Eighteen Years and Loyalty

Jennifer and I got married the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so the two events have always been linked in my mind.

Eighteen years is a long time together… plus three and a bit more years of knowing her before getting married. It’s hard to remember what life was like before Jennifer came along wearing a blue and white plaid dress, that smile and those eyes.

Writing about having a better marriage in your real name requires a great deal of faith in your partner. At any point she likes, Jennifer can nuke me and MMSL into the ground.  The fallout, both emotional and financially, from her leaving me or cheating would be truly epic. The honest truth though is that I didn’t really think about that aspect of things over much because I have such faith in her loyalty and desire to do the right thing.

Looking back, I think the last few years have been the most interesting and valuable. I’ve learned more about myself, Jennifer and life in general these last three years than everything that happened before I started writing MMSL. I think we’re far more conscious of each other as a couple and appreciative of each other. We’ve grown a lot. This year we named “The Year of Transition” as I switched roles from nurse to writer. 2011 was “The Year of Survival”, dad passed away, we were broke and we pulled through. We didn’t name 2010, though looking back, “The Year of Starting” would have been good.

This next year is “The Year of Body Building”. We’ve both finally seemed to sync up with interest and motivation with exercise and are loving our gym time. Plus it also means me creating a body of work. I’ve transitioned enough and I really really have to start producing more books and bits and pieces. It’s with a degree of awkward awareness that I’ve realized my MMSL income equals what my nursing income was. Like I can only earn X dollars and no more. There’s some sort of mental barrier there I need to punch through. Plus as anyone who has written a book knows… it’s much nicer to think about writing a book than to actually write one. In fact it’s probably nicer to think about writing a book than to have actually written one.

Anyway… something I wrote a long time ago. I’m not exactly sure when I wrote it, I think 2004-5, but I printed it off nice and framed it. I don’t write much poetry and I know I had zero concept of MMSL in my head at the time.


I am thankful for the gift of writing.

The gift is to enrich myself and my family,

by awakening miracles in the lives of others.

The talent is the call.

With acceptance and openness,

the right words cannot help but come.

Not the trumpet of ego,

not the strain of intelligence,

but the documentation of my heart,

connected to the source.

When I perform my proper action,

support and opportunity are created around me.

Like a bird on a thermal.

The flow is peace and freedom.

Neither work or play,

writing is my act of faith,

reaping joy, wealth, love and healing.


Yes I know there’s a paradox. On one hand I have no use for God or magical thinking, on the other hand everything seems to have driven me to this point with a purpose and I use words like “faith” and “source”. Just roll with it, I do. It’s a whole other topic.

So this Thanksgiving / Wedding Anniversary, I am thankful for three things. For Jennifer, for the gift of writing and for having a fanbase. I’m also deeply thankful that I have an audience. That people write to me and ask questions. That people let me know how much of a difference Jennifer and I have made in their lives. Truly.

Anyway… as per MMSL wedding anniversary tradition… Dave Dobbyn sings “Loyal”. This time in the basement with the Finn brothers (a.k.a “Crowded House”)  Usually I frame it as a tribute to Jennifer, which it is, but I’m also more aware this Thanksgiving that I need to be loyal too and not stop doing what got me here.


  1. Inspiring poem.

    I like the Year of Body Building. I am finally attempting to swing kettlebells, which I staunchly refused to do for the last 3 years. Here goes nothing!

    Happy Anniversary to Jennifer&Athol.

  2. Happy Anniversary Kids!

    May you have many, many more even better than before.

  3. “I have a fanbase.”

    I nominate this statement for the Understatement of the Century award.

    seriously bro, thank you. you’re making an incredible difference.

  4. Happy anniversary! May you have 18 and 18 more!

    You can’t fathom the difference you’ve both made in our lives. :)

  5. Thanks all. Much appreciated.

  6. Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Kay.

  7. whatmeworry says:

    ‘I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.’

    But seriously,
    Happy Anniversary. Approaching the baker’s dozen myself.

  8. Happy anniversary, Athol and Jennifer. I hope that you have many, many more happy years together. My husband and I also got married the Saturday after Thanksgiving (although a few years before you!). I feel very blessed to have a wonderful husband and marriage, but I have learned things here that made it even better. I appreciate what both of you are doing here.


  9. Happy anniversary – but please, no more DD

  10. Here’s to spouses picking good ‘uns and keeping ‘em. And, here’s to Athol and MMSL helping them keep ‘em. May you keep yours for many, many years to come.

  11. Have been married 16 years myself I can totally relate to you as you share your love for your wife. So much of what you brought up Athol is a wonderful refection of the years gone by. The one thing that touched me was the three things you are thankful for. My wife and I do a I’m Thankful For time each year during the Thanksgiving holiday. This year we decided to share that with our listeners, http://www.oneextraordinarymarriage.com/144-im-thankful-for. It’s amazing what can happen when both spouses are willing to share what they are thankful for in their marriage and their spouse.

    Happy belated anniversary.

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