“Is That Right?” – Never Leave Behind a Willingness to Understand

mountains nature arrow guide

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

Recently, we said good-bye to my husband’s Grandma Dorothy. I am proud to say that I had many opportunities to spend time with her and loved her very much. She will be greatly missed for her kind smile, beautiful quilts, and delicious monster cookies.

One of the things I admired most in Grandma Dorothy was her unwavering willingness to listen and learn about the lives of those for whom she cared. In any conversation, Grandma would always listen and then say, “Is that right?,” with a smile, smirk, or frown (She also wasn’t one to hide her feelings well).

She never let her ninety years of experience get in the way of understanding what was helping, hurtful, exciting, or enhancing to the lives of those around her. Grandma openly accepted that people are different and that the relationships we build are ones that deserve attention, nurturing, or closure because that’s how we grow.

Sitting on her couch the afternoon of Grandma’s passing, I couldn’t help but glance at the rocker that had been so frequently filled by her and ached to hear Grandma say those words, “Is that right?”

As children always do, mine provided great comfort, insight, distraction, and healing through the process of Grandma’s visitation and funeral. The night after her funeral, I said extra prayers with each kiddo in Grandma’s honor. As we wrapped up our devotions, my daughter said, “Mom, I heard that when you pray a Hail Mary, an Our Father, and a Glory Be someone from purgatory goes to heaven. Is that right?” Continue reading ““Is That Right?” – Never Leave Behind a Willingness to Understand”

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”

Shallow Happiness

Shallow Happiness

That whole put-on-a-smile all day, every day thing is exhausting.

There are plenty of days when I feel like my smiles are used up before I even get out of bed.

Earlier this week, I channeled my inner Dolly Parton  when someone asked my how I can stay so positive when people can be such jerks sometimes.

All I could do was quote Dolly, “I’m not happy all the time, and I wouldn’t want to be because that would make me a shallow person. But I do try to find the good in everybody.”

I’m not gonna lie. This week was a doozy. We lost a good friend to an automobile accident, learned the illness of another friend had progressed for the worse, and that we will lose our sweet uncle very soon. Students gave pitiful excuses. My children couldn’t seem to get along at all. It was a doozy.

Before I had to channel Dolly’s words of wisdom, I really was in a funk. A coworker called me out on it and so I dropped the shallow happiness quote on them.

We can’t be happy all the time.

We don’t like everyone all the time.

It is darn near impossible to find the silver lining all the time, but it is always possible to turn things around by finding one good thing in ourselves or those surrounding us. Continue reading “Shallow Happiness”

Regret as Anger ?!?!

Regret as Anger

After a particularly difficult weekend of parenting, I confided in my friend Joy that I felt like my child’s irrational behavior seemed to be a reflection of a parenting fail on my part.

My child could not accept that they had to stick to their commitments. (Never mind the fact that they had cried, begged, swore on their grave that this was the ONE thing they were born to do and HAD to do it or their pitiful life was over.)

Now there was a new, “I’m gonna die if I don’t do this” thing and I was officially the “meanest, most unfair mom ever.” (Exact words of my child.)

The words didn’t bother me. The anger behind them did.

I wasn’t as worried about the fact that they thought I was being mean; it was the fact that my child was so quick to change passions in the blink of an eye.

Joy pointed out that maybe there was some regret there. My child now saw a new opportunity and regretted making the previous choice. My friend shared that her kids had demonstrated similar behavior and accused her of “forcing” them to do the very things she knew they loved. In her kind and wise way, Joy said, “I think sometimes they (the kids) have regrets and they use it as anger towards us, but it’s not okay for them to be angry with us for what they regret.”

WOW! Continue reading “Regret as Anger ?!?!”

The Heavy Approach

Heavy Approach

“You approached it like it was heavy, so it was.”

In the past I have written about my struggles with laundry. Laundry and I have a tumultuous relationship. The laundry tumults and I trip over it and fuss about having to fold it. My kids’ relationship with those baskets of socks, shorts, and shirts is way more tragic than mine.

Each day my children are given chores. Nothing too crazy. They are to do things like empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, and clean off the table, but this past weekend my boys were to fold the socks. As far as sock piles go, this one was definitely more of a mole hill than a mountain.

It took my 8 year-old and 6 year-old almost two hours to fold approximately 20 pairs of socks.

It was ugly.

Hubby had to threaten. I had to physically remove every electronic device, every pillow and blanket, and some small furniture from the living room so they could do their job.

When the 2nd hour loomed and I had better things to do than wait for socks to be folded, I set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes.

If the socks were not folded, sorted, and delivered to their respective rooms in those 5 minutes, there would be NO internet, TV, Legos, baseball, or fishing for a week. Continue reading “The Heavy Approach”

The “Eternal Punchline”

Eternal Punchline

We all have had times when we felt like everyone was laughing at us (and not in a good way). It feels terrible. It alienates us. It is not what anyone deserves.

Jose and his smile definitely brighten the day.

In one of my Oral Communications classes, my student Jose shared a powerful statement based on the personal strength he discovered in himself after years of feeling like the “eternal punchline.”

Jose is Mexican-American, hard-working, and a super talented speaker. He is not a traditional student in that he is not “fresh” out of high school, but he is most definitely a refreshing addition to his program and to all those he encounters.

The Oral Communications course is designed to bring awareness to interpersonal differences and strengthen communication skills. With most of the chapters in our text, I ask students to write a personal reflection on the content or how it applies to their own experiences. Chapter 6 is on unfair judgement and bias. I asked my students to share their thoughts on a time when they experienced bias in their own personal lives and how it has affected the way they communicate with or view others.

Jose’s response was so honest and so powerful, I had to read it a few times to wrap my head around his pragmatic approach to the unfair way others (even his closest friends) have spoken to or of him. Continue reading “The “Eternal Punchline””

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.

tunnel

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”

Don’t Get “Stuck” on Your Mistakes – Wise Words Wednesday

Stuck on your mistakes

Earlier this summer, my youngest son was helping me run errands. He had behaved well and been so patient all morning. When he asked to purchase a small cactus in at the hardware store, I said, “Yes.” The cactus was in a small plastic pot and didn’t seem too dangerous, so I didn’t think twice about taking it home.

cactus 2

My six-year-old son proudly watered the cactus every other week and talked to it almost daily. I didn’t give it much attention until he placed it on the kitchen counter next to my Christmas cactus. I noticed his cactus was a bit pale and still had a tag hanging off it.

Upon closer inspection I made a prickly discovery. My sweet son’s cactus was a fake. It was made in China.

Now you might ask, “How in the world did you not know the cactus was a fake?” Continue reading “Don’t Get “Stuck” on Your Mistakes – Wise Words Wednesday”