Monday, September 23, 2019

Road Trip!

There’s just something I love about small town Nashville, Indiana, especially in the fall. When I go, I can go to the hill top and see for miles and miles. The leaves on the trees are a fiery orange and red. As I walk around, I can feel the leaves crunch beneath my feet and hear the laughter from the other families who are enjoying the same view. 

Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living

 That was just a glimpse of why I love Nashville, but there’s so much more. My friends and I always find joy here. We always make time to visit at our six favorite stops in the sweet town of Nashville.

↠Common Grounds for coffee and coffee beans! 
A little secret-Mint Chocolate Chip is the best!
↠Artist Colony Inn for lunch
↠Magic Store- he performs live and free! 
↠Dress Shops
↠Miller’s Ice cream- home of the best homemade ice cream EVER! 
↠Brown County State Park-Horse back riding and swinging

Nashville is my home away from home. The windy back roads and passing different places that I have the chance to reminisce on, builds within me. For example, on 252 in Trafalgar, I pass the FFA Center “2” sign and Hannah asks “What does the 2 mean? Where’s FFA Center 1?” Not knowing that it means two miles.
Or driving through Morgantown seeing Kathy’s restaurant where my step sister and I walked to lunch quite frequently. My favorite must be the gas station at the four way stop, where my dad and I rode our lawn mowers to get gas. These are the little things that I will carry with me. Always remember: It’s not where you go in life, but it's who and how you go about it that counts.

Appreciating the little things,
Taylor Roy

Monday, September 16, 2019

Call your mom

“Two eggs over medium, potatoes, white toast, a slice of ham, and a black coffee.” 
    That was always my order every time I sat down at the local diner in my hometown of Monroeville, Indiana.  The Blueberry Pancake House—which my friends and I commonly call the ‘Cake House—was characterized by these same kinds of consistencies growing up.  
    Every time you walk in, you can bet your britches that someone will give you a wave and a grin from one of the booths on the east wall; it’s likely you’ll get a handshake from one of the men from church, and they’ll ask if you’ll pick up their check with a wink and a smile.  You never had to feel too bad about hanging around after grabbing a bite to eat.  It’s no surprise to see someone who had come for breakfast at eight o’clock that morning hang around long enough they decide to put their order in for lunch too.  
    I will let you in on a little secret.  For some reason, when I left to move to the FFA Center, I told myself I would not and could not be homesick.  I believed that to fully appreciate the adventure I was about to go on, I would have to momentarily move on from my hometown.  I believed that there was no way I could possibly get homesick.  I stopped checking in on my town paper, I skipped the “Monroeville Bulletin” on Facebook, and I scarcely texted my mom.  I thought I had my life figured out beyond my hometown.

    This past week we were on chapter visits all over the state.  While we were in District XII, I had the chance to grab some breakfast at a local diner with my two partners for Chapter visits.  When we walked in, a few of the gentlemen waved at us, and we could tell that they were not used to seeing three high school-aged students arriving fully clad in Official Dress.  When the waitress asked for our orders, I instantly blabbed out my usual: “Two eggs over medium, potatoes, white toast, a slice of ham, and a black coffee.”  Once I said my order, I felt a slight twist in my stomach.  I saw all the older men catching up and cracking jokes, but I knew that I could not join in.  It was bittersweet.  It had been just over a month since I’d been back home, and it felt so weird to see small town interactions without actually being able to join in.  
It made me miss home, and I had begun to catch a pretty rough case of the homesick blues.  I began to peek back at the town paper, and I texted my mom a lot during our visits.  I tried to do anything to resolve that twist in my stomach.
    This past weekend we had our weekend home.  Seeing all of the small towns that we had been going through last week, that feeling was compounded tenfold.  However, on Sunday morning we had the chance to return to the one and only ‘Cake House.  Of course, we were greeted by the usual wave, and the jokes from the older gentlemen in the restaurant.  Almost instantly that twist in my stomach from being homesick was alleviated.  I was glad to be home.  
    In life we have all types of opportunities to embark on an adventure.  Some may be close to home; some may not be.  And often times we may find ourselves excluding ourselves from our home communities when we go on these adventures.  However, we have to realize that its alright to feel a little homesick.  We need to make sure we keep in touch with where we are from, instead of ignoring it.  So, go ahead and enjoy the other side of the fence, but never forget to read your town paper, scroll through the town Facebook page, and always make sure to call your mom.

