Jumping into a pile of leaves is a time-honored autumn tradition. This past weekend, my children attempted to step up their leaf-jumping game. They devised the brilliant idea to collect wagonloads of fallen leaves and pile them onto the trampoline. (In my previous post, I said I admire resourcefulness, but this particularly ambitious attempt had me a little nervous.)
For me, the beauty of their plan was not in the adventure and adrenaline it would guarantee but in the teamwork it spawned. Watching the three of them scamper to gather as many leaves as they could and load the wagon as speedily as possible was a thing of glory. They wanted to jump into extreme fall fun and they were doing it without sibling rivalry or fussing. They were working together. (Insert tear drop of joy here.)
Resourcefulness is a trait I really admire in people.
Being able to say, “I made it myself,” is something that brings most of us tremendous joy.
When I was younger my mom sewed most of my clothes, and to this day I still get a kick out of telling admirers of something sewn just for me, “My mom made it.”
When shopping for back-to-school supplies, my daughter struggled to find folders that represented her interests or that were in a price range we could afford. I suggested that she could decorate her own, and that’s just what she did.
We are all familiar with the “If you can’t say something nice…” adage, but how often to we put effort into leaving our lousy thoughts out of what we say?
Last week I was angry. Angry at someone I care a great deal about. Angry at the choices they had been making. Those choices felt unfairly selfish to me. When I voiced my anger to my friend Emily, she helped put things into perspective. Emily reminded me that the person I was mad at wasn’t necessarily being selfish; they were being human. Each decision they made was done so because they thought it was the appropriate choice for them.
Of course, Emily was right and I needed to quit being so judgmental.
This week, as I was taking a drive with my friend Chelsea, she was lamenting the overly critical nature of one of her family members. The nature of their hypercritical haptics was exhausting her. We came up with the brilliant idea that people should quarantine their fault finding fascination. The quarantine of unfair judgment and social criticism would be a great way to cure the world with kindness and understanding.
2020, a year that has stopped hearts, businesses, and social gatherings, has failed to prevent the world from turning, plants from blooming, kids from growing, and changes from coming.
I haven’t liked the anxiety and animosity that have grown the past 10 months, but I have found comfort in the predictability of continuing to raise a family and run our farm. Even the “I hate homework” meltdowns are something to relish because it means my child started learning something at school, and I only have to assist with the reinforcement lessons. I’m not the homeschool headmistress.
Watching our fall calves frolic in the fields brings added joy to our lives because it means we are still growing and producing. That’s what farms are supposed to do. Everything hasn’t stopped.
The dirty laundry continues to drive me crazy. Dishes continue to not wash themselves. The empty milk just constantly finds its way back into my refrigerator (apparently NO ONE in my family EVER takes the last drink). Everything hasn’t stopped.
There are many things I love about technology, but video games are not necessarily one of them. However, I do enjoy a game of Tetris. It’s about the only video game that doesn’t send me spiraling into a fit of vertigo (at least until those crazy blocks start dropping at 60mph).
Halloween is also one of my FAVORITE times of the year, so this particular Wednesday Addams meme made my heart happy. It also provided inspiration for today’s Intentergy post.
For 10 years I taught high school. In those 10 years, I watched A LOT of kids do things to fit in that I knew were not true reflections of who they were as individuals. After one particularly troublesome instance of two 9th grade girls allowing their alpha-friend to bully another 9th grader, I had to discuss the situation with a fellow teacher.
My brilliant co-teacher had a way of putting new perspective on situations. He referred to the students who followed peer pressure as “lemmings.” He said, “They will run themselves off the roof of the school just to fit in. It’s our job to show them there are other ways down from the situation and hopefully to avoid those tragic falls.”
This reference, of course, is centered on the belief that lemmings will run off the edge of a cliff just to stay with the herd. In many ways this metaphor accurately reflects the Tetris mentality of disappearing to fit in.
People will rush into or follow any crowd if they believe it will help their social survival, but often forget that if they are a crowd follower, it is really hard to be a leader or to stand out with success.
You’re basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions.
We do! We need water. We need sunlight. We are definitely emotional!
While we all have our basic needs, fulfilling those needs is often impacted by our ability or inability to take-in the required air, water, sun, exercise, and nutrition. Similarly, if we do not allow for positive encounters in our day or uplifting words in our speech, it’s really hard to squeeze them in later. After the sun goes down, you can’t exactly be like, “Hey, sun, could you come out and shine for just a bit? I missed you earlier.”
The task of keeping families masked has become one more chore we must consider before heading out the door each day. It is a task that we are using to protect lives from the perils of the Corona virus pandemic. It is a responsibility that now presses on us in our homes and adds to our laundry list of ways life has change in the shadow of COVID 19.
My washdays are definitely not holidays as I wrestle with washing masks in a special bag and drying them on the special rack because the face coverings require special care.
While I know it is a method for warding away COVID 19, I can’t help but groan at the daily dilemma of washing, finding, and coaxing my children and husband to wear the required face-coverings.
The masks’ appearance defined our first day of school photos. Never before did I view my children as bandits heading off to steal the treasures of their unsuspecting teachers. (Now I can’t un-see it.)
Each night the masks have joined our bedtime ritual in on the “Do you know where your ________ is?” fun.
My Sunday evening anxiety seems to flare up midweek as I scramble to re-locate and wash the masks my kids will actually wear so as to make it through the week in their concealed coolness.
Walking the walk and talking the talk can a be tall order when it comes to being positive. Sometimes positive energy can be hard to find. Other times we have to create that outlook for ourselves.
This week was mid-quarter for my children at school. (Thank goodness our school has made it healthily this far into 1st quarter.) I have started to see a shadow of exhaustion in my daughter.
She is determined to earn high enough grades to be on Honor Roll, practicing 3 to 4 days a week with her competitive gymnastics team, still helping with home and farm chores, and be a normal 11-year old. Not wanting that shadow to become a storm of exhaustion, I devised a way to help her think, talk, and feel positive on Monday.
As soon as my girl was off the bus, I told her how proud I was of her and showed her successful math paper from last week’s homework now displayed on the pantry door. (5th grade math is hard!) Then I had blueberry muffins hot, out of the oven, for after-school snack, and I shared my blog post on The Thunder Tree with her. (She loved Thunder.) I told her to get dressed for gymnastics and surprised her with fresh cup of sweet tea to-go. These may seem like petty things, but when she got home 4 hours later from gymnastics, her mood was lighter than it had been the last few days, and she gushed with the successes of her practice.
Have you ever built a fort or a playhouse out of a cardboard box?
Well, I have.
I have some pretty extensive cardboard construction experience from my own childhood and as I take part in the imaginary creations of my own kiddos. Anybody who has ever built a refrigerator box hideout will tell you that the secret to its success is in the door.
Cutting cardboard is hard work. It requires sketching the door with whatever pencil, marker, or crayon you can find. Then sneaking a steak knife from the kitchen or maybe Mom’s good scissors, and then you have to saw, hack, shred, and, without losing a finger or toe, trim out your new entrance. Of course the entrance never seems to follow the dried-out marker shape you sketched and maybe you got tired and your little sister had to finish cutting part of the door, and maybe, just maybe the handle accidentally came off Mom’s good scissors, so you took Dad’s pocketknife while he was napping. Whatever the series of events may have been, they all result in an opening of some sort.