You Gave Me Your Heart

Each year Father’s Day comes around. And each year since my Dad passed away I think about how much I have grown, how much my life has changed, and how much my heart has shaped me into the person I am today.  I think about all the things I have done since he has passed and it seems I have lived a lifetime without him.  But then again it feels like he has been there every step of the way.  And he has been there with me…in my heart.  You see my Dad gave me his heart: his big, strong, passionate heart is the same heart that beats inside me.  There was never a moment when he was still living that I doubted he loved me.  Every night he would say goodnight and tell me he loved me, even through high school.  Every time we said goodbye, he’d say, “Love ya!”.

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I was never that girl who got her heart broken by boys in school.  Honestly, I never really had time for them or cared to have a boyfriend.  During my school years, I just couldn’t find the boy I wanted to give my heart to because it already belonged to someone else…my Dad.  He was the only man I needed in my life.  He never disappointed me.  He was a role model on how to love.  He loved my mother so very much, and I alway knew I wanted, no needed, to find a love like that.  He helped me create the expectations of the man I needed to give my heart to.  And I always knew it was going to take a while to find that man.

Mom & Dad '80 and '08

Left: My parents as an engaged couple. Right: My happily married parents dancing at my cousin’s wedding.

Pops and I dancing at Garard wedding

He was my first dancing partner.

Pops and I eating oreos

He taught me how to eat Oreos.

Pop looking down on me

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

It wasn’t until I was 19 that my heart was broken for the first time.  On November 27, 2009, my Dad broke my heart.  I couldn’t believe that he was the one to first break my heart. But then I had to understand he answered God’s call to go home to heaven. Although I was heartbroken, it didn’t last long.  You see, something else happened on that November night.  As I was at the scene of his accident, I overheard my mom say, “What are we going to do about Sarah?”.  Everyone was so worried how I would be after he died because I was very close to him.  After I heard her say those words, it was like someone had picked me up and wrapped my heart with assurance that I would be just fine.  And I know who did that act I needed so much right then and there.  It was my Dad healing the heart he had just broken.

My Father and I

But my heart didn’t heal overnight.  Over the course of these six-and-a-half years, I have pieced together my heart with the help of my friends, family, God, and my Dad. I am happy to say that now my heart is healed.  I know my Dad didn’t mean to break it, and I am the person I am today because of my once broken heart.  I am also so grateful for the people who have helped me heal it.  I pray that it will never break into those many pieces again, but that’s “just part of it,” as my Dad would say.  Part of this thing called life is about all the pieces it takes to make it a great one.  And I know that he is so very happy that my heart is healed and how I have given it to a man that far exceeds his and my expectations, the Fish Farmer.  Now, I am looking forward to everything my healed heart has to give in the years to come.

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Me and the Fish Farmer who has my heart.

To sum it up, my heart is full this Father’s Day, and I wish all those Fathers out there a day of heart felt wishes and a blessed day.  To my readers, thank you for giving me an outlet to share stories of my Dad and the story of my once broken and now healed heart.  To my Pops, thank you for giving me your heart.

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Celebrate National Ag Month With Us

This month is National Agriculture Month.  With spring right around the corner, March is a perfect month to plant seeds and share the story of agriculture with people.  My sister, Katie and I are passionate about working together to share and educate others about the work farmers and ranchers do for us.

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We loved visiting the sunflower fields with Dad. To this day they are my favorite flower.

Katherine, (that’s what I call her) recently started her own blog, Fancy in the Country where she shares stories about being a farmer’s wife and her life of all things fancy and country.  She also uses her blog as an outlet to share her passion of agriculture.  I started my blog for similar reasons, but the thing I love most about our blogs is they share stories about our father.  The first farmer we knew and loved.  That passion we use and share so immensely in our writing came from him.  He taught us to do things with passion or not at all.  He taught Katherine first and then me.  Now that he is no longer with us, I look to her for this guidance.  Boy she does a fantastic job filling his shoes!

