This New Season.

This New Season | The Gallivant

Hello my friends! Thank you so much for checking back in over here. A lot has happened in the past few months, and as often happens…life was full and time was too precious. When things start to take precedence over this little blog, my hope has always been that they are the good and important things: investing in relationships old and new, exploring the world, carving out time to say goodbyes and honor places and people that have become dear to us, focusing on our marriage, trying new things, creating a new home. All those things have been part of the past few months, and I can’t wait to update you about them! I am learning that in order to be the kind of blogger I want to be, and to cultivate the kind of blog I want The Gallivant to be (worth your time in the sense that it is honest and rich and thoughtful) I have to show myself grace in the seasons where I don’t have time to create the kind of content I aspire to. So I am not apologizing for my absence, actually, just sharing my heart with you, and my excitement at being back!

And so, the updates:

John winged!

John got his wings back in late October. The entire winging weekend was such a blast, and we were so blessed to have our families with us to celebrate this amazing milestone in John’s career. I am so incredibly proud of him. The past two years of our life have been marked with much prayer and many different milestones that have led up to this occasion, and I have been honored to be by John’s side while he has worked so hard to become a Navy pilot.  It is a an amazing thing to see your partner achieve their dreams, and we are so excited for this next step in his career.

We moved!

After winging we had a pretty quick turn around (two weeks) before we left Pensacola and moved to Norfolk, VA. We have been feeling a pull to Norfolk for the past year, (a big shift as some of you know,) and we were thrilled to find out that John was selected to fly MH-60 Sierras on the East Coast. I will write more on it later, but our transition has felt relatively easy due to the peace we feel about being in VA. And we LOVE our new neighborhood!

We bought a house!

We did, we did! A 103 year old historic condo actually…crown molding, creaky floors, clawfoot tub, chipped paint and all! We have been slowly working room by room, caulking and painting, and putting our stamp on our new home. I actually wrote an article for Homes.com with some tips on turning your house into a home you love, which you can read here if you’d like. John and I frequently look at each other, usually covered in paint, and say, “Can you believe we own this place?!” Needless to say, we feel very blessed.

Now that the dust has settled, I am so looking forward to writing in this space more. Thanks, as always, for joining me on this adventure! I am preparing posts on aspects of our transition, so feel free to comment below with any specific questions or topics that you would like to hear about. I'm excited for what is to come!

xx,

Emily

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{Pensacola Do} The Blue Angels

The Blues are back! Last saturday, my friend Haley and I headed out to Pensacola Beach to watch the Blue Angels perform in the Pensacola Air Show. We left a bit later than the rest of the thousands (!) of other people who were hoping to watch, and therefore got stuck in traffic for roughly 3 hours on I-10, but it was SO worth it. 

Haley had seen the Blues a bunch of times before, but I had only seen them once as a little girl and barely remember it. She couldn't stop laughing at the look on my face every time they flew by us, which I am sure was an expression of pure awe. We got to the beach right at 2:00 pm when the show started, and after one of the solos flew right over our car as we were driving along looking for parking, we decided to just ditch the car in a random lot and book it down to the beach as fast as we could so we didn't miss anything!

Even though it seemed as though we were late, we actually ended up with the best view. We posted up to the right of the main part of PB, sort of half way to Fort Pickens. Turns out we were standing right where the planes would hook as they turned to head down the beach. Insane.

It is hard to describe the kind of exhilaration that the Blues invoke. There is just something so wild about watching F/A-18s flying up to 18 inches from each other (18 Inches!!) performing these crazy maneuvers at outrageous speeds, that,  as Haley would say, really "gets the people going." But seriously, it really is amazing. The solos reach speeds up to 700 mph! It was unlike anything I have ever seen. Such an amazing display of discipline and skill. Also, it was wild to think that each of those pilots started right where are husbands are now--at flight school in Pensacola. While watching I felt so proud of them, proud of the guys up there, and proud of our Navy. 

If you missed the show, or just want to watch the Blues again, than check out their practice schedule here and head to the Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning when they are home in Pensacola to watch them practice. 

Also, If you are an email subscriber and couldn't see Scott and Sarah's fabulous wedding video from the last post than click here to open the post in your web browser!

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

xoxo

Emily

P.S. Like what you are reading, want to keep up with our latest gallivants, or looking for fun things to do in the Pensacola area? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the lefthand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or you can follow me on Bloglovin

A Little Life Update: Patience + Perseverance

Photo: Author

Photo: Author

Just a little life update today.  The past month John and I have both been buckled down and working like busy bees. It has been nice to stay put in Pensy for a while and dig into both our work and friendships here. That being said, I am headed home at the end of the month to Boston, which I cannot wait for. Also, John and I are both so looking forward to heading up to Vermont for Labor Day with his family.

