My sister called me a city hipster recently. I have no idea what she means.
Our schedule has been all over the place this new year. While I’m ready to slow down and take a break I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed our busy schedule. (more…)
My sister called me a city hipster recently. I have no idea what she means.
Our schedule has been all over the place this new year. While I’m ready to slow down and take a break I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed our busy schedule. (more…)
We moved recently to the Southend of Charlotte. We’re three blocks down and a couple over from the Panthers stadium, a five minute walk to Brandon’s work and a whole lot closer to everything we love. Two months ago we were in that pickle of deciding to stay where we were which was a great space, just not quite what we envisioned, or to move on. Brandon and I are move on until you get it just right kind of people.
We began our apartment hunting after the change of ownership at our old complex. In efforts to be sure we would get exactly what we wanted this time we toured nine different places. Including one gorgeous loft in the city with exposed brick walls. We had to say no to it, after we realized we would only have street parking, and the laundry was in the basement of the building three flights down. That kind of thing is only fun to watch in sitcoms, not so fun to do in reality. After careful deliberation and discussing with supportive friends we happily chose one of the first places we saw.
We packed up our precious belongings and trashed or donated the rest to uproot ourselves once more. Each time we move we’re refining our lives to be just where we want them. Getting down to our essentials, and creating a cozy nest full of only things we love. By no means are we true minimalists, we both enjoy too many hobbies for that and we’re still the slightest bit sentimental. However, we do well downsizing every now and then.
Our space isn’t just this little apartment, it’s spilled onto the sidewalks all over Southend. It’s on every street corner that I catch a glimpse of the skyline and am left feeling inspired. It’s in the downstairs lounge where we shared coffee this morning before Brandon had to head out to work. It’s in the coffee shop across the street and the park down the road.
Last week Brandon was sitting in nearly an hour of traffic to get home. Now he’s meeting Bingley and I on the sidewalk corner for lunch at a hot dog stand. The woman at the cart asked if Bingley ate people food. We said yes, and she cooked him up a broken hot dog she was unable to use. Lots of hungry laborers stretched their hands out to pet Bing and give him lots of love. To my left I saw a city I love, and to my right my very happy family. Friendly faces all around and my heart was full. This is my safe place. I never thought I would feel safe exposed out on the sidewalks. Not until I saw dozens of other dog walkers in the evenings. Men and women all dressed up with their earbuds in walking to work in the morning.
I kissed Brandon on the street corner, and he walked back to work, while Bingley and I walked back home. It’s perfect here.
God’s been teaching me alot about contentment. When we were dating I used to tell Brandon my plans for the future. It all sounded canned, and naïve. When he questioned me about it, I’d say, “because that’s what everybody does.” It makes me cringe thinking about it.
Brandon would say “Who’s everybody?” and I had no answer for him. That’s when I really got to thinking about it. Is there one right formula in which you should live your adulthood? Absolutely not. Some people prefer the space of the countryside. Some people prefer the bustle of a city. Some moms wish and are able to stay home, some wish or need to work. I see a never ending ladder people our age are scrambling to climb, desperate to reach certain points when our peers do, and frantic if we don’t. Something inside me really wants to kick down that ladder. It’s why it seemed like a step backwards that we bought a 3 bedroom house, and now live in a one bedroom apartment. In reality for us it’s 2 steps back in space, and 10 steps forward in quality of life.
You know that old verse your Sunday school teacher would tell you when you had a test coming up, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Philippians 4:13. Have you read the context lately?
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
In a recent married women’s study I learned the context of that verse. Be happy, and content where you are. Don’t wait until you have it all to start living. You see, we live in a world full of comparisons. That’s nothing new to you. And you know, I think I’m done with it. As I was writing in my journal recently I felt like God was saying “Let it go. The life I have designed for you will be so different, there is no use in your scrambling. It merely shows your lack of faith in me.” Woah right? Sometimes we need God to tell us like it is. Whether I have what they have or not, I’m good. Whether they approve of my lifestyle or not, I’m good. I finally started paying attention to what works best for us, living in the faith that God has a different set of ladders for each and every one of us.
I am not in the business of leading you to believe that the events which take place in our lives are absolutely golden. Because just like everybody else, that is not always the case.We went camping this past weekend and we did have quite a bit of fun, but I also managed to forget batteries for the lantern, misplaced Bingley’s long leash, and very last minute we decided we were in need of a sleeping bag.
