greenville

When we arrived in Greenville Monday night, it was with a lot of balls in the air. Those of you who read our newsletter know that the last few weeks have been busy ones for us. We’ve been working extra hours in our freelance gigs, we’ve had a lot of social events to attend, we’ve been inundated with random emails, the blog went down for a little while, which meant Tim has been spending extra time working on it, and then we’ve been signing up for press trips like this one, all while working on another secret project we haven’t announced here yet. We’ve wanted to come to Greenville, South Carolina for a while, partly because my friend Holly, who’s lived in places like Africa and Alabama and now Philadelphia, calls Greenville her favorite city and partly because, generally speaking, visiting a new place has always been the sort of thing to slow us down. But when we finally collapsed into bed last night, after a full night of delicious meals, the two of us looked at each other and said, Anniversary? Who has time to think about anniversaries? And I started crying when I told Tim I hadn’t even written him a card.

SIP Greenville / FoodLovesWriting.com

Here is something I’ve learned from these first two years of marriage: Marriage reveals you. When you live your life in honesty alongside another human being, he knows all about your flaws. He knows you can be a perfectionist. He knows you will both push to make everything be a certain way and collapse into tears when you see you can’t. He knows that part of the reason you try so hard not to become overwhelmed by tasks, always shortening your list, always wanting to stay ahead, is because when you do become overwhelmed, you scare yourself with how sharp and short your words become. Your priorities get out of whack. You’re rushing him to your next scheduled dinner, thinking about the people you could disappoint if you don’t make it there on time, forgetting to slow down and look into his eyes and hold his hand.

SIProoftop
shanna-tomatoes-SIP

He told me at dinner last night he likes to take care of problems for me. When he comes home to a vacuum on the front porch, a garbage bag tied to the hose, hearing my explanation that I tried to vacuum up a locust-like bug in the fireplace and it got stuck, he isn’t frustrated. When I say, “Um, Tim, I think I deleted the entire blog,” which actually happened this last month, he opens up his laptop and studies the situation, barely missing a beat. At lunch on Sunday, we told our friend Lyndsey that I spent four years thinking my camera didn’t have a certain feature, telling myself someday in the future I’d like to upgrade, and then this weekend Tim read the manual, pressed a button and voila! Turns out we’ve had the feature all along.

TIMatSobys
TIM-sobysplate

Writing all these things out into a blog post feels vulnerable and imperfect and embarrassing, but our pastor says if you’re not embarrassed you’re probably not being honest enough. Also, despite how many people will read this and misunderstand us and want to email me marriage advice for attaining the imaginary perfect marriage everyone should seek, I don’t know a better way to fight perfectionism than by confessing openly and honestly that you know you’re not.

Today, writing this from our hotel room where Tim’s still sleeping and we’ve missed our scheduled breakfast, I’m thankful for a husband who knows me and loves me, as I am for the God who brought him to me—who loved me before I loved Him and who is touched by my weakness. Sometimes the only way to let Him fill your open hands with gratitude is to have them emptied, weak and needy though it makes you. What He gives in return is very sweet.



So far in Greenville, we’ve: Shared drinks (my favorite-ever sangria for me and a coffee stout for Tim) and appetizers (caprese salad, figs and goat cheese and honey on toast, a killer cheese plate my former Whole Foods specialty worker husband raved about) at the luxurious Sip rooftop, 103 North Main Street, Fourth Floor; strolled through the Anthropologie across the courtyard; scouted out the local natural grocery store; and shared dinner at Soby’s New South Cuisine, 207 South Main Street, which included fried green tomatoes in a pimento cheese sauce, the sous chef’s special of pan-seared tuna with chow chow (it’s a Southern thing), pan-seared grouper with haricot verts and a vanilla bean creme brulee. We wish we could have made breakfast this morning at Roost, 220 North Main Street, an eatery known for its focus on farm-to-table fare—but maybe some of you Greenville locals will go there for us and tell us what you think.



One year ago: First Anniversary in Knoxville
Two years ago: The Wedding



Disclaimer: We are currently visiting Greenville on a trip planned for us by the city’s incredibly helpful and amazing Visitor’s Bureau. Our accommodations and some meals are being provided for us; all opinions expressed are our own. An upcoming post (Update: view part two here!) will provide more travel information on the city.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Joanna

    I love your thoughts on marriage. Doesn’t it excite you to think of the years and years of learning to understand one another and know one another–really know one another–you have ahead of you? Without wishing away decades of our lives, I sometimes wish we could jump to that stage. If now is sweet (and it is), how much sweeter would that be?

