introducing you to my favorite unfolding story

When I first started this blog back in 2006 (what?! I know) I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to put on the world wide web. You know, because of all of the stalkers and danger and things of that nature.

john and me

I attended a few blogging conferences during those early years and privacy was a big topic. Everyone was concerned about how much was too much to share. We all have to decide what we’re comfortable with and at that time, I decided to use my name but not to use the names of those in my family. When I referred to my husband, I called him The Man because he is one and that just seemed to stick.

But now it’s 2013 and I have two books in bookstores all over the country and those books all have his name in them. And in my next book, The Man shows up even more often and I use his name because he’s a person and that’s what you do.


But here on the blog, I haven’t yet made that transition. I am doing that today because “The Man” doesn’t feel necessary any more and is actually starting to feel clunky.

Besides, if someone wants to kill us, they are probably going to do it even without knowing my husband’s name.


His name is John.

He writes in journals and wakes up early and drives me nuts when he drinks the milk from his cereal bowl. He is slow to speak, quick to embrace, and strong in the midst of trouble.

He plays tennis and reads commentaries and believes in the goodness of God.

I’m watching as he learns to move into the chaos of life even when he’s afraid. His movement inspires courage in me.

He doesn’t just love me, he sees me. And when he looks at me, I see his delight.

Ann Patchett says we are, every one of us, someone’s favorite unfolding story. John is mine, and I just wanted you to know.


  1. says

    This is fantastic. It’s hard to know how to reference the important people in your life. It’s a strange line because you’re sharing your life, but you’re also sharing theirs. Thank you for sharing your unfolding story with us. I think it’s a really beautiful thing to share our relationships because then we can learn and work through them together – teaching each other lessons on loving well along the way.

  2. says

    What a fun post and way to introduce your husband! (My husband drinks his cereal milk too… And yes, it drives me crazy too. Glad I’m not the only one with anti-cereal-milk-drinking feelings!) :-)

  3. says

    Welcome John! It is so nice to meet you. I still have a code name for my husband when I blog, but , on FB everyone know who he is, so I’m not sure the Code name is really serving its purpose. +)

  4. Sally says

    So fun to see another part of who you are, Emily. :) You are an inspiration and reading about your husband and the good things you say about him makes me want to build my husband up even more and make sure he hears those wonderful things I think about him. Words of affirmation are his love language, you know… 😉

  5. says

    Hi John. :) That is a phenomenal pic of you guys – that top one. I so love it. And yes, seen and delighted in – there is no better feeling and no greater freedom. :) xo

  6. says

    So touching, Emily! Glad “the man” finally has a name and a face! I mention my Danny all the time in my blog and I’ve never used false names for people I know personally, but then again, I didn’t start blogging until 2010. I know if I’d started when you did, I probably would have shown the same caution.
    Great post and photos!

  7. Barb says

    Emily, Love this post. You two are such a handsome/beautiful/adorable couple! As Kristen said, I like John a lot because he loves you and you, obviously, love him (in spite of drinking milk out of the cereal bowl which my Gordon does also). See? I used my husband’s name in that last sentence. LOL

  8. Denise says

    This is a story I’m expecting God to really “show off” in. I see a sold out man and woman standing together on tiptoe ready to follow whereever their Shepherd leads!

  9. says

    So beautiful! I can feel your love for your husband through your words. If we could all but convey that same emotion wouldn’t life be beautiful?

  10. says

    hellooo john! {and for some reason writing that totally reminded me of the Price is Right and i want to then say, “come on down… “} ;)) as i’m sure you already know, none of us in bloggerville are crazy enough to kill anyone. just crazy enough to leave dumb comments like this. haha!

    sweet post, emily. isn’t it a joy to do life along side these kind of men? so blessed.

  11. says

    LOVE this so much! I just wrote a post about my “Man” this week too… turned in to sort of a tribute! It sounds like your Man and mine would get along great!

  12. Barb says

    I love your writings…picked up your first book because it had a bird on it(I love birds) and to top it off my name is Freeman too…figured God wanted me to read it and I’m so glad I did. Looking forward to your next book.

  13. says

    It has been said behind every great man there is a great woman, but I also believe there are some really great men supporting, encouraging, loving and standing behind some really great women. It’s nice to put a face with the one who is obviously standing proudly behind you : )

  14. JM Shepherd says

    How incredibly wonderful…both of you are precious! I love your ‘favorite unfolding story’ Hello, John! …and the way you have expressed yourself in this post…such a genuine love…both of you blessed beyond measure…I am one of the many very grateful mothers of CORE/FUSE high schoolers – (my daughter, Christen Marie 2012) who were recipients of the ‘hearts of John and Emily Freeman’ through WHSM…forever changed, we ARE… THANK YOU !

    …as a result, I have picked up on your writings, books, blog, newsletter and will follow your unfolding stories because I believe that God has placed you in my world for ‘such a time as this’…thank you for showing us how to LOVE. <3

  15. Karen says

    What a beautiful introduction to your husbands real name. First Myquillyn and now John, thank you for trusting us with this private information in what can be a public arena, aka ‘the internet’. Btw, great picture of the two of you!

  16. says

    That is a great picture of you and your John. I have a John, but he is my gorgeous nine-year-old. My husband is The Engineer aka Kyle.
    BTW, What exactly, is wrong with drinking your milk from the cereal bowl? I consume it rarely these days, but really! Drinking from the bowl ensures that you frugally drain every last drop in a timely, efficient manner, as opposed to either wasting the milk or painstakingly spooning repeatedly. Though slurping whilst drinking is very uncouth :)

    • says

      Thanks for the compliment about the photo!

      As for your cereal comment? All those words you said there just make me want to puke. Ew.

  17. Melissa McIntyre says

    Hello John and Emily! You guys are sweet 😉 Thank you for sharing your family and your wisdom. Emily, I love you and your blog, but I really don’t get the cereal milk thing?? All 8 of us drink ours . However, I hate ALL condiments and am not a fan of my food “touching” each other on my plate it it makes you feel better! :-)

  18. says

    Such tenderness and beauty in your words for your husband. Love this post! Thanks for sharing, not just his name, but a glimpse of your beautiful relationship.

  19. says

    Love this “we are, every one of us, someone’s favorite unfolding story. John is mine, and I just wanted you to know.”

    Just recently engaged..and there’s something amazing about being able to be with someone whilst WE and THEY live our OUR/THEIR stories. Such a joy. Love that quote. Love it.

  20. says

    Hi John! My husband drinks his cereal milk, too… yuck! :) And thanks for putting into words for me the way I feel about my dear husband but have a hard time articulating :)

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