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My birthday is in a few days, so I had to renew my driver’s license this morning.  Thought I was going to breeze in and out of the mobile unit in Pittsfield; boy was I wrong!  Walked in as soon as they opened and was greeted by a roomful of people.  I took my ticket and found a seat in the back, then was joined by a couple of friendly folks who I’m SO glad decided to sit next to me; for one, the gentleman asked the woman if she thought to bring her birth certificate.  I’m thinking “birth certificate?  since when?” so he graciously held on to my ticket while I escaped to the house to grab mine and make a mad dash back.  Whew.

The man and woman obviously knew each other somewhat and had such an interesting conversation; mainly on farming and ranching; cattle and horses-it was really fun listening in. 😉  Then they moved on to talking about their children, and the gentleman mentioned that one of his sons was living with his girlfriend.  They had just had a beautiful baby, but would probably never marry.  The sweet lady next to me mentioned that her two grandson’s had live-in girlfriends with no intention of ever marrying…they were both bemoaning the fact that things had changed so much over the years.  The woman has been married for 65 years (she was 87), the man for 51 (he was 70), and they both talked about the really, truly hard times of marriage but how fulfilling and rewarding it was in the long run.  I had to pop in to the conversation at that point and tell them how amazing I thought they were!

Oddly enough I came home and found a blog post on how marriage should have expiration dates just like driver’s licenses; if you don’t want to renew, then you don’t have to; giving you a much easier “out”.  UGH.

I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure; marriage IS hard, but just like the sweet people I talked with this morning, it’s ultimately very fulfilling and rewarding!  Erick and I have been blessed to facilitate an incredible course at our church titled, simply, The Marriage Course.  And y’all, it’s so chock full of very, very important and inspiring information to strengthen your marriage.  I think it should be a “must” for couples; we’ve taken the course once but have since helped to lead the course 4 times, meaning we get this information over and over, and I’ll tell you what; I won’t ever tire of it.  I learn something new every time I watch the videos.  The great thing is that it is also in book format; if you can’t find a Marriage Course near you, then the book (titled The Marriage Book) is the next best thing.  It’s funny, y’all.  And so empowering.  While the couple that lead it are Christians, they are very emphatic about the fact that anyone can glean good information from this course, which is oh so very true.   It’s for every generation, every faith.  I would encourage you, even if you are in a great place, to take advantage of the information.  There is also a marriage preparation course; if only we had known about that!

Anyway, I DO feel that most people think Marriage is a bit outdated these days, which just breaks my heart.  It is so very worth it!  As an aside, I DO have to say that there are some marriages that just won’t work out.  I understand that completely, especially when abuse of any kind is involved (although there is hope then, in many cases…but not all.) I would never encourage a man or woman to stick around if they truly felt they were in danger. However, I believe that many people just give in when times get hard or they feel that they have “fallen out of love”.  Don’t give up!  One thing I love about the Marriage Course are the incredible stories of redemption and renewal from affairs, etc.  The interview portion of the classes are truly inspiring.

Ok, on to lighter things!  Although I could of passed up sweets in just about any form (except for fruit) in my first trimester, as soon as the second trimester kicked in, my craving for chocolate came back in full force!  It was on my mind to make some sea salt caramels at home, but while I was out and about last Saturday I realized I had forgotten the list of ingredients.  Then on our way through Freeport I thought I’d buy a brownie…mmm…that sounded good too.  First, though, we made our necessary stop at LL Bean, and you won’t believe what I found waiting JUST for me!!!

We arrived at home and I slathered some vanilla bean ice cream with this delicious concoction.  And I do mean delicious!  It’s not overwhelmingly chocolate OR salt OR caramel; it’s a fantastic, subtle combo of all three.  I can eat it straight out of the jar.  Stonewall Kitchen is based out of Maine, and I’ve half a mind to go give the owners a BIG hug for coming up with this recipe.  It delights me to no end. 🙂

Ok, one more picture for all of you winter weary friends out there; this little corner in my parent’s home is “summer” to me; I’m sitting across from it as I type and it gives me hope and brings a smile to my face!  Enjoy, and have a beautiful weekend!