Whatever Field You’re In – Thoughts from “Farm, Family, and ME!” Summit for Women

As I waited for the opening session of the 2019 Farm, Family, and ME! Summit for Women, I enjoyed being a fly on the wall. I knew no one there. The room filled; the noise level rose, and various conversations began to flow. As with most conferences, the individual participants had their own motivations for being there, but each was there for one reason. They were there to grow in the field of agriculture.

With each introduction, I was pleased to learn my new acquaintance’s name and what branch of farming they represented. Many were there with backgrounds in cattle, hogs, and row cropping. Others represented agri-tourism, sustainable, organic farming, and accounting and farm investment firms. (I was the only turkey farmer.)

The pride each woman showed for her role in the world of agriculture added to my own joy in having grown up and now seeing my own family raised on a farm. The hard work, dirty jobs, and relentless demands of livestock and crops all seemed to be fodder for the flames that grew with each presentation and sharing of information.

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Me enjoying some Missouri-made wine

While this conference was intended to create networking and educational opportunities, it had a feel of an agricultural retreat. The breakout sessions, locally sourced meals,  Missouri-made wines, and positive ideas and options for female farmers were highly therapeutic and invigorating. I definitely left there with a renewed sense of purpose and a brighter view of what I wanted my role in our family farm to be.

Having Marji Guyler-Alaniz, host of FarmHer television, as the opening speaker elevated us to rural rock star status. But before Marji even took the stage, Missouri’s first lady Teresa Parson made a cameo appearance and took the opportunity to meet many of us, asking where we were from and about our farms, and then spoke on the importance of agriculture for our state. She was positive, professional, and approachable. A perfect tone-setter for the summit.

summit-3.jpgThe motivation and story about how FarmHer came to be was one that resonated because of its non-traditional roots and the earnest desire to give the female farmer a voice in our nation’s most necessary industry. With her statistics and experiences, it was impossible to ignore the message being shared by Marji. (I was already a fan of the show, but now my DVR is set to record every episode.) Continue reading “Whatever Field You’re In – Thoughts from “Farm, Family, and ME!” Summit for Women”

Mess Magic

The Magic Mess

Who feels like they are in the midst of a mess right now? A holiday recovery, end-of-year, I-ate-too-many-desserts, what’s-with-this-weather mess?

The holiday meltdown isn’t just for snow, fudge, and small children. We all have the right and inclination to collapse into the most cataclysmic of chaotic mindsets this time of year.

Here’s the good news… the magic is in the mess.

With the heaviest of holiday heaps coming on, eating Dove chocolate is still one of my favorite therapies. As I frantically re-created a lost answer key for my COM 111 final, ithe shiny wrapper of a caramel-filled chocolate provided this golden nugget of peace… the magic is in the mess.

I almost wept at these words. How did that little chocolate know I needed to that mantra in my life?

This morning, as my children are sleeping in, hubby is on the farm, and the end-of-year book work stares me down, I can’t help but hope that this magic mess mantra could become a part of my daily routine.

Why can’t it?

On any given day of any given year, a magician can pull a rabbit from a hat, find the exact card the lovely assistant chose, or a quarter from the unsuspecting ear of a child.

How do they do it? Continue reading “Mess Magic”

I Miss Jack Buck

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The iconic voice of St. Louis Cardinals’ announcer Jack Buck was as ingrained in my childhood as climbing trees, jumping rope, and crickets serenading the stars.

With limited access to televised games and no Sports Center, the only way we knew what the St. Louis Cardinals were doing was through the play-by-play of Jack Buck.

Whether we were in the milk barn, the car, or the kitchen, Mr. Buck brought us the sights and sounds of the game. He knew the players, the fields, the umpires. Jack’s words struck us with clarity as he announced each pitch, hit, steal, and out. We always knew what jersey the teams wore or who took a daring lead from any base.

One of the things that allowed me to connect with Jack Buck was that he never veered from the game.

Yes, he did the obligatory commercials and sponsor plugs, and he kept us entertained with his stories during rain delays and pitching changes, but he never took us far from the game at hand. Too often when we listen to the game today it takes an end of an inning to get the announcers to tell the score or acknowledge the players on the field in front of them.

Jack Buck was also a man of great passion and integrity. He promoted decency and dedication, education, and patriotism.

Before America could return to normalcy after the 9/11 attacks, it took teams returning to the baseball diamond for the world to feel like it had begun to spin again. Before the first pitch of the game at Busch Stadium on September 17, 2001, Jack Buck invited America to join in solidarity showing that we were a nation that was not afraid. We needed to continue to come together in competition and in solidarity for our nation. I was touched by Jack Buck’s words, but I was moved by his emotion. How could you not?

