Forget Seek. I Just Want to Hide.

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.)

Continue reading “Forget Seek. I Just Want to Hide.”

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.
Continue reading “How Friendship Happens in Adulthood”

Think, Talk, Feel

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.

Continue reading “Think, Talk, Feel”

Condoleezza Rice, will you have lunch with me? – Sincerely, Intentergy

Dear Condoleezza Rice,

I would like to cordially invite you to have lunch with me. My desire for this lunch date is so sincere that you may choose the day, time, and location that works best for you.

You and I share some very similar interests. We both love to sing and love our nation. We share the belief that good leaders listen, stand up for what needs to be done, and that sometimes simple solutions are all that is needed to make big changes.

Your mom was a teacher, and I am a mom and a teacher. So we both value education and moms.

You’ve written and published children’s books and having children’s books published from my pen is on my bucket list. (Maybe you could recommend a good literary agent.)

You are much better at golf than I, but maybe you could give me some pointers as we dine.

A love of laughter and sincerity are also things we have in common, and I know we could both use a sincere conversation and laugh right now. (People tell me I’m pretty funny, so I’ve got that to bring to the table.)

Continue reading “Condoleezza Rice, will you have lunch with me? – Sincerely, Intentergy”

At Least You Don’t Have Hobbit Feet and Ears – Wise Words Wednesday

I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say that starting the day as a pandemic-exhausted parent has me feeling like Gandalf facing the legions of Sauron’s forces while also being Frodo seeking the best route up Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. I just want to make the bad stuff go away and bring about peace without too much destruction.

Just as Gandalf, Frodo, and their companions discovered, there are an awful lot of things looming in the way before we can make each day successful. Thankfully J.R.R. Tolkien provided many layers of inspiration for us in The Lord of the Rings series starting with, “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” (A totally Intentergy way of thinking.)

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To bring the full Intentergy spirit to this post I want to remind everyone that it’s good to not have just one “precious” person or thing that absorbs all our energy and attention. Keep your loyal and loving companions close. If you get lost, scared, or distracted, there are plenty of ways to turn a new page. 

Continue reading “At Least You Don’t Have Hobbit Feet and Ears – Wise Words Wednesday”

Positive Charge from My Child – Still Got the Batteries

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Last Christmas my youngest son received a remote controlled drone. It was a nice drone. So nice, in fact, that it required 10 AA batteries. Four batteries went into the drone itself and six went into the remote.

Christmas was really good to my boy and it was a week or so before he got around to playing with the new flying contraption. The thing is, he decided to play with the drone in my absence. Hubby was “watching” our two boys and my 5 year-old nephew when they opened the drone and its parts. After the surprise hurricane of packaging and instructions, the boys enlisted hubby to help with the batteries and directions. Taking his dad duties very seriously, my husband coached the boys on how to insert batteries the correct way and made valiant attempts to read the directions as they flew the drone crazily INSIDE our house.

After a “crash course” in drone flying, hubby and the three aspiring pilots took the flying terror outside. It was a clear and fairly warm day for late December so take off was a go. The drone proved difficult to control for the little hands of the the boys, and my husband was forced to keep a vigilant eye on their piloting. After a bit, they were cold and chose to come inside. The drone was left on the kitchen counter and the boys dispersed to reek havoc on another part of the house.

A short time later, my husband took a phone call in our home office and the drone took an unsupervised flight compliments of my nephew.

Continue reading “Positive Charge from My Child – Still Got the Batteries”

Weighted Blanket Benefits – Lifting the Weight of Stress and Exhaustion

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For four years my son did not sleep through the night. Four years! We tried everything. Establishing routine, vitamins with melatonin, changing bed position, night lights, no night lights, humidifiers, white noise, no noise, essential oils, everything. To add to the non-sleeping cycle, our younger son quit sleeping when we moved into our new home. His non-sleeping added to the exhausting fun for 18 months until my friend Michelle told me about how using a weighted blanket had helped her son to sleep through the night and calmed him when he was in high stress situations.

