A little bit about our West Adventure

Last Saturday, Caleb and I embarked on a really special adventure. On June 29th, we are going to celebrate two years of marriage, and while two years isn’t a whole lot of years, it’s still been two important years of learning about each other. They’ve also been two very successful years, and for that, we’re extremely grateful.

Over the past week, we’ve visited Rocky Mountain National Park (NP) and Mesa Verde NP in Colorado, and Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, and Zion NP in Utah. We also stopped at the Four Corners Monument in New Mexico.

Last night we spontaneously decided to take a small detour on our very carefully planned trip and headed off to Joshua Tree National Park in California early this morning. Tomorrow we’re off to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

This morning we drove through the Mojave Desert, and were blown away by the vastness (and heat) of it all.

For the past 10 days, I’ve journaled about each day, each restaurant, each campsite, each hotel, and each hike. I can’t wait to share the 10000000000 pictures that I’ve taken, the things that I’ve learned, and the ways that I’ve grown as a person and a wife.

I was excited to take this trip with my husband before we left, but words can’t even begin to describe how incredible each day has actually been.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to drive long distances, hike difficult trails, and sleep in a tent. I like the adventurous life, but after the first leg of this trip, I have a new appreciation for a good bed, a soft pillow, and a hot shower.

For now, here is a picture of Caleb and I at Zion National Park, at the top of Angel’s Landing. Please note my very trusty (and very red) bandanna. It’s saved my poor scalp more than once, and I always look awesome.

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B O S T O N

I feel like it’s been a while since I posted anything. This Summer is already flying by, and it only just started a few weeks ago.

Last weekend Caleb and I went to visit my friend Chelsie. Chelsie and I have been friends for almost 10 years now, and despite going to different colleges, and settling down in different cities, we’ve remained friends. We have the kind of friendship where you pour strong cups of coffee into big yellow mugs and pick up conversations that were set aside months ago. The best kind of friendship, in my humble opinion.

Chelsie now lives in Quincy, which is right outside of Boston. She let us crash in her cozy apartment, cooked me Whole30 approved food, and showed us around the city.

Thankfully, we were able to leave Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, so we had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to explore.

On Friday, we had lunch at Faneuil Hall & paid a lot of money for chowder and a lobster roll, I watched Caleb consume a Lobster Tail, which is a delicious, flaky, pastry, and I bought way too much fruit at the best produce market. Even though I didn’t eat anything from the shop, Bova’s delivers everything that a food enthusiast could ever want: pastries, bread, cheese, happiness.

We also walked through Harvard’s Campus, and I felt like Rory Gilmore, except not as academically qualified, and married. I didn’t get a picture of Harvard. Why didn’t I get a picture of Harvard? I promise you, we were there.

Finally, we watched the Angels demolish the Red Sox at Fenway Park. It was a good day.

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I met Chelsie’s roommates, who are just as wonderful and sweet as they look on Facebook, and live up to all the great things Chelsie had told me about them. Their bond is rare, and is surely enviable. I’m thankful for them too, and even though they hardly know me, I wanted to give them big hugs goodbye, and thank them for letting two married weirdos stay in their humble abode.

On Saturday, I was a REAL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHER AND WAS A SECOND SHOOTER AT A WEDDING. I won’t say much more in this post because it is deserving of its own, but I’ll just leave this picture here:

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The rest of the weekend was spent eating brunch with my wedding photographer (I also worked with her on Saturday), her husband, and their new baby girl, walking the Freedom Trail, and editing a thousand photos.

Overall, Boston was kind to us. The weather was beautiful, the people were friendly, and the produce was excellent.

The Fawn

Yesterday Caleb and I walked a new trail at the John J. Audubon Center, and while we saw a few beautiful birds and flowers, we saw a fawn that made the hike worth it. I had spotted a few deer, but couldn’t get close enough to take a good picture. Then this fawn came, and almost walked right up to us. It was such a surreal moment, and definitely one that I will remember for a long time.
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Graduation

I, Kelly Anderson, am officially a college graduate.

