Skip to content

2

Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.

If you have zipped up a blue and gold corduroy jacket you know exactly what those words stand for; if you haven’t you might not know that is the motto of the FFA.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about this motto this weekend (a lot of seat time will do that to you whether it is a saddle, tractor or car.) 

I have specifically been thinking about the first 2 lines and how following this motto since I was a greenhand FFA member has led me to be the woman I am today! 

Learning to do…Doing to learn

My mind started swirling a little on Friday as my Mom and I tackled a few things (just the two of us) it started with a plan to go trail riding but a feisty quarter pony thought she would give us a run for our money in the trailer loading department.  Mom and I worked together on something we had “learned to do” years ago, we kept working with her and did not give up. Once she was loaded she was unloaded and loaded again! Why? Because she needed to “do to learn” to know we weren’t going to let her by with being a stinker. 

Jen and Mom riding horses
Trail to Mitchell

After our ride and some lunch we noticed a few things that needed to be done around my parents’ farm, but in reality knew the guys wouldn’t be getting to them until November at best with harvest in full and sometimes slow swing, as it often goes.  I had never operated my Dad’s extremely fancy skid loader but knew just enough of how to run it to be dangerous, so off we went to move some bale rings around and move some bales. Next up was unloading and setting up a 14 panel round pen for the horses.  We worked together to get them unloaded, undo each wire, and set the pen up with 0 problems!  I couldn’t help but think to myself if I hadn’t been taught to tackle hard things and didn’t learn by doing I probably wouldn’t have even suggested we try to get the “honey-do list” done. We were pretty darn proud of ourselves and only needed to do one quick facetime to my honey for a skid loader question otherwise projects done and complete on our own!

Corn

Then came Saturday, another opportunity to live out the motto!  I woke up with a to-do list in my head, but that quickly changed when the decision was made to combine the cornfield to the south of our house.  I completely stepped out of my comfort zone hauled wagons with our neighbor's tractor, dumped grain, and ran the auger on my own.  Why? Because I am learning by doing and doing to learn. Learning to do things I may have never done without the drive instilled by my family and the FFA.

You see this operation is not just my husband’s operation, this is our operation and while it may be small it is still ours and it allows us to live out dreams we have had since being those young greenhands.  I wasn’t just out helping my husband yesterday either, I was doing my part to haul in our grain while using the phone to bid on cattle at auction that I had hoped we could add to our operation. I say this because I often hear it is nice of you to help out, but when I hear that I can’t help but think it is part of who I am and my role in this operation. I liken it to someone saying a Dad is babysitting.  A dad is not babysitting, they are parenting their children just like I am working on our farm. 

Jen hauling corn with a tractor and wagon
Hauling corn

Without the motto of Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to serve on repeat in my head I am not sure I would have tackled half of the things I have in life, let alone the things accomplished this weekend. I hope I am serving as a role model for others that need to dig in and try things to learn and serve as a role model for those wanting to tackle things that they may be afraid of trying. I am here to tell you that you can tackle the things you put your mind to and when in doubt, thanks to technology, you can always check on YouTube,  facetime a brother or facetime a husband for a little help! 😉

Jen unloading corn from wagon into an auger.

What have you tackled this weekend?

How do you live out the FFA Motto?

From the gravel road,

Jen

If you haven’t heard it, no worries, I linked the music video below.  The music I am referring to is “In My Blood.”  An amazing new song that was just released in celebration of National FFA Week at the end of February.  It is a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of female membership in the FFA organization.  For me, listening to it the first time on the Shining Bright Podcast brought a massive lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.  Song lyrics have a way of doing that to me, especially when those lyrics are speaking words that I hold in my own heart.  Tenille’s words and the images from Marji are an amazing combination that has truly left me reflecting on what is In My Blood.

Love is in my blood

There’s a piece of me in these fields of gold, when I drive by I feel it in my soul…

Love of the land and the animals we raise.  I could take a drive around our beloved Hawkeye state every Sunday from now until the day I leave this earth and never tire of looking at the fields, herds of cattle on green pastures, and work being done to the landscape.  I will never tire of seeing a newborn calf stand on wobbly legs or the feeling of watching hay go up in the barn. It’s in my blood.

Community is in my blood

Everybody waves hello...

For as long as I can remember my parents have been members of boards or volunteered to be part of organizations, whether it was the local rural cooperative, women’s group, or church board.  My parents taught us to not only give to those in need financial but to also give to our community by being a leader.  I continue to give by holding positions on boards at church, the Floyd County Fair Board, and leadership teams at work.  I believe giving back is one of the greatest things we can do for our community.  It’s in my blood.

My dad was a member of the Butler County REC Board for 15 years.

Grit is in my blood

Little never givin’ up is what I’m made of…

I have had fabulous role models in my life that have helped instill the courage and perseverance that I have today.  Setting goal after goal is how I live, whether it is a financial goal, fitness goal, or goal on our farm.  Have I hit every goal? H, E, double hockey sticks, NO.  I believe that’s what keeps us going.  Every fall or stumble gives the push to keep moving forward.  It’s in my blood.

It's in their blood

Just like my mother and her mother, too. I am gonna find my way...

I am thankful EVERY single day that it's in their blood, too. We are blessed to instill the values of hard work, grit, giving, and love in our girls. I pray daily that they find their way. As Tenille has said in many of her interviews, "It makes me feel like the next 50 years are in very good hands.” I am beyond grateful for the men and s women that have led the way and helped me find my way, including one of the Rockford FFA's former Chapter Sweethearts, my mom.

My mom, chapter sweetheart, prior to females being allowed to be members of FFA.

From the gravel road,

Jen

%d bloggers like this: