Archive of ‘My Dearest’ category

Camping in Comfort

By Natalie

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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?

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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…

  1. He looks pretty good in green.
  2. It’s perfect for camping, because it glows in the dark! Perfect for finding him in the tent.

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.

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The Poes Take Charlotte

By Natalie

Things are getting to be more familiar, but this town is still so very new to me. Naturally, Siri and I have become well aquatinted because it’s a new place, and she knows the way home. There’s got to be an Apple ad in there somewhere. I’ve thought of this many times while she’s telling me to stay left to merge onto the highway. Seriously, I’d literally be lost without her. And Bingley, he’s been going everywhere with me that he’s allowed. You wouldn’t believe how incredibly grateful I am for both. Did I just confess to you that my phone’s GPS, and my dog have been my best friends down here? I told you, I’m a believer in honesty.


A couple weekends ago we decided to do some exploring Uptown. There is something romantic about discovering ourselves in a new town. A new found independence that is now at our fingertips.


We marveled at the unfamiliar, until around lunchtime when we took shelter in a small restaurant. There it was on a quiet street, the menu posted in the window beckoning us to come inside.

Discovering a new area through it’s culture and food, really are the best ways to get to know it don’t you think?


Just this last weekend we visited the lake. It may have been around 80º with a heat index of about 200. But that didn’t stop us! Because I packed cold ice water, apples, and sandwiches with fresh tomato.

We managed to find a spot to picnic in the shade with the help of a sweet park ranger who welcomed us to the area, equipped us with a map of the park, and suggested in his words. “A spot for the pup to take a dip.”



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Can you tell he had the time of his life? It was his first swim, and saying he loved it would be an understatement.

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Oh Boys…

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In other news Brandon is turning 25 tomorrow. I said 25!! Where did the time go? He’s at the age where I’m more excited about his birthday than he is! “Want to go up to Lake Norman next Saturday to celebrate?” I asked. “What for?” he said. He doesn’t even remember his own birthday, and then chuckled after I reminded him! At this point I have a stinking suspicion that he’s just in it for the cake. I first met my handsome husband when he was 18. How lucky am I to have seen how much he’s grown? Happy early birthday Babes!


By Natalie

It seems appropriate that the news I’m about to share comes to you late. The news comes late because we’ve been pretty crazy busy lately. We’ve been out of town.. looking for a place to live. We’ve been putting boxes together and packing our belongings up. There’s a pile of them in the living room as I speak. We’re moving and I can hardly believe it myself. But do you know what? We’re excited. It’s going to be an adventure. A spontaneous adventure, and those are my favorite after all.

Say hello to our new home


Here’s the thing… Would you believe me if I told you that the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through was losing  Samson? It’s ok you can say there she goes again, but listen… Would you believe me if I told you that the whole occurrence, and series of events after affected me rather traumatically? That I developed terrible anxiety, and grew uncomfortable in my own neighborhood. In my own front yard. In my own home? Samson was a part of this home, and it’s too hard. When I sit in the back yard I remember him, and how he’d play. When I pull into the driveway I see the front yard, and can hardly look at the sad garden that never got finished because that’s where it happened. Just as we broke ground to plant flowers, and do you know, I could never bring myself to go back out there? Believe me or not a piece of me was broken off when we lost him. The experience has made me stronger, and I’ve learned to get through it. I realize it might not be the most popular thing to talk about but he was my inspiration for writing again. I was so broken down, so saddened, hurt, and confused. The only way I was able to cope was to write about it. Allowing my voice and heart to be heard is the only thing I desired in the end. I no longer wished for apologies for being shut up and shamed. I only wished for someone to hear me out, and understand my struggle. Thus I wrote about him. And I prefer to keep him that way. Locked away in my words, and memories. Of course this is no reason to move a state away but it does make the move the slightest bit easier. I leave this home, and Samson stays with it.

B found new work in Charlotte if you’re really wondering, and I’m very proud of how far he’s come. I’m grateful for a husband who wants to take his little family on new adventures. I’m grateful for a husband who works hard, and has dreams for himself and his family.

We’re both natives of Fredericksburg. Virginia has been home for nearly 25, and 23 years. But we’re ready. It’ll be a time for us to grow closer together, build a new life, and rely on God as we should be. And being around when our new niece is born… well that’ll be a huge plus.

God has provided for us. He has blessed Brandon with work. He has blessed us with a new home to live in. He has done it all so quickly, and graciously. How could it not be the right decision when I feel it in the depths of my soul? He has planned this for us, and has whispered it in my ear. He is excited for us still, to see how we grow.

Now if you’ll excuse me I believe Bingley is jumping in and out of some empty boxes.

Farewell Fredericksburg Friends.

