Monday, August 24, 2015

The Real Souvenir

With the end of summer approaching and school in the near horizon, the season of traveling is coming to a close. Travel is a passion of mine, whether it was traveling to see family across the country, or traveling to Washington D.C. to learn more about servant leadership like several Kansas FFA members experienced at Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) this past June and July.
But being the slight hoarder I am, wherever I go, I have to pick up a souvenir. It’s sometimes an item, or even a photograph. I also keep souvenirs that my friends and family bring home too, like a box of mints from Disneyland or a boot keychain from Guatemala. These small tokens remind me of great times and make me feel like I went on other individuals trips as well. So when my grandma announced that she was traveling to Germany for two weeks, you can imagine my envy; but I knew that with the generosity of my grandma, came gifts upon her return.
Just as I returned home from State Conference for Chapter Leaders (SCCL) Grandma arrived home and came bearing souvenirs. The grandkids assembled at her house and waited for her to say the words, “and I brought something just for you!”. When the gifts were finally unveiled, I was a little confused. I was expecting some traditional German lederhosen or maybe a cuckoo clock, but instead, she handed me a bag of Haribo gummy bears and an Adidas shirt; two items that I could walk into most American stores and buy. As my grandma started to tell stories of castles in the mountainside, I continued to look at the items. “What was so special about junk food and a shirt?”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it didn’t matter where the items had come from, it was who the items had come from. I was too busy thinking about the cultural meaning behind the gift to realize that my grandma had taken time out of her own vacation to think about me and what I would possibly want. Heck, she even asked if the shirt fit correctly, and if it didn’t, she would try to get it returned (to an Adidas store in Herzogenaurach, Germany)! It’s easy to look at a relationship and over-analyze the situation. But instead of thinking too far ahead, let’s go back to the basics and remember the reason they are in our lives in the first place; not because of what items they give, but what lessons and memories are interchanged.



Before I end my first blog post, here are some quick tidbits about me!


  1. My family consists of my two parents, my older brother and younger sister! Here we are with my grandparents.



  2. I love to sing, write, play sports and have a great time with friends!
  3. Other than food, I am always the first to try new things, like zip lining.

  4. People call me the tech guy, but I really just turn electronics on and off and they somehow magically work again.
     5. I love my and teammates and love FFA!


         

Friday, April 17, 2015

Troublesome Kids!


        We all have those days where nothing can seem to go right.  We might wake up late and miss our ride to school, then realize we forgot our gym clothes at home, then sit down in class and remember we have homework due.   But hey, it happens to all of us.  I had one such week where I was really starting to get worn down and worn out, accomplishing nothing, like a bald tire trying to get traction on the ice.  I had two tests that week, on top of a paper to write, along with trying to decide what classes I would take the next semester.  And in the midst of the frustration and hurry to accomplish all of these things, my computer died (To make a long story short, never plug the phone end of an iphone charger into your USB port while the charger is plugged into the wall).  Eventually, I managed to get my computer fixed, and even accomplished those tasks on time with reasonable success.   But even after getting everything done, I still felt like I was out of gas, and unable to go any further.  I fought this exhaustion over the weekend, but come Monday I realized I needed to find a way to recharge myself.  Luckily, a lone thought popped into my mind almost immediately: Kids! 

            Now, before anyone starts jumping to any conclusion, I need to let you know that any use of the term “kids” in this blog will always refer to young, obnoxious, loud, playful, and smelly . . . goats.  Over the past 9 years here in Kansas, I have helped my parents raise them along with a few other animals on our farm.  However, spending this year away from home at college greatly reduced my daily time spent with these lovable animals.  So in order to solve this problem, a few teammates (namely Taylor and Bethany) joined me on the 20-minute drive to Olsburg to see the creatures.  As we pulled into the driveway, we could see them frolicking around the pens as their mother’s kept a watchful eye.  We soon joined the goats in the pen, and our tiredness immediately left. Anyone who even has only limited goat experience will know how much fun we had with the little, ornery critters.  They jumped about, butted one another, and even found joy tasting our shirts as we held them.  We were able to play with them for at least an hour until they finally became tired and went to find their mothers’ in our yard.
            As the gang and I made out way back to town, I realized how better I felt after spending time with those kids.  It was amazing to see how an hour with that infinite positivity refilled my glass and refreshed my mind.  And sometimes, that boost is just what we need to get through a difficult time.  Whenever we get in a crunch, it is easy for us to try and keep grinding through the mess, but more often than not, a quick break and refresher can do wonders.  But whether it is with your family, friends, or “kids,” is up to you. 

Monday, February 9, 2015