Family and Once in a Lifetime

Family and Once in a Lifetime

Georgetown University

Recently, I headed up to Washington, D.C. (Georgetown University) to celebrate my youngest big brother’s graduation from law school — one of those once-in-a-lifetime things that you just don’t want to miss. The weekend was full of friends, family and lots of conversation.

I consider my family to be pretty close, but the reality is that we just don’t see each other often enough. My mom recently remarked that while they it was their intention to raise independent and adventurous children, they hadn’t really considered the fact that we would be independent and adventurous adults. Today, we’re all living in the Eastern half of the United States, so we’re a lot closer than we have been in years past!

Graduate and nieces

But lives are busy, distance is great and time passes all too quickly. I’m so grateful for events like this that keep us getting together, even if it’s not all the time.

Siblings
We were definitely missing John, the oldest.

And I’m ever so glad that my middle brother and his family were able to come home with me for a few days. I haven’t really received visits from my siblings while in college, or grad school, or since my wedding. So it was delightful to have my first visit in our new home. I even managed to get a day off of work to spend in Williamsburg with my nieces and nephew. It was such a delight!

These moments remind me what I so love about our family. And inspire me to make a greater effort toward spending time with them.

Williamsburg with the littles.

{Moments of Inspiration}

{Moments of Inspiration}

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Graduation

Master of Arts in Journalism (and I was honored with the Outstanding Graduate award for the Journalism program!)

And a bonus moment:

With Husband at graduation.

Big adventures

Big adventures

Sometimes the magic and adventure of life is found in the smallest moments. The ones where families picnic on the beach or couples snuggle by a fire.

But sometimes, just sometimes, the adventures come in the big stuff–like finishing a graduate degree.

On Friday I received my hood… It was a hard fought battle–blood, sweat, and tears went into earning that hood. But I will say, it felt great when they slipped it on. The cap and gown seem like a palate, and it’s the hood, cords, sashes, tassels etc. that make it wonderful. During the hooding ceremony I found out that I had been chosen for the “Outstanding Graduate” award for the Journalism program, thanks at least in part to my thesis project that benefited a local nonprofit. It was a surprise and an honor to have all those hours of hard work recognized.

Saturday was especially sweet for me, in part, I think, because Husband was there. Most of my higher learning has been done on my own. Certainly, my parents’ encouraging support has been wonderful, but I attended school so far from home that I often felt very much on my own.

This degree started out much the same. But somewhere in the middle of it, I got married. “I” became “we.” And it turned into “us” getting me through school. Having Husband there in the audience when I walked across the stage was beautiful.

With Husband at graduation.

Graduating

With family spread out across the nation, and in fact across the world, it was nice to have my parents come into town to help celebrate the occasion. Phone calls from siblings and in-laws were great as well. Somehow celebrations like these become a catalyst to renewing relationships and catching up. And that I love.

With my father.

With my mother.

And, of course, we celebrated. We had delicious food and drinks galore (a benefit of being married to a chef). And we had conversation. Community. Well wishes. Congratulations. And so much more.

Conversation with friends.

Friends

Gathering of friends.

Graduation Party

We had eggs to gather from the neighbors and puppies to play with.

Gathering eggs from the neighbor's house.

Ginger's "cousin" Gracie came for a visit.

And of course, we had ice cream to eat.

Husband serving ice cream.

Eating ice cream.

It was a good day.

Thanks Husband!

But now I need to figure out just what I’m going to do with that hood. Far too much work went into achieving it to just pack it into a box…

The culmination of an era… (aka preparing for graduation)

The culmination of an era… (aka preparing for graduation)

It’s hard to even grasp how much has changed since I first arrived at Regent University to start my graduate school career. Sure, I expected to be starting a new life, in a new place, making new friends, and having new adventures.

But it never once crossed my mind that I would end up…well, married.

It probably should have. After all, during one visit to the area with a friend a few weeks before moving here, she told me that I should find a “surfer boy” to marry. Apparently she’s more prophetic than I give her credit for.

surfing

Husband surfing

I came to Virginia Beach following the road I thought lay before me. Graduate school. But somehow I didn’t see all the twists and turns that road would take before I reached my destination. I didn’t know that my degree would take me three years to complete instead of two. I didn’t know I would meet and marry Husband. I didn’t know I would be offered my dream job.

