What Color Are Your Pancakes?

Blue Pancakes (6)

Blue pancakes are the usual in our household (when we have pancakes). I usually like to keep my breakfast dates with friends (when I can schedule breakfast dates). This past week my friend Erin and I had a breakfast date planned, but my sitter situation became bleak. I offered to make breakfast at my home (if Erin didn’t mind the three-ring circus running around while we visited). She was cool with hanging out at my house so we kept our date.

Blue Pancakes (7)As I was whipping up the pancakes, my youngest son asked if the pancakes would be blue. My daughter soon chimed in that she really wanted blue pancakes too (after all our pancakes are usually blue). I wasn’t sure how Erin would react to blue pancakes, so I left half the batch plain and the other half was blue. When Erin arrived, the kids stampeded to let her in and were in full three-ring circus mode. It seemed only right that there were blue pancakes.

In true awesome Erin fashion, she said, “I’m down with blue pancakes,” and happily ate blue and plain colored flapjacks with my family.

What color are your pancakes? Do you have a special breakfast tradition in your household?

As we begin the season of holiday feasting, think about the traditions that been upheld by your loved ones. My mom’s side of the family has had chicken and dumplings at every family function since time began (that maybe a bit of an exaggeration); it just isn’t a Frank family holiday without chicken and dumplings.

Is there something special your family will eat that is a unique tradition this Thanksgiving?

Traditions, such as blue pancakes and chicken and dumplings, make special days “special.” My hope for you is that you are able to remember and (if you can) enjoy the food feasts that make family “family” this holiday season. Be sure to share your traditions with friends and tell the stories of your childhood to your kiddos. Savor the meals and memories that have made you who you are and be grateful for the events that enriched those memories.

Remember not everyone has “picture perfect” holiday plans. Be considerate and kind (and inviting, if you can) to those who have less to be thankful for.  Make your newest tasty tradition be one that dishes out meaningful memories for yourself and all those for whom you love. Who knows, maybe blue pancakes will be your new Thanksgiving brunch or chicken and dumplings your new tradition of choice. Whatever it is you serve, whether it be food or memories, make them positive and full of energy that inspires grateful intent.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If you are making blue pancakes. you will need to pick up some blue food coloring.

Blue Pancakes (1)

 

 

 

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Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too

Don't Worry...they are struggling too

“I don’t care what they think.”

“Who do they think they are? Judging me?”

“Seriously, why do they think they are better than me?”

How often do we find ourselves making these snarky statements?

Our rhetoric for these loaded comments usually shows itself when we feel like someone does not like us or something we do. We immediately go on the defensive and throw down the I-don’t-care-what-you-think-of-me jargon, but inside we are battling the why-don’t-they-like-me fight.

Some of the snarkiest people I have ever met are also some of the most insecure individuals I have known. To inflate their self-perception, they preach a degrading dialogue about anyone they think they bring down. The problem with this kind of judging is that the hurtful words usually become flames in the fire of burning bridges for future friendships and work experiences.

Let me give you a for instance: When I was in college I worked for an entertainment retailer. My job included working in the book department, the cafe, and training new employees. I loved that job. There was one associate, who we will call Adam. Adam did a nice job on register and worked well with customers on the floor. He eventually made it to the ranks of shift manager. After becoming a shift manager, for whatever reason, Adam gradually became unhappy with the company. He put in his two weeks notice. One night while closing the store, I overheard him tell another associate that he never comes to work for his last day at any job. Well, I knew what was coming and planned to come in the day of his last shift. We were going to be short a manager. Continue reading “Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too”

Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday

Don't Knock Jokes

Teaching the art of joke-telling is a healthy and happy way to develop communication skills.

Every week I share a joke with the 1st and 2nd graders at our school library.  The students keep a journal of the jokes and their answers. I also always invite the students to share jokes of their own.

The 2nd grade teacher recently thanked me for getting the kids excited about reading, in particular for their excitement about reading joke and riddle books. She said, “They just can’t get enough jokes or joke books. It’s fun to see them laugh and try to tell the jokes.” It is great to see my silly habit of sharing jokes is contagious.

When kids tell jokes, they are able to laugh at themselves and their message. Too often kids are hounded with seriousness. If we can use humor to educate and provide experience, we can inspire happier learners.

I have given speeches and had opportunities to be a public speaker for most of my life. When I started public speaking in 5th or 6th grade, I learned that the best trick for breaking the ice was to tell a joke first.

  • If you can tell a joke, and tell it well, you can speak to anyone.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, you can communicate a message.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, AND make your audience laugh when you want them to, you can communicate anything.

Continue reading “Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday”

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”

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”

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”

The Gift of Giving

 

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After reading You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, I was inspired to read other publications Jen recommended in her book. Cami Walker’s 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life was one of the books recommended by Sincero. In her book Walker tells the story of how a prescription of intentional giving and journaling has helped her battle the pain and hindrances caused by her multiple sclerosis. It is a powerful story and really propelled me toward a stronger giving purpose.

Taking the 29 Gifts Challenge was a positively impactful experience. For 29 days I intentionally gave gifts and journaled about my giving. The act of giving and reflecting on the impacts made through giving made my life more meaningful.

Excitedly I joined the 29 Gifts Community at http://www.29gifts.org and began to follow Cami Walker and the 29 Gifts page on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/29Gifts/. Both of these connections inspired me as I saw that there were many others who had taken the 29 Gifts Challenge and were motivated by the book’s message. Continue reading “The Gift of Giving”

Kindness Speaks Loudly and is Seen by All – Wise Words Wednesday

The Language of Kindness

Often we don’t notice what others are doing unless it is out of the ordinary. Kind acts aren’t out of the norm for many of us, but they are definitely something that makes us stop, watch, and listen. Kindness communicates beyond words.

Earlier this week I wrote about digging for the gold in others. Finding value in each person makes our days richer and brighter. Adding kindness to our gold diggery enhances the quality of our lives. Digging for the gold in others unfortunately is not something we do all the time. Hopefully we can all start to look and listen for the “golden” traits in those around us.

The Intentergy Challenge for today is to break away from the norm and commit acts of kindness that speak beyond words. Seek past your regular routine to make a positive impact on the life or lives of those around you. Hear cries for help or love that you don’t normally hear and answer them with compassion and understanding.

Check out April Positivity Challenge for 36 ideas on carrying out random acts of kindness.

While we cannot always see the hurt or troubles in the lives of others. We can see the impacts kindness makes. While we don’t always have the right words, our compassion and positive energy echo loudly with love and appreciation.

Humankind = Be Both

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Being kind is cool. Let’s get everyone to jump on that bandwagon.