Spring & Summer Rewind: A Recap of My Recent Adventures

To me, one of the weirdest things (if not the weirdest thing) about adulthood is the lack of finish lines. I'm so used to measuring my life in school years — predictable cycles with beginnings, ends, and, best of all, mandated breaks along the way. Living without semesters feels disorienting to me — as though I keep lifting my wrist to check my watch and realizing I'm not wearing one. Time keeps passing, but I've lost the very measure by which I make sense of it. So I just ... keep going. Each season fades into the next, and I barely realize it until I look backward. When I look do backward on spring and summer of this year, I see seasons punctuated by lots of little trips to see friends from my high school and college and grad school days. I have cherished not just these trips themselves but also the anticipation of them. Each feels like a brief retreat from adulthood, a step back in time to a stage of life that passed too quickly.

Writing about my happenings somehow serves to make them last longer, so here’s a little overview of my adventures as of late:

1. Ohio in March

♫ In the words of T-Swift, “Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up. Don’t you ever grow up. Just stay this little.” ♪

♫ In the words of T-Swift, “Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up. Don’t you ever grow up. Just stay this little.” ♪

Fittingly, the first trip of the year was with high school friends, i.e., a few of my longest-standing besties. Lindsay, Emily and her baby Lily, and I traveled up to Ohio to see Kristina and celebrate the first birthday of her baby, Jack. These children! I can’t believe how big they’re getting. (That sounds like such a grown-up thing to say.) Emily and Kristina both have new babies on the way (due in November and January, respectively), and I’m so excited to kiss those babies’ faces.

2. California in April

My California trip with my Mizzou besties Bekah and Melissa came next chronologically, but since I already covered it in detail in this post, I won’t rehash it here. That said, I mentally rehash it all the time. Every time I talk to those girls, I start daydreaming about recreating the trip next year. We’re thinking of road tripping up California to Yosemite.

3. Charlotte in May

Feels so right.
Feels so right.

Next I drove a total of 18 hours to and from Charlotte (#traffic) for roughly the same number of waking hours with my girls from Asbury, and it was more than worth it. We stayed at Lauren’s new house — which is as cute as her blog, btw — and it felt like home just to be surrounded by these girls. Our little friend group clicked as freshmen and stuck together all four years. (Which means they have seen the worst sides of me and keep me still. That is ❤.) While in Charlotte we got pedicures, ate Mexican food, went outlet shopping, and generally pretended we were still in college. Can all our children go to Asbury together?

4. Needtobreathe and Ben Rector in May

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!

This was not a trip, but it feels worth mentioning both because it was one of the best parts of my summer and because longtime readers will remember that I have, in the past, traveled to see both Needtobreathe and Ben Rector separately, but this year THEY BOTH CAME TO ME, TO MY CITY, TOGETHER, ON MY BIRTHDAY. It was like a birthday present from the Lord. PLUS two of my dear friends (whom I love even more than NTB and BR) were also in town for the concert — HS friend Lindsay and college friend Anna, so I got to see them both and smash my face against theirs for selfies. Best birthday ever.

5. Nashville in June

Good for my heart.
Good for my heart.

Conveniently for me, Nashville is nearly equidistant between Louisville, where I live, and Atlanta, where Asbury bestie Taylor lives. This makes it the perfect place for us to meet up for the weekend, bask in each other’s presence, and marvel at all the stylish locals. This was the second year in a row that we’ve met there, and we basically tried to recreate last year’s trip — got our nails done, drank hipster coffee, browsed little boutiques, and ate at the Loveless Cafe, which serves up common grace in the form of buttermilk biscuits. I may or may not have worn a romper. (When in Rome.)

6. Indiana in July

I'm ready to go back.
I'm ready to go back.

Next I headed north again. Asbury friends and froommates Anna and Jenelle and I drove up to Indiana to surprise our friend/former small group leader/former boss, Abby, for her birthday. This trip was so good for my little heart. You know those friends you have who are a few years older than you so they can just love on you and endow you with all sorts of life wisdom? That was Abby and her husband to our friend group in college. Seeing them reminded me how crazily blessed I had been at Asbury. Plus I got to squeeze their kiddos, one of whom I hadn’t even met prior to this! Abby also taught us how to make string art, which is way, way trickier and more time-consuming than it looks. You can see her string art and other handmade artwork here.

7. Home in July

THERE ARE EIGHT BABIES IN THIS PICTURE. Four visible, four in tummies.
THERE ARE EIGHT BABIES IN THIS PICTURE. Four visible, four in tummies.

Home is only an hour away for me, but it still feels like a bit of a trip. In July I went home for a weekend at Kristina’s pool with my high school friends, including Brooke, who’s been IN KENYA, IN AFRICA, on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD for the past two years (and now lives in Louisville, woohoo!), and Laura, whose sweet BABY GIRL TWINS I got to meet for the first time. Look at all dem babies! I want to tell my friends both to keep these babies coming and to slow down until I catch up.

8. Columbia in August

Feels like home.
Feels like home.

Just a couple of weeks later, I headed to Columbia to see my Missouri people. There are a few things I always have to do when I go to Columbia: run on the trail (best trails in the country); go with Bekah to get Indian food from the sketchiest, most delicious Indian place ever; go to the Columbia Target; visit campus; and spend some QT with (slash absorb lots of life wisdom from) people from my old church. Check, check, check, check, and check. Another reason for this visit was to meet/vet Bekah’s new boo, and he passed my vetting.

