365 Reminders – Wise Words Wednesday

365 reasons

Maybe it’s the weather, or the new year, or taxes, or this darn head cold, but I have really been fearful lately. I find lingering doubts and worries popping up in my mind and permeating the corners of my heart.

There isn’t any one thing that my fears are focused on, but a lot of little things hindering my happiness.

Worry about friends who are ill. Worry about those who’ve lost loved ones recently. Worry about my own children’s health. Worry about my kids and getting along with others. Worry about being the best wife and mom I can be. Worry about meeting the needs of my students. Worry about our late library books. Worry about what to make for supper. Worry that I just know I am forgetting something… Silly, silly worries.

For all the millions of things I have to worry about, there is one number that packs a powerfully positive punch…365.

The phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. Continue reading “365 Reminders – Wise Words Wednesday”

What Would Your Things Say About You? – The Narrative Assignment

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My sister and I in our rocking chairs. Circa 1982

What would your things say about you?

The narrative assignment for my COM 101 class is not an easy essay. And I LOVE it! It is my favorite assignment to give and to grade.

In this assignment students are to compose a narrative of their life story as told by one object from their life. They are to personify one thing, and, from the perspective of that stuffed animal, tree, table, or whatever item they choose, the students are to share their defining moments from birth to present day.

This is a daunting task for students because some don’t have any one item that has been present for their entire life. Some claim that they haven’t done anything worth remembering. And still others whine that they can’t even remember what they had for breakfast, how are they supposed to remember what they did in grade school?

My response: It’s your story to tell. You better do the research. Your stuffed animal isn’t going to do it for you.

Rocking Chair

My childhood rocking chair today

To help them get started, I share a roughly drafted intro to my life, as told by my childhood rocking chair. I give them a glimpse into what my life was like in the beginning and how to narrate using an item that arrived after my birth. Many find the example helpful.  Some try to copy my words and plagiarize by changing the item and dates. Whatever their approach might be, they all have the same task: Tell their own story while bringing to life a special object.

Have you ever tried to tell your story?

At 19, 39, or 89 it is not an easy task. I have to say, the particular group of students I have now moved me with the tales they told. The stories of self-discovery, loss of loved ones, and the ways they conveyed hope for the future exposed me to raw talent, emotion, and understanding for who they are as individuals.  Continue reading “What Would Your Things Say About You? – The Narrative Assignment”

What’s Comin’ Will Come… – Wise Words Wednesday

 

Hagrid

Hagrid is a trustworthy, gentle giant in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. He is the caretaker of Hogwarts and has a soft spot for creatures that most would consider terrifying or hazardous, but when it comes to standing up for what is right, no one would ever doubt which side Hagrid would be on.

HagridIn the books Hagrid, Harry, and the people of the wizarding world faced some pretty treacherous villains and situations. With each challenge came the opportunity to be steadfast and brave. As a reader, it was breathtaking to encounter the harrowing battles and escapes. Always fighting the fight between good and evil, Hagrid and company were perpetually prepared to face what came next.

“What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does.” Continue reading “What’s Comin’ Will Come… – Wise Words Wednesday”

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”

The Importance of Humanity – Wise Words Wednesday

Lucy Brazier words

Humanity is a colorful lot; not just in skin tones but in the relationships we build, the actions we take, and the habits we form. Within each realm of humanity there are always those assigned to protect and supervise the masses. Who better to observe the practices of other humans than someone who is responsible for keeping them safe?

Lucy BrazierThrough my blogging exploits I have made some tremendous writing friends. One of the individuals who I am proud to call my friend is Lucy Brazier. While Lucy and I have never met in person, we have exchanged comments and compliments via our sites and I am excitedly close to finishing her first book A Portergirl Novel: First Lady of the Keys.

As the book points out, we Americans believe porters are just people who carry bags, but in England porters are guards of a sort and protect and manage the safety and security of properties as keepers of the keys. Through the adventures of Deputy Head Porter, the first ever female porter at Old College, the idiosyncrasies and interactions of those in a most unusual academic setting are brought to light. It is in her chapter “Suited and Booted” that I found an exceptionally powerful statement about the importance of understanding and being an active part of humanity.

“People are important. They make the world what it is. They have made me what I am. Never forget the importance of humanity; without it, we are nothing.” (pg. 31) Continue reading “The Importance of Humanity – 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.

