been paired up on eHarmony and there were plenty of reasons that we were not the traditional 'perfect match.' Ann, nearly six years my senior, married me when I was just twenty one. Her mother was deeply concerned that she was marrying someone so young and void of any 'real job' prospects other than playing the trumpet. There were so many practical reasons why it was not a good idea, but God had a plan for our lives together. We truly believed that and we were in love.
His plan would include three children with red hair. I remember us constantly being questioned about how our three kids ended up with red hair. Frankly, we were more surprised than anyone else. When Joy was born, we chalked up the red hair to chance as we both had some cousins with red hair. When our son Jim was born (also with red hair), we were stunned but thankful for the 'matching set' God had blessed us with. When our third child, Faith, was also born with red hair we just could not believe it. My grandfather did have a full head of red hair and that generation skipping gene seemed to best explain our very Irish looking children.
After our first couple of years of marriage, I decided what I wanted to do with my life and pursued a career as a stockbroker. Times were not just good, but great. Money was pouring in and we enjoyed a wonderful lifestyle for many years. So much so that Ann was able to stop teaching and become a 'stay at home mom.' After starting my own business in the early 1990's our financial picture continued to just get brighter and brighter. In 2001, however, my situation dramatically took a turn for the worse when a relative embezzled nearly two million dollars from my businesses.
Our 'perfect life' was becoming a total disaster. I ended up in bankruptcy, we lost our home to foreclosure, and Ann ended up going back to work or we would have ended up homeless (no kidding). It was at the lowest of my lows that I truly realized how special my wife was. Ann told me that no matter how bad things got that she loved me and would stand by me. This assurance was without a doubt the only earthly thing I had to hold on to. If not for Ann I know I would have never made it through those very difficult years.
Twenty five years, a quarter century, two and a half decades... it has been a wild ride with lots of ups and downs. God gave me not just a wife but a best friend. When virtually everyone deserted me during my down years, Ann was there for me. They say you don't really know who your friends are until the chips are down (and I had completely run out of chips). In earthly terms, there were probably quite a lot of reasons why we were not a logical match but there is no question that our marriage was divine providence.
We were married at Grace Brethren Church on a Monday night in Long Beach November 10, 1986. A wedding on a Monday night? Odd, but if we wanted a Saturday we would have had to wait over a year for an opening (its a California thing). God delivered into my life an amazing blessing and today, twenty five years later, I thank Him so much for Ann.
I love you Ann! Ready for another 25?
(Yes, you can see from the recent picture that she has aged much better than me).