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”?”
“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer
As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.
My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.
I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.
Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”
This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.
Continue reading ““Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday”
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”
Chocolate covered strawberries are a treat that many of us enjoy. My father-in-law loves to make this special treat for the kids. He works hard to use perfectly ripe strawberries and make them look extra delicious. Every time he drops the special strawberries off he can’t wait to see the kids dig in.
The problem is my kids LOVE strawberries and they LOVE chocolate, but they won’t eat them together. They methodically pick the chocolate off the berries, eat the strawberry, and give the chocolate to me (because it touched a strawberry).
What is wrong with eating them all in one bite?
Do you eat chocolate covered strawberries?
I guess those tasty cocoa-covered fruit are a blend of two enjoyable things. Some people enjoy can only enjoy them separately, while others find the combination irresistible.
I have the problem of finding the combination of being busy and needed too irresistible. I love to be busy. I love to help others. I live to feel needed and appreciated. The problem is I sometimes drown myself in being busy and fail to find that perfect balance of needed and healthy.
Do you ever do this?
Continue reading “All in One Bite?”
“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor” – Into the Woods
These words always seem to pop up in my life at just the right time.
For the last month, I have not been writing much (the whole, “I’m too busy” thing). Each day that I don’t write separates me from the messages I wish to share and the healthy practice of jotting down my thoughts and experiences. Those thoughts and experiences may not come again. Reflecting on this quote from Into the Woods, I find myself with renewed vigor for writing and encouraging others to share their own thoughts and works.
What talent or passion have you been neglecting?
“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.”
I have wrestled with finding time to take a break for myself. Creating opportunities for quiet, peaceful time with my family has also failed to make its way into my schedule. If I don’t instigate those calm, restorative moments with my family and for myself, who will?
Please take time for yourself and those you love. Peace has to begin in our hearts and homes before it can be found all over Earth. Continue reading “Visits from Opportunity – Wise Words Wednesday”
My kids have been dragging home loops of knotted yarn. They spend hours of their day trying to make patterns including: Jacob’s Ladder, teacup, spider web traps, Eiffel Tower, bow and arrow, and other geometric shapes with the yarn between their fingers.
Hours, I tell you!Hours they should be cleaning rooms, doing homework, practicing basketball, or being productive in some way.
The hours of employing imagination and making yarn shapes are really not what get me worked up. It’s the random yarn loops lying around EVERYWHERE and the knock-down-drag-out fights over who has whose “special” yarn loop.
Seriously, it’s a knotted circle of string!
The knotted fun for my kids has not exactly been fun for me, but I am always seeking the positive in situations so I thought I would share what I discovered after researching the knotted fun phenomena. Continue reading “Knotted Fun = Not Fun for Mom (Sometimes)”
Security Brought on by Blankets via Daily Prompt: Blanket
When you become a parent, you give up the rights to many things. Six years ago I gave up ownership of a blanket.
The blanket was a Christmas gift from my Secret Pal. I liked the blanket. It was festive and cozy. My two year-old liked it more.
As I was 8 months pregnant at the time, I couldn’t chase her very well when she ran away with it. I was too round and too nauseous to run. I really didn’t put up much of a fight.
She sure loved that blanket. It went everywhere with her. It made her feel safe in any situation and comforted her when she was sick or exhausted. That blanket provided a lot of security for my little girl.
Today that blanket continues to be her traveling companion and provides needed comfort often. It also makes a great foot warmer when she is playing on her tablet. 🙂
What is it about a blanket that provides us with comfort?
Many of us have that one special blanket that softened our childhood. It provided security when we felt scared and soothed us when we needed consolation. Security blankets and leaving them behind are rite of passage.
When I was little I didn’t carry around a blanket. I had a frilly, silk pair of underwear that I loved. Yup, underwear. Today not many little girls have silk underwear with lace sown across the back, but in the early 1980’s a few of us still donned them. I didn’t wear the silky underwear though. I held them between my fingers as I sucked my thumb. Sounds pretty cute right? Well, eventually it wasn’t cool to carry around a pair of underwear or suck my thumb, so I moved on, but we don’t all have the luxury of outgrowing our security blankets.
Did you have a security blanket?
When my son was born, his godmother gave him a sweet, snuggly blue blanket with his name embroidered on it. The blue blanket wasn’t a big one. It was a small, square fleece with sateen border. It had just the right-sized tag for my little guy to wrap his finger in and he rarely went anywhere without it. One day when he was 2 1/2, we had multiple doctor and pharmacy appointments for his ear infections. It was a rough day. It only got rougher that night when we realized blue blankey was gone!!!! I called and drove back to all of our stops the next day. No blankey was to be found. My mom lovingly made him a new one, but it was just never the same.
