Thank you for all the kind comments, 15th anniversary-well-wishers!
Since it was a school night and work night, and we had one child in dubious health, we stayed in and had a Swiss raclette dinner. Yum! Strangely enough, we had a raclette machine while living the U.S., but got rid of it when moving to Europe since it was the wrong voltage - and now that we live over here, we don't have one! We need to replace it. It would have been a good anniversary gift for each other, if we had thought of it.
So for the meantime we just used the broiler setting on the oven, and melted the delicious cheese on a baking sheet without a rim, so we could scrape it off onto our cute and hot baby potatoes. The whole family loves it. But after a while, everyone starts making these heavy sighs and we just can't eat any more!
We had salad with grated carrots and honey-mustard dressing on the side, and David ate some baby cornichons (gherkins - no one else likes them). Normally you're supposed to have some fabulous "viande séchée" with the meal (tasty dried beef from the Grisons area of Switzerland), but I couldn't find any around here (it's easy to get in France). We had to settle for some rolled up Black Forest smoked ham, which looked vaguely similar but tasted nothing like the real stuff.
Jason made us a touching computer slide show of pretty photos, with a favorite romantic song (Garrison Keillor's Lovers' Waltz - can't find it on iTunes) and encouraging words.
For dessert I made a Fuji apple tart. But David had come home with a bouquet of pink roses and a gold box of Lindt chocolates, so we all got to have a chocolate as well. He knows me well. I do love flowers and pink and chocolate and shiny things and Swiss things (to name a few things about which I am enthusiastic, other than David himself).
David did most of the cheese melting during dinner, and also did the dishes after dinner - more spontaneous special gifts. I feel so well-loved. We have plans to go out on a dinner date on Saturday when things are more leisurely.
A few determinations:
Aim High before marriage, then Lift High thereafter. Lift each other up daily, and lift God high together.
Speak well of each other - to each other, and to others.
Determine together before marriage that it's going to be until death. Then live that way, making the very most of it. It's quite a ride!
At the Budgens grocery store in Ascot, Berkshire, England today, I discovered an American food section. Stuff like Reese's peanut butter cups (actually, only the banana kind, never heard of them before), Apple Jacks, marshmallow fluff, and other examples of healthy, high-quality American foods.
A normal-sized box of Froot Loops (12.6 oz) was going for £5.25, which is $10.30 today. About FIVE TIMES as expensive as Safeway in the U.S.. Good thing we don't buy Froot Loops anyway. Emily loves them if we are at a hotel buffet in the U.S., because they are bright and sugary, but that's the only time she gets them, nasty things.
A bag of chocolate chips was going for £3.85 ($7.50), about THREE TIMES as expensive as Safeway. Skip it. Anyway, we just brought some back from our trip to Colorado (don't you always pack a bag or two of chocolate chips in your suitcase?).
Mott's no-sugar applesauce (23 oz) - £2.49 ($4.90), TWICE as expensive. I broke down and got one jar and didn't feel too guilty (hey, only double!).
Goldfish crackers (6.6oz) - £1.49 (=$2.90) vs. $1.99 at Walgreen's in the U.S. - at only a dollar more, I bought a package for my kids, who love them. I was excited. That's not even double, only half again as expensive!
Well, that stuff is expensive here...but in a seamless, silly segue, I have to say my husband is priceless...he has stood faithfully by my side in marriage for 15 whole years today. Rah rah rah for him! I continue to be stunned (almost to speechlessness) at his kindness, perseverance, thoughtfulness, industry, sizzle, trust and generosity. What a richly blessed woman am I. Thank you, David, for being mine.
I had been shot in the left shoulder. The bullet was still lodged in there and I needed surgery to remove it. The doctor laid me down on a bed and injected local anaesthetic to the problem area from three or four angles. At this point the room became a small hostel bedroom with about six beds, but another family arrived with guests and about ten people needed somewhere to sleep. They wanted me to move out of their way.
David heard me whimpering softly in my sleep at 6:25am. He silently prayed for me.
Suddenly I'd been successfully operated on, I'd recovered, and my team of marines were honoring me for having taken the bullet. I had to do a strength test to show I was back in fighting shape. I held tightly onto the cable car wire all the way up the mountain, dangling over nothing without fear. Everyone was amazed at the ease with which I did it, previously injured shoulder and all.
Wow, it's awesome having a husband in the bed who prays for me when I'm whimpering during a bad dream! Thanks, David!
These are excerpts of what was actually a Valentine's Prayer by Beth Moore, but it's equally applicable any other day of the year:
...I come before Your Throne to intercede on behalf of marriages...
Breathe fresh life into each of our marriages....
Raise marriages from the dead, O Lord!...
Cause each husband to thrill to the touch of his wife. Cause each wife to thrill to the touch of her husband...
