Don’t Be Afraid to Talk

Last night I read an article about a woman who frequently flies and loves to meet new people. On one of her flights she was seated next to a 70 year old farmer. She expressed how much she enjoyed listening to his story and how she better understands where her food comes from because of their conversation.

If you know me personally or have read some of my other posts on Sarah Sums It Up, you know that I LOVE farmers. They are my favorite people to talk to. I have a family full of farmers and many of my closest friends are farmers. But I must confess that at times I am scared to talk to them. I am scared because it makes me sad that I don’t get to have conversations with my favorite farmer, my dad, anymore. It’s silly really. I will go awhile without talking to some of my family and farmer friends and when I finally do stop to catch up with them, I leave with a smile on my face. I walk away from our conversations thinking, why did I wait so long to stop and say hi and to see how they are doing? I walk away happy.

For those of you who have questions about where your food comes from or you just want to find our more about what farmers do, talk to a farmer. Today farmers are understanding that it’s important to have conversations with consumers. They know that the work they are doing is good and they are learning how to share that with the consumer. Social media has opened so many avenues for farmers and ranchers to share their stories with anyone who wants to listen. Here is a list of some of my favorite farmers and ranchers out there sharing their story:

The Peterson Brothers
Agriculture Proud
The Farmer’s Life
The Beef Jar

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National Agriculture Day is March 25th! Mark your calendars for this great opportunity to start a conversation with a farmer or rancher.

To sum it up, if you get the chance to talk to a farmer, do it.

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Show Some Appreciation

It’s National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week. Thanks to Illinois Corn’s blog, I was able to learn more about this. What a great way to show and tell people that you appreciation them. There is definitely a particular group of individuals that I would like to thank and show appreciation to…

Dear Farmers and Ranchers,

Thank you kindly for planting, raising, caring, harvesting and working for the food and pretty much everything I use in my day. Without you life would be pretty bland and cold. I hope you are keeping a positive outlook on your future in the agriculture industry because I and everyone else needs you. I promise to thank God for you and your work every day. I will also continue to do my part in sharing the story of agriculture.

To sum it up, I appreciate you and what you do every single day matters.

Sincerely,

Always a Farmer’s Daughter

The month of March is Agriculture Appreciation Month! Be sure to continue showing those Farmers and Ranchers that you appreciation what they do.

I also took this week as an opportunity to send my favorite kind of mail to friends and family. I appreciate you all too!

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To My Valentine…

I promise this is not going to be one of those posts confessing how much I hate Valentine’s Day. I am single. Does this mean I hate Valentine’s Day? If you asked me this question on Monday I would have shouted, “HATE IT!” But, for some reason I have had a change of heart (no pun intended here). As I started thinking about this holiday where people pour out their love, I thought well goodness I have a lot of love to pour too…

I have a love for:

1. Homemade salsa. Favorite snack EVER!!!!!!!!

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2. Cowboy boots. I love every single pair for a different reason. And I will continue to add to my collection.

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3. Stationary. I should not be unsupervised in this section at T.J. Maxx.

4. Children’s books. So much so, that I hope to write my own down the road.

5. Sitting on my front porch. Rain or shine.

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6. Indiana. My flyover state is pretty great.

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7. Westerns. Yep, my favorite actor is John Wayne.

8. Speaking of John…Wooden definitely makes my list. The coach, man, teacher, that I gain many of my “words to live by.”

9. The wonderful ladies in my life. Each one is so special to me.

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10. Campfires. I don’t even care if it makes my hair smell. Give me a fire under the stars and it’s my perfect night.

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11. Beef. I have to have this protein in my diet.

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12. The man who raised me and who continues to help shape the person I am. He always looked after me. Now he does it from a higher view.

He's always looked after me. Now he does from a higher view.

My Father and I

13. Speaking of higher views, my dad has some help sitting next to my heavenly Father. Thank you both for doing your jobs so well.

14. And of course I cannot forget about Farmers. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be able to love half the things on my list.

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There it is, my love poured out for you. So who is my valentine? Well it’s everything on the list above and so much more. To sum it up, my valentine is me and the things that remind me to love this life.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I love that you are reading my blog.

There’s Just Somethin’ Bout a Farmer

For the past couple of months a certain story keeps popping up in my newsfeed on my social media accounts. It’s a story of a fallen Farmer from Illinois. I’ve read it and every time I see this story I’m reminded of a similar story. The story of my own fallen Farmer. The stories are not the same, they never are. But one similarity they do share is the word, “farmer.”

When I go visit my dear friends in Greens Fork, Indiana, one of my homes away from home, the story of my fallen Farmer always comes up in conversation. It especially comes up when I am talking to the mom in this family. She has a story of her own fallen Farmer. She, like me, will always be a Farmer’s daughter. I feel so comfortable talking to her about my Dad and I think she feels the same about hers. Every single time we talk about them she says, “You know Sarah, there’s just somethin’ bout a Farmer,” and she stops there. Neither one of us finishes the sentence. We sit there in silence. Both of us finishing the sentence in our own way. We say the words about ours Dads that are too hard to say out loud, we see the memories we made with them, we hear their voice. We take a moment of silence to remember our Farmers. We take a moment to be thankful for them.

