missing my partner

I’m struggling to find the right word to use here.

I’ve never really liked the word “spouse” when it comes to marriage.  It sounds too much like “mouse” or “louse”, both of which have negative connotations, particularly when applied to the presence of humans.  Who wants to know or be known as a louse?

Partner is better, but it doesn’t go far enough in terms of the permanence.  Partners come and go throughout a person’s life.  You might have had a dance partner in junior high P.E. class.  At camp we used to have prayer partners that rotated among the staff every week.

I’m going to stick with “partner” for now, however, because that’s the word that first came to mind.  Every year my husband goes away for 4-5 days in the winter.  There’s a yearly conference related to his job, and this year it was held in the state of Arizona.

He’s never been there before, and I can tell by his pictures it’s a different kind of state.  The plants, the views, the temperatures are all different.  During the almost twenty years that I’ve known him, he’s not had many chances to travel this far without us.

The kids and I have been fine, keeping busy with school and guests  We had company on Monday, and more Tuesday.  My in-laws had us over for supper and a movie last night.  Today we have piano lessons and his fight is supposed to get in tonight around 8:30.

Something happens in marriage that is hard to describe.  I’m getting this strange image of two people walking, hand-in-hand, through the woods.  Connected to both of their heads is a wired contraption made of paper-clip metal.  The metal goes around their heads and then joins above them to form a twisted section until the pieces become one.

The couple keeps walking, hand-in-hand, leaving their footprints in the dust of the woods.  The skinny piece of paper-clip lengthens and stretches and grows backwards behind them, to where it finally reaches miles and miles into the past.  A broom appears.

The broom begins sweeping away the couple’s footprints.  Attached to the couple by this stretched out wire, the broom can come no closer than the length of the contraption the couple wears on its head.  New footprints, hand-in-hand, are always being formed.

Your partner, in time, becomes your mate.

all for one

We’ve got a guest coming in less than twenty minutes and there isn’t much time to write much today.  There was a hymn in our church service this morning that set a thousand thoughts running and I’m afraid now those thoughts will be long forgotten soon.

The hymn was “Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You”.

Cast afar this world’s vain pleasure
And boldly strive for heavn’ly treasure
Be steadfast in the Savior’s might.
Trust the Lord, who stands beside you,
For Jesus from all harm will hide you
By faith you conquer in the fight
Take courage, weary soul!
Look onward to the goal!
Joy awaits you.
The race well run, Your long war won
Your crown shines splendid as the sun

In the Scripture reading today it said the athlete disciplines himself in all things.  He does this to obtain the prize–a perishable wreath.  Paul tells us to run the race as to obtain the prize, except the prize we obtain is a heavenly crown, a treasure that will never fade.

I want us all to win this race.  When I think of humanity I want to shout to the multitudes, “Come on, guys, let’s go!  This prize, this crown, is for all of us to share!”  An Olympic gold medal only one of us can win, and most will never know the glory.

How exciting is this?!  It’s a race we’re guaranteed to win, and maybe that’s why it’s so gish dang spanking stinking hard. This race through time we cannot lose, for God has sent His Son below.  The Victor’s crown is ours above, and we will know His glory there.




prayer warriors

Prayer is the cure for incessant worry.

Cure might not be exactly the right word.  Cure would imply your worry disappears, is completely gone, and your mind is healed from the tumor of burdens.  We are told to cast our burdens, our cares and anxieties, upon the Lord because He cares for us.

I’ve come across at least three mothers in the the last week who’ve been worried about their children.  Not including the younger mothers I know, these were mothers twenty to thirty years older than me.  The children they were worried about are adults my age.

Their worry was not being left alone to plague their minds, but was driving these women to prayer and intercession on their children’s behalf.  I feel a special camaraderie with these women, a tenderness of heart towards them when I encounter their stories.
I wonder, if you could somehow graph all the world’s prayers happening at any given moment, what percentage of them would be made up of mothers praying for their children.  I don’t mean to imply that the fathers aren’t praying.  I think some are.

Women seem to worry more.  I believe our neurological sensitivities make us prone to it.  There have been times I have thrown up my own prayers to God like, “God, I am chained to my fears! How am I to live with these mind burdens the rest of my life?”

