“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”
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
We 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”
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”
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”
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 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.
In 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”
While radio never stops and has played a pivotal role in entertainment for centuries, it does not seem to command the attention of every waking hour as it did in the past. When I was growing up, my waking hours started around 4:00 a.m. helping milk cows. Each of those mornings we were joined in the milk barn by the sounds and stories of Paul Harvey. Even after we left the farm in 1994, my listening continued as I began waitressing breakfast at a local restaurant. It didn’t matter where I was, Paul Harvey’s voice drew me in and transported my mind to the stories and people of whom he spoke.
Monday through Friday Mr. Harvey shared his commentary on the affairs of the world in his News and Comment. At the end of each weekday broadcast he would sign off with a chipper, “Good day.” On Saturdays he shared The Rest of the Story. After telling an always impactful version of one adventure, discovery, or invention, The Rest of the Story was always smartly summarized with, “And that’s the rest of the story.” The reliability of his demeanor made him more than a voice on the radio. He became someone I felt I knew. He became someone who was an active part of my life. He was like family. Continue reading “I Miss Paul Harvey”
It was a peculiar evening. Rarely did she find herself outdoors after dusk, but there she was standing alone. Alone, but for the moon and the sounds that night brings.
The glow of the Moon seemed to be magnetic and the stillness that it attracted surrounded her. Enveloped in its beams, her tired mind seemed content to just soak in its milky gleam. There was something comforting about the slowness of its ascent and the darkness that accompanied.
Without realizing it, she found herself treading across the cool blades of grass. There was an intense need to follow the pale path as it radiated across the smooth, damp blades. Not sure where she was headed, the trail of light shined with reassurance that this was where she needed to go.
The only sounds that could be heard were those of her soft steps on the foliage and an occasional breeze. None of these sounds could disturb the tranquility within her.
Once deep in the woods the terrain grew steeper and at the highest point a clearing was revealed. Here the moon shone so brightly she felt that it was within her reach to touch the brilliant orb.
After a few moments of unhampered silence, a voice came to her.
“You have asked for peace, quiet, and freedom. I have come to give you these.”
With a slight shake of her head, she replied, “Who are you? Where are you?”
The voice spoke with a slow, confident drawl. “Is it not easy to see? Am I not shining right before you? Late each night as your little one fails to sleep or worry races through your mind I hear you ask for stillness, freedom, simplicity.”
Continue reading “To the Moon and Back”
The door in our basement squeaks. It is a loud and angry squeak. Each time my husband comes home from the farm, he enters through this door. That hinged “hello” is how we know he is home.
I could easily spray some grease on the whiny hinges but there is something comforting about hearing that squeak followed by his footsteps coming up the stairs. It’s a squeak I probably won’t grease any time soon.
This past weekend a friend of mine came to me with a problem. She has another friend who is going through a divorce. The divorce, as many divorces are, is not a pretty one. Unfortunately, the couple has some young children. The divorcing couple have not only pushed one another away but they have checked out on caring for their kids. My friend has helped care for the little sweeties a number of days each week for about 6 months and the weight of it is taking a toll on her own homelife. Each time the phone rings with a call for her to watch the other kiddos, it is a “squeak” that makes her cringe. Continue reading “Squeaks We Don’t Need to Grease”
About a month ago my children discovered the movie The Greatest Showman. It is a musical based on the life story of P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh Jackman). In the film Barnum invites individuals who are considered “freaks” to become part of his show. Some of Barnum’s “freaks” include the bearded lady, the world’s tallest man, the world’s fattest man, wolf boy, and acrobats. As far as musical movies go, it was an alright show.
Of course the cruelty shown to the “freaks” in the film led to questions from my kids, and they wanted to know, “What’s a freak?”
I explained to them that the term “freak” comes from “freak of nature” meaning that sometimes things occur in our world that make humans or animals freaks of nature. In their infinite innocence they understood that being different makes someone or something special but also makes the abnormality a target for cruelty and ostracism.
With true indignation all of my kids ranted about the the mean things done in the film by citizens who were afraid of or hated the “freaks” in Barnum’s show. I just reminded them that, in real life, they should be kind and accepting of others who are different. Continue reading “What’s a “Freak”?”