Turning Things Around?

When poults (baby turkeys) arrive on our farm, they are less than 24 hours old. They are cute, hungry, thirsty, and not very smart. In addition, they are top heavy thanks to their full yolk sacs and skinny legs. For about the first 7 days of their lives, it is not uncommon for them to spend a great deal of time flipped onto their backs, kicking their spindly, little legs like crazy, and looking up instead of ahead.

Appropriately, we, in the turkey industry, call the flipped-over poults, “flippers.”

A flock with a lot of “flippers” takes more time to care for because we spend so much time walking through the range house setting the spinning birds right-side up. Often they flip back over or a stampede of other poults pushes them prone again, but we still work to set them all in the right direction.

I feel like many of us are “flippers” in our lives because we allow the weight of our overthinking and worry to upend our outlooks or the pressure of trying to go with the flock to capsize our cause. Just like the extra time it takes to care for a building full of “flippers,” we are too panicked about our problems and freaking out instead of finding ways to fix them. We spend too much time failing to find the solution to turning things around in our lives.

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Jane Jetson Aspirations

It is the year 2022, and I aspire to be Jane Jetson 40 years in advance. I say 40 years in advance because The Jetsons portrayed society in the year 2062. My aspirations to be Jane Jetson most likely stem from laziness or exhaustion (not sure which), but I can tell you that my robot vacuum lacks the personality of Rosie Jetson and my wardrobe has far fewer digital options than Jane’s.

I can only imagine what it would be like to press a button and a fully fresh face and hair style would materialize. Forget the frustration of not having anything to wear, I could just step into my holographic closet apparatus and create my perfect look by swiping through the digital designs. My dishes would wash themselves, food prepare itself, and the laundry would wash, dry, and fold all on its own. It would be magical.

Maybe it’s her cool triangle-shaped collar, or her ability to juggle all the galactic challenges of being a woman of the future, but I know that I would love to put myself in her spacetastic shoes. Clearly, Jane is a woman who knows how to handle her bumbling husband, reign in her teenage daughter, keep her brilliant son from getting too big for his britches, and maintain a social life and philanthropic endeavors through her work with the Skypad Apartments’ recycling company and Galaxy Women Historical Society. Who wouldn’t want to be like Jane Jetson?

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It’s Okay if Things Go “Sploosh”

Sometimes I find myself consumed with what-ifs. So consumed in fact, that my thoughts have no where to go but straight to panic mode. As I planned for a recent girls weekend, (one that my worry-logged nerves desperately needed) I asked Hubby to help me with getting a load of firewood. My gal pals and I were staying at a secluded cabin, complete with wood-burning fireplace, and the weatherforecast was calling for snow.

After some impressive chainsaw brandishing, Hubby and I had filled a tractor bucket full of logs. When I told my loving lumberjack that I would stack the logs on the flatbed to drive to the cabin, he told me not to worry. He would simply dump the wood right on the truck, and it would be ready to go. Immediately, my internal anxiety alarms started sounding in my head. He asked if I was okay with that plan. I told him all I could picture in my mind were the logs going “sploosh” as he put them on the truck or flying off as we drove down the highway. He firmly but lovingly put his hands on my shoulders and said, “It’s okay if things go ‘sploosh’ sometimes.”

With that statement my tears wanted to splash but, instead, I found a giggle for his use of “sploosh.”

I knew he was right and maybe, just maybe, if I could get over my fear of the potential “splooshes” in life, I could get past the nervousness that has been nagging at me so heavily lately.

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Breaking News: Plane Lands Safely

In the last few weeks, I’ve had two friends going through a tough time with their kiddos and school. So tough, in fact, that both transferred to a different school. When my gal pal, Cindy, reached out to let me know of their decision, I shot a quick text to our friend Lisa letting her know we are here if she or her kiddos need us. Change is hard, but leaving one negative situation to face a new, overwhelming one can be a lot to take. I didn’t want them to feel like they were alone. After sending love, support, and humor in our texts, Lisa thanked me for reaching out to her. I told her to not spread the news of my goodness; I didn’t want people to think I had gone soft. She sent back, “Ha!! Good news doesn’t seem to travel as fast as bad news, so your secret’s probably safe for a little while. LOL”

It made me sad to think about the snail-mail pace of positive reports and a story that had come across the morning news reaffirming this depressing dispatch. Lisa’s situation and the CBS Morning News inspired me to put some Intentergy into broadcasting some cheerful correspondence.

