Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Be the Energy

My team and I are constantly doing something random in the house. However, Abby and I are the ones doing the most bizarre things at the most bizarre times of the day. I want to let you all in on some of the crazy things the team and I have done.

A couple weeks ago, Abby and I were working on a project together. Knowing our two personalities, we started to get side tracked, and were eventually upside down on the couch. Our teammates decoded to flip said couch as we were upside down. Now, this may have hurt, but the smiles on our face made all the pain disappear.

Kourtney, Abby, and I were at Hobby Lobby the other day, and found these half sphere shaped styrofoam. I decided to set it on top of my head, and then Kourtney and Abby followed. We ended up laughing SUPER hard and had a blast on a simple trip to grab some supplies.

Nicholas, Abby, and I were in the office this week and it was pretty late. We all had our nose to the grindstone, working on our tasks for the Indiana FFA State Convention. Abby and I made eye contact, and immediately knew what was about to happen. We joined hands and spun in a circle, screaming, smiling, and laughing. Nicholas eventually joined us, and we had smiles from ear to ear. 

In all of these moments, the energy was always there. We all have this feeling of happiness we want to share with others. I know when I am surrounded with those who give off a vibe of positivity and encouragement. Be the person you would spend hours around - be the energy you want to attract. 

Positive energy only,

Jordyn Wickard

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Making Time to Recharge

One thing this year has really shown me is how important it is for me to see family. We do not have an over abundance of time to go home to see people, so some of my family does not see me as often. Easter was an amazing time for me. I was able to go home and see all of my family in one place. We got to enjoy some good food and spend the holiday together.

As we gathered around my dining room table, we had loads of food to eat. We sat for hours eating and then talking about all the small things we needed to catch up on. Once my family had gotten up to leave and started packing left overs, I did not want them to go. I wanted to tell them to just sit back down and they could leave later. I even tried distracting them by keeping more conversations going. I just felt like I had just seen them and now they were leaving.

This made me realize how I had been lacking something very important to me. It showed me that my best way to recharge was being around the people who care the most about me. I had sacrificed my time with them and it ultimately damaged a lot of my personal health. Because of this, I think it is important we all can identify ways that we recharge. It is so important that we take the time to bring ourselves into a balance between work and personal life. My balance was seeing my family. What will you do to find your balance?

Finding Time,

Madisen Carns

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Finding Meaning in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

5 seconds. Each story can be summarized in 5 seconds. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. In the interest of time, I have written out an OFFICIAL example. “Jordyn and Abby were being annoying. I was trying to work on writing Star scripts. I threw a Rushville FFA plush owl at Jordyn. Point: Don’t be annoying.” (Picture of Jordyn slapping said owl like a maniac). While this mayyyyy be an exaggeration, I’ve learned over these past two weeks that quite literally everything can be summed up in 5 seconds. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a virtual training with Mr. Jason Wetzler: a past National Officer from Oregan and an iconic inspirational speaker and motivator. Over our Zoom call, we talked about telling stories. Now, I’ve always struggled with finding stories to tell. Nothing in my life has seemed that interesting or exciting. Except the time my brothers earnotched me like a pig :).  But, Jason argued that every single day has a story to tell. Every single day has a 5 second moment that we can learn from. Being quite competitive, I took that as a challenge. I was going to find meaning in those meaningless 5 seconds that he was talking about. And so I began to make a 5 second journal entry every single day. 

Entry 1: “Pop (my dad) didn’t realize that I wasn’t home until noon. I guess the world does not revolve around me *eyeroll*”

Entry 2: “Mommom (grandmother) and Kristen were surprised by the number of people texting them about Daddo (grandfather). There are more people in our corners than we believe.”

Entry 3: “When a person dies, hundreds go to their visitation. It is so important to cherish the relationships in life.”

On Wednesday, March 30th 2022, my grandfather lost his fight with Leukemia. It wasn’t until his funeral that I truly realized what Jason Wetzler had been talking about. Because no matter who I was speaking to or what we were talking about, it all came back to “your grandfather was a lifelong educator.” His entire life summed up in 5 seconds. All 47 years of his teaching and all 79 years of his life, summed up in 5 seconds. 

And I understand that thinking about our life in 5 seconds can be scary. So don’t think about it. Easy. But ask yourself, “Am I appreciating the 86,400 seconds in every single day?” The answer, I would assume, is no. But I am confident that at least 5 seconds of that day had something worth remembering. So I challenge you to think about the meaningless moments: the time you are just chilling on the couch, when you are working, hanging out with your family, grocery shopping. These are the moments that you would normally forget. But it is these moments that have the most potential for meaning. Because every single thing we do has a story and a lesson. To find real meaning in your life, appreciate what seems meaningless. Find Meaning in the 5 Seconds. 

Finding Meaning,

Nicholas Neuman

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Setting Your Soul on Fire

Have you ever felt so passionate about something that it feels like your body is on fire? That words are being pulled from your heart the second you start talking about it? They bubble up your throat, leaving a sugary coating on your tongue and a fuzzy feeling in your head? It’s like you're so unbelievably encapsulated by this one topic that everything seems brighter?

This might seem like something crazy, achievable even. But, this is how I feel every time I talk about architecture, or books, or about issues facing teachers and agriculture. All of this seemingly pulls itself from my heart when I find someone willing to listen. It sends electricity to my fingers, pulling my hands in a million directions, just so I can fully convey the white hot excitement it causes. 

Now, this feeling hasn’t always been there. It hasn’t always shown up when I talked about something I liked. Very rarely would I feel that, especially in high school. You see, I continually bogged myself down with things I merely liked, or found slight interest in… and I got burned out. I hated showing up to meetings, I refrained from making friends solely because I hated the club. I pushed off doing work that was critical to the events I signed up for. 

I completely lost myself.

Then, somehow, it showed up. This burning feeling rose from my toes to the top of my head every time a new issue facing educators came up. It exploded when I learned about Roman Architecture and art. It was a fire. 

A fire that shed light on who I was. Who I wanted to be. What I wanted to do. 

This fire lit up my soul. The world was bright again. Laughter started to sound like music. I appreciated the hustle of the city, the curvy roads of my hometown. I appreciated life again. 

I continuously find myself talking to anyone and everyone that is willing to sit and listen, going on and on with a smile so large that my cheeks hurt when I finally stop. 

We have things that we like. That we are merely interested in doing. Then we have these things that truly manage to set our soul on fire, they manage to restore life, bring the person we have always wanted to be to the surface.

So, what is something that truly sets your soul on fire? What brings that white hot fire to your entire body? What challenges your mind, and at the same time, softens your heart when you talk about it?

Find it. Share it. Love it. Truly set your soul on fire.

And as always, keep being awesome,