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!

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Downhill Slope

   The other day it hit me… Right smack dab in the face—my time serving Kansas FFA members is over halfway done.  I’m on the downhill slope, if you will.  My time in the blue jacket is almost over. 
This thought, in all honesty, scares me a little.  Tons of thoughts rush through my head… Have I made a good use of my time?  Did I make a difference?  How many lives have I touched?  These thoughts make me more determined than ever to make the most of my remaining time in the Kansas FFA blue corduroy.  I am ready to face my ‘downhill slope’ with an uphill attitude.  It’s time to appreciate all of the little things, soak it all in, work even harder.
Many of you may also find yourselves on the downhill slope.
   With the end of the school year coming, it’s pretty easy to find ourselves in a rut.  All we want is to not have to go to class, be done studying, and for summer to arrive.  It’s easy to do the bare minimum, scrape by.  I mean, we’ve been working hard since August.  My challenge: work even harder until May—in FFA and in school.  Finish your homework before you arrive in the class that it’s due, do that extra credit assignment that the teacher offered in the class you have a borderline grade in, practice your reasons sets, finish up this year’s record book.  Face this semester with an uphill attitude. 
   This time last year, I was struggling with a bad case of senioritis.  I was ready to be done with high school and off to college, ready for the real world.  For my seniors out there feeling the same way, my challenge: slow down, enjoy every moment.  Although it sounds cliché, you only get to do it once.  Face your final semester in high school with an uphill attitude, even though you really are on the downhill slope.  Work harder in class than you ever have before, try even harder in the CDE’s you have left, and take in every experience that you can while you’re still wearing the blue jacket. 
   When you find yourself chomping at the bit to get out of the small-town that you’ve called home for the last 18 or so years, my challenge: slow down, enjoy every moment.  When your mom’s nagging you to pick up your room, put away your laundry, or just sit down to talk with her—enjoy the moment.  When your dad says it’s your turn to do the chores or unload hay or build fence or just ‘get up and do something, by golly’—enjoy every moment.  When you’re fighting with your siblings over whose turn it is to wash the dishes, help your parents, or honestly just fighting in general—enjoy every moment.
   As weird as it is, I miss my mom nagging at me to put away my clothes.  Truth be told, I miss her just doing my laundry in general.  I miss hanging out with my dad and trying to soak in just a little of his wisdom from the life talks that we regularly have.  I miss fighting with my sister, Sara, about who stole whose shirt and whose turn it is to buy lunch.  And, even though he lives out on his own now, I miss my brother Rusty to death.  Although I love K-State and all of my friends here, nothing is quite like home.
   If we look at life like we’re on the downhill slope, it will all pass us by.  I am just as guilty as anyone of getting caught up in the moment—getting caught up in just getting done.  But life passes by way too fast.  We should wake up everyday and ask ourselves how we can make a difference.  We should wake up everyday and challenge ourselves to savor every moment.


Kansas FFA, have an uphill attitude!