This is We

Last week we went to the National Civil Rights Museum here in Memphis. If you ever get the opportunity to go, you need to go. It’s incredibly moving. No surprise, I cried as we walked through it. I cannot understand hate and divisiveness. I never have. But they weren’t just tears of sorrow over the suffering of a people from long ago, but also tears for the people who still face racism every day. And tears shed because I was so moved by all the people who stood up and made a difference.

I love this city where I live, but I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t still racial tension here. But there is a lot of good here as well. Last night we walked down Broad Ave in the arts district. And we saw the melting pot. People of different races and socio-economic statuses chatting together. Looking at art, listening to music, and sharing food. Art, music, and food seem to bring people together and I love that Memphis is so rich in these.

We aren’t all the same here in Memphis. There’s a collision of cultures and backgrounds represented here. To be 100% honest, ever since Bethany and her family moved away, my closest friends here in Memphis are all white. But I love that every week I get to chat with people who are African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and some sweet ladies from the middle East. And that’s just by going to the gym, church, dropping the kids off at school, and going to our favorite restaurants within a couple of miles of our house. I love living in a place that is so influenced by so many different people and cultures. Which is why I loved the art on Broad Ave last night.

this is we muralThis is me. This is you. This is we.
We are Memphis.

Have you been to a Civil Rights Museum? 
Does your city have an arts district? 

Love Rach

Pizza on the Grill

Thank you guys so much for your sweet words, encouragement, and prayers after yesterday’s post. I am so thankful for the support of this blogging community.

We are officially a little past halfway through our 30 days. It is going way too fast, but it has been absolutely fabulous. Last night we had an Italy Memories night which included reading back through our travel journal, speaking in as much Italian as we remembered, making our favorite homemade bruschetta & bolognese, and reliving our favorite moments from our trip. :)

One thing that has been really nice about these 30 days (other than all the time together!) has been that we have been able to cook at home more since we aren’t out running around every night from place to place. Which means I’ve finally been able to make some of the recipes I’ve pinned on Pinterest over the years! I’ve been wanting to try pizza on the grill for ages and we finally got around to it this past weekend. :)

pizza on the grill

We used artisan pizza dough and our favorite pizza sauce and used SeriousEats’ method of grilling pizza. It was so simple! The longest part was definitely just waiting for the grill to heat up.

pizza on the grill2

I liked the pizza just as much as I normally like pizza, but Christopher raved about it. He loved the smokey flavor that the charcoal provided and keeps telling me that we need to make it this way every Friday now, ha! I don’t know that we’ll do it every week, but it will definitely go in the rotation of favorite pizzas. :)

Have you tried making pizza on the grill? 
Have you had spent an evening reliving a favorite trip?
Love Rach

What do you say in moments like these?

It was a hard weekend, friends.

I nearly posted this yesterday, but decided I needed a day to just breathe and think about happy things, like the day we began our marriage. But now I’m ready to tackle the feelings and try to put them into words.

I spent Friday night with one of my teen girls in the ICU. The family hasn’t been very public with the details so I’ll remain vague here, but this precious family just lost their 25-year-old daughter and sister. If there is something to be said in times like those, I don’t know what it is. Instead I was a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold. I dropped that sweet teen girl of mine off with her aunt around midnight and came home and poured my heart out to Christopher. We grieved and prayed together for this family. We crashed late that night.

Saturday afternoon as I was fielding texts and calls from my other teen girls about the situation I got another heart wrenching text. One of my best friends had gone in for a routine 16 week ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. I hate how often I have heard this story in the past 5 years since all my friends started having kids. She was induced and delivered her son that night. My heart just felt like it had shattered. I cannot image what she and her husband are going through right now. And again, I find myself without words. What do you say in moments like these?

Sunday morning I met my friends’ new foster baby. I looked at her perfect face and saw all the innocence there. I breathed deeply and prayed for this tiny preemie baby whose future is so uncertain. There is so much brokenness and pain in this world and it tugs on my heart strings to think of all the possible futures this baby might face.

rach and little miss

So yes, it has been an emotional weekend. My prayers are spread out. I feel so helpless to comfort and help people who I love so much. But I hold close to the truth I know: the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

If you would, say a prayer for these sweet souls who are in the midst of grief right now.
Love Rach

Our Wedding Video

I meant to share this video last week, but I was a little preoccupied with food poisoning, ha! Anyway,  I know some of you have probably seen this on Facebook already, but if you haven’t yet… here it is. A shortened version of our wedding video. :)

Oh, what a precious day this was! Such a beautiful beginning to our marriage. I am so thankful for every day that I get to spend with this man. Happy 7 years of marriage to us. :)
Love Rach

That one time I got food poisoning in the Dominican Republic

Why hi there, friends.

I am here.

Sitting upright. Back in the land of FDA regulated foods.