Elf Spotting and the Trouble that Follows (Reblogged from 2016)
Three years ago Chippy the elf showed up on our front porch. He made his magical appearance after my sweet daughter wrote a letter to Santa asking for one of his handy helpers to visit our home.
My husband and I were leery about this new holiday watchman but went with it. I mean how much trouble could one elf be???
After three years the magic of Chippy is alive and well, if you consider daily wrestling matches and crying fits over who found him first to be magical.
Seriously! Everyday there is a tremendous tumult over who finds Chippy first. It is so magical I need stronger coffee in the morning and extra melatonin at night to get past all the Christmas spirit his presence brings.
That silly elf has brought more trouble than I could have imagined, but he has also brought some humor to some pretty angry situations.
For example: In the middle of one of their daily brawls, my daughter yelled out, “Get off my hair. Chippy sees you and he is going to tell Santa.” My son replied, “Good! Maybe Santa will bring you a new brush for your messy hair,” and continued torturing my little girl’s curls. The elf just kept smiling. Continue reading “Elf Spotting …continued”
Blue pancakes are the usual in our household (when we have pancakes). I usually like to keep my breakfast dates with friends (when I can schedule breakfast dates). This past week my friend Erin and I had a breakfast date planned, but my sitter situation became bleak. I offered to make breakfast at my home (if Erin didn’t mind the three-ring circus running around while we visited). She was cool with hanging out at my house so we kept our date.
As I was whipping up the pancakes, my youngest son asked if the pancakes would be blue. My daughter soon chimed in that she really wanted blue pancakes too (after all our pancakes are usually blue). I wasn’t sure how Erin would react to blue pancakes, so I left half the batch plain and the other half was blue. When Erin arrived, the kids stampeded to let her in and were in full three-ring circus mode. It seemed only right that there were blue pancakes.
In true awesome Erin fashion, she said, “I’m down with blue pancakes,” and happily ate blue and plain colored flapjacks with my family.
What color are your pancakes? Do you have a special breakfast tradition in your household?
As we begin the season of holiday feasting, think about the traditions that been upheld by your loved ones. My mom’s side of the family has had chicken and dumplings at every family function since time began (that maybe a bit of an exaggeration); it just isn’t a Frank family holiday without chicken and dumplings.
Is there something special your family will eat that is a unique tradition this Thanksgiving?
Traditions, such as blue pancakes and chicken and dumplings, make special days “special.” My hope for you is that you are able to remember and (if you can) enjoy the food feasts that make family “family” this holiday season. Be sure to share your traditions with friends and tell the stories of your childhood to your kiddos. Savor the meals and memories that have made you who you are and be grateful for the events that enriched those memories.
Remember not everyone has “picture perfect” holiday plans. Be considerate and kind (and inviting, if you can) to those who have less to be thankful for. Make your newest tasty tradition be one that dishes out meaningful memories for yourself and all those for whom you love. Who knows, maybe blue pancakes will be your new Thanksgiving brunch or chicken and dumplings your new tradition of choice. Whatever it is you serve, whether it be food or memories, make them positive and full of energy that inspires grateful intent.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. If you are making blue pancakes. you will need to pick up some blue food coloring.
“I don’t care what they think.”
“Who do they think they are? Judging me?”
“Seriously, why do they think they are better than me?”
How often do we find ourselves making these snarky statements?
Our rhetoric for these loaded comments usually shows itself when we feel like someone does not like us or something we do. We immediately go on the defensive and throw down the I-don’t-care-what-you-think-of-me jargon, but inside we are battling the why-don’t-they-like-me fight.
Some of the snarkiest people I have ever met are also some of the most insecure individuals I have known. To inflate their self-perception, they preach a degrading dialogue about anyone they think they bring down. The problem with this kind of judging is that the hurtful words usually become flames in the fire of burning bridges for future friendships and work experiences.
Let me give you a for instance: When I was in college I worked for an entertainment retailer. My job included working in the book department, the cafe, and training new employees. I loved that job. There was one associate, who we will call Adam. Adam did a nice job on register and worked well with customers on the floor. He eventually made it to the ranks of shift manager. After becoming a shift manager, for whatever reason, Adam gradually became unhappy with the company. He put in his two weeks notice. One night while closing the store, I overheard him tell another associate that he never comes to work for his last day at any job. Well, I knew what was coming and planned to come in the day of his last shift. We were going to be short a manager. Continue reading “Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too”