Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Are we human or are we dancer?


Yes, you read that right. When I first saw the lyrics yesterday morning in my cultural anthropology class, I thought there was a typo. It should say “dancers” not “dancer,” right? Wrong. Here is an excerpt from the song by The Killers:

Pay my respects to grace and virtue

Send my condolences to good

Hear my regards to soul and romance

They always did the best they could

 

And so long to devotion

You taught me everything I know

Wave goodbye, wish me well

You've gotta let me go

 

Are we human or are we dancer?

My sign is vital, my hands are cold

And I'm on my knees looking for the answer

Are we human or are we dancer?

Many people figured it was a typo due to the artists’ poor English and just enjoyed the song, but not for its intended purpose. If we truly listen to what the entire song is saying, we will discover that the question The Killers pose is a rather deep one. Are we human or are we dancer? Are we truly experiencing life and all it has to offer or are we going through the motions like a puppet on strings?

They cause us to think about what we are doing with our day-to-day lives. What in our lives has such a control over us that we forget to enjoy life itself? Maybe it’s our goal of getting straight A’s, an obsession with sports, a high value on personal image, the want for money and power… The list could go on forever. This cycle isn’t one that is easy to break, and sometimes it is almost impossible. What we can do, though, is remember what makes us enjoy life and what we can do to remind others of those same things. This could mean going on a random Sonic run with a friend, putting true passion into our chapter service project, or just taking a moment to sit outside with Mother Nature and breathe.

I challenge you to consider, are you human or are you dancer? If you’re dancer, what are you going to do to become human? If you’re human, what are you going to do to help others be human? This task will be simple for some, but harder for others. This next week, some of us will be given the chance to be “human” while at National Convention. Members from across the nation, all with different backgrounds, will be coming together in Louisville. Let’s make the most of that opportunity as well as the ones we encounter every day!


Kansas FFA, are we human or are we dancer?

(To hear the entire song, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4jR9P9YJGo)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Uno, Ein, Jeden, Amháin: One


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is all over social media sites. In this challenge, people dump ice cold buckets of water on themselves or they must donate money to support amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research. Some say it has reached the point of annoying, but there is one point that can’t be argued… the challenge has accomplished its purpose. The ALS Association reported that they have received more than $15 million in donations (in addition to ALS awareness) because of the challenge, but how did it all begin? With one person: 29 year-old ALS patient, Pete Frates. The challenge kicked off with athletes in the Boston-area and it has exploded from there. In the beginning, the act of dumping cold water on yourself might not seem very powerful but the impact can be clearly seen.

This doesn’t mean that we all need to start daring challenges to raise awareness for one of our passions. As FFA members, we are the future of agriculture and there are countless ways for us to support it. We can share pictures of how we properly care for our animals, keep ourselves up-to-date with current issues in agriculture (and then share that information!), and do our best to carry out a chapter, district, or state service project. Sometimes we feel like we can’t do much as one individual, but our actions can start a ripple effect that can reach farther than we ever dreamed.
 
Two of my good friends, Nicollette and Savannah, have taken something they are passionate about and made it bigger than themselves. Nicollette started an event at our high school called Trojans Helping Trojans. Southeast of Saline HS clubs and organizations donate gift packages to be put into a silent auction. The event is held in conjunction with the school play so supporters can eat a meal, bid on items, and then enjoy the work of students at the play. T-shirts can also be purchased. The funds raised from the event are given to Trojan families in need of help. Savannah teamed up with one of her friends to host the Smiles for Mija Summer Splash. The day was filled with swimming, volleyball, raffles, live music, and t-shirt sales to raise funds for Mija Stockman who was in a tragic car accident in 2013. Both events were big successes because someone did something they felt passionate about.

I challenge us all to pinpoint one of our passions and then do something it, but we must remember it doesn’t have to be the biggest feat to leave a big impact. I’ll close out this blog with one of my favorite stories:
A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.
The young boy asks, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die,” the old man replies.
“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all. You can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”
The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

Kansas FFA, how will you make a difference?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Opportunity

“Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.”
-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.                                       

It is hard for me to believe that a month has already flown by! I feel that the quote above describes a lot of what has been going on in my life. If we aren't willing to take a risk, we will never reap the rewards of an opportunity. What an opportunity this year has already been!

State Conference for Chapter Leaders was a blast! I had a great time meeting with members and watching everyone get excited for the coming year. This year we have countless opportunities to pursue in FFA. Some opportunities will be easy for us to take while others will have to be “danced” with before we are ready. If we are willing to risk boldly to grow ourselves and our chapters, we will be able to see the benefits of those opportunities!

Just today, I had the opportunity to go on my first motorcycle ride. Flying down the interstate at 75 miles per hour was a little nerve-wracking at first, but once I got accustomed to the feeling, I was having a ball! I am glad I took the chance to try something new and get outside of my comfort zone. On a day like today, we also have the opportunity to give a special thanks to the men and women that have and continue to declare and support our nation’s freedom!

