Archive of ‘Confessions’ category

First Trimester Recap

By Natalie

15 Weeks

We’ve officially made it to the second trimester.

I wouldn’t say that the first trimester took me by complete surprise. I expected to feel tired and nauseated. What I didn’t expect was the [Squeamish ears turn elsewhere because I’m giving the honest details here.] difficulty I had chewing and swallowing food without gagging. I did not expect how much my gag reflex would come into play with familiar smells like bacon, my spice cabinet and Bingley’s food. I underestimated how exhausting it would be to feel so sick for such a long stretch of time. The transition from the first trimester to the second has been a slow one. “You should be feeling better soon.” Is what everyone told me, but it hasn’t been an overnight change like I’d hoped.

I suffered debilitating headaches the past couple weeks that lingered for days. Got sick multiple times after eating my morning scrambled eggs. Woke at 3am multiple nights, with the most frustrating insomnia.

Today I feel legitimately better than those first few weeks but still beaten down. I still have food aversions and continue to be sensitive to smell. My headaches have subsided thanks to some helpful tips from a nurse at my OB office. She suggested I add more protein to my diet and to be sure I eat every 3 hrs. Some days that’s easy and I can’t eat enough, but others I don’t have an appetite for much of anything but my cravings. My recent cravings have been chicken wings, cheese-it’s, fruit loops and pizza. Specifically Digiorno pizza, something about the crunchy crust I don’t know. Basically all healthy things right? That’s been hard for me because for the past year and a half I ate a predominately paleo diet. Since the smell of most raw meat bothers me now and the time it takes to prep and cook dinner is longer than I care to spend in the kitchen I’ve slacked off a lot. I switched to Paleo in June 2016 for multiple reasons, one being that I was having lots of stomach upset and bloating from dairy, starchy foods and all those yucky chemical additives and gums and waxes. After talking to a friend with similar dietary choices I felt confident in currently eating what I wanted to eat and not beating myself up about it. She said when she was recently pregnant all she could eat was bagels with gobs of cream cheese in her first trimester so naturally that’s all I wanted the next week.

I have been able to get by with some homemade meals from friends and family, which has gotten me back on track. I’ve also recently made a few crock pot meals here and there. I just pulled a Paleo pumpkin bread out of the oven and I’m trying to get my veggies in as often as possible. I’m on my way but it’s slow going for sure.

Mentally I feel not myself at all. Which I suppose makes sense since I’m not my self. I’ve felt like my body is breaking down on me. But it’s not, in fact it’s creating new life. I’m not who I once was. My body is preparing me for my biggest milestone yet. Motherhood. It makes me all emotional to feel sick, unable to cook most nights. I’ve felt like such a burden to Brandon and my job. A complainer to my friends and ungrateful to God for taking this gift God graced us with and crying about how difficult it’s been. Yet I’m amazed by this beautiful journey my body is capable of. Hormones are all over the place these days. I’m understanding true sacrifice for this little one. Discomfort among many other things simply because I love this little human growing in my belly so stinkin much.

More than anything I’m amazed by the support I’ve had. I haven’t had a single friend tell me to shut up which I feel could be totally valid when I said I was feeling crummy for the millionth time. My mom and sisters have been available for advice and encouragement even on the days when I just needed someone to talk to while I ate as a distraction. I’ve cried while eating saltines many times while on the phone with my sister Nadir. Telling her I just wanted to be able to eat and that I was so happy but so sick.

Brandon has shown such love to me in these past 16 weeks that some days I just sit thinking about how much I love him. Truly dazed in thought about how deep my love for him has grown. He doesn’t get mad when I ask him to make me a second grilled cheese sandwich he simply says “Sure babe.” And hops to. That’s a good hubby.

We find out if this little munchkin is a boy or a girl at the end of the month. We’re anxious and excited for our little babe no matter the gender. Mostly I’m excited to go yarn and fabric shopping after we find out so I can make ALL the things!

 


Blessings

By Natalie

IMG_0574We’re so excited to announce we’re expecting our long awaited dearest little one.

The past year has been extremely difficult for me to write anything meaningful or personal. My personal struggles had been consumed in trying to conceive our first child. I took a big step back from sharing things publicly because what now mattered to me was the support and closeness of family and friends. If it weren’t for their encouragement I wouldn’t have made it through with my head held as high nor would I have seen what God had in store for me during this waiting period. I learned the value of close relationships. Brandon and I became much closer than we already were, supporting one another when the other seemed to wonder what could possibly be the problem.

