What Color Are Your Pancakes?

Blue Pancakes (6)

Blue pancakes are the usual in our household (when we have pancakes). I usually like to keep my breakfast dates with friends (when I can schedule breakfast dates). This past week my friend Erin and I had a breakfast date planned, but my sitter situation became bleak. I offered to make breakfast at my home (if Erin didn’t mind the three-ring circus running around while we visited). She was cool with hanging out at my house so we kept our date.

Blue Pancakes (7)As I was whipping up the pancakes, my youngest son asked if the pancakes would be blue. My daughter soon chimed in that she really wanted blue pancakes too (after all our pancakes are usually blue). I wasn’t sure how Erin would react to blue pancakes, so I left half the batch plain and the other half was blue. When Erin arrived, the kids stampeded to let her in and were in full three-ring circus mode. It seemed only right that there were blue pancakes.

In true awesome Erin fashion, she said, “I’m down with blue pancakes,” and happily ate blue and plain colored flapjacks with my family.

What color are your pancakes? Do you have a special breakfast tradition in your household?

As we begin the season of holiday feasting, think about the traditions that been upheld by your loved ones. My mom’s side of the family has had chicken and dumplings at every family function since time began (that maybe a bit of an exaggeration); it just isn’t a Frank family holiday without chicken and dumplings.

Is there something special your family will eat that is a unique tradition this Thanksgiving?

Traditions, such as blue pancakes and chicken and dumplings, make special days “special.” My hope for you is that you are able to remember and (if you can) enjoy the food feasts that make family “family” this holiday season. Be sure to share your traditions with friends and tell the stories of your childhood to your kiddos. Savor the meals and memories that have made you who you are and be grateful for the events that enriched those memories.

Remember not everyone has “picture perfect” holiday plans. Be considerate and kind (and inviting, if you can) to those who have less to be thankful for.  Make your newest tasty tradition be one that dishes out meaningful memories for yourself and all those for whom you love. Who knows, maybe blue pancakes will be your new Thanksgiving brunch or chicken and dumplings your new tradition of choice. Whatever it is you serve, whether it be food or memories, make them positive and full of energy that inspires grateful intent.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If you are making blue pancakes. you will need to pick up some blue food coloring.

Blue Pancakes (1)

 

 

 

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Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too

Don't Worry...they are struggling too

“I don’t care what they think.”

“Who do they think they are? Judging me?”

“Seriously, why do they think they are better than me?”

How often do we find ourselves making these snarky statements?

Our rhetoric for these loaded comments usually shows itself when we feel like someone does not like us or something we do. We immediately go on the defensive and throw down the I-don’t-care-what-you-think-of-me jargon, but inside we are battling the why-don’t-they-like-me fight.

Some of the snarkiest people I have ever met are also some of the most insecure individuals I have known. To inflate their self-perception, they preach a degrading dialogue about anyone they think they bring down. The problem with this kind of judging is that the hurtful words usually become flames in the fire of burning bridges for future friendships and work experiences.

Let me give you a for instance: When I was in college I worked for an entertainment retailer. My job included working in the book department, the cafe, and training new employees. I loved that job. There was one associate, who we will call Adam. Adam did a nice job on register and worked well with customers on the floor. He eventually made it to the ranks of shift manager. After becoming a shift manager, for whatever reason, Adam gradually became unhappy with the company. He put in his two weeks notice. One night while closing the store, I overheard him tell another associate that he never comes to work for his last day at any job. Well, I knew what was coming and planned to come in the day of his last shift. We were going to be short a manager. Continue reading “Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too”

Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday

Don't Knock Jokes

Teaching the art of joke-telling is a healthy and happy way to develop communication skills.

Every week I share a joke with the 1st and 2nd graders at our school library.  The students keep a journal of the jokes and their answers. I also always invite the students to share jokes of their own.

The 2nd grade teacher recently thanked me for getting the kids excited about reading, in particular for their excitement about reading joke and riddle books. She said, “They just can’t get enough jokes or joke books. It’s fun to see them laugh and try to tell the jokes.” It is great to see my silly habit of sharing jokes is contagious.

