Security in Nature: As Guided by a 9 Year Old

I will be the first to admit that I often give the excuse that I am too busy to do what my kids want, especially when it involves going into the woods to see a “secret” fort, deer stand, or “special” rock. Not because I don’t like my children or am anti-nature, but I don’t always find joy in the trees or rocks that my darlings do and the matters in the house seem much more pressing. (The stick-tights and cockleburs are also on my list of unhappy things, and they are bad right now.)

This past weekend was no exception. I was not particularly excited about following my son down his “secret” path to see his “deer hunting” tree or his “special” hidden fort. Something told me that it meant more to him to share than it did for me to fold the laundry or finish the dishes. As he lead me into the woods, my 9-year-old chattered like a squirrel in a tree about the way he and his friends had discovered this place and how cool it was. His happy chatter was welcomed, as he has been in a bit of a funk lately unable to find kind words or pleasant things to say to his siblings or I.

When we arrived at the “deer hunting” tree, I saw a dead, dried up evergreen. What my son saw was an opportunity to sit up high, watching wildlife, with ample branches to share the spot with his friends as they “hunted” deer. I asked if the branches felt like they were going to break and he said, “No. They’re good. I know which ones I can stand and sit on.”

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll fall?” I asked.

“Nope. I’ll just catch another branch if I start to go down. There’s plenty in this tree.”

He was so secure in his answer I had to smile. As nimbly as a squirrel, my boy scampered down and said, “Come this way. Over here is my secret fort.”

Continue reading “Security in Nature: As Guided by a 9 Year Old”

November Positivity Challenge

We have arrived at the time of the year when giving thanks is officially the cool thing to do. There’s an entire holiday dedicated to the act of gratefulness. With the Thanksgiving spirit in mind, the Intentergy Positivity Challenge for November is to challenge yourself to 30 days of intentional thanksgiving.

My personal 30 Day Challenge is to write and send or deliver a thank you letter to someone each day in November. Keeping up with my tradition of card-making and lifting spirits with homemade greetings is something that brings great joy to my life and, hopefully, those that receive my cards.

If card-making isn’t your thing, consider sending Thank You texts or emails. You can also support local shops by purchasing cards to send to those for whom you are thankful.

Continue reading “November Positivity Challenge”

Harvesting Beliefs About Daylight Savings and Farmers: Cultivating Truths

Tonight, before going to bed, millions of Americans will turn their clocks back one hour to fall back from Daylight Saving Time (DST) to Standard Time.

Until recently, I believed Daylight Saving Time was created to benefit farmers. I also believed that DST began in October. I was wrong. It turns out I am not alone in my misconceptions.

I attempted an informal survey of local farmers and friends via text, Facebook, and Twitter. The survey included one question: “Yes or No – Do you believe daylight savings time is beneficial to farmers?”

In place of simple “Yes” or “No,” I received a myriad of responses about the value of farmers and the long hours they put in, commentary on challenges of farming while also working other jobs, and personal stories about impacts the time change made on farming experiences. (I was so very grateful for everyone’s responses but felt like I lit a fire in folks. That was not my intent. I just wanted to know how many believed the same thing I did.)

Most believe that Daylight Saving Time is intended to help farmers because they are the ones up before the sun and often working long into the night baling hay, caring for animals, and harvesting crops. My entire life I believed that I did not like Daylight Saving Time. The truth is that I do not like Standard Time and the practice of changing time.

The results of my informal (and completely non-political) survey reflected that most believed and felt the same.

Continue reading “Harvesting Beliefs About Daylight Savings and Farmers: Cultivating Truths”

Adventures with Atticus: A Horse of a Different Color

When Atticus came to us in July he was a light rusty color, but as winter approaches, he has become a horse of a different color. Not only has his winter coat added a deeper hue, but his mane has really grown out from its previous roaching, and Atticus looks like an equine rock star with his mohawk mane.

