Pumpkin Picking

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One of my favorite Fall activities is the classic pumpkin patches. A couple weekends ago my friends and I decided to make the trip and  make a morning of going through a corn maze and pick pumpkins.

When we arrived we instantly were taken back by all the fun activities. A large hay slide, zip line, kid train rides, duck races, play ground, and a hay jump pit! That probably are designed for kids under the age of 7. Yet, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be like kids for a couple of hours.

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We loaded up our car on the last beautiful Fall day. In the low 60’s with a slight wind- what more could you ask for? At this corn maze every year they make a new design. This year it was Frankenstein! I was so proud- we conquered it in less than 20 minutes! What!?

I have so many amazing memories as a kid- once October comes along go to a Pumpkin Patch and picking up a pumpkin, going through mazes, and picking apples! As well as my mom would allow my brother and I to pick up a sweet treat! I remember our favorite were honey sticks!

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After we went down the slide and rode across the zip line we decided to start going through the pumpkin patch. It’s amazing how much fun it is to go through patch after patch trying to find just the most  PERFECT pumpkin! I always think it brings ownership over something when you go out and pick it out. I mean grabbing one at your local supermarket will work but I don’t think it is as much fun as the experience of picking one up at the pumpkin patch is.

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Whether you pack up your car and head to the pumpkin patch or head to your local supermarket. Pick up your pumpkins and let’s get the festivities going!

Do you like to carve or paint your pumpkins?

 

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Season of Gratitude

“October is my favorite color”

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Something about this season brings out the best in people. A renewed sense of joy and a purpose in their daily life. Maybe with a change of season and seeing a fresh perspective in your daily life things change. Your attitude changes. Your mood changes. I know for me that is the case in my life. Once September 22nd comes every year- I know there is going to be something different coming. A new season. Something exciting.

Autumn it’s no surprise that it’s my favorite time of the year.  I get so excited that I don’t think my physical body can actually handle all my excitement. Everything about it. I love it! I love the smell of freshness in the air, the crunchy leaves, the warm colors, pumpkin everything, the chunky scarves… and my list could continue. Something changes in this season- yes, in the tradition of the sense something does change the nights get longer and the days get shorter. But the art of gratitude comes back. I don’t know if it’s because Christmas is right around the corner and people are trying their last ditch effort to get onto Santa’s nice list or if they are genuinely remind just how fast a year truly goes by.

During this season I want to slow down- I want to spend better quality time with my family and friends I want to bake pumpkin bars in my kitchen. I just want to spend that extra time with the people that I know are in my life for a deeper purpose. And the best way to say “thank you” is giving them my time, to let them know they are important to me that they matter. Yes, this should happen every season- but something about this season adds something different. People aren’t running every which direction aren’t always on the go or attending this or that. I find during this season people come together- around their dinner tables or loaded up in their cars chasing the peak of the perfect fall foliage.

We see the word “gratitude” or “thankful” a lot during this season.  And honestly I don’t think that’s a mistake. I do believe we need to carry those words as reminders all year long. Yet- I know it can be difficult to remember when it’s out of sight out of mind. And now is the perfect reminder.

As October is just beginning and the most magical time of the year is finally here. I start viewing things new and exciting. I am a home body by nature- I love being home. I love having that sense of security, calm, and relaxation. I have found that in a new season I have a sudden urge to de-clutter, renew, and update things. With the longer nights I tend to find more people become (seasonal) home body’s *don’t know if that’s a thing.. but just made it up.* the home becomes a hub of togetherness and warmth and a safety blanket.

Why not spruce it up a bit? Make it a place to wind down, entertain, and re-energize. I don’t think that’s why there is such a huge surplus for dinning sets and decorations this time of the year. I think that’s the case because this is what people are lacking.

It makes things new and exciting again. It’s like this time of a year is a jump start. More quiet nights at home cuddled under a blanket with a hot drink in hand deep in conversation or nestled around watching a movie. Or loading up the family in the car heading to the pumpkin patch.