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As you sit down tomorrow to give thanks for the many blessings in your life, take a moment of silence to remember those that are no longer on this earth with us. Take a moment to be thankful for them. Especially those Farmers, well to sum it up, there’s just somethin’ bout them.

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings!

For the past two months my weekends have been consumed with weddings. I attended these weddings as a bridesmaid, a friend, and a sister. Each one was so beautiful in its own way and I had such a good time at all of them!

I was a bridesmaid in my dear friend, Courtney’s wedding. While I did have my bridesmaid duties at this wedding, I also didn’t know many people so I got to spend pretty much the whole night on the dance floor. It was a blast and both of their families made feel like one of their own. After the wedding and honeymoon my dear friend joined her husband, Kevin in North Carolina. I miss her so much but thank goodness for SnapChat!! Courtney and I send snaps throughout our days to keep each other informed of what life looks like these days. I can’t wait to go visit them!!

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The next weekend I celebrated my sister, Katie’s marriage. She and Brett got hitched out in Colorado with a beautiful mountain backdrop. Just close family was in attendance and it was the most intimate and emotional wedding I’ve ever been to. After the ceremony I told Katie and Brett that I loved that they chose to have the ceremony there in the mountains because we were closer to heaven, we were closer to our dads. But, the weekend in September was a time to celebrate their marriage with their friends and family. It was on my sister’s new family’s farm under the most beautiful fall sky between the cornfields.

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I had a little break from weddings the weekend after that. I headed up to Boilermaker country for homecoming festivities and when I say festivities I mean Harry’s. That’s the only place my sister and friends went and of course we had a blast.

The first weekend of October my sister and I headed west to Kansas. My blonde sister friend, Lindsay married a Kansas boy back in August in Indiana. That October weekend was a celebration of their marriage on Cody’s family’s ranch. My sister and I had a great time road trippin’, talking about our lives, agriculture, our beliefs, our outlook on the future and jamming out to our favorite songs. We also learned our lesson to stop and fill up our gas tank before getting off the turnpike. That was probably the most nervous I have ever seen my sister. So, now we know that there are no gas stations between the turnpike and Council Grove, Kansas. Speaking of Council Grove, Kansas, such a neat town that I can’t wait to visit again! And I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Lindsay and Cody!20131024-173552.jpg

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The weekend after the Kansas road trip my other blonde sister friend, Amy married my best friend Liz’s big brother Marc. I remember when these two started dating back when I was in elementary school. It was such a joy to see these two tie the knot, finally. Amy has done my hair and makeup for every school dance I have attended, spent many a nights with me in my mom’s basement, been there for me through all the laughter and tears my life has brought me. She is without a doubt my sister and has become my mentor as I start my teaching career. Amy and Marc are both pretty much family and I couldn’t be more happy for them as they start a new life chapter.

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Speaking of new life chapters, I have started a new one as well. I have a teaching job. While it is only temporary (I am teaching for someone while they are on maternity leave) it is a job and more experience. I am so grateful for this opportunity and hope that it will lead to something else.

Now that I am on fall break I’ve had time for myself again. Wednesday night one of my favorite bands was in state. The Josh Abbott Band is from Texas and I am so glad they came to Indiana! I got to meet them and of course I thanked them for coming to Indiana about twenty-five times…embarrassing! But it was a great show and a great night with some of my favorite people.

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I know that it’s been a bit since I posted last, but to sum it up I’ve been busy.

Thanks for reading and catching up on my life. Have you been busy like me?

A Familiar Face That Became a Friend

This weekend I get to stand next to my dear friend, Courtney as she says, “I do.” to the man of her dreams.

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I remember the first time I saw Courtney. It was the first semester of my freshman year of college in history class. You know that class that no one talks to each other because you don’t want to be there. Well, Courtney and I never spoke two words to each other that semester. It wasn’t until the next semester in an English class that we finally talked. I found out she was an Elementary Education major like me. We sat next to each other that whole semester and had classes together our sophomore year too. But I’d say we didn’t really become friends until our junior year, when we started taking courses that actually pertained to our major. I walked into that first class junior year happy to see a familiar face. Courtney’s face. And the rest is pretty much history. I don’t think I could have made it through my college years without her. From sitting next to each other in those boring college classes, to late night texts about assignments and encouraging each other to stay focused. To being each other Valentine’s day dates, shopping sprees, dance lessons (trying to teach me to dance) to listening and humoring me when I get on my soap box about agriculture stuff. From celebrating our accomplishments, life events, crying and laughing with each other through it all, we became dear friends. Courtney is a beautiful person inside and out and I am so blessed to call her one of my best friends.

To sum it up, happy wedding weekend Court! Thank you for being that familiar face and friend I’ve always needed. I love you and cannot wait to see where our lives and friendship lead us next!

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Indiana State Fair Greatness

Our state fair is a great state fair! Don’t miss it, don’t even be late!

