Friday, September 2, 2016

Smiles and tears and hellos and goodbyes.


Once it was summer and I was seventeen years old.

Once we were wild and crazy. We piled bikes in the back of my daddy's red Ford truck and piled ourselves up front, ate ice cream bars, rolled the windows down and turned the music up loud.



The rodeo happened. Everybody for miles around put on their cowboy boots and hopped in their trucks (or their dorky Volvo, if your name is Anderson) and drove out to Rodeo City to sit on the bleachers under the lights and watch history being made in all its dust and glory. My sisters and I sat on those bleachers three times, cheering and screaming with the rest of the working-class America, going wild when the cowboy stayed on that bull for eight seconds, laughing with our cousins, enjoying the simple wonder of being a live on a starry August night.


The county fair happened. Some guy named Dustin Lynch took the stage and rocked it, with his cowboy hat and his white teeth, so shiny you could see them gleam all the way up in the grandstand. The girls left their seats and scurried down closer to get a better look, swooning when he sang 'Cowboys and Angels', laughing and singing along when he broke into 'I've Got Friends in Low Places' (even though the only words they knew were from the Tim Hawkins parody). I was one of those girls; we stood between the grandstand and the preferred seating, as far as we could go without being stopped by security (or until we were stopped by security) and danced like crazy girls while people walked by and spilled beer on us, but we didn't care because it was a hot summer night and the music was good and it was the time to let loose and be wild.


Once we went to the fair again and saw HUNTER HAYES. The sky burned pink and the fair lights glittered and he stood up on that stage with his blue guitar and he smiled that smile and sang all those songs I love so much and made us all feel like we'd been friends all our lives. He made us feel wanted. When he went over to the piano and sat down and started playing 'Invisible', I lost it all and started crying right there. I screamed and jumped up and down and sang along loud as I could and tried to snapshot the entire night in my mind, so I'd never forget one bit of it. I never will.


Once the six cousins climbed in the big red diesel and drove and hour to see Lee Brice. (Seriously, Dustin Lynch? Who is that guy?) We sat on the bleachers, all in a line, and proved that it is possible to dance just as crazy as the people down front when you're sitting way back in the grandstand and you're not drinking alcohol. He played 'Drinking Class' and we screamed. He sang 'I Don't Dance' and we wandered closer, to get a better look, and my cousin danced with me, and there was not one person there more drunk on love and happiness than I was.



Once I lost a bunny; once a kind person brought me two more to make me feel better. (I'll love him forever.) Once I let someone read my novel, and glory be she actually enjoyed it. Once I started writing a story that held all my sorrows and joys pent-up over the last year, my silly quirks and fond memories. I didn't finish it but I'm going to.

Once I mooned over Ram trucks. Once I rode the biggest ferris wheel I've ever seen in my life and didn't get scared. Once I started to not be afraid of waiting on customers anymore, and once I sold a lady a quart of nectarines for the price of a pint of plums.



Friends, this has been one heck of a summer. I've written it all down in long rambling journal entries, all of the inconsequential and maybe petty but so important things of my little seventeen-year-old life. Stupid things. Beautiful things. But they're what made my summer wonderful. All the late nights and early mornings and loud trucks and zinnias and bushels of beans, smiles and tears, hellos and goodbyes.



I learned some things this summer, thank goodness. I learned to let go of some things and hold tighter to others. I learned that when you're parking your dad's truck you should never underestimate the distance between the end of the gravel and the ditch beyond....I learned that I'm the most fickle person I know, and I learned that while there are nasty people in the world, there are still so many good ones and a bunch of those live right in my neighborhood. I learned that getting gas at the gas station is not actually that scary! Yay! Oh yeah, and I learned that if you pay for the gas, it gives you the right to take your parents' car on a long detour on a dirt road....but when you come home, you can't pretend you didn't, because the car's gonna be all dusty and everyone will know what you've been doing. Can't hide it.

I also learned that it's time for me to move on, in a lot of ways. I've gotta grow up sometime. I'll always have one foot stuck over in childhood, I think....but I'm not the same girl I used to be. I'm not the same girl I was when I started this blog three years ago. I'm learning to love that girl (even though she could be an idiot sometimes) but I don't want to go back. It's taken a long time for me to say that -- believe me. But I'm finally ready to put some things behind me and go forward with a smile on my face.

The other night my cousin left for college. We told him to drive by our farm on his way, and parked all our vehicles up close to the road with the lights on bright and we climbed up on the hoods and sat there and waited for him to drive by. When he did we waved our arms and cheered. I cried, because I love my cousin and I hate goodbyes.

