Good morning Kate (and the rest of the world),
Today you are * years old. As we are now six hours ahead of the rest of your friends and family plus I was up late, I am fairly confident that I was the first to express my birthday greetings to you (Sorry, Jessica!). We had get used to this too: *Vse najbolšje.
I have no doubt that you are in a very different place today than you thought you would be ten years ago. Of course, the biggest difference might be geographical (Sorry, Bill and Sue!), but no doubt in so many other areas as well. I want you to know that I am so proud of you. One of the very first memories I have of you is when you ignored me at the junior activity we worked together at the Bill Rice Ranch. I had no hope that you would ever pay attention to me. As I became acquainted with you though (you did finally speak to me), I was so impressed with you.
Yet, looking back on the Katie that I met and fell in love with so many years ago, you are not the same person. You are all of that, and yet so much more. You are still quirky at times (yes, I know that I have no to room to speak), but I don't know what I would do if I didn't have to plug in a toaster everytime I needed toast and kajmak. I'm not sure that I wouldn't even recognize the Katie I first met. You have grown so much as a person and a follower of Christ. I know that I wouldn't know the John of a decade ago–thanks to you!
I am grateful that you have never given up on me, even though I am sure you wanted to sometimes. You were supportive early in our marriage when we went through the ordeal at Cove Creek. You have never (ok, rarely) had a problem sharing your advice and concerns. You really don't know how much I value your thoughts! You are a wonderful and loving mother. Andrew and Elijah are blessed to have a mother that is as caring as attentive as mine was (Thanks Mom for showing me what I should look for in a wife). Kate, you have not quit despite it often being the appealing option–tough nursing jobs, tough church situations, stupid husband decisions and actions, travelling the country with a screaming child and repeatedly being put in difficult circumstances, moving away from everything that you have ever known, and being put into language school.
You have continued to follow Christ. You have continued to love me and the boys. You have continued to appropriately "remind" me (I would say nag, but it's not a bad thing if you are supposed to do it!) of things that I need to do to help our marriage, family, boys, and ministry.
I know that at times (OK, much of the time) I can be a control freak and perfectionist. Thank you for helping me begin to break some of those bad habits. Thank you for being gracious and loving but also for not letting me get away with stuff. I trust you. I value you. And I love you. I didn't marry you, because I was lookign for an assistant or secretary. I didn't marry you, so I would have someone to drag around the world. I married you, because you complete me. Don't allow the expectations of others or yourself ever confuse that. While you are talented in ministry and life (piano playing, singing, children's minsitry, organization, nursing…and the list could go on and on), your value to me, your family, and Christ is not from what you do, but who you are. Find what you want to do, and what the Lord wants you to do, and do it.
As you go to another day of learning Slovene half a world away from where you thought you would be today, know that I couldn't imagine my life without you.
Happy birthday, Kate!