What’s a “Freak”?

 

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”?”

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Inking God’s Plan

Ink Speaks 2

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”

“Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday

Safe Words

“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”

Take Your Brain With You.

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.”

So Glad You Were Born!

wish candle

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!)

Sometimes We Just Don’t Have the Words

No Words

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”

Sweetly Humming

Sweet humming

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”

First Fire of the Year

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”

Single Compliment = Double Joy – Wise Words Wednesday

Compliments - Twain

“I can live two months on one good compliment.” – Mark Twain

In the cafeteria line yesterday, Donnie (a neighbor and coworker) told me he really liked my story on “those Charolais cattle.” Donnie raises Charolais himself, but I never took him to be a reader. I was so honored that he read my post. My joy was enhanced as he said, “I like what you said. I’m gonna read some more.”

My head was so big; they had to add a second line to the lunch cue.

Donnie reminded me how important it is to share our appreciation for the efforts of others.

As in Mr. Twain’s quote above, I find greater inspiration when I know my work has been enjoyed.

What motivates you to create, write, or work harder?

Continue reading “Single Compliment = Double Joy – Wise Words Wednesday”

Intentergy Turned 2

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On February 14th I celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of Intentergy.

While the last few weeks things have been quiet on the site, my writing has been anything but silent.

My family took a terrific trip that has no fewer than 15 posts in draft. My students continue to provide me with love, learning, and laughter that I promise to share. As always the farm has me on high alert for lessons that can only come from caring for livestock and the land.

To celebrate my 2nd blogging anniversary, I would like to share links to some of my favorite posts from the past.

curve ball (2)Curve Balls – A story inspired by the curve pitch and how to handle the figurative curve balls in our lives.

Zone Defense for Your Attitude – Today, if you find yourself crowded by grumpiness or fouled by foulness of others, put up your positivity defenses.

For the Love of the Game – A post inspired by my father’s practice of watching games without sound. Sometimes the quiet allows us to know what is really going on in life.

Angelfood Cake – A Tradition of Grace – A story inspired by our parish dinner. The angel food cakes I bake are not in my honor but in honor of Miss Grace Jansen.

Not just a pieWhy is it Easy as Pie? Pies are Hard. – Another story inspired by parish picnics reminding us that effort can lead to tasty rewards.

Emergency Room Enlightenment – A visit to our local emergency room helped me to see that it really is a small world and my efforts as a writer were helpful to others.

You Don’t Have to Have It All Figured Out – I really don’t have life figured out. None of us do. This was a reminder that we don’t have to have it all figured out.

The OTHER Serenity Prayer – A tribute to a modified version of my favorite prayer

29 gifts and meMeeting Cami Walker – Taking the 29 Gifts Challenge – After reading 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, I was inspired to start my blog and have since had the chance to become friends with its author Cami Walker.

Signs of Faith – Visiting the local ambulance district served to provide an very important reminder about those who serve our communities.

No Bull - communicateCommunication is Important – No Bull! A story inspired by the purchase of some Charolais cattle by my husband that led to a breach in the happiness of our home. (Happiness was definitely restored and the cattle are enjoying their role on our farm.)

Overalls and a Pocket Watch –The story of remembering my Grandfather and his special things that left their mark on my heart.Grandpa Frank

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Intentergy is energy with a positive purpose. I hope you will put energy into being positive today.

P.P.S. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, or shared my blog during the last two years. Your support has made all the difference.