It seems the darker shade of his hair has also brought out a slightly more somber attitude in my sweet boy. After accompanying Hubby on a hunting trip in Colorado, Atticus came back without the willingness to ride. Of course, I was greatly concerned. Hubby told me that twice Atticus stopped when they were riding up the mountain and simply would not go. Hubby had to get off and lead him. (This defeated the purpose of taking a horse to the mountains and did not bode will with the hunting party.) When I attempted to ride him on the farm, Atticus calmly allowed me to groom and saddle him but would NOT budge once I was in the saddle.

Atticus checking Winn-Dixie out.

No amount of kissing, clicking, or kicking could get him to go. We even tried baiting him by separating him from his girlfriend Winn-Dixie. Atticus couldn’t have cared less that my daughter rode Winn-Dixie out of the corral and out of sight. I hopped off, did some ground work with him, jumped back on, and still no steps would he take. I led him to the top of the pasture meeting up with my patiently waiting daughter and Winn-Dixie. Back in the saddle I went, but nowhere was Atticus willing to walk. Eventually, we ponied him back to the corral with Winn-Dixie.

Continue reading “Adventures with Atticus: A Horse of a Different Color”

Step Up Your Jump

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.)

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The Leaves of Change – Monthly Positivity Challenge

Season of Change 1

While the leaves of fall turn their colors naturally, change does not come so easily to rest of the world.

For this month’s positivity challenge, I want you to consider one change that may allow you to enter into a new season of beauty in your life.

A season of beauty doesn’t necessarily have to do with changing your physical self. It can include changes in faith, patience, humility, acceptance, or simplicity. Choose to do something that brings a more beautiful light or outlook to your existence. Brighten your daily encounters with a more hopeful view or a greater appreciate for the diversity that you experience in others.

Some simple but significant changes to consider for your spiritual or emotional self include:

  • Practice quiet meditation for 5 minutes each day; select a mantra that will bring about the change you seek, such as “I appreciate the good in others,” “My time is a gift and valuable to myself and those whom I share it with,” “Peace begins within me, let that peace find me here.”
  • Smile, greet, or politely acknowledge all you meet, especially those who you don’t normally pay attention
  • Compliment others on jobs well done or their appearance; make note of it
  • Be conscious of the words you use when speaking to your family, spouse, or coworkers; keep a log or jar of unkind or impatient words. Making note of the not-so-nice things we say forces us to select less “noteworthy” negativity when we speak.
  • Schedule time for things that will reduce futures stress:
    • pick out your clothes the night before
    • make a grocery list before going to the store and stick to it
    • make a budget and stick to it
    • plan a game night or movie night with your loved ones
    • share your schedule with your spouse or significant other
    • clean as you cook allow yourself to enjoy time with your family after dinner
    • fold each load of laundry after taking it out of the dryer (this way you don’t have mountains of laundry to fold later)
  • Pick up trash or use recycling bins, even if the refuse isn’t yours
  • Reduce time spent on social media
  • Increase time telling stories or sharing memories with friends and family
  • Clean out cluttered drawers
  • De-clutter your desk
  • Clean out your car
  • Say an extra prayer each day for someone or something other than yourself
  • Keep a journal of positive things or share one positive experience from the day with your family members each night

Season of Change 3We can’t consider change without including a few healthy, physical progressions. With physical change, gradual will get the job done most every time.

Continue reading “The Leaves of Change – Monthly Positivity Challenge”

Trying to Paleo My Pancakes

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes 4

Some of my friends have made positive and serious dieting choices in order to improve their health and live a more wholesome lifestyle. I will be the first to admit that I am intimidated by their diets. These ladies are so careful and mindful of the food they put into their bodies; I feel like an elephant trampling through our get-togethers with my chocolate, sugar, and wheat-filled foods. (I don’t have chocolate, sugar, and wheat in EVERYTHING, but I do like them A LOT.)

Last weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to have an overnight girls’ getaway. Woohoo…

That was until I started to think about what food I should bring. What if I brought something someone is allergic to or something that they had spent the last 10 months avoiding??? What was I going to do?

I did what any modern age, intelligent woman would do… I found recipes on Pinterest.

