Monday, January 30, 2023

Memories

Life is full of stories or moments that we will remember forever. Whether these moments are something we will remember forever, or something we had the opportunity to see, life is full of moments that have made up our life.


During spring break of my senior year, I went on vacation to Charleston, South Carolina. We spent our days touring the downtown parts of Charleston, walking the shoreline at the beach, and one day we went to Fort Sumter. If you have never read about the Battle of Fort Sumter, it was the battle that started the Civil War. We also went to Patriots Point Naval Museum, where we toured the USS Yorktown, a Naval Aircraft carrier ship; used in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and used as a recovery ship of the Apollo 8 Space mission. 


Now I remember going on this trip for three reasons. One was because it was pretty recent, two was because of the historical pieces we visited, and three was because of this. When we were touring parts of Charleston in the city, going from park to park, we came across a man dressed up in a pirate costume. “Oh great, some weird street performer,” I thought to myself as my mom told us to walk closer. The man had parrots and was allowing people to hold them while he was playing pirate… Hesitant to walk up, I followed behind my younger siblings while holding my girlfriend Caylee’s hand thinking about how this guy is going to pickpocket us while we were holding/playing with his parrot. (You have to agree pickpocketing would be the pirate thing to do. Have you ever seen Jack Sparrow steal from people in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, he's good at it!) 


After walking up he asked me if I wanted to hold the parrot. “Why me? My younger siblings were up to you first. Why would I want to hold the nasty bird?” Those were my exact thoughts until my mom tells the man “He would love to”. I couldn’t back out of holding the bird now, not with everyone expecting me to. So, I ask the man what to do and he tells me I hold out my arm and if I want the bird in my hand, I should open up my hand like I'm going to slap someone. As soon as that bird was in my hands I was freaking out, not because I was scared of the bird, but because he kept looking at me funny. I realized pretty quickly the bird was staring at my necklaces. I was wearing a stainless-steel chain, and a camo paracord necklace that has an Aluminum Goose band on it, and this bird was pecking at both of them. “He's trying to steal your jewelry, that's why he’s with a pirate,” said the man. Awkwardly laughing I tell the man I am done holding the parrot and he can take him back when all of a sudden, the bird bites my finger. 


Two thoughts came into my mind. I either act like a 5-year-old in front of my family and girlfriend about being bitten or throw the bird up in the air and tell that man he needs to teach the thing not to bite. I acted like a five-year-old. Even after the parrot bit my hand, Caylee, my brother, and my sister still held the parrot. I'm not sure what each of them remember most from that trip, but I know I will forever remember the time I was bitten by a parrot.


The best thing about memories is that they’re genuine stories. We didn’t manufacture them by setting up certain things to happen a certain way. Memories are a great thing to share to teach people about things, or to, hopefully, entertain people.  


“Sometimes you will never remember the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory” - Dr. Suess


                                                                                                    Anthony Taylor





Monday, January 23, 2023

Time is of the Essence

I have a confession to make. For years I have lied to myself. I bought into an illusion for a majority of my life that I just now recognized as a fraud. With many situations I experience, my mind likes to repeatedly jump to an assumption- that I have all the time in the world. 

Do you ever feel like time flies? Do you ever feel like you blink and it's all over? Time is a weird concept. In the moment it can seem slow, but one moment turns into another and ironically, when you find a moment to look back at all the others, you realize they barged in without knocking and left without saying goodbye. 

In a way I feel abandoned by time. How could it leave me so abruptly? I thought I could count on time. I believed it would be with me forever, at least that is what I told myself. Time failed me. Or did I fail time?

I’ve had to take the hard road to finally admit that I was wrong. I set unrealistic expectations that time couldn’t meet. I should have known better than to comfort myself with the lie that time lasts forever when I know that it does not. But I am scared of time. Time is ruthless. It doesn’t care how you feel. You can ask it to slow down, but it won’t. You can ask for more of it but time leaves your request at the foot of the door it entered into and left from. That is why I lied to myself, because if I could convince myself that I could control time, then time couldn’t control me. 

