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!