It has been exactly 48 days since I left my home to move into Trafalgar as an Indiana FFA State Officer. I couldn’t wait to move in, get to know my team better, and learn how to be a better officer. It was a blur of a week at State Convention and I was so excited to begin the next chapter in my life. State Officer trainings, Executive Committee training, and preparation for State Fair all seemed to flow one after another.
I hadn’t even finished the first day of the State Fair before I left for Twinsburg, Ohio for the annual Twins Days Festival. It is something I look forward to every year. I become giddy when I see all the sets of twins together in one place. It reminds me of the fun times I’ve had meeting other twins and taking pictures together in the past. This weekend was also the most meaningful time I spent with my twin brother, Tanner, since State Convention. I didn’t realize how much I needed the time with my brother. We, in the past few weeks, had lost the sync we usually have. It was a great time to finally relax.
We had a great time at the annual parade when we walked with twins our age. We walked around the festival grounds watching twin contests, dancing, and taking countless pictures with our twins. I loved meeting new people and spending time with my old friends catching up on life plans and genuinely caring about each other. It was great to spend quality time with my brother. At the festival, I made time to ask meaningful questions about where my friends were going with their lives. I simply enjoyed their company.
One thing my brother said to me in the car really stood out. He said it quickly, almost in passing. It was a simple phrase with such great weight: “Hey, you need to call mom.” Not because anything was wrong, I just needed to keep my mom updated on my ever-busy life. As I look back on the experience, I think back to the phrase “you need to call mom.” There was so much meaning in it. I was busy with living at a fast pace and I forgot to take the time to have conversations of depth with my mom or anyone. I was flying through life. All I had to do is sit down, talk with someone that will listen, and enjoy their company. Coming back to the State Fair, I felt a difference. I was ready to get to know the people I was working with and go in-depth with conversations. Life can be too fast and too shallow if you don’t make the effort to slow down and be with people.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Friday, July 21, 2017
“Are they all yours?”, “Do they all belong to you?” These are a few very typical questions my mom and dad would get just about anytime they took their 6 kids to a public place. When those questions were asked, my parents would both grin from cheek to cheek, look at all of us kids and then respond with an enthusiastic “Yes, they are all ours!” Those 5 other individuals that I get to call my siblings and best friends have also been my teammates for the past 18 years of my life. Jessica, Melanie, Daniel, Andrew and Peter have all given me so many me so many wonderful memories to cherish. What wonderful adventures we have had! From playing with Lincoln Logs on the stairs, to our homeschool adventures, all the way to making life-sized teepees and homemade swings out in the backyard, we have been blessed with some of the most unique opportunities as a team of siblings. That team has most definitely helped me grow into the gal I am today. Little did I know, while I was living the dream with my 3 brothers and 2 sisters, the good Lord above had a plan to put another team of wonderful individuals in my life.
At the 88th Indiana FFA State Convention, 6 other people officially became apart of a new adventure in in my life: Claire, Emily, Owen, Wyatt, Cole and Grant. After moving in and working with this group of people, they have not only become my teammates, but also some of my best friends. The past few weeks, I have transitioned from the family team that I have grown up with, to a new State Officer team that I get to grow with. This transition may not have been the smoothest, but by golly has it changed my life and I’ve loved every minute of it. I am beyond grateful and overwhelmed with joy to get be apart of a team in multiple areas of my life. There is a sense of joy and pride you feel when you talk with others about your team. Whether that team is made up of your siblings, co-workers or fellow State Officers, you can’t help but smile from cheek to cheek when talking about them. I imagine that may be the way my parents felt when people asked questions about their 6 kids. Now when I am out with my 6 teammates and people I know ask me, “Are they all your teammates?”, I will be the one smiling from cheek to cheek saying, “Yes, they sure are!”
Thursday, July 13, 2017
This past Sunday, July 8th, 2017, was my first Sunday home as an Indiana FFA State Officer. Not only did I try to cram every single thing I wanted to do with friends into these two short days, but I realized just how different my life is now compared to how it used to be. Looking back to just 30 days ago, it’s difficult to fathom every change that has occurred. June 8th, 2017 marked yet another 20 hour day spent planting the last of the soybean crop on my grandpa’s farm. Our day started around 4:00 AM with the long trip in the tractor to some of our furthest fields and little did I expect the slow day filled with equipment failures that lurked ahead. However, as always, I anticipated the work to come and appreciated the sense of satisfaction that farm labor instilled in me. As my day went on, problems continued. The soil was too dry, the planter was malfunctioning, a tire was going flat, and I was leaving for vacation the next day. It was safe to say that I was a little stressed out. Yet, to top it all off, I had just one week to prepare for State Officer interview rounds at the Indiana FFA State Convention where my fate for the next year would finally be revealed.
