Monday, March 31, 2014

Summer Wanderlust

As mentioned yesterday, one of my FAVORITE things to do is travel AND one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress is to daydream about travel. Few things make me happier than curling up on the couch or at coffee store and looking through a good tourbook, watching the travel channel and researching destinations online. It's my own personal way to check out of the hectic activity of everyday life and look forward to the moments when my only concerns are what road to wander, which beach towel and book to pack, or which flavor gelato to taste! Our world is so big- full of so many different types of people, food, culture, art- and I would love to see it all!

So far this winter/spring, we took a last minute getaway to Philadelphia, but due to weather and work, we haven't explored as much as we did in the fall (Annapolis, Williamsburg, Hershey, Hiking in Shenandoah, Virginia Beach, etc) BUT, we have several fun trips we are planning for in the upcoming months. Most of our trips are planned for late spring/summer, but we hope to squeeze in a Thanksgiving trip as well! Our goal was to squeeze in friends, family and "us" time and split vacation days between lazy beach/mountain days and busy days of venturing to new cities and towns...relaxation AND adventure.  I am pretty excited for all the happy moments coming this summer!


(1) Ocean City, MD Memorial Day trip with church friends

This is our grownup version of a college beach trip -- a couple houses, a bunch of people, cheap price, tons of snacks and beers and colorful beach towels, one big fun weekend hanging out with friends. Dave and I are even splitting up - guys and girls houses, ha! We know some people, but not everyone, so I am excited that we have the chance to meet new folks and relax for a 3 day weekend!

(2) Smoky Mountain getaway with Dave's family

We are meeting Dave's family for a 4-5 day getaway in the Tennesseee mountains. His mom rented a great cabin and all of the kids and grandkids  are coming from Mississippi, Georgia and Virginia to meet in the middle for a week of relaxing and family time. Although we will spend plenty of time shopping, exploring and enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, fishing and maybe rafting, there will also be down time to play with our nieces in the pool, read a good book on the large deck or catch up with Dave's sisters over wine in the hot tub.  I love busy city trips where you cover a lot of ground in a short number of days, but I also love to have a relaxing trip each year where you slow down, rewind and uncharge. A beach or mountain getaway is the best place to slow down!

(3) Annapolis Anniversary Weekend

8 months ago, Dave and I took a day trip to Annapolis (about an hour away) to celebrate one month a marriage and get a break from city life. We fell in love this quaint town. I loved the water, the preppiness, the sailboats, the cute stores and restaurants. We vowed we would go back for an overnight trip and spend the weekend. Our first anniversery seems like a good time to return to this adorable little harbour town. We have big plans of boats, crab dinners, gelato, strolling historical streets and shopping.

(4) Toronto/Niagra Falls

If the family mountain getaway is our relaxing trip, then our trip to Toronto will be our busy high paced adventure.  Dave kind of picked this year's vacation and I was okay with Toronto, but now that I have read up on the city, I am REALLY excited.  We wanted to get away internationally, but we couldn't afford Europe this year and this was a way to do a international (technically) trip without going overseas.  We will fly into Buffalo and see Niagra Falls first, then head to Toronto for 4 days. Its a city with a lot of famous buildings, theater, good cuisine and a variety of neighborhoods with fun personalities.

(5) New York Thanksgiving trip

It's always been a dream of mine to do Thanksgiving in NYC and see the Macys parade.  We can't fly home Thanksgiving and then fly home at Christmas, so we will most likely always spend our Thanksgiving holiday up here and/or make a trip somewhere nearby. Last year, we hosted dinner (with the help of Marley and Bech) for friends, so this year our goal is to go to NYC and see the parade and Christmas decorations.  This was going to be a 2 family trip with my sister, brother in law and nephew, but someone (cough cough) had to get pregnant, so it looks like it will Dave and me enjoying the holiday lights and decor in NYC (unless anyone wants to join us!!)

There may be other day trips/weekends to the beach squeezed in, some Saturdays spent travelling to nearby towns, weekends spent in Pennsylvania with my sister, brother in law and nephew...and maybe a girls 30th birthday trip for one of my good friends, but these are our "planned" adventures. And, as I said earlier, daydreaming about our upcoming vacations calms my stress and makes my heart happy!

