Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe

There were so many things I wanted to title this post… “Long Live the Tree Books,” “Becoming a Watch Deputy,” and (the title that almost made the cut) “Buying Books We Knock Over.” (I call dibs on all these titles for future posts.)

This past spring Aunt Carol recommended that I read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. The End of Your Life Book Club is a memoir of the books Will and his mother read and bonded over during her diagnosis and treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

I am not gonna lie. Reading this book made me feel smarter because Will and his mother Mary Anne read some AMAZING stuff. (I have an entire Goodreads book shelf dedicated to books I learned about in The End of Your Life Book Club.) It wasn’t so much the knowledge about the books they read that increased my intelligence; it was the way Will conveyed the powerful life lessons fostered by their reading, conversations, and the tremendous responsibility assumed because of their reading that made me feel smarter.

Will SchwalbeWill was announced as the author of the 2017 Capital READ in June. I was so excited! The date went immediately on my calendar and I ordered a new hardback copy of The End of Your Life Book Club from Amazon Marketplace.

Will Schwalbe 2When my copy arrived, I discovered that I had unwittingly ordered an autographed copy. I was bummed because I wanted my copy to be signed when I met Will. (Silly thing to be bummed about, right?) My signed copy ended up being a cool thing. Continue reading “Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe”

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Basically good…like everybody else

Basically Good

Every night when I go to bed my mind floods with the shortcomings of my day. Most of the time my distractions stem from my own mistakes. The snippy words barked at my children in frustration. The letter I forgot to send. The phone call that I meant to make. The laundry in the washing machine never made it to the dryer. Did I feed the dog?

If I let my mistakes run rampant, my mind never lets me sleep. The only consolation I find is in the knowledge that I am basically good. Yeah, I am weak. Yes, I am full of mistakes. But, for the most part, I am basically good. Continue reading “Basically good…like everybody else”

Take Note

Take Note

Professional development is a topic that makes most people groan in despair. I really have no problem with professional development. In fact, I have served on many professional development teams in the past. As a fairly new employee to State Technical College of Missouri, I have the benefit of taking part in the professional development programs offered, including the “new” teacher services. While I am not a “new” teacher in the sense of experience, I was definitely “new” to the collegiate teaching scene.

Upon completion of my first year at State Tech, I received an invite to meet with Angie, the Professional Development Coordinator. Her invite stated that she just wanted to visit with me about the successes and any concerns from my first year to form an instructional mentoring partnership. (Sounded fun and fancy to me and Angie said she was willing to have donuts at the meeting.)

When we met, Angie and I discussed what we believed to be successful about my first year and I shared my concerns (which wasn’t much). She listened, shared stories about her own experiences as an adjunct professor, and discussed ideas for addressing my concerns. (She even remembered the donuts!) To conclude our meeting, Angie thanked me for my time and presented me with a brand, new composition book to use as a journal of my teaching. She did not realize just how special that notebook was.

Take Note 2I have always had an obsession with notebooks and journals. Writing is one of my favorite outlets and I have a little bit of a list-making obsession. For the last few years, I have re-purposed the notebooks left behind by my students as they move onto the next year’s courses. I don’t mind recycling, plus some of those kids drew really great sketches for me to enjoy every time I use their discarded notebooks. When I was in grade school, my favorite notebooks were made from recycled paper. I loved the tint of the gray pages and the softness of writing on the thicker sheets. When my friend Erica gave me a journal for my birthday a few years ago, I was so excited. A new notebook just for me! I used that journal to begin the writing for my blog.

When Angie presented me with this new notebook, my joy was instantaneous and I thanked her with a huge hug. Who knows what great things I can do with those fresh, lined pages! Continue reading “Take Note”

Vending Machine Jackpot!

Vending Machine Jackpot

When something great happens, we just have to share it!

I put in the appropriate amount of change, typed in the assigned number (305), and pressed the “Select” button. As I waited the spiraling of the dispenser stimulated my salivating taste buds. When the spiral had reached the end of the shelf, Woohoo! TWO packages of peanut M&M’s fell into the dispensing tray. I HAD to take a picture of my vending machine jackpot. (There is no better inspiration for a post than free candy.)

