The Mask Task

The task of keeping families masked has become one more chore we must consider before heading out the door each day. It is a task that we are using to protect lives from the perils of the Corona virus pandemic. It is a responsibility that now presses on us in our homes and adds to our laundry list of ways life has change in the shadow of COVID 19.

My washdays are definitely not holidays as I wrestle with washing masks in a special bag and drying them on the special rack because the face coverings require special care.

While I know it is a method for warding away COVID 19, I can’t help but groan at the daily dilemma of washing, finding, and coaxing my children and husband to wear the required face-coverings.

The masks’ appearance defined our first day of school photos. Never before did I view my children as bandits heading off to steal the treasures of their unsuspecting teachers. (Now I can’t un-see it.)

Each night the masks have joined our bedtime ritual in on the “Do you know where your ________ is?” fun.

My Sunday evening anxiety seems to flare up midweek as I scramble to re-locate and wash the masks my kids will actually wear so as to make it through the week in their concealed coolness.

What You Take In… Wise Words Wednesday

Doritos are not allowed in my house. Not in the snack size, family size, or the party size. Doritos are not allowed in my house in any size, shape, flavor, or package.

Why?

I will eat them.

That’s why.

If I have Doritos, I will eat them. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

On a camping trip this summer, I splurged and bought a bag of those delectable Doritos and said to myself, “I’m going to be on vacation. I want to eat like I’m on vacation.”

And I did.

A large portion of that bag was consumed by me. And a large portion of the next two days were drug down by a terrible stomach ache. (My stomach apparently does not share my love for those triangular treats.)

Continue reading “What You Take In… Wise Words Wednesday”

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”

Freedom of Mind – Wise Words Wednesday

We all have that one friend or family member who is just never happy. Whether it’s their job, love life, looks, or the air they breathe, they just aren’t happy.

I have been struggling with a friend like this lately. It is my nature to try to fix things when they are not working. The problem is I can’t fix my friend’s attitude. I can be supportive. I can be kind. I can continue to include that friend in social occasions and conversations, but I can no longer let myself get sucked into the constant vortex of the woe-is-me mentality. I have to free my mind from the belief that I can control someone else’s joy. It’s out of my hands; I need to stop letting it commandeer my mind.

Consider issues in your own life that are out of your control but still seem to hijack your thoughts or contentment.

Is there a situation that seems to unsettle you, but shouldn’t prevent you from being successful? Are there conditions in your life that let you down but should be the least of your worries?

“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.”

Continue reading “Freedom of Mind – Wise Words Wednesday”

Weighted Blanket Benefits – Lifting the Weight of Stress and Exhaustion

Weighted Blanket 1

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.

Getting Carded

Getting carded at a store, gas station, bank, or restaurant can be embarrassing or uplifting, depending on your age and situation. Now I know of one carding situation that is a positive any time it happens. These magical moments occur when the mailbox door is opened and a card is inside waiting just for you.

For years I have been a card stamper. I LOVE designing, making, and sending cards to people. For about the last 4 years, I have made it a habit to give or send at least one card a week. The last three or four months I’ve been slacking though.

With the COVID 19 quarantine upon us, I took to my crafting table and whipped up a bunch of new cards. Maybe it was anxiety or fear, maybe it was a need to hide from my cooped up family, maybe it was a desire to get some creative juices flowing before the grumpiness of being stationary set in, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I made almost 20 cards in less than an hour and a list of who I wanted to receive them.

In my creative excitement, I sent pics of my progress to my #1 Stampin’ Up sister Rebecca. (She led our stamping club for the last 10+ years.) I was so proud to share my creations with her and my rekindled flame for bringing joy through cards.

As always, Rebecca was super supportive and followed up with her own flurry of card making. Continue reading “Getting Carded”

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”

Be Like the Aspen

selective focus photographed of trees

Photo by Logan Fisher on Pexels.com

Be Like the Aspen

Aspens grow in tightly bunched groves on mountainsides and in rocky, hilly areas. They grow closely together because aspens are not a singular tree but rather a system of trees connected by roots to form one organism.

Their root systems provide them with stability and sustenance. Those roots keep them clinging to the steepest hillsides and standing up to the most treacherous terrains and storms.

We are kind of like the aspen.

Not one of us can exist to our fullest potential alone.

We are not able to fend off everything that comes our way if we stand alone. There isn’t one of us that can make it through life successfully without the support of another.

Just like the aspen, we grow best when we grow together. We need to help support those around us. We can nurture and sustain one another by sharing what we have. Helping others grow taller because of our own gifts is the best way to reach our highest heights.

I encourage you to remember we are like the aspen.

Put your energy and positivity into building a strong support system and working together to weather the storms of life.

Stand tall, give support, stay connected.
Be like the aspen.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I’m not telling you to make like a tree and leave. I’m telling you be like a tree, well, a bunch of trees. Trees that share roots. You get what I’m saying. Be like the aspen.

A Good Laugh and a Long Sleep – Wise Words Wednesday

Good laugh and long sleep

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” – Irish proverb

Exhaustion is not something that is new to most of us. Finding time to rest is tough too, but finding time to laugh with friends can be tougher.

Recently some friend and I did find time to be together. (It was our third attempt in four months for a girls’ night. Life is just too full.)

In the brief hours we were together, we enjoyed food, drink, and conversation. The best part was that with each drink, bite, and topic discussed we laughed.

That night I went to bed with a smile on my face and the evening’s antics running through my mind. The normal worry and weight of my day was not there and I slept.

I slept REALLY well.

The next day dawned brighter and I felt recharged. That laughter and rest were definitely what the doctor ordered. So here’s my prescription for you.

Make laughter happen. Find time to relax. For best possible results add laughter followed by rest. You’ll be glad you did.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a real doctor, nor do I play one on television.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Started Getting Ahead – Wise Words Wednesday

Getting Ahead MT

 

Samuel Clemens (a.k.a Mark Twain) is well known for the wit and wisdom of his writing but in today’s quote, I would like to point out he was a pretty darn good motivator as well.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”     – Mark Twain

While this may seem like the most basic of statements, there is meaningful motivation here.

The old adage that the first step is the hardest to take falls right in line with Twain’s thinking. There isn’t anything quite so difficult as starting something new.

If starting something is just like any other task, shouldn’t new beginnings get easier as we start more and more things?

Of course not, the more we do the harder it is to juggle all the old and the more painful it is to consider the possibility of taking on new commitments.

Here’s the beauty of starting something; it is also a chance to change or finish another part in your life.

Continue reading “Started Getting Ahead – Wise Words Wednesday”