Eleventh Anniversary Paean & Marriage Trees

I've been married to Kimberly, fruitful woman par excellence, for eleven years now. We both are a little rounder (I much rounder), have a few gray hairs, have packed a few moving trucks, and have made four babies.

Kimberly loves to make things, beautiful things, useful things, things that are both (this is her blog). That might have been what most appealed to me about her when we met in college, I a coffee-swilling class-skipper, she a diligent fine arts student who would graduate magna cum laude.
Kimberly as sacrifice, I as prophet.

Humans need to have significant lives, and they need to do and make significant things to be fulfilled. They must make, like their Maker. This woman of mine is always making; sometimes it's a little intimidating. But things change. Our callings change; our meaningful things change; our makings change.

Shortly after we got married, Kimberly composed two pieces. The first was of me as a prophet, surround by imagery from Ezekiel 1-3.  A few months later she painted herself in a brazier, being burnt up as smoke into heaven. She painted the smoke so thick she was able to scratch out verses from Scripture into it.

We had already been married for a couple of years (a couple of very rough years) when she did those pieces. She was struggling to keep up her pace as an artist, finding it especially difficult to allot time to work. This was before we had any kids! Once our oldest came along, during our fourth year of marriage, she began to realize that for a few years there would be very little "fine" art.

A green nectarine.
Both of us had begun to mature in living for each other, in being able to make each other, as often happens between a man and a woman, give fruit. Times have been hard the past four years, but Kimberly has continued to give fruit. We have four beautiful babies and a house full of good things made with her own hands. For a long time Kimberly went, knowingly and willingly, without painting. She didn't like it, but she knew that she couldn't pull it off with the four kids being as young as they were. She focused more on crafting. She taught herself to sew a bit. She built a garden full of hand-made beds and trellises. She acquired furniture and finished it off herself. She made banners and wreaths and gew-gaws and decorations galore for holidays and parties. (And all this in a way that did not drown her perhaps overly-masculine husband.)
The nectarine tree.

All the useful things she started making became more and more beautiful.

Last year Kimberly was finally able to set aside a little studio space to do some painting. The work that began to emerge was more decorative than her earlier stuff, incorporating fabric into the paintings (see the photo at top as an example). Who knows what her works will look like when she's sixty? Right now, at thirty-two, she has a flourishing and exuberant garden of a house, with four energetic children and a loud hulking husband all contributing to the garden. That's what her work looks like: a slightly wild domesticity.

Praise to a wife who has found a way to be fruitful in every season we've encountered so far.

The apple tree.
Last year, for our tenth anniversary, we planted a nectarine tree in the yard. We'll care for it, watch it grow, eat its fruit, watch it die. I liked the idea of a nectarine tree because the fruit is a hybrid, and it's a little tougher for it: a good marriage tree. We couldn't eat the fruit last year, because the tree was too young: a good marriage tree. This year we hope to be able to eat some of the nectarines (and some peaches and plums too).

Today I bought Kimberly a surprise apple tree. I didn't know it when I bought it (what, me do research?), but the apple tree turns out to be a perfect marriage tree as well. You need two of them if you expect them to bear any fruit.

I've never heard Kimberly say "cross-pollinate" quite so suggestively.


  1. Fantastic my friend. Happy Anniversary to you both! Never stop creating in ANY way.

  2. Congratulations to the both of you! Thank you for such an honest and heartwarming account of the "first XI"!

    (I don't care who you are, that was funny)


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