Saturday morning we shoved most everything in our tent to meet Sara and Dave for an apple festival. After meandering around, wasting fourteen dollars on tickets, and wondering what all the fuss was about, we realized we were in the wrong place. Parking at a family farm full of kiddie swings, and hay mazes rather than an apple orchard.
Naturally Brandon was all “What’s the name of the place we’re supposed to be?” And when I responded he said, “Yea, that’s not where we are.” And he pointed to the sign out front that read Peach Farm. Copilot fail on my part for the umpteenth time in our marriage.
Because I consider myself such a planner… such an organized freak, these things just get my goat. Trickling their way in to ruin things. I give myself the hardest time. I don’t like it one bit, but I do send myself into these whirlwinds of self shaming, and I’m exhausted from it. This time it was forgetting things, and getting us wrong directions. Weeks ago it was accidentally demolishing a souvenir shot glass from Sacramento in the garbage disposal. Weeks before that it was having made a dinner without 2 important ingredients that made all the difference. And so on…
I can’t stand for it. Not when it’s only simple honest mistakes. Not when I remembered everything else on our trip including Wet Wipes that I excitedly whipped out like some kind of magician when Brandon plainly mentioned he wished to rinse his hands after his S’more Friday night.
Back at the campsite I sat to chop peppers, steak, and onion for our kabobs. B went out to grab batteries for the lantern, and I wanted to sit there feeling terrible that it was my fault he was needing to run out. But just before the thoughts could take hold of my mind I heard a bunch of children playing behind me shouting “Daddy this, and Dad that.” All while this father set up their camp. I thought to myself as I often do, “What will it be like to camp years from now and hear those words escape the mouths of our own little ones?”
Brandon came back and I totally had to apologize for my behavior. Then we moved on, and got to skewering our kabobs.
As told by Natalie Poe for her kind of Camping
2015 is rolling right along, and so much has grabbed my attention, that I thought I’d give you a quick recap of Life Lately. Hang with me, we’re goin fast!
My beautiful sister Nadir gave birth to her first born last month! I’m amazed by my sister’s strength, and overwhlemed with the beauty of a woman’s ability to go through pregnancy, and childbirth! It’s alot of work to bring life into the world! I was so excited to visit just a couple days later to share in their blessing.
Norah did not dissappoint. She’s pretty stinking adorable, and she’s leaving the whole family smitten with love for her. Passing down my crown of being the youngest isn’t half bad.
School is almost out! Which means I get to see more of this cool kid ↓↓
Bring on the summertime fun!
If you follow me on Instagram you know I found the best Farmer’s Market ever! On Saturday I excused myself past people to grab a giant 34 cent carrot.. Have I grown up, or have I grown up?
My first visit I stood over baskets of strawberries with giddiness in my eyes, because those strawberries were tantalizingly bright red, and gorgeous. After the man who proudly grew them noticed I was interested he said, “Go ahead and try them there strawberries.” Tickled by his accent, and guiltlessly wanting a taste I picked up a little red guy and bit just below the green. And it.. was.. the best dang strawberry I’ve ever tasted.
The next week when I asked B to tag along he insited we grab a cantaloupe. But once we got to the pile we stared at the cantaloupe, and then at eachother. How do you pick a good cantaloupe? There’s so many rules to ripeness.. how will I possibly remember them all? This one’s too green.. this one’s too hard.. this one doesn’t smell strong enough.
“I think you smell the butt.” I said to B.
To which he replied. “But they all smell so good.”
“Whenna you gonna cut it?” An older man asked, noticing we were in need of assistance.
“Umm probably today.” I said. Then he proceeded to grab at the cantaloupe, and handed us a good one, and moved on. And it was a GOOD one.
Cherries just like the ones we’d pick off of the tree when I was little. How could I pass that up?
When I was 2 or 3 I’d galavant through the backyard with cherries in hand, and when my mom asked me what they were I’d say “Gwapes” and she’d say “They’re Cherries!”
Plants!!! call me crazy, but I had no idea there’d be more than produce, and fresh flowers at the farmer’s market. I stared at an oversized pot full of Elephant Ears as tall as I am, for 10 minutes. Deliberating… Because, I really, really, wanted those guys in my home. But, I settled for a hanging pot of succulents to accompany the bedroom window. And really, can you go wrong with succulents?
Speaking of plants…
I found this precious nursery not too far from where I work. I wasn’t expecting too much, but once I walked in I followed the sign for houseplants, and I stepped into this beautiful haven. Mhmm I’ll take one of each pretty please.
