The Beauty of Acceptance – Wise Words Wednesday

Accepting Beauty

Have you ever been to a point in your life that you only see the negatives? Were all you thought about was what you didn’t have, but wanted to have? Where you picked out everyone else’s flaws because you weren’t satisfied with yourself?

Well I have, and let me tell you what I was doing. I was wasting my life. I was missing all the beauty in my life and losing out on my precious time. You see, I never saw the beauty in what I had. I missed out on some amazing talents, time with my family and memories with my kid. I saw what others were achieving and hated it because I wasn’t doing something exciting with my life.

It wasn’t their fault. They were ACTUALLY DOING something with their life, and I was just crying about mine.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the back-church pew on Saturday night telling God how much I disliked Him for putting my family though hell that I realized it wasn’t Him. He wasn’t the one making my life seem awful. Negativity was something that I felt I needed to survive. In all honestly what I needed was hope, faith, and courage. Seeing the beauty in life is something many miss. Getting up early just to watch the sunrise and listen to the first sound of the birds can be relaxing and an amazing time to meditate on the day’s happenings. Watching the wind blow through the tress doesn’t have to be a sign of rage and anger anymore. It is the voices of all my loved ones gone from this earth talking to me.

Amy K 1I now sit in the back pew at church and thank God for what He has faced me with. I know that He will never hand me more than I can handle. Having faith in Him took the weight of the world off my shoulders. Seeing the beauty in these gave me the hope I needed to become a stronger woman, wife, mother, and friend.

Now I know that to some they are like, “Duh! Get your head out of your butt and look at what you have.”

In all honestly, after having that dark cloth blinding you for so long, it takes some time to see the real color of the life you live. Not everything has to be black. Why not have your world colored by the joy, the beauty, the success of others? Surrounding myself with others who are positive gives me more courage than I could ever have dreamed of. You see for me, I was heading down a dark and lonely path. Shutting out all those that cared about me. It has taken a lot of work and I’m still not perfect, but I am making progress.

By: Amy Kemna

Guest post for 2017 Lessons Learned in the Last Year Intentergy series.

P.S. I have seen so many amazing transformations in Amy the past year that I just had to have her tell her story. Amy, you are beautiful, and I am thankful for your friendship and willingness to share your thoughts on how wonderful life can be when we gracefully accept God, our imperfect lives, and ourselves. 🙂
– Melanie A. Peters

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Retirement Reinvention – Ahhh!! Retirement!

Retirement Reinvention

Ahhh!! Retirement!!!  I’m the kind of person that makes plans and likes to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  So, last year when I was trying to wrap my head around the idea that I would be retiring that July, I was casually talking to another teacher and expressing my concern of not having anything of importance to do.  She said, “Reinvent yourself!”  What the heck did that mean?  How do you do that?

At first, I found myself kind of lost.  Before when someone asked, “What do you do?”  I would say, “I’m a first grade teacher.”  The conversation would continue about kids, teaching, the times, and more.  Now when they ask, “What do you do?”  I say, “I’m retired.”  They smile and give me a look that says, “isn’t that nice?”

Teacher was my identity for 40 years.  Now there are no students, co-workers, papers, tests, grades, meetings, lesson plans, schedules, or conferences.  What do I do?  Well, without planning, I find myself back to my roots as a Catholic School teacher and am able to work with children by teaching religion through the parish religion education program.   I was asked to substitute in a few different schools which pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and experience new schools, classrooms, and students while still getting to see some of my former students and teachers.

So, without even trying, I see that I have reinvented myself.  I now have an alphabetized spice cabinet and an organized utility room.  There is something to be said for peace of mind!  I am able to see what life is like between 8 and 3 outside of school.  I stay up late during the week – on purpose!  Now I relate to wife, mother-in-law, grandma, aunt, sister, friend, and retired teacher.  Retirement has given me the gift of time.  Now it’s Ahhhhhh, retirement!

By: Carol Haslag

Guest Post for 2017 Lessons Learned in the Last Year Intentergy series.

