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My mother, brother, and I had a wonderful time in our nation’s capital.  We managed to fit a lot in, with few mishaps.

The biggest “oops” of the trip actually happened on our one-day drive up to D.C.  We needed gas near Richmond, and my brother asked me to use the Gasbuddy app on his phone to find the cheapest station.  I found a local station not far from the highway, so we decided to go for it.  After driving a few minutes, we realized we had left the town behind us.  We couldn’t see too well in the dark, but Josh’s GPS was pointing towards a structure that looked like it might be a gas station. By the time we realized it was a check point, we were already approaching the guard.

Josh rolled down his window.  “Hi, uh, do we need to stop here first?”

“Uh, yeah.”  Of course you do, the guard seemed to say.

I held up Josh’s phone.  “We’re looking for a gas station nearby–”

He looked at my brother.  “Are you with the military?”

As we found out later, we were trying to use Fort Lee’s gas station!  Mom and Josh laughed for a while as we drove away, teasing me about my navigational skills.  I maintain to this day that it was Gasbuddy’s fault for being too thorough!

Once we finally arrived in D.C., we had tons to do, and only four days to fit it all in.  No doubt about it, D.C. houses a lifetime’s worth of exhibits to see and food to eat.  Here are some places you might want to visit:

~ The National Museum of the American Indian

Love the artistry

Photograph taken by Susan Schmitt

~ The National Gallery of Art
That's right! WE SAW THIS

Photograph taken by Joshua Schmitt

~ The new Martin Luther King, Jr., Monument

Amazing quotes run along either side of the statue

Photograph taken by Susan Schmitt

~ The Renwick Gallery (housing a travelling exhibit of White House antiques)

That's a lot of paintings

Photograph taken by Benjamin Schmitt

~ The National Cathedral

Colors...sooo pretttyyy

Photograph taken by Jennifer Schmitt

~ Searching for parking spaces (also educational: you learn a lot about the city, when you spend about an hour looking for an open spot for a van on a Sunday afternoon)

Through rain and snow, we will see all the museums!

Photograph taken by Benjamin Schmitt

All in all, a wonderful time, made pleasant by fun excursions and the presence of family.  To top it all off, we even had a tiny bit of snow!  Bonnie, being a northerner, scoffed at the idea that the small flakes would count as “snow”.  But the Floridians in the group (especially me) insisted that this was a big deal.

I also left feeling spiritually refreshed.  With the hectic life I’ve adopted, I struggle to find time for reflecting on God.  However, an enforced break from my to-do list meant I had a chance to refocus on God again.  If you can equate your spiritual life to the seasons, I’d definitely say I’ve been in the middle of spiritual winter.  It’s a time of frustration, uncertainty, and loneliness.  But this trip to D.C. marked the turning point for me, and the first signs of spring are on their way.  Ever since, I’ve been feeling more and more encouraged by God.  I can’t wait to see how my travels in Germany will continue to show me more about Him.