Why my husband isn’t coming with me to the other side of the world

Those of you who visit my Facebook page will know that Madelyn and I are going to England in July. I am so excited! We’re primarily going over to visit my dad, step mum and little sister, but will catch up with a few friends while we’re over there too.

Controversially, we’ve made the decision that my daughter and I will go to England for three and a half weeks alone, leaving my husband at home. He was able to get the time off work, we have enough money saved to buy his ticket, and we were all set to book the flights, when a last minute truce resulted in his ticket just not being booked. Many people have been confused as to why, it doesn’t seem to make sense that half of our family would go to the other side of the world without the other half, so here is our reasoning. This trip to England has been in the works for almost 10 years, since the last time I went to visit my family over there at 16. I’d always planned on going back, and when Angus and I got married, we discussed going there together. We have several very close friends in England as well as my family, and had actually planned to go in July of last year, but put those plans on hold when I fell pregnant with Madelyn. Angus actually has zero desire to travel, and was not keen on the idea of spending thousands of dollars to go to England when he was perfectly happy here in New Zealand. My dad offered to pay for one of us and Madelyn to go over, we just needed to pay for the other one of us. So we saved up enough for one adult return flight, found the cheapest flights we could, and were all ready to book the flights…

We argued every evening for 4 days. We were stressed out and impatient with each other, and every conversation turned into a disagreement. I’d found these cheap(er) flights, and wanted to book them, but because of a few larger purchases we’d made recently (two new cars and a motorbike), we were slightly short. I wanted to figure out what money to move around so that we could afford it, but every time I tried to get Angus to sit down to sort it out, it would end in an argument about money. He would lament how much I spend, and would get a piece of paper and work out exactly how much money we would lose going on this trip (despite two flights being paid for, it was going to cost us around $8,000 due to credit card interest). Worried that my opportunity to go back to England was slipping quickly out of my hands, I became more insistent that we just book the flights right now.

It came to the last day that the travel agent could hold the tickets for us. To help Angus not stress about spending so much money, I asked my dad if he could pay directly rather than having us pay now and forwarding us the money. That morning, before Angus left for work, we argued about money. He came home a couple of hours later, and we argued some more. He said that after this trip we would never travel overseas again, and that he was going to take complete control over the money situation so that we wouldn’t need to use so much on our credit card. It didn’t help that we were short on money at the time anyway. He told me that, if it were up to him, we wouldn’t go. I couldn’t not go.

I spent the morning worrying. I knew that to make him happy I needed to say we wouldn’t go. I knew that he would forever resent the amount of money spent, that it would delay us buying a house, and that the bitterness would build up inside him for years to come. But I also knew that I would forever resent not being able to go, that I would be similarly bitter for years to come. I had no idea what to do, there seemed to be no easy answer.

Then my dad called to let me know that he had paid for one adult and for Madelyn. It was done. Madelyn and I were going to England. Definitely. No going back, despite the money situation. It was happening.

The weight that had been on my shoulders all week evaporated. And as it did so, I realised that there was one other option. Not one I liked. Not one I would have chosen if it were up to me. But I knew it was the kindest thing to do. So I called Angus and asked him to come home for a minute, and I said to him,

“My dad called, he’s booked the flights for Madelyn and I…”

“Okay…” he replied, his face still twisted with worry, his shoulders still tense with stress.

“There is one option, and I don’t like it, but it’s there” I took a deep breath, “You don’t have to come.”

He visibly relaxed, and said that he’d been talking about the exact same idea with his boss. His boss thought he should go, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but they’d discussed the pros and cons of me going without him. Angus had only two concerns, 1) Would I be okay on the plane? and 2) A month (the length of time we’d planned on going) would be far too long for us to spend apart. I assured him that, while the flights would be hard, I’d cope. And we discussed shortening the trip to only two and a half weeks.

So it was decided. I called the travel agent, not to book Angus’s ticket, but to see about the possibility of moving our flight home to nearly two weeks earlier. It turned out that the only flight home around the date we wanted was right in the middle of a camp Angus would be involved in, so we pushed it out to three weeks. At 5pm, when the ticket would have stopped being held, it was official. Madelyn and I were travelling to the other side of the world without our husband and father.

People think we’re crazy. They feel frustrated at Angus, because they think he should be coming too. It’s not proper for a family to be so far from each other. But, if I may be so very real, it was going to ruin our marriage if I forced him to come. It wasn’t fair of him to ask me not to go. But, at the same time, it wasn’t fair of me to pressure him into going. We will miss each other very much, and the flight will be horrendous, but it is the best decision for our marriage. We are both extremely happy about it. Straight away, Angus started talking about maybe going over to Australia to visit friends of ours, even a potentially international missions trip. I mentioned that I can save up the money I earn teaching dance to use as spending money, and he said “I’ll give you some spending money too.” That evening, we did not argue at all. In fact, we haven’t really argued since.

