Summer 2017: Thoughts & Bucket List

No pressure.

If there's anything I want to remember this summer, it's this. Something I do all the time is that when I've had something super fun happen in the past, the next time I go to do it, I try to plan everything just so so that it is as fun. But normally it's not. Why? Because (a) it's too PLANNED. Honestly, the best moments in my life have come unplanned, when you're not trying, you're just letting life happen and trusting God. And (b) don't spend so much time trying to recreate a special memory. The memory is special because of the time at which it came in your life, appreciate it for that, and don't spend so much time trying to recreate it. Keep letting life happen, and more will come.

So this summer, I don't really want to plan so much. I just want to let it happen. Of course I have goals and things that I want to do, but I just want to savor each day and enjoy whatever the day will bring. Maybe that's just the type B in me, but I really think life is better when it's not so planned. I love to plan things out for fun, but that's about it. My world won't end if my plan isn't followed directly. In fact, most times when it isn't followed, it ends up being better.

But with that being said, I love to dream, I love to set goals, and hopefully some of these things can happen this summer!

The summer 2k17 bucket list :)

- get good word counts on my new book
- blog about the things I am passionate about
- go to Minneapolis and complete the color run (so excited for this!!)
- shop at Okoboji (can I borrow a credit card?)
- go to Estherville, like, every weekend, or hopefully at least a good week :)
- go on a new photoshoot (I need updated pics so bad)
- go to the Grotto
- see fireworks in Spirit Lake
- finish redoing my room (I have to clean it so pray for me)
- walk my dog in town a lot
- go to Knoxville multiple times
- spend a day at Arnold's Park
- ride a jet ski at 'Boji
- go to a drive-in movie
- do nothing in Canada except lounge (and hunt down the internet hahaha)
- go to an Okoboji beach
- ride the Queen (it's a boat over in Okoboji)
- go shopping
- stay in a hotel in downtown Des Moines
- walk around downtown Des Moines and take picsssssss
- read lots
- get in shape hahahaha
- learn to drive
- go for long drives and look at mansions (I seriously love doing this)
- go for bike rides
- finish rewriting my first novel
- publish short stories
- go in a hot air balloon (I seriously put this on every year, but really, it would be fun)

Have any suggestions for me?! Leave a comment, and tell me what you are doing this summer!! Xo

Ontario, Canada Adventures #3: Getting Stuck, Kayaking, Etc.

This will be the LAST post (first post and second post) over our trip to Canada :( It was a lot of fun! We'll be going back again sometime, though! For the last few days, I have some FUN things to tell you about based on the post title...

The next day it was raining, and we decided to go to a nearby town and check it out. We hoped to see a moose but had no such luck.

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But we did see a waterfall!!!

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I also finished Disappoint with God. Remind me to do a blog post over more Christian books I've read and loved. I also have really big news about one of the goals I completed, and I'll get to it in one of my devotions. Also, if you think I said I was going to do that devotional but now am backing out, I'm not. I've just been taking some time to brainstorm devotion ideas and the content I want to put in them. I will start releasing them soon!!

Anyway, Dad and Mom went out by themselves, and Hunter and I played Sorry. I'm pretty sure I won.

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Mom and I went for some walks while Dad and Hunter cleaned fish.

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The next day I decided to go fishing again.

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The next day I went out again because we were going to a new lake.

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This time I brought something to do when I was bored - writing! The boys are passionate about fishing; I'm passionate about writing, so I worked on writing for a series I'm going to eventually do.

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So, about getting stuck... We tried going through this little entrance to this one place, and the entrance was maybe not even 7 feet wide, and there was mud and these weeds everywhere....

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That was intense as we tried not to get stuck in there.

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FUNNN TIMESSS.

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We made it, though.

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#trendsetter

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On our last day, just Dad and I went fishing and caught some pretty big fish.

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Then Hunter and I got to go KAYAKING, which was one of my summer goals!

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I thought that kayaking would be hard and that I'd fall out, but Hunter tried it while I was fishing and told me it's a lot of fun, and you don't tip over easily. He was right. I only tipped over three times. ;) Jk we had a lot of fun doing that. I might just do that the entire time next time we're in Canada! Also, our canoeing lessons in PE really paid off haha, or I wouldn't have known what to do. ;)

Well one hour of sleep later we had to get up and go home. Waking up at four o'clock. That was awful. Absolutely awful. STILL HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT IT. This picture was like the only good thing that came out of that.

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Good bye, lodge!

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I went right back into my healthy eating ways.

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We drove all the way home, all 12 hours. Surprisingly it didn't feel that long. I was just happy I had my data back ;) We also picked up Willard!

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I loved our family trip. It was nice getting away and having fun together. I also had lots of time to read my Bible and that book and write and all that good stuff. I definitely can't wait to do it again. And I do believe in the power of prayer. Not everything worked out perfectly, but God got us through anyway. Thanks for following along!

