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???

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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’?”

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Light from Last Year

As I made my way around the corner, light from our basement stairwell startled me. My children are notorious for leaving on the lights throughout the house, but this time I was the only one awake and certain that I had turned off all lights before going to bed the night before. The glare from the stairs was unexpected and demanded investigation.

I made my way down the steps, and as I reached the bottom landing, I had to smile. The radiant light was shining through the artwork completed a year ago on our basement windows. The sun had not shone in a few days and its rays were something I really needed and appreciated in that quiet moment.

The windows found in my home and those around the globe, may not have held a candle to the ones found in our parish churches, but they allowed a creative light to shine in our hearts and homes last spring. In the throws of pandemic quarantine, I sought ways to bring joy and creativity to my children’s activities. As Easter approached and the weather kept us indoors, I joined thousands of other parents giving kids permission to paint their windows. Using tempera paint we created “stained glass” windows.

At the time, this was a fun and uplifting experience. Now, the fear and anxiety that came with the haunting pandemic are lessened and the pressures of what to do with ourselves in those uncertain times have diminished, but the artwork on our windows is still there brightening our days.

I could wash the windows and take down the reminder of what COVID 19 did to our lives last spring, but keeping the color on those panes has also been a positive prompt encouraging us to keep faith in spite of fear and that things will improve if we find ways to stay optimistic. It is in the light of last year that we can feel pride in our resourcefulness and gratitude for what we have accomplished and the continued blessings of our lives. So if you are feeling down or there is a darkness hanging over you, please know that there is light at the end of every tunnel and even the most stained of windows have the ability to let brightness shine in you.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Washing windows is a sad subject because washing windows makes me sad. Please don’t ask me to was these windows. 🙂

Luck is in the Eye of the Observer – March Positivity Challenge

Have you ever witnessed someone’s success and thought, “Man, that guy is so lucky!”?

As the college basketball season wraps up with the wonders of the national championship tournament, I am enthralled with the games and the amazing feats of the players on the court. All too often I take for granted that the men and women making those shots and executing impressive defenses worked countless hours and put in immeasurable efforts to be there.

I will sometimes find myself saying snarky things like, “Must be easy if you’re 7-feet tall to block that shot” or “Come on! You’re a Division I basketball player; make your free throws.” My jeers and cheers often fall short of the reality that those athletes are under a great deal of pressure, and my yoga-pant-wearing, couch-coaching isn’t providing any assistance or luck to anyone.

Luck is usually a trait that is determined by someone observing a situation. Yes, we can feel lucky because of a positive experience or encounter, but for the most part we consider ourselves to not be as “lucky” as everyone else because we always see someone else’s wishes coming true.

I am reminded of a my last basketball game in the 8th grade. My sister, whom I had always played with on the same team, was in the hospital recovering from a life-saving surgery, and our team and I were playing our arch rivals from Perryville. It was the consolation game of the end of season tournament, and I wanted nothing more than to win that game for my sister. The entire game was a close one. With 10 seconds left, we were tied. After I tied the game with a free throw, the other team was brining the ball down the court.

Their player, a girl who I seriously did not like, dribbled past our guards and stopped right in front of me. She shot. My finger tips grazed the ball.

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Make Things Go Right – Wise Words Wednesday

My spring anxiety has been full throttle lately, and after a super duper coffee date with my gal pal Erin, I don’t think I’m alone. She shared own version of the springtime stress out with me. Erin said she has also been feeling weighed down by a lot of stuff that she can’t control. We both were experiencing some crazy symptoms of stress. Have you been feel extra anxious or has your heart been beating faster lately or sleep been elusive?

If you answered, “yes,” to any of those, today’s post is for you.

“Being afraid of things going wrong isn’t the way to make things go right.”

Five months ago, you may remember that an election was held in our country. Prior to the election, tempers were flared and fear was prevalent in every aspect of our lives thanks to media coverage and unprecedented exposure to the candidates and their opinions. Unfortunately, the political circus left us all feeling like there were only two extreme options for leading our nation. Those drastic options caused most of us to believe, no matter who was elected, we would not be represented in the highest offices of our government. The new leadership has taken its place and the fears and uncertainty have morphed in new ways.

Here’s the beauty of todays’ message. We can’t let worry over what is going to go wrong consume us, because we can’t necessarily change the what-if’s. We can do our best to serve our nation in ways that are honest, right, and diligent. The concerns that we had before the election are things of the past, and we have the power now to move forward with our actions and intents. We have to elect to be rational, respectful, and responsible citizens and let those same attributes preside over our attitudes.

As the season is changing, so too should our outlook and the way we handle stresse caused by things out of our control.

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Don’t Let Me Run You Over – Tractors, Trust, & Stupid Turkeys

Any farmer worth their weight in salt keeps quality conditions for their animals in the forefront of their agrarian efforts. There is a lot that goes into protecting and maintaining the range houses for our turkeys. One of the stinkiest tasks is topping-out the buildings. This process entails driving through the building with a tractor and litter machine. The litter machine sifts through the sawdust shavings on the floor and separates out the waste. The waste that is removed from the buildings makes terrific fertilizer, as it is completely natural and environmentally friendly. Once all of the waste is removed, we add fresh sawdust using a spreader bed. This allows the building to stay drier and healthier.

My job in the process of topping-out buildings is to open and close the doors as Hubby drives the tractor in and out of the barn, and to walk in front of the tractor shooing the turkeys out of the way. It may sound easy, but it’s NOT!

On a recent topping-out experience, Hubby yelled at me, “Don’t let me run you over!”

Well, as a I love my husband very much, I was somewhat terrified that he believed I had the power to stop over three tons of tractor and litter machine while he was in the driver’s seat. I guess the fact that he was the driver should have instantly solidified my trust in the process, but I was still leery. To make things worse, turkeys are stupid birds.

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Up In Flames – Burning for Happiness

Burning rituals have been a part of society since civilizations first took shape. It seems that the act of allowing flames to consume things has healing properties. While the ceremonies of burning rituals do not all contain the same supply list or formal procedures, they all do have two things in common: fire and something to burn.

Valentine's burning ritual. #valentines | Friends season 1 episodes, Friends  season 1, Friends show

On a recent getaway with some of my gal pals, we lamented emotions and worries that were weighing heavily on us. As we sought respite in food, drinks, and re-runs of Friends, we were inspired (in part by Phoebe’s idea in “The One with the Candy Hearts”) to have our own burning ritual.

We would each write down the things that were weighing on us and then toss them in the fire. (Our rental cabin had the MOST amazing fireplace.) It took no time at all for each of us to jot down the issues we would like to see go up in flames. Before we decided to just willy-nilly toss our troubles into the fire, we thought it would be best to research burning rituals to see if there was anything that would increase the effectiveness of our sacrifice.

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