When people ask me why I haven't been posting much this summer I've been saying it's because I'm "low on inspiration", but I realized I shouldn't be saying that because it's really not true. Inspiration is bursting my seams. I'm drowning in it. It's not inspiration that's the problem, it's me. My inspiration is running in different directions now. I don't have it in me to keep on with things here. This will be the last post on this blog, friends. For awhile at least. Maybe not forever. I can't say right now. I don't want this to be goodbye -- only see you later.

I wouldn't be here writing this if it weren't for you all. Writing my thoughts here has been SO much fun over the years, and I thank you all sincerely for joining the ride! I'll always keep these times in my heart. These were good times. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 


photo credit: Molly
I hope y'all had a wonderful summer. :-) Till next time, friends.

45 comments:

  1. This was so beautiful, and I loved it. Thank you Emma.

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  2. Oh Emma Jane! I haven't been commenting lately, but I've been loving reading your summer adventures. I'm so excited for you! Have a great school year and see you later!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ashley! I hope you had a great summer too, and good luck with your school year.

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  3. noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo this wasn't what I thought this post would end in... dear girl I LOVE YOUR POSTS but I understand. I'm scared - no terrified - of the day when I come to this conclusion for my blog.
    love you and so stinking glad I became a bestie of yours so I won't lose touch <333

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    1. AWWWWWWWW THANK YOU. Don't be scared! Just have fun while you're doing it, I say. That's the best. Don't worry, there's no way we can lose touch. ;-)

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  4. And just when I come back! ;) I'm happy for you, and good luck with whatever you do from here on out!

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    1. Aww, sorry. :-P But thanks, and thanks for reading!

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  5. Ohhh, Emma... I'm kinda speechless. I was whispering this post out loud to myself, soaking in every word and picturing it in my head. It made me smile, it made me sigh, and at the end it made my eyes fill up with tears. It was beautiful.
    I really don't want to bother trying to comment on it, because there's no possible way I could get what I'm feeling out into words. So if I just say the words were touching and amazing and the pictures were perfect, try and read as much feeling into those words as possible. Haha. ;)

    And I can't let this go by without saying I'M SSOOO JEALOUS ABOUT YOUR SEEING HUNTER HAYES. (In a good way, though. I AM happy for you.) And the way you said you cried when he played Invisible and then you were screaming and jumping up and down and trying to record it all in your mind for forever, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I was like that when I saw Les Miserables. :) And I know if I saw Hunter Hayes live, I'd do the same too. ;)

    You know, this post was happy thoughts (and sad ones - nostalgic, I guess would be the word), but I wasn't reading it with a goofy grin. I was reading it with my heart open. Because it was serious, and it was REAL.
    And in all honesty, I was not expecting you to say what you did at the end, but I'm kind of not surprised. I understand. :) All the same, I shall miss you most terrible on this blog. Only promise me one thing - don't forget to remember me. ;) 'Cause I'll never forget you.

    ~Miss Meg

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    1. It's okay, girl, I feel it too. :-) I hope I didn't shock you too badly. But don't you worry, I shall never forget to remember you!! We'll always be friends. That won't change.

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  6. God bless you Emma Jane!! You are a sweet and amazing girl! You certainly deserve all the good things that come your way!

    May the Road rise up to meet You,
    May the Wind be always at your Back,
    May the Sun shine warm upon Your face,
    May the Rain fall soft upon Your fields
    And until We met Again
    May God hold You in the hollow of His hand.

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    1. You too, girl! And oh my goodness, you are so sweet. Thanks for reading all this time. :-)

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  7. This is such a beautiful post! I'll miss the updates, but oh well. Thank you for being an amazing blogger!

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    1. Thank you for being an amazing reader!

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  8. You forgot to mention OUR Goodbye. :-P We bawled our eyes out. This post almost made me cry, because the way you spin with words is... just. Um. Wow. (I REPEAT: You write well. Keep on doing it in one way or the other. Which of course you will - it's in your blood.) And also, I'll miss this place soso much, but I'm there with you and I RELATUH. BUT THIS IS A SAD POST OKAY? (Maybe that wasn't what you wanted to hear.)
    Anyway, love you and WE MUST TALK SOON BECAUSE WE NEED TO. :-)
    AND I ALSO WANT TO VISIT YOU. Just saying.

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    1. Of course I will. It's in my blood.

      I triiiiiied not to be sad and dramatic -- Sadie even told me, "don't be dramatic" -- but as we can see, I'm not capable of it. Heh. It seems so long ago now that we said goodbye, but then when I think about it I remember it perfectly...oh, that was hard. We need to see each other again.

      But anyways....I know, it's kinda sad. But this'll always be here. And I'll always be here. You know that.

