Family

Janci’s College Graduation

I figured I should probably go ahead and get this blog post up before the end of another week came up…

(I’m in the process of moving to a new apartment and getting ready for a work trip, so things are a little busy around here.)

But it was important for me to take the time to celebrate one of my favorite people. Graduating college is no small feat, and my sister did it with quite a bit to be proud of.

Janci grad announcement

She was on the Dean’s list almost every semester and recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Award for her major. On top of that she was a student-athlete, finishing her final season this spring as a 2nd Team All-Conference player, an Academic All-Conference student athlete and with a conference regular season team championship. She was also given the Champion of Character Award at the conference championship tournament.

#notsohumblebrag

I have always admired Janci for her tenacity. As much we try, there are a lot of new experiences and challenges that you can’t quite prepare for in college, but Janci had more focus and determination than most people I know. And most importantly, she found what she is passionate about, which can be the hardest part. I am so proud of all of her hard work and of the person she became along the way. Even though I keep moving further away from home, somehow we have grown closer as sisters and now best friends.

I was pretty disappointed that it didn’t work out for me to there in person to help celebrate her with the rest of my family, but thankfully they flooded my text message inbox with pictures to make me feel like I was there.

Congratulations Jancz!
I love you~

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My sister and our parents.

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Mom and Janci.

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With our Aunt Diane.

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With our Grampy and Grammy.

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With her roommate and teammate Karina.

So There's That Series

So There’s That: Vol. 4

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five” except it’s probably not Friday and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. This is my# postgradlife.}

1. 11 Days…

kstate
Photo belongs to K-State Sports

11 days until the family is back together! {And until my social media becomes increasingly, possibly obnoxiously purple again.} In the meantime I recommend checking out this article on the two young men vying for starting QB. It’s well written and just another reason why I’m proud to be a Wildcat!

2. Thankfulness
I was cleaning out/off my desk this week and finally decided it was time to file away all of my cards from graduation, but not until I read through them all again. Wow. I am one lucky kid.

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3.Celebrities
So…this post is turning out to be a bit mushy so I’m intervening with a bit of humor from some celebrities that put the words ‘respect, talent, hard work’ back into the Hollywood dictionary.

  • Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Awards Speech
    Okay, still a bit more on the mushy side, but if you haven’t already seen this viral video, then be ready to have your faith in humanity restored, at least for the day.
  • Jason Sudeikis’s futbol commercial

4. Best Friends
My childhood best friend Richole is finishing up her last year at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and after spending the summer at home in Oregon she decided to chart her course driving back to pass through Manhattan to see me! After growing up together and both moving away for school, I’ve learned to cherish the small amount of time that we usually get together, but I am so proud of the beautiful person inside and out that she has become and am so lucky to still be able to call her my best friend! Thanks for stopping by to see me Chole!

5. Happy Birthday Mom!

It’s my sweet mama’s birthday today! Special days are always a bit harder to get through than the regular ones, but I am so thankful that in my coming into adulthood my mom and I have grown even closer than before. Basically she’s the bee’s knees. This picture is from her birthday a few year back, taken by the wonderful Shannon at fotonovella. It’s one of my favorites. Love you Mom!

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Kansas, Life Notes

“Home is behind, the world ahead…”

Picture by DLC Photography
Picture by DLC Photography

“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night, until the stars are all alight.”
— J.R.R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings

So somehow I made it through 22 years of life without ever knowing the wonderful gift to film, known as The Lord of the Rings (don’t worry literature faithfuls, the books are now on my list.) I vaguely remember watching the first movie with my Uncle Josh when I was around 10, but my appreciation for good movies was still in its early stages of development then.

My post today is obviously not to go on and on about how I’ve been living underneath a rock. But I also very quickly realized that I was also missing out on some good quotes and words of wisdom from Mr. Tolkein, and the one above grabbed my attention in my wide-eyed post graduation state.

Speaking of graduation (notice my smooth transition there.) It all sort of came and went how I expected it to. There were tears, pictures, lots of cliche phrases and momentary bouts of anxiety. We laughed at the person next to us for obnoxiously waving into the sea of people in the crowd — of course until you found your own fans and joined in —commented a million times on how the caps and gowns really are flattering on no one and wondered how exactly that girl was successfully managing those heels.

