What if You Wrote a Book?

What if you wrote a book

What if you wrote a book? Would it be fiction or nonfiction? Would it be funny? Would it be a suspense-filled mystery? Would it be a romance novel? Would your book be a children’s classic or a self-help for struggling parents? Would you write your autobiography (a story of you)? What if you wrote a book?

This past weekend I had an amazing day with two of my sisters and our activities (of course) included a delicious and relaxing lunch. At our meal, I told my sisters of my goal to finally being writing the manuscript for a book idea that has been moldering around in my mind for awhile now. They were supportive and joked about if the book were about us.

In the book about us, each sister would get a chapter. My youngest sister’s chapter was titled something like, “We only had two beers, but I swear we were talking to an Angel named Holly and then he was gone.” (There is a story behind this title that will appear in a future blog post. Promise!) The other chapters are still to be determined but A LOT of great brainstorming went on with our second glass of wine.

I have written a few children’s mysteries and have gone so far as to talk to some artist friends about illustrating with me, but never pulled the trigger on getting those books out. I know there will be a time and a place for them in my writing future.  Continue reading “What if You Wrote a Book?”

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Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday

Don't Knock Jokes

Teaching the art of joke-telling is a healthy and happy way to develop communication skills.

Every week I share a joke with the 1st and 2nd graders at our school library.  The students keep a journal of the jokes and their answers. I also always invite the students to share jokes of their own.

The 2nd grade teacher recently thanked me for getting the kids excited about reading, in particular for their excitement about reading joke and riddle books. She said, “They just can’t get enough jokes or joke books. It’s fun to see them laugh and try to tell the jokes.” It is great to see my silly habit of sharing jokes is contagious.

When kids tell jokes, they are able to laugh at themselves and their message. Too often kids are hounded with seriousness. If we can use humor to educate and provide experience, we can inspire happier learners.

I have given speeches and had opportunities to be a public speaker for most of my life. When I started public speaking in 5th or 6th grade, I learned that the best trick for breaking the ice was to tell a joke first.

  • If you can tell a joke, and tell it well, you can speak to anyone.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, you can communicate a message.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, AND make your audience laugh when you want them to, you can communicate anything.

Continue reading “Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday”

I Love Pumpkin Guts

pumpkin guts (5)

I love pumpkin guts! I love how they feel, how they smell, the seeds that we pull out of them, and the jack-o-lanterns that take form after they are removed. I love pumpkin guts.

In 2016 almost 150 million Americans said carving pumpkins was a part of their Halloween plans. That makes for A LOT of pumpkin gut removal.

pumpkin guts (4)While many find the slimy, sticky, and stringy gourd guts to be gross, there are plenty of people out there that enjoy the icky investigation for seeds.

The scraping of the sides can be a stress reliever. When you have your big bowl of pumpkin guts staring you in the face, you can say, “Wow! I cleaned all of those out!” 

Once the insides are removed, creating spooky, silly, and sometimes unrecognizable shapes is what turns jack-o-lanterns into joy. Roasting the separated seeds is always a fun and a pretty healthy snack. My kids think the roasted, salty seeds taste like popcorn and those toasted kernels don’t last long at our house. Continue reading “I Love Pumpkin Guts”

Invisible Success – Wise Words Wednesday

Unseen Success

You can’t always see success. via Daily Prompt: Triumph

Everyday I surmount innumerable tasks. Laundry is washed and folded. Dishes are done and put away. Kids are taken to and from school with water bottles, snacks, homework (completed), and supplied with jackets when needed. Farm book work is logged. Cows are checked. Dog is fed and watered. Papers are graded. Lessons are written. Friends are called. Groceries are added to the list. One task at a time I am conquering the world.

I am not alone in my conquest. Each and every person is successful in ways you cannot see.

Unseen Success 1Every time you buy a loaf of sliced bread, you are unknowingly celebrating the success of Otto Rohwedder. Rohwedder was the man who invented the “power-driven, multi-bladed” bread slicer in 1928. (Nix 2015) His bread-slicing success did not happen overnight. It took multiple tries and the determination to get past skeptical bread makers to bring his dream of ready-sliced bread to reality. Those shelves filled with pre-sliced loaves today are a shining example of silent success. When you hear the saying that something is “better than sliced bread,” you can thank Otto Rohwedder for that analogy and be grateful that you don’t have to slice bread for your breakfast toast. Continue reading “Invisible Success – Wise Words Wednesday”

Don’t Let Them Witness Failure

Dont Let Them Witness Failure

Tripping over your own feet. Accidentally shooting yourself with water at a water fountain. Noticing your zipper is unzipped or a shirt button is in the wrong hole. Forgetting someone’s names as you greet them.