P.S. Carol and I served together on the Community Teachers’ Association. She appreciated my crazy ideas and I appreciated her kindness. Thank you, Carol, for all you do for our church and community. There are so many whose lives are enriched because of your work.
– Melanie A. Peters

A Year of Lessons – Filling in the gaps

A Year of Lessons – Filling in the gaps via Daily Prompt: Unfinished

A year of lessons.jpg

365 days ago I felt like a ship without a sail. Having made the decision to walk away from teaching after 10 years, my focus was solely on our family and farm. I knew this was the right choice, but the hole where teaching had been left a huge crack in what I knew about myself. Life has a funny way of filling in the cracks. I knew there would be no trouble filling my days with work, but I had no idea how full those days could become.

Working for the farm full time provided wonderful opportunities for physical activity and greater time with our cattle and turkeys, and my husband of course.

png 1 Lesson #1: You can’t schedule life on a farm. The farm will schedule life for you.

Our turkeys and cattle always seem to know when we are in a hurry to get somewhere or when we have made plans for something special. If there is a wedding to attend, you can bet there will be a cow or two out or the turkeys will break their feedline, necessitating the repair and clean up of a couple tons of feed. When the holidays approach, we know to expect the delivery of a flock of poults (baby turkeys) or a cow to go missing. If I am scheduled to be somewhere, you can bet that an electric fencer will go out or a water line will bust and my new appointment will be to the farm supply store to pick up parts or deliver a replacement from the farm shop. Baby calves are born or go missing in the worst weather or at the most inconvenient time, but they are our babies and we drop everything to ensure their safety. Turkeys are not the smartest animals and they will create the biggest messes when it seems we need things to go the smoothest.

png 1 Lesson #2: When you do not hold a scheduled job, people don’t think you work and tell you so. Continue reading “A Year of Lessons – Filling in the gaps”

What Goes in a Book Review?

Seriously, what goes in a book review?

Book Review Insights Wanted

I have read many reviews of literature and all are different. As I embark on the journey through my summer reading list, I have found some amazing works to devour. I would love to share my thoughts on these books but am looking for guidance on what makes a successful book review.

png 1 It is always important to know if the reader recommends a book, but is the moral of the story as important as the author’s ability to build characters or describe scenes?

png 1 Is it better to give away the majority of the plot or build suspense with a few small snippets?

png 1 Personally, I love when reviewers share their favorite quotes from books. Does this appeal to you?

What gets you to read a book or at least a book review? Please share!

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I love recommendations for books to read too. 🙂

 

What’s wrong with being an equalist? – Wise Words Wednesday

I am female. Professionally, I hold the same position as many men. I teach. I work cattle and care for turkeys. I am no beauty queen, but Kara McCullough is. In fact, she was just crowned Miss USA this week.

In the interview portion of the pageant, Kara answered two questions that seem to have earned her “ugly” marks from a number of individuals. I saw nothing “ugly” in her answers. Honestly, I found beauty in what she had to say.

When asked: ‘What do you consider feminist to be and do you consider yourself a feminist?’

McCullough, a scientist at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, replied “So as a woman scientist in the government, I’d like to transpose the word feminism to equalism, I try not to consider myself this diehard, like, “I don’t really care about men”.’ Sounds like she understands we are all equals and wants her fellow, male Americans to know that she cares about being their equal, contrary to being on opposing sides.

Not being a card-carrying feminist, I looked up the definition of “feminism.”

Continue reading “What’s wrong with being an equalist? – Wise Words Wednesday”

Accident-Prone? – Is Clumsiness Genetic?

Accident-Prone? – Is Clumsiness Genetic via Daily Prompt: Roots

Clumsiness 2

Friday night my four year old was screaming at the end of the hall. I ran to rescue him and found that his toe was stuck under the door. 😦

My daughter cried a short time later because she missed the last step coming downstairs and hurt her leg.

My six year old provided a presentation of the bruises he had gained during the week, as we put on his pj’s.

Hubby laughed and said, “I don’t think they got any of my genetics. They got all that clumsiness from you.”

My gracious reply was, “How do you explain their ability to forget everything they are supposed to be doing when the TV is on, the day ends in Y, or the sun is shining?” (Then I stuck out my tongue.) His response, “Maybe they did get one thing from me.”

png 1 Do genes impact one’s clumsiness? Do our parents pass down accident prone propensities? Continue reading “Accident-Prone? – Is Clumsiness Genetic?”

Catching Luck

Clammy

The last thing my daughter expected to catch out of Grandma’s pond was this mussel.

Sunday was a beautiful evening and the kids requested to fish in Grandma’s pond. What the heck, we weren’t doing anything else. Popo dug up a few worms, my three little anglers grabbed some poles, and we were off the pond bank.

