love letter

Love Letter: To Those With Hometown Roots and Wandering Souls

To those with hometown roots and wandering souls, this love letter is for you.

At my family’s cabin “The Diggins” in the Blue Mountains near Sumpter, OR. This post has a sign for every town that each of our family members are from. Mine is by far the furthest.

It’s been 8 years since I packed up my 18-year-old self and left Eastern Oregon for college in Kansas. And its been a little over 2.5 years since I packed up again and moved to Washington D.C.

I was visiting home last week and spent a little time with some family friends who have a daughter interested in attending K-State next year, so I answered all of their questions and shared a lot about my (awesome) experience. Toward the end, the mother asked if there was anything that I regretted. I said that I regretted never going on a study abroad trip and that I should have gotten season football tickets my freshman year, but no, overall I did not regret anything (well maybe a few nights in Aggieville that I wouldn’t mind forgetting.)

But leaving Eastern Oregon to attend Kansas State was the best decision I ever made.

Maybe it was because of our conversation, or maybe it was because I was home at my county fair, but it really made me reflect a bit on that decision and where it has led me. Over the years I have always had a small army of steadfast support, but there are still things I wrestle with. I hang on to a bit of guilt that there things that I inevitably miss out on and that maintaining relationships from a far takes a bit of extra work. It’s hard to be in an unfamiliar place where you don’t know anyone and constantly have to put yourself out there. And I still get questions from people who innocently just don’t get it.

It also made me think about other small town kids with the itch to wander.

I want them to know that having hometown roots and a wandering soul is possible.

I love my hometown. It’s a place where family businesses still reign and people give you the 2-finger steering wheel wave when you pass them on the road. It’s a place where teachers have taught multiple generations of students and where the community revolves around the high school sports schedule.  No matter how long I am away, there are Eastern Oregon sights, sounds, tastes and smells that are ingrained in my memory. Of course I miss it. It’s where my family is and will always be my home. But the world is a big, exciting place and if you are naturally curious like me, to not explore and experience it would be a crime. It’s hard to imagine that some of the people closest to me and some of my best memories wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith.

So to those with hometown roots and wandering souls, I want you to know…

You will cry more than you ever want to admit and you will want to give up many times. But you will eventually learn that that’s all OK. You are lucky to have people and places to miss and there is no shame in feeling sad or defeated from time to time. It reminds you that you are human.

Sometimes saying yes or no to things that come your way will be as easy as breathing and other times you will feel overwhelmed and challenged. Sometimes you are going to make the wrong decision, which you can always learn from, and sometimes it will take much longer than expected to reap the rewards of making the right decisions. And sometimes there is no right or wrong decision, so just choose one path and give it your honest best.

You are much braver and more resilient than you think.

You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people. Some of your people will be unexpected and some of your people will let you down. This is where you learn the art of giving and receiving grace. But I truly believe that you can meet great people wherever you go and that the further you wander the more interesting characters will fill your story and expose you to new things.

Sometimes you will embrace change and sometimes you’ll approach it kicking and screaming. Either way, it is inevitable, so rub some dirt on it and and figure out how you can respect the memories you have and find the positive in what is to come, because in my mind, the best is always yet to come.

As Logan Mize sings below, “You can lose a lot of things, but it’s hard to lose a hometown. Some things are bound to change but the sun still goes down just the same…”

Trust me, he’s right.

You will learn that you need to be more intentional and mindful of your words and time. You will also learn that a home and happiness are a state of mind that ultimately are up to you. Remember to respect that everyone is moving at their own pace and in their own direction, so what works you, might not work for them.

You will have a blast. I’m not saying that you can’t build an awesome life without ever wandering but exploring the world opens you up to new sights, sounds, tastes and smells that you can add alongside the hometown ones in your memory bank.

And most importantly, you can always come back home and the people who love you unconditionally will be there waiting for you.

Love, Amanda

katy

So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 24

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my not-so-glam 20-something life. See past posts HERE}

Catching up again before I go home for some vacation time! Stay tuned… there will be lots of posts and pictures to share later in August!

Sawyer June

My new baby cousin Sawyer June joined the family on July 13 and I wrote this little love letter to her that you can read here.

Since then, my favorite Snapchats and texts are ones with her little face in them. I am SO EXCITED to finally get to meet her in 3 DAYS!

National Harbor

A few weekends ago in July, this guy and I spent a lazy Sunday exploring National Harbor (which is maybe 25 minutes south of where I live.) We had a great day window shopping, people watching and of course trying some yummy food and drinks. I had never been down there before and didn’t know there was so much! Definitely a place to keep in mind for a staycation.


