What’s That in Your Persimmon?

Persimmons (2)

Wives’ tales are one of my favorite meteorological practices. I love the idea of watching for woolly worms’ colors and seeing how much rain falls in the first seven days of a year to predict the potential forecasts for the upcoming seasons. Persimmons also hold a tell tale story in their seeds.

Each fall my kids and I trek across our farm to the various persimmon trees that line our pastures. By this time of October they don’t have many leaves left and their peachy-colored fruits are the only sign of life on the trees. Taking turns, I lift my kiddos up to pick a few fruits from each tree. When we have had our fill of persimmon picking, we rush back to the house to split open their seeds.

Last fall’s findings were a little unclear. The shapes in the centers of the seeds weren’t very distinct. We found some knives with a few forkly shapes. As last winter was a mild one, with a few icy patches, those indecisive centers were a pretty accurate reflection of what the weather was to bring.

Persimmons (1)There were no ambiguous shapes this year. This season we found spoons in the center of every seed.

So what do the clear cut spoons mean for this year? Well, according the wives’ tale, we will be digging ourselves out of snow this winter. This prediction thrilled my children.

While the idea of piles of snow may not please you, I hope you will take time to enjoy activities like persimmon picking with your family. It is a great way to get outside, make memories, and use imagination. Put some energy this week into enjoying time together and maybe telling some wives’ tales of your own.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a licensed meteorologist, so if you do not like this forecast, blame it on the persimmons.

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Start Holiday De-Stressing Now

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Holiday StressSome evil person posted this Elf meme on their Facebook feed the other day and I wanted to unfriend them but they are related to me and I like them.

Unfriending people can add additional stress at the holidays, and this article is all about holiday de-stressing.

 

In keeping with the 12 Days of Christmas, I am proposing 12 Steps to De-stress for the Holidays:

Step 1: To begin take a deep cleansing breath.

Step 2: After you remember to start breathing again, I want you to say these words, “Happiness is the greatest gift I can give. A stressed out me does not make a holiday happy. I will not add unhappiness to my holidays.”

See. Don’t you feel better?

Step 3: Write down one gift you will give yourself. (This does not have to be a material thing.)

Step 4: Make a list of all the other people for whom you want and/or need to get gifts. (These do not have to be material things.)

Step 5: Make a calendar of all events you KNOW will absolutely be on your agenda.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 1 & 2.

Step 7: Establish a budget.

  • How much will you spend on each person?
  • How much do you plan to give to your church or charities?
  • How much should you plan to spend on extra party foods and drinks?
  • How much are your travel costs?

Add those costs up.

Step 8: Repeat Steps 1 & 2. Continue reading “Start Holiday De-Stressing Now”

The Day I Couldn’t Sing

The Day I Couldn’t Sing

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On Friday, January 6th I had the honor of being with my friends Laura, Karen, and Brenda when their mother Wanda passed away. Wanda was an honest, simple, and kind woman. My children called her Grandma Wanda. Losing her battle to cancer was the result of a long hard fight. She is greatly missed.

After Wanda’s passing the family asked me to sing at her funeral. There was not a question as to my willingness. I was ready. The song was even one of my favorites “Here I am, Lord” by Dan Schulte.

As the funeral approached, my nerves grew. My sadness seemed to have a hold on my voice. The day of Wanda’s funeral I prayed for grace and the ability to sing in a way that was worthy of honoring Wanda’s life.

It was a cold, windy day. The funeral home did not have an organist to accompany me so I found the music online. The funeral director and I checked and double checked that it was the correct music. As the funeral service began, I followed the ministers and other vocalist into the funeral salon. We were seated next to Wanda’s coffin.

It was heartbreaking to see the sadness on my friends’ faces and knowing that Miss Wanda was lying there next to me. The other vocalist sang the opening song beautifully. The opening prayer was humble and reverent.

It was my turn to sing. As I took my place at the microphone, I could hear the melody in my heart but not in my ears. Slowly the music began to filter in through the speakers. The speakers were overhead, projecting outward, and away from me. I leaned forward and took  a deep breath. Too deep. I missed the sound of my opening note. I quickly caught up but my voice was shaky and a bit high.

The winds blowing outside shook the windows and the WiFi antenna. The music stopped. I sang a few words but could not find the melody in my ears or my heart. It was as if the sadness and wind had blown me too far off my musical course. I could not sing.

I apologized. The music buffered and restarted at a different spot. I waited for the chorus and I sang again shakier than ever and without my heart in the song. As I made it to the last verse, my friend smiled at me and nodded. She knew I was doing my best and how hard it was to be there. The music cut out again briefly but I sang that last verse and closing chorus to the best of my ability, sat down, and cried.