Before I close out my first-ever blog post, I want to take the opportunity to share a little bit about me:
1.  I am from a family of five that I love. I have an older sister and a younger brother.

2. I love my mules, dogs, and cats. They are my babies.

3. If I can do something outdoors, I am probably doing it.
4. I can jam out to just about any music.
5. I LOVE FFA!


Thank you Kansas FFA for giving me the opportunity to serve you this coming year. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring for all members!

Kansas FFA, how will you get on the dance floor?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Thank You

Wow.  Reflecting back on the 86th Kansas FFA Convention, and my year of service for that matter, all I can say is wow.  So many incredible memories and moments that I will forever savor.  As I think about all of these memories and moments, I can't help think that this whole year has been made possible by so many who went above and beyond.  To all of those who have been a part of this past year, all I can say is thank you.

My Friends... Thank you for always being there for me- whether it was listening to tales of my travels and visits, helping me get things ready for a visit, talking to me on the phone (or even going with me!) when it looked like I was going to be getting back into Manhattan late.  You have been my family away from home and I can't thank you enough.

Garden City FFA... Mr. VenJohn, Mrs. Hensley, and all of my fellow members, the past four years with you have been the best four years of my life.  Thank you for being my supporters and cheerleaders, as well as some of my best friends.

My Professors... Thank you for being flexible when I had to miss class for a visit or a meeting or whatever.  My experience at K-State has been second to none and it's all because of you.

My Family... You've put up with me for almost 20 years, but this one has definitely been one for the history books.  Thank you for the constant texts to see if I was home yet, missing me because I wasn't home as often as all of us would have liked, and for always supporting me and encouraging me to pursue my dreams.

My Teammates... We entered this year as six acquaintances and somewhere between the road trips, jam sessions, and runs (which we all know I wasn't a fan of) we became a family.  I can't think of five other individuals who would have served Kansas FFA with more heart and dedication.  This year together has been such a pleasure.

Ms. Kane... Although a lot of your work is behind the scenes, you are the heartbeat of our Association and are what keeps it running.  You have been one of the best mentors and friends I could have ever asked for.  Kansas FFA is lucky to have you.

Kansas FFA Supporters...  Whether you're a donor, a volunteer, or even the parent of a member, you are truly the glue that holds our Association together.  No matter what or how much you give, you are appreciated.

Kansas FFA Advisors... Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your chapters over this past year.  You are enabling your students to accomplish all of their goals by equipping them with the skills needed for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

Kansas FFA Members... You are incredible.  Throughout my travels this year, I have been constantly amazed by the things you are accomplishing in your homes and communities.  I came into this year hoping that I would be able to impact you, but you have impacted me far beyond my wildest expectations.  You all constantly challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, work even harder, and be the best possible version of myself.  I believe you can all achieve anything that you set your minds to, and I can't wait to watch you all continue to attain your dreams.

There's no way to list out everyone who has impacted me over the past year, but know that I appreciate everything that has been done for me.  This past year was everything I could have ever dreamed it would be and then some.  Forever blue.

Living to serve,
Lindy Bilberry

PS- I enjoyed the opportunity to blog on here so much, that I have decided to start my own personal blog.  If you're interested in following it, check out itsLindyLou.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Value of a Good Friend

     This past Monday, my teammate Chance and I found ourselves in what had the potential to be the worst day ever. We were on our way to the Southwest District Banquet in Scott City (4 hours away) when the transmission went out in Chance’s truck. Here we were, two college kids broken down on the side of I-70 outside of Hays, America—about two hours from both Manhattan and Scott City—on a balmy western Kansas day, with blustering cold 65 mph winds. Our situation had all the makings of a disaster.
      In a desperate attempt to figure out what in the world we should do, Chance and I quickly gave a phone call to each of our parents. My dad reminded me that our family friend, Pete Weber, lived in Hays and told me that he would give Pete a shout. Within five minutes, Dad called me back and said that Pete was on his way. And, within ten minutes, Pete was calling me to see if he needed to bring a flatbed trailer and asking what else he could do to help us.
     Pete soon got there and we quickly loaded the truck on the trailer and headed to Enterprise to pick up a vehicle to take us to Scott City. James, the manager, went above and beyond to expedite the process as we picked up Fred the Ford Fiesta. We soon were on the road and ended up making it to Scott City on time for the banquet! Thank goodness!
    Our potentially horrible situation was made easier by a friend who was willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help us out. I’ve known Pete Weber for pretty much my whole life, and this actually wasn’t the first time that he’s had to bail a Bilberry kid out of a vehicle disaster (my brother Rusty hit a deer outside of Hays a few years ago). Pete probably had tons of other things he could have been doing that afternoon, but he was willing to drop everything and brave the less-than-ideal weather to help us out. Pete is living proof of the value of a good friend.
    Over the last year, I have been blessed with some wonderful people in my life. Whether it was my Louisburg gals, the great friends I’ve made here on campus, my teammates, my friends from back home, or my family, there has never been a shortage of people who have gone above and beyond when I needed help with a task, found myself in a pickle, or just needed someone to talk to.
     I hope that I can be that person to others. Take a second to think—do you go above and beyond when others find themselves in a bind? A lot of times we take, take, take, but are we remembering to give, give, give? Sometimes, in order to receive, we need to remember to first let others receive. Good friends are few and far between, but if we are willing to first be a good friend, we will find good friends. Help out others when they’re in a bind, even if it’s not the most convenient. Because of our friendship, Pete changed Chance and I’s situation from bad to good just by offering a helping hand.


