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