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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

There are leaders in blue and gold.

There are leaders being born in blue and gold, actually in National Blue and Corn Gold.  I have witnessed it. In a time when we hear many people talking about Gen Z’ers that can’t put down their phones, live in their parents' basement and have zero social skills; I can attest to the fact that those statements are not true for every teenager! 

Judging

Last week I had the opportunity to be a judge at an FFA Public Speaking Career Development Event. I will admit I felt the butterflies fluttering as I prepared to walk in the school to judge just like I did before my first Conduct of Meetings event as a freshman in high school.  Things came full circle as I walked into the school to gather with others to prepare for the judge's meeting.

The first person I laid eyes on was my former FFA advisor. FFA and my advisor provided me opportunities that I would’ve never had and made me the person I am today, you’ve heard me say it and you’ve read about it. This post isn’t about me though, it’s about the young men and women that I had the opportunity to observe on a cold, blustery February night in Northern Iowa and those that I have had the opportunity to follow in the last few years.

Leaders

The young men and women I am referring to are leaders, leaders in those beautiful colors, and they are everywhere. They know how to shake a stranger's hand appropriately, Robert’s Rule of Order, the skills needed to land a job with a smoking job interview, and how to share their passion through public speaking. They are your future employees, entrepreneurs, future fair board members,  future educators of the next generation and above all they are leaders.

FFA and agricultural education are curating a group of leaders that has the potential to use the skills they have learned to make their mark on this world! And the world better prepare themselves because the teenagers that I had the opportunity to meet last week in Iowa and those that I know are sporting corduroy jackets across other parts of the country (or have sported jackets not too long ago) are going to leave their mark and it’s going to be gigantic.  

My nephew after receiving his State Degree

FFA Members,  keep “dreaming big and huge” and Advisors keep seeing the great things your students are doing and use the best skill you have of finding those leadership qualities in each and every one of them. 

From the gravel road,

Jen

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