Two-Word Coaching: Simple Direction

This summer my oldest son has had the privilege of playing on a competitive baseball team, and with his new team, he gained some new teammates and coaches. The cool thing about new teammates and new coaches is there is a lot that can be learned from building team chemistry and determining the strengths and weaknesses of one another. Obviously, I enjoy hearing other coaches instruct my kiddos on the skills that I have tried to get them to work on for last couple of seasons, and then witnessing the kids actually trying those very techniques because somebody besides Coach Mom told them to do it. There is one dad on the team though that has introduced me to a different brand of coaching: Two-Word Coaching.

Tommy, the dad-coach, keeps his directions to the kids simple and usually only involves, you guessed it – two words. This may seem highly questionable, but let me tell you it can be very effective.

For example, as his son Will took the mound to pitch, Tommy barked, “Pitch strikes.”

Will proceeded to pitch 5 out of 9 pitches in the strike zone. (Pretty good for a first-year-in-the-league 10 year old.)

When Will was batting, Tommy grunted, “Little quicker,” and his son obligingly sped up his swing for a base hit.

Now don’t think Tommy’s two-word commands are limited to his son, the other kids are getting used to his brand of instruction as well. The more I listened; the more I was aware that Tommy wasn’t alone in taking advantage of this concise form of coaching. My awareness to this strategy heightened my recognition of just how often our terrific coaches employ its power, and the two-word coaching strategy has appealed to me even more.

Here are a few of the common two-word commands heard at most any game.

“Nice stop.” – for a solid catch or swatting down a hit by a defensive player

“Call it.” – Means, “Talk to each other, and let your teammates know you’ve got the ball.”

“Eat it.” – Means, “Hold the ball. Don’t try to throw out the baserunner (You probably won’t get them).”

“One more.” – This one has lots of meaning. It can infer, “Throw another strike,” “Get another out,” “All we need it one more hit,” or “One more game inning/game to win.”

“Charge it.” – Go to the ball and get that out. Don’t let it get away from you or the runner past you without hustling.

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Fish Delivery! Making Farm Pond Memories

After almost 25 years of too many other things to fix, last fall Hubby tackled the task of repairing a busted dam for a pond located on our farm. After hours of pushing dirt and packing it down with a dozer, the pond filled quickly with fall rains and winter snow melts. As March approached, we kept our eyes out for the fateful announcement of “Fish Days” at our local feed co-op.

Making our choices from the fish order form was almost as exciting as circling our wishes in a Christmas Toy Catalog. There were options of different species and sizes for every pond and lake. After careful consideration and research compliments of the Department of Conservation, we made our selections; hybrid blue gill, red ear, and a whole bunch of minnows.

Prior to picking up our fish, we had to fill portable tanks with pond water, so as to help the fish acclimate easily to their new home. Hubby took our kiddos with him to receive the fish at the co-op. They were eager to help and in awe of the process. (Those fish delivery guys don’t mess around. They get you loaded and out of there in no time!)

Once they arrived on the banks of the new pond, we questioned whether or not we would get the truck back up the bank without getting stuck, but into the pond the fish had to go.

Watching those tiny fries fly out of the tanks was exciting and nerve-wracking. How could such little fish survive the force of that water gushing out of the tanks and plopping into the pond?

Well, survive they did, and there is terrific anticipation for when that fresh fish delivery turns into a fresh fish fry.

Giving our kiddos the chance to be a part of the fish pond process has been fun. As the fish and our kids grow, that pond is overflowing with opportunities to spend time together, and the kids have shown great pride in the work that went into its re-construction and addition of fish.

While you may not have a pond to fill with fish or a task that requires thousands of gallons of pond water, you can always find joy in creating opportunities to be a part a project that is bigger than yourself.

Find ways to build, create, or grow with your loved ones or community. I promise it won’t be hard to reel in some fun and net some great memories. If things don’t always turn out the way you expect, it’s okay. Even fishing is called fishing for a reason. If you caught something every time, it would be called catching.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. We did successfully drive the truck up the bank without getting stuck.

20 Books of Summer +1 #20BooksofSummer2021

Thanks to Cathy at https://746books.com/2021/06/01/its-20-books-of-summer-time/ for sharing the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again!!! Yay summer reading!

During the summer of 2020, I participated in Cathy’s #20booksofsummer2020 and I LOVED it!

I enjoyed reading my choices and the posts of others readers as they shared their summer read picks. It made a season of quarantine feel like it a had some sense of community.

For Summer 2021, I am eager to dive into my summer reads, but I’m going to challenge myself to 21 reads before September 1st! #20booksofsummer2021 +1.

As the volunteer librarian at my children’s school, I host a reading club each year, and I always try to include the books in contention for the Mark Twain Award. There at 12 books nominated each year, and I have yet to be disappointed whenever I read those nominated. Students love them and often make informal waiting lists on my library desk for the Mark Twain Award titles. These 12 titles will definitely make up part of my 21 reads this summer, so I thought I would kick the list off with the nominees.