While 17 years have gone since his passing, his home-run calls and special conveyance of the game are missed (at least in my mind). Today the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League Central Division for the first time since 2015. It was exciting to see the players pose on the pitcher’s mound and watch the champagne showers in the locker room, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the call would have sounded like as the last out was made (a Cub’s out, no less) if Jack Buck had made the call.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Please share your thoughts on the late, great Jack Buck. A lot of us miss him.

Talents and Skills – Light Required

Light Required

“Talents and skills are like any other living thing – they can’t grow in the dark.” – Rachel Hollis

Recently, my daughter discovered vaulting at horseback riding camp. If you look up the definition of vaulting on a horse, it is something like “gymnastics and dance on horseback.” (A terrifying sport for the parents of ambitious, fearless, young equestrians to watch.) 

Due to our already overloaded schedule, we told her that adding vaulting lessons to her extracurricular activities was not an option.

She raged at us saying, “You mean there is a sport I really want to try, and you won’t let me?”

Hubby and I responded in unison, “Yes!”

She stormed off to her room and cried the tears of a desperate adolescent.

As I listened for the storm to subside, I had to think of a way to assuage her disappointment and remind her that the word “No” is a part of life and remind her that she already had A LOT of things she is good at and enjoys.

When I felt it was safe to enter her room, I reminded her of when she decided that gymnastics was the ONLY sport that would perpetuate her existence.

Hubby and I rejected her initial pleas to take lessons, but after she spent months (and I mean like 18 months) watching videos, practicing with her cousins, and teaching herself techniques and stunts in the backyard and basement, we saw it was something she was truly dedicated to and good at. Once she had shed light on her talent and allowed it to grow, it was clear that there was something there and now she rocks at all of her gymnastics classes, performances, and meets.

I told her, if she felt vaulting was something she really wanted to try, she needed to educate herself and work with our horse at home on the basics. The only way to see if she really likes it is to shine time and effort on it. She saw what I was saying and the situation became much brighter.

“Talents and skills are like any other living thing – they can’t grow in the dark.” – Rachel Hollis

If there is something you are considering starting or have an interest that you believe would make your life more complete, I challenge you to shed some light on it. Hiding it in the recesses of your heart or behind excuses is no way to develop into the person you want to be. The only way you can improve is to shine some time and energy on it. (This is sage advice from the parent of a desperate adolescent.) 

Put your Intentergy into lighting up your passions and radiating in the success of your skills and talents. It’s not gonna happen if you keep them in the dark. Get shining, my friend, or at least let some sunlight land on your efforts.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I have not seen my daughter watch one video on vaulting and have not heard one more word about lessons. She has however moved on to American Ninja Warrior and put some time into turning our swing set into an obstacle course. I may need another diversion before she asks for ninja warrior lessons.

P.P.S. If you mention vaulting, this post, or anything related to the subject to my daughter, you will feel the heat of a 10,000 suns scorching your soul. (Also, sage advice from the parent of a desperate adolescent.)

 

Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Dr. Deeken

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Dear Dr. Deeken,

I am so glad you accepted my invitation and am even happier that we made that lunch date happen!

I would like to apologize for taking so long to write this letter. Life just has a way of getting away from me. Before we met, I promised to limit my questions to 10. I hope I was able to keep that promise. There were just so many things I wanted to discuss.

When we sat down and I had a chance to tell you that my friends were all jealous of our lunch date, you said that you hoped, “We were not underwhelmed” by your responses. (Clearly you did not see how starstruck I was to be dining with THE Dr. Deeken.) 

As always you listened, shared, taught, and inspired me.

One of the questions I asked was “What was your favorite advice for parents?”

Your sweet and smart responses of “Enjoy each and every stage of childhood, (speaking from personal experience),” “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, and “Don’t let kids dictate; You’re the parent. You’re not the friend” were true to the doctrines of appointments heard by thousands of parents and still need to be shared daily.

The fact that you have 10 children of your own is still one that awes me. The fact that you carried a panel of about 2000 patients floored me. When asked how you managed, you gave tremendous credit to your husband and said something that too many of us feel in the healthcare and educational professions, “I short-changed my family. You can’t get time back.” In learning that you often took your charts home to finish each night, after making your hospital rounds and full days of check-ups and medical emergencies, it’s no wonder you felt spread too thin. I think it’s fair to say that you did a marvelous job of tackling some tough stuff. Continue reading “Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Dr. Deeken”

Mountaintop Chocolate – Discovering a New Dream

mountaintop chocolates

When I was a kid, I had a lot of goals. To own a horse. To sing in Nashville. To have a dishwasher and ice maker (other than myself). In adulthood, I have discovered so many goals that I never dreamed would have been realities for me. I own a horse. I’ve sang on the Grand Ole Opry Stage. I have a dishwasher and an ice maker (none of which are me).

Traveling wasn’t something I dreamed much of when I was younger, but in this year of my 40th birthday, I have found the inspiration and motivation to take some pretty big trips. Hubby and I visited Oahu, Hawaii. (It really is paradise.) My mom, my sister, and two of my best friends, and I traveled to New York City. And most recently, hubby and I took our three kiddos to Colorado.

