Happy Birthday, Amanda!

IMG_3929 I’ve spent the past few days in Indiana for our annual holiday trip. We alternate celebrating Amanda’s birthday and Christmas in Indiana, and we’re on a birthday year.

Amanda’s birthday is today, and I gave her a package of dog-training lessons (Amanda’s doing great, Gianna needs the lessons.) That’s not the most romantic gift, I know, but a gift that should keep on giving.

Most people already know how Amanda is awesome. Many people who knew me first have realized they got a good deal for putting up with me long enough to befriend Amanda. I thought now’s a good time to express some of the reasons why I admire her so much.

Humor: Amanda is hilarious in a peculiar way. In fact, Amanda threw me off when we first met because she uses the word “hilarious” as a catch-all to describe any person or scenario that is abnormal, funny, or strange. It’s her own vague definition that I’m still trying to figure out in practice. Amanda always looks to make people laugh and does so in mostly physical ways. She’s like a modern Lucille Ball. She’ll dress up, contort her face, launch into impressions, etc. She laughs with people, never at them. Our friend Daisha says, “Amanda is the funniest person I know.” I think people share that sentiment because they associate time spent with her with laughing. She also has a great sense of humor, always finding good intent and faking a laugh just to make the joker feel good, which is good news for me.

Fearlessness: Amanda’s brother Ty told me a story about a time when teenage Amanda – a naturally gifted athlete and runner – heard about a school-record track time that she said she could run. Her brother challenged her on the spot. Amanda didn’t bother to change out of her jeans before she shot out the door to challenge the time running the same distance. She came back home at approximately the same time as the record, hardly breathing hard or sweating, as Ty recalled. Now a high school cross-country coach, Ty tells the story to his girl’s team as motivation as the time Amanda ran casually would still qualify for a state race today. I don’t know a sport, competition or challenge Amanda won’t try.

Compassion: Amanda has an incredible heart, especially for people in a bad spot. When she was young, her Dad says she’d get an allowance on vacations and would give all the money to the first homeless person she saw. I’ve picked up the phone several times and she’s on the other end asking if she can sponsor a child in Africa because the mission guy she’s talking to on the street is so nice and we can afford to help. I always imagine the World Vision person looking at her curiously as she probably contemplates the decision with more research and passion on the spot than any other passerby. In early adulthood, Amanda has volunteered through church groups and led troubled youth in outdoors camps. She’s been a great support for me and all of our friends and family in difficult times. She’s a steady rock for those she knows and doesn’t.

Prayer: Amanda is a great Christian, but this isn’t meant to be a religious compliment. I went to church frequently when I attended Catholic grade school, but I don’t remember a lot that the priest said over the years. I was busy coloring. But I remember him saying once: “Your best prayers aren’t for yourself.” In that respect, Amanda is an example. She looks out for you. Whether it be church or meditation or yoga poses, I often feel like I focus on myself too much, and I see other people in those acts focusing on their center, their interests, their peace of mind. That's fine, but the more we help each other, the better we all end up. Amanda always prioritizes others in her prayers and reflections. She focuses her emotions and energies unselfishly, and we are all blessed to receive that affection.

For these and many more reasons, I'm a proud husband!

Happy birthday, Amanda! You are loved.