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?”
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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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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.

Continue reading “It’s Not What You Grow – Wise Words Wednesday”

Where 2 or 3 are Gathered … The New Meaning

2 or 3 gathered 1

Today I served as lector for the Palm Sunday mass at our church. This wasn’t unusual, as I have been the lector for this particular mass many times in the past. The unusual part came as I was reading to an almost completely empty church. (Only Father T., another lector, and four members in the choir loft were there with me.)

While this was unusual as masses go, it is the new “normal” for those seeking to take part in celebrations of faith as we seek to stay afloat in the Coronavirus pandemic.

The news of our church broadcasting via Facebook Live may not be headline news, but I believe the impacts of social media-shared services across the globe provides a groundbreaking new definition for “Where 2 or 3 are gathered…”

Matthew 18:20 New International Version (NIV)

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

I know there have been times when church attendance was low and often there are only a handful of parishioners at any one service. The unique element of the social media-shared services is that the two or three in church are joined in spirit and faith by hundreds, maybe thousands, in their homes. The words, actions, prayers, and petitions are all being shared simultaneously via the world wide web. Continue reading “Where 2 or 3 are Gathered … The New Meaning”

March Positivity Challenge – Make Your Mess Less

White Puffy Clouds

We all know life is messy. Many of us feel like there is just too much going on in our lives. Our mole hills really are mountains and a simpler existence would make getting through the day so much easier.

This month let’s make our mess less.

Each day in March, I encourage you to toss out, donate, or give away at least one thing that you no longer use or that just takes up too much space in your place. Once you start the process of picking out the excess, you will find the act of eliminating the unnecessary empowering.

Don’t know where to start?

Consider your closet or dresser. Anything you didn’t wear in the last year is perfect for purging.

Give the kitchen cabinets a sweep. Gadgets, pans, or expired products provide instant pitches or pass alongs.

What about your catch-all drawer? I am certain there are some Box-tops to go to education, coupons that no longer count, or just some stuff that would benefit from being organized.

A large part of March makes up the Lenten season and I always use this season as a chance to challenge myself to get rid of the excess in my home. Continue reading “March Positivity Challenge – Make Your Mess Less”

The Hands of Time are Not Ours

 

As I enjoyed my recent hair appointment, my hairdresser Abby inspired me (per the usual) with what she had to say about how silly people are sometimes.

Abby is expecting her first child in March.
(She is going to be an amazing mom!)

Anyway…

Abby shared with me that many have expressed distress at her nonchalant manner for addressing when the baby comes and how she is going to handle the demands of her hair clients. She has already made plans to stop taking appointments around her due date and has set an ideal timeline for her return. She has not allowed herself to stress too much if the baby comes early or is a little late. Abby knows that babies come when they are ready and her hope is to be as ready as she can be without letting the trims, perms, and highlights of her customers put a damper on the delivery.

“God has a way of reminding us it’s not in our hands. It’s all in His timing,” Abby told me, “He has sent me that reminder many times.”

Her words rang true to me and reverberated with the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

These words are embossed on the cover of the journal I used to document my experiences as hubby and I embarked on our journey through fertility treatments, loss, and my unexpected and completely natural pregnancies that resulted in the three crazy kiddos we have today. God really does have beautiful timing. Continue reading “The Hands of Time are Not Ours”

Squeaks We Don’t Need to Grease

 

The door in our basement squeaks. It is a loud and angry squeak. Each time my husband comes home from the farm, he enters through this door. That hinged “hello” is how we know he is home.

I could easily spray some grease on the whiny hinges but there is something comforting about hearing that squeak followed by his footsteps coming up the stairs. It’s a squeak I probably won’t grease any time soon.

This past weekend a friend of mine came to me with a problem. She has another friend who is going through a divorce. The divorce, as many divorces are, is not a pretty one. Unfortunately, the couple has some young children. The divorcing couple have not only pushed one another away but they have checked out on caring for their kids. My friend has helped care for the little sweeties a number of days each week for about 6 months and the weight of it is taking a toll on her own homelife. Each time the phone rings with a call for her to watch the other kiddos, it is a “squeak” that makes her cringe. Continue reading “Squeaks We Don’t Need to Grease”

The Importance of Humanity – Wise Words Wednesday

Lucy Brazier words

Humanity is a colorful lot; not just in skin tones but in the relationships we build, the actions we take, and the habits we form. Within each realm of humanity there are always those assigned to protect and supervise the masses. Who better to observe the practices of other humans than someone who is responsible for keeping them safe?

Lucy BrazierThrough my blogging exploits I have made some tremendous writing friends. One of the individuals who I am proud to call my friend is Lucy Brazier. While Lucy and I have never met in person, we have exchanged comments and compliments via our sites and I am excitedly close to finishing her first book A Portergirl Novel: First Lady of the Keys.

As the book points out, we Americans believe porters are just people who carry bags, but in England porters are guards of a sort and protect and manage the safety and security of properties as keepers of the keys. Through the adventures of Deputy Head Porter, the first ever female porter at Old College, the idiosyncrasies and interactions of those in a most unusual academic setting are brought to light. It is in her chapter “Suited and Booted” that I found an exceptionally powerful statement about the importance of understanding and being an active part of humanity.

“People are important. They make the world what it is. They have made me what I am. Never forget the importance of humanity; without it, we are nothing.” (pg. 31) Continue reading “The Importance of Humanity – Wise Words Wednesday”

“Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday

Safe Words

“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer

As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.

My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.

I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.

Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”

This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.

Continue reading ““Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday”

Sometimes We Just Don’t Have the Words

No Words

In tough situations we often find ourselves unable to come up with the right words to say. That inability makes handling the circumstances even tougher. Here’s the good news: sometimes nothing needs to be said.

Just showing up and offering to listen or hug those hurting in the situation can be the most perfect proclamation. A simple squeeze of the hand or a covered dish for supper can sound like the kindest statements. Handing someone a tissue or taking over childcare duties is a true testament to your support and understanding for the suffering they are enduring. Sometimes we just don’t have the words, but we do always have the ability to make things happen and ease pain of the circumstances.

When my grandfather died, I was unable to attend the funeral because I had just endured a major surgery. My aunt came and sat with me the day of his funeral and said nothing. She simply hugged me, made lunch, did the dishes, and took care of the laundry. She knew I didn’t could speak of my grief yet and understood that sometimes it isn’t the words that make us feel better.

Sometimes we just don’t have the words.

Last night I attended the visitation of a man I had never met. I attended because two of his daughters (Mary Kay and Tina) are friends of mine. As I approached the front of the line, I wondered (as most do): what can I say that will help? Continue reading “Sometimes We Just Don’t Have the Words”