Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Power of Words

Have you ever sat back and thought about words? I mean really just thought about what they are and what they do. Go ahead and take a second to do that. Impressive, right? In case it hasn't dawned on you let me elaborate. The English language has a total of twenty-six letters that make up every word used in any conversation, every word ever written, and every thought you have probably uses words comprised up of those very same letters.
Here's some more perspective. The Harry Potter series has over 1,000,000 words in it, but only twenty-six letters. It blows my mind that such an elaborate story can be told by simply rearranging such a limited number of letters.  
It's quite possible I have an awkward obsession with words. Not only do I love books, speaking, and poetry, but I want to write, speak, and be poetic. My heart definitely falls prey to the ability of quotes to portray emotion and thought. I keep an inspirational quote written on my mirror to see every morning to kick start my day. Five quotes are written on my pawn shop acoustic guitar to show my love for music. Four documents on my computer are full of quotes to inspire, provoke thought, and motivate. However there is one quote written on a piece of paper that I've never lost. It currently hangs above my desk so that I can look at it anytime. It reads as follows.

"You will have many careers during your lifetime, so don't be pressured into thinking you have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. Just decide what you want to do first."

Now I do not who originally said these words but the man they came to me from makes them all the more special. My dad found this quote and wrote it down to give to me my senior year of high school. When he gave it to me I was at a point where I hadn't a clue what I wanted to do with my life. These words really set in my mind not to worry and just work towards what comes first.
FFA has been one of the biggest guides for my working towards a career. Through Career Development Events I have learned about many jobs I would love to have, and even more about ones I hope to never have. Through public speaking I can now better express myself through words. From the socialization in FFA I have great friends to share words with. Simply FFA has me feeling comfortable that whatever career I start in I will be successful.
I encourage all of you reading this to find some words that comfort you and give you motivation. Whether it's the motivational story of Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess or a quote by a revolutionary mind such as Ralph Waldo Emerson or Henry Ford, even song lyrics can be your choice for comforting words. Just take a moment to marvel at the power of  words made up of only twenty-six little letters.

I'm proud to say that this post uses all twenty-six letter (I checked) and has a total of 561 words (thanks word count!). Now I'm going to get myself a cup of coffee, read a bit, and maybe even start writing some poetry. It e quote written o

Friday, January 31, 2014

Decide with Confidence!

           Every day we are faced with at least a few decisions. According to studies the average human makes about 612 decisions in a single day. This adds up to 4284 decisions a week and 223,380 decisions a year. I'm awake for somewhere around 16 hours every day. Assuming I make the same amount of decisions in a day as the average person and those decisions are equally spread out over time then I am making a decision once every minute and 34 seconds. That seems quite frequent to me.
            I don't like to think of myself as "average" and I hope you don't think of yourself as "average" either. Everyone is a unique individual with knowledge and talents specific to them and them only. I have noticed many people don't seem confident in who they are. This worries me. Every decision you make defines who you are so make them with some confidence! Be proud of yourself and your uniqueness. If you do something that seems weird to the "average" person but it makes you happy then why should you hide it? Next time you make a decision make it with some confidence and be happy with yourself for doing so.
            Yes I know being "different" can be scary. Very few people want to be the one who sticks out in a crowd. However is it not a leaders responsibility to stick out? A leader cannot simply blend in with a crowd or they will not be noticed and will therefore have a difficult time leading.
            Here's the kicker though. I find oftentimes the first follower is the greatest leader of all. Without that first follower the leader is accomplishing nothing. The first person to follow sets the tone that what the leader is doing is acceptable. Every additional follower just ratifies this until the amazing moment when the act being done by the leader is completely acceptable.
            While this may all sound a little crazy take travel into space for example. Originally the people that tried were considered downright crazy. Many people thought that strapping some rockets to a chair would do the trick. Honestly as a little kid I probably wondered why that wouldn't work. Nevertheless the idea of travel into space was not abandoned. Eventually the space race ensued and later people even have had the opportunity to walk on the moon. Now there is even a private program that will send individuals to Mars on a one way trip starting in 2025. The entire plan is to start colonizing it. All it takes to be considered is an application (with some qualifications) and a small fee. By September last year 2782 people had sent in their application.
            At this point in time you will not be seeing me send in an application but by the time I have gone through the work force and then retired who knows. There might be an awesome retirement center on Mars. By that time it might even be commonplace to consider leaving Earth.

            Basically the whole idea is that being confident in an idea or decision can make great things happen. At the time you may seem crazy or out of place, but as more people agree and follow the idea becomes more acceptable and maybe even common. I challenge you to make decisions with confidence! You never know what it may mean down the road to yourself and others. I can personally guarantee that at least 598 of the decisions I make today I will make confidently and if I see someone trying something different I won't judge them. Their actions today may be the normal of tomorrow. Now excuse me as I go start building a time machine...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's Banquet Season Folks!

Starting as early as the beginning of February and ending around the end of May, chapters across the state of Kansas are having their chapter banquets. At these banquets, the chapters award their FFA members, local community, and school faculty on their successes throughout the year. Many chapter banquets also give out scholarships to the senior members to either continue their education or begin their college career. Finally, chapters also elect new leadership to serve as chapter officers.