When kids tell jokes, they are able to laugh at themselves and their message. Too often kids are hounded with seriousness. If we can use humor to educate and provide experience, we can inspire happier learners.

I have given speeches and had opportunities to be a public speaker for most of my life. When I started public speaking in 5th or 6th grade, I learned that the best trick for breaking the ice was to tell a joke first.

  • If you can tell a joke, and tell it well, you can speak to anyone.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, you can communicate a message.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, AND make your audience laugh when you want them to, you can communicate anything.

Continue reading “Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday”

Sometimes the Fear Won’t Go Away. Do It Anyway. – Wise Words Wednesday

Somes the fear doesn't go away

via Daily Prompt: Brave 

Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’ll have to do it afraid.

As a matter of habit, I don’t watch the news. My husband does though, so the news is on EVERY morning. We start our day catching up on the shootings, bombings, trash-talk Tweets, and the generally tragic state of our world.

I would much rather start the day by watching something like “Friends” or “I Love Lucy,” but hubby would remind me that it is important to know what’s going on in the world and then change the channel.

The story that has been most bothersome to me lately is the one of the four soldiers killed in Niger on October 4th. Victims of an apparent ambush, these men died serving our nation and world as they worked to stop ISIS.

As they served, those men knew that there was much to fear. Their service was intended to assist in ending the evil of ISIS. They were most surely afraid, but their actions reflected the definition of bravery.

If men can face the terror of forces, such as ISIS, can’t we take on horrible happenings on our own fronts? Continue reading “Sometimes the Fear Won’t Go Away. Do It Anyway. – Wise Words Wednesday”

What’s That in Your Persimmon?

Persimmons (2)

Wives’ tales are one of my favorite meteorological practices. I love the idea of watching for woolly worms’ colors and seeing how much rain falls in the first seven days of a year to predict the potential forecasts for the upcoming seasons. Persimmons also hold a tell tale story in their seeds.

Each fall my kids and I trek across our farm to the various persimmon trees that line our pastures. By this time of October they don’t have many leaves left and their peachy-colored fruits are the only sign of life on the trees. Taking turns, I lift my kiddos up to pick a few fruits from each tree. When we have had our fill of persimmon picking, we rush back to the house to split open their seeds.

Last fall’s findings were a little unclear. The shapes in the centers of the seeds weren’t very distinct. We found some knives with a few forkly shapes. As last winter was a mild one, with a few icy patches, those indecisive centers were a pretty accurate reflection of what the weather was to bring.

Persimmons (1)There were no ambiguous shapes this year. This season we found spoons in the center of every seed.

So what do the clear cut spoons mean for this year? Well, according the wives’ tale, we will be digging ourselves out of snow this winter. This prediction thrilled my children.

While the idea of piles of snow may not please you, I hope you will take time to enjoy activities like persimmon picking with your family. It is a great way to get outside, make memories, and use imagination. Put some energy this week into enjoying time together and maybe telling some wives’ tales of your own.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a licensed meteorologist, so if you do not like this forecast, blame it on the persimmons.

I Love Pumpkin Guts

pumpkin guts (5)

I love pumpkin guts! I love how they feel, how they smell, the seeds that we pull out of them, and the jack-o-lanterns that take form after they are removed. I love pumpkin guts.

In 2016 almost 150 million Americans said carving pumpkins was a part of their Halloween plans. That makes for A LOT of pumpkin gut removal.

pumpkin guts (4)While many find the slimy, sticky, and stringy gourd guts to be gross, there are plenty of people out there that enjoy the icky investigation for seeds.

The scraping of the sides can be a stress reliever. When you have your big bowl of pumpkin guts staring you in the face, you can say, “Wow! I cleaned all of those out!” 

Once the insides are removed, creating spooky, silly, and sometimes unrecognizable shapes is what turns jack-o-lanterns into joy. Roasting the separated seeds is always a fun and a pretty healthy snack. My kids think the roasted, salty seeds taste like popcorn and those toasted kernels don’t last long at our house. Continue reading “I Love Pumpkin Guts”

Don’t Let Them Witness Failure

Dont Let Them Witness Failure

Tripping over your own feet. Accidentally shooting yourself with water at a water fountain. Noticing your zipper is unzipped or a shirt button is in the wrong hole. Forgetting someone’s names as you greet them.