Kansas FFA, let’s help others change their bad to good!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Take the Time to Hit Pause


   My parents are, in all honesty, the most kind and selfless people that I know.  I’m sure that most people would say that about their parents, but even if my parents weren’t mine, I would still feel the same.  They are the type of people who are never too busy to drop everything and take the time to listen to others. 
   After my dad retired from his job as a feedyard manager a few years back, my parents fulfilled their long-time dream of opening a livestock feed store that we operate from home.  It’s not uncommon to walk out to our barn office to find four or five people just chilling around on some couches drinking a Coke and chatting about life.  Some days, it seems like more people stop by just to visit than to buy feed—and Mom and Dad wouldn’t have it any other way.  My parents are simply good at talking.  But, even more important than that, my parents are great at listening.
   My mom, in particular, is the kind of person that you just want to open up to.  It seems like people are always stopping by or calling just to chit chat.  No matter what is going on in her life, Mom is always more concerned with the needs and well-being of others.  If I grow up to be half the person that she is, I’ll be doing alright.  My mom understands an important concept that fewer and fewer of us seem to grasp—sometimes, people just need to talk.
   Are we spending so much time talking that we can’t listen?  I’ll be the first to admit that I have been guilty of this.  It is easy to think that what’s going on in our lives is the most important.  Maybe we won an award, have a new significant other, or had an outstanding performance in last night’s game.  Don’t get me wrong, those things are awesome.  But do we ever take just a second to hit pause on our voices so someone else can hit play on theirs?
   A lot of times, the people who are the last to speak about themselves are the ones who need to say something the most.  Communication is a two-way street, folks.  If someone looks like they’re having a rough day, ask them about it.  If someone has accomplished something really cool, ask them about it.  Some people probably aren’t going to open up and tell you their whole life story… but, trust me, it matters to them that you asked.  All that it takes is a simple “How are you today?” or “Awesome job last night!” or “How’s your family doing?”
   Take the time to find out what’s up in your friends’ lives, ask the quiet girl how her day is going, tell the junior varsity basketball player that he had a nice shot at the game.  Give people the chance to gush a little bit about how excited they are or vent about how upset they are or offer them a shoulder to lean on if they're struggling.  Friends, it’s easy to be talkers, but it’s vital that we also be listeners.  My parents are pretty special, and I just can’t help but wonder how much better our world would be if everyone tried a little harder to be just like them.

Kansas FFA, take the time to listen!


Friday, February 28, 2014

Telling the Story

            Today is the last day of what, for me at least, has been a jam-packed, fun-filled month full of FFA.  I’m sure that a lot of you had a blast celebrating National FFA Week last week.  I want to give a warm shout-out and thank you to the chapters that hosted me—I had a blast getting to see the cool things that FFA members across our state are accomplishing.  You are all truly inspiring!
            During FFA Week, we do an awesome job of telling the story of FFA and agricultural education.  It was so impressive to see the way that different schools go about celebrating the successes of our Organization and local chapters.  There are posters all over the school, tractors in the parking lot, daily ‘Ag Trivia’ on the school announcements, and the occasional student walking proudly down the hall in their Official Dress.  It’s hard not to notice FFA chapters during FFA Week.
            FFA members, and those in agriculture, face some pretty hefty challenges.  We’re faced with feeding an increasing population (9 billion by 2050, to be exact) with even fewer resources than before. Agriculture is facing opposition from all sides—whether it’s from so-called animal welfare groups, fast food chains that I’m choosing not to name, or uninformed consumers who do not understand how cattle standing in a feedlot become the burger sitting on their plate.  As agriculturists, we are facing an uphill battle. 
            Again, we do an AWESOME job of telling our story during FFA Week.  But, there are 51 other weeks in the year.  Why don’t we focus on telling our story every week, instead of just the week that’s been designated?  There are great things happening in our agricultural education classrooms and FFA Chapters all year round.  On our farms, we are accomplishing things that our ancestors could not have even imagined.  Did you know that today’s farmers produce 262% more food with 2% fewer inputs than farmers in 1950 did?  Or that 97% of American farms are family owned?
            The average American is at least two generations removed from the family farm—making it more important than ever that we inform our consumers about where their food is coming from. We have a great story to share, we just need to do it.  Blogs, posters, inviting people to our farms, striking up a conversation with the person next to us in the produce section—all easy opportunities to share the story of American agriculture and the National FFA Organization.  I’m just as guilty of not taking the time to do it.  But, if we don’t tell our story, someone else will tell it for us.


Kansas FFA, make every week FFA Week!