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