A Farmhouse Taught Me What I Know About Gratitude

A Farmhouse Taught Me What I Know About Gratitude

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.
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I’m not sure when exactly it’s supposed to hit you that you’re a grown-up, or really if it is one specific time, but I know that something that comes along with becoming a real grown-up is the idea of gratitude. I learned this from being away from my family and the farmhouse that I grew up in.

I don’t mean that in moving away to college I have learned in one of my lectures what the definition of gratitude is, but rather moving away from what I have always had has allowed me to recognize just what I did have.

My Nana and Papaw have lived in a white-walled, black-roofed farmhouse since my mom was a little girl. My nana always used to tell us it was built by Native Americans, and I believed her until I was probably 12 years old. (It is old, but not that old.) It has ivy leaves covering the whole north side of the house and a decent sized hand-built wooden porch in the backyard. There is a rope hanging from what I used to think was the biggest tree in the world over the porch. I have memories of my cousins and I swinging off the side of the deck pretending to be Tarzan, stopping my mom’s heart every time our feet left the safety of the wood until the second they landed.

On the side of the house, there is another deck. This one has a porch swing, and now, half of it is filled with the wood stacks to use for the fireplace in the winter. Two old garages, filled with one man’s garbage and another man’s treasure peek out from the woods in the backyard. The home looks out onto a cornfield and faces west, perfect for sitting on the back of the pickup truck to watch the sunsets. The driveway is inviting, long and gravel-paved. I remember my dad dropping us off at the end of it and my sisters and I racing his car, as he barely touched the gas, letting us think we were the coolest of kids for beating him to the front door.

Growing up, each of these things meant so much to me. The gravel driveway was a runway and a creek for my cousins and me to build dams with the hose on in the summer while my mom and aunts would make lunch. The garages were grounds for adventure, treasure hunting, and finding trinkets. The ventilation hole above the fireplace was the location of a newly-invented pulley system for dad to put snacks in our makeshift caddy as we reeled it back upstairs so that we didn’t have to go downstairs to get candy.

The basement was a mystery and a place for spooky stories that we would never know the answers to. The dolphin wallpaper in the bedroom upstairs was perfect for our mermaid adventures, and the curved staircase was a perfect Barbie Dreamhouse. The living room was the stage for Christmas Eve plays that my cousins and I would put on for our parents. This house was our world.

Looking back, after spending time in my little four-walled dorm room, three hours from my family, and three hours from my cousins, who are growing up before my eyes and making memories without me, I have learned what gratitude feels like. I have learned how much of a blessing it is to have a family that can come together in a farmhouse in Ohio every month, to have support from my aunts and uncles in order to do whatever I want, to have cousins who are more like best friends, and to have a place that I can call home.

I have learned that I may not have come from the wealthiest family, but I came from a family full of love and joy and that is what matters. Being raised a Martin has given me the confidence to be proud of where I have come from and the trust to know that He is taking me far and onto better things. I feel confident that this newfound feeling of true gratitude will keep me grounded in my endeavors in the future, that no matter how far I go, I will always have the long gravel road up to that farmhouse.

Cover Image Credit: Erika Glover

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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You Don't Have To See Your Friends Every Day

We all have lives that we're trying to balance.

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For as long as I can remember, whenever I would have no plans and go on Snapchat to see all my friends having fun without me, I would get FOMO. I'd get really sad and think that they didn't care about me because they didn't invite me. It would get me in such a bad mood that it would ruin any chance of going out with someone else who wanted to hang out.

I don't know if it was just my anxiety of people hating me or if it was a fear of missing out (FOMO). Even recently, it has gotten me down. However, over the past month or so, I finally realized something: you don't have to hang out every day to still consider each other friends.

Everyone has a life that they're trying to balance, especially after high school. People work (maybe even more than one job) and go to school. Some have to take care of family members or do things for their family. Some people are focusing on themselves. Some have relationships to maintain. Whatever it is, we all have lives that we're trying to balance.

We all want to have fun, but school, work, and our families are the priorities.

Even if they're out hanging with other people, it doesn't mean that they don't want to hang out with you. Free time is served on a "first come, first serve" basis. It's hard to balance hanging out with multiple people.

I also learned that it doesn't matter the number of friends you have. What truly matters is the quality. Ask yourself, "Who's there for me when I really need someone?" The people who are there for you when you really need someone to talk to are your TRUE friends.

It's not easy to be there for someone and make them feel better. If they offer to listen or give advice, they care!

I know that it may feel like you have no friends sometimes, but that's not true. Life after high school is hard at times. You're an adult. You have to do adult things and take care of yourself first.

You have to realize that everyone has a busy schedule and not all your friends' schedules will align with yours, but that's okay! You don't need to hang out with friends every day to consider them your friends. What truly matters is if they are there for you when you need them.

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