Shine!
Summer Read #1: Mark Twain Award Nominee #1: Shine by J.J. and Chris Grabenstein
Pay Attention, Carter Jones
Summer Read #2: Mark Twain Award Nominee #2: Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt
The Bridge Home
Summer Read #3: Mark Twain Award Nominee #3: The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
New Kid (New Kid, #1)
Summer Read #4: Mark Twain Award Nominee #4: New Kid by Jerry Craft
Song for a Whale
Summer Read #5: Mark Twain Award Nominee #5: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Shouting at the Rain
Summer Read #6: Mark Twain Award Nominee #6: Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (Charlie Thorne #1)
Summer Read #7: Mark Twain Award Nominee #7: Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse
Summer Read #8: Mark Twain Award Nominee #8: Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen
Summer Read #9: Mark Twain Award Nominee #9: Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz
The Memory Keeper
Summer Read #10: Mark Twain Award Nominee #10: The Memory Keeper by Jennifer Camiccia
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA
Summer Read #11: Mark Twain Award Nominee #11: The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Benda Woods
White Bird: A Wonder Story
Summer Read #12: Mark Twain Award Nominee #12: White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio

M.C. Higgins, the Great
Summer Read #13: M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton is a book I often recommend to students in the library, but it’s beena while since I read it the first time and want to revisit this amazing story.
Continue reading “20 Books of Summer +1 #20BooksofSummer2021”

Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???

There has not been a lack of positive stuff going on in my life, and I definitely have plenty to say but finding the right words and positive stories to share has been tough lately. I’m not sure where my writing inspiration has gone, but I think it has something to do with my inability to keep up with all the craziness around me. Lacking a routine has caused a shortage of concentration when I sit down to type.

So I thought I would share a few cool insights from the last few weeks.

When your washing machine breaks, there are two things that make it all better. 1. A mom that shares her washer with you and even takes time to dry and fold the clothes. 2. A local handyman named Joe with a terrific sense of humor and just enough sass to make you feel like you actually helped when in reality he was the one who did all the hard stuff.

When your son is too excited to change out of his school uniform because he wants to get going on vacation, let him wear the uniform. It pays to have a hoodie on him when it is unexpectedly cold on your trip.

Leaving immediately after your kids get out school for a 14-hour vacation drive is stressful but forces you to get into a summer-vacation frame of mind.

When your friend wants an authentic Florida palm tree, and she tries to convince the slightly tipsy men in your party to dig one up with a plastic beach shovel, go ahead and agree to drive them in the golf cart after dark. It makes a for a great story later. P.S. Tell the quizzical passers-by that your friends are considering buying the vacant lot and “There is nothing to see here” ( do not mention their attempts to uproot a palm tree with a plastic shovel). The passers-by will look at you incredulously and slowly walk away. Their reactions will cause severe distress as you try to hold in laughter and your friends to fall over themselves to avoid being seen.

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Going on a Mushroom Hunt

As a kid, I was always told to leave wild mushrooms alone because they were poisonous. I never imagined that people would hunt and eat them!

When Hubby and I were still dating, he made plans to go mushroom hunting with a buddy. After he told me that it was mushroom season, I asked, “Do you need a license to hunt mushrooms?”

He did not understand my confusion and laughed at my ignorance.

Not only was I insulted, but I was sincerely concerned for his health and the legality of this hunt. My entire life I believed that mushrooms in the wild could hurt me, so why would I change my beliefs now? After some careful explaining and seeing the results of a successful mushroom hunt, I began to understand that there is a short window of time where edible mushrooms pop up in the wooded areas near us.

Many people go crazy for the morel mushrooms, and just like a good fishing hole, many will keep their mushroom honey holes a secret. It’s kind of crazy to me, but who am I to judge? If I could find a place in nature to cultivate a special chocolate bar that only pops up once a year, I would definitely keep that secret to myself.

Over the last 18 years, I have been served and have prepared the wild morels a number of ways, but they are not something I necessarily crave. Hubby and his family members are under the impression that the mushrooms are to be consumed as if sacred and will go to great lengths to find and brag about their mushroom harvests. With an clear understanding of this passion, I recently went on a mushroom hunt with Hubby and our oldest son.

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“May I?”: Giving Yourself Permission to Grow- May Positivity Challenge

As spring has arrived and the whirlwind of May activities swirls around us, I wanted to use this month’s positivity challenge to encourage growth.

We are all pretty good at making things happen for our kids, so they develop in their educational and sports skills. Many of us excel at nurturing our lawns and gardens. It is easy for us to dedicate our efforts encouraging the enhancement of others, but granting ourselves permission to grow can be really tough.

I want you to think about something you wish you were better at or want to feel better about in your life.

Maybe it’s learning a new skill or honing in on a talent that has been neglected.

Is there something you wish you could spend more time doing?

Could you use an increase in relaxation or self-care?

Whatever it is that is missing in your life, I want you to let May be your month for growing in that area.

