Moments of Reprieve

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on June 10, 2013

Dan and I have been through a lot together. This coming fall it will have been twelve years since that cool October night we were married. Twelve years! That’s just crazy talk. And yet when I look at our wedding photographs I think thoughts that I previously assumed were reserved for people who had long passed their twenty-fifth anniversary.

Thoughts like: We were so young!

In a sense, life has matured us to a far greater degree over the past decade than I ever could have imagined. Life poured six babies into our hearts; Life asked us to trust him (and each other) as we wrestled with a decade of financial hardship; Life asked us to travel from state to state as we sought the place in which the earth would invite us to put down roots; and Life said, “I know this is hard, love each other anyway.”

And we did.

Imperfectly, of course. I cringe when I think of the things I’ve said and the damage I’ve caused, but my sweet husband has remained emphatic that forgiveness and love rule our home. He has taught me how to leave the pain behind and march forward with him, hand in hand.

There are moments in life when God lifts you up and gives you a moment of ecstatic clarity. These are the moments that give all those crosses meaning and reveal their goodness. Moments of reprieve.

This past Friday night reminded me that we are smack dab in the middle of one those moments.

Beautiful Charleston has treated us very well and has brought so many selfless, good-hearted people into our lives. People who, when I leave my kids when them to spend time with Dan, make me think, “This isn’t just good for Dan and I, this is good for the kids. These people enrich our children’s lives.”

People like:

Hannah, who hatches plans to teach my girls the “dramatic mermaid” move at the pool and take them on girlfriend dates.

Valerie, who goes all vogue and strikes many a pose with Lucy Jean.

Chris, who shares his rich heritage with my boys. You see, Chris is the great, great, great, great, great grandson of Redbeard, the infamously cruel pirate. Did you know that if Chris grew out his beard you could see traces of red? It’s true, my boys told me so.

And Therese, who…well, she loves my kids with such tenderness that it makes me want to be a better mother.

These people. I mean, there are no words. My kids are lucky ducks. And blessed, too.

Friday night Hannah and Chris came and took over as Dan and I hit the road and headed to Basil Thai.

photo (28)

Oh. My. Yum.

Just look at these drinks! Mine is the Margarita on the right, and his is the Bourbon and Ginger Beer on the left. Oh-so so so good.

photo (27)


The food was also delicious (hello, Neua Nam Tok, you lover you), and the ambiance so warm, that I went back the next night with Anna of In Honor of Design and her husband, Gabe, who were visiting Charleston for their upcoming anniversary.

If you’ll indulge me a tangent, can I just say that I think Anna might be a mermaid? She has that naturally beachy hair that the rest of us are always striving to achieve, was absolutely luminous (even at 37 weeks pregnant!), is as sweet as pie, and loves the water.

You do the math.

Her husband is awesome, too (though I can’t say that I got a merman vibe from him). Such a cute couple. It was a treat to spend time with them.

After a dinner that may or may not have included a few “get a room” gazes, Dan and I went to Isle of Palms and took a walk on the beach. The wind was up just a bit from the last remaining bands of the tropical storm and the shore was dotted with couples kissin’ and children chasing sea life with flashlights. I could walk that stretch of beach every night and never get tired of it.

We chatted and held hands and as I dipped my toes in the water and gazed at the stars above I couldn’t help but to get a bit choked up as I thought, “We made it.”

We made it through all those trials I listed above, through seasons where date nights like this would have been an impossibility, and we still love each other. So, so much. This man is my rock, my true love, and my dear, dear friend. Plus, he just looks so cute in a suit. I’m ridiculously unworthy of him.

And what do you know but we’ve finally found our home, our little slice of heaven on earth. Right here in Charleston, South Carolina.

Since life is still chaotic and this season isn’t without it’s own little crosses, it would be easy to miss this moment of restorative grace. So I won’t. I’ll soak it up and savor it all and prepare myself to continue to fight the next good fight. After all…


There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)


What a gift it is, this time.

After an hour or so we walked back up the unfinished, sandy pier, over the beach grass, and back to our car. And do you know what we did on the way home?

We went grocery shopping. Which was really kind of perfect.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonnie June 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

This is lovely, Hallie. (I miss your posts – I’ve been craving your words and perspective.)

