Stars Can’t Shine Without It – Wise Words Wednesday

Stars Can't Shine

Darkness gets a bum wrap.

Many are afraid of the dark.

All too often we describe the tough times in life as the dark times.

The Dark Ages is a term assigned to the days after the fall of the Roman Empire and the years of struggle within the church for guidance and acceptance because of the uncertainty and haphazard rule of warring leaders. People felt lost, scared, and hopeless.

Even Star Wars warned us to not got to the “dark side.”

If it weren’t for the dark, the stars would not shine.

When life hands us lemons, we say, “Make lemonade.”

So why not do the same with tough times?

If you are going through some dark times, it’s okay to recognize the darkness. It’s okay to say, “This stinks.” It’s really okay to feel sad or mad or frustrated. Once you’ve acknowledged the darkness, you can find the bright spots.

tunnel

My kiddos entering the tunnel to create their constellations.

Our local library offered a constellation creation station this summer. Kids were invited to sketch a dotted outline of any constellation they could imagine. My daughter designed a horse constellation and my son created at robot. As they poked their holes in the “sky” with thumb tacks, the flashlight beam prevented them from seeing the darkness and appreciating the brightness of their work.

Once the holes were punched and the flashlights extinguished, the darkness was welcomed.

It took our eyes a moment to adjust, but once we had time to accept the unlit canvas around us the sight was incredible. Continue reading “Stars Can’t Shine Without It – Wise Words Wednesday”

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Rain Brings on the Blooms

 

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On a recent trip to Colorado, we experienced some crazy downpours. At times it felt like the rain was coming from every direction. It was cold. It was dreary. It was not what we planned for our trip. The rain put a temporary damper on our fun. On more than one occasion, we trampled back to our lodging in search of dry clothes and hopes of brighter skies. As we went from place to place, we heard from the locals that it had been a wetter year than most.

While these rains may have caused some problems for those not used to the mud and tragic vacationers (such as ourselves), the showers also brought on some benefits.

The blooms of the wildflowers could not be ignored. One guide told us he did not know the names of all the blooms we saw because he had never seen some of them before. The rain had allowed plants to prosper that had not done so in decades. The mountains and rock faces were speckled with yellows, purples, oranges, and greens, where they normally had shown brown, red clay, and gray.

The last few years wild fires destroyed foliage and fields and prevented many plants from producing beyond their basic stems. The scenery was pretty bleak in places, but thanks to this year’s rains, the blooms brought new light to the landscape.

Blooms 3.jpgAfter what has felt like a drought of goodness, our lives are kind of like those mountains and valleys.

We feel drained, dull, and fruitless.

Other times it seems like the rains won’t stop.

The good news is that, once the drought or mud has moved on, the good stuff can take root and you know beautiful things are gonna pop up.

If it feels like you have been in a drought of kindness, beauty, or success. Look for those storms that have blown through your life. There will be something new and refreshing that comes from those downpours. Let the waters of change wash away the dreariness and welcome a stronger, brighter you.

Be like those wild flowers in the mountains. Let your colors show and your vibrant personality be the thing that others notice in the new you. Remember rain brings on the blooms. Welcome the storms of life and know that no drought is forever.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Next time I will take a Colorado nature book, rain boots, and additional pairs of socks (my normal stash of 2 extra pair was not enough).

Frozen Dinners on the Farm

 

 

 

Adventures in farming don’t stop when winter arrives. If anything, they become more frequent. This past summer hubby decided we would give silage feeding a try and chopped a pit full of the ever-fermenting feed for our cattle. We wrapped the pit tight and waited for the weather to require us to serve up the corn stalks and leaves. Fortunately, the coldest cold took its time getting here and we did not have to start the daily task of carting the food to our cows until January.

I had not experienced the serving of silage and, based on all the research I saw hubby do, I was intrigued by this form of feeding. It was a process that I found both interesting and time-consuming (traits that often go with farming).

wp-1549159230085.jpgThank goodness for 4-wheel drive tractors and silage buggies to help us get the feed to our hungry herd. Silage has to be fed daily when the grass has stopped growing or is under a thick blanket of snow.