9. Houseboat in September

Our summer tradition
Our summer tradition

The most recent trip was with my high school friends to Betsy’s granddad’s houseboat. This was our eighth houseboat weekend since senior year of high school. The houseboat is, historically, my favorite place on the planet because once you’re there, you’re there, and no one has cell service. Except this year we pretty much all ended up having cell service. Darn you, cell phone companies and your ever-expanding coverage! So I put my phone on Do Not Disturb (a setting I probably need to use more than I do) and just enjoyed a too-short time with these girls, my loves.

In the midst of all these visits with friends, I've repeatedly found myself marveling at the ongoing blessing that these friendships have been to me. I'm done with grad school and college and high school, but the best parts of these stages are not completely behind me because the relationships continue. Part of me looks longingly on the bygone years and wishes I could go back in time. And part of me knows that just having people to return to is a blessing in its own right, one for now.

Life in Louisville has been a lot harder than I anticipated. I can’t figure out if it’s this city or simply this stage of life. Maybe I’d feel this way anywhere. I just can’t imagine that I will look back longingly on these early adulthood years in the same way that I look back on earlier stages.

What I do know is that, whether or not I ever miss this stage as a whole, there will be individual people and things about it that I miss. One day I will surely miss being able to bebop around to see my people all the time. That is a temporary luxury, so I will cherish it now — even if it’s only the highlight of an otherwise rough season.

And what was I just saying about seasons? They tend to fade away before I realize it? I know this one could too, whether or not I can see the finish line.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the myriad trips this stage affords. Next stop: Atlanta with my Asbury girls in three weeks. I can't wait.

It's a small world after all.

I don't even have words to describe the bizarro coincidence that Marci and I discovered today. I will let you read it yourselves. This is the comment Marci left this afternoon on my blog about the Steve Moakler concert

This is the Twitter insanity that ensued. Keep in mind that Marci and I have never met! The great big internet is the only thing responsible for bringing us together!

I know, right!? I think Marci got it exactly right when she said "mind blown. #inception"

My mind has indeed been blown. These Auburn guys were literally the only people we talked to at the concert. Sooo crazy.

I look forward to becoming better internet friends with Marci in the future.

Thank you, internet and Steve Moakler for bringing us together.

Excuse me while I fall for you.

Taylor, Becs, and I headed to Nashville yesterday to see Ben Rector and Steve Moakler in concert. Let me just tell you, I have such a crush on Steve Moakler. He is so ridiculously talented and adorable. He sounds great on his CD, but he sounds incredible live.

And, seriously, the combo of his voice + his guitar playing skills + his sweet demeanor + his song about his little sister + his lovely lyrics = love on my part.

If you are asking yourself whether he could possibly get more adorable, the answer is no. No, he could not.

Also, he loves Jesus. And he, like me, was bred in Pittsburgh but calls the South home. I know, right?

Here are a few of my favorite songs of his. (I think "All the Faint Lights" is my number one fave.) You can get all of his music here.

Here I am with Tay and Becs before we got into the venue!

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Steve rocking it out / being adorable.

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One of the cutest things about the show was that Ben and Steve kept helping each other out for each other's songs. They sounded awesome together. (Also, please note Steve's jaw in this photo!)

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One happy surprise of the night was that Matt Wertz was in the crowd! He joined them on stage for one song. (Remember last time I blogged about him?)

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Yes, please.

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I hope I get to see them again sometime soon!

iTunes pages: Steve, Ben, Matt

Something Beautiful

Finally blogging about the (magical) Needtobreathe concert! I know; I know. I'm TOO studious. I seriously need to slack off and blog already!

Best friend Lindsay and I decided two weeks ago today to act like the college kids that we are and drive to Louisville the next day--on a school night, no less--to see one of our favorite bands, Needtobreathe!

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Here we are inside the concert waiting for Needtobreathe to come out!

And let me just tell you. They were amazing. The venue was really small, so we got to be way up close. Close enough, in fact, to wonder whether or not that ring on the bassist Seth Bolt's finger was a wedding ring! (We still don't know.)

What we DO know is that he and all the other guys (!) were kind enough to talk to us after the show and even take pictures with us!

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Well, hello, bassist!

He was so intense about everything. Check out his face in the vid at the end. I even took this picture of him talking to another fan.

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I'm so creepy. But I needed to document how attentive he was to everyone!

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Here's Linds with lead singer Bear! I really wanted to ask him about his inspiration for my favorite song of theirs, "Over Now," but I didn't! I think it's most definitely about my legs!

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Here we are with the oh-so-cute Bo and two of Lindsay's friends from Eastern. They were so much fun!

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All the girls with drummer Joe! He talked to us for a long time!

Here is my favorite song of the night (and my fave off their new CD), "Something Beautiful"! They turned off their mics and did it all acoustic! My camera wasn't even zoomed in; this is how close we were! Aaaah, so good!

I really really really (I know, articulate, right?) want to go see them in Nashville in early October with Lindsay and best friend Kristina, but I'm way too studious and may deem the trip a threat to my A in persuasion or my A in intercultural communications. We will see. I hope I slack off and decide to go!