The hardest thing that I have recently come face to face with is that time doesn’t compromise. Time gives you what it gives you. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no need to attempt bargaining with it. So what do we do with what time is willing to give us?

That very question is what has led me here, currently writing this blog. As I sit here, I am amazed at how fast state office has flown by. Most of our team’s conversations lately have revolved around this topic. All of us are having a hard time comprehending that we are already over halfway done with the year. The moments that haven’t left us yet are already on their way out the door. 

The truth is that everything comes to an end. Everything has an expiration date, everything has a deadline. At the start of state office our deadline seemed so far away, but now I can hear its footsteps approaching our door. I want it to knock, but I know it won’t. I can only hope it says goodbye. 

This is bigger than state office. Our lives have deadlines, and unfortunately time won’t clue you in on when it is set for. At this point, I wouldn’t expect it to. I just know now what I am supposed to do with the time that I am given. Appreciate it. 

Before this year, I used and abused time. It must be so exhausting to give so much of yourself to someone who thinks you have an endless supply of whatever you are offering. When I put myself in the shoes of time, I understand that I am lucky to receive what I do from it. I try my best now not to waste it, to be grateful for it, and to cherish it.

 To whoever is reading this, I hope you can follow in my footsteps and try your best to be wise with how you treat time. But if you choose to keep lying to yourself like I did, just remember that time will find a way to teach you this lesson if you don’t learn it for yourself.  

Live in a way that prepares you for your deadline.

                                                                        Time is of the essence,

                                                                                                       Jaden


Monday, January 16, 2023

10 Things I learned from my First time Skiing


  1. YOU WILL FALL AND IT WILL HURT. But this is okay because I can say from experience that you won’t fall the same way twice.

  2. Once you get to the top there’s only one way down… on the skis that you barely know how to use.

  3. Learn how to stop before you learn anything else.

  4. The faster you go the more fun it is. (This is why you must learn to stop)

  5. Don’t be afraid to learn some stuff from the 8 year old who has been skiing twice as long as you have.

  6. If someone asks you to try something new, say yes to it! I can guarantee standing at the top of a slope getting ready to try something new is going to be way scarier than doing it in real life so why not try.

  7. Beware of the ski lift. If you aren’t very good on skis at first it can be kinda tricky to get off the lift when you reach the top.

  8. Going full speed down a slope without trying to stop is one of the most wide open and wicked experiences you’ll ever have.

  9. Enjoy the view at the top because it doesn’t last for long before you come back down. I relate this back to real life too, we can’t expect to stay on top forever, but we can enjoy the view so when we get back there it’s even better.

  10. BRING GOGGLES or sunglasses if you prefer. Trust me whether the snow machines are running, or they aren’t you are going to want to wear these.


-All in all, my first trip skiing with the Adams Central FFA Chapter was by far one of the most fun things I’ve had the opportunity to do. Aside from the skills I gained in terms of actually learning how to ski and make it down the slope in one piece, I also learned a few things about me. Some of the scariest things in life are often the most exciting as well as thrilling. If I’m being honest, I was quite nervous to go down the first slope but after I felt how fast and wide open it was, I was obsessed with the whole idea of it. Additionally, it showed me that the view at the top of the slope was amazing but that you couldn’t stay up there, that’s not how it worked. Then slowly I made this connection to real life, often we find ourselves at the top of our slope with an amazing view. But it never fails that we always have to come down off of our slopes, that's how it works. Then I began to think about the trip back up, while skiing it was the ski lift which was such a beautiful sight. But why can’t the trip up our slope be beautiful, full of sight and full of growth? That’s because the trip up our own slope is exactly what we make of it. If we continue to look at the sights around us, build ourselves in a positive/effective way and never give up on the climb, I can almost guarantee that the climb up our own slope will by far be the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Build Relationships That Outlast You


Christmas break for me was very well needed. I was excited to take a break from my busy FFA life and be able to enjoy my family, travel, and catch up on shows. 


