As I made my way around the corner, light from our basement stairwell startled me. My children are notorious for leaving on the lights throughout the house, but this time I was the only one awake and certain that I had turned off all lights before going to bed the night before. The glare from the stairs was unexpected and demanded investigation.
I made my way down the steps, and as I reached the bottom landing, I had to smile. The radiant light was shining through the artwork completed a year ago on our basement windows. The sun had not shone in a few days and its rays were something I really needed and appreciated in that quiet moment.
The windows found in my home and those around the globe, may not have held a candle to the ones found in our parish churches, but they allowed a creative light to shine in our hearts and homes last spring. In the throws of pandemic quarantine, I sought ways to bring joy and creativity to my children’s activities. As Easter approached and the weather kept us indoors, I joined thousands of other parents giving kids permission to paint their windows. Using tempera paint we created “stained glass” windows.
At the time, this was a fun and uplifting experience. Now, the fear and anxiety that came with the haunting pandemic are lessened and the pressures of what to do with ourselves in those uncertain times have diminished, but the artwork on our windows is still there brightening our days.
I could wash the windows and take down the reminder of what COVID 19 did to our lives last spring, but keeping the color on those panes has also been a positive prompt encouraging us to keep faith in spite of fear and that things will improve if we find ways to stay optimistic. It is in the light of last year that we can feel pride in our resourcefulness and gratitude for what we have accomplished and the continued blessings of our lives. So if you are feeling down or there is a darkness hanging over you, please know that there is light at the end of every tunnel and even the most stained of windows have the ability to let brightness shine in you.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Washing windows is a sad subject because washing windows makes me sad. Please don’t ask me to was these windows. 🙂
This may seem like an unusual question, but in the grand scheme of things there isn’t a chore or task that we don’t relate with someone else. While I mop, I am usually mentally cussing my family for being so messy, but before the floor is dry I almost always think of Mary Scott.
Who is Mary Scott?
Well, Mary was a shift manager at the Dairy Queen where I worked as a teenager.
Mary was a tough manager because she did not appreciate horseplay, slacking off, or sneaking bites of cookie dough toppings that weren’t paid for. She appreciated a job well done and sought to provide quality customer service to each customer that came through the door. She also really liked making the Blizzards thick enough to turn upside down each time one was ordered.
Many of my co-workers did not like the job of cleaning the dinning room at the end of the night. I didn’t mind it because it was easier to get clean than the hamburger grease in the kitchen. Sweeping, wiping down tables and doors, bathroom supply checks, and mopping the floor were easy enough tasks to get done so I could get out of there at the end of my shift. One night, Mary watched me mop around the last tables and the floor in front of the soda fountains. I asked if everything was okay. She smiled and said she really liked when I or my sister closed the front because it would be done right. “You girls know how to work. That’s for sure,” she added.
I don’t know why her words have stuck with me, but each time I lug a mop and bucket to clean a floor, I remember the pride I felt in her compliment. Her words also inspired me to always do the best job I could. I wanted to be the person who did a job right. Sometimes I was tempted to cut corners in my cleaning, like my colleagues having water fights in the back, but Mary’s words always caused me to be someone she could count on.
Being overwhelmed is a constant state for most of us. The list of to-do’s can never seem to get to-done, and distractions know no limits. Being a list-maker can help, but some of us have a tendency to either make too many lists or put so much on our agendas that it’s not feasible to finish any of it.
At a coffee date with Maddy Hoeltke-Brown, we talked about the unconventional way we are approaching life with our side hustles and how the 8-to-5 scene is not the career path we have followed. Even thought we’ve chosen different paths, Maddy is just getting started in her business ventures, while I’m trying to evolve with mine. She asked if I had any advice to help with her whirlwind of distractions as she tries to get a good focus on building her graphic design business.
First of all, I do not profess to be a guru in business and my blog and writing career are just getting going, but I know a little something about helping people pave paths to success from my experiences on the farm and in the classroom.
To get started, I shared Lysa TerKeurst’s story of dedicating time to her desired work. In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa talked about making the decision to take her writing seriously and scheduled time on her calendar to do just that. TerKeurst reflected the first time she had to turn down a lunch date because she had scheduled time to write. The act of saying no to someone, because she chose time for her own goals, made her feel guilty at first. Eventually, Lysa found that giving herself time to do what she needed to be successful was the ultimate route for making her goals realities. I advised Maddy to do the same. Each week I plan time to write and most weeks I am successful, but I also realize that life throws priorities in my way and I have to compromise to keep the big picture moving forward. That realization led to my second piece of advice.
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”→
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”→
You just can’t rush peace. Clearly mankind has not found the means for bringing serenity to the world in the millions of years that we have inhabited it, so why should we expect peace to come quickly and quietly into our daily lives?