During a casual Wednesday morning trip to Jo-Ann’s with little Grant I spotted this fabric, and could not get over how it had our entire living room color scheme. After getting a couple feet cut for a bunting I grabbed some matching bias tape, and whipped out my coupons. Because Jo-Ann’s ALWAYS has coupons. Total for this DIY was five dollars! [And lots of leftover scrap fabric for other projects.]
When I got home I popped in an old musical, and got to tracing, cutting, and sewing.
Since we’re living in a rental I’ve been using as many Command hooks as possible to avoid holes in the wall, and it hasn’t been too big a deal aside from the fact that I miss our curtains. But this bunting has been a stunning alternative!
In case you wondered..
Bingley wanted to say hello.
Oh! And I thought you’d like this pretty decent little drawing we spotted on our table at Mama’s Coffeehouse.
This fabulous piece of art was completed last week, and it’s even better than I imagined. When making your own furniture you experience this moment of fear once you have all your supplies. And you think “Hmm.. is this really going to come out the way I want it to?”
Lucky for us, it always has! You can find the craft desk B and his dad made for me here. Brandon had this genius idea to make a table with wood flooring, and I’ve been wanting to make something with pipe. So we merged our two ideas, and voila! We ended up with this glorious creation!
I got some much needed quality friend time with Chloe this past weekend. She conveniently dropped her pup off for some gun dog training in Georgia, and on her way back home, she stayed with us for the weekend. All weekend I had some girl time. Which you never realize you need, until you’ve had it. I could tell you all about our time together, but I usually find it difficult to put Friendship into words. There’s a certain comfort I feel when I am in the presence of an old friend. A comfort where I can be silly, and honest, and true to myself. Where we can spend our time together reminiscing on events past, and speak our own language of care to each other. I’ll spare you the girly details that Brandon was unable to escape, and tell it to you simply. We basically shopped, and crafted our little hearts out all weekend. That’s right, apparently when people come visit they bring along their latest diy project, cause they know I’ll be down. A friend who can be by my side happily while I sew, is a good friend.
It’s 80 degrees in Charlotte, can you believe it? I started swinging Grant in the backyard baby swing today, when I caught a glimpse of a line of ants. They were bustling with life, carrying whatever crumbs they’d found back to their ant hill. Grant smiled with every forward swing as his cheeks caught a little vitamin D. During this beautiful time of year that breathes life into the air, I figured why not invite a little bit of spring into our home? Greenery in the home is a good thing friends. My plants are adoring this sunshine, arching themselves toward the light, spreading their leaves wide to bask in it’s magnificence.
If you remember this post then you know that I have succesfully pieced together my little indoor potted garden. Quite a transformation right?
Here’s a closer look at some of my little green guys.
Don’t they just make you happy? Inspiring life, and growth with their vibrant green hue. Now you want to go get yourself some house plants. Don’t you?
And to take us out Bingley wanted to say that he had a pretty good weekend too.
Today, I’m just going to have to say what’s on my heart.
An open letter to the woman who’s generousity healed a heart.
Every day I look at Bingley I’m reminded of your compassion. How I want to be a woman who can be that compassionate. To willingly gift something just to cheer someone up.
Bingley is currently sleeping behind me, snoring, stretching out his paw every now and then pressing into my back. He is crazy. He is clingly. He tracks so much water from his bowl. He leaves hair all over the place!!! He pulls his crate mat out of his crate and drags it all over the house, and leaves fluff and thread all over the carpet as he thrashes it around. He jumps into the shower if you leave the bathroom door open because he loves baths! He woofs next to the bed when I want to sleep in, and then when I open my eyes he barks as if I’m unaware that he hasn’t been fed. He gets cranky when we stick our feet under him under the blankets. He is a pillow thief! On the bed, and the couch. He is a 75 lb wild animal in our house.
He sits for his food, and waits for a command to eat it. He’s great around kids. He’s great with other dogs. He’s protective, and sweet. He loves to cuddle and give kisses. He was there when I received a second subpoena for court. He laid next to me while I had the paper in my hand. Full of anxiety, and fear, and dread.
It’s been a long long road but I think I’m getting there. Getting to the point where I’m not going to allow myself to worry about losing him just yet. There was a moment only a few months ago when our mutual friend Chloe brought me to the pet store. Bingley could pull an 18 wheeler on the harness we had for him, and she urged me to try some different ones. First we tried a gentle leader which immediatey sent fear straight to the pit of my stomach. “This thing is only attached to his muzzle, and neck! No way man, I have no control over him.” Was my only thought. So we tried a different one that sat low on his front legs. With every step I swore I’d see him slip it any second. Other customers walked by with their dogs and my body tightened. Lastly she fit him with a prong collar, loosely resting on his neck until he pulled. This one was working. He walked next to me. He listened to my commands.
