Thursday, March 13, 2014

Simple Joys

Spring break is fast approaching and whether we are excited for no homework, a vacation or the potential spring weather, I have a challenge for you.  

Often times I find myself in days like today where my to-do lists seems like it is a mile long and I have deadlines looming over my head.  Do any of you ever feel like you have the whole world to conquer in one night?  I certainly know that feeling.  Sometimes our brains may look a little like this.  
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This was all of my mail to sort through while deciding on what college to go to; I chose K-State!

Our lives may be a little crazy to the point where we don't even feel like we ever have a break from the nonstop go-go-go.  One of the things I've learned is I often get so caught up in being the busy bee of life that I've forgotten to enjoy the little things while I am pushing so hard to meet deadlines.  I've let weeks go by without even talking to my sisters or nieces in all of my rush to conquer my to-do lists.

The lesson I've learned is to enjoy the little things in life.  This is a personal motto I've been working towards as I realized in high school that I was constantly on the go and sometime forgot to simply enjoy my life!

Here are some moments that I've captured through photos of simple joys that I am grateful I took the time to stop and enjoy.  

We burn pastures every year at my farm.  I am so glad I took the time to capture this "ordinary" day on the farm with a picture of my dad and me. 

On our safari in South Africa our main attention was of course on the animals.  However I happened to take my eyes away from the hunt for the animals in order to take this beautiful picture. 
After completing the Spartan sprint of 3.8 miles packed with 15 obstacles, our team took time to celebrate our accomplishment before we showered and put on proper clothes for the 40 degree weather.

You can always get more money, you can always be more accomplished, but one thing you can never get back is time.  My challenge for you this spring break is to take time to enjoy the little things and make the most of the 86,400 seconds you have everyday.  Because after all, you can never get more time.  

How will  you use your time to stop and appreciate the simple joys in everyday? 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Unbelievably Blessed

I am unbelievably blessed-and so are you.  I learned many life lessons during my time in South Africa the past few weeks.  One of them was just how blessed I am.

For agriculture, especially here in Kansas we are blessed with fertile soil for which to grow our crops.   Where I live, we are able to produce crops very profitably without irrigation.   We also have the security that our crops will not be set on fire, nor our office broken into, or fences taken for steel to the point where we need armed security.  A farmer we met in South Africa has high powered electric fences (like we would see surrounding our prisons) and employs six armed workers just to patrol and safeguard his land.


American agriculturists are blessed.

I have a heated home with electricity, running water and a bed to sleep on.  However while in South Africa we walked through a shantytown where electricity was minimal, running water was hauled from local spouts, every house was surrounded by razor wire, community porta-potties were their toilets and 10-12 people slept in a space smaller than my room.


We that have a warm home, hot showers and a bed are blessed.

I have parents who have loved me unconditionally since I was born, sisters who are my greatest supports and a close extended family. While visiting Mrs. Sabina Khoza Fair Deal Training and Education Center, we learned that she has is now the adoptive mother to three orphans because HIV/AIDS claimed their parents' lives.  Eighteen percent of South Africa's population is HIV/AIDS positive.

I am blessed by the love of my family.

Mrs. Khoza shared this saying with us on the Sunday morning that we spent with her:

"When God blesses you, he blesses you abundantly."

My challenge for you: The next time you catch yourself complaining, look all around you, look at your life and thank God......thank him for how he has blessed you abundantly. 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Season of Waiting

We spend four hours furiously wracking our brains to do our top notch work on our ACT to hopefully get us the scholarship money we want for our dream college. Then we wonder for weeks what we received until finally we receive that email.

We spend everyday since Thanksgiving waiting in anticipating for Christmas morning to see what Santa brought us with a child's innocence, or in our cases now what is under the tree from our parents.

We spend months preparing for a CDE or even years for a proficiency area. Yet, we never know what the outcome is immediately.

But sometimes we wait after we do something that nags at our conscience, and we wait to see if anyone will find out.  

Waiting...waiting...waiting.  Waiting is against our nature and patience is something we all lose sometimes.  But let's think for a moment, if there was nothing leading up to Christmas, no break from school except for that day, would it be as special?  Think of all the cooking, decorating, parties and gatherings in anticipation of the day.

But the result at the end of waiting is called delayed gratification.  Christmas wouldn't be near as special without the anticipation.  Our experiences within FFA wouldn't be near as rewarding if they didn't take time, effort and some time spent waiting.  That Grand Champion ribbon you won with your steer at the county fair is so much sweeter because of the months put into feeding and working with him.

What about those time when we mess up, wouldn't it be easier to just find out immediately if we were going to get caught cheating or lying?  Of course!  But let's think about that feeling of guilt and having your stomach in knots waiting to see if you are caught in the middle your lie.  If it weren't for the time we spend sweating about those times we mess up, we probably wouldn't have learned our lesson near as well.  The end result of the prolonged guilt is to hopefully teach us a lesson about what we did and that the feeling of guilt is enough to make us think twice before making that same mistake again.

My challenge for you: The next time you find yourself waiting, think about the lesson you're learning or the sweet reward of delayed gratification you'll received at the end of your wait.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

There's no place like home, where the sky is perfectly blue, there are plenty of hay bales to hop and ponds to fish.  Home is the community that has helped raise me alongside my parents and family. Home is where I developed a love for the country and a passion for agriculture.  Whether the place you call home is a small, agricultural community or a bustling town,  we all have those things we love about our homes. And we all have one thing in common, Kansas is the place we call home.

