Forget seek. I just want to hide. I really, really just want to hide. No need to seek me out. I will be okay. I just need to disappear for a bit.
Have you ever sat in your car after turning it off and not gotten out? Did you let the quiet sound of car cooling and silence envelop you? It’s sort of magical, until your family realizes you are out there and bum-rushes the vehicle forcing you to begrudgingly get out.
As we navigate the noise of working from home and distance learning with our kiddos, the drone of electronic devices is deafening, the chaos all-consuming, and the need for privacy imperative. Sometimes I take out the trash, just to take in a minute of peace. (Of course the dog always joins me, but at least he’s usually glad to see me and never asks anything but for a belly rub.)
The sound of the alarm clock is not the most pleasing to my ear. The cool air hitting my skin when I finally do roll out from under my quilts is less than reassuring. The fussing of my tired children as I attempt to rouse them less than inspiring, but the possibility of a new day is a smell that I can’t resist.
Today I would like to give you a sensory challenge. Consider the sights, tastes, touches, sounds, and, YES, smells that this day has to offer. Find ways to appreciate all you can physically experience. The joy you find may come in the softness of your socks, the smell of a shop as you enter, the calming noises of nature as you walk to your car or the hard rock blaring from you car speakers, the sight of someone’s smile, or the taste of your favorite snack. It is in the words, bites, hugs, high fives, fresh brewed coffee, and morning breezes that we know we are alive and that the day offers us possibility. And there is nothing I love more than the smell of possibility in the morning.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. If you’ve lost your sense of smell, you know what a gift it is.
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.
When it comes to being far from perfect, I’ve got imperfection in the spades. I often beat myself up for having so many flaws and petty insecurities. It’s tough being human. (Do you ever get down on yourself for being less than perfect?)
In his homily this past Sunday, Fr. Tony addressed the challenge that is posed to us by All Saints Day. With tremendous understanding and the right amount of humor, Fr. Tony reminded us that the canonized saints were human too. They struggled with jealousy, anger, fear, and weakness (among other things). In his narrative, Fr. Tony dared us to be like the saints. His All Saints Day challenge is to live with love, compassion, and faith at the center of our thoughts and actions in spite of our struggles.
Nobody is born a saint, but we all have the power to be saintly in our words and works. In the bulletin “Message from Fr. Tony,” he thoughtfully stated, “The simple but reassuring fact is that nobody was born a saint. It’s something we have to strive to become… All Saints Day calls us to something beautiful. It reminds us of our great potential – the promise that lies within each of us. The promise of holiness.”
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.
Hell and high water are going to come. Keep your plans anyway.
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.
Friendship in adulthood is tough but necessary.
When camaraderie happens, it must be celebrated.
Great friends can be found in weird and unexpected places. Accept healthy friendships when they present themselves.
Jumping into a pile of leaves is a time-honored autumn tradition. This past weekend, my children attempted to step up their leaf-jumping game. They devised the brilliant idea to collect wagonloads of fallen leaves and pile them onto the trampoline. (In my previous post, I said I admire resourcefulness, but this particularly ambitious attempt had me a little nervous.)
For me, the beauty of their plan was not in the adventure and adrenaline it would guarantee but in the teamwork it spawned. Watching the three of them scamper to gather as many leaves as they could and load the wagon as speedily as possible was a thing of glory. They wanted to jump into extreme fall fun and they were doing it without sibling rivalry or fussing. They were working together. (Insert tear drop of joy here.)
Resourcefulness is a trait I really admire in people.
Being able to say, “I made it myself,” is something that brings most of us tremendous joy.
When I was younger my mom sewed most of my clothes, and to this day I still get a kick out of telling admirers of something sewn just for me, “My mom made it.”
When shopping for back-to-school supplies, my daughter struggled to find folders that represented her interests or that were in a price range we could afford. I suggested that she could decorate her own, and that’s just what she did.
Walking the walk and talking the talk can a be tall order when it comes to being positive. Sometimes positive energy can be hard to find. Other times we have to create that outlook for ourselves.
This week was mid-quarter for my children at school. (Thank goodness our school has made it healthily this far into 1st quarter.) I have started to see a shadow of exhaustion in my daughter.
She is determined to earn high enough grades to be on Honor Roll, practicing 3 to 4 days a week with her competitive gymnastics team, still helping with home and farm chores, and be a normal 11-year old. Not wanting that shadow to become a storm of exhaustion, I devised a way to help her think, talk, and feel positive on Monday.
As soon as my girl was off the bus, I told her how proud I was of her and showed her successful math paper from last week’s homework now displayed on the pantry door. (5th grade math is hard!) Then I had blueberry muffins hot, out of the oven, for after-school snack, and I shared my blog post on The Thunder Tree with her. (She loved Thunder.) I told her to get dressed for gymnastics and surprised her with fresh cup of sweet tea to-go. These may seem like petty things, but when she got home 4 hours later from gymnastics, her mood was lighter than it had been the last few days, and she gushed with the successes of her practice.
Have you ever built a fort or a playhouse out of a cardboard box?
Well, I have.
I have some pretty extensive cardboard construction experience from my own childhood and as I take part in the imaginary creations of my own kiddos. Anybody who has ever built a refrigerator box hideout will tell you that the secret to its success is in the door.
Cutting cardboard is hard work. It requires sketching the door with whatever pencil, marker, or crayon you can find. Then sneaking a steak knife from the kitchen or maybe Mom’s good scissors, and then you have to saw, hack, shred, and, without losing a finger or toe, trim out your new entrance. Of course the entrance never seems to follow the dried-out marker shape you sketched and maybe you got tired and your little sister had to finish cutting part of the door, and maybe, just maybe the handle accidentally came off Mom’s good scissors, so you took Dad’s pocketknife while he was napping. Whatever the series of events may have been, they all result in an opening of some sort.