Ontario, Canada Adventures #2: Fishing and Southerns

Fishing

This is pretty much what the entire rest of the week consisted of. But it was fun! Yes, I enjoyed being woke up at eight or earlier in the morning. I actually did enjoy fishing, though. I definitely am not as crazy about fishing as Hunter or Dad, and after the first two days of it, I opted for relaxing in the cabin and trying to get the internet to work.*

*You know what, I can live without the internet, so don't even go there people. I wrote a lot, and I read DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD. See, meaningful things. But you never know if something will work until you try every two minutes, right? Right?! I was just dedicated, okay...

I got woke up way too early. I don't even remember when. It was just too early. In the summertime, I don't get up until 10am+. But do people respect that? NO. Anyway, Hunter was already yapping about catching a Northern, and I was sick of hearing that word, so I called them Southerns. And Westerns. And Easterns. But Southerns are the most common. And I told him Northerns were extinct. He didn't believe me and became really annoyed. What are sisters for?

Hunter was also very fond of me speaking in a French accent. Did I mention how much I love French in the previous post about Canada? Well, I love French accents. LA CANADIONS!!!

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I didn't want to miss our first day of fishing, though, so I got out of bed reluctantly. Off we went...

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We started with three people fishing, and that turned out to be a disaster and very complicated since Dad is the only fishing expert and the only one who knows how to drive a boat well (sorry Mom; bless your heart for trying). Hunter got his line stuck in the prop. Finally we just used two, and that worked better. For the most part, it was very relaxing, and taking in all of the scenery was so much fun.

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Mom wore a life jacket; I didn't. I'M A REBEL.

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We went back to the cabin and ate lunch. Then I took a nap and was woke up from that too when we wanted to go back out.

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This time we went to a lake that wasn't very far from our lodge. It was Mom and I's favorite.

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Our views down the river:

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Our lodge had a beach area, so we ventured off to check it out.

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Then I went to bed, and nobody told me otherwise.

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The next day we woke up, and it was pretty hazy.

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We went to the nearby lake from the previous evening, and on the land we decided to make our own rock pile!

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Tada!

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If I remember correctly, later that night everyone else went back out, and I stayed in the cabin to read. And fight with the internet. Good times. It ended up storming, and my family made it back just in time. Afterwards, there was a beautiful rainbow, which, sorry not sorry, that is a promise from God, not the other stuff our society is turning it into (Genesis 9:13).

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We had fun family bonding over this game!! Especially when we played Monopoly!!!

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I was more than ready to go to bed.

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Stay tuned for more!!!

Ontario, Canada Adventures #1: Animals, Donuts, Goals & More

We just got back from our week long family vacation in Ontario, Canada! It was a blast and totally exceeded my expectations! I was going to make this one big post about our entire trip, but after seeing that I took 73 pictures the day before our trip when we went up to the Cities and the day we spent all day in the car, I realized that probably wasn't a wise idea. So today I'm going to talk about mainly these 3 things:

Animals - Donuts - Goals Fulfilled - & More!

First let's talk about Willy. The night before the night before (that's not a typo; I'm just making this really complicated) Canada, we took Willy up to his grandma's for the week.

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He saw his cousins!! I'm sure they had a lot of fun.... During the night they were there, they chased each other behind the couch, and I'm surprised they didn't kill Grandma's cat who hangs out behind there; in the process, I think they knocked a pillow or something clear down the stairs and brought out the drop cord. Dogs.

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When we got home, we* had to pack. I thought I actually did a good job. I think I brought too many nice, school type clothes. I wish I would've brought more athletic clothes. Oh, and I'm so glad I didn't bring all those shoes. Mom wouldn't let me, and I reluctantly listened. She really didn't want me to bring nicer clothes, but I insisted for the pictures. Well, most of the pictures are of me in sweats, hoodies and sliders. Now she can say I told you so. Just do it, Mom. You know you want to.

*I had to pack. I'm good at procrastinating like that.

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Traveling to Canada* selfie!

*Actually, it was to the Twin Cities to see my relatives. It was about a 12 hour drive from our house to our lodge in Canada. We split the drive up in three parts: part one the Twin Cities, 5 hours from our house to there; part two the border, about 4 hours from the Cities to there; part three the lodge, about another 4 hours from the border to there. We stayed at our relatives' house for the night and the next day drove to our lodge, which made for about an 8 hour drive.

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I found the name of the rest area place I was at last summer when I was staying with my grandparents, and we had to pick up Hunter here. It's called Trail's!

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I prayed a lot over this trip, and while there were obstacles (I'll tell you them as I blog more of the week), it turned out really well. God provided. I hope you can see some of that through this travel recap. He's always teaching me things, and I did learn a lot on this trip.

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We ate at Trail's, and I thought the food was okay. I wanted a picture of me drinking my pop because I wanted to document practically everything of this trip since I felt like I didn't do enough for our trip to Florida. I asked Mom to take this picture, and Dad is like, "Are you going to document every little thing?" My answer: "Yes." Duh!

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Hunter didn't want pictures of, like, anything. Finally, I forced him to take this one. Because I figured one day in his future he's going to want to look back and remember that time he was at a rest area called Trail's getting ice cream. That's important stuff to remember, guys. I'm a great sister.... I know.

