July 31, 2013

if I could turn back time.

Thinking is never good for me.  Well...mulling over things is never good for me. Like anybody else, I need to think for work, for school, and for major decisions in my life, but over-thinking causes more problems than I can handle on my own. Anyways, sometimes it is good to look back and think...it is truly the only way we can see growth in ourselves.  

If I could turn back time, I would have continued riding horses.  I was super excited earlier this week about a possibility to get back into riding and it really reminded me how much I love being around horses. I wish I would have joined the collegiate riding team at North Carolina State University.  It would have been a lot of fun and a relatively cheap way to stay in the horse industry.

If I could turn back time, I would have taken a lot more pictures. My mom did a pretty good job of taking pictures growing up, but there are some moments that I wish I had more of. I have so many good memories of showing livestock as a kid at the local county 4-H fair, but I barely have any  pictures of the people I showed with.  That part of my life was a blast.

If I could turn back time, I would have taken more time making myself look "cute".  I know trends come and go, but for heaven's sake...I was looking rough!  I was definitely that teenage girl who had no sense of style and was just an all around tom-boy. (I have to be careful because sometimes the tomboy in me slips out)

If I could turn back time, I would take back the hurtful things I have said.  When upset, I tend to let things build up over time, then at some point I reach the apex and say things that hurt those that I care about.  It is something that I have been really trying to keep in check.

If I could turn back time, I wouldn't take life so seriously.  When I was younger, I was all about the agenda.  No fun.  A fun sucker is probably an accurate title to call me.  When I began teaching, my fourth period class really taught me that it is okay to have a little fun every once in a while.  Life is a little bit easier when you are having a lot of fun.

If I could turn back time, I wouldn't worry so much about the future.  Even though I have told myself time and time again that I would put my life in God's hands, many times I haven't.  This is something I still struggle with today.  God provides...He always does, and I have to remember that.  

Life throws us for some curve balls and thinking like this can be good...every once in a while!

Do you have anything you would change if you could turn back time?

July 29, 2013

101 in 1001

A couple days ago I wrote a post called "life is about creating yourself". This is how I plan on creating myself in a fun way!

Mission: I have roughly 2.75 years to complete these tasks! After each task is completed I will blog about it and cross it off my list!

Why?: More often than not, we let life fly on by and we do not accomplish the things we want to do.  After seeing several other bloggers complete lists like these, I thought it would be a fun way to document me doing the things that I actually want to do!  This idea is based off the Day Zero Project

When?: Start Date:  July 29, 2013
               End Date: April 25, 2016

Key: Italicized means in progress
        Crossed off  with blog post link means completed!
Becoming Me
1. Create a list of 101 things  DONE! 
2. Blog about the completion of each item on the list
3. Adopt a pet
4. Read 20 books (0/20)
5. Be purposefully single for 3 months (1/3) 
6. Spend time at the feed store and learn "business" so I can eventually own one someday
7. Find a hobby that makes me happy.
8. Buy my own set of stationary
9. Purposely turn my phone off for an entire 24 hours
10. Find a perfume that represents me
11. Go through my closet and get rid of/sell things I haven't worn in 6 months

12. Take a spontaneous weekend trip
13. Attend an North Carolina State Wolfpack game out of state
14. Get a passport
15. Take a day trip to the beach
16. Take a day trip on a plane, carrying just a purse/backpack
17. Visit all 100 counties in NC (94/100)
18. Visit Washington DC 
19. Visit National FFA Convention as an FFA Alumni member
20.  Walk North Carolina State University as an alumni member

Things to Purchase
21. Buy a new nail polish
22. Buy a new bicycle 
23. A lottery ticket when there is a huge jackpot!
24. Buy season tickets to the NC State Wolfpack
25. Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers for my house every week for one month (0/4)
26. Subscribe to a magazine
27. Buy something at a flea market
28. A perfect pair of sunglasses
29. A fireproof safe for important documents
30. New tires for my car
31. Buy a college class ring

