I'll probably post later on the story of how Joel and I met. But for today, I'll give you a glimpse of the guy I call "Joelers". He hates that name, by the way.
Joel's an east coast man, all the way. He loves the outdoors and the simplicity of life that the northeast offers. It would be his dream someday, for us to abandon life in Indiana and move to the middle of nowhere in the mountains - to a place where we're surrounded by land and not by people. We're still negoitating this dream.
He's easily one of the smartest people I've met or know. He loves to read and is constantly in the middle of a few books at once. There's a stack of books and magazines always sitting on the floor next to his side of the bed. Joel remembers details easily and constantly reminds me of the details I leave out when telling a story or relaying information I read.
He loves his girls dearly. I didn't know how Joel would do with a daughter, let alone two, but those two girls are his life. He has a great balance of being extremely gentle but firm in his parenting. I've known very few men who work as hard as he does to make sure his girls are taken care of. And even when he works two jobs in the same day, he finds time to sit on the floor with our oldest and play Lego or color in a picture.
Joel is an amazing husband. He's hands-down the better spouse in our marriage - incredibly selfless, gentle, loving and patient. He adjusted to marriage immediately and was so patient with me as I took a few months to let-go of my singleness and become a partner with him. He knows me better than I know myself often times, and constantly encourages me so that I can be a better mother, wife and friend.
He has a hunger to know God better. Joel was not a Christian when we first met. I'll get into his testimony at another time. But right from the start of his faith, he wanted to know more. We teach our church's Junior High Sunday School class, and his love for the students is really amazing to watch - he wants for them to know Him better and strives to be the best example he can to the kids.
And of course, Joel loves our country. He has given up so much so that he can dedicate his life to the military. He's absolutely passionate about what he does and who he serves with. He's about to go on his fourth deployment - this time to the Middle East. Just days after 9/11, he was called up and later deployed to Diego Garcia. In 2007, he served in Kirkuk, Iraq and in 2009 went to England for a 3-month tour in support of the war.
He is my warrior, my husband, my partner and my best friend. I am absolutely blessed to have a man in my life who lives with such conviction. And it is my honor to stand beside him and support him as he goes away to do what I know God created him to do.