    We love you both and are celebrating with you! Happy anniversary!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      : ) I love your hope-filled words and will confess I seldom let myself think that far ahead. Every year we celebrate, I think, I can’t believe we got two years! We’re both alive and married and being given another day! But should we receive decades more, oh my goodness, yes, what a gift all that comes with it will be! I want to be hopeful about that, too. Thanks for saying that.

  2. felicia | Dish by Dish

    Shanna & Tim – congrats & happy anniversary. Reading about your relationship makes me feel so happy for both of you – Shanna, that you have a man who wants to care for you and take care of your problems because he loves you; and Tim, that you have a beautiful wife who proclaims your gentle-manliness, and unending patience for her. The first time I read about you guys was in the ebook; but throughout the FLW blog, there are hints and stories about this love story both of you are continuously weaving.

    Thank you for sharing your story with all of us; so glad that true love isn’t a fantasy – that it’s real and pure and beautiful.

    Sending much love from Argentina,
    Felicia

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Goodness, Felicia, this might be the kindest comment we’ve ever received (and you alone have left so many kind comments!). We are honored by your reading here and by your regular interaction. I hope someday we get to meet offline. It would be lovely.

  3. Carrie

    This is so unbelievably beautifully written, my friend. “Sometimes the only way to let Him fill your open hands with gratitude is to have them emptied, weak and needy though it makes you. What He gives in return is very sweet.” Just. so. good.

  4. Lyndsey Gangel

    Shanna,
    I’m honored by my honorable mention. :) And I love that thought about honesty by Pastor Ray as well. I’m excited to continue reading about your Greenville adventure!! So blessed to know you and Tim.
    <3
    Lyndsey

    1. Shanna Mallon

      First of all, I can’t believe I spelled your name wrong. Thank you for being so gracious about it and thank you for being excited with us about Greenville. We both loved the way you responded when we mentioned it. (The name thing is fixed now!) Was thinking about you yesterday. Hope the presentation went well; in fact, I’m sure it did; yay! it’s over! : )

  5. Lindsey | The Next Course

    Wishing you the happiest of anniversaries! So nice to know you are enjoying this lovely trip together to slow down and connect over a passion for exploring a new place.

    Shanna, your thoughts on marriage are honest, raw, and real–and while that may reveal imperfections, they are oh-so-sweet– and that, in and of itself, is perfect. Thank you for sharing your words and your life here on this blog.

  6. Sarah Kate Branine

    Happy Anniversary, you two! Steve and I were just talking about your pastor today! I love what you wrote about his thoughts on honesty and embarrassment. So very true. (Steve just found out that he’s doing a lecture/pastor’s conference here in the Spring!)

    Oh, bummer! I’m sad you missed out on Roost! But, yay for sleeping in for Tim and finding time to write for you : )

  7. Heather

    Shanna & Tim – Happiest of anniversaries to both of you! I wish you many, many more years of happiness and love. I am a long-time reader, but have never commented. This post made me. Reading your post, Shanna, on how Tim cares for you despite flaws made me tear up. True love at its best. I’m lucky enough to have been blessed with a wonderful husband who does the same for me and I am thankful every day for him. It truly is a gift.

    As is your beautiful writing. Thank you both for sharing your stories, letting us peek into your lives. I am in the process of starting my own food blog, on the cusp of graduating with a Masters in Food Studies, and you two inspired me Each. And. Every. Day. I only hope that my words are as beautiful as yours.

    Happiest anniversary to you! I wish you endless love and joy!

    Warmly ~ Heather

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Heather! Thank you! Your comment encourages us so much. I’m so glad you decided to leave it, and I’m so glad you’re thinking of starting your own. You’ll have to come back and leave the link once you do so we can check it out! : )

  8. Holly Stephenson

    Shanna, yay! Anniversary trips are the best. We are headed to the Pocono Mountains this weekend to celebrate ours. I hope I didn’t talk Greenville up too much… Always better to be a little pleasantly surprised rather than a little disappointed :) But it looks like y’all are having fun. And hey, vacation is all about impromptu sleep-ins, even if it means missing breakfast! xoxo!

  9. Pingback: Greenville Anniversary Trip, Part Two | A Literary Cookbook | Food Loves Writing

  10. Bethany

    You know, I’ve been thinking about the future Greenville posts since you mentioned you were leaving for SC on FB. They did not disappoint.
    I loved your sweet thoughts on your marriage. Don’t you find the experiences that reveal you and make you feel a little more rough around the edges also have a way of smoothing you and bringing depth as well? At least, that’s true for me. My husband has made me such a better person and I could empathize with a few of your paragraphs. I’m glad you shared it here.

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