Family/Loved Ones/Friends
32. Make time to go to at least 5 of my sister's athletic/school events
33. Surprise my brother at the golf course with lunch
34. Take my dad to a hockey game
35. Take my mom to the theater
36. Send a thank-you letter to 2 of my college professors (0/2)
37. Call my grandparents once a week for at least 1 month
38. Start to learn Braille
39. Send out Christmas cards 
40. Send Valentines to all my family and friends
41. Place flowers on my grandma and grandpa's graves

42. Make a flavored homemade ice cream
43. Find a way to organize my jewelry
44. Create a recipe book/box
45. Help design a t-shirt quilt or make one myself (out of all my FFA shirts)
46. Carve a pumpkin
47. Redesign my room
48. Complete a 500+ piece puzzle
49. Learn to can/make homemade pickles
50. Make 10 new recipes from Pinterest or a friend (0/10)
51. Complete a project from Pinterest
52. An organizational system for my paperwork
53. Decorate my porch with flowers
54. Prepare an emergency kit for my car and house

Entertainment/ Social Life
55. Host a Kentucky Derby Party
56. Visit a one new (to me) restuarant in downtown Raleigh
57. Go to one concert
58. Plan reunion party with some of my college friends
59. Eat dessert first at a restaurant
60. Develop a group of friends in the Raleigh area 
61. Go wine tasting
62. Tie a note to a balloon and let it go

Health and Fitness
63. Bike an MS 150 (or another lengthy bike race)
64. Walk in the morning before work 20 times (0/20)
65. Drink water for 7 days straight--nothing else! (0/7)
66. Run a 5K
67. Walk at least 10,000 steps a day for 1 week (2/7)

68. Save at least $1000
69. Donate money to the North Carolina FFA Foundation
70. Write out a budget and stick to it
71. Go one month without buying an article clothing
72. Collect all 50 state quarters
73. Save for an Apple Computer for blogging

74. Complete a full personal Bible study and begin another
75. Fill a scripture/prayer notebook and start another.
76. Tithe faithfully 2x,month for at least 1 year (0/12)
77. Attend Sunday School regularly
78. Find a church that feels right to me
79. Become actively involved in some way at a church
80. Invite a friend to attend church with me

81. Learn how to use Photoshop Elements
82. Back up my computer
83. Go to an NC Blogger Meet-up
84. Pin something to Pinterest 
85. Write a post about blogging tips and tricks
86. Post a video log
87. Organize my pictures and print off the pictures I love
88. Print my blog
89. Have my sister take high quality pictures of me for this blog

Random Acts of Kindness
90. Send a letter each week for one month (0/4)
91. Donate to the Jimmy V Foundation
92. Pay for someone's coffee
93. Donate Blood
94. Send flowers to a friend
95. Leave a 100% tip
96. Send a care package to a friend in need
97. Leave a treat for the mailman
98. Take in doughnuts for my colleagues
99. Pick up someone from the airport with a homemade sign
100. Place notes on my neighbors doors

101. Celebrate that I completed 101 things in 1001 days!

July 23, 2013

that time I was an agriculture teacher.

There was a point in my life, actually, exactly 1 year ago that I started my first job as an agriculture teacher at St. Pauls High School.  I remember all the emotions that I felt...I had a wonderful teaching partner, the school had a lot of potential, and there were so many great students that were willing to the support the program that I had just accepted.  I was nervous, but I was also excited. I got the keys and began working hard in the North Carolina hot summer.  I learned to run an aquaculture system, pulled SO many weeds from the greenhouse, worked on labs for students, and even gotten eaten up by a couple piles of fire ants while at it.

I loved every part of an agriculture teacher's summer. I worked hard, came home with a sweaty brow, and enjoyed learning and teaching with some students that visited that summer. I got my classroom decorated and ready for orientation and met a few of my future students. I was excited...I knew it was going to be a tough school year, but I knew that I could do it.

For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you learned back in December that I accepted a new job mid-year at Cheminova (an agriculture chemical company).When offered this position, I knew I had to take it.  I had prayed to God to provide me some relief in the classroom.  I had some AMAZING students, but I also had some that treated me poorly as a teacher.  Teaching in a poor area is extremely rewarding but is also equally as difficult.  I had prayed for God to show me a sign and He did.

