Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Caleb's Sign

This is the sign that Caleb posted on his bedroom door this week:

"No Grls a allowed
olee Bores and

To be read:

"No girls allowed--
Only boys and
my Mommy.

I'll remind him of this when he's 16!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Spiritual Birthday

When I was just five years old, I made the decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ. I remember it vividly. It was a Sunday evening at Sky View Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, and I was sitting by my mother. Honestly, I have no idea what Bro. Sonny preached about that night; I just know that God had been working in my young heart for a while leading up to that moment. When the time came for the invitation (as Baptists call it), I didn't walk the aisle. I simply sat down in the pew, leaned my head on the pew in front of me, and prayed to God, asking Him to forgive me for my sins and come into my heart and save me. Then I tugged on Mama's skirt and told her what I had done.

When we got home that night, my parents took me into their bedroom to talk with me more about the decision I had made. I told them that I loved God and wanted to follow Him and spend eternity with Him in Heaven when I die. After we talked, we all prayed together, and then Daddy wrote my name and the date (November 23, 1980) on the inside cover of his Bible. Thus, November 23rd became my spiritual birthday, and I have loved remembering and celebrating it ever since.

My parents began teaching and discipling my siblings and me basically as soon as we were born. We read Bible stories before bed and talked about sin and our need for the Savior, and we prayed together. I saw a genuine love for the Lord in them. While they never pressured us into making any sort of decisions (public or private), they did talk with us about spiritual things on a regular basis. Remembering each of our spiritual birthdays was something I treasured in our family, because it emphasized to me the importance, vitality, and necessity of our relationship with our Creator. It also emphasized that this relationship is something to be CELEBRATED!

A lot of Believers don't have a particular date or time that they nail down as their spiritual birthday or point at which they began following Christ. This doesn't mean that one of us is any more or less saved or certain; it's just a difference. Many people say that there wasn't just one particular time that they decided to follow Christ; it was--and still is--a journey. I agree completely. I personally am just a stickler for dates and times; they mean something to me. So I like having this date on which I can reflect.

My friend's father-in-law makes the comparison to a couple in love. Some people fall in love over a period of time; others have an "aha" moment, feeling like they fell in love at that particular moment in time. I really love that analogy; it makes sense to me. By the way, I had an "aha" moment when I fell in love with the man who is now my husband! Speaking of which, Kevin has another analogy I really like--that baptism is a lot like a wedding ceremony. The actual observance is not the point in time in which you fall in love, because that was decided during the journey leading up to the ceremony. Instead, the observance is simply your statement to the rest of the world that you are committed to this person forever! Such a beautiful picture. And Christ does, after all, call us His Bride.

So the day after tomorrow, I'll be 28! I thank God for my relationship with Him. I have grown and changed--and questioned and feared--and loved and learned so much over these years, and the process will continue until the day I die. Then from that day on throughout eternity, I won't have to struggle with questions or fear or pain anymore; I will be in the immediate presence of God, and it will be beyond what I can imagine.

Sidenote: (I have to add this story for the amusement of my parents and siblings, because they would surely bring it up!) It took me several months to work up the nerve to get baptized, because I was afraid of the water--mainly that it would be over my head. Once I got past that, I walked the aisle in front of my church to make my decision public. Remember now that I was only five years old, so my pastor decided to pick me up when he presented me to the church. When he did this, my dad and older sister looked at each other and expressed a joint concern merely with their eyes: "Oh no," their eyes said. For you see, I was . . . well, stocky. So sure enough, after a couple of minutes, Bro. Sonny's arm that supported me started to tremble, and he finally said, "I'm going to have to put this girl down." Chuckles. At least he was able to pick me up when he baptized me!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Caleb

This afternoon Caleb was sitting at the kids' table in the kitchen, working on painting a new wooden treasure chest he received for his birthday, and out of the blue said, "I have a good life."

Caleb has always been a happy child, and his amazing smile--complete with sparkling hazel eyes that turn into moon slivers when he grins--has always dazzled anyone who sees it. Add to that his bouncy, thick, curly, dirty blond hair that has never been brushed or combed (just tousled), and you've got one of the cutest kids around! Well, in my opinion anyway.

My son, who just turned six, very often lives in his own world. The boy loves movies, and he is one who truly gets lost in them. If the TV is on, he literally cannot do anything else but watch it. It's actually pretty funny, unless you're trying to have a conversation with him. Then it's frustrating. He likes to act out whatever he's been watching, so we get to see many a Disney/Pixar movie re-enacted in the Partridge home. Oh yes--and his next birthday party theme changes constantly, depending on the latest movie he's seen.

