Links to Happiness

I’ve never worked in a paper clip factory. I never thought about what it would be like to make paper clips all day long. I had not considered what it must be like to have a career solely based on those cartons of curved, organizational magic… that is until I opened my most recent box of paper clips.

Upon lifting the lid to a brand new box, I discovered a very long chain of clips connected to one another. Surely, this is not a normal product of the paper clip making process. Someone somewhere took the time to construct this impressive chain of fasteners. Perhaps their intent was to frustrate the recipient of the chain, or maybe its creation served to pass the time during an unfortunate shut-down at the plant, or it could be that the chain’s maker was just trying to make a connection with someone else in a unique way. Whatever the reason, I was now the intrigued owner of a very long paper clip chain.

When I showed my daughter, she said, “That’s cool, but now you can’t use those paper clips.”

“Why can’t I use them?” was my reply.

“Because then you wouldn’t have the chain anymore,” she stated and walked away.

I guess she was right. I needed a paper clip, not a chain of them, but there were Intentergy moments in those links.

Continue reading “Links to Happiness”

Reasons to Get Out of Bed

The alarm clock ringing might be the #1 reason people give for getting out of bed, but it’s not that ring, ring, ring that really calls us to rise. My alarm clock is working fine, but I’ve been struggling with motivation to get moving in the morning.

It’s not just that it’s winter, and I want to hibernate, but that I really haven’t felt successful or inspired as of late.

I know I’m not alone, if you are feeling like there’s not enough good reasons to get going in the morning, check out my recent telephone conversation and how it helped with my dragging drive.

I called for tech support as I was working on the cataloging system for our elementary school library. We are relatively new to using this cataloging system, and this was not my first tech call. I had already spoken to Keith, the company representative, in the past. Keith is in Canada. I am in Central Missouri. When Keith takes my call, I always ask how things are in Canada, and he kindly tells me about the weather there. As we waited for the computer system to reboot my account, I asked Keith how many tech support calls he answers on average each day. He said, no one had ever asked him before, but, ironically, it was just discussed at a recent meeting. Keith said his average daily call count was 12.

Because I know that my past calls have all lasted between 30 minutes and 90 minutes, I thanked Keith for his time and his assistance. He laughed and told me that most people probably wouldn’t think of what he does as valuable. I pointed out that his service calls help me to provide library resources to over 130 students and faculty. While my school is a small one, I know he assists large colleges, universities, churches, and high schools; all with patrons in the thousands. I happily went on telling him that his 12 calls a day help thousands of people with their writing, reading, and research. He has a tremendous ripple effect on the success of all those patrons, and that’s a great reason to get out of bed every day.

Keith didn’t speak for a few moments. Actually, I was afraid he hung up on me or lost connection. When he did speak, the sincerity in his voice was so sweet. After saying, “Thank you,” Keith told me that it had never occurred to him to value his position in such a positive way. It made my day to know that I had brightened his.

After hanging up with Keith, my library software was working, and my mojo was much improved.

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Walls or Bridges? – Wise Words Wednesday

As I listen to my children bicker and fight over a kickball game in our basement, I am frustrated by the unkind words they use and the mean way they pick apart one another’s attempts to kick, run, and throw. It hurts me to hear them use such forceful language when it’s supposed to be a fun game.

What I have to remind myself is that their play is a way to learn the basics of the game, how to handle conflict, and ways to work with others while being competitive. Those viscous kickball games are growing opportunities for turning thrown stones into bridges for better play and successful communication in the future. (That doesn’t make their taunting any easier to hear though.)

Unfortunately, my kiddos’ emotional “rock collecting” has not been limited to the jabs and insults of their siblings. My children (like all kids) have come home with hurt in their eyes and frustration in their hearts from things said and done at school and sports practices. Seeing my kids hurt by the words and actions of others is probably the hardest part of being a parent. These challenges have forced me to dig deep into my repertoire of comfort and advice, but also add to the School of Hard Knocks’ curriculum as my children earn their diplomas in adolescence.

“When people throw rocks, you can either build walls or bridges.
Be a bridge builder”
– Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Continue reading “Walls or Bridges? – Wise Words Wednesday”

How Do I Get Started… Again?

The last time I posted any Intentergy was August 18th. That post was to announce upcoming Bloggers’ BeLOnG Sessions. Since then, I’ve done two Bloggers BeLOnG and one Blogging for Beginners Sessions, but written absolutely NOTHING. (Today’s post is the equivalent to the typing walk of shame.)

The worst part is that all of the sessions I’ve spoke at have been on blogging. I feel like a huge hypocrite. And a hypocrite is the worst kind of -crite… so I need to get writing again.

The trouble with getting started again is that it’s really hard to know what to do first.

