The Perks of Living in a Small Town

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jacob and I are city people at heart. My junior and senior year many asked me if I would stick around Orange City since I was graduating a year before Jacob. My response was absolutely not. There was no way I'd be stuck in small town Iowa with nothing to do. Ha ha God responded, look where we are now. Two college graduates living in a place we never imagined ourselves to be.

While we do not see this as a forever home, we have come to appreciate the simplicity and perks of living in a small town - even if there is no target within a 45 minute drive.

At the very core, living in a small town teaches simplicity. Simplicity of mind, heart, and possessions is an unnatural concept when the world is telling us more, more, more. We have slowly been learning to rely on less and cherish more. Downsizing seems to be a key word these days as we are now a one car family, have minimized our wardrobes to the essentials, and are starting to grasp a simpler life that smaller communities promote well.

Making Our Own Fun
Instead of having cool museums to tour, local breweries to explore, or fill in the blank city activity we enjoy the perk of getting creative with our down time. One of my favorite small town Iowa memories involved photo bombing Christmas light displays and nativity scenes in the evening trying with all our might to not be spotted. Many of these memories are spontaneous activities that we created on our own to have fun.

Lack of Convenience
Sure it is frustrating at times when nothing is open past 8pm and you cannot mow your lawn on Sundays for religious tradition but convenience is not everything. The lack of convenience in being further away from everyday accommodations shows us just how dependent we were on these instant gratification items. We do not want to live an effortless way of life, we desire to live intentionally even when this means planning our errands out ahead of time, mowing our lawn after a long day of work, or eating dinner at our house instead of out.

Never have I experienced such generosity even comparable to that in small towns. After living in a small town for five years now and traveling extensively in small towns I am so humbled by the outpouring of gifts, time, and money people continually offer. My heart has grown tremendously in this area from those who have invited me to their table, shared valuable time with me, and gifted me with their stories. I want to be a person who now fosters that same attitude wherever I am.

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What do you love about where you live? What are some perks of your town or city?
What are you currently learning from those in your community?

Week's End Wrap-Up

Monday, September 15, 2014

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1. Travel season is officially underway lovely ones. It is intimidating to look ahead at the next two and a half months and realize I will not be home for more than a few days at a time until Thanksgiving. But this is what I love about my job and I trust the Lord's faithfulness in this season of life. Iowa corn fields, let's go!

2. Speaking of travel season, it is a perfect opportunity to discover different corners of this world and for that I am thankful. This little coffee shop is one of my favorites located in Boone, Iowa. If you are ever passing through you will not regret stopping by The Good News Room. Better yet, all their decorations are able to be purchased. How neat is that?

3. Happy Alopecia Awareness Month! This whole month I've been boasting of the incredible opportunities in my life because of Alopecia and the journey I am on. This past Friday I was able to meet another radiant sister and we had three generations of bald girls together. Hello full heart!

4. Elle's birthday would not have been complete without a party abounding in pink and ponies. When contemplating a gift for this now five year old fashionista I embarked on making an apron and it actually turned out not to mention it matched perfectly with her new roller skates.

-I had so much fun getting to know Meg better through her Q&A session.
-Many of my favorite bloggers contributed to this Dear Blogger post and it's perfection.
-I'm going through a major gold phase and am crushing on this necklace!
-Have you checked out Kent Heartstrings new and improved blog yet?

Alopecia Awareness Month

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A little throwback Thursday action for your day - take you back to 1994 when Laura had a full head of hair and Leah was a punk of a babe.
September is a golden month. It brings with it the cool breeze of autumn, warm and cozy feelings, and most importantly Alopecia Awareness Month. If you've been around for some time you have likely figured out that yes, I am bald. Alopecia Universalis is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to stop growing and fall out. In simple terms it is as if I am allergic to my hair. There is no known cause or cure for this mysterious condition.

The diagnosis came as a shock to my happy go lucky sixth grade self. I had a full head of hair up until that point and rapidly lost it all within two months of first noticing hair loss. It gets me teary eyed to this day thinking of the literal trauma I went through losing not only my head of hair but who I thought I was.

My entire self-knowledge and being was wrapped up in personal appearance - sadly very typical of middle school girls. In attempts to blend in, I hid behind wigs and masked what was really going on not only on my head but within my heart. Jealousy, comparison, and loneliness characterized most of my thoughts.

After a slow process of maturing, truly because of Jesus, I started to become more comfortable in who I was and the way I appeared to others. There were so many days I cried as a child wondering why I had to be the odd one out but today I could not imagine my life without Alopecia. It has been a life changing experience to say the least. Alopecia has opened countless doors for me to meet beautiful, radiant people who simply don't have hair. They are just like you, they are just like me.

Did you know Alopecia affects approximately 2% of the entire world's population? Did you know that many hair donating companies will not give wigs to those with Alopecia even though the prognosis is much longer compared to other diseases? Did you know people are bald for other reasons than simply trying to be edgy or having Cancer?

Now you know! And now you can help spread awareness this month and every month about this crazy disease. I am in love with this video created in Loverpool, please watch it through the end. I have Alopecia, I am beautiful and I am confident.

P.S Happy birthday fifth birthday to my best little bald friend I know.
Looking forward to celebrating with you this weekend Elle!
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