A Summary & Snapshot of my Summer Sabbatical (alliteration, anyone!?)

I know it’s been a while, but I’d like to begin this post by stating the obvious: I’ve taken some time off from blogging this summer. Not because I don’t enjoy documenting life’s adventures, but because Jim and I have found ourselves unexpectedly busy. And with busyness comes the need for discipline. I was in a creative rut this summer and life was happening at 100-miles-a-minute. It was easier for me to push off  writing than sit down and simply write. Blogging is a way for me to see the good, the bad, and the blah in life, but I also didn’t want to become enslaved to writing, either. I wanted the willpower to say “it’s ok, you don’t need to write today.” That’s hard for me. I felt like I owed it to myself to document our adventures, but I also wanted blogging to remain a hobby, not a chore. If we weren’t traveling out of town to weddings or last minute, spontaneous road trips, folks were traveling to see us or an event was happening in town. Although it’s been a minute, I’m ready to write, defining the blurred lines and creating boundaries for myself. I’m still trying to find my groove, folks!

If I had to summarize our past three months, I’d say it’s been a summer full of unexpected surprises, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. All of the highlights this past summer involve family.  For instance…

  1. The birthday visit.
    Both Jim and I celebrated our birthdays this summer. I do not pride myself on my gift giving abilities, but Jim is gracious and gives me a list to work from for ideas. I’ve learned from the very beginning that it’s incredibly difficult to surprise your spouse when you’re married. Once my birthday rolled around, I wasn’t sure what to ask for. To be honest, I was feeling homesick for my Virginian family, and I knew there wasn’t anything that was going to satisfy that itch. So, I told Jim I didn’t want any gifts on my birthday because I couldn’t think of anything I truly wanted, but rather wanted to go on a date with him. Back in Virginia, we typically went to El Toreo, a local Mexican restaurant, to celebrate birthdays. We actually went there to celebrate anything and everything, we were what you would call regulars. So, we settled on Reyes, a local Mexican restaurant here in Laurel.
    Once Jim got home from work, he was lallygagging around the home, despite my skipping lunch for our dinner date. I was ready to eat. Once we arrived at the restaurant, Jim and I ordered drinks. I sent a picture of our dinner scene to my parents, letting them know we were starting our birthday celebrations two days early. My father sent a reply back, and it read “Mind if we join you?” Oh how I wished! I showed Jim the text, and he smiled, asking “do you wish your parents could be here with you to celebrate?” My replied with the obvious answer, “yes, of course I wish they could be here!” Jim couldn’t contain his secret any longer. “Then turn around,” he laughed. And there stood my parents and littlest brother, Jesse. They had driven from Virginia all the way to Mississippi to celebrate with me on my birthday.
  2. Family Lake Week.
    Talk about spontaneity. I’m not one for last minute trips, but this was certainly one of them. It had been a couple years since I’ve been able to attend our annual Family Lake Week at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. This has been a tradition where my immediate and extended family gather on my mama’s side, and we enjoy a week of boating, swimming, eating, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, tanning, sunburning (!?), skiing, campfiring (I know, it’s not a word but it’s my post so…), and everything else a week at the lake entails at Aunt Beth and Uncle Scott’s lake house. It’s tradition, and tradition is important to me.
    While this year’s Lake Week was in progress, Jim encouraged me to take time off and road trip it back to Virginia to spend time with my family. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend because of his work schedule. However, my work schedule was flexible, and allowed time for travel. I was hesitant at first. The idea of a 12 hour solo road trip seemed daunting. But alas, my homesick heart won in the end, and in one afternoon, I was able to take the next, few days off work, and by Wednesday morning, I was lake week bound.
    Seeing my sweet family was nothing short of refreshing. I was reunited with my adorable niece, who I hadn’t seen since Christmas! Little ones grow up so quickly, so I was beaming when I saw her for the first time in seven months! I saw cousins I hadn’t seen since my wedding day, aunts and uncles, my grandparents, and my mother-in-law even stopped by one evening to visit. It was exactly what my heart needed, and I’m thankful Jim pushed me to go.
  3. Celebrations: 2 birthdays and our 2nd anniversary.
    I suppose I somewhat covered birthdays in my first note, but I especially wanted to note our second anniversary. Jim and I celebrated two years of marriage this past May. We’ve fought, we’ve forgiven, we’ve trusted, we’ve hoped, we’ve wept, we’ve learned, we’ve loved. Thankful to be doing life with this man. Looking forward to forever.

Snapshots of Summer:
A picture speaks a thousand words, so here’s a couple thousand for y’all.

Summer was truly an unexpected season full of joy and beautiful memories. I’ll cherish these adventures and moments. But I’m craving that cool, crisp air, and I’m ready to invite Autumn to come and stay a while. I hope you stay tuned for some more of our adventures, and perhaps a life lesson or two learned along the way.

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