Swamped in a Hive

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a parent who is inundated with the behaviors and requests of their children? It’s like trying to locate the queen bee in a hive of crazy. Nobody is concerned about or can comprehend what’s being said, focus is going in a million directions, and the constant buzz is enough to drive everyone in and outside of the hive crazy.

This past weekend I witnessed my friend, Jamie, at the heart of her own wild hive. We were hanging out at a friend’s shop, and for some unknown-to-our-children reason trying to have a conversation.

While Jamie balanced her son on one leg, her daughter traipsed passed walking her baby doll by the hair. Without warning, the baby doll leapt onto Jamie’s vacant leg and began marching up her arm and then rested on her head. Shortly there after, Jamie’s husband asked her about something he couldn’t remember, and she replied calmly with whatever he needed to know. Barely skipping a beat, Jamie continued on with our conversation. After finishing her sentence to me, she politely asked her daughter to take the doll to play somewhere else. Her daughter’s response, “But I need you to be my jungle gym.”

Well, there you had it.

Jamie was needed.

She was a comfy place to sit for her son, reference library for her husband, an apparatus for her daughter’s baby doll activities, and a hub of conversation for me.

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Biblical Surprise – Wise Words Wednesday

Fifth Grade homework can be tough. Last week my son’s computer teacher assigned an “About Me” Google Slides presentation. Each slide had a theme and criteria for creation. Of course, there were the “My Family” and “Favorite Hobby” slides, but the one slide that stuck out to me on the rubric was, “Favorite Scripture Verse.”

While this is my son’s sixth year attending a Catholic school, and we attend church every week, I wasn’t sure my son knew any particular Bible verse, much less which is his favorite.

While making dinner, switching laundry, and helping with other homework, I left him to work on the presentation, and waited for his cry for help.

As expected, his call for “Mom” rang out when he hit the scripture slide. His plea was followed by a demanding, “I need the Bible.” (Insert sarcastic Mom statement about needing more than just the Bible in his life, followed by son’s annoyed eye roll.)

After taking a deep breath and mentally preparing for a meltdown, I asked if he knew any Bible verses that he liked.

To my Biblical surprise, he responded with, “Duh, Mom, I know it’s in Exodus; I just don’t know the exact number.”

Exodus?!? That seemed like an unusual place to select a favorite verse, but who am I to question divine inspiration.

My 10-year-old proceeded to tell me that his favorite verse is when Moses parted the sea allowing the Israelites to flee Egypt unharmed. This is a very powerful scene, but I wasn’t sure what made it inspiring to him. At the risk of being slaughtered by yet another violent eye roll, I asked what it was about the parting of the sea that stood out.

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Walls or Bridges? – Wise Words Wednesday

As I listen to my children bicker and fight over a kickball game in our basement, I am frustrated by the unkind words they use and the mean way they pick apart one another’s attempts to kick, run, and throw. It hurts me to hear them use such forceful language when it’s supposed to be a fun game.

What I have to remind myself is that their play is a way to learn the basics of the game, how to handle conflict, and ways to work with others while being competitive. Those viscous kickball games are growing opportunities for turning thrown stones into bridges for better play and successful communication in the future. (That doesn’t make their taunting any easier to hear though.)

Unfortunately, my kiddos’ emotional “rock collecting” has not been limited to the jabs and insults of their siblings. My children (like all kids) have come home with hurt in their eyes and frustration in their hearts from things said and done at school and sports practices. Seeing my kids hurt by the words and actions of others is probably the hardest part of being a parent. These challenges have forced me to dig deep into my repertoire of comfort and advice, but also add to the School of Hard Knocks’ curriculum as my children earn their diplomas in adolescence.

“When people throw rocks, you can either build walls or bridges.
Be a bridge builder”
– Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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“The Pissy Prayer”

All too often I’ve heard that if you pray for patience the Lord will test it. I take pride in the patience I feel towards children, animals, and tedious tasks. I’m not always so patient with laziness, meanness, and ignorance.

Lately, I have witnessed laziness and unkindness in amounts exceeding my limits. In spite, of my prayers for peace, grace, and patience, the will to tolerate such selfish behavior has had me thinking about an alternative intent for my prayers.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still asking the Lord to help the flawed human race find peace, generosity, and compassion, but every once in a while, I want to pray “The Pissy Prayer.”

Now this isn’t a prayer sanctioned by any church or liturgical governing body, but it is one that I think a lot of us could benefit from. (I made “The Pissy Prayer” up myself.)

