Every Minute, Every Hour, Every Day

Hi everyone!

Last time I posted, I talked about what I had been through since mid November of last year. Things were extremely difficult and I went to a very dark place for a while. Thankfully, with the love and support of my friends and family, I was able once again to return to the light.

I began thinking about my life. Literally from day one. If I wanted I could chronicle it, I have every diary I’ve ever kept since I was 8. What would I call it? I don’t have an answer for that yet, but I do have a revelation.

No one wants pain. No one wants to have to go through emotional, physical, or legal battles. However, every choice we make in this life is part of something bigger. You can call it God’s plan, you can call it fate or destiny. I like to think of it as a fortress of sorts, every stone placed by a Great Architect.

Ever since I was little I dreamed of a sort of pioneer life. Nothing too rustic, I will never give up running water, but I always saw myself in the country. A garden, since I’ve always had a garden, chickens, maybe even some goats. Working land has just always been in my mind. As I grew older the desire grew with me, but the reality of actually attaining it grew dim. These things cost money and in this day and age, even just a livable income can be difficult to come by.Growing older meant prioritizing. I never forgot my dream but more important things had to come first.The other night I was sitting on the couch and I realized…I’m here. I have it.

I actually have everything I dreamed of.

I live in a little brick house in the country on a half acre. I live with a man I love deeply that I met in high school. I have a garden started, and we have plans to fence in the yard and put in a chicken coop.

We have land to work.

When I look back on everything, there is so much pain and darkness. But every single choice I’ve made, every single one since day one, has put me where I’m at right in this moment. Nothing in life will ever be perfect, and I know in the future there will be ups and downs, arguments and make ups, and I can tell you with confidence that I genuinely look forward to that future.

Why? Because all that pain I went through helped me achieve my dream.

Remember to take pain in stride. It exists to help you grow, and in truth we never stop growing. I don’t want to give the impression that I will never go through pain again. The point I want to make is that there comes a point where the pain makes sense. We stop asking why and instead begin to see why.

Be well my friends. And rest assured, as this little homestead grows, there will be many photos ❤

Stephanie

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What Happened to Me

I have not posted anything in a long time. I know this seems to be a recurring thing for me – I disappear, then reappear with explanations and apologies. I suppose this post is no exception to the pattern. I’m going to explain what happened to me.

When I started this blog, I was what I would call a wide eyed innocent. I had achieved my goal of moving to Wilmington, NC to start what I thought would become an extremely rewarding career with a man I had been dating for quite a few years. As I moved forward, things began to fall apart in my relationship. I was sad but I knew it was for the best and once again, moved forward. Moving forward is the only option, no matter what. I was still making a living, I had a roof over my head, I had an income. I could create a new life for myself.

Then, I lost my career after three years. The reason was unfair, but I could not fight it. So, I launched myself into finding work again, hoping and praying that I could continue living in Wilmington where I had carved a niche for myself. I was performing music at a bar every Thursday and loved the life I lived.

I did not find work. Not even something part time. I was forced to move back to Charlotte, a city I had no love for in the slightest. But I tried to make the best of it, I had a pretty good living situation and got a part time job at a little cafe while I looked for something more sustainable.

I met a man I fell fast and hard for. Our relationship started out wonderfully, we laughed constantly, went out and tried new things. It became apparent though, that he had an issue with anger and rage. I never thought it would escalate to anything physical. I loved him deeply so I stayed, despite the awful words and insults he would hurl at me during his episodes. I stayed because I thought he would work through it, until one night when it did become physical.

I became scared. We broke up but he remained in control of me.

My grandmother died on Thanksgiving of 2017. I drove with my dad up to Connecticut for the funeral. My sister and brother flew up from Tampa as well. It was a heartwarming funeral; I saw a lot of family members I hadn’t seen in over a decade. There was much love to be had, and I hadn’t even been to Connecticut since I was probably 12 (I’m 28 now, 29 this year in October).

On the drive back from Connecticut, the man who laid hands on me literally blew up my phone. He didn’t care that I was with my dad. He didn’t care I was involved in a fourteen hour drive. Text after text after phone call after phone call after insult after insult.