SIDENOTE: When we got married and moved to DC, someone (although I can't remember who) gave me the advice that each year, Dave and I (and our future kids) should reserve a few days to take a trip we want to take. Otherwise, all our vacation days could quickly be used for large family vacations and many trips home to Mississippi...which are wonderful, but give us no time to explore together. We are good about taking weekend getaways and day trips, but we really want to take a trip each year, so we had to balance all our commitments this summer to make it happen (and to make sure we still left ourselves with a few days to go home at Christmas!) Making it all add up was tough but we did it -- plus with the family getaway, we had to compromise with lots of schedules! We were careful to plan the Toronto vacation over a 3 day weekend where we would only need 2 additional vacation days. Likewise, Dave's family trip is a Wednesday through a Sunday, so we only took 3 days there. The Memorial Day beach trip and the Annapolis weekend getaway require no days off work, just weekends! It took a lot of planning-- and comparing schedules with Dave's sisters and their families - but I am glad we were able to make both a family trip and a "just us" trip happen.

So these are my travel daydreams at the moment....getting eager for all the fun days of far off (and no so far off) adventures to come...mixed in with a couple Mississippi trips!  Where are you travelling to this year?

Friday, March 28, 2014


Today, for the first time ever, I participated in a fun friday exercise called "Five Minute Friday."  The exercise is listed every friday on Lisa Jo Baker's blog and I've seen other bloggers participate, but I never have. The concept is pretty simple-- you're given a topic and you are supposed to spend five minutes writing a short focused post on the topic, no worries of perfection or what others think or how it sounds, just what comes to mind. As y'all know, I haven't been the best blogger recently (due to time constraints) and I am trying to get back into it-- I can give 5 minutes (or in my case, 8 minutes because I didn't set a timer) Oh, and feel free to link up too.

This week's prompt was: MIGHTY.

Honestly, I don’t feel very mighty at the moment. I feel pretty small and weak.  I have work, but not a position I would like yet. I’m watching others around me hurt- and wait- and suffer…and there is little I can, other than love them, pray for them, encourage them. That makes me feel not very mighty; it makes me feel helpless and stuck.

Despite feeling helpless, I, do, however, feel grateful…grateful to have work, a sweet husband, an income, a home, friends. So, I don’t feel sad or distraught, just a little stuck. I have my rough days, but I am so very happy.

I’m the type of person who keeps pressing on (which is a beneficial trait to have in a tough town like DC) but I am also the type of person who feels overwhelmed and discouraged very easily.  I have to give myself a lot of pep talks to help myself feel strong enough to face certain situations or to keep going when the going gets tough. And, sometimes I have felt like a failure to myself and others for not being the type of person who pushes through without tears, who keeps a straight face and doesn’t show stress, pain or frustration.  I press on, but I don’t do so very mightily. I press on, weakly, in fear.

But, here’s the thing. I don’t have to be mighty. I really don’t. Scripture tells us that when we are weak, then He is strong and that HIS power is made perfect in OUR weakness. What a comfort!! It’s okay to be weak because my weakness is just an avenue the Lord can use to show HIS MIGHT. In fact, I think the best examples of His power are always shown in hard rough weak times. So, I am clinging to HIS MIGHT in day to day life and the best I can do for others is to encourage them to do the same. My might comes only through trusting and holding on to Him.

The Lord is MIGHTY. He will FIGHT for us…we need only to be silent. Maybe the safest place for me to be is at my weakest.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

De-stressing, Travel and Planning!

One of the ways I make it through busy or stressful times is by daydreaming of adventures to come! I love travelling and new experiences, and I also love planning! Where others might just enjoy their vacations, I enjoy the trip AND the process! Daydreaming and planning for getaways is ALMOST (but not quite) as fun as the destination itself!

During a broken engagement and the stresses of the first year of law school, I spent countless hours researching, thinking about and planning a backpacking trip to Europe. I would allow myself the occasional evening or weekend afternoon spent reading travel books and spent my entire Christmas break watching the travel channel. Seriously, my mom and I watched every "passport to Europe" episode twice!!

 Likewise, during my first year out of law school when I was new to Jackson and still making friends,  I planned a trip to Eastern Europe with a dear friend.

Last year, whenever Dave and I would stress about where he would land a job, where we would move, getting the wedding plans together, etc, I would send him texts counting down until our honeymoon trip, saying "45 (40, 37, etc) days until San Fran and Napa" Yes, we counted down until our honeymoon, not our wedding. What can I say? I am a girl who loves to travel (and luckilly I married a boy who loves to travel as well!) When there was no certainty of where we would live and when we would have to move, I found comfort in the certainty (and excitement) that we would be married and travelling together in X number of days!