Still to this day, I question myself as to if I made the right decision. More days than not I feel like a failure. I know God guided me every single step of the way to where I am now, but it doesn't make the hurt easier. I have watched my friends celebrate completing their first year of teaching. I didn't complete mine...and I know I let some of my students down. 

There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss it. I think about all the talented students I had in the classroom and in FFA.  I think about the students that were troublesome but turned around with goodness in their heart.  I think about all the fun times we had and wish I had just taken more pictures.  Those students were special to me...and I knew I was just as special to some of them. 

So, to my fellow North Carolina agriculture teachers at the Agriculture Teachers Conference this week...enjoy it.  I know you aren't paid much, life is harder most days than it is easy, and your time spent at school is greater than it is spent at home.  But, the minute you leave, you will miss it.  I can guarantee you.

Take pictures with your students, challenge them to new heights, soak up all the material you can at conference. Those teachers around you can serve as a resource for years to come. 

Who knows...one day I may be joining the ranks of agriculture teachers again, but for right now, God has me right where He wants me to be. I am learning about the industry, seeing agriculture all across the nation, and am working to develop those skills that I need to make myself a better agriculturalist. Not being at agriculture teachers conference this week with y'all has been difficult, but know that every day I still think about lesson plans and what needed to be done in the greenhouse. I still care about education and hope that one day that North Carolina can be in a much better place. So, until that day, thanks for all your dedication and hard work in developing young premier leaders for a company like Cheminova.  I know all that you do and not a day goes by that I don't miss it!  

Even though I am not an agriculture teacher anymore, I am an agriculturalist and still live by this part of the agriculture teacher's creed.

"I believe in American agriculture; I dedicate my life to its development and the advancement of its people."

Thanks for all you do!

July 20, 2013

life is about creating yourself.

This week I have been thinking a lot about myself...how I carry myself, what I want to make of my life, and how I need to make me a better me...you know, become the woman that I want to be.  

I have always been a futuristic thinker. I like to make plans...I like to know what is going on.  Here recently, I have learned that it is okay not to have plans.  It's okay to let God grab you by the underpants and drag you...especially if it is something that you don't want to do.  God has a way of making us feel comfortable in the uncomfortable.

Go ahead and tell me that I have the rest of my life to become the woman that I want to be, but we don't know how long the rest of our life may be, so why not start now?  

I work in a predominantly male industry, but the women that I work with are some of the most independent, career driven women I have ever met in my life.  They arrive early, work late, and put every ounce of their soul into the career that they love. They make me want to work harder and to be better at what I do...and is just one of the many traits that I hope I can have as my professional career develops and grows.  

Then, I look at the women around me that spend each day of their life raising a family and being involved in the community. It is absolutely beautiful to see the love they have for their home and those in need. 

And then there are women that in a time similar to me...trying to develop those characteristics, trying to become the woman that they need to be for the Lord and for those around them.

Lately I have been trying too hard to find myself...and I realize that finding myself isn't going to help me figure out what I like or how I am supposed to live this life of mine.  

Life is meant to be created.  Life is meant to be lived.  I spend more time thinking about it than I actually do living it...and beginning today...that changes.  

Stay tuned for the change that is about to happen!

July 18, 2013

high five for friday.

This week I have been riding with one of our portfolio managers, our California area sales manager, and our tech service representative up and down the San Joaquin Valley in California.  As you read this, I am currently sitting in an airport patiently waiting to work my way home to the land of the pine...NORTH CAROLINA!

Here are my top five:

1.  Most of the time is spent riding with our sales guys is in a truck.  As we were driving up and down the valley, I saw probably 50 of these trucks just hauling tomatoes.  Hope you like salsa and ketchup!

2.  Giant Bavarian Pretzel with a spicy pimento cheese dip.  Y'all, this southern girl loves pimento cheese and is super picky about it.  This was such a great dip to this HUGE soft pretzel.  I cannot wait trying to make it at home!

3.  We spent most of the day Thursday looking at the different diseases that affect crops in California.  We looked at a lot of different crops.  The grapes on the left are healthy, the grapes on the right...not so much.  That's called powdery mildew...and no, those are not concord grapes. They are not supposed to be that color.  Just be thankful for agriculture chemical industry that help make this a manageable problem!