All four of us really like breakfast and we all LOVE pumpkin. I found a recipe for Paleo Pumkin Pancakes. It was super exciting because the recipe only called for five ingredients, and I had all five on hand.

(Link to the Paleo Pumpkin Pancake recipe)

As my nervousness over meeting everyone’s dietary needs continued, I shared the recipe in a group message. My friends all said the pancakes looked “perfect,” so I planned to make Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes. What could go wrong?

Continue reading “Trying to Paleo My Pancakes”

Sometimes the Answer is “No.”

Sometimes the Answer is No

Monday the electric company cut down our pear tree.

It was not just any pear tree.

My babies and my nieces and nephews all ate canned pears from that tree when they were too young to eat the fresh pears. It was our safe spot in case of fire or evacuation when we lived in the old farm house. Countless pears from that tree were given as gifts to friends and neighbors. For 6 six years, Peters’ Pears were delivered for Letter “P” Show-and-Share Day at Miss Kim’s daycare. That tree was the first place we let our kids go to “alone” after we built our new house. (It is just up the driveway, but far enough away to feel like freedom.) When my children came home after a stressful day at school, I would often let them take a break to pick pears and de-stress as they ate the fresh fruit and walked the distance to and from that fruit-filled tree. Watching deer eat the fallen pears was always a fun pastime.

The only downfall to that tree was it stood 13 feet from the power line and the required distance was 15 feet. Even though it has never grown (and probably would never grow) tall enough to touch the lines, those two feet cost us our tree. Continue reading “Sometimes the Answer is “No.””

What’s That in Your Persimmon?

Persimmons (2)

Wives’ tales are one of my favorite meteorological practices. I love the idea of watching for woolly worms’ colors and seeing how much rain falls in the first seven days of a year to predict the potential forecasts for the upcoming seasons. Persimmons also hold a tell tale story in their seeds.

Each fall my kids and I trek across our farm to the various persimmon trees that line our pastures. By this time of October they don’t have many leaves left and their peachy-colored fruits are the only sign of life on the trees. Taking turns, I lift my kiddos up to pick a few fruits from each tree. When we have had our fill of persimmon picking, we rush back to the house to split open their seeds.

Last fall’s findings were a little unclear. The shapes in the centers of the seeds weren’t very distinct. We found some knives with a few forkly shapes. As last winter was a mild one, with a few icy patches, those indecisive centers were a pretty accurate reflection of what the weather was to bring.

Persimmons (1)There were no ambiguous shapes this year. This season we found spoons in the center of every seed.

So what do the clear cut spoons mean for this year? Well, according the wives’ tale, we will be digging ourselves out of snow this winter. This prediction thrilled my children.

While the idea of piles of snow may not please you, I hope you will take time to enjoy activities like persimmon picking with your family. It is a great way to get outside, make memories, and use imagination. Put some energy this week into enjoying time together and maybe telling some wives’ tales of your own.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a licensed meteorologist, so if you do not like this forecast, blame it on the persimmons.

I Love Pumpkin Guts

pumpkin guts (5)

I love pumpkin guts! I love how they feel, how they smell, the seeds that we pull out of them, and the jack-o-lanterns that take form after they are removed. I love pumpkin guts.

In 2016 almost 150 million Americans said carving pumpkins was a part of their Halloween plans. That makes for A LOT of pumpkin gut removal.

pumpkin guts (4)While many find the slimy, sticky, and stringy gourd guts to be gross, there are plenty of people out there that enjoy the icky investigation for seeds.

The scraping of the sides can be a stress reliever. When you have your big bowl of pumpkin guts staring you in the face, you can say, “Wow! I cleaned all of those out!” 

Once the insides are removed, creating spooky, silly, and sometimes unrecognizable shapes is what turns jack-o-lanterns into joy. Roasting the separated seeds is always a fun and a pretty healthy snack. My kids think the roasted, salty seeds taste like popcorn and those toasted kernels don’t last long at our house. Continue reading “I Love Pumpkin Guts”