I thought, “What the heck. I’m gonna give it a try.” I called my seamstress mom and asked her to look into making weighted blankets for my boys.

As a special education aide, my mom had actually already looked into making these magic blankets because she believed they would help some of her students and was eager to create some to witness their effectiveness. We weighed my boys to determine each blanket’s weight. The weight of the blanket should be 10% of the owner’s body weight. To create the comforting but cozy blankets we had to choose a cool but study fabric and ordered the polypropylene pellets.

The boys loved their blankets from the moment they held them. While the sleeping did not improve immediately, once we got the boys used to the routine of being tucked in and reassuring them that their “magic” blankets would keep them safe, sleeping improved. I have to say we sleep almost five nights a week without interruption now. We have had the blankets for a  few years now and still use them almost daily. (They aren’t always needed to sooth now, but they are always comforting.)

The blankets have also helped when my son was experiencing some severe anxiety. Starting school was really tough on my boy and each day we had melt downs. To sooth him I often wrapped the blanket around him and just let him feel loved and safe. The weight clearly eased his tension quicker than my hugging arms could alone.

Weighted Blanket 2The weighted blanket for my younger son has been a blessing when he really needs a nap. He will stop fighting us and rest much faster when the blanket it laid across him. There is something about its weight that eases him to a restful state with less frustration.

The science behind the blankets evolved from Keith Zivalich’s Beanie Baby inspired blanket in the 1990’s. Zivalich’s idea came from the comfort provided by his child’s Beanie Baby lizard. After a name dispute with Ty Corporation, The Original Beanie Baby Blanket became The Magic Blanket in 1998 and the benefits for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sensory Process Disorder (SPD) were quickly discovered.

The comfort provided by these blankets is referred to as Deep Touch Therapy. The weight of the blanket applies pressure to points in the body causing the brain to release the calming chemical serotonin. When released serotonin calms the nervous system and digestive system and starts the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin tells the body when to sleep leading to a more restful state. Similar practices have been used for centuries by indigenous tribes (including Native Americans) and hospitals through the methods of swaddling fussy infants.

The benefits of weighted blankets include:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Help in controlling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Reduced sensory overload for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sensory Process Disorder (SPD)
  • Lessen insomnia
  • Calms Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Calms children during meltdowns
  • Makes stressful transitions less traumatic
  • Assists in classroom focus for children with autism and improves fine motor skills in classrooms that utilized blankets for student with ASD and SPD
  • There are no side effects from chemicals or drugs
  • Acts as a hug or a massage

The blankets have made a positive impact in our home and many other homes that I know. If you are considering a weighted blanket for your child or self, check with your doctor first. There are a few individuals with cardiopulmonary conditions for which the blankets are not ideal. If you are looking for a way to reduce anxiety and assist in sleeping, a weighted blanket may be what you need to lift the burdens of stress and exhaustion in your life.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Nightly, I enjoy the way my weighted blanket lifts my daily aches and worries.

Quarantine: What Teachers Are Expecting from Parents

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As our nation faces another week of stay-at-home orders, mandated and self-quarantines, and growing fears for time lost from work or school, I recently had someone ask me, “What do you, as an educator, think about trying to keep school going at home?”

Well, I can’t speak for ALL educators, but here is what I know and believe.

First of all, we miss the kids. We miss the classroom. We miss being able to teach, interact, hug, listen to, and learn from our students.

The greatest hope we have for our students is that they are safe, secure, and still learning on some level.

While most parents don’t have degrees in classroom management or educational psychology, the majority understand what it means to be a kid. Maintaining awareness for their innocence and young minds needs to be in the forefront of our thoughts as we interact with them.

With regards to lesson plans, please just do your best. Try to provide opportunities for kids to make connections between what they normally would be learning in school and what they are getting at home. While there aren’t SmartBoards, extensive libraries, and gymnasiums in our homes, there are still plenty of ways to encourage our kids to keep learning. Some families don’t have computers or internet access. There are still ways to engage children in reading, math, science, and physical activity. Parents, allow yourselves to learn news ways to communicate positively with your children and let them know that change is hard, but we can make it easier together.