Ideologies range from taking small steps to diving in head first, but I think what most of us need is an option to move somewhere in between a shuffle and a dive.

Do you feel like you are on pause in some aspect of your life?

Do you feel like you need a push to get back to one of your personal goals or just back in the habit of something that makes your life better?

Well, I’m going to take my proverbial first step to get back to blogging today by offering you a push in the direction of getting going again.

In January, I wrote about making vision boards with my gal pals. I’m pretty proud of how well I stuck to the majority of my visions, but some definitely fell by the wayside. (Sadly, my guitar has not gotten the attention is deserves.)

Did you make a vision board or a New Year’s Resolution? It’s probably not too late to visit those resolutions, even if you have to modify them in a more attainable increment for the remainder of this opportunity-filled year.

On a recent night out, my friends were talking about how much they needed to start losing weight because of health issues. Most of the issues were rooted in diet and lack of activity. My friend Erin shared how she worked her way back into getting fit by starting with 5 minutes a day on her elliptical. After one week of running on her elliptical for 5 minutes a day, she increased her time to 6 minutes a day, and then 7 minutes, eventually working her way up to 45 minutes a day. This was the same method I used when I got started with my workouts as well, and it made my heart happy hearing that those kinds of intentions are productive for others. Sharing the process was a good thing, the but the greater part about Erin sharing her story was that we agreed to be cheerleaders for one another. Every time one of us reaches the goal of 5 minutes on the elliptical or one week of working at it everyday, we will be there to celebrate and cheerlead for one another to keep going. Finding a cheer squad for yourself is definitely one way to get back into the swing of things or start making progress.

Continue reading “How Do I Get Started… Again?”

Monday’s Message – December 28, 2020

After surviving Christmas week and gearing up for a highly anticipated New Year’s, I thought it would be a good idea to share something that has given me tremendous hope… well, 12,000 things that have given me tremendous hope to be exact.

We welcomed a new flock of turkeys last week, and I am so very grateful for the opportunity to continue growing quality turkey and beef for American consumers. The chance to continue our farming tradition is not something we take lightly. I hope everyone out there has the ability to be grateful for their means of contributing to our communities and having purpose that keeps them moving.

For today, I encourage you to reflect on the chances you can take. Let opportunity and gratitude be the foundation for making great things happen.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Don’t forget those Old Year’s Resolutions! There are only 3 opportunity-filled days left.

Build a Door – Wise Words Wednesday

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Have you ever built a fort or a playhouse out of a cardboard box?

Well, I have.

I have some pretty extensive cardboard construction experience from my own childhood and as I take part in the imaginary creations of my own kiddos. Anybody who has ever built a refrigerator box hideout will tell you that the secret to its success is in the door.

Cutting cardboard is hard work. It requires sketching the door with whatever pencil, marker, or crayon you can find. Then sneaking a steak knife from the kitchen or maybe Mom’s good scissors, and then you have to saw, hack, shred, and, without losing a finger or toe, trim out your new entrance. Of course the entrance never seems to follow the dried-out marker shape you sketched and maybe you got tired and your little sister had to finish cutting part of the door, and maybe, just maybe the handle accidentally came off Mom’s good scissors, so you took Dad’s pocketknife while he was napping. Whatever the series of events may have been, they all result in an opening of some sort.

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Positive Charge from My Child – Still Got the Batteries

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Last Christmas my youngest son received a remote controlled drone. It was a nice drone. So nice, in fact, that it required 10 AA batteries. Four batteries went into the drone itself and six went into the remote.

Christmas was really good to my boy and it was a week or so before he got around to playing with the new flying contraption. The thing is, he decided to play with the drone in my absence. Hubby was “watching” our two boys and my 5 year-old nephew when they opened the drone and its parts. After the surprise hurricane of packaging and instructions, the boys enlisted hubby to help with the batteries and directions. Taking his dad duties very seriously, my husband coached the boys on how to insert batteries the correct way and made valiant attempts to read the directions as they flew the drone crazily INSIDE our house.

After a “crash course” in drone flying, hubby and the three aspiring pilots took the flying terror outside. It was a clear and fairly warm day for late December so take off was a go. The drone proved difficult to control for the little hands of the the boys, and my husband was forced to keep a vigilant eye on their piloting. After a bit, they were cold and chose to come inside. The drone was left on the kitchen counter and the boys dispersed to reek havoc on another part of the house.

A short time later, my husband took a phone call in our home office and the drone took an unsupervised flight compliments of my nephew.

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The Hardest Kind of Teacher – #WiseWordsWednesday

The Hardest Kind of Teacher

“Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward.” – Oscar Wilde

Have you ever heard smoke alarms go off in vacation condos?

If you’ve ever heard a vacation condo smoke alarm, you know it is a very displeasing sound, as alarms should be.