We saw waterfalls, rock formations, mountains, gold mines, and landscapes so vivid I cannot conceive words to describe them all.

It was on a quiet afternoon near Gypsum, Colorado that I discovered a goal I never knew I had, and I reveled in the moment. I had a box of chocolates all my own on top of a mountain.

It was magical.

It was beautiful.

It was delicious. Continue reading “Mountaintop Chocolate – Discovering a New Dream”

Stars Can’t Shine Without It – Wise Words Wednesday

Stars Can't Shine

Darkness gets a bum wrap.

Many are afraid of the dark.

All too often we describe the tough times in life as the dark times.

The Dark Ages is a term assigned to the days after the fall of the Roman Empire and the years of struggle within the church for guidance and acceptance because of the uncertainty and haphazard rule of warring leaders. People felt lost, scared, and hopeless.

Even Star Wars warned us to not got to the “dark side.”

If it weren’t for the dark, the stars would not shine.

When life hands us lemons, we say, “Make lemonade.”

So why not do the same with tough times?

If you are going through some dark times, it’s okay to recognize the darkness. It’s okay to say, “This stinks.” It’s really okay to feel sad or mad or frustrated. Once you’ve acknowledged the darkness, you can find the bright spots.

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My kiddos entering the tunnel to create their constellations.

Our local library offered a constellation creation station this summer. Kids were invited to sketch a dotted outline of any constellation they could imagine. My daughter designed a horse constellation and my son created at robot. As they poked their holes in the “sky” with thumb tacks, the flashlight beam prevented them from seeing the darkness and appreciating the brightness of their work.

Once the holes were punched and the flashlights extinguished, the darkness was welcomed.

It took our eyes a moment to adjust, but once we had time to accept the unlit canvas around us the sight was incredible. Continue reading “Stars Can’t Shine Without It – Wise Words Wednesday”

Keep on Flowing – Intentergy Boost

 

Waterfalls rarely get a break from flowing and you are no different.

Right now you may be avoiding work, resting after work, wishing you had work, or maybe just getting started at work. Whatever your situation, I hope you find that you have the energy to be positive in all you do and each task you complete.

While not all of the tasks we take on are downhill like those of a waterfall, we can expect more challenges and choices to continually come our way. We have to just keep things moving and going with the flow.

So if you are feel like you are barely above water, roughing the rapids, or floating with the breeze, I hope you will keep your positive energy up and let your successes keep on flowing.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am avoiding doing housework as I float this post along.

I Can Explain… – Wise Words Wednesday

I can explain it

“I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”

The hardest part of communication is when the sender expresses the message to best of his or her ability but the receiver cannot wrap their brain around what is being shared.

As a part of each week’s lessons, I include an article or example for my students to evaluate. They are then to respond to a prompt about the excerpt. In a recent journal assignment, I shared an article about research writing and the fact that your words should be the star of the paper and the sources are your supporting characters. I was very surprised to read the response of one student in particular.

Their response said that they had not understood their thoughts and words were to be the star. The student only thought they were supposed to use the words of others as they developed their paper.

Even though our first SIX weeks had been about what interested the students and what their potential thesis and counterarguments would be, that particular student failed to understand that it is the author’s words, thoughts, and opinions that make a paper relevant.

I started to reply to the journal entry with an apology for not being clear on the intent behind their research, but then I asked myself,

“Can I make them understand with an apology?”

Continue reading “I Can Explain… – Wise Words Wednesday”

Yellow Sheets…A Bold Design Choice

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My 6 year old LOVES the color yellow. He has yellow headphones, a yellow tablet case, and even sports yellow Crocs.

As we did some room re-arranging at our home, he inherited his sister’s old room. When we built our home a number of years ago, my daughter selected pink and purple for the walls and those just weren’t going to suite the room’s newest inhabitant. His wall colors were to be yellow (of course), blue, and gray with outer space decorations. (It was going to be out-of-this-world.)

My son insisted that he wanted yellow sheets for his new bedding.

I searched for yellow sheets. It is not possible to find yellow sheets. (Most people associate yellowed sheets with bed wetting.) Amazon, Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, T.J.Maxx… no one could help me.

wp-1562781503337.jpgSo I did what any loving mother would do. I dyed white sheets yellow.

My husband told me I was crazy. I told him to not mess with me or I would dye his sheets yellow too.

The end result was not perfectly, evenly yellow, but I had a little boy who was very happy.

So while his yellow sheets may have been a bold design choice, I hope he always remembers the brazen acceptance of his vision and how happy it made him to bring that vision to reality.

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As you make your way through the day, I hope you too will find ways to make bold choices and accept the dynamic decisions of those you love. Let the colorful courage be something that not only brightens the situation but charges the positivity and purpose in your day.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I did not encourage him to yellow the sheets by any other means. They are yellow enough.