It was my birthday on Saturday, but let me back up and just tell you everything. I don't normally do weekend recaps like this, so I hope you'll indulge me this once ;)
We didn't have anything major planned going into this weekend - we were in town the whole time, both worked until about 6 on Friday, and just had a few things lined up with friends. The first big treat, though was that my sweet friend Brittany was passing through town on her way back from a work trip on Friday, and she stopped to have dinner with me! We went over to SouthEnd for Food Truck Friday.
We stood in line for really delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, and then sat on a picnic blanket and just caught up. It was so sweet and fun and good.
After a really laid back Friday night, my birthday was on Saturday - you guys, birthdays on Saturdays are so good. I like weekdays just as much as the next person, but you really can't beat a weekend birthday. Steve & I slept in a little bit, and then Steve brewed us some coffee and cooked a fabulous breakfast. Also, I watched TV in my pajamas... so that's a win ;)
After breakfast, we skyped with Steve's parents, ate a quick lunch, and then spent the afternoon at a Live Music & Wine Tasting event at the US National Whitewater Center.
If you've never been to the Whitewater Center before, I can't recommend it enough! It is one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon or evening, hands down. They have great activities that you could spend all day doing - whitewater rafting, flatwater kayaking, ropes courses, ziplines, and mountain biking...but also? They have live music every Thursday and Saturday during the summer, and they do great events like this Wine Tasting every so often. We had a bunch of friends come out with us - even one of our favorite Raleigh couples! - and it was such a fun way to spend an afternoon.
We spent a nice, long afternoon with friends outside, and then Steve and I took a little break to watch the third quarter of the State-FSU game (sad day for the Wolfpack), freshened up, and then went out for dinner at a place called The Cowfish. It's a sushi & burger bar in Southpark, and we've had people tell us ever since we moved that it's worth checking out. It was really good! We both got a Bento Box - it's a mix of their two specialties that has a slider, half a sushi roll, and sides of edamame, sweet potato fries, and thai cucumbers. Definitely two worlds colliding...but trust me. It works ;)
And of course, I know birthdays aren't all about the gifts... but I had some dear friends make me feel really loved this year. Steve gave me a bike (!!!), Brittany picked out the most gorgeous earrings for me, and my friend Anna put together an adorable fall-themed gift basket.
Also, my friend Yulia was able to snag some blue dishes for me that were about to be given away at her job. I'm absolutely in love with them, and it was such a fun surprise!!
We spent Sunday morning at church, and then met up with my parents for lunch and an afternoon together. My mom even baked a cake and drove it down to us - love love love.
I know it sounds like all good things over here, but to be completely honest, I should tell you that my birthday last year was a hard day. Nothing bad happened, really, but I remember how I felt so vividly. I had been in Charlotte for exactly nine months and Steve was still in Raleigh. I had met quite a few people in the Queen City, but good, deep friendships are just time-intensive, y'all. It was a long day at work, Steve came into town, and then we went over to Food Trucks with some newer friends here. Don't get me wrong - we still had fun! - but when we got home, I had some serious pangs of loneliness. I was having a hard time being thankful for the baby friendships that were building here, because I was just sad and frustrated that all of the good and deep friendships that I already had were back in Raleigh.
For the rest of the weekend last year, Steve and I went to Savannah and ended up having a really, really good time - so, I promise there isn't really that much of a sob story there :)
I guess the point of all that, though, is just to say that I have felt so deeply blessed this weekend. Blessed by the long-time friends that were able to come visit, blessed by the friends that sent me messages and well-wishes, and blessed by the life that God has given me here in Charlotte. There are still hard days - as my friend Rosie used to say, it's not all sunshine and bananas... but you know what? God is ever good. In all things. In the hard season of off-and-on loneliness and long distance dating, God was planting seeds of new friendship, nurturing old friendships, and laying the groundwork for a marriage.
From Psalm 126:3 - "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad."
There are good years and there are hard years - that is for sure. But God is good and faithful and working in this world, and for that I am glad.