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,


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

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Seth’s Version of the 12 Days of Christmas

1st-”On the first day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth one big happy family.

2nd-”On the second day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth two pots of Coff-ee.

3rd-”On the third day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth three games of football to watch.”

4th-” On the fourth day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth four midwestern goodbyes.”

5th-”On the fifth day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth five pork tenderloin sandwiches.”

6th-” On the sixth day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth six brand new show lambs.”

7th-” On the seventh day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth seven trips to his local gym.”

8th-”On the eighth day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth eight Purdue wins!”

9th-”On the ninth day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth nine new sets of curriculum to write.”

10th-”On the tenth day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth ten hours of sleep.” (Funny joke right!)

11th-”On the eleventh day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth eleven new ways to annoy the girls on his team.”

12th- “On the twelfth day of Christmas State Staff gave to Seth twelve green tractors that shine brighter than thee.”

From the Author- Seth Ariens

Thank you all for reading “Seth’s rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas”. These are all things that I love to see and I know that whomever may read this will like them as well! May your Christmas be filled with good food, bright lights, family and most importantly the celebration of the birth of Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Feeling Full

Thanksgiving is easily one of my favorite times of the year! It reminds us to be thankful for every day and every opportunity! I don’t take the time to think of them enough, so I decided to list some of the top things I’m thankful for this year!

  1. Family

    1. Although some would say they have the best parents…I truly believe that I am blessed with the best! My parents are the most supportive people I’ve ever met and are always there to cheer me on no matter what I’m doing! They’ve never missed a golf match, a soccer game, a contest, or an event. I’m so very thankful that God chose me to have the two best parents anyone could ever dream of having!

  2. Friends

    1. My friends are what keeps me going! They encourage me to pursue my passions and dreams, they offer support or advice when I need it most, and they come to support me whenever they can. My friends are the type of people that will drop anything when I need them and always go along with all of my crazy ideas!

  3. My Team

    1. We recently took a team outing to Rascal’s Fun Zone. If you don’t know what Rascal’s is, it’s a small family fun zone with go-karts, arcade games, and a mini golf course. Although we may have seemed a little old to be enjoying the games, we didn’t let that stop us! We may have caused a few go-kart wrecks, came home with chapped lips and hands from the cold, and only one a few suckers at the arcade, we all agreed that it was the most fun we’d had together in a while. Sometimes it’s the little things that make me laugh the most…even when Toby lapped me for a third time with his speedy go-kart…. nonetheless, I’m extremely thankful for times like these that I get to enjoy with my team!

  4. Gateway

    1. Since moving to Trafalgar, I’ve been regularly attending Gateway Cowboy Church, and it has probably been one of the greatest blessings I could have ever asked for. They have welcomed me with open arms, made a place for me in their little church, and have been faithful friends when I needed it most! I’m so very thankful for the new church family I gained & the joy they continue to bring me every Sunday evening!

  5. Year of Service

    1. I thought my year as a State Officer would be surrounded on how I could impact those around me, but I could have never predicted how much those around me would actually be the ones to make the impact! I’ve absolutely loved getting to meet and hang out with so many cool people and get to hear their stories! I often leave conversations feeling positively inspired and energized! I’ve been greatly touched by the kindness, compassion, and love that so many have shown me…it has all made me very thankful that I get to serve in this position for the next year!

  6. Ag Educators

    1. I was lucky to have my dad as my FFA advisor…which was quite the adventure in itself! Although I’m a little biased, I think my advisor was the best, but I took him for granted way too often! Looking back, I wished I wouldn’t have complained about the 6:40am practices as much and instead, appreciated that he would give up his sleep as well to coach and push us to be better! Ag Teachers don’t get nearly enough credit, so here's a reminder for me AND you, to give your advisors and teachers a little extra token of appreciation this thanksgiving!

  7. Veterans

    1. After spending my last few weekends in FIRE: Top Gun, I’ve discovered an entirely new appreciation for our military! They sacrifice so much, especially time away from their families during the holidays, to fight for my freedom. I’m so very thankful to live in a country where I know I am safe & protected, thanks to our wonderful men and women in uniform!

