Let's start w the most recent stuff: Vacation!!
D and I just got back from a week-long stint in the deep South. We flew into Myrtle Beach and spent the day walking around. Our fav spot was the Marsh Walk on Murrell's Inlet. PS - if you're ever there stop at the Salty Dog...er, what was the name? Saloon Dog? Dog something okay...Murrell's Inlet is a small area so find the "dog place," get some southwest egg rolls, a beverage, sit outside and enjoy the view.
Took us four tries to get the above pic btw. Curly hair + humidity + wind = D eating a hair sandwich for 3 out of 4 shots. :)
So after our day in Myrtle Beach we drove to Charleston where we stayed for the duration of our trip. We rented an AMAZING apartment in the carriage house of an antebellum mansion. They converted the old carriage house into 4 beautiful luxury apartments. And as I'm typing that I realize I should have included some pics...First day back and I'm already a blog failure. ;)
After 2 minutes of lengthy searching I decided I'm not patient enough to find the good photos we took of the place. So this is the best I got right now. You're welcome.
This was our living room/dining area. It had a gorgeous fully-equipped kitchen, antique 4-post bed, original brick walls, 1.5 baths, and washer/dryer. The property itself was quiet and private. They also provided gated parking for each room on the grounds (at no extra charge, which if you've ever been to Charleston you know is a big deal.) The location was perfect too. The manager, Thad, was the kindest, most helpful property manager I've ever met. (I'm actually getting a Thank You card ready to pop in the mail for him.) And, what's even better, the price we paid was the same (if not less) what we'd pay for a room at any generic hotel...and we got a whole luxury apartment. I mean we are talking major bang for your buck, folks.
Anyone notice what D is pointing at?
That's a GATOR. We saw about 6 of them on this particular plantation. D wanted to get close-ups but I respectfully saluted him and went on my way.
This might be my fav pic on the trip.
I kinda look butch here. Eww. But anyway, one of my favorite was a 2-hour sunset schooner ride around Charleston bay (nerd alert: great close-up of Fort Sumter). The weather was perfect, the water was perfect, and the views were spectacular. And I felt kinda old-school piratey too w/ the masts and sails and stuff.
I know it's not healthy, like at all, but we ate a lot of fried chicken on vacation. We were in South Carolina for goodness sake, it was almost impossible to find a menu that wasn't covered in fried things (excuses). My absolute FAVORITE meal was from a little bubble-gum pink shack about two miles from our apartment. Oh Martha Lou, Martha Lou! The things she did to my taste buds.
As you can see I really rocked the hair that day. I got tired of fighting the humidity and poof but clearly it still won.
Martha Lou is a sweet 80-something woman who makes (you can watch from your table) the most tender, delicious fried chicken I've ever eaten. Her tiny restaurant is humble but friendly and warm. She and her daughters greet you with smiling faces and truly make you feel at home. We were shocked upon entering to see her walls lined with stories written by major food publications (Food & Wine, Saveur, NYTimes etc.) They all said her soul food was amazing and they weren't lying. No. They. Weren't.
Let's pause just a moment, mkay.
Listen ya'll...if you ever visit Charleston (which you should btw bc it's incredible) do yourself a favor and eat here. Trust me. Be like Nike and just do it.
So if anyone still reads this blog I'm sure it's by accident bc sister has been out of the loop for a while. But I'm back now, ready to get into the swing of things again, and I'm also ready to share a little bit about what's been going on the past 15 months.
The spring of last year brought a lot of heartache.
D and I separated, I moved out, and my world literally collapsed. The condensed version of events is that he had an affair and filed for divorce. I was devastated, confused, angry, and torn. It was a great season of loss. Life as I knew it was over: my spouse, home, friends, community, etc. were all gone. I also lost my grandpa to cancer during that time. I wondered if and where God was. I doubted his goodness. I bounced around living with friends and family while I tried to get the pieces of my life back together...and then, when all hope seemed lost something began to change.
Right before our divorce was to be final D asked to start dating me again. My first reaction was to tell him exactly where he could stick it (and I did) but over time I was put in situations where I had to see him. Slowly and over the course of many months we began to rebuild our marriage. He dropped the divorce and we have since recommitted our lives to one another.
It has not been easy. The last 15 months or so have been the most painful, exhausting months of my life...BUT I can say that despite it all - the loss, the pain, the broken relationships, etc - God is still good. I'm not about to get all preachy here so don't get uncomfortable, but this truth has absolutely never left my side. I am not strong enough to have endured what I've walked through. He has provided, encouraged, corrected, and transformed me. He alone carried me through the muck and slime of this past year...and it was a full-on carry. I did very little walking for a while. Although it's been a season of loss and pain, it's also been a season of humility, love, and restoration. The people who have stuck beside me during the worst times have been reminders of hope and light when all I could think about was crawling in bed and never coming out again.
There's so much more to the story and maybe I'll share more one day.
D and I aren't perfect. We still have work to do, but we are in it together. It would have been easier for us both to let this go, to give up and walk away, but we believe in the commitment we made. For better or worse (and we've been there.) Fighting for our marriage will be worth it in the end.
Despite all the crapola, I'm actually looking forward to our future. I have such peace and hope. And that's something I didn't know if I'd ever find again. These are good days. :)
Oh, and I'm pregnant too. BOOM!! lol
Let me answer the first question: No, we were not trying. In fact, we were in prevention mode, but we are overjoyed and see this little one as a blessing we never saw coming (even moreso when you consider we tried for a while several years ago and never conceived.) This miracle baby is such a blessing and I'm so excited to be his mommy. Yep, it's a boy!!!
PS - We are going nowhere w baby names so if you've got any cute ones feel free to pass them my way. I'm terrified of giving birth and not having a name picked out yet. That and about 1,034 other things (please don't tell me your terrible labor stories...why do we do that to one another ladies? Whyyyy??)
Missed y'all so much! I'm so glad to be back. Be looking for another post (and maybe a new recipe) soon!!!