That’s what I should call it, but have you ever tried to herd turkeys? There is nothing run-of-the-mill about herding turkeys once they’ve escaped from the barn.
On a day when I had the privilege of helping top out buildings*, there was one barn door that just wouldn’t stay on its hinge leaving a gap as we made our rounds through the building. It was through that gap that nine turkeys made their grand getaway.
The thing about turkeys though is that they are not very intelligent and tend to run wild in every direction before making their way back to where they started.
In the case of these nine runaways, they hovered around the outside of the barn because they could hear their buddies inside. Unfortunately for me, they huddled about half way down the barn, and I had to deftly sneak up behind them and shoo them to the other end of the range house. Once we made our haphazard way back to the other end of the building, these fugitives found safety being back in the flock.
Walking the walk and talking the talk can a be tall order when it comes to being positive. Sometimes positive energy can be hard to find. Other times we have to create that outlook for ourselves.
This week was mid-quarter for my children at school. (Thank goodness our school has made it healthily this far into 1st quarter.) I have started to see a shadow of exhaustion in my daughter.
She is determined to earn high enough grades to be on Honor Roll, practicing 3 to 4 days a week with her competitive gymnastics team, still helping with home and farm chores, and be a normal 11-year old. Not wanting that shadow to become a storm of exhaustion, I devised a way to help her think, talk, and feel positive on Monday.
As soon as my girl was off the bus, I told her how proud I was of her and showed her successful math paper from last week’s homework now displayed on the pantry door. (5th grade math is hard!) Then I had blueberry muffins hot, out of the oven, for after-school snack, and I shared my blog post on The Thunder Tree with her. (She loved Thunder.) I told her to get dressed for gymnastics and surprised her with fresh cup of sweet tea to-go. These may seem like petty things, but when she got home 4 hours later from gymnastics, her mood was lighter than it had been the last few days, and she gushed with the successes of her practice.
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.
A season of beauty doesn’t necessarily have to do with changing your physical self. It can include changes in faith, patience, humility, acceptance, or simplicity. Choose to do something that brings a more beautiful light or outlook to your existence. Brighten your daily encounters with a more hopeful view or a greater appreciate for the diversity that you experience in others.
Some simple but significant changes to consider for your spiritual or emotional self include:
Practice quiet meditation for 5 minutes each day; select a mantra that will bring about the change you seek, such as “I appreciate the good in others,” “My time is a gift and valuable to myself and those whom I share it with,” “Peace begins within me, let that peace find me here.”
Smile, greet, or politely acknowledge all you meet, especially those who you don’t normally pay attention
Compliment others on jobs well done or their appearance; make note of it
Be conscious of the words you use when speaking to your family, spouse, or coworkers; keep a log or jar of unkind or impatient words. Making note of the not-so-nice things we say forces us to select less “noteworthy” negativity when we speak.
Schedule time for things that will reduce futures stress:
pick out your clothes the night before
make a grocery list before going to the store and stick to it
make a budget and stick to it
plan a game night or movie night with your loved ones
share your schedule with your spouse or significant other
clean as you cook allow yourself to enjoy time with your family after dinner
fold each load of laundry after taking it out of the dryer (this way you don’t have mountains of laundry to fold later)
Pick up trash or use recycling bins, even if the refuse isn’t yours
Reduce time spent on social media
Increase time telling stories or sharing memories with friends and family
Clean out cluttered drawers
De-clutter your desk
Clean out your car
Say an extra prayer each day for someone or something other than yourself
Keep a journal of positive things or share one positive experience from the day with your family members each night
We can’t consider change without including a few healthy, physical progressions. With physical change, gradual will get the job done most every time.
The door in our basement squeaks. It is a loud and angry squeak. Each time my husband comes home from the farm, he enters through this door. That hinged “hello” is how we know he is home.
I could easily spray some grease on the whiny hinges but there is something comforting about hearing that squeak followed by his footsteps coming up the stairs. It’s a squeak I probably won’t grease any time soon.
This past weekend a friend of mine came to me with a problem. She has another friend who is going through a divorce. The divorce, as many divorces are, is not a pretty one. Unfortunately, the couple has some young children. The divorcing couple have not only pushed one another away but they have checked out on caring for their kids. My friend has helped care for the little sweeties a number of days each week for about 6 months and the weight of it is taking a toll on her own homelife. Each time the phone rings with a call for her to watch the other kiddos, it is a “squeak” that makes her cringe. Continue reading “Squeaks We Don’t Need to Grease”→
Some mornings it takes a little bit of extra coffee and sunshine to get my confidence going. Other mornings it takes an army of awesomeness to prove I can handle whatever the day has in store. Most mornings my mojo is inspired by the fact that I have to get my minions moving and on the bus.
Last week I ambitiously tried to open a new bottle of vitamins. The vitamins were recommended by my friend Emily and I was excited to see if they would help boost energy and assist in keeping focus as my exhausted brain faced another week of grading, parenting, and farming.
The problem was the cotton was stuck. I did not have the mental or physical dexterity to remove the stupid cotton ball from the bottle. As the sun had not risen yet and my coffee had not brewed, I was not sure I had the capacity to get to those vitamins. I was stuck in in my self-doubt (and cotton). In fact, I was so stuck; I video recorded myself trying to get the dumb old cotton out of the bottle.
Everywhere in society, we have to provide our autographs for signature pads like the one in the photo. The difference between this signature pad and most other signature pads is that this one proudly displays the use of a simple solution.
Recently I wrote about my family’s obsession with adhesives, so the fact that this simple solution was generated by using transparent tape adds to my love of sticky stuff, but really fuels my excitement for simple solutions.
“What’s the big deal about that transparent tape with an X and a line?” you ask.
What’s the big deal?!?
That line shows you where to write your name when you don’t know where to sign.
“Okay,” you say, “So what’t the big deal?”
The big deal is we are forced to make thousands of decisions everyday.
Some of those decisions we can do without much thought, but when you are asked to sign because you are seeking medical attention for your child, and you are freaking out about what the doctor might say, you need an X with a line next to it so you know where to sign your name. It’s a big deal!
Once we got past the awesome signature pad and the terrific pediatric ENT, I was able to take a deep breath, (probably would have known where to sign without the handy X and line), and reflect on the simplicity of the doctor’s advice and that miraculous signature pad. Continue reading “Simple Solutions”→
Monday morning as I was writing, my children were eating their breakfast and watching Sports Center (as all “normal” American children do). My son came running into the office to tell me that he spilled his cereal.
My response was, “Get a towel and I will be right there.” His response was to stand there and stare at me.
I hit “Save” and headed to the kitchen. I found a nicely splattered, milk mess. Again I told him, “Get a towel.”
He just looked at me.
I grabbed a dry towel and a wet wash cloth. Handing the dry towel to my son, I said, “If you will wipe up the spilled milk, I will wash off the sticky stuff.” He started wiping up the milk (as I took this photo, of course).
When I asked him why he didn’t get a towel before coming to get me, he said, “I didn’t know what to do. I thought you were going to be mad at me.” Continue reading “Get a Towel”→