Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Where It All Started

We are over half way through conferences and this got me thinking about where I was a year ago. FIRE 1 was last weekend and it didn’t hit me until we were almost finished with the conference that this is the last conference for so many members. A year ago, I was in their shoes, but it doesn’t feel like it was just a year ago. There is one part of that weekend I remember distinctly: reflections. Now I can’t tell you exactly what all the reflections were about, but what happened after reflections still crosses my mind often. My best friend, Mercedes, and I were sitting there in the EMR, thinking instead of going to the dance. I look over to her and see there are tears running down her face. She says to me, “This is where it all started. And this is the end.” In that moment, I lost it and the tears started streaming down my face too.
           Let me take this back to the beginning that Mercedes was talking about. Imagine freshman Brittany traveling to The Indiana FFA Leadership Center for the first time to attend SOAR conference. I had no idea what to expect and I was nervous. We file into the dining hall area to start the first session and soon after I sit down, a friendly face sits right next to me. We start talking and the nerves slowly begin to disappear. Throughout the entire weekend we wanted to sit next to each other and hang out as much as we could. Little did we know that we would still be friends to this day.
           Now back to the moment where we were sitting in a puddle of our own tears in the middle of the EMR, I began thinking about the future. Mercedes and I both planned to run for a state office. That night we talked about how great it would be to live in a house together and plan conferences and travel the state. I told her, “This is NOT the end.” Even if we didn’t make it in a state office we could still be involved in the organization in other ways. In the end, Mercedes decided not to run for a state office because that was the best decision for her. While I was sad she wasn’t running, I knew she was doing what was right for her future. State office isn’t for everybody. Thankfully, we are still great friends and she supported me through the entire process.
           We attend conferences to learn about FFA, service, and leadership, but the bonus is that we make friendships that last way beyond conferences. Even as your paths may take a different route, like Mercedes and me, you will still have that connection with them. Sitting in the EMR a year ago, I was shocked at how long ago my very first conference was. Keep in mind to embrace every moment at conferences, and other FFA events you love, because time doesn’t slow down.


“It’s not where you go, it’s who you meet along the way.” The Wizard of Oz
Enjoy every moment,
Brittany

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Dog Blog


“Hello, my name is Moose DeLey. I love running in circles, chasing things and SQUIRREL...and I really really love food. I’m not talking about that dog food stuff but that people food is where it’s at! In fact, I can smell dinner cooking in the kitchen and I CANNOT wait to beg for some leftovers. I’ll be more likely to get some grub if I sit, lay down or shake hands. People love that stuff but I’m really just trying to get some food. Then, I’ll go sprawl out on the couch, maybe take a nap until someone pets me. I live a pretty good life if you ask me.”

Those are a few words my dog would most likely say if he could talk. One of the things I miss most about home is my six year old golden retriever, Moose. Now Moose is not like most dogs. He sleeps a ton, is scared of EVERYTHING, squeals and walks in circles when you talk to him in a high pitch voice that I like to call, “the doggy voice,” rings a bell on the door when he wants outside and he does not bark at all. He is such a good boy and I would claim him as “the goodest boy” but that’s just me.

My mamaw and I were having a conversation about my cousin’s dog being very sick and how he wouldn’t last much longer. I got sad for a moment and then my mamaw mentioned that most dogs live a pretty good life. That really got me thinking.

People provide amazing lives to their beloved dogs and pets. We want what is best for them and we love them unconditionally, even when they mess up and chew up shoes or do something they aren’t supposed to. We take care of them, forgive them for their mistakes and give them the best life we possibly can.

We should push ourselves to treat people like we treat our dogs. I’m not saying play fetch with them or feed them dog food, but we should treat people with the same kindness and love. We should tell people, “Good job!” We should give them credit for doing something new. We should build people up, not tear them down. Take care of the people around you, forgive them for their mistakes and even love them for who they are. We give our dogs a great life so let’s make it a goal to also give the people around us the best life we possibly can.  

- Sami

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Alternate Path

We all desire success in some way, shape, or form. However, we rarely implement the actions needed to achieve what we hope for. We want to be financially stable, but we don’t make time to balance our checkbooks. We want to possess higher intellect, but don’t open a book or do any independent research. We want to make more money, yet still only put in the minimum hours and effort at our place of work. We want to be physically fit, then don’t dedicate time to go the gym or go for a run. In all of these situations our mind is in the right place, our mind can envision us performing the task, then our body does not execute the steps that our mind seemingly sees as easy.