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    2. To be honest, if I had written this post it would have been even more dramatic, haha. Bring on the drama queens. :-P
      We DO need to see each other again. LIKE REALLY.
      I know it. ;-)

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  9. I just started following you and reading all your posts and I really like them! I'll miss reading them, but,
    Don't cry because it's over,
    Smile because it happened.
    - Dr. Seues

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    1. Well thanks! Exactly -- I almost used that quote in my post but then I thought it might be cliche and I was already pushing it with sappiness....but, yes. :-)

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  10. This was such a beautiful post... I was sitting here thinking, wow, this girl. These words. Sorry to hear that you're leaving us for a bit... you will be missed! <3

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    1. Olivia, your comments have been so special to me. Thanks so much. :-) I'll still be around, and I plan to keep up with your blog, so you won't be rid of me.

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  11. This was incredibly lovely. I will really, really miss your posts, Emma. I don't know what else to say, I'm just really sad over your leaving. But I understand.

    ~Rilla Blythe

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    1. It means an awful, awful lot to me that I'll be missed. ;-) Thank you so much for all your comments, Rilla, and for reading!

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  12. Aww this was a lovely post, and it sounds like you had a wonderful summer! I was so surprised by the ending, but I completely understand. I don't think I've commented much on here, but I've always enjoyed your posts and I will certainly miss them! :)

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    1. Molly Rebekah, thank you! I'm glad you've enjoyed them. :-)

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  13. Oh this was so beautiful Emma, and I'm so sad that I won't get to read any more of your lovely posts. The way you spin words is glorious, girl. Keep it up.

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    1. Thanks, Rosie. I'm never going to stop writing -- and I've got to thank you for being one of the people who's encouraged me! I appreciate all your comments so much.

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  14. "Night is now falling . . . so ends this day . . . the road is now calling . . . and I must away . . ."

    Memo to self: Don't listen to emotional Lord of the Rings songs while reading emotional blog posts. IT JUST MAKES EVERYTHING HARDER.

    I'm sad to know that you'll be leaving us for a while. I'll definitely miss your blog very much; but, at the same time, I DO understand--really, I do. Things change, and Life gets busy, and people have to move on :-)

    "We came all this way . . . but now comes the day . . . to bid you . . . farewell . . ."

    OKAY STOP WITH THE L.O.T.R. FEELS ALREADY.

    Goodbye for now, dear Emma <3

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    1. From your comment it sounds like you've set yourself up for disaster. :-P

      Yeah, thanks. :-) I keep saying this, but it won't be goodbye forever! Thank you for being such a loyal reader, Jessica -- I really appreciate it. See ya around!

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  15. Oh, Emma! I don't even know what to say. What's coming to mind is a protest such as "NOOOOO! You CAN'T be leaving us!!!" but I have a feeling that wouldn't be very helpful. I do understand. We walk through many different seasons in our lives, and some things just have to come to an end...but ohhhh, I do hope this isn't the complete end of your blog writing days, because your writing (as proved again with this post) is AMAZING! And such a joy to read. Your posts will definitely be missed.

    Still, I know what you mean about your inspiration running in a different direction now. And I think your perfectly right to go with it! Things can never stay the same forever and we shouldn't wish them to. I believe God has some wonderful new things for you to discover in the coming days. :)

    Until next time... Keep writing! Keep smiling! Keep enjoying "the simple wonder of being a live on a starry August night." Keep trusting in God and His plan for your life!! Love you, girl! *hugs*

    ~Miss March

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    1. Thanks for understanding, friend. I don't want it to be the end of my blogging days -- just for now. I hope to come back to it someday. You have no idea how much it means to me to hear that. :-)

      You too! *hugs back*

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  16. I won't say good-bye, because you didn't say you'd stop reading other people's blogs, so I fully expect you to pop up around the blogosphere still. But I will say Vaya con Dios.

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    1. Yes, do expect me to pop up here and there. I'm not going nowhere. :-)

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  17. this post wanted to make me cry. dontttt leaveeeeeeeeeeeeee--but yes, I understand. <3 I seriously never want to end my blog but it will happen someday. :/ we'll miss you, Emma! <3 <3

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    1. Don't think about ending your blog -- I think you should keep going for as long as you want and enjoy every bit of it. I did. :-)

      Thanks, Sarah. I'll still be around. And who knows, I might even randomly pop up at your house one day, if your crazy sister and I can work it out....;-)

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  18. If only there were such a thing as a September fools! This makes me really sad, because I LOVED finding your blog and reading it, and finally commenting and making one of my first blogging friends...your blog and Naomi's were the two that truly inspired me to start my own! But inspiration goes where it wills, I suppose, and I hope you don't feel too sad/guilty about finishing your blog. But I will say this: don't ever be afraid to come back and post randomly or at long intervals. Don't be afraid to change your mind and come back to blogging altogether! It won't be "wishy-washy" or "improper" whatsoever! Whatever you decide, I hope we'll keep in touch on Goodreads or Pinterest. If not that, then in college or in Williamsburg. And if not that, well, then in heaven. :) I'll miss you Emma, and may God bless your senior year!