For those of you who didn’t see it on Instagram or Facebook, I managed to get food poisoning while on our trip to the Dominican Republic. On our anniversary day. True romance, my friends. ;)

We had three exciting days full of fun and the sun and the ocean before I got sick. And for those days I am so grateful!

rach in the DR

Then on Sunday – our actual anniversary – we had a gorgeously perfect day on the beach, playing in the water, and talking about this past year and the future. We went back to the room and got cleaned up and started getting ready for a romantic dinner when I started to feel a little sick. I brushed it off and we walked out on the balcony to take a photo.

us in DR

After perfect weather all day long, the sky was rapidly darkening. We decided to book it trying to get to dinner. We made it halfway there before we had to take shelter from what turned out to be a pretty major storm and not just a passing rain shower like we had anticipated.

us in the rain

I know it’s dark, but that was us, huddled together under a shelter. We found the whole situation pretty hilarious to be honest. I mean, “happy anniversary to us”, right? ;) Oh man, we had no idea what was coming. We got stuck there for almost an hour before we decided just to run back to our room through the storm. It was hilarious, you guys. We ran through that storm until we made it back to the safety of our room. Totally soaked. We waited out the storm and while we did so, I started to feel more and more “off”. But I kept thinking that I’d be fine. So when the storm finally passed we decided to go to dinner. Then I realized I was definitely sick. We ate a quick dinner and made it back to the room just before I started to feel really awful.

So instead of a romantic anniversary evening, we spent the evening with me being crazy sick. It was a miserable night, but there were sweet moments. Like when Christopher wrapped me up in his arms and told me all the reasons he loves me. He was attempting to salvage our tradition of renewing our vows on our anniversary. Because he’s a sweetheart. :) He got up with me every time I was sick in the night (which was a lot) and really took the best care of me.

It was a pretty miserable 48 hours, but I breathed a huge sigh of relief when we got back to the States. Of course that was before I realized that our flight would be delayed because of bad weather and we wouldn’t get home until after 2am. But after a night in my own bed, I woke up feeling oh so much better!

in the DR

The trip wasn’t all bad, though! The Dominican Republic was beautiful! We had so much fun those first few days. I don’t know that we’ll be back just simply because we are more cruise-types than we are resort-types. But it’s not just because of the food poisoning. I mean, yes, I got sick, but Christopher didn’t. And you can get food poisoning anywhere (Christopher has had it twice in the States). Aaanyway, we had a good few days, but we are definitely glad to be home and feeling much better now. :)

us

Have you ever had food poisoning while on vacation?
Have you been to an all inclusive resort before?
Love Rach

Off we go!

IMG_20150814_080221

Well, my friends, we are about to hop on a plane to fly to the Dominican Republic! I’m not sure if we’ll have wifi or not, but if so you can check for updates on Instagram! :) Happy weekend, friends! :)

Love Rach

Visiting Graceland during Elvis Week

We’re only on day 3 of 30, but it has been AWESOME so far! I know I said on Monday that we were planning a low key night in, but halfway through the day we realized that it’s currently Elvis week and we’ve never been to Graceland for it before. So we had a quick dinner at home and then we were off to Graceland!

graceland{us at Graceland in 2006}

We’ve been to Graceland once before. It was before we moved to Memphis. This shot was taken in 2006 when we were still college students. We had come to Memphis for Christmas with my extended family and my mom snapped this shot of us outside the front gates of Graceland. Check out how young we look. And how classy we are in our sweats & hoodies aka traveling clothes. ;) Little did those youngsters know that in two short years we’d be married and living in Memphis!

us at graceland 2015

There we are this week in front of Graceland! This photo was taken by our newest friends from the UK. Flo and Linda. They live 90 minutes apart in England and yet they met here in Memphis. Flo has been to Graceland for Elvis week 8 times and Linda has been here for Elvis week 15 times. This is Linda’s first trip without her husband who just passed away this year, but she said that it as sad as it is to be here without him, it feels like coming home to family. We were blown away by the community of people we discovered who gather together every year in our city.

us graceland2

When Linda and Flo heard that we lived here in Memphis, they told us how jealous they are. It cost Linda and her family $10k this year to come here for this. They couldn’t believe that we live in Memphis and that this is only our second time to ever come to Graceland. We didn’t dare tell them that we’ve never even been inside (We’ll make it happen one of these days)! Plus, we’ve been to Graceland Too and that’s just as awesome. ;) You guys should’ve heard them in their adorable British accents, “Live ‘ere in Memphis and never come to Graceland?! Can you believe it?” They cracked us up! I’m pretty sure it’d be how I’d feel if I heard someone living in Rome had only gone to the Colosseum once. And never even bothered to pay to go in. Just sounds ludicrous.

elvis' grave

Linda and Flo were just the tip of the iceberg with people who make the trek to Memphis to honor Elvis during the week of the anniversary of his death. Tens of thousands come every year during this week alone (I heard on the news that it was 35,000 in 2013, I’m not sure how many this year). There were so many different languages being spoken. We saw a woman weeping at his grave and many others sitting around in reverent quiet. It’s humbling in a way to see people who have come from across the world to visit the place I call home. Elvis has had such an incredible impact on music and generations of people.

elvis is forever

It wasn’t the low key night we had originally planned, but it was way way better. We had such fun and really loved getting to meet Flo & Linda. A night well spent! We had more of a low key night last night (grilling out and packing). And tonight there will be more adventures! :)

Have you been to Graceland before?

Is there something your city that tourists flock to?

Love Rach