I have had the opportunity to attend quite a few banquets so far and get to experience all the successes that these chapters have had. Each one has been amazing and I can’t wait to visit more! 

This is the Logan FFA Chapter and myself! Such a positive, motivated, and caring chapter with tons of potential! Truly enjoyed every second spent with them.

This was my first chapter banquet of the year, Fairfield FFA Chapter! They were very welcoming, enthusiastic, charismatic! Can't wait to hear and see all the accomplishments they will have in the future!

Here are two seniors from the South Barber FFA Chapter, Ciera Houlton and Micaela Kirkwood. Both were recipients of FFA Scholarships that will go towards their college education! 

Here is the instillation of new chapter officers at the Marais Des Cygnes Valley FFA Chapter Banquet. The new team has got some great potential and really excited to see where they will go from here! 

Banquets are an exciting time of the year! If you're an FFA Member, enjoy your banquet. If you're a community member or high school faculty ask your local FFA chapter or area chapter when their banquet is and I encourage you to attend it to support the FFA chapter! Happy banquet season everyone! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Collecting Your Passion

Some people love to hunt and are completely obsessed with it, some are the same way with Justin Bieber, and Starbucks coffee. It has taken me quite awhile to discover what I’m completely obsessed with and love, but I’ve now discovered it.  I’m obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, but more importantly, Dorothy. Ever since Black Friday shopping with a friend of mine, Tres Short, and purchasing my first Wizard of Oz memorabilia (a life size Dorothy cut out), the addiction has grown, and grown a lot. I’ve now accumulated two large posters and will be receiving in the mail (thanks to eBay) a 100-piece puzzle, a Tin Man trashcan, and a Dorothy Pillow. Who knows where my collection will go from there.

In life, we have the opportunity to participate in many different activities. We can play on sports teams, join clubs and organizations, or even have an after-school job. If you were like me, you wanted to participate in any and everything. You wanted to run cross-country, go to every Career Development Event and activity the FFA has to offer, and have an after-school job. In college, you wanted to sign up for every campus activity, apply for all the clubs and organizations, and be involved in all the intramurals.

It’s taken me awhile to discover this, but my mom called me up the other night and goes, “Honey, (yes my mom still calls me honey) you are running yourself crazy. You need to just find a few things you really like and focus your time and energy on them.” At that point it just clicked. I don’t need to do everything. I need to find the things I’m truly passionate about and focus on them. Just like my Wizard of Collection, I discovered what I truly cared about and loved and started my collection. I look at it like this, why put my time and energy into collecting Justin Bieber stuff when I really could care less about him. We need to focus on the things in life that we enjoy.

How can we discover what we love and are passionate about? I challenge you all to find that one thing that you are truly passionate about and dedicate your time towards it; whether that be your sports team, FFA Chapter, or after school job. Put your time into it and maybe you’ll find what you really love, just like I did with my Wizard of Oz collection!

If you want to fly and move on to better things, you have to give up the things that weigh you down – which is not always as obvious and easy as it sounds.” Unknown

“Do what your heart desires, never hold back a thing, and don’t worry so much about what the others think, because at the end of the day, what makes you happy is what really matters the most.” Unknown

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Who Would've Thought?

We all know the saying, “Dogs are a man’s best friend,” right? Well that is true, but since I'm at college I can't bring my dog; therefore, I've resulted into purchasing two of the most ornery, wild, and enthusiastic Betta fish in the world, Marty and Martha. They are quite the characters. I purchased Marty and Martha November first at the aquarium here in Manhattan, Kansas and it was one of the best days of my life, but seriously. 

I have surprisingly gained and learned quite a bit from my two fish. I've learned that I can't feed them too much or they'll die (no brainer), they can't be put into the same bowl or they'll try and kill each other (found that out the hard way), and that they prefer clean water rather than month long dirty water (pretty obvious). Besides how fish act and behave, I've gained a couple valuable life lessons. I've gained responsibility and discipline simply from owning two Betta fish. Who would have thought that owning these fish could be so beneficial. 

One thing in the FFA that I think is overlooked sometimes is our Supervised Agricultural Experiences. We can gain so many skills and so much knowledge from working with our programs. I started my Supervised Agricultural Experience my Freshman year in high school and to this day I am still very involved in it. My SAE is Wildlife Production and Management where I help out with my family's hunting operation. I have gained so much from my SAE. I've obtained communication skills, responsibility, and time management. I encourage everyone, in or out of the FFA, to start some sort of program wether it be purchasing your own livestock, helping out with a fruit stand, or even purchasing yourself a couple of fish because in the end you will leave with much more than you put in! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly

“We go to together like peanut butter and jelly”. “We’re like two peas in a pod”. “I’m stuck on you like white on rice”. Okay so maybe you haven’t heard of the last one but the first two phrases, I hope, are pretty familiar. Now these great food analogies are most of the time used when describing friends that are pretty close. Many times these are the friends that are inseparable on the playground, eat lunch together on a daily basis, or regularly make some form of communication to keep in touch. These friends are the lifelong ones that you know, through hell and high water, will be there for you because they care about you. But the real question is are you reciprocating that feeling?

