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”

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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.

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― 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”

First Fire of the Year

As a surprise, hubby and I headed out for a short two-day camp out with the kids as soon as they were dismissed from the last day of school. Their excitement was contagious and the chance to get away was too tempting to resist.

One of our favorite parts of camping is always the campfire. The kids and I seek out the best sticks and logs and enjoy hours of flame watching and food roasting.  Campfires always seem to pull us into the warmth and light of their flames and inspire memorable moments and sharing.

The dancing flames provide one of nature’s greatest entertainments. The fantastic show they perform can never be duplicated and never ceases to amaze us. The first campfire of the year holds a special power.  Continue reading “First Fire of the Year”

You are NOT a car!

“Are you a car? Are…you…a…car?”

If you have not seen Turbo, the moving about the racing snail, you need to see it.

Turbo is a story about believing in the unbelievable. Theo, an ordinary garden snail, believes he was born to race, much to the chagrin of his rule-abiding, worry-wort brother Chet.

After a life changing experience with nitrous oxide, Theo develops super-snail speed. He can move at over 200 miles an hour. As all racing snail tales go, Theo is picked up by a down-on-his-luck taco truck driver (who just happens to race snails as a hobby).  When the taco truck driver Tito discovers Theo’s speed, the two snail brothers are warped into a racing world which they never dreamed possible.

As they make their way into animated car racing history, Theo and Chet meet up with a band of thrill-seeking snails. This band of adrenaline-junky snails has modified shell covers that allow them to move at jet speeds. They are the first racing opponents Theo ever faced and quickly become his pit crew.

In spite of all odds, Mother Nature, and Angelo (Tito’s brother) insisting that they cannot do it, Tito (along with the adrenaline-junky snails) enter Theo (a.k.a Turbo) into the Indy 500. The first few laps don’t look good for Turbo and he pulls into the pits for a tune up. The humans don’t know what to do with the snail but his shelled buddies know what’s up.

Whiplash, leader of the racing snails, (voice of 
Samuel L. Jackson) smacks Turbo and says, “Are you a car?” Turbo replies, “No.” Whiplash repeats, “Are…you…a…CAR?” “No,” says Turbo.

“Then quit driving like one,” is Whiplash’s inspiring reply. Continue reading “You are NOT a car!”

Sometimes the Answer is “No.”

Sometimes the Answer is No

Monday the electric company cut down our pear tree.

It was not just any pear tree.

My babies and my nieces and nephews all ate canned pears from that tree when they were too young to eat the fresh pears. It was our safe spot in case of fire or evacuation when we lived in the old farm house. Countless pears from that tree were given as gifts to friends and neighbors. For 6 six years, Peters’ Pears were delivered for Letter “P” Show-and-Share Day at Miss Kim’s daycare. That tree was the first place we let our kids go to “alone” after we built our new house. (It is just up the driveway, but far enough away to feel like freedom.) When my children came home after a stressful day at school, I would often let them take a break to pick pears and de-stress as they ate the fresh fruit and walked the distance to and from that fruit-filled tree. Watching deer eat the fallen pears was always a fun pastime.

The only downfall to that tree was it stood 13 feet from the power line and the required distance was 15 feet. Even though it has never grown (and probably would never grow) tall enough to touch the lines, those two feet cost us our tree. Continue reading “Sometimes the Answer is “No.””

What’s That in Your Persimmon?

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Wives’ tales are one of my favorite meteorological practices. I love the idea of watching for woolly worms’ colors and seeing how much rain falls in the first seven days of a year to predict the potential forecasts for the upcoming seasons. Persimmons also hold a tell tale story in their seeds.

Each fall my kids and I trek across our farm to the various persimmon trees that line our pastures. By this time of October they don’t have many leaves left and their peachy-colored fruits are the only sign of life on the trees. Taking turns, I lift my kiddos up to pick a few fruits from each tree. When we have had our fill of persimmon picking, we rush back to the house to split open their seeds.

Last fall’s findings were a little unclear. The shapes in the centers of the seeds weren’t very distinct. We found some knives with a few forkly shapes. As last winter was a mild one, with a few icy patches, those indecisive centers were a pretty accurate reflection of what the weather was to bring.

Persimmons (1)There were no ambiguous shapes this year. This season we found spoons in the center of every seed.

So what do the clear cut spoons mean for this year? Well, according the wives’ tale, we will be digging ourselves out of snow this winter. This prediction thrilled my children.

While the idea of piles of snow may not please you, I hope you will take time to enjoy activities like persimmon picking with your family. It is a great way to get outside, make memories, and use imagination. Put some energy this week into enjoying time together and maybe telling some wives’ tales of your own.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a licensed meteorologist, so if you do not like this forecast, blame it on the persimmons.