Chloe pressed me for my thoughts on the collar but my words were choking my throat. She attempted to reassure me that though it may appear to be menacing, he was perfectly fine. But my mind was somewhere else.
“Natalie what is it?” She said. Then I looked up at her with tears pooling in my eyes.
“You can say it Natalie.” She continued. And then, with a year’s worth of build up I broke. I confessed how terrified I was of losing him. How terrified I was of getting a harness that wouldn’t hold him, or that he would get loose from. And that once again it’d be on me. It would be my fault that he got loose, and I don’t want to live through those consequesnces again. The truth was, this collar was the first one that I’d felt comfortable walking him in. I realized I could finally let go.
As always, thank you for providing me with the chance to face my fears. And while doing so being in the constant companionship of this sweet dog. You’ve made us family.
I’ve been trying to convince Brandon that I find camping to be romantic when it’s just the two of us. He still doesn’t quite believe how it could be. Just us, our dog, a campfire, s’mores, no distractions, chilly nights that leave you snuggling for warmth. How could it not be? Camping is one of those things that once you have all the gear it’s a super inexpensive outing. You’d think he’d take me up on it more often right?
Now with my kind of camping we bring an air mattress, cause I’m not quite at the sleeping bag level, and I’m not sure I will be. To each his own. I also brought everything I could. We had enough bags to make an extreme camper cringe. As B began loading the car he said “Really babe, it’s just one night.” And then I got all defensive. “I know!” I said. “This is why I want to do more than one night next time, because it’s ridiculous that we need to bring all this stuff just for one evening.”
“Really?” Brandon said. “We need to bring scones?” he pointed down at the grocery bag full of food where I had stuffed some mini scones for breakfast. He got me. I may have gone a bit overboard. But I’d rather have too much than too little. Someone back me up on this.
So we get to the site, and you’d think that I remembered it all right? False. Once our tent was quickly set up, I began unpacking bags on the picnic table and B says “Where’d you put the matches?”
My eyes got all wide, and I looked at him with an I’m so sorry face. I totally forgot the matches, and I knew it too cause they weren’t where they usually are at home, and I tried to remember to grab them before we left. Inevitably I didn’t. Who goes camping and forgets the matches!? I made poor B walk up to the front gate where he had to ask for matches. You could imagine his embarrassment. But don’t worry there’s more.
“I’m kind of embarrassed to blow up the air mattress out here.” He says to me. The campsites were a bit closer together than we were used to. And aside from the crickets, and crackle from the fire, it was awfully quiet out there. “Well we don’t even own sleeping bags.” I said. “So just do it quick.”
I heard a little whirring sound come out from inside the tent, and then it almost immediately shut off. Then I heard large forced puffs, in a synchronized fashion. “No he is not.” I thought. I walked over, and unzipped the front of the tent. There was B sitting with the air mattress pressed to his lips. “No!” I said. “There is no way you will be able to blow up a queen sized air mattress on your own! You’re going to kill your lungs!! I knew you were going to do this!” He laughed knowing just how ridiculous it was. Brandon, that guy. He cracks me up.
He used the motor to blow it up, and no one judged us, as far as we knew. I like to camp in as much comfort as possible, is that so bad?
Bingley LOVED camping. He was a bit anxious and confused at first but once he realized we were there to stay he loved being outside all night, and I loved having him there. He sat right in between our chairs most of the night looking up every now and then to see if we were going to toss a potato chip or two his way.
How fabulous is that collar of his? I put it on him since the beginning of October, and I realized two things…
Breakfast was amazing. But I’m married to a Poe boy. I’m pretty sure it’s inevitable to have great camping breakfast with those men. B made Bacon, eggs, and coffee. They were soooo good. He’s a keeper, I know.
Recently I went on a walk with the puppy on possibly one of the last warmer days here in Charlotte. Does it get any better than this? It was a white t-shirt, dark denims kind of day. Where the sunlight kissed the pond after a fabulous date, and left it sparkling.
Bingley was overdue for a long long walk. You wanna know how I knew? Because a couple nights before he began barking at me continuously to play, and then proceeded to run around in circles chasing his tail… This went on for a while.. Until eventually he got dizzy, and waddled off to the side of the room.
