“In a Cabin in the Woods” (Naples, NY)

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Josh and I were blessed beyond belief by a graduation present in the form of staying for four days in a rustic cabin owned by our pastor’s family. The property is in Naples, NY overlooking Canandaigua Lake–an area that I have loved as I’ve grown up because it is near my grandparents’ beautiful home. The above photo depicts the view from our front room during our stay.

That’s not even the best part. Josh and I left the laptops at home and only brought one of our two phones along (with internet capabilities turned off.) We wanted to get away from everything during this first week of freedom from college life.

And, boy, did we.

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Took this picture by accident while trying to take one out of the bedroom window . . . and Josh loves it

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We talked for long hours, wrote poetry, photographed and sketched pictures of nature, cooked and ate great food, chopped wood, drove down winding roads around the lake, and cuddled. There was a lot of cuddling. It didn’t get above forty degrees while we were out there! Thank God for wood stoves . . . both for warmth and for making my husband feel like a dashing woodsman.

So yeah . . . that’s where we have been 🙂

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The best woodsy little brunch I have ever had

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The view out of the window of the best cafe Josh and I have ever had the privilege to enjoy . . . and it’s in the middle of nowhere

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We Did It Together: Marriage and College

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Josh and I graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College today–pomp, circumstance, tassels and all. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and he in Spanish. We were surrounded by friends, family, and mentors . . . and we were absolutely honored.

There was a moment during the commencement ceremony in which the speaker asked all of the parents and spouses of the graduating students to stand and receive thanks for the support they had given the graduates throughout the years. Seated at the very front of the crowded gymnasium, I leaned forward and prepared to hammily stand in support of my spouse a few rows back (who would undoubtedly blush, groan, and pull his mortarboard down over his eyes in embarrassment.) As I rose from my seat and peeked over my shoulder, there was Josh–already standing and beaming at me.

It didn’t feel hammy at all.

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Being college graduates is a very strange feeling in light of the fact that up until now, Josh and I have never been together when we were not both students. We have never been married and not been in college. School has been a part of our relationship for as long as either of us can remember–a big part.

We both work (or used to work) very hard academically. We have forever been in competition for ultimate academic excellence. In high school, Josh edged me out as valedictorian of our class. I took salutatorian. In college, he landed Cum Laude while I managed to eke out Magna Cum Laude. The meaning in our accomplishments is clear, even more so since that moment when we stood and honored each other at commencement.

We never could have done it without each other.

What started out as just a playful rivalry turned into precious and invaluable support for four long years. We saw each other through six finals weeks, dozens of projects with both each other and others as partners, countless papers, and a whole lot of stress. And no matter how much we felt like ripping out hairs (both our own and each other’s), we always emerged loving, needing, and appreciating each other even more.

Josh would quiz me on communication theories, not letting me off easy because he really did want to learn more about my field of study.

I would sit him down and have him talk me through nerve-wracking oral presentations, helping him form neat outlines complete with examples.

He would chase me away from the textbook- and paper-piled couch to the bed and make me snuggle at least five minutes a day “for mental health.”

I would chatter at him in Spanish, making him practice even when he didn’t want to.

He would search for assignments I had long-since lost, always taking the blame for their disappearance.

I would meet him with a hungry gleam in my eye when he would tease at 1:30 in the morning, “Taco Bell?”

He would heat up my cornbag on the way out the door to class when IC flareups would keep me at home.

And we would get through it.

And we have gotten through it. As surreal as it seems, this chapter of our life that has meant so much to us is over, but what isn’t over is how much we have meant to each other during this season.

I reflect back on the judgment for our decisions that Josh and I received over the years. I can see in so many people’s eyes the meddling mindset of

“There go those poor, married college students that couldn’t wait any longer to have sex and will spend the rest of their lives paying for it.”

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but do people our age realize that there is more to marriage than sex? Then let me just take this opportunity to say, there is so much more to marriage than sex!

There’s friendship, fights, prayers, problems, trust, travel, work, play, adversity, adventures, backrubs, back-seat driving, campfires, picnics, late-night swims, sushi, sing-alongs,  midnight premieres, nightmares, deep thoughts, theatre, Thanksgiving dinner, pregnancy tests, plans, failures, fears, hopes, dreams, desires, days, nights, today, tomorrow, and forever.

There are, in fact, a lot of things that come with marriage that have made our college experience what it was. So you know what I say to people who think it unwise to marry during college (as if it’s any of their business)?

“There go those poor, unmarried college students who will never know what it’s like to have the ultimate supporter and soulmate walk them through every step of their adult journey.”

I love you, Josh. We did it, baby!

Drowning

I feel like I’m drowning.

I know I’m a drama queen, but I don’t see any point in lying about how I feel on Nine to Phive. Especially when hardly anyone reads this blog since I’ve gotten so lax about updating it. No one will be fooled, if you know what I mean.

A Muse performance at ELEV8 conference this year. I thought it was sufficiently depressing.

Maybe it’s because I now have an IC flareup for two weeks out of the month. Every month.

Maybe it’s because I’m scared to death that I won’t be able to keep a full-time job, let alone a job in the highly impractical field that I love.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had to take a 19-credit load this semester just to graduate on time (barely). Oh, and those extra credits? They cost me $800 of over-enrollment fees.

Maybe it’s because two of Muse’s biggest performances of the semester are over and I don’t feel relieved. No less busy. No less stressed. No less out of breath.

Maybe it’s because, after two and a half years of marriage, I feel like I should have worked out so many of the selfish struggles that my newlywed friends seem to have no problem with after just a few months.

Maybe it’s because I feel guilty turning to my family for support when they’re struggling just as much as me right now.

Maybe it’s because I love God, love my church, and love my brothers and sisters in Christ, but can’t find the time or energy to invest in my personal spiritual life.

Maybe it’s because I want more than anything to write freely–stories, poetry, journals, grocery lists, bucket lists, this blog–and I can’t even find time to do my required writing for class.

Maybe this is my life now.

Struggling.
Fighting.
Keeping my head above water. 

 Drowning.

I thought graduating this spring would feel like a weight being lifted, but as I approach commencement with all of this and more baggage (some of which won’t disappear the moment I walk across that stage), I feel as though it’s just a doorway into different and heavier weights pressing down on me.

Pressing down on my lungs . . . 
On my heart . . . 
On my spirit . . . 
I’m broken . . .

Drowning . . .

Oh, and a drama queen. There’s that, too.