It’s still so strange to type those words, and I have yet to fully accept that they are true.

The night before graduation day, I had put the finishing touches on a gloriously composed piece on my feelings about the next day’s events. I hit “Publish,” and my words vanished into the interwebs, never to be seen again. I thought about trying to rewrite it, but decided to watch a movie with my sister instead. A choice well made.

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In reality, the words I had attempted to publish could not compare to the feelings that were felt on May 8th, 2015.

I was one year older, and two years behind everyone I graduated high school with, but that didn’t matter. It was a day of celebration. A day where I felt more accomplished than I have ever felt in the 24 years I have walked this beautiful Earth. It was a day of rejoicing, as long nights of paper writing and unit creating came to an end. Six years of classes, and waiting (im)patiently to fill out my graduation application. Six long years of too much coffee, and one too many energy drinks. Finally, the day was here, and one of my biggest dreams had come to fruition. On this day, I was blessed to have those I love the most celebrate with me, which made it even more special than it already was.

Over these six years, Jesus has proved His faithfulness time and time again. He has brought me through valleys, and carried me to the highest mountaintops. He has provided everything I have needed, exactly when I needed it. His grace, and peace, and mercy overflow in my heart, and there is nothing more I can do but to praise Him for His goodness. I want to shout at the top of my lungs, but even that is not enough to express my gratitude. I jump, and hop, and dance, and sing, but still, I am only me. The joy that I have because of my Jesus grows deeper every passing moment. His presence was so real on May 8, and I am thankful for the reminder that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Without Him, I would have given up.

I was blessed to have my grandparents there. Two individuals who have played such a crucial role in my emotional and spiritual development. Their prayers have seen me through the darkest of days, and their care packages can’t be beat. My Papa never stops beaming with pride and love for his first granddaughter, but on this day, his face beamed a little brighter. Throughout the day Grandma reminisced with me stories from my childhood, and held me close to say how much she loved me. Without them, I would have given up.

My parents were also there; not as separate units, but as a pair. Joined together, and a walking testimony of restoration and God’s grace (if you could only see how far we’ve come). Throughout these six years, they have guided me and loved me unconditionally. They have prayed strong prayers, and have supported my every move. There are not enough words to describe how proud I am to be their daughter, and how blessed I am to be loved by them. Without them, I would have given up.

My sister was there, and because I was already sappy here, I won’t say much more. However, I will say that I am so thankful that she has (and always will) loved me through it all. To celebrate with my one and only sister was a great blessing, and I hope that I have been a good example for her life. Without her, I would have given up.

Finally, my husband was there. My rock, best friend, and a constant source of motivation and support; always reminding me why I needed to study and finish strong. He cooked dinner when I had night class, and did the dishes when I had the most homework to do. He let me cry when I was overwhelmed, and celebrated with me as I was rewarded with a 4.0 each semester we were married. He holds my heart, and will always have my deepest love and affection, for he has loved and cared for me at my worst, and from day one has always included me in his future. Without him, I would have given up.

There are so many others that were there that mean more to me than any blog post could ever express. I suppose I’m still in denial that there are people that I didn’t say goodbye to that I won’t see for a very long time. “Goodbye” is such a strong word, and the connotations it holds are almost gruesome. Goodbye is forever. And forever is a really long time. On Friday I took as many pictures as I could, and then slipped away without really saying “goodbye” to anyone. In my heart I wanted to sit down with each person I love that was graduating, buy them a cup of coffee, and talk about the last four years. Every memory would be scoured, none forgotten. I want to cry because my memories are so sweet, yet fleeting. However, even though this time with each precious soul can never be relived, it will never be forgotten.

I want them to know that they are loved by me, and that each of them have more potential than the world can handle.

That their words have built me up, and have given me the strength and endurance to simply wake up and face the day.

There is not enough space or time to share my gratitude.

For without them, I would have given up.