Links to Happiness

I’ve never worked in a paper clip factory. I never thought about what it would be like to make paper clips all day long. I had not considered what it must be like to have a career solely based on those cartons of curved, organizational magic… that is until I opened my most recent box of paper clips.

Upon lifting the lid to a brand new box, I discovered a very long chain of clips connected to one another. Surely, this is not a normal product of the paper clip making process. Someone somewhere took the time to construct this impressive chain of fasteners. Perhaps their intent was to frustrate the recipient of the chain, or maybe its creation served to pass the time during an unfortunate shut-down at the plant, or it could be that the chain’s maker was just trying to make a connection with someone else in a unique way. Whatever the reason, I was now the intrigued owner of a very long paper clip chain.

When I showed my daughter, she said, “That’s cool, but now you can’t use those paper clips.”

“Why can’t I use them?” was my reply.

“Because then you wouldn’t have the chain anymore,” she stated and walked away.

I guess she was right. I needed a paper clip, not a chain of them, but there were Intentergy moments in those links.

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Breaking News: Plane Lands Safely

In the last few weeks, I’ve had two friends going through a tough time with their kiddos and school. So tough, in fact, that both transferred to a different school. When my gal pal, Cindy, reached out to let me know of their decision, I shot a quick text to our friend Lisa letting her know we are here if she or her kiddos need us. Change is hard, but leaving one negative situation to face a new, overwhelming one can be a lot to take. I didn’t want them to feel like they were alone. After sending love, support, and humor in our texts, Lisa thanked me for reaching out to her. I told her to not spread the news of my goodness; I didn’t want people to think I had gone soft. She sent back, “Ha!! Good news doesn’t seem to travel as fast as bad news, so your secret’s probably safe for a little while. LOL”

It made me sad to think about the snail-mail pace of positive reports and a story that had come across the morning news reaffirming this depressing dispatch. Lisa’s situation and the CBS Morning News inspired me to put some Intentergy into broadcasting some cheerful correspondence.

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Reasons to Get Out of Bed

The alarm clock ringing might be the #1 reason people give for getting out of bed, but it’s not that ring, ring, ring that really calls us to rise. My alarm clock is working fine, but I’ve been struggling with motivation to get moving in the morning.

It’s not just that it’s winter, and I want to hibernate, but that I really haven’t felt successful or inspired as of late.

I know I’m not alone, if you are feeling like there’s not enough good reasons to get going in the morning, check out my recent telephone conversation and how it helped with my dragging drive.

I called for tech support as I was working on the cataloging system for our elementary school library. We are relatively new to using this cataloging system, and this was not my first tech call. I had already spoken to Keith, the company representative, in the past. Keith is in Canada. I am in Central Missouri. When Keith takes my call, I always ask how things are in Canada, and he kindly tells me about the weather there. As we waited for the computer system to reboot my account, I asked Keith how many tech support calls he answers on average each day. He said, no one had ever asked him before, but, ironically, it was just discussed at a recent meeting. Keith said his average daily call count was 12.

Because I know that my past calls have all lasted between 30 minutes and 90 minutes, I thanked Keith for his time and his assistance. He laughed and told me that most people probably wouldn’t think of what he does as valuable. I pointed out that his service calls help me to provide library resources to over 130 students and faculty. While my school is a small one, I know he assists large colleges, universities, churches, and high schools; all with patrons in the thousands. I happily went on telling him that his 12 calls a day help thousands of people with their writing, reading, and research. He has a tremendous ripple effect on the success of all those patrons, and that’s a great reason to get out of bed every day.

Keith didn’t speak for a few moments. Actually, I was afraid he hung up on me or lost connection. When he did speak, the sincerity in his voice was so sweet. After saying, “Thank you,” Keith told me that it had never occurred to him to value his position in such a positive way. It made my day to know that I had brightened his.

After hanging up with Keith, my library software was working, and my mojo was much improved.

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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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Blessing the Dooley’s – A Tradition of Gratitude

At family gatherings, does your family segregate meals dividing its members between the “kiddie” table and the “grown-ups table”?

If your family does, this is a post for you.

If your family doesn’t, this is still a post for you because we could all use some blessings sent with good intentions (even if they didn’t start that way).

Dating back farther than my memory serves, my mother’s family has hosted all of its meals with separate tables for children and adults. As our legs and attitudes grew, my cousins and I lamented the fact that we were forced to dine at the “kiddie” table. My grandmother used to always tell us to be grateful because at least we weren’t like “the Dooley’s down the road.” Grandma would continue on with the story that the sweet Dooley family had ten (10) children and not enough chairs, so at meals they had to sit on the floor.

My grandmother also maintained the practice of saying, “And all for baby Jesus,” at the end of every meal prayer.

As a teenager, I maintained the practice of being a pain in my grandmother’s rear.