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    1. Abby, I'm sorry to make you sad. I really didn't mean for it to be sad, but I guess I can't help being dramatic, heh. Don't worry, I won't be disappearing forever. Blogging is too dear to my heart...I think someday when I feel more sure of myself I'll start another blog, but not for a while. You have to know how much your comment means to me! I am SO glad we bumped into each other. It's been so nice to know you and I hope we can continue to be friends, and YES, someday we WILL meet up in Williamsburg. I intend to make it happen! Thank you so much for your comment, Abby, and for being such a loyal reader. Your friendship is special to me. :-)

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  19. Good luck in your future endeavors. I've enjoyed your writing even though I didn't necessarily share a lot of your interests. As I've said before, your writing is refreshing, exuberant, and thoughtful. Have fun!

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  20. Ugh, I hardly know what to say except that this is one of the very best "wrapping up" posts I've ever read. Something about it shows that life isn't ending a bit for you, which is always a danger with these sorts of things, hence it is all a great relief. :)

    What a Summer! Dusty roads, gardening, trucks, music, COWBOY boots and zinnias-!Yes they are the best things!!! I could practically feel it as I read, which was splendid indeed. I hope your Autumn is just as beautiful. :)

    Oh I get you on the whole inspiration, my fingers will be wild to write, but there is only so much time and brain power and my people are calling!!! and who do you think usually wins? ;) As Rosie said, keep on spinning. :)

    And don't worry about having one foot in childhood: having the heart and eyes of a child has some very good points and I don't want to sound sappy, (okay I don't care it will), but I think it is true all the same that God really does love it and there is deep wonder in it! Trust me, you won't be the only one in the balancing act.

    Finally, I'm just so glad we met girl! It's been great and I hope, some way or another, we can keep in touch. I'll be thinking and praying for you often!

    Happy trails friend!

    P.S. Will you be leaving the blog up? 'cuz we love your past blog posts. :)

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    1. Eowyn!!! Oh, thank you, dear friend. Yes, it was a summer to be remembered, and the autumn looks promising too. ;-) I hope yours was splendid! (And goodness, you folks have got a wedding coming up...!)

      I'll keep on spinning words -- this autumn, when I have the time, I'm trying to plug away on my novel, so I'm pouring all my words into that at the moment. Your words are so encouraging. :-) And it's so nice to know I'm not the only one who feels that way! (Don't worry about sounding sappy on this blog -- I tried not to be, but as we can see I didn't succeed very well.) Yes, there is a childish wonder I would hate to lose. I always want to hold on to that. It's the frightened and timid part I'd like to leave behind, and thank goodness, the time when that happens is seeming closer now than it used to.

      ME TOO!!! And I hope we can keep in touch in the future. You've been such a special friend and I'm grateful for you! Happy trails.

      (Yes, I'm leaving the blog up!)

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  21. Oh Emma....I honestly have no words. As I read this post, I was smiling and tearing up and marveling (as always) at how beautifully you write. And then....your ending. EMMA, I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT.

    I don't want to make you feel bad...I DO understand about seasons of life, and I totally respect your need for a break from blogging. But oh...I really hope you come back someday soon. I'm really going to miss your posts. :'(

    I also really hope we can stay in touch! But enjoy where life takes you next. :) I know that wherever God leads you, He's going to be right by your side, holding your hand and helping you along. All the best, friend!! -hugs-

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  22. I will miss you, very much, and wish you well on your new adventures, Emma! This post was beautifully written, as always, and all I can say is no matter what...keep writing! I know you will, and I know you will continue to write great things, even if it's not here. Bless you Emma! Take care now, ya hear?

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  23. Oh Emma! I stumbled across your blog like a rock in the trail, but it was such a unique, shiny rock, I had to stop to pick it up.
    Your posts always inspired me because I also live in the country on a farm, and my name is Emma and your words always make me feel like there is so much out there to be hopeful for and look forward to.
    As many have eloquently stated, this was an amazing retirement post and just like the best of books, I was NOT expecting that. Your summer sounds like a glorious time and I was entranced by your description of it. Your love of cowboys makes me smile and your times with friends makes me remember my own dear kindred spirits. Thank you for sharing all of it with us. With giving over these pieces of yourself for others to enjoy.
    The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace. ~Numbers 6:24-26
    Looking forward to hearing from you in the future. :)
    Much love,
    Emma Winifred

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  24. country life is the best life. Your header IS ADORABLE!!
    You can check out my rambles at Mic's Room (http://lovelypinkduckshome.blogspot.com/)let me know you stopped by!
    -Mic

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