It’s in the Small Things

By Natalie

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The first thing people asked when we got home from our trip was “What was your favorite part?”

That’s such a difficult question. I spent 10 days with my husband… “Surely that was the best part.” Is what I really want to say. But if you must know, I honestly couldn’t choose any one part. We saw so much of beautiful California, I couldn’t possibly pick one thing. We delighted in movie magic during the Warner Brothers studio tour, because.. why not?



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Do you see the glee in my face? It’s a little embarrassing. But this was pretty much the look I had on my face the entire trip. A mixture between disbelief, happiness, and a worry free, no obligations week. You would look the same. Trust me.


Yes! It’s the Friends Couch in Central Perk! Do you see how high my shoulders are in this picture? That is sheer excitement.

We splashed our feet, and skipped stones in the beautiful water and vast beach of Santa Monica.IMG_5418 IMG_5409

We did all these incredible things, but like most experiences in life I found my favorite moments of the trip to be in these little pockets of time. These pockets, they were full of the small things. Allow me to get a bit repetitive with you? Because I want you to know, that laughter is in humiliation. Happiness is in the unfamiliar. And love, most often, can be found in the midst of the small things.

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I rode a motorcycle for the first time. May I confess to you that it was so much more incredible than I was expecting? We had a beautiful view of the orchards and mountains along the way. Now if you want my honest opinion I don’t believe it’s possible to have any troubles while riding a motorcycle. I gave in to the exhilarating speed, and allowed the wind to press against my skin.

It’s in the small things.

It was in the road trip along the coastline where B and I fell in love with each other again. It was during the first dinner we shared together that first night in LA. Where I cozied up in the corner of the bench seat with an Aztec print pillow.

It’s in the small things.

It was in the comfort I felt while I stood in Brandon’s arms in the longest line for crepes you ever did see.

It’s in the small things.

It was when we stood as hidden from view as possible on Pier 39. While Brandon wiped seagull droppings from my hoodie sleeve. We thought we seemed too far from the edge to be splashed with water, and as we looked around in confusion we discovered that we were right. It wasn’t water. It was a seagull’s droppings. On my hoodie. In Brandon’s hair, and maybe even a smidge in his beard, though he wouldn’t ever allow me to tell you. Shhh. It was really kind of hilarious.

It’s in the small things.

It was at the lunch table outside of the Griffith Observatory. B & I finished our lunch while looking out at the LA skyline. And there, just to the left of B’s head sat the Hollywood sign.



People say “Oh big woop. Hollywood hardly has anything worth seeing.” But it wasn’t about Hollywood. It could have been Mt. Rushmore. It could have been Seattle’s needle. It could have been anything we hadn’t seen before. It was the sheer fact that we were on the other side of the country able to experience something together we had never experienced before. There we were smiling under the sunshine on a Tuesday afternoon. I typically don’t get the privilege to be in Brandon’s company for Tuesday lunches. It made my day. It made my week, and frankly it made everything leading up to this glorious trip well worth it.

It’s in the small things friends. Look out for them.


What Happens in San Francisco Lasts Forever

By Natalie


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.

Thanks for Dinner Santa Barbara

By Natalie

Oh Santa Barbara, you had me at your tremendous amount of palm trees.

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After visiting family for the weekend B and I took a rather long road trip from Yuba City to Los Angeles. A total of about 11 hrs. I think.. I lost track after about 8. The drive of course made for an exhausting travel but I found myself incredibly grateful to be able to spend so much quality time with my wonderful husband.

IMG_5294Vacation, and most especially road trips provide us with the opportunity, yes opportunity of being stuck in each other’s presence. Forced to get to know one another better. I do love getting to know my best friend better. We drove along the California coast in order to get our best views of the Pacific. And it was grand.. Here’s some photos of our stop in Santa Barbara, where we consumed to freshest, most delicious fish and chips of the whole trip.



You’ve out done yourself Santa Barbara. Our time was too short with you.



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IMG_5302And this is what happens when you tell a B that you wish to take a picture of him under a palm tree.


A Love Letter

By Natalie

Vacation is over. I know, it stinks. But we really can’t complain because we had the most beautiful time. I still have stories to tell on our adventures. But for now I have to say that on this trip I fell once again in love with Brandon. I like to believe that the greatest parts of marriage are those moments when you fall over and over in love with each other. I can’t believe we got to spend so much time together this past week. We’re absolutely smitten. Pardon us.