John finally started Primary a few weeks ago, and has been working his butt off in ground school. I can’t even begin to explain how proud I have been of him and how hard he has been working. Needless to say, this has been a very different experience so far than API, for which I think we are both hugely grateful. He has been spending about 75% of his time during the week on base, so I am getting used to him being gone again during the day. While I do miss him, towards the end of his time waiting to start Primary we were both beginning to crave more structure in his schedule. He had his start date pushed three times, which was a bit frustrating, and resulting in four extra weeks of waiting around. That being said, this type of thing is totally standard for flight school so we weren’t completely caught off guard by the wait, just frustrated.

One day in particular I was working from home and John had just found out that his start date had been pushed yet again. He had just gotten back from the gym and lay down on his back on our living room floor to wrestle Flynn. I lay down next to him with my legs up against the wall. We lay like that for a while, discussing various disappointments and frustrations in our current moment, as we both felt at a bit of a standstill—John getting antsy to start his next phase, and me feeling like I was having trouble gaining traction in my writing and editing. Out loud I tried to think of what joys God could have for us in this time of waiting. I came up with this list:

  • John had one more week to study.
  • Because of my somewhat open schedule I had time to spend with him.
  • We could make the most of it and do some fun and spontaneous things (like take a day trip to Destin)
  • Flynn had one more week of undivided attention
  • I had another week home with my husband

We didn’t know what the purpose for that time was, and still haven’t totally figured it out. One thing I have figured out, though, is that we, as young 20-somethings trying to start our careers, are definitely learning and cultivating patience and perseverance. Every once in a while we get caught in moments where it feels as though we are spinning our wheels in pursuit of our dreams. In those moments, though, I am learning that it is so good for us to come together and support and encourage each other, as well as talk realistically about what we can do better or differently right now.  We can’t read God’s mind or foretell the future. All we can do is live in the moment and make the most of it. This is Navy life, and beyond that this is just life. This is the hurry up and wait. But as John reminded us both that day—soon enough there will be days where all we wish for is to be lying together (somewhat pathetically) on our living room floor in the middle of the day, shooting the breeze. And soon after that, there will be days when that is not even an option, when John is away and I am alone on the carpet.

Fast forward three and a half weeks and John has started Primary. I have made some cool and significant strides both career-wise and blog-wise. Now, having transitioned into a busier moment, we are grateful for that time. We must be grateful for this time. Always. It is a discipline this, embracing the present, taking it a day at a time. But I believe this is where God meets us, this is where Jesus is, not in the next big thing, and not in the past.  My heart will learn this over and over again—our peace is in the present.

Thanks for reading today, friends. As always, I am so grateful for you. 

xoxo,

Emily

Navy Flight School Crash Course

Earlier this week after Monday's post (thank you so much to everyone for your kind comments and messages-so encouraging) I promised a "Flight School Crash Course" post so that any of you who are not familiar with the navy aviation lingo could have a reference. I didn't have any military background before I met John but I have slowly been learning the language since we first started dating, and I will always do my best to unpack it here when I write about the Navy. I also thought that a post about flight school would be helpful to our dear friends and family so that they can keep track of John's progress and have an idea of where he is at. So, without further ado: 

The Gallivant's Crash Course to Navy Flight School 

1. IFS

John after his first solo flight.

John after his first solo flight.

Introductory Flight Screening is the first phase of flight school for people who don't have their private pilot's license already. John started IFS in November and finished in the beginning of February. During IFS, students complete 14 hours of flight training, and have to pass an FAA Private Pilot test, as well as complete a solo flight. When aviation students first get to Pensacola they are assigned to a local airport-- John was in Foley, Alabama. The length of IFS varies, because it depends on how backed up the program is and weather. Can't take student pilots up when the weather is dicey! This can be a bit frustrating, but it is something that we have learned to just get used to. It's like having snow days constantly--at first they are fun, but eventually you are just ready to get through whatever you are doing. That being said, after I had just moved to Pensacola we got to go on some fun adventures because of John's IFS schedule, and for that I was so grateful. 

2. API

The Second Phase of Flight School is API, or Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. API lasts for 6 weeks (4 weeks of academics and 2 weeks of survival training) The 4 weeks of academics focus on aerodynamics, aircraft engines and systems, meteorology, air navigation, and flight rules and regulations and there is an exam after each subject. A month may not seem like a long time, but the students have so much information thrown at them and are expected to learn at an incredibly fast pace, with hardly any room for error. This is a point in the flight program that some people do not make it through, as it is essentially a screening process to make sure that these students have what it takes. API requires serious dedication to study, in fact I hardly saw John at all during the academic portion. (I wrote about our API experience in this post.) After Academics are over, API students do two weeks of land and water survival training. If anyone reading this has a spouse or significant other in API or heading into API--don't worry, they will be fine, but do know that it will be a grueling month and you probably won't be able to hang out very much. The nice thing is that a lot of times they may have a few days of lag time between the end of API and the beginning of Primary, and if you are lucky like me than your significant other will be finishing just as the weather is beginning to get nice and you can look forward to a few days of hitting the beach together!