Towards the tail end of our break, I went to an Indian Creek High School basketball game. This game was combined with our boys and girls and on top of that Indian Creek hosted the annual Carrie Claybourn Dinner where, the Indian Creek FFA and Carrie’s mother honor her in an annual porkchop dinner to raise funds for an annual scholarship for senior FFA Members. This event is always huge and is practically a second homecoming for alumni. After eating, seeing the current FFA members, and chatting with my old advisors about State Office I went into the game. As I walked in, I saw the pep band, which is where I would be found during my time at IC. Then an exchange student from my senior year came back for a short and expensive birthday/Christmas to see all of her American friends. After catching up with her I saw some of my friends from high school. We were talking about what they are doing, and they always asked how my experience was going. After talking and catching up with friends for the length of two high school basketball games I went to talk with my old band director. I mostly talked about my ongoing goal of making the Purdue “All-American Marching Band,” and she was talking about exercises I can implement while traveling. Her husband, who was at the game, was also remarking on his experience in the “All-American Marching Band,” traveling and combining with other college bands. Once my mouth was dry from talking for so long and the school had cleared out, I headed on my way home with so much joy from being to see so many of my friends who I hadn’t seen for a good bit.


The reason I am talking about this is that I encourage everyone to make relationships that will last past high school or college or something that is definite. When I was in high school, I became friends with some people that we had a great time in high school together, but it never lasted past graduation. Having made those friendships that did endure graduation has allowed me to keep up with them even though we don’t regularly see each other. I know my true friends will even show up at my funeral because our friendship was more than seeing each other at school but a relationship that outlasts both of us. As my mom always said, “You can never have too many friends,” so you should be nice and be acquaintances with everyone but just be mindful who your true friends are.


With best wishes,

    Tobias Sturgell


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A Few of My Favorite Things

In the Christmas Spirit, I am going to be writing about my favorite holiday traditions! Some of my best holidays have been spent making all of these memories. I hope that you have all had an amazing holiday season. Let’s get to it! 


  1. Time with Family - One of my favorite Christmas traditions is getting to spend time with my family. If there is one thing that I love about going home, it’s getting to spend time together. There’s just something about making memories with the people that you love the most. Even through the hard times, I have learned that your family is what will get you through. And even though they’re a bunch of goons, I do consider my team my family. 


  1. Decorating the tree - It is so satisfying to me to make the tree full with all of my favorite ornaments. Some of the highlights include my Elvis, Chatty Cathy, and Mike and Sully ornaments. The perfect cherry on top is my Great-Grandma’s angel. It is beautiful and features tinsel, beads, and provides an old-time style. 


  1. Making Cookies - I love to make cookies with my Mammy. My favorite kind are sugar cookies and snickerdoodles. We always have so many laughs in the kitchen, and it feels good to give them to our friends and family. 


  1. Looking at Christmas Lights - In Union City, only 15 minutes away from my hometown, they have a whole park filled with lots of lights. You can find Santa and his Reindeer, penguins playing soccer, and signs lining the paths that local supporters have decorated. It is always a family tradition to drive through the lights and get into the Christmas Spirit! 


  1.  Presents - My family always celebrates the real reason for the season, but of course presents can be fun too! I love to get gifts, but love giving them even more. It is satisfying to see the joy on others’ faces when they open their presents. I also love to give presents through the Angel Tree for our county. Service and giving back has always been important to my family. So, the Angel Tree is a way to give back to children in our community. 


No matter what your Holiday season looks like, I hope it is filled with happiness, celebration, friends, and family. My challenge for you is to think about what traditions or aspects that you hold close to your heart. Make sure to implement them next year and make some new traditions of your own. And as always, make sure to recognize the reason for the season. 