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Reasons to Get Out of Bed

The alarm clock ringing might be the #1 reason people give for getting out of bed, but it’s not that ring, ring, ring that really calls us to rise. My alarm clock is working fine, but I’ve been struggling with motivation to get moving in the morning.

It’s not just that it’s winter, and I want to hibernate, but that I really haven’t felt successful or inspired as of late.

I know I’m not alone, if you are feeling like there’s not enough good reasons to get going in the morning, check out my recent telephone conversation and how it helped with my dragging drive.

I called for tech support as I was working on the cataloging system for our elementary school library. We are relatively new to using this cataloging system, and this was not my first tech call. I had already spoken to Keith, the company representative, in the past. Keith is in Canada. I am in Central Missouri. When Keith takes my call, I always ask how things are in Canada, and he kindly tells me about the weather there. As we waited for the computer system to reboot my account, I asked Keith how many tech support calls he answers on average each day. He said, no one had ever asked him before, but, ironically, it was just discussed at a recent meeting. Keith said his average daily call count was 12.

Because I know that my past calls have all lasted between 30 minutes and 90 minutes, I thanked Keith for his time and his assistance. He laughed and told me that most people probably wouldn’t think of what he does as valuable. I pointed out that his service calls help me to provide library resources to over 130 students and faculty. While my school is a small one, I know he assists large colleges, universities, churches, and high schools; all with patrons in the thousands. I happily went on telling him that his 12 calls a day help thousands of people with their writing, reading, and research. He has a tremendous ripple effect on the success of all those patrons, and that’s a great reason to get out of bed every day.

Keith didn’t speak for a few moments. Actually, I was afraid he hung up on me or lost connection. When he did speak, the sincerity in his voice was so sweet. After saying, “Thank you,” Keith told me that it had never occurred to him to value his position in such a positive way. It made my day to know that I had brightened his.

After hanging up with Keith, my library software was working, and my mojo was much improved.

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Biblical Surprise – Wise Words Wednesday

Fifth Grade homework can be tough. Last week my son’s computer teacher assigned an “About Me” Google Slides presentation. Each slide had a theme and criteria for creation. Of course, there were the “My Family” and “Favorite Hobby” slides, but the one slide that stuck out to me on the rubric was, “Favorite Scripture Verse.”

While this is my son’s sixth year attending a Catholic school, and we attend church every week, I wasn’t sure my son knew any particular Bible verse, much less which is his favorite.

While making dinner, switching laundry, and helping with other homework, I left him to work on the presentation, and waited for his cry for help.

As expected, his call for “Mom” rang out when he hit the scripture slide. His plea was followed by a demanding, “I need the Bible.” (Insert sarcastic Mom statement about needing more than just the Bible in his life, followed by son’s annoyed eye roll.)

After taking a deep breath and mentally preparing for a meltdown, I asked if he knew any Bible verses that he liked.

To my Biblical surprise, he responded with, “Duh, Mom, I know it’s in Exodus; I just don’t know the exact number.”

Exodus?!? That seemed like an unusual place to select a favorite verse, but who am I to question divine inspiration.

My 10-year-old proceeded to tell me that his favorite verse is when Moses parted the sea allowing the Israelites to flee Egypt unharmed. This is a very powerful scene, but I wasn’t sure what made it inspiring to him. At the risk of being slaughtered by yet another violent eye roll, I asked what it was about the parting of the sea that stood out.

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Walls or Bridges? – Wise Words Wednesday

As I listen to my children bicker and fight over a kickball game in our basement, I am frustrated by the unkind words they use and the mean way they pick apart one another’s attempts to kick, run, and throw. It hurts me to hear them use such forceful language when it’s supposed to be a fun game.

What I have to remind myself is that their play is a way to learn the basics of the game, how to handle conflict, and ways to work with others while being competitive. Those viscous kickball games are growing opportunities for turning thrown stones into bridges for better play and successful communication in the future. (That doesn’t make their taunting any easier to hear though.)

Unfortunately, my kiddos’ emotional “rock collecting” has not been limited to the jabs and insults of their siblings. My children (like all kids) have come home with hurt in their eyes and frustration in their hearts from things said and done at school and sports practices. Seeing my kids hurt by the words and actions of others is probably the hardest part of being a parent. These challenges have forced me to dig deep into my repertoire of comfort and advice, but also add to the School of Hard Knocks’ curriculum as my children earn their diplomas in adolescence.

“When people throw rocks, you can either build walls or bridges.
Be a bridge builder”
– Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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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.
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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.

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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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