Wrapping Up Summer

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When I was small, summers used to seem like infinite stretches of days and weeks. It never ended, just like the farm work and the weeds never ended. I think the combination of age, and of working 9-5 + a commute has made the summer go much faster this year than any before this, but I’ve still been able enjoy a few small vacations and quasi-vacations.


For instance, this summer…

  • I traveled to NYC for my first legitimate visit there with the fabulous Erin and Meredith.
  • I’ve been in DC a lot more because of my internship – I’ve been to Georgetown for the first time (crazy, right? I’ve lived here for two years and still hadn’t been).
  • I went a-Fringing and saw a variety of shows – both with friends and alone. Including one show with my fabulous friend Michelle, who I first met in Oxford, and happened to be in DC this summer.
  • I spent this past weekend in DC with the fabulous Amelia, who was in town for the CLIC photography conference/workshop. I love when blogging friends come to visit!
  • I’m currently staying in an apartment that has a pool – pools on the weekend = vacation. My sister Hannah also came up to do a sister sleepover, which was very exciting.

But now, all this must come to an end. I move back to school early this week, and start classes next week. It’s crazy to think that three months went by so quickly, but they did. Regardless, I’m excited for fall – for the things I already know of, and the things that I don’t. I’m always excited for the potential of a new season – each seems to bring a new adventure, a new opportunity.

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For instance, I thought I would be studying abroad this fall. There, I said it. Out loud, in public. I have the tendency to hide my “failures” under excuses and silence, so I haven’t discussed this very much with anyone. To be fair, it wasn’t my fault at all – I suspect it was an administrative kerfuffle, but I’ll never know. Regardless, staying home this fall means that I’ll be able to extend my internship in DCtake senior seminar with an amazing professor, and be in the States to celebrate my 20th birthday.

Sometimes, these experiences – disappointments – remind you to count your blessings in ways that you hadn’t considered before. This is definitely the case with my junior year in general. I’ll probably post a bit more in the future explaining some of this is greater detail, but for now, let’s just say that I’m thankful to be where I’m at right now.

Happy end of your weekend. I can’t wait to start this Monday fresh, and get back into the school mode. What are you looking forward to this week?

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Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

2014-08-01_0002I started this series of pictures as an hourly project, documenting what I was doing. I think I may have started it on a regular workday, so I didn’t get much past 9am before forgetting about said project. But they’re a lovely reminder of daily routine, of groggy reading and of steaming cups of tea. Of my normal in this particular place.

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I move a lot. We won’t make this a metaphor or anything, but literally – I pick up my bags and move around a lot. I just completed a move from one side of campus to the other, and now am a bit of a vagabond for a few weeks until school starts. I’m staying with some amazing, incredibly kind friends who dealt with me in my frazzled “half-packed” state of mind, and helped cart bags of books, boxes of clothes and frying pans (and books) to their new home for storage. I’m currently sitting on a new bed, eating chocolate at 11pm, blogging, and treasuring these photographic moments from my last home.

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I’ve learned a lot about packing over the past two years. Packing badly, packing well, packing for the short term, and packing for the long term. I’ve learned more than just how to shove kitchen utensils in boxes and books in bags though.
When you move more often than not, there’s the temptation to adopt the lifestyle of the vagabond – not belonging in any one place and not settling down. But this, in my life, has led to the trivialization of other important parts of my life as well. Just because a place is temporary doesn’t mean that it’s not your home – that you truly don’t belong there at that particular point in time. Adopt homes whether it’s for 5 days or 10 or 100 and make them a part of your daily routine. Enjoy the coffee in your new surroundings, and memorize the cracks on the pavement or the creaking porch swing.
You may not have been there yesterday, and may not be staying tomorrow. But I’m a firm believer in making your heart at home wherever you are at, wherever you were yesterday, and wherever you may be tomorrow.
Let’s be vagabonds together – wherever home might be.

On Blogging (pt. 1)

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When I first moved to school, I didn’t tell anyone that I wrote a blog. I think my roommate (hi Charlotte!) knew, but other than that, I kept this little corner of the internet to myself during the first year. Then I ended up confessing to one of my friends or professors at some point, and it began to get out in my school community. Of course, around that time, I started blogging using my full name, and had it linked to my personal Facebook account, so it wasn’t that hard to find anymore.

Once it “got out”, so to speak, I wasn’t sure what to do with Farmgirl Writes anymore. It’s not exactly a travel blog, or an events blog, or a going out guide, is it? It’s not a Gossip-Girl-style blog, or full of extreme personal confessions (although you do find me sharing my heart occasionally). Was/is it lifestyle? It didn’t feel like the kind of lifestyle blog I would want to have, although honestly, that kind of blog would require an apartment, kitchen with lots of light, and time to create better content. None of those are things that I have right now. And that’s okay, but I still wasn’t sure where to go with FW.