4. I ate a nectarine straight out of the field.  So So GOOD!

5.  Pumpkin Salmon.  Salmon covered in diced sweet potatoes and a homemade glaze. I wish I could replicate this!

Yes...there was lots of food in my top five this week.  But, it is totally acceptable since I have been eating at great restaurants while traveling and have really gotten to explore a completely different sector of agriculture! All I know is that California agriculture is absolutely beautiful and supplies a lot of the produce that you and I purchase at the grocery stores.  So, next time you are shopping, check out where your produce and nuts come from.  It may be California! 

P.S. the picture below is in a pistachio orchard!!

pistachio orchard

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July 17, 2013

the cowfish.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to have dinner with a sweet friend named Lendy.  We both desperately needed some "girl time" and wanted to just chit-chat about our daily lives.  We really hadn't seen each other since my friend Lauren's wedding in December, so it was definitely time to do some catching up!

Now see, when I am hungry, I. Am. Hungry. Most of the time it takes nothing for me to decide where to go.  There isn't usually more than 5 text messages back and forth, or if we are already together, I can usually make a decision in less than 3 minutes and even quicker if I know what genre they don't want to eat.  

I asked what she didn't want to eat then  asked her if she liked sushi.  Sushi was an immediate yes.  


Cowfish Sushi Menu

This place is awesome.  My coworker has been talking about it for the past couple of weeks and I knew from the first time she mentioned it, I wanted to try it!  When Christopher and I were dating, he always wanted to eat burgers. After so many burgers, I kind of got tired of them. I tried to get him to try sushi, but it was always a no go. I love sushi and seriously cannot get enough of it!

Anyways, this restaurant combines the best of both worlds. Burgers and sushi...oh and drinks too!

I mean seriously...where else can you get a plate of food that looks like this?!?!?

This was called the "Cowfish Bento Box". As you can see, it had a little bit of everything.  I cannot even begin to express my love for sushi and sweet potato fries on the same plate.  I also HAD to have a milkshake (if you know what I mean). I would have taken a picture, but it was completely gone before I remembered to!  It was called the "Shake, Crackle, and Pop". Who can resist Rice Krispies and mallow cream blended in vanilla bean ice cream...all with whipped cream, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies on top.  Not me.

If you have ever watched the show Tanked on Animal Planet, the fish tank in this restaurant was highlighted on there.  Check it out!

Fish tank made on Tanked

The best part about the tank...the sushi themed decorations, the giant martini glass sticking out of the top, the giant chopsticks, and of course the cowfish!  It is an actual fish!

So, if you live in the Raleigh area, I recommend this restaurant!  Fun atmosphere, great service, and some of the best food I have ever eaten!  I cannot wait to go back!

July 15, 2013

eatin' windshields.

Anyone else out there know how to drive a manual/straight drive/stick shift? While I was growing up in high school and college, I learned that this is a lost art among most young people today.  

For those of you that know my parents, you know exactly how they operate.  They are pretty good with technology, but before we can work with and use that technology...we have got to know the "old fashioned way".  

Just look at them...aren't they are the coolest:) 

There are a lot of things that I am proud to know how to do as a young woman.  I can change a tire, check my oil, count back change (without the computer or a calculator), put water in a radiator, jump a battery, change break pads, drive a manual, and even change the cords on an ancient clothes dryer. Still to this day, our feed store has the old credit card reader that we can use if the power goes out.  My parents taught me how to survive without technology before I could ever use it.

Now back to the real story and what this post is all about. My parents would not let us get our drivers licenses until we proficiently knew how to drive a manual. I thought it was the silliest thing growing up, but I wanted my driver's license, so you do what you got to do sometimes. While we were in our learner's permit days, a couple times a week we would head down the old roads and start practicing.  My poor father has had a close encounter with more windshields than most people have ever had. As a joke one day...he got in the passenger seat with a bike helmet on and in a serious tone said "Let's do this!"  Guess I wasn't the Jeff Gordon I actually thought I was...

It's been a while since we had a manual vehicle...at least until my dad found the gem in the picture at the top of this page. A 1998 Toyota Tacoma!

While talking, our employee Genia mentioned she didn't know how to drive a manual. So, during store hours my parents let me go across the street to an old road and teach her this wonderful skill.

