There are two scenarios for this holiday season that come to mind when I think of what’s worthy of effort.
Scenario 1: Putting up Christmas decorations, particularly outdoor lights, is a tough job. It requires precarious positioning of one’s self while attempting to securely attach, mount, or hang the lights in a way that is both esthetically pleasing and able to withstand potential blizzards. Once the lights are in place and any necessary medical attention has been sought, the display of glowing Christmas spirit can warm even the coldest of Grinch hearts. Was it easy to get those eight pre-lit reindeer with Santa’s sleigh AND the inflatable Snoopy snow globe on the roof? No. Could you ever imagine the amount of time it would take to assemble your Made-in-China nativity using words that baby Jesus should never have heard? No. But you do it anyway, and it’s worth every watt of energy and effort because you are letting ALL your Christmas lights shine.
Scenario 2: The second scenario of the season is a bit tougher. As our world continues to battle the COVID crisis, I encourage you to envision a holiday where you loosen your hold on what tradition says we MUST do to make Christmas happen.
2020 has felt like a year that would never end, and yet, I experienced a slight panic realizing today is the last day of November. Where did the year go?
While much of my time has been spent at home, I hope my efforts were impactful outside the boundaries of our family and farm. I volunteer as library lady two afternoons a week at my children’s school and am a lector and song leader at church. In spite of hell and high water, my friends and I work sporadic lunches, happy hours, and lengthy, meme-filled text messages into our chaotic schedules. Making weekly phone calls and sending cards manifests my desire to keep connected with those I love, but I continue to wonder if it’s enough. Do you ever feel the same?
The sound of the alarm clock is not the most pleasing to my ear. The cool air hitting my skin when I finally do roll out from under my quilts is less than reassuring. The fussing of my tired children as I attempt to rouse them less than inspiring, but the possibility of a new day is a smell that I can’t resist.
Today I would like to give you a sensory challenge. Consider the sights, tastes, touches, sounds, and, YES, smells that this day has to offer. Find ways to appreciate all you can physically experience. The joy you find may come in the softness of your socks, the smell of a shop as you enter, the calming noises of nature as you walk to your car or the hard rock blaring from you car speakers, the sight of someone’s smile, or the taste of your favorite snack. It is in the words, bites, hugs, high fives, fresh brewed coffee, and morning breezes that we know we are alive and that the day offers us possibility. And there is nothing I love more than the smell of possibility in the morning.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. If you’ve lost your sense of smell, you know what a gift it is.
We have arrived at the time of the year when giving thanks is officially the cool thing to do. There’s an entire holiday dedicated to the act of gratefulness. With the Thanksgiving spirit in mind, the Intentergy Positivity Challenge for November is to challenge yourself to 30 days of intentional thanksgiving.
My personal 30 Day Challenge is to write and send or deliver a thank you letter to someone each day in November. Keeping up with my tradition of card-making and lifting spirits with homemade greetings is something that brings great joy to my life and, hopefully, those that receive my cards.
If card-making isn’t your thing, consider sending Thank You texts or emails. You can also support local shops by purchasing cards to send to those for whom you are thankful.
2020, a year that has stopped hearts, businesses, and social gatherings, has failed to prevent the world from turning, plants from blooming, kids from growing, and changes from coming.
I haven’t liked the anxiety and animosity that have grown the past 10 months, but I have found comfort in the predictability of continuing to raise a family and run our farm. Even the “I hate homework” meltdowns are something to relish because it means my child started learning something at school, and I only have to assist with the reinforcement lessons. I’m not the homeschool headmistress.
Watching our fall calves frolic in the fields brings added joy to our lives because it means we are still growing and producing. That’s what farms are supposed to do. Everything hasn’t stopped.
The dirty laundry continues to drive me crazy. Dishes continue to not wash themselves. The empty milk just constantly finds its way back into my refrigerator (apparently NO ONE in my family EVER takes the last drink). Everything hasn’t stopped.
Walking the walk and talking the talk can a be tall order when it comes to being positive. Sometimes positive energy can be hard to find. Other times we have to create that outlook for ourselves.
This week was mid-quarter for my children at school. (Thank goodness our school has made it healthily this far into 1st quarter.) I have started to see a shadow of exhaustion in my daughter.
She is determined to earn high enough grades to be on Honor Roll, practicing 3 to 4 days a week with her competitive gymnastics team, still helping with home and farm chores, and be a normal 11-year old. Not wanting that shadow to become a storm of exhaustion, I devised a way to help her think, talk, and feel positive on Monday.
As soon as my girl was off the bus, I told her how proud I was of her and showed her successful math paper from last week’s homework now displayed on the pantry door. (5th grade math is hard!) Then I had blueberry muffins hot, out of the oven, for after-school snack, and I shared my blog post on The Thunder Tree with her. (She loved Thunder.) I told her to get dressed for gymnastics and surprised her with fresh cup of sweet tea to-go. These may seem like petty things, but when she got home 4 hours later from gymnastics, her mood was lighter than it had been the last few days, and she gushed with the successes of her practice.
Since his arrival, Atticus has grown quite the reputation for being a sweetheart of a horse.
He is easy to catch, lead, load on the trailer, and care for in general, with two exceptions: getting shots and leaving Winn-Dixie.
When Atticus came to us he had a terrible runny nose and a bit of a cough. The best way to treat these issues is with antibiotics administered via syringe. Horses are big animals, so the shots are really big. As we quickly learned, no amount of grain or peppermint treats could keep him calm once that syringe appeared. It took a shortly-tied lead rope and fast hands to administer Atticus’ antibiotics. When it was time to immunize him from standard horse illnesses, the shot was slightly smaller, but his reaction was much larger. We got the job done, but it was no easy feat.
Last Christmas my youngest son received a remote controlled drone. It was a nice drone. So nice, in fact, that it required 10 AA batteries. Four batteries went into the drone itself and six went into the remote.
Christmas was really good to my boy and it was a week or so before he got around to playing with the new flying contraption. The thing is, he decided to play with the drone in my absence. Hubby was “watching” our two boys and my 5 year-old nephew when they opened the drone and its parts. After the surprise hurricane of packaging and instructions, the boys enlisted hubby to help with the batteries and directions. Taking his dad duties very seriously, my husband coached the boys on how to insert batteries the correct way and made valiant attempts to read the directions as they flew the drone crazily INSIDE our house.
After a “crash course” in drone flying, hubby and the three aspiring pilots took the flying terror outside. It was a clear and fairly warm day for late December so take off was a go. The drone proved difficult to control for the little hands of the the boys, and my husband was forced to keep a vigilant eye on their piloting. After a bit, they were cold and chose to come inside. The drone was left on the kitchen counter and the boys dispersed to reek havoc on another part of the house.
A short time later, my husband took a phone call in our home office and the drone took an unsupervised flight compliments of my nephew.
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 18:20New 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”→
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.