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Tonight's What Inspire You Wednesday post comes from my friend, Mary! Mary is one of the coolest, strongest gals I know and is a fellow North Iowa Blogger.

Here's Mary:

When Jen asked me to write about what inspires me, my first and immediate thoughts went straight to the people in my life. I am fortunate to have many people in my life who I look up to, admire, and are constant inspirations to me. But when I sit back and spend time really reflecting on WHAT inspires, not necessarily WHO, the answer is obvious.

Nature. And more specifically the spring season.

I have always felt more grounded, connected and myself when I’m outside. As a child, I played outside with the neighbor kids, tearing around on our bikes playing cops and robbers, digging and mixing in the wet dirt making mud pies, and staying out long after the sun went down in the summer playing tag and night games. Being outside was fun for me growing up.

Now as an adult, I am still drawn to nature. I have chosen a lifestyle and a job that allows me to work outside among green plants and trees. I am a vegetable gardener, spending hours alone in my garden pulling weeds, and tending to the plants I sowed in the springtime.

Being in nature relaxes me, refreshes me, and inspires me.

When we go on vacation, we choose places we can hike, bike, explore and be outside. When I’m sitting by the ocean and watching the waves come in, I feel a calm I find nowhere else. I am inspired by flowing rivers that are in constant motion, ever changing and bodies of water that are homes to many creatures and also provide food to wildlife. Being in nature reminds me I am part of something much, much bigger than myself. I am inspired by the complexity, yet simplicity of nature.

We have so much to learn from observing plants and their way of life is an inspiration. They are resilient and strong. Trees hold their own in wind and storms. Flowers bloom, year after year.  They are themselves in all their glory and imperfections.

The spring season always inspires me. Each year after winter snows and frigid temps, spring comes again. It is consistent. Everything is waking up again. Winter was a chance to relax, restore, rest, and as spring arrives, temperatures become warmer, colorful birds start showing up in your yard, and the sleeping, dormant plants and trees start to show signs of new life, budding at the ends of their branches and peaking green signs of hope through the once frozen and cold brown earth. The plants emerge showing signs of new life, a new fresh outlook, a chance to shine bright again. The days are getting longer, more time to be outside, enjoying the now warming temps. More motivation to dig, plant and sow the Earth.

Spring inspires me to continue to live the life I want to live: to garden, to plant food to feed my family. Spring is an awakening, a refresh, a chance for new life and new ideas. Spring is here and it inspires me.

Be sure to check out Natural Plus Nursery out during their Spring Open House (May 3-11th) and follow Natural Plus Nursery on Facebook and Instagram.

A big thank you to Mary for sharing her thoughts on What Inspires her.

If you would like to do a guest post about what inspires you, email Jen at

Welcome!  I have missed you.

 For those of you that have been my friends on social media, you may remember the days of my blog Just A Mom Giving It A “Tri”.  If so, I hope you are as excited as I am for this new adventure with Tails From The Gravel Road.  Hopefully, everyone understands my play on words with “tails” instead of “tales.”  My plan for this blog is to share:

- the funny and sometimes “not so funny” stories of farm life

- health and wellness

- life at the Schmitt house (recipes, tips, tricks, parenting)

- personal development

-my wellness journey

- inspiration

Since the last time I wrote on Just A Mom Giving It A Tri there have been so many changes.  At that time I was a stay at home mom, my husband always laughed when I told people I was a stay at home mom.  The mileage on my vehicle told a little different story as I was leading fitness classes, Weight Watchers meetings, and the girls and I didn’t exactly stay home much.  🙂 In September of 2015, I had surgery as a result of my battle with crohn's disease. Now, I am working full time as a special education consultant and while I haven’t been blogging I have continued my writing (more on that soon.) I now find myself trying to find balance with work, home, marriage, farm life, parenting, life with crohn’s disease, and fitness. Lord knows it’s not easy, but I am still trying.  

Thanks for joining me on this new adventure!  I can’t wait to share more of what has been happening in the last few years and the years to come. Be sure to check out the other pages on the website in the menu above.

From the Gravel Road-


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