As Bingley and I passed the bridge we came across a photographer which is a usual occurrence at Freedom Park. Her lens was pointed toward a twitter-paited couple nuzzling noses. The woman wore a short fluffy white dress and a veil. The man wore a fitted suit. A neatly wrapped bouquet of flowers lay beside the photographer. It was some sort of wedding shoot. But on a Wednesday? Perhaps it was an after the wedding session. Whatever they were there for, they seemed to capture the attention of all passerby.
Then, careening downhill came a young boy on a bike. His eyes peeked out from under his helmet, as his hands gripped the handle bars. His dad was jogging behind him, arms out, and ready for anything. The little boy thrust the handlebars side to side in desperate attempt to keep his bike upright. His training wheels were fresh off, and this was his big day. What an event to witness.
His smile was wide, even through his wobbliness. “Mommy! I did it! I did it!” he yelled. A woman with sunglasses and running shorts yelled up to him. “Good job baby!” After a few more steps I began to pass her stumbling behind her daughter’s bike. She whispered encouragements to the little girl who was taking on the slight hill with more caution than her brother. I smiled at them as we passed. This was quite possibly the sweetest scene I’ve witnessed all week. I’m not sure what could even top it next week. As we were going in opposite directions I passed this family of four a few more times. And with each passing I saw the kiddos get better and better. They grew more confidence, and were cycling straighter paths without the aide of their parents. It was adorable.
During this wonderful walk, and all of my people watching I had a thought. “Have I ever been the source of someone’s inspiration?” Young woman walks giant black lab briskly. Young woman discreetly takes photos of trees, and pet. Or so she thinks.
I was inspired by everyone at the park that day, who’s to say I didn’t inspire them? Not just the family teaching their children to ride bikes, or the photo session couple. But the boy sitting on the quiet bench by the ducks working on his laptop. The woman across the way from my bench that sat cross legged on her blanket under the willow tree engrossed in a novel. The old man that sat on his cooler holding onto his fishing pole leisurely. It was the perfect day, with a laid back kind of afternoon. I’m going to enjoy them while they’re here I think. Just until the winter months. Go on trees, keep those leaves changing. And wind keep those cool breezes coming.. We’re loving it out here.
First lets take a little advice from Charlie Brown
You got me! It’s a doggie post today, because Bingley is curled up in the corner on this rainy evening in Charlotte, looking ever so sweet. And I am not ashamed to tell you that he’s my inspiration for the day. Hey, I’ll take it.
I continue to be amazed at what a wonderful addition he makes to our little family. Who else is going to literally jump in the air with joy that you are home? Better yet who is going to remind you to greet your husband excitedly with kisses when he walks in the door from a long day? Who else will crave your attention and love, and put a smile on your face all at once? Snuggle up to you and sigh when they sense you are sad? I wrote a little bit about how Bingley has helped mold me into a better person here.
Bingley, my friend, and companion how on earth did you find a way to so lovingly nuzzle your wet nose right into our hearts? If this doesn’t make you want a puppy people, I don’t know what will.
Oh the wet puppy paw prints. They get me every time.
Do you see now why I can’t help but call him handsome? He may actually believe that’s his name, considering once I told B he was handsome, and Bingley looked up at me. As if he wished to say “Yes, I’m listening.”
Family walk time. Oh gosh, it melts my heart.
Just to the side of Uptown there lies a 98 acre haven by the name of Freedom Park.
It’s a place where Charlotteans can come and escape the day to day demands, or in my case it was a place to kill some time, and a chance to tire out a puppy.
Bingley and I took a stroll around the pond on our visit and quickly found out that we were not the only human canine pair spending time together, because Freedom Park is one of the most dog friendly places I’ve seen. It’s been a great place for Bingley to be around other dogs of all shapes, and sizes. And a great place for him to be around children as well. Once we had walked for a bit I took refuge on a shaded bench. That’s where Bingley noticed them. A family of ducks dunking themselves into the water one by one. Instinctively Bingley sat perfectly still observing the synchronized birds. He huffed, and sighed once they swam away, the show was over.
We kept walking much to Bingley’s surprise, because it’s still summer and I figure we might as well take advantage of the warm weather. We passed two men fishing by the bridge. One photographer capturing the last days in a woman’s pregnancy. One mother adjusting her daughter’s bicycle helmet. Two friends laying in the grass reading, and lots and lots of other puppies, and kiddos. Life is good at freedom park. Life is good when you’ve got a worn out puppy. Especially the kind that are so worn out and happy that their tongue limply hangs out to the side.
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