At one holiday meal where I feeling particularly disgruntled at my “kiddie table” status, (I’m sad to say I don’t remember the holiday or year), I followed up my grandmother’s closing blessing, “And all for baby Jesus,” with, “And God bless the Dooley’s. May they all have chairs to sit on.”

(Heaven help me. I was a pain.)

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Sleeping Freckles

On a recent visit, my three-year-old nephew Henry asked, “What’s there on your face?”

It took me a minute, but I realized he was asking about the worry-lines between my eyebrows (wrinkles). I smiled and said, “Those are just my wrinkles. Look I have more when I smile” and pointed at the crow’s feet formed on the side of my eyes.

Henry and I snuggling and hoping to wake some of his freckles.

The next day Henry asked why I had those spots on my face and arms. I told him they were my freckles… spots where the sun kissed my skin. He looked innocently at his arms and said, “My freckles are still sleeping.”

While his noticing my wrinkles made me a little sad, his discovery of my freckles and statement about his sleeping spots was super sweet and made me think about the freckles, wrinkles, and other characteristics that appear with time.

I know we can all relate to our adolescent desires to be taller, fuller, thinner, or whatever-er, but once we are doing the adulthood thing, how often do we give ourselves credit for the features that are no longer “sleeping”? Or how do we celebrate the differences between people? Do we point out the idiosyncrasies of other’s appearance in positive or appreciative ways?

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Luck is in the Eye of the Observer – March Positivity Challenge

Have you ever witnessed someone’s success and thought, “Man, that guy is so lucky!”?

As the college basketball season wraps up with the wonders of the national championship tournament, I am enthralled with the games and the amazing feats of the players on the court. All too often I take for granted that the men and women making those shots and executing impressive defenses worked countless hours and put in immeasurable efforts to be there.

I will sometimes find myself saying snarky things like, “Must be easy if you’re 7-feet tall to block that shot” or “Come on! You’re a Division I basketball player; make your free throws.” My jeers and cheers often fall short of the reality that those athletes are under a great deal of pressure, and my yoga-pant-wearing, couch-coaching isn’t providing any assistance or luck to anyone.

Luck is usually a trait that is determined by someone observing a situation. Yes, we can feel lucky because of a positive experience or encounter, but for the most part we consider ourselves to not be as “lucky” as everyone else because we always see someone else’s wishes coming true.

I am reminded of a my last basketball game in the 8th grade. My sister, whom I had always played with on the same team, was in the hospital recovering from a life-saving surgery, and our team and I were playing our arch rivals from Perryville. It was the consolation game of the end of season tournament, and I wanted nothing more than to win that game for my sister. The entire game was a close one. With 10 seconds left, we were tied. After I tied the game with a free throw, the other team was brining the ball down the court.

Their player, a girl who I seriously did not like, dribbled past our guards and stopped right in front of me. She shot. My finger tips grazed the ball.

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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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Fluff It If You’ve Got It

Be like this guy. Fluff what you’ve got!

Each morning as I check turkeys, I am amazed at how much they have grown and how their looks change from one day to the next. The funny thing about turkeys is the older they get the prouder they are of their looks. As their plush, yellow fluff is replaced with fine, white feathers, the birds make it their business to hold their heads higher when they pass by. When their fully white plumage is in place, turkeys seem to spend all their time admiring and admonishing their tails and wings, and flaring their feathers as they strut around. Pride in their maturity seems to be the opposite of what we humans do. We lose confidence in our appearance as we age. This loss of self-esteem is tough emotionally and isn’t very attractive. So while turkeys are definitely not the most beautiful of creatures, I think we need to be more like them.

As we begin this new 365-day trip around the sun, many of us are focusing attention on our appearance. The most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight or exercise more. So while, many of us are counting our calories and watching our weight, I want to encourage you to fluff your good stuff. Don’t let love handles or belly rolls be what you purposefully draw attention to. Single out your best qualities and draw attention to what makes you feel good about yourself.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of a personal quality or physical trait. There is tremendous benefit to knowing what you are good at or what makes you beautiful and unique. So, if you’ve got it, fluff it!

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Monday’s Message – December 28, 2020

After surviving Christmas week and gearing up for a highly anticipated New Year’s, I thought it would be a good idea to share something that has given me tremendous hope… well, 12,000 things that have given me tremendous hope to be exact.

We welcomed a new flock of turkeys last week, and I am so very grateful for the opportunity to continue growing quality turkey and beef for American consumers. The chance to continue our farming tradition is not something we take lightly. I hope everyone out there has the ability to be grateful for their means of contributing to our communities and having purpose that keeps them moving.

For today, I encourage you to reflect on the chances you can take. Let opportunity and gratitude be the foundation for making great things happen.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Don’t forget those Old Year’s Resolutions! There are only 3 opportunity-filled days left.