My emotions were all over the place until one day I had to choose to praise. If we got pregnant God was good. If we didn’t he was still good. The struggles I have overcome in my past greatly contributed to my faith in the one who has always blessed me and never left my side.

God was good after every negative test I frustratingly threw into the trash can. He was good through every ache that gripped my heart from the piece of our family that seemed to be missing.

I’ve loved the life that we’ve lived. We’ve taken some easy steps and some difficult ones but every single step has brought us to where we are today as individuals, as a couple and as a family. We felt ready months after our five year anniversary to start a family. We loved our lives and were ready for our greatest adventure yet. As the months dragged on my yearning grew deeper and deeper. All week I’d care for little ones who were not my own. Rocking them to sleep, praying for my own. Every day was a reminder that I was without. I had to make a shift and look at it differently. I had to choose to be grateful to have babies to snuggle. To curb the longing I had for my own child and grant it to the little boys that were in my charge.

I started a journal of letters to our child from the very beginning and I’m so glad I have that to look back on.

On September 1st 2016 I wrote “Whether I have to wait a month or a year for you, it won’t matter because God’s will in our lives is perfect.”

On October 15th 2016 I wrote “I’m anxious to share our life with you. I have all this love bottled up inside me waiting to be expressed to you.”

On January 28th 2017 I wrote “Life’s been tough without you.”

On February 3rd 2017 I wrote “I want you to know even before you were born you were in my heart. You have always been loved.”

On March 7th 2017 I wrote “I long so terribly to hold you. I’m wallowing in my sadness today because there is a lack of you… You are always loved. Always were. Always will be.”

On May 18th 2017 I wrote “I want you to be God fearing, empathetic and a kind person. I want you to be generous and have a hunger for more.”

On June 11th 2017 I wrote “Am I allowed to feel pain for something that has never been? That’s never been lost? …Promise you’ll come soon.”

On June 23rd 2017 I jotted down Romans 8:25-28

On July 20th 2017 I wrote “…I have sat on a doctor’s table and begged God to tell me why or at the very least when. I asked him to grant me patience and understanding. I was angry with him. Very angry that he placed me somewhere that I would feel this void so desperately. One day you might find yourself angry with God as well. All I can tell you is that he may not give you complete understanding of where you are, but he will give you what you need to get through it.

On August 11th 2017 I wrote “I feel empty today. Empty and sad.”

On October 19th 2017 I wrote “Oh my dearest little one, I just found out I’m carrying you and I feel so overcome with emotion.”

The letters continue, each signed xoxo. I share these personal excerpts because I know I was not alone in our struggle to conceive. I know we’re extremely blessed to have even waited such a short time in comparison to many others. I’m thankful for the time Brandon and I had together and the abundance of letters I was able to write to our child even before conception. Mostly I am grateful for the God who never left me, even when I questioned his plan.

It’s been a beautiful journey and we’re truly blessed to be given this gift.


How I’ve Been Feeling

  • The first trimester is kicking my butt. I started to feel nauseated all day every day starting at 6 weeks until now as it slowly subsides. I was completely unprepared for the toll it would take on me physically and mentally to feel so sick for such a long stretch.
  • The grocery store is still off limits!
  • Much to Brandon’s dismay I CANNOT stand the smell of bacon. Sad days in our home. No more Saturday morning bacon and pancakes.
  • ECSTATIC

The Facts

  • My due date is June 30th (Baby’s trying to creep up on my birthday.)
  • Nightly at home yoga has been extremely helpful for my mood and nausea.
  • I’m asleep by 9pm, 8pm if I’m lucky.
  • I have super smell!! Brandon has been amazed.
  • Cravings: Powdered jelly donut. A friend’s homemade oatmeal crust veggie pizza (which they graciously made for me!). Fried rice.
  • I’m blown away by Brandon’s love and care for me and our home during this season. He’s going to be an awesome Dad!
  • Bingley is mostly oblivious.
  • We have a terrific support system in our family and close friends. One’s who couldn’t contain their excitement when they heard the news and ones who even teared up at this answered prayer. They continue to encourage and pray for us which has been a lovely blessing.
  • Brandon and I are completly in love with this babe already.