And that's why, I loved this past Sunday!! After the gym, chores, errands, laundry, we splurged with our time and spent a leisurely hour reading travel books and drinking coffee at the bookstore. We have a few getaways coming up this year that we have been saving up for. Thinking ahead to a warm summer getaway with family, celebrating our first anniversary or exploring a new city brightens even the chilliest winter day (and yes, today, on the 8th official day of spring, we have a CHILLY wintery day) and de-stresses me when life is busy or hectic! Sunday is usually my only day off each week, and planning future adventures with Dave was the perfect way to enjoy it!

Although we are both super busy these days, I make time to daydream about adventures. I spend time on the metro flipping through guidebooks and go to bed dreaming of travel! Poor Dave will be going to sleep and I will annoy him with questions about what he wants to do on our trips, what hotel we should book and where we should eat dinner. Planning for future adventures is a stress reliever for me - it's a good distraction, it's fun and it focuses me on fun times ahead!

We have a few upcoming adventures planned-- and I will share more about that later this week!
 Do you enjoy planning and dreaming about upcoming adventures or just seeing where the road takes you when you travel?  For those daydreamers and planners, what adventures do you have coming up?

Friday, March 21, 2014


I know it's been awhile since I blogged...and I am sorry about that. I am going to try to blog more regularly, but fair warning: I'm pretty busy, so it might be sparse on this blog for awhile.

Life is busy right now-- for a lot of different reasons: Work and part time work (I took a part time evening and weekend job to help put more money in savings, will quit this when I find a better full time job). Dave is studying for his licensing exams (and passed his first one!). Travel (went home for a wedding). My Jr. League project and finishing up first year requirements. Three sets of company in town over 4 weeks (Clearly this is FUN busyness, but busyness just the same!)

On top of that, we have had a lot of snow the past month and a few challenges -- both personal challenges and the challenge of a heavy heart for several people I know who are struggling.

All that to say, I am physically and emotionally exhausted. And, as a result, I've been a bad blogger...which is probably a good thing as I tend to not be the most positive when I am so worn out. (Dave likes to mock me and say, "That's my Katy, such an optimist!")

I don't get to see my friends or husband nearly I am ready for life to slow down. I'm ready for lazy evenings curled up on the tv with Dave, happy hour with friends, date nights, exploring different neighborhoods in DC, cooking new recipes, reading good books (wasn't one of my goals for 2014 to read more??) and going to the movies. If I can survive the next couple of months, life will slow down a bit.

Sometimes I feel guilty about being busy and tired. I don't have enough time to give to others or enough time to rest and I don't even have time to cook meals that often anymore (thank goodness for the premade meals at Trader Joes!)  Recently, there have been several articles published criticizing Americans for idolizing busy. The accusations is that we are too busy, putting emphasis on what we do and accomplish rather than people.  Also, some people think "being busy" is a way to make ourselves feel like we are important.

I actually agree with these viewpoints to an extent...but sometimes busy is necessary and temporary. If I am always this tired, then I will make some big changes, but for now, I feel that my busyness is short lived and good.

Galations 6:9 tells us to not become weary in doing good because at the proper time, we will reap the harvest.  And that's where my comfort is found: I believe that most of my current busyness- long hours of work, Jr League projects, saving, jobsearching, Dave's studying -- are all good things that can be done in a way that glorifies the Lord.  Despite this temporary state of weariness, I know we will not regret this busy stage of life.

I think one of the best ways to fight weariness is by having a grateful heart.  Part of why I am so tired is because of good things: a job, opportunities to serve, company in town, etc. What blessings! Also, having less free time makes me grateful for the time I have to relax by myself or with others.  I don't have as many evenings with Dave, so I am really grateful for date nights and Sundays.  The occasional HH or lunch with friends lifts my spirits.  Catching up on missed TV is such a treat.  Having visitors and getting much needed "friend and family" time is wonderful and needed!

So, that's why I've been MIA.... Life has been busy which is both stressful and good, all at once!  I have a ton of pictures and plenty of posts in my head and hope to post more regularly again, although I make no promises!

And, if you, too, are feeling weary and too busy...remember that busy isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes we are busy doing good. Tasks like working late hours to save or finish a project, donating time to a charity,  late hours up with a newborn or studying for a class may keep you busy and tired for a short time, but those same tasks could be good...and we are told to do good.

Oh, and P.S., if you are a praying person, can you say some prayers on my behalf? I would like to find a different full time position soon that pays enough that I don't have to work part time in order to save. I know the Lord is opening up doors and I can't wait to see where He places me, but I pray the answer comes sooner rather than later and I pray I have endurance and patience while waiting!