Explaining Dr. King to My Children

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My two older kiddos have read the I Am Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. book and have had numerous lessons about the way he changed the world, but my 5-year-old had some questions about why he didn’t go to school today.

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A terrific book on the life and times of Dr. King

The simple answer was we didn’t go to school today because we are remembering and honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His question in return, “Why?”

Well, where do I start?

I told my son about how African-Americans were not treated equally in America and how Martin Luther King Jr. was a smart and kind man, who tried to get people to work together so that everyone was treated equally. He wanted his children to grow up to have the opportunities all others had. He didn’t want people to have to live in fear of being beaten or left out because of how they looked. Dr. King preached about how peace could and would bring about change if only everyone would open their hearts to its healing powers. He asked people to respond with kindness and understanding instead of anger and hitting. His ideas gave us wonderful guidance as to the ways we should treat one another and resolve our issues.

“Oh, okay,” was my son’s simple reply.

Later my two older kiddos were fighting and my youngest son yelled, “Hey, we are out of school because Marting Luther King says we have to stop fighting! So stop fighting” Continue reading “Explaining Dr. King to My Children”

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The Power of Silence – Wise Words Wednesday

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The Silent Treatment can be one of the most painful treatments known to man or woman. Nothing hurts more than when we do not receive a response after asking a question or requesting an answer.

Recently my son tried to tell me a joke (It was actually like 300 hundred jokes and by joke 301 I was done.) After politely telling him I was tired of “laughing so much” and that I needed some quiet time, the jokes kept coming.

I would also like to interject that they were the jokes of a 5-year-old and revolved mostly around farts, butts, and “dummy heads.” So instead of replying to his 301st joke, I ignored him and focused solely on driving home, while he drove me crazy.

Well, this did not stop his attempts. In fact, it made him shout the desperate and increasingly unfunny jokes. With no response from me, anger took over his humor and he began kicking my seat. There was clearly nothing funny about this show on the road.

We were almost home when the kicking started. As soon as we hit the driveway, I put the car in park. I turned around and asked my now-fuming 5-year-old, “Why are you kicking my seat?”

“You didn’t listen to my jokes,” was his angry answer.

“I listened to your jokes for the last 45 minutes. You didn’t listen to me when I asked for some quiet time. What gives you the right to kick my seat?”

“You didn’t listen to my jokes,” he repeated, losing steam.

“I listened to each and every one of them. You didn’t give me a choice not to. Now I am asking you to make the choice to stop kicking my seat and give the jokes a rest,” I snipped back at him.

“But you didn’t say anything when I told you jokes,” he whined.

“I was giving you the silent treatment so I could have some silence,” I explained.

“You’re mean, Mommy,” was all he said in reply.

Silence followed (for about 1 minute). Continue reading “The Power of Silence – Wise Words Wednesday”

Thank Goodness for First World Problems

 

In this weekend’s snowstorm, the power flickered, the internet and satellite tv went down, and the roads were too treacherous to go anywhere (most places were closed anyway). Based on many Facebook posts, Tweets, and my children’s behavior, one would believe the snowpolocypse had indeed arrived. Losing these luxuries was simple proof that we are blessed to have such silly first world problems.

I said a small prayer of thanks that these were our biggest problems. I added a prayer of petition for the safety of the farmers, road crews, and first responders still out working in the hazardous conditions. We are so lucky to have these people serving our communities.

I also reflected on a recent phone conversation with my friend Kary.

She has taken over the Random Acts of Kindness Club at Fatima High School and we were discussing some opportunities for community service projects. Kary was excited about the contacts I shared with her and the ideas we came up with, but she shared that there has been a bit of a problem with getting a great turnout from her group members. “They are all just so busy with sports, jobs, friends, and other things,” she said, “All these kids are good kids; they just have too much going on.” I agreed that it was a problem, but at least we could be grateful that it was our biggest problem for the club.

“It’s just another first world problem,” I told her and she laughed. Continue reading “Thank Goodness for First World Problems”

Don’t Be Like My Cactus

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January 2nd – Photo of Christmas cactus

Don’t be like my cactus.

For Christmas, my sweet friend Sarah gifted me with a beautiful Christmas cactus. The bright green was a very merry addition to my holidays.

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December 24th – Photo of Christmas cactus

When I received the cactus on December 13th, it had some small fuchsia blooms. On December 22nd I noticed the blooms had gotten larger. The morning of December 24th I was pleasantly surprised to find them in full bloom. With their vibrant arrival, I found a brighter sense of the holiday spirit and shared that with my family and friends. Each time I caught a glimpse of that Christmas cactus, my heart blossomed with a new floret of holiday fervor. Continue reading “Don’t Be Like My Cactus”

How Tranquility Works

photography of flowing water

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

“Peace is the tranquility of order” – St. Augustine

Sometimes we encounter definitions of everyday things in extraordinary ways. In the priest’s homily this past Sunday, the explanation of St. Augustine’s definition for tranquility created one of those powerful moments for me.

