Thursday, February 26, 2015

A True Thanks...

As a state officer, I have had the opportunity to travel the incredible state of Indiana and see or participate in numerous things. I could talk about the travels during chapter visits and the diverse scenery around the Hoosier state. I could explain which historic landmarks are in which part of the state and recollect on the memories I have there. It seems too often I find myself working, preparing, talking, sleeping, thinking…but not often enough do I find myself thanking. During this, National FFA Week, isn’t that what we are celebrating? Celebrating the longevity of this organization, celebrating the opportunities we have, celebrating the friends we’ve made, celebrating our gratitude for all of this.
I often overlook this simple act…thanking.  Right here, in Ellettsville, Indiana, I say thanks…
To my team: I thank you for the opportunity to do life with you this year. We are blessed to call our glitter, love, white-walled, loud, comfy, laugh-filled house a home. You all are the reason I am able to wake up each and every day and feel loved, cherished, and important. I love you all and cannot wait for our futures to become a reality.
To state staff: I thank you for your unwavering support this year. We have asked a lot of questions and said a lot of things, but you have embraced it all with open arms and a happy heart. Your guidance, knowledge, and passion for Indiana FFA is genuinely appreciated. We couldn’t do it without you.
To my family: You have been not only my support system but my rock this year. Through thick and thin, you have been there for me. Whether it be late-night phone calls, last-minute requests for food, a plea for help, or simply a call home…you have been there. You have provided for me my entire life, and I thank you for allowing me to be in this position. I love you.
To Indiana FFA: Where to begin? You have welcomed me into your homes and schools. You have allowed me to catch a glimpse of the incredible things you are doing around the state. Most importantly, or perhaps most memorably, you have treated me like family and provided me opportunities I would have had nowhere else. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of this and so much more. Your passion for the industry, tenacity in challenging the status quo, and perseverance in making positive change in the world is inspiring. You challenge me to become a better person and make me realize just how blessed I truly am.
As I sit here admiring the world around me, I am overflowing with gratitude. You all are amazing people bound to do incredible things. I thank you for all that you provide me and the opportunities you present.

Love All Out,

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It's a Process

To say the least, state office is a learning process. We are now about nine months into our year (I cringe just typing that)  and we’re beginning (yes beginning) to learn the tools and tips of the trade. Having said that, let me transport you about six months back in time to when the gang and I were learning how to facilitate.

I love opportunities to grow….that is after I’ve grown from them. Facilitation training is unique because the only way to really get good at it is to completely face plant a couple times. And, when I say face plant I mean completely mangling a couple direction sets, forgetting what you’re going to say, and looking like a goon while all the while being in front of a group of people making notes on what  you can improve on. This sounds pretty terrible, but luckily for me I was with a group of people who were all in the same boat. I remember one time in particular when I was working on a direction set; I had gone through this set a couple different times, and it was just not clicking. As I mentioned earlier, I love opportunities to grow; one of those opportunities for me just so happens to be patience. After tripping over this set more than once I was getting a touch frustrated. Mr. Martin (our program specialist) happened to be walking by at that point, so he stopped and talked to me. While helping me with the direction set, as well as giving me a small pep talk, he offered me a piece of golden advice. As I told him how I just wanted to come running out of the gates with a perfect direction set, he smiled and cocked his head.

“Kathleen it’s not going to be perfect. State office is a process….don’t expect perfection.”

This hit home for me, so much so that I have his quote hanging over my desk so I don’t forget. So many times people assume that the first time they do something it has to be perfect. Whether that be nailing your first lay up in basketball or placing first at district in your speaking event, most people want to get it right the first time. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the perfection of something rather than seeing the beauty of the journey. My experiences this year have taught me more lessons than I can express in one blog post, but one of the most important is that you need to enjoy the journey and let it grow you as an individual.

The next time you practice for a speech and keep stumbling on the second line of the third paragraph, take a deep breath and say it to the mirror yet again. It’s a process. The next time you land on your back rather than getting a goal in soccer—smile and try again. It’s a process. The next time you’re studying for a calculus test and keep forgetting the formula, don’t throw down the pencil—keep working on it. That is DEFINITELY a process (I speak from experience).