 

About That Stephen King

By Natalie

IMG_0533Growing up if J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was demonic then Stephen King was the devil himself. I’ve had this stigma about him all my life. His books are untouchable. He writes horror, they shouldn’t be read. Until I realized that my goodness I am twenty six years old and I can read whatever I choose.

Don’t worry, I didn’t go straight for It or Carrie because I don’t think they are particularly my cup of tea. Perhaps I’ll read Christine one day simply because that’s my middle name and who doesn’t love a good suspense about a car with a vendetta? Who knows, we’ll see.

I was stumped after reading Mary Poppins and terrified of losing the momentum I’d acquired in my reading this year. That’s when I toyed with the idea of reading a Stephen King novel. For the past couple years King has unexpectedly become an inspiration in my writing. In desperate searches for substance during my many writing blocks I’d find quotes of his or snippets from his books always surprised to hear they were King’s.

The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.

You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.

Precisely. As an avid reader I’m desperate to become an avid writer. Whenever I’d hit those road blocks in my writing I’d consider King’s words.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others; read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

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If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.

These words have done wonders for me when I didn’t feel the urge to write. I could feel it welling up from somewhere deep down, but it would never reach the surface until I simply sit down to give it the time of day. I’ll often jot down terrible beginnings and even worse middles. The important thing is that I got something down. Eventually it’d turn into something substantial or it branched a new train of thought for a new post. During the times when I feel absolutely discouraged or uninspired I’ll use this quote as an excuse to read. That’s where I’ve been all this time. Nose buried in books. I may not be up to date on my writing this year but my reading has become a satisfying escape which I’ve convinced myself is an important tool in writing. I’ll take King’s word on that one.

I know what you’re thinking, this is the man who’s mind came up with Pennywise that terrifying shapeshifting clown. Did I get that right? The man who has written so much horror. But he’s also the mind behind many other suspenseful books and a captivating memoir which is definitely next on my list. Plus this ↓ This right here is a writer’s gold. This is everything I feel as I sit here time after time attempting to bear my soul.

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.

When Brandon shared the trailer for The Dark Tower movie I knew it was time. Time to finally read one of the books of this author I have admired for so long. I shared with Nadir through unsure gritted teeth that I was thinking about reading a Stephen King novel.

After I explained why her next words were “Hey if he inspires you then I say go for it.” That evening I popped on my kindle and devoured the first few pages of the The Gunslinger. I figured it was a fitting choice as I’d read that King was inspired by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, thus he created the Dark Tower series.

IMG_0530In under a week later I finished The Gunslinger and have now been flipping between his memoir On Writing and the second book in the Dark Tower series The Drawing of the Three. Which I recently picked up at the library. Or as I like to call it The Happiest Place on Earth. Move over Disney.

Local Library

By Natalie

Since for the past year I’ve been in the habit of taking Grant to story time at the Library, I’ve fallen in love with just how wonderful a place full of stories can be.

The set up at our library has the children’s area, and books on hold downstairs. Fiction, and nonfiction rest upstairs with dozens of tables and chairs strewn along the length of the windows.

imageTypically I’ll search for the book I’m ready to dive into next at home, and place it on hold. Then I’m able to walk in with G, grab my book, and lead him to the little house made up of storybooks for kids. He steps inside the little house with a couple other tots, all pulling corduroy, and other plush storybook characters out of a basket that sits in the corner.

He usually steps out to present his findings to me, smiling and grunting. He excitedly stumbles back into the little house to see what else he can discover, while I stand there alongside 20 other moms, and nannies watching our littles play.

If you have a little, infant to toddler, and you’re not in the habit of going to story time I have to tell you truthfully that you are missing out. The first time I went Ryder was almost 3, and Grant was 4 months. Little toddler girls ran up to the car seat when I grabbed a bottle to feed Grant, and they could not stop uttering the word Bae-Bee when I placed him on my shoulder to burp him.