It’s the year of the popcorn at our great Indiana State Fair! While this post is a bit late (opening day was back on Aug. 2nd), I sure hope you don’t miss it! You’ve got this weekend to get on out to the Indiana State Fairgrounds to enjoy the year of popcorn and the new Glass Barn exhibit.

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The Glass Barn is new to the Indiana State Fair and it is a great addition to the fairgrounds in telling the story of Indiana agriculture. While visiting you can learn about the history of farm technology, see the journey of an Indiana soybean, and play interactive games in the uFarm section of the barn.
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There are three different family farms featured in the barn. You can learn about them in the WeGrow section. Depending on what time you visit you can see and listen to one of the farmers while they are on their farm (amazing how technology can connect us)!

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You can learn about different food products consumers eat (that’s YOU) in the uEat section, as well as all the other popular consumer products.

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Sometime during your visit be sure to grab a friend or family member and get your picture taken in the PictureU section. There are four different backgrounds you can choose from. All are so fun!

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If you have already visited the Indiana State Fair I hope you enjoyed yourself and visited the Glass Barn, ate a bag of popcorn and learned something new about Indiana agriculture. If you have not, I suggest you go visit before it’s over because it really is great!

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Words to Live By from the Birthday Girl

Today is my sister, Katie’s birthday. There will never be enough words or blog posts for me to fully describe Katie Thomas or to thank her for being my big sister. She is one of the most passionate people that I know. You can see her passion through the work she does and the relationships she has with the people in her life. She is the best role model and I am so blessed that I can call her my big sister and friend.

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We are four years apart and we have had our ups and downs but at the end of the day we love each other. We have experienced so much together and I can’t imagine going through this thing called life with anyone else at my side. Many people say that we are nothing a like and some say that we are. I think we make a perfect balance. She is on the go and persistent, while I am laid back and take things slow. She has straight hair and I have curly hair, but as you can see when I straighten my hair we look so much a like it is scary!

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As my older sister she has taught me so much. She gives me advice and help when I need it and when I don’t ask for it. That’s just what older sisters do. I am lucky that she always looks out for me and pushes me to do my best.

Here are some of my favorite Katie Thomas Words to Live By:

“Have passion finding your passion.”

“Life can be messed up, but fabulous.”

“A front porch is the best place to be in the world.”

For those of you that haven’t heard, my big sister is gettin’ hitched next month! I am beyond excited and happy for her to start this new adventure with Brett. I only hope that later down the road when we start our own families that our children have a relationship much like I do with my big sister.

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To sum it up, happy birthday Katherine Mae. Thank you for all you do and for being you. Love you!

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Happy One Year Sarah Sums It Up!

I cannot believe that it has been a year since I published my first post on Sarah Sums It Up! I started this blog because I enjoyed writing a blog during my internship last summer. I decided I should try it on my own.  And so, Sarah Sums It Up was born!  A year later I am so glad that I did. Sarah Sums It Up has given me a creative outlet to share my writing, pictures, thoughts, life events, and my passion for agriculture. I never thought that people would actually read what I write, but you have and I am so grateful to you for letting me be, well me.  Thank you!

So much has happened in my life in just the past year and I love that I was able to find a place to share and save my memories and stories on this blog. I know that I was not always constant with my posts. When I started I tried to write and post twice a week, then I would only post once a week and some weeks I wouldn’t post at all. I have been busy lately but I don’t like excuses so I am not going to give any. What I am going to give is a goal for myself. A goal for another year of blogging on Sarah Sums It Up.

To sum it up, stay tuned for more!

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It Happened. I’m a College Grad.

Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.

Last Sunday I graduated from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a degree in Elementary Education.  It was also Mother’s Day, so I was able to share the day with my lifelong educator, my Mom.  This milestone was a rough one for me to accept. Sure I am going to miss being a college student with all its wonderful perks. It’s hard for me to grasp that I am growing up.  I am figuring out who I am and what roads I want to take and trails I want to leave behind.  It is has been hard for me to accept that this is the first chapter of my life that my Dad won’t be apart of.  He got to see me start my college career.  The truth is I am scared of entering a new life chapter.  I am afraid of failing and not making the right decisions.  I have never been a perfectionist, but I do like to do things right.  And, well, I hope that I am doing life right.  These are the words that I am trying to live by right now, “Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.”  I need to remember that it’s okay if I don’t have everything figured out in the beginning of this new life chapter of mine.  It’s okay if I can’t do things right the first time.  I will get.  I will catch on and get to where I am supposed to go.  If it takes some time for me to get there, than so be it.

So, what’s next? I am looking for teaching jobs. I am being a bit picky right now. That will probably change, but I need to do what’s right for me. I want to be in an environment that fits me and my teaching style. So, if any of you readers know of any schools hiring in Central Indiana let me know please and thank you!

To sum it up, right now I am enjoying being a 22 year old college graduate with her friends, trying to figure out this chapter called, “Life After College.”

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Have a fabulous Wednesday!! What are your words to live by when you are entering a new life chapter?