Home Is Where You Feel Like You Belong

Home Is Where You Feel Like You Belong

It's not just a house, but the people around you.

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HOME:

Each individual would define home in their own way. Home is where you grew up, where your mom is, where your kids are, where you take your boots off, or maybe home is the mortgage payment paid each month. Me, I miss every piece of my home.

My momma and daddy will always be a piece of home to me. They still live in the same house with the same trees I grew up with. The pine tree I climbed as a kid and the tree you can watch growing in the background of all of my first day of school pics. That yard was where we had bonfires, shot off fireworks, raced our four-wheelers, and where I had my graduation party.

But...I've come to realize home is just a little bit more than that. Growing up in a small town, the whole community was my home. I was blessed with so many great families that welcomed me any time, any day. When you grow up with the same kids since preschool or elementary you get close to them. Those friends, my best friends were always my home.

No matter the time of day I could walk into my friends' houses. Not knock and wait for an answer, but just walk in take my shoes off and sit on the couch. My best friends I called sis, babe, or hun. I never left without hugs and "love you's" to every member of the family. We went to town just for Sonic drinks, El Toro trips or to sit at Hyvee Gas with all the guys in their trucks.

Now though I don't even talk to most of my best friends. Maybe, the occasional Facebook comment, text message, or snapchat but our relationship just isn't the same. We didn't have a fight or even a disagreement, I just moved away and we both moved on I guess.

The one place I call home isn't the same. It's still the same little town with the same hangout spots but when I pull up I feel like a stranger. An outsider. When I'm in Chillicothe I miss Springfield, and when I'm in Springfield I miss Chillicothe. It's a never-ending cycle that I pray one day I find peace in.

I grew up a lot in the last two years away from home and I grew into a different person than my friends there know. But I hope that my friends from high school, that I spent some of my best years with, will know I never quit caring about them. I love them as much as I did then and even though I can't be there physically every day like I use to be that I truly wish I could be.

I want to be there for them when they get married, have kids, move to a new house, get their dream job and every bit of their life in between. I'm still here, rooting for them and praying for them. I constantly see their social media, every picture I like is a hug and every post I comment on is a hand reached out.

I don't know where my future is going to take me, I may come back to Chillicothe or move even further away, but the true friends the ones from high school as well as the ones I've met in Springfield will always be my home. My family will always be a piece of my home. And that's one of the biggest lessons I've learned transitioning to "adulthood" is that home isn't just a place but it's the people you love. Home is where you feel the warmth of friendship, love, and belonging.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I'm 20 Years Old And Still Love Dying Easter Eggs

Who doesn't love this historic tradition?

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Easter has always been an important holiday in my household. It holds both the religious and family aspects. However, there is one tradition that I still hold very close to my heart.

My favorite part about Easter is getting to paint the eggs. Not an Easter has passed that my family hasn't partaken in it. I look forward to it each year, and it wouldn't be Easter without them.

Every year the designs become more and more intricate. The weeks leading up to Easter, I look up different designs on Pinterest in preparation for the "big day". Nothing can make me more excited about this holiday.

Now, that I'm away at college, we have to plan when these traditions will take place. It becomes hard trying to fit in a week's worth of stuff over one weekend, but this will not be missed.

Fitting an entire Easter dinner the night before Easter and dying eggs all in the same day, but it will be done. I love getting to become creative on such a silly thing.

In all the years I've been dying the eggs, I don't think I've ever actually eaten the egg after I've been too afraid to crack into the beautifully decorated egg. Also, hard-boiled eggs are not exactly appetizing to me either.

As I'm getting older, it's even more important that I carry on these traditions. Something so small as dying eggs holds a lot of meaning, and I enjoy having time put aside each year to spend it with my parents.

Going from a little kid who loved to drop the eggs in multiple color dye and drawing crazy pictures, to being in college and still wanting to continue on the tradition.

So yes, I'm 20 and still enjoy partaking in a little kid activity. Through my eyes though, it's so much more. It's carrying on a tradition and getting to spend time with my parents. I couldn't ask for anything better this Easter season.

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