One of the things I love most about my marriage is how life, and it’s being lived out, is all around. I think you captured that here with the mentioning of friends, kids, love, fights, flirting, food, and errands.
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Dorian Speed June 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

We went grocery shopping on our last Date Night, too! It reminded us of when we were young and shopped at the chi-chi grocery with the humidor and the wine cellar. Life had fewer Red Baron pizzas back then.

Beautiful post!

Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge June 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Yep, you made it. And making it is what it’s all about. You’ve more than defied the odds and you are an example for all of us in good and bad. Congrats! love to you both
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Olivia June 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

What a beautiful post, Hallie! You always give such great marriage advice, honest. This post is no exception. As a newlywed, I’m so grateful for your sincerity and for your constant joy and gratitude, even when the going gets tough. Your writing consistently presents me with terrific reminders of how to love well and inspiration for carrying the future crosses we will bear. Thank you!
I’m so glad your beautiful family finds itself in a moment of reprieve and that you have found a home in South Carolina! Enjoy it!
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LeighAnna June 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I love wonderful stories like this for all kinds of reasons, but at the moment mostly I’m hoping that in another eleven years I can write something similar with as much grace and joy. :) Your blog is always a highlight in my day!

Mandi @ Messy Wife, Blessed Life June 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Oh Hallie, you give such hope to young marrieds like me who are smack dab in the difficult years. We’re moving back to North Carolina next month and hopefully this time we’ll be able to leave the state and see South Carolina too. It sounds lovely.
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ViolinMama June 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes.

I’m sitting here savoring in ‘your time’ and your season. I am rejoicing for you and Dan. I especially rejoice because I know what your crosses feel like, and can taste the tears and the the sweet wine that flowed during these years. My husband and I just celebrated 12 years too, and we’re nearing a reprieve. We’re not there yet, but we are far better than we’ve been the last 2 years of rock bottom. So, your post comes at a wonderful time. How amazing is our God, using one’s reprieve to refresh another’s well and firm their foundation?

We’re in a financial struggle right now, born from financial infidelity (trying to protect us from the worry), house loss, and rebuilding our marriage life . Some days I’m strong (thanks be to God) and other days I’m weak, and God carries me (thanks be to God). I too have said some horrible things to my husband I regret, have damaged, etc. But, throughout this trial….we’ve stayed together. The graces of the sacrament of marriage have been strong. God commands us to love one another in good times and in bad, and so we do. It’s a fight every day to fall in love that day. Some days its a struggle to like him as my friend too. But that reprieve is coming. It is. There is a season, and a time for everything under the heavens. Forgiveness is such a grace.

I read this with tears because I know how exhausting your past has been. I’m so tired. We have three children (in a tiny 2 bedroom condo which is working out fine), and we want more children….but our finances are still rebuilding. Our cars are paid off, but only fit the 5 of us. We’ve had to get another car for another baby. We don’t have any savings or retirement, and we need to move to a safer neighborhood soon, so I’m discerning a teaching opportunity (that fell into my lap….maybe from God?) but working makes having more babies hard. So many days I feel like a bad Catholic as well as a wife. I can’t tell if we’re trusting God to wait responsibly with our fertility, or not trusting Him to take care of us now. Life is just a weight currently….but the blessing is we can see the mini reprieves in our day…..and the big ones in other people’s lives (like yours!) and REJOICE with you and others. We know the light is coming after the night! He has not forsaken us.

Marriage is a blessing. It’s sanctification. It’s for a lifetime. It’s not easy. It’s so worth it. It’s the domestic church. It is worth this crazy ride called life. Thanks for breathing life back into my marriage today. You are loved and appreciated for it. Thank you for being real. And…you both look amazing on your date!! God is SO GOOD!!!!!!!!

Much love!
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ViolinMama June 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

*We’d have to get another car for more children..not “we’ve”. I wish we’ve gotten a van LOL!
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melody June 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Oh dears…the tears are coming. I’m reading your words and in between the lines and recognizing so much in there. We are heading for 17 years soon and the passionate years of pain and joy are more than words can speak to. Passionate, authentic, Christ-centered love so often looks a great deal like the Cross. And the joy makes up for all. Thanks for sharing yours!