Write It Like a Love Letter

http://allisonfallon.com/love-letter/

Almost everything that this gal writes leaves me deep in thought and shaking my head in strong agreement. She describes a relationship with words and writing that I’ve always sought after and this piece linked above discusses approaching writing in a way that I really understand. If writing isn’t your interest, keep moving, but if it is, I’d suggest reading this.

New Hair

The hair was getting a bit unhealthy so it was about time for a major chop. To be honest, I’m not in love with it when I wearing my natural curl (not pictured), but it does feel a lot healthier and it will grow back!

Chris Stapleton

Since I moved to the DC area 2.5 years ago, Chris Stapleton has performed nearby TWICE while I was out of town for work. He has been at the top of my “must-see” list for a while now, so when my friend Emily said he was performing at Jiffy Lube Live the night before I went on a work trip, there was no way I was missing out again.

Friends, I spent the next couple of days DEAD TIRED, but it was SO WORTH IT.

The sign of a great artist is when they sound better live than they do on their album. I am so glad that Emily was fangirling as much as me, because we both could hardly make it through one song without talking about how good he was again. If you are a fan, I highly recommend seeing him in concert!

Right as the opening song began, it started to DOWNPOUR for about 5 minutes or so, and then stopped. We huddled under my blanket that was waterproof on one side and turned out about the best we could.

Staying Present

Earlier this month I shared some thoughts on “Staying Present.” I can’t say that I am a pro at it, but thinking out loud like that has certainly help me be a bit more intentional and self-disciplined.

I also shared about how awesome getting “Shine Texts” are, and had SO MANY people tell me that they signed up for them because of my post! Enjoy!

Fist Bumps

I couldn’t get this video from CNN to embed correctly but if you need a smile today, I definitely suggest clicking the link below. Too cute!

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Utah – Ag Media Summit


I failed to get any pictures with other humans, but the location for this year’s Ag Media Summit was not too shabby. I am not a winter sports gal, but I would definitely return to Snowbird, UT, for the views alone.

New Music from Logan Mize

My favorite artist FINALLY has a new full album out! You can bet I listened to it 3 times through before 10 am on its release day last week. The song above is my favorite so far but they are all so good. I lost count of how many of his shows I saw in college (5 or 6??) so I want him to come to the DC area so bad!

Visitor


I have been practically counting down the seconds to my vacation for a while now so it was nice to see a familiar face from Eastern Oregon last week to hold me over. Beth has been a high school ag teacher and FFA adviser from another school in my home FFA district since I was probably in middle school. Since my own Dad was an ag teacher for 14 years, many other Oregon ag teachers tend to be family friends. Beth was always so kind and supportive to me as a student, so when she was in town with kids to attend the Washington Leadership Conference, I was happy that we had the chance to chat a bit over dinner.

I also tagged along when her group visited the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial. I have been a lot of places in DC but this was actually a first for me, which is a bit embarrassing since it is only about 4 miles from my apartment!

Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.


My favorite little guy Wesley Ray is getting a baby sister in December!

My Life in Memes

Memes that are speaking to me right now… both thought provoking and just plain funny.

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 13

One of the main things to know about me is how much I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations, so I am starting a new version of my Friday Jam Sessions that I hope will become a weekly series. Please join in and share your own picks! Also, you can read my past Friday Jam Session posts HERE.

Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
 Dream Your Life Away – Vance Joy


So this album came out almost a year ago (September 2014) but it is still the default CD in my car. I bought it on a whim because it was $8, after only hearing “Riptide.” But when I accidently found that debut song that summer I remember texting my best friend Megan and saying something to the effect of “this guy’s sound is one that we are going to be obsessed over for a LONG time.” Just an FYI though, his music videos are really weird. I also really like “Georgia,” but really you should check out the whole album

2.Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
 Locked Away – R.City ft. Adam Levine
Listen HERE.
I was sold at Adam Levine.

3.Favorite New (new-to-me) Artist/Band
 Tori Kelly


I always say there is something special going on when I LOVE someone’s whole album, especially if it is their debut. Great lyrics, an unique sound and I. LOVE. HER. HAIR! #curlyhairdontcare. And on top of that she has a song featuring Ed Sheeran…but we’ll get to that obsession another time. Her album is called “Unbreakable Smile” and besides the song above I’m also digging “Nobody Love,” First Heartbreak” and “I Was Made For Loving You.”

4.Jam I Have on Repeat
Crash and Burn – Thomas Rhett


The day I made the connection that Thomas Rhett was Rhett Atkins’ son my mind was blown. Though he has already followed his Dad’s footsteps into some successful songwriting, he has definitely created his own successful behind the mic. This song and video continue to crack me up.

