I woke up this morning with a 50-year-old woman in my bed.

Carrie-Anne today hits the half-century mark, joining me in my fifties now, together, and beginning her sixth decade of life as an adorable little ball of fire with big hair, big opinions, and a big heart.

Valerie is coming home from OC today, just in time for our traditional family birthday dinner. Carrie-Anne is wearing her Mama Bear shirt today proudly. She loves our three daughters fiercely. And they all take after her in different ways: Whitney has her mom’s tender heart, Valerie has her mom’s looks and facial expressions, Carley has acquired Carrie-Anne’s relentless drive. They all three demonstrate C-A’s greatest attributes and character traits.

Me? I’m a much better man because Carrie-Anne is my wife. She keeps me grounded and humble, but she also encourages me and protects me. She shows me what it looks like to love our Lord faithfully. She reveals facets of God’s nature and his great love and grace I would never see nor experience without Carrie-Anne showing me.

She loves sleeping in, Blue Bell Buttered Pecan, and This Is Us. She wants foods of several different colors on the dinner plate every night, she bleaches everything, and she can’t find her keys or her phone. Carrie-Anne hates the Amarillo dust and loves the low Amarillo humidity — it keeps her hair, um, less big. And she unflinchingly reflects the glory of our God to every family member, student, friend, and neighbor she knows. What a beautiful, beautiful woman — inside and out.

I love you, darling. Happy Birthday.