Think about it, we have been blessed with some truly incredible people in our lives that care so much about us! Our best friends, family members, coaches, mentors and so many more are all part of our support team. These are the people that have continued to help us achieve our goals, been there for us when we are down, and helped us to pick ourselves up and keep moving! They are our biggest cheerleaders, best motivators and sometimes our own personal therapists. But do we do the same for them?

I know that I would love to say yes to being there every time for those people I care but I know that there are times in my life that I have not held up my end of the deal when it comes to relationships. Looking back I can pinpoint times in my life when I could have done a better job at being a friend, role model, or teammate and I am sure that there are numerous times when I have not held up my end of the deal and totally didn’t even realize it. Let’s be honest we are all guilty of it, maybe it was forgetting a friends birthday, not taking the time out to give a few pointers to the kid playing on the basketball team we are coaching or not trying to reach a compromise and instead just storming out. The key is to try and remember that we are supposed to hold up our end of the bargain in every relationship and to continue to not just take, take, take but to give in return.

A quote that I have used to help me to keep this in perspective is by Scott Stratten. Scott was in a TED talk that I was advised to watch and had some very interesting and key points that were interesting to think on. The big message he had to share however was this. “Being a big deal, isn’t a big deal, especially if we don’t remember to be a bigger deal to the people we care about.”

Take some time and think on that. If we aren’t a bigger deal to those around us that helped let us become a “big deal” than we aren’t really a big deal. Our accomplishments, our successes all become worth nothing if we don’t take the time to give back to those who took the time and effort to support us and helped us to become successful. These friends, family members, coaches and mentors have helped you achieve the status of “big deal” and because of that they deserve a little pat on the back. So think back to those few people you consider the peanut butter to your jelly, the next pea in your pod; are you showing them the support that they have shown you?

“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”- Zig Ziglar

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wear Your Letters

I know it has been a while since I have written one of these and I am really sorry about that! To all my food fans out there I am sorry as well, the next few paragraphs will have nothing to do with food… I know shocking! No, but seriously I wanted to take this time and talk about something I have forgot lately. This next quote will pretty much sum it all up so here it goes.

“From the moment you say yes to this organization, you are always wearing your letters.”

I saved this quote after a conversation I had with one of my friends in another fraternity here at K-State. To give a little background we had been noticing this picture kept coming up on Facebook for a couple of our “mutual friends” as Facebook calls them. This picture was of a fraternity member holding up a sign that talked about being a part of a fraternity and not a “frat”. Since we study together quite frequently together I brought up the topic of that picture to see what he thought about it. He quickly sent me to a blog post by a man named T.J. Sullivan. Then as any great, frustrating friend would, he would not talk to me anymore until I had read it.

I started to read the blog casually, not entirely too focused and more worried about which song was coming up next on my iTunes, until that quote in bold came up. Now I don’t know about anyone else but when something comes up in bold I normally pay more attention to it. After reading and rereading the quote several times I decided to go back to the beginning of the blog and really pay attention to the words that this man, with obviously much more experience and wisdom than I had, had wrote.

(For those of you who wish to read the blog before going on here is the link)

After I finished, I took it all in and then said something to my friend sitting across the table. Since he had a test the next morning at 8:30 and it was already pretty late he didn’t say much back. I was fine with that since I had my own homework assignment to be working on, and the only reason I had even mentioned this was because I had fallen into the time wasting trap of social media… again. So I dropped the topic and after quickly saving the quote and the article on my flash drive I continued to work on my homework.

I still don’t know how or why and am still kinda laughing about how God continues to place things where I need it, when I need it, but I just stumbled across this article in my flash drive again very recently. As I read and re-read the article again I looked back on my past few weeks of my life.

Now I am going to preface this next little part with the fact that I am a normal human being with a normal range of emotion and the rest of my team is a bunch of “soulless robots” when it comes to sad movies such as Marley and Me and Toy Story 3, sad songs such as “This is Your Life” by Switchfoot, and other “emotional” situations. Not really, but I for some reason am the only person on my team that tends to cry, and I don’t hardly ever cry, like at all!

But anyways, I did proceed to have what I like to call an “emotional life pause”. I realized that I being a human being had made some mistakes recently and I had wronged some people. I was not “wearing my letters” as the article had stated and I needed to make some changes.

Now in the article “wearing your letters” referred to the Greek letters that many fraternities use to distinguish themselves from one another. But to me “the letters” were a different set than my fraternity. F-F-A was the three letters that kept coming to mind after reading that powerful statement.

For those of you who haven’t went up to check out the link yet, I would urge you to please do, this saves me quite a bit of writing and Mr. Sullivan does a much more eloquent job of explaining it than I can. But to sum it up how much different would we act if our “letters” were tattooed to our foreheads for everyone to see? How much different would we act if everyone could see which organization we were in all the time? What would we do differently?

I am going to finish this blog post up with a quote that was on my chapter’s FFA T-Shirts my sophomore year of high school. It comes from one of my personal favorite movies “Stomp The Yard” and it is pretty neat if you take some time and think about it.

“The letters do not make you, YOU make the letters”