These are small but impactful mistakes. It isn’t really the mistake that makes the failure; it’s our attitude. Our “Oops” are only failures, if we allow others to witness us wallowing in our faux pas.

When we make mistakes, we provide ourselves with jumping off points for humor, improvement, and growth.

While we may never stop tripping over our own feet and we can NEVER control the pressure of some water fountains, we can control how we prevent failure from being part of our self-perception.

When we do something right, we LOVE witnesses of our greatness. When we make a mistake, witnesses are worse than the error itself. The truth of the matter is witnessing success is not nearly as powerful as witnessing the triumph of overcoming a potentially fantastic failure.

My children witness me making some pretty terrible mistakes. These massive mistakes allow me the opportunity to show what it looks like to make an “Oops” into an “Oh yeah!” It’s totally okay is they see me fail at an attempt, it’s not okay to let them see me defeated. (I am not saying it’s not okay to suffer a defeat now and then, we just can’t remain defeated.) Every time I wipe out, it is important for them to see me get wipe myself off and try again (sometimes the mistake warrants trying something new all together). Allowing others to see us move on makes that mistake a victory.

If you find yourself in an “Oops” situation, acknowledge the “Oops” and give any witnesses the opportunity to say “Oh yeah!” as you find a successful way on to the next attempt or adventure. Don’t let them witness failure. Give them a front row ticket to the fabulous fortune in your endeavors.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I tell myself that I make a lot of mistakes so that I can make a lot of successes. You tell yourself whatever it takes to make your failures into victories. 😉

 

 

Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe

There were so many things I wanted to title this post… “Long Live the Tree Books,” “Becoming a Watch Deputy,” and (the title that almost made the cut) “Buying Books We Knock Over.” (I call dibs on all these titles for future posts.)

This past spring Aunt Carol recommended that I read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. The End of Your Life Book Club is a memoir of the books Will and his mother read and bonded over during her diagnosis and treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

I am not gonna lie. Reading this book made me feel smarter because Will and his mother Mary Anne read some AMAZING stuff. (I have an entire Goodreads book shelf dedicated to books I learned about in The End of Your Life Book Club.) It wasn’t so much the knowledge about the books they read that increased my intelligence; it was the way Will conveyed the powerful life lessons fostered by their reading, conversations, and the tremendous responsibility assumed because of their reading that made me feel smarter.

Will SchwalbeWill was announced as the author of the 2017 Capital READ in June. I was so excited! The date went immediately on my calendar and I ordered a new hardback copy of The End of Your Life Book Club from Amazon Marketplace.

Will Schwalbe 2When my copy arrived, I discovered that I had unwittingly ordered an autographed copy. I was bummed because I wanted my copy to be signed when I met Will. (Silly thing to be bummed about, right?) My signed copy ended up being a cool thing. Continue reading “Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe”

Take Note

Take Note

Professional development is a topic that makes most people groan in despair. I really have no problem with professional development. In fact, I have served on many professional development teams in the past. As a fairly new employee to State Technical College of Missouri, I have the benefit of taking part in the professional development programs offered, including the “new” teacher services. While I am not a “new” teacher in the sense of experience, I was definitely “new” to the collegiate teaching scene.

Upon completion of my first year at State Tech, I received an invite to meet with Angie, the Professional Development Coordinator. Her invite stated that she just wanted to visit with me about the successes and any concerns from my first year to form an instructional mentoring partnership. (Sounded fun and fancy to me and Angie said she was willing to have donuts at the meeting.)

When we met, Angie and I discussed what we believed to be successful about my first year and I shared my concerns (which wasn’t much). She listened, shared stories about her own experiences as an adjunct professor, and discussed ideas for addressing my concerns. (She even remembered the donuts!) To conclude our meeting, Angie thanked me for my time and presented me with a brand, new composition book to use as a journal of my teaching. She did not realize just how special that notebook was.

Take Note 2I have always had an obsession with notebooks and journals. Writing is one of my favorite outlets and I have a little bit of a list-making obsession. For the last few years, I have re-purposed the notebooks left behind by my students as they move onto the next year’s courses. I don’t mind recycling, plus some of those kids drew really great sketches for me to enjoy every time I use their discarded notebooks. When I was in grade school, my favorite notebooks were made from recycled paper. I loved the tint of the gray pages and the softness of writing on the thicker sheets. When my friend Erica gave me a journal for my birthday a few years ago, I was so excited. A new notebook just for me! I used that journal to begin the writing for my blog.