Kathleen June 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Charleston is my dream city to live in! I’ve only visited twice, but I want to move there! And Amen to great babysitters, we went many years with no possibility of good trustworthy babysitters and now we are blessed with many wonderful caregivers to give us a break now and then!
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Jennifer H June 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

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Amelia June 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Love this post, Hallie..thanks so much! My husband and I have been married 12 years, and we’ve been through a lot together…I can so relate to much of what you wrote. We moved and have been uprooted and been through so much. I can so appreciate what you wrote. It’s so important to enjoy those moments of reprieve!
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TracyE June 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Awesome post, Hallie. So much truth. We are at 19 years and a world of trials and tribulations behind us and a season of joy and contentment right now. However, life is life and we know it’s not perfect, so we just try to enjoy each day. Try. Blessings to you both!
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Aimee June 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I love Charleston! It’s one of my favorite cities ever. And you guys are one seriously cute couple.

We are at 16 years this Friday . . . so hard to believe!
Our last date was to the hardware store at 9:00 at night. We left the kids in the care of our teenager and went to buy mulch and citronella oil and a rake. Might sound boring, but it’s what I dream of every time I have to go run errands alone. I always think how much more fun it would be with Rob by my side. Nothing wrong with that. :)

Julie June 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm

That was just beautiful! Thank you for all your honest and encouraging writings on marriage.

kristin loboda June 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

beautiful, thanks for sharing!

I love that you went grocery shopping after a night of warmth and romance!

Micaela @ California to Korea June 11, 2013 at 8:05 am

I too have that overwhelming sense of gratitude for my hubby. It is beautiful to read about your love for your hubby. Thanks for sharing. :)
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Joy @ Caspara June 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

Lovely!! I envy you having found your home. My husband is a Navy pilot, so we have just gone through yet another move. But I can’t complain, it’s to Hawaii. I just dread having to move again in a couple years. Thanks for sharing this lovely post!
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Colleen Martin June 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I love those sweet moments when you realize just how GOOD life is and give thanks to God for all it took to get you there. What a lovely couple you are :)
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Anna @ IHOD June 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Oh my goodness…
I got to read through half of this yesterday before bedtime routine interrupted and you had me in tears…
had it bookmarked and finished today and now I can’t stop laughing. You know, it was one of my childhood dreams to be a mermaid….;) You are so kind and I am so thankful we got the chance to connect. I have a feeling it will happen again sooner than later:)

Thank you for the bountiful wisdom and sharing one of my very favorite versus from E. I need to print that one. Blessings~

bobbi @ revolution of love June 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm

What a beautiful post! Although I love your “5 favorites” your “teaching” posts are always full of wisdom, truth and honesty. It is touching to hear about the good and the bad and to know that as unique as we each are, we share common struggles and triumphs with one another and rely on our Catholic sisterhood to encourage us in our daily walk. Thanks for the being a big part of that. :-)
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jen June 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Positively lovely. I’m glad you have so many wonderful people.
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Stefanie @ A Dreamer's Wife June 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing! Such a great reminder that every obstacle and trial faced together as a couple strengthens a marriage! Love truly deepens!
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Kallah Oakes June 14, 2013 at 10:57 am

this is my favorite of all of your posts, Hallie!

And I feel a ridiculously out-of-place satisfaction that you love Charleston as much as I KNEW you would when you first announced y’all were moving there. I love the Holy City, it is just truly set apart ;)
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Julia June 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

“And then life said, ‘I know it’s hard, but love each other anyway.’” I love this. This post is written with such refreshing candor. My husband and I are coming up on 10 years in July and I am so thankful for the battle scars which show that we’ve been both wounded and healed. Thank you for reminding us that all time is a gift! Congratulations on your anniversary!!!

Jessica June 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

wonderful perspective. brought tears to my eyes…thank you for sharing!
We used to live in Sumter, SC, (husband is military) and it was my first time living in the south and we just LOVED visiting Charleston…it just has such a good feel to it!

Jennifer June 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm

This is such a beautiful reminder of the grace and love that gets us through the ebbs and flows of life. Thanks for sharing!

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