This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel with one of my sorority sisters and some of the brothers of Alpha Gamma Rho to Atlanta for the Alpha Gamma Rho-Sigma Alpha Leadership Seminar. The seminar itself was wonderful, filled with so much that we can apply to both our chapters and to our individual lives. Growth is so necessary to achieve great things and I really believe that a lot of what I learned this weekend was exactly what I needed to spark that change.

Beyond the conference, this weekend truly opened my eyes to how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends in my life. We always have the best time together and this weekend proved no different. Between meeting brothers and sisters from other chapters, a 1 a.m. walk to Waffle House, and taking spontaneous detours to UGA and Clemson (and finding the BEST little restaurant - shout out to the AGR brothers from Clemson for that suggestion!), we had no shortage of laughs and we now have a million stories to tell.



Yesterday was one of those days where I felt perfectly, incandescently happy. 20 is a weird age, I've realized, where one minute it seems like you're actually figuring it out, then the next minute it feels like this:

World’s Funniest fail ouch falling jumping

In order to survive those ups and downs you have to develop a really good sense of humor and you have to learn that if you want to be happy, you just have to be. It is actually a choice you have to make and dedicate yourself to following through on.

Take yesterday, for example. First thing when I got to work, I burned my lip on my coffee and then somehow (don't ask how because I manage to do things that really make no sense) I splashed coffee in my eye. But I was exquisitely happy. I felt full of joy and hope and everything felt like it was going right.

Fast forward to this morning. I burned my finger on my straightner, then after my first class I got to work only to realize my favorite necklace had fallen off somewhere between my apartment and my first class, and finally, I still haven't gotten a text back on something I needed to hear about. Needless to say, I've been slightly more annoyed today.

I decided, however, as I set out to write this, that I just need to be happy. I just have to do it. College is really strange, y'all. You can literally experience every emotion on the spectrum in an average day. So at some point you have to decide to stop being pushed and pulled by the circumstances and situations and people around you and you have to be happy for yourself. Otherwise, you're going to have a really rough time.

In order to brighten my mood a little bit, I compiled some of my favorite things from the past week!

This song:

Reminiscing on Ireland

Good friends

My upcoming trip to Atlanta! 


"The One" Doesn't Exist

We 20 something girls romanticize love too much. That probably doesn't make much sense, does it? How can you romanticize romance? It comes from the same root word, for goodness sake! Think about what it means to romanticize something. It is to make something seem better than it actually is, to describe something in an unrealistic fashion.

I am in no way saying that love is made to seem better than it really is. Love is the most complicated, deep, incredible emotion you can have towards another human being. It is, honestly, the best thing in this world. To truly love another person is to reflect Jesus' love for us and there is nothing ordinary about that.

What I'm saying is, however, that we make the process of falling in love and finding our forever person seem like a walk in the park. We are supposed to meet a boy, look into each other's eyes, fall madly in love, and live happily ever after with the one person who was made for us. Our "one." They'll be ready for you, you'll be ready for them, and everything will be like a fairy tale.

Except it won't. Except it doesn't work like that. Except love is terribly messy and hard and frustrating. There is not one person out there for you. How could there be only one person you could possibly be compatible with? You grow, people change, and depending on the time in your life when you are ready to fall in love and settle down, you will be around different people. It's a chance game and there are multiple players on the field.

It's easy to think that someone is your one. I met a boy and he is incredible. He has a huge, kind heart and we get along so well- you could say we click. I have feelings for him that I've never felt for anyone else and it's scary and I feel like one day, if the stars align, we could be so terribly happy together. That is what your one feels like. But to say he is my one would imply that if what we feel for each other doesn't pan out, I would be relegated to being alone for the rest of my life. If it doesn't work out with your one, then what? You're not going to be alone forever.

Love is a choice. You can't reasonably think falling in love will be so easy when marriage is one of the hardest things two people can enter into together. It is a fight, everyday, to hold on to one another and to God. You make a conscious decision to commit yourself to one person who you get along with, essentially. You decide to love them despite all their flaws, to believe in them when they don't believe in themselves, and to be there, no matter what, come hell or high water.

Falling in love is a fight. It is picking a person that seems fun and cool and that likes the same things as you do and convincing them that you're going to unconditionally love every piece of them. Do you think it's easy to convince someone that you will always be there? Do you think it's easy to actually always be there and not let something scare you away?

You will end up with someone that God brought into your life, someone that will make you incredibly happy, and who will love you unconditionally, and who will fulfill your every dream. But he won't be "the one." You won't fall in love at first sight because love is a process. Love is constantly evolving, always forgiving, incredibly demanding, exhausting, beautiful, wonderful, and it takes time. To decide if you can put in what it takes to truly love a person like they deserve to be loved shouldn't be a hasty one.



Belfast is known for the murals on the side of buildings. This one in particular caught my interest!

Belfast has many walls separating the Protestant communities from the Catholic ones. This particular wall is the longest in the city and features encouraging words of unity and love from visitors from all over the world.
Belfast City Hall

The cottage we stayed at in Glaslough

The group after our final ride with our 1st place ribbons! In the US they are blue, but in Europe they are red.
All the fixin's for tea!

My first Guiness in Ireland!


Why Are Calves Kept in Hutches?

Some of the most common questions I hear regarding the dairy industry are about why calves are managed the way they are. Mainly, why are they taken from the mothers so soon and why are they housed alone? Calf management is a critical component of a dairy, because that's the future of the dairy right there! The heifer calves will one day become milk cows and produce for the farm.

Calves are removed from their mothers within a day of being born. Depending on the dairy, they may be allowed to nurse and receive the cow's colostrum or they may receive colostrum from a bottle. Colostrum is the first milk a cow produces and it is full of antibodies - the good things that help prevent diseases in cows! It is very important for calves to get this first milk so their immune system can develop properly. Once they receive colostrum, they are fed a milk replacer or milk that is pulled out of the bulk tank until they are weaned.

Most dairies in the US house calves in individual hutches. There has been a movement towards using group housing for calves, but individual housing is still the most common method. There are many reasons for keeping calves by themselves until after they are weaned. Respiratory infections are the number one killer of calves. Do you know how respiratory infections are spread? Through contact with sick calves! By keeping them by themselves, we are protecting them from getting sick. By keeping them by themselves, farm managers are also better able to monitor how much each calf is drinking and eating to ensure they are getting proper nutritional intake. Additionally, health monitoring is much easier when calves are kept individually. Calves aren't completely isolated, however. They are kept near one another, just not close enough to touch.

Photo courtesy of Real Agriculture
The hutches are positioned so calves are protected from the elements and they are bedded with lots of material so the calves can cuddle up during colder weather. They typically have runs where they can walk around and stretch their legs.

There are many benefits to housing calves in hutches that people don't necessarily see from the outside. Biosecurity and health of the cows are the number one priority on any farm, and keeping calves separated is one of the many way to combat infectious diseases and protect herd health.