After 10+ inches fell, serving silage was a must. The following week brought sub-zero temps and those cows needed whatever food we could get to them. Continue reading “Frozen Dinners on the Farm”

The Hands of Time are Not Ours

 

As I enjoyed my recent hair appointment, my hairdresser Abby inspired me (per the usual) with what she had to say about how silly people are sometimes.

Abby is expecting her first child in March.
(She is going to be an amazing mom!)

Anyway…

Abby shared with me that many have expressed distress at her nonchalant manner for addressing when the baby comes and how she is going to handle the demands of her hair clients. She has already made plans to stop taking appointments around her due date and has set an ideal timeline for her return. She has not allowed herself to stress too much if the baby comes early or is a little late. Abby knows that babies come when they are ready and her hope is to be as ready as she can be without letting the trims, perms, and highlights of her customers put a damper on the delivery.

“God has a way of reminding us it’s not in our hands. It’s all in His timing,” Abby told me, “He has sent me that reminder many times.”

Her words rang true to me and reverberated with the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

These words are embossed on the cover of the journal I used to document my experiences as hubby and I embarked on our journey through fertility treatments, loss, and my unexpected and completely natural pregnancies that resulted in the three crazy kiddos we have today. God really does have beautiful timing. Continue reading “The Hands of Time are Not Ours”

Thank Goodness for First World Problems

 

In this weekend’s snowstorm, the power flickered, the internet and satellite tv went down, and the roads were too treacherous to go anywhere (most places were closed anyway). Based on many Facebook posts, Tweets, and my children’s behavior, one would believe the snowpolocypse had indeed arrived. Losing these luxuries was simple proof that we are blessed to have such silly first world problems.

I said a small prayer of thanks that these were our biggest problems. I added a prayer of petition for the safety of the farmers, road crews, and first responders still out working in the hazardous conditions. We are so lucky to have these people serving our communities.

I also reflected on a recent phone conversation with my friend Kary.

She has taken over the Random Acts of Kindness Club at Fatima High School and we were discussing some opportunities for community service projects. Kary was excited about the contacts I shared with her and the ideas we came up with, but she shared that there has been a bit of a problem with getting a great turnout from her group members. “They are all just so busy with sports, jobs, friends, and other things,” she said, “All these kids are good kids; they just have too much going on.” I agreed that it was a problem, but at least we could be grateful that it was our biggest problem for the club.

“It’s just another first world problem,” I told her and she laughed. Continue reading “Thank Goodness for First World Problems”

Don’t Be Like My Cactus

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January 2nd – Photo of Christmas cactus

Don’t be like my cactus.

For Christmas, my sweet friend Sarah gifted me with a beautiful Christmas cactus. The bright green was a very merry addition to my holidays.

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December 24th – Photo of Christmas cactus

When I received the cactus on December 13th, it had some small fuchsia blooms. On December 22nd I noticed the blooms had gotten larger. The morning of December 24th I was pleasantly surprised to find them in full bloom. With their vibrant arrival, I found a brighter sense of the holiday spirit and shared that with my family and friends. Each time I caught a glimpse of that Christmas cactus, my heart blossomed with a new floret of holiday fervor. Continue reading “Don’t Be Like My Cactus”

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”?”

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”

Sweetly Humming

Sweet humming

As one of the greatest wonders of the world, humming birds defy the odds of nature and mystify with the speed of their wings and delicate ability to hover. For Christmas my children surprised me with a hummingbird feeder to put in my flower bed. No contemplation was necessary over its destined location. That hummingbird feeder was going outside my office window. The notion of having nonstop opportunities to see those winged wonders was pretty exciting for me.

As the winter dragged on, I sadly gazed at the feeder in its box on a garage shelf for months. Hummingbirds certainly weren’t going to come if the weather never got warm.

Finally, spring arrived!

I carefully mixed the nectar according to the directions and poured it into the feeder’s reservoir. With excitement I lined up the lid to screw it on just the right way and SNAP the neck of the reservoir cracked off rendering the feeder useless.

I was humming with disappointment. Continue reading “Sweetly Humming”