Forgive us our serious trespasses of dishonoring or belittling our spouses in any way. Forgive us for making our men secondary priorities to our children. Help us to see that the best thing we could ever do for our children is to have a wonderful relationship with their father.
Cause each man to be lavish in his demonstrations of love toward his wife. Open his eyes to see how hard she works and how badly she needs his blessing. In turn, open her eyes to the pressures that fall daily upon her man and enable her to love him in a way that soothes and relieves him...
Cause any other person that has become dangerously attractive to now become utterly repulsive to them. Empower every person at risk to flee for his or her life from sexual temptation and immorality. Make each spouse TRUE, Lord, in heart, soul, and mind...
I don't just pray for couples to stay together. I pray for them to LOVE staying together. I pray for the return of laughter, flirtation, desire, and life-long commitment. Interrupt mediocrity with fresh fire...
We know we'll never have perfect marriages and homes but we are fully capable in Your sovereign power to have good ones. Healthy ones. FUN ONES. L-A-S-T-I-N-G ONES!...
Now, compassionate and wonderful Father, do what only You can do. Out-do everything we ask. Do more than we could think to request so that Your great Name can be magnified above all else. I set before You every marriage represented by those who read this entry. Cause every couple to have a glorious Head-on collision with You, Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Nothing is too difficult for You...
Lord, keep this going on in my life. There is never a time to think my marriage is safe from attack or decay. It must continually be fortified and fed. Protect it and grow it, Lord.
Today, David showed the extent of his love for me and poured effort and time into baking me our now traditional annual decadent treat: Cocoa Peanut Butter Heart-Shaped Sandwich Cookies with Strawberry Jam and Melted Chocolate inside. It takes hours and a lot of steps. And it's worth it (from the receiving end, anyway!). So fabulously delicious, thank you, David. Your servant-leadership and sacrifice are beautiful. Not to mention your apron. By the way, that is sugar that David is rolling the dough out on below...sparkly for the eager spectators who sat at the counter the whole time.
I won't be at all offended if you agree with me that David's creation looks and sounds way tastier than mine :-)
I got asked out on a date this week.
A breakfast date.
I nearly came to tears at the beauty of the proposal. Not that it was unusually eloquent or creative, just that it happened. I like being courted. Still, after 14 years of marriage. My husband loves me.
After the kids had been dropped off at school, my man and I drove to a nearby café and settled with mocha, hot chocolate, and pastries for a chat. One thing I like about dates with David is that before we eat, when we pray over the food, we always end up praying for our relationship and God's blessing on it: deepening and strengthening until death puts an end to it. The more years I live and the more marriages I see fall apart around me, the more precious my own becomes, and the more determined I am to see God hold us to the wording on our wedding invitations: "joined together in the holy and permanent union of marriage."
If you ever see me heading the other direction, call me on it.
In the meantime, let's keep dating, my dear one. That was a really good croissant, wasn't it?
Made two loaves of the former and one pan of the latter this morning. I always love it when my son steps into the house after school and is able to say, "Yum, smells good in here!" It warms a mother's heart. Half of the Oatmeal M&M bars (which look festive thanks to Amy's red and green M&Ms) are slotted for Jason's advisory class party tomorrow, and one loaf of the pumpkin pecan bread is to remind my husband of his wife's care while we are separated for a whole long week (notice there is a 0% chocolate content).
The closer I get to this trip the more I question my sanity in planning a voyage where I will intentionally be putting many miles between myself and my better half and only getting to see him 7 days later. I like him (a very serious amount); what was I thinking? Ah well, the children will be on holiday and he won't be yet, and we have such a limited time during which we can see the dear, close relatives that grandparents are. I guess that's what I was thinking. I shall have to send my husband love notes. Starting with a loaf of pumpkin bread all for him.
Exactly five thousand days ago today, I woke up at 9am in my parents' house in the little town of Harvard, Massachusetts. I had been sleeping alone for the last time in my own room above the garage of that house in the woods.
I smiled, got out of bed, and took a leisurely bath. At 11am, all dressed in shimmery white brocade, I walked down the aisle of a little white New England church on my dad's arm.
Forty five minutes later, my name had changed. My life had been irrevocably improved. I had become part of two new families, by forging a very little brand new one, and enlarging a bigger, long-standing one. I had given my word that I would never back out of this firm commitment I was making.
All my friends and family surrounded me, supported me, rejoiced with me. We danced, we sang, we looked at baby pictures, we ate, we drank, we were silly, we were serious.
It grew dark on that northern winter afternoon, and the honeymoon called. We bid our goodbyes, extended our thanks, exclaimed at the shaving cream on the rental car, and left.
Five thousand nights ago...what a night. I was finally one with the exceptionally fine, worthy man who waited for me.
Stay tuned for the ten thousand days post coming in the year 2020.