My dad reacted as a father would. He told me to find a new place to live, to protect myself. I wracked my brain. Who would let me in? I remembered, I had reached out to a friend from high school after the incident. He had told me that if I ever needed a safe place, to reach out to him.

That’s what I did.

The following Sunday, I pulled into his driveway. The house is small, brick, and on a half acre of land. He wasn’t home but told me to let myself in. I did.

It instantly felt like home. In fact, I almost immediately fell asleep on the blue couch. I didn’t wake until he came home and opened the door. I hadn’t seen him in about ten years. He said to me, “Welcome home,” and we hugged for a long, long time.

Slowly but surly we moved my things into the spare room. I had to sacrifice quite a bit, like the entire box of cross stitch supplies that flew off the back of his truck and exploded all over the highway. He gave me sanctuary, and I gave him a whole new outlook on cooking.

I developed feelings. So did he. But certain things kept us from being together, even though we share the same roof.

I found myself a part time waitress job down the road at a local Asian bistro. I made friends with everyone immediately. They are my second family, I can turn to them for anything. I’m not the best waitress in the world, but it’s something I had never done before and I find it fun, challenging, and definitely interesting. I threw myself into poetry, using words to work through my past, my present, and my future.

One day I logged into Facebook and saw a post about a dear, dear friend from Wilmington going missing. For six days I watched the progress for his search. I listened to his music and looked at his photos. On the sixth day, I was in my car in a parking lot drinking a coffee. I logged into Facebook to find that they had found him in the Cape Fear River.

Working through those emotions were difficult, but unfortunately not the first time I’ve had to grieve over a close friend. Everyone was there for me. My friend from high school, my work family, my family, even my poetry community on Instagram. I worked through everything, my grief, my pain, my everything.

Eventually I healed. Not completely, but enough to take a deep breath and step forward.

My friend from high school and I are together now, a strong team with bonds of steel. There is a small garden on the back porch. We’re fencing in the backyard, and have plans to build a chicken coop.

I’m sitting in a local cafe right now, with green tea and a beautiful armband he made for me (he’s a welder).

I survived. And you can too. When things get rough, even when it seems like you won’t make it through, that you won’t see tomorrow, you will. I promise you, whatever you’re going through, stay strong. You will make it.

I’m going to try and post more. We don’t have internet so it’s difficult, but I miss my little blog, and all of you. Stay well, focus on the good, and don’t lose your spirit.

Much, much love,

Stephanie

 

I’m Going Through Changes Now

Hello everyone!

Well, as the title and video would suggest, I am still going through a series of changes. First, obviously, I finally changed the blog header!

I’m about to leave Wilmington. My best friend and I discussed it a while ago, and I decided the best thing for me is to move back to Charlotte. She is literally saving my life by letting me rent a room in her beautiful house for next to nothing, in a city where I can grow professionally and personally.

I’m scared, but excited, and also sad. It’s been kind of a crazy ride these past few years…a lot has happened. Most of it is recorded here on this blog, so thank you for sticking with me! I may go dormant for a bit but I’ll try to update as much as possible, and once I get to Charlotte, I have so many plans and I’ll actually have the ability and means to carry them out, so stay tuned my friends!

xoxo,

Stephanie

A Loss is a Loss…

Okay guys, here’s the deal.

Two nights ago, my boyfriend was driving my car home from work because his Subaru has a blown head gasket. He was stopped in traffic when a young woman blasted through a yellow light and smashed into him, wedging my car beneath a large SUV. Everybody is okay, except for Justin’s whiplash.

Since my car is was old and also the smallest car involved in the accident…well, my sweet Bella is dead.

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….I could talk about a lot of things right now. I could take about my anger at losing the car I loved and took care of for 9 years. I could talk about the woman who hit my car, and how she lied to the police to make my boyfriend seem at fault (even though she hit him). I could talk about how the police officer spoke to me and Justin like we were idiots, called our papers “junk”, and mixed everything up.

But really, I just miss my car so much. And I’ve been beating myself up because, as one of my friends so lovingly put it, “It’s just a material object.”