If you were to ask me I’d tell you that I just graduated from the best college at the greatest university there is, but hey, that’s just me. K-State was the best decision that I have ever made, and everyone who knows me, knows that I could talk to the end of time telling you why. I’ve always said that I don’t believe in coincidences, and that couldn’t be more true today. I only wish I could go back and ask my 18-year-old self where exactly the courage to take that risk came from, so that I can bottle it up and save it up for days that I need a little push.

Looking forward, there’s a lot to be excited about. I am admist week four of my full time job and enjoying a beautiful summer with good people around me. I am excited to jump back into blogging, deciding not to put any expectations on what I’m going to write about, except to just to continue to practice and expand my writing, and see where that takes me.

I do though, want to reflect just a bit. The last few months have been a wild ride, busy to the point that I was just focusing on making it through each single day. But as always they were filled with good memories and great people.

Thanks to all who tagged along.

Alumni status.
Alumni status.
Smurthwaite sisters. Roommates. Best friends. Two of the best things that came out of my decision to attend K-State.
Smurthwaite sisters. Roommates. Best friends. Two of the best things that came out of my decision to attend K-State.
Blaine and I with our rocks at the College of Ag grad dinner.
Blaine and I with our rocks at the College of Ag grad dinner.
Shared my graduation day and party with Leah, my freshman roommate. The cowgirl and the hippie, we made it!
Shared my graduation day and party with Leah, my freshman roommate. The cowgirl and the hippie, we made it!
2013 Ag Communications graduates
2013 Ag Communications graduates
It meant so much to me to share my graduation with my grandparents, whose love and supports never fails to amaze me.
It meant so much to me to share my graduation with my grandparents, whose love and supports never fails to amaze me.
My parents and the reason I've stayed grounded during this adventure. Knowing I made them proud is the best feeling there is.
My parents and the reason I’ve stayed grounded during this adventure. Knowing I made them proud is the best feeling there is.
Got to spend two weeks at home in Oregon before I started my job full-time, which included lots of sister time and a weekend at the cabin.
Got to spend two weeks at home in Oregon before I started my job full-time, which included lots of sister time and a weekend at the cabin.
Celebrated the marriage of two of my favorite lovebirds! Congrats Drew and Laura!
Celebrated the marriage of two of my favorite lovebirds! Congrats Drew and Laura!
Second week on the job and I get to spend it on this beautiful family farm with an even more beautiful family. Is this real life?
Second week on the job and I get to spend it on this beautiful family farm with an even more beautiful family. Is this real life?
Agriculture, Thoughts and Lessons Learned

After Unzipping the Blue and Gold Jacket

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Every time I hear anyone start a sentence with “I believe…” I can’t help but finish it quietly in my head with “…in the future of agriculture.”  To me, it is more than just a sentence. It is something that I truly believe and trust in through and through, and it is a motto that defines so much of who I am and how I have chosen to live and work. I know that I am one of the lucky ones, because my connection to the National FFA Organization extends much longer than my four years in high school. My earliest memories of the FFA go back to when I was five and my dad had just started as the new ag instructor and FFA adviser at Hermiston High School. Most of the high school has been rebuilt since then, but I distinctly remember his upstairs classroom that looked out over the metals shop and the thick layer of dust and grit that covered everything. I remember sitting on the high stool in Mr. Miller’s classroom during chapter meetings and going around with all of the students to “help” them with their animals at the county fair. As I got older, I became my dad’s tag-a-long, taking in all that I could and dreaming of the day that I would get my own corduroy jacket with my name stitched on it.

On Monday, back in Oregon, my home association wrapped up what I know was another successful state convention. Students are exhausted from nights that they hardly slept a wink, advisors are reminded why they got into this business and that freshman, who just attended their first major FFA event, has a whole new perspective on what the next three years of high school could mean. But as I am approaching my own college graduation, my heart especially goes out to those high school seniors whose time in the corduroy jacket is coming to an end.

As I have started to prepare for the transition from college to career, I have been doing a lot of reflection over my experiences in college, and a few times, I have been taken back to the last time I went through a major transition as a high school senior. Being a FFA member was so much of who I was and the thought of not having that as a part of my identity was a little bit scary. After my senior chapter banquet my mom found me crying, which most people know is something that I rarely do, because I had worn my jacket for the last time.

This is Fred, one of my high school best friends and probably the best person I ever met through FFA.
This is Fred, one of my high school best friends and probably the best person I met through being a part of FFA.

