“May I?”: Giving Yourself Permission to Grow- May Positivity Challenge

As spring has arrived and the whirlwind of May activities swirls around us, I wanted to use this month’s positivity challenge to encourage growth.

We are all pretty good at making things happen for our kids, so they develop in their educational and sports skills. Many of us excel at nurturing our lawns and gardens. It is easy for us to dedicate our efforts encouraging the enhancement of others, but granting ourselves permission to grow can be really tough.

I want you to think about something you wish you were better at or want to feel better about in your life.

Maybe it’s learning a new skill or honing in on a talent that has been neglected.

Is there something you wish you could spend more time doing?

Could you use an increase in relaxation or self-care?

Whatever it is that is missing in your life, I want you to let May be your month for growing in that area.

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Even When We Know It’s Coming

Recently, I had the opportunity to share a morning with Gus and Fitz, two of our little friends from church. Other than the snuggles, the best part about having little friends join us is that they find joy in the toys that my kids have outgrown. On this particular visit, Gus discovered the phlat ball. The phlat ball has suction cups and a spring inside, so that when smooshed together it holds its flattened shape for a short time and then pops back into a sphere. Gus also thoroughly enjoyed of all the Paw Patrol toys. Soon he discovered that the Ryder figurine could lay on the phlat ball until it popped, and Ryder would go sailing.

Gus and his treasures (Sorry for the blurriness! He wouldn’t stop long enough for a clear shot.)

No matter how many times it happened, Gus never failed to be excited about the prospect and result of the phlat ball propelling Ryder through the air.

Watching that kind of joy made me wish I could always be so enthusiastic about the simple pleasures in life, even when I know they are coming.

Today I hope you will take time to relish the simple stuff in your life, even if you know it’s coming.

Be sure to take in some fresh air and sunshine. Celebrate the reliability of your schedule and ability to be a part of your professional team. Do a happy dance for the dependability of dinner with your family, or the thundering sound of tennis shoes arriving home from school, and the quick hugs as your kiddos make their way to the snack cabinet. Give up a quick prayer of gratitude for the goodies you have to eat. Find pleasure in your pillow when you lay your head down tonight.

If you find joy in the simple things, joy will find its way to your more often… especially when you know it’s coming.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I’m excited that you read my post.

P.P.S. What are you excited about today?

Light from Last Year

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. 🙂

Luck is in the Eye of the Observer – March Positivity Challenge

Have you ever witnessed someone’s success and thought, “Man, that guy is so lucky!”?

As the college basketball season wraps up with the wonders of the national championship tournament, I am enthralled with the games and the amazing feats of the players on the court. All too often I take for granted that the men and women making those shots and executing impressive defenses worked countless hours and put in immeasurable efforts to be there.

I will sometimes find myself saying snarky things like, “Must be easy if you’re 7-feet tall to block that shot” or “Come on! You’re a Division I basketball player; make your free throws.” My jeers and cheers often fall short of the reality that those athletes are under a great deal of pressure, and my yoga-pant-wearing, couch-coaching isn’t providing any assistance or luck to anyone.

Luck is usually a trait that is determined by someone observing a situation. Yes, we can feel lucky because of a positive experience or encounter, but for the most part we consider ourselves to not be as “lucky” as everyone else because we always see someone else’s wishes coming true.

I am reminded of a my last basketball game in the 8th grade. My sister, whom I had always played with on the same team, was in the hospital recovering from a life-saving surgery, and our team and I were playing our arch rivals from Perryville. It was the consolation game of the end of season tournament, and I wanted nothing more than to win that game for my sister. The entire game was a close one. With 10 seconds left, we were tied. After I tied the game with a free throw, the other team was brining the ball down the court.

Their player, a girl who I seriously did not like, dribbled past our guards and stopped right in front of me. She shot. My finger tips grazed the ball.

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Up In Flames – Burning for Happiness

Burning rituals have been a part of society since civilizations first took shape. It seems that the act of allowing flames to consume things has healing properties. While the ceremonies of burning rituals do not all contain the same supply list or formal procedures, they all do have two things in common: fire and something to burn.

Valentine's burning ritual. #valentines | Friends season 1 episodes, Friends  season 1, Friends show

On a recent getaway with some of my gal pals, we lamented emotions and worries that were weighing heavily on us. As we sought respite in food, drinks, and re-runs of Friends, we were inspired (in part by Phoebe’s idea in “The One with the Candy Hearts”) to have our own burning ritual.

We would each write down the things that were weighing on us and then toss them in the fire. (Our rental cabin had the MOST amazing fireplace.) It took no time at all for each of us to jot down the issues we would like to see go up in flames. Before we decided to just willy-nilly toss our troubles into the fire, we thought it would be best to research burning rituals to see if there was anything that would increase the effectiveness of our sacrifice.

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Committing to a Vacation…A Good Kind of Scare

Who doesn’t need or want a vacation?

After the last 12 months of COVID crisis, presidential and political craziness, and wacked out weather, I am certain we all deserve a vacation.

So, why is it so hard to commit to a vacation?

For me there are three major factors.
1. Cost
2. Commitment phobia
3. I have too much to do.

All of which are bologna.

