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Kimble: Forget your troubles, remember your blessings
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You're late for another deadline. There are 16 emails waiting for responses with more coming in every time you turn around. Two programs need to be scheduled, but the calendar is already packed. The phone is ringing...

Life ever feel like one of those video games where the pieces keep falling onto the screen faster and faster?

While I'm hesitant to say life ever really slows down in 4-H, I can say fall is not that time.

The national professional meeting of 4-H agents falls at the end of October, and it never fails to sneak up on me.

Suddenly, it's three days until time to leave and I haven't packed or even figured out what the weather will be like.

Three years ago I made the commitment to try it out and each year I've returned thankful for the renewed focus and excitement the conference provides.

One of the highlights this year was speaker Patrick Grady, perhaps best known as author of "Who Packs the Parachute?"

He's also a 4-H alum, parent and volunteer. That insight into 4-H that really made him connect. He's also pretty funny, making me wonder if the addition of a comedian to staff trainings and meetings wouldn't help just a little.

Grady encouraged us to create a card with personal blessings on one side and professional ones on the other.

For the personal side, perhaps it's a degree or certification, your family, pets or hobby. On the professional side, it might be awards you've earned, the name of a child you've helped succeed, a program of which you're particularly proud, or something else you've done well.

It's kind of like the pictures I have around my computer screen and desk - my cousins, a favorite university trip, graduation and formal photos of 4-H'ers and that fun whitewater rafting trip - which never fail to make me smile.

The card is portable, though, to help you remember those little blessings all the times.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could forget our troubles as quickly as we forget our blessings," said Grady.

Isn't it the truth? This time of year, I sure need that reminder.

My problem would be a need for an ever-bigger card as I feel like I have been so blessed in Newton County 4-H.

Just this month I could brag on how well our livestock team did at the Georgia National Fair, how many families showed up to the shooting sports meeting (we ran out of chairs!), how much I've learned during fifth grade demonstrations, or how much fun 4-H'ers had making eco-bots for 4-H National Youth Science Day.
I'd also have to put volunteers on that card, because talking to colleagues never fails to remind me how very, very blessed we are to have such dedicated and talented volunteers in our county.

They're the reason 4-H doesn't stop when a staff member is sick or away, and they're the reason 4-H is so large and successful in our community.

I've sometimes said that one of the best things about the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents meeting is hearing from extension faculty who have it worse somewhere else.

It's not that I'm happy they have troubles, but it does help to put our own struggles into perspective.

This year's conference was a great re-energizer as we met with old friends and made new ones as we not only handled the business and work of the association, but also found new ideas in class sessions, learned about Florida agriculture or other topics in tours, made connections in the exhibit hall and enjoyed Florida's excellent hospitality.

I also jotted down one last quote from Grady:

"You've got to be on fire before you can burn out."

I'm so thankful I get to come to work each day to work with youth and adults as part of 4-H, something I'm certainly on fire about.

But I'm also thankful for the little reminders along the way to count my blessings.

Thanks to each of you who are those blessings.

Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or