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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

Photo from Wikipedia

Guess what, Joaquin?  I don’t know a single thing about acting, how to pursue an acting career, or what it takes to win an Oscar and I don’t pretend to know about anything about it either. 

I have seen several movies you have starred in and a personal favorite is when you played Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line."  Speaking of Johnny, he sings one of my favorite songs that really isn't just a song to me, it’s more of a personal anthem to many things in my life including standing up to people like you, Joaquin, that try to share a story that you know nothing about.  That would be like me using my platform to talk about my thoughts and beliefs on the truths of being an actor.  That favorite song of mine is titled, “I Won’t Back Down.” Here are the lyrics in case you aren’t familiar with it:

I won't back down

Well, I won't back down, no, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down

Well, I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down
No, I won't back down

What do I know?

What do I know?   I know about caring for animals. I know about waking up at all hours of the night to check on a heifer that is close to calving.  I know about the sacrifice that my family, my parents, and the generations before us have made to feed the people who CHOOSE to eat products that we produce.  I know that I would never speak about a profession or way of life that I have never experienced. And I know that I WON’T BACK DOWN. 

I will not back down

I will not back down from the scare tactics that you use on your platform to outweigh our real-life stories that I share on my platform.   I will not be pushed around by actors or activists that have never walked a day in my shoes and that are not even interested in learning about it. I will continue to stand my ground and beliefs about a way of life that feeds and cloths the world for those that choose to partake.

So, Joaquin, in closing I want to thank you for fueling my burning ring of fire to continue sharing the stories of our Iowa life, the stories of other farmers and ranchers and the true stories of what occurs in our barns and on our land.

Sincerely,

A proud artificial inseminating livestock producer, woman, and lover of the land.

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