There's no place like home-Dorothy got that right.  Kansas is the place that many of us call home-from the rolling Flint Hills to the open plains of western Kansas, we are all proud to be Kansans.  The country is my home in Kansas, but I know that there is much more to our state than that.  

There's no place like home-who knew so many types of people could call one place home? College has taught me to open my eyes up to the diversity of people with all different backgrounds who call Kansas home.  While Kansas is consistently ranked number one in wheat production and produces just under 20 percent of the total U.S. beef, among other agricultural commodities, there are Kansans that don't know this side of Kansas. We Kansans should all be proud of our agriculture industry and our role in feeding the world's population.  However, there are still many people that haven't heard all of agriculture's story. Likewise, I am still striving to learn more about the culture and way of life of the well over a million Johnson and Sedgwick county residents.

 I challenge each of you to not only share the story of agriculture, but also to listen to our fellow Kansans' stories so that we can all know more about the diversity of Kansas, both in and out of the agriculture industry.  Then can all proudly say together,"There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home."  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Traditions

What do milk jugs, eggs, sugar, cream, vanilla, buckets and a bunch of community members get you? Gallons and gallons of homemade, hand-cranked ice cream is the correct answer!  Every year my church family comes together to hand-crank anywhere from 50-80 gallons of ice cream to be sold at Burdick’s Labor Day Celebration.  My Dad has even engineered a machine to crush up milk jugs that we froze water in for ice to freeze the ice cream with.  This tradition started long before I began cranking ice cream as a child every Sunday before Labor Day.


Our lives are surrounded by traditions, such as hand-cranking ice cream, that were started long before us, just as some traditions within the FFA.  We have traditions of opening and closing ceremonies, the Creed, National Convention and, of course, the blue and gold corduroy jacket.  We uphold and honor these traditions by doing our part to continue them.


We often talk about the origin of traditions because often times there is a significant meaning hidden behind the initial event.  However, unless the event is repeated then there isn’t a tradition. As you participate in FFA realize that you have a really outstanding opportunity to help carry on the traditions of advocating for agriculture and developing premier leadership skills. Next time you put on your blue corduroy jacket, think about all of the traditions you are able to help continue to thrive and impact the next generation of leaders.  And remember, all traditions start with one moment or event, your chapter’s next tradition could begin with you! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Leave A Legacy

Ask yourself this question; when you look back at the end of your life, what do you want your legacy to be?  

My Grandpa is a third generation farmer whose whole life revolves around his agricultural lifestyle and values.  Grandpa loves his family, is devout in his faith and treasures his agricultural lifestyle.  The legacy my Grandpa will leave will be one of a strong man who loved the Lord, his family and the land.  This legacy will never be world renowned, but it will be passed on throughout our family.  Sometimes in life, numbers and facts simply can’t measure the values of a person and their legacy that will live on in the hearts of their loved ones.   

My Grandpa instilled the value of hard work into all of his children.  No two days on the farm are ever the same, yet they all consist of the same trait--hard work. All of his children grew up helping on the farm and were encouraged to take their own risks to learn with my Grandpa’s guidance.  For example, while in high school, my Dad and his older brother purchased a swather and thus did custom swathing for local farmers to pay off the cost of the swather and make a profit. My Dad and his siblings spent their free time out hunting and fishing on the land.  My grandparents were never idle and therefore, neither were their children.  Think for a moment about: what values are being instilled in you?

Another value my Grandpa instilled in others was a passion for agriculture and the land in which we live on.  “For I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life” could easily be spoken from my Grandpa’s heart.  Grandpa started working the land with horses and no electricity, yet ended up using tractors with technology beyond what could have been imagined when he was young.  Yet the triumphs my Grandpa shared in are significant.  Because of his passion for agriculture, three of his children now farm for a living within miles of their childhood farmstead.  

These are just a few of the many values that will be included in my Grandpa’s legacy when it is his time to go.  All of us have values that make up who we are and how we will choose to live our lives.  As we go on with our own walk of life, let's all stop and take a minute to look back and see the legacy that we are leaving behind and thank those who help us leave our legacy.  



Saturday, April 20, 2013

Roots


Just about everything starts somewhere, somehow, someway, someday, at sometime. We all have roots of where we came from and while attending the Girard FFA Banquet I began to realize my roots of my passion for agriculture.

On my way to the banquet I was informed my mom had never been to a Girard FFA Banquet before even though her dad was the ag advisor for some thirty some years – I found that a little interesting. So it was going to be a night of firsts for the both of us.

Walking up to the building that happens to be named after my grandpa - I thought about my grandpa and all the banquets he attended in his lifetime, I thought about my Aunt Jackie and all of her FFA moments, and now I was getting to go watch my younger cousin be recognized for her achievements.
 
The roots of agriculture and FFA my grandpa set is now on its third generation.


Discovering my roots - What are yours?

As FFA members and agriculturalists there are many roots we are challenged to withhold – one big one being feeding the world.

But there are always new roots to be planted- our chapter starting a new service project, applying for a proficiency award, or encouraging members to become more involved.

Just like a tree some of these roots could grow into deep meaningful traditions, while others may be shallower but they all play a part in anchoring down the tree; just like we all play a part in the future of agriculture and FFA.

Finish the year strong, and start GROWING some new roots!