Ultimate Advice to Give???

advice

As the school year races our way, planning for new student orientations are revving up. By some lucky star I have been selected to speak at the Power Up for new students at my college in August. The theme is the “Ultimate Guide to Success.” (Not sure how I feel about being ‘ultimate’ yet, but I am going to try.) 

After I received the email inviting me to give the speech, I lay awake in bed hoping some earth-shattering ideas would come to me for the presentation. The one thing I fear most is to give a “typical” start-of-the-year speech. Instead of flashes of inspiration my 7 year-old appeared. Apparently, he couldn’t sleep either. So I asked him what I should say to help students start the year. (Why would’t we ask a 7 year-old?)

He gave it some serious thought and said,
“Tell them to do their best and forget the rest.” (Thank you, Paw Patrol.)

Then he went on to say, “Tell them to ask questions.” 

Wait a second.

That was pretty good advice. Isn’t asking questions the scariest part of learning?

Third, my budding genius said, “Tell them it’s okay to fail.”  Continue reading “Ultimate Advice to Give???”

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What’s a “Freak”?

 

About a month ago my children discovered the movie The Greatest Showman. It is a musical based on the life story of P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh Jackman). In the film Barnum invites individuals who are considered “freaks” to become part of his show. Some of Barnum’s “freaks” include the bearded lady, the world’s tallest man, the world’s fattest man, wolf boy, and acrobats. As far as musical movies go, it was an alright show.

Of course the cruelty shown to the “freaks” in the film led to questions from my kids, and they wanted to know, “What’s a freak?”

I explained to them that the term “freak” comes from “freak of nature” meaning that sometimes things occur in our world that make humans or animals freaks of nature. In their infinite innocence they understood that being different makes someone or something special but also makes the abnormality a target for cruelty and ostracism.

With true indignation all of my kids ranted about the the mean things done in the film by citizens who were afraid of or hated the “freaks” in Barnum’s show. I just reminded them that, in real life, they should be kind and accepting of others who are different. Continue reading “What’s a “Freak”?”

Inking God’s Plan

Ink Speaks 2

Whatever your stance on tattoos, the power of self-expression through ink cannot be denied. Just as writers have put words to paper for centuries, tattoo artists have given power to the markings on their human palletes.

Recently our friend Evan experienced a very dramatic change in his life. Like most, he was angry and confused at first, but after time to think things through, Evan has started the task of moving past the hurt and letting the emotional wounds become battle scars.

As part of his healing process Evan chose a way to make God’s word a permanent reminder that the plan for us is bigger than we can ever understand. He chose the simple scriptural emblem of “Isaiah 14:27.”

Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life.

Continue reading “Inking God’s Plan”

What’s She Shakin’? – Funny Friday

Lyrics funny friday 1

Do you ever worry about kids listening to the lyrics of contemporary music? I do, but sometimes the translations of lyrics by kids makes life worth living.

lyrics funny friday 1

Luke Bryan is questioning my intents with this post

Our county fair was this week and each of my children invited a friend to go with us. As we drove to the fair, my kids requested Luke Bryan’s “Shake It For Me.” Granted this song is not really controversial but may not necessarily be okay for little kids, as it suggests that the shaking of one’s behind is the way to a man’s heart.
(I still love you, Luke Bryan.)

As the song was winding down, our 7 year-old friend Noah asked, “What’s she shakin’?” Continue reading “What’s She Shakin’? – Funny Friday”

“Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday

Safe Words

“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer

As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.

My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.

I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.

Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”

This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.

Continue reading ““Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday”

So What Are You Reading?… (Read this even if you don’t like to read.)

Western reading

Will Schwalbe is one of my writing heroes.

Will Schwalbe 3

Will Schwalbe & me

Will has written: SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better (2010), The End Of Your Life Book Club (2012), Books for Living (2016). He does a terrific job of making connections with his readers because of his writing style and powerful messages.

It is Will’s practice to ask everyone he meets, “What are you reading?”

This question never fails to elicit amazing responses or conversations from those who are asked. Even if the person being asked isn’t a big reader, there are always books or stories from the past that seem to create connections for those in the conversation.

Recently our family took a trip to a state park. During a few of my MANY trips trips to our cabin, I noticed a gentleman reading outside his lodging. After the second day, I stopped and asked him, “What are you reading?”

“Oh,” he said, “nothing that would probably interest you.” 

I said, “Try me.”

He was reading a Western novel by William Johnstone.

As an avid reader, former bookstore employee, and proud possessor of a soft spot for Westerns, I began to list off some of the series and books that I happened to know were written by William Johnstone. He was tickled by my knowledge and appreciation for the genre. Continue reading “So What Are You Reading?… (Read this even if you don’t like to read.)”

Fireworks Time…

Fireworks Time

I don’t know about you, but it seems like as soon as 4th of July hits, the year speeds up. It’s like the fireworks fuel the sun’s rotations to rev up its turns. My kids seem to grow faster. The school year speeds at me. Even Christmas seems to come closer at a much more rapid pace.

What can we do about it though? Continue reading “Fireworks Time…”

Take Your Brain With You.

Every day is an adventure. We are faced with literally thousands of decisions during each trip around the sun. The toughest part of making most decisions is going with our heart, while using our brain.

Often it’s not necessarily the morality of a choice, but rather the practicality of a decision that can weigh heaviest on us. Yes, you may LOVE how that new handbag would look  with your new shoes or eating double quarter pounders, but are either really the best way to enhance your life?

You may still be angry with what someone said or did in the past, but think about your actions and reactions before you and your hurt heart go running your mouth. Adding negative words to a bad situation only compounds the pain. Continue reading “Take Your Brain With You.”

Burning Calories by Walking Away

Burning Calories

“Burn calories by walking away from anything that causes you severe mental distress.”

There wasn’t any real story behind choosing this quote. It just felt like a great quote to share for today.

As I bask in the afterglow of my 39th birthday, I can only rejoice in knowing that I am alive and I can chose to walk away from those times and people who stress me out.

You can too.

“Burn calories by walking away from anything that causes you severe mental distress.”

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am pretty sure this is one exercise routine that doesn’t require doctor permission.

So Glad You Were Born!

wish candle

Whenever people tell me it is their birthday, I always tell them, “I am so glad you were born.” Most look at me like I am crazy or just laugh at me. I am genuine in this statement.

Had that person not been born, never would I have had the opportunity to meet and know them or celebrate the anniversary of their birth.

My mom doesn’t like celebrating her birthday. She prefers to call them “pass-overs.” She wants them to “pass right on over.” There isn’t anyone I am more grateful for being born than her so I always try to make her day special (even though she doesn’t like it).

Here’s the thing. Too often we wait for birthdays or anniversaries to show our excitement for someone’s existence. Today be sure to share with someone you know how glad you are that they were born. Find a way for your genuineness to shine through and your gratitude for their role in your life to be clear. Appreciation is one of the best gifts we can give.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am so glad you were born! (I mean it!)