The Heavy Approach

Heavy Approach

“You approached it like it was heavy, so it was.”

In the past I have written about my struggles with laundry. Laundry and I have a tumultuous relationship. The laundry tumults and I trip over it and fuss about having to fold it. My kids’ relationship with those baskets of socks, shorts, and shirts is way more tragic than mine.

Each day my children are given chores. Nothing too crazy. They are to do things like empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, and clean off the table, but this past weekend my boys were to fold the socks. As far as sock piles go, this one was definitely more of a mole hill than a mountain.

It took my 8 year-old and 6 year-old almost two hours to fold approximately 20 pairs of socks.

It was ugly.

Hubby had to threaten. I had to physically remove every electronic device, every pillow and blanket, and some small furniture from the living room so they could do their job.

When the 2nd hour loomed and I had better things to do than wait for socks to be folded, I set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes.

If the socks were not folded, sorted, and delivered to their respective rooms in those 5 minutes, there would be NO internet, TV, Legos, baseball, or fishing for a week. Continue reading “The Heavy Approach”

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The “Eternal Punchline”

Eternal Punchline

We all have had times when we felt like everyone was laughing at us (and not in a good way). It feels terrible. It alienates us. It is not what anyone deserves.

Jose and his smile definitely brighten the day.

In one of my Oral Communications classes, my student Jose shared a powerful statement based on the personal strength he discovered in himself after years of feeling like the “eternal punchline.”

Jose is Mexican-American, hard-working, and a super talented speaker. He is not a traditional student in that he is not “fresh” out of high school, but he is most definitely a refreshing addition to his program and to all those he encounters.

The Oral Communications course is designed to bring awareness to interpersonal differences and strengthen communication skills. With most of the chapters in our text, I ask students to write a personal reflection on the content or how it applies to their own experiences. Chapter 6 is on unfair judgement and bias. I asked my students to share their thoughts on a time when they experienced bias in their own personal lives and how it has affected the way they communicate with or view others.

Jose’s response was so honest and so powerful, I had to read it a few times to wrap my head around his pragmatic approach to the unfair way others (even his closest friends) have spoken to or of him. Continue reading “The “Eternal Punchline””

Talents and Skills – Light Required

Light Required

“Talents and skills are like any other living thing – they can’t grow in the dark.” – Rachel Hollis

Recently, my daughter discovered vaulting at horseback riding camp. If you look up the definition of vaulting on a horse, it is something like “gymnastics and dance on horseback.” (A terrifying sport for the parents of ambitious, fearless, young equestrians to watch.) 

Due to our already overloaded schedule, we told her that adding vaulting lessons to her extracurricular activities was not an option.

She raged at us saying, “You mean there is a sport I really want to try, and you won’t let me?”

Hubby and I responded in unison, “Yes!”

She stormed off to her room and cried the tears of a desperate adolescent.

As I listened for the storm to subside, I had to think of a way to assuage her disappointment and remind her that the word “No” is a part of life and remind her that she already had A LOT of things she is good at and enjoys.

When I felt it was safe to enter her room, I reminded her of when she decided that gymnastics was the ONLY sport that would perpetuate her existence.

Hubby and I rejected her initial pleas to take lessons, but after she spent months (and I mean like 18 months) watching videos, practicing with her cousins, and teaching herself techniques and stunts in the backyard and basement, we saw it was something she was truly dedicated to and good at. Once she had shed light on her talent and allowed it to grow, it was clear that there was something there and now she rocks at all of her gymnastics classes, performances, and meets.

I told her, if she felt vaulting was something she really wanted to try, she needed to educate herself and work with our horse at home on the basics. The only way to see if she really likes it is to shine time and effort on it. She saw what I was saying and the situation became much brighter.

“Talents and skills are like any other living thing – they can’t grow in the dark.” – Rachel Hollis

If there is something you are considering starting or have an interest that you believe would make your life more complete, I challenge you to shed some light on it. Hiding it in the recesses of your heart or behind excuses is no way to develop into the person you want to be. The only way you can improve is to shine some time and energy on it. (This is sage advice from the parent of a desperate adolescent.) 

Put your Intentergy into lighting up your passions and radiating in the success of your skills and talents. It’s not gonna happen if you keep them in the dark. Get shining, my friend, or at least let some sunlight land on your efforts.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I have not seen my daughter watch one video on vaulting and have not heard one more word about lessons. She has however moved on to American Ninja Warrior and put some time into turning our swing set into an obstacle course. I may need another diversion before she asks for ninja warrior lessons.

P.P.S. If you mention vaulting, this post, or anything related to the subject to my daughter, you will feel the heat of a 10,000 suns scorching your soul. (Also, sage advice from the parent of a desperate adolescent.)

 

Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Sue Gelven

Sue and me

Dear Sue,

Thank you so much for accepting my lunch invitation. Meeting with you was wonderful!

Before we had our lunch date, the only times I had met you were at random school and community events and with each encounter I have admired you more and more.

In listening to you talk about your family, it is obvious you are passionate about those in your brood (both blood relation and those by happenstance). Your willingness to share the memories of your husband Don and the experiences you had together is so wonderfully appreciated. I cannot imagine the lengths you went through to keep your family moving (literally across the country) and growing. I am in awe of the steps you took to become an educator. If you hadn’t been so diligent, there are thousands of students, parents, and fellow educators who would not have benefited from your awesomeness (myself included).