My tears were not from embarrassment but from shame. How could I let Wanda’s family down? How could I let Wanda down? I just couldn’t sing. Continue reading “The Day I Couldn’t Sing”

Burning Desire

Burning Desire

Like all kids, mine love camping and campfires. Any time the weather is nice (especially in mid-February), they beg to have a fire and roast marshmallows.

We almost always say, “No,” however last night was an exception. For whatever reason (probably because hubby and I were just as eager to be outside), we converted the charcoal grill into a fit pit and we had our very own campfire.

This winter has been very dry and warm so the grill was necessary to keep the fire from consuming our lawn, house, and fields.

As I watched my children tend the fire and roast their hotdogs and marshmallows, my heart was warmed. 20170212_180047After eating we sat there in the quite twilight watching the flames dance.

Here came my burning desire…

My family at peace together enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures stoked a burning desire inside me. My burning desire was to hold my babies tight. My burning desire was to always be my husband’s side. It was a burning desire to never forget the sights, smells, sounds, and feelings of that moment. Those moments were burned into my heart and memory because of the simplicity of the evening and love for my family. More than anything my burning desire was for happy moments like this one to never end.

As all desires and fires do, the heat died away and the callings of life cooled our enthusiasm and pulled us back into the reality of daily tasks. The fire pit had to be doused, the trash had to be collected, baths were needed, clothes picked out for tomorrow, and bedtime prayers had to be said.

The passion of this lesson cannot be diminished by time though. The desires created in these moments added to the love I already had for my family. I now have a cherished moment to keep safe in my heart and a spark of love that will continue to be lit when we think of that one Sunday in February when we built a fire.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Sorry this wasn’t a hot and steamy romance story. It was kind of romantic though.

 

 

When the Tree is Gone

When the Tree is Gone via Daily Prompt: Gone

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Every year my children and I enjoy decorating our home for the Christmas holiday. Even my husband perks up at the sight of the lights. I try to not put the tree up too early so as to protect the magic its lighting brings. After the feast of the Epiphany (the wise men’s arrival), I dutifully take down all the decorations.

The emptiness created by the absence of tree, garland, and lights gives our home an incomplete feel. The rooms seem stark and the light seems cold. What is it about the time after the tree is gone that darkens our day?

When the tree is gone, the spirit of Christmas is not plainly visible. When the tree is gone, the remembrance of all those Christmas wishes fades. When the tree is gone, the twinkle of Santa’s magic dims and we forget about that whole peace on Earth and goodwill towards men thing. Plus, when the tree is gone, I find it a lot harder to just sit in my arm chair and read a book or watch my kids play. It’s as if the tree is a holiday anchor that holds us in place and reminds us to remain steadfast in the enjoyment of our home and family.

I challenge you to keep the Christmas spirit alive in your actions and words. Take time to sit in your favorite chair and read a book or snuggle with a loved one. Continue in your efforts to bring peace to the lives of those you encounter and yourself. Give the gifts of understanding and kindness in all you do.

Just because there isn’t a tree standing in your living room doesn’t mean you have to become a scrooge. Find joy in the simple elements of each day and you won’t have time to miss that silly old tree.

When the tree is gone, continue to shine as a light for others each day. Put some holiday in your heart and let your Intentergy keep the spirits of others alive and well.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If you still have your tree up, that’s cool.

Foggy Minds – Wise Words Wednesday

Foggy Minds – Wise Words Wednesday

mind-fog

Clearly I cannot take credit for this image, but I can thank the nice people at Pinterest for providing such terrific inspiration for today’s post. Thank you, Pinterest.

Life is chaotic. Holidays are crazy. My brain is foggy.

So many people I have spoken to lately seem to be suffering from foggy brains also. I don’t know if it is the cloud of too much to do, or too many things to remember, or just sinus pressure that is affecting us but there are some serious cases of foggy brain going around.

The treatment for foggy brain is different for all of us. We all have our pressure fronts that move in an out. We all have precipitation and draught issues, but there are a few simple things that can be done to relieve foggy brain symptoms.

png 1 Rest: take time to clear you schedule and mind.

png 1 Hydrate: drink lots of water and healthy stuff. Wine may dull the fog but only adds to the befuddlement later.

png 1 Be Kind: show yourself kindness and demonstrate compassion for other foggy brain sufferers. You never know what might be clouding their thoughts. 🙂

png 1 Prioritize: organize your to-do’s. A game plan will always give you a clearer perspective.

Energy with clarity is much more powerful than the fog on your brain. Give your mind some positive purpose, dispel the clouds of confusion, and you are sure to see a sunnier view.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a trained meteorologists. I do not fully understand the science of predicting foggy weather; I just understand what it is like to have a foggy brain.

 

Blessed are the Flexible – Wise Words Wednesday

Blessed are the Flexible – Wise Words Wednesday

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Flexibility is necessary in life. Flexibility is a special virtue this time of year.

