Quarantine Your Judgements

We are all familiar with the “If you can’t say something nice…” adage, but how often to we put effort into leaving our lousy thoughts out of what we say?

Last week I was angry. Angry at someone I care a great deal about. Angry at the choices they had been making. Those choices felt unfairly selfish to me. When I voiced my anger to my friend Emily, she helped put things into perspective. Emily reminded me that the person I was mad at wasn’t necessarily being selfish; they were being human. Each decision they made was done so because they thought it was the appropriate choice for them.

Of course, Emily was right and I needed to quit being so judgmental.

This week, as I was taking a drive with my friend Chelsea, she was lamenting the overly critical nature of one of her family members. The nature of their hypercritical haptics was exhausting her. We came up with the brilliant idea that people should quarantine their fault finding fascination. The quarantine of unfair judgment and social criticism would be a great way to cure the world with kindness and understanding.

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Avoid a Fitting Disappearance

There are many things I love about technology, but video games are not necessarily one of them. However, I do enjoy a game of Tetris. It’s about the only video game that doesn’t send me spiraling into a fit of vertigo (at least until those crazy blocks start dropping at 60mph).

Halloween is also one of my FAVORITE times of the year, so this particular Wednesday Addams meme made my heart happy. It also provided inspiration for today’s Intentergy post.

For 10 years I taught high school. In those 10 years, I watched A LOT of kids do things to fit in that I knew were not true reflections of who they were as individuals. After one particularly troublesome instance of two 9th grade girls allowing their alpha-friend to bully another 9th grader, I had to discuss the situation with a fellow teacher.

My brilliant co-teacher had a way of putting new perspective on situations. He referred to the students who followed peer pressure as “lemmings.” He said, “They will run themselves off the roof of the school just to fit in. It’s our job to show them there are other ways down from the situation and hopefully to avoid those tragic falls.”

This reference, of course, is centered on the belief that lemmings will run off the edge of a cliff just to stay with the herd. In many ways this metaphor accurately reflects the Tetris mentality of disappearing to fit in.

People will rush into or follow any crowd if they believe it will help their social survival, but often forget that if they are a crowd follower, it is really hard to be a leader or to stand out with success.

The emergence of a leader.
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An Emotional House Plant – Wise Words Wednesday

Remember.

You need water.

You need sunlight.

You’re basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions.

We do! We need water. We need sunlight. We are definitely emotional!

While we all have our basic needs, fulfilling those needs is often impacted by our ability or inability to take-in the required air, water, sun, exercise, and nutrition. Similarly, if we do not allow for positive encounters in our day or uplifting words in our speech, it’s really hard to squeeze them in later. After the sun goes down, you can’t exactly be like, “Hey, sun, could you come out and shine for just a bit? I missed you earlier.”

It doesn’t work that way.

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The Mask Task

The task of keeping families masked has become one more chore we must consider before heading out the door each day. It is a task that we are using to protect lives from the perils of the Corona virus pandemic. It is a responsibility that now presses on us in our homes and adds to our laundry list of ways life has change in the shadow of COVID 19.

My washdays are definitely not holidays as I wrestle with washing masks in a special bag and drying them on the special rack because the face coverings require special care.

While I know it is a method for warding away COVID 19, I can’t help but groan at the daily dilemma of washing, finding, and coaxing my children and husband to wear the required face-coverings.

The masks’ appearance defined our first day of school photos. Never before did I view my children as bandits heading off to steal the treasures of their unsuspecting teachers. (Now I can’t un-see it.)

Each night the masks have joined our bedtime ritual in on the “Do you know where your ________ is?” fun.

My Sunday evening anxiety seems to flare up midweek as I scramble to re-locate and wash the masks my kids will actually wear so as to make it through the week in their concealed coolness.

Think, Talk, Feel

Walking the walk and talking the talk can a be tall order when it comes to being positive. Sometimes positive energy can be hard to find. Other times we have to create that outlook for ourselves.

This week was mid-quarter for my children at school. (Thank goodness our school has made it healthily this far into 1st quarter.) I have started to see a shadow of exhaustion in my daughter.

She is determined to earn high enough grades to be on Honor Roll, practicing 3 to 4 days a week with her competitive gymnastics team, still helping with home and farm chores, and be a normal 11-year old. Not wanting that shadow to become a storm of exhaustion, I devised a way to help her think, talk, and feel positive on Monday.

