Playing Dress-Up

So this post is mad late. But still fun cause it actually has pictures!  One Sunday afternoon I invited my sister-in-law Lyndsi over to "play". Basically, I planned to do her hair and make-up just for fun.  After we did that, I told her she should pick me out something to wear to church.  She hunted in my closet, and asked if she could give me a couple of options. Uh, yes of COURSE! Basically, she shopped my very own closet and picked three awesome combinations that I have never worn, all that I would wear! I told her maybe she should come over once a month and do that, so I'd never have to decide for myself. :]

I think these are some of the last photos of my long hair. I guess that's anotherrr thing I never really documented on this blog. Maybe another idea for the "future post" archives. If there is such a thing. 

Outfit #1 Chambray shirt/coral skirt/polka dot sweater/pin-striped shoes. I felt pretty classy in this.

Outfit #2 Pink ruffle shirt/black&white skirt/black tights/black kinda-weird shoes. Also a fun look. 

Outfit #3 Black flowy shirt with bling neck/fur vest/green pants/nude flats. This was my fav, I like how it was subtle but was a little edgey. 

And this was my stylist and photographer (with my not-profesh camera, I'll add) Lyndsi.  I snapped a few of her, and the 'do' I gave her. I love her black dress with leather detail paired with casual shoes.

Soo...watcha think.  More outfit posts in the future?

Girl-friends: Life's Secret Weapon

Wednesday evening I had the privilege of spending an evening with the other ladies from Wellspring Fellowship. It was a pretty laid back event, just created with the purpose of encouraging one another and being together.  My mother-in-law hosted the event, and each lady brought a dish to pass.  Good food, good fellowship, good laughs, good prayers, all were present. We played a game that is probs my new favorite party game.  Selfie Hot Potato. Oh yea, awesomeeee sauce. Basically- music plays & a couple of phones are passed around a circle with the camera on for selfie-snapping.  When the music stops, the last person's selfie must be posted to social media, with a caption drawn out of a hat of options. Only epic captions of course. What a hoot. 

Anyways, back to the reason for this post. Ruth (I know, there are 3, so I better specify. Ruth S ;]) shared a bit on trusting God, and how it's really a lifetime journey. Someone stated that when it's all said and done, trusting Him will be more about the journey then the finish line. How true is that?! We can never trust Him too much.  Nahum 1:7 says "The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him." I dunno about you, but I know I want to know that the Lord is close to me, especially in times of need/want/trouble/sickness/hurt. I think that is a great reminder to us when we are feeling vulnerable that if we can just transfer some of whatever burden we are carrying to the cross, and trust Him with it, he will be RIGHT there with us. CLOSE.  What a comforting word. 

Ok, I guess I had 2 reasons for this post. The second is how thankful I am for all the ladies in my life.  Even though they range in age and location, they are all a huge blessing to me.  Last night someone mentioned a saying that I don't remember word for word, but the jist of it was that we as women need other women's (true) friendship in our lives, and that it's our "secret weapon" to survival. Our husbands/fathers/brothers/guy-friends are important too, and definitely have their key place in our lives, but there is just something about the comradery and support of a good "girlfriend". I can state this as a true known fact, because I have experienced the other end of it as well.  There was a time in my life when a handful of my "best girl friends" were actually extremely poisonous. When this fact came to light to me, it was a blow like no other. These were girls I confided in, invested in, and considered family. When they should have been supporting and helping/encouraging me through life's lemons, they were actually throwing the lemons at me and laying the spikes on the road. It's hard to explain how it made me feel.  I didn't want to be around anyone (if you know me at all, you know this is NOT my nature), and I surely didn't trust a soul past face value, especially women. Then I picked up my life- leaving family, real friends, fake friends, 2 jobs, a boyfriend, basically everything I knew to move to New York. It didn't take me long to start hanging out with the "gang". It was mostly guys, with lots of active activities that were just fun and carefree. I didn't have trouble making friends with those dudes, cause they were nice and respectful and just fun to hang with. 