In my reflection though, I am not wishing to be back in official dress or on those stages again. No, I have been thinking about how that experience has impacted the one I am just about to end and how it might impact the one I’m about to start. I’m thinking about what has come after unzipping that jacket. Now I don’t claim to possess any profound wisdom and magic formula to how to capitalize on those experiences, but I do have experiences and they have lead to a point in my life where I can step back, give myself a pat on the back and take a breather before tackling what comes next.

For what it’s worth, there are a few the lessons that I took with me and then learned along the way. Given a cup of coffee and someone to listen, I bet I could make an evening out of this, but in a nutshell (think a rather large nutshell,) here’s what I have for those seniors who are right where I was not so long ago.

Change is hard, and that is one of the few things that doesn’t change…
Sorry, but that’s the cold hard truth. Personally, this continues to be my biggest challenge and I know that it will always be one that I face. Remember, change is natural and something that we can’t control, and to resist it really isn’t being fair to ourselves. Don’t worry, I promise you will find familiar things along the way and honestly, deep down aren’t you really curious about what’s ahead for you?

Don’t get caught up looking in the rearview mirror…
Think about it. The windshield is your future, big and open, demanding most your attention to look forward in order to navigate what is up ahead for you. The rearview mirror is your past, still deserving a glance or two to remember where you’ve been, but ultimately you’ve already moved on from there. Spending too much time in the rearview mirror doesn’t allow you move forward and enjoy life as it comes at you. To give proper credit, I pulled this one from Habitudes: The Art of Navigating Change by Dr. Tim Elmore that I am currently reading and highly recommend.

You will surprise yourself…
Again…and again…and again. Whether you go on to attend college or not, many things in life that you valued and believed in will be challenged. You will second guess yourself, change your mind and find yourself places that you never pictured. As you learn and grow you will continue to surprise yourself. My advice? Let yourself get lost. I mean, don’t go crazy out of control, but I truly believe that you can’t find what you want out of life, if you don’t let yourself get a little lost.

Your hard work really will pay off…
My work ethic is something that I have always allowed myself to take a bit of pride in. I always used to think that as long as I worked hard enough, things would go in my favor. If they didn’t, I would be disappointed in myself, and that is where my thinking went wrong. I have learned that the people you meet, things you learn and places you go in the process of working hard is the true reward because of the opportunities that those things lead you toward. So hard work might not pay off in the exact cookie cutter way that you expected it to, but trust me, it WILL pay off.

I’m glad I didn’t win that blue banner…
It might sound a little crazy now, but experiencing disappointment at that point, has helped me in leaps and bounds since then. This ties in a little bit with the point I just made about hard work, but I also think it says a lot about someone’s character if one knows how to handle disappointment with grace, grow from those experiences and move forward with greater fervor. Disappointments in life will obviously never leave us or get easier, but how we handle them can make all of the difference. I’ve learned to be thankful for some of the prayers and wishes that went unanswered.

The world is full of good people…
I’ve always knew that I was very blessed have the family, friends and mentors that I had in my life . What I didn’t realize is just how full the world is with other people like them. I’ve never had time to be lonely, because I’m too busy discovering why the world shouldn’t be losing hope. I’ve learned that the meaning of family extends far beyond its definition, and some of the best people in your life will land there in the most unexpected ways.

It’s ok to be scared…
Subconsciously I think I always tend to run toward things that scare me and then wonder how I got there. Now I think I am slowly starting to understand why. Being scared means that you have beliefs, values, goals and ultimately, something to lose. It means that you are alive and that you care. And it’s ok to be scared because it teaches you humility, to practice good judgement and it gives you things to be thankful for.

The future of agriculture really is bright…
The words “I believe in the future of agriculture” made up the final statement in my speech for the Prepared Public Speaking CDE my senior year and never have I believed those words more than I do now. There is something special and unique about the tradition, innovation, community and hard work in this industry, and spending the rest of my life being a part of it is the most rewarding lifestyle that I could imagine having. Agriculture is alive, it is strong and it will always have a place for those who have unzipped their jacket.

If only I had known what all was ahead of me then...
If only I had known what all was ahead of me then…

I am thankful for my time in the jacket and even more thankful for the memories, tools and courage that have stayed with me since I unzipped it. Congratulations seniors and good luck on your journey ahead.