I don’t think many people sum it up as well as Asha Tyson; “Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think you've lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”

Each and every person reading this has amazing potential inside of them. Maybe you’ve reached that potential or maybe you’re just beginning to learn what your potential is. Regardless, I hope you are enjoying your journey. Take time to learn from your mistakes, be willing to take constructive criticism from others, and be excited to try again. Remember: it’s a process don’t expect perfection.

Wishing you the best of journeys,
Kathleen Jacobs
Indiana FFA State Treasurer 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Prepare Yourself for a Good Laugh

One day, I was coming home from a very long day of school. You know those days where you have a gazillion tests, everyone is grouchy, and all you really want to do is go outside! Everyone has one of those days. It seems like things are going in sssllloooowww motion. Anyhow, I shuffled off the dusty bus which was a two-hour bus ride and I was ready for a snack! I was absolutely ready to get all the days events out of my head and relax. I grabbed the mail and looked at the long pine tree line driveway….I told myself,” Alright, Let’s go!”

*10 minutes later*

Finally I made it to the garage! We left the garage door about two feet open so that Carl and Dolly could come in and out during the day. I rolled under the garage door because 1.) I didn't have a key because I lost it and 2.) I felt like a secret agent. Once I got under the large door I stood up. Not thinking twice... I glanced over to the steps inside the garage that led to our house and there curled up was Carl. Or so I thought... 
This Dolly! 
This is Carl as a kitten!

Carl is a huge cat and he is darker colored. I approached the house, opened the door and walked in. As I was walked in I heard something shuffle in front of the door. The door to our house is blue with glass windows. I peer out the windows…

THERE OUTSIDE THE DOOR WAS A HUGE. ALIVE. HUGE. RACCOON!!!!! This animal was definitely not Carl!!! I became hectic and mad at this THING. I needed to save Dolly and Carl, I had to save their lives. This raccoon was obviously sick because it was in the daylight and I knew that raccoon weren't supposed to be out when it was light. I threw my book bag down in the mud room and reached the house phone within seconds. I dialed up my mom’s work number. This was the last thing I needed I thought.

Beep. Beep. Ringggg…Ringg.

“Par-Kan Company, how may I help you?” asked a very nice calm woman.

“Loni O’Hara... PLEASE!” I half yelled into the phone.

*Elevator Music Plays*

“Hello Lindsey, did you make it home okay? Are you in the house? Have you washed the dishes in the sink yet?” my mom said asking me many questions like most moms do.


All I hear was her ever so famous laugh. You know those laughs that are contagious, the ones that you can pick out in a huge crowd. My mom has one!

“MOM….Mom…I am serious! I am not even kidding this time, this is REAL life!” I exclaimed really mad that she didn't believe me a word I was saying.

“Alright honey, we will talk later. Love you, bye!” she hung up.

Fine, if she didn't believe me I was going to prove it! I ran to the back of our house where a door led out into part of our backyard. I slowly made my way to the door that opened up into the garage with the key I surprisingly found in the grill (it was my lucky day).

 Slowly, I unlocked the door. Slowly, I opened the door there it sat…HUGE…FAT…RACCOON sitting in front of the door. I quickly took about a thousand pictures of it ready to prove to the world that this actually happened. I sent the pictures to my mom, then decided that there was no way that I was going to get this raccoon out by myself. I grabbed the pets and headed for the barn obviously saving their lives. I decided to wait till my brothers came home to attempt to get this thing out of the garage.
This is the REAL Raccoon!

Moral of the story, don’t ever think your cat is actually a cat if you are for sure. No, just kidding that’s not the point. The point is, sometimes we get wrapped up in the day’s details and forget to take a look at the big picture. We don’t have to carry the same attitude throughout the day. We can at any time change it. It’s deciding to accept your day isn't going great and still try to make the best out of it. I definitely did not react in the best way and I ended up being grouchy that night. All I needed to do was laugh hysterically and realize that I had no control over this raccoon. Someone once told me: “It’s never too late to turn the day around.” No matter how bad your day is... take a deep breath and realize that it can change if you choose so. I challenge you to take a deep breath because life is 2% of what happens to you and 98% of how you react. Smile! It'll be okay!

Keep a Smile and Love Always,
Lindsey O'Hara
Northern Region Vice President