Great things happen in our lives everyday. Surprises and blessings occur when we least expect them. Keep your heart and mind open to recognizing these “jackpots.”

I shared my winnings with my friend Christina. Sharing my story and the candy was my second double bonus of the day.

If you find yourself with a vending machine jackpot, a lucky penny in the parking lot, or stumbling across a shareable success, double your money and deal out some luck to someone else. Be sure to share your loot with someone who could use a win. 😉

png 1 Have you ever hit a vending machine jackpot? What did you win? How did you celebrate your victory?

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. The candy really did just fall out. I did not shake the machine or anything.

P.P.S. Personally, I am scared to shake vending machines because I am afraid they will set off an alarm and everyone will know I was trying to rob the vending machine.

A Flat Attitude or “Flatitude”

A Flat Attitude

Attitudes get a bad wrap. It isn’t the attitude’s fault that we got grounded. It isn’t the attitude’s fault that we got the speeding ticket. It isn’t the attitude’s fault that we were misunderstood and left out in the cold to lick our wounds.

Why you ask?

Well, attitudes don’t choose us. We choose the attitude.

Just as we blame a tire for going flat, it isn’t the tire’s fault we drove over a nail or broken glass. It isn’t the tire’s fault that we drove it until the tread wore too thin. It isn’t the tire’s fault that your husband likes to gawk and spends more time driving on the rumble strips along that highway than he does between the yellow lines. 😉

Just as a tire that is neglected becomes flat, so do our attitudes.

I was in danger of suffering from flatitude when people started texting on cell phones. I wanted nothing to do with texting. I found it annoying, lazy, and a depreciation of the communication between members of the human race. My attitude towards texting was downright hostile. Continue reading “A Flat Attitude or “Flatitude””

This Message Will Self-Destruct

I really liked the cartoon “Inspector Gadget” when I was a kid. Today I would LOVE some of his Go-Go-Gadget arms and legs.

Go go gadet messageIn each episode of Inspector Gadget, Inspector received an urgent message about an evil plot that needed foiling. After reading each urgent message, the slip of paper would destruct and usually backfire on the Chief. I feel like the Chief a lot. I am always trying to deliver an important message but it often explodes in my face after delivery. Sometimes the message isn’t all that important and it still goes “BOOM” in my lap.

Do you ever feel like your message is exploding (not in a good way) after you deliver it?

Let me give you an example: It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Lunch dishes are done. No pressing appointments are on the calendar. I grab a few granola bars and water bottles and call for the kids to shut off the TV and come outside with me.

“BOOM!” Continue reading “This Message Will Self-Destruct”

Allergic to Reacting?

Allergic to Reacting 1

So after my proud post about Digging for Spring, I had a few things pop up that were NOT in my flower beds.

Thursday night I had what looked like a blood blister on my middle finger. It hurt and was really ugly. Hubby squeezed it for me until blood and puss came out. Attractive, right? 😉

Friday night my hands kept going numb. It was like they were constantly falling asleep.

After a restless night of tingly hands, my right forearm began itching and a raised hive covered the entire inside of my right forearm. Tiny bumps followed shortly and my hands ACHED. My knuckle joints were very stiff and felt like they were on fire. My nose itched constantly and my lips were tingling. Something just wasn’t right.

I did what any mom/wife/daughter/friend/teacher, who has too much to do, would do. I took some ibuprofen and Benadryl and went about my business.  Continue reading “Allergic to Reacting?”

Lacking Instruction – Wise Words Wednesday

Lacking Instruction

There are days I really wish I had an instruction manual for life. There are days that I think I should write an instruction manual for how to NOT live. There are days that I am pretty sure I am not smart enough to follow an instruction manual (if I had one) to save my life.

We all feel this way sometime.

The best part of our imperfection is that we all suffer from it.

Our mistakes are part of the human condition and they are tools for personal growth.