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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.)”

Single Compliment = Double Joy – Wise Words Wednesday

Compliments - Twain

“I can live two months on one good compliment.” – Mark Twain

In the cafeteria line yesterday, Donnie (a neighbor and coworker) told me he really liked my story on “those Charolais cattle.” Donnie raises Charolais himself, but I never took him to be a reader. I was so honored that he read my post. My joy was enhanced as he said, “I like what you said. I’m gonna read some more.”

My head was so big; they had to add a second line to the lunch cue.

Donnie reminded me how important it is to share our appreciation for the efforts of others.

As in Mr. Twain’s quote above, I find greater inspiration when I know my work has been enjoyed.

What motivates you to create, write, or work harder?

Continue reading “Single Compliment = Double Joy – Wise Words Wednesday”

Intentergy Turned 2

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On February 14th I celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of Intentergy.

While the last few weeks things have been quiet on the site, my writing has been anything but silent.

My family took a terrific trip that has no fewer than 15 posts in draft. My students continue to provide me with love, learning, and laughter that I promise to share. As always the farm has me on high alert for lessons that can only come from caring for livestock and the land.

To celebrate my 2nd blogging anniversary, I would like to share links to some of my favorite posts from the past.

curve ball (2)Curve Balls – A story inspired by the curve pitch and how to handle the figurative curve balls in our lives.

Zone Defense for Your Attitude – Today, if you find yourself crowded by grumpiness or fouled by foulness of others, put up your positivity defenses.

For the Love of the Game – A post inspired by my father’s practice of watching games without sound. Sometimes the quiet allows us to know what is really going on in life.

Angelfood Cake – A Tradition of Grace – A story inspired by our parish dinner. The angel food cakes I bake are not in my honor but in honor of Miss Grace Jansen.

Not just a pieWhy is it Easy as Pie? Pies are Hard. – Another story inspired by parish picnics reminding us that effort can lead to tasty rewards.

Emergency Room Enlightenment – A visit to our local emergency room helped me to see that it really is a small world and my efforts as a writer were helpful to others.

You Don’t Have to Have It All Figured Out – I really don’t have life figured out. None of us do. This was a reminder that we don’t have to have it all figured out.

The OTHER Serenity Prayer – A tribute to a modified version of my favorite prayer

29 gifts and meMeeting Cami Walker – Taking the 29 Gifts Challenge – After reading 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, I was inspired to start my blog and have since had the chance to become friends with its author Cami Walker.

Signs of Faith – Visiting the local ambulance district served to provide an very important reminder about those who serve our communities.

No Bull - communicateCommunication is Important – No Bull! A story inspired by the purchase of some Charolais cattle by my husband that led to a breach in the happiness of our home. (Happiness was definitely restored and the cattle are enjoying their role on our farm.)

Overalls and a Pocket Watch –The story of remembering my Grandfather and his special things that left their mark on my heart.Grandpa Frank

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Intentergy is energy with a positive purpose. I hope you will put energy into being positive today.

P.P.S. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, or shared my blog during the last two years. Your support has made all the difference.

 

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?”

The Power of “Yet”

The Power of Yet

Do you know the power of “Yet”?

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is a book by Joshua Hammer. I learned about The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu on Goodreads and I want desperately to read it. However, after laboring through the first few chapters, I realized that I do not possess enough knowledge about Timbuktu, Mali, or the plight of the Islamic peoples as they have been tortured by Al Qaeda. The words of Adbel Kader Haidara, the original Bad-Ass, were beautiful, terrifying at times, and wonderfully descriptive, but my ignorance of how to pronounce and process many of the words left me feeling lost. After page 70, I put the book back on my “To Read” list. I just wasn’t smart enough for this book.

When I told my husband about being confounded by the book, he told me that I would get it; I just might have to read it a few times. He was hinting at the “Yet.”

The Power of Yet 3.jpgA few days after re-shelving The Bad-Ass Librarians, I was speaking to my friend Donna. We were discussing The End of Your Life Book Club and the reads that were recommended in it. It was fun to compare what she had read to what I had read and what we both still wanted to read. It was then that I told her about Hammer’s book. I shared my disappointment in myself for not being educated enough to read the book. That is when Donna reminded me of the power of “Yet.” Continue reading “The Power of “Yet””