Sunday, October 28, 2018


Something I enjoy doing is driving. I don’t know many people who enjoy simply driving. I have been told that it’s stupid and a waste of money and time. They may be right, but for me, driving is something that allows me to relax. Driving and listening to music is fun, it’s stress-free, and it doesn’t require intense thinking. It is easy because instinct takes over and I just drive. Normally I stay fairly close to my house in case I need to be back for something, but occasionally I venture out further when I have more time. This gives me a decision to make; I can either turn back and drive on known roads, or I can explore new roads. These are the crossroads of driving, and just like driving, we have crossroads in real life. These crossroads can create impasses within our life, especially in our relationships with others.
            Building relationships is more difficult than it has been in the past. We live in a world that is polarized by strong opinions. A wise person once told me, “The divide between agreement and respect is wider than ever before.” This statement is extremely true. Often times people have different points of view, and because of their difference of ideas, they lose respect for one another. An example of this was in my political science during my senior year of high school. We had bi-weekly debates about current events. Following one of the debates, a pair of best friends did not talk for three weeks. They were so strongly opposed to the other person's views that they lost respect for each other. If they had not had a solid friendship before the debate, I doubt they would have ever talked to each other again.
Situations like this makes word choice very important. One word or phrase can change the way others think of us and can affect the amount of respect given to us. This is something I personally struggle with. I am an outgoing person and have no problem telling anyone exactly what I think regardless of the topic, even when controversial. It has been pointed out to me that sometimes I break the relationship or connection I have established with a person because I am too blunt and direct. I think this is something we all can work on, myself included.
Regardless of our views, we will at some point or another come to a crossroads with someone else. What we do when we arrive at that crossroad is what truly determines our ability to build and maintain relationships. We can choose to turn around and turn away from new, unfamiliar, or opposing ideas and views, or we can listen, think, ask questions and have a conversation that progresses the thought process for all involved. We all have a choice of whether to turn around and go home, or to explore new territory when we arrive at a crossroads. What will you decide?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Remember singing that song when you were small with your nose pressed against a window watching for the rain to stop so you could get back to playing outside?

Image result for rain outside window

Well, here I am singing the same tune. It’s been raining for five days straight! The only change has been the interruption of an early snowfall along with it.  Really, I’m ready for it to be done! 

Do you ever feel like the rain clouds of life just hover over you?  What do you do? Do you find your favorite galoshes and get back out there or do you just sit and wish the rain would stop?

In the summer farmers pray for rain, and in the fall, they pray it stops.  For farmers, rain can be the thing that makes them or the thing that breaks them. However, regardless of the weather, they always stay busy. If it doesn’t rain when they want, in my area, they start irrigators. If it’s a rainy day, or five rainy days like it has been, they do maintenance on equipment, pay bills, talk with dealers about upcoming equipment or input purchases.  No matter what, they try to keep moving forward. Whether you live on a farm or not, we can move forward regardless of our circumstances.

Remember the other line of this song: “come again some other day”?

For farmers, they may want the rain to come again some other day—on a day when the hay isn’t down or the crops aren’t waiting to be harvested. For the rest of us however, whatever the circumstance creating our very own rain cloud, we most likely want it to go away and stay away. Many unpleasant things happen along our journey, from damaged relationships, failed tests, unpaid bills, personal goals not met.  Chances are, just like the rain that will eventually come again, these situations won’t go away or stay away forever. We need to decide how we will respond to them and what we can learn from these situations to be better prepared when the “rain” comes again.  Maybe the line about coming another day is just the writer’s way of procrastinating--- don’t feel like dealing with the rain today, but maybe next week I can handle it. Next week the rain won’t bother me or ruin the plans that I have for today. And that is true --- some days we just need a break from life’s rain clouds. Maybe we find the respite in a shared conversation with a friend or accomplishing another smaller task that has been waiting for our attention.  

Take lessons from a farmer and get busy. Even if things don’t look like they are right, right now, keep doing your best. Find something that you can do in your life to make it better, and do it. You can let the rain get in your way, or you can do what you can to keep moving forward. 

To your success!

Adam Kroll
MN FFA State Treasurer 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Check Yes or No

Each day we make thousands of decisions that may make a small or large impact. What should I wear? What should I eat? How should I spend my free time? Who should I sit by?
Life is filled with endless opportunities, but how do we decide what is most beneficial for us? Priorities are shaped by our values. Too often in this ever-moving world, we get caught up in what is happening around us which causes us to miss the moments that life is truly about. With sports practices, fun clubs or organizations, and obligations that arise each day, we tend to get lost in what really matters. For me, I value faith, family, and agriculture. I make decisions each day around these priorities of mine, but even so, sometimes I find myself overwhelmed and stressed about the little things in between.

Each day, we have the opportunity to make it great, fill ourselves with positivity, and spread that positive light onto others. When we make decisions that affect ourselves in a positive way, we are more likely to change someone else’s outlook on life that day. We never know what someone may be going through, but because of a simple decision we might make, we could spread that hope to others. How will we choose to do that?

Sometimes, life gets crazy. We have school work, job applications, scholarship applications, and endless expectations to live up to. A simple decision to spend time with family instead of constantly focusing on the work we have on our plates may be all we need to push through the overwhelming tasks ahead. For me, I live for the moments with family where I can do what I love with who I love. That’s how I choose joy.  

This past weekend, I was able to choose family and agriculture, two of the things I value most. Traveling to Aksarben, a national livestock show in Nebraska, I was able to make memories, gain valuable experiences, and create friendships. Although it is a busy time of year with school especially, it was best for me to take a break from the hustle and bustle and take time to live out my passion.
Every time we say “yes” to something, we are shutting down something else with “no.” And each time we say “no” to something, we open up new opportunities to say “yes.” Staying true to our values is key. Let’s fill our time with what matters. With each decision, we can better ourselves and those around us.
When you check “yes” or “no”, are you considering the things in life that are important to you? How can we minimize the stress we receive each day and maximize the joy that we have the opportunity to gladly receive?

Stationed by the Ear of Corn,
Laura Church