Our desire fills us, it pushes and pulls on our mind, but our body never comes through on its promise to fulfill the mind’s desire. After the mind realizes that the body is not responding, it thinks harder; it tries a different strategy of dreaming bigger. Now the larger, more impressive, more desirable hopes and dreams engross us. We become excited, and we truly want to reach our goals. But alas, our body often falls back into its old habits and never attains what our mind desires. Finally, in a panic, our mind changes directions. It begins to set smaller goals, hoping to somehow get in touch with the body, and convince it to do something. While this final effort sometimes generates a breakthrough, it can just as frequently result in the same failure as the others. With the body still unresponsive, with our physical being unable to meet the demands of our physiological one, we lock up. We enter a form of psychosis.

At this point our entire being goes through a phase of unresponsiveness. The body has nothing pushing it, and therefore no reason to strive for more; the mind has no faith that any of its goals will be fulfilled, and therefore has no reason to desire anything. We fall into a path, a path that many of us are unaware we are even on. A path of simplicity, a path of little or no accomplishment.

As children, we are often praised. Praise, from both adults and our peers, pushes us to be more successful. But as we closeout our childhood the commendations become less frequent. As we enter adulthood, they become scarce. Our accomplishments and the recognition from our peers pull us out of the simplistic path. But when that recognition ceases, it is much harder to get out of that rutted, frequently used, well beaten path.

I remember working on the farm with my paternal grandfather when I told him I woke up at 5:00 every morning, and went to bed at 8:00 at night. He told me that Benjamin Franklin was once quoted saying, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” I still remember this event explicitly and I can recall my thought process immediately following. I found that, aside from the ideal of waking up early, this quote could be adopted to many situations. Deter from the path most people take, and we will find more success than most people find.

Prosperity is not found on that conventional path. While we all can find our own small successes with one foot on that pathway, we will not be able to achieve greatness until we abandon the common path and go our own way. The percentage of people who take the standard path is exceedingly high, while the quantity of people who find their own way is exceptionally low. The amount of success attained varies inversely with the amount of people on that given path.

Why does a basketball player stay in the gym for an extra two hours after practice, when she knows her teammates are at home resting? Why does an author continue submitting his work to new publishers when he has previously been turned down? Why does a paramedic take an extra 24 hour shift after she just finished her last one, even though she knows she could be at home with her family? Why does an entrepreneur dedicate an hour to playing with his children, when he knows he’ll be up later finishing paperwork?

We all have the ability to make decisions that set us apart from everyone else. We all have the ability to implement these actions. But in order to truly find our success we must do both simultaneously. We must knowingly step off the path of monotony and take our own path if we truly desire to be triumphant.

Always,
-Austin B. Berenda

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Take Time to Thank

There’s a stack of books on the desk in our office.


This stack of books has a decent variety to it. They’re books written by political figures, war heroes, music icons, professors, and more. The pages tell about their lives or their experiences through fictional characters, and how they can relate to the readers. I even have my high school year book in the stack. However, there is one book written about spiritual guidance. While the content is extremely beneficial, it’s how I received the book that truly matters.


This book was given to me by my mother. She gave it to me during my junior year of high school, a time where I was struggling with myself. I was unsure of how I could be a good person while struggling so much. School was concerning me, clubs were concerning me, life was concerning me; and I was taking it out on the wrong people: my mother included. We often clashed, and it wasn’t pretty; then again, the truth isn’t usually pretty. Despite all the arguing, she loved me all the way through. She loved me as much as she had the day as I was born or as much as she loves me now (she may not have liked me as much though, there is a difference). She saw this book and thought it was just what I needed; I thought it was overpriced paper. She gave it to me and I sat it on my shelf.


We overcame that time together. She lifted me up with the help of my whole family, and we figured things out. That’s why we have family. Yet, that book my mom gave me still sat on my shelf. It waited for me to be ready to remember those hard times and give me courage to face the hard times to come.