I didn’t see all the blessings that were coming, but I’ve done my best to flex with every curve and embrace every change.

It’s funny how that happens. How we make a plan and set out on our way just to find that our path changes, sometimes we’re derailed, sometimes just gently nudged to take a different road. Sometimes its just circumstances out of our control. Sometimes its so clearly the Lord.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

And I’m so glad he does.

Us

Sometimes life has a way of changing us. Three years ago I was just turning 23. I had plans and dreams. I wanted to live in Africa for a year or two. I’d thought about joining the Peace Corps. I had never even been on a date, marriage was the farthest thing from my mind. I just wanted to truly LIVE my life, not just muddle through.

Now my goals are different–not better or worse, just different. Husband and I talk about buying a house…after being a gypsy for the better part of five years, something like buying a house is a huge change for me. But it’s good too.

Not everything has changed though. I still dream of going to Africa, maybe next year. I still want to learn French, publish a book, and travel the world. I still want to live every moment of my life to its fullest.

Sunrise over Virginia Beach.

Saturday morning I graduate. I close this chapter of my life and start a new one. And I wonder, what will be written on those pages?

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday,
Please be a calm, quiet day. I think I need to ease back into the workweek…

The puppy Ginger.

Dear Power Company,
Will you please get my electricity back on? Putting on mascara in the dark was an experience I would rather not go through again tomorrow.

Rainy Sunday

Dear Rainy Sunday,
Can I just say thank you? You were exactly what Husband and I needed. A day of church, browsing through Trader Joe’s, picking movies, resting, snuggling on the couch and eating homemade sticky buns… Basically, we just didn’t do anything at all. And it was great.

Homemade sticky buns with tea

Chappy

Dear Chappy,
We had the best first ride of the season yet! I’m so proud of you for remembering all those long hours of training that we’ve had together. I’m delighted that you even remember the more advanced maneuvers that we just started learning last summer. Let’s keep up the good work and make some real progress on your training this summer, shall we? Maybe by the end of the season we’ll be trail riding at Northwest River Park!

Dear Graduation,
You’re only two weeks away…

Dear Friday,
Please come as quickly as you can. I cannot wait for our little road trip up the Eastern Shore in celebration of Husband’s birthday. And if you don’t mind, bring some sunny weather with you =).

Sincerely,
Holly


Linking up with Happy Day.

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday,
Why does anticipation always, inevitably, at some point lead to disappointment?

Husband and I had the BEST time camping over the weekend. But eventually, we had to pack up and return home. We had to get back to laundry and cleaning and garden maintenance. We had to go back to real life. Of course, Sunday afternoon was beautiful and the windows were open and the breeze was fluttering the curtains and we happily set about settling back in. But eventually, Monday morning arrived and it became painfully obvious that all the anticipation I was feeling last week was gone.

Camping at Northwest River Park with Husband.

I know I can’t go on vacation every weekend. I don’t expect to. But I want my anticipation back…

Dear school,
We are so closed to finished I can taste it! Three more weeks until graduation… Meanwhile, just a few more tweaks on my thesis and it’s off to the school for signatures and finally on to the copy center and the library for binding. It will feel so good to have the finished product in hand. This process has been a bit longer than anticipate, with many more tangents than expected (um, I ended up married??). But in all, I am proud to have accomplished so much. Thank you.

Dear Ginger,
Please, please, please learn to use the doggy door. You will love it like nothing else once you figure it out. I promise. Really.

Ginger learning to use a doggy door.

Dear taxes,
I’m sorry to be rude, but I’m glad I won’t see you again for another year.

Dear weather,
88* today, but only 64* and raining on Wednesday? Can you please keep track of the days I get to go to the barn and see my little girl? I’d like to ride her, and I need warm, dry weather for that, thank you very much.

Dear life,
You do keep me on my toes!

Sincerely,
Holly


Linking up with Happy Day.