I feel like this is a slight side-road, but seems fitting. I have always had a handful of really good guy-friends. I treasure their friendship, and having almost thrown most of them away at one point, I value being able to keep them now. While I love them, it's just different that a really good girlfriend.  I think there is still depth to those guy friendships, but it's different than with girls. Maybe it's that we "get" each other better, or bare more of our souls, or something. But anyways...

Looking back over the first year of my move, I realized I really didn't connect with the girls as quickly.  I'd chat with them in the hang out group, but I don't remember making solo plans, or getting too deep.  I think I was still on the defense, with the mindset of protection.  I had let girls in before, and they stabbed me in the back. So the easiest thing to do was hold them at arm's length.  How much I was missing out on. I am so thankful for the kindness and just God's love shining through these ladies, that enabled me to let my guard down, and build some of the best friendships.  They have weathered some storms with me, and celebrated beside me through the sweetest of times. I can never thank them enough for all that they mean to me. 

The moral of my thoughts are this - I have heard women who say they "just don't get along with other females", and that makes me sad. In my opinion, they either have not been the friend they always should have been, or they have not surrounded themselves with the right type of women. It will be my prayer that each of you can experience true, nurturing, Godly, supporting friendship from a fellow woman (hahaha, fellow woman...yea I'll leave that alone) or 20 in your lifetime. :]

Am I A Blogger?

Don't answer that. At least, not for me.  I've already deemed myself one, definitely not the best, but an aspiring one.

This question, is one that you must answer yourself.  I have gotten quite a few inquires about blogging, as in should I (the person(s) behind the question) start a blog?  Do I have enough to say that people will care to read?  I thought maybe I'd share a few thoughts on this publicly (well, as public as my own blog is) in case there are more of you who are wondering, but haven't actually asked.

My first thought is that you have to start your blog for YOU.  If you start it because your far-away family wants you to, or because all your friends are doing it, or to make a few bucks, my guess is that you will fizzle out quickly.  You need to start it because you want a (public) spot to get out your feelings, express your fashion ideas, or tell a joke or two.  I look forward to having my posts to look back on different stages of my life and remember the details that would otherwise be forgotten.

Second is don't get caught up in how many people are (or aren't) reading your posts. Blogger has some handy tracking info on page views etc that I haven't totally dug into yet, but I glance at occasionally.  I've technically had this blog for a few years, but have posted somewhat consistently for about 7 months. I'd say on an average post, I get about 50-90 page views.  I think this includes anytime I may visit the post, or other's re-visit. So, that's not too many views, let's just agree I'm not world known. But does it make me wanna quit? No, cause that's not the reason I started. Same with comments.  I usually have a few per post, and the interaction is always fun cause someone took the time to say "hi!" But let's just be honest, unless you are the Kardashian's cousin, and have recently been tagged on their instagram, it will probably be slow coming.

Third, don't expect to have to be perfect at first.  I have a book on blogging, an e-course waiting for me to finish on blogging, and here I am. Still blogging very roughly.  It's a future goal of mine to have a more refined space, awesome pictures, more readership, and maybe make a couple of bucks.  But I'm not going to be discouraged to "keep on keeping on" in the mean time. I'd say it could be somewhat trial and error. Most things that you read will want you to pick a topic or two and stick to it, but I'm not so sure. Take A Beautiful Mess for instance.  Probably one of the most successful blogs, and it is so all over the place (in an organized way, I mean topic wise) which will attract all kinds of different readers. I would say the important thing whether you stick to 1 topic, or 28, is they have to be something you are passionate about and enjoy. Otherwise, it'll be a drag for you, and probably those reading.

