Friday, June 25, 2010

Observations on Marriage After 15 Years

Many words have been spoken, many books written about marriage and how to make it work.

After 15 years, I'm not saying I have it figured out.  In fact, I look forward to many more years trying to figure it out with Tim.

We had an attraction from the beginning.  Tim was cute and had great legs from playing soccer, and Tim said I caught his eye because I was different from the other freshman girls at Milligan College.  Apparently he had never met a girl who knew how to shoot a rifle and thought the East Tennessee mountains were mere speed bumps compared to the "real mountains" out west.

Solid marriage - even a solid dating relationship - isn't based on attraction, though.  I could list hundreds of "beautiful" people who started out with attraction and fizzled shortly.  In fact, I'm shocked to hear how short some Hollywood marriages are.  

To rely solely on attraction and chemistry reduces the relationship to a flimsy shadow of love, simple lust.  In fact, it makes one's beloved into an idol - the object of our hopes and desires - instead of a partner in life.  When I set my beloved up as an idol, the Apostle Paul writes that I have "exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator." (Romans 1:25)

Antoine De Saint-Exupery said, "love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction."  Beyond the attraction (which does cool somewhat over the years, by the way),  Tim and I had found similarities and common experiences that helped us understand each other and appreciate each other more.  Even deeper than that, we knew we had a shared faith in God and commitment to follow Jesus Christ with our whole lives.  As we continued to date, I knew I had found a man who loved God more than he loved me, and I knew that God would bless me through him.  

We spent a summer apart in 1994.  We had separate internships - mine in North Carolina, his in Indiana.  The disconnection from each other was deeper than loneliness, and stronger than absence.  We realized that summer that we were better together.  I was a more effective person, better at my job - a better woman when he was by my side.  He found that he was a better minister, worker and person with me working alongside him.  We knew it was time to talk about getting married.  

The thrill of a common purpose and a shared passion keeps us together - beyond attraction, beyond the promises we made on June 24, 1995 (and renew in our hearts every time we attend a wedding),  and beyond "staying together for the sake of the kids."  We are a team in life, in parenthood, and as disciples of Jesus Christ.

When I was a girl, I thought I wanted someone who would be my "everything."  I wanted to be "everything" to someone, too.  But after 15 years of marriage, one thing I do know is that I am NOT my husband's everything.  His heart belongs to Jesus.  And that's just the way I want it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart

Just to know Timothy Paul Hatfield would have blessed my life beyond measure.  

But 15 years ago, I married this man and my life has been overwhelmingly blessed with his wisdom, sense of humor, love, and passion for Jesus and His church.  

Marriage hasn't always been easy or fun, but it will always be worth the work.  Thanks for being my life partner, Timbo.  I respect you and the way you care and provide for us more than I can say.

Happy Anniversary, sweetheart.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Locavores and Neighborhood Living

I recently read Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.  While I thoroughly enjoyed following her adventures as a city farmer in Oakland, California, I vacillated between admiration and guilt.  Admiration to the point of researching Roanoke's laws about livestock, and guilt to the point of realizing how far my family has fallen from the agrarian sufficiency of our grandparents and, to some degree, our parents.  I don't even grow a garden.  The idea of weeding my flower beds in the summer heat makes me hyperventilate.  Can you imagine what a whole garden would do to me?

That's why I'm pretty grateful that Roanoke has THREE Farmer's Markets available to me now - two are a simple walk or bike ride away, and one is as close as a $1.50 bus ride downtown.

I'm planning on frequenting the West End Community Market, opening in the parking lot of the West End Center for Youth at the corner of Patterson & 13th.  That's the neighborhood that's "across the bridge" from us, what Roanoke residents consider a rough part of town.  I consider it my neighborhood too - if it's less than a mile from me, if I drive through it every day, it's my neighborhood.  My house would fit in right along with the other houses.  By an accident of birth, it just happens to be on the other side of the bridge.

So, tomorrow between the hours of 4-7 pm, I'll be riding my bicycle over to the West End Center to sample some local produce.  Check out this great article in the Roanoke Times about the Market and how they're even accepting SNAP payments for low-income families.  Support your local farmers.  Buy locally.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer School Adventure

Now that Elisa is out of school for the summer and achievement certificates have been granted, the summer fun school begins!
Wilkin and I didn't get everything accomplished last school year, and Elisa overachieved, getting straight A's in every subject.  As a result, we're going to do some learning this summer.  Wilkin will be doing more in the way of math, reading and handwriting.  Elisa will be devouring a spelling/vocabulary book and working on her math computation.  Who knows, she may even get fifth grade under her belt (haha).  We will also be traveling to Washington, DC and learning some history and civics along with that trip.

So - today is the day!  Time to learn, to get some knowledge!