Guess what?

I was impressed.  There wasn't any "grind until you find", we stalled only 2 or 3 times, I didn't eat the windshield, and now she is on her way to becoming another proud member of the manual driving family.  Do you know how to drive a manual?

July 13, 2013

his footsteps.

How often do we want to just take control? To just tell God, "Hey God...I think I got this." Well,if you are anything like me, it happens more than I would like. We all want to be in control of this life we lead here on earth, we think we can fix everything.

Think about the times you truly decided to give a situation to God. Not just part of it...every single little piece of it. Even though he may not have provided what you wanted and prayed for, he provided what was best for you. He provided compassion in a time of need and the peace to settle your heart and soul.

Almost 3 years ago I decided to take a risk and run for National FFA Office. I made the first cut, but in the end I was not elected as an officer to serve the organization for a year. You know what...it sucked, it hurt, and every day for a year after that I questioned why He didn't provide me that opportunity. I knew that I would have learned a lot and I would have been able to reach students that most people don't connect with, but God had another plan. I was upset, I was angry at myself, and to this day, struggle to find ways to serve the organization I love so much.

God had another plan.

In my heart, I had planned a course for my life. I liked the course I had made for myself...but God wanted to lead me differently. He wanted me to take different steps...and today I realize how much better that plan was for me. I got to feel true love, I got to enjoy the rest of my schooling with my best friends...all in all, it worked out in His favor and most of the days were better than anything I could have planned.

There is always going to be pain and hurt, but sometimes we have to look past it and see all that we have. Just when you don't think you have been given what you want, look at all the other things he has blessed you with.

"Your pain is what God uses to expose the reality 
that you've been granted and sustained by mercy all along." 
- Jennifer Rothschild.

We are blessed beyond belief and all in completely different ways. So today, remember those blessings. If you are struggling to find where you are supposed to be, just give your fear and doubt to the Lord, he will provide the faith and grace you need to follow Him. As hard as it may seem, the Lord provides. He always does. God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

July 9, 2013

love is patient.

So much has been happening in my life...and I honestly know that God was there leading me the entire way.  A month ago I went through something that had me lost and wandering.  A few weeks ago I was blessed to know that one of my best friends is now going to be an even greater part of my life.  I have gone through highs, I have been through lows, but lately, I have been letting the One above take me by the hand to lead me blindfolded through this life that I am living.  

Love is PATIENT.

We have all heard the love chapter that is 1 Corinthians 13...we hear it most frequently at weddings, we see it in prints hanging in churches.  This piece of scripture surrounds our lives on a daily basis.  When people think of scripture and love, this is the first that comes to mind.  

Throughout our entire lives we have been taught the value of being patient.  Patience is something that is difficult to learn, and even more so today with our instant connectivity to those around us.  No longer do we have to be patient...our internet is flying at soaring speeds, text messages are delivered in seconds, and our phone is usually just an arm-length away.  We are connected all the time.  We expect an response immediately. Patience isn't easy...love isn't easy. Pray about it. If you truly hand your life over to the Lord, He will give you the peace and comfort in your heart and soul that we often need.

Love is PATIENT.

I always looked at this passage as in how to treat other people in this world, but never did I think to put it in the context of my love for for my Savior. Am I patient with God?  I know I am not. Most days I expect that same instant gratification I can get from my phone or the internet.  I want God to respond quickly to my prayers...

God has a unique way of bringing us closer to Him and most of the time it will take a hurt feeling or two for us to really start trusting Him.  We live in a broken world that throws curve balls at us, and sometimes we have to learn the hard way that our faith has fallen away and needs to be in Him.  Pray to Him and don't be afraid to ask those questions that are on your heart.  Be still...and know that he is God.

So, even if He doesn't answer your prayer today, tomorrow, or next month...be patient with Him and listen.  Read the Word, find scripture that is comforting to you in that time of need, continue praying, but most of all...have a patient soul.  He will come to you. 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

July 8, 2013

royal baby watch.

I would be lying if I said that I was "kind- of" obsessed with the royal family...more specifically, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and hopefully soon, the latest heir to the royal throne.  