Fourth, and last for today, DO NOT compare yourself to other bloggers. Now I think there can be healthy inspiration gleaned from other more experienced or diverse bloggers.  But let's bring this a little closer to home, and focus on our real-live-friend-bloggers. I love reading blogs of people I know...sometimes it's a glimpse into a part of their life I've never seen, or sometimes it's re-hearing a funny story told earlier. It's also fun to have real life conversations about blogging, hearing tips, being encouraged to keep up with it, and so on.  But really, I encourage you to enjoy that likeness with your blogger-friends instead of ruining it by thinking you need to write more like them, or wishing you were like them because they have more material to blog about. We are all so different, and thinking differently, and express ourselves differently, so let's keep it that way.  One of my dear blogger-friends has a very inspirational, feel-good-about-yourself, good-flowing-word-choices blog. Basically, totally different feel and writing style as mine. Does that mean that either of us need to feel pressure that one is better than the other? No way dude! That's what makes the blogging world so cool! No matter how you write, or what you write about, I think there is a "niche" for you.

SO. I hope you come away with a little food for thought, and that your wheels are turning about the blog that YOU are going to start. Haha, like that pressure? This is the part where you say "Patty crazy lady, if I start this, it'll be for MEEE!" :] Basically, it's worth it in my opinion. Which is OK, because this is my blog.

As a names are the funnest to come up with. I started my blog probably, 3-4 years ago, thinking I would be an ever-faithful poster so my friends/family back home could get a glimpse in my NY life. hahaha  Like one post a year.  Anyways, I don't actually remember coming up with "downsouth yankee", but I'm guessing it had something to do with the recent move, and wanting to kinda straddle the line. Buuut more recently I've helped a few friends with some names, and I just love how they can be fun, meaningful, and personalized to each person! So, fifth thought even though I said I was done...put a bit of thought and effort into your might be a famous domain one day! ;]

June & stuff

Finally! I am jumping back on the horse and blogging.  I tell ya, the longer I try to get consistent with this, the more respect I have for those 2+ times a week posters! It's not that it's a drag, or I don't enjoy writing. It's just having MAKING time.  Making it a priority. I'm obviously not there yet. But I digress.

June has been a whirlwind, for serious.  May was pretty busy too if I recall, but it seems oh so long ago, so I can't tell for sure. I spoke of a yard sale and was rather dramatic about how difficult the set up was. It was a chore, as was the packing up, but the two days of selling was super fun to me.  I got to spend it with my bestie-soon-to-be-married-lady, it was beautiful weather so I got some good sun, and made some good money! All from my own front...driveway.  What more can a girl ask for?  And to you, lady customer who came 5 times and always walked away with purchases...WE LOVE YOU! 

Riiight after the yard sale was a girl cousin get-away with the Stoltzfus side of the family. hehe...real specific right? Anyways, that was SUCH a grand time spent with 8 other lovely girls.  I was the only in-law, but I was welcomed with open arms, and only got yelled at and talked over like one million times twice. Toootallly kidding. Well kidding about it being because I was an in-law, there was 9 of us, did you expect that there wouldn't be tons of talking and opinion giving? :] We stayed at a place in Ohio which was like a bed and breakfast, but we asked if we could prepare our own food and just have the house to ourselves, and that's how it worked out. We did a little running around one day, but mostly just chilled and ate really really really yummy food. It was super fun, and I hope there will be another in the future.  All of those girls are gems, and each has been so enjoyable for me to get to know.  There were a number of photos taken over the couple days, so maybe I will dedicate a post to those at some point, just for your daily dose of beautifulness. ;] I also had a grand time with Lyndsi road tripping...we apparently have a knack for picking the PERFECT exits, which have yummy drinks (to the Starbucks employee who spelled my name BATTTY, thanks for the laughs-for-days), Chick Fil A, and a mall with an H&M that had an outside entrance. Adventures were had, Laughs were laughed, and talks were deep and wide. :] 

The woman's softball league that I play in started in June, and Lyndsi has joined this year which is fine.  Last year was my first year, and I only knew one other lady going into it. It is a fun way to get a little exercise and have something to do during the week.  Last year we super dominated. This year has been a bit different so far, but I think we will get back into our groove.  There are some people who make it really fun, some people who I have become friends with, and some people who need to go sit down somewhere and chill out. But I enjoy it!