Puzzles are also something Caleb loves to do. I love watching him focus on putting them together, and he doesn't do it at all the way that I do. He has no regard for the rule of doing the outer edges first. He simply sees which pieces go together. He also enjoys building and creating and designing. When he comes up with an idea, he looks around the house and sees what he can use to turn his idea into reality. He constantly impresses us with his creations. We may have an engineer on our hands!

Now that Caleb is in school, he is excited about reading, writing, and learning. He came home telling me all about the artist Paul Clay one day, and I was fascinated by all the details he had absorbed. He takes his homework seriously and is eager to show me all his papers as soon as he gets in the van after school. Lately he has been really into creating his own books at home. He is both the author and the illustrator, and on the back of each bunch of papers stapled together, he lists all of his previous works. Then he takes his books to share with his kindergarten class. He is proud of the smiley faces that he gets every day on his classroom behavior report, and so am I!

My son has a strong desire to be good and do what is right. Kevin and I always knew we wanted to name our son Caleb, and in reading about Caleb in the Bible, I loved that he was constantly described as having "a different heart." I think that describes my Caleb perfectly! He is kind and sensitive, and he has the gift of encouragement. He gets so excited for his sisters! He finds joy in bringing joy to others, and he's very good at it.

Happiness and contentment really describe Caleb. He showed this trait off even whilst in the womb, in that he had no intentions of leaving that warm, comfortable place on his own. So I had to be induced in order for him to be born. I was scheduled for the induction five days past his due date. I was so big, uncomfortable, and just ready for him to be born. Ready to get on with the process, I called the hospital early that morning to confirm our appointment.

"Ma'am, we're not sure that we're going to be able to take you today, because our rooms are full of women already in labor."

Silence on my end of the line.

"You can call back in a couple of hours and see if anything has changed."

Trying not to burst into tears, I reported the information to Kevin and his mom, who had already come to the house to take care of Callie. They encouraged me to go lie down and try to rest. A couple of hours later, I was awakened by a voice saying, "Carrie? It's time to go to the hospital." Groggily, I got up, and Kevin and I still laugh at how backwards that whole process was, since it's usually the wife waking the husband up with "It's time!". Nevertheless, I was ecstatic that the hospital now had room for me! We were checked into a room at 1:00 in the afternoon, and at 7:02 p.m., Caleb Aeden Partridge was born!

While I was pregnant with Caleb, I really worried that I couldn't love him as much as I loved Callie, my first-born. Of course, now I know how silly that is, but it truly worried me. But as soon as I saw his sweet face, I was smitten, just as I had been with Callie and then later with Katie. A mother's heart has an amazing capacity for love for her children, and whether she has one baby or twelve, her heart is equally filled to overflowing.

Every night while our children are sleeping, Kevin and I go into their rooms and just gaze at them. (This is especially important if it's been a wild and crazy day with them.) When I bend down to kiss Caleb on the cheek, I often have to move his light blue blanket out of the way. He has slept with this blanket every night since he was born, and it shows! (He actually used to wad it up and sleep with it right on top of his face when he was a toddler.) It is well-worn with love and has a tattered silky tag, which Caleb calls its tail. He's our little Linus.

While Caleb is definitely sweet and tenderhearted, he also has plenty of "boy traits." My sister Laurie says that she's never seen a kid who so badly wants to be thrown around! He loves superheroes and weapons and sports and guys' nights watching Star Wars with his Daddy. And of course, he thinks that bathroom humor is hysterical.

I tell my Caleb every day that he's my favorite little boy in the whole wide world. He loves this statement and always repays me with his famous grin, a tight hug, and a "Thank you, Mommy." As I'm typing this, he just came to snuggle with me on the couch. I never get tired of this, especially because I know that the days of him wanting to snuggle with his Mommy are very limited. So I'll be ending this post now.

To Blog or Not To Blog: An Electronic Alternative to Scrapbooking

Here is my first article to appear in Parents & Kids magazine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Daddy's Brain

Kevin returned from Cozumel last night, and this morning he handed me a beautiful piece of white coral--about the size of the palm of my hand--that he brought back, and I commented on the fact that it looked like a brain. Katie, my four-year-old, walked into the room, so I showed it to her. Kevin said, "It's Daddy's brain." Then I said, "It's a lot bigger than we thought it was," and he and I laughed.

Katie seemed to be in her own world, just looking at and feeling the coral. But when Kevin left the room, she timidly looked up at me with kind-of an unassured grin and asked, "How did it fall out?"

They take us at our word!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Afternoon in Fall

My 7 1/2-year-old daughter Callie sat down and wrote this the other day. She just jotted it all down together with no particular spacing, planning to later rework it into a poem. I assured her that it WAS a poem already. My mother (a.k.a. Cammie) formatted it into lines for Callie, and Callie gave her smiling approval. She also gave her smiling approval when I asked if I could share it on my blog. So here it is. Enjoy!