I mean really...who has this many magazines?!?

Royally Obsessed!

I do...and am not one bit ashamed that I am completely, totally, whole-heartily in love with this couple.  

Ever since they got engaged in October of 2010...I literally cannot get enough of this couple. The engagement pictures, her outfits, his charm, the wedding (ohhh the wedding), and now the arrival of the royal baby!

The Duchess of Cambridge is absolutely beautiful both inside and out.  Prince William. Well, he is just so adorable.  Just take a glance at any of those magazine covers and try to tell me that he does not love her with his whole heart...you simply just can't.  Good luck...keep on trying.

Well, no one in the public knows the official due date of the royal baby, but it is speculated that the royal baby is supposed to make his/or her (we don't know the gender either) appearance in the next 2 weeks!

Today, I have officially gone on royal baby watch.  I WILL be checking twitter more than normal, I WILL be checking the news on a minutely basis, and lets be honest, I WILL be buying more royal magazines to add to my small, yet always growing collection.  .  

For those of you that know me...I'm cheap.  I never buy magazines.  My mom always taught me to wait a month and then check it out from the library...then when you get there, check out 20 other magazines just because you can.

When it comes to the royals...I go all out.  I really don't care how much it costs...if it is a good magazine and one that I can't put down in the checkout lane at Target, it's gonna go in the basket.  There are no if's, and's, or buts' about it.

So...whenever this sweet, darling, royal baby decides to make his/or her appearance into the world, I may or may not flood your twitter feed, your facebook news feed, or this blog with lots of baby pictures and my feelings of the royal couple. I may buy another 5-10 magazines too...we shall see. 

So, as you can see, I am just a little obsessed. Anyone else with me?

July 5, 2013

high five for friday.

Does anyone else feel like this week felt longer than any other week?  If so, join the club, because I never thought I was going to make it to Friday. But, guess what...it's FRIDAY!

Here are my top five.

1. Last night my sister Katherine,our friend Genia, and I went to Works! in downtown Raleigh.  Lots of fun things happening, but my sister and I introduced Genia to the wonderful Pelican's Snowballs.  She loved them and we will hopefully be planning another Pelican's date here shortly.

2. My sister has a fancy camera.  I do not. Her camera has a setting where you can pull certain colors out.  She pulled out the blue in my shirt.  So pretty! After seeing this picture, I really need to invest in a new camera. Any good recommendations out there?

3. We saw great fireworks in downtown Raleigh last night. It was a lot of fun spending time with friends enjoying Independence Day!

4.I love finding old notes. This one was taped in the back of my planner and I had completely forgotten about it.  I really cannot wait to live with this girl in a little over a month!

5. Last Thursday, Olivia and I took some time to visit the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University.  Need a book? You use this big i-Pad looking screen to request it and a robot goes to pick it up for you.  Definitely one of the coolest libraries I have ever been in! 

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July 2, 2013

in awe.

This evening was a typical evening.  Dinner, a little tv, some house cleaning, and some time in the Lord's Word. I have been wanting to find a way to document scripture that really stands out to me...a way that is fun, creative, and me.  I want to reference it in times of trouble, sorrow, and happiness.  I want scripture to be part of my daily life. I saw this idea on a blog and loved it.

I decided I was lacking fun colored pens, washi tape, and index cards for this project...so why not take an evening trip to Target?  I live close to one, so it isn't out of my way; plus I saw the school supply section last time I was there, so I knew there would be plenty of options.

I found some pens, some washi tape, and some notecards. I also found something else.  Something that has been on my mind since I left the checkout lane in Target.  

As I was standing in line, a man and his two younger daughters fell in behind me. He put the little plastic divider on the belt and started to load his things on there while trying to entertain his little girls.  I noticed it got a little cramped in the space that he had allotted himself, so I moved the divider for him.  He looked at me and said, "thank you" and started talking about these cookies his daughter picked out.  These cookies were fresh chocolate chip cookies that said "made in store". I looked at him and said that they looked better than any cookies I have ever made and he agreed that he wasn't good at baking himself.  

I also noticed a lot of school supplies going on the belt, so I asked the girls if they were starting school soon...they replied with an excited "yes" and that they were starting on Monday.  I smiled remembering being at that age.