Yours truly,

Monday, September 9, 2019

Falling in Silence

September brings one of my favorite seasons. It’s not football season or pumpkin spice season, but something much greater; hunting season. I have spent many long days in a tree stand, watched countless sunrises in a duck blind, and stood for many hours waiting on doves to fly by. But there’s one thing that always remains the same – it’s pretty boring! 

At least that’s what I used to think. 

I would bounce my legs around, sigh as loud as possible, and do my best to let my dad know I wanted to pack up and go home. I was never a fan of sitting and waiting around all day in the quiet. I was always wishing to be back at home playing video games or taking a nap. Somehow though, my dad never seemed to mind the quiet. I thought that defeated the purpose of hunting, seeing as we were supposed to be shooting guns, right? 

When it comes down to it, hunting was way more than that.

As I grew older, I found myself enjoying the quiet woods. Being able to look across the marsh as the world wakes up around me is always something magical. In no other hobbies are you blessed with the chance to spend hours with friends or family, with the only task being to pass the time. Some of my fondest memories are those of being on a hunt with my dad. The best days I’ve spent with friends were on a stool in the middle of a field waiting on doves. For those of us who are familiar with hunting or fishing, we know how precious those times in the field can be. 

As the leaves change and the fields are harvested let’s all remember that our fall activities are more important than we think. Every hour we spend in a field on a hunt; in the bleachers of a football game; or in the cab of a tractor we can be sure that they will become memories we will never forget.

Peaceful Minded, 

Nate Fairchild

Monday, September 2, 2019

Living a Life With Regrets

I’ve lived a life with regrets. It’s something that’s never openly admitted, or cared for to be shared, but these past few months have shown me how to come around to the idea of my regrets. In the house I was raised in, we frequently joked about the kind of people we were. Strong, independent, and every move made was to benefit us and those we care about most. There were fewer times of sharing with each other how we felt and more about how we were going to advance in our own ways. The way my parents raised my siblings and I is something I take great pride in and can credit every strength to, yet as they somewhat send me into the “New World”, there are a few things that rest unsettled in my past. I regret not taking the time to enjoy some precious moments with friends and family because I was too focused on the big picture. I regret spending more time on my schoolwork than with my family, and not thanking my parents as often as I should have. I regret letting go of the ones I cared about most instead of settling our own differences. Many days were spent fighting for an upper hand when it came to the future of an organization, and I regret not focusing on the youth’s potential instead of my own opportunities. Because when we get down to it, these regrets cause us to miss out on those freedoms to build relationships, or even build ourselves. We just may spend more time worrying about how our actions have affected those around us and forget why we made the decisions in the first place. Have we really been too stubborn to see the big, Big picture?
I came to a point lately in regretting some of the actions and decisions I’ve made in the past, and I won’t deny that something better could have been done. However, these regrets have shown some beauty in the decisions, to turn the regrets into examples of building better future experiences. These regrets have taught me to value not only experiences, but the experience with those around. It truly is okay to call Mom and Dad every now and then about what drives me or instils the fear of God in me, and to always say an extra “I love you”. Losing ones you care about most can show just who will always stand by your side, but how to rebuild those bridges again. While it may be hard to stop focusing on the future, these regrets have taught me to focus on others’ futures as well. The decisions we’ve made shouldn’t boil down to other missed opportunities or relationships, but rather the unique memories and friends we’ve gained along the way. We’ve grown into stronger, wiser people who learn more about right from wrong. It truly is okay to do what may be right for us, because we then have the opportunity to focus on those around us. These regrets shouldn’t just be regrets that may hold us back, but rather push us more to find new successes and make new mistakes. Why let the past hold you back, when the future is full of new and better opportunities?

Always seeking the positives,
Morgan A. Hinz