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That was, of course, not my only blogging dilemma. I knew blogging for six years had given me a wide range of skill sets to put on my resume, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put a lifestyle blog (that I’d been running for fun!) on my professional resume. However, after encouragement from a professor, I put it on there, held my breath a bit, and sent it on it’s way. (Shockingly, I got called for an interview & and got an internship where I get to use some of those same skills. Life is funny how it works, you know?)

But now Farmgirl Writes is a bigger part of my routine. Blogging here, working on my social media presence, and creating content has become more of a focus, especially during this summer, and I’m thrilled to have a cleaner look (that I’m still fine-tuning, so apologies for some of the inconsistencies).

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So in honor of blogging, I’d like to share just a few things that I’ve learned along the way. If you have a blog, are just starting out, or are thinking of blogging, definitely consider these things.

1. Love what you write about, and write it yourself. I love reading bloggers who have developed their own writing voice, and their blogs have a different quality because of that. Seriously. And even if you’re really good at blogging, if you don’t love what you’re writing about, than it will show. You know how everyone always says to find your niche? Well, find it. Once you know what you’re writing about and once you’re focused, I think you’re able to be a bit more genuine. If you’re lifestyle, than focus on something! For instance, even though I blog a wide range of topics, my niche (that I’m aiming for, at least) is being a Washington D.C. lifestyle and travel blog.

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2. Do a series. For me, that’s Monday Inspiration or my newest series – Curated. It’s so much fun to write a series of posts that readers will recognize (“oh yeah, I love her curated series!” or “I always find something really interesting in Monday Inspiration!”). Fine – even if you don’t find my post series particularly inspiring, I think that giving readers something to look forward to each week/month is very important!

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3. You don’t have to find a clique. Once upon a time, when I started blogging, a lot of my blogging friends were all in the same circles. There were the amazing bloggers that we all looked up to, and there were the copycats that everyone knew was copying someone else. There were the drama queens and the chill people. It was basically a high school clique. But now that group has grown up, and dispersed, and a lot of them have become photographers and so have moved on from everyday lifestyle blogging. And as much as I think that finding a blogging community is important, I think these super-competitive groups can be oh-so limiting. Because in a clique, you’re always trying to be the popular one, and honestly, there’s a lot to be said for just being. And writing what you know – and love. Competition can kill creativity.

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If you’re reading this post and you have a blog, I’d love to read you! I adore adding people to my reading list, so let’s get on this, shall we? Comment with your blog link, and I’ll pop on over to say hello!

p.s. you might want to be online tomorrow. I heard a rumor that there might be a giveaway. 😉

Reflections on Hallelujah

Tonight I was folding laundry in my way-too-messy-to-discuss dorm room. With music, because obviously, that’s the only way to fold laundry. I pulled out an older playlist on my Spotify, and one of the songs that came on was Allison Crowe’s cover of Hallelujah.

It’s no secret that I love this song. I adore her voice, the piano, the lyrics. I was in the middle of folding my spare sheets: and remember when I moved in you // and the Holy Ghost was moving too // and every breath we drew was Hallelujah. The sheets crumpled on the floor around my bare feet as I stood stone still. Because if any song is the story of a “never gonna give up” relationship, it’s this one. It’s not the Taylor Swift version, because the adversary isn’t the popular girl next door or parents, and it’s certainly not a fairy tale ending. It’s two people. It’s the singer and God.  And it is not a fairytale ending. 

But’s not an ending, is it? It’s not a cry that you hear at night // and it’s not somebody who’s seen the light // it’s a cold and it is a broken Hallelujah. It’s still a Hallelujah. It is still a HallelujahIt is still a Hallelujah. I want to write that a hundred thousand times just so you can draw that conclusion like a deep breath, and stand stone still hands in the air with your sheets crumpled on the floor around you.

It’s a story of a relationship – rocky, tentative, raw, and broken – there have been good times when every breath we drew was Hallelujah. But there have also been bad times – love is not a victory march, and speaking of David – she broke your throne, she cut your hair. But at the end of all the bad times and the good times, the Hallelujah is still there.

What I want to say is burning inside of me, and I can’t get it out. I can’t express how much this applies to so many relationships I’ve been in. I can’t even begin to comprehend how true it is for my own spiritual journey. A journey that’s been so rocky and back-and-forth and in every sense a long journey. And now I’m getting to the point where I can be raw about it. I can talk about it again (and I have been). Because there are and were times where I can and could say that every breath we drew was HallelujahAnd there have been and continue to be miserable times where the only thing that’s left is the cold and broken Hallelujah.

But it’s still left. And that matters. And I firmly believe that that Hallelujah is still heard – no matter how broken or raw it may be.