I was particularly inspired by your storytelling ability. The art of telling a story is one that is not lost on me and I could have listened to your stories for hours. (We MUST have another lunch date!) It was in the stories you shared about the strength and resilience of women in your life that you showed great exuberance. When asked if you had ever considered writing a book, your answer about wishing you could document the life of Emma Busch was so cool to me. There are so many stories that never get told because they are simply forgotten.

I expected your answer to the book writing question to be that you would first consider writing on teaching or faith but that you had such a specific and vivid subject in mind, makes me REALLY want to read her story (as told by you, of course).  The world would definitely benefit from the stories you have to share. Continue reading “Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Sue Gelven”

Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Dr. Deeken

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Dear Dr. Deeken,

I am so glad you accepted my invitation and am even happier that we made that lunch date happen!

I would like to apologize for taking so long to write this letter. Life just has a way of getting away from me. Before we met, I promised to limit my questions to 10. I hope I was able to keep that promise. There were just so many things I wanted to discuss.

When we sat down and I had a chance to tell you that my friends were all jealous of our lunch date, you said that you hoped, “We were not underwhelmed” by your responses. (Clearly you did not see how starstruck I was to be dining with THE Dr. Deeken.) 

As always you listened, shared, taught, and inspired me.

One of the questions I asked was “What was your favorite advice for parents?”

Your sweet and smart responses of “Enjoy each and every stage of childhood, (speaking from personal experience),” “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, and “Don’t let kids dictate; You’re the parent. You’re not the friend” were true to the doctrines of appointments heard by thousands of parents and still need to be shared daily.

The fact that you have 10 children of your own is still one that awes me. The fact that you carried a panel of about 2000 patients floored me. When asked how you managed, you gave tremendous credit to your husband and said something that too many of us feel in the healthcare and educational professions, “I short-changed my family. You can’t get time back.” In learning that you often took your charts home to finish each night, after making your hospital rounds and full days of check-ups and medical emergencies, it’s no wonder you felt spread too thin. I think it’s fair to say that you did a marvelous job of tackling some tough stuff. Continue reading “Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Dr. Deeken”

Mountaintop Chocolate – Discovering a New Dream

mountaintop chocolates

When I was a kid, I had a lot of goals. To own a horse. To sing in Nashville. To have a dishwasher and ice maker (other than myself). In adulthood, I have discovered so many goals that I never dreamed would have been realities for me. I own a horse. I’ve sang on the Grand Ole Opry Stage. I have a dishwasher and an ice maker (none of which are me).

Traveling wasn’t something I dreamed much of when I was younger, but in this year of my 40th birthday, I have found the inspiration and motivation to take some pretty big trips. Hubby and I visited Oahu, Hawaii. (It really is paradise.) My mom, my sister, and two of my best friends, and I traveled to New York City. And most recently, hubby and I took our three kiddos to Colorado.

We saw waterfalls, rock formations, mountains, gold mines, and landscapes so vivid I cannot conceive words to describe them all.

It was on a quiet afternoon near Gypsum, Colorado that I discovered a goal I never knew I had, and I reveled in the moment. I had a box of chocolates all my own on top of a mountain.

It was magical.

It was beautiful.

It was delicious. Continue reading “Mountaintop Chocolate – Discovering a New Dream”

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”

I Can Explain… – Wise Words Wednesday

I can explain it

“I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”

The hardest part of communication is when the sender expresses the message to best of his or her ability but the receiver cannot wrap their brain around what is being shared.

As a part of each week’s lessons, I include an article or example for my students to evaluate. They are then to respond to a prompt about the excerpt. In a recent journal assignment, I shared an article about research writing and the fact that your words should be the star of the paper and the sources are your supporting characters. I was very surprised to read the response of one student in particular.

Their response said that they had not understood their thoughts and words were to be the star. The student only thought they were supposed to use the words of others as they developed their paper.

Even though our first SIX weeks had been about what interested the students and what their potential thesis and counterarguments would be, that particular student failed to understand that it is the author’s words, thoughts, and opinions that make a paper relevant.

I started to reply to the journal entry with an apology for not being clear on the intent behind their research, but then I asked myself,

“Can I make them understand with an apology?”

Continue reading “I Can Explain… – Wise Words Wednesday”

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).

Yellow Sheets…A Bold Design Choice

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My 6 year old LOVES the color yellow. He has yellow headphones, a yellow tablet case, and even sports yellow Crocs.

As we did some room re-arranging at our home, he inherited his sister’s old room. When we built our home a number of years ago, my daughter selected pink and purple for the walls and those just weren’t going to suite the room’s newest inhabitant. His wall colors were to be yellow (of course), blue, and gray with outer space decorations. (It was going to be out-of-this-world.)

My son insisted that he wanted yellow sheets for his new bedding.

I searched for yellow sheets. It is not possible to find yellow sheets. (Most people associate yellowed sheets with bed wetting.) Amazon, Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, T.J.Maxx… no one could help me.

wp-1562781503337.jpgSo I did what any loving mother would do. I dyed white sheets yellow.

My husband told me I was crazy. I told him to not mess with me or I would dye his sheets yellow too.

The end result was not perfectly, evenly yellow, but I had a little boy who was very happy.

So while his yellow sheets may have been a bold design choice, I hope he always remembers the brazen acceptance of his vision and how happy it made him to bring that vision to reality.

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As you make your way through the day, I hope you too will find ways to make bold choices and accept the dynamic decisions of those you love. Let the colorful courage be something that not only brightens the situation but charges the positivity and purpose in your day.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I did not encourage him to yellow the sheets by any other means. They are yellow enough.