When Angie presented me with this new notebook, my joy was instantaneous and I thanked her with a huge hug. Who knows what great things I can do with those fresh, lined pages! Continue reading “Take Note”

This Message Will Self-Destruct

I really liked the cartoon “Inspector Gadget” when I was a kid. Today I would LOVE some of his Go-Go-Gadget arms and legs.

Go go gadet messageIn each episode of Inspector Gadget, Inspector received an urgent message about an evil plot that needed foiling. After reading each urgent message, the slip of paper would destruct and usually backfire on the Chief. I feel like the Chief a lot. I am always trying to deliver an important message but it often explodes in my face after delivery. Sometimes the message isn’t all that important and it still goes “BOOM” in my lap.

Do you ever feel like your message is exploding (not in a good way) after you deliver it?

Let me give you an example: It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Lunch dishes are done. No pressing appointments are on the calendar. I grab a few granola bars and water bottles and call for the kids to shut off the TV and come outside with me.

“BOOM!” Continue reading “This Message Will Self-Destruct”

Worth the Climb

Upward Climb.jpg

54 steps… that is how many steps it takes to get to my aunt and uncle’s lake house.

54 long, tall steps.

From the dock to the house it is 54 steps. That equates to a lot of hard work for a spot that is supposed to be relaxing.

What lies beneathTime at the lake house is so refreshing. We eat, sleep, drink, and play there with no other purpose than to get away from the exhaustion of everyday life. As we head from the house to the dock, we pack everything we can into our arms and hope we don’t fall forward on the descent. (Did I mention it would be 54 long, tall steps down?)

Once on the dock, time seems slower. The sun shines brighter. The breezes massage our worries away. The fish and birds provide breaks in the calm of the waters. The occasional boat or jet ski add speedy bursts of entertainment to the scenery.  It makes those 54 steps worthwhile.

There are a lot of things in life that are worth effort. I would like to extend an Intentergy effort challenge. Choose a task that challenges you but will make your life easier in the long run.

  • Consider cleaning out and organizing a closet or cabinets.
  • Make a To-Do list and do the things on your list.
  • If there is something you participate in that is NOT worth the effort or frustration, eliminate that unhealthy practice from your life.
  • Fill in your calendar or planner with all your obligations and use it to keep appointments straight and help with timeliness.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time; this saves time and money.
  • Make a change that you have been putting off. Change is the first place to start when you need greater positive energy.

Just as climbing those 54 steps gets my heart racing, hopefully the challenge you choose will fill your heart with energy and excitement. Whether it be heading down those steps or up, I always know that where I end up will be a good place to land. Know that you will have the same optimism if you choose a challenge that is impactful for you. So take a deep breath, grab all the stuff you will need to make the change, and take that first step. It will be worth the climb.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Take a flashlight if you go before dusk. Those 54 steps can be scary without a light. (or be smart enough to turn on the outside lights before heading down)

P.P.S. Check with your physician before climbing 54 steps a whole bunch of times. Some of us are a bit out of shape and may need to ease into the process. 😉

 

 

Digging for Spring

via Daily Prompt: Bury

Digging for spring is something I find myself doing in the fall. Most Octobers or Novembers I scramble to clear out dying plants and add a few bulbs to my flower bed, but this year I am showing some real ambition for spring. I have extended one flower bed and added another in front of our home this week. (We’ve lived in the house 3 years and I am just now getting to these beds. Don’t judge.)

Tulips and daffodils are my bulbs of  choice this year. Hopefully I will have the chance to enjoy plenty of new blooms come spring, but for now I get to look at fresh turned dirt and mulch, while feeling the pain of more shoveling than my shoulders are used to. 😉

Digging for Spring (3)Even if you are not a gardener, you can appreciate the need to dig for a more beautiful future and maybe that requires us to bury somethings that aren’t so pretty. My favorite things to bury are guilt and worry. I want to stick them deep in the ground and pray that they fertilize something much more enjoyable in the next season of my life.

Digging for Spring 5In addition to the bulbs, I have added a few mums. Mums are my favorite perennial because they bloom for a long time and come back every year. There are plenty of perennial elements in our world and I encourage you to celebrate and give thanks for recurring pleasantries. Whether that annual awesomeness comes from birthdays or anniversaries or more frequently, like weekly coffee with your BFF or breathtaking sunsets each evening, relish the dependability that blooms in your life.

Right now I encourage you to dig deep for intents that will bloom into beautiful moments and memories. Bury ugly and unfruitful practices, habits, and influences and let their absence make room for more fruitful experiences. Planting positivity always blooms grace, gratitude, and joy.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Fertilizer is stinky, but so are guilt and worry. Don’t use too much of any of those. It really burns up the joy in planting.