In February of 2002 I took a long-term substitute teaching position at a small, Catholic school in Loose Creek, Mo. That position sealed my understanding that God was calling me to be a teacher. In August of 2002, I began my teacher education program only to receive a call in October that the same small school needed me. A teacher had quit. I rearranged my newly laid plans and went back for another long-term subbing.
At the end of that second year, the school secretary gave me a framed saying, “Only angles can wing it. The rest of us have to work at it.”
That saying sits on my bathroom counter today. Every morning it is my motivation to get going and work on making my day count. Every night it is my reminder that even the most imperfect days are days I did my best to keep up with the angels. Continue reading “Only Angels Can Wing It”
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”
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”?”
Whatever your stance on tattoos, the power of self-expression through ink cannot be denied. Just as writers have put words to paper for centuries, tattoo artists have given power to the markings on their human palletes.
Recently our friend Evan experienced a very dramatic change in his life. Like most, he was angry and confused at first, but after time to think things through, Evan has started the task of moving past the hurt and letting the emotional wounds become battle scars.
As part of his healing process Evan chose a way to make God’s word a permanent reminder that the plan for us is bigger than we can ever understand. He chose the simple scriptural emblem of “Isaiah 14:27.”
Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life.
Continue reading “Inking God’s Plan”
“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer
As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.
My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.
I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.
Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”
This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.
Continue reading ““Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday”
Every day is an adventure. We are faced with literally thousands of decisions during each trip around the sun. The toughest part of making most decisions is going with our heart, while using our brain.
Often it’s not necessarily the morality of a choice, but rather the practicality of a decision that can weigh heaviest on us. Yes, you may LOVE how that new handbag would look with your new shoes or eating double quarter pounders, but are either really the best way to enhance your life?
You may still be angry with what someone said or did in the past, but think about your actions and reactions before you and your hurt heart go running your mouth. Adding negative words to a bad situation only compounds the pain. Continue reading “Take Your Brain With You.”
Whenever people tell me it is their birthday, I always tell them, “I am so glad you were born.” Most look at me like I am crazy or just laugh at me. I am genuine in this statement.
Had that person not been born, never would I have had the opportunity to meet and know them or celebrate the anniversary of their birth.
My mom doesn’t like celebrating her birthday. She prefers to call them “pass-overs.” She wants them to “pass right on over.” There isn’t anyone I am more grateful for being born than her so I always try to make her day special (even though she doesn’t like it).
Here’s the thing. Too often we wait for birthdays or anniversaries to show our excitement for someone’s existence. Today be sure to share with someone you know how glad you are that they were born. Find a way for your genuineness to shine through and your gratitude for their role in your life to be clear. Appreciation is one of the best gifts we can give.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. I am so glad you were born! (I mean it!)
In tough situations we often find ourselves unable to come up with the right words to say. That inability makes handling the circumstances even tougher. Here’s the good news: sometimes nothing needs to be said.
Just showing up and offering to listen or hug those hurting in the situation can be the most perfect proclamation. A simple squeeze of the hand or a covered dish for supper can sound like the kindest statements. Handing someone a tissue or taking over childcare duties is a true testament to your support and understanding for the suffering they are enduring. Sometimes we just don’t have the words, but we do always have the ability to make things happen and ease pain of the circumstances.
When my grandfather died, I was unable to attend the funeral because I had just endured a major surgery. My aunt came and sat with me the day of his funeral and said nothing. She simply hugged me, made lunch, did the dishes, and took care of the laundry. She knew I didn’t could speak of my grief yet and understood that sometimes it isn’t the words that make us feel better.
Sometimes we just don’t have the words.
Last night I attended the visitation of a man I had never met. I attended because two of his daughters (Mary Kay and Tina) are friends of mine. As I approached the front of the line, I wondered (as most do): what can I say that will help? Continue reading “Sometimes We Just Don’t Have the Words”
As one of the greatest wonders of the world, humming birds defy the odds of nature and mystify with the speed of their wings and delicate ability to hover. For Christmas my children surprised me with a hummingbird feeder to put in my flower bed. No contemplation was necessary over its destined location. That hummingbird feeder was going outside my office window. The notion of having nonstop opportunities to see those winged wonders was pretty exciting for me.
As the winter dragged on, I sadly gazed at the feeder in its box on a garage shelf for months. Hummingbirds certainly weren’t going to come if the weather never got warm.
Finally, spring arrived!
I carefully mixed the nectar according to the directions and poured it into the feeder’s reservoir. With excitement I lined up the lid to screw it on just the right way and SNAP the neck of the reservoir cracked off rendering the feeder useless.
I was humming with disappointment. Continue reading “Sweetly Humming”
As a surprise, hubby and I headed out for a short two-day camp out with the kids as soon as they were dismissed from the last day of school. Their excitement was contagious and the chance to get away was too tempting to resist.
One of our favorite parts of camping is always the campfire. The kids and I seek out the best sticks and logs and enjoy hours of flame watching and food roasting. Campfires always seem to pull us into the warmth and light of their flames and inspire memorable moments and sharing.
The dancing flames provide one of nature’s greatest entertainments. The fantastic show they perform can never be duplicated and never ceases to amaze us. The first campfire of the year holds a special power. Continue reading “First Fire of the Year”