Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???

There has not been a lack of positive stuff going on in my life, and I definitely have plenty to say but finding the right words and positive stories to share has been tough lately. I’m not sure where my writing inspiration has gone, but I think it has something to do with my inability to keep up with all the craziness around me. Lacking a routine has caused a shortage of concentration when I sit down to type.

So I thought I would share a few cool insights from the last few weeks.

When your washing machine breaks, there are two things that make it all better. 1. A mom that shares her washer with you and even takes time to dry and fold the clothes. 2. A local handyman named Joe with a terrific sense of humor and just enough sass to make you feel like you actually helped when in reality he was the one who did all the hard stuff.

When your son is too excited to change out of his school uniform because he wants to get going on vacation, let him wear the uniform. It pays to have a hoodie on him when it is unexpectedly cold on your trip.

Leaving immediately after your kids get out school for a 14-hour vacation drive is stressful but forces you to get into a summer-vacation frame of mind.

When your friend wants an authentic Florida palm tree, and she tries to convince the slightly tipsy men in your party to dig one up with a plastic beach shovel, go ahead and agree to drive them in the golf cart after dark. It makes a for a great story later. P.S. Tell the quizzical passers-by that your friends are considering buying the vacant lot and “There is nothing to see here” ( do not mention their attempts to uproot a palm tree with a plastic shovel). The passers-by will look at you incredulously and slowly walk away. Their reactions will cause severe distress as you try to hold in laughter and your friends to fall over themselves to avoid being seen.

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Herding Turkeys… : An Emotional Chore

All in a day’s work….

That’s what I should call it, but have you ever tried to herd turkeys? There is nothing run-of-the-mill about herding turkeys once they’ve escaped from the barn.

On a day when I had the privilege of helping top out buildings*, there was one barn door that just wouldn’t stay on its hinge leaving a gap as we made our rounds through the building. It was through that gap that nine turkeys made their grand getaway.

The thing about turkeys though is that they are not very intelligent and tend to run wild in every direction before making their way back to where they started.

In the case of these nine runaways, they hovered around the outside of the barn because they could hear their buddies inside. Unfortunately for me, they huddled about half way down the barn, and I had to deftly sneak up behind them and shoo them to the other end of the range house. Once we made our haphazard way back to the other end of the building, these fugitives found safety being back in the flock.

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The Name “Wilbur” for a Girl

Can you guess which one is Wilbur?

When March rolled around, it was time for the kids to select pigs for their 4-H Fair Projects. As I am not a huge fan of pigs, I left the duty of pig shopping to Hubby. I sent Hubby and our three minions to pick out pigs with potential to show well and provide ample entertainment and responsibility for the kiddos. I figured they would bring home four, maybe five, hogs, because only two of our kiddos are old enough to show at the fair, and we can only eat so much pork. I was wrong.

Hubby and the minions returned with SEVEN pigs!!!

Two of the pigs were a “Good deal” because Farmer Joe (our piglet supplier) threw in the runts for free.

Did I mention I am not a fan of pigs???

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Don’t Call Me “Mom”

There is no joy greater that hearing your child say “mama” or “dada” for the first time, except maybe the happiness that comes from silence when they are sleeping after hearing those words 1,000,000 times.

I love my children more than anything in life…. but sometimes they get on my nerves.

It’s not so much that they want to be in my space, eat my food, prevent my sleep, or destroy my house, but that they cannot seem to leave each other alone for one, blessed second.

In those instances where the temptation to pester one another is too great, I always find myself in the form of a fire-breathing dragon fully prepared to skewer and roast their little, antagonizing selves. (Then I remember how much time and money I have invested in them, and I transform back into a loving, caring mother.)

After a particularly arduous 25-minute car ride to town last summer, I declared that no one was to call me “Mom” for the duration of our trip. (We were going to two stores and pick up lunch, but I wasn’t too sure I could avoid eating my young at that point.) I announced that I was no longer to be called “Mom,” but rather my children were to address me as “Lady Madame Josephine” before speaking to me at any time. This command was met with silence and then laughter from my children.

As soon as the first child chose to say the dreaded M-word, I pulled off into a parking lot, stopped the car, and with the blazing heat of a true mama dragon, I seared them with my words, “My name is Lady Madame Josephine. If you want to have lunch today you will address me as such.” Silence again.

No one spoke until we arrived serenely at our first stop. My daughter tentatively said, “May I ask a question?”

My reply, “You may.”

My daughter’s inquiry, “Why do you want us to call you ‘Lady Madame J… ‘; what was it again?”

I answered, “Lady Madame Josephine.”

My daughter again, “Why do you want us to call you ‘Lady Madame Josephine’?”

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Stinky Valentines

What do you do when your loved ones think your valentines stink? Well, I’m writing a blog post about it, but hopefully, there is a lesson to be learned from having stinky valentines.