These days when we go to story time Grant is happy to get up and run into the middle of the room with the other kiddos while a librarian reads to them. He’ll venture out just far enough to be on the other side of the circle, standing to stare at each woman sitting in front of him until he comes across my face, and senses the recognition. I smile, and say “Hey.” In hushed tone, and he runs to my lap, barreling into me. He’ll sit like that for just a moment until he gets settled, and then he’s right back up to repeat it all over again. It never gets old to see his face light up when he spots me in a room full of other women and children. My heart melts every time he joins me for the next song.imageClap your hands *Clap-Clap* Clap your hands *Clap-Clap* Everybody clap your hands *Clap-Clap* Clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands, everybody clap your hands. *Clap-Clap*

And then we go into Stomp your feet *Stomp-Stomp* Stomp your feet *Stomp-Stomp* and G really gets into it. Hinging at his knees on the edge of my lap to stomp his heels on the floor.

On the days when I forgot to place a book on hold, but am still yearning for a good read I head up the stairs with Grant in my arms. At the bend in the stairs he points to a painted picture on the wall. “Uhhhah” he moans. “Yes I know Grantsy, it’s a ship in the ocean.” And we stand there for a minute gazing at the blueish watercolor.

Once we hit the top of the steps it’s deadly quiet. I step into an aisle of nonfiction, and G continues his pointing, and “Uhhah” sounds. The area echoed like you would not believe. “I see that book.” I whisper.

He motions toward the window, and points to the trees outside. Making some more babble, when an older woman rounded the corner into our view.

“Well hello.” She whispers. “You must be the one I heard, huh?”

G smiles, and rests his head on my shoulder bashfully.

“Yes, you’re a sweet boy huh?” She smiles, and moves on, and G picks his head up to watch her go.

I snag a book on parenting, or the development of babies, and we make our way downstairs to check out. G sits up on the counter while I scan the books giving my arm a break. I hum our story time tunes as I set him in his car seat and we head back home. He giggles as he looks out the window, kicking his legs in approval of our outing.

Convicted

By Natalie

I want to blame you for everything.

Because forgiveness is just too much work.

I want to blame you for hurting people I love, but that’s not my fight. It’s theirs.

I want to blame you for my struggle with self worth, and acceptance, but then how would I ever learn to love myself?

I want to blame you for making me think that my husband will be done with me one day, just like you were.

But you didn’t tell me that lie did you? Sure you showed me in your actions. But you never told me that. I believed it for myself. I tell myself that lie everyday. And I really really really want to point a finger at you, and demand an apology because you hurt me. But I don’t think that’d all of a sudden change my mind.

Change doesn’t begin with you, but with me. Because I absolutely refuse to be your victim anymore. And I have to continuously tell myself that. Because honestly, I haven’t quite forgiven you yet. I thought maybe I had. But continuing to blame you is not forgiveness. And I want to be forgiving in my life.

I refuse to sit back and wait for Brandon to disappoint me. Because I am haunted by the idea that I would need to apologize to him on my death bed for not trusting him, due to your mistakes. Those were YOUR mistakes. Not his. I pray for a healthy growing marriage, and I’m never going to get anywhere if I continue to blame you. It’s about me now.

So I’m going to try and stop thinking of you as the reason for all my insecurities, and start thinking of you as someone who is in need of compassion, and forgiveness.

Luckily for me my God is not a God of lies. Luckily for me he designed a husband for me who is commited beyond my understanding. And more full of love for me than I ever felt from you.

On Marrying Young

By Natalie

imageI’m not sure I would reccomend marrying young to just anyone. Because it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s not because I regret marrying at nineteen by any means, I just think that we are a rare commodity. I tell people I’m married and their eyebrows go up. “Oh Newlywed huh.” They’ll say. To which I respond. “Actually coming up on four years.” Then their eyes pop, and the jaws literally drop in disbelief. It’s pretty fun to watch. There are so many great benefits to marrying young. For us specifically it’s been an adventure. A bit of a financial roller coaster at first, in which Brandon was working freelance, and we were eating a whole lotta hot dogs for dinner. But then we just kept moving forward. And we’ve grown into responsible tax paying adults together. You see we hopped in the same car, and kept on the same track with the same goal. That’s the benefit to marrying young. To begin adulthood with similar expectations and share the same end goal, enjoying life all along the way.

But Brandon was not your average twenty-one year old guy. And I was no regular nineteen year old girl.