For two years in a row now I have had the displeasure of hearing the exact same vacation condo smoke alarm blaring for all the world to hear. It wouldn’t be so bad except that when the smoke alarm goes off in our condo unit it goes off in all four of the condo units. 

Now I know you’re asking yourself, “What lesson does this experience teach us?”

Well, there are a few simple life lesson reminders ringing in these alarms.

1. If you ring the alarm too many times, people will ignore your cries for help. It goes along with the proverbial, “Don’t cry wolf.” Our alarm went off so many times last summer that all of the men hanging out telling fish stories on the deck totally ignored the blaring beeps because they didn’t think there was a problem, when in fact, there was a pot boiling over inside as I attending to a bike cycle accident booboo outside.

During our most recent vacation, I set the alarm off repeatedly trying to make a breakfast casserole, no one came running to our aid because they believed there was no fire. They were right; there was no fire, but what if there had been?

The experience lesson here is: If you know an alarm is faulty be prepared to not have anyone come to your aid.

2. The alarms in the other condo units are just as touchy as the one in our room. Unfortunately, this does not stop my panic reaction when I hear the smoke alarm sound. I am always ready to jump up and rescue whomever is in danger. This is stressful because I haven’t had to rescue anyone but went through the adrenaline and fear of needing to save someone with each and every siren sound.

This life lesson is very similar to #1: If you know someone else has a faulty alarm, be weary of always rushing to their aid. It may not always be a fire you can put out or even need to attempt to squelch. It may just be another hot mess looking for someone to rescue them from their insecurities or poor choices.

Let the lessons of touchy fire alarms and emotional appeals allow us to make positive choices as we determine how we use our energy. Don’t go pushing that panic button if panic isn’t needed and you don’t have to suit up and charge in every time someone signals for help. Make the most of your intents and use your energy in real emergencies.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Always know where the emergency exits are. Just in case…

 

Don’t Close the Door on Idiosyncrasies

What is the weirdest thing that bothers you?

What idiosyncrasy do you hold near and dear to your heart?

My friend Brian has a passion for keeping the door to his office closed when it is not in use. The door’s closure allows him focus and to maintain the energy he needs to be most effective at his job. Brian will post on Facebook hilarious rants about the need for that door to be closed. His posts make me laugh, but also remind me that the idiosyncrasies that set us apart are also what make us all human.

Open Door Idyosyncrasy

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Quarantine: What Teachers Are Expecting from Parents

COVID Parent Expectations

As our nation faces another week of stay-at-home orders, mandated and self-quarantines, and growing fears for time lost from work or school, I recently had someone ask me, “What do you, as an educator, think about trying to keep school going at home?”

Well, I can’t speak for ALL educators, but here is what I know and believe.

First of all, we miss the kids. We miss the classroom. We miss being able to teach, interact, hug, listen to, and learn from our students.

The greatest hope we have for our students is that they are safe, secure, and still learning on some level.

While most parents don’t have degrees in classroom management or educational psychology, the majority understand what it means to be a kid. Maintaining awareness for their innocence and young minds needs to be in the forefront of our thoughts as we interact with them.

With regards to lesson plans, please just do your best. Try to provide opportunities for kids to make connections between what they normally would be learning in school and what they are getting at home. While there aren’t SmartBoards, extensive libraries, and gymnasiums in our homes, there are still plenty of ways to encourage our kids to keep learning. Some families don’t have computers or internet access. There are still ways to engage children in reading, math, science, and physical activity. Parents, allow yourselves to learn news ways to communicate positively with your children and let them know that change is hard, but we can make it easier together.

To those who say, “It’s not my job to teach. I’m not making my kids do homework,” teachers view all children as their own. When you refuse to put effort into helping your own child learn, you are refusing to help everyone. Please don’t take that from them or us. We all deserve to have knowledge and understanding as this pandemic impacts our lives. You are that child’s parent, and, therefore, you are their first teacher. Join us in the work we do to ensure bright futures open to continued growth and knowledge.

Finally, please remember teachers are people too. We have fears, anxiety, and questions that can’t be answered. We are doing our best to share as much information and as many opportunities as possible with your kids, while caring for/teaching/raising/coping with our own families. Please don’t let our efforts be something that is also lost during this time of crisis.

Again, I can’t speak for all teacher, but this is what I believe most would say. Be safe. Stay healthy. Read, write, experiment, exercise, love, and learn.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Parents, it’s okay to put yourself in detention if you need a time out, but don’t punish your kid if new Math is confusing. Teachers had to learn it too.

P.P.S. Parents, it’s also okay to give yourself an apple or a chocolate bar when you’ve done a good job of helping get through those workbook pages.

P.P.P.S. Teacher friends, thank you for stretching yourselves and adapting to these crazy conditions. You’ve all earned A’s in my book.