Explaining Dr. King to My Children

mlk jr. quote

My two older kiddos have read the I Am Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. book and have had numerous lessons about the way he changed the world, but my 5-year-old had some questions about why he didn’t go to school today.

mlk jr

A terrific book on the life and times of Dr. King

The simple answer was we didn’t go to school today because we are remembering and honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His question in return, “Why?”

Well, where do I start?

I told my son about how African-Americans were not treated equally in America and how Martin Luther King Jr. was a smart and kind man, who tried to get people to work together so that everyone was treated equally. He wanted his children to grow up to have the opportunities all others had. He didn’t want people to have to live in fear of being beaten or left out because of how they looked. Dr. King preached about how peace could and would bring about change if only everyone would open their hearts to its healing powers. He asked people to respond with kindness and understanding instead of anger and hitting. His ideas gave us wonderful guidance as to the ways we should treat one another and resolve our issues.

“Oh, okay,” was my son’s simple reply.

Later my two older kiddos were fighting and my youngest son yelled, “Hey, we are out of school because Marting Luther King says we have to stop fighting! So stop fighting” Continue reading “Explaining Dr. King to My Children”

The Power of Silence – Wise Words Wednesday

unresponsive

The Silent Treatment can be one of the most painful treatments known to man or woman. Nothing hurts more than when we do not receive a response after asking a question or requesting an answer.

Recently my son tried to tell me a joke (It was actually like 300 hundred jokes and by joke 301 I was done.) After politely telling him I was tired of “laughing so much” and that I needed some quiet time, the jokes kept coming.

I would also like to interject that they were the jokes of a 5-year-old and revolved mostly around farts, butts, and “dummy heads.” So instead of replying to his 301st joke, I ignored him and focused solely on driving home, while he drove me crazy.

Well, this did not stop his attempts. In fact, it made him shout the desperate and increasingly unfunny jokes. With no response from me, anger took over his humor and he began kicking my seat. There was clearly nothing funny about this show on the road.

We were almost home when the kicking started. As soon as we hit the driveway, I put the car in park. I turned around and asked my now-fuming 5-year-old, “Why are you kicking my seat?”

“You didn’t listen to my jokes,” was his angry answer.

“I listened to your jokes for the last 45 minutes. You didn’t listen to me when I asked for some quiet time. What gives you the right to kick my seat?”

“You didn’t listen to my jokes,” he repeated, losing steam.

“I listened to each and every one of them. You didn’t give me a choice not to. Now I am asking you to make the choice to stop kicking my seat and give the jokes a rest,” I snipped back at him.

“But you didn’t say anything when I told you jokes,” he whined.

“I was giving you the silent treatment so I could have some silence,” I explained.

“You’re mean, Mommy,” was all he said in reply.

Silence followed (for about 1 minute). Continue reading “The Power of Silence – Wise Words Wednesday”

How Tranquility Works

photography of flowing water

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

“Peace is the tranquility of order” – St. Augustine

Sometimes we encounter definitions of everyday things in extraordinary ways. In the priest’s homily this past Sunday, the explanation of St. Augustine’s definition for tranquility created one of those powerful moments for me.

According to St. Augustine, “Peace is the tranquility of order.”

In his explanation the priest addressed that most of us believe tranquility occurs when everything stops, but that is exactly the opposite of what St. Augustine teaches. The priest’s example calm cooperation was that of the human body. The mind, lungs, heart, organs, and skin they are all working together even in our most restful moments. Even those moments we consider tranquil. Tranquility happens when everything is doing what it is supposed to be doing in that very moment resulting in peace.

Wow! What a powerful definition!

These were the exact words that I needed to hear Sunday morning as my prayer list seemed a little longer than usual.

Two days earlier my father-in-law Andy had open heart surgery and was struggling in his recovery. That explanation of how peace and cooperation can bring tranquility was the perfect inspiration driving my prayer for my father-in-law and myself. I prayed that God would bring tranquility to Andy’s heart and body so that he may heal quickly and peacefully.

For myself, I asked God to help me embrace each element of the chaos in my life as a piece of puzzle in my daily search for peace.

Continue reading “How Tranquility Works”

Karma’s Corner

Karma's Corner

Frequently we hear warnings about karma, but rarely to we heed those foreshadowings. Well, this week karma came right around the corner and whacked me.

Our dishwasher sits under the peninsula of our kitchen counter. When the dishwasher door is open, I always tell the kids to quit running through the kitchen; somebody is gonna get hurt.

Wednesday evening was a particularly persnickety evening in the Peters’ household. No one seemed to have their positive pants on. The kids could not and would not stop fighting. I begged, screamed, and threatened torture, if the laundry did not get folded and put away. Constant was the need to say, “Stop fighting! Stop hitting! Stay out of other people’s space!” (It was a rough night.) 

All that crabbiness came to an abrupt halt as I stomped my way back into the kitchen (for like the hundredth time) to try and get the dishes done. That darn Karma was waiting to waylay my shin. And, boy, oh boy, did she get me. I ran smack dab into the dishwasher door.

As the blood immediately gushed from my leg, so did a four letter word from my mouth. I grabbed a towel and shouted for a band-aid. Eager to get away from folding laundry, my oldest son ran to the hall closet and brought two band-aids, just in case. Continue reading “Karma’s Corner”

You Can’t Rush Peace

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You just can’t rush peace. Clearly mankind has not found the means for bringing serenity to the world in the millions of years that we have inhabited it, so why should we expect peace to come quickly and quietly into our daily lives?

