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Noah and Maria are married! I'm very happy for them. I grew up with Noah and went to school with him through 8th grade, but then different high schools, and different cities for college and beyond, but we have both made the effort to stay connected. Below is the toast that I wrote and then read at the reception. I figured it appropriate to let everyone not there too, a little bit about them.

When I think of Noah, here are a few things that I think of:

I think of being treated like one of the family whenever I came over to play. Getting into trouble together. Growing up together. Learning together. Ok, you want specifics.

Did you know that when you press steel wool onto a 9-volt battery, it burst into flames? Noah and I discovered that together, nearly burning down the Koontz shed in the process.

Did you know that in the Koontz household, computer time was dished out to the kids - far more than the TV, and years before the computer was the common tool it is today? Noah and I discovered many technologies together over the years, which is THE primary reason that I'm in the Computer Science field today.

Did you know that Noah is an avid: backpacker, runner, cycler, white water rafter, canoer, swimmer, and caver? Did you know that, Maria? Did you know that at a moment's notice, he may begin choosing these activities as family vacations? These are all things Noah & I have explored together, and it brings me to more concepts that remind me of him. Adventurous, to a fault. Just last night I heard about Noah snapping a photo of a Canadian border official, and then lying when later questioned about it!

Noah, I don't know anyone who is more capable of laughter amidst personal difficulties than you. What it means is that I can no longer distinguish your sense of joy and compassion from your strength of perseverance. It has been a joy - and really a miracle - for me to see you overcome childhood social difficulties, to nurture many friendships in high school - old friends and new alike - and even to become the life of parties in college. To me the amazing and Christlike part about it is the method by which you've overcome difficulties. Instead of closing up and disguising yourself, you've opened yourself to the world, and become increasingly vulnerable - in a good way - to those around you. How many of us can boast that? Not many. Noah, I daresay that you are taking the short, quick path to being a child of God, while the rest of us are taking the long uphill path.

When I think of Maria, what do I think of? The first thing I think is, Noah, how the heck did you pull that of?? A beautiful young woman walks into a computer store asking for help. She has an amazing familythat took great care to be the best they could be for her, and she unwittingly steps into the realm of Noah Koontz, and finally she has found one person to which she can both give and receive 100%. Maria, when I think of Noah's perseverance in everything, I've seen very clearly in the last few years that his relationship with you captures the reality of it most fully. He will do anything for you.

It's an understatement for me to say I'm excited to see the coming years. As the two of you - and your extended family - continue to grow together, you become an increasingly powerful force for good in the world. You can count on me - and everyone else here - to be in the front row of your cheering section! I love you both and pray often for you. May God remain the center and foundation of your love! Thanks for giving us this day, Noah & Maria Koontz!

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