As I sat down to write this post, all three children stormed into the office after me. One wanted to talk about a homework assignment. The second wanted to watch baseball. The third wanted his second supper for the night. (I literally JUST finished cleaning up the first supper, where he ate three helpings.) All three kiddos laid guilt trips on me because I had gotten home late and went straight into making the first supper. This post clearly wasn’t going to get written without a fight. Continue reading “You Can’t Rush Peace”→
Roomee is the vaccum’s name and she is very popular at our house. Everyone fights over who gets to push her buttons. All too often I find myself saying, “Stay away from the vacuum!” (Words I never thought I would utter.)
In the time we have had Roomee, I can honestly say she has been helpful. As with any experiment, there have been a few hang ups (mainly with Roomee getting hung up on my kids’ clothes that hide under their beds), but for the most part adding her to our family has been beneficial.
I really like how she picks up around the table and under the counter in the kitchen. The freshly vacuumed carpets in the living room and bedrooms make me feel like Martha Stewart. Having a debris-free rug by the front door makes me a homemaker rock star.
I know what you are thinking, “Where is the experiment?”
The experiment comes in the same form as any other scientific method.
Recently my family had the opportunity to take a vacation in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
I highly recommend this trip if you love being outdoors, skiing, skating, snowboarding, or enjoy quaint mountain villages with ample shops and restaurants. Our accommodations were at the Ridge Point townhouses (a very short shuttle ride to the town center).
The townhouse had everything would could ask for, but hands down the best loved amenity was the in-unit washer and dryer.
A few of our family members cancelled at the last minute so we invited some cousins to join us. After a few fast hours of planning, they were ready to hit the road with us. They didn’t stress about packing a lot because we told them there was a washer and dryer included. It wouldn’t take much to wash something if they needed it. In the craziness that comes from having 13 people skiing, swimming, skating, eating, and just generally having a good time we found that the laundry piled up pretty quick, especially towels.
We kept the laundry going steadily each day and were comforted by the fact that when we packed to head home, our suitcases weren’t completely full of dirty clothes. It was awesome!
Digging for spring is something I find myself doing in the fall. Most Octobers or Novembers I scramble to clear out dying plants and add a few bulbs to my flower bed, but this year I am showing some real ambition for spring. I have extended one flower bed and added another in front of our home this week. (We’ve lived in the house 3 years and I am just now getting to these beds. Don’t judge.)
Tulips and daffodils are my bulbs of choice this year. Hopefully I will have the chance to enjoy plenty of new blooms come spring, but for now I get to look at fresh turned dirt and mulch, while feeling the pain of more shoveling than my shoulders are used to. 😉
Even if you are not a gardener, you can appreciate the need to dig for a more beautiful future and maybe that requires us to bury somethings that aren’t so pretty. My favorite things to bury are guilt and worry. I want to stick them deep in the ground and pray that they fertilize something much more enjoyable in the next season of my life.
In addition to the bulbs, I have added a few mums. Mums are my favorite perennial because they bloom for a long time and come back every year. There are plenty of perennial elements in our world and I encourage you to celebrate and give thanks for recurring pleasantries. Whether that annual awesomeness comes from birthdays or anniversaries or more frequently, like weekly coffee with your BFF or breathtaking sunsets each evening, relish the dependability that blooms in your life.
Right now I encourage you to dig deep for intents that will bloom into beautiful moments and memories. Bury ugly and unfruitful practices, habits, and influences and let their absence make room for more fruitful experiences. Planting positivity always blooms grace, gratitude, and joy.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Fertilizer is stinky, but so are guilt and worry. Don’t use too much of any of those. It really burns up the joy in planting.
For my birthday I received an experimental gift… an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner.
I have wanted one of these robot vacuum cleaners for a few years, but hubby isn’t too certain we need one. While I am feeling spoiled by Uncle Glen’s loaner vacuum, I am also aware that there are terrific lessons to be learned from his generosity.
Uncle Glen gifted the vacuum to me so that I might have the opportunity to see if I even liked it. The vacuums are costly and hubby is afraid it will damage things in our home so I haven’t pushed too hard for the purchase.
After a week and a half of utilizing my borrowed gift, I have compiled as list of lessons taught by my iRobot:
The iRobot really helps in picking up hair and dust. It is not so great with bigger crumbs and sawdust from the farm. Just like life, you can’t get rid of all the yucky stuff; some of it takes manual labor to remove.
The iRobot takes away from my time sweeping and vacuuming, but runs for a long time and is kind of noisy on the hardwoods. Progress can be noisy.
The iRobot has made my kids very aware of how dusty the floors can get and therefore they are more eager to have them cleaned. (Hubby is afraid of what the robot vacuum will break; I am more afraid of how soon the kids will break the robot.)Continue reading “Experimental Birthday Gift”→