As I sat down to write this post, all three children stormed into the office after me. One wanted to talk about a homework assignment. The second wanted to watch baseball. The third wanted his second supper for the night. (I literally JUST finished cleaning up the first supper, where he ate three helpings.) All three kiddos laid guilt trips on me because I had gotten home late and went straight into making the first supper. This post clearly wasn’t going to get written without a fight. Continue reading “You Can’t Rush Peace”

Squeaks We Don’t Need to Grease

 

The door in our basement squeaks. It is a loud and angry squeak. Each time my husband comes home from the farm, he enters through this door. That hinged “hello” is how we know he is home.

I could easily spray some grease on the whiny hinges but there is something comforting about hearing that squeak followed by his footsteps coming up the stairs. It’s a squeak I probably won’t grease any time soon.

This past weekend a friend of mine came to me with a problem. She has another friend who is going through a divorce. The divorce, as many divorces are, is not a pretty one. Unfortunately, the couple has some young children. The divorcing couple have not only pushed one another away but they have checked out on caring for their kids. My friend has helped care for the little sweeties a number of days each week for about 6 months and the weight of it is taking a toll on her own homelife. Each time the phone rings with a call for her to watch the other kiddos, it is a “squeak” that makes her cringe. Continue reading “Squeaks We Don’t Need to Grease”

When Twilight Touches the Porch

Porch Twilight

As fireflies make their evening entrance and whippoorwills warm up their whistles, the light wanes and twilight touches porches across the country. There is no better time to feel the power of sundown and breathe in the shift between day and night.

Twilight possesses the power to slow time and heal the aches of the day. I recently had the chance to share a sunset rocking in porch chairs with my cousin. All our lives it seems like we have been racing to get to whatever destination life has in store for us next. Our pride in the tenacious nature with which we usually attack our lives was set aside. The sway of our rocking soothed our need to speed through the rest of the day. Sitting there, being serenaded by the crickets, it seemed as if the sunset was giving us permission to slow down and embrace the chance to just be.

Soaking in the serenity of the moment, we both acknowledged that we felt better somehow. I knew I was tired before our visit, but after taking that time to quietly experience the evening, I found that I would rest better that night.

By witnessing twilight touch the porch, we allowed it to touch our hearts and minds, we invited the sun to take away our worries and weariness.

When twilight touches the porch, we really need to be a part of that moment.

Porch Twilight 1

― C. JoyBell C.

Continue reading “When Twilight Touches the Porch”

The Storm Will Pass – Wise Words Wednesday

 

You Cant Calm the Storm

When I think of keeping calm, I always remember the Friends episode where Monica gets all twirly because of her parents’ upcoming visit. With frantic pillow fluffing and excessive dusting, Monica scrambles to make the apartment “perfect.” Of course it will never be “perfect” according to her mother. Monica should not have wasted worry on the impending storm of her mother’s scrutiny, but rather saved her energy for riding out the blasts of criticism and then felt the blissful relief of seeing her mother go back to Long Island.

Just as Monica worked herself into a tizzy over the visit of her parents, my daughter got all twirly on us last week. We were preparing for our annual Memorial Day bar-b-que. My daughter inherited my worrying gene and did not sleep much the night before because she could not stop fretting over the details of the event. By “details” I mean she was worried about the kids fighting over shovels in the new pea-gravel we added around the swing set. Fighting over shovels was just too much for my sweet girl to bear at the first party of summer. In spite of our frequent reminders to just enjoy the day, she was consumed with worry over the rumblings of potential fights. Fortunately, most of the kids did not even pay attention to the shovels, and, once her friends arrived, my twirly girl left her thundering thoughts behind. Continue reading “The Storm Will Pass – Wise Words Wednesday”

The OTHER Serenity Prayer

The Other Serenity Prayer

“The Serenity Prayer” is one that I pray a lot. By “a lot” I mean, I have seriously considered tattooing it to my forearm because it is that much a part of my day.

Recently I found “The OTHER Serenity Prayer” on Pinterest.

It goes like this:

God, grand me the serenity to stop beating myself up for
not doing things perfectly,
the courage to forgive myself because I am working on doing better, and the wisdom to know that you already love me just the way I am.

What a perfect prayer!

If you feel like you are struggling with your own imperfections, say this prayer for yourself.

If there is someone in your life who could use a reminder that we are all works in progress, please share this with them.

I am grateful for the wisdom and understanding this prayer brings. Bring it to someone you love, especially yourself.

Serenity is gained one forgiving, loving moment at a time. Take the time to love and forgive yourself and spread the same grace to those you meet.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Serenity cannot be found until we discover love.

Basically good…like everybody else

Basically Good

Every night when I go to bed my mind floods with the shortcomings of my day. Most of the time my distractions stem from my own mistakes. The snippy words barked at my children in frustration. The letter I forgot to send. The phone call that I meant to make. The laundry in the washing machine never made it to the dryer. Did I feed the dog?

If I let my mistakes run rampant, my mind never lets me sleep. The only consolation I find is in the knowledge that I am basically good. Yeah, I am weak. Yes, I am full of mistakes. But, for the most part, I am basically good. Continue reading “Basically good…like everybody else”