oh the places i went [and what i learned while i was there]

If anyone knows where Fall semester disappeared to, I'd really appreciate you letting me know. It is not uncommon for me to dwell on the fact that time passes so quickly and do not realize that, as I am babbling about my disbelief, time continues to tick away. This year, I'm pledging a new outlook. An outlook where I reflect on the wonderful happenings and what they taught me. Henry David Thoreau said, "wealth is the ability to fully experience life." If that's true, I want all the wealth in the world. And I want you to have it also, because there is no competition for life's experiences like there is for money. The thought of there being an abundant amount of life for everyone is a beautiful thing, don't you think? I'm going to choose to be greedy, because I want all of mine that I can get.

The only way to explain the Fall semester of my junior year is "on the go." Or, being a true lsu tiger, "on the geaux." I was extremely priviledged to get to travel more than I ever have in a months time. Yes, I missed spending quality time in the BR, but I just couldn't miss these opportunities to escape. May I share my experiences with you? They were some amazing ones, with amazing people and unexpected amazing teachers.

Destination:  Montgomery, AL
Purpose:  Pulling off a surprise for the nosiest and most suspicious birthday girl (in the world)
Needless to say, we pulled it off!

Hanging out with my niece, Audrey, is always an added bonus

  • Brandon (my bro-in-law) faking sick in the restaurant's bathroom in order to stall. Way to take one for the team, Bran.
  • The amount of chocolate we consumed that weekend. Molly's party's theme was Chocolate Lovers. Let's just say there were lots of leftovers.
  • Spending the weekend with my cool fam. 

Lessons learned:
  • Even the one the smartest and most suspicious people I know can be 100% surprised with lots of brilliant planning.
  • Birthdays continue to be one of my favorite things in life. A birthday is the day that we make up for all the time that we should have spent celebrating them year round. Thankfully, we have this day to do just that.
  • Kind, encouraging words and being with friends greatly out-weighs material gifts.

Destination:  Nashvegas, TN
Purpose:  A fall break get-a-way with all my favorite LSU girls to visit our favorite transfer student (who we miss very much)

C'mon, you have to take atleast one artsy-kid photo when you're in Nashville. Don't worry, we don't take ourselves this seriously.

 These boots...were made for walking (if we could afford them).  

Take any opportunity to get a henna from a beautiful Somoli woman. 

The Hog Slop String Band became our new best friends.

  • Being with all these girls for one straight long weekend and laughing the whole time. 
  • The Nashville Farmer's Market. I dare you to leave never wanting to step foot in Wal Mart again. I have no doubt that I want to have some semblance of a garden one day.
  • Experiencing one of our favorite things to do together - eating out. Over and over and over again (and it was all really good).

Lessons Learned:
  • Being separated from my best friend, Hannah, for the first time in 14 years didn't make an ounce of difference. I'm thankful for a friendship that experiences no change, no matter the distance. 
  • I have somehow been blessed to be surrounded with the most hysterical friends. All of them are funny. I mean, all of them. Each of them in a very different way, but hilarious nonetheless.
  • I have a rekindled love for bluegrass/string band music. Thank you, Andy Griffith Show, for beginning this love affair at a very young age. Thank you, Hog Slop String Band, for reminding me of it. 
  • Going to Nashville's Celebration of Cultures reignited my passion to know about and experience all the cultures I possibly could. It reminded me that not everyone looks like me or lives life like me. Getting to see so many different cultures represented in one confined area was eye-opening. "Red, yellow, black, and white. They are precious in His sight," right? Right.

Destination:  Savannah, GA. College home of my best friend, Abby
Purpose:  The first of four very important 21st birthday celebrations and seeing what life at SCAD is all about.

Riding the Savannah ferry. 

 Abs' wonderful college friends = my wonderful new friends and hosts. (Nice smokers pole.)


 Oh, you know, hanging out with Robert Redford. Just a day-in-the-life. 

  • Flying. I love it. Getting to read Cold Tangerines on the plane and not a text book.
  • Seeing Abs waiting for me at the Savannah airport. And it taking everything in me not to run through security. Reunited and it feels so goooood.
  • Midnight dessert at the Melting Pot. Need I say more?
  • Getting to experience life in Savannah just like Abs does everyday.
  • Robert Redford sighting. Our moms freaked

Lessons Learned:
  • Even though my three best friends and myself did so many of the same things in high school, had very similar lifestyles and interests, we have all established four radically different lifestyles in college. All great, all unique to who we are becoming on our own. I'm so thankful for this because it makes visiting so exciting.
  • Abigail is ridiculously talented. Yea, I knew this, but getting to see so many of her projects first-hand and walking through the classrooms where she creates these masterpieces definitely reiterated that to me. You should hire her, you won't be disappointed. 
  • Abs is still the best shopping buddy on the planet. We understand each other on a supernatural, consumer level. Yep...
  • I am thankful for people who are true friends to my friends, if that makes sense. Even though I wish I could be in two places at once, I'm so happy that they have others who love them unconditionally. How could they not?

Destination: Home Sweet Home (a.k.a. Ruston)
Purpose: Molly, Audrey, Hannah and Ashley were all home on one weekend. Why wouldn't I go home?
Who needs toys? Give the two-year-old a yard stick. Hours of entertainment. 

  •  Mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven as I walked through the door.
  • Hearing Audrey call me "Aunt Meh."
  • Shopping with the three generations.
  • Late night Apples to Apples game with Ash's fam and Hannah.

Lessons Learned:
  • There is a magic about coming home. Even after being away for three years, pulling into 2400 Hillside never gets old.
  • As soon as I see my best friend, Ashley, I instantly feel like I'm with my sister, my kindred spirit. In high school, people always asked us if we were twins. I'm beginning to think that, in some way, we undoubtedly are.
  • Late night reunions at Ash's house with Steve, Mama J and Zach are some of my favorite times and will probably always be so. Thank you for always being interested in my life like I was your own daughter and sister. 
  • Molly and I will never be too old to look through the new American Girl catalog together. 

Thanks to you for reliving Fall 2009 with me. Thanks to the Lord for being our Great Teacher. Help us, Lord, to not waste a breath that you have given us.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14