5.Favorite Cover, Remix or Mashup
Trap Queen – Ed Sheeran (original by Fetty Wap)


I am pretty sure Ed Sheeran could sing a chemistry equation and I would love it. I have been a fan since his first EP came out and some of my favorites are covers that he flips, which lead me to this one. I am not really a fan of the song itself, so I would not advise scrutinizing the lyrics too closely, but I bookmarked the video on my browser so I could get to it easily…

6.Favorite Spotify List
 “Better Off Without You” by Spotify
I don’t even have anyone do be angry at but this playlist almost makes me wish I did.

7.#SoulMusic I’m Obsessing Over
Bright – Echosmith


In college my roommate and I started referring to certain songs as #SoulMusic. To me is usually refers to something that moved me a bit with its lyrics or sometimes just its sound, and it’s usually something that gets a spot on one of my permanent playlists. But I think the main point is it kind of different for everyone. 

8.”Oldie, But a Goodie” I Heard This Week
Lip Gloss – Lil Mama
Listen HERE
PEOPLE, do you remember this song!? I was out last weekend and this song came on in the bar, and this guy could sing it, in rhythm, word for word. I was so impressed! Now I don’t know if this was ever considered a “good” song by anyone, but I’ve been laughing about it all week so I decided it was worth a shout out and a shared laugh or two.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
I Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd


I have no idea what this song means. I googled it and apparently no one else does either.
But I love it, but love it… see what I did there?

10.Taking Me Down Memory Lane
The Future Freaks Me Out – Motion City Soundtrack
Video
As I was writing each of the categories for this new version of Friday Jam Session I kept thinking of all the songs usually trigger certain memories or represent certain times in my life. Yeah, I am one of those cheesy people. Then, conveniently this very song came on later that day on my iTunes. When I met my best friend in Megan college (you’ll hear that name a lot in this series) we bonded quickly over our love for music. She introduced me to this really weird band, basically by saying, “don’t actually ever try to figure out how they come up with this stuff, just accept the fact that you are going to love it.” Well, six years later I can say cheers to friends and weird music that make the best road trip jams.

11. Work, Work it Out
Don’t Look Down – Martin Garrix ft. Usher
Listen HERE
Get this on your running playlist stat!

12.Making Me Want to Fall in Love
What I Love About You – Logan Mize


 I have legitimately lost count of the amount of times I have seen Logan Mize perform. I know every word, to every song. His music is everything I love about Kansas and it has been fun to watch him over the past few years grow from Aggieville’s stages to his growing success in Nashville. I think his fans in Kansas can be selfish, we love his music, but sometimes what to keep him as our undiscovered, best kept secret. But no, his music should definitely be listened to.

13.Guilty Listen of the Week
 Drag Me Down – One Direction


Don’t even start to judge me. Every generation has its boy bands that you pretend “oh I only know this one song because it’s always on,” but most of us are liars. I listen to a lot of music, most of it objectively really good, but my theory is that boy bands should go into their own shame-free, this-is-wonderful-but-terrible category to every now and then listen to, guilt free. And honestly, I was extremely amused the hysteria created by the one member leaving, so I just  really wanted to see if they could hold it together with their new stuff.

14.Song That I Originally Loved, But Is Now Overplayed
See You Again – Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth


When my sister (who is abnormally obsessed with the movie series) texted me this song immediately loved it. And then in the theater at the end of the movie?! Cue the tears again. But then hear it everywhere I went and on EVERY Spotify playlist and it just started to get old. On another note…Charlie Puth is extremely awkward to watch, both in this video and live TV performances.

15.Popular Song That Is Making My Ears Bleed
Cool For The Summer – Demi Lavato
Listen HERE
Ummm NO.

16.Country Pick of the Week
Save it for a Rainy Day – Kenny Chesney


Growing up Kenny was my favorite country act, so he will always have a special place. Years later, I think I’m just really impressed that he continues to find/write songs that fit his beach bum country persona.

BONUS: 5 Songs On My 2015 Summer Jam Playlist
Most of these first came out last summer, but they’ve been my repeats in 2015
House Party – Sam Hunt
FUN – Pitbull ft. Chris Brown
Kiss You in the Morning – Michael Ray
Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon
Day Drinking – Little Big Town

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

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Linking up with these blogs today!
* Momfessionals, A Little Bit of Everything and Grace & Love Blog
* Life In Leggings
* Three Sister and Us, Complete Bliss Blog, Mice in The Kitchen and Second Chances Girl