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The ice cream was my favorite part ;)

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I got my usual picture with this dude.

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Our next stop was Cabela's to pick up bait!

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Then it was up to the Cities!

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We went by the US Bank Stadium, home of the Vikings.

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Good thing we had Dad; we finally made it through the Cities and to my relatives' house. It was so nice catching up, and that was one goal completed!

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My cousins and I went for walks with Grams. We make her do that a lot; read about that here.

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Now the part we've all been waiting for: DONUTS! We stopped at a place called Tobie's the next day as we made our way up to Canada. These were the best donuts I've everrr had.

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This was taken in Minnesota, but these trees are everywhere in Canada. The scenery was beautiful. No more fifty million cornfields!

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Dad let us stop in Eveleth at the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Museum. Hunter had wanted to visit it so badly ever since he knew we'd pass by on our trip up, and I also wanted to because I love hockey.

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These were my favorite things ;)

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We had a great time there, and we got the whole place to ourselves!!

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We continued driving to the border and encountered some storms...

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So fun times. The driving went pretty smoothly if you exclude the time Dad opened a pop as he drove and made it explode. Then he handed it over to Mom as it sprayed everywhere because he was driving. She appreciated that.

Anyway, Border Bob's kind of has a little bit of everything and, as it says, it is the last building in the United States before we reached the border.

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We had prayed that the border would go well, and it did. It exceeded our expectations. But even if it didn't... I had this book to read haha. But this book is really so good. I bought it at the church retreat I went to in March and actually met Philip Yancey. He signed it, too! This book answered so many of my questions about suffering and why God allows it...all that. I know there are many good books about those topics out there, but for me personally, this one set the bar really high.

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This is pretty much what you see in Canada: trees and water. And islands! So there are these trees on little islands out in the middle of all this water like you can see below, and believe it or not, people actually build houses on them and live there.

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There are also tons of rocks and rock piles, which are little piles of rocks on these big cliffs. We saw probably hundreds of those on the way over to our lodge. Dad told Hunter they were from Bigfoot. Dad also said we wouldn't see any jets in Canada. Now what is that in the picture? Oh, just a jet.

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This is a gigantic version of what a rock pile could look like. At the place we stopped, they had little souvenirs, and they had little rock piles you could buy as well as a slip of paper of what they really meant. They had something to do with directions and people recording where to go... I don't remember. That's why we have Google.

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Lots of lakes, rivers, rock piles, trees, and lodges that weren't ours later, we finally made it to ours, got checked in, and yay! Also, we saw a bear on the way up. Right at the beginning of our four hour drive to the lodge, too. It was laying down in grass on the side of the road, and it was clear as day. It was awesome! But then when we turned around it hid in the trees, and we didn't get a good picture.

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Our view. I loved it.

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We got to listen to these planes take off all day and early in the morning. I was woke up way too early though so I didn't care in the morning; I slept right through them. Dad was up at four in the morning!

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Ahhh vacation.

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The view is beautiful. We had a relaxing night. We didn't do much. Hunter and Dad got some of the poles ready. There were two bedrooms each with three beds; Mom and Dad slept in one and Hunter and me in the other. The third bed is like a bunk bed, and we put all of our luggage up there. It worked out really well.

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Above all, that day I learned to trust in God's plan and that only I can control how joyful I am. I can be stressed about the trip and everything that could go wrong, or I could trust that even if something did happen, God would be there to help me through it. I chose to trust Him. And He didn't let me down. Even when I feel let down by God, I am reminded of all the good and that He is working even in the worst of circumstances. And the worst things can be turned into something beautiful if you trust in Him.

Dad was right when he said you feel pretty close to God up there.

Stay tuned for more!!

My First Turkey

I have had quite the morning! A few weeks ago my dad was starting to teach me how to shoot his gun, and I seemed to get the hang of it pretty quickly, so this weekend we went turkey hunting! It was a remarkable morning and one I never want to forget.

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First, I think I had to wake up at four thirty. Talk about painful. We went out into the timber where we'd hunt and got set up against a tree. I about fell asleep like five different times while I waited for the sky to light up and the turkeys to come in.

So we waited and waited until finally two turkeys were coming in. However, I was facing the opposite direction, so I had to very slowly turn towards this ravine they were crossing to get to us. Dad called and took my gun while I got positioned again, and then he told me to put it up. They were just out of sight, down in the ravine, going to emerge any minute.

I kind of blew it at first; they were right in front of me, and I don't know if it was nerves or what, but I didn't shoot. There were two turkeys, and one was a hen, which I couldn't shoot. The male then took off walking fast and moving his head, and I was trying to get a good angle on it while Dad kept telling me to shoot, but I thought I'd miss. Finally I knew I needed to at least try, or he would be gone. So I did, and I didn't see if I hit it or not. I was almost positive that I'd missed, but then Dad yells, "YOU SMOKED IT!"

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It was amazing to see how the Lord orchestrated the whole morning. He is faithful.

I now have a dislocated shoulder from carrying the stinking thing, but I got donuts, so it's all good. Thank you for taking me Daddy!