  8. Farmers

    1. As an FFA member, this one seems like a given…but it’s one I often forget about! I am so very thankful that there are so many dedicated, driven, passionate, and caring farmers across the country who have dedicated their lives to feeding the world. Being a farmer is one of the most noble professions, and one that I couldn’t be more thankful for!

I recently came across a quote that said, “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” This was a perfect reminder that while my list here may be short, I must continue to be thankful in every season for all that I have. This list has truly left my heart feeling full of gratitude! This week, I hope you can find what Thanksgiving is all about…full hearts and full tummies.

                                                                                                Feeling grateful,

                                                                                                                    Mary Jones

Monday, November 14, 2022

A Word of Encouragement

During this past national convention, I had the incredible opportunity to compete at the national level for prepared public speaking. I have been competing in this contest ever since I started FFA in the eighth grade. I always had one goal in mind; to speak on stage at nationals. Each year, the top four individuals for prepared public speaking at the national level compete on stage in front of an audience. This year, for my last speech, I placed fourth overall in the nation. I accomplished my goal and will always cherish the memory. However, it was the lessons that I learned through competing in the contest that I will take with me wherever I go in life. Over the course of the contest, I learned two vital lessons that I now want to share to help encourage others. 

  1. You can accomplish anything you want to, as long as you put the work into it. Success takes grit. The times that you want to give up on your dream are the times that matter the most. Everyone has mountain top experiences, but we grow the most in the valleys. I had to struggle in order to make it on that stage. What most people saw was my name on the screen for the awards ceremony, but what they didn’t see were the countless hours behind the scenes that I had put into crafting my speech and reciting it until it was the last thing I wanted to do. If you stay consistent in your work ethic despite obstacles, you can reach any goal you have set for yourself.

  2. Never tell yourself you can’t do something. The weekend before nationals, I told my coach that I did not expect myself to even advance to semi-finals. I had watched the national finals, and I did not speak like the people that made it that far. I did not believe that I had what it took to make it as far as I wanted to, even though I had put the work into it. My coach had to quite literally knock some sense into my head. I was prepared, but for some reason I doubted myself. I told myself that I didn’t belong on that stage, but after competing at that level, I now understand something that I didn’t before. I don’t speak like other people because I speak like me. We are all different and have something unique to share, so never tell yourself you aren’t good enough to do something. 

These lessons will always be important to me. I will never forget the experience and I am proud that I learned something along the way. If you put the work into your goal and bring the best that you uniquely can to the table, you just might be surprised how far you’ll go. 

                                                                                                        - Jaden Maze

Monday, November 7, 2022

Highlights of National Convention!

The National Convention was an absolute blast this year! I reflected about last year’s convention and remembering how bittersweet it was to think that it would be my last convention in my jacket. But just like that, I was able to represent Indiana with “Association” on the back of my jacket. Seeing all of our amazing members in the sea of blue was unforgettable! Now I present to you, some highlights of my week!

  1. Losing my voice after cheering for every Indiana member up on stage.

While this one may sound a little goofy, it really made me realize how exciting it was to celebrate our members’ hard work! Congratulations to everyone who competed and represented Indiana throughout the week! (I’m still recovering as I’m writing this, so luckily, I get to type it, haha!)

  1. Sitting (and mostly dancing) on the Delegate Floor!

Being on the floor of Lucas Oil is absolutely insane! The energy of sitting in the second row, seeing the pure joy on some lucky members’ faces, and of course the pre-session dance moves. Whether it was boogieing down with the Kentucky State Officers, or maybe even Uriel from Oregon, those were some memorable moments that I will never forget. 

  1. Being a delegate!

Our entire State Officer Team had the opportunity to represent Indiana as delegates. Seeing first-hand what our organization needs, meeting and reconnecting with new people from all over the nation and learning more about parliamentary procedure was purely awesome! My chapter didn’t compete in Parli, so it was interesting to learn more about making motions and the process as a whole. 