In addition to being madly in love with a man of God, this is why I was ready…

I can’t tell you that I had no childhood. Because I did learn how to ride a bike. Sort of… with training wheels. Ok, you got me. I can’t really ride a bike or swim. Dad gave me a grand total of like two lessons, and I never quite mastered either of those. I did however manage to master climbing the overgrown holly tree in our backyard. I made mud pies by the deck when my mom wasn’t looking. Scarfed down my easy bake oven creations like they were the best dang brownies I’d ever tasted. I played teacher, and house, and the occasional secretary. Who played secretary? Clipboards and all? I had big dreams guys.

So yes, I had a childhood. I remember it being whimsical, and I remember it being fun. But once I hit about eighth grade, I needed to learn to fend for myself. My sisters were working, and mom was working. They weren’t always around to be sure I finished all my homework, or ate my vegetables. Well… I shouldn’t pretend like I was all on my own. Nem definitely completed a few science fair projects for me. And Nadir definitely helped me get through some books I needed to write reports on. But once they moved out I was left making my own dinners, and caring for myself until mom got home late from work. Being raised in a single parent home leaves you fending for yourself… a lot. This is in no way to say that my mom should have been there. Cause guess what? Dad should have been a better man, and been there. Sometimes I wonder if I should write stuff like that and then I decided that I own my stories. I hope people understand that if you want to be spoken of highly, maybe you should treat people better. They shouldn’t have to tiptoe around your words or actions. You should have acted better. Thought about the venom in your words before you spoke them.

I am in no way saying that my mother could have done better. She did perfect. I am who I am today because I had to figure things out for myself. I didn’t have parents to fall back on or mooch off of. I learned to make my own decisions. My own meals. Suffer the consequences of not completing my homework when no one made me do it the night before. Now I realize how many things must have been on my mother’s mind. She wasn’t worried about holding my hand while I finished my algebra. She was too busy figuring out how to put food on the table, and pay rent. She trusted me to be her helper, and fend for myself in the areas I was capable. I can’t wait to have my own children and be faced with the challenges she was able to face alone. How much stronger will she seem to me then when I have Brandon by my side?

If you don’t believe in prayer you haven’t met my family. You haven’t met my sisters, and our husbands that my mom prayed for since we were small. That we would love, and care for husbands who were good men, ones who sought satisfaction in their own wives, and never needed to look any further. It’s amazing to think that my mom prayed for Brandon before I could make logical decisions. Do you realize the importance of that? As a product of her prayer I can tell you I’m eternally grateful. Thanks mom. It worked.

An Open Letter

By Natalie

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.

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Brandi,

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.

But Brandi,

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.

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Natalie

On Being an Introvert

By Natalie

imageThe more time I spend in Charlotte the more I discover a little bit more about myself. Which is really what we were hoping for with this move. We’ve entered into a week of rainy days, and cloud cover around here and I can’t help but confess that I sort of love it. While mud puddles, and cold, wet feet are absolutely no fun the cold gloom gives me this sense of coziness. I, my good friends, am an introvert. If I could have my way when greeting you for the first time it’d go a little somehing like this…

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You see, I am fond of books, and Netflix binges, and fuzzy socks, and my couch with cozy pilows and blankets. I am fond of keeping my home, my personal space tidy, and inviting. I am fond of my craft room where I’m able to put my creativity to practical use. On a rainy day I want to snuggle up at home. On sunny days I want to go on dog walks in the park, and out for coffee on my own.

imageIt’s who I am, it’s why I’m best understood through writing, and I think I’m ready to stop being ashamed of it, and help others understand their fellow introverts. I’m not lonely, I’m not bored, I’m simply recharging when I wish to stay in.

imageKnow that if you have an introverted friend they are not always going to want to make an event of things, or be around a ton of people. Especially people they’ve never met. But if you have an introverted friend you must be extra special, because if they have deemed you worthy of their time you must be pretty rad.

Now that you have a better understanding of how I happen to be wired here’s some Introvert myths I’m ready to bust.

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I wanted to say “Oh yes Myth 1, and 6, and 10 are all so true.” But really they’re all right on, and you’d do well to take our word for it. Thanks for listening friends, I’ll step off my soap box, put my jammies on, and make myself some hot cocoa now. Cause that’s what I do.

This Introvert is done for the day.

A House Plant Takeover

By Natalie

Every now and then I find it necessary to simply share a rambling… No deep thoughts today, just a little something I’ve been oogling over.