My sister is the most passionate person I know.  I am so lucky and blessed that I get to do this thing called life with her.  I also love that within the past year we have combined our writing skills, thoughts, expertise, and ideas to produce some of the work we share on our blogs.  Looking back I think it’s ironic that the first piece we wrote together was the eulogy we read at our father’s funeral over 5 years ago.  I like to think of it as Dad’s way of making us work together and to discover we have a way with our words when they are written together.  I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for us as we continue to work together in sharing our passion for agriculture.

To sum it up, I ask you to celebrate National Agriculture Month with us!  Mark your calendars for Ag Day on March 18th and stay tuned for more from the Thomas Sisters!

Indiana Young Farmer Conference 2015

As I pulled into the parking lot looking for a place to park I found many trucks taking up most of the spaces. These trucks had front license plates that read, “Got milk?, BEEF, Boiler Up!,” or the FFA emblem. This was the first sign that I knew I was in the right place.

This past weekend I attended the Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference in Indianapolis. I, along with other Young Farmer members from my home county of Morgan County had the opportunity to network with fellow young farmers from around the state, discuss industry issues, and gain advice and inspiration from speakers.  This conference provided us with more tools we need to help share agriculture’s story.  We advocate for agriculture or what I like to call, “AGvocate.”

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Stickers we received and wore to show we are “AGvocates.”

We also had the opportunity to help fellow hungry Hoosiers by packing 30, 888 meals for Pack Away Hunger. To me this was such a special moment during the conference. I was in a room creating these meals with people that grow and raise food. Without them that moment wouldn’t be possible. This is one of many reasons I enjoy being a part of the Young Farmer group. It is not only a group of people that share a similar passion for agriculture, but it is also a service group. We work together to make a positive impact for our communities.

Morgan County Young Farmer members with packed boxes of meals for Pack Away Hunger.

Morgan County Young Farmer members with packed boxes of meals for Pack Away Hunger.

Another one of my favorite moments of the conference was listening to Kelly Barnes speak about how to “create great moments more often.” Barnes was raised on a family farm in Oklahoma. He knows how important farmers and ranchers are to their communities, their states, the U.S., and the world. “People in the world need you [farmers and ranchers]. People will be better off because you’re here. People are fortunate because you exist.”

Read more about Barnes’s recipe for creating great moments more often by jumping on over to my friend and fellow Young Farmer member, Chelsea Nord O’Brien’s (she recently got hitched, but will forever be Nord to me) blog, Boilermaker Ag.

“Like” Boilermaker Ag and Young Farmers of Morgan County on Facebook to stay up to date on Agriculture industry news and what’s happening with the Morgan Co. Young Farmers.

To sum it up, work on creating great moments more often and always remember to thank a Farmer!

Cheers to our 2014

Last Saturday I hosted a dinner party for some of my favorite people (some of them could not make it because it is the busy holiday season after all).  I love when we are all home and together.  I especially love when we share a meal and conversations around the table.  Moments like these are my favorite.  And because it is 2014 we had take a group selfie and commemorate these moments with a hashtag, #CountryCocktailParty.  The “country” part is for the location (my house is in the middle of nowhere), “cocktail” because we needed a fancy word, and “party” because it was a dinner party.

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We got dolled up for this #CountryCocktailParty.  We put on heels, did our hair, and wore lipstick.  We did it to feel “fancy.”  We didn’t do it to impress boys.  Although there was one boy in attendance.  We call him TA.  He is boyfriend to one and friend to all of us.  He is a champ for putting up with our ridiculousness, which is why I think we accept him into our group.

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20141229-151826.jpgBack to the ladies of the evening because that’s what we like to think we are for this fancy feast.  But first we toasted!  We toasted to us, the best of friends.  The best of friends that have endured saying goodbye to old jobs and accepting new ones in 2014, to moving into new apartments in new cities and for some in new states.  For some 2014 was filled with saying goodbye to old boyfriends and loved ones and hello to new family members and maybe future beaus.  Many of us took road trips together throughout the year.  Whether it was across other states or just the back roads of our beautiful flyover state. Our 2014 was filled with many things that everyone experiences, but what made our year different?  We had each other every step of the way.