1. Taking a break or getting away does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

2. Committing to do something makes it that much more valuable.

3. What am I gonna do with all my to-do’s if I don’t take a break before I have a breakdown?

For others, fear of committing to a vacation is based on things to actually be afraid of such as: medical conditions, occupational duties, pets, hurricanes, and pandemics. With awareness of the need for concern, we also have to acknowledge the need to take a break when we can.

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Who Do You Think of When You Mop?

Who do you think of when you mop?

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.

Continue reading “Who Do You Think of When You Mop?”

A Month of Observance: February Positivity Challenge

Every month has a special focus thanks to the practices of commercialism, philanthropy, and celebrating holidays. When I started to think about this month’s Positivity Challenge, I checked out the national observations for the month of February to hone my focus.

Well, the list of national observances did NOT assist my focus. In fact, it caused even greater indecisiveness.

So I decided the Intentergy February Positivity Challenge is to make February a month of observance for something that we don’t normally give our focus. After all, putting positive purpose towards recognizing something new or impactful is definitely a great way to make use of our energy and intents.

For example, I do like to sew, but never considered giving National Embroidery Month a stitch of consideration.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

I am the volunteer Library Lady at my kids’ school, and, tragically, I have never shouted that it’s National Library Lover’s Month from the roof tops. (I LOVE the library! What is wrong with me?)

We feed thousands of birds a day on our farm, but National Bird Feeding Month has never been a holiday that I dedicated my efforts. I need to give that one some thought.

How have I never paid homage to Great American Pies Month or National Bake for Family Fun Month!?!
We LOVE pies and baking in my house!

Monthly Observances

There are many social and emotional causes that deserve our attention this month as well. Consider doing something to assist the American Heart Association for Heart Month or join in a discussion or celebration for Black History Month. Serving up some healthy and warm morning meals is a terrific way to recognize National Hot Breakfast Month for those who don’t normally get a hot meal or as a way to bond with your loved ones.

Canned Food Month is a great cause to encourage the donation of canned foods to local pantries and organizations. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month calls all of us to bring awareness to what healthy and loving relationships look like for individuals of all ages.

National Self-Check Month provides added purpose for carrying out self-checks to find potential health problems and awareness to our bodies. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention.

Whatever focus you chose to bring to February, make it one that you observe with sincerity, integrity, and dedication. Be sure to share your intents with others adding positive energy to your efforts and encouraging them to join you as you make this month one that has meaning.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. My personal February Intenergy probably won’t involve embroidery, but will definitely include some hot, heart-healthy breakfasts and some serious discussions with my family about healthy relationships and habits. Our kids are never too young to learn about love, healthy self-consciousness, and ways to grow.

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Monday, February 8, 2021 6:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. CST
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The Sounds of Snow and Relieving Stress

The snow globe is filling.

I’m no Robert Frost, but I am an admirer of hearing “the only sound’s the sweep, of easy wind and downy flake.” I’m not an enthusiast of freezing precipitation and the havoc it wreaks on roadways, but I am a fan of the peaceful nature of falling snow and an even bigger admirer of Fridays. Fridays are the highlight of the week, but a Friday in a world that looks like a snow globe is a special treat.

The peaceful nature of today’s snowfall felt like a call to drop all the worries and stressors that have been weighing me down. The dance of flakes in a symphony of spiraling, soft landings seemed to lower my stress level and reminded me to just let go of the silly stuff that I can’t control. (Hopefully I don’t sound too much like the Frozen soundtrack.)

If you are not in a place where you can see or hear the snow, I hope you will enjoy this clip from my front porch.

The sights and sounds as the snow began to fall harder this morning

The Intentergy message for today is to let the falling snow be your call to peace. Even if for only a minute or two, taking in the frosty scene can help you forget what’s wrong with the world and the blanket of white can be a clean slate allowing you to find calm.

Slow down.

See the world for the beautiful and chaotic snow globe that it is.

Let the simple pleasure of flakes falling be the counterweight to your worries and find some balance between stress and serenity. While we are like Robert Frost in that there are probably miles and miles to go before we sleep, we can be grateful for the opportunity to watch these woods fill up with snow and empty our emotional overloads as we enjoy the sights and sounds of this wintery season.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If there’s enough snow, you can throw some snowballs to get frustrations out as well. A very peaceful practice!

P.P.S. My allusions to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” do not have to stop here. I am so glad we are past “The darkest evening of the year,” and the day light is blissfully growing longer.

Shiny Wishes

For three years, I have said I was going to create a Vision Board in the new year. I vowed to decorate a board with my brightest wishes and most lustrous resolutions.

The first two years I failed to make my Vision Board.

2021 is the third year, and the year my Vision Board WILL BE made!

I have poster board, adhesive, decorations, and lists of ideas for my goals and what I want to see happen in the next year. So as to keep myself dedicated to the cause, I’ve enlisted my friends Andrea, Erin, and Jody to police my attempt. They, too, will be making their own 2021 Vision Boards. (Nothing like peer pressure to keep a project on track.)

Being a Pinterest fan, I shared a number of idea pins with my gal pals organizing Vision Boards, but it was my friend Erin who came up with the coolest idea. She suggested that we add a vision or positive idea to each other’s boards for 2021. Wow! Nothing says, “May you shine!” like putting a positive prediction on display in support of another person.

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