I am SO excited to share this Anniversary Session with you today — mostly because I know just how absolutely incredible the two people featured in it’s images are. Caleb + I were lucky enough to spend a couple of hours one evening just about a week ago with Gary + Jen … and MY gosh, we left feeling just … SO lucky + so thankful + SO encouraged. There are a million things I could share about our time with them, but I’ll have to stick with just the biggest takeaways (so you actually read this)!!
We learned that you CAN be married + still consider your spouse your BEST FRIEND + greatest teammate. That after 40 years, you can still laugh + be goofy + have really sweet child-like moments together. We learned that it’s NEVER too late to pursue a lifelong dream — did I mention, never too late? We learned that scary, unpredictable, really difficult times WILL come, but that through those times, your team is strengthened … your respect, admiration, + love grows in ways your never knew to be possible. I’m so excited to introduce these two to you — Meet Gary + Jen, 40 years together + counting : )
1. Where do you two live + what is one of your favorite things about your city?
We live in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin. We are out in the middle of the woods + the peacefulness + animals + birds are great. On the other hand, we are in a military area + when the F16’s fly over, well … you can’t describe it.
2. How did you two meet + how long have you been married?
We met at a party Gary was having at his parent’s house. As he likes to tell people, that’s where I “picked him up”! We got married on July 24th, 1976 + have been married for 40 years.
3. Gary, what is one of your favorite things about Jen? Jen, what is one of your favorite things about Gary?
G: Her smile
J: His patience
4. What has been a day-to-day challenge of marriage that you weren’t necessarily expecting? How do you battle that challenge?
Money — always as with so many couples. You find things to do that aren’t going to dig into the funds you need for everyday living.
5. What is one of your favorite things about marriage? What do you love about it!?
We both love the fact that we’re spontaneous + try to keep things light + fun.
6. What is the hardest thing (or one of) that you have experienced in your marriage? How did you overcome this trial + how has it helped you to grow + flourish as a couple?
There are two things. The first is building our home. It helped us realize how well we could work together + come out still “liking” each other. The second is a very bad accident that Gary was in + almost died. This taught us to not take things or each other for granted, + that every day is a blessing from God.
Gary’s lifelong dream has been to build his own house. After working for Miller for over 30 years, Gary retired + with the encouragement of Jen, the dreaming began. Just a few years ago, these two bought land so that Gary could truly accomplish this dream. During the process of building the house, Gary had a bad accident, but after he recuperated, they were able to continue working. By the grace of God, they were able to accomplish this dream!! It’s still a “work in progress”, as they tell us, but this home was literally built from the ground up by the hands you see in these photos. They started with trees — trees that were still alive + standing in the ground — cut them down, had them milled (you get the idea!), and have now created this incredible masterpiece of a home. Every step of the way, they have been a team in accomplishing Gary’s lifelong dream together : )
“When we were building, he told me, ‘You can’t screw this up! I can fix anything if you make a mistake.’ He helped me to be brave + taught me things that I never thought I was capable of doing.”
These two are SO much fun. I honestly just love them so much : )
Love this one : )