While we were waiting, these two little girls were arguing about their height and who was taller.  I turned back to look at them, smiled, and started giggling.  I knew exactly how they felt.  The youngest one was shorter...the oldest was taller.  The youngest desperately wanted to be taller.  

I looked at the girls and asked what grades they were in.  One said "5th" and the other said "2nd".  I looked at the youngest girl and said...don't worry, my little sister is taller than me.  The father looked at me (paying attention the entire time) and said "Really?". I said, "Yes, probably a good five inches taller."  He replied with "wow."  The littlest girl smiled and asked her daddy if he thought she would be taller.  He went on to saying that their mother was shorter, but his grandmother (I think) was taller...so, it was possible.  The littlest girl said her mother was gone now. At first I ignored it, but she mentioned it again...my mother is gone now...daddy, where do you think she is?

my.heart. melted.  I now knew what had happened.

These girls are without a mother.

The father replied with..."you know where she is. I know you do...where do you think that is?" The littlest girl pointed up to the ceiling and said, "in heaven."

I looked down at her, smiled and without even thinking said, "you couldn't be anymore correct." The father reassured my answer with a smile and a "yes, she is in heaven" to his daughter.

At that time, I swiped my card, grabbed my bags, wished the girls "good luck at school on Monday", and walked out of that Target thinking about what had just had happened.  

these thoughts that came to my head:

1.these girls are without a mother.  I wish I could be a Godly woman figure to these girls.

2. what an amazing father that man was to two little girls.  I wanted to know more about him and his past.  He had a strong faith despite all that had happened in his life and really seemed to care about nurturing that faith in his daughters.

3. will I ever see this family again? part of me wants to know how the girls are doing in school in a couple of weeks...I  just hope they grow into beautiful women full of faith. There is no doubt I will be praying for them.  

4. why, several hours later, am I still thinking about this?

God works in mysterious ways.  The connection I felt to this family was definitely God-instilled. Even though we were only waiting in line together for a few minutes, I felt God working in my life. I could feel Him using the scripture I had just read earlier that evening to be a servant of Him. Maybe I was placed there to put a smile on those girl's faces...maybe I was there to help comfort them about the loss of their mother's body here on this earth.  I really don't know the answers to the questions that I ask God...but sometimes that is the beauty of faith.  We just have to trust in His ability to work in our lives and the lives of others.  Tonight I am in awe...in awe of this family...and in awe of the Lord.

Maybe one day I will see this family again...until then, I plan on leaving it all in God's hands. Have you ever had a moment like this?

creating that passion.

I have officially been a graduate from North Carolina State University a little over a year now.  It's hard to believe that those four years seemed like the longest, yet shortest years of my life.  Every day I look back on those memories and use the lessons I learned there in my daily life today.  Would I go back? Maybe... maybe not; I enjoy adulthood for the most part.

Even though I went to college for four years, that doesn't mean I know what I want to do for the rest of my life.  I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and I feel like that is a common feeling among people my age.  

As I look back on all of the experiences that I have had, I just want to take bits and pieces of them and mold them into a position that I don't really think exists (if it does, please tell me because I haven't found it yet).

I would describe this position as an agricultural outreach coordinator.  Vague title- I know.

This job would have a role in teaching agriculture to people of all ages.  

This job would include plenty of community service opportunities.  

This job would allow for lots of travel all over the country allowing me to see and experience agriculture.

This job would give the opportunity to spend some time with students that don't know anything about agriculture or are interested in the industry.

This job would allow me to learn and grow from others each and every day.

As I think about this career...it makes me want to work even harder to create it.  I love teaching. I love advocating and learning about agriculture.  I love working with people to make agriculture known and this world a better place.  Maybe one day I will have the opportunity to create this position for myself.  I have had lots of little jobs and have had two real careers since the day I graduated. I loved aspects of teaching.  I love the opportunities of my job now...but sometimes I just wish I could mash the two together to get a perfect harmony and the position that I dream of each and every day.

Until then...I need to keep my focus on developing my skills for that beautiful day. Do you have a dream career?  Do you want a job that hasn't been created yet? Let me know...I would be interested to hear!