“You’re not”, He says.  We aren’t given burdens to carry them around.  We take them to Jesus and lay them down at His feet.  We pray, in all things, with thanksgiving.  It may never be that our worries cease completely, but the world doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.

to-learn list

“We stay up late, reading, unveiling mysteries, well into the night.”  
~Jane Kirkpatrick, Homestead~

There’s a quote in the book Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins that has stayed with me and comes to mind often. “Josef Pieper tells us that leisure is the basis of culture.  Most moms would laugh at the idea of leisure, but that is essentially the gift homeschooling gave us–the leisure to learn.  Homeschooling moms are what remains of the leisured classes in these hurried, frantic days.  We are the Irish monks of our time, carefully preserving old library books (and even reading them).  In that way it is silly for us to measure our success by the immediate results–our son’s SAT scores or whether our daughter got into Harvard.  While we were busy thinking of our small families, we just might have been preserving something much larger (p. 163).”

Leisure:  1) freedom provided by the cessation of activities

1) Bread-baking
I want to experiment more with baking from sourdough starter.  I have made one loaf so far, as well as a batch of muffins, and a plate of pancakes.  I remembered to bring the starter along on our travels so I could keep it watched and fed, however, it tipped over in the car, spilling into the cover cloth and making quite the mess.  It has sat untouched since we returned from our trip and I imagine I will need to start over with the starter. In the meantime, I have been searching online, looking for a place to buy hard red wheat.  I am leaning toward purchasing the 35 lb bucket to start with.

2) Medicinal Herbs
An herbalist podcast suggested the best way to begin learning about herbs is to take one year and study and get-to-know one herb per month.  This month I have chosen Rosemary.  Rosemary originated on Mediterranean shores, and has an evergreen, pine-like smell and appearance.  Known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Rosemary is said to be a mental stimulant and terrific for brain health and memory.  I’ve been experimenting with various fresh herbs from the store such as cilantro, parsley, oregano, thyme, mint, and rosemary, making a tea or infusion by adding it to hot water warmed on the stove. I think Rosemary tea is best consumed in the morning.  The two times I drank Rosemary tea before bed, I had vivid dreams throughout the night and found myself awake in the middle of the night unable to sleep.  It has a bitter taste, and I experienced a vague nausea after drinking more than one cup.  One time I forgot about the water on the stove and came back to find the water boiling, and also that the rosemary had released a lavendar-colored foam from its stems.  In addition to using it in the sourdough bread, which was delicious, I have mostly used it to season cubed potatoes that I cook on the stove and have regularly served for lunch during the winter.

3) Plant-based cooking
Meals feel overwhelming when every night you feel you must live up to this restaurant standard of a huge meal complete with several sides and dessert. I’ve always seen it as a confirmation that my husband and I were meant to be together by the fact that although he enjoys a large meat and potatoes type of meal, he doesn’t require it from me.  He eats the things I make and experiment with and is supportive through my “phases”.  I do still, however, see food as a vital part of my “job” as a woman and homemaker. More and more, I enjoy preparing meals, setting tables, and getting pleasure in seeing meals enjoyed and hungers satisfied.  I’ve been using meats as more of accents in the meals, instead of main courses, for example, mixing Aldi chicken sausage in with the potatoes to satisfy the heartier appetites in my house, getting bigger by the day. On nights like tonight when I have a beef roast in the crockpot, I think my family looks forward to the coming meal as the smells of meat and basil fill the house.  It feels to me like I’m spoiling them with something special, and to them, like a treat that doesn’t happen everyday.




the foreign winter

Tonight I am thankful for food and warm housing.  It is no small amazement to pass the winter by in comfort.  When I read about the winters that the pioneers endured, or of the western migration of the Donner party, who faced months of cold, death, and starvation while trapped in the snow-blown Sierra Nevada treachery, I am stunned by how much the human can suffer.

People never want their suffering to be in vain.  There is so much human suffering in the world, and so little, it seems, any one person can actually do about it.  I feel strongly that one thing we can be, however, is thankful in life for the gifts that we have.  It doesn’t change the terrible things to be endured in this world, but it helps to know that even the long winters do have an end.