We work so hard to fit all of the holiday shopping, meals, programs, parties, and family functions in that we forget to be flexible. This forgetfulness can lead to some major fits of stress and missing holiday spirit.

Allow yourself some breathing room this month. Give yourself the gift of flexibility.

Give the gift of flexibility to others. Remember we are all suffering from the season. Show compassion and patience for those who “mess” with your plans.

Flexibility towards yourself and others will lead to much more fa-la-la-ing and much less bahumbuging.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. It’s ok to do some mental warm ups before you get too flexible. You wouldn’t want to pull anything before Christmas. Breathe deep… Focus… Flex!

Elf Spotting and the Trouble that Follows

Elf Spotting and the Trouble that Follows

 

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Two years ago Chippy the elf showed up on our front porch. He made his magical appearance after my sweet daughter wrote a letter to Santa asking for one of his handy helpers to visit our home.

My husband and I were leery about this new holiday watchman but went with it. I mean how much trouble could one elf be???

After two years the magic of Chippy is alive and well, if you consider daily wrestling matches and crying fits over who found him first to be magical.

Seriously! Everyday there is a tremendous tumult over who finds Chippy first. It is so magical I need stronger coffee in the morning and extra melatonin at night to get past all the Christmas spirit his presence brings.

That silly elf has brought more trouble than I could have imagined, but he has also brought some humor to some pretty angry situations.

For example: In the  middle of one of their daily brawls, my daughter yelled out, “Get off my hair. Chippy sees you and he is going to tell Santa.” My son replied, “Good! Maybe Santa will bring you a new brush for your messy hair,” and continued torturing my little girl’s curls. The elf just kept smiling. Continue reading “Elf Spotting and the Trouble that Follows”

Things You Didn’t Hear at the First Thanksgiving

Things You Didn’t Hear at the First Thanksgiving

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Here are the Top 10 Things I bet you would not have heard at the First Thanksgiving.

10. “I can’t find the marshmallows for the sweet potatoes.” (Marshmallows were not invented until the mid 1800’s. Potatoes did not become a staple in American diets until decades later.)

9. “Is there Cool Whip for the pumpkin pie?” (While there may have been pumpkin, no ovens were used regularly in America for 20 years. No Cool Whip until 1966.)

8. “Pass the salt and pepper” (There probably weren’t many, if any spices. The meats would have been seasoned with nuts, fruits, and herbs. Much less sodium than today)

7. “What a Halftime show!” (Halftime shows did not come about until the 1920’s when Walter Lingo used halftime to help sell his pure bred dogs.)

6. “You have to sit at the kids’ table.” (The children probably sat on the ground.)

5. “Is that turkey organic?” (Everything was organic. Turkey was probably not even on the menu. Historians have recorded that some fowl was part of the meal but the main source of protein came from 5 deer brought as a gift from the Native Americans.)

4. “Want to watch “Bambi”?” (See note from #5.)

3. “God Bless America”(America was still a wild wilderness. Pilgrims were celebrating survival thanks to their Native friend. BTW – Irving Berlin wrote the song “God Bless America” in 1918.)

2. “I am going to put my Christmas tree tomorrow.” (Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. They believed it was a wasteful day created by selfish, greedy men.)

1. “I have to leave early to get to the Black Friday Sales.” (Black Friday probably meant Black Plague day and everyone died.)

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am grateful you were willing to read my post of things I don’t think were said at the First Thanksgiving.

Disclaimer: I was not at the First Thanksgiving to witness if these things were said or not.

Woolly Worms and Wives’ Tales

Woolly Worms and Wives’ Tales

We found this fast little fellow on our sidewalk and had to share!

I have always heard it said that if the woolly worms in the fall are solid black, it will be a long, cold winter.

Who am I to argue with the wisdom of wives’ tales?

We have spotted quite a few of these solidly colored, fuzzy fellows lately and (along with the Farmer’s Almanac) it has me curious.

Last fall the woolly worms all seemed to have three stripes. They were black, then brown, then black again. This pattern was actually a pretty accurate reflection of the winter. It started out cold and wet, was dry and mild, and then really wet and cold before early spring.

2015-wooly-worms

2015 Woolly Worm

 

The idea of Mother Nature providing us hints as to what is to come (weather wise) has always fascinated me, so I did some research. Here is a brief synopsis of the cool stuff I learned.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s the curator of insects from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Dr. C. H. Curran, conducted a study of the Woolly Bear Caterpillars to see if the size of their brown band was an accurate predictor of the type of winter that would follow their autumn appearance. His research did support the wives’ tale, but he knew it was too small a sampling to legitimately support the fanciful idea fully. It would take a much more serious and larger scale investigation to prove those old wives (whomever they may be) correct. While unable to deliver a definitive answer, Dr. Curran, his wife, and a close group of friends enjoyed these studies so much they called themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear.  Continue reading “Woolly Worms and Wives’ Tales”