According to St. Augustine, “Peace is the tranquility of order.”

In his explanation the priest addressed that most of us believe tranquility occurs when everything stops, but that is exactly the opposite of what St. Augustine teaches. The priest’s example calm cooperation was that of the human body. The mind, lungs, heart, organs, and skin they are all working together even in our most restful moments. Even those moments we consider tranquil. Tranquility happens when everything is doing what it is supposed to be doing in that very moment resulting in peace.

Wow! What a powerful definition!

These were the exact words that I needed to hear Sunday morning as my prayer list seemed a little longer than usual.

Two days earlier my father-in-law Andy had open heart surgery and was struggling in his recovery. That explanation of how peace and cooperation can bring tranquility was the perfect inspiration driving my prayer for my father-in-law and myself. I prayed that God would bring tranquility to Andy’s heart and body so that he may heal quickly and peacefully.

For myself, I asked God to help me embrace each element of the chaos in my life as a piece of puzzle in my daily search for peace.

Continue reading “How Tranquility Works”

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”

Cave

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Photo by Pete Johnson on Pexels.com

It’s only when we fail to stand our ground that we cave.

Only when we fail to be true to ourselves, we cave.

When we fail to be honest, we cave.

We fail to believe; we cave.

Fail only when we cave.

 

The times when I have felt least successful are those when I felt I caved to insecurity or scrutiny of others. It was in allowing the foundation of what I knew was right to crumble. I let my emotions cascade in an avalanche of uncertainty around me. I caved.

One instance from junior high, where I personally caved, still haunts me.

In 6th grade, recess changed the social dynamic for everyone at my school. The 6th grade girls were assigned the parking lot between church and our grade school along with the 7th and 8th grade girls for recess. There were no soccer goals, basketball hoops, or kickball fields in this lot. As someone who always loved sports and being active, this move was not an exciting one for me. The other girls seemed perfectly happy to sit on the steps next to church and clump in tightly knit circles gossiping away our precious free time. Recess was not much fun as far as I was concerned, but I made the most of it floating from group to group, checking to see what the topic of conversation might be, or if there was a chance of athletic ambition from anyone.

One day I ran to talk to one of the 8th graders, who played basketball on the school team with me. She was talking to two others girls and I was excited to see if they wanted to talk basketball.

As soon as I entered their circle, one girl took me by the arm and turned me around. “You are like a wart. We want to burn you out of here,” she said and pushed me in the opposite direction of their conversation. Continue reading “Cave”

Karma’s Corner

Karma's Corner

Frequently we hear warnings about karma, but rarely to we heed those foreshadowings. Well, this week karma came right around the corner and whacked me.

Our dishwasher sits under the peninsula of our kitchen counter. When the dishwasher door is open, I always tell the kids to quit running through the kitchen; somebody is gonna get hurt.

Wednesday evening was a particularly persnickety evening in the Peters’ household. No one seemed to have their positive pants on. The kids could not and would not stop fighting. I begged, screamed, and threatened torture, if the laundry did not get folded and put away. Constant was the need to say, “Stop fighting! Stop hitting! Stay out of other people’s space!” (It was a rough night.) 

All that crabbiness came to an abrupt halt as I stomped my way back into the kitchen (for like the hundredth time) to try and get the dishes done. That darn Karma was waiting to waylay my shin. And, boy, oh boy, did she get me. I ran smack dab into the dishwasher door.

As the blood immediately gushed from my leg, so did a four letter word from my mouth. I grabbed a towel and shouted for a band-aid. Eager to get away from folding laundry, my oldest son ran to the hall closet and brought two band-aids, just in case. Continue reading “Karma’s Corner”

National Be Late for Something Day

National Late for Something Day

If you feel like you are running a day late and a dollar short (as I am today), Congratulations! It’s National Be Late for Something Day!

Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself time to be the best you can be. Take a deep breath.

Maybe today is the day you forgive yourself for something that you should have let go of a LONG time ago. It’s always a good time for forgiveness.

Consider going to bed just a few minutes later so you can squeeze in a few more snuggles with your sweetie or kiddos.

This is one national holiday we all really need.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I really should have written this post yesterday.

The Heroics of Parenting

The beauty of cinema is that it often has the power to put into words what we most need to hear at the toughest times in our lives.

This summer my husband and I took our kiddos to see Incredibles 2. As the film progressed it was clearly a flick for both kids and parents. There were many powerful messages for parents who doubt their “super” status in the realm of child rearing and a number of messages for kids about the importance of always doing what you know is right.

EdnaIn a scene where Bob (the dad) is at his wit’s end about being a good dad, Edna (the family’s designer) shares a powerful message. One that we need to remind ourselves of often. “Done properly parenting is a heroic act.”

The elements of “properly” and “heroic” give this statement some serious intentergy.

Continue reading “The Heroics of Parenting”