3. Primary

After graduating from API, SNA (Student Naval Aviators) enter Primary Flight Training. There are six different sections of Primary, which lasts roughly 6 months. The sections are: ground school, contact, basic instruments, precision aerobatics, formation, radio instrument navigation, night familiarization, and visual navigation. Students do primary either in Pensacola, at NAS Whiting Field, or NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. John will do primary here in Pensacola, so we won't have to move, which we are pumped about! 

4. Advanced

After Primary SNA's are selected for the type of aircraft that they will fly for, in most cases, the rest of their Navy career. Advanced takes place at NAS Meridian or NAS Kingsville in Mississippi, NAS Corpus Christi inTexas, or NAS Whiting Field. This could be fixed wing aircraft (planes) or rotary aircraft (helicopters). Once SNAs finish Advance they officially gain their wings and then report to their squadrons as Naval Aviators. 

Have any questions or comments? Feel free to comment in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer, or enlist the help of my Navy Pilot. 

Happy Thursday, ya'll!

xoxo

Emily

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The Past Few Weeks + Our Wedding Video

Flight Suit Friday

Happy Monday everyone! We had the most wonderful weekend exploring, relaxing, and enjoying being outside. I have some exciting posts coming up, but first wanted to share a little bit about the past few weeks…

Last friday was a really exciting day for John because he celebrated his Flight Suit Friday! Flight Suit Friday signifies the end of the academic portion of API (Aviation Pre-Flight Indoctrination,) and is the first day that flight students get to wear their flight suits to work.  API is a grind, such a grind in fact that some students don't make it through. Though you can have up to 2 fails, the passing mark is intentionally high, and the material is being thrown at these brilliant men and women at a mile a minute. 

Putting their class patch up in the O Club!

Putting their class patch up in the O Club!

Sillyness....

Sillyness....

To be honest, the past few weeks have not been the easiest. In fact, they have been hard. Hard in ways that I didn't think we would feel so early in our marriage. I would never want anyone who reads the Gallivant to make the mistake of thinking that our lives are easy all of the time, and marriage is a breeze. I know you don't think that, but I also don't want to seem like I am hiding or glossing over the hard parts. I have always been so grateful when people in my life have been honest with me about hard things, real things, and so I hope to be completely honest with you, my dear readers, and when appropriate--share our struggles, and more importantly, what we are being taught through them. 

I have this bad habit of looking into the future and setting expectations. I could call them goals, or dreams, but what they truly boil down to are expectations. As John and I approached our wedding in the fall,  our future looked like this to me: We would get married, move to Pensacola where John would go through IFS, API, Primary, potentially Advanced, and then we would move to wherever the Navy sends us next once he has his wings. 

In short, we both realized over the course of API, as things didn't go exactly to plan, that we had been holding far too tightly to our expectations. Neither John nor I seriously entertained the idea that the progression we imagined for our immediate future may not unfold so smoothly. But the truth is that sometimes the way our God works is entirely unexpected. API turned out to be much more challenging than we had imagined, and for the past few weeks I have hardly seen John, as he has been studying pretty much 24-7. Every fiber of his being was focused on getting through this phase, and every fiber of my being was focused on supporting him and taking care of him. This has been stressful, and exhausting, but it also brought us to a place of surrender that I don't think we would have been to if not for the trial.  We realized that we needed to let go of our expectations, and ask God what His plan entailed for us, even if the answer may not have been what we expected or wanted. We also realized that in order to make it through the remainder of API we needed to fully rely on the Lord for strength, wisdom, and perseverance. We remembered that Jesus is our peace, and we also remembered how quick we are to forget that. 

In the past three weeks, I have learned so much about being a wife, especially in terms of supporting my husband through a situation that I have no control over. I am learning that an inevitable part of marriage is that there will be times in our life where one of us will be going through something that has the potential to radically affect both of us, and yet the other will be completely helpless in the situation. It's terrifying, the ugly parts of us call it unfair, and yet thats marriage. That is truly cleaving to each other, sharing a life, and choosing to love. 

Friday was a wonderful day and I was overwhelmed with gratefulness as well as pride. I could not be more proud of my husband, as well as relieved to have him back for a few weeks! One of the best parts was that one of my best friends, Emily, was with us to share in the excitement and experience this neat Navy tradition. 

IMG_9683.jpg
Em and John FSF.jpg

At the end of last week we received the preview to our wedding film, which I am so excited to share with you guys! Our film was done by the incredible Jim Greene of Boston Wedding Films, and we seriously cannot recommend Jim and his team enough. They were wonderful to work with, and truly captured our day in the most thoughtful way. 

In light of the past few weeks, I especially love what our Pastor, Dori, says at the end of our wedding video: "A husband and a wife meeting one another's needs as they look to God for His help--that's a real beauty."

I just want to quickly say thank you to everyone who called, texted, emailed, and visited in the past month. Your words and presence were so encouraging, probably in ways you didn't even realize. 

xoxo

Emily

P.S. Navy lingo throwing you off? Check back into The Gallivant this week for a Flight School crash course! 

P.S.S.P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along with The Gallivant on instagram and pinterest! And Twitter!