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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The Fizzle of Summer’s Sizzle

If the smell of sunscreen is making you nauseous and your flip-flops have blown out beyond repair, don’t worry. You are not alone. I don’t know about you, but once August rolls around, I feel all summer sizzled out. In fact, I am probably a poster child for the Summer Fizzled Out Federation (Not sure that’s a thing, but it should be). It’s been weeks since I’ve posted. Proof positive that my summer craziness has led to a depletion in my ability to put thoughts into words and words into posts. (I just took me 7 tries to type that sentence.)

After three months of working cattle, baling hay, raising fair hogs, coaching baseball, squeezing in doctor appointments, making Bar-b-ques, planning playdates, watering plants, and applying sunscreen, I’m feeling about as withered as the last of my tomato plants. When I talk to other people about how their summer is going, they all seem to voice the same end-of-summer exhaustion.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they are ready for their kids to go back to school. Those dollars would add up to enough money for an end-of-summer vacation for my family. If I had a dollar for every time one of my kids said they don’t want to go back to school, I would have money for a vacation to Europe and a new car.

Why is it that once we’ve successfully navigated swimming lessons, baseball bleacher-butt, sun burns, mosquito bite madness, garden vegetables coming out of our ears, and lawn mowing lunacy that we have the desire to move away from summer and all its Go-Go-Go glory?

It’s because the fizzle of summer’s sizzle has begun, and that’s okay.

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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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What We’re Up Against

Without fail each flock we receive is full of attack turkeys. From day one, they come at you with fluffy wings spread and tiny beaks blaring battle chirps. The little guys in the video had been attacking my feet for a while before I finally thought to capture their assault on video. They might have been little but were definitely mighty.

Have you ever felt like you were up against something so huge it could never be toppled, but you went after it anyway?

It always helps to have someone with you no matter what you face. We may not always be surrounded by our flock of friends and family, but hopefully, we are continually reassured of the fact that we are not alone. Thanks to cards, phone calls, text messages, emails, and kind acts we can all show and know that there are others here for us in tough times.

Whatever we’re up against, it’s healthy to know that we can peck away at problems with the support and insights of our peers. As my family has faced some pretty scary health issues this past month, I cannot tell you how empowering it has been to witness the willingness of others to step up, do what they can, and provide support in all kinds of wonderful ways. From funny text messages, to food drop offs, and personal calls to health care providers, we have been flooded with folks willing to help conquer the beast that has consumed our focus and created much fear.

Cancer has proven to be a nasty illness that comes in more shapes and sizes than we can imagine, but if we continue to wage our war on its ravages, I have faith that we can find ways to wipe it out. We might feel like those tiny poults attacking the boots of a big bad monster, but if we work to do all the things that make us bigger, smarter, and stronger, I’m certain that we won’t be the underdogs forever.

The Intentergy challenge for today is to remember you are one of the mighty. The mighty ones who can bring hope and support to those feeling hopeless. You are one of the powerful people who provide joy, nourishment, and opportunity to those who need a boost. Your energy is what can lead the charge when something has gone very wrong or when others are feeling lost. If you happen to be lost, keep your head up, and don’t be afraid to call out to those who can rally around you.

It doesn’t matter what we’re up against, we have the ability to be bigger than our set backs and stronger than our fears.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. There were about 9,000 attack turkeys coming at me in that video. I am fearless.

Even When We Know It’s Coming

Recently, I had the opportunity to share a morning with Gus and Fitz, two of our little friends from church. Other than the snuggles, the best part about having little friends join us is that they find joy in the toys that my kids have outgrown. On this particular visit, Gus discovered the phlat ball. The phlat ball has suction cups and a spring inside, so that when smooshed together it holds its flattened shape for a short time and then pops back into a sphere. Gus also thoroughly enjoyed of all the Paw Patrol toys. Soon he discovered that the Ryder figurine could lay on the phlat ball until it popped, and Ryder would go sailing.

Gus and his treasures (Sorry for the blurriness! He wouldn’t stop long enough for a clear shot.)

No matter how many times it happened, Gus never failed to be excited about the prospect and result of the phlat ball propelling Ryder through the air.

Watching that kind of joy made me wish I could always be so enthusiastic about the simple pleasures in life, even when I know they are coming.

Today I hope you will take time to relish the simple stuff in your life, even if you know it’s coming.

Be sure to take in some fresh air and sunshine. Celebrate the reliability of your schedule and ability to be a part of your professional team. Do a happy dance for the dependability of dinner with your family, or the thundering sound of tennis shoes arriving home from school, and the quick hugs as your kiddos make their way to the snack cabinet. Give up a quick prayer of gratitude for the goodies you have to eat. Find pleasure in your pillow when you lay your head down tonight.

If you find joy in the simple things, joy will find its way to your more often… especially when you know it’s coming.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I’m excited that you read my post.

P.P.S. What are you excited about today?

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. 🙂

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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Pansies in a Tin Cup: Memory in a Tattoo

Have you ever noticed someone’s tattoo and thought, “That’s different. I wonder why they got that?”

Interesting enough, it is because of an artist’s willingness to talk to three, crazy ladies sitting at a bar, that I came to see such a tattoo and definitely wanted to know the story behind it.

The artist’s name was Maddy. One of the three crazy ladies at the bar was me.

Maddy’s intriguing tattoo was pansies in a tin cup.

The story behind the tattoo stared when Maddy’s grandparents Kerry and Nancy welcomed the first of their six children into the world. Kerry wanted to surprise his wife with flowers after the birth of their son. He did not have money to purchase long-stem roses or a fancy arrangement from the flower shop, so he gathered a handful of pansies and delivered them to his bride in a tin cup from their pantry. The sentiment was well received and continues to be a story of simplicity and love passed down to their children and grandchildren.

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