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20141229-221211.jpgThis group of ladies made my 2014 significant.  They inspire me to be myself and to step into those not so comfortable zones.  They make me proud of where I come from and where I will go next.  They also make me sad at times.  Sad because we are all traveling on different roads that will lead to different endings.  But I am learning that it’s okay.  It’s okay because God has a way of always crossing our roads when we need it most.20141229-221156.jpg

To sum it up, Cheers to 2014 and to the ladies that made it possible!  I love you all and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

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Summing It Up: II

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I haven’t had much time for writing. Well that isn’t true, I have been writing everyday. Turns out I got a teaching job as a writing teacher! So, not only am I writing everyday, but I am talking about writing all the time too.

I am a kindergarten, first, and second grade writing teacher at an elementary school in my home county. It is the perfect fit for me. I am enjoying and learning so much as a first year teacher. I knew this time wasn’t going to be easy, but I am constantly seeing the rewards and blessings from all the work. Teaching is quite rewarding. I am glad I didn’t give up my  dream of teaching and having my own classroom.

As a writing teacher I am teaching my young writers all about the writing process and what writers write about. I am so busy trying to get them to write and find ideas to write about that I have put my own writing on the back burner. Then I did a lesson about how writers can write anywhere and about anything. So, I decided I better get back to it. I need to practice what I teach. Here is a part II to a similar post I did “Summing It Up.”

Making: lots of lesson plans for my kindergarten, first, and second grade students
Cooking: nothing. Still working on getting the motivation to do this
Drinking: black coffee
Reading: over my lesson plans and state standards
Wanting: more time in the day
Looking: still looking for that road less traveled
Playing: lots of Red Dirt music
Wasting: thoughts and ideas not written
Sewing: knowledge into my students
Wishing: all my favorite people were in the same place
Enjoying: the changing leaves
Praying: for a safe harvest season
Liking: how things do workout for the better
Wondering: what the next chapter will be
Loving: my new teaching job, my students, staff and the community my school is in
Hoping: the weather stays nice so farmers can stay in the fields
Marveling: at these pictures I took a couple of weeks ago in Kansas
Needing: a good book to read. Suggestions are always welcomed!
Smelling: the beautiful fall days
Wearing: boots. Boot season is finally here!
Following: still trying to follow God’s plan
Noticing: people and times are changing
Knowing: I am blessed beyond measure
Thinking: I need to head west again very soon
Opening: new chapters in my life
Giggling: at all the funny things my students say and/or write to me
Feeling: still just dandy

To sum it up, stay tuned for much more writing! Have a fabulous fall day!

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Summing It Up:

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Making: memories with my best friends while we all still live in the same state
Cooking: nothing and that needs to start changing
Drinking: water, milk, water, wiskey, water, beer, water, tea, and probably some more water
Reading: many many blogs
Wanting: my own general education classroom
Looking: for the road less traveled
Playing: Miranda Lambert’s new song, “Automatic” on repeat
Wasting: time trying to figure everything out all at once
Sewing: scarves and seed sack bags/purses in my spare time
Wishing: anyone who is reading this a fabulous day
Enjoying: time well spent with people that make me happy
Waiting: on a phone call or email about a job I applied for
Liking: that I can’t really sleep in anymore like I use too
Wondering: why I have 7 drafts in my “Post” section, I should probably finish those
Loving: how these words are making me stop, sit back and think about myself
Hoping: I get an interview for the teaching job I just applied for
Marvelling: at how quickly everything has turned green
Needing: a haircut
Smelling: the farm ground that is being worked and planted
Wearing: my new Michael Kors turquoise and gold watch
Following: God’s plan…well hopefully I am
Noticing: I have too many denim and white shirts hanging in my closet
Knowing: I am blessed beyond measure
Thinking: I need a new layout/theme for this blog
Bookmarking: articles I see in my twitter feed, but I rarely go back and read them
Opening: a new door or window hopefully soon
Giggling: during all the episodes of The Office I have been rewatching
Feeling: just dandy

I got this idea from a blog I started following recently, A Pretty Penny, go check it out!

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.

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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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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