The three steps to surviving imperfection are as follows:
(Unofficial Instruction Guide for Life)

  1. Laugh at YourselfBe able to laugh at your mistakes
  2. Be able to learn from your mistakes
  3. Forgive yourself for making mistakes

Continue reading “Lacking Instruction – Wise Words Wednesday”

Worth the Climb

Upward Climb.jpg

54 steps… that is how many steps it takes to get to my aunt and uncle’s lake house.

54 long, tall steps.

From the dock to the house it is 54 steps. That equates to a lot of hard work for a spot that is supposed to be relaxing.

What lies beneathTime at the lake house is so refreshing. We eat, sleep, drink, and play there with no other purpose than to get away from the exhaustion of everyday life. As we head from the house to the dock, we pack everything we can into our arms and hope we don’t fall forward on the descent. (Did I mention it would be 54 long, tall steps down?)

Once on the dock, time seems slower. The sun shines brighter. The breezes massage our worries away. The fish and birds provide breaks in the calm of the waters. The occasional boat or jet ski add speedy bursts of entertainment to the scenery.  It makes those 54 steps worthwhile.

There are a lot of things in life that are worth effort. I would like to extend an Intentergy effort challenge. Choose a task that challenges you but will make your life easier in the long run.

  • Consider cleaning out and organizing a closet or cabinets.
  • Make a To-Do list and do the things on your list.
  • If there is something you participate in that is NOT worth the effort or frustration, eliminate that unhealthy practice from your life.
  • Fill in your calendar or planner with all your obligations and use it to keep appointments straight and help with timeliness.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time; this saves time and money.
  • Make a change that you have been putting off. Change is the first place to start when you need greater positive energy.

Just as climbing those 54 steps gets my heart racing, hopefully the challenge you choose will fill your heart with energy and excitement. Whether it be heading down those steps or up, I always know that where I end up will be a good place to land. Know that you will have the same optimism if you choose a challenge that is impactful for you. So take a deep breath, grab all the stuff you will need to make the change, and take that first step. It will be worth the climb.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Take a flashlight if you go before dusk. Those 54 steps can be scary without a light. (or be smart enough to turn on the outside lights before heading down)

P.P.S. Check with your physician before climbing 54 steps a whole bunch of times. Some of us are a bit out of shape and may need to ease into the process. 😉

 

 

Digging for Spring

via Daily Prompt: Bury

Digging for spring is something I find myself doing in the fall. Most Octobers or Novembers I scramble to clear out dying plants and add a few bulbs to my flower bed, but this year I am showing some real ambition for spring. I have extended one flower bed and added another in front of our home this week. (We’ve lived in the house 3 years and I am just now getting to these beds. Don’t judge.)

Tulips and daffodils are my bulbs of  choice this year. Hopefully I will have the chance to enjoy plenty of new blooms come spring, but for now I get to look at fresh turned dirt and mulch, while feeling the pain of more shoveling than my shoulders are used to. 😉

Digging for Spring (3)Even if you are not a gardener, you can appreciate the need to dig for a more beautiful future and maybe that requires us to bury somethings that aren’t so pretty. My favorite things to bury are guilt and worry. I want to stick them deep in the ground and pray that they fertilize something much more enjoyable in the next season of my life.

Digging for Spring 5In addition to the bulbs, I have added a few mums. Mums are my favorite perennial because they bloom for a long time and come back every year. There are plenty of perennial elements in our world and I encourage you to celebrate and give thanks for recurring pleasantries. Whether that annual awesomeness comes from birthdays or anniversaries or more frequently, like weekly coffee with your BFF or breathtaking sunsets each evening, relish the dependability that blooms in your life.

Right now I encourage you to dig deep for intents that will bloom into beautiful moments and memories. Bury ugly and unfruitful practices, habits, and influences and let their absence make room for more fruitful experiences. Planting positivity always blooms grace, gratitude, and joy.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Fertilizer is stinky, but so are guilt and worry. Don’t use too much of any of those. It really burns up the joy in planting.