I’ve been thinking about that, and why it’s so wrong to love inanimate things. I got my car when I was 16. She was a part of me. I’ve laughed on road trips, I’ve cried on the steering wheel, slept in the front seat, moved her across numerous states, fixed her, washed her…

So I allowed myself to feel angry. I let myself get enraged, furious, scream and cry until my face turned crimson. I allowed myself to feel these negative emotions because it’s okay. It’s healthy. It’s human.

It’s so important to focus on the good: no one got seriously injured, my neighbors generously helped us through the turmoil, my parents are letting us borrow their third car until I can get another one. But if you go through something like this, where something or someone you loved unconditionally is suddenly ripped away from you, it’s okay to let yourself get mad. It doesn’t make you cynical, pessimistic, or negative. It makes you human.

So…that’s it, really. Don’t be afraid to be human.

xoxo

Stephanie

Riverboat Landing and East

This is a belated post – and by belated I mean I meant to do this about two weeks ago. I know, my schedule is still being set. Two days in the office, three days work from home, budgeting time around my boyfriend, pets, and hobbies, plus keeping this new, big apartment clean…it gets very hectic.

Two weeks ago my parents came to visit! They arrived on a Saturday and stayed until Monday. It was very exciting, because I hadn’t seen them in forever, and they brought over some stuff (including farm fresh eggs from their free range chickens!!)

So this blog is about eco friendly, organic living with a Wilmington vibe – So I’d like to point out two restaurants we went to while my parents were here.

The first restaurant we went to was called Riverboat Landing. It’s a beautiful, medium sized restaurant right on the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington. The building itself is very old, and there are private two person verandas with cute little tables! We sat inside because we were four, and while their menu isn’t huge, the choices are phenomenal. To be honest, I didn’t get photos of the food we had there, because I was so wrapped up in my parents’ company, but we had the crispy pickles, and then we all got the burger, which was perfectly cooked and delicious. My dad strayed from the pack and got the Ahi tuna. Everything is local, fresh, and well priced.

In case you haven’t been to Downtown Wilmington, here’s a sunset shot of my parents in front of the Cape Fear River at sunset, and another with the Battleship in the background:

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It’s pretty freaking beautiful where I live. Not going to lie.

The next day, Justin and I met up with my parents at their hotel on Wrightsville beach. We found my mom lounging in a chair on the shore, eyes closed, taking in the sea air and sounds. Sometimes I think my mom is a mermaid, because she’s obsessed with the ocean, and I like that.

After a few hours on the beach and looking for shells with my dad (our favorite beach past time), we went up to their room for showers and changing for dinner.

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Mom snapped this photo of Justin and I.

After we had all changed and freshened up, we headed down to the magnificent hotel restaurant, East Oceanfront Dining.

I’ve only lived in Wilmington a couple months, but East Oceanfront Dining is definitely the best restaurant I’ve been to. The menu is small but has a lot of variety, and is VERY vegetarian and vegan friendly. Though I did not have the veggie friendly option, I was extremely excited to see it.

Once seated we were given warm rolls baked with whole cloves of garlic and a to die for white bean spread. Honestly I could have eaten just that and been happy!

We started with the Low Country Caprese, an incredible blend of fried green tomatoes, local goat cheese, country ham, and sorghum vinaigrette. We also had the Korean Pork Belly “Tacos”, which consisted of Heritage Farms pork, butternut kimchi, Asian BBQ, and micro cilantro. Both appetizers were absolutely to die for, though the tacos were definitely my favorite.

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Incredible. Absolutely, insanely incredible and wonderful.

For the main course, I opted for the Crispy Tuna, which had a panko and nori crust, stir fried bok choi, and shitake ragout, and i changed the cilantro rice to black quinoa salad.

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It was heaven. I never wanted it to end.

Mom had the crab cakes which were perfectly cooked, and dad and Justin both got the Korean BBQ Osso Bocco, which was equally delicious. Everything was local, fresh, and each bite was a gentle reminder that I live in a beautiful world.

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Food and family are in my top three favorite things in the world, and that’s genuine happiness on my face right there.

So if you’re in Wilmington, and even if you’re not staying at the Blockade Runner Hotel (Where East Oceanfront is located), please indulge yourself in the incredible food, and wonderful service, this restaurant has to offer.

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Hopefully a Yumday post tomorrow!

Much love.