My dearest B,

Spending 10 straight days in your company has been perfect. We’ve had the opportunity to relax, and enjoy beautiful scenery together. We were granted the time to sleep in, and enjoy a Friday morning breakfast we’ll never forget looking out onto the streets of San Francisco. I couldn’t remember the last time I was able to savor my coffee, and listen to your heart. Your wonderful, loving heart. I can’t explain just how exciting it is to discuss our future together. I love listening to your dreams for us. I love encouraging your passions, and most of all I love being the one you have chosen to spend your life with. I will always support and love you. Because you have been an excellent leader in our home. I see how every step you have taken has been to better serve God, me, and to allow for a bright future. I’m honored to be Mrs. Brandon Taylor Poe. Take me, I’m yours. Thank you for being a man that I can trust when I knew none. Thank you for working so hard to treat us. Thank you for being mine. Thank you for being you.

I love you my B,


Out Here on the West Coast

By Natalie

On Thursday we waved goodbye to Virginia, who unfortunately is still married to humidity, and we traveled all the way to California to get away from it all. To take a break from the work week. A rest from the hustle and bustle of life. A time to rejuvenate ourselves, and enjoy experiences together. Leaving our crazy ball of energy labrador in the most trusting hands of a good friend. That was the only hard part.


Saving, and planning for a vacation may not ever be the most fun thing to do, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. We’re the type of people that would rather sacrifice the day to day pleasures, and conveniences, like cable, a huge house in the suburbs, and a car for each of us, to be able to save for experiences. I would highly recommend such a lifestyle.

Because travel does the heart and mind good.

Waking up extra early to go to the airport isn’t always the most fun, but when you find that you and your father in law are twinsies, and you’ve hardly slept from the excitement of packing, it kind of makes it all better.

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I love love love flying. I have to say though, while once flying standby may have tainted that particular experience, it has not quite tainted my love of airports, and all the cultures they bring together. I still get anxious when I fly, like most people. Claustrophobic, oddly hungry, and worst of all for the window seat, a bad case of the nervous pee’s. But! It hasn’t shied me away from traveling yet, because when I travel I feel refreshed, creative, and at my most loving, and observant state. Which as a writer is of the utmost import!

For now I’ll leave you with just a little something.

What’s in Natalie’s Carry on?

  • Yarn, and crochet hooks – To work on a new baby blanket for a particular new niece who’s coming soon!
  • My most recent book club book – The Book Thief
  • Chapstick
  • Phone – For photos mostly.
  • Notepad – For jotting down my observations.

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And surprise! It’s a sleepy Brandon. He is the greatest. He worked so very hard to get us out on this vacation, and planned every little piece of it. I promise you, I couldn’t appreciate him more.

Stay tuned for more on our trip! 
The Poes

What’s on the Grill?

By Natalie

I’ve talked about the magic of the grill before. If you don’t have one, I’m telling you, you need one! Our grill has saved us from so many hungry disputes. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry, I’m not happy. And the grill puts food in our bellies quickly. Get outside! Let your man grill for you. Who can pass up, a man who’s happy to cook with his ridiculously large grilling utensils, less for you to prepare, and less dishes. What are you waiting for? It’s fabulous.

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Our Favorite Meals on the Grill

Foil Dinners- Here’s my favorite foil dinner recipe.

Steak- Recently we’ve been purchasing tenderloins fresh from Wegmans, and they’ve been more than perfect. B seasons them with Molasses Bacon, and leaves them on the grill until they’re about medium the way we like them. But of course, any meat thermometer will tell you a safe temp. if you’re worried.

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Burgers and hotdogs- We prepare our own burgers with ground beef mixed with Molasses Bacon seasoning, and a hamburger seasoning. Then form them into patties. Serve with onion, tomato, lettuce, and cheese. Toss on grill until cooked to your liking.

Make your own pizza- We use a ready made dough from Wegmans, and add a little bit of spaghetti sauce to the center. Sprinkle a generous amount of Mozzarella cheese, and add whatever toppings you’d like from there. We’ve done Pepperoni, sausage, basil, & tomato. Toss on the grill for about 5 min, until the cheese has melted.

Beef Shish Kabobs- We’ve prepared our own shish kabobs with sliced beef or chicken and veggies. But we’ve also grilled the already prepared ones from Wegmans and they’re delicious.

Cedar Plank Salmon- Seasoned with garlic salt, olive oil, and meat magic seasoning. B has been grilling these on cedar planks which can be found in most grocery stores near the grilling materials.

Our Favorite Veggies on the Grill

Asparagus-I actually didn’t even like asparagus, until I tried it grilled. Prepare with light olive oil and salt.

Corn with Husk- Pull husks down. Rinse corn. Sprinkle with salt. Pull husks back up. Toss onto grill for about 10 minutes.

Peppers & Onions- We’ve grilled these while on shish kabobs.

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Your pup is sure to beg for some smokey goodness.

B’s Favorite Seasonings


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