Marriage isn’t about “ought to”s, and it’s not black and white. It involves a lot of compromise. We each had something we absolutely could not move on, and we needed to work around that for the benefit of each of us.


Twenty six things I love about my twenty six year old husband

It was my husband’s twenty sixth birthday, so I’ve written a list of one thing I love about him for every year of his life. I did the same thing three years ago, but I’ve done this list without looking at the last one, so hopefully I don’t double up.

I love…

1. His wisdom
2. His loyalty
3. His sense of humour
4. That he works so hard so that I can stay home with Madelyn
5. How he is so good at keeping secrets
6. And how he knows when to keep said secrets, and when it’s okay to tell others
7. The admiration and trust in Madelyn’s voice when she says “Daddy”
8. How smart he is
9. His honesty
10. How easily he gets along with everyone he meets
11. How much the kids he works with love him
12. The way he gains the respect of the kids he works with
13. How level-headed he is
14. His ability to stay calm in an emergency
15. How logical he is
16. How good he is with money
17. His leadership
18. His confidence
19. How much he loves Madelyn
20. How understanding he is
21. How he remains in control of his emotions
22. His support of me as Madelyn’s mother
23. His hospitality
24. His face
25. How much fun it is to do life with him
26. The way we have become so comfortable with each other


“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest — blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine.” 
― Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)

Sunday Special: What’s for Brunch?

(I know it’s not Sunday, but I was going through my drafts and found this, so thought I’d finish and publish it)

My husband and I have a particular fondness for breakfast foods. We love cooked breakfasts, and really enjoy having people over to share breakfast with us. Finding breakfast to share with a 9 month old can be quite tough. You don’t really want to give her too much bacon, it’s quite hard for her to eat pancakes, she can’t have cows milk…

So, what’s for Baby-Led Weaning Brunch?

French Toast (Eggy Bread) with Home-Made Berry Sauce and Fried Bananas 


French toast, or eggy bread, is insanely easy to make. Simply coat day-old bread in raw egg and fry it. The berry sauce is easy too, all you need to do is heat up a tin of berries in juice with a teaspoon of sugar or honey, and stir it until it’s a nice gloopy texture. And of course, for fried bananas you…fry some bananas. Angus and I also had bacon and maple syrup. French toast with all the trimmings is so yummy, yummy, yummy.

What’s for Dinner? Sausages, peas and vegetable mash


If I’m honest, Angus is actually the better cook out of the two of us. He just seems to be more successful at it more often, and I think he enjoys cooking more than I do, too. So often, if he’s home, I’ll start out cooking dinner and he’ll take over. Sometimes he’ll just insist on cooking dinner and kick me right out of the kitchen until it’s ready.

This was one of those evenings. I could smell whatever he was cooking, and I knew it was going to be so, so yummy. I was right. What was for dinner?

Sausages, peas and vegetable mash


We tend not to buy meat from the supermarket. We get home kill beef and pork once a year, as well as venison several times a year, and that usually lasts us almost the entire year. The sausages were beef, and I think they were actually the last of the home kill sausages.

This was Madelyn’s first time eating peas. Her pincer grip has really developed, and she gets so excited about being able to pick up each individual pea and put it in her mouth. It’s also exciting to spit them back out again.

The sausages and peas were, well, just sausages and peas. It was the vegetable mash that was really special, and it was that which I could smell as he was cooking it. It had potatoes, kumara, capsicum, carrots and onion in it, all mashed up together. The onion had been caramalised, so it was especially tasty. Madelyn loved it, too, and it was so easy for her to eat because she didn’t have to chew it. Definitely a winner for baby-led weaning dinner.

Our souls are deep with dreams

This weekend, the gypsies were in town.

Madelyn and I went to the Gypsy Fair with Aunty Melissa, and then we all walked to the pub, where Daddy and Uncle Phil were waiting for us.

“We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.”
– Gypsy proverb

Maddy and her Daddy

This little girl loves her daddy. DSCF1312 Her face lights up when she hears him arriving home. She turns to me, her eyes sparkling, and sighs happily. As he walks to the door, she sees him, and her little feet wave around. The first thing he does when he gets inside is kisses and tickles her, and she giggles and blushes. She pats whatever she’s eating or playing with, as if to say “Look what I’m doing, Daddy.” If she hears his voice while breastfeeding, she’ll stop feeding and start trying to sit up to get a look at him. Even if she’s half asleep. And she cries when he leaves for work in the morning. It is the cutest, most sad thing, watching her face as she realises he’s stopped playing with her and has started to leave.