To those who say, “It’s not my job to teach. I’m not making my kids do homework,” teachers view all children as their own. When you refuse to put effort into helping your own child learn, you are refusing to help everyone. Please don’t take that from them or us. We all deserve to have knowledge and understanding as this pandemic impacts our lives. You are that child’s parent, and, therefore, you are their first teacher. Join us in the work we do to ensure bright futures open to continued growth and knowledge.

Finally, please remember teachers are people too. We have fears, anxiety, and questions that can’t be answered. We are doing our best to share as much information and as many opportunities as possible with your kids, while caring for/teaching/raising/coping with our own families. Please don’t let our efforts be something that is also lost during this time of crisis.

Again, I can’t speak for all teacher, but this is what I believe most would say. Be safe. Stay healthy. Read, write, experiment, exercise, love, and learn.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Parents, it’s okay to put yourself in detention if you need a time out, but don’t punish your kid if new Math is confusing. Teachers had to learn it too.

P.P.S. Parents, it’s also okay to give yourself an apple or a chocolate bar when you’ve done a good job of helping get through those workbook pages.

P.P.P.S. Teacher friends, thank you for stretching yourselves and adapting to these crazy conditions. You’ve all earned A’s in my book.

Put Some Battles Back

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Put some battles back. Never will I claim to be an expert at saying “No” to volunteering. Never will I raise my hand and say I am the best at walking away from being too busy. Never will I be a poster child for those who are willing let someone else do everything, but I will be the first to sign up for this Instagram message.

Instagram is a social media platform that I am growing to enjoy more and more, but it still overwhelms me (along with Twitter). Today this sweet reminder found its way into my feed and I thought, “Boy, did I need that!”

Okay, so I know the world spins on a tilted axis, and that the battle between good and evil is one that will wage until Armageddon, but there are lots of wonky, unjust, and yucky situations for which we are not called to take up arms.

The barrage of battles reminds me of going to the grocery store, and I have one very solid rule for grocery store shopping. I stick firmly to the rule: If something is not on my grocery list, I am not going to purchase it.

My kids and husband know this rule. They are TERRIBLE at following this rule (Hubby is the worst). For this reason, I never take my husband to the grocery store. When they are with me, I give my children stern, Mom’s-death-stare warnings before entering any grocery/clothing/shoe/farm supply or craft store (Any store really). Continue reading “Put Some Battles Back”

Letters Already Included – Wise Words Wednesday

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Greeting cards are one of the best parts of birthdays, anniversaries, saying thank you, or just to brighten someone’s day. At my son’s 7th birthday party, I gained a new appreciation for the messages inside greeting cards.

A few of the boys made cards to go with their gifts. These were particularly sweet and showed some serious artistic promise. Others purchased greeting cards they thought the birthday boy would enjoy. (His loves for the color yellow, Legos, outer space, and dinosaurs were well represented.)

The magical epiphany of greeting card messages came as the huddle of wiggling wish givers waited for my son to sound out the words inside a store-bought card. One of my son’s buddies (who had made his own card) exclaimed, “It came with all those letters already inside!” 

Wow! 

That 7 year-old boy realized something as simple as a card already containing an expression of friendship was something to celebrate. The fact there was an option to give a card with the message right there inside was something to be proud of, to feel excited about, and to make a gift extra fancy.

Here is your Intentergy challenge for today. You are just like that card. You already have the letters inside you. Dedicate your intent and energy to putting the message out there for others. Be proud of your accomplishments and of your friends and family. Share excitement for great things happening around you. Fancy things up a bit with some flattering, faith-filled, or funny messages. You were sent here with all those letters already inside you. It’s okay if you don’t sound like a Hallmark commercial. The simplest sentiments and discoveries (like a card with the letters already inside) are better anyway.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Special shout out to my friend Angela for being the mom who sacrificed herself as a warrior in the Nerf gun war. Angela took one for the mom team allowing the Nerf war teams to be even. I salute you!