The a fore mentioned bride-to-be and I took an overnight trip to Rochester NY, which is slightly over an hour from home.  We did the same a few weeks before I was married a couple of years ago, and it's just a good time.  Pretty low key, movie, out to eat, and just time together at a hotel.  Kinda a sending off party I guess. I enjoyed both so much.  The one similarity with each is that we planned day #2 to be a beach day up at Ontario Beach Park, and both times were AWFUL.  I think this year was worse, I'm talking walk on the beach and you can't even see the water it's so hazy.  It was windy and it started to spritz. So we decided to head towards home early, and stop at Target and frozen yogurt. The day was not lost people. 

A couple of days later I hosted a bridal party for that special (special like awesome, not special like, special.) girl. The plan was it have it outside in my cute backyard, and it looked so awesome in my head, but the weather didn't cooperate.  It was pretty rainy and just dreary so I committed to having it inside, and it actually turned out fun. My living room is pretty open, so it's a nice place to host. There was about 16 or so people, and it was really chill. There might be pictures of that night in the future too. :]

Next was family vacation.  We planned to do this in July when things weren't as busy, but  my brother-in-law found out he would be leaving the beginning of the month for his 2 year commitment at Fair Play Wilderness Camp for Boys, so we moved it up a bit.  We went to the Lapps hunting cabin in Coudersport PA for the weekend.  It was a very relaxing weekend, no requirements except to eat yummy food and take naps, and no cell service.  I played a game of wiffle ball which was fun...and so so tiring.  Try playing that game on an uphill grade, with only 1 other teammate.  Winning totally made the sore legs worth it. ;] Coming home our vehicle decided to give us fits, not my favorite thing. The last time it decided to lose power was on the side road right by our house, so I decided to cut the corner and run through the field with Dakarai and catch the corner of our backyard. Would I have still done this if I knew our neighbor man was out enjoying his pool and his music and his cigarette, right by the field and corner I ran to?  Probably, but it was a tad bit ackward. And funny in hindsight. 

The next morning I had to be up bright and EARLY, to head to Tennessee with a wide load escort. Like, 5 am early.  That trip could almost be a post in itself (as probably all these little mini events could be), but here I am back home at last.  The load was half a cabin, so 15 feet wide, and required a double escort (one car in front, one car in back) through most states we drove through.  We drove 11 hours the first day (All the trucker was allowed) and stopped for the night and a evening meal of Chipotle. The next morning we were up and ready to go about 5:30 am, and seriously. I don't think our ETA got any closer for like the first 3 hours.  It just takes long with those big loads, and there is a permit required ahead of time mapping out the roads we are allowed to use, which aren't always the most direct way.  Traffic was a bit hairier that day, and I felt awfully small sometimes as I was straddling two lanes in the little Jetta, a tractor trailer in each lane right on my tail, traffic zooming by on my left, and the butt of a big ol cabin in front of me.  But like I said, home safe and sound. :] On the way home we were able to load a car on the empty trailer, so we rode together, plus we had a dear friend who had gone down with the first half the week before to fill her love cup with time spent with her grandbabies.  With 3 drivers we decided to drive straight home, arriving around 6:30 am the next morning. I was pooped by then, and slept most of the morning. 

And I think we are pretty much current! This evening Brad and my Dad and I went to the Haiti Benefit Auction for dinner and to watch a little of the livestock auction action (say that 5 times fast!). I am such a sucker for auctions, not cause I love buying stuff but I LOVE to hear the auctioneer and the "yeppers" and watch the bidders and how they bid etc.  Secretly (or not so secretly) I would love to have the auctioneer skill under my belt.  Maybe some day.  There was some Alpacas there for auction that I hoped to watch but they didn't come up before I left.  Maybe someday when I'm like 60 and lack for something to do, I'll have a small farm of those sweet lookin things. :]

So yes.  This might be a rather boring post to most of you.  And I may touch on some events more in the future.  And I do wish I had pictures to punctuate some of these events.  Mostly I didn't want to just skip over them because I am sure in the years to come when I read back over my posts, I will want to remember this sweet busy month of June, and all the excitement it held, the hum of lives changing, and time spent with dear people.  Thank you for being patient.