As soon as my girl was off the bus, I told her how proud I was of her and showed her successful math paper from last week’s homework now displayed on the pantry door. (5th grade math is hard!) Then I had blueberry muffins hot, out of the oven, for after-school snack, and I shared my blog post on The Thunder Tree with her. (She loved Thunder.) I told her to get dressed for gymnastics and surprised her with fresh cup of sweet tea to-go. These may seem like petty things, but when she got home 4 hours later from gymnastics, her mood was lighter than it had been the last few days, and she gushed with the successes of her practice.

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What You Take In… Wise Words Wednesday

Doritos are not allowed in my house. Not in the snack size, family size, or the party size. Doritos are not allowed in my house in any size, shape, flavor, or package.

Why?

I will eat them.

That’s why.

If I have Doritos, I will eat them. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

On a camping trip this summer, I splurged and bought a bag of those delectable Doritos and said to myself, “I’m going to be on vacation. I want to eat like I’m on vacation.”

And I did.

A large portion of that bag was consumed by me. And a large portion of the next two days were drug down by a terrible stomach ache. (My stomach apparently does not share my love for those triangular treats.)

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Freedom of Mind – Wise Words Wednesday

We all have that one friend or family member who is just never happy. Whether it’s their job, love life, looks, or the air they breathe, they just aren’t happy.

I have been struggling with a friend like this lately. It is my nature to try to fix things when they are not working. The problem is I can’t fix my friend’s attitude. I can be supportive. I can be kind. I can continue to include that friend in social occasions and conversations, but I can no longer let myself get sucked into the constant vortex of the woe-is-me mentality. I have to free my mind from the belief that I can control someone else’s joy. It’s out of my hands; I need to stop letting it commandeer my mind.

Consider issues in your own life that are out of your control but still seem to hijack your thoughts or contentment.

Is there a situation that seems to unsettle you, but shouldn’t prevent you from being successful? Are there conditions in your life that let you down but should be the least of your worries?

“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.”

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Adventures with Atticus: Settling In

Since his arrival, Atticus has grown quite the reputation for being a sweetheart of a horse.

He is easy to catch, lead, load on the trailer, and care for in general, with two exceptions: getting shots and leaving Winn-Dixie.

When Atticus came to us he had a terrible runny nose and a bit of a cough. The best way to treat these issues is with antibiotics administered via syringe. Horses are big animals, so the shots are really big. As we quickly learned, no amount of grain or peppermint treats could keep him calm once that syringe appeared. It took a shortly-tied lead rope and fast hands to administer Atticus’ antibiotics. When it was time to immunize him from standard horse illnesses, the shot was slightly smaller, but his reaction was much larger. We got the job done, but it was no easy feat.

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Just Be – Wise Words Wednesday

Just be. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit my sister Robyn and just be calm and comfortable on her couch. The kids were in school. The husbands were working. Her dog Tammy was snoring happily between us. I told Robyn that I wanted her help with the Wise Words Wednesday post for this week.

My invitation was two-fold. One, I needed a post. Two, Robyn has been taking it easy as she is recovering from a recent procedure and this would provide some Intentergy into her day.

So when starting off a Wise Words Wednesday post, I need wise words. After sharing some thoughts that can not posted on this platform, Robyn tapped into her infinite reservoir of memorable quotes and said she her go-to phrase is “Just be.”

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Uncomfortable Can Be a Good Thing – Wise Words Wednesday

I know that 2020 has been a year of discomfort. And that’s not okay, but in reading BrenĂ© Brown’s Daring Greatly, I was kindly reminded that some of the greatest opportunities for growing and learning come from uncomfortable situations.

When speaking to her students about vulnerability and shame, BrenĂ© warns them ahead of time, “If you’re comfortable, I’m not teaching and your’re not learning. It’s going to get uncomfortable in here and that’s okay. It’s normal and it’s part of the process” (Brown 203).

This warning made me smile because it reminded me of the supply lists for incoming students to my English I class. After typing up and printing the nice, neat lists, I would carefully (in the scariest handwriting I could muster) write “FEAR” in red ink at the top of each list.

You can only imagine the delight I experienced in seeing the eager faces and ready hands grab at the waiting lists from the holder outside my classroom and then the quick flicker of surprise as that word “FEAR” registered in their already-panicking minds.

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