Continue reading ““May I?”: Giving Yourself Permission to Grow- May Positivity Challenge”

Herding Turkeys… : An Emotional Chore

All in a day’s work….

That’s what I should call it, but have you ever tried to herd turkeys? There is nothing run-of-the-mill about herding turkeys once they’ve escaped from the barn.

On a day when I had the privilege of helping top out buildings*, there was one barn door that just wouldn’t stay on its hinge leaving a gap as we made our rounds through the building. It was through that gap that nine turkeys made their grand getaway.

The thing about turkeys though is that they are not very intelligent and tend to run wild in every direction before making their way back to where they started.

In the case of these nine runaways, they hovered around the outside of the barn because they could hear their buddies inside. Unfortunately for me, they huddled about half way down the barn, and I had to deftly sneak up behind them and shoo them to the other end of the range house. Once we made our haphazard way back to the other end of the building, these fugitives found safety being back in the flock.

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The Name “Wilbur” for a Girl

Can you guess which one is Wilbur?

When March rolled around, it was time for the kids to select pigs for their 4-H Fair Projects. As I am not a huge fan of pigs, I left the duty of pig shopping to Hubby. I sent Hubby and our three minions to pick out pigs with potential to show well and provide ample entertainment and responsibility for the kiddos. I figured they would bring home four, maybe five, hogs, because only two of our kiddos are old enough to show at the fair, and we can only eat so much pork. I was wrong.

Hubby and the minions returned with SEVEN pigs!!!

Two of the pigs were a “Good deal” because Farmer Joe (our piglet supplier) threw in the runts for free.

Did I mention I am not a fan of pigs???

Continue reading “The Name “Wilbur” for a Girl”

Even When We Know It’s Coming

Recently, I had the opportunity to share a morning with Gus and Fitz, two of our little friends from church. Other than the snuggles, the best part about having little friends join us is that they find joy in the toys that my kids have outgrown. On this particular visit, Gus discovered the phlat ball. The phlat ball has suction cups and a spring inside, so that when smooshed together it holds its flattened shape for a short time and then pops back into a sphere. Gus also thoroughly enjoyed of all the Paw Patrol toys. Soon he discovered that the Ryder figurine could lay on the phlat ball until it popped, and Ryder would go sailing.

Gus and his treasures (Sorry for the blurriness! He wouldn’t stop long enough for a clear shot.)

No matter how many times it happened, Gus never failed to be excited about the prospect and result of the phlat ball propelling Ryder through the air.

Watching that kind of joy made me wish I could always be so enthusiastic about the simple pleasures in life, even when I know they are coming.

Today I hope you will take time to relish the simple stuff in your life, even if you know it’s coming.

Be sure to take in some fresh air and sunshine. Celebrate the reliability of your schedule and ability to be a part of your professional team. Do a happy dance for the dependability of dinner with your family, or the thundering sound of tennis shoes arriving home from school, and the quick hugs as your kiddos make their way to the snack cabinet. Give up a quick prayer of gratitude for the goodies you have to eat. Find pleasure in your pillow when you lay your head down tonight.

If you find joy in the simple things, joy will find its way to your more often… especially when you know it’s coming.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I’m excited that you read my post.

P.P.S. What are you excited about today?

Don’t Call Me “Mom”

There is no joy greater that hearing your child say “mama” or “dada” for the first time, except maybe the happiness that comes from silence when they are sleeping after hearing those words 1,000,000 times.

I love my children more than anything in life…. but sometimes they get on my nerves.

It’s not so much that they want to be in my space, eat my food, prevent my sleep, or destroy my house, but that they cannot seem to leave each other alone for one, blessed second.

In those instances where the temptation to pester one another is too great, I always find myself in the form of a fire-breathing dragon fully prepared to skewer and roast their little, antagonizing selves. (Then I remember how much time and money I have invested in them, and I transform back into a loving, caring mother.)

After a particularly arduous 25-minute car ride to town last summer, I declared that no one was to call me “Mom” for the duration of our trip. (We were going to two stores and pick up lunch, but I wasn’t too sure I could avoid eating my young at that point.) I announced that I was no longer to be called “Mom,” but rather my children were to address me as “Lady Madame Josephine” before speaking to me at any time. This command was met with silence and then laughter from my children.

As soon as the first child chose to say the dreaded M-word, I pulled off into a parking lot, stopped the car, and with the blazing heat of a true mama dragon, I seared them with my words, “My name is Lady Madame Josephine. If you want to have lunch today you will address me as such.” Silence again.

No one spoke until we arrived serenely at our first stop. My daughter tentatively said, “May I ask a question?”

My reply, “You may.”

My daughter’s inquiry, “Why do you want us to call you ‘Lady Madame J… ‘; what was it again?”

I answered, “Lady Madame Josephine.”

My daughter again, “Why do you want us to call you ‘Lady Madame Josephine’?”

Continue reading “Don’t Call Me “Mom””