I have a problem with change. I hate it. I'm a Libra (the scales), and about the only thing I believe about any of that is that I need balance. I crave it. I require it. I seek neutral, the status quo. So when something happens that shakes up the balance I have established, I don't handle it well. There are things I can prepare myself for really well and the transitions tend to go smoothly, but other things... it's not quite as pretty.

I haven't publicly announced it yet, but I started working on June 5th for the Academic Programs office in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State! CALS is the college that housed my major, so I was really excited to be able to work at State, first of all, and, secondly, to be able to work for a office that I had some experience with. So here I am, in my third week of the real world and this change has been pretty smooth so far. It'll probably hit me when everyone is going back to school in the fall, because, honestly, it kind of just feels like a summer internship. Except it's actually my life now. Weird.

Spending this summer away from Harrison... not so smooth. It's strange being away from him because I'm used to my best friend being around to buy me food get food with me and take me on adventures. Even last semester when he was student teaching, I still saw him almost every weekend. I'm really learning to make the most of the times I do get to see him now. It hasn't been uncommon, and it won't be uncommon, this summer to go two or three weeks without seeing him. I know I can't complain too much because there are tons of people out there whose boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses are further away than that or deployed, but it's still tough to get used to (especially when your love language is quality time).

What I've found helps me keep a positive attitude, however, is writing down something I'm grateful for every morning. In the notebook I carry with me, I write my piece of gratitude along with a Bible verse for the day. Holding tight to the fact that God isn't setting us up for failure or hurt is something that keeps me in good spirits, even when I miss Harrison a ton!



The other day, I was stuck a couple cars back from a tractor on its way from one field to the next. I was on my way home from work, and I was definitely ready to be home, but there was something about slowing down and knowing I was done for the day while this farmer still had plenty to do helped me to take a deep breath. It was evident that I was the only one who thought this.

The driver directly behind the farmer was tailgating so close I'm not even sure the farmer could see the car back there. The other cars were tailgating him, obviously in a rush to get where they were going. Car after car passed the tractor, some cutting it way too close for comfort to the oncoming traffic. By the time I was the one directly behind, my turn was coming up so I stayed put. I'm sure the people behind me loved me for it, but I don't care.

It's time for wheat harvest in North Carolina and soon it will be time to plant soybeans. You (obviously) see an increase in farm equipment out on the roads during this time of the year. Those of us who have grown up in sleepy, rural towns don't mind the slow-moving tractors (slow-moving being relative- have you ever been in a combine at 20 miles per hour? You might as well be on the autobahn). There has been, however, an influx of people who grew up removed from agriculture moving to communities that are still farming towns at their heart. This is true for Johnston County because of our close proximity to Raleigh. You can live here for much cheaper with a short commute to work, but along with that comes the culture. And the culture in the summer time revolves around fields of corn, tobacco, wheat, and beans. The "city-folk" sometimes just don't understand that.

Here's the thing to remember: farmers want to get home just as bad as you do. But guess what? They probably don't get to. They'll be out in the field sun-up to sun-down trying to get the crops harvested before the next storm rolls in. Farmers want to get to work just as bad as you do. Farmers want to see their wife or husband or kids just as bad as you do. Just like you have busy times at work, this is their busy time.

So put down your phone. Watch the road. Slow down. Don't tailgate (anyone- especially a tractor). Pass with care. Take a deep breath and find some patience.

Farmers typically will move over whenever they can to let cars behind them go. They respect you on the road, so respect them back. Vehicle-tractor accidents are more frequent than we like to think and they are often fatal for both parties involved. Nothing is too important to put both your life and other's lives at risk. Tractors are heavy machinery, but a vehicle traveling at a much higher rate of speed can easily flip a tractor or sprayer, jack-knife a planter they are pulling, run them off the road, or any other horrific accident you can think of.

I worry every time Harrison is on the road in the combine or pulling the planter- and, if I'm being honest, when he is in the tractor in the field, when he is near the tractor, and when he's doing anything on the farm because y'all - farming is DANGEROUS. I always make sure to say a prayer for him and the other farmers out there doing what they have to do so that we can eat.

And if you're passing a farmer going opposite directions- throw him or her a wave. Kindness goes a long way, especially for the people who bless us with bread and potatoes.

Just for fun- harvesting soybeans with Harrison last fall!



With rain in the forecast all this week, Cassie and her friends managed to squeeze in a graduation photo session in between storms. I met them at Yates Mill Pond and then we went back to Clayton to take some on the high school's football field. These ladies' personalities just shine through the pictures and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out! Best of luck to them in everything that lies ahead for them (ECU for Cassie- go Pirates!).



My friend Taylor asked me to take graduation cap and gown pictures of her the other day, so we visited some favorite locations around campus, as well as some that held meaning for her - including Scott Hall, the home of the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, in which she is getting her B.S. We had a lot of fun taking a ton of pictures, and these 19 are just a sampling, but some of my favorites that capture her beauty and happiness! Our friend, Evan, makes a guest appearance, too!



Around a year ago (almost exactly a year ago) I befriended this boy who was in my newly found circle of friends. I really met him back in the fall of 2015 and we would talk on occasion at get togethers, but he was never around much because he was running for FFA national office. Pretty successful guy, right? I think so.

I truly think, however, that our friendship truly started on his 21st birthday. Harrison and I practically became inseparable after that and I'm so thankful for the different relationships we've cultivated over the past year.

I don't know how it's even possible that we've been best friends for a year and dating for about six-and-a-half months now. We have done so many things in the past 12 months, made so many memories, learned so much, grown so much. There's no one else whose hand I'd rather hold in this crazy life.

I am so thankful for his way of telling stories, the way his eyes crinkle when he laughs, his unconditional and constant love and support, his love for traveling and seeing new things, how he knows me so well (almost as well as I know myself), his gingerbread house decorating skills, and his passion for songs about the USA.

Happy 22nd birthday to the sweet, strong, handsome, caring, and loving boy I get to call mine!