Last week my friend Monica and I went on a quick little day trip to see the fall colors. Let me tell you- it’s amazing what you can find! It’s crazy what happens when you are a grown women but you see leaves on the ground you instantly want to kick or throw them up in the air.

Autumn is the season where changes are happening yet I am blindsided by the beauty around me that I almost forget that things are actually dying. Every year I reminded that Autumn is a season that reminds me that change can be beautiful. That it isn’t scary of the unknown. To slow down- enjoy the scenery.

Something about Autumn…

 

 

 

Be Still

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“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations.I will be exalted in the Earth.” – Psalms 46:10

Growing up I had ADD. You read that correctly had- past tense. How I got off my ADD medicine is a story in it’s self. And a whole lot of arguing and stubborn pride. It’s hard to stay silent and be still. Yet, it’s one of the most rewarding skills I have ever learned. We live in a society of the faster the better. We have fast cars, fast food, rewind buttons, email, instant messaging, and the list goes on. When did we become so in tuned to ourselves and what is best for- me, myself, and I that we lost what we stand for and the art of a community?

In my bible next to the verse I mentioned up above I wrote- “Stop!” and “Enough” Put down your phone, unplug, and enjoy the stillness. I don’t know about you but I swear my mind is always  full sprint- take no prisoner captive attitude. Yet we aren’t called that way. What I love about winter is that it’s perfect picture of this- calmness, still, and just a slower pace.

The question is- “how can I unplug and disengage?” Here are my 8 ways I shut down and be present and be still.

  1. Schedule: I know I know that almost sounds a little rehearsed. But I’m a firm believer in habits and creating a habit. If you don’t schedule time aside you will subconsciously “schedule” something into that time slot. I also find- if I write it down in my planner- be still. I will spend that time being still. If that means- going on a drive or laying in my bed.
  2. Prepare Your Heart: I know it’s hard to switch gears- going from going, going, going  to a complete stand still is hard. In this preparation time spend time in worship and journal. Journal what’s on your mind. What is your fears? What’s going through your mind?
  3. Undisturbed: If this means shutting off your phone and laptop do it! We all need that undisturbed time to sit, pray, reflect, and soak in the quietness. And refuel so that we can do what we need to do. It’s important to hit the gym or study for that big test. But it’s even more important to take care of your mental and spiritual life.
  4. Listen: In my experience God doesn’t have a huge megaphone yelling with a huge spotlight on Him with grand theatrical movements. If that was the case it would be easy to spot him and hear what he has to say. He whispers- if we aren’t in the right attitude or place to hear Him can we?
  5. Draw Closer: When your best friend is telling you a secret what do you do? You get closer to her don’t ya? You get closer to hear clearly what she has to say. I don’t know about you. But in those moments between God and myself I want to be closer than ever. I want to know more, I want to know what the bible says I want to hear all what God says. I don’t want to interrupt what God is telling me.
  6. Do Not Be Afraid: When I was a kid- I use to hate being in complete stillness or quietness. I always thought something bigger and worst is going to happen. In those minutes my overactive imagination got the worst of me. Enter into this moment with a clear mind and expect great things.
  7. Meditate: Mediating is a great way to begin closing off distractions and allowing God into the moment. There are some amazing guiding meditations that will help shut off the never ending to do lists in your mind. And help you be present.
  8. Give it to God- And Go To Sleep: When you are starting to feel anxious or panicked your palms are sweating, you are hyperventilating, and you are angry. Talk to God- give it to Him; give Him your fears, anxiety, the violent storm in your head. Talk to Him like you would talk to your best friend.

God is oh so good! To be honest God shows up to me in picture form. My favorite hobby is actually photography. God shows up to me while I have a camera in my hand. A couple days ago I had an itching to get behind the camera again. To go and explore and just get lost behind the camera for a while. While I’m out usually I have my headphones in and just shut the world out for a minute.

I’m a visual learner. I think this is how God communicates with me- And I can’t wait to share them with you!