Our youngest chose a Lightening McQueen fishing pole. My older son chose a tried-and-true Zebco. My daughter chose Grandma’s very nice and expensive Shakespeare pole because it was guaranteed to catch the biggest fish (at least according to my daughter).

After just a few minutes, both boys had reeled in some nice, little blue gill and bass. In spite of her desperate desire to catch a fish, my little girl went without a bite for quite some time.

Suddenly, she yelled, “There’s something on my hook. It’s really heavy.” Clearly there was something on her line because she was struggling to bring it in, but there didn’t seem to be any fight in the water.

Continue reading “Catching Luck”

Lord, I hope this day is good

Lord I Hope This Day is Good

Asking for a “good” day is not uncommon, heck, it’s really not too much to ask anytime.

When David Hanner wrote this song, he put the daily prayers of millions to music. When Don Williams sang this song, he brought those prayers to life. Since its first recording, the song, “Lord, I Hope This Day is Good,” has been sung by many, including LeeAnn Womack.

I enjoy hearing this song anytime, but I love Don Williams’ version best. His vocal inflections of a grateful, but somewhat down-trodden man are so in tune with how many of my days go.

My favorite line in the whole song though is, “I don’t need fortune and I don’t need fame. Send down the thunder, Lord, send down the rain, but when you’re plannin’ just how it will be, plan a good day for me” 

I can take a rumble of proverbial thunder in my day. Rain is a good thing (Right, Luke Bryan?) The words accurately reflect the simple request that my efforts and adventures make for a good day.

With this song and theme in mind, I encourage you to set a simple intent in your day. Look for the good in all that is around you. Remember it’s not about fortune or fame. It’s not about how righteous you can be. It is hard to feel forgotten and lonely, but so long as you understand that what you do and who you are is special, your day will always be good.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I have found this song most helpful in the morning when my children don’t want to go to school. 🙂

 

Childhood Chores

chores.jpg

My childhood chores involved babysitting, folding laundry, doing dishes, baling hay, milking cows, and whatever else my parents needed.

We no longer milk cows. My kids are too small to bale hay (and we no longer square bale anything). Many of the jobs that were considered okay for my generation and generations previous are considered unsafe for children to do today.

The thing that is most unnerving to me is not that chores are unsafe, but rather the fact that we are raising future citizens who don’t know how to fold their own shirts.

Recently, I overheard two women talking about their teenage children. They were childhood chore funnydiscussing the fact that they don’t let their kids do the laundry. The reasoning for this was that they didn’t have the patience to teach their children how to use the washing machine and that the kids never folded the clothes the way they (the moms) like it.

Okay?!?

png 1 If we don’t demonstrate patience for our children, how will they know what the skill of being patient looks like? If we don’t teach them how to use the washing machine, who will? Some nice lady at the laundry mat?

png 1 Secondly, how can our children improve their skills, in things like laundry folding, if we don’t guide them? I don’t mind if my shirts are a bit sloppy when folded, at least somebody folded them.

Another time a mom told me she didn’t know how I had the patience to let my kids cook with me. “They are so messy, and I am already tired when I get home. I don’t want them underfoot when I am trying to get dinner on the table,” was what she told me.

png 1 Cooking is messy. Learning is messy. Kids are messy. The cool thing about cooking childhood chores (2)with my kids is that they are learning. They learn how to make food. They learn how to clean up. They learn how to work as a team preparing, making, and serving our meals. Plus, my time with them is so precious in the evenings; it is nice to be able to do something productive.

I am not gonna lie. We don’t cook together every night. I don’t let my kids put the clothes away all the time. Sometimes I am too tired to be patient with them and sometimes they are too tired to work with me. But we still try most of the time. Continue reading “Childhood Chores”

Happy Haiku Day!

Haiku Day

A decade ago I began celebrating Haiku Day on May 7th with my students because it is 5-7. Haikus are traditional Japanese poetry that follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern and are usually about nature.

Luckily the other educators at my school embraced my enthusiasm and encouraged the composition of haikus in their classrooms as well.

Today I am sharing this celebration with you.

Take time to pen a haiku for yourself and document the beauty of something in your life.

Sharing our writing
Brings life to our word and thoughts 
Happy Haiku Day!

By: Melanie A. Peters

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