20 Books of Summer +1 #20BooksofSummer2021

Thanks to Cathy at https://746books.com/2021/06/01/its-20-books-of-summer-time/ for sharing the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again!!! Yay summer reading!

During the summer of 2020, I participated in Cathy’s #20booksofsummer2020 and I LOVED it!

I enjoyed reading my choices and the posts of others readers as they shared their summer read picks. It made a season of quarantine feel like it a had some sense of community.

For Summer 2021, I am eager to dive into my summer reads, but I’m going to challenge myself to 21 reads before September 1st! #20booksofsummer2021 +1.

As the volunteer librarian at my children’s school, I host a reading club each year, and I always try to include the books in contention for the Mark Twain Award. There at 12 books nominated each year, and I have yet to be disappointed whenever I read those nominated. Students love them and often make informal waiting lists on my library desk for the Mark Twain Award titles. These 12 titles will definitely make up part of my 21 reads this summer, so I thought I would kick the list off with the nominees.

Shine!
Summer Read #1: Mark Twain Award Nominee #1: Shine by J.J. and Chris Grabenstein
Pay Attention, Carter Jones
Summer Read #2: Mark Twain Award Nominee #2: Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt
The Bridge Home
Summer Read #3: Mark Twain Award Nominee #3: The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
New Kid (New Kid, #1)
Summer Read #4: Mark Twain Award Nominee #4: New Kid by Jerry Craft
Song for a Whale
Summer Read #5: Mark Twain Award Nominee #5: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Shouting at the Rain
Summer Read #6: Mark Twain Award Nominee #6: Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (Charlie Thorne #1)
Summer Read #7: Mark Twain Award Nominee #7: Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse
Summer Read #8: Mark Twain Award Nominee #8: Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen
Summer Read #9: Mark Twain Award Nominee #9: Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz
The Memory Keeper
Summer Read #10: Mark Twain Award Nominee #10: The Memory Keeper by Jennifer Camiccia
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA
Summer Read #11: Mark Twain Award Nominee #11: The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Benda Woods
White Bird: A Wonder Story
Summer Read #12: Mark Twain Award Nominee #12: White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio

M.C. Higgins, the Great
Summer Read #13: M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton is a book I often recommend to students in the library, but it’s beena while since I read it the first time and want to revisit this amazing story.
Continue reading “20 Books of Summer +1 #20BooksofSummer2021”

Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???

There has not been a lack of positive stuff going on in my life, and I definitely have plenty to say but finding the right words and positive stories to share has been tough lately. I’m not sure where my writing inspiration has gone, but I think it has something to do with my inability to keep up with all the craziness around me. Lacking a routine has caused a shortage of concentration when I sit down to type.

So I thought I would share a few cool insights from the last few weeks.

When your washing machine breaks, there are two things that make it all better. 1. A mom that shares her washer with you and even takes time to dry and fold the clothes. 2. A local handyman named Joe with a terrific sense of humor and just enough sass to make you feel like you actually helped when in reality he was the one who did all the hard stuff.

When your son is too excited to change out of his school uniform because he wants to get going on vacation, let him wear the uniform. It pays to have a hoodie on him when it is unexpectedly cold on your trip.

Leaving immediately after your kids get out school for a 14-hour vacation drive is stressful but forces you to get into a summer-vacation frame of mind.

When your friend wants an authentic Florida palm tree, and she tries to convince the slightly tipsy men in your party to dig one up with a plastic beach shovel, go ahead and agree to drive them in the golf cart after dark. It makes a for a great story later. P.S. Tell the quizzical passers-by that your friends are considering buying the vacant lot and “There is nothing to see here” ( do not mention their attempts to uproot a palm tree with a plastic shovel). The passers-by will look at you incredulously and slowly walk away. Their reactions will cause severe distress as you try to hold in laughter and your friends to fall over themselves to avoid being seen.

Continue reading “Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???”

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.

Continue reading “Herding Turkeys… : An Emotional Chore”

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’?”

Continue reading “Don’t Call Me “Mom””

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.

Continue reading “Make Things Go Right – Wise Words Wednesday”

Committing to a Vacation…A Good Kind of Scare

Who doesn’t need or want a vacation?

After the last 12 months of COVID crisis, presidential and political craziness, and wacked out weather, I am certain we all deserve a vacation.

So, why is it so hard to commit to a vacation?

For me there are three major factors.
1. Cost
2. Commitment phobia
3. I have too much to do.