Our recent crazy schedule and even crazier weather prevented me from taking the kids shopping for their valentines this year. I had a window of approximately 2.5 hours to get groceries and run errands in town one morning. Prior to making my mad dash to the big city of Jefferson City, I asked each child what kind of valentine and treats they would like to share with their classes. Each one reported what they would like, but all three ended their request with, “Just get something.” (Clearly, their love and gratitude was shining in those moments.)

For my 8 year-old son, I purchased dinosaur valentines with Rice Krispie treats. For my 10 year-old son, I purchased his standard sports valentines with ring pops. For my 12 year-old daughter, I purchased chocolate craze valentines and Fun Dip packets. The chocolate craze valentines came complete with chocolate-scented erasers.

I thought these were fairly successful purchases, but the 12 year-old was not pleased with the chocolate craze valentines and proceeded to tell me they were stinky and kind of creepy. The 10 year-old nosed his way into the conversation and agreed with the 12 year-old that her valentines stunk.

I was shocked! As a choco-holic, I could not fathom the idea that people wouldn’t love chocolate-scented erasers!

According to my daughter, it’s wasn’t a big deal. She was fine with just taking the Fun Dip packets, but it’s the principle of the thing. How could my family think the valentines I selected stank?

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Easily Distracted By…

Maybe it’s the frequently falling snowflakes or the walls starting to close in after nearly a year of COVID quarantines, but being easily distracted seems to a more common occurrence these days. Even as I draft this post, my mind has already wandered off to granola bars, coffee, the laundry in the dryer, and what the heck my kids are doing. (Deep breath. Focus.)


Have you found your mind wandering with greater abandon lately? Has it been tougher to hold tight to your train of thought? Well, you are not alone.

When I Googled “How to focus better,” the search produced about 2,890,000,000 results. Yikes! That’s A LOT of information on focus and why we struggle with it. Perhaps the fact that there are nearly 3 billion internet options tells us that we have too much at our fingertips. That abundance of information and distractions makes maintaining concentration confounding.

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Monday’s Message – November 30, 2020

2020 has felt like a year that would never end, and yet, I experienced a slight panic realizing today is the last day of November. Where did the year go?

While much of my time has been spent at home, I hope my efforts were impactful outside the boundaries of our family and farm. I volunteer as library lady two afternoons a week at my children’s school and am a lector and song leader at church. In spite of hell and high water, my friends and I work sporadic lunches, happy hours, and lengthy, meme-filled text messages into our chaotic schedules. Making weekly phone calls and sending cards manifests my desire to keep connected with those I love, but I continue to wonder if it’s enough. Do you ever feel the same?

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The Glass is Refillable – Wise Words Wednesday

Refillable, as in the ability to be replenished, has to be one of the most optimistic words I can think of.

When the coffee has all been chugged, the ice cream has all be inhaled, or the treats have all been taken, it may be a downer. You may feel depleted, but that doesn’t mean you are defeated. It means you have an opportunity to scavenge for something sweeter, saltier, or just a bit more savory.

Let me give an example of how easy it is to tap into some positive purpose when your energy cup is empty.

My 7 year-old son has started reading chapter books and it is ROUGH. He struggles with phonetics and may have a hole in his attention span reservoir. He loves the book we are reading (Ready Freddy!: Shark Tooth Tale By: Abby Klien), but EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. we struggle, cry, throw fits, and read in a slow, robotic cadence through the chapters. Last night was no exception. The enthusiasm was not flowing for my boy, but once he read the next chapter title things turned around.

Chapter 4 – “If You Have Lemons, Make Lemonade” was all about Freddy finding ways to make money to buy a fossilized megalodon tooth (My son is obsessed with megalodons and lemonade stands.) Freddy’s elderly neighbor Mrs. Golden had broken her ankle but still had a friendly dog that needed walking. Her situation was a bummer, but my son started understanding that even sad situations can lead to happy opportunities. Freddy was able to help Mrs. Golden care for her dog AND earn money towards the purchase of that precious megalodon tooth.

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How Friendship Happens in Adulthood

Relationships are hard. Friendships should be easy, but as an adult making friends and having healthy friendships is way too stinking hard.

Even if you have lifelong besties, finding time to get together is more challenging than giving the heads of Mount Rushmore a facial. There’s too much ground to cover, too many variables, and the critics condemning your efforts can be relentless.

Here is what I have discovered.

  1. Hell and high water are going to come. Keep your plans anyway.
  2. When hell and high water get there, be willing to support your friends; keep dates with those still available; reschedule with those who need it; go with the flow.
  3. Friendship in adulthood is tough but necessary.
  4. When camaraderie happens, it must be celebrated.
  5. Great friends can be found in weird and unexpected places. Accept healthy friendships when they present themselves.
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