  1. Competing in National Floriculture!

Our team consisted of 4 people, 1 at Purdue, 1 in Trafalgar as a State Officer, 1 back at home, and 1 at Iowa State. Although we couldn’t have any practices together, we still managed to place as a bronze ranking team, 3 silver individuals, and 1 bronze individual! For us who thought we did awful at the state competition, that was something to be proud of. No one from my school has ever gotten to compete on the national level in recent years, so that was an amazing accomplishment. 

  1. All of the embarrassing moments!!!

I started with a goofy one, and I’m ending with a goofy one. We had a lot of embarrassing moments throughout the week. Here are a couple of the most memorable ones:

  • Jenna dropped her phone in the Steak N’ Shake and wasn’t able to use it for the entire week. To provide some more detail, half of her screen is just black with one red and one green line on it. 

  • Jaden tripping over chairs. A total of 3 times. 

  • Jenna tripping going down the steps of the bleachers, she may or may not have lost a toenail. 

  • Anthony also tripped over chairs and completely fell on some of the Kentucky State Officers. 

  • And finally, I lost my shoe while fishin’ in the dark was on. Sorry, James from Pennsylvania, haha!

    Overall, I learned that celebrating special moments, dancing my heart out, being a delegate, competing, and the embarrassing moment are all equally important. While some are easier than others, they created a lot of unforgettable memories. My challenge to you is to look at some of these qualities in your life. Find out what unforgettable memories that you can make, no matter the situation. 

                                                                                    Living for these moments, 

                                                                                            Gracie Lee

                                                                                                    Indiana FFA State Reporter

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Life Lessons from Dad

Dads are full of life lessons… well at least mine is. While in the moment it’s hard to hold back an eye-roll, I’ve found these life lessons I heard all too often to have some truth to them. Below is a collection of my favorite quotes, with some help from my siblings, from dad:

  1. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Coming from a dairy family, this is one we heard often. It didn’t matter how often it was cleaned, the milk parlor in the barn could always be cleaner. While we mostly heard this during chores, it applies to every part of our lives. I’ve realized I’m not only more comfortable, but a lot more productive when the space I’m in is clean. I guess my cows and I have a lot more in common than I thought…

  1. Turn it on.

We all have that switch. While some days that switch is easier than others, we all have a more professional and poised version of ourselves. This lesson has been especially useful during this year of state office. No matter how little sleep, how stressed, or how nervous I may be, I hear my dad’s voice in my head telling me to turn it on so that I can present the best version of myself. 

  1. Horseplay never ends well.

My siblings and I got this one a lot. No matter how much fun we were having, this “horseplay” would usually end in tears and fighting. While messing with siblings (or even teammates) is fun in the moment, it’s better to end it before it gets to that. 

  1. Get tough.

Another lesson we heard in the barn often and one we never enjoyed hearing. No matter how many times we got stepped on by a cow, had a heifer get loose, or had a goat horn to the stomach, we learned to wipe away our tears and try again. While my time in the barn is significantly less this year, this lesson of perseverance is something I’m grateful for daily. 

  1. Nothing good happens after midnight.

After getting my license, I would have a very strict curfew which would be followed by this piece of advice. Again, at the time, it was hard to hold back an eye-roll, but I’m grateful my parents wanted me home safe. While I’m definitely not a morning person, the excitement of staying up late is starting to wear off, and I’m beginning to see what my dad was talking about. 

  1. No one cares.

As harsh as this one sounds, this may be the most valuable lesson from my dad. After complaining or creating excuses, “no one cares” is something I hated to hear but now I’m thankful I did. Life is too short to spend it complaining about circumstances when we could be making the best of them. I’m still learning this lesson, but this is one I will definitely be passing on to my kids in the future. 

  1. Make good decisions. 

Even today, this is one I hear every time I leave the house. I had always thought this one was pretty self-explanatory (who would want to make a bad decision), but I’ve found it to be a little deeper than that. Every decision has consequences, good or bad, that need to be considered before we take action. This consideration drives us towards a more successful future and away from regret.

  1. Life is hard.

Thank you Seth for stealing this as my Blog title. This is absolutely my dad’s most popular life lesson. Again, this lesson taught me to be tough and that life isn’t always fair. While “life is hard” is a true sentiment, I’d like to add to this quote - “Life is hard, but it is what you make it.” There is positive in every situation, even if it doesn’t look like it at first. 