Yesterday, while they were playing together, she looked at him and said “Da!” for the first time. She doesn’t know what that sound means yet, but the timing was brilliant.

She knows he delights in her. She knows she is his precious little girl. She knows her daddy loves her.

Deserving extravagant thanks (the Proverbs 31 Woman)

The husband half of a couple from our church is treating his wife to a trip to Melbourne with a friend (who he is also treating), to thank her for the way she has supported him and helped him with his farm for the past couple of years.

What extravagance. What thoughtfulness. What a guy.

And if I’m honest, my first thought was “Oh, how lucky she is. My husband would never do that.” I even thought about telling him, specifically to make him see how much sweeter he could be. But as I thought more about it, a horrible realisation dawned on me…

The reason my husband would never treat me to a shopping trip in Melbourne is because I don’t deserve it.

I don’t say that to put myself down, to get sympathy, or to be shocking. It’s simply the truth. My husband is a reasonable and kind man, and if I deserved such an extravagant gift as thanks, then I would get it.

I might look after Madelyn relatively well, but I don’t do all that much to improve life for Angus. I don’t really keep the house that tidy, I don’t cook him dinner, I spend all his money. And I expect thanks for every tiniest thing I do.

In the 31st chapter of Proverbs, King Lemuel recalls his mother’s advice about the ideal wife. She is hardworking, she rises early in the morning to feed and clothe her family. She is wise with money, and makes good decisions that result in prosperity. Her body is strong from the work that it has done, and even at night, she does not give up her duty. She is generous. She helps those in need. Her children and husband praise her, and her husband is respected because of her. She honours the Lord, and for this she deserves to be praised.

My husband needs a wife who is steadfast, loyal, and motivated. Who takes care of things at home with joyfulness and humility. I want to be that wife. I want to be “the Proverbs 31 woman.” I want to deserve extravagant thanks.

‘J’ is for “Just a stay-at-home mum”

My daughter is 6 months old now, so when I meet people. they often ask “So, what do you do?” When I reply “Well, I take care of Madelyn,” they look kind of put off by that, so I always find myself qualifying it by saying “I do teach 3 dance classes a week…”

Because it seems there is something wrong with spending your days caring for your family.

…and that’s good enough for me

Women are assured that they’re not “just” a mum, that what they do makes a difference, that they have an important role in society. But I don’t really think that society’s view of stay-at-home mums is always that they’re unworthy. Mothers are becoming more and more valued, and raising a child who becomes a successful adult is considered significant. No, I don’t think that people are put off by my doing “nothing” because of their view of me as being lazy or not making a difference.

It seems to come from the perspective that I could not possibly be fulfilled by staying at home with my child.

They don’t look at me with disdain. They look at me with pity. I am educated, and have a high earning potential. And it seems to be generally well-accepted that someone like me, who could do very well working outside of home, would be bored at home with my baby. So they really can’t understand it when I claim to be so happy. In fact, the answer I get when I qualify myself by mentioning the dance classes I teach is a relieved “Oh, it must be nice to get a break from Madelyn.”

I don’t know if I’m a member of the norm, or not, but having Madelyn in a different building to me stresses me out. A different room is bad enough. The longest I have been away from her, apart from the 2 hours of surgery the night she was born, is an hour. One hour which felt like an eternity, where an invisible hook in my stomach pulled me towards the door, compelling me to go and find her.

Time with adults is wonderful. Time to dance, to shop, to read a book, is fantastic. But time away from her is not what I need. On days where I feel like it’s all too much, what would be far more helpful than being away from her, would be to have someone come and spend time with us both. Play with her while I have a shower, take a nap, or just sit and do whatever I want. Come and do my dishes, vacuum the house, or fold the washing. Time away from her isn’t what rejuvenates me. Time away from the heavy responsibilities of my new life is what rejuvenates me.

There are a whole lot of things that I love doing, and could do as a job. But I love kissing the soft underside of her chin more. I do have days where I wish I could be more involved at the dance studio, but I remind myself that I’m never going to regret the time I spend with Madelyn. There is not one moment of her life that I have missed. I received her first smile. I made her giggle her first giggle. I saw her first clumsy attempts at crawling. I wouldn’t swap those moments for anything.

I am so, so thankful that my husband and I are in a position that allows me to stay at home for as long as I like. I know how rare that is these days, so I don’t take the privilege lightly.

I don’t need pity. I don’t need assurance that time without her is good for me. At home with my baby, I am more happy than I have ever been.

Top 12 Blog Posts of 2012

Remembering all that happened in 2012 is harder than it’s ever been to remember a year. Too much happened. Too much changed. I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around what a massive, awesome, unexpected year it was. While I attempt to do so, and to put it into some sort of order, I thought I would look back on my blog for the past year. These blog posts are the top according to WordPress and Facebook statistics, and have been some of my favourites.