We have this window ledge which you may have noticed in my last post, and I’m just in love with it. photo 4

In the afternoon when the sun is slowly lowering itself in the sky it peeks through this window, and graces everything inside with its beautiful rays.

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We all appreciate a large front window around here.

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I have a few plants up there, courtesy of my sister in law Ashley who is certain that I have a green thumb somewhere deep down. Her garden is a daydream, and she’s basically the best at growing sunflowers in Fredericksburg, she has the blue ribbons to prove it.

ashleys  photo

Couldn’t you just hide in there all day with a good book?

I don’t know if I get overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes to build an outdoor garden, or if I just don’t have the knack for it… but I can’t seem to keep outdoor plants alive. One day though, I promise myself I will grow my own vegetables. Anything indoors I can care for. Those few houseplants I have sitting on the ledge in our living room have started to give me a hankering for a whole lot more plants.

As if that weren’t enough we had no internet last week, so one night we found ourselves watching old episodes of Three’s Company which my sister and I used to love watching together. That’s were I noticed how many plants they had in the apartment.

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three_s_company_apartment

Thus began my search for an indoor garden.

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Too much? But oh.. friend, I looove it. I always did want to explore the jungle.

plants5  plants4

I want it all, a massive indoor garden with air purifying plants on that window ledge.

plants2  plants1

Plus, there’s all sorts of studies on how plants are stress reducers. Why not? It’s nature in you house!

tree2  tree

My goodness don’t even get me started on getting a full on tree in here.

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Maybe I’ll go simple to start, and see how I like it. Become an indoor gardener first, before I decide to conquer the outside.

What Happens in San Francisco Lasts Forever

By Natalie

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This has been a week full of dreamy lovey posts, I know. I’m sorry, but remember my writing derives from the deepest feelings within me, and these days I just so happen to be smitten.

Now yes, It’s time to address that picture. I got a tattoo! [Insert your shocked faces here] It’s something that I’ve wanted for a long long time, and I figured well, there’s no time like the present. Right?

If you know my story you know I grew up with an absent father. You know we moved around, all the time. I talk about it quite a bit, because I’ve chosen to allow my circumstances mold me into a better version on myself. Sometimes I think about who I could have become, and how I could have given up hope so easily. How I could continue to be angry with someone who is no longer in my life. I could be a not so nice person, and have the perfect excuse. But then, I would never be happy.. I am so thankful for my mother’s prayers, and God’s protection over my sister’s and I. I am also incredibly grateful for my loving husband and his family who have taught me that love can last forever.

I still don’t know where our future will lead us. I’ve felt like a wanderer for a long time. That is why I’ve had an obsession with compasses, because I’ve always felt like I lacked direction. About a year ago I had the idea to get a tattoo of a compass and then I thought maybe I’d like to incorporate Brandon in there somehow. Since wherever he is now, is my home. And then I got a lot of slack for having anything on my body that had to do with someone else. Because “You never know what could happen.” STOP. My heart was broken. My throat sank to my stomach, not for fear of separation from my husband but for the world. Do we live in a world now where things are so disposable? That one day you are bound to fall out of love with your spouse, or they will do something unforgivable or worse, you will. It’s only a matter of time. It breaks my heart I tell you. Marriages are meant to last. Otherwise what’s the point of vows?

I am someone who had built solid walls around myself to guard all my vulnerability, all my love, everything. And then Brandon came along with a sledgehammer and tore it all down. And there I stood with God whispering in my ear that it was ok, and I didn’t have to fear abandonment anymore. That love can last forever with Him in the center.

I found it so easy to have something permanent etched into my skin that had to do with B. I asked the artist to place our anniversary date at the North of the compass. As he did it, it was of course painful, but it was also more relieving than I could ever try to explain to you. It’s a constant reminder that love can be permanent. That marriage can last until the end of your days. And then of course I get the whole “What if Brandon stops breathing tomorrow!?” If Brandon stopped breathing tomorrow he will continue to be a huge part of my life would he not? He would continue to be the one who taught me to face my fear.. So there. That’s my confession for the day. Now say what you will…


This tattoo was done by Jordan Mitchell, at Black & Blue tattoo in San Francisco, CA. You can follow his work here. I’d highly recommend him, if you’re ever out that way.

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