The Pissy Prayer
By Melanie A. Peters

Dear Lord,


Grant me permission to be pissy about insignificant things that others blow way out of proportion.

Grant me fussiness when friends and family fail to recognize and appreciate all the blessings you have bestowed upon them.

In your most holy name, I ask that you help me through this hissy fit and guide me as I lose my good and capable mind over whatever has worked its way into my heart.

But most of all, Lord, grant forgiveness for my imperfections, because that’s what I need to feel and demonstrate in this most imperfect world.

Amen.

I know what you are thinking.

This sounds a bit blasphemous.

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Herding Turkeys… : An Emotional Chore

All in a day’s work….

That’s what I should call it, but have you ever tried to herd turkeys? There is nothing run-of-the-mill about herding turkeys once they’ve escaped from the barn.

On a day when I had the privilege of helping top out buildings*, there was one barn door that just wouldn’t stay on its hinge leaving a gap as we made our rounds through the building. It was through that gap that nine turkeys made their grand getaway.

The thing about turkeys though is that they are not very intelligent and tend to run wild in every direction before making their way back to where they started.

In the case of these nine runaways, they hovered around the outside of the barn because they could hear their buddies inside. Unfortunately for me, they huddled about half way down the barn, and I had to deftly sneak up behind them and shoo them to the other end of the range house. Once we made our haphazard way back to the other end of the building, these fugitives found safety being back in the flock.

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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. 🙂

Make Things Go Right – Wise Words Wednesday

My spring anxiety has been full throttle lately, and after a super duper coffee date with my gal pal Erin, I don’t think I’m alone. She shared own version of the springtime stress out with me. Erin said she has also been feeling weighed down by a lot of stuff that she can’t control. We both were experiencing some crazy symptoms of stress. Have you been feel extra anxious or has your heart been beating faster lately or sleep been elusive?

If you answered, “yes,” to any of those, today’s post is for you.

“Being afraid of things going wrong isn’t the way to make things go right.”

Five months ago, you may remember that an election was held in our country. Prior to the election, tempers were flared and fear was prevalent in every aspect of our lives thanks to media coverage and unprecedented exposure to the candidates and their opinions. Unfortunately, the political circus left us all feeling like there were only two extreme options for leading our nation. Those drastic options caused most of us to believe, no matter who was elected, we would not be represented in the highest offices of our government. The new leadership has taken its place and the fears and uncertainty have morphed in new ways.

Here’s the beauty of todays’ message. We can’t let worry over what is going to go wrong consume us, because we can’t necessarily change the what-if’s. We can do our best to serve our nation in ways that are honest, right, and diligent. The concerns that we had before the election are things of the past, and we have the power now to move forward with our actions and intents. We have to elect to be rational, respectful, and responsible citizens and let those same attributes preside over our attitudes.

As the season is changing, so too should our outlook and the way we handle stresse caused by things out of our control.

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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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Easily Distracted By…

Maybe it’s the frequently falling snowflakes or the walls starting to close in after nearly a year of COVID quarantines, but being easily distracted seems to a more common occurrence these days. Even as I draft this post, my mind has already wandered off to granola bars, coffee, the laundry in the dryer, and what the heck my kids are doing. (Deep breath. Focus.)


Have you found your mind wandering with greater abandon lately? Has it been tougher to hold tight to your train of thought? Well, you are not alone.

When I Googled “How to focus better,” the search produced about 2,890,000,000 results. Yikes! That’s A LOT of information on focus and why we struggle with it. Perhaps the fact that there are nearly 3 billion internet options tells us that we have too much at our fingertips. That abundance of information and distractions makes maintaining concentration confounding.

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It’s Not What You Grow – Wise Words Wednesday

While it may be winter and there aren’t a lot of crops in our fields now, we are reaping the benefits of last year’s hay season and the work of grain farmers from across the country. Long days and late nights produced a tremendous amount of hay to be stored in our barns last summer. As the grass has frozen and dried up this winter, the cattle and horses have been able to continue to grow and find comfort in those bales. The turkeys and calves are able to eat and develop thanks to the feed made from the harvest of American fields. We aren’t growing crops or animals; we are creating a place for them to flourish in spite of winter’s harshness.

Farmers aren’t the only ones creating places for people and things to produce. We all are creators of environments that allow for safety and growth. We are all cultivators of children, pets, food, products, and emotions. Each and everyone has a hand in growing something.

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