When I was elected to Indiana FFA office, I decided to pack up a small library to take with me to Trafalgar. Among the books I had read and planned to read, I saw the book my mom gave me. I realized I was ready for those old memories to resurface and opened it up. The very first page was filled with a message from her, telling me that she was always praying for me even in trying times. I continued to read, discovering passages that would remind me of my virtues. This was the gift I needed not just back then, but whenever I need to remember those that have been there for me no matter what.

While the book was a great gift, it was the words from mom that really made it special. Her words of encouragement and love let me know that I’ll always have someone pulling for me. I’m blessed to have a support system so strong, and I hope everyone can find those that will be there for them as well. Don’t forget to take time to thank those who have been there for you.

I know that I can’t thank those who are there for me enough, but hopefully this is a start.

Thank you. Most importantly, thank you mom.
- Jarrett Bailey






Friday, September 28, 2018

Growth

Anything new is always either scary or exciting. When something new comes along it can grow a person or even a family. Yesterday I got a text from my mom that read, “Family pics are on Facebook!” Within two seconds of reading the message I instantly start scrolling through Facebook trying to find our family pictures. The first picture I found was an image of my brother, sister and I.


My family was always just my Mom, Dad, brother, sister and me. A family of five full of love. However, as of today that family of five has grown by two family members.


My sister now has a husband and my brother now has a soon to be wife. They are both new additions that grew our family. I am full of love when I look at our pictures and I am thankful everyday for the people in my life. This next picture I am laughing so much because of the funny faces my brother and brother-in-law are making behind the camera.The picture shows three people, but it was affected by more than that.











Growth doesn’t always have to be scary. We all have blessings in our lives and if we look clearly we can find every little joy we encounter.
~Chyenne Deno

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Where Do You Come From?

The station Q103.1 is blaring from the radio, the windows down and that autumn breeze is hitting my face. Jamming to the best country station we have where I live and riding on the back of some country road is what I loved to do. This clears my mind and makes me reflect, and focus on what I love most. Looking at the farms and corn fields is one thing I enjoy doing on these car rides. This past week, as Brittany and I were driving to chapter visits, we passed some fields and farms and took some back roads. Driving by them made me day dream of all the scenes I had passed back home. This brings me to my point: I had been so focused on wanting to move to Montana and live and pass those farm fields. During this trip with Brit, I was thinking about everyone I went to high school with that wanted to leave and wanted to be anywhere but our little town. I had realized that I would not make it in the city. I can’t get those late-night drives, harvest fields of corn gold rows or my favorite view from a big city.  I love sitting on a hill looking down at a little farm house that’s surrounded by animals. Don’t take what you have for granted because it’s not always going to be there. Life changes, things happen, and we move away sometime. Take a minute to reflect on where you come from. What do you love about where you grew up?

Until Next Time,
Nathan Deatrick

Friday, September 14, 2018

Purpose Fuels Passion


Do you ever feel lost? Like you are wondering through a dark forest with no paths to follow? I have been there before. I was in sixth grade, all of my friends played sports and were athletic and I was the least athletic person in my class. I wanted to be the popular athlete in the future because that was the goal of every other sixth grader. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I did not know my purpose.
Going into seventh grade, I was still trying to fit into this unrealistic expectation of how my life was supposed to pan out: play basketball and volleyball all through middle and high school then go on to become a college athlete. These were my friends’ goals so I thought in order for me to fit in, they had to be mine too.

When school started, there was an FFA callout and I went because my dad was in FFA. Even though in some of my classmates’ eyes it was not the “cool” thing to do, I was immediately sold. I quickly became involved in my chapter through community service projects and contests we competed in. Slowly, I began to realize that my purpose did not lie in sports, but rather in serving those around me.





Because I dared to do something different, FFA helped me discover my purpose. Throughout high school I was able to take that purpose and find the things I am passionate about.  Serving others on mission trips to Honduras, at places such as Circle City Relief, and through community service projects back home. These passions opened my eyes to new perspectives that I would not have gotten otherwise. Taking a part in something bigger than yourself is the most rewarding job ever.

Maybe you feel lost. If you do, I encourage you to think outside of the box and dare to be different even if it is not the “cool” thing to do. You never know what doors that action may open for you. If you have the courage to be different, you will find your purpose which will lead to discovering your passions. Your purpose will fuel your passions.

Be you,
Savannah Bordner