Be Still: Photography Exhibit

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Hello 2017

“Commit to the Lord, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

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Just like that another year has come to a close. I’m amazed by how fast the year has whizzed by just like a movie on fast forward.  2016 has to be one of the best years of my life to date! Every month something new and exciting and last but not least something that would challenge and push me further out of my shell.

With that being said- I know 2016 was hard on people in the world with so many deaths, and the different crisis, and shootings giving people that element of fear and anxiety. I know it was almost nerve wrecking to wake up every morning and read a headline!

In my own little world- 2016 will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember when I was probably 10 or 11 I decided what I wanted to do with my life. I knew where I wanted to be at- where I wanted to attend college everything was mapped out. I was determined to get there. 2016 was the year that I had envisioned so many years ago come full circle.

I graduated from Black Hills State University. My childhood dream came true! After many late nights, anxiety attacks, and millions of cups of coffee- I had done it. I sat in the gymnasium in a cap and gown waiting for my name to be called. And before I knew it (even though it took way too long!) my name was called and I walked across the stage and just like that. The best four years of my life were now behind me. Don’t get me wrong I don’t miss the anxiety or the late nights of homework. The things I do miss is the things that I get to take with me everyday. The friendships and the lessons I learned- and the determination to chase after my dream whole heartily not caring what others might think.

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I’m a planner I love to plan things! Obviously if I knew where and what I wanted before I had even made it to high school! However; I’ve learned maybe there are things that are much better not planned to a “T”. Don’t get me wrong I still love a good plan and knowing what’s going to happen. While I was in college and a lot of my friends were getting their dream jobs and preparing to take the big leap into the career world. There was me- not sure where to turn or better yet how to even figure out- what is next. With an underlining fear of not doing anything my heart stopped. I was scared. What next? The unknown is very scary and let’s be honest no one likes not knowing what is going on.  I found maybe this unknown period of my life won’t be so bad after all. The perfect time to do a little traveling, no responsibilities, and finally learn who Emily is without being a student first.

I’m so excited and optimistic over what is to come in  2017. I’m not one for making big massive and elaborate new year resolutions. I love setting myself little manageable goals and then following through. However; this year I’ve decided to push myself a little bit more out of my shell. And focus on who Emily is and better yet what’s to come! 2016 has been an amazing start of figuring out what I like, what I don’t like where I want to go where I don’t want to go. And that’s the most fun about growing up.

However; it’s time to put that in action! Time to put myself out there and not allowing the fear to paralyze me from the expectation I had in my head over what I think it should have been to begin with.

In 2016 I graduated, moved back home, faced my fears and launched my blog, traveled, explored, laughed, and probably drank way too many cups of coffee.

Cheers 2016! Hello 2017- you are looking mighty good!

“Above all, try something” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid.

Courage means you don’t let your fear stop you” – Unknown

Merry Christmas!

Can you believe it another year has past? Holy smokes!

To ring in the new cheer. And to celebrate probably one of the best times of the year! All gathered with friends and family. And hold the ones close to your heart who couldn’t make it home. Laughter is heard, dancing in the kitchen, eating Christmas cookies- and hey maybe a snowball fight to boot! My heart is so happy as I sit and look at the faces of my loved ones surrounding me- as they are on their phones, eating food, or simply just sitting in comfortable silence as we all watch TV.

I hope your Christmas is as amazing and you feel all the love you deserve. Christmas is the best and happiest of times. So raise your glass of egg nog with me now as we cheer in the best night of the entire year!

Let’s carry the joy, the happiness, and the merriment of overwhelming amount of love you feel tonight to extend into the best year yet! Here’s to dreamers seeing their dream, for the quitters who see their potential, the content to get out and do something new, to the explores to seeing the world through a different lens, and finally here’s to you and to me as we join hands and jump into the best yet to come!

To wrap up here is one of my favorite monologues of all time

I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney-corner,

And a little crutch without an owner.

If these shadows remained unaltered by the future, the child will die.

If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Your very words, Scrooge.