Cool breeze---
The crickets start creeking.
The sun looks like it's dampening the world.
The birdies say their good-byes to warmth,
Leavin' in the fall.
Squirrels scampering 'round---
Saying 'bye to summer,
Collecting as they please---
The back yard---silent---
The smells get better and better---
Planes flying overhead---
Cars bringing home workers---
The crickets make sweet music.
The sunset beautiful---
Playing ball with dad---
Cross the street---NOT SAFE- 'cause cars zooming this way and that---
The bright lights cars have shining-
Already getting dark!
It's getting cool out!
There's a person passing through our street.
Cocoa 'd be nice and sweet
While it freezes.
The front yard---so still---
Halloween pumpkins are resting and rusting.
The porch is slowly freezing.
The neighborhood quiets down while everyone returns to inside.
The afternoon is great!

Written by Callie Elizabeth Partridge
November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lonely Heart

My husband is currently in Cozumel on a scuba diving trip with his dad and brother. They used to do this together as a family (not in Cozumel), but this is the first time in more than ten years that they've been able to go. It's something that I want Kevin to get to do, even though I myself am scared of scuba diving. Actually, it's drowning that scares me more than scuba diving. But still, I'm glad that he gets to go.

The fact that he can't call me everyday is hard, though. Kevin and I talk to each other about anything and everything all the time, so this break in our communication is weird. It does make me miss him even more, so I guess that's a good thing. Over our ten and a half years of marriage, we have each had times when we had to leave town, and we both agree that it's much harder to be the one who is left behind. And it isn't necessarily because the one at home has to be a single parent for a few days. I guess it's that the one doing the leaving most likely has some things that can serve as diversions, whereas the one left at home is still in the normal routine of things . . . minus their best friend.

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," I suppose. But I think I'd rather just have him at home with me.

I love you, Kevin, and I hope that you are safe and having a wonderful time! Hurry home to me!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


A little more than three years ago, my youngest sister Laurie taught me how to knit. I had been watching her knit for quite a while, and I could tell that it was something I would enjoy. It has the potential to be somewhat monotonous--making the same stitches over and over and over again--so I knew I would be hooked! (Actually, that would be crotcheting, but that's beside the point.)

It didn't take me very long to catch on. It helped that Laurie was staying with me for a few days, so any spare moment I had, I picked up my needles and started working. And if/when I messed up, Laurie was right there to help me correct my mistake. My first project was a scarf for my husband Kevin, and I am quite proud of it. Since then I have made many, many scarfs, hats, purses, and blankets (mostly baby blankets, which don't have to be very big), and I never get tired of it. Currently I am working on a full-size blanket for Caleb. I finished Callie's a few months ago, and she sleeps under it every night. I'll start on Katie's once Caleb's is finished. They all get really excited about their blankets and ask me often about the progress I'm making (or not making), which makes me feel even better about putting all the time into it.

Knitting is extremely therapeutic for me. It allows me to be creative and productive, but my mind is still free to ponder other things while I am working, since most of my patterns are relatively simple and don't require much concentration. This also works well with being a mom, because I am able to watch, pay attention to, and interact with my kids while simultaneously working on my knitting. And unless I'm working on a blanket that is pretty far along in the process, knitting is a quite portable hobby--very conducive to sitting in carpool lines, waiting during gymnastics/ballet lessons, etc., etc. I really love giving people gifts, so knitting fits in well with that desire, too. There is always something to be made and given away!

One of my favorite escapes from the dailyness of stay-at-home-momhood is to find a corner by myself in a coffee shop or bookstore, plug my ears with worship music coming from my iPod, let my hands work with the yarn and needles, and only take breaks to sip on my coffee (okay, or to people watch).

Laurie, THANK YOU for introducing me to this terribly addicting but incredibly rewarding hobby! I'll never be as good at it as you are, but that's okay.

Everyone else, you can see some of my master teacher's handiwork and read about the knitting process on Laurie's blog at Then you can order some of her creations on

I have a feeling I'll be doing a lot of knitting tonight while watching the election results come in.

Nothing Without You

These are the lyrics to one of my very favorite songs, "Nothing Without You" by Bebo Norman. It speaks so strongly to me . . .

Take these hands
And lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
See, I have nothing
I have nothing without You

And take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
For I have nothing
I have nothing without You

And all my soul needs is all Your love
To cover me, so all the world will see
That I have nothing without You

Take my body and build it up
May it be broken as an offering of love
For I have nothing
I have nothing without You

And all my soul needs is all Your love
To cover me so all the world will see
That I have nothing
That I love You, yeah
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And all the strength I can find

Take my time here on this earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing
I am nothing without You