These are small but impactful mistakes. It isn’t really the mistake that makes the failure; it’s our attitude. Our “Oops” are only failures, if we allow others to witness us wallowing in our faux pas.

When we make mistakes, we provide ourselves with jumping off points for humor, improvement, and growth.

While we may never stop tripping over our own feet and we can NEVER control the pressure of some water fountains, we can control how we prevent failure from being part of our self-perception.

When we do something right, we LOVE witnesses of our greatness. When we make a mistake, witnesses are worse than the error itself. The truth of the matter is witnessing success is not nearly as powerful as witnessing the triumph of overcoming a potentially fantastic failure.

My children witness me making some pretty terrible mistakes. These massive mistakes allow me the opportunity to show what it looks like to make an “Oops” into an “Oh yeah!” It’s totally okay is they see me fail at an attempt, it’s not okay to let them see me defeated. (I am not saying it’s not okay to suffer a defeat now and then, we just can’t remain defeated.) Every time I wipe out, it is important for them to see me get wipe myself off and try again (sometimes the mistake warrants trying something new all together). Allowing others to see us move on makes that mistake a victory.

If you find yourself in an “Oops” situation, acknowledge the “Oops” and give any witnesses the opportunity to say “Oh yeah!” as you find a successful way on to the next attempt or adventure. Don’t let them witness failure. Give them a front row ticket to the fabulous fortune in your endeavors.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I tell myself that I make a lot of mistakes so that I can make a lot of successes. You tell yourself whatever it takes to make your failures into victories. 😉

 

 

Basically good…like everybody else

Basically Good

Every night when I go to bed my mind floods with the shortcomings of my day. Most of the time my distractions stem from my own mistakes. The snippy words barked at my children in frustration. The letter I forgot to send. The phone call that I meant to make. The laundry in the washing machine never made it to the dryer. Did I feed the dog?

If I let my mistakes run rampant, my mind never lets me sleep. The only consolation I find is in the knowledge that I am basically good. Yeah, I am weak. Yes, I am full of mistakes. But, for the most part, I am basically good. Continue reading “Basically good…like everybody else”

Lacking Instruction – Wise Words Wednesday

Lacking Instruction

There are days I really wish I had an instruction manual for life. There are days that I think I should write an instruction manual for how to NOT live. There are days that I am pretty sure I am not smart enough to follow an instruction manual (if I had one) to save my life.

We all feel this way sometime.

The best part of our imperfection is that we all suffer from it.

Our mistakes are part of the human condition and they are tools for personal growth.

The three steps to surviving imperfection are as follows:
(Unofficial Instruction Guide for Life)

  1. Laugh at YourselfBe able to laugh at your mistakes
  2. Be able to learn from your mistakes
  3. Forgive yourself for making mistakes

Continue reading “Lacking Instruction – Wise Words Wednesday”

Out of Order Wishing Well

Out of Order Wishing Well

As we visited one of Missouri’s fine state parks, we stumbled upon what we believed was a wishing well. My children ran ahead to check it out and plan their wishing strategies. After arriving at the “well,” we discovered it was a clever cover-up for a water hose hydrant used by the state park.

When they discovered no wishes were to be made, I had three bummed babies. As we made our way past the “well,” I asked my daughter what she would wish for. I already knew the answer but thought being able to tell her wish would cheer her up.

“I’d wish for a horse, and a barn, and a saddle,” she said wistfully. I smiled and hugged her. “I would wish for that too,” I told her. Then she asked, “Mama, why did they close the wishing well?” I had to think for a moment and then I told her, “The well wasn’t closed; it was out of order. They just have to find the right way to get the wishes to come out again. Just keep wishing and maybe they will get it fixed.”

I don’t know if that was the right advice to give my girl, but hopefully she will hold onto her dreams and remember just because something doesn’t work at the moment, it might work in the future. Continue reading “Out of Order Wishing Well”