This was a fate that I had been wrestling with for weeks. I was constantly asking myself if I was qualified enough to be a state officer or if I would be better off going to college. Either way the uncertainty of what my future held was tearing me apart. Every time someone asked about my plans after high school I was faced with the reality that I still wasn't sure.
But finally, on the 8th day of the month of July, as I sailed across on Lake Monroe, I realized just how much had changed. I was no longer worried about early mornings in the tractor, breakdowns or flat tires. I had achieved my goal of state office, and knew the path that I would follow for the next year. Finally, I had gained the certainty of what was to come that I had desired for so long. Although my life as a state officer may be more focused and routine, I don't think that I would have given up a single minute of my busy life before. There are things that I miss such as the sunrise over Indiana farmland, and the smell of freshly turned dirt on a warm breeze. Just as one of my favorite lines of the FFA creed says, “for I know the joys and discomforts of an agricultural life…,” I too have many positive and negative memories from my life on the farm. Without all of these memories, good or bad, I can undoubtedly say that I would not be where, or who, I am today.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
The girls bathroom was filled with numerous aromas ranging from burning hair to perfume and hairspray. After the final piece of hair was in place, the make-up was touched up and Nathan finished whatever guys do when they get ready, we were camera-ready. Today was not just another day at the State Officer House, today was a day spent filming.
The day started with filming our parent recognition video and followed with filming a few commercials. Next, we found ourselves filming a commercial for PopSockets. We filmed various scenes including dropping our phones on our faces, attempting to prop our phone up on the salt shaker and even dropping our phone into the lake because we did not have a firm grip without an Indiana FFA PopSocket. We tried to be relatively logical and did not drop our actual phone into the lake and instead threw a phone case into the lake to stage dropping a phone. What we hadn’t planned for was the phone cases’ quick descent to the bottom of the lake.
Moments later we were faced with a decision. We could either forget the phone case, keep our camera ready look and have an afternoon full of productivity or change quickly and attempt to rescue the phone case. After a few seconds of pondering, Emily and I darted to our room, changed clothes and were back to the lake.
Now it was time to find the phone case. Luckily, we knew the general area where the case fell in and Logan had goggles so it would be challenging, but not impossible. I strapped on my goggles and descended to the bottom of the lake. I quickly realized that the goggles were not going to be much help when the lake water was cloudy. Nonetheless, I kept diving attempting to find Logan’s phone case. One time I was convinced I had it, but soon realized it was a misshapen branch. The quest continued, but unfortunately the case was nowhere to be found.
Emily and I could have spent hours pondering if we should get in the lake, but instead we chose to just jump in. Even if our chance at finding this case was pretty slim we decided to take the plunge. In life, there are often moments when we are apprehensive and may be nervous about the next opportunity. We might be afraid that the outcome will not be quite what we wanted. Let’s choose to just jump in. How or where we jump in may look a bit different. Maybe it is simply trying something new, stepping outside of our comfort zone or taking the jump to devote time to selflessly serve those around you. Take time this week to put your apprehensions and fears aside and simply jump in, because I know you will make a huge splash.
Taking the plunge,
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Reporter
Thursday, May 11, 2017
The Journey Between the Destination
During Banquet season, I have covered a lot of miles in my car, used lots of gas and have truly seen areas of Indiana that I have never seen before. I try to embrace Rodney Atkin’s lyrics and “Take a Backroad” as often as I can when I am driving to or from a banquet with a couple minutes to spare.
|A gorgeous sunset I captured one evening!|
While adventuring, I have seen many majestic scenes that make each town, county and township unique. I quickly recall the cutest town circle in Paoli, the happiest water tower driving from Bellmont High School, the most beautiful farmsteads in rural Shelby and Decatur Counties and so many more.
|Look closely to see the happy water tower! :)|
Pictures fill my camera roll of these captivating memories. I think about if I had chosen to stay on the main road, I would not have the opportunity to see these neat places. I also would not have new ideas to fuel my dream farmhouse, farmstead and even the most ideal town! Trust me, everywhere we go, our team sees various houses and envisions our dream one that are perfectly planned in our minds- of course, with an unlimited amount of money.
Sometimes, I become so attentive on reaching the banquet – the end destination – that I lost sight of everything else that the journey has to offer. But, when I made the choice to explore, I realized that there is so much more to the journey than the destination.
Isn’t that so much like our lives? We become so captivated by the end destination - a goal, an event, an achievement – that we forget to enjoy the journey of life we are each blessed with.
We live life flying with blinders on, but if we would only take them off, we will realize that there’s so much more to experience.
The journey to our destination is has so much more to offer us than the destination itself. Each journey brings opportunities, experiences and scenes we could never imagine. Always enjoy every moment of your journey that brings you to your destination.
Making the journey count,
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State