12. This is love

One thing that always surprises me is just how much people seem to like to read about my husband and how wonderful he is. I wrote this blog post as a reminder to myself of all the ways Angus shows me he loves me, because they’re so easy to miss. His selfless love for me is expressed daily, in the littlest of things. This was one post that many people commented on in real life, and remains one that I love to read every now and again.

11. The Submission posts (Part 1 and Part 2)

Not having been raised in a Christian family, my views on marriage differ greatly to the views of most of my family, and many of my friends. Speaking openly about the way our marriage works, with regard to Biblical teaching, was not a decision that I made lightly. I don’t like to alienate people, and “Wives, submit to your husbands” can be a rather alienating command. The second post in which I spoke about submission was written straight away after I published the first one, because I was so worried that people would think that I was crazy, or worse, that Angus was abusive. I don’t think I even shared either of these links on Facebook. But I was pleasantly surprised at how accepting people were of my views. The number of people who come to my blog by searching about submission in marriage on Google is also rather interesting.

10. Wild infatuation (20 weeks and 4 days)

At my 20 week scan, I was fascinated by my baby’s tiny baby feet, and it seems many other people were too. Someone even came to my blog through Googling “baby feet at 20 weeks.” This blog post remains one of the most viewed. I know, everybody, they’re really cute feet.

9.  Could I have prevented Amanda Todd’s death?

The 15 year old who committed suicide, but left her mark on the world through a video in which she tells the story of her suffering, effected me more than I would have expected. Perhaps that is the mark of motherhood. But I found myself thinking of all the teenagers I know, and of all those who were teenagers when I was young. It is a shame that, too often, we learn our lessons after we need them.

8. Oh, hello third trimester


People seem to like the photos of my baby bump, which kind of makes me wish I’d done them every week. But, to be honest, I’ve taken bump photos as often as I’ve remembered, so there probably wouldn’t have been many more. This blog post was the first pregnancy update I’d done in a while, which I think accounts for its popularity. It was the one I received the most advice from, too, which was nice. I love when people read my blogs, and then mention them in real life. I like the idea that my thoughts shared here may be the start of a conversation.

7. On homosexuality, and how I feel about it as a Christian

This is one that I thought about for a while, before writing and publishing. I worried that I would offend people. Eventually my husband, who thrives on offending people in this way, convinced me that what I was thinking was worth saying. It’s still not one I shared on Facebook, so it surprised me to find how many people had viewed it. Many of those who follow my blog, and therefore read it, have talked to me about their views. Awesome conversations have been started from this, which is what I love.

6. 7 weeks and 1 day

One of several that I wrote before announcing my pregnancy and published later, this post was particularly popular. People seem to like the warm and the fuzzy, and this account of my husband’s secret excitement about the baby had plenty of both.

5. Girl drama, cliques and those who talk about you behind your back 

This is one that is commonly found in Google, which suggests that it’s a problem for many people.  I asked several people to read this post before publishing it. My thoughts here were relevant to quite a few situations both going on around me and in my own life, and I didn’t want this post to just be a continuation of the problem. But one thing I have learnt is that there will always be problems with gossip and drama, and so there will never be a perfect time to speak about it if you wish to avoid bringing it up in the midst of a situation.

4. What I now know about life… (Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4)

I wrote this series as a way to look back on the biggest lessons I learnt during my time working in full time ministry. My three years as discipleship coordinator at a Christian camp were three of the most amazing years of growth I have ever had. It was during this time that I became an adult. Written in January as I prepared to finish my work, these four posts still have some of the most views, and the most comments, out of all my blog posts in 2012.

3. My husband, the emergency medical technician

My announcement that my husband passed his interview to become an emergency medical technician was one of the most ‘liked’ on Facebook out of almost all of my blog posts this year. I really liked writing this blog, because he had worked so, so hard and so deserved his success.

2. The Bump (24 weeks and 1 day)

This was the first time a lot of people who hadn’t yet seen me pregnant got to “see” my baby bump, and it is my most viewed blog post of 2012. Despite that, it doesn’t quite beat out number 1 in terms of reaction and, to be honest, my enjoyment.

1. First comes love, then comes marriage…

My very favourite blog post to write in 2012, and the one which got the most reaction on WordPress, Facebook and real life combined, was the one in which I announced my pregnancy. I was kind of nervous to announce my pregnancy, to be honest. It had been a secret for so long, it felt kind of wrong to now be able to tell the world. I didn’t announce it to the world until I was almost 14 weeks, because I just didn’t feel ready. I’d kind of liked our baby being our little secret. But then, once I did announce it, I found that I loved everyone knowing. And I love going back and reading the announcements, and remembering what it felt like to first write it.