Decrease the surplus population

Man if man you be in heart, forbear that wicked cant.

Will you decide what men shall live, and what men shall die?

It may be that in the sight of of Heaven you are more

Worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child.

You have seen the spirit of Christmas bless this poor dwelling.

They were not a handsome family, they were not well dressed

Their clothes were scanty and their shoes far from being water-proof

But they were grateful, pleased with one another, and contented

With the Christmas time. They are my children.

Have you learned your lesson?

Don’t wait for January 1st or next Christmas Eve for the lessons that could change your life. Learn from the lessons of the past, present, and future. Just like Tiny Tim says;

“God Bless Us Everyone!”

From me to you- Merry Christmas!

Off to the Mountains I go

I’m a huge lover of family traditions. The familiarity- the excitement- the memories. My all time favorite family tradition dates all the way back to thirty two years ago. And it’s my favorite day of the ENTIRE year.

I look forward to it every year. I think family traditions is one of the reasons why I love Christmas so much! The holidays scream family and friends and just being together with those who you love.

Every year on Black Friday- instead of hustling and bustling in the shops trying to get those deals and wake up at ridiculous hours of the morning. My family and I wake up when our bodies wake up and then after we awake from our turkey trances we bundle up and hop into our truck and go off to the mountains to find the best Christmas tree.

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The hike is always refreshing especially after a day of pigging out on all the Thanksgiving goodness! The quietness of the woods, and being away from civilization even if it is for a few hours is so refreshing.

I love the mountains. Everything about it- the mountain air and I always think you can always see the world better from a mountain top.

After we walk around for what feels like five minutes and stand around and ooh and ah over how beautiful the tree looks with the fresh laid snow and how it looks in the sun light (and we always choose the best looking) and how sweet the pine smells! Then we take the saw and take turns to cut the tree down! And now the hard part- the dragging the tree out and back to the truck!

Before we know it- back down the mountains, to cell service, and back to the world. But the fun doesn’t stop there! We set it up and decorate it that night- all while singing along to Christmas music and reminiscing over Christmas’s past as we hang up ornaments that tell a story of our life.

After we are done we step back and ooh and ah again and sit around starring at the beauty of the lights, ornament, and the tinsel. I love this tradition for multiple reasons- I love that I can be out in my beloved mountains, to be surrounded by my favorite smell, to be surrounded by some of my favorite humans, and finally to kick in the Christmas season on the right foot. To celebrate what Christmas is all about.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Thanksgiving Reflections

Today is November 24, 2016.

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“There is always something to be thankful for”

‘Tis the season! Before the hustle and bustle of list longer than your arm and sugar highs it’s time for reflection. Life is busy and hectic. I love Thanksgiving- I mean I love food. However; food doesn’t equal Thanksgiving.

I firmly believe that food plays a huge factor in bringing people together. The world we live in is all about doing multiple things at once and “there’s an app for that” attitude. Sure the busyness is great and opportunities shouldn’t make you excited and proud. It shouldn’t limit you or cloud your judgment in where you come from. The moment that got you where you are today.

I believe that life is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. Slow down listen to the laughter, watch the Macy Thanksgiving Day parade, and dance in the kitchen. Enjoy the one thing that money can’t buy you. Honoring traditions, listening to stories of Thanksgiving past, and lastly making new memories.

In this moment of reflection I always find it good to really mediate on what I am grateful for.

  1. My relationship with Christ
  2. My family
  3. Friends who have become family
  4. My home
  5. My car
  6. Job
  7. Finishing school
  8. Beautiful sunsets/sunrises
  9. For the mountains and the opportunity to live near them
  10. Dreams/imagination/adventures
  11. For nights that have turned into mornings
  12. For my bullies that have shaped me into the person I am and who has taught me the value of forgiveness
  13. Being clothed
  14. My creativity

Once you see your blessings it’s hard to see them as anything less. Today before you stuff your face of delicious food. Collect the memories you are creating with people that are surrounded your table near or far.

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you!