I wanted to share my dad’s wisdom with you all, just as he does with me daily. I hope his advice is based on true knowledge, and it's mostly ripened with wisdom :)

                            Make good decisions,


Monday, October 17, 2022

Toby’s Things To Do

You know, life can get really busy, and I mean really… really busy. When I am stressed and need a break, here are some of my favorite things to do to destress.

  1. First is to play instruments. This is definitely my favorite thing to do. The only bad part of playing my instruments is that it is loud, and the state officer house is not a very large area. As you may recall, band was a huge part of my life and I hope to continue as I move into Purdue. When I am playing, I am able to be free of all stress and all thoughts I have and just unwind. There is nothing better than just playing music and letting it flow through my soul.

  1. When I am unable to play music, I love to just sit and listen to music. This is the best when we are working in the office and there is music playing in the background. I am more productive and motivated to work. The rhythm flows through the veins and makes every bone in me groove. It is rare for me to not move to music. I love funky music, 80’s music,60’s music, classic rock, worship music, some and I mean a little amount of country, and a small amount of rap. When I can just enter the world of music it allows me to fire on all cylinders. 

  1. When all of the work is over and it's just time to chill, I love to watch sports. My favorite sports to watch are mostly football and basketball. In my opinion there is nothing better than college sports. The NFL is great, and the NBA is ok, but there is so much emotion and connection supporting your favorite college teams. The roar of the crowd, the sounds of the marching bands, and the care each college player puts into the games. This is one of the best ways to spend time with your family and friends. With four family alliances and full support, or the fun-loving family rivalries is all tremendous. Whether you are sitting around the tv with good food or at the games with the overpriced food it is always a good time. Some of my best memories revolve around watching sports.

  1. You may not know that this next one is, but I’ll explain. Tolf, or tennis golf, is a sport similar to golf except the ball you use is a tennis ball. You can play by yourself or with others and make your own hole and target as you go. You can also create the stroke limit as you please. This is such a great way to be outside in a relaxed fashion while still having a lot of fun. The nice thing is that the tennis balls make the playing field more level ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to win. If you like to golf, this is also a great way to practice hitting.

  1. Watching comedies is definitely my favorite genre of movie to watch. Whether they are great belly laughs to just a good time, comedies never seem to disappoint. When I get stressed, comedies just allow me to lay back and relax.

  1. I love to talk but talking with friends is such a good time. You get lost in conversations and rant about the most random things. If you ever need to get something off your chest this is the way to do it. Your friends are people who are there for you, they have and are going through the same things you are.

  1. Going out to eat is a great way to get out of the house, but also make yourself feel nice dressing up and going out for a good meal.

  1. Our bodies can only produce so much. When we have reached our limit there is only one thing you can do, take a nap. I love naps, they are a great way to relax and gain some valuable hours of sleep. After I wake up from a tremendous nap, I feel like a million bucks. When you are tired, that is your body telling you to nap.

These are my favorite things to do. They allow me to give back to myself and just enjoy life. I hope as you have read some of these you try them the next time you need a break. Now I’m super tired after writing this so I will now practice as I preach and take a nap… zzz… zzz…zzz.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Changing Seasons

It’s that time of year where you can start to feel the crispness of fall in the air. The slight chill in the breeze. The summer heat transforms to cool evenings and colorful scenery as the leaves transform from bright green to a bold multicolor display. The slow transition in the colors of the leaves. As I’ve walked around the FFA center, I’ve gotten to witness the changing colors first hand. It reminded me of 3 lessons we can learn from the leaves as they change; letting go, embracing change, and to soak up the little things. 

Letting Go: Autumn reminds us the importance of letting go. We all go through seasons of life, and some are much harder to let go of than others. Much like how a tree has to let its leaves fall, we can never truly grow into our best selves without letting go and learning to take advantage of new opportunities. I had my own experience of letting go this past summer. Graduating high school was an exciting, fun, yet terrifying experience. I was so excited to adventure into a new chapter of my life, but it was so hard to let go of the place I had grown comfortable in. Since graduation, I’ve been able to take in new experiences, like state office, that were definitely worth me letting go of my comfort zone!

