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.

A Kentucky Wedding

Best friend Kristina got married Saturday. I can hardly believe it. The day was such a blast, full of love and laughter. She looked positively radiant. Kristina's fab wedding photographer and friend, Katie Mayfield, already put a bunch of the pics online, so I thought I'd post some of them here!

Kristina told all of us just to pick a coral dress that we liked, and the variety looked amazing!

LOVE

The most beautiful she has ever looked!

Officially Mr. and Mrs. Stuckey!

MORE LOVE

The reception was at the Red Mile, which made for some awesome Kentucky-esque photos.

We also got to take pics at the UK Arboretum. So much green!

Los hombres.

One cool thing Katie did was take pics of the tops of all the dresses to show the variety. I can't wait to see the rest of those photos.

At the races!

SO MUCH LOVE

LOVE AND SPARKLERS

When I talked to Kristina after the wedding, she said she wished she could just relive the day over and over again. I feel the exact same way. It truly was a perfect day!

All pics via.

This has gotta be the good life.

This summer has been a complete whirlwind. I can't believe how fast it has gone, and I can't wrap my head around the fact that I'll be headed back to Missouri in only two weeks. (For my final year of school, no less!) I wish I could hit pause on life and make summer linger. Here's the two-minute recap of this summer's highlights:

There was the weekend we went to the lake.

So much beautiful Kentucky scenery. So much fun catching up on the car trips to and from the lake itself. Nothing makes me relax quite like a trip to the lake.

There was the weekend Kristina had her dress fitting and her wedding shower. 

Obviously I can't show you pics of her dress, but there's a little hint of what's to come with the coral bridesmaids dresses! Dress-up, pool lounging, a Chick-fil-A trip, and young love made for a perfect weekend.

There was the weekend of Evan and Kensi's wedding.

So many friends came to town! And it felt so normal — so right — for all of us to be back together. How I miss my Asbury family!

Kensi and Evan have such a sweet story, and it made their wedding that much more fun. We snapped a pic with the groom before the ceremony and hit up McDonald's in between the ceremony and the reception. (It was like 104 degrees, so obviously we needed some sweet tea stat.)

Four of the girls at our table were also engaged, and I'm so excited that we have lots more weddings to look forward to! (Next up Katelyn!)

Saying goodbye to these kids was the worst. Goodbyes always make me eager for Heaven.

There was the weekend I went to Georgia with my fam. 

Pretty sure my cousins are the cutest kids in the world.

There was the weekend we went to Ohio for (another!) shower for Kristina. 

Kristina's going to be moving to Ohio after the wedding (cue tears), but her shower was Kentucky-themed! Oh, and we went running, which I've been doing lately.More on that in the next blog.

And there was the (middle-of-the-week) faux weekend that we hit up Betsy's houseboat for Kristina's bachelorette party.

Seriously, though, how good does all our coral look? I want everyone to color coordinate for every event from now on.

This weekend is the first one in almost two months that I've actually stayed put. I've loved the busy weekends, but I think I need a few more like this, too. Can we all pretend that summer will last forever?

Adventures in Bowling Green

Took a day trip to visit best friend Brooke (¡y su esposo!) in Bowling Green on Tuesday! It had been way too long since I'd seen her! She's a teacher (¡de español!), so she has whole the summer off. (Sidenote: Why didn't I take that into consideration when choosing a major? Is it too late to change careers? Just kidding. SORT OF.) We decided to spend the day completing three items from Brooke's 50-strong summer bucket list: go geocaching, pot a plant, and go to Barnes & Noble. Here are some pics from our adventures:

Brooke with our first geocaching find! And, okay, it was our only find. BUT STILL. If you do not know what geocaching is, you are a muggle.

After geocaching we potted a zinnia, shared a giant/delicious frappuccino, and read mags in Barnes & Noble. (Okay, I read mags. Brooke read a giant book about Madonna.)

Brooke's brother and sister-in-law had us over for din, and afterward we played Spanish scrabble, which I lost. But seriously at one point I was only like two letters away from being able to spell "crepúsculo." Crepúsculo, you guys — one of those super random Spanish words that I pride myself on knowing. ¡Hasta la próxima, you know!

Brooke and Jill (who were friends from college and now live in the same apartment complex — sweet set-up) and I also went for a late-night donut and geocaching run! We found the donuts. We did not find the last geocache. But it was lovely outside, and we successfully avoided the fog zombies, so I'm calling it a successful trip.

Had so much fun with these friends and cannot wait to see them again during Kristina's wedding festivities!

More hellos, please.

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Back home in Kentucky once again.

Leaving Missouri tore me up. I snapped this photo of an intersection on Mizzou's campus on the day after I finished my schoolwork, which also happened to be the day before I started packing up all of my stuff to head home. That whole last week in Missouri was so painful. I just kept crying because I dreaded the pending goodbyes. I wish Missouri and Kentucky could be as close as those street signs make them look.

Grad school is funny because, if you're in a two-year program like mine, you basically go straight from being a freshman to being a senior. Leaving Asbury was heart-wrenching for me, and the anticipation of moving to a new state by myself was also pretty miserable, but I looked forward to staying put for a while. I liked the idea of being at the beginning of something rather than the end.

But now I feel like I'm about to enter senior year again. And it came so soon. I'm looking at next year and anticipating more goodbyes. All the people I love there — and there are so many more than I ever expected — are people I'm going to say goodbye to.

Being home this week has been wonderful because I've gotten to catch up with some of my much missed home girlies. I started calling my high school friends that on this blog to differentiate between them and my college friends, a.k.a. school girlies. But almost none of my "home" girlies actually live at home anymore.

We all used to be within a 15-minute drive from each other, but now we're scattered — the farthest of us no closer than 15 hours from each other.

Despite our scattered-ness, we're all excitedly gearing up for best friend Kristina's August wedding. She'll be the fourth of our little group of nine to get married since 2010, and after her wedding she'll be moving to Ohio. So I will savor this summer, the last one when she'll be just a three-block walk (or a 30-second drive) from my house.

When I had only one year left in college, I knew I was headed to grad school. That summer I visited Mizzou and VCU and UGA and UNC and WVU. I was making plans. Now with one year left in grad school, I have no idea what I'm doing afterward. All I know is that I hate the idea of moving again. But avoiding a move leaves me only two options: stay in Columbia or stay in Lexington.

Many of my Columbia friends aren't planning to stay there longer than one more year anyway. A couple of my closest COMO friends won't even be there when I get back in August. And, as stated above, my home friends aren't exactly sticking around either.

I have a feeling that both cities will feel the way Asbury's campus feels now. I've been back to Asbury a few times since leaving last May, and though I love seeing the friends who are still there, the vast majority of people I knew there are gone. It's simultaneously like: Oh, how I miss this place! and But where is everybody?

At the end of senior year, our friend group wrote each other letters to be opened one year later. Abby kept them and early this month mailed us each envelopes full of year-old letters from our friends. And here's my confession: I haven't opened mine yet. I'm afraid that I can't handle how much more it will make me miss everyone. I already miss everyone so much.

I am experiencing what my mom calls "nice problems." My heart hurts because I love so many people and can't be with all of them. It hurts because I love so many places and can't be in all of them. I realize that these are, arguably, the best types of problems to have. What's far more sad is when people don't have other people to love at all.

Still, I wish I could stop everyone from spreading any farther apart. It's like Charles Schulz said:

“Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.”

You and me both, Charles.