- Gracie Lee 

Indiana FFA State Reporter


Monday, December 19, 2022

Christmas Cheer

With many of us on Christmas break, I wanted to share ways to focus on Christmas cheer. I know this holiday season can be overwhelming and tiring, but I hope that these words help. 


C - Christ.

He is the reason for the season. With the business of Christmas, remembering the reason we celebrate is the most important part of this holiday. The Christmas Eve service, nativities, and singing holiday hymns are some of my favorite parts of Christmas.

H - Hope.

2023 is approaching, and with a new year comes new hope. I hope this coming year I can spend more time with friends and family. Hopefully this year I can actually keep my resolutions :)

E - Enjoyment.

This time with friends and family is meant to be enjoyed. All of the holiday celebrations and times to focus on the laughter, memories, and traditions that make this season so special. Make sure to enjoy every moment and soak up the time away from work and school. 

E - Energy.

For some, this time of year might take a lot of energy to get through, while for others it’s a time to re-energize. In either case, make sure to take time this break to find your energy for the new year. Fill the empty time with things that give you energy. 

R - Reflection.

Finally, 2022 has brought many new events, challenges, and obstacles. Use this time to reflect on this past year to bring a new mindset into the coming one. That may be setting new goals, reorganizing, or trying something new to make next year the best one yet. 


As Buddy the Elf would say “The best thing about Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” During this holiday season, make sure to share your Christmas cheer with those around you. 


                                Merry Christmas,

                                        Jenna

Monday, December 12, 2022

Wasted Talent

If you are a big movie watcher, you may know that movies are full of great quotes. Funny, sad, or inspirational quotes are encrypted in almost any movie. One of my favorite inspirational movie quotes comes from A Bronx Tale. "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. You could have all the talent in the world, but if you don't do the right thing nothing happens.” This quote is one of my all-time favorites. It reminds us not to learn skills, to have the capacity to fulfill a role, or complete a task, and not take advantage of those talents. 


Many times in my life I have pushed myself into a leadership position or a task and once completed I saw how rewarding that effort was. A great example of this was my first welding job. I had been in welding classes at my high school for 8 months and was working hard to better my skills every class period. My instructor noticed my abilities, so he pulled me aside and told me to apply for a welding job. At that moment, I felt disbelief in myself. I wasn't good enough for a welding job yet, especially one paying $18 an hour for new hires. I did not have any faith in myself about my welding talent, but my instructor kept pushing me to go into this business and ask for a job. 


After many conversations, he finally annoyed me to the point where I went to the business and met with the shop foreman. After a short discussion, he walked me to the back of the shop where he made me weld some small parts. After welding for about 5 minutes, he gave me some critiques on my welds and told me I could start next week. I shook his hand, told him thanks, and that I would see him next week. I walked out of that welding shop feeling like I was on top of the world. At 17 years old I had a welding job making 18 dollars an hour. That 18 dollars an hour did not last long though. I had started this job still during the school year, working after school until 9 or 10 O’clock most nights. Once summer started, I was working 6-4:30 every weekday, while still trying to hang out with friends and enjoy my summer. 


Let me tell you, weld shops in the summer could quite possibly be one of the hottest places on earth. At least it seems like it when you’re there at the moment. After a few weeks in the summer, my foreman saw how hard I was working. He bumped my pay to $20 an hour. When I got that pay increase, I was like a kid in a candy store kind of excited. I kept this job and pay up until State Office.


When first being told I should apply for this, I didn’t believe in myself. If I didn't have my welding instructor push me to ask for a job, I would have missed the opportunity to gain work experience. That would have been Wasted Talent. What opportunities do you have in front of you that you’re not taking advantage of? Is it a niche for something that you don't think you’d enjoy? What about a leadership opportunity? Even if it's a career path, truly think about what skills and talent you have and if that opportunity is going to be worth missing. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Ferris Bueller's Day Off


Don’t waste your talents


Anthony Taylor