If I Had A Chance To Redo My Summer, I Absolutely Would

If I Had A Chance To Redo My Summer, I Absolutely Would

Next summer I won't need a second chance

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The best part about being alive is that you always get a second chance.

I feel like I need a second chance to redo this summer. I always have so much that I want to accomplish during the summers but I never get around to doing any of them. And to be honest, I didn't really think about why things never got crossed off my list until now.

I never do anything by myself over the summer. Since Andrew is home, I like to do as much with him as possible. I will happily go along to Home Depot with him and listen to home improvement things I don't understand anything about, just so we have quality time together. My mom and I always want to spend more time together over the summers since she gets really sad when I have to go back to school. Even if that means going grocery shopping with her and being super impatient when I have to stand at the register with her for 15 minutes while she hands over her million coupons. I'll call up a friend to go to Target with me. Or to the movies. Or out to lunch.

Because I won't do any of those things by myself.

And I'm not really sure why. I do these things by myself during the school year with no issues. But after really thinking about it, I realized maybe it's because I feel guilty that I'm not spending time with Andrew while he's home. Or maybe it's because I feel awkward at the possibility of seeing people I know and getting trapped into a conversation with no escape. Maybe it's because I don't like being alone. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I do it subconsciously and I didn't even realize I was doing that until the summer was over.

There's a lot of things I missed out on this summer because I was too nervous to experience them by myself. I didn't go hiking or went to a food festival or had a picnic. I never got to spend a weekend with Liz or even went to target by myself. I never spent a whole weekend in my apartment by myself or went grocery shopping by myself. And yeah, maybe I do feel uncomfortable doing things by myself but it's stupid to sit around and wait for everyone else to be free to do these things with you. Life is too short to wait around for other people.

I know this semester I'll be by myself a lot. Whether it's grocery shopping, studying in the library, or just laying on the couch. And sure at first being in public by myself will be slightly uncomfortable, but I'm tired of waiting for everyone else to make time for me. I'm going to learn to love doing things on my own and I'm excited to start that journey. Next summer I don't want a second chance.

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County Fairs Are Still Important

There's more to fairs than just fried food and Ferris wheels.
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Like many people, I used to have the same thoughts, "Oh it's just a county fair." However, this year was the first time in eleven years I stepped foot on to the Rock Island County Fairgrounds with out any animals or other 4-H projects to exhibit. Instead, I spent the week watching from an entirely new perspective that gave me a whole new appreciation for what I used to consider "just a county fair".

More and more, society has begun to question the relevance and value of a county fair when less than 2 percent of the population is actively involved in production agriculture. This question alone proves to me that county fairs are more important than ever. Fairs and livestock exhibitions are the foundation for agriculture promotion in our society and, as our population continues to shift to a more urban demographic, it is the responsibility of a county fair to remind the public of the key role that agriculture, and rural communities, will continue to play in our economy and daily lives.

Fairs not only promote agriculture, but also supply jobs; support rural economic development and local commerce; and provide opportunities for youth and adult education. The success of a fair is dependent on its volunteers and youth through programs like 4-H, whether they’re exhibiting livestock, crops and clothing or newer projects like film making. Speaking from my own personal experience, I am so thankful for the opportunity to show livestock at the fair.

My experiences aided in providing me with hands-on learning about the realities of food production as well as gaining major life skills such as communication and responsibility that molded me into a well functioning member of society.

Many years ago, a simple gathering for commodity trade began as a way to bring friends and neighbors together to showcase hard work and effort. These things still matter. Fairs are the connecting point of the people and products that showcase our heritage. I wholeheartedly believe in fairs and what they can do for a community and even the participants.

I encourage everyone to take time this summer to visit your local county or state fair. Take a stroll through the barns, strike up a conversation with a young exhibitor about his, or her, project. Watch the 4-H auction, maybe bid on an animal, and see how the hard work put in by the owner truly pays off. Experience a demolition derby, a concert, or play some carnival games with your family. Whether you are lifetime attendee or have never set foot on a fairgrounds, now is the best time to get involved in one of our countries oldest traditions- you will not regret it.


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In The Words Of Casting Crowns, My Life Will Be For 'Only Jesus'

"Only Jesus" by Casting Crowns has inspired me to live my life for Jesus.

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When I watch the music video for Casting Crowns "Only Jesus" I am reminded of the reason why we are on this earth, alive, breathing air through our lungs, our hearts beating, and time going on and on.

We are on this earth, not to seek our own glory, our own accolades, and our own selfish greed, but to know God, love God, and to make Him known in this world, through sharing how God's son Jesus has set us free from our sinful lives and has resurrected us spiritually.

At the beginning of the video, we see Mark Hall, the lead singer of Casting Crowns, driving down a road, eventually driving into a junkyard. The junkyard is both a setting for the music video and an allegory. The junkyard is allegorical to show that everything we obtain in this world, both material things and in achieving our own selfish pursuits of self-glory, self-pride, and self-adulation, will one day rot away and decay into nothingness.

No one will remember you in 500 years when you are dead and gone. The only exception to this is if you do something spectacular with your life that makes you famous. Only then will people remember what you did, not the person that you really was.

But living for Jesus and dedicating our lives to the "good fight" is the everlasting legacy we should pass on.

We should be remembered how we dedicated every minute of our lives being fishers of men for Jesus. When Christian men and women live this way, their children learn about God's love, which in turn causes them to surrender their lives to God, then passing God's love to their children, repeating this infinite loop of love for all time until Jesus comes back. Only Jesus is eternal. Only His love is eternal.

So when I die, "I don't want to leave a legacy. I don't care if they remember me, only Jesus."

Because my Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the only thing that matters.

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