My work is challenging, demanding and has the potential for tremendous reward when you push past the hurdles that stand in the way. I just spent my 4th year anniversary with the University of Tennessee Extension Family and Consumer Sciences department alongside fellow FCS colleagues in Johnson City at our TEAFCS state conference being reminded of how amazing the network of hearts and hands we collectively provide truly are. I’ve learned that to work for Extension is to give more, expect more and strive for more than what is anticipated; from yourself, from your colleagues and from the neighbors we exist to serve.
On a hike of Roan Mountain, I took this picture of a guide marker for the Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. Whether hiking the full trail or chunks of it, people spend a lot of energy trying to anticipate and prepare for their journey along this trail. I find it so comforting to know that these guideposts exist. They reminded me that we can have the physical, mental and spiritual stamina for the journey and still benefit from guideposts. They are the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter the direction you travel on the trail, what part of the trail you start your journey, if you are in it to experience the whole thing or not.. you can navigate your personal adventure without disrupting anyone else’s. I think that is what I professionally strive to be and create. To design, create and provide accessible resources that help equitably prepare us for our personal journeys through life and serve as guideposts for navigating the journey inclusive of all vantage points.