All of which are bologna.

1. Taking a break or getting away does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

2. Committing to do something makes it that much more valuable.

3. What am I gonna do with all my to-do’s if I don’t take a break before I have a breakdown?

For others, fear of committing to a vacation is based on things to actually be afraid of such as: medical conditions, occupational duties, pets, hurricanes, and pandemics. With awareness of the need for concern, we also have to acknowledge the need to take a break when we can.

Continue reading “Committing to a Vacation…A Good Kind of Scare”

Who Do You Think of When You Mop?

Who do you think of when you mop?

This may seem like an unusual question, but in the grand scheme of things there isn’t a chore or task that we don’t relate with someone else. While I mop, I am usually mentally cussing my family for being so messy, but before the floor is dry I almost always think of Mary Scott.

Who is Mary Scott?

Well, Mary was a shift manager at the Dairy Queen where I worked as a teenager.

Mary was a tough manager because she did not appreciate horseplay, slacking off, or sneaking bites of cookie dough toppings that weren’t paid for. She appreciated a job well done and sought to provide quality customer service to each customer that came through the door. She also really liked making the Blizzards thick enough to turn upside down each time one was ordered.

Many of my co-workers did not like the job of cleaning the dinning room at the end of the night. I didn’t mind it because it was easier to get clean than the hamburger grease in the kitchen. Sweeping, wiping down tables and doors, bathroom supply checks, and mopping the floor were easy enough tasks to get done so I could get out of there at the end of my shift. One night, Mary watched me mop around the last tables and the floor in front of the soda fountains. I asked if everything was okay. She smiled and said she really liked when I or my sister closed the front because it would be done right. “You girls know how to work. That’s for sure,” she added.

I don’t know why her words have stuck with me, but each time I lug a mop and bucket to clean a floor, I remember the pride I felt in her compliment. Her words also inspired me to always do the best job I could. I wanted to be the person who did a job right. Sometimes I was tempted to cut corners in my cleaning, like my colleagues having water fights in the back, but Mary’s words always caused me to be someone she could count on.

Continue reading “Who Do You Think of When You Mop?”

A Month of Observance: February Positivity Challenge

Every month has a special focus thanks to the practices of commercialism, philanthropy, and celebrating holidays. When I started to think about this month’s Positivity Challenge, I checked out the national observations for the month of February to hone my focus.

Well, the list of national observances did NOT assist my focus. In fact, it caused even greater indecisiveness.

So I decided the Intentergy February Positivity Challenge is to make February a month of observance for something that we don’t normally give our focus. After all, putting positive purpose towards recognizing something new or impactful is definitely a great way to make use of our energy and intents.

For example, I do like to sew, but never considered giving National Embroidery Month a stitch of consideration.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

I am the volunteer Library Lady at my kids’ school, and, tragically, I have never shouted that it’s National Library Lover’s Month from the roof tops. (I LOVE the library! What is wrong with me?)

We feed thousands of birds a day on our farm, but National Bird Feeding Month has never been a holiday that I dedicated my efforts. I need to give that one some thought.

How have I never paid homage to Great American Pies Month or National Bake for Family Fun Month!?!
We LOVE pies and baking in my house!

Monthly Observances

There are many social and emotional causes that deserve our attention this month as well. Consider doing something to assist the American Heart Association for Heart Month or join in a discussion or celebration for Black History Month. Serving up some healthy and warm morning meals is a terrific way to recognize National Hot Breakfast Month for those who don’t normally get a hot meal or as a way to bond with your loved ones.

Canned Food Month is a great cause to encourage the donation of canned foods to local pantries and organizations. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month calls all of us to bring awareness to what healthy and loving relationships look like for individuals of all ages.

National Self-Check Month provides added purpose for carrying out self-checks to find potential health problems and awareness to our bodies. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention.

Whatever focus you chose to bring to February, make it one that you observe with sincerity, integrity, and dedication. Be sure to share your intents with others adding positive energy to your efforts and encouraging them to join you as you make this month one that has meaning.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. My personal February Intenergy probably won’t involve embroidery, but will definitely include some hot, heart-healthy breakfasts and some serious discussions with my family about healthy relationships and habits. Our kids are never too young to learn about love, healthy self-consciousness, and ways to grow.

Join me for Bloggers BeLOnG
Monday, February 8, 2021 6:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. CST
Register for this free blogging sessions at
https://mrrl.org/event/bloggers-belong-virtual-3