Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Love is in the Air!

What a whirlwind of a weekend!

We went home to Raleigh, NC for RDB's big sister's wedding - and it was such a sweet and lovely event - hosted in a vineyard, lots of beautiful surroundings and sweet memories.  I was honored to be asked to read from 1 Corinthians 13 at the ceremony:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Little did I know, RDB had a surprise up his sleeve for the weekend.  He had mentioned on Saturday (the day of the wedding) that he wanted to go for a walk around the lake near our old apartment, but with everything we already had planned - and the wedding itself - we didn't get a chance to.  So, when he mentioned it again on Sunday morning we decided to make it happen. 
The weather in Raleigh this time of year is really beautiful, so a two mile walk, under big evergreen trees beside a sparkling clear lake really is really such a treat.  About three-quarters of the way around the trail, we noticed a little wooden gazebo set back off the path, under the tall pines with miniature rose bushes planted all around.  Rich looked back and said, Why don't we stop for a few?  (I thought: oh, good - he needs a break, too,  I'm not the only one out of shape!)
We sat there and enjoyed the breeze, noticing all the little critters and insects, and enjoyed the view of Lake Lynn.  we had original made dinner plans for that evening with just us and RDB's parents - as a way to celebrate and relax now that J&B's wedding was over.  At the reception the night before, RDB had invited his little sister and her hubby to join us, and then when we found out that the newlyweds didn't have plans, he invited them along as well.  Our party of four quickly had turned into a party of 8!
As I sat there snuggled up with my back to RDB, I mentioned that I was a little sad we wouldn't be able to spend the 1:1 time with his parents, and he said, "Yeah, but it'll be a great time to tell everyone about this..."  He moved his hand in front of my face, and on his little finger was an amazingly sparkly ring.  I turned to face him.
"Will you marry me?"
"Yes!"  (Of course!!)
It was such a sweet and simple moment, just the two of us.  So perfect and loving and kind.  Little did I know as I was planning a dinner to celebrate that night, RDB was secretly having me plan our engagement party!

Monday, September 2, 2013


Birthday weekend, best campground ever, wild beasts - we felt really blessed this weekend!  RDB got off work a little early Friday (happens whenever the shop's closed on Monday for a holiday) and I already had just about everything we needed packed into Honey for the upcoming trip - so, we took off mid-afternoon for the Texas State Rail Road Campground in Rusk, TX.  
We realized there was a campground here when we road the TSRR train back on our Mother's Day weekend trip earlier this year.  This place is a hidden gem - they have 32 full-hook-up sites, and only 8 were reserved when I called Friday morning (When our plans changed last-minute Thursday night, we thought for sure we'd be stuck somewhere crowded and not able to really enjoy the weekend.)  But this was such a treat - it far exceeded all of our expectations!
We pulled in Friday afternoon and met Ken, the park host.  He nearly scared us to death when he started off with: "I've got some bad news for ya..."  (RDB and I were only halfway thru setting up and thought for sure he was about to tell us we had to move) "...we're still under a fire ban..." Phew! Big sigh of relief there! Ken and his wife have been camping in this park since the early '80s - and we could surely see why: it was shady and wooded, quiet and spacious, and you had an antique steam-powered train come thru twice a day.  We were in Heaven.

We went out to dinner on Saturday night - a little hole-in-the-wall place in Palestine called Giovanni's.  Oh, my, goodness - this was the BEST Italian I think I've ever had. The tortellini alfredo was amazing - as was the bread and dipping oils, and the cannoli for dessert.  This place is a BYOB restaurant which was a nice change of pace, and the pricing on the entrees is incredibly fair - we had two entrees and dessert for under $30 (plus our brought-from-the-camper bottle of wine).  If you're in the area you should make it a point to drop by - you won't be disappointed!
It was still a bit hot out during the day; it was the first weekend in September, in Texas, after all.  But that simply meant that most of the day Saturday we spent enjoying the inside (and A/C) of our new camper.  One thing I love most about camping, especially this weekend, is the chance to un-plug from all things Facebook and Pinterest and Internet and just spend time snuggling and talking and reconnecting with each other.  By far, that was my favorite part of this weekend.
The mornings outside under the awning drinking coffee and having breakfast were quiet enjoyable, too.  Sunday was RDB's *ahem*-ity birthday, so we did a little adventuring around town - after he Face-Timed with his mom, of course (ok, so I *do* love technology!)
Rusk happens to be home to several different points of interest.  We'd already ridden the steam powered train, but as I explored the city's website, I found a few other fun things to do:
The city lays claim to having the longest footbridge in the nation, located just off the downtown area.  Originally built in 1861, it was a 546 feet from one side to the other.  Just a quick little trip, but a neat piece of added charm to this little town we're really starting to fall in love with.
Further up the road, you'll find... well, I'll let you guess:
Hump Daa-ey!
Yep, a camel. And ostrich, water buffalo, Cebu, wild boar, deer, and all other kinds of critters at the Cherokee Trace Drive-thru Safari (which happens to give you free admission on your birthday - score!).  That's Holly, the camel.  She was surprisingly gentle, taking food pellets straight from my finger tips.  We saw her twice on our 2 hour adventure - I think she figured out where you were coming in and going out, so as to stalk you for more food.  We actually had to fold in the mirrors on the truck to get past her the second time: she did *not* want us to go!  I'll be honest, though, the llamas were just as bad!
Give us the food, and no one gets hurt.
Polly wants a cracker.
I know I say it a lot at the end of these posts: that we'll be back to this one.  But really - we will.  RDB said he'd gladly spend his birthday next year right back here again - and though I hope everyone of you Campers who are reading this blog put the TSRR Campground on your calendar as a must-go-see place, I kinda hope you don't, as well.  Part of the charm of this place was how quiet and empty the campground was - and on a holiday weekend at that.  But on the same token - I hope you do go visit it.  And I hope you leave feeling as welcomed and wonder-full and blessed as we did.

The view from our camper, looking out back.

Ok, just one more, cause I can't resist:

Guess what day it is? Guess what. Day. It. Is?!

For more camping photos, go here.