Monday, June 29, 2009

"When I Read a Book" by Callie Partridge, Age 8

I open a book, I read the title, I see what the first chapter is like. It is good, I read number 2. I tell mom, "I've begun a new book." You say the book is good at school the next day. The afternoon is spent reading to chapter 4. In the bath I read chapter 5. I sneak chapter 6 when Caleb's getting ready for school. Chapter 7 is delightful, I read it under blankets. Number 8 I do when I go to Tyler and Tucker's house. 9 is something I set aside and read in April. May comes quickly, I read chapter 10, 11, 12, and 13. In June I read 14 and 15, on breaks from wading at the beach. In July I read 16. I read 17, 18, 19, and 20 in August. I finish in September, chapters 21 and 22. I put down the book, realizing that I finished another wonderful adventure.

To my books and my feelings about them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

True Love

Eleven years ago today, I married Kevin Partridge. I love this man more than anyone else in the world, and I have never doubted that we should be spending the rest of our lives together. He is my best friend, and he understands my heart and my soul. He also tenderly cares for them, as no one else does. He loves me with such sincerity and devotion and fervor that I never question his heart.

Eleven years ago today, I didn't have butterflies in my stomach. I didn't feel nervous, just excited. I was certain of our commitment and anxious to make it public and permanent. It was a beautiful day, even with the Mississippi summer heat. We were surrounded by the love and support and presence of our family and friends. Many had even pitched in to help with our do-it-yourself-wedding-on-a-shoestring-budget. We had a friend take the pictures; a friend made the wedding cake; another friend made the groom's cake; a bunch of friends made food for the reception; a friend did the video; so many people helped make this day beautiful and unforgettable.

I'll never forget waking up on the morning of my wedding day--one of the very few days of my entire life when I actually didn't have trouble getting out of bed! I went to take my shower and eat breakfast and just felt like something should be different, like the normal morning routine should be something more elaborate. But it was actually quite nice. It may have even added to my feelings that what was going to happen that day was so good and so right and so . . . normal.

When I arrived in the church parking lot, I opened the trunk of my car to unload some of my things. As I did, I heard the screeching of tires behind me, and I turned around just in time to see a little red Acura Integra--Kevin's car--pull away. No, he didn't get cold feet. He just didn't want to see me before it was time!

When I was all ready--dressed in my white wedding gown and veil, my hair and make-up done "just so"--our wedding director delivered the message to Kevin that his bride was ready. (Kevin admits to feeling a few butterflies at that particular moment. After that, he was good.) We had decided that we would actually like to see and talk to each other before the wedding, so we did. They cleared out the sanctuary, and he waited for me down front. Someone opened the door for me, and I walked down the aisle to meet my groom. We both smiled as big as we ever have! It was an amazing moment, and we were able to laugh and talk and pray together--just the two of us--before the big celebration began.

The wedding ceremony itself was absolutely beautiful and perfect. It was full of music, which means a great deal to us. I can remember waiting out in the lobby before it was time for me to walk down the aisle and listening to the heartfelt worship songs being sung. I couldn't help singing with them. So I stood there holding my father's hand (He was a mess!) and sang "We Are an Offering" and "You Are Awesome in This Place." I would love to have sung along with every single song during the ceremony, but once I was in the sanctuary, I had to just listen. But my heart sang! It was so full and overflowing with love for my groom and worship for my Savior, who brought us together. Kevin and I did actually sing a song together during the ceremony. "Holy Father" was and still is the prayer of our hearts.

Holy Father,
As we stand before Your throne,
As we look upon Your face,
We confess Your matchless grace.
Lord and Savior,
We are nothing without You.
There is nothing we can do
But to serve and follow You.
And surrender
And surrender
To surrender
All our dreams,
All we are,
All that we are to become,
All our lives.

Eleven years ago today, I didn't marry the man of my dreams. He is actually so much more than I even knew to dream and hope for. He loves me, and he loves me well. Our time together so far has passed so quickly. We have three beautiful, amazing children who are reflections of both of us, and they are a testament to our love. We are richly blessed, and I do not take this for granted.

Eleven years ago today, I married Kevin Partridge! Happy anniversary, my love.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Two days ago my brother-in-law's mother died. His father died less than four years ago. Both endured long struggles with terminal illnesses, and now their two sons, Jeremy and Pete, are left in this world without their parents. Yes, they are grown men, but they are still too young to have lost both of their parents. When my sister Christy told her almost-six-year-old son that Grammy had died, he simply asked, "Already?"

Death is a strange and terrible creature, yet we are encouraged to view it with hopefulness, if the deceased was a Believer in Christ. I do believe this, but I don't think that necessarily makes it easier on us between here and Heaven. When someone we love dies, we miss them so very much. It hurts so much. And there's nothing at all in the world that we can do to bring them back. All we can do is relish the memories we have of and with them. And in Jeremy's and Pete's case, they can be thankful that their parents are no longer suffering in their earthly bodies that were so very sick.

But it still hurts.

Jeremy and Christy have two young boys. While the older son will have a few memories of his grandparents, the younger one won't have any, since he's only two years old. And Pete and his wife June haven't had any babies yet, which means that the paternal grandparents will never have held or known or even met their children. This breaks my heart, and I feel so spoiled that my children know and have relationships with all of their grandparents.

I didn't know Jeremy's and Pete's father very well, and I only knew their mother a little bit. She was a kind, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth kind of woman. She didn't want to be served or fussed over, but she'd be the first one to serve and fuss over others. She didn't believe in sitting still, so I can't imagine how hard it was for her when her body just wouldn't let her go and do anymore. I believe she loved her boys well, and I know how much they loved and admired her. I also know how much her grandsons loved going to Grammy's house.

In a couple of days, we'll have Barbara's funeral. It will be sad, and it will be hard. We just feel entitled to have our parents live to be really old and be able to see their grandchildren get married and provide them with great-grandchildren. But it doesn't always work that way. In fact, there are a whole lot of people who have lost both of their parents much earlier than this. And then again, there are plenty of people who have never even known so much as their parents' names. So I need to be thankful, even though there is death and grief. Even though it hurts.

I am praying tonight for Jeremy, Pete, and their families. I pray that God will comfort them in their sorrow and embrace them in their grief and pain. I pray that they will know and feel how much their mother/grandmother loved and cared for them and that, if she could, she would still be here for them.

There is no rhyme or reason in death. It simply is. But death is just as much God's creation as birth is. And that means that it is a beautiful thing, even if we can't understand it.