To The Small Town Who Had The Biggest Loss

To The Small Town Who Had The Biggest Loss

As much as I frequently say I hate living here, it does feel like home and it always will be.
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Growing up in a small town, you know everyone's business. You know just about everyone's names and where they live and everyone seems to be related in some way. When you’re out on a Target run, there is always a high chance you will run into at least one person you know. That’s what it’s like growing up in a small town.

Just like most of you, I have grown up in the same town my whole 20 years of life, in South Saint Paul, Minnesota. As much as I frequently say I hate living here, it does feel like home and it always will be. I don’t think I would have that same feeling with my hometown if I were to grow up anywhere else, especially in a larger city. I like how close and connected our community is through the good times and hard times.

South Saint Paul recently just lost one of our favorite teachers/coach/father/colleague/the voice of SSP, and many other amazing things he was, Mr. Craig Felton. Whether you have had him in class or you just saw him in passing time, he was one of the most admirable people you could have ever met. I don’t know a single person who did not love that man and I personally can think of many memories with him, as I’m sure all of you have as well. Our community was heartbroken and will never be the same, though through this hard time, our community comes together as one. Going through social media the last few days, all that would appear on my screen were posts that said, #WhenIThinkOfMrFelton and then whatever memory they had with him or what they thought about him. It was heartwarming to read all the posts to see how this one person made such a difference on all of these peoples lives in so many different ways over so many years. We all got to cherish these times we had with Mr. Felton and it will never be forgotten. A memorial service was had for him at South Saint Paul High School. It had felt like everyone in South Saint Paul was there, the Competition Gym was filled completely. Although this was hard for everyone through this tough time, it showed how our community can come together through these hard times to support one another. It gives you a sense of pride growing up somewhere like this.

Just as Mr. Felton once told me once, “You always come back to this small town, even if you try to leave, you always find your way back. It’s hard to find somewhere else that’s this close.” At the time when he said this to my physics class, I was in my senior year of high school, and I didn’t believe a word he said. I thought to myself, 'I’m going to get out of here as soon as I can, I can’t wait to leave South Saint Paul.' Now that I’m getting older, I’m starting to appreciate the little things, and not wishing it all away because I want to cherish the times I have in this small town, just as Mr. Felton did.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Felton family through this hard time, I know you guys will find the light through this darkness. Mr. Felton will be in everyone's hearts and may he live on forever.

Cover Image Credit: Lindsey Janssen

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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10 Reasons Why Fall Is The Superior Season

Who doesn't love the spooks?

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As we settle into October and the weather begins to drop, I am feeling very rejuvenated from my summer funk. After months of sweltering heat in Oklahoma, Fall is finally swooping in and saving all of us from our misery. The walks across campus were becoming unbearable; I was drenched in sweat from head to toe, but the hero we needed is finally here. There are so many aspects that make Fall arguably the most loved season; there are only a few of them:

1. The leaves 

I don't know about you, but I prefer red, orange, and yellow leaves over green ones. Everything is so picturesque in Fall.

2. The weather

So long to the days of looking like I'm in pain after a brisk walk to class. Hello to cool breezes and cloudy days.

3. Halloween

Who doesn't love Halloween and all the spookiness it entails?

4. The outfits

Summer's clothing options are probably my least favorite thing about the season. In Fall, you can throw a cardigan over everything to tie your outfit together and look effortlessly cute. Layering is a godsend.

5. Thanksgiving

Fall has the best holidays. I mean we get Halloween AND Thanksgiving? This is too much.

6. The food

In addition to having Thanksgiving, Fall also comes with soup and chili weather. Sure you can eat soup in the summer, but it's SO MUCH BETTER in Fall.

7. NO MORE BUGS

The bug population begins to diminish when the cooler weather hits, and for that I am forever thankful.

8. The activities

Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, carving pumpkins, apple-picking, leave-collecting, simply enjoying the cooler weather—there are so many things to do in Fall.

9. Midterms are behind us (almost)

Where has the semester gone? After midterms the rest of the semester flies by.

10. It's just the best, okay?

Fall is beautiful and a great time to get out, enjoy, and explore the world around you—do it!

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