Embracing Change: My mom’s favorite verse in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time and a season to every action under heaven.” I’ve heard her recite it often and it reminds me that change is inevitable, so rather than fighting it, we should welcome it and look forward to whatever comes from the next season! Moving into the State Officer House was a huge change for me this summer. After living as an only child, it was an difficult transition to suddenly living with 6 new siblings! Although it has been a new learning experience for me, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My teammates have become a family and I will be forever grateful for them!

Soak in the Beauty Around You: Stop and watch the harvest moon, take a stroll through a freshly chopped corn field. Go visit an apple orchard, sip some warm apple cider. Cozy up in a sweater around a firepit with your best friends. Whatever you do, don’t let the beauty of the little moments pass by you, unnoticed. I’ve had to remind myself often to slow down in these moments. Especially as a State Officer, these moments fly even faster, so I’ve had to learn to truly soak in all of the movie nights we have as a team, the family dinners around our kitchen table, the time sitting in the office all together, and the long hours in the car together. Although they may not seem like much, I know these are the moment’s I’ll miss the most when my time as an officer is over. 

As fall settles in around you, take the time to learn from the leaves you see changing around you. It’s ok to let go, it’s important to embrace change, and never forget to soak in the beauty of the little moments around you.

Always learning,

Mary Jones

State Northern Region Vice President

Monday, September 26, 2022

The Great Outdoors

With it being fall I think the topic of the outdoors is something we can definitely start talking about. From all the fancy colors in the leaves, and the leaves starting to fall, some of the beautiful sights you can find in the outdoors, that we often take for granted, are almost here.

I can faithfully say that we all have been outside at some point in our lives unless you’re a vampire… I have always been an outdoorsy kind of person. When I was younger I loved fishing in the pond in my backyard, walking local trails while fishing in the creek that ran through it, and taking any chance I could to go cast a line. When I turned 9 I attended a conservation camp where I learned skills such as trapping, hunting, boater safety, waterfowl identification, waterway safety, and so much more. I returned annually as a camper or camp counselor until this year. During this camp, I found so many people who were just like me and loved the outdoors and hunting. Because of this camp, I received my hunter education and was able to purchase my hunting license, this is where my love for the outdoors really kicked off.

Once I purchased my first hunting license every season I was always hunting, fishing, or just spending as much time as I could in the outdoors. Because I spent so much time outdoors, I started to see the beauty of being in nature more and more. Seeing the sunrise on lakes while having woods to your back, listening to the birds wake up while they are chirping, taking walks near ponds or rivers; the outdoors really has some really neat sights to see. Now I know we all don't hunt or fish, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the outdoors.

The FFA Center is a great place for FFA members, and other guests, to come together in fellowship while being in touch with nature. With the lake, and being surrounded by trees, a simple walk down a trail is a great way to feel alive in the outdoors. I love having the opportunity to walk outside on a crisp morning to feel the warm sun heat the earth while hearing all sorts of songbirds sing their morning tunes. It allows me to clear my head and enjoy the creation we often take for granted.

Another great way to see and enjoy nature for everyone is to visit local parks or trails to walk through and see what all nature has to offer. But one of my favorites is to visit State or National parks. Not only do you get to enjoy being outside, but you get to see and feel the amount of history that has been there. One of my favorite places of all time that I have visited was Yellowstone National Park. With countless physical land features that range from wide open plains to mountains, from waterfalls to geysers, Yellowstone has so much to offer to its visitors. I highly recommend taking a trip if you ever have the chance to visit. You get to see all sorts of beautiful views in the outdoors, as well as a wide variety of wildlife you may never have had another opportunity to see.

Now I can go on and on about how important the outdoors is to me, but that would be too boring. I hope you see some of these pictures I have taken and find some sort of inspiration to go outside and find something cool. Especially if you don’